Friday, May 31, 2013

The Sorcerer King

The Sorcerer King is by Frewin Jones. The third installment in The Faerie Path series. Tania has returned her mother, the Queen Titania, to Faerie, but the Sorcerer King of Lyonesse has captured her father, King Oberon, and imprisoned him on the island of Ynis Maw. Tania and her sisters must rescue their father and raise an army to defeat the evil Sorcerer King, but at what cost? Fans of this series will not be disappointed in this book and will look forward to the next one.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

All Shook Up: The Life and Death of Elvis Presley

All Shook Up: The Life and Death of Elvis Presley is by Barry Denenberg. A look at the life of a rock-n-roll legend that is geared for younger readers. It gives an overview of the life of the "King", but doesn't go into detail that would be inappropriate for younger readers. A way to hook young music fans into reading nonfiction. There is one instance of profanity in a direct quote, but otherwise a clean book.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Atrtacks of 1916

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 is by Michael Capuzzo. The true story of the East Coast shark attacks that were the true basis for the story we have come to know and love as Jaws. In 1916, Americans were just beginning to discover the ocean. They were not prepared for the Great White shark that terrorized the beaches of the East Coast and the swimmers who frequented them. This story is written in way that keeps the readers interest without becoming boringly factual or edging into sensationalism. You really get a feel for the time period and the people whose lives were affected by these attacks.

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence).


Catopolis is edited by Martin Greenberg. A collection of short stories all cat lovers will purr over. These stories center around cats and their secret world and mythology. A great collection of stories by a great selection of authors.

Ratings: 10th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

Low Red Moon

Low Red Moon is by Ivy Devlin. Avery's parents have been brutally murdered in their cabin in the forest. Now she has had to move into town with her grandmother and try to put her life back together. She still can't remember what happened the night her parents were killed. All she remembers is their red blood and the flash of silver. Then she meets a new boy in town named Ben, who lives with his mysterious uncle in the forest. When Avery discovers that the boy she is attracted to has a secret, he's a werewolf, she begins to fear he might have killed her parents. Will she every remember what happened that night, does she really want to remember? A murder mystery with a paranormal twist. Girls will love it.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence).

Vampire High

Vampire High is by Douglas Rees. The first book in the Vampire High series. Cody's family has moved from California to Massachusetts for his father's job. Cody hates it and gets himself kicked out of school, and winds up at Vlad Dracul, the local private school. Only his new school is a little strange, his classmates are vampires. Cody, and the few other human students, are only there to play on the water polo team to keep the state certification for the school. He isn't really wanted, but then he begins to make friends, one of whom turns out to be a vampire princess. Will he ever fit in at Vlad Dracul and does he really want to? A very cool story, fans of the Vladimir Todd series will enjoy.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Jinx on the Divide

Jinx on the Divide is by Elizabeth Kay. The final book in The Divide trilogy. Felix is back in his own dimension and waiting for his friend Betony to come for a visit so he can show her his world. Then Rhino, the class bully, finds Felix's lamp and the brandee within and makes his way across the Divide into the magical dimension where he begins to cause complete havoc. Felix and Betony must find him, stop him, and get him back home, but as usual things don't turn out as planned. An interesting finale to this series, the ending is not what you would expect.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Lock Artist

The Lock Artist is by Steve Hamilton. Michael can't speak due to a horrendous family tragedy that occurred when he was eight. He does discover he has a special talent though, he can open any lock. Through a high school prank his talent comes to the attention of the wrong people and Michael, now eighteen, finds himself trapped in a life he never wanted. Micheal tells his story in a series of flashbacks that are easy to follow and are totally engrossing. I didn't expect to enjoy this book, but it turned out to be one of the best books I've read this year.

Ratings: Adult - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).

The Crossroads: A Haunted Mystery

The Crossroads: A Haunted Mystery is by Chris Grabenstein. Zack, his father, and his new step mother move back to his father's hometown after his mother dies of cancer and his father re-marries. Zack likes his new home, his new step mother, his new dog, and his new friend - there's just one little problem. There's a ghost, an evil ghost who wants him dead. A great ghost story boys and girls will enjoy.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Ghost of Graylock

The Ghost of Graylock is by Dan Poblocki. Two teenagers go to live with their aunts in a small town. A small town that used to have a hospital for troubled teens that was closed when several of the patients died. Graylock Hall is considered to be haunted and when Neil's new friend decides to take Neil and his sister to visit the local landmark, they discover that it really is haunted. Now they must solve the mystery of Rebecca's death or she will never stop haunting them. Another creepy tale from this magnificent writer. Boys and girls will love this book.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Awakening

The Awakening is by Michael Carroll. The first book in the Quantum Prophecy series. There used to be superheroes in the world. Then they suddenly vanished. That was 10 years ago, now thirteen-year-old Danny and his friend Colin discover they have superhuman powers. They find themselves caught up in a series of events that reveal the truth behind the disappearance of the superheros and villains all those years ago. The boys must take their place in the new generation of heroes and solve the mystery of the old generation. Boys, especially, will love this series.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

The House of Power

The House of Power is by Patrick Carman. The first book in the Atherton series. Edgar is a young boy who loves to climb. One day he finds a hidden book in a cave. Once he finds someone who can read it to him, he discovers it contains terrible secrets about the world he lives in. As the Highlands began to sink, and the world as he knows it begins to collapse Edgar may hold the secret to saving his world.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929

Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 is by Karen Blumenthal. A nonfiction treat for those who want to understand more about the Crash of 1929 and about the stock market in general. Young readers will be fascinated with this well written book, its beautiful pictures, and its understandable explanations of words and concepts with which they may be unfamiliar.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Great Bear Lake

Great Bear Lake is by Erin Hunter. The second book in the Seekers series. All four bear cubs arrive at Great Bear Lake on the longest day of the year. After each faces a test or trial they decide to continue their journey north together. Fans of Hunter and her writing will enjoy this installment in the series.

Ratings: 6th grade.

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine is by Ray Bradbury. The summer of 1928 in Green Town, Illinois as seen through the eyes of 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding. Bradbury allows us to experience a magic summer through the eyes of youth. We meet many residents of the town and see their interactions with each other, not only through their eyes, but through the eyes of a child. For older adults, this story will evoke memories of summers from their own youth. For younger readers, this book is a magic trip through time to the world of their parents and grandparents. A beautifully written story for all ages and times. A true classic!

Ratings: 8th grade - AC (some mature thematic content).

The Dark is Rising

The Dark is Rising is by Susan Cooper. The second book in the Dark is Rising sequence. On his eleventh birthday, Will discovers he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to defeating the evil of the Dark. He must find and assemble the six signs that will give the Old Ones the power they need to keep the Dark from rising. Will must learn to control and use his new-found powers, and race against time to save his family and the world from the Dark and its evil minions. This series is magical and enthralling. You will want to grab the next book in the series immediately.

Ratings: 6th grade - V (some violence).

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 is by Sally M. Walker. In December of 1917 two ships collided in the narrow harbor of Halifax in Canada. One of the ships was loaded with munitions bound for war-torn Europe. The explosion was the largest man-made explosion ever before the dropping of the atomic bomb. The blast flattened two communities on both sides of the narrows, killing around 2,000 people and injuring many more. The next day the area was hit by a devastating blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow and seriously hindered rescue efforts. A fantastic book, with excellent pictures and illustrations that bring this largely unknown incident to life. A great book for young readers seeking to find an interesting nonfiction read and for adults who need an introduction to this tragedy to whet their appetites.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.


Unraveled is by Gena Showalter. The second book in the Intertwined series. Aden still has three human souls living inside his head; his girlfriend is a vampire princess; his bodyguard is a werewolf who is in love with his friend, Mary Ann who drains supernatural creatures of their power; oh, and he is now king of the vampires. Can things get any worse? Oh, yea! The fairies, goblins, and witches want Aden and his friends dead. Vlad, the former vampire king, is not really dead and also wants to kill Aden, and one of the souls in his head has prophesied he will be stabbed through the heart very soon. Fans of this series will not be disappointed. The ending is a cliff hanger that will make you anxious to read the third installment.

Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - V (violence) - AC (some mature thematic content).

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker is by Paolo Bacigalupi. The first book in a new post apocalyptic series for young adults. The polar ice caps have melted, cities are drowned, and "city killer" storms frequently hit the Gulf Coast. Nailer is a teenage boy with a violent and abusive father who spends his days working with a salvage crew that scavenges old ships for scrap. Life is hard and survival is always questionable. Then, after a storm, he discovers a clipper ship and saves the life of its sole surviving occupant. Nita, is the daughter of a shipping magnate whose company is in trouble. Nailer decides to risk everything and help her get back to her father, who he hopes will offer him a better life as a reward. Not your average dystopian fiction.

Ratings: 9th grade-  9 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity) - V (violence) - AC (some mature thematic content).


Crossbones is by Patrick Carman. The third installment in the Skeleton Creek series. Ryan and Sarah are still chasing down clues about the mysterious Crossbones. To find the answers they seek Sarah must head out on a cross country trip to visit several haunted locations listed on the Skull Puzzle. As they learn more about the Apostle, the ghost of old Joe Bush follows them, but is he friend or foe? He warns them to beware, they have angered the Raven and he is now out for blood. Fans of the series will not be disappointed. This book links to video clips that add a distinct creepiness to this story, just as they do the previous books.

Ratings: 5th grade - 9 out of 10.

Superior Saturday

Superior Saturday is by Garth Nix. The sixth book in the Keys to the Kingdom series. Arthur returns to the House in search of the sixth key. He tries to hide from everyone the fact that he is becoming a Denizen and less human with every adventure. This time he's up against Superior Saturday, a powerful sorceress, whose goal is to get into Lord Sunday's gardens and escape the Lower House altogether. Fans of the series will not be able to wait for the finale. Be warned, this is not a series you can pick up in the middle and comprehend. It needs to be read from beginning to end in order.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Elsewhere is by Gabrielle Zevin. When fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi, she wakes up on a cruise ship and discovers she has died. She finds herself in Elsewhere. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and can return to Earth. But Liz doesn't want to be dead, she wants to get her driver's license and have a boyfriend. She wants to make sure her dad gets the sweater she bought him for his birthday. She does not want to live with her grandmother and she does not want to be a baby again. Can Liz let go of her old life and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? This a strange, yet moving, look at growing up even when you're technically dead.

Ratings: 10th grade - 8 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Heroes of 9/11

Heroes of 9/11 is by Allan Zullo. Another in the Ten True Tales collection, this book contains stories of rescuers and heroes from New York, Washington, and Flight 93. Even though this book was written for young adults, it is well worth the read for adults as well, especially those of us who remember 9/11 so clearly even today. Be prepared to shed a few tears.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Malachite Casket: Tales from the Urals

The Malachite Casket: Tales from the Urals is by Pavel Bazhov. The Russian version of the Brother's Grimm, this book contains classic Russian folk tales. The proper and place names are a bit of a chore, and it helps to know something of Russian culture, but they these stories are well worth the read.

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10.