Monday, February 24, 2014

Speaking from Among the Bones

Speaking from Among the Bones is by Alan Bradley. Book #5 in the Flavia de Luce Mystery series. Flavia wants to be present when the bones of local St. Tancred are exhumed. When the tomb is open and Flavia looks in she discovers, not the 500-year-old saint, but the dead body of the missing church organist, Mr. Collicutt. Flavia is now on the case and must discover who killed the organist, why someone has been tunneling in the graveyard, and who exactly her sister Ophelia is going to marry? Another delightful installment in this fabulously enjoyable mystery series. Flavia is as precocious and brilliant as ever.

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

The Apothecary

The Apothecary is by Maile Meloy. The first book in a new fantasy series for young adults. Set in 1952, an American family with Communist friends moves to London to avoid McCarthy's hearings. While there, fourteen-year-old Janie, meets Benjamin, whose father is a mysterious apothecary. When his father goes missing Janie and Benjamin must find him and keep his Pharmacopoeia from falling into the hands of Russian spies who are after its secrets. A very different story. Boys and girls should find it enjoyable.

Ratings: 7th grade - 6 out of 10.

The Monsters of Otherness

The Monsters of Otherness is by Kaza Kingsley. The second book in the Erec Rex series. Erec returns to Alypium to complete his second quest. First he must find and save missing dragon hatchlings, then he must save Alypium from the "monsters" of Otherness. When Erec travels to Otherness he discovers that the "monsters" may not by what he has been led to believe. He must also locate his missing bother and sister who have been kidnapped and are being held somewhere in Alypium.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is by Charlotte Bronte. The must read romantic classic with Gothic elements that is a classic for a reason. Jane Eyre is an orphan who is taken in by a wealthy uncle. after his death she is abused and hated by her aunt and her three cousins. She is sent away to school and later becomes a governess to the young ward of the dark and moody Mr. Rochester. They fall in love, but a tragic secret revealed on the eve of their wedding sends Jane running. A masterful social commentary, love story, and a lesson on the indomitable triumph of a young woman's will to find her place in life. 

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10 - AC ( mature thematic content).

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is by Muriel Barbery. A translation of a best selling French novel. Renee is the concierge in a fancy Parisian apartment building. She is extremely well-read, intelligent, and cultured, a fact she goes to great lengths to conceal to conform to society's expectations of a concierge. Twelve-year-old Paloma also lives in the building. Paloma has decided to kill herself on her thirteenth birthday to escape the inane future she perceives to be unavoidable. When another tenant, a famous food critic, dies suddenly Renee and Paloma find a new friend who changes both their lives. While on the philosophical side, this novel is also in turns hilarious and poignant. An amusing, and sad, look at the lengths we go to to hide our real selves from others.

Ratings: Adult - 9 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content) - MP (mild profanity).

Murderers and Nerdy Girls Work Late

Murderers and Nerdy Girls Work Late is by Lisa Boero. The initial installment in the Nerdy Girls Murder Mysteries series. Liz is a small town Wisconsin girl going to law school in St. Louis. She lands a summer associate position in a prestigious law firm, all seems to be going well - until she finds one of the partners in the firm murdered in the stairwell leading to the parking garage. She wants to assist the handsome police detective solve the case, but she has a neurological disorder that makes it impossible for her to recognize faces. Can she rely on her other senses to discover the killer and catch the man of her dreams? For a first book this one's not bad at all, Liz's struggles with her disability are believable and charming. The plot is engaging, and if James reminds readers of Joe Morelli, oh well. A thoroughly enjoyable read. I find myself looking forward to the next book in the series.

Ratings: 11th grade - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lord Jim

Lord Jim is by Joseph Conrad. The must read classic tale of a man's mistake and his search for redemption. Jim is a British seaman who finds himself on a ship captained by a disreputable coward. After an accident at sea, Jim is tried for dereliction of duty and must come to terms with his dishonor in his own eyes, and the eyes of others. With the help of a friend, he sets out to redeem himself  at any cost. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Menace from the Deep

Menace from the Deep is by Michael Spradlin. The first book in the Killer Species series. Emmet and his scientist father have moved from Montana to Florida to work with the park rangers in the Everglades, who are having animal control problems. He, and his new friend Calvin, are attacked in the swamp by creatures that are a cross between an alligator and a bird. Then Emmett's father is kidnapped by a nut who is genetically creating Pterogators, supposedly to save the Everglades. A fast-paced action series boys will love. Can't wait for the next installment.

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10.