Sunday, April 27, 2014


Fallen is by Lauren Kate. The first book in the Fallen series. Luce finds herself in reform school after the strange death of her boyfriend in a fire she is believed to have caused. Once she arrives she finds herself attracted to two new boys, the standoffish Daniel and the darkly appealing Cam. Then she begins to have dreams that seem to reveal she has known Daniel before in other lives. Is she going crazy or is there something supernatural going on with her two new guys? Are she and Daniel really reincarnated star crossed lovers? Girls will enjoy this suspenseful paranormal romance.

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

House of Dark Shadows

House of Dark Shadows is by Robert Liparulo. The first book in the Dreamhouse Kings series. The King family moves from L.A. to a creepy house in a secluded small time. As his parents work on their fixer-upper, fifteen-year-old Xander begins to feel there is something very wrong with their new home. Sounds don't travel as their should, and he constantly feels he is being watched - and the strange footprints they find in the dust of the floor don't help. Then he and his younger brother discover a hidden door that leads them to a hallway with doors that seem to lead them into other times and places. When his sister wakes up and finds a large man in her room, Xander begins to wonder if the doors work both ways and allow entry to their house from other places as well. A scary new series both boys and girls will enjoy.

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (mild violence).

In the Shadow of the Mammoth

In the Shadow of the Mammoth is by Patricia Nikolina Clark. Zol belongs to a clan of Ice Age hunters. His rite of passage into manhood is the yearly mammoth hunt. The hunt where is father was killed. As Zol struggles to find his courage, he rescues and raises a baby crow. To keep his friend he must confront the superstitions of the own tribe, as well as his fear. A charming coming of age tale, boys will enjoy.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

The Iron King

The Iron King is by Julie Kagawa. The first book in the Iron Fey series. Meghan Chase is not who she believes herself to be. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. She feels someone is watching her, and she is not wrong. When her younger brother is kidnapped by fairies, she discovers her best friend is really Robin Goodfellow, and that she is the daughter of Oberon, King of the Summer Court, and has a destiny she could never have dreamed of - she must save the Winter and Summer Courts from the mysterious and deadly Iron King. Can she make it through the dangers of the Nevernever while being hunted by all of faerie? Is the Winter Prince her friend or foe? Will she be able to save her brother and the realm of Faerie and still return to her old life?

Ratings: 8th grade - 8 out of 10.


Revolver is by Marcus Sedgwick. Set in the Arctic wilderness of the early 1900s, this is the story of a teenage boy who is threatened by a mysterious stranger after his father falls through an ice covered lake and freezes to death. The stranger claims Sig's father has stolen gold from him and he will kill Sig and his sister if they don't give it to him. The problem is Sig doesn't know anything about any gold and, with his father's death, there is no one to ask. The only chance he has is his father's revolver and the training his father gave him in its use. A suspenseful tale boys will love.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence) - AC (some mature thematic content).

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is by Neil Gaiman. A modern day adult fairy tale. When a middle aged man returns home for a funeral, he heads to a pond at the end of the lane where his childhood home used to be. There he remembers his experiences with a girl whose family lived on a farm at the end of the lane when he was seven years old. As memories of this past time coming flooding back, he seems to recall a time of danger and magic that changed his life forever - or did it? A magnificent and horrifying look at childhood terror, friendship, and bravery. One of Gaiman's best!

Ratings: 11th grade - 10 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

The Fourth Stall

The Fourth Stall is by Chris Rylander. The first book in what will hopefully be a long acquaintance with these characters. Mac and Vince have been friends forever. They run a business out of a bathroom stall in their school. They arrange things for other students, and business is booming. They are on track to have enough money to buy themselves tickets to the World Series, if their Chicago Cubs can make it through the playoffs for the first time in seventy years. Then they find their business and school threatened by Staples, a near-mythic high school thug, who is running a gambling ring and roughing up students who can't pay. Can Mac and Vince find a way to get rid of Staples, or will taking on this bully cost them everything, including their friendship? Boys will love this story.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10 - V ( mild violence).


Revealed is by P.C. and Kristin Cast. The 11th installment in the House of Night series. Neferet is gone, but not destroyed. Zoey is being influenced by Old Magic which is causing her to have serious anger management problems. If that's not enough, Dallas is on the rampage and trying to destroy Zoey and her circle. But is Zoey managing that on her own? Fans of this series will love this next chapter, and will not be able wait for the next book.

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Hippopotamus Pool

The Hippopotamus Pool is by Elizabeth Peters. The eighth book in the Amelia Peabody series. Emerson, Amelia, Ramses, and Nefret are heading for Egypt for the season. In Cairo, the Emerson's are met by a strange man who shows them a ring supposedly belonging to Queen Tetisheri. He says that it is Emerson's fate to seek her tomb, which has not been raided by thieves. Before he can lead them to the tomb, he is poisoned. While Amelia goes for help, Emerson is attacked and the body disappears. Amelia, Emerson, and the youngsters head for Luxor to seek Tetisheri's tomb. Once they find the tomb, they contact Walter and Evelyn to join them. They must then face tomb robbers, murderers, and kidnappers. Fans of the series will enjoy this latest entry. Amelia's sly wit, Emerson's temper, and Ramses precociousness bring humor to this otherwise slightly plodding tale.

Ratings: 9th grade - 7 out of 10 - V (violence) - AC (some mature thematic content).

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is by Ishmael Beah. A poignant true story of a young boy from Sierra Leone who at twelve finds himself forced to be a soldier in his country's civil war. Twenty-five at the time of the writing, Beah describes how young boys are given drugs, weapons, and sent out to kill. After his village is attacked by rebels, Beah twelve, runs away. At thirteen he is picked up by government forces and conscripted into the war. The story is heart-wrenching when you think of young boys trained to commit terribly violent acts and finding themselves more than capable of doing so when brainwashed and drugged. The use of young children to fight battles is, unfortunately, increasingly common, and something we should all work to prevent.

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

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is by Charles Duhigg. An intriguing look at habits: what they are, how they form, and how we can change them. This book is intense at times, but also very thought-provoking. It is well worth the time to read. You will walk away with new determination and a lot to think about.

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

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays is by Mary Oliver. Another magnificent selection of Oliver's work. She is so descriptive and one of the best nature poets of the modern era.

Ratings: 7th grade - 10 out of 10.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover is by Ally Carter. The third installment of the Gallagher Girls series. Macey's father is the Vice Presidential candidate and the Secret Service is following her everywhere, even to the Gallagher School for Girls which is a problem because the school is really a school for spies. When Cami saves Macey from being kidnapped on a hotel balcony, the Secret Service descends on the school. Cami's aunt is assigned to protect Macey. But is Macey the real target? Lots of excitement and questions that will hopefully be answered in further books. Girls will enjoy this series. 

Ratings: 6th grade - 8 out of 10. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A World Without Heroes

A World Without Heroes is by Brandon Mull. The first book in Mull's new series called the Beyonders. Jason and Rachel are two teens who find themselves sucked into another world. As they try to find a way back home, they become caught up in a quest to find a magical word which will destroy an evil emperor. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel must decide if they have what it takes to be heroes. Fans of the Fablehaven series will love this one as well.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The timeless classic tale of Mary, a spoiled orphan from India, who comes to live with her uncle in England at a Yorkshire mansion on the edge of a wide moor. While there she meets Dickon, a young farm boy who has a way with animals. Together they discover a secret garden on the manor and begin to restore it. She also discovers her bedridden cousin, Colin, who is more spoiled and unloved than she. With the help of Mary, Dickon, and his own desire to see the secret garden, Colin struggles to leave his sick bed; much to the astonishment of the adults in the house. A must read classic about the reawakening of spirits and the rejuvenation love and hope can bring. 

Ratings: 6th grade - 9 out of 10. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Magician

The Magician is by Michael Scott. The second book in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. Flamel, Scatty, and the twins have escaped to Paris. They must find a sanctuary where Sophie can be trained how to use her powers, and an Elder to awaken Josh's; the evil Dee is not far behind and has plans of his own for Flamel and the twins. The second book is action packed and fans of this series will not be disappointed.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10 - V (violence).