Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Defiance is by Lili St. Crow. The fourth book in the Strange Angels series. Sergej has kidnapped Dru's best friend Graves and no one seems to want to help her rescue him. Christophe's continuing her training, but she has to deal with politics in the Order, her feelings for both Christophe and Graves, and the problems of being about to come into her full powers. When she discovers Christophe may have been involved in turning Graves over to Sergej, all hell literally breaks loose. Fans of this series will love this book as the action continues to build.

Ratings: 11th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Battleborn: Stories

Battleborn: Stories is by Claire Vaye Watkins. Claire Watkins is the daughter of Paul Watkins, right hand man and procurer of women for Charles Manson. This collection of short stories contains a fascinating story about growing up in "The Family". It is a powerful collection of stories all set in the American West. Her characters endure hardship and violence and somehow manage to survive and overcome. From the Gold Rush to Vegas, to a story set at a desert brothel, Watkins' storytelling is powerful and moving. This is definitely an adult collection, but it is well worth reading and thoroughly enjoyable.

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


Ironhand is by Charlie Fletcher. The second book in the Stoneheart trilogy. Charlie must complete three challenges or lose himself to the power of the Stone. He must also find Edie who has been captured by the Walker. The Gunner has also been taken by the Walker and must escape and return to his plinth by midnight or he is doomed as well. As war threatens between the spits and the taints, Charlie, Edie, and their friends must find a way to save the spits and their own lives as well. This book is fast paced and action-packed. Both boys and girls will love this series.

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


Outpost is by Ann Aguirre. The second book in the Razorland series. Deuce, Stalker, Fade, and Tegan have made it to Salvation. They are finally safe, or are they? As they struggle to adjust to life above ground, they discover that the Freaks above ground are growing smarter as well. Deuce must also deal with having two boys who want her. When Deuce, Stalker, and Fade sign up for summer patrols to protect the planters from Freak attacks, everything comes to a head. Fans of this series will enjoy this installment and will anxiously await the next book.

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

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Witchlanders is by Lena Coakley. True fantasy, not a romance, and with two male narrators. Ryder has grown up in the Witchlands governed by a coven of mostly female witches who live high in the mountains "throwing bones" to foretell the future. Falpian is the son of the king of Baen, the neighboring kingdom. When his village is attacked and his mother is killed Ryder sets out to kill the Baen assassin. He discovers that Falpian is not an assassin, and that the two of them can communicate via their minds and can create powerful magic through song. The two boys must uncover the secrets of the witches and stop another war; a war only they have the power to stop, if they can learn to trust each other. Boys will love this story, it's pure fantasy without the romance.

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


Bitterblue is by Kristin Cashore. The third book in The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy. This book is really a sequel to Graceling and should probably be read second before reading Fire. Bitterblue took the throne of Monsea after her father's death when she was a child. Her advisers have been running the kingdom ever since. Now that she is older, Bitterblue is beginning to ask questions and finds she does not like the non-answers she is getting. One night she sneaks out of the castle in disguise to explore her city for herself and meets Saf and Teddy, two truth-seekers who are trying to uncover the truth of the horror of her father's reign. When Teddy is almost killed by an unknown assassin, Bitterblue takes up their cause. What she discovers rocks her to the core of her being. Will she be able to find the truth so that she and her kingdom can finally heal, or will she be the next victim? This is a wonderful story, but the truth of Leck's doings are questionable for younger readers.

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

Disasters: The Biggest Disasters in History from the Salt in the Indus Valley to Hurricane Sandy

Disasters: The Biggest Disasters in History from the Salt in the Indus Valley to Hurricane Sandy is by Kieron Connolly. A great introduction to disasters ranging from volcanic eruptions to tsunamis, tornadoes, to the Exxon Valdez, Titanic, and Hindenburg. Kids will enjoy the pictures and maps.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Halt's Peril

Halt's Peril is by John Flanagan. The ninth installment in the Ranger's Apprentice series. Halt, Will, and Horace are still chasing Tennyson and his murderous cult. As they attempt to ambush Tennyson's assassins, Halt is hit with a poison crossbow bolt and is on the verge of death. Will must race against time to save his friend. Another magnificent addition to this wonderful series.

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

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression is by Amity Shlaes. A long over due look at what caused the Great Depression and why it lasted so long. Shlaes is fair to all sides and doesn't paint either side of the aisle as all good or all bad. A must read for history lovers and those who want to understand how we got where we are today.

Ratings: Adult - 10 out of 10.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Lost Children

The Lost Children is by Carolyn Cohagan. When a strange boy appears in her garden shed, twelve-year-old  Josephine follows him through a hole in time and finds herself in another world where children are disappearing as they are hunted by the evil Master. Josephine must help her friends defeat the Master before she can hope to find her way back home, but she will also discover secrets about herself that will change her life forever. Boys and girls will enjoy this story.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

The Name of This Book is Secret

The Name of This Book is Secret is by Pseudonymous Bosch. The first book in the Secrets series. Cas and Max-Ernest discover the Symphony of Smells, a case of vials of different scents, and become involved in the mysterious death of the magician who once owned it. Boys and girls will enjoy this entertaining series that reminds one, in a way, of the Mysterious Benedict Society books.

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

The Surge

The Surge is by Roland Smith. The second book in the Storm Runners series. Chase and his father are Storm Chasers. After being caught in a school bus in the middle of Hurricane Emily, Chase and his father are separated. Chase and his friends make it to a farm where a family of circus performers live. They are stuck in a barn with a generator running out of gas, rising water, wild big cats on the loose, and a very pregnant elephant. Will his father find him before the leopard does? Boys will love this series and wait impatiently for the next installment.

Ratings: 6th grade - 7 out of 10.

Black Heart

Black Heart is by Justin Somper. The fourth book in the Vampirates series. There is a new group of vampirates roaming the seas. After an attack on the Pirate Academy, the pirates ask Chen Li to hunt them down and kill them. She chooses Connor for her crew. He agrees, but is worried about his twin sister Grace who is on a Vampirate ship. As Connor and his friends learn how to kill vampires, Grace is discovering the answers to her questions about the twin's past. Secrets that will change both their lives forever. Fans of the series will not be able to wait for the next installment.

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


Gone is by Michael Grant. The first novel in the Gone series. In a moment everyone over 15 in the town of Perdido Beach, California vanishes. There is no telephone, Internet, or television; no police, parents, or teachers. Animals begin to mutate, humans begin to discover that some of them have amazing powers. As fear and hunger grow, teens divide into two groups: bullies trying to take over and those trying to keep everyone together. An amazing novel of kids trying to be adults in a terrible situation. Boys and girls will love this series.

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

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling & Redemption in Southern Appalachia

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling & Redemption in Southern Appalachia is by Dennis Covington. When a snake handling preacher comes to trial for trying to murder his wife, Covington heads South to cover the trial. He becomes intrigued by the religion of snake handling and finds himself drawn into their lives and religion as he researches their faith. A fascinating look at this religious sect, told in a fair yet in-depth way.

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

The Jaguar Prophecies

The Jaguar Prophecies is by Phyllis Gunderson. Matt Howard is an archaeology professor. She receives a mysterious invitation to a Mayan festival in Mexico and decides to attend. Once there she is drugged and wakes up to find herself tattooed and unwillingly, and mistakenly, part of a Mayan end-of-time cult. She is supposed to warn "her people" that the end of the world is coming. 

Ratings: 8th grade - 4 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).

The Interrogation of Gabriel James

The Interrogation of Gabriel James is by Charlie Price. Gabriel James was involved in a murder. This is his story, written as a police interrogation interspersed with flashbacks. Gabriel tells his story to the police. A tale of racism, child abuse, selling drugs, bullying, and secrets; Gabriel must come to terms with what he did and didn't do, and the secrets that have been kept from him. A fantastic read about a young boy who tries to help a friend and ends up in over his head.

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

The Ghosts of Kerfol

The Ghosts of Kerfol is by Deborah Noyes. Five creepy short stories based on Edith Wharton's classic ghost story "Kerfol". Each story is set in a different time period (from 1613-2006) at the old mansion of Kerfol in France. Each story describes a spooky experience based on the original murder site in Wharton's famous story. 

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

Seeing a Large Cat

Seeing a Large Cat is by Elizabeth Peters. The ninth volume in the Amelia Peabody series. It's 1903 and Amelia and her family are back in Luxor. When they begin to receive mysterious notes warning them away from Tomb 20-A, which does not appear to exist, Emerson is annoyed, but Amelia is intrigued. Then an American heiress takes a fancy to Ramses, and Nefret is courted by the girl's father!! This promises to be another strange season for the Emersons. Fans of this series will not be disappointed in this installment.

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