Sunday, December 27, 2015

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children is by E. Nesbitt. Twenty of Shakespeare's plays re-shaped to be easily understood by children. A great introduction to the plays of the Bard for younger readers. A fantastic book to use for bedtime stories. The illustrations are gorgeous, with all the characters portrayed as children. A masterful classic work every parent should own and read to their children.

Ratings: 6th grade - 10 out of 10. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey is by Candice Millard. In 1912, Roosevelt sets his sights on exploring the River of Doubt, an unexplored tributary of the Amazon River. Assembling a party which includes his son Kermit, George Cherrie, and Brazil’s most famous explorer, C├óndido Rondon, Roosevelt heads deep into the uncharted jungle. His party faces the loss of canoes and supplies, rapids and waterfalls, Indian attack, disease, drowning, starvation, and death. A wonderful look into the bravery of an American President who risked everything for adventure.

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

Two Graves

Two Graves is by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The twelfth book in the Pendergast series. Pendergast is determined to find his wife Helen. Long thought dead, she has been hiding from Nazis, who have now kidnapped her right in front of Pendergast. As he sets out to find her (a search that will lead him deep into the South American jungle), D'Agosta tracks a serial killer in New York City, one with a relation to Pendergast himself. Another fast-paced action adventure in a thrilling series. One hardly has time to breathe.

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Idiot Girl's Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent & Clumsy Life

The Idiot Girl's Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent & Clumsy Life is by Laurie Notaro. Phoenix newspaper columnist's humorous tales of life experience. Her adventures, and those of a few close friends, takes situations most of us have faced and describe them in hilarious style. From high school reunions to visits to the doctor and the dentist, life has never been this enjoyable.

Ratings: Adult - 8 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lays of Ancient Rome

Lays of Ancient Rome is by Thomas Babington Macaulay. Originally published in 1842, this immensely popular book of poems was a favorite of Sir Winston Churchill. He committed them to memory, an effort I would recommend, but at the very least they should be read by everyone. Lovers of mythology, history, and poetry will all find this short book well worth the time. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

Ratings: 8th grade - 10 out of 10.

Magician's Gambit

Magician's Gambit is by David Eddings. The third book in The Belgariad. Garion and his group are on a mission to recover the stolen Orb of Aldur and return it to its rightful place. As they make their way to Cthol Murgos to retrieve the Orb, they confront new dangers and find new companions to help them fulfill the prophecy. Fans of the series will love this installment and pick up the next quickly.

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

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Switched is by Amanda Hocking. The first novel in the Trylle series. Wendy Everly's mother doesn't believe she is her child, so much so she tried to kill her when Wendy was six. Now at seventeen, she discovers her mother might have been right. She finds herself followed by a mysterious boy who tells her she is a changeling and he has come to take her home. She finds herself a princess in a magical world in the middle of a conflict in which all sides want to possess her. An interesting premise for a series.

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

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar is by Sylvia Plath. Plath's classic semi-autobiographical story of a young woman dealing with mental illness. One of the 1001 books you must read before you die. Esther Greenwood is a young, beautiful, successful college student. She has a scholarship, an internship in New York, and is a talented writer. She is also dealing with mental illness. We see the descent into Esther's breakdown from her perspective which gives a unique look at the issue from the perspective of the person going through it. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

Ratings: 12th grade - 10 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content).