Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pawn of Prophecy

Pawn of Prophecy is by David Eddings. The first book in The Belgariad series. Long ago the evil god Torak stole a powerful orb and brought the world to the brink of destruction. The sorcerer Belgarath recaptured the Orb and as long as it remains with the line of Riva the world is safe. At least that's what the stories say, but young Garion doesn't believe in stories. His world is turned upside down when a traveling storyteller arrives and convinces his Aunt Pol to help him track down a missing object. Garion quickly discovers that no one in his life is who he has believed them to be, including himself. A fast-paced, action packed fantasy, fantasy lovers everywhere will enjoy.

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

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is by Alan Bradley. The seventh book in the Flavia de Luce series. Flavia is homesick and miserable in her new boarding school in Canada. Then a mummified body falls out of her chimney and everything changes. A wonderful addition to a wonderful series.

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

Fever Dream

Fever Dream is by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The tenth book in the Agent Pendergast series. When Agent Pendergast discovers his wife's death was not an accident, but murder, he contacts his friend Vincent D'Agosta to help him track down her killer. As usual in this series, nothing is ever as it appears. Fans will not be disappointed and will wait for the next installment with baited breath.

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

Going Bovine

Going Bovine is by Libba Bray. Sixteen-year-old Cameron just wants to finish high school. Everything changes when he is told he has somehow contracted an incurable disease and is going to die. Dulcie, an angel, then arrives and tells him that if he can find a scientist named Dr. X he can be cured. Cameron sets out to find the mysterious Dr. X accompanied by a dwarf and a yard gnome. I don't really know what I was expecting, but having read the Gemma Doyle books it definitely wasn't this. Going Bovine is both sad and hysterically funny at the same time. A book well worth your time to read, more than once.

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

Saturday, June 20, 2015

First Frost

First Frost is by Sarah Addison Allen. The second book about the Waverly sisters. As first frost approaches the Waverly women become restless. This year is no exception. Claire is overwhelmed by her new candy business and is questioning her gift. Sydney is desperate for a new baby. Bay feels she belongs with Josh, but he doesn't seem to know she exists. A mysterious older man appears in town asking questions about the Waverly's. Fans of Garden Spells will love this sequel.

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

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Ripper is by Isabel Allende. Indiana Jackson is a holistic healer with an ex-husband who is a cop, a rich boyfriend, a former Navy SEAL boyfriend wannabe, and an eclectic clientele who visit her for massage and aroma therapy. Her daughter, Amanda, is a senior at a private boarding school who is a little too interested in crime. She and her friends, with the help of her grandfather, play an on-line role playing game called Ripper. When they decide to solve real crimes being committed in San Francisco, they have no idea what they are getting into. Things turn serious when Indiana is kidnapped and will by the serial killer's next victim, unless Amanda and her Ripper friends can solve the mystery of "The Wolf". Very different from other Allende novels, this is still a fantastic book that keeps you going until the very end.

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


Jaws is by Peter Benchley. The classic thriller about a great white shark terrorizing the beaches near a Long Island summer community. Only Amity Chief of Police, Martin Brody, seems intent on protecting the tourists and locals from the evil shark. While not like the famous movie in many ways, it is still a classic read.

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

Borrower of the Night

Borrower of the Night is by Elizabeth Peters. The first book in the Vicky Bliss series. Vicky, art historian and college professor, finds a reference in a book that might lead to the discovery of a missing masterpiece by a famous German sculptor. Supposedly lost in the Middle Ages, it might actually be found in a castle in Rothenburg, Germany. Vicky and the colleague/boyfriend Tony set off on a race to find the altarpiece, but they are not the only ones seeking it. Not Amelia Peabody, but a fun read that will make you want to continue the series.

Ratings: 9th grade - 7 out of 10 - MP (mild profanity).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

The Girl Who Chased the Moon is by Sarah Addison Allen. Emily's mother has been killed and she must leave her private school and go to Mullaby, North Carolina to live with her grandfather. When she arrives she discovers that her mother has a mysterious history with the town's wealthiest family. She is befriended by her neighbor, the owner of one of the towns BBQ restaurants and a magical baker, named Julia. Julia also returned to Mullaby after the death of her father and she doesn't plan to stay. She is going to get the restaurant mortgage paid off and then leave. Julia must deal with her own past, even as Emily struggles to deal with her mother's. Fans of Allen will love this book. Bakers, and anyone with a sweet tooth, will love the cake recipes it contains. Allen's brand of Southern charm and magical realism are hard to resist.

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

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is by Tom Angleberger. Dwight is the class weirdo. Then he makes an origami finger puppet that resembles Yoda, and the strange puppet begins to give out advice. The really strange part is the advice is actually good! Now Tommy sets out to discover if Yoda is real or if Dwight is faking. A cute children's story.

Ratings: 5th grade - 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cemetery Dance

Cemetery Dance is by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The ninth book in the Pendergast series. D'Agosta and Pendergast team up to catch Bill Smithback's killer. The killer has been identified as Bill and Nora's neighbor, a neighbor who died almost two weeks earlier. A zombie hunt ensues that leads Pendergast and D'Agosta to a creepy cult, the leader of an animal rights group, and a powerful rich businessman. A thrilling installment in a chilling series. Great fun!

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

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Shakespeare Stealer

The Shakespeare Stealer is by Gary Blackwood. The first book in The Shakespeare Stealer series. Widge is an orphan, he is given as an apprentice to a country doctor who creates his own unique "secret script". One night he is bought by a frightening cloaked man and ordered to make a copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet for a rival theater company. When his copy is stolen, Widge becomes a part of the Globe players and is ordered to steal the play. As Widge gets to know the Shakespearean players, he discovers what it means to have a family. Will he steal the play to save himself or stick with his new "family". A wonderfully charming piece of historical fiction that brings Shakespeare's England to life.

Ratings: 7th grade - 9 out of 10. 

Swine Not?: A Novel Pig Tale

Swine Not?: A Novel Pig Tale is by Jimmy Buffett. A charming tale of a set of divorced parents, their twin children, twin pigs, a cat, a flock of pigeons, and an evil chef. Ellie is a Southern chef who gets a job at a 4-Star restaurant/hotel in New York City. She moves into a rooftop apartment with her twins, Barley and Maple, a cat and a pet pig named Rumpy. The hotel does not allow exotic poets, so the family has to hide Rumpy's presence. Not Buffett's best writing, but a cute children's tale.

Ratings: 6th grade - 6 out of 10. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?

The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question? is by Leon Lederman. Lederman is a Noble Laureate and physicist. This book walks us through experimental physics from 430 B.C to the present. The main subject of this book is the search for a mysterious particle: the Higgs boson, otherwise known as the God particle. Lederman uses humor and simple illustrations which make this book understandable for non-science types - proven by the fact that I actually understood 90% of the book. If you love science, read this book. If you don't know a thing about physics - but would like to, read this book.

Ratings: Adult - 8 out of 10.


Sapphique is by Catherine Fisher. The sequel to Incarceron. Finn and Claudia must prove that Finn is the real lost prince. An imposter has challenged his claim and he worries Claudia might be beginning to doubt him. Inside Incarceron, Attia and Keiro fight to discover the glove of Sapphique which will show them a way out of the prison. Incarceron, itself, is also looking for the glove to bring it's new body to life so the prison itself can escape to the Outside. A fast-paced and exciting conclusion to a very original series.

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


Poppy is by Avi. The second book in the Tales From Dimwood Forest series. Mr. Ocax, the owl, rules the mice of Dimwood Forest. They must ask his permission to travel abroad. When two young mice decide to go to Bannock Hill without his permission, they set in motion a terrible chain of events. Poppy, one of those mice, must find a way to defeat Mr. Ocax or her family is doomed. A charming children's book.

Ratings: 4th grade - 6 out of 10.