Category Archives: Fiction

Blog Tour – Anika Arrington’s The Accidental Apprentice

Anika Arrington’s the accidental apprentice
The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

interview with anika arrington

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I moved to Arizona when I was 4, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m married to the best guy ever! I just gave birth to my sixth child, and he is just scrumptious. I’m a huge believer in self-education and life long learning, so I read all kinds of non-fiction as well as fiction. I studied at Northern Arizona University for three years: political science, communications, and creative writing. Obviously only one of those really stuck.

When did you decide to become a writer? Decide is such a solid, formal word. I guess I decided not to give up on writing about five years ago. I had started writing stories and given up on them a hundred times before, but I was just in a place in my life where I felt I could really make something happen, and I did.

What are your ambitions for your writing career? Well, at the end of it I would like to look back and be able to say, “I never wrote anything that was untrue to myself.” Beyond that, I just want to keep writing, keep putting books and stories out there, and improving as a writer and a person.

Which writers inspire you? Classical favorites include Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, and Oscar Wilde. In a more modern context I love Erin Morgentstern, particularly her Flax Golden Tales on her website. Patrick Ruthfuss is another modern favorite. And I find that a good number of children’s writers really resonate with me: Dr. Suess, Avi, Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, and Tomie de Paola to name a few.

What are you working on at the minute? Raising my babies. I just had my sixth kiddo in August, and he needs a lot of loving on. So with the release of The Accidental Apprentice I am taking a little break while ideas for the sequel simmer, and then I will jump back in come January. And I am never not working on being a better writer, so while I am taking a break from having a WIP I will do a bunch of reading up on writing and practice and play with older manuscripts like forgotten toys.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers? Well, I did have a short story published in an anthology, so it was great seeing the group effort behind the scenes, but I’m not sure I have the right temperament for collaboration. It would have to be with someone whose style was either completely different than mine, or who was so in sync with me that they could pretty much write the book themselves.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? I wish I wrote every day. i want to. Some weeks I can, others I can’t. I have found that the real change in the way I write in the last year or two is that I don’t wait to feel like writing. I do it when I hate it, when I’m too tired, too stressed, too whatever. And in the end, that’s what it takes to get the work done.

Where do the your ideas come from? A small local honey stand in Pine, AZ.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I love writing by the seat of my pants and seeing what happens. But I was forced with Accidental Apprentice to create an outline. And I didn’t always stick to it, but it was really helpful when I got stuck from time to time.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Writers who don’t read confuse me. But that aside, this year has had me in a bit of a dry spell. I am usually a voracious reader, but between my pregnancy, my other kids, and writing my own book my To-Read list has grown rather than shrunk. Though Patrick Ruthfuss’s “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear” were so stinking good I wanted to give up writing and become a professional Patrick fan. I actually don’t tend to latch on to a particular author, but rather individual books that speaks to me. Garth Nix’s “Abhorsen” series was truly excellent, his “Mister Monday” didn’t really do much for me. And that’s ok. That’s the nature of art.

What book/s are you reading at present? “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson and “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Senick

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Well, I didn’t have much to do with the cover. The amazing Dale Robert Pease read the descriptions I gave him and then went to work, occasionally asking a few questions. The result is one of my favorite scenes from the book brought to life. I’m really happy with it.

What is your favourite positive saying? Really? I’m a great big cynic most of the time, and yet surprisingly optimistic. I find happy little phrases on the trite side. Just doing my best and being alternatively content and joyful (while making fun of the cheerleaders of the world) as often as possible is enough for me.

What is your favourite book and why? Why do people think that any writer could pick one favorite book? Every book is its own work of art, and thus different. We like different books for different reasons and seasons. I reread Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” every year at Christmas time, but that’s not my favorite. I can recite “Green Eggs and Ham” from memory, but it’s not my favorite. My favorite is whatever suits the mood and the moment. Right now, I would probably say Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing.”

What is your favourite quote? The word “quote” is a verb. A quotation however, is a noun, and I might have a favorite one of those. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates

What advice would you give to your younger self? You’re a writer, stupid. Just go with it. And YOLO is not a justification for anything!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Be observant. Ideas are everywhere. Write them all down. Play with writing. Do it constantly and faithfully and don’t stop. Also have a day job. Try a bunch of different things to give you the life experiences that will feed your creative endeavors later on.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? Never try to write up interview questions at night when you are exhausted and the caffeine has worn off.

About The Accidental Apprentice

The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

An Excerpt from The Accidental Apprentice

The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

 About Anika

The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

Find Arrington on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington


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Review: Darkness Falls

Darkness Falls
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second book in the Immortal Beloved trilogy, this one starts out with Nasty (Nastalya), still at River’s Edge, home for wayward immortals, working and trying to learn the path to light magyck and to stay away from the dark. But things keep going wrong, she loses her real job in town at the drugstore, she keeps making mistakes, and finally, after all this, she realizes that every time she is around, that’s when things go wrong – the trigger for her was a bread full of maggots, and a soup full of some nasty stuff that turned that way when she came into the room. So she runs out of the house, into the cold winter night, feeling that she is made for darkness. She has had recollections of her mother, the head of the house of power in Iceland, one of eight around the world, using dark magic to stop a gang of raiders from harming her and her children, including flaying a man with just her mind. Nasty believes that she is born of dark stock and will always be that way. Incy or Innocencio, her one time best friend, whom she originally fled from in the first book when he broke the back of a taxi driver who made them get out after they were too rowdy and mean in his taxi. He did it using dark magyck. But Incy finds her, and seems to be the same old Incy she knew for the last hundred years, charming, sincere, and fun. Not the wild haired, insane looking Incy who had been frantically searching for her in her visions of him, and who had killed her best friends in a rage in those same visions. Thinking that she is bound to be dark, and shouldn’t contaminate River’s Edge, she leaves with Incy, and is dragged back down into his brand of “fun.” For a while, she parties, dyes her hair magenta, from the white blonde that River had uncovered in a spell designed to find the real Nasty, and gets “real” clothes, not the ugly work clothes she had at the farm. But still, something isn’t right – she isn’t happy, or even content, losing herself in the parties – she can’t do that anymore. River’s teaching has opened her eyes. The remainder of the book is the coming to grips with who she really is, with who Incy is, and her place in the immortal world. The characters are well etched, although some of the people at the farm are only lightly built, since they have little or no place in the story. Her one-time love/hate guy, Reyn, the Butcher of the North as he used to be called, is also well-drawn -the tormented soul, seeking solace and respite. And River, the head teacher, is revealed as she shows Nasty what she used to be like, back in the 700s in Genoa. An interesting, different take on fantasy, and immortals – not gods, not vampires, just immortals. I wish they would delved deeper into the immortal lore – why are they that way, more about the eight houses, etc. perhaps in the final volume they will. With a trilogy it’s hard to say what should and should be in a book until you have read them all.

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Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

Some great looking books here – many I will be trying to find and read.  This is escapist fare – no literary Booker prizes probably – just fun and fast reads.  Hope you enjoy the list!

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012.

Summer is almost here, and that means one thing: Escape! Everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, humans will be fleeing their buildings and shedding their protective outer garments, even as the sun grows hotter and more intense. But for some of us, simply fleeing to large bodies of water isn’t enough — we need to escape into stories.

And there’s no greater summer beach reading than a really imaginative, cool adventure story. That’s why we’ve compiled this ultimate list of genre books, that are out now or coming this summer, which make great companions on your voyage to the beach.

Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the books we’re excited about this summer – we’ve picked ones that we think will make good escapist reading for your plane rides and long summer days lazing around.

Top image: Detail from Caliban’s War cover art by Daniel Dociu.

Out Now:

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline(Arrow)

We loved this fun novel, out now in paperback, where high school kids in a dystopian future try to transform their lives — and save the world — by finding the ultimate easter egg in their favorite immersive game world.

Crucible of Gold, by Naomi Novik(Del Rey)

This is the latest novel in Novik’s beloved Temeraire series, an alternate history in which the Napoleonic Wars are fought with dragons. Needless to say, the dragons alter the balance of power in the world, and the fate of the Americas is quite different from what it was in our reality. That’s what this novel explores, as the great dragon Temeraire and his captain Laurence go on a desperate mission to the Incan empire — where they discover a dragon culture unlike any they’ve ever seen before.

Arctic Rising, by Tobias Buckell(Tor)

We gave a rave review to this eco-thriller about the war that comes after global warming. Full of unlikely allies, and even more unlikely spies, this is a terrific exercise in worldbuilding where bestselling author Buckell imagines the geopolitics of a world where the Arctic Ocean opens up new trade route — and creates strange new cultures in the process. Smart escapism, and perfect to bring to the beaches on the Arctic shore.

Fair Coin, by E.C. Meyers (Pyr Books)

There’s a reason why we called this book “pure crack.” It’s a fast-paced, weird adventure about alternate realities and what happens to the fabric of reality when your wishes come true. If you want your mind blown this summer, pick up a copy of this book.

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

Chaos, by Nalo Hopkinson(Margaret K. McElderry Books)

In this young adult novel, award-winning author Hopkinson tells the story of Scotch, a mixed-race kid dealing with normal high school problems of fitting in and figuring out who she is — until her skin starts exuding a weird black substance, and her brother disappears. What is the “chaos” that’s taking over her city, and can she stop it before everything is swallowed up like her brother was?


Deadlocked, by Charlaine Harris(Ace)

It’s the twelfth Sookie Stackhouse novel, and our intrepid heroine has to juggle a murder mystery (who is that dead person on Eric’s lawn?) while dealing with Eric’s current taste for the blood of a younger woman. The perfect novel for vacation reading.

2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson(Orbit)

Robinson’s already given us a view of terraforming Mars — now he gives us a whole solar system, three hundred years into the future. An unexpected death leads Swan Er Hong, who once designed worlds, into a plot that could wind up destroying them instead. And the fallout could force humanity to face up to both its past and its future. This looks like Robinson’s most thrilling book in years.

The Killing Moon, by NK Jemisin(Orbit)

The author of the acclaimed Inheritance Trilogy goes High Fantasy with the first book in the Dreamblood duology. You can check out our review, in which we call it “a great tale of magic, religion and war, but also a story of all the hard lessons and choices growing up entails.”

The Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)

Bacigalupi returns to the world of Ship Breaker, for another post-apocalyptic environmental thriller that, by all accounts, is even more intense. Mahlia and Mouse escape from the drowned cities into the jungle, but their peace is shattered when they find a wounded “half man” — a bioengineered war beast named Tool — and face a tough decision.

The Gift of Fire/On the Head of a Pin, by Walter Mosley (Tor)

The author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins novels returns to science fiction, with two short novels published as a flip book. He’s cooked up two fascinating thought experiments that also double as page-turning thrillers. In one, the Demigod Prometheus — who’s been chained since he brought fire to humanity — finally escapes and comes to present-day Earth. In the other, scientists creating a new kind of animatronics for movies discover something that could transform the human race.


Blackout, by Mira Grant (Orbit)

The final chapter in the Newsflesh trilogy, the saga of the zombie uprising and the new-media people who attempt to chronicle it. And this time, the revelations are faster and more insane than ever. It’s not too late to subscribe to this post-apocalyptic RSS feed, before the zombies get to you. Read the first chapter here.

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

Existence, by David Brin (Tor)

The award-winning hard science fiction author brings us another great near-future story about how technology transforms the world. And this time, he’s dealing with global communication and telepresence — and the ways everything changes when we discover an alien artifact that just wants to help us communicate. Expect a ride that’s both thrilling and mindbending.

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

Redshirts, by John Scalzi (Tor)

This is the Scalzi novel we’ve all been waiting for — one in which his wry wit and his clever insights into human weirdness could be deployed to the absolute best effect. It’s an insanely meta tale of the starship Intrepid, where ensigns and other cannon fodder always seem to die on away missions, while the senior officers survive — but then one ensign starts to discover the truth about the Intrepid’s true nature.

Caliban’s War, by James SA Corey(Orbit)

The sequel to Leviathan Wakeswhich we called “as close as you’ll get to a Hollywood blockbuster in book form.” This time, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are dealing with an alien invasion, an “alien protomolecule” wreaking havoc on Venus, and a missing child. And the missing child may just be the most challenging of the three.

Nightshifted, by Cassie Alexander(St. Martin’s)

This is the debut novel that a whopping 50 agents turned down — and then it got a fantastic book deal, after multiple publishers fought over it. It’s easy to see why: Alexander, a nurse in real life, writes a fun, breezy novel about a nurse who goes to work in a clinic where the patients aren’t human. And she stumbles on a centuries-old supernatural feud that no amount of Fentanyl may be able to solve.

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

Blue Remembered Earth, by Alastair Reynolds (Ace)

What if you want a real epic this summer? One which spans 10,000 years of future history and deals with huge, unimaginably cosmic ideas? There’s pretty much only one author who’s going to give it to you: Reynolds, who starts a whole new saga with the Poseidon’s Children series. It starts 150 years in the future, when Africa is the world’s dominant technological and political power — but everything changes when Geoffrey Akinya discovers a strange secret on the Moon. Huge, mind-bending stuff ahead.


Team Human, by Justine Larbalestier and Sara Rees Brennan (Harper Teen)

This is the one to thrust into the hands of all your friends who are still into Twilight. The tagline “Friends don’t let friends date vampires” is enough to hook almost anybody. How would you keep your best friend from dating a vampire who’s inexplicably hanging out in high school?

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

Dust Girl, by Sarah Zettel (Random House Young Readers)

Could this be your new fairytale obsession? Set in the dustbowl town of Slow Run, Kansas, Dust Girl follows Callie, a young girl whose mother goes missing in a dust storm — and then she receives a series of cryptic clues to search for her mother in the Golden Hills of California. Soon enough, she’s caught between warring fae factions.

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

The Apocalypse Codex, by Charles Stross (Ace)

Stross returns to his Laundry Files universe for a fourth outing, in which an American televangelist with miraculous healing powers becomes uncomfortably close to the British Prime Minister. And the agent who’s sent to investigate could cause a bigger disaster than the one she’s supposed to be preventing, if Bob can’t keep her in check. Could this be the time Bob fails to save the world?

Jack Glass, by Adam Roberts(Gollancz)

Britain’s best-kept secret is back, with a weird take on the locked-room mystery, drawing on Golden Age science fiction. This time around, the reader knows that Jack is the killer from the first page — but the solution to the mystery of the three murders will still be a shocking surprise. While all your friends are reading regular murder mysteries, you can blow their minds with this one.

Dark Companion, by Marta Acosta(Tor)

Acosta returns with a cool new take on the “sinister boarding school” story — Jane Williams goes to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy on a scholarship, and finally has a group of friends and a sexy new love interest, the headmistress’ son. But then she starts to notice ominous signs — including the recent suicide of a teacher and the mystery of the fate of the previous scholarship student, whose place she took. Expect a supernatural, disturbing take on class issues, plus a page-turning mystery.


vN: The First Machine Dynasty, by Madeleine Ashby (Angry Robot)

Ridley Scott’s followup to Blade Runner may never actually happen — but in the meantime, there’s this thought-provoking, eerie tale of self-replicating von Neumann (“vN”) robots in a near-future Earth. Amy just wants to be just like regular human girls, even though she’s actually a humanoid robot, capable of growing to adulthood much more quickly — and then she discovers that not only is she different from humans, she’s also not like any other robots. It’s a mile-a-minute thriller, that also manages to pack in tons of fascinating discussions about artificial consciousness.

Zero Point, by Neal Asher (Tor UK)

Actually we’re not sure when this is coming out in the United States — but fingers crossed. Meanwhile, it’s a legal import. It’s the sequel to last year’s The Depature. The Committee has been vanquished and its robot enforcers lay dormant — but the ruthless Serene Galahad is ready to step into the power vacuum, taking control of the Committee’s remaining infrastructure. Meanwhile, whatever trashed the Earth is still out there — and it’s hurtling towards Mars. Space adventure as only Asher can deliver it.

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

In War Times, by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Tor)

The author of Queen City Jazz returns with a mind-bending alternate history that sounds like the strangest thriller ever. Sam is a young enlisted man in 1941, whose older brother is killed in Pearl Harbor. During World War II, Sam invents a device that will remove the human race’s capacity for war itself, and he’s seduced into giving the plans to a mysterious woman. And the device works — although the world is transformed in ways that are difficult to predict. The novel goes all the way up to the 1960s, when Sam and the mysterious spy have to team up to stop the Kennedy Assassination. This is the long-awaited paperback edition of this novel, which came out in hardcover in 2007.

Your Summer Beach Reading List for 2012

Blackwood, by Gwenda Bond(Strange Chemistry)

Bond’s debut YA novel explores the mystery of Roanoake, the lost colony, in a whole new way — as a pair of 17-year-olds in the present day discover that they may hold the key to bringing the missing colonists back. It’s got a teen romance, a supernatural mystery, and some insane surprises that will no doubt keep you flipping pages.

Review: Scarecrow Returns: A Novel

Scarecrow Returns: A Novel
Scarecrow Returns: A Novel by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again Matt Reilly delivers a seat-of-your-pants thriller. A laugh out-loud at the sheer glorious outlandishness of it all. The third I believe in the Scarecrow series, this time we find Shane “Scarecrow ” Shofield, and his best friend and Marine buddy Mother, an imposing woman of many talents with a gun, two others marines he doesn’t know, and 4 civilians – one an agent from a top DARPA contractor trying to get his product to be chosen and his assistant Chad, and then there’s Zack, the geek with the robot Bertie, and Emma, a scientist who studies atmospheric conditions, etc. up near the Arctic Circle. They are tasked to try out a lot of new gear and weapons, to see how well they perform in the arctic environment near the North Pole. Shane receives a call from his commander that they are the second closest team to a mysterious island in the arctic, known as Dragon’s Island, an old cold war Soviet installation, which has been taken over by an Army of Thieves as they call themselves who are about to rain destruction down on the entire northern hemisphere. The closest team is a sub team, lead by “Ironbark,” a talented soldier. Also in the vicinity, unknown to them, is a French sub, led by “Renard,” an assassin and her companion “Baba,” a giant of a man, with a gun as big, who are tasked by the French secret CIA equivalent to kill him – there is a bounty on his head for his destroying a French sub and the killing of her brother (all will be explained later). Ironbark says to stay clear – that they are equipped to handle this, and Shofiled and his band of civilians aren’t. But Schofield thinks that even so, they might be a handy back-up, which it turns out, of course they are. Staying back at camp, unwilling to help them save the world is the agent from the contractor – all the others are willing to come and help, although it’s unclear what some can do, esp. Emma.

In true Matt Reilly style, once the goal gets going, the going never stops until the final page. This one I had to read in a couple of nights, as it got me too worked up if I read until I went to bed. It was absurd in places, impossible in others, but pure unadulterated fun all the way through. And the star was Bertie – the little robot that could. Some of the stunts left me gasping with hilarity, for the sheer ingeniousness of it. How plausible it was, only someone with more knowledge of physics, and engineering would know, but leave your disbelief at the front cover, and enter the world of Shane,”Scarecrow” Shofield, where “no” is NOT an option. And in a wonderful group of traveling companions. The books sings with magic.

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Newer Reads for Teens in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

These are books from, a website from Simon & Schuster. I found them by using the guide on the left, clicking on Teens at the top, and then on Science Fiction and Fantasy under “category.” They are the printers of many of the teen books available, and are a great way to find books for your kids, and they group then not only by teen, but by each grade level and by genre, series, etc. Most of these are published within the past year, or are yet to be published. Check the publication dates listed if you’re not sure, or can’t find it – it may be forthcoming. They are very exact about age grading, far more so than Amazon, although they ARE limited to the books they publish. But it’s a great place to start, since they are so precise in age ratings, and in how to find the exact type of book you’re looking for. So try some and see what you think. I tried to pick a representative selection. They also have a number of books for the younger set, 8-12, which I will cover next time. NOTE: These have NOT been read by either me or my kids, so I can’t vouch for them. But many have won awards, and those are listed. So be adventurous – try some.

By Lisa McMann
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 04, 2008
Our Price: $15.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up


Not all dreams are sweet.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody- notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments)
By Cassandra Clare
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up


Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)
By Cassandra Clare
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: February 19, 2008
Our Price: $9.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up


Their hidden world is about to be revealed….

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….


The Past is Gone (The Time Jumpers)

By James Valentine
Cover by Tom White

This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 8, 2007

Ages: 8 – 12
Grades: 3 – 7


The Adventure Begins….

When Theodore Pine Four suddenly appears in the bedroom of Genevieve Corrigan just as her friend Jules Santorini is about to ask her out on a date, the only thing they can all agree on is that it is highly unordinary. Things get even more complicated when we find out that Theo is a teenager from the year Fourteen Billion and Seventy-Three with multicolored hair, a talking coat, and the hottest new time machine on the market: the TimeMaster JumpMan Pro. And little do they know that this chance encounter is going to kick-start an epic adventure — one that will take Jules, Gen, and Theo through history, from the Big Bang all the way up to 14,000,000,073 and everywhere in between. Along the way, our heroes are going to have to figure out how to get Theo and his malfunctioning time machine back home without undoing the fabric of time itself. And, if he’s lucky, Jules might just manage to ask Gen on that date.

The Present Never Happens
The Present Never Happens (The Time Jumpers)
By James Valentine
Cover by Tom White

This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: July 10, 2007
Our Price: $5.99

Ages: 8 – 12
Grades: 3 – 7


The Adventure Continues….

Rule One of TimeJumping was broken, but luckily disaster has been averted (at least for now), and Jules, Gen, and Theo are back. Their first adventure had them whisking through Time, talking to coats, and just managing to save Theo’s life — but that was just a warm-up. In the second chapter of the mind-bending TimeJumpers series, Jules and Gen (finally) go on a date, Theo turns out to be the biggest celebrity anyone in the year Fourteen Billion and Seventy-Three has ever seen, and we meet a peculiar and very irritating old man who has the strange idea that the entire history of the world is about to be overturned — and somehow Jules and Gen are involved. And that’s just the beginning. There are sinister forces at work, and Rule One is not just going to be broken, it’s going to be smashed apart.

The Future Is Unknown
The Future Is Unknown (The Time Jumpers)
By James Valentine
Cover by Tom White

This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
Our Price: $5.99

Ages: 8 – 12
Grades: 3 – 7


The Adventure Ends.

In the third millennium, Jules is suddenly very popular, for reasons he doesn’t really understand. He should be happy, but all he can think about is Theo. Are Jules and Gen ever going to see him again? Meanwhile, in the fifteenth billennium, Quincy Carter One has disappeared after the world witnessed his aborted attempt to undermine the entire structure of Time. Not only that, TimeJumping has been all but outlawed on the Two Planets. And Theo can’t stop worrying about Jules and Gen — and what Quincy may be planning, wherever (or whenever) he is. It’s the thrilling conclusion of the TimeJumpers trilogy, and no one knows what’s going to happen next. Or before. But that’s what happens when you start fooling around with time.

Sky Inside
By Clare B. Dunkle
Cover by Sammy Yuen, Jr.
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Martin lives in a perfect world.

Every year a new generation of genetically-engineered children is shipped out to meet their parents. Every spring the residents of his town take down the snow they’ve stuck to their windows and put up flowers. Every morning his family gathers around their television and votes, like everyone else, for whatever matter of national importance the president has on the table. Today, it is the color of his drapes. It’s business as usual under the protective dome of suburb HM1.

And it’s all about to come crashing down.

Because a stranger has come to take away all the little children, including Martin’s sister, Cassie, and no one wants to talk about where she has gone. The way Martin sees it, he has a choice. He can remain in the dubious safety of HM1, with danger that no one wants to talk about lurking just beneath the surface, or he can actually break out of the suburb, into the mysterious land outside, rumored to be nothing but blowing sand for miles upon miles.

Acclaimed author Clare B. Dunkle has crafted a fresh and fast-paced science-fiction thriller, one that challenges her characters — and her readers — to look closer at the world they take for granted.

Pirate Emperor (The Wave Walkers)
By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Dominic Harman
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 08, 2008
Our Price: $5.99
Ages: 10 – 14
Grades: 5 – 9


In the vast Caribbean Sea, pirates Jolly and Griffin are stranded on a tiny island where a peculiar architect is building an enormous bridge — but to where? Another world? Before they can find out, the bridge bursts into flames and the kobalins attack. Jolly and Griffin have nowhere to run until the Ghost Trader mysteriously appears and carries them off to the magical coral city of Aelenium. It is from Aelenium that Jolly and Munk are supposed to descend far, far into the deep to keep out the world-devouring Maelstrom.

But Jolly isn’t ready for that task. She wants to rescue Captain Bannon, the only father she’s ever known, so she steals the ghost ship and sets sail. Griffin follows her, until he is trapped by the man in the whale. Princess Soledad has her own plans — to kill Pirate Emperor Kendrick. But the truly terrifying cannibal king stands in her way. Is Soledad ready to become the new pirate emperor?

Trickery Treat (Charmed)
By Diana G. Gallagher
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: January 01, 2008
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 16 and up
Grades: 10 and up


Trickery Treat

A portal opened — as a means for amends,
Leaves a vengeful spirit to roam.
Helping him cross over is the only way,
To restore peace within the home.

It’s Halloween, and Piper is busy decorating the Manor, which has become the neighborhood hot spot on the most bewitching night of the year. Meanwhile, Paige decides to use the party as a chance to honor the dead. She casts a spell that creates a portal for a clan of leprechauns…and other wandering spirits.

The guests are thrilled and impressed with the realistic effects, but Phoebe, Piper, and Paige soon realize that they have a big trick to deal with: one not-so-friendly ghost going out of his way to turn the Manor into a haunted house. The Charmed Ones must stop this evil soul with a vengeance before he takes the life of one experienced ghost hunter who knows his story and has met him before….

The Water Mirror (The Dark Reflections Trilogy)
By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Melvyn Grant
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Kansas State Reading Circle Senior High Titles
NYPL “Books for the Teen Age”
SLJ Best Book of the Year


In Venice, magic is not unusual. Merle is apprenticed to a magic mirror maker, and Serafin — a boy who was once a master thief — works for a weaver of magic cloth. Merle and Serafin are used to the mermaids who live in the canals of the city and to the guards who patrol the streets on living stone lions. Merle herself possesses something magical: a mirror whose surface is water. She can reach her whole arm into it and never get wet.

But Venice is under siege by the Egyptian Empire; its terrifying mummy warriors are waiting to strike. All that protects the Venetians is the Flowing Queen. Nobody knows who or what she is — only that her power flows through the canals and keeps the Egyptians at bay.

When Merle and Serafin overhear a plot to capture the Flowing Queen, they are catapulted into desperate danger. They must do everything they can to rescue the Queen and save the city — even if it means getting help from the Ancient Traitor himself.

Stone Light (The Dark Reflections Trilogy)
By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Melvyn Grant
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 16, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Evil forces have invaded Venice – the city that Merle and Serafin call home. Luckily, the two friends hold secrets that just might stop the pharaoh from destroying their ancient city.

Merle has within her spirit of the Flowing Queen, a mysterious legendary force who serves as her guide. Indeed, the Queen’s voice has led Merle to Vermithrax, a winged stone lion. And together they are on a mission to Hell to enlist help from Lord Light.

Meanwhile, Serafin remains in Venice. He’s joined a group of rebel boys who are plotting to assassinate the pharaoh. But can a group so small really kill the biggest, most powerful man on earth?

Though they follow separate courses, Merle and Serafin will both encounter unexpected betrayals and startling revelations. And together they learn that evil takes many shapes in the world of Dark Reflections.

Glass Word (The Dark Reflections Trilogy)

By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Melvyn Grant
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 01, 2008
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


When they emerge from Hell, Merle, her friend Junipa who has mirrors for eyes, and Vermithrax the flying stone lion find themselves in Egypt. Of course the Flowing Queen is with them as well, since Merle swallowed her back in Venice. There is something very wrong in Egypt–it is freezing cold, and everything is covered in snow. Winter is here, looking for his lost love, Summer. And another creature is here as well–Seth, the highest of the Horus priests. Betrayed by the pharaoh and his sphinx henchmen, Seth is seeking revenge. Together they travel to the Iron Eye, the vast fortress of the sphinxes.But what does the Flowing Queen want Merle to do there?

Meanwhile Serafin, the master thief, the beautiful sphinx Lalapeya, and Eft, the mermaid, are also headed for Egypt. They are traveling underwater, in a submarine piloted by pirates. Serafin is not sure what they can do to the fight the pharaoh, but he knows surrender is not an option. Egypt has captured and enslaved his beloved Venice, and he and the others must fight the empire no matter what the cost. But the final battle will not be one that Serafin has even imagined–and the cost will be high indeed.

Here, There Be Dragons (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica)
By James A. Owen
Illustrated by James A. Owen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 23, 2007
Our Price: $9.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


ALA Best Books for Young Adults Nominee


The Imaginarium Geographica

“What is it?” John asked.

The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.

“It is the world, my boy,” he said. “All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose.”

An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.

Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds. And in the process, they will share a great adventure filled with clues that lead readers to the surprise revelation of the legendary storytellers these men will one day become.

An extraordinary journey of myth, magic, and mystery, Here, There Be Dragons introduces James A. Owen as a formidable new talent.

Search for the Red Dragon (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica)
By James A. Owen
Illustrated by James A. Owen
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 01, 2008
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


“‘The Crusade has begun’…

“There’s an old myth in the Archipelago,” he went on softly, shaking his head. “A legend, really…I recall it mentioned a Crusade, but those events happened seven centuries ago. We always thought it was only a story.”

It has been nine years since John, Jack, and Charles had their great adventure in the Archipelago of Dreams and became the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica. Now they have been brought together again to solve a mystery: Someone is kidnapping the children of the Archipelago. And their only clue is a mysterious message delivered by a strange girl with artificial wings: “The Crusade has begun.” Worse, they discover that all of the legendary Dragonships have disappeared as well.

The only chance they have to save the world from a centuries-old plot is to seek out the last of the Dragonships — the Red Dragon — in a spectacular journey that takes them from Sir James Barrie’s Kensington Gardens to the Underneath of the Greek Titans of myth. With friends both familiar and new, they will travel through an extraordinary landscape where history, myth, and fable blend together to tell the oldest story in the world. And along the way, the Caretakers of the Geographica will discover that great deeds alone do not make heroes, and that growing up may be unavoidable…but growing old doesn’t have to be.

Quillan Games (Pendragon)
By D. J. MacHale
Cover by Victor Lee
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 10 and up
Grades: 5 and up


Let the Games Begin….
Quillan is a territory on the verge of destruction. The people have lost control of their own future and must struggle simply to survive. The only chance they have of finding a better life is by playing the Quillan Games. Hosted by a strange pair of game masters, Veego and LaBerge, the games are a mix of sport and combat. They use the people of Quillan as pawns for their amusement as they force them to enter competitions that range from physical battles, to impossible obstacle courses, to computer-driven tests of agility. To triumph in the games is to live the life of a king. To lose is to die.

This is the dangerous and deadly situation Bobby Pendragon finds on Quillan. He quickly realizes that the only way to save this troubled territory is to beat Veego and LaBerge at their own games and dismantle their horrible fun house. But there is more at stake for Bobby. The prize for winning the Quillan Games may be discovering the truth of what it really means a Traveler.

Raven Rise (Pendragon)
By D. J. MacHale
Cover by Dawn Austin
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: May 20, 2008
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 10 and up
Grades: 5 and up


This is where it begins. The showdown for Halla. At stake is nothing less than all that ever was and all that will be.

There’s only one thing missing–Bobby Pendragon.

While Bobby remains trapped on Ibara, the battle moves to his home territory: Second Earth. Mark Dimond and Courtney Chetwynde are left on their own to defend Second Earth against the forces of Saint Dane. They must face off against a charismatic cult leader who has risen to power by revealing a shattering truth to the people of Earth: They are not alone.

The Convergence has broken down the walls. The territories are on a collision course. The final phase of Saint Dane’s quest to rule Halla is under way.

And Bobby Pendragon is nowhere to be found.

The Time Thief (The Gideon Trilogy)
By Linda Buckley-Archer
Cover by James Jean
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 10 and up
Grades: 5 and up


What happens when a seventeenth-century bad guy has twenty-first-century technology?

An accident with an antigravity machine catapulted Peter Schock and Kate Dyer back to 1763. A bungled rescue attempt leaves Peter stranded in the eighteenth century while a terrifying villain, the Tar Man, takes his place and explodes onto twenty-first-century London. Concerned about the potentially catastrophic effects of time travel, the NASA scientists responsible for the situation question whether it is right to rescue Peter. Kate decides to take matters into her own hands, but things don’t go as planned. Soon the physical effects of time travel begin to have a disturbing effect on her. Meanwhile, in our century, the Tar Man wreaks havoc in a city whose police force is powerless to stop him.Set against a backdrop of contemporary London and revolutionary France, The Time Thief is the sequel to the acclaimed The Time Travelers.

Fall of a Kingdom
By Hilari Bell
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: January 01, 2005
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Who was Sorahb?

Stories are told of a hero who will come to Farsala’s aid when the need is greatest. But for thousands of years the prosperous land of Farsala has felt no such need, as it has enjoyed the peace that comes from being both feared and respected.

Now a new enemy approaches Farsala’s borders, one that neither fears nor respects its name and legend. But the rulers of Farsala still believe that they can beat any opponent.

Three young people are less sure of Farsala’s invincibility. Jiaan, Soraya, and Kavi see Time’s Wheel turning, with Farsala headed toward the Flames of Destruction. What they cannot see is how inextricably their lives are linked to Farsala’s fate — until it’s too late.

In Fall of a Kingdom, the first volume of the Farsala Trilogy, Hilari Bell introduces readers to a world of honor, danger, and magic in this spellbinding tale of self-discovery.

Rise of a Hero (The Farsala Trilogy)
By Hilari Bell
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: June 01, 2006
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


The Return of Sorahb?

Legend has it that when Farsala most needs a warrior to lead it, Sorahb will be restored by the god Azura. That time has come. After a devastating loss to the army of the Hrum, Farsala has all but fallen. Only the walled city of Mazad and a few of the more uninhabitable regions remain free of Hrum rule, and they seem destined to fall as well. Farsala needs a champion now.

Three young people are waging battle as best they can. Soraya, Jiaan, and Kavi, their lives decimated by the Hrum, are each in a personal fight against their common enemy. Apart, their chances are slim, as none of them is Sorahb reborn. United, perhaps they can succeed. But only Time’s Wheel can bring them together — if it turns the right way. If it doesn’t, Farsala is surely doomed.

In the sequel to the critically acclaimed Fall of a Kingdom (formerly titled Flame), the first book of the Farsala Trilogy, Hilari Bell draws readers deeper into the mythical land of Farsala and weaves an epic tale of destiny and danger.

Forging the Sword (The Farsala Trilogy)
By Hilari Bell
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


The spirit of the ancient champion, Sorahb was reborn into the body of a deghan youth, who raised an army of peasants to resist their Hrum conquerors.

Sorya, Kavi, and Jiann do everything they can to keep control of what little land remains free from Hrum rule. They have most of the peasantry, a small, untrained army, and the Suud helping them, but there is still one important piece missing: a sword that is able to withstand the Hrum’s watersteel. Without it, Farsala will fall.

But what none of these young heroes can foresee is the growing desperation of the Hrum leaders. It will lead them to break some of their own laws and sacred pacts. It will also reveal truths about the nature of war, the nature of human beings, and — most important — themselves.

Sunlight and Shadow: A Retelling of “The Magic Flute” (Once Upon a Time)
By Cameron Dokey
Cover by Kinuko Y. Craft
Designed by Mahlon F. Craft
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: June 17, 2008
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


A new spin on “The Magic Flute” by an acclaimed author!

In a time when the world was young and many things were quite commonplace that are now entirely forgotten, Sarastro, Mage of the Day, wed Pamina, the Queen of the Night. And in this way was the world complete, for light was joined to dark. For all time would they be joined together. Only the ending of the world could tear them apart. In other words, in the days in which my parents married, there was no such thing as divorce….

Thus begins the tale of Mina, a girl-child born on the longest night of the darkest month of the year. When her father looked at her, all he saw was what he feared: By birth, by name, by nature, she belonged to the Dark. So when Mina turned sixteen, her father took her away from shadow and brought her into sunlight.

In retaliation, her mother lured a handsome prince into a deadly agreement: If he frees Mina, he can claim her as his bride.

Now Mina and her prince must endure deadly trials — of love and fate and family — before they can truly live happily ever after….

Sara’s Face
By Melvin Burgess
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: June 17, 2008
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up


Fame, beauty, and face transplants

Sara wants to be famous, and when legendary rock star Jonathon Heat offers to take her under his wing and pay for her cosmetic surgery, it’s like a dream come true. But beauty comes with a hidden price tag. Is Sara willing to pay?

By Neal Shusterman
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: November 06, 2007
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 13 and up
Grades: 7 and up


ALA Best Books For Young Adults
ALA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers


In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them

Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers’ ideas about life — not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.

Clovermead: In the Shadow of the Bear
By David Randall
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: December 01, 2005
Our Price: $5.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 6 and up


NYPL “Books for the Teen Age”
Theodore H. White Lecturer/Joan Shorenstein Center, JFK School of Government/Harvard University (2002)
YALSA Teens Top Ten (TTT) Nominee


Twelve-year-old Clovermead Wickward’s head is filled with stories of adventure. She dreams about the thrill of a sword fight and the excitement of heroic quests. The last thing Clovermead expects is for those dreams to come true. But it seems her father, Waxmelt, is not who she has believed hi to be. As she becomes aware of strange new powers within her, Clovermead realizes that her father is harboring secrest that threaten to tear their small family apart.

At the same time, the good nuns of Lady Moon are waging war again the evil bear-priests of Lord Ursus. Suddenly Clovermead and Waxmelt find themselves thrust into the middle of an epic battle.

Clovermead comes to understand that the clash between good and evil is raging not only on the battlefield but also within herself. Will she succumb to the temptation of evil, in the shadow of the bear, or will she fight for the salvation of good?

Chandlefort: In the Shadow of the Bear
By David Randall
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: December 26, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


It has been just months since Clovermead Wickward discovered that she is really Demoiselle Cerelune Cindertallow — daughter of Lady Melisande Cindertallow, the sovereign of Chandlefort — and that the man she had called Father all her life was actually an embittered servant who stole her away when she was a baby. Since then, she has learned that she doesn’t wholly care for life inside the walls of Chandlefort, and that she doesn’t much like her mother’s expectations for how a Demoiselle should behave — especially the bit about not changing shape anymore. When you can turn into a bear, being forced to stay human can be deadly dull.

Now Clovermead must confront dangerous secrets from her family’s troubled past when a mysterious stranger appears in Chandlefort. Perhaps he is the old friend of Clovermead’s real father, as he claims to be — or perhaps an old enemy of the Cindertallows who seeks a final revenge. When Clovermead unintentionally puts her mother’s life in mortal peril, her only chance to make amends and save the mother she has just begun to know is to set off on a dangerous journey to a distant abbey. The life of her mother, the salvation of Chandlefort, and the freedom of the bears enslaved by the overwhelming power of Lord Ursus all depend on Clovermead

In this intense and compelling sequel to Clovermead, David Randall explores the strength of love, courage, and forgiveness in the battle of good and evil.

Sorrel: In the Shadow of the Bear
By David Randall
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 23, 2007
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


The fight against the evil Lord Ursus continues, and the fate of the battle lies in the hands of fifteen-year-old Clovermead Wickward. Chandlefort’s army is in need of reinforcements, and Clovermead is charged by her mother, Lady Cindertallow, to seek allies among the nomadic Hordes of the Tansy Steppes. At the same time, Lord Ursus has dispatched Clovermead’s old enemy Lucifer Snuff to contest her. A battle of diplomacy ensues, and it is only one of many struggles that Clovermead must face.

First, Clovermead must choose between her mission to the Hordes and the pleas of her best friend, Sorrel. All the while the survival of Chandlefort is pitted against Clovermead’s promise to free Lord Ursus’s enslaved bears. But the most painful choice of all awaits Clovermead in a face-to-face confrontation with Lucifer Snuff. In the end, Clovermead must decide between the logic of war and her heart’s instinct for mercy, relying on her sacred gifts — the ability to shift into bear-form and to speak the bear-language — to have even the slightest chance at victory.

In an epic tale of honor, love, and redemption, David Randall follows Clovermead and Chandlefort with an adventure determining the fate of nations and human souls.

By Joan Lennon
Cover by Jon Foster
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 11, 2007
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 10 – 14
Grades: 5 – 9


Three worlds, held in perfect balance. Nothing can change that. Well, nothing except a cataclysmic disruption in the Space-Time Continuum…

Luckily the people in charge have a plan: Create three perfect Heroes, the best of each world, and send them on a quest to find the Objects of Power that will restore the balance. But things go wrong when the Heroes are needed ten years earlier than expected, and three confused kids set off to save the worlds. Madlen, Bryn, and Cam have no idea what they’re looking for or where they’ll find it. What they do know is that to fail would mean unthinkable disaster.

It’s a pity, then, that someone is determined to stop them…

From the icebound city of the dragons to the magical kitchen of The London House, Joan Lennon has crafter a highly inventive story that is fast-paced, fantastical, and funny.

By Melvin Burgess
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 22, 2007
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up



London is in ruins, a once highly advanced city now a gated wasteland. Within its walls, a bloody war rages between two clans. Hope is sparse, but the people believe the gods have risen from the dead.

Odin himself has come to play a part in the lives of two twins, a brother and sister from the Volson clan. Siggy and Signy must come to grips with their destiny as London’s future teeters on the edge of a knife….

By Melvin Burgess
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up


ALA Best Books For Young Adults



Fifteen-year-old Sigurd, son of King Sigmund, is the last surviving member of the Volson clan. His father’s kingdom — the former city of London — is gone. And his father’s knife, a gift from Odin himself, has been shattered to dust.

Now, Odin’s eye is upon him. Armed with a powerful sword forged from the remnants of his father’s knife, Sigurd will face death, fire, and torment. He must travel through Hel and back…to unite his country once again.

She’s a Witch Girl
By Kelly McClymer
Cover by Kirsten Ulve
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 21, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Prudence Stewart is FINALLY getting her witch on at Agatha’s Day School. Sadly, her love life isn’t quite so charmed. Boy trouble is lurking, big-time:

• First, there’s Angelo, Pru’s adorable crush-next-door. When he shows up at Agatha’s, it spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for Pru. Especially when it comes to…

• Samuel, Pru’s best bud and tutor in all things magical. For Angelo and Samuel, it was loathe at first sight.

• And then there’s Daniel, the bad boy with wicked talent — who also happensto be the great-great-great-great-grandson of Pru’s nemesis, Agatha herself.

With all this boy drama, it’s all Pru can do to prep for the national cheerleading competition — the one that will bring her broomstick-to- spirit-stick with her former squad AND her boy-stealing ex-BFF.

A little magic just might come in handy right now….

Skin Hunger (A Resurrection of Magic)
By Kathleen Duey
Cover by David Ho
Illustrated by Sheila Rayyan
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: July 24, 2007
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best
National Book Award Finalist


Sadima lives in a world where magic has been banned, leaving poor villagers prey to fakes and charlatans. A “magician” stole her family’s few valuables and left Sadima’s mother to die on the day Sadima was born. But vestiges of magic are hidden in old rhymes and hearth tales and in people like Sadima, who conceals her silent communication with animals for fear of rejection and ridicule. When rumors of her gift reach Somiss, a young nobleman obsessed with restoring magic, he sends Franklin, his lifelong servant, to find her. Sadima’s joy at sharing her secret becomes love for the man she shares it with. But Franklin’s irrevocable bond to the brilliant and dangerous Somiss traps her, too, and she faces a heartbreaking decision.

Centuries later magic has been restored, but it is available only to the wealthy and is strictly controlled by wizards within a sequestered academy of magic. Hahp, the expendable second son of a rich merchant, is forced into the academy and finds himself paired with Gerrard, a peasant boy inexplicably admitted with nine sons of privilege and wealth. Only one of the ten students will graduate — and the first academic requirement is survival.

Sadima’s and Hahp’s worlds are separated by generations, but their lives are connected in surprising and powerful ways in this brilliant first book of Kathleen Duey’s dark, complex, and completely compelling trilogy.

Guide to the Uglies
By Scott Westerfeld
Cover by Carissa Pelleteri and Howard Pyle
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 21, 2008
List Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Not available yet, but keep an eye out!

Z for Zachariah
By Robert C. O’Brien
Cover by Sammy Yuen, Jr.
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: July 10, 2007
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Is anyone out there?

Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.

But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann’s solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.

Dream of the Stone
By Christina Askounis
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 10, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Someone is following Sarah Lucas. When she peers down from her apartment window late one night, she sees him hovering in the shadows. And what about the other strange things that have been happening to her? The old woman who appears every so often to give Sarah a cryptic piece of advice and then vanishes? The mysterious gleaming stone that turns up in the mail, a universe of tiny stars suspended in its depths?

But there’s no one Sarah can trust with her story. Her journalist parents have been killed in a freak plane crash, and her older brother, Sam, a scientific genius, has disappeared under suspicious circumstances from the top secret institute where he works.

Sarah couldn’t be more alone in the world, until the day she meets Angel Muldoon, a half-Gypsy stable boy who carries a secret of his own. Together they will begin an incredible journey to another world, where they must return the stone to its rightful place and keep the forces of unimaginable evil at bay.

By Margaret Peterson Haddix
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: March 27, 2007
Our Price: $5.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


In the year 2000 Melly and Anny Beth had reached the peak of old age and were ready to die. But when offered the chance to be young again by participating in a top-secret experiment called Project Turnabout, they agreed. Miraculously, the experiment worked — Melly and Anny Beth were actually growing younger every year. But when they learned that the final treatment would be deadly, they ran for their lives.

Now it is 2085. Melly and Anny Beth are teenagers. They have no idea what will happen when they hit age zero, but they do know they will soon be too young to take care of themselves. They need to find someone to help them before time runs out, once and for all….

Virtual War (The Virtual War Chronologs)

Gloria Skurzynski

Reading level: Young Adult

Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 1, 1999)

Language: English

Book Description

Imagine a life of virtual reality — a childhood contained in a controlled environment, with no human contact. Corgan has been genetically engineered for quick reflexes, high intelligence, and physical superiority. He is unbeatable in battle. But he lives his life in a lonely module. What is a real sunset like? Or a friend?

When he meets fellow teens Sharla and Brig, Corgan begins to doubt the Federation, whose decisions he has unquestioningly obeyed. Life outside virtual reality may be for him. His fourteen years of training are about to end as the real challenge approaches. But he can’t lose focus now: He must win a virtual war, or the Western Hemisphere will be lost forever.

The Virtual War Chronologs--Book 2 (The Virtual War Chronologs)

Clones (The Virtual War Chronologs)
By Gloria Skurzynski
Cover by Barry David Marcus
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 03, 2007
Our Price: $10.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Book Description

Clones are supposed to be identical…aren’t they?

Corgan, hero of the Virtual War, has been living a blissful, if placid, life on the Isles of Hiva, his reward for winning the War with Sharla and Brig. But what he doesn’t know is that Brig died soon after the War, and yet is not truly gone. Sharla had saved some of Brig’s DNA and has created clone-twins with it. Corgan’s world is disrupted when Sharla brings one of the clone-twins, Seabrig, to him to raise on the island, while she keeps the other, Brigand, with her in the Domed City. However, when circumstances force Sharla to bring Brigand to the island, they find that while the boys may look identical, their temperaments are not. Brigand is haughty, willful, power hungry, and despises Corgan because of his relationship with Sharla. And, as a result of the cloning process, both boys are growing at an astonishing rate. In what may or may not have been an accident with his clone-twin, Seabrig is badly injured and must be airlifted from the island to receive medical treatment in the Domed City. This leaves Corgan alone with an increasingly dangerous and unstable Brigand, who is now his size, and looking to get rid of Corgan once and for all.

A gripping sequel to Virtual War that could be ripped straight from the headlines — in eighty years….

Revolt (The Virtual War Chronologs)
By Gloria Skurzynski
Cover by Michael Frost
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: June 01, 2005
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


What do you do when someone truly hates you?

Corgan is used to being the hero. Leader of the team that won the Virtual War, he chose for his reward to live on the Isles of Hiva, in an idyllic paradise. Idyllic until the clones, Brigand and Cyborg, arrived, that is. Life hasn’t been the same for Corgan since.

Now he’s lucky if his former fans even remember his name. But more worrisome is that he has an enemy, a mortal enemy in the form of Brigand, who has taken over not only Corgan’s mantle as the most well-known person in the Domes, but has taken Corgan’s girlfriend, Sharla, away too. When Brigand tried to kill Corgan back in the Wyo-Dome and failed, Corgan thought he would be free of Brigand at last. But now the power-obsessed Brigand has followed him to Florida, determined to rule the Domes and finish Corgan off for good. Corgan escaped from Brigand once, but can he do it again? And more importantly, does he even want to escape this time?

So now Corgan’s got two choices. He can fight and risk getting killed or, worse, captured by Brigand. Or he can walk away and take Sharla with him…if he can figure out how to use a spacecraft that hasn’t been flown in more than fifty years.

Picking right up from where The Clones left off, this fast-paced sequel will not disappoint Gloria Skurzynski’s eager fans.

Choice (The Virtual War Chronologs)
By Gloria Skurzynski
Cover by Big Sesh Studios
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 10, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 –

Book Description

The Final Battle

Ever since Corgan escaped his mortal enemy, Brigand, by fleeing the Florida domed city, he’s felt haunted. He’s haunted by the fact that Brigand is still in power in Florida, torturing innocent citizens (including Corgan’s friend Thebos), but above all by the bitter memory that he ran away from Brigand rather than staying to fight. Corgan believes he made the right choice at the time, but now he wants to face Brigand in one final battle.

His passengers in the stolen zero-gravity spaceship-Sharla, Ananda, and Cyborg-have different ideas. Tired of arguing, Corgan chooses to land the ship in the only place he has ever been happy. But even there disaster follows him, until Sharla reveals a secret that gives him hope-hope that he can once again become the hero he was meant to be. This time, Corgan intends to stand up to Brigand, win or lose, in a fight to the death.

This thrilling sequel and conclusion to the Virtual War Chronologs has been eagerly awaited for by Gloria Skurzynski’s many fans.

Salem Witch Tryouts
By Kelly McClymer
Cover by Kirsten Ulve
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Prudence Stewart had it all at Beverly Hills High: straight A’s, the cutest crush, and a sweet gig as captain of the cheerleading squad. Then poof! Mom and Dad announce they’re moving to Salem, Massachusetts. Turns out, Pru comes from a long line of witches and it’s time for her to learn the craft. Buh-bye, Beverly Hills High — hello, Agatha’s Day School!

But Pru’s not about to trade in her spirit stick for a broomstick! She’s sure she can keep her kewl at her new school — until she discovers it’s all magic, all the time, and she’s failing Witchcraft 101. Worst of all, even the cheerleaders bring a special “spirit” to their routine. As in, triple-back-somersault-with-a-twist kind of spirit.

It’s time for Pru to cast a spell and prove she’s just as enchanting as the next girl — and somehow make cheering tryouts a flying S-U-C-C-E-S-S!

By Thomas E. Sniegoski
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 16 and up
Grades: 10 and up


Aaron Corbet isn’t a bad kid — he’s just a little different.

On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, Aaron dreams of a darkly violent landscape. He can hear the sounds of weapons clanging, the screams of the stricken, and another sound he cannot quite decipher. But gazing upward at the sky, he suddenly understands. It is the sound of great wings, angels’ wings, beating the air unmercifully as hundreds of armored warriors descend on the battlefield.

Orphaned since birth, Aaron is suddenly discovering newfound — and sometimes supernatural — talents. But it’s not until he is approached by two men that he learns the truth about his destiny, and his role as a liaison between angels, mortals, and Powers both good and evil, some of whom are hell-bent on his destruction….

By Neal Shusterman
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


School Library Journal Best Books of the Year


Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident…

…but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no onger exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he’s found a home, but allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

By Pete Hautman
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: June 01, 2006
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


ALA Best Books for Young Adults Nominee
Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)
Hal Clement Golden Duck Award
Keystone to Reading Book Award Master List (PA)
Minnesota Book Awards Finalist
New York Times Book Review Notable Books
Texas 2×2 Reading List
Texas Tayshas High School Reading List
Thumbs Up! Award Master List (MI)


“Of course, without people like us Marstens, there wouldn’t be anybody to do the manual labor that makes this country run. Without penal workers, who would work the production lines, or pick the melons and peaches, or maintain the streets and parks and public lavatories? Our economy depends on prison labor. Without it everybody would have to work — whether they wanted to or not.”

In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he’s sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that’s surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it’s nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory’s highly illegal football team. In the meantime, Bork, an artificial intelligence that Bo created for a science project, tracks Bo down in prison. Bork has spun out of control and seems to be operating on his own. He offers to get Bo’s sentence shortened, but can Bo trust him? And now that Bo has been crushing skulls on the field, will he be able to go back to his old, highly regulated life?

Pete Hautman takes a satirical look at an antiseptic future in this darkly comic mystery/adventure.

Sharp North
By Patrick Cave
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 01, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up


In a futuristic world, will everyone be replaceable?

Mira had always lived quietly until the day a stranger is shot and killed in front of her. The woman’s body is quickly removed, leaving bloodstained snow and a crumpled piece of paper on the ground as the only clues to her murder. Mira discovers that the paper contains a list of names, including her own — but why? Terrified, she begins to view everyone with suspicion, and attempts to follow the clues that the dead woman left behind, unaware of the danger she is stumbling into.

For Mira lives in an environmentally damaged and socially dangerous Great Britain that is ruled by the caste of the Great Families, forming a society where reproduction is strictly limited and where families keep illegal clones — or “spares” — of themselves, just in case a replacement is ever needed….

Fast paced and suspenseful, Sharp North is the story of Mira’s search for the truth about her own identity and her attempts to find goodness in her strange world.

Sign of the Raven
By Julie Hearn
Cover by Marc Yankus
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 01, 2005
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Mind the gap.

Something odd is going on in the basement of an old house in London. An inexplicable gap has formed, a gap in time that links the present to the past. And twelve-year-old Tom, who discovers the gap while on a visit to his grandmother, is torn between both worlds.

Lured by a mysterious voice, Tom leaps into the early eighteenth century, to a time when circus “freaks” like the Bendy Man and the Gorilla Woman appeared at Bartholomew Fair. The voice he hears belongs to Astra, a tiny changeling child, whose limbs are no bigger than a man’s thumb. She has called him into the past, because she is convinced that Tom is the only one who can help her and her friends from danger. Doctors are paying a high price for unusual bodies to dissect, and Astra and her friends are prime subjects.

But Tom is dealing with difficulties of his own. His mum has cancer and is constantly fighting with his gran. And then he discovers a dark secret in his family’s past…a secret that pulls the strands of time together and might just close the gap forever.

By Tim Bowler
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 01, 2005
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up


Kit and his parents are out sailing when things go horribly wrong. Fog rolls in; the compasses won’t work; weird cries come from the sea. Then squalls force their boat against a giant rock. They manage to get to shore, but the dismal, almost barren island they’re on provides no comfort. The only inhabitants are a brutal group of fundamentalists whose ancestors settled there long ago. For some reason they hate Kit the moment they see him.

But Kit has glimpsed someone else, a girl who seems to be wild. He’s also seen a strange man who looks just like him, only older, with the same birthmark on his face. Kit goes in search of the girl, looking for answers to the eerie goings-on. He returns to find his parents gone and their tents torn to shreds. Have the islanders killed them? Kit sets off in a desperate search for them as he struggles for his own survival. Will the girl help him? And will he be able to escape the islanders, who clearly want to kill him?

Journey on a startling voyage into the unknown, where an ordinary teenage boy faces a world filled with malice and a terrifying vision of the future, in this haunting thriller from award winner Tim Bowler.

Well, this is all from SimonSays for teens that is fairly current. Next time it’s on to the Pre-teens, and then on to the next publisher… Tags: , , , ,

From My Daughter’s Bookshelf – More Books for Pre-teens and Teens

Here are some books from my younger daughter’s bookshelf that are books that we bought, liking the plot and/or the author. Although many of these have not yet been read (TBR pile), they are ones that even I find interesting (which is why I bought them!). A number of them are by well known adult mystery/fantasy/science fiction authors. It’s nice to see that trend. So enjoy another batch!

Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander

Ages 9-12. “Grade 3-6-Jason has always thought that his cat Gareth could talk if he wanted to, so when Gareth speaks to him he is not surprised. On finding that Gareth does not have nine lives but does have the ability to visit nine different times and places, Jason eagerly asks to go with him. Together they travel to Ancient Egypt, Roman Britain, pre-Christian Ireland, Imperial Japan, Renaissance Italy, 16th century Peru, late 16th century Isle of Man, 17th century Germany, and America at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In each place they help someone, often rulers having problems with corrupt or evil officials. They meet St. Patrick, help Leonardo DaVinci convince his father that he should be an artist, witness the beginning of Manx cats, learn about Incan civilization, are nearly burned as witches in Germany, and participate in the opening battle of the American Revolution. Listeners learn much about history and the position of cats in various societies along the way. Originally published in 1963, Time Cat (Puffin, pap. 1996) is an early novel by Lloyd Alexander and less successful than much of his later work. Jason is not a fully developed character, but more of a device for enabling readers/listeners to see each time period through his eyes. Both the opening and closing chapters leave many unanswered questions and seem merely a frame for getting Jason and Gareth in and out of their time travels. However, young cat fanciers and fantasy readers will enjoy the story. Ron Keith reads the story well with an expressive voice, good pacing, and emphasis. Technical quality is excellent. The episodic nature of the book lends itself to audio, and it is equally suitable for both individual and group listening. The historic overview the story provides is especially appropriate for this year when many schools and libraries are looking at the past in preparation for the millennium.” School Library Journal

Lloyd Alexander is the best-selling author of the Black Cauldron series (covered here before).

Skellig by David Almond (Whitbread Award’s 1998 Children’s Book of the Year)


Ages 9-12. “British novelist Almond makes a triumphant debut in the field of children’s literature with prose that is at once eerie, magical and poignant. Broken down into 46 succinct, eloquent chapters, the story begins in medias res with narrator Michael recounting his discovery of a mysterious stranger living in an old shed on the rundown property the boy’s family has just purchased: “He was lying there in the darkness behind the tea chests, in the dust and dirt. It was as if he’d been there forever…. I’d soon begin to see the truth about him, that there’d never been another creature like him in the world.” With that first description of Skellig, the author creates a tantalizing tension between the dank and dusty here-and-now and an aura of other-worldliness that permeates the rest of the novel. The magnetism of Skellig’s ethereal world grows markedly stronger when Michael, brushing his hand across Skellig’s back, detects what appears to be a pair of wings. Soon after Michael’s discovery in the shed, he meets his new neighbor, Mina, a home-schooled girl with a passion for William Blake’s poetry and an imagination as large as her vast knowledge of birds. Unable to take his mind off Skellig, Michael is temporarily distracted from other pressing concerns about his new surroundings, his gravely ill baby sister and his parents. Determined to nurse Skellig back to health, Michael enlists Mina’s help. Besides providing Skellig with more comfortable accommodations and nourishing food, the two children offer him companionship. In response, Skellig undergoes a remarkable metamorphosis that profoundly affects the narrator’s (and audience members’) first impression of the curious creature, and opens the way to an examination of the subtle line between life and death. The author adroitly interconnects the threads of the story, Michael’s difficult adjustment to a new neighborhood, his growing friendship with Mina, the baby’s decline, to Skellig, whose history and reason for being are open to readers’ interpretations. Although some foreshadowing suggests that Skellig has been sent to Earth on a grim mission, the dark, almost gothic tone of the story brightens dramatically as Michael’s loving, life-affirming spirit begins to work miracles. Ages 8-12.” Publishers Weekly

The Book Without Words: ATale of Medieval Magic by Avi

Book Without Words, The

Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8 At the dawning of the Middle Ages, Thorston, an old alchemist, works feverishly to create gold and to dose himself with a concoction that will enable him to live forever. The key to his success lies in a mysterious book with blank pages that can only be read by desperate, green-eyed people. Master Bashcroft, enforcer of law and order for the city, desires Thorston’s secrets for himself. Brother Wilfrid, a priest with green eyes, knows the dangers of the book and seeks to retrieve it. To this mix add Odo, a talking raven, and Sybil, a poor orphan girl whom Thorston has taken in as his servant, and you have an intriguing tale in which goodness ultimately triumphs. Avi’s compelling language creates a dreary foreboding, a grim backdrop against which the characters work out their fate. The old city always seems enshrouded in nasty fog and disgusting odors. Thorston keeps consuming part of his life-giving formula and repeatedly appears to die before resuscitating as a younger person. This, plus the fact that after each “death” Sybil and the others bury him, only to have him tromp up the basement steps covered in grime, will surely keep readers turning pages. Odo’s cleverness and cynicism make him a likable character, while Sybil’s innate goodness will endear her to readers. Clearly this is a story with a message, a true fable. Thoughtful readers will devour its absorbing plot and humorous elements, and learn a “useful truth” along the way.” School Library Journal

Crispin : The Cross of Lead by Avi (2003 Newbery Award winner)

The Cross of Lead (Newbery Medal Book)

Ages 9-12. “Set in 14th-century England, Avi’s (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle) 50th book begins with a funeral, that of a village outcast whose past is shrouded in mystery and whose adolescent son is known only as “Asta’s son.” Mired in grief for his mother, the boy learns his given name, Crispin, from the village priest, although his presumably dead father’s identity remains obscure. The words etched on his mother’s treasured lead cross may provide some clue, but the priest is murdered before he can tell the illiterate lad what they say. Worse, Crispin is fingered for the murder by the manor steward, who declares him a “wolf’s head” wanted dead or alive, preferably dead. Crispin flees, and falls in with a traveling juggler. “I have no name,” Crispin tells Bear, whose rough manners and appearance mask a tender heart. “No home, no kin, no place in this world.” How the boy learns his true identity (he’s the bastard son of the lord of the manor) and finds his place in the world makes for a rattling fine yarn. Avi’s plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns and treachery aplenty, but it’s the compellingly drawn relationship between Crispin and Bear that provides the heart of this story. A page turner to delight Avi’s fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel. Ages 8-12.” Publishers Weekly

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Chasing Vermeer

Ages 9-12. “In the classic tradition of E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, debut author Blue Balliett introduces readers to another pair of precocious kids on an artful quest full of patterns, puzzles, and the power of blue M&Ms. Eleven year old Petra and Calder may be in the same sixth grade class, but they barely know each other. It’s only after a near collision during a museum field trip that they discover their shared worship of art, their teacher Ms. Hussey, and the blue candy that doesn’t melt in your hands. Their burgeoning friendship is strengthened when a creative thief steals a valuable Vermeer painting en route to Chicago, their home town. When the thief leaves a trail of public clues via the newspaper, Petra and Calder decide to try and recover the painting themselves. But tracking down the Vermeer isn’t easy, as Calder and Petra try to figure out what a set of pentominos (mathematical puzzle pieces), a mysterious book about unexplainable phenomena and a suddenly very nervous Ms. Hussey have to do with a centuries old artwork. When the thief ups the ante by declaring that he or she may very well destroy the painting, the two friends know they have to make the pieces of the puzzle fit before it’s too late!

Already being heralded as The DaVinci Code for kids, Chasing Vermeer will have middle grade readers scrutinizing art books as they try to solve the mystery along with Calder and Petra. In an added bonus, artist Brett Helquist has also hidden a secret pentomino message in several of the book’s illustrations for readers to decode. An auspicious and wonderfully satisfying debut that will leave no young detective clueless.” Amazon Reviews

The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs

The House With a Clock In Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt)

Ages 9 -12. “Lewis always dreamed of living in an old house full of secret passageways, hidden rooms, and big marble fireplaces. And suddenly, after the death of his parents, he finds himself in just such a mansion–his Uncle Jonathan’s. When he discovers that his big friendly uncle is also a wizard, Lewis has a hard time keeping himself from jumping up and down in his seat. Unfortunately, what Lewis doesn’t bank on is the fact that the previous owner of the mansion was also a wizard–but an evil one who has placed a tick-tocking clock somewhere in the bowels of the house, marking off the minutes until the end of the world. And when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead on Halloween night, the clock only ticks louder and faster. Doomsday draws near–unless Lewis can stop the clock!

This is a deliciously chilling tale, with healthy doses of humor and compassion thrown in for good measure. Edward Gorey’s unmistakable pen and ink style (as seen in many picture books, including The Shrinking of Treehorn and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats) perfectly complements John Bellairs’s wry, touching story of a lonely boy, his quirky uncle, and the ghost of mansions past. (Ages 9 to 12).” Amazon Reviews

The Revenge Of The Shadow King (Grey Griffins #1) by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis

Grey Griffins #1: The Revenge Of The Shadow King (Grey Griffins #1)

Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8-Sixth-grader Max Sumner and his three best friends, Harley, Natalia, and Ernie, refer to themselves as the Grey Griffins. They enjoy sharing a fantasy role-play game called Round Table with elderly Iver Iverson, the proprietor of Avalon, Minnesota’s Shoppe of Antiquities. It is played with odd-shaped dice and cards that depict a variety of fantastic creatures and characters-spriggans, garden faeries, goblins, and more. Iver takes the game very seriously, and the Grey Griffins learn they must do the same once Max accidentally releases a spriggan, a shape-shifting faerie, from a magical book he finds in his grandmother’s attic. The game fades into the background as other characters from the cards start appearing around Avalon-the Black Witch Morgan LaFey, the Slayer goblin, and many others. The four friends realize that it is up to them to save the world as they learn, bit by bit, that Max is probably a descendant of King Arthur and the Knights Templar. Iver and many of the other adults in their lives are there to guide him in accepting his legacy, or, in some cases, to prevent him from doing so. Stilted dialogue and stereotypical cartoonlike characters abound as this plot-driven fantasy races to a predictable ending with plenty of room for multiple sequels. The action is gross and violent in the same way that Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak books (Little, Brown) are, and will appeal to the same readers.” School Library Journal

Summerland by Michael Chabon


Ages 9-12. “In his debut novel for young readers, Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) hits a high-flying home run, creating a vivid fantasy where baseball is king. Following the death of his mother, 11-year-old Ethan Feld and his father, a designer of lighter-than-air-dirigibles move to Clam Island, Wash. The island is known for its almost constant rain, save for an area on its westernmost tip called Summerland by the locals which “knew a June, July and August that were perfectly dry and sunshiny.” In Summerland, Ethan struggles to play baseball for the Ruth’s Fluff and Fold Roosters, with dismal results. But here, too, a mystical baseball scout recruits Ethan and escorts him through a gateway to a series of interconnected worlds that are home to magical creatures called ferishers and an evil, shape-changing overlord called Coyote. Ethan and two of his fellow teammates soon accept a mission to save these other worlds (plus the one they live in) from ultimate destruction at Coyote’s hand. When his father’s well-being is also threatened, Ethan’s quest becomes all the more urgent. To succeed, Ethan and his friends must find a way to beat giants, ferishers and others in a series of games where striking out truly has apocalyptic implications. Chabon unspools an elaborate yarn in a style that frequently crackles with color and surprise. He occasionally addresses readers directly, imbuing his tale with the aura of something that has been passed down through the ages. Impressively, the author takes a contemporary smalltown setting and weaves in baseball history, folklore and environmental themes, to both challenge and entertain readers. Images of the icy Winterlands and beasts like the werefox and Taffy the motherly Sasquatch recall C.S. Lewis’s Narnia and some of Philip Pullman’s creations in His Dark Materials. Devotees of the genre and of America’s pastime will find much to cheer here. All ages.” Publishers Weekly

Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

Half-Moon Investigations

Ages Y/A “Grade 4-7-Diminutive Fletcher Moon may not be the most popular 12-year-old in his Irish town but he’s proud-maybe a little too proud-of the badge that he constantly flashes to let everyone know that he’s an online graduate of a private detective academy in Washington, DC. The other kids admit that Fletcher, aka Half Moon, has solved several tough cases at Saint Jerome’s Elementary and Middle School, so they come to him when they have a problem. But when super all-in-pink girly-girl April Devereux hires him to find a lock of a pop star’s hair that she claims was stolen by one of the Sharkeys-a family of well-known criminals-everything starts going wrong for Fletcher. His precious badge is taken, he finds a single huge footprint at every crime scene, and he’s picked up by the local police for arson when the Devereux playhouse burns down. When Fletcher goes on the run, who becomes his number-one ally? Young Red Sharkey. A typically funny Colfer offering without the mania of the Artemis Fowl series (Hyperion), the story wittily delivers the message that some people aren’t-for good or ill-who they appear to be. Kids who enjoy comic mysteries will have a great time with Half Moon, and the conclusion drops plenty of hints that this could become a series.” School Library Journal

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer (Golden Duck Awards, Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grades)

The Supernaturalist (Golden Duck Awards. Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grades (Awards))

Ages 9-14. “Grade 6 Up A suspenseful, cautionary science fiction tale. In a future dystopia, cities have become for-profit businesses. Orphanages are not exempt from the struggle to make money, and at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, kids are forced to endure product testing and frequently end up injured as a result. With orphans facing an average life expectancy of 15, 14-year-old Cosmo Hill knows that he is on borrowed time. Unfortunately, his escape attempt nearly proves fatal. While he’s lying there dying, a small, hairless blue creature lands on his chest and begins to feed. He is rescued by the Supernaturalists, a motley crew of young people who have dedicated their lives to destroying the Parasites, which feed on the essence of the living. Cosmo joins the group as a Spotter, someone who can actually see the creatures and thus destroy them. However, facts soon emerge that cause the Supernaturalists to question everything they believe in. Is it possible that the Parasites don’t feed off of the energy of dying people, but remove pain? Are they actually beneficial to society? The plot’s twists and turns will keep readers totally engrossed until the last page. Colfer’s futuristic world seems plausible; his characters have strengths, flaws, and histories that account for their points of view. The ending is satisfying yet open to the possibility of a sequel. For anyone who loves science fiction, or just an engrossing story, this novel is a must-read.” School Library Journal

The Boggart by Susan Cooper

The Boggart

Ages 9-12. “Grade 4-7– The Volnik family inherits a rundown old castle on an island off Scotland and visits their new property. After returning home, 12-year-old Emily and 10-year-old Jessup notice strange things happening. Their detective work eventually discloses the cause–a mischievous boggart has accidentally become trapped in a piece of furniture the family shipped home to Canada. Unfortunately, no adults believe them. The children claim innocence on Halloween night as pieces of furniture fly through the air and a bucket of water soaks their mother. Eventually, the boggart’s pranks begin to cause serious problems; he becomes intrigued with the power of electricity, and causes a traffic accident that lands Emily in the hospital. Finally, he learns to communicate with the children by computer, causing the message– “I want to go to my own country”–to appear in Gaelic on Jessup’s screen. When he gets trapped in a black hole in a computer space-adventure game, the youngsters devise a daring, risky, and ultimately successful plan to help the boggart return home. The novel is fleshed out with numerous, vividly realized secondary characters, including various actors at the Chervil Playhouse, where Mr. Volnik is artistic director, as well as the novel’s true villain, Dr. Stigmore, a psychiatrist and a parapsychology scholar who insists that Emily is a troubled adolescent in need of hospitalization. The intelligently thought-out clash between the ancient folkloric creature and modern science guarantees a wide audience. A lively story, compelling from first page to last, and a good bet for a read-aloud.” School Library Journal

Both Sides of Time by Caroline Cooney

Both Sides of Time (Scholastic Classics)

Ages Y/A. “Though narrated in the stylized, spine-tingling voice that has become a Cooney trademark, this tale of time travel and romance lacks the momentum of the author’s best work (The Face on the Milk Carton; Driver’s Ed). While her decidedly unromantic boyfriend tinkers with a car engine, Annie wanders through the soon-to-be-demolished Stratton mansion, longing for a more gracious way of life. Suddenly she “falls through” 100 years-landing in 1895 just in time to witness (albeit hazily) a murder. The first person Annie meets is Hiram “Strat” Stratton, slated to inherit both the mansion and the family fortune if he marries his plain but sweet and devoted cousin Harriett. Annie and Strat fall head over heels in love, thus reproducing in the 19th century a triangle loosely similar to the situation created by Annie’s father, who, unbeknownst to Annie’s mother, is conducting an affair with a co-worker. Along with the murder, the various affairs of the heart provide fodder for almost requisite musings on the position of women then and now. Constrained by the novel’s black-and-white approach, the truly intriguing social issues raised here never acquire real urgency. Ages 12-up.” Publishers Weekly

For All Time by Caroline Cooney

For All Time

Ages Y/A. “The time-travel series that began with Both Sides of Time adds another breathlessly romantic whirl through the centuries. Experienced time-traveler and 20th-century high-schooler Annie ventures into New York City to see an exhibit of Egyptian art in which she hopes to find a photograph of Strat, her lost 19th-century love. With any luck, seeing Strat’s image will magically jolt Annie back through time. The jolting works a bit too well: instead of stopping in Strat’s era, Annie journeys all the way to ancient Egypt, where she is taken in (a la Moses in the bulrushes) by the pious yet independent-minded Renifer. Meanwhile, back in the 19th century, feisty Camilla Mateusz disguises herself as a young man and goes to work for a private detective. Assigned to hunt down Strat on behalf of his evil father, Camilla ends up in Egypt, at the dig where Strat works as a photographer. Narrated in the author’s characteristically breezily, intimate style, a series of swoopy, swoony plot twists links the various characters and time periods. Although the flap copy indicates that this installation will conclude the series, its end (featuring Annie’s nascent relationship with Strat’s great-grandnephew) certainly doesn’t rule out a sequel. Ages 12-up.” School Library Journal

This is actually the fourth book in the series, the others being Out of Time, and Both Sides of Time.

David Brin’s Out of Time: Tiger in Sky by Sheila Finch

David Brin's Out of Time Tiger in Sky (David Brin's Out of Time)

Ages 9-12. “In the world of comets far out on the Oort Cloud, impossible for adults to teleport to in the year 2345, children can become heroes. An entire space station run by teens and children, tracking and deflecting wayward comments, is beseiged by a strange alien life form called Thogs. Though these cute little one-celled furry balls are harmless singly, they reproduce rapidly and combine to be deadly to electronics and humans. Readers will side with Jerry, 15, and Nan, 14, abducted from our time to help in this emergency unrecognized as dangerous by the children running the space station. Jerry with his scientific mind and Nan with her practical leadership must use their wits and their reasoning to draw logical conclusions, make quick decisions, judge character and think up creative solutions to combat the Thogs, with the help of a saber-tooth tiger imported from extinction, and their vast, talking computer library. I like best the line: “Thanks, Library. You’ve given me a lot to think about.” Indeed. True in all times.” Amazon Customer Review

David Brin, a well-known science fiction author, has created a framework for this Y/A series. The first volume, which we don’t have is Yanked! by Nancy Kress, and this one is followed by Game of Worlds by Roger MacBride Allen. This is one of the few true series by adult science fiction authors.

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Just Ella

Ages Y/A. “In Just Ella, Margaret Peterson Haddix puts a spin on the traditional tale of the glass slippers. In her version, Ella (sans “Cinder”) finds her own way to the ball (there was no fairy godmother, despite the rumors) and wins the heart of the prince. But now she is finding that life at the palace as Prince Charming’s betrothed is not as great as she thought it was going to be. In fact, it’s downright boring for a self-reliant and active girl to do needlework all day or listen to instructions on court etiquette from the strict and cold Madame Bisset. Worst of all, Ella is beginning to suspect that Charming’s beautiful blue eyes and golden hair are attached to a head with nothing in it. Her young tutor Jed, however, talks with her about serious things that really matter. Ella finally gets up the courage to announce to Charming that she doesn’t want to go through with the wedding, but when she finds herself locked in the dungeon she realizes it’s not that easy to walk away from a politically arranged marriage. In the end, as in all good fairy tales, our heroine and hero do manage to live happily ever after–but with a twist.

Fairy tale retellings are an entrancing form of young adult fiction, as they add psychological insight and turn events around for a surprising contemporary angle. Teens who enjoy this delightful revamping of an age-old story may also enjoy Donna Jo Napoli’s Spinners and Zel or the Newbery Honor book Ella Enchanted, by Gail Levine.” Amazon Reviews

Time Stops for No Mouse (Hermux Tantamoq Adventure) by Micheel Hoeye

A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure (Hermux Tantamoq Adventure)

Ages 9-12. “It’s impossible not to like Hermux Tantamoq, the watchmaking mouse. He relaxes in a flannel shirt printed with pictures of cheeses from around the world, he has a caged pet ladybug named Terfle, he writes endearing thank-you letters to the universe each night, and he has a big heart–a heart that aches for the fearless aviatrix Ms. Linka Perflinger, who unexpectedly visits his shop requesting an emergency rush repair of her wristwatch. Little does he know that this brief rendezvous with the jaunty adventuress will change his life forever. When a week goes by without word from her, he doesn’t know whether to be worried or angry. He drafts a slightly unpleasant, then desperate, then not-too-sweet, not-too-sour letter to her and awaits her response. Nothing. Even nasty encounters with his neighbor (the horribly garish and affected cosmetics tycoon Tucka Mertslin) and pleasant interludes with his artist friend Mirrin don’t distract him from his new heart-quickening obsession.

His worst fears start to cement when a yellow-eyed, thin-lipped, sharp-tongued rat comes to his shop and says with a dreadful smile, “I’ve come for Linka Perflinger’s watch.” Hermux isn’t about to fork over his beloved’s watch without a claim check, and ends up following the rat… all the way to Linka’s house! And, what’s this? Is she being kidnapped? The plot thickens as Hermux boldly enters her apartment (what has gotten into him?) and discovers a mysterious letter from Teulabonari and an overturned spicy-smelling plant. As he says to his ladybug that night, “This is the beginning of a new career for me. Either as a detective or a jailbird. Only time will tell. If it turns out to be the latter I will be asking you for hints on decorating my cage.” Soon he begins to make a connection with these strange clues and the cosmetics mogul Tucka, who pulls him into her scheme to create eternal youth in a bottle (to be taken internally).

Suffice it to say that gentle Hermux gets in way over his head with his detective work and proceeds to have fur-raising encounters involving spies, thieves, killers, betrayal, the Fountain of Youth, snakes, calliopes, and dramatic rescue attempts. Throughout it all, however, Hermux continues to thank the world at large: “Thank you for corner grocers. For sandwiches and honey fizz. For scary news and narrow escapes and trolleys and shopping bags. Thank you for loyal pets and bold adventurers (and adventuresses).” Readers will be disarmed by Hermux’s earnest, inquisitive nature and zeal for life–and thoroughly engaged by the suspenseful action adventure. Highly recommended! (Ages 10 to adult). Amazon Reviews

Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse

Phoenix Rising

Ages 9-12. “Grade 6-9-A Vermont sheep farm seems an unlikely place to worry about radiation and its effects. However, Nyle Sumner, 13, and her grandmother are completely surrounded by the grotesque results of an accident at a nuclear-power plant. Because of the accident, Nyle’s cousin Bethany has radiation poisoning. Then Gran does the unthinkable: she takes in two fugitives who were exposed to the worst of the radiation, Miriam Trent and her son, Ezra, who is also sick with the poisoning. They stay in the back bedroom, the room marked by the death of Nyle’s mother and grandfather. Now it seems likely that it will be the place that Ezra dies too. The bleak setting of this book serves as a backdrop for the sensitive interaction among the main characters. Gran quietly acts on her principles, Nyle overcomes her own feelings to help Ezra, and her best friend, Muncie, forgives past wrongs for the sake of friendship. The characters overcome adversity, not through heroic deeds of epic proportions, but through simple acts of kindness. The message is poignant, but not overpowering. Hesse has displayed considerable skill in creating a contemporary tale of hope and love rising, like a phoenix, from destruction and despair.” School Library Journal

Kokopelli’s Flute by Will Hobbs

Kokopelli's Flute

Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8? This unique and compelling fantasy/adventure is set in northern New Mexico. The mood is created immediately as Tepary Jones, 13, sets out to view a total eclipse of the full moon from the ruins of a cliff dwelling near his family’s farm, but the quiet mystery of the Ancient Ones is shattered by illegal pothunters. Tep finds an eagle-bone flute they leave behind, and his adventures become complicated by a magic older than the ruins. He finds himself changing into a bushy-tailed woodrat each night, which both hinders and helps him to find the pothunters; develop drought-resistant seeds with his father; and save his mother from the hantavirus, a disease thought to be contracted from rodent droppings. Both parents are scientists and have encouraged their son to enjoy and respect nature, and to help preserve the variety of life on earth as well as the beauties of the past. They are both fully developed individuals who capture and hold readers’ interest. Even Dusty, the dog, has a rare personality. Hobbs vividly evokes the Four Corners region and blends fantasy with fact so smoothly that the resulting mix can be consumed without question. Subplots flow together naturally, and ancient stories and sensibilities become one with modern lives. Outstanding characters, plot, mood, and setting combine in this satisfying and memorable book.” School Library Journal

Indigo by Alice Hoffman


Ges 9-12. “Fans of Alice Hoffman’s first novella for children, Aquamarine, will be thrilled to discover Indigo, another watery tale that blends fantasy with reality in a surprising coming-of-age quest. Thirteen-year-old Martha and her best friends, brothers nicknamed Trout and Eel for their fishy tendencies and webbed fingers and toes, long to escape from their dull, dry town. Their ambivalent feelings about running away, though, are reinforced when a fierce storm interrupts their journey and helps them begin to answer their questions about who they are “at the deepest core”–and who they will become. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time for Hoffman to develop her characters here, and an implausibly pat denouement may leave the reader wishing the book were longer–or shorter–but the elements of friendship, loss, and hope will come through for those who take it for the parable it is. (Ages 10 to 14). Amazon Reviews

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (Firebird)

Ages 9-12. “Fans of the Redwall series eager to sink their teeth into the latest adventure from Brian Jacques will be surprised to find that the cover of Castaways of the Flying Dutchman belies the contents of this fine mystery novel. A handsome young lad, sporting a billowing, ripped shirt, gazes off into the distance, while behind him a ship founders on an eerily tempestuous sea. It’s true, the first (brief) section of the book does tell the tale of a stowaway orphan on the legendary, ill-fated ship, the Flying Dutchman. And that’s as swashbuckling a story as they come. But as soon as the boy and his newly adopted dog are tossed into the sea during a ferocious storm, the book takes a sharp turn. Ben and his dog, Ned, given eternal life by a sympathetic angel, now set out to “bring confidence and sympathy, help others to change their fate.” Two centuries later, they arrive in the village of Chapelvale, which is filled with quirky, affectionate citizens, who immediately welcome the mysterious but kindhearted and brave boy and his dog. The impending destruction of their village by the blustering, bloated Obadiah Smithers, an industrial speculator, propels Ben and his new friends into a thrilling search for a solution, involving ancient Byzantine gold chalices, mysterious coded messages, and some fierce tete-a-tetes with hired bullies. Illustrator Ian Schoenherr’s intriguing line drawings at the beginning of each chapter hint at the upcoming clues to the mystery. Redwall fans be warned: you’ll find no warrior mice here. But readers will find a satisfying story that never leaves a doubt as to the ability of good to triumph over evil. (Ages 9 to 12).” School Library Journal

A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones

A Tale of Time City

Ages 9-12. “Grade 6 Up. High-spirited time travel fantasy that is sure to delight its readers. When 11-year-old Vivian Smith is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to end up in the peaceful British countryside. Instead she is kidnapped by two youthful time travellers who mistake her for the “Time Lady” and whisk her off to Time City, a richly imagined alternative world which exists in time but not in history. Time City observers, Viv learns, have reason to believe that the Time Lady, the wife of the founder of Time Citya mysterious Merlin figureis at large in history and is busily altering it, thereby endangering not only the historical world but Time City itself. If Vivian is to return to her own world and time, it will be necessary for her to help her kidnappers foil the Time Lady first. That almost nothingwhether person or incidentis precisely what it appears to be at first encounter both complicates Vivian’s task and delights readers. This ability to surprise has become a Diana Wynne Jones signature, as have her unflagging inventiveness and almost uncanny ability to create imaginary worlds of resounding reality, a capacity based in part on her attention to detail and in part on her capacity to create believable and sympathetic characters. All of these gifts are in abundant evidence in A Tale of Time City which is, accordingly, absolutely first-rate entertainment. And to her fans, this will be one of the few things about her new book which will come as no surprise!” School Library Journal

Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl (an ALA Best Book for Young Adults)

Woman in the Wall

Ages Y/A. “Anna is more than shy. She is nearly invisible. Most of the time her mother and sisters don’t see, hear, or pay attention to her. At seven, terrified of the prospect of school, Anna retreats within their enormous Victorian house, and builds a house of her own: passageways and hidden rooms become her world. As the years go by, her family forgets she ever existed. Then a mysterious note is thrust through a crack in the wall, and Anna must decide whether or not to come out of hiding. Her life may seem like a fantasy – but there is nothing more real.” Book description

“Kindl, who brought readers an unforgettable, offbeat protaganoist in her first book, does it again in this not-quite -fantasy…How Anna finds herself and her family again is a tour de force of extraordinary drma and wicked humor.” Kirkus Reviews, pointer review

School Library Journal gave this a somewhat poor review, but it’s obvious others didn’t agree, based on the reviews and awards.

Shipwreck (Island, Book 1) by Gordon Korman

Shipwreck (Island, Book 1)

Ages 9-12. “Being on a sailboat in the warm waters of the Pacific with a bunch of kids the same age could sound like a vacation dream come true. However, when this month-long trip is part of a strict program called Charting a New Course, and each participant–or inmate–is there for disciplinary problems, things don’t look quite as rosy. And then, of course, when a big storm strikes, and the captain and first mate disappear, and the boat seems to be sinking… the whole idea becomes less and less appealing. Still, for Luke, Will, Lyssa, J.J., Ian, and Charla, this is the way the cards have been dealt, and whatever problems they may have with each other, however much they don’t want to be there, it’s time to start working together to save their own lives.

The first book of Gordon Korman’s exciting new trilogy introduces readers to the six troubled kids who will become unwitting partners in their desperate bid for survival. A steely captain and a gruff first mate who calls every boy “Archie” and every girl “Veronica” keep order and attempt to turn their charges into young sailors–an effort that may pay off more than any of them ever anticipate. A hint of menace permeates Shipwreck, along with humor, angst, and mystery. Readers won’t want to miss the continuation of the riveting saga in books 2 and 3, Survival and Escape. (Ages 9 to 13).” Amazon Reviews

The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky

The Capture (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book 1)

Ages 9-12. “Grade 4-8-At the beginning of this new series, a young Barn Owl named Soren lives peacefully with his family, participating in rituals like the First Meat ceremony, and enjoying legends about the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, knightly owls “who would rise each night into the blackness and perform noble deeds.” After he falls from his nest, his idyllic world transforms into one of confusion and danger, as he is captured by evil chick-snatching owls and taken to the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Soren and his new friend Gylfie work to develop strategies for withstanding “moon blinking” (brainwashing), while secretly striving to learn how to fly. The legends of Ga’Hoole help them to survive, and they are able to escape to find their families and warn the world about the dangers of St. Aegolius. While the owls have human characteristics, such as Soren’s determination and Gylfie’s creative ideas, their actions and culture reflect Lasky’s research into owl behaviors and species. The story’s fast pace, menacing bad guys, and flashes of humor make this a good choice for reluctant readers, while the underlying message about the power of legends provides a unifying element and gives strong appeal for fantasy fans.” Amazon Reviews

Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore) by Ursula K. LeGuin

Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore)

Ages Y/A. “Gifts, in the context of Le Guin’s newest novel, inspire fear more often than gratitude. But this book is a gift in the purest sense, as the renowned fantasist’s admirers have waited 14 years since the release of Tehanu (1990) for another full-length young adult novel. Providing an intriguing counterpoint to the epic third-person voice of Le Guin’s Earthsea novels, this quieter, more intimate tale is narrated by its central character, Orrec. Born into a feud-riven community where the balance of power depends on inherited, extrasensory “gifts,” Orrec’s gift of Unmaking (which is wielded at a glance and is as fearsome as it sounds) manifests late and strangely, forcing him to don a blindfold to protect those he loves from his dire abilities. The blindfold becomes a source of escalating tension between Orrec and his stern father, and its eventual removal serves as a powerful metaphor for the transition from dependent youngster to self-possessed, questioning young adult. Although intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory, Orrec’s story is also rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics. One would expect nothing less from the author whose contributions to literature have earned her a World Fantasy Award, a Nebula Award, and, most recently, a Margaret Edwards Award for lifetime achievement.” Booklist starred review

LeGuin is one of the top fantasy writers in the genre and it is nice to see a quality book, not a throw-away for teens, come from her pen. One could only wish there were more who followed her example.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Two Princesses of Bamarre

Ages 9-12. “After stealing the hearts of middle-grade girls with her delightful Newbery Honor-winning Cinderella retelling, Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine here creates a fairy tale of her own and gives it a characteristic grrrl-power twist. Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys–along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending. Young fans of princess stories will gobble this one up. (Ages 10 to 14).” Amazon Reviews

The Merchant of Death (Pendragon Series #1) by D.J. MacHale

The Merchant of Death (Pendragon Series #1)

Ages 10 and UP. “In Pendragon: The Merchant of Death, D.J. MacHale, the creator of several popular television series and Afterschool Specials, transplants the Pendragon name from Arthurian legend to modern-day junior high school. Fourteen- year-old Bobby Pendragon has it all; he’s smart, popular, and a star basketball player in quiet Stony Brook, Connecticut. But a visit from Uncle Press soon topples all of that as Bobby learns that he is a Traveler, someone who can ride “flumes” through time and space. Bobby lands in Denduron, a medieval world where the gentle Milago are enslaved by the Bedoowan, and it’s Bobby’s job to free them. He reluctantly teams up with Loor–a girl his age from the warrior-territory of Zadaa–and other Travelers, recounting his adventures in journals that are magically transported back to his friends Mark and Courtney in Stony Brook. These first-person journals at times feel contrived–they’re riddled with terms like “coolio” and “bizarro” and gnarly descriptions of vile sights and smells–but the book’s thumping story soon scrubs away all such concern. The Merchant of Death keeps the pages flipping with steady action and near-constant mortal peril for its heroes, promising that both this and future volumes in the Pendragon series should be eagerly devoured. (Ages 10 and older). Amazon Reviews

Cut by Patricia McCormick


Ages Y/A. “Burdened with the pressure of believing she is responsible for her brother’s illness, 15-year-old Callie begins a course of self-destruction that leads to her being admitted to Sea Pines, a psychiatric hospital the “guests” refer to as Sick Minds. Although initially she refuses to speak, her individual and group therapy sessions trigger memories and insights. Slowly, she begins emerging from her miserable silence, ultimately understanding the role her dysfunctional family played in her brother’s health crisis.

Patricia McCormick’s first novel is authentic and deeply moving. Callie suffers from a less familiar teen problem–she cuts herself to relieve her inner frustrations and guilt. The hope and hard-won progress that comes at the conclusion of the novel is believable and heartening for any teen reader who feels alone in her (or his) angst. Along with Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and E.L. Konigsburg’s Silent to the Bone, McCormick’s Cut expertly tackles an unusual response to harrowing adolescent trouble. (Ages 14 and older).” Amazon Reviews

Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay

Saffy's Angel

Ages 9-12. “McKay’s (The Exiles; Dog Friday) sparkling novel once again introduces an eccentric, entirely engaging British family whose members readers will immediately embrace. The Casson parents, both artists delightfully distracted Eve paints in her backyard shed and comically distant Bill spends weekdays painting in his London studio named their children from a paint color chart: Caddy (for Cadmium), Indigo and Rose. All but Saffron, “so fierce and alone,” who learns at the start of the story that she is actually the Italian-born daughter of Eve’s twin sister, who died in a car crash when Saffy was three. Eve explains that Grandfather had been visiting Saffy and Saffy’s mother in Siena at the time of the accident, and delivered the girl to the Cassons, who adopted her. Now elderly and catatonic after two heart attacks, beloved Grandfather sits in silence when he visits the family, as the children hover around him, endearingly sharing news of their lives. When Grandfather dies, “They felt as if they had lost a battle they might have won if only they had tried a bit harder.”The man leaves something to each of the children: Caddy receives his crumbling cottage on a cliff in Wales; Indigo his aged Bentley (which Bill dismisses as an “absolute wreck”); Rose his remaining cash (L144). Attached to the will by a rusty pin is a note scrawled in a shaky hand, “For Saffron. Her angel in the garden. The stone angel.” As McKay shapes an intriguing plot around Saffy’s angel, the Cassons’ capricious capers and understated, droll dialogue will keep readers chuckling. Especially entertaining subplots include: reckless Caddy’s driving lessons with her patient instructor (who fabricates a girlfriend to keep his flirtatious student in check), aspiring polar explorer Indigo’s sessions sitting on his bedroom windowsill, hoping to cure his vertigo, and Rose’s efforts to create works of art using such unlikely materials as “the entire contents of the refrigerator” and the pound coins that constitute her inheritance. An unlikely friendship with Sarah (“the wheelchair girl”), a neighbor, brings out another side of Saffy as the two attempt to find her angel in Siena, and Saffy makes all kinds of discoveries, including her love for the Cassons. The author blends a generous heaping of humor and joy with a dose of pain in a memorable portrait of a vastly human family.The only disappointment for readers may be that McKay’s affecting conclusion arrives too soon. They’ll close this book hoping for the Casson clan’s swift return. Ages 8-12.” Publishers Weekly

Standing Up to Mr. O. by Claudia Mills

Standing Up to Mr. O

Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-7-Seventh-grader Maggie McIntosh is a good student and loves biology class. She especially loves the teacher, Mr. O’Neill. She feels she can talk to Mr. O. about anything, except her reluctance to do dissections in class. The other kids don’t seem to mind killing worms, but Maggie feels it is wrong. When she takes a stand and refuses to do the dissection, Jake, a good-looking troublemaker, is her only ally. Later, her lab partner stands by her when he feels that her anti-dissection essay should have won a prize and Mr. O. was one of the judges. Maggie’s inner struggle is well drawn as she attempts to articulate her beliefs and what she is willing to fight for. Her pain in disappointing, and possibly alienating, her favorite teacher is believable. Her arguments with her friends provide other viewpoints in a natural way without any didacticism. The tension is maintained until Maggie and Jake are caught “rescuing” the frogs that are next to undergo dissection. Maggie’s fight to follow her conscience will hold readers, and her growth as a person will be applauded even when she makes mistakes. Her interest in Jake forces Maggie to make other decisions, all of which help her define her beliefs. A thought-provoking book.” School Library Journal

War Horse by Micahel Morpurgo

War Horse

Like Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful (2004), this searing World War I novel reveals the unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides fighting against people who are just like them. The story is told by an English farm horse, Joey, and, as in Cynthia Kadahota’s Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam (2007), the first-person narrative blends the animal’s physical experience with what men say. On the farm, Joey has close ties to Albert, who is too young to join up when his dad first sells Joey to the army. Charging into battle under machine-gun fire, Joey is captured by the Germans, who train him to haul ambulances and guns. His reunion with Albert in battle is sentimental and contrived, but the viewpoint brings close the fury of the thundering guns, the confusion, and the kindness of enemies who come together in No Man’s Land to save the wounded horse. Joey’s ability to understand the language wherever he is–England, France, Germany–reinforces the novel’s antiwar message, and the terse details speak eloquently about peace.” School Library Journal

This book my youngest daughter, who loves animals, stopped half-way through. She was devastated by the picture of war and the horse that was painted. I eventually talked her into finishing it, on the grounds that she needed to due the horse justice, and she did. It turned out she loved it, although she still finds it sad – even though the ending turned out fine. We have an old battered paperback. It’s nice to see that there is a new hardcover edition – it deserves it!

Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli


Ages 12 and up. “Donna Jo Napoli thoughtfully and poetically reexamined the story of Hansel and Gretel from the witch’s point of view in The Magic Circle. Here, she retells the Greek myth of the Sirens, whose sweet, beckoning singing caused countless shipwrecks. But did the Sirens (who Napoli imagines as mermaids) really mean for the sailors to perish? Or were these sultry singers cursed themselves? In Napoli’s tale, because they are half-human, the 10 Sirens are doomed to lead short mortal lives–unless they can convince men to become their mates. But after witnessing a shipwreck in which the survivors kill one of her sisters, 17-year-old Sirena decides she would rather lose her chance at eternal life than trick a human into loving her. She vows to live alone on “an island where the first rays of sun bring sight to blind eyes…. I am going there to find new sight. I will wipe from my brain the sights I have seen and start over.” Little does she know that due to a jealous goddess, a sea-serpent bite, and a dead hero, a man will come to her island and love her for herself, not just her song. Sirena is the perfect teenage heroine–questioning authority and falling in love no matter what the consequences. In creating this beautiful story, Napoli brings mythology alive for today’s young adults. (Ages 12 to 15). Amazon Reviews

The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #6) by Frank Peretti

The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #6)

Ages 9-12. “Lila and Jay Cooper have joined their dad on a mission to the jungles of Central America, where a group of American treasure hunters have already become the victims of the deadly curse of Toco-Rey. Before Dr. Cooper can solve the mystery, his children are kidnapped and his integrity is put to the test. What price will he pay to get his children back? Is the treasure in the burial tomb of Kachi-Tochetin really worth more than gold? Follow the Coopers as they explore unknown ruins, plunge through dangerous jungles, face hostile natives, and battle ancient evil forces. Will their courage and faith in God bring them through? Book description

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (winner of the Newberry Medal, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and an ALA notable Book)

The Westing Game (Puffin Modern Classics)

Ages 9-12. “One fateful day, sixteen people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. To their surprise, the will turns out to be a contest, challenging the heirs to find out who among them is Westing’s murderer. Forging ahead, through blizzrds, burgalries, and bombings, the game is on. Only two people hold all the clues. One of them is a Westing heir. The other is you!” Book description

“A supersharp mystery…Confoundingly clever, and very funny.” Booklist, starred review.

Downsiders by Neal Shusterman


Ages 12 and up. “Meticulous 14-year-old Lindsay isn’t exactly thrilled about moving to the chaos that she believes is New York City. Her flighty “career college student” mom, now divorced, has dumped her on her city engineer dad, “a man who lived his life twenty minutes behind schedule and in a perpetual state of apology.” Lindsay is certain that nothing better awaits her than prep school boredom and constant battles with her evil stepbrother Todd. But she is wrong. Quite by accident, Lindsay discovers an unusual boy named Talon who resides in a secret city beneath New York–a kind of underground Oz called the Downside. Talon and Lindsey are fascinated by the differences in their dual worlds and soon grow equally fascinated with each other. But when Lindsay’s dad’s construction project hits a snag that reveals the Downside, it is not only the blooming relationship that hangs in the balance, but the entire future of the Downside as well.

Downsiders is both funny and compelling. But while Lindsay and Talon’s observations of their distinct environments is humorous (Talon compares Lindsay’s French braid to a “gator’s tail” and, despite Talon’s explanation that “time is of low importance,” Lindsay still thinks it’s strange that Talon wears his watch around his ankle), Neal Shusterman also uses their relationship to illustrate how much a particular culture both shapes our identity and affects how we view people from backgrounds other than our own. This call to look beneath the surface is cleverly and subtly woven through an original story with broad appeal. (Ages 10 to 16).” School Library Journal

“History and urban folklore are wittily combined in this well-wrought fantasy, centering on an alternative society that thrives undisturbed in the subterranean recesses of New York City.” Publishers Weekly

Sasquatch by Roland Smith


Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8. When Dylan accompanies his father to a meeting of the Bigfoot International society, he’s sure that it’s just another of Dad’s odd hobbies. Soon after, his father joins the society’s sinister leader in an expedition to hunt down a Sasquatch specimen, and Dylan decides to go along. He hooks up with an old hermit who seems to be familiar with the area and the legend. When it appears that someone is following the old man, Dylan begins to suspect that his companion may be hiding a mysterious past. In addition, evidence that the Sasquatch may be more than a legend begins to accumulate and Dylan realizes he must prevent the society from killing them. With an exciting climax set amid a Mount Saint-Helens eruption, this fast-moving, suspenseful story provides lots of action and appeal.” School Library Journal

Cayman Gold: Lost Treasure of Devils Grotto (Harbor Lights Series) (A MacGregor Family Adventure) by Richard Trout

Lost Treasure of Devils Grotto (Harbor Lights Series)

Ages 9-12 and up. “Thrust into a race for lost Spanish treasure, four teenagers rely on their courage and scuba diving skills to survive. Sinister international forces plot to destroy a natural barrier reef in order to stake a claim to gold doubloons and Colombian emeralds hidden for nearly four hundred years.

Amid the exotic waters and beaches of the Cayman Islands, this tale conveys an exciting mix of pirates, strange and timeless creatures of the sea, and the hospitable peoples of the Caribbean. Fast boats, mini-subs, undersea scooters, hurricanes, and even teen romance accentuate the fast tempo of this techno-thriller, the first in a series.

The MacGregor family’s respect for life and the sanctity of the environment, along with their thirst for adventure, drive the teens through a series of challenging and surprising events. Along with page-turning excitement, Cayman Gold delivers gentle doses of history and geography along the way.” Book description.

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen (Winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Best Children’s Msytery)

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Ages 9-12. “Look out Harriet the Spy! Here comes Sammy Keyes, a resourceful, brave, too-curious-for-her-own-good young sleuth who gets into trouble with her grandmother’s binoculars. Sammy was just killing time when she looked across the avenue with the binoculars. She certainly didn’t imagine that she would see a thief in the act of stealing something from one of the rooms at the Heavenly Hotel. The worst part is that the thief saw Sammy spying! And what did “smart” Sammy do then? She waved at the thief! Now Sammy is in loads of trouble. Can she solve the mystery of the hotel thief before the thief finds her and before the police discover that she has been living illegally with her grandmother? (Oh, don’t ask–it’s just another stressful situation in this young detective’s life.) Teens of all ages, shapes, and persuasions (especially reluctant readers) will adore Sammy and her crazy adventures. She is much more than a brilliant detective: Sammy Keyes, who is curious in all the right ways, is the sort of person you’d love to have as a friend.” Amazon Reviews

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin (an Edgar Ward Winner and ALA Best Book for Young Adults, School Library Journal Starred Review, and Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review).

Double Helix

Ages Y/A. “Grade 9 Up–Eli Samuels’ mother is dying of Huntington’s Disease and he is aware that it might be in his own future. Yet his father seems certain Eli does not have the fateful genetic marker and maintains a secretive silence. An excellent science student, Eli is hired to work at the famed Dr. Quincy Wyatt’s lab, foregoing college and defying his father. In some way, Wyatt is tied to Eli’s parents and to their genetic mystery. Thus Nancy Werlin has set the stage for a suspenseful thriller whose seamless boundary between science and fiction keeps listeners totally involved (Dial, 2004)… Teens interested in science will be caught up in the intrigue as Eli pieces together clues and redefines himself and his relationships with both his father and girlfriend. His sexual relationship with Viv is apparent although not a major part of the story. The themes of genetic engineering and bioethics will interest teens and appeal to the same audience as Ann Halam’s Dr. Franklin’s Island (Random, 2002) although Werlin’s plot is much more believable.” School Library Journal

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

The Bar Code Tattoo (Point Thriller)

Ages Y/A. “Grade 6 Up – It’s 2025, and the thing to do on your 17th birthday is to get a bar code tattoo, which is used for everything from driver’s licenses to shopping. Kayla, almost 17, resists because she hates the idea of being labeled. Then the tattoos begin to drive people to commit suicide, Kayla’s father among them, and she soon finds out that the markings contain detailed information about their bearers, including their genetic code. When the government, controlled by a corporation called Global-1, makes the tattoo mandatory, Kayla joins a teen resistance movement and falls for a gorgeous guy, unaware that he’s a double agent. She discovers she has some psychic ability and has confusing visions of future events. Forced to run away after being implicated in her mother’s accidental death, she eventually joins other resisters hiding in the Adirondack Mountains, finds romance with an old friend, and learns to harness her psychic powers to fight Global-1 and fulfill her visions. Like M. T. Anderson’s Feed (Candlewick, 2002), this novel examines issues of individuality versus conformity and individual freedom versus governmental control. Because it also deals with the ethics of enhanced genetics and cloning, it tries to cover too much territory and relies too heavily on coincidence and far-fetched plotting. Stick with Feed.” School Library Journal

Growing Wings by Laurel Winter

Growing Wings

Ages 9-12. “When 11-year-old Linnet discovers she is growing wings, her bewilderment is confounded by her mother’s obvious distress. As it turns out, her mother also grew wings on the cusp of adolescence, only to have them cut off by her mother. Linnet’s life seems to speed up rapidly after her shocking discovery; she soon finds herself alone on her estranged grandmother’s doorstep, and shortly thereafter, at a type of secret residence for winged people like herself. As she tries to adapt to a life she never expected, Linnet struggles with desires common to anyone who has ever wanted desperately to fit in, while simultaneously seeking to embrace uniqueness.

This unusual novel will strike a chord with young readers who long to both blend in and stand out. Linnet is a sensitive, strong, fallible girl, easy to relate to (in spite of her unusual physical traits). Her adventures as she tries to learn how to fly (just having wings isn’t enough–it takes hard work and practice), make friends, find her mother, and, with her winged community, avoid being noticed by the media, make for an entirely new kind of science fiction-fantasy story–one that soars.” Amazon Reviews

Dealing with Dragons: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One by Patricia C. Wrede

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One

Ages 9-12. “Cimorene, princess of Linderwall, is a classic tomboy heroine with classic tomboy strengths–all of which are perceived by those around her as defects: “As for the girl’s disposition–well, when people were being polite, they said she was strong-minded. When they were angry or annoyed with her, they said she was as stubborn as a pig.” Cimorene, tired of etiquette and embroidery, runs away from home and finds herself in a nest of dragons. Now, in Cimorene’s world–a world cleverly built by author Patricia C. Wrede on the shifting sands of myriad fairy tales–princesses are forever being captured by dragons. The difference here is that Cimorene goes willingly. She would rather keep house for the dragon Kazul than be bored in her parents’ castle. With her quick wit and her stubborn courage, Cimorene saves the mostly kind dragons from a wicked plot hatched by the local wizards, and worms her way into the hearts of young girls everywhere.

While the characters are sometimes simplistically drawn, adults and children will have fun tracing the sources of the various fairy tales Wrede plunders for her story. Dealing with Dragons is the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and most young readers will want to devour the entire series. (Ages 10 and older).” Amazon Reviews

Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville

Armageddon Summer

Ages Y/A. “On the heels of Paula Danziger and Ann Martin’s P.S. Longer Letter Later (Children’s Forecasts, Feb. 16) comes another novel (on a very different subject) co-written by a pair of popular YA authors. The two alternating narrators, Marina and Jed, are both children of religious fanatics, so-called Believers who dedicate themselves to the Reverend Beelson. The Believers have brought their families to the top of a mountain to prepare for the end of the world, only two weeks away, according to Beelson. Marina and Jed are instantly attracted to each other, even though Marina believes the world really will end and Jed thinks the whole thing is a hoax. Their different points of view?and occasional interleaved “memos” from FBI agents, excerpts from sermons, etc., yield a multidimensional description of cult dynamics and dangers. As Beelson predicts, there is a type of Armageddon on July 27, 2000 (Marina’s 14th birthday), but, as Marina sadly concludes, it is one “made by man. Not by God.” Yolen’s and Coville’s styles and narrative voices, though different, complement each other well, so that both protagonists emerge with the same depth and the action builds smoothly and steadily. Providing action, romance and a provocative message, this novel could well get teens talking. Ages 12-up.” Publishers Weekly

This is the end of part on of our teenage bookshelf. Another one will be forthcoming. Many of these books have others in the series, so if you like one, check out for more by the same author in that series, or just other ones. Read, have fun, enjoy!

Teen Reads 2 – A collection of newer books from the most popular genres

Here is Part II of the Teen Reads post.  The same “conditons” apply as are in the earlier post (see Teen Reads – A Collection of newer books from the most popular genres).  There’s a lot of stuff here I wouldn’t mind reading, if my budget allowed, or our library had a better collection.  Y/A – teen is sadly lacking.  Something as a parent you should check out – and is it’s like ours, get involved with your local Friends of the library and see what can be done about it – it’s important to keep those kids reading : )

Maximum Ride : The Angel Experiment (Teen’Top Ten’ Awards) by James Patterson


 Y/A.  “Grade 7 Up–A group of genetically enhanced kids who can fly and have other unique talents are on the run from part-human, part-wolf predators called Erasers in this exciting SF thriller that’s not wholly original but is still a compelling read. Max, 14, and her adopted family–Fang and Iggy, both 13, Nudge, 11, Gazzy, 8, and Angel, 6–were all created as experiments in a lab called the School. Jeb, a sympathetic scientist, helped them escape and, since then, they’ve been living on their own. The Erasers have orders to kill them so the world will never find out they exist. Max’s old childhood friend, Ari, now an Eraser leader, tracks them down, kidnaps Angel, and transports her back to the School to live like a lab rat again. The youngsters are forced to use their special talents to rescue her as they attempt to learn about their pasts and their destinies. The novel ends with the promise that this journey will continue in the sequel. As with Patterson’s adult mystery thrillers, in-depth characterization is secondary to the fast-moving plot. The narrative alternates between Max’s first-person point-of-view and that of the others in the third person, but readers don’t get to know Max very well. The only major flaw is that the children sound like adults most of the time. This novel is reminiscent of David Lubar’s Hidden Talents (Tor, 1999) and Ann Halam’s Dr. Franklin’s Island (Random, 2002).  School Library Journal

Maximum Ride Book #2: School’s Out – Forever by James Patterson

Y/A.  “The winged children series: These books are wonderful for ages 13+. A 50 year old young man got me addicted to this series as well as James Patterson’s many other books. The story takes you through the trials of living in our world and being drastically different. From the school run by scientists, to the children they meet in their travels, the love and innocence of the young, versus the jaded and curious at any cost adults. Take the ride, read the series. You won’t want to put the book down til you’ve read each and every page of all the series and want for the next book to hurry up and be available.

Thank you James Patterson for an escape from my reality. Reads much better than any of the crap on tv today. Except of course for the “Women’s Murder Club” Kudos!!!”  Amazon Customer Review

Maximum Ride #3: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson

Y/A.  “The end is near . . . or is it? So reads the tagline of Book 3 of the Maximum Ride series, suggesting that Patterson’s best-selling series for YAs may expand beyond the trilogy originally planned—news that will be greeted enthusiastically by fans of its 14-year-old heroine. Slated for extermination by their scientist creators, rebel-mutant Max and other members of her flock, all of whom possess bird DNA and functioning wings, are on the lam again, their mission to save the world from a eugenics plot. Affection for the dauntless characters and misadventures that build on universal yearnings about sprouting wings and taking flight will hold readers.”  Booklist 

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh

 “Jack Perdu, a ninth grade classics prodigy, lives his with father on the Yale University campus. Smart and introverted, Jack spends most of his time alone, his nose buried in a book. But one winter evening, a near-fatal accident changes Jack’s life forever. His father sends him to see a mysterious doctor in New York City–a place Jack hasn’t visited since his mother died there eight years ago. In Grand Central Terminal, he meets Euri, a girl who offers to show him the train station’s hidden places–the ones only true urban explorers really know about. Eight flights below the train station, however, Jack discovers more than just hidden tracks and mysterious staircases. He has stumbled upon New York’s ghostly underworld. This, Jack believes, is his chance to see his mother again. But as secrets about Euri’s past are revealed, so are the true reasons for Jack’s visit to the underworld.Masterfully told, The Night Tourist weaves Classical mythology together with New York’s secret history and modern-day landscape to create a magical adventure, full of unexpected twists and page-turning action.”  Amazon

Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale

Adult, Y/A.  “Adult/High School—Thirty-three-year-old Jane Hayes, who has a fairly serious addiction to the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice, inherits a trip to Pembrook Park, Kent, England, the location of a resort where guests dress, talk, think, and act in ways that Jane Austen would approve. Refusing to lie about her age, even on vacation in a place right out of Austen’s England, Jane finds herself quickly overcoming the obsession with Mr. Darcy that may very well have jeopardized her 13 “relationships” over the years. Left to walk in last to dinner, mildly obsessed with one of the hotel’s gardeners, and annoyed by another guest’s overeager attempts to bag a man, Jane is eager to return to Manhattan. Then she decides to give it all one more chance, since Great-Aunt Carolyn did see fit to pay for the entire vacation. Hale does a lovely job with the tale of a single woman who would appreciate a genuine shot at love. The book is well written, quite readable, and the myriad characters, especially those working at the resort, are quirkily funny. Given the immense popularity of Jane Austen’s novels among teen girls, this book definitely has cross-over appeal.”  School Libray Journal

The Red Queen’s Daughter by Jacqueline Kolosov

Y/A.  “I approached this book with some hesitation, but found that I could not put it down after the first chapter!
This book would be a wonderful gift for any young girl (or woman). The heroine must learn to think on her feet, analyze situations and problems, and be politically correct at the same time. Other virtues in the book are personal responsibility, compassion and accountability.  I really enjoyed reading about this time period as well. I had never previously heard of Kathrine Parr or her daughter, and this was a wonderful education.  Kolosov has created a marvelously detailed universe with very well rounded and believable characters. The plot is nicely paced and continues to pick up steam as the book progresses.  I highly recommend this book – its fun, intelligent, witty and most important – magical.”  Amazon Customer Review

Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde

Y/A.  “Grade 6-10?Kerry Nowicki, 16, never dreamed that vampires lived in her little town of Brockport, New York, let alone that she would become involved with a handsome one named Ethan. When she makes a late-night trip back to the laundromat to retrieve her little brother’s stuffed bear, she interrupts the murderous plans of a vigilante committee that claims Ethan is one of the undead. Kerry tries to help him, so they assume that she is a vampire, too. When the two young people escape, Kerry’s brother and father are kidnapped in retaliation, and a complicated game of cat-and-mouse follows. During the often harrowing experiences that follow, Kerry proves to be an intelligent, level-headed young woman. She recognizes the danger of her attraction to Ethan, but knows that she must trust him to help find her family. Ethan maintains the cunning and duplicity that readers might expect from a vampire. The plot is lively and intriguing, with an unexpected twist at the end. Readers might be tempted to compare this novel to Annette Curtis Klause’s The Silver Kiss (Delacorte, 1990), since many of the elements are similar. But the heroine of that story acts from a different motivation, making the books much different in terms of plot, theme, and tone. Companions of the Night should attract a loyal following of its own.?”  School Library Journal

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Y/A. Grade 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow is introduced to crank on a trip to visit her wayward father. Caught up in a fast-paced, frightening, and unfamiliar world, she morphs into “Bree” after she “shakes hands with the monster.” Her fearless, risk-taking alter ego grows stronger, “convincing me to be someone I never dreamed I’d want to be.” When Kristina goes home, things don’t return to normal. Although she tries to reconnect with her mother and her former life as a good student, her drug use soon takes over, leaving her “starving for speed” and for boys who will soon leave her scarred and pregnant. Hopkins writes in free-verse poems that paint painfully sharp images of Kristina/Bree and those around her, detailing how powerful the “monster” can be. The poems are masterpieces of word, shape, and pacing, compelling readers on to the next chapter in Kristina’s spiraling world. This is a topical page-turner and a stunning portrayal of a teen’s loss of direction and realistically uncertain future.  School Library Journal

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Mature Y/A.  “Grade 9 Up—Kristina Snow was a 17-year-old with high grades and a loving family. In Crank (S & S, 2004), one summer in California with a meth-addicted boyfriend destroys her life. Addicted, she’s raped, and goes back home to Reno pregnant. Glass picks up a year later. She lives with her mother and works at a 7–11. Depressed about her post-baby figure, she goes back on speed to lose weight. Her mother kicks her out and gains custody of the baby. She continues to spiral to the last page, which sets readers up for a third novel. Glass is even more terrifying than Crank in its utter hopelessness; meth’s power is permanent and Kristina is an addict whether she uses or not. Though her recount of events in the first book is dry and self-indulgent, the pace snowballs as soon as she takes her first toke of rock meth, and one desperate, horrifying measure or decision follows another. Like Crank, this title is written in verse, but certainly not poetry. Hopkins’s writing is smooth and incisive, but her fondness for seemingly random forms is distracting and adds little to the power of the narrative. Minor characters are flat, and Kristina’s overblown self-pity elicits little empathy. The author tries but fails to present meth itself as a character; her descriptions of “the monster” are precious and overwritten. Kristina’s story is terrible, and even when she’s high, the narrative voice and mood are sobering. Teens, including reluctant readers, may appreciate the spare style and realism of Kristina’s unhappy second chapter.”  School Library Journal 

Hawksong: The Kiesha’ra: Volume One by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes 


Y/A.  “Grade 7-10-In this engaging fantasy, Danica Shardae is an avian shapeshifter. She is a princess of her people who, like the birds they become, is reserved and disciplined, yet full of passion. Her people have been at war with the serpiente, a people who shapeshift into serpent forms, for so many years that no one remembers how it all started. The hatred and bloodshed have taken a heavy toll on both sides, and Danica and Zane Cobriana, a prince among the serpiente, are determined to stop it, at any cost. He is the last of his line as is Danica and so he proposes that the avian and serpiente royalty meet at a neutral place and seek mediation to end the war. The mediator proposal-that Danica and Zane marry-is so crazy and repugnant a plan that both parties leave immediately. The young people, however, consider it in spite of the apparent lunacy, for it would mean an end to the fighting. But can they pull it off? And can they keep the dissenters among them from destroying this shred of a chance for peace? This book takes the Romeo and Juliet angle to new heights and is dealt with in a completely original way. It’s a love story and a plea for peace, and an intriguing look at a world that is teeming with tension and danger and beauty. Atwater-Rhodes has created a stunning adventure that draws readers in and leaves them begging for more.”  School Library Journal

Wyvernhail: The Kiesha’ra: Volume Five by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Y/A.  “HAI HAS ALWAYS been an outsider. With a falcon mother and a deceased cobra father, she is considered a mongrel by most, an ally by some, and a friend by few. Hai’s broken falcon wings are a painful reminder of the life she once led on the island of Ahnmik. And here in Wyvern’s Court, the avian and serpiente royal family keep their distance, refusing to acknowledge her cobra bloodline. They know that Hai’s magic is so volatile, she can barely control it, and images of the past and future threaten to overwhelm her.

When Hai’s cousin, Oliza Shardae Cobriana, abdicates the throne of Wyvern’s Court, Hai has visions only of destruction: the serpiente king Salem, dying in her arms; the dutiful guard, Nicias, unable to save a generation of children; and Wyvern’s Court engulfed in flames.

Now Hai will do anything to protect her new home – even if it means betraying the very people who need her most.”  Amazon

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Y/A. “*Starred Review* Contemporary realism, set askew, is the silver streak of Zevin, whose Elsewhere (2005) depicted a teen’s experiences in the afterlife. This equally sensitive, joyful novel, her second for YAs, tackles the slippery nature of human identity, deceptively tucked within a plot familiar from TV soaps. After high-school junior Naomi conks her head, she can’t remember anything that happened since sixth grade. She is by turns mystified and startled by evidence of her present life, from the birth-control pills in her bedside table to her parents’ astonishing, rancorous split. Eventually, the memories return, leaving Naomi questioning the basis of a new, intense romance, and wondering which of her two lives, present or former, represents her most authentic self. The amnesia device could have been more convincingly played, but Zevin writes revealingly about emotions and relationships. Especially vivid is the Hepburn-Tracy bond Naomi shares with yearbook co-chief Will, whom she wounds with her lurching self-reinvention even as she discovers deeper feelings: “I had thought the way I felt about Will was just a room, but it had turned out to be a mansion.” Pulled by the heart-bruising love story, readers will pause to contemplate irresistible questions: If the past were a blank slate, what would you become? Does the search for one’s truest identity necessarily mean rejecting all that has gone before?  Publishers Weekly

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Y/A.  “I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.  Amazon

To Catch A Pirate by Jade Parker

Y/A.  “Adventure on the high seas has never been so thrilling…especially when the treasure at stake is one girl’s heart. When sixteen-year-old Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father’s treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. A fair trade, m’lady, he tells her afterward, before disappearing. A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the pirates and reclaiming the treasure they stole. But when she finally catches up with the wretched James Sterling and the young pirate becomes her captive, she discovers she’s in danger of him stealing something far more valuable this time: her heart.”  Amazon 

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

Teen.  “Grade 7 Up—In the kingdom of Kendel, anyone caught talking with the animals or practicing animal magic is put to death, so Prince George learns early on to deny that part of his identity. He does everything for the sake of the kingdom, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage with Princess Beatrice from the neighboring kingdom of Sarrey. But Beatrice has a striking and unusual relationship with her hound, Marit, and George finds himself drawn to the pair, and to that part of himself that he has ignored for too long. He is faced with many decisions, including how to help his dying father, and how to free Beatrice and her hound. The story is interrupted at times with philosophizing, hints at the princess’s secrets, and related mythology that might prove frustrating for unsophisticated readers. Strong characterizations can’t make up for the uneven plot, and most readers are unlikely to stick with this lengthy tale.”  School Library Journal

Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner

Teen.  “Helen of Sparta is a feisty, beautiful young princess who is doted upon by her family, even though her determination to be independent and hunt and fight like her brothers creates various awkward, even dangerous situations for everyone. Using the mythical character of Helen of Troy as inspiration, Friesner focuses on Helen’s youth, before she became “the face that launched a thousand ships.” In an epilogue, Friesner discusses the historical facts and classical texts that she drew from to imagine Helen’s childhood. The resulting novel is a fascinating portrait of a spoiled child who uses her wily ways and privileges to learn how to use a sword, track and kill game, ride a horse, and bargain for a slave’s freedom. Along the way, Friesner skillfully exposes larger issues of women’s rights, human bondage, and individual destiny. It’s a rollicking good story all the way to the abrupt conclusion, which will leave readers crying out for a sequel.  Booklist

Song Of The Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

Y/A.  “This lyrical novel in verse tells the tale of fiery, sixteen-year-old Elaine of Ascolat—who will one day be known, in poems and paintings, as “The Lady of Shalott”. As the daughter of a soldier in Arthur’s army, Elaine has only one other girl companion: Arthur’s sister, the mysterious, magical Morgan. But Elaine hesitates to tell Morgan her deepest secret: that she is falling for the dashing Lancelot, Arthur’s secondin- command. But when yet another girl—the beautiful, cold Gwynivere—joins their ranks, and catches Lancelot’s eye, Elaine knows she must do something about her growing feelings of jealousy and rivalry. But as the army advances toward the land that will become Camelot, can Elaine, and the world she has always known, survive the birth of a kingdom?  Amazon

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson

Y/A.  “Ellen, the lovely heroine of this romantic novel, is raised in London by a suffragist mother and aunts but rejects the liberated life. After graduating from a culinary school, she takes a job in Austria at a run-down boarding school for neglected rich children and transforms it with her beauty, hard work, and good cooking. Like Ellen, all the characters are pleasantly drawn if exaggerated stereotypes: Ellen’s love interest, Marek, the school handyman, is really a brilliant composer hiding out from the Nazis; the scullery maid is beautiful and saintly; and all the children are budding geniuses. When the war intervenes, Ellen returns to England to build a sanctuary for her friends and other refugees; eventually she and Marek are reunited, and love conquers all. Ibbotson, who grew up in Austria and fled the Nazis herself, provides rich details of prewar life in Vienna and the alpine countryside. Her prose is like a Linzertorte, well constructed but awfully sweet. Still, this is a lively read. Recommended for popular fiction collections.  School Library Journal

The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson

Y/A.  “For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her opressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet’s world changes. Defying her father’s wishes and narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom’s affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be finacé have begun to track her down. . . .   Amazon

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Y/A.  “For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her opressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet’s world changes. Defying her father’s wishes and narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom’s affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be finacé have begun to track her down. . . .  Amazon

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Y/A.  ” After the Russian revolution turns her world topsy-turvy, Anna, a young Russian countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination. Desperate to keep her past a secret, Anna is nearly overwhelmed by her new duties—not to mention her instant attraction to Rupert, the handsome Earl of Westerholme. to make matters worse, Rupert appears to be falling for her as well. As their attraction grows stronger, Anna finds it more and more difficult to keep her most dearly held secrets from unraveling. And then there’s the small matter of Rupert’s beautiful and nasty fiancée. . . .  Amazon.  As I recall, this and most if not all of Ibbotson’s books are reprints of older editions.  This is long time favorite of these type of books.

Before Midnight: A Retelling of “Cinderella” (Once Upon a Time) by Cameron Dokey

Teen/Y/A.  “Grade 6–10—Here are answers to the age-old questions that have plagued so many for so long: What was Cinderella’s father thinking? And where was he while his new wife and the stepsisters had their way with her? Not only does Dokey deal with these issues, but she also turns the oft-told story on its head in many unexpected, intriguing, and satisfying ways. When Cendrillon’s mother dies after giving birth to her, her father, Etienne de Brabant, blames his newborn daughter. Wishing never to see her again, he disappears from her life for the next 15 years. The fairy godmother in the original tale here is simply the wise housekeeper who delivers Cendrillon and raises her. The stepmother is not wicked, just understandably unhappy at being forced to marry Etienne, who uproots her from her life at court and sends her off to live at his remote estate without even telling her that he has a daughter. The stepsisters are differentiated, dimensional characters as well. In fact, the entire book is filled with strong women who exert their influence on a fairy-tale world and—delightfully—with sensitive and clever young men who recognize their worth. This expanded Cinderella story is a fine addition to the canon including Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997), Donna Jo Napoli’s Bound (S & S, 2004), and Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Just Ella (S & S, 1999).  School Library Journal

Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of “Sleeping Beauty (Once Upon a Time) by Cameron Dokey

Teen, Y/A.  “The Princess Aurore has had an unusual childhood. Cursed at birth, Aurore is fated to prick her finger at the age of sixteen and sleep for one hundred years — until a prince awakens her with a kiss. So, to protect her, Aurore’s loving parents forbid any task requiring a needle.

Unable to sew or embroider like most little princesses, Aurore instead explores the castle grounds and beyond, where her warmth and generosity soon endear her to the townspeople. their devotion to the spirited princess grows as she does.

On her sixteenth birthday, Aurore learns that the impending curse will harm not only her, but the entire kingdom as well. Unwilling to cause suffering, she will embark on a quest to end the evil magic. The princess’s bravery will be rewarded as she finds adventure, enchantment, a handsome prince, and ultimately her destiny.”  Amazon

Golden: A Retelling of “Rapunzel” (Once Upon a Time) by Cameron Dokey

Teen, Y/A.  “Before Rapunzel’s birth, her mother made a dangerous deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald and without hope of ever growing hair, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future.

After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard years ago and needs Rapunzel’s help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely “two nights and the day that falls between” to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed…forever.”  Amazon

The Storyteller’s Daughter: A Retelling of “The Arabian Nights” (Once Upon a Time) by Cameron Dokey

Teen, Y/A.  “In a faraway kingdom, a king has been betrayed. Deeply hurt and bitterly angry, he vows never to be deceived again. Unfortunately, the king’s plan to protect himself will endanger all of the realm’s young women, unless one of them will volunteer to marry the king — and surrender her life.

To everyone’s relief and horror, one young woman steps forward. The daughter of a legendary storyteller, Shahrazad believes it is her destiny to accept this risk and sacrifice herself.

On the night of her wedding to the king, Shahrazad begins to weave a tale. Fascinated, the king lets her live night after night. Just when Shahrazad dares to believe that she has found a way to keep her life — and an unexpected love — a treacherous plot will disrupt her plan. Now she can only hope that love is strong enough to save her.  Amazon

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of “The White Bride and the Black Bride (Once Upon a Time) by Nancy Holder

Teen, Y/A.  “When Rose’s mother dies, her only comfort is the exquisite rose garden her mother left behind. The purple blossoms serve as an assurance of her mother’s love. But Rose is dealt a second blow when her father dies and his greedy widow, Ombrine, and her daughter, Desirée, move in and take over the manor in true Cinderella fashion.

Fate has been cruel to Ombrine and Desirée, too. So despite their harsh ways, Rose has compassion. But these feelings are bitterly tested when, in a rage, Ombrine tears out the garden. Rose nearly gives up all hope — until a chance meeting with the king. Happiness might be within her reach, but first she must prevail over Ombrine. And then she must determine if she has the courage to love.  Amazon

Water Song: A Retelling of “The Frog Prince (Once Upon a Time) by Suzanne Weyn

Teen.  “Grade 5 Up—Setting this retelling of “The Frog Prince” in World War I Belgium is an interesting idea that didn’t work out very well. Emma, a British citizen, is stranded on her family’s estate after her mother is killed by a bomb. Their home is requisitioned as a garrison for the German army. To compound her trauma, her fiancé has broken off their engagement and, in a fit of pique, Emma throws the golden ball-shaped locket with his photo into the well—an action she immediately regrets. When she tries to retrieve it, she discovers an American who’s been fighting with British forces hiding in the water in an attempt to counter the effects of a gas attack. He’s a good swimmer, his skin is blistered, and his eyes are bulging and swollen from the gas. As soon as he is able to see Emma, he wants her to kiss him. Readers are meant to understand that he is the frog prince. All that might plausibly be worked into a satisfying historical novel cum fantasy, but when Weyn overburdens the narrative with the “frog’s” complicated Louisiana mixed-race backstory involving Natchez magic, a history as a runaway, a stint in the merchant marines, and more, the narrative sinks under the weight. In this case, less would be more.  School Library Journal

The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of “Rumpelstilskin (Once Upon a Time) by Suzanne Weyn


Teen, Y/A.  Available 6/28/2008.  Amazon

Snow: A Retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (Once Upon a Time) by Tracy Lynn

Teen, Y/A  “The Duchess Jessica’s childhood began with a tragedy: her mother’s death. Her father, heartbroken at the loss of his beloved wife, could not bear to raise the child. Largely ignored, Jessica spent the first eleven years of her life running free on the family estate, cared for only by the servants.

Then her father decides to remarry, bringing an end to Jessica’s independence. At first her new stepmother just seems overly strict. But as Jessica grows into a beautiful young woman, it becomes clear that her stepmother is also wildly — and murderously — jealous of her.

Jessica escapes to London. Going by the name Snow to hide from her family, she falls in love with an odd band of outcasts who accept her into their makeshift family. But when her stepmother appears in the city, repentant and seeking her forgiveness, Jessica will have to decide whom to trust…with her life.”  Amazon

Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of “The Little Mermaid (Once Upon a Time) by Debbie Viguié

Teen, Y/A.  “In a quiet fishing village seventeen years ago, one lone fisherman rescued a child from the sea. He and his wife raised the girl, Pearl, as their own daughter, never allowing themselves to wonder long about where she came from — or notice her silver hair, usually pale skin, and wide, dark blue eyes.

Pearl grows from a mysterious child into an unusual young woman, not always welcomed in the village. As all the other girls her age find husbands, she has only one friend to ease her loneliness. One very special, secret companion: Prince James.

But their friendship is shaken when trouble erupts in the kingdom — a conspiracy against the royal family combines with an evil enchantment from beneath the sea. Now, just when Pearl and James need each other most, bewitching magic and hints about Pearl’s past threaten to tear them apart…forever.”  Amazon

The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones

Teen.  “Grade 6 Up—On the day before her 16th birthday, Anita’s life starts to change. She has a vision of flying, receives a mysterious and magical book as a present, and travels from modern-day London to the world of Faerie. She discovers that her boyfriend, Evan, is really Edric, servant of the scheming faerie lord Gabriel Drake, and that he has been sent to bring her home. Anita is really Princess Tania, the seventh and youngest daughter of King Oberon, and she has been lost for centuries after experimenting with her power to travel between worlds. Anita/Tania comes to accept her true identity and the joy she has brought to her father and his realm. However, all is not well in Faerie. Queen Titania has disappeared, and Gabriel Drake is somehow involved with her loss. He claims to love Tania and wants to marry her, but is actually interested only in her magical power. While the conclusion resolves Tania’s immediate problems, there is ample room for a sequel. This fairy tale meets “Princess Diaries” clearly shows Anita/Tania’s confusion about her identity. She is a strong character, and her sisters and their varied powers and personalities are also well drawn. The teens’ romance, foreshadowed by their starring roles in their school’s production of Romeo and Juliet in this world, develops as the story progresses, and frequent quotes from and allusions to the play add depth to the story.”  School Library Journal

The Night Dance (Once Upon a Time) by Suzanne Weyn

Y/A.  “Grade 8 Up–This light, entertaining tale combines the Arthurian legend of the Lady of the Lake, Grimms Twelve Dancing Princesses, and elements of romance novels. After Sir Ethans wife, Vivienne, disappears, he vows that no one shall leave him again. He builds an enormous manor that keeps his 12 daughters from the outside world. A crack in a wall is discovered by the youngest, Rowena, and provides a long-desired escape route. At the battle of Camlan, King Arthur is mortally wounded and his knight Bedivere swears that he will honor his sovereigns final request to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake (Vivienne). On his journey, he battles the evil Morgan le Fey to protect the sword and meets a monk who sends him in Rowenas direction. They meet in the woods as the young woman discovers her power of second sight when she finds Viviennes scrying bowl with a woman trapped in it, pleading for help. While searching for answers, Rowena and her sisters discover underground tunnels filled with music. Each night they go there to explore but the sorceress le Fey follows them and casts a spell to make sure they do not find their mother. What follows is fairly predictable and everyone lives happily ever after. Though not as substantive as Robin McKinleys Beauty (HarperCollins, 1978) or Donna Jo Napolis The Magic Circle (Dutton, 1993), this story will be enjoyed by readers who like romance novels and fairy-tale retellings.”  School Library Journal

Spirited (Once Upon a Time) by Nancy Holder

Y/A.  “War. Rage. Magic. Love.

In May 1756 war is formally declared between the British and the French. During this highly dangerous time, Isabella Sevens is travelling with her father to the British stronghold Fort William Henry.

In the forest, Wusamequin, the young and handsome medicine man, looks to avenge the death of his wife and child at the hands of British soldiers. When Wusamequin spots Isabella and her father, he alerts his warriors to capture them. But Wusamequin is quite taken with how bravely Isabella battles. He orders the warriors to spare her and her tfather, and they are dragged back to their village. However, many members of the Mohican tribe still want them to be killed. In a desperate plea to Wusamequin, Isabella vows to stay as his hostage if he lets her father go.  Amazon

Sunlight and Shadow (Once Upon a Time) by Cameron Dokey

Teen.  “Grade 6 Up–A reworking of the Mozart opera “The Magic Flute.” On her 16th birthday, Mina, the daughter of Pamina, the Queen of the Night, and Sarastro, the Mage of the Day, is to be taken to live with the father she hardly knows until he can choose a suitable husband for her. When he arrives early to sweep her away, Pamina seeks revenge by enlisting Lapin, a local boy, to play his enchanted bells and call Mina’s true love to her. Tern, a prince, hears the bells and, unable to resist their call, arrives with his magic flute, with which he is able to play the music of his heart. Mina and Tern fall in love, and an angry Sarastro sets a deadly trial for Tern to complete in order to have his daughter’s hand. Mina, refusing to stand by and have her life decided for her, accompanies Tern so that they may face the challenge together. The telling alternates among four points of view: Mina, Tern, Lapin, and Gayna, an orphan girl whom Sarastro has raised and who mostly gives readers insight into his way of thinking. The setting is otherworldly but the voices are modern, making it easy for teens to relate to the narrators. The strong female characters and the blend of fantasy and romance make this a great light read.”  School Library Journal 

Keturah And Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

Y/A.  “Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–At 16, Keturah is a poor peasant girl who constantly ponders her future. She has always been different from the other girls of the village and has unique but unrealized gifts. She has been raised by warm and loving grandparents, experiencing firsthand what a truly happy marriage is all about. The teen is committed to finding a suitable husband so she, too, can be happy but has not yet been successful. All this changes for her the day she follows the legendary hart deep into the forest and becomes lost. After three days of wandering aimlessly, she knows that she is about to die. Keturah is surprised to discover that Death is a strong, handsome lord to whom she immediately feels connected. Despite the fact that she is afraid, she challenges Lord Death, which is something he is not used to. She uses her storytelling skills to make him grant her a reprieve for one day. She spins a story of a love so pure that even Death cannot destroy it. He allows her to live another day on the condition that she come to him with an ending to the story and her true love. Keturah continues to delay the inevitable but in doing so learns much about herself and what she is truly capable of achieving. Along the way she also discovers that her true love was there beside her all along. This is a dark, but uplifting story combining elements of fantasy as well as romance. It has a gripping plot, strong characters, and a surprise ending that will intrigue readers.”  School Library Journal

Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner

Y/A.  “Helen of Sparta is a feisty, beautiful young princess who is doted upon by her family, even though her determination to be independent and hunt and fight like her brothers creates various awkward, even dangerous situations for everyone. Using the mythical character of Helen of Troy as inspiration, Friesner focuses on Helen’s youth, before she became “the face that launched a thousand ships.” In an epilogue, Friesner discusses the historical facts and classical texts that she drew from to imagine Helen’s childhood. The resulting novel is a fascinating portrait of a spoiled child who uses her wily ways and privileges to learn how to use a sword, track and kill game, ride a horse, and bargain for a slave’s freedom. Along the way, Friesner skillfully exposes larger issues of women’s rights, human bondage, and individual destiny. It’s a rollicking good story all the way to the abrupt conclusion, which will leave readers crying out for a sequel.  Booklist

Nobody’s Prize by Esther Friesner


Y/A.  “In this rousing sequel to Nobody’s Princess, young Helen of Sparta is not about to be left behind when her older brothers head off to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. Accompanied by her friend Milo, and disguised as a boy herself, Helen sets out to join the crew of heroes aboard the massive ship known as The Argo. Helen quickly faces all sorts of danger. Not only does she have to avoid her brothers’ detection, but a devastatingly handsome boy catches her eye, Hercules falls in love with her boy-self, there are battles to be faced, as well as a terrifying murderous princess and the start of her period. And that’s only the beginning! With her beauty blossoming, Helen’s journey takes her beyond the mythology of the Golden Fleece to Athens, where her very future as Queen of Sparta is threatened.”  Amazon 

Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Y/A.  “Melkorka is a princess, the first daughter of a magnificent kingdom in mediæval Ireland — but all of this is lost the day she is kidnapped and taken aboard a marauding slave ship. Thrown into a world that she has never known, alongside people that her former country’s laws regarded as less than human, Melkorka is forced to learn quickly how to survive. Taking a vow of silence, however, she finds herself an object of fascination to her captors and masters, and soon realizes that any power, no matter how little, can make a difference.

Based on an ancient Icelandic saga, award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli has crafted a heartbreaking story of a young girl who must learn to forget all that she knows and carve out a place for herself in a new world — all without speaking a word.”  Amazon

The Lost Queen: Book Two of The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones

Y/A  “Tania is a princess of Faerie.

And now she must return to the Mortal World.

Once upon a time, Tania was an ordinary girl. But then she was swept into another world, where she was the long-lost princess of the elegant and magical court of Faerie, and only she could save the court from great peril.

Now Tania—and her true love, Edric—will go back to the Mortal Realm to seek Queen Titania, lost hundreds of years ago while searching for Tania.

Their return leads to struggles with Tania’s much-loved mortal parents and friends as she and Edric try to conceal their secret. But much more serious dangers lurk: The sinister Lord Drake is not yet defeated, they are pursued by dark supernatural forces, and Tania’s two worlds are about to collide in amazing and frightening ways she never could have anticipated.”  Amazon

Dragon’s Keep by Janet Lee Carey

Y/A.  “Starred Review. Grade 6–10—Nonstop action may keep readers glued to this page-turner, but strong writing and character development are what will make it linger in their memories long after they’ve finished it. Princess Rosalind Pendragon is meant to fulfill a 600-year-old prophecy from Merlin that she will restore her family’s good name and end a war. Rosalind was born with one dragon talon, which is a fearful secret known only to the teen and her mother. It is kept hidden by the golden gloves that Rosalind is never without, and over the years, the queen tries desperately to find a cure for the curse. When Rosalind reveals her claw to Lord Faul, a dragon that has been terrorizing the island, her destiny is set in motion. Taken by him to be nursemaid to his motherless children, she learns of her dragon blood and of her mother’s treachery. Rosalind and the dragons are bound together in a complex relationship that, in the end, helps her fulfill the prophecy. Her heroic journey comes full circle, and she finds internal peace as well as peace for her people. While the story has roots in traditional fairy tales and legends, the author has crafted something new and magical, and unexpected plot twists will surprise readers throughout. Lord Faul and Rosalind, whose personality is a fantastic combination of Joan of Arc, Briar Rose, and Patricia Wrede’s Princess Cimarron, develop so well as characters that readers will be touched by them. Devotees of fantasy adventure stories will certainly find treasure here.”  School Library Journal

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Y/A.  “With a quote from The Age of Innocence as an epigraph and an enthusiastic blurb from the creator of Gossip Girl on its back cover, this lavishly produced debut makes no secret of its twin influences. The story opens in 1899 with the funeral of Elizabeth Holland, a well-bred beauty said to have plunged to her death in the Hudson River. The narrative then travels back several weeks, tracing the relationships and events that have led to the somber assembly. This tangled web includes not one but two sets of star-crossed lovers; an upstairs/downstairs romance; a scheming social climber; a bitter servant girl; and oodles of money, all set in a Edith Wharton via Hollywood vision of Old New York. The dialogue has its clunky moments, and the plot twist that drives the tale is telegraphed from the very start, but readers caught up in the fancy dress intrigue are unlikely to mind much: it’s all part of the dishy fun. Needless to say, the ending paves the way for at least one sequel. Ages 14-up.  Publishers Weekly

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Y/A.  “Grade 9 Up—In a style reminiscent of the work of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti, Scott tells the story of Lauren, a not-so-popular high school junior who is dating the secretly celibate most popular boy in school. Without warning, Evan, the loner son of her distant father’s former live-in girlfriend, returns to town and stirs up confusing emotions for Lauren, who once believed that a popular boyfriend was all she needed to secure happiness. Soon, she invents extra band-practice time as an excuse to avoid her boyfriend, her super-stressed best friend, and her empty house, and spends more time with the decidedly not celibate Evan. While the setup is fairly standard fare for YA romances, Lauren’s inner conflict over her affair with Evan, and the various lies surrounding it, rings true, and the novel has enough drama to keep readers interested.”  School Library Journal

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy (Bloody Jack Adventures) by L. A. Meyer

Teen  “Grade 6-8-With the plague running rampant in London in 1797, Mary’s parents and sister are soon counted among the dead. Left alone and penniless, the eight-year-old is taken in by a gang of orphans and learns survival skills. However, when their leader is killed, Mary decides to try her luck elsewhere. She strips the dead body, cuts her hair, renames herself Jack Faber, and is soon employed as a ship’s boy on the HMS Dolphin. When the vessel sees its first skirmish with a pirate ship, her bravery saves her friend Jaimy and earns her the nickname “Bloody Jack.” Told by Mary/Jack in an uneven dialect that sometimes doesn’t ring true, the story weaves details of life aboard the Dolphin. Readers see how she changes her disguise based on her own physical changes and handles the “call of nature,” her first experiences with maturation, and the dangers to boys from unscrupulous crew members. The protagonist’s vocabulary, her appearance and demeanor, and her desire to be one of the boys and do everything they do without complaint complete the deception. This story also shows a welcome slant to this genre with an honorable, albeit strict Captain, and ship’s mates who are willing and able teachers. If readers are looking for a rousing, swashbuckling tale of pirates and adventures on the high seas, this title falls short. However, it is a good story of a brave ship’s “boy” with natural leadership abilities and a sense of fair play and humanity.  School Library Journal

Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne dventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and Lily of the West (Bloody Jack Adventures) by L. A. Meyer

Y/A.  “The intrepid Jacky Faber, having once again eluded British authorities, heads west, hoping that no one will recognize her in the wilds of America. There she tricks the tall-tale hero Mike Fink out of his flatboat, equips it as a floating casino-showboat, and heads south to New Orleans, battling murderous bandits, British soldiers, and other scoundrels along the way. Will Jacky’s carelessness and impulsive actions ultimately cause her beloved Jaimy to be left in her wake?

Bold, daring, and downright fun, Jacky Faber proves once again that with resilience and can-do spirit, she can wiggle out of any scrape . . . well, almost.  Amazon  The Fifth book in the series

He’s With Me (I Heart Bikinis) by Tamara Summers

Y/A.  “Lexie’s longtime crush on Jake has never gone anywhere. But when teen-queen Bree sets her sights on Jake, he has to come up with a way to turn her down…without incurring the wrath of the most popular girl in school. A plan is hatched: Lexie can pretend to be Jake’s girlfriend. But Lexie has never had a real boyfriend, let alone a pretend one! Can she manage to convince everyone she’s Jake’s girlfriend and then convince Jake that they’re meant to be…for real?”  Amazon 

So Inn Love by Catherine Clark

Y/A.  “Reservations? Yes. A couple. Like: Is Hayden really as interested in me as I am in him? And is my roommate right—should I “beware of hookups”?

Confirmation? Doubtful. Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said “commitment.”

Special Requests? Let me get through this summer without being fired and heartbroken.

Let me fall in love this summer.

Let me be part of the inn crowd.”  Amazon

The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson

Teen, Y/A.  “When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.

With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.”  Amazon

The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne

Y/A.  “The Ragland Rattlers

$1 Night

$1 baseball cap with home team logo
$1 program
$1 hot dogs
$1 drinks
$1 popcorn

But how much to get the hot pitcher to notice you exist?”  Amazon

Uninvited by Amanda Marrone

Y/A.  “When rejection comes back to bite you… Jordan’s life sucks. Her boyfriend, Michael, dumped her, slept his way through half the student body, and then killed himself. But now, somehow, he appears at her window every night, begging her to let him in.

Jordan can’t understand why he wants her, but she feels her resistance wearing down. After all, her life — once a broken record of boring parties, meaningless hookups, and friends she couldn’t relate to — now consists of her drinking alone in her room as she waits for the sun to go down.

Michael needs to be invited in before he can enter. All Jordan has to do is say the words….”  Amazon 

Two-way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Y/A.  “there are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They’re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney — for a girl he met on the Internet.

It’s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney’s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la — this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he’s got a secret or two that he’s not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can’t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.”  Amazon

Kissing Snowflakes by Abby Sher

Y/A.  “The picturesque montain ski lodge is the perfect place to spend winter break…if you have a boyfriend! Otherwise, that cozy leather couch in front of the crackling fire looks a lot less inviting. Good thing that there are lots of cute, blond, sweater-wearing ski instructors around to choose from….

This fun, sweet tale of holiday romance on the slopes is the perfect wintertime read!”  Amazon 

A Year In Europe: Three Novels by Rachel Hawthorne


Y/A.  “MEET THE GIRLS of A Year in Europe, a collection of three interconnecting novels about the adventures of traveling abroad.

Robin: Her junior year abroad in London takes a surprising turn when she falls for British hottie Kit.

Dana: Paris is the City of Love, and Dana’s on a mission to find a gorgeous French boyfriend.

Carrie: She’s crazy about Antonio, her Italian dream guy. If Carrie tells him the truth about her American heritage, she might lose him forever.

A Year in Europe. Three unforgettable stories. One unforgettable journey.”  Amazon

Model Spy (The Specialists) by Shannon Greenland

Y/A.  “Teen genius Kelly James is in a lot of hot water. A whiz with computers, she agreed to help her college RA, David, uncover some top-secret information. After all, she doesn’t have many friends and David has always been nice to her. it doesn’t hurt that he’s supercute and irresistible, too. All she has to do is hack into the government’s main computer system. but a few hours later, her whole life changes. she is caught and taken in for questioning, only this isn’t your run-of-the-mill arrest. rather than serve a juvenile detention sentence, she accepts the option to change her name and enlist in a secret government spy agency that trains teen agents to go undercover. As if that wasn’t overwhelming enough, she discovers that David works for this agency as well! And before she even begins to understand what is going on, she’s sent on her first mission as an undercover model. And who better to partner with than David himself!”  Amazon 

Down to the Wire (The Specialists) by Shannon Greenland

Y/A.  “GiGi is back, this time teaming up with electronics specialist Frankie, aka Wirenut, for their next mission. Wirenut has an uncanny knack for breaking into the highest-level security systems that stump even the experts. Which is precisely why he was recruited by the Specialists. So when wealthy entrepreneur Octavias Zorba hires the Specialists to recover a stolen neurotoxin, the head of the Specialists is sure that Wirenut is perfect for the job. But there’s a catch. The computer-coded hints that will lead to the neurotoxin are hidden in a few precious artifacts. And when these hints are found, there is limited time to get them decoded or they will disappear forever. But as GiGi and Wirenut begin their mission, they suddenly find themselves on a fast-paced hunt for the criminal, with time quickly running out….”  Amazon 

The Winning Element (The Specialists) by Shannon Greenland

Y/A  “With two successful missions behind her, GiGi is feeling confident and comfortable with the Specialists. Unfortunately, things are about to change. TL has informed her that a notorious chemical smuggler was personally responsible for the death of both her mother and father. The government has been trying to track him down for years, to no avail. Enter the Specialists, and this time, GiGi’s in charge of the mission. Only there’s a catch—the success of the mission depends on many things, including Beaker’s chemical expertise. And Beaker is the last person GiGi wants to deal with. When the mission deems it necessary to go to Florida, Beaker is ready. But when her cover has to be a cheerleader at the national cheerleading competition, Goth-girl Beaker is not too pleased. With personality conflicts, mission challenges, and the demanding schedule of the cheerleading competition, it’s difficult for Beaker and GiGi to focus on the task at hand. Can they put all things aside and find the smuggler, or will their window of opportunity be shut forever?”  Amazon.  Available 4/25/08.

Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne

Y/A.  “Well, apparently I live here now—my mom just bought the place. And named it after me, Ashleigh, which was nice. But did she know how cold it is here??

Um, it’s a tiny island with not much to do, unless you really like sleigh rides. But I gotta say there are quite a few hot guys on this cold island . . .”  Amazon

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the ImmortalNicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Teen.  “Starred Review. Grade 6-9 – Scott uses a gigantic canvas for this riveting fantasy. The well-worn theme of saving the world from the forces of evil gets a fresh look here as he incorporates ancient myth and legend and sets it firmly, pitch-perfect, in present-day California. At the emotional center of the tale are contemporary 15-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie, who, it turns out, are potentially powerful magicians. They are spoken of in a prophecy appearing in the ancient Book of Abraham the Mage, all but two pages of which have been stolen by evil John Dee, alchemist and magician. The pursuit of the twins and Flamel by Dee and his allies to get the missing pages constitutes the book’s central plot. Amid all this exhilarating action, Scott keeps his sights on the small details of character and dialogue and provides evocative descriptions of people, mythical beings, and places. He uses as his starting point the figures of the historical alchemist Nicholas Flamel and his wife, who have found the secret of immortality, along with mythical beings, including the terrifying Scottish crow-goddess, the Morrigan; the three-faced Greek Hekate; the powerful Egyptian cat-goddess, Bastet; and Scathach, a legendary Irish woman warrior and vegetarian vampire. While there is plenty here to send readers rushing to their encyclopedias of mythology and alchemy, those who read the book at face value will simply be caught up in the enthralling story. A fabulous read.”  School Library Journal 

The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) by Michael Scott

Teen.  “After fleeing Ojai, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris, the City of Lights. Home for Nicholas Flamel. Only this homecoming is anything but sweet. Perenell is still locked up back in Alcatraz and Paris is teeming with enemies. Nicollo Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, is working for Dee. He’s after them, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenell. For every day spent without the Book of Abraham the Mage, they age one year—their magic becoming weaker and their bodies more frail. For Flamel, the Prophesy is becoming more and more clear.

It’s time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic: Fire Magic. And there’s only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel’s old student, the Comte de Saint-Germain—alchemist, magician, and rock star. Josh and Sophie Newman are the world’s only hope—if they don’t turn on each other first.”  Amazon

A War of Gifts: An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card

Adult, Y/A.  “Set in a war-torn future, this novella moves from the series hero to Zeck, son of an abusive fundamentalist preacher. His phenomenal abilities for memorization and judging a situation make him an ideal candidate for the International Fleet’s Battle School, an academy that trains boys to be brilliant military leaders in an ongoing interstellar war. Despite his mental aptitudes, Zeck proves an unwilling pupil when he refuses to participate in battle simulations, claiming them to be against his religion. These beliefs make Zeck a pariah within the school, pushing him to cry foul when he sees two Dutch students quietly celebrate Christmas–or Sinterklaas Day–by exchanging satirical poems. This kicks off a cultural revolt, pitting students of different religions against one another and against the school in the name of religious freedom. Ender himself plays a small but pivotal role by confronting Zeck and forcing him to deal with the dark issues of his past. Sci-fi purists may be let down by the lack of technology and big-scale military drama that Card is often associated with, but readers looking for a short tale dealing with issues of cultural conflict, religious freedom, and personal discovery will have much to enjoy. Card’s well-imagined characters take this story to places that are both moving and satisfying.”  School Library Journal

Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure by Michael Chabon, illus. by Gary Gianni.


Adult, Y/A.  “Set more than 1000 years ago, this tale of “Jews with Swords” follows two swindlers, Frankish physician Zelikman and giant African Amram, on their adventures. The young, recently orphaned and dethroned prince known as Filaq is traveling under duress to his grandfather’s house with his guardian when they come across Zelikman and Amram. When the guardian is murdered by pursuers, these two endeavor to complete his task and collect the reward for Filaq’s safe delivery. The prince is later kidnapped by a usurper’s followers, and Amram and Zelikman, along with a cast of soldiers, thieves, religious men, and merchants, set their sights on his rescue and restoration. The Kingdom of Arran and the little-known Khazar Empire, despite the historical distance, ring true, and Chabon clearly describes the sights, sounds, and smells of the region. Gianni’s illustrations help convey the setting and characters clearly. Through these characters’ travels, the author introduces numerous unfamiliar topics (rabbinates, shatranj, and ancient Middle Eastern politics, to name a few) and leaves readers both satisfied and eager to learn more. Although the vocabulary may challenge some teens, the story moves at a rapid pace and is full of surprises. It is sure to find a wide readership among those with an interest in Jewish history or swashbuckling adventure.”  School Library Journal

The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky 


Adult, Y/A.  “Secrets, responsibilities, truths, lies, and justice are some of the issues woven into this story, which begins with Deborah Monroe and her daughter, Grace, driving home in the rain. They are arguing and Grace is at the wheel when out of nowhere a man appears and she hits him. Deborah immediately decides to take responsibility for the accident and sends Grace running home. Being a doctor, she quickly checks for vitals and waits for the police and EMTs. When they arrive, Dr. Monroe answers all their questions and, although she never really lies, she does neglect to tell the sheriff that it was Grace who was driving. Her lies continue as she lets the entire close-knit community and her family believe that she was responsible for the accident. Grace suffers for her mother’s well-intended lie, and circumstances become more complicated when the victim is identified as her history teacher. As the investigation gets underway, it is discovered that Mr. McKenna’s life wasn’t all it appeared to be. As the story continues, readers meet more people whose lives and secrets are exposed. This novel will have teens considering their own moral compass and asking just how honest, dishonest, and secretive anyone can be.”  School Library Journal

Gardens of Water: A Novel by Alan Drew

A Novel 

Adult, Y/A.  “Set in a small town outside Istanbul after the 1999 earthquake, this remarkable debut novel chronicles the complex relationships within and between American and Kurdish families. United by the illicit romance of Dylan, 17, and Irem, 15, two families cope with the losses presented by the quake and the challenges created by their cultural differences. Dylan’s father is one of the Christian Americans providing aid in the camp where Irem’s family has taken refuge. Her father, Sinan, must spend hours away from home working to support his family while also fighting to preserve their values amid incompatible cultural influences. As the relationship between Dylan and Irem develops, Sinan’s inner struggle between love and honor escalates, causing him to make a devastating decision that will end in tragedy for both families. The power and brilliance of this book lie in the skillfully crafted levels of the plot. Readers will find themselves engaged in Sinan’s fight to hold his family together while empathizing with Irem’s desire to redefine herself outside of her conservative Muslim heritage. At the same time, they will be engrossed in the emerging romance while also questioning the motives of the American aid workers in the camp. Sophisticated teens will be further rewarded with the exploration of changing cultural, political, and religious boundaries. This novel will generate a variety of interesting classroom and book club discussions.”  School Library Journal

Patrimony: A Pip & Flinx Adventure (Pip & Adventure Novels) by Alan Dean Foster 


Adult, Y/A.  “When a dying enemy gaspingly tells Flinx where his father might be found, the young space adventurer is unable to resist the chance to learn about his parentage. Flinx and his empathetic minidragon take a break from their quest to save the Commonwealth and travel to the planet of Gestalt. Under the pretense of doing sociological research on its inhabitants, Flinx gains information about a hermit who fits the criteria he has set for his father, known to have been part of a group experimenting in eugenics. When his skimmer and native Tlel guide are shot out of the sky and Flinx is stranded alone in the wilderness, he realizes that he must not only survive the bitter cold of an unknown planet, but also escape the bounty hunter out to collect the price on his head. Equal parts space opera, survival adventure, and bildungsroman, Patrimony is an exciting adventure that takes place in an interesting world. The setting and its inhabitants are fully realized: the Tlel, like most of the creatures on Gestalt, sense the electrical currents of everything around them and have no sense of smell; the plant life has its own defenses; various animals attack in surprising ways. While knowledge of the series would be helpful, this title stands fairly well on its own. Teens will relate to the protagonist and be engrossed in this fast-moving story.”  School Library Journal.  Last of a long series.

The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys


Adult, Y/A.  “This prequel to Humphreys’s Revolutionary War adventure Jack Absolute thrills as it broadens the background of the titular character. The novel opens with a young Jack living in rural England under the heel of his cruel cousin Craster and drunken Uncle Duncan. The somewhat accidental death of Duncan puts him in conflict with the local magistrate until his long-absent parents return and save him from punishment. His family then moves to London, where Jack schemes his way through high and low society, pretending to be a poet, developing underhanded moneymaking plots, and falling in love with every pretty girl he meets. He’s caught mid-dalliance with the alluring mistress of Lord Melbury, and he escapes only when his father kills the man in a duel. To avoid more trouble, Jack joins the military and ships out to Canada to fight in the Battle of Quebec. That explosive introduction to the Americas is just the beginning, though, as the protagonist encounters suspicious Indian tribes and gets lost in the winter wilds of the north with Craster. While Jack is not yet the brilliant spy of the earlier book, readers see glimmers of his skills. He is rash and brash, but also funny and charming. History buffs will find the historical details fairly accurate, but that’s not the point of this raucous tale. It’s best just to sit back and enjoy the wild, colorful adventures of a young man as he connives his way into adulthood.”  School Library Journal

Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde 

Chasing Windmills 

Adult/High School.  “Hyde’s coming-of-age novel is a reimagining of the classic tale of star-crossed lovers–intentionally reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story, but fresh and new as well. Sebastian, 17, and Maria, 24, meet while riding New York’s subway trains ’til the wee hours of the morning. He’s a sheltered homeschooler who sneaks out of the apartment after his controlling father takes his nightly sleeping pill. She’s a mother of two who’s afraid to tell her abusive husband that she’s lost her night-shift job. There’s also a fairy godmother–Delilah is a wise old woman who introduces Sebastian to the delights of pizza and DVDs and counsels him on love and the ways of the world. Sebastian and Maria alternate as narrators; short chapters make for a page-turning read and the distinct voices are sweet, soul-baring, and honest. Hyde writes evocatively of the visceral nature of first love. Her characters are well developed, and she describes settings (New York City, a cross-country bus trip, the Mojave Desert) economically but effectively. The ending is realistic and satisfying. Chasing Windmills will appeal to teens who enjoy realistic fiction and a good story about relationships.”  School Library Journal

Dead Man’s Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table by Otto Penzler


Adult, Y/A.  “The mainstream popularity of poker and the intrigue of mystery and crime will ensure demand for this anthology. However, poker enthusiasts may be less satisfied than mystery fans, who will be attracted by such authors as Laura Lippman, Michael Connelly, and Alexander McCall Smith. Stories vary with respect to the depth to which the game is the central theme, but what they all have in common is their accessibility to readers who are not seasoned players. Mystery aficionados will enjoy John Lescroart’s “A Friendly Little Game,” in which the repressed memories of a father’s death lead to new clues in an old crime. Other stories, including Rupert Holmes’s “The Monks of the Abbey Victoria” and Jeffrey Deaver’s “Bump,” use poker as the façade to cover up larger crimes. Teens will be particularly attracted to the tales that portray young adult protagonists. In Joyce Carol Oates’s “Strip Poker,” a teen finds herself in a potentially dangerous poker game, only to turn the tables on her would-be attackers. Christopher Coake’s “Pitch Black” depicts the lengths to which fear and anger can take a teenage musician, and Sue DeNymme’s “Poker and Shooter” is a common yet chilling story of the popular crowd preying on less-fortunate students. Despite the variation in both quality and suspense, teens will find this volume more accessible, plausible, and entertaining than other recently published poker collections, such as Pete Hautman’s Full House.”  School Library Journal

New Thriller Adventure books to read/watch for…Part II

Here’s Part II of my action/adventure/thriller list of new and forthcoming books. Some I have, others I don’t. None have been read yet, hence no personal comments; I don’t have THAT big a book budget! (though I WISH!). And in no particular order the winners are:

Raising Atlantis by Thomas Greanias

“It’s not hard to see why this techno-thriller has already been such a success: a gripping plot about the discovery of an island believed to be Atlantis–not in the Aegean but buried under the ice of the South Pole; some colorful characters, including a father-and-son team of archeologists (Are Harrison Ford and Sean Connery ready to do the film?); and some clean, no-nonsense writing that adds to the reading speed and suspense.” Chicago Tribune

Ancient Rising: Rise of the Ancients Book I by JC De La Torre

“What if you discovered that the Greek Gods of myth were real, imprisoned for thousands of years on the lost continent of Atlantis and only you could release them from their underwater prison?
What if the journey would take you to the Greek Isles, Egypt, the rain forests of Mexico, and eventually Atlantis itself?
What if the long the way you made unbelievable scientific discoveries, battled pirates and zombies, and finally discovered the amazingly powerful, god-like beings did exist and the Earth’s very existence depended on your freeing them?
What if you found out that if you free them, you may be dooming the entire human race?

This is the plight of Dan Ryan, a recent widower who while in the depths of great despair of the loss of his wife and child, is set on this very adventure by a peculiar character who claims to be the Greek God Hermes. Follow Dan and his friends as the adventure of a lifetime begins the first of this new fantasy trilogy.” From the author’s website

“The novel reads like the Da Vinci Code but with a fantasy twist!”, Adrian Lambert, June 2006

“The author done the homework and come up with a novel full of exotic places, musty-dusty finds and the Gods.” Fantasy Novel Review, 2006

Sign of the Cross by Chris Kuzneski

“Kuzneski elbows his way into the overcrowded field of the papal thriller with his sophomore effort (after 2002’s racially charged The Plantation), combining the requisite plot twists and Da Vinci-esque secret histories with a Passion of the Christ-like attention to gore. And there’s plenty of opportunity for gore: Kuzneski kicks off the action with a nasty crucifixion in modern-day Denmark. It turns out the victim is a Vatican priest, and his murder is just the first. Meanwhile, maverick archeologist Dr. Charles Boyd and his assistant Maria Pelati discover a 2000-year-old scroll underneath the Italian town of Orvieto that contains “a secret that would change… the history of the world—forever.” Instantly, the two become the most wanted people in Europe, pursued by the Vatican, a large measure of Western European law enforcement and two freelance CIA agents. As the chase begins, more crucified priests are turning up across the globe, and the head of Interpol’s new homicide division, Nick Dial, finds himself edging closer to the heart of a centuries-old coverup. Cat and mouse games accelerate and alliances shuffle as the overstuffed plot brings its numerous players together, but excessive detail and exposition-heavy dialogue slow the action. Despite its flaws, Kuzneski knows what fans of the genre want: compelling and well-researched history, high-tech 21st-century sleuthing and a lot of action.” Publishers Weekly

Sword of God by Chris Kuzneski

“Retired soldiers Jonathon Payne and D.J. Jones return to action (after last year’s Sign of the Cross), investigating a secret bunker off the coast of Korea where a gruesome scene and a missing squad from their former unit, an elite counterinsurgency team, indicate that secret interrogation proceedings have gone terribly wrong. Piecing together the facts of the case lead Payne and Jones to Mecca, where a plot to blow up the Grand Mosque suggests a global conspiracy to align forces against the United States. Soon Payne and Jones have to risk their lives to infiltrate Mecca (where non-Muslims can be summarily executed) to save the city and, ultimately, the world. Kuzneski’s novel is taut and largely fast-paced; though occasionally bogged down in historical exposition, it’s a fair trade that gives the book a rich sense of authenticity and plausibility. Though characters are short on depth, Kuzneski knows how to maintain a nuanced moral landscape while wresting maximum thrills from contemporary Western fear of terrorism. This globe-crossing action thriller, like its predecessor, evokes the spirit of Dan Brown, with welcome doses of Lee Child’s ex-military tough-guy grit.” Publishers Weekly

Atlantis by David Gibbins

“From the fall of the Roman Empire to the last days of Nazi power, marine archaeologist Jack Howard and his team of adventurers are hot on the trail of history’s most elusive and desired treasure: the lost golden menorah of Jerusalem. And what they discover could change the world forever….

Deep beneath the windswept waters near Istanbul, Jack and his crack team of experts have uncovered a surprising clue to the location of the fabled treasure plundered during the Crusades. Meanwhile, in a dusty cathedral library, someone unearths a long-forgotten medieval map. Together the two discoveries will solve an ancient mystery—and spark a race to stop a present-day conspiracy of staggering proportions.

From diving into the core of an arctic iceberg to the last stand of a Viking warship to an extraordinary revelation deep in the jungles of Central America, Jack is headed straight into a globe-spanning clash of civilizations, into an astounding underground labyrinth steeped in blood and horrors—and to a confrontation with a killer on a shattering crusade of his own.” Amazon

Crusader Gold by David Gibbins

“In Gibbins’s sequel to Atlantis, marine archeologist Jack Howard searches for an ancient gold menorah seized by Vespasian’s army during the sack of Jerusalem. While Jack and his team of scientists and historians follow clues from Istanbul and England to the Arctic, Canada and Mexico, a group of neo-Nazis (who have co-opted an organization as old as the Crusades and dedicated to the relic’s safety) conspire to find and use the menorah to destabilize the world’s religions. Stilted exposition, in which Jack details large chunks of history for colleagues who should already know it, mars an otherwise interesting backstory, and cardboard characters rouse little sympathy. Elsewhere, an overwhelming surfeit of detail serves at best to drag down the suspense, at worst to cause terminal confusion. Those with an already-strong sense of Roman, barbarian, Viking and English history, as well as those with a sincere desire to learn, will appreciate Gibbins’s alternate history of King Harald Hardrada’s defeat, if not necessarily the teacherly style or clunky adventure story in which it’s couched.” Publishers Weekly

The Lost Tomb by David Gibbins

Available 12/30/08

“I’ve just finished my third novel, THE LOST TOMB, which focuses on the evidence for early Christianity. That’s been very exciting for me to research and write, and is due to be published early next year. My fourth novel hinges on a fascination I’ve always had for Alexander the Great, for how far the Greeks and Romans reached east to India and beyond. I can’t give away much yet, but there are some wonderful locations, and the story ranges through time and geography in much the same way as CRUSADER GOLD.” Interview with

The Didymus Contingency: A Time Travel Thriller by Jeremy Robinson

“IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, AND WITNESS ANY EVENT, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? When Dr. Tom Greenbaum faces that question after successfully discovering the secret to time travel, he knows the time, place and event he will witness: the death and failed resurrection of Jesus Christ. Dr. David Goodman, Tom’s colleague and closest friend follows Tom into the past, attempting to avert a time-space catastrophe, but forces beyond their control toss them into a dangerous end game where they are tempted by evil characters, betrayed by friends, pursued by an assassin from the future and haunted by a demon that cannot be killed.” Amazon

“[a] unique and bold thriller. It is a fast-paced page-turner like no other. Not to be missed!” James Rollins

Time Camera by Terence Lee

“Texan Zak Endecott, a mathematical whiz who’s into computers, discovers a way to penetrate the time curtain using a laser beamed into the ether from a secretly modified video camera. He cannot look forward, only back into history, and there is no audio. Initially, he catches Jack the Ripper on video, then with his girlfriend Lucy Bart records the Mutiny on the Bounty, all as part of a money-making venture.

But then things change. Zak and Lucy record Leon Trotsky present at the murder of Rasputin, “the mad monk,” but this is a historical anachronism. Next, they find and record the mysterious founder of the Bavarian Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt, conferring at the Palace of Versailles with Benjamin Franklin. What they don’t know is that they’ve just stumbled onto the shadowy AA. Founded by Weishaupt, this is the secret organization that calls the shots in the Western World from an address in Washington, D.C. Also aiming at ruling the world is the Brotherhood, an equally shadowy organization founded in Egypt and dedicated to the destruction of the West.Accompanied by a man who calls himself Eric Simmonds, a British historian and assassin employed by AA, Zak and Lucy are pressed into service by their country to use the camera to expose the Brotherhood and destroy its leadership. The Vatican is planning something big in August-the disclosure of a hitherto missing document concerning the third secret revealed at Fatima in 1917. But the Brotherhood is planning something even bigger. While Zak, Lucy, and Eric are trying to stop the Brotherhood, AA makes a decision they know nothing about. AA wants them to video the greatest event in history, which will be flashed around the world at the same time the Pope makes his announcement. Time is running out, and they are still unable to discover the Brotherhood’s plan.”

The Thieves of Faith by Richard Doetsch

“Beneath the Kremlin lies a shocking ancient truth.
And it’s about to be stolen.…Since the times of Ivan the Terrible, generations of Russian leaders have turned the Kremlin into a fortress within a fortress, stocking its labyrinthine underground with secret vaults, elegant chambers, and priceless treasures. Now a master thief has the ultimate motivation to stage an assault on the Kremlin’s inner sanctum. Two lives depend on it. Thousands of years of religious faith hinge on it. And a man’s conscience, skill, and passion will not let him fail.For Michael St. Pierre, history’s most daring heist is only one piece of an intricate puzzle reaching from an ancient monastery in Scotland to a hideaway in Corsica—where a madman has built an empire of terror. Haunted by his own family secrets, and surrounded by the precious few people he can trust, Michael will take on a mission that will make him the most hunted man in the world. But when an astounding truth, buried deep beneath the Kremlin, erupts with shattering force, he may unleash a relic too dangerous to possess.… “ Amazon Secret Histories: A Repairman Jack Novel by F. Paul Wilson

Y/A! Available 2/15/08 (10 in the original series – this is about the younger Jack)

F. Paul Wilson has contracted to write a trilogy of young adult novels based on Jack. The first, Secret Histories, starts with Jack at fourteen years old. Gauntlet will be publishing a signed limited edition of all three, the first seeing release around February (well before the trade edition is released)

Read for the first time Jack’s formative years. You’ll meet his mother and father, big sister Kate and his bully of a brother Tom. While aimed for young adults, F. Paul Wilson doesn’t write down and the book is as enjoyable for adults as it is for teens. And, as you can see from the above description there’s plenty of foreshadowing of events that were to overtake Jack as an adult (i.e. An old woman with a dog … making herself known to Jack when he’s just fourteen!)” From the author’s website

Prometheus’s Child: Harold Coyle’s Strategic Solution’s, Inc. by Harold Coyle

“The gripping second Strategic Solutions Inc. military thriller from Coyle and Tillman (after Pandora’s Legion) details the workings of a PMC, or private military contractor. The U.S. government, which wants plausible deniability if things go wrong, hires SSI to send a team to a corrupt, unstable Chad to train its army in counterinsurgency techniques. The authors dig into the contract negotiations, move through the operation’s organization and planning stages, and open out into training and the operation itself. Things begin to fall apart when stopping a secret shipment of yellow cake uranium destined for Iran takes precedence over the SSI team’s original mission. An overabundance of characters leaves little time for development, but the operational minutiae are absorbing (even the contract negotiations), and the action, which ranges from the desert to the high seas, explosive. The authors keep reader interest high from the intriguing beginning to the final promethean twist.” Publishers Weekly

Dourado by David Wood

“A sunken treasure. An ancient Biblical artifact. A mystery as old as humankind. On January 25, 1829, the Portuguese brig Dourado sank off the coast of Indonesia, losing its cargo of priceless treasures from the Holy Land. One of these lost relics holds the key to an ancient mystery. But someone does not want this treasure to come to light. When her father is mysteriously murdered while searching for the Dourado, Kaylin Maxwell hires treasure hunter and former Navy Seal Dane Maddock and his partner Uriah “Bones” Bonebrake, to locate the Dourado, and recover a lost Biblical artifact, the truth behind which could shake the foundations of the church, and call into question the fundamentally held truths of human existence. Join Dane and Bones on a perilous adventure that carries them from the depths of the Pacific to ancient cities of stone as they unravel the mystery of the Dourado.” Amazon

Shadow Command by Dale Brown

Available 5/13/08 – No further information

Vigil by Robert Masello

“In the caves beneath an Italian lake, the fossil of a creature older than the earth has been disinterred.

In the Judaean desert, a legendary parchment has been discovered.

One reveals the secrets of Heaven.
One foretells an impending Hell.

And deciphering their message has been left to paleontologist Carter Cox–a man of science whose faith in the empirical is about to be shaken by forces of evil beyond imagining.” Amazon

Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva

Available 7/22/08 – no other information

The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon) by Daniel Silva

Starred Review. Bestseller Silva’s superlative seventh novel to feature Gabriel Allon, the legendary but wayward son of Israeli Intelligence, puts Silva squarely atop the spy thriller heap. When Solomon Rosner, a professor in Amsterdam who’s also a secret Israeli asset, is assassinated for his strident reports and articles detailing the dangers of militant Islam within the Netherlands, Gabriel gets the job to clean out the professor’s files. In Amsterdam, the Israeli agent and his old partner, Eli Lavon, unearth a plot that leads to the kidnapping by Islamic extremists of the daughter of the U.S. ambassador in London. While most intelligence agencies consider Gabriel persona non grata because of his unorthodox methods and the trail of bodies he leaves in his wake, he once again proves invaluable as he and his stalwart team hunt down some of Israel’s—and the world’s—most violent enemies. While you don’t have to have read the earlier books in the series (The Messenger, etc.), knowing the history of the returning characters adds depth and color to the overall story.” Publishers Weekly

Deep Storm: A Novel by Lincoln Child

“Best known as the coauthor (with Douglas Preston) of such bestselling thrillers as Dance of Death, Child delivers a well-crafted and literate science fiction thriller, his third solo effort (after 2004’s Death Match). Peter Crane, a former naval doctor, faces the challenge of his career when he investigates a mysterious illness that has broken out on a North Atlantic oil rig. Sworn to secrecy, Crane is transported from the rig to an amazing undersea habitat run by the military that’s apparently pursuing evidence that Atlantis exists. Psychotic episodes among the scientific staff as well as the activities of a saboteur that threatens the project’s safety keep Crane busy, even as some of the staff members confront him with concerns that exploring the Earth’s core could be fatal to all life on earth. Crisp writing energizes a familiar plot, which builds to an unsettling climax with echoes of Child and Preston’s The Ice Limit.” Publishers Weekly

Havoc by Jack Du Brul

“Thriller fans who don’t demand much realism in their reads should enjoy the first hardcover entry in bestseller Du Brul’s adventure series featuring geologist and spy Philip Mercer (Vulcan Forge, etc.). The novel opens with an intriguing premise—that the Hindenburg zeppelin blew up in 1937 as the result of sabotage aimed at keeping a crackpot academic’s discoveries secret. In the present-day Central African Republic, Mercer hooks up with the de rigueur attractive but brainy female, Cali Stowe, who’s a U.S. intelligence agent posing as a medical researcher. As the pair dodge death from violent insurgent armies in predictable action sequences, they exchange light banter—and learn that the African nation is the source of a radioactive element coveted by terrorists that may have been used by Alexander the Great to defeat his foes. Du Brul is the coauthor with Clive Cussler of the Oregon Files novels, Dark Watch and Skeleton Coast.” Publishers Weekly

The Quest by Wilbur Smith

“The latest book by best-selling adventure novelist Smith is the fourth volume in his series of historical novels set in pharaonic Egypt, tracing the adventures of eunuch and mystic Taita. Its immediate predecessor was Warlock (2001). The quest of the title is just as much a spiritual one as an actual one as Taita, out of a deep devotion to his country and his pharaoh, seeks the identity and the quashing of the “menacing force” that is threatening the very existence of the kingdom; the “land of Egypt quailed, and the population gave in to despair.” The Nile has refused to rise and bring fresh, fertile soil to the river valley; the shrunken river runs with blood; and huge, poisonous toads arise from the bloody water and overrun the land. Taita must go deep upriver, far into Africa’s interior, to discover the reason. Ancient mysticism and mythology swirl through the narrative as swiftly as the Nile waters when in full flood. Smith has always been long on action, and his new novel won’t disappoint his fans in that regard; he’s always been graphic in depicting violence and death, and his new novel certainly fits the mold.” Booklist

Earthcore by Scott Sigler

“Deep below a desolate Utah mountain lies the largest platinum deposit ever discovered. A billion-dollar find, it waits for any company that can drill a world’s record, three-mile-deep mine shaft. EarthCore is the company with the technology, the resources and the guts to go after the mother lode. Young executive Connell Kirkland is the company’s driving force, pushing himself and those around him to uncover the massive treasure. But at three miles below the surface, where the rocks are so hot they burn bare skin, something has been waiting for centuries. Waiting …and guarding. Kirkland and EarthCore are about to find out first-hand why this treasure has never been unearthed.” Amazon

The Rasputin Relic by William M. Valtos

“Rasputin Lives! In present-day Pennysylvania, a severed hand turns up in a safe-deposit box that has not been opened in more than 50 years. The note on the wrapping, written in old Church Slavonic, says it is the right hand of Rasputin, the legendary monk who has been dead since 1916. Yet the hand is perfectly preserved and blood still drips from the wound! Alternately called a man of God, a charlatan, and a drunken womanizer, thius lasting legend is again wreaking havac.The faithful believe that incorruptible remains–relics–have the power to cure. Yet those who come into contact with hand begin to die; a bizarre series of deaths that puts the acting chief of police of a small town in a race against time. As Victor Rhostok investigates, he is pulled into a web of Russian mysticism and superstition.In his search, Rhostok encounters Nicole Danilovitch, a young widow. As he looks for answers in the no-man’s land where science confronts religion, she seeks redemption for her sins at the hands of a priest who may be a false prophet. And in her past hides the key to the mystery.” inside book flap “The Rasputin Relic” is another fast-paced mystery-thriller from the author of “The Authenticator” and La Magdalena”.

Infected by Scott Sigler

Available 4/1/08

“Part Stephen King, part Chuck Palahniuk, Infected blends science fiction and horror into a pulpy masterpiece of action, terror, and suspense. Three recommendations: don’t read it at night, or just after you’ve eaten a full meal, or if you’re weak of heart. You’ve been warned!” by James Rollins

“Sigler is masterful at grabbing the reader by the throat and refusing to let go. Just when I thought I knew what abyss he was leading me across, he knocked the bridge out from under… I think I screamed the whole way down… INFECTED is a marvel of gonzo, in-your-face, up-to-the-minute terror.” Lincoln Child

Ancestor by Scott Sigler “Ancestor is the world’s most-popular “podcast novel.” A serialized audiobook delivered in 20 weekly episodes, Ancestor’s first run played to an audience of more than 30,000 die-hard fans in 31 countries. All told, fans have downloaded more than 700,000 episodes of Ancestor. En route to a rousing final episode, Ancestor was the #1 literary podcast on iTunes and every other podcast index, including Morpheus, FeedBurner, and Podcast Alley. The book’s popularity caught the attention of the broadcast world, and was the first audiobook broadcast on Sirius Satellite to the company’s 4.3 million subscribers. ANCESTOR On a remote island in Lake Superior, scientists struggle to solve the problem of xenotransplantation — using animal tissue to replace failing human organs. Funded by the biotech firm Genada, Dr. Claus Rhumkorrf seeks to recreate the ancestor of all mammals. By getting back to the root of our creation, Rhumkorrf hopes to create an animal with human internal organs. Rhumkorrf discovers the ancestor, but it is not the small, harmless creature he envisions. His genius gives birth to a fast-growing evil that nature eradicated 250 million years ago — an evil now on the loose, and very, very hungry.” Amazon

Golem by Greg Vilk

“In 1942 a U.S. Rangers commando is sent to capture a remote Nazi base in Greenland. Upon arrival, the Rangers discover that the German crew has been massacred and that the lone, fear-stricken survivor hallucinates about ghosts in the snow. The Rangers soon find out that they’re not alone in the base and that they’re confronted with a faceless, deadly entity which can breathe life into non-living matter.” Amazon

“Biblical arcana, ancient secrets, and highflying adventure” “Strap yourself in for the ride!” James Rollins

The Masada Scroll by Paul Block

“A Catholic priest, an American scholar, and a nice Jewish girl mull over the significance of an ancient document unearthed at the site of Israel’s to-the-last-man stand against the Romans. The scroll is the long-theorized “Q” document–an eyewitness, written account of the life of Jesus. The message of the scroll is “trevia dei,” or that there are three paths to God–Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Thus Jesus could become the modern-day prophet of world peace, but naturally, there’s an extremist Catholic group that wants to suppress the truth. Block and Vaughan offer up cliche after cliche, but they also include a great deal of arcane knowledge, perhaps even enough to satisfy Da Vinci Code fans.” BooklistThe Citadel by Robert Doherty

“At the start of the Cold War, the greatest threat to America wasn’t the Russians and the looming Communist threat. Rather, it was an elite organization bent on world domination, a group so powerful only nuclear weapons could safeguard against them. The CIA knew what these men were capable of, and in a last ditch attempt to protect America against them, they built two high–security arsenals deep within the earth––one declassified in the Nevada desert, and one heavily under wraps in Antarctica. For over 50 years, no one spoke of The Citadel, the fortress deep under the ice in Antarctica that held the most powerful weapon known to man––until the Organization returned, hellbent on destruction.Captain Jim Vaughn is a government agent known for performing missions no one else wants. So when an old colleague approaches him with an assignment, he can’t refuse––even if the mission has been set in motion by a dead man’s letter, found in Antarctica and dated 1949. The Citadel has been cracked, and the only man who can safeguard it is Vaughn. Nothing short of the fate of mankind rests on his shoulders.” Amazon Psychic Warrior: Project Aura by Robert Doherty

“Part science fiction and part military thriller, this complex novel will appeal to readers who prefer their suspense laced with technical jargon and brimming with blatant government wrongdoing. Doherty’s sequel to last year’s Psychic Warrior reintroduces the virtual soldier a warrior who can leave his or her body behind, go anywhere and do anything by harnessing the power of the mind and is loaded with faceless characters known only by their last names (e.g., General Eichen, Lieutenant Jackson). Sergeant Major Dalton, an ex-Green Beret and the hero of Doherty’s first installment, is called upon to do battle against a psychic cabal known as the Priory, a mysterious group that strikes enemies without warning and strives for world domination. With the exception of Dalton, Doherty’s underdeveloped characters fail to evoke the reader’s sympathy, rendering the outcome of the psychic battles waged on various continents between U.S. freedom fighters and members of the Priory virtually irrelevant. Nevertheless, Doherty’s portrayal of the U.S. government as a highly classified operation is as intriguing as it is disturbing, and detail-oriented readers will thrill to Doherty’s cold, calculating and emotion-free prose. Those unused to this hard-edged style, however, may find his writing uncommonly dry and stiff.” Publishers Weekly

Unholy Grail by D. L. Wilson

“A series of French articles-supposedly based on the writings of Jesus’s brother James-has revealed that the descendants of Christ exist to this very day.

Now, one man has taken the name of the archangel Gabriel and has embarked on a quest to protect Christianity’s innocence by eliminating all who could expose the secrets of the gospel-and its connection to the Holy Grail. ” Amazon

“A fast-paced and well-crafted religious thriller.” Andrew Gross

“A runaway train of a novel.” Molly Cochran

“Absolutely thrilling…a compulsive read loaded with suspense.” Lynn Hightower

Chasing Eden by S.L. Linnea
Chasing Eden

“Chaplain (Maj.) Jaime Richards makes a promising debut as a savvy-but-nurturing minister to American troops during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though she’s an unconventional thriller protagonist, Richards leaves no doubt she’s up to the task when, right out of the chute, she’s the target of a kidnapping attempt—but not before she’s reunited with a fatally injured college chum, Adara Dunbar. In her dying moments, Adara gives Jaime a silver pendant and a cryptic message, pleading with the chaplain to promise she’ll complete Adara’s mission. With Adara dead, though, her mission is a mystery, one that unfolds, labyrinthlike, over the course of the novel. Though hungry and sleep deprived, Jaime deciphers Adara’s message, which leads her to the ancient city of Ur and a man who identifies himself as Adara’s brother. His mission is to locate the biblical Garden of Eden—before others find it first—and Jaime is quickly drawn into the scramble. Following a popular formula, in which forces of good and evil race to locate religious artifacts, this one benefits from its wartime setting, which proves both prescient and dynamic. Unfortunately, Linnea fails to carry through the rich promise of her early chapters, delivering implausible plot devices and a disappointing ending.” Publishers Weekly

The Second Virgin Birth by Tommy Taylor

The Second Virgin Birth

“Do we have the technology enabling Christ to be born again of a second virgin mother? A six year old little girl in Alabama knows we do. The Pope is afraid we do. The world asks “should we if we can?” The book follows the life of a little girl in Alabama who goes completely insane at the age of six and is confined to a state mental hospital. In a strange twist of fate, she is chosen, “by God,” to become the mother of his son, the next Madonna in the second coming of Christ. Explore her life as there are those who adore and worship her and there are those who loathe her and will do anything to end her life before her son is born. This story is a true “can’t put it down” book. ” Amazon

Violent Sands – A Novel by Sean Young “THE SCROLL WILL DESTROY… For generations, the copper scroll has remained buried, concealing the treasure it protects and the prophecy it contains. Now that secret is about to be unleashed. In the right hands, the scroll could bring about ancient Israel’s freedom from Roman occupation, but used improperly, it could destroy her. EVERYTHING THE MAN KNOWS… After watching Roman soldiers murder his father and pillage his homeland, Barabbas, a warrior zealot and sworn protector of the scroll, has become a broken man, physically and emotionally. His quest for vengeance and Roman blood, his love for a peace loving woman, and his commitment to the mysterious scroll pull him in vastly different directions. AND HE WILL BE KILLED… Death and betrayal loom around every corner as Barabbas searches for a truth that he has yet to fully understand-the force that drives him forward and ultimately requests the ultimate sacrifice to be made by a man. OR REMADE.” Amazon

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by James Rollins

Available 5/20/08 – based on the upcoming movie

Virgin by F. Paul Wilson

“F. Paul Wilson has written a number of apocalyptic thrillers over the years, but he has not really done much with the Christian end-of-the-world ideas that come from Revelations and have been done, for better or worse (often worse) in such stories as the Left Behind books. Wilson’s Virgin is his venture into this genre, combining Christian mythology and his own writing style to make a book that can be entertaining to readers of many different religious backgrounds.The story opens during the Gulf War in 1991. An errant Scud missile exposes a cave that has some unusual artifacts: some scrolls that are found by a pair of young Arab shepherds who see a gold mine in the ancient documents. Years later, a forged version of these writings makes it way to Father Dan Fitzpatrick, a homeless advocate in New York City. For all his good deeds, Fitzpatrick does have one sin: he is secretly lovers with the nun Carrie Ferris. While Fitzpatrick treats the translated scroll as merely entertaining, Ferris takes it seriously and drags her lover to Israel in search of the body of the Virgin Mary herself. They are successful, setting up a series of events that are beyond either of their control.If you are expecting a truly Christian novel, you will be disappointed. The ideas expressed herein, while reasonably respectful of Christianity, are more plot devices than reverent messages. In fact, by the end of the book, it is clear that this is not a promotion of any faith. Instead, this is a supernatural thriller, with Wilson’s usual flair for creating page-turning fare. If you are a Wilson fan, you may not find this his best work, but it is still a fun read.” mrliteral (customer review)

The Terror by Dan Simmons“Starred Review. Hugo-winner Simmons (Olympos) brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus, is an aging fool. Francis Crozier, his second in command and captain of the Terror, is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there’s the monstrous creature from the ice, the thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence. This complex tale should find many devoted readers and add significantly to Simmons’s already considerable reputation.” Publishers Weekly

The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer

The Fifth Vial

“Bestseller Palmer (The Society) tackles the illegal transplant organ trade in his entertaining 12th medical suspense novel. What do three very different people—Harvard medical student Natalie Reyes, Chicago PI Ben Callahan and scientific genius Joe Anson—have in common? Natalie, in Brazil for a conference, is attacked, hospitalized and loses a lung; Ben gets hired to discover how a mutilated anonymous body died; Joe, the inventor of an untested medical breakthrough, is forced into an operation for his life-threatening pulmonary fibrosis. All three seek answers connected to the Whitestone Foundation, a conglomerate that’s a front for the Guardians, a secret cabal of medical specialists. At a hidden hospital in the Brazilian rain forest, Natalie and Ben learn of the Guardians’ insidious methods. Huge sums are at stake as the arrogant Guardians make medical decisions largely motivated by greed. The action, which begins plausibly, becomes less so as the tension builds. Still, Palmer, himself an M.D., does a good job of informing the reader on an important ethical issue.” Publishers Weekly

The Lost Army of Cambyses by Paul Sussman

“A cinematic, rip-roaring adventure mystery, brimming with details of Egyptian archaeology and history. Niceties such as character development and believable dialogue are swept aside in a tale that begins with the army of the title, which utterly disappeared in a raging sandstorm. Cut to the present day, when Tara Mullvay, zoologist, finally decides to visit her archaeologist father in Egypt and finds him dead. Meanwhile, inspector Yusuf Khalifa of Luxor is investigating two murders, both of which involve ancient artifacts and a mutilated corpse. Tara soon finds that a small artifact her father left for her has put her in grave danger, and Yusuf tracks a connection between his murders and Tara’s father’s demise in interesting ways. Tara’s initial meeting with an old lover and their subsequent encounter with a cobra eerily echo Indiana Jones, while Khalifa’s warm family life and gentle practice of Islam are aligned against an Islamic terrorist group whose tactics are chillingly recognizable. A glossary aids in tracking the rich lode of Egyptology (the author is an archaeologist). ” Booklist

The Genesis Code by Christopher Forrest

“First off, please be aware this is not a reissue of John Case’s first novel, also titled The Genesis Code (1997), although there are similarities: both stories deal with genetics, DNA, and murder. Forrest’s novel (his first) begins with the murder of a noted geneticist whose recent discovery of a coded message hidden inside human DNA will rock the world . . . if the scientist’s killers allow it to be revealed. Standing between these nasty conspirators (part of an ancient, secret organization) and their goal to keep the DNA code under wraps is the murdered geneticist’s protégé, Christian Madison, whose only hope of staying alive is to crack the code, break the ancient conspiracy, and stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Forrest incorporates a number of historical elements, such as the Mayans, Nostradamus, and the Sumerians. This is the sort of ambitious plot that James Rollins, say, in his Sigma Force novels, pulls off with panache. Forrest doesn’t write with the same fevered excitement as Rollins, but he generates enough narrative thrust of his own to keep thriller fans panting.” Booklist

The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud by Julia Navarro

The Da Vinci Code, in all its many incarnations, has a lot to answer for. This latest entry in the religious suspense sweepstakes is by a bestselling Spanish novelist, who stirs up the pot by mixing fact and fiction to tell what happened to the legendary Shroud of Turin, supposedly Jesus’ burial garment. Several centuries of sturm und drang—including perhaps one severed tongue too many—whiz by, lightened only by the odd liturgical chant, as reader Langton uses his best Masterpiece Theater British accent to hit the high points. Of course there’s a modern detective who develops some new leads. But unless you positively can’t live without your daily dose of anti-Vatican paranoia, this is probably one to skip.” Publishers Weekly

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse “Mosse’s page-turner takes readers on another quest for the Holy Grail, this time with two closely linked female protagonists born 800 years apart. In 2005, Alice Tanner stumbles into a hidden cave while on an archeological dig in southwest France. Her discovery—two skeletons and a labyrinth pattern engraved on the wall and on a ring—triggers visions of the past and propels her into a dangerous race against those who want the mystery of the cave for themselves. Alaïs, in the year 1209, is a plucky 17-year-old living in the French city of Carcassone, an outpost of the tolerant Cathar Christian sect that has been declared heretical by the Catholic Church. As Carcassonne comes under siege by the Crusaders, Alaïs’s father, Bertrand Pelletier,entrusts her with a book that is part of a sacred trilogy connected to the Holy Grail. Guardians of the trilogy are operating against evil forces—including Alaïs’s sister, Oriane, a traitorous, sexed-up villainess who wants the books for her own purposes. Sitting securely in the historical religious quest genre, Mosse’s fluently written third novel (after Crucifix Lane) may tantalize (if not satisfy) the legions of Da VinciCode devotees with its promise of revelation about Christianity’s truths.” Publishers Weekly

Gospel Truths by J.G. Sandom

“Sandom’s masterful first novel, based on a true incident, spins a complicated web of corruption, greed, and deception that connects international banking, high Vatican officials, notorious fascist scoundrels, and the London police. Detective Inspector Nigel Lyman falls heir to the reopened case of an Italian banker’s suicide on Blackfriar’s Bridge; he soon finds himself in Amiens, France, deeply involved in the search for a lost Gnostic gospel that could topple the Church. By turns contemplative, descriptive, and emotive, this mixture of mystery and intrigue reveals intense preparation and fine writing.” Library JournalThe First Patient by Michael Palmer

“From the blockbuster, New York Times bestselling author comes a high-concept, high-octane thriller at the crossroads of presidential politics and cutting-edge medicine. . . .Gabe Singleton and Andrew Stoddard were roommates at the Naval Academy in Annapolis years ago. Today, Gabe is a country doctor and his friend Andrew has gone from war hero to governor to President of the United States. One day, while the United States is embroiled in a bitter presidential election campaign, Marine One lands on Gabe’s Wyoming ranch, and President Stoddard delivers a disturbing revelation and a startling request. His personal physician has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, and he desperately needs Gabe to take the man’s place. Despite serious misgivings, Gabe agrees to come to Washington. It is not until he is ensconced in the White House medical office that Gabe realizes there is strong evidence that the President is going insane. Facing a crisis of conscience-as President Stoddard’s physician, he has the power to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment to transfer presidential power to the Vice President-Gabe uncovers increasing evidence that his friend’s condition may not be due to natural causes. Who? Why? And how? The President’s life is at stake. A small-town doctor suddenly finds himself in the most powerful position on earth, and the safety of the world is in jeopardy. Gabe Singleton must find the answers, and the clock is ticking. . . .With Michael Palmer’s trademark medical details, and steeped in meticulous political insider knowledge, The First Patient is an unforgettable story of suspense.” Amazon

The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes

“Fans of Da Vinci Code knockoffs will welcome Byrnes’s first novel. When an ancient stone burial box known as an ossuary is stolen from a secret crypt beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, readers will immediately intuit that the bones contained in the box are those of Jesus Christ, even though it takes quite a bit longer for the characters to admit as much. American geneticist Charlotte Hennesey is summoned to the Vatican along with Dr. Giovanni Bersei, an anthropologist, to study the ossuary. Back in Jerusalem, Arabs, Jews and Christians bicker, protest, fight and scheme against one another both within and outside the Temple Mount. A ruthlessly efficient Vatican hit man, Salvatore Conte, hovers over the action. Venal cardinals, contemptuous Israelis, Knights Templar and evil popes round out a familiar cast. Byrnes puts a more contemporary spin on his material than most authors of religious thrillers.” Publishers Weekly

Bestiary by Robert Masello

“In his latest, Masello lets loose a stable of thriller stereotypes and drives them hastily, but not unskillfully, through a sprawling adventure story complete with shady foreigners, ancient codes and terrible monsters. Sinister Iraqi zillionaire Mohammad Al-Kalli hires Beth Cox, a medieval manuscript expert, to translate and restore his family’s thousand-year-old bestiary, a medieval compendium of mythical animals painstakingly copied out by monks, replete with Da Vinci Code–style hidden messages couched in dead languages. As it turns out, the creatures catalogued there—a mix of Jurassic Park–like prehistoric monsters—are all too real and held in Al-Kalli’s secret menagerie, which Beth’s paleontologist husband has been hired, also by Al-Kalli, to study.. Masello throws into the mix an Elmore Leonardesque lowlife who’s trying to blackmail Al-Kalli, a 24-style terrorist plot to immolate Los Angeles, Tom Clancyesque weapons specs (“the Beretta… featured a delayed locking block system, which provided a faster cycle time and exceptional accuracy”), an eerily sleepless infant à la The Ring and a spooky original touch in the 9,000-year-old corpse dredged out of L.A.’s La Brea tar pits. Masello has a difficult time keeping together all these busy, dissonant subplots, but even if they don’t mesh, each one is a well-wrought genre turn with colorful characters and punchy writing. The result is a diverting trip that may make you think twice before going back to the zoo.” Publishers Weekly

So have fun reading!