Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White

Kara Westfall lives on the island of De'Noran, where a dangerous and magical forest, known as the Thickety, covers most of the land. The villagers of De'Noran fear the forest, as well as any type of magic. Indeed, magic is cause for punishment in De'Noran, as Kara discovered when her mother was executed after being accused of witchcraft and murder. Left with her father and baby brother, Kara spent the years after her mother's death enduring ridicule and shunning from the other villagers due to her connection with a parent who possessed magic. Now twelve years old, Kara bravely endures the taunts of the other villagers who believe that she is a witch, while attempting to care for her sickly brother, Taff. However, when Kara is lured into the Thickety and finds a book that belonged to her mother, her life begins to change. The book begins to reveal spells that awaken magical powers in Kara that she never knew she possessed. Both thrilled and terrified of her new ability, Kara must learn what it means to have powers and what really happened with her mother the night of the murder so many years ago, before the same fate befalls her.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast series by Clete Barrett Smith

When David first arrived at his grandmother's bed and breakfast to spend the summer, he did think some of the guests looked a bit odd. David thought his grandmother was a bit of an hippie and what was with that name? The Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast - was it a place for Trekkies or fans of the X-Files? But then he saw the Rules for Guests on the back of the door in his room:

1. Leave nothing behind
2. Take nothing with you
3. Dress appropriately
4. Two arms, two legs, one head
5. No harming the natives

David discovers that the bed and breakfast is a safe vacation spot for aliens who want to visit a more primitive world. Our world! The guests are nice, even if they have some unusual habits and food choices. Occasionally a human sees an alien for real - Sasquatch, for example.

David meets Amy, the daughter of the local sheriff? The sheriff begins to suspect something is going on at the B and B, so David has to help head off trouble and protect the aliens.

The next summer, David can't wait to return to the Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast. There have been some changes - Amy is now the Director of Tourist Entertainment. In her spare time she runs childcare and organizes Senior activities - for the alien guests. Amy's dad is now a member of the Intergalactic Police Force, charged with protecting the guests. But the thing that really worries David, is the new "handyman" Scratchull. There is something very menacing about that alien.

The Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast series is perfect summer reading. Just don't tell anyone that there are aliens among us. Shhhh . . .



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

True (...sort of) by Katherine Hannigan

Delaware (Delly) Pattison is bad, wrong, trouble.  She never means to be those things, it just happens.  It’s not her fault that she finds surpresents or that she enjoys going on Dellyventures and no one else likes these things.  

One day Delly has a feeling that a surpresent is coming her way.  However, she is disappointed to discover that what she thinks is her surpresent is just a new kid in town, Ferris Boyd.  

Ferris Boyd loves to play basketball, but does not like to be touched nor does Ferris Boyd talk. Delly decides to make Ferris Boyd her project.  Delly decides that if she befriends Ferris Boyd then she will no longer be bad, wrong, or trouble.  Becoming Ferris Boyd’s friend will help keep her out of trouble and hopefully get her more Delly Days, but can she do it while defending her new friend and herself.  

Katherine Hannigan does a wonderful job telling Delly’s story.  Delly begins the story always getting into trouble and being quite selfish.  However, as the story progresses you see Delly begin to grow by becoming Ferris Boyd’s friend and by beginning to do things for others.  Nevertheless, Delly soon faces a difficult decision and must decide to either stay quiet or help a friend.

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

Meet Coke and Pepsi!  Twins who were chosen to be members of the Young American Geniuses, a special division of the Genius Files.  The only problem is--they didn’t know they were chosen to be members and now someone is out to kill them.  

In the course of several days and several hundred miles, Coke and Pepsi have had to jump off of a cliff wearing wing suits, escape from a burning school, climb their way out of a sand dune pit where they were left to die, and visit the largest ball of twine to save it from an attack.  

The first in a series, Mission Unstoppable, is an action packed book perfect for any reader who loves adventure.  Follow along with Coke and Pepsi as they make their way cross country to save themselves and other members of the Young American Geniuses division.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Resisters by Eric Nylund

Author Eric Nylund knows how to write an exciting, action-packed science fiction story - he is the author of the popular Halo books based on the video game. The Resisters is his first book in a new series for younger readers.

Twelve-year-old Ethan thinks his life is good. His team is competing for the state soccer championship, he is working hard to get in the best high school and he knows what he wants to do when he is an adult - be an astronaut. Of course, his team doesn't exactly play soccer the way we do. They wear 600 pound, nuclear-powered exoskeleton athletic suits that let them play a truly powerful game.

But then Ethan meets a couple of slightly strange kids - Madison and Felix - who tell him that things are not what they appear to be. Their story is that Earth was taken over by aliens about 50 years ago and that these aliens hold all adults in their mind control. Yeah, right. But as soon as Ethan sees the battle bug robot suits, he begins to wonder. The resistance groups that fights against the aliens need kids, since their minds are free of the alien influence.

Will Ethan join the resisters? Hang on - this is an exciting, fast-paced science fiction story.

The Dragon of Cripple Creek by Troy Howell

Cripple Creek, Colorado is a real, historic gold mining town. Today it is a tourist attraction where you can go down into the old Mollie Kathleen gold mine. This is the very same mine that Kat Graham and her family visit when they stop by Cripple Creek.

Who knew that the last living dragon in the whole world was hiding down an old forgotten tunnel? But we should have suspected, because dragons hoard gold . . .

Things hadn't been going well for Kat, her brother and father. Money was very tight since her dad had lost his job. The family was on the way to a new job and and new start when they stopped by Cripple Creek. But after Kat got lost in the mine and stumbled on the ancient dragon called Ye, things would never be the same. Ye saved her life and Kat knew she shouldn't do it, but she stole a small nugget of gold from the old dragon. Later she felt very guilty but before she could return it safely, other people saw it. The television reports went crazy, sparking a modern day gold rush. What would happen to the kindly Ye when he was captured? Kat has to protect him, but how?

The Dragon of Cripple Creek is not a typical fantasy story. Everything about it's setting, characters, and plot is very realistic - except for that dragon. Somehow that makes this story very believable! Why don't you just watch this interview with Kat and make your own mind up.

The Dragon of Cripple Creek - Book Trailer from Timothy Ryan Poe on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wild Life by Cynthia DeFelice

On the day that twelve-year old Erik Carlson passed his Hunter Safety course, his life changed dramatically. Instead of going hunting with his best friend, Erik learned that his parents, who were both in the Army Reserve, were being deployed to Iraq. Erik was sent to stay with his grandparents in North Dakota. Erik had never been to North Dakota and he hadn't seen his grandparents since he was three-years-old. Now he was flying there alone, unhappy, and slightly scared.

When Erik arrives his grandfather, Big Darrell, seems very angry at something and he doesn't treat Erik with any love or warmth. Upstairs in the house, there is a mysterious, locked bedroom that he is forbidden to enter. Things change when Erik finds a lost and injured bird dog that needs his help. The poor dog has been attacked by a porcupine. Erik and a local veterinarian remove the quills and treat the dog. Big Darrell says the dog can only stay one night but Erik can't bear to give her up.

So Erik and Quill, as he has named the dog, decides to run away from the farm to the surrounding prairie. Looking for supplies he enters the closed bedroom, discovering that it belonged to his grandparents' son, who was a soldier killed in action. Erik takes the shotgun he finds there and he and Quill set off. Erik is determined to life off the land but he is not quite prepared for all the dangers and weather he and Quill find.

Wild Life is a very powerful story about a boy and his family caught up in loss, grief and sacrifice for their country. This is a situation faced by many military families today. The author, Cynthia DeFelice, has written a great adventure story of a boy and a dog; but also reminds us of the challenges faced by soldiers and their families.