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.

Around the World in 100 Days by Gary Blackwood

You might be familiar with the famous story Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. The main character, Phileas Fogg, was challenged to travel around the entire world in 80 days or less. Today we could fly around the world in less than two hours on the space shuttle, but in 1873, Fogg had to use railroads, ships and the Suez Canal.

This story begins in 1891, when Harry Fogg, son of the famous adventurer and traveler, also accepts a bet. Harry and his good friend, Johnny Shaugnessey, have built their very own steam-powered automobile called The Flash. Harry's father keeps hoping his son will get serious about his future and stop fooling around with ridiculous ideas like motorcars. But Phileas backs his son when members of his Gentleman's Club make fun of Harry when he insists that automobiles are the future of transportation. Soon Harry and Johnny set off on their own around the world journey, accompanied by two other young adults: Charles, who is supposed to serve as an impartial observer but is really a spoiled brat and the mysterious Elizabeth, who wants to prove herself as a journalist. They are allowed to put The Flash on a ship to cross oceans but otherwise they have to drive the car across all continents. Not only must they deal with the natural obstacles, bandits and other dangers they encounter, but someone is also trying to sabotage their attempt.

Author Gary Blackwood was inspired to write this story by a real event - the Great Auto Race of 1908. After researching and writing a nonfiction book about this famous race, he began to imagine a similar fictional story. Around the World in 100 Days is an exciting historical adventure story, spiced with humor and colorful characters.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Benjamin Franklinstein Lives!

Founding Fathers, zombies and Franklinstein - best idea for a book yet!

Seriously, well actually there is nothing serious about this book at all, Benjamin Franklinstein Lives! is a very very funny book.

Here's the "what if" question - what if Benjamin Franklin put himself in suspended animation and woke up in our world? Victor, our main character, finds this when Ben wakes up in his basement. Victor doesn't really like problems in his life, and Ben is definitely a problem. Especially since he needs so much re-charging. He's also incredibly curious about everything in our modern world. And he certainly has a way of interfering in Victor's science fair project.

But why did he awake now? What happens to the Custodian who watched over him? And where is the secret society that protected him?

I really want to know more about the secret society Ben was a member of - the Modern Order of Prometheus. You might just find out more here . . . even if it appears closed, I'm sure you are clever enough to figure out how to enter . . .

Want to find out more? Read the first two chapters here.

The fun continues at the Franklinstein website found here. Be sure to check out the authors, one of whom is a real, live, genuine middle school teacher! Both our authors, Matthew McElligott and Larry Tuxbury, host a series of videos on Famous Inventors Who've Never Heard Of! Here's the first:

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

"What if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence. a new, alternate reality was created - the life that would've been?"

I love stories about alternate realities. Just one little change makes every thing different. This is the stuff of real science as well - the science of quantum physics. Quantum physicists study the behavior of matter and energy as well as space and time by looking at the smallest things in our world - molecules, atoms and even smaller. One very cool quantum theory is the idea that there are many worlds or realities branching off each other. This is just the "what if" question asked in this story.

Thirteen-year-old Tick is a smart kid but a bit of a loner whose entire life changes the day he receives a very strange letter. The letter tells him he is needed to save lives and do important deeds, but first he must solve a series of riddles to prove his abilities and dedication. He decides to play along and suddenly everything changes. Truly scary things threaten him as he tries to puzzle out the series of clues in the riddles. What will be revealed to him at the end? Are there really alternate realities? Can he change the way things are - or should be? Can you solve the riddles faster than Tick?

This book is the first in the series call The 13th Reality, written by James Dashner, who also writes The Maze Runner series. Tick's adventures continue in The Hunt for Dark Infinity and The Blade of Shattered Hope. Hang on - it's a wild ride!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Missing on Superstitio Mountain by Elise Broach

Elise Broach is one of our favorite mystery writers. We love Masterpiece and Shakespeare's Secret. When I saw this brand new mystery, I had to read it all in one day!

Superstition Mountain is not only a real place, it is a very famous place. Many people have disappeared here in strange ways much like the Bermuda Triangle. The Lost Dutchman Mine is also here and many explorers have tried to find it over the past one hundred years. They are all hoping to find the valuable gold hidden long ago.

When the Barker brothers - Simon, Henry and Jack - move to Superstition, Arizona, everyone warns them NOT to go exploring the mountain. But it is summer, they are bored, and then their cat runs away so they just have to find her. Instead of their cat, they discover three skulls lined up in a row on the edge of a cliff. Along with their new friend, Delilah, they just can't let this mystery go unsolved so they begin to research. Unfortunately they soon find themselves caught up in even more strange and creepy mysteries from the past!

All of the characters in this book are terrific and I can't wait to see what they discover next, since this book is the first is Elisa Broach's new Superstition Mountain series.

Click here to read the first chapter of Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Phantoms in the Snow by Kathleen Benner Duble

During World War II, the American Army formed its first ski division. Most of the soldiers were very young. Some were already skiers while others had never been on snow before. The U. S. Army knew it would need trained alpine soldiers when they fought the Germans in the mountainous regions of Europe. These skiers were brave soldiers; in fact, their Tenth Mountain Division suffered some of the highest casualty rates during the war. Phantom in the Snow is based on their real life stories.

In 1944, fifteen-year-old Noah was orphaned and sent to live with his only known relative. His uncle, James Shelley, was an alpine soldier training at Camp Hale, Colorado. In order to give Noah a place to live, his uncle told the Army that his nephew was sixteen-years-old and gave him legal permission to enlist. Noah had grown up on a Texas ranch where it never snowed and his parents were pacifists who did not believe in war or violence. Noah finds himself at odds with his family values, as he begins his dangerous alpine training of skiing, shooting and mountain climbing.

Eventually Noah is shipped to Italy with his division and comes face-to-face with the reality of war. This book is both an excellent story of a boy finding his own courage and the story of a little known part of World War II.

Click here to listen to the story of the real Phantoms during World War II. After the war, many of the Phantoms went back to Colorado and the mountains and became ski instructors, Olympic ski coaches, and founded many of our famous ski resorts. Today, you can also ski on the old trail systems the Phantoms used in their training.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

What would you do if the you lost the one thing that mattered most?

Sixteen-year-old Jessica is a runner. She loves to run. She loves being part of her high school track team. And then one terrible day, as the team returns from an away track meet, a truck hits their school bus. One teammate dies. Jessica survives but her lower leg does not.

This book is an unflinching and deeply realistic portrait of a very determined girl. The reader follows Jessica's journey from her hospital bed, to physical therapy, to coming home and then back to school. Everyone has to re-adjust - her parents, her sister, her friends, her teachers, the other kids at school that she really doesn't know, and her coach who feels responsible but wants to help. Jessica has to learn to care for her leg and how to adapt to her artificial one.

Jessica is not some superhuman - she gets angry and depressed and embarrassed - but she's not a quitter. Her competitive spirit eventually keeps her going. Along the way she learns a lot about herself, her true friends, and some people she didn't know well. And she finds a way to back to her dream of running like the wind.

The Running Dream is an excellent and inspirational book. You will meet characters who seem very real. The problems they face are real as well - no medical insurance, lawsuits, and the expense of a good prosthesis or artificial leg. Along the way you may shed a tear or two, but I promise you, the last tears will be tears of joy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does) by Ruth White

When I'm reading I love a really good surprise - and this book has one. You don't have to wait until the end; it's right at the beginning and I can't give it away.

As our story opens, Meggie Blue and her family seem quite ordinary. Actually the whole family seems a little back-to-earth, old hippie-like; but, hey, that's normal for some people. There are a few strange people . . . and strange events . . .and strange ideas . . . but not too strange. Except for the electric blue hair. Then something happens and quite suddenly, the Blue family needs to go somewhere else. I know I'm being very vague, but I don't want to spoil the surprise. Really.

The author of You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does) is Ruth White. You may remember another book she wrote, Belle Prater's Boy, which was a Newbery Honor book. This is a very different story.


Monday, June 27, 2011

The Dark Zone by Dom Testa

"Life on Earth is over - and only 251 teens sent into space can save mankind."

Earth was doomed when the tail of a comet swept through the atmosphere, sparking a new virus that struck the adult population. In their dying days, scientists and engineers determined to give humanity a chance by building a ship to make the journey to a new world. The crew that ran this ship would need to be young enough to survive the very long journey, yet trained to carry out all the needed jobs and responsibilities. Two-hundred and fifty-one highly intelligent and gifted teens were located and quickly educated for this desperate mission.

The Dark Zone is book 4 in the Galahad series. Not only does the Galahad's crew face dangers from space, they battle a mysterious threat from within. Conflicts and romance both develop in the crew.

Galahad's Council runs the ship and they are intriguing and attractive characters. Triana Martell is the leader, Gap Lee heads engineering, Bon Hartsfield oversees the food domes, Channy Oakland runs Activities and Nutrition, and Lita Marques is their Medical Doctor. They have the assistance of almost sentient or intelligent computer system nicked Roc. I enjoy reading stories about multi-generational spaceships because I really think that's what real spaceflight to other planets will be like - very long journeys to travel the vast distances of space crewed by people who will view the ship as their long-term home.

The Galahad series is good space opera - interesting and strong characters involved in a long and dramatic story. You can find out more about the characters and the science behind the stories by clicking here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Jack and his mom had spent the night at their campground in Acadia National Park in Maine. At least that's what Jack thought, but when he crawled out of his tent in the morning he found his mom, their camping gear and their car all gone. At first he tried to be logical. Maybe she found a better campsite and moved nearby. Maybe she went to buy food for breakfast. Maybe . . . Jack didn't know but he tried not to panic. After all, he had lived with his mom and her wild mood swings all his life. She would be back; he knew she would.

But she didn't come back and Jack got hungry and within a couple of days he began to seriously search for her in nearby towns. Eventually he knew he had to get himself home, from Maine to Boston, without attracting the attention of anyone who would call the child welfare authorities and take him away from his mom. With only a small plastic elephant to give him courage, Jack set off.

This is a different kind of survival story. Instead of the wilderness, Jack needs to travel the roads to home, finding food and shelter, without looking like an abandoned child. Sometimes I really wished that Jack would trust some of the adults he meets, but I knew he was too afraid of what might happen. Small as an Elephant is story that makes you care so very much about the main character that you simply can't put it down. Jack is a character you won't forget.

Click here to listen to a portion of Small as an Elephant

or watch this video book trailer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Warp Speed by Lisa Yee

OK, I admit it, I'm a Trekkie. Which is the reason I could not pass up reading the new novel by Lisa Yee about another Trekkie - Marley Sandelski. Marley is entering seventh grade and he is a member of the A-V Club, whose other members are also dedicated to Star Trek, Star Wars, and Batman. To the other kids in school they are most definitely misunderstood and probably perceived as a little strange.

Much of what happens to Marley and his friends is funny and I found myself giggling at what he wrote each day in his Captain Log journal. And I found myself identifying with the way he perceives life going on around him as he tries to be logical and cool like his favorite character, Spock.

Marley's parents own a old run-down movie theater that shows classic movies to mostly empty seats. Marley and his parents live upstairs above the theater, although Marley has a secret hideaway downstairs in an old prop room full of costumes.

Unfortunately, Marley has also attracted the attention of some big-time bullies. I must confess, I found these bullies particularly troubling. Although they were seriously physical in their bullying, I think we have more trouble with emotional and cyber bullying in school. I was also distressed that Marley's parents and teachers weren't more aware of what was going on and that he never felt safe in telling them.

Marley and his friends go to the same middle school featured in author Lisa Yee's other novels - and the same characters weave their way in and out of the stories and this one, as well. Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time and So Totally Emily Ebers all tell the story of the same summer - but from three different points of view. You don't need to read them in any particular order at all. To get a preview of the other three books in this series, watch author Lisa Yee describe each title in the video below. I do know, after you read Warp Speed, you will want to know more about these characters.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wildfire Run

Do you ever wonder what life is like for the son or daughter of the President of the United States? Author Dee Garretson wondered the same thing, so she wrote her first book - Wildfire Run.

Twelve-year-old Luke is the son of the President. Secret service agents follow him everywhere - even school! One of the only places he can just be a kid is at Camp David, the outdoor retreat for Presidents. It is also one of the safest places in the world, with multiple, high-tech security systems.

Luke and his friend Theo are enjoying a fun, robot-building and tree house-climbing kind of weekend when there is a national emergency. An earthquake strikes Missouri and they feel the tremors all the way to Camp David. Luke's dad has to leave for Washington D.C., but he believes Luke will be completely safe at Camp David. No one knows, however, that the earthquake has started a nearby forest fire that will threaten everyone at Camp David.

Luke, Theo and the chef's daughter, Callie, soon find themselves in lots of danger and they are the only ones who can figure out how to escape from the safest place on earth! Dee Garretson's first book is action-packed. I can't wait for her next book - Wolf Storm.

Click here to listen to an audio file from Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Magickeepers Book 1: The Eternal Hourglass by Eric Kirov

In the last year, two students have walked up to me and said, "This is the best book I've ever read!" With that kind of recommendation, I had to read this book.

First of all, what a terrific setting! Nick lives in glamorous Las Vegas. True, his dad is a second-rate magician in a second-rate hotel, but Las Vegas is exciting. Everyday Nick skateboards past the huge Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, where snow falls continuously from the upper floors. There are huge signs outside of the Winter Palace, showing the incredible Damien, the star magician of a huge magic show.

Nick's mom died when he was a baby and he lives in a hotel room where his dad works. On the day he turns thirteen-years-old, his grandfather gives him a mysterious key that originally belonged to his mother. After that everything changes in Nick's life! He discovers that magic is real and that he is part of the important family of Magickeepers. He becomes the apprentice of the world-famous Damien and moves into the Winter Palace to learn about his magic abilities and perform in Damien's show. There are huge Siberian tigers and rare Akhal Teke horses right in the Winter Palace. The snow falling from the upper floors is real and there are evil Shadowkeepers who want Nick and the key he owns - the key to an important magical relic -the Eternal Hourglass.

The author, Erica Kirov, has written a fast-paced story with lots of fascinating details and characters. I especially liked how historical figures pop up in the story - people like the magician Harry Houdini, the mysterious Princess Anastasia of Russia and the evil Rasputin. There is also a mystery about who Nick really is. I can't wait to read the sequel to see what we discover about Nick and his future.

Hurry up and read the Eternal Hourglass now. The sequel, the Pyramid of Souls, is already available and the third book, the Chalice of Immortality, will be out soon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

We Are Not Eaten by Yaks by C. Alexander London

I love everything about this book! Why you ask?

1. Obnoxious and irritating and slightly lovable main characters - Celia and Oliver Navel, eleven-year-old twins, who would rather watch television ALL DAY than go on adventures. Their parents are real live adventurers! And daredevils like Indiana Jones! The entire family lives at the Explorer's Club in New York City (a real place, by the way) where they are surrounded by other real live explorers who tell great stories of their real live adventures. But what would Celia and Oliver rather do? Watch reality TV.

2. Unfortunately, their mother has gone missing on an exploration. What was she looking for? Only the greatest library of the ancient world - the wonderful, marvelous, incredible Library of Alexandria - where all of mankind's knowledge was gathered in one place. Librarians love the very thought of it. Tragically, it was burned to the ground by the Romans in 30 B.C. But Oliver and Celia's mother thinks maybe it was just . . . misplaced . . . so she sets off to find it. And she falls into a big, evil plot.

3. Oliver and Celia reluctantly - very reluctantly - are forced to set off to rescue their mother. Which means they have to do all sorts of things they hate - like travel to Tibet, climb mountains, and even ride yaks. It's all a tremendous adventure to all sorts of incredible places I would love to explore. I would love to pet a yak - they have wonderfully soft hair that you can spin into yarn. Oliver and Celia would rather watch cable.

4. The author, C. Alexander London, is a librarian! A real, certified librarian, who has the Dewey Decimal System memorized. Or at least he did, before he started working as a journalist, a writer, and a explorer himself. I am trying to solve the mystery of his real name - C. Alexander London is a pseudonym. Hmmm. He very much reminds me of another popular author, Pseudonymous Bosch, who writes The Secret Series . . . I'll keep you informed of any discoveries I make. . .

5. The book trailer. Click here to watch it. Stay tuned to the end and you'll spot the most beautiful corgi puppy. Not that it influenced how much I love this book, even though I happen to own a corgi and everyone in my family owns corgis and . . . oh, just read the book!

P.S. I can't wait for the sequel - We Dine With Cannibals. And, Celia and Oliver - I'm sorry you don't get to stay home and watch TV.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Shadows by Jacqueline West

"Sometimes it's hard to know whom to trust,"Annabelle said softly. "And heaven knows we all make mistakes."

Who is Annabelle? Is she real? Is she good or evil? And the little boy Morton - is a real boy trapped in a painting or a painting come to life? And what about the three cats Horatio, Harvey and Leopold? Are they the familiars of witches or will they help save Olive?

When Olive moved to this old Victorian house with her parents, things were definitely strange - especially all those paintings stuck to the walls. But when Olive discovered how to step into the world inside the frame, events turned really ominous. This is the kind of book where you shout to the main character "No, don't go down into the basement!" or "No, don't open that door!"

Yikes, this is a scary story! If you liked Coraline by Neil Gaiman, then you will enjoy The Shadows, the first book in the new series The Books of Elsewhere.

Make sure to check out the author's website here. You can explore Olive's creepy house yourself!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Sherlock Holmes is certainly the most famous detective in literature. Did you ever wonder what his childhood was like? How did he become the master of deduction? How did he learn to observe the smallest details and put them all together to solve mysteries? Death Cloud is the first book in a new series about the young Sherlock Holmes.

Fourteen-year-old Sherlock is looking forward to his summer vacation; however, his brother Mycroft picks him up from boarding school instead of his father. Mycroft explains that their father has been sent by the British Army to India and won't be home for nearly a year. Their mother is feeling ill so Sherlock is sent to his elderly uncle and aunt's home in the country. Expecting a very boring summer, Sherlock is quite unhappy with this situation.

Things look up when he meets a local boy his age and begins to explore the countryside. His uncle also hires a tutor for Sherlock - Amyus Crowe, a curious American, with a broad knowledge of the world.

Then the dead bodies begin to turn up! Is it the plague or something more mysterious?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Middleword by J and P Voelkel

Wow - this is the first book in the next, hot new series - the Jaguar Stones. If you loved Percy Jackson or the Kane Chronicles - you will definitely enjoy this book!

First, there is something definitely end-of-the-world spooky going on here. You may have heard about the year 2012, when the old Mayan calendar ends. Supposedly the world will end on that date - not that WE believe that!

Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is the son of Mayan archaeologists and he is quite angry when they leave him home when they set off on a sudden expedition to Central America. Unexpectedly, he receives a ticket to join them, but when he gets to his uncle's home in Puerto Muerto, he discovers that they are missing in the jungle. And his uncle, who is supposedly in the banana business, seems to be involved with some dangerous characters buying and selling illegal Mayan artifacts.

When he first learns about the Mayan story of the Jaguar Stones, Max dismisses it as just an old legend about the long-dead Mayan gods - but then he finds a real Jaguar stone. Soon he finds himself deep in the jungle with Ix Sak Lol (who goes by the nickname Lola) and they are running for their very lives!

Book two, The End of the World Club, is already out - so now is the time to catch up in this new and very timely trilogy.

Click here to check out the super Jaguar Stones website! Lots of information on the Mayas, the mysterious Mayan calendar, Mayan glyphs, and even the ballgame played by the ancient Mayans.

The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game by John Feinstein

John Feinstein, who is a real sportswriter, has written another book in his great series of sports-based mysteries. There is something for everyone in this book - sports, mystery and intrigue!

Teen sportswriters, Steve and Susan, are back again reporting on real sports events for their newspapers. The game this time is the very famous rivalry between West Point, the Army academy, and Annapolis, the Navy academy. The President of the United States, will also be at the game so the Secret Service if busy all week checking things out. Susan and Steve wonder if there is a real threat to the President at this game, since the agents seem to be getting very tense. And then, they stumble on a possible referee scandal.

John Feinstein's books are very real, since he knows the people and events he writes about very well.

Click here to read a free sample chapter of The Rivalry.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Storm Runners by Roland Smith

Here's another great adventure story from one of our favorite authors - Roland Smith!

Thirteen-year-old Chase and his father are storm runners. They race around the country trying to get in the path of floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. Chase has been trained well on how to survive just about anything and his "go to" backpack is always with him - full of the supplies he would need to survive on his own. And, he is an expert at changing schools since they travel so much.

Chase's dad owns M. D. Emergency Services, which helps people before and after disasters. But something else is also affecting them both. After the tragic death of Chase's mom and sister in one storm and after Chase watched his dad actually get struck by lightning - something strange has been going on. What are they really running after?

Chase is on his way home from his new school when Hurricane Emily strikes land, causing a flash flood which sweeps his school bus off the road. This story is non-stop action from that point on!

And this is only the beginning. Storm Runners is a new series - book two will be called The Surge.