Monday, July 27, 2015

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

Young Wilhelmina Silver has spent her entire childhood on a farm in Zimbabwe...and she loves it. Wilhelmina (known more commonly as Will, Wild Cat, or Cartwheel) adores the farm and all of the people on it, especially her father, her best friend Simon, and the owner of the farm, Captain Brown. She spends her days roaming the countryside befriending monkeys, riding her horse, and playing with Simon.

Despite growing up without a mother, Will has never felt that her life lacked anything. However, disaster strikes, and Will soon finds herself at odds with Captain Brown's new wife, who insists that Will get sent away to boarding school in England so that she may become a "proper" young lady. Despite Will's protests that she is fine where she is, she cannot avoid being sent to England. It is at boarding school that Will immediately discovers how mean and hurtful other girls can be just because someone is different. Desperate to hold on to who she truly is, yet hopelessly lonely at the same time, Will is at a loss for what to do. Will she be able to survive boarding school? Can she possibly make her way back to Zimbabwe? Is she strong enough to make either happen?

This book is by turns pure joy and pure sorrow. The author takes readers on the ride of Will's life, and the readers get to experience all of the emotional highs and lows. This is a beautifully written book that will make you smile, laugh, cry, and cheer. In short, it will make you feel.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Almost Super by Marion Jensen

Rafter and Benny Bailey have been waiting for a leap year, and it's finally here! On February 29th, at precisely 4:23 p.m., they will receive their superpowers and become the newest superheroes in their crime fighting family. When the big moment finally arrives, the brothers are stunned that their new powers are...less than super. Stuck with the ridiculous abilities to light a match on polyester and turn a belly button from an innie to an outie, Rafter and Benny know that something evil is afoot. They are convinced that someone stole their powers, and that it most certainly was the evil Johnson's -- the family of super-villains that are the arch enemies of the Baileys. When Rafter and Benny learn that Juanita Johnson has become a "super super" (meaning she has many different super powers, not just one) they are certain that their hunch is correct. Rafter and Benny spend their days at school trying to spy on Juanita, but when she finally catches them in the act, she denies their accusations. Is it just an evil ploy of a super-super-villain to throw them off the case? Is some greater evil to blame? Filled with humor, adventure, and friendship, Almost Super is a super-hero story not to be missed!

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.