29 December 2010

Arch Enemy

The final book in The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy.

The Heart Crystal is slow to repair itself in the aftermath of WILMA's destruction.  Arch, king of Borderland, sees this as the perfect opportunity to place a King on Wonderland's throne rather than some silly female.  With the House of Clubs fighting against Alyss, she is assaulted on all sides, and without her imagination she must resort to desperate measures.  First being locked up in one of the imagination coops of the Club family, to escape, to making an alliance with Redd, Alyss must cross boundaries and learn to trust herself.  Even when she finds herself stranded on Earth, with the help of faith, love, and trust, Alyss will rise and release the Everqueen.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 7-12
Pages: 370

This series has really brought to life a classic.  A powerful story of the power of imagination, whether for good or ill, imagination and the life it brings to all of us is worth fighting for!

More Art From the Books:
Bibwit, Alyss's tutor (and according to the books, Lewis Carroll's inspiration for the White Rabbit)

The Blue Caterpillar, the Oracles of Wonderland.  Oracles come in a multitude of colors in the book, but Blue is the one that appears to Alyss.
Spade Soldier

Diamond Soldier

Heart Soldier


Club Soldier
Dodge Anders, the love of Alyss Heart's life

Millinery, training center for Wonderland's elite bodygaurd/soldier force.  Where Hatter Madigen learned his skills.

26 December 2010

Seeing Redd

Seeing Redd is the second book in the Looking Glass Trilogy.

It has only been a couple of months since Alyss's nasty Aunt threw herself into the Heart Crystal.  Through the imagination of an artist on "earth", she has been reborn into reality and is determined to return to Wonderland and take back what she believes was taken from her.  She meets many exWonderlanders in the real world, people displaced and determined to follow the wicked queen.  Her assault on Wonderland is fast and destructive.  Alyss must court loss to ensure what victory can be achieved when Redd is in your world.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 7-12

Alyss and Dodge run through the Everlasting Forest

The Cat.  Nine lives in which to kill all he can and do Redd's bidding.

Redd Heart.  She makes that "bloody Red Queen" look like a creme puff.

22 December 2010

The Looking Glass Wars

 Book 1 in The Looking Glass Wars Series.

In Wonderland imagination becomes reality.  For 7 year old Alyss, imagining is like breathing.  Then her wicked Aunt Redd storms the castle, killing her mother, and forcing Alyss to flee Wonderland for the world up above.  In Oxford, England, imagination is poison.  The world soon stamps it out of Alyss, and the only way to live, is to imagine it all away.  That is until her Aunt Redd comes for her again.  Forced back into Wonderland, Alyss must rediscover the girl she was, and find the confidence to imagine a better world for Wonderland.

Artfully written.  It's a wonderful addition to a time old classic.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 5-9
Pages: 358

Some more visuals from the book.

Redd's Card Soldiers

Hatter Madigan--Think Mad Hatter with a whole lot of knives.

Queen Alyss Heart, all grown up.



19 December 2010

The Ring of Solomon

Bartimaeus is a djinni of sarcastic tongue and annoying conscience.  Solomon holds a ring of immense power.  To his court has come many magicians, who historically have been more interested in killing one another than coming together, but fear of the ring does bring them together.  Together is not how they would like to stay.  Through the scheming of on particularly nasty magician, Khaba, Sheba is threatened in Solomon's name.  The Queen of Sheba gives to Asmira the task of killing Solomon and getting the ring.  Asmira through her devotion to the Queen, sets out in her task.  When Asmira and Bartimaeus's lives meet, the story really gets exciting.  Will slaves rise against their masters? Will Jerusalem still stand?  Will Solomon awake?

This is a great story and a wonderful addition to the Bartimeaus trilogy. 

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 10 + (I place this one higher, because the author uses footnotes throughout the storyline. It's a great addition to the whole story, but may be harder for younger readers to follow)
Pages: 398

14 December 2010

Reckless

"Once upon a time, there was a boy who set out to learn the meaning of fear."
When their father disappeared, it destroyed Jacob and Will's whole world.  Jacob in his recklessness, discovers a magic mirror and the world beyond. He runs away from his fear into a far more savage world, and manages to protect it for 12 years, until Will follows him through.  One mistake, that would define a journey of brother love and the what the pain of loss and fear can do to someone.  Will is turning to stone, and Jacob must find the cure.  It will cost him pain, remembrance, love, life, but no matter what it costs, Jacob will save his brother.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 3-7
Pages: 394

12 December 2010

The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero, Book 1

From the author of Percy Jackson!!

Percy Jackson is missing. . .
Jason wakes up on a bus, holding hands with a lovely girl, and absolutely no idea who he is.  Leo and Piper say they are his best friends. They arrive at the Grand Canyon with the class, only to be attacked by storm spirits.  Rescue comes, and off to Campy Half-Blood they go.  Jason feels nothing but anxiety.  Who is he? Where did he come from?  Why does he think in Roman instead of Greek?  Why does Chiron claim he should be dead?  The Camp learns that a greater evil is stirring, Gaea.  Hera/Juno has been captured and her essence is being used to give rise again to the giant king, Porphyrion.  The GREAT prophecy is beginning, and seven must unite.  Three are found in Jason, Piper, and Leo and together they go on a quest to rescue Hera.  Jason is a bridge and Piper the key to the other four. . .

Looking forward to this series continuing!!

Genre:  Mythology Fantasy
Grade Level: 4-9
Pages: 557

09 December 2010

The First Christmas

\Considering the time of year I thought this was a good choice for my nonfiction book this month. Along with my goal of a certain amount of pages a year, I thought it would be nice to read at least one nonfiction book a month.  I am aware that doing so is going to significantly impact the amount I actually read in pages, because it simply takes me forever to read a nonfiction book.  It takes far more concentration on my part to read and with four kids yelling at me all the time, that is indeed a challenge. 

Borg and Crossan look at the birth stories of Jesus from the New Testament to get to the heart of what these stories mean mainly from the prospective of when they were written, but they do go into what it means for present day Christians and also for the future.  It is very obvious that the authors are Christian.  They search for the "TRUTH" while acknowledging that the stories are not "FACT."  They point out that as post-enlightenment creatures, it is difficult for peoples today to see the difference in those two words.  Too many believe that if it isn't fact than it is not true, so even among Christians if you say the story of Christ's birth is not factually correct in the Bible then they take that to mean it can't be true.  I do not agree with the idea that Christ is the only way to enlightenment, but I can really appreciate the fact that truth can be truth without fact.  A story can be truth, it can bring about a change in us that makes us better people; it can even teach faith facts without being historically fact. 

Genre: Religious Non Fiction
Grade Level:  Adult
Pages: 258

01 December 2010

The High King's Tomb

Book 3 in the Green Rider Series.

As all of Sacoridia prepares for the threat without, the threat within grows strong.  Second Empire seeks the means to destroy the wall; a book of an ancient mage.  Karigan and Fergal head out on a "normal" message errand, to gather information.  However, when the two inevitable merge, Karigan must again face death and learn to Ride. 

I've really enjoyed this series so far.  This was by far my favorite.  With each book Britain only gets better.  I thoroughly look forward to reading the newest installment to be released in 2011.

Genre:  Fantasy
Grade Level: 9-12
Pages: 643

November Books 2010

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia    32
Author: D. Anne Love                                         

Remember Little Bighorn: Indians, Soldiers, and Scouts Tell Their Stories     61
Author: Paul Robert Walker

Cat and Rat     32
Author: Ed Young

Silver Dragon Codex     240
Gold Dragon Codex     245
Author:  R.D. Henham

Ranger's Apprentice: Halt's Peril; Book 9     386
Author: John Flanagan

The Last Apprentice: Rise of the Huntress; Book 7     436
Author: Joseph Delany

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith     399
Author: Jon Krakauer

The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: The Dragon's Apprentice; Book 5     376
Author: James A. Owen

Green Rider     450
First Rider's Call; Book 2     639
Author: Kristin Britain

Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants     153
Author: Dav Pilkey

November 2010 Total:     3,449
2010 Total:     44,439

***As always, if you have any questions regarding anything I've read, just give me a holler.  And you are always welcome to leave suggestions.  Happy Reading.

27 November 2010

First Rider's Call

Book 2 in the Green Rider Series.

Karigan can no longer ignore the Rider's call.  Blackveil is rising.  Evil, untamed, wild magic is spreading and effecting the kingdom.  The wall is failing.  The Green Rider's are loosing control of their own magic.  Everyone feels themselves spiraling out of control.  Karigan begins seeming the first rider Lil, and through their combined connection, much of the past is uncovered.  Can the Rider's rally and save the kingdom before all is lost to the evil magic of Blackveil?  Can Karigan survive the past, the present, and the future? 

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 8-12
Pages: 639

25 November 2010

Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants

Professor Poopypants is very smart and a great scientist but everyone keeps making fun of his name.  Ultimately it drives him insane and he tries to take over the world.  Captain Underpants must save the day, which of course he does. 

I am aware that many parents don't like these books.  It shows disregard for authority and of course the potty mouths.  However, I don't know how you all were as kids, but let's face it, that kind of stuff was hilfreakinllarious when we were kids.  At least they were when my brothers and I were growing up.  Yup, it drove my folks nuts but it was just too funny.  This is a kids book.  There is nothing wrong with the word poop.  In fact, if parents weren't so freaky about saying the potty words, kids probably wouldn't find them so funny. The book made me laugh.  It made me remember being 7 or 8 and just joking around with my little brothers.  Anything that can make a child laugh and read, well, that's a good book for kids.

Genre:  Adventure
Grade Level: 2-5
Pages: 135

21 November 2010

Green Rider

Karigan G'ladheon is running away from school, heading home in the hopes of beating that letter of suspension home to her father.  Along the way, a Green Rider crosses her path.  Fryan Cobblebay is impaled with two black arrows, a message worth his life still to deliver.  Karigan, without thought, agrees to carry on his mission--afterall, who can deny the dying?  This one decision leads Karigan along a path she never dreamed of.  She must find the strength within herself to fight everything in her path.  Can she get the message to the king in time?  Will she make the right choices and rise to be The Green Rider?

This is a coming of age book in alot of ways.  You have a young girl whose spirit never allows her to rest.  She fights for the "weak" against nobility at school, which leads to expulsion and her consequent journeys.  Through it all she denies that she is a green rider, but her will to do all she can to fulfill her promises brand her as one.  Karigan must truly find within herself what she is made of and in the end choose the path her life will take.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 7-12
Pages: 450

17 November 2010

The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: The Dragon's Apprentice

Book 5 in the Imaginarium Geographica series by James A Owen.

I don't recommend a series very often, but I have to say that the artistry with which these books are woven, is extraordinary.  If you are a fan of fantasy (from past to present), you would love these books.  Owen takes famous author's throughout history, and weaves them throughout his series in a manner that shows you how they gained their main inspirations to many of their tales, and what is amazing is that it doesn't come out stilted.  The entire series flows so well.  It truly is an amazing series, and I personally, can't wait for another.

The Dragon's Apprentice:  The strands of history have finally come undone with the final collapse of the Keep of Time.  Rose, John, Jack, and several more companions must travel to the archipelego and on through time, in hopes of finding the one with the answer-"the dragon apprentice".  It is a charismatic weaving of past and "present" and the importance of the children of the earth to be able to make choices, whether for good or ill.  Will the companions find the answers they seek?  Will time be put back in order?  Find out in the latest installment of the Imaginarium Geographica.

Genre:  Fantasy
Grade Level: 7-12 (Young Adult)
Pages: 376

13 November 2010

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feel it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme. -Ray Bradbury

There is probably no single thing that you could do that would guarantee I read a book, but to ban it. I believe very strongly that the right to read, the right to think, is ours alone--no state, no RELIGION, no person, has the right to tell me what to think.  That is mine.  I have a brain, and I will use it.  That does not mean that you are incapable of sharing what you think as well.  However, if you have the right to think and share than so do I, and just because you believe your ideas are better than mine, it does not allow you to suppress or censor mine.  In fact the church has claimed that "although the book may appeal to gullible persons who rise to such bait like trout to a fly hook, serious readers who want to understand Latter-day Saints and their history need not waste their time on it".  I find this statement so personally insulting, that if I could I would punch the sayer in the mouth.  You're entitled to your own opinion and me to mine, and thanks to the extensive list of sources in the book, it really wouldn't take long to find out if what is written in fact, fact.

I was raised LDS.  All my life I spent trying to please others.  Within my little realm of books, I found a space of peace.  No one judged me there, I was free to think, to act, to become anything I wanted to be.  All through teenagehood and adulthood I have struggled with depression.  I had to flip into my 30s before I was truly willing to say, "Ruth, why are you so unhappy?"  The answer was so very simple, but it has changed my whole world.  I was hiding in my books, but I was living everyone else's expectations of me.  I was not true to me.  There was nothing wrong with being me!!  I no longer ascribe to any religion.  I find them all to restrict reason; they tell the masses if you are not happy it is because there is something wrong with you.  Sometimes, I think that is true.  However, if you are truly being true to yourself, you can find peace.

When my husband told me about this book and told me that the LDS church had told it's members not to read it.  I had to.  It was that simple.  No one tells me what I can't read.  Plus, I had to know--what was the church so afraid of?  If it is an incorrect telling of history, that is easily researched.  If it is based on fact, why do you not want your history known?  No matter how bad it is, history is there.  Our dealing with it shows are true character.

Now all that said, I will say that Krakauer's presentation is threaded with highly emotionally language, that could be taken the wrong way.  However, his facts, I find minimal to no fault with.  Those that I questioned are simply ones that I had never heard of so I asked around.  The fact is when it comes to LDS history, most members to receive a honeyed version, and if too much fact is revealed, you can count on the fact that you won't be teaching very long (this happen to both my father and brother).  Quinn (a former BYU professor, excommunicated for publishing a book on Joseph Smith) argues "A so-called 'faith-promoting' Church history which conceals controversies and difficulties of the Mormon past actually undermined the faith of Latter-day Saints who eventually learn about the problems from other sources."  I truly believe that is true.  Deal with your past, wrestle with it, accept it.  Your past does not necessarily define who you are today.

Krakauer's book deals with issues of faith, primarily that of Mormonism and it's fundamentalist off shoots.  The primary example of fundamentalism and it's dangers is seen through the story of Dan and Ron Lafferty.  The history of Mormonism is dealt with, it's very beginnings up until about John Taylor's passing.  Polygamy is discussed mainly as the dividing factor, at least the primary dividing factor. 

I will say that if you are "very" Mormon, you will probably hate this book.  If you hate Mormon's you'll probably think "ha ha, I KNEW it!!"  So this is a book, I would actually have to recommend, to NEITHER of those groups.  This is for someone who can truly think objectively, not just about Mormonism but about organized Religion as a whole.  These histories and spin offs are not owned solely by Mormons. 

Genre:  Non-Fiction
Age Group:  Adult
Pages: 399

"Both revelation and delusion are attempts at the solution of problems.  Artists and scientists realize that no solution is ever final, but that each new creative step points the way to the next artistic or scientific problem.  In contrast, those who embrace religious revelations and delusional systems tend to see them as unshakable and permanent. . .
Religious faith is an answer to the problem of life. . . . The majority of mankind want or need some all-embracing belief system which purports to provide an answer to life's mysteries, and are not necessarily dismayed by the discovery that their belief system, which they proclaim as "the truth," is incompatible with the beliefs of other people.  One man's faith is another man's delusion. . . .
Whether a belief is considered to be a delusion or not depends partly upon the intensity with which it is defended, and partly upon the numbers of people subscribing to it."
Anthony Storr--"Feet of Clay"

I do ask with this particular book that if you desire to comment, you do so without hate or anger.  If you do not agree with me or with Krakauer, that is totally your right, and expressing that is your right as well.  However, I believe that even when people do not agree, they can be capable of doing so amicably.  Thank you.

08 November 2010

The Last Apprentice: Rise of the Huntress, Book 7

Book 7 in The Last Apprentice Series.

The county is under attack, Bonny Lizzie has escaped the Spook's prison, the Spook's home and library have been obliterated by enemy soldiers.  The Spook and his apprentice, Tom Ward, and Alice must flee the county.  They take refuge on the island of Mona, but peace doesn't last for long.  Locals despise refugees and a Spook, his apprentice, and a witch are far from welcome.  Soon Bonny Lizzy emerges on the island as well.  She takes over Greeba Keep and begins to terrorize and kill in order to gain ultimate power.  Will the Spook and his apprentice be able to defeat the mighty Lizzy?  Will the power she has and that which she finds, finally put an end to the Spook?  Find out in the latest installment of the Last Apprentice.

Genre:  Supernatural Fiction
Grade Level: 3-7
Pages: 436

06 November 2010

Ranger's Apprentice: Halt's Peril; Book 9

Book 9 in the series, and yes I have read the 8 before.

Tennyson and his "followers" have fled Clonmel, leaving a dead king and many swindled and murdered people in their wake.  Halt, Will and Horace, are hot on his trail.  Halt is immortal, a legend, and when he obtains a mere scratch in their confrontation with the Geneovesan assassins, nothing is thought of it.  Poison quickly brings the search party to their limits, both physically and emotionally.  It is a delicate balance to save Halt's life, and still save the kingdom.

Genre: Fiction
Grade Level: 6-12
Pages: 386

03 November 2010

Remember Little Bighorn: Indians, Soldiers, and Scouts Tell Their Stories

National Geographic publication, written by Paul Robert Walker.

For those of you who don't know Little Bighorn is the last battle of one Lt. Col. otherwise known as General Custer.  The story is told from different angles, siting diaries and oral tradition passed down through the generations.  The pictures and photographs only enhance the telling.  This is such a sad point in our history, at least for me, and it makes me so very angry how greed compelled a "noble" nation to attack and destroy those who were here first!!  The way the Native Americans were treated makes me very angry, so this was indeed an emotional read for me.

Genre:  American History
Grade: 3-8
Pages: 61

02 November 2010

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia

Hypatia was an extraordinary woman.  Born in ancient Alexandria, as a woman in a normal family she would have never even learned to read and write, but born to a man, an academic, like Theon she would grow into a woman who would change her world.  Her father believed that women should be educated just as men.  Hypatia became extremely learned in all disciplines, but mainly followed the same path as her father as a mathematician and philosopher. 

This is a short account of her life, done in picture book format, so it is not an extensive biography.  However, it is a great introduction for children to the life of this extraordinary woman.  The author provides her sources at the end of the book for adults. 

Genre: Biography-Juvenile Literature-Ancient Greece
Grade Level: 1-3
Pages: 32

Gold Dragon Codex

Book 7 in Series.

Harfall is a prosperous barony or at least it use to be.  Protected by a Gold Dragon, enchanted, the barony prospered and then the dragon disappeared.  Lazuli, an evil Blue dragon came instead and gutted the barony.  Desperate to save what he can the Baron Camiel is willing to sacrifice himself.  However, Sandon, the baron's son, will rise up and learn about his family in ways he never imagined, and he will find the courage to save them all. 

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 3-6
Pages: 245

01 November 2010

Silver Dragon Codex

A life in the circus is all Belen can remember.  The last five years of her life are all she knows.  Then one day a white robe wizard appears and declares her not only a dragon in disguise, but a murderer.  Belen must discover the truth of her past if she is to answer these charges.  With the help of her friends Jace, Cerisse, and Ebano, she discovers her true self and what she must do to repair what has been lost.  Along the way they all learn more about themselves and what is truly important in life.

Genre: Fantasy
Grade: 3-6
Pages: 240

31 October 2010

October 2010 Books

This is something I've kept a running list of on my private blog, and if you are interested, I can supplant those entries, but that would be quite the list!!  So, since I'm starting this blog, we'll start with this months list.  Short explanation--this year my goal has been to read at least 40,000 pages by the end of the year.  Here's this month's list.

Red Dragon Codex --  244
Bronze Dragon Codex  --  241
Black Dragon Codex  --  239
Brass Dragon Codex  --  240
Green Dragon Codex  --  246
     Author: R.D. Henham

The Scorch Trials  --  360
    Author: James Dashner

Guardians of Ga'Hoole:
  The Hatchling  --  221
  The Outcast  --  207
  The First Collier  --  179
  The Coming of Hoole  --  210
  To Be a King  --  206
  The Golden Tree  --  192
  The River of Wind  --  202
  Exile  --  207
  The War of the Ember  --  231
     Author: Kathryn Lasky

Willow  --  32
     Author: Denise Brennan Nelson

For the Love of Autumn  --  36
     Author: Patricia Polacco

Faces of the Moon  --  32
     Author: Bob Crelin

Listen to the Wind: the Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea  --  32
      Author: Greg Morenson

The Magician's Boy  --  101
     Author: Susan Cooper

Honestly, Mallory!  --  159
     Author: Laurie Friedman

Bridge to Terabithia  --  163
     Author: Katherine Paterson

Island of the Blue Dolphins  --  181
     Author: Scott O'Dell

Seer of Shadows  --  202
     Author: Avi

The Magic Half  --  211
     Author: Annie Barrows

Along Came a Spider  --  131
     Author: James Preller

The Daughter of Time  --  206
      Author: Josephine Tey

Total for October 2010  --  4,905
Total for 2010  --  40,990

**And YES!!!! I made my goal and it's only the end of October!!! Let's see what the rest of the year may bring!! 

**If you have any questions about anything I've read, just let me know!!

Brass Dragon Codex

Book 4 in the series.  Hector is a gnome, and gnomes are the greatest inventors in all the world.  Each has one "Life Quest", that one invention to end all inventions that they strive to create in order to find peace in this world.  Hector's is to create a communication device that will change the world.  However, many things natural and unnatural are determined to destroy rather than create.  Then Hector meets Tumbleweed-a baby orphaned brass dragon-that changes his entire world, and shows him what a true Life Quest should be.  A great story about friendship and love and those things that really matter in this world.

Genre-Fantasy
Grade Level-3-6th

27 October 2010

Black Dragon Codex

Black Dragon Codex-Book 3.  Satia is an orphan and a thief.  Septimus is a black "evil" dragon who just wants to prove`himself.  When the two collide, Satia will have to use her wit to survive, and Septimus will learn that being evil doesn't mean you can't make a friend.  In the end they both are set free.

Genre-Fantasy
Grade level-2-6 grade

25 October 2010

Bronze Dragon Codex

One dragon who HATES humans.  One human who HATES dragons.  When a spell unites the two so that they loose their personal magic and can feel one another's pain, how will they ever survive.  Taetlyn's sorrow over her brother's death by the hands of a possessed "good" dragon, has twisted her fear into a boiling hatred.  She wishes to cast all dragons from Krynn.  Simle, deceived by evil humans, losses all her sibling's while they are still in their eggs.  She sets out to set things right.  Her own shame twisted into hate.  But can one hate what one truly understands? 

Book two in the series. 

Genre: Fantasy-Dragons

Green Dragon Codex

So I had to hop into the series (this  being book 5) because I had to have this particular book read by tonight for my Children's Lit class.  I was so hoping to be able to read the whole series up to this book before tonight, but with everything else we had to read, it was a no go.  Thankfully, although a series, these stories are pretty stand on their own.  However, as I have read the first two in the series (I finished number 2 tonight), I have found it's nice to read them in series, in that you learn things about each color dragon that helps to enhance each story.  They work best altogether.

Well--for this particular book--
Scamp is the scrawny always gets into trouble, why won't my big brother help me, man I need to get out of this little town and have a great adventure, kid.  One day while hiding from some serious bullies, he has a dragon fall out of the sky.  When the mess clears, there is a chest.  The chest leads to his quest at last.  Within the chest an egg.  An egg that becomes a Green dragon wyrmling.  This young dragon and Scamp are wonderful mirrors of one another, and it is through their belief and love of one another that they both become more than what everyone else always "knew" they would be.


Genre-Fantasy: Dragons.

24 October 2010

Red Dragon Codex

In order to save a friend, Mudd must go on a dangerous quest.  He must learn to trust others, to allow people into his heart even when letting them in means risking their loss.  He learns who his real enemies are and who is real friends are.  He learns what he can be with quality people at his side.  A great quest story with Dragons. And I love Dragons!!

Age level--10-15 years old.  Fantasy. 

22 October 2010

Along Came Spider

Along Came Spider, by James Preller.

Trey is "special" but to a bunch of fifth graders he's just plain weird.  Actually Trey is most likely autistic.  Spider has been his neighbor and friend since infancy, but it's hard to be accepted when you are friends with the weird kid.  Trey  must learn to make new friends and to accept Spider for how he is, just as Spider must learn that friendship runs far deeper than what the "cool" kids think. 

I think we have all run along Trey at some point in our lives, perhaps we are even raising him.  I am so saddened by how kids treat other kids.  I don't believe we are born with these prejudices in us, and I cringe to think about the things that go on at school.  I remember very well how horrible other people can be.  I just hope that we all can remember that it doesn't matter how we are different, each us brings flavor to life.

Grade Level--2 to 5th Grade.

Seer of Shadows

Seer of Shadows by Avi. 

Horace is apprenticed to a photographer, and when a very wealthy woman walks in and asks for a photograph his whole world gets turned upside down.  Horace is asked to help in swindling this wealthy woman into believing the ghost of her daughter is haunting her.  However, what Horace's boss doesn't know, is that life can truly imitate art, and when Horace starts taking pictures for the first time, he discovers his "gift".  Through his pictures, Horace accidentally releases a ghost bent on revenge.  Now he must learn more about this "gift" and how to save the innocent caught in the cross hairs. 

Reading Age Level-- 9 to 12 years old.  Paranormal Fiction.

20 October 2010

Island of the Blue Dolphins

This book was one of my absolute favorites as a child.  In fact, my original copy is falling apart, so I bought a new hard cover, not that it held up well when Emma borrowed (that being my 6 year old daughter).  However, it did handle her assault better than my old copy. 

This is a wonderful based on true story, female Robinson Crusoe book.  An island off the coast of California, only inhabited by a native tribe, and annihilated by Russian hunters and the need to never again witness death, a young woman of the tribe flees back when her little brother is left behind.  Her brother does not last long with the wild dogs on the island, and the girl is left alone on the island waiting for the "white men" to come and save her and fearing the return of the Aleuts who had massacred her people before.  She finds companionship among many of the animals of the island, including the leader of the dog pack that had murdered her brother.  She finds a peace in this existence, but does eventually leave when after many years, white men come again.  This is a wonderful story of survival through solitude and the need of all men and women to have someone to talk to, even if it is only the dogs that run wild and the birds in the trees. 

Grade level--2nd through 6th, although if your kid is a strong reader, as young as 6.  This tale is more peaceful and less "dramatic" than many written today.  I still love the story but am very aware that the calmness of the story may not appeal to "today's"  children.

19 October 2010

Bridge to Terabithia

This is one of those books that I read as a child, then again as an adult (right about the time the movie came out), and then now for class.  I love the book, but it's a story that rips my heart to shreds.  I cannot read it over and over again because it makes me cry each and every time.  Some books I can numb myself too, like when Dumbledore dies.  After the tenth time, I'm sad but I no longer cry.  However, there is something about a young child so very full of like who leaves this world doing something so very ordinary that just breaks me.  Now it's even worse, since I have children of my own.  You read this and then don't want your kids to ever leave your site.  It simply hurts too much to be the one left behind, which is ultimately what Jesse Aarons realizes.  Leslie will live forever, in the trees of Terabithia, in his mind, but to be left behind is the true tragedy of death.

Age level claims to be 10 and up and although if we are talking purely on length and vocabulary, that is about right.  However, the emotionality of this book should always be considered when handing it to your child.

The Magic Half

 The Magic Half by Annie Barrows.  Miri is the odd one out in her family.  A single child stuck between two sets of twins, but with a new house and a bit of magic, she gets the twin she always meant to have.  When time messes with your destiny, you mess with time.  I read this book because I had to for a class, and am so thankful for the choosing.  I absolutely loved it!!  Time travel doesn't mess me up.  However, I do have to say that someone like my husband, who absolutely HATES time travel or loops, this book would drive someone like that to absolute conniption.  However, if you're like me who doesn't mind time being messed with even when, let's face it you dissect time too much and it really doesn't make much logical sense, you will enjoy this book.  Just like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, certain things must happen in the past in order to secure the right future.  I love it!!

Grade Level--5 through 9.  Time travel fiction-Science Fiction genre. 

18 October 2010

The Scorch Trials (Book 2)

This is book 2 in The Maze Runner series. The first was amazing, and I loved the way it ended.  Dashner has a way of taking you to the mountaintop and then throwing you off and still making you want to do it all over again.  We go on the journey with Thomas and his friends again, and you feel yourself on this emotional roller coaster through the entire book.  Just as Thomas by the end has no idea who to trust or who to believe, neither do you.  I can't wait to see where the series goes from here.  Are we going to get any real answers?  In the end, will we trust anything or anyone? 

This is survival fiction--science fiction genre wise. Grade level-Young Adult or 9-12th grade (it really depends on your emotional maturity)  Some images may be hard on some young kids.  Other series by this author (also great)--The 13th Reality Series.

16 October 2010

Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The War of the Ember

Book 15 and the final book in the series.  Know your history??  The Battle of Thermopylae?  You know that one with Gerard Butler looking all hot?  The inspiration for the final battle comes from this legend, and as we all can feel with at least a part of ourselves, legends can be true. 

As with all series, I feel a loss when they are over, even if they are 15 books long.  No story every ends, an author simply chooses to stop telling it.  These books leave me with one thought--fight on.  Each day, simply choosing to get out of bed and live a good life, can be a great battle for some of us (for all of us some days).  Live a life worth living!!

15 October 2010

Guardians of Ga'Hoole: Exile

Number 14 in the series. Out of all the books this is indeed one of my absolute favorites. Largely because the author used Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury as her inspiration and that particular book is one of my absolute favorites. The series ultimately boils down into one of my favorite themes and that is the tragedy of censorship. To censor a book is to censor someone's mind, and when we do that we assume control over another's mind. You may not agree and that is your prerogative, but it is truth. Through reading we gain knowledge. Through knowledge we gain freedom. Through freedom we have the ability to change the world, even if it is only the small realm in which we alone reside.

"To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves."
- Claude Adrien Helvetius

I firmly believe this quote!!! To tell someone that they should not read a book is to tell them that they are too stupid to have a choice or to make sure they don't read it in order to keep them towing whatever line you are selling. Freedom to read!!! In fact, I encourage everyone to read at least one banned or challenged book a year, at the very least (and some of you will be surprised at the list, perhaps some of your favorites that you would never even think of are on that list)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BANNED/CHALLENGE BOOK?

I have so very many, but just to name on series that almost everyone I know loves--Harry Potter!!

There is a letter I wish to share enclosed within this particular book from one owl to her family when she is marked for extermination for hoarding books.

My dear mate, my brother Coryn, and my little owlet,
You must understand, all of you, how deeply I regret endangering my own family. But in truth, every owl in every one of the five kingdoms is endangered, for we're not talking about losing our "vanities" here. We're talking about losing the right to think. Books can be burned. But the ideas and the knowledge in them cannot be killed. Owls can die, but books, never. Fear of ideas is the most extreme form of cowardice. I have love in my gizzard and heart; they only have hatred. I have inspiration from the books I have read; they only have terror from the lies they have chosen to believe. I have heroes, like Siv and King Hoole; Grank, the first collier; and Theo the peaceful blacksmith. They have no one but that twisted blue owl. So don't worry about me. These owls who hunt me are more cowardly and more defenseless than I am, for they have stopped thinking.
Glauxspeed,
Kalo

This letter sums up the book for me. I absolutely detest censorship and have no compassion for those who choose to impress their ideas of what is right on me. We are all endowed with will and to exercise that will is the highest law.


13 October 2010

Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The River of Wind


13th book in the series. I can just picture the blue owls and wow, are they beautiful. Another great addition to the series. You never know where the wind will take you. Life is a wheel, and if I wheel does nothing but turn around and around forever, what is the point? I thought this was an interesting thought. So fly wherever the wind may take you, and who knows, maybe you will fly to a whole new world, that will turn what you thought you always knew, all upside down.

12 October 2010

Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Golden Tree

First of all I need to say that my commentary on each book I read begins as of today. At the end of this month, I will list everything I've read this month in list format, and if you have any questions the forum is open, but to go back and do book by book everything I have done this month so far would truly be too much for me. I will do my utmost from here on out to keep up though. I am a mother, a librarian, and a graduate student; all these come first for me, but this is an endeavor I feel passionately about. So, let the reading begin. . .

This book I finished this afternoon. I have read books 1-11 as well. I first noticed these on the shelves of the school library and put them on my to be read list. Then my Children's Library Materials course gave me the excuse to buy them. Yes, we were to read the first book and compare to the movie, but I can't just read the first book in a series. This is a lengthy series, so it will be a financial commitment to get them all. I personally think any book is worth it if it will be read.

This series is most suited for a 3rd-6th grade reading level. The action moves along a great pace. I love owls, they are one of my two favorite animals, so this series attracted me for merely that purpose. Second, I love the fantasy/science fiction genres, so that added another check mark for me. The author initially intended to write a nonfiction book about owls but went down another road instead. As a result there are many facts about owls in these books that some may find take away from the story. I personally find these facts only add to the books. It lends a sense of reality to the book. Plus, I find it personally fascinating. This particular book shows what happens when we focus our thoughts and actions on things or "people" that are not worthy of our devotion. We must be true to ourselves and place our faith and trust in one another, not objects. Honor and goodness are within each of us, not without. To find that within our own beings and to spread that charity and honor to all around us, is the ultimate goal.

"The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness."
-Holbrook Jackson

**I encourage you all to set aside a time everyday to read something just for you. If you can do nothing else, read.