Monday, January 18, 2010

This one is for Jurassic Park fans!

If Jurassic Park appeals to you because you love realistic science fiction and dinosaurs, then you will fly through Z. Rex by Steve Cole. Teenager Adam is trying to locate his missing scientist dad when a real live tyrannosaurus shows up in his life and turns it upside down in more ways than one. The story quickly moves location from southwestern US to Scotland, UK as Adam befriends the very dangerous, destructive and talented Z, as he calls the dinosaur. Fast paced action has both boy and dinosaur being ruthlessly pursued by various people who seem to want to stop them at any cost. Adam has a hard time telling friend from foe but soon realizes that the highly intelligent dinosaur is no fluke of nature and that his dad had something to do with its development.
This is Part 1 of a series called The Hunting, so stay tuned for Part 2 as the action story will continue.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kick things off with KiKi Strike!

KiKi Strike Inside The Shadow City by Kirsten Miller is the first in a series about KiKi and the group of friends she turns into the team called The Irregulars. If you liked the Molly Moon, or Percy Jackson or Alex Rider or Maximum Ride series, you will really enjoy KiKi. All the elements are in place for a non-stop reading roller coaster adventure: modern setting (NYC), mystery (who is Kiki anyway), suspense (so many interesting coincidences or are they?), smart, talented, edgy good characters, really evil but believable bad characters and in case that wasn't enough there are unique, surprising how-to lists at the end of some chapters including some wonderful details about the hidden parts of NYC. You may have to go along with some of the fantastical sides of this story about the underground city below New York and the quietly dangerous KiKi herself but if you like your stories sharp, fast and adventurous, this one is for you. Don't miss the website

Friday, January 1, 2010

Richard Peck's latest is fantastic: Grandma Dowdel is back!

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck covers August - December of 1958 in rural Illinois. Like its predecessors "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder" ( Newbery Honor and Newbery Award winners respectively) Mrs. Dowdel plays a crucial role in the lives of these realistic fiction characters. Characters like Mrs. Dowdel take on a life of their own, staying with readers long after the book is finished. Mr. Peck gives his readers a third encounter with this larger-than-life person. 12 year old Bob Barnhart retells the months in his life when his minister dad, his mom and two sisters moved to a small rural town in Illinois. It does not take long for the irrepressible and astute Mrs. Dowdel to come into Bob's life. As the laugh out load story zips along, Bob will slowly come to understand the wisdom and power that is Grandma Dowdel as will the rest of his family and probably you, the reader. One not to miss!

If you liked the first Al Capone story you will really like the second one!

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko, is the second story about Moose Flanagan and his friends living on Alcatraz Island when it was a prison in the 1930's. Picking up where the last story left off, Moose is worried that his connection to the gangster prisoner Al Capone may come back to haunt him and his sister, who now attends a special school for autistic children. This time around the none stop action centers around friendships, secret notes and meeting places, crushes, baseball and some very dangerous criminals who will stop at nothing to get off that island. Sophisticated plot elements, realistic characters young and old, and plenty of suspense will keep the pages turning.

Kick Off the New Year with some great reads!! Start with Slob!

Slob by Ellen Potter centers around Owen Birnbaum, inventor and bully magnet at his private school in NYC. Nothing is quite what it seems in this fast paced, humorous/serious story. Owen needs to see into the past to figure out the details of a crucial event in his and his sister's lives. As things go from bad to worse at school, Owen turns to various unusual friends in the city to help him with his invention, and finds some new friends where he least expected them. Slob, like the title, will surprise you in many ways and you will not be disappointed.

Guest blogger Jeffrey M. recommends Wednesday Wars

Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt is a great book that takes place in the 1968 United States, during the time of the Vietnam War. Holling Hoodhood, a seventh grade boy, is not excited to spend every Wednesday afternoon with his teacher, Mrs. Baker. Everybody in his town is either Jewish or Catholic, but he is neither. So on Wednesdays while everyone else went to Religious Ed, Holling would stay with Mrs. Baker in the classroom, reading Shakespeare. The book portrays many things that happened during the 1960s including the assassinations of Martin Luther King Junior and Bobby Kennedy, the Vietnam War, and of course, movements to stop the war. It is a great book which is also very funny and portrays the adventures of Holling with his friends Doug, Danny, Mai Thi, ad Meryl Lee. Their adventures include camping out in the wilderness, running in cross country, and catching Mrs. Baker’s pet rats who have escaped and were originally given to Mrs. Baker by her husband, who is fighting in the Vietnam War. This book is an easy read, too! If you are looking for a book filled with comedy and lots of exciting situations, then I would recommend this book to you.