12 year-old Henry York’s parents have been kidnapped.  He is sent to live with his plain & boring Aunt Dottie and Uncle Frank in Henry, Kansas.  He’s bored, disconnected and unemotional; simply an observer of life, never a participant.  Yet, as we get to know Henry, we learn that he longs for connection, for family, for the simple pleasures in life (like baseball).  As he settles into his attic bedroom and gets to know his 3 cousins and the farm on which he now lives, he starts to think maybe he can find something here he’s been missing – love and family. Then in theRead More →

When I was in junior high I loved horror and scary stories. I remember reading all kinds of things and not being able to put down the gruesome tales of ghosts, haunted houses, murders, supernatural phenomenon and demons even though I’d be afraid to fall asleep later.  Reading Simon Holt’s The Devouring reminded me of that freakish pleasure I used to take in scary stories.  It was a great read, quick, thrilling and scary! When we meet high school freshmen Reggie, she is reading about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, and she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. She’s fascinatedRead More →

In Maze of Bones, The 39 Clues Book One, Amy and Dan Cahill are orphans whose world falls apart with the death of their beloved (and wealthy) grandmother, Grace. At the funeral, the lawyer calls together a select few of her many relatives into the mansion’s Great Hall and offers them each a choice: take a one-million-dollar inheritance and leave, or, instead of money, be given the first of 39 clues that “might lead you to the most important treasure in the world and make you powerful beyond belief . . . or it might kill you.” Amy and Dan take a clue, although they are mystified and confusedRead More →

In Arizona author Terri Field’s new book, My Father’s Son, high-school junior Kevin Windor leads a normal life, until the day his father is arrested as the suspect in a brutal serial killing spree.  He was caught trying to climb out of the latest victim’s bathroom window, and the press is quick to pounce on him as a monster.  Kevin and his mom are shocked by the arrest – Greg Windor was a normal guy.  As everyone starts to turn against his dad, and by association him, Kevin tries to believe in his dad’s innocence until the fateful result of the DNA testing is released.  At that point KevinRead More →

Living Dead Girlby Elizabeth Scott is a disturbing book.  Alice was abducted by Ray when she was 10 and has been living as his child sexual slave for the last 5 years.  She has been beaten and raped and reminded daily that if she tries to escape, Ray will find her and will return to her childhood home and murder her parents.  Now that she is 15, Alice knows that Ray is tiring of her, because she cannot stay a girl-child forever, and soon he will kill her as he did to the Alice he had before her.  But then he makes an unusual request – AliceRead More →

Little Audrey, is Ruth White’s latest novel and most personal work to date. It tells the story of a time in her childhood when she and her family were living in a coal mining camp in southwestern Virginia.  Taking real events and imagining them through the eyes of her older sister, White crafts a poignant and charming tale of what it’s like to be poor, hungry, and sometimes happy. Fierce in its honesty, we see through 11 year old Audrey’s eyes and learn about this harsh world.  Struggles with hunger, poverty, the grueling life in the mines, alcoholism, depression, and illness are balanced by moments of family joy,Read More →

Sarah Mussi’s first novel, The Door of No Return, is a suspense-filled thriller.  It is a robust and vivid adventure rooted in the terrible history and legacy of the African slave trade. Zac Baxter’s grandfather has always told him they are the last descendants of an African King, but Zac always thought it was just a crazy pipe dream his grandfather clung to.  When his grandfather, Pops, is killed by muggers, Zac is devastated. Dumped with foster parents, then forced into an orphanage, Zac stumbles from trouble to trouble, but over time incidents and clues arise to lead him to believe that maybe Pops’ obsession wasn’t a fantasy after all. Read More →

Artichoke’s Heart is a typical realistic fiction story where the overweight teen girl clears up her relationship with her family, deals with her mother’s illness, gets a best friend, gets over the bullies at school, gets the boy she has a crush on, and learns to be good to herself. The premise is familiar but the writing and characters draw you in.   It is poignant and sweet. I would recommend it for teens and adults. Younger readers should be aware that there is some mature language and topics. Posted by MichelleRead More →

To be completely honest, Breaking Dawn, the end to the highly successful Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, was not everything that I had hoped for. However, it does succeed in giving the delightful love story between Bella and Edward that has enthralled us for three books a resounding finish, and Meyer has pulled out all the stops drafting this story. Adding in a few new twists, lots of characters, and bringing back the vampires we love to hate, Breaking Dawn shatters the Twilight mold and boldly enters a whole new arena. One of the new features in Breaking Dawn is having a large section ofRead More →