Archive

Book Review: Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz

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Alex Rider, Britain’s leading fourteen-year-old spy—more or less James Bond with zits—has survived a lot in only a few fast-paced months. He has been gunned down by an assassin and lived to tell. He has blown up a luxury hotel in outer space. He has even survived a feature-film adaptation that flopped at the box office. And now, in his seventh action-filled adventure, Alex has splashed down in Australian waters and become a guest of ... Read More »

Book Review: The Eye of the Forest by P.B. Kerr

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Book Five of “Children of the Lamp” continues the series’ ABC-order sequence of titles. Brought to you by the letter E, it’s such a fun book that you’ll hope the pattern holds through all 26 letters of the alphabet. In this installment, teenage djinn twins John and Philippa Gaunt visit the moist, mysterious rain forest of the Peruvian Amazon, together with their resourceful Uncle Nimrod, his ex-thief butler Groanin, and other friends—including, naturally, one who ... Read More »

Book Review: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

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In Book Two of the “Seven Realms” quartet, the author of The Warrior Heir and its sequels continues to amaze with her ability to keep a large-scale piece of world-building interesting, convincing, and hopping with action. This installment takes us out of the Queendom of the Fells and shows us more of the seven realms, particularly the Academy of Oden’s Ford—a sort of multi-disciplinary university and an island of peace on the neutral ground between ... Read More »

Book Review: The Rose and the Ring by W. M. Thackeray

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This hilarious fairy-tale spoof was written as a “fireside pantomime,” to amuse a group of English children between Christmas and New Year while staying in an unnamed European city. Moreover, it was published under the pseudonym “Michael Angelo Titmarsh,” if you please. Today’s American children might not understand what’s so funny about that name, let alone what a pantomime is or why it’s remarkable to find the author of such big-boned books as The Luck ... Read More »

Book Review: Plugged by Eoin Colfer

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What happens when an author best known for his young adult fantasy novels pens an adult novel about crime, violence, and hair implants? Sheer mayhem! That’s what happens when a former Irish Army sergeant, turned bouncer at a gambling den in the sleepy town of Cloisters, New Jersey, stumbles into the business of an unlicensed plastic surgeon, a small-time gangster named “Irish Mike,” and a dirty lawyer who rips off drug dealers and sells their ... Read More »

Book Review: Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher

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In this third book of the “Codex Alera” series, you finally find out what main character Tavi’s name is short for. If you’ve been reading with your thinking cap on, it might not be so much a surprise as a thrill of the “At last, it’s out in the open!” variety. Except that it isn’t really out in the open, yet. By the end of this installment you and I, and a tiny handful of ... Read More »

Book Review: The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs

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John Bellairs (1938-91) specialized in writing spooky tales of the mysterious and macabre for younger readers. One of the most mysterious and macabre things about him is the fact that he went on writing them after his death. It turns out that four of his books were completed by Brad Strickland based on sketches left unrealized at the author’s death; Strickland then went on to write at least nine more books based on characters Bellairs ... Read More »

Book Review: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

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NOTE: This title is now published as Carnival of Secrets. In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face ... Read More »

Book Review: Valiant by Holly Black

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Subtitled “A Modern Tale of Faerie,” this companion to Tithe transports the magical world of mermaids, trolls, and other fey creatures into present-day New York City. Parents concerned about “adult content” might want to evaluate this book for themselves before sharing it with their kids, or prepare to discuss it with them. This isn’t your godmother’s fairyland. It’s a gritty, “ghetto” Faerie featuring runaway children and orphans squatting on an abandoned subway platform, getting mixed ... Read More »

Book Review: Eve by Anna Carey

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The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her. Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, ... Read More »