Book Reviews

Book Review: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

throneoffire

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan Recommended Ages: 12+ In Book 2 of the “Kane Chronicles,” the Texas-based author of the “Tres Navarre” mysteries cleverly uses hilarious, romantic, magical, and thrill-packed entertainment to educate young adults about ancient Egyptian mythology. He’s very sneaky that way. But we’re not surprised, since he did the same thing with Greek mythology in the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series. Ditto Roman mythology in the “Heroes of Olympus” ... Read More »

Book Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

StudyScarlet

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle Recommended Ages: 12+ When detective fiction was still in its infancy, in the year 1887, this novel first appeared in an issue of Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Just imagine: it was the first anyone had ever heard of Sherlock Holmes! Then a young physician, just starting to stretch his literary muscles, Arthur Conan Doyle here created a character who has become one of the most enduring figures in ... Read More »

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Peregrine

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Recommended Ages: 13+ What happens when a filmmaker, vintage photograph collector, and author of a reference work on Sherlock Holmes decides to write a YA novel? What happens is this creepy, funny, weird fantasy involving monsters, time travel, and children with super powers, all accompanied by an atmospheric selection of black-and-white photos. Our narrator on this journey is sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman, a smart-mouthed rich kid from ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ballad of Sir Dinadan by Gerald Morris

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The Ballad of Sir Dinadan by Gerald Morris Recommended Ages: 12+ The fifth book of the “Squire’s Tales” series continues this Wisconsin-based author’s retelling of Arthurian legends for younger readers with a combination of two knightly love stories with the point of view of a minstrel knight who has fallen out of love with romantic love. Forced into knighthood, though he would rather be a rebec-playing troubadour, Sir Dinadan rides out into the English countryside ... Read More »

Book Review: Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Rotters

Rotters by Daniel Kraus Recommended Ages: 14+ This book is a thriller and chiller of the sort that probably would have turned stomachs a generation ago. But if you’ve been watching CSI and its spinoffs, you may already have an idea what decaying corpses look like—though, mercifuly, not so much how they smell and feel. So this may be the perfect time to read a book featuring ripening bodies, graveyard dirt, and the last days ... Read More »

Book Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo Recommended Ages: 13+ Published in 1831 in French, under the title Notre-Dame de Paris, this book has been made into an opera, a ballet, several stage plays, two musicals, and at least fifteen films, including TV and animated versions. One conclusion I could draw from this is that it’s a very popular tale, and so there is a good chance that you already have some idea of ... Read More »

Book Review: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

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Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy Recommended Ages: 14+ If I had read Anna Karenina after this book, it would have cheered me up. Hardy’s last novel, written in 1895, stirred up such harsh criticism that its author never wrote another novel, although he lived until 1928. In me, listening to the audio-book while driving a sales circuit of convenience stores in rural Illinois, it stirred up feelings of failure and disappointment in life. The ... Read More »

Book Review: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

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The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens Recommended Ages: 12+ Kate P barely remembers her parents. Heck, she doesn’t even remember her last name; only the letter P. Mostly she remembers the night her parents disappeared, when her mother gave her a cherished locket, told her to take care of her younger brother and sister, and promised to return someday. Since then, Kate, Michael, and Emma have spent ten years moving from one orphanage to another, ... Read More »

Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

AnnaKarenina

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Recommended Ages: 14+ Over the past few years, I have frequently experienced the advantages of having audiobooks in my car while commuting or traveling. In that way I have found time, at last, to take in many great works of literature that I might otherwise have skipped because they were too long, too serious, to difficult to focus my mind on during the sleepy time of day when I do ... Read More »

Thirteen by Tom Hoyle – New Release and Competition!

ThirteenBook

Thirteen year old Adam is being hunted by a cult intent on sacrificing him before he reaches his fourteenth birthday. Twelve other boys, all born at the same moment as Adam at the stroke of midnight on millennium eve, have already been killed, but the murderous cult leader, Coron, will not rest until number thirteen has been sacrificed to ‘the master’… Read More »