Monday, December 23, 2013

Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Wow! I was surprised at how much I liked this book!

To everyone at his high school, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old student, except for the fact that he has Tourette's syndrome. But Michael isn't ordinary.  He has electrical powers that allow him to surge and pulse electricity from his hands.

Michael and his friends Taylor, another "glow," and Ostin, a near genius, set out to discover how Michael and kids like him ended up that way.  What they find is a powerful group that wants to control the electric children, and eventually the world.  Michael has to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he is to survive.


Prisoner of Cell 25 is book one of the Michael Vey series and is currently nominated for the young adult Golden Sower Award.  This is a great book for lovers of the Conspiracy 365 series.

Click here to view a video book trailer.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive. Not only did he survive, but he is very bright. Auggie has been home schooled by his mother for most of his school years to protect him from the cruelty of others. As Auggie enters 5th grade, his father and mother decide that it is best that he start to attend a private middle school in Manhattan. There he endures taunting and cruelty, but he also finds true friendship and begins to find an identity for himself. This book will make you want to cheer for Auggie and feel ashmed for some of his classmates. Most of all, it will make you think about the impact your words and behavior has on others in school. If you like realistic fiction, especially Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper or Rules by Cynthia Lord, you won't want to miss this one.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio has been nominated for the 2013-2014 Intermediate Golden Sower Award.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spy High: Mission One by A.J. Butcher

Spy High:  Mission One will pull in readers of Conspiracy 365 and Alex Rider.  Although this book starts slowly, readers will be rewarded by action-packed pages of challenges, battles, and a little bit of science fiction.  Ben, Jake, Eddie, Cally, Lori, and Jennifer are students of Deveraux Academy or more commonly known as Spy High.  They have been hand-picked to be on Bond Team to compete toward the ultimate goal - pass the academy's rigorous virtual reality training program.  When personality conflicts arise, Bond Team gets sent on an assignment where failure won't result in expulsion from school and the purging of their memories.  This time, failure will result in death.  Not a read for the faint of heart.  Mission One is the first book in this multi-book series.

Click Here to see a short book trailer.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Scat tells the story of three high school students who stumble across a mystery involving a strange disappearance, illegal activity, and a passionate desire to protect the environment.  Nick and Marta are both suspicious when their Biology teacher, Mrs. Starch, disappears during a field trip to Black Vine Swamp.  They set out on an adventure to discover her whereabouts and to clear their friend of arson.  Along the way they encounter illegal activity within the swamp driven by greedy corporate interests, and also discover surprises about their teacher and the student accused of arson as they too find a passion for the outdoors.

Scat is nominated for the 2012-2013 (intermediate) Golden Sower Award and will be a good read for anyone with a love of nature and a good mystery.


Click Here to view a video book trailer.
Click Here to listen to an audio excerpt.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Starters by Lissa Price

This may be one of the best books of the year.  If you liked Legend and The Hunger Games, then you may have found your next read in Starters

 Sixteen-year-old Callie, having lost every family member besides her little brother when a genocide spore killed all of those who were not vaccinated, thinks she has found a way to support them by renting her body to seniors who want to be young again.  But after a neurochip malfunction results in her being stuck in the life of her rich renter, she uncovers the horrible plan of her boss and must race against time to stop it.

Nominated for the 2014-2015 young adult Golden Sower award, Starters will definitely keep you turning the pages.  

Click here to view a video book trailer.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

Love, Aubrey is a deeply moving story about tragedy, loss, love, and moving on.  If you are a reader drawn to the human drama genre, this is a book to put on your reading list.  After losing her father and little sister in a tragic accident and then being abandoned by her grief-stricken mother, Aubrey goes to Vermont to live with her grandmother.   When she arrives, Aubrey cannot talk about what she is feeling.  Writing letters is the only thing that makes her feel better.

While in Vermont,  Aubrey makes new friends, learns to cope with what has happened, and begins to heal.   I think readers will fall in love with Aubrey, cry with and for her, and cheer for her as she has to face one of the biggest decisions of her life.  Love Aubrey has been nominated for 2012-2013 Golden Sower Award.  (Intermediate)

Click Here to see a video book trailer.

Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry

I'm not sure if I was influenced by a childhood of reading Nancy Drew mysteries or if this was just a good story, but I found myself really liking this book.   Walls Within Walls is the story of a family who moves from their cozy house in Brooklyn to an upscale apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.   Their father, a video-game inventor has struck it rich and the family is adjusting to not only a different lifestyle, but also to having no friends, a nanny who takes the place of their parents, and an uncertain school year.  Then one day, the kids discover an astonishing secret about their old apartment.  The apartment and all the clues it hides are a part of a gigantic puzzle that will will lead to unraveling the mystery of long-hidden treasures.    

Follow the Smithfork kids as they attempt to discover and decipher clues hidden within the walls of their new home.  Walls Within Walls has been  nominated for the 2012-1013 Golden Sower Award in the intermediate category.

Click Here to view a video book trailer.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke

This one is for baseball fans - especially Yankees fans!  Louis is having a difficult time adjusting to his new life in White Plains, New York.  He doesn't get along with his new stepbrother, he doesn't fit in at school, and misses his mom who now lives in New York City.   Louis loves baseball and spends hours with his baseball card collection despite being the worst stickball player in White Plains.  After the opportunity to become the Yankee's batboy arises, Louis doesn't think life could be much better.   Set in 1961,  this story follows the record-setting homerun race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and along the way Louis finds himself learning about much more than just baseball.

Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever is nominated for the 2012-2013 Intermediate Golden Sower Award.  

Red Cell by John Kalkowski


After winning a baseball game with an innovative toss of a rosin bag, Will Conlan catches the interest of a chief operative of the Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell. Utilizing the creative problem solving of philosophers, futurists, and Hollywood movie writers, this intelligence unit is seeking any original ideas about anticipating terrorist plots.  When a surge of terrorist activity occurs, the operative banks on the notion that Will’s youthful imagination and problem-solving skills will provide the key insight they need.  

Unaware of the magnitude of danger surrounding him, Will uncovers something he wasn’t supposed to discover—a connection between a television advertisement and a master terrorist plot. Narrowly surviving, he alone foils a bombing at Wrigley Field. Uncertain about the knowledge he now holds, he has to figure out the terrorists’ next target. Will just doesn’t realize…it’s him.  This book will be a good choice for readers who like Roland Smith's IQ series.  Red Cell is nominated for the 2013-2014 Young Adult Golden Sower Award.

Click here to read an excerpt from Red Cell.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Did you ever read a book that you liked - enough that you couldn't put it down -  but at the same time found it disturbing?  That was my experience with this year's One Book Nebraska - Teens choice, Blank Confession.   In some ways it reminded me of Bruiser by Neal Shusterman. Written in alternating points of points of view, Blank Confession tells the story of a small, rather geeky high school freshman, Mikey, who befriends a new boy at school named Shayne Blank.   After Mikey is bullied by a notorious drug dealer, Shayne takes it upon himself to stand up for his friend and what is right.  The story begins with Rawls, a police investigator who has just had a boy turn himself in for killing someone.  Rawl's experience with the confession alternates with that of Mikey and his daily battles with school bullies and trying to figure out his new friend Shayne. 

This book will be placed on our young adult shelf due to language and topics.  If you would like to see a video book trailer of Blank Confession, Click Here.

Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson

Wildfire Run will appeal to readers who love adventure and survival stories.  The story begins with Luke, the President's son, enjoying a  relaxing retreat at Camp David.  It soon turns deadly after a faraway earthquake sets off a chain of disastrous events that trap Luke and his two friends within the compound.  Luke is forced to summon strength, courage and leadership skills he didn't know he had in order to give the three of them a chance of surviving.  From earthquakes to wildfires, this is a real page turner to the end!  

Wildfire Run is nominated for the Intermediate Golden Sower Award.  EMS readers have rated this book 5 stars in Destiny. 

 To see a video book trailer, Click Here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, on her 12th birthday, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. Nineteen schools and one messed up Prom later, Sophie finds herself at Hex Hall. This is the school for messed  up Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, warlocks, fairies, and shapeshifters. That's not the worst of it, her MIA dad is the one who sent her to the isolated school.

By the end of her first day among the teen-freaks, Sophie has made enemies with the three most powerful, supermodel looking witches, developed an extreme crush on an unavailable warlock, and acquired a new roommate, the most hated person at school, who also happens to be the only vampire. Worse, Sophie learns that there is a predator going around and attacking students and her only friend is the first and only suspect.

As the mystery of the attacks continue, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient society dead set on destroying all Prodigium, especially her.

Click here to view a video book trailer.  To read an ex excerpt, click here.

Venom by Fiona Paul

Cassandra Caravello is a wealthy, 14 year-old, aristocrat who has lived in a mansion with her Aunt Agnese since her parents’ unexpected deaths 5 years ago. Cassandra has lived the routine life of tutors, lessons, balls and parties until she meets a handsome artist’s apprentice (far below her class in society). Together this unusual and improper pair stumble across the murdered body of a young woman with an X carved into her chest. Cassandra is determined to solve the mystery of the murdered girl. She also must balance her feelings for the artist’s apprentice with loyalty to her fiancé whom she hasn’t seen in years. This pampered young lady is in for the ride of her life as she steps away from the protection of her societal class and into the dangerous underbelly of street life in Venice. 
This book is for people who like historical fiction, mystery, intrigue, sitting on the edge of your seat while the heroine and her partner get into and out of sticky situations. If you are a fan of murder mysteries…this is your kind of book. It is set during the Renaissance period in Venice, Italy
Although it is not my current, favorite genre, (I have been going for fantasy lately), I really liked this historical fiction mystery. There was lots of intrigue as I read to find out if Cassandra and Falco would be discovered in several scary situations. It was interesting watching Cassandra evolve from a protected and naïve girl to meeting and learning about a class of society that has been kept from her completely. There are a couple of very well-written subplots that help keep the story interesting.       Thanks to Mrs. Matuella for this submission. 

Click here if you would like to read a part of this book.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is a book that makes you think about what great opportunity we have in the United States and what extreme challenges people have in other countries.  It's a story about war and tragedy, but also a story about hope and perseverance.  The story takes place in war-ridden Sudan and exposes readers to issues such as extreme poverty, racism, religious intolerance and genocide.

This book tells two stories.  One about a boy named Salva, the other about a girl named Nya.  Salva was one of the lost boys, who was separated from his family and had to learn how to survive as a young boy in a country torn by war.  Nya walks miles every day just to provide her family with water so they might survive one more day.  Nya's and Salva's stories are separated by time, but intertwined by location and reinforces how the work of one individual can make such a profound difference in the lives of many.

Click here to view a video book trailer.

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

Aldwyn, a mangy alley cat, is not welcomed into many places. As a matter of fact, the bounty hunter, Grimsdale, would love to catch him and keep a paw for a souvenir.  Aldwyn is amazingly adept at quick escapes, but his last attempt at stealing fish was disastrous, but he did manage to escape  into a pet shop, one that sells companions, called Familiars, to wizards.  His cover is effective, but he didn't plan on Jack coming into the store and choosing him to be his Familiar.  What seems like a cushy job at first quickly turns into a very dangerous adventure when Jack is kidnapped, along with the two other young wizards in training.  The fate of their companions is now up to the Familiars.  To save the young wizards, Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert set out on a treacherous course, facing fierce foes, unearthing a shocking centuries-old secret. and discovering the destiny that will change everything. Magic isn't just for human wizards anymore!  Fantasy readers will like this one.

Click here  to view a video book trailer.