Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Dealing with Dragons
Author: Patricia C. WredeDealing-with-dragons-first-edition
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Age Category: 10+

Fantasy for Young Female Readers

Sixteen-year-old Cimorene is tired of being a princess.  She is fed up with embroidery lessons and etiquette and arranged marriages, and would much rather study magic and sword fighting and Latin. So when a talking frog suggests that she run away from home, that’s just what Cimorene does.  Before long, she finds herself gainfully (albeit dangerously) employed as a dragon’s princess, sorting treasure and brushing up on her Latin and trying out spells to her heart’s content.  But life in the Mountains of Morning isn’t all fun and games–obnoxious, dimwitted knights keep trying to rescue Cimorene, and evil wizards have been popping up all sorts of places they’re not supposed to be.  Everyone knows wizards can’t be trusted; clearly, some sort of nefarious plot is afoot.  With the assistance of an amusingly down-to-earth witch, a rather timid princess, and a stone prince, Cimorene must figure out what the wizards are up to, and stop them, before it’s too late. Continue reading


The Aviary, by Kathleen O’Dell

Historical Fiction: The AviaryHistorical Fiction: The Aviary
Title: The Aviary
Author: Kathleen O’Dell
Genre: Historical Fiction (some Gothic/Fantasy elements)
Age Category: 8+

Historical Fiction: The Aviary

Clara Dooley leads a quiet, lonely life. A serious heart condition has kept her indoors for years, far away from other children who might excite her. Instead, she spends her days in the Glendoveer Mansion, where her mother works as a housekeeper for the frail (and ailing) Mrs. Glendoveer, an elderly widow who is still reeling from the sudden deaths of her five children decades before . . . and from the kidnapping of the sixth and youngest child, Elliot. Now all Mrs. Glendoveer has is a crumbling mansion filled with memories, and an aviary inhabited by a rather motley assortment of extremely long-lived birds. The birds scare Clara with their persistent screeching, and never more so than the fateful day when the mynah calls out to her and speaks one word: ‘Elliot.’ With that, Clara and her newfound (and secret) friend Daphne are off and running (so to speak) after the mystery of the Glendoveer children—the resolution of which may endanger Clara herself. Continue reading


Louis Sachar: The Cardturner

Louis Sachar: The CardturnerLouis Sachar: The Cardturner
Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Age Category: 14+

Louis Sachar: The Cardturner

High school junior Alton Richards is gearing up for a bummer summer. Dumped by his girlfriend (for his best friend, no less), with no money and no job on the horizon, he is bullied by his parents into driving his ailing (and extremely wealthy) great uncle Lester to his bridge club. Alton’s parents are determined to stay on dear old Uncle Lester’s good side in case he kicks the bucket any time soon. Alton is more than just a chauffeur, though Continue reading


Books for Boys: Legacy, by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Books for Boys: Legacy, by Thomas E. SniegoskiBooks for Boys: Legacy, by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Title: Legacy
Author: Thomas E. Sniegoski
Genre: Middle-grade fiction (Books for Boys)
Age Category: 12 years +

Books for Boys: Legacy

Eighteen-year old Lucas Moore hasn’t had the best life. He and his mother live in a beat-up trailer in the aptly-named nowhere town of Perdition, Arizona, where she waits tables in a diner and he works as an auto mechanic—when he’s not out drinking or getting into a fight. He never finished high school. He’s never known his father. Continue reading


Book for Teenage Girls: Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Books for Teenage Girls: Warped by Maurissa GuibordBooks for Teenage Girls: Warped by Maurissa Guibord
Title: Warped
Author: Maurissa Guibord
Genre: Fantasy/Romance Books for Teenage Girls
Age Category: 13+

Perfect Book for Teenage Girls: Warped

It was just a bit of tapestry. A very old tapestry, tucked into a crate of old books that Tessa’s dad bought at an auction. But Tessa is fascinated. The image—a wild, beautiful unicorn—is so vivid . . . and so are her dreams. Then, when Tessa pulls a loose thread on the tapestry, her whole world starts to unravel. Will, a handsome—if haughty—young nobleman, has been yanked out of the sixteenth century and plopped down in her room in the middle of modern day Portland, Maine. His fate is somehow tied to the tapestry, and he needs Tessa’s help. Continue reading


Horror Books: Rotters, by Daniel Kraus

Horror Books: Rotters, by Daniel KrausHorror Books: Rotters, by Daniel Kraus
Title: Rotters
Author: Daniel Kraus
Genre: Horror Books for Young Adults
Age Category: 16+

Horror Books: Rotters

Sixteen-year-old Joey Crouch used to be fairly happy. He and his mother enjoyed life in Chicago. He had a best friend. He played the trumpet. He wasn’t popular, but he wasn’t so unpopular as to be a target for abuse by those higher up the social ladder. All in all, life wasn’t bad. Then one day, everything changed. His mother dies, and Joey is uprooted from his life in Chicago and sent to live in rural Iowa with a father he’s never met. Continue reading


Fantasy Books: The Death of Yorik Mortwell

Fantasy Books: The Death of Yorik MortwellFantasy Books: The Death of Yorik Mortwell
Title: The Death of Yorik Mortwell
Author: Stephen Messer (illustrated by Gris Grimly)
Genre: Middle-grade Fantasy Books
Age Category: 9 years +

Fantasy Book: The Death of Yorik Mortwell

It’s not every day you come across a book where the hero dies in the first chapter.  But in The Death of Yorik Mortwell, that’s exactly what happens to 12-year-old Yorik Mortwell, orphaned son of a gamekeeper at Ravenby Manor: he dies. Fortunately for the readers, Yorik does not pass quietly into the great beyond, but returns as a ghost.

Upon his return, he is greeted almost immediately by the spoiled and curiously powerful silver-haired Princess and her peculiar (and ailing) friend Erde, who live in an enchanted glade on the grounds.  After briefly considering exacting vengeance on his killer, Yorik  realizes that something dark and deadly is stalking the manor grounds and the house itself, while the Princess’s friend Erde seems to be wasting away into nothing.  Yorik quickly loses his taste for revenge, and is consumed with concern for Erde and for his still-living younger sister Susan, a servant in the Ravenby House.  He is determined to defeat the Dark Ones—but what are they?  Where did they come from?  Why are there so many?  And what is one little ghost boy to do against such dark forces? Continue reading


Children’s Fantasy Novel: The Door in the Forest

Children's Fantasy Novels: The Door in the Forest by Roderick TownleyChildren's Fantasy Novels: The Door in the Forest by Roderick Townley
Title:  The Door in the Forest
Author: Roderick Townley
Genre:  Middle-grade Fiction (Children’s fantasy novels)
Age Category:  8 years +

Children’s Fantasy Novel: The Door in the Forest

Daniel Crowley cannot tell a lie.  For most of his life, this inability has been a fairly manageable annoyance.  Now, as soldiers move into the small town of Everwood, it’s become downright dangerous.  There’s a rebellion in the City, and the soldiers—especially the unsettling and erratic Captain Sloper—are determined to root out any sympathizers.

This is particularly bad news for Daniel’s friend Emily Byrdsong, a newcomer to Everwood and granddaughter of the town witch.  There’s something mysterious about the Byrdsong family—Emily’s parents haven’t been seen since their arrest for participating in the rebellion, Grandma Byrdsong has a curious fondness for bubble baths, and they live in a house where the rules of time and space don’t seem to work quite the way they do in the rest of Everwood.  Captain Sloper is suspicious of the Byrdsongs, and is determined to use Daniel’s honesty to expose them . . . and the rest of the town.

But the Byrdsongs aren’t the only mystery in Everwood.  There is an island on the edge of town Continue reading


Shakespeare for Children: The Last Synapsid, by Timothy Mason

Shakespeare for children: the last synapsid by timothy masonShakespeare for children: the last synapsid by timothy mason
Title: The Last Synapsid
Author: Timothy Mason
Genre: Middle-grade Fiction
Age Category: 9-12 years

Are you looking for a middle-grade novel with dinosaurs, time-travel, eco-responsibility, and Shakespeare for children?  If so, The Last Synapsid by Timothy Mason may be what you are looking for!

Summary: The Last Synapsid

Life in Faith, Colorado is fairly uneventful for best friends Rob and Phoebe. That is, until one day they come across a prehistoric creature so old, he makes dinosaurs look modern—a plant-eating synapsid they affectionately dub ‘Sid.’ Sid’s on an epic journey through time . . . and he needs Rob and Phoebe’s help! Another synapsid—an aptly-named Gorgon, and much less amiable than the kind-hearted Sid—has stumbled into the modern era via a ‘time snag’ and refuses to return to his native time. If this carnivorous monster remains in the present, the course of evolution will be changed forever, and humankind (and all other mammals) will never come into existence. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger by the name of Jenkins has been lurking around town, and he seems bound and determined to use the synapsids’ time-traveling abilities for his own selfish ends—no matter the cost… Continue reading