Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banned Book Week: September 24-30

In celebration of Banned & Challenged Book Week, I'd like to take the opportunity to do a shameless plug for one of my favorite Banned & Challenged Books: The Golden Compass, the first book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

Set in a highly-imaginative alternate world that is both similar to and very different from our own, The Golden Compass introduces readers to Lyra Belaqua, a very strong female character who is hungry for adventure. And adventure she gets! Lyra has happily lived all her life at Jordan College in Oxford, but then her uncle visits and brings with him some shocking news from a recent expedition to the North: Existing alongside Lyra's world are numerous other worlds (Lyra's uncle has even photographed one of them!). The reader is introduced to the concept of Dust, a mysterious celestial particle that effects grownups but not children (this is further fleshed out later in the series). Seemingly connected to this Dust has been the mysterious disappearance of several children. When Lyra's friend Roger is kidnapped, she sets out on a grand and dangerous adventure to find him.

Be prepared for talking armored polar bears, witches, magic, and shocking plot twists. The Golden Compass is not to be missed! --AJL

Monday, September 26, 2011

An epic adventure worth reading!

Looking for your next epic adventure? Look no further than Allison Croggon's The Naming, the first book in the Books of Pellinor quartet. In it, we meet 16-year-old Maerad, a slave in Gilman's Cot. When a mysterious visitor arrives at the Cot, Maerad learns she has a great destiny: She is a Bard, one of the Starpeople who are possessed of a great magical gift. Further, she is also The Chosen One, foretold to stop The Nameless One, an ancient and powerful evil that is threatening the land. Thus, Maerad and her mentor Cadvan embark on a great quest to unravel the mystery of the Treesong, an ancient and powerful magic, long lost, said to be what will overcome this great evil. Along the way, they make great friends and terrible enemies, and Maerad begins to learn the extent of her own powers.

This truly amazing book is full of gorgeous imagry and strong characters. It is sure to rank up there with such epic fantasies as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. It is definitely worth checking out! --AJL

Creepy Alert!

What if you discovered your favorite scary books were real? Eddie begins to ponder the true horror of this question after he and his family move to Gatesweed, hometown of the famous horror author Nathaniel Olmstead, who vanished mysteriously several years earlier. While cleaning an old shed, Eddie discovers a strange unpublished manuscript, written in code, he suspects was penned (and then hidden) by Olmstead just before the author's disappearance. As Eddie and his new friends begin to decode the manuscript, strange and horrifying monsters begin appearing to terrorize the town--monsters straight out of the pages of Olmstead's books. Can Eddie and his friends solve this mystery before the most terrifying monster of all is unleashed?

The Stone Child is definitely an 8 or 9 on the creepy scale! Please do not attempt to read this one late at night, during a thunderstorm, or while home alone. And if you do, and it gives you nightmares, don't say you weren't warned. --AJL

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Kiss is Just a Kiss--or is it?

A very unlikely cast of characters come together in Wisdom's Kiss, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben. The power hungry Dutchess of Froglock has an evil plan to take over the Kingdom of Montagne: Have her son marry Princess Wisdom (a.k.a. Dizzy). While en route to her wedding, Dizzy's ladies-in-waiting consume some bad shellfish and contract food poisoning. This is how the princess meets Trudy, a psychic chambermaid working at the inn where her entourage has been delayed. Trudy is enlisted to be Wisdom's right-hand-woman and the procession continues to Froglock, where Trudy's childhood sweetheart Tips has been staying under an assumed identity. Following is much drama, intrigue, action, and adventure. With the help of a very special cat, Wisdom, Trudy, and Tips all make their dreams come true. And oh yes, they outsmart the bad guys. Fans of The Princess Bride will especially like this unique fairy tale.