Friday, April 26, 2013

The Horse Road

This novel starts with a heart pounding horse race across the countryside!  Kallisto is determined to win this race for the honor of her family and her stables, but her horse, Gryphon, is just as eager to defeat his rivals.

Up until now, Kali has only worried about the horses, but that day she and her best friend, Batu, saw something that will change their lives completely.  From the top of a cliff, they see the invading Chinese army coming to take their beautiful Persian horses by force.

Kali will do anything to protect her family's herds, but Gryphon and her pure white mare, Swan, are the most important things in the world to her.

In her efforts to save Swan, Kali will face a leopard, a deceitful fiance, a tribal warlord, even the earth itself seems to struggle against her, and that's not to mention the Chinese army!

Will Kali be able to overcome her own fears and natural shyness to protect her beloved horse?  Read Troon Harrison's new book to find out!  Be sure to read the author's note at the end to find out how much of this story is based on real history.

This is a great choice for animal lovers who will understand Kali's bond with her horse, and while it is historical fiction, The Horse Road reads like an epic fantasy with plenty of adventure and action!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Boy on Cinnamon Street

Louise, AKA Thumbelina, has a secret admirer.  She loves the notes he send, and she's pretty sure she's figured out who he is.  When she sees Benny, the pizza delivery guy, she gets a funny feeling that must be a crush even though it isn't necessarily a good feeling.  Her best friend, Reni, assures her that crushes make you feel terrible.  Reni should know.  She's been crushing on Justin Bieber for years.

But maybe it isn't a crush.  Maybe this funny feeling has something to do with all the things Louise refuses to remember about her past.  The reason she lives in a condo with her grandparents instead of in the green house on Cinnamon Street.

Of course, there is also Henderson, Reni's brother and Louise's other best friend.  He's the one who gave her the Thumbelina idea.  Hen says everyone has a personal story they adhere to, and he should know.  He's writing a novel of his own, and Thumb always gets to read the pages first.

There are plenty of secrets in Louise's life waiting to be discovered, some good, some bad, but all of them could break her heart.

Read Phoebe Stone's new book for a bittersweet story about life.  Make sure to read the author's note at the end for a personal connection to the story!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Fifteen -year-old Jake Knight would much rather live at the British Embassy in Burkina Faso with his family than at his boarding school in England, so he's not really too upset when he is suspended for the rest of the semester.

Jake thinks Africa will be one long adventure full of fun and entertainment.  How could he know that almost immediately, he and his sister would be kidnapped and held for ransom.  This isn't the adventure Jake bargained for.

Now he is in the desert with terrorists and Yakuuba Sor, the most wanted outlaw in the Sahara.  Armed with only a cell phone, can Jake and his sister survive the harsh elements and a terrorist cell?

But things are not always what they seem, and Jake will have to face greater danger than he's ever imagined.

Author Stephen Davies is a missionary in Burkina Faso and speaks several languages including a local dialect that gives authenticity to this book.  Fans of Alex Rider will love this action-packed thriller!

Planet Tad

When Tad gets his dad's old computer as a Christmas gift, he decides to start a blog to record his deep thoughts and random adventures.  He has four goals for this year:  survive seventh grade, get girls to notice him, learn to do a kickflip, and start shaving.  Pretty much all of that, plus more, goes horribly and hilariously wrong.

Don't expect a straightforward story line with this book, but you should expect plenty of laughs as Tad blunders through his seventh grade year!

With plenty of misadventures, questionable choices, and even a mystery, fans of the Wimpy Kid books will love Tad!

Author Tim Carvell is a writer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and has been writing as Tad for Mad Magazine for several years.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Two FREE Audiobooks Every Week This Summer!

No, it's not too good to be true!  View the attached presentation to find out which books and how to get them! 

Disclaimer:  I have not read all these books, and I don't know what age/grade they are appropriate for, so use your own discretion!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tua and the Elephant

Tua's name means peanut because she was as small as a peanut when she was born.  The name still fits because she is a small girl with a big heart!

One day in the market in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Tua discovers an abused elephant help captive by her cruel masters.  Tua and the elephant have an immediate connection, and before she knows what she is doing, Tua is rescuing an elephant.  She decides to call the elephant Pohn-Pohn because it means double happiness.

But this is just the beginning of Tua's troubles.  Where do you hide an elephant?  How do you feed one?  And how can Tua keep Pohn-Pohn safe from her cruel masters who will try anything to get their property back?

Author R. P. Harris wrote Tua and the Elephant after a trip to Thailand where he visited an elephant sanctuary.  All animal lovers will enjoy this story of friendship and loyalty.

Watch the video below to meet Lek and her elephants, who inspired this book.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tokyo Heist

Violet has been looking forward to spending the summer with her artist  father, but things get off to a bad start when he is so wrapped up in his work that he forgets to pick her up.  On top of this, her father is dismissive of Violet's beloved manga including her work on her own Manga, Kimono Girl.

But Violet is intrigued when she learns that some lost Van Gogh prints have been stolen from the Yamadas, a wealthy Japanese couple who want to hire her father to paint a mural.  No one wants to listen to a teenager, but Violet does some amateur sleuthing and soon becomes convinced she's on the right track.

That track and her father's work for the Yamadas soon lead to Tokyo, and Violet is in her beloved Japan secretly investigating an art theft that seems to have started in the past.  Family secrets and the Japanese mafia both play starring roles in this globe trotting tale of adventure, art, and crime.

Fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society novels will love Diana Renn's Tokyo Heist!  My only complaint about this book was the lack of actual manga.  Violet loves manga and uses her her art to help her figure out the mystery, and I think it would've been nice to actually see the art instead of just reading about it.  But I enjoyed the book anyway, and I'm sure you will, too.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Raft

When Robie Mitchell decides to take a flight home from Honolulu to Midway, she has no idea she is embarking on the most terrifying adventure of her life.

Before that plane ride Robie is a little spoiled, a little selfish, and a little whiny.  Everything changes when the plane crashes into the ocean, and Robie is left alone on a raft in the middle of the ocean with only Max, a man she's never met before, as company.

No food, no water, little hope for survival.  Will Robie be able to overcome her fears and find the will to survive?  Even if she does, there are very real dangers in the ocean that she can do little to avoid.  Dangers like tiger sharks, who don't give a warning fin like great whites.  They just swim up from the depths and swallow things whole.

Read S.A. Bodeen's heart-pounding new story of survival and adventure!  You won't be sorry you did, until the next time you're swimming in the ocean!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Every Other Day

Kali D'Angelo isn't a normal girl; she's just pretending to be one.  From the outside she looks normal, maybe a bit of a loner, and no one knows about her practically nonexistent relationship with her father.  But all this pretending to be normal is a cover for her secret.  Every other day Kali is anything but normal, she's a superhuman hunter, unstoppable and gifted with incredible strength and healing powers.  Even on the days when she is human, she's not normal.

In Kali's world, Darwin didn't just find proof of evolution, he found proof of preternatural beings that once discovered seemed to pop up everywhere--chupacabras, zombies, hell hounds, dragons.  You name it, Kali feels the overwhelming desire to fight it.

Now she's in bigger trouble than she's ever imagined.  It all started when she saw the mark on Bethany Davis's back.  Kali could have ignored it, but she didn't.  In her efforts to save Bethany from a death sentence, Kali sets off a chain reaction even she couldn't have predicted.  Now she has a voice in her head that may or may not be trustworthy giving her advice and direction, and the girl that has kept all her secrets close for years will have to learn to trust an odd assortment of people who may just be able to help her get some answers about who and what she is.

But the truth will come at cost that may break her heart.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes's new thriller is filled with monsters, gore, and plenty of plot twists!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Breathing Room

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old, her twin brother Abe is her best friend, she loves to help her father in the garden, and she has tuberculosis.

Evvy arrives at Loon Lake Sanatorium for treatment in the summer of 1940.  This treatment involves a lot of rest, cold air, and silence.  She isn't even allowed to sit up in bed or feed herself at first!  All this is in an effort to defeat the disease that is destroying lungs and stealing her breath. 

It takes some time to get to know the other girls in her room.  Pearl dreams of movie stars, Dena is stubborn and argumentative, and Beverly just tries to keep the peace.  Then Sarah arrives, and she and Evvy form an instant bond.  Each girl hopes to get better, but everyone know it is much more likely they will either graduate to the adult ward or die.  Even if you do get to leave the sanatorium, you're a bug for life with the possibility of of a relapse and contagion.

Some of the people at Loon Lake are cold and unsympathetic, but there are others who seem to care and want to provide comfort in the long and dull days.  How can you focus on recovery when the people you love are dying around you?

With images from the 1940's, and an informative author's note about tuberculosis at the end, Marsha Hayles's story is engaging and informative, but it is also heartbreaking and triumphant.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Colossus Rises

The Colossus Rises is the first book in the new mythological series by 39 Clues author, Peter Lerangis.  And there's a quote from Rick Riordan on the cover!  Fans of Riordan's Percy Jackson books will love the Seven Wonders series!  I have to echo the sentiments of one of our fellow gators, "It's not as good as Percy Jackson, but it was still really good!"

One morning Jack McKinley is a normal kid on the way to school until he collapses and wakes up in a secret compound that he soon discovers is on Atlantis, as in the lost city of ancient fame.  Professor Beghad tells Jack he, and the other kids on the island, are selects.  This is awesome because it means they will develop superhuman powers, but it also means they are all going to die in the next few years.

There is hope!  Long ago seven magic Loculi were created to protect the powerful secrets of Atlantis, but the Loculi were stolen and Atantis sank.  Now Jack and his friends must find the Luculi to save the world and themselves.  Marco is super strong and has incredible accuracy, Ali can fix anything, Cass has a photographic memory, and Jack...well, Jack's not quite sure why he's involved in all this.

All the kids are suspicious of Professor Beghad and his colleagues at the Karai Institute, but the further they are involved in the mystery, the more evidence they find to support Beghad's theories.

Join Jack and the other selects on this wild adventure!  Don't forget to check out the series website for games, videos, and more!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe

When Frankie Joe's mom goes to jail, he is forced to leave his home at the Lone Star Trailer Park in Laredo, TX, to live with a father he doesn't know in Clearview, IL.  Frankie Joe loves his life in the Texas desert with his retired neighbors and best friends.  Besides, his mom needs him.  He knows this move is only temporary, and he can't wait to get home.

He soon discovers that his father has a wife and four other sons, and Frankie Joe's arrival unsettles everyone.  His four brothers resent him, and school is a disaster.  School was never that important to Frankie Joe's mom, so it was never that important to him.  He's paying for that now.

The only good thing is Frankie Joe's new business plan.  He starts making deliveries for people in town to earn extra money, and everyone starts to count on him.  Why does he need all that extra money?  Frankie Joe isn't going to stay in Clearview one minute longer than he has to.  Once he's gone, he can get back to his normal life, and so can everyone else.

Read Lutricia Clifton's novel about family, responsibility, and find where you belong.