Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stealing Death by Janet Lee Carey

Kipp and his family are poor farmers but Kipp plans to capture a rare white horse that will change his luck. On the morning he rides out to get the horse he leaves his younger brother in charge of starting the fire for the day. When Kipp comes back he finds his family's home in flames and all of his family dead except for his sister Jilly. He also sees the Gawli, the creature who comes to collect the souls of the dead and store them in his sack. Kipp vows that he will never allow to Gawli to take the soul of another person he loves and makes a deal with a witch to allow him to capture Gawli's sack. When Kipp's girlfriend is injured Kipp steals the sack and begins an adventure on the run from the Gawli and humans who also want to capture him. He must become a master of the soul sack in order to stop death and keep everyone safe.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

When a fortuneteller sets up a booth in town Peter feels compelled to visit her and ask if his baby sister is still alive. The psychic tells him yes and that the way to find her is to "follow the elephant". Peter feels that this advice must be wrong since there are no elephants in the town where he lives. But shortly afterwards a magician, hoping to impress a woman in the audience, accidentally conjures up an elephant that falls through the ceiling of the theater. Now Peter feels sure that his sister is alive somewhere and all he has to do is see the elephant to find her. But the elephant is under arrest and getting more unhappy every day. If Peter can't find a way to see the elephant his dreams won't come true and the elephant may die of lonliness.

Friday, December 25, 2009

See No Evil by Jamila Gavin

Nettie's parents are fabulously rich and she has always lived with the best of everything and surrounded by bodyguards. She has been unquestioningly happy with this life until her beloved tutor disappears suddenly. Now Nettie wants to know where Miss Kovachev has gone and her parents seem to be keeping secrets from her. When her great aunt arrives to live with them she hints that there is something Nettie doesn't know about her parents. In addition, Nettie meets the son of one of her father's servants and Benny tells her that her father works in "the raquet". As Nettie discovers more about Miss Kovachev and where she has gone she also learns that her father is involved in something horrible. Now Nettie must find a way to become independent of her family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

Madison is dead. A year before she was attacked by a Dark Reaper - angels sent to kill humans who are destined to do something great. Often the victims are saved by a Light Reaper but Madison's Light Reaper arrived too late to help her. But when the Reaper who killed her arrived at the morgue to steal her soul, Madison stole his amulet and has been able to use that amulet to give her the appearance of a body ever since. She has been training with Barnabas since then to learn some powers because the Dark Reaper is still stalking her trying to get his amulet back. But now Madison is beginning to suspect that something more sinister is going on and that she might be at the middle of it. With the help of a boy from school and her new guardian angel Madison decides to confront her Dark Reaper and stop her problems once and for all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Food, Girls and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff

Andy enters his sophomore year as the second fattest kid at his school. Although he's not happy with his weight he knows what to expect at school: he's the funny, geeky, picked on fat boy. But when he meets new girl April he feels like he's fallen in love at first sight and he wants to find a way to impress her. Bolstered by unexpected help from the football team's quarterback Andy decides to try out and surprisingly makes the team. The only problems are that he has to keep football a secret from his overprotective mom, keep the quarterback from dating April himself, keep away from his former best friend, and make sure he doesn't have an asthma attack on the field.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This steampunk novel takes place at the beginning of World War I but presents an alternate history where Europe is split into Clankers and Darwinists. The Clankers have developed an army of mechanical weapons including big machines that walk on two legs. The Darwinists have found ways to fuse the DNA of many animals to make huge, living "beastie" airships. Alek is a Clanker and the heir to the throne in Austria-Hungary who is on the run after his parents are assassinated. With two trusted advisors he is fleeing to neutral Switzerland in a mechanical walker trying to stay hidden and ahead of the rebels who want to kill him as well. Deryn is a girl in Darwinist England who dreams of flying. Since girls are not allowed into the air service she disguises herself as a boy and ends up on the crew of the Leviathan, a Darwinist creation of whale and hydrogen producing animals. When the Leviathan crashes into Switzerland near where Alek is hiding out the two find that they must rely on the enemy in order for both of them to survive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford

Christopher wants to be a spy as an adult and he decides that working in the local morgue over the summer will help him with his plans. At first things are boring around the morgue but then a body shows up that is listed as a suicide. But when Christopher sneaks a peak at the body he finds that it has five bullet holes in the chest and is obviously a murder. Not sure where to go for help he ends up working with Tina, a reporter for the local paper. She is also trying to solve the murder and together they uncover evidence of bribes, kidnapping and even more murders. But their investigating doesn't go unnoticed and soon Christopher finds himself being followed and threatened as well.

Year of the Bomb by Ronald Kidd

Paul and his best friends spend every weekend watching horror movies while at school they practice hiding under their desks in case of a nuclear attack. When the boys discover that the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is going to be filmed right in their own town they can't believe their good luck. They spend every day watching the filming and become friends with a young woman who is an extra in the film. But the boys begin to discover that there are lots of serious things happening in their town as well. One of the "actors" in the movie is actually an FBI agent there to investigate a possibly communist threat at the local college. Oz's dad used to work on movies but has been blacklisted and is out of work. And Paul's own dad won't talk about his job but he seems so upset by it that he spends every night staring at the TV and not talking.

Tiger by Jeff Stone

Fu and his brothers live in a monastery where they are each trained in a different style of kung fu and Fu practices the tiger style. Unfortunately, another boy has returned to the monastery to steal the dragon scrolls which will give him ultimate power. Ying is full of hatred for everyone at the monastery but especially for the grandmaster who trained him. With his soldiers Ying kills everyone except for Fu and his brothers who escape with the dragon scrolls. But in order to protect themselves the brothers split up and Fu is left to protect the scrolls alone while staying hidden from Ying and his army.