Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Title: Fateful
Author: Claudia Gray

Level: Young Adult

Location: YA Gray C.

Fateful is the story of Tess Davies, a ladies maid who will accompany her family on a voyage to the United States. She has been saving every cent so she can leave the troubled family and stay in the states when the ship makes port. The ship is the Titanic. Think you know this story?

The night before the ship sails Tess is sent on an errand in the dark. A stranger grabs her and saves her from a wolf. Then he tells her to get away from him as fast as she can. Both the wolf and the stranger are on the Titanic. The rich have many secrets.

The attitudes and secrets of the Lisle family are believable, as is the treatment of foreigners. The American rich treating the serving class of Europe well felt like a stretch to me. If you are willing to overlook this there are love stories to discover. Tess falls hard for her love even while she is questioning his intentions and putting herself in life risking situations for him. Mikhail, the Russian, drips evil. His malice is felt even before he is seen. And the stranger who saved her? He is tormented by his own secrets.

Bottom Line: Fateful is a new take on the Titanic. Of course there is a love story, but this one has more than class differences and a sinking ship to overcome. In this story werewolves are on board. I loved the ending; such a dramatic twist!

Vordak the Incomprehensible How to Grow Up and Rule the World

Title: Vordak the Incomprehensible How to Grow Up and Rule the World

Author: Scott Seeger

Level: 8-12 years old

Location: J Seeger S.

Vordak the Incomprehensible has written a guide to ruling the world. Who better to write it than the villain with the biggest ego. Vordak will guide you through all aspects from choosing a villain name, costume and lair to information about superheroes and how to issue an ultimatum. He really wants you to succeed (So he can be the second in command and take your spot if something should happen to you.). You’ll be thankful he went through the trouble of torturing interviewing seventeen illustrators before choosing John Martin. John’s drawings, which are plentiful, really help illustrate Vordak’s instructions and add to the humor. If you enjoy this book, and what person with a brain wouldn’t, look for How to Rule the School on library shelves now.

Bottom Line: Funny! I laughed out loud while reading How to Rule the World. Anyone who likes absurd humor will want to read this book, especially third and fourth grade boys. Plus there are plenty of drawings. Some take up almost an entire page! (Hint if you have a book report and the book has to be a certain number of pages.) I’ll be looking for How to Rule the School to find out what diabolical evil Vordak is planning now.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Past Perfect

Title: Past Perfect
Author: Leila Sales
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Sales

Newly single and heartbroken, Chelsea is about to start her perpetual summer job as a reenactment actor at Essex, a colonial village. Coming back to Essex for the summer unfortunately guarantees a hot, itchy costume and endless, ignorant questions from summer visitors but it also ensures that she gets to work with best friend, Fiona, and won’t end up running into the ex-boyfriend, Ezra. However, Chelsea gets a big surprise on the first day when Ezra shows up working at Essex as well. As if things could not get any worse, Chelsea finds herself falling for a cute guy who works over at the Civil War reenactment park across the street, currently at war with the Essex crowd. With all these complications, Chelsea is in for a life-changing summer she will never forget.

When I started this book, I figured it would be the typical girl-is-heartbroken-but-falls-for-a-better-guy-so-everything-is-perfect type of book. While those books can be a nice escape, the unrealistic situations can get a little annoying. However, this book was much more and really exceeded my expectations in many ways. First off, it takes place in a colonial reenactment village, much like Williamsburg which is so familiar to anyone living in this area. So the setting was unique and led to some fun situations and hilarious asides from Chelsea. Speaking of Chelsea, her narration is absolutely perfect. Her observations of the people and events around her, even when flawed, are accurate to a teen going through her predicament. She is a very real character as are her parents particularly her father, the cynical history buff.

I also loved the war between the two reenactment villages. It added a nice layer to a book that, on surface, is just about a girl dealing with an upsetting break-up. The other characters are relatively stock, but the relationships between the major characters such as Chelsea, her parents, her best friend, and the love interests help to make this book stand out among some with similar themes. I’m not saying that it is incredibly deep, but if you like this genre, Past Perfect is definitely something special.

The Bottom Line: I surprisingly loved Past Perfect. From the colonial reenactment village setting to the main character’s insightful discoveries about the people and relationships in her life, this one is a wonderful addition to the chick-lit genre.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Nest for Celeste

Title: A Nest for Celeste
Author: Henry Cole
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
Location: J Cole
A Nest for Celeste is the charming tale of a little mouse that lives alone under the floorboards of the dining room at the Oakley Plantation near New Orleans. Along the way she is befriended by Joseph, the assistant to John James Audubon and a bird, Lafayette, who helps Celeste find her way home. Celeste is a brave little mouse that survives the constant bullying from 2 rats that also live at the plantation, the watchful eyes of the family pets and a dreadful storm that sweeps her far away from home. The illustrations by Henry Cole, found on almost every page are wonderful and reminiscent of Garth Williams’ illustrations.
The Bottom Line:
I loved this story! I really cared about Celeste and rooted for her at every turn. The illustrations are beautiful and bring the characters alive. This will make an excellent read-aloud for families with children younger than the target audience.