Mastiff: Beka Cooper Book Three by Tamora Pierce
following Terrier and Bloodhound. Beka is called away mysteriously to start a Hunt with her hound Achoo. Along with her partner Tunstall and companion cat Pounce, they set out to recover the prince, Gareth. Joined by mage Farmer Cape and knight Lady Sabine, they pursue an evil party of slave traders. Lots of intrigue and battles. This is epic, not a light read. It could stand alone although the background knowledge of who Beka is helps us jump into the story. I really like Pierce as a writer. YA for mature themes, romance and violence.


Shimmer by alyson noel
The writing in this is fine. The plot is OK. The characters are interesting. I just really dislike the view of the afterlife she presents. A mix of Buddhism (find the silence), sefl-actualization(free will reigns above all), forgiveness, and mouthiness. No god. There is a Council (who decided that?) and no judgement, except there is judgement by the Council. Sorry. That's an ick for me. Not YA. Sassy Riley is 12 and acts like it.

Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck
Third in the series about two princes of India who are cursed to remain as tigers-one black and one white. Kelsey must find the Black Pearl necklace of Durga by seeking help from five dragons. Lots and lots of conflicted romance. She burns for Ren, but Kishan is a rock. The actual tension of the hunt and the lurking evil of Lokesh don't seem quite as moving this time for me, but I spread the reading over a longer time. YA for violence, sexual tension.

Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen
Kevin has always been a good liar--only for the good of course. This is the really quick story of one week in Kevin's life when the lies catch up with him. About 100 pages of quick humor but a clear lesson. Kevin is smart. (One student said it should be YA for using the word sex. But the content is innocuous.) Good.

A King's Ransom Book four of Cahills vs Vespers by Jude Watson
Dan and Amy are searching for documents for the mysterious V1 who is holding their family and friends hostage. Lots of history again--this time it's the Nazis, stolen art and artifacts and the castle at Salzburg.

Showoff by Gordon Korman
Fourth in the series of Swindled, Zoobreak, and Framed, Griffin Bing is the Man with a Plan again. He wants to save Luthor, the giant doberman, from being put down. How? By winning the national dog show of course. It's a cut throat business and there are so many obstacles. I liked this one.

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
Young Fredle was good, but this is really good too.(Newbery?) Doug Swieteck moves to what he calls The Dump, his new home in Marysville in upper New York state. His father is a scary, angry man. Doug is pretty angry himself and barks back at everyone. Then he discovers individuals who each make a positive difference: Lil who befriends him, Mr Powell the librarian who introduces him to Audubon's art, and random teachers and townspeople. This is 1969 and there is the awesomeness of the moon landing and the terribleness of the Vietnam War. Great writing. Terrific voice. Wrenching emotions. So good.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Newbery 2012. What?? This was OK but not as good as Okay for Now. It's the fictionalized story of young Jack Gantos' summer in Norvelt (an Eleanor Roosevelt planned community) when he is permanently grounded except for helping Miss Volker write obituaries of founding mothers who are dropping like flies. Or rats. Anyway, there is an obsession with a continuous bloody nose, a dad who is building a landing strip, and some Hells Angels. It's all pretty odd. Mildly entertaining. Not moving. 4th+

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a future Chicago there are five factions: Erudites, Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor and Amity. Beatrice finds she doesn't know who she is and where she belongs. This story is violent, but thoughtful. In the style of Hunger Games or Chosen. Upper middle school.