Hiccup and his fellow warriors-in-training must capture a sleeping baby dragon as part of the process of becoming true vikings. After successfully capHiccup and his fellow warriors-in-training must capture a sleeping baby dragon as part of the process of becoming true vikings. After successfully capturing one, the boys have a limited amount of time to train it to obey their commands. Hiccup does manage to catch a dragon—although he finds that the one he has is the smallest of all the dragons caught! To make things worse, his dragon is completely toothless!—which leads Hiccup to name him Toothless.
Toothless won’t follow any of the commands Hiccup gives him. Hiccup even seeks out a book written specifically for dragon training, but the only advice it provides is: “Yell at it.” When a huge water dragon emerges from the bottom of the sea, Hiccup and the boys must get their dragons to obey them so that they can rid themselves of the huge, evil dragon once and for all.
This is a funny book that boys especially will enjoy; the characters’ and dragons’ funny names will make readers laugh, along with the woefully un-vikinglike Hiccup. This is the first book in the Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking. ...more
This story is told from the point of view of an angel who is hundreds of years old and living quite peacefully in a tower of a house in the Alps untilThis story is told from the point of view of an angel who is hundreds of years old and living quite peacefully in a tower of a house in the Alps until a family moves in. Zola and her father are Americans who move to Switzerland to get a fresh start; her father plans to open a boarding school. The angel isn’t used to people being able to see it, so it’s startled when Zola addresses it when she enters the tower.
The angel and Zola become wary friends; Zola often asks it questions it doesn’t know the answer to (are you a boy angel or a girl angel?; where are your wings?; etc.). As time passes, Zola and the angel get more used to each other. Zola begins asking the angel to help her with things; most importantly, Zola has discovered a group of orphans living in an old shed. The angel wonders what it can do to help; it seems uncertain of its role as an angel. What it can do, however, is send a sort of feeling/image into the heads of the local adults that will make them want to help the children and, alternatively, it can send feelings/images into the heads of the orphan children that will make them feel better. Will this be enough to save these children?
This is a gentle story that readers will be sure to remember. The angel is so innocent; it doesn’t even know how to properly pronounce certain words although it’s been around so long. Zola can be bossy, but her heart is in the right place. Readers who enjoyed this might also enjoy Beyond the Station Lies the Sea (Richter). ...more
Ian, an orphan living in 1930s Britain, loves nothing more than to go exploring. When he and his sister Theo spend their day away from the orphanage eIan, an orphan living in 1930s Britain, loves nothing more than to go exploring. When he and his sister Theo spend their day away from the orphanage exploring some nearby underground caves, they come across some strange writing on the wall and a small silver box half buried in the ground. Unfortunately, they inadvertently disturb a huge dog-like beast from which they barely manage to escape in one piece.
When the Earl of Kent learns of the beast, he instructs Ian to show direct the adults to where exactly he saw the writing in the cave and found the box. This kicks off a wild adventure that involves Ian, Theo, a new orphan named Carl, 2 of their instructors, and a former university professor. They use Theo’s psychic powers and their wills to survive to help them make it back home safely.
This is a great fantastical adventure book full of references to Greek mythology and legend (though the author uses these figures unusually), along with monsters, villains, and soldiers. The second book of this series, The Curse of Deadman’s Forest, is coming soon. Until then, suggest the Tapestry series (Neff), the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (Riordan), or the Bartimaeus Trilogy (Stroud) to readers who enjoyed this book. ...more
Halli Sveisson is a member of the House of Svein, one of the twelve ruling houses in the valley each named for a long-dead hero. He’s at a tough age rHalli Sveisson is a member of the House of Svein, one of the twelve ruling houses in the valley each named for a long-dead hero. He’s at a tough age right now (14) because he’s too old to play with the children of his family’s land and too young to do ‘manly’ things; it doesn’t help that he’s very short, either. During the yearly Gathering, Halli witnesses an arbiter from another house kill his uncle before leaving. Vowing revenge, Halli leaves his house and travels the valley after the evil Hord Hkonsson and his brother Olaf.
Part of the life of those who live in the valley is the sharing of stories about the heroes. The most notable stories are those that describe the twelve original heroes’ battles with the Trows (vicious beasts who live up on the hills beyond the family cairns ). Aud, a girl he meets first at the Gathering and again later on, disbelieves these stories and, as Halli spends more time with her, he grows more skeptical of them himself. However, when Halli and Aud find themselves up on the hill in the dark, they begin to think otherwise.
This is a fantastic book! It has everything a good book should have; action, adventure, fantastical elements, snarky humor, and great main characters. Suggest this to both boys and girls looking for a great tale of bravery in the face of thieves, warriors, and monsters. ...more
Stephanie (who prefers to be called Svetlana) moves to a new town and attends a new school. Many of the kids think that she’s a bit of an oddball; SveStephanie (who prefers to be called Svetlana) moves to a new town and attends a new school. Many of the kids think that she’s a bit of an oddball; Svetlana prefers wearing black, only eats red food, has extrasensory powers, and believes that she’s a vampire. Is that really so strange? What Svetlana finds strange is her new neighbor Mrs. Bones. At first glance, Mrs. Bones seems like a perfectly normal old lady, but Svetlana soon learns differently.
Meanwhile, Svetlana and her classmates meet their new science teacher Ms. Larch. For some reason, Ms. Larch smells like rotting garbage to Svetlana and no one else. And as she spends more time with Mrs. Bones, Svetlana realizes that Mrs. Bones smells like cookies baking. What is going on? Late one night, Svetlana wakes to the sound of her dog barking and finds Mrs. Bones in her treehouse (which she calls The Oak of Doom). There, Mrs. Bones tells Svetlana that she is not a vampire, but one “who knows” and is now part of the Circle, a secret group who fights vampires throughout the world. Their first task, Mrs. Bones explains, is to eliminate evil Ms. Larch!
This is a great book; Svetlana is a snarky girl who has a good head on her shoulders. The two dorky boys she enlists to help her are funny cowards, while Ms. Larch is a smooth villian! Recommend this to female readers who want a good book about vampires but aren’t ready for the Twilight series yet. ...more
In this companion novel to Wildwood Dancing, Cybele’s Secret focuses on Paula, one of the five sisters we met in the first book. In this story, we folIn this companion novel to Wildwood Dancing, Cybele’s Secret focuses on Paula, one of the five sisters we met in the first book. In this story, we follow along as she travels to Istanbul from Transylvania with her father on a merchant mission to obtain a rare item called Cybele’s Gift. Because the city is such a dangerous place, her father suggests that they appoint her a guard to accompany her where ever she goes. Paula ends up choosing a tall, handsome man named Stoyan (only because he was the most qualified!!) to help keep her safe and, as time goes by, they end up sharing some of their hopes and dreams—along with their worries—with each other.
Soon after her arrival in Istanbul, it becomes clear to Paula that those of the Other Kingdom (where she and her sisters used to visit on the full moons of each month) want to put her and Stoyan to the test by assigning them a quest. Paula knows that their quest is somehow tied to her father’s bid for Cybele’s Gift but can’t quite figure out how. When the quest takes Paula, Stoyan, a pirate friend named Duarte, and two friends-turned-enemies into the heart of a mountain, they must risk their lives and perform dangerous tasks for creatures from the Other Kingdom in order to do what is right for everyone.
Although Cybele’s Secret takes a while to get rolling, it’s a good, romantic story. The fantastic elements aren’t too over-the-top and they keep fairly close with the storyline from Wildwood Dancing....more
Cara is the daughter of the dragonmaster of Dragonsdale, one of the most renowned dragon-raising studs and training farms on the islands. One would thCara is the daughter of the dragonmaster of Dragonsdale, one of the most renowned dragon-raising studs and training farms on the islands. One would think that she would be one of the best dragon-riders of all, but no—her father refuses to let her ride at all because of a riding accident that killed her beloved mother. Therefore, Cara is forced to simply groom dragons and clean out their stalls rather than fly on them.
Cara’s favorite dragon is Skydancer. He rejects everyone who tries to ride him, only wanting his dear Cara to share the dragon-human trust bond. How long will he be able to remain in the stud without being ridden, especially when Cara’s mean and vindictive rival decides that she wants Sky instead? Will Cara continue to follow her father’s orders and not ride Sky or will she follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a great dragon-rider?
Dragonsdale is a good story that pulls the reader into Cara’s world right away. More of a girl’s story, this book is for readers who are too young for books like Eragon but want to read stories about dragons. This title is said to be the first in an exciting new series. ...more
Tommo desperately wants to escape his fate has an apprentice spellstone grinder, a magical job that makes him not only physically sick with “the quiveTommo desperately wants to escape his fate has an apprentice spellstone grinder, a magical job that makes him not only physically sick with “the quivers” but also turns his skin a shiny-silver. Apprentices aren’t allowed to simply stop working the jobs to which they are assigned in the Protectorate; however, after he risks his life and claims sanctuary in the name of Gildea, High Priest of the Inward Power, he is given eight days to leave the land (though this is an impossible task) or he will be hung.
During his attempt to leave the Protectorate he meets Akenna, a tough girl who is against Lord Fallon, the Protector, and all he stands for. Lord Fallon fears thaumaturgy, a strong type of magic, though he has ensorcelled his own wife Vevenna by using magic of the same spellstones that have made Tommo so very ill. Paranoid and power-hungry, Lord Fallon has had most of his enemies killed or scared into doing what he says. The only person who can defeat him, Gildea himself, is nearly dead. Will Gildea be able to use his own thaumaturgical powers to save himself, Tommo, and the people of the Protectorate before it’s too late?
This intriguing, action-packed novel will keep readers glued to the page. We closely follow the characters as they pursue their difficult battles; their battles involve men, magic, or sometimes…both. ...more
Held captive by the Skandians, Will and Evanlyn survive a nearly fatal journey crossing the Narrow Sea on the Wolfwind, a few months trapped at SkorghHeld captive by the Skandians, Will and Evanlyn survive a nearly fatal journey crossing the Narrow Sea on the Wolfwind, a few months trapped at Skorghijl (due to bad traveling weather) while being bullied by their captors, and another long ride on the Wolfwind before they reach their final destination: Skandia, where they are sold as slaves in the icy, snow-covered land. Naturally, they are immediately separated. Though they both are enslaved at the Great Hall (Will is put to work out in the yard while Evanlyn must work in the kitchen), they rarely see each other. As time passes, she is helpless to aid Will as he grows weaker and weaker in the frozen yard.
Meanwhile, Halt disgraces himself in King Duncan’s eyes in order to become available to find Will. He is soon accompanied by Horace, who is also determined to find his friend. Leaving the safety of Araluen, the Ranger and the apprentice warrior encounter many dangers, including a man named Deparnieux. Deparnieux, a strong and feared leader of Gallica, takes a disliking to Halt and Horace and has them detained at his castle until they decide the time is right for action—and for continuing their quest to save Will.
This is the third book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series (and refers to the Australian publication). It is just as action-packed and full of adventure as ever, as Evanlyn and Horace take on stronger roles to save their friend Will. Readers won’t want to put it down and will eagerly await the next book in the series, Oakleaf Bearers! ...more