Welcome to my blog for people in search of a good book.
My promise to you is, if it's here, it's good.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Marcus Didius Falco, as usual, has been handed an impossible task by one of the Emperor's flunkies: to find a missing hostage, a beautiful, dangerous and mysterious prophetess from Germania, who objected to finding out she was to be the chief sacrifice during the Saturnalia festivities. She left behind a body sans head, has a big head start, and a persuasive personality. As usual, in Marcus's way are officious slaves, uncooperative patricians, a family with problems of its own, and quack doctors. 

He must race against time and his chief rival, Anacrites, the Chief Spy. Along the way he will rely on his wits and his ability to read between the lines and see the truth the witnesses are trying to hide from him. He's had a lot of experience with the general public and his dysfunctional family. He knows when people are dissembling.

Read more about this novel by clicking on the title of this post.

Read more about Lindsey Davis and the Marcus Didius Falco novels HERE.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Puzzling Adventures with Edgar Font

Audrey and Garrett, cared for by a busy aunt and mostly absent father, have become introspective and hesitant after the death of their mother. When they are shuffled off to live with their grandfather for the summer, a man they hardly know and last saw at their mother's funeral, they expect to be bored and miserable. After all, he lives in a retirement home with other old folk. What could possibly go right?

But their grandfather turns out to be anything but ordinary and not at all feeble. A life-long adventurer with a world class collection of artifacts to prove it, he's not ready to settle down and fade away like the ghosts that haunt the home. He wants to be sure that when he dies, any place he haunts will be worthy of him.

So, off go the threesome, into a series of adventures, three so far, involving mysteries, clues, and a generous dose of mystical, magical hijinks in search of the perfect place to haunt. And one of the problems with that, is that such a perfect place may already be haunted by someone else who doesn't want Edgar Font and his grandchildren to solve the mystery.

The series of books:
Edgar Font's Hunt for a House to Haunt include:
Adventure One: The Castle Tower Lighthouse
Adventure Two: The Fakersville Power Station
Adventure Three: The Flint Island Treehouse

The delightful illustrations are done by the author, Patrick H.T. Doyle. Young readers are offered a puzzle to solve at the end of each book, which they can use to access more stuff on the website. These books will appeal to most upper elementary and middle school readers. The characters are interesting, the puzzles are puzzling, the adventures adventurous and a lot of fun.
Visit the author's website: edgarfont.com

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Scary Done Right

I like Neil Gaiman. I have not read all of his books. I discovered Coraline about 3 years ago and liked it enough to read it twice, and it has had a good following with my middle school readers.

I stumbled onto one of his adult novels when I picked up the book Neverwhere at an airport bookstore to read on a long flight, only discovering after finishing the book, that this was the same author who wrote the deliciously scary Coraline. I also enjoyed the movie, Stardust, although I have no idea how close it is to the book, which I have not yet read. So, I can't say I'm an expert on Neil Gaiman, but so far, so good.

The Graveyard Book, his latest children's book, starts with some very scary images indeed. The worst is not stated, only hinted at, leaving it to the reader's imagination to fill in the rest, as it should be. A man, clearly an assassin, moves through a house holding a bloody knife, implying that he has murdered a family: father, mother and children, and is now searching out his last victim, a toddler, who should be in his crib and no problem at all. But this youngster is an adventurer, who has climbed out of his crib and wandered up the street into a graveyard. So begins the adventure of Nobody Owens, a scary and enjoyable tale.

Some people don't like Neil Gaiman's approach, too full of sinister images and fearsome villains for children they think should be sheltered from all knowledge of the dark side. I like his work. I find it spooky, but also filled with humor for those who are looking for it.

The original purpose of fairy tales was to scare little children into being good, but also show them how they can be brave, courageous and compassionate in the face of a dangerous world. That call to courage is something all children and adults can relate to. Boldness and determination are the qualities of Neil Gaiman's heroes, large and small, not a bad message for our children, not bad at all.

The movie, Coraline, is now showing. 

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