Sunday, September 20, 2015

Voyagers Book 1: Project Alpha

By: D.J. MacHale

After a year of testing, only eight 12-year-olds remain.  Four of them will be chosen for a
journey in outer space to retrieve a fuel source to save the world.  Dash wants desperately to be one of the four, but he knows he is up against some serious competition.  The challenges and tests get more difficult.  But, Dash and his friends also realize that there are many unanswered questions.

Mrs. Senechal says:
I was honored to receive an "Advanced Reader Copy"!  I think my students will love this book, the first in the series.  There is lots of action and suspense and some amazing futuristic tools, vehicles, and gadgets.  There are also codes to break and the ability to participate online!  Fans of the 39 Clues series will really like this series, too.


By: Gregory Mone

When Fish tries to retrieve a bag of stolen coins that he was supposed to deliver, he never
suspects it will land him a job on a pirate ship!  While trying to get the coins back, Fish also makes friends and enemies aboard the ship.  Soon, he and his friends are trying to figure out if these coins reveal a mysterious treasure and they have to stop a mutiny at the same time.

Mrs. Senechal says:
This story really draws you in!  The author does an excellent job of creating lots of interesting characters - good guys and bad guys.  I liked trying to figure out the mystery right along with the characters.  You'll also enjoy the excitement and humor throughout the book.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The False Prince

By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Sage has lived a tough life as an orphan - he is used to stealing, fighting, and outwitting to stay alive.  Without warning, Sage is kidnapped along with three other orphans.  They soon
learn that their captor, Conner, plans to overtake the kingdom by claiming that one of them is the lost prince.  Conner makes it clear that any disobedience will be punished, and those who are not chosen will be disposed of.  Sage finds himself competing to be a false prince and just to stay alive.

Mrs. Senechal says:
What a great read!  Sage and the other orphans are all likeable and make their dilemna seem even more difficult.  And, Conner is truly cruel and masterful villain.  If you like adventurous and exciting stories, you will definitely like this book.  The final twist at the end of the story caught me completely by surprise - I love that!

The Island of Dr. Libris

By: Chris Grabenstein

Billy is NOT excited about spending the summer at a cabin with his mother.  During the first day, he breaks his iPhone and has a run-in with bullies.  In desperation, Billy explores the
library - quite an amazing place compared to the rest of the cabin.  As he begins to read the books, he thinks his imagination is running wild - he can hear the characters and feel the ground shake!  Billy looks outside at an island in the middle of the lake, and is shocked that he can even see the characters from the books.  Billy rows to the island to investigate and then the adventure really begins.

Mrs. Senechal says:
If you like to read, you will love this book!  If you don't like to read, this book might convince you that books are more exciting than you realize.  The author weaves famous literary characters into an exciting and modern story.  I think it would be awesome to be in the worlds and meet characters from my favorite books.  I highly recommend this book!


By: Sage Blackwood

Jinx's life has a tragic beginning - losing both parents and living with stepparents who only see him as an extra mouth to feed.  Finally, Jinx's stepfather takes him out into the Urwald,
the forest filled with horrible, frightening creatures.  Jinx is rescued by Simon, a wizard.  At first, Jinx just does chores for Simon.  But, he has a warm home and good food.  Soon, Simon is teaching Jinx magic and eventually Simon puts a spell on Jinx - one that Jinx desperately wants reversed.

Mrs. Senechal says:
Filled with good and evil and characters to love and hate, I think you will really like the book, Jinx!  The author kept me turning pages by constantly changing which characters to trust.  The detailed descriptions helped me picture this magical setting.  The author is not afraid to use challenging vocabulary - I learned a few great new words, too!

The Scavengers

By: Michael Perry

 Maggie, a.k.a. Ford Falcon, lives "outbubble".  That means her family chose to survive on their own without the assistance and safety the government promised.  That means that
Ford's family raises and grows their own food and scavenges for items to use or trade.  Add to these challenges solar bears, unpredictable weather, and GreyDevils.  Ford and her family rely on the expert help of their neighbors to survive.  One day, Ford's mom and dad disappear.  Suddenly, Ford must take all that she has learned and rescue her family.

Mrs. Senechal says:
I loved this book!  The author has created unique characters who you will love getting to know.  The setting of a world where you choose safety and prosperity OR freedom is very intriguing.  I enjoyed reading about all the accommodations that helped the characters to protect their belongings and provide for their needs.  The end of the story left a lot of questions, so I hope there will be a sequel with more adventures!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Blackthorn Key

By: Kevin Sands

Christopher grew up in an orphanage in London in the 1660's.  While this was difficult, it was safer than being on the street.  He often worked in the kitchen and had a real knack
for cooking.  When members of the apothecary's guild visited, one apothecary noticed Christopher's skills and suggested he pursue joining their guild.  This was a big honor - Christopher studied diligently and was accepted.  He began an apprenticeship with Master Blackthorn.  Christopher was treated well, learned the recipes, codes, and secrets of an apothecary, and made friends.  All was going well until apothecaries around the city were being murdered.

Mrs. Senechal says:
This book will be available to the public in September of 2015.  It was fun to preview a book!  This story is filled with suspense and mystery.  The author creates a variety of great characters who draw you into the story.  I love the historical information about what it would have been like to be an apprentice or an apothecary at that time.  The mystery takes many unexpected turns.  Also, this will be a series!

The Missing: Books 1-3

By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Jonah has always known he was adopted.  His parents love he and his sister very much!  One summer, he receives a strange message in the mail: You are one of the missing.  Jonah, his
sister, Katherine, and new neighbor, Chip, laugh it off as a silly junior high prank.  But the Chip also receives the same message.  This causes an argument with his parents through which he finds out he is also adopted.  Within days, the FBI, vanishing janitors, lists of witnesses and survivors make them realize something very strange is going on.  The friends agree to figure this mystery out together, but they have no idea what they will uncover next!

Mrs. Senechal says:
Wow!  This series starts with a bang - I actually read Book 1 in one day!  While this is a science fiction series, there is also a lot of historical fiction mixed in.  The imaginative futuristic technology is exciting and thinking about how one tiny thing could cause a huge change in history will keep you reading.  So far, there are four more books in this series, and I fully intend to read them all!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise

By: Geoff Rodkey

Egbert has grown up on the dirty, sweltering, pirating island of Deadweather.  His father, a
former pirate who now runs a farm with workers who were also former pirates, and a sister and brother who constantly pick on him.  One day, Egbert's father surprises the family with a boat trip to the nearby island of Sunrise - Egbert is thrilled!  Sunrise is beautiful and full of rich people and wonderful places.  While there, they meet the Pembroke family, including Millicent who catches Egbert's eye.  But, this meeting leads to the loss of Egbert's family and people trying to kill Egbert!

Mrs. Senechal says:
This was a fun adventurous story with great twists on the typical pirate tale - the action will certainly keep you turning the pages.  I enjoyed the characters and the relationships that grew throughout the story.  The author also created some great fictional settings with the two islands of Deadweather and Sunrise.  I definitely will be reading the other books in the series!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure

By: James Dashner 

Every time Thomas thinks it's "over" a new challenge is thrown at him.  In these two
books, from The Maze Runner series, Thomas continues to fight for his life at every turn.  But, now, he doesn't know who to trust.  Is WICKED bad or good? Which events are real and which were set up as another test to see what he will do?  Thomas, Newt, Minho, and Teresa continue to battle for survival, meet new friends, and confront more obstacles.

Mrs. Senechal says:
 This series is full of the action and suspense I love!  At each turn, I was right with the characters trying to determine who they should trust and what they should do.  The characters also have to make a lot of tough decisions, and as a reader, I like to imagine what I would have done in that situation.  As with the first book, I recommend this series to those junior high age and older.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The School for Good and Evil: A World without Princes (Book #2)

By: Soman Chainani

Agatha and Sophie returned home, leave The School for Good and Evil behind them.  But,
Agatha finds herself wishing that her "happily ever after" included Tedros, the prince who could have been hers.  Little does she know that this secret wish could reopen her fairy tale and instantly change everyone's lives.  Now Agatha and Sophie must decide if they should trust each other, their friends, their professors, the new Dean, or the boys!

Mrs. Senechal says:
This was a great sequel - I was surprised by so many things!  The author makes it difficult to figure out who is good and who is evil.  Just when you think you have a character figured out they do something unexpected and the plot twists in a new way.  Once again, the ending left me waiting for book #3 (due out in July of 2015)!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


By: Gordon Korman

Capricorn "Cap" Anderson has lived with his grandmother, Rain, on a community farm.
 But, when Rain falls, breaking her hip, Cap is forced to live with a foster family during her recovery.  This also requires him to attend the public middle school - up until this point, Cap had been homeschooled.  It is not the academics that cause him trouble, it's the students.  Cap doesn't know anything about football, dances, or popularity.  His fellow 8th grade classmates think Cap will make the perfect, ridiculous class president, and they are completely surprised how it turns out.

Mrs. Senechal says:
I have attended private and public schools and was even homeschooled for one year.  All forms of education have their advantages, but the transition between them can be challenging.  I loved seeing Cap's innocence in so many areas - it makes me wish that no student would have to worry about popularity or bullies.  I also appreciate how Cap sticks to his beliefs and shows how honesty, patience, and kindness can change the culture around you! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


By: Jude Watson

March was raised by his father, Alfie, a master thief.  While trying to complete a heist his
dad falls to his death.  He has a few words for March, and it's over.  March is amazed to find out he has a twin sister!  Even more amazing, they realize their dad has left them clues to a treasure worth millions.  But, they quickly find that Alfie's former partner, their mom's sister, and a TV reporter are all after the treasure as well!

Mrs. Senechal says:
I love a story where the usual bad guys, in this case thieves, are actually the good guys!  The author creates unique and interesting characters and keeps the suspense high.  There were many unexpected twists and turns throughout the story.  Watson is one of the authors of The 39 Clues series, and this book was just as exciting!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Glass Sentence

By: S. E. Grove

Sophia has lived with her uncle since her parents disappeared on an exploration mission
when she was three years old.  But, her parents were not just exploring new regions, they were even venturing into other Ages.  "The Great Disruption" threw the countries, continents, and people of earth into chaos.  No one know how or why it happened.  Sophia's Uncle Shadrack is one of the best cartologers who has attempted to map these new ages.  Suddenly, Shadrack is kidnapped, and Sophia must decide who to trust as she attempts a rescue.

Mrs. Senechal says:
This is a great science fiction book!  The author creates a completely new idea - the earth separated not only by distance but by time.  I was quickly drawn into the new characters and lands.  The suspense in the story also made it hard to put down this book!  I was enjoying the ending when all of the sudden - cliffhanger!  I hadn't noticed that this is Book One in a series.  I'm just glad the second book is due out in July 2015, so I won't have to wait too long.  The Glass Sentence will probably be more enjoyable to advanced readers due to more challenging vocabulary.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Candy Shop War

By: Brandon Mull

Visiting a new candy shop after the first day of school, Nate, Trevor, Summer, and Pigeon
get much more than expected.  The shop owner, Mrs. White, begins to ask them to do tasks for her, and she rewards them with her special candy.  This candy is not only incredibly delicious, it is magic!  The four friends think this is wonderful until Mrs. White begins to ask them to break in to places and steal things.  As they consider backing out, they find that magic candy is a lot more then they had imagined!

Mrs. Senechal says:
This was a great start to my summer reading!  The story really drew me in, and, just like the main characters, I had trouble knowing who to trust.  The author includes many twists and turns in the plot which kept me wanting to read.  This is the first book in the series, so it will be fun to see what happens next.  The author has also created an app and card game to go along with the series.