The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni
I haven’t read or talked about anything by Dianne K. Salerni in quite a while, but this is a book its definitely worth checking out if you’re into that kind of thing. Did I mention that its based on a real phenomena? Caging graves used to be all the rage.
Publisher’s Summary: 17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.
Castle Glower Series by Jessica Day George
I talk about Jessica Day George quite frequently, but I rarely talk about her Castle Glower series. Its quite a mad tale about a castle with a mind of its own, and even though its geared for younger kinds I think people of all ages can appreciate it.
Publisher’s Summary: Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie’s favorite days. That’s because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it’s up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle’s never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. This delightful book from a fan- and bookseller-favorite kicks off a brand-new series sure to become a modern classic.
Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Ah, talk about nostalgia. Princess Ben was one of my first forays into YA Fantasy and unfortunately I’ve lost the copy that I picked up at the mall years ago – but I’ve since acquired another. Its a hilariously funny read that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
Publisher’s Summary: Benevolence is not your typical princess–and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle’s pantries, setting her hair on fire… But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom. Can Ben save the country and herself from tyranny?
Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine
As someone who hopes to be a published author, this book by my favorite author is a staple on my bookshelf. But I think even if you didn’t want to be a writer, but
Publisher’s Summary: In Writing Magic, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her tricks of the trade. She shows how you can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more. She advises you about what to do when you feel stuck—and how to use helpful criticism. Best of all, she offers writing exercises that will set your imagination on fire.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Possibly the best book that I’ve ever read for school and non-fiction to boot. When I was told there was a possibly I had cancer (I know now I don’t!) this was the first book that I pulled off the shelf.
Publisher’s Summary: Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
I never read Inkheart, but I loved Dragon Rider by the same author. I’ve even campaigned to keep it in my high school library, because I believe you’re never too old to enjoy middle grade books.
Publisher’s Summary: With lonely Ben aboard, brave dragon Firedrake seeks mythical place where silver dragons can live in peace. Over moonlit lands and sparkling seas, they meet fantastic creatures, summon up surprising courage – and cross a ruthless villain with an ancient grudge determined to end their quest. Only a secret destiny can save the dragons and bring them the true meaning of home.
Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer
I accidentally started with book five of this series and then read to the end before going back and picking up the first few, but its still a great series to add to my Spin Off Shelf.
Publisher’s Summary: When Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared—on her 14th birthday nonetheless—she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother’s whereabouts—but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits. Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother—all while collecting clues to her mother’s disappearance!
Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine, Matthew Cordell
Poetry by my favorite author? Sign me up!
Publisher’s Summary: Inspired by William Carlos Williams’s famous poem ”This Is Just to Say,” Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine delivers a wickedly funny collection of her own false apology poems, imagining how tricksters really feel about the mischief they make. Matthew Cordell’s clever and playful line art lightheartedly captures the spirit of the poetry. This is the perfect book for anyone who’s ever apologized . . . and not really meant it.
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
I’ll admit that I saw the movie long before I read the books, but I quickly realized that as much as I loved the movie the books were much, much better.
Publisher’s Summary: When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
I love anything Sherlockian. If you browse though my Spin Off Shelf on Goodreads you’ll find more Sherlock than anything else. Not only did he influence the mystery genre, his detective methods (such as forensics) influenced and encouraged the use of improved detective techniques in real life, and opened the public up to be more accepting of things like autopsies.
Publisher’s Summary: In the debut of literature’s most famous sleuth, a dead man is discovered in a bloodstained room in Brixton. The only clues are a wedding ring, a gold watch, a pocket edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron, and a word scrawled in blood on the wall. With this investigation begins the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Their search for the murderer uncovers a story of love and revenge-and heralds a franchise of detective mysteries starring the formidable Holmes.