Bollywood Buddies

Uma Krishnaswami has created a true summer delight: The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. Dini and Maddie are best friends who love the fabulous Bollywood movies, especially the 'filmis' featuring the beautiful singer/actress Dolly Singh. The BFFs are all excited about attending a summer Bollywood dance camp together when Dini's physician-mother bursts their dream bubble: she finally got the grant to open a clinic and they are moving to India for two years in two weeks! After the shock has passed, the girls console themselves with the hope that Dini might be able to meet Dolly and find out what seems to be troubling her. Then they look at a map and realize the tiny village of Swapnagiri (Dream Mountain), where Dini will be living, is not even close to Bombay (Mumbai), the "center of the filmi universe" and Dolly's home. So what are the chances she will meet Dolly? Will she and Maddie be able to remain best friends? But Dini soon discovers Swapnagiri is full of amazing people and surprises: rose petal milk shakes, mischievous monkeys, a girl who chirps like a bird, electrical eccentricities, a flower that only blooms once every 12 years, and… who is that? Dolly?

Warlocks and… Vimanas?

The Warlock, in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott is part of an awesome, intricate fantasy series. You will be shocked and amazed at what unfolds in this book. If you love multi-layered fantasies, and have not yet delved into the worlds, shadow-worlds, and complex characters created by Scott, you must! In this latest installment you will not believe how gullible Josh is. Has Dr. Dee altered his mind somehow? His sister Sophie has no clue whom she can trust anymore. Ancient civilizations and shadowlands, such as Atlantis, are on the brink of chaos and collapse, which would prevent our known world from ever coming into existance. There are so many unexpected shifts in characters you thought you knew and so many plot twists, my head is still reeling. (Hint: If you want to know what a vimana is, check out a book on ancient Indic/Indian mythology, or cheat by reading the author's note at the end of the book, or I suppose you could Google it.) Whatever you do, Don't read the last chapter first! It will totally spoil this action-packed, mind-bending adventure.

Adventure Awaits You!

Even if you haven't read the prequel, Fly by Night (as I haven't), you will still fly through Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge, staying up far later than you should to find out what happens next. Mosca Mye is one feisty, clever, courageous, endearing super-heroine ready to take on evil and corruption regardless of the danger it puts her in. She has just escaped from the city of Mandelion, where she, her sometimes con-man friend Eponymous Clent, and her goose guard Saracen helped foment a revolution. Now the trio is trapped in the wealthy, but "stinkin', rotten" city of Toll that operates like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hidden behind the white-washed daytime walls is another entire city of oppressed people who are only allowed to venture out at night; a dark time ruled by an underground syndicate of Locksmiths. While trying to invent a scheme to raise money to pay the high toll to get out of Toll, Mosca and her friends become embroiled in the city's twisting politics, a kidnapping, and plots and counter-plots that leave you guessing and breathless at the end of each chapter. Mosca's world is so vividly created that you feel as if you are right there with her and the characters are people you know.

Fantasy & Fablehaven Fans Readers' Alert!

Book #1 in Brandon Mull's new Beyonders series is beyond belief. Action, suspense, humor, magic, mystery, plot twists, bizarre portals to alternate realms, epic battles between good and evil — A World Without Heroes has it all. Jason, a regular teenager with no dreams of glory, suddenly finds himself devoted to overthrowing an evil tyrant after slipping through the mouth of a hippo into the realm of Lyrian. Just when you think he must undertake this mission impossible alone, he encounters Rachel, who was also magically ported into Lyrian. These two intrepid teens must quickly learn not only to trust each other, but to recognize honesty and deception in the many bizarre creatures they encounter on their quest. Although often longing to simply return to their former boring, predictable lives, both feel compelled to help all those suffering under Maldor's rule, especially since many have sacrificed their lives to aid them in their nobel pursuit. Readers, like myself, are eager to see what will happen in Book #2, especially when Book #1 pretty much concludes in a midwest cornfield!

Destination College Savings

Destination College Savings is back! Twelve Michigan libraries and families have a chance to win $1,500 towards a child's future college education and $1,000 for their library. Entry forms are available at the library beginning June 20, 2011. Entries must be postmarked by August 12, 2011 and received by August 19, 2011. This summer reading program sweepstakes is sponsored by MESP, MET, and the Library of Michigan Foundation.

Memory Bank

The Memory Bank by Carolyn Coman and Rob Shepperson is an enjoyable, but puzzling story. Soft black&white pictures tell some of the story, as with Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It has the dark, mysterious aura of Gaiman's Coraline. Parental figures are rather horrific, as one might find in Roald Dahl's creations. Hope Scroggins becomes entangled in the WWMB (World Wide Memory Bank) and a dream realm in a desperate search for her younger sister whom her parents told her to forget about after dumping Honey out of the car for misbehavior. But the whole book has a very surrealistic quality to it and I am wondering what is real, what is dreamed, what is the intent of the authors. As Keats might say, "Gone is the vision. Do I wake, or do I sleep?" So I am asking all readers to please post your thoughts/feelings/reactions to this awesome, but mysterious story.

Fantasy Floats

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier — is another must-read for all tween/teen fantasy fans. Fourteen-year-old Trei lost his family to a volcanic explosion and seeks refuge with his aunt, uncle, and cousin in the neighboring, airborn kingdom of the Floating Islands. Upon arriving he sees men soaring in the skies with wings and dragon magic and is consumed with the desire to also be a kajurai. Soon after his arrival his aunt and uncle become victims of a horrid epidemic. Now is cousin Araene is also an orphan and must decide what she will do with her life. The constraints on woman in her kingdom are unbearable, but she is clever and soon finds a way to pursue her love of the culinary arts, as well as to use her gifts in the art of magic - as long as no one discovers her sexual disguise that is. As they pursue their dreams, neither realizes that the fate of the Floating Islands is in their hands.

Emerald Atlas — a Gem of a Fantasy

Ready for another fantastic fantasy series? The Books of Beginning is here, beginning with The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. Meet Kate, Michael, and Emma — siblings who have been ousted from many orphanages ever since the disappearance of their parents 10 years ago. They finally wind up in a very strange home in Cambridge Falls run by a Dr. Pym that has no other children at all. While exploring this run-down mansion, they happen upon a mysterious emerald atlas that has the power to transport them in time. From this point on their lives are filled with fast-paced magical adventures in that age-old struggle between good and evil. Along they way they are separated, encounter humorous dwarves, fall prey to an evil countess-witch's wiles, are guided by wise wizards, are attacked by horrific creatures, and realize to save hundreds of innocent people, they have to be ready to sacrifice themselves. By the end of Book One you feel as if you really know and care about these characters and the next challenges they will face in discovering the other two books. These three powerful books when combined hold those magical secrets which brought the universe to life, but in the wrong hands can destroy it.