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The Boneshaker

The Boneshaker

Kate Milford

Natalie Minks lives in rural Arcane, Missouri in 1913. Natalie’s dad owns a bicycle repair shop. Natalie loves to go there and tinker with mechanical things. Natalie and her Dad have even built a custom bicylce out of hand picked parts.

Arcane is located near a country crossroads that is the setting of some mysterious local legends. When a travelling medicine show passes through, one of their wagons loses a wheel at the crossroads so Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show comes to town.

At any other time the town would be skeptical of the medicines sold by the show, but since a neighboring town has been struck hard by the flu, Arcane is willing to give Jake Limberleg the benefit of the dought. Natalie, being a mechanical, logical kind of person, is determined to find out whether Jake is for real. Natalie is determined because her Mother is sick and if there is hope that Jake can help, she wants to know.

By concealing herself and observing Dr. Jake and his helpers in action, Natalie discovers some odd things about Dr. Jake, including the set of miniature mechanical toys he owns that are tiny replicas of the people appearing in his show…tiny mechanical machines that do not have a wind-up key – the creepy little toys move with power Natalie can’t figure out. The more Natalie observes, the more she realizes that Dr. Jake’s methods & cures have some very creepy, sinister strings attached. If Natalie can’t find a way to expose who Dr. Jake really is, her town is in terrible danger. Some cures just aren’t worth the price. Author Kate Milford

If you like Natalie’s adventure with mysterious machines, or like her experiences in her dad’s bike shop, try some of these :
The Nine Pound Hammer The Celestial Globe The Invention of Hugo Cabret Crunch
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Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Alchmey and Meggy Swann

Turned out by her mother and sent to live with her father, Meggy shows up in London and her dad wastes no time showing his disappointment. “What use is a daughter to me?” (page #8) He was expecting a boy. I guess he didn’t pay too much attention when Meggy was born.

So Meggy’s stuck in London at her father’s house where it is dark and cold and quiet. Meggy has no food. Her dad seems to have let her in the door and then promptly forgotten she exists. He’s closed up in his shop studying alchemy, searching for the elixir of life…while Meggy sits cold and alone, starving.

Enter Roger, her dad’s errand boy. Roger knows his way around London. Roger knows how to get food. Roger knows how to survive. Roger also knows how to smile, have fun…and be a friend, something Meggy has never had before. Author: Karen Cushman

If you like stories like Meggy’s set in the Middle Ages try some of these. They also feature tough kids, some orphaned like Meggy, living in a time period that was rough even for people in a family. These kids are survivors in the worst of circumstances. They are feisty and strong and often funny too, like Roger. Some of them are girls trying to be feisty and strong at a time when girls were really not supposed to act that way.
The Midwife's Apprentice Catherine Called Birdy The Door in the Wall Crispin the Cross of Lead
The Ramsay Scallop Alanna The First Adventure The Trumpeter of Krakow
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The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows

The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows

The Shadows

Olive moves into an old Victorian mansion that is just as the previous (now dead) owner left it. The furniture, the clocks, the mirrors, the paintings on the walls – all are exactly the way they were the moment the former owner died…as well as the clothes and personal items neatly folded in the drawers.

Isolated in the big old house and ignored by her parents, Olive does what any self-respecting kid would do. She explores. She opens doors and cupboards. She goes through drawers and wonders about who lived in the house before her.

She also looks closely at the paintings on the walls, especially the one outside her bedroom. It seriously creeps her out. When her mother can’t remove the painting from the wall she dismisses Olive’s fears and tells her “Herschel will protect you.” Herschel is a teddy bear. (See how clueless her mother is?!) Because there really IS something creepy about the paintings, especially when Olive notices that things MOVE in them. Things that definitely should not be moving.

When a talking cat shows up with a sinister warning and Olive finds an old fashioned pair of glasses that allow her to “fall” right into the paintings; to walk around, to talk to people, Olive knows she has stumbled onto something big. Something big and terrifying. This one is a little bit of the paintings in Harry Potter, a little bit of Coraline and lot of creepy fun! Author: Jacqueline West Series: The Books of Elsewhere

If you like the idea of a house with secrets; a house with doorways to secret places you can actually go to, try these:
Coraline 100 Cupbaords The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
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The 39 Clues #9: Storm Warning

The 39 Clues #9: Storm Warning

Storm Warning

Hmm. If you have been staying with The 39 Clues and following each of the 8 books before this one, then you are probably like I was, ready for some answers. Storm Warning delivers some interesting answers – particularly some answers about Grace, Aunt Beatrice, Nellie, Dan & Amy’s parents, the Madrigals & the Man in Black. Getting some answers doesn’t necessarily mean the secrets are over though. (I for one, am getting suspicious about Grandma Grace. Do you think she’s really dead? I can’t decide whether I would think it was lame or genius for Grace to have faked her own death and set the whole clue hunt in motion. It’s possible.)

There are plenty of secrets still to be revealed in the last book, Into the Gauntlet, which comes out August 31, 2010. Storm Warning still has plenty of the globe-trotting clue finding that you expect from The 39 Clues. This time the action takes place in the Bahamas & Jamaica following the connection between the Cahills and notorious pirates. I loved finding out more about Nellie, but I really did miss some of the other Cahill relatives and their down and dirty ways. I’m sure they’ll all be back in book 10 though. It just isn’t the same without the Holts and the Kabras stirring things up.

I just discovered that there is going to be a companion book to the series called The Black Book of Buried Secrets. It is going to be written by Rick Riordan, who opened the series in 2008. The Black Book of Secrets will come out October 26, 2010. Here is what the publisher says:

In full, lush color, The 39 Clues: The Black Book of Buried Secrets lays bare each hidden fact, concealed strategy, top agent, lost founder, secret base and hushed-up scandal of the Clue hunt. This complete guide to the Cahills contains information on all five branches, including the notoriously elusive Madrigals. The must-know information includes:
– Full files on the enigmatic Man in Black.
– The true purpose of the Madrigal branch.
– The complete story of the fire that split the original Cahill family.
– The truth about the night Hope and Arthur Cahill died.
– Open access to the secrets of the Lucian, Ekaterina, Tomas and Janus branches.

Now that sounds fun. I’m sure the list of clues and details I’ve missed is long. It will be fun to see a recap like that.

The first four 39 Clues Books so far…there will be 10 in all.
The Maze of Bones Once False Note The Sword Thief Beyond the Grave
The Black Circle In Too Deep The Viper's Nest Emperor's Code
Storm Warning Book 10: Into the Gauntlet(August 31, 2010) by Margaret Peterson Haddix Book 10: Into the Gauntlet(August 31, 2010) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
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When Jim’s sister Becky informs him she overheard a teacher saying he is a lazy nuisance and likely being sent to Fenham – a school for kids with problems – Jim doesn’t know if the story is true, or he’s being punked. Becky isn’t exactly trustworthy, but at the same time, what if it’s true?

The only way to know for sure is to do some investigating. Jim’s friend Charlie has the just the thing – a set of walkie talkies. One walkie talkie can be hidden in the teacher’s lounge while Jim and Charlie listen in on the conversation on the other.

This terrific plan goes bad when A.) the teacher’s lounge conversations are too boring for words and B.) Jim and Charlie overhear something odd. Something crazy. Something they just can’t leave alone. The thing is SO huge and SO not able to be ignored the two break into their teacher’s house to get to the bottom of it…and find out more than they ever wanted to know. Sometimes, teachers seems like they are from Mars…but what if your teacher really is an alien? What if the alien plan is to destroy the earth? What can a couple lazy nuisance kids do about it? Jim and Charlie are about to show what a real nuisance they can be! Author: Mark Haddon 

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If you like Jim and Charlie’s outer space adventure try these:
Mike Stellar Nerves of Steel The Doom Machine Cosmic The True Meaning of Smekday
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