Friday, December 20, 2013

Guy Friday-- Extreme Biking

17190363Stone, Jeff. Lion (Five Ancestors: Out of the Ashes #2)
September 24th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy received from Young Adult Books Central and reviewed there. 

Ryan, having escaped from his evil uncle who was dosing him with dragon bone, is trying to kick the habit with the help of his friend Phoenix and his grandfather. He still has the amazing strength and endurance that he gained from taking the ancient drug, but detoxing from it can lead to terrible cramping. When Ryan's mother agrees to let him go to California to visit his uncle Peter because of the constant rain in their own area, Phoenix and Ryan's other friends Jake and Hue Die go as well. When video of them riding shows up on line, a lot of attention is paid to them, and they get approached to compete in a night race. They do lots of training, but there are problems surfacing relating to the dragon bone. Before long, DuSow (the poison hand!) has the group in his sights, and they will need all of their wisdom and their mad biking skills to stay safe.
Strengths: The Five Ancestors series has been really popular in my library, since it is a favorite of Mr. Buxton's, and this new series is FABULOUS. So much action and adventure, plus the added thrill of mountain biking. It is very evident that Mr. Stone bikes-- I do wish he would write a couple of stand alone books involving the subject, because there are some readers who would love that but aren't fans of fantasy.
I particularly like that Hue Die more than holds her own with the boys, and the descriptions of scenery as well as Chinatown add a lot of atmosphere to the book.  
Weaknesses: This does get a little more violent than I would like, but DuSow is evil and deserves what he gets! The drug usage (even though it is a mythical drug) and withdrawal also makes this more appropriate for somewhat older readers, although both are well depicted.

17981406 Lasky, Kathryn. Horses of the Dawn: The Escape
January 7th 2014, Scholastic Press

Elementary school librarians who have a large following for Erin Hunter's Warriors books will want to purchase this immediately, but I will pass. I have had a few more girls interested in horse books lately, and I rather like Lasky's historical fiction, but this one would not get as much circulation in my particular middle school. If it were a single book, I would buy it, but you know it's going to be like the six book Wolves of the Beyond or the FIFTEEN book Guardians of Ga'Hoole, and I ...I just can't. I was plugging along bravely through the whole birth of the foal, right up until the horses got thrown overboard and were in danger of being attacked by sharks. Then there was the ghost horse. Instead, I think I will brush off my Walter Farley Black Stallion books to give to horse lovers.

The horses are in danger. They were rounded up by the two-legs and forced onto a boat to cross the wide ocean. The journey went badly and the boat was deemed too heavy, so the two-legs forced the horses into the sea and sailed away, leaving the herd to die in the deep.

By a miracle, the horses survived and made it to land. All but one -- the ghost horse, the leader of the pack. Now it's up to her daughter, only a filly, to take charge of the terrified herd. Stranded in a new land, surrounded by two-legs, will the horses find a way to live safe and free?

Here's my Christmas photo, thanks to Picky Reader, my younger daughter. 

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  1. Your hat is fantastic. Thanks for your posts on such great books. With two sons who are big readers, these recommendations are terrific and much appreciated. Happy new year!

  2. Love your Christmas photo! I've had my eye on the horses series by Lasky. We are in Virginia horse country, so horse books are always popular!