Posts Tagged ‘intense’

Pride of Baghdad

June 21, 2010

Author: Brian K. Vaughan;  Art by Niko Henrichon

Title: Pride of Baghdad

Genre: Graphic Novel (Adventure)

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 136

Geographical Setting: Baghdad, Iraq

Time Period: 2003

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

During a bombing raid in Iraq in 2003, four lions escape from the Baghdad Zoo after it is destroyed.  Now that their wish to be free has been granted, the pride must navigate the ruined streets of the city, searching for food and shelter, things that were previously taken for granted.  As they continue their journey, it becomes apparent that the real meaning of freedom is perhaps not as concrete as the lions once imagined.

In this graphic novel that was inspired by a true event, the voices of Brian K. Vaughan’s pride are enhanced by the art of Niko Henrichon.  Using primarily oranges and greens, Henrichon presents the streets of Baghdad as both a bombed out ruin and a wild jungle.  Throughout the city, the lions encounter a horse stampede, bombs and tanks, as well as an angry bear taking refuge in a once opulent mansion.

The personalities of the lions and other creatures are heightened by the art and their dialogue is matched by their expressions and mannerisms.  The backgrounds also add to the overall feel of the story, giving a dreamlike touch to the proceedings.  A two page spread of two lions gazing at the sunset from a building rooftop is both a breathtaking and surreal sight.

Subject Headings:

Lions; Animal liberation; Independence (Personal quality); Freedom; Captive wild animals; Iraq War, 2003; Survival; Iraq – History – 2003; Graphic novels; Comic books, strips, etc.


thoughtful, sorrowful, emotional, cerebral, turbulent, philosophical, ironic, provocative, intense, visceral, surreal, lush, visually stimulating, elegant, bittersweet

3 terms that best describe this book: Bittersweet; Profound; Powerful

Similar Authors and Works:


1)      Shooting War by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman

Anti-corporate blogger Jimmy Burns travels to Iraq to become a war correspondent who tell it like it is after he captures a terrorist bombing and posts it online.  He soon discovers that he may not be equipped to handle the realities of the situation in Iraq.

Similarities:  graphic novel, Iraq, influence of war, turbulent

2)      War Fix by Steve Olexa and David Axe

Journalist David Axe tells of his experiences in Iraq and the addiction of being in the thick of the battle in this pseudo-autobiographical story.

Similarities:  graphic novel, Iraq, influence of war, intense

3)      We3 by Grant Morrison

Animals used as experimental weapons escape their creators and have trouble adapting to their new found freedom.  Intense, thought-provoking and emotionally charged, this graphic novel also packs a punch visually, depicting the horrors committed by both the experimenters and the animals themselves, sometimes subtly and often graphically.

Similarities:  graphic novel, animals in peril, meaning of freedom, bittersweet


1)      A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

A tale of survival amidst chaos.

Similarities:  graphic novel, profound and powerful, depicts stories of the struggle for survival

2)      Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo by Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence

The real life events that inspired Brian K. Vaughan to write Pride of Baghdad.

Similarities:  animals in peril, war in Iraq, influence of war

3)      From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava by Jay Kopelman and Melinda Roth

Focuses on the suffering of ordinary Iraqis during the war and how one marine tried to save a stray dog named Lava by sending him to the United States.

Similarities:  animals in peril, influence of war, Iraq and Iraqi culture

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos

Heart-Shaped Box

June 14, 2010

Author: Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box

Genre: Horror fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting:  U.S.A. (New York, Georgia, Louisiana)

Time Period: present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

Over-the-hill rock star Judas Coyne  lives comfortably on a farm in New York state with his lady friend-du-jour Georgia, his personal assistant Danny, and his two beloved dogs, Angus and Bon.  He also has a fetish for collecting strange and macabre artifacts.  When Danny comes across an auction for a dead man’s suit (dead man’s ghost included!), Jude can’t resist adding the find to his collection.  However, he soon discovers that the ghost’s surviving family member has ulterior motives, first and foremost of which  is revenge.

Jude must figure out a way to either placate the angry spirit or destroy him outright before the ghost exacts his deadly retribution on Jude and all those close to him.

Subject Headings:

Ghosts;  Rock musicians;  Supernatural;  Secrets;  Men/women relations;  Life after death;  Paranormal phenomena;  Apparitions;  Interpersonal relations;  Ghost stories;  Horror stories


reckless, spooky, menacing, malevolent, ominous, searching, intense, confrontational, secrets, bittersweet, angst-ridden, sarcastic, selfish, cathartic, rock ‘n roll jargon and references

3 terms that best describe this book:

Eerie, bloody, story of redemption

Similar Authors and Works:


1)      Ghost Radio: A Novel – text and illustrations by Leopoldo Gout

An ex-punk rocker discovers a voice from another dimension in the static he hears during his underground radio call-in show.

Similarities:  rock and roll connected main character,  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, ominous

2)      In the Night Room by Peter Straub

The lives of two strangers intertwine when one loses her daughter and the other communicates with people from his youth, people who happen to be dead.

Similarities:  interpersonal relations, ghosts, paranormal phenomena, spooky

3)      Duma Key by Stephen King

After a terrible accident which leaves him crippled, Edgar Freemantle goes to the Florida Keys and rents a house in order to heal.  He takes up painting and soon discovers that his artwork begins to mysteriously reveal secrets surrounding his new landlady’s family history.

Similarities:  family secrets, revenge, paranormal phenomena, cathartic, menacing


1)      Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange, and Downright Bizarre by Jonathan Maberry and David F. Kramer

A supernatural encyclopedia of sorts, The Cryptopedia provides chapters on angels, occult symbols, poltergeists, and UFOs, among others.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, supernatural, the occult, spooky

2)      Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

Uses science to try to explain life after death and other paranormal occurrences.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, life after death

3)      Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock n Roll Field Guide to Guys by Erin Bradley; illustrations by Heather Bradley

A tongue-in-cheek guide that helps navigate the quirky road of rock stars and rock star wanna-bes.  True life stories, quizzes and illustrations are all here to inform and entertain the curious.

Similarities:  rock ‘n roll, rock stars, men/women relationships, sarcasm

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos


November 4, 2009

Title: Relic

Author: Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Publication Date: 1995

Number of Pages: 468

Genre: Horror

Geographical Setting: New York, NY

Time Period: Present Day

Series: Pendergast novels, 1

Plot Summary: Deep within the Amazon jungle, a small group of explorers in search of the legendary Kothoga, or shadow people, discover a carved stone figurine of a beast with features that appear both human and reptilian. The figurine, believed to be a representation of the god Mbwun, is shipped to the New York Museum of Natural History where it remains crated in the one of the multitude of storerooms located in the museum’s sub-basement. A year later the museum is in the midst of preparations for a massive new exhibit called “Superstition” that will feature among other things the stone statue of Mbwun, when the mutilated bodies of two young boys are found in the building’s basement. More bodies are soon discovered, all of them showing signs of decapitation and vicious dismemberment and as the opening of the gala draws near, museum officials scramble to counteract the bad publicity. Graduate student Margo Green and her advisor Dr. Frock join forces with FBI special agent Pendergast and Lt. Vincent D’Agosta to track down this savage and intelligent killer; a killer who appears to possess unusual DNA patterns as well as super-human strength and who prowls the vast labyrinth of rooms and passages found in the museum basement; a killer in the form of a monster who may or may not be human.  As Green, Frock, and Pendergast investigate the eerie tunnels, hallways, and passages in search of this monster, there is an overriding sense of fear and foreboding. How will they stop this creature who is part man and part reptile and who may indeed be the incarnation of the evil god Mbwun?

Subject Headings: American Museum of Natural History, New York; FBI agents; Murder; Monsters; Statues; Exhibitions; Women graduate students; Natural history museums- -New York City; Museum murders- -New York City; Indians of South America- -Amazon Valley- -Antiquities; New York City; Horror stories, American; Suspense stories, American; Collaborative novel.

Appeal: fast-paced, intense, page-turner, evil, menacing atmosphere, building sense of foreboding, terrifying, plot-centered, well-drawn characters, open-ended with a surprising plot twist, chilling, grisly, gripping, suspenseful, graphic descriptions of violence, detailed scientific explanations of DNA and evolution, monsters, intriguing setting, detailed behind-the-scenes descriptions of museum archives, natural history museum settings.

Three terms that best describe this book: Menacing, grisly, Natural History Museum

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – On an island off the coast of Costa Rica, a theme park has been developed that will feature live dinosaurs as its main attraction. Fifteen different species of dinosaurs have been created and when a small group of humans arrives to tour the park, things go terribly wrong and the visitors discover that they must fight for their lives in order to survive. (Fact-paced, detailed explanations of DNA and evolution, combines science with horror, monsters that are the result of deviations in DNA and/or evolution, menacing atmosphere, detailed descriptions of setting, building sense of foreboding).

Deep Current by Benjamin E. Miller – A group of Marines and biologists are sent to investigate a floating glacier and when they reach it, they discover that it is populated by mollusk-like creatures called cephids, monsters that are the result of evolution gone awry, who have killed all but two members of a passenger ship. As the creatures begin to gruesomely kill members of the landing party, the survivors realize they must pull together group to defeat the enemy. (Fast-paced, horror, chilling, menacing atmosphere, monsters that are the result of deviations in DNA and/or evolution, building sense of foreboding).

Murder at the Museum of Natural History by Michael Jahn – The host of an exhibit at the American Natural History Museum is found murdered on the exhibit’s opening night and Lt. Bill Donovan must search the museum’s Hall of Dinosaurs to find the killer. (Fast-paced, suspenseful, detailed descriptions of museum archives, natural history museum settings). Although this is not a horror book, I thought it would appeal to readers who enjoyed the museum setting and the intricate details about the natural history museum.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History by Douglas Preston –  Fascinating chronicle of the expeditions, discoveries, and scientists behind the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. Preston also takes readers on a tour of the storerooms and vaults that house the collection.

Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey – Engaging stories and colorful anecdotes that provide readers with information about the inner workings of all the departments of the Natural History Museum in London.

Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in DNA by Daniel J. Fairbanks – Presents the details of evolution, the discoveries in genetics, and “intelligent design” theory in a conversational style that will appeal to general readers.

Name: Maggie


October 20, 2009

Title: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History (mid1930s to Winter 1944)

Author: Art Spiegelman

Publication Date: 1986

Number of Pages: 159

Genre: Graphic Novel/Historical/Biography/Memoir

Geographical Setting: New York, and World War II Poland

Time Period: The Present, 1930’s and 1940’s

Series: Part 1 of 2

Plot Summary: Art Spiegelman tells the events of his parents’ last years as survivors of the Holocaust, and the effect it has had on him. Art, who was born after the war, is visiting his father, Vladek, to record his experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis, portrayed as cats, gradually introduce increasingly repressive measures, until the Jews, drawn as mice, are systematically hunted and herded toward the Final Solution. Vladek saves himself and his wife by a combination of luck and wits, all the time enduring the torment of hunted outcast. Each scene begins at Spiegelman’s father’s home in New York. An important theme emerges as the reader grasps that fact that Art has had an extremely difficult time adjusting to his own life, due to the burdens he bears regarding his parents’ experiences. As both author and artist, Spiegelman portrays a very realistic view of the difficulties his family has faced as first and second generation Holocaust survivors in this graphic novel format. Readers won’t want to miss the second part of the story in Maus: A Survivor’s Tale II: And Here My Troubles Began.

Subject Headings: Holocaust, Memoirs, Jewish history, Hitler, Europe, War survivors, Comic books, Children of Holocaust survivors, Father and son, Jewish-American men, Jewish-Americans, Biography, Graphic Novels (nonfiction), History, Wars, World War II, Concentration Camps, Anti-Semitism, The 1930s, The 1940s, The 1970s, Auschwitz survivors, Nazi prison camps, Genocide, Suicide, Wartime Poland, Contemporary New York, Brutality, Deprivation, Gas Chambers, Judaism, Jewish, Politics, Genocide, Polish Army, Old Eastern Europe, Stereotypes

Appeal: engaging, stimulating, compelling, realistic, relatable, struggle, survival, dark, intense, visual, historical, heart-wrenching, family, relationships, fathers and sons, symbolism, heroism, ominous, tormenting, complex, chilling realism, suffering, humor, mesmerizing, colorful, flawed

Three terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced, Intense,Visual

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Berlin: A City of Stones (2001) by Jason Lutes This graphic novel takes place in Berlin during the time period between the two World Wars. It uses black and white art, but it is not a gentle read. This novel shows some of the political changes that were, including the rise of the Nazi party and the increasing discrimination of the Jews. Readers should be aware that this book involves scenes which include sexual content and sexual orientation. Berlin was originally published in comic book form, 1-8.

A Jew in Communist Prague: Loss of Innocence (1997) by Vittorio Giardino — The first book in a series, recounts the childhood of Jonas Finkel, whose father is mysteriously taken by police in 1950 Communist Prague. Young Finkel is victimized by anti-Semitism, removed from school, forced to work as an errand boy, and isolated from his peers. The story ends hopefully as Jonas and his mother learn that his father is alive and being held in a prison camp.

A Generation of Wrath (1984) by Elio Romano – The story reads like a memoir, but the author considers it to be a work of fiction. It is an account of the author’s survival of five years in 11 different Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Occupied Poland. Elio Romano was 15-years-old, a member of an Orthodox Jewish family living in the quiet Polish town of Oswiecim, (or Auschwitz), when the German poured across the border. After he tried to escape to the Middle East, Romano was captured and dragged back to Poland, forced to help build the camp which soon became Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was liberated by the Americans in April of 1945, one of only 36 survivors of a last-minute German massacre.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Mendel’s Daughter: A Memoir (2006) by Martin Lemelman – This graphic novel is a true story about the life of a Jewish girl growing up in Poland during the 1940s, describing how the Nazi persecution led to the deaths of her parents and other members of her family, while she and her brothers survived the war by hiding in the neighboring forest. The story is in the form of a “memoir” told in the voice of Lemelman’s mother, Gusta, a holocaust survivor. Lemelman’s charcoal drawings and photographs give the story a very subdued, historical point of view.

Night (1960) by Elie Wiesel Night is an amazing autobiographical narrative, in which the author describes his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. One of four children, Wiesel was the only one in his family to survive the holocaust. Translated from the French, the English version of this book captures the author’s youthfulness. Wiesel’s autobiography is easily an equal comparison to The Diary of Anne Frank due to the suffering shared, and the emotional and spiritual journey the author must deal with as a young boy.

Fax From Sarajevo (1996) by Joe Kubert — This graphic novel details the true account of artist Ervin Rustemagic who was trapped during the Serbian seige of Sarajevo. The only way Ervin could keep in touch with the outside world was to send faxes to various people he knew. Joe Kubert is an American friend of Ervin’s and he received faxes, which he turned into this book. Ervin and his family (his wife Edina and two children, Maja and Edvin) were forced to stay in war-torn Sarajevo as the Serbs continued to attack the city. This book won an Eisner Award for best new graphic album and it won a Harvey Award for best graphic album of original work.

Name: Maurine

Heart-Shaped Box

June 15, 2009

Author: Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 376

Geographical Setting: Piecliff, NY; Testament, FL; Moore’s Corner, LA

Time Period: 2002

Plot Summary: What kind of man would buy a ghost over the internet? Judas Coyne, retired death-metal rock star, has somehow survived his career and now spends his time collecting macabre items. His latest acquisition proves to be as deadly as it is demented, and Judas must confront his childhood and adult mistakes alike to survive. Judas’ character develops beyond a rock cliché into a person the reader cares deeply about, and the secrets revealed between horrifying moments keep the pages turning.

Subject Headings: Supernatural, ghosts, secrets, hypnotism, men/women relations, rock musicians, horror

Appeal: Suspenseful, darkly humorous, graphic, character-oriented, driven, twists, macabre, psychological, violent, compelling, conversational, intense

3 terms that best describe this book: Macabre, psychological, violent

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Ghosthunters: On the Trail of Mediums, Dowsers, Sprit Seekers, and Other Investigators of America’s Paranormal World by John B. Kachuba (Study of ghosthunters, including spiritual dowsers)

A History of Hypnotism by Alan Gauld (Accessible history of mesmerism and hypnotism that examines both cases and theories)

Motley Crue: The Dirt—Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band (Very dark tales of abused groupies and rock hedonism)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Kill Riff by David Schow (suspenseful, revenge, violent, plot twist, death-metal background)

Ghost Radio: A Novel by Leopoldo Gout (revenge, ghost story, suspenseful, twists)

Bag of Bones by Stephen King (conversational tone, suspenseful, twists)

Name: Marisa

Psychological Suspense

June 11, 2009

Psychological Suspense

Title: Scarpetta

Author: Cornwell, Patricia

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 500

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Geographic Setting: New York City

Time Period: Present Day

Series: Kay Scarpetta

Plot Summary: Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta leaves her practice in South Carolina to accept an assignment at Bellevue Hospital psychiatric prison ward, where her  husband works. An injured man, Oscar Bane, turns himself in to authorities claiming that he had been attacked by a stalker who had just killed someone else. He requests that only Dr. Scarpetta examine him. Is Oscar Bane a murderer, paranoid victim, or obsessed stalker fixated on Dr. Scarpetta? The only thing known for sure is that a woman had been tortured and murdered. There are bizarre twists and turns throughout the book. Dr. Scarpetta uses her technological skills to unravel the mystery and eventually reveal the  horrifying truth that threatens her entire family.

Subject Headings: Scarpetta, Kay (fictitious character) –Fiction, Medical examiners (law) –Fiction, Forensic pathologists – Fiction, Women physicians –Fiction

Appeal: Suspenseful, Multiple Plotlines, Complex plots, Scientific, Layered, Bizarre, Twists and Turns, Shocking, Horrifying,  Dark tone, Feminist, Intense.

Three terms that describe this book: Suspenseful, Scientific, Complex.

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction)

Reichs, Kathy – Bare Bones. Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist and uses her scientific training and research to solve this mystery.

Patterson, James – 1st to Die. This is the first in the Women’s Murder Club. Four women, a medical examiner, detective, reporter, and an attorney are friends who team up to solve crimes.

Cook Robin – Chromosome 6. The main character, Dr. Jack Stapleton, a forensic pathologist, and Dr. Laurie Montgomery use their medical training to solve a bizarre crime.

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction)

Denega, Danielle – Skulls and skeletons: true life stories of bone detectives. Forensic anthropologists who use their skills to solve mysteries are featured in this book.

Hunter, William – Solving Crimes with Physics.  Introduces and explains how forensic science associated with blood splatter, bullet ballistics, explosions, and other physical evidence can be used to understand crimes.

Nova – “The Perfect Corpse,” a DVD originally aired on television. Forensic scientists examine a headless Iron Age male corpse in Ireland. It is theorized that he had been a sacrificial victim of Celtic ritual.

Name: Donna Mihovilovich

In the Dark

June 8, 2009

Author: Freeman, Brian

Title: In the dark

Genre: Mystery/suspense/crime fiction

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 368p

Geographical Setting: Duluth, Minnesota

Time Period: present day (2000’s)

Series: (if applicable) Jonathan Stride novels (#4)

Plot Summary:

In this chilling and harrowing novel, police lieutenant, Jonathan Stride, discovers secrets about a loved one’s past. Tish Verdure, shows up in Duluth and informs Stride that she is writing a book about the 30 year-old, unsolved, murder of Laura Starr, who was the older sister of Cindy Starr, who later became Stride’s wife. The information and suspicions Tish brings, forces Stride to re-examine the validity of the trust with his late-wife Cindy and his current love interest, private investigator, Serena Dial, while reopening the cold case of Laura Starr’s murder.

Subject Headings:

murder; husband and wife; secrets; family relationships; Duluth, Minnesota; Minnesota; Upper Midwest; mystery stories; suspense stories


Compelling, engrossing, chilling, atmospheric, fast-paced, swift, detailed, engaging, intense, thrilling, harrowing, well-developed characters, series characters, violent, flashbacks, investigative, multiple plot lines, detailed setting of Duluth MN, suspenseful, dangerous, frank, unpretentious, unusual

3 Terms that best describe this book:

Suspenseful, chilling, investigative mystery

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

Jodi Compton, The 37th Hour, is the first in the Sarah Pribek mystery series. This series is appealing to fans of police detective novels that take place in the Midwest.

Stuart Woods, Santa Fe Rules, is the first of the Ed Eagle novels, which are suspenseful novels about missing persons and murder investigations.

Harlan Coben, The Woods, is an engrossing suspense novel that will appeal to mystery and suspense readers alike with rapid action, ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances and lots of dialogue.

Similar Non-fiction Authors and Works:

Tony Dierckins & Kerry Elliott, True north : alternative and off-beat destinations in and around Duluth, Superior, and the shores of Lake Superior, is a guidebook to the Duluth and Superior area. The book is filled with maps, outdoor adventure activities and local lore.

Jarrett Hallcox & Amy Welch, Behind the yellow tape: on the road with some of America’s hardest working crime scene investigators, is a collection of criminal investigation case studies in the United States and one of the case studies is about a case known as “Thunder snow, aye” which was investigated by the Duluth Police Department.

Russell Bintliff, Police Procedural: a writer’s guide to the police and how they work, is a handbook designed for writers to help give them insight into how police departments and crime investigation units work so that fictitious works can have a greater sense of authenticity.

Name: Natalie Ochockyj

Adrenaline Annotation – Adventure

June 1, 2009

Title: Snow Treasure

Author: McSwigan

Publication Date: 1942

Number of Pages: 196

Genre: Adventure

Geographic Setting: Norway

Time Period: 1940

Series: NA

Plot Summary:  Norwegians are used to winter especially since winter dominates their lives most of the year. But in the year 1940, snow continued to fall in unprecedented amounts even in April. People used their skis to travel long past the time when the thaw should have occurred. Children continued to sled. It was all anyone talked about, until something so terrifying loomed on the horizon, and then the topic of conversation changed. Some people insisted that the Arctic Circle was too high for the Germans to invade. Others argued that they must prepare and build air raid shelters. Most, along with the Lundstrom family who lived in a tiny village, were afraid that if the Germans did come, they would certainly steal the gold from the Bank of Norway. As predicted, the Nazis invaded. They parachuted into the village. Depending heavily on the children of the village and their sleds, the people of Norway devised a plan to hide their gold from the Nazis. This is a suspenseful story of courage, wits, and adventure that changed many lives.  And the question of whether this story is true or not has never been fully answered.

Subject Headings: World War II, 1939-1945 – Fiction; Norwegian Fiction

Appeal: Fast paced, suspenseful, action, adventure, dangerous, intense, military mission, unlikely character centered, interesting secondary characters, issue orientated, historic details, detailed setting.

Three terms that describe this book: Adventurous, unlikely heroes, fast paced.

Similar Authors and Works (fiction): Shub, Elizabeth – Cutlass in the Snow, a story of a ten year old boy and his grandfather, exploring Fire Island. They find a cutlass stuck in the snow and sand marking the hidden treasure with pirates lurking nearby.  This is also possibly based on a true story.

Paulson, Gary – Hatchet, a survival story of a 13 year old boy, stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only a hatchet.

Fleischman, Sid – By the Great Horn Spoon, a story of two unlikely partners, Praiseworthy, a butler, and Jack, a  twelve year old boy. After the family’s money is lost, they head to California to search for gold, fighting off villains and struggling to survive.

Similar Authors and Works (nonfiction): Kopka, Deborah L. – Norway, a book depicting the geography, lifestyle, people and a brief history.

Rinderle, Walter and Bernard Norling – The Nazi impact on a German Village – Although the village Oberscopfheim is located in Germany, not Norway, it was not happy to change to Nazi standards.

Bower, Tom – Nazi gold: the full story of the fifty-year Swiss-Nazi conspiracy to steal billions from Europe’s Jews and Holocaust survivors. Although this situation is different than what happened in Norway, this book explains banks and banking, and how the Nazis exploited the situation to obtain gold.

Name: Donna Mihovilovich

The Resort

April 1, 2009

Author: Bentley Little
Title: The Resort
Genre: Horror
Publication Date: 2004
Number of pages: 390
Geographical Setting: Rural Arizona
Time period: Contemporary
Series: n/a

Plot summary: When Lowell Thurman and his family book a week-long stay at the luxury Arizona resort, The Reata, all of them are looking forward to a leisurely, relaxing vacation. At first, everything seems perfect – a helpful staff, a beautiful suite, scores of fun activities, and, of course, the idyllic desert backdrop. Appearances are deceiving, however, and a bizarre incident on their first night sets the stage for ever more frightening and disturbing events as The Reata seemingly begins to take on a life of its own. The Reata’s guests know something is wrong, but are powerless against the mental stranglehold the resort holds over them. When Lowell’s children discover the mysterious ruins of another resort bearing the same name in the desert, they know that, somehow, this is an integral part of the puzzle. As the week wears on and they are subjected to a host of strange employees, gruesome deaths, and violent games, the Thurmans know that the dangerous climax cannot be far away. As The Reata plunges deeper into chaos, its up to the Thurmans to uncover the resort’s ugly secret in order to save themselves and their fellow guests, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

Subject headings: Horror stories; Resorts; Family relationships; Arizona; Ghosts; Supernatural

Appeal: disturbing, suspenseful, paranormal, foreshadowing, rural, dark, graphic, sinister, multiple points of view, violent, altered reality, foreboding, contemporary, sexual, fast paced, intense, mysterious, atmospheric

Similar works (fiction): The Shining – Stephen King (isolated hotel setting, plot centers around a family, paranormal)
Psycho – Robert Bloch (fast paced, motel setting, murder)
Under-ground – Craig Spector (haunted/evil setting, graphic, battle of good and evil)

Similar works (non-fiction): Sleeping With Ghosts: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Arizona’s Haunted Hotels and Inns – Debe Branning (paranormal, Arizona setting, haunting)
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places – Brad Steiger (stories of real life hauntings)
Encyclopedia of the Undead: A Field Guide to the Creatures that Cannot Rest in Peace – Bob Curran (ghosts, demons, supernatural occurrences)

Name: Suzanne


March 19, 2009

Author: Louis L’Amour

Title: Hondo

Genre: Western

Publication Date:  1953

Number of Pages: 179

Geographical Setting:  Southwestern Arizona

Time Period: Post-Civil War (1870’s)


Plot Summary: Hondo Lane is a quick trigger, part Indian cowboy that travels alone across the deserts of Southern Arizona.  Occasionally picking up some work scouting for the military he occasionally will have run-ins with the Apache Indians, who are at this point trying to clear out all white men from their territory.  As a reader you get a sense of a lone man in the desert with his rough looking lone dog both dangerous as all get out, yet in need of settling down with a woman and in one permanent place.  Testosterone and tension fill the story with bar fights, Indian confrontations, battles, surprises and a little bit of love.  Danger is constant throughout the book as the woman that Hodo Lane meets lives on dangerous Apache territory and he needs to try and convince her to move to safety.  Unable to direct all of his attention to her due to his business for the army and also his own feelings of independence, he continues on to his destination.  Hondo wants to make his way back to the woman, but there will be Indians, a robber, and also the woman’s husband in his path.  Indian capture, vengeance, death, and the unforgiving desert lie in Hondo’s path to save the woman’s life and get his life onto the right path.


Subject Headings: Cowboys, Apache Indians, Arizona, Western Stories, Pioneer women, Insurgency, Ranches, Lone men, Gunmen, Indian raids, Desert tracking, Indian Tracking. Post-Civil War West, Army Scouts, Man and Dog relationships.


Appeal: intriguing; adventurous; fast-paced; suspenseful; character driven; dramatic; plot twists; resolved ending; scenic; dangerous; ruthless; traditional; accurate; historical details; details of Indian territory in the West, Army moving into Indian territory, surviving in the desert, living on a Ranch, Indian lifestyle, gambling, Indian/Army battles.


Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction: Comanche Moon by Larry McMurtry.  Western takes the view point of an Indian point of few, 19th century, Texas rangers, trackers, pioneer life, desert, little bit of love.

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey.  Western, Rangers, Gunfighters, Woman ranchers, vengeance, strong male character.

Centennial by James A. Michener.  History of Native Americans and white settlers, descriptive of the land, homesteaders, pioneer life, western story, historical. This book is more about the place than any character.  A different perspective on the world Hondo lived in.

Non-Fiction: Cochise: the life and times of the great Apache Chief by Peter Aleshire.  Story of the only Native American to win a battle against the Americans.  Historical details of the Apache and the white settlers.

George Scarborough: The life and death of a lawman on the closing frontier by Robert K. DeArment. Story of a frontier gunmen and his role in settling the New Mexico and Arizona territories.

American nomads: travels with lost conquistadors, mountain men, cowboys, Indians, hoboes and bull riders by Richard Grant.  Story of a British journalist recounts his life wandering throughout the U.S. and realities of America’s nomads and other characters.

Name: Emily