Thursday, July 6, 2017

First Really Good Book of the Summer!

Wow, guys, it's hard to believe that we're into July already! It seems that school let out just a couple of days ago. At least it does to me. This has been a very busy summer here at the library, which is good. That means more guys are checking out more books!
Normally, I'd write about the glories of summer at this time of year but, as I said, I'm very busy, so I'll jump right into the latest review. This book is a real winner and it takes place, when not in the magical realms, right here in North Carolina!

The book is Villain Keeper, the first book in The Last Dragon Charmer trilogy by Laurie McKay. It's one of those fantasies in which someone from another realm gets pulled into our world--but with a few mysteries and surprises thrown in.
Caden, eighth son of King Axel of Razzon in the Greater Realms, gets woken up by his father in the middle of the night and told it's time to go on his dragon quest. That's unusual because princes usually have days to prepare before their quests but Caden is eager to prove himself and takes off. And he does spot a dragon and is about to charge on his mighty Galvanian stallion when the ground around him suddenly turns the dark red of dark magic and he is sucked into another world. Fortunately, he and Sir Horace, his horse are safe but he finds himself in a strange city called Asheville. And they find that Brynne, a girl he grew up with who is also a sorceress, is there too. Also fortunately, a sympathetic policeman finds Caden (after Brynne and Sir Horace hide) and puts him in the care of a tough but compassionate foster mother--which keeps Caden out of the mental hospital when he insists that he's a prince on a dragon quest!
To keep from going on much longer, I'll say that Caden goes to school with Tito, one of the other foster kids but finds out things are much stranger at this school than he suspects. Is the school really a place of banishment for villains from his world? What happened to the Asheville girl who disappeared from the foster home the week before? How can Brynne make a school door explode through a cell phone? And just who is the vice-principal and why are all the villains afraid of her?

This is a really good read, boys! Not only is there magic, not only are there mysteries, there are fights with dragons (yes, they show up in our world!) and close encounters with silky-smooth and deadly villains. And there are flashes of humor, too. Just wait until you find out why Caden is terrified of being grounded or his reaction when he sees "geometric meats" for the first time. It's a great book for fantasy lovers or anyone who just plain loves a good story. I've got books 2 and 3 checked out and can't wait to start them!

PS--Asheville is a beautiful town. If there's any place in North Carolina that magic would live, this would be it! (and it's only 120 miles from Charlotte)

PPS--I first heard about this book on Ms. Yingling Reads, a truly cool blog. Thanks, Ms. Yingling!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

One More List

The great Ms. Yingling
Hey, reader guys all over this land, the Iron Guy is pleased to present to you, in honor of this blog's 10th anniversary, one more list of books that guys would like. This list, however, comes from our good friend Ms. Yingling, a middle school librarian up in Ohio. She has been a good friend to this blog almost from the beginning and has recommended so many good reads that I couldn't begin to remember them all. She also runs a very cool blog that features a Guy Friday. She is so great, in fact, that the Iron Guy gave her the highest award he could possibly give and made her an Honorary Guy. (which gives her the right to make obnoxious noises at sporting events, crack all the dumb jokes she wants and eat insane amounts of food with no nutritional value)
Anyway, I asked if she would send me a list of books boys would like and this is it:

John David Anderson. Keep an eye on this author, who seems to be trying his hand at every genre there is. From the sad but funny Ms. Bixby's Last Day to the video game inspired Insert Coin to Continue, he never disappoints. 

Tom Greenwald. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading series, plus his other titles. I also really liked his newest book, The Real Us. 

Thatcher Heldring. For sports books, I like all of Thatcher's books, especially the recently released The Football Girl. What would YOU do if your girlfriend was trying out for YOUR football team? 

Anthony Horowitz- Stormbreaker, especially since book 11, Never Say Die, is coming out in October. 

David Lubar. From Lawn Weenies to Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, Lubar has something for boys of all ages. The added bonus is that adults don't seem to like his stuff, so it must be good!

Chirs Lynch. Chris has been writing for a long time, and his WWII and Vietnam series are filled with riveting details of military combat. 

Dan Poblocki. My new go to for scary ghost stories. The House on Stone Throw's Island even has evil Nazi ghosts!

Darren Shan. Cirque du Freak. While this series has been out for a while, it's still popular because it has great fights between the vampires and the evil vampaneze. Shan also has the great Zom-B series. 

Jordan Sonnenblick. For really fantastic writing style that is also guaranteed to make you snort through your nose with laughter, you don't have to go any further than Zen and the Art of Faking It or Notes from the Midnight Driver. 

All right! Thanks, Ms Yingling! This is a great list and I know boys will like them. (please keep in mind, guys, that Ms. Yingling is a middle school librarian and some of these authors write both kids' and Young Adult fiction) Have any of you boys read any of these? Have you enjoyed them? Then write in and let us know. Both the Iron Guy and the Honorary Guy will thank you!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Most Memorable Books From the Last 10 Years--Part Two

OK, guys, you've seen Part One. Here is another list. Since there are so many, I'm simply going to list them without any comments and I'll put them into three categories. Look them up; our library system has plenty. If you want to learn more about them, check out the Labels section under this post. As I said in the last post, these may not necessarily be the best but they are what has impressed the Iron Guy the most over the last 10 years. (and, yes, other reader guys have enjoyed them as well!)

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Boys in the Boat

Stubby the War Dog

Lincoln: A Photobiography

Howard Bryant's Legends books

The Last River

Most Memorable Graphic Novels

The Bone series

The Fangbone series

The Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series

The Lunch Lady series


Big Nate

The Alvin Ho series

The Brixton Brothers series

The Boys vs Girls series

The audiobook version of Science Fair

OK, once again, what do you think of this list? Do you agree this is a truly awesome list that should be remembered for the next 1000 years or is it the most bogus list ever assembled? And did I leave anything out? (Like the Wimpy Kid? There a good reason for that too)

Write in and let me know what you think! Hopefully, there are a few of your favorites in here. And if not, maybe you'll find something that will become a new favorite of yours!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Most Memorable Books From the Last 10 Years--Part One

Hey, everybody, I appreciate all the kind comments on the last post. If no one minds, I will take the next two or three posts to talk about some of my favorite reads from the last 10 years. Plus, I'll post lists from a couple of blogging friends. Now the Iron Guy has read a lot of books over that time and could probably pull up a list ten pages long but I will spare you that. Instead, I'm going to tell you about the books that jump immediately to mind. You know how it is--if someone asked you, "What are your favorite movies?" you would come with a bunch without even thinking about it. Same thing here. If you asked me, "What have been your favorite reads over the last ten years?",
this this is what I would say immediately:

(PS--These aren't in any order and the sizes of the pictures don't mean I liked one better than any other)

The first Percy Jackson series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)

What can I say? Boys everywhere LOVE these books!! Maybe my top favorite of all.

The Barnstormers/Sluggers series

Haven't read them? You should. A really unique blend of baseball, history and fantasy.
(For some reason, they changed the name of the series from "Barnstormers" to "Sluggers" halfway through the series)

The Copernicus Legacy (and The Copernicus Archives)

Man. Oh. Man. Thrills, more thrills, mystery, time travel and one of the most memorable villains ever!

The Yearling

The Yearling

Possibly the best book none of you boys have read. An epic story that grabbed me like few others have. A great story about growing from boyhood to mature manhood.

Treasure Island

The best pirate story ever written! Yeah, it's from a long time ago but the language isn't much different from today's and I bet you wouldn't have much trouble with it.

The Leviathan trilogy

Walking mechanical war machines, genetically-altered animals as war machines, alternate history of WWI--how great is this??

The Brixton Brothers Mysteries

Good mysteries and funny, funny, funny! And the audiobook versions by the great Arte Johnson are terrific.

The Boys vs Girls series

These also are funny, funny, funny but also--well, there are no big dramatics, no space battles, no evil wizards but one of the best stories I've ever read about boys (and girls) living out their everyday lives, going to school, getting into or out of trouble and doing things we all could relate to. I want to live in this town! Plus, the ending gave me the strongest reaction I've had to any of these series.

OK, I'm not saying these are the best of the last 10 years but they are the ones that I've enjoyed the most. Do you agree? Or not? Have I left something out?
(Like Harry Potter? There's a good reason) If you agree with this list or if you don't, write a comment in the Comments section under this post. We love to hear what other people think!