Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Illusionarium book review

Jonathan Gouden is an apprentice to his father, who is one of the best doctor/scientists in Fata Morgana.  Jonathan is close to his sister, Hannah, and to his mother.  He is planning on going to university to get his medical degree.  Fata Morgana is located north and above London, where they do not get too many visitors.  Until the day that the King of England shows up begging for a cure to the Venen.  Venen is a mysterious disease killing all the girls and women.  No ones knows where it came from.  It is up to Dr. Gouden to try to find the cure.  The King provides Dr. Gouden with a hallucinogenic drug called fantillium, which may hold the key to the cure.  Jonathan soon discovers that the fantillium opens gateways to parallel worlds.  The reader will find themselves in Nod’ol, which is a dark and scary world, destroyed by fantillium.  Illusionarium is set in a steam driven society filled with airships and Victorian-like gadgets.

I think this book is a good addition to a high school steam-punk collection.  The characters are pretty well developed, the dialogue is good, the setting is intriguing.  Overall, the book is an enjoyable diversion.  There is a romance that crosses worlds and a strong moral conviction that weaves its way throughout the story.  There is nothing objectionable in the content for a high school student.  The fantillium may have harsher repercussions than meth, but it is fictional.

This book would be a good choice for pleasure reading, a in person or online book club and would garner interest if put on display for students before a school break.  It is a quick read.  The cover will probably appeal more to girls, but the main character is a boy.  The secondary character, Lockwood, would also be very popular with boys.  There is fighting and action, mixed in with the mystery and romance.  Personally, I enjoyed it and will be recommending it to my students.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Night School: Legacy

Night School: Legacy is the second book in this series.  I had a read the first book a couple of times and I could not wait for the second book to come out.  Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down! I love the setting of the school, the descriptions of the buildings and grounds, the character development and the mystery surrounding the school and Allie. I think the good dialogue and fast paced action really keep the reader hooked. Cimmeria Academy is a great setting for danger, secrets and romance. The relationship between Allie, Carter and Sylvian is still complicated and mysterious. The reader will struggle with choosing who they like better - just like Allie does.

Allie is on the run from her enemies.  She is still not completely sure who her enemies are, but she knows she has to be careful about who she trusts.  Her mysterious grandmother becomes a little more significant in this book.  Allie has to come back to Cimmeria early because she is in danger.  I like the development of the relationship between Allie and Zoe.  Readers will wonder about the relationship between Isabelle and Allie.  

Readers will enjoy reading about what it might be like to attend a boarding school in England (albeit still fictional). This book would be a great addition to any high school library. I liked the book so much that I stayed up really late reading it and then after I finished it, I reread some parts. I am definitely looking forward to the next book! I loved watching the short films that the author created to complement her series.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)Wildwood by Colin Meloy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review​: This is an interesting book given that the author is also the lead singer of the

Decemberists. I think fans would have definitely bought this book. In the story, Pru and her friend

Curtis set off to find Pru’s missing baby brother. They are two 7th graders on an adventure through

a magical, fantasy world. This world parallels Portland, OR and the adventure takes place in the

Impassable Wilderness the locals call Wildwood. Pru and Mac were “gifted” to their parents by

some black magic. As a result, Mac is supposed to be the sacrifice. Pru is a precocious 12 year

old who vows to bring back her brother. Alliances have to be forged and battles need to be won.

Readers will look forward to the pivotal moment when the sacrifice is about to occur.

This book is 541 pages long, which is quite lengthy for a middle school book. Some of the

vocabulary is better suited to high school students. Pru is very stereotypically Portland. I think that

most middle school readers would not see the connection. I think those details are for YA and adult

readers. There are definitely many elements of traditional folk tales in this story. The setting is

Portland, OR in an alternate world. The illustrations are fun and whimsical and will appeal to

readers of all ages. This story is geared to readers who like fantasy. The plot drags a little bit and

the motifs are a little overplayed. I think that middle school readers may give up if this is not their

favorite genre. I think it might do better in a high school/YA library based on reading level. There is

nothing controversial in the story that would need a specific maturity. There are not really any

curriculum tie-­ins besides suggesting it to individual readers. This book has been compared to

Tolkien and Narnia and I think that is accurate. This is the first book of a planned trilogy.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Library Grits: The Trusty Sidekick

Library Grits: The Trusty Sidekick: Last week I presented at the IB Asia Pacific Conference to an audience that was quite different to the audience I usually present to. T...

TASL Talks: Legislative and Advocacy for YOU: Why a Master’s Degree for Librarians?

TASL Talks: Legislative and Advocacy for YOU: Why a Master’s Degree for Librarians?: By Dorcas Hand with help from TLC Special thanks to Terri Stamm, SHSU student; Barbara Paciotti, retired, Barbara Bush Middle School, Ca...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Digital Citizenship

I made a Digital Citizenship display on the library bulletin board. Some great resources here:

MAME 17 had a really nice presentation on becoming a certified teacher on the Common Sense Media digital citizenship curriculum. It's on my list of things to do...