Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong book review

Author (Last name first):  Armstrong, Kelley
Title of the Book:  The Reckoning (Darkest Powers: Book Three)
Publisher:     HarperTeen           Date of Publication:         2010
ISBN#         978-0-06-166283-6
Price:  $17.99        Grade Level: J/S     Number of Pages: 391
VOYA Rating: 4Q 4P
Highly Recommended  

This was the third book in the first of two series trilogies.  It is definitely recommended to read The Summoning and The Awakening first.  The story is set in the East Coast.  The Edison Group has been genetically modifying DNA to make humans more powerful.  The main characters in this story include: witches, sorcerers, a necromancer, and ghosts.  As soon as their powers start to show, they are put in a mental institution.  Turns out that the mental institution is owned by the Edison Group and the kids have been tracked their entire lives.  The Tori, Derek, Simon and Chloe are on the run because they know they are in danger and do not know who to trust.

There are a lot of twists and turns. Chloe and Derek have a unique relationship that turn into something more, which the readers will probably root for. There are definitely themes of friendship, love, loyalty, honesty and responsibility woven in to the story.  This is one of those books that I wish I would have read when it first came out.  It will make for a good high school book display.

The setting and the characters have so much detail that it is easy to get lost in the book.  I think this book and this trilogy would make a great addition to a school or public library.  It is a paranormal story that I think would have a larger audience appeal.  It has a great mix of realism, history, action, romance and superpowers.  The characters are likeable and strong.  The reader is hoping they will rescue their friends and solve the mystery of who they are and where they came from.  I don’t think there is anything that is objectionable for middle school or high school teens.  It is a well written book that keeps the reader coming back for more. I think students will enjoy the companion website.  I will also look for a book trailer to post in my Moodle page to advertise the book (or series) to students so they will come into the library to check it out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Illuminate book review

Author (Last name first):  Agresti, Aimee
Title of the Book:  Illuminate (A Gilded Wings Novel: Book One)
Publisher:     Houghton Mifflin Harcourt          Date of Publication:         2012
ISBN#         978-0-547-62614-7
Price:  $17.99        Grade Level: J/S     Number of Pages: 511
VOYA Rating: 4Q 4P

Highly Recommended  

Haven Terra is a nerdy, hard working, down to earth high school girl.  One day she is called down to the principal’s office and told she was picked for a very prestigious internship.  Her best friend, Dante, and another acquaintance, Lance, are also chosen from her school. The three of them are very surprised, but they are excited and can’t wait for their adventure to start.  They get to stay in Chicago’s newly remodeled Lexington, where everyone wants to be and be seen.  Unfortunately, as soon as they arrive, Haven notices that members of “The Outfit” act really weird.  Aurelia and Lucian are in charge of the hotel, and they give off a sinister vibe.  As the story unfolds, Haven begins to piece things together and realizes that there is evil at work in the hotel.  Haven and Lance are working together to save themselves and their classmates.  A romance is blossoming and most of the story is wrapped up at the end, but there is a lead in to the second book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It was a little daunting at first because it is over 500 pages!  But it read pretty quickly and it was hard to put down once all the action started.  I like that there was a little bit of Chicago/Al Capone history woven into the story.  It had a paranormal twist with the Haven, Lance and Dante being angels.  The Prince made an appearance as the owner of the hotel – he was Satan.  Aurelia and Lucian were fallen angels that were now acting as agents for Satan and could not undo the evil they had done.  They were out to collect souls and were recruiting other soul collectors.

The setting was glamorous.  The beautiful people were wearing nice clothes, hanging out at the hottest nightclub, The Vault, inside the Lexington.  The food was amazing.  The history of the building was that it had been part of the smuggling operation during Prohibition, so it had underground tunnels and trap doors.  Haven was getting secret messages telling her what to do, so she stayed at the hotel because she believed she had a larger purpose in being there.  I think this book would appeal to high school girls and I will definitely add it to the school library collection.  I’m not sure that I see any Common Core connections besides just reading for fun.  It could be used as a book club book.  There was no objectionable content and it would be appropriate for grades 9-12.  The cover art is very attractive and I think students will pick this book up.

The official book trailer:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Marketing the School Library

So, I have these giant 8 ft. x 8ft. bulletin boards that I've somehow inherited over the years.  It's the perfect place to market the school library.  Here's a picture on the perspective of how big these boards are:

My first bulletin board has the attributes of the IB Learner Profile (on a frog in my pond :) ).  Then I have placed book covers suggesting which books have a main character that exemplify a characteristic of the Learner Profile.  It has definitely helped the circulation of those books go up!  Always a good thing in a high school library.

Here is a close up of the IB Learner Profile bulletin board:

The newest bulletin board is "Your School Library in 6 Words."  I got this idea from a project another school librarian did and posted onto LM_NET (listserv for school librarians).  School librarians and students from all over the world created a 6 word poem about the importance of school libraries.  I took some of the best 6 word poems and integrated them into the bulletin board.