Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

I enjoyed the long Labor Day weekend and read several books! I have a lot of students coming to the library this week so I am happy to have a few new titles to talk up.

Finished The Fifth Wave- Sci Fic title that I am looking forward to book talking.  I predict that this is a popular title this school year.

Loved After Ever After- great realistic fiction title with a male main character.  The age of the main character (8th grade) may make this a little hard to sell to my high school students.  So many students read The Fault in Our Stars this summer though that I think this will appeal to some. I enjoyed it...and cried.

Survive was a great adventure novel.  I read this almost in one sitting.  I look forward to book talking this one!  Wish it had a different cover because I think boys will like this story but not all boys will check out a book with this cover.

Quarantine: The Loners has circulated really well every since I put it out on the new book shelf last year.  I read it this weekend and enjoyed it.  This novel made me think of Lord of the Flies.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

LB Reads 2013 Summer Reading

We are using the high school Virginia Reader's Choice books as our list for summer reading.  (This is our 4th year using the VRC list!)  We held summer reading assemblies recently and I am so excited about the interest in the titles.  I REALLY like the list this year!

I am having a hard time selecting one favorite from the list this year.  Here are a few thoughts on each title.

Anya's Ghost- a graphic novel, which is honestly not really my thing.  I did like the simple drawing style of this novel and the story grabbed me and I was compelled to read the entire book quickly to find out how the mystery was resolved.

Choker- a very fun, quick read with a few surprises!  This is one you will enjoy talking about with a friend once you have both read it.  A good choice if you like a mystery.

Between Shades of Gray- Incredible historical fiction novel set in WWII.  I read this novel awhile ago and have been recommending it ever since.  I really enjoyed reading about the WWII time period from a very different perspective, a young Lithuanian girl in the Stalin Era Soviet Union. I highly recommend this one and male and female readers have enjoyed it.

Scorpio Races-- a great surprise.  This book did not appeal to me at first but I read it because it was on this list and really, really liked it!  Mythology, fantasy and a great plot- a great combination. A good choice for guys and girls.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone- one of my all time favorites.  I read this last year and devoured the sequel when it was published.  This is a well written fantasy novel.  Maybe my favorite on the list....

The Fault in Our Stars- While I just said that Daughter of Smoke and Bone could be my favorite, well this one is also pretty darn awesome!  Time Magazine ranked this the #1 Fiction novel for 2012 for all ages and it is popular in the Young Adult as well as Adult market because it is so well written, so thought provoking, and so universal.  Warning... have tissues handy when you read this one!

This Dark Endeavor- A great Science Fiction title about Victor Frankenstein as a teenager.  A great adventure that is a good choice for male and female readers.

Something Like Hope- I really liked this novel and I would love to have a book club discussion with students who read this book.  The author made me really care for the main character and I felt a variety of emotions, including hope, as I followed her journey to her 18th birthday and freedom from incarceration in a juvenile detention faculty. I was so interested in the problems with the juvenile detention system after I read this book that I was interested in learning more about the issue.  I LOVE it when a fiction novel makes me think about the problems in society and how they can be addressed.  Give this one a try!

Hold Me Closer Necromancer- Funny/Horror- what a combination!  This is a great choice for guys and girls alike.  Each chapter starts with the title of a song and the chapter relates in someway to the title.   I just checked out the sequel to this novel it was so good! A very clever novel that does not take itself too seriously- I predict this will be a popular title with my students.

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love: A wonderful true story about an abused puppy.  This is a sad AND happy/hopeful story.  If you love animals, you will love Oogy!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Rules for Disappearing

Awesome book- and something a little different then so many books currently out.  I read the entire book in one day- today was a snow day so we had no school! I enjoyed the Ethan-Meg/Anna romance as well as the mystery of why Anna was in the witness protection program. I was able to predict a few things but was also surprised by others. The ending was great and I was happy to find room for more about Anna in the future. Thank you to Disney Book Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read the ARC. I will definitely add this to the library's collection.

5 of 5 stars :)

The Rules for Disappearing releases in May, 2013
Genres: Mystery/suspense/romance
Interesting cover

Saturday, November 10, 2012

VaASL 2012 Conference

I just got home from the VaASL conference in Hampton, VA.  What a great, inspiring conference.  I left convinced that I must make time for professional activities like blogging for my library.  On the ride home I decided to change the focus of this blog.  I am going to borrow Christi the Teen Librarian's idea of super short reviews to post information about books I read and enjoy, and I will also use this forum to post what is happening in the LBHS library.

A few items on my "things to do" list from the conference:

1. Revamp library orientation using QR codes.
2. Check out Edmodo as a possible source for summer reading and/or the book club
3. Spend more time on library advocacy-- create and share a monthly newsletter (through this blog I think) with administration, staff, parents, kids, anyone I can get to look at it!
4. Read up on the Teacher Eval standards-- great suggestions from Audrey Church
5. Learn how to make screen casts and create some
6. Work on my Destiny account-- get the MARC records for all my e content into the catalog for one stop searching for my students.
7. and much more....

This list was from the top of my head-- I really need to look back at all the notes I took at the conference to make sure I don't forget anything.

So, thanks for reading and I will be around more and in a different way.

Currently reading...

Insignia- awesome so far!

Book I am most looking forward to reading next-- Book 4 in the Beautiful Creatures series.  I saw it at Target the other night and can't wait to get my hands on it!!

Author I recently met- Gordon Korman!  While he is not an author with a huge presence in a high school library he has a few great YA books.  (Pop for one)  My own kids really like this author and I am excited to have some signed books to give them.  Gordon Korman gave a great speech at the VaASL Author Banquet- I really enjoyed it

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway

2012 DAC
ARC courtesy of Net Galley
From Good Reads:

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book!  The concept was interesting and the story line was suspenseful and unpredictable.  Vee's ability to slide into other people's minds is both horrifying and fascinating.  

The pacing and plot of the book are well done.  Vee's gift/curse is explained  in the opening chapters of the book and the reader learns important information about Vee's sister and social scene at their high school.  Vee's  relationship with Zane, the new boy, and Rollins, her best friend, is also well developed.  This is not a romance book yet the small amount of relationship angst works well with the plot.  What I liked mostly about the book is trying to figure out who the murderer was, and the killer's true identity and motive is well hidden to the very end of the book.  

Overall, a great debut and one that I will enjoy recommending to my students.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan

From Good Reads:
Nobody gets away with telling Eleanor Crowe what to do. But as a pregnant sixteen-year-old, her options are limited: move to Kenya with her missionary parents or marry the baby’s father and work at his family’s summer camp for overweight kids. 

Despite her initial reluctance to help out, Elly is surprised that she actually enjoys working with the campers. But a tragedy on the very day her baby is born starts a series of events that overwhelms Elly with unexpected emotions and difficult choices. Somehow, she must turn her usual obstinance in a direction that can ensure a future for herself—and for the new life she has created.

My thoughts:
Open this book with the cute name and cute cover and discover a moving story about sixteen year old Eleanor Crowe,who is indeed pregnant.  Unsure about whether the baby with just be a pause in her life or if the baby will forever change her life, Elly has a lot of decisions to make and growing up to do.

I really liked a lot of different aspects of this novel.  I really liked Elly to begin with.  She is honest and real and has flaws that really bring her character to life.  Elly knows she has made a lot of mistakes in her life, and even as she makes some positive changes for the baby's sake she is still an immature, child/woman who does not know what to do. Elly does not have a strong support system and that made me feel empathy for her character.  Elly's immaturity, especially with relationships, made me feel exasperated with her at times.  Finally Elly's compassion for the campers and her baby made me love her.

This story does not glamorize teen pregnancy in any way and I really liked that.  It is clear that Elly's life is forever changed, no matter what she decides to do with her baby.

While this book tackles a hard topic and does have references to sex, drug and alcohol use, it does so tactfully and in a way that I think will make people NOT want to engage in these types of behaviors.

The conclusion to this book contains several unexpected, an emotional, twists. I enjoyed the story and the find the outcome very thought provoking. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes edgy realistic fiction.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fracture by Megan Miranda

2012 DAC 
From Good Reads:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it? 

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening? 

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

My thoughts:

Fracture is a great debut novel!  I found the story to be quite a page turner and I really liked the author's writing style.    Delaney's story is very interesting- from the fracture in the ice to understanding how Delaney has been changed by her accident.  

In addition to the supernatural elements of Delaney's strange ability to predict death, the story has a nice amount of relationship and family dynamic issues.  For example, Delaney feelings for her best friend and neighbor, Decker.  I also enjoyed knowing a little of how  Delaney's parent's felt about the accident and the changes to their daughter.  

The cover art on this novel is great!  I found myself studying the cover some as I read the book.  I also think the cover will entice students to pick this book up off the shelf.  I know people say to never judge a book by its cover but as a high school librarian I know that students do judge books by their covers!  

I highly recommend this title and look forward to talking it up at school!