Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: The Madness Underneath

The Madness Underneath
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been three weeks since Rory put an end to the Jack the Ripper murders in London. Her physical scar is healing fine, but she must adjust to becoming a terminus and she has no one to talk to. Her therapist wants her to open up, but since she signed a no talk order, her lips are sealed. She can’t talk to her friends who also have the sight because they are back in London, while she is recouping in Bristol. Suddenly her therapist calls a family therapy session and strongly encourages Rory’s parents to send her back to London on a trial basis. Rory meets up with her sighted friends, finds a new therapist and tries to readjust to the heavy class load. Nothing is as it was before the Ripper came into her life.

The Madness Underneath is the second Shades of London book. This story follows quickly after the first book ends and review sections about the first story are thrown in gracefully as needed. Rory uses her eloquent southern talking skills to get herself into and out of many sticky situations. Although the Ripper is no longer a factor, there are still Shades roaming around London causing mischief and murder. Maureen Johnson wrote the chapters short enough that you tell yourself “just one more” and then find that you read longer than you planned. The Madness Underneath is a satisfactory sequel that will make the reader want the next book NOW! If you did not read The Name of the Star yet, get reading.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Black Swan Rising

Black Swan Rising
Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New York City during a recession is not the place to be an art dealer or jewelry designer. Garet James has just learned that her father heavily mortgaged their studio and home and the bank is calling in the loan. After meeting with their lawyer and trying to clear her mind with a walk, she becomes lost in a rain shower and takes shelter in a strange antique store. The elderly man behind the counter shows her a sealed silver box and encourages her to take it home and attempt to open it. She is successful, but then strange things happen. She sees moving letters on the box, the papers inside self-destruct and men break into their studio and safe to steal paintings. To make matters worse, her father is shot and the box is taken.

Black Swan Rising brings fairy myths to the modern day with John Dee, Oberon and Puck being just a few names to bounce around. Garet must decide who to trust: John Dee tells her not to trust Oberon, Oberon tells her not to trust Will (a vampire who was in love with her ancestor) and both men tell her not to trust John Dee. Carroll leads the reader through the discovery of the four elements in fairy lore and weaves these powers into a modern tale. Will Garet be able to defeat the supernatural beings who wish to dominate humans and fairies alike? Will New York City be safe again? Black Swan Rising is an exciting read that leaves just enough intrigue to make the reader want to read the next book, “The Watchtower.”

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Stolen Nights

Stolen Nights
Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lenah Beaudonte was a Vampire Queen, but that status is no longer valid because she is not a vampire anymore. After she sacrifices her newly mortal life in order to turn another vampire back into a mortal, she finds her life has not ended and she has powers of her own. As she learns what these powers are and tries to come to terms with their impact on her life, a former member of her vampire coven comes to her boarding school community and begins killing and threatening Lenah’s friends. This vampire wants a ritual that Lenah is not willing to share and she must accept many truths about herself and those she loves in order to save any of them.

Stolen Nights takes the reader back into the Vampire Queen Story just days after the first book ends. New facets of Lenah’s past lives are revealed during conversations and flash backs; additional twists and turns of the supernatural world impact those currently around her. Rebecca Maizel does a wonderful job of weaving reminders into this book so that readers who have a gap between the first and second book don’t feel confused. The ending of Stolen Nights may make this a pair of books, but I see a few openings in which Maizel may continue the series in the future.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Books are Snow Much Fun - December New Arrivals

Have you had a chance to stop by the MHS media centers and see the new books?  We had a variety of new books arrive in December that are just waiting for students and staff to check them out and spend time reading.

Here are a few of our new additions:

After the Snow by S. D. Crockett
The oceans stopped working before Willo was born, so the world of ice and snow is all he's ever known. He lives with his family deep in the wilderness, far from the government's controlling grasp. Willo's survival skills are put to the test when he arrives home one day to find his family gone. It could be the government; it could be scavengers--all Willo knows is he has to find refuge and his family. It is a journey that will take him into the city he's always avoided, with a girl who needs his help more than he knows.

Son by Lois Lowry
They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive?  She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice. Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher
After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. 

He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill. 

To view a list of all our December new arrivals, click the reading snowman:

OR, go to and click on New Arrivals.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Movie Fieldtrip Deadline Approaching

Can you believe we are almost halfway through the school year?  I certainly can't.  The MHS media centers offer a movie field trip to all students who go above and beyond their Read to Succeed testing with 72 points.  The deadline for earning the 72 points is Friday February 22nd.

This year's movie field trip will be to see Oz: The Great and Powerful.  The movie release date is Friday March 8th and we will attend a viewing on Wednesday March 13th (time TBD). 

If you have not already earned your 72 points, you still have 30 school days to take your tests.  Have you already earned you 72 points and want to set a higher goal?  Earn 500 points by February 22nd and you can go for FREE!

MHS Teachers - we will also pay for 2 teachers to help chaperone this movie field trip. The top two teachers in our Staff Challenge will be asked to attend.  We will pay for your ticket and your substitute!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: Midnight Moon

Midnight Moon
Midnight Moon by Marilee Brothers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The summer solstice is in two weeks and the Trimarks are planning to invade our world. The only thing that can stop them (according to the prophecy) is two girls and one moonstone. Allie Emerson is one girl and she definitely has the moonstone. Unfortunately, she thinks Sammie is the other girl, until Sammie disappears into Boundless where Allie must go in order to bring her back. If this doesn’t complicate her world enough, Luminata, the fairy queen, helps Allie in a tough situation then takes the moonstone back to boundless with her. Allie has less than a week until the summer solstice and she has lost her second girl and her moonstone.

Midnight Moon is the fifth book in the Unbidden Magic series. The story jumps right into the continuing struggle between the Star Seekers and the Trimarks with Allie in the middle trying to learn about her own family background. Marilee Brothers did a wonderful job leaving just enough breadcrumbs to jog the reader’s memory without spending endless amounts of time with flashbacks to the previous four books. Midnight Moon will make an excellent end to this series. Most if not all of the reader’s questions are answered and the primary issues throughout the series are given satisfactory resolution. Brothers does add a few unanswered questions during this fifth installment that will leave an opening for continuing the series or starting a spin off series.

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