The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden is the conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy.

Moscow has been badly injured through flame, fear and deceit. It’s people are restless, it’s king is enraged, and it’s unseen guardians are withering. Vasya finds herself alone and unmoored after the events of the night before, so when a priest, guided by a wicked daemon, sets a mob on her, there is no one to help her but herself.

Torn between two worlds and determined to save them both, Vasya will embark on a journey that will alter her forever. She will battle nightmares and uncover truths she never would have suspected.

Will Vasya be able to save both the worlds she so cherishes? Or will the knowledge she gains about Morozko, Russia and herself be enough to break her?

I enjoyed this series a lot. Even though it has a lot of fantastical elements it is so steeped in lore and tradition that is has a very folky feel. Although, I still maintain that the first book was completely satisfying on it’s own and any reader could stop their and be perfectly content. I liked the series but I loved the first book.

This book is, in my opinion, all about Vasya’s transformation; her coming into her own. In the first two books, she is just a girl with a drop of magic in her blood. But in this book she becomes a force to be reckoned with. Although, she calls on others for help, she does not depend on them as she did. It’s something I don’t think I even realized until this book, but you can see “story” Vasya will become to the people of Moscow.

We learn more about the unseen world in this book and we interact with their characters more, instead of just the Bear and the Winter King. I loved learning Morozko and the Bear’s backstories and finding out the secrets in Vasya’s blood as well.

Overall, this was a really nice series. This one get’s 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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Kingdom of Copper

Kingdom of Copper is the second book in The Daevabad Trilogy.

Nahri’s life changed forever when she summoned Dara, a warrior and djinn with a mysterious past. Her return to Daevabad as the last Nahid healer, signaled a period of change for hidden world of djinn, marid’s and magic.

But when Dara is slain by Prince Ali, the city is thrown into turmoil. All Nahir’s knows is that she must protect her people and the home she never knew she had. But her efforts are constantly thwarted by a the violent king of Daevabad and it might just take all of Nahir’s willpower just to keep herself alive.

Meanwhile, Prince Ali has been exiled for defying his king and father. He is thrown out of Daevabad and is forced to deal with the repercussions of his battle with Dara on his own.

Five years later, at the turn of the century, unrest is brewing and the fate of Daevabad sways in the balance.

Phew! This was a monster of a series to get back into after a year. I vaguely remembered what happened and that I really enjoyed the story but there was so much I forgot, which made it really hard to get through the first few chapters. There is quite a lot going on and the politics of the crown and the city could be hard to get straight at first.

One thing I really like about this book though, is that you just don’t know who to root for. Nahri seems like the best choice because she is well meaning but she is also naive in ways. Dara is such a tortured soul but also blinded by loyalty and his feelings. Ali, you want to like but his “blind fanaticism,” in the words of his father, causes him to rush into things. I even rooted for Nahri’s husband/Ali’s father (name?) by the end. All of this really makes me wonder just how this series is going to turn out.

I’m going to give this one a high 3.5 stars. And I almost recommend waiting to read the whole series until all three are out, unless you are a fantastic re-reader–which I am not.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Baby Storytime: 2/11/19

Hi Guys, I tried to incorporate a lot of LOOOVE into my baby storytime this week!

Here is what we did this week:

  • Hello Rhyme – Clap and Sing Hello
    • This is a new hello song for me so we will see how it goes. I created a flip-chart with “hello” on one side and “goodbye” on the other. Same words, just sub hello/goodbye.
  • ASL Baby Signs – LOVE / HEART / KISS51ycfx-zxrl._sx474_bo12c2042c2032c200_
    • I’ve decided that for the babies, instead of teaching them a rhyme in sign language, that I am going to start teaching three vocabulary words each time. I generally use Baby Sign Language.com to check my signs.
  • Song – Skinnamarink by Six Little Ducks
    • A song that ends with “I love you!” and has simple movements everyone knows.
  • Board Book – Snuggle Puppy! By Sandra Boynton
    • I reserved my boardbooks too late so instead of a Valentines Day one, I went with this fun one by Boynton. I pass out a copy to each caregiver and child to help promote one-on-one reading.
  • Rhyme – 1, 2, 3 Little Hearts
    • IMG_1235This is to the tune of ten little Indians. I may or may not teach the ASL sign for “heart,” when we do it.

1 little, 2 little, 3 little hearts
4 little, 5 little, 6 little hearts
7 little, 8 little, 9 little hearts
10 little hearts and a kiss! 

  • Rhyme/Flannel – Six Little Valentines
    • This is one I learned from a colleague and it is a nice surprise when the animals pop out of the envelopes.

 

6 little Valentines were sent to my house,
The first one said, “I love you, From Mouse.”

5 little Valentines in my mailbox,
The second one said, “Be mine, Love Fox.”

4 little Valentines full of love,
The third one said, “You are sweet, From Dove.”

3 little Valentines just for me,
The fourth one said, “Be my honey, Love Bee.”

2 little Valentine’s mailed with care,
The fifth one said, “Here’s a hug, From Bear.”

The last little Valentine, from my friend Jay,
This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  • Stretch – Little Heart
    • This is such a sweet rhyme, so I thought it would be wonderful to share with the babies.

I have a little heart, (place hand over heart) 
And it goes thump, thump, thump (pat chest three times) 
It keeps right on beating, 
When I jump, jump, jump (jump three times) 
I get a special feeling, when I look at you. (point to child) 
It makes me want to give you a hug or two. (hug yourself) 
Credit: The Best Kids Book Site 

  • Song/Sticks – Tapping on my Sticks by Kathy Reid-Naiman
    • I’ve never passed out rhythm sticks before but I have enough of them for my babies and thought I would give it a try.
  • Book – A Kiss Like This by Mary Murphy 51lvwcalsql._sx456_bo12c2042c2032c200_
    • Who doesn’t love giving baby lots of kisses near Valentines Day?!
  • Lift – Hug Your Baby
    • This is another sweet one and a lift too! It goes to the tune of row, row, row your boat. I got this one from Jbrary but I switched out “bear” for “baby.”

Hug, hug, hug your baby  
Squeeze him very tight   
Hold him high and help him fly
Then hug with all your might. 

  • Lift/Bounce – Giddy-Up, Giddy-Up
    • I love bounces!!!

Giddy-up, giddy up ride to town (bounce babies on knees)
Giddy-up, giddy-up up and down (lift baby up and down)
Giddy-up fast (bounce quickly)
Giddy up slow (bounce slowly)
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, whoa! (dip baby backwards gently)

  • Song/Shaker – Dinosaur Rock N Roll by Joanie Bartel
    • Shaker songs stump me. Please send some my way!
  • Song/Bubbles – Bubbles by Parachute Express
    • Kids love bubbles and they are great for strengthening the eye muscles that we later use for reading.
  • Goodbye Rhyme – Clap and Sing Goodbye
    • We end the same way we started.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go:

We started out with just two babies in this group–darn you weather!–but ended up with a good number. So I ended up readjusting a bit in the beginning and went back to my plan about halfway through. So we were a little frazzled but we definitely loved giving hugs and kisses in this loooove themed baby storytime!

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Gilded Wolves

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi is a new young adult series… fantasy meets steampunk.

Set in Paris, 1889–The world is on the brink of industry and the Exposition Universelle is about to open doors and reveal secrets. And no one knows more about secrets and “opening” doors than Séverin Montagnet-Alarie, treasure hunter and hotel owner. When a powerful society called the Order of Babel offers him the hunt of a lifetime, how could Séverin refuse.

With the help of his team of misfits–a socially awkward chemist, an outcast historian, a dancer with an unknown future, and a brother in all but blood–Séverin and his crew will have to keep their wits about them or risk being drawn into a game none of them intended to play.

Can this ragtag band of thieves put aside their personal dramas and save the day?

Someone told me that this book was Six of Crows meets Dan Brown, and it definitely is but there is also this steampunk quality to the story, which is interesting. I really got into The Gilded Wolves quickly. I liked the story and the characters. However, the book took a bit of a weird spin for me toward the end. I’m not sure if I just got a little lost but there was a moment where I was like, “Wait a minute… What’s happen?”

I actually think I could have use a little more background. I wanted to know more about these Babel rings and the inheritance process. Maybe just a smidgen more world building and I would have been OK.

I am really interested to find out where this story is heading though. Like I said, it got a little weird by the end, so I’m not really sure what is going to happen. So I will definitely stick with the series because I just want to know more.

This one gets 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Wicked King

The Wicked King by Holly Black is the second book in The Folk of the Air series.

Jude has bound Cardan, the new high king of Faerie, for a year and a day but her time is quickly slipping away. What’s worse, is that she has all this power and no one can know. Finally, Jude has found a place in Faerie; she has bested them all but only the boy king will ever know it.

But gaining power isn’t the same as keeping it. Navigating Faerie and it’s rules and politics would be hard enough by itself but Cardan isn’t the most biddable servant even if there exists a strange spark between the two. Jude is still being thwarted and, given her position, the sting is worse than before. And when the betrayal someone she trusts, threatens to ruin everything, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight to stay on top.

This is such a fun series. I love the twists and turns. And can I just say, that ending! I can’t wait to see what the third book has in store. All that being said, I did have a few problems with this book.

The first half of the book had me a bit frustrated with Jude. She was almost too retrospective without really doing anything about it. She goes on and on about how the power could easily go to her head and dwelling on the her broken relationships because of her scheming and thirst for power. I liked the more cutthroat, scheming Jude and, thankfully, I think we are going to see a lot more of her in the next book.

I also missed Cardan in the first half of the book. I understand he’s meant to be a puppet king but I liked the Jude/Cardan dynamic better in the first book. Although, he majorly redeems himself in the end. That was the wicked Cardan I was looking for.

For me, this one wasn’t quite as strong as the first book. But I still liked it a lot and can’t wait to see what Jude is going to do! This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

ASL Storytime: Colors!

Hi Guys,

Today was a very special storytime at my library… a bilingual storytime in both English and American Sign Language. Myself along with a deaf mother and performer, created a program where we worked together to create an inclusive program for both deaf and hearing families.

Here’s what we did:

  • Rhyme – The More We Get Together
    • For this one we taught the group the signs for: more, together, happy and friends. Then we put everything together and signed the rhyme together, getting faster with our signs each time.

The more we get together
Together, together
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be

‘Cause your friends are my friends
And my friends are your friends
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be

  • Introducing Colors51cincq2+hl._sx392_bo1,204,203,200_
    • We talked about a rainbow and what colors are in a rainbow. Then we worked through the signs for: rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. We love the sign for rainbow!
  • Story – Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
    • They way we did this one was that I would ask the questions and my performer would answer. So I would sign, “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” and she would respond, “I see a red bird looking at me.” And we went back and forth until the end of the story.
  • Game – Traffic Light Freeze Game5198qlx1tbl._sy401_bo1,204,203,200_
    • This is you basic traffic light freeze game except, instead of using color signs we used our color ASL signs to indicate what the kids would do. So when we did the color sign for green, the kids moved really fast. When we signed the color yellow, they slowed down. And when we signed the color red, they stopped. We played this for a few rounds and it helped get some of the wiggles out before our second story. BUT it also helped to reinforce our color signs.
  •  Story – White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker
    • For this one, my performer signed the story with her interpreter and I accompanied the story with some props. Very similar to this one. I don’t have a picture of mine, so I’ll add that later.
  • Rhyme – The More We Get Together
    • We then finish up with the same rhyme we started with.

The more we get together
Together, together
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be

‘Cause your friends are my friends
And my friends are your friends
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be

How’d it go:

This was a wonderful ASL/English storytime, with a really great turn out. We had both deaf and hearing families and everyone seemed to enjoy the program. The pacing was a little quicker than I was expecting and I think we could have easily added one more rhyme to hit that 30 minute mark. The whole program only took about 20 minutes as is.

Brown Bear is like THE perfect story to do for an ASL storytime. The signs are fairly straightforward and are not that hard to learn even if you do not know sign language. It is also a familiar story for the crowd.

This was such a fun storytime and I can’t wait to plan some more!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit is the first book in a new juvenile adventure series.

Cruz is one of 24 kids across the globe that has been chosen to attend the elite Explorers Academy. Taught by leading researchers, wildlife experts, survivalists and conservationists, Cruz and his fellow explorers are training to become the next generation of great explorers.

But for Cruz this is more than just a dream, this is his legacy. When his mom died when Cruz was just a boy, he knew he would follow in her footsteps at the academy. But no sooner then he receives his acceptance letter, do weird and dangerous “coincidences” seem to dog him.

Can Cruz handle the pressures of Explorer Academy and can he find out who is out to get him and why?

This is a new juvenile book to our library and one I thought would work nicely for my STEM book club. The writing style was fun and the book has some nice graphics and the adventure aspect will work out nicely for my kids. I enjoyed this book but it is definitely the first in a series. There is a lot of build up that sets the stage for what’s to come.

The series itself looks like it is going to follow a fairly popular set up… a school for kids that teaches them something awesome; a student in trouble/needs to fight the bad guy… The whole school thing is very familiar and relatable for children, so we see it a lot. BUT this story feels unique in that it is about explorers and the kids are getting training and are going on missions to explore, understand and preserve our world.

There is so much here that could be used as a STEM activity but there is one point where Cruz and his friend decode a cipher and I think creating or even decoding our own ciphers, could be a neat activity. But we will see.

A neat read but definitely in need of a sequel to do any more solid judging. This one gets 3.5-4 stars from me. Probably a solid 5th grade read.

That’s all for now!

-M-