Spindle

Spindle by E.K. Johnston is the sequel to A Thousand Nights. Generations after the the Storyteller Queen drove the demon from her husband and saved the land by imbuing it with good magic, evil has once again reared it’s head and prepares to strike. The mountain prison holding the demons at bay is weakening and the kingdoms on either side are at risk.

When a princess, Little Rose, is born a powerful she-demon places a curse upon her and her people. For more than a decade the demon bides her time, waiting for Little Rose to mature and her body ripen for the taking. No one dares try to break the curse until a boy, one of the spinners exiled because of the curse, and his companions steal the princess away from the castle.

Now the curse is coming to a head and all may be lost if the curse is not broken and the demons sent back to their iron prison. Without the storyteller queen, will her heirs be able to follow in her footsteps and set their people free?

Spindle is ultimately a retelling of sleeping beauty–spindle, curse, thorns, kiss and all. This retelling is told from the perspective of the “prince” a poor boy, torn from his home by the deadly affects the curse has on anyone who risks spinning. Yashaa is his mother’s son and he was meant to be a royal spinner in his lords household. But the curse took that away from him and anger drives him to return to his lost kingdom no matter the price. But the princess isn’t what he expects and his path changes forever.

This was no A Thousand NightsA Thousand Nights was magical and intriguing, it held an air of mystery and the language was flowy and beautiful. Spindle wasn’t quite that. It was a fine tale but doesn’t live up to the writing and story of it’s predecessor. I think if this was a book on it’s own, not connected at all to A Thousand Nights, I would have expected less and liked it more.

The ending came close the the feel of A Thousand Nights but it was also sort of a let down because it didn’t really feel like it belonged with the narrative we’d spent 300+ pages reading. I also thought there were a lot of loose ends with the ending being what it was.

This wasn’t a bad read but I expected more. This one gets a lean three stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray is the second book in the Firebird series. In this one we pick up a few months after Marguerite chased, who she thought was her father’s murder, through the multiverse and fell in love with her soul mate. Ever since first using the Firebird, Marguerite–a perfect traveler, has caught the eye of the Triad, an evil organisation who wants to use her and the Firebird technology for their own corrupt gains.

Now Marguerite is forced to play the Triad’s game in order to get back the love of her life, Paul, whose soul has been splintered into four pieces across multiple dimensions. Marguerite must complete several tasks before the Triad will reveal the locations of Paul’s soul.

With every world she visits, Marguerite is one step closer to saving her Paul and one step closer to losing him forever. Will Marguerite be able to put Paul back together again? And what will she do when she learns the Triad’s endgame?

This was a pretty good sequel for a three book series. We still get to see multiple dimensions and we get a lot more information on the Triad, which will be a big part of the final book. The series basically goes like this: Book 1 – set the stage, introduce us to the Firebird and the characters, and hint at conflict to come. Book 2 – our character relationships develop and we get that conflict that will lead up to a bigger event in the third book. Book 3 – I am hoping will be a final battle and a tie up of loose ends.

Once again, I enjoyed seeing the different possibilities; the different lives that the Kane family might have lived if they’d made different choices. From the drastic to the not so drastic, it makes you wonder how even the tiniest decisions could alter our lives completely.

Just like the first book this one does the science right. I have no idea if any of it is true but the book uses science to make the technology sound, sound and yet it is not overwhelming for the reader. It’s actually kind of interesting to hear some of the theories, which is a nice way to get non-science-y types into the science.

Marguerite seems a bit naive to me. She understands the the multiverse is an infinite number of worlds, alternate to their own, that might have little difference or might have big ones. And yet she is honestly shocked to find darker versions of Paul. She believes that the soul is the same in every world, regardless of the different upbringing and circumstances. But she seems distraught to learn that Paul’s goodness doesn’t shine through in every universe. This just seems a little silly to me because in infinite possibilities, of course there will be those you don’t like. She comes around at the end but after all her “we’re meant to be in any universe,” sudden doubts that lead her to run away doesn’t seem completely in character for her.

Overall this one gets 3 stars from me. It was middle of the road for me but still a series I am enjoying.

That’s all for now!

-M-

BLASTOFF with a good book!

Hi Guys,

Got a new bulletin board display for you all and I have to say, I love this one!

I knew I wanted to do something with a rocket-ship because I had this 3D image in my 20170427_152347mind. Basically, I folded a small lip on either side along the length of the rocket and I used the lip to staple onto the bulletin board, which gave it the bubble effect. Word to the wise, leave yourself a big lip to staple; mine was too small and I really struggled to maneuver the stapler. Then I created cones for my boosters and used tissue paper for my fire/smoke.

From there it was pretty simple. I had a gold 20170427_152401boarder, black background and some simple accucut stars. I used 3… 2… 1… BLASTOFF with a good book! as my quote but another one I’ve found that would work well is Reading lets you soar! or some version of the two.

This was such a fun display and pretty simple to put together.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Time For Two’s: Transportation

Hi Guys,

For this storytime I pretty much recycled the transportation family storytime I did back in October, so this post may seem familiar.

I started out with:

  • Song – Top of the Morning
    • This is a good song to warm up with because we stretch all the parts we will be using in storytime. Eyes, arms, legs, mouth, nose.
  • Rhyme – Say Hello
    • love this rhyme. Everyone claps along and at the end we say hello how ever I tell them to. Loud, soft, quick, slow.
  • Movement Exercise – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

From there we went on to our theme of transportation.61adayapugl-_sy424_bo1204203200_

  • ASL Rhyme – I taught the group the ASL signs for Red, Yellow & Green. For the rest of the storytime anytime we used these colors the kids did the signs.
  • Story – I’m Dirty by Kate & Jim McMullanYou have to be really expressive with this one in order to make it fun. Shorten if you have to but throw a little swagger in when you read it.
  • Song – The Wheels on the Bus
    • Just a classic movement song.
  • Feltboard – Cars & Colors 20160917_154101
    • Basically, I just told the kids that “There are lots of cars driving down the street. What color do you see? Beep, Beep, Beep.” For the colors we knew signs for we did them while shouting out the colors. We also practiced our counting by counting out the cars as we went.
  • Game – Stoplight freeze dance
    • I created red, yellow and green circles on popsicle sticks.
    • When I held up the green, they’d drive their cars. Yellow and they would drive in slow motion. Red and they would have to freeze in place.
    • I showed them in different orders and at different paces to make it more fun. A freeze dance for cars!
  • Movement exercise – Have You Ever Seen A Sailboat
    • Put baby on your lap and sway back and forth with the music. Or just sway with the older kids.

Have you ever seen a sailboat, a sailboard, a sailboat

Have you ever seen a sailboat waving its sails.

Wave this way, and that way. 

This way and that way. 

Have you every seen a sailboat, waving it’s sails!

  • Story with puppetDon’t Let The Pigeon Drive The 20161007_155100Bus! by Mo Willems
    • I created a pigeon puppet and instead reading the 51bi6f3mrll-_sx496_bo1204203200_story, I told the kids that no matter how much the pigeon begged, they couldn’t let him drive the bus. So I was the pigeon and the kids kept telling me no every time I asked. It was really fun.
  • Movement Rhyme – Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

    Zoom, zoom, zoom

    We’re going to the moon.

    Zoom, zoom, zoom

    We’re going to the moon.

    If you want to take a trip

    Climb aboard my rocket ship.

    10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 BLASTOFF!

  • Song with Shakers – Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo
    • Always a risk, but I passed out shakers and we shook our fanny’s off to the song.

Finally, I always end with the same three things:

  • Movement Exercise – If You’re Happy and You Know It
    • I tell the kids that I want to know how happy they are. We do this three times, faster and FASTER each time.
  • Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • This is the same rhyme we started with, so the new guys are familiar with it by the end of storytime.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell my Friends by Music Together
    • I always put this one on as I go to open the door. Its a nice, slow, peaceful song to wind down on.

How’d it go:

One of our other branches recently closed for a refresh so I wasn’t sure how many people to expect in this one, but it wasn’t that bad. We had a good crew and for the most part all two year olds, which is unheard of! Lots of participation, which makes storytime so much more fun. Overall, this was a good group of twos.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Waking Gods

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel is the second book in the Themis Files. We pick up somewhere around ten years after Sleeping Giants. The alien weapon Themis is now a part of the EDC, Earth Defense Corps, and is mostly used as a peace prop, visiting schools and “marching” in parades. Research into Themis is at a standstill and no real discoveries have been made into its origins.

Dr. Rose Franklin is back from the dead and on the verge of a breakdown, not knowing who or what she may be. Everything comes to a halt when a second robot appears in London and decimates thousands. Mankind is at the brink of extinction and only the EDC can come to it’s rescue.

Who sent these giant terminators? What do they want from us? Will Themis and Dr. Franklin find a way to halt the invasion and save mankind?

This series is fantastic! Like nothing I’ve ever read before. We see a global conflict unfolding before our eyes. The style of narration reveals itself through journal entries, interviews and transcripts. And of course our mysterious narrator of Sleeping Giants is back! You just sort of feel like this book is a stab at the what if. What would happen if we found alien technology? What would happen if we were attacked? And reading the book as if you are going through actual documents only makes it feel more real.

This is one of those books that makes you want to meet the author because you cannot imagine one person putting all these elements together in one book. And this is a debut series! I mean seriously, don’t discount the newbie publishers–take a chance!

There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns in this sequel that kept me on my toes. Every time I thought I had this book nailed down, it did something to completely throw me for a loop.  I really hope there is more to come but if there isn’t, I will still be completely satisfied.

This book is fast paced and full of possibilities. I would recommend this series to just about anyone. This one gets a shining five stars from me. Go read it!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Family Storytime: Letters

For this storytime we focused on our letters! All things alphabet.

Here’s what we did:

I always start with the same warm ups:

  • Song – Top of the Morning
    • This is a good song to warm up with because we stretch all the parts we will be using in storytime. Eyes, arms, legs, mouth, nose.
  • Rhyme – Say Hello
    • love this rhyme. Everyone claps along and at the end we say hello how ever I tell them to. Loud, soft, quick, slow.
  • Movement Exercise – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
    • We do this three times, faster and FASTER each time.
  • Song – Hokey Pokey
    • Once we were warmed up we did a little hokey pokey to shake things up.

From here we get into our theme.

  • ASL – A, B, C, D
    • I like to teach my my kids a few American Sign Language signs at the start of every storytime. This helps foster communication and with a large deaf community in our town it’s a great tool to have.
  • Sing Together – Alphabet Song
    • We’re focusing on letters so of course we had to sing the alphabet. We all sang and I signed the alphabet as we went.
  • Story – LMNO Peas by Keith Baker 51lztdfm2bsl-_sx456_bo1204203200_
    • This is a cute story about peas with different jobs that go with the alphabet.
  • Movement Rhyme – Alphabet Beat
    • This one worked out really well. I adapted it from Storytime Kate. Instead of going through the whole rhyme we used the motions to practice our letters and word associations. So we’d clap our hands and say: Apple, Apple, Apple and then we would stomp our feet and go: a, a, a.

First clap your hands.
Then stomp your feet.
Apple, Apple, Apple – a – a – a,
Apple, Apple, Apple – a – a – a,

Wave your arms high.
Swing your arms low.
Blue, Blue, Blue – b – b – b
Blue, Blue, Blue – b – b – b

Move to the left.
Move to the right.
Car, Car, Car – c – c – c
Car, Car, Car – c – c – c

Shout it out loud
Whisper down low.
Dog, Dog, Dog – d – d – d
Dog, Dog, Dog – d – d – d

  • Rhyme – BINGO
    • A class rhyme. We clapped out one letter after each verse until we were just clapping.
  • Story w/ Magnets – Alpha-Gatorbd09a7bc0e71282d4203ce722328d8d1_alligator-cartoon-clipart-1-clipart-alligator-cartoon_278-300
    • I got this one from Library Village. It’s really cute. I printed out a cartoon alligator and told the story using magnetic letters.
  • Song -Shake my Sillies Out
    • By this time we were ready to get our wiggles out so I played this classic and we shook out all the sillies.
  • Movement – Alphabet Flashcards
    • I can’t for the life of me find where I got these from but they are alphabet flashcards with different movements on them that go with the letters. F for fan your self. J for jump. I let the kids pick which cards we did.
  • Song w/ Shakers – Can’t Stop the Feeling! Trolls Soundtrack 81acafb99pl-_sx425_
    • I passed out shakers and we danced our fanny’s off to this song. Not a normal storytime song BUT we loved it and so did the adults.

Finally, I always end with the same three things:

  • Movement Exercise – If You’re Happy and You Know It
    • I tell the kids that I want to know how happy they are.
  • Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • This is the same rhyme we started with, so the new guys are familiar with it by the end of storytime.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell my Friends by Music Together
    • I always put this one on as I go to open the door. Its a nice, slow, peaceful song to wind down on.

How’d it go: This was a hugeeee storytime. At least a 120 people. That being said, it went really, really well. Lots of participation and it turned out to be a really good theme.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Blood Rose Rebellion

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves is the first book in a new YA fantasy series set in 19th century London and Hungary. Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is an outcast of Luminate society; she hold no magic in a society where magic is a symbol of class and proves your Luminate bloodline.

Anna would give anything for even a drop of magic but instead magic tends to go haywire in her presence. Which is how Anna finds herself exiled to a small estate in her families native Hungary. Anna travels to Hungary with her grandmother and their meets her quiet uncle and two cousins she has little in common with.

In Hungary Anna learns more about the society she longs to belong to and these revelations confuse and frighten her. She is no longer sure what she wants, nor what is right. Discontent is sweeping the land and Anna seems to fall straight into the Romani conflict and the Hungarian rebellion.

I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty lackluster about this one. There have been a couple of these lately, that have really interesting magical premises but don’t really deliver. I felt the same way about A Shadow Bright and Burning not long ago. A book that is totally up my ally but just doesn’t quite deliver.

I was pretty bored throughout this one. I didn’t really believe Anna as a character; her convictions were so gung-ho one minute but in the same sentence she talk about needing society and finding acceptance in her world. She was a little wishy-washy and a lot of her actions weren’t always believable for the time period she was supposed to be living in–magic or not.

One thing I did enjoy reading about in this book was the authors take on the political upheaval in Austria-Hungary at the time and the Romani culture. The magic weaved into this, very loosely based, historical time period was interesting. Setting the book during this time period was probably the books one merit.

I don’t know, I guess I just don’t have much to say about this one, which should tell you something. It passed the time but I’m not sure if I can bring myself to read the sequel when it comes out. This one gets two stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-