The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is the first book in a new YA series.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she, her twin and elder sister were whisked off to Faerie. Ten years have passed and although Jude hates the man who killed her parents–now her step father–she wants nothing other than to belong. But mortals are looked down upon in Faerie, if they are even looked at, at all. And Jude has caught the cruel eye of Prince Cardan, the youngest son of the High King.

Jude will do anything to win her place in Court and give up more than she realizes. And so begins Jude’s journey into the intrigues of Faerie, where politics play and secrets rule. But Jude has one talent that the fae do not… she can lie.

Will Jude find her place among the fae? And as she journeys down this path, what will she learn of herself and what will she do with that knowledge?

I read this book in two, spaced out, sittings. And for some reason, both times, I was hesitant to start. I’d heard great things about this book but wasn’t so sure it was up my ally. When I finally started, I got sucked in but my loan expired and I had to wait for the book again. Three weeks later, I knew I liked what I’d read so far but still was hesitant. Then I started reading again and got sucked in again. I don’t know what it was about this book but even though it took me a while, it was worth the read. Especially, the last quarter of the book.

I liked this book. I think a lot of people will like this book. BUT I don’t have much else to say about it. I did really like this book and a lot of the reviewers I follow are saying some really great things about it but not much else comes to me other than “I liked it.” I’m not really sure what that says about the book but hey, I’m still giving it 4 stars.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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Family Storytime – We’re NOT Afraid of Monsters!

This week it was my turn to do family storytime. This is a storytime for all ages, so we do a little bit of everything. Last time, my theme was Robots so this time I went with monsters but with a twist. Our theme is “We’re NOT Afraid of Monsters!” So all my storytime activities will be about funny monsters or being brave.

Here’s what we did… I always open and close with the same routine:

  • 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.
  • Stretch – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
    • I like to do a good warm-up before getting in to my theme. We do this one three times, faster each time.

Then we get into our theme:

  • ASL – MONSTERS / SCARED / BRAVE61e3aqma2bl-_sx456_bo1204203200_
    • I like to incorporate American Sign Language into my storytimes. We have a large deaf community in my area and it is a great way to help foster communication in and outside of the community. We always choose three signs that go with our theme.
  • Book – The Great Monster Hunt by Norbet Landa
    • This is a new book for me and a bit long but it is funny and it sort of feels like we are playing the telephone game by the end.
  • Action Song – Games Monsters Play by Sesame Street: Monsters a Monster Monstrosity
    • This is a funny little song that you start around 00:00:39. Grover and Elmo and all of the Sesame Street monsters teach you how to be a monster. 20180509_115237
  • Rhyme w/ Finger Puppets – Ten Little Monsters
    • As I mentioned in my earlier post, my monster finger puppets were too big for my hands so instead I will have them march across my flannel board to the rhyme.
  • Felt Board Story – Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly
    • This is the perfect story for a felt board. I even found the template here.
  • Action Rhyme – Monster, Monster, Turn Around!
    • A themed take on Teddy Bear Turn Around. Thanks to Storytime Katie for this one.
  • Book – The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone61g8cli07xl
    • I just love a good picture book where I can use voices and involve the audience!
  • Song w/ Shakers – The Monster Mash
    • I believe I got this one from Kidz Bop Halloween. But I figured it would be the perfect one to pass out shakers to.

Finally, I always end with the same routine:

  • 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 one was really fun. We learned that when things seem scary we can laugh at them or tell them to go away and they won’t be scary any more! Lots of fun!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Iron Gold

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown is the fourth book in the Red Rising series.

Iron Gold takes place 10 years later. Ten years of war has raged. Ten years of politics and planning. Ten years of integrating the colors and attempting to forge the world Darrow and his friends dreamed of. Ten years, it seems, wasn’t long enough.

Darrow is determined to finish this war once and for all, the republic be damned. But ending this war could lose him the very family he was fighting for in the first place. Will Darrow give up his wife, his son, and all those he loves to save everything else?

Entwined with Darrow’s story is three others…

A young red girl filled with tragedy and brimming with hate, who has become disillusioned with the republic and any hope for change.

A grey ex-soldier with a broken past that has lead him to a life of crime and the biggest, most dangerous heist of his life.

And an exiled heir, haunted by what might have been and what may still be.

Iron Gold expands upon the universe we know and begins a new saga and a new battle. But this time, we aren’t sure who the winner should be.

Sooo… I could have sworn this series was a trilogy. I was so, so happy and content with the way the the third book ended–questions and all–that I was thrown when I found out that there was a fourth book. Fine–I thought–it’s a book set in the same world but with different characters, I can deal with that. Nope. This was the same characters, plus new ones, only ten years older. Because of this, it took me forever to get into this story. I was so stuck with the idea that this was becoming another series that would drag on when it should have ended, that I almost ruined a book that I ended up actually liking.

I really liked the new storylines that were introduced. These were interesting and dynamic and I want to know where they were going. I was less enamored with Darrow’s continued saga, although I did like seeing the fatherly side of Sevro. Darrow’s internal struggles just didn’t make me feel anything like they did in the first three Red Rising books. He just doesn’t feel like the same Darrow to me.

I don’t really have much else to say about this one. Overall, it kept me entertained, even if it took me awhile to let that happen. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Reading ROCKS!

It’s getting closer and closer to that time of the year again…. Summer reading is just around the corner. To get ready, I created a new bulletin board display.

This year, the summer reading theme is “Libraries Rock!” I figured we would be do all sorts of music themed programs and displays that I wanted to go the other route and do a bulletin board about famous rock formations around the world.

I tried using all black and white to make the bulletin board feel kind of like a Polaroid. Then I added my words and my rock formation snap-shots. This bulletin board isn’t really at eye-level for the kids so I only put the names of these famous rocks under their pictures. I figured we can always check out some books and do research if we wanted to learn more!

Here is a close up of the famous rock landmarks I chose:

This is a really simple display, that I may add to as we get closer to summer.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Baby Storytime – 5/14/18

Only a few more baby storytimes left until our summer break! This is a storytime for 0-12 months with lots of fun bounces and rhymes.

Here’s what I had planned this week:

  • Welcome Rhyme – Welcome, welcome
    • Since my group has been big lately, I have switched to this easy rhyme as an intro. It goes to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Welcome, welcome everyone. Now you’re here, we’ll have some fun. First we’ll clap our hands just so. Then we’ll bend and touch our toes. Welcome, welcome everyone. Now you’re here, we’ll have some fun!

  • ASL – Hello Friends
    • I like to use sign language in my story time. We go over the signs for: Hello, Friends, Time and Say. Thanks to Jbrary for this one!
  • Song w/ Movements – Tap Your Toe and Follow Me by Susan Salidor
    • This one of my favorite movement songs for babies.
  • Board Book – Where’s the Giraffe? By Nosy Crow51oulf6k3al-_sy498_bo1204203200_
    • I love these new flip-the-flap board books where the flaps are actually felt. They last so much longer and add a texture element. I pass these out individually, so we can practice one-on-one reading.
  • Finger Stretch – Fingers Like To…
    • This is a fun one and is great to work on moving those fingers

Fingers like to wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle. Fingers like to wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle WAY UP HIGH! Fingers like to wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle. Fingers like to wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle, wiggle waggle WAY DOWN LOW! How else to fingers like to wiggle? (wiggle on different body parts)

  • Rhyme – Trot, Trot to Boston…
    • For this classic rhyme we bounce and then pretend baby falls through our legs at the end.
  • Folder Story – Scat the Cat20170703_170107
    • This is a fun folder story, using color and rhyme.
  • Movement Song – The Hokey Pokey
    • An easy fun some for identifying body parts.
  • Lift – Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    • At the end of this one we BLASTOFF and lift baby up in the air. Simple movements with a fun countdown at the end.

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. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. We’re going to the moon. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blast off!

  • Book – The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli51chadzju3l-_ac_us218_
    • I just love the expressions of the alligator in this book!
  • Bounce – This is the way the lady rides…
    • A fan favorite and one of my favorites where we bounce faster and faster.
  • Song w/ Shakers – Can’t Stop This Feeling from The Trolls Soundtrack
    • I love this song and it has a really good beat to shake to!
  • Rhyme – If Your Happy and You Know It
    • A nice easy rhyme to start wrapping things up with.
  • Bubbles – Bubbles by Parachute Express
    • The perfect song to play while blowing bubbles.
  • ASL – Goodbye Friends
    • We learn to say goodbye in ASL and use the same signs and song as our hello.
  • Song – Clean Up
    • Any good clean up song, since the babies (and the grownups) seem to love to help me clean up!
  • Song – Goodbye, So long, Farewell My Friends by Music Together
    • Just a slow, goodbye song I always put on as I open the doors to say goodbye.

How’d it go: Well I had to nix my board book this week. I didn’t get enough of them in on time in order to pass them out. Teaches me to use a new one. Instead I pulled out a classic big book — The Carrot Seed — and we read it all together. I also had to nix Scat the Cat. The colors worked for the little ones but the story was a bit too long for the babies. Other than that fun was had by all!

That’s all for now!

-M-

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah Maas is the fourth book in the ACOTAR series.

In this one we pick up, what seems like a few months after the final battle. Feyre, Rhys and their court–their family–are attempting to put back the pieces of their life. Velaris and the Night Court is recovering from the brutal attack that ravaged it’s people only a few months prior and all of the courts are rebuilding and trying find their places in this new world without a wall and without an all-powerful tyrant.

This book shows us the aftermath… what comes after the battle to end all battles. We glimpse each of our favorite characters and see how they are fairing both mentally and physically.

This book can best be described as the afterword you’ve always wanted. Often, you are left wondering what’s next for your favorite characters… well in this one you find out. We see the love between Rhys and Feyre, the distance between Elaine and Lucian, the explosion that is Nesta and Cassian, and all of our favorite Night Court friends and allies. If that is all you wanted, well, then this is the book for you.

It was not the book for me. I felt like I was promised a continuation of the series I have become invested in. I thought we were getting that insight into the sisters and a farewell to a story that was branching off in another direction. Instead, what we get is a 250+ page fluff piece, with little action and too, too much emotion. The way everyone was talking about this book, I expected it to be so much more. The only time I felt like I was entering a new story, set in this world, was the sneak peek we are given at the end.

I know I am bashing here but the book ended and I literally said, out loud, what was that?! I just kept waiting for something to happen. Yes, we get hints at struggles to come but we primarily get fluffed up emotions and not much else. We glimpse other characters but we don’t learn anything about them. This is all Rhys and Feyre and their love that will never die……..

Sigh. I didn’t get what I was looking for and I felt like I was promised something else. So this one gets 2.5 stars from me. Please give me more of the Maas goodness I know and love in the next one! And action! More action!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Deranged Angels and Cannibal Hearts

Deranged Angels and Cannibal Hearts is the third book in the Dead Things series.

*Spoiler Alter-Don’t read this review if you intend on reading the first two books*

We pick up after the disastrous end of the second book. Quinn is with Silas and still soulless; Mace is still a ghost and Ember is devastated, and Evangeline is dead; there are missing limbs, kidnappings, PTSD and more death. Our ragtag pack of misfits are in pretty dire straights.

One thing is for certain, the pack will only survive the coming battles by working together as one. But this is easier said then done. Secrets are running rampant, omissions and lies hide the truth, and mistrust leads to fractures within the group.

Can the pack overcome their differences and fight together for the good of their town? For the good of everyone? 

So, I started my review of the second book by saying that a lot happens over the course of the book… Like a lot. Which, if I am being honest, got me a little lost in this one. I couldn’t for the life of me remember who Evangeline was, except that she died and when I went back to the character overviews in the beginning, of course there was no recap of Evangeline. After finishing this whole book, I still can’t recall her a 100%.

The individual stories in this book work for me. The pairings, the drama, separately they work. However, there was something about the flow that didn’t quite bring all of these stories together. Could it be that there was just so much going on that I was waiting for the pieces to all fall together… maybe. Maybe everything will be summed up and tied into nice little knots in the last book and all will be well in the world. But for now, I feel like I am playing the waiting game. Waiting for all the pieces to fit.

The characters are still quite realistically sarcastic, which I like. We use sarcasms and snark so much in the real world that it is good to see an author who can use it correctly. Although Kai was starting to annoy me a little bit with his whinny, but well-founded, panic/fears. Two couples I do like though are Ilsa and Wren and whatever is going on with Tristen and Tate.

Finally, I had a really, really hard time getting past the editing. For two pages, the wrong characters name was used–I mean really? There were also a lot of… wrong words. Using he instead of him, I’m instead of I–that sort of thing. I just have a really hard time looking past that sort of thing, which often makes my reviews a bit harsher than they would be otherwise.

I am invested in this story and need to see where it ends up but because of the above (mostly the editing), this one only gets a grudging three stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-