Fury

Fury by Rachel Vincent is the third and final book in the Menagerie series.

Pregnant and on the run with her fellow escapees, Delilah Marlow is determined to bring her baby into the world safely and free. But the odds are against them as more and more cryptids are being caught and slaughtered. Delilah, her protector and the father of her child, Gallagher, the shifters, sirens and other cryptids with her must hide their identities or risk being separated or worse.

But the noose around them seems to be tightening as mass killings pop up closer and closer to where they are hiding and of course, they are being blamed. This rag-tag family must work together to stay safe and figure out what new evil it is they are actually up against.

Will Delilah be able to bring her child safely into the world? And if so, is it a world Delilah even wants her daughter to be a part of?

I really wish I could have read the un-edited version of this story. It felt like there might have been a few sections edited out because the ending really needed another 20 pages to really flush out the conflict and it’s solution. The part of the story we wanted, the answers to those questions we had, felt really rushed and I think so much more could have been done. There were also a few unfinished plot holes that could have been solved with just a sentence here or there. The whole thing just started slow and then ended quickly and could have used a better balance.

All that being said, I did really enjoy this series. It was unique and dark; it was a world you wanted to witness but never be part of. This series was really built up in three parts. The first book set the stage, the second gave you all the brutal injustice and conflict, and the third was the resolution.

I’m glad I stuck it out with this series even if the ending left me wanting. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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Boy Bites Bug

Boy Bites Bug by Rebecca Petruck is a middle school juvenile fiction book for 4th-6th graders.

Will didn’t intend to eat a stinkbug, but when his friend Darryl calls the new kid, Eloy Herrera, a racial slur, he didn’t think he just acted. Now will is Bug Boy and he kind of likes it.

Intending to keep up his notoriety and title as Bug Boy, Will talks Eloy into helping him get his classmates to eat bugs. But the more Will learns about Eloy and entomophagy in general, the more sincere he becomes about his project. For Will, eating bugs is no longer just a joke but everyone sees it that way. And what’s worse, he really likes Eloy and is afraid he may have ruined this budding friendship.

What can Will do to make everyone understand his real intentions when all anyone can see if a joke?

I thought this was a really great read for middle schoolers about friendship and understanding and realizing that people change. This book is also about accepting peoples cultures and not treating them differently because of it.

One of the things I loved about Will was that he would get back feelings when he wasn’t entirely sure how he should act or behave. This was really great because a lot of the time people, especially kids, aren’t a 100% sure about what is OK to say and do and what isn’t. Because of this, I found Will to be a really realistic and relate-able character.

This book could be a really good book club book because it is filled with STEM-y goodness about entomophagy, the environment and bugs in general. If I were to use this one in my STEM book club, which I can’t because we don’t own enough copies, I would totally pair it with a Hexbug challenge. It would also be great because the themes are something that should really get the kids talking.

This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Iron Flower

The Iron Flower is the second book in the Black Witch Chronicles by Laurie Forest.

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only trying to do what was right but what’s right has brought them head to head with the Gardnerian’s. The Gardnerian’s are quickly gaining power and every day it seems like a new law or rule is being enforced to pure the world of the “evil one”–non Gardnerian’s.

Elloren has found herself caught in the middle of a world on the brink of war. Her heritage as a Gardnerian and granddaughter to the Black Witch, may have bought her a certain amount of safety. But at what cost? Her friends are in danger, her family is being torn apart and her heart is weighed down by her powerlessness.

Will Elloren find the will to fight for what her heart tells her is right? Or will the brutal weight of her peoples might, suppress any hope she may have?

Wow this one was hard to summarize… with or without spoilers. Phew!

I’ve been sucked into this series. Despite the controversial reviews, I have to know what happens. So, I am here for the long haul. And I will admit, The Iron Flower sucked me in just as much as The Black Witch. I love the relationships that have been built or are building and I like that they are not easy–that there are major conflicts and hesitations. And not just the relationships between “lovers” but also the relationships between friends, enemies, allies, etc.

I’m still a little mehhh that this is a teen book. The characters feel very teen-y but boy, does a lot go down in this book. It is harsh in some respects. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, prejudices, arranged and forced marriages… those are just a few of the triggers this book will hit. But it also feels realistic to me, which is also very, very sad.

It’ll be interesting to see where this one is going. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Kingdom of Ash

Kingdom of Ash is the 7th and final book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.

In this final book, we pick up where we left off. Our allies have been thrown to the four corners of this world, all working in their own ways, toward defeating Erawan and bringing about a better world. But with Aelin Maeve’s prisoner, the missing third key and an army sweeping the land, will there be anything left to save?

And we did it! We reached the end of this massive fantasy series. That in itself is an accomplishment. Way to go Maas! And double kudos for keeping to a deadline and not leaving us hanging forever.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this book. It wrapped up everything that I wanted to see and there were no glaring threads left hanging. The first 3-4 books will still be my favorite but I was impressed that these last books were able to keep everything straight and actually address each plotline, especially with so many characters. Because goodness, there were so many characters!

**Potentially spoiler-esq but not really** So many pairings and I didn’t know how Maas was going to be able to end this series with any, let along all of them intact. I swear, after the ending of the last ACOTAR book, which, lets be honest, was a magical ending where everyone lives happily ever after… I really, really thought we were in for a hell of a lot more heartbreak here. I also enjoyed the nod to ACOTAR toward the end there.

Did anyone else feel like the writing in this one, read a little different? Maybe it was just me but something read a little differently then the other books in the series. I can’t put my finger on it right now.

Many will be sad to see Aelin and her snarky spark go but I think Maas did a good job of ending this series and satisfying fans who stuck with it until the end. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Baby Storytime: 11/5/18

Hi guys, here is what we did in baby storytime this week:

  • Movement Rhyme – Wake Up…
    • This is a fun stretch to get our bodies moving before storytime. And it is great for babies because it helps us identify our body parts. I got the lyrics from Jbrary but I’ve seen this one around before.

Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up and wiggle in the morning.

(Also: hands, ears, knees, fingers, hips, etc.)

  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • 515khtb5udl-_sx258_bo1204203200_We first teach the kids the signs for: More, Together, Happy & Friends. Then incorporate the signs as we sing the song. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • Song – Hands are for clapping by Jim Gill
    • This is a fun movement song with easy follow along movements for the kids.
  • Board Book – Hello Lamb by Jane CabreraThis is a new board book all about saying hello.
  • Finger Play – The Itsy Bitsy Spider
    • You know this classic rhyme and it is so fun to see how much the kids improve every time we do!20170315_081042
  • Movement Song – Baby SharkI saw someone do hand movements to this song the other day, so I thought I’d give it a try.
  • Flannel/Prop – Five Little Kernels
    • An easy flannel all about popping popcorn.
  • Book – A Band of Babies by Carole Gerber
    • This one has a nice rhyme and is all about a baby band, which I love!
  • Lift – Tick Tock, Tick Tock
    • This is a fun lapsit rhyme with a lift at the end as we “cuckoo!”

Tick tock, tick tock, I’m a little cuckoo clock.
Tick tock, tick tock, now it’s one o’clock.
Cuckoo! (Lift baby into the air)
Continue with two and three o’clock.

  • Bounce – Trot Trot to Boston51tff9jm-rl-_sy498_bo1204203200_
    • Obviously a day for classics!
  • Song/Shakers – Mr. Sun by Raffi
    • Gotta shake!
  • Song/Bubbles – I took a bath in a washing machine by Jim Gill
    • I love the bubble maker for the babies. Bubbles help babies because the same eye muscles the use to track the bubbles as they move, are the same muscles they will later use for reading.
  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • I like to end with the same sign language song we used in the beginning.
  • 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: This one went really well. We were right on time and I didn’t have to cut anything. My story, though cute, was a little long for my antsy little ones but fun all the same.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Baby Storytime: 10/29/18

Hi Guys, this week is Halloween, so I threw in a few Halloween-ish rhymes and such into this storytime. Enjoy!

  • Movement Rhyme – Wake Up…
    • This is a fun stretch to get our bodies moving before storytime. And it is great for babies because it helps us identify our body parts. I got the lyrics from Jbrary but I’ve seen this one around before.

Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up and wiggle in the morning.

(Also: hands, ears, knees, fingers, hips, etc.)

  • ASL – The More We Get Together51ey6-9wi4l-_sx437_bo1204203200_
    • We first teach the kids the signs for: More, Together, Happy & Friends. Then incorporate the signs as we sing the song. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • Song w/ Movements – Tap Your Toe and Follow Me by Susan Salidor
    • This one of my favorite movement songs for babies. Simple and light.
  • Board Book – Eek! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton
    • I pass out copies of this one and I just happened to have a larger printed version to read myself.
  • Finger Play – Fe Fi Fo Fum
  • Fe fi fo fum. (Touch each finger with thumb-one finger per syllable.)
    See my fingers. (Hold up four fingers.)
    See my thumb. (Hold up thumb.)
    Fe fi fo fum. (Touch each finger with thumb again.)

  • Movement Rhyme – Open and Shut Them
    • Simple movements for babies and one I used to do all the time.
  • Flannel/Prop – Five Little Pumpkins
    • I will probably do a flannel for this one but I am thinking about bringing in 5 mini pumpkins for storytime.
  • Song – Five Green Goblins by Sing-N-Play
    • I had to get this one from YouTube but it is upbeat and we can pretend our fingers are goblins and sign along.
  • Book – Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming515ewteq53l-_sx490_bo1204203200_
    • Simple words with rhyme.
  • Lift – Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    • This is a fun one with simple movements and we get a lift when the babies blast off 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 rocketship. Zoom, zoom, zoom we’re going to the moon. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… BLASTOFF!

  • Bounce – I bounce you here, I bounce you there…
    • We love our bounces and lifts in baby storytime.
  • I bounce you here, I bounce you there
    I bounce you, bounce you everywhere
    I tickle you here, I tickle you there
    I tickle you, tickle you everywhere
    I hug you here, I hug you there
    I hug you, hug you everywhere

  • Song/Shakers – Monster Mash by Kidz Bop Halloween
    • Just the perfect, upbeat, Halloween song for shaking!
  • Song/Bubbles – Bubbles by Parachute Express
    • I love the bubble maker for the babies. Bubbles help babies because the same eye muscles the use to track the bubbles as they move, are the same muscles they will later use for reading.
  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • I like to end with the same sign language song we used in the beginning.
  • 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: This was a really fun one. I did cut out my Zoom, Zoom rhyme because we were running short on time but other than that, I think everyone had a spooooky time!

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Virgin Blue

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier is an adult fictional novel with a historical feel.

Present and past collide when Ella Turner moves to France with her husband and begins having blue dreams. When Ella moved to France, she hoped to find a place and begin a family. But small town life and the French in general, don’t seem to agree with her. She feels out of place and watched; she no longer feels like herself. And worst of all are the dreams. Dreams, she soon learns, may be connected with her families past.

Isabelle du Moulin, 400 years earlier, lives a different sort of small town life. Persecuted because of her red hair and her love for the Virgin Mother, Isabelle finds herself constantly watched and judged. Superstition and fear guide this time period and that in itself can be dangerous.

What do Ella and Isabelle have in common? Secrets will be revealed and revelations made.

This is the book that was chosen for my next social book club. I will admit, I was kind of indifferent to it when picked, but I joined the book club to socialize and read outside of my comfort zone, so I gave it a try. This book was beautifully structured. The way the chapters go back an forth to reveal bits and pieces of the truth, was wonderful. The story itself didn’t wow me, it was good but that’s about it. But the trail the reader had to follow to get to the end was interesting.

I wasn’t so much into Ella’s character. I thought she could have been a little stronger. She had moments, I’ll give her that, but overall she needed something that I just can’t put my finger on. Isabelle was better and Jacob was really interesting. I really loved his cliff hanger at the end.

Another gripe I have was the French. If I was a more studious reader, I would have looked up the French and the book would have probably had a lot more meaning for me. But reading in bed or on my lunch, mehhhh. I would have liked to know what was being said sometimes, specifically instead of just inferred.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I breezed through it. It’ll be interesting to see what the rest of my book club has to say about it. This one gets 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-