Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Picture Books

This week's topic is favorite picture books. This could be a VERY long post thanks to my job. But I'll do my best to make it short and sweet. I read lots of picture books as a Children's Librarian and I usually post new favorites on Wednesdays. Here are some that I have recently read and Loved.
meme from The Broke and the Bookish 
Best in SnowMaple & Willow's Christmas Tree
When Penny Met POTUSMadeline Finn and the Library Dog

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mini Review: This is Our Story

It's been 10 years since Taylor Swift had her first song debut on the radio. She's only grown since then.
The Good:
* I learned a lot about Taylor Swift
* I couldn't put the book down
* Great pictures
* Reading this made me want to go back and listen to her songs - ALL of them

The Bad:
* No photo captions
* Some of the interviews were too similar

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book and I think fans will love it.

I remember the first time I heard Taylor Swift - I was driving home from work when I still worked in Rhode Island (I had an hour drive). I heard Tim McGraw and instantly fell in love. I knew the girl signing that song was going to be huge. What I adore about her songs is that they tell a story.

I've been trying to think of my Top Ten Favorite Songs of Taylor Swifts and it's really hard.
Long Live
Begin Again
All Too Well
Shake it Off
Last Kiss
Back to December
Out of the Woods

See it's just impossible. Too many great stories in these songs.

Are you a Taylor Swift fan? Which song is your favorite?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cozy Review: Assault and Beret

 * Book 5 in the Hat Shop Mystery series *
While Vivian teaches a hat making workshop in Paris, Scarlett noses around trying to find her cousins husband. Vivian plans on having her marriage annulled, Scarlett is only too happy to help locate William. When she finds him, she hears his side of the story. Struck by the romance of it all, Scarlett convinces her cousin to have dinner with him.

After the three of them eat, William insists on showing them something work related that Vivian will appreciate. Outside his office, he's kidnapped. Vivian's beside herself. Scarlett vows to uncover the truth about William's kidnapping and the stolen painting. 
My Thoughts: I adore this series. I loved the setting. I enjoyed learning more about Vivian and William. I'm glad that Scarlett's friends came by to help, especially Harrison. I loved the romance of this one, especially when Scarlett was able to confront her past. I liked the mystery surrounding this book, especially the art aspect. I'm sad this is the last one of the series, I would have read Many More of these. 

Cover Thoughts: Adorable and perfect
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: This series is perfect for cozy sections of your library - highly recommended!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Everyday Magic

Maggie's father is a big shot Hollywood director - and yet he terrorizes her family. This summer the whole family's staying in Scotland while he shoots a movie. Maggie's scared to tell him about her good news. She's been accepted to a fashion design school in England. She isn't going to UCLA to become an entertainment lawyer like he thinks. She knows that she's going to have to tell him the truth about her future and suffer the consequences.

When she finally shares her news, he reacts the way everyone imagined. But her mother shocks her by leaving him. Now that Maggie's eighteen, there's nothing holding her back. But her father isn't done playing all his cards. He has an ace up his sleeve that's going to wreck havoc on Maggie's romantic life.
My Thoughts: I confess it took me a bit to get into this one. I hated Maggie's father. He was so cruel, but I need to see how Maggie made it through. Once I was invested, I couldn't put this book down. 

I loved Maggie - she didn't always make the best choices, but she had a Huge heart and she tried to make the best of a very bad situation. I love that she took control of her own life and applied to fashion school instead of going to UCLA. I loved her relationship with Preston and how that grew. I love how she met Evie and Edmund from the previous book (I loved seeing more of them.) I loved Andrew and Daisy and their moments together at school.

I love how Maggie grew up and found her independence. I can't imagine living afraid of someone who's supposed to protect you, but I'm glad that she made it through and started living her dream.

I can't wait to see what Emily Albright writes next!

Cover Thoughts: Charming
Source: My Library
Companion novel to The Heir and the Spare
Library Recommendation: Both books are fantastic to have in your library! Get them.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Adult Review: Lady Claire is All That

 * Book 3 in the Keeping up with the Cavendishes
Lady Claire's reasons for agreeing to travel to England because of her brother's dukedom have nothing to do with wanting to help him and everything to do with meeting the Duke of Ashbrooke. She wanted to discuss his mathematical papers, especially those concerning the difference engine. She has some ideas on improving it. But her intelligence has caught the eye of another.

Two friends decide to make a wager on Lady Claire's future. But the more time Lord Fox spends with her, the more he can't stop thinking about her. Could her brains compliment his beauty perfectly?
My Thoughts: I adored Lady Claire. I loved watching her navigate through ballrooms, refusing the dance, and understanding that she was more intelligent that the majority of the people there. I loved  watching her play cards and counting them. I love how she didn't hide her intelligence. I love how she went to mathematical meetings and asked a boatload of questions. But I also like how her dealing with Lord Fox made her understand people just a little bit more. I thought Fox was an idiot for the wager, especially the prize. I felt terrible for him for his childhood. I love how he came to admire Lady Claire's intelligence, realizing all the blunders he made along the way. I can't wait to  read the next book in the series.

Cover Thoughts: Charming
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: A perfect series for all public libraries!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy Library Shelfie Day!

Today is the day to take shelfies of all your book shelves or just some of them if in my case you have too many and they need some straightening. I have six major bookshelves. Four in my library/craft room with books I've read, books from my childhood, books to read, and of course signed books. Then I have two in the living room with books to read - mostly ARCs. And I have a small bookshelf on an end table for library books, which never seem to fit (but that's another story.)
This one is filled with Meg Cabot, Alley Carter, Sarah Dessen, Tera Lynn Childs, Jennifer Lynn Barnes and so many more. It's in my home library.
 This is is also in my library: filled with JK Rowling, Jane AUsten, Sarah J Maas, George RR Martin, Maria V Snyder, Rick Riordan, Julia Quinn, Sarah Maclean, and so many more.
This one is my to read shelf - a mixed bag here with lots of cozies, teen, and middle grade reads that I really want to read. 

Picture Book Review: The Cranky Ballerina

Ada hates Saturdays because she's forced to take a ballet class. She's terrible at Ballet. She hates everything about it from the clothes to the positions. When she attempts a pirouette, disaster strikes. But it could be the best thing that ever happened to her.
My Thoughts: A really fun story about something you hate helping you find something better. The pictures are super fun. I love the sound effects. The ending is priceless. Which makes me hope for a sequel.A fun story to share with others.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie week. Since I recently finished Wayfarer, it's inspired me to think of places in time I'd love to glimpse (you know, provided I could come back to my life here).
meme from The Broke and the Bookish 

You can read my review of Wayfarer here.

Jane Austen's Regency England - I want to go to a ball
Renaissance Italy - to meet Michelangelo
Colonial America - I want to see the Revolution
Seneca Falls, Geneva - I want to attend the Women's Rights Convention
1920s in Paris - I want to attend a Salon of ideas
Medici Florence - just to see the wealth of their power and all the art created
Marie Antoinette's Paris (before the Revolution)
The Titanic (before it sank)
England during the Celtic period
Imperial Russia before the Revolution 
Where would you travel to?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Adult Review: Worth the Wait

 * first in a series *
Vivi has loved her best friend's brother since the day she met him. Over the years, they've developed a special friendship. But lately things are off. David left on a business trip and hasn't kept up with anyone, even his family.

When Cat invites Vivi to her family's summer home for a week vacation,she has no idea her brother (and his girlfriend) will be there.

David works hard to insert himself back into his family's lives. But he's holding on to a secret that threatens to destroy him - terrible secret he can't share with his brother or sister.

But the time on the island is making him reevaluate all his relationships - including Vivi. Could he actually have feelings for her?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I loved the layers of family dynamics - how Vivi's family fell apart and how Cat's family took her in. I love that she had a relationship with all the siblings. I felt terrible for David and how learning the secret changed him. I like how he attempted to come back into his siblings' lives and how he kept that awful secret. I loved Vivi gaining more confidence and becoming stronger in her life. I enjoyed the flashbacks to their younger days, especially with Vivi's art. I liked Cat and Jackson, so I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the series to see them gain their happily ever afters.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: my Library
Library Recommendation: A fun summer romance about relationships that will be a welcome addition in public libraries.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Summer Reading Ideas: Program Ideas

I know it's mid January, but summer will be here before you know. Deadlines are looming for performers and/or community magazines. I've started pulling together ideas on Pinterest. I'm planning to concentrate on building activities and STEAM programs. But Pinterest as so many great ideas that it's hard to choose. So I'm sharing my Pinterest finds. I hope you find them useful.

Spaghetti and marshamallow tower: tallest in the class:
Spaghetti and Marshmallow Tower 

STEM Challenge: Build a bridge with the easiest of materials- marshmallows! It's such a fun building time and will have your kids working and engaged!:
Marshmallow Bridges

Upcycled Suspension Bridge--This cool and creative project will help kids learn about civil engineering. #CampPBSParents:
More Bridges
cardboard sculpture:
Art Sculpture
Week 2: Project to do as we talk about William the Conqueror.Made from toilet paper holders and shoe boxes  (C2, Wk 2):

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: Sleeping Beauty Killers

 * Book 4 in the Under Suspicion series * 
Casey Carter's spent years in jail for a crime she claims she didn't commit. Upon gaining her freedom, she tracks down Laurie Moran and asks her to take on her cold case for her television show.

Laurie isn't sure it's the greatest idea, but she feels for the girl who was sleeping while her fiance was murdered. Everyone treats Casey as though she's guilty - even her own parents believe she killed her fiance in a fit of rage. But Casey's not stopping until she uncovers the truth.

Will all the  questions about the past force someone to break?
My  Thoughts: I adore this series. I love the television aspect and seeing the back ground research for the show. I love how everything comes together. I was a bit worried about Laurie's new partner, but I think he might work out just fine. I like how Casey stuck to her innocence throughout the book, never wavering. I felt terrible for her that no one believed her, including her parents. I uncovered the truth before the heroine did, but it did not make the book any less enjoyable. I devoured this book in one sitting. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Cover Thoughts: Love it - it's striking
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: This series is a must have for Public Libraries.

Friday, January 20, 2017

YA Political Books - Contemporary (again)

Just in case you like politics, but need a better world than the one we have today, I'm linking to a fun book list made previous in the year when we all had so much more hope for the country. Since this is going to be a tough weekend, I've decided to do what makes me happy. So I'm watching West Wing and crafting and playing with the puppy all day because that makes me smile. I invite you to do something that makes you smile (maybe read one of these books!)

Check out my list of books here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Mini Review: Take the Key and Lock Her Up

 * Book 3 in the Embassy Row trilogy *
Secrets have a way of coming out. Now that Grace knows the truth about her lineage, she's on the run. She's worried about her injured brother. She's worried about her friends. Most of all, she's worried about her future.

And when she's worried, she comes up with a terrible idea for a plan...

Things I enjoyed:
All the plot twists and turns

There's so much going on in this last book of the trilogy. I really did like Grace. She was determined to find the answers. Sure she made some bad choices (who doesn't). But she's strong and she's a survivor.

I can't wait to see what Ally Carter writes next!

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: Highly recommend this series for all YA departments.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Picture Book Review: A Season To Bee

The editor of Buzz Magazine hosts a fashion show to showcase the new colors for the Spring season.  All the bugs want to know what colors to wear. Miss V. McQueen shares lots of looks but confides that the more important thing of all to be is...yourself!
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book - I loved the unique way it introduced colors. I love the bug aspect. Most of all, I loved the book's message. I love how the colors splashed all over the pages during the fashion show. Just a really fun book.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: Book sent for Review
Library Recommendations; Recommended! A fun fashion book that displays vibrant colors - perfect for concept collections. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Books read in 2016

This week's topic is - underrated books. I'm choosing books I read last year that I think deserved more attention than I saw...I just picked the first ones in my list that I felt needed more notice - equal amount of YA and Middle Grade books. I look forward to reading about others, so I can add them to my TBR pile. 
meme from The Broke and the Bookish 
YA Books:
CherryMy Unscripted LifeGoing GeekInterferenceThe Flip Side
Sex positive, Hollywood comes to town, boarding school politics, family politics and photography, about to be famous gymnast with a secret life

Middle Grade:
The Great Shelby HolmesTruth or DareLast Man OutKitchen Chaos (The Saturday Cooking Club Book 1)Where You'll Find Me

Mystery of the missing dog, friendship drama, death of a father and love of football, cooking club and family drama, and loving yourself - finally.

Have you read any of these books?

Tween Tuesday Review: Saving the Team

 * First in a series *
Devin loves playing soccer, especially with her friends. When she moves across the country to California, she's hoping to make the soccer team. She worried for nothing. Tryouts are a joke. Everyone makes the team. Everyone seems to get equal playing time, no matter how good they are.

And Devin is good.

She wants to win.She wants the team to be an actual team. She makes friends with a few girls on the team. Before long, she's co-captain. Can she make a difference and help change the team to become more serious?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this sports book - both for the fun of sports and the seriousness of playing because you love the game. I liked how Devin made new friends and helped out her teammates. I love the bond they had. I felt a little bad for Mirabelle, because I feel there's more to her story. But I do love how Devin stood up for herself and her teammates against bullies and those who spoke badly about the team. I love how she infected the team with her love for the sport. I love her ideas for her two friends who had trouble playing in front of people. I loved how annoyed Devin was at the soccer conditions for the girls team and how she worked to change it. An entertaining read with great messages. 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: A great soccer book all about teamwork and friendship - perfect for any school or public library. Recommended.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Rebel Dossier

Emails sent back and forth about the plans for the Alliance, including misgivings, thoughts on personal, and how they might change the mind of people. 
My Thoughts: A really fun read for Star Wars fans but don't read this if you haven't seen the movie yet. Funny. Smart. Entertaining. Great photos and blueprints. An enjoyable political read.

Cover Thoughts: Fun
Source: Book sent for Review
Library Recommendation: A must have for your Star Wars fans!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cozy Review: Better Late Than Never

 * Book 7 in the Library Lovers Series *
Much to the dismay of Miss Cole, Lindsey decides to host an Amnesty Day at the library. People are returning tons of books. When a copy of Catcher in the Rye turns up after twenty years, the staff is pleased with the condition - until Miss Cole realizes who checked out the book.

It was checked out by a local teacher - on the day of her murder twenty years ago. More than a little curious, Lindsey takes the book the police, wondering if the clue can help solve a cold case. She's not above asking questions and sniffing out answers.

But could twenty years be too late? Or is the returning of the book proof that the murderer is back in town?
My Thoughts: I loved this book - for the library scenes, for the Nancy Drew mention, for the Cupcake series  shout out, for the friendships, and for the romance. I love the characters in this book series, especially the library workers. They complete the series for me. I loved the plot line of a twenty year old book reopening a murder case. I love how Lindsey searched for clues with the help of Robbie. I loved meeting the high school librarian (and her flirtation). I loved the moments between Lindsey and Sully. This series is always entertaining and enjoyable reads. I can't wait for the next one.

Cover Thoughts: Love it!
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: A must have series for all cozy collections.