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Children's Lit Weekly Reviews

Catkwondo by Lisl H. Detlefsen: Picture Book Review

Title: Catkwondo
Author: Lisl H. Detlefsen
Publisher: Capstone
Publishing Date: September 1, 2020
For Ages: 4-7
Sensitive Content: None
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Purchase on Amazon

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an E-ARC of this cute book!

I picked out Catkwondo to request because of the adorable little kitty on the cover. While I did enjoy the illustrations throughout, I found the storyline a little lacking. This isn’t a book that all children will enjoy, but it is a book that children interested in martial arts will enjoy. I did appreciate the Korean words thrown throughout the story as well as the glossary of these words in the back of the book. This type type of diversity is needed in stories. Overall I gave this book a 3/5 just because it wasn’t a story for me, or for any child that I know as well as for being a little flat in the storyline. The pictures are adorable and I know if I ever have a child in my life that loves Karate or Taekwondo that I will get this book for them.

Categories
Children's Lit Weekly Reviews

The Lady with the Books by Kathy Stinson – Children’s Book Review

Title: The Lady with the Books
Author: Kathy Stinson
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publishing Date: October 6, 2020
Sensitive Content: Mention of a dead father (killed in WWII)
Add on Goodreads
Purchase on Amazon

The Lady with the Books is the tale of children after World War II in Germany. Their city is destroyed and they are starving. But they find solace in a book display at a nearby museum and leave inspired to perhaps change the world. I loved this little slice of history that hardly anyone talks about. After WWII, German children were the victims of so much hate, a poor economy, and lost parents. This book reminds us that there is hope out there in the world with the next generation and that we can always find hope and solace in books.

I was happy to read in the footnotes of the book who “The Lady with the Books” actually was and how she brought this exhibit to cities around Germany. I was also happy to learn about what happened to the collection and the Book Castle.

I would recommend this book to my early non fiction readers, anyone who adores children’s literature, and to students learning about the aftermath of WWII.

Categories
Lone Star Book Blog Tour Posts

The Shadow Writer by Eliza Maxwell – Review

THE SHADOW WRITER
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre:  Psychological Suspense / Domestic Thriller
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 348

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Every writer has a story. Some are deadlier than others. 
Aspiring author Graye Templeton will do anything to escape the horrific childhood crime that haunts her. After a life lived in shadows, she’s accepted a new job as protégé to Laura West, influential book blogger and wife of an acclaimed novelist. Laura’s connections could make Graye’s publishing dreams a reality. But there’s more to Laura than meets the eye. 
Behind the veneer of a charmed life, Laura’s marriage is collapsing. Her once-lauded husband is descending into alcoholism and ruin and bringing Laura nearer to the edge. 
As the two women form a bond that seems meant to be, long-buried secrets claw their way into the present, and the line between friendship and obsession begins to blur, forcing each to decide where her loyalties lie. Running from the past is a dangerous game, and the loser could end up dead.

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert, and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.
————————————-
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
TWO WINNERS: Signed Copy + $25 Amazon Gift Card
ONE WINNER: Signed Copy 
APRIL 30-MAY 10, 2019
(U.S. Only)
Review
Eliza Maxwell is the most underrated writer of this decade. I am continuously blown away by her writing and her novels. This was by far one of the best thrillers I have ever read, and don’t think I am just saying this, I truly mean it.
The Shadow Writer is dark, twisted, mysterious and enthralling. I was completely captivated by the mystery in the book and trying to figure out what characters did what. For the first time since college, I stayed up way too late past my bedtime to finish this book with more than 100 pages left. And then I couldn’t sleep because I was still reeling from the twists and turns in every chapter all the way to the end.
I pre-ordered this book months ago after knowing how much I loved The Widow’s Watcher last year and The Shadow Writer did not disappoint. The characters are so real and you feel empathy and sympathy for the majority of the book for a character that may or may not deserve it. Eliza Maxwell gives us every emotion possible to throw at one particular character that I cannot reveal because I don’t want to give too much away. You just need to pick up this book and read it. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend to any fans of thrillers.
The Shadow Writer Mood Board.png
The Shadow Writer Aesthetic Board
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Uncategorized

Bibliophile 25 in 5 Readathon Announcement

I am so excited to announce I am hosting a 25 in 5 this month! I am going to the Texas Librarian’s conference the week before Easter and last year I came back with over $1000 worth of free books so I figure the long weekend I have afterwards will be the perfect opportunity for a huge readathon!

Save the Date: April 18 – 22

You can also buy and print the 25 in 5 trackers that I have in my Etsy store to help you during this readathon!

Buy here for just $2

Categories
Monthly Wrap-Up

March Wrap Up

Here are the Books I finished in March!

Title: Spindrift and the Orchid
Author: Emma Trevayne
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Simon and Schuster for Young Readers
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Title: Charlie Hernandez & the League of Shadows
Author: Ryan Calejo
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Mythology
Publishing Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Aladdin
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publishing Date: September 19, 2013
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Title: The Deepest Blue
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Title: Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA Dystopian/Fantasy
Publishing Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Title: Paper Girls Vol. 1
Author: Bryan K. Vaughan
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publishing Date: March 30, 2016
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Title: The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Publishing Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Title: Tithe
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publishing Date: 2002
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

All in all this was a really good reading month for me considering I moved, went on vacation, and had the flu. I hardly ever read this many books in a normal month but I am trying hard to stick to my Goodreads goal. Have you read any of these books? How was your reading in March?

*All Amazon links are affiliate links. I will profit off these links if you click on the links and purchase the books.

Categories
Uncategorized

A Day in the Life of a School Librarian

7:28 AM – Arrive at work. I start my mornings at our Upper Campus which is 6th through 12th grade. Most of the time I am the first to unlock the library which also houses the offices of our vice principal and school counselor.

View from my desk, upper campus library

7:35 AM – Computer is booted up. I spend this time checking my email and replying to what I need. This is also when I go over my planner for the day and add anything to it that I need to.

Planner this week

7:45 – Students start arriving in the library. Many of our dual credit juniors and seniors utilize the library on the mornings they are not on the junior college campus.

Upper campus library

8:05 – Announcements End. This is when the break room clears out. If I need to print and copy anything I do this now. I also sometimes go for my second cup of coffee at this time, check in in the front office, and fill up my water.

View of my office, upper campus

8:15 – Start cataloguing. When I inherited this library my office was completely stacked floor to ceiling with books and old files. All the shelves in the library were crammed full. Since switching to an online automation from a card catalog last year (hello 21st century!) I have managed to clean a lot out. I am still cataloguing and weeding the shelves here and in my office. I catalog and prepare all new materials for both campuses here.

2nd view of my office

9:30 – Head to Elementary School (Pre-K through 5th grade)

View of my desk, elementary campus

9:35 – Check in at Elementary School

9:40 Teach Pre-K – Usually includes story time and some sort of activity in their journals. I also give them one sticker to put in their jounrals for each book we read.

Elementary library, I usually teach prek and kinder on the carpet

10:20 – Teack Kindergarten – Same as preK but I vary the books and activities

Teaching space for older kids, we are watching author videos this week for book fair

11:00 Teach 2nd Grade – We are learning the dewey decimal system at this point and learning to navigate the library without my help. They are getting good at this.

Fiction section

11:30 – Front Office Duty

12:10 – Cataloguing at the Elementary School. I started cataloguing and weeding our 15,000 book collection last year when I got word I had to have the entire library in boxes for construction by the end of May. I ended up mostly weeding at this point. I am up to almost 4000 books in our online catalogue and I weeded about 5000 books last year.

Carts contain recently cataloged books

12:45 Lunch time!

1:15 – Small break to read for the Lectio Committee I am part of. We pick 20 books each year for 4th through 8th graders to read. They get to vote on their favorite and the author gets a prize from us.

Currently reading

1:45 – Daily Duties – shelving, working with a volunteer, straightening shelves, checking in books, rearranging etc.

Non fiction section

3:00 Last bell for the day

Tree house

3:15 – Check all books in the book drop in

3:30 – Time to go home!

I hope you enjoyed this walk through of my typical Monday. What would you like to know about being a librarian?

Categories
To Be Read

TBR Thursday- Clockwork Angel

This post was inspired by the blog of Kimberly Faye and I am aiming to share more books on my TBR in an attempt to get them moved up further on my read list. I really need to stop checking out library books and just read what I have. I did that website thing where you type in how many books are on your TBR and how long it will take to read them if you only read those and don’t add any more and I’m sitting at about 7 years. YIKES. So let’s see… today I will share this …

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Add It: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon

Days on TBR: 2116 Days

Book Synopsis (From aMAZON)

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still. Discover the “compulsively readable” (Booklist) first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series—now with a gorgeous new cover, a map, a foreword, and excusive bonus content! Clockwork Angel is a Shadowhunters novel.

When Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks, and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

What has been on your TBR since 2013?? If the answer is nothing.. what has been on your TBR a LONG time?

Categories
Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

Spindrift and the Orchid

In a world full of magic, there is only a handful of items that can grant the owner full and complete power: the Orchids. Spindrift is a girl who lives with her grandfather above his shop full of curious magical items. She knows her parents died when she was a baby in a shipwreck and somehow that she was sent away from the ship in a small boat with a glass ball. She doesn’t know much else about her parents until her grandfather pulls out a box full of letters that were written by Spindrift’s mother. Together they read the letters one by one in the evenings. As she finds out the secrets that led Sprindrift’s mother to her death, Spindrift has a decision to make: does she let the Orchid’s control her or does she let them go, once and for all?

Orchid Divider

There were many elements to this book that I absolutely loved. This world has a sense of magic that is unlike most and the ideas behind the orchids was absolutely beautiful. I liked Spindrift as a character, but most of the other characters fell flat for me. They just didn’t have much of a personality. The twins, Spindrift’s friends, could have been interchangeable because they both had the same personality which was that they didn’t have a personality. Spindrift’s grandfather as the secondary character in this novel should have had more of a presence but even he had some major flaws and conflicting story lines.

Orchid Divider

There were many moments in this book where the writing was clumsy or a little awkward. When I finished I thought for sure that this was a debut novel because the writing style just didn’t seem developed enough to be from an author who has had more than a dozen books published.

Orchid Divider

I gave this book 3 out 5 stars. I would recommend this to middle grade readers who like a fantasy adventure book with a female protagonist.

Title: Spindrift and the Orchid

Author: Emma Trevayne

Publishing Date: May 8, 2018

Amazon Purchase: Click Here

Categories
Saving Money

How To Save Money Buying Books

Sure, you know that Amazon generally beats Barnes & Noble when it comes to giant retailers but how do people on a ramen budget get a kobe beef library? Let me share some of the tricks of the trade with you so you can build your dream library for just a fraction of the cost.

 

  1. Read All the Books on Your Unread Shelf Before You Buy Anymore Books 
    No really. This is a lesson I am learning HARD right now at 27 years old. I have over 500 books on my TBR shelf. This past December, I purged hard and got rid of about 100 books I had had for over 3 years sitting in my TBR. There is just no need to buy all the books you *think* you might want to read maybe someday. Right now I am only purchasing books I have already read, and don’t own, or that I know I will read this year. I also get Owlcrate and Book of the Month, but I know that these are special editions and I will read them and more than likely love them and keep them. (I get rid of books that I rate 3 stars or less)
  2. Use Your Library
    Okay. So hypothetically you aren’t buying every book you see that you want to read. Use your library to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and physical books. HELLO YOUR LIBRARY IS FREE!!! Keep a log of some sort like on Goodreads or Bookly to track what you borrow and what you love so that when you are looking for books to buy, you only buy what you have read and loved. This will also keep your bookshelf full of books that you love and want to reread, take bookstagram photos with, or lend to your friends and family (basically, whatever you do with your books you own)
  3. Get Free copies of Books
    DUH BUT HOW?! Enter giveaways, connect with authors and publishers, and utilize services like Netgalley. I have gotten a lot of great books from Goodreads giveaways, instagram giveaways, and through Netgalley. I also get Amazon first reads which is a free ebook once a month and I signed up for Bookbub to get a newsletter which often includes free ebook download links in it daily.
  4. Library Book Sales 
    Check your library for their calendar and find out when they do library book sales. My local library has two big ones a year. Often times I go to their sales on opening day to ensure I get all the books I want and then right before they close because they do a “Fill up a bag for $5” sale on the last day to clean out inventory. Often times these are not just weeded library copies, but includes donated books as well. Sometimes these books are in basically new condition but you can get them for well below the list price.
  5. Thrift Shops and Garage Sales 
    If you have any good thrift shops around make sure you frequent them often for cheap books. In the spring and summer, garage sales and yard sales are hot as people are cleaning out their homes. Sometimes I can get a whole box of books for a couple bucks.
  6. BookOutlet
    Okay I adore BookOutlet. I usually keep a running cart on the website  of books I have read from the library and don’t own, special editions of books I love, and books in series that I am missing. Then when they have a huge sale, I check out. Plus they give you points for your purchases and you can trade points in for giftcards.

 

Tips from Followers:

“I always go to thrift stores. I have a Savers in my area that every Monday has 50% off.” – Kelsiembookasdi

“Use eBay (found some rare books for CHEAP) and BST [Buy/Sell/Trade on Facebook] Groups” – AgesofAquarius

“For Canadians, Indigo does 30% off all hardcovers on Boxing day every year!” – VallReads

“Only buy the books you really love … or know you’ll love” – To.Read.Is.To.Breathe 

Categories
Children's Lit

Favorite Books from My Childhood

All bookworms link the magical feeling of reading to something that sparked their interest in reading at a young age. There are those  magical books that you wish you could read again for the first time and those that make you feel all the warm-fuzzy-nostalgic feels. You see the covers of those books and it takes you back in place to a time and place where you are sitting in your dad’s recliner and smelling your mom’s cooking. You pick it up and you remember exactly where you were when you read it and how it made you feel. 

These are the books from my childhood that bring back that warmth and make me want to be a kid again just so I can reread these for the first time. 

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The Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the first series of books I remember my mom reading to me. Looking at the books reminds me of how my sister and I used to clamber up into her bed and huddle around her while she read. I still remember the soft glow of the lamp beside her bed and the way my parents’ room smelled in our childhood home. I remember the floral comforter my parents had and the pink pajamas I wore. This series really ignited my love for all fantasy books. I always hoped that one day I would open my closet door and discover it had changed into a snowy landscape or an ocean full of adventure.

Little House Series

Back in the day, Scholastic Book Club was the OG subscription box service for kids. We used to sign up for a club at the beginning of each school year and each month we would get a package with a book and some other goodies. In 5th grade my mom signed me up for the Little House Club and I managed to get all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and then some. I think each month I got one from the Little House series, a related activity book, and a non series book like her journals and some of the prequels and sequels about her mom, grandmother, and daughter (written by other authors). I still have my original set of books in this series and I remember that red and white box being delivered to my teacher each month and tearing into the goodies that came with it when I got home.

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In 4th grade I was obsessed with the Dear America books. I remember loving the diary format. I started keeping my own diary then thinking that one day my thoughts might be important enough to turn into a book (HAHA). The first one I read was The Winter of Red Snow about The Revolutionary War. I still remember exactly where these were in my elementary school library and I still remember reading my favorites and putting them carefully into my backpack as the school day wound down. Someone recently told me that in Canada there was a Dear Canada series that was like the same thing. It blew my mind.

The Boxcar Children

The Boxcar Children was one of those older books that delighted me because the idea of living a life without adults seemed fantastic in some ways. I loved the first and second book enough to reread them several times in my life. The last year I taught 3rd grade, we read this as a class book. I know I read a lot more than the first 2 in this series but I don’t think the mysteries appealed to me as much as the adventure in the first 2 books.

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I saved my favorite for last. I feel like I grew up with Harry Potter in some ways. I read the first book when I first got ahold of it at the end of second grade. It had already gotten a lot of buzz in the book world because it had been published a year before in the UK. By the time my mom had put a hold on it at out library we were 135th in line to get it. When I finally got it in my hands I was so excited. I had heard so much about the magical world contained in the pages. At this time, I wasn’t reading chapter books to myself. My mom would read with me. She looked at the size of the book and told me there was NO WAY she was going to read it out loud to me. I was devastated. But then I was determined. I read Harry Potter to myself. And then with each additional publishing I read those too. I read the first book when I was 7 and the last one came out right after my 16th birthday. I had truly grown up with Harry by my side. 

What childhood books were your favorites? I cannot wait to hear your memories associated with them.

 

 

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