The False Prince

Welcome to my first Thursday book review! I read quite a lot being a librarian. Anything from picture books to high fiction. My personal reading habits tend to lean toward fantasy or magical realism but really, I will give anything that speaks to me a try.

Odds are there will be small spoilers but I’ll do my best to keep them at a minimum.

Today I will be reviewing The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen.


The kingdom of Carthya is on the brink of civil war as rumors of the assassination of the royal family spread rampant. Nobleman, Connor, plans to reunite his country by placing the second born prince, Jaron, on the throne. The only problem is that Jaron was lost at sea four years ago. Convinced of Jaron’s death, Connor “recruits” four orphans to play the part, including the troublesome Sage. Sage and the other boys are pinned against each other, each with their own agenda for wanting the throne. Can Sage navigate this tangled web of lies? And what will happen to him if he can’t?

The False Prince is the first book in the Ascendance Trilogy. For a first book in a trilogy, I thought Nielsen did a great job. The story had a great flow; witty dialogue and dynamic characters propelled the it forward.  The book is action packed and there are twists and turns around every corner.

One of the things I loved about this book were the transformations of the characters. Even supporting characters made leaps and bounds throughout the story. You’d have a gruff thug one second and a loyal sidekick the next. Arrogant brats became trembling puppy dogs, almost without you even realizing it’s happening and yet it does and it just fits.

Mini spoiler but not really… I really do have to commend Nielsen on her handling of Sage. You knew, knew, Sage was really the prince almost the whole story. It might have been meant as a surprise but the reader suspects almost from the start. Even so, Nielsen did such a spectacular job with this reveal, revealing the layers upon layers she embedded into the story. Just really well done.

The target audience for this book would be a mature 6th through 8th grade. There was quite a bit of violence in the story but done in a very tactful way. The violence was more of a dramatic buildup than scary or gory.

I am always hesitant to continue trilogies if I am satisfied with the story as a whole. I’m often afraid the story will be overdone or dragged out. But Nielsen left me with enough questions to want to continue, which is always a great motivator. We weren’t left with these gaping cliffhangers, which can drive readers–especially young ones–crazy. We were left with gaps in the story; little alluded to nuggets of missing information, propelling the story onward.

Ultimately, I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

The Wow Factor

Using window paint to create summer read and learn displays. 

Hi Guys,

So a few days ago, I was told we needed a “Wow Factor” to get people walking into the library talking about summer reading. Being the display guru of the branch, I was chosen for this task. Now I’d already decorated the Children’s Room with summer themed reading displays:




I wasn’t overly excited to do another summer reading display because it was a big task with a short deadline. But someone has to do it and it’s something I enjoy.

Our library has two entrances and we wanted something our patrons could see as they were walking into the building. I mentioned in passing–never a wise thing to do when a job needs doing–that window paint might be the quickest and easiest way to turn something out quickly. So that is what we decided to do.

20160702_093740            I settled on two different types of temporary window paint: basic car paint–the type kids decorate their cars with for weddings and graduation–and Crayola window paint for details.

Although my wrist was aching by the time I finished, the car window paint actually worked best. It was brighter and I could cover larger surfaces. It was also the easiest to “erase” when I made a mistake. Do be careful though, to get the brightest colors you have to squeeze while painting, which causes drips. Have a paper towel ready!

After taking care of logistics… who would clean the windows when summer was over and ensuring they wouldn’t get cleaned beforehand,  I drew out a rough plan and got to work.

Now I won’t lie, I was sooo intimidated working in this medium. I work great with cutouts and paper (check out my display page) but I don’t have the greatest freehand, so I won’t lie I moaned throughout the whole process.

For our upper level, technically the “adult” entrance, I stuck with the summer read & learn logos: IMG_20160702_164147

But downstairs, the “kids” and main entrance, I played around with the sports theme: IMG_20160702_163916On the tri-set of windows I played with a stadium and football theme. Including the Teen and Adult summer reading slogans.

IMG_20160702_164023On the opposite side of the doorways I went with the kids slogan and baseball and basketball. These were the easiest sports I could think of to display.

Ultimately, I was really pleased with these and within minutes of finishing my colleagues told me they were already getting asked about the windows and what the decorations were for.

Now, the real test will be: will they last and how hard will they be to get off in September. I guess we will just have to wait and see if any more window painting is in my future!


The Best Laid Plans…

Sometimes, the best laid plans go awry.

During the summer, across the nation, libraries of all sizes begin planning their summer reading activities. Many, if not all, libraries schedule STEM or STEAM programs. These are craft or activity based programs with an emphasis on: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and/or Math.

My library is no different. We try to plan STEAM programs that are both educational and fun for the kids. If it shoots, flies or floats it’s a winner. Yesterday was our first STEAM program of the summer and although it ended well, the prep had us shifting gears at the last minute.

Originally, we intended on making pom-pom poppers using cups and balloons.


But we quickly realized we didn’t give ourselves enough time to experiment with materials and techniques. The day before the program we found out that mini cups don’t shoot, Styrofoam cups crumple when you put on the balloons and plastic cups left too many sharp edges. Yikes! Given more time we would have found a way to smooth the edges or reinforce the cups, but time was not our friend so on to Plan B!

As a librarian you have to be flexible. You have to be ready to shift gears at a moments notice. So that is what we did. Taking an inventory of the supplies we had on hand and doing some very quick Pinterest searches we decided on a floating ball activity:


This was the perfect back up plan. It was quick, easy and we were able to make it our own. The kids had a blast decorating their funnels and hypothesizing what would float higher and how long they could get their items to stay in the air.

Overall, fun was had and we made it through the day!


Getting Started

Hi guys! Welcome to my blog.

Today’s post will be all about the whos, whats, whys and whens behind the creation of this blog. I know, I know but we all have to start somewhere.

I can honestly say, that I have no real ambitions behind this site other then creating a space where I can keep track of all of the things I do as a librarian. Clutter is not my friend; I believe in clean desks and frown on any filing system that involves piles.

Librarians do a lot. We aren’t just there to shhh people and answer book related questions. We do programming and storytimes. We are tech gurus and sounding boards. We’re a shoulder to cry on and Google with a face. We create inviting displays, are constantly cleaning up after our patrons and more…oh so much more.

I originally intended this as a private site–a portfolio of sorts I could share with friends and family. But librarians are all about the facilitation of knowledge; we want to share what we know not only with our patrons but with each other. So I decided that, even if I am the only one who looks at this blog… that’s OK. At least it will be out there and anyone who wants to view it can. So feel free to browse. Pick and choose. If any of my ideas can help you in someway, I will be a happy camper!

The layout–My intention for the blog is to post about things I do at the library. This will primarily revolve around storytimes, children’s programming and the displays I do for the children’s room. My goal is to post at least once a week, more depending on what I have going on. Depending on the subject of the post, I will archive it under one of the following: Programming, Displays, Book Reviews.

I plan on doing a book review every Thursday. Although I am primarily a fiction girl I do read J, YA and adult materials–so even though most of this site will have to do with my work with children, the book reviews will span ages.

I guess there is nothing else to do except to get started! Bare with me as I get more familiar with this process and using WordPress in general.

Thanks for visiting my toolbox!