Chelsea’s Confessions

Confession: I am a Youth Services Library Assistant, and I do not (typically) enjoy reading elementary and middle grade fiction. I reread my favorites, and introduce them to my kids, but it is quite difficult of my heart to leach on to most books of the genre. I read “Small Spaces” as a suggested project during quarantine, and I must thank Miss Carrie for it.

First line: October in East Evansburg, and the last warm sun of the year slanted red through the sugar maples.

Summary: Olivia Adler escapes the world she can no longer love through her books. After an eventful day at school, the eleven year-old pedals her bike to her favorite spot. There she finds a woman crying; worse yet, the woman is throwing an innocent book into the river! Olivia rescues the book and becomes encapsulated in the mystery it presents. When mystery finds its way into her world looking much like the mystery of her novel, she has to choose her direction carefully.

Highlights: The first line, while beautiful, worried me the novel would be an attempt at a literary award which forgets the plot for the sake of its own beauty. Luckily, I was let down. The writing remains beautiful throughout the novel. The plot does not suffer for its beauty—thank goodness.

One of the first rules a writer learns is “Show, don’t tell”. Arden presents this skill artfully in the example of Olivia’s mother. To my recollection, the words “die”, “death”, or “dead” are never used in conjunction with Olivia’s mother. Her absence is felt like a hole in the main characters heart, ever present and without words.

The characters who join Olivia in her quest, purposeful or not, are also well developed. Each character gets a chance to surprise the reader. All in all, I thoroughly recommend this book to any reader, big or small.

Lowlights: As some parts of this story are quite dark, it is not suitable for all audiences. This is targeted toward elementary and middle grade readers, so be certain of their capability to read “creepy stories” before you put this book in their hands.

FYI: This is the first story in a series! It is a great stand-alone, but I look forward to joining Ollie for another mystery soon.

Chelsea–Youth Services Librarian Assistant

Ready to put it on hold? Click here!

What’s Ashley Reading?: Basil of Baker Street

Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus

First line: The mystery of the missing twins could never have been solved by an ordinary detective.

Summary: Living in the cellar of 221B Baker Street is the legendary mouse detective, Basil. He and his companion, both admirers of the famous Sherlock Holmes, spend their time solving mysteries in the mouse world. When two young mice twins disappear it is Basil that the community turns to. As he searches for clues he discovers that it is none other than the Terrible Three. With his faithful companion by his side the travel to the English shore to find and return the missing twins.

My Thoughts: Summer reading at the library started this week! It is always a busy and fun time here at the library. To start off the summer I picked a children’s book for my review.

This is the first story in The Great Mouse Detective series by Eve Titus. It was the inspiration for the movie of the same name by Disney. And also happens to be one of my favorite Disney movies. It was a cute story and lots of fun for young readers. It will definitely be a gateway for kids into the world of Sherlock Holmes. I liked that the book had illustrations. The author even gives a list of characters at the beginning of the book. I think this will appeal to younger readers. I would definitely recommend this to young patrons looking for a good and clean mystery.

FYI: Originally written in 1958.

*This is my pick for category #4 (A speed read (less than 100 pages)) for the ReadICT challenge.*

Amelia’s Favorites: The Great Sheep Shenanigans

The Great Sheep Shenanigans by Peter Bently & Mei Matsuoka

Summary: The wolf wanted lamb for supper, so he tries to disguise himself in several different ways to accomplish the task, but he runs into trouble and Rambo the Ram!

Review: This book was on display for a few weeks in the JE section, and looked intriguing every time I saw it, so I finally checked it out to give it a try with Amelia.

I enjoyed reading this book, and Amelia enjoyed listening. The illustrations were cute, I especially liked when the sheep wore glasses for some reason (probably the librarian in me)! One thing I found interesting is every time I read the book to Amelia she pointed out the quilt on Granny’s bed. I think the different patterns and colors drew her eyes to it, so now I need a quilt!

Rating: Amelia’s review 3 out of 5 stars!

Writing Challenge Winner: Luck by E James

E is 16 years old and participated in the Bad Guy Writing Challenge in April 2020. E completed a intense short story about a bitter villain desperately trying to overcome the constant thwarting of the world’s luckiest superhero! This story is great for fans of Deadpool and Despicable Me!

Enjoy E’s story below!

Chapter 1: Mike’s Perspective

I mean duh I’m the bad guy it’s not rocket science though if someone does know rocket science could you teach me. Any who I’m getting off point and talking to a fourth wall probably isn’t the best thing to do right now. Cheerful McGee is over there once again monologuing about JUSTICE and THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP which gets annoying after the 20th time of doing it like hey us villains don’t have all day. The more he monologues the more his face looks punchable. Now you must be wondering what have I gotten myself into and who is this random person?

It’s Mike by the way yeah I have a villain name but since you’re seeing it from my side I might as well give a somewhat okay introduction. And what I’m doing is facing off with Happy Go Lucky once more the hero who always has a smile and luck on his hands I MEAN IS LUCK EVEN A SUPERPOWER looking at you Ladybug and Domino. Oh great now he’s looking at me he must have finished monologuing and now is waiting for a comeback think Mike think.  Oh here I turn to HGL and say “Well justice may be your partner BUT VILLAINY IS MINE!” I let off an evil laugh to punctuate it but that was a terrible line. He reels up with one of his arms ready to punch at me but I really don’t want to deal with this dude. I mean you guys are here and he wins every time so why even bother.

Villains get tired of mundane routines, daily thwartings, and ending up in jail. I just needed to get something from one of my dealers but here’s HGL dealer knocked out behind him with that GRIN THAT AWFUL GRIN on his face. Then he and I had traded one liners then he had monologued and now here we are. As he aimed for my face with his punch I had completely forgotten to shield myself because I was talking with you guys. When his fist connected with my face I felt my nose crack and I just decided in that time and moment that I SHOULD RUN AWAY so I did. As he was reeling up for his next punch I turned around and booked it.

Now you may be wondering, does he have a superpower to let him get away? Short answer is no I don’t have a superpower to get away my superpower is well my creativity its stupid yes but it lets me create my invention plans on a whim and is able to allow me to talk with you guys it also lets me come up with henchmen but even that isn’t enough to stop HGL. I hear HGL’s heavy footsteps behind me as he chases after I just need to come up with a small escape route good enough to get HGL off my tail. I spot another alley way up ahead and turn into it hoping that there is a fire escape stairway. I do indeed see a fire escape, I immediately run faster scrambling up the ladder to the stairs. I could hear HGL just enter the alley. He may have luck on his side but speed was not even if he is fit a man like that is still slower than me. I got to the stairs and ran up them and by then HGL had gotten to the bottom of the ladder but it was much smaller than him which led to him having some difficulty trying to scale it which allowed me more time to escape. I got to the rooftop and judged the distance from this one and the next one. I ran and took a leap, I barely made it my chest hitting the side of the other building. I dragged myself up and hid behind the small wall to hide from HGL.

Now at this point you must be wondering Mike why are you a villain? I mean my parents were both villains and I wanted to carry on their legacy even if my power is as bad as CREATIVITY. They ended up dying to a hero named Firing Squad who had guns for hands. I hate the dude but also I feel bad for him I mean how does he even hold a fork. I’m well known for one thing though: MY INVENTIONS.  My inventions aren’t ever really major, more of just general nuisances  like I made an invention that made stop lights turn red after every 5 seconds. It was fun to watch people get more and more angry with each light change until I was abruptly stopped by HGL. Speaking of the guy, it sounded like he finally had gotten to the other rooftop and he was muttering to himself about my disappearance. The dude may have been a hero but he was kinda stupid. As I heard him get more and more frustrated I heard the crunch of metal against fist, he must have punched one of the air conditioner units. People say villains do more damage than heroes but I haven’t done any damage and HGL has broken his fair share of cars, air conditioner units, and glass a lot of glass just to get rid of me. I would say the dudes persistent but all heroes are.

I finally hear him leave after another 10 minutes of muttering and air conditioner destruction which he will most likely blame me for. I’m finally able to stand up and god sitting like that for 20 minutes left me with such a crick in the neck. I stretch a bit as I survey the ground below. The police have made it by now and HGL is talking to them and finally now is my time to escape. As I make my way down another fire escape another question from you guys comes through. Can you please elaborate on who you are? Well my name is Mike also known as the villain The Creator I live in AlesCreek city my antagonist is Happy Go Lucky the hero and I am a minor villain of this city though soon I will be the best villain very soon.

Chapter 2: Happy Go Lucky’s Perspective

The police take so long to finish questioning me about The Creator’s disappearance. I’m so tired after chasing him, I wish he couldn’t move as fast as he could, that’s how I usually lose him. I’ve won the most out of our encounters but lately he’s been trying to avoid me all the time. I mean nemeses are supposed to thwart each other and when he keeps avoiding me I feel like we aren’t enemies anymore. I know it’s stupid to think like that we’re supposed to take down our villains, throw them in jail, and then not worry about them anymore. I’m finally let go by the police and I walk home. I wish I could fly, that would make my job much easier but unlike The Crow, I can’t. I make it to the suburbs of the city and get to my small home, it’s not much but it helps keep my exercise equipment, food, and bed in a shelter. I walk through the door squeezing through it. I look in the mirror in my entryway, worry about The Creator is plain on my face, he didn’t even come up with any good one liners this time. I walk over and sit down on my couch as I work on taking off my boots and eye cover. Well now that I’m home maybe I can finally get some sleep. As I take off the rest of my main costume and slip on shorts and a shirt I head to my bed and at 4:00 in the afternoon I flop down on the bed and immediately pass out sinking into a nice relaxing slumber.

E’s original artwork of the characters!

Mike’s Perspective

The elevator dings as it opens to a dimly lit area, there’s a few plastic folding tables holding up parts and pieces to other inventions, there’s a wall of previous inventions, there’s a room to the side that’s all blacked out I call it my think room, and then there’s my mattress in the corner. Yes unlike other villains I do not live a life of luxury. Now you might be wondering Mike where are you? Currently at my lair which is an apartment basement. I was loaned the room by a lady who owns the apartment building, she’s a jerk and is very strict but I live here anyways.

I look over at my mattress sleep beckons but I hang up on that call and instead I walk over to the wall of past inventions and remember all the fights I had to deal with from HGL when I used them. I pick up the TANTRUM CHILD EMITTER it looks like one of those plasma globes but I can turn it on anywhere and it causes kids to throw a tantrum. It ANNOYS EVERYONE around them, it was one of my best until HGL cracked it, now if you turn it on it leaks radiation. Then there is the FORGET YOUR PASSWORD GIZMO which if shot at someone they forget all their passwords. I used it in computer labs, schools, and libraries, it was amazing until HGL made everyone remember their passwords with his LUCKINESS then promptly once again beat me to a pulp. With every invention HGL stopped it and threw me into jail. Now Lego Batman made it seem like villains and heroes have this special relationship, WRONG, I hate HGL and I really hope he just DISAPPEARS from my life. I just want him gone and he will disappear very soon though. I’ve studied HGL as he fought me and he may seem human but he’s built of luck essence, get rid of that essence he just poofs from existence.

So my next invention will get rid of him for good. I walk over to the far wall on the table there is a small metal cube with a few lines on it. I call it my BAD LUCK CUBE, it’s not complete yet I was actually getting the final piece today from a dealer but instead HGL was there and I couldn’t get the piece. So now I have to make the piece myself because I’m sure that dealer won’t contact me ever again. With all that happened today I feel exasperated I really want to sleep but I also have to figure out what to do so I suppose TO THE THINK ROOM. I walk over to the room, it has all its walls painted black and there’s no lights. I close the door and and the room is pitch black it lets me think the best. I lie down on the floor which has a bunch of sound foam to block out any sound. All of this helps me come up with the best ideas, it causes hallucinations yes but that helps as well.

As I lie there the minutes tick by I start to hallucinate sounds and colors and light but they start to form into a more solid idea. Five minutes after this I bolt up right, I’ve got it the perfect way to fix this. I stand up and open the door and immediately shield my eyes, even if the room is dim it still is blinding after that. I go to one of the tables with blueprints and notes, and immediately began to write down the notes of my idea. After a few minutes of scribbling down notes I finally have a way to make this last piece of the puzzle, the only problem is that I’m gonna have to get blood from HGL to finish the piece. It’s a little circuit system that passes electricity through the circuit into the blood then it rearranges that power into its opposite power aka good luck into bad luck then emits that power. As I come to that conclusion I look towards the mattress in the corner. Sleep is gonna have to wait.

Chapter 3: Mike’s Perspective

It took me 3 hours to get the board set up but now I need to get HGL’s blood. I grab a syringe off the table as I head for the elevator. I just need to get a few milliliters of blood and get back to here. I’m sure he’s probably at his house by now. Yes I know where his house is, I found it on Zillow because I don’t know maybe I wanted to booby trap it once, it never happened though. The elevator opens and I pull up my hood as I head out into the streets.

The first time I met HGL was back when I was 18, I wanted to join the Villain Organization to keep on my family’s legacy and my parents had been a part of the organization before they had been killed. To get in though you have to show off how and why you are a villain. So I decided to make an invention to show them. All my other inventions had been small and I decided to try my hand at something else. I searched up the most annoying things for a person and found an idea THE SLOW WALKER RAY GUN. Once I built it I went up onto my apartment’s roof with a beach chair and shot walking people to make them go slower the more they were shot the slower they went. It went on like this for 3 hours until I shot what looked like a bodybuilder but he didn’t slow down so I shot him again and he still didn’t slow down. I decided to try and fine tune the gun more but during that the dude had turned towards the apartment building, walked towards it, and scaled the wall.

When I looked back up from the gun he was standing right in front of me. He then promptly beat me to a pulp and put me in jail. I was actually only in jail for a day due to the fact I hadn’t harmed anyone just made them walk slower. I did get into the V.O. with the invention but it was the very beginner level and I haven’t been promoted at all and it’s been eight years since that beginning invention. As you could have probably guessed the bodybuilder dude was HGL and that’s how he also became my nemesis. As I walk into the suburbs I think back on all the times HGL has beat me and how this new invention will be my greatest victory of all. I finally get to his house and hop the back gate. He had left a window open, guess a guy with luck doesn’t have to worry about break-ins. I slip through the window and his place is a mess, even my lair isn’t all that organized but this is just sloppy. I hear snoring coming from one of the rooms and creep towards it.

As I figured HGL was passed out in his room with the door wide open, this man is so careless. I quickly pull out the syringe step forward and stab HGL in the arm with it. He begins to stir so I quickly draw some blood then take back the syringe. I then scamper out of the room and out through the window before HGL can really wake up. As I make my way down the street once more I pull my hood down further and think on how I’m one step closer to truly winning against this man.

HGL’s Perspective

I awake to a slight stingy pain in my arm. I rub my eyes trying to get rid of any gunk and bleariness. I hear something outside but ignore it, it’s probably a squirrel anyways. As I sit up the stinging pain is still there. It’s weird maybe a fly bit me or something who knows. I stand up and stretch out my back and arms then shuffle my way to the kitchen. It looks like it’s around 7:00 at this point so I should probably make something to eat. I root around in my freezer as I think more on the Creator situation. He doesn’t harm anyone so that’s why it’s so hard to keep him in jail but his actions are still villainous and he’s still a part of the Villain Organization. I decide on meatloaf and potatoes and open the box. I mean I just need one incriminating factor about The Creator and then I can keep him in jail forever. I bet he doesn’t even really have a home, he seems homeless though who knows.

I pull back the plastic cover and stick the food in the microwave heating it up. Villains and heroes both have similar levels to them the higher up you are the more well known you are. Which makes you think about how similar these two groups are. I mean me and The Creator are both minor people of our groups. There’s Thunderstorm who’s a higher hero and has a nemesis named Desolate and they are both well known. The higher you are the more recognition, the more popularity, just all more. The microwave beeps and I take the food out. I dump it onto a plate and walk over to my living room. Maybe I should rethink being a hero, I mean with my nemesis being The Creator  he isn’t really a threat so I technically don’t have a job to begin with.  I feel a chill and go over to close a window I had accidentally left open. I’ve been off my lucky game since this whole worrying began and it just reminds me of how The Creator is acting. I sit down on the couch and turn on the tv. Heroes, Villains in the end we’re all the same.

Chapter 4: Mike’s Perspective

       It has been a week since I stole some of HGL’s blood. I finally got the board set up and into the cube but now I’ve got to test it. I walk the streets keeping an eye out for a single superhero in this city. I have to start with erasing moderate luck before erasing complete luck. The first thing that comes to mind with luck is a four leaf clover but that’s taken by HGL, so then the next item was a rabbit’s foot. There is one rabbit themed superhero in AlesCreek, Cottontail, she can hear extremely well, smell extremely well, and leap buildings in one jump. If I find her in her usual spots I could make the cube target her and then take away her luck and if I monitor her for this next week maybe I can see what results I’ll get.

I get to West AlesCreek and climb up one of the fire escapes onto a roof. Now it’s the waiting game to see if she comes this way. I sit down criss cross on the roof but I immediately stand back up because it’s 80 degrees out but the roof tiles are burning. As I stand and wait I can feel myself begin to bake like a rotisserie chicken. I wonder if I should turn as I’m standing out here to imitate a chicken. As I wait I suppose I should answer more questions from you guys. My favorite color is purple, my favorite season is fall, my favorite food is chicken alfredo, and my favorite hobby is playing with legos. And there she goes, I was so focused on answering that Cottontail passed by me. I immediately run after her pulling the cube out of my pocket, I just have to get within 20 feet of her then I can activate the cube.

She’s fast but that’s only because she’s jumping over the buildings while I have to run across them. She finally stops on the ground listening for something and I take this as my chance. I slowly crawl down one fire escape and then activate the cube once I’m close. She freezes like a deer caught in headlights she knows something is near her but she can’t tell what it is. I let the cube work for about five minutes before I turn it off. I then slowly climb back up the fire escape. She seems to relax like she can’t sense anything so I can’t tell if the cube deadened her senses or if I’m just that sneaky. I’ll be monitoring her over the next week to see if the cube truly works. 

. . .

    It’s a week later and the device very much did work. Cottontail’s senses had been so deadened that she was so confused when she was attacked and the news had eaten it up. I scrolled through my phone seeing reports of Cottontail’s bad luck streak. I smile inwardly; this makes great leaps and bounds for my experiment unlike what Cottontail is doing now which is hitting buildings face first when she tries to jump. I think I may have put her out of a job all together but I feel no remorse. I mean I had to test my cube on someone, it’s not my fault she was the perfect candidate.  Now that I know the cube works I can fine tune it completely and set it so it will get rid of all luck. Now is the beginning of the end for HGL. I stand up from my mattress and begin my final work. 

HGL’s Perspective

       I hear about Cottontail’s bad luck streak for the fourth time this week. I don’t know what happened to her, maybe there’s a new villain in town who has bad luck as their thing. If that is true maybe they’re my true nemesis which makes me want to get rid of The Creator more, maybe fighting this bad luck villain is my true purpose. I can’t be mopey anymore just because The Creator keeps running away we had no real nemesis relationship anyways. I put on my face mask and stand up. I’ve always hated how tight this suit was but it fits my theme. I go out on patrol to stop any minor crimes that may be happening.

As I patrol the streets without my knowing I wander into the part of town that The Creator usually stays in and does his deals. I haven’t seen much of him over these past two weeks or so and to be honest I’m kinda hoping he’s just disappeared off the face of the Earth. I stop two robberies by making the bad guys drop their bags then detain them while the police get there. I love the praise and hopefully this will get me more noticed by the hero committee. I keep wandering and patrolling until I make it to that alleyway that we had fought in just a few weeks ago. It’s been cleaned up from our fight well as clean as an alley can be. I wonder why he needed the part he needed, it had looked like a computer chip with a small capsule in the middle. I couldn’t figure out what it was or why he needed it. It’s probably locked away in an evidence box somewhere at this point.

I walk farther into the alley way but there really isn’t anything here a few garbage cans, some boxes, junk, and a stray cat. I just walk out and continue on my patrol. I don’t know what The Creator is scheming or planning but it can’t be big, he never does anything big, but maybe with this new bad luck villain I could finally take on something big. Though that would mean getting The Creator out of the way first. So I begin to plan for my next encounter with him. I plan on finally capturing him and getting rid of him for good, all I would have to do first is frame him but luck is always on my side for things like that. So with this our next encounter will be our last Creator so watch out.

Chapter 5: HGL’s Perspective

       Three days later and my plan has been set in action. I made a few people steal stuff by making it a high luck chance then made them forget they did it. I called the police saying I’m gonna detain The Creator and that they should wait for my signal or call. I’m in the alley way with the stolen stuff next to me. I wait for The Creator to get here tapping my foot a bit. This is it, the main event, the main turning point in my life that I hope will put me on the right track to success. All I have to do is wait.

Mike’s Perspective

       I know he framed me, it’s obvious. He wouldn’t have made it so obvious of where he was to me if he hadn’t framed me. So I took care of the police before, giving them all bad nausea with one of my other inventions before walking to that alleyway. He sure has a way for irony since this is the same alley we were in before. As I make my way I don’t feel nervous at all, actually I feel determined like I’m finally going to win. The cube feels as light as a feather in my pocket even though it weighs about half a pound. I step into the alleyway and here HGL mumbling to himself about victory and success. He doesn’t notice I’m here until I’m like five feet away. He’s not very sense aware and he doesn’t usually put up his luck kind of shield until he’s in a real fight so he is kinda idiotic in that way too. Now this fight would be boring if it were just from my perspective so I’m gonna shift you guys to third person so you can see the full fight in effect. It should give you a whole new wow factor.

       Mike looks over at the fourth wall winking as a way to say ta daa. HGL doesn’t notice and begins to speak.

       He pointed his finger at Mike”Creator I am here to end you for good,”.

       “Yeah yeah I know you framed me but I took care of the police force and other obstacles it’s now just you and me HGL,” Mike said this so calmly that it almost seemed like they were about to play chess.

       HGL just stood there his hand sagging a bit when he heard his plan was foiled.

        “Fine then I’ll just capture you a different way and you will go to jail for good Creator,”

       “That’s what you think HGL now bring it on,”

       With that HGL charged at Mike fist cocked back. Mike ducked under his first punch then dove to the side out of the way of a kick. He began to rummage around in his pocket and took out the cube. It looked like one of those fidget cubes except instead of several things it just had one button. HGL looked at it and dove for it so he could destroy it like every other invention he had destroyed. Mike stuck it behind his back and HGL hit Mike full on like a bulldozer. Mike scrambled away and got up as he pulled the cube out from behind his back.

       “Freeze lucky boy, it’s my turn to win,” Mike grinned for once in his life feeling the victory so close to him.

       “You’re gonna stop me with a measly cube. You’ve descended into complete madness Creator,”

        “You know that bad luck villain you’ve been hearing so much about. He isn’t real HGL it’s just this cube,” Mike shook the cube mockingly at him and watched as HGL’s face flashed to disbelief for a second before going back to anger.

       HGL ran at Mike again but at that point Mike pressed the button and they both flew back as a powerful amount of energy hit them both.

       I change the perspective back to first person and let you guys back into my head.I watch as HGL falls over the very edges of him start to fade like he is a hologram fading out slowly. He gets up and tackles me and I let him, he can’t stop me, he’s done for finally. The cube hits the ground along with me and HGL ends up crushing it with his knee. He tries to punch me but his hand is no longer there having faded out completely. You could see the disbelief hit him like a truck and he sits back as I scramble away and stand up. I give my best villain grin as he then flashes to anger trying to attack me once more. Then finally one more emotion flashes on his face. Defeat he looks at me with a saddened look. It cuts me deep to the core but try to not let that on. I’m not fully apathetic guys and I’m sending this guy to nothingness. I shake my head a bit as I try to get rid of a slight bit of guilt. I mean we were both nemeses, so our end goal was to defeat each other. I don’t think he expected me to ever win since villains never do. I watch him fade away completely, that look still very much on his face. I pick up the crushed cube pocketing it. I then head out of the alleyway pulling my hood up. I walk by ordinary people going on with their day not knowing that a hero has just disappeared from this world. Something felt wrong though, it hadn’t just been the look on HGL’s face but something felt off, like I had just erased an entire law of the universe with a single push of a button.

The End

Cathy’s Book Chat

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea is about a sixteen year old girl named Shirin. Shirin wears a hijab and is treated extremely unkindly by her classmates, teachers, and complete strangers. This story takes place in 2002 in a town obsessed with basketball. Shirin has become quite good at suppressing her emotions and blocking out the world with music and a tough exterior. The only solace in her day is breakdance practice with her brother, Navid and his friends. Then she meets a classmate by the name of Ocean who makes her think that maybe there are people worth talking to. Ocean is the star basketball player at school and he desperately wants to get to know Shirin. When their interactions make others angry and cruel, the two must decide whether the connection they have is worth protecting.

At the beginning of the novel I felt like Shirin was a bit harsh to those around her. She didn’t have the best attitude and seemed really passive about life. Then I learned more about her experiences with racism and how she felt like she couldn’t confide in her parents about her personal life. When her breakdancing partners and brother confronted her about how she comes off to other people, I could see Shirin start to grow and reconsider her approach. When you are sixteen it’s easy to be angry with the old, on top of normal teenage emotions Shirin was going through both verbal and physical abuse all because of her religion. I began to feel her frustration and wanted to scream at her peers, too. This book may be fictional, but there are enough bigoted people out there that it is easy to be up in arms about the treatment minorities face in this country. Surprisingly Shirin was able to block that ugly side of people out and focus on what made her happy. That was what made her story inspiring and brave.

Happy Reading!

Cathy–Youth Services

Ready to put this book on hold? Click here!

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Wives

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

First line: He comes over on Thursday every week.

Summary: One husband. Three wives. Sounds strange right? Well it is my life. I am Thursday. They are Monday and Tuesday. One is the wife before me. The other came after. But we have worked out a schedule. Until one day I see that he has the receipt from a doctor’s office with a woman’s name on it. Could this be one of them? I must find out.

My Thoughts: This book. Such a roller coaster! First off, I cannot even imagine living this woman’s life and being okay with the family situation. I would definitely be her trying to find out everything I could about these other women. How would it not eat at you and drive a person crazy?! When I got to the half way point it seemed like the book had hit its climax but I was wrong. Everything just got crazier from there.

I jumped back and forth between reading and listening but when it got to the last 50 pages I had to read it because I NEEDED to know how it was going to end. It was a book that I had to set down and breathe a little bit after. It took me on a crazy ride. I highly recommend this!

FYI: Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

First line: I bear ad deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch’s poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb.

Summary: Ismae is forced into an arranged marriage. However, when her new husband sees the scars on her body, he knows that she has been cursed. She escapes before he can kill her and flees to the convent of St. Mortain. Upon arrival she learns that she has a special gift. If she wants to stay they will train her to use that gift and become an assassin for the god of death.

My Thoughts: Medieval. Assassin. Nuns. Yes please! I have been meaning to read this book for years. Recently I bought a copy of it and finally decided it was time to dive in. I enjoyed it from the very first page. It was a fast story with great characters and an intriguing plot. I like that the author wove actual historical events into the story making it almost seem believable.

It is always fun seeing girls kick butt and take names. This story does just that. Ismae has a gift that allows her to survive poisons but she is also skilled in weaponry and deception. Several other girls from the convent are mentioned but not much is done with their stories. I hope that the next books dive into their stories. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

FYI: This is book one in a trilogy.

Kristen Recommends: Guardians of the Cross

Guardians of the Cross by Kristen VonBradshaw

“We need to keep them safe until the time is right.” said the woman.

Summary: Frank and Phoebe’s mom is missing and their father has been killed. Brad is nervous about protecting someone while in a wheelchair. Ella is whisked away from her family by a stranger. Jinx is a misfit that nobody wants. Together they will have to learn to work together as a team to save everyone they love.

Kristen’s Thoughts: It was a great book, the author was great at bringing the characters to life.Lots of adventure and comedy tying in with an exciting mystery. It’s a book I would read again and again and is great for all ages as my grandfather couldn’t put it down. The book comes to life with every turn of the page and leaves you wanting more. If you like giant robots, super powers and random socks you’ll love this book.

FYI: Contains mild violence.

Youth Services Summer Reading Program @Home

Since we can’t be together as we normally would we have a developed a fabulous and innovative Summer Reading Program!  Derby Public Library’s Youth Services Department has created ways to bring those programs you love into your home, while coming up with new programs to keep them busy and entertained.  Whether you have a newborn or an 18 year old at your house, we have planned programs that will tickle their funny bones and engage their imaginations.

Beanstack and Prizes

This will be our first summer using Beanstack, a free app that patrons will use to track their reading and earn prizes!  May 26 is the first day of SRP and the final day for submitting reading times and picking up prizes is July 26. Every child who finishes the reading challenge will win the following prizes:      

  • New Book!     
  •  Derby Bowling Alley for 2 free games
  • Other prizes as available due to Covid-19

Finishers will also be entered into their age groups Grand Prize Drawing:

  • Tiny Tales:  Baby’s first library: $200 gift card to Watermark Books and personal bookshelf
  • School Age: Nintendo Switch Bundle
  • Teen: Beats Headphones and Wireless Speaker

Facebook Events

We will be doing most of the digital programming from a Facebook Event so make sure to click “Interested” to stay up to date. However, you do not need a Facebook account in order to participate in these events. They are available for all the public to see.

New Programs

School Age and Teen kids will be able to pick up a craft kit at the drive thru or the front of the library, roughly once a week throughout the program. We also have put together art supply kits featuring crayons, scissors, four Sharpies, and a glue stick for those families in need just ask for an Art Supply Kit at the drive thru. A special Moviecraft program for teens has been morphed into one that can be done on your couch! We’ve even created a StoryWalk @ the Library has been created to exist on the sidewalk surrounding the library to help our littlest patrons enjoy some library time outside.

Links to the Fun

Check out the links below for our website and the Facebook Events.  Please let us know if you have any questions or would like more details.  We can’t wait to see you this summer!

Thank you for your patience during this time of adjustment. At this time our drive-thru is open to help get you the materials you may want or need. Including any materials available for the Summer Reading Program. We will keep you posted as things change. We miss you and can’t wait to hear from you this summer!

What’s Ashley Reading?: Follow Me

Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

First line: Everyone on the internet is a liar.

Summary: Audrey is an influencer. She has over a million followers on Instagram. When she decides to take her dream job at an art museum in Washington D.C. she is excited but she does not know that someone waits for her in her new city.

Cat is Audrey’s friend from college. A young lawyer looking to make a name for herself in her law firm. Her best friend arrives from New York. It seems like things are going right for her but maybe everything isn’t as bright as it seems.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the first 80% of this book. I could not wait to find out who the mysterious “him” was. I loved how the stories interweaved and the hints about Cat’s secret. I was creeped out by the stalker and his methods. This book makes you realize how dangerous social media and the internet can be. It lets someone into your life that you do not know or cannot trust. I kept hoping for some big reveal that would blow my mind but I figured out the stalker fairly early. I hoped that I was wrong and the author was trying to psych the reader out. However, the story fell flat at the end. It was pretty obvious how it was going to end up. It was a four star book until the last 8% of the book. Oh well. It was a still a fun read.

But my favorite part was the art exhibit! The dioramas sound so cool. I would love to see something like this.

FYI: Beware of who you let follow you on social media!