Monthly Archives: May 2016

Book Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Description: The Haves. The Have Nots. Kate O’Brien appears to be a Have Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of — some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. And she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the elite Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ranks and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her ‘people’ among the senior class ‘it’ girls — specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration as head of fundraising, he immediately charms his way into the faculty and students’ lives — especially Olivia’s although she doesn’t share what’s going on. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal and can’t afford to ignore. Mark has his own plan for a bright future and never doubts that he can pull it off. How close can Kate and Olivia get with Mark without having to share their dark pasts?”

Review: This book was a quick, fast-paced psychological read. I am usually good at figuring out the psychological twists and turns but this book threw me. I was on the edge of my seat while reading it, Teresa Toten did a great job of building suspense. While the author did a great job of developing the main character, Kate, I felt like the other characters could have been more fleshed out. I’m the type of person that wants to know what motivates someone, I was intrigued by so many of the characters and wanted to know more. I hope she writes another book about one of the other characters. There are so many layers to this book and the author reveals them in a way that is griping. This book left me guessing and wanting more. Don’t read this if you hate open ended books! I would recommend this to friends who are looking for a quick read and enjoyed Gone Girl.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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Storytime: Bedtime

I couldn’t have a weekly evening story time without doing a bedtime theme!


The Napping House by Audrey Wood

Here is a Baby
Here is a baby (hold up index finger)
Ready for a nap
Lay her down in her mother’s lap (place finger in palm)
Cover her up so she won’t peek (curl fingers around index finger)
Rock her till she’s fast asleep (rock hand)

Five in the Bed
You can use any animal with this song, I used dinosaurs because it was what I had on hand. Plus – what kid doesn’t love dinosaurs?!?


There were five in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over, roll over” (roll arms)
So they all rolled over and one fell out (clap)

(count down)

There was one in the bed
And the little one said,
“I’ve got it alllll to myself!” (stretch out arms)


Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Go to Sleep
(Tap body parts)
Go to sleep little toes, you’ve worked hard all day
Go to sleep little legs, you’ve run hard and played
Go to sleep little hands, you’re always so busy
Go to sleep little arms, being small isn’t easy
Go to sleep little ears, there’s so much to hear
Go to sleep little one, there’s nothing to fear

Source: County of Los Angeles Public Library

Twinkle Twinkle
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are


Some Babies Sleep by Cynthia Cotten

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
Use as a lap bounce for little ones and have parent lift them on blast off.
Zoom, zoom, zoom (rub hands together in the air)
We’re going to the moon
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon
If you want to take a trip (pretend to climb imaginary ladder up arm)
Climb aboard my rocket ship
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon
in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (count down on fingers)
BLAST OFF! (raise arms)

Source: Jbrary

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Storytime: Bugs

My Monday story time is for all ages but recently has turned into baby time. Sometimes I get children above the age of 1 but it is mostly 6 months to 1 years old. As such, I have taken out a story (I usually read 3), added in lap bounces and fingerplays that can be adapted. I have added the different actions for each activity, this way you can see the slight changes I use to make them fun for all ages.


I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges

Here is a beehive (make a fist)
But where are the bees? (shrug shoulders)
Hiding inside where nobody sees (point to fist)
Soon they’ll come out of their
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (raise one finger at a time)
BUZZZZZ, their alive! (wiggle fingers in air or tickle babies belly)

The Little Bee
The little bee went flying (fly hand in the air)
To see what he could see
And all that he could see
Was a little tummy! (tickle belly)

Where, Oh Where
Where, oh where are baby’s fingers (wiggle fingers or touch baby’s fingers)
Where, oh where are baby’s toes (stamp feet or touch baby’s feet)
Where, oh where is baby’s bellybutton (pat belly or touch baby’s belly)
Round and round it goes (make circle on stomach or on baby’s stomach)


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I have a board book set (12 books) for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” I give each parent and child a book to read together. Some children will look at it at their own pace, while others will follow along with me. I encourage the parents to let their child hold the book and encourage them to turn the pages.

Four Green and Speckled Frogs by Peter Moses


Four green and speckled frogs (bounce baby or bounce 4 fingers)
Sat on a speckled log
Eating some most delicious bugs
Yum, yum, yum (rub baby’s bell or rub stomach)
One jumped into the pool
Where is was nice and cool
Now there’s just three green speckled frogs (bounce baby or bounce 3 fingers)
Ribbit, ribbit

(count down)

Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again

Bouncing Baby
Bouncing, bouncing baby on my knee (bounce baby or jump)
Bouncing, bouncing 1, 2, 3 (lift baby or raise arms on 3)

Clapping, clapping with baby on my knee (clap hands)
Clapping, clapping 1, 2, 3

Hugging, hugging baby on my knee (hug baby or self)
Hugging, hugging 1, 2, 3

Grand Old Duke of York
The Grand Old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men (bounce baby or march)
He marched them up to the top of the hill (lift baby or lift arms)
And he marched them down again (lower baby or touch floor)

And when they’re up, they’re up (lift baby or lift arms)
And when they’re down, they’re down (lower baby or touch floor)
And when they are only half way up
They’re neither up nor down (lift and lower)

Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me by Cedarmont Kids


Shoo fly, don’t bother me (wave scarf around, pretending to try and hit a fly)
Shoo fly, don’t bother me
Shoo fly, don’t bother me
For I belong to somebody

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star (wave scarf over head)
I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star

Shoo fly, don’t bother me
Shoo fly, don’t bother me
Shoo fly, don’t bother me
For I belong to somebody

Free Play!!

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Book Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Description: Nanette O’Hare is a hardworking high school student, a good daughter, a best friend and a great soccer player. Yet, Nanette feels like there must be more to life than going through her every day routine. A teacher sees Nanette as a kindred spirit and gives her a book called “The Bubblegum Reaper.” Nanette becomes consumed by the mysterious book about a boy who decides to “quit.” Her teacher helps her get in touch with the reclusive author; it is through the author that she makes new friends, finds her first love in a troubled teen and begins to question her very way of living.

Review: “The Silver Linings Playbook” is one of my favorite books (waaaaaay better than the movie), when I saw that the author wrote a new YA novel I was dying to read it. Unfortunately, the book didn’t have the same magic as “The Silver Linings Playbook,” at times I honestly thought I was reading a John Green novel (think “The Fault in our Stars” without cancer).  I really did want to like this book, I love YA novels that are philosophical and forces you to think. The reason why I didn’t like it is because I found it preachy and the story line obvious (who would have thought the troubled poet would get himself into trouble and meet a sad end?!?). The characters are very stereotypical – the troubled violent teen who writes angsty poetry, the teenage girl who has it all but yet it’s still not enough, the reclusive author who won’t answer questions, a boy  who gets bullied by his classmates and a group of high schoolers who only care about getting drunk and hooking up. I wasn’t able to connect with the characters; I wanted to shake them, tell them to suck it up and deal with it (which might have to do with the fact that I’m now in my mid-20s and can see past high school agony). While I wasn’t able to connect with them many teens who have dealt with bullying, peer pressure and divorce will feel for them.  Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the book I do know some teens who will enjoy it. The book depicts the ups, downs, ins and outs of being a teen. It portrays the confusion and varied emotions that hit in the high school years. Although it depicts these emotions nicely I don’t think it shows how to best handle them and might leave teens with more questions and answers (just like the author of “The Bubblegum Reaper”). I would recommend this book to young adults who like John Green and those who question society norms but are mature for their age.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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