Free Audiobooks of the Week

SYNCHEAD-150x150Don’t forget to check out the Sync audiobooks this week!

The contemporary book is completely new to me. I’m not familiar with the book or the author. It’s A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty. I’m just going with the description from Sync: “The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty! This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world). Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot’s dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth. As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds — through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called “color storms;” a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the “Butterfly Child,” whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses…  ”

Sounds interesting.

The classic book is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, if not the original vampire tale, perhaps the most well known. If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend it. It kind of puts all other vampire stories in perspective, especially if they are going to play with the mythology. If you watch the TV series The Strain, this can be a particularly good companion to it because Guillermo del Toro really uses Stoker’s mythology as the basis for creating his own, new mythology for vampires. In fact, I first read Dracula right before I read The Strain so that I could have some good vampire context.

(Oh, and hey, if you’re playing Bingo, Dracula would be a great choice for a book that’s over 100 years old!)

Summer Reading Challenge ’15

It’s June (although it feels like late March)! That means we’re almost done for this year. Which means it’s time for the Summer Reading Challenge! *cue a Kermit the Frog like excited yell complete with flapping arms*

kermit(Oh, look, I found one)

This year we’re going back to an old standard…Summer Reading Bingo! You can download the sheet (Summer Reading Bingo 2015) or pick one up from in front of Mrs. Neft’s desk. There’s a free space for your summer reading book…because we all have to read that. Then start drawing lines or making designs with your reading.

Anyone who completes a row will be eligible for junk when we return in September. If you complete more than a row, you will be eligible for fabulous junque. Complete the whole board and maybe the zombie kittens will make a return to campus.

zombie kittens

Not sure where to find a book you can read in one day? Or what books were published the year you were born? Keep an eye on this here blog and I’ll be posting reading lists that should cover each of the categories. Got a title you want to suggest for one of the categories? Let me know!

Oh, and audiobooks totally count!

As always, participation in the summer reading challenge is just for fun and no one is required to read anything more than your summer reading book.

Anything you read starting TODAY (6/2) counts!

App of the Week – Stickman

This week’s App of the Week was discovered during the 5th and 6th grade Information Skills class a few weeks ago. We were exploring Infotopia (remember, that wonderful search engine that has been curated by teachers and librarians) and I started digging through the Games section. And that’s where we found it.


Draw a Stickman. Like some other apps, this has a web component and that’s where we started. But then we discovered there was also a mobile version and decided it needed to be shared with the community.

The concept is simple. Step one: draw a stickman. Step two: Follow the directions to take your stickman on an adventure. Draw well or your stickman may be singed by a dragon or eaten by sharks.

The app is free and available for both iThings and Android. And there’s also Stickman Epic (Apple and Android), where you draw a friend for your stickman and have to help save him or her from a book in which he/she has been captured. Both are free for the basic levels, but require payment for higher ones. You can play all levels on the web for free.

Thanks to Ben H. for making today’s announcement!

Free Audiobooks

SYNCHEAD-150x150Don’t forget to download this week’s free audiobooks: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz and Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan.

I’m not familiar with either story, but I have read things by both writers and they are fantastic!

Both books will be available until next Wednesday.

New Book Wednesday – Evil Librarians and Beyond

Today I’m focusing on the author Brandon Sanderson. I first became a fan years ago when I read Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, which many of you know I consider a how-to guide for librarianship.

Mr. Wesler was intrigued when I spoke about Sanderson once because he knows him as the author who took over Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after Jordan passed away.

In other words, Brandon Sanderson is prolific and has an incredible breadth of writing styles. And three of his books are new to our library.


First, let’s talk Alcatraz. We’ve got the final installment in the story of the kid who has a gift of breaking things, Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens.

Then there’s The Rithmatist. This is the first in a steampunk series. Rithmatists have the power to bring two-dimensional drawings to life. These creatures are known as Chalklings and the Rithmatists are the only ones who can defend the American Isles against Wild Chalkings. There is, of course, a young boy who admires the Rithmatists and becomes the only hope when they start disappearing. One of the Goodreads reviews said, “Brandon Sanderson just made chalk figures scary.”

Finally, the first in another series, Mistborn (also titled The Final Empire). I haven’t read this one yet, so I’m just going to quote the publisher’s blurb because they make it sound really cool, “In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?” Sounds intriguing.

I have a feeling I’m going to be spending some quality time with Mr. Sanderson this summer.

App of the Week – I Don’t Even…

I stumbled across this game last night and I don’t even know what to think of it. I’m actually crying, I’m laughing so hard. And I predict that I will waste hours with this…not to mention that I have a new song for my running playlist.


The game is called Dumb Ways to Die. I downloaded and just started playing. The first screen is a fork inside a toaster. The goal: swipe up to remove the fork (and toast) without touching the sides. Then it’s on to a series of equally bizarre tasks: connect electrical wires, duck before the bear eats your head, tilt the phone to get a space helmet back on before the vaccuum of space makes your head explode.The games are fast paced, and as you complete each set, they repeat faster, and “fasterer,” and “faster faster faster faster.”

Here’s where the “I Don’t Even…” part comes in. If you die three times, it takes you back to the home screen, which is a train station platform (and some of the tasks are avoiding falling off train platforms). But before you get there, in the top right corner is a “Safety Pledge” which says you won’t do dumb things around trains. Turns out, the game is based on a public safety campaign by Metro Trains Melbourne (as in Australia).  You have to check out their website. There’s a video with a song, which is totally going on my running playlist, and this is what had me laughing so hard I was crying.

The game is free, with, of course, some in-app purchases (although I haven’t come across them yet) and available on both iOS and Android.

Oh, and there’s Dumb Ways to Die 2!!! (Do you think Ms. Falcone will be understanding when I don’t get my final grades done?)

New Book Friday – Incorrigible

Today’s featured books are part of a series that I discovered through the Sync Audiobook program. Either last summer or the summer before, one of the books included in that program was the first in this series. And I LOVED it. Then someone donated the second book to our library, so I decided it was time to get them all.

20150522_092754The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series tells the story of three feral children. They had been left in the woods (by whom, we don’t really know) and were presumable raised by wolves. One assumes they were raised by wolves because when they are discovered and brought into Ashton Place to live, they behave very much like wolves and communicate through barks, growls, and howls. Miss Penelope Lumley is hired as their governess and must try to “civilize” them.

Each book puts Miss Lumley and her three wolfish charges in situations which challenge the children’s new-found human behaviors and which present a mysterious problem for them.

I’ve only read (well, listened to) the first book, The Mysterious Howling, but it was awesome…especially if you’ve ever wanted to ditch the fancy clothes and run wild through a stuffy party. I assume the rest of the books will be just as much fun to read. We have the first four, which include The Hidden Gallery, The Unseen Guest, and The Interrupted Tale. A quick look on Goodreads tells me there’s a fifth book out now (The Umapped Sea) and a sixth book in the works.