“The secrets of lost stones” by Melisa Payne

Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. Lake Union Publishing. 2019.

The secretes of lost stonesA hit-and-run driver killed Chance, Jess’s 8-year-old son eight years ago leaving her devastated and feeling as if life isn’t worth living. When Jess leaves town to start fresh elsewhere, her car breaks down in a small mountainside town. There she’s invited to be a caretaker to an older woman named Lucy who has a way of knowing things that are going to happen. She believes Jess and a ghostly little boy are “loose ends,” something she has to fix.

Fifteen-year-old Star has been living on the streets for months, after running away from a foster home. When a strange older woman calls her a “loose end” and arranges for her to get a bus ticket to a small, out-of-the way town, Star is dumbfounded. When she arrives Lucy convinces her to stay for a little while. Though Star has tough street bravado, she feels herself melting into the kindnesses offered by Lucy.

In alternate voices Jess and Star tell their stories of loss and fear, with a dose of hope. Readers will become invested in their lives, hoping for their “loose ends” to be tied up so they could have hope filled new lives.

Recommended for Adults.

2019 Newbery Committee member

It’s been AWHILE since I’ve been able to write on my blog. It’s not that I’ve been a slacker, it’s that I have been serving on the 2019 NEWBERY COMMITTEE!!! Yes, it’s true. Besides reading books up to and including age 14 that were written in 2018, I had to stay away from social media sites – especially ones that involved book reviews.

In case you haven’t yet heard, we were THRILLED to award the John Newbery Gold Medal to Meg Medina for her book “Merci Suarez changes gears.” Silver honoree medals were awarded to “The Night Diary” by Veera Hiranandani and “The book of Boy” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.


Gold medal bookTheNightDiaryTheBookofBoy



Memories of AASL in Reno

It’s been such a long time since I last wrote on this blog. I have lots to say, but not much time to say it. Work has been incredibly busy, and the librarian world has its own challenges. Plus I’ve been ramping up my running, getting up and out the door by 3:45 on alternate mornings to get in a run and get to work on time. The hour drive there makes for some very fine tuning on those running mornings.

I’m heading off to the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) conference in Phoenix next week where I hope to learn new ideas I can use in my own library, and to bring back lots of freebies for my students.

The last time I attended an AASL conference that I remember very clearly was 2007 in Reno. The conference is held every 2 years, and I vaguely remember going to Charlotte in 2009 because of a giant NASCAR sign outside my hotel. When one of my fellow REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) members reminded me that James Patterson spoke at the Keynote, that made me remember speaking to him about how much his books mean to my husband – which brought back the fact that I HAD gone to AASL’s conference in 2009.

In 2011 and 2013, I didn’t dare take time off from work to attend. In 2015 it was held at the same time as the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) conference. I had already signed up to go to that 2015 YALSA Albuquerque conference, which brings us back to 2017.

Back in 2007 I was an ALA Spectrum Scholar and had won a scholarship to attend the conference in Reno. There I met some very interesting people, who I still see at ALA conferences – “shout out” to Sara Kelly Johns and Mary Ghikas! I still remember the fun we had when a group of us took a 2 hour trip into the Black Rock Desert to visit schools in the teeny town of Gerlach as well as on a Native American reservation. Above is a pic of my crazy adventure, but I can’t provide more details of that day since what happens in Reno stays in Reno…

I have some reviews I haven’t had time to post, so will get moving on those shortly. Luckily I typed them up on a Word doc. otherwise, with my memory being very sieve-like lately, not much would have been remembered to be posted.

I’m looking forward to attending AASL, but am also looking forward to attending the upcoming ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter conference in Denver. I’m on a new committee, which starts work at that conference, so am triply excited because I’ll be helping out on committee work again. It’s been many years since I’ve had the time to do so.

Is anyone here attending AASL or ALA? I’d love to know who’s “out there” reading my blog.

See you at the next update…


“The grand masquerade: Bold women of the 19th century #1” Amanda Hughes

Rated 3 stars *** Ebook. 2014. Lillis and James. (Includes Author’s Note.)

TheGrandMasqueradeFourteen-year-old Sydnee Sauveterre lived with her father Victor and his slave Margarite in a broken down cabin on the Natchez Trace. Customers stopped by his tavern for a drink, fortunetelling, and Sydnee, who her father forced to comply. She had a gift when it came to animals, and had been taught Hoodoo from Margarite. Valued only for the money they earned Victor, they scraped out their existence on the lonely Trace.

After their deaths Sydnee walked for weeks searching for a new beginning, and was hired to work in New Orleans for a wealthy man’s 16-year-old son. Instead, she and Tristan became the best of friends. He introduced her to his neighbor Isabel, who became her first female friend, and a stable worker Mortimer. Soon the four were inseparable.

As the years passed Madame Sauveterre matured into a lovely young woman, and Tristan made sure she had a place in high society. The four friends continued their deep bond of friendship, made ever closer due to secrets they all shared. In time this deception will lead to them making decisions that will change the courses of their lives.

I enjoyed reading about the friends and their grand masquerade, even though Sydnee’s rise from poverty, and Isabel’s deep secret seemed a bit far-fetched to me. Though labeled as #1 in Hughes’ new series, “Grand Masquerade” is a standalone book.

Recommended for Adult readers who like a bit of history and romance in their stories.

I read 151 books in 2014!

For my last post of 2014 I am proud to say I read 151 books this year!! After reading a newsletter from LibraryThing in which readers were challenged to, once again, read 75 books in the coming year, I was very surprised to find I’d already surpassed that total. After checking my blog archives, my book reading for 2014 is broken down as follows:

January = 32 books    July = 11 books

February = 12 books   August = 9 books

March = 10 books   September = 19 books

April = 10 books   October = 7 books

May = 15 books   November = 9 books

June = 7 books   December = 10 books


What a pleasant surprise to have read a grand total of 151 books during 2014. Here’s to another 151 books for 2015! Happy New Year to all my blog followers.

What is your book total for the year?

An Open Letter in Support of Massachusetts School Librarians

I don’t know if you are aware of the dire state of School Librarians across the 50 states. Unfortunately, we are a dying breed. School Librarians in Massachusetts are attempting to pass a bill which would create a Commission to study the state of School Librarians in the Commonwealth, in order to come up with solutions on how to solve the inequity of service. Below is the letter I sent to every representative I could think of in the state. If you live in Massachusetts, please send a letter to your state representatives seeking their support on this bill. Thanks for your help. If you don’t live in Massachusetts, contact your state School Librarian Association to see what you can do to help keep School Librarians in your neck of the woods.

I am a School Librarian in Boston. Due to the fact that the state of Massachusetts doesn’t monetarily support School Librarians, I have to work part time in two different high schools in order to have a full-time job. I was lucky to get these positions, as I was unemployed for over a year trying to find a job. The only School Librarian jobs I could find were out West in the Worcester, Harvard, Berkshires, etc. areas or on the Cape, none of which were even reasonably close to Weymouth.

Do you know schools use real estate taxes to help pay for “extras” like School Librarians because the state of Massachusetts doesn’t give the schools money for them? My middle class community of Weymouth can not afford elementary or middle school librarians on their income, so only have a high school librarian. The same issue is true in nearby neighborhoods of Abington, Braintree, Quincy and others. However, as one reaches the wealthier communities of Milton, Hingham, etc. who have more income in their homes, suddenly School Librarians are funded across the grades. This inequity of service is rampant in Massachusetts which I have dubbed “The State of the Have’s and Have-Nots.” This inequity does a disservice to students in lower and middle class communities whose parents can’t afford a tax base of real estate which could pay for School Librarians in their children’s schools.

We School Librarians are not only certified librarians, but certified teachers. We teach 21st Century Skills which help students negotiate their way through the immense amount of digital information, integrating our lessons with Common Core and State standards. We support teacher’s curriculums in our lessons and, of course, share our love of literature with children to build up a generation of readers. We are not your Grandmother’s Librarian.

My two high schools are made up of students who are mostly African American and Latino. They, along with thousands of students across the state from low and middle class communities, have been denied the services of a School Librarian due to lack of funding.

Please consider sponsoring bill HD4254 “An Act Creating a Special Commission on School Library Services in the Commonwealth.” This Commission will investigate the state of Massachusetts School Library Programs to gather data which will give Massachusetts a long-range plan for School Library services. This Commission will help give answers to what can be done to remove the “Have/Have Not’s” status currently in existence in Massachusetts when it comes to School Librarians.

I look forward to having your support.

Thank you for your help.

Why I haven’t written in awhile

Hello everyone. Before I post my next book review, I want to tell you why it’s been awhile since I’ve written. After over a year of looking for a job, as of this past Tuesday, I have a job. Two jobs, as a matter of fact! I am working part-time in two different inner city high school libraries in Boston, working Mon., Wed. and alternate Fridays in one, and Tues., Thurs. and alternate Fridays in the other.

I made it through the 4 day week, (Monday was a holiday), and it was quite the challenge – not just traveling there at all hours of the morning to beat traffic, but trying to get two libraries running with time gaps of when I’m there to continue what I’d started and get to know teachers and students. Of course, the ideal job would be to have an every day presence, but school finances don’t allow for that option at this time. Who knows what the future will hold?

So, all this to say that my “read a book a day” will probably turn into a “read a book a week” review. My next entry will review an ARC I started awhile ago. Don’t forget about the “Dear Teen Me” blog tour and giveaway scheduled here for October 27th.

Thanks for following my blog!