The Thousandth Floor: A Review

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGeeThe year: 2118. The city: Manhattan. The place: The Tower–the world’s first thousand floor skyscraper. Other buildings have since overtaken the Tower but it still stands as an icon in Manhattan where it acts as a city unto itself.

Everyone thinks Leda Cole has everything. But after a stint in rehab, she’s learning that it’s all too easy to give into her addictions when things stop going her way.

Eris Dodd-Radson has the perfect family, wealth, and beauty. Until a family secret ruins all of that.

Rylin Myer’s life is far from glamorous all the way down on the thirty-second floor of the Tower. As the only person who can take care of her younger sister, Rylin is determined to do whatever it takes to survive at any cost.

Watt Bakradi has an illegal computer and hacking skills that could get him in a lot of trouble. When Watt is hired to spy on a girl on the upper floors, he can’t imagine the ways it will complicate his life.

Up on the thousandth floor, Avery Fuller has the best of the best right down to her genetically engineered looks. But this girl who can have everything is haunted by the one thing that remains stubbornly out of her reach.

The Tower is a world unto itself with everything residents could want–especially the residents of the upper floors. But when you’re all the way at the top, it’s a long fall back to the bottom in The Thousandth Floor (2016) by Katharine McGee.

The Thousandth Floor is McGee’s first novel and the start of a new series.

If you have ever wondered what a book might look like with elements of the Gossip Girl series and pieces from the game Tiny Tower, look no further. Filled with twists and turns this novel is exactly what you’d expect from its pitch complete with truly fascinating (and often horrifying) world building.

McGee rotates between the close, third-person points of view of several characters to create narratives with unexpected points of intersection. The Thousandth Floor is a fun bit of mystery with sensationalism and voyeuristic thrills thrown in as readers are thrown into the world of the Tower. Recommended for readers looking for a juicy diversion that doesn’t shy away from drama. A great stepping stone for readers looking to try their hand at speculative fiction as well.

Possible Pairings: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver, The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle, Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar, Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Little Elliot, Big Fun: A Picture Book Review

Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike CuratoLittle Elliot and Mouse are back for another fun adventure. This time around, the two friends decide to go to Coney Island. Mouse is excited to try all of the rides but Elliot isn’t so sure. With so many rides that are too high, too crowded, and plain old too scary, will Elliot find a way to have fun with his friend in Little Elliot, Big Fun (2016) by Mike Curato.

Little Elliot, Big Fun is Curato’s third picture book featuring my favorite polka dot elephant. (Other books in the series: Little Elliot, Big City and Little Elliot, Big Family.)

Curato once again brings old time New York to life–this time turning his eye to Coney Island. The illustrations in this book really draw readers into the amusement park. Curato’s signature eye for detail (and careful research) also make sure every ride is accurate to the book’s era (somewhere around the 1940s). A fold out spread from the Coney Island Ferris Wheel is especially stunning.

Readers have previously seen Elliot make his way in a big world (when he is quite small), and find an adopted family when he comes to Mouse’s family reunion. In some ways, Elliot’s problems are smaller in this one but just as universal. Coney Island is fun and exciting but Elliot struggles with the crowds, the noise, and many of the rides.

Little Elliot, Big Fun is a sweet story that shows young readers it’s okay to be scared but that it’s also important to keep trying to find things (say, amusement park rides) that work for you. And sometimes even scary things are manageable when you tackle them with a friend. Like the other picture books in this series, Little Elliot, Big Fun is highly recommended and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

*An advance copy of this title was acquired from the publisher for review consideration at BEA 2016*

Week in Review: August 28

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I had a three day weekend from work. Thursday I got to see one of my college friends for dinner who I am tragically and painfully bad at keeping in touch with. Friday night I went to Coney Island for the first time–it was very far away but also quite picturesque.

I went on two roller coasters which might have been two too many but now I know.

On Saturday Mom and I watched a marathon of James Garner movies on TCM. I saw The Great Escape for the first time and I can’t stop thinking about it. Such a good film.

Sunday I did some laundry, weeding, plant watering, and other home maintenance.

I leave you with one of my favorite pictures from Luna Park:

You also might have noticed: My blog turned nine this month! I’m running a giveaway for the rest of the month and have some other thoughts in my 9th blog birthday post.

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my August Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

Paper Snowflakes Program in the Library

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Kids hard at work contemplating their snowflake designs.

When I started as a library intern in high school, one of my first jobs was cutting out paper snowflakes for a display. I love cutting snowflakes and had a lot of fun making them. The display was very well-received and while there was a lot of time involved, it was low cost.

As I try to regenerate interest in teen programs, I’ve realized that I prefer to lead low-effort/high-impact craft programs. Basically: I like programs where participants can put in as little or as much effort as they like and still leave with some kind of finished project.

My library has a monthly Ezra Jack Keats program which includes a story by Ezra Jack Keats and can also feature other stories, rhymes, songs, or fingerplays. After the reading, everyone makes a related craft. Although it was summer, I decided to do cut paper snowflakes along with a reading of The Snowy Day.

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Coloring snowflakes with crayons.

Before the program I gave teen volunteers a snowflake-making tutorial and then asked them to cut some demo ones. I grabbed a ream of white typing paper and a ream of blue typing paper and lots of scissors. I also used a box of crayons so that more adept participants could draw designs to cut. The crayons also allowed the younger kids to color and decorate pre-made snowflakes.

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A finished masterpiece. Cut and colored by one of the kids at the program.

Because this craft is so simple, I was able to let teen volunteers do a group reading of The Snowy Day. I then talked a bit about if kids did the same things in winter as we see in the book and we figured out some facts about snowflakes. Then I explained the craft and gave quick instructions before everyone got started.

During the program I discovered it’s really best to have a lot of actual scissors (child size) but NOT the safety-scissors with almost no blade–they are impossible to use for cutting through the multiple layers of folded paper to make a snowflake.

I also spent a lot of time going around to ask kids how they were doing and tell me about their snowflakes. If I noticed anyone who was frustrated with cutting, I was able to quickly make a snowflake for them to use as reference or to color.

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Snowflake, mid-coloring.

The biggest downside to this program was that there was a lot of paper scraps by the end but cleanup wasn’t terrible with help from volunteers. (We couldn’t find a broom so I did have to ask a custodian to sweep up the last bits.) I would not recommend doing this program in a carpeted room unless you have a vacuum handy.

Related Books:

  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian
  • It’s Snowing by Olivier Dunrea
  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
  • It’s Snowing by Gail Gibbons
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Snow by Uri Shulevitz

The Kiss of Deception: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. PearsonLia, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, is seventeen years old. She is Morrighan’s princess and a key part of her father’s plans to forge an alliance with the neighboring kingdom of Dalbrek. The only problem is that Lia has no intention of marrying to further her kingdom’s political standing–certainly not to a prince she has never met.

When Lia flees on her wedding day she sets a series of disastrous events in motion that leave chaos and danger in her wake.

Her hopes to start a new life as a commoner alongside her faithful maid, Pauline, are threatened when two handsome strangers arrive at her new home. One is the prince Lia refused to marry, the other is an assassin sent to kill her.

Surrounded by secrets and lies, Lia’s entire world could unravel when the truth is revealed in The Kiss of Deception (2014) by Mary E. Pearson.

The Kiss of Deception is the first book in Pearson’s The Remnant Chronicles which continues with The Heart of Betrayal and The Beauty of Darkness.

The Kiss of Deception is a thoughtful blend of fantasy and suspense layered across a dystopian world. Tantalizing hints throughout the novel suggest that Morrighan shares a common past with the modern world, but no concrete answers are given leaving  readers to draw their own conclusions.

Lia is an interesting heroine and narrates most of the novel. She is often naive and reckless but she is also kind and selfless. What originally appears as thoughtless privilege soon morphs into a strong moral compass and royal demeanor. Lia’s growth throughout the novel is empowering and well handled but her character remains the most developed for most of the novel.

By all rights, The Kiss of Deception should be a fast-paced adventure beginning with Lia’s flight on her wedding day. Lia’s narrative is even interspersed with chapters from the Prince and the Assassin lending another level of mystery to the story. Unfortunately, these pieces take a bit too long to come together which makes the first half of the novel drag. Uneven pacing and predictable plot twists further weaken the story.

The Kiss of Deception introduces a rich world and a large cast of characters. Readers willing to forgive unanswered questions about world building and readers who don’t mind characters who withhold key information will get the most out of this novel. Recommended for readers looking for a new high fantasy with a lot of romance, strong female characters, and meandering action.

Possible Pairings: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, And I Darken by Kiersten White, Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Summer Reading 2016 Display (Get in the Game)

Summer is a very busy time in any public library because kids are out of school and the library usually has some kind of Summer Reading Program.

Such is the case at my place of employ. To make things easier (and to promote the summer reading list) I usually create a summer-long display in the YA area to show off summer reading books. This also works well because we buy special “summer reading” copies and have them in a separate section during the summer. The teen section isn’t always the easiest to find while browsing so my hope is that the display helps make it more visible.

Since I helped create this year’s middle school and high school booklists, I was especially excited to make the display.

This year’s summer reading theme is “Get in the Game” so I decided to go for a comic style in my main sign. I included the theme, an explanation that the books are from the summer reading list, and directed patrons to the information desk if they want more information and/or to sign up.

sr16cAround the informational sign I put images of book covers for titles featured on the list. I also made larger images with some book covers and quotes. I chose which quotes to use based on whether I had already made an image/quote file (The Scorpio Races) and whether the books had good quotes available. The Great Greene Heist, for instance, did not have any good quotes I could find online so I just used the book cover. Then I just tried to do a mix of ages/formats to flesh out the display. I also tried to go for books with bold covers.

sr16bI stocked the display with summer reading books found in the regular collection as well as the special summer reading copies (new paperbacks with a summer reading label). As the summer has progressed I’ve restocked the display with whatever titles we have the most of on the shelves. I added copies of the summer reading list for people to grab too.

sr16aSo this is what my YA display table looked like for the summer. This week marks the end of my library’s summer reading program.

You can check out my library system’s summer reading lists online.

What books have you been reading this summer? If you work in a library, what was your summer reading theme/booklist?

Week in Review: August 21

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

Here is what no one tells you about having your wisdom teeth removed: even after the stitches are out and the swelling goes down you are not completely healed. Your head will still feel uncomfortable when you bend over. You might still not be able to eat everything you want to eat. The sockets won’t heal and close up for another 3-4 weeks. And even though you are expected to get on with things, you probably still won’t feel completely like yourself.

This week was hard with all of that and with playing catch up at work and feeling like I was making zero progress on anything because I had so many deadlines and moving parts that I couldn’t deal with while I was home. I was also shamed by the receptionist at the oral surgeon for taking three days off from work plus another day for when I had the stitches removed. Which was great. Obviously. A week of bad sleep also didn’t help anything. I am hoping for a better next week.

I am continuing to add Amazon Associate links to all of my published reviews which is giving me the chance to update photos that are low quality or badly sized. If you happen to be shopping at Amazon, feel free to follow one of my links for your purchase ;)

You also might have noticed: My blog turned nine this month! I’m running a giveaway for the rest of the month and have some other thoughts in my 9th blog birthday post.

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my August Reading Tracker.

How was your week?