Girls of Paper and Fire

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan is young adult novel published by James Patterson’s publishing imprint.

Every year eight girls are chosen as paper girls, consorts selected to serve the daemon king. Their only job is to serve the king and obey; the paper girls, once chosen, will live in the palace for the rest of their lives.

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest members of society. Paper caste’s have no daemon blood in them, they are perfectly human. The Silver caste is the middle class and their appearances may take on some aspects of a daemon. Finally, the Moon caste has control of all of Ikhara. They are powerful and fully daemon.

Seven years ago, the Moon caste guards took Lei’s mother and now they have returned for her–the golden eyed paper girl, a prize for the king. But Lei refuses to give in to her role as a paper girl and over the course of her training at the palace, Lei does the unthinkable… she falls in love.

Now Lei will give everything to fight the daemon king and protect those she loves. But what will she have to give up in order to do it? And will the price be something she is willing to pay?

I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t overly keen to start this one. It’s one I’ve had on my TBR list but I kept putting it off knowing that there would be a fair amount of sexual violence. And there certainly is a fair bit of it. Nothing overly graphic, the majority of the sexual violence happens behind the scenes but we all know it’s happening.

As much as I wasn’t overly keen on the consort plot, I did like the rebellion behind the scenes. I do wish this was built up a little bit more because I feel like this might be a story where a book two was intended but it may not happen. We’ll see.

There was also a nice balance between the paper girls themselves. There was a sense of comradery but also jealousy and wariness. This was well done without too much cattiness.

This one gets 3.5 stars from me. An interesting read but maybe not one for me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an adult historical fiction book by Jamie Ford.

It is 1986 and Henry Lee stands amid the crowd as the Panama Hotel finally gives up its secrets. Located near the heart of what was once Seattle’s Japantown, the hotel is finally reopening after being boarded up for decades. Piled high within the hotel’s basement is the belongings of many Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the belongs are displayed, Henry begins to remember the last time he stood in front of the Panama Hotel, forty years earlier.

So begins a narrative, alternating between past and present, that will reveal Henry’s childhood during a time of upheaval as WWII rages. Cultures clash and fear prevails as the reader witnesses history replay itself through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old boy.

How has the past shaped the man Henry is today? And what part can a young Japanese American girl have to play in it?

It took me about a quarter of the book to really get into this story. I found the beginning to be quite slow and I wasn’t really sure where the story was heading–a note: I never read the synopsis’ for my book club books; I just dive in. But I’m glad I stuck with it because this was really such a wonderful read.

This book talks about a period of time in American history that many people don’t know about, don’t know much about or don’t want to talk about. When first and second generation Japanese American families were forced to leave their homes and relocate to internment camps, where they were forced to live throughout WWII. And in the case of this book, we see a whole city’s worth of Japanese American’s having to give up their homes.

A few years ago, I read the juvenile fiction book Paper Wishes, which followed a Japanese family who was sent to one of these internment camps and The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet just brought me back to that book and even though it was a middle grade read, it was great remembering a book that took place inside of the internment camps.

The relationship between Henry and Keiko was so pure and to see what they went through was heartbreaking. I also loved how we got a glimpse of the 1940’s Jazz scene through Sheldon and the long lost Oscar Holden record.

This book gets 4.5 stars from me. Starts out slow, but worth sticking with.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Baby Storytime – 1/7/19

Happy New Year everybody! I cannot believe it is 2019 but I am happy to be getting back to baby storytime. To celebrate the new year, I am going to try a few different things. Let’s see how it goes:

  • Hello Rhyme – Well Hello Everybody
    • Isn’t Jbrary just fabulous! I thought this would be a great one to warm up to. It has simple movements and should be great for baby and grown-up to interact together.
  • ASL Baby Signs – HELLO / MORE / ALL DONE51mW6VDuwFL._SX444_BO1204203200_
    • I’ve decided that for the babies, instead of teaching them a rhyme in sign language, that I am going to start teaching three vocabulary words each time. I generally use Baby Sign Language.com to check my signs.
  • Song – Roll Your Hands by Toddlers on Parade
    • This is a slow song with simple movements for baby.
  • Board Book – Yawn by Sally Symes
    • I like to pass out a board book to each of my baby/caregivers. This way we can promote one-on-one reading. I read up front and they read with me.
  • Rhyme – Row, row, row your boat41-op1MQclL._SX364_BO1204203200_
    • I haven’t done this classic in such a long time. So we are all going to row together with baby on our laps!
  • Book/Prop – My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael HallWe didn’t have this book in our system, so I made my own sort of popsicle stick story with the figures on the pages.
  • Stretch – This is…
    • I love this one. It’s so much fun to make the movements and it actually starts to get the kids thinking about opposites.

This is big big big Hold (arms out to side)
This is small small small (cup hands together)
This is short short short (hold hands with palms facing each other)
This is tall tall tall (reach one hand above head)
This is fast fast fast (circle fists quickly)
This is slow slow slow (circle fists slowly)
This is yes yes yes (nod)
This is no no no (shake head)

  • Song – The Wheels on the Bus by Toddlers on Parade
    • Who doesn’t love this song!
  • Book – A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes51jy03nPWOL._SX486_BO1204203200_
    • I’ve been trying to pick a lot of new to the library picture books lately, spice things up, and this is one of them. I also have an elephant puppet, which I’ve been dying to break out.
  • Lift – Up, Up, Up
    • This is one I made up and I think it’s fun!

Up, up, up (lift baby up)
Down, down, down (bring baby back down)
Up, down, up, down (up and down motion)
And tickles all around (tickle baby)

  • Lift/Bounce – Giddy-Up, Giddy-Up
    • I love bounces!!!

Giddy-up, giddy up ride to town (bounce babies on knees)
Giddy-up, giddy-up up and down (lift baby up and down)
Giddy-up fast (bounce quickly)
Giddy up slow (bounce slowly)
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, whoa! (dip baby backwards gently)

  • Song/Shaker – Put on my Dancing Shoes by Kathy Reid-Naiman 
    • Time to break out the shakers and what better song to shake to!
  • Song/Bubbles – I Took a Bath in a Washing Machine by Jim Gill 
    • Kids love bubbles and they are great for strengthening the eye muscles that we later use for reading.
  • Goodbye Rhyme – Clap and Sing Goodbye
    • This is a new goodbye song for me so we will see how it goes. I created a flip-chart with “hello” on one side and “goodbye” on the other. Same words, just sub hello/goodbye.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go:

Wow, such a big group to start off the new year! Overall, everything went great. We love our bounces and our lifts. Not sure about introducing the three ASL signs, instead of doing the rhyme, but I am going to give it another few weeks.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Afterlife of Holly Chase

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand is a YA fictional take on a classic Christmas Story.

On Christmas Eve, Holly Chase was visited by three ghosts with the hopes of getting her to change her ways. They failed and she died. Now Holly is doomed to work for the very company that tried to save her–Project Scrooge.

Every year, Project Scrooge chooses a new “Scrooge” to try and save. And as the Ghost of Christmas Past, it is Holly’s job to get to know the Scrooge and find out which memories from their past would have the biggest impact in helping them to change their future.

For the past five years, Holly has done her job and helped to save the Scrooge. But this year something is different. The Scrooge is young, seventeen, the same age as Holly. There is just something about this Scrooge that Holly cannot resist. She feels drawn to him in a way she’s never connected to any other Scrooge before.

Can Holly put aside her selfish ways and help this Scrooge before it is too late?

This was a pretty neat take on A Christmas Carol. I wanted something Christmas-y for the holidays that would still be fun and this definitely succeeded. It was just really neat to see the blend of science and magic to make this story happen. I also liked that Holly was one of those characters you were rooting for but you also had to hate, just a little. And you could see begin to change as the story went on… but realistically so. It wasn’t a major 180, but you could see she definitely was going to try to be better.

One of the really great things about this one was, just when I thought I knew where it was heading, it’d go someplace else. That being said, there were some pretty predictable moments but the end was enough of a twist that I enjoyed it.

Overall, this was a neat little read that was unique and fun for the holiday. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Mortal Word

The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman is the fifth book in The Invisible Library series.

An unprecedented event is about to occur and as usual, everything could come down to Irene. The Library has been chosen as mediators between the Dragons and the Fae, in the hopes of starting a path toward peace. But when one of the dragons from the peace party is murdered, what looked like peace could actually end up in war.

Now Irene, Val and Kai must locate the murderer all while navigating dangerous egos and tricky politics. Can Irene muster her wit to save these peace talks and keep the library neutral?

I just love this series. The first three books were definitely my favorites but these past two have still been great. I think it is this world Cogman has created. It is full of magic and action, competing personalities and literally anything can happen. Irene is full of ingenuity and has just enough snark and realistic reactions, that she just makes for a fun character.

I do wish we got a little more of Val and Kai in The Mortal Word. For a “mission” that would totally be up Val’s ally, I thought Irene really did all the heavy lifting. But we did get a very long awaited for moment that was perfect in its hinted simplicity behind the scenes and some teasing of whats to come.

This is a series that I think could go on and on. There’s enough side plots that could be explored and the politics between the three factions of power will always be around for the added drama.

This one get 4 stars from me! Keep ’em coming Cogman, I’m a fan!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Family Storytime: Hello Winter!

Hi Guys, it is now officially winter and so let’s all say hello to winter in this family storytime for all ages!

  • Song – Top of the Morning
    • This is a fun tune and great for waking up and doing a little stretching. It’s called Top of the Morning.
  • Hello Rhyme – Say Hello
    • This is a great rhyme for saying hello because we get to do it in so many fun ways!
  • Stretch – Simon Says
    • This is a great way to get the kids up and moving.
  • ASL – SNOW / COLD / WINTER
    • I always teach my group a few American Sign Language signs to go with every theme. This is great to help frustrated little ones communicate but it also helps make our world a better place by fostering communication with each other. We have a large deaf community near my library so learning just a few signs are great! I usually use Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language.
  • Book – Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks OR Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
    • I haven’t decided which one of these I am going to use yet. I am going to gauge my audience the day of.
  • Rhyme – Snowflake, Snowflake in the Sky
    • Another fun one from Jbrary with simple movements and a nice rhyme.
  • Song – Snow on the Rooftops by Kathy Reid-Naiman
    • IMG_0664This is an easy one to add movements to as you follow along.
  • Magnet/White Board – The First Day of Winter by Karma WilsonFor this one, I am going to draw my snowman body on the white board and add my magnets as I “sing” the story to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. This should be interesting.
    • This is a game my mom taught me. You put the kids to sleep by saying: “sleeping, sleeping a9780688170530_p0_v2_s550x406ll our friends
      are sleeping. Game – Sleeping, Sleeping… And when they woke up they were _____.” And you can wake them up as anything you want, bears, cats, dogs. And keep putting them to sleep and waking them up. But don’t forget to turn them back to good little boys and girls at the end!
  • Book/Puppets – Oh! by Kevin HenkesI’m getting more into puppets, which is perfect for this book because it is a little small. So the puppets will add nicely to the story.
  • Rhyme w/props – The Winter Hokey Pokey
    • I intend to bring in mittens and gloves and add on each garment as we do that part of the hokey pokey.

snowkey-pokey

  • Song/Shakers – Jingle Bells
    • Why not shake to Jingle Bells, that is the question.
  • Movement Exercise – If You’re Happy and You Know It
    • I tell the kids that I want to know how happy they are.
  • Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • This is the same rhyme we started with, so the new guys are familiar with it by the end of storytime.
  • Song – Clean It Up! by The Laurie Berkner Band
    • Everyone helps put our shakers away
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell my Friends by Music Together
    • I always put this one on as I go to open the door. Its a nice, slow, peaceful song to wind down on.

How’d it go:

This one cracked me up! First, I changed up my intro and exit a bit and tried some random rhymes I found the other day. I’ll post about them later. And then I totally butchered The First Day of Winter with my singing and everyone was cracking up with me about it. The kids might have been confused but the parents got a kick out of it. ALSO, the kids kept stealing my magnets so my snowman didn’t come out quite right.

Finally, a woman after the program came up to me and asked me if I was an opera singer because I was SO LOUD! hahahahahaha! Made my day.

All and all, this was a really fun storytime!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Christmas on the Island

Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan is the third book in the Summer Seaside Kitchen series.

In Scotland, on the remote Island of Mure, Christmas is a festive, cozy time of year. It’s a time for family and friends and for reflecting on the good things in life. Well… that is if you hadn’t gotten accidentally pregnant by your skittish boyfriend who has some serious emotional issues. Will Flora get up the nerve to tell Joel? And what will his reaction be?

Also on Mure, Saif, a doctor and refugee from Syria is trying to enjoy his first Christmas with his boys after their reunion earlier in the year. But things have been even harder for Saif ever since he and Lorena ruined their friendship with their emotional confessions. Saif’s wife is still missing and the whole family is struggling to adapt to life on the island.

Will Christmas on Mure be a disaster or will this little community come together to enjoy the holiday?

Oh Mure. Oh Jenny Colgan. I tend to read Colgan’s books when I am looking for something light and in general, I like my light reads to tie up in nice neat little bows. But these books almost always leave me just a smidgen wanting. And Christmas on the Island was pretty much the same. A lovely, light little read that takes us back to the characters we fell in love with in the first two books, but with new and old problems rearing their heads.

All I have to say is poor everyone in this book! I felt so bad for ALL the characters. We really need the next one to give everyone perfectly happy endings. Please. Now that I think about it, this wasn’t really a light happy read… don’t let the “Christmas” in the title fool you. It was actually quite depressing even if there were sunny moments and it ended on a fairly happy-ish note.

The more I think back on this book the more I am reconsidering my four star rating. I think I am actually going to go with a 3.5 because I just needed a little bit more from it. But I do hope we get at least one more

That’s all for now!

-M-