Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review: The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Lexiconis the intriguing story of Nick and his brother Alan who have been running from magicians all their lives. They never live in one place for long, always packing up to move when they are discovered. Then, a mysterious brother and sister show up with a big problem and they must seek after those who sought them.

The Demon's Lexicon (The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy)

Things I Liked:
I actually had heard good things about this book, but thought I probably wouldn't like it much. But, a welcome surprise, I loved it! It was a really suspenseful and exciting story. I found myself very invested in the characters, especially Nick, though he displays the least emotions. The interactions between Alan and Nick were interesting and real - how I imagine a lot of brothers interact. I also loved the sarcastic humor, probably because my family uses sarcastic humor. I actually figured out a huge plot twist before it was revealed, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. I especially loved the choices Nick had to make near the end of the book and how he had to think about himself deeply. A thoughtful and well written story.

Things I Didn't Like:
I really hate the cover - the guy looks too cheesy for me. I think I might be in the minority on that though. I actually got hung up on the third person narrator a few times. I thought it might have been better told from Nick's perspective. But, it didn't bother me much during the action. I also noticed a minor flaw in the story that didn't get picked up on by the editors. Again, though, I really didn't care.

It was a bit like the The Abhorsen Chroniclesby Garth Nix
I was also reminded of The Bartimaeus Trilogyby Jonathan Stroud

s-factor: !@
a couple scattered throughout

mrg-factor: X
some suggestion, but nothing described

v-factor: ->->
there is some slashing and killing

Overall rating: ****

What is one of your "pleasantly surprised" reads?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn

A Kiss in Timebrings two worlds clashing together: the medieval world of Talia Aurora, better known as sleeping beauty, and the modern world of Jack, the "prince" who awakens her. When Talia pricks her finger on a spindle and then is awakened by a strangely dressed man, she must learn how to get by in this new century - and get her prince to actually fall in love with her. All this while fighting off the evil Malvolia's continued influence. Could things get more complicated? Of course they can.

A Kiss in Time

Things I Liked:
I thought this was a really fun idea - having the princess sleep for 300 years and wake up in a totally new world. Jack and Talia were both very interesting and pretty believable characters. I also really liked seeing exactly why Malvolia was so malevolent. Nothing like a complex villain to make a story more interesting.

Things I Didn't Like:
I'm not exactly sure why, but I didn't love this book. Nothing sticks out to me as being wrong with it, I just felt kind of blah about it. Cute story, neat ending, I guess nothing terribly remarkable.

Other fairy tale books:
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison (modern day twist too)
Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
also sort of reminded me of Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

s-factor: !
a few scattered throughout

mrg-factor: X
maybe a little boy humor and kissing, not much

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

Monday, September 28, 2009

To Read or Not to Read: That is MY Choice

In honor of Banned Books Week, I give you: my opinion. (Commence cheering.)

When I started library school, one of the very first things we went over was the American Library Association's views on Intellectual Freedom. We debated and talked over censorship and the freedom to read until it was pounded into our very beings. I was immediately won over by these ideas, which were actually quite new to me.

I am not an advocate for banning books, though there are books I deliberately avoid. I've never challenged a book's right to be on a library shelf. Or a bookstore shelf. But, sometimes I challenge the right for a book to be on my shelf. I think this is a side of the freedom to read debate that isn't often mentioned. I agree totally that no one else should be able to decide what my child should or should not read. I should not be able to decide what you or your child gets to read. But, this also means if I choose not to read certain books (or *gasp* to let my child read certain books) because I don't particularly like their content, that is my right.

I don't like a lot of books with certain types of content. That is one reason I put ratings (albeit subjective ones) for language, mature content, and violence on the books I review. I'm not encouraging people to run out and censor or attempt to ban books based on these ratings. I am trying to give people a heads up on the content of a book - either for their own reading or their child's. I also found when I went to library school, that being a religious conservative made me somewhat of a minority. Many of my colleagues are very outspoken liberals. (In fact, many people stereotype religious conservatives as the evil minions who attempt to ban books.) But, on banning and challenging books, I think we agree: it's wrong.

Anyway, last year I had a discussion with some of my reading friends about banned books lists - most of them mentioned that they specifically seek out the lists to read the books on them. Banned books really are some of the best books out there! For some lists, go to ALA's frequently challenged page - my personal favorite is the classics that are commonly challenged list; it has some of my all-time favorites on there.

I must, of course, link to other people's posts about Banned Books Week (Sept 26-Oct 3), so you can enjoy their fabulous thoughts:

Natasha of Maw Books Blog, who loves to read banned books. In fact, she thought far enough in advance to read them and post reviews during the week. I shall probably just link to ones I've read in the past. Hmph.

Angie of Angieville blogged about banned books on her shelf (and has more links than I could get my lazy bottom to find).

Nymeth at things mean a lot talks about her first clandestine reads - loved it!

So, go read a book - and enjoy that freedom!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

100 + Challenge or Why Didn't I Join This Challenge Before 100 Books were Read?

So, I'm a little slow. And a little late. But, I am signing up for this 100+ challenge. I think in order to make it challenging, since I've read 100 books already this year, I'll shoot for 150.
Really, why not? I read over 100 books last year, I am pretty sure I can this year!

Here's the list so far!

1. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Volume 2 by M.T. Anderson
2. The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
3. Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman
4. The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan
5. Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
6. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
7. Beyond the Chestnut Trees by Maria Bauer
8. Hadassah: One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney
9. Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch
10. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
11. The 39 Clues: One False Note by Gordon Korman
12. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney
13. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
14. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
15. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
16. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
17. My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
18. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
19. Highway Cats by Janet Taylor Lisle
20. Holes by Louis Sachar
21. Hope was Here by Joan Bauer
22. After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
23. Chalice by Robin McKinley
24. The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
25. Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
26. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
27. Squashed by Joan Bauer
28. Among the Enemy by Margaret Peterson Haddix
29. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
30. Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
31. Envy: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godberson
32. We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
33. The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan
34. The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
35. Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
36. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
37. Nation by Terry Pratchett
38. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
39. Brooklyn Bridge by Karen Hesse
40. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
41. The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
42. Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
43. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
44. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
45. Savvy by Ingrid Law
46. Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
47. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (audiobook)
48. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
49. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
50. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
51. Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
52. Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone
53. With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Right for a Woman's Right to Vote by Ann Bausam
54. The 13th Reality, book 2: The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner
55. The 39 Clues: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis
56. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
57. Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
58. The Mother In Me: Real-World Reflections on Growing Into Motherhood edited by Kathryn Lynard Soper
59. Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull
60. Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta
61. Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong
62. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (audiobook)
63. Mister Monday by Garth Nix
64. The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
65. The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
66. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
67. Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
68. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
69. The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester
70. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
71. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
72. The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich
73. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (audiobook)
74. Airman by Eoin Colfer
75. Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
76. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
77. The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West by Sid Fleischman
78. Schooled by Gordon Korman
79. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
80. The Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld
81. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
82. A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel
83. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
84. The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
85. The Brothers: A Novel by Chris Stewart
86. Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
87. The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall
88. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
89. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
90. The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison
91. Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
92. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
93. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
94. Need by Carrie Jones
95. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
96. Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
97. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham
98. Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space by Philip Reeve
99. A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi
100. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
101. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
102. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
103. The Lacemaker and the Princess by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
104. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
105. The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
106. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
107. The Season by Sarah MacLean
108. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
109. The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman
110. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
111. The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
112. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
113. The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
114. A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
115. Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
116. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
117. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
118. Gossamer by Lois Lowry
119. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
120. Shug by Jenny Han
121. Thornspell by Helen Lowe
122. Fortune's Folly by Deva Fagan
123. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
124. Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
125. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
126. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
127. Dull Boy by Sarah Cross
128. The 39 Clues: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
129. Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
130. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
131. Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
132. The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley
133. Forest Born by Shannon Hale
134. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
135. Between Me and the River by Carrie Host
136. Daylight Runner by Oisin Mcgann
137. The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
138. Front and Center by Catherine Murdock
139. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
140. Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
141. Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1: The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
142. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
143. A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck
144. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
145. Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
146. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
147. Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
148. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
149. Fire by Kristin Cashore
150. Farworld, Book 1: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage
151. Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix
152. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
153. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
154. The Help by Katherine Stockett
155. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
156. Liar by Justine Larbelestier
157. Evermore by Alison Noel
158. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
159. The Stolen One by Suzanne Carlisle Crowley
160. Legacy by Cayla Kluver
161. Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor
162. Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
163. The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) by Gina Misiroglu
164. Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright
165. Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Horby
166. The 39 Clues: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
167. Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
168. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
169. The Miles Between by Mary Pearson
170. If You're Reading This, It's Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch
171. Candle Man, Book 1: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance by Glenn Dakin
172. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
173. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
174. Splendor by Anna Godberson
175. Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
176. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
177. Lament: the Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stayis a thoughtful tale about Mia and the choices she must make - about her future and even her life. She is facing that time in life where she must choose where to go to school, if she wants to stay with her boyfriend and her family or pursue her musical interests. Then the unthinkable happens, and she must make a much more vital choice.

If I Stay

Things I Liked:
I thought this book was poignant and full of feeling. The characterizations were very normal, especially the reactions of family and friends to what happens. The ideas it explored throughout were interesting and very thought-provoking. I also liked that Mia's parents were good, but not too good. A lot of parents in teen books are either totally perfect or completely horrible. Mia's were neither. The ending, however, was beautifully done.

Things I Didn't Like:
I thought there were too many issues going on; it seemed like the author was trying to get too many points across to focus completely on her story. I was also annoyed by Mia's parents, because they encouraged what Mia and her boyfriend did. Really? I can see parents not knowing or even not really caring, but her parents didn't seem normal. I had some other issues with the portrayal (or lack thereof) of spiritual elements. I can't say much more without being too spoilerish, but the ending seemed obvious to me because of that.

Reminded me of Elsewhereby Gabrielle Zevin and The Lovely Bonesby Alice Sebold

s-factor: !@#$
all over the place

mrg-factor: X
really weird scene

v-factor: ->->
a rather gruesome scene or two

Overall rating: ***

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Biting Off More Than I Can Read

I had an epiphany today. I realized that I just reached the point where, for the first time EVER, I'm not sure I can read all my library books before they are due! It is both depressing and exciting.

Here's what I got this week:

The 39 Clues Book 4: Beyond the Graveby Jude Watson
Daylight Runnerby Oisin McGann
Forest Bornby Shannon Hale
The Name of this Book Is Secretby Pseudonymous Bosch
Shiverby Maggie Stiefvater (FINALLY!)
Thirteenth Childby Patricia C. Wrede
When You Reach Meby Rebecca Stead
The White Queen: A Novelby Philippa Gregory
Dull Boyby Sarah Cross
Storm Glassby Maria V. Snyder (FINALLY FINALLY!)
Foundby Margaret Peterson Haddix
A Countess Below Stairsby Eva Ibbotson

And I only managed to read 2 books from this last loot and only 1 from the time before! I think I need to read faster. Or just crawl into a cave with all my books and not emerge until they are all read. Whichever is easier.

I also won a copy of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parkerby Leanna Renee Hieber from The Tome Traveller's Weblog

And my purchased copy of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer came too!

At least they don't have due dates :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Review: The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

The Magician's Elephantis the enchantingly simple story of Peter Duchesne who works up the courage to ask a fortune-teller a most pressing question. When the answer is inextricably connected to an elephant, he begins a remarkable quest to find something he lost.

Things I Liked:
Oh, how I love Kate DiCamillo. She has this way of writing that is deceptively simplified and yet has such power and meaning and beauty. The words and sentences are plain, but the story and the meanings say so much more. I love the quirky characters, though we don't learn much about them (short book). I love the questioning that people must do in order to change or accept things. I love the children in the story. I guess I just have to say "I loved it" and end there.

Favorite lines:
"How will the world change if we do not question it?" p. 143

"There is as much magic in making things disappear as there is in making them appear. More, perhaps. The undoing is almost always more difficult than the doing." p.185

Things I Didn't Like:
Honestly, I can't think of anything. I wish it had been a tiny bit longer (though, I think the length works, especially for kids).

Definitely try The Tale of Despereauxand The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulanealso by Kate DiCamillo.

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *****

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reasons for Rereading: Revisiting Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Recently, I have been thinking about a book I read almost a year ago. I first heard about it through a group of fabulous YA librarians, who raved about just how amazing it was - story, characters, writing, everything. I HAD to get my hands on it. So I did.

When I started it, I was completely in agreement - I loved everything about it! It was high fantasy with an amazingly awesome kick-butt heroine. I loved the world everything took place in and the writing really was fabulous.

Then, about half-way through, the characters did something I didn't like. I'd been just the tiniest bit nagged about a trait of the main character, but I hadn't let it bother me much. But then, just like that, they did something I thought stupid.

And the rest of the book, I was mad. I didn't fully enjoy the amazing twists and the beautiful conclusion. I couldn't bring myself to love it. Even though, I felt like I really wanted to. I felt frustrated and upset. How is it I let something so small ruin the whole story for me? I don't know, but it did. I only gave it an ok review. I put it aside, and forgot about it.

Until recently. When another book by the same author in the same world began getting buzz. I thought back on that first book. I thought back to the reason I gave it a blah review. I listened to other bloggers rave about both books. I thought some more.

Then, I blogged about my morally-tinted glasses. I wondered why sometimes having certain values makes you unable to appreciate certain books. I mentioned in that post the book I have just finished rereading.

All of this led to my rereading of Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I felt a lot of the same feelings that I did the first time, BUT there were some other things too. These next paragraphs may be a bit spoiler-ish if you haven't read it.

Throughout, Katsa insists she will never marry or have children. I don't know exactly why that annoyed me at first. After all, I wasn't nearly as annoyed by Katniss' desire never to marry or have children. When I thought about it more, I realized it was because Katsa had taken the seabane at such a young age and would NEVER be able to have children; I thought that having taken it once meant she could never change her mind. Katsa doesn't strike me as the kind of person who would change her mind, but I did feel her close relationship with Bitterblue may have softened her a bit. I know lots of people who never want children, and I think that's fine. What bothered me was the thought that Katsa made that irrevocable decision so early and then might never even have the chance later on in life.

After picking it up again, I understood that choice differently. I felt that it wasn't irrevocable, because seabane was not a one-time fix for never having children. If she ever felt so inclined in the future, she could simply stop taking seabane. I also felt like her choices with Po (though perhaps a bit selfish) really shouldn't and didn't mar my enjoyment of the rest of the book. I was swept up into the fast-paced action. I loved the setting and the characters and the fantasy elements. I'd even forgotten about several of the plot twists, and enjoyed those again.
(end spoiler-ish-ness)

So, I think that having reread this book, I was able to appreciate it more. To enjoy it again. To see past my (possibly narrowminded) issue with the book and really come to love it. So, I'm admitting that my first review of Graceling was flawed. I really did love it. And I'd give it an:

Overall rating: ****

Have you ever reread a book you didn't enjoy and changed your opinion of it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back From the Dead (aka the Moving) and Giveaway Winner

Sorry for the silent weekend. After all that BBAW work, I needed a break (just kidding, I was moving). Anyway, we are in our new place and surrounded by boxes, but fortunately I did not misplace my extra copy of The View From Saturday. So, without further ado, here is the winner:

Who mentioned one of her favorite book blogs is West of Mars, which I also enjoy (especially for learning about contests). I've sent you an email, so be sure to get your mail address to me.

Thanks to everyone for letting me know about your favorites. My reader is practically exploding!

Friday, September 18, 2009

BBAW Day 5: Concise is My Middle Name (sorta)

Goals in 50 words or less? Bring. It. On.

What I like best: simple layout, review format.

What I want in one year: more reviews and more readers. I want my blog to be a resource for reviews with content ratings. I wouldn't mind doing other things, but the focus of this blog should always be the reviews.

I would love to hear suggestions on what you think I could improve and what you think I'm doing pretty well. (No, really, you can tell me what I need to do better - I won't be offended!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BBAW Day 4: To Those Honorary Librarians

I don't know how many books I've picked up solely on the basis of another blogger's recommendation. I love seeing books pop up over and over on different blogs - and then realizing I'd better get my library card in gear!

Anyway, looking back over the past few months, I realized there were two books I could distinctly recall seeing on other blogs and picking them up based on their reviews.

Recently, while perusing one of my favorite local (to me) book blogs, Confessions of a Book Habitue (pronunciation guide on her blog header) I read her review of The Lacemaker and the Princess. I have a secret love for historical fiction that sometimes gets neglected in favor of those flashy fantasy novels, but I was intrigued by her words: "This book makes you think. It was a lot deeper than I expected a JF to be." And so I checked it out - and I really enjoyed it! I would never have even heard of it without her recommendation, though. And I love that. Be sure you stop by and read Britt's interesting reviews - she definitely has a way with words (and grammar).

The second recommendation sparked a huge interest for me, not just in one book, but in a new (to me) author. When I first saw Melissa of Melissa's Bookshelf's review of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, I was intrigued. Not only was the cover gorgeous, but Melissa's raving about the writing, story, and characters stood out to me - I wanted it! But, being the forgetful person I am, I did not immediately put it on my TBR list (gasp). However, fortunately for me, there was a conspiracy of Melissas out to get this melissa to read that book! Less than a month later, I read on another Melissa's blog, Book Nut, about Poison Study. Not only was there another fabulous cover, but that same delicious story line and more praise. I remembered (finally) to get this on my list - and I simply adored Poison Study, devoured Magic Study, consumed Fire Study, and anxiously anticipate getting my hands on Storm Glass and Sea Glass! Thank you, bloggers, for keeping me informed of all the fabulous books you find.

One of the most rewarding things about being a librarian is helping people find what they are looking for. Often, they aren't sure what they seek, but librarians can be the ones to guide them in the right direction - to a great book or to vital information. So I guess that makes you all honorary book-bloggy librarians! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW Day 3: Who Dunnit?

A Bookish Meme: Clue Style

The Crime #1: someone found knocked unconscious with a hard, squarish-shaped object (probably interrupted someone's reading...)

The Perpetrator: It was some crazy reader (who me?), under the tree (in the sunshine), with her series OR standalone hard copy book (it would have been much harder with an audiobook - I would have had to choke them with my mp3 player?)

The Crime #2: a library book was discovered plastered with notes and drawings *gasp*

The Perpetrator: It would NEVER BE me, in the pantry (getting chocolate or fruit), with two different books in hand (currently Graceling and The Magician's Elephant)

The Crime #3: laundry was being ignored and dishing were piling ridiculously high

The Perpetrator: It was me, in the middle of the chapter (unless I couldn't possibly put it down yet), with the random scrap of paper to mark my spot (in my fiction OR nonfiction selection).

What are your criminal reading habits?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW Day 2 Continues: Books Help Me Escape from Computers

Several months ago, I posted about my first experience with the Kindle from Amazon. I came away with a fairly favorable opinion, though I'm not entirely sold on the idea of an eReader replacing hard copies of books.

However, Kevin Hamilton from IREX posted on BBAW's site about their newest eReader coming out. In response to the question of what I think is the most important factor in an eReader is rather simple. But, let me do a little explaining first (just to drag things out).

I'm a college librarian and I work in a very small, rather underused library in a rather out-of-the-way location (in the school). Most of the day, I don't get to help students find information. Most of the day, I gather dust sitting at my desk. In front of my computer. I do library stuff as well as spend time blogging. At the end of a typical day, my eyes are tired. I don't want to look at a screen any longer. I go home hoping I won't have to sit at the computer for one more instant!

And with that intro, the most important thing to me in a eReader is that it's easy on the eyes. It can't make me feel (literally or even figuratively) like I'm back at the computer. I don't like e-books in general, because of my desire not to stare at the screen longer than I absolutely must. I know that some eReaders out there have some kind of non-back-lighting design, but I think they haven't quite got it perfected yet. I'm still hoping. Maybe when it starts to feel just like the printed page (to my eyes and possibly my hands) then I'll jump on the eReader bandwagon. (Oh, and when the prices are more affordable for me, too.)

Any thoughts about eReaders? What do you most want in an eReader?

BBAW Day 2: Book Review: The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman

Since I TOTALLY dropped the ball in getting myself signed up for a blogger interview swap, I will instead be posting my review of this fabulous book that is being released TODAY!

*ARC provided by the publisher*

The Possibility of Everythingchronicles Hope's experiences dealing with the sudden appearance of her daughter Maya's rather frightening imaginary friend, along with doubts in her life and marriage. When their family takes a trip to Belize, she makes an extraordinary decision to see a shaman healer that changes their lives forever.

Things I Liked:
I loved the religious/faith/philosophical ideas that are explored in the book. Edelman does a beautiful job of bringing her experiences to life - her writing is really gorgeous. I enjoyed the everyday things that happened, her interactions with Maya and Uzi. I was really astounded at how connected I felt to her and her family. The story arc surrounding Maya was really intriguing as well. I loved the ending - I thought it was a great (though perhaps not unexpected) conclusion to their remarkable experiences. I really appreciated throughout the honest depictions of her feelings - it must be really difficult sometimes to tell things as she really felt and experienced them. A beautiful family-strengthening story! Even if you're not a mother, I think you will find something in this story that will help you grow!

Things I Didn't Like:
Some of the tangents she seemed to go off on were a little distracting - describing some aspects of "unrelated" things a little too much. Sometimes I had a hard time reading through the parts that didn't immediately relate to the story. Some of them contributed more to the experience than others, though.

I haven't read a lot of stuff like this, but it reminded me of other mother-child stories I read in The Mother in Me edited by Kathryn Lynard Soper

s-factor: !@
a moderate amount of swearing

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

If you haven't seen this video, I found it a perfect addition to the book - photos of Edelman's family!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week, Day 1 and a GIVEAWAY!

BBAW 2009 has officially started - YEAH! Today's post are spotlights of some of my favorite blogs and, of course, a giveaway!

Abby (the) Librarian was one of the very first blogs I found back when I was a newbie blogger. Not only did I feel kinship because she happens to be a librarian, but I also really enjoy reading about books she's found and days in the life of a children's librarian. It's nice for me to read stuff from other librarians, especially since I'm kind of isolated in my tiny college library. If you haven't yet, go check out her blog!

Also, Tina at Fantastic Book Review was nominated in several categories, but specifically, I think her giveaways are, well, fantastic! She seems to always be having three or four going on at once. Here site is also brimming with gorgeous covers, so I love to visit just to see what she has up! If you haven't visited, go there quickly! (And definitely enter her contests!)

One of my other favorites is a local (to me) blogger, Suey at It's All About Books. Suey is one of those who makes those of us new and shy feel very welcome! And also, pretty much, everyone else feel welcome and appreciated. She also recently played a huge part in convincing me to join Twitter. (Which I did. I haven't been too active yet, though. Still wetting my feet.) I love her reviews, which are given a letter grade as opposed to stars. Also, I really like how she includes links to other people's reviews - something I'd like to do, but am too lazy to get around to it.

Now, on to the giveaway! I have one gently used paperback copy of The View from Saturday by E.L. Kongisburg, which I reviewed yesterday. I really love this book - so much that I bought it twice without thinking! Fortunately for you, I now have a copy to share; unfortunately, I can only ship in the US.

If you would like to win this book, please leave a comment telling me about a book blog you love to read (I'm not fishing for compliments, but trying to find more blogs to read).

Leave me an email address if it isn't readily available on your profile! Enter by midnight on Friday, September 18. I will (try) to choose a winner on Saturday, but I am moving that day, so it might be Sunday or Monday before I get it posted.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Review: The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

The View from Saturdayis the unique and funny story of four sixth graders, chosen by their teacher to be the Academic bowl team. The story deftly weaves together the paths of each of these kids and how they cross, with the current success of the bowl team. So, how did Mrs. Olinsky know just which students to choose for the team? You'll have to read it to find out.

The View from Saturday

Things I Liked:
I just adored the characters in this book! They are quirky and funny and just plain real. Konigsburg has a way of writing stories that literally bring them to life! The mystery elements kept me searching for clues and waiting anxiously to know just how this dynamic team was brought together. This is children's literature at its best.

Things I Didn't Like:
Sometimes there seemed to be too many characters and stories going on. I didn't really have a hard time keeping up, but maybe younger kids would.

Definitely try From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweileralso by Konigsburg
It reminded me of The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt and The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *****

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Forget Browsing, Let's Talk Holds

I decided after last week's library overload, that I would not allow myself to go back until I had several books read.

Then, my holds came up. Seriously, all of them (well, ok I have around 30 holds, so not all of them). But, I really wanted to read all of these ones, so I got them anyway. I didn't allow myself to browse though :)

Dreamhunterby Elizabeth Knox
The Demon's Lexiconby Sarah Rees Brennan
If I Stayby Gayle Forman
If You're Reading This, It's Too Lateby Pseudonymous Bosch (which came in before the first book in the series - darn!)
A Kiss in Timeby Alex Flinn
The Magician's Elephantby Kate DiCamillo
Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xiaby Cindy Pon

And as a random note about my libraries: I frequent two public libraries (so lucky to be close to both) and I find they have different practices about renewals. One library lets you renew at least once, even if it is on hold. The other doesn't let you renew if there are holds. I find that this sometimes leads to putting the first library's books at the perpetual bottom of my stack, since they have the latest due date. I can't decide which practice I like better - obviously, I like having three extra weeks for books, but I also like to have my holds come in more frequently. Good thing I have two libraries!

I forgot to include the books I got for review! They look delicious!

The Smart One and the Pretty Oneby Claire LaZebnik
Legacyby Cayla Kluver
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Copyright © melissa of One Librarian's Book Reviews 2008-2015