Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review: "The Devil You Know" by Trish Doller

Arcadia "Cadie" Wells is desperate.  She needs some fun and adventure in her life or she's going to go crazy.  She's been caring for her little brother (and father) for the three years since her mother passed away.  She's not headed off to college; she just works at her father's grocery store in their little Florida town.  Also, she and her long term boyfriend broke up and now she has to see him with his new girlfriend.  One night she decides she's going to go to one of the parties over at the campground and just see what happens....  and she meets the MacNeal cousins who are driving & camping through Florida.  She notices Matt first - he is cute and friendly, and seems like a nice guy.  She meets Noah later - and he is equally as cute though a little older and seems to have had a rough history.  The cousins invite Cadie and her friend Lindsay to join them on their road trip, which sounds like just the adventure Cadie needs.  What could go wrong?

This little story kind of surprised me.  I have loved all of Doller's previous books.  They were more of contemporary romances, where this one is more of a thriller with romance involved.  It got pretty intense there at the end, in such a good way.  You see Matt and/or Noah are not exactly what they seem.  Cadie keeps getting these bad feelings and signs that she should get away from these guys, but they keep pulling her back into the adventure (and lusty romance).  Cadie just never listens to her gut instinct, even when she hears about people going missing from campgrounds and that even Lindsay never makes it home when she said she would.  She is pretty reckless really from the start - I don't think I could just jump in a car with two strange guys for a couple days of camping - especially without my parent's knowledge of where I was, who I was with or when I'd be home.  But I think she comes to realize that recklessness, even if a little too late, and just hope it doesn't get her killed.

This is a great book for older teens who like suspense and romance.
The Devil You Know
by Trish Doller
Bloomsbury, 2015
241 pages
Source:  Puchased new


Monday, September 26, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: "Hark! A Vagrant" by Kate Beaton

I had seen some panels from this book pictured over on Litsy, and wanted to give it a shot.  This book is a collection of comics that take a humorous look at history and literature.  The history has a distinct Canadian bias - given the author/illustrator and the publisher is Canadian and all - and the literature is mostly Classics (though I loved the Nancy Drew series that imagined the story based on title and cover art alone).

I generally liked the book, but I only found myself outwardly smiling at the literature based ones.  I know, you're shocked.  I liked some of the historical ones, but not all and I think it says more about my understanding of history (and not even a true inkling of Canadian history) than it does about the author's work.  Does that make sense?  This has inspired me to be on the lookout for more things Canadian though, so I can work on that for myself.

The art is fun and I really enjoyed the style of the drawing.  Napoleon there on the cover is an example, though some characters are drawn in a more complex fashion inside the book.  He's cartoony but recognizable.  And this is true throughout.

She has another book out, published last year in fact, that is called Step Aside, Pops!  which I may take a look at sometime.  Could be an amusing pick me up during a readathon in fact!

Hark! A Vagrant
by Kate Beaton
Drawn and Quarterly, 2011
166 pages
Source:  Library


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is coming!!

My FAVORITE readathon is coming up soon!!  Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is happening on Saturday, October 22.  I've already signed up, and you should too!

Click HERE to sign up!

Don't have any idea of what I'm talking about?  Oh, you poor soul, you.  Let me fill you in.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is a twice a year Reading event during which THOUSANDS of people around the world decide to push everything aside and just read for the day.  The full day.  24 hours of the day (you know, if you can).  I personally usually last 16 -18 hours or so, but you do the best that you can.  And once you have your stack of things to read ready, your snacks all set, and your comfiest reading spot prepped - then you are just about ready to experience it.

Just about?  Yes, because you need to also consider the conversations on Twitter, the photos on Instagram, and all the other ways people connect online happening too.  It is so much fun!

You don't want to miss it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review: "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into; no idea of what to expect.  I only knew that it was set in the South during the Civil War, the main characters were Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, and somewhere in it somebody says "My dear, I don't give a damn."  I have not seen the movie (yet).  I also knew that this was a well-loved book, especially by one blogging friend in particular.

I bought myself a copy a couple years ago, and put the book on my Classics Club list.  But I still didn't read it.  Last year, this book came up in discussion in my book group at the library and I gently suggested that we read it over the summer.  Everyone agreed, and there you go....  I had all summer to read it.  A different kind of reading project happened at the end of summer (which I sill be able to talk about in a month or so) and then I didn't even get to start reading this until two weeks ago - the book group meets tomorrow.  I actually finished last night....  and what can I say?

This book, this epic story of love and loss, of surviving when it doesn't seem possible, of life in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction...  this book is so much more than I ever expected.  I cried in parts, I was shocked in others, and I felt really uncomfortable as well (like when ever slaves spoke, were spoken about, or discussed in any way).  I spent two weeks with this book, and I believe I'm going to miss it.

Scarlett & Rhett's relationship was not what I expected at all.  Scarlett was not who I expected at all.  I really didn't like her much as she was so vain and selfish, but I understood her.  I was proud of her for going after what she wanted no matter what the neighbors said.  She treated others horribly, she was a terrible mother, and not a great wife either.  Most of all, she couldn't see the good that was right in front of her face... she couldn't appreciate it and could not reciprocate it.  And that was a shame.  Rhett, on the other hand, I liked right away.  He was the bad boy to love, and everyone loves the bad boy, right?  Well, I usually do.

The ending was not what I expected at all.  Well, sort of.  I did figure that Scarlett was going to finally come around and really see the men in her life for who they were.  But I didn't expect Rhett to do what he did, even though it makes perfect logical sense for him.

I loved this book.  I'm still a little in awe of my co-workers (you know, other librarians!) who made comments like "Why are your torturing yourself?" while I was reading it.  This book is not torture.  Big books do not scare me...  I typically love them more than others!  I'm looking forward to seeing the movie now!

Gone with the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Scribner, 2011.  First published 1936.
959 pages
Source:  Purchased new


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sorry to be a ghost...

Sorry I've been kind of a ghost lately.  I made it all the way through grad school without missing a regular posting date, and now a year and half later, I'm missing them on the regular.  I have a very good reason for this, which I will be able to share with you all in just about a month or so (I'm not really sure exactly when I can talk about it).  But I'll let you know, I promise.  

In the meantime, here's a really cute baby duck:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review: "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? is Mindy Kaling's follow up to her wildly successful memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) - which I loved when I read it earlier this year, by the way.  This book looks more at her life after The Office, like creating and starring in her own show, other Hollywood stories, and a bit on her love life.  But actually not much on her love life, which I really respect.  There is a lovely essay in which she talks about her amazing relationship with B.J. Novak, and then other relationships of the more romantic variety.

I read this book on a recent beach vacation, and I'll admit to laughing out loud on multiple occasions, grinning all goofy-like for most of the book, and feeling compelled to read passages aloud to nearby family members.  I just couldn't help it!  Mindy is a great comedic writer who has a lot to share!  This was just so much fun to read.  I hope she keeps writing books... because I'll keep reading them!

By the way - this book will be published in paperback this September.

Why Not Me?
by Mindy Kaling
Crown, 2015
228 pages
Source:  Library


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that have been on my shelf since before I started blogging

Well, this is certainly a humbling list to write.  This week's Top Ten Tuesday by The Broke and the Bookish prompt is to list the Top Ten Books STILL on your TBR shelf and have been since before you started blogging.  I'm not sure how to quantify "Top Ten" of these books, but I definitely have 10+ books that I have had on that shelf in all this time...  that is to say, for over 6 1/2 years.  So, in no particular order...  here they are:

1.  Wild Swans by Jung Chang
2.  Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
3.  Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
4.  The Color of Water by James McBride
5.  Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
6.  The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
7.  The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
8.  The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
9.  Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
10.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

At least I can see a couple things though, in creating this list:  I still have wide-ranging reading interests and YA doesn't last too long on my TBR shelf before being read.

Do you see any patterns in creating your list?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: "Another Brooklyn" by Jacqueline Woodson

August is back in Brooklyn following her father's death.  While riding the subway, she sees one of her best friends from her childhood.  She immediately gets off the train, and memories of her Brooklyn childhood come flooding back.  Starting with moving to Brooklyn when she was 12 (with flashbacks to younger years in Tennessee) until she was 16.  A lot happened in those years, all of which lead to where she is currently in life.  Another Brooklyn is a compelling, haunting, exquisitely written novel about growing up, friendship, loss, race, religion, and family.

This novel is honestly a very fast read.  So fast that I had to force myself to slow down and truly appreciate the magic of Woodson's writing.  Fast does not mean light, because there are some very deep themes going on here.  I think I'll read it again very soon (maybe even before this posts) because it is just that wonderful.

As August is growing up in Brooklyn, she sees and understands so much of what is going on.  She knows they are not poor - they have enough, most days - but they are right on the edge.  She finds friendship with three girls in the neighborhood, and the four of them are inseparable at 13.  But by 15 - they have all grown and seen so much in their own homes and streets, they have started making choices that affect the rest of their lives.  Because isn't that life?  This is the time where you start to discover yourself, your strengths & weaknesses, and begin to think about your place in the world and where/who you want to be.  I am not even expressing how well this is done in the book because it really blew me away.

I think that is what I really want you to take away from this:  This book absolutely blew me away.  And I think you should enjoy that same feeling.

Thank you to TLC Book tours for an advance copy of the book for review.

Another Brooklyn
by Jacqueline Woodson
Amistad, 2016
192 pages
Source:  TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Book Review: "P.S. I Like You" by Kasie West

Lily Abbott is a member of a large, pretty chaotic family, has a pretty awesome best friend in Isabel, and dreams of being a songwriter.  She starts scribbling lyrics on the desk in her dreaded Chemistry class... and is surprised when someone writes back.  Someone who likes the same music she likes and has a decent sense of humor.  Desk scribblings turn into secret letters where they each bare more and more of themselves to each other - anonymously.  It gets to the point that Lily really starts to like this person, but doesn't know who he is.  There are a couple of suspects:  David, the boy Isabel has been trying to set Lily up with or Lucas, the boy Lily has had a major crush on for the past two years.  When the truth is revealed though... woah.  It isn't who Lily suspected at ALL.

Kasie West writes the most adorable light teen romance ever.  Her books are drop-everything-and-read-NOW books for me.  And this time I literally did drop everything and read it right away.

Lily is a pretty cool character.  She's quirky and creative, but loyal to her crazy family and best friend.  She may have a little confidence problem when it comes to her songs, but she is confident in who she is and embraces her life completely.  Her crush on Lucas is adorable; and she really tries to make an effort with David.  Well, sort of.  The other guy that figures into her life, and not in a positive way is Cade - Isabel's ex-boyfriend and creator of Lily's hated nickname at school.  Lily and Cade spar back and forth in such a funny way that I was kind of rooting for them both in their arguments which is kind of weird I guess.

This is a must read for fans of teen contemporary romance!

P.S. I Like You
by Kasie West
Point, 2016
326 pages
Source:  Library

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