Monday, November 18, 2013

Something I just had to share...

I apologize for no reviews today, however, there is a FASCINATING blog post by Annoyed Librarian (whom I adore). Enjoy the story here - discuss and leave comments when you're finished! My favorite part of the article is this:

"The good news is that there are probably some books on English grammar and maybe even critical thinking in the library that could help people make a coherent proposal without talking about people looking at food stamps on the Internet."

People (usually those in political office) are truly unreal. And libraries > jails. Louisiana seems great (in True Blood mostly) but in real life, these sorts of stories pop up. Sigh.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

9 Books You Should and Shouldn't Read

I've read nine (NINE?!?!) books since my last book review post and I'm about to finish two more, so it's been far too long, I realize that. Thus begins my promise to write at least weekly, so it doesn't get boring around here.

I read Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. I thought it might be a book that I would skim through, but I read it cover to cover, laughing all the way. Not only was it fascinating for me as a twentysomething, but it was very funny and helpful. Some points that Brown made were things that I really connected with (putting the address for where you send your rent on 12 envelopes and pre-stamp them) and have put into practice. Other things I'm moving towards (creating a dinner party for your friends! Super easy only if you know how to cook, I'm pretty sure a dinner party that I gave would turn out a la Bridget Jones). All in all, a fascinating book on how to grow up little by little by making life easier for yourself. I loved it and realized how many things I've already done (amazingly..)

I read Big Brother by Lionel Shriver.(CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT) I didn't like this book quite as much as I thought I would. It was pretty interesting until the giant twist near the end where the reader finds out the entire book is actually just something the main character daydreamed about, which really just made the whole book incredibly anticlimactic and sad. I hate endings like that. (See Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale).

I read (because I watched the ENTIRE show and did so in less than a week because I am the kind of person who eats up Netflix shows like pie at a pie-eating contest where first prize is holy matrimony to Alexander Skarsgard) Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.
Loved the show and then I read the book and of course the book is SO much better (are you surprised? I wasn't at all). In the book, Piper isn't quite as crazy/stupid as in the show and she's also not in prison with her ex-lesbian lover, so that makes it much less dramatic in some ways. All in all, the book was a fascinating reflection on just how convoluted and broken our justice system is. (Again, unsurprising, but enlightening to say the least). The book has much less drama than in the show, but of course, the book doesn't need to sell seasons to hungry Netflix viewers.

I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. Incredible book about a smart kid, her intelligent parents and some not-so-intelligent neighbors. Not only is her mother hilarious and witty (which she passes onto her daughter) she also disappears when things in her life go horribly awry. I don't want to give anything away, but I truly enjoyed the characters. Bee and her mother are so fantastically given life, it's incredible.

I read the first volume of The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman.
If you know anything about me, it's that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the television show of The Walking Dead (similarly to about a million other Americans) and I've been DYING to read the comics. The first volume did not disappoint and I aim to read the rest ASAP. If you have twenty minutes in your day for reading, read this. It's gory and beautiful and better than the show (obviously).

I read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I have a confession, I saw the movie first. Terrible, I know. But the book was so much better! I hate when movies aren't as gritty as the books and this one took the cake. SPOILER ALERT: I love John Malkovich, but I thought the character's descent into madness in the books was spot on and thus he did deserve to die, but that's just me. SPOILER ALERT ENDED. This book was poetic and that's what I loved about it. The prosy paragraphs waxing philosophical about life. Fantastic.

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love: A Novel by Sarah Butler was a prosy novel (my favorites) and it dealt with memories and relationships (also my favorite subjects). It's told from the point of view of two characters, Alice, a young traveler and Daniel, a homeless man in London. Alice returns from abroad to see her father whose health is failing - her two older sisters are already there caring for him. Alice has always felt a separation from her two sisters and doesn't quite know why. I won't spoil it, but I will say this: I love books that use lists. This book uses a lot of lists and it makes me happy. 

Okay, this was my light read for the month. It's about a wedding and the craziness that, inevitably, surrounds it. What made it interesting (and also very sad) was that the mother of the bride had passed away years before the wedding, but left a notebook filled with all of her wedding advice for her daughter. Of course, the daughter holds it very dearly and wants every aspect of the wedding to be straight from the notebook. Hilderbrand did an incredible job of creating characters that all had interesting relationships with each other. Everyone had an interesting point of view. Again with the relationships, I know, but that's what I like to read! This would be a great beach read (if you're in a warm area of the country...)

I have been waiting to read the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns for ages, now. My coworker advised me not to read this sequel until the third in the trilogy had come out and, amazingly, I kept myself busy with other good books until I could wait no longer. If you haven't read this trilogy yet and you love fantasy, strong female main characters, and badass adventure, pick it up immediately. It's YA, but it's still fantastic. The main character, Elisa, is burdened with the Godstone, a very rare gift of a jewel where her bellybutton should be that connects her with her God. This makes her valuable and under constant threat of kidnapping and killing. Everyone wants the Godstone for himself (or herself) and Elisa is constantly running and/or fighting to keep herself alive. 
If you like YA lit, this is really a fantastic story - and I cannot wait for the third!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Favorite Book of the Year (thus far)

Eleanor and Park 

This book is both heart-wrenching and uplifting at the same time, which has made it one of my favorite books of the year (thus far, of course). Eleanor is teenager, growing up in a very difficult situation (I don't want to spoil anything!) packed into a rundown shack with her mom, stepfather, and several brothers and sisters. 
Park is a boy growing up in a differently difficult situation, however, he has his own room, and his parents are always there for him. The two meet on the bus ride to school. Their attraction for each other grows in such a sweet and tender way that I could not stop reading this book for a second. I loved the parallels drawn between girl and boy, rich and poor, school and home, and mostly between the love and hate that occurs in both Eleanor and Park's lives. 

Also I love the name Rainbow Rowell. Also I cried at the end of this book. That is all.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. My Heart (Spoiler alert, he wins)

I have never seen Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. Since my roommate just bought a special edition of it I thought FINALLY, I can see this movie - but wait! Shouldn't I practice what I preach and read the book first? Yes, yes, of course I should like a good librarian. So I did. All six of them. In three days or something ridiculous like that. (They're quick). They are awesome graphic novels and I loved every second of it.
Not only is Scott Pilgrim hilariously dorky and sweet, but he's also kind of a jerk - but that makes him a more realistic and believable character. If you haven't read them, hop to it. And then watch the movie. (P.S. Bread makes you fat.)

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim, #1)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Twisted Fairy Tales, The Martian Chronicles, Wither

Twisted Fairy Tales
I'm getting better about reading more often. I think it's a combination of being exhausted after waitressing and wanting nothing more than reading for two hours in the peaceful quiet of my own bed and also the beautiful weather outside making me want to soak up some rays while devouring a book. 
I finished Twisted Fairy Tales by Maura McHugh a few days ago in the sun in my backyard. I love creepy fairy tales (also it's YA, quelle surprise) which is why I loved this book. Despite the stories being well known, I think many of the stories were original. The illustrations were also pretty awesome. Many of the stories are classics such as Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, but there are lesser known fairy tales, too, which was good, too.
 The Snow White story was exactly like that K-Stew movie that came out a year or so ago, Snow White and the Huntsman, which seemed weird to me.
The only thing that drove me crazy was the editing - I found several typos throughout (but I'm a freak about it).  If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, this is a great book for a beach read.The stories are short, yet creepy enough that you'll find yourself thinking about certain grisly scenes later on.

The Martian Chronicles
 I also just finished The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I know it's a classic, but somehow I just got around to reading it. Previously, my favorite Bradbury book was The Illustrated Man.
I love anything Bradbury writes, so naturally I was sucked right into The Martian Chronicles.  This book is for anyone who loves sci-fi. And Bradbury's choice of details always astounds me. I love the portrayal of the martians as a peaceful people invaded by humans. Every story leaves me wanting more, which I think is the most important thing about a short story.

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)I'm currently reading Wither by Laura DeStefano, which is a YA fluff read for me. I surprisingly haven't even noticed a typo yet. The story is dystopian YA lit (obviously). The plot revolves around Rhine, a sixteen year old girl, who lives in a futuristic America  where men don't live past the age of twenty-five and women only live until the age of twenty due to a viral infection. Because of the sharp decline in the population and because of the massive amounts of doctors who are researching for an antidote to this virus, young, pretty girls are swiped off the streets and sold into wifery by wealthy families. Rhine is one of these girls. Pulled off the street with thirty other girls and chosen with just two others, she is sold to a wealthy family and her new husband (and two sister wives) have to deal with being treated as property.

It's a pretty fascinating premise and I'm loving it. The only problem is that there are three of these books, so now that I'm sucked in, I have two more books to read afterwards. SIGH. This is an issue because I have at least six books waiting at home to be read next.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Personal Librarian

I just found this awesome story at (excellent source of all things bookish) and I think that's the job I need to have. It's like having a personal shopper, but better because a personal librarian can bring you actual happiness. I would even hand deliver the books if this was a profitable enough business.

So who wants to pay me to pick out books for them now and forevermore? It's my dream job.

Also, I wanted to share this little mentalfloss tidbit! I love going to because it always makes me smile and this article is no different.

There are so many words we don't have in English that we should have! I love the French phrase "l'esprit de l'escalier" which mentalfloss translates as "a too-late retort thought of only after departure".   I also loved "Koi No Yokan" the Japanese phrase for "the sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love." Who knew the Japanese were so romantic?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Girls in White Dresses and The Dinner

So first of course I have to begin with apologies for being so lax in updating.. yet again. Excuses don't matter really, but I did go on vacation to Coachella where I saw some incredible bands (I mean OMD, Phoenix, Pretty Lights, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend, Sigur Ros, Social Distortion, Violent Femmes, FOALS, Wu Tang incredible!!) and then I started a new job waitressing. So yay for more money and boo for hardly no time to myself at all. (Also waitressing is hard work and I have more than a few good stories already, which is cool) 
Anyways, I read a few books in that time, which you'll be glad to hear about. 

The DinnerI read The Dinner by Herman Koch. It's an interesting story about two brothers and their sons, revolving around a dinner between the two brothers and their wives at a very posh restaurant in Holland. The book is separated into sections from aperatif to digestif. The details are great and I loved how Herman Koch created and developed his characters. The characters are dynamic, especially our main character. I loved it and I think you will, too. 

Girls in White Dresses

I also just read Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close yesterday. It was such a quick read I finished it in a matter of hours. I was sick on my day off (naturally) and started reading this and just didn't stop. It's much less of a girly book than I thought it would be. I thought it would be light and fluffy and it was not. It dealt with reality and I liked that. Also I felt like the characters in the book could be my own friends, which I always appreciate in any novel. 

I promise I'll update again soon when I finish Twisted Fairy Tales by Maura McHugh!

Friday, April 5, 2013

April books!

I've just finished the book Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman - an incredible and twisted relationship of a story.
Personally, I loved it. Set in the aftermath of WWII in Cape Cod (mostly) it tells a story from five of the characters points of view. The first narrator is Nick, a beautiful, long-legged beauty who is married to Hughes. She struggles with wanting more in her everyday life.
Hughes, Nick's husband, tells his story of when he was away at war.
Helena, Nick's cousin, tells her story of marrying Avery, a "big shot" filmmaker from Hollywood with a creepy past.
I won't go into who the other narrators are so as not to give anything away. What I will say is that not all is perfect in paradise in the 50s. The descriptions are rich. the characters are well developed and the writing makes you feel a part of the story. 
I enjoyed this story so much because it doesn't gloss things over. The problems in the story are real and even dark, though from the cover art, you wouldn't realize that.

Onto brighter things - I'm currently reading a juvenile fiction book called Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. It follows the exploits of an orphan girl aged sixteen during the first world war who is bequeathed a homestead in Montana from her late uncle. Her life has been a constant move from house to house as relatives passed her along, providing a brief home for her - until now. If she can prove up her claim, make a profit from her wheat and flax in the fields, the land left to her will be hers.
It's not going to be as easy for sixteen year old Hattie as she faces all kinds of brutal weather and the joys of owning a stubborn cow and a horse, but she's determined to face these issues head on.

I'm nearly done with this book and I really am enjoying it. Hattie not only faces issues of farming, but also many issues with being very close with a neighboring family, whose father is of German descent. In these World War I times, people of German descent were prosecuted in a horrible fashion and Hattie must stand by her morals amidst arguments of "loyalty" and "patriotism".

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I have a post full of goodness for you. I haven't updated recently (what else is new) but I have read several books that will intrigue you.

My favorite book that I've read so far this year is The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.  I know it's not very far into the year, but this book is incredible.

It follows the story of Elisa, a princess in a fantasy world, who has been chosen to bear the "Godstone". This basically means she has a jewel in place of her belly button that holds great power.

She's a privileged girl and has been sheltered from society because she bears the Godstone - as its power is something everyone in the world wants. People would kill her simply to have it.

It starts off with Elisa being married off to a king (her father's idea) and Elisa being shipped off to the king's country, which is some distance away.

I don't want to say much more about the plot because I don't want to give a single thing away about this fabulous book.

This book has richly drawn characters with true personalities - those personalities are developed well. The characters are dynamic, especially Elisa. The other thing I enjoyed about the book was the portrayal of body image. Elisa is round - and she knows it. It's an obstacle that is dealt with on almost every page because as a princess, she is constantly judged by her people and the people of the king she marries. However, it doesn't mean that she isn't outspoken, tactical and exceptionally intelligent. She is and she grows with that, too.

This book is good for anyone who likes strong heroines, adventures, incredible stories of love, and intrigue. And did I mention it's going to be a trilogy? It made me pretty happy to hear that - and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did, too.

The most recent audiobook I've listened to is Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
If you haven't read/listened to Frank Cottrell Boyce's children's books yet, you simply must. His stories are fantastic, always from the child's point of view, and hilarious. Although it's classified as a children's book, people of any age will enjoy it.

This book focuses on Dylan, a young boy living in a village in Great Britain where the atmosphere is always "dishwater".  He helps his father, mother, little brother and his two sisters to run their failing gas station.
It's gray and quiet in the village and there's not much is going on - until one day a very shiny and expensive car goes up the mountain road right past the gas station. The entire town is immediately abuzz with gossip.

Dylan gets involved with the man driving the shiny car (who stops to get gas) due to a conversation misinterpretation involving the Ninja Turtle characters with famous Renaissance painters. (Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, etc. if you really don't know who the TMNT are).

That is all you need to know about this book. The characters are hilarious, the mixups and misinterpretations are gut-busting and you won't be able to put this book down. Though I highly recommend the audio - especially if you love listening to beautiful English accents.

Okay, so Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding was a guilty pleasure read - but it was SO hilarious. I know that it's not brand new (neither is the movie) but it was enjoyable to say the least.

I don't even like Pride and Prejudice (the plotline of which BJD is based on) but this book kept me laughing through every page.

Honestly, the reason I picked it up and read it was because I read this article at the Washington Post about how "chick-lit" is bad for self-image. They mention BJD and then I realized that I hadn't read it. So, your article about self-image didn't deter me, Washington Post! I ate bonbons the whole way through the book and laughed loudly in public places when I read it, so take that.

(Quick rant: I hate the word "chick-lit". What does that even mean? Anyone can read whatever they want - why do girls specifically get stuck with "chick-lit"? Can't we just read literature and novels like everyone else?)

My favorite part about BJD? The fact that it seems like a continuation of Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal-Snogging by Louise Rennison. (I've written reviews for these books in the past). If Georgia Nicholson grew up, she would be a very similar character to Bridget Jones, which makes me pretty happy.

Another YA book I read was every day by David Levithan. I do adore David Levithan - if you haven't read any of his books, familiarize yourself!
He's written a slew of wonderful YA books that inspire by creating comfortable space for teens. His books give the me hope for the world.

This one was no different.

A wakes up every morning in a new body. He/she/it inhabits the body of a different teen every morning and always has. There is no way to tell why this happens or how. One day A is the quarterback of a highschool football team. The next day A is a suicidal girl. The next day A inhabits the body of a social outcast. The next A is a lesbian girl, madly in love with her girlfriend.
All is "normal" until the one day that A falls in love.

That's all you need to know, really. It's a strange concept, but David Levithan worked it into an incredible story. It changes your perspective, which is important.

I read another YA novel, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs. This book was not my favorite. It's heavy on mythology, which is interesting, but the characters weren't dynamic enough for me.

Basic plotline: High school student and gritty badass of the West Coast Gretchen is a descendant of Medusa and has to take out the monsters in her town with her martial arts training (that no one can see but her) so that they don't harm the innocent folk of California.

Gretchen finds out she has a twin, kidnaps her, doesn't want to tell her everything, but then has to as the streets are becoming more dangerous with more monsters every day.

This book is the beginning of a series, which made me much less interested as soon as I found that out.  Can't a girl read a book that completely tells a story in ONE BOOK anymore??? It drives me nuts, but that's my own thing.

I hope you read one of these and enjoy them! Let me know if you read any and as always, feel free to leave comments.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

History of a Pleasure Seeker

History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason was enchanting. As I read it, I fell in love with the main character. I mean, I really did. (Note the conversation I had with my boyfriend about it at the bottom)

I can actually tell you what it's about. It follows the story of a young man, Piet Barol. It begins with Piet successfully landing a job tutoring a genius young boy, Egbert, from an extremely wealthy family in Amsterdam. 

Piet acquires the position because of his gentlemanly and almost flirtatious manner to the mother Jacobina, who is not only interviewing him, but whose husband hasn't touched her in years. Getting attention from a young, attractive, and well-mannered young gentleman doesn't hurt her impression of this tutor-to-be and she hires him. However, the contract of the tutoring position is that Piet must somehow pull out the reclusiveness of Egbert. Egbert is frightened of the outside world and refuses to leave the house, much to the dismay of his father, mother, and his two clever sisters. The entire family is enchanted with Piet and his urbane ways. 
The daughters are taken with him, the mother is taken with him, the father trusts him, and Piet is gentlemanly, but not quite gentlemanly enough to cast his eyes away when Jacobina stares outwardly at him. 
I loved this book because Piet always finds a way to appease everyone in his suave manner, even from his rough beginnings. It's a lovely story - and it's a bit scandalous, too, which never hurt anybody. 

A Conversation Between My Boyfriend and I While I read History of a Pleasure Seeker One Afternoon
Me: Matt, I think I'm in love with this fictional character. 
Matt: Great.
Me: No... really. He's incredible.
Matt: Oooookay.
Me: No, I'm really, really, REALLY-
Matt (unfazed by my ardor): He's fictional, I'm not worried.
Me: Mmmm. Continues reading furiously

Five stars for this one!

The Brides of Rollrock Island

I ADORED this YA book by Margo Lanagan. She has written other books, too (Tender Morsels, Black Juice, Red Spikes) but this is the only one that I've read. It was incredible, especially if you're a slave to magical realism.

The story is told from several different points of view. From young children, to the ugly Misskaella, to adult men. Misskaella is a girl that grows up on Rollrock Island (an imaginary place set off the coast of what I presume to be Ireland) with magical abilities. She's had a difficult life, growing up ugly and unwanted by nearly everyone in her life, but she can magically pull unearthly beautiful women out of the seals that flock around Rollrock. The men of the island are bewitched by these stunning women and begin to pay Misskaella gobs of money for their very own seal wife. Trouble ensues, of course.

I could not put this book down. It captivated me more with every word that I read. Like any very well written book, it left you wanting more and more. Enjoy - I'm giving it five stars.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy New Year!

So I know I haven't updated in AGES yet again, but it's been a busy month! Now that it's January and there are a million less things to do, I'll be updating much more often - I promise! 
I'd also like to note that I read my goal of 55 books this year and if you want to see them, I'm on Goodreads! You can see all the books I read this past year! 

If you haven't read (or listened to!) The Help I urge you to drop whatever it is that you're doing and visit your local library - or buy it. It is INCREDIBLE. The audiobook is phenomenal and when it ended I nearly cried because the story had filled me up, made me laugh and cry for three full weeks as I drove from work to home, to the grocery store, and to friends houses. This book was my best friend for a while. (My boyfriend became very tired of me going on and on about it every time I talked to some of my friends about books - but he hasn't listened to it yet and he should!) 

In any case, it will pick you up, pull your heart out of your chest, throw it on the ground mercilessly and walk away. But you're going to love that about this book. Just read The Help, it's life changing. Also it's Kathryn Stockett's DEBUT. All I have to say is you go girl! Just amazing. 

I also finished The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle. This was about an Amish girl, Katie, getting ready for her Rumspringa (for those of you who don't know this is when Amish kiddos get to go out and explore the world and return whenever they want to or they can stay outside of the Amish for the rest of their lives - big decisions for young folks!)
Just as she's preparing for this exciting time in her life, she's unable to leave because the Elders of the village have decided that it's not safe in the Outside anymore. The Outside world has become a dystopian nightmare and evil creatures (SPOILER ALERT, but not really, vampires!) are roaming the world. Katie becomes even more headstrong than in the past (and she's also pretty pissed that she doesn't get to do her Rumspringa) and helps a hurt young man at the edge of the village one day even though she's forbidden to go near him.

I really liked this young adult novel. It was dystopian (of course), there was a little romance (mostly cheesy, but oh well), and the heroine was an intelligent, yet still believably sixteen year old girl.

It wasn't my favorite book by any means, but I did enjoy it for what it was. It was also pretty graphic for a YA novel. If it bothers you to read about limbs being ripped off and such, this may not be for you.

I'm still reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which I LOVE and I'm starting a few other things. While I was at the library last Friday, not one or two or three books came in for me, but FIVE did. So I need to spend some serious time with my books over the next few weeks. That means more updates and reviews for YOU!