Friday, March 27, 2015

The Reading Promise

What a disappointment. I love reading and books, so a book about reading is a sure winner, right?

The idea of this book had such promise, but the execution was dismal. The book had parts about the reading promise, but a lot of other parts that were just stories about the author's life and not related to books or reading. I found the narrator to be too precocious and her father to be a bit of a martyr about being a single parent and being a school librarian.

I read to my daughter, but probably should read more. I picked this up thinking that it would give me inspiration. Instead it just wasted some of my limited reading time.

I know parents who still read to their tweens and teens. I remember loving being read to. Having a streak like Ozma and her father is something to aim for, but sadly this book didn't entertain.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Famous in Love

Do you ever read and enjoy a book and then see negative reviews on Goodreads? I really hate when that happens. It makes me question my judgment. Famous in Love was one of those books.

Famous in Love the story of a teenager picked to star in the latest YA hit book's movie adaptation. Her two leading men are potential love interests. (Though one is 22 while she's 17, which made me a little skeeved out.) The movie is based on a book trilogy (a la Divergent or Hunger Games) and this book only covers the making the first movie.

I can see where some of this book's negative comments are justified (insta-love), but I sped through it.  I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, which will be out later this year. The series is scheduled to have at least 3 books. Suspend Some belief and it's a fun read.

I purchased Famous in Love for my library. I'm anxious to see what the circ stats look like. I hope people pick it up and enjoy it like I did.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)

slight spoilers:

I read an excerpt of this from the YA Buzz Books Spring 2015. It intrigued me. I enjoyed this, but wasn't crazy about it and didn't like it as much as I thought I would. I liked the platonic relationship between Riley and Reid. It's nice to read something different than the best friends falling in love plot that's common. The loss of the book Reid and Riley shared lead Riley to think the same thing I did: How stupid to write all of that down. (As in these characters are stupid.) Ted wasn't much of a character. He was just there. As Riley's love interests Garrick was so much more interesting. The rest of the characters seemed to be too young and too old at the same time. Uneven. I will purchase for my library, but it won't be at the top of my list.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New Tag: Purchased for Library

I'm the YA person at my library. Part of my job is collection development. Since I started at the beginning of last summer, I've been a weeding machine. It's hard pulling books that you loved when you were younger, but I always remind myself it's so the new books have more visibility.

Probably my favorite thing about my job is buying new books. Our library has a pretty small book budget. My portion of it is approximately $4700. Can you imagine getting to spend $4700 on books? It's a dream come true. 

I'm making a new tag for books that I've purchased (purchased for library) so you can see what I'm spending some of the money on. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Forgotten Killer

I remember hearing about Amanda Know but the case wasn't something I paid attention to until I read Douglas Preston's The Monster of Florence. (Link to my review of that book.) Preston was (insanely) accused of murder by the same prosecutor as Knox. His story was unreal--this happened in modern times? in an industrialized democracy? in Europe? 

Since then I've paid much more attention to the case. This Kindle Single explains Rudy Guede and his role in Kercher's death. I can't imagine how anyone with any facts (as opposed to the Italian police and prosecutors who said they just knew she was guilty without any evidence) would think Knox and her boyfriend had committed this crime. 

If you are at all interested in the case or in the justice system, you should read this. 

Our American justice system is far from perfect, but Knox's story will realize how lucky we are for the rights and liberties we have in the US. Amanda Knox's story tribulations with the Italian court system do not appear to be over. I hope Preston's research will help her in some way. It convinced me that she didn't commit the murder. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

I originally heard about this book from one of Nancy Pearl's Book Lust books. I had an upcoming 4 hour trip so when I saw this audiobook at the library I picked it up. (Not that I didn't have a ton of books on my phone already...)

The star of this book is the setting of post-Katrina New Orleans. It's absolutely fabulous. I don't know if I've ever been more enamored of a book's setting. Claire goes to New Orleans for a missing person case. The book is set about a year and a half after Katrina in the slowly recovering city while Claire tries to find a prosecutor who vanished in the chaos of the hurricane. 

In addition to the main plot line, we learn about Claire's childhood and friends. This mystery is also very intriguing. 

I was expecting something humorous, so this book's darkness was a surprise. It's very gritty. 

I also read Gran's follow-up in the Claire DeWitt series: Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway. Sadly, I didn't think it measured up to the first book. But, how can you outdo a book with a premise of a person missing after a hurricane? The plot of Claire's childhood friends continues, but isn't resolved in the series' second book. The goodreads summary of the City of the Dead says that it is the first in a series. Since the Bohemian Highway didn't tie up Claire's personal issues, I hope there will be another book that does just that. The author's website sadly doesn't offer much hope for it anytime soon though. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Can't Wait!

Books I'm looking forward to:

Missoula by Jon Krakauer
I always enjoy Krakauer's books.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
I feel like I'm going to die if I don't find out what happens with Lara Jean and Peter. I don't know how I'm going to make it til May 26.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
I was already excited about Dessen's new book, but then I read a sneak peek and now really can't wait. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Start of You and Me

You know that Macklemore Thrift Shop song? The one that goes "This is fucking awesome."? Cause I'm pretty sure it's talking about The Start of You and Me. It was that good. I loved it!

The Start of You and Me is about Paige, whose boyfriend drowned a year prior to the beginning of the book. After being in a daze for a year, she's ready to get back to living. She makes a list of things she wants to accomplish including dating her long time crush Ryan, facing her fear of drowning and going swimming, and joining a school group.

Awesome love interest? Check.

Paige's goal to date her long time crush is originally how she meets Max, his cousin. Over time, Max and Paige become friends and she realizes she loves him. The scene in which this happens is something I could read over and over. And Ryan, the old crush? Still a great guy and friend. I liked how the crush was a likable character instead of like in a lot of YA novels where that person ends up being a huge jerk.

Great friends who grow together? Check.

Tessa, Morgan, and Kayleigh were all supportive friends and their relationships were a great part of the book. There is a scene towards the end of the book where the girls are all at a school event and you just want to be part of their group.

Powerful and positive family relationships (At least at the end)? Check.

Paige's parents divorced a few years ago and at times things have been rocky for their family. By the end of the book, her relationship with her family has improved significantly.

The Paige at the end of the book is so much happier. I was cheering for her and might have shed a couple tears.

Everything in the book was written for a reason. The story line was tight. The characters were all people I really liked. Everything about this book was awesome. It's a really happy story.

It's a Must Read.

Thanks to Net Galley for the review copy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


My book club chose Wild by Cheryl Strayed as a recent read. While I'd heard plenty about it and usually enjoy outdoor adventure stories, I hadn't been interested enough in it to want to read it.

But, I found it on my library's ebook selection so I checked it out.

The first bit was kinda painful. Strayed spends a great deal of time talking about what led her to take off on her crazy journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. She fell apart when her mother died and started making really bad decisions: cheating on her husband, doing heroin, etc. With her divorce finalized and the rest of her life in shambles, she heads off to hike the PCT for months.

When she started, she hardly had any business being on the trail. She was ill prepared and had a very tough time. As she continued on her trip, she learned from other hikers and became fairly adept at backpacking. She met friends along the way and sorted out her emotional issues.

I ended up liking the book more by the end. However, if it was not a book club read, I wouldn't have picked it up in the first place, nor would I have finished it. I'm glad I finished it, but if I'd been reading it on my own I wouldn't have made it. I just couldn't empathize with her in the beginning. I didn't want to read about someone whose life had gotten so awful in part because of her really poor life choices.

Obviously Strayed has moved on from her low points and there's redemption in that. As an adventure story, it isn't as exciting as I was hoping. There's lots of other books about being outdoors that are much more upbeat. If you are looking for one, Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is great. It's humorous so it's coming from a different place, but covers the same ground about a clueless hiker.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hello? Is this thing on?

About 2.5 years ago, I got pregnant and blogging fell by the wayside.

Hopefully I'm back!

I am now my library's Young Adult Specialist and in charge of YA collection development and teen programming. I've always enjoyed YA books, but have really picked up the pace of reading the genre.

With plenty of reading (54 book in 2015 already) I should have plenty to talk about!