Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.
 Release Date: October 7, 2014

Super excited!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle

The streets of San Francisco would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn't be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration.

With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless and supposedly cursed copy of Goethe's Faust for safekeeping.

Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless, but attractive, British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice.

As a librarian, when I stumble across a book series called the "Bibliophile Mysteries" I MUST check it out. It is a literal requirement. I really liked this book. It kind of reminded me of the Stephanie Plum novels, it was a cozy mystery. Brooklyn does book restoration, and when her mentor is killed at a museum gathering, the restoration of the infamous and possibly cursed <i>Faust</i> is passed along to her. While trying to discover the murdered Brooklyn finds herself is a plethora of random situations.

One of my favorite parts of this book was learning about Brooklyn's family. Her brothers and sisters, her hippie parents, and my favorite Guru Bob. I loved Guru Bob!

The book was a quick read with an ending I didn't see coming, and a hot British cop. Perfect for a rainy day with a cup of tea. The characters were simple, but well developed with individual identities (I don't think I've ever read a book where the main character grew up in a commune). Is the book going to win any awards? Probably not. But do I plan to read the second one? Yup.

4 Stars

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

Publisher: Berkley Books
Pub. Date: October 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Genre: New Adult (Adult)/ Erotica
Source: Barnes and Noble

Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine.

My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity.

We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession...

I must say that I'm still impressed with how I've taken to these books, but this one was a bit more disturbing than the first one. Reflected to You, picks up the day after the first one. Gideon and Eva are nuts. I'm not sure if they should be together or not. Eva has done wonders for Gideon. When he's with her, he can be the person he probably would have been if his child hood wasn't stolen from him. In turn Gideon has also helped Eva learn not to run from all of her problems. She wants so badly to be with him that she's learned to fight and trust.

Plot twist. Everything is a mess. Gideon has such control issues that I don't even know what to do with myself. He has his driver follow her around for goodness sake, he knows what she's doing at all times. It's creepy. On the flip side, she's so important to him that the idea of something happening to her is enough to drive him insane. He obviously needs to find a happy medium, but you can't be too mad at him because all of this stems from his past. I'm lucky enough to have had a pretty normal childhood, I have no idea what Gideon and real people like him must have to deal with day in and day out, so I can't judge his actions. (I actually wonder how Sylvia Day did her research for the character of Gideon??) That being said it was rather hard not to judge his actions after the weekend they spent together. I don't know if he did what Eva thinks he did, and I have to say, I really don't care, but he put her through hell and back. I don't fault Eva for reacting the way she did. I would have done the same thing. But it squished my heart to see them fighting. I love them to much!!! Even though they're probably pretty bad for each other, they're working on it.

Cary!!!!! Why Sylvia, why did you do what you did. He didn't deserve that.

Other random supporting cast, Mark, Steven, Shawna, Megumi, I love all of them. I like that we get to see more of Eva's life away from Gideon, although it also kind of hurts.

Brett, what in the world is going to happen there. I can hardly stand it.

4 stars

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fall Programming and Outreach- I May be in Over my Head

When you ask Public Librarians why they do what they do, a good amount of them will reply with something along the lines, of "the community outreach" or "making a difference" or “I like working with people” and other randomness along those lines, which tends to be true. As I sit in the library listening to children growl at each other and throw stuffed animals across the room while their care takers do goodness only knows what, I remind you readers that we are also human, we can be driven to the brinks of insanity and question our life choices. 

That being said, I’m at the point where I’m questioning some of my choices. Are the small screaming children driving me a little crazy… yup, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Right before summer I met with the local high school principal and discussed ways that we can bring the public library to the school. I purposed something that I knew I could handle with very few problems, lunch time books clubs (an idea I stole from a friend of mine in Chicago). Kids who want to talk about books can come hang out with me at lunch, and we do book chats and suggest new books to each other. My friend even came up with a way to calculate the circulation of the books that the public library as bringing to the school. (That’s a separate discussion) By the conclusion of the meeting I had with the principal my initial idea had been scrapped, I had spent time talking to an actual class and they had ideas that were very different from mine. Something about competition, Jeopardy, points, awards, winning things, and other randomness. I’m not sure what happened, but it all happened very quickly, and then I was left with the summer to think about it and freak out a little bit. 

I want to reach out to teens; I want to show them that books don’t have to be the enemy. I want to show them that they aren’t alone in the world, these authors and the characters they’ve created understand them. I want these teens to learn to empathize with others and consider ideas they may never have thought of before. But… I have a hard time getting anyone to show up for my book club, or come to author Skype chats. I worry that by the Principal assigning me a class room and coming in once a month to do “something” with books, the kids will feel forced into it and rebel, particularly since I’m not a teacher and “they don’t have to listen to me anyway.” (I can just hear someone saying that now.) The lunch book club let kids who were interested approach me. Throwing me into a classroom seems like I’m being forced upon them. 

I may be thinking too hard about this (#librarianproblems) I just don’t want to go into the situation and realize that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and look up and begin to question my life choices. What to do, what to do????

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Romance Novels are Doing to my Brain.


I'm pretty sure romance novels have ruined my dating life. It's a pretty big statement to make, and I'm sure as I type this review random things will pop into my head and this post wont end the way that I currently intend it to. 

I read a lot of novels with romantic themes and undertones. Everything from contemporaries by Nora Roberts (she was all I read in high school), to books like How to Love by Katie Cotugno and Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover. On top of that, some of my favorite books that fall under other genre's are the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi (Dystopian), Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong (Urban Fantasy) and the Black Jewel books by Anne Bishop (fantasy). Despite the fact that all of these books have solid plots and platforms, there's romance everywhere and I wonder how it affects our minds on a subconscious level (even though I love all the romantic aspects and may die without them).

I'm pretty sure that one of my college professors isn't going to turn into a wolf and bite my finger so that I can become his werewolf wife. I'm also pretty sure that someone wont sneak into a jail cell just so they can rescue me because they fell in love with my kind nature while we were in elementary school. I know these things because no matter how absorbed I find myself in these books, I know their mealy works of fiction (unfortunately).

That being said, the relationships between the protagonists of a book are always so out of this world that I don't know how it's possible for a real man or woman to live up to them. These people are so selfless and understanding that they're willing to go to the ends of the earth and back for their significant other (figuratively and emotionally). In Maybe Someday Ridge is so in love with Sydney that she's the only person he's verbalized to in like 10 years (Ridge is deaf). In the Women of the Otherworld series, Clay is so in love with Elena, that despite the fact that she has literally left the country to get away from him, he still waits for her. Is it so much to ask for to want that kind of dedication in real life... probably.

In conclusion...I don't really have a conclusion. It's really just food for thought.

I wonder what other romance readers out there think. Let me know, I love comments.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Teaser Tuesday- Entwined with You

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  •  Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teasers!
My Teaser
"Standing there in his unbuttoned vest and impeccable tie, he was making it hard for me to think properly. He was beautiful and passionate and everything I'd ever wanted, which made it nearly impossible for me to deny him anything."
Pg. 17 Entwined with You by Sylvia Day

Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Sins of the Father by Thelonious Legend

This was going to be a special year for the Parker sisters. Eve was going to dominate in the classroom and on the basketball court. Gwen was going to make the starting five and go down in history as the greatest prankster ever. Ana was going to do as little as possible. But without warning, all three sisters gain extraordinary abilities that defy science... powers that come with a cost. Now all they want to do is make it through the school year without drawing any undue attention, while racing to find a cure before the side effects of their new abilities kill them. Eve's temperament, Gwen's fondness for pranks, and Ana's predilection for money, however, are challenges they must overcome to achieve their goals. Because if they can't, they're dead... (Goodreads)
received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was excited for this book because I'm in constant search for a book with African-American protagonist where we don't see any of the African-American stereo types. I can't stress the importance of books featuring African-American characters where the protagonist must over come to temptation of drugs and gangs, or where the character is affected by absentee parents, teen pregnancy, or abuse. There are children who grew up in those environment who need to be encouraged to fight for something better, what they deserve... a better life than the one they were dealt. However, it's also important for those of us (because I am African-American for those of you who didn't notice) who grew up in suburban environments to read about characters like us. I didn't grow up in a city. I have two parents and two younger sibling who love me. I got average grades in school and played the flute in band. I want to read books about characters who look like me. I want to read books like those written by Sarah Dessen, Veronica Roth, Tahereh Mafi, Holly Black, and Colleen Hoover that feature characters with dark skin and braids. Don't get me wrong, I understand why there aren't more books like this, I'd done the research, I understand why there aren't more books like that out there, which is why the heart jumps a little bit when I find books like Sins of the Father. 

I love that this book features an African-American family who are upper class, as opposed to something you might read in a Walter Dean Myers book, or something a part of the Bluford High Series. It's a book that someone who grew up like I did can relate to. I like that Gwen, Eve, and Ana all have such defined solid characters with their own personalities that contribute to the story. I have to say, however, that I had a hard time reading the dialogue of the book. I specialize in working with teenagers, I have siblings who are 14 and 17, I was in high school myself  only 10 years ago (wow that's actually a lot). The teen characters read to me as if they were teens written by adults, they don't quite flow for me. I found myself reading passages thinking "that's not how teenagers speak".

The concept for the book was amazing. I loved the characters, I just wish that some of the character speech didn't take me out the of the story.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Lessons We Learn from Harry Potter

Just now, I stumbled across a Tweet posted by @Bookvibe that had a link to an article that spoke about a paper published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology by an Italian researcher. The researcher "report(s) that kids who read the series — which features a world in which elves, werewolves, goblins, poltergeists, and other fantastical creatures coexist — exhibited fewer prejudiced feelings toward stigmatized groups, when compared to kids who didn't read the books. " I can't seem to read the published article itself because I'm not affiliated with any organization that had access to the magazine (or I'm just confused and can't figure out how to do it) but the idea that Harry Potter can teach kids empathy and acceptance is something I've always stood by.

I understand that there are people out there who don't like Harry Potter for a multitude of reasons. One of which I hear time and time again is something about how the only reason Harry's still alive, or made it as far in (insert book title here) as he did, was because other people saved him. Well world, duh, that's kind of the point. No man is an island, it takes a village. Harry Potter is full of themes such as those. I guess the most blatant example of Harry Potter teaching kids empathy is the dynamic between Hermione and Draco. Was Hermione a little irritating sometimes? Yes. Were there moments when I just wanted her to be quite and stop ordering people to bed? Yes. Did that mean that it was okay to read about Draco calling her a Mudblood ( I don't even like typing the word) which is the equivalent to calling another person by a racial slur in the real world? No freaking way!! The world Mudblood isn't real, before Harry Potter was a thing, if someone shouted Mudblood from the rooftops, everyone would have looked around confused then carried on with their day. Reading Harry Potter allowed (or allows) children who have never thought about racism or bigotry in a true sense, to witness it and to want to stand against it. There's not a single person who read those books and agreed with Draco Malfoy's horrid taunting.

There are many other aspects of Harry Potter that had the ability to instill empathy into readers, Harry's abuse by his family, the Weasley's financial difficulties, SPEW and Hermione's hunger strike, the treatment of werewolves, not to mention the fact that Voldemort was essentially Hitler, the list goes on and on. In theory all of these ideas should be made "real" in a history class as children learn the horrors of racism, the holocaust, and the equality that we're all still fighting for, but the truth is, it may not. It isn't until we feel like we've been victimized, or those we love have been victimized that these concepts become real and we want to fight against them. If an author does their job correctly the readers know the characters, they love the characters, they empathize with the characters, and the readers may become better human beings because of it.