Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and StoriesThe Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such a wonderful introduction to this posthumous collection of essays and short stories by someone who admired her. This hooked me right away and made me want to delve into her writing right away. After reading her exquisite writing, it made me feel such loss for those who loved her and to what she could have created with more time. She seemed to be a force of nature and makes me think that the brightest lights shine so bright that the world isn't big enough for them and that some higher power wants them back. The essays are filled with such insight for someone so young and filled with a wonderful sense of hope and enthusiasm. The short stories are also fabulous filled with everyday characters in everyday situations, and an incredible insight into the human condition. It will lead you tears because she had potential. The stories and essays aren't perfect, but they showed the beginning of something special.

Favorite Quotes/Passages

“High on their posthumous pedestals, the dead become hard to see. Grief, deference, and the homogenizing effects of adulation blur the details, flatten the bumps, sand off the sharp corners.”

“something about the stillness or my state of mind reminded me of the world’s remarkable capacity to carry on in every place at once.”

“I worry sometimes that humans are afraid of helping humans. There’s less risk associated with animals, less fear of failure, fear of getting too involved. In war movies, a thousand soldiers can die gruesomely, but when the horse is shot, the audience is heartbroken. It’s the My Dog Skip effect. The Homeward Bound syndrome.”

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Rapid Fire Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

CoralineCoraline by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to read this book. Ok, well I listened to it as it was read by Neil Gaiman himself and his voice is perfection (though FYI listening to this one as you are walking home from work on a dark and dreary night might not be the best idea - I'm a 46 year old women and I was spooked). This is THE perfect book (Just like his other middle grade title The Graveyard Book) for the middle grader. Gaiman is a truly gifted storyteller who never writes down to children, he treats them like the intelligent beings they are. That being said, kids who do not like darker tales, may want to stay away from his work. But I think they will be missing something by skipping this one. Gaiman has created a brilliantly magical world filled with dark creatures, unusual adults and one of the most delightful little heroines. I have to say my favorite parts of the novel included any part that the Cat was in (Yes Gaiman must have cats, as he truly understands them). I also got a kick out of the two retired actress', especially as the one mentioned all the roles my Mother in Law has played. I truly believe the child that picks this up will turn into an adult who loves to read. I am ending this review as it truly saddens me that I cannot express in more articulate and brilliant words how outstanding Gaiman's middle grade novels are. This is a classic my friend

Favorite Quotes/Passages

“Because,' she said, 'when you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave.”

“Coraline wondered why so few of the adults she met made any sense.”

“The cat dropped the rat between its two front paws. "There are those," it said with a sigh, in tones as smooth as oiled silk, "who have suggested that the tendency of a cat to play with its prey is a merciful one - after all, it permits the occasional funny little running snack to escape, from time to time. How often does your dinner get to escape?”

“I think most things are pretty magical, and that it’s less a matter of belief than it is one of just stopping to notice.”

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

Crowned and Dangerous (Her Royal Spyness, #10)Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FYI this review is for the audio version. Got hooked into this series when Jen L. suggested I listen to Her Royal Spyness on audio. I was ruined from reading this series from the first word Kathrine Kellgren spoke. She breathes even more life into each and every deftly written character that you are totally convinced it is more than one person reading you the story.

This installment was a pure delight as always. Though I would have enjoyed a little more Belinda and Granddad. That aside I really enjoyed the addition of Darcy's family and most of the story being set in Ireland. The highlight of this series are the characters, and again this installment does not disappoint. Bowen introduces some new and memorable characters that you fall in love with, or detest wholeheartedly. Fabulous characters, hilarious dialogue and a well crafted mystery, what is not to enjoy. I felt quite bereft when the story ended, and know I will probably have to wait another year until I get me some more Georgie.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Dewey's

Very slow to start and I won't lie, it really took a long time for me to get into this one. But once I did, it was intriguing and well developed. I even ended up enjoying the tale, eventhough I didn't really love most of the characters. Well, with the exception of Nena and Jesper who get most of the best lines. The author really has done a thorough job in developing this world and all of the characters that inhabit it. Great character development and she is obviously setting this up as trilogy. Lots of twists and turns and could be described as a Russian, dystopian crime heist. I will definitely pick up the next installment and hope it doesn't drag like the first quarter of this one. But lets face it she is really letting you get to know the ins and outs of all of the characters

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Rapid Fire Review: Leonard: My fifty-Year Friendship with a remarkable man by William Shatner

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable ManLeonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So this is basically a story about Shatner, more than about Leonard, but I was kinda of expecting it so I wasn't really surprised. That being said, I still enjoyed it, but would have loved to have a more in depth biography about Nemoy. His son is writing one as well that I look forward to reading it. Don't get me wrong I kinda like Shatner, I met him once and he was very sweet to me and told me I was too pretty to be a nerd, but Spock was always my favorite. Shatner has obviously done some research into Nemoy's life other than just his what he learned during his friendship with the man. I get the sense that Nemoy was an extremely private man and not one for taking about his inner emotions. This is also brought more into light when Shatner talks with Adam, Leonards son. I did get the sense that Shatner also feels quite bad about their falling out near the end of Nemoy's life. Though who really knows what truly happened. Shatner says he has no real idea, but well he is an actor, so you never really know. I loved the pictures and their is a truly delightful one with Shatner and Nemoy doubled over in laughter - which shows that they did indeed have a friendship. Shatner is all about Shatner and he doesn't hide that, which I somewhat appreciate. But I can imagine for Nemoy, that might have been a little hard to deal with all the time. Like anyone, it must be hard for Shatner to really deal with his own failings in their friendship. At times you can sense his openess about his own shortcomings, but he is definitely still holding back. To me its a bit of an apology and love letter to the Nemoy, laced with Shatner trying to explain his side. Truly fascinating to learn about how similar their upbringings were. A must read for any Star Trek Fan. And the best part of the book is that is starts with the scene at the end of The Wrath of Khan - truly one of the truly most beautiful heartbreaking scenes that most of us geeks cannot even talk about without balling our eyes out. LLAP my friends

Favorite Passage

"I suspect Roddenberry felt I was the perfect choice for the lead roel in a show because I wasn't too intelligent for the audience and he didn't have to pay me a lot of money."

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard byJonathan Auxier

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (Peter Nimble #2)
by Jonathan Auxier
Puffin (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-670-06775-2
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionIt’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old girl named Sophie Quire.
Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she works as a bookmender and dreams of leaving the confines of her city walls. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up searching for a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read. 
The Good Stuff
  • A deftly written fantastical epic tale for 9-12. Filled with magical creatures and eccentric characters
  • Full of heart and intriguing characters that never act in the way you expect them to. This my friends is a wonderous thing
  • Never talks down to kids - author understands that children can handle a wee bit of the dark, as long as there is a light at the end of the tunnel
  • Wickedly funny at times, with plenty of cheeky asides for the reader
  • Auxier is a master of his craft and his books should be in every childs library (and of course their mom's as well, because I was on the edge of my seat, and laughing along while reading)
  • Believing in ones self, the ability to change  - sacrifice for what is right
  • Deadly battles, talking tigers -  hello - what could be better than this. The language of the book reminded me of The Princess Bride on many occasions.  This is a compliment - for if you do not love The Princess Bride, I fear there is no hope for you 
  • There is something for everyone, as long as they can just believe
  • The importance of stories and the magic within the stories to transport you
  • Positively brilliant and one of my favorite opening passages of a book.  A book truly for those who love books, big and small.
  • I'm a grown women, but I was actually bawling with tears rolling down my eyes while sitting in the back room at work (BTW, nice to know that where I work no one would think it was weird that I was crying while reading - my god I am going to miss you guys - you have truly made living here bearable  - ok the mountains are purty too)
The Not So Good Stuff
  • My copy is an ARC so no pictures, : (
  • Lots of big words and dark themes may turn off readers 
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"It has often been said that one should never judge a book by its cover. As any serious reader can tell you, this is terrible advice. Serious readers know the singular  pleasure of handling a well-made book - the heft and texture of the case, the rasp of the spine as lit the cover, the sweet, dusty aroma of yellowed pages as they pass between your fingers. A book is more than a vessel for ideas: It is a living thing in need of love, warms, and protection. And above all, a book must be read."

"She had read many exciting stories about fugitives and runaways, and something that has always annoyed her was how little attention was paid to sensible preparations."

"Among a certain population, there is no greater way to demonstrate affection than by recommending a book." (reviewers note: there is nothing better to me in this world than getting the right book to the right reader)

"This was not how her adventure was supposed to go. People--real people that she loved- had died."

5 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and LossThe Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A deeply personal and intimate discussion between a mother and son. Before reading, I knew very little about both Anderson Cooper and his mother, other than watching the movie, Little Gloria Happy at Last. It is a truly fascinating and at times very heart wrenching book to read. I admired how they discussed their differences with love and respect and such openness and honesty. It's the type of discussion all children should have with their parents. I personally wish my parents were still alive so that I could get to know them as human beings, not just as my parents. Fascinated by Gloria's unusual upbringing , the trials she faced, and how no matter what she was able to still be such an optimistic person. Such pain and rawness when she talks about the fact that she thinks life for the boys would have been better if she had died and not Anderson's dad. She also has some very wise ideas about forgiveness. The book did leave me feeling rather bereft at times for the many lost opportunities and talks left unsaid for Gloria as a child and young adult that could have resulted in so many positive changes. But Anderson has benefited by opening up the dialogue and showing us that it is never too late to open up and talk. Also showed me how lucky I was to be raised in the meager, but open and loving family that I was.

Favorite Quotes

"I've at last come to know that forgiveness is much simpler than I could ever have imagined: whatever problems you have with someone, project yourself into the other person and seeit from their point of vies." "When you do this , good and evil shuffle into patterns and you are capable of forgiving trespasses."

"None of us chooses the situation into which we are born. To think that if you are from a rich family you should not want to achieve something on your own is foreign idea to me."

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4 Dewey's

Didn't have to review - just looked interesting and you know I like to share