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Thursday, June 30, 2016

BOOK REVIEW// INK & BONE BY LISA UNGER

Many thanks to Touchstone for giving me an advanced copy of this book to read.
While the book was free, as a girl who is "all about the library" ( where books are always free) - you can be sure that all opinions are mine! 


Summary from Amazon.com

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone.  Visited by people whom others can't see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley's abilities start to become too strong for her to handle - and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can't drown out the voices - she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey.  With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery.  Merri's not a believer, but she's just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she's not too late.  Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl.  As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future.  Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.



What I Liked 

I am an avid book reader. I love reading to escape and explore - but sometimes I am shocked by my complete inability to suspend disbelief.

Sure, I loved Harry Potter all those years ago, but lately I just can’t hack magical/paranormal anything in books. I tell myself I’m picky with the books that I read that stray from reality but I think I also just don’t like it. It always feels like a cheap trick to me, or juvenile, or completely implausible- which given the fact that is paranomal should be fogiven- but again, I have some real issues with suspending disbelief!
 
So I was certainly surprised that when reading "Ink & Bone" - I had no problems at all with the paranormal elements to the storyline. All of the credit for this of course goes to the author -Lisa Unger. I loved the characters and the plot. I was sucked in immediately and I loved it!

Unger is an amazing writer and she introduced the paranormal in a way that didn't turn me off from the book. For one, I like there aren’t a lot of “rules” to Finley and Eloise's abilities. Yes, they are psyhcic and that's important to the storyline- but there isn't a great deal of time spent in the book exploring their psyhic abilities or defining that "world". It sits in the background most of the time, as it does for Eloise and Finley - it's subtle and perfect.

Additionally, the author doesn’t use the supernatural as a crutch to explain everything away- which is what often happens sometimes and it is a vaccuum for enjoyment.Finley being psychic doesn't easily untie any strings. It's hard work, made all the harder by Finley struggling with her newly understood abilities.

What I Didn't Like

Honestly, there wasn't much about the book I didn't like. It moved somewhere between slow and steady in some parts, but there was also great character development and exploration - and those kind of go hand in hand.

If you like suspenseful mysteries, or if like me you suffer from an inability to appreciate the "paranormal" but want to give it a try - I definitely recommend this book.

http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/935194198

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW// FIRST COMES LOVE BY EMILY GIFFIN


Many thanks to Ballantine Books - Random House Publishing for giving me an advanced copy of this book.

While the book was free, as a girl who is "all about the library" ( where books are always free) - you can be sure that all opinions are mine!

I think I’ve read an Emily Giffin book every summer for the last four years- she is definitely my favorite beach read author. “First Comes Love” does not disappoint as a "beach read”, but overall I had mixed feelings while reading this book.

To me a really good beach read should be like the best Lifetime movie you have ever seen. The story should pull you in; you can’t turn the channel no matter what the distraction( dishes, I’ll do them later - child, here’s a banana- don’t choke ; ). While the story itself does not require a great deal of thought or deep analysis, after a glass of wine or over lunch with a friend, there’s still enough there that it is fun to explore the motivations of the characters and talk about the plot.

As this is a spoiler free review (“First Comes Love” just came out today, and I would hate to ruin it for anyone- because that is always evil) the basic plot is thus - two sisters, Meredith and Josie, lost their brother in a car accident 15 years ago and the book explores how this tragedy impacted Meredith and Josie’s relationships and emotional lives. Josie is focused on finding a husband and starting a family, though not necessarily in that order. With a biological clock ticking like a bomb, she is determined to move forward in her life. Meredith, on the other hand- has everything Josie wants- a husband and a daughter. And while Meredith may seem to have the whole package, she isn’t truly happy with her life at all.

Emily Giffin is excellent at creating incredibly relateable female characters. And in "First Comes Love", while the characters are certainly relateable, to me at least - they weren't likeable. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all female characters have to be likeable - ew. But if I am going to read a couple hundred pages, I have to have someone I am sticking around for, ya know? So while I could relate to both characters, I wasn't loving the reflection I saw of myself in them. To me, they predominately represented some of the negative aspects of womanhood - Josie and Meredith are messy and flawed, and they weren't necessarily the kind of reflection of myself that I enjoy seeing.

Josie is irritatingly obsessed with starting a family, and strikes me as that obnoxious girl who says things just to shock people- which she does several times thoroughout the book. And while introverted me would never think to say the things Josie does outloud, I have definitely thought one or two of the short sighted things she did about starting a family. Meredith is unhappy with her marriage and feels stuck, unfulfilled, and inferior as a mother- and really, what wife or mother hasn't felt that way? Josie and Meredith a short with each other, judgemental, and were basically a reminder to me of why I am maybe lucky to have two brothers instead of sisters.



Ironically, my favorite character in the book is Pete. Pete, whom Josie tells will be her “last date ever” on Match.com (epic eye roll Josie, come on). Overall, I found his character incredibly likeable and intriguing. But even Pete, the character I most liked, was a pretty irritating. If he dropped one more overt hint to Josie that he’d like to have sex with her...not my cup of tea, Pete- she can take a hint, be cool, bro.

So yes, I have some definite beefs with the characters- but despite all of that I really was sucked in by the story. While I would never want to be trapped in a room with them, I did want to know what was going to happen for the train wrecks that are Meredith and Josie. And so, just like a hateably good Lifetime movie, I rolled my eyes at their ridiculousness- and ate a bucket of popcorn while staring at the screen.

I don’t know that I would recommend this book to very many other people. If you like Emily Giffin's books, you’ll probably like it- but with all of the great books coming out this summer, I’m just not sure it rises to anything above 3/5 stars for me. I guess I just needed a little more there, there? I’m a sucker for those great quotable takeaways from books that leave me searching for a notebook, a pen, or a tab to mark the page - and this just didn’t have any of those moments for me.

TL; DR? Okay read for the summer, but between the characters and general writing style- " First Come Love" just isn’t something that will stick with you for much longer than the beach.

Please comment below with your thoughts on the book!
&
happy reading, y’all.

http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/919683002

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

MOM ABOUT LIBRARY #2 - SEAVER THE WEAVER BY PAUL CZAJAK


Spiders totally give me the willies, but this book is just too cute! Seaver the Weaver by Paul Czajak tells the story of an orb spider who prefers to spin his webs in different shapes than his brother and sister spiders. The book does a great job of providing a fun lesson about different shapes while also showing the reader the value of being unique and thinking for yourself. I enjoyed reading this book to my eight month old, but I think older kiddos would enjoy this read even more. Click the picture of the book above to find a copy at your local library.

happy reading, y'all! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Swag Vol 1 // 15 Coffee Mugs to Get You Through Your Day - and Your Book...


You know who can be hard to shop for - readers. You never know what books they have, don't have, what books they like, or don't. But can you have enough coffee mugs? And coffee mugs about books - LOVE. Here are 15 coffee mugs I love and where you can get your mitts on them.

happy reading, y'all.






Monday, June 20, 2016

BOOK REVIEW// ROOM - EMMA DONOGHUE


Spoilers below, you have been warned : )

I finished "Room" last night, hopped onto Facebook, and immediately saw this headline on the sidebar--
"12 Children Found in Home of Bucks County Man, Who Is Charged with Sex Assault"
I went on to read about how of the 12 children, two of them had been born in the home,

how one of the girls had been given up by her parents willfully in exchange for a paid debt,

and I read about the neighbors who had suspected something - for years.

The story is infuriating and terrifying. And I, of course, instantly thought of Ma and Jack- the main characters of "Room". A mother and her son, trapped in a shack in the backyard of "Old Nick", their captor.

"Room" is definitely one of my top ten favorite books. And while it is equal parts terrifying and also devastating- it is also heartbreakingly hopeful.

The book is hopeful to me for several reasons, but in part because I adore the image Donoghue paints of motherhood. That even in a vacuum like the "room", moms are moms- they make up silly games, they feircly protect their cub, and their existence is the most fundamental need for their child. While reading, I was left with this feeling that Jack would’ve been okay had they never escaped. And while logically I know this isn't true, Jack seems to believe it too - he longs to return to the small room he shared with his mother and doesn't seem to get what is so great about the "outside". Jack had everything he felt like he needed, simply because his mom provided for him. Love. Feels. So many feels.

I should add a lot of my feels for this book come from my own son, James, who is now 8 months old. I saw the movie adaptation of "Room" when he was four months old and those post pregnancy hormones were still pretty fresh. I spent a part of the movie trying to hide the fact that I was crying- because if my poor husband had to see me crying again, well then- then nothing, that poor guy has to see my cry all the time #sorrynotsorry

I saw the movie first- book lover fail, I know - but I was desperate for the story and I resisted reading the book because I knew "Room" was narrated by Jack, a five year old boy. And while I love the movie and I think Brie Larson deserves all of the awards, ever- in typical book to movie cliches, the book is better. But only slightly so, so if you liked the book you should definitely see the movie, and vice versa. While reading it did take a while to get into, because as you might expect a 5 year olds voice is a little harder to follow, it's meandering and disorienting. But of the available option to the author it was absolutely the best one, and definitely adds to the story. Let the record show I was wrong, so - so wrong.

"Room forces you to imagine things that for me are unimaginable. And it is made all the more terrifying because at the same time, I couldn’t help but think- someone is likely living this right now. People are found hidden in homes and sheds, as evidenced in the headline above. So, while the scene Donogue sets is scary, it also feels very real. But that sense of hope and connection is also very real and while reading I never wanted the story to end. If the book had streched out in front of me into infinity I would’ve happily carried on reading.

If you have read "Room", please comment below- I would love to chat with you about it. What book did you read afterwards to fill the Ma and Jack sized hole in your heart? And if you haven't read "Room" yet, obviously I think definitely think you should. Click here to find a copy at your local library.

Happy Reading, y'all.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

MOM ABOUT LIBRARY #1 - FOREVER YOUNG BY PAUL RODGERS

About 90% of the library books I check out are children's books - because my 7 month old is a voracious reader ;) But in all seriousness, I see my fair share of children's books and each week will share my favorite. These are books that I found enjoyable both for my child and for me as a reader.

The week's pick is Forever Young by Bob Dylan and illustrated by Paul Rodgers. I love this song ( Parenthood for life) and was so excited to have stumbled on this children's book. The illustrations are so well done and there is an excellent explanation section at the end of the book for adult readers to learn more about the scenes depicted. It was fun to sing along or just to read aloud and I definitely see this one becoming a permanent fixture in our house. Click here to find this book at your local library.

Happy Reading, y'all!

A photo posted by Katie (@girlaboutlibrary) on

Monday, June 13, 2016

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker - Book Review

This is a book I have wanted to read for a long time- the stars aligned, or I felt a particularly strong pull and I finally bought it, used on Amazon for a $1… which is important to me for some reason. I guess I rationalize my unnecessary book buying with the ridiculously low cost I am paying…also I like to tell myself I am keeping the Post Office in business. And thinking critically about the consumer choices I make is just a thing I do now, in part thanks to this book!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng- Book Review - The Love of a Family is Tested




What happens to our relationships when we project all of our unhappiness, all of our insecurities, and all of our aspirations onto another person - particularly our children? That central question is asked of us again and again while reading Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I really enjoyed reading this book and was blown away by the storytelling!

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanathi - Book Review - A Heartbreaking Story of Love, Life, and Loss


http://girlaboutlibrary.blogspot.com


I absolutely LOVED "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi. The book is so beautifully written. I actually started out listening to this, and stopped by my library to pick up a physical copy because I felt like listening to it alone just wasn’t doing it justice - although for the record the audiobook readers do an excellent job!

"When Breath becomes Air" is as inspiring as it is devastating - it has now sat with me for over a week and I just can’t seem to take it back to the library.