Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: BOMB

BOMB by Steve Sheinkin

“Bomb: The Race to Build -and Steal- The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” by Steve Sheinkin is a non-fiction book about the events surrounding the development of the atomic bomb. The book goes back and forth between the development of the bomb and the efforts of Russian spies to steal the plans. Intermingled in these two major plots are glimpses of the Norwegian resistance and their efforts to prevent Germany from building their own bomb.

Review: Everyday

Everyday by David Levithan

What would it be like to wake up in a different body everyday? Would you like getting a glimpse into the lives of many different people? Would you long to stay in one place? Moving from one body to another is not a hypothetical question for A. It is A’s life.

A is 16 years old, and therefore only inhabits the bodies of 16 year olds. A is does not identify as being a boy or girl, but takes on the gender of the body s/he is inhabiting for the day. A is fine with this, and through the years has learned how to live inside someone without disrupting that person’s life. Until A meets Rhiannon and falls in love.

Rhiannon is the only person A can think about. Instead of making the day of the person whose body s/he is in habiting as normal as possible, A spend his/her days traveling to see Rhiannon and convince her, and him/herself that a relationship is possible. Soon, though, A loses track of things and messes with the life of the wrong boy. A no longer feels safe, and finds out that s/he might not be alone.

This book is engaging from the first page to the last. I could not put it down, and had to know what happens to A. Does A find a way to make it work with Rhiannon, or get over her? Or maybe A falls in love with someone else. It was easy to identify with A, and I enjoyed reading about the world through this unique lense. The only thing I wanted more of was the other beings that were like A. The plot introduces readers to a “Bad” one, but what about another “good” one? And how did A come into existence, anyway?

I liked Everyday and felt like I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what comes next. At the end, though, I still had many questions that were left unanswered. Sequel, please?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My First Week of Work

A photographic look at my first week of work.

Just walked in looking awesome

Made sure people knew I was serious and not one to be messed with.

I was feared.

I showed my skillz and demanded respect.

This library don't know what hit it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Expo of America

Standing in front of the book cover for Julianne Moore's
new children's book. I had my poster signed

Have you ever been to a magical land where everyone is happy to walk around for hours while carrying big heavy bags of books? A land where those people are happy to carry the books because they are free and are practically thrown at you? But not actually thrown, because that would hurt and people would not be as happy, but you get what I'm saying. The books are free, and there are a lot of them. And there is a lot of chocolate, too. Books and chocolate and other free stuff, oh my!

I have been to this magical place. It is called Book Expo of America.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: Trinity

Trinity A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb
by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

"All this work, whether it's lining up dominoes or enriching uranium, builds toward one single moment: the moment when what was once impossible becomes unavoidable. In that moment the logic of the chain reaction takes over. The fire will only stop when there is nothing left to burn."
      -From Trinity, page 51

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is a graphic telling of how the bombs that were released over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were released. The story starts with Marie Curie and her husband discovering polonium and radium, and Ernest Rutherford's discovery of the nucleus. Fetter-Vorm includes a lot of scientific information such as atomic structure and the properties of different elements. All of this information enriches his story telling, and helps the reader have a better understanding of the work that went into creating the bombs and the resulting destruction.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Love That Dog

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech is a novel told through poetry. It is written from the point of view of Jack, 5th grader who hates poetry and thinks it's for girls. To Jack's chagrin, his teacher is making the class read and write poetry. Even worse, she wants to put some of the poems Jack wrote on the wall for the entire class to read. Jack reluctantly agrees to let her, under the condition that his work remain anonymous. Gradually, Jack learns that poetry is not only for girls, and that there are poems that he actually likes. He also learns to be proud of his work and is willing to claim his poems.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Peanut

Peanut by Paul Hoppe
Sadie is starting at a new high school, and is worried about making friends. Being new is never easy, and she is afraid she will be doomed to suffer the tortures of high school alone. When Sadie reads an essay to the class about her peanut allergy and how it effects every aspect of her life, a few of her classmates take interest. They start a conversation, and before she knows it, Sadie has a group of friends all her own. And a super sweet boyfriend. She snagged one of those, too. The only problem is that Sadie doesn't really have a peanut allergy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rewiew: Anya's Ghost

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
When Anya decides to skip school, she never imagined she would find herself at the bottom of a well. She really didn't imagine that she would meet a ghost named Emily at the bottom of said well, either. To Anya's surprise, she finds that a bone from Emily's skeleton made it's way into her bag when she was rescued. Emily can only travel a small distance from her bones, but since Anya has one, Emily can follow her around. At first, Anya is annoyed and plans to ditch Emily and her bone ASAP. However, when Emily helps Anya pass a bio test, the idea of having Emily around suddenly becomes more appealing.

Anya and Emily become close. So close that Anya doesn't seem to want to hang out with her living friends anymore. Emily seems like a great ghost friend at first: she encourages Anya to be nice to Dima, another Russian immigrant in her school who is bullied, helps Anya in school, and is also dedicated to helping Anya snag the man of her dreams. Then the not so nice side of Emily comes out.

When Anya finds out that the man of her dreams is a complete jerk, Emily is still obsessed with the idea of Anya going out with him. What's worse is that Emily claimed that she was murdered, but with a little research (at her local library!) Anya finds out that Emily was actually the murderer. That, for some strange reason, puts Anya off, and she again resolves to ditch Emily's bone in the well. Emily on the other hand does not want that to happen. To stop Anya from leaving her to her lonesome in a well for another 90 years, Emily starts to threaten Anya by doing terrible things to her family.

And they all die.

Kidding!!! Well, Emily is already dead, but that's a minor detail. Anya's Ghost was my first graphic novel. And at this point you are wondering how I can aim to be a young adult librarian and have only read one graphic novel. After reading this one, I will definitely be reading more. I had fun reading this book. It was dark, but still humorous. I really enjoyed the illustrations and was amazed at how 3 or 4 panels with no text could set the tone so effectively. Anya was just as an annoying high school girl should be, and Emily's sweetly manipulative character reminded me a bit of Regina George from "Mean Girls." I'm a little sad that Vera Brosgol has not written any other graphic novels, but I will definitely check out more graphic novels in the near future and exploring different authors.
Suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Then You Were Gone

Then You Were Gone by Lauren Stransick
Then You Were Gone is about a teenage girl, Adrienne, whose former best friend has suddenly disappeared. Adrienne's ex-best friend, Dakota, only left a truck behind at a beach, leading everyone to believe she had killed herself. However, Adrienne does not believe Dakota is the suicidal type. She believes that Dakota is still alive, and will do almost anything to find out.

In her search for what really happened to Dakota, Adrienne seems to ruin or severely strain almost all of her relationships. She puts her boyfriend to the side, and won't listen to her current best friend's advice. She develops feelings for Dakota's boyfriend, (if he can be called that) and acts on those feelings. She also starts smoking, skipping class, and participating in other behaviors that were not part of her life before Dakota disappeared.

All in all, not my cup of tea. Adrienne annoyed me and I didn't develop any sympathy for her. I did not really care whether or not she found Dakota. When she does find Dakota, the reason for her disappearance is so unsurprising, as is the aftermath of Dakota returning home. I was glad this book was a quick read, because I was ready for it to be over.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor is the new girl in town. She has bright red hair and dresses in old, baggy men's clothing. Park is the only Asian in school, and is the unfortunate person who sits with Eleanor on the bus. For weeks the two sit next to each other without talking and keeping a good amount of space between them. Then, Park notices that when Eleanor is looking down, she is not staring into her lap. She is reading Park's comic books.

The relationship between the two quickly grows. Eleanor cannot stop thinking about Park, and Park can't get enough of Eleanor. They share comics, swap music, and feel that the other's hand is the most amazing thing to touch. The two hang out after school and roll their eyes lovingly at one another. The relationship is not all happy, though. Eleanor is made fun of in school, which not only hurts her, but angers Park to the point of fighting. Also, Eleanor hides that her stepfather is emotionally abusive towards her, and is physically abusive to her mother, from Park. The abuse from all corners eventually takes its toll, and Eleanor asks Park to help her escape.

Eleanor and Park was full of sarcasm and teenage angst. It was not so over-the-top to be annoying, though, and I did end up liking both characters. The book goes back and forth between Eleanor and Park's perspectives, which gives readers a chance to get to know both of them and see what each thinks about different situations. For instance, Eleanor was horrified when she had to leave gym still wearing her uniform (her clothes were flushed as a prank), and even more horrified that Park saw her in the hallway in said gym uniform. However, Park was, put simply, turned on. How fun!

Looking back on what I just wrote, the book may seem kind of annoying. But it wasn't. I promise. I liked it and couldn't put it down. Well, I did, but I was hungry. Anyway, I liked reading about the title characters and their complicated high school love. It had a bit of a Perks of Being A Wallflower feel, possibly because of the descriptions of confusion caused by teenage romance (Does he/she like me? I can't believe he/she likes me. What they hell would he/she ever like me?).

I don't think I'm being very convincing on the subject of my liking this book and why someone should read it. My words are not working. That mean that you (the few and the proud who read this) should just go read the book and draw your own conclusions. I enjoyed it. The end.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Number the Stars

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Annamarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen are best friends. They are growing up in Copenhagen during World War 2, and there are Nazi soldiers on every street corner. This is becoming increasingly difficult for the Rosen family, who are Jewish. When a store owned by a Jewish family is closed, the Rosens and Johansens become worried, but when they find out that soon all Jews will be 'relocated,' the families know it is time to take action.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: Montefiore's Goddaughter

Montefiore's Goddaughter by Elisabeth Brooks
 Montefiore's Goddaughter  by Elizabeth Brooks is about the adventures of Abigale Crabtree. The thing that is different about Abigale's adventures, though, is that they do not stop when she falls asleep. In fact, that is when the real adventures begin: in the dream world of Traumund.

Since Abigale was little, she has always been able to escape to her dream world. She has a group of friends, made up of humans and animals, and her stuffed bear Boris. The friends congregate in a magical tree that keeps them safe from the giant cannibals who roam the dream forest, and is a place full of stories and fun. That is, until an evil creature that Abigale did not dream up enters her world, and demands she surrender herself to the King of Traumund.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Would You Eat Your Cat?

Would You Eat Your Cat? by Jeremy Strangroom
I won this book from a Goodreads.com giveaway. I entered said giveaway because of the book title and cover photo. That little cat is so cute! But when I got the book and saw that it had to do with ethics, I started thinking I should stop picking my books based on the cuteness of the cover and actually read the description. However, everything turned out okay in the end. 

Would You Eat Your Cat: Key Ethical Conundrums and What They Tell You About Yourself was a little book with a lot of punch. It asked insightful questions about morals and ethics, gave a kind of humorous scenario for readers to chew on, and then provided different ways to look at the situation along with real world scenarios. I discussed some of the ethical conundrums with others and it sparked a bit of discussion. Everyone liked the pictures.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Books that I Don't Like

As I was running today, I was thinking about the books I have been reviewing for this blog. For the most part, they are positive reviews; not many about books I didn't like. So I thought about it, and I realized that either I don't review books I did not like, or I just don't finish reading them. Life is too short to read books that one does not enjoy. This happened to me as I was reading The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston. I got a little over 100 pages into it and I realized that picking up the book felt more like a chore than entertainment. I didn't connect with the characters, I felt the plot was slow and boring, and I really did not enjoy the dialogue. It annoyed me. So I ditched it. Plain and simple. After I came to this realization (most of my realizations and best day dreams happen when I'm running), I decided to post about 5 books that I have read, or started to read, and did not like.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Double Review: Insurgent and Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World
That Can't Stop Talking
 by Susan Cai

Today I am doing something I have not done before: reviewing two books in one post. The reason is that I have a lot of books to catch up on as I was reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain and Insurgent, the second book in the "Divergent Trilogy" by Veronica Roth, I kept drawing connections between the two. 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The two books are very different. Quiet is a non-fiction book about, well, the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking. What initially drew me to this book is that I am an introvert, and I often feel that my extroverted peers are going to be more successful than me simply because they talk a lot. Cain does reinforce that yes, talking loud and fast is important in our culture, but there are many successful people who are introverted. Also, many times introverts are more productive and become more successful than their extroverted co-workers. Some amazing people that I share my introvertedness with are (in no particular order):

J.K. Rowling
Bill Gates
Sir Isaac Newton
Those guys who created Google
Albert Einstein
Rosa Parks
Mahatma Gandhi
Al Gore
Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

I had no idea what The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz was about. I read it because I needed a book for a reading challenge and I happened to get this one for free from World Book Night. You may ask, “Why didn’t you just read the blurb on the back of the book?” Well, instead of a blurb there was a list of books that were featured in World Book Night. Then you may ask, “Why didn’t you look at reviews online, or the GoodReads description?” and to that I would answer, “‘Cause I didn’t.”

That being said, I liked it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Challenge


5 points: Read a book written by an author you have never read before. Divergent by Veronica Roth

5: Read a book you already have at home but haven’t gotten around to yet (from the library, from a bookstore, borrowed from a friend, on your e-reader, whatever). All Clear by Connie Willis

10: Read a book written in the decade that you were born. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

10: Read a book that takes place in the state/province where you were born. Eat The City by Robin Shulman

15: Read a book titled The _______'s Daughter or The _______'s Wife. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

15:  Read a book that was originally written in a language other than English. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

20: Read a book with a number in the title. This could be an actual digit or a number like “hundred” or “thousand.” No arbitrary numbers are allowed. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

20:  Read a book set during Christmas or another winter holiday. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

20: Read a book written by an author who shares your initials. Bringing the Summer by Julia Green 

25: Read a Pulitzer Prize winner or finalist for fiction. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao  by Junot Diaz

25:  Re-read a book. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

30: Read three books from three different genres (e.g. romance, historical fiction, horror, biography, etc.). Remember, the books used for this category cannot count for any other category

1. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (Fantasy)
2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Distopia)
3. Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (YA Sci Fi/Romance)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Read and Read

Random thought of the day: Read and read are strange words. Not only is the spelling of the two words the same the pronuncuation different, but I am pretty sure they are the only words in which the past and future tenses are spelled the same way.

Anyway, book challenge. I have one category left: Book written during the decade I was born. I am reading (and almost done with) The Handmaid's Tale by Margret Atwood (1985). Yay! I know I have a lot of reviews to do, and I will get to them soon. I have been busy applying to jobs. If someone would hire me then I would not have to spend all day writing cover letters and I could spend some time on writing book reviews!

Of course, one could make the argument that if I had a job, instead of filling out job applications all day I would be working all day and still would not have enough time for book reviews. But we're not picky here, are we?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: Sapphire Blue

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
I had really enjoyed the first book in the "Edelstein Trilogie," Ruby Red. I finished the second book in the series, Sapphire Blue. I liked it and liked reading about Gwen and Gideon's adventures through time, but I enjoyed it slightly less than the first book.

Like Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue starts with a prologue that follows Lucy and Paul. Readers get a glimpse into their side of the story, and a few clues into the many mysteries in the book. Lucy and Paul are the two time travelers who are responsible for Gwen and Gideon's current task: finding all past time travelers and getting a few drops of their blood to put into the chronograph (the machine that helps the time travelers go back to specific time periods). Only a small amount of blood is needed, and most of the past time travelers are willing. There are a few who refuse, though, making a task that could be simple, difficult. There is also the part where Lucy and Paul stole one of two chronographs specifically to prevent all 12 time travelers from putting their blood in and closing "the circle of 12." They will not be donating their blood any time soon. If the circle is closed, it will reveal a secret that may or may not save the world. Save it from what, I don't know... but neither do the characters in the book. It's a secret, after all.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Layout

As you can see, I have decided to redo the blog layout. There are still some things I need to work on, but so far I like it a lot more than the previous design. What do you think? Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: All Clear

All Clear by Connie Willis

I finally read All Clear by Connie Willis. It is the sequel to Blackout, which you may remember I read way back in March. The story is about historians who are from the year 2060 and travel back in time to World War II. In Blackout, The three main characters, Polly, Eileen and Mike, all started on different assignments and wanted to observe different parts of England in WWII. Eileen was in the country observing evacuated children, Mike went to Dunkirk to learn about heroism, and Polly went to London to see how people survived the Blitz. When each of these historians want to go back to 2060, the find that their drops -where they go to be transported back to the future- don't open. They are stuck in the past.

All Clear begins exactly where Blackout left off. The three historians have found each other and are trying to figure out how to get word to their retrieval teams (the people who are supposed to rescue them should anything bad happen) to let them know they are stuck and need to get out. The three end up writing ads in the news paper that will hopefully survive for historians in the future to find, letters to the editor and articles with their names and location coded in them.

Reading ChallengeS update

I have written and updated on the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge that I am doing. It's fun and I am reading a lot of books that I have been meaning to scratch off my 'to-read' list. But I signed up for another reading challenge, too. The Good Reads book challenge. I did it last year, as well. All I did was set a goal of how many books I want to read this year, and try to finish. Last year my goal was 50, and I went past that by reading 62. This year, I am making my goal 70. It will be a lot of reading, but I have faith that I am a big enough book worm/nerd to get it all done. I have already read two books, after all. Only 68 to go! I added a widget so everyone can see my progress and check out which books I am reading. Below, I updated my stats on the Winter Book Challenge. 

Happy New Year!