The Evil Library Strikes Again | Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine [ARC]

Warning: This is the second book in a series and so may contain spoilers for the first book. Click here to read my review on the first book, Ink & Bone.

JesPaper and Fires Brightwell has been adjusting to life as one of the High Garda, but that’s not all he’s been doing. He has reason to believe that his friend, Thomas Schreiber, is not actually dead like he’s been told. Jess thinks that finding the Black Archives may be the key to locating where Thomas is being kept, but nobody knows if the Black Archives actually exist. As Jess and his fellow former-postulants research this sensitive topic, they will find that they have uncovered much more than they bargained for. In order to survive, each of them will have to choose: Friends? Or the Library?

This was a great follow-up to the first book. Each character stays true to their original descriptions and I felt like their motivations and actions in this book still made sense. I like the variety that we have with characters too. We have Glain who’s super tough, then there’s Dario who we all still kind of hate, and then there’s Khalila who is smart and just so kind. They all contribute to make the group dynamic really interesting and enjoyable. There are a couple of characters who I don’t enjoy as much–mostly I feel like they tend to stand in the way of moving the plot forward–but overall the group is enjoyable.

Something that I didn’t necessarily anticipate is the depth of the characters’ relationships with each other. Thinking back on the events of the first book I guess it makes sense that they’ve all formed such a strong bond, but I didn’t feel like that bond was ever really shown or developed all that much in the first book. At least, I didn’t see it. This carries over to Jess’s relationship with Morgan. All of the sudden they’re really serious about each other and I’m just left going, “Wait, what? Where did all of these super strong feelings come from?”

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this series. This book ends on such a cliffhanger! I can’t wait for the third book to come out. Another thing is that I LOVE these covers! They’re just colorful and interesting, yet kind of subtle at the same time. I definitely recommend these books.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Doctor Who with a dash of Sherlock Holmes (Jackaby by William Ritter)

JackabyAbigail Rook is fresh off the boat and looking for a job. Unfortunately, it seems that the only one hiring is the strange Mr. Jackaby. The rest of the people in town tend to give Jackaby a wide berth, but Abigail can’t afford to do that if she’d like to have a warm place to sleep and food to eat. On her first day she follows Jackaby to a crime scene–a murder investigation to be exact. While Jackaby seems to notice things that may or may not be there and may or may not have fantastical origins, Abigail is quite good at noticing the ordinary. The two misfits make quite a team as they investigate just what kind of supernatural killer they have on their hands.

I was lucky enough to get signed copies of the first three books in this series at BookCon. William Ritter is very nice and refreshingly genuine and I’m so happy that I can say that I enjoyed this book. It is very reminiscent of both Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes, but not necessarily in a way that is annoying or tiring. Jackaby is a really delightful character and it’s a really nice change for me that there is NOT a romance brewing between him and Abigail. Abigail herself is perhaps a little flat for a narrator–I wish she had a little more depth. That being said, I still thought she was a good narrator and didn’t get annoyed with her at all. Secondary characters were all fine, but I think they’ll probably have bigger roles in later books.

The plot itself is intriguing and I like how all kinds of mystical/fantastical elements are woven into the story so matter-of-factly. It really feels like the author did his research into these mystical animals/creatures. I had some ideas about who the murderer was, but I was by no means sure of myself. I think the best kind of mystery is where the reader has a suspect, but cannot say for sure whether or not they are right. This book definitely accomplishes that.

Overall, I thought this book was great! I also really appreciated that the book has very little adult content outside of violence/gore. Very little language, no sexual content, and very little alcohol/drug use. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Doctor Who or Sherlock Holmes, or anyone who is looking for a nice, clean mystery. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of them myself!

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: None

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is a FREEBIE. I missed this topic a few weeks ago so I’m going back to get it now: Beach Reads Week — top ten great beach reads, ten books I plan to read on the beach, ten beach reads for those who don’t like typical ~beach reads~, ten authors who are my go-to for beach reads, etc.

So without further ado, here are the books that I would want in my beach bag this summer (all of these are 2016 releases).

Already Read

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
26 Kisses by Anna Michels

TBR

Summer Days & Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins
The Crown by Kiera Cass
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks
The Siren by Kiera Cass
The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson

Not Released Yet

P.S. I Like You

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Pre-Vacation Mini-Reviews

Hello everyone! I have been so bad at blogging lately and for that I apologize. I’ve just been really busy at work and with school (summer terms are KILLER). But excuses, excuses. I’m about to head out of town this weekend, so it’s kind of a now or never thing with catching up. Here are some of the books that I’ve read recently and what I thought about them. Links are to Goodreads.

The King SlayerThe King Slayer by Virginia Boecker [ARC]
This is the second book in the series and it was pretty similar to the first book. I liked the characters pretty good and their reactions to things (even if I thought Elizabeth did some not-very-well-thought-out things…). I liked the additional characters that we got to meet and the conflict between Elizabeth and John was interesting. But again, the pacing of the plot was kind of weird. All of the sudden they were in battle and then the actual battle lasts like two chapters. I felt like since the whole book was leading up to this huge event, it should have taken more time and had more weight in the book. In the end it felt like the battle really didn’t even matter. The actual conclusion of the book was also pretty strange and I didn’t really understand exactly what happened. It seemed like the author maybe needed the book to end a certain way so she just kind of made it happen even if it left the readers a little confused. In the end it was just a little anticlimactic because of how confused I was. 3.5/5

Defending TaylorDefending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally [ARC]
I’ve read all of Kenneally’s books so far and I always like the intersection of sports and real life. Her books aren’t always the most realistic, but I’m usually okay with it. I don’t know if this book is basically finished or if there’s going to be another round of editing, but Taylor seemed way more annoying than any of Kenneally’s other main characters. She’s spoiled and entitled and just overall bratty. There was so much angst in this book and a lot of “but I can’t tell the truth because then my reputation will be ruined because everyone will think I’m a snitch.” GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT. Do you really think colleges are going to say, “Oh wait, we don’t want this one because she’s a snitch” over what they actually thought she did? Come on. I was also floored by the callousness of the main character’s mother. She seems completely superficial and I’m just left going, “Who is this woman?”. Overall, this book was just a big disappointment. 2/5

The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
The Year We Fell ApartI believe this is the author’s debut book so it’s not a bad start, but I didn’t love it. Our main character just makes a series of bad decisions. There is A LOT of teenage drinking in this book which I always kind of roll my eyes at. Harper seems to have no understanding of the words “moderation” or “self-control” which makes her seem more immature than I think the author wants us to see her. I wished that Harper had spent more time with her family (her mom’s going through chemotherapy for goodness sake!). Also, Sadie is a terrible friend and I honestly do not know why Harper is friends with her or what even her role is in the story other than putting Harper in bad situations. The romance is nice, but then there are times when Declan doesn’t seem like the best guy either–kind of emotionally manipulative at times. And he has a role in their original breakup and that’s never addressed. In the end, there is some character growth, but not much and definitely not as much as I would have hoped for. I did like Gwen and Mackenzie though. They seemed like cool girls. 3/5

Note: ARCs were received free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other Dimensional Library Collects Books from Alternate Universes (The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman)

The Invisible LibraryIrene is a librarian and it is a librarian’s job to travel to alternate worlds to collect books significant or particular to that world. She’s just completed a job and is looking forward to a nice stretch of time to do her research. Without warning Irene is sent out into the field again this time with a student shadowing her named Kai. It’s supposed to be a fairly routine job–one week max. But when they get there, they find that the book they’re meant to retrieve has already been stolen. As Irene and Kai try to find the book while navigating this world, they’ll face giant robot centipedes, cyborg alligators, and more.

This book has basically every single fantasy element in it and somehow it all comes together and works. We’ve got fae, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and steampunk. There’s just so much going on! I’m amazed that Cogman has been able to keep the story from getting too confusing or bogged down with the different species and worlds that exist in this book. The library itself is a very fascinating place that we don’t actually get to learn much about. Librarians have a special magic called “The Language” that they can use and it works in any world with virtually any object. I was very interested with this interpretation of magic. It requires that a librarian uses very specific language in order for it to work and I enjoyed reading about how Irene uses it throughout.

There were definitely times when the plot was a little slow, but then there were times when the action made it move super-fast. Perhaps the author could have regulated the pace of the book a little more, but overall it wasn’t too distracting or disruptive.

The characters were really quite fun. Irene and Kai kind of have a weird relationship…I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there. Vale is 100% delightful.He’s basically Sherlock Holmes, but he’s much better with people than Sherlock ever was. Even Silver and Bradamant were fun characters to read even though they were kind of evil. And don’t even get me started on the villain. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this is probably one of the most evil villains I have ever read. Seriously, super messed up.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series (there are going to be at least three). I’m interested in seeing how this world continues to develop. Lastly, this book just makes librarians seem WAY awesome. They’re spies and thieves but they’re also just as bookish as any librarian would be!

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for a review and for featuring it on my Instagram account (@whatsshereadingblog).

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 Releases So Far

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

So here they are in no particular order. As always, links are to Goodreads.

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas – This book was so fun! We’re given a pretty tough heroine and some interesting characters. Sure, there’s a bit of a love triangle, but every book has its flaws, right?

Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor – This is historical fiction but I feel like it details a part of history that isn’t often talked about. Definitely different, definitely will make you feel something.

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – This book was just plain fun to read because of all the variety even if the subject matter was a bit dark.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston – Who hasn’t heard of this book by now? This is a book that deals with important topics in a really good way.

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey – This book is another fun one to read. It’s got the feal of a Jane Austen book but is a lot easier to read. I wish the heroine was a little more capable and didn’t need to be saved all the time, but I still liked it.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson – I still love, love, LOVE Morgan Matson and all of her books. This one didn’t disappoint! It’s a fun summer read and I love all of the different types of relationships that are depicted.

Whisper to Me by Nick Lake – This book was kind of strange, but I also liked it. We have kind of an unreliable narrator and an unnamed love interest, but overall I thought it was very interesting.

The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – The second book in the series and it’s a lot like the first one. I actually think I liked it a tad better even.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson – I love that this book is about smart people! The main character got on my nerves at times and she was just kind of mean throughout, but overall I liked I thought the book and other characters were good.

26 Kisses by Anna Michels – This book was a lot better than I thought it would be. I went in with very low expectations, but I think in the end the overall message is a good one.

Parental Advisory for Books?

parental-advisory_custom-d61ea6192ebc478d3a7ff147dbbe3e884ebcb5ac-s900-c85
Just a picture, not actually a warning for this post.

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you might remember that I did a post on parental advisory for books almost exactly a year ago. Within the last couple of months this post has seemed to regain interest–the views have really started to pick up–and I’m not exactly sure why. I reread through that post and the comments the other day and I felt like I needed to write a new post addressing the topic. Now that I’m halfway done with my Masters in Library Science, I feel like I have a little more perspective and a more concrete opinion on the matter.

Just as a reminder from the brief research that I did for my last post, I didn’t find that ratings or labeling content as “explicit” was required for any medium (movies, video games, music) but that it was encouraged in a lot of them. I’ve seen some books that have warnings as part of the summary, but they’ve all been books that I’ve found on Amazon and appear to be self-published or published by a small publishing house–not by one of the big five.

The last time I talked about this, I proposed that books be given ratings similar to movies and video games. I think a lot of people took that to mean that children would be restricted from certain books if the rating was too mature like they are from R-rated movies and Mature rated video games (which started to feel like censorship to some). As I’ve started my degree, I’ve discovered that librarians feel very passionately about censorship (I’m taking an Intellectual Freedom course next term). They do not agree with it and actively fight against it in a lot of cases. I too do not believe that librarians have the responsibility to censor material for their young patrons–that is the job of parents. Who am I as a librarian to say whether or not someone else’s kid can read Fifty Shades of Grey? I know I wouldn’t let my kid read it, but that’s my own personal decision. I realize now that I should have clarified something in my original post. I’m not proposing that kids be kept from reading certain books if they choose to read them. What I am proposing is that books be given ratings as a source of information for consumers (and parents of consumers).

While you’re not given the responsibility to tell people what they can and can’t read as a librarian, you are given the responsibility of recommending books to people when they ask. This is called Readers’ Advisory (I took a class on that as well). Part of the RA interview is to determine a reader’s comfort level in certain areas. Perhaps you have a patron that loves reading romance. She’s comfortable with some steamy scenes, but she’s not a fan of erotica. It’s the librarian’s job to recommend books that fall within her comfort level. With what I propose, the rating system will only help readers to get the same information that they might get from a librarian during an RA interview. We already have a summary of the book, why not a brief summary of its adult content as well?

Ultimately I see this as a help for the consumer when determining what to read, but also for parents of young readers. My mom was a great mom. She was a stay-at-home mom so she was able to spend a lot of time with me and my siblings and was very involved in our lives. That being said, with the rate at which my sister and I consumed books, there was no way that my mom could keep up with what we were reading. There were a couple of times when my mom caught wind of something “bad” in a book or series that I was reading and she made it clear that I was not to read those books. Honestly, I didn’t care. There were plenty of other books to read so I did what she asked (I mean, she’s my mom…what was I going to do?). I think if books had the kind of ratings that I’m proposing, my mom would have had a much easier time helping us to choose books with content that she thought was appropriate for us to be reading which is exactly what we as librarians hope parents will do.

So now that I’ve made some clarifications in my opinion, what do you guys think? Do you still think it’s a bad idea? Or would you find this kind of information helpful as well?

”Perfect” Girl Realizes That Being Perfect is Boring (The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen)

The Truth About ForeverMacy is fine, just fine. That’s what she’s been telling everyone since her dad died. While this doesn’t always feel true, Macy wants everyone around her to believe it and her boyfriend Jason makes things a little bit easier. Jason is perfect. He’s organized, smart, and most of all he makes Macy feel normal–not like that girl whose dad died. But Jason is going to “Brain Camp” and Macy knows that she has a long summer ahead of her until she meets the Wish Catering crew. They take Macy in and make her feel normal even if she’s not always perfect.

This is my absolute favorite Sarah Dessen book of all time. I feel like I relate to Macy in a lot of ways. There have been times in the past when I’ve disagreed with some of the choices that Dessen’s protagonists are making, but I really feel like I get Macy. Her decisions make sense to me. Deep down she’s just a really good girl who is genuinely trying to help others around her–especially her mother. She’s realistically flawed and most of all, she’s someone who you can cheer for.

I love the cast of secondary characters in this book and the relationships that they have with each other. The Wish crew is absolutely perfect in every way. Delia, Kristy, Monica, Bert, and Wes have a really fun dynamic and I love that Delia has taken a “mother” role with all of them. Every scene where Wish is working a job is fun to read. Disasters are happening all over the place, but it never feels overwhelmingly chaotic–the reader knows that things are going to work out.

Macy’s family has a really interesting dynamic as well. I like Caroline a lot as a character because I feel like she’s really brave. By renovating the beach house, she’s doing something that the other members of the family don’t have the courage to do. She’s noticed that the family has splintered a bit since her father died and the beach house is her way of bringing the family back together and saving those relationships. I also like that she’s forgiving. It’s not in her to hold grudges.

Wes and Macy’s relationship is just a friendship for most of the book, which I liked. I liked that they really go to know each other well by playing truth before anything remotely romantic happened between them. Wes was definitely my first hardcore book crush. His sculptures sound amazing and I’d really like to see a picture of them or something. Like a lot of Dessen’s other romantic leads, he’s a really good guy. I always appreciate that our main character ends up with a good guy and I like that Wes had a slightly troubled past, but realized he wasn’t heading down the right path and got on the right one.

Overall, this book makes a great beach read while also having depth. Dessen is really good at exploring relationships and this book is no exception. I really only have one critique that holds true for her other books as well. I feel like teenage drinking is handled really casually. Characters are always going to parties and drinking beer–even the “good” characters. I wish Dessen didn’t portray that as so normal because I actually don’t think underage drinking is a good thing. That’s really the only problem I have though. Go read her books!

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Moderate
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild

May Reading Update

ARCs
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman – Currently Reading
The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker – Currently Reading
Risuko by David Kudler
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – Read and reviewed
Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Other
Jackaby by William Ritter – Read, review coming
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (book club)

So far I have finished 2 books.

Do you want to be a librarian?

Hello everyone! I don’t usually post stuff like this, but I just wanted to get this information out there for anyone interested. Before I started this blog I had no idea how exactly one goes about becoming a librarian. Honestly, I didn’t even know that I might want to be one! After joining the book blogging community, I noticed a few bloggers mentioning MLS degrees and classes. I thought to myself, “What is this mysterious degree?” It turns out MLS stands for Masters of Library Science which is a degree that you need if you want to become a librarian. I know! I had NO IDEA that librarians had to get a specific Masters degree!

Anyway, after finding out about this glorious degree and feeling that it was the right path for me, I looked into and applied to a few different programs across the country. I started school last fall and will be done this December (fingers crossed!). One awesome thing about the MLS is that a lot of schools have this degree 100% online! That meant that I could keep the job I already had plus I could start school. I’m currently working part time (28 hours a week) and going to school technically full-time (3 classes per semester, 2 classes per term). So far I’ve been loving it! It’s been hard for sure to find the balance between work, school, and personal life, but I’m excited with how quickly my progress has been towards getting this degree.

So here’s a little advice that I would give to anyone who is possibly interested in this degree.

  • It doesn’t matter what your undergraduate was in. My undergrad was Economics with a minor in Math–definitely unrelated. As long as you like books and feel passionate about the library’s role in society, you should be good.
  • Different schools require different things when applying. Some want you to have an interview, some have you take the GRE or GMAT, some require you to come to campus for an orientation, and they’re all different prices as well. So just pick the one that works for you! I personally went for one that didn’t require an interview, test (as long as your undergrad GPA was high enough), or on-campus orientation. In the end I think I had to send in transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a cover letter, and the online application.
  • Different schools have different classes and offer different specializations. Since I read a lot of YA, I decided to look into a Teen Services Specialization. Some schools didn’t have that and some did–so that’s something to think about. A lot of times you can find a list of the courses a school offers online. Find the one that has classes or a specialization you’re interested in!
  • If you don’t feel confident in your ability to be a self-starter or if you have a lot of other obligations on your time, online may not be the best route for you. You really do have to be on top of assignments and making sure you’re getting the readings done. With no face-to-face class time, there’s less accountability throughout the semester.

With all that being said, it’s been a really great experience for me. This is an email I was sent today and was asked to forward it to anyone who was interested:

Interested in obtaining your MLS degree 100% online?

Starting as early as this fall?

The IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI is taking applications until July 15.

The Master of Library Science program, accredited by the American Library Association (ALA-MLS) is the entry degree for a professional librarian, universally required for professionals in academic libraries; essential for leadership in public libraries; provides valuable information and management skills for people who advance information connections in a variety of organizations, public, private, and non-profit.

Admissions Information

Online application

Plans of Study

Questions?  Feel free to contact me!

Elizabeth Bunge

Graduate Program Coordinator

Indiana University

School of Informatics and Computing-Indianapolis

535 W. Michigan St.

IT 476

Indianapolis, IN  46202-3103

Phone:  317-278-9200

http://soic.iupui.edu