Library book mini-reviews

So far this year I have read 49 books and 37 of them have been library books! 11 have been ARCs and only one has been a book that I actually own (oops…). Here are a few mini-reviews from some of my recent library reads!

mini-reviews

 

 

A Gathering of Shadows/A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

I absolutely adored this series. I’m partly kicking myself for waiting so long, but then at the same time I feel like I read it in a good time in my life when I could read all three books back-to-back and really feel like I understood what was going on. I really liked the competition aspect in the second book. With both Lila and Kell pretending to be other people, the suspense was HIGH. Then, in the third book, I continue to be astounded at the depth that Schwab has created for the character Holland. I completely understand why Rhy and Lila hate his guts, but I can’t bring myself to feel the same way. Despite everything, I LIKE him. One criticism that I have is that I want to know more about these worlds beyond London. It’s kind of a blank globe outside of the city. I highly recommend this series and could definitely see myself rereading them. Real quick, though, did anyone else ship Lila with Alucard? Or was that just me? 5/5

Shadows: eBook | Hardcover | Paperback
Light: eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Lady from the Black LagoonThe Lady From the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara

This book was featured on one of Book Riot’s podcasts and the author was also on What Should I Read Next?¬†In the end, I’m glad I picked this book. It was really different from the other non-fiction books that I’ve read since this author isn’t a non-fiction writer. Actually, she’s not really even an author (though, I guess she is now). Her tone was a lot more casual and I liked her snarky little footnotes. This book was definitely part history and part memoir and I thought the two combined rather well. I did have one issue with it, though. There was a brief section where O’Meara touched on something that is actually pretty personal to me and I don’t feel like she did it in a super respectful (or accurate) way. That cast a cloud on the rest of her book and gave me some doubt as a reader as to the accuracy of some of her other claims. Other than that, though, I really did enjoy learning about Milicent Patrick. 4/5

eBook | Hardcover

Always Never YoursAlways Never Yours by Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegmund-Broka

Blah. This book wasn’t what I hoped it would be. I think most of that centers around our main character, Megan. I think I was hoping for someone a little nicer and sweeter who handled her breakups more gracefully. Instead, Megan is really quite in your face while also being simultaneously oblivious. She just wasn’t the main character I was hoping for with this story line. I also hate when characters are all like, “OMG why am I obsessing over this guy’s hair? It’s not like I LIKE him or anything!” when they very obviously DO like him. Are people’s feelings really so mystifying to themselves? 3/5

The Enchanted HourThe Enchanted Hour by Meghan Cox Gurdon

This was another non-fiction book that I read and I read it for a book club. The premise doesn’t sound that compelling, but I’m actually super glad that I read it. As a new mom, they drill into you that “IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO READ TO YOUR BABY!!!!!!!” Like, literally, they’re shoving that down your throat. Which is fine, I’m not trying to dispute that or anything, but no one really explained to me why? I mean, I was going to do it, but how exactly does it help? I just want to know! This book answered most, if not all, of my questions about the benefits of reading aloud to my kid. Every time I would finish a chapter, I would feel so motivated to go read to him. A criticism I do have, though, is that the author isn’t super forgiving. Everything she says regarding technology came off as super harsh to me and it made me feel like a bad parent for ever defiling my baby’s eyes with a screen. But sometimes I need to take a shower, dang it, and he’ll sit quietly in his Pack n’ Play if I turn on Word Party! Overall, though, still a good read. 4/5

Loved this quote from C.S. Lewis that she included: “He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: The reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.”

eBook | Hardcover

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleThe 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This book is super twisty. It was already on my TBR when my sister texted and was like, “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS.” So the next time I saw it on one of our library displays, I grabbed it. I absolutely LOVED the premise. Each of Aiden’s hosts contributes more pieces to the puzzle. Longtime followers may know that I hate mysteries where the reader doesn’t have all the information necessary to solve the mystery. With this book, I do feel like we were presented with all of the information necessary, but the author didn’t quite lead us to the final solution. In the end, I found the conclusion of the book to be a little…out of nowhere, but I still enjoyed. I could definitely see myself rereading this one and picking up on more clues. 4/5

eBook | Hardcover

CirceCirce by Madeleine Miller

When I was a Sophomore in high school, we read The Odyssey in English. I enjoyed it and ended up writing my essay on how the Greek Gods absolutely do NOT deserve their power. This book just brought back all of those feelings. Seriously. Disney’s Hercules gives you all of these warm, fuzzy feelings towards the Gods when in reality they’re THE WORST!!! Anyway, I wanted to like this book more than I did. I’ve always been a fan of Greek Mythology, so I liked it from that standpoint, but it wasn’t totally for me. The writing was a bit much at times and the pacing was a little strange. All of the sudden, a thousand years would pass without warning–but I guess that’s what it must be like when you’re immortal. I didn’t really care for Circe for a good 50-60% of the book, but in the end, I found myself happy when she found happiness. One thing I really did like about this book was the portrayal of motherhood with both Circe and Penelope. Being a mom is freaking HARD and so some of Circe’s struggles with Telegonus really resonated with me. 3.5/5

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6 WORST things about working at a library!

Some of you may remember that I started working at my local library towards the end of last year. I’m an Adult/Teen Services and Reference Librarian. I LOVE my job. It’s basically my dream job, but no job is perfect, right? (Related, if you know of any perfect jobs, hmu in the comments). Now that I’ve been there for about 6 months, I’ve noticed some things that are…not so fun about being a librarian.

1. You get sick more often

Just working with the public means that you’re coming into contact with a lot of different people and a lot of different germs. We have these huge bottles of hand sanitizer at the reference desk which I utilize often, but still. Since I’ve started, I’ve probably had like 4 minor colds and 1 major one. I made sure to get my flu shot, but it’s still a little worrisome since I’ve got a baby at home and I’m trying not to bring home any extra germs if I can help it. I always sanitize right before I leave work and wash my hands first thing when I get home.

2. Being surrounded by books all the time

This may not sound like a big deal–it might even sound like the best thing in the world! (Who am I kidding? It kind of is). But, being surrounded by books all day means that my TBR just grows and grows and grows. All the time, I find myself coming home with books that I wasn’t planning on picking up and adding them to my already enormous stack of library books.

3. Having to remind patrons of library policies

Oof. This is the hardest one for me. I do not like confrontation at all but there are times when we do have to approach a patron and ask them to follow our library rules. An example: our second floor is our quiet floor (there are signs posted literally EVERYWHERE) and you’re asked not to talk above a whisper or answer your phones on that floor, but you can totally do those things on our first floor. Well, despite our plethora of signs, people routinely break that rule and I have to shush them. 75% of the time, they’re really good about it, but some people get so grumpy! I’ve also had experiences with other, more concerning behaviors and it is NOT fun. I envy Circulation, because they don’t have to deal with this.

4. Maintaining a balanced collection even if you don’t personally agree with materials

The other day I was looking through a list of books from my collection that have gone “missing”. One of the titles is clearly on the racist end of the spectrum, but when I looked it up, I saw that it’s circulation numbers were pretty good (which is…alarming). If this were any other book, I would immediately replace it. As it is, I’m struggling hardcore with feeling strongly that I¬†don’t want to add it to my collection, but also feeling like I probably¬†should. But that’s what being a library is about–having a balanced collection despite personal beliefs. Obviously there are lines and I’m trying to decide which side of the line this particular book falls on.

5. Not always getting to attend events

My library has a ton of author visits (six this month alone!) but they’re often at night. Unfortunately, I work nights and weekends so I’m usually working the desk while these events are happening so I don’t get to go ūüė¶

6. Writing book summaries

This might seem super trivial to some, but writing book summaries is HARD! At least, for me it is. And as a librarian, I’ve had to write A LOT of book summaries. Book lists, reviews, etc. It gets exhausting.

Fellow librarians/library workers: what’s your least favorite part of the job? Non-library workers: what do you think your favorite part of working at a library would be?

Best YA Books of 2017 | Provo Library Event

Every year the Provo Library puts on a “Best of…” event where they go over the best YA, Adult, and Children’s books from the previous year. Most years I just go for the YA session and I’ve usually already heard of most of the books that they mention. But every once in a while they talk about a book that I haven’t heard of and I’m intrigued. So I thought I’d mention a few of the books that caught my eye here.

Bull by David Elliott –¬†This is a book written in verse that also has some visual elements. It’s a retelling of the myth of the Minotaur. I have always loved mythology in general and I’m intrigued by this premise.

Damsels by Leah Moore –¬†More retellings! This one is a graphic novel and brings together many of our favorite fairy tale heroines. This is not your typical “damsel in distress” book.

Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Vincent Van Gogh had a brother, but I wouldn’t have been able to come up with his name. This book sounds really interesting in exploring their relationship and how it may have influenced Vincent’s art. Also, this is from the same author who gave us Charles and Emma.

The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato –¬†This book was very intriguing to me. It’s set in D.C. and I think has an American History element to it with maybe some magical realism?

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld –¬†I have loved Scott Westerfeld ever since I read the “Uglies” series back when they were coming out when I was in junior high. This is a graphic novel and was described as being horror-ish. I’d like to read more graphic novels so I’m definitely interested in this one.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds –¬†Okay, so I think this is another book that’s written in verse. It’s about a boy whose brother got shot and so now he’s trying to take out the guy who he thinks was the shooter. He’s on this elevator and on each floor a ghost gets on to talk to him? It sounds kind of trippy but also just really fascinating.

Have you guys heard of these books? What were some of your favorite reads from 2017? Let me know in the comments!

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge: Week One Update

I haven’t gotten very far in the books that I checked out…shame shame, I know. But I’ll get to them! I just have to get through an ARC first and then I’m good¬†to go.

This week’s challenge topic is:

Tell us a little about your library (include a picture if you can!).

In my sign-up post I already showed pictures of my current local libraries, so I thought I’d talk about the library that really started it all for me: The Kenmore, WA library.

Now, at the end of my senior year of high school they finished constructing the shiny, NEW Kenmore Library, but the one that I grew up going to was anything but glamorous. It was a portable. Literally. You know those portable classrooms that they stick in high school parking lots to make room for more classes? That’s exactly what the library was! It smelled the same and it was very small, but it was one of my favorite places to go as a kid. I can still recall the smell…not anything bad, but kind of musty and old. It just smells like my library. Here’s a picture of the building from Google Maps taken August 2011 (just two months after the new library was completed). It’s hard to see with all the trees, but I think you can kind of get the idea of what it was. The black garbage sack in front is actually covering the old King County Library System sign.

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Man, I loved that library. The librarians knew me and my siblings by name and they always asked for our library card number when we were checking out because they knew we had it memorized. If I went in alone they always asked how my family was doing. I dreamed of working there in high school, but because it was such a small library, there were never any openings. This is where I fell in love with reading, books, and libraries.

I think I’ve only been to the new library two or three times (I left soon after it was completed for college), but it’s beautiful. There are a ton of windows and the whole space is open and bright. There’s a parking garage now to accommodate more patrons. It looks modern and new and is easily five times the size of the old library.

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Libraries have always been and always will be safe places for me. I cannot imagine living somewhere without a local library. Unfortunately, I think a lot of local libraries are suffering from a lack of funding. Now, I’m definitely not asking anyone to go out and donate money, but what I am asking is for people to find your local library. Get yourself a library card. Get your kids library cards. Check out some books, or movies, or CDs. ANYTHING. Just use your local library.

(Pictures of the new library were all taken by Lara Swimmer and can be found here)

Book Haul #1

This isn’t my first book haul, but it’s the first one that I’ve actually decided to document. Every first of the month, the Orem Public Library restocks their Book Sale Corner. There’s all kinds of stuff and it feels like a treasure hunt as you’re crouching in front of the shelves looking for your next great find. Today I bought four books for $3.50 (not bad if I do say so myself…) and in this book haul I’m including a couple of books that I checked out as well.

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Ready Player One – I’ve read this book once before…maybe a few years ago. I heard recently that it’s going to be turned into a movie? So I figured I’d reread it before it got too popular to check out from the library.

The Lucky One – I’ve always scoffed a little bit at people who are in love with Nicholas Sparks books. The only one I’ve read so far is “A Walk to Remember” and only because I liked the movie. After reading some of the summaries for a few¬†of his books though, I decided that his I¬†might actually enjoy some of them and that I need to stop judging poor Mr. Sparks¬†by how many blockbusters he’s produced.

Montmorency and the Assassins – I read the Montmorency books way back in Junior High it feels like…maybe High School. It’s hard to remember. But I do remember really, really liking them. This is the third book in the series with the first being Montmorency, the second Montmorency on the Rocks, the fourth Montmorency’s Revenge, and the fifth Montmorency Returns. The covers on Amazon make the books look really boring, but they’re actually awesome.

The Perfume Collector – I picked this book 100% because I liked the cover. I actually know nothing about it.

Mr. Darcy’s Daughters – I love Pride and Prejudice (what literary minded girl doesn’t?) So this book seems promising…but I’m also prepared for it to be a major let down as well.

Born of Deception – I read the first book Born of Illusion maybe a year ago. I’ve been waiting for the second book to be put onto OverDrive but my local library hasn’t seen fit to do that thus far…so when I saw it just sitting on a shelf at the library, I had to snatch it up.

So there you go! Book Haul #1. What books have you guys gotten recently? Have you read any of the ones that I just got?