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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

January 27, 2017

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I love how she brings a completely new twist on fairy tales (Lunar Series) and branches out into more classic children’s stories and revamps them for an older audience. We still love to read them but the retelling is often overdone. Marissa spins the stories in amazing new ways, adding a new level of technology to the world, placing the characters all over the world.

It is a YA book, but I’ve enjoyed all of her books nonetheless. I would classify it as dramatic romance with baking references. There isn’t much blood or ‘gore’, only a few fight scenes with Carroll’s legendary Jabberwocky. Honestly, the only thing that really bothered me about the book was the romance aspect of it. It seems all YA books for girls focus on finding a boy, falling in love, etc. Instead of the act of doing something, adventurous. However, this still had plenty of action. I just wish that was the forefront instead of the subplot.

jabberwocky_posterl

Heartless it is the prequel to Alice in Wonderland story wise.

As a Young Adult book it focuses on the young Red queen, before she was a queen. I loved how the story started, it was a perfect Wonderland spin off.

Catherine, our soon-to-be villain, paints the perfect picture of bad things happening in perfect sequence to completely alter someone’s life.

She is sole heir to her parent’s land and title. Her mother, closer to the queen we know in Alice in Wonderland, constantly criticizes her fashion and food choices. As well as her friends and suitors, really, her entire life and how she lives it.

Catherine is dedicated to her baking, also disapproved by her mother, but she thrives and practices her skill despite all her parent’s protests.

The king seeks her affection, despite her dreaming of a true love, with lemon trees growing from her dreams. Her friend, Mary Ann, is a servant of the household. (sound like a familiar name?) And a secret plot sprouts up from Chess, possibly involving Catherine. The Hatter before he goes mad and curious riddles makes for the most delightful tea party.

If you like Alice in Wonderland, you may love this book. Overall, I enjoyed this despite the small hangup I had early on.

 

Alli

Lily and the Octopus

January 12, 2017

by Steven Rowley

At first instinct, I want to show everyone this book and semi-force them to read it. It was amazing. I cried when I finished it, remembering my own dog’s health decline before we had to put him down. Truly an emotional flashback. It put into words the feelings I had no idea how to express, and reading it, even so many years after he is gone, made me feel more at peace with the entire situation.

As far as the book itself goes, it is very strange. At first I thought it was slightly absurdist, but the story of the octopus goes from being a silly absurd thing to a tragic enemy to the furry love of your life. It is a heartbreaking journey that makes you laugh, cry and everything in between.

I recommend this to everyone and anyone who has ever had a dog, it was amazingly beautiful and tragic. Metaphorically it’s a brilliant story about love and fighting until the death. A very real look at a not-so-talked-about subject, dog cancer. Like all cancer, it is terrible and painful and it will make you furious and depressed all in one. But this is a story about more than that, it is about a new beginning journey in the end of loss.

I had to have another book on hand to read to even out the sad parts. The end was a bit confusing for me as well, again it seems to be absurd so really I’m not even sure what happened in reality or what was metaphorical. They take a trip, a vacation of sorts, and an epic battle between the octopus and Lily, it’s a heart-warming tale of true strength.

lo

In the Shadow of the Gods (1)

January 12, 2017
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by Rachel Dunn

Fantasy genre.

Normally I don’t pick up fantasy novels, I’m an impatient reader and I find the world building in general too slow.

This book, however, grabbed my attention and kept me turning the pages until the end! The characters are easy to tell apart and the different stories slowly lead together so delicately in place you don’t realize until they meet!

There is some violence within, but it is written so wonderfully I cannot imagine it any other way. It illustrates the violence of the world, not so different than actual history portrays.

The introduction to it was captivating, the history and religious practices sucked me in, but my favorite characters are the two street kids. Each of the vastly different characters make you see the world from their view, all the while they fight each other.

All in all, a great book! Published 2016, it’s on our new shelf!

sg

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

January 11, 2017

written by Mona Awad

I read this book over a three day weekend, and it was pretty entertaining from the start. Some of it a bit jaw dropping and speckled with dark humor, it was an overall great read.

It follows the story of a young girl to full womanhood and her battle with self acceptance and outward portrayal. I liked the few other perspective chapters sprinkled in for an outward perspective to keep you guessing as whether her weight is any issue anymore, despite her slaving away at the gym or practically starving with salads and portioned fish weighed to the ounce.

It does slightly portray her in a weaker light with her self esteem problems, creating less than ideal situations for herself that some may consider focusing a bad light on the typical “fat girl” stereotypes. But in general, I believe a lot of women can relate on some level or another by her experiences.

In short, the main character’s battle is a bit depressing and dark, but the story was filled with humor and overall I enjoyed it!!

A Few of the Girls

May 6, 2016

I have been a reader of Maeve Binchy’s books most of my life. She passed away in 2012, and it was like losing a good friend.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of books that have been
released since her death: A Week in Winter (2013), Chestnut Street (2014)
and in March 2016 a lady in red holding a stack of books sscollection of short stories titled A Few of the Girls. If you are looking for a short story to treasure before you drift off to sleep A Few of the Girls is the perfect book for you. This is the book I am currently savoring.

Generally I am not a big fan of short stories but Maeve’s are always a delight. Her stories tell of small town life in Ireland. She writes of love and loss, heartache and joy. She tells stories of family life, the same issues we all face, but Maeve makes them heartwarming!

I love her style of writing and the feeling her stories give me. They are like comfort food at the end of a long day. If you find that Maeve Binchy touches your heart as she has touched mine, you will be delighted by the number of books she has written over the course of her lifetime. Each one will leave you feeling deeply satisfied. Enjoy!

My favorite pastime

May 3, 2016

I recently read two books while up north. It was during the last spring snow storm, and I was not going out into it. So, I settled into a comfortable chair in front of the fire and enjoyed my favorite pastime…reading.

The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard was a story I could not put down. It takes place in rural Wisconsin. Most of us will be able to relate to the peaceful farm scenes described. In this tranquil setting tragedy struck or was it murder? A young teenage girl goes missing in a snow storm. Family’s lives are forever altered; a community is torn apart. Nine years later the past is revisited and the terrible truth about the missing girl is revealed. The story is so well written. You will share the emotions of the characters in the story. You will feel their joy of life, their anguish of loss and the fear that someone you love may have committed a terrible crime. Be prepared for a sleepless night. You will have to stay up late to finish this one.

From this suspenseful read I made a one hundred an eighty degree turn and found this delightful book, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. It had me right from the start. It is a story of a friendship based on a mutual love of books. The friends are of different generations and from different countries, who exchange lReaders of Broken Wheel Recommendetters and their favorite books.  You will be drawn into their unique relationship. The main character, Sara, is from Sweden, and she soon finds herself in Broken Wheel Iowa eager to meet her pen pal Amy. Life happens when you are making other plans and that is clearly the case in this story. The people of Broken Wheel will make you laugh and cry. By the time you turn the last page you will be ready to move to Iowa and will want Sara to find just the right book for you. If you love books; you will be charmed by this one. The moral of this story is there truly is a book for everyone.

Garden of Letters

September 3, 2015

Cover image for The garden of letters : a novel

I just read a beautifully written book, The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman.  It was recommended to me by a coworker.  Once I opened it up I was immediately captivated by the people and their struggle to survive during war times in Italy.  The main character, Elodie, is a young woman who is drawn into the Italian resistance forces during World War II.  Her exceptional gifts; an incredible memory for detail and her musical talent with a cello, play a significant role in aiding the partisans in occupied Italy.  The book also tells another story of a young man, Angelo, who is sent to serve as a Doctor in Ethiopia during Italy’s invasion of that country.  Elodie and Angelo’s stories are joined by love and war.  This is a beautiful love story.  This is not just a story of love for one’s soul mate but for one’s country and a way of life that is being forever altered by war. The description of music is truly breathtaking.  It was so moving it got me to sit down at my long neglected piano and play again.  This is a story that lingers on with me.  May it linger with you too.

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