Library Haul: “This is my haul! Whaaaa?”

Another day, another library haul. During flu season, you ask? Why yes, even bibliophiles can live on the edge. 😉

gold-star-2-1 (1).jpg And gold stars to you if you get the reference in my title. gold-star-2-1 (1).jpg

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Book in Her Life (Annie Spence)

dearfahrenheit451Description from Goodreads: Librarians spend their lives weeding–not weeds but books! Books that have reached the end of their shelf life, both literally and figuratively. They remove the books that patrons no longer check out. And they put back the books they treasure. Annie Spence, who has a decade of experience as a Midwestern librarian, does this not only at her Michigan library but also at home, for her neighbors, at cocktail parties—everywhere. In Dear Fahrenheit 451, she addresses those books directly. We read her love letters to The Goldfinch and Matilda, as well as her snarky break-ups with Fifty Shades of Grey and Dear John. Her notes to The Virgin Suicides and The Time Traveler’s Wife feel like classics, sure to strike a powerful chord with readers. Through the lens of the books in her life, Annie comments on everything from women’s psychology to gay culture to health to poverty to childhood aspirations. Hilarious, compassionate, and wise, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the consummate book-lover’s birthday present, stocking stuffer, holiday gift, and all-purpose humor book.

Why I Chose It: I can’t help it, I’m so in love with books that I even like reading books about books. ::shrugs:: This one looked cute and, thankfully, has been fairly spoiler free so far. 🙂

The Lost Conspiracy (Francis Hardinge)

ThelostConspiracyDescription from Goodreads: On an island of sandy beaches, dense jungles, and slumbering volcanoes, colonists seek to apply archaic laws to a new land, bounty hunters stalk the living for the ashes of their funerary pyres, and a smiling tribe is despised by all as traitorous murderers. It is here, in the midst of ancient tensions and new calamity, that two sisters are caught in a deadly web of deceits.

Arilou is proclaimed a beautiful prophetess, one of the island’s precious oracles: a Lost. Hathin, her junior, is her nearly invisible attendant. But neither Arilou nor Hathin is exactly what she seems, and they live a lie that is carefully constructed and jealously guarded.

When the sisters are unknowingly drawn into a sinister, island-wide conspiracy, quiet, unobtrusive Hathin must journey beyond all she has ever known of her world, and of herself, in a desperate attempt to save them both. As the stakes mount and falsehoods unravel, she discovers that the only thing more dangerous than the secret she hides is the truth she must uncover.

Why I Chose It: I LOVE Francis Hardinge. Every book of hers that I’ve picked up, I ended up binging in one or two sittings. I’m kind of out of YA books for her, though, so now I’m delving into the Children’s section.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr Holmes (Loren D. Estleman)

DrJekyllAndMrHolmesDescription from Goodreads: Accompanied by Dr. Watson, master sleuth Sherlock Holmes has already encountered the evil young hedonist Edward Hyde, and knew he was strangely conected with Henry Jekyll, the wealthy, respectable London doctor.

It was not until the Queen herself requested it, however, that Holmes was officially on the case of the savage murder of Sir Danvers Carew—the blackest mystery of his career! Although Robert Louis Stevenson published his tale of Jekyll and Hyde as fiction, the hideous facts were true, insofar as Stevenson knew them.

Here, then, is the entire firsthand account of that devilish crime as recorded by Dr. Watson, with an explanation of why Holmes’s personal involvement had to be kept secret—until now…

Why I Chose It: Dude, it’s called Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes …why on Earth would I NOT choose it?!? 😉

City of Beasts (Isabel Allende)

CityofBeastsDescription from Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast.

But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery…

Why I Chose It: One of the blogs I frequent discussed Isabel Allende the other day and, having never heard of her, I thought I’d look her up. Most of her books didn’t look anywhere close to up my alley, but this one seemed interesting.

The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster)

PhantomTollboothDescription from Goodreads: For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams…

Why I Chose It: I’m doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge this year and I needed a “Children’s Classic” that I hadn’t already read or seen the movie of. This one fit the bill.


So what are you all reading?

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T5W – Cooking in Eggshells

Hi all! Today’s topic was a “choose your own adventure” type deal where we got to discuss books featuring a paranormal creature of our choosing.

So today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is…Books about Changelings!

(For those not in the know, apparently the Fae occasionally like to steal children (and adults) and replace them with doppelgangers; these look-a-likes are called Changelings. The lore behind these creatures is fascinating, though the reality was often much more brutal.) 

The Replacement (Brenna Yovanoff)

thereplacementMackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. — I read this one AGES ago, so I don’t remember a lot about it except that I thought it was awesome. 😉

Cuckoo Song (Francis Hardinge)

cuckoosongWhen Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family – before it’s too late. — I hope adding this one to the list isn’t too much of a spoiler. I figured out pretty early on what was happening (at least with Triss), so fingers crossed. This was my first Francis Hardinge book and I completely fell in love with her writing.

The Darkest Part of the Forest (Holly Black)

thedarkestpartoftheforestHazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does…As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough? — I didn’t have a lot of expectations going in to this one and I ended up being pleasantly surprised. You can read my full review here.


And since I haven’t actually read enough books about changelings to cover this topic, I’ve had to dig in to my TBR list on Goodreads!


The Stolen Child (Keith Donohue)

thestolenchildOn a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings—an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit him away, name him Aniday, and make him one of their own. Stuck forever as a child, Aniday grows in spirit, struggling to remember the life and family he left behind. He also seeks to understand and fit in this shadow land, as modern life encroaches upon both myth and nature. In his place, the changelings leave a double, a boy who steals Henry’s life in the world. This new Henry Day must adjust to a modern culture while hiding his true identity from the Day family. But he can’t hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the true Henry never displayed), and his dazzling performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he ages the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Of a time when he, too, had been a stolen child. Both Henry and Aniday obsessively search for who they once were before they changed places in the world. — I like the fact that this story includes the child that was taken and not just the changeling left behind. Most novels with changelings focus solely on our world instead of showing both sides.

Tithe (Holly Black)

titheSixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death. — This one sounds quite a bit grittier than The Darkest Part of the Forest, but I’m intrigued by the description and LOVE Holly Black, so I’ll probably give it a go once my library gets a copy.


Got any good stories about Changelings? Or would you have picked another paranormal creature?

T5W – Give Me More!

Hi all! Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Authors You Want to Read More From.

Here’s my list of authors who I desperately need to read more of, regardless of whether I’ve only read one book or several.

Laini Taylor – Well, if you’ve been reading my blog the last couple of weeks, then you know I have a new obsession, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. This book was just completely wonderful; the characters were all very complex, the plot was extremely interesting, the world building was superb, and the writing in general was just beautiful. I definitely need to give her other books a try!

Neil Gaiman – Always a winner, Neil Gaiman has an amazing talent for world & character building. He manages to make even the most unbelievable stories seem completely believable. I’ve only read a handful of his novels so far; thankfully, though, he’s fairly prolific in the book department, so I can continue reading his work for a long time.

Francis Hardinge – Last year I read my first novel by this author, Cuckoo Song, and it completely amazed me. I decided then and there that I had to get my hands on more of her novels. Thankfully, my tiny library has several of her books, so I was able to snag The Lie Tree as well. I can’t wait to try out more!

Fredrik Backman – I have currently only read one book by this author, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. It was just fantastic! Apparently a lot of his books contain at least vague references to characters from his other novels, and I loved the characters in this book so much that I’m ecstatic about not having to let them go. I think I’ll read Britt-Marie Was Here next!

Fannie FlaggFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is one of my all-time favorite novels (and movies). I can’t believe I’ve never read any of her other work! I recently found A Redbird Christmas at a rummage sale and received the audio version of The Whole Town’s Talking from a Goodreads’ giveaway, so hopefully I can get more read soon.

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How about you? What authors would you recommend I try?

 

Top 5 Wednesday – Out of the Slump

Hey guys, this week I’m actually going to follow the listed topic! Yea for me! 😉

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic:
Books to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

Here are five books that reminded me why I love reading. 🙂

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry (Fredrick Backman)

23604559This was a wonderful book that pulled me out of my most recent reading slump. I plan to do a full review at some point, because I absolutely loved it.

Do you remember that movie “Big Fish” starring Ewan McGregor? This story is kind of similar to that, except the main character is still the little girl who believes in her Grandmother’s stories. Over the course of the book, she learns the truth behind the fiction and comes to understand her family and neighbors on a much deeper level. I HIGHLY recommend this one.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds (Cat Winters)

Wow, this book caught me by surprise. I had been interested enough13112915 to buy the book, so I knew that I’d probably like it, but I wasn’t expecting to become enthralled enough to read it in one sitting!

This story follows a 16yo girl in 1918, who is struggling to deal with the Spanish Influenza epidemic and the loss of her sweetheart to WWI. Mary never believed in ghosts, not until her beau returned to her, desperate to tell her his tale.

This one had a nice romance, a good dose of the supernatural, and wonderful world building. Great book!

Weird West Tales (Mike Resnick)

8253037Well, technically this is a series, but it’s my current go-to for when I need something fun to read that I know I’ll enjoy.

Now, normally, I’m not a fan of westerns, but a steampunk western featuring one of my favorite outlaw/lawman Doc Holliday? That also has cameos from Thomas Edison, Ned Buntline, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Theodore Roosevelt? Johnny Ringo is a zombie? Bat Masterson gets turned into a real bat?! Geronimo is an actual magic wielding shaman?!? And the next book has a frickin’ DINOSAUR on the cover?!?!? …Count me in!

Cuckoo Song (Francis Hardinge)

This is the book that introduced me to the amazing Francis Hardinge.23344750 I’ve only gotten to read two of her books so far, but both were wonderful.

Yes, the book is as creepy as the cover. 😉 But it’s a fascinating look into what I consider one of the most interesting tales from folklore (no spoilers, I promise; I could see people who are unfamiliar with the lore not figuring it out until pretty far into the book). The author’s world/character building is practically flawless in this one and I could NOT put it down.

Hyperbole & a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (Allie Brosh)

2D9725260-coverIn all honesty, this is more of a “life slump” book for me than a reading slump. This is one of a handful of books that I turn to when I’m having an awful day, especially if I don’t have a real reason to feel awful.

I’ve done a full review on this book already, but this is honestly one of the most funny, touching, and relatable books I have ever come across. If you are going through a tough time, especially if you are dealing with depression, I highly recommend this book and the website it was based on. The author has hit a rough patch herself at the moment and hasn’t updated in a while, but what IS there is fantastic and I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me.