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review 2018-04-15 04:43
Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
Books Can Be Deceiving - Jenn McKinlay

Lindsey used to be an archivist at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale until about six months ago, when she was laid off. She's now the director of the Briar Creek Library. She's just starting to feel more comfortable with small town life and her new position. It helps that one of her employees, Beth, is also her friend from back when they were both getting their library science degrees.

Beth is a children's librarian who's been working on a children's book of her own for several years. Lindsey thinks Beth should show her work to a New York editor who's vacationing in Briar Creek, but Beth is hesitant - her horrible boyfriend, Rick, keeps telling her it isn't good enough and needs a lot more work. Since he's a famous author whose first book won the Caldecott Medal, he'd know, right? When Beth tells Rick about her plans to meet with the editor, things rapidly sour between them. They break up, but the situation only gets worse after Beth hears what the editor has to say. She attempts to go to Rick's island and give him a piece of her mind, only to discover that he's been murdered. Unfortunately, Chief Daniels seems to consider Beth his top suspect.

A coworker of mine highly recommend this series to me. She basically inhaled what's been published in the series so far. She enjoyed the library aspects, the romance with Sully (she mentioned the love triangle that pops up in a later book, so I already know to expect that), and the fact that Lindsey is fairly similar in age to her (and me, too!).

My feelings about this book are more measured, but I enjoyed it too. The library aspects were great, even though there were a few things that made me raise an eyebrow. The odds of Lindsey getting an archivist job at Yale right out of library school seemed incredibly slim, based on what my job hunt 9 or 10 years ago was like. Then again, this was published in 2011, so maybe such a thing would have been more likely in the early 2000s. I also raised an eyebrow at the way Lindsey handled Beth's situation. I couldn't help but wonder if she'd have been as quick to promise Ms. Cole, aka "the lemon," she wouldn't suspend her if she had been the one accused of murder. Having your best friend as one of your employees can mess with your judgment.

That said, most of the details were great, like the random phone call from a vendor selling a database the library neither needed nor could afford, the couple arguing over which movie to check out right before closing time, and Lindsey's "crafternoons" idea. I can add this to my short list of books that star librarians who actually do occasional on-page library work.

The mystery itself was good, with a few twists I absolutely did not expect. I did wonder about the bit where Lindsey and Beth left town to do some investigating on their own. Would Beth have been allowed to leave like that?  Detective Trimble seemed more open to other possibilities, but Chief Daniels certainly considered her a suspect.

I'm looking forward to more developments in the romance between Lindsey and Sully, although I'm already dreading the love triangle. Sully seems like a great guy, and I could think of a lot of things that could complicate his and Lindsey's relationship without a love triangle being added to the mix. For example, Lindsey is still dealing with the hurt and betrayal of discovering that her fiance was cheating on her, which unfortunately happened at around the same time she was laid off.

All in all, this was an enjoyable and quick read. I definitely plan on reading the next book. In fact, I already have a copy in via interlibrary loan.

Extras:

At the end of the book there are several extras, including "The Briar Creek Library Guide to Crafternoons," a reader's guide for The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene, a knitting pattern for the rolled hat Lindsey made (which was originally supposed to be a sock), a recipe for Sully's hot chocolate, and a recipe for Mary's clam chowder. The crafternoons guide could come in handy for public librarians looking for adult programming ideas.

For my part, the only extra I've used is the recipe for Sully's hot chocolate, which I've now made several times (with powdered cinnamon instead of sticks, and no nutmeg). I disagree with Lindsey's assessment that it isn't too sweet - after my first time making it, I cut the sugar back by half. I suggest halving the recipe if you just want to make enough hot chocolate for yourself. It's a very rich drink, and halving it makes enough for one good-sized mug.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-03-30 19:07
Pax
Pax - Sara Pennypacker
Pax is a fox that has been raised by a young boy, Peter, since he was found abandoned as a young kit. When Peter's father enlists in the war, he is sent to live with his grandfather. His father insists that Pax be set free in the wild.
 
Shortly after arriving at his grandfathers house, Peter runs away to go find Pax. He doesn't get very far before he injures his leg and can barely walk. He is found by Vola, a gruff and stern woman who suffers from PTSD who now lives as a hermit. She sets his leg and agrees to let him stay with her until his leg is healed. During this time they learn so much from each other and form a very special bond.
 
Pax waited for Peter until his hunger and thirst forced him to leave his spot by the road. He encounters several other foxes and they teach him how to be wild again, but his thoughts never strayed far from Peter. The story alternates between Peter and Pax's point of view. I love the way the author gave Pax and the other foxes a voice without humanizing them. It was interesting to see the world from their perspective.
 
The illustrations throughout the book are beautiful and capture the mood perfectly. 
The ending was not what I had expected. It wasn't a bad ending, just not the happy reunion I was hoping for. I won't spoil it but just know that Pax does live and he and Peter do find each other. It is a story of heartbreak and healing, loyalty and love. 
 
-Bobbie
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review 2018-03-28 18:05
A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet, #2) by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle

After reading A Wrinkle in Time and discovering the interesting concepts of that world, I've decided to continue reading Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet series. I picked up A Wind in the Door shortly after finishing the first book and basically got more of the same. Great story concepts; poorly written characters and bad morals. But the morals in this book were a bit too horrible to ignore this time. 

 

A Wind in the Door continues to follow Meg and Charles Wallace in this world with time and space bending and obscuring our current world. I love L'Engle's ideas of how there are many things in this universe that doesn't make sense and it doesn't have to when you have to focus on the bigger picture. In this case, helping cure Charles Wallace of an unknown disease. I really love that this book explored the mitochondria we have within us. I have a fascination with learning about it since I've read and played Parasite Eve a few years back now. So reading this book brought me a lot of nostalgia. Reading these books are fun for me because, as I've said before, I love L'Engle's ideas when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy. What I don't love about her writing is how basic it is and her characters just rub me the wrong way.

 

Meg is still so bloody insufferable. She's a high schooler but she acts like a toddler in many situations. For example, at the beginning of the book, when they are all discovering Charles Wallace was ill, she kept asking her mother what was his condition. The mother would answer she didn't know... only to have Meg ask the same question immediately having been told her mother didn't know only to ask the same question AGAIN only to be told AGAIN her mother didn't know. And that would continue constantly throughout the whole book. It's like, Meg, please, grow up. Just because you ask the same question a billion times doesn't mean the answer is going to change at any point. I really don't like Meg as a character. She has not shown growth at all throughout these two books. In fact, a lot of L'Engle's characters are just one note. They each have a gimmick and they stick to that without growing or changing a bit. Meg is the annoying worry wort. Charles Wallace is the calm, all-knowing "Jesus" character. Mr. Jenkins is the mean, old teacher. And Calvin is the stud/jock. Reading about these characters can get boring after a while.

 

Another thing I do not like about this book was the overall "message." L'Engle seems to be teaching children that it's okay to be themselves... as long as you can fit into society. Throughout the entire book, she kept making her characters say to Charles Wallace that he needs to "conform" so that way he won't have a hard time in school. Let me back track a little, Charles Wallace is being bullied at school for being "different." He's beaten everyday and comes home from school with blackeyes and a bloody nose everyday. And everyone (except Meg) just tells him it's basically his fault for being so different. He needs to learn to "conform" and "be normal" like everyone else. That way, he won't be picked on. Well, I'm sorry, but I think that's a bunch of bullshit. How is it okay to know that a small, six-year-old boy is being beaten at school, and your response is "Well, if you weren't so different, you wouldn't get punched in the face"? Even his parents didn't do anything to help their child! Are you kidding me? Then by the end of the book, L'Engle drives it home even harder that children need to learn to "adapt" so they can succeed in the world. Yeah, no, how about being better adults, teaching kids to get along with others who are "different" so that way crap like bullying doesn't happen every bloody time? It makes me angry when adults see this kind of behavior happening and they do nothing about it. NOTHING! Ugh. I'm frustrated.

 

And don't even get me started on the contradictions when it comes to Mr. Jenkins. How everyone needed to protect his ego when he felt he wasn't unique anymore. You can do that for a grown man but not Charles Wallace? You tell him that there's no one else like him in the world, but you tell a six-year-old he needs to be like everyone else if he wants to be happy and not picked on? Really? No. I just. I can't. I just can't support the hypocrisy. There is nothing in this world that makes it okay for you to tell another person they can't be themselves. Or rather, they could, as long as they fit in with everyone else. That's messed up on so many levels.

 

Anyway, I'm going to end it here. Once again, I'm left with the feeling that Madeleine L'Engle has some great concepts when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy. I just wish she would focus on them more than trying to teach "life lessons" to children. I feel like these books would be a lot more enjoyable if that were the case.

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review 2018-03-27 21:40
Book Review of Don't Forget Dexter! (Dexter T. Rexter Series Book 1) by Lindsay Ward
Don't Forget Dexter - Lindsay Ward

Introducing Dexter T. Rexter, the toughest, coolest dinosaur ever. At least he likes to think so.

 

When his best friend, Jack, leaves him behind at the doctor’s office, Dexter T. Rexter panics. First he tries to find Jack. Then he sings their special song. Then he sings their special song even louder. But when Jack still doesn’t appear, Dexter starts to wonder. What if he’s being replaced by another toy? It can’t be—after all, he can STOMP, RAWR, and CHOMP! Right? Right?!

 

This hilariously neurotic dinosaur will do whatever it takes to get his friend back—even asking the reader’s advice—in this first book of a brand-new series.

 

Review 4*

 

This is a super little story for children aged 3-7 years old. I really enjoyed it!

 

Dexter is a toy dinosaur belonging to a young boy called Jack. He finds himself being left alone at a doctors office. Will he find Jack, who has been gone forever? Has Jack found another friend to play with?

 

This story is an interactive one that will entertain children, even those with a short attention span. However, I have reservations about a child's ability to read this book without help, especially the younger age range, due to the different font usage - from smaller to larger fonts, and the use of capitals. Having said that, depending on the reading ability, a child shouldn't have too much trouble in understanding the story due to the simple, concise, and engaging language the author uses. This story would make an entertaining bedtime story, but due to the interactive parts, not entirely a quiet read either. This could excite a child rather than settle them down for the night. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the story and the ending was rather sweet.

 

Lindsay Ward has written a wonderful children's book about a neurotic toy dinosaur. I love how she tells a story in part rhyme, which makes it engaging for children. I would consider reading more of her books in the future, even though I am not her target audience.

 

I highly recommend this children's book to children aged 3-7, and adults who are looking for an entertaining read for their youngsters. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-03-21 04:15
Review: A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo
A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo - Marlon Bundo,Jill Twiss,Richard Parsons

Had to purchase he audiobook to tide me over until the physical books are back in stock.

 

As the bisexual mother of lesbian and pansexual daughters, and the sister-in-law of two lovely lesbians with three beautiful daughters, this was the best book I've read/listened to. As a human person who believes in tolerance, equality and that love is love, this is the best book I've read/listened to!

The narrators were perfect, as was the story. There was so much importance in how the animals all stood behind the bunnies who only wanted to love one another. And the best moment was when they all realized that they got to decide who their leader was, and voted the mean old stink bug out! Love and tolerance won in the end.

This book gives me hope that this will soon be the case in real life.

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