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review 2018-09-17 22:28
Killer Librarian / Mary Lou Kirwin
Killer Librarian (Thorndike Press Large Print Mystery Series) - Mary Lou Kirwin

Champion of the mystery section at a small-town Minnesota library, Karen Nash is about to embark on a dream trip to London, a literary tour inspired by every murderous intrigue, wily suspect, and ingenious crime found in the pages of the British mysteries that she devours. But she's clueless why the love of her mid-life, Dave, would dump her hours before takeoff, until she spies him at the airport with a young honey on his arm! She decides the best revenge (for now) is to get on that plane anyway . . . and entertain schemes for Dave's untimely demise while crossing the pond.
After touching ground in the hallowed homeland of Christie, Sayers, and Peters, she checks into a cozy B & B run by charming bibliophile Caldwell Perkins. Soon she's spilling tears in her pint at the corner pub, sharing her heartbreak saga with a stranger. That night, a B & B guest drops out of circulation permanently. And when Dave and his cutie turn up in London, Karen realizes they are an assassin's target. With the meticulous attention to detail that makes her a killer librarian, Karen sleuths her way through her own real-life mystery in which library science meets the art of murder.

 

I read this book for the Cozy Mystery square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I’m not usually a tremendous fan of the cozy mystery genre—I tend to like things a bit darker and more threatening--but I was charmed by this librarian-reluctantly-turned-sleuth tale that also incorporated a gentle romance.

Karen Nash is a successful librarian who has always dreamed of visiting England, the land of all of her favourite authors. She has carefully planned her upcoming vacation, trying to indulge her passion for literature while not boring her plumber boyfriend Dave. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Dave dumps Karen just days before they are to embark on this adventure. What’s a girl to do? Karen buys her own plane ticket and goes anyway, finding at the airport that Dave has replaced her with a younger woman. Understandably angry, Karen conceals herself as best she can on the flight, then follows the couple upon landing in London.

Who hasn’t been dumped and fantasized about taking revenge on the former object of our affection? Karen books into her B&B and is pleased to find that the owner loves books as much as she does. When she goes looking for some juice in the middle of her first night, she stumbles over the body of a fellow customer, complicating her situation.

The remainder of the book deals with meeting the other denizens of the B&B, being touristy in London, causing trouble for the disloyal Dave, pursuing the new man in her life, plus solving the murder mystery. A very full schedule. Karen is a woman after my own heart, a planner, a reader, and a very competent woman.

Perfect if you want a warm, fuzzy reading experience with a very gentle mystery attached to it. Truly, the story is much more about Karen and how she sorts out her life after it’s been shaken up. Very enjoyable.

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review 2018-07-21 00:52
The ultimate reading resource
The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition - Jim Trelease

Every now and again when I receive new books to shelve, I come across one (or quite a few) that I pull aside to read for myself. That's how I stumbled upon today's book. The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease immediately caught my eye for no other reason than I'm a giant nerd for my profession. :-D The first half of the book is a discussion about the importance of reading and more specifically reading aloud to children from birth to...forever. This is not just Trelease's personal opinion but is backed up by extensive research and a plethora of data on the topic. However, it's not all technical jargon replete with charts and numbers. He uses examples from his own childhood which he describes as 'print rich' with a father who modeled reading habits as well as read to him on a regular basis. He was also fortunate to have a teacher that read aloud to the class each day. (This is a rarity in schools because of the rigorous standardized testing schedules and something I strongly contest.) He also received encouragement from a teacher who sent a note home to his parents praising his behavior and writing capability. (That really can make all the difference, folks!) Trelease also talks about the rearing of his children and their nightly routine of book reading.  Perhaps the most compelling parts of this book are the firsthand narratives of the significance of reading aloud throughout childhood and the benefits gained from it. It is chock full of anecdotes from principals, teachers, parents, and librarians and how they did their part to guide the children in their lives to become lifelong learners and readers. I've used quite a few of the 'tips and tricks' that he discusses like using ebooks and audiobooks for visually impaired and illiterate parents in the workshops and one-on-one discussions I've had with parents in my community. (P.S. Wordless picture books are another great resource.) Whether you're a professional in the field of library sciences or education or simply trying to create a love of reading in your own children this is a must have. I bought a copy for myself before I'd even finished reading it! 10/10

 

Oh and did I mention that the second half contains a Treasury of books subdivided by reading comprehension, age group, genre, and best books for reading aloud? WHY AREN'T YOU READING THIS YET? 

 

What's Up Next: The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-06-28 20:06
Twelve Angry Librarians
Twelve Angry Librarians - Miranda James

Charlie is working as the interim director for the University Library and it is the weekend of the Library Convention. He has to attend as the University is the Hosting Library and one of his employees (Lisa) has been working hard on the event. As he is looking over the list of things that is going to be happening, he sees the name of his nemesis from his days getting his Master Degree, Gavon Fong. The man has not gotten better with age, if nothing else, he is worse. He sends a threatening email to Charlie, after Charlie had been sent his resume and told he has applied to the school for the position. Charlie states that he would quit before he would ever work for GF. But to be fair to the man, he does his research on the resume and states that he would not want someone who cannot stay at a position for more than 3 years hired for the job. The committee listens and refuses to come to have an interview. 

 

When the two men meet in the street, GF makes a statement and Charlie answers truthfully and then GF starts attacking Charlie, after the third swing, Charlie swings back and knocks GF down. It is only after this that others come forward and state that they will all back Charlie if GF tries to get him in trouble. They all saw Charlie avoiding the fight and only defended himself. After this it is not a surprise that GF drinks tainted water and dies. It is during the search for what really happened that they learn so much more about how sleazy and lazy GF truly was. There was no love lost with any of the librarians and GF. 

 

Fun story. Charlie is dealing with his very pregnant daughter and son-in-law possibly leaving the area to go to another college in order to be able to do the best for the family. His being offered the position as full-time Library Administrator. 

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review 2018-05-30 17:04
The Borrower / Rebecca Makkai
The Borrower - Rebecca Makkai

Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?

 

I’m not sure yet why I didn’t love this book as much as I expected to. Perhaps it’s because I never have read Mary Norton’s The Borrowers , and therefore couldn’t appreciate the parallels that Makkai was making.

The main character, Lucy Hull, is a children’s librarian, who becomes overly concerned with the welfare of her favourite library patron, Ian Drake. Being in library work myself, I usually adore books involving libraries and librarians. This one also references many books of childhood, another characteristic that I generally appreciate.

Although I tend to prefer ambiguous or realistic endings, I had problems with the wrap-up of this novel. The whole plot line of a run-away boy with the librarian who aids and abets him just didn’t work for me as it has for other readers. Your mileage may vary, perhaps I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to enjoy it right now. At any rate, I had to really push myself to finish the book and was left less than satisfied when I turned the final page.

But I truly did love some passages in the book, such as Lucy’s description of The Wizard of Oz:

And second, everyone is so weird, but they’re all completely accepted. It’s like, okay, you have a pumpkin head, and that guy’s made of tin, and you’re a talking chicken, but what the hell, let’s do a road trip.


That is one of the great pleasures of literature, its ability to make the unusual seem absolutely normal.

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review 2018-05-11 00:00
Twelve Angry Librarians
Twelve Angry Librarians - Miranda James Charlie Harris is stressed out. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding their annual meeting in Athena and it's being hosted by Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he has to deliver the welcome speech to all of the visiting librarians. And as if that weren t bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie s old nemesis from library school Gavin Fong. It's been thirty years since Charlie has seen Gavin, and he's still an insufferable know-it-all who's capable of getting under everyone's skin. In his keynote, Gavin puts forth an unpopular opinion: that librarians will be obsolete in the libraries of the future. So, when Gavin dies during his speech, no one seems too upset. Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin after his welcome speech, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must look for clues and check out every one of them to find the real killer among them before Charlie is reading books behind bars.

The author gives us a different aspect of who ends up being the real killer among all of the people who didn't like Gavin and wanted to see him dead. The characters are all still believable, and the returning characters all have their story lines continue to grow so we'll have something to look forward to as the series grows. I enjoyed reading about how Charlie makes up his mind about a major decision that will affect his future and I was glad about the decision that he came to. I liked that Charlie's relationship with Helen Louise is finally making some progress since it seemed a little flat in the last book. I am getting a little tired of reading about everytime Diesel goes into the utility room and digs in his litter box, I don't want to read about everytime the cat goes to the bathroom, I know the author does this for realism but really enough is enough about the cat's bathroom trips.
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