logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: libraries-archives-museums
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-31 19:11
The Clockwork Scarab / Colleen Gleason
The Clockwork Scarab - Colleen Gleason

Something a little different for my real-life book club—a steampunk novel.  A perfect, light little book for reading during the heat of August, when who really wants to exert themselves too much?

 

It’s a young adult novel, but it’s charm is dependent on the reader having some familiarity with Sherlock Holmes and Bram Stoker.  The stars of this show are Mina Holmes (Sherlock’s niece) and Evalina Stoker (Bram’s much younger sister).  Each of them are talented in their own rights, Mina as a thinker and reasoner like her uncle, Evalina as a vampire hunter.  Brains and brawn, in other words.

 

When the two young women are forced to work together, their innate independence stands in their way to begin with.  But resistance is futile, and they find themselves relying on each other more & more.  Of course, there are love interests introduced for each one—a law man and a rapscallion, just to emphasize their tempermental differences!  Since neither woman expected to find a suitable romance, they are surprised & confused by this state of affairs.

 

While this book will never achieve the durability or popularity of the original Conan Doyle or Stoker creations, it is cute and fun, and I will probably read at least one more book in the series.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-28 22:02
Ash and Quill / Rachel Caine
Ash and Quill - Rachel Caine

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

 

 

Rachel Caine has certainly got my number with this series.  Book three is right up there with book one, making me long for the next book.  The Library of Alexandria is still dark, controlling, and overbearing.  Our cast of characters is still fleeing their clutches, but wishing that they could change the Library, take it back to what it was supposed to be—a beacon for humanity.

 

Jess Brightwell comes into his own in this installment.  Dario pushes him to think about what he wants to change and to be realistic about what will happen.  It seems to open a whole new Jess, one who can be as Machiavellian as his father, as devious as those in charge of the Library, as ruthless as the Iron Tower.

 

Trapped in a city of Book Burners, our fearless band of library scholars must somehow survive and outwit those who run this blockaded city of Philadelphia.  Never has there been less brotherly love in that city.

 

And that ending!!!  Ms. Caine, you have guaranteed that I will be impatiently awaiting Book 4.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-15 19:59
The Burning Page / Genevieve Cogman
The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman

Librarian spy Irene has professional standards to maintain. Standards that absolutely do not include making hasty, unplanned escapes through a burning besieged building. But when the gateway back to your headquarters dramatically malfunctions, one must improvise. And after fleeing a version of Revolutionary France astride a dragon (also known as her assistant, Kai), Irene soon discovers she's not the only one affected. Gates back to the Library are malfunctioning across a multitude of worlds, creating general havoc. She and Kai are tasked with a mission to St Petersburg's Winter Palace, to retrieve a book which will help restore order.

However, such plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy - particularly when the enemy is the traitor Alberich. A nightmare figure bent on the Library's destruction, Alberich gives Irene a tainted 'join me or die' job offer. Meanwhile, Irene's old friend Vale has been damaged by exposure to Chaotic forces and she has no idea how to save him. When another figure from her past appears, begging for help, Irene has to take a good hard look at her priorities. And of course try to save the Library from absolute annihilation. Saving herself would be a bonus.

 

I was so frustrated with the ending of The Masked City, I could hardly wait to get my hands on this, book three of the series. The Burning Page answered the hanging questions from TMC and plunges the reader into more Library adventures with Irene and Kai.

Thankfully, this volume ends on a better note for me—the story is wrapped up, although there is definitely room for more adventures (which I shall await impatiently). This installment has fewer Fae in it (a minus for me) but gets Irene back to the fundamentals of being a Librarian, i.e. the pursuit of rare books (definitely a plus).

I love the Library’s determined neutrality—they refuse to support either the forces of Chaos or those of Order, knowing that the optimum state is a balance in between those two poles. Like real libraries do, actually, trying to support the needs of their community, no matter which political party is currently forming government, while defending free speech, free flow of information, and freedom from censorship.

I do hope that Irene and Vale manage to overcome their issues to become a couple in the next book (although if he is a Sherlock-Holmes-kind-of-guy, this may be a doomed relationship). Four books is an awful long distance to draw out the suspense of this courtship. And Kai is hinting that he’s in the running too, so will Irene have to deal with some awkward workplace romance? And will she regain her standing within the Library hierarchy, or is she doomed to probation forever? Perhaps The Lost Plot will answer some of my questions.

I’m ever so glad that I discovered this series—it is highly entertaining and I will be sad when I’ve finished reading it. Thankfully, that point seems to be some distance in the future right now, with books 4 and 5 promised, but no dates for publication yet available.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-09-26 19:09
On Her Majesty's Occult Service / Charles Stross
On Her Majesty's Occult Service - Charles Stross

James Bond meets H.P. Lovecraft, with a strong dose of Dilbert. Try being a geeky Bond-wannabe, saving the world from the tentacle monsters, while fending off the pointy-haired boss.

A lot of mileage is made with the requirement to fill in multitudinous forms in triplicate, having to account for every last paper-clip even when saving the world, and other tasks which any office drone (including myself) can identify. (As in Dilbert, when the boss proclaims that all passwords must contain letters, numbers, doodles, sign language, and squirrel noises).

This is a combined volume of the first 2 installments of the Laundry Files, The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue. I had to order it on interlibrary loan, which is why I chose the combined volume, just being my usual efficient self. However, I think the two volumes could have used a bit more breathing room between them. TJM was a definite improvement over TAA (the use of Nazis in the first book put me in danger of getting my eyes stuck back in my head due to frequent eye-rolling).

I was amused and will probably continue on with it at some point. In the meantime, I have developed a strong desire for some calamari.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-09-10 22:05
Miss Zukas and the Library Murders / Jo Dereske
Miss Zukas and the Library Murders - Jo Dereske

Meet Miss Zukas . . . the very proper, exceedingly conscientious, and relentlessly curious local librarian of tiny Bellehaven, Washington--and one heck of an amateur sleuth! The Bellehaven police are baffled when a dead body turns up right in the middle of the library's fiction stacks. But Miss Helma Zukas--who never fails to make note of the slightest deviation from the norm of everyday life--is not willing to let this rather nasty disruption stand. Her precious literary sanctuary has been violated, and if the local law cannot get to the bottom of this case, Miss Zukas certainly intends to--with the help of her not-so-proper best friend, Ruth, a six-foot-tall bohemian artist with a nose for gossip and a penchant for getting into trouble. But their research project is bringing them a little too close to a killer . . . who'd like nothing better than to write Helma and Ruth out of the story completely!

 

I’ve been having a grand time of late reading books about libraries and librarians. This first book in the Miss Zukas series was quite enjoyable and an easy, quick read at the end of a long-feeling week.

 

The book is chock full of librarian stereotypes—enjoyably so, as the author was a librarian at one point and uses them kindly and fondly. Miss Zukas inhabits an area somewhere between Nancy Drew and Miss Marple.  She is no longer so young as Nancy Drew, but still single & overbearingly precise about things, somewhat reminiscent of Miss Marple.  The author also uses her Lithuanian background to supply a family for Helma Zukas, a case of writing what one knows.

 

I loved Helma’s friend Ruth and their long friendship based on their surnames starting with letters at the end of the alphabet—in school, they were always at the end of any activity requiring a roll call. I found that true to life—sometimes your childhood friendships hinge on these little quirks. 

 

I’ve always been rather puzzled but the concept of a cozy mystery—how can anything involving murder actually be cozy? But this murder mystery will never made you look over your shoulder with any sense of dread (even if you work in a library, as I do).  I would have to say that it gets sewn up satisfactorily and could probably be considered “cozy.” 

 

I will definitely read more Miss Zukas at some point in the future, but it will be awhile. My public library doesn’t have the early volumes of the series, so I will have to interlibrary loan them, as I did with this volume.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?