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Search tags: novels-which-feature-libraries-and-librarians
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review 2018-03-12 14:27
The Librarian of Auschwitz / Antonio Iturbe
The Librarian of Auschwitz - Antonio G. Iturbe,Lilit Zekulin Thwaites

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

 

I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but I must admit that I was hoping for more. The story itself is fascinating and that’s what kept me reading. The writing was pedestrian, which was a disappointment. Still, I would recommend the book to those looking for an inspirational story concerning Auschwitz.

The narrative closely follows Dita Kraus, a 14 year old girl in the Auschwitz family camp and her experiences as the keeper and protector of eight forbidden books. I was interested that one of them was a history text by H.G. Wells, as I have been cataloguing a large collection of Wells’ writing during my work hours. I was also glad to see that they had several people that they designated as “living books” because they could tell certain stories (one woman could recount The Count of Monte Cristo). The concept of living books has recently been used at our city’s public library, so I was thrilled to see an example of the history of the practice.

If this time period and setting are interests of yours, I would recommend this book.

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review 2017-11-23 19:37
The Julius House / Charlaine Harris
The Julius House - Charlaine Harris

Love at first sight turns into newlywed bliss for former librarian Aurora Teagarden-until violence cuts the honeymoon short.

Wealthy businessman Martin Bartell gives Roe exactly what she wants for their wedding: Julius House. But both the house and Martin come with murky pasts. And when Roe is attacked by an ax-wielding maniac, she realizes that the secrets inside her four walls—and her brand-new marriage—could destroy her.

 

When your hobby is studying True Crime stories, what do you want as a wedding present? Well, a mysterious house where the whole family has vanished without a trace, that’s what. And that’s exactly what Aurora Teagarden gets from her new husband, Martin. She gets a few other secrets rolled into the bargain without her knowledge, however, that lead her to wonder whether she’s made the correct choices for her life.

The amount that I enjoy Charlaine Harris’ mysteries seems to depend more on my frame of mind than anything else. When I’m in a receptive mood, I’m willing to just go with whatever scenario she dishes up. When I’m perhaps a bit cranky, I start questioning those plot choices and I don’t enjoy the story quite so much.

This time out, I feel a bit cranky about things. Although I thought that the reveal of what actually happened to the Julius family was very well done, I found the relationship developments between Roe and Martin to be questionable. Who in their right mind goes into a marriage with unanswered questions of that magnitude? When you have an opportunity to question the ex-wife, why would you shut her down? And why would you ever go to your former date for marriage counselling?

Yeah, yeah, small town, limited number of people, blah, blah, blah. I’ve lived in a small town and I don’t find it realistic. But I’ve never lived in the Southern States, so what do I know?

I actually own a copy of the next book in the series, which I picked up in a second-hand bookstore. So I guess I will be continuing on at some point, when I have the crankies under control.

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review 2017-09-11 19:53
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse / Charlaine Harris
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse - Charlaine Harris

Deciding if she wants to go into real estate becomes a life-or-death choice for Aurora "Roe" Teagarden. A naked corpse is discovered at her first house showing. And when a second body is found in another house for sale, it becomes obvious that there is a very cool killer at large in Lawrenceton, one who knows a great deal about real estate-and maybe too much about Roe.

 

 

Read to fill the “Cozy Mystery” square for 2107 Halloween Bingo.

I wonder if Aurora Teagarden was in some ways a practice run by Charlaine Harris for her Sookie Stackhouse character? They’re both small town girls, seemingly not outstanding in any sense, feeling that life is passing them by. Both of them are attracted to dangerous men. Both of them take unreasonable risks for those men.

Also like Sookie, Aurora changes male partners fairly frequently. I was glad to see the pastor get the boot in this book. By the looks of things, Roe has found the one she intends to keep—but nothing is sure with Harris’ characters, so I will undoubtedly read the next book!

I like that Aurora is a little more independent that she is willing to give herself credit for. She’s not going to settle for just anyone because of societal small-town pressure to get married. Nor is she going to let the opinions of others prevent her from doing exactly what she wants to, whether that’s buy a house just outside of town or take a date to bed (or not). These choices are much easier for the single woman living in the city—we only have our relatives & friends who consciously or unconsciously push us to make certain decisions! We don’t have weight of community judgment hanging over us. Very seldom do our family members or friends live right next door, so we can generally get away with doing EXACTLY what we want to.

One does have to suspend disbelief over the number of murders that Roe runs into in such a small community—not that murders don’t occur in towns, but they do seem to be rather more numerous in Lawrenceton than one would truly expect outside of the city.

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review 2017-06-16 21:22
Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors / Molly Harper
Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors - Molly Harper

Just as Jane Jameson's unlife seems to be stabilizing, fate sinks its fangs firmly into her butt. Despite her near-phobia of wedding planning, her no-frills nighttime nuptials to her sexy boyfriend, Gabriel, are coming along smoothly. That is, until she turns a fatally wounded teenage acquaintance, and the Council pronounces her responsible for the newborn vamp until he can control his thirst.

Jane's kitchen barely holds enough Faux Type O to satiate the cute teen's appetite and maintain Gabriel's jealous streak at a slow simmer. As if keeping her hyperactive childe from sucking the blood out of the entire neighbourhood isn't enough to deal with, the persnickety ghost of Jane's newly deceased grandma Ruthie has declared war on the fanged residents of River Oaks. Suddenly choosing monogrammed cocktail napkins and a cake she can't even eat seems downright relaxing in comparison.

Tensions inside the house are growing...and outside, a sinister force is aiming a stake straight for the center of Gabriel's heart. Most brides just have to worry about choosing the right dress, but Jane fears that, at this rate, she'll never make it down the aisle for the wedding all nice girls dream of...

 

***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List***

”Sometimes I marveled at how grown-up we’d all come, and then Dick would recite a sixteen-stanza penis-based epic poem, and I’d take it back."

So long, Jane Jameson, it was good knowing you. Jane finally makes it to the altar, just as her mama has always wanted, but of course she does it her own way & like everything in Jane’s life, it’s complicated.

By this fourth book, the cute is wearing off a bit and I think it was a wise decision by the author to move on and write about other characters in Half Moon Hollow. It did seem a little pat that Jane would be burdened suddenly with a teenage “childe” just before her wedding. The complete and happy family picture makes for a stereotypical happily ever after. I must confess that I was happier when Jane was building her own inner circle of people that she was actually fond of, rather than relying on her cranky family members. I liked the non-traditional assemble-your-own-family approach of the earlier books.

I still like Dick Cheney (the vampire, not the vice president) better than Jane’s finally-not-reluctant husband, Gabriel, but that’s just me. Her gal-pal Andrea got the better choice in the marriage sweepstakes, in my opinion.

I’m taking a little break, but will move on to the Half Moon Hollow series this summer.

 

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review 2017-03-27 22:43
Nice Girls Don't Live Forever / Molly Harper
Nice Girls Don't Live Forever - Molly Harper

Another fun Friday night spent with Jane Jameson. I’m glad I left a few months between #2 and this installment—Jane is best enjoyed in small doses. Especially as this book tips the scales much further towards paranormal romance than to regular urban fantasy.

I do love the sass and the snark that Molly Harper channels for Jane. And Jane needs them desperately in book 3 as she deals with relationship issues, both her vampire sire/boyfriend, Gabriel and her sister. Not to mention that her best friend Zeb & his werewolf bride are expecting twins and expecting Jane to keep all the crazy relatives out of the delivery room.

I appreciated that instead of one constant melt-down about the Gabriel situation, Jane decides to get on with her life. She concentrates on her business and its promotion—with the hilarious side effect of becoming embroiled in the local Chamber of Commerce (which seems to be populated with only women named Courtney). I also loved that her friendship with Dick Cheney progresses—Dick takes her out for an evening of drinking, not-talking, and fighting, just the cure for a heartache. The Dick & Jane schtick works well.

Also loving the fact that Jane has Jolene and Andrea as BFFs and that each of them have personalities & motivations of their own within the novel. Yes, the boys still loom large, but Jane definitely has some women friends to lean on. Yay!

4 sassy stars!

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