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review 2020-02-10 05:32
The Library Book - Susan Orlean

Susan Orleans' story about the LAPL fire in the 1980s is really an amazing piece of writing. It not only is a great book advocating and promoting public libraries and their mission, but also is a harrowing telling of the fire that destroyed a huge amount of the library's collection and almost the library itself.

 

The way she weaves the library, it's history, it's mission, and the fire and its subsequent investigation is, honestly, one of the best pieces of writing I have read about libraries.  Her interviews with the librarians, the library staff, the patrons, and those who helped save LAPL is really wonderful and heart-felt and reinforced why I love libraries and wanted to be a librarian in the first place.

 

 

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review 2019-12-05 14:20
ARC REVIEW The Librarian's Vampire Assistant book 4 by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff



 
 

The Librarian's Vampire Assistant, book #4

 

The Librarian's Vampire Assistant (The Librarian's Vampire Assistant #4)

From New York Times Bestseller Mimi Jean Pamfiloff comes a snarky Mystery with a side dish of Romance and two sprinkles of chaos, THE LIBRARIAN’S VAMPIRE ASSISTANT, Book Four. (Yep! These books are STANDALONES. But the more you read, the merrier!)

SHE’S MINE. BUT HAS SHE FORGOTTEN?


A crazy vampire has stolen my librarian. And if that’s not bad enough, it is my fault. Because I, too, am an ancient, deadly vampire, and it was my job to protect her. I failed.

Now, just as I have reason to hope I will get her back, the situation turns into the biggest mystery of my existence.

Apparently, this evil vampire has brainwashed her into thinking she belongs with him. I do not know how. I do not know why. But I will get to the bottom of this and win her back.


Because I am the motherf*!$%ing librarian’s vampire assistant, and she belongs to me. Or, at least she used to?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Well that just happened. It's a surprising turn of events for Michael that will have you yelling at your book. I kept repeating my MJP mantra "Nothing is as it seems", because really Mimi likes to screw with us that way and then blame it on the characters (I say in a tongue in cheek manner). 
In all honesty Michael's dated almost humourless attitude is hysterical and he's so oblivious at times it makes his first person narration even better. 
This is technically not a cliffhanger but it's also not a HEA, yet, it does leave a wide open ending for the next book, squeee! I loved this book it is my favorite out of the series so far. Mimi will have you laughing out loud and will have you cursing at Michael, Mr. Nice....Lula... well just about everyone; it's all in good fun and one hell of a story. I stayed up half the night reading it I couldn't put it down.
 
 


Release Day Giveaway

 

About the Author

MIMI JEAN PAMFILOFF is a New York Times bestselling author who’s sold over one million books around the world. Although she obtained her MBA and worked for more than fifteen years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance closet and follow your dreams. Mimi lives with her Latin lover hubby, two pirates-in-training (their boys), and their three spunky dragons (really, just very tiny dogs with big attitudes) Snowy, Mini, and Mack, in the vampire-unfriendly state of Arizona. She hopes to make you laugh when you need it most and continues to pray daily that leather pants will make a big comeback for men.

Sign up for Mimi’s mailing list for giveaways and new release news!




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review 2019-09-26 12:31
Historical fiction where sisterhood wins the day. Highly Recommended
The Giver of Stars - Jojo Moyes

Thanks to Penguin UK-Michael Joseph and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book, which I freely chose to review.

Jojo Moyes was a name familiar to me (from bestseller lists, movie adaptations, bookshops…) but she was one of the authors I knew by name but hadn’t yet read. When I saw this book on offer at NetGalley and read the description and the fact that it was based on a real historical scheme, the 1930s Horseback Librarians of Kentucky, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to familiarise myself with her writing. As a book lover, I am always fond of stories about books and libraries, and the historical angle was a bonus for me. The Horseback Librarians of Kentucky was one of the projects set up by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), a New Deal Agency established as an attempt to provide work for victims of the Great Depression. In this case, women who could ride (horses, mules…) set up the equivalent of a mobile library, and offered books and reading materials to their neighbours, reaching even those who lived deep in the mountains, too far and too busy to regularly visit the town. In an area as beautiful as it was poor (and it seems it still remains fairly poor and under resourced), the levels of literacy were minimal, and the librarians went beyond the simple delivering of books, becoming a lifeline to many of the families they regularly visited. Although I had read about the WPA and some of their projects, I wasn’t familiar with this one, and it does make for a fascinating setting to the story.

Moyes usually writes contemporary fiction (with more than a touch of romance), so this novel breaks new ground. As I haven’t read any of her previous novels, I cannot make comparisons, but I had a great time reading this novel, which combines an easy and fluid writing style (with some wonderful descriptions of the Kentucky mountains), strong and compelling characters, especially the librarians, with a plot full of adventures, sad and joyful events, romance, and even a possible murder. This is a tale of sisterhood, of women fighting against all odds (society’s prejudices, difficult conditions, nature, illness, domestic violence, evil…), of the power of books, and of a time and a place that are far from us and yet familiar (unfortunately, some things haven’t changed that much).

What did I like, in particular? Many things. I am not an expert on Kentucky or on the historical period, so you must take this with a pinch of salt, but I loved the atmosphere and the period feel. I enjoyed the description of the feelings of the women as they rode their routes, particularly because by telling the story from the point of view of two of the women, Margery, who’s lived there all her life, and Alice, just arrived from England and totally unfamiliar with the area and the lifestyle, we get the familiarity and the newness, and learn that the heartfelt experience goes beyond being comfortable and at home. The mountains have an effect on these women, and at a point when Alice’s life is collapsing around her, give her the strength to go on. Both, the beauty of untamed nature and the comfort of literature, help give meaning to the lives of the protagonists and those who come in contact with them. Of course, not everybody appreciates those, and, in fact, the true villains of the story are people (mostly men, but not only, and I’m not going to reveal the plot in detail) who don’t care for literature and don’t respect nature. (There is an environmental aspect to the story as well, the coalmining industry caring little for the workers or the land if it got in the way of the profit margin).

I also fell for the characters. Margery is magnetic from the beginning: a woman whose father was violent, an abuser and an alcoholic, with a reputation that has tainted her as well; she is determined to live life her own way, help others, and not let anybody tell her what to do (and that includes the man she loves, who is rather nice). Although the novel is written in the third person, we see many of the events from her point of view, and although she is a woman who guards her emotions tightly and does not scare easy, she is put to the test, suffers a great deal, and she softens a bit and becomes more willing to give up some of her independence in exchange for a life richer in relationships and connections by the end of the story. Alice, on the other hand, starts as a naïve newcomer, with little common sense, that makes rushed decisions and believes in fairy tales. She thinks Bennett, her husband, is the charming prince who’s come to rescue her from an uncaring family, but she soon discovers she has changed a prison for another. Her transformation is, in some ways, the complete opposite to that of Margery. She becomes more independent, learns to care less about appearances and opinions, and discovers what is truly important for her.

 In a way, the librarians provide a catalogue of different models of womanhood and also of diversity (we have a woman who lives alone with her male relatives, smokes, drinks and is outspoken; a young girl with a limp due to polio who lives under the shadow of her mother; an African American woman who gave up on her dreams to look after her brother, and who is the only trained librarian; and a widow from the mountains, saved by the power of books and by her relationship with other women), and although there are male characters —both, enablers, like Fred and Sven, and out and out enemies— these are not as well defined or important to the story (well, they set things in motion, but they are not at the heart of the story). I was quite curious about Bennett, Alice’s husband, whom I found a bit of a puzzle (he does not understand his wife, for sure, but he is not intentionally bad, and I was never sure he really knew himself), and would have liked to know more about the women whose points of view we were not privy to, but I enjoyed getting to know them all and sharing in their adventures. (Oh, and I loved the ending, that offers interesting glimpses into some of the characters we don’t hear so much about).

And yes, adventures there are aplenty. I’ve seen this book described as an epic, and it is not a bad word. There are floods, a murder trial, stories of corruption and shady business deals, bigotry and scandal, a couple of books that play important parts (a little blue book, and, one of my favourite reads as a young girl, Little Women, and its role made me smile), recipes, libraries, births, deaths, confrontations, violence (not extreme), and romance (no erotica or explicit sex scenes). This being a very conservative (and in some ways isolated society), the examples of what was considered acceptable male and female behaviour might seem old-fashioned even for the time, but, as the #MeToo movement has reminded us, some things are slow to change.

Was there anything I didn’t like? Well, no, but people need to be aware that this is a light read, a melodrama, and although it provides an inspirational tale of sisterhood, it does not offer an in-depth analysis of the ills of the society at the time. The villains, are presented as bad individuals, pure evil, and we learn nothing about them other than they are bad.  Although many other important topics are hinted at and appear in the background, this is the story of this particular individuals, and not a full depiction of the historical period, but it is a great yarn and very enjoyable.

The author provides information on her note to the reader about the historical background and how she became interested in the story, and I’ve read some reviews highlighting the existence of other books on the topic, that I wouldn’t mind reading either. For me, this book brings to light an interesting episode of American history and of women’s history, creating a fascinating narrative that illustrates the lives of women in the Kentucky Mountains in the 1930s, with characters that I got to care for, suffer and rejoice with. Yes, I did shed the odd tear. And I’d recommend it to anybody who enjoys historical fiction, women’s fiction, and to Moyes’s fans. This might be a departure from her usual writing, but, at least for me, it’s a welcome one.

 

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review 2019-06-18 17:32
ARC REVIEW Librarian's Vampire Assistant book 3 by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

The Librarian's Vampire Assistant, book #3

Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
 
 
  Synopsis:
From New York Times Bestseller Mimi Jean Pamfiloff comes an uncomfortably hilarious Mystery with a heaping help of sexual frustration, THE LIBRARIAN’S VAMPIRE ASSISTANT, Book Three. (Yep! It’s a STAND-ALONE. But why not read them all because…fun!)

  FALLING IN LOVE WITH A LIBRARIAN JUST CAN’T GET MORE AWKWARD…
Michael Vanderhorst is not your usual vampire. For starters, he works in a library, is in love with Miriam, his hot nerdy human boss who has no clue what he is, and he looks like a college student.

In reality, Michael is an ancient deadly vampire, an ex-assassin, and is currently the de facto king of his kind ever since their ruling party disappeared. To where? He doesn’t know, but if he wants his life back, he’ll have to find out. (Mystery!) Especially because a civil war is brewing, and being king makes his librarian a mark for his enemies. She is, after all, his biggest weakness.

With a global uprising about to explode, Michael must give her the protection of his army. Only one problem: She must become his queen first. But every attempt he makes to tell her the truth is met with extreme hostility. “Vampires aren’t real. That’s crazy talk, Michael!”

Clearly, the topic frightens her. With time running out and her life on the line, Michael is left with one option: Marry her. Without her knowing.

Can he pull it off? And what will happen when the fight comes to their door?

BUY LINKS

 


Book three jumps right in where book two left off. For newcomers they might be a little lost when they first start the book but Michael's narration plays well and he recaps in his own way while trying to figure out the mystery plot. It's not a true cliffhanger at the end either, the big mystery is solved but she leaves it wide open for another book (one she must write as quickly as possible!!!!)

Mimi continues to write comical and zanie hijinks for Michael and the moment we have all been waiting for has finally happened. Mr. Nice is his usual 80's goth band vampire self only this time he has developed a fascination with Miriam. Micheal not knowing who to trust has started to make unpredictable decision but it doesn't seem to matter where ever he goes there are traders in the shadows.

Overall, Mimi once again takes us on quite a ride as the story continues and doesn't seem to lose it's momentum, from start to finish it's non-stop vampire hijinks, double dealings, and incomprehensible lisping. Twists and turns, red herrings and misdirection make this vampire mystery one I didn't even bother trying to guess because I knew I would be wrong. A fantastically funny and mysterious read, I loved it.      
 
 
 
 

About the Author

MIMI JEAN PAMFILOFF is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling romance author with over a million books sold worldwide. Although she obtained her MBA and worked for more than fifteen years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance closet and follow your dream. Mimi lives with her Latin Lover hubby, two pirates-in-training (their boys), and the rat terrier duo, Snowflake and Mini Me, in Arizona. She hopes to make you laugh when you need it most and continues to pray daily that leather pants will make a big comeback for men.
Sign up for Mimi’s mailing list for giveaways and new release news!

THE LIBRARIAN'S VAMPIRE ASSISTANT – is FREE

AMAZON | AMAZON UK | AMAZON CA | AMAZON AU | OTHER KINDLE COUNTRIES

*****

THE LIBRARIAN'S VAMPIRE ASSISTANT, 2

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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review 2019-02-02 03:11
A love letter to libraries
The Library Book - Susan Orlean

Right after I joined the library where I'm currently working the (now retired) Library Manager gave me an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of a book that he said I'd "really like". Since we had known each other less than a week I took it at face value and slipped it into my desk drawer. Three months later and this book (now in published form) was returned by a patron who told me that it was one I just had to read. This recommendation coupled with the fact that the book still has several hundred people waiting on hold to read it made me dig back in my drawer for my copy. Almost immediately I started drafting an apology letter to the man who saw me coming from a mile away.

 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean is a love letter to literature, librarians, and most especially to libraries. The book begins with a brief glimpse of what happened on April 29, 1986 and one of the (alleged) main characters. This is a bit of a teaser to the mystery explored in the book but in my opinion the next chapter is the real heart of the book. Orlean takes us back to when she was a young library patron who had a special routine of visiting her local library with her mom and the visceral reaction she had many years later when entering the Los Angeles Central Library with her own son for the first time. During a tour of the historic building, she learned of the devastating fire that occurred there on April 29, 1986 and how the man accused was never charged. Hundreds of thousands of materials were either outright destroyed by the blaze or damaged by the smoke or water used to douse the flames. The cost to repair and replace these items (as well as repair the building) was in the millions and it still holds the record for the largest library fire in U.S. history. Orlean was intrigued by the crime and why no one was brought to justice. She spent 4 years tracing back through the history of the public library in Los Angeles (including all of the City Librarians) before she fully delved into the one and only suspect, Harry Peak, an aspiring actor who boasted to friends that he had been there on the day of the fire and more importantly that he was the one that set it off. 

 

If you're not particularly interested in the fire or the whoddunit aspect there's plenty more here to sink your teeth into because Orlean goes behind the scenes of the library to talk about its various departments, infrastructure, and ultimately what it's really like to work in a public library. She covers such topics as holds fulfillment, collection development (like what to do with hundreds of maps), working with the homeless, and working within a tight budget to bring programs to the masses. I took copious notes after reading this book but looking back I realize how the majority of them would completely spoil this book for you. As I went in totally blind (and loved every moment of it) I think you guys would benefit by doing the same. Try and get your hands on this one but be aware that you'll probably be waiting for a while to get it from your local library.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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