Heather's books

Sarah's Key
The Help
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Lightning Thief
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Notebook
Eat, Pray, Love
The Time Traveler's Wife
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Heather's favorite books »

Thursday, May 29, 2014

YA graphic novel award winner....

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
Nothing can Possible Go Wrong

By: Prudence Shen & Faith Erin Hicks

Genre:  YA graphic novel

Pages: 288

Published: 2013

Read: May

4 out of 5

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I felt it was well done and includes a little of everything – humor, romance, competitions, friends, and struggles with being a teenager. The illustrations are artistic and I especially enjoyed the detailed facial expressions. I wish I could understand why the majority of graphic novels don’t use color illustrations though. I felt color would have been an added bonus. I also felt it was strange that the robotic competition was held on Thanksgiving. I am not sure what that added to the story and why an organization would hold it on such a big holiday, but then again the retail stores are open as well on Thanksgiving (YES, that bothers me)! I do believe this book was deserving of the YALSA Great Graphic Novels of 2014. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A childhood classic

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
 From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

By: E.L. Konigsburg

Genre:  Juvenile fiction

Pages: 125

Published: 2003

Read: May

3.5 out of 5

This was a reread from my childhood. I didn't remember much about the story, but I know I enjoyed it. I love the idea of running away and staying locked in a place overnight.  I think it's a dream of every child at one point or another.  As a child, I would probably have chosen a library :) As a teen, the mall!  I loved how innocent Claudia and Jamie were - making sure clothes were washed, learning something new everyday, took baths, and yet solved a mystery too. The book really teaches a lesson about growing up, being responsible and even money management yet in a very exciting setting.  As an adult, I had a couple minor issues; the biggest one being: why did the emblem have to look like a beer can, wouldn't a soda can have been a better choice? Overall, I believe this book is a timeless classic and a good selection for 8 to 12 year olds.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A long, but very good read

The Goldfinch
 The Goldfinch

By: Donna Tartt

Genre:  Adult Fiction

Pages: 771

Published: 2013

Read: May

4 out of 5

I was not expecting to enjoy this book. I heard patrons saying not much happened and even co-workers believed it wasn’t “my type” of book. Well, the book proved everyone wrong. I loved it! The action started from page one and continued throughout. Tartt writes with such intricate wording and in-depth characters you are drawn right into story. You feel like you live in the same neighborhood and travel with Theo across the United States. The book also travels through many genres – realistic fiction, mystery, suspense, romance, and so much more.  You will love some characters, hate others, but it makes you realize everyone has a friend they probably shouldn’t be friends with; just don’t know how to break the ties. Even as much as I enjoyed the book, I was ready to have it end. It was way over my enjoyment level for a book and near the end I just wanted to move on to a new one, which is why I gave it 4 stars.

Skip this book...Seriously!

The Pleasure of My Company: A Novella
 The Pleasure of My Company

By: Steve Martin

Genre:  Adult Fiction

Pages: 176

Published: 2004

Audiobook: 4 CD’s (5 hours)

Read: May

1 out of 5

I had several issues with this novella. First off, everyone knows that Steve Martin is funny – NOT in this book and he is not a good narrator; very monotone. Daniel is portrayed to have weird tendencies that would be perceived to most as OCD, but he is not consistent in his compulsions. It reads as though Martin made the compulsions fit the particular surrounding at time in story versus the other way around. He falls in love with EVERY woman he encounters including his therapist, who he starts babysitting for and invites her to sleep at his house which she accepts.  This wasn’t a story about an inappropriate relationship, therefore I felt this was a ridiculous addition and completely unnecessary. It ends with no resolution for Daniel and his OCD tendencies except being able to walk over curbs (Seriously, who cares??).  However, Martin ends the story as though Daniel is “fixed.” Definitely, skip this book and read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion instead.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Do you know when Opening day of hunting season is?

The Grace That Keeps This World
The Grace That Keeps This World

By: Tom Bailey

Genre:  Adult Fiction

Pages: 303

Published: 2006

Read: May

4 out of 5

This book was a suggested One Book One Community book. I didn't feel it would be a good choice for my community, however I choose it for my book club. I really enjoyed the story and it has several good discussion points.  It is based in a small hunting community in upstate New York, which was interesting to me as my dad used to hunt a lot and I remember him preparing for opening day of the hunting season. If you aren't familiar with hunting season (or against hunting) this is probably not a great book for you. I felt it was well written and showed how the hunting season can dictate a family's life and the community as a whole. My favorite aspect was that the novel was written from the perspectives of different community members which gives the reader several completely different insights on the story.   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Favorite Audiobook of all time!!!

Walking on Water (The Walk, #5)
Walking on Water (The Walk #5)

By: Richard Paul Evans

Genre:  Adult Fiction

Pages: 320

Published: 2014

Audiobook: 5 discs (est: 5 hours)

Read: May

5 out of 5

I was highly anticipating the release of this book and was not at all disappointed.  I loved taking the journey from Spokane, Washington to Key West, Florida with Alan, but very sad our travels have ended.  Before beginning this story, I was curious if after such a long gap between the release of book four and five if my emotional attachment for the characters would still be there. Immediately, my  friendship was renewed.  Evans is such a great narrator you can't help feeling for and with the characters. Without trying to ruin the story, I must warn you this one is definitely a crier and I don't cry easily while reading books.  I think this series is the best audiobook I have ever listened to and I may have to try more of Evans' books now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Juvenile Classic...

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Indian in the Cupboard

By: Lynne Reid Banks

Genre:  Juvenile fiction

Pages: 192

Published: 1980

Read: May

3 out of 5

This is the first time I read this book, which I read with my 7 year old son. I have very mixed feelings about the story. We both loved the story and it was very well written. My problem is that the boys lied a lot to Omri’s parents about the magic of the cupboard and the word “hell” was mentioned several times; this caused me to question whether it is an appropriate book for younger children. This especially raised a red flag for me because my son has had issues with lying. I felt the book almost justified and encouraged lying since they never were caught or reprimanded for their lying. However, we both loved the story, so I would only encourage parents to evaluate whether it is appropriate for their own child.

Friday, May 9, 2014

May be a great book, but not on audio

Out of This Place
Out of This Place

By: Emma Cameron

Genre: YA realistic fiction

Pages: 416

Published: 2013

Audiobook: 3 CD's ( 3 hours 19 mins)

Read: May

2 out of 5

This book was worth it because it only consumed 3 hours of my time. There was one aspect of the entire book I enjoyed; the story is told by three friends and the book was narrated by three individuals which enhanced the uniqueness of the characters. My biggest problem with the story was I felt you didn't get enough of the teens stories. They just ended without actually given closure to their stories or the book as a whole. However when I looked at the actual book, I discovered that the stories were told in verse, which is mostly likely why I felt they were incomplete. If you are interested in the premise of  story, I would recommend reading the book versus listening to it. I also think this may be a good book for reluctant readers that are looking for a book with more mature plots.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book about Cerebal Palsy

Out of My Mind
Out of My Mind

By: Sharon Draper

Genre: juvenile fiction

Pages: 295

Published: 2010

Read: May

4.5 out of 5

Having Cerebral Palsy (CP) myself (although very minor – nothing like Melody) I have always enjoyed books about CP and other physical disabilities, if properly written. I think it is important to educate everyone on the difficulties individuals living with a disability face every day.  Providing this in a fun entertaining, sometimes sad, method such as a fictional novel is a great way to get the message across.  Similar to Out of My Mind, most fictional novels about disabilities exemplify that these individuals are NORMAL people with the same feelings and interest as everyone else.  They may just not be capable of verbalizing and/or physically following through with processes or thoughts. Draper does an excellent job with this novel and the reader can really begin to understand that these individual’s feelings can get hurt and they want to be accepted the same as everyone.  Another great book about a child living with a disability is Rules by Cynthia Lord; this is about a boy living with autism. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Very Very Unique book...

Grasshopper Jungle
The Grasshopper Jungle

By: Andrew Smith

Genre: YA LGBTQ/Sci-Fi

Pages: 368

Published: 2014

Read: May

2.5 out of 5

WOW! This is probably the strangest book I have ever read. It is a coming-of-age story, but with a sci-fi twist. The writing style and plot were very unique and I definitely give Smith credit for that. I felt this was a novel that intertangles Looking for Alaska by John Green and the movie Tremors (1990). I had two major issues with the book - Smith would repeat sentences a lot. This was definitely part of his writing style, but I found it very annoying and not sure what it added to the story. My  other dilemma is as a Teen Librarian, I am not sure how to market this book. Typically, boys enjoy sci-fi but not relationship/homosexual/coming-of-age novels and the girls are just the opposite. Because of the teen characters and crossing of genres, I don't know if adults would enjoy it either. After talking with a co-worker, we came to the conclusion that besides teen boys questioning their own sexuality that the best readers may be adult males who are still kids themselves and possibly reluctant readers. 

Rat Pack novel

When it Happens to You
When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories

By: Molly Ringwald

Genre: Adult fiction

Pages: 256

Published: 2012

Audiobook: 7 CD's

Read: May

4 out of 5

When I choose this book, I thought it was an autobiography so obviously I didn’t read the description. I grew up with the rat pack, so after I got over my disappointment of not hearing about Ringwald’s “real” life I did enjoy her fictional novel. I loved the way the short stories, that are completely on their own, intertwine to make a complete story. My favorite storyline was “My Olivia” where a six-year-old boy feels he is really a girl. I would love Ringwald to develop this short story into a complete novel. The audio was narrated by Ringwald herself, which I believe enhanced my enjoyment of the stories. She has a great voice for audiobooks. I will definitely be reading her other book, Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick, which includes at least some personal anecdotes. She also narrates some novels by other authors I may look into at a later date.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A book of friendship

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan

By: Katherine Applegate

Genre: Juvenile fiction

Pages: 307

Published: 2012

Audiobook: 3 CD's (3 hours)

Read: May

3 out of 5

This book was very cute and reminded me of a modern day Charlotte's Web. Applegate's ability to enhance a true story and add color to the confinement to animals was enriching.  I loved that she illustrated the story from Ivan's point of view and the gave the animals a voice.  The audio could have been performed better, especially if children were to become engrossed. The voice, although not monotone, never fluctuated between the characters.   I believe I would have enjoyed the story more if I held the book in my hands, read the story, and viewed the pictures.  I recommend this book to children of all ages, but would encourage reading the book.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Disappointing sequel

Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

By: Helene Hanff

Genre: memoir

Pages: 144

Published: 1995

Read: May

2 out of 5

84, Charing Cross Road is one of my new all-time favorite reads, so I was anticipating a great second read from Hanff. Unfortunately, everything I loved about 84, Charing Cross Road was nonexistent in this one. I was very disappointed since I was hoping for a continuation of Helene’s discovery of books, friendship and humor.   Books are barely mentioned and the absence of her humor is almost saddening. Even the true reason for her visit was hardly mentioned. Sure, she gets picked up by the Doel’s family but very little time is spent with them. She is more focused on her new found fame and friends. There is nothing wrong with this, however I missed the old Helene. – the woman who was more focused on discovering rare books and  treasured friendship.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A no-brainer...

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Husband's Secret

By: Liane Moriarty

Genre: Adult fiction

Pages: 394

Published: 2013

Audiobook: 11 CD's (13 hrs and 46 mins)

Read: April

3 out of 5

I listened to this novel on audiobook and it wasn't until the 5th disk that Cecilia "discovered" the secret that the reader should have figured out by at least disk 3.  So while the next 2 disks were entertaining, I was impatiently waiting for the secret to be "revealed".  I felt the characters had no depth and the entire book was a little too "fluffy" for me.  Although the narrator had character in her voice there was no distinctions in the dialogue which made it difficult to follow unless Ester was speaking (she has a lisp). Now for what I did like - there are so many issues and what-if's that this story definitely would lead a great discussion and I loved the epilogue, which in its own way gave the book a purpose. Overall, I felt it was watching a train wreck, but not wanting to look away. Some may call it the perfect summer read.