Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things I Want But Don't Need

This week's Top Ten Tuesday (sponsored by the Broke and the Bookish) is a freebie, so I thought I'd have a little fun. My birthday is coming up, and though I don't often get many gifts anymore (since I'm an "adult" and all), I tend to find myself coming up with a wish list of things that I want (but don't really need) So, without further ado, here are some fun things I want! 

1. This adorable Kate Spade polka dotted bedspread that I saw at Bed Bath & Beyond on sale, but they only had it in a twin.

2. A mermaid blanket

3. These gorgeous boots! 

4. This lovely, comfy couch

5. These awesome shirts that pretty much define me. 

6. This beautiful hutch that could hold all the pretty things. 

7. This classy purse that just happens to be Coach. I would definitely settle for a knock-off. 

8. This ridiculously amazing polka dotted teapot that says "Whistle While You Work" on the spout. 

 9. This darling coffee mug

10. And these funky & fun pillows!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 

She devises a plan to get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test. (Summary from Goodreads)

This book was one of the most unique tellings I've ever come across. Beginning with the first sentence, "my mother's a prostitute," Josie's story hooks you and then quickly reels you in character by character. The characters are beautifully developed from Josie's bookstore coworker, Patrick, (yes, she works in a bookstore :) to her eccentric boss Madam Willie, to Jesse the sweet boy down the street. You get to know each character and feel like they're your best friends too.

The setting itself is intriguing. 1950 New Orleans is jumping with blues music, brothels, mobsters in the streets - that is until the police start coming down hard after a high profile murder. The murder of a man that Josie met the day he died in the bookstore and slowly becomes obsessed with what happened to him, getting herself into more trouble when she discovers her mother might be involved.

But really all Josie wants is to get Out of the "Big" Easy and go to college, escaping the life her mother dropped her into and making something of herself.

I'm not a big historical fiction fan, but Ruta Sepetys keeps you captivated and puts you into Josie's life. It's like dropping into a pensieve. You're there with her, cheering her on.

(Side note, when I was lucky enough to meet Ruta at Book Con a few months ago, I had just finished this book and told her that I really needed a sequel. She said she'd been thinking about it and thought it was a good idea. She also said the story was based off of her mother's life, so she knew what happened to all the characters and just needed to write it all down. *Squee!*)

Have I mentioned yet that you should read this book? Well, you should. So go! Do all the reading! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Favorite Releases of 2016 So Far

(Sponsored by the Broke and the Bookish) 

I haven't read ten books that were released in 2016 yet, but here are the seven I've read so far. I've enjoyed them all! 

1. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

4. Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

5. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

6. The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Book Releases For The Second Half Of The Year

(Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish)

There are so many more great books coming out this year. And so many of them are sequels! When will I find the time to read them all? Here are ten of the ones I'm most looking forward to! 

1. Imprudence (The Custard Protocol: Book Two) by Gail Carriger 
Rue and the Spotted Custard shake the foundations of England's scientific community with revelations from their trip to India, a situation that is complicated by supernatural restlessness and her own family's growing fears.

2. A Torch Against the Night  (Ember in the Ashes: Book Two) by Sabaa Tahir
Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts. In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

3. Signs of You by Emily France
Since Riley lost her mother, her saving grace has been her quirky grief support group - Jay, Kate, and Noah. When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife.

4. Illusion (Heirs of Wason Island: Book Three) by Martina Boone
Caged by secrets all around her and haunted by mistakes that have estranged her from Eight Beaufort, Barrie Watson is desperate to break the curse that puts her family in danger—without breaking the beautiful magic that protects Watson’s Landing. To do that, she must heal the rifts that have split the families of the island apart for three hundred years

5. Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

6. Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black
Armed with her mother's guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister Cass, but when the devil she met at the town's crossroads changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil.

7. The Graces by Laure Eve
Everyone said the Graces were witches. They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

8. Bad Blood (The Naturals: Book Four) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
When Cassie Hobbes joined the FBI's Naturals program, she had one goal: uncover the truth about her mother's murder. But now, everything Cassie thought she knew about what happened that night has been called into question. Her mother is alive, and the people holding her captive are more powerful—and dangerous—than anything the Naturals have faced so far.

9. Timekeeper by Tara Sim
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

10. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 
the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book Review: The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living. (Summary from Goodreads)

I loved this book. I read the whole series in less than a week. It was an intriguing premise, one that though seems nearly impossible is probably one of the most realistic ways the the world could "end." All of the kids get sick and get stuck in rehab camps to make them better. It's like a mix between Outbreak, X-men, and Enemy of the State.

The main focus of the story revolves around Ruby, a girl who can take away your memories by touching your hand. She escapes camp with the help of the Children's League, but suspecting them of dastardly motivations, runs away from them too. She runs straight into a small group of other kids on the run and together they try to find a safe place somewhere, anywhere.

Part of what I loved about the story is that the main love interest isn't the bad guy. He isn't out to kill Ruby or putting her in danger. He does want to protect her, but he realizes that she's strong enough to protect herself. So we have a strong female protagonist who isn't looking for love in all the wrong places or being controlled by a male presence. Instead she makes friends who (eventually) respect her for who she is and love her for it.

I love how the characters change and evolve throughout the story, realistically learning from their mistakes but making more as teenagers do. Chubs, my favorite character, is adorable, funny, and super protective of his friends. I really enjoyed watching him slowly trust Ruby and seeing their friendship grow.

This is a must read!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Being a Librarian

(Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish)

Today's Top Ten Tuesday was very open ended - Ten Reasons I Love X. There are so many things I could do! Steampunk, Fairy Tales, Mysteries, Cats, Harry Potter...but I thought maybe I'd give my awesome job a shoutout and talk about the joys of being a librarian. So here are a few of my favorite things about being a librarian. 

1. Buying Books
I get to read reviews on new books coming out and then purchase them for the library. Dream Job. 

2. Book Clubs
I get to read books (mostly that I want to read) and talk about them with people.

3. Teaching
I'm not a teacher. I don't have a teaching degree, and I don't get summers off, but I do do a lot of teaching. This can include computer basics, research skills, resumes, signing up for email - but sometimes I get to teach awesome things like how to make monkey bread in the microwave, how to demonstrate Newton's Law with eggs, or even just who the Backstreet Boys are.  

4. Book Recommendations
The beginning of this video is pretty much accurate. When someone wants a book recommendation, we all come running. It's one of  my favorite parts about my job - finding out what you like to read and finding you something you'll like even better! 

5. Geeking out over books with others
When I start talking about books, it can be difficult to get me to stop. So beware. Especially if you ask me about a book I love! 

6. Making Someone's Day
Truly one of the best things about being a librarian is making a difference in someone's day. When you help someone get into that lost email and find the picture of their grandchild, apply for a job, or find that book that they've been searching for, it's a rewarding experience. Plus book people are the most excited people ever. 

7. Adventures
Every day is a new adventure! The library is never boring. There's always something different happening. It's not a desk job where I do the same thing day in and day out. It never gets repetitive, especially when you're working with teenagers. :) 

8. Learning
The library is truly a place where you learn something new every day, whether it be something a patron asks about, new technology, or a craft. 

9. Peoples
People are strange when you're a stranger. But seriously the people are what make this job interesting. You get your crazies and eccentrics, but there are also a ton of super nice people. They want to talk books or movies or even about their time in the War.

 10. Awesome Coworkers
Last but not least, the best part of my job is the amazing people I work with. I've worked with some pretty fantastic people since I started working in libraries eight years ago. Here at GPL I work with an awesome group of coworkers who I'm happy to call friends. Not only are they great to work with, but we have fun movie nights, message each other watching Once Upon a Time, take road trips to attend Book Conventions, and celebrate the end of the school year and beginning of the summer with a beverage after work. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful job, and I love it. 

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