Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Sidekicks and Companions

(Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish)

Hello! Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish (Check them out. They're awesome.) Today was a freebie, so I've listed a fun group of sidekicks and companions that I think just don't get enough love. The sidekicks often make or break the story. If it wasn't for their comic relief, whether simply silly or sarcastic, a lot of times the book would end up too serious or dull. Sometimes they even save the day! Here's a list of some of my favorites!

                                                                                                 (Isn't he adorable?!)
1. Dimity and Bumbersnoot - Finishing School

2. Chubs - the Darkest Minds

3. Howie - I Hunt Killers

 4. Asher - The Fixer

5. Layla - St. Anything

 6. Bee - Rebel Belle

 7. Linnet - Inventor's Secret

8. Sloane - The Naturals

 9. Reagan - Fangirl

10. Theta - The Diviners

Who are some of your favorite sidekicks and companions?

Next week's TTT: Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review: Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, the Council decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

I loved Rachel Hawkins' Rebel Belle books, so I decided to give her slightly older series, Hex Hall, a try, and boy am I glad I did! Sophie is a witch and goes off to witch school. This is not Hogwarts, in fact several jokes are made about Hogwarts in the books...I started cracking up when she called the groundskeeper Hagrid. I laughed a lot while reading this books actually. Sophie has a very snarky, sarcastic sense of humor and would be really fun to hang out with...until she does something stupid...which happens a lot.

I don't want to give too much away, but the stories were incredibly fast paced. I didn't want to put them down, and read the whole series in two days. (I've been on quite the reading kick lately, making up for lost time and such) These books were great fun, kind of reminiscent of Teen Witch and even Buffy, full of witty banter and moments that get your adrenaline pumping!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Been Meaning to Read for a While (& am totally going to this year!)

I'm going to be challenging myself a bit this year with a few Reading Resolutions. Read a hundred books, write a review for each book I read, and complete our Staff Reading Challenge (more info to come).

I'm going to also make sure that (at least) ten of those hundred books are older and have been on my To Read list for a while. Here are those ten!

 1, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 

2. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde 

 3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater 

 5. Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

 6. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

 7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 8. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

 9. Panic by Lauren Oliver

10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review: The Mercy Thompson series (1-9) by Patricia Riggs

Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

This series, like many of the books I read, came recommended by Emily, the Gnoming Librarian. She mentioned the series to me a while ago, certain that I would enjoy it, but I had lots of other books to read (most of them also recommended by her) and kept putting it off. But when Maggie Stiefvater came to hang out with us (remember that time a month ago that I got to spend the evening with Maggie Stiefvater!!!), she happened to mention having read it (and there was a werewolf named Sam in it and one in Twilight, so it would be weird if her werewolf character wasn't named Sam). So of course, the next day when I went to work, the first thing I did was grab the first three books in the series.

Going into the story, I really didn't know anything about it (except obviously that it had a werewolf named Sam), but I was on a reading kick, so it really didn't matter. So into Mercy's world I ventured, and man, did I have a tough time leaving. In fact, three weeks and nine books later, and I'm still half living in that world, expecting some sort of fae to call me in the middle of the night needing my assistance.

Mercy might be a girl and turn into a mere thirty pound coyote, but she is one tough cookie. She is a mechanic, who owns her own shop, hangs out with vampires, gremlins, and werewolves, and takes on some powerful creatures, including more than one alpha werewolf. In the world that Patricia Briggs created, fae (fairy-tale magical creatures) have been revealed to the normal world. A reservation was created for them, and many fae retreated to the reservation in order to stay safe from hate crimes. Other creatures, which readers know exist, aren't out to the rest of the world yet, though this becomes part of the plot throughout the series.

Though the covers make them look like a little Harlequin romance novel, these were really good stories with good character development, exciting plot lines, complicated relationships, and characters that you will grow to love. Even the side characters are enjoyable. I would love to have Zee or Stefan on my side.

These were definitely a win in my book (see what I did there?), and I'm super excited that a tenth book is coming out in March!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters.

When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts.

All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. (Summary from Goodreads)

I'll admit, I was a little weary about reading another Shadowhunter novel. I really enjoyed the Infernal Devices series and The Mortal Instruments, but I wasn't quite ready to let those other characters go. Fortunately, Lady Midnight was a good remedy for that because my favorite characters were still present (not often in person, but they were mentioned a lot). And the story kept the same magical, energetic, and romantic feel of the others. I was still able to learn what had happened to Clary, Jace, Simon, Tessa, Jem, and even Isabella. And we got to hang out with Magnus some, which is always wonderful. 

The mystery was a little predictable, but probably because I've read all of the rest of Clare's books. Cassie's struggle with her parents death was believable, and the romance was adorable. If you like the other Shadowhunter novels or any sort of urban fantasy, you should give this one a try! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year! 2017 Reading Resolutions

I hope you were able to spend the holidays with people you love! Today is all about Reading Resolutions and Challenges! I'll be talking with other librarians on our podcast (click here for more) about these and more this week! In addition to my Goodreads Goal of reading 100 books, I'm also going to try to write a review about every book I read, and I'm participating in our library reading challenge! 

This year our library staff is participating in a reading challenge, encouraging each other to read widely and share what we're reading. This is the first of many conversation starters in a "Reading Revolution", a concerted effort to champion literacy and make talking about books and reading a priority in our community. Because reading is cool.

The challenge is pretty easy.  Pick a book - any book - that fits into one of the categories listed below.  Challenge yourself to select titles outside of your reading comfort zone.  Explore new genres, new authors, and new formats. 

So here is our reading challenge for 2017. Feel free to jump in and participate with us! You can also find the challenge at the top of my page under "Reading Challenge" which I'll keep updated with what I've completed, or on the library website here!

2017 Greenwood Public Library Reading Challenge   
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A teen book
  • A book you haven't read since high school
  • A book set in Indiana
  • A book set in a historical time period
  • A New York Time's bestseller
  • A book that's becoming a movie this year
  • A book set in the Middle East
  • A book written by a celebrity
  • A book at least 100 years old
  • A children’s book
  • A graphic novel
  • A book recommended by a family member
  • A book recommended by a co-worker
  • A book that is published in 2017
  • A book that takes place during summer
  • A book that’s been on your TBR list for 3+ years
  • A biography or autobiography
  • A book you like just because of the cover
  • A genre you don’t normally read
Good luck in all of your reading endeavors, and have a Happy 2017!

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