Friday, September 2, 2016

Beacon 23

Beacon 23: The Complete Novel (Beacon 23 #1-5)Beacon 23: The Complete Novel by Hugh Howey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's hard to describe my thoughts and feelings about this book. I was mesmerized by the metaphor of the lighthouse but I was disturbed by the characters.

I felt like this would be the perfect book for someone who loved Sci Fi and had a dark sense of humor. I love Sci Fi but I lack the darkness. The writing was very harsh but well done. This is not a book I would suggest to my mom. The language is strong and the themes are quite dark. The metaphors and the prose however, are beautiful.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Five Reasons I Love C.S. Lewis

1. The Chronicles of Narnia

I picked up The Lion. The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was about 8. I remember mentioning it to my dad who told me it was one of his favorite books. This confused me. Why was an adult so interested in a book clearly written for children? Now I get it. Narnia teaches you about courage, benevolence, integrity coupled with Christian beliefs and values. Narnia is fun and magical, yet real and serious at the same time. C.S. Lewis, thank you for sharing your world with us. 

2. Clive Staples

One of my favorite things about Lewis is his life story. He struggled with his faith, love life, depression and was wounded during war time. Just as Narnia mirrors his faith, many of his other books mirror his struggles and triumphs. When I was in high school, a friend of mine committed suicide. I struggled with this for some time. I found consolation in Lewis's A Grief Observed. He understood that grief and sorrow are necessary and helped the reader revel in their pain and then find the strength to pull themselves out of it. 

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in your stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing." 

3. His Kindness

During his time in the army, Lewis and a friend made a pact that if either were to die, the other would take care of both families. Lewis's friend "Paddy" Moore died in 1918. Lewis cared for his mother, Jane Moore, until she became quite ill and passed away. 

4. His Humor

"Someday, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

If you didn't laugh during The Horse and His Boy, your funny bone is most definitely broken. Lewis does an excellent job embodying the mind of a child and oh what fun it is to laugh at childish things! 

5. His Choice in Friends

Many fans know that Tolkien and Lewis were friends and rivals. This fact warms me to my very soul. No two men in existence had a stronger impact on my imagination and love for literature than these two. Sometimes I wonder if they knew how important their works would be to lonely little girls who would rather read than play kickball during recess.  

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beautifully written, but too much for my heart. I felt as though Everything I Never Told You forced the reader to suffer just for suffering sake. I do love myself a good heart wrenching novel but this one wrenched and pulled and twisted. I found myself in a bad mood after reading it. I had to force myself to turn the pages. I didn't want to know what happened next.

The characters were beautifully done. I connected with Lydia on a level only introverts can but I still couldn't enjoy this book.

I give it a three because it is beautiful and Ng clearly does a great job emoting feeling in the reader, but I just couldn't take it.

My heart hurts thinking about Hannah holding her sister's broken locket. I just can't.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Five Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

1. The Giver

This was one of the first books that really made an impact on me. I read it first as an 8 year old and then again recently as an adult. There were so many things I missed the first time around. I knew I loved this book, but as time has passed, I discovered it is part of who I have become. This is part of what saddens me when students tell me they hate reading, you're missing out on part of your identity. 

2. Fahrenheit 451

"It was a pleasure to burn." This is the part I did not fully understand years ago as a high school freshman. I did not get what was "pleasurable." But after reading it again, I now understand how easy it is to see something evil as pleasurable. 

3. The Great Gatsby

I know, I talk about this book a lot. Who can blame me? Fitzgerald writes prose like none other. Every time I read it (I've read it about 5 times) I notice something I didn't before. Most recently, I was filled with sorrow for Daisy's children more than ever before. They are trophies, just like Daisy. As Daisy describes, their best hope in this world is to be "beautiful fools." 

4.. The Alchemist

It is simply not possible for someone to grasp this book completely on the first read. In fact, it is not possible to grasp it entirely, ever. Coelho fills this book with such wisdom and peace that can never be fully understood. Like the Bible, it can be interpreted in hundreds of ways. When I first read it, I thought it was well written but a little dry. Upon reading it a second time, I discovered it is not at all dry! It is full of sweet, juicy prose. 

5. The Chronicles of Narnia

At first, Narnia was a fictional world full of fantasy and imagination. But after I have grown and re-read it, I have learned that it is a story of faith. When characters are tempted and fail, we see them redeemed. When faith is tested, it shines out all the clearer. Yes, this book is for children. But that is only the starting point. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every minute of this book. It was written simply yet large themes could be found throughout. I found myself loving AJ and Maya and everything they go through. This was one of those books that I wish went on forever. I could never get enough.

Zevin's simplistic tone emoted feelings to the very core of the reader. As I learned about Maya's mother and read her creative story, I couldn't help but feel as though I were on the beach as well with my toes touching the cold, damp sand.

This is the perfect lazy Sunday book.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

What Alice Forgot

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a tale of a 29 year old trapped in the body of 40 year old...well sort of. Alice hits her head in spin class and forgets 10 years of her life.

Moriarty's writing style was catchy and fun. This story really makes you think about what you value in life and how your maturity and age has such a strong influence on relationships and perspectives.

I particularly enjoyed that the story followed her memory loss more than it did the love story between her and Nick. There were snippets of ooey-gooeyness but not an unbearable amount.

I would suggest this as an easy vacation read.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Childhood Characters I'd Love to Revisit

Everyone is nostalgic about books they read as a child, what characters do you wish you could revisit as adults? For more Top Ten lists, visit

1. Ramona

I used to pretend Ramona Quimby was my best friend. I read all the books and Beverly Cleary sure knows how to make an 8 year old laugh! It would be fun to know if Ramona went to college, if she grew out of her awkward phases, etc. 

2. Junie B. Jones

What a character, right? She's loud, obnoxious and sweet in her own sort of way. This really kind of describes all kindergartners though. Did she ever become less disgusting? Is she still extremely violent? I hope so. 

3. Magic Tree House Kids

Oh my gosh, I love this series. Did the magic fade as the kids grew up? Did they become anthropologists? 

4. Brian from The Hatchet

I really like to think Brian became the scruffy yet attractive star of a survival show. 

5. Baudelaire family

The Baudelaire children all had great potential, if they were real, one of them would rule the world by now. 

6. Stanley Yelnats

We all know him and Zero became rich, but what did they spend all their money on? Was he able to live off of it for his whole life? Did he help other troubled youth? 

7. Island of the Blue Dolphins

I would love to know more about Karana. I also think it would be interesting to know how the story compares to the actual story of Juana Maria. 

8. Tuck Everlasting

Guys, this book was only alright. But I would love a modern remake, I think I might like that more. 


I just want another book. Not one that shows Stellaluna grown up, but just another adventure of hers as a baby bat.

10. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Surely living in a museum helps create pretty interesting adults. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Night Circus

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At first, I loved this book. It was full of intrigue and had an air of mysticism to it. It reminded me a lot of The Prestige. However, then I discovered why it was categorized as YA. There is a huge love story that is completely ridiculous. I am not a fan of over fantasized romance. Whenever that story took a back burner, the real story of the circus and competition could shine through.

As for the characters, I loved some and hated others. I felt Celia Bowen was cocky and difficult to relate to while Poppet was absolutely charming and adorable.

I would definitely recommend this to someone interested in YA books with a slight fantasy twist.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookworm Delights

If you truly love books, then there are some things in life that just make your heart skip a beat and soothe your soul. Here are ten of my bookworm delights. For more top ten lists, visit

1. Staying up all night to finish the book

We've all done it, how could you stop reading now? The plot has just thickened! I think my best record was the summer I reread all the Harry Potter books. Not a lot of sleep happened that summer. 

2. A cozy blanket, an awesome book and my dog warming my feet

I have the coziest blanket, the best dog and great taste in books. That is a great recipe for a truly perfect evening. 

3. When books I love reference other books I love

I get so giddy when I'm reading along and BAM there's a reference to Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. It just warms me to my very core.

4. When the metaphors come full circle

Nothing is quite as satisfying as when the metaphor from the beginning comes full circle. 

5. Sun bathing with an ice cold Diet Dr Pepper and The Great Gatsby

I know what you're saying, "Really? Gatsby? That's a depressing love story." But I don't like love stories. I like literature, and Fitzgerald writes wonderful literature. His prose is smooth and no one describes summer heat quite like he does. 

6. The perfect neck pillow

OK, to be honest, I haven't found it yet. I have chronic neck pain and it really puts a damper on my reading. Let me know if you find a good, affordable option. 

7. Shopping for books

My husband was pretty sure that I would cut down on my book buying once I became a librarian, boy was he wrong! I love going to book stores, shopping online, book trades and pretty much anywhere I can discover new books. 

8. Unique writing style

Oh every chapter is written from another person's point of view and at the end of the book, they all meet for the climax of the story... that's fun but a truly beautiful writing style in a unique narrative is something special. Don't tell me the story, make me feel it. I want to have my outlook on the world changed. I want to think about the author's words as I fall asleep. I want to find my new favorite quote. 


I have probably purchased about 20 different bookmarks in the past and know where three are. But I love getting new ones. They can range from classy and expensive to laminated Chewbacca. Regardless, I am always on the look out for new ones. 

10. Libraries

Shocking, I'm sure I'm the only book blogger who likes libraries. When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to the library on Saturdays. My siblings all talked about all the vacations they used to go on and it always made me jealous. But I knew my dad really loved me because of those Saturday trips to the library. My favorite memories with my dad are at that library. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh (or at least chuckle)

1. Food: A Love Story

Guys, this book is hilarious. Jim Gaffigan is one of my favorite comedians and his writing feels genuine. It's like he is talking to you personally about how much he loves falafel. If you're having a rough day, read a couple of pages and I promise you will feel better. 

2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

This isn't the type of book you sit down and read and can't wait to get to the next chapter. It's the kind of book you read for a laugh between classes or when you need a pick me up before bed. After you read Mindy Kaling, you'll wish you had a best friend as cool as her (I luckily do). 

3. Who Ordered the Jumbo Shrimp?

I love oxymorons. I think they are hilarious. My favorite is probably dress pants... how can you be a dress and pants??? Silly oxymorons

4. Paper Towns

John Green masters teenage sarcasm. Not my favorite book, but I definitely chuckled quite a few times. 

5. The Princess Bride

I don't usually say inflammatory things, but if you don't like The Princess Bride, I don't think I want to be your friend.

6. Breathing Lessons

A tale of silly arguments, a meddling mother and a complicated road trip. Looking for a fun, light read? This is it. 

7. Matilda

If you're reading this blog, then you were probably a weird book kid and totally related to Matilda. I sure did. 

8.Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Every awkward interaction will have cringing and laughing!

9. The Martian

This is the funniest sci-fi ever. I was surprised at how much humor is in this book.

10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

It's amazing how Twain can fill one book with so much joy and laughter while still maintaining serious themes about honesty and belonging.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books to Read if You Love Thrillers

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog hosted by The Broke and Bookish. For more lists, visit 

1. Gone Girl

While it wasn't my favorite book, Gone Girl still had me on the edge of my seat. It was definitely exciting and full of twists and turns. Do not read it if you are sensitive to strong language. 

2. Girl on the Train

I thought I knew what this book would be like but I was entirely wrong. Once I started this book, it was hard to put down. 

3. Zoo

This is an awesome and terrifying book. If you liked, Jurassic Park, White Fang, or any other animal thriller, you're bound to like this one. It's probably my favorite by Patterson. 

4. The DaVinci Code

The DaVinci Code is a fun and exciting book. It's the perfect length for a car ride!! 

5. Loves Music, Loves to Dance

This is not the only good Mary Higgins Clark book, pretty all of them are good. They are quick reads full of entertainment. If you're looking for a good mystery, pick one up! 

6. The Martian

So much fun! I loved the book, I loved the movie. This is a must read. Once you start, you'll be hooked. 

7.Hunger Games

8. Something Wicked This Way Comes

I know, I talk about this one a lot. But it is worth the hype. 

9. Odd Thomas

Probably my favorite Dean Koontz book. All his stuff is intense and thrilling. It's great for a weekend off! 

10. Ender's Game

One of my all time favorite books. I suggest this one to students all the time. If you don't like reading, you aren't reading the right books! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Enchanted

The EnchantedThe Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read a book like The Enchanted. Denfield is fascinatingly creative in her writing style. The story takes place on death row through the eyes of an inmate who cannot or will not speak. However, his story takes the back burner as he describes this enchanted place that is the prison.

He discusses the story of The Lady (an investigator) and The Priest (a fallen priest who provides comfort to those who will die). In the eyes of the inmate, the prison is an enchanted place with monsters, magic, love and peace.

While the story is quite dark, I couldn't help but be riveted by Denfeld's imagery and prose.

"The fresh tumbling water makes her think of drinking and thirst and the hunger she has always felt-- if she could swim in this creek, and wade away to forever, she might be whole."

This book is like no other. Read it if only to experience transcendence in the most unlikely of places.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 5 Star Reads

1. Illustrated Man

The Illustrated Man is one of my all time favorite books. Bradbury has such a unique writing style and masters the creepy factor. This book is full of sub stories all encompassed in the tale of The Illustrated Man. If you have read Something Wicked this Way Comes, you will recognize the name of this character but this story follows a very different story line. 

2.The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

We all know the story, but if you haven't actually read the book, you need to. Twain is hilarious and clever. This tale is so much more than a book. Huck and Tom will be your family by the end. 

3. Les Miserables

Les Miserables is by no means a light read. Your heart will break repeatedly as you read this tale. But you will be glad to have it broken. There is a love in this book you won't find anywhere else. Your definitions of love, Christianity and morality will all be questioned. If you are looking for something deep and life changing, this is your book. 

4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven

This is a sad but sweet tale of redemption. Albom is great when it comes to evoking empathy and imagination. You will feel in this book. 

5. The Giver

I know I've already talked about The Giver, but it was one of the first books that really had an impact on me as a child and I still hold it very dear to my heart. 

6. The Things They Carried

This is a classic work of American Literature about a very controversial time: The Vietnam War. If I could trade talents with anyone, it would be Tim O'Brien. I would give my right arm to be able to manipulate words the way he does. He makes you taste the gun powder and feel the weight of the soldier's pack. This is a beautiful work of literature.  

7. The Last Battle

So...maybe it specifically says on the cover that it is a story for children. But you are never too old for Narnia. 

8. The Phantom of the Opera

Love the musical, love the play and love the book. 

9. The Lord of the Rings

Yes, I know big shock! The nerdy librarian likes Lord of the Rings. But seriously, so much of my love for books came from the world Tolkein created. 

10. Dracula

I read Dracula every October. I argue it is one of the best horror books of all time. No movie adaptation that I have seen has ever come close to the book. 

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