Being a Teacher Librarian

The last couple of months has been a huge change for me, as far as my career. I went from teaching, to being a librarian. I wish I had considered this job when I first went to school! I can not think of another job that is truly better suited for me.

I feel like I have been training for this position my entire life. Every day I make new connections with students based on books we have both read, or on recommendations I am giving them now. I used to think that I needed to make more of an effort to read adult fiction, but now I realize that I was ALWAYS meant to keep reading Young Adult! What a relief that is!

Some things on this blog with probably start changing a bit. I want to write more reviews for books that are actually in my library currently. So that way, if students actually ARE reading this, they will be able to come check out whatever books I mention here. Don’t worry, I will still tell you all about the current reads I have, and as soon as I get some fundraisers going, I hope to fill these shelves with new books that are current and relate-able in today’s book world! But that is going to take some time, and I hope you all bear with me.

If you have any suggestions for book reviews that you want to see, any classics that I should be recommending to students, please share! I would love to hear it. I will get down to writing soon! So hopefully you will be seeing more of me.

Happy Reading,

Katie

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

storied life

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

How had I never heard of this book before? I feel like I must have been living under a rock or something. Or maybe the title/cover art wasn’t supremely appealing, and I judged it too harshly based on its cover. What a fool I was!

A friend from college recommended this book to me on goodreads, and she had never done that for me yet, so I was intrigued about a novel that had her so excited she would HAVE to share it with me.

Also in Mr. Fikry’s favor was that it was available on kindle unlimited ūüėõ

This book can only be explained as a book lovers dream. I wish I had counted how many different times the author name dropped or references a book or author, but it was like sharing a secret every time I caught a reference. It makes a person feel good when they can understand an inside joke or nuance mentioned by the author.

A.J. Fikry is a bookstore owner who lost his wife in a car accident 2 years ago, and ever since he has been slowly drinking himself into a stupor. He even has his retirement all planned out, he is going to take his rare copy of Edgar Allen Poe poems to auction, and live off the sale. Since it is worth about $400,000, it would be quite a comfortable life indeed. Too bad someone steals it.

The next thing he knows a baby is left in his bookstore, and her mother is found washed up on the shore day later. What is he going to do? Does this sweet little smarty pants girl go in to the system? Or does he take the opportunity presented to him, and keep her?

From that day on, his life is different. Slowly, he begins to live again. The small town of Alice rally’s around him, and even his business begins to become steady again.

There is a love interest, but to call this book merely a romance is putting too big of a label. This is the story of A.J.’s life, and what it took for him to learn to appreciate it again.

His daughter Maya grows up to be, in his words, the most fantastic nerd. She is raised in and among books. She wants to become a writer, and enters competitions starting early, and she loves to learn. When she doesn’t know what to do, or how to approach a situation, her Dad gives her book recommendation that may help her figure it all out. When she is stuck writing, he tells her that the best way to get unstuck is to read, learn, explore, but there is one thing that she never truly seems all that interested in learning about, and what she doesn’t want to know is anything about her mother. Why did her mother leave her in a bookstore? It doesn’t matter, and since she had been there, her life and A.J.’s have been better for it.

A novel like this has innumerable quotes that I loved, but here are just a few that really stuck with me.

storied life quote

paragraph quote

ajfikry quote

I greatly enjoyed reading about the world that A.J. Fikry lived in. I fell in love with his little family, and the townspeople that graced his store. His life was not one without great tragedy, but he also had great joy. After reading this book, I am grateful that his story was shared.

Hope some of you decide to pick this one up someday soon.

Happy Reading,

Katie

When a Series Ends

The ending of a series can be a painful one. After becoming invested in the characters lives, you hope for the bad guys to meet their bad ends, and the good guys to find their happily ever after.

I much prefer when it is a happy ending. I won’t hate on a sad ending.. but I have to find some justification in it. I don’t want to feel sad just for the sake of tears. Make me sad, because that is what had been foreshadowed earlier in the novels, or because one can’t live if the other survives. Make the emotion worthwhile. It all depends of what kind of games the author decides¬†to play on their readers.

We all have had those experiences where the last book of a series simply tears our heart out. Sometimes I can justify it in my head, but most of the time, I just find it upsetting, when I live in a world where happy endings are the American dream. I want all these characters to live happy and wonderful lives. They go through struggle, so I want them to end up in a happy life that they have earned.

No lie, I love me a happy ending.

I recently finished The Paper Magician series, just last night.

Here is another series where I hoped for the happy ending. I wanted everyone to be happy, guy gets the girl, no one dies, yada yada yada.

And I got it. For the first time, I wasn’t satisfied with it.

This trilogy gave each bad guy the spot light. Each book’s conflict is based on the enemy that is chasing Ceony. The Master Magician’s¬†conflict felt very forced. Almost like the author didn’t know how to write a story where the conflict was any different from the previous in the trilogy. She had a happy life, everything was going well, and Ceony is a few weeks away from taking her Magicians test. That right there could have been enough of a conflict, but instead, they gave her one last bad guy that had escaped from prison.

This was the weirdest part for me. I felt like these interactions were brushed over, and hurried along. Because of that I didn’t feel that they were very necessary to make the story interesting. Ceony has a lot going on in her life, she has learned how to unbind herself from her paper magic, and become bound¬†to another. THAT IS A HUGE PLOT POINT, but it felt like it was secondary, when it should have been more of a focus.

This book was a super quick read, and while I liked its ending, I wish I had had more.

When I read the last book in the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay, I was shocked and moved and angry while reading it. During Allegiant, the last book in the Divergent series, I was crying and yelling at the book. The 7th book in the Harry Potter Series had me bawling my eyes out. Unfortunately or fortunately this trilogy ender didn’t have the sadness that could be associated with the previous books I’ve mentioned, but it also didn’t feel like it had any heart. This book felt like an epilogue or a short story to wrap up a few loose ends, and oh yeah, this is supposed to be a whole novel, let ¬†me add a couple conflicts, ta-da! A book.

Anyone who is reading The Paper Magician Series, you need to finish it, but I hope you didn’t get your hopes up too high, mine were let down for a book that is supposed to wrap up such an exciting trilogy.

Have you read it yet? What are your thoughts?

Happy Reading,

Katie

A Court of Thorns and Roses- Review

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Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Hardcover: 432 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Released:May 5, 2015

Received through Netgalley (HUGE THANK YOU!!)

Buy this book: Amazon

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.

(Quote taken from amazon.com)


I picked up this book yesterday… and I finished it, well, yesterday. I literally couldn’t put this book down! If you are a fan of Faeries, danger, intrigue, and a little bit of romance. This book is definitely for you. It has a Beauty and the Beast feel, while giving you magic, danger, creepy monsters, and faerie lore¬†that¬†keeps you riveted to each and every page you turn.

Feyre has been taking care of her family for years, ever since her father lost his fortune, and won’t get out the door to provide for his family. She hunts in the dangerous forest surrounding her home to keep food on the table and fire in the hearth. Then one day, during a cold and brutal winter, she kills a wolf. And not just any wolf, … a fae. Soon, a giant beast comes to her home demanding retribution for the murder of his friend. She must choose between death, or life in the land beyond the wall, the land of the Faeries.

With the beast, Tamlin, a¬†High Fae of Spring, Feyre leaves her family behind, and finds herself in a world she couldn’t have fathomed in her wildest dreams. As she learns to trust her captors, and the safety of her family, her¬†icy hate-filled heart begins to warm. She starts to find beauty in the world around her, and friends in the faeries. For so long she had been told to fear them, but not all faeries are alike.

Passion builds between Feyre and Tamlin (the High Lord of the Fae of Spring) but nothing is safe, there is a darkness creeping into this world, and She is worse than you can possible imagine. Soon it will threaten the human world as well, and all the Feyre loves and had to leave behind. No one is safe unless Feyre can find a way to trust her heart, and her strength.

This book was highly anticipated on many blogs I have been reading, and Instagram accounts I follow, but I wasn’t sure it would live up to the hype for me. So many new books feel alike, futuristic societies, rebellions, and corrupt governments. Or else its faeries, and magic, and good versus evil.

This book did feel like a story I know, but it was so different, I actually enjoyed the fact that I recognized the elements of beauty and the beast.

By the end of the story I was so enthralled with everything, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I finished it. Thankfully I didn’t have to pull an all nighter to get to the last page of this book, but it was late enough to make me realize just how good it was. That hasn’t happened to me in awhile. But I love when a good book gets its hook in to you, and you know you have to keep reading! Though, I try to be a reasonable adult when it comes to school nights. haha. Actually I am a bit of an old woman, I have a very early bed time, so much so that I bet if I said what time I went to bed, not many would even think it was too late! I think I will keep that secret to myself.

I hope you all add this book to your summer reading list, because you won’t be disappointed.

Now I am off to see if Sarah Maas, will be coming to LA any time soon for her book tour!

Happy Reading,

Katie

PS Epic Reads has this really cool fairy tale retellings chart that you should check out!

YA_Retellings_Fairytales_Web2

Books that changed my life for the better

There have been some fantastic books in my life that truly changed me. Of course there are the obvious ones like Harry Potter, and the Chronicles of Narnia, and even The Baby Sitters Club. But the books I want to talk about today was one that I read in high school. I want to HIGHLY encourage anyone who hasn’t picked up this book to do so, but especially anyone that is still in their teens, high school, or early college years.

What book am I talking about?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower By, Stephen Chbosky

This book came to me through my oldest friend. She gave me a copy that she had annotated especially for me. The little notes she had added made it such a special gift that I still keep on my bookshelf today. Whether it was reminders of things we had done similar in the novel, or things we had talked about doing. Or even how she would have handled certain situations. This books was the epitome of our high school career. We had so much in common with the characters, Rocky Horror Picture show, Long drives listening to music, and the general grumbles of trying to fit in when no one knows who they are.

To say this book is quotable is putting it mildly. Here are just a couple quotes that still impact me now.

we accept the love we think we deserveperks quote

Wallpaper-the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-movie-31375870-900-563infinite quote

When you find a book that you see yourself in, it becomes a part of you. That is how this book was for me. I didn’t go through the same terrible things that Charlie went through, but I did feel like an outcast in high school. I wasn’t sure who saw me, and I didn’t always feel important. But I had my friends. They helped me get through a time when I was finding myself. Just like Charlie.

I love how Stephen Chbosky wrote Charlie, how he made him talk. It feels so real, like he could be my own pen pal, or a kid I grew up with. While the topics are serious, it never gets too overwhelming. Probably a good thing for a teen going through their own problems.

This book though, makes you know you aren’t alone. If you have any interest in giving this book to any of your friends, I recommend doing what my friend did for me. Take the time to make it special. On these blogs we recommend books to people all the time, but making it personal, makes it that much more special.

OH! Also, this is also one of my favorite book to movie adaptations! The author, Stephen Chbosky, wrote the script! So you know that all your favorite lines are still preserved in al their glory! Plus Emma Watson is AMAZING!

Hope you give this book a chance!

Happy Reading,

Katie

Review of Spotless by Camilla Monk

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Title: Spotless

Author: Camilla Monk

Release Date: May 12, 2015

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Source: Netgalley. THANK YOU!!

This was another of the netgalley books I got from a publisher. The cover was what drew me in, and I am so glad I requested it, and¬†it¬†was approved! (Though, the pink cover doesn’t really do this book justice)

This book is about Island, a mid twenties IT girl, who loves to pick up a good romance novel, but doesn’t pick up after herself. She meets March, an OCD secret agent who is looking to find the worlds largest diamond, which had been stolen by Island’s late mother. The cherry on top? Island has no idea what he is talking about! As they weave in and out of a messy situation, both the lost diamond, and Island’s dirty apartment, they must learn to trust each other, or die in the crossfire.

If Island doesn’t know where the diamond is, no amount or torture will change that, and she¬†must convince¬†March¬†to take her along to find the missing jewel, and help decode clues that had been left in her mothers will. From Paris to Tokyo, Island is falling for March, while¬†danger and adventure chase them down¬†every street, all the while¬†learning more and more about her mother, and the life that she had never thought possible.

This fast paced spy novel was so much more than the cover let on. I chose the book because it looked like a fun romance, but it turned in to a high adrenaline, car chase, and gun fight of a novel. With torture and bad guys coming at you left and right! The author, Camilla Monk, knows exactly how to get your heart pumping with danger, intrigue, and just enough romance to make you swoon.¬†As well as get me to root for the characters, first to succeed, and then to find each other. ¬†I cannot tell you how many times I was begging for it all to work out. One simple mistake, and these characters wouldn’t have made it.

Another positive, is that I really want to know more about them, and where they will go from here. The search of the jewel is over, but their romance is only beginning, I love that I got some closure, but now I can’t wait to see where they take it!

If you are a fan of some sweet romance, and some creepy torture, this book has all you need! It is a great balance between the 007 fans, and the lover of a good romantic comedy. Each character has their quirks, and you learn to love them all in spite of it.  Take a chance, like I did, and pick it up for a fun read this summer!

Happy Reading,

Katie

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Title: Uprooted

Author: Naomi Novik

Release Date: May 19, 2015

Publisher: Del Rey

Source: Netgalley. THANK YOU!!

uprooted


‚ÄúOur Dragon doesn‚Äôt eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that‚Äôs not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he‚Äôs still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we‚Äôre grateful, but not that grateful.‚ÄĚ
 
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows‚ÄĒeveryone¬†knows‚ÄĒthat the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn‚Äôt, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.


Uprooted is a fairytale story all its own, full of magic and deception. Weaving through spells,¬†dangerous creatures and corrupted kingdoms, nothing is as it seems. Characters come alive, and magic pulls you to its pages. I couldn’t put this book down. ¬†It feels at home more with Grimm fairytales than Disney and deserves a slightly older audience due to minimal sensual¬†content.

Agnieszka never thought she would be the Dragons choice, that was always going to be her best friend Kaisa, but when the Dragon takes her to his tower with little more than a word, her world gets turned upside down and she must navigate a completely new and unusual life. She has magic, and now a responsibility she never predicted. As she learns to control her new power, she also realizes that no one she loves is safe from the Wood. Having grown up only seven miles from its borders, that dangers of the wood are routine, but even Agnieszka couldn’t have foreseen¬†just how dangerous the Wood actually was, and how far reaching its powers would be.

Uprooted hooked me in from the very beginning. It feels like a classic folk tale, keeping tradition and willful spirit at its core. As you read you feel as if you are finally getting to the heart of the novel, only to find that there is another layer waiting to intrigue you. This books opens up like a rose, one petal at a time, keeping you within its pages until it can fully reveal to you its heart. And what heart it has!

Agnieszka becomes someone you can root for, her missteps are only led by her ignorance. But she  learns from ever failing, and grows with every trial. She must become strong, in her moral character and in her magic, if she ever wants to defeat the evil that has taken root.

If you are interested you can find preorders at amazon, and barnes and noble, or you can add it to your goodreads list!

Happy Reading,

Katie

P.S.

You know a book is good, when you are trying to finish it in a movie theater. Yesterday I went to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I brought my iPad with me… fun date night right? And I am admitting to all of you, that I was that crazy person reading in a dark movie theater before the show. So trust me. You should read this book!