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The Fake Librarian

I am the branch head of a small town library in Florida. I tell my patrons I don't read adult books yet (sort of true..I just prefer YA books).

I'm Baaaaaack!

— feeling amazing

It has been a long while, but no one tells you how time consuming it can be to keep up a blog.  Phew!  Anyway, things have been a little crazy around the library with training new staff and volunteers.  We're in our third week of summer programming, and I LOVE the theme this year.  "Every Hero Has A Story" is the theme for elementary ages, and it just leaves you so much wiggle room for programming.  I'll post some photos soon of all of the exciting things we have going on.


Just wanted to stop in and say hi.  Check out the Queen of the Tearling series for a good read.  Oh, and Princeless for a good graphic for all ages.



Ode to a Private Life

Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart - Lisa Rogak

I know that Jon Stewart is a relatively private man.  Apart from the occasional hosting gig or book, he doesn't make himself well known once he leaves his show.  However, when I pick up a biography, I really do expect to learn something new about a person.  I felt like this particular bio regurgitated information found in previous biographies.  It also focused heavily on the Daily Show, while somewhat briefly addressing all of the steps it took to get to that point.  I guess I was disappointed in not seeing a little more 'behind the scenes'.

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?
Do You Want To Build A Snowman?
Pin The Nose On Olaf
Pin The Nose On Olaf

Just a sneak peek at the Frozen themed party we held at my library earlier in the month.  We had almost 40 people show up!  Thanks to Pinterest and a lot of prep time I had some great activities. We played Frozen Bingo, had a sing-a-long, built snowmen (see picture), learned how to draw Olaf, pinned the nose on Olaf, AND had all of the Frozen themed books owned in our library system get checked out.  After the holiday season we'll tackle the Wizarding World :)

Banned Books Week - Coming Soon!

Banned Books Week is coming up (September 21-27, 2014), so don't forget to stock up on banned books!


I loved Banned Books Week, so at my library it is now Banned Books Month.  Check out www.bannedbooksweek.org for more information and resources.


Fizz! Boom! Read! Mad Science Lab
Fizz! Boom! Read! Mad Science Lab
Close up of the mad scientist
Close up of the mad scientist

Summer reading is about to kick off at my library, and this year's theme is Fizz! Boom! Read!  I love it, and am excited about all of the great programs we have coming up this summer.  Part of my responsibilities included putting together a display case to promote the program this summer.  Normally what I plan and the reality of what I put together are VERY far apart, however I am proud of how this turned out.  


Our mad scientist was traced from an image found on wikicommons onto some of the extra cardboard we had.  One of my favorite parts is the list of "test subjects" that is hidden to the right of the mad scientist.  I used the names of some of my regular patrons, and I can't wait until they find out.  We even have a brain in a jar (hooray for dollar store grow your own body parts).

Midnight, Texas - Small town, big mysteries

Midnight Crossroad - Charlaine Harris

After finishing up the Sookie Stackhouse series, I wondered what Charlaine Harris would do next.  I hadn't read any of her other stuff, and the one time I attempted to landed me with a late fee (AND I WORK AT THE LIBRARY).  


Thanks to Goodreads,  I stumbled upon a description of Midnight Crossroad. From the teaser I didn't know if the supernatural would be involved, but I was certainly interested in the mysterious town of Midnight and its inhabitants.


The story is told from several of the residents' points of view, which I felt helped round out the details of the plot far better than any other device could have.  Each of the characters has their own secrets from each other and the reader, which makes you think a little harder as you puzzle out what is happening in the town.  


As it turns out, most of the residents of Midnight do have something a little special about them, but that is not the focus of the book.  I appreciated that these talents were really more about developing the characters rather than being the motor behind the story.


This is a great read for any light mystery reader or fan of the supernatural.  Pick it up, just don't be disappointed when you have to wait for the next two books in the trilogy.


Panic - Lauren Oliver

A great YA read!


Though a little out of my normal range of topics (no dystopia here), I enjoyed Panic. Both Heather and Dodge, the main characters have home lives that are less than desirable. They also both have very personal reasons to want to win Panic, an annual thrill event that graduating seniors play for money in their small town.


Each of the characters has a moment in the story that makes you just stop and take a moment. The story carries themes of desperation, friendship, and strength.


Heather is a lead character that tugs at your heart strings.  All she wants to do is get out of Carp, her small hometown, but she has no real plan for her escape.  She is also attached to her younger sister, who she can't just leave behind.  


The events of Panic themselves range from what would appear to be a typical teen prank to downright terrifying, and you almost have a tangible sense of fear for the players.  The book should almost come with a don't try this at home warning.


This was my first book by Lauren Oliver, but maybe I'll finally get around to picking up Delirium now.



The Here and Now - a time travel book for the non scifi reader

The Here and Now - Ann Brashares

Thanks to NetGalley I was able to read an advance copy of Ann Brashares The Here and Now while I was cruising around in the Caribbean last week.


This YA book is a great light sci-fi read.  It lightly brushes over some of your basic time travel rhetoric (don't alter the course of history) without going into those nitty gritty details that could drive you crazy.  It has a little adventure and a little love story.


Prenna and her people have traveled back in time to escape a decimated planet and a blood plague that is spread by a simple mosquito bite.  They live within society and yet are not truly a part of it as they have to be careful about how they interact with "time natives."  The leaders of her people are supposed to be working to help the world avoid the future they come from, but Prenna discovers that perhaps the leaders don't always do what they say.


I love Prenna as a character.  Her "I can do anything no matter what you say" attitude makes her every bit a teenager.  Her crush on her classmate despite all the rules against it proves she's human.


The book comes out on April 8th, and it is definitely worth a read.


Mind's Eye - Rebecca A. Rogers

Mind's Eye proves you can never have too active of an imagination.  Kearly, our main character has the ability to travel anywhere she wishes, as long as she can imagine it.  Not a bad talent, and a great escape from her not so great home life.  Unfortunately, there is a big bad out there who believe that her talent is dangerous, and want to rid her (and others like her) of their abilities AND their imaginations.


Kearly is a stubborn teenager who hasn't had the easiest childhood. Her mother is a chain smoking drunk who barely registers that her daughter exists unless she needs a chore done.  Kearly has lost almost all connection to her mother  and refers to her by her first name.  Despite this, she mimics some of her mother's worst behaviors (smoking and drinking).  She doesn't care about school, merely using it as an excuse to get out of the house and see her friends.  She doesn't seem like she has much direction.  That is, until her imagination is invaded by Dom, a Realist who tells her she can't escape to her dream worlds anymore.


Dom remains a mystery man throughout book one.  We think we know where his loyalties lie, but can't be sure as we don't learn much about him.  I'm hoping that he'll get fleshed out more in book two.


My one complaint lies with how Kearly meets up with a boy she just yelled at in front of the entire cafeteria (and shared some pretty juicy details about his extra-curricular activities), in a secluded place, after dark, alone.  Now, she seems to have a pretty good survival instinct, with this exception.  I can't help wondering if a more believable encounter could have been implemented.  Not a back-breaker, but this was a detail that niggled at me as I thought of how to review this book.


I enjoyed this book (a little different than my normal dystopian reads) and read it in one sitting.  I would recommend picking it up if you enjoy a little light YA sci fi/fantasy and a quick read.



Why Free E-Books Change The Game

Being that I run a public library, I already have an endless supply of "free books" at my disposal.  I always have a few checked out to read, and I always get graphic novels for my husband (they just don't seem to have the same feel digitally).  That said, I am still a sucker for a free e-book.


 I am spoiled and have access to both Nook and a Kindle and I LOVE seeing books pop up on the free list.  I religiously check out Barnes and Noble's Free Friday offerings, and search often both on amazon.com and bn.com for new freebies.


How are these free e-books a game-changer?  I can't count how many new authors I have found and really enjoyed thanks to these freebies (and then have followed up by spending a little $$ to read other books).  I discovered Amanda Hocking before she had a single book in print, and then ending up buying the rest of her Trylle series.  Thanks to some timely new release free books and ARCs, I've actually been able to add some of these books to my branch's collection because I KNOW they are good.  


Publishers take note...take advantage of this inexpensive and easy to manage medium to get the word out about your new authors!

Hold On To Your Sunsuits

Burn Out - Kristi Helvig

I got my hands on an ARC of this YA novel thanks to the publisher and moved it to the top of my to-read list.


Burn Out is the story of Tora, who just might be the last person on Earth after the sun has reached red giant status thousands of years ahead of schedule.  She hopes that she can get off the planet before her supplies run out.  That means relying on other survivors who made it off of the planet already.  Turns out, trusting people can be quite dangerous.


Tora is a strong, spunky, intelligent character with a great survival instinct.  Sometimes those pesky teenage feelings just happen to get in the way.  The cast of survivors are interesting and multidimensional.  You can never quite tell what anyone's true motives are which helps add some depth to the storyline.


A few gripes - One of the survivors has a unique way of cursing rather than using the typical 4 letter words which I appreciated.  However, the few times the other characters used the REAL four letter words I found them a little jarring and unneeded to support the emotion of the story.  Also, I felt the final scene could have gone just a touch further before leaving off for the next book in the series.


Definitely pick up Burn Out when it comes out in April.  I found it a quick and enjoyable read.  Now I just have to hope that Helvig is able to put out a quality part two soon!

Peculiarly Good: Hollow City

Hollow City - Ransom Riggs

***Warning!  If you have not read the first book in this series, stop here!  I do bring up plot points from book 1!***




I LOVED this book.  I liked it better than the first book.  It has been a long while since I have been able to say I truly loved a book, so I'm pretty excited here.


Hollow City picks up exactly where Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children leaves off - with the children rowing boats away from their home on the island.  Their goal?  Find someone to help return their headmistress to human form while avoiding wights and hollows.


Where the first book did a lot of world building, the second book had a lot of action.  It was fast paced, advancing the plot quickly (they are working on a time limit), while still managing to successfully build the characters and more of the peculiar world for the reader.  


Riggs paints some truly terrifying pictures of what London looked like during the height of World War II, made even more frightening by the evil creatures following the children.


I only have one complaint here:  I now have to wait for the next one to find out what happens next!

WICKED is good

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2) - James Dashner

Sigh.  It still took me much longer than I would have liked to finish this book.  I don't know what it is with this series, but it seems to take me FOREVER!  Usually, if I like a book, I'm done in a day or two.  I DO like this series, but it is not without some issues for me.


The Scorch Trials picks up exactly where The Maze Runner leaves off, and the Gladers are in for a shock.  As the title indicates, the trials continue for these poor teens who have already been through so much.  The second book doesn't allow for much character development for our existing cast, but does offer up a few new faces that provide some interest.


Advancing the plot seems to rely heavily on Thomas either falling asleep or going unconscious, which serves its purpose but does seem a little contrived in some of the situations.  Also, not many of the questions raised in book one are answered, and book two adds many more, but such is the nature of trilogies.  I'm certainly still interested in the story, the concept is unique, and I'll read on to see how the questions get answered in part three.  I just won't be rushing to pick up the next book until I've read a few others on my shelf.

So Many Books, So Little Time

New reviews coming soon, I promise.  I've been staying very busy and the husband doesn't like that I tend to tune him out when I read at home.  Just started as a professional reviewer at Net Galley too!

Like a rat in a maze..

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

Ok, so I know I am a little late coming to this trilogy.  After all, Maze Runner came out in 2010.  To be fair, I wasn't in my dystopian phase at that time.  However, I know the film version comes out this fall (with Dashner writing the screenplay), and my patrons will be curious about it, so here I am.


We learn about the maze along with the protagonist Thomas.  He has been transported to this place, the Glade, with the memories of his former life wiped from his brain.  Except, not quite.  He has niggling feelings, thoughts that fight hard to connect at the edges of his mind as he learns about his new home.  Everything starts to change at his arrival.  


For me, the first part of the story was a bit slow paced, and I really appreciated when things picked up toward the end.  That said, I enjoyed the novel as a whole.  I learned some Glader slang, felt disappointed when characters seemed to lose hope, and clung to hope that the mystery of the maze could be solved.


I look forward to see the world building that Dashner does for part two.


Marie Lu nails the ending to her Legend series.  Thanks to the success of The Hunger Games series, dystopian novels are a dime a dozen for the young adult crowd. This often leaves authors looking to make their mark, often at detriment to the story (or the fans, ahem, Allegiant).  Lu does not make this mistake.


This was a series that I could not put down.  I started reading Legend, just before Champion came out, and immediately knew I had to get my hands on the rest of the series.  


By the time we get to the third book, June and Day have done a lot of growing up, and it shows.  This is reflected in their decisions and in how they are treated by the "adults"  they interact with.  No one is trying to pull the wool over their eyes anymore.  Even though I love the dynamic between June and Day, I still found myself rooting for June to push the line with Anden (the Elector).


 A lot is at stake in Champion, with the very freedom of the Republic in the balance.  Day's health deteriorates, and we find out more about the rest of the world.  We get plenty of action, a little heat, and a very satisfying ending to a fantastic trilogy.  If you're looking for your next dystopian read, I highly recommend this series.  Appropriate for mature middle schoolers and up (I said there was a little heat), READ THIS BOOK.