Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

The Island of Dr. Libris

Author: Chris Grabenstein
Publisher: Yearling (Random House)
Year: 2015
Genre: JUV Fiction/Fantasy
Age: JUV 10+
Audio Publisher: Listening Library
Audio Reader: Kirby Heybourne
Audio Length: 5 hours & 10 mins
This is the 3rd book by Chris Grabenstein that I have read so far. I'm planning on reading the final Mr. Lemoncello's Library book this month, it might be my next audiobook...we'll see. I have really enjoyed all of his stories so far. I think they are fun, imaginative, & you always learn something while reading them. I would highly recommend him as an author for a reader of any age.
In this standalone juvenile fiction book our main character is twelve year old William "Billy" Gillfoyle...what a name huh!? He is spending the summer at a cabin with his mother on Lake Katrine while his father stays in the city & works. Billy isn't exactly looking forward to a summer in the woods with no TV & because he dropped his iPhone no real entertainment or connection to the outside world. But in the strange cabin that his family has rented there is a library, maybe that can keep him entertained???

The cabin belongs to a Dr Xiang Libris. The Dr also owns the island in the middle of the lake, that is where the majority of our story takes place. The good Dr is conducting an experiment he calls The Theta Project. Using theta waves he is able to penetrate an imaginative mind & make stories come to life on his special island. The island is surrounded by a net that is filled with these waves & help to generate energy to bring the characters from the stories read into our world, kind of like a parallel universe.

Billy ends up making friends very quickly while exploring the lake. He meets his neighbors Walter & Alyssa Andrews, as well as his new arch nemesis named Nick Farkas. Billy & Walter end up exploring the island after Billy gets his first experience with The Theta Project through reading Hercules & Robin Hood. At first when he goes to the island to meet these characters he thinks he is imagining the entire thing. But no they are indeed real & not only interacting with him but also with each other. Imagine Robin Hood & Maid Marian dueling with the legendary Hercules after he has defeated some mythic monster!

The story continues from there with the addition of The Three Musketeers, Pollyanna, the terrifying sharkodile from Journey to the Center of the Earth, Tom Sawyer, Jack & the Beanstalk, & finally H.G Well's The Time Machine. Walter even figures out how to add his own character to the story like the Junior Wizard from his Magical Battical playing cards & worst of all the infamous Space Lizard from a popular comic book & video game.

The group runs into trouble with the Sheriff of Knottingham, the giant, & eventually the terrible Space Lizard with his ray gun of doom. While all of this is taking place on the island, back home Billy's parents are having some trouble & he hopes that they will stay together as a family. Can Billy, Walter, & the cast of storybook characters defeat the Space Lizard & save Billy's parents before it's too late?
Likes: As always this was a quick listen/read. I was able to finish the bulk of it in one day which was good.

The imagination in these books always blows my mind. It's the kind of thing that any kid would dream of coming to life on the page. I think this book or any of his others would make great movies or TV shows.

Getting to see these classic stories come to life was really cool & fun to read. No where else can you see the three musketeers & Hercules battling a giant sharkodile together!

In the end Walter & Billy need Nick's help to defeat the Space Lizard which is a nice ending considering Nick is your classic bully. I'm happy everyone could get along & get what they wanted.

All of this author's books are clean fun with humor & perfect for kids & adults of all ages.



Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

The Lost City of Z

Author: David Grann
Publisher: Vintage Books (Random House Inc.)
Year: 2005
Genre:Adult Nonfiction/Historical
Age: 18+
Audio Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Audio Length: 10:04:38
Audio Reader: Mark Deakins
This was our book for June's The Book Was Better Club meeting. I wouldn't normally read a book like this but it was actually not bad. This is my short review & comparison between the book & the movie. I ended up listening to the audio & reading, I've been doing this a lot lately. I find that it helps me get through the book faster because there are times when I'm driving or cleaning that I want to read but can't, audiobooks are very helpful in these instances.
Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett went into the jungle for his final adventure in January of 1925 with his oldest son Jack & his young friend Raleigh, they were in search of a lost city that Fawcett had dubbed with the name of Z. Fawcett had been searching for Z for the better half of his life & he had seen more of the Amazon jungle than anyone alive at that time. Unfortunately the trio disappeared into the jungle & were never seen or heard from again.

Getting to this point in the story was a long journey. Fawcett had been surveying maps for the Royal Geographical Society since the early 1900's. He had seen men die from disease, survived hostile Indians, guided a raft up & down the Amazon river, & dealt with more bugs, wild animals, & danger than one would like to see in a lifetime.But all of those things are what Fawcett lived for.

While he was trekking through the jungle his wife Nina & their 3 kids, Jack, Brian, & Joan, were living in England (and a few other places along the way) trying to survive being the family of a diehard explorer. Throughout the book we see the family struggling to get by & live everyday. But they were loyal to Fawcett until the very end.

David Grann the author also tells his story & his search for Fawcett 80 years after his disappearance. Although it is unclear if Fawcett ever found Z, Grann is able to get the whole story & discover what the explorer could not.

We also get to see the world changing on the page with inventions the like car & the radio springing up along the journey. The hunger for adventure & the fierce competition for world wide fame are very evident between the explorers that were Fawcett's rivals like Dr. Alexander Hamilton Rice, the man who discovered Machu Picchu & a man that went on one of Fawcett's expeditions, biologist James Murray.
Likes: Overall the book wasn't bad. I feel like this book, like most other historical nonfiction books, gives too many details in some respects & not enough in others.

Getting to read about history being made & the changing world was really interesting.

It's really too bad that they never did find out what really happened to Fawcett, it's really just speculation & myth at this point.

The pictures included were interesting & fun to look at.

I enjoyed watching the movie, it was a good rendition of the book.



As far as the book to movie comparison I didn't write up a big long list like I usually do. The book was pretty long & had A LOT of information so there was too much to keep track of.

Overall I felt like the movie portrayed the book well & hit the major points. I will say that the movie was a heavily romanticized version of the book.

Some of the main differences were that the final trip did not include Raleigh, the author of the book David Grann was not included in the movie at all, it was just about Fawcett's journey. The movie also depicted Fawcett as more of a family man than he is portrayed in the book.

In the end our book club thought the book was better!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand


Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Year: 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Age: Adult 18+
This book was recommended to me by my mother & it took me a while to finish it after getting into it. I was also able to listen to the audio & that made it go faster. The story itself is a little bit depressing but everything works out in the end. I think I'd like to try a different book by this author & see if all of her stories are like this one.
Our story takes place on the small island if Nantucket. It's graduation night...a night of happiness, accomplishment, & fun. But the night wasn't fun for all involved.

High school juniors Penny, her twin brother Hobby, Penny's boyfriend Jake, & their friend Demeter are all out partying & everyone is drinking except for Penny. They get in the car to go home & Penny is freaking out. She is so upset that she drives crashes the car, flipping it into the sandy beach. After rescue arrives Hobby is left in a coma for 9 days, Demeter & Jake are relatively unhurt, & Penny is dead. From that night on none of their lives of the small island of Nantucket will ever be the same again.

Once the initial shock of the story opening with a horrific crash leading to the death of a young girl we start to see the things that lead to that night & the moment Penny decided to crash the car & finally the aftermath of that decision. There is the typical high school drama with parties, hookups, & overall teenage nonsense. But there is also an affair, a major move across the world, several other deaths, a girl with a drinking problem, summer jobs, teenage pregnancy, the prom, recovery, secrets, & so much more!
Likes: The setting of this book is in 2 different places & we get to see the story from multiple points of view throughout.

The beginning was awful but there is a happy ending.



Saturday, June 2, 2018

June 2018 TBR

This month the summer reading program started. This year our library is doing a staff program & I have to defend my position & come in 1st so these are the books I'm hoping to read this month. I'll be at a conference this upcoming week so I don't know how much reading I'll get done.

These are the 2 books that I'm reading for sure. One of them I've been reading for a a little longer than I'd like to but I haven't been totally dedicated. I'm really close to finishing it though. The other book is our book for The Book Was Better. I won't be doing the July meeting because I'll be out of town for a wedding. If more people don't start coming to the meetings we'll have to cut it. But I'm working on a new book club idea for September that will happen either way. 

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

Then true to form I have checked out WAY too many books even though I'm trying to be better at that. These are the other books I have that I want to read but may not have time for all of them. 

Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein
This is the final book in the Lemoncello series as far as I know & I'm excited to read it. I really like the series. 

Fatal Throne
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
I LOVE Gilmore Girls & I'm rewatching it for like the 5th time so I thought I'd read this book for fun.
The Mummy by Anne Rice

The Passion of Cleopatra by Anne Rice 
I picked this book up & thought it was a standalone but then I discovered that it was actually book #2 so I got the first one. 

The Siren by Kiera Cass
I've been watching the show Siren on Freeform & it's really good so I'm on a mermaid kick.
The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
This is gonna be the audiobook I listen to on the way to the conference & then finish it up on the way home.

May 2018 Wrap-Up

This month I didn't read as many books as I had planned. It got a little crazy & things haven't been going as excepted. Our summer reading program started Friday & this upcoming week I'll be at a conference. I'm hoping summer goes by fast because it's our busiest time of the year. Then in August I'm having surgery & I'll have plenty of time to stay home all hopped up on pain meds & read. Our library is going to be doing a staff summer reading program so I'm gonna have to step up my game to win. These are the books I read this month...

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein
My review is here.
MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau
My review is here.

Wicked Pleasure by Lora Leigh
A Court of Frost & Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
My review is here.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Picture Books I Read This Week (May 21st - May 25th)

The Butterfly House by Eve Bunting
This book has beautiful pictures & in the back thee is instructions on raising butterflies.
A young girl is hanging out with her grandfather & she finds a larva that will become a butterfly. She puts the larva in a box & soon it will become a butterfly. Once it becomes a butterfly they let her go. When the girl grows up she continues to enjoy the house her beautiful garden is filled with butterflies.

Bubba & Trixie by Lisa Campbell Ernst
This story was really cute & the pictures were pretty.
 Bubba is a scaredy cat & one day he meets Trixie the ladybug. Trixie has a squished wing so she can't fly. But she wants Bubba to get off his parsley plant & see the world. They see all over the garden & meet other bugs. The Bubba finds out that soon he will become a butterfly & he's not so sure about it. Trixie talks him into it. When winter is over they both wake up. Bubba is a beautiful butterfly! Trixie & him fly over the garden & everyone is happy.

Three by the Sea by Mini Grey
I was initially attracted to this book because of the cover, look @ the one eyed cat!
 Three friends, a cat, a dog, & a mouse, lived by the sea on a beautiful pebble beach. One day a stranger (fox) comes & things are not the same. The stranger had brought presents for all of them that would help them live happily ever after. That night they all start fighting & mouse decides to leave because he isn't appreciated. But cat wakes up hearing a noise & mouse is drowning. Cat & dog both save him. When they get back to the house the stranger is gone. Everyone is happy & they all get along again.

Hoodwinked by Arthur Howard
Mitzi liked all things creepy. So she decides she wants a pet, but it has to be creepy. She settles on a frog but it's not a great fit. Then she tries bats & warthogs but nothing works. One night she hears a noise at the front door & it's a little kitten! Mitzi's not sure she's creepy enough...But she's so cute & cuddly & lovable. Turns out the kitten is a perfect fit.

Merle the High Flying Squirrel by Bill Peet
 I really like Bill Peet books & this one was cute!
Merle was a scrawny, frightened thing but one day he decides he wants to be brave. While sitting in his tree he overhears 3 men talking about their adventures. Merle wanted to go on an adventure too. He decides he wants to go out west, where the men had talked about going. Maybe he can follow the telephone lines & get there? But after traveling all day it's dark & he's tired. So he finds a place to spend the night. In the morning he is awakened by voices. A bunch of kids have gotten their kite stuck in a telephone line. Merle decides to help but he gets stuck too. Before he knows whats happening he is being flown over the city, the plains, & the desert before finally landing in a big tree. He looks around & realizes he's out west in the mountains right where he wants to be.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Court of Frost & Starlight by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Frost & Starlight

Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2018
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA 13+
This series has been an earth shattering, breathtaking, beautiful ride that I always want to get on. I am sad that it will be a little while before we are back with our friends in Prythian. But hey..that's why rereading is a thing! I was so excited to get this book. I got the first 3 books on sale when I decided to preorder this one, I got all 4 for about $20 which is a huge deal. Even though this book is a novella, cross over type book I was still very excited & am also very happy that I read it & can't wait until the next one. If you haven't read this series I would warn you against this review because it will contain some spoilers.
We find ourselves once again in the magical land of Prythian. The world has just seen a great war that affected humans & fae alike. Everyone is trying to recover from the horrors brought upon them by the King of Hybern. This is also very true for Feyre & her family. After losing her mate Rhysand, King of the Night Court, & bringing him back much like her own birth as a fae, she is eternally grateful for the peace they have all finally found.

In this 4th installment in the series the Velaris gang are celebrating the winter solstice. This means great food, presents, drink, & time together. It is even more special for Feyre because she was born on solstice & it is now her 21st birthday, not that she's counting now as a high fae. This means Cassian, Azriel, Rhys, Mor, Ameren, Nesta, Elain, Lucien, & the rest of the group are coming together for the first celebration after the war. The people of the city are still mourning their losses so this holiday is an important one for most.

The story is told from different view points so this means we get to see many different sides of the story including the Illyrian training camp,Velaris, the Spring Court, & the human lands. While the book was short we get to interact with each character a little bit & it helps bridge the gap between the 3rd book when the war ended & the next few books. Apparently the next few books in the series will focus on the other characters in the story like Mor & Feyre's sisters.

ACOFAS gives us someone the things that hard core fans of the series love to see like the bond between Feyre & Rhys, Feyre's art, the beautiful starlit city of Velaris, as well as some new developments in the story that we have been waiting for.

Overall it was a beautiful, although short story that leaves you wanting more...
Likes: What is their not to like about this book or this series! I have loved it since the beginning. I really like the way things are taking shape & the way the story is moving along.

This book mad me laugh much like the others & it's good to see that despite the war everyone is still as funny & charming as always. 

I am sad that it was so short but I am happy to have a little teaser into the next book & I can't wait!

We get to see Feyre & Rhys's relationship grow even more which I thought would be impossible by no but they are a surprising pair.

In the last book we were kinda left hanging with what would become of Tamlin, Feyre's ex lover, & I have to say I feel a little bit bad for him but...YES his life if sucking & he deserves it!

I'm hoping that in the next book(s) Lucien's life improves. He did what was right for Feyre & the rest of fae kind but that meant leaving Tamlin & his family behind. Things haven't turned out great for him & I hope that he gets a happy ending.

Velaris as always is beautiful! I would love to see this book turned into a movie or a show just to see the city of starlight.

It ended with the famous the stars who listen & the dreams that are answered. I really lost it at that point. I was teary eyed throughout the book because there is some touching moments & some sad realizations/flashbacks. But that line gets me right in the feels every time. 

Overall I loved the book & I want more!

Dislikes: The length of the book, way too short, more now!!!