Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Library GrabBag: #GPLtalk Episode 14 - Vassa in the Night

What the what??  I've never been more bewildered by a book, and yet, I genuinely liked it.  It's weird.  It's gross.  It's terrifying.  It's crazy pants.  But it's thoughtful and surprisingly heartfelt.  And we had a LOT of fun talking about it.  So you should listen, because, you know, we took the time to record the podcast and all :)

You can head on over to the GPL Blog to take a listen or stick around here for a few more minutes and hear all about this gem of a book.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top 10 Reading Turn-Offs

Top Ten Reading Turn-Offs

To be honest, I'll read just about anything.  Sure, I'm about to list some of my reading turn-offs, but they have rarely stopped me from reading a book.  I'm very proud of my ability to stop reading a book if I just can't take it anymore, but that is a learned skill that doesn't come naturally.  9 times out of 10, if I stop a book, one of these things is happening.  But it would have to of really gotten under my skin to make me walk away.

What are your reading turn-offs?

1) Talking Animals
There are exceptions, but when the whole premise is talking animals, I usually pass.  Perhaps I fear what my cat would say about me if she could actually talk that plays a part in my distaste.  But on the other hand, I'd give just about anything to know what my dog would say when she's smiling up at me.

2) It was all just a dream
If you want me to hate a book, toss that in there at the end.  It's mean.  And rude.  You had me on a ride for a couple hundred pages and then you just stomp on my emotions.  Nope.

3) Whiney characters
They are the worst.  I can't even...

4) Characters who need to find themselves
It usually comes from a  selfish place, and I really can't stand selfish characters.  Or whiney ones.  See #3.

5) Horrible parents
It's just that the horrible parents far out number the good parents in teen fiction.  While it makes me appreciate the good ones more when I come across them, there have been some almost evil parents that leave me super, super angry.

6) Dead siblings
Dead siblings are sad.  I get that.  But I think they're overdone.  There are so many other obstacles a teen could face other than losing a sibling.

7) Characters who are struggling with their sexuality ONLY because someone else is
I don't care who you love, but when other characters determine how you feel I get a little testy while reading

8) When they change the covers half way through the series so they don't match anymore
No.  This should not keep me from reading the book.  But I'll confess that it has happened.

9) Bad dialogue
Especially when it doesn't work at all for the character the author has been building over the course of several chapters.

10) Predictable stereotypes
(I really don't like the "mean girl" trope.  Perhaps I just can't relate because I didn't really come across anyone like that in high school, or maybe it's my naive hope that individuals have layers and hearts, but it's hard for me to read.  No sir.  I don't like it).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Heist Society series

Author: Ally Carter
Info: Hyperion Book CH, copyright 2010, 287 pages

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.


One of my goals this year was to finish at least five series that I started a long time ago.  This one was at the top of my list.  The only reason I hadn't finished was the weirdness of the audiobook for book three being unavailable.  I would check periodically, but nope, they didn't seem to want release it.  And then, magically, it came out.  Sure, I could have just read the book, but when you've listened to the other volumes, you really want to finish the way you started.

The wait was worth it.  It had been so long since I listened to Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals that I had to tackle them again.  At double speed, I got done in no time, and then on to Perfect Scoundrels.

The gist - Katarina Bishop grew up in a family of thieves and con-men.  She has learned the art of deception, scopes out every room she enters, and has a network of professionals at her fingertips with very specific skills.  But she wants a normal life, and she thinks she's found it until she receives word that her father is being accused of a theft he didn't commit.  Kat gets sucked back into that world, but she comes to realize that being the thief doesn't have to make you a criminal.

This is really Ocean's Eleven for teens.  Each crew member brings something different to the group, and the scheming is just as exciting as the actual plan.  I'm especially fond of all of the names of the cons, wishing they could have each been described in detail.  For a good part of the series, Kat reminded me of Harry Potter - the stubborn chosen one who can't accept help.  But just as Harry came to understand, Kat eventually realized she was stronger with her friends.

And then there's Hale, rich boy Hale who finally finds a family in a group of thieves.  He's kind of dashing, a wee bit mysterious, and a little swoon.  The relationship wasn't overdone, which I appreciated, and it never got super angsty, which was also very, very nice.

Overall a great series that I hope we get more of one day.  Light, fun, and exciting.  The perfect escapist read.

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