Thursday, November 27, 2014

"All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for stopping by TheGnomingLibrarian.  Thank you for your kind comments and the interesting discussions.  Thank you for sharing your voice.  Thank you for sharing your passion for reading with me.  I hope your day is filled with much love, tasty food, and maybe a few minutes to get wrapped up in a good book :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Author: Lauren Oliver
Info: HarperCollins, copyright 2014, 408 pages

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

~Goodreads Description~

So I listened to this one in the car on the way home from YALLfest.  I was tired, achy, and just ready to be home.  Panic made twelve hours seem like, well, ten :)  And I mean that in a good way.  There's nothing quite like getting super tense while you're trying to keep yourself awake driving through the mountains.  And audiobooks are fun to listen to with a friend.  Julia (Stylish in the Stacks) and I would theorize, discuss, and cringe together all the way home.

So Panic is a messed up, deadly game of dares.  You complete a dare, you're one step closer to taking home a very large pot of money.  Heather hadn't planned on entering the contest, but when she saw her ex-boyfriend with another girl, it just kind of happened.  Dodge, on the other hand, had been planning his strategy for a very long time.  He was playing for revenge, and there wasn't anything he wouldn't do to make it to the end.

This was my first Lauren Oliver book, and it felt right having just met her in Charleston (she's a super cool lady by the way :).  I had tried Delirium a couple of times, but I kind of needed a break from dystopias.  As teen stories go, this one was pretty intense.  The designers of Panic mean business and are willing to put the contestants into some truly dangerous and demented situations.  Tack on some serious family issues, the boy next door, and a best friend who you often times want to punch in the face, and you've got a pretty well-rounded story.

The story was a bit unbelievable, mixed with predictable moments, but a thrill-ride nonetheless.  And if you haven't read a Lauren Oliver, this is definitely a good place to start.  The covers a little lame which is unfortunate.  This is a great read for both boys and girls, but the cover sways it a little to far in the girly category.  Oh well, I'll just have to do some fancy book talking.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top 10 Books On My Winter TBR List

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR List
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

While I enjoy making these lists, they're not based in reality.  I definitely want to read these books, but who knows when that's going to actually happen.  I get very easily distracted by new, shiny books that fill the shelves at my library.  My Fall TBR list...yeah.  I read 2.5.  Perhaps that should be a reading goal from 2015, "I solemnly swear to read according to the lists I make."  Wishful thinking :)

You'll also notice that there are some titles from March included in my list.  Winter lasted until April this year, and if the polar vortex wants to find it's way back to Indiana, I suppose I should be prepared.  Not that I'm hoping for a snow day or anything!

What books are you looking forward to this winter?

1) Dearest by Alethea Kontis 
Released February 3, 2015

2) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

3) I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Released January 27, 2015

4) The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Released March 10, 2015

Released January 13, 2015

6) Atlantia by Ally Condie

Released March 3, 2015

8) Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

9) The Way We Bared Our Souls by Willa Strayhdorn
Released January 22, 2015

10) Hellhole by Gina Damico
Released January 6, 2015

Monday, November 24, 2014

Orphan Train

Author: Christina Baker Kline
Info: William Morrow Paperback, copyright 2013, 294 pages

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

~Goodreads Description~

An adult book!  Go Emily!  So maybe I didn't pick it out for myself.  Maybe it was a book club selection.  But by golly, it's an adult book, and that doesn't happen too often around these here parts.  And it was a good one at that!

Molly Ayer is a foster kid who masks her angry and frustration behind black hair, combat boots, and a bad attitude.  After getting caught committing a crime (which I'll get to in just a minute :), she's tasked with completing fifty community service hours.  Luckily, her boyfriend sets her up cleaning the attic of Ms. Vivian Daly, a widow with a big house full of memories.  The story alternates between Molly's life and the long, heartbreaking tale of Niamh/Dorothy/Vivian.

There's always the trouble of giving each character their due when you switch perspectives throughout a story.  The story is really Vivian's.  We follow her from childhood through adulthood with Molly's story tacked on as a plot device to allow for Vivian's story to be told.  I liked Viv's story, but I would have also liked a little more of Molly.

And poor Molly.  So Molly gets caught stealing an old library book and is arrested.  What?!  No really!  What librarian calls the police when a patron walks out with a book?  An old book with multiple copies on the shelf?  Terrible portrayal of librarians, especially when the librarian confesses that she'd been watching Molly and knew she'd be trouble.  For shame.  I'd like to see the author down and get to the bottom of her hatred for librarians.

The story is extremely predictable but fast-paced and interesting.  It's just an easy read.  You quickly get absorbed into Vivian's story, and before you know it, the book is over.  It's also an interesting snapshot of history, providing enough detail to be interesting, but not enough to annoy you.

Orphan Train isn't a perfect read, but it's a good read.  If you like sad stories with a happy ending, pick it up and give it a read.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Here and Now

Author: Ann Brashares
Info: Delacorte Press, copyright 2014, 242 pages

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

~Goodreads Description~

When I don't write reviews right away, some of the details start to slip away.  Plus, this was an audiobook.  And there were mountains and traffic, so please be patient if I'm a bit vague.

Prenna escapes her time, a horrible future, and ends up in a cult of sorts.  They demand the "immigrants" keep their distance from the native dwellers and never interfere with the course of history.  But when Prenna meets a man that seems to know a little too much about her, and she befriends a native that shows a little too much interest, things get more than a little complicated.  There are secrets, hidden identities, and the desperate race to stop history from turning sour.

There was nothing particularly wrong with the story, it just fell a little flat, and the ending was a bit ridiculous.  Prenna struggles with loyalty and curiosity. The adults in her life are pretty awful and a bit stalker like which is a little creepy.  There's also a little down time which slows the pacing considerably.  Ethan, our hunky hero is trying to help Prenna assimilate into current culture, and he feels, for some reason, that she needs to learn a bunch of card games.  So they play cards.  A lot.

This was my first Ann Brashares book.  What?!  You haven't read The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants?!  No.  Back off!  Geez! :)  For some reason I was expecting a little more.  A little more substance, structure, and character development.  I never really cared about Prenna or Ethan.  They could live, or die, whatever.

The audiobook reader was decent though.  It was a quick read and entertaining enough to keep me listening.  If you like time travel, dystopias, and forbidden love, maybe you'll want to read it and come back to argue with me!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A NaNoWriMo update I'm failing.  Epically.  But I'm kind of all right with that.  I'm still writing everyday.  Just not 1600+ words a day.  The new goal is 25,000 words by November 30th.  I think I can do it.  Maybe I can do it. Um...

And in case you're curious, here's the gist of my story:

Gwendolyn is a princess who doesn't want to be a princess.  Her mother desperately wants to see her married to a prince from a neighboring kingdom, but Gwen is more interested in seeing the world, exploring her surroundings.  Every few months she attends a princess support group where she not only gets to listen to all the ways life has not ended up happily ever after, but she's also creating a running list of dos and don'ts for when her own destiny comes a knocking...because ever princess in the land is forced into her own destiny (a.k.a. is cursed, kidnapped, or presented with an impossible obstacle).

After returning home from support group to the arms of her overbearing mother, Gwen is kidnapped by Lucean, the ethereal, mysterious, kind of whiny King of the Goblins who sends her on her journey.  Travel across his kingdom in three days or become his captive forever.

Now, just a reminder that's it's more about the habit of writing every day then complete originality.  I fully admit that this is Labyrinth meets the Princess Bride.  But I'm having a lot of fun writing it. Gwen has just escaped the Infamously Terrifying Band of Woodland Ninjas.  It was a close call, but she has picked up her first sidekick, a fellow she would gladly ditch at the first opportunity.

And here's a snippet if you're still reading.  Apparently I'm feeling brave. (or banking that you've already gotten bored and stopped reading two paragraphs ago.)  Please don't judge :)

“The Infamously Terrifying Band of Woodland Ninjas does not negotiate.  And we can’t just let anyone wander into our woods.  Once word leaks out that we’ve let a girl pass, people begin to believe they can push you around, and then it’s nothing but work work work, all the time.”  Gwen noticed all the creatures were nodding their head in agreement.

“Seriously….erm...I’m sorry.  I never introduced myself.  My names Gwen.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.  It’s a pleasure to meet you all,” she smiled.  “May I ask your name?”

“Uh.  I suppose so.  Um.  My name’s Ameer.”

“Hello Ameer.  Are you the leader of this, this band?”

“Not really.  No.” Ameer shifted uncomfortably.  Gwen could tell that this might just be a sore subject.  “We all work together to be terrifying.”

“And terrifying you are.  But don’t you think, just this once, you could let me go?  I promise to tell everyone I come across on my journey that I was attacked by the Infamously Terrifying Band of Woodland Ninjas who beat me up.  I can tell them I only escaped with my life when a larger, more fearsome beast crossed your path.” Gwen tried to lay it on as thick as possible.

“What kind of larger, more fearsome beast?” Ameer asked.  He, she?, seemed interested.

“A dragon?”

“Have you seen us?  Who would believe we could best a dragon?” Ameer scoffed.  Okay, so they weren’t as confident as they wanted her to believe.


“We’re not even near the water lady,” Ameer said indignantly.  “Besides.  We can’t really swim.”


“What’s a lion?”

She was getting absolutely no where.  “New idea,” she shouted.  “What if I join your merry band? I could be a ninja?  Then I wouldn’t have to meet my doom!”  Yes, she thought, this could work.

“Um...lady….we’re not a ‘merry’ band.  We’re angry.  And bitter.  And full of angst and rage.  So, yeah.  And only someone with mad ninja skills can join us.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top 10 Sequels I Can't Wait to Get

Top 10 Sequels I Can't Wait to Get
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Despite my love/hate relationship with fictional series, there are still a few I can't wait to get my hands on.  Because I'm greedy.  But most importantly because I can't let too much time go by.  I have short term book memory loss, and the longer I wait, the less likely I'll remember what's going on.

What series are you excited about?

1) Weapons & Waistcoats by Gail Carriger

2) The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

3) Winter by Marissa Meyer

4) Ensnared by A.G. Howard

5) Untitled (Raven Cycle Book 4) by Maggie Stiefvater 3 just came out, but I'm greedy and terribly impatient.

6) Untitled (Throne of Glass Book 4) by Sarah J. Maas
See #5 :)

7) Saga Volume 4 by Brian K Vaughan

8) Dearest by Alethea Kontis

And 2 that are out that I just need to finish...

9) Rogue by Gina Damico

10) Guardian by Alex London

Monday, November 10, 2014

YALLfest: A love story

Being a book nerd in every day life leaves you often quite misunderstood.  But being a book nerd at YALLfest in Charleston kind of makes you feel like you've found exactly where you belong.

Two days, sixty authors, lots of lines, and hush puppies :)  That was my weekend, and it was a good weekend.  While meeting authors is a librarian's dream, what I really enjoyed the most were the fantastic people I met in line.  And I mean that genuinely.  

I met fathers who love their daughters enough to drive them hours to stand and wait in unbelievably long lines.  I met mothers who didn't complain once when their sons piled more and more books into their arms to hold.  I met grandmother's who were willing to sit on the cold pavement so their grandchildren could have once in a lifetime experiences.  I met librarians and teachers who were revived after a day just being allowed to geek out and enjoy a moment for themselves.  And I met so many truly fascinating teenagers who have a passion for reading and sharing (and talking...dear goodness the talking) about what they love and what they don't and what they one day hope to become.

Book nerds are absolutely amazing.  And it was an honor to be among so many this weekend.

A few things I learned:

1) Pack snacks but not drinks.  You'll get hungry, but there is no time for bathroom breaks.

2) James Dashner is hilarious and should be my best friend.

3) Everybody loves an adorable gnome.

4) Sarah Dessen is just as fantabulous as I always imagined she would be.

5) Bring a buddy who likes you a lot and isn't interested in autographs...divide and conquer.

If you were there, and you just happen to stumble across this here blog...I'll see you next year :)

So here are the rock stars that I met:

Laini Taylor                            E. Lockhart                         Sarah Dessen

Almost Sarah J. Maas              Gayle Forman                     Stephanie Perkins

Michael Johnston                   Leigh Bardugo                   Alex London
Melissa de la Cruz                                                                                       
Carrie Ryan                            Godzilla                           Becca Fitzpatrick 

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