On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she'd become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.
And then she died.
Now she's stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge--as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.
Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly's afterlife has been miserable.
But this year, everything is about to change. . .
Look, I get it. It’s July. Why on earth would you read a book about Scrooges in July? Answer: Because I can. Real Answer: Because I am a sucker for sappy Christmas stories. Even in July. Maybe especially in July. We had just been talking about the best Christmas Stories at work, Christmas Carol vs Grinch( I am firmly in the Dickens group), and then this book falls into my bag. Literally. I had pulled out the book next to it and this one fell off the shelf into my waiting bag. Seemed like fate so I gave it a whirl. (Don’t worry, it was at the library. I checked it out. Don’t steal books)
This book is not just what it says on the can. It not only follows the afterlife of Holly Chase but it gives us a peek into the Scrooge Project. A clandestine project determined to help better mankind. By scaring the bejeezus out of someone every Christmas. It doesn’t always work but when it does there is a warm glowing feel that saturates the pages. You probably need to know a basic storyline line about the Christmas Carol but with the way that it has seeped into pop culture, you might be okay without it. The struggles of this girl trapped as a 17-year-old, in a job that forces her to help those who tried to help her, shows the growth of the characters. There are a few moments that make you think that you know exactly how this is going to end. I need you to trust me. This ending is so good. It is bittersweet and delicious and the dark chocolate of romantic comedies. I loved it so much. I got the feel goods I needed and now I am ready to pass it on to other Christmas Carol lovers and the Scrooge fan club. Maybe this will even convince the Grinch lovers to switch teams!
When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the series.~Goodreads Blurb
GRAPHIC NOVELS ARE REAL BOOKS TOO!
I hate when people say that libraries shouldn’t have comic books because they aren’t good for young readers, that they “rot their minds.” Ew. That is not a thing. Newspapers aren’t going to make people less social, people aren’t going to get lazy because they can type and not write everything out by hand. Pictures are not bad. My thought is if you get drawn in my the picture, you’ll read the words, and any reading is good reading. A good reader is one who starts small and then grows to read the bigger books. I would not be the reader I am today if I got discouraged by War and Peace when I first started to read.
There that is my soapbox for the day.
I picked up this one in the YA on the same trip that I found the Queer history book from the last post. I had seen the cover of the Lunar Chronicles a near thousand and one times in TBR piles and Bookstagramers posts. But I was never really drawn into it. However I was drawn to this book by the cover art and flipping through it I loved the art style of Doug Holgate. The blues and black let my eyes rest as I raced through the pages. I would liken it to seeing the latest Star Wars and then going back to see the rest. I may have passed the previous books by but this GN gave me some insight into the world and now I find myself curious. I see all of these relationships all set up and I can’t help but wonder, what their story is.
This is an easy read but definitely not lacking in substance. With 238 pages this is no slacker of a book. You can read this as a standalone or a teaser if you are not sure if you want to read the series. Enough backstory is given to enjoy it but if you have read the story you are not overwhelmed by back story. The story follows an android who is one a top secret mission. One that leads her to question many things about her and her life as a sentient being. Is she an error in programming or does she have a soul? What makes a soul? It’s an exciting read and I would say that it is well done both on the art and the story side. Now if you excuse me, I have to go see if we have the second one of the series in stock or if I have to find who has the copy...
This first-ever LGBTQ history book for young adults will appeal to fans of fun, empowering pop-culture books like Rad American Women A-Z and Notorious RBG.
World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.
By turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement.~Goodreads Blurb
It needs to made very clear that just because a section of the library is for younger or older people, that does not mean that you cannot go looking for books over there. Heck, I discovered that there were comics in the library at a young age by wandering around the nonfiction section.(741.5 for all you looking for comics if your library doesn’t have a Graphic Novel section) So I have always felt comfortable wandering into the YA section or the children's reading room if I want to find the latest Eoin Colfer book. (Because Artemis Fowl is a series that I need in my life) I went over to the YA section to see if there was anything new that didn’t have vampires or werewolves as I got my fill on those when I was younger and Twilight was everywhere. In Great Falls, Montana you might not expect people to be quite so open and to be fair we do fall into a number of stereotypes that don’t always make us look good. But it looks like the GFPL is doing something to fix that with the younger generation. I never thought I would find a book about Queer HIstory or BLM but there they were. I snatched up this latest book, “Queer There and Everywhere” Never would have thought to find a book like that in here when I was growing up.
I would consider myself pretty knowledgeable about history and I love the old idea of these two women lived together and called each other wife and had a boston wedding but they were definitely “Gals being Pals” There were entries in here that I had completely missed in history and I love that I was looking at different entries from new angles. The usage of the correct pronouns or in some cases the use of “they” when the person had never specified how they felt, gave me a warm feeling. To often we see people held up by simple pronoun changes. I am glad to have found this book lays it out in simple easy to read language that not only provides information but also has the footnotes to back it up. This is a great read for anyone who feels alone or different and is worrying about what they will be able to do. Even in the past people had to worry about their place in the world and this book shows that it does get better! I would recommend this book to everyone. To young kids reading about history, to adults who think this whole Queer thing is a phase, to members of the LGBT+ community who may not know their own history. Don’t be that person who doesn’t understand how important Stonewall was for everyone. I may have checked out this book from my library but you can be sure that I am already looking for my own copy.
An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.
But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.~Goodreads Blurb
Like a bag of chips, this was a nice satisfying read that wasn’t overly long or drawn out. It was just enough to wet my appetite after reading some real stinkers. Generally I try to avoid reviewing books that I hate simply because I know that someone put a lot of time and effort into them and just because I can’t stand them doesn’t mean I have to be cruel. It does make it difficult to keep up to date on my reviews and book count as I don’t count half read books. This was a bit of light reading that kept me well entertained with a nice play on Love vs. Death betting on mortal lives. Always an interesting dynamic, author Jennifer Donnelly has given her readers another look at the Beauty and the Beast story. She hasn’t changed the story or retold it as much as she has simply added more depth to the original. By adding to the already agreed upon story arc she has carefully taken a slice of life and expanded on it and shown the growing emotional ties between our two lead characters. With the live action story coming out shortly, I can only hope that people will reach for this for their younger family members who might not have the emotional memories that the older crowd has.
Jennifer Donnelly is the author of eleven novels - Lost in a Book, These Shallow Graves, Sea Spell, Dark Tide, Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose - and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.
Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, veryseriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.~Goodreads Blurb
Just as a starting note, I would say that you need to at least have a passing knowledge of Jane Eyre before reading this book. It isn’t super important but it may make a difference in how much you enjoy this book. To be fair there are a lot of literary puns and in in-jokes that might leave you scratching your head or just brushing it off without notice. I’m have my English Lit. degree and I still had to look up a couple of character notes to get the joke. This may have been a book-lover's gift to other book-lovers, that got out of hand and the public got a hold of it. Not everyone’s cup of tea but clever if you know what to look for.
The Eyre Affair was listed as dystopian in some reviews but I think it firmly lies in the Speculative Fiction world. It is laced with humor and world building that would make Pratchett say, “It’s a good start.” The alternative timeline can be a little hard to understand if you aren’t from the 1980’s England. As a 90s kid who lived in America all her life, I had to do some Googling to figure out when the Crimean War actually ended and what it was all about. (3 year war resulted in Treaty of Paris no real winner though the Allies claimed a victory.) Not being British or a literature buff may make this book a bit annoying and that isn’t something you want for your readers. There’s clever and too clever. The way the author, Jasper Fforde, names his characters seems to be a deliberate nudge to the readers. Almost like saying, “See that, look what I did there.” While some like Paige Turner can be forgiven as cutesy, naming your bad guy Acheron Hades, is a bit like Boaty McBoatface or Baddie McDevilguy
Well written and paced well, the actual Eyre Affair doesn’t take place until over halfway through the story so I can’t help but wonder if a different title might not have served the author better. There is a strong whimsical feel to the timeline, which gives us dodo birds and door-to-door Baconians, the author not the animal product. The ending seems to have a bit of a deus ex machina feel to it but with all the messing about in other people's’ books it fits rather well in the novel. I enjoyed it but the having to open Google up every few chapters can get rather tiresome for some folks.
The Author's Information is listed on Goodreads as: Jasper Fforde is a novelist living in Wales. He is the son of John Standish Fforde, the 24th Chief Cashier for the Bank of England, whose signature used to appear on sterling banknotes, and is cousin of Desmond Fforde, married to author Katie Fforde. His early career was spent as a focus puller in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films including Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment.
His published books include a series of novels starring Thursday Next: The Eyre Affair(2001), Lost in a Good Book (2002), The Well of Lost Plots (2003), Something Rotten(2004) and First Among Sequels (2007). The Big Over Easy (2005), which shares a similar setting with the Next novels, is a reworking of his first written novel, which initially failed to find a publisher. It had the working title of Nursery Crime, which is the title now used to refer to this series of books. The follow-up to The Big Over Easy, The Fourth Bear was published in July 2006 and focuses on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Between 1865 and 1937, Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency was at the center of countless conflicts between capital and labor, bandits and railroads, and strikers and state power. Some believed that the detectives were protecting society from dangerous criminal conspiracies; others thought that armed Pinkertons were capital’s tool to crush worker dissent. Yet the image of the Pinkerton detective also inspired romantic and sensationalist novels, reflected shifting ideals of Victorian manhood, and embodied a particular kind of rough frontier justice.
The dime-novels of the Wild West would constantly use The Pinkerton Detective Agency not only as good guys, but more often than not, as the villain. These stories were full of adventure and daring-dos. Inventing The Pinkertons or Spies, Sleuths, Mercenaries, and Thugs manages to avoid most of that. This book is definitely well researched and written with a specific audience in mind. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m the right audience. I love the excitement and the adventure that lies within history and I wasn’t able to dive into this book.
I believe my biggest issue that I had to work around was that unlike the FBI or any other service that has been written about, there is usually some figurehead that a story can be formed around. The creation of the agency and the history of Allan Pinkerton drives the first chapter and draws you into this man’s life and the myth that he wove around himself. All too quickly though it spins out to encompass the entire agency and it becomes a faceless mass with only a few characters to pin the motives of an entire force to. There were so many Pinkerton agents that the story could have followed, and I will certainly seek them out in the future for my own personal benefit, yet the book chooses to focus on the image of the Pinkertons.
The Pinkertons have always had a branding issue, to labor workers they are strikebreakers, and to desperadoes they can be just as bad as bounty hunters. They are heroes and villains all at the same time. It must be difficult to decide where they sit on the fence of justice or villainy, and I believe that S. Paul O’Hara does a valiant job trying to help his audience do so. Not being the right audience for this I instead finished the book and went and watched The Pinkertons on Netflix. I found O’Hara’s book too dry for my liking and without a clear bias in either direction (good vs bad.) Very well written and historically accurate I would recommend this to someone who is interested in that time frame and also the grey side of image and branding in the past.
Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.Winner of the 1948 Newbery Medal, this classic fantasy-adventure is now available in a handsome new edition.-Goodreads Blurb
I first read this book when I was just 10, I was drawn in by the idea of travelling around the world in a hot air balloon, not personally (fear of heights) but in a literary mode it seemed exciting and new to me. I hadn’t yet gotten my hands on Jules Verne or HG Wells, both of whom’s styles you can see in this book. For a children’s book, it stands up quite well 70+ years later. The little ideas and illustrations scattered through the book by author really adds to the story instead of being distracting or leading the mind in one direction. I remember wondering what inventions I would invent if I was on the island, would I want elevator beds, or furniture that sunk into the floor to clean easily?
Every year for Christmas, my Niece and Nephews know that they are going to get at least two new books from Aunt Michelle. This year this will definitely be in the stack. The light and whimsical storytelling manages to create a safe space even with the pending volcanic eruption. This will be a great starter book before sending heavy books such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, or one of Verne's other whimsical sci-fi books. If I can get away with I may try to slip some Terry Pratchett in at some point as well.
Another reason I think this will be a hit, even this long after publication, even with the smallest of imaginations, one can’t help but imagine what a restaurant based government would be like. There is a level of whimsy and humor that i didn’t expect to have lasted this long. Even having read it 15 years ago I still found myself laughing and having a difficult time not finishing it in a four hour stint. So Ben and Hannah, if you’re reading this, guess what you’re getting for Christmas?
Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?
The old adage about not judging a book by their covers must be a bane to cover designers everywhere. I can readily admit that sometimes I will pick up a book just because of a clever title or a beautifully designed cover. I am constantly checking the bookstagram and booklr tags on social media and Zodiac came up a surprising amount. The cover I received on the hardback version was designed by Vanessa Han, a cover designer and self proclaimed bunny mother. After seeing everyone’s different shelfies and their reviews of Zodiac as romantic and girl-power, I decided to give it a go.
Since becoming a part of this group of people who review books for the sheer love of reading and prospect of getting a good book out of it, my books have varied from disaster, to incredibly well done. Zodiac was interesting, entertaining, and well written; A real success and a good read. The amount of sheer world building and to an extreme, universe building, author Romina Russell has created a book that has left me wanting not only a sequel but also a prequel. Though we are given little bits and pieces of the histories of these people, there seems to be other parts that are missing. I want to know about those first peoples. I want to know about the first struggles after coming through, the terra-forming and the first war. I NEED these details!
I enjoyed the Human Expansion story with the twist of the Astrology race idea. Typically I don’t hold much store in the idea of astrology, but if it brings comfort to people and helps them explain their lives, who am I to say otherwise? While it had a bit of a Divergent feel with the people split up by their defining characteristics, I do like the idea that there are people who don’t fit into these boxes and they can change houses. The Astrology twist also gave the story something that each reader could connect with and I think that is an extremely creative way to draw in your audience. By introducing certain houses throughout the story, it kept you reading so that you could find out what your own personal house was about and to see if you would have fit in or been a Riser.
Even with the common tropes and themes, such as The Chosen One, The Hero Secret Service, the Hope Bringer and the ever popular Love Triangle, I enjoyed this book and Russell’s attention and overabundance of details that really fleshed out the story. This is supposed to be the beginning of a trilogy, but I would not be surprised and a little disappointed if there weren’t side novellas and at least one prequel. I would recommend Zodiac for Young Adult series readers, and anyone who likes a good magical space adventure.
Author’s bio: Romina Russell (aka Romina Garber) is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on ZODIAC, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. ~Goodreads Blurb.
The hype that surrounded this first book was well placed, the basic components of good Young Adult Fiction were all well placed throughout. I really enjoyed this first book and bought it up from Amazon after borrowing it from the library.
With YA Fiction there is often a need for someone to rebel from either the Establishment or at the least from the way things have always been. Our main character, Mare, fits that to a tee. Though she starts out simply wanting to survive she is quickly thrown into a world very different from her own. From Underdog status to powerful being, Mare rises from the Stilts to the Palace. The fun thing about watching someone rise to the top is that you know that the happy ending isn't going to come in Book 1. Victoria Aveyard, the author, is drawing us into a three book series with a couple of side novellas.
In this story there is no Superman. No one has all the powers and no one has unlimited power. There's no Magic Manic Pixie Girl and definitely no ebony dark'ness dementia raven way.The powers that the Silvers have seems to be held in a genetic sort of way, which leads to a very modern science based genetic coding and mutations. Our main character happens to be one of those mutations and it causes a stir that will change the very system of government. When characters are suddenly raised above their station sometimes you can get characters who automatically change and blend in without thinking about what the change really means. This story not only gave me an underdog story but one that still gave a damn about where she came from rather than simply thanking her lucky stars that she met Cutie #1.
Something that I think really separates this book from a lot of similar themed books is the amount of diversity. When you think Red versus Silver, you might expect that all the Silver blooded folks might be some pale pasty white folks, not in this book. The amount of diversity that covers not only the Silver houses but also the Red folks leaves me in wonder as to why more authors don't write about more than the White bread castle and the less white lower castes. I would like to have seen more obvious couplings than just boy+girl but I will hold out hope in the other books.
My only real issue has to be the standard, girl meets boy, and then meets other boy and now we have to choose who she should end up with. There's about 3 different men in her romantic wheelhouse and to be honest I would rather she come out of this series alive than coupled.
The Author, Victoria Aveyard’s website gives this information about her: I’m a writer repped by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. I split my time between my hometown East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and Los Angeles. After graduating with a BFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. My debut RED QUEEN came out of the terrifying, unemployed year after college. The sequel GLASS SWORD released in February 2016.Currently I’m working on the third book in the RED QUEEN series, along with pursuing other projects in literature and film. My proudest achievements are riding a horse in the mountains of Montana and navigating from London to Edinburgh without GPS.
Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared. ~ Goodreads Blurb
By now I should know better than to read a book simply from looking at a cover, but I really wanted this to have a Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery feel to it. The style of the cover really grabbed me and I hoped that book would be worthy of its cover art. It did...in a way. While the art deco vibe doesn’t naturally correlate itself to a farmhouse in New Jersey where most of the story takes place, though there are visits to Paterson and NYC. The simplistic nature of the cover fits this book to a “T.”
The author, Amy Stewart, has done a great job digging up this story and bringing it to life. What she’s built, in fact, is more of a golem than a human being. The facts are there and Stewart uses them as a guideline for her story, even using real newspaper articles throughout. For this to work as historical fiction, I feel that there needed to be a bit more artistic license taken. The characters were flat at times, and the details added that should have created a more rounded character left this reader confused. One of the sister, Norma, keeps pigeons. In the author’s notes, I found that this was something added by the author. Now I don’t mind learning about new things in a sideways manner but there was no real point to the pigeons. The only role they fill is to give the character something to do. Now this may simply be a misunderstanding on my part, similar to Anne Shirley’s cake in
Constance Kopp is an incredibly strong person in real history. I wanted more fire from her character instead of the almost cowed character I was given. She only really came into her own near the end. While the maternal instincts of an older sister can light a spark under her, she seems to accept the changes and shocks to her life that might shake an average person seem to roll off her. This golem-like lack of emotions made it difficult to feel empathy for her character. I found myself hoping someone would get shot just so the story would have to move forward. There really isn’t a defining moment, or battle for Constance. Even the courtroom scene which should have made the character shine, left me wondering if that was it.
Amy Stewart is a good author, and I won’t let this novel keep me from reading the next book in the series(comes out September 2016) and cheering for Constance. I can only hope that the historic 1st woman deputy finally finds her spark and leaves a blaze of a story. Constance Kopp is such a good character and there is so much more room for development and I can’t wait to read the next book. As for Girl Waits With Gun, I borrowed it from the library and I don’t think I’ll buy a hard copy unless it’s to get the cover art designed by Jim Tierney. It ticks all the boxes for historical crime fiction I simply found myself wanting more.
A bit about the author, Amy Stewart from her website: Amy Stewart is the author of eight books. Her latest is Lady Cop Makes Trouble, which is the second installment in a series based on the remarkable true story of three sisters in the 1910s. She has also written six nonfiction books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including four New York Times bestsellers: The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential. She lives in Eureka, California, with her husband Scott Brown, who is a rare book dealer. They own a bookstore called Eureka Books. The store is housed in a classic nineteenth-century Victorian building that Amy very much hopes is haunted.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer