Monday, January 30, 2017

Reader's Advisory Prompt 1 - addendum

This week we were asked to write about where we find titles of books we might like to read. My favorite way to find books is by word of mouth. I read a lot of books recommended by friends (or even celebrities like Oprah) or that my friends have reviewed on GoodReads. I also follow some blogs of people who write book reviews and sometimes a title they review will sound like something I'd enjoy. I might search the library for other titles of an author I love (such as Rainbow Rowell or Sophie Kinsella). Sometimes I search what's new in a certain genre. I have found titles before by reading the New York Times Bestseller lists, and on occasion I have just walked through the library shelves and picked out something with a clever title and eye catch cover. For my reader's advisory practice, I used mainly Novelist, with some GoodReads and good old fashioned Google searching thrown in.

How about you? How do you find the books you'd like to read?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Reader's Advisory Prompt 1

For my current class, I am doing some practice Reader's Advisory exercises. Any feedback on any of these particular titles?

1. I am looking for a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. I just read the third book in the Anita Blake series and I can’t figure out which one comes next!

Lunatic Cafe and Bloody Bones are the next two books in the series! Other books you might enjoy are Mind over Monsters (F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation #1) by Jennifer Harlow for its fast-paced action and female heroine with supernatural powers, and Dancing with Werewolves (Delilah Street Series #1) because it has the same combination of action and romance that you liked in the books by Hamilton. 

2.  What have I read recently? Well, I just finished this great book by Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer. I really liked the way it was written, you know, the way she used language. I wouldn't mind something a bit faster paced though.

For a lyrical novel with a faster pace, you might try Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. Under the Poppy (Under the Poppy #1) uses lush and descriptive language but is also more quickly paced than the Kingsolver book

3. I like reading books set in different countries. I just read one set      in China, could you help me find one set in Japan? No, not modern – historical. I like it when the author describes it so much it feels like I was there!

If you have not read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, you may enjoy checking it out! It is an intoxicating historical fiction novel that is hard to put down. It has come under some criticism for cultural appropriation, so if that is an issue for you, take note, however it is still an excellent book. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is another of my favorites that you might enjoy. It goes back and forth between several decades of Japanese-American history. If you decide to branch out to another part of the world, I suggest A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Be emotionally prepared for a heart-wrenching read with that one. 

4. I read this great mystery by Elizabeth George called Well-Schooled in Murder and I loved it. Then my dentist said that if I liked mysteries I would probably like John Sandford, but boy was he creepy I couldn't finish it! Do you have any suggestions?

You might enjoy Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries #1) by Dorothy L. Sayers. Some readers find George’s books evocative of police mysteries from past authors like Sayers. If you would like to read something new, Deborah Crombie has a new mystery coming out in February called Garden of Lamentations that you might enjoy.

5. My husband has really gotten into zombies lately. He’s already read The Walking Dead and World War Z, is there anything else you can recommend?

Another graphic novel series he may enjoy is the short Rage series by Pierre Boiserrie. He may also like Blackout by Mira Grant an apocalyptic thriller like World War Z.

6. I love books that get turned into movies, especially literary ones. Can you recommend some? Nothing too old, maybe just those from the last 5 years or so.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly is an acclaimed film that came out recently. The book was published last year. The Martian was also a popular book in 2014 and movie in 2015. If you can tell me more about what other book-t0-movies you’ve enjoyed I can find some more suggestions for you!

7. I love thrillers but I hate foul language and sex scenes. I want something clean and fast paced.

If you don’t mind a Christian perspective, Frank Peretti might be an author you enjoy. He writes thrillers that are clean, chilling, and from a Christian worldview. Mary Higgins Clark also writes fast-paced suspense novels without sex or gore. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Book Review - Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts

I chose this book because I was unfamiliar with the genre of Romantic Suspense. I have enjoyed various romance novels in the past but this particular flavor, coupled with the mystery/thriller elements was new for me. I see these types of books ALL OVER the library, including on Overdrive, and in bookstores, including on Amazon. I knew Nora Roberts was a "classic" author in this genre, and since I've never read her I thought I would give this a shot.

The most fitting adjective I can think of to describe this book is "old-fashioned". Now, it does take place in the early 1990's and was written in the early 1990's, which as much as it pains me to say, was over twenty years ago. This book reminds me of mauve lace curtains. It's not vintage, quaint, or historic, just really out of style.

I liked the Southern flavor of this novel, I have enjoyed books that took place in that setting before. I really didn't care, however, for some of the casual racism used in the book that didn't seem to make a point. I don't shy away from coarse or offensive language if the author seems to understand it is coarse and offensive. Nora Roberts doesn't exactly seem to get that. There was an incident of racial healing that occurs in one of the more powerful moments of the book, but the racial slurs still got under my skin. One of the characters also refers to Shakespeare's MacBeth as "a fag" which I found unnecessary and unhelpful to plot development.

The main romance in the novel is somewhat engaging. The romantic leads are likable and their chemistry feels genuine even if it's not as fleshed out as I'd have liked it to be. The love scenes are steamy but not what I would call explicit. Maybe PG-13.

As far as the characters go, most of the women in the novel are promiscuous to an extreme. The men are mostly "good ol' boys." In general, there were so many characters it was difficult to keep them straight. I normally enjoy a story with intertwining characters but there were just an overabundance. Probably at least 5 characters could have been scrapped to the benefit of the overall story. 

One thing I can say about the novel is it did keep me turning the pages. While it wasn't a favorite for me, by far, the story was engaging and entertaining. I wasn't particularly chilled by the mystery, but it did keep me guessing until the end. This book was also much longer than I think it needed to be.

There were so many typos in the Kindle version of this book. I was honestly tempted to make a list and send them in to the editor. 

Overall, I have to say this book wasn't great, for me. It was okay. I would be interested in trying a Romantic Suspense novel that is more modern and a bit more intelligently written. If you have any suggestions, be sure to post them in the comments!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Genres to read

Hello! In learning about Reader's Advisory, it's important for a librarian-to-be to branch out of her typical reading habits. For this semester I will be annotating books in these catagories.

Romantic Suspense 

I'll admit I'm not exactly sure what books will fall into this category. This is probably the closest category to what I'm used to reading recently.


I haven't read any mysteries since my days of Nancy Drew or the Baby-Sitters' Club mysteries. I know this is a very popular genre and one I've always been curious about.


This is another popular genre I don't usually delve into, so I'm looking forward to exploring it.

New Adult

I feel like I've read a lot of books that might fit this category lately. This is the genre that will be the most comfortable for me probably.


I'm not African-American but I would like to be able to advise readers who are looking for fiction in this category. Perhaps its not a genre, as all other genres can certainly be written in an African-American voice, but it's on the syllabus so it counts!

I'd love to hear suggestions within these categories! I'm excited to get started.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Reader Profile

Reading preferences are so personal, and to me it is fascinating to hear the types of books others enjoy. Here is a little info about my preferences.

My mom taught me to read when I was very young, around 1.5, and ever since I've always been engrossed in something, whether it's a novel, some nonfiction, or an interesting article. My eyes are just magnetically drawn to words on a page!

I remember being fascinated with horror and thrillers as a kid, reading Stephen King in middle school, but now that's my least favorite genre. I think as an adult, life has become scary enough that I don't like to be frightened or worried in my spare time.

So what DO I enjoy? I love fluffy romances but they have to be smartly written, like the British chick-lit of Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell. I enjoy reading and re-reading classics. I have recently begun enjoying young adult fiction, and I love well-written children's chapter and picture books that I can share with my family. Intelligent historical fiction with an element of fantasy makes my heart sing. I'm a character driven reader for sure, and being able to relate to one or more of the main characters is a MUST for me to become immersed in a story. Non-fiction such as biographies and motivational books are also high on my list.

As much as I love the aesthetics of traditional print books, ebooks have afforded me a convenience that I have come to enthusiastically embrace. If I can't get it on my Kindle, I'm very unlikely to read it at this point in my life.

My favorite reads of 2016:

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John D. Mann
The Paper Magician Trilogy by Charlie N. Holmberg
Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison

My top five favorite reads of all time:

Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Matilda by Roald Dahl
and...and...and...this list was hard to stop writing.

What about you?