Tag Archives: library adventure

Book Chat – Reading Beyond the Bedroom

I LOVE to read in my bed. It’s my comfy spot where I can get maximum puppy cuddles, fluff my pillows and just snuggle in with a good book. It’s generally where I get a chunk of my reading done. When I was an avid rider of the bus to work, I also used to read a lot on transit. Now that I own a car, this has been a bit harder for me, but I am still trying with the use of audiobooks.

However, my favourite place to read when the weather is good is outside. I love being able to sit in my backyard or out in a park and just get a few chapters in. Every so often my work asks me to work at one of our tiny library locations where there is a beautiful garden in the back. Whenever I have a break or am on my lunch, I love to sit out there and just gobble down some chapters and enjoy the fact that I am one with nature.

Here’s some photos of the little library and the garden. You tell me it isn’t a quaint little spot to read. 🙂

Part of the flower beds within the garden.

Main entrance to the library, as well as the steps to the inner part of the garden.

Archway and Memorial Plaque.

Bliss.

I would love to know where your favourite spots are to read. Do you find you always read in the same spot? Do you find yourself relocating depending on comfort, other people, etc? Let me know in the comments!

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ARC Review – The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5) by Brandon Sanderson

26114421Title: The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary–known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders–the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I was dreading reading this book. Mostly because I didn’t think I’d ever actually get to read this book. This is a story of failure, cowardice and family, and it should be what one comes to expect when reading the Alcatraz series. I got to say, for the last book in the series, Sanderson really threw down his gauntlet and the amount of surprises? Well, they were plentiful.

There’s not a lot I can talk about with this book because it relies so heavily on the events of the previous books. The surprises in this story are many, and characters who didn’t receive growth in prior novels definitely got much more developed this time around. There’s always such a strong focus on family in this series, and this installment really truly reminds you if how fragile Alcatraz is in a lot of ways, and how his relationship with his parents isn’t the most solid of foundations. There was a good amount of twist and turns, though I will say the excessive footnoting started to grate on me at times.

Also the artwork in this novel? It’s pretty fantastic and I look forward to seeing how it looks in a finished copy, as a lot of what was in the ARC were mainly sketches. There’s a lot of movement and personality in the artwork and it really does a great job of highlighting what a fun and cheeky seriesAlcatraz is.

Of all of Sanderson’s series, Alcatraz has always been my favourite, and it’s a series that I think deserves more recognition than it actually receives. It’s fun, crazy, and just a heck of a ride, and this ending does a great job of coming full circle and showing why this series is such a great read. I definitely urge readers that if they haven’t checked out theAlcatraz series to do so, and I hope you’ll find the ending as satisfying as I did.

ARC Review – The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

17987501Title: The Forbidden Library

Author: Django Wexler

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed the day she met her first fairy. When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within. It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

Huge thank you to Kathy Dawson Books and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review: 

Ever since I saw the cover for The Forbidden Library, I knew I had to have it. I love library adventures, and when a book is set in a library or is about uncovering ancient information, or it just has a lot of humor in its approach, I just get giddy on the inside. Django Wexler’s The Forbidden Library is fairly dark at times for a children’s book, but there’s a lot of mystery and intrigue, just as their is courage and crazy.

Alice is a solid protagonist. She’s plucky, quirky, adventurous and lovable. Her narrative is very engaging, and her curiosity often gets the better of her. She’s paired with a fantastic ensemble cast, from Ashes, the talking cat, to sweet, adorable Isaac. The main mystery within the story is that Alice loses her father to a mystery shipwreck and is forced to move in with her Uncle Geryson and his talking cat. To survive a shipwreck is unlikely, but Alice believes that considering the bizarre circumstances of how it happened that he could have potentially survived.

Wexler writes beautiful prose and description. There’s an exquisite amount of detail in how he describes Alice and the world that surrounds her. The prose is really what kept me completely sucked into the story, and I had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to uncover each and every one of the mysteries that is within the novel. In a lot of cases, this book is a mystery, wrapped in another mystery, wrapped in an enigma. There’s always more questions than answers, and as answers begin to form, more questions appear. It makes for a fun and engaging read a lot of the time, and Wexler definitely went in some directions I didn’t entirely expect him to go.

Not only is this a fantastic middle grade novel, but it’s one that I think a lot of adults would equally enjoy because the layering of narrative is just so strong. There’s so much adventure and exploration, and sometimes that’s what you need in your life (at least, I know I do!). If you love middle grade or libraries, this is a book worth your attention.

ARC Review – Ninja Librarians by Jennifer Swann Downey

17845804Title:  Ninja Librarians

Author: Jennifer Swann Downey

 

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians

Dorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor’s closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch’s Library -the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians who have an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Anywhere in the world and at any time in history.

Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society. But when a traitor surfaces, she and her friends are the prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?

Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Netgalley for this ARC.

Sam’s Review:

With a title like Ninja Librarians, how could this book not be amazing? Unfortunately, despite the unique and interesting premise, what readers are left with is a very one-dimensional story with not enough of that unique spark to keep it engaging.

I think this book will be a five star read for a lot of people, but where this book fell short with me was the fact that everything in it felt same-y throughout. The tone is consistent, but never interesting enough that I found myself impressed. The idea of Librarians as ninjas is fabulous and if you consider the line of work, they really are in a lot of ways, but how its presented here — I just wanted more from it than Librarians are sneaky and can do kung fu.

One thing I have to praise Ninja Librarians on is its atmosphere. Petrarch Library, as described in the text, is vivid and its easy to feel lost within the library and its walls. It’s no wonder then that Dorrie is so in love with the place and when she first encounters it. I actually thought Dorrie was wonderful — she has all the curiosity and tenacity a girl her age should have, but the rest of the cast was so unmemorable and one note that I had a hard time remember each one because, “omg ninja librarians.” I need more than a stereotype to keep me invested in the characters, and I felt like Downey wrote caricatures for everyone but Dorrie.

Ninja Librarians is not a bad book, but for me it needed more than a quirky premise to stay memorable. The writing is charming, the humor is spot-on, if a touch cheesy, but what this book has, that I will give it credit for, is that it has a ton of heart, and for what its worth, knows its audience very well. I still think the premise is brilliant, I just wish there had been more variation in the plot and a lot less emphasis on just the unique premise alone.