Friday, November 19, 2010

Why libraries are so important

This is a quick musings post, just to throw my "Thank you, Libraries!" feelings out there.

Yes, I work in a library, but I don't think that makes me biased.. too much. The position I am in now (Reference) is my third position in my library system, so I have the great advantage of working in several departments, and being able to see the library from different angles. I have to say, Reference is definitely my favorite. I love helping people research. I love helping people find new and awesome authors to love. And I certainly love finding new and awesome authors because the patrons are so excited about their new find they need to share it with someone.

Every week, my library sends out a newsletter (if you subscribe to it, anyways) that tells you what new materials are now in the system. Because of that newsletter, I have thirty some items on hold. THIRTY! But there are so many books that fellow bloggers mention as being the best, that I cannot help but put one of those in request if it's in the system. And then there's the statewide system my library is apart of. We don't have the book - you can get it from MORE - an Ohio library system where each library that is apart of it, lends materials to the others - if they can, that is. That opens a whole new set of opportunities for learning and good fiction.

And then, here's the part that a lot of people (even avid library goers) seem to forget. We have PROGRAMS! That's right. Libraries offer fun and fascinating programs for people of all ages. I've actually met several wonderful authors because the library system has brought them to chat - and I had an absolutely blast each time. All these programs are there to help you. And with the economy, pretty much every library system has had to cut back - but Libraries are still going, and still trying to bring you the great programs and materials that patrons want or need.

A few examples from my own library system - classes in Resume basics, classes in Microsoft Word, an English Conversation Group (for those who do not speak English as a first language), Basic Genealogy programs, even ebooks! Yes.. my library now lends ebooks. It's a great little tool I could spend hours searching, I just wish my ebook reader was compatible. Alas, no, so I read them on my computer. And there are fun programs too - for Halloween, the library brought an author who specializes in ghosthunting to talk about his experiences. Local poets have been asked to speak or read, and there are mini "cafe series" where local (and quiet) music is played by a small band in the background as people enjoy the library.

Ahem... so everyone... Go out and use your library!! Support your library system by browsing any "New Titles" feature, joining in some new programs, maybe even volunteer!

Happy Friday, folks! Have a great weekend, and as always - Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow ~!~

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review of "The Sky: The World" by Jessica McHugh

The Sky: The World Holy cow! This is one of those books that amazes you.. how so much could happen in so few pages.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author/publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Type: Alternate History, Fiction, Egyptian Mythology, Redemption, Science Fiction

Why this book: The author contacted me about a review, and she said I could choose from any of her novels. I went with "The Sky: The World" because I liked the idea of an alternate history type of historical fiction. And it's slightly steam-punky, which is a new obsession of mine.

From the back of the book: " WHO IS DOCTOR AZAZ? It is the 19th century, and Azazian England is at its pinnacle. Aeroplanes rules the sky, and crystalline technology has transformed life itself. But for stunt pilot Jack Racine, life is little more than an endless tailspin into liquor, laudanum and loose women. But all that is about to change. For Jack Racine is about to have an audience with the architect of the age, the mysterious Doctor Azaz...  "

This book was so complex, so awesome, that I was unable to do a proper summary, so I had to rely on the back of the book. As I mentioned, there is just so much to this book that it's amazing how much action the author jampacked into 159 pages. The beginning of the book is heavy with details, and there was a time or two I forgot just which brother was the main character, but once past the detail-heavy intro, it was like a switch flipped. Suddenly I couldn't put the book down - I just had to know what was going to happen to Jack and his crew, what Jack was getting himself into, who was Dr. Azaz, really?

The world in "The Sky: The World" is complex and breathtaking. There are a whole different set of rules to Azazian England, such as "triaps" - babies born from physical love, as opposed to being conceived in the fertilization pool - are not allowed to be in the airforce, and are looked down upon. Doctor Azaz and his creations have bettered the world in so many ways, and yet they have also turned so many natural processes into something disgusting and frowned upon.

And the characters - so incredibly deep and fascinating. Jack has so many vices, so many regrets, so much that would make someone want to pity him. But at the same time he's such a strong person, proud, that the reader can't help but love him, and root for him as he takes on a task he doesn't quite believe he's right for. But he's so honored, how can he say no? Every so often, readers come accross a character  they would want to study, want to delve a little deeper into his psyche - I think Jack Racine is the perfect example of this.

I'm so glad I got the chance to read "The Sky: The World" by Jessica McHugh. This is definitely an author to watch for any fans of good fiction. I'm looking forward to some of the books she has on the "Upcoming" section of her page, and I totally want to buy practically everything from the store. Especially the "Ask me about my novel (I'm going to tell you anyway)" shirt. Christmas presents for my writing group, perhaps?? Check out the author's website (with links to her merch store, upcoming works, blog, etc) HERE.

I'm going to rate "The Sky: The World" a FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). It sucked me in, I loved it, and it was quite the wild ride. As mentioned, this is definitely an author to watch, people! Check out her backlist, and make sure to mark your calendars for her upcoming releases. I hope you all get a chance to read "The Sky: The World" (or anything/everything else by Jessica McHugh)!

Have you read this book, or another by Jessica McHugh? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Want to check it out? Find the book at via the link at the left!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whatcha Got Wednesday?

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments)Alright, this is a sad week. Only one book, so I decided not to do an actual picture. This week, my only book purchase was "City of Ashes" by Cassandra Clare. I own, but still haven't read, the first one, but my friend said once you finish the first one you NEED the second one... and I couldn't pass up the sale price of FOUR DOLLARS!

But that's it for me this week, now back to reading!

So what did you get this week? Anything come in (or that you will get soon) that you want to talk about? Share your thoughts in the comments!

~!~ Morning Glow

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of "The Year of Living Scandalously" by Julia London

The Year of Living Scandalously (Secrets of Hadley Green 1) "The Year of Living Scandalously" is Book 1 in the "Secrets of Hadley Green" series - look for Lily and Tobin's story coming soon (not sure if there's a date yet).

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by me, the reviewer. I am reviewing it because I wanted to, not in exchange for anything.

Type: Historical Romance, Mistaken Identities, Awesome Names Like Declan, Haunting Pasts, Going to Jail (Or Not?)

Why this book: I heard some good things about it, and thought I'd maybe get it if I saw it around. Then the author posted on FB about five things Declan would never say, then five things Kiera would never say. And I was so amused that I just had to get it.
About the book: Declan O'Connor just bought himself a fine horse and was about to pay up when he was summoned to see the Countess of Ashwood, the horse's previous owner. Assuming the summons was for a quick trist, Declan was shocked to see not the new Countess, but Kiera Hannigan, his neighbor from back home, masquerading as the new royalty. Kiera didn't mean to impersonate her cousin, but the two look so similar, she was quickly mistaken for Lily. There were matters that required immediate attention, and Kiera had to act in her cousin's best interest. But as this farce gets more daunting and difficult, Kiera begs to coerce Declan into helping her maintain Ashwood for her cousin. As much as Declan hates the idea of deceiving people, and his bad past with Kiera tells him he should leave, he just can't make himself go.

After reading the Prologue, I thought this was going to be a different story, or turn out differently. And while the events of the prologue do pop up as a secondary plot later in the book, it focuses more on characters that will be featured in (hopefully) the next book by this author. I enjoyed this book, but I'm definitely, totally looking forward to Lily's story.

Some of this book seemed a little too far fetched. I firmly believe in artistic license, especially with historical romance, but it was hard for me to believe Kiera could get away with not only the mistaken identity, but some of her little plots as well. And Declan and Kiera's past just seemed off. It was there, Declan seemed haunted by it, but at the same time, it didn't feel real enough for me to understand why it bothered them so much. The death in their past came up in what felt like random moments - I wasn't sure it always jived in that part of the story.

I thought the ending was alright, but a bit of a let down. After all the angsting over what will happen to Kiera since she impersonated her cousin, after the reaction of the people she had ruled over while pretending to be the countess, the rest of it just sort of fell flat. Maybe Kiera and Declan will have to deal with those repurcussions in Lily and Tobin's book? As much as I wanted the characters to have a happy ending, it just felt a little too easy when it happened.

But one thing I did like - Declan. Declan, first off, has quite the awesome name. Secondly, he's the type of hero that bargains for kisses. Let's be honest, most of Historical Romance readers go for this type of hero - the type that wants to stay away, but just keeps getting sucked back in, and falling for the heroine even though he's fighting hard not to. Despite the issue of his and Kiera's past (the unrealness of their shared traumatic moment), Declan was the real one in all of this - he made rational and believable decisions, and he fought hard against Kiera's impersonation of her cousin.

All in all, if you're a fan of Historical Romance, this book is probably a good read. I enjoyed it enough while I was reading it to keep going, because I wanted to see how it would end. And despite my mediocre feelings on this particular book, I will definitely be picking up the next one - Lily and Tobin's story. Now those two definitely have a past I can get into, and even the glimpses we have of the two in "The Year of Living Scandalously" have depth and the basic "realness" to them.  So I'm giving "The Year of Living Scandalously" by Julia London a THREE out of FIVE (3/5).

Have you read it? Share your thoughts in the comments. Want to read it, buy it from via the link on the left. =)

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow ~!~