Archive for July, 2013

Book Review: The Secret Eater by Ros Jackson

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: July 15th 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 80

The Secret Eater

From the book jacket:

Kenssie is a demon who feeds from secrets. Lately pickings have been slim, and she has grown so weak that her shield of invisibility is slipping. As the servant of a demon who eats embarrassment she already feels like she’s the laughing stock of the demonic world. But the scorn of someone who thinks that Hawaiian shirts are the height of cool is the least of her worries.

A powerful fear demon is dead set on making her his slave, a position that carries seriously short life expectancy.

She has no friends.

No powers.

No clue.

Her only hope of escaping a life of terror lies in stealing a grimoire she’s never seen from the clutches of a vindictive group of master demons.

Plot:

I really can’t add anything; the book description explains almost the entire plot.

Overall Thoughts:

I was really into this book up until it very abruptly ended.  It’s a novella, so of course it will be short, but there was potential for so much more story.  There are a couple of story lines that really weren’t resolved or used fully; we don’t even really find out what is happening to Kenssie.  That’s really my only complaint with this book – that I wanted more.  I wish the author had considered writing a full length novel.  Short of that, I would have liked an ending that felt more final.  As it is, it felt a bit incomplete.  I kept looking for another chapter or even another page to wrap things up.

Aside from that, it was a good story.  The idea of demons (and really neat, quirky demons at that) that feed on human emotions and secrets is a nice change from the usual paranormal fiction out there.  I also appreciated that it wasn’t yet another romance; there was an actual story involving a female character that didn’t center on catching a boyfriend. It’s such a fun read I finished it all on my lunch break.

Characters:

Kenssie is hilarious. She actually kind of reminds me of a Meg Cabot heroine (which is very high praise from me).  She’s a great combination of naive, snarky, and mischievous.  I was rooting for her immediately, even when I knew she was doing something that would get her into trouble.

The secondary characters were all super interesting, but sadly not as developed as I would like.  I wanted to know more about each of them and of their history and the world of the demons.  Again, this just goes back to me wishing this was more than a novella.

Setting:

It’s set in modern day London, though the setting isn’t as important to most of the story as other aspects.  When there is need for it, the setting is described in more detail, but for the most part the setting wasn’t very noticeable.

Writing Style:

Jackson isn’t an incredibly descriptive writer, but she is great at dialogue and inner thoughts.  Kenssie has a very clear voice and the book reads like she is telling the reader the story.

Extras:

Demons that actually look and act demonic.

Favorite Line:

Are you intellectually subnormal? Tick yes if someone had to explain those words to you

Read This If You Like:

The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

The Trylle Triology by Amanda Hocking

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Ros Jackson online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website

Link Round Up: June 2013

The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech

Though I know there is a subset of library users (and, unfortunately, librarians) who are not thrilled with the changes and advancements libraries have made to keep up with modern users, I am a big fan of innovative library programs, services, and spaces.  While I still love a beautiful old building filled to the top with books, we have to admit that the public needs more than that if we want to stay relevant.  These are some examples of interesting ways libraries are trying to do that.

 

Authors for Library Ebooks

If you are interested in learning more about how ebook pricing and availability affects libraries or you support revamping both, this is a good site to check out.

 

Adagio Tea Fandom Blends

I need all of these.  I don’t even care what they taste like.  I mean, how great would it be to drink some Veritaserum or Felix Felicis while re-reading Harry Potter?  Or the TARDIS or Dalek blends while catching up on Doctor Who?  I’m aware that I sound like a commercial right now, but, seriously, how cool are these?

 

The First 10 Works of Fiction You Should Read If You’ve Never Read a Book Before

I’m including this because I completely disagree with it.  While the books on this list are all good books, they are exactly what someone who cares more about image than literacy would suggest.  First time readers should pick a book that excites them.  Very few people who’ve never made it through a book before are going to be excited by Hamlet or Mrs. Dalloway.  Very few people started out loving these books; they worked their way up to them and then, perhaps, found a love for them.  Unfortunately, too many people are concerned with the idea of people reading the “right” things rather than the idea that they’re reading at all.  New readers would be much better off going to the reader’s advisory at the local library to get help finding a book they’ll love.

And here are a few lists to enjoy…

23 Images That Will Change The Way You Look At “Harry Potter”

Clever Photoshopped Covers of Book Titles Missing a Letter

15 Classic Children’s Books That Have Been Banned In America

13 Utterly Disappointing Facts About Books

Book Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

You’ll notice the format is a bit different than usual. As this is a memoir, some of my review categories don’t really apply.

The World's Strongest Librarian at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: May 2nd 2013
Publisher: Gotham
Pages: 291

Lightness of Dust

From the book jacket:

Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7” when—while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints—his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman—and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison—taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

Overall Thoughts:

I’m not usually a big reader of memoirs, but I really enjoyed this one.   I can’t resist a book that largely features a love of reading and, of course, librarianship.  Hanagarne is open about both the good and the bad in his life and he writes about both in such a way that it’s impossible not to like him.  I especially loved when he was writing about his childhood reading and visits to the library.  Everything felt so familiar; parts of it were like reading about myself as a kid.  His stories and thoughts about working in the library were a great mixture of hilarious, sad, and powerful.  If anything, I would have liked more of those.  However, as the strength training is what helped him with his Tourette’s, it is a large part of the book.  It was also a part that I was surprised to find so interesting.

Writing Style:

Hanagarne’s writing benefits from his love of reading.  His book reads quickly, much like fiction, due to the great pacing, plotting, and characterization.  Though his writing isn’t overly flowery or stylistic, he words things in a very appealing way.  I found myself marking favorite lines over and over again.  It was really hard to choose one.

Extras:

Each chapter starts with a classification listing for the subjects mentioned in the chapter.  It’s a nice touch.

Favorite Line:

But while we may never find specific, actionable solutions, a good library’s existence is a potential step forward for a community. If hate and fear have ignorance at their core, maybe the library can curb their effects, if only by offering ideas and neutrality. It’s a safe place to explore, to meet with other minds, to touch other centuries, religions, races, and learn what you really think about the world…To see the value of a library, ignore adults. Find an inquisitive child who doesn’t have an iPhone yet, take them to the library, and tell them they can learn anything they want there.

Read This If You Like:

Memoirs.  Or, read it if you don’t.  It’s a great starter memoir for those who don’t read or like them.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Josh Hanagarne online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website