Tuesday, November 29, 2016

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han: Currently Reading

Hello everyone! 

 It is such a dreary and rainy Tuesday afternoon, and I'm home sick.  It's actually not a bad day to spend indoors reading, and because of the rain, I don't feel guilty that I'm not being productive- working, running errands, getting Christmas gifts, etc.  Last night I started Jenny
Han's most recent young adult novel, P.S. I Still Love You, which is a sequel to To All the Boys I Love Before.  For those of you who haven't read either of these titles, this series is cute and quirky.  It follows the main character of Lara Jean, whose mother had recently passed away, her relationship with her two sisters and father, and boys she innocently falls in "love" with.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading To All the Boys I Loved Before, and  so far, my favorite character is Lara Jean's little sister Kitty. She is so adorably funny! 

Happy Reading! 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren: Reshelved Books

Hello Everyone! & Happy Thanksgiving! *gobble, gobble* 

      This week's book review is for How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren.  For those of you who had checked out our Currently Reading page, you know that I had purchased a copy of this book from the Newport Public Library's book nook when I was on vacation this past July.  Yes, I am one of those silly library assistants that visits libraries while vacationing.  I just can't get away...
    This is the first novel that I have read by McLaren, and I was surprised to learn that she has written other novels, whose covers I have seen and been drawn to, but never actually realized she was the author of. I know, I know.  You should never judge a book by it's cover, but I almost always do. In addition to having a gorgeous wintry themed front cover, the back of this novel boasts incredible reviews from some of my favorite authors, such as Kristin Hannah, Nancy Thayer, and Susan Wiggs, so I decided to give this book a shot. 

Such a pretty cover...
    This novel opens with a scene of heartbreak and betrayal, where the main character of Jill, who recently lost her baby to a miscarriage, catches her husband in bed with another woman.  McLaren describes this heartbreak as "so many things.  Panic. Heaviness. A giant hole. Constriction.  It felt like all of these things at once.  It felt like being shot, like lying on the ground while the life leaked out of her.  She could hardly breathe" (McLaren, p. 10).  Those who have been fortunately unfortunate enough to experience heartbreak know that this is exactly what it feels like.  Heartbreak leaves a physical pain in the center of your chest, where one feels both everything and nothing at all.  I say "fortunately unfortunate," because even though the pain is unbearable, the wounds do eventually scar over.  They never completely go away, as they stay there transforming us, our souls, and the way we think about love, life, and ourselves.  But these scars also give us a different perspective, a wisdom we didn't have before, and lead us down new paths which have the potential to be so much better than the ones we once mourned for.    
    This book then becomes a journey, where Jill flees the home she once shared with her husband and moves to a town called Sparkle, Colorado.  This is where Jill begins to reevaluate herself and learn to heal from the loss of the life she once had and to embrace one she now lives.  On this journey, the reader also meets a character named Lisa, a woman who didn't believe in marriage, but also didn't respect herself enough to find a love that was more than just lust.  The reader also meets the character of a ten year old girl named Cassie, who experiences a different kind of heartbreak.  The heartbreak of losing a parent.  
    While I enjoyed this book, and the attempts that McLaren made to compare heartbreak to the loss of a child, loss of a parent, and a breakup / betrayal of a husband, as well as the comparison of love of oneself and lust vs. love, I did feel that the novel fell short in some regards. The first thing that I noticed is that while the reader is introduced to the character of Lisa and her battle with love, lust, and herself, the story line isn't as strong as that of Jill or Cassie.  Because of this, Lisa, while present within the novel, becomes lost within the pages.  Another thing that I feel worth mentioning is that McLaren places a lot of secondary male characters who enjoy noncommittal sexual relations with numerous amounts of women.  While I know she does this as a way to show the difference between lust and love, this part of the book almost becomes too much, and causes the novel to lose a little bit of emotional credibility.  

Overall, for McLaren's attempt to relay a story centered around the broad topic of "heartbreak" that was both engaging and relatable, I am going to give this novel a rating of 3 out of 5 coffee beans (because we really do love our coffee.)   

~ Jessica   

Copy Referenced: McLaren, Kaya. How I Came to Sparkle Again: A Novel. New York: St. Martin's. 2012. Print. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Judging Books By Their Covers

    They say you should never judge a book by it's cover, for it is the pages and story inside that grip us, and that the cover is nothing more than a superficial medium holding these pages together.  Unfortunately, I'm guilty where I almost always judge a book by it's cover.  As a reader, blogger, book lover, and librarian, I should be ashamed.  I guess part of me is, but only a small part.  Here's why.  
    I love my books.  I love to be gripped by a story.  I love the art form of language, and how an author arranges letters to form words, and words to create something that is both literary and beautiful.  I love to feel like I'm friends in my head with the characters that I am investing so much time with, but what about when the book is finished?  What about before I even pick the book up?  Basically, I'm drawn to covers that are visually appealing.  I like to line my books up on my bookshelf and lay on the floor to stare at the covers, both after and before I read them.  With Instagram hashtags such as #bookstagram, displaying books with pretty covers has become an art form.  We like these photos because we love books, but we also like these photos because we like to look at the book covers.  The librarian in me likes my book case organized by author and title, but the book blogger in me that loves pretty covers also likes the idea of arranging them by color.  Perhaps this is a ploy by marketers to get us to buy more books or certain types of books.  But for now, I think I'll just spend some time admiring my covers.  

Some covers I love!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner: Currently Reading

Hello fellow Dewey lovers!  It is terribly chilly and windy here in New Jersey, and I am already bundled up in my jammies as I write this.  Definitely a perfect night to spend huddled under blankets with a book!

      Just like Jillian has been drawn to thrillers the past few weeks, it seems as though I have   been drawn to novels that deal with painful matters of the heart.  Having just finished How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren, which deals with heartbreak in its various forms (keep watch for this review, coming at the end of the week!), last night I picked up Jennifer Weiner's latest novel Who Do You Love, which touches upon this same topic. 
     The prologue of Who Do You Love, opens with the remnants of a devastating and crippling heartbreak, where the main character of Rachel is depressed and unable to get out of bed-- the tragic results of her marriage ending.  After the prologue, the reader is introduced to a much younger Rachel, who was born with a genetic heart disorder and is in the hospital at 8 years old for open heart surgery.  It is  here that she meets a young boy who is is also in the hospital, but for a broken arm.  I haven't gotten much further than this, but I'm beginning to think that this boy is the one that Rachel ended up marrying, and also is the one who ended up breaking her heart.  But are they one in the same?  Or did she marry someone else, and will she be reconnected with this broken-arm-boy later on in the story?  Why did her marriage end?  I have so many questions.  Bear with me and stay tuned to see if and how they get answered!

Happy reading!


The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer: Currently Reading

Nov. 21, 2016: This week I decided to read The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer (2016).  I guess one could say that I've had a knack for reading thrillers this month! 

This is Meyer's newest release focusing around a woman (Dr. Juliana Fortis) who worked for the government prior to leaving her position and going into hiding.  Fortis has spent the last several years on the run, hiding in plain sight; constantly using different aliases and always altering her appearance with wigs and clothes.  Fortis isn't quite sure what to expect when her old boss reaches out to her but in her own way, she is intrigued and meets with him to talk...

I haven't gotten much further than this in the book! With that being said, I am excited to see how the book pans out and I can't wait to tell you all what I think of this book next week!

This is my first time reading a book by Stephanie Meyer.  As you all know, last week I said that I was a lover of YA fiction and I am.  However, I never read the Twilight Series.  (I accept the repercussions that may be associated with the reveal of this deep dark secret of mine...)  I wasn't drawn to the allure of vampires, even Edward Cullen! Even though Robert Pattinson made very cute vampire in the movies.

I found The Chemist while I was checking out the new release on bn.com last week and after reading the sneak peek, I decided that I would take the chance and step out of my comfort zone and get back on the thriller train. (I did a review of All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda last week.  If you're interest, you can check out that review in the achieve section to the left of this post!) 

~ Jillian

Thursday, November 17, 2016

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda: Reshelved Books

Hello to everyone who is reading this post!

Thursday is upon us and as promised, here is the review of All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. This novel is Miranda's first having been written for the adult community; she has written several books for the YA community prior.  (Her newest YA novel: The Safest Lies is a book that I have added to my GoodReads "to-read" bookshelf.)

But as to not get too off topic, let us get back to why you are reading this post!

All the Missing Girls takes place in a small town in North Carolina, called Cooley Ridge. The main character Nic Farrell goes back to her hometown to finish work on tying up some lose ends: cleaning up and getting her father's house on the market and getting guardianship of him with her brother, Daniel.  Having received a letter from her father prior to her trip down to Cooley Ridge, Nic's past is about to come back in a big way.

During her visit, a girl named Annaelise goes missing, essentially vanishing into the darkness of the night. Searches in the woods turn up nothing and no one seems to know what happened to her.  This coupled with the fact that her best friend, Corinne went missing ten years ago makes Nic feel uneasy.  Slowly the past comes back to haunt Nic and one could even say that it consumes her....

After reading the synopsis on GoodReads, I thought to myself "Yes! I can get on board with this!"  (I do spend my days off watching Investigation Discovery, a channel that makes my husband VERY uneasy. lol).

So I took myself to the Barnes and Nobles and searched the fiction section high and low for the book.

Feeling triumphant that I had found the book!

That night, I was able to settle down with a cup of coffee and started reading All the Missing Girls...

That was on a Thursday and I finished the book on Saturday night (a chilly, windy Saturday that added to the effect of the story!).

Miranda definitely knew how to write a page turner.  I did NOT want to put the book down and there were times that I was reading where I wished I was able to read and comprehend the book at a faster rate just so I could find out what ends up happening.

With that being said.... Let the review begin!!

As I wrote before, the book was a definite page turner.  

I know that part of the appeal to this book was that it went backwards. Part 2 of the book started on Day 15 and worked it's way back to Day 1. To me, that was the main reason in why I felt a lack of information being given.  The story started to fall in place around Day 4 and then the reader received most of the answers during those first (last?) 4 days. 

But there were points during the book that I felt there wasn't any information being given.  I left that I was reading and reading for cliffhangers and lose ends. 

Now keep in mind at by the time I got Day 4, you had read most of the book... And received many cliffhangers.... I was left BEGGING for answers!

Then I got to Part 3, which was set back at Day 15 and after finishing that part and the book, I felt like I was ripped off and I was felt a little confused and with more questions: After all of this time, why Tyler? Why give into what the cops wanted to see happen, when it is something that seems totally out of left field AND even felt them scratching their heads? What happened to Laura and Daniel? I could go on but I'll spare you.

I felt that the book was wrapped up in a hurried way.  No rhyme or reason and that everything was all muddled at the end. Nic didn't have any reason to do any of the things that she did in Part 3.  Had the story not gone backwards, I wouldn't have felt that Nic was acting erratically.  Or at least WHY she was acting the way that she was would have been out in the open.

All in all, it wasn't the best book I've read but it wasn't the worst either. 
I didn't care for how it went backwards in the middle of the book and I didn't like how I had questions that needed to be answered because they were addressed given the format of the story and how it ended.

I did appreciate how the story line pulled me in and made me want to keep turning the page.

Instead of giving this story a 3 star rating, I am going to give three coffee beans out of five. (Because we love our coffee on this blog!)

~ Jillian

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Do You Read In Weird Places? A Tale of Reading Worries

     It all began when on a crisp fall day in late October while I was at the Stop & Shop Pharmacy waiting to pick up an antibiotic.  Not for anything contagious, I promise.  *Cough, Cough * It was for an infection caused by wisdom teeth removal now 8 years in the making.  My wisdom? Gone.  My teeth? Gone.  My impatience? Present!
     After running around the store picking up the few liquidy items I could eat: butternut squash soup, cream of broccoli, yogurt – no, they were out of yogurt.  I made my way back to the pharmacy.  Still not ready.  
     I left, went to Dunkin Donuts, got a pumpkin iced latte, and came back. But nope, they weren't ready.  This is when I wondered, is it socially acceptable to read at the Stop and Shop Pharmacy?  There were no chairs, so technically I’d be reading while standing up between the frozen food aisle and the pharmacy.  I mean this is where I get my flu shot, why can’t I stand here and read a book?  And why do I care if it’s socially acceptable?  In the end, I didn’t take my book out.  But next time, I just might.  

(A thank you to my boyfriend for not cowering in embarrassment
as I took this photo and the one on our IG.) 

~ Jessica

Monday, November 14, 2016

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: Currently Reading

Hi Everyone,

It's Jillian here! This week is going to start off with a new book!

I figured that I would look through the books on my bookshelf that I haven't read yet and pick one from there.  The choice was between Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (the winner) and See Me by Nicholas Sparks.  

Book to the Right: See Me by Nicholas Sparks
Book to the Left: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Tsum Tsum (top to bottom): Lady, Eeyore and Mickey's Bear

The opening scene of the book takes place in a court room with the verdict being read for Peyton, the brother of the main character Sydney.  Right away we automatically find out that Peyton has been convicted of something (what that something is, we don't know right away). From there, Sydney paints a picture between the stark contrasts between her and him; while telling of Peyton's rebellion that lead him to jail and why she decided to start her Junior Year at the new high school.

Reading these first 30 pages reminded me why I love reading YA fiction so much and why I feel that Sarah Dessen is one of the best YA authors *ever* (in my un-professional professional opinion of course, lol).

Sadly, I have to put this book down and start getting ready for work. Time flies when you're writing and reading! 

Let me know some of you favorite books by Sarah Dessen or if you have any other YA fiction books that you love in the comments below! 

See you all next week! Have a good one!
~ Jillian

Monday, November 7, 2016

Seashell Season by Holly Chamberlin: Currently Reading

     May I begin by saying just how much I adore this book.  I have read two books by Holly Chamberlin before, The Family Beach House and Summer with My Sisters, but this one I just can't seem to put down and I'm only on page 50.  (Well, I did put it down to write this post.  And take a picture.  This book had a full-out photo shoot in my room, complete with seashell props. #instafilter anyone?).  
    Anyway,  Seashell Season takes place in Ogunquit, Maine but also references other Maine coastal towns such as York, Wells, and Kittery.  The story line follows that of Verity, a mother whose child, Gemma, was kidnapped from her as a baby by the child's father.  Sixteen years later, Gemma, who now goes by he name Marni, is found and the father placed behind bars.  Verity is ecstatic, crying tears of joy, while Marni is angry that her world has been turned upside down.  The storyline toggles between the perspectives of Verity and Marnie, giving the reader an inside perspective into the thought process and emotions of both characters. 
     Perhaps one of the main reasons why I am so in love with this book is because my boyfriend and I have recently taken a fall trip to Ogunquit and deemed it "our place" to get a summer home when we #1 become rich or #2  retire in 80+ years.  In fact, I purchased this book at a bookshop in Wells, Maine called Annie's Book Stop. Have any of you ever felt drawn to a book because it takes place in a town that you live near?  A place that you've vacationed?  Or a place that you wish you could one day run away to and live happily ever after?  Happy Reading. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

For the Love of Dewey

Welcome to For the Love of Dewey! 

A bookish blog full of literature adventure, library stories, coffee stains, and life. This is the place to discuss what we're currently reading, what we can't wait to read, and what we've been tragically avoiding.  It's a place where we can share books and commentary, as well as discuss how these stories of characters fit into the stories of our own lives.  So pull up a chair, grab your favorite book or a cup of coffee, and let's get talking! (This is, of course assuming, that there are some of you out there reading this, and that we are not talking to ourselves.)  

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