Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Quick Trip to the Library

I had a few books to return, and I decided to go into the library rather than return them through the outside slot. While I was there, I took a quick walk around the inside of the building. I think I may have found a few more shelves of MG books. Unfortunately, I had to leave for an appointment, so I was not able to get a closer look.

When I get a little bit more free time, I will look into this new development.

Until then, I'll keep doing what I love: reading and sharing my favorite books with you. I look forward to seeing you back here soon!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: LEARNING NOT TO DROWN

Hello! I don't have an MG book to share with you today, but I do have a YA book that I recently read and loved! I heard about it through a blog, but I don't remember which one.

I present to you...LEARNING NOT TO DROWN by Anna Shinoda!


My summary:

Clare's family has their skeletons. One of them is Luke, the oldest child, who just got out of jail. Clare has always loved Luke, but her life is becoming difficult as Luke falls back into his dangerous habits. Everyone in their town knows about Luke's problems, casting a stain upon the whole family.

As Clare learns more about Luke and what he's done, she realizes there is more to the story. She finds herself being pulled into two different directions, and she needs to figure out if she can move away from the forces pulling her down, even if it means turning away from her family.

Goodreads says:

Family secrets cut to the bone in this mesmerizing debut novel about a teen whose drug-addicted brother is the prodigal son one time too many.

There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the oldest, the can’t-do-wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family.


To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug-addicted convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember—and who has always been bailed out by their parents.


Clare loves Luke, but life as his sister hasn’t been easy. And when he comes home (again), she wants to believe this time will be different (again). Yet when the truths behind his arrests begin to surface, everything Clare knows is shaken to its core. And then Luke is arrested. Again.


Except this time is different, because Clare’s mom does the unthinkable on Luke’s behalf, and Clare has to decide whether turning her back on family is a selfish act…or the only way to keep from drowning along with them.


My review:

This book is extremely powerful, and I am very glad I read it. I wish I remembered who recommended it to me because she deserves some credit. At the very least, she should get a big THANK YOU.

LEARNING NOT TO DROWN left me breathless and in awe. The story was wonderful, and Anna did a great job of putting the reader through the same emotions Clare went through. There was a great combination of inner and outer conflict. I often find that books with both inner and outer conflict can become unbalanced, but LEARNING NOT TO DROWN did not fit into that category. It did a great job of allowing both to have their part in the story.

I enjoyed meeting all of Anna's characters, especially Luke and Clare. All the characters were very well done. I wish I had seen more on Clare's peers. It was acknowledged that her peers had issues too, and I wish that aspect of the book had been expanded upon. However, I am conflicted about this view; I do recognize that doing so would have complicated the story and made it less powerful.

I think that there should have been a little bit more shared about the town. I felt that I didn't have a great feeling regarding the area Clare grew up in. Enough was shared to allow the reader to follow along, but I wanted a little bit more, just so I could get a better idea of Clare's world.

An excellent read. I recommend it to YA readers looking for an influential book with great writing and a wonderful plot.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Friday, April 24, 2015

My Second Trip to the Library

Good morning! I have decided to continue to share my library adventures. The beginning of this story can be found here.

And now to the next chapter in my adventure.

After my pleasant experience at the library, I messed around with the online catalogue. Although it wasn't intuitive, it didn't take me very long to figure out how to do the basics: create a TBR list, place holds, and review the due dates for the books I had checked out. After setting up the list of TBR books, I placed a hold on LEARNING NOT TO DROWN, a book someone recently recommended to me. 

(As a side note, I will be doing a review on LEARNING NOT TO DROWN on Monday.)

A couple of days later, I got an email from the library telling me my hold was ready. If there is one thing my new library gets points for, it's speed. LEARNING NOT TO DROWN was at another branch, and it took them a very short period of time to get it to me. My old county library could be a little slow getting books to different branches; sometimes it would take a week to get a book to my branch. 

I had an hour between two appointments, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I could get my hold and scope out the MG section.

I grabbed my hold before getting sidetracked and picking up a graphic novel that looked interesting. It was a quick read, and I was able to return it to its spot on the shelf after finishing it.

I still had a little bit of time left before I had to leave, so I browsed the MG section. I had spent my last trip in the YA section, so I wanted to get a better idea of the MG books.

I was very disappointed by the MG section. As far as I could tell, there were only four small bookcases with MG books. I found that no shelf was completely full. The books were also very worn. 

After poking around in the MG section and not finding a book I wanted, I checked out LEARNING NOT TO DROWN and left.

Overall, I felt that my second library visit wasn't as pleasant as my first. I assume they have a strong MG section at one of the other branches, so maybe I just need to poke around a bit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: THRONE OF GLASS

I would like to introduce you (or share my take) on a book that I recently reread and loved! More on that story later.

There are two different covers. The original US cover:



I was told that the "new" cover was originally the UK cover, but they decided to bring it over to the States. I personally like this cover a little bit more.


I tend to forget to name the author in my posts, but the lovely author of THRONE OF GLASS is Sarah Maas! 

I plan to usually do my own summary of the book, but today I'm a tad short on time. However, we have Goodreads here to give us their summary!

Goodreads tell us:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
 

My review:

I learned about THRONE OF GLASS in a different way than I usually learn about books. I was visiting my local independent bookstore, and Sarah Maas, the author, was there signing stock. At that point, I was pretty oblivious to the THRONE OF GLASS books. But even so, Sarah sat and talked to me for about half an hour.

She was SO NICE. Even though I'm sure she had things to do (like signing books), she gave me her undivided attention. And her book sounded cool so I grabbed a copy of THRONE OF GLASS.

I was very busy when I read it the first time, so I wasn't really focused on the story. I came away thinking it was good but not awesome.

The other day, I decided to reread it. This time I was able to give it my full attention.

And...the difference.

I didn't just enjoy it this time; I worshipped it. I was addicted.

Now, you may wonder, what made it so good?

For starters, the plot was rich. It was full of twists and turns, and I found myself on the edge of my seat.

The writing style was very good as well. It isn't quite as addicting as THE TESTING, but it comes close. As I write this review and thumb through the book, I find myself having to tear my eyes away from the pages.

The major characters, especially Celaena, were very well developed. I found Celaena to be a very three-dimensional person, and I loved that she wasn't your cookie-cutter assassin. She was flawed and broken, just like a real person would be if they had experienced what she had. Often authors will gloss over trauma and flaws, but Sarah put it display wonderfully.

In retrospect, the very minor characters did not have a lot of development, but I found it didn't hinder the story in any way. In fact, the book is very complicated, so I think it may have had a positive impact on the story. If Sarah attempted to develop those minor characters, it would have muddied the story and made it confusing.

I would recommend it to fans of those kingdom settings. Although I can't think of a book that's really similar to it right now, I would recommend it to fans of GRACELING and SERAPHINA.

4.5 stars out of 5.

I will be reviewing CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, the second book in the THRONE OF GLASS series, on May 4th. I hope you'll join me!

Monday, April 20, 2015

And...No MMGM!

I don't have anything for you today, but thanks for checking in! I will be posting a review on a YA book this Wednesday, so stay tuned for that!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Confessions of Library-Hating (It's not as bad as it sounds!)


You may remember that I moved a while back. Luckily, I am still relatively close to my old area. However, I am far enough away that it isn't convenient to visit. 

I am not proud to admit it, but I dislike change terribly. In fact, I think I could go so far as to say that I hate it. Unfortunately, I allowed that anger to stop me from enjoying my new area. 

As you may expect, I had my favorite bookstores and a local library I loved. I knew those buildings better than my own house, and one of the most difficult parts of moving was knowing that I would be leaving them.

I must admit that it does sound laughable. Of everything I was losing, the library and bookstores were the most saddening. But I am a bookworm by nature, so I suppose it was not too outlandish.

The first time I visited my new local library, I returned home close to tears. Not only was it half the size of the my old library, but a good portion of the space was taken up by picture books. Although I don't inherently hate picture books, it was disappointing to see them taking up so much space when the MG and YA sections were tiny. The confusing online catalogue did nothing to quell my frustration.

Instead of overlooking the flaws, I allowed them to overwhelm me. I stopped visiting the library and avoided borrowing books. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Why? Because it wasn’t my library.

I can’t claim to be wealthy, and hardcover books do cost quite a bit of money. As I didn’t have the funds to purchase the books I wanted to read and wouldn’t dare try to get them from the library, I went without. I missed out on far too many books because I couldn’t accept my new library was different from my old one.

So how did I change my mind? How did I come to the conclusion that I was wrong?

I wanted CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. I owned and read THONE OF GLASS, and I was ready for the next book. But all three bookstores I checked did not have it in stock. 

So I took a deep breath and turned to the library.

When I entered that library three days ago, I did so in the foulest of moods. I was certian I would be disappointed and would regret walking through those double front doors the moment I stepped foot inside.

But I didn’t.

It wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Yes, the shelves were a little unorganized. Maybe the selection was small. But they had not only CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, but HEIR OF FIRE. I found another book I wanted to reread and snatched it up. A book that had been on my TBR list for months joined the other three in my basket.

This new library isn’t my old one. It will never be. But I think I just may have enough space to love both of them and (hopefully) the patience to get to know my new library.

Monday, April 13, 2015

MMGM: THE SAME STUFF AS STARS

As part of my getting-back-into-blogging plan, I decided to do a MMGM. I have found that I tend to read more YA in the spring and MG in the fall, so I'm not sure how I will be doing when it comes to MMGM. However, I will be posting reviews on YA books and other bookishly fun things over the next few weeks whenever possible.

Today I'm going to be telling you about THE SAME STUFF AS STARS, a book by Katherine Paterson.



Goodreads says:
Her daddy is in jail, and her mother has abandoned Angel and her little brother, Bernie, at their great-grandmother's crumbling Vermont farmhouse. Grandma spends most of her time wrapped in a blanket by the wood stove. 
There is one bright spot in Angel's world — a mysterious stranger who teaches Angel all about the stars and planets and constellations. Carving out a new life proves harder than Angel ever imagined. But she feels a tiny spark of hope when she remembers what the stranger said — that she is made of the same stuff as stars.

My review:

The characters seem to have a special touch of magic woven into them to make each one a little more real than you would usually find. This adds to the magic woven within the pages. The world is realistic, and Katherine does a good job not glossing over facts. At one point in THE SAME STUFF AS STARS, Angel and Bernie go to a library. The books they check out are real books, something that adds that extra something to the books.

The book is written in simple language, making it an easy read for older readers.

The plot isn't very complex, but I find that it isn't the main driving force of this book. What makes THE STUFF AS STARS so brilliant is the journey. Angel Morgan has endured so many trials, and they have taken their toll. But the time she spends at her great-grandmother's house allows Angel to grow and have a different view of the world surrounding her.

Although Middle Grade, THE SAME STUFF AS STARS is better for older readers. As I mentioned, the language is simple, but there are references to drug use, abuse, and other things that may not be suitable for some young readers. It is a great book, but it needs a reader who is a little more mature. I would recommend this story to children nine and older, but keep in mind that every child is different. I would also recommend it to adults who are looking for a startling story about familial love and growth.

I think this book would be a great tool for opening the eyes of children to the sometimes harsh, unfair  world that surrounds them. I could see a lot of potential for it to be used in a classroom.

I give it four out of five stars.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Things on The Reader's Perch

Good day!

As you may see, I have made a few changes to The Reader's Perch as part of my getting-back-into-blogging mindset. I'm not sure how I feel about the changes, so things may shift a bit over the next few days.

One such thing I am beginning to do is label my posts YA and MG. If I have time, I will go back and label all past review posts as YA or MG.

I'd like to think of them as improvements, but if you feel that the changes are detrimental, please comment below or email me. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Back in the Game

I am not going to lie. It has been difficult to keep up on blogging. There always seemed to be eight hundred things going on, and some nights it was so hard to sit down and write posts.

As you can clearly see, I stopped when life turned into a whirlwind. It became too difficult to stay caught up, and I let it fall apart.

Over the past couple of months, I've wondered if I should start again. Blogging isn't easy, but I enjoyed it. I loved the comments and the feeling that I was reaching people. I loved seeing how many people had logged on and read my posts.

That's why I've decided to try again.

I can't promise I'll be perfect. But I can promise that I will try.

If you are new, welcome. I hope that you will enjoy The Reader's Perch. If you're coming by again, it's good to see you. Thank you for your support, even if it was just a short comment. It means more than you know.

I'll see you in the world of books!