Category Archives: Book Review

Pokemon Chapter Books & Manga Kids Will Love

Pokemon chapter books and manga

Pokémon Go is taking the world by storm, a cultural phenomenon that has won the hearts and imaginations of players of all ages. Chances are that if you’re here, you have a Pokémon-loving child in your life that you want to encourage to read. What better way to entice kids read than to give them a book related to the current new craze?

But Pokémon is far from new. Since 1995, fans of all ages have enjoyed the video games, trading card game, and animated series. Pokémon’s appeal comes from the exciting stories and dynamic personalities of Trainer Ash, his friends, loyal Pikachu, and the other Pokémon (short for Pocket Monsters).

The books and Manga listed below have always been popular items at my library, but now, we can’t keep them on the shelves. Countless times each day, excited kids come in begging for Pokémon books.   Excited Kids + Books = Win for All

Check out these recommendations at your library or buy them for your Pokémon fan at your local bookstore, Amazon, or ebay. See for yourself what all the excitement is about!

Pokémon Chapter Books


These chapter books by Tracey West follow Ash as he sets off on his journey to collect all badges and become the World’s Greatest Pokémon Trainer. The series is loosely based on the television cartoon, so fans will find some familiar story lines. Each book is under 100 pages, and the recommended age range is 7–10. (Think equivalent of The Magic Treehouse series, therefore good for any young independent reader.) This series was introduced 15+ years ago, and my library’s copies are battered, worn, and very well loved. You can still find the books new and gently used via Amazon and Ebay.

I Choose You
Island of the Giant Pokemon
Attack of the Prehistoric Pokemon
Night in the Haunted Tower
 Team Rocket Blasts Off!
Charizard, Go
Splashdown in Cerulean City
Return of the Squirtle Squad 
Journey to the Orange Islands
The Secret of the Pink Pokemon
Race to Danger
Talent Showdown
Thundershock in Pummelo Stadium
Go West, Young Ash
Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Detective
Prepare for Trouble
Ash to the Rescue
Tough Enough
Winner Takes All

Pokémon Easy Readers (DK Readers)

Get to know Ash Ketchum, his Pokemon, and his friends in this DK READERS series, part of a multilevel reading program aimed at capturing children’s interest while developing their reading skills and general knowledge. Lively illustrations combine with engaging age appropriate stories. According to DK, Level 2 is ages 6–8, Level 3 ages 7–10, but many younger readers would be encouraged to read by these easy, under 50-page books.

Meet the Pokemon (DK Reader – Level 2)
Meet Ash (Pokemon (DK Reader Level 2)
Pokemon: Meet Ash’s Pikachu! (DK Reader Level 2)
& many more

 

Pokémon Manga

MANGA is a popular style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels that reads right to left. It sounds weird, but most readers have no problem adapting. Though geared towards children, it has garnered legions of tween, teen, and adult fans worldwide.

Pokémon X•Y by Hidenori Kusaka

This is the most recent Pokémon Manga series (2014 – current). The awesome adventures are inspired by the best-selling Pokémon X and Y video games. All the favorite Pokémon game characters jump out of the screen into the pages of this action-packed manga!

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Paperback: 96 pages each
Reads R to L (Japanese Style)

Pokémon X•Y, Vol. 1
Pokémon X•Y, Vol. 2
Pokémon X•Y, Vol. 3
Pokémon X•Y, Vol. 4
Pokémon X•Y, Vol. 5
Pokémon X•Y, Vol. 6
Pokémon X•Y Vol. 7 

 

Pokémon Adventures by Hidenori Kusaka

This MANGA series follows the adventures of Red as he tries to defeat all eight Kanto Gyms and the Elite Four. It sticks more to the video game story lines instead of the TV series (which is why the main character’s name is Red and not Ash). Many enthusiasts consider this their favorite Manga series, but please note that it’s slightly more violent, as some Pokemon actually die instead of just fainting.

Available individual editions or 7-volume boxed set.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Paperback: 208 pages each
Reads R to L (Japanese Style)

 

Pokémon Black and White by Hidenori Kusaka 

Meet Pokémon Trainers Black and White!

This Manga series, started in 2011, is very popular with kids at my library. His entire life, Black has dreamed of winning the Pokémon League! Now he embarks on a journey to explore the Unova region and fill a Pokédex for Professor Juniper. White has an exciting career as the Trainer of a talented troupe of performing Pokémon. She dreams of making her Tepig Gigi a star! Together, Black and White continue on their journey… What surprising new Pokémon—and people—will they meet next?!

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Paperback: 80 pages
Reads R to L (Japanese Style)

Available individually or in boxed sets:
Pokemon Black and White Box Set 1: Includes Volumes 1-8
Pokemon Black and White Box Set 2: Includes Volumes 9-14
Pokemon Black and White Box Set 3: Includes Volumes 15-20

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Just for fun


Pokemon Go: Ultimate Pokemon Go Secrets

This beginner’s guide to Pokemon Go goes over the essentials of the wildly popular game. Know why Razz Berries are important? How about Stardust? This guide features tutorials with pictures that explain everything from how to set up your Pokemon Go account to fighting gym battles and farming XP.

All ages.

 

Pokémon Origami: Fold Your Own Pokémon!

Turn your favorite Pokémon into folded art with the easy origami projects in Pokémon Origami: Fold Your Own Pokémon! 80 full color pages featuring 48 pages of instructions and all the special sheets of origami paper needed to complete 10 Pokémon!

 

 



How to Draw Pokemon

Have an aspiring artist or Manga illustrator? Encourage them to grab a pencil. Pick up some paper. And get ready to draw the coolest, most action-packed Pokemon art ever. Catch step-by-step secret tips on drawing your favorite Pokemon, like Pikachu, Togepi, Chikorita, Meowth, Pichu, Houndour, Lugia, Cyndaquil, and more!

 


Pokémon Visual Companion

This is truly a must-have reference for every Pokémon fan, and is the ultimate reference to key characters, famous battles, and important places. Every region has been revised and updated, including new events, people, and Pokémon from Unova. You also meet Ash, trace his journey, and get to know his Pokémon, friends, and travel companions, as well as villains and rivals throughout the Pokémon world. This is the ultimate guide to the Pokémon animated series, guaranteed to delight any Pokémon fan!

 

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Pokemon chapter books and manga kids will love!  These books are perfect for ages 6-8, 9-12, and even tweens and teens love Manga.

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The Black Widow – When is fiction is too real to be entertainment?

At 12:56 a.m. a massive boom rocked my house, setting off every dog and car alarm in the neighborhood. After a few eternal moments, I remembered that a Space X rocket landing had been scheduled for the wee hours. Eventually, my pulse slowed.

It’s no wonder that window-shaking booms stop my heart. Eighty-five dead in Nice. Five officers gunned down in Dallas, another three in Baton Rouge. At least five injured in a knife and ax attack in Germany. In Turkey, 294 killed in a failed coup. A terrorist attack in Orlando: 49 killed, 53 injured, the horror that blooding the streets just a few miles away from my home. We’re talking just the last few weeks. Brussels. Paris. Who knows how many lives lost in the Middle East.

Every bang, pop, and crack make me jump. My nerves need a break. I hide from reality in books.

Maybe not this time…

Two minutes before the sonic boom, I’d ripped through the ending of THE BLACK WIDOW, the latest installment of Daniel Silva’s international thriller series featuring Israeli Master Spy Gabriel Allon. It’s a novel that pulls no punches regarding the brutality and ruthlessness of Islamic terrorists. It’s book about death and those who want to cause as much of it as possible. And in light of the world today, it didn’t read like fiction. It it felt all too real.

Now, THE BLACK WIDOW is an excellent novel. I’d give it a solid 4.5 stars, and only that low because it wasn’t my absolute favorite installment in the consistently strong Gabriel Allon series.

But honestly, this book kind of rocked me to the core.

I should have expected what was to come when I read the trigger warning. I raced to finish The Black Widow long past my bedtime, needing something more than the answers to who would live and who would die. (Answer: far too many people would die, far too close to home.) I needed to  escape from my escapism. I wasn’t reading for pure enjoyment. The story and descriptions zoomed over the line between fictional constructs of an author’s imagination and the evil and ugliness that is exploding across the globe now. I needed closure.

Heads strewn on balconies. Crucifixions. Beheadings. Limbs tangled in tree branches raining blood. Viscera on walls. Calculating scrounges of humanity systematically shooting the wounded and dying.

We desperately block these images from our imaginations. But many once ordinary people in places as civilized as Paris – as Orlando – will forever be haunted by such gruesome memories seared upon their souls.

Is art reflecting reality, or is reality reflecting art?

I need a break. Next up: a romance novel that guarantees a few hours of blissful escapism and a happy ending. I don’t think we’re going to find one in reality any time soon.

florida poisonous spiders, brown widow, brown widow florida, brown widow eggs

Did I mention I found  this BROWN WIDOW and her seven egg sacs on my porch Friday night?

  ********

 #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva delivers another spellbinding international thriller—one that finds the legendary Gabriel Allon grappling with an ISIS mastermind.

Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation “since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond” (Rocky Mountain News), is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.

Acclaimed novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled, entertained and educated readers with eighteen thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back—from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. From its shocking opening to its explosive denouement in Washington, D.C., The Black Widow reveals itself as Silva’s most timely and powerful novel yet. Following the success of his smash hit The English Spy, this electrifying thriller showcases Silva’s consummate skill and brilliant imagination, and is sure to be a must read for his multitude of current and future fans.

 

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#Friday Reads — A Bollywood Affair, Frisky Business, and Tiny Beautiful Things

What a wonderful week for reading, full of laughter, love, and maybe, just maybe, a few tears. These three selections are highly recommended.

 

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.

 

 
Frisky Business by Tawna Fenske

No more rich men for Marley Cartman. Absolutely not. Thanks to her dad, her ex-fiancé, and the overbearing donors she schmoozes for a living, she’s had more than her fill. From now on, she wants blue-collar men with dirt under their fingernails. But when Marley makes a break to handle donor relations for a wildlife sanctuary, she finds herself drawn to the annoyingly charming—and disturbingly wealthy—chairman of the board.

The kind of man she doesn’t want

Judging by his hipster T-shirts, motley assortment of canine companions, and penchant for shaking up stuffy board meetings, you’d never guess that William Barclay the Fifth is a brilliantly successful businessman. Will has good reason to be leery of scheming women, and as he and Marley butt heads over the wisdom of bringing grumpy badgers to charity events, he can’t help but wonder if his new donor relations coordinator is hiding something other than a perfect figure beneath that designer suit…

 

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills. And it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar-the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir Wild-is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things gathers the best of “Dear Sugar” in one place and includes never-before-published columns. Rich with humor, insight, compassion-and absolute honesty-this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

The audiobook is riviting, rich, and bursting with heartbreak and beauty.

She Reads Books of Fall

she reads newThough the calendar page announced fall’s entrance well over a month ago, the upper-eighties temperatures here in the Sunshine State have left me thinking it’s still summer. But now that holiday decorations have started taunting me from every store, I’ll accede to the truth: fall has arrived. In all of its blazing hot glory. (Seriously, I’ll need beach towels, on Thanksgiving Day!)

That means it’s time for the She Reads Books of Fall. Drop by She Reads for posts from all of the Books of Fall authors to get a glimpse into their writing processes and their writing spaces and discover how these diverse stories came to life. And, as always, gain access to the dozens of reviews from other She Reads book bloggers. You can find your new favorite Fall read!

And now, with out further ado, the Books of Fall:


The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore

The Hawthorne family has it all. Supposedly. Great jobs, a fancy house, and three charming kids with perfectly straight teeth.

Only their lives take place inside a pressure cooker. (From an appropriately upscale store like Williams-Sonoma or such.) And untended pressure cookers have been known to explode.

It’s firstborn Angela’s senior year of high school. Her valedictorian status is under attack, her legs have started turning to led during track meets, and her extracurriculars and hours of AP class homework have left the perfect girl needing an extra edge to stay ahead. She’s set her sights on Harvard, her father’s alma mater, but her early admissions application is not going to write itself.

Angela’s mother, Nora, is similarly stretched to the limit, juggling parent-teacher meetings, carpool, and a real-estate career where she caters to the mega rich and super-picky buyers and sellers of the Bay Area. The youngest daughter, Maya, still can’t read at the age of eight; the middle-child, Cecily, is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid she once was; and the dad, Gabe, seems oblivious to the mounting pressures at home because a devastating secret of his own might be exposed. A few rash choices crank up the heat on their pressure cooker lives, and the resulting mess is both achingly real and delightfully entertaining.

I zipped through this this almost satirical cautionary tale, both cringing and cheering as the Hawthorne family struggled with the thoroughly modern vices of over-scheduling, over-working, and under-appreciating each other while striving to achieve the perfect life. Recommended read.

 


The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks

Most of us have a ghost from our past who still haunts us: a bully, a back-stabbing best friend, or some person who forever altered your place in the world. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of some ultimate confrontation when you finally stand up for yourself and made that person pay (I know I have!). So when meek mom Caroline Jacobs decides to take her childhood demon on—cashmere twin set and all—readers can’t help but root for her on her quirky and heartfelt comeback tour.

Caroline is a wife, mother (to a tattooed teenage daughter she avoids), Sears Portrait Studio photographer, and wimp. Asserting herself, taking the reins, or facing life head-on are not in her repertoire. So when Caroline suddenly cracks and screams (the F-bomb, no less!) at the PTA president, she is shocked. So is her husband. So is the PTA president. So is everyone. But Caroline soon realizes the true cause of her outburst can be traced back to something that happened to her as a teenager, a scarring betrayal by her best friend Emily. This act changed Caroline’s life forever. So, with a little bit of bravery flowing through her veins, Caroline decides to go back to her home town and confront Emily. She busts her daughter Polly out of school, and the two set off to deliver the perfect comeback, which is twenty-five years in the making. But nothing goes as planned. Long buried secrets begin to rise to the surface, and Caroline will have to face much more than one old, bad best friend.

A heartwarming story told with Matthew Dicks’ signature wit, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs is a deceptively simple novel about the ways in which our childhood experiences reverberate through our lives, and the bravery of one woman trying to change her life and finds true understanding of her daughter, and herself, along the way. Short but sweet recommended read.

 

::hanging head::  I haven’t squeezed in the last two She Reads Books of Fall, but they are on my TBR list. They’ve earned five-star reviews and accolades from many writers and reviewers I respect, so they are certainly worth a mention.  Both have elements of mystery and suspense, and both look like books to add to your TBR list.

A Curious Beginning: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery by Deanna Raybourn

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.


The Last September by Nina de Gramont

Brett has been in love with Charlie ever since he took her skiing on a lovely Colorado night fourteen years ago. And now, living in a seaside cottage on Cape Cod with their young daughter, it looks as if they have settled into the life they desired. However, Brett and Charlie’s marriage has been tenuous for quite some time. When Charlie’s unstable younger brother plans to move in with them, the tension simmering under the surface of their marriage boils over.

But what happened to Charlie next was unfathomable. Charlie was the golden boy so charismatic that he charmed everyone who crossed his path; who never shied away from a challenge; who saw life as one big adventure; who could always rescue his troubled brother, no matter how unpredictable the situation.

So who is to blame for the tragic turn of events? And why does Brett feel responsible?

 

Have any favorite fall reads yet?

#Friday Reads: Mary Kubica, Taylor Jenkins Reid, & Jane Graves

friday reads 2

I read too much. Wait, no, I retract that statement. You can NEVER read TOO MUCH. Though I work at a library fondling handling books all day, I never have an opportunity to crack open a cover while on the clock. And in my “spare time” at home I’m bouncing on my yoga ball while attempting to coax words onto the computer screen. So reading is saved for work breaks and nighttime relaxation. Usually.  I still manage to squeeze it in. Priorities.

My time to write glowing reviews is zilch, yet I’m still reading SO MANY AMAZING BOOKS! Friday Reads is my quick way to share a short snippet of the books that keep me reading well past my bedtime and urge me to continue on my own writing journey. If I include a book, I’m recommending it to friends. (And you, my dear readers.)

This Friday Reads highlights books I read in August. Though this post disappeared in my draft folder for a few months, these are books I thoroughly enjoyed, so I still want to share the love.  (See, I told you I’ve been short on time!)


Pretty Baby
by Mary Kubica

When a compassionate Chicago wife and mother sees a teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms, she is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

 

Genre: thriller
Print Length: 381 pages
Publication Date: July 28, 2015

 


Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Aimless wanderer Hannah Martin’s fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame one night in L.A. Uniquely told in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results. As the two alternate realities run their course, we’re left to wonder if  anything is meant to be? How much in life is determined by chance? And is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Print Length: 353 pages
Pub Date: July 7, 2015

 

Baby, It’s You (Rainbow Valley #2) by Jane Graves

Runaway bride Kari escapes to the Texas Hill country and lands on a tall, dark, and gorgeous winery owner’s doorstep. All she needs is a job and a place to live until she can get back on her feet. Marc has devoted his life to managing the family wine business and being a single dad. Now with his daughter away at college and his brother taking over the winery, Marc is ready to enjoy his freedom, but when irresistible passion turns into something more, will Marc give up his future to take a chance on love?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Pub Date: May 27, 2014

What’s your Friday Read?

 

#FridayReads — Dangerous Books for Girls

Dangerous books for girls - the bad rep of romance explained

 

Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels ExplainedThe Book:

Long before clinch covers and bodice rippers, romance novels have had a bad reputation as the lowbrow lit of desperate housewives and hopeless spinsters. But in fact, romance novels—the escape and entertainment of choice for millions of women—might prove to be the most revolutionary writing ever produced.

Dangerous Books for Girls examines the origins of the genre’s bad reputation—from the “damned mob of scribbling women” in the nineteenth century to the sexy mass-market paperbacks of the twentieth century—and shows how these books have inspired and empowered generations of women to dream big, refuse to settle, and believe they’re worth it.

For every woman who has ever hidden the cover of a romance—and for every woman who has been curious about those “Fabio books”—Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained shows why there’s no room for guilt when reading for pleasure.

The Author:

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence, and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. She has received her BA and MA from New York University. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

 Dangerous Books for Girls Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Good Stuff:

Face it: romance gets a bad rap. Thanks to the Kindle, its selling hotter than every, but some say that’s because women can read romance in public without having to face embarrassment while discretely hiding that  classic clinch cover. They can read without being looked down upon.

Buy why does romance have such a bad reputation?

Everything you wanted to know about the romance genre and readers (but were afraid to ask) is stuffed inside the matte black covers of this book. If you write romance or you are considering it, read this book. It’s chock full of  insights about what the intelligent and affluent readers want. If you read romance, read this book. You will get a validation high. If you think you’re above those cheap paperback bodice-rippers (as I once believed I was), read this book. You will be proven wrong about everything.

The book is eye-opening, to say the least. As a new romance writer, I’ve been devouring every text about the genre I can find. Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained is well researched—it started as the author’s master’s thesis, then she added “a decade’s worth of” reading, studying, writing, surveying, and interviewing. There are stats (and really cool infographics) on the romance novel industry, the readers, it’s reputation and what readers want to see in heroes, heroines and yes, sex scenes.

It explains how romance provides more than a fluffy escape and actually should be considered feminist. Think about it: the industry is controlled by women, and the modern novels feature strong women who always get their way…and their pleasure. So, that infamous happy ending might not always happen in real life, but that’s one of the reasons romances are perfect nuggets of delicious escapism. When we’re drowning in stress from constantly taking care of our busy careers, needy families, messy households, and hectic lives, sometimes it’s a thrill to dive into a story where someone’s greatest desire is to take care of us. In every way imaginable. But only if we want them to.

I can’t remember how I heard about this book. When I noticed that it wasn’t in my library’s collection,  I requested the system order it. (BTW, this is a FABULOUS way for anyone to gain access to books and make sure others discover them.) And once I had the book in my hands, I could barely set it down.
Dangerous Books for Girls - The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels ExplainedThe Details:
Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels
by Maya Rodale
Release date: May 6, 2015

And if you’re looking for another article about How Romance Novelists Got Such a Silly, Sappy Rap, check out this one by Kelly Faircloth on Jezebel.

Now Read This: The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

happy pub day 2 pch

I’m sorry, I’m late, for a very important book date!  ::drum roll please::  I’d like to introduce you to Patti Callahan Henry’s latest release THE IDEA OF LOVE.

The Book:

“As we like to say in the south, ‘Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.’”

Blake is a Nicholas Sparks-esque screenwriter lacking inspiration in the wake of his divorce. He’s desperately in search of a love story beautiful enough to translate into big screen success. Disguising himself as a travel writer, he treks down the east coast to sleepy southern Watersend in search of a love story he can borrow.  When he speaks with the young and beautiful Ella Flynn, he’s convinced he has his screenplay: Ella’s beloved husband died in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her life. It’s the perfect love story for his audiences…and it’s also a lie.

Reeling from the shock of her very much alive husband’s affair, Ella is lost. When she speaks to Blake and dismisses him as a stranger she’ll never see again, she creates the life she wants and paints herself as a successful wedding dress designer recovering from her saintly husband’s sacrificial death.

In Ella, Blake finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Blake, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides, what’s a little white lie between strangers? But one lie leads to another, and soon Blake and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

Read an excerpt of  here.

pch

The Author:

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling storyteller of eleven books, including The Stories We TellBetween the Tides, and Driftwood Summer. Patti lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama with her husband and three children, where she is crafting her next story.

Follow Patti on social media— and be part of the
virtual celebration of THE IDEA OF LOVE:
Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest

The Good Stuff:

This is a short, sweet summer read that’s perfect to toss in your beach bag for a relaxing day of escapism. I read the whole book in a single afternoon while lazing on a pool float. Since both characters are lying to each other and themselves, it took a few pages to get to discover the “real” characters and bond with them, but don’t worry, you will. And Mimi, Ella’s neighbor, will leave you wishing you had a wise, old, ex-bookselling, poundcake-pushing neighbor yourself.

If you live in the southeast, check out Patti’s book tour dates here. If I wasn’t so busy at the library, I’d drive over to the coast for one of her Florida dates this week. Having met her before, I’ll tell you she’s an absolute delight, and if you live by one of the bookstores hosting her tour, don’t miss her!  (Plus who doesn’t love a freshly signed book?)

 

The Details:

The Idea of Love
by Patti Callahan Henry
St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover / 256 pages
Pub date: June 23, 2015

 

 

150+ Life-changing Books (a list by ALA Think Tank Librarians)

Librarians love to talk about books. LOVE. You’d think we do that all day long, but for some of us, chatting with patrons about books is a rare and cherished perk of the job.

So what happens when you ask an active Facebook group of librarians about the books that have changed their lives?

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You get answers. A mind-blowing amount of suggestions, both fiction and nonfiction.

Some of these profound books I’ve read, others are on my never ending TBR list, and at least a dozen I’ve never even heard of and I must discover.

lifechanging books

This list’s utter lack of organization is made up for by its richness and diversity. Sorry kids, but I didn’t have time to catalog by Dewey today. This compilation was copied/pasted straight from Facebook, so please forgive duplicates.

The results (in no particular order):

Night by Elie Weisel

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Bury My Heart at Wounded Kneeby Dee Brown

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

The Stand by Stephen King

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Grace in the Wilderness by Aranka Siegel

Winnie the Pooh, The stories of Beatrix Potter, Saint Maybe, Jacob Have I Loved, Beloved, No God But God,  A Fine Balance, Wuthering Heights, Zealot, The Art of Loving, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Leaves of Grass be Walt Whitman

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Nausea by Sartre

The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky,

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The Dark Is Rising

Just Above My Head

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle

Les Miserables (Victor Hugo), Julian (Gore Vidal) The Truth About Stories (Thomas King), Archive Fever (Jacques Derrida)

Time Enough For Love by Heinlein

Jenny and the Jaws of Life by Jincy Willet

The Likeness by Tana French

Waiting by Ha Jin

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Little, Big by John Crowley

Sandman by Neil Gaiman

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Dandelion Wine and Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

From the Teeth of Angels and A Child Across the Sky by Jonathan Carroll

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

The poetry of Pablo Neruda

the entire Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp. Also Art and Fear by David Bayles, Bodies Out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression by Jana Evans Braziel, and The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori

Also Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The short stories of Jonathan Carroll

Black Boy, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Immigrant Series by Howard Fast, Love Story by Erich Segal, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar

Catcher in the Rye

Dandelion Wine & Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Cloud Atlas

The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read

A Field of Buttercups by Joseph Hyams

Little Women

Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Stone Fox

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock

The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

The Outsider, Albert Camus. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad. And a YA novel about schizophrenia called Meeting Rozzy Halfway, by Caroline Leavitt

Things Fall Apart; Siddhartha; The Stranger; Me Talk Pretty One Day

The Horsemasters by Don Stanford

Anthem by Ayn Rand

The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoyevsky)

The Diversity of Life (E. O. Wilson)

Bastard Out of Carolina

1984 and Brave New World

Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

The Sneetches. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The Outsiders. The Stand. The Handmaid’s Tale. Letters of a Woman Homesteader. A People’s History of the United States. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler

Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation by Mary Daly

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Same Kind of Different as Me

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Positive by Paige Rawls

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Front Runner

The Color Purple

The Other Man Was Me

Diving Into the Wreck

Persepolis

Maus

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

World Enough and Time: on Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwan

Peace is every step, Sherlock Holmes, Istanbul and Snow by Orhan Pamuk

Animal Farm, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451

You Can Save the Animals” by Ingrid Newkirk

Cat’s Eye by Margret Atwood, Eva Luna by Isabell Allende, everything by Tom Robbins, Bruce Chatwin and Terry Pratchett

Gifted Hands

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Last Exit to Brooklyn

The Orphan Master’s Son

Naked In The Promised Land by Lillian Faderman

Assata by Assata Shakur

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Bridges of Madison County

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

As a Man Thinketh. The Book of Mormon. Seven habits of highly effective people. Outliers. Bridge to Terrabithia.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

The Name of the Wind

House of Leaves

Follow My Leader by James Garfield

Man’s Search For Meaning–Victor Frankl

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Velveteen Rabbit

David Copperfield, the Book of Mormon, and The Book Thief.

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut

Infinite Jest

The Wealthy Barber

The Incredible Journey of Edward Tulane

Biography of a face by Lucy Grealy

Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson

Looking for Alaska- John Green

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler; Faitheist : How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, by Chris Stedman; Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl; The Birthday of the World and other stories by Ursula K. Le Guin; The Brothers Lionheart and Ronia the Robbersdaughter – both by Astrid Lindgren

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

One by Richard Bach

People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Roots

Wonder

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky

e.e. cummings and David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary.
Toni Morrison, yes to A Handmaid’s Tale, Adrienne Rich, Alice Munro…

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Thank you, ALA Think Tank members, for your amazing suggestions! 

Readers: what books changed your view of the world?

5 Audiobooks to Make You Laugh, Think, and Revel in Girl Power

Audiobooks are my new guilty pleasure. Since you can load them onto your phone, you can have them with you everywhere. They make traffic, housecleaning, and long lines at the grocery store a million times more bearable. And if you discover the right ones, you can challenge your beliefs, eavesdrop on secrets, slip inside another person’s life, and laugh so hard the guy in the car next to you will think you’re having a seizure.

I have little patience for bad narrators, one of the reasons I’m late to the audiobooks game. Seriously, I’ve given up on dozens of novels in less then a minute when the narrators sucked. (Over-enunciation does not make up for a complete lack of inflection.) The best way to avoid this: listen to books narrated by the author!

Total. Game-changer.

And when those authors happen to be brilliant comediennes, writers, and performers, the books will leave you circling your block because you don’t want to get out of the car before the chapter ends.

Here are five of my recent favorites:

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth— whether it’s about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or parenthood (she has two daughters of her own)—to jump-start a new conversation about feminism.

“Do you have a vagina? And do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.”

“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”

Caitlin’s crude, crass, and almost ridiculously astute. She’ll have you saying, ‘Yes, oh my God, that’s it, that’s totally it!’ and ‘Holy $#@%, I cannot believe she just said that!’ between snorts of laughter. Her dirt poor hippie upbringing inspired her British TV show Raised by Wolves and although she had a bare minimum formal education, she landed a magazine job at 16 and launched her television career before hitting 18. She’s crawled through the underground music and pub scene, partied with Lady Gaga, and been named one of Brittan’s Most Influential Women by the BBC Women’s Power Hour. Eclectic, no?

With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.

(Note: if you shy away from swearing and blunt conversations about your lady bits, this one’s not for you.)

 

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Though familiar with Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live and her hosting events with her BFF Tina Fey, I’m rather embarrassed to admit I’ve never watched Parks and Recreation. After listening to Yes Please, I must watch Parks and Recreation. And I need Amy Poehler to be my new best friend. (The sweet, funny one.)

The audiobook sounds like a dinner party. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents—Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

Also included? A one night only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience.

While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs”—Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by.

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I’ve never watched The Office either. I’ve heard it’s great. I’ve heard everyone loves Mindy Kaling, and wants her wardrobe. The title grabbed me, as I’ve often pondered this question as I sat at home living my oh-so-fabulously social life of reading books and watching HGTV. This audiobook was cute, and I’d like Mindy to be my little sister—as long as I could keep my own family (though hers does seem quite lovely).

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

 

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned’ by Lena Dunham

Once again, I’ve never watched the controversial and acclaimed HBO show Girls (are you seeing a pattern here yet?). I think I’m too old to slip into the world of single twentysomethings navigating young adulthood in NYC. But I’m not too ancient to appreciate this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays by Lena Dunham – one of the bravest writers, producers, and actresses of her generation.

“If I can take what I’ve learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. About publicly sharing your body, having to prove yourself in a meeting full of fifty-year-old men, and the health fears (tinnitus, lamp dust, infertility) that keep me up at night. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you with this book, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or having the kind of sexual encounter where you keep your sneakers on. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a registered dietician. I am not a married mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in self-actualization, sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle.”

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Stylized Headphones v2 by algotruneman

Have any other audiobooks to suggest? I need recommendations, please!!!!

5 Audiobooks to Make You Laugh, Think, and Revel in Girld Power

(Sections of these descriptions via back covers or Amazon)

Cover Reveal: MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid

**Summer read preview**  With inches (or feet!) of snow on the ground, we’re dreaming of summer—feet in the sand, soaking up the sun, taking a dip in the pool. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve already added Taylor Jenkins Reid’s third novel, MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE (on sale July 7, 2015) to your TBR Must Read list. I absolutely adored her previous books FOREVER, INTERRUPTED and AFTER I DO.  So, while we wait for the book to show up at our bookstore or in our mailbox, today I’m delighted to share this first look at the gorgeous cover!

maybe in another life

 

ABOUT MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE:

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.

Hannah hesitates.

What happens if she leaves with Gabby?

What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

taylor jenkins reid

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

FIND TAYLOR ONLINE: http://www.taylorjenkinsreid.com/ | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN:  9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 | $16.00

 

eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 | $11.99