By Your Side- a dream in theory…

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Summary:

An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

My Thoughts:

PS I Like You was my first Kasie West book early last year as an ARC. I immediately fell in love with that book and was ready to read my next book from her. I have her back list, but then I heard about this one and got an ARC.

First things first…the concept of getting locked in a library. SIGN. ME. UP.

That idea sounded perfect to me from the beginning, but I immediately felt bad for Autumn because where were her friends? Why didn’t anyone come for her? (Spoiler: We learn that later.) I think I maybe even spent too much time wondering where the heck her friends were and why they didn’t come back for her.

I do think I enjoyed the library parts more than the middle of the book just because some of the middle was lots of back and forth and got frustrating at times.

I will admit, that there were parts that dragged for me, but for the most part, I zoomed through the book. There was lots of back and forth with Dax, yet it also was understandable for his character and situation.

Overall, this is still a classic Kasie West book. It isn’t my favorite, but it is still a cute, fast read if you’re looking for a contemporary romance. By Your Side releases next week, January 31, so be sure to pick it up if this is what you’re looking for!

-M

Waiting on Wednesday: By Your Side

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Summary:

An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Why I’m Excited:

Four words: Locked in a library.

Say what?!

This sounds like such a fun book and you can never go wrong with Kasie West.

I’m so ready for this one and to get it for my library! My girls at work are LOVING Kasie’s books since I ordered two of them back in the Spring.

By Your Side release January 31, 2017!

That’s a long wait, but I’ve already got it ordered.

Talking Fandoms and “Worse” with Lily Anderson! *Guest Post*

The Only Thing Worse than Me is You guest post with Lily Anderson!

I’m SO excited to have Lily Anderson here today to talk about her new book The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You.

 Before I go further, I learned in her bio that she is an elementary librarian, so from one school librarian to another: THANK YOU for all you do to promote reading to kids!

The book is incredibly fun with it’s mention of different fandoms and nerd talk, so I loved reading it because it was JUST my language! The main character, Trixie, is just trying work hard to beat a classmate in rank who she has had a long-standing feud with, but she runs into a rollercoaster of a journey along the way.

Lily was kind enough to talk some about how she formed Trixie’s character and the  comparisons between her and the character.

Enjoy and be on the lookout for her book as it just released on the 17th!

-Melanie

Lily Anderson on Trixie and Fandoms:

Trixie Watson and I disagree about Spider-Man. Trixie loves Spider-Man in every incarnation. She’ll read anything that takes place in the Spider-Verse (except for Spider-Ham comics—even her love has its limits). She has Spider-Man stationery and Spider-Man t-shirts and Spider-Man pajamas and Spider-Man underpants. She’s seen every Spider-Man movie and every episode of every Spider-Man cartoon made in this century.

I have not. I really like Miles Morales’ Spider-Man and I’m down with Spider-Gwen, but I really, truly don’t care about Peter Parker. In fact, my favorite comic book character is Peter Parker’s opposite—Deadpool. (Not Ryan Reynolds, ya’ll. Deadpool.) ***PREACH…LOVE Deadpool!***

 

I think it’s important to disagree with your main character. As a writer, I always want to have some key differences between myself and my book’s narrator because those differences make me look closer at why they are the way they are. Trixie’s love of Peter Parker directly correlates to the similarities in their world view—quipping brunette nerds, high school outcasts, great power and great responsibility and all that.

 

There are a lot of things that Trixie and I agree on: the Whedonverse, Doctor Who, BBC’s Sherlock, the genius of Douglas Adams—but we have to come at those things from different perspectives because we’ve led very different lives. Even in the things we agree on, I had to figure out why she would like it, rather than just assigning her things that I already knew about. And in figuring out why she liked something, I started to get a fuller picture as to who she was as a person.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Trixie…now go pick up the book and read her story!

 

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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Summary:

The Serpent King is a book you won’t be able to resist or forget. The Southern boy in me savored every syllable and the reader in me fell in love with every page.” —John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.


My Thoughts:

First off—I did really enjoy Serpent King!

Second—I feel like the hype got me way too excited.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great–but I don’t think it’s what I thought it was going to be.

I kept hearing people say they were sobbing and I just didn’t have that reaction at all.

Sure. There was a time or two that hurt my heart, but nothing that full on major.

However…it was still great! Don’t get me wrong there! I’m looking forward to what Zentner releases next because I do think he’ll do some great things.

This one did have the vibe of a debut novel to me. That’s hard to explain really without it sounding bad, but it does.

But the MOST IMPORTANT THING!!!

Are you ready?

These character ARE relatable. I think that’s WHY I didn’t have a “sobbing” reaction. I felt like the three characters actually could be people that I know. That completely made the book for me! Amazing characters and setting!

The only thing I wish is that Dill’s family would’ve had a more concrete resolution. I have questions about what happened next. I honestly want MORE! Again…these characters were AMAZING!

I do suggest Serpent King, especially if you’re in the mood for a contemporary.

Let me know what you think if you’ve read it!

-Melanie

Monday Musings: National Library Week

Happy Monday!

Okay, let’s be real- Monday’s suck.

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BUT! This is National Library Week, so I’m partially biased towards trying to make this a fun week either way it goes.

As a high school librarian, there isn’t much that I love more than promoting libraries and reading!

Plus, Gene Luen Yang is the honorary chair that’s to his spot as children’s lit ambassador. I love him! I saw him at last year’s children’s book festival here in MS and he’s awesome and GREAT advocate to have representing reaching out to our young readers!

Whitley over at Reading With a Vengeance has a good NLW theme going this week that you should all go check out with different ideas for the week and got me thinking more about how I could participate in the week.

***AND she has a giveaway going on for it, so go give her a visit!***

She intended for the daily topics to be on Twitter, and I’ll tweet about them too, but be on the lookout for a post tomorrow about MY library! I think I’ve shared a couple pictures before, but nothing much. I’m in such a beautiful library that I’ve been trying to spruce up this year. It’s an old building, so it needs a little TLC, but it is beautiful nonetheless!

Also coming this week will be updates from the Children’s Book Festival that I attended last week. I got to see and meet some amazing authors that I’m excited to brag about, plus show off a couple books that I got.

There’s tons going on and I can’t wait to share more!

So let’s get national library week started off right!

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Review: When We Collided

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Summary:

Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she’s told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels’ household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it’s not long before Vivi’s zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?


My Thoughts:

First…WHEN WE COLLIDED RELEASES NEXT WEEK!!!!

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Phew…enough partying…on to business.

I adored When We Collided. I’m always wary when I’m REALLY excited for a book because I’m scared that it won’t be nearly as great as I’m hoping. That said, I was scared going into this one because I LOVE Emery Lord’s past two books.

So, I did what any sane person would do…I didn’t even read the summary going into it.

Seriously.

I’m not going to lie, I wish that I HAD read the summary just so that I might have been a tiny bit prepared for what was about to happen to my heart.

So many books try hard to talk about mental illness and just come up short no matter how hard they might try.

This book though…it honestly hits the nail right on the head.

Sometimes people have problems for no reason at all. Sometimes they can bounce back- sometimes not. People get told to “get over it and move on.” There are so many ways to look at mental illness correctly and incorrectly. This gets it 200% CORRECT. We see both sides with the struggle and with outsiders learning how to respond to those that they love and it is just…beautiful.

I hate to say it, but I can relate to the descriptions of depression in the book, so I know how accurate the descriptions of feeling “nothing” are despite having no problems that SHOULD make one feel that way.

This is just such an important book and I can’t wait until the fall so that I can immediately purchase it for my library. I know tons of kids will be able to relate to the characters aside from the areas surrounding mental illness. These characters are living REAL lives that teens will be able to connect with!

Do yourself a huge favor and get When We Collided when it releases next week!

-Melanie

Friday Thoughts: SPRING BREAK, y’all!

SPRING BREAK TIME!!!

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…that still wasn’t good enough. Let’s try again….

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There. That one did it. Thanks, Dumbledore!

Now, on to business…

Tomorrow, or really NOW, starts my week off for Spring Break.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you- school work schedules are the BEST. Sure, I can only take vacations when places are crazy crowded, but it is still awesome!

But that’s not why I’m here…well, it is, but it isn’t.

I’m here to talk about my goal for the week…a goal that I need encouragement to meet.

I plan to use this week to binge read the Throne of Glass series.

You read that correctly.

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THIS.

I intended to read the first book a few months ago and got distracted and then…a phenomenon happened at work.

Or rather, this series happened.

I’m not even sure what happened. I ordered all 4 books in the fall and got them. Then I recommended it to one kid…she loved it.

And then…well…I honestly CANNOT keep these on my shelf!

So I’ve decided that it’s time to see what the hype is about. Sure, I’ve heard tons of great things about it in the book world, but my kids at work are LOVING these, so I’ve got to catch up to what they’re so excited for.

Also, (self gloating here…) that’s how you do it.

I hadn’t read them, but knew my kids would love it. I bought it and suggested it to the right person and now they’re all hooked.

KNOW WHAT YOUR PATRONS WILL LOVE, librarians!

Now, if you’ll excuse me—I have a book series to binge.

-Melanie

(Seriously though, I only anticipate being able to finish the first two this week, but we’ll see.)

Also, this is probably what I looked like when the bell rang to go home today..you know…only a tiny bit excited and all:

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Monday Musings: Stand-Alones vs Series

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Happy Monday and welcome to February!

The choice between stand alone novels or series is one that has come up quite a bit lately in conversations between friends and at work.

Quite overwhelmingly, my kids at work seem to prefer series against a stand along book and I can’t quite understand it based on the reasons I hear from people who prefer stand-alone novels.

For example, I have a friend who will purposely NOT read a series until the series is completed. It drove her nuts that she binged the Selection series only for the Heir books to happen—doesn’t matter that those can be read separately since the first series is completed and doesn’t have a cliffhanger to the next series.

Me, on the other hand, I’ll read a series as it releases and maybe I re-read before the next installment or maybe I don’t—but there is NO way that I could just wait for the entire thing to be done.

However, my kids at work are similar to my friend. I recently did a huge order at the library and several students just couldn’t handle having to wait for the next book in several series. The worst was when the next book released after I’d ordered and they couldn’t understand how school library ordering works and that I couldn’t just up and order the next one from Amazon.


In closing…

Truthfully, I read both- that’s kind of obvious around here, but I can absolutely see both sides of the argument. Sometimes you want more and sometimes the wait is just too agonizing with a cliffhanger.

I think this .gif pretty much sums up this endless debate…

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SO which do YOU prefer?

-Melanie

Illuminae excitement!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now on the the fingerling…

A month later and I’m still basically obsessed with Illuminae. 

In fact, I think I’m still in that “WTF did I just read?? That was AWESOME!” thought process.

It IS that awesome though.

But anyways, I’m here for two things…

THING 1:

Imagine my excitement when one of my kids at work comes in with, “hey I want to show you a picture of this book I found at Walmart and you tell me what you think about it”…..and the book was Illuminae.

She was beyond happy to learn that I plan to order it for the library in a couple months. I wish I could’ve got it this semester, but I ordered too far in advance to even attempt it. I did order a few things that weren’t released at the time, but they came out within a week or two of ordering.

Anyways…

THING 2:

THERE’S A MOVIE IN THE WORKS!!!!!

It is extremely long range, but when I read it I thought, “whoa. I don’t know how it would work, but I need to SEE this played out.” Now that is hopefully going to be a reality!

Go HERE for more information on the movie plans.

*calms back down*

well, that’s all of my follow-up Illuminae excitement! Now, it’s back to vacation for me. I’m enjoying not having to wake up to an alarm at 5 AM!

-Melanie

Library Updates!

ALL OF THE NEW THINGS!

As a librarian, I get excited about the main part of my job- putting books in the hands of teenagers! Imagine my surprise when a kid told me, “oh, you’re not like our old librarians.” and when I asked why “because you’re giving suggestions- our old ones just waited for us to pick a book and never told us what we’d like.” They were even MORE surprised when I caught on and started giving PERSONAL suggestions when I saw a book and thought to tell them, “hey, I think YOU would like this.” —-Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what we’re SUPPOSED to do? 

With that said, my kids have been SO excited for me to get new books in. Their previous two librarians relied only on sales reps and rarely knew much about the books they were buying or if the kids would like them. That breaks my heart! My students knew that I ordered books that either I’d read OR that I knew of and thought they would like (normally with specific students in mind!)

 

So now my library looks like this right now as I sort through a new order (with another order on the way!):

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SO MUCH TO SORT THROUGH!

In total, I had 80 books (both fiction and non-fiction) come in on this order.

Several books already had kids waiting on them (Cinder, The Selection, We Were Liars, Throne of Glass, 5th Wave…) and I’m so excited to see my students be excited about reading!

I’ll have another post coming this weekend highlighting the SECOND order of library books this week.  It has been crazy having two orders come in the same week, but I love it!

-Melanie