You know when your friend moves away and although you’ve always loved them, you appreciate them more? Who’s feeling like this about their library in pandemic times? Us, that’s who! Hollis and I are going to tell you a bit about our habits and why we use and love our particular libraries.
Yes, we can still access all the ebook and audio goodies. They have also been a treasure in these times but our libraries have been through thick and thin with us. All those times when we couldn’t get a book any other way, we requested it and ta da…there it was. When a book was so expensive we couldn’t justify it, there it was. When they bought something we requested, that’s the best feeling. Getting us something from another library in the district, no problem!
Micky here. My local library is in the small market town I live on the outskirts of. It’s a 15 minute walk from home, 2 minutes in the car. It has fantastic opening hours, lots of computer space, kids activities (I use to take my kids to story time and sing-a-long stuff), groups that meet there AND I used to have PhD supervision there with my supervisor who lives in the same area. The best thing about it is the range of YA, fantasy and sci-fi books, I love browsing the stacks. Biggest shoutout to Crompton Library!
Up until about three years ago you could hear me moaning a lot about the poor ebook and audio library services for my area. I don’t think they listened to me in particular, but they generally invested in the future of this kind of library media. We now have BorrowBox app which is okay but not as good as Libby or OverDrive, but it will do. We do however, have a pretty fab selection of books on ebook and audio, usually without a huge wait and they are renewable which I love. Here’s what I’ve borrowed lately (I didn’t get to them all) and what I’m on hold for.
Hollis, unlike many, has been blessed by the library gods pretty much from day one. Toronto has a ton of branches, intra-library own if your local is too small to carry a title at all times, and our OverDrive system is pretty topnotch. We might not always have something right away (though the turnaround time between new release and availability is generally quick, particularly for popular authors or buzzy titles) but the amount of books that get added each and every day? Astounding.
So tell us, are you a library user, either long-time or newly converted? Or are you a click-and-buy and to hell with potential wait times? Let us know!
Her professor just saw her mostly naked. Awkwardness is guaranteed to ensue.
What do you do when your freakishly smart and wickedly sarcastic Research Methods professor sees you mostly naked? You befriend him, of course.
‘Kissing Galileo’ is the second book in the Dear Professor series, is 74k words, and can be read as a standalone. A shorter version of this story (40k words) was entitled ‘Nobody Looks Good Naked’ and was available via Penny Reid’s newsletter for free over the course of 2018-19.
Title : Kissing Galileo Author : Penny Reid Series : Dear Professor #2 Format : library ebook Page Count : 294 Genre : Contemporary Romance Publisher : Cipher-Naught Release Date : June 17, 2019
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ .5
Micky’s 2.5 star review
I really enjoyed Kissing Tolstoy but Galileo just left me a little disconnected, to be honest. Emily and Victor were not opposites, they felt like twins and their similarties actually got on nerves. Core to this story is once again a relationship between professor and student. For me, this storyline was not resolved as one minute there was high concern about the ethics of the relationship and later, none at all.
I normally find Penny Reid’s quirkiness of characters and narrative endearing but in this instance, I didn’t. In fact, I found the whole repetitive reciting of data, statistics and research methods annoying (and I am an academic with a PhD). Perhaps I just don’t like my fiction with such a big slice of work in it but for me it really detracted from the enjoyment. The ‘constant comparion’ (excuse my pun – Penny Reid now has me at research euphemisms) of their friendship and later relationship to statistical analysis or data, got old for me. The eventual relationship came to late for me to truly enjoy it.
The flip of body image issues from the male perpective was a welcome storyline. This topic was handled with realism and I could credibly appreciate Victor’s journey and feelings…bravo! I wanted a bit more from Lavender, I was sad that initial scene was never revisted (or tied up).
This is one of those rare moments where I didn’t really enjoy a Penny Reid book but considering I adore the vast amount, I won’t worry. There are many fans of this book, just not me.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.
Title : Burn for Me Author : Ilona Andrews Series : Hidden Legacy #1 Format : library ebook Page Count : 406 Genre : Urban Fantasy Publisher : Avon Release Date : October 28, 2014
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5
Micky’s 4.5 star review
So the quality of the Kate Daniels series wasn’t a fluke, huh? Here I am (I’d apologise but I’m not sorry) yet again spouting about these authors. They basically hooked me in with book one of this new to me series that I already feel addicted to.
The world is different in the Hidden Legacy series, still urban fantasy but a different city and a world more like ours. The parallels between them and us felt closer but the magic in this world was not. Surprise, surprise…not!
Nevada Baylor is not a carbon copy of Kate Daniels and that’s good news because I’m ready for a fresh set of characters. She’s kind of ordinary, full of backbone, guts and determination to keep the family busines and her family themselves safe.
It took some time to work out who the main male character was going to be in this tale. Adam Pierce? Mad Rogan? Augustine? This was no love triangle though, so don’t panic. I have to say please, please let book two do away with the Mad in Mad Rogan, it got a little irritating, call him Rogan or Connor.
There’s less nasty monsters so far in this series and I didn’t the familiar skin crawl I often got reading the Kate Daniels books. However, the humans with magical powers had their freaking scary moments. The pacing and action was superb, the romance was a delicious slow burn of which I need more.
I am a fan immediately of this book and will now start the familiar battle to not devour the series but rather slowly digest.
Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.
Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.
A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.
But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.
#2 Sea Witch Rising
“The Little Mermaid” takes a twisted turn in this thrilling sequel to villainess origin story Sea Witch, as the forces of land and sea clash in an epic battle for freedom, redemption, and true love.
Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.
Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds?
Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption.
Title : Sea Witch/Sea Witch Rising Author : Sarah Henning Series : Sea Witch Format : library/finished review copy Page Count : 368/416 Genre : YA Fantasy Publisher : Harper Collins Release Date : August 8, 2019
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★
4 star review of Sea Witch
Okay, so that was so much more in every way, more than I anticipated and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride of this clever retelling. I really couldn’t anticipate the direction of the characters or the story based on my knowledge of the original tale, the movie or my expectations.
There’s a foursome of friends in this book, some childhood friends and there was a coming of age and changing of affection vibe to the foundation of the storytelling. At the fore was Evie, the lead protagonist, her best friend Anna, her other best friend Nik and also Ikir (two princes). It’s a tale with undertones of different sides of the track. The Scandinavian feel to the story was rich and welcome as was the magic.
The narrative unfurled mainly in the present but with the gradual revealing of a tragedy told in the past. Annemette’s appearance had me on my guard but her tale was tragic and full of neediness. Evie was a loyal but confused friend. Magic was taboo in this world and Evie’s natural aptitude to the craft caused such a risk.
The story brings some complications to friendships and growing attractions. Betrayal was on the menu as were twists in the storyline. I didn’t see some of the turns in this story and I loved where it went. The epilogue left me shocked. Roll on book two, I can’t wait to read you!
3.5-4 star review of Sea Witch Rising
That epilogue at the end of SEA WITCH was a killer and so SEA WITCH RISING picks up at that point in time where on land in Denmark, Europe is poised for World War II. Evie returns in her end role from the previous book and my favourite part of this book was Evie.
The Sea Witch was more of an endearing character, with more humanity than Disney portrayed and this led to a richer story for me. The connections to Niklas’ family made for a story that spun generations. There were a new set of Mer-characters, Alia and Runa and the Sea King came more to the fore. On land, there was some history repeating and new characters in the form of Will and Sofie mainly. Runa was a strong protagonist alongside Evie and I really liked her character.
I found the first part of this story very strong but the was some waning in the plot in the second half, all this was mitigated by a strong culmination in the story overall, which ultimately left me satisfied.
As a duet, these books were a solid YA fantasy read with a great take on Hans Christian Andersons’ original tales and they swept into my imagination making a colourful picture. I liked how the Sea Witch was ‘born’ and humanised and this aspect will remain my favourite element of these tales. The covers are particularly beautiful and I must say they look eye-catching on my shelf. I’ll be looking out for Sarah Henning’s upcoming contemporary books as I did enjoy her writing.
Thank you to the publisher and the amazon vine programme for this review copy.
From the author of the Zoella Book Club-pick Letters to the Lostcomes another emotionally complex, romantic story about two teens struggling to unpick the grey area between right and wrong, perfect for fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven.
Rob had it all – friends, a near-guaranteed lacrosse scholarship to college and an amazing family – but all that changed when his dad was caught embezzling funds from half the town. Now he’s a social pariah.
Maegan always does the right thing. But when her sister comes home from college pregnant, she’s caught between telling their parents the truth about the father and keeping her sister’s trust.
When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a project, they form an unexpectedly deep connection. But Rob’s plan to fix his father’s damage could ruin more than their new friendship …
Title : Call It What You Want Author : Brigid Kemmerer Format : Library ebook Page Count : 379 Genre : YA contemporary Publisher : Bloomsbury YA Release Date : June 27, 2019
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5
I’ve been meaning to read Brigid Kemmerer’s books both the fantasy and contemporary for ages and now I’m kicking myself for not reading her sooner. I started with her newest release and this tragic yet hopeful tale drew me in immediately. I had such a busy work week this week and yet, I read in spare moments because I could not put this down.
CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT is about two teens who are school pariahs for very different reasons. Rob was certainly in the most awful, heart punching situation day-in and day out. Rob was such a deep, appealing character, his feelings and emotion were slowly and cleverly revealed throughout the book and his situation just evoked all the emotions. Meagan was an outcast for less dramatic reasons but her similar social situation and a school project threw them together.
Rob and Meagan had a bucket full of family issues and they were slowly able to confide in one another. The growth of their friendship was just lovely to observe but it wasn’t an easy road by any means. Rob’s home situation made for difficult reading at times and the twist to why that had all happened made for some unexpected plot developments that I really appreciated.
This story had a coming-of-age feel to it that reflected the issue of finding your own values in the face of some very grey and downright awful behaviour and actions. Whilst the connections, romantic and otherwise made for great reading, what really captured my imagination in this book was the character development of Rob through his family situation. I had moments of fear for Rob’s path and so it kept me hooked right till the end. I could have totally coped with an epilogue to this story and I’m a little sad that didn’t happen.
So, if you’re like me and you’ve not read Brigid Kemmerer, make good on this and get out there and start. I have her fantasy lined up and her two other most recent YA contemporaries.
No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…
As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.
As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…
Title : Magic Breaks Author : Ilona Andrews Series : Kate Daniels #7 Format : library ebook Page Count : 402 Genre : paranormal fantasy Publisher : Ace Publishing Release Date : July 29, 2014
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Holy Curran, Hugh and Roland on a cracker. What an insane read that was considering I struggled with the pacing initially but I ended up loving it.
Ilona Andrews had a whole spiel at the beginning of this book that heralded the unexpectedness of where it ended but I didn’t expect THAT. What a story of trial and tribulation this was with Kate showing her vulnerability and strength synonymously. There were passages that made my heart ache and eyes leak because I’ve become so damn attached to the characters in this book; so attached (shakes head at myself, already mourning the end of this series). I also felt the loss of an inanimate (questionable) object very keenly in this book and the substitution didn’t wholly comfort.
There were newer characters at the fore in MAGIC BREAKS that has me questioning where they might fit in future books, particularly Robert, Dessandra and Cuddles. Someone hold my sides, because I have a snickering attachment to Cuddles. Old favs also were there, bringing the banter and I adore Andrea, Derek, Christopher, Doolittle and Barabas. Talking of Andrea, how her and Kate communicate just gets me.
“Of course they’ll be fine.” We looked at each other and made a silent effort to believe our own bullshit.
So if you thought you knew who was the baddie and who are the goodies, get ready to challenge those ideas because MAGIC BREAKS will break your freaking mind over this. When can I read the next?
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.
Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
Title : Dear Martin Author : Nic Stone Narrator : Dion Graham Format : Audio Length : 4 hours 32 minutes Genre : YA contemporary Publisher : Listening Library Release Date : October 17, 2017
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
Many have said that DEAR MARTIN gives them THUG vibes, indeed Angie Thomas recommends this book. I get why, but this story is individual and unique. It starts with a young man in a hoodie, racially profiled and misunderstood. It continues with this young man, Justyce, trying to make sense of this situation and how to live his life with integrity through studying Martin Luther King’s writing. Justyce expressed his experiences through letters to ‘Martin’.
This is a short book and yet is it full; I felt like I had lived each minute with Justyce. The stories of injustice, grief and just trying to have fun and experience all the things he should be able to at 17-18 brought me to tears and anger. Justyce was a character who was endearing in his realness, just a teen, coming of age but a decent guy in all ways. He considered some stupid directions, he occasionally made stupid decisions but they were in the minority next to every good sense thing he did along the way. Just when I got comfortable, all hell broke lose.
The narration in this book by Dion Graham was beyond superb. A deep voice that was easy to listen to but also captured Justyce and his emotions exceptionally well.
DEAR MARTIN is one of those books that you have to read. I’d go so far as to say that all bookies, regardless of their genre leanings, would benefit from reading this. Let it sink to your bones and make you think.