Monthly Archives: February 2013

My Ideal Bookshelf

Title: My Ideal Bookshelf

Art by: Jane Mount

Edited by: Thessaly La Force

Received from: Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars



Please note: this book was received by the reader for free through a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway.

Review: Vignettes of ideal bookshelves tell such interesting stories. The whole concept of this book is for somebody to describe their ideal bookshelf – the number of books doesn’t matter, the titles of the books doesn’t matter, how they are organized doesn’t matter but in the end you get a glimpse of that person. And what a sweet book this is. Jane Mount provides the illustrations and various people tell their stories and their memories through books. From musicians to artists, from authors to designers, chefs to comedians and everybody in-between,  readers are given the chance to look into the medicine cabinet of their souls. And boy, what a treat it is. I often find myself randomly opening to a page and reading about that person, reading the books they love and once again considering what I would put on my ideal bookshelf.

Recommended for ages 14 and up, but especially for the reader in everyone.

Of note: I have always been a person that likes to see what is bookshelves and coffee tables and nightstands. Last year I found Jane Mounts’ “Ideal Bookshelf” art on Etsy and immediately pinned it. I wanted to make ideal bookshelves for my friends’ baby gifts but since I am a broke grad student, I settled for asking for a print for Christmas for myself. After opening the print I knew that one day I would make a personalized bookshelf  but in the meantime was so happy to frame and hang my cookbook bookshelf in the kitchen. Fast forward a year and I heard about this book and knew I would get it one way or another. It is truly a beautiful book and I am so thankful I received it as a giveaway.



Title: Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth

Borrowed from: Ann Arbor District Library

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars


Please note: this is the second book in a trilogy and therefore the review may contain spoilers of the first book in the series, “Divergent”. You can read my review of “Divergent” here.

Review: Tris and Four are back along with many others from Dauntless, one of the 5 factions, and they are on the run to save themselves, save their friends and once and for all destroy society as they know it (or die trying). Tris, Four and others must decide who trust, who among them are traitorous and the best ways to get not only information necessary to stop simulations from happening (controlled by serums) but also to figure out why the leaders care so much about the Divergent. The leaders are more ruthless than ever and the cracks in society and among friends are more obvious. With guilt-ridden minds and broken bodies each step is calculated and each choice leads towards one person and ultimately one decision that will change everything forever.

Recommended for ages 14 – 17 (though I’m an adult and found it enjoyable!). This is the 2nd book in the “Divergent” trilogy. 3rd book has yet to be published.

Spoilers may be found in the following discussion. Seriously.

WOW. So let’s get into this shall we?

So – my main question: is the society made up of factions that Tris and Four are living in is ONLY happening in the city of what used to be Chicago? Am I correct in thinking that the people who live within the fence were somehow not infected (or affected?) by whatever happened to society? What is going on outside the fence?

How will the Divergent succeed outside of the fence? What is necessary for them to help change others? Or is there nobody on the outside and ONLY the Divergent get to leave the compound? If they do become a factionless society again, will it be one that mimics what we know today? Something different? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Also, I fully realize that the characters in this book are teenagers. But all I wanted to say to them was COMMUNICATE. True, you do not know who to trust. True, I am not in a position where I am literally fighting for my life all the time. True, I have had many more opportunities to practice communicating with a significant other than they have. BUT … just talk to each other! Nobody can read minds – and a lot of this book was spent with Tris and Four not fighting but also not telling each other things – things that matter and things that would help each other understand the other. Their love is strong and lasts throughout but it was oh so frustrating to read sometimes. But again, I probably have my “adult goggles” on. Overall I enjoyed this book and cannot wait for the 3rd one to be published! It’s already on my to-read list.

Marketing has totally sucked me in on this one as well: “A choice becomes a sacrifice, a sacrifice becomes a loss, a loss becomes a burden, a burden becomes a battle. One choice can destroy you.” Whoever put those words together completely #nailedit and not in the sarcastic way.


Title: Countdown

Author: Deborah Wiles

Borrowed from: Ann Arbor District Library

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars


Review:  The Cuban Missile Crisis is at large, John F. Kennedy is POTUS and the Civil Rights Movement is gearing up but through it all Franny is just trying to work through normal kid problems: her uncle is haunted by his past, she is invisible to her teachers, her family ignores her, her best friend hates her and there is a cute boy next door. Complete with air raid sirens and duck – and – cover drills, Countdown provides a glimpse into 1960’s America that those of us who did not experience it have never seen. Interspersed throughout the book are advertisements, quotes, song lyrics and photos of important pieces from the time. Authors note and mini-biographies included as well as references and resources for further inquiry. These help bring the terror of the time to the forefront. Franny finds her way among these obstacles and learns that sometimes if you look around, you have more people in your corner than you first thought.

Recommended for ages 9 – 14. First book in “The 1960’s Trilogy”.

Spoilers may be found in the following discussion.

I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of the 1960’s is mostly Civil Rights Movement related. Of course I know about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the important work of Martin Luther King Jr. (et al.) and the Beatles. But specifically? I know nothing about the Cuban Missile Crisis. I know nothing of  the Bay of Pigs or most of what was referenced in this historical fiction account. I absolutely loved the inclusion of photographs, quotes and lyrics from the time – although some references may have been lost on me.

Franny is a like-able child – and I could see myself in her (although I’m never ignored as I’m the oldest!). But mostly, I honestly felt terrified that an atom bomb was going to hit America. At one point I thought to myself, “this is how my Mom must have felt” (she would have been 7ish at this time period). It’s easy now to scoff at it and ask did they really think that duck and cover would work? But you know what? You do what you have to do and if duck and cover is all you can practice? I totally get it now. (Plus we may be ignoring this fact now but WMD are still threats now.)

I love that the author included not only an authors’ note, but references and resources for further learning. To me, it is a great historical fiction book that makes you want to research more and this one fits the bill. I immediately scoured the internet for more information and wound up excited about what I was learning.

Gateway book maybe?

I have done some searching and it seems that the 2nd and 3rd books are going to be written. The 2nd book, as of yet untitled, is reportedly going to be published in 2013. I will definitely be adding this book (and it’s companions) to my collection.