Tag: author

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

August 6, 2014 Contemporary, Fiction, Literary 23

228044Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Author: Mark Haddon
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: The writing style of this book was unique and fascinating, but the plot felt incomplete.

Although Christopher has an incredible memory for factual information, he has a hard time understanding human emotions. He’s smart and logical, but also very sheltered. When he discovers that his neighbor’s dog has been killed, he decides to emulate his favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes, and try to find out who is responsible. In order to investigate, Christopher will have to do things outside his comfort zone and what he learns may be even more frightening. Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – Words of Radiance

August 3, 2014 Audiobook 3

9781427233080Title: Words of Radiance
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★☆
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

This is a book I would probably give 5 stars if I weren’t comparing it to the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. The plot is similarly complex, interesting, and expansive. There is once again great character growth, with personal plots nested within the overall story. The magic and worldbuilding retain their internal consistency. However, while I wouldn’t say this suffered too much from second book syndrome, I did feel as though less happened than in the first book. Read more »

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Toms River

July 30, 2014 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Science, Uncategorized 13

15798109Title: Toms River
Author: Judith Frank
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book was engaging and easy to follow, a perfect mix of science, history, and human interest stories.

Toms River had been a dumping ground for chemical pollutants for years before anyone suspected anything might be wrong. However, watchful parents soon noticed a disturbing increase in local cancer cases. It took years of unceasing efforts by residents for an investigation of chemical dumping in Toms River to begin. Even then, it was difficult to impossible to determine the different chemicals dumped in Toms River over the past half century and even more difficult to determine whether that dumping influence cancer incidence. Although families were convinced pollutants were the problem and a settlement was reached, the exact nature of the pollutants dumped at Toms River and their relationship to cancer there may never be known.
Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – The Way of Kings

July 27, 2014 Audiobook, Fantasy 7

The-Way-of-Kings-610664Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★★
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

Many authors do one thing exceptionally well: world building, character creation and growth, or an intricate plot. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job at all three. The world is very unique, with creatures and a magic system I never could have imagined. The world and the magical system are also notable for their internal consistency. The creatures described seem like the sort that would evolve together. The magical system follows clear, consistent rules. The world building take place through slow, constant information sharing, in parallel with both an epic, world-wide conflict and moving personal stories. The story wasn’t always straight forward or predictable and I loved the unexpected obstacles which forced every character to grow and change in order to succeed. Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

July 13, 2014 Uncategorized 19

17155412Title: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Narrator: Ari Fliakos
Rating (Story): ★★★★☆
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

As a geeky, bookish programmer, this book was basically written for me. I love that the author created an exciting mystery with secret societies, codebreaking, mysterious disappearances, hidden vaults, and adventure, all of which revolve around books. I loved the geeky pop culture references, all clearly explained so the less geeky reader won’t feel left out. I loved that the author didn’t shy away from sharing some real details of programming and parallel computing, also well explained.  As a reader and a programmer, the author’s comparison of different programming languages to different writing styles made me incredibly happy. There are also delightful descriptions of books and bookstores and book obsessed people.  There are even book emergencies, which also made me happy because they showed that the characters’ valued books very highly.

Read more »

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Return to the Beach House

July 12, 2014 Fiction, Women's Fiction 2

16248158Title: Return to the Beach House
Author: Georgia Bockoven
Source: from publisher through Goodreads giveaway
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The short length of each story meant that parts of the endings were too pat or not resolved enough, but each story was emotionally moving and I was impressed that some dealt with difficult topics.

Return to the Beach House is more a collection of short stories than a traditional novel, with each section connected to the others by their shared location. Although this is a sequel, it stands alone quite well. During their stay at the beach house, characters are forced to confront the things straining their relationships. They learn to move on from loss, seek independence, trust in their friends, and maintain relationships in the face of devastating tragedies. More specific details are available in the goodreads summary. Read more »

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Jennifer, Gwyneth, And Me

July 3, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction 5

18465836Title: Jennifer, Gwyneth, and Me
Author: Rachel Bertsche
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Even though I’m not the biggest fan of non-author celebrities, I enjoyed following Rachel on another self-help adventure with lots of fun stories and great advice.

Since starting working at home, Rachel hasn’t felt very pulled together. In order to motivate herself to exercise more, eat right, and dress better, she decides to emulate her favorite celebrities in hopes of achieving their air of having it all together. Trying the meals, exercises, and other lifestyle changes the stars swears by, she finds that the ones which truly improve her life often surprise her. Read more »

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It’s Complicated

June 23, 2014 non-fiction, Psychology 17

18342787 (1)Title: It’s Complicated
Author: Danah Boyd
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Even though this book had an academic bent, everything was explained clearly and the mix of research with anecdotes and ethical questions made for some fascinating reading.

Being a blogger means I use social media quite a bit, something which often highlights for me how technologically behind I’d be if I didn’t blog. This has made me curious about how more technologically savvy people use social media, so I was excited to see how teens who grew up with social media use these sites. In  It’s Complicated, the author takes a look at teen use of the latest social media sites over the past decade, from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter. The author systematically questions the stereotypes about social media-using teens. These include the assumption that all teens are good at and potentially addicted to technology to the idea that technology has fundamentally changed the way teens interact. She supports her conclusion with facts and figures, as well as hundreds of interviews with teens and parents. Read more »

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Author Interview with Alena Graedon

June 7, 2014 Author Interview 13

18209339Hi Alena! Thanks so much for joining us on Doing Dewey today. I loved your book and am very excited to have a chance to talk to you about it. Could you please begin by telling us a bit about The Word Exchange?

Hi, Katie! Thank you so much for inviting me! I’m utterly thrilled to join you, and I’m very grateful to you for having read the book, for your very kind words about it, and for giving me the opportunity to join you today!

The Word Exchange is set in the very near future, just a few years from now. The much-anticipated “death of print” has finally become a reality. That’s a problem for the main characters, because they work together at a dictionary—the last of its kind.

When The Word Exchange begins, the final print edition of their dictionary is just about to come out. After that, the protagonists’ future is uncertain, which, as it happens, is also true of the future of language. That’s because in this near-future world, smart phones have become even smarter than they are today, unlike the people who use them. The handheld devices that people rely on most are called Memes, which anticipate users’ wants and needs. But these handy little machines have also started to corrode people’s memories. There’s no need to remember things anymore when it’s easier just to use “memory.” In fact, many people have even started forgetting the meanings of some words. If a person encounters an unknown term—during a conversation, in a text, etc.—her device will ask if she wants to download its definition (for just a couple of cents) from a huge online database called The Word Exchange. Read more »

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