An open discussion… book loaning

for tbr blogI have long believed that books are magical.  They move people, they heal, they give us refuge.  For this reason, I am a strong believer that these things need to be shared.  Every paper book I have bought in the last decade has been chosen with that in mind.  Do I know people that would also love this book?

Years ago, at my old store, I would come to work with a duffel bag full of books because I had a large group of readers.  I would pass out the new ones and take home the ones that were returned.  We all understood that these were beautiful, important things.  I was blessed with the extra money for such luxuries, and not all my coworkers were.  So I had books for them, or for their kid to read between library trips.  It made me happy to share one of my greatest joys with others and they were always careful with my treasure.  They were returned promptly, treated with respect.

I don’t have as many readers at the store I work at now…. or not as many whose reading align with mine.  There are a few I loan to regularly, but for the most part I don’t have many book buds here and I miss that terribly.  I have even sent books back and forth in the mail for friends.

Recently, though, I had a really bad experience.  A trusted coworker talked about how much she wanted to read a book I had just bought (Turtles All the Way Down by John Green).  I had never loaned to her, but her mother is well known to be a lover of books and worked at a used bookstore herself.  It bares noting that I had lucked out with this copy- my Walmart had a signed copy for the same price as the regular ($13.88)…. how could I resist?  Four days after I bought it I had finished the book and handed it to my coworker to read.

Seven months later, I had tried to get a hold of her but gotten nothing in return.  I assumed she had my book, which meant she had my number.  I put a library pouch in each book that leaves home, and I keep the slip with the name of the person borrowing the book.  ( I use Knock Knock’s personal library kit from Amazon.)  Not knowing what else to do, I finally went to the used book store and asked her mother to get my number to her- as she hadn’t worked with me for several months.  This worked.  The coworker- in her 20’s by the way- was shamed into answering me.  She had left my signed edition in the locker when she quite work.

I had to beg a coworker and friend to go through the old lockers that hadn’t been reassigned.  I hate myself for adding to her work load and I shouldn’t have done it.  It was rude and unprofessional…. but I had never had a signed book before and, honestly, I loved that story.  I had looked into replacing it, but the cheapest I found was $30; and that would have depleted my book money for the foreseeable future.  After going through 30-some lockers, Donna found my book but there were complications.  I hadn’t taken the price tag off- I rarely do as it can damage the book and I simply don’t care about it enough to risk that.  The store wanted my receipt in order to return my book.  Who keeps receipts for a book for seven months?  Not me.  I had to show them my library pouch, the card, and pray that they knew me well enough after seven years to know that I would never do anything against my company or my coworkers.  I have the book back, but it was a hassle.

After this, I worry about lending books anymore.  Obviously, any Walmart book will need the sticker peeled off and the receipt kept…. but the way I treat a loan may need reworked.  How does everyone else deal with this?

  • How long do you let a book stay out before asking after it?  Mine were usually returned within weeks, so I never had to wonder about this.  I think three months at the most from now on.  Sometimes people read slowly, more often other aspects of life get in the way.  I don’t want to hound people.
  • Do you insist on a phone number?  Most of my book buds are coworkers, so I never thought about it, you just talk to them at work right?  But we don’t always stay with the same company for whatever reason.  I think from now on I am going to have to.
  • If you loan to a friend’s teen or child, is the parent the one responsible for the loan?  Strange question, I know, but it is important.  Many of the books I have are considered YA, or books that could be helpful to young readers.  I have a deep love of mythology for example, and have several texts that have come in handy for book reports (many teachers demand at least one “real book” source instead of everything from the internet).  If the book is damaged, is anyone responsible at all?  If so, is it the reader or the parent?
  • Would you mail a book to a friend?  Personally, I don’t worry too much about what a book looks like so long as the pages are in tact and legible.  I am a little in love with the idea of book mail but have rarely done it, and only with family.  I believe I would, though, mail a book to a blog buddy so long as they were comfortable.  What are your thoughts on this?

So what are your thoughts, guys?  Am I overthinking this?

Talk to me,

Amber

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The Last Word, Ellery Adams

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Title:  The Last Word

Author: Ellery Adams

Pages:  297 (paperback)

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Is this part of a series?  Yes, Books by the Bay- book #3

Published: December 6th, 2011

Summary:

Things are moving quickly for the writers of Oyster Bay.  Laurel is making a name for herself at the paper, Olivia is opening her new restaurant with her half brother, her sister in law is going to deliver soon, Harris just bought a house….. and there’s a big name author coming around!

When Nick Plumly begins talking to Harris about the house he just bought- saying he was interested for research and wanting to be friendly.  Harris can’t believe his luck.  Not only is Nick willing to give him pointers on getting published and read his manuscript…. he’s helping Harris move in!  Olivia is less than thrilled, but can’t find the guy’s angle, so she allows it… that is, until Nick is found dead in his home with a chapter from his award winning book stuffed in his mouth.

To make matters worse, while he was fixing the new house Harris came across a hidden treasure- a watercolor hidden in the stairs.  This is obviously what Nick wanted…. but who else?  And if it were worth killing for once, what’s to stop the killer from coming again?  It’s a race against time as the Oyster Bay police department and the writer’s club try to find answers before one of their own are hurt.

My thoughts:

Like the last two books, there’s a lot of side stories going on; but it never seems like too much.  I adore the way the group is coming together- Laurel and Olivia getting closer, Millay finally coming to her senses and….. could romance be brewing for one or more of the crew?  Rawlings is a definite favorite of mine, both wanting to shield Olivia and his friends, but understanding that they are stubborn enough that he can’t.  He incorporates them well and I feel like the books are better for this.

I love the snippets of each writer’s book that we get, and the chapter quotes.  The writing style is smooth and the descriptions really bring you in to sea side town.  The characters were already fairly well developed, but I love learning more about them and watching them grow.    Honestly, it’s my favorite part of any long running series and I feel like this one does it well.  Also, I love Haviland!  For me, this is a five star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s a bit of language, some sexual content and violence.  Nothing too over the top, but it is getting just a little warmer in Oyster Bay!

I give it a five.  Parental Guidance

The book is out- have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy reading,

Amber

Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Joanne Fluke

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Title: Strawberry Shortcake Murder

Author: Joanne Fluke

Pages:  320

Genre: Cozy Mysteries

Is this part of a series?  Yes, a Hannah Swensen Mystery- book 2

Published:  October 1st, 2011

 

Summary:

Lake Eden has been chosen for Heartland Flour’s annual bake off and the flour’s gonna fly!  Hannah is excited- not only is she a judge, but she does a short exert before each day’s proceedings to showcase one of her deserts and plug The Cookie Jar.  When one judge has to bow out, her niece gets to draw the name for the new judge- Boyd Watson the town coach.  When he later comes up dead in his garage, it’s up to Hannah…. I mean the police…. to see that the rest of the bake off goes off without a hitch and catch the killer.

My thoughts:

First off, read book one (Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Joanne Fluke ) before this one.  There are some series that you can read out of order but I don’t feel like this is one of them.  I have been on a cozy mystery binge for the last month and this is definitely a cute one.  I like the recipes inside, and the play between Hannah and her sister Andrea.  Moishe, the constantly hungry rescue cat, is always a delight and adds some warmth to the sometimes smart mouthed Hannah.

If you read the last book you would know that Hannah, like many others, had reason to dislike Boyd; which makes the list of suspects a bit larger than one would hope.  Danielle, the wife, is obviously suspect number one for the police; but Hannah knows she didn’t do it.  That’s why she finds herself breaking into places and questioning people- things the police ought to be doing.  The odd thing?  Everyone she questions acts like it’s totally normal for the baker to be assisting the investigation.  Why?  Does the whole town think the police incapable?  It’s a hard premise for me to grasp.

Now, there are a lot of cozy mysteries that come together just this way; but in most of them I feel like the police are given a bit more respect.  You see them coming up with…. well, something.  Ellery Adam’s Books By The Bay series is a prime example of where there’s more respect- even if there’s a lot of meddling anyway.

That said, what made me pick up the next book?  I love the characters, flawed though they are.  The description of the town meetings and people are fantastic and it’s very easy to slip away into Lake Eden.  The recipes, as well, are a nice touch.  If, in the later books, they allow the police a better role in the stories I could get into this series.  The book always has a good, fast pace to it and these two have been a lot of fun.  For me, this is a three and a half star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating2000px-Half_Star_Yellow.svg

On the adult content scale, there’s some light language and violence.  It’s very tame.  I give it a three.  General.svg

The book is out- have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber

The Book of Essie, Meghan Maclean Weir

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Title: The Book of Essie

Author: Meghan Maclean Weir

Pages:  336

Genre: contemporary fiction

Is this part of a series?  No

Publish date: June 12th, 2018

 

Summary:

Essie is the youngest of Pastor Hick’s children, and has lived her life on television for her family’s show Six for Hicks.  It doesn’t really allow for a normal childhood or life in general.  Everyone thinks they know her from the show… but they know nothing- and she’s ready to change that.

Rourke is the handsome school athlete.  Everyone likes him- he has the looks, grades, and talent.  Unfortunately that won’t get him far without money- college is expensive and his parents are about to loose their business.  When circumstances force the two together Rourke is ready to hate her for everything she stands for.  The more they see of each other, though, the more he realizes that he and the rest of the world have it wrong.

Liberty Bell is trying to make amends for her past- sadly, the very public past does not want to be forgotten and people have a lot of preconceived notions.  When Essie approaches her for help, all she can see is a way to make a new name for herself.  As she gets more of the story, though, the young people begin to mean more to her than a story.

This is about family, loyalty, religion betrayal, and redemption.

My thoughts:

I was up until three in the morning because I simply could not put the book down.  The characters were real, multifaceted and interesting.  I found myself rooting for them from the beginning.  Quick paced, heartfelt and just a bit irreverent, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.  I loved the premise here, and that each of the three narratives had their individual demons.  The different points of view added a lot to the story and the drama at hand.  Each one has an opinion as to what the right thing to do is, and each have their own hang ups.
Essie, especially, was easy for me to love.  She is just seventeen, but was forced to grow up so fast.  She’s media savvy, and yet she sees the craziness that is her life, sees the humor of the situation and decides to use it to meet her own goals.  At first, I felt bad for the way she used Rourke; but then I realized that she also thought she was helping him the only way she knew how…. and if her plan was going to work she needed a partner.

The mother might upset some people.  She’s conniving, manipulative and cares more about appearances than anything else and always has.  Her reactions to what is going on in the family were a huge turn off to me.  Meetings about “Essie’s problem” that she wasn’t invited to.  Large issues swept under the rug.  Everything is about image- how she looks and sounds, how the pastor looks- going so far as to photo-shop the daughter that left the fold into holiday pictures so that no one would know she was estranged.  Honestly, I hated her, but she was a necessary evil for the story.

Fast paced and heartfelt, this book broke me.  I loved it!  For me, this is a five star book with an added star for creativity.  It’s hard to intertwine this many issues together so fluidly.  normal star rating normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating star-709689_960_720

On the adult content scale there is a lot of language, but more than that are the underlying issues of the book.  There is talk of rape, conversion therapy, bigotry and hate.  I would say that this book is only for older teens and adults.  It’s a lot to take in, and I was pleased to see that Goodreads was not labeling this as a YA novel despite the age of the main character.  It isn’t one.  Let’s give it a seven.  Parental Guidance

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.  first to read

The book comes out 6-12-18.  Be ready!

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber

Comixology…. imperfect, but worth it

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Every time I see a comic book movie, I remember the 13 year old me riding my bike to the comic shop desperate to find out what the X-Men were up to.  It was a bit expensive even then, but so long as I kept it down to three different comics a month my father was happy.  I loved them, these amazing friends.  They were strong, courageous, and often hilarious.  If you know me you know that a book has to have certain things to win me over: good character development, plot, and interesting character interactions.  Who does this better than the comic book industry?!?  I mean, seriously, what are the X-men besides superhero soap operas (bless them!)?  You miss one month and you have absolutely no idea what’s going on.  When I moved to Kansas City the nearest comic shop was two bus rides away.  (You had to transfer)  The library and regular book store were much better options and I lost touch with the Marvel Universe.

Fast forward twenty years.  I am an old woman with limited free money and no earthly idea where to begin trying to catch up.  I want to know more about The Avengers, Justice League, X-men, X-force, Hulk, Spiderman….  If I tried to figure out each of these different titles, and the arc that I needed I could drop a hundred dollars easily.  I mean, one comic is about $5.  A graphic novel or collection of six comics is $16 in paper or between $5 and $10 eBook.  Then you have to decide…. paper or digital.  I have to admit I was completely pro paper here- I mean, it felt wrong to consider a digital comic!  On the other hand, it is SO MUCH CHEAPER!  I don’t have to give up shelf room, or worry about bending the comic in my purse, and I can make the image or text larger.  (Old lady problems… I know I am only 35, but try telling my body that!)

This is where Comixology comes in.  I pay $6 a month and get to borrow all sorts of comics, allowing me to catch up and choose the series and arcs I care about without loosing all my book money.  Now, they don’t have all of the comics in the unlimited grouping and eventually I will have to start paying for story lines again; but I can’t imagine a better way to jump back into the comic world.  Plus, once I am ready to start buying again, they offer discounts on the eBook prices.  I think this is going to meet my needs nicely!

Have you guys tried this, or is there a different subscription you prefer?  Let me know!

Happy Reading,

Amber

A Deadly Cliché, Ellery Adams

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Title: A Deadly Cliche

Author: Ellery Adams

Pages: 278

Genre: Cozy mystery

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book two in the Books by the Bay series.  Here is the review for book one if needed.  A Killer Plot, Ellery Adams.

Published:  March 1st, 2011

Summary:

A man is found on the beach, buried down in the sand with a toy bucket over his head.   Who is he?  Why was he placed there?  In town there have been a string of thefts, each one with a cliche left as a calling card.  Are the two connected?  Or are there two different criminals?  Laurel, ready to be more than an at-home mother, is covering the stories to see if she could be part of the town paper.  Armed with all her courage, and Olivia at her side, she’ll see if she can live her dream of being a journalist.

While all this is going on, Olivia has been looking to open a new restaurant- a crab house in town.  She’s looking into buildings and trying to help Millae and Harris figure out their feelings- something she absolutely can’t do because she can’t even come to grips with her own feelings for the man she wants.  Then there’s the letter.  Someone claims they have been caring for her father all these years- the man she thought dead!  They want money, but she wants answers.  Can the once reclusive woman balance everything?

My thoughts:

First, I loved this cover.  Each of the books in the series have Captain Haviland and books.  It’s definitely eye catching.  I also like that I am already seeing a lot of character growth not only with Olivia, but with Laurel and Harris as well.  They are well developed, interesting characters that grow only more intriguing as you read on.

I will say that there was a lot happening in this book.  The book had a good flow and transitioned from one part to the next well, so I was never overwhelmed; but when I started working on the summary I realized just how many balls were in the air.  If the other six books stay in this vein this is going to be a heck of a series.  It’s a quick cozy mystery, and I had a lot of fun reading it.  For me, this is a five star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale there was violence, language, and hints at sexual content.  Really, it was barely anything.  I give it a three.  General.svg

The book is out!  Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber

Little Big Love, Katy Regan

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Title: Little Big Love

Author: Katy Regan

Pages: 384

Genre: Family, contemporary fiction

Is this book part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: June 5th, 2018

Summary:

One night can change so many lives; and one determined soul can reconnect them all.  Ten year old Zac is facing a lot- he isn’t exactly popular at school. In fact, his size makes him a target for bullying and his sole friend is his neighbor Teagan.  All he ever wanted was for him and his mother to be happy.  He wants a dad for himself, and someone to love his mother.

A drunken declaration from Juliet sends her son into a tailspin.  If his father was the only man she ever loved, he needed to know more about him.  Secrets will come out, and bonds will be tested beyond limits.  This book is about love, family, loyalty, and accepting the past.

My thoughts:

I love this book, there’s so much heart!  Now, full disclosure, I read this book over a month ago and have been waiting until closer to release to review it.  I don’t like doing that, because it isn’t as fresh in my mind.  I may just begin scheduling reviews when they are this far out.

This one, though, stays with you.  Each character burrows into your soul.  Zac is loving and sweet, the apple of his mother and grandmother’s eye.  He’s also very smart and mature for his age.  I loved his thought process, his care for his mother, and his relationship with his best friend.  I felt bad for him, being bullied for being overweight.   Every time I read about things like this I can’t believe they could ever be real…. but they most likely are.

Juliet is working constantly and still can’t make ends meet, but she is determined to be a good mother.  Between stress eating, holing herself off from romance, and the occasional lifted item; she’s a mess.  When she finds out how badly Zac has been trying not only to find her a companion, but himself a father, she knows it’s time to come clean about a few secrets.

I even liked the grandparents, though the hate living in Juliet’s mother was sometimes overwhelming.  She has a lot of pain and has been allowed unhealthy coping strategies for far too long.  Still, she loved Zac without reservation, and her pain was one I could understand.

The premise was interesting and the book flowed between the three narrators easily.  I loved the writing style, and felt like the additional insights were completely necessary for the story.  For me, this is a five star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there is some language and bullying.  The bullying was actually the hardest on me.  I give it a four.  Talk to your younger teens about how it is portrayed and what they think of it.  Parental Guidance
I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  first to read

The book comes out 6-05-18.  Is it on your TBR list yet?

Link to book:

Amazon

Happy Reading,

Amber