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Thursday 18 December 2014

When Customers Ask Me For Recommendations

Hey guys! I don't know if I've mentioned, but I recently got a job at a book store, which I'm loving so far! We're allowed to sticker books as staff books, ones we guarantee as good reads that we love and would recommend, which I LOVE, as someone who runs a blog basically to recommend books. I thought I'd share with you guys which books I staff-picked or mention quite often when I'm asked for recommendations!

1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – This is always the one I recommend when customers ask me for recommendations for teen or fantasy novels! As you may know, I absolutely adore this series and wish everyone would read it!

2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Another fantasy I'm constantly recommending, I love love love it.

3. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson – For those looking for a contemporary that will break their heart a bit and make them think.

4. Everyday by David Levithan – When people ask for something a bit different, for something for people who like John Green but also want something a bit more than contemporary...

5. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – For those "I love Hunger Games and Divergent" people who don't want to stray from dystopians

Those are just a few of the books I feel like I'm always recommending, but as I continue on in the job, I'll perhaps post a few more!

Happy reading!

Friday 5 December 2014

Guest Post: Take Your Child To A Bookstore Day

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day
How to Build Literacy, Support Community, & Make Magic Happen
All in One Day

In 2010 I had two young children whom I was bringing to story hour at our local bookstore almost every week. After all, what better activity to do with kids? It was enriching, fun, even relaxing. I didn’t have to feel guilty when I drank that 700 calorie butterscotch latte from the coffee bar. I was running back and forth between adult fiction and the flower-flocked children’s section—working off the calories for sure.

My kids probably didn’t realize it was as much of a treat for me as for them. Which started me thinking—were other parents in on this secret? How many children knew the pleasure of spending time in a bookstore?

I frequent the mystery listserv, DorothyL, and a more avid group of readers you couldn’t hope to find. When I floated the idea for Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, bloggers on the listserv spread the word. My husband designed a poster, a website, and bookmarks, and we designated the first Saturday in December as Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. This would coincide with holiday gift giving, hopefully giving people the idea that books make great presents. Just two weeks later, 80 bookstores were celebrating.

That summer my husband and I loaded the kids into the car and drove cross-country, visiting more than fifty bookstores. (You can tell he’s a supportive guy). In 2011, the second annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day found over 350 bookstores celebrating in all 50 states. Some planned special celebrations—children’s book authors, puppet makers, singers, even a baker who led kids in a gingerbread cookie decorating activity—while others simply hung a poster in the window. When 2013 came around, and the number had risen to over 600 independent bookstores, and one major chain, we knew that word was getting out. Kids + bookstores = magic.

And maybe something even more than that.

There’s a cultural wave behind Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. The word locavore isn’t just for a Dr. Seuss story anymore. Supporting your local community and the resurgence of Main Street are goals that more and more people recognize as important to build strong citizens as well as strong readers.

You know that old ad campaign, “Orange juice isn’t just for breakfast anymore”? I hear that now as, “Bookstores aren’t just for reading anymore.”

And by that I mean more than the fact that you can also buy toys, cards, gifts, or have your butterscotch latte at a bookstore. Bookstores are places where people come together over ideas and engage in a cultural conversation. That concept is so important I have to say it again. They are places where people come together. And booksellers are a group who know how to zig while others are zagging, so impassioned are they by their life’s pursuit. Their stores are places of physical interaction in an increasingly virtual world.

When you take a child to a bookstore, you stimulate his mind and all five senses. (If taste seems a stretch, just let her have the whipped cream on your latte). There’s a tactile dimension to the experience that seems rare these days. You also make that child a crucial part of the place where he lives, supporting it and helping it grow.

Best of all, these things happen in a guise that to the child is sheer magic. On the shelves of a bookstore sit gateways into whole new worlds. Children go into bookstores—but they come back out having journeyed somewhere else entirely.

This Saturday, December 6, 2014 is the fifth annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Whether you take your own child, a child you know, or the child inside yourself to a bookstore, together let’s build literacy, support community, and make magic happen.

Jenny Milchman is a suspense novelist and mom from the Hudson River Valley who once drove past Disney with her children en route to the nearest bookstore.

NOTE FROM ME: As someone who works in a book store, seeing kids come in with their parents, excited to be there and just so in love with books is one of the best things I can see in day. 

Happy reading!

Thursday 4 December 2014

Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page Count:  470 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: November 4th 2011
Find it on Goodreads: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Source: Purchased

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.
She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.
She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.
Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.

The conclusion to this series was a long-awaited one, but thankfully it was worth the wait. The Mara Dyer series is completely twisted and mind-bending and I love it so much. While the beginning of this book was a bit slow, I knew that as soon as I got to the last third, I would be instantly hooked once again and wouldn't be able to put it down, which is exactly what happened. I don't want to spoil ANYTHING from the other books in case some of you haven't read them, but I will say that this conclusion, while a bit slow in the beginning, was incredible once it picked up. There were so many loose ends from the last book that were thankfully addressed and all the twists and turns made it still feel familiar to the original first novel. The ending was a bit bitter-sweet, but I was glad about how it turned out and am looking forward to rereading this entire series to get the full effect of the twisted and romantic trilogy that is Mara Dyer. 

Happy reading!

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