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The Library Book is a combination of true crime investigation, personal memoir, and history.
If you’ve ever wondered about a day in the life of the library director of a large city library system, you can read about it here. If you’re curious about how libraries grew through American history, you can read about it here. If you want to read about the devastation of a large fire in a library, this book is for you. If you wonder how they rehabilitate and recover fire and water damaged books, this book can give you some ideas. If you are interested in a little history of downtown Los Angeles, take a peek. Have librarians always been primarily women? Read this book to find out. Did they ever figure out how the fire started? You’ll know that too after you read this book.
There is a lot of history and information in this book. The author spent years doing in-depth research into both the fire and the Los Angeles Public Library’s history. If you are only interested in the fire, it is easy enough to skip over the other parts. But if you love libraries and history and behind-the-scenes stories, you’ll want to read the whole book. You can read my more in-depth review over at Behind Every Day.
When I first picked it up from the library, I read the first two pages then put it down. It wasn’t grabbing me. The second time, I was more focused and ready and got right into it. The book itself is not a quick read but I think that’s a good thing. The story is one of journey and discovery and the depth and seriousness of the writing really emphasizes that. I am reading it slowly. It’s not a “can’t put it down” book but I think that’s a good thing. It allows us, the reader to also savor the journey, taking it all in slowly rather than like a speedboat down the Seine. This story is a quest for an author’s secret identity, for love, for forgiveness, and for inspiration.
As the book begins we are slowly, slowly peeling back the layers to get to know Monsieur Perdu. He owns a bookshop on a boat which is named Literary Apothecary. The books are medicine, therapist, and coach. Perdu “had what his father called transperception. ‘You can see and hear through most people’s camouflage. And behind it you see all the things they worry and dream about, and the things they lack.’ Every person had a gift, and his happened to be transperception.” He felt that “it was a common misconception that booksellers looked after books. They look after people.” Then one day he meets a new neighbor, a woman recently separated from her husband. Soon after he discovers a long-lost letter from an ex-girlfriend. The contents of the letter were so shocking that I immediately closed the book and walked away. It was too awful. I couldn’t bear to see Perdu’s reaction. After a day or two passed, I was ready to face it and started to read again.
The very next day after finding the letter, Perdu’s journey down the Seine begins. The river journey brings growth, healing, reminiscences, new friends, and adventure.
Overall, an excellent story.
(The 2nd book of the Magical Bakery mystery series.)
I like how the magic has been revealed slowly through the series. Things are mentioned and hinted at without a lot of explanation which allows the reader to grow into the magic the same way that Katie is growing into the magic.
The love triangle between Katie, Declan, and Steve continues where it left off but in this book, we learn more about Steve and his background.
I find it a bit different than the typical cozy mystery that Katie has to be careful of who she can tell what so as not to reveal that she’s a witch. “We’d developed a close friendship but… there were huge parts of my life I couldn’t share. It made for a special kind of loneliness.” She sometimes knows or learns important information about the case at hand but can’t reveal how she knows.
At the end of the book when another of her magical powers (affinities) is revealed Katie laments, “I didn’t want to have a calling…to suffer the onus of always having to be good.”
As the book begins we meet all the main characters and learn a bit about them. I like everyone and I feel particularly sorry for the young Chinese girl having to leave Grandma to travel. This one really pulls at my heartstrings.
Now that we have made our introductions, it’s time for the family reunion in France. It’s a “Strange bunch for a ‘family’ reunion…A distant American niece, her friend, an unknown Asian grandchild…the ‘Lover’s’ son, Rafaella’s young winemaker, and … the old friend.” On the night of everyone’s arrival in Provence, there is a big thunderstorm and power outage. It’s a combination of comedy and intrigue leading to an unexpected, dramatic arrival of a final “guest”. One of the guest’s comments, “This party was beginning to feel like old times. Intrigue was in the air.”
Relationships are created and deepened over the next 3 weeks of the family reunion. A potential love triangle, an ominous black sheep of the family lurking in the shadows, young love, and old friendships combine as we explore the intricacies of family.
High Noon is a romantic thriller set in Savannah, Georgia. Phoebe McNamara is a police hostage negotiator for the Savannah police department. As a former Naval officer myself, I could relate to her struggles as a female leader in a male-dominated profession. As someone who has been in Savannah briefly and who really hates hot, humid weather, I could feel the setting as if I were there myself and it really brought the book to life even more.
Phoebe is facing trouble at work with a fellow officer who is unhinged and chauvinistic and who viciously attacks her. Someone has Phoebe and her family under surveillance. Is it her co-worker or is it someone else? I had quickly become attached to Phoebe and then to her family and finally to her love interest, Duncan Swift. Before long I am completely invested in their future and biting my nails at each passing page, so nervous that something might happen to one or both of them or to someone in Phoebe’s family.
After many twists and turns, it all comes to a head in a final hostage negotiation. I feel satisfied that all has been revealed and all my questions have been answered. I really did like Phoebe and her supporting characters and wouldn’t mind reading another book to find out what happens next but sadly, one has not been written. I guess that’s good in a way because now they can live out their lives any way I imagine.
Brownies and Broomsticks is book one of a cozy mystery series set in Savannah, Georgia. In this particular series, our main character, Katie Lightfoot, has recently had a bad break-up and has decided to move to Savannah to work in her aunt and uncle’s new bakery. Not long after her arrival, she discovers that she is a witch, as is her aunt (and also her parents!). She spends the book searching for a killer while also discovering and learning more about her powers.
My preferred flavor of magic is like that found in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Harry Potter, and Practical Magic. I have tried reading a few other books that feature witches and struggled to find a good match. Katie Lightfoot’s magic seems to fit nicely into my “magic box” so I’m happy to find a series that includes magic that I like. Part of the appeal for me was that rather than starting off the story as an experienced practicing witch, Katie is learning and discovering as she goes and so we are also learning and discovering along with her. The killer was discovered and unmasked but I did not get all my magic questions answered nor were my romantic interest questions answered. And so… I have placed the second book in the series on hold at my local library. I have to know what happens next!
This is a psychological thriller with several twists and turns. There are multiple wives (or are there?!) and a controlling husband. The previews state that you’ll think you know all about the tangled love triangle and who’s who. We’re warned though – assume nothing!
I am notorious for never being able to figure out “who done it” in a book (no career as a detective for me!) so if you are a good guesser you might be able to figure it out before the end. I enjoyed it though and did not see the twists coming. Looking for a twisted love triangle? Give this one a try!
Side note – I see that they may be making this into a movie so if you want to read it before you watch it, now’s the time.
The Library Book is an anthology from Great Britain with submissions from several well-known authors. Except that I’m not British so I had only heard of one person included in the book. Don’t let that stop you though! As a book lover who also loves the library (and who has many fond childhood memories of going to the library), I quite enjoyed bonding with the authors over their life library experiences.
Because it is an anthology, it is easy to pick up and put back down which makes it perfect for a busy season in your life when you may not have a lot of time to dedicate to reading but can fit in a few pages here and there. Since each essay or story is short they can be read in a single sitting and you don’t need to worry about forgetting the plot from reading session to reading session.
The book was published in support of libraries, with all royalties going to The Reading Agency’s library programs.
I have pulled out several of my favorite quotes from the book (along with a funny story about how I came upon this book in the first place) and posted them on my blog at https://behindeveryday.com/
I chose this book as a Kindle First Reads book a few months ago then forgot all about it until recently when I found myself needing a book to read. I found this one on my Kindle app. The cover was nice. The title sounded nice. And off I went… no idea where I was headed. Do you ever start reading a book without a good sense of the plot before you begin? It definitely changes the experience a bit.
I was surprised by the death and divorce in the first half of the book. With a name like Matchmaking For Beginners, I was expecting a happy-go-lucky love story. I was wrong. Before we find the true, lasting love we must first wade our way through the painful mistakes. Right off the bat, we discover that our main character, Marni, made a few bad decisions in her first marriage. She ends up quickly divorced and back with her family in Florida (and with an ex-boyfriend from high school) for a while but Blix (her ex-husband’s magical matchmaking aunt) has a different plan for Marni. Marni begins to make better decisions in her life as she moves to Brooklyn to satisfy Blix’s request.
I enjoyed the time Marni spent in Brooklyn the best. Life there was interesting and Marni was happy there. The magical touches made me think of Practical Magic (the movie – haven’t read the book) which I really enjoyed. Then, after much struggle and personal growth, we finally get our happy ending. I could definitely see this as a Hallmark movie. Not a lot of depth but a fun read.
Maybe it’s because I’m interested in the behind-the-scenes of life such as how things are made, but I liked this one. Most of the plot about the book publishing process is probably too much for my 5-year-olds to really understand or care about but it’s a great quick (and funny!) look at the process from writing to editing to illustrating to printing. The tiger and his posse agree.
This isn’t newly published but it’s new to my classroom library. The words used in the series are simple (good for beginning readers) but the illustrations are always on point. The expressions on the characters’ faces and their reactions to things that happen crack me up. If you haven’t read any Elephant and Piggie books, you’re missing out.