Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

A Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave. –Goodreads summary

Publication Date: October 2, 2012.

Favorite Quote from the Book:

“After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this:
A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”

My Thoughts:

As someone who identifies herself as a bibliophile, this book resonates deeply with me.  Mainly, the book reveals a deep dedication, admiration, and respect for books.  Many characters throughout the novel have some affiliation with books which plays an integral role in their past, present, and future.  This is largely seen in the protagonist, Clay Jannon.  Searching for a job, Jannon finds himself becoming a clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (by the way, why does a 24-hour bookstore not exist?).  Quickly, he finds himself succumbing to the power of books as he examines a strange group of frequent customers.  Unexpectedly, Jannon finds himself intermingling with a mystery involving books, secret groups, and potential immortality.  Wait, books can do that?  Yes, Jannon discovers they can!

Besides the look for books, I appreciated the way this story unraveled.  While I went into this book with no expectations, I had some preconceived notions with how this plot would ensue (basically, just accounts of owning a bookstore).  Essentially, this plot twists and turns in ways that one could never imagine.  Indeed, this is a sign that Sloan, the author, is aware of his audience and knows how to keep them anticipatory for the subsequent actions.  As the plot developed, the mysteries and characters developed; you just had to keep reading in order to get to the root of this chaos.  Admittedly, I got frustrated; I wanted to know what happened and did not possess the patience at times.  However, I am glad that Sloan wrote this book in this manner as it gave the novel interest.

Additionally, this book presents very interesting themes, themes which many books have not attempted to discuss.  For example, the theme of technology and its advancement is strongly emphasized in the book.  Sloan presents different arguments of how technology advances and hinders the human race.  This theme and others are thought-provoking and require the audience to engage in their own analyses.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, to say the least.  Everything about this book is enjoyable.  Even though I was excited for the book to end so I could figure out the “grand mystery,” I was sad to flip to the last page.  I had genuinely grown attached to the characters and plot that I wanted it to continue!  Sadly, it is over.  However, I am hopeful that Sloan may possibly write more in the future (or maybe he has published other books) because he is truly a talented author!

My Rating:

★★★★★ 5/5 stars!

Recommendation:

I’d recommend this for my fellow bibliophiles!

Top Ten Books of 2013

Well, this post is long overdue.  However, coming up with my top 10 favorite books of the year was a hard task.  I read 35 books this year which was over my goal of 30; for many, this is not much, but I am a fulltime college student with a job and involvement in many extracurricular organizations.  Time is precious to me!  Here’s the list of my top 10 favorite books of this year in order (10 being the lowest and 1 being the highest)!

10.  One Child by Torey Hayden

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I was required to read this book for my special education course while in college, and I absolutely loved it.  It reaffirmed my desire to be a teacher so I could impact students similar to the way Torey impacted little Sheila’s life.  I highly recommend this book for anyone going into education or child care.  Our jobs aren’t easy, but our impacts are tremendous!

9.  All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki

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I was required to read this book for my American Literature since 1945 course, and I also loved it!  Ozekie beautifully pieces together the story of the love, determination, and companionship.  Her imagery is absolutely beautiful and enhances her prose.

8.  The Odyssey by Homer

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This is by far one of my favorite classics.  Naturally, I love Greek and Roman mythology so seeing Zeus, Poseidon, and Athena in this story was great.  The themes and characters were excellent, and this story truly withstands the test of time in my opinion.

7.  Sea by Heidi R. Kling

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I’m not the world’s biggest contemporary romance fan.  It takes a lot for me to believe the honesty of 90% of all Young Adult Contemporary Romances.  The romance in this book was so realistic.  Plus it takes place in Indonesia after the tsunami, and the main character is doing cleanup work.  AHH, finally!   A YA protagonist who thinks beyond herself.  This is a must read for all because its themes beyond the romance are pertinent to all our lives.  My review can be seen here.

6.  Too Fast by Alexia Haynes

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I received this book as an ARC and did not expect to love it as much as I did.  Additionally, this was my first New Adult book, and it had my swooning.  I loved the characters; they were flawed but perfect at the same time.  I really hope Alexia writes more in 2014 because I will read ANYTHING she writes.  My review can be seen here.

5.  The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

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This is one of my favorite Nicholas Sparks’s novels.  Typically, I am heartbroken by his endings, but this novel ended perfectly that I could be nothing but happy.  The characters are fantastic (Logan is AMAZING) and watching the development of the main characters’ relationship and them confronting their fears was so heartwarming.  My review can be seen here.

4.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I am extremely late to reading this novel.  I tend to hold out on many “popular books” because they always tend to disappoint me.  However, this book is far from disappointing.  I loved Charlie and was easy to relate to him.  At some point in our lives, we have all been wallflowers, and this story enabled me to accept and appreciate my introverted-ness.  My review can be seen here.

3.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Do I need to elaborate?  This book is beautiful, and all of us book-lovers are all like Liesel.  My review can be seen here.

2.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

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I took a Shakespeare course this past semester, and we were exposed to a variety of his work.  However, this is my favorite.  I loved Bottom and Puck!  The ending was hysterical, and I loved the last monologue at the end of the play.  I really want to see this performed because I LOVED it!

1.   Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

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Who would have thought that a YA Contemporary Romance would be my favorite book of this year?  I loved Brittany and Alex.  Even though this story is a stereotypical “star-crossed lovers” story, it was very authentic and original.  Beyond their romance, Brittany and Alex learned to confront and deal with their problems.  I look forward to continuing this series this year because I LOVED IT SO MUCH!

And there you have it!  My top 10 favorite books that I read in 2013.  I will be doing my top 5 disappointing reads in 2013 later.  My top ten books post will see you next year!!

What were some of your favorite books of 2013?

Book Review: Too Fast

Sorry about the lack of posts this past week!  I have been extremely exhausted from work.  Anyway, today is Saturday so that means it is time for a book review.  Saturday Book Reviews are part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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Twenty-year-old Savannah enjoys a one-time one-night stand because a real relationship would never fit into her busy schedule. Working two jobs and pursuing her degree takes all of her time. Besides, the guys she has dated haven’t been much better than the random barfly.

It’s a good thing Luke’s body is honed by the long hours of carpentry and construction because he carries the weight of his family on his shoulders. School hasn’t been an option for him since he dropped out to make the house payments his mother had failed to make.

Luke finds what he’s been longing for in a night with Savannah. She’s determined to stop with a one-night stand, but he wants more. Neither can deny the perfection of their passionate interludes, but with such imperfect lives, do they have any chance for a future together? Suddenly she’s losing her heart and it’s all happening much too fast.

Not recommended for readers under age 18 due to language and sexual content.-Goodreads summary

Publication Date: July 16, 2013.

Order your copy now: Amazon

Favorite Quote from the Book:

He stood, walked around the booth and pulled me to my feet.  ‘I love you too, Savannah.  So much.  And I know it’s fast.  Too fast, but so good.’  He pulled me against him, brushed my hair out of my face, and said, ‘Too damn good to stop now.’

MY THOUGHTS:

Judge the Book by its Cover:

To be honest the cover does not do this book any sort of justice; it makes the book look a trashy erotica novel.  I’m not a huge fan of this cover.

Things that Made Me Happy:

Well, this was officially my first New Adult novel, and I’m extremely pleased.  As a college student, I found this to be quite the perfect genre for me, as I sometimes find young adult books to be too immature and adult books tend to be irrelevant to my life.

First, I absolutely adored every character in this novel, particularly Savannah and Luke, our lovers.  I’m always hesitant when reading romance because 90% of the time the characters are cloaked with extreme desperation for love and acceptance, which make them look rather pathetic.  However, Savannah and Luke were some of the toughest and truthful romance characters that I have ever read.  They both have serious skeletons in their closets, which affected their daily lives, but they found comfort and solace in the other’s company.  When one was suffering, the other was supporting, which reflected a relationship’s idealistic qualities.  Moreover, the characters’ flaws made the relationship more believable.  No relationship is perfect!  Therefore, Savannah and Luke learned to confront their problems and remained true to the other.

As previously stated the relationship felt believable.  Savannah and Luke underwent a series of fortunate and unfortunate events that they confronted together; additionally, I experienced the heartwarming and heartbreaking moments with them.  While times got tense, Savannah and Luke were able to find the comfort within their relationship.  As this is how most healthy relationships work, I was extremely satisfied with these romance elements.

Overall, Too Fast was short and sweet but an impactful romance that offered beautiful glimpses into the powers of love, loss, and companionship.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

Nothing!  I loved this book; it was such a surprise!

My Rating:

★★★★ 5/5 stars!

Recommendation:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy New Adult Contemporary Romance.

*This book was sent to me via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!* 

 

Book Review: Sweet

It’s Saturday, so that means that it is time for a book review!  Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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Witnessing a brutal murder at work is only the beginning of Celia’s problems. The fact that the victim is a vampire only proves to complicate her life even more. The vampires of New England have always had an undetected existence among humans but with the unprovoked death of one of their own, the lust for revenge has begun. Celia’s concerns are magnified when a hunter from Dallas arrives in town. With Jay’s sexy smile and rugged ways, Celia finds herself wanting to spend time with him despite being mysteriously linked to the nest that is threatening to become extinct if Jay gets his way. When four bodies are found drained of blood; Jay teams up with a local bunch to take out all the undead which coincidentally, includes her boyfriend Victor. Celia won’t stand seeing anything happen to Victor but refuses to hurt Jay as well. Confusion, lust, rage and violence intertwine as worlds collide. Celia will soon discover that her neat little existence is not what it seems as her cryptic past and present start to unravel.-Goodreads summary

Favorite Quote from the Book:

‘Anything gets tough, you push it away.  Anything that threatens your little bubble, you lash out ’cause that’s the only way you know how to handle it.’

MY THOUGHTS:

Judge the Book by its Cover:

I’m not the biggest fan of this cover.  In addition to the plot summary, I find it to be misleading.

Things that Made Me Happy:

Wilkerson wrote in a way that was easy to comprehend; her writing reflected a conversational tone, which made it a quick and easy read. 

The last 30 pages of the novel were tense, and I wanted to read to the book’s conclusion.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

Oh, I hate when I struggle to find pros for a book but can assert numerous cons…well, here we go.

As mentioned, the writing style of this book was extremely rudimentary.  While it made this an easy read, I found there to be a complete disregard for basic grammar and mechanics.  Had these errors been contained to just the dialogue, I would not have felt quite so perturbed, as the conversation would reflect typical slang formatting.  Rather, the writing style, primarily in the non-dialogue passages, was too lackadaisical and unprofessional.  In fact every page of this book had at least one error, which made me, an English major, cry.  I could not believe that the publishing company had such a disregard for all of these mistakes.

Additionally, I was not a fan of any of the characters-both the ones that readers were supposed to like and the ones that the readers were supposed to dislike.  First, I found the main character, Celia, to be too much of an annoyance and quite contradictory.  Frequently, she snapped at other characters and created havoc.  However, at one point in the book she stated, “‘Believe me, I do not like drama.'”  I could not even take that line seriously because up until that point she had started every fight with her boyfriend, Victor, and other love interest, Jay, for ridiculous reasons, and believe me, there were many arguments.  Additionally, she treated men terribly.  All she ever stated about Victor and Jay pertained to their looks and how desperately she wanted to sleep with them, which made all the romance elements of this book to be laugh-worthy.  Speaking of romance, let’s focus on her boyfriend, Victor, as a character.  He was probably the guy your parents don’t want to meet.  He was manipulative and had to be the person in control at all times.  If there ever was a moment where he felt inferior, he disappeared-just like Celia (reference above quote).  He was detestable.  Equally repulsive was the love interest Jay.  Surprise, surprise, there was a love triangle in the book.  Jay mirrored every quality of Victor, which made Celia’s rash decisions to run to Jay every time Victor upset her completely bogus.  No rational person would surround himself or herself with an individual who was identical to his or her enemy.  Regardless, these three made a stereotypical love-triangle, which made readers either be Team Victor, Team Jay, or Team You Should Probably be Single because You Seem Slightly Unstable, Celia.  Why does this sound eerily familiar?

That’s right!  It sounds familiar because this plot has been executed many times: girl has guy; new guy comes into the equation; old guy and new guy are enemies; girl has feelings for new guy, while still leading on the old guy; girl chooses who we all know she will choose.  This book was just too much like every other post-Twilight and Twilight fanfiction that I have ever read.  I was disappointed because I appreciate an author’s boldness to step outside the boundaries and create a fantastical world, but that does not happen in Sweet.

My Rating:

★★ 2/5 stars!

Overall, this book was a disappointment.  I was anticipating a new vampire world only to be greeted by one that I have visited many times.

Recommendation:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy Twilight fanfiction.  I would not recommend this book to those who enjoy paranormal/vampire novels, as I feel this book would greatly aggravate you for its lack of originality.  

*Please note, I was provided this book from the author and publisher via Read it and Reap in exchange for an honest review.*

Friday Reads (7/26/13)

Happy Friday!  The weekend is finally here!  It’s time for Friday Reads, in which I share with you all what I plan on reading this weekend.  Friday Reads is a query that was started on Twitter and has been carried over to the book blogging/vlogging community.  It is also a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it click here.

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Witnessing a brutal murder at work is only the beginning of Celia’s problems. The fact that the victim is a vampire only proves to complicate her life even more. The vampires of New England have always had an undetected existence among humans but with the unprovoked death of one of their own, the lust for revenge has begun. Celia’s concerns are magnified when a hunter from Dallas arrives in town. With Jay’s sexy smile and rugged ways, Celia finds herself wanting to spend time with him despite being mysteriously linked to the nest that is threatening to become extinct if Jay gets his way. When four bodies are found drained of blood; Jay teams up with a local bunch to take out all the undead which coincidentally, includes her boyfriend Victor. Celia won’t stand seeing anything happen to Victor but refuses to hurt Jay as well. Confusion, lust, rage and violence intertwine as worlds collide. Celia will soon discover that her neat little start to unravel.-Goodreads summary

I received Sweet from the author and publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.  Currently, I am 50% into it and find it to be a fairly easy read.  After completing The Book Thief, Wilkerson’s conversational writing style is easy to comprehend, which makes this book a fairly quick read.  Despite its writing style, I do have some issues with the book, which I’m sure will be detailed in my review.  I hope to be finished with it tonight, as I am trying to complete many of my ARCs and write my reviews!

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When 13-year-old Gretchen Harris’s mother is murdered at Gretchen’s 8th Grade graduation party, everyone in the town of Delphi, California, suspects a power struggle within the Oculus Society: Delphi’s version of the Junior League.  Gretchen’s best friend, Jessica Shaw, might even hold the key to finding the culprit withThe Plotinus Ability: the Oculus Society’s jealously guarded secret power to trade souls, which hinges on a kiss. Gretchen’s hope at finding the murderer ends in tragedy when Ariel Miller—the class outcast—stalks Gretchen and Jessica and surreptitiously films them exchanging a kiss to test if the Plotinus Ability is real, not knowing their motives. The ensuing YouTube video (“Popular Girls = Secret Lovers”) goes viral, Gretchen’s and Jessica’s lives are further shattered, and they vanish from Delphi.

Flash forward two years later: Ariel is suddenly the most popular junior in town, but wracked with guilt over what she did to Gretchen and Jessica.  When both girls reappear after their mysterious absence, Ariel finds herself pawn, suspect, and key player in their scheme to bring the murderer to justice.-Goodreads summary

I was provided Projection from the publishing company (Soho Teen) via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  I have approximately three weeks to get this book read and reviewed, so I definitely need to start this one!  I’m looking forward to the mystery elements in this story.  Of course, there will be a review published in the future!  Hopefully, I get this finished this weekend so I can check another ARC off my list!

*What are you reading this weekend?  Comment below!*

Friday Reads (7/5/13)

Happy Friday!  Woohoo you successfully got through another week!  Friday Reads, a popular query that originated on Twitter, enables me to share what I plan on reading this weekend.  As I do not post on Sundays, it allows you to be updated and know what I hope to accomplish in my reading endeavors.  Additionally, Friday Reads is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury—including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens—are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.

The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil—Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began withThe Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?-Goodreads summary

It has taken me nearly a week to read this book-something very atypical of me during summertime.  However, with work, the Fourth of July, and helping my family, I have been quite busy!  In the moments that I do get to read this book, I thoroughly enjoy it.  As this is the second book in the Marbury Lens series/trilogy/no idea, I actually prefer it to its predecessor.  The world building is fantastic; the plot is enigmatic and intriguing.  I simply can’t wait to finish this.  I have nearly 100 pages left and should finish it later tonight.  I want to review it immediately so anticipate a thorough book review on this book tomorrow! 

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It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.-Goodreads summary

I just discovered that there are zombies in this novel!  This will be my first “zombie book,” and I’m very excited.  Overall, I have not heard too much about this novel, but it is a very popular novel in my library.  

I’m going to be honest.  I’m a little hesitant about reading this book immediately after Passenger.  As stated Smith has done a fantastic job with the descriptions and world building.  Therefore, I’m nervous that this book, my first zombie book, will simply be average for me because this author may not compare to Smith’s world.  Who knows?!  I plan on going in with an open mind and hopefully will be blown away!

*What are the books you plan on reading this weekend?  Comment below!*

Thirsty Thursday: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Hello, lovely readers and Happy Thursday!  Today’s Thirsty Thursday post is about a book that I am super excited to read.  Thirsty Thursday is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.-Goodreads summary

I saw RinceyReads on YouTube do a book review of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, and I immediately knew that I had to read this book.

While the book deals with a serious issue of 15 year-old Bee trying to find her missing mother, Bernadette, the novel also seems to reflect a comedic and sarcastic tone and, at the same time, impart valuable messages to its readers.  That sounds all too good to be true.  However, I found that many people have also enjoyed this book.  A follower on my Tumblr book blog informed me that it was “worth all the hype.”  Additionally, people on Goodreads claim that this book is a fantastic, lighthearted, and humorous read that will surely leave a multitude of impressions on its reader.  Likewise, I also like how this book’s ratings aren’t too high as I always seem to be underwhelmed by extremely hyped books.

Overall, I anticipate reading this book!  If you have read this book, let me know what you thought of it!

*What book(s) are you looking forward to reading?  Comment below!*

Also, Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow Americans!  God bless the USA!