Back to reality

So I’m back. Mexico was afuckingmazing. I mean

Blues

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Beach time

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Heaven

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Plus I had this hottie all to myself:

georgie

Oh, and this happened:

"Gentle"?!?!? 😂 #umno #iwillcutyou #lookmaimfamous #librarylife #likeaboss

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Still in vacation mode, I’m afraid, to that’s all for today! Later gators 😉

-xo, R

 

 

 

Beach reading with a sexy philistine

No review this week, due partly to what I’m afraid is the beginning of a dreadful book slump, myriad career-related stresses, and my  “””boyrfriend.””” I love him, but, well, every step a fucking adventure. Ah, modern love.

Anyway. We’re going on vacation next week. I know, right? To Mexico, god help me. Sun, and heat and humidity. The things we do for the broad-shouldered, ill-tempered men who have captured our hearts, eh?

The kicker, and the point of this post, is that this gorgeous philistine has had the audacity to insist I bring no books, or, if I must, bring only a tablet or e-reader. To which I can only respond with:

Oh, sweet summer child! You’re (maybe) dating a librarian – and you think she’s not gonna smuggle at least one paper book with her? Yeah, no.

I mean, we all remember the great e-reader debate of 2011, in which I enumerated the many pros and cons of e-readers(if not, click here to relive the glorious insanity). Although I think I came out pretty strongly in favour of my shiny new kobo back then, these days I tend to do about 75% of my reading with physical, paper and ink books. Gasp, right? Fucking hipsters with their analogue paper and ink. Srsly tho. We’re going to a beach. Beach + electronics = crying. And what if the power goes out or I lose my charger (it’s one of my particular talents, losing chargers)? What if I want to read a book I’ve bought but haven;t downloaded and there’s no wifi? What if I end up getting stuck on top of a pile of Mayan ruins, surrounded by man-eating vines, and my battery dies? What if I need to throw something at someone? An e-reader just doesn’t have the necessary weight to do the necessary damage, man.

Wait, now. Jokes aside, kiddies, that has a whiff of truthiness to it. Weight. That’s it, isn’t it? That’s the difference. Paper and ink books feel… weightier. More real, somehow. They’re an experience – or rather, they are the manifestation of the experience the story tells. You go on a journey with a paper and ink book in way you just can’t with an e-book, simply because you hold it in your hands, touch it, hold it, sleep with it, move through it. It’s almost like… like you become a book, too. If the paper and ink book is the container of the story it tells, as we read, we too contain the book.  Holy Fahrenheit 451! WE ARE THE BOOKS!

Or maybe I’m my English major/master bullshitter is showing.

Anyway, the point is, I’m bringing some goddamn books – plus my e-reader. Suck it, G, you hot bastard. It took a while to decide, but here’s what I’ve settled on (although I’m not leaving til Sunday, who knows how many books I’ll buy in the next five days, lol): The Flight by Gaito Gazdanov, The Beguiled by Thomas Cullinan, and Final Girls by Riley Sager.

vacay reds

An obscure Russian novel from one of my favourite publishers, a Southern Gothic historical potboiler, and a brand-spanking new horror by a debut author. I am a book-selecting genius, guys, bow to me.

Ok, well anyway-

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I beg your pardon? You’re going on a vacation with this broad-shouldered reprobate? Unchaperoned?? To MEXICO??? Absolutely not. I forbid it. Cats before bros, you love-sick fool! Who will get the books from the top shelves for me??

Uh oh. Gotta go calm down my cat, guys. Wish me luck. He’s got a nasty temper.

The next time you hear from me I’ll be hiding from my nemesis, the sun, and avoiding sand/surf/people. Let the fun times begin!

-xo, R

 

 

 

I (don’t) choo-choo-choose you: A Fun-Size Review

Salutations, good citizens of the internet! Boy, I am really crushing this whole blogging thing, eh? It definitely has nothing at all to do with the amount of free time I have as an under-employed, under-paid, and under-utilized “”information technician”” at the shitty little library where I’m currently working (Srsly tho, my heart is in Malvern #TPLforever)

Heads up, another FUN SIZE REVIEW coming your way – today, it’s The Chosen, by the one and only J.R. Ward. I have Thoughts. Remember – 100 words or less. Let’s do this.

ROBYN’S FUN-SIZE REVIEW OF THE CHOSEN BY J.R. WARD: No. Just… no. What happened here? How did it come to this? I remember the days when I literally sacrificed sleep – during grad school, mind you – to binge-read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I mean, let’s be honest, the last three books weren’t great, and I could barely finish reading The Shadows, but come on! This is Xcor and Layla! This is the book we’ve been waiting for FOR AGES!!! And it was fucking. terrible. Poor pacing, shitty characterizations, an absurd story, no conflict, an disappointing and predictable conclusion, and, worst of all, lukewarm sex scenes. For shame, J.R.

Same, Voight. Same.

Later, bishes.

-xo, R

 

 

 

You win this round, bookstagram

Greetings, earthlings! It is I, your favourite punk-ass book-jocky, back again to throw some books at you. No time for pleasantries. DUCK!

Today I’m reviewing that is currently more instagram famous than <INSERT POPULAR YOUNG FAMOUS PERSON HERE>. If you’ve been hanging around the bookish part of instagram (obviously nick-named bookstagram because bookworms love nothing more than a good portmanteau) in the last couple of weeks, you’ve seen the striking cover of one particular book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Lucky for you, I read it, and I have some Thoughts. Let’s boo-boo.

Cover Talk: Fuck yeah. That green is definitely working for me. Do I sense a successor to millennial pink? (Shades of Scarlett O’Hara’s curtain dress, too, right?) Also, sexy without being sexualized. Thumbs up.

The Summary Heist: From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

Robyn Says: Well that was unexpected. I’ve read a few other Reid’s other books and was feeling pretty ambivalent about this one, to be honest, so I went into this thinking it would be in the same chick-lit vein – well-written, to be sure, but still pretty light.

This was definitely not as fluffy as her other books felt, though it was still very readable. I got through it in about two days. I have some issues, which I’ll get into in a second, but overall, I quite liked it.

I think a large part of the draw was the setting of this novel. I’m a sucker for anything about classic Hollywood. However, it was sometimes hard to pinpoint exactly when the story was taking place. I think Evelyn gets her start at the tail-end of the second world war or in the early post-war years. Hollywood in the 50s… oh, the drama! For me, the story was most compelling when it focused on the backdoor dealings of the showbiz industry. I love me some cut-throatedness.

The characters were, by and large, pretty well-rounded. I think the structure of the story allowed for some flexibility in that sense, too. Monique, whose point of view we get in the frame narrative, is relatively unobtrusive. Her narrative is by far the least interesting of the novel. However, having the rest of the story told in the first person by Evelyn means we only get her perspective, so it’s understandable that some characters, like Harry and Ruby, aren’t given the attention I think they deserved. Evelyn is the star, without a doubt, and if you don’t like her, you won’t like this novel. Luckily, I think that’s pretty unlikely.

Evelyn is an awesome character. She’s badass, feminist, ruthless, weak, selfish, fallible, and despite all of this, ultimately sympathetic. It’s all about shades of grey, isn’t it? I really enjoyed reading about her rise to stardom.

This novel is also an excellent example of how representation is possible even in historical fiction. Monique is mixed-race, Evelyn is a Lantina ‘passing’ for white, and there is a broad spectrum of human sexuality represented by the large cast of characters.

My main problems with the novel are the main mystery, which really fell flat for me, and the pacing. I didn’t care at all about Monique and her connection to Evelyn, when it was revealed in the final act, felt like it was just kind of shoved in to create a clichéd ‘a-ha’ moment. The pacing was off in the last third, too, as though the story wasn’t interested in Evelyn after she was no longer in the limelight.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book. It would make an excellent vacation read, and it might even prompt some readers to start exploring the big studio films of the 40s and 50s.

Verdict: Read it. Pretty damn good.

Best lines: (God, I suck at writing down quotes. Oh well. Yet another reason to love goodreads, eh?) “I’m under absolutely no obligation to make sense to you.” (p. ?)

Fancasting couch:

Evelyn – Lauren Bacall

Monique – Rashida Jones

Book Boyfriend material: The puppy?

Rating: 7 and a half out of 10 little gold nakey men statues.

ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT: If I were famous, I’d double-cross everyone just to get to the top. I want me some accolades, bish.

Uh-oh, here’s Titus… let’s hear what he has to say…

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“The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great, and they know I know it.:” Clark Gable, the King of Hollywood, said that, Librarian. I rather think that’s why you love me so much, too.

 

Aiight, baybays, I’m off. Gotta plan a vacay with my dragon-slayer. Off to somewhere sunny, god help me… but at least I get to buy some books for the beach!

-xo, R

 

 

 

Dolla dolla bill y’all

Hey space cadets, how’s life on mars? Nothing new in Robyn-land, except for a case of rare but entirely real ridente gena dolore – smiling cheek pain, look it up. I blame the broad-shouldered dragon-slayer and his apparently complete and utter power he has over my smiling muscles.

Anyway. Today I’m reviewing a newish book. It’s Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith. Onwards!

Cover Talk: You know what? Imma go ahead and give this one a thumbs up. It’s bright and colourful, it’s fun, and the animals are a nod to a (teeny tiny) detail in the story.

The Summary Heist: Let luck find you.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Robyn Says: As soon as I heard the premise of this story I was really excited to read it. I think it’s an excellent idea – I mean, who among us has not fantasied one or two or a million times about the havoc we would wreak if we won the jackpot, amirite? Unfortunately, this book didn’t live up to my expectations. Was it bad? No, not at all. It just wasn’t good enough to remember much about it, even a week after reading it. This was one of those books that I read every word of, but feel like I just skimmed. It’s pretty fluffy, too, considering the serious issues it touches on. Although maybe ‘touches on’ isn’t really accurate. ‘Glances at while sprinting past’ is probably more fitting. One character has lost both parents, another has a parent struggling with addiction, and yet, there’s no depth to the way these issues are addressed. It was all very Lifetime movie-ish.

I didn’t really care for the characters either, except for the protagonist’s cousin whose name I can’t even remember (was it Leo? It might have been Leo… or maybe Max…). There was a puppy, too. I mean, I liked the puppy, obviously.

I guess my biggest problem was that the protagonist, Alice, was really judgemental about the way her friend and secret crush, Teddy, spent the money… but nothing he did was really that crazy. C’mon. So he buys some gadgets and the entire building where he lives and takes some trips. Jesus Murphy, if I had won the lottery at 18, you can bet your ass it would be a helluva lot crazier than that. At the very least I’d have put some contracts out on my enemies. I mean, best-case scenario, teenage mafia queen with two pet tigers, a couple of AK-47s, and literal sacks of diamonds. So yeah. Easy on the judgy, Alice.

Verdict: Skip it. Not worth the time when there are so many other awesome books out there just waiting to be seen by your eyeballs.

Best lines: Nah.

Fancasting couch: Nerp.

Book Boyfriend material: The puppy?

Rating: 3 out of 10 giant novelty cheques.

ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT: Don’t think you were gonna get out without a little BNL…

I’m not even sorry. Also, #Canadian.

Okay, star-children, I guess that’s it–

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I believe it was Dorothy Parker who said, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” So chew on that, librarian. Now I must sleep for another 12 hours, please keep your love-sick sighs to a minimum.

O…k… um, thanks, Titus?

Alright, guys, as a great poet once said, it’s the freakin’ weekend baby imma bout to have me some fun! Go forth and do good partying!

xo, R

 

 

 

Aw yeah boi, it’s JPIC time

Holla holla get a dolla! How goes it, nerds? Lemme tell ya, I have been bogged down with children’s programming (snort). I mean, you guys have no idea how much work goes into planning these storytimes (snicker). Shit, my current library even gives us a month off from delivering programs so we won’t be overwhelmed with the effort of coming up with the next “session’s” programs (hearty guffaw).

Yeah, I’m messing with you. Not about the month off from delivering programs, that shit is actually true, and yes, you’re right, it is bullshit. Bish I’ll plan a babytime in my sleep. Shit I’ll give you one now: song, stretch, rhyme, book, finger play, rhyme, song, book, felt board, song, book, good bye and fuck off you little fuckers. BOOM. Best program ever, fight me.

Segway segue!

So I quit twitter last week while in the middle of a one-sided lovers’ tiff (don’t worry, all’s well with me and the dragon-slayer) and GOOD GOD, that has been the best decision I’ve made since growing out my mohawk. I used to think I couldn’t quit twitter because of the amount of news, both bookish and otherwise, it was providing, as well as a hearty dose of digital FOMO. Guys, let me tell you, I was SO WRONG. I just get my bookish news from other online sources (w e b s i t e s), and for details about our current spiral into a terrifying global dystopia, I simply read – wait for it – a newspaper. Can you believe it? Crazy, right??

The best effects of quitting twitter have been: 1) I no longer exist at a baseline 9/10 stress level, and 2) free time. SO MUCH FREE TIME. I’ve read 6 books in 6 days. That’s a BOOK A DAY, people. Okay, so one was a middle grade and one was poetry, but still. I’ve haven’t written anything, but fuck you, we won’t talk about that.

Unfortunately, all of the books I read were kind of meh, so today, cowering behind the shield of shiny new (temporary) title of Children’s Librarian (okay, so Information Services Technician in the children’s department, and fuck you, you know it’s the same fucking thing, fucking bureaucrats amirite?), imma talk about some of the kids’ books I’ve been reading as I  get these storytimes all prepped up. (FYI, for you rubes who don’t know the lingo, JPIC is a common code for Junior Picture Books.) Ready?

1. Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

Not a Box

Hated it. This is one of those artsy books that hipsters buy for their kids because they’re different and “”artsy”” (ugh) but in reality, the kids don’t look at twice, and there goes hipster parent’s $18.99 down the drain.

2. Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins

Rude Cakes

Excellent. Cakes and rudeness, two things I can really get behind. Adorable illustrations and a good lesson, and simple enough for even a baby time, I think.

3. Rain! by Linda Ashman and Christian Robinson

Rain!

Really liked this one – old school illustrations that I think would still appeal to kids, and an excellent story. Really simple language, with lots of repetition.

4. Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes

Did not like this – in fact, put me on the record as being firmly Team Do-Not-Put-Songs-In-Your-Books-Unless-You’re-J.R.R.-Motherfuckin-Tolkien.

5. There Are Cats in This Book  by Viviane Schwarz

There Are Cats in This Book

Okay, so I really liked this one, but when I used it in my pet-themed storytime, I don’t think the kids were really feeling it. Granted, it was the second book, and they may have been a little keyed up from my amazing felt-boarding skills, but I think maybe this is more of a one-on-one book. The book is pretty interactive, which I liked, with the titular cats addressing the reader as well as lots of flap to lift.

6. Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

Oh No, George!

Ah, a refrain with which I myself am, alas, very familiar. Oh no, George, indeed. Lol. (Jokes aside, pretty good. Not a huge fan of the illustration style, but the kids dug it.)

7. Don’t Splash the Sasquatch! by Kent Redeker

Don't Splash the Sasquatch!

This was excellent – I’m definitely using it in my first storytime of the summer, which will be, in a stunning demonstration of jaw-dropping creativity, summer-themed. Lots of silly action words and delightful illustrations. 13/10 would use for storytime.

8. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

The Book with No Pictures

Nah. Alternate title: You Bought This Book Because You’re A Hipster and You Don’t Actually Care What Your Kids Want to Read.

9. If You Give a Mouse a Brownie  by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond

If You Give a Mouse a Brownie

Hells yeah. A fun little book that is kinda like chaos theory for kids. If you give that little fucken mouse a brownie, WHO KNOWS WHAT COULD HAPPEN?? Part of a series, apparently. Looking forward to using these.

10. Birdsong by James Sturm

The most intellectually interesting book on this list – consists of no words at all. Basically the opposite of the the B.J. Novak hipster nonsense above. Each spread has a picture on the right hand side, and a blank space on the left page, where you would expect to see words in a traditional storybook. Apparently, this would provide the opportunity for the child to tell the story themselves. However, while I would absolutely love this for a one-on-one storytime, I can’t see any way this would work in a program 😦

Alright! That’s it for today’s brief foray into JPIC. Hope you enjoyed the wild ride. My shift finishes in 17 minutes, and I plan on spending that time scouring food blogs for recipes to win the undying devotion of my broad-shoulder, ill-tempered lover.

Peace bishes!

-xo, R

 

 

Shhhhhh: 10 Things No One Ever Told Me About Being a Librarian

Hey hey. it’s me, your friendly-ish neighbourhood spiderman spiderwoman book-slinger librarian! Since I have no book to review this week (blame love and it’s unexpected annihilation of all brain cells not occupied with mooning, swooning, and pontooning (okay, I needed a rhyme, screw you, it’s the rule of 3, don’t blame me) (but we are renting a pontoon this weekend, that’s not even a lie), I thought I’d write something short, mostly because I want to be able to say I blogged every week this month. Huzzah for illusions of productivity!

So. Here is my list of 10 Things No One Ever Told Me About Being a Librarian, in no particular order:

1. The modern public library is all about being an inclusive, welcoming, public space. This means that you, a modern public librarian, will have to smile way more than you were prepared for.

2. A lot of people aren’t that nice. This sometimes includes your co-workers. When this fact becomes too overwhelming, nothing helps more than sticking your nose in book and huffing that sweet, sweet book smell.

3. A lot of people are surprisingly nice – and kids are the nicest. Dude, even if you don’t like kids, nothing makes you feel prouder to be a librarian than when you make a kid smile just by finding the book she wants.

4. You will sometimes go weeks without having to venture into the stacks, and this will never cease to amaze and sadden you. Being a librarian involves almost no shelving at all. Working at the reference desk and running programs are great, but sometimes, all you want is to be able to linger among the spines. Book spines, that is, you weirdo.

5. When you do have to step into the stacks, you will find yourself reciting the alphabet song to yourself under your breath. Especially when you have to re-shelve something. And you’ll have to restart the song for every single item. Without exception.

6. Cardigans. All the cardigans. You don’t buy them, you see. They find you, creeping into your closet and your bureau, calling their brothers and sisters to join them, until one morning, you open your closet before work and narrowly escape being crushed by a cascading avalanche of wool, cashmere, cotton-polyester, and, most surprisingly of all, mohair.

7. Nothing is more satisfying than shushing someone, and knowing that you have fulfilled the prophecy and reached your final evolutionary stage as a librarian.

8. Never. Enough. Crayons. #ChildrensLibrarianProblems

9. A very specific type of patron (and yes, you still call them patrons despite this absurd “client”/”customer” jargon-fuckery) will somehow misread your position, displayed clearly as Librarian on your name-tag, as cell-phone expert. Depending on how many cups of tea you’ve managed to have that day, you will either correct them or just sigh and do your best impression of an Apple ‘Genius’ (snort).

10. Your entire family will expect you to be their research bitch.

And one more *bonus* Thing No One Ever Told Me About Being a Librarian:

11. You will love every single day of your work life, once you finally manage to hustle your way into the impenetrable fortress of the public library union, and in doing so, will become one of those annoying types that post inspirational quotes in instagram and never shut up about bliss and shit. And you’ll secretly think often about that quote, usually attributed (incorrectly, as it turns out #ResearchBitch) to Confucius: “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” (Arthur Szathmary actually said this, fyi). Because it’s true. And hey, if you’re lucky, you might even fall in love at the library. But that’s another story.

Take care, teddy bears!

xoxo, R

WHAT IS LOVE (love)

Bonjour, mes petits chauves-souris! I hope you’re all doing well – not good, because remember:

I myself am in a bit of a temper, because I just got a new job in the library where I already work as a casual employee. BUT ROBYN, you are probably shouting, ISN’T THAT A GOOD THING? I mean… I guess? It’s a job I’m overqualified for, it pays less than what I made at my previous job, it’s part-time, and, wait for it, it’s temporary. Yay. But hey, it’s better than nothing, right? So bust out the muthafucken champagne, I guess.

Today I’m reviewing another finale in a much-loved series. Thankfully, it will be a bit more positive than my last review. It’s Jenny Han’s Always and Forever, Lara Jean. Let’s do this!

Cover Talk: I LOVE the covers of this series so much, and I think this one might actually be my favourite (although the cover of the second book, P.S. I Still Love You, is my actual #stylegoals forever). So pretty, so clean, and perfectly suited to the story.

The Summary Heist: Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Robyn Says: This was an excellent book, and the perfect conclusion to the series. As my stolen summary states, this book was a surprise addition, turning a duo into a trio of excellent contemporary YA romances. The previous book didn’t feel like the ending Lara Jean deserved – I’m very happy to say that this book, however, does the job wonderfully.

Everything I love about this series is present, even magnified. Lara Jean is earnest and flawed, feminine and tough, sweet and (mostly unknowingly) heartless. Peter is… well, Peter is Peter, my smol son who can do no wrong. There are pretty dresses and cookies and kisses, there are misunderstandings, reunions, and farewells. There’s even a wedding! And Kitty is still sassy af.

I think the best thing about the Lara Jean books is that they’re light without being vapid. Yes, there are conflicts and obstacles, but there’s none of the life-or-death we-gotta-save-the-world-or-we-all-die YA angst (which I love, too, don’t get me wrong). I read these books with a smile on my face, and when life intrudes and demands my intention, I get to work with a warm feeling in my usually ice-cold stone heart.

I do think this book deals with some slightly heavier issues than the previous two. No spoilers because I love you, but it’s not all smooth sailing as Lara Jean finishes her senior year. There was one small part that I do want to discuss – it’s barely more than a sentence, and many readers might not pick up on it, but it will definitely be the thing I remember most about Always and Forever, Lara Jean (besides the cookies – this time, it’s the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie™).

As Lara Jean is considering moving to Williamsburg to attend college in the coming year, she gets excited about the possibility of working at Colonial Williamsburg – and then immediately wonders if persons of colour can work as historical re-enactors. As a person of, ahem, ‘ambiguous ethnic origins,’ this hit me like a carnival High Striker game sledge-hammer. This is the kind of small question that POC must constantly ask ourselves as we navigate a society that is largely hostile and at best indifferent to anyone who looks Other. </degrassi-after-school-special-teachable-moment>

Verdict: Read it – but first, if you haven’t already, read the others in the series. They’re as good as this one, and if you haven’t read them, you really can’t read this one. Get thee to a library!

Best lines: Okay, so you know how I usually skip this part? Well, today I have THREE for you, you lucky bastards. Here we go:

– “Is this how it goes? You fall in love, and nothing seems truly scary anymore, and life is one big possibility?” (no, Lara Jean, falling in love makes everything seem EXTRA scary, believe me #IShouldn’tHaveTextedThat)

– “I have a feeling that when I’m Stormy’s age, these everyday moments will be what I remember: Peter’s head bent, biting into a chocolate chip cookie; the sun coming through the cafeteria window, bouncing off his brown hair; him looking at me.” (*sob* and the way he calls me babe, and how he makes sure I have enough water to drink, and the way his shoulders look, and–)

– “Actually, judging by Pinterest alone, I’m pretty sure a lot of people would look forward to hanging out in such a beautiful library.” (WORD.)

Fancasting couch: Don’t you think the girl on the cover is divine? Her names is Helen Chin (she was on Jenny Han’s instagram). However, since I have absolutely no knowledge of the young uns currently burning up the interwebs, I turned, as always, to tumblr to help me out, and found some edits instead. Enjoy:

Book Boyfriend material: Oh Peter, you sweet little so-and-so. *blushes*

Rating: 9 out of 10 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies™

ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT: I used to be afraid that actually falling in love wouldn’t be as good as reading about falling in love, but hey, whaddya know, it is. *swoons*

Okay, well, I guess that’s it–

So this is all it takes, Librarian? The adolescent affections of one broad-shouldered man-baby and you no longer lavish me with the incessant and all-consuming love I deserve? Alas, as Verdi famously said, la donna è mobile. Cruel, cold-hearted book-witch! 

AWWWWW T! I STILL LOVE YOU!!!

Brb, gonna go cuddle my kitty.

Addio, i miei piccoli pipistrelli! Happy reading!

xo, R

A Court of Meh and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hello hello, my sickeningly sweet funfetti cupcakes! Today, I bring you a spoiler-free gif review of a much-anticipated conclusion to a beloved series, which will be released this Tuesday.

Yep, you guessed it – it’s A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas.

Kermit flail, right? My pre-order came early and I tore this bastard in about 2 days – and this was with work and boyfriend-mandated anime marathons, too. And now I come to you, my good bookish internet friends, to give you my Hot Take. Let’s boo-boo!

Cover Talk: I hate these covers so much. They’re so juvenile. Especially for books that make pretty liberal use of some choice four-letter words.

The Summary HeistLooming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Robyn Says:

Verdict: Meh. If you’ve read the other two and liked them, you know you’re gonna read it. But I bet you won’t like it.

Best lines: Bish please, you know I didn’t take the time to write down any quotes.

Book Boyfriend material: Cassian x Robyn 4 eva

Rating: Five out of ten [REDACTED] (spoiler-free, remember?)

ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT: You know what’s fun? Picking an “A Court of” title for your own life. Mine would be A Court of Books and Rage.

Book Cat is currently sleeping on my knees, but I’m sure if he were awake, he’d have nothing but shade to throw at my low-brow reading choices. I’ll let him sleep.

Until next time, friend-os. Happy reading!

xo, R

 

 

 

 

Now the witch is back…

…and there’s hell to pay.

Yes, I’m back. What, you didn’t think I had abandoned my poor blog, did you? No, of course! Just the usual benign neglect.

Right to business today, I’m afraid. No time for pleasantries, heart-to-hearts, or spiritual awakenings. This is a short review of a short – but powerful – story by Stefan Zweig, “Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman.” Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Cover Talk: Very pretty. Pushkin Press, who has been publishing Zweig’s works in the past few years, is cleverly adhering to a consistent style, one which I really like. It’s the perfect blend of vintage and modern.

The Summary HeistThe less I felt in myself, the more strongly I was drawn to those places where the whirligig of life spins most rapidly.

So begins an extraordinary day in the life of Mrs C – recently bereaved and searching for excitement and meaning. Drawn to the bright lights of a casino, and the passion of a desperate stranger, she discovers a purpose once again but at what cost?

In this vivid and moving tale of a compassionate woman, and her defining experience, Zweig explores the power of intense love, overwhelming loneliness and regret that can last for a lifetime.

Robyn Says: Before I got any further with this review, I have to mention Wes Anderson’s film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I love that movie so much – I rewatch it all the time – and while it is an original screenplay, Anderson acknowledges Stefan Zweig in the credits as an “inspiration” for the movie.

As soon as I left the theatre – literally in the parking lot of the theatre, actually – I googled Zweig and bought 3 of his books. He’s experienced a little bit of a surge in popularity since the film, and I’m so glad. He deserves to be included in the lists of great short-story writers, alongside Chekhov, Maupassant, and Mansfield.

This is a tiny book – barely even a novella, if we’re being honest, but, like everything else of Zweig’s that I’ve read, it packs a hell of a punch. It’s a story within a story, told by the titular Mrs C. to an unnamed narrator. I won’t discuss the plot, as to say anything more would spoil the story, so I’ll just say that it’s not a surprising journey, but it is one that’s incredibly moving, and one that, for me at least, has lingered in my mind ever since I finished reading.

If you’ve never read Zweig before, you’re in for a treat. While it’s not my favourite of his works, it does have all of the things I love about his writing: deft characterizations, insightful observations, and stunningly gorgeous writing. It’s lush, rich, decadent language – none of your terse post-modern prose here, thank you very much. And by the end, you’re thinking about your own life and your own choices, and wondering how you’d act in each of the characters’ places.

Verdict: Read it. It’s a gut-wrenching, tear-inducing, thought-provoking delight.

Best lines: “[…] at certain times in her life a woman is delivered up to mysterious powers beyond her own will and judgement.” Amen, brother.

Fancasting couch:

THE NARRATOR ~ Jude Law. Because Grand Budapest Hotel.

MRS C ~ Anjelica Huston. She is my queen.

THE NAMELESS YOUNG MAN ~ Armie Hammer. He looks like the kind of guy to fuck you over in Monte Carlo, doesn’t he?

Book Boyfriend material: I’d hit the narrator. He seems like a good guy. Everyone else can go jump off a bridge.

Rating: Nine out of ten feckless Eastern European noblemen. Yes I said feckless. It’s that kind of day.

ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT: Real talk, twenty-four hours the life of this woman would include at least 3 hours of crying, 5 hours of reading, and one hour of crying in the bath.

Oh, here’s Book Cat.

What sort of bibliophile are you, Librarian, to so callously abandon your blog the moment Cupid’s arrow strikes? Why not tell these good people how many books you have read since the Dragon-slayer cast his heavy-lidded eyes on you and deigned to offer you a smile? Better still, why not share how many words you’ve written since Venus welcomed you into the ranks of her acolytes? If only they knew, Librarian, how quickly you would trade books for a moment with the Tiller of the Earth–

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE CAT BESIDE THE BOOKS.

Ahem.

That’s all for today, folks. Happy reading, and see you… soon?

–R