Categories
Adult Fiction Books

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Oh my oh my I can’t believe how much I loved When She Woke by Hillary Jordan!

whenshewoke2 Collage

When She Woke is a modern day retelling of The Scarlet Letter, only BETTER! Think of what life could be like maybe 10 or 20 years in the future.  Some of the references to electronics and politics make you stop and think “hey wait, IS this a real office?”.

Yeah, it’s THAT good.

Plus, there’s controversy and controversy makes you feel passionate about something.  One way or another you’re going to have an opinion about our protagonist and her plight.

Here’s the lowdown: Hannah has an affair with the married very charismatic pastor of a very large and influential church in Texas.  She gets pregnant and has an abortion, all to protect Pastor Famous. Are you hooked yet?

While in jail, Hannah’s skin color is turned red, for murder.  Other criminals can be melachromed different colors: yellow, blue, green but red is the most heinous color of all.

Interwoven within the story are religious zealots, right wing pro choice zealots, racial and socio economic disparity issues and political views. Jordan blues the line so well I never quite knew whether I was watching CNN or reading a book or remembering my life in Texas.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

I’m giving it 4 paws because she includes all facets of diversity within the story.

Unconventional Librarian 4paws

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks by Jen Swann Downey is full of Diversity Fun!

The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks

 

I’m pretty sure that all the best librarians studied at Petrarch’s Library and became ninja lybrarians. You’ve probably never asked a librarian but if you did, you might discover that they have secret lives which involve time traveling. How do I know? Because I read The Ninja Librarians, that’s why! They are a group of librarians who fight crime and help protect writers whose words have gotten them into trouble. And so, our protagonists, Dorrie and her brother Marcus, enter into the library and discover this cool subversive world. And eventually they get asked to become apprentices.

As apprentices, they move into the library, bunk with their friends, a rag tag group of kids from across the globe and time. It’s a diverse group of other apprentices which will sneakily teach kids about Torquemada and chitons and sword fighting. I love when books sneak teaching in, don’t you?

I love the idea of a secret library that lets you travel back in time. I wish they did exist. Or DO they????? I think this romp would be good for kids who like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, pirates and ninjas; cuz who doesn’t love pirates?

No one, that’s who.

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books

Imogene in New Orleans by @YeahHunter


IT’S IMOGENE DAY!

Imogene in New Orleans by @YeahHunter

Because words aren’t enough, here’s my video review:

Remember, while this isn’t necessarily for teens, there’s nothing raunchy that an older teen couldn’t enjoy. But mostly this is for grown folks. Totally fits the Diversity Reading Challenge.

Also? Stay tuned for an interview with the author!

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

The Gods of Gotham Lyndsay Faye SPOTLIGHT

Gods of Gotham

I considered wearing a cowboy hat while writing this post, but I decided against it because…well, because.  I guess  because a cowboy hat is the closest item of clothing I could think of that might remind me of the newly formed New York City police department in 1845.  Yeah, I didn’t know that prior to that, Gotham had no police force either.

Go figure, huh?

So, here we are with this delightful book by my bestie Lyndsay Faye, The Gods of Gotham which was published in 2012.  It’s just been re-released in paperback and am I glad!  Now more people can enjoy the tale of officer Timothy Wilde, the reluctant police officer.  He does the wrong thing but for the right reasons.  You kinda hafta love the poor sod as he can’t really help himself.  He’s a police officer in a world of poor people just trying to earn a day’s wages so they can stay alive.  Unfortunately, these days wages often include prostitution, theft, murder, and other sorts of vagaries.  And here’s young Wilde, just barely one step above them.  Enter a small child covered in blood with an outrageous story that sends Wild discovering the truth, about himself and the community of immigrants with whom he lives.

Fortunately,  the hen (Lyndsay) has decided to cap in with me and have a  palaver about the book and life.   I asked her a few questions:

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN: Do you drink coffee?

LYNDSAY FAYE: No.  I’m a very wiry, highly strung person with a heartbeat like a hummingbird’s.  Coffee makes me nervous and irritable.  I drink massive amounts of tea, however, preferably floral or aromatic teas like Earl Grey or green jasmine.  If I do drink coffee, it’s going to be at around four in the afternoon. My beautiful husband is a massive coffee snob, loves trying swanky blends, but I can’t taste the difference.  Ask me a question about beer and I can be much more articulate.

UL: I don’t require coffee drinking so much as much as I require your desire to bring me a cup, so that’ll do.   Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

 

courtesy The Donut Plant
courtesy The Donut Plant

 

LF: I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but open a package of chips in front of me and it’s all over.  That being said, I can be tempted by the rose flavored donuts from The Donut Plant, which feature rose water pudding, rose water glaze, and an edible candied rose petal, or else their tres leches donut. That was an incredibly specific answer, my apologies.  But go to The Donut Plant if you are in NYC.  I am deeply serious about this instruction.  I don’t dunk because it’s extremely unlikely for me to be drinking coffee at the same time as eating a donut at The Donut Plant (go to The Donut Plant).  Their matcha green tea donut is also pretty wild.

UL:  Oh my heavenly stars.  I have got to get to this donut place! Now, where was I? How did your series get started?

LF: I wanted to see what day one, cop one of the NYPD looked like.  And I wanted an un-Sherlockian hero, one who wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t believe himself to be talented at crimesolving and is reluctantly dragged into it all.  Like, a tiny scrapper who solves things largely due to raw talent and intuition.  Enter Timothy Wilde.  I also wanted to play with an extremely unreliable narrator, and Tim can be completely blinkered when it comes to his loved ones–typical human condition, really.  Everyone loves him because he’s so well-intentioned, but really he’s a complete arse.  I love that little ball of pent-up angst.

UL: I wouldn’t really say Tim is an arse.  Ok maybe he is but he’s a bene bloke.  I like him.  What was your first book?

newDScoverLF: Thank you for asking.  It was not, as countless reviewers would have it, The Gods of Gotham–it was a pastiche pitting Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper.  I adore Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.  They have my heart.  So my first book, Dust and Shadow, is a dark adventure exploring the most beautiful literary friendship of all time, mixed with the historical true facts of the Ripper murders.

UL: Gripping stuff. Have you ever thought of putting a ukelele playing librarian into your book?

LF: I have, but I’ve hesitated because I feel as if the ukelele-playing librarian should take center stage rather than being a guest star, so I’ll have to complete the Timothy Wilde novels before embarking on a new series featuring that protagonist.

UL: Maybe so but how fun would it be if she turns up dead or in a cranky-hutch? Could be interesting…? Share with us how your obsession with Sherlock (of the Benedict Cumberbatch type) came to be.

LF: Oh, I’m obsessed with every incarnation of Sherlock Holmes.  I was ten, my dad told me to read “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” good night Vienna.  Over time, Sherlock Holmes has stopped being a hobby for me and turned into a lifestyle choice.  I’m a part of the Baker Street Babes podcast on the subject, I’m an Adventuress of Sherlock Holmes (we meet monthly), I write regular short pastiches for the Strand Magazine, the theme song for the Granada Holmes series played at our wedding, I’m a Baker Street Irregular, I host several Sherlockian events per year included a benefit for Wounded Warrior Project with the Babes.  It’s madness. I love it.  And I do adore Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, the man is a complete lovemuffin.

UL: Agreed. He is yummy. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

LF: Flight.  Definitely flight.  I have flying dreams sometimes and they make me very happy.

UL: Me too! What makes you happy?

LF: Flying dreams.  Cheese.  Salty snacks.  My garden.  Cooking for people I care about.  Sad love songs.  Hero stories.  Really filthy filthy dirty jokes.  Swearing.  Whiskey.  Gin.  Pretty dresses.  Audrey Hepburn.  Moon River.  Watching the Love in an Elevator music video.  Watching the Bad Romance music video.  Sherlockians.  Travel–especially the UK, Ireland, Thailand, Spain, France, Belgium, and Belize when I’ve been to those places.  My cats Grendel and Prufrock.  Walking purposelessly through the streets of New York with my husband.

UL: Anything else you wanna tell us?

LF: I have an abnormally long tongue.  I can stick it in either nostril.

UL:  Helpful skill when the zombies come, I’m sure.

So HEY folks, how fun was that??

Lyndsay’s new book drops in a few short days and while Lyndsay will be partying without me on the 18th, I’ll be reviewing Seven for a Secret, the latest escapades from my buddy Timothy Wilde! Stop back on the 19th for my review and a fun GIVEAWAY!!

 

 

 

Categories
Books

Really French? An Interview with Anne, ex-pat in France, working @LeFrenchBook

Eiffel Tower Unconventional Librarian

I’m beyond thrilled to present my new bestie Anne from Le French Book.com!  I have goaded persuaded Anne to tell us a bit about herself and how she found herself living in France.  And also? If berets are still en vogue.

Beret

Here’s what Anne had to say:

Just the other day, Pam asked readers of this blog if you love all things Paris and ever dreamed about living in France and eating baguettes and brie all day long. Well, let me tell you, if you are going to do that, get ready to enjoy the red wine too. And you had better hope you have the metabolism of a French woman, or to borrow a description from Lee Child’s The Affair, a metabolism like a nuclear reactor.

Do I sound like I’ve been there? I moved to France in 1985 with just those ideas of baguettes and brie in mind, and I never have been able to leave. A lot of people have these time-honored images of this country. I remember a picture from way way back in the day in what may have been a Time-Life book (or similar series) on France. It had a slightly hunched man, beret on his head, baguette under his arm, riding a bike down a tree-lined road in the middle of the countryside.

In the town where I now live in southwestern France, there is one of those roads, lined with tall plane trees all evenly spaced. But, those images need a little updating. Bikes are relegated to the bike lane, and every morning that road is back-to-back traffic (yes, with lots of Renaults and Peugeots). And berets are really passé here.

Over the years, I have learned that there is, in fact, much more to French culture to love.

  • For example, the French respect a certain amount of tradition, but also are very innovative. They had the interactive, real-time interconnected Minitel before any of the Internet was widely available.
  • They take a lot of vacation, but also rank among the most production nations (http://www.businessinsider.com/are-the-french-the-most-productive-people-in-the-world-2009-8).
  • You can spend three hours eating a single meal here, and still be talking about food at the end.
  • Ultimately, the French have a very unique sense of creativity that combines with pleasure seeking and a rather heightened concern for social justice.

And it is all of this that I wanted to share with people. So, I founded Le French Book (http://www.lefrenchbook.com). My idea was that people could get another view of France and experience it in another way through its entertaining, commercial fiction. We focus on translating the country’s crime fiction and thrillers into English. We also recently put out a really fun collection of short stories as well. They are still available for free in either a weekly or daily newsletter (http://www.52serialshorts.com). Our motto is “If we love it, we’ll translate it.”

I would love to hear back from readers about whether a book or a story has changed the way you perceive another place.

How wonderful is that?? This will be very helpful when I move to France to work at Shakespeare & Company bookstore.  I better brush up on my French.

How sad that the beret is passe?? Sad panda.

Baguettes are still en vogue though, so YAY!

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

One Towne, One Book: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Oh my oh my I can’t believe how much I loved When She Woke by Hillary Jordan!

whenshewoke2 Collage

When She Woke is a modern day retelling of The Scarlet Letter, only BETTER! Think of what life could be like maybe 10 or 20 years in the future.  Some of the references to electronics and politics make you stop and think “hey wait, IS this a real office?”.

Yeah, it’s THAT good.

Plus, there’s controversy and controversy makes you feel passionate about something.  One way or another you’re going to have an opinion about our protagonist and her plight.

Here’s the lowdown: Hannah has an affair with the married very charismatic pastor of a very large and influential church in Texas.  She gets pregnant and has an abortion, all to protect Pastor Famous. Are you hooked yet?

While in jail, Hannah’s skin color is turned red, for murder.  Other criminals can be melachromed different colors: yellow, blue, green but red is the most heinous color of all.

Interwoven within the story are religious zealots, right wing pro choice zealots, racial and socio economic disparity issues and political views. Jordan blues the line so well I never quite knew whether I was watching CNN or reading a book or remembering my life in Texas.

Our book store, Towne Book Center and Cafe will discuss the book tonight at 7pm; I expect the discussion to be heated, rowdy, and maybe even a little fighty. I think I’ll wear a helmet just in case some chairs get thrown.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

I’m giving it 4 paws because she includes all facets of diversity within the story.

Unconventional Librarian 4paws