The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts  and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! It was incredible to have multiple days offline simply with family and books. I couldn’t believe how many books I was able to complete. It was quite productive and a honestly a relief to complete some titles… especially wonderful advanced readers copies, there are so many wonderful books out there and MANY in piles to tackle at home as well. AND I MUST SAY that I really LUCKED OUT on book selections this time, LOVED so many of the titles… thank goodness…

Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, MS/HS, Realistic Fiction, ARC. Released, Feb. 25th, 2014.
Hearing someone’s description of this book, ” It’s like a YA version of When Harry Met Sally”… Immediately sold me on reading this book. What kept me reading beyond the first chapter was the natural, humorous touching interactions the characters had in conversation with one another. They chat at the end of every chapter. Loved the surprises, regular teen life, and growing up the characters do over the course of almost 5 years. It reminds me of friendships where you have special inside jokes, you can finish one another’s sentences and sometimes accidentally leave one another out. Now, who to share this book with? Boys or girls? (Teens that is)… Totally both. This author gets the voices of both perfectly. Just loved how it all worked out. Now the traumatic portions of the book are easy, smooth to deal with so that I think any reader around 14 and up will totally love this book. Highly recommended.
Goodreads Summary: “For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.
Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?”


The Boy Problem: Notes and Predictions of Tabitha Reddy by Kami Kinard, ARC, 3rd grade and up, Realistic Fiction. Release date: April 29th, 2014. –HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY SOON!!
I read this book because of the fantastic book trailer that a blogger friend’s students made… Really cute.
I think that the statistics and probability mixed in this book made math more appealing and entertaining for readers. Plus more realistic. Enjoyed how a girl was portrayed as having more depth and interest in the world but can also be majorly concerned with finding a boyfriend. Could enjoy this story for the side stories as well and additionally know that it would be good to read the original book which centered on our main character’s best friend. Lovely.
Here’s the fantastic book trailer created by my blogger friend’s students:

Here’s the link about Mr. Etkin’s blog about the creation of the trailer- http://mretome.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/4-9-whatever-wednesday-the-boy-problem-student-trailer/
Goodreads Summary: “Tabitha “Tabbi” Reddy believes in signs. Like fortune cookies. Magic 8-Balls. Shooting stars. And this year, she hopes, looking for the right signs will lead her to the right boy! Inspired by her BFF, Kara (star of THE BOY PROJECT), Tabbi starts her own “project” in the hopes of finding a cute crush. With the help of a math lesson on probability, Tabbi tries to predict who the right boy for her might be! Where is she most likely to meet him? What is he most likely to look like? Full of fun illustrations, hilarious equations, and lessons in cupcake-baking, life, love, and friendship, this book has a 100% probability of awesomeness. A perfect “next step” for fans of DORK DIARIES.”
Here’s the official book trailer:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black- audiobook, YA, Fantasy, 10th grade and up.
What a vision of words Holly Black created in this book!  I was so grateful to experience this as an audiobook. Helped that I had many hours on a night train and could simply listen to the brilliance straight through. Now, I have to admit, at one time in the past I obsessively read Anne Rice novels and enjoyed most. I loved the idea of ferocious yet inquisitive beings experiencing life for numerous years. Just a fascinating concept. After those books, I read other vampire stories including the typical, popular ones… So I was nervous/curious to read how Holly Black approached the concept. Holly created a world that I could immediately accept, get lost in, and created on of my favorite female characters in a long time… Strong, creative, smart, direct talking, caring, faithful, and just all around absolutely terrific role model for any teen to read. Sure there is romance, when is there not… Sure there is mistakes made but overall, I just loved how people underestimated how much one girl can do in a book and how much she actually did successfully accomplish.
One of the best books I’ve read this year!
Goodreads Summary: “Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.”


The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler – ARC – Fantasy, 4th grade and up – Released April 15th, 2014 – this book took a little extra concentration… Enjoyed the magical world that Django created for is character Alice. I think having multiple unknown layers to the story was tough and knowing who to trust and not to trust as you navigated the book. I loved the idea of a living library with books that you can travel in and out of in addition to curious guardians, creatures that help you find magic, other deadly creatures, and also different types of magical books. It did get a little complicated but I enjoyed overall, felt like the beginning of a series to me though with the way the book concluded. There was one other character who had a large presence in the book, wouldn’t be surprised to read a book from his perspective next time…
Goodreads Summary: “Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed the day she met her first fairy
When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.
It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.”


Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge by Carolyn Ruff – Historical Fiction, 3rd grade and up. ARC- Published April 15th, 2014 – 
Great family read, reminded me of some other  where you have a family with a tough situation, this one was that only two of five family members were able to emigrate and then save up enough money to bring over daughters and mother. It was a struggle to succeed and additionally refocus on earning money so that they could bring members over. The little boy in the story convinced a crew boss that he could do stonecutting with others and worked hard to be successful and not just discounted. I loved that cutting the stones and specifically finding keystones was connected a little with archaeology and history in addition to helping the family earn enough money for the travel costs. Lovely story, sometimes I was curious about the side story, I enjoyed it but it distracted me a little…. There was a little girl who was collecting porcupine quills which led to conversation fun, and projects… I understand that she provided an element of fun and play in an otherwise somber story, but I was a little distracted with it, maybe because I wanted to know more about her. I did love the authors notes at the end of the book, they were fantastic for filling the blanks to many questions.
Goodreads Summary: “Ten-year-old Fritz and his poppa have made a life for themselves in the Bohemian Flats along the river in Minneapolis in 1883, but what they really want is for their family to be whole again.
In order to earn money to bring Fritz’s momma and sisters from Sweden to America, the determined Fritz sets out to master a new skill, working as the youngest stonemason on the crew building the Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi River.
Along the way, Fritz, always eager to learn, unlocks secrets of his new homeland, from details of the river’s geology and the area’s animals to stories of brave stands against slavery and the dangers of flour milling. He befriends Margaret, a Métis girl whose family has called the region home for generations, and meets notable early settler Emily Goodridge Grey. Applying his developing stonecutting skills, he records these many lessons in the keystones of the bridge.
Working through the summer, Fritz grows in responsibility and stature. Best of all, soon after the bridge is complete, he is able to show off his handiwork to Momma in person.”

I read a few ADULT BOOKS and I’m sharing them…
Finally finished listening to: 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, adult, wow, I know the word is used too frequently, but this story felt epic to me but I wonder if it ended too soon? Many life affirmations and philosophies shared at the end that were true to character but made me wonder what happened next… I certainly wanted to follow this character through more adventures and life experiences. I loved the disjointed, jumping thoughts, the honesty of alcoholism and drug abuse, and the caring lasting true friends and generous people in the book. The abuse was difficult to read at time, or listen to that is, but it also led to the shaping of the characters. There was quick traveling thru time and interesting twists and turns throughout the book. Highly recommended, for adults.
Goodreads Summary: “It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.”


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, adult, audiobook, this book cuts to the truth, is backed with brilliant research, and the insights can be applied in any setting, social, personal, and professional. My only problem is that I want to read this book again in text forms so that I can highlight all the brilliance… Very hard to simply listen and I’m not confident about taking notes on audiobooks on my iPhone… Plan to listen again soon!
I highly recommend watching Brene Brown’s TED talks. My mom passed them my way a while ago and I appreciated watching her insights…
Tiny bit caught my attention where I was able to note quickly:
“I want to know why the customer interaction has gone to hell in a hand basket…” “Need to stop dehumanizing people and start looking them in the eye…” — AMEN. I try my best to stop and make eye contact, in grocery stores, around neighborhoods, in the restrooms where there are cleaners proud of their work… eye contact and slight smile can go a long way…
Goodreads Summary: “Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.
In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.”


The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng – adult, Historical Fiction, what a thoughtful heavy book. Since I was traveling to Penang, Malaysia, thought it would be good to get a little history about the area, this book fulfills this wish, at least scratching the surface… This was the ONE book I took with me. I loved having this as the book to read over the travels we took. I was a little worried about how beat up books would get but this wonderful copy had also gone on other journeys so I didn’t worry as much. This author is one of the most talented storytellers I’ve ever read. The book was one of the best books I’ve read…
Goodreads Summary: “Set in Penang, 1939, this book presents a story of betrayal, barbaric cruelty, steadfast courage and enduring love.”

Currently losing sleep and deeply thinking about:
The Riverman by Aaron Starmer – Realistic Fiction/Fantasy/I can’t explain, 5th grade and up – For those readers who love complicated stories. Yes. This one. I can’t stop reading yet needed to take a break because I was a little freaked out… SUCH A GOOD BOOK SO FAR.
Goodreads Summary: “To sell a book, you need a description on the back. So here’s mine: My name is Fiona Loomis. I was born on August 11, 1977. I am recording this message on the morning of October 13, 1989. Today I am thirteen years old. Not a day older. Not a day younger.”
Fiona Loomis is Alice, back from Wonderland. She is Lucy, returned from Narnia. She is Coraline, home from the Other World. She is the girl we read about in storybooks, but here’s the difference: She is real.
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary is her neighbor in a town where everyone knows each other. One afternoon, Fiona shows up at Alistair’s doorstep with a strange proposition. She wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into a clearly troubled mind. For Fiona tells Alistair a secret. In her basement there’s a gateway and it leads to the magical world of Aquavania, the place where stories are born. In Aquavania, there’s a creature called the Riverman and he’s stealing the souls of children. Fiona’s soul could be next.
Alistair has a choice. He can believe her, or he can believe something else…something even more terrifying.”

Recently enjoyed reading:

Getting Boys to Read

Getting Boys to Read: Quick Tips for Parents and Teachers by Mike McQueen – Professional book – special review coming on the blog soon.
Goodreads Summary: “GETTING BOYS TO READ: QUICK TIPS FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS is a treasure trove of awesome advice for any adult who wants to help boy readers. The 114 Quick Tips are easy to read, fun, and practical. This book is loaded with great ideas that can be quickly implemented.”

Really enjoyed these but biting my tongue until appropriate time:

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick, 4th grade and up. Realistic Fiction.
ARC, Book release date: Nov. 4th, 2014. – can’t wait to share my thoughts about this book in the fall! Loved.

Absolutely Almost

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff- 3rd grade and up, Realistic Fiction, ARC, a read aloud must. Release date: June 12th, 2014. Can’t wait to share about this amazing, fantastic, WOW book soon!!

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

24 comments on “Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

  1. David E.
    April 28, 2014

    Thanks for the shout-out! I’ll be sure to share it with the makers.

  2. Great mix of books! I’m always hesitant on picking up “vampire” books because most of the time these supposedly immortal creatures come off as too full of angst. My go to vampire novels are Dracula, The Historian, and Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire series (aka Thirst.)

  3. Julee Murphy
    April 28, 2014

    Hmm,I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown but I would have liked to have had the audio version too. I am very pleased to hear about Lisa Graff’s new book. She is a wonderful writer. I have the ARC of The Boy Problem but I have not read it yet. Maybe it’s time to dig it out of my bag from TX Library Conference.

    • The Styling Librarian
      April 28, 2014

      The Boy Problem is a quick, entertaining read… enjoyed quite a bit! :)
      Happy reading week to you…

  4. Michele
    April 28, 2014

    You were busy this week! I have Better Off Friends, The Forbidden Library and The Riverman all at home waiting for me. Absolutely Almost is on preorder and it looks like I want to put Absolutely Truly on my list too! I finished Alvin Ho this week and I’m starting Tiger’s Fall. Thanks again for the recommendations!

    • The Styling Librarian
      April 28, 2014

      :) No wifi helps my productivity with reading! :) Wow, thrilled you’re trying out Tiger’s Fall. Still remember so many parts of that book… :) I thought it was amusing to read one Absolutely book after another but won’t confuse the two… Happy reading week to you…

  5. Tara Smith
    April 28, 2014

    The Riverman sounds wonderful.It’s so interesting to hear what everyone has to say about The Goldfinch. I loves aspects ofit,but it did drag on.

  6. Megan
    April 29, 2014

    Oh, wow. Where to start? Loved Better Off Friends as well. I hope to get around to The Goldfinch someday. I hear only vague rumblings about how amazing it is, but no details. I kind of like that! The Riverman sounds awesome. I must look into it! Thanks for all your thoughtful sharing. ~Megan

    http://wp.me/pzUn5-1YX

  7. Melissa
    April 29, 2014

    I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who had to take breaks from The Riverman in the darker hours of the day! I had to tear myself away, but knew if I didn’t I’d be rewriting the story in my sleep! Glad to hear you’re enjoying it, too.

  8. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye)
    April 29, 2014

    You have so many books that I want to read in this post! Especially Eulberg’s newest. I saw her speak about it at NCTE and it sounded phenomenal!
    Happy reading this week! :)

  9. linda Baie (@LBaie)
    April 29, 2014

    Debbie, late to the post-what an awesome number of books! I bought The Coldest Girl… but still haven’t had a chance, and now The Riverman sounds really good-argh! Thanks for the other ya titles too-glad to hear about them.

  10. carriegelson
    April 29, 2014

    Wow. So many titles shared here. I really want to read The Riverman and now you have me curious hearing that you needed to take breaks. Hmmm . . .

    • The Styling Librarian
      April 29, 2014

      Still taking breaks… not sure why now to be honest… too many other books perhaps? Or maybe I don’t want it to end? :)

  11. Myra GB
    April 30, 2014

    Oh Debbie, you’ve read so many books over the past week, I am positively envious – how idyllic to go offline and just spend time with books. Sadly, my work prevents me from doing that, I need to check my email every now and again to attend to students’ queries and a million other stuff besides. Like you, I am also an Anne Rice fan, I love her Mayfair Witches even more than the vampire series (which I also devoured). I know that one day I’d go back to reading her. I am currently reading The Goldfinch and I’ve just cracked open a precious notebook where I am writing down some of the beautiful passages that I read – the writing is so exquisite, I love it. It’s a massive novel, though, I am amazed that you finished it as quickly as you did. I’m intrigued by The Riverman, hope to get to it soon.

    • The Styling Librarian
      April 30, 2014

      It was odd to be offline, must admit. Was able to check email almost every other day, usually I have around 60 emails per day, so it kept things a little under control. The Goldfinch took me almost 6 weeks to listen to… :) Really enjoyed The Riverman…

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