Category Archives: Reviews

A Literary Community

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If you live in Denver take the time to check out some of these cool local bookshops.

Park Hill Co-Op Book Shop – Located in the Park Hill suburb of Denver, Park Hill Co-Op Book Shop, is a treat. The store is completely nonprofit and has only one paid employee (the manager). The shop is run by a team of volunteers that know everything about books, some have been volunteering for 20 years. The Park Hill Co-Op is kept a float by members who pay a yearly rate ($10 or $40) the membership includes a 7% discount, 10 credits (good for 10 used paperback or 5 hardbacks), and the opportunity to trade in books for credits. The Co-Op is a community gem. The atmosphere is comfortable and the selection is great. I could have spent hours perusing the shelves. It’s a little on the small side, but it doesn’t stop them from stuffing as many books as they can onto the shelves. It has a wide array of topics and even antique books. I would definitely advise taking a look! There are some great deals hiding on those shelves.

The Tattered Cover Book Store – This store is the megalith of books. This independent store located in two places throughout Denver, one in LoDo, is a great place to spend the day. The central location makes it an easy stop on any trek through downtown. The selection is enormous with used and new books. There are tons of comfy chairs, and even a coffee shop. The staff is really nice and knowledgable. I loved looking through all of the staff recommendations. I found myself loosing track of time in Tattered Cover. You can cuddle up in a chair and spend hours sipping coffee and enjoying a new book. However, it is a tad on the expensive side, but still worth while. You may not find the best deals, but you will enjoy every minute spent looking.

Fahrenheit Books – A used book store that can survive a move to a new location must be a good one. This store while smaller than Tattered Cover has a great selection. It is organized and easy to find what you want. If you are a Sci-fi buff make the time to check Fahrenheit out. There Sci-fi selection is vast and everything is fairly priced. There are tons of vintage books. There’s even a wall dedicated to first editions. It’s new location on Broadway is easy to find and surrounded by other cute shops. You can even browse their titles online and make sure the books you want are in stock. The store has a cool vibe and the staff certainly knows what they’re talking about. If you are interesting in selling books, Fahrenheit will buy them. They typically like unusual or vintage books.

 

These local Denver stores are a great alternative to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It makes book buying more of an adventure than an errand. Support our local businesses and check them out! I promise you’ll find something you love.

 

 

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The Hunger Games satisfies, but still leaves room for dessert.

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With a movie production on the way many are scrambling to finish The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins has crafted a dystopian adventure that while geared toward young adults still manages to entice adults as well.

The North American continent has been split into twelve districts, each reporting to the Capitol. As payment for an unsuccessful rebellion each district must submit a young boy and girl to compete in the televised Hunger Games. Chosen as the district 12 tributes, Katniss and Peeta enter the kill or be killed competition.

The Hunger Games is  a disturbingly engrossing tale. Even though it is marketed for young adults I wouldn’t recommend anyone under the age of 12 read it. The games are violent, pitting each tribute against the other and forcing them to kill to stay alive. In a generation obsessed with reality television, where shows like Survivor still dominate the ratings, The Hunger Games hits like a slap in the face. The gladiator style fighting amongst the tributes is shocking. The teenagers fight and kill with disgusting ease while the rest of the districts watch the television with rapt attention.

Collins has established a wonderful setting with fantastic twists and turns that keeps  the readers hooked. The unpredictable atmosphere of the games makes each chapter unique. The characters are realistic with flaws and astounding grit. Katniss’s stubborn determination and skill at survival as well as Peeta’s loyalty had me pulling my hair out and cheering at the same time. Katniss is a refreshing protagonist. She is a strong young woman used to hard times and fiercely loyal to her sister. Her uncertainty and fear, as well as her utter determination to stay alive without losing herself to the games is humanizing. The first person narrative is well done, and gives the reader unfiltered access to her sarcastic mind.

From the descriptions of the 12 districts to the glittering Capitol, Collins astounds the reader with a fully fledged world that resembles our own just enough to be disconcerting. I often found myself trying to identify how each district applied to current day America. The supporting characters are products of their districts. They have their own issues and personalities that come across strongly, but it is still in keeping with the first person narrative.

The Hunger Games will draw both boys and girls as well as adults into the dystopian future. The rebellious undertones are a subtle clue about what is to come, and the romance while prevalent isn’t embarrassing and is appropriate for young adults. Katniss’s emotional maturity is frustrating at times, but is accurate for the her age in the novel as well as the intended audience. The gripping novel is engrossing and once started is nearly impossible to put down.

While The Hunger Games has a distinct ending, the storyline is still incomplete and readers will no doubt be running to the store to purchase Catching Fire and Mockingjay the final two books in the trilogy.

 

May the odds be ever in your favor

Kindle Review

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Amazon’s product the Kindle is fodder for many debates. I can’t tell you how many times I have been on an airplane and the person next to me leans over to ask about my Kindle. They listen patiently as I tell them about the cool functions, it can store thousands of books, you have access to free wireless and have book delivered in under a minute, a glare free screen, and the added bonus of more room in your suitcase or purse. They stop listening after about the second item and start concocting their counter argument, but I love holding a book, you know turning the pages.

Now I can’t say I don’t relate. I will still buy my favorite authors in paperback or hardback and I still return to the library to flip through the yellowed pages, each with its own unique smell. I still love holding a book, but let me tell you the Kindle is a wonderful device for avid readers.

PROS

Like I said, the 8.5-ounce eReader can hold thousands of books. That is significantly less weight to lug to the airport or bus stop. Your library is alphabetized and you’re never going to lose a book.

No glare… enough said.

It’s just a few clicks and you can purchase new books from your Kindle, with free Wi-Fi. The books are delivered in less than a minute. This means if your plane is delayed you can start a new book at the drop of a hat rather than purchasing the only available novel in a gift shop.

You’ll never lose your books. Your electronic library is stored under your Amazon login and will always be saved. This means you can run over your Kindle with a car (trust me it happens) and still have access to your entire library. There are also free kindle apps that make accessing your Kindle library easier. You can now read eBooks from your smart phone, tablet, or computer and it’s all free.

Free books! There are thousands of these floating around on the net. From basically any classic literary book you can image to the free promotions some authors dish out. Check out Kindle Nation Daily for daily deals.

Some textbook are also available in Kindle format, you can even rent them. It’s cost efficient for cash-challenged college students, like me, to purchase eBooks for classes. It’s also lighter to carry than that 5 lb. physics book.

CONS

The annotation software is still a little complicated to use. While you can still highlight and annotate your books finding the annotations can be difficult. There is a “clippings” section that will show the highlighted line, but notion else in relation to the book.

No page numbers. This is another thing that makes access highlights and annotations difficult. (Note this is going to be fixed in upcoming software updates.)

The Kindle screen is delicate. My dog stepped on mine and broke it. I would suggest getting a case and leaving it in a safe location, especially if you have animals, or young children running around.

  While the Kindle may seem like an expense I can guarantee   you will get your money back in a month. Kindle books on       average are cheaper than the printed books and with all the    free stuff out there you are bound to rack up some savings        really fast. So take my advice and invest. You may be wary     at first, but trust me after you’ve tried it you’ll never want to     be without it.

Check it out for yourself, HERE!

Blogs about…

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I found three blogs aspiring authors should definitely take a look at. They’re run by literary agents, Nelson agency is even in Denver, and make the path to publication even easier!

http://pubrants.blogspot.com/– Pub rants, short for publishing rants, not bar complaints, is run by Kristen Nelson. She owns a literary agency in Denver and posts tips and tricks for getting noticed by agents. Her informal posts are typically weekly and give great information for those seeking representation. The clean, user friendly design is easy to navigate and fun to read. My favorite section is about nailing your query letter. She even gives examples of queries she loved!

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/– Nathan Bransforf’s blog is loaded with fantastic information. As former agent for Curtis Brown Ltd. he knows all about representing big time authors. The layout is a tad cluttered, but it is all relevant information and wanna-be authors will love his funny, but extremely valuable advice. He has won numerous awards for this site and gives writers everywhere an inside look at what really goes down in the publishing world.

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/– Janet Reid another literary agent uses a sassy, personal style of giving information in her blog. It may not always be about sinking a book deal, but it is still informative and hilarious. I will say if you are specifically hunting for advice turn to Pub Rants or Bransford’s blog first, but if you are interested in a fun casual blog Reid is your cup of tea. Her layout is nothing special and just a typical template, but it’s easy to read and the book recommendations along the side are clever. The plain jane style really forces readers to really focus on the wit and humor of her blog rather any fancy text or banners.