Category Archives: Recommendations

Stuck In A Historical Fiction (And All Its Sub-Genres) Rut

So I was perfectly happy reading my Young Reader adventure fiction and YA dystopian melodramas. Then I was sucked into the Steampunk world, and later into the historical romance and medieval fiction realms. For 3 months, that’s where I lived. Every morning commute. Every before bed, I-should-be-sleeping-so-I’m-coherent-for-work-tomorrow hour. I was in the world of proper English, chivalrous men, dignified women, and more than a few dragons/airships/hackneys.

I am thrilled to announce, however, that I have now returned to the slightly 21st century. And while I definitely enjoyed some of the virtually unknown titles—
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Steam & Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape

Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey

I missed some of the simple things. Non-horse-drawn or steam-powered cars. The Internet. References to reality television. The use of popular slang like “fo shizzle” and “WTF”. A girl can only go so long without these basic necessities to modern-day life.

So What has brought me back? Why, Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well (Apple iBookstore), or course! I’ll let you know how it turns out, but to tell the truth, I think I’m already hooked. I mean really? Who doesn’t love that cover???


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Filed under Bio & Memoir, Digital & Mobile, Ebook, Fiction, Historical Romance, Humor, Non-Fiction, NYCBookGirl @ Work, Picks by nycbookgirl, Pop Culture, Recommendations, YA & Children's, Young Reader

I Really Do Post…Just Not Always Here (Amended)

Realized just now that I’ve been contributing some stuff to my work’s blog and obviously not here. It’s actually pretty cool. Once a week, out department puts up a post called “Links We Like”, and we all put in anything new we’ve come across that week, or any links/apps/products we’re excited about. So here are the few I’ve picked these past two months (you’ll notice a theme…its sports), plus a link to the post that includes my co-workers’ links. Have fun!


TODAY: June 10, 2011 (Bill Simmons’s, a.k.a. The SportsGuy, new website, Grantland goes live)

It’s always exciting when a someone whose work you’ve been following for years begins a new project, especially when that new project includes new talents that speak to your interests! Such is the case with the new site Grantland. Bill Simmons (columnist for ESPN, New York Times No. 1 bestselling author, and podcaster-extrodinar) has just launched his new site this week, dedicated to the same unique blend of sports and pop culture that Simmons has been excelling at for years! With a rotation that includes authors like Chuck Klosterman and Malcom Gladwell, columnists like Dan Fierman (GQ) and Chris Jones (Esquire), and some interestingly “fresh” voices, this site may prove to be a must-follow/must-read!

June 3, 2011 (The New York Public Library’s new App, Biblion)

The New York Public Library has gone the extra mile with their new app (to be an ongoing series) released on Tuesday, May 31. The first “issue” of their iPad app, NYPL Biblion, focuses on the 1939-40 World’s Fair; the fair held right before and during the start of WWII in Queens. The material they’ve resurrected from their stacks includes images, articles, audio files, and just an astounding wealth of information. For New York history buffs, its a treasure trove; for world and war history fans, its an entirely new perspective; and for anyone else, its a fascinating experience that really showcases the benefits of the iPad. Oh yeah, it’s also free!

May 27, 2011 (On the amazingly funny book, All My Friends are Dead)

It’s always an exciting moment to stumble across a book that makes you cry, makes you think, or makes you fall over with laughter. I lucked out this week and found a humor book that made me do all three! All My Friends Are Dead promotes itself as “both the saddest funny book and the funniest sad book you’ll ever read,” and I’m inclined to believe it! If you didn’t pick it up last summer, be sure to check out a couple pages from authors Jory John and Avery Monsen here.

May 20, 2011 (…I didn’t like anything this week…)

May 13, 2011 (obviously I’m as bad at posting at work as I am here)

May 6, 2011 (MLB’s new app, MLB at Bat. It’s like crack for baseball fans)

A new addition to an already awesome development this spring: the improved experience on the MLB network’s Gameday. While the revamped site is great and the option is amazing for any truly crazed baseball fan, I’ll focus on the app that goes along with the new feature, MLB At Bat. Some of the awesome features include live clips of games; radio coverage from both teams (a major plus for a Red Sox fan living in NYC); the Gameday feature found on the MLB site (improved considerably); and the scoreboard, which is often overlooked, but done so cleanly in this app. Overall, it’s a fantastic experience and I’m thoroughly impressed with the developers. I wouldn’t mind seeing this done for a few of my other interests: footballIron Chef, the Quidditch World Cup . . .

April 29, 2011 (Hey, this is a non-judging blog…well, not really)

April 22, 2011 (This is actually my co-worker’s link, but it’s too cool NOT to share)

Today Shelf Awareness shared an incredible, hand-lettered map of literary America (below) made byThe Literary Gift Company. I can’t stop admiring it and looking for my favorite writers. (I want to buy it and hang it next to Little Miss Muffet and her friends.)—Laura

Literary Map

April 8, 2011 (My first contribution!!! And yes, its on the Guitar Hero exhibit at the Met 🙂

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York” exhibit? There’s an app for that! Easy to upload and full of cool extras to check out after you leave the museum, it includes audio descriptions from the exhibition curator, Jayson Kerr Dobney; video and song clips of instruments on display being played; and interviews with musicians. And unlike the normal “one-room video” layout, where visitors crowd around a tiny screen, or sit awkwardly on wooden benches watching the same loop of film, this structure allows for a more interactive and personal experience. Honestly, if they keep making easy-to-follow apps like this, I’ll be visiting a few more museums this year.

And just because I think Google is Amazing this week:enjoy.

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Filed under Humor, NYCBookGirl @ Work, Pop Culture, Recommendations, Sports, Uncategorized

Divergent, A Book I’m Using As A Diversion From Everyday Stresses

First, it must be credited that my good friend (from Kristinaradke) mentioned this book to me many months back. While I put it on a “To-Be-Read” list in my head, that, like most things in my life, became cluttered with other nonsensical mismash. So, while I “discovered” the title for myself by browsing the iBookstore, it did technically come highly recommended by a person of substantial reading reliability 🙂

The first book in the Divergent series.

So, I shall refrain from going into the ENTIRE soliloquey that is my grown-up-life stress. For those of you who are young, living with roommates, paying bills in a big city, and owing a great deal of money to the Student-Loan Sharks, I’m sure you understand that life has been daunting (*pun unintended but amusing)/tiresome/frustrating/emotionally draining. Therefore, last Fall, The Hunger Games became my escape from reality, and a temporary reprieve from responsibility (ironic). When that ended, I roamed aimlessly in the land of historical romance (no judging you book snobs :P), humor audiobooks, and a little manga. Nothing, however, could fully relieve me from my everyday worries and anxiety.

Then comes Divergent. Now, I will in no way claim this to be as-good-as OR better than The Hunger Games. As it is the first book in a trilogy, and I still have 1/4 of the ebook to read, I cannot justify such a monumental statement.

However, consider these factors:

  • This is a debut novel. I generally find debut novels to be lacking, mostly because the author is trying so hard to say so much, their work often times comes across as exhaustingly complex.
  • This is a rapidly growing sub-genre. YA Dystopian novels are explosive right now. This is not in any way a NEW sub-genre, but thanks to some of the titles that have come out these last couple of years, it is gaining speed and attention for many readers, especially adults. In my experience, 80% of the titles that come out in a “new” or “popular” sub-genre are COMPLETE crap. This, in my opinion, isn’t one of them.
  • The author is 22. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have to momentarily put aside both your astonishment that anyone at that age has the skills to NOT bore you with mellow drama, as well as your not-so-subtle loathing for someone else accomplishing something so monumental as being published at such a young age. This is an impressive piece of work for someone so young and so new to the game. Color me envious.

The characters are relatable, the storyline is interesting and exciting, and the social structure created w/in this futuristic world is rather engaging. I have to say, I’m seeing a lot of promise for both the series and the young author. So if you want to escape for a bit, try Divergent by Veronica Roth.

BTW: This was the first ebook read on my new toy, the iPad. Gotta say, love the experience, but STUNK to try and read outdoors. Will still be keeping/using/loving my Kindle…they’re like my two children: I love them equally, just in varying ways.

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Filed under Digital & Mobile, Ebook, Fiction, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Reviews, YA & Children's, Young Reader

E-reading In The Park

This past Sunday I attempted to do something I haven’t done for quite some time (due ENTIRELY to weather…and the difficulty presented w/ reading in mittens): Read in the park.

Unfortunately, I failed. Like most easy-to-distract individuals, I got about 5 pages (or 2%) into my ebook, and quickly became more interested in

  • the butterfly kite in the air,
  • the father-son combo playing catch (ending in the predictable fashion of son “accidentally” bashing father in the head/stomach/groin with the ball, and said father preceding to end the game b/c the son “just wasn’t concentrating on the basics”),
  • the hula-hoopers practicing a healthy distance away from the jugglers,
  • the unbelievably cute puppy with absolutely NO training trying to take down a flock of obviously GPS-deprived pigeons,
  • and the fact that my bum was going numb from sitting on top of a freezing tree stump.
  • Regardless, I’ll be planning my next escape for the first weekend in May. I’ve done Prospect and Central Park, so thinking maybe a venture out of Governor’s Island? Who knows. Feel free to offer your favorite spots as suggested locales!

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    Filed under Ebook, Recommendations, Sports

    A Discovery of Good Fiction

    Yes, my post’s title is a play on a new release’s title. Yes, I am feeling THAT little creativity today…(usually “bite me” would be inserted here, but w/ the Bronx Zoo Cobra thing, probably not a safe expression at the moment).

    As per usual, I finished one of my genre binges this past month (I was on a big historical kick, focusing first on Edwardian, then Victorian, then going back to Medieval). Having done so, I went to my ever-reliable managing editor at work, requesting a new suggestion. Her response, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.
    A Discovery of Witches (Kindle Edition)
    Now, when she recommended this title she described in the following way: “It’s like The Historian meets the Twilight series.”

    If you’re response to that sentence was discomfort and silence, don’t worry. So was mine.

    But, seeing as she’d yet to lead me astray, and she’d been the miracle worker to introduce me to The Hunger Games, I figured I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. Have to say, second greatest choice I’ve made (first being to borrow her Kindle one weekend last Fall, leading to my love of ereaders and utter consumption of all things ebook).

    If you’re like me, you enjoy a little of everything in your “Contemporary Fiction”: mystery and intrigue, romance (but not bodice ripping), adventure and excitement, and as nerdy as it sounds, something new to learn. I’m a major history fan—though I have absolutely NO brain capacity to remember anything I learn. This explains my love of biographies, sports books, and certain Dan Brown novels (no judging).

    So if you are in fact like me, I absolutely recommend this one. I don’t like giving too much away, but here are some fun facts to look forward to:

    • References to the Salem Witch trails, the Crusades, the Templars, and MANY more historical conflicts
    • Travel: US (New England and New Orleans), UK (mostly Oxford w/ a little Scotland), France
    • Witches, Vampires, and Demons (oh my!)
    • Yoga, Rowing (think Crew), and a little Chess (no, its not a sport)
    • A surprisingly more comprehensive translation of Darwin’s On the Origins of Species
    • Alchemy and geneology
    • And of course—here’s where the Twilight reference comes in—forbidden love

    Check it out, but be forewarned (I discovered this too late), this WILL be a series, and this first book was released in Hardcover last month. For those of you not sure what that means, it’s going to be a long wait for book two (well, long if you read more than one book a year).


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    Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Twilight