Are we ready for book-free libraries?

The Los Angeles Times published an article earlier this month about America’s first all-digital bookless public library which has opened in San Antonio:

The article goes on to clarify that while this isn’t actually the first all digital library, the Tuscan-Pima public library in Arizona opened a book-free branch in 2002, this didn’t stay book-free for long – books were brought back after complaints from the public!

So the question is – are we ready to give up print books altogether?
What do you think?

003Personally, while I have no problem reading on my kindle or ipad, there is one thing that I miss – seeing the book cover every time I pick up the book!

I love book covers and am not afraid to admit I judge a book by its cover…  those with boring covers tend to gather dust at the bottom of the pile of to-read books.

Our school library was one of the first in South Africa to introduce an e-Library, but this runs alongside our traditional print library and adds value by being available to students anytime & anywhere, thus allowing them to exchange books outside school hours, even while on holiday at the beach.

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend crop

I had high hopes for this book and was really disappointed. Although there is probably enough action and tension in the story to make it popular enough with readers new to the dystopian genre, it fell flat for me.

The story was predictable and lacked the originality needed to compete with this growing, ever popular genre. 3 Star

Recommended age 13+

Series: Legend
Author: Marie LuLegend
Publication Date: 16 April 2013 (1st Published 2011)
Publisher: Speak
Source: Purchased

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From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths…

Until June’s brother is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect.

In a shocking turn of events, the two uncover what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths to which their country will go to keep its secrets.

Extract from

The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

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AMAZING! I love this book – in fact the whole series!  Okay, I know what you’re thinking – I’m biased because I am proudly South African. Well maybe a little… but this series is good!

Rachel Morgan has created captivating new Faerie world full of magic, romance, betrayal, action and adventure. You will fall in love with the characters as you are sucked further and further into a world like no other, wondering if, when the story is over, you will find your way back home…

What more could you want? Read this now..! You won’t regret it!

5 StarRecommended Age: 12+

The Faerie Guardian
Series: Creepy Hollow
Rachel Morgan Faerie Guardian
Publication Date: 27 October 2012
Rachel Morgan

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Enter a hidden world…      

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamour follows her into the Fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion. — Extract from

I began jotting down my thought for this post a few days ago and the first line was “I can’t wait for this movie! Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of my favourite books.”

While I am still looking forward to this movie and I still love the series, I am glad it is more than a month away from release. I need the time to come to terms with the dramatic ending of Allegiant, the third book of the trilogy. I was totally blown away and am not sure I can see the characters from the beginning without the thought of the ending clouding the experience.

Enough said! I hate spoilers and for those of you who have not read Divergent yet – read it now before the movie is released on 21 March 2014. You may be in for wild experience, but I promise you, you won’t regret it! Be brave…

Divergent – the Movie is due for release on 21 March 2014.

Watch the trailer on Youtube:

Divergent by Veronica Roth: YA Book Review

Divergent Crop

Divergent is a powerful story which captivated me from the very first page. Believable characters I love – the edgy ‘messed-up’ kind that get under your skin and become part of you so you can’t remember a time when you didn’t know them. Brilliant!

I read this book in 2012, and it was without doubt the best book I read in that year. I am reviewing it now on my new blog in anticipation of the movie to be released this year. Co-incidentally I am about half way through the third book, Allegiant, and all I can say is WOW!5 Star

Recommended Age: 13+

Author: Veronica RothDivergent
Publication Date: 2 February 2012 (1st published 25 May 2011)
Publisher: HarperCollins

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In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five 

factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. — Extract from

I am lucky enough to work in a school library in South Africa, not only because so many of our schools are not privileged enough to have a library. But sometimes I forget how fortunate I am. I tend to be drawn up in my dream of where I would like to take our library, only to be inhibited time and time again by financial constraints. I often look around the room just seeing the ‘if only’ and forget how far we have come in the seven years I have been working here.

This week was ‘Back to School’. In our corner of South Africa, January and February are stifling hot and humid and during these months our library is particularly popular for its ice-cold air conditioning. Add that to students returning from their six week summer holiday  desperate for something new to read and you can see why my first week of the year is always busy.

I needed someone to wake me up… New to our school he arrived one lunch break, stopped in the doorway and exclaimed WOW! Wow… He went on to explain that the school he came from did not have such a big library. He asked for a particular book, one of our more popular titles and as I handed it to him he clutched it so hard to his chest I was a little concerned we may never see it again! His old school didn’t have this series, and he couldn’t wait to read it…

Needless to say this student made my week, and probably my month… I look around our library and I am thankful.

In recent news France hopes to pass a law banning free shipping offered by online book retailers in a bid to protect the small physical bookshops.

French senators pass ‘anti-Amazon’ law to protect small retailers

What is your opinion? Should governments endeavour to save small indie bookshops or is it inevitable that large corporate businesses will eventually take over this industry, especially as eBooks increase in popularity?

I live in a small rural community, where the only book shop available is a small branch of a large chain. While my personal purchases are largely digital, I do buy the majority of our library’s physical stock online, and yes I would definitely miss the free shipping! Without it our library would contain fewer books and lack the diversity our students deserve.

Having said this there is one indie book seller who would be sorely missed. She travels around South Africa with her vehicle stacked to the hilt with a wide range of books, dispensing encouragement, advice and friendship to anyone lucky enough to meet her. I owe basket full of gratitude to Audrey of ‘Hedgehog Books’ who has over the years given me invaluable advice. Her product knowledge is phenomenal and it is this, along with her enthusiasm, that makes her the success she is! Thank you Audrey 🙂

To contact Audrey  at Hedgehog Books email:

The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan

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A dark, brutally honest story with a message, a very strong message that the level of violence can escalate within seconds when a weapon is brought into the mix.

It is possible that the knife that kills is not only the knife in hand, banished as a weapon –  but also the one tucked away in your pocket, carried for security, to use if necessary. For it is this ‘in case’ weapon that makes the carrier hyper aware of danger, possibly more likely to attack when a more passive response may have been sufficient to defuse the situation.

This is not really the type of book I enjoy reading, violence and bullying that I would rather pretend never happens. But it does…  to someone. Every day.4 Star

Recommended Age: 13+

The Knife that Killed Me

Author: Anthony McGowan
Publication Date: 11 October 2011
Publisher: Simon & SchusterKnife that Killed Me

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Paul Vanderman could be at any normal high school where bullies, girls, and annoying teachers are just part of life. But “normal” doesn’t apply when it comes to the school’s biggest bully, Roth—a twisted and threatening thug with an evil agenda.

When Paul ends up delivering a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a nearby school, it fuels a rivalry with immediate consequences. Paul attempts to distance himself from the feud, but somehow Roth keeps finding reasons for him to stick around. Then one day Roth hands him a knife. And even though Paul is scared, he has never felt so powerful. — Extract from

What’s In a Name?

How do you choose a name for your blog? I was looking for something unique, but relevant.

The name Crushingcinders originated one day a few years ago when PrincessI needed a password for an email account. At the time I was frustrated with the world’s fixation on the perfect woman and wished I could flatten any ‘Cinderella’ princess! The words popped into my head and made me laugh.

The name stuck with me and feels comfortable and as I love complex ‘messed-up’ characters in books I thought it would be the perfect name for my blog.

How did you come up with your blog’s name?

This post was inspired by a post on Choosing the Perfect Blog Name by Cheri Lucas Rowlands. Thank you for the prompt Cheri!

Hannah Spannah Coco Banana

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Told from the perspective of four different characters whose voices are heard in alternating chapters this story ripples with adventure, fun and emotion.

The two main characters, who are not only from opposite sides of the social divide but have totally different personalities and outlooks, find themselves thrown together in a whirlwind while unexpectedly (and illegally) crossing the Mexican border. The supporting characters are no less entertaining and this story unravels their secrets as their lives are revealed layer by layer.

Expect to be drawn into the turmoil, flung about and come out the other side with a smile.5 Star

Recommended Age: 12+

Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Publication Date:
7 January 2013 (first published May 15th 2012)
Disney-HyperionFrom What I

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KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??
— Extract from

This is a light-hearted comedy which I absolutely loved! But don’t be fooled into thinking its just candyfloss – this story has unexpected depth…