Saturday, February 27, 2010

My first award!!!!!

Amanda over at Daydreams and Wanderings has made my week by graciously giving me a splash award!   I haven't been blogging for very long, so this is so nice --- thank you!!!     And -- this picture is so pretty -- how did you know I like mermaids?!   

This award is given to the blog that is alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring.

The Rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog/post.
2. Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your Splash award.
6. Have F~U~N.

If you'd like to see the other blogs she gave the award to, please click on her link above.  And here are my blogs that I'd like to nominate:

The Book Smugglers
Wicked Little Pixie
The Ninja Librarian
Tattooed Books

And, a big thank-you again to Amanda!   :)     I've been keeping an eye on her blog for a bit (and just remembered to follow it) - check it out!  

The Moon Ribbon by Jane Yolen --- and how I met her

I just posted about my new favorite book, Except the Queen, by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder.   And I mentioned The Moon Ribbon, which was the first book by Jane Yolen that I ever read.  My mom gave me the book when I was a kid, and I read it over and over again, eventually going on to read other books by Jane Yolen, including The Girl Who Cried Flowers (another book of stories).    I have been careful with my copy of Moon Ribbon, keeping it with me all these years .....   and then, a few years ago, when I was in library school, ALA's (The American Library Association) convention came to Chicago --- and I noticed that among the authors listed to attend, Jane Yolen's name was on the list.   I had already planned to buy myself a one-day pass (after all, ALA doesn't come to Chicago every year, and I was in library school, after all), but the fact that Jane Yolen, the author of one of my most treasured books was supposed to be there, meant that I HAD to go.

So, I got my pass, packed a few books, including Moon Ribbon, into my bag, and went downtown on the train.   And, of course, it was overwhelming, books everywhere, free books everywhere.....  but that's not the real story here.     The real story is:  I got to meet Jane Yolen.   I saw her sitting, so I grabbed my book and asked if she could please sign it... and then got really choked up.  I have no idea what happened, but I guess it was the fact that she was real, and had written this book that I loved so much ..... I don't know.  I think I was able to blurt out that it was one of my favorite books since I was a child --- I have no idea.   She was actually very nice, and mentioned she hadn't seen the book for a long time (it's been out of print for years) and she graciously signed my book.   I just wish I had been able to say a little more, but I was tearing up as it was, so I just took the book back from her and stumbled away.   Not very grown-up of me, admittedly.   Once I had composed myself, I got on with the rest of my day (and actually got to meet another author I really like --- luckily, I didn't get choked up and make a fool out of myself).   However, this was one of those really special times for me -- kinda the geek equivalent of meeting a rock star.   :)

Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder

I blogged about this book on Teaser Tuesday and finished it the other day (and have now added it to my "Want" list).  I had ordered this for our library's collection, but then had to wait to get my hands on it (seems somebody else had their eye on it and grabbed it first! )

Here's the summary, taken from the publisher:  Sisters Serena and Meteora were once proud members of the high court of the Fairy Queen- until they played a prank that angered her highness. Separated and banished to the mortal realm of Earth, they must find a way to survive in a strange world in which they have no power. But there is more to their new home than they first suspect...
             A sympathetic Meteora bonds with a troubled young girl with an ornate tattoo on her neck. Meteora recognizes it as a magic symbol that will surely bring danger down on them all. Serena, meanwhile, takes in a tortured homeless boy whose mind is plagued by dark visions. The signs point to a rising power that threatens to tear asunder both fairy and human worlds.
            And the sisters realize that perhaps the queen cast them from their homes not out of anger or spite- but because they were the only ones who could do what must be done...

What I thought:  Jane Yolen has been a favorite author of mine, ever since I was a kid and my mom gave me a copy of the book The Moon Ribbon and Other Tales.  I've always considered her a first-rate storyteller, so was excited when I heard she was writing this book with Midori Snyder.   What I didn't expect was how much I would enjoy this book.   The story is so well-crafted, and well-written, that I found I would sometimes read a passage over again, just to savor it.   By bringing the two sisters into the human world, but still allowing for a little magic, Yolen and Snyder really made the story special.   They sometimes had somewhat unconventional and creative ways of characterizing the different people in the book, and this made it an interesting read.   Definitely not your usual fairy tale --- but something really quite good, and thought-provoking.   It's not very often that I get a book from the library and upon finishing it, immediately add it to my Amazon wishlist.  However, this is one I want on my shelves at home (and maybe, just maybe, I'll buy an extra one so I can share it.....).    

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interesting-sounding book -- Inside Out by Maria Snyder ----

Just saw this on one of the blogs I keep a constant eye on:  Presenting Lenore.   Sounds like an interesting book, to be sure --- creepy, yet I'm sure I won't be able to put it down once I start it.     To learn more, just click on over to Lenore's blog for a full description ----

Teaser Tuesday!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week comes from Except the Queen by Jane Yolen ---                  

"As for Sparrow, she avoided me after our encounter in our kitchen, but I was determined not to let it build a wall between us.  I waited for her one morning on the porch and caught her as she was about to walk the dog, a charming creature, all mouth and tail."   p. 239

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Yet another book I ordered for our library's collection ....  and then snapped up as soon as it arrived on the shelf.

Taken from the back cover: "Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined.  Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six.  She has never quite fit in at school... or at home.  When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.  But she could never have guessed the truth -- that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.  Now Meghan will learn just how fall she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart."

Sounds cool, huh??!!    I had read about this book in reviews, and on other people's blogs, so I was happy to grab it when it reached the library.  I wasn't sure about the book in the beginning ....  I was worried it might be:  girl feels out of place, faery, blah blah blah struggle, blah blah blah faery, blah blah blah cute guy.....   and I was so wrong to be worried.   I had nothing to worry about at all.

This turned out to be a really interesting, well-written, well-woven story with characters that I cared about.  Without giving too much of the plot away (yes, this means you'll just have to read it for yourself), Meghan's best friend turns out to be no other than Puck, and her father turns out to be Oberon (yes, that Oberon).   Wound through the story are other characters you might expect, including a changeling, nixies, piskies, and a cait sith named Grimalkin, who reminded me very much of Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat.   There's danger here in Kagawa's faery world, and her main character, Meghan, doesn't always think before she acts. But that's why I liked her: she's real.   Plunged into this world without much knowledge of how it works would make anyone prone to hasty decisions.  Meghan's not perfect, and thankfully, she's not perfect-looking, either (more on that pet peeve later) and she makes mistakes.  However, she learns from her mistakes and throughout the story, she progressively becomes stronger and smarter.   And the love interest?  Not surprisingly, that's complicated.  However, Ash, youngest son of Queen Mab, is an intriguing guy, and I liked that he was alternately drawn to Meghan or itched to kill her.

One of the most interesting parts of the story was the Iron King and his part of the NeverNever.  The idea of something like this, constructed of technology and metal, is frightening and creepy.   One of the things that I think makes the world of faery appealing is that so often, we associate it with Nature, with the green and growing, and the organic.  Having something Matrix-esque blooming like some nasty fungus within the world of the NeverNever is distasteful.  However, the idea that this is what is happening in this story is fascinating, and it gave a new element to a story that I thought was going to be predictable.

And then, too suddenly, I was at the end of the book.  And yes, I let out a few little curse words --- because I will now need to wait until August, 2010 to read the next book and continue the story.   Argh!!!!!    But that means it was a good book; if I didn't care when I reached the end of it, it would mean I hadn't enjoyed the ride.   

And one last note -- I mentioned that little pet peeve I had about characters always being beautiful....    it's just this:  I understand the whole point of having cool characters who look great because as readers, we can all imagine ourselves as the character, etc etc etc.  I know that.   However....  I always find it a little refreshing to have a main female character who isn't thin, pretty, great hair, smart....   give me a girl who's smart and maybe has quirky looks.  Give her great hair, but a big nose.  Make her smart, but 10 pounds overweight.   After all, as much as I sometimes love to imagine myself in the place of a character who is thin, pretty, smart, and has great hair, I like it when I come across a female character who has a few flaws, and who is more real because of them.     Ok -- done with this rant for now.    On to the next book!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading and it asks us to...
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser today is taken from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa  (finally got this one from the library!)
"That glow was actually candlelight, and above it, a face was peering into the room from outside.  I opened my mouth to yell for Puck, when those blue eyes turned to me, and a face I knew all too well backed away into the night."    (p. 83)

I'm looking forward to starting this book -- I've been reading about it on other blogs, and have been waiting for it to arrive at the library.   

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grrrr........ or is that GR?

Just wondering if there is any point in having both a LibraryThing and a Goodreads account going.  I have everything on LibraryThing, but a few people keep saying how they'd like to connect via GoodReads.  So, I've tried importing from LT to GR (thus, the grrrrrrrrr.......) --- GoodReads doesn't seem to like most of the ISBNs I have, and I really don't want to have to enter everything manually.  

So, if anyone has any comments on which one they like better, I'm all ears.  At this point, I'm irked with GoodReads and still love LibraryThing, but I'm open to ideas.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Unit by Ninn Holmqvist

I have just finished a great book from the library --- it had been on my TBR list and I had forgotten all about it until I came across it on the shelf.....

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

Taken from the front flap:  "THE UNIT is a gripping exploration of a society in the throes of a system geared toward eliminating those who do not contribute by conventional means, in which the 'dispensable' ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the 'necessary' ones.  It also looks deeply into the nature of the female psyche, at its resilience and creativity under dire conditions."

This book reminded me strongly of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, in that it's set in a society that may or may not be too far into the future, where women can be completely dispensable if they don't bear children.   In The Unit, both men and women over a certain age can be considered dispensable, donating parts of their bodies to "necessary" people, or even participating in experiments.   Holmqvist takes an interesting tactic in making the place where all the "dispensable" people go sound like a great place (you have great food, you don't need money) ... that is, until they start asking for things like a kidney.  Or part of your inner ear.  Suddenly, what becomes not such a big thing (after all, we have two kidneys....) becomes something rather horrifying.    The detachment of the society (in this story) towards all of this makes it even more so.

I thought the author did a wonderful job with the development of the main character, Dorrit, and even with the other more peripheral characters in the story.  I found myself caring so much about Dorrit and what was going to happen to her that I started reading this book whenever I could (brushing my teeth, even -- anything to get in a page or two!).    It's not necessarily a happy story, but it really made me think -- not only about how certain people are valued in this world, but also about love, and the value of self.  Really a thought-provoking story.

Teaser Tuesday!!!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here's mine for today: "In photographs, my face was always in shadow, like a lunar eclipse.  It always seemed like the sun was right behind me, throwing my face into darkness.  It was as if I didn't have any identity on film."

 from Meridian by Amber Kizer

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day

Today I'm posting about a book of poetry that I read through every so often.   I first read poems in this book when I was going through a low period years ago, and I found they really spoke to me.  Now, I still like to read through them once in a while just to revisit them in a quiet moment.    I know nikki giovanni wrote these poems a number of years ago (in the introduction, she's referred to as a "woman of the seventies"), but they are so simple as to be timeless.    So, I'm just sharing a little bit today....

Don't look now
I'm fading away
into the gray of my mornings
Or the blues of every night

I strangle my words as easily as I do my tears
I stifle my screams as frequently as I flash my smie
    it means nothing
I am cotton candy on a rainy day
    the unrealized dream of an idea unborn

(taken from the poem Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day  p. 21-23)

One of my favorites is the poem Choices (p. 66) .... and this is taken from that ----

if I can't have
what I want             then
my job is to want
what i've got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more
to want

I own one copy of this book, but have been known to buy an extra when I see it at a used bookstore and then give it away to a friend.   :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Yet another great book brought home from the library (seems like a recurring theme lately).   Many people have been blogging about this book, so I'm ready to add in my thoughts now that I've had a chance to finally get my hands on it.

Per Penguin, the description is as follows:  Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.

And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know. 

My thoughts:    Although I had an inkling right away about Finn and who he might really be, I found other little surprises in this story.  Characters would seem straightforward and then would show another facet, making it tricky to tell sometimes who was really who, and what their agendas might be.   I liked this, because it kept me off balance at times, and kept the story from being predictable.   I found the idea of Incarceron to be completely compelling, and really enjoyed how the author wrote the prison as a character unto itself, and also how she developed the world of this book.  The ideas here are really unique!  It is definitely a story that will stick with me for a while, and a book that I think I'll recommend (although I did find that at times, the plot moved a little slowly).   I think the cover art alone will draw a lot of people in -- the shimmery detailing on the key is exquisite, and there is a lot of fine detailing in the art that made me wish I had a full print of this.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I am so happy --- we finally have gotten new bookshelves in our library at home.   My husband (the best husband ever), agreed to go to IKEA and figure out how we could re-do our library room, considering we were using old folding bookcases I had had for 10+ years (and yes, some of the shelves were bowing slightly).    And, books were stacked on the floor, the room was a mess.....  

But, he did the math and figured out just how we could go around the room with tall bookcases, and little by little, we've been getting bookcases, putting them together, and making it all work.  I finally got all the books put away and organized yesterday (of course, I need to organize them -- I'm a Librarian!!).   So, because I'm just so happy, I'm posting a picture of one of the corners.   Still need to put chairs back in the room, and rearrange a few things, but it's so so so much better than it was!!!   

Teaser Tuesday !

Thanks to Miz B over at Should Be Reading, I'm getting off my lazy butt and posting ---   (actually, it's been another crazy week, but the fact that it's Tuesday is a great prompt for me....).    So, following the rules -- grab your current read, open to a random page, and share two "teaser" sentences:

"The necklace was the reason that Enzo was supposed to have killed Carly.  The story the DA told was that Enzo had somehow arranged for Carly to meet him at the bridge - maybe he had given her a sob story and begged her to help him out financially, maybe he had lured her there under false pretenses, or maybe, most remotely, they had met by sheer chance."

This is on page 107 of Anna Jarzab's All Unquiet Things
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison