Sent by Jen the other morning.

It made me giggle.

(Poor Darth isn't a good speller, is he?)

Four Wives by Wendy Walker

I admit, I was a bit reluctant when I was given this galley by the fine folks at FSB. I mean, another story of bored housewives in suburbia? Hasn't that been done?

Boy, was I wrong.

I started this well-written, well-told novel yesterday and have found myself pulled back again and again to keep reading, only slowing down when I realized it was nearing the end. I was immediately pulled into the four stories of Gayle, Love, Janie and Marie, who, yes, have more money than most, and yes, live in suburbia, but this was more than manicures and nannies. These women, who sometimes love and sometimes hate each other, are each struggling with something bigger than themselves and their relationships, and coping in different ways.

I was rooting for some characters, and despising others; I was rooting for some to get together, and others to stay apart, but always I was rooting for these four women, and I loved that Walker used rotating voices so that we got to be inside each women's world for a chapter at a time, drawing them all together. It was suspenseful, funny at times, cringe-worthy at times, but always felt like a real peek into lives like this.

This is such a smart, compelling, slow-burn-to-the-tangled-end story: quick to read, but hard to forget.


Cathy's Key by Sean Stewart

I was intrigued by the first novel in this soon-to-be, Cathy's Book, so I was eager to read this follow-up when I snagged a galley at ALA. Though it doesn't have the "pocket of evidence" that will no doubt accompany it, the galley once again contained the continuing story of Cathy Vickers, complete with doodles and drawings, websites to look up and phone numbers to try.

This YA diary-novel-epistolary-mystery picks up the thread of Cathy's missing boyfriend Victor (who, by the way, is immortal) and the tangled web that Cathy is a part of. Along the way, she finds herself betrayed by a new acquaintance, almost loses her best friend, and nearly gets herself killed...

I still find the storytelling a bit disjointed, but I really enjoyed reading more about this story, with the ending open for another entry into Cathy's tale. This is an engaging read for young adults, and Cathy's Book is that we've had great success handselling to reluctant teens. A cool book with a cool delivery - I really love the exploration of including all kinds of media (websites, phone messages, etc) in telling a story.

If it worked for NIN's Year Zero, why not a YA novel? :-)


Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

This was a recommended read from my bookmobile lady, who began to describe the plot to me, which sounded interesting.

Julia is a disgraced psychologist after a patient murders her family; Ellie, her sister, is a small town cop, and the two aren't close. However, they are brought together when a wild child - a young, mute girl who is terrified of people - is found in the woods of Washington state near Ellie's home.

What follows is a gentle story of the bond between sisters, mothers and daughters, lovers, and even strangers. I liked Hannah's writing style, and the book was an easy read, if not a particularly fast moving one. Nonetheless, I found myself invested in Julia's redemption and the young girl's transition into society.

A gentle read...


So they've begun casting the movie version of Twilight, the first in the YA vampire trilogy that I have completely fallen in love with.

Turns out, the bloke who played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is going to play Edward.

I'm kinda on the fence about it, myself.

Thoughts? Is he Edward-esque?


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Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

I gotta say, I don't get it.

This YA series has been hyped and hoopla-ed, and it doesn't seem to stay on the shelf long, so I wanted to read the first in this intended trilogy (now four books) and see what the fuss was about.


This is obviously Brave New World for today's generation, mixed in with a little Gattaca and sci fi, and then mixed with uninspiring characters. When you turn 16, you are changed from a "Ugly" to one of the "Pretties", everyone looking beautiful and doing nothing but getting drunk, going to parties, and laying around all day (what a great example for today!). But what happens when a few rebel Uglies leave for the wilderness! Oh no! Danger! Intrigue!

While I liked the perspective of trying to describe things from the future that we take for granted today (newspapers, cars, roller coasters, etc), the rest of this novel just left me cold.

I guess I'm too old to "get it". Not recommended by me, but thousands of YAs will disagree...


The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

I seem to have developed a new tradition for rereading this mammoth fantasy series...I always take the next book with me to a conference or while traveling. Because they are so darn long, I know it will last me the whole trip!

This, book four in the series, weighs in at a mere 986 pages, but the threads of the story are starting to twist and separate and reweave...Rand is the Dragon Reborn, Mat is still mischievous and not following rules, and Perrin is ready to go home again, to lead a battle of his own...

I'm still enjoying rereading these books with a mixture of sentiment and memory, and with knowing where some of the threads will lead. Only 8 more books to go before the saga ends...

Superb fantasy series!


You know, if church was like this, I'd go more often.

I love how he valiantly tries to recover. Hee. :-)


I know. It's been almost two weeks since you've had an update on my AeroGarden (damn skeptics!).

Here ya go...

Wheeha! I have plantage!


Close Up

I'll be making pesto in no time. ;-)


I've been back from ALA Midwinter in Philly for a few days now, and have finally gotten around to uploading a few photos and getting things in order during this long weekend.

I didn't feel this Midwinter was as productive for me as last year in Seattle, but it was still a good experience!

Among other things, I:

Sat on the tarmac in Detroit for a looooong time, was a scheduler for the Resume Review booth, toured the exhibits, attended NMRT events, snapped photos, took a tour of Philadelphia, watched the Packers win (thankfully, I was in a meeting for the Colts game, though the entire Hampton Inn heard my dismay when I got back and got the final score), ate cheesesteak, had lunch with our architect and more. Good times!

A few photos, methinks...



Meeting Josh Kilmer-Purcell *swoon* the author of the great memoir I Am Not Myself These Days...

Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Working the Resume Review Service area...

January 13

And, of course, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in the background...

January 14

Sadly, I didn't have a chance to run (well, stroll) up the Rocky steps, though I took a picture of someone else doing it!

Runner on the Steps!

Turns out, TinyTown got more snow that Philly did - figure that!

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Step on a Crack by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

I'm still trying to discover the "magic of Patterson" (since I really don't see it), so this standalone novel was recommended to me as another to try.

I really liked the premise of this one - hostages are taking during a state funeral for a beloved first lady, trapped in St. Patrick's in NYC by ruthless men...

Our main hero is Michael Bennett, cop and negotiator, and also father of ten and husband of Maeve, his dying wife. The "family stuff" in the novel became a wee bit schmaltzy for me (It's Christmas! All those children! Maeve is dying! Woe! Sob!), but I enjoyed the plotting and planning of the hostage situation.

I enjoyed this novel, more than some of Patterson's other works, so it was a good recommendation...

Note: I listened to the audio edition, narrated by John Slattery and Reg Rogers. I really liked the interplay between these two voices and the musical cues throughout really ramp up the suspense and set the mood. Plus it was a fast listen - only 7 discs.


Liberty-Bell2-R.Kennedy_UI'm off to ALA's Midwinter conference early Friday morning.

(Philadelphia. In JANUARY. Pinch me.)

The blog will be on mini-break until I return, probably with a picture or two. ;-)

Have a good weekend!


It's always troublesome to be able to go out with only short sleeves during a 70 degree day.

In January.

Yes, we had some seriously heinous storm cells blow through today, but all of the tornado sightings were in a more southern part of the county, at least a few miles away from the library, though I did pack everyone (staff and patrons) into the safety of the staff area for about 20 minutes today.

Gotta love tornado alley...

I so totally got the best Christmas present this year.

My sister got me an AeroGarden.


(If y'all aren't infomercial saavy, or didn't get Sur La Table or any of the other snooty chef catalogs, the AeroGarden is an in-home garden system, with no dirt and totally regulated light, for growing herbs, tomatoes, whatever. Basically, if you follow the instructions, you can't kill it. I'm so there.)

I set it up New Year's Day, and have little itty bitty plants beginning to sprout. Despite some snarky comments from some *cough*, I will be closely monitoring the AeroGarden, and of course, keeping you all updated with regular pictures.

I know.

You can't wait either. ;-)

Day One:


All set up and ready for some growing!

Day Six Update:

Bitty little plants!





It's my very own, slightly odd science experiment! :-)


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is one of those books you stay up way past your bedtime to finish.

I chose this book as our book discussion title for January, despite not having read it before, based solely on the weight of all the positive reviews floating around, and now I can't wait to discuss it.

This memoir, written by successful journalist Walls, traces her growing up as the second daughter in a family that was loyal and loving - but extremely underprivileged, always on the run, and making poor choice after poor choice. Walls' father, an alcoholic, and her mother, an "adventure seeker", cared for their children, but provided little for them. The memoir begins with Walls in a cab on Fifth Avenue in New York, looking out the window and seeing her homeless mother digging through a dumpster, and the book just explodes from there.

I can't adequately summarize this memoir, except to say that it's written without self pity, despite the sometimes pitiful circumstances, and that Walls' writing is engaging, and the story clearly arresting.

Highly, highly recommended!


I knew they'd have to find someone...

Via Tor's website:

Tor Books announced today that novelist Brandon Sanderson has been chosen to finish the final novel in Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series. Robert Jordan, one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th and early 21st centuries, died September 16th after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis.

The new novel, A Memory of Light, will be the twelfth and final book in the beloved fantasy series which has sold over 14 million copies in North America and over 30 million copies worldwide. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers, and for over a decade fans have been eagerly awaiting the final novel that would bring the epic story to its conclusion.

Harriet Popham Rigney, Jordan's beloved wife and editor, said of her decision to have Sanderson complete the last book in The Wheel of Time series: "I have chosen Brandon Sanderson to complete Robert Jordan's great work, and I am absolutely delighted that he accepted. I will of course be editing this book as I have all of the other books of The Wheel of Time."

Okay, so the clock's ticking. I have to reread books 4-11 before Fall 2009....


The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs

I enjoyed Jacobs' first foray into nonfiction (The Know-It-All), and he seems to have hit on a formula for books - throwing himself into seemingly pointless tasks whole heartedly and turning it into a book at the end. Last time, it was reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica - this time, Jacobs is going to follow the Bible for a the letter.

What follows is a revealing look at the Bible (with all its parables, intricacies, idiocies, and stories) and Jacobs struggle to come to terms with his religion, his own reverence, his wife's pregnancy with twins, and with how to stop scaring people with his beard and his robes of non-mixed fibers. ;-) He tries valiantly to obey even the most off the wall, no longer followed, obscure orders from the Bible, and meets a lot of interesting religious folks along the way. Jacobs makes an effort to change his own religious views, which were nebulous at best, and to become more devout. It's not scathing about religion, or followers, just gently mocking at times.

I liked the of starting a year with a book following a yearlong quest - though this obviously isn't one I would take on myself, I thought it was interesting, entertaining, and in some ways, solidified a few more of my views about the Bible...

Recommended - particularly if you enjoyed Jacobs' previous title.


timgunn-readBe still my heart.

Tim Gunn (of Project Runway fame, if you are from Neptune), stumping for the American Library Association with a READ poster.

I need one for my office.

I could sit all day, listening to Tim spout three dollar words and dishing on fashion.

And he's a huge bookish one.