Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April summary

Yikes! Not much to say for my book summary this month.

I finished a grand total of...drum roll...THREE books this month!

The Sweet Far Thing
Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity

The first two on the list were great, Stardust being the better of the two. The third on the list I read for a book discussion group, of which I never made it to one meeting. Bo-ring. With a capital B.

I did also read half of The Venetian Mask, so, while I can't count it toward my totals, it did take up a good chunk of my reading time before I moved on.

Oh, and I forgot. My daughter and I finished listening to The Subtle Knife this month. So that bring the total up to 4.5.

I feel pretty certain the number will be higher for May, as I'm not currently reading a chunkster and have a couple of children's books planned for the month. Then again, I may pick up American Gods or The Book of Lost Things, neither being on the short side, when I finish The Princess Academy.

Here's where I stand in my current reads:

Princess Academy - about 100 pages to go; expect to finish it by Saturday
The Amber Spyglass - I think we're about halfway through listening to this
Dragonfly in Amber - I've got about 1.5 hours left of this 38+ hour audiobook, so I'm almost done. That's probably a chapter or two's worth of book.
Peter and the Starcatchers - We're maybe barely 1/4 into this one. Our bedtime readalouds tend to go pretty slowly, at maybe 1 chapter per night, 2 if they're short chapters.

What's up next?

I think I'm going to read The Book of Lost Things next, if it's available at the library. Actually, I can see right now that it's not due back until May 16. So, do I request it and hope it's here by Saturday for me to pick up (there are several copies available at other branches)? Or do I choose something else? The something else would either be American Gods (do I want to read another Gaiman so soon?) or Sea of Monsters. Unless, that is, Love Marriage (my most recent LibraryThing Early Reviewer selection) arrives before I finish Princess Academy. Then I will feel obligated to pick that one up next. I think we'll take a wait and see approach. If The Book of Lost Things happens to reappear, I'll go with that. Otherwise I'll start one of the ones I already have in the house.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

PB&J Challenge

Now this is a challenge I can gobble up! Becky just introduced the PB&J Challenge. The point of this one is to read picture books (PB) and/or juvenile (J) books. The J part is no challenge for me, as I read so many children's books anyway, but a picture book challenge is just what I needed to give me an excuse to read more picture books. Seriously, the thing I miss most about being a children's librarian is the picture books. Becky hasn't set specific rules for this challenge, but says setting goals for yourself is perfectly acceptable. I think my goal will be 52 books - one book for each letter of the alphabet for both title and author. Sort of an A to Z challenge with just picture books. I can't wait to get started!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Words can not describe how much I loved this book! You know that feeling you get when you hear really good music? It kind of makes your heart hurt? That's how this book made me feel.

This was just one fantastic fairy tale. It was truly perfect. I don't want to tell plot details because that would just be giving away some of the magic. If you haven't read this, please do. It's just wonderful.

This book counts toward the Once Upon a Time challenge and the A to Z challenge.

Other reviews:
Marg at ReadingAdventures

Weekly Geeks

The weekly geekery as prescribed by Dewey this week was to visit some of the blogs of people who signed up for Weekly Geeks and blog about them.

I visited:

Florinda, who is pondering about Twittering. Very thoughtful post.

Table Talk, which I must say is a very pretty blog! Looking forward to reading more.

Alix, who has the best name for her blog (Not Enough Bookshelves). Her list of books for challenges looks a lot like mine, so I'm really looking forward to reading more reviews.

This was fun! I want to read more, but I need to go do the Mom thing. It's bedtime, which means, since I just finished Stardust, that I get to start a new book! (Trying to decide between The Princess Academy and The Sea of Monsters.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

btt button

Well, here where I live, Spring is sprung–weeks early, even. Our lilac bush looks like it will have flowers by this time next week instead of in the middle of May as usual. The dogwood trees, the magnolia trees–all the flowering trees are flowering. The daffodils and crocuses are, if anything, starting to fade. It may only be April 24th but it is very definitely Spring and, allergies notwithstanding, I’m happy to welcome the change of season. What I want to know, is:

Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?

Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

My answer:

I don't think I read anything different at different times of the year (unless I'm participating in a challenge). The past 2 years, I've read along with a couple of different reading lists for a competition that my daughter and husband are/were involved in. That wraps up around this time of year, so I was able to focus more on books in my TBR stack. I also probably read a few more ARCs at this time of year, since I come home with so many from TLA. But overall, I real all the time all year long...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two (or more?) things

First, I just gave up on The Venetian Mask. I like the characters, and I like the story. But I don't care for Rosalind Laker's writing style at all. I was finding the book boring and tedious and had already given it 4x as long as I would typically give a book. Too many books, too little time.

Second, I'm joining Ex Libris' Soup's On challenge. I love cookbooks and have many I want to try and many on my bookshelf that I've never cooked from. This is a great way to try some new recipes. Actually, I bought a cookbook today (I don't count this as breaking my book diet): Put a Lid on It! Cookbook: Slow Cooker Recipes, Menus & Shopping Lists, which has some slow cooker recipes that look *really* good!

And now I'm picking up Stardust!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekly Geeks

Check out Dewey's idea for a new challenge sort of thing here! And join in the fun!

Friday, April 18, 2008


45. That is the total number of free books I came home from Dallas with. Wowzers! This is my 3rd attendance at the Texas Library Association and I have *never* come home with this many books - probably not even half this many. Have I mentioned I have a problem?

Here are pictures of my stacks of books, with a list under each of what is in it. There were a few real finds!

Stack 1:
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Murder Notebook by Jonathan Santlofer
The Pirates of Turtle Rock by Richard W. Jennings
Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand by Louise Hawes (this looks great!)
Sexless in the City: A Memoir of Reluctant Chastity by Anna Broadway (this looks horrid and I don't know why I picked it up - I'll send it to the first person who requests it in the comments!)
The Calder Game by Blue Balliett (This is the 3rd in the series that began with Chasing Vermeer - great find!)
Fortune's Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment AND School's Out Forever - (the Internet Room at the conference was hosted by Maximum Ride and they handed out these books. Laura has both of them already, so if she doesn't have anyone she wants to give them to, I may give these away here, too. Stay tuned!)
Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper by Sark (the final copy of this will be in full color but the ARC is black and white)

Stack 2:
How to Raise Your Parents: A Teen Girl's Survival Guide
by Sarah O'Leary Burningham
The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley
Storyteller by Edward Myers
The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton (this was in the most recent batch of Library Thing Early Review copies, and I had requested it but got matched with a different book instead, so I was glad to see this!)
Prey by Lurlene McDaniel (I saw on my nephew's Facebook account that he likes Lurlene McDaniel's books, so I may send him this as a belated birthday present)
The Wishing Year: A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire by Noelle Oxenhandler
Mexican High by Liza Monroy
The Disappeared by Gloria Whelan
Hurricane Song: A Novel of New Orleans by Paul Volponi
Mariah Mundi: The Midas Box by G.P. Taylor
Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler
Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two)
by D.M. Cornish

Stack 3:
Life on the Refrigerator Door: Notes Between a Mother and Daughter, a novel
by Alice Kuipers
As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! by Donna Gephart
Water Baby by Ross Campbell (graphic novel)
Tigerheart by Peter David
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson (I was so excited to find this!!!)
Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: A Tale of the Old West by Avi
No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed As Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure by Susan Hughes (graphic novel format)
Elf Realm: The Low Road by David Kirk
Poison Ink by Christopher Golden
My Mother Is a French Fry and Further Proof of My Fuzzed-Up Life
by Colleen Sydor
Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek
Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet by Christopher Lincoln

Stack 4:
Masterpiece by Elise Broach
Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell
Larry and the Meaning of Life by Janet Tashjian
Lost Boy by Lina Newbery
Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff
Love Me Tender by Audrey Couloumbis
Thank You Lucky Stars by Beverly Donofrio
Runemarks by Joanne Harris (this is the first children's book by the author of Chocolat)
Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial by Jen Bryant
Burnout by Rebecca Donner and Inaki Miranda (graphic novel)
Girlwood by Claire Dean

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Texas Library Association conference

I'm in Dallas at the Texas Library Association conference and am having a great time. I got to see about half of a session with a panel of YA authors yesterday which included Rick Riordan, Libba Bray, and Suzanne Collins (and 3 more people whose names I can't remember right now) and today I hit the exhibit hall for an hour. And what a productive hour it was. I was weighted down with no fewer than 30 ARCs, some by well-known authors, in less than an hour. I had to put myself in time out for the rest of the day because I couldn't carry any more. How the hell am I going to read all of these? I still have ARCs from last year (no, 2 years ago) that I never read. I think I am going to have to host a "Read the damn ARCs" challenge or something! Does anyone else have this problem? I swear I am unstoppable when it comes to free books. I really have a problem.

I, alas, do not have free wireless in my room, so I may not post again before I get home Friday. Sometime this weekend I will post a full list of all the ARCs I make it home with. I plan to host several give-aways on here over the next few months, as I finish these books.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

This third installment in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy didn't disappoint. I finished this book today after two weeks. I can't even imagine how long this would have taken if I were dividing my time between multiple books. I'm really glad I gave this my full attention.

The only bad thing about this book, IMO, was knowing that the end of the book meant the end of the trilogy. It was full of suspense, although I did sort of have it figured out long from the end. Not a certainty, but a suspicion.

I don't want to recount too much of this book, because, being the 3rd in the series, it is picking up more than halfway through the story. If you have read the first two installments (A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels), I think you will enjoy this one just as much. If you haven't read them yet, they're at the top of my "recommend" list. I definitely count this series as one of my favorites.

I'll be at the Texas Library Association this week, and, if I get there in time on Tuesday, plan to see Libba Bray's talk (along with some other YA authors who I can't remember right now). I'm bummed that I can't go to her booksigning on Wednesday. I have a program that I must attend, since I'm an officer in the division hosting it, at the same time. I would much rather go "meet" Libba Bray, I must admit. I'm such a fangirl. :-)

This book fulfills THREE challenges!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

I've been wanting to do one of these for a while...

1. I love springtime in Houston. Spring and fall are the only times it's bearable. Winter is just disappointing, and the summer is too hot and humid!
2. Kolaches and chocolate chip muffins are foods I love to eat for breakfast. In fact, I think maybe I'll make chocolate chip muffins tomorrow, if I have time.
3. It seems I'm always searching for a crochet hook or a bookmark.
4. Curled up with a book is a great way to end the day.
5. I think I could fall asleep right now!
6. Indian food is what I've been craving lately.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to avoiding my daughter and her friend who's sleeping over, tomorrow my plans include Eli's first soccer game of the season and reading more of The Sweet Far Thing and Sunday, I want to finish The Sweet Far Thing!

The Venetian Mask and Love Marriage

I finally got my March Early Reviewer copy yesterday, The Venetian Mask. I've heard mediocre reviews of it, but it's supposedly a fast read. I'll hopefully finish The Sweet Far Thing before Tuesday and will take this one with me to TLA next week.

I also just got notified that I'll be getting one of the April Early Reviewer books, Love Marriage by V.V. Ganeshananthan, which looks very good! There were so many books in this batch that would have thrilled me. I had to go add books to my Amazon wishlist once I got my notification. I'm also hopeful that maybe I'll run across some of these ARCs at the TLA conference next week.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Book diet

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I am on a self-imposed book diet. I did buy one book this week, but it was a knitting book, which doesn't count. I mean, yeah, it counts some, but not as much, because it's not something that's getting added to Mount TBR (actually that is more a mountain range, not one mountain). And I had to take advantage of my husband's 25% discount at Borders during Educator Appreciation days, naturally.

But back to the book diet. I'm doing very well. I went in Half Price Books this afternoon to waste some time while waiting to take Eli to gymnastics, and, get this, I didn't walk out with anything! Go me! I did think my strength was going to be tested this week when I thought they were going to have a book sale at work (the configuration of the tables looked suspiciously like what they use for their periodic book sale). Actually, I know I would have failed that test. There's no way I can pass up $1 books.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

And here I am again...

I apologize for being such a delinquent poster. The only time I seem to have time to sit down and compose a post is on the weekends.

I've completely restructured my reading. I've gone from reading something like 6 books at a time to really just one. I have 4 going, but only 1 is my "real" book, the one that I pick up at lunch, bedtime, etc. Other than that have 1 or 2 audiobooks going (although, we just finished one yesterday and I keep forgetting to download the last section of the other one, so I actually don't have any audiobooks going currently), our bedtime read-aloud, and a book I'm reading for a discussion group at my UU church. Since I relegate only about 5 pages per day of the last one, just enough to get me from one session to another, I can hardly even count that.

I just got overwhelmed with too many books going and decided to step back and really focus on one at a time. I'm sure this will evolve - again - but that's it for now.

So what am I reading currently? The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray. This one big hunk o' book, but it's really good. I'm a big fan of Libba Bray. I met her at the Texas Library Association conference a couple of years ago when I got her to sign Rebel Angels (met is a very loose term here). She had mentioned in her talk that her books don't have very many male readers, being, generally speaking, chick lit. I informed her that my husband was a big fan, so she signed Rebel Angels to her one lone male groupie, or something to that effect. Her blog is also a real hoot to read.

Here's my March wrap-up:

Books read:

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur
The Ghost's Grave
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Hubert Invents the Wheel
Water for Elephants
The Subtle Knife


Completed What's in a Name
A-Z: Titles (A,W)
Chunkster: 1/4
Started Once Upon a Time II

Favorite book of the month: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan