Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Hi there! I've officially imported my blog into wordpress. The new URL is


Please update your feed readers! And pardon the construction while I take care of some housekeeping and design issues! :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Switching domains

I just bought somereads.com, so very soon, I will be moving this blog to a Word Press blog. Yay! Now I will be able to update more easily, I think...I hope...

I had so much fun cheerleading yesterday. It got me through a very long Saturday workday! I think I did at least double the time I had signed up for - go me!

I didn't get to read more than a couple of pages before falling asleep last night. But I did get to do some fabulous stargazing at a nearby state park, so all was well.

I hope everyone had a fantastic time reading yesterday. I hope that in the spring I won't be scheduled to work that day; if I am, I may switch Saturdays with someone so I can participate. Otherwise, you can bet I'll be there cheering all of you on again!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Readathon blues

Thanks so much for the comments I've gotten, y'all! To answer the question, no, unfortunately I'm not reading in the readathon. Alas, I am working 9-6 today with plans for the evening. I am having fun cheerleading, though, and I may be able to fit in some reading later tonight. (Who am I kidding? Of course I'll fit in reading, even if I do fall asleep after 1 page!)

I've got a few minutes off the reference desk, so I'm going to go visit some more blogs. Keep up the good work everyone and have fun!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I know, I've said this before, but I'll say it again. I really want to start posting to this blog again (can't believe I haven't updated since June...). Thing is, I hate writing book reviews. Any suggestions? I'd like to share what I'm reading/have read, but I need a short format.

Let's start with the past week or so. Here's what I've finished/started.

The Ragwitch by Garth Nix - liked it a lot
Rose by Any Other Name by Maureen McCarthy - liked it way more than I was expecting to!
Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: A Tale of the Old West by Avi (advanced reader copy) - kept my interest, but it was kind of boring at times. I don't think I would have liked it all that much as a kid, and I've always liked historical fiction.

I'm currently reading Waves by Sharon Dogar (advanced reader copy). I'm liking this one so far, about 75 pages in.

Next 3 on my list: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and then The Disappeared by Gloria Whelan

Baby steps. :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Some reviews

It's been a long time since I actually made a blog post (2 months? really?). When I logged in, I saw the little box that says "Remember me" and read it as more "Remember me?" That seemed more appropriate.

I've been remiss with book reviews but have several to post about. I'm just going to do a review blast here and will hopefully get back into posting "real" reviews soon.

I try to fill in the "stopped" field in LibraryThing when I finish a book, but I forgot on a couple, so these may not be perfectly chronological.

All Other Nights
by Dara Horn: I got this one from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. I'm a big fan of historical fiction, and I am fascinated with the period surrounding the Civil War, so this one was a perfect match. I very much enjoyed this book, although I did feel the ending was lacking. It's hard to write a review a couple of months after reading, so I'll just mention that I gave it 4.5 stars in LibraryThing. Highly recommended.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway: Another LT Early Reviewer. This one was literarily very good and it was a quick read. It was, however, quite bleak. It is based on a true story of cellist who played for 22 days in the middle of war-torn Sarajevo in honor of 22 people killed in a market bombing. Told from the perspective for 4 different characters, Galloway brought to life the horror of living in a city under siege. I gave this one 4 stars.

Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial by Jen Bryant: This children's book about the Scopes Trial regarding the teaching of evolution in a Tennessee classroom was written in verse. There were several narrators, and all had their own unique voice. This was a very quick, enjoyable read. I gave it 5 stars.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: This book is more of a novella than a full-length novel. It was the first Garcia Marquez book I've finished (having started 100 Years of Solitude and putting it aside a while back) and I enjoyed it. The main character is an elderly man (approaching his 90th birthday, I believe) who has never married but has frequented "houses of ill repute" for most of his life. He falls in love with a young girl who he has hired, but cannot bring himself to actually touch. There is magical realism and the book is quite odd, but also rather sweet. I gave it 4 stars.

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber: This one is a mix of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. An old manuscript, thought to lead to the hiding place of an undiscovered Shakespeare play, is found. Gangsters are after it, and a few people die. There is romance. There are chases. :-) I enjoyed the book, but it's just ok. I gave it 3 stars.

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery: Sigh. I wanted to love this book, because I've heard such wonderful things. It just didn't do anything for me, unfortunately. I gave it a reluctant 3 stars.

Currently I'm reading (and am almost through with) Helen of Troy by Margaret George. I should finish it this weekend and will *hopefully* post a review. Also on the nightstand is (still) The Mists of Avalon, which I'm reading intermittently.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not so much

I guess trying to start in a readathon after working 8 hours, going to the grocery store, & eating dinner was too much. I did get in an hour and a half or so of reading before falling asleep on the couch. I was so frustrated, since I was only 20 pages away from finishing my book! The good news was that I got up and interacted with Jimmy & Eli for a while before we headed to bed, and by the time I got in bed, I was awake enough again to pick the book back up and I did finish. So, I met my one goal for the readathon! Yahoo!

Laura read for maybe an hour and then totally crashed on the couch. She doesn't even remember us waking her up to move to her bed.

Laura and I might have our own mini readathon over Memorial Day weekend when we have more time to devote to it. I hate that we keep missing out on the real thing. I hope everyone had a fantastic time! I suspect I will mark my feeds as all read, since I'm already behind.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Better late than never

It's 8:07 PM, and Laura and I are joining in on the reading fun. Don't know that I'll check in much, and I don't plan to do any mini challenges, since I need to make up the reading time. But we're jumping in anyway!

What I'm reading: All Other Nights by Dara Horn.
Current page: 310 of 363

If nothing else I hope to finish this book!

Dewey's Read-A-Thon

Well, here I sit at work on the most perfect day for a readathon. Nasty, rainy day outside. The good news is that my plans for the evening got cancelled, so I'm hoping to grab Laura and join in for a few hours at least tonight. Yippee!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

State of the reading.

I decided to set Mists of Avalon aside for a while. This was a hard decision, since I wanted to love it as much now as I did the first time I read it. I just don't have the time to really devote to it right now, and I was having reading wanderlust. I haven't completely abandoned it. My current reading plan is to read 3 books I have at home and then 1 library book. I am keeping Mists in the rotation, but I'm only going to give it a week at a time. So, I'll read 2 books from my home library, then a bit of Mists of Avalon, then a library book. Make sense?

Currently I am reading Ringside 1925, which is about the Scopes trial. I am enjoying it very much, and it's a very quick read. I expect to finish it today and then pick up Memories of my Melancholy Whores. My one experience with Gabriel Garcia Marquez was 100 Years of Solitude, which I had to abandon, so I'm a little wary. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The "Loot" Part 2

Wow, I could really see the effects of the economy at this conference. While last year, there were free books everywhere, and it was sort of a free-for-all, this year was very different. As I mentioned in my previous post, I snagged 10 free books on Wednesday. I snagged a total of 4 more over the next 2 days. Many publishers had limits on the number of books people could take and some made people form lines and request books. Very different. Some of the bigger publishers didn't have anything out at all whenever I passed by. Even the other swag, like pens, etc., were scarce.

Here's what I did end up with on Thursday and Friday:

1) The Girls by Tucker Shaw
2) Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
3) You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith
4) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

I grabbed #4 for Laura, since she is totally into manga right now, and the back says "the phenomenon that took Japan by storm." Little did I know this is a coveted item! I handed it to Laura and she literally squealed with delight; she was so excited! So even though the pickings were slim, I did end up with a gem.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Loot, Part 1

I'm already prefacing this with "Part 1" even though the exhibit halls have only been open for 1 day. I know I'll grab more stuff tomorrow. I am definitely restraining myself - last year I grabbed books indiscriminately, but this year I'm at least reading the back before deciding to take. Still, I came home with 10 ARCs today and bought 3 other books for my family. Here's the lowdown so far:

1) The Edge of the World by Kevin Anderson
2) Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
3) Dodger for President by Jordan Sonnenblick (thought Eli might like this)
4) Boyology: A Crash Course in All Things Boy by Sarah O'Leary Burningham (I actually didn't grab this one; my coworker grabbed 2 and gave me one. Laura may not be quite old enough to appreciate it yet, but she'll grow into it.)
5) Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival by Clara Kramer
6) I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
7) Lyonesse: The Well Between the Worlds by Sam Llewellyn
8) Don't Let It Be True by Jo Barrett
9) The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
10) Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez

I bought:
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (for Laura)
Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves (for Jimmy)
Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson (for Eli)

I'll be back tomorrow and Thursday. I'm sure I'll snag more...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TLA 2009

It's that time of year again! Most of this week I'll be attending the Texas Library Association conference, which is here in Houston this year. My goal is to NOT come home with the 45 advanced reader copies I ended up with last year, which I've barely made a dent in. I'm sure I won't be able to resist a few, though. Hopefully the fact that I'll have to drag them home on the bus will be a deterrent!

On a reading-related note, I'm still plugging away at The Mists of Avalon. Sheesh, that's one big book!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Once Upon a Time III

In general, I'm not doing any challenges this year. My own, personal, challenge is to read as many of my own books as possible (generally speaking, I'm reading 1 library book for every 3 books from my own collection).

However, how can I resist Carl's challenges?

This year, Carl has included an option for general participation, without having to choose a certain number of books. This fits perfectly with my reading plan, and, as I am currently reading The Mists of Avalon, the timing is perfect.

If you've never joined one of Carl's challenges before, I highly encourage you to join in. It is more than a challenge; it's an experience.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Some of you, at least, have noticed that I now have a Twitter badge on my blog. I actually just added a new reading-specific account which will be the one that updates on this blog now. Feel free to follow any (or all) of my three Twitter profiles:


I am a much more prolific Tweeter than blogger, I promise! :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just checking in

I started re-reading The Mists of Avalon after I finished my last book, so it will be a while before I post a review, I think. It takes a really long time to read an 800+ book with only a little while each day to read! I first read Mists of Avalon in 1992, and I remember not being able to put it down. I'm not having that experience this time, but I think it's just that I don't have the time to devote to it that I did when I was 20... The fact that I have placed it on my list of favorites consistently keeps me reading.

We've had a very tough week here emotionally (my 10-year-old son had a friend who tragically died), and I haven't been in a mood to lose myself in a book. Knitting has kept me busy while not having to concentrate. It doesn't help that I have 3 time-sensitive projects going and more in the wings.

On a book-related note, we went to see Coraline for the second time today. The first time we had to settle for the 2D version, since the 3D version wasn't playing anymore. I guess they had freed up all the 3D slots for the Jonas Brothers movie (it was opening weekend), because today we noticed Coraline was showing in 3D again. I have to say, having seen both versions, the 3D version was MUCH better and more satisfying.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Goose Girl by Patrice Kindl

I needed a nice, quick read after Tamar, and this fit the bill perfectly. In this adapted fairy tale, a common goose girl, Alexandria Aurora Fortunata, has had a spell cast upon her so that whenever she combs her hair, gold dust falls out, and when she cries, she sheds diamonds instead of tears. This has grabbed the attention of both the King of Gilboa and the Prince of Dorloon, who have locked her in a tower until she chooses which one she will marry.
With the help of her beloved flock of geese, Alexandria escapes from the tower and, naturally, encounters all kinds of obstacles. While the ending may not be a complete surprise, it is entertaining, as is the book as a whole. Highly recommended for fans of the likes of Shannon Hale.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tamar by Mal Peet

I can't decide if I liked Tamar or not. I liked the story, and I like the subject matter, but the book just seemed to drag. It took me a couple of weeks to read, and I didn't feel overly compelled to pick it up instead of, say, knitting. That's my current gauge. If I'm really enjoying the book, I will choose to read instead of knit. If the book is just so-so, I will often choose to knit instead. I got a lot of knitting/crocheting done while reading this book.

Tamar bounces back and forth between the present and 1944/1945 and between two characters with the name Tamar. One character is the narrator, a young woman recounting the story of her grandfather's death and the process of trying to figure out a puzzle he left her when he died. The other character was a resistance fighter in the Netherlands during World War II. The stories are intertwined, as the girl Tamar was named by her grandfather, in honor of his experiences in the war. Both story lines are compelling, and the mystery revealed wasn't a dead giveaway. Still, I felt there was something missing, something that could have made the book impossible to put down. I would definitely recommend it for someone interested in the Dutch resistance or WWII history, in general.

Library Thing Early Reviewers

I snagged another Early Reviewer this month, after a couple-month dry spell. This month I'll be getting All Other Nights by Dara Horn. This book looks fantastic, and I can't wait to read it!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pardon my absence!

I just realized how long it has been since I updated my blog! I'm sure I've lost any readers I have by now...

My reading is going pretty slow right now, and I guess that's part of the problem. I finished Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber a couple of weeks ago and just loved it so much. Now it's been so long, and I don't even know how to review it. So I'll sum it up with what I tweeted on Twitter when I finished it: "It was so good I hugged it when I finished!"

Since then, I also finished The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley, an ARC I picked up at TLA last year. I enjoyed it and gave it 3.5 stars in LibraryThing. It wasn't terribly memorable, though, I'm sorry to say, a few weeks later.

I attempted to read The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares, and I had high expectations after the Traveling Pants series. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into it and returned it to the library.

Now I'm reading Tamar by Mal Peet, and while it is a pretty slow read, I am enjoying it and will finish it before moving on to something else.

I'm woefully behind on my book blog reading, too, but I am slowly catching up. Not doing any challenges right now; it's just me and crazy long book lists!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Library Loot

I'm off work today and tomorrow and trying to catch up on my blog posts and reviews. The reviews are done!

Here's what I've brought home from the library since my last Library Loot post:

1) Elizabeth: The Golden Age: After finishing The Lady Elizabeth, I just happened to find this one on the DVD shelf, so I grabbed it. I really enjoyed the first Elizabeth movie with Kate Blanchett, so I'm looking forward to this one.

2) The New Amateur Astronomer came home as a request from my astronomer husband.

3) and 4) I saw 200 Stitch Patterns for Baby Blankets on a cart of books I was shelving, and I liked some of the patterns and not just for baby blankets. After investigating some, I found the other Jan Eaton book on the shelf as well and brought both home. I will probably end up purchasing at least one of these books in the near future.

5) The same day I picked up Elizabeth: The Golden Age, I found Flags of Our Fathers on the shelf. We've been wanting to watch this one, too, so I brought it home. Of course, both have been sitting on the TV since then... I'm horrible about leaving movies sitting forever. (Case in point: the Netflix copy of The Manchurian Candidate that we kept for at least 5 months, and I never watched. At least Jimmy watched it!)

Women of the Revolution by Robert M. Dunkerly

I have realized that when it comes to non-fiction, what really floats my boat is history. I am also fascinated with Southern history (this is where the Mississippi girl in me shows her face), so it's no surprise that the subject matter of this book, Women of the Revolution: Bravery and Sacrifice on the Southern Battlefield, attracted me.

Unfortunately, I can't give a glowing review of the book. While, yes, the subject matter was interesting, the book was not well-written. To me, it read like a stack of notes that were thrown into book format. What bothered me the most about the book was that there were sections (sometimes even separated as entire chapters) where basically all it said was "I'm sure there were women involved in this part of the war, and this is the type of things they probably did, but we don't have any personal accounts to share." Interspersed with these sections, were some accounts of actual women and varying accounts of their stories, and I thought those were very interesting. I started the book assuming that it would be full of these actual accounts, and I was disappointed to find otherwise.

The author indicates that there is very little recorded about actual women involved in the Revolutionary War, which, of course, explains the lack of accounts in the book. But I wonder, if so little is available, why is it necessary to publish an entire book full of speculation? I noticed that there are other books on the topic; it seems that a chapter on the involvement of Southern women in a larger book might have worked better.

Another thing that bothered me a bit was the inclusion of photographs of reenactors portraying 17th century women. I would have preferred to see paintings or drawings. The photographs seemed (and were) staged; the women seemed too clean and tidy. Also, some of the photographs were repetitive - how many pictures of women sewing in camp do we really need to see? The one place in the book where I found the photographs to be a welcome addition was in the section devoted to clothing. I enjoyed seeing actual photographs of bedcoats, short gowns, etc. 

All in all, this book was disappointing. It, however, was very short, and I did learn a few things, so I don't feel that it was an overall waste of my time.

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

The Lady Elizabeth is a fictional account of Elizabeth I's life from a small child up until she is declared queen. Alison Weir, known primarily for her Tudor biographies, does an equally fabulous jobs with her fiction!

I almost gave up on The Lady Elizabeth several times, as the beginning moves at a fairly slow pace. I have also read or listened to several other books of the time period, and they were all starting to blur together. However, once I reached the point in the book where King Henry dies, the book's pace picked up, and I honestly had a hard time putting it down. I'm so glad I stuck with it!

Alison Weir will be appearing at my library in a few days, and I am looking forward to hearing her speak about Katherine Swynford, the subject of her newest book Mistress of the Monarchy. I am unfamiliar with Swynford, but I'm sure Ms. Weir will fill me in.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

This is the second time I've read Hatchet. The first was about 2 years ago, when I was home with a sick kid. This time around, we read it for bedtime. We have gravitated towards more fantasy-esque books for bedtime, I think (I'll have to go back and look at that), and this was the first time we've read any kind of survivor fiction. I think it was a fantastic choice! Both kids were engrossed and last night, when we only had one more chapter to go, the entire family asked me to keep reading. I think we need to look at a variety of genres from now on.

If you've never read Hatchet, here's a brief synopsis. Brian is a 13-year-old boy who is traveling in a small plane to visit his father when the plane crashes. He (obviously) survives the crash and must find a way to live in the wilderness. The book is gritty in places and Paulsen doesn't skirt around some of the more gruesome details.

The only thing I didn't care for (especially as a read-aloud) was the choppy text. I think it worked when I read it the first time, but aloud it just sounded weird.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Library Loot

I love this idea! I don't order enough books to warrant participation in Mailbox Monday, so when Eva posted about this idea, I was so excited to be able to participate!

Being a public librarian, I am always grabbing books off the shelf. I doubt I'm structured enough to actually post this on a certain day (whatever happened to me participating in "It's Tuesday, where are you?" for example), so my plan will be to post whenever I pick up something new.

Today you get lucky, because I will post the 2 books that I just grabbed, as well as anything that is in my account worth sharing.

1) Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon - I checked this one out a couple of weeks ago when it was passed to me by a coworker. I may or may not finish it.

2) The Little Shop of Horrors - This DVD is of the original film. The quality is horrible and ultimately we fast-forwarded to the scene with Jack Nicholson and then put in the 1980s version. I'll return it soon.

3) The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel by Alison Weir. This is my current read, and while I'm enjoying it, it is very slow-going. I want to finish it, but I may end up abandoning it.

4) The Portion Teller: Smartsize Your Way to Permanent Weight Loss. This one grabbed my attention as I was waiting for the elevator a few minutes ago. 

5) Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. This one is relevant to my work as well as parenting. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Oracle Betrayed by Catherine Fisher

I hate when I wait a few days to write a review, especially of a book I really liked. I always forget what exactly I wanted to say. I'll do my best to do this book justice!

First off, let me say that this is the first book I've read in quite a while that I give 5 stars. It was absolutely fantastic! Mirany is a priestess in what appears to be ancient Egypt. As the Archon ("god on earth" - sort of a pharaoh-type character) dies, he passes a slip of papyrus to Mirany, describing a plot to choose an impostor as the next Archon. Mirany must put a stop to this plot.

The book is extremely fast-paced, and the characters are well-developed. I had a hard time putting this one down. The Oracle Betrayed is the first in a trilogy, and I plan to read the next two in the near future. 

The funny thing is that I almost passed this one up. My mom bought this for the kids over a year ago, and I had picked up and it put it in my to-read-next stack. When it was time to start it, I picked it up and thought "I don't know if I want to read this." Luckily, I checked reviews and saw all the rave reviews it had gotten and gave it a chance. I sure am glad I did! I was not disappointed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Already sidetracked

I'm trying so hard not to get sidetracked, but 1 week into the New Year it's already happened. But with good reason.

Tuesday night we had a huge Charlaine Harris event at the library. As far as I've heard, this was her one and only scheduled event of the year, and we had people from all over. One lady flew in from Boston! Unfortunately, I wasn't working that night and had ridden the bus in and didn't have a way to get home if I stayed. Plus, I haven't read any of her books (yet) and was afraid of spoilers.

But I noticed yesterday that the next author coming is Alison Weir, in February. I listened to Innocent Traitor a while back and really enjoyed it, so I grabbed The Lady Elizabeth off the shelf this morning to read before the event. I would have waited until I finished my current book (which I just started this morning), but I was afraid it wouldn't be available by then. And, along the same lines, since I might not be able to renew it after 2 weeks, I probably should go ahead and read it now.

I will get back on track immediately afterwards, though!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I'm on a winning streak with LibraryThing Early Reviewers, it seems. I got Women of the Revolution: Bravery and Sacrifice on the Southern Battlefields by Robert M. Dunkerly this month, which makes 3 in a row. Interestingly enough, this appears to have been published in 2007, so I'm not sure what makes this an Early Review copy (new edition? new publisher?).

On another note, I'm about 20 pages away from finishing The Oracle Betrayed by Catherine Fisher. This is the first book in The Oracle Prophecies trilogy, and I cannot *wait* to read the next two! A more detailed review will come, but let me just say that this one shouldn't be missed!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield

Lysandra is a priestess of Athene, trained in the military arts just as a man of her time. She has been captured and enslaved by the owner of a training camp for women gladiators. As you might imagine, this is not a book for anyone averse to a little violence. In fact, the reader should be prepared for A LOT of violence. Reader beware. I, luckily, generally don't mind the violence as long as it has a place, and I knew when I requested this book from LibraryThing that it would be violent. 

I enjoyed Gladiatrix quite a bit, although there were a few things that I didn't care for. Lysandra was not a terribly sympathetic character - her arrogance was downright laughable at times. Also (spoiler ahead - highlight to read) the battle that the gladiatrices were preparing for for a good portion of the 2nd half of the book never happened, and the fight with Sorina was anticlimactic (although I wasn't surprised - I thought either they would both live or they would both die)

That said, I liked the book from the moment I started reading it, and I had a hard time putting it down when I neared the end. I will definitely watch for other books by Russell Whitfield!