Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Monday, May 21, 2012

There's a new blog in town!

Do you enjoy reading about book events and love seeing pictures taken at them?  Do you live in the Pacific NW, or even just love some authors that do?  Maybe you enjoy reading reviews/interviews/guest posts/giveaways and other goodies featuring authors from the Pacific NW?  And last of all, do you live in the Portland, Oregon or surrounding area and are looking for a YA book club? 
The gals at Novels, News and Notes from Your Northwest Neighbors are looking for readers!  You do not have to live in the area to read the blog featuring the fabulous authors that we have in this corner of the world, they do not discriminate!  And right now they are giving away 3 fabulous prize packs featuring two awesome Pacific NW authors.  Go here to find out what you can win.  
Some (this is NOT a full list yet!) of the fabulous authors that you will find featured on Novels, News and Notes are:

Holly Cupala, Joelle Anthony, Stasia Kehoe, Lisa Schroeder, Colleen Houck, Kimberly Derting, Lisa Burstein, Inara Scott, April Henry, Maureen McQuerry, Cat Patrick, Conrad Wesselhoeft and many, many more.
Take a look at what they've got to offer - lovers of YA are sure to find some gems (including a contest that ends tomorrow,5/23). Enjoy! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Out of Sight, Out of Time, Ally Carter

Just so, so love the Cammie Morgan series by Ally Carter.  This is book five in the series, and if you have't read any of them yet, I'd highly recommend them for a great summer read.  They're perfect for summer.  Boys AND girls will appreciate this series because although the main characters are girls, they go to girl SPY school!  How cool is that?  I actually almost wrote how killer is that?  But then I thought better of it.  Or not.  Plus there's a boy spy school, too.

This book, book 5, is much darker than the other books in the series.  Ms. Darby-Lanker thinks so, too.  Just ask her.  For most of this book Cammie is befuddled and depressed, and she's not physically well, either. There's other depressing stuff going on around her, too.  Her friends are confused and unsure how to handle it, how to handle her.  Consequently,  they don't do it very well.  No surprise.  I doubt I'd know quite what to do or say myself.

Cammie's had people after her in the past, but she's always gotten away.  This time, though, she wakes up in a convent in the Alps not having any idea how she got there, where she is, or how long she's been there (four months!).   She doesn't remember anything, and it's driving her crazy.  Literally, a little bit.  Of course Cammie and her friends try to figure everything out, and this isn't the wisest decision, as there are definitely still people who do not want this information to come out.  It's another exciting adventure, but I'm hoping that the next book will lighen up a little bit.  Reminds me a little of Harry Potter book 5.  Just brought you down really low, right?  But did JK Rowling (and Harry Potter) bounce back? YES!  And I think Ally Carter and Cammie Morgan will snap back out of the doldrums in book six as well.  I'd stake my Cammie's life on it!

Highly recommended.  Enjoy!

Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman, reivews

Fun fact:  Daniel Handler is better known to some as Lemony Snicket!!

I listened to this book on audio, and although the CD set included a pdf of the drawings, I didn't take the time to look at them.  I just downloaded the book then returned the CDs to the library. Now I'm disappointed that I didn't do that because I think it would have made a difference in my enjoyment of and engagement in the story.  As it was, I didn't really love the book.  In fact, the only part I really liked was actually the 20 minute interview at the end done by the narrator with Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman.  It was really the only part the grabbed me.

I think that were I a teenage girl or boy with a failed romance (and how many teenagers don't fit in that category??) this story would really have resonated with me.  And since that's the intended audience, it's a fie story. Middle aged me, however, just wasn't in the mood to appreciate the teenage angst and whininess of sixteen year old Min Green writing a letter to her ex-boyfriend about the box of "treasures" that are all that are left of their relationship.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find too much empathy for her.  I feel kind of bad about it still actually, even though she's not even real, because she clearly was deeply hurt by this charmer, but she was not dealing well, and I was over it.

This book is more appropriate for high school students due in part to some of the subject matter but also just because most middle schoolers haven't had such an intense relationship yet and so I don't think they'd appreciate it either.

Available at the Multnomah County Library.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Maurice Sendak has died :(

Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and many others, including his most recent work, Bumble-Ardy died on Tuesday.  Mr. Sendak has one final book coming out in February.  You can read a terrific article about him here.

The reading world is a better place for his work, for sure, and his amazing contributions will continue to provide joy to millions of children  every day.  Can't ask for much more of a legacy than that.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Restoring Harmony author visits M-D book club!

We were so lucky to have author Joëlle Anthony come to our Mother-Daughter book club last week at West Orient.  She is the author of <i>Restoring Harmony</i> (set in Gresham, OR!!) which we read for Mother-Daughter book club and the author of the recently published <i>The Right and the Real</i>.  Joëlle currently lives in Canada but was here for an author event at Powell's and agreed to come speak with us.  We were her very first book club event ever - very cool! Thanks to Cindy Hudson at the Mother Daughter Book club website for setting this up!

We all enjoyed <i>Restoring Harmony</i>, a dystopian book set in the year 2041 at a time when we've run out of oil and things are not going too well, so we were thrilled to get a chance to talk with her about it.  This book has adventure, suspense, danger, and a little romance.  Something for everyone!  Joëlle showed us her book trailers, read from each of her books, told us the story of how this book brought her a new best friend, and we talked a lot about how and why she wrote <i>Restoring Harmony</i>.  It is always so interesting to hear about the author's process and thinking.  The girls had great questions and, once they warmed up a little, were very engaged.  One thing I thought was really interesting was that Joëlle said she doesn't like dystopias.  Go figure!  Another VERY interesting thing to hear about was Joëlle treadmill desk.  I really need one of those!! You can see some photos of it <a href="http://joelleanthony.com/daily-writings/the-treadmill-desk/">here</a>.

Of course we also had fabulous treats (including apples in honor of the story) - thanks everyone who brought those!  And, we're super excited because Joëlle's publisher sent us all copies of a new book coming out called Keeping Safe the Stars which we'll read for next book club and hopefully Joëlle can Skype in with us!!

Joëlle's new book is for a bit of an older audience but sounds really great also.  I have put it on hold at the library already! If you're in middle school to adult, boy or girl, I think you'd enjoy <i>Restoring Harmony</i>.

Enjoy these photos from our meeting!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Drowned Maiden's Hair, Laura Amy Schlitz

This lovely book was recommended to me by Portland author Laini Taylor, and I very much enjoyed it.  The book is subtitled "A Melodrama" which is completely perfect.  It's set in the early 20th century, and a young orphan girl named Maud really, really, really wants to be adopted.  But getting adopted turns out to be just a smidge different from what she was hoping or expecting, because she's been adopted by Miss Hyacinth and her sister.  Miss Hyacinth is, shall we say, a little bit INSANE!  She forces Maud to be ah hidden child (I wonder if she perchance read any Margaret Petereson Haddix...)

Anyway, poor Maud is basically a prisoner.  But poor Maud is also very fiesty and clever, and it's a joy (and sometimes a fright) to watch her figure out what to do.  For me the story went on just a teensy bit too long, but sometimes I attribute that to the audio version because I can't fast forward myself through any parts, and there's certainly enough action that I was not ever bored with the story.

I'd recommend this for middle school girls.

I've been Wimped!

OK, How hilarious is this? I just wimped myself on  http://www.wimpyourself.com/. What a crack-up.  You should go try it.  It's pretty fun.  I wish I really did have a polka dot backpack.  Alas, I only have plain black.  Still, fun stuf.

Three adult books

The Postmistress by  Sarah Blake is a World War II story read on the audio by one of my favorite audio recorders, Orlagh Cassidy.  She's so soothing.  I've listened to almost every audiobook by her in the MCL system, and I've just requested three more.  This story is of two women, both Americans, but one isreporting on the radio from Europe and one a postmistress in New England.  Both have information they're duty bound to share, but neither can bring herself to do it. It's a beautifully told story of love and heartbreak brought about by war.

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton is nearing the end of its life as a series, I fear, as we've gone now from A-V!!  Hard to believe I've read them all.  It seems like it's been a long time since one came out. It's typical Grafton with a detective we all know and are "friends" with, but I thought it was actually better written than some of the last few.  It may have been that I read a bunch at once and got tired of them, then came back to this fresh, or it may have been better.  Not sure.  In any case, although it was not heart stutteringly suspenseful, it was very good and I enjoyed reading a bit of a lighter mystery than some others I read, such as...

Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler Olsen. This is a murder mystery set in Stockholm.  Except for the murder and all, definitely want to go back to Stockholm.  Great story. Could just about piece it together, but was always missing something.  Listened to it on audio.  Still a little unsure of scary stories on audio - there's no skimming ahead if I get too scared! Will definitely check out another by this author.  Still bitter that Stieg Larsson is dead :(