Couch Potato

28 03 2015

Couch Potato

One cat, my couch potato friend, Tank, who sits with me as I read all the books. Maybe I’ll post his reviews, too! Of course, that would mean I would have to get back to blogging. It’s in the plan, but the plan is behind schedule due to a bout with lots of antibiotics.  I’m fine but I’m spending a lot of couch time watching TV instead of reading.

Here’s a taste:

My favorite book this year is The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  I would have never found this on my own, but reviews pointed me in the right direction. Ada is such a complex character, in a lovely story about what is means to love and be loved.


I’m baaaaaack!

24 09 2013


What is that fabulous book meme

And I want to talk about fabulous books!

Where’s Alexa?

9 03 2012

It has been an incredibly long time since I last posted on this blog.  In my last post, I was in the middle of my self-imposed summer reading.  That deadline was extended until I got a full-time job and…surprise!  I did!  Which is why I quit posting and reading.  Oops.  Sometimes life gets in the way, right?

So where am I now?  I am in the Chicago Tribune giving preschoolers a lesson in finance.  I am in Chicago working for an incredible library system doing something I never expected.  I am a storytime factory.  Most days, I get up and I go to a school and sing, read and play with preschoolers I’ll only meet 3 times.  I read some really fantastic books (like Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine and Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems).  Kids say ridiculous things about money.  It’s wonderful, but it is also exhausting.

I am lucky because I still get to read lots of fancy new YA books and I get to share those thoughts with some of my YA crazy colleagues.  But I miss putting up my own thoughts online and sending them out onto the Internet all by themselves.  Also, it’s my favorite time of year: time for School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books!

SLJ BotB is a time to geek out on children’s and YA lit.  It’s my time.  Come back tomorrow for more!  Because tonight, I am taking the night off from everything except my bowl of pasta, my glass of wine and posting about the best bracket-ed competition in March.

Self-Imposed Summer Reading List

29 06 2011

This year, it is time for round 2 of my summer reading list.  It’s time for another try at reading and blogging consistently.  The goal? Read all 15 books on my list before the summer ends.  When does summer end?  Let’s say Labor Day, but as long as it’s finished before I get a full-time job, that works for me.  I’ll be blogging about the books as I finish them.  Many of the titles on this list are books I’ve been meaning to tackle but just haven’t made time for.  But, as they often say, the time is now!


  1. The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1) by DJ MacHale (fantasy)
  2. Moon Over Manifest by Clare VanderPool (award winner)
  3. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (mystery)
  4. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (realistic fiction)
  5. George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking (sci-fi)


  1. Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals (non-fiction)
  2. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (fantasy)
  3. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Vol 1, The Pox Party by MT Anderson (historical fiction)
  4. Monster by Walter Dean Myers (award winner)
  5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (classic)


  1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (mystery)
  2. The Instructions by Adam Levin (literary fiction)
  3. Stitches by David Small (memoir)
  4. The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner (non-fiction, in honor of my trip to Galapagos this fall)
  5. The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card (fantasy)

A New Year

2 01 2011

If you thought this was the post where I would make a resolution to post once a week or something like that, you will be sorely disappointed.  I can’t even promise such things to myself.  Library school is fun and everything–it’s also super time-consuming.  Add my part-time job with it’s ugly commute (plus NJTransit’s lack of wifi in their stations) and we have a problem.  So let’s not talk excuses here, let’s talk about what you can look forward to.

  • YALSA awards announced next week!  That would be the Printz and the Morris and the Excellence in Non-Fiction and the Alex Awards.  I love to read and pick apart the winners and honor books, so expect some posting.
  • I am already looking forward to SLJ’s Battle of the Books.  The book nerd’s version of March Madness *swoon*  There will definitely be posts.
  • It’s my winter break, which means I get a chance to sink my teeth into more books than usual including *gasp* some adult titles!  I’ll report back as to whether they still hold my attention.
  • I’ve been trying to read ebooks on my fabulous netbook.  It hasn’t been going that well, but I’m not sure whether it’s the medium or the titles or what.  I intend to add my two cents to the chatter about ebooks.

That sounds like quite enough “resolutions” for my non-resolution post.  I hope you’ll check back in every once in awhile!

The Lazy Blogger

14 07 2010

I’ve been a bad bad blogger.  No posts in almost two months?  I barely believe that myself.  Time flies!  Time flies even faster when you’ve been reading.  And I’ve been reading as much as usual–21 books in June,  and the same number in May.  I’ll never review all those books on this blog, and I’ve never intended to. I review some of those titles for work, for my teens, and most of the time I don’t want to post twice about the same book, even if my audiences are entirely different.

My biggest question today is: what to review first?  An impossible question!  Here’s some short reviews of some of my favorites, and least favorites, from the past couple of months.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
Read because: 2010 Alex Award winner, possible teen book club selection
Bottom line: I loved this one. This book is not just heartwarming, it’s illuminating. What is it like to live in Malawi(a country I actually had to look up on the Internet because I had no idea where in Africa it was)? What was it like to live through a famine? Just how hard or easy is it to make that windmill on the cover? And my librarian-self loved the bits about Kamkwamba using the textbooks from his teeny tiny library to learn enough to create big things. I am totally making my high school book club read this one.

Ash by Malinda Lo
Read because: It’s a lesbian Cinderella retelling. Who could resist?
Bottom line: It could have been better. It is a slow, quiet story that might have benefited from being read on a rainy day like today rather than the busy atmosphere of the juror holding pen at jury duty in Newark, NJ. Or maybe I’m not a fairytale retelling kind of girl. It’s nice to have a non-hetero option for Cinderella but I would mostly recommend it to lovers of fairytale retellings.  Also–not a lot of romance and I swear, some of the reviews made me think there was.  Not that I’m into romance.  What I’m trying to say is this is not the book for me.  But maybe it’s the book for you?

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Read because: Gladiators! Fights to the death! Can it challenge The Hunger Games?
Bottom line: Absolutely! This is the same world as The Hunger Games–it’s a dystopia all its own and it stands on its own. The subtitle of this book is “a novel containing intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.” True. Our main character Lyn is the daughter of 7 gladiators, men who participate in the reigning culture of the day. She’s the biological daughter of the first one and all but the last have died in battle.  Lyn loves her current father, Tommy, and her mother is unhappy because after marrying 7 gladiators, she will not be allowed to wed again.  This is just a slice of the complicated, consumerist gladiator culture they live in.  There is less about the fighting in the arena in this novel and more about the brutality of the culture and the expectations of the public for gladiators.  Lyn is just a teenager but she’s expected to be more.  I loved Lyn and I loved this book.

Infinity (Chronicles of Nick, Book 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Read because: I received an ARC from the publisher and I was SO excited.
Bottom line: I can’t give this one away! Sherrilyn Kenyon is a bestselling author of paranormal/supernatural DarkHunter filled adult books. They’re bestsellers, which means maybe the writing isn’t the best but people love them. And she put out a teen book that includes werewolves, zombies, etc.–all the hot character types. How bad could it be? Answer: pretty bad. Sure, the fact that the zombies arise from a video game makes it kinda cool. But everything is overexplained–especially the title.  There is WAY too much exposition.  Teens may be young, but they aren’t stupid.  Add to that a confusing number of intricately connected supernatural characters plus humor meant for middle-aged women (i.e. comparing the chaos of one of the numerous fight scenes to women fighting over wedding dresses at a sample sale) and you get a book that is not worth it.  I did read to the end, looking for redeeming qualities.  I found none, except for the publisher: it’s currently at number 6 on the New York Times Bestseller list (for children’s chapter books).

I leave you with 4 books.  For next week: an update on how my summer reading is going.

Blog Theme Changes

29 03 2010

My blog is currently undergoing some “renovation” so if you’ve been here before and you don’t recognize it, fear not!  I am still the same reading grrl I was before.  I’m just trying to make my blog better represent the subject matter.  Of course, if you’re reading this via RSS feeds, as I do for so many blogs, you can ignore this!  There will probably be some tweaks in the future as I am planning to create some original artwork for the site.