Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I am a member of Jacquie Lawson's ecard community.  (I forget what the subscription costs. ) For the past three years the Jacquie Lawson folks across the pond have offered a digital Advent Calendar.  Download it once and enjoy it for 25 days. Last year, the calendar took us to London where we enjoyed the sights.  This year, we visited an "Alpine" village.  But, best of all, we all got the same cottage living room where we could each decorate the tree, design a wreath and hang stockings.  Here is a photo of my cottage.

As the real world goes crazy, I retreat into this safe digital haven where everything is pretty, peaceful and joyous.  And I think of the friends who might be hanging their stockings in their own digital cottages and it gives me relief and calm.  Thanks, Jacquie and your team of artists and techies, for creating such a lovely diversion.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Wonderful Winter to everyone who stops by this blog and to all their loved ones.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Story Thurs. - Children's Series

It's about time I did another Storytelling Thursday! 

ANNOUNCING:  The Children's Series for 2013 at Godfrey Daniels, the First and Third Sundays in January, February and March.  All these events start at 2 pm and each Sunday a different awesome, amazing, delightful and very talented storyteller will regale children of all ages.  (All members of the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild, I might add.)

PLUS, Cops'n'Kids will be there to hand out FREE BOOKS!!!!  Heaven!  I'm in heaven!

This is the BIGGEST BARGAIN in live children's entertainment in the entire Lehigh Valley - if not all of Eastern PA and BEYOND!  (It's so exciting I have to overuse my CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!)  Admission is only $4.50 but that includes free books and a cookie - or fountain drink.  And children under 5 can get in for free. 

Now, don't worry.  You have two weeks to get ready.  The fun begins on Jan. 6th with Larry Sceurman, the Magical Storyteller.
Larry kicks the Children's Series off on Jan. 6th at 2 pm.

Here's the entire line-up:

Jan. 6th - Larry Sceurman
Jan. 20th - Kathy Long
Feb. 3rd -  Robin Reichert
Feb. 17th - Judy England-McCarthy
Mar. 3rd - Kristin Pedemonti
Mar. 17th - Ingrid Bohn

That's at Godfrey Daniels Listening Club, 7 East 4th Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015.   Each show begins at 2 pm. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter Window by Tony DiTerlizzi

Tony DiTerlizzi designed this delightful window for his local bookstore, Essentials in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Visit DiTerlizzi's website to follow the creative process behind the artwork.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Best Books on Pinterest - reviews

Augusta County Library has pinned 25 Best Books Lists on their Pinterest board.  Boards like these prove that Pinterest can provide a true service.

It sort of makes my reviews and "best books" lists redundant.  No worries.  I still have a lot to say.

Stuff I've read recently.
One Year in Coal Harbor  by Polly Horvath.  I love Polly Horvath.  This book includes romantic schemes run awry, environmental concerns, money problems, and the ever-popular recipes from the fishing town of Coal Harbor.  (ages 10 through me)

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.  Steam punk/fantasy (Wait,  Isn't most steam punk fantasy?  Or is it more science fiction?)  OK, this steam punk-ish novel includes fairies, goblins, and other magical creatures alongside automatons and utilities formed of mechanical and magical substances.  A boy born of a magical father and a human mother - these despised children are known as Changelings - and a young member of the House of Lords are caught up in a mystery surrounding the deaths of several Changelings.  Touches of horror echo through this suspenseful novel.  (Ages 11 through adult.  The writing is that good.)

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz.  Children trapped inside marionettes;  An aging witch and a magic jewel; cruelty; grief; class snobbery; escapes and captures.  And three very engaging children who form the nucleus of this action packed adventure.  ( 12 and up.  But a good 10-year-old reader who is not squeamish might really like this.)

Goblin Secrets  by William Alexander won a National Book Award this Fall.  Rownie, one of the witch, Graba's, "children", looks everywhere for his older brother, Rowan.  Rownie lives in a world where many people have clockwork limbs and organs and where humans are not allowed to wear masks or perform in theaters.  Goblins, discriminated against, travel through the city with their theater on wheels and perform wonderful shows.  Rownie steals from Graba so that he can see one of these shows in hopes of finding Rowan, who was a gifted actor.  This is the set-up of this spell-binding book.  If you like fantasies, and other-worldly settings, close-knit clans and secret societies, corrupt government and underground resistance, you will enjoy this book.  (ages 14 and up)

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker. Foster kids and a dead foster parent.  Yep.  That's what this book is about - along with summers on Cape Cod, blueberry bushes, interdependence and learning about asking for help.  Two 12 year old girls decide to hide the sudden natural death of their care taker.  One girl just doesn't want to go through the exhausting changes of yet another foster home.  The other girl is related to the dead woman and hopes to make a home for herself and her irresponsible mother on Cape Cod.  How they survive the summer and learn to tolerate and then value each other makes a good story.  (ages 11 and up)

I am in the process of finishing Jepp Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh.  This one is historical fiction.  It is amazing how many books with similar themes crop up every year.  This book also concentrates on performances.  These are the performances of dwarves who live to amuse wealthy nobility.  More on this one later.  This is for 14 and up.

We are sad -

We are sad.  Heartbroken. Confused.  Praying.  That is all I will say.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is it Tuesday?

Is it Tuesday?  I.... yes, I believe it is.  So for today's Kids Book Website Tuesday, I'd like to feature the - Ta Dah - Library of Congress.

The repository for all things literary here in the US of A has a literacy program known as the Curious George Campaign.  The campaign is designed to offer simple suggestions to parents and educators for incorporating reading everywhere.  This site does not have a lot of moving parts or colorful pictures but it is a gateway site.  You might get hooked on books.  Not such a bad habit.

While wandering around the Library of Congress' site, check out Read.gov.  Read books written just for Read.gov visitors.  Or read children's books from long ago.  Learn about this year's National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Walter Dean Myers.  And watch author webcasts.  Yeah, the Library of Congress is big, beautiful, full of books, and awesome.

But wait, there's more!  More KBWT, that is, not more Library of Congress.  You will have to explore the L of C, yourselves.  That job is too big for one blogger. 

While wandering around the web, I found Edmonton Public Library's delightful pdf booklet "100 Great Books to Read Together."  The booklet offers lists of books to share with babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  There are even spaces to write in your child's favourite (note the extra "u") titles and reading times.  So cute!! Public libraries rock all over North America! And the world!  Print this booklet out today.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

KBWT - The Children's Book Review

At this time of year I troll Kids' Book Websites to see which great titles I missed during the past 11 months.  Every year there are so many good books out there.

Websites and e-newsletters, like today's featured site, The Children's Book Review, are so helpful to librarians, teachers, parents, reading specialists, booksellers - oh, and young readers, too - who want to keep up with books for young people.

The above link will lead you to the latest newsletter for this website.  Articles include, Holiday Favorites, Best YA, Kids and Questions: Books for Explaining How Things Work and links lead to the New York Times list of Notable Children's Books of 2012, among other useful articles.

Do yourself a favor and scroll down to this month's Book Giveaways and enter.  You might get lucky!

So catch up on the best books for giving and for reading.  Check out The Children's Book Review, today.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Peculiar - Reading again

I have been reading again.  The reasons I stopped are many and varied but mostly boil down to Dad In Hospital, Mom Needed Help.  Dad is out of the hospital but while he was in, siblings from around the globe, including the youngest who lives in Japan, crowded into Dad's hospital room and pestered him until he gave in and got better.  There, Dad!  That's what happens when you have so many kids.
Mom still needs help, though.  So, I need to read.  That helps me to help her.

Review #1
for Middle Grade readers

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.  I dragged my feet about reading this because books by people who have not yet reached 20 are occasionally over-hyped.  No fear, here.  This is a soundly written book, an original and well-drawn world, and a mesmerizing combination of fantasy and steam punk.

The last time I read a book written by a teen-ager and lauded as superb, I spent the first chapter listing all the sources for many of the ideas and phrases in the book.  Hmmph, I said Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Prydain, Rings again, Sword of.. you get the picture.

The setting of The Peculiar did remind me of the Bartimaeus Trilogy.  But the similarities ended there.  It is impossible to write a fantasy book without some reference to other fantasy.  Bachmann's Victorian London, drenched in acrid smog, is populated by human and fay alike.  Children of mixed parentage, changelings, are hated.  Most of the fay are pressed into servitude to human masters. The Sidhe live in the upper classes giving little thought to lower class fay.

Bartholomew Kettle and his little sister, Hettie, are changelings.  And they know enough to stay hidden.  Hettie, with her tree branch hair, would be executed in a trice.  But when several changeling children are found dead and mutilated, Bartholomew sees something that may be a clue to their murders.

Meanwhile, a young member of Parliament wanders down the wrong hall looking for the lavatory and stumbles on who knows what?  He certainly doesn't.  He's not curious either, just intensely uncomfortable about knowing too much.  And what he knows throws him into great peril.

Their paths cross and the way it happens is clever and well constructed.  The pace moves from impatient waiting to heart pounding.

 The ending might as well have a "Tune in Next..." banner printed across it.  The reader is left standing on a precipice or tumbling off a speeding train or  sitting there with mouth wide open.

Now, we just have to wait for the next exciting episode.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Carol Sing

I am hosting a Carol Sing at my house tomorrow night at 5 pm (in case you actually know where that is) to celebrate the beginning of Advent.  Come on down.  We'll be using the Friends' Hymnal and Songs of the Spirit, most likely.

Hub and I moved the piano from the dining room into the living room and since we did, I have been playing much, much more.  The piano gives the living room more purpose now, I think.

So bring your instruments and your voices and some snacky thing and join in.  And if you are far away, or don't know where I live (something I don't actually share on this blog), just sing your favorite carol at 6 pm EST on December 1st.  I'll hear you in my soul.

On the subject of Advent, I just purchased a boatload of digital Advent calendars from JacquieLawson.com. 
Jacquie and her pals offer some lovely greeting cards for all seasons for a yearly subscription fee.  Their Advent calendars are delightful.  (Some tech snobs might criticize the animation.  Bah Humbug to them!)  So check them out.  I wish I could share the calendar with you.

If you don't want to spend any money, I found some sites that will send you to FREE Advent online Advent calendars.  One site sends you to Jan Brett's totally awesome print out, full color, Advent calendar.  But it is such a nice calendar and Jan Brett is such a wonderful illustrator here is the link to her site.

Check out these websites for links to many other Advent calendars.  I haven't checked all the links so I hope they are all active.

From Dec. 2009, Make Use Of's blog lists 10 Free Advent calendars.  The ones I checked still work.

Nature Detectives has a 2012 list of downloadable Advent activities.

Check out Activity Village's Advent calendar for this year.

This ThriftyFun list is from 2004 but most of the links still work.

Happy Waiting everyone!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Disaster ! ?

In April, we bought a new range with digital oven controls.  Two different options for self-cleaning, too.  There are knobs for the burners but to control the oven I just need to poke the right place on the touch screen.  The important words in that last sentence are "the right place."

The turkey was done.  The vegetables were roasted.  All I had to do was make the gravy.  People weren't showing up for another 40 minutes or so.  So I emptied the warming drawer and poked "Warming Drawer" on the control panel.  My finger slipped.  Do you know what control is right under the Warming Drawer area?  THE SELF CLEANING CONTROL!!!

The oven whirred and the LOC message showed up and my turkey was imprisoned in an oven that would soon heat to immense temperatures.

The ...door....would...NOT.....OPEN!


This is a close approximation of how I looked yesterday!

That wild screaming you heard coming from the East - that was me!  I could not breathe.  I could barely speak.  BUT! I could shriek and jump up and down.

I poked the touch screen wildly - The ON OFF control, the Warming Drawer, the Self Clean control, the On Off control again.  The oven remained LOCKED. NOOOOOO!!!!!!

I pounded down the basement stairs to the breaker box and snapped all the kitchen circuits off.  Hub calmly called down that the oven was still on and still locked.

Back to the breaker box.  Of course, the range was on its own circuit.  Snap!

I raced upstairs - gabbling wildly and crying "Oh! Oh! Oh no!"  and other useful phrases like, "My turkey will burn up!  Smoke!  Help!"  And the ever helpful "I AM SO STUPID!!"

Hub stood by calmly, saying.  "Don't worry.  It will be all right. "  And he looked for the oven's manual.

Smart man!  I knew where the manual was and half crying, half shrieking the entire time, I turned to the pages about the Self Cleaning cycle and read this.

"To pause or stop the Self Cleaning cycle, push the On/Off control.  The oven will unlock when the temperature returns to a safe level."


So I ran downstairs and snapped the range circuit back on and raced back upstairs.  I poked the On/Off control and waited, rocking from one foot to the other and wringing my hands.  Within 3 minutes, the oven door was unlocked.  The turkey was intact and a lovely brown.  The vegetables were still delicious.  Thanksgiving was saved!

I am thankful for my husband.  His unruffled manner helped me find a solution.  Still, I wish we had the event on video. The whole incident would make a good entry on America's Funniest Home Videos!

Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely and love-filled.

Monday, November 19, 2012

KBWT - Twenty by Jenny

Time to revisit one of my early website recommendations - especially since book gift-giving season is right around the corner.  Written by Jennifer M. Brown, a current writer for School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews - (ok, I'm impressed) -, Twenty by Jenny offers lists of classic books for 4 different age groups.   She reviews books monthly and you can subscribe to her online newsletter for updates.

Check out her blog, for Encounters of the Literary Kind, and more in-depth kids' books news.  There is a delightful background look at the beginnings of Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. and Erin E.Stead on Jenny's blog.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Tellabration is the International Day of Storytelling and it is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving!  So next Saturday...- I KNOW!  Thanksgiving is just around the corner!!  How did this happen? -

Anyway, next Saturday, here in the Lehigh Valley there will be THREE - not one, not two but THREE - Tellabration events.

Event one:
The best one in my humble opinion - because, ahem, I will be telling with Tom Egan, - is at the Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity (yep, that's the official name) at 11 am.  Expect family fun, kid and parent friendly stories and maybe even an accordion song or two.

Event two:

Ok.  This event might be the best one.  It's at the Monroe Campus of NCC and it happens at 2:30 pm.  And Larry Sceurman and Tina Fowler will be teeling stories there.  Oh man!  You have to hear those stories.

Event three:

I can't decide.  These tellers are awesome.  Chaz Kiernan and Ingrid Bohn will tell stories at the South Side campus of NCC at 3 pm.
Good old Chaz.  I wonder who he will channel on Saturday.
So, join with millions of other story lovers and come to a Tellabration event.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Don't be bored today - or ever.  Check out Unbored.net.  There's a book, too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

KBWThurs. Carol Hurst - Busy Town

Whoa! the past two weeks have been chaotic as most people on the East Coast know.  Dad's in the hospital with pneumonia.  I'd like to blame Sandy but I don't think a hurricane can cause pneumonia.  So there's been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing.

In the meantime, family members are arriving from all over because Dad is pretty sick.  Poor Dad! 

Anyway, KBWT did not happen this week but I just found a website that I am going to use A LOT!  Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site.  Teachers and children's activity leaders will LOVE this site.  Helpful  reviews, booklists, a newsletter, links to other helpful sites, lesson plans!  So much useful well-organized stuff.

I needed a resource list for cities and towns because today is World Town Planning Day and Carol Hurst's site had an excellent list with books I SHOULD have remembered to include in my program tonight.  I just signed up for Carol's newsletter so that I never forget this site again.  YAY!

And World Town Planning Day reminds me of one of my favorite towns - Richard Scarry's Busy Town!!  CBS has a great site based on their Busy Town Mysteries show.   Check it out

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I got to the polls at 6:55 am and I was about 20th in line.  By 7 am, when the machines opened, there were over 50 people waiting to vote.  Such a change from last Spring when I just walked in - refused to show ID because I'm a rebel and it wasn't The Law yet - and voted.  BTW, after all the brouhaha about IDs in PA, no one asked ANYONE to show ID this morning.

There is still time.  If you have not voted, DO IT NOW. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Long, long, loooooong week

Oh that Sandy!  What a character! She blew out the power in millions of homes, including my parents.  So, since no one else has power, Mom and Dad stayed with Hub and I until this morning.  My Reader's Theater event - featuring the works of the amazing David Lubar and the talents of 11 of Nazareth's finest 4th, 5th and 6th graders - was moved from Tuesday to Thursday but went off very well - prop malfunctions and all.

The Son, DIL and most adorable grand-daughter also stayed here - but in the apartment where the other grandmother lives.  So we got to see Her Sweetness every day.

My Dad is not doing all that well  (understatement alert) so my youngest sister flew in from the West Coast to "help out".  What a blessing!  And I can not say enough about what a wonderful husband I have.

Hold us in the Light as we travel the continuously rocky terrain of the land of ailing elders.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sustainable Farming

After reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, (and its predecessor Oryx and Crake), I became increasingly interested in where my food comes from.  Jenna over at Cold Antler Farm, posted this video.  It's food for thought.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Books of Wonder - Help!

Today for KBWT I am featuring Books of Wonder, the wonderful children's book store in New York City.  Mid-Atlantic book lovers have been able to meet so many of their favorite authors because of this great store.  Visitors to the Big Apple have made a stop at this store a MUST. 

Last year, Books of Wonder lost the tenant who helped pay the bookstore's bills and now, Books of Wonder may close.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

There is a movement afoot to save Books of Wonder - more about that later.

For now, delve into the virtual shelves of this treasure of a store.   Look at the photos of authors and events.  Gaze with wonder at the framed artwork.  Check out upcoming events.  Look at the vintage titles, the World of Oz collection and more, more, more.

OK, now about saving the store!  Books of Wonder has started a fundraiser on Indiegogo to raise enough money to save the store.  Donate as little as $10 and receive something from Books of Wonder.  For $25, you receive a Robert Sabuda pop-up notecard!!!  The more you give the more amazing the thank you gifts become.  Awesome. 

Just click here to find out how you can keep this national treasure open and available to everyone who visits NYC.  Someday, that will be YOU!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Things to Do Instead....

This week I decided to post the following list of To-Dos on my Nook and in every game and puzzle magazine that I own:


- Practice a musical instrument
- Learn Spanish or brush up on your French
- Write!
- Make something!
- Take care of a committee commitment
- Write
- Talk to the Hub
- Take a walk
- Write!
- Dig in the garden
- Organize a drawer
- Read one of the dozens of ARCs lying around this house
- Write
- Blog
- Plan that BIG birthday party in Feb. 2013
- Write
- Skype a sibling far away
- Make something from the last few crocheted rectangles
- Write!
- Sew a bunch of fabric blocks

Whew!  I'm so exhausted now.  I think I'll go play some......  NO!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


So, anyway, before I go off to do all those Other Things, I want to introduce you to Joey Hartmann-Dow, the artist of the Craft Fair graphic, and creator of Countries Anonymous.  Joey uses her art to amuse and to inform, as well as to underscore her values.

Those critters are all made from the shapes of countries.  Visit Joey's website to learn more.

So So Tired....

Craft Fair was lovely with fresh pressed cider and soup and bread and many wonderful crafts including candle ornaments made of pasta!!!  I will post pictures.

I will be not be here for the few days.  Reader's Theatre prep and family stuff will keep me away form the computer.   Don't forget me while I'm off doing other things.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Craft FAIR!!!

Anyone who has coordinated anything big or small that involves more than 4 people knows how I feel right now.  Say it with me!  AAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I feel better.

Craft Fair.  October 13th, 2012. 4116 Bath Pike (Rte. 512) Bethlehem, PA 10 am to 3 pm.   Please, please come.  It's so much fun.  And here is that lovely graphic once again.
We have glass items, needle felted wool, crocheted and knit things, pottery, clay figurines, ornaments, fine jewelry, honey and beeswax products and more and more and more.

Tell you all about it when it's done.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wrote a Book

Mike Jung wrote a book (which I haven't read but I really really want to- you will, too), titled Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities.  And then he wrote a song about writing a book!

Thanks to Greg over at GottaBook for sharing this!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


So the Lehigh Valley Friends Meeting is holding their Annual Craft, Book and Bake Sale on Saturday, October 13th from 10 am to 3 pm.  Guess who is the Coordinator of this event??  Three guesses.  Nope.


RIGHT!! ME!  And the amazing Connections Committee, whose charge is to make sure all the Lehigh Valley Friends (Quakers) and Attenders stay connected, is helping out big time.  May The Light be with each and every one of them.

 October 13th from 10 am to 3 pm
4116 Bath Pike/ Rte. 512, Bethlehem, PA
Lunch and Used Books and Baked Goods and Cool Crafts.
For a more complete line up, please go to my Let's Make Stuff page. 
That lovely artwork was done by Joey Hartmann-Dow.  She'll be at Craft Fair with more of her artwork.  Get yourself and everyone you know over there on Saturday.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stories CAN Change Us

Much thanks to storyteller, Robin Reichert, for bringing this to my attention.

Over on Brain Pickings, Maria Popova highlights experiments done by Paul Zak, a neuroeconomics engineer.  (And, no, I don't know what a neuroeconomics engineer is.  It sounds a little scary, though.) These experiments showed how listening to a story effected brain chemistry and changed test subjects behavior.

You can watch the video and read Popova's article here.

 It's nice to have empirical data that confirms what we storytellers have known all along.  Stories change us.  So, be careful what you tell.  Stories are not just for entertainment - and they never have been.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ten Good and Bad Things

When Pearl Littlefield starts fifth grade she is assigned an essay on her summer vacation.  Sigh.  Her summer was nothing like she expected.  Her teacher asks for an outline and Pearl's first item is
I.  My dad got fired.

Set in New York City, Ann M. Martins' Ten Good and Bad Things about My Life (So Far), follows Pearl's family as they cope with two work at home parents, one of whom is also looking for a job. 

Pearl's older sister, Lexie, out-matures Pearl at every turn. 

Day camp was already paid for but Lexie ends up being Pearl's CIT. 

Pearl has a falling out with her best friend.  And then Pearl causes a horrible accident!

The whole family goes on a "staycation".

And then, Pearl, with the brilliant help of her best friend who forgave her, starts a business! 

I love this family.  I love the way they take care of each other.  I love the way they fight and make up.  I love Ann M. Martin and her books.

There are a lot of adventures of the believable everyday kind, a lot of humor, a lot of age-appropriate behavior, a lot of fun and some ahhhh! moments, too.

Pearl makes some observations that seem a bit too mature for a fifth grade girl.  However, as an oldest sister I have noticed that my younger sisters seemed more mature than I was at every stage.  Maybe having an older sister ups the ante on maturity.  I, not having an older sister for most of my life (do foster sisters count? I have an older one of those) wouldn't know.  AND, letting a ten year old have revelations in a book for other ten year olds is sometimes part of the point.

Anyway, I give this book a healthy 4 stars out of a possible five.  I read the ARC and maybe the finished copy will be a five of five.  Ann M. Martin still has her writing- for- kids chops.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Clarification - Ten Good and Bad Things

When I started this blog - back in the Cretaceous period - I was not the only contributor.  I was also clueless as to how one goes about announcing that this post or that were written by someone else.  Blog posts that mention textbooks, school, Oriental Medicine - all with authority - were written by some of my very good friends.

This was in the percolating stage of blogdom before a purpose and direction were more fully formed.  Oh wait, that's still now. 

I just feel the need to let the wider readership know that a lot of the posts herein during year one and two are not mine.  So don't be confused.  I was not working in a library, going to school, practicing Oriental Medicine in three different states all at the same time.  I am awesome, truly, but not....spoiler alert...I am not a superhero.  Sigh.

Read Ann M. Martin's latest yesterday.  Ten Good and Bad Things about My Life (So Far).  I liked it.  So in honor of that book here is my list of 10 good and bad things about my life today.

1.  It is pouring down rain.                 Good                   &                     Bad
2.  I am still in my pjs.                        Good
3.  It is after 12 noon.                          Good!                                    But also bad
4.  My office is a mess                                                                           Bad.
5.  I need  to exercise.                            ???                                            !!!
6.  I am not a superhero.                      Thank goodness!  No pressure.
7.  Some people do not know #6.  ;)                                                  they are very demanding.
8.  I do not practice Oriental Medicine                 Probably good!
9.  I do not have a pet.                          Good - no work                          Bad - pets are sweet!
10. I have to go to the drs. with Dad           Good, someone has to.        Bad, I want a healthy Dad

Tomorrow, I will review Ten Good and Bad Things About my Life (So Far).    We've come a long way since The Babysitters' Club (a fun series indeed!)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Missed it!!!

Did YOU know that September 26th was Lumberjack Day??  Why didn't you tell me??  I would wear a felt beard and eat pancakes!  Man....
Click here for info and be prepared for next year!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

KBWT - Happy Birthday, Clifford!

Clifford, the Big Red Dog, is 50 years old!  Yikes!!! That is one old puppy - to say nothing of BIG!  So go to Scholastic.com and send Clifford a birthday card.  Play Clifford-y games.  Print out Clifford coloring pages.  Enter the Clifford Sweepstakes.  That's our Kids Book Website for today.

Scholastic Publishers had a BIG birthday party yesterday for the best dog ever!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


"The first time Taemon's brother tried to kill him was the night Uncle Fierre came over with his unisphere." 

Uh - oh.  That's the first sentence of Freakling by Lana Krumwiede.  12 year old Taemon can look inside things to see how they work.  This is a form of "psi" that is not appreciated in his city.  It might even be considered dangerous.  His older brother, Yens, considers Taemon a "Weakling" or person with little "psi", the power to move things through thought - telekenesis.  The entire City is run by psi. Children born without psi are sent away.  People in the City cannot open doors with their hands, button their own clothes, hold forks.  Even musical instruments are played psychically.

An accident at the seashore brings the animosity between the brothers to a boil. Suddenly, Taemon has no psi at all and Yens' power has grown exponentially.  All this happens just as the High Priest has decided to choose the True Son from the ranks of the most gifted young citizens, even though this is against the teachings of the prophet Nathan.

Hmmm, methinks the High Priest is up to something.  Taemon and his parents attempt to hide his lack of psi but eventually Taemon is banished and finds a new life and a treasure trove.  And then he does something to endanger everyone in the country. 

Krumwiede creates a credible world where extrasensory abilities are given way too much power.  The heroes in this story may not be the magic wielders after all.  What a refreshing change!  Someone who is different because of what he can NOT do! 

Things move quickly in this book making it accessible to middle grade readers.  The concepts of power, greed, egotism, and the tension between using one's talents carefully or wildly  - these are all great topics for discussion and exploration.

This book is #1 in a proposed series.  Freakling is on sale starting October 9th, 2012.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Those pesky rectangles

Some people have crafty squares or hexagons or recipes using delicious materials.  I have that dwindling - thank heavens - stash of crocheted squares.

Do you remember the Mug Shrug??  (See above) Well, I've redesigned it.  Forget the pesky buttons.  Here is the New!  Improved!  Mug Shrug! (patent pending or whatever).

Yes!  Now, all you have to do is slip the Mug Shrug over your mug, slide the handle through the opening and fold back the top for an insulated drink!!!  Or leave the top up if you have to abandon your mug for a while and your drink will stay warm even longer. 


Rachee Fagg!  You have won the First Fall Giveaway!!  I need an address from you.  Please leave a comment with your address (I won't publish it) or email me at bookkm@gmail.com and your package of books will be on the way by the end of the week!  THIS week!

Rachee!  This is you!  WooHoo! (I have to read this book.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

KBWT - Lititz Kid-Lit Festival

So today I am featuring a local - sort of - Children's Book Festival - the Lititz Kid Lit Festival.

The line-up of authors showing up for this event is awesome - Nick Bruel, A. S. King, Daniel Kirk, Amy Ignatow, Michael Beil and more.  Saturday looks like the day to attend.  Guess who is working at my very part-time job that weekend?   Sigh.  

For people unfamiliar with PA, that's where Lititz is - in Lancaster County, Amish Country.  While in Lititz, visit the Wilbur Chocolate factory and the Sturgis pretzel factory.   The festival is sponsored by Aaron's Books on Main Street in Lititz.  Stop by and say thank you!

If you decide to attend the whole weekend, I'd like to suggest the Forgotten Seasons B and B, about a mile out of town.  It's so cozy and welcoming. 

BTW, for actual book related websites - it is Tuesday, you know - check out Nick Bruel's website(s) and Daniel Kirk's website (for the picture book crowd) to say nothing of Amy's, A. S.'s and Michael's websites (for middle grade and YA readers).  They all offer something fun and cool.

It's Over

The First Fall Giveaway ended last night at 11:59 pm.  I am preparing to pick a winner.  Check back tomorrow to find out who won.

Cool!  A book about a winner.  If you entered FFG, this could be you!  Check back tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2012

First Fall Giveaway - Final Hours

You have less than eight hours to win the First Fall Giveaway!  4 YA ARCs and 1 YA hardback book.  They are:

Safekeeping by Karen Hesse

The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty

The Agency : The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron


The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison.

For details and to enter, click here.

Best of luck.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Best parody ever.

Except maybe for this one....

So, read.  No maybes!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Storytelling Thursday - Bears


Last night, at a meeting that had not a lot to do with storytelling, a friend told me a bear story.  That's how she introduced it.  "I have to tell a bear story."

And her story was true - or so the person she heard it from claimed.  (That's the way it is, you know. ) Anyway, it appears that bear bags are no longer safe from the bears in a nearby National Park.  Now backwoods hikers need bear SAFES.  (I don't know the difference.  Anyone?)

The rangers had no idea why so many bear bags were torn open.  The bags were hung high above the reach of an adult bear.  So they laid a photo trap and here's what they found.

A mother bear stood on her hind legs beneath a hanging bear bag and reached one front paw up in the air.  Her cub scrambled up to the outstretched paw, balanced there and snagged the bear bag.  The thing is, soon all the mother bears were teaching their cubs to snag bear bags.  Bears are pretty smart where food is concerned.

 Everyone loves to tell stories about bears.  Listen to Old Man Mac as he tells of his adventures with a whole mess of bears. 

The very first story I ever told in public was Sody Sallyratus, a bear story you can find in Margaret Read MacDonald's Twenty Tellable TalesHere is a video of Richard Chase telling that selfsame story.

Back to Book Stuff

First, I know it's Thursday and I will post a storytelling thingie before midnight.  I promise - but...

Over on A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird is popping up with all kinds of awesome links.  Check out Jarrett Krosoczka's double-dog dare to guys...(Hi, Jarrett!  Remember when you came to the Parkland Community Library back around the time of Baghead and Annie Was Warned?  That YS librarian?  That was I!) 
Nerds are the new In Crowd!

So here is Jarrett's mind-blowing dare!  Do it, guys!!  What??!!!  Don't be a wuss.  Just do it.

Wrecked Angles

Get it??  Hahahaha  I crack myself up.  The latest addition to the gallery of rectangle creativity is above - buttoned fingerless mitts.

And here I am, modeling one of the mitts.  I am having a great deal of fun with this pile of rectangles.  Whatever will I do when I have used them all up?

Book Trailer!!! Bob Balaban

Today, The Creature from the Seventh Grade by Bob Balaban arrives on the shelves.  I haven't read it but Bob's book trailer is fun to watch.  The book is on my list of books to read.

The First Fall Giveaway is still on! Click here for details.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everything Goes

I know I featured this website when it first appeared but it is new and improved!  Check it out.  Everything Goes by Brian Biggs!
(This is the image from an earlier website.)  The website now has an adorable search-and-find game, downloadable activity sheets and more books! Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

KBWT - The Inquisitor's Apprentice

My First Fall Giveaway is still on!  5 YA books can be yours - FREE!  See my post from Sept. 9th for details.

In honor of that giveaway, my KBWT this week is the home of The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty.  The book is, as Betsy Bird has proclaimed, "awesome".  But the website is awesome, too, with historical notes and background on the characters and the setting.
Just one of Mark Edward Geyer's illustrations.

Sacha lives in the tenements of NYC at the turn of the 20th Century and he can see magic when it is cast.  This makes him a perfect candidate as an apprentice to the energetic and enigmatic Inquisitor, NYPD's Number One investigator into Magical Crimes.  Sacha's Jewish background, the ethnic potpourri that make up the tenements, the realistic social hierarchy and inequities of that time and place all support a truly suspenseful first book in what, I hope, will be a long-lived series.  The ending leaves us all hanging because Sacha's first case has endangered all he loves.  I can't wait for the second book.

Moriarty incorporates some very well-known early 20th century historical characters in this book, casting some as villains and others as puppets or heroes.  Historical fantasy is a wonderful way to feed readers some facts with their fiction.

Check out the website!  Moriarty provides a lot of background on the site.  Teachers and parents will appreciate the historical research into the time period AND into the historical figures featured in the book.  Young readers can find out about the structure behind the magic workers that populate Sacha's world.  The illustrations by Mark Edward Geyer are awesome as well.  The work AWESOME should be described like this;  "adj. Read The Inquisitor's Apprentice to fully understand what this word means."

The second book, The Watcher in the Shadows comes out in April of 2013.  So hard to wait!!!

Want to win an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Inquisitor's Apprentice?   Click here for details.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Safekeeping - a review

As part of my First Fall Giveaway - I hope there will be a Second Fall Giveaway - I am giving away my ARE of Safekeeping by Newbery Award winner, Karen Hesse

Hesse's writing is so smooth, reading this book was effortless.  And I don't mean that I didn't think about this book.  I mean the description of what the main character sees and hears unfold in a seamless way.  To me, this is the best way to write fiction.  When the reader notices the writer's words and craft, I find it detracts from the story.  But, this is a discussion for a day when I have nothing better to type about.

Radley, our protagonist, returns home from volunteering in Haiti when an assassination has thrown America into a panic.  Radley's parents have not answered their phones since she insisted on leaving Haiti.  But Radley expects them to be there when she gets off her plane, even though she has been routed through Philadelphia.  They are not.

In the airport, panic and paranoia reign.  People are dragged off by armed military.  Radley has to walk from the airport in Philadelphia to her home in New Hampshire - a trip made perilous since her money is in her checked backpack in another airport and her cell phone is dead.  And when she finally gets home, her house is empty.  And the police are looking for Radley.

Set in a not-so-distant future, in a not-so-implausible America, Radley's story brings to the foreground just what fear can do to a society.  When Radley and a stranger travel together to Canada and hide out there, fear is gradually replaced with grudging trust as the two struggle to survive.

Safekeeping stands out from the crowd of dystopian novels that crowd the YA shelves, because it is believable.  We experience similar, though not as drastic, security measures when we travel.  Stories of people behaving badly when faced with trauma flood the news.  There is a touch too much of NOW in this book.  The ending, however, is suffused with hope.  It buoyed me up.

So, comment on this post - or on yesterday's post - if you want to win my copy of Safekeeping.  Or pick a copy up at your local bookstore or library.  You will not be sorry.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Fall Giveaway

A teetering tower of titles
My collection of paperback galleys is reaching critical mass.   Worst thing?  I can't stop myself from clicking on the "Click here to receive a free galley" buttons. 
What's left of my BEA stash!
And then there are the e-galleys.  But we are not really talking about them right now.

I am prepared to part with the following galleys:
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Safekeeping by Karen Hesse
The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty
The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee (The Agency #3)
AND This is the piece de resistance!
 a NON-galley HARD BACK copy of The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison.
These are all Young Adult novels and I have read and enjoyed them, each and every one.  So the books are "lightly used".
BTW, these books are now available for sale in your bookstore.  But the store won't send them to you for nothing!!!

Expect a review of Safekeeping by Karen Hesse tomorrow.  And I apologize for not reviewing The Inquisitor's Apprentice.  I know it made my booklists for a number of review sessions.  It is an awesome book.

SO HOW DO YOU WIN????  Simple.  Post a comment on this blog asking to win.  You get another entry if you share this post on Facebook and come back and comment by saying Shared! or some such thing.  Please use an identifiable user name somewhere in your comment.  If you already belong to Blogger, no worries.  I will put all entrants' usernames into the Chobani Oracle Cup and Announce the Winner (and request an email with mailing address) on Wednesday, Sept. 19th.  The Deadline is Monday, September 17th at 11:59 pm. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rectangles to the Rescue

I get Artizen Magazine in my inbox.  It is very artsy.  I found some conical knit alien thingies in one of the recent issues and they reminded me of my rectangles.  Remember those crocheted rectangles?  The ones that I don't know what to do with?

Today I did something with three of them - something so simple and so commonplace that I am embarassed it took me so long to come up with this plan.

Thing #1:
My son called me today to tell me that I kept calling him.  I was purse calling him, it appears.  That happens when the outside pocket of my purse - where I put my cell phone - bumps against my hip as I walk and my phone calls someone.  So, I decided to move everything to my Fall/Winter purse and I decided to make a cell phone cozy to protect my phone!  So simple!  Here it is.
That only used up ONE rectangle.  The blue stripe was already on the rectangle.  But it looks like I did it on purpose.  Just a bonus.

Thing #2
My Fall/Winter purse is big.  Actually, it is capacious!  So capacious is this purse that more than once I thought I lost my wallet because it slid to the very bottom of the purse.  I wanted to get something to  hold my wallet and pens and my calendar and change purse - those things I need to find in a hurry.  Rectangles to the Rescue!!
This little purse-in-a-purse used up two rectangles, one of which was two-toned, sort of.

Those knit conical aliens were so cute, I wish I could make something like that with my rectangles.  Hmmm, I must work on that.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Confession time

I skipped to the end of a book last night.... I HAD to!  It was 1 am and today is babysitting day.  I had to get some rest.  But I needed to know so many things about the book before I could go to sleep.

The book is The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron.  Just think of that title.  Does it bring up images of shadows and gothic towers and icy fingers?  Put a synonym for dark into your title and, whoosh!, interest will soar.

One of the reasons I couldn't sleep is that the blurb on the back of the galley hinted at a lurking evil.  There were lots of noises in the night and things mislaid and forgetfulness and awful nightmares but a little past the halfway mark - and midnight - I began to suspect a good old fashioned conspiracy.  So I skipped to the end.

And I can't tell you what I found there.  But I will tell you my questions:

Is this the beginning of a series?  Well, there are a couple of threads that could  be followed but this book can stand alone. In other words, wait and see.

Is there magic in this book?  I will have to go back and read what I skipped. 

Is character X a good guy or a bad guy?  Ah, now that would be telling, wouldn't it?

Does our heroine follow her heart and best impulses or fall back on "only doing what I was told" as an excuse?  What do you think?

Who was running around the empty mansion?  ??? IDK  Why do the portraits move around?  IDK  Where did all the hair come from?  I don't know, I tell you.

Is Uncle Tully really an idiot savant of clockwork creations or is he faking it?  I have to read what I skipped.  He's adorable, either way.

Does a certain nasty aunt get what she deserves?  Well, I do know the answer to that one.

Does the path of true love run smooth?  This book is not a fairytale, hints of magic notwithstanding.

For a darkly (that word again) atmospheric look at a magical early Victorian country estate and a story of family dysfunction and loyalty, you have to read this book.  The characters are quirky, genuine and mysterious. Except for the villains...they are just awful.  Well, to give them the benefit of the doubt, the villains are products of their time and culture.  There.  Now, I have to go back and fill in the blanks. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The Applewhites at Wit's End by Stephanie S. Tolan. 
The world has ended.  At least, that is how Randall Applewhite announces the family's recent  disaster.  When their financial planner absconds with their money, the artistic Applewhite family and their lone non-family student, Jake Semple, are faced with losing Wit's End, the motel-turned-artist's-colony that they so love.

But Randall is not the Head of the Family for nothing.  His plan to turn Wit's End into a camp for creative children will save them all.  He's sure of it. 

When Randall refuses to admit the daughter of a local arts patron to the camp, letters threatening to close the camp appear surreptitiously.  Compound this with a small group of headstrong kid campers and the Applewhite family's own oddities and this just might be the longest summer in the lives of Edie Applewhite, the non-artistic organized one, and Jake Semple, whose former life as a juvenile delinquent stands him in good stead. You know that these two get stuck with most of the problems.  And maybe they can admit they like each other - a little?

Via the Applewhites!  May they return with more crazy, artful, outside-the-box adventures.  And may they put on a show at the end of every book! 

Book Fountain

I want one of these.
Thanks to Betsy Bird and A Fuse #8 Production.  She posts the BEST stuff.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3+ for KBWT

From Jama's Alphabet Soup's blog. I love the little feet!
 This is such a pretty blog!  Excellent lay-out, lovely photos and scads and scads of book reviews.  Add Jama's Alphabet Soup to your list of Kids Book Websites.  You won't be sorry.

I found Jama's blog by looking at THIS site, 100 Best Book Blogs for Kids, Tweens and Teens.  What a treasure trove of literary superb-ity!  BTW, while you are looking at all those amazing blogs, click on Study Hall to find ALL kinds of education related links - about nutrition and Twitter feeds and history blogs and websites and teacher resources.  Onlineschools.org looks pretty darn interesting.  I must investigate further.

Jama's blog appears to concentrate on picture books.  (On a closer look, I realize it covers a lot of different things.) Onlineschools concentrates on everything.   For book reviews of elementary through high school titles, check out BooksForKids.  This blog features excerpts of the books, an excellent marketing device.  Picture books for primary grades, "chapter" books (is that actually a literary designation, or just what kids call them?) for older readers, the blogger offers a potpourri of book selections. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Heavenly Days

Yesterday was a heavenly day!  Hub and I got our granddaughter to ourselves for almost four hours.  Such a pretty, smart, funny and just perfect little girl!!  How very, very lucky we - her parents and grandparents - are.

So, when I saw this video posted over on GottaBook, I had to share it.  Every child is beautiful.  Every parent feels challenged.  But some of us have been "blessed" with more challenges than others.  My heart goes out to parents with differently-abled children and I doff my virtual hat to them in respect.

Cherish each joyful moment no matter how fleeting.  Fill your memories with those patches of brightness to carry you through any long dark days.  Love, peace and courage to parents everywhere.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Storytelling Thurs??? Friday (oops)

I just finished The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean.  Not a story book at all.  HOWEVER, Kean tells the stories of how dozens of scientists, explorers, and other learned folks - to say nothing of isolated Scandinavian villagers and good old Neanderthal - contributed to what we know about DNA, the building block of our very selves.

If Kean had given his readers, "Just the facts, Ma'am," as Joe Friday was wont to say, I would never have finished the book.  The science is daunting - all those A's and C's and G's and T's and mitochondria and mtDNA and messenger RNA and, please, please DON'T ask me what these things are (I sort of know but I will bungle it, I'm sure).  But the stories, the life histories, the theories, the mangled logic, the loves, the victories and failures...the embarrassments and personalities - even the insane experiments - add them all together and you have a page turner.  Man, that Sam Kean can sure tell a good story.

And after we find out everything that is now known about DNA, Kean tells us stories of how scientists hope to use what they have learned.  DNA is awesome.  We, this world, all living things - totally awesome and scary and thrilling and wow....  Read the book.

Storytelling is a most effective way to get humans to swallow facts and remember them.  There is an organization dedicated to helping educators teach through storytelling.  Good Stories for Good Learning is made up of storytellers and educators who have seen how their personal stories have made the subjects they were teaching become real to their students.  Adding stories, your own or folktales or riddle tales or other people's stories, brings life to learning.  Try it.

There are studies that have shown how the brain reacts to stories differently than to lectures, and there are studies that have proven that students remember the stories they hear - and the facts attached to the stories - longer than those facts without stories.  (And, yes, I promise to share links to some of those studies soon but I am already a DAY LATE with this post, OK?  You can trust me.  Honest.)

So the next time you want to make a point, or help someone remember a fact, or teach something to someone, do what Sam Kean did in his book and what effective teachers are doing in classrooms all over the place - AND what humans have been doing since language began.  Tell a story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

90 Second Newbery - KBWT

It's time for the 90 Second Newbery Video contest.  In this contest, children are asked to make a 90 second (or thereabouts) video of their favorite Newbery Award winner or Honor book.  Hmmmmm, this year's winner, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos might require a safety warning - as in DON'T TRY THESE STUNTS AT HOME!!!! 

Scroll down on James Kennedy's 90 Second Newbery page to see some very clever short adaptations of wonderful books.  I especially liked the shadow puppet version of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.

The deadline for the 90 Second Newbery Contest is November 10, 2012.  So please read the rules carefully.  You will find them here.  Then grab your camcorder and get filming.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Storytelling Sunday - vote for HUGGGS

First, you MUST watch Kristin Pedemonti's Talent Talk for TED.  MUST! MUST! and if you agree that Kristin's talk is funny, fun, touching and life affirming (how could you NOT agree?) then you must vote for her to earn a TEDTalk spot. You MUST click on the "vote for her" link and then rate her content and presentation in the rating area to the right of the video.  In order to vote, you will need to log in with Facebook or sign up for a TED account but TEDtalks are the BEST THINGS on the Internet, so it's all good.

Second:  The Lititz Storytelling Festival happens in a couple of weeks - three actually - on September 14th and 15th.  This is the very first Lititz Storytelling Festival and the line-up is truly awesome.

See???  What did I tell you?  Go to www.StoryPartners.net to get the full scoop.  I hope to attend on Saturday.

Third: Looking ahead a bit, The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro TN happens on Oct. 5 - 7th.  I have only attended this event once and it was so totally amazing.  I want to go back and LIVE at the Storytelling Festival except it only lasts one weekend.  Sigh.   It's All Storytelling, All the Time, All Over the Place...  You will have trouble finding lodging at this late date but try anyway.  You will not be sorry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Because It Is My Blood

In All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin, Anya Balanchine ends up in juvie.  She "belongs" there because of all the things she's done to protect her older brother and younger sister.  Worst of all, though, is her relationship with the son of NYC's DA.  The Balanchines have been a crime family for a couple of decades.  Nuff said.

At the beginning of Because It Is My Blood, Anya is released and her life has changed.  Her family is fractured; her Nana dead, her older brother hidden away.  Only her younger sister is still around.  Anya wants her life to go back to pre-crime days when she tried so hard to keep everyone safe.  No school wants her.  The Legalize Cacao Movement is the only group who welcomes her and Anya needs to avoid them.  An indiscretion lands her back in Juvie and suddenly Anya is in hiding in Mexico.  When she, her younger sister and her brother are all threatened on the same night, Anya must return home to a family business in chaos and a bucket of grief.  The peace, freedom and deep friendship that she found in Mexico makes the violence and loneliness of her real life dismal in contrast.

An then there is Win, the ex-DA's son, who has never given up on their love.  And her best friend, Scarlett, has made a "pact" with one of Anya's devils.  It's a mess!  And a fabulous read!

Anya thinks like a very intelligent 17-year-old.  Getting through high school seems like such a HUGE problem to her, when everything else in her life is in shreds.  Anya's tunnel vision is so believable.  I mean, her life is in constant disarray and danger.  And yet, getting into a school and graduating with her class looms so large in her plans.  It overshadows the conspiracies and treachery in the family business that need her attention.  So, tell me, what would YOU do in Anya's place?  I think she's awesome, myself.

So read the book.  It's in bookstores on September 18th.  Pre-order it at your favorite Indie bookstore now.