Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite review

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite
by Barry Deutsch

This wonderful middle-grade graphic novel continues the adventures of Mirka Herschberg,  an irrepressible 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl. Mirka, a bit of an imaginative tomboy, is frustrated with knitting and antsy for adventure and makes for the woods to meet up with a witch and a troll. The snarky arachnid troll nebbishly clutching a purse and umbrella, decides to summon a meteorite, which the witch promptly turns into a doppelganger of Mirka.

Mirka's double soon acquires the name Metty, and just as in any classic golem story, Mirka is dismayed when she finds herself an outsider in her own family as Metty takes over mealtimes, (leaving chores for Mirka) and even stealing her Sabbath. Challenging her to a duel, Mirka only wins via her siblings clever interpretation of the contract she and Metty had agreed to.

Peppered with Yiddishisms, and with lots of tiny, thoughtful details in the illustrations, this is a graphic novel that stands alone, or can be enjoyed as part of the series. Either way, you won't want to miss this one.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, May 4, 2020

When You Were Everything review

Cleo and Layla have known each other since they were both twelve years old and have been the very best of friends. They are both girls of color, living in bustling New York City. Going into their junior year of high school, it seems they've had a major falling out. This is a nuanced young adult contemporary novel about what the aftermath of  an imploded friendship looks like.

There is a plethora of suspense as the story jolts forward in two time-lines, Then and Now, leaving readers to wonder how on Earth such a close and loving pair of friends managed to turn on each other so completely. What starts as a few small incidents showing that the two young women are slowly growing apart, quickly escalates into a death by a thousand cuts, as their friendship is tested by conflicts over cute boys and popular cliques of girls. As the story unfolds, one betrayal after another is revealed, eventually laying bare all of the gory details of the kind of online bullying Queen Bee mean girls are capable of. Cleo is truly a sympathetic narrator, even as she gradually admits to herself how controlling and difficult a friend she has been.  Fans of Angie Thomas or Jacqueline Woodson and anyone who's ever been a friend, or lost a friend needs to read this book.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

New Year's Resolutions 2020

Greetings all!

My blog has been " on break" all this past year. But, I'd like to revisit my New Year's Resolutions nonetheless.
Last year I pledged to:

Read 100 books
Read more 2019 titles
Trim my To-Be-Read list down to 100 items
Bake something at least once a week

How did I do? Um... okay, I guess. A serious effort was made on all fronts, even though I don't feel I truly accomplished these goals. I read a lot more in 2019 - 85 books, which still fell short of my goal. Interestingly, I read the absolute most in Jan. 2019 and Dec. 2019. So, I guess I am more of a read-curled-up-by-a-roaring-fireplace kind of person than a read-under-a-beach-umbrella sort of person.

I only read 7 titles that could be counted as "new" or "newish" I had a lot of catching up to do, and of course, I'm always on the lookout for older, less in demand, but still quality titles to use for my various book clubs.

My big resolution, and probably most life-changing one was to bake something once a week. I had fantasized about getting in the habit of quickly and easily throwing together a loaf of bread every week and truly mastering it. But, once I got started, I decided to challenge myself by baking a NEW recipe every week. I tried a number of recipes: breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, pies, banana breads, etc. I kind of petered out in the summer months - I hadn't counted on how daunting it is to bake in the summer heat! But, I am so glad I challenged myself to do this. I think I learned a lot and I feel more accomplished as a home chef, for sure. I kind of wish I had blogged each of my baking creations, but I did post pics on Twitter, with the hashtag #yearofbaking.

Did I trim my TBR? No. But I do feel comfortable that it's at less than 365 titles. So, that's something.

My goals for 2020 are as follows:

Read 52 books total
Read at least 12 ARCs
Read at least 12 "classics"

I have a bit more of an organized plan in place this year to take advantage of Netgalley.

What are your goals in 2020?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Years Resolutions 2019

2018 turned out to be a year of very only occasional blogging! You know when you are so busy, you don't even have time to tell people about how busy you are? That's what 2018 was. My library is undergoing renovations and I'm currently working in an outreach librarian role, which is something I'd never pictured for myself. It's interesting and challenging! I can't wait until my library is ready to re-open though, as I'm drawing lots of inspiration for new programs to try, new displays to assemble and more in-depth collection development work.

So! New Years Resolutions - how did I do?
Last year I said:

Goals for 2018 include:

Spend less time on social media, pointlessly lurking, clicking and scrolling, and more time actually reading books. Really wondering how much of my To Be Read pile I can knock out!
I want to read at least 50 books this year!
I'd like to walk three miles a day. This isn't too outrageous of a goal, as I have to walk a lot in my job, so with a bit more effort, I should make three miles a day, easily.

Okay, then! I did give up social media for about 6 months. It was tough at times, but also very freeing. Then, I kind of dipped my toe back in... and now I feel like I'm right back where I was at the end of last year! Scrolling, hitting refresh, scrolling more, wasting time. Well, time to cut back again, I guess.

I read more than 50 books this past year. I've set some high goal numbers in the past and failed to get there. Sometimes, just for fun, I've set the bar quite low (one year, I think I even set my number to a mere 12 books!) This year, I think I'm going to try for 100 books. Challenging, but hopefully doable. I've spent a lot of time reading to keep up with my various book clubs. And often, selecting a book club pick means NOT picking a new title, as those have tons of holds on them anyway. So, there's a certain art to working with what you have and picking an appealing backlist title that was popular enough that we'll have plenty of copies on hand, but at the same time, not so ubiquitous that everyone has absolutely read it already. At any rate, I realized at year's end, when I was asked to contribute some 2018 titles for Staff Picks lists - I'd only read 3 or 4 books published in the current year. So, in 2019, I'm going to make more of an effort to read current titles and to use NetGalley more for pre-pub e-ARCS. I want to trim my TBR list down to 100 items.

My final resolution from last year: walk 3 miles a day. Ouch. Even walking a lot in my job, even going for a walk during lunch, even (some days) walking to work, this was actually a lot tougher to achieve than I thought. If I had to guess, I'd say I only managed to walk 3 miles a day about a third of the time. Still a lot better than nothing! But, it wasn't easily in the bag as I originally imagined. I did lose 10 pounds and keep it off, so that is something!

I have a new resolution in 2019. Bake more. I'll try to bake something once a week, and I've already started with my birthday cake, an orange and vanilla cake recipe that I somewhat improvised.

Okay, to sum up, Goals for 2019 include:
Read 100 books
Read more 2019 titles
Trim my To-Be-Read list down to 100 items
Bake something at least once a week

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Trimming the TBR

Generally, I do this about twice a year. And I'm fairly overdue. I was inspired by an article on Book Riot on keeping your TBR to 100 books. I'm not nearly down to 100 yet, but we'll get there. In the interest of cutting down my TBR to a reasonable size, here's what I'm cutting out.


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