Friday, June 27, 2014

Baby Faces Feltboard

I must give full credit to Melissa Depper for the inspiration for this felt board.

These babies were easy and fun to make - no real pattern needed. And they were such a hit at my baby storytime! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Heading to ALA!

I'm heading out to the American Library Association Annual meeting in Las Vegas this week. I'm anticipating returning to work refreshed and invigorated with new ideas!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Under the Never Sky review

Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi
Harper Collins
January 2012

First line: "They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod the 'Death Shop.'"

In alternating chapters, Aria and Perry battle the elements and fight to be reunited with their families in an ecologically ravaged future. Most people live in cramped, climate-controlled Pod cities and amuse themselves by spending the bulk of their time in an immersive online virtual reality called the Realms. Those on the outside of the Pods live in unbelievably harsh conditions, subject to storms and cannibal attacks.

Aria has grown up in a Pod called Reverie, but decides to leave when she's worried about not hearing from her mother in a neighboring Pod for some time. Peregrin, known as Perry, lives outside the Pod in a region plagued with Aether storms. I kind of imagined them as powerful dry electrical storms with some sun flare like properties.  After Perry ends up escorting Aria through some dangerous territory the two of them have a fairly prickly relationship that simmers with tension. Aria and Perry's worlds are so different - they struggle to communicate over the most basic things. I loved the scene where Aria is relieved and pleased to reattach her optic eye, while Perry is horrified, but too polite to say anything at her cyborg appearance. The two of them don't realize that they actually have feelings for each other until fairly late in the game. The romantic ending leaves things well open for the sequel.

Compare to:
Breathe - Sarah Crossan
Enclave - Ann Aguirre
Inside Out - Maria V. Snyder

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spring TBR 2014

Here are the top 10 books on my nightstand, waiting to be read this summer!

Ready Player One - Earnest Cline
Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
Bitter Melon - Cara Chow
Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini
Hemlock - Kathleen Peacock
The Falconer - Elizabeth May
The Twistrose Key - Tone Almhjell
Noggin - John Cory Whaley
Uninvited - Sophie Jordan
The Other Side of Free - Krista Russell

Friday, June 13, 2014

Literature Map

Here's something fun: go to and type in the name of an author. Other writers similar to that author will appear in a cloud, with those most similar showing up closest. I like the way the names scramble and wiggle for a spot before they settle down. Click on any other name for a new map. Wow!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Calamity Jack review

Calamity Jack
by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hal
Bloomsbury Publishing
January 2010

This creative re-imagining of the classic Jack in the Beanstalk tale is set in a steampunk Old West. Calamity Jack is a sequel to Rapunzel's Revenge, but stands perfectly well on its own.

Jack is a ne'er do well lad who's always got a scheme or swindle planned. But his heart is in the right place, as he's only trying to make life easier for his momma, a hard-working baker. His best friend, a pixie named Pru, is a frequent accomplice to his hi-jinks. After landing in some hot water after a particularly dangerous heist involving a giant beanstalk, he decides to lie low and leaves his hometown of Shyport. He soon meets Rapunzel, a lasso-twirling red-headed spitfire, and after some adventures, the two of them decide to return to Shyport. Blunderboar, a cruel giant despot, is practically running the city, and Jack and his friends must act quickly to protect Jack's mother from the ant-people attacks that Blunderboar is orchestrating.

My favorite page of the book is the scene where Blunderboar's organic defense shield, consisting of shrieking male brownies, is deactivated by Pru and her friends. In the first panel, we see the lady pixies determinedly soar upwards in their hats, petticoats and Victorian finery. They face-off with the brownies, whose yells are cut short when the pixies pour on the charm, dimpling at them and offering a chorus of, "Hello, live around here?" quickly reducing the brownies to a group of hat-doffing bashful gents.

The Hales have woven a fantastic, yet believable world where Native Americans, diminutive pixies, giants, pig-like people, invading alien insects and cowboys all co-mingle amidst locomotives, saloons, hi-tech dirigibles, floating palaces, crumbling buildings and run-down theatre districts alike. The colorful twang of the Old West vocabulary and the sure, action-packed, detail-laden full-color art pair very nicely. I would recommend this to graphic novel fans, especially those who liked (or didn't like) Patricia Wrede's alternate magical history Frontier Magic series.

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

Friday, June 6, 2014

Read in May 2014

Last month I read the following the books:

1. Sabriel - Garth Nix (re-read)
2. Red Seas Under Red Skies - Scott Lynch

Picture credit: Girl in Pigtails - Samuel Henry William Llewelyn

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top 10 Beach Bag Books

This week's topic from The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Beach Bag Books.

I'm going to shy away from recommending specific titles, and instead talk about the 10 types of books you should be carrying in your beach bag this summer. Here goes!

1) Romance - Light, easy, fun, spicy and sometimes a little ridiculous. Everybody should be reading at least one romance over the summer.

2) A Classic - Hey, maybe it's for required summer reading, or maybe your high school required reading days are far behind you, but everybody should be reading at least one weighty classic over the summer: think Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare or the like.

3) Narrative poetry - Most narrative poetry is fast moving and cuts directly to the emotional heart of a tale. Perfect for summer!

4) A Bestseller - Maybe, like me, you normally eschew bestsellers, seeking out more esoteric tomes. This summer, take the opportunity to read at least one super-popular book that everybody else is talking about right now.

5) Another romance - C'mon! It's summer! When else are you going to indulge yourself with a little brainless fun? Pick up a second fluffy romance book, right now.

6) A kids book - Maybe you don't normally read children's books. Summer's a great time to check out a nice, short book - some middle-grade fiction deals with surprisingly weighty themes.

7) A non-fiction book - I don't mean one of those non-fiction books that read like a novel. I'm talking about something with plenty of sidebar information and great photos and captions, ideal for simply scanning and glancing at while enjoying the summer sun.

8) A mystery or horror novel - What a great way to balance the summer heat! Read a book with thrills and spine-tingling chills.

9) Sci-fi - In the same vein, why not chill out reading a book that takes place in the sub-zero emptiness of space?

10) A book you've been meaning to read - Pick up one of those books that has been on your To Be Read list for just about forever. Summer is a perfect time to get caught up.

Photo credit: Aftab Uzzaman - found on


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