Monday, February 28, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Just HAD to Buy...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a state that you don't have to worry about being deprived of more books as long as you're near a library. ;) This week's Top Ten is:

Top Ten Books I Just HAD to Buy...But Are Still Sitting on My Bookshelf

1. Fell by David Clement-Davies
Reason: I'll admit it was a shallow reason, but I absolutely love the cover for Fell. When I saw it at the bookstore, I had to read the summary and found that it was a sequel to The Sight. Curses, it has a prequel! I mean...Yay, it has a prequel! So until I read it's prequel, Fell will remain on my bookshelf.

2. Queen of the Orcs: King's Property by Morgan Howell
Reason: I've never seen much in the way of literature involving orcs, especially in a more positive light aside from the World of Warcraft novels. After reading Steve Nicholls' Orcs trilogy, I began searching for other titles like it and came across the Queen of the Orcs trilogy. I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but it IS on my TBR list for this year so that shows some hope.

3. The Mountain's Call by Caitlin Brennan
Reason: The summary drew me into the book along with the fact that the main beings of magic are white horses. I mean, what's not to love about magic, beautiful horses, and the forbidden call that pulls the main character, Valeria, towards the mountain housing the gods? Still, wild horses cannot drag me away from this book forever.

4. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Reason: Karen of Books Beside My Bed recommended this one to me at least a year or two ago. I was even able to get it for a good deal during one of Borders' post-holiday sales. Being an anthology, it should be easy enough to pick it up and read maybe one or two stories at a time, but alas not yet, though soon.

 5. Through Wolf's Eyes by Janes Lindskold
Reason: When I started really getting into wolf literature, I was searching for fantasy series focusing on wolves portrayed in a new light. I thought I found that in Jane Lindskold's Through Wolf's Eyes, and I'm sure it's still there. Now I just must make time to read it. 

6. 13 to Life by Shannon Delany
Reason: I had heard a lot of good things about this new werewolf series debut, and so I decided to buy it rather than wait until it was ordered for the library. It's still on the shelf right now waiting to be read but it will hopefully get read this year. 

7. Touched by Venom by Janine Cross
Reason: A friend recommended this trilogy to me because it has a strong female character and involves dragons, two excellent traits in a novel to me. However, I suppose I haven't been in a "dragon" sort of mood, thus it's being on the shelf so long. It will come down from the shelf this year though, I'm confident in that. (And it did this week! ^^)

8. Traveler by Richard Adams
Reason: I absolutely loved Watership Down and Tales from Watership Down, so I thought, 'Adams writing about horses in the same vein?  Sign me up!' I did start reading it, but for some reason I lost interest and put it back on my shelf. Hopefully, I'll give it another shot soon.

9. Hellboy Odd Jobs by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Reason: My beau recommended this anthology as well as Odder Jobs to me, and when I found both of them at a recycled bookstore, I had to snatch them up.  I do adore Hellboy, both the movies and the comics and Bones of Giants. I just have to make time to read a little of Odd Jobs at a time even if I don't read all of the stories in one fell swoop.  

10. Body of a Horse, Heart of a Man by Rhonda L. Davis
Reason: This one was literally sold to me by the author as she was a local from the area I was living in during library school. I visited Hastings one night and saw Davis sitting at a table set up with her book, and we started talking. Greek mythology has always been a favorite subject of mine, and she did sell me on the story about a god changed into a centaur and a woman he has rescued and harbored.
I just need to read it now.

Monday Message: Number One Novels

Number One Novels is a convenient place to discover new fantasy, romance, fiction, YA, thriller, and mystery writers. Fresh interviews with debut authors are posted each week, along with contests for free copies of their novels!  This week, the featured author is Sara Bennett Wealer and her debut novel Rival.

The cover is too gorgeous not to notice once it hits the shelves.  Visit Number One Novels to read the interview with Sara Bennett Wealer to find out more about the book.  Happy reading!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Salon: Maggie's Spring Cleaning!

World-renowned author, Maggie Stiefvater, is doing some SERIOUS spring cleaning! :)  To find out just what she's cleaning out, check out her blog HERE.  And the upcoming conclusion for the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy is below! 

Review: Toads and Diamonds

Title:  Toads and Diamonds
Author:  Heather Tomlinson
Summary:  Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.  It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward. Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani's newfound wealth brings her a prince--and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands of people are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love...or death?

The Dish:  I admit sometimes I can be shallow when it comes to selecting my books from the library or the bookstore.  They always say never to judge a book by it's cover, yet that is often what really catches the eye of the readers.  A more attractive cover will usually yield more pick-ups than a plain cover.  That was the case with Toads and Diamonds when I first saw it on the New Books Shelf in the YA part of our collection. It also helps having the book on display as it was where a person can really notice the cover, and the first thought invoked was 'What a beautiful picture.'  I had to know what the book was about.

The story is told through the points of view of Diribani and Tana, two stepsisters who practically behave as though they were truly related sisters.  In most fairy-tales, we knows that usually in the case of stepsisters, one  is usually kind and good while the other is cruel and wicked.  Not so in this case for despite Diribani's beauty and grace, Tana adores her as a true sister.  And Diribani does not allow Tana's intellect and skill with jewels, a trait Tana shared with Diribani's father, to cause a rift between them either.  Ma Hiral, Tana's mother, loves and wants the best for both girls even after her husband is killed.  I adore this about all three characters because, although this story has the familiar fairy-tale ring to it, they break the stereotypes of their so-called roles.

What also intrigued me about Toads and Diamonds was the unique and exotic setting of a fictional Indian country.  I haven't read any books that take place in India, so this was something different and also enjoyable.  Tomlinson created a world in which the twelve gods do participate in a more physical means, particularly that of Naghali, the Snake.  It is Naghali-ji, as she is referred to by believers in the Twelve, that turns Diribani and Tana's lives upside down though in quite different ways.

 Can you imagine having flowers and jewels drop out of your mouth every time you spoke?  Personally, I'd be afraid of thorns or diamonds poking my throat, but that is Diribani's blessing from Naghali-ji.  Then there is Tana's blessing which most would probably feel is more of a curse.  Each time she speaks, frogs, toads or snakes come out of her mouth, and in most cases, it doesn't seem so bad, but when a venomous snake appears, it can be troublesome indeed.

After the sisters' gifts are discovered, Diribani is taken with the prince's visiting party back to Fanjandibad, where he resides in order to keep her from being taken advantage by the local province's governor.  Tana is told it would be wise to leave their village because the governor is terrified of snakes, so their family is torn apart with each sister going in a different direction.  Both Diribani and Tana feel there is a meaning behind the gifts of Naghali-ji, and each undertake a solitary journey to find these reasons.  On their respective paths, both Diribani and Tana are able to see the lives of the people of the Hundred Provinces on totally opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both sides present troubles for the girls.

Although she is surrounded by the prince's people, because their faith is different, it is as though Diribani is alone in a sea of white-coats who believe in a single god.  Tana decides to take a pilgrimage to find her purpose with this gift but is soon diverted after a raid upon an artisan village leaves all the people captured and taken prisoner, including her beloved Kalyan, a jewel-trader friend of her family's.  All the while they are separated, their thoughts drift towards the other and both wonder if they shall ever see their sister again.

Overall, I loved this story with its exotic setting and delightful characters.  Tomlinson has a way with words that take you into the story that I hope any readers would appreciate.  I'd recommend Toads and Diamonds to any readers who enjoy updated or revamped fairy-tales or readers fascinated with books that take place in an Indian locale.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Blogger Hop Day: February 25-27

Book Blogger Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop Day courtesy of the meme available at  If you're crazy for books and like hearing about upcoming and new titles, let others know by hopping by their blogs for a visit.  This week's question is:

 "Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?"

My Answer: Not really.  I had this name in mind all the time when I was planning to start my blog because I do have a signature denim jacket that I wear almost all the time in the library (except in winter).  And I thought the name suited my southern and western roots not to mention my love of baking and cooking.  I can't imagine any other name suiting my blog. ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Brothers of Baker Street and Sleight of Hand

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selections are:

By Michael Roberston
Publish Date: March 1, 2011 by Minotaur Books

From Booklist~
Sherlock Holmes isn't back, but Dr. Moriarty is, sort of, in this delightful romp that offers more tension and suspense than a dozen fat thrillers with bloody knives on the cover.  It still manages to be funny, rather in the Kingsley Amis manner.  Set in modern London, with plenty of Foster's and Jaguars, the novel has two leading men in the British manner, and for all their silly banter, they'd best not be underrated.  Reggie is a barrister who hasn't let failure slow him; he's rebounding with a new client.  His brother, Nigel, fresh from therapy designed to make losers feel better, is there to carry the plot when Reggie falters.  They aren't just any two failing lawyers.  Their offices are on the 200 block of Baker Street, and their leaase requires that they answer all mail address to Sherlock Holmes.  Naturally, that leads to the occasional spot of sleuthing.  This time, they tackle an ersatz Moriarty and his villainous scheme to besmirth the beloved London taxis.  The last third of the novel, with its murder-and-chase scene, is one of the finest, scariest sequences in current crime fiction.  But why doesn't Robertson explain that the name fo the drivers' pub, Flounder and Dab, is Cockney rhyming slang for taxicab?  For anglophiles, crime-o-philes, and all fans of wonderful writing.

It seems as though the mystery bug has struck again, and my interest has been drawn out into London along Baker Street.  I love a good mystery and it's interesting to see modern mysteries like this one especially with two protagonists living under a famous address.  It will be interesting to see just how Reggie and Nigel fill in the shoes of Sherlock Holmes and tackle with the likes of the villainous Moriarty.

By Peter S. Beagle
Publish Date: March 1, 2011 by Tachyon Publications

Abundant with tales of quiet heroism, life-changing decisions, and determined searches for deep answers, this extraordinary collection of contemporary fantasy explores the realms between this world and the next. From the top of the Berlin Wall to the depths of the darkest seas, gods and monsters battle their enemies and innermost fears, yet mere mortals make the truly difficult choices. A slightly regretful author and a vengeful-but-dilapidated dragon square off over an abandoned narrative; the children of the Shark God demand painful truths from their chronically absent father; and a bereaved women sacrifices herself to change one terrible moment, effortlessly reversed by a shuffle of the deck. Whether melancholic, comedic, or deeply tragic, each new tale is suffused with misdirection and discovery, expressed in the rich and mesmerizing voice of a masterful storyteller.

Peter S. Beagle has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read The Last Unicorn. Having the chance to meet him in person was a great experience, and he is a charismatic man, as quoted by my dad who also had the chance to meet and speak with him.  And any author who gets my dad interested in reading a fiction book is amazing in my opinion.  The fact that this book is an anthology of short stories makes it a must-have for my personal library since Beagle does short stories just as amazingly as he does novels.  Yay for pre-ordering!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Salon: Saturday Crew Shout-out!

Ah, 6-day work week, you do try to exhaust me so each and every time you come around.  Yet you failed to completely deplete me of my energy this week.  I think it helps when I have an awesome Saturday crew to work with.  These are the ingredients that make working that 6th day worthwhile:

- One awesome paraprofessional ready to assist as the librarian's partner in the library, especially when cleaning computers
- Two patient library assistants that cover the info desks so the librarian and paraprofessional can have a breather, the favor of which is returned for the assistants
- Children's staff that are ready to jump up to answer questions the Adult staff cannot fully answer
- Circulation staff that makes sure books are on the hold shelf where patrons can find them...and even search for books/DVDs/etc when they are misplaced.

For even when you have sudden meeting cancellations, when you have a staff like the one mentioned above, there is no need to be frustrated.  They're the ones that help the day go smoothly so the librarian knows all is well and the patrons are happy.

Thank you to my Saturday crew. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Blogger Hop Day: February 18-21

Book Blogger Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop Day courtesy of the meme available at  If you're crazy for books and like hearing about upcoming and new titles, let others know by hopping by their blogs for a visit.  This week's question is:

"What book(s) would you like to see turned into a movie?"

Wow, this is a tough one since there are so many books I would love to see on the silver screen.  There are also some books turned into movies that I would love to have redone with a proper consultant rather than an artistic director.  If I had to narrow it down though, it would be these three books: 

Poison Study by Maria Snyder because I would love to actually see Yelena become the Commander's food taster and what tasks Valek has laid out for her in order to do so properly.  And I'll admit, I want to see just who they would pick to play the remarkable and skilled Valek. :)

The Nymph King by Gena Showalter because 1) I love the ocean and I figure what better setting for this novel if turned into a movie, 2) the fighting scenes not only between the nymph warriors but also the dragon warriors that arrive too, and 3) I'd just love to see Valerian and Joachim in the flesh.  Besides, can you imagine if this cover was used as the basis for the movie poster? ==>

The Unicorn Trilogy by Tanith Lee because I cannot choose just one as they all work together so well as a trilogy should.  I want to see Tanaquil's character development and also what sort of landscapes and settings would be used for a futuristic fantasy world that Lee has created. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Forever

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

By:  Maggie Stiefvater
Publish Date:  July 12, 2011 by Scholastic Press

From Publishers Weekly, starred review~
A lyrical tale of alienated werewolves and first love...Stiefvater skillfully increases the tension throughout; her take on werewolves is interesting and original while her characters are refreshingly willing to use their brains to deal with the challenges they face.

I fell in love with Maggie Stiefvater's first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Shiver.  It was one of the first books that had a different take on the werewolf mythos, and it is quite refreshing to see a modern idea for werewolves.  Shiver was also one of the first books that my beloved and I read together, though he somehow managed to finish it before me.  Linger has kept everyone on pins and needles and anxiously awaiting the release of the final volume, Forever.  If you love werewolves and the sometimes long and hard journey of true love, I highly recommend all three books in the Wolves of Mercy Falls.  Below are the covers of the first two books if you can grab them either from the store or at the library.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Love Stories in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a state that you don't have to worry about being deprived of more books as long as you're near a library. ;) This week's Top Ten is:

Top Ten Favorite Love Stories In Books

1.  Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Imagine being trapped within the icy grip of winter, always longing for and waiting for the warmth of the summer sun.  When you finally see the sunlight and feel it's glorious warm rays wrap around you, it just makes you want to catch the sunshine and hold tightly to it.  What person doesn't feel that wonderful emotion when they see their beloved?  That is Sam and Grace's story and more, especially when Sam is trapped in werewolf form by each winter's chill.

2.  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
How far would you go to be with the one you loved?  What would you do in order to become one of those that is prized among other women?  Sayuri's story is one of a powerful love that does stretch over the course of her lifetime, and it is amazing to see her journey from being a poor fisherman's daughter to a maiko to a servant back to a maiko and finally a geisha. 

3.  The Nymph King by Gena Showalter
This is one book that I will say attracted me because of the cover.  For the longest time, I'd go past the Romance section to get to the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore, but this cover always caught my eye.  Finally, I surrendered and bought my own copy and dove right in, loving the entirety of the story.  I knew right away that Shaye and Valerian would be together; it was only a matter of getting through the UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension).  However, it was the secondary story involving a love triangle between Joachim, Brenna, and Shivawn that drew my interest.  Watching Brenna have to choose between these two nymph warriors that are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum was intriguing, yet somehow I knew who she would choose in the end. 

4.  Gold Unicorn by Tanith Lee
The love story within Lee's Gold Unicorn is more on the subtle side, and I think that's what I appreciated about it.  While it is not the fiery passionate love readers would hope for, this soft-spoken love between the main character, Tanaquil (whom I adored from the prequel Black Unicorn), and Honj, a warrior in her half-sister's army as well as Lizra's betrothed.  As this is the second book in Lee's Unicorn trilogy, the overall resolution does not come until the third book, Red Unicorn.  I highly recommend all three books if you really love fantasy series with slight science-fiction undertones. 

5.  Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova
This is one of my favorite manga (that's not originally from Japan) and the love story that plays out between main characters Christy and Matt.  The first part of the book is their first meeting, at an anime convention no less, the second part involves their struggles to express their feelings to one another, and the third part...well, you should really give the book a read! ;)

6.  Beastly by Alex Flinn
The fairytale of "Beauty and the Beast" is retold and updated in this young adult novel by Flinn.  I was a little surprise with Flinn's choice of a "plain-Jane" Beauty in Lindy, but by today's standards, having someone that is called "Beauty" would probably not have a heart as willing to love a beast.  Watching Kyle's transformation from rich, handsome snob to a beast with an actual caring heart was enjoyable, especially when he chose to change his name to Adrian.  Highly recommended to all who love the traditional story of "Beauty and the Beast."

7.  Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Sometimes searching for your true love can place a lot of pressure on a person.  And that pressure would be magnified ten-fold if that pressure comes from Lord Death himself.  Keturah is determined to find the one she is meant to be with in twenty-four hours, and while on this task she must assist her friends and neighbors as the king is coming to visit the village.  It isn't until Keturah is confronted by Lord Death once more in the presence of John Temsland, one that adores her, that she realizes who is indeed her true love. 

8.  Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
I will freely admit that from the moment I started this story, I did not care for Aiden, Vivian's human love interest.  Granted, there are times when I do appreciate the brooding man who is interested things of the dark.  For some reason, I just couldn't buy that Vivian and Aiden would be together, but it was fascinating to watch the story events unfold.  Klause manages to distinguish Vivian's school life from her pack life, which I found helpful especially when those lives seemed to draw ever closer and more entwined.  Although I was sad for Vivian when all the cards were laid on the table, I was thrilled when she was finally able to see the truth about who she was destined to be with as her love. 

9.  Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
This was one of my favorite classic plays to read in school, simply because of the anxiety I felt when it came to whether Roxane would indeed realize Cyrano's true feelings of love for her.  While it is his poetic words that are intended for her, these words come from the mouth of handsome Christian de Neuvillette and one with a less protruding proboscis (namely a big nose as is Cyrano's).  This love triangle is one worth reading, or watching if given the chance to see it performed upon the stage. 

10.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This is more of a familial love story, though there are several different love stories linked together within Little Women.  The main love stories seem to focus first on Jo and Laurie before she refuses him as a lover, Amy and Laurie after Amy has expressed that she will not be a substitute for her sister, and then Jo and Professor Friedrich.  More important to me than even these love stories is the wonderful love that all four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy share for one another, their mother and all who come into their lives as their family gradually grows beyond the Marches.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

DJL Dishes Dessert: Whoopie Pies!

Title:  Whoopie Pies
Creator:  *Parsley*
The Dish:  It's been awhile since I've dished on dessert, and I thought it was the perfect time for making whoopie pies!  What is a whoopie pie?  To look at one, you'd think it was a giant version of an Oreo cookie, but it's really so much more than that.  A whoopie pie is a nice layer of creamy vanilla filling sandwiched between two almost cake-like chocolate cookies.  They are so much fun to eat and fun to make as well, especially when you have a recipe like this one provided online by the above creator.  I have used other recipes, but because of food avoidances by several of my coworkers I wanted to make sure that everyone could enjoy these delightful treats.  So I searched for a recipe that didn't make use of either shortening, marshmallow cream, or gelatin, which did take a bit of searching.  However, I was able to find this gem of a recipe which I'm going to list below.

Whoopie Pie:
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil (I used vegetable oil)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa (I used Nestle unsweetened cocoa)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons milk

Cream Filling:
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 4 tablespoons butter (that's half a stick)
- 3 to 3 1/4 cups of confectioners' sugar (I used about 3 cups of powdered sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly coat cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

2. For whoopie pies: In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil until crumbly.  Add eggs and beat well.  In a separate small mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

3. Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture.  Add milk and mix together well.

4. With lightly floured hands (or damp hands as I did), roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls.  (I took a bit of liberty with this and formed them into 1-inch balls.)  Place 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Flatten balls slightly with bottom of lightly greased flat-bottom glass.  (On this one, I just lightly pressed them down with my fingers.)

5. Bake at 425 degrees for 5-6 minutes or until tops are cracked.  Cool for 3 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

6. Filling: In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and confectioners' sugar.  Beat in milk and vanilla extract until fluffy.  (I actually had to add another tablespoon of milk here since the filling seemed a bit too thick, but that will vary on how each person prepares the recipe. ^_^)

7. Pipe filling using pastry bag (or spread with knife, though I used a small spoon to add the filling) on to flat bottom of cooled whoopie pie and top with another whoopie pie to make a sandwich.

Here are mine already packed and ready to take with me to work on Monday!

Although the filling was rather sweet, the cookies really do help to balance out the sweetness.  Overall, this was one of the best whoopie pie recipes I've used, and I highly recommend it for anyone to use.  I can't wait to see how my coworkers like them on Monday.

Bon appetit!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop Day courtesy of the meme available at  If you're crazy for books and like hearing about upcoming and new titles, let others know by hopping by their blogs for a visit.  This week's question is:

 "Tell us about one of your posts from this week and give us a link so we can read it (review or otherwise)!"

My answer:  I was able to finish reading The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey last week, and I made my review post on Sunday.  It was an amazing book, and even when I felt the pace started to lag and slow down, I kept plowing on through the pages just to see what would happen once Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry entered the monsters' lair.  The reason behind the creatures' presence in a country not of their origin was a little surprising, and I wanted to know the entire truth of the matter.  After reading the first book, I can't wait to read the next one in the series.  If you like reading chilling mysteries, I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Manga Shakespeare Twelfth Night

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

By: William Shakespeare, adapted by Richard Appignanesi
Date Published: March 1, 2011 by Amulet Books

A comedy of mistaken identity and thwarted love, Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays and is frequently performed and studied across the country. When Viola finds herself shipwrecked, she pretends to be a male servant and falls in love with Duke Orsino. The Manga Shakespeare interpretation, which incorporates fresh ideas and thoughtful settings, will introduce the classic play to a new audience of Shakespeare fans.

Twelfth Night has always been one of my favorites of Shakespeare's plays, and the man could sure write comedy just as well as he could write tragedy.  Sometimes I wonder why teachers focus on all of the tragedies rather than giving their students a little comedy for balance.  It's nice seeing a little mixture in this play, and I can't wait to read the manga.  Nana Li is a recognizable manga-ka as well, so her art style should definitely fit the storyline for Twelfth Night.  And as a librarian, I think it's a good way to get students to actually visualize the play, especially if the adaptation remains true to the original language and traditional Shakespearean rhetoric.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Characters/Literary Figures That I'd Name my Children After

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a state that you don't have to worry about being deprived of more books as long as you're near a library. ;) I was introduced to this meme thanks to some of the blogs I follow, and as the list for this week sounded like fun, I thought I'd give it a shot.

It's hard to say whether I would really name my children after some of these characters, but it's interesting to think about the idea.

1.  Sydney - Named for Sydney Carton from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.  He was the true hero of the novel and I would tell my son as such.  "You are named for a great man who knows what the true meaning of sacrifice is."

2.  Danielle - Named for the plucky "Cinderella" from the film Ever After; for some reason I couldn't find a literary character with the name.  Truthfully, I've always loved the old French names, such as Danielle, Michelle, etc., and this Danielle is such a strong-willed character, you can't help but admire her.

3.  Vianne - Named for the chocolate-maker from Joanne Harris' Chocolat; loved the movie and the book.  Again, with the French names, her name just sounds so pretty to me, and I could hopefully push my daughter into becoming a wonderful chocolate-maker too. ;)

4.  Atticus - Named for the father and lawyer of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.  Here's where the names might get a smidge weird, but Atticus was one of the main characters I really adored from the novel.  It was his presence that made the book interesting to me.

5.  Alanna - Named for the young girl who would become a great lady knight under her king in the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pearce.  People who aspire to do great things always amaze me

6.  Yelena - Named for the girl who was once a prisoner and then discovered what her true abilities were once given a second chance from Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study.  Again, like Danielle and Alanna, Yelena's a strong figure to me and I adore strong figures.

7.  Valek - Named for the man who gave a prisoner a second chance and came to trust her, also from Poison Study.  He's an amazing man and with a name like that, you just know not to mess with him.

8.  Bowen - Named for the knight who would slay a dragon and vanquish evil in Charles Edward Pogue's Dragonheart.  It took me FOREVER to find this book, and I had chosen it for an assignment for school.  But I loved it as I adore Bowen from both the book and the film.

9.  Vivian - Named for the werewolf heroine from Annette Curtis Clause' Blood and Chocolate.  Such pain she had to endure and what strength she must have had in order to push through the obstacles stacked against her.

10.  Sam - Named for the boy with the golden-eyed gaze from Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver.  Yes, it is a simple name and yet it suits this young man quite well in this unique werewolf story of love and loss.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

There's a Science for Everything

Author:  Rick Yancey
Summary:  These are the secrets I have kept.  This is the trust I never betrayed.  But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.  The one who saved me...and the one who cursed me.~ So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: montrumology, the study of monsters.  In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real.  But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

The Dish:  It's frightening to think there's something out there that uses humans as fodder.  Granted, people are attacked by various known species throughout the year, yet when it is a creature unknown, a creature that even preys upon the recently deceased, it can make the blood curdle and the heart shudder.  But that is why one turns to an expert on the subject of the unknown...namely a monstrumologist.

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the title and pulled it off the library shelf.  The summary sounded even more interesting and I just had to read it.  Let me tell you, dear readers, the story written therein is something.  And it is that something that I cannot quite put my finger on to describe.  The elements that Yancey has pulled together into one single story are remarkable.  I am reminded of several films and books in reading The Monstrumologist including the sand worms from Tremors, the doomed ship that carried Dracula's coffin from  Transylvania to England's shores, most of all the idea that it is what in the dark that will take your breath away...literally.  

In showing readers a rare creature as the Anthropophagi (from the Greek meaning "people-eaters"), it is easy to see how Yancey was able to draw the attention of his audience, including me.  I had to know what they were after reading the summary and how they related to this story of a boy taken in by a man of the most unorthodox of sciences.  Anthropophagi are the worst of our nightmares and I think in exploring something unique that goes bump in the night, Yancey delivered a round of chills to readers.  Even when the pace of the story slowed, I had to keep reading to know just how these Anthropophagi had come to America, where they truly originated from, and what Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry would have to do in order to control and exterminate them.  I would recommend this novel to anyone who has ever had an interest in the unknown, anyone who has ever wondered what else might be with us in "our" world, or just anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

What obscure, or lesser-known, creatures have you encountered in books you've read?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop Day (and since I don't have a post for Graphic Friday) I'm following the Meme available at  This week's question is:

"What are you reading now and why are you reading it?"

My answer:  Rick Yancey's The Monstrumologist is the current book I'm reading right now.  When I saw it in the library I thought it looked like a fairly interesting book and checked it out.  It's also out of my usual reading realm which is good because it will give me some knowledge in Young Adult Horror Literature.  So far, it's been a good read though the beginning is a bit slow, but that can happen when establishing the impossible as the possible.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the narrator, Will Henry, and Doctor Warthrop handle this case.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Voices of Dragons and Secrets of Dragon Gate

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selections are:

By: Carrie Vaughn
Publish Date: February 15, 2011 by HarperTeen (reprint edition)

From Booklist~
The notion that huge, flying dragons exist is only one of the leaps of faith that Vaughn’s debut YA novel requires of its readers. A nuclear war between humans and dragons resulted in a truce that divided the species' worlds. Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt lives in the closest human town to Dragon with her mother, who works for Border Enforcement. After Kay falls into a river and is swept across the border, she is rescued by a passing dragon, who wants to practice human speech. The two become friends, meet secretly, and even practice flying together. Then military hawks fake an incident that sparks a war, and Kay’s father is the first victim. Eventually Kay and her dragon friend devise a scheme to stop hostilities and then set out in search of legendary islands, where they hope to find escape and peace. Readers willing to suspend disbelief will be swept along by this series starter’s fast pace, appealing characters, and interesting conceptual blend of legend and technology.

Despite my review for Kitty and the Midnight Hour, I do believe that Carrie Vaughn is an excellent storyteller as attributed to my love of her short stories in werewolf anthologies (Wolfsbane & Mistletoe, Full Moon City, and Running with the Pack).  I'm definitely curious to see how she does outside the spectrum of werewolves and Urban Fantasy, especially with this story.  Also, I know it's a reprint edition, but I'm still looking forward to the new release of Voices of Dragons. :)

By: Steven Liu and Jonathan Blank
Publish Date: March 3, 2011 by Tarcher: Penguin Group

From Library Journal~
Liu, 14th Master of the Dragon Gate School of Taoism, and filmmaker Blank (Anarchy TV) here offer a guide to one of hte lesser-known and more esoteric spiritual traditions: the Dragon Gate School of Taoism, which fuses elements of yoga, Buddhism, and Confucianism, helping users to apply martial arts, chi-gung, and meditation form improved wealth, health, and sexuality.  An eye-opener for most Westerners, this book reveals a hidden tradition of Eastern spirituality and will be welcomed by many spiritual readers.

In a college Philosophy course, I took an interest in Taoism simply because of the connection one seemed to create with nature and one's inner self.  Although I haven't practiced Taoism completely, I like to integrate some of the teachings into my own life to assist in my spirituality.  This book caught my eye in our collection order list, and I'm hoping we are able to order it for the library. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One Librarian's Journey

Author:  Audrey Niffenegger
Summary:  The Night Bookmobile tells the story of a wistful young woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing library on wheels.  This library includes everything, and only everything, she has ever read.  Seeing her history and most intimate self in this library, she embarks on a search for the bookmobile.  But over time her search turns into an obsession as she longs to be reunited with her own collection and therefore, her memories.

The Dish:  The Night Bookmobile is the first book I've read by Ms. Niffenegger, and it is a rather different type of graphic novel.  From the outside, it looks like a picture book one would find in the Children's Section of the library, but the story within is deeper than one expects.  Niffenegger is a rather unique storyteller, and she does tell a marvelous and touching story, one that not only librarians but anyone who loves books will hopefully appreciate in some way. 

Alexandra, the narrator, is walking about the city of Chicago one night and comes across a rather out-of-place Winnebago in the street.  Curious about it's appearance and the fact that the lights are on, she approaches it and the person in the driver's seat allows her entrance.  This Winnebago is actually a Bookmobile of sorts, but not just any Bookmobile.  When you first see the amount of books inside, it fills almost the entirety of the Winnebago.  This actually reminds me of a drawing by an artist I encountered at the Jazz & Arts Festival in Denton.  It is a one-point perspective drawing of a library that seems to go on endlessly, and if any library could represent one that adds more and more books to it as the reader reads, it would be within this piece.  Below is sort of an example of one-point perspective in a library; I would rather not show the drawing itself without a link to the artist's webpage.

For anyone who is searching for something or has ever felt the need to search for that something that seems to be missing in their life, I would recommend this graphic novel.  The story does have its sad points, but I hope that readers would find some peace in reading the end. 
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