Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the girl she used to be - David Cristofano

This was a fascinating book. Imagine being in the witness protection program and having so many identity changes, you aren't sure who you are anymore...

She's a young woman who has been in hiding since she was 6. Even though this is 20 years later, she still knows that the Bovaro family will kill her if they find her.

Sometimes she thinks they are near, other times she has the Feds move her just because she's bored. The Feds are beginning to figure this out, and are getting tired of relocating her.

Then the last relocation they do for her turns into an adventure she never imagined - all of sudden she has this man in her room telling her that he's Jonathan Bovaro, supposed to kill her, but he's not sure he wants to. She knows she doesn't want him to!

They end up running together and fall in love with each other, as unlikely as it seems. Then Jonathan comes up with an even crazier idea - let's go meet his father and let him see how she's grown and let him know they want to marry. Oh my...

The final ironic twist to this story was totally unexpected to me. And it actually could happen that way, which made it even more bittersweet.

This is a good read - keeps you turning pages to see what's going to happen next.

If you'd like to have my Advanced Reading Copy of this book, leave a comment here on my blog AND send me an email at info@bookfaerie.com telling me why. I'll pick someone to be the lucky winner!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is near...

Got an email from a potential customer yesterday. Wanted to know if I would dropship a book to a US address for Christmas. He had previously ordered the book from someone else and it got lost in the mail and it was too close to Christmas to have it sent to the UK and back again. (Yeah, that's a fact!) Then he asked if I would wrap in Christmas wrap.

I told him I would wrap the book (good thing I didn't give ALL my Christmas wrap - I thought about it when cleaning) and then I discussed mailing options.

Priority mail should only take two days, but at Christmas time - with the volume of mail - who knows? Express mail is more money, but is "guaranteed" delivery. He elected to pay the $20 for Express Mail. So I have wrapped the book, put in a plastic bag, and have the postage printed and ready to go.

Tomorrow I'll go to the PO and get an Express Flat Rate envelope and mail it. I do have some other packages, so they'll go out then, too.

I can understand this case, he had ordered earlier and the book never arrived.

But I had one a couple of years ago that wanted it delivered by Christmas and it was a set of books. That one cost him $75 for postage! He also paid it.

Plan ahead, folks, plan ahead! No need to kill your pocketbook because you procrastinated on shopping. Hide it (in a brown paper back or box) in the back of your closet or the garage or the utility room. Your nerves will better if you start earlier...

Friday, December 19, 2008

I read a book I really liked: Kenny and the Dragon

I never did like the Spiderwick Chronicles. They were just not my thing (although they are very, very popular with most children and adults). So when I saw a new book offered by their author, Tony DiTerlizzi, I hesitated before buying it.

But I'm addicted to dragon stories, and this dragon likes to read. How could I not give it a chance?

I am happy to report that this book was an absolute delight to read, and it's going in my personal library as a "keeper"!

Kenny is young rabbit. A recent earthquake has freed up probably the last dragon left in the world, and he arises on the farm that Kenny's father owns and farms. While Kenny's father is fearful, Kenny is a reader and likes to learn about new things, so he wants to check out the dragon. He has read the current books on such beasts and knows he needs to be careful, but his curiosity is too great to ignore the opportunity!

This is a discerning dinosaur, who has manners, loves good food, likes to read, and wants to be left in peace.

The whole family is enjoying his company until Kenny inadvertently lets folks know he's seen a REAL dragon.

There is a knight dispatched to kill the dragon and Kenny has to find a way to stop him. The fact that the knight is his friend George, from the downtown bookstore, makes it an even greater challenge.

You'll have to read the book yourself to find out how it ends...

I really enjoyed this book. It would be great for an imaginative young adult. And if they are a hesitant reader, I think the illustrations and story line in this one will keep them going.

And anybody who loves dragons will enjoy it, too!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I got a Christmas card from Sue Grafton...

...did you? I wrote to her some time ago telling her I enjoyed her books and to keep up the good work. Now I get a postcard from her each year with a new photo of Sue and signed by her. It really makes me smile to get them.

She's a cool lady, and that little PR effort has sure been a hit with me. It says it's from her and Kinsey.

Eat your heart out, I'm special...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Year The Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Firtzmaurice

Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson has aspirations of becoming a world class chef, and cooks some pretty good meals right now. But, at 11, there are a lot of things that can happen in your life before you make it to culinary school.

Suddenly her father is arrested and put in jail. A best friend's mother who has long been missing shows back up at home. She finds out her MOTHER put her father in jail! And she's totally lost and confused. She even quits cooking...

But life goes on and she finds it's important to expect the unexpected, that things don't always turn out like you might plan, and that forgiveness is important to get on with life.

She also sees the swallows return early that year, and it gives her hope.

If you'd like to read this story, just leave a comment here on my blog and send an email to info@bookfaerie.com and I'll do a drawing for this Advance Reader's Edition I have.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Counter Clockwise by Jason Cockcroft

This is an unusual time travel story. Nathan's mother dies in an accident, and he goes to live with his father. His father continues to grieve for his mother and suddenly passes through time to go back to save his wife from death - but it has unintended consequences. And when Nathan tries to correct it, it gets worse.

When he finally understands changing things might be nice, but they don't come without a price, he again travels through time to try to make a change that will make things as before, but better.

This is a great book for middle school students who have an imaginative side.

My copy of this book is an uncorrected proof with a black and white cover. If you'd like to have this copy, please leave a comment on my blog AND email me at info@bookfaerie.com to tell me why you'd like to have my copy. I'll choose a lucky winner.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Masterpiece by Elise Broach

This is a charming book about a boy and a beetle.

Marvin (the beetle) lives with his family under the kitchen sink, and is quite an adventurer. He's even learned how to swim!

James lives with his mother, stepfather, and baby brother in an apartment in New York City. He hardly ever gets to see his Dad, who is an artist, since the divorce. And when he brings James a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, James isn't sure what to do with it. But, that night, Marvin figures out what to do!

The unique mini picture he paints gets accredited to James, despite his protests. And the next thing you know they want him to paint a forgery to foil a theft. It's a near disastrous attempt to get the painting done by Marvin, who even gets swatted off James' shoulder at one point! But they manage.

And then the thief steals the REAL painting!

Marvin and James work real hard to solve the mystery and keep the wrong person from getting the blame, but it's a job to make it happen without revealing that Marvin is involved.

There's also a strange twist at the end so James can claim he can't paint anymore.

But all's well that ends well.

This is a great book for a child who likes fantasy stories about bugs that work with humans. This adult had a real good time reading it. It reminds me a bit of The Cricket in Times Square.

It would also be a great book for reading aloud!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sometimes the bookseller's path is full of pot holes...

I decided to list a few books and try to get back into that routine again, since sales have been lacking. I am crocheting, but I want to be productive with my business, too.

So I list books. Upload them, then go to upload my scans. Guess what, my FTP program won't work anymore. I think it's a conflict with Windows, but I don't know for sure. So I redownload the program - still doesn't want to read my Windows file.

OK, let's go look for another one! Boy, that was frustrating. Many were way more than I needed and nothing I recognized as far as uploading. So I ended up downloading five programs - and then removing them all. Finally found one that functioned as I like and worked, but what a waste of time. Then I had to defrag my hard drive to get it all back to how it should be.

Then my scanner quits working. So I have to dig out the one I bought off eBay last year (same model, used) and plug that one in. It works, which is great. Makes some different noises, but I don't know that that is abnormal - maybe they do that. As long as it scans my books, I'm happy!

Then I actually get a couple book sales - and Shipping Assistant won't work... This wasn't a full moon time, was it?

I ended up using Pay Pal Shipping to get them out. I have to pay for them as I process them but that's OK. Just means more entries on my bank statement since I don't have a balance in there right now.

It was busy enough at the PO, I'm thinking of using their system instead of the PO's. However, it is not verifying addresses, so I'll have to do that myself before I ship the item. If they pay by Pay Pal, it'll be fine, but not many do.

I also don't know how it handles international shipments yet. Guess I'll learn! If it doesn't, I can always go back to Shipping Assistant and only pay for those packages.

The post office was busy enough today that having the postage paid on them and only needing to turn them will make my visit quicker.

Decisions, decisions. I don't want to use Endica and pay someone for the service if I can do it for free. My sales aren't great enough to add more overhead.

So I just keep trying different things and see how they work for me. Some I keep, some I get rid of.

One of the book databases I'm listing on is going to lose me. I've had two sales this year. It's not worth the time and effort of uploading to them. They aren't charging me a monthly fee, but who cares? I made up my mind I'd delete them at the end of the year if it didn't change - and it hasn't. Year end is coming.

One thing about selling books on the internet - nothing remains the same - you just keep adjusting as you go!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Against Medical Advice - James Patterson & Hal Friedman

This is a non-fiction story of one family's struggle with a medical mystery and how the doctors attempted to treat the condition.

I'm afraid it resounds within me, because I don't have that much faith in the medical community. They see too many people, don't have time to develop personal relationships with their patients, and you're often their guinea pig for new medications. When they say, "Let's try this..." I cringe.

Cory Friedman woke up one morning at five years of age and found he had a tic - an uncontrollable urge to shake his head. His parents take him a doctor, who puts him on the first of many, many medications.

As the years go by, he develops more tics, starts spitting and cussing, and begins repeating his jerking patterns. He also becomes an alcoholic.

He attempts to go to school, but most of his teachers don't understand his illness or its patterns and often make things worse by correcting him and automatically enhancing the behavior. The other students learn to set him off, make fun of him, and mimic him. His schoolwork gets further and further behind.

The various doctors keep trying more and more medications and combos of them to try to make his life closer to meeting what passes for "normal". His reactions keep changing, but while one medication may control one symptom for a while, he normally had other side effects...

The really sad part about this is that Cory has a very bright mind, and he was stuck in this body that held him back from learning and participating in a normal way. Since he had trouble writing, he learned to memorize the lessons. But he still had no friends.

When he found some, they all had some sort of "handicap". It could be alcohol, drugs, psychological problems - but that was what made them all gather together.

Cory's parents were at the end of their rope on what to do for him and very, very sad that his life was what it was. Then they decided to go "against medical advice".

They sent him to the equivalent of a survival boot camp and took him off all his medicines. He HAD to learn how to take care of himself. If he failed, they'd send him back home - and once he got there and started doing for himself, he didn't want to do that. If he didn't have time to cook his meals, he didn't get to eat. If he lost his gloves, he didn't have gloves.

The story of how this works out and where he goes from here is amazing.

This TRUE story is inspiring - and shows what you can do if you don't give up. Life may not be perfect for Cory, but it's better than it was before!

Get yourself a copy and follow Cory's journey...