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...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another lap robe done...

This one is going to an 80 year old friend of mine.

That lump you see to the right of project is my cat, Tiger Lily, sleeping under the covers...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - and More Crocheting!

Hope of all you are having a very good Thanksgiving and remembering all we have to be thankful for. We're having beef stew and brown bread for our dinner. Don't you think the pilgrim's might have served that, too?

I've been busy crocheting and have finished two more lap robes.

You'll note that Lily had to test the red one - she says it has passed the "kneadability" test.

They're both already packed up and will go out tomorrow. Now I've started another.

What are you working on or reading?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

This is an "engaging" story about a young woman in love who travels to spend Christmas with her newly found family and her beloved.

When she finally found her father, he had already passed away, but his family acknowledged her and, while some still had some hesitations about how to deal with her, she was going to spend Christmas with them anyway.

Before she even gets home, she and Ian find themselves sidetracked to a hospital where his father has been taken because of a heart attack. He will be OK, but now they need to find someone to play Father Christmas at the play.

While decisions are being made on who will fill in, someone leaks the information about who Miranda's father was, and the press swarms on the family!

There are ups and downs, some magical moments, and in the end, an engagement. No matter how all the rest of it turned out, Ian and Miranda were in love - and she captured "Father Christmas" for her mate!

A fun, easy read for the holiday season with a happy ending. This would make a nice present under the tree, or you can just buy it for yourself and set the mood for your own Christmas celebrations.

If you'd like my copy of this book, please leave a comment on the blog AND email me at info@bookfaerie.com to tell me why you'd like to be in the drawing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Secret History of Giants by Professor Ari Berk

I won a copy of this book and was looking forward to reading it. I was not disappointed!

This is one of those wonderful books which has little special treats inside. Several pages have little lift up flaps that show you the contents of a book or other "secret" information about giants.

The subject matter is fun! You have history, habits, lifestyle and information on what happened to the giants. You get varying points of view on fairy tales about giants. And you keep turning page after page to see what new idea is offered and how it is presented.

I read every piece of text in this book (even all the little inserts) and I'm not particularly interested in giants. But I sure was when it was presented in this form!

This book is a keeper. You can go back to it again and again and find something new.

It actually reminds me when I entered Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings series. This book, too, will take you on a journey and make you wonder just how far you could take the tale...

I have an extra copy of this book that I will give away to a lucky winner. If you're interested in the drawing, leave a comment here on the blog AND send me an email at info@bookfaerie.com to tell me why you'd like it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finished my bedspread!

This was originally going to be a shawl, but it was too long. So I decided to make it a bedspread. I had enough yarn...

Then it was just a bit short on a queen sized bed, so I added an edging. I think it looks nice and it will be a good summer spread for us. We always have the air going, so you need something, but nothing too heavy. Now I'll have to buy some lavender sheets...

What do you think of it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remember my review on The Paperbag Christmas?

The author will be doing a Blog Talk Radio interview and you can call in and ask him questions.

Here's where you go at 1PM on Friday Nov. 21st to participate in a Blog Talk Radio interview with Kevin Alan Milne. Here's more info: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stations/HachetteBookGroup/centerstreet/2008/11/21/Live-Interview-with-Kevin-Alan-Milne-author-of-THE-PAPER-BAG-CHRISTMAS
Miriam Parker would love to have you call in and ask a question.

How often can you visit an author from home?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another review on BYDL...

I have posted a review on But You Don't Look Sick and am offering the book for free.

Read the review here: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/2008/11/book_review_diamonds_of_death.php#more

This was Diamonds of Death and had murder, Mafia, and medical intrigue...

If you'd like to get my copy, leave a comment on my blog and then send me an email at info@bookfaerie.com . I'll do a drawing for the book later this week.

Do you like Harry Bosch?

Then you've got a treat to read!

I reviewed Michael Connelly's The Brass Verdict, which has Bosch and Mickey Haller, an attorney in it. Both characters are well thought-out strong characters and they don't especially trust each other.

Mickey was recovering from being shot on a previous case and hadn't gone back into active practice yet. When he gets summoned by a Judge, he's not sure exactly what's going on, but he knows it's serious.

It seems another lawyer he knows has been killed, and Mickey was the lawyer named to take over the cases. He wasn't quite sure he wanted to go back to work yet, but he began to feel the old excitement at pending cases and agreed to do it.

However, the pending cases could be suspects for the murder of the previous attorney, and Harry Bosch wants to look through them. Mickey won't let them because it would compromise the cases. So he looks through them. And realizes he has one case that is really worth some money - and would help his new business get off the ground and running. It helps that he really doesn't care if his client is guilty or not. But even that doesn't remove the danger from the case.

And Harry cares about who killed the previous attorney and whether people are are innocent or guilty...

The story moves along quickly, has some quirky points, and justice is served - even if it might not be the court who serves it.

I enjoyed this combination of characters and this was a usual full-bodied story by a master storyteller, Michael Connelly.

Try it, you'll like it!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Crocheting and listening to audio books...

I'm about 1/2 through my bedspread. I'm making it from variegated baby yarn (lavender, pink, and yellow) and using a very lacy pattern. It should be very pretty on my bed.

And, as I crochet, I'm listening to Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries. I have several read by the BBC radio staff, and I love those British accents! Such fun.

So I put on my headphones, get my hook flying and see where Hercule is off to this time.

This is my "winter retreat" time. I quit working (at listing books) and concentrate on customer service and some "me" time. The only good time to crochet in the desert is the winter - at least if you're doing blanket sized projects.

Normally, this would be a very busy time for orders for me. I typically have a pretty good run in sales for Christmas. Not this year. I am getting orders, but not in any special volume. When the economy sucks, people buy less. I imagine there are going to be some pretty bare trees this year. Which might not be all bad. I think people get too excessive in buying presents nowadays.

We don't "do" Christmas anymore. I have no room for a tree (and you can't afford to buy them down here anyway) and we buy what we need as we need it. No family here. I do have Christmas lights on the house and I send Christmas cards to those who are alone in life and need some cheer. So I share the spirit of Christmas and we have a good Christmas dinner, but we don't do gifts anymore.

So, the end result is that I get more time to crochet. That's not all bad. It's a hobby I love, and I enjoy giving my work as gifts.

Even hardworking booksellers deserve some time off...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Did you ever notice?

That doing book reviews is almost like doing a book report? That just occurred to me this morning. (Don't say I'm slow or I'll hit you!)

Hubby took pickup load #10 down to Good Start today. I can now see my front door again. All that stuff going out the door, and I still have LOTS of stuff!

Did you ever notice that no matter how much you give away, you still have more?

Did you ever notice that no matter how many books you read, your "to read" pile never gets smaller? It seems for every one I read, I buy two more!

And now my audio books are growing, too. I like to crochet and listen to a book.

Did you ever notice I'm addicted to books?

Happy reading all!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our White House Looking In Looking Out

I've had an opportunity to review Our White House, and I was pleasantly surprised by the contents.

This book is for young adults and has all kinds of fascinating facts about the people who have occupied it, the historical times they have lived through, the pets they had, and more.

Until I heard it on TV the other night, I didn't know that slaves were used to build the original White House. This book gives you the lowdown on that and many other facts I was unaware of.

The majority of what it covers is non-fiction, but there are a few stories and poems in it, too.

It was created by 108 renowned authors and illustrators and the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance.

The illustrations are striking. The articles and quotes could easily lead into papers for class with a little more research.

Learn all about the folks who have lived in the White House - and then think about the Obama family who will be moving in shortly and making their own place in history...

It's easy to read in bits and pieces or all at once, depending on the type of reader your child is.

This is a great resource that should enhance their interest in history!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Milton's Secret by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S Friedman

I have had an opportunity to review a children's picture book that has a good message for kids.

Milton gets bullied by another student and is fearful of when he may be tackled by him again. He worries about "what if" and "what to do", and his family notices a difference and asks him if he's OK. He doesn't want to tell them about it.

Then he has a chat with his Grandpa and he shares his concept of the "Power of Now". Don't look back, don't look forward, deal with NOW.

This would be great for any child who has worries about school, family, or world events. Let Milton show them how to work through the issue and move on with life.

This is from Namaste Publishing. The illustrations are great, too. This is for a young reader or would work well as a "read aloud" book.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris

Mr. Sedaris writes stories filled with sarcasm, cynicism and a dark humor in them. This collection covers the holidays, and no one is having a very good time, LOL!

His writing style grabs your attention, some of his assumptions are outrageous, but the stories do have their charm.

If you liked the movie "Nightmare Before Christmas", I bet you'll like this book!

There are 12 stories, ranging from Dinah, the Christmas Whore to Jesus Shaves.

If you like dark humor and need a laugh before Christmas, this book is for you!

If you'd like my copy of this book, leave a comment here on the blog AND send me an email at info@bookfaerie.com and I'll put in the drawing for it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Like Humor?

I've done another review on another site and will be giving that book away, too.

Read all about here: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/2008/11/book_review_the_healing_power.php#more

If this book appeals to you and you'd like to be in on the drawing to get it, you need to:

Make a comment here on my blog about it and send me email at info@bookfaerie.com expressing your interest. Then I will enter you in the drawing for the book!

Running Horse Ridge #1, Sapphire: New Horizons by Heather Brooks

Emily knows about dressage and riding horses for show. When her grandfather dies, she and her father travel back to the family ranch, which has a show barn and is a horse rescue center. She’s confident she’ll fit right in, until she finds out they train horses for jumping and hunting. There’s no dressage ring here!

She loves being around the horses, and finds one that captures her heart. The problem is that all the horses are bought and resold to keep the ranch, Running Horse Ridge going.

They do have some money set aside that was to be used for the purchase of a dressage horse, and she tries to talk her father into using that for Sapphire. But when they find an injured horse in the wild and go to the ranch that it escaped from, they find 40 abused horses that need help…

This is a story about a young girl growing up in the world of horses. This is a great first book in the series and leaves you wanting to read book two!

I will be giving away my uncorrected proof of this book. If you'd like my copy, LEAVE A COMMENT HERE AND SEND ME AN EMAIL AT info@bookfaerie.com TELLING ME WHY YOU'D LIKE IT. I'll pick a winner from the group.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Paperbag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne

We often hear people talk about how the spirit of Christmas has been forgotten, how all anyone cares about nowadays is how many presents they get. This book sends out a totally different message.

It's the story of two young boys who go to visit Santa. They know he's not real, but they figure it can't hurt to turn their wish lists in. While they wait in line, they fill the whole page with gift items they want, front and back.

But, when they visit Santa, they find that they are the ones who have to give a gift - a gift of their time at a ward for ailing children. As they play the part of elves for Santa (who is a doctor there), they realize some of these children will never be going home again, and it changes how they look at life.

One child in particular wears a bag over her head because her disease has made her "ugly". This is the one the youngest boy tries to get more involved in daily life at the hospital. But she's not easy to convince. He has to do a gurney race and ends up hurting himself. And she says she won the race anyway!

It takes some creative thinking to get all the patients in the play for Christmas, and the other children join in and make it an event to remember for a lifetime.

It will most likely make you cry, but you won't forget this book.

It'd be a good tale to read aloud with your family and talk about why it makes you feel the way it does, and what you might be able to do in your community to make someone else's Christmas better.

I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another book review...

Did another review for Christine, here's the link to it: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/2008/10/book_review_the_secret_life_of_2.php

This one was a fun romp through the life a snowbird from Idaho. The Secret Life of a Snowbird by Len Schritter.

Len has a great sense of humor and made me laugh several times as I wandered through his tales. I think you'd have fun reading it, too!

Check out the review, and, if it appeals to you, leave a comment here and send me an email to express interest. I'll be giving this one away, too.

YOU MUST SEND ME AN EMAIL SO I CAN FOLLOW UP TO GET YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS TO SEND THE BOOK. PLEASE COMMENT AND THEN EMAIL ME PERSONALLY AT info@bookfaerie.com . Google doesn't tell me who you are unless you have a profile set up...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Live Chat with Kathleen Kent (Heretic's Daughter)

Miriam Parker from Hachette has told me that Kathleen Kent (author of The Heretic's Daughter) will be chatting live at 1PM ET on Blog Talk Radio.

She's a descendant of accused with Martha Carrier and will be talking about her novel, Salem, witches, and, of course, Halloween.

Email mariam.parker@hbgusa.com if you would like your question to be added to the agenda. Please include the area code that will be dialing in from.

If you just want to listen online, visit:

Here's a great opportunity to listen to an author talk about the book she's written and the reason she's written it (her own personal history).

If you have questions, email Miriam. I know she's looking forward to audience participation in this event.

I reviewed this book, and it's an authentic look at the Salem Witch Trials - which are an ugly part of our past. Read it and you will be taking a fascinating walk through prejudice, hate, and a fear of anyone different. Get a copy of it and see for yourself!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 25th was our 34th anniversary!

We took our anniversary trip last Wednesday and went up to Capitan and stayed overnight.

First off, the store we went up there to snoop in and planned to buy some leather goods was closed - he went out of town unexpectedly for the week. Drat!

We did find that they had redone the old bank and converted it into an art shop, and we toured that. There was some really fantastic art in there, and some that wasn't so great, but it was fun to look at. Nothing grabbed me enough to make me buy it. Most prices were pretty weighty.

We took a little drive out in the country - and there was nothing and nobody out there, let me tell you! If we'd kept going, we'd end up in Roswell, so we turned around and wandered back.

The room had this huge furniture that made me feel like I was Goldilocks sitting in the bears' chairs. We had to use our pillows to be able to make them fit us!

Sadly, the room wasn't well maintained, it was cold, the furniture and the beds were uncomfortable, they gave us two full beds so we had to sleep separately (and this was after I told them we were coming for our anniversary!), the room next to us filled up with construction workers and we got to listen to them talk until about 10 PM and start again about 6 AM (why next to us when the rest of the motel unit was empty???). Oh, did I mention that the toilet seat was almost unattached and you felt like you were swimming when you sat on it?

We knew the restaurant closed early, so we took some of favorite food from Nellie's with us. However, the microwave was too small for the containers to turn, so we had to take the rollers out, turn the plate in the bottom over so it wouldn't turn, and had to watch and manually turn our food around. The fact that the control didn't work right made it a bit more challenging. But we did get our food cooked and ate it.

We got up fairly early (for us - we're night owls now) and headed back home. As my husband pointed out, our chairs and our bed felt a lot better than the motel's.

But we did go "out" and saw some beautiful country, so it wasn't a total loss.

I'm amazed we made it this far together. We don't have many problems with each other, but there was his ex and his kids, his family, his work schedule and mine, and his mom always thought I was lying when I said he wasn't home from work (I asked her if she'd like to talk to the cat to confirm it), and life was difficult sometimes.

He's very glad I made the decision to move to New Mexico. We have our freedom here, the weather helps our health, and we've learned to live with each other 24/7 - which was a big change from an hour or two each evening.

So here's to 34 years and more to come!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This book grabbed my attention and kept me reading until I finished the story, but I found it disturbing.

If you have a boy who doesn't like reading, this one should catch his attention and he'll finish it, don't worry about that. But I think you should pre-read it, so you can discuss what he's reading and how he feels about it.

This is the first book of the Chaos Walking series, and it's not a gentle walk in the park.

A young boy lives in a town of all men, who have to live with the constant noise of other's thoughts. He's near coming of age, and can't wait until he'll be a man, too. However, he has no idea what the ritual of maturity is, and the men who adopted him after the death of his parents appear to be worried about it.

They can't tell him anything, because he doesn't know how to hide his thoughts well yet. And they hesitate to tell him because it's going to turn his life upside down.

But then Todd sees something that is dangerous, and his adopted parents plead with him to leave town and find a new life. He doesn't believe there IS another life. All he knows is what he was taught as he grew up.

But when the men of town come after him, he goes as he is told, and his adventures begin.

First, he finds a girl. He was told all women were dead, had died from disease. Where did she come from?

He also finds his tormentor from town has followed him and is now even more of a danger...

He and his dog (who can talk to him telepathically also) first work on locating the girl, then on following the map to the next town in hopes they will be welcomed there.

Along the way, he finds that much of what he was taught as a child was a lie, that the ritual of manhood is a horror, that there is no real place to run to, and that he may have to kill to stay alive.

The book is full of good and evil, but it's not apparent who is which right away.

And people do die along the way.

There is a real cliff hanger at the end of the book, which will make you wait on pins and needles for the next book. What can happen next???

I enjoyed the read, but this book touched me emotionally, and I think it would be good for parents or siblings to discuss some of the issues with each other.

It's fantasy and science fiction, but it reads like "real" to me.

This would be a good fit for the young adult audience. This book is already available for sale.

If you would like my advance reading copy, leave a comment on my blog and email me to indicate your interest and why you would like it. I'll do a drawing and send it one of you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another great children's book!

I don't know if I've mentioned it previously, but Candlewick Press is one of my favorite publishers. They always have delightful children's books that are well made and will give children hours of happiness reading and re-reading their favorites.

I was lucky enough to review another one of their books coming out this fall. This one is The Foggy Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt.

This is an unusually formatted book that should tantalize children and show them just how many faces the world of books can have. The pages are like parchment paper, with black art silhouetted on it.

He shows you the shadow and asks what can it be? And when you turn the page, there is color added and you get to see what was hiding in the shadows! What fun for little ones! They can guess and make up their own stories along the way when reading this one.

The illustrations are well done, each one is a pleasant surprise when revealed - even if you think you might know who or what it is. Several fairy tale characters are included (which can lead into reading more books), and just wait until you get to final illustration - it's the biggest and brightest in the book!

This book can be given as a stand alone gift, or you may want to add some other fairy tales to it so the child is encouraged to expand his/her reading.

Or maybe you'd just like to use this book for reading aloud and exploring ideas with your day care kids, who knows?

All in all, I don't see anyone who reads this one being disappointed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Want to "treat" a child with a good Halloween book?

I just reviewed one that is precious. If your child is fearful about going out trick or treating, this is a good way to show them that it really isn't scary - you just need to take care and not lose your mummy.

The book is: "Where's My Mummy?" by Carolyn Crimi with illustrations by John Manders. The illustrations are great!

Baby Mummy is playing hide and shriek with his Mummy, when he happens to hide "too good" and she doesn't find him...

As he hears noises in the woods, he keeps telling himself he's not afraid and asking "Mama Mummy, is that you?"

He meets all sorts of funny looking characters, like the Glob and Dracula, but he doesn't get scared until he sees a -----... You'll have to read the book to find out!

Mama Mummy is there when he needs her, and she takes him home and gets him ready for bed.

A fun story to read aloud before bedtime. I'm sure any small child you know would love to have this book as a gift for Halloween!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Decluttering, cleaning, sorting and donating...

I've been through most of the house now, and am working in my kitchen.

I had several sets of dishes, pans, bowls, serving trays and dishes, silverware, etc. I have now donated all except one set of dishes, cut down my serving dishes to just a few for us two. We aren't having family dinners with 35 people anymore, I don't need all those dishes, serving trays, or silverware.

I have one cupboard of lead glass dishes - all pretty stuff and worth some dollars - I'm going to keep them.

I have a whole cupboard of Tupperware - now typed by size and they are containers of a size we will use and open and close easily. Three bagfuls are going to Good Start.

I have another cupboard that is full of baking items: measuring cups, spoons, mixer and bowl (one mixer is being donated), sifter, glass cooking pie plates and cake plates, muffin pans. And more that will be added as I find it in other cupboards and drawers.

My George Foreman Grill didn't have it's drip pan - but I found one on eBay and bought it.

We're going to go look at a grill that's on sale tomorrow. Hubby said he was buying it for me, but he wants to cook hash browns and pancakes on it - so guess who it's really for...

I have another week or so in the kitchen organizing, but then I'll be done with walking through the house and cleaning up.

Then it will be back to the rear room and putting all the craft items, Christmas stuff, jewelry and other odds and ends in plastic containers for storage - and then on the shelves of the cupboards in back.

When I'm done, I will be somewhere I've never been in my life. Everything will have a place and everything will be in its place. No more piles, no more boxes, no more hanging on to everything "in case we might need it". I know a portion of that came from having no money and making do. But now I have no money either, and I know I can buy whatever I need, if I need it. I might need to save to do it, but I don't have to keep things "I might need someday".

I've sent 10 pickup loads down to Good Start so far, and I know there will be at least one more.

But then we will have order and a much cleaner house. And I'll be able to find what I need - what a unique concept!

Only those with tendency to hoard will understand what a step forward this is for me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Review: The Parent's Guide to Family-Friendly Work by Lori K Long, PhD

I am now doing some reviewing for Christine Miserandino who owns the site ButYouDontLookSick.com. She has lupus and her site is full of helpful hints about how to live with it. It talks about what medications work for which diseases, how to eat healthier, what to do when you have limitations in movement, and more. There are a lot of diseases that create great pain and limited mobility, and they don't have external signs to show that the person is sick.

This is the first book that Christine sent me that I have reviewed. This author shows parents how to find the balance between employment and enjoyment - how to have a family and work, too, without sacrificing either your family or your work.

The review is shown here: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/2008/10/book_review_the_parents_guide.php#more

Read it and see what you think.

If you'd like to have my copy of this book, leave a comment on my blog AND SEND ME AN EMAIL TO REQUEST IT. I'll pick a winner from the entries I receive.

It's a great reference source for a young family learning how to have quality time with their children and work too.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Book Review: When Will There Be Good News? Kate Atkinson

There are several characters in this novel, and when you first begin reading about them, you wonder how they all tie together. Not only do they tie together, the rope of life is intertwined in more than one way.

Joanna is six when a murderer kills most of her family members. She runs away and escapes, but now it's 30 years later and he's due to be released from prison. Will he come after her again?

Reggie, who is 16 and almost alone in the world, works as a nanny for Dr. Hunter. But when Dr. Hunter and her baby son go missing, no one seems to care...

Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is looking for a missing person and finds an old lover.

As these stories move across each other and the puzzle pieces start to fall together, you find that all these characters are related in some way - and there are multiple subplots involved, just like in real life.

You need to pay attention while reading this, but it will grab your interest and keep you reading to the end.

If you'd like my copy of this book, leave me a comment and SEND ME AN EMAIL to request it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Review: Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein

Wabi Sabi is an ancient Japanese tradition, having to do with simplicity and accepting the ways and cycles of nature.

This story is of a cat named Wabi Sabi who, when asked what her name means, goes on a quest to find out.

The illustrations are unique, mosaic in type, and very pleasing to the eye. There is haiku in the book, written in Japanese and English and translated in the back.

The book is also bound at the top, which makes reading it unusual and makes you look at it in another light.

Children should find that this book intriguing, introduces them to different art forms (the simple illustrations and the haiku), and makes them view life a bit differently.

This type of beauty and the message within can not be expressed in another medium as well as it it is expressed in a book.

Take your young one on a journey to another part of the world - one must simpler and more in touch with nature.

They'll enjoy it!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Book Review: Willow Buds When Toady Met Ratty by Mary Jane Begin

Remember the children's book, Wind in the Willows? This is a new series with the same characters when they were young and growing up - just like your child!

The illustrations are cute and should catch your small one's eye - lots of color, lots of action, and more than one adventure.

Badger introduces his two friends to each other and expects them to like each other as much as he does. But it takes a bit more than that for them to adjust to each other, and he wonders if they ever will really like each other...

This has a good message about friendship, is full of whimsical characters and is easy to read. It would be a good book for reading aloud. And it's a great children's book that should lead them into reading the regular Wind in the Willows series later in life.

Share the magic of reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another customer tale...

One of my most heart-touching moments as a bookseller came when I was fairly new at this business.

I got a phone call about a children's book that a lady was looking for. She wasn't sure the title was right, but asked if I could pull the book and she would tell me the text she could remember. So I grab the book, open it up and tell her to state what she remembered.

She quoted the first three pages of that book verbatim. She told me that she last read the book forty years ago, but it was her very favorite children's book. And then she began to cry because she had found it again.

It took a bit to get back to finishing up that order, but I knew the book was going to a good home!

Never give up on your search for a favorite child's book!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Feedback from a customer!

Hi there Jo Ann,
Just wanted to let you know that I received the book that I ordered from you........A Girl of the Limberlost. I am so happy with it. I have to say that I have been looking for a copy of that book for a long time. When I was a young teen (13 or so) I had a copy just like that. I treasured that book, it was a favorite of mine. Later on when I was in my twenties I moved and unfortunatly my book got lost in that move. I was very sad and didn't think I would ever find an exact copy again. A year ago I started the search on ebay hoping that maybe I would find it. I never did, so the day I ordered the book from you I did a search on one of the search engines and it brought up the web site for Abebooks. So I went on there and went through a lot of pages. I said a prayer and God told me to keep on flipping through and then I came across your listing so I thought I would take a look. When I saw the picture I was delighted. It was the exact match to the book I once had. Today I received the book in the mail and when I opened it up it took me back to having that special book in my early teens. I am so happy and want to say Thank You!! I love books so to have lost a treasured book was sad for me. I know God answered my prayers that day and He talked to me and told me to keep on looking, I was going to find my book. Keep on making people happy and God Bless you!

It sure makes me feel good to have someone tell me they have found a lost treasure from their past. This part of what makes being a bookseller and specializing in out-of-print books fun!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I feel like I've met a friend...

I only know his name. I don't believe he's still living. I've bought all kinds of books locally that have his name in them - he and his wife appear to have taught children's literature classes. He has all the old classics and some very good children's books choices - that I have bought for either stock or myself.

I took some stock to our local bookstore that takes books/videos/dvds in trade, and then I went shopping in the mysteries. (My favorite read.)

I found a lot of old mysteries, several in Dover editions, and I bought them. After all, with my trade credit, I only pay 5% of the price. So here I buy $116 worth of books for $6.28.... How could I not gloat over my finds?

And, as I work my way through them, I find the same man who had all those marvelous children's books I grabbed, also collected old British mysteries.

I think we could have had fun chatting if I'd met him before I met his books. As it is, when I read one, I imagine him sitting above, grinning that someone else likes his taste in books!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book Review: The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik

As I was reading this book, I thought about how well it would play on the Lifetime channel, if you're familiar with that. It seems like a book meant to be a movie!

This is the story of two sisters who have taken different paths in life. One is a lawyer and spends her time on her job and her contacts connected with that. The other is clothes buyer, who is her own best customer and isn't responsible with her money. They love each other, but they don't visit much.

Then Mom gets cancer and the younger sister moves home (right before she gets evicted). Within a couple of weeks, she is living with her older, more sensible sister.

As might be expected, this is not a smooth transaction. Big sister doesn't want little sister's advice, and vice versa. When big sister snookers little sister into signing a contract that she will stop buying clothes and shoes and other non-essential items, little sister remembers an old, forgotten contract she found while staying with Mom and Dad...

It seems, years ago, Mom had signed a contract with another neighbor saying that their children would get married when they grew up. As big sis was about 8 at the time, she didn't remember a thing about it. But little sis is happy to remind her.

And happy to set her up with Russell - who has already been divorced twice - and isn't big sis's type at all. So she's not enthused when little sis cons her into going to dinner and finds Russell and his friends at the table...

And it gets better from there!

You never know where it's going to go with the two opposite types of sisters, but they do find some common ground before the end of the book, and it's a fun lively read.

Try it, you'll like it!

If you'd like the copy I received to review, leave a comment and send me a note telling me why. I'll be picking someone as the recipient after a few days.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another book I'm recommending...

If you have not had the opportunity to read the Mutts comics, you've missed out on a real cool cartoon about a cat and dog, their owners, and their friends. It's very authentic to an animal lover, and while Earl is real cute and typical dog, I just love Mooch, the cat. He loves to play with his little pink sock...

Here's the link to the site: http://muttscomics.com/index.asp . You can get the comics daily, just a few weeks late, if they aren't in your paper.

I requested an advance copy of South by Patrick McDonnell. It's the story of a small bird who got left behind when the others migrated because he was sleeping...

Mooch finds him, tells him where the other have gone (south), and then watches the baby bird cry and decides he will have to help.

There are no words in this book, but the illustrations tell the story completely and lovingly.

This would be a lovely gift for a young one who can't read yet, or one that admires graphics, or even an adult like me who enjoys G-rated comics!

This book is going in my personal library, but you should get you a copy, too. Patrick does a lot of good in the animal world, and here is just one more example of his great work.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New BOGO sale!

Buy a paperback from my Paperbacks - Special Sale category and pay for one, get the cheapest one free!

Here is the link to the category: Paperbacks - Special Sale

The coupon code is: BOGO

There is no limit on the number purchased.

There are 350 paperbacks listed there, maybe a couple will tweak your interest.

This is ONLY catalog this special covers.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Book Review: Eclipse by Richard North Patterson

Henry Holt is bringing out a new book by Richard North Patterson that I had the opportunity to read in advance. I expected Richard North Patterson to engage my interest and keep the story moving - and he did!

A college professor meets a student who really charms him with her intensity and sense of purpose. However, she has a black boyfriend who is going to go "home" to help his people, and she's going with him. So Damon goes on with his life as a professor...

Then, years later, he gets an email from Marissa - who is asking him to help her. Her husband, Bobby, is an outspoken critic of the exploitation of his country by PetroGlobal - who is going after the oil the country has (sound familiar?). The country's autocratic ruler decides to use the eclipse to make an example of why criticism and protest is futile, and kills everyone in the village, including Bobby's father, then puts Bobby in jail and lets Marissa go because she is American.

Damon agrees to defend Bobby, trying to save them both from death, but it's very dangerous in Luandia, and even lawyers can die...

It's a very busy story, has the ring of truth and mirrors actions happening in African nations, as well as other countries with oil...

And you're not really sure exactly what is going to happen until the end.

If you'd like to have this Advance Reader's Edition to check it out, leave me a comment and email me expressing your interest your interest.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When you want to order a book...

...check to see WHO you are ordering from. I get multiple orders for a single copy that I have because folks visit various sites and try to order more than one copy. That's no problem. But it is when they try to order from The Book Faerie everywhere I list!

When I get orders on more than one site, I have to cancel it on the ones that got ordered on later - and it counts against me!

So my request to you is not just to order - but pay attention to which vendor has it listed. Don't assume one dealer has more copies available - especially on out-of-print books.

Orders are wonderful, but not when they penalize you.

Just a note to those who might not realize we can list on more than one site.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Need a good book for a Christmas gift?

If you like sharing books for Christmas, this would be a very nice one for a child (or an adult child, like me). I intend to keep the copy I bought for my library.

It's titled "Winter's Gift" and is written and illustrated by Jane Monroe Donovan.

Her illustrations are wonderful - very authentic, the mare's look makes you want to cry!

We have an old man, who's wife died earlier in the year, and he's not going to put up a tree or put the star on top that they had done in the past, he's just going to have a quiet Christmas, alone...

And a mare has gotten separated from her herd and is looking for shelter - she can hear wolves. But she can't find anyplace that she could find shelter and finally gave up and laid down, with a little nicker.

She was close to the old man's house, and he went out to check on her, and put her in his barn.

He stayed out there with her and fell asleep. When he woke up in the morning, there she was - with a foal!

And, lo and behold, her foal has a star in the middle of his forehead...

Its beautiful illustrations make it a joy to read. And he wasn't alone at Christmas after all...

Have you ever seen a yucca walking stick?

The center core of the cactus grows several feet tall and has a blossom at the top. The core itself is almost like wood, and works great as a walking stick.

I saw one at the Farmer's Market here in downtown, with feathers and some colorful paint on it at the top, but didn't have the money at the time. Now I want to purchase one and can't find one I like!

I don't want them woodburned, or with inset gems. I just want a plain stick with some leather, a few feathers, maybe some beads and a little bright paint to make it an attractive partner. (Don't go thinking of opposite sex partners - although some would look better with these additions...)

I've searched on the net, but I'm not being successful at finding what I want.

I could just buy the stick and decorate it, but that's no fun - I like having memories of where I got that special item.

So, right now, unless one falls out of the heavens in front me, I'm going to try to find one when we visit Capitan next month. They have a lot of local artists, and maybe one of them plays with the yucca walking sticks. I can hope!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Book Review: A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely

My first thought was Willie Nelson wrote a book??? I know he writes songs, but...

I have to admit he did a good job.

This was a very good western that is about a retired Texas ranger and his ranch, his son, and some grievances from the past that aren't resolved yet.

His characters are well-fleshed out, have their own idiosyncrasies, and there is more than one subplot. The cowboys act like cowboys do, they're rough and tough, sometimes people die, but they generally have good hearts - if they remember to use them.

The storyline is believable, keeps your interest, and it ends with an ironic twist that fits well.

If you're not sure I really liked this book, I paid Willie the ultimate compliment - I bought my own copy in hardcover for my library. This is one I'd read again, and I wouldn't be surprised if they made a movie out of it.

If you like Westerns, this should be a good read for you!

Leave me a comment, send me an email and tell me why you'd like this book, and I will choose someone to get this Advance Reader's Copy for free. Share the magic of books!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sorted Puzzles Today...

That's hard for me to do. I love puzzles. Now, when I will have time to do them is another thing. And my eyes are getting older, so small puzzle pieces don't work so well anymore. So I have a whole box of puzzles going out.

Tomorrow will be more Christmas ornaments. Not sure how many will end up staying. Or how I will store them.

Oh yeah, I forgot I have a big box of teddy bears to sort first. That will be even harder. I've collected them for years, and I hate to give them up, but there's only so much room.

And I'm doing a major job of downsizing. We've taken 9 pickup loads of donations downtown so far.

And there will be more.

I can even see some room in my house now. When I'm done sorting, then I'll have to figure out how to organize it all in good order and easy to see and protected from bugs!

This hoarder is unhoarding...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Crochet Thread...

OK, I told you I like to crochet. Can you believe I have one whole under-the-bed container full of crochet thread? And I have another container of specialty threads for unusual projects...

I also have lots of Banana Dazzle Aire yarn, and I need another color or two to go with it for an afghan. Unfortunately, no one makes it anymore. It's like looking for an out-of-print book!

Now I'm sorting other odds and ends in that closet - lots of various things that got "stuffed" when we were moving in.

I think Good Start should give me citizen of the year for donations. I think I have three more pickup fulls to go to them!

And my friends are getting little gifts, too.

What the heck, share the largess!

Downsizing is hard, but I can do it - this is proof.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Book Review: Something Wickedly Weird The Wooden Mile by Chris Mould

I had the opportunity to "taste" the first book in a new series for young adults (9-12 years). This one was "wickedly" fun to read!

The illustrations are wonderful, almost caricatures, and really add to the story.

Stanley didn't even know he had an elder uncle, and he certainly didn't know he'd inherit his home when he died! To claim it, he had to go live in it, and that's where he adventures started.

He's not even allowed on the island until he proves he owns the property - so his feet get wet while they read the paperwork...

Then he gets warned by a fish about danger (yes, it's dead and stuffed, but it talked to him).

Everyone goes in at night and never comes out again until morning, why he wonders? When he ventures to stay out too long, his caretaker gives a big lecture and tells him he can't do that, but he still wonders...

Soon he manages to make friends with an odd fellow who turns out to be pirate - and has two friends. They are cobblers now (or so they say), but they tell him about the night problem - there's a werewolf in town...

Of course, the pirates have their own agenda and are planning on using Stanley to as a means to get there. Stanley knows he's being used, but thinks he can hold his own.

You need to read the book to see who wins!

The next book in this series will be: Something Wickedly Weird, The Icy Hand.

To me, this looks like a great new series for boys and girls alike - lots of adventure, unusual things happening, and fun illustrations.

If you'd like to have my Advance Reader's Copy, leave a comment and send me an email. I'll have a drawing and send it to the lucky winner!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Any crafters out there?

I have now finished the very back room and have it cleared and ready for storage. I have decided to make it a home for my yarn tubs. I have tons of yarn, love to crochet with it.

But I also have a living room full of yarn. So I am now sorting my tubs, bags, boxes, projects, etc. in back, and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.

I have to downsize because I have a blivet of yarn and need to get it to a more manageable level. I also need to be realistic about how long I think I'll live and not keep stuff that I would need to live to be 200 to complete...

Found some kits to donate, then checked to see how they were priced now - and they're not even available anymore. So I set those aside and I will be eBaying them. I sure hope some folks get in a bidding war on them - I could use the money.

The Good Start guys run out to unload Glen's rig now. He says they love him. I told him, no, they love ME - it's all my stuff I'm donating!

I know they can sell it well, some of it is brand new and still in its wrappings. So I'm sharing with my community, helping the poor, and keeping the handicapped employed. Looks like a win win to me. My house is cleaner, my community healthier.

Today I got almost all of the yarn in back sorted and matched up. Have more to do tomorrow. That might take the rest of tomorrow.

But, by Saturday, I should be able to begin reclaiming my couch in the living room - wow, huh?

Only another crafter/hoarder would understand...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Book Review: Exit Music by Ian Rankin

I first ran across Ian Rankin in a book of his short stories - and I found them quite delightful. He has a quick mind, offers you a few weird quirks, and keeps you thinking until the end.

This novel was no different. This is the last case for John Rebus. He's getting ready to retire (but isn't sure he really wants to - what will he do then???). And then a dissident Russian poet gets murdered, apparently in a mugging.

He goes after this case as he has all others. Talk to everyone, look beyond the obvious, never believe all of what you're told (or maybe not even any of it), don't give up, keep trying to solve them all, not just the case you're working on...

Along the way, he meets the son of a man he incarcerated - who is now a cop. He finds out that nothing is quite like it seems. And his partner is looking for another partner to replace even while they are on this case.

The story is tied to the past and the present both. And while Rebus is mourning the end of his job, his partner is looking to the future and promotion.

It keeps you reading, surprises you along the way, and the ending makes you wish for another book! C'mon, Ian, you can't leave us here - what happens next???

If you'd like to have this advance reader's copy I reviewed, leave me a comment and then send me an email to tell me why you'd like to have it!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Found a box of memories today...

The first two boxes sorted pretty easily, but then I found one marked memories. That one took me two hours to go through piece by piece.

Found Daddy's scrapbook from high school, his ribbons for awards in track and football, his Army service records, and his postcards to Mom during the war.

I found tons of pictures from both sides of the family. For now, I just sorted out what to keep and what not. I need to get them into eras by family sides and then put them in scrapbooks. But that will have to wait.

I found my Great Grandfather's biography in a newspaper article, and the other article was about my Great Grandfather on the other side of Mom's family, and his marriage to Grandpa's mother.

I found the immigration papers for my Grandmother on Daddy's side. It has her original name on it: Marija. They renamed her Mary when she came over to the states. Grandpa had fought in the WWI and got citizenship, so he sponsored her as soon as he could afford to. His name was Ivan, and that go changed to John.

I also have postcards from Grandparents, along with the all the photos of family get togethers.

I can't give up my memories. But I did sort them and only keep the pictures that meant something to me, not ALL of them.

Have you been down memory lane lately?

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Friday...

Got up this morning, ran to the PO, then I came home and read my emails and hubby took another pickup load of donations down to Good Start.

Then he came home and offered to take me out to lunch. We went to Applebee's and I had their Oriental Chicken Salad (1/2) and he had the Shrimp Spinach Salad (1/2). Tasty stuff!

Then we went to the western store and shopped for a straw cowboy hat to keep our heads cool when we're in the sun.

I tried on one hat, checked another size, and kept the first hat I tried. He was like an old woman, he had to try on every hat in the store! He kept going back to one hat he liked, but he was hesitant to buy it because of the price. I told him, you like it, buy it. It's not like we'll be buying three or four - just one. So get the best one!

Mine is variegated colors, stone and white, in straw with air holes so your head can breath, and it looks pretty cool on me. It's a Tony Lama hat.

He picked a big white one with air holes, and it looks pretty impressive on him.

So we have cowboy hats we bought here now. $123 later...

But I love my hat!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Phew, I'm still sorting!

First of all, never be a hoarder. I have "stuff" all over the house. Some is old and has sentimental value, some is valuable, some is new or almost new but doesn't fit anymore or I won't wear it anymore since I now work from home, some I have no idea where it came from, some is from my office at work, some from my office at home, some is camping supplies, some of it is stuff I bought thinking I'd sell on eBay, and some of it hasn't been unboxed through two moves!

I have cleaned out my private library (need shelves to finish it). Have several pictures that need to be hung, but I have to figure where. I have miniatures I need to find a place for. Jewelry to find a place for. Linens to find a place for - I have more than the present linen closet will hold, and most of my blankets are handmade.

I have been through my bedroom and cleaned out drawers and the closet.

Went to the back middle room, cleaned out that closet and the shelves on the opposite wall.

Now I'm in the back back room. This one will take a while. It has boxes and there's really no room to move back there. The middle back room has a hope chest in the middle of it, so there's not much space there. But I'll get it done.

I got the doorway area cleared out. Next I will work on the closet.

It all takes time. And when I finally accomplish that room, I have one more walk in closet to attack. It's full of boxes of who knows what and tubs of yarn and other craft items and a few clothes.

Once I get it all sorted, then it's find a place for everything and everything in it's place.

The good news is that I am finding things we haven't seen for a while. Like hubby's diamond wedding ring and tie clasp, and my emerald ring I bought in the Bahamas. Not real big money items, but with good memories.

I'll just have to keep trudging along cleaning and sorting until I win.

But each evening I allow myself time to read and relax - that's my carrot. Work hard, Jo Ann, then you can read...

Book Review - The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton

This is not your typical bible salesman! He's young, naive and been raised by good Christians who study the bible. When he decides to go on the road and sell bibles, he finds that when he reads the bible on his own, he's finding some contradictory information in it - things aren't as clear as he thought they were. And then he gets befriended by this FBI agent who is stealing cars to break a car thieves ring (he believes him) and he starts making easy money for his part in the endeavors.

What makes his life even more interesting is the girl at the fruit stand. She'll even read the bible with him...

The story moves along well, with the bible salesman getting smarter as he goes along. And even though he appears to be so immature he's hopeless, he matures on the way through the story and lands on his feet.

I enjoyed this biblical romp through the south, and I bet you would, too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Book Review: Fanny by Holly Bobbie

I have just read a new children's book that would be great to share with any little girl who has to have the newest toy or game that comes out. Most of us remember Barbie dolls, right?

Well, here is a little girl who wants a "Connie" doll. She keeps asking, but she doesn't get a glamour babe to primp and dress up. So she decides she'll make her own doll...

She intends to make her own Connie, but finds out her doll is more of an "Annabelle". When she shows it to her friends, they're not impressed. So she hides her in a dresser drawer in disappointment. Then when she opens her birthday present from her Mom, she finds she got a real sewing machine, but she wasn't too excited about sewing anymore.

When she went to bed that night, she thought of Annabelle in the drawer, and decided she might be lonely. So she rescued her and told her she loved her even if she was a bit different from the other dolls.

The next day she visits her friends and takes along Annabelle. They decide to play veterinary hospital, and Annabelle gets to be the DOCTOR! The Connies are nurses, glamorous nurses of course. (I wonder if it's an accident that one of the brainless Connies looks a lot like Paris Hilton?)

Fanny goes home and makes some more clothes for Annabelle, and then a doll for her, too. Can you guess the name of the doll? Connie!

This well made children's book is bright, the illustrations are lovely, and there is a paper doll and doll clothes in the back of the book your child can make for herself.

This book would work well for your own child or in a daycare. Let them learn how to make their own paperdolls!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Now, I know you think all I do is read...

But just to set the record straight, I want you to know I went through 9,000 books in my back bedroom that comprised my own personal library and got rid of two pickup loads, donated to Good Start. I also have two full bookcases of books to list from that stock. And when I have enough money to buy some shelves, we'll be putting them up out of the boxes they are in now.

The shelves they were on in Washington have been overtaken by book stock for sale - I have 6,500 books online that you can browse (and buy!).

Then I found my dresser top in my bedroom (haven't seen that in 8 years - I normally store my "read, but save" books on it). Cleaned out my closet and dresser drawers, got to the bottom of the closet floor...

Now I'm in the middle back room beyond the bedroom, sorting and finding treasures. Almost have another pickup load to go to Good Start.

I'm in the "use it or lose it" mode. If I'm going to keep it, I have to have a place to put it and a need for it.

It's sorta like downsizing - but it's sure work. I have to go through everything piece by piece. The lady who helped me pack to come down here was an Army brat, and she filled every available space with THINGS.

I have found my husband's wedding ring and his cowboy hat, found a $100 in my office drawer supply box, found a new tote for crafts and a laundry holder that had never been assembled. (They are now.)

Busy, busy, busy.

I just set me aside some reading time in the evening for a "treat" for my hard work.

You ever do that?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson

The story starts a bit slow, but when it starts rolling, you better hang to your seat! He's a journalist who was sued for libel and has to do some jail time. It seems one of his informants fed him some bad information on purpose. She's a messed up young adult who has emotional troubles and doesn't trust anyone in the world. At first she is the one investigating him - then he hires her to work for him to solve a 40 year old mystery!

The story is full of undercurrents, different agendas, more than one unsolved crime, and chemistry between the journalist and the Dragon Tattoo girl.

There are more books in this series, and I'm looking forward to seeing them in print. I'm also sad to say that the author has died from a heart attack, so these will be only treasures he'll be sharing with us.

I'm anxious to see where it goes from here in this trilogy.

Again, this one is an Advanced Reader's Copy and I'd be happy to share it with someone.

Just leave me a comment, email me with your info and tell me why you'd like book and I'll pick someone to share it with.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I ordered in a children's picture book for me...

Picture books are one of my very favorite types of childrens' books. Such marvelous illustrations, what great imaginations on the part of author and illustrator - they make me smile.

I saw one advertised about a mini-man and dragons, and I had to order it for me. It's The Sandman by Ralph Fletcher, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey.

It's a luscious book! This one is definitely a keeper. There's a tiny man who has a mouse for a pet (and who is bigger than he is) who has problems sleeping. Then he finds a dragon scale and is grinding it down for use later, when he discovers it puts him to sleep!

So he has to brave the dragon to get another scale, and then he sets out across the country as Mr. Sandman.

The graphics are rich, the story line is cute, and any one small one should be entranced. What a great story to read aloud at bedtime!

I highly recommend this book, folks. Find yourself a copy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Review: My Mercedes Is NOT For Sale by Jeroen Van Bergeijk

This tale begins with an interesting premises, the author is going to drive a Mercedes he's purchased from Amsterdam to Ouagadougou - right across the Sahara desert! He talks to some experts, buys the car, kisses his girlfriend and son goodbye, and starts out alone, feeling very confident.

He first encounters people who want to buy (or steal) his car before he hardly gets going on his journey. There are drug dealers that find that a Mercedes a great car for their use. And folks want to sell him drugs, sexual partners, you name it.

As he makes his journey, he learns several lessons along the way. Perhaps a bit more research would have made it less challenging. Or perhaps not.

He makes several references and offers quotes from other books written in earlier years about travel across the Sahara, and some things have not changed much.

He did make some money at the end of this adventure, but I'm not sure he'd do it again!

This is currently for sale on Amazon, amongst others. I am willing to share my advance reader's copy with someone. Just make a comment telling me why you'd like it. I'll choose someone and ship them the book for free.

Please email me directly for the book - I don't get your email address when you post a comment!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Believe It Or Not!

I have actually gone through a cord of books, sorting them and keeping them, giving them away to Good Start or setting them aside to sell. That's a 4' x 4' x 8' pile of boxes of books. Phew!

My husband has already taken a truck load of books down for donation, and there are four more boxes and lots of bags to go yet.

I found some treasures. Donated many of the bookclubs I'd gathered through the years.

There are more boxes to sort, but some are videos and who knows what is in the others. I did locate my plaque for 25 years of service for the City of Chehalis, Washington. Not sure what I'll do with it, but it looks real pretty.

I also have books I've "saved" that will need to be replaced. Ratty looking paperbacks, damaged hardcovers. But, for now, they just went back into boxes.

Until we get shelves for back there, I can't do much with them.

And now I have almost two more bookcases of books to list! Like I wasn't behind in listing before. Oh my...

It is nice to get things in order, though. I'm into organization, especially of my book stock. Now if that carried over into housekeeping, it might be a valuable talent. But it seems all I do is work with books in one form or another!

I've got another book to review and more coming in for review, so I'll be busy with that in a bit. Right now I'm reading some of my books I pulled to read and then eliminate from my permanent library.

I have friends who like to read mysteries, too, so they have been getting boxes of books to read and recycle on their end.

I believe in sharing the magic of books!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Review of Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

This book grabs you by throat in the first paragraph, and pulls you along, page by page, through a very exciting fast paced action/drama novel!

Peter Brown is in the witness protection program, and now is a medical doctor. His past included the mafia, his time as a hit man, and now he was starting a new life - which he actually enjoyed. He liked helping people get well and diagnosing odd illnesses.

But then one of the patients recognize him, and his new world dissolves around him. He also finds out that his very character has changed. He has a chance to get away cleanly, but if he does, a woman will lose her leg and he knows what's wrong with her and can stop it. Which will he choose?

It has bad language, graphic violence and death, and some unbelievable medical facts in the book, but the overall read was so good and so full of action, I was able to overlook that.

This book is not for the weak of heart - but it will make you sit up, take notice, and maybe even wonder about your doctor next time you go see him...

This book will be coming out in January 2009. However, if you'd like to read the advance reader's copy I got for review, just post a comment and leave me your email for reply. Or you can write to me directly. Just visit my website and send me an email from there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So Being A Booksellers Is Easy, Is It?

I've been quietly listing books every day, doing some reviews here and there, and trying to catch up a bit with unlisted stock. Then my husband has decided it was time to tackle the back bedroom - which had my personal library from Washington state all boxed up back there.

We're going on our third day into it, and there's more to do. You don't sort through a "cord" of books (about 9,000) without taking some time to do it. And that means lifting a lot of boxes, looking at each book, making a decision on keeping, donating, or selling it.

This means I don't list, I'm adding to my unlisted books, and my hands are sore, my back is good because I take care of it, but it's still talking to me, and we have two or three more days of this. Then we have to haul the give aways down to the local Good Start. They will pick up. Maybe I can talk him into that...

All in all, we have two tired folks in the household, but you can actually see the floor back there in the bedroom. That's a nice touch!

It needed to be done, but it doesn't feel like I'm making much progress. Maybe that's because it wasn't my goal right now. But when it's done, it's done! And I'll have some new treasures to list, too.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Book Review: Wolves at Our Door by J P S Brown

Not all wolves walk on four legs...

Jim Kane's 7X ranch is one of those that people creeping over the border use for passage. AQnd not all the aliens are Mexicans. Nor are the Mexicans themselves safe from those who prowl the borders.

The borderland has regular gun runners, and those who live on one side of the border or the other who grow marijuana or poppies for the drug trade and their own personal enrichment. Most of the ranchers try to ignore those who ply that trade - provided they don't bother them. But one family has become very arrogant and sure of their power to do whatever they want, and they start impacting the honest local ranchers around them.

When the rancher and his friends decide to fight back the war escalates. Part of the war is fought in the US, part in Mexico.

They find a large opium operation, that the young men and women who disappeared near the border have either been sold at prostitutes or raped and killed in snuff movies (Kane's granddaughter and goddaughter are kidnapped for this purpose also), there's a drive-by shooting with two friends being killed and Kane's grandson badly injured, an ambush where some bad guys get killed, and it's not over yet.

There could easily be a sequel to this book to carry on the story.

The author is a rancher who has lived in Arizona all his life, and this story, while fiction, is not that unfactual. These problems do exist along the borderland. If you have doubt, read about what is happening in Columbus, New Mexico , and the Mexican border town of Palomas; or El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. The problems are even worse in Arizona.

This is not a happy story, but these are not happy times in the borderland.

If you'd a like a copy of this book (or the one I previously reviewed of Joe's), here's the info:

To buy Wolves at Our Door and The World in Pancho's Eye, email horsemn1020@earthlink.net .

This is your opportunity to see what it's really like on the border in the Southwest.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Graphic Novels (Adult Comic Books!)

Have you ever noticed that most of the current graphic novels for adults are a bit on the "dark" side?

I still enjoy graphics - they make the story come alive to me. That's why children's picture books are such a joy for me to list. (I have to read them all first, of course.) So stories in comic book form are fun, too. Except I'm having trouble finding stories I want to read.

Even those I think should be good tend to have either troubling subject matter or horror or monsters or something in the content.

What ever happened to positive stories?

I'm well aware of how bad things are in our country and others, that there are wars going on, starving people, abused people, etc. I want to read to "lighten up", not sink deeper into depression.

Anybody know a good graphic series that doesn't make you feel worse when you're through reading it?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Need a book rebound?

I had a nice old copy of Klondike that was falling apart, so I sent it to another bookdealer who had advertised that he repaired and restored old books. The book was worth nothing to me in the condition as it was.

I mailed it to HGBooks, POB 345, Craley, PA 17312. Hollis told me he could repair it for $25 (there are various prices depending on the amount of work needed).

It arrived here today all spiffed up! I can't explain how much better it looks. You'd have to see it to believe it. It was broken out the case. He replaced endpapers, put in new headbands, repaired the damaged plate, tightened up the text block, and put it back in the case.

This old fossil for 1897 now has some life left in it. I'm very impressed by his work and his prices are very reasonable.

If you need a book repaired, I'd enthusiastically recommend HGBooks - they do great work.

And, if you're wondering, this is unsolicited testimonial. I just got so excited by how much better the book looked I HAD to tell you!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Book Review: The White Mary by Kira Salak

Marika is a journalist who immigrated to the states from Czechoslovakia, and has become very famous for visiting war zones fearlessly and writing about her experiences. Her father is dead, her mother is mentally ill, and she doesn't do well in relationships, but her work keeps her complete.

She admires Robert Lewis, another war correspondent and is disappointed to hear that he has committed suicide. In tribute to him, she decides to write his biography. It's not easy, because he was also a self-contained person and there isn't much information available. His son is dead, his sister doesn't want to talk to her. But when she visits and tells her why she wants to write about him and how much she admired him, the sister does allow her access to some letters. In the pile, she finds a letter from a missionary who says he say Robert Lewis in the remote jungle of Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, the missionary is now deceased. The sister doesn't believe the letter.

Then her relationship with her boyfriend falls apart and she decides to go Papua New Guinea and search for Robert Lewis.

The story of her travel and the conditions there illuminate the qualities and dangers of the jungle. She's either going to find Robert Lewis or die, and she really doesn't care much which it is.

But this journey isn't just for Robert Lewis. As time goes on, she travels with a medicine man, who tries to teach some facts about what life means.

She doesn't listen well, but, before the end of her journey, she learns that she needs to love herself first before she can love someone else. And that while she may not believe in God, you have to accept the things that happen and move on.

Her war experiences and jungle scenes are harrowing. She's the type of character it's hard to feel sorry for due to her attitude and actions, but when she gets on the right track, there's hope for her future.

This isn't a book you'll read lightly. And you may have to read it more than once to get all the nuances and really understand the overall concept. But you'll most likely never forget it...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Gun Report magazines...

Guns have never been my thing (I own a .22 Browning rifle and do know how to shoot) but when you do Western History, you get to deal with books (and magazines) about guns, like it or not.

I have been listing The Gun Report magazines for the last week. Man, are they boring! Just listing the articles and authors again and again turns into a pain. I probably have another week's worth of them to list.

I can tell you that C. Meade Patterson contributed to almost every issue with some major article - many of them in parts.

They talk about Mexican guns, European guns, Civil War guns, even Revolutionary War guns, the Gatling Gun - you name it, they probably have an article on it. And since this subject doesn't fascinate me (OK, I did read about McKinley's assassination and some on the Gatling Gun), it's just not as much fun. I don't imagine most men want to list Harlequin romance books either. Of course, I'm not fond of listing those either, LOL!

There's a lot of good analysis in the articles, this information could be useful to a writer who wanted know more about the weapons used. Or, if you're a gun collector, this should be right up your alley.

So I'm suffering here, but I'm listing them for you!

Here's a sample for you:

The Gun Report Volume V No 6 November 1959 Title: The Gun Report Volume V No 6 November 1959

Publisher: Aledo IL World-Wide Gun Report 1959

Seller ID: 018052

Softcover. In very good condition, light cover wear and soiling. Battle of the Titans by Dr. Gerald Atlas, Inscriptions on Guns by H J Kauffman, Captain Hall, Inventor (Second of Two Parts) by Charlotte Judd Fairbairn & C Meade Patterson, Redskin Napoleons by Carl W Breihan, Another Approach to Specialization by Capt R C Williamson, and more.

Guns Firearms Pistols Rifles

Price = 25.00 USD

Hope someone will be interested in these, they do have a lot of historical references in them.

Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie, www.bookfaerie.com

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mostly Listing Western History

I have lots of odds and ends of western history that purchased from another dealer. As I walk through it, I learn things about the west, cowboys, outlaws, lawmen, vigilantes, soiled doves, madams and more! Some of the smallest soft covers are worth much more than the regular books. Some are quite rare, some are so common I don't bother listing them.

But as I touch each one, they touch me.

I think a bookseller learns from the books they sell, whether they happened to be a type they liked or have read before. Part of it is osmosis, part of it what we read while we're analyzing the book and how to list it, part of it is our inquisitive minds.

Some books don't make it all the way to the shelves for selling. Some end up living here in my personal library. But most of those are not the collectible books - Western history is not my field, and while I now know better what to pick up when shopping and what might sell, it's not something that I will be acquiring for personal use. That doesn't mean some don't make me keep them anyway...

Are all booksellers like this? Or is it only my nature?

Here is a treasure I found in the batch I'm working on now:

Powder River Invasion War on the Rustlers in 1892 Author Name: A S Mercer, John Mercer Boots

Title: Powder River Invasion War on the Rustlers in 1892

Edition: First Edition
Publisher: Self Published 1923

Seller ID: 017933

Small hardcover, no DJ. In good condition, moderate bumping to spine ends and corners, minor cover staining, front hinge is beginning to separate, pages are toning, text is clear and clean. This is a 1923 printing of the extremely rare 1894 book written by Asa Shinn Mercer. Even this 1923 edition is scarce. This is the story of the Johnson County, Wyoming, war pitting the settlers (rustlers) against the cattle barons of the day. A S Mercer was not originally on the side of the settlers, but he felt compelled to write the story (Banditti of the Plains, sub-titled The Crowning Infamy of the Ages) to tell of the tactics used by the cattle barons. Most of the original edition was destroyed under mysterious circumstances.

Western History Wyoming Johnson County War Cattle Ranching Rustlers Barons

Price = 500.00 USD

I also have some less expensive books that are still very much fun to read such as:

Road Agents and Train Robbers: Half a Century of Western Banditry Author Name: Drago, Harry Sinclair

Title: Road Agents and Train Robbers: Half a Century of Western Banditry

Edition: First Edition
Publisher: Dodd, Mead 1973
ISBN Number: 0396067859 / 9780396067856

Seller ID: 017972

Hardcover, ex-library. In very good condition, minimal library markings. Includes several black and white photos. The rowdy mining camps, the vast untouched wilderness, the highroads and trails that were safe neither for travelers nor gold shipments - and the men who made them unsafe, like Tom Bell, Rattlesnake Dick and gentlemanly Black Bart, amongst others.

Old West Western History Outlaws

Price = 15.00 USD

And this is just a sampling of my stock. I have much more to list, but it's certainly been interesting and entertaining along the way!

Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie, www.bookfaerie.com