Monday, January 31, 2011


by Deirdre Martin

Hockey's hardest hitter is being charged with assault for an on ice hit. Lucky for him the league has hired an attorney who's just as tough in the courtroom as he is on the ice. Sinead and Adam are both known for their single-minded dedication to work. Can these two intense individuals relax enough to open their hearts when the time is right? It's a fast paced, steamy romance from an author who has proven time and again that she knows hockey as well as she knows flirtation.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

After the spectacular crash-and-burn of his career as a pilot, Tucker Case free-falls into a questionable job illegally flying for an ask-no-questions medical mission in Micronesia. He doesn't have any other options, and who is he to develop a sense of ethics at this late date?

Tucker's new life is a series of epic misadventures, but at every bad decision he's steered right by the mysterious actions of a benevolent dead fighter pilot. Who is this guy? And why has he picked the fuck-up Tucker to be the islanders' savior?

This book is pure Christopher Moore genius. It's our introduction to Roberto the talking fruit bat (who makes appearances in several subsequent books, along with our hero Tucker Case) and it's a lively jaunt through island politics, cargo cults, and the ways of the Shark People.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Life-Size Zoo by Teruyuki Komiya

I'm always looking for good kids books to give as gifts, and I hit the mother-lode here.

This oversize book presents every animal in its 100% zoom actual size - meaning that you see the whole body of both the prairie dog and meekat across a single 2-page spread ... and you see only the elephant's eye across a 4-page gatefold!

Each animal is presented with plain background to highlight the animal. Facts about the critters (with lots of poop info) are presented in little sketch drawings on the same page as the 100% photo. It's really fun and you learn lots, almost by accident.

Also in this series: More Life-Size Zoo, and Life-Size Aquarium.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Pet for Petunia

by Paul Schmid

Something about the cover of this book drew me in. I had to read it before leaving the library the day it arrived even though I already had my coat on. Within two pages, I found someone who would listen as I transformed into performance mode.
Petunia is a fan of skunks. So much so that her toy skunk is no longer a suitable pet. She has decided that only the real thing will do. Petunia has a very childlike tirade near the middle of the book that sent me into a gale of laughter. Her desire for a cute, cuddly friend cannot be quelled, no matter what she learns about the creatures.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The other half of my heart

by Sundee T. Frazier

OK, so the most historic days of civil rights in in American history took place before I was born. Even still, I remember learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks in school. This book talks about that history a little, and shows how individuals can still sometimes feel less than whole when surrounded by people whose skin is another color. The twist in Frazier's novel is that it is a story of twins born to one white parent and one black parent. One girl appears black, the other appears white. Minni, the blue-eyed redhead has always admired her sister's outgoing personality and never questioned how Kiera feels as one of the very few black children in their community. Suddenly, the girls are to spend part of their summer visiting their grandmother in the deep south. The purpose of the trip is the Miss Black Pearl Program (pageant). Now Minni begins to question her own strength and ability to embrace both sides of her ancestry.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

When the band Dumb wins Seattle's Teen Battle of the Bands, they celebrate with an unauthorized gig on the school's front steps. After watching their impromptu performance, 17-year-old Piper smarts off about the quality of their showmanship and lands herself a job as Dumb's manager. It's a job she's sure she can do ... despite the fact she's mostly deaf and can barely hear what they sound like.

I loved this book - it's a new take on a familiar theme. The band comes with its predictable problems: musical direction, personnel changes, front-man syndrome, lack of talent. But Piper's stubborn insistence on making it work (namely because several other things in her life aren't working out so well) adds a different variable to the equation.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Wish for Elves by Mark Gonyea

This clever, simple picture book was one of my favorites this holiday season. It's got a hip, retro-contemporary look, with a pallette limited to lime, yellow, green, red and black and super simple shapes that look almost like paper clippings. And yet with the pared down art style, it's still got quite a storyline.

A boy, frustrated with the stresses of Christmas, wishes he had elves. Overnight, the elves appear in his bedroom - but suddenly, Santa has no helpers. And through a series of great illustrations, the elves show how helpful - or unhelpful - they can really be.

I think this would be a great book for sharing. Since there aren't very many words, you get to look and look at the pictures to see what's happening. The little pyramid shaped elves can make lots of trouble, and in a simple picture there can be more than a dozen of them ... each up to no good.

Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti

Benway has had it. He's the unappreciated, under-duress butler for a crazy family of eccentrics. The Benway family's 200-year old contract of indentured servitude to the Bellweathers is about to expire, and he can't wait to get away. Benway is counting down the minutes.

In the mean time, though, there are messes to clean up, lunches to pack, an albino alligator to avoid, groceries to gather, holes in the yard to sidestep, a family of circus performers hiding in one bedroom ... and a tell-all memoir to write, in order to afford a quaint, quiet cottage somewhere far, far away.

Benway won't miss the Bellweathers at all! They probably won't even notice he's gone! And good luck to the next poor sap who has to try to meet this family's needs!

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Book three of the Mortal Instruments series takes the ball and runs with it. Non-stop action adventure, strong plot, and great character drama made this my favorite book in the series yet.

Disregarding the wishes and advice of everyone around her, Clary willfully uses her untested and untrained powers in an attempt to find the man who has the book that contains the spell that will save her mother. Under seige by her evil father, the sacred city of Idris isn't quite the nirvana Clary had been led to believe. And seriously big things happen for Clary in this book.

Thankfully, author Clare has decided she's not done with these characters yet ... originally slated as a trilogy, the series now has at least 3 more books mapped out for publication! And a prequel, standalone sister series!

Monday, January 10, 2011


by Kate Klise

Daralynn is alive because she was grounded. She and her mother must now find a way to continue living after the tragedy that took the lives of her father, brother and sister. Daralynn starts out thinking that she will never be in trouble again. Surely, her mother will miss the others too much to ever punish her. Mother is now busy working two jobs to keep the family a float, and taking car of Grandma who has suddenly reverted to a childlike state. Daralynn also believes that she has found a grand new way to make money. To save the funeral home where her mother works, she believes that people should host living funerals. That way they can hear all the nice things people normally only say after someone dies. As the story rolls along, Daralynn finds herself caught up in what she believes is a mystery. Can she possibly solve it? Should she?

Dirty Sugar Cookies by Ayun Halliday

Halliday explains her culinary adventures, from a picky kid who didn't eat anything to an college earthmother, then into an adventurous epicurian ... with her own kid who won't eat anything.

The book mixes anecdotes and observations with a few recipes to try. Unlike many food-memoirs, this one doesn't go into lengthy, orgiastic descriptions of meals eaten and pleasures discovered. Rather, it's a series of personal stories that illustrate how Halliday grew and expanded her food horizons one step at a time.

I enjoyed this book - Halliday is really very funny - and some of the tales reminded me of my own experiences. What kid didn't have birthday cake envy at some point?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cul de Sac: This Exit by Richard Thompson

In my opinion, Cul de Sac is one of the smartest comics in the newspapers today. Filled with familiar, quirky characters you recognize as your own friends and neighbors, it's consistently funny without being mean or overly political.

Alice is the youngest in the family (preschool/kindergarten aged) and her observations, thoughts, and attitude frequently remind me of our own library Storytime regulars. Dad tries hard to be the voice of reason, often frustrated when everyone disregards his information in favor of their own realities. And the gags about his teeny, tiny car make me laugh everytime. Big bother Petey is the 14th pickiest eater in the world (as he monitors through an online barometer of eating habits). Mom? Well, she may be the world's most patient mother.

This is the only Cul de Sac book in our library system - I'm surprised, and wishing for more. My personal collection may have to expand to include a couple.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

King of Screwups by K.L. Going

Here's the pitch: spoiled rich teen gets caught screwing on dad's desk on the first page. He gets thrown out of the house, and he has to go live in a trailer park with his cross-dressing uncle. Let's just say I expected big things from this book.

And I wasn't exactly disappointed - just differently entertained than I'd thought.

Liam is a screwup, but really - right from the start - the reader can see that it's not so much his fault. Everything's not wine and roses in the mansion, and eventually, everything's not terrible in the trailer. Imagine that!

Liam is a girlie-boy who loves fashion and knows clothes. He's his model-mama's boy ... although he's also straight. I'm not sure I can see a lot of teen boys diving right into this book - although I do know several teenage girls who might swoon a bit.

I enjoyed it, but I'd had a different book imagined in my head before I started ...

Everything is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert

This memoir of Shukert's post-college European adventures is a comical alternative to the "Eat, Pray, Love" type of travel memoir. While Shukert "finds herself" just as Gilbert did, they go about the adventure in MUCH different ways.

Shukert's sharp wit is mainly directed at her own ineptitude. She travels to Vienna with a horrible touring play, then stays in Europe when it's over - travelling, drinking, and generally making bad decisions. In many ways she's a typically lost post-grad, attempting to navigate in the "real world" - albeit the real world of Amsterdam. Bad roommates, no money, temporary romance, and language barriers add up to a pretty entertaining look at one woman's painful transition to adulthood.