About

I live in New York City and I'm surrounded by books all day and when I go home I have more books waiting for me. Read my "About" page on top to see what I mean. I just want to share my book experiences and my love of all-things-books, with hopefully the occasional review thrown in. If you wish to contact me, the address is polishoutlanderATgmailDOTcom

Waiting on Wednesday: Lily of the Nile

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this snowy week is:

Available January 2011

Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers…

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene’s parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother’s dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?

I absolutely adored Michelle Moran’s Cleopatra’s Daughter, so I am curious to see what this author will do with Selene’s story. I recently went to the King Tut exhibit in NYC, so there is definitely an itch in me to read more Ancient Egyptian historical fiction, and just general historical fiction taking place in ancient times.

Author website

The 2011 Eastern European Reading Challenge

Somehow I came across this challenge earlier last week. And I thought, “Perfect!” There are some books on my own shelves that are written by Polish authors, or take place in Poland, that I really need to read. I feel like I should read them, like I have to read them for various reasons.

This is what I have on my shelves, waiting to be read:

With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz
The Deluge by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Fire in the Steppe by Henryk Sienkiewicz

These three books are like required reading amongst Poles; that’s the easiest way of putting it. One problem though: these books are bricks! Interestingly enough, all three have been made into movies but the director made them in reverse over the course of several years. Sadly, there is no good trailer available for With Fire and Sword, which I just love. Oh and the music in that movie. Another thing to love about that movie. If you can find a version of this with English subtitles, I think it’s definitely worth watching. Heck, I always watch Polish movies with subtitles because I still need some help understanding some really hard words.

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

This is what earned the author a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Pan Tadeusz (or the Last Foray in Lithuania: a History of the Nobility in the Years 1811 and 1812 in Twelve Books of Verse) by Adam Mickiewicz

Ok, this is more required reading. More so than the trilogy above. Because this is written in prose form, I have the edition where the English and Polish are side by side, otherwise, I would have a hard time understanding. And what a beautiful movie this was! And again, the music! The dance, the polonaise, is seen at the very end of the movie, which Josh and I did to start off our wedding reception. And even at their proms, seniors in Poland will dance this. You can see the scene here, and it starts up at around 50 seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq-VmzcJa3Y

Ashes and Diamonds by Jerzy Andrzejewski

I’ve seen the movie, which is a classic in Polish cinema and the book has been sitting on the shelves for quite some time now.

Snow White and Russian Red by Dorota Maslowska

The Loves of Faustyna by Nina Fitzpatrick

Poland by James Michener

Polonaise by Jane Aiken Hodge

Found this out-of-print book in Canada. Here’s the plot summary: When Jenny Peveral joins the court of her childhood friend, the beautiful Polish princess Isobel Ovinska, she never suspects that the hopes of a divided nation will focus on Isabel’s young son, Prince Casimir.

White Eagle, Dark Skies by Jean Karsavina

Found this while browsing in the Strand. Another out-of-print title, that takes place during the turn of the 20th century in Poland.

The Thousand Hour Day by W.S. Kuniczak

Also found this out-of-print title in the Strand. This book takes place at the very beginning of WWII, which means when Germany invaded Poland.

Miss Nobody by Tomek Trzyna

Another Strand find, but luckily, not as old.

Necessary Lies by Eva Stachniak

No idea how I found out about this book but when I did, I immediately purchased it before running the risk of it going out-of-print. And look at that, it’s still in print!

For the challenge we were able to make suggestions as to what books to read. I did suggest other titles that I myself have read (thankfully!)

Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin
Against a Crimson Sky by James Conroyd Martin

When Push Not the River came out, it was dubbed the Polish “Gone With The Wind.” I think this is a great read for anyone who loves historical fiction and romance and wants to learn some history. It takes place during a crucial time in Poland’s history, when Poland passed the Third of May Constitution. Plus, this is based on a diary kept by a Polish countess. I liked the followup, Against a Crimson Sky, but the first book is just great on its own.

A Minor Apocalypse by Tadeusz Konwicki

This requires a reread for me. I read it at some point in high school but I think I know and understand more, which means I need to read this again.

In Desert and Wilderness by Henryk Sienkiewicz

When I was younger, my mom would always read this book to me in Polish. And I had always wanted to read it in English but when it was finally made available in translation, the price tag was just too much for a a meager college student. So one day, in Josh’s hometown, at the semi-annual flea market, there was a first edition copy in English available. From like 1905 or so? For like a buck. The guy who sold it to me clearly had no idea what he had in his hands, at least in my mind. So I read my musty old copy, which was in wonderful condition, and then went to watch the movie …again. Along with having my mom read the book to me, I watched the Polish movie a lot. And that cover you see on the Goodreads link on that title? That’s my cover!

Pharaoh by Boleslaw Prus

When this was finally made available in English, I nagged my mom and dad to get me a copy.

The Poles by Susan Richard

This I had read when I was in Poland with my mom; it might have been my first or second time back in Poland. I was with my mom and our friend was driving us to Warsaw to the airport. And we were driving from mine and my mom’s hometown. It was a very, very long ride. So he had this book and I read it all in the car. These were the days before I started to get carsick when reading. Part of me always wanted a copy so I had found one on eBay in high school. It’s basically about three brothers in love with the same woman and it spans a lot of Polish history. It’s nothing special, just fun.

Madame by Antoni Liberi

This was a huge bestseller when it came out in Poland. What a satisfying read.

The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Jan Potocki

Eva Underground by Dandi Daley Mackall

I don’t think I would have ever read, or even heard of, this book if it wasn’t for Angieville. This is a YA book, but it takes place at the same time my parents were only in their teens in Poland, so it definitely struck a chord with me. Recently, I was telling a colleague about Poland in the 1980s and some of the stories of my parents and how we came to the US, and she couldn’t believe it was happening so recently. I’m so glad I read this.

The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly

And this won a Newbery Medal way back in 1929! And to this day, there is a trumpeter who plays in the tower of the Church of St. Mary in the square in Krakow, and it always stops at the broken note. Good read!

So this post came to be slightly longer than I expected. But let’s see how much I can read for this challenge.

Thirst Volume Two and Eternal Dawn by Christopher Pike

Ok, I’m going to tackle the second omnibus, and the newest book, Eternal Dawn, together, cause it just makes more sense….

What Alisa has desired for five thousand years has finally come true: She is once again human. But now she is defenseless, vulnerable, and, for the first time in centuries, emotional. As she attempts to reconcile her actions as a vampire with her new connection to humanity, she begins to understand the weight of life and-death decisions. Can Alisa resolve her past and build a new identity, or is she doomed to repeat her fatal mistakes?

So the summary here really doesn’t  let you know what really is going on in these three books. This volume centers around Alisa being human, but only for a short time. Why and how does she turn back into a vampire? Well, she uses a technique what was introduced in the previous vilume using some old vampire blood. And she does this so she has a fighting chance against her daughter. Yes, my dear readers, Alisa gets pregnant and has a kid. But this of course is no ordinary kid. And her daughter, Kalika, likes ot kill and feed. And she is determined to find Paula, and her newborn son, John. Paula turns out ot be a reincarnation of Suzama, Alisa’s mentor in ancient Egypt, and there is the implied idea that John could be Jesus Christ, reborn. Alisa constantly grapples with her moral dilemma: to killor not to kill her daughter? In the sad end, it is revealed that despise Kalika’s seemimgly hungry and evil ways, she was doing the right thing. And paid the ultimate price. This takes place over the course of two books, and the third book, is where it gets interesting. Alisa, in some very bizarre way, has a chance to go back in time. And we meet Dante. And Alisa has to undo a very big wrong. In the end, she gets the chance to go further in time, to the time when she was still human, 5,000 years ago in India…and where she doesn’t turn into a vampire.

So that is a great ending. Cause how can you miss something (being a superpowerful vampire) if you haven’t experienced it in the first place? But for some reason, the series is continuing on…..!!!!

SPOILERS! Danger Will Robinson! Danger! SPOILERS!

Alisa has spent the past five thousand years as a vampire, living alone and fighting for survival. In her loneliness, Alisa cannot resist bringing Teri—a descendant of her human family—into her life. But Alisa is surrounded by death and destruction, and just by knowing Alisa, Teri’s life is at risk. Alisa’s guilt grows when she becomes involved in a dangerous conspiracy. A top-secret group knows Alisa’s secret and will stop at nothing to use her powers for their cause. As Alisa desperately tries to protect herself and Teri from the unknown enemy, she discovers a force more powerful and more lethal than anything she has ever seen. Alisa doesn’t know who to trust, who to challenge, or who she will become….

What. The. Heck? Seriously folks. That last book in the omnibus might as well have not even happened. And in this new book, it didn’t. It happened in Seymour’s writing. Apparently, from what I understood, Alisa has been telepathically linked to Seymour and giving him the idea for his books about her. Is this a cop-out? Yes! Gah, this drove me nuts the entire time I was reading it. And Seymour is a famous writer now, but sort of a recluse because he writes under different names, and has never revealed who he is. When this was brought up, I couldn’t help but think if Mr. Pike was poking fun at himself.

But anyway…Notice how her eye color is different in the covers. Here, her eyes are blue. Which I guess has some significance considering all the stuff that probably did not happen in the other books, but still did, in some weird way. And the plot! The plot! I couldn’t wrap my head around it because I just didn’t get it. It wasn’t as interesting as the other books, and it all leads to one thing… Alisa living, but in Teri’s body! So that is where Thirst #4 will pick up, which comes out this summer. Plus, this took me awhile to read, longer than I would have liked. At one point, I considered just stopping, which rarely happens.

There was also a really long and drawn-out scene where Alisa comes back to her place and has to save herself from someone who is trying to kill her. It felt like something that belonged in a Tom Clancy book. I just kept skimming it.

Oh and the big bad that Alisa was fighting? There were two of them. One which was some sort of government operation, and the other was a bunch of Immortals. Yep. Immortals. One of whom Alisa has a thing for….The question was: which big bad was the lesser of two evils? Well that remains to be seen.

I think I will still find myself reading the new book this summer, no matter what, despite all this negativity I feel towards this new book. I mean, I never read Pike when I was younger so I’m curious to know how die-hard Pike fans feel about this revitalization of the series and how they feel about these new books. Anyone? Because even I’m not too happy with it.

But despite all this, the one thing that really gets me interested in these books is Sita’s spirituality. The conversation never stops and it is rather enlightening. Yeah, we have vampires like Angel who try to do good because of all the bad they did, but Sita is a vampire who just takes it to another level. And I admire that in these books. So that is why I will most likely read Thirst #4.

Waiting on Wednesday: Elizabeth I

Available April 2011

New York Times bestselling author Margaret George captures history’s most enthralling queen-as she confronts rivals to her throne and to her heart.

One of today’s premier historical novelists, Margaret George dazzles here as she tackles her most difficult subject yet: the legendary Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma-the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel- bedecked woman who pinched pennies. England’s greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like?

In this novel, her flame-haired, lookalike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth’s rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, the mercurial nobleman who challenged Elizabeth’s throne, Lettice had been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood. This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country, and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family and each vying to convince the reader of her own private vision of the truth about Elizabeth’s character. Their gripping drama is acted out at the height of the flowering of the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake-all of them swirl through these pages as they swirled through the court and on the high seas.

So there I was, randomly browsing Amazon this weekend and came across this title and author. I almost didn’t believe it! It’s been years since Helen of Troy and I knew she was working on this book, but had no idea it was due to come out! And the author’s going on tour, but sadly, nowhere near me. Either way, very excited for this release!

Redesigned Author Website

Book Trailer

Book Tour

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 7-8:30PM
Borders West
3750 University Ave
Madison, WI, 53705

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Dallas Museum of Art
Arts and Letters Live
1717 N Harwood
Dallas, TX 75201
www.dallasmuseumofart.org

Thursday, April 7, 2011 | 7PM
Anderson’s Bookshop
123 W Jefferson Ave
Naperville, IL 60540

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Monday, April 11, 2011 | 7:30PM
Bookshop Santa Cruz
1520 Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-3903
www.bookshopsantacruz.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | 10:30AM
Towne Center
555 Main St
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | 6-7:30PM
Mechanics’ Institute
57 Post Street
San Francisco, CA, 94104

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | 7-8:30PM
Barnes & Noble
2675 NE University Village Street
Seattle, WA 98105

Thursday, April 14, 2011 | 7-8:30PM
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA, 98155

Sunday, April 17, 2011 | 2-3:30PM
A Room of One’s Own Feminist Bookstore
307 W. Johnson St
Madison, WI

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | 7-8:30PM
Barnes & Noble
2500 N Mayfair Rd
Wauwatosa, WI 53226

A Very Belated NCTE Post

So I’m gonna skip some details on this post.

I think I’ve written enough of these conference posts for you to know how this all goes: get up early at conference city, set up booth all day, be on the exhibit floor for many, many hours; go to the bathroom when you think there is a lull; mingle with authors at their signings, mingle with authors at dinners; breakdown booth very quickly; get home and pass out; be in pain for a few days.

So instead, I present to you a bunch of pictures. NCTE 2010 was held in Orlando, FL. And our hotel was actually the Disney Boardwalk. Oh the humanity! All work and no play! I mean, I know I know, I was already in Disney in June, but the inner-kid in me can’t help it! I wanted to go play!

It was very weird sitting in the hotel lobby dressed up in slacks and trying to be presentable while families all around me were running around in shorts! But the hotel had some snazzy decor:

Outside the hotel, on the boardwalk:

Sunrise on my last day of the conference. While waiting for the breakfast place to open, my two colleagues and I walked around the boardwalk.

END OF THE LINE: at one of our author signings. The author kept signing well past his appointed time, but then he had to stop because he had another event to go to.

MICKEY IS EVERYWHERE! On your bathroom mirror…

And on your soap…

Before I left for the conference, my boss asked where we were staying and I told her the Boardwalk Inn. And she knew exactly where it was: “Oh, you’ll be near the Swan and Dolphin, across from Epcot.” And sure enough, she was right. If I wanted to, I could have easily walked to Epcot. If you look closely, you’ll see the Swan statues…

Aside from meeting authors I work with, I also got to meet some bloggers, some of whom I had met at previous conferences.

I’ve been to six conferences now: 2 NCTEs, 2 ALAs, and 2 TLAs. And this NCTE was the smallest convention center I’ve been in. The conference was held in a hotel resort, the Coronado. Granted, it was laid out over a lot of space, but the exhibit hall was much smaller from what I’m used to. Which means, it was more packed than usual at times, and there was a lot of multi-tasking on my part in terms of helping and talking to people. But that helps make the the time go faster, so that helps.

This week is ALA Midwinter. I’m not going, although I’m sure San Diego will have some nice weather. I’m hoping the next conference I get to go to is TLA, because it’s in Austin, and everyone keeps telling me how amazing the city is. Plus, one of my authors asked if I would be seeing him at TLA and I said I hope so, so he told me to make sure that I get asked to go cause he wants to see me again. But as always, it depends if they need me. There is the core group of conference staff that go, and I go as-needed. Oh, and ALA is in New Orleans this year, which I’m hoping I get to go to, too. Depends how big it will be for us, based on ALA MW, with all the award announcements happening this weekend.

Ok, that’s enough conference talk for now….

Oh, but as I was waking around the booths, I did spot a galley of Jean Auel’s upcoming book, Land of Painted Caves. I actually wanted to take a picture of it but didn’t have the camera in my pocket. But it was huge! I mean, all the other books were huge to begin with, but this one looked like a big brick! Can’t wait for that book to come out.

A Catching Up Post on Reading

Happy New Year everyone!

I am using this time in between semesters to catch up on some blogging, so here it goes…

I’m taking two courses starting at the end of the month, one of them called Animals in Medieval Literature, with the same professor that I had for my Canterbury Tales class. Plus, I’m taking a required Critical Theory course. But it’s with a professor whose name I recognize from my undergrad studies, based on the articles of his I had read while taking Renaissance lit courses. When I registered, I sort of told myself that I am signing away my free time: two course plus working full-time. Eeek!

So I’ve been seeing people doing their end-of-the-year roundups and challenge status updates. Well, I won;’t do an end-of-the-year “best of” or “worst of” thing, since it just wouldn’t be fair, considering the position I’m in. But as for reading challenges…..

Well, that Speculative Fiction Challenge, where I said I would read three books? Fail! I only read one book, and that was Moon Called.

My own Book Project involving reading books that I already own and have been languishing on my shelves for months and years….sorta fail. Nine books! NINE?!? Oh geez, it’s abysmal. Between reading manuscripts for work and book club books and other books/galleys that were vying for my attention….yeah fail! Tomorrow, the editorial departments present to us the Winter 2012 list. Which means, I will have to start reading manuscripts soon in preparation for brainstorming sessions and marketing plans. Thankfully, the Winter list tends to be smaller than the Fall or Spring/Summer lists.

My own Sunfire Romance Reading Challenge? Complete failure! Didn’t even read one book! Again, no time. And I was so excited when I completed my entire set, too. But you know what? I’ll still try to read through them all when I can find the time.

LJ Smith Reading Challenge? Success! At least some. I did read all the Vampire Diaries books, although I gave up on the newest titles because they were not drawing me in. Plus, been watching the show faithfully.

Plus, I started to be more active on Goodreads. One day soon I want to go through my shelves to truly see what I have not read. And because some of the people I work with are also on Goodreads, we get to see what we’ve been reading and lend each other galleys and books. Plus it leads to some long book discussions in the hallways :)

And now, I give you a picture of my street after the snow storm last week. My dad took this photo. Note the car in the middle of the street, blocking any possible snow plows to begin with.  Josh and I left to go to PA to go skiing, right when it started to snow. Let’s just say, on our way home, we had to leave our car in Jersey on Tuesday night with our friends because our neighborhood wasn’t plowed…until Thursday morning. Thankfully everything is melting away now. As pretty as the snow looks at first, I do not want to see all that garbage that is lurking beneath all that melting snow after a week of no garbage and recycling pickup.

DSCF0919

Now back to the ol’ work grind…..

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

And watch out for that icy patch!





In My Mailbox (58)

So this is an accumulation of books from the last month-and-a-half. Yikes!

First, from PaperBackSwap:

Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He’s been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop’s bird stump. It’s part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier. But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past. Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right–not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself. (I never heard of this book, and only found out about it while reading www.tor.com )

In this coming-of-age story set in a medieval kingdom, Andrea is a headstrong princess longing to be a knight who finds her way to modern-day California. But her accidental return to her family’s kingdom and a disastrous romance brings war, along with her discovery of some dark family secrets. Readers will love this mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists and will identify with Andrea and her difficult choices between duty and desire.

Octavia Voss is an ethereal singer whose poise and talent belie her young age. In truth, she is a centuries-old vampire who once “shared the tooth” with Mozart himself. To protect her secret, Octavia’s even more ancient friend Ugo stalks the streets to find the elixir that feeds his muse’s soul. With Mozart’s musical prowess coursing through her veins, the ageless Octavia reinvents herself with each new generation. But just as she prepares to take the stage at La Scala, Ugo inexplicably disappears, leaving Octavia alone–and dangerously unprotected. . .Octavia vows to find Ugo, but his fate is in the hands of forces much darker than she could ever imagine. And when she learns the truth behind his disappearance, Octavia realizes too late that the life hanging most in the balance is her own. . . (I had first heard about this book on Velvet’s blog. Interesting premise. Maybe this will be read shortly, as I am in the midst of reading more vampire books now.)

Alisa has spent the past five thousand years as a vampire, living alone and fighting for survival. In her loneliness, Alisa cannot resist bringing Teri – a descendant of her human family – into her life. But Alisa is surrounded by death and destruction, and just by knowing Alisa, Teri’s life is at risk.  Alisa’s guilt grows when she becomes involved in a dangerous conspiracy. A top-secret group knows Alisa’s secret and will stop at nothing to use her powers for their cause. As Alisa desperately tries to protect herself and Teri from the unknown enemy, she discovers a force more powerful and more lethal than anything she has ever seen. Alisa doesn’t know who to trust, who to challenge, or who she will become...(And speaking of vampires….this is what I’m reading now. Thoughts on this and the previous volume coming soon.)

Remember that book you read at that time in your life when everything seemed to be going crazy—the one book that brought the world into focus and helped soothe your raging teenage angst? (Discovered this a while ago while reading the column Fine Lines on Jezebel.)

And now, as per usual, I do some shopping at conferences, usually on the last day. Despite the busyness at NCTE, I was able to go and browse other publishers’ booths and see what they had available:

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!  Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find – and outwit – the giant troll who’s got it! (Abrams, the publisher, was right next to us, so I had obviously been eyeing them the entire conference just because of this book. I had been wanting it for quite some time. So on the last day, before the convention center opened, I meekly went over and introduced myself and asked to purchase a copy.)

With the delightful activities and delicious recipes in Turkish Delight & Treasure Hunts you’ll learn how to follow in the footsteps of your favorite childhood heroes, from the Borrowers and Alice in Wonderland to the Ingalls family and Winnie-the-Pooh. (Ok, I’m not much of a cook, but still…worth trying right?)

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza’s dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady’s maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant’s world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen? Meticulously based on newly discovered information…(The packaging on the book is beautiful, including the case cover and the page design. The author was there signing but I knew I wouldn’t have been able to make it so I got this on one of my rounds to the bathroom.)

Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory’s magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe – but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she’ll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe’s ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn’t been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself? (Looooved Impossible, and I still my signed galley. This was a display copy on the last day and I was shocked it was still there. I obviously made sure to get it before anyone realized there was just one hanging around.)

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication. But it’s different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close – so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo – and possibly to the future safety of their two nations. (I seriously need to catch up on my McKinley reading. I think I might want to reread Deerskin too. It’s the only book of hers that I’ve read. I have a couple more here on the shelves.)

And last but not least, I got to see Bill from Unshelved again! And I scored another T-shirt from them:


And I actually wore one of their shorts on the last day of the conference, with the words “Will Work For Books” written on it. So people kept asking me where I got it, and I made sure to steer them to Bill and his booth.

Phew!

First, some more housekeeping…

I’m here! I’m still here!

It’s been very lonely here. With NCTE and Thanksgiving travels, and class and work, and getting ready for Christmas…well, lots of stuff got sidelined.

But my final paper is 99% done, which means more time to read and write here.  My last class was on Tuesday and now I just need to e-mail my paper. Do I feel good about the paper? I honestly can’t say. The whole time I was writing it, I kept thinking: If I was at a librarian/teacher conference a la ALA or NCTE, standing in a booth, surrounded by some people, then it would be so much easier! Or even if I did a book trailer about my paper topic, I could make music and use some shnazzy images…. That’s what I have been working on lately at work actually.

I had mentioned awhile ago that we lost one of our dogs. Sadly, a month to the day, we lost our oldest german shepherd, Max.  He was 13 years old, but we just weren’t expecting it to soon after Misza died, or in the manner that he did (essentially, his stomach flipped). I always thought Max took after me: skinny, wouldn’t eat when he was younger, shy, skiddish….

Sadly, it does not end there! Josh’s dog back home also died, only 3 or 4 days after Max did. He was a golden retriever, the same age as Max. We just couldn’t believe what was happening to us….I miss them all.

But then, my dad sent me on a mission: find a puppy for my mom. It was a big secret from her. So, in November, on a Friday night, Josh and I went to LaGuardia airport to pick up this 2 month old fuzzball who came all the way from Colorado:

That weekend, my mom wanted Josh and I to come visit in Pennsylvania, but I said I had homework and some proofreading to finish that was due that Monday. So Friday night, the puppy (whose name was Maximus at the time) spent the night with me and Josh. And boy was he all over the place! He was so hyper from being cooped up for so many hours. In the morning, I said to Josh, “This is what it must feel like to have a baby.” Though, I was awake for most of the night. Josh slept through most of the puppy’s crying and running around and chewing…

Oh yes, he is quite the chewer! So, Saturday, Josh and I loaded up the car and drove to my parents’ place in PA. My dad kept calling to ask where we were to make sure my mom wouldn’t see our car come up one of the roads. There was a lot of whispering going on :)

We finally arrived, and my mom’s first shock was that we were there to begin with. Then she looked at what was in my hands. She thought the puppy was a toy, until his eyes moved. He was very calm throughout the entire ride over. Let’s just say my mom had quite the surprise! :)

So all weekend, we kept tossing out name ideas. Maximus was just too close to Max, and it was way too soon. Finally, on their way back to NYC, my parents decided on Graif. It’s sort of a German name, and that is the name of the dog that my mom’s dad had back in Poland. She grew up on stories about that dog. So Graif aka Chewie is finally settled here in NYC. Recently, my dad went up to PA with the puppy for a few days, and came back with this picture:

Copy of DSCF0774

I call it Stage One of Awkward Puppy Phase: The Ears.

We’re really curious to see how big he will get cause his paws are huge! I can’t get over how big they are for a 3 1/2 month old pup!

Last weekend, Josh and I got to puppysit for two nights while my parents went out. He gets very happy and very excited and loves to play. I have the scratches to prove it :) He likes Josh’s beard… a lot! My mom says he has his regular “business hours” when he gets particularly playful. And it just so happens that those business hours are in the evening when Josh and I are able to see him….

So that’s the bittersweet animal update.

No more sadness, I promise! Only happy book stuff from now on…..

Tomorrow, IMM with my month-and-a-half worth of books!

Vampire Diaries: The Sacrifice

More witches! I mean: More warlocks! More vampires! More vampire history!

Ok, so that was all revealed in the previous two episodes, but I had to play catch-up this week in time for last night’s episode.

I liked Bonnie’s shirt, the purple one with the two birds on it. Yeah, that one below:

But back to the episode at hand….

I liked how Mason had kept a diary of his werewolf experiences. Nice throwback to the actual title of the episode and the very beginning of the whole series. Guess they couldn’t keep up the whole “Dear Diary” throughout the entire show….

Why is Matt quick to assume that Caroline and Tyler have a thing going just because Tyler happens to be over at Carolines? Nothing was said but Matt’s expression pretty much said it all. I mean, I don’t know what’s going on between Caroline and Tyler. For all we know, Caroline just truly wants to be his friend and help him out. Or she might have developed feelings for him now that they have something so unique in common. I guess we’ll have to see.

And more twists and turns! Why would Elijah want Elena kept safe? Is he trying to keep her away from Klaus as well?

So what’s up with Bonnie that even with help from Luca that she can’t do a spell? And why is it affecting Luca so badly too? Are they both not as good as they could be….yet? Does it have to do something with that tomb spell? I mean, it took Grams out last season. Is no witch as powerful as Emily Bennett?

So many questions!

One more episode to go before the winter break…