31 May 2011

Home Again

I spent the holiday weekend at my parents' home in upstate NY and had a lovely time. We had ice cream and mini golf, grill and birthday cake for my dad. He asked for the cake I made a couple weeks ago, so it was a pleasure to make that for him. The drive back wasn't bad either, without too much holiday traffic along the way, but I was sure happy to get home last night.

Also, it was nice to arrive home to this:


I had totally forgotten I planted this iris last year because I bought it after its blooming time. Not only is it huge (almost waist-high on taller-than-average 5 ft. 8 in. me) but I have at least six other blooms ready to come out this week.

What a lovely surprise to welcome me home.

30 May 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

Welcome to my eleventh post of In My Mailbox! Hosted by The Story Siren, it is a way to showcase books received for review or won, picked up at the library, or purchased in the last week (or two). Titles link to Goodreads.

This past week I have been really busy with Armchair BEA, and went traveling to visit family over the holiday weekend. However, I did receive one book. One very, very special book. It is not only special because of the author, who I admire greatly as a knitter, but because this is going to result in some firsts for me.


I have in my hands a copy of Teach Yourself Visually: Circular Knitting by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. This is Melissa's third book, and while I still haven't gotten my way to actually finishing one sock (much less two-at-a-time) I will have the honor and pleasure of interviewing Melissa later in June as the first stop on her first blog tour, in addition to reviewing the book. I enjoy circular knitting--and visual learning--myself, so I am finding this book not only instructional but inspirational. 

Melissa was gracious enough to not only provide an autographed copy for me (MINE!) but one for YOU! Yes, I will be hosting my first ever giveaway on the blog for an autographed copy of Teach Yourself Visually: Circular Knitting for one lucky reader. Stay tuned.

Happy Reading!

29 May 2011

Wrapping Up Armchair BEA



Armchair BEA wrapped up last week along with BEA and Book Blogger Convention. I was pleased to be a participant this year. I was not quite sure what I was expecting, but the level of participation I saw from bloggers all over the world was a thrill. I have met a lot of new people across the country, and now have a lot of new additions to my reader!

A quick link recap of my posts are:
I learned a few new tricks from some of the blogs I visited, including making a switch to IntenseDebate for my comments. It has worked relatively well, except for a slip up with Wednesday's post and having to reload the program. I am sorry to everyone who commented on my blog that day; I have all your lovely comments still (just can't see them on the blog). I was also fortunate enough to win a couple ABEA giveaways which I will be highlighting when they arrive.

I also got to get a bit more introspective about how and what I review on the blog, and why I choose to have one that is both personal and cover reviews. I appreciated seeing other people ponder the same question, and see that they had different views. In a way, that validated it more than anything: I am doing this the way that I want, and that is the best reason to blog in the first place. There is always room to change in the future.

All in all it was a very positive experience on many levels, and if I cannot attend BEA next year, I will definitely be here again. 

27 May 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogging About Blogging

Today's post is to be about placing the focus on the "blog" part of a book blog. This, of course, can go in many different directions: how you got started and why, tips on technical issues (platform, theme, styling), social networking, events - I could probably write a little bit of each and then some, so let's see where this takes us!

At the Beginning of the Technology:

I started my first blog on MySpace, which is still floating around the interwebs out there. At the time, it seemed to be a logical place to put it, since my primary goal was just to share stuff with those I interacted with there. Finally, after Facebook took hold and MySpace seemed to be more and more filled with young'uns, I left there and created this one on Blogger. I have been here ever since. I do co-administer and hold a claim on Wordpress, and have seen a lot of people give that platform accolades, but I haven't found a true reason to jump ships yet. After the Blogger meltdown a couple weeks ago...well, the temptation is always there. I changed the look of it at the end of last year, and added the "Stalk Me" icons at the top last month. I wonder if it is time to look at getting a custom domain, since you can do that with either Blogger or Wordpress, or even build my own hosted blog. I am sure there are other things that could be better and/or added - if you have advice, please let me know.

Shifting:

It has always been a blog about my life and what I have been doing, personal more than anything else. What happened over the last six months is that I realized I missed books. Four years ago I switched from being a technical services librarian in a public library to the job I hold now. I have gone from selecting and ordering fiction titles and music to technology and web services. I own a lot of books, but wasn't getting the insight I used to from being a selector in a library. I have been lucky to have met a lot of colleagues that still do this, and many of them review, either for Library Journal or other media sources, or their own blogs. They love books too, and wanted to talk about them. So did I! Off I went into starting reviews.

Networking for the Blog:

I have done most of my own outreach through Twitter. I feed my blog posts through Networked Blogs - this also goes to my Facebook page, but only my friends can see it -  and create additional scheduled ones through Twuffer. I started looking at memes, but there are so many of them, and I while I talk a good schedule (a GREAT schedule, in fact) I admit to dropping the ball at times. That is okay. I want to enjoy what I do on this blog, not get burdened by it. However, I am driven by deadlines and goals, so make them I do! I do In My Mailbox, and might look at some other memes after this week. I wonder about having a Facebook page for the blog. Even after four years, I feel like this blog is in its infancy, but I know I can't always judge a blog by its followers. Any thoughts?

Networking for the Books:

I have been a member of LibraryThing Early Reviewers for a while, and have recently won my first giveaway on Goodreads. These are two great places to try to get titles. NetGalley was my next big outreach. I work with digital services in my network, so this was a simple choice. E-galleys? Yes, please! I try to not request too many (and *cough* may be a bit behind at the moment) and have admitted to declining some that just didn't sit well or I could not invest myself enough into them to finish. So, I do try to be selective, as I did when I began reaching out to publishers that I was following on Twitter. The couple I have "cold emailed" have been very gracious and I have received a couple titles.

I doubt I would ever approach an author for a book, unless they pose the question first. Julie Hyzy recently was looking for reviews for her latest mystery on her blog, and although she had too many requests to fill, she did offer me her previous title in that series for review. Autographed too!

Finding Balance:

I love my blog, I truly do. But I also work full-time, am raising two kids by myself, volunteer at my church, have a house and a garden and a huge pile of knitting (oh my sad, sad, WIPs) and the last umpteen seasons of Doctor Who on Netflix Instant to watch! Where is the time to do all this and read and write blog posts?

Sometimes, you don't. One day you may decide that you are just going to crack through that pile of finished titles to review and get them all scheduled. Sometimes you won't even turn the computer on and just sit on the couch with a bowl of Haagen-Daz Bananas Foster (forget bowl, just take the whole container) and do nothing.

As I said before, that is okay. That is where the balance is. Once you can put one thing down for a while, in most cases, you will pick it back up and finish it, whether it be that draft post from last week or the laundry.

Armchair BEA:

This is the first big event I have participated in, and I have had such a fabulous time! The new bloggers I have met, new blogs to read, lessons learned and tweets to follow. I am so excited to have been a participant. Next year, if I don't make it to NY (plans are in the works already!) then I will definitely be back.

26 May 2011

Armchair BEA: Building Relationships

From Armchair BEA:
Blogging is about community, and community is about relationships. Post about a relationship you’ve formed with a particular publisher, author, blogger, or bookstore; share your thoughts and tips about connecting and building those relationships; crowd-source your questions about these relationships!
When I started this blog almost four years ago (Holy Hades, really?) I was really just trying to find a way to have a voice when I felt like I didn't. I am not a social butterfly or the one who always is on top of the latest and greatest thing. I have my loves and adorations in books, ebooks, yarn, libraries, gardening, homesteading, etc. I am not expecting to be the next Story Siren, Librarian By Day or Yarn Harlot - but I do like to share, and my work in technology has made me realize this is a positive venue for articulation and community (mostly - because sometimes venting on the blog just kind of happens!).

I know that my community has grown with the help of Twitter also. New followers and colleagues and friendships have been developed, and there I follow authors, bloggers and publishers to find out what is being published and talked about in libraries. I am a librarian, but I work in a network office now, not a library. I love my job, but I do miss the one-on-one with books and patrons (mostly). :)

I never would have gotten up the nerve to approach publishers about requesting review copies until reading other book bloggers and their experiences and advice. Without their blogs, I never would have even deigned I was good enough to approach authors such as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and ask for a fun picture, or discuss a blog tour and interview with Melissa Morgan-Oakes (coming next month). I never would have thought that I would approach local city council to express an interest in having chickens in my city and end up working on an ordinance, except by following other bloggers who helped to advocate for them too. I never thought I would start bringing my work experience into opinion posts on the blog (always knowing that my opinion on the topic is wholly my own, and doesn't reflect my employer), except by knowing that if I have an interest in the information, maybe someone else does too?

I know that commenting on blogs is important, and sometimes there will be differences of opinion. I value that, because it is nice to know for as many people that hold the same opinion as you, there are some that don't. Sometimes I even learn from that! I know that followers are a great visual judge of who is checking out what I write, yet I have figured that for every follower and actual comment I may have another dozen that don't do either. That is okay. I appreciate everyone that does follow, comment and lurk!

Honestly, I think that the only advice I have for bloggers is to be yourself and love what your blog about. I have been amazed at what holding to those two rules have brought me!

What do you think?

25 May 2011

Armchair BEA: A Few of My Favorite Blogs

I have had enough raindrops nor do I have any roses, so I promise not to sing. :)

I missed the boat on the blogger interviews, so today's post will be about some of those blogs and bloggers that I adore and are must-reads for me through each week.

Some of them I have met in person, some I know from Twitter, some I have discovered from the previous two. What I enjoy about all of these blogs is that the bloggers have smart reviews, are passionate about reading and know how to have fun! There are going to be many (oh, so many!) more blogs to add to this list after this week, but for now I will highlight the ones I have followed until now.

Abby the Librarian I discovered Abby through Stacked, and I love her reviews of children's and young adult materials. Even though my niblets are older, my own interests in buying local makes me want to run out and get To Market, To Market.

Cozy Chicks This group of mystery writers know their audience - and books! In between reviews we get peeks into the personal lives of these authors.

Dreaming in Books This high school student reviews mostly YA fiction, but ranges out to romances, chick lit and just hosted LGBTQ Voice last month.

Farmbrarian This duo reviews non-fiction works on sustainability, growing and consuming food. They have made my to-read list on farming and food grow exponentially.

Galleysmith Another Twitter comrade who has amazing literacy skills and technology background, besides writing a great book review! She is one of the organizers of the Book Blogger Convention.

Opinions of a Wolf One of my posse over at Team Unicorn, Amanda writes about books, movies, and Friday Fun at her blog.

Paperback Dolls These ladies review a lot in the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres, which are some of my favorites.

Stacked When I used to work in a public library, I was head of a teen book club and did some of the YA fiction purchasing. That was a few years ago, and my attention to the genre drifted. The bloggers at Stacked are smart readers and reviewers, and they have helped bring me back into the fold of YA reading again.

The Lesbrary Reviews and other links for lesbian-themed or -authored books. I am part of the Lebrarian Team and usually have a review at the end of each month.

Title and Statement of Responsibility Another of my Team Unicorn clan, Anna writes book reviews on varied genres, along with meditations on random topics. You can also find her discussing library collection development at Collection Reflection.

These are definitely all the book (-s and more!) blogs I read on a regular basis, but definitely some of my favorites. I am looking forward to finding lots of new ones this week! I think I will break my Google Reader.

24 May 2011

Armchair BEA: Best of 2011

While hundreds of librarians, book bloggers, and other bibliophiles are wandering the convention floor, those of us participating in ABEA are either hosting some special giveaways or taking a look at the Best of 2011. Unfortunately my first giveaway will not be ready until next month (knitters and readers take note!), so today I get to explore some of the best books that I have read or are expecting to read this year.

Some of my five-star-must-read titles this year include:



Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep and Enough Wool to Save the Planet by Catherine Friend. I loved this book just a smidge less than its predecesor, Hit By A Farm. Friend takes us to her Minnesota farm and all the exploits of rediscovering her love for it. Not only is it a great "farm tale", but a wonderful look at the passion, devotion and humor that a woman can bring into a life she wasn't expecting to be living. Plus all of us fiber fanatics will completely empathize with the author and her growing obsession with wool.







Shalador's Lady and Twilight's Dawn (Black Jewels series, #8 & #9) by Anne Bishop. One of my all-time favorite authors and series. Set in a magical world of women and men whose magic is based on their blood and their jewels, revolving around a blond haired Queen and Healer named Janelle - the living Myth. Bishop is a master (mistress?) at world-building, and beyond the nine actual books in this series, there are some short stories in anthologies floating out there. 





One title I am definitely looking forward to is Deadline (Newsflesh, #2) by Mira Grant. If you enjoy zombie stories, post-apocalyptic stories, or even sibling stories - GO. BUY. NOW! The first in this series, Feed, is available and this one is pre-ordered and waiting for Nook download. (I may have even hit the load button once or twice or thirty times *cough* to see if I could get hold of it.) I was completely sucked into Feed from the first few pages, and I am excited to see the continuation of this story.





If I could live my dream of being at BEA this year, I would be scoping out (and scooping up) some of these titles:

Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create by Renee Wilkinson. I am all for the homesteading books and looking for new, or not so new, ways to make my life more sustainable.

Urban Farming: Sustainable Living in Your Backyard, in Your Community, and in the World by Thomas J. Fox. See above!

Season To Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum. I was fortunate to actually pick up a galley of this at the Massachusetts Library Association Conference. I know how much the sense of smell is an integral part of cooking, and the story of losing it while in culinary school is one I am interested in.

I am sure there are lots of titles I am missing, but discovering them is part of fun! What you are looking forward to this year?

23 May 2011

Armchair BEA: Who Am I?

Welcome to my week at Armchair BEA! I hope that everyone is off to a great start in New York City - or at home. I will be off to work soon, and while I would rather be gathering blisters in the Jacob Javits Center, I know lots of people who will be doing that for me this week.

Today's first post is a basic introduction to who I am. I have a spun quite an intro on my About Me page, but in a nutshell I am a librarian for an automation network in MA. We help libraries come together for automation and materials resource sharing. I am in charge of a department oversees the public catalog, digital repository, downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, reference databases and website. I have my hands in a lot of technology pots (and on a lot of gadgets - I am a total gadet girl), which makes work interesting and fun because there is always something new to learn!

This blog has grown from just my personal blog to being a book blog also. When you love books, why wouldn't you want to share? I tend to review the subjects I enjoy reading for leisure or read for personal development. My fiction reviews are usually YA or urban fantasy, cozy mysteries, Regency romance, or GLBT. Non-fiction topics are knitting, cooking (cookbooks and culinary memoirs), gardening and "urban homesteading". I also review lesbian-themed or -authored books over at The Lesbrary.

When I am not working or reading, I am raising my two children and my garden. I am also spearheading an interest group to allow the keeping of chickens in my urban city. I support local industry and farms, love to knit, drink coffee and tend to lose myself for hours in used bookstores.

I am excited this week to be able to follow the other bloggers staying home and participating in Armchair BEA, along with the librarians and book bloggers who were able to head to NYC this week! I will be tuned into blogs and my Twitter feed this week for sure.

Thanks for stopping by!

22 May 2011

Armchair BEA



I have only attended BEA once. Back in 2005 I was a newbie technical services librarian in western MA, handling cataloging and acquisitions. The idea of wandering around a convention hall full of publishers, authors and like-minded people was a glorious idea to the avid reader and librarian in me. I was lucky enough to get Debbie Stoller's Stitch & Bitch Nation that year, and I also fought my way through the amazing line that developed for Neil Gaiman's first chapter of American Gods. We MA librarians are fortunate most years to have a bus funded for one day during the week to travel to NY, care of our regional library system. Sadly my schedule and parenting has not given me the chance to do it again, but I am trying to plan ahead for next year!

Getting more involved in book blogging has brought me to discover Armchair BEA, for those of us who cannot attend either BEA or the Book Blogger Convention. I am excited to be joining the many other bloggers who will be participating virtually. I will be blogging BEA-related posts, and you can get a preview of the topics here.

So this week's regular posts will be delayed a week while I participate in ABEA. Whether walking the Javits floor or curled up at home - happy reading this week!

19 May 2011

Review: Turning Point by Lara Zielinsky

Note: This was originally posted on April 28 at The Lesbrary, a lesbian book blog where I am now a monthly reviewer! Many thanks to Danika at The Lesbrary for letting me join the team.


The Book:

Hollywood has its stars: as one begins to fall, another is there to shine. Cassidy Hyland has gotten the cold shoulder from her co-star on the hit sci-fi show Time Trails, Brenna Lanigan, for long enough. Hoping that her son's birthday party will find a way to spark a connection between them, Cassidy has no idea that she will find herself longing for much more than a friendship with Brenna. From the warmth of an surprise hug to the heat on a sunlit mountain top, learning about each other brings Brenna and Cassidy closer to a truth - and a love - they never expected to find.

18 May 2011

Review: The Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson

Note: Some spoilers for previous books in the series.


The Book:

Joanna Archer has lost her sister, her powers, her troop. Determined to end the reign of the Tupla in Las Vegas, she battles to not only end its hold on the city, but to find a way back into Midheaven and save her lover, Hunter. Hunted by both the Shadow and the Light, Joanna's only hope is a bunch of rouge agents, her mortal skills and her destined role as Kairos. All she has to lose is her soul, her life, her love - and her unborn baby.

17 May 2011

Dodging Raindrops

With over a week of rain behind me, and what looks like another week ahead (sigh) I braved the grey, overcast skies on Saturday to do a little outdoor care.



First off, the jungles were taking hold of the lawn, so I pulled the lawn mower out of the shed. I never did the lawn mowing, neither while growing up or when I was married. Luckily I got the instructions on how to start it...which it didn't. So, I checked the gas tank, saw to the bottom and rectified that quickly. We were off!



Then it was time for planting. I still have my tomatoes inside until after Memorial Day, but with the trays of leeks, onions and broccoli my friend Loree gave me, I knew it was time to get those set. I also put out my zucchini and beans. With the temps in the 50s this week, I am a little more concerned about them, but we shall see what happens.

Even after two rows of each, I had plenty of the seedlings left over. I decided to pay it forward to another church friend and got those dropped off yesterday.



Then it was time to check out the rest of the plants. I finally have a bloom! I wish I could remember what this was? (Note to Self: Take better notes!)



This looks like it will be a gorgeous blue when it blossoms.



Look what I found hiding along the edge of the north fence? I do not know if they were planted by my landlord or the neighbor and they drifted? I am amazed they get enough sun. Either I need to move/cut back the bush on the other side of the fence, or more likely transfer the bulbs to the flower bed when they die back.

Rain or not, it is spring!

16 May 2011

In My Mailbox (10)

Welcome to my ninth tenth (sorry, brain lapse!) post of In My Mailbox! Hosted by The Story Siren, it is a way to showcase books received for review or won, picked up at the library, or purchased in the last week (or two). Titles link to Goodreads.

Won:




The Devil In Disguise by Stephanie Sloane. Many thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for dropping this title in my lap. 



Cozy Chicks Swag. The Cozy Chicks are a group of cozy mystery authors that blog. I have really enjoyed following this blog for the last couple of months and thank them for the opportunity for this contest! I got this great little bag and a whole bunch of bookmarks and other treats.

Borrowed:




This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. I have been reading Cat's stories since the beginning. She and Bones are a fun duo.

Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire. Amazing! Once I started I couldn't put it down. Toby grows through each story.

Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy. Cozy mystery + food = a usually irresistable book for me. This is the fourth in the White House Chef Mystery series and Ollie gets to face a new First Family.

Missed Her by Ivan E. Coyote. I was drawn by the cover and idea of fiction-from-life-experiences this book claims to be. I might review it for The Lesbrary?

Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast by Jonathan King, Jim Stott & Kathy Gunst. I have been wanting to branch out in breakfast and brunch edibles. Stonewall Kitchen has a good line of treats.

Taylor's Guide to Bulbs. The gardening continues, and bulbs are one thing I do not have planted in my garden. Yet.

Got Shade? A "Take It Easy" Approach for Today's Gardener by Carolyn Harstad. My son found a picture of our house on Google Maps, which has to be a few years old. The porch was redone by our landlord about three years ago, and you can see there used to be bushes and some type of plantings in front of it. I thought is seemed a good spot for a shade garden - and the hostas breaking through the grass seem to agree!

Purchased:

Feed and Deadline by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire of the title above). I LOVED the first of the Newsflesh series, and with Deadline being released in early June, I went ahead and bought the first and pre-ordered the second for my Nook. I am bound to pick these up in print also.

Happy Reading!

13 May 2011

Ebooks in Libraries: Is It Common Sense?

So yesterday a coworker brought me a snippet of a column from our local newspaper and said that I might be interested in the last section. I don’t get the paper anymore, nor follow it digitally (note to Self: start doing that now) but it seems to be a weekly syndicated column called On Computers which takes on different pieces of technology in a simple, “you might want to know about this” language that would certainly be read by those who may want some more information.

However, in this article he wrote about ebooks. It started off tamely with the Kindle format coming to libraries, but then went on to basically say that he and his wife have not had a good experience with ebooks in libraries because:
  • Libraries are not buying a lot of ebooks. Oh, and they are always checked out.
  • Libraries are “permitting" ebooks to be borrowed on the same model as print (one copy to one patron) and of course the computers don't care since it is a digital file and can be copied easily.
  • He opines that “after enough board meetings they’ll (aka libraries) come around to common sense”.
I was aghast, needless to say. As someone who deals with numerous libraries and our digital catalog, the thoughts about slim budgets and having NO licensing control and DRM and HarperCollins and common sense went spinning through my head. I was affronted, not only by my own knowledge but that these statements are easily disproved by a LOT of information out there. You would think that someone that is gathering information on technology would use it to fact-check some of his statements. Wouldn't that be "common sense"? I did send a (hopefully) clear and calm email with counter-arguments to his points.

However, this made me reflect some more during the day on what sort of information our patrons have about ebooks. Was this just one person’s lack of information, or is this what many of our patrons believe? What do they know beyond “the library now has ebooks”? For every patron that has expressed their support about my network’s decision to not purchase HarperCollins titles when the 26-checkout limit was put into effect, I am sure there are a dozen or more wondering why we don’t have Harry Potter ebooks (not available) or why we won’t have the latest Janet Evanovich (HarperCollins) or why we won’t buy more than six copies of a title (budget limits)? We do our best, just as the individual libraries and other networks supplying ebooks - and print books and internet and programs and everything else libraries provide - do with the funds they have.

But do patrons understand it? They see numerous print copies on the shelf of the titles they are looking for, or know they can get it from other libraries through a cooperative network or interlibrary loan. They see Amazon and Barnes and Noble supplying ebooks we don’t carry, allowing lending of copies between devices, instant wireless downloads. They do not see the licensing agreements, the staff training, the off-site process of the catalog. They may not be reading about the publishers that won't license their ebooks to libraries, or the numerous discussions in the publishing world about ebooks hurting sales because of their prices.

So, as librarians on the front line and behind the scenes, what are we responsible for? We are taught and tasked to be information providers, but of course we are not mind readers. Can we ensure our patrons know about the benefits and the limitations of ebooks in libraries? Or should we hope that everyone has a little common sense about this topic?

11 May 2011

Review: Sheepish by Catherine Friend

The Book:

Catherine Friend has gotten tired after fifteen years of sheep farming. Her writing muse has disappeared; her relationship with her partner is steady but quiet. The numbers of sheep farms has declined, while the sale of wool doesn't seem to have much of a market. Yet when all seems to point towards throwing in the towel, this is when Friend takes a good look at what she is in the middle of, and discovers what sheep are really worth.

04 May 2011

Review: The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals

The Book:

What if you could find all your sources for milk, meat, eggs, cheese and honey right in your own backyard? You don't need acre after acre of land to provide for your household. From honey bees to ducks to sheep to  cattle, The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals demonstrates that you can have a hand in your own food security.

02 May 2011

In My Mailbox (9)

Welcome to my ninth post of In My Mailbox! Hosted by The Story Siren, it is a way to showcase books received for review or won, picked up at the library, or purchased in the last week (or two). Titles link to Goodreads, authors to their website or page.

For Review/Won:


Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan.

I was told of a giveaway (by my friend Kelly at Stacked) for this book. It was one of those "first 100 people" and from all the positive talk I have heard about this title, I wasn't expecting anything from it. Lo and behold when I got home this weekend I found this in the mailbox!

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for sending this to me.

Purchased:

Do you remember my reference to The Book Bear last week (I think there was coughing involved)? A wonderful used/rare bookstore that was actually open on Easter! My girlfriend, the niblets and I went through the bookcases in our respective areas of enjoyment (my daughter came home with manga, drawing manga and a Japanese dictionary, my son with a Calvin and Hobbes book) and I was extremely pleased with the titles I found.


Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. I love McGuire's writing, both in this October Daye series and as Mira Grant with Newsflesh. Anxiously awaiting the next books!

Circle of Magic: Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce. Slowly continuing to grow this collection of books. I have read almost all of them already.


The Ursula Blanchard series by Fiona Buckley:

To Shield the Queen, The Doublet Affair and Queen of Ambition. I have adored the history of the Tudors, especially Elizabeth I, since I was in grade school. These mysteries are right up my alley.


The Dr. Nightingale series by Lydia Adamson:

Dr. Nightingale Races The Outlaw Colt, Dr. Nightingale Seeks Greener Pastures (I somehow ended up grabbing two of these), Dr. Nightingale Traps The Missing Lynx, Dr. Nightingale Follows A Canine Clue, Dr. Nightingale Rides The Elephant, Dr. Nightingale Enters The Bear Cave, Dr. Nightingale Goes To The Dogs and Dr. Nightingale Rides To The Hounds.

I read this series many years ago, while I was working in the bookstore. Mysteries starring a vet in upstate New York, I was drawn to many a familiar town in the books. There are a dozen books in the series, spanning 1994-2001, so I have a few more to find.


The Lady Appleton series by Kathy Lynn Emerson:

Face Down Across the Western Sea, Face Down Before the Rebel Hooves, Face Down Under the Wych Elm, Face Down Beneath the Eleanor Cross, Face Down Among the Winchester Geese, Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie.

More Elizabethan mysteries! I enjoy these also because Lady Susana Appleton is an herbalist and "modern" woman of her times, as her romantic involvements show through the series. Finding all of these in hardcover was a coup, although I believe the last few are only available in trade paperback. I was surprised I found all of these straight through in hardcover except for the second book, so that one I will actively search out in hardcover.

I am a little past finding matching covers and formats for my series. I think it is near impossible these days as many will switch mid-series and get redesigned covers over and over again. However, when I do have a bunch in one style, I will do my best to get as many as possible that way. Especially if I got them all in hardcover in the first place.

May your mailbox be full of books too! Happy Reading.

01 May 2011

Out of Bounds

Obviously gardening isn't always about building raised beds and starting seeds and planting rows. Sometimes nature reminds you that you can try to take charge, but you aren't going to be in control.

Oh, and that "take charge" thing isn't going to work either...




I was outside this morning cleaning up small debris from the backyard, and checking the seedlings I do have out in the raised beds. While I was picking up sticks, I noticed some really tall grass about two feet from the rasied beds.

Can you see what it is?




I really thought (and kind of hoped) my eyes were deceiving me. I got out my Chinese digging tool and started ripping up the grass around one of the tallest plants.


Yup, I was right. It's garlic.

In my backyard. Scattered among the grass and dandelions I found about a dozen plants coming up. They aren't even next to the garden bed where there was garlic!

The magic of nature.

So, do I tear up my lawn and shift them over to the bed, or let them meet their inevitable end with the lawnmower?
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