Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hour 24

Hours Spent Reading/blogging/doing mini challenges: 18
Mini Challenges Completed/Won: 12 or 13/1
Books Read: almost 9
Pages Read: 1641

Well, I'm 50 pages away from the end of Airhead by Meg Cabot.

Just a few wrap up things. I really want to thank everyone for their support for Reading is Fundamental. If I did my math right, I raised $295.41! Thank you so much!!!! I'll send reminders out when I wake up. Until then, here are my wrap-up survey questions:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

When I was reading Queen of Cool so...20-21. Which was right around the point where I had been awake for 25 hours straight.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Anything by Meg Cabot. I think the Georgia Nicolson series would be really good for this. I recommend series books because then you don't have to get used to new characters or a new writing style! Also, have lots of options so if something's just not working for you, you can pick something else up!

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Not at this time...

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I loved the Cheerleaders! Getting comments at 5 in the morning was like a shot of espresso in my energy levels! Everyone's comments on everything made it so much fun! I also really liked the mini-challenges, even though they severely cut into my reading time.

5. How many books did you read?

Almost 9!

6. What were the names of the books you read?

Lovingly Alice, Alice in Rapture Sort Of, Reluctantly Alice, All But Alice, Alice In-Between, Girl 15 Charming but Insane, The Queen of Cool, and almost all of Airhead

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Really hard to say. I'm going to go with Airhead, but that might just be because I'm so close to the end and so I'm still totally sucked into it!

8. Which did you enjoy least?

Girl, 15... but I think that just had to do with my lack of brain function while I tried to read it.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I'm all over this next time! I'll still be a reader and probably a prize donate-r. I also might host a mini-challenge and/or cheerlead! We'll see what's going on in my life when it gets scheduled!

Thanks again everyone! I'm off to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Book Cover Collage Mini Challenge

Let's see if this works...

Image hosted @ bighugelabs.com

Not really. If you click on it, you should get bigger images. I don't know why my blog won't display them nice and big but whatever... I'm too tired to fight it.

21 Hours, 40 minutes

Hours Spent Reading/Blogging/mini-challenging: 15 Hours, 40 minutes

Mini Challenges Completed/Won: 11 or 12/1

Books Read: 8

Pages Read: 1355

The Queen of Cool Cecil Castelluci

Libby, ultimate in girl, realizes that her friends are unbelievably boring and her existence is rather vapid. After signing up for an internship at the zoo, she befriends some dorks and freaks and realizes there is more to life than being popular.

Short chapters, a quick and compelling read with good main characters. It speaks volumes to Castelluci's skills that the story doesn't come across as trite or hackneyed, or like a bad after school special. Rather, the story sucks you in and we long for Libby to make the right decisions...

But this one did take me a really long time to read as I kept zoning out or briefly dozing off... just over 2 more hours. I don't know if I'll finish 2 more books in that time but let's see what happens, shall we?

Hour 20

Hours Spent Reading: 14 (ok, a lot of this also involved general messing around online, and mini challenges...)

Mini Challenges Completed/Won: 11 (12?)/1

Books Read: 7

Pages Read: 1187

Girl 15, Charming but Insane Sue Limb

Jess has a bit of a problem in the way that teens invent comedic drama where ever they go. Her best friend is a goddess. The hottest guy in school is paying attention to Jess, but doesn't seem to like like her. And her bestest mate, Fred, isn't talking to her. What can be done?

Pretty funny. I especially loved Jess's Gran, who is obsessed with death and watches all the news programmes for news of the latest tragedy, which she reports a little too cheerily.

In other news, it stormed last night, so this morning is not too hot and not too humid. I went outside and read in my hammock, which was still wet from last night's storms. Now my butt is wet. *sigh*

Ok-- I have to squeeze out 3 more books in the next 4 hours... can I do it? Stay tuned!

16 Hours, 45 Minutes

Hours Spent Reading: 10 hours, 45 minutes

Mini Challenges Completed/Won: 11/0

Books Read: 6

Pages Read: 973

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Alice In-Between Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Ah the summer before 8th grade and Alice isn't a kid anymore, but not quite a teenager and feeling like she doesn't really fit anywhere.

The age her mother dies has steadily gotten younger. In the first few books, she was 5. Then a few books ago, Alice said she was 4 or 5 when she died. Now she's saying she was 4.

Bigger things are happening in this book-- more adult things. Early on she and Lester have to rescue Crystal from an octopus man and Alice needs that knowledge later in the book.

Due to the increasing seriousness of the books, and the fact I'm sleep deprived means I keep crying when she's feeling particularly mother-less, I'm going to switch series to something a little more light-hearted.

Stay tuned!

Hour 15

Hours Spent Reading: 9

Mini Challenges Completed/Won: 9/0

Books Read: 5

Pages Read: 829

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Alice in April**Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Aunt Sally has put some ridiculous ideas in Alice's head again-- this time about being the woman of the house. Plus, the boys have decided to give all the 7th graders nicknames based on topography. Elizabeth is devastated to be Illinois. Alice just hopes she doesn't end up with Wyoming. And then there's the surprise party Alice is planning for her dad's birthday.

All I can really say about this is that the ending hit me like a Mack Truck and I really wasn't expecting it. Wow.



**For a few days, I had the book title as Alice in Lace, which is a later book in the series that I haven't read yet. I blame lack of sleep.

Haiku Mini Challenge

Ok, this mini challenge is to write a haiku or mini challenge based on one of the books you've read so far...

This one's about Alice in April, which I just finished.

Year 7-If only
Pineapple upside down cake
Were the hardest thing

Geography Mini-Challenge

So, for this challenge, I'm supposed to grab 5 facts off Wikipedia about the location of my book.

The Alice series mainly takes place in Silver Spring, MD.

Here are 5 facts:

Silver Spring lies just north of Washington, DC
It has the headquarters of the Discovery Channel
It's seen a lot of regeneration in the past 10 years
In 1840, Francis Preston Blair discovered a mica-flecked spring and built a huge mansion in the area that he called Silver Spring
The bus station at the Silver Spring metro is the busiest in all of metro DC

Now, I used to live in Silver Spring and I still go there a lot because we still have friends there and that's where my doctor is.

So, here are 5 more facts:

During Shark Week, the Discovery Channel building has a giant blow-up shark's head on one side, and a tail on the other. The other sides and roof get fins. It's pretty cool. There's also a dinosaur in the lobby that you can see when you drive past.
Everything in town is named for Blair and his descendants.
There's a giant piece of astro-turf downtown that people gather on as if it were real green space, but it's fun to see-- families haning out, teenagers on dates, kids running around.
Silver Spring as an American Film Institute movie theater, which gets some really cool movies.
If you're going to downtown DC, it's faster to take the metro than to drive, not even factoring in the headaches of trying to park in downtown DC.

Hope you learned something!

13 Hours, 15 minutes

Hours Spent Reading/Blogging: 7 hours, 45 minutes

Mini Challenges Completed/Won: 8/0

Books Read: 4

Pages Read: 655

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

All But Alice Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Alice is one of the beautiful people, but who knew that being popular was so... boring? Plus, it means leaving some friends behind...

Some comments:

Ok, what the !@#$ is up with all the freak-out over pierced ears? I can understand waiting until you have it done, or even limiting the types of earrings, but seriously? All the adults disapproving because it's bad? Really? You'd think Aunt Sally, who's always trying to girl Alice up would be all gung-ho, not all "you're going to get blood poisoning and DIE" about it! I can understand the "make sure it's sterile" thing but... Dad and Lester and Aunt Sally and all the adults being so horrified and shocked? Seems weird.

Poetry Mini-Challenge

Ok! Another Mini Challenge, this one from 1330V again!

Keeping with this weeks Poetry Friday theme, I'm going to go with more Classical Chinese poetry, because I love it.

I Leave Town to See a Friend Off and, Missing Him, Stroll by the Stream

by Su Shi (1037-1101)

The friend I came to see off has already gone,
The flowers I hoped to find have not yet bloomed;
But rather than return to town
I stroll beside the stream,
Till an old man greets me
And asks where I have been.
After a good rain and snow this year,
They look forward to a thousand stacks of wheat.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mini Challenge Survey

1. What are you reading right now?

All but Alice Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

2. How many books have you read so far?

3

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Dangerously Alice, but I don't know I'll get to it.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

Well, I did have to work all afternoon, but I am skipping a party tonight, but that also means that I have the house to myself

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

Nope

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

How much time I'm spending on mini-challenges instead of reading! Also, the amount of comments I've been getting-- it's really awesome and fun!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Not yet.

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?

Take the day off work! And not get my hair cut the day before-- I haven't figured out a good way to get it out of my eyes when lying down yet...

9. Are you getting tired yet?

It's after 11 here. Yes. But I think that Full Throttle slushie is starting to kick in and I'll brew up some coffee later...

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

Well, I have a really peppy radio station playing on Pandora right now. (I put in Puffy AmiYumi as my artist and this station is AWESOME.) But the happiness of it is helping me stay awake, plus it's giving me something to occasionally jump up and around to. :)

Button Mini Challenge

Well, here's my first attempt at making a button! I hope you like it!


Hour 10 and 15 minutes

Hours read: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Number of books read: 3

Number of pages read: 514

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Reluctantly Alice Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Well, 7th grade has started, and every thing's different and harder, both academically and personally. Alice already has an enemy that's making her life hard but no matter what, her personal problems are nothing like her dad's and Lester's romantic woes!

Seriously though, Alice needs to stop taking advice from Aunt Sally. Geez. And stop talking to Lester's girlfriends on the phone...

Anyway, I just want to say how much I freaking love Pandora, which you need to check out if you haven't yet.

The new challenge is to make a button. I've never made a button, but I think I'll try!

Hour 8 and a bit

Hours Spent Reading: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Books read: 2
Pages read: 332


Alice in Rapture, Sort Of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Having a boyfriend is so hard! Especially when there's kissing involved! What if you just ate garlic pizza?!

The thing about being twelve is that you bawl a lot... Between the sixth and seventh grades, something happens to your eyes. They water a lot. I think it's so you can get all the watering out the way before you start wearing mascara. pp.160-161

There'll probably just be more plot summary, less reviewing until tomorrow when I'll review the series as a whole. Unless, of course, I feel like yelling at some characters a la Princess Diaries, which is rather likely, especially as I become more sleep deprived.

Anyway, the mini-challenge right now is to go take a walk, so I'm off to 7-11 to get a slushie. Yummy.

Hour 6 and 15 minutes

Hours Spent Reading: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Books Read: 1
Pages Read: 166

So, I finished up Lovingly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor!

It's Alice's 5th grade year and things aren't going so well. First of all Sara moved away without telling everyone-- rumor has it her family has been evicted. And everyone's being mean to Rosalind because she's fat. Things just go down hill from there.

Naylor has a way of capturing the bittersweetness of childhood. The confusion and giggles over where babies come from, the hurt involved in popularity...

I do like this series.

Another Mini Challenge

So, for this challenge, hosted by 1330V, you have to grab one of your favorite books and list one of your favorite quotations.

Here's a secret. My favorite books is As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. I think it's really funny. I fully blame Mr. Edwards for that. He taught it as funny. Later teachers and professors have taught it as tragic, but really, it's hysterically funny in a midnight-dark comedy sort of way.

Plus, it has some beautiful writing in it.

"It takes two people to make you, and one people to die. That's how the world is going to end." p.39

"In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were... How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home." p.80-81

"My mother is a fish." p.84 (That has to be one of the funniest and at the same time, most tragic sentences in American literature, even though it's neither without the context. But it's the entire chapter, and that once sentence fills the page in its loneliness and finality as one little boy tries to make sense of the death of his mother.)

"He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others; just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn't need a word for that anymore than for pride or fear...

Anse. Why Anse. Why are you Anse. I would think about his name until after a while I could see the word as a shape, a vessel, and I would watch him liquefy and flow into it like cold molasses flowing out of the darkness into the vessel, until the jar stood full and motionless: a significant shape profoundly without like like an empty door frame; and then I would find that I had forgotten the name of the jar." 172-73

And now, a joke via Prof. Hewitt:

Why did Addie cross the river?
To get Anse out of her pants!

Mini Challenge 2

Still at work, but I did read 65 pages of Lovingly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor over my lunch break.

And now it's time for Nymeth's Web-Comic mini-challenge.

I read a lot of xkcd, which is a comic my friends often link to, but I haven't really read before. Hysterical. But only if you're geeky or hang out with too many geeks, like I do. Geek love in stick figure format... oh yeah.

Web comics I also enjoy: Unshelved and Piled Higher and Deeper, and Garfield minus Garfield.

Introductory Meme aka Mini Challenge 1

Well, I haven't started reading yet (lunch is at 1:30) but I can do my first mini challenge right? Right.

Where are you reading from today?

The break room at work, and then my house in Arlington VA. If it cools down enough tonight, some reading will be don in the hannock.

3 facts about me …

I'm tall (5' 8.5")
I like to take baths and read in the bathtub.
Even though I'm a librarian, I still spend all my money on books and have more books than shelving.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

Um... 50+ Not that I'll touch them. I'm hoping to make a good dent in the Alice McKinley series (of which there are 23, but I've already read 3, and the latest book isn't in yet...) But I have others for backup in case Alice starts to annoy me or something... lots and lots of books.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

Based on how I did for the 48 hour challenge, I'm hoping to go the full 24 hours (but because of work, that'll be, like 18 hours). I'm aiming for 10 books.

Any advice for people doing this for the first time?

I didn't do this one last year, but based on other challenges... have finger food ready, do some jumping jacks when you get sleepy, make sure you have plenty of coffee, drink lots of water, if you're not getting into a book, or if it's slow, put it down and pick something else up. You can always pick the other book back up on Monday!

Reading Derby has the challenge!

Ready... Set...

What a great turn out for yesterday's Poetry Friday!

Well, the Read-a-Thon starts in 1.25 hours for me over on the East Coast.

So far, people have donated $33.34, plus $.11 for every page I read, $.06 for every hour I read, and $10.06 for every book I read.

There's still time to donate to support Reading is Fundamental-- a great organization that gives free books to kids. Kids need books. If you want to donate, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email at kidsilkhaze at yahoo dot com.

Anyway, until then... I'm just prepping for this week's storytime.

Also, I got my hair cut yesterday. Pictures will be forthcoming, but I lost a lot of length and now my head feels all unbalanced. But cute. :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Poetry Friday!



Welcome to Poetry Friday! It's my first time hosting, but I think after some initial scufflawing in the sandbox, Mr. Linky and I are now friends...

So... first some poetry and then the round-up!

There's this story that says during the Ming Dynasty, the scholar-official Zhao Mengfu wanted to take a concubine and wrote a poem to gauge his wife's reaction:

I'm a scholar-official
and you are the official wife.
Haven't you ever heard that scholar-official Wang had Peach Leaf and Peach Root,
Scholar-official Su had Morning Clouds and Evening Clouds?
Even if I marry a few beauties from Wu and Yue--it wouldn't be too much
since you're already over forty.
You'll still control Spring in the Jade Hall.

Zhao's wife, Guan Daosheng, wrote this poem in response:

You and I
have too much passion.
Where the passion is, is hot like fire
I knead a piece of clay into a you
and a me
then smash them
and mix them with water.
Again I knead it into a you
then a me.
There is you in my clay,
and me in your clay.
I'll share your quilt while we live
and your coffin after death.

He didn't take a concubine.

Both poems are from The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry: From Ancient to Contemporary, The Full 3000-Year Tradition ed. Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping

Leave your Poetry Friday links below!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Apparently, Teenage Girls Make the BEST Spies...

You know how I said I was doing a lot of spy book reading lately? Yeah. This is a really long post.

First up,


Down to the Wire Shannon Greenland

Y'all know I loved the first in this series, Model Spy. The Specialists are back, but this time, it's Wirenut's case.

But GiGi is still narrating. The action starts with how Wirenut was conned into joining the Specialists, and then jumps to Gigi's narration of the action picking up where the last book left off. It's a little weird.

Basically, the guy who hacked Wirenut's family to death is hiding some top-secret biological weapon in the handle of the sword that was used to hack his family to death. Wirenut's the only one who can break into the museums to get the clues to lead to the sword, GiGi's the only one who can decode the clues...

Murder. Mayhem, some girls, some kissing, and a whole lot of David-related angst.

All the techno babble is utter crap, and the countries are made up but... I still get totally sucked into these books and can't wait for the rest of the series. Excellent titles for reading while lying in the hammock on a hot day.

The Squad: Perfect Cover Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Toby Klein is the ultimate slacker, so why is she being invited to try out for Varsity Cheerleading?! Something weird is going on, especially since Toby's cheer invites are being written in code.

Fast forward. Toby's on the squad, only cheerleading is a cover for a group of elite teen CIA operatives. Cheerleaders are peppy and dumb, right? Wrong, but it's the perfect cover for girls like Toby with ninja-like martial arts skills and hacker skills to beat GiGi's from The Specialists. Sadly, being on the squad means getting a Level 6 makeover (which means that the cheerleading twins have come in and completely replaced Toby's closet.) Sure, her new trendy belt buckle doubles as a camera, but her new highlights are just that, highlights. And Toby's dorky brother? In loooooooooooooooooove with cheerleaders and thinks he is quite the ladies man. (He's not.)

Toby is now one of those girls. Yes, catching terrorists is cool, but she does still have to learn how to do pyramids and something called a herkie...

Here's why I love this: The technology is vaguely plausible (in that James Bond way). Also, Toby does NOT appreciate going from invisible girl to overnight in-crowd. She doesn't handle it well. Toby's voice is perfect sarcasm. I love her.

Example (Hayley is pissed off that she didn't make the squad and Toby did. She's been spreading gossip and the rest of the squad keeps telling Toby to ignore it.):

"Well, I heard that she's a complete lezbo who's sleeping with one of the other girls on the squad. Can you say casting couch?"

I had to hand it to Hayley Hoffman. She was creative and she must have had an excellent command of acoustics, because she pitched her voice just loud enough so that I could hear her, but not loud enough that Tara, Bubbles, or April could. I thought about just sucking it up and taking my place at the center table, but I couldn't quite bring myself to turn the other cheek, because the fact that Hayley was using that particular term as an insult meant that her words weren't just insulting me. With that in mind, I waled toward the JV table, ready to draw blood, metaphorically speaking. Probably.


That awesome, awesome voice continues in:


The Squad: Killer Spirit Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Check it out:

Less than an hour ago, all I'd wanted was detention. Now, I was nominated for homecoming court and going to the big dance with the hottest guy in the school. Somewhere out there, God was laughing at me. I was sure of it.

And that sets up the plot. There are a ton of baddies in town, and the Squad isn't the only crew tracking them. The Big Guys keep trying to take away the case and Brooke's trying to keep control. Plus, Toby's on homecoming court and Noah's trying to do anything possible to make her queen. Someone's trying to kill Toby. If the mission succeeds and Toby survives, Brooke will take her out if she steals the crown... what's a cheerleader to do?

What I liked about this is the stakes were a little higher, but we also learned some info on Brooke that rounded her out a bit as a character.

I'm looking forward to future volumes, but can't find if any are forthcoming... :(


I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan goes to en elite boarding school. Everyone else thinks it's where the daughters of the country's richest go, but really, it's a boarding school for spies in training.

They only take the best and the brightest and they take classes in foreign language and covert operations. When they grow up, the NSA and CIA are ready to take them.

Cammie Morgan may speak over 14 languages, but none of them is "boy." When she starts falling for a boy from town, it's up to her and her friends to use all their training to find out if he likes her not.

This is fun. I really like that Cammie and Co. don't go on any missions to save the world. Unlike these other books, where kids are thrown into hardcore situations with only a month or two of training, Cammie is getting a complete education and not going on any serious missions until then.

Not that she can't find other uses for her skills...


Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy Ally Carter

After what happened last semester, something new is coming to Gallagher Academy. Boys. Boys will be taking classes and training with the girls.

But who are these boys and why are they really here? And who's been leaking Gallagher information to the outside world?

And what could be more mortifying than running into your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend while you're wearing a comms unit that your entire class and teacher can hear over?!

If you liked the first, you'll like this. More action, more intrigue, even though I guess the ending, I still liked reading it.

James Bond, you're on. Girls are coming to get you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Fairy Tales...

Last night, I met up with a very good friend of mine from college. Such a good friend, that after working the closing shift at the library I was willing to go to a neighborhood that is too trendy for its own good to have a late dinner and drink.

It was AWESOME. Not the neighborhood where you can't find parking even at 10pm on a Monday, but just hanging out with John for a few hours.

This week looks fun. Today's the my only day shift at work and tonight we're going to a favorite bar that's closing down. On Friday I'm a first-time host of Poetry Friday. While waiting for your poems to roll in, I'll be getting my hair cut. I think I'm going to loose some length, but not too much length? I don't know. My stylist and I will consult. Then on Saturday-Sunday is the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon! Yay! I've been happily surprised at the generosity of people in sponsoring me to help raise money for Reading is Fundamental. I have to work until 5 that day, but I'll start reading on my lunch hour! And in my break! And then all night and all morning. READING IS FUN.

And here are some more entries from the Once Upon a Time... series published by Simon Pulse.


The Storyteller's Daughter Cameron Dokey

My favorite of this batch of three (though I will say Night Dance was a very close second).

Once upon a time, there was a king who was betrayed by his queen, and determined not to love, or trust again.

Once upon a time, there were five brothers who used to be princes of a vanquished kingdom. They have vowed revenge on their king for the death of their sister, the traitorous queen.

Once upon a time, there was a blind girl, the daughter of the vizier and storyteller, a girl destined to be the greatest storyteller in history.

Once upon a time, our stories met and wove themselves into one story of love, betrayal, court intrigue, and of telling stories to make a point.

Dokey's retelling of The Arabian Nights focuses less on the many stories of Shahrazad, and more on how she came about her storytelling ability,why the king decided to behead his brides, and how their love grew. (But we do get some of her tales) Overall, a gripping story.

Also, too often in the Once Upon a Time... series, it's love at first sight, and attraction without basis. Reading too much of that in a row (like I did) gets old quickly, so I really appreciated that Shahrazad and Shahrayar's love grew in the normal fashion, when neither of them was paying attention.

The only con? The main character's name is Shahrazad, so her name appears multiple times on a page and every time I read it, my brain started singing "Friend Like Me" from the Aladdin Soundtrack

Well Ali Baba had them 40 thieves, Scheherazade had a thousand tales. Master you're in luck 'cuz up your sleeve, you've got a brand of magic that never fails! You've got some power in your corner now, some ammunition in your can, you've got oomph, pizazz something something something, all you gotta do is rub that lamp and I'll say "Mr. Aladdin sir, what will your pleasure be? Let me take your order, jot it down! You ain't never had a friend like me...
WHY DO I KNOW THAT?

Anyway... moving on.


The Night Dance Suzanne Weyn

In this volume, Weyn blends the "Twelve Dancing Princesses" with Arthurian Legend. In this case, the princesses in question are the daughters of Vivienne, Lady of the Lake and a mortal man. 12 years ago, Vivienne was trapped by Morgan Le Fey, and her husband, Sir Ethan, has trapped his daughters in their home ever since.

The youngest, Rowena has found a way out through the fence which sets in motion a quest to save their mother, a quest that Morgan Le Fey will do anything to stop. So across the enchanted lake where their mother is held, Morgan sends boats and ball gowns on Satyrs as dates for the girls to go dancing.

Meanwhile, Sir Bedivere is searching for an enchanted lake, having promised a dying King Arthur he would return Excalibur...

It all comes to a head when Sir Ethan demands to know how his daughters silk slippers get so worn every night and offers a contest-- the first man to figure out where his daughters are going will have his choice in marriage...

A wonderful blending of the two stories, and a great re-imagining of the tale. I liked it just as much as Wildwood Dancing.


Scarlet Moon Debbie Viguie

Ruth had no choice but to help her father in his blacksmith shop after her brother went off to the crusades. The villagers don't like Ruth's trousers, ropey arms, or men's work, but William, the Earl of Lauton doesn't mind. He likes her quick wit. He likes that she can take of herself.

At every chance she can, Ruth takes supplies to her grandmother's house in the woods--where she's been banished for suspected witchcraft. Still, Ruth knows the woods well enough to fear them.

For it's no ordinary wolf that stalks through the trees, and William has a secret that makes him want to push Ruth far, far way...

I really liked the whole werewolf concept and I loved Ruth's grandmother, but the ending was really rushed and was a let down after such a great start.


I've been reading a lot of spy novels this week, so stay tuned for that!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Secret Life of Librarians...

This weekend I... read 6 books, cleaned the house, hosted a party, went to see Emmylou Harris in concert, watched some TV, saw Big Rig, and spent a lot of time messing around on the internet.

It was a good weekend.

Let's talk about 3 of the books I read this weekend. We're going to slightly stretch "nonfiction" here. (Amazon is not playing with me right now. Linkies and pictures will come later)


Princess Lessons Meg Cabot

Told from the point of view of different characters from the popular Princess Diaries series, this book gives pointers on how to be the perfect princess. Everything is covered from how to write an excellent thank-you note, to posture, to how to defend yourself if your bodyguard is otherwise occupied. We hear from Grandmere, Lars, Lilly, Tina, Michael, and a host of others, all with Mia's commentary. Plus, movie lists by Mia and Lilly.

A fun companion volume for die-hard fans of the series.


Perfect Princess Meg Cabot

Once again, a companion volume to Princess Diaries. This on is cataloged as fiction though. In it, Mia, Grandmere, Michael et al. go through and list princesses through history, myth, legend, and pop culture and Mia gleans a lesson that can be learned from each. Every one from Elizabeth the 1 to Xena is covered in each characters voice and fashion.

There's also a fun rundown of who's a princess and who isn't (Britney Spears and Strawberry Shortcake are NOT princesses).

An irreverent and fun look at girl royals of all stripes.


Holiday Princess> Meg Cabot

The Library of Congress says this is nonfiction. My library, however, says it's fiction.

Focusing mainly on Christmas, with quick nods to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year, Mia and co. tell us how to shop for boys and how Christmas is celebrated around the world, covering New York, Genovia, and everywhere in between. Also, Mia and Lilly's top holiday movies, the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne, and lots of holiday crafting fun...

Over all, these three companion volumes are fun additions to the series, with every character playing their part, but nothing I'd ever use for research!

Picture Book of the Day has the roundup!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Poetry Friday



Graduation

Today is Mom's graduation
from Tidewater Community College
with her associates in business
and landscape design.
She's the first ever
in our family
to get a degree.

Gran dropped out
in eighth grade to help on the farm
when her brothers got called up
for the war.
When they never came back
Gran gave up her dream
of being a stewardess---
and traveling all over the world.

But someday
I'll buy us a flight to France
and we'll sit under the Eiffel Tower
sharing a croissant.

From the prose novel

Reaching for Sun Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Everything is changing for Josie. McMansions have reduced her family farm to an elaborate garden with a small house and is increasingly out of place in their neighborhood.

Her mom has gone back to school to get her degree business and landscape design.

Plus, she's decided she's done with occupational therapy for her cerebral palsy. It makes her look weird and talk funny, going to the therapy that will never fix it just further alienates her from her classmates.

And then, a new boy moves into the neighborhood, a new boy that just might be a friend.

Josie's story is one of trying to find your place in the world. The story is less about her disability and more about growing up. Zimmer's free verse follows Josie through the year, with most of the focus on Summer, when a lot of big changes take place.

I also appreciated the light drawing of a an iris on the side of the page, which grew and bloomed with the seasons. I'm noticing more and more of these subtle things in books, not in the writing, but in the design. Is this becoming more common, or as I read more graphic novels and picture books, am I just paying more attention to things besides the actual text?

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award.

Semicolon has the roundup!

Help Me.

Last night was one of those nights when I'm super happy to be living in a real neighborhood. I went to take the trash out and it took me an hour, because my neighbor on the left side was talking to her neighbors on her left side, and then I joined the conversation.

We talked about everything neighbors talk about-- the wacky transformer that cuts power to half our houses (not that half the people on the block don't have power, but everyone on the block only has power in half their house. I am not making this up.) our gardens, the weather, commutes, people who keep parking in our driveways, and who's moved out and who's moved in.

The neighbors 2 doors down have kids who are finishing up their school year. Their oldest daughter just finished 6th grade (it's a 6-7-8 middle school) and is heartbroken because they've been told they won't be getting Reading is Fundamental next year due to budget issues. 5 times during the school year, the children in my neighborhood got to pick out free books to keep. This is a 12 year old girl who loves to read right at the age when we start to lose our heavy readers to other things. She will no longer be getting her free books to help feed her habit.

This broke my heart, but was a timely story in that weird way that life seems to work.

Next weekend, I'm participating in Dewey's 24-Hour-Read-a-Thon, which benefits Reading is Fundamental. I am asking for your sponsorship.

After listening to this young woman's sadness at no longer having RIF in her school, it just strengthened my convictions in how important this is. So, THANK YOU to those who have already signed up to help.

This is an organization that should be expanding the number of children they serve, not having to cut schools out of their efforts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hello, Ginger Beef? I'd like to make an order for delivery please...

First things first-- did you hear these guys on Morning Edition yesterday? Yes, I am that dorky that I get music recs from NPR. SHUT UP. I want that CD. Well, it's cheaper if I buy it in MP3 form... anyway...

ALSO! Reasons it is hard to be at work today:
1. It is sunny and nice out. Not too hot. We may even turn off the AC and open the windows tonight!
2. Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince is on my doorstep. RIGHT NOW. Too bad my doorstep is a federal district and 1 state away.

And now, a story.

Setting: A dorm room in Nanjing, December 2000

Lauren, an American college student has just gotten a package of Christmas presents from her parents. Several American and Chinese students have just finished decorating the mini-Christmas tree that was included. Lauren is now opening her presents. She opens up a Chinese take out box full of colored fortune cookies from a Van Gogh exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Xiao Mao: Oooo! These are really tasty! Wait! There's paper in here! What is this?
Jennie: Oh. It's a quotation from Van Gogh. Usually they're kinda brown and they have a fortune or a quotation from Confucius.
Xiao Mao: Why on earth are your desserts quoting Confucius?!
Jennie: Well, you get them for dessert at Chinese restaurants.
Xiao Mao: THESE AREN'T CHINESE!!!
Jennie: They were invented in Chinatown. That box [the goldfish takeaway box] is what you get Chinese or other Asian food in.
Xiao Mao: Really?! What does Italian food come in?
Jennie: Um... a styrofoam container like you get from Aiye's [what we called the restaurant next door]

What's really cool is, at the time, that conversation took place in Chinese, which I couldn't do now.

Anyway, that's all windup to my review of the most wonderful

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food Jennifer 8. Lee

Before you read this book, make sure you have the phone number of your local Chinese delivery place handy. TRUST ME.

In this book, Lee explores 3 major things: the history of fortune cookies (actually, they're Japanese and internment had a big role in making them a Chinese restaurant favorite), the phenomenon that is Chinese-American food (as opposed to authentic Chinese food), and how Chinese-American food shapes the Chinese immigrant experience and vice versa.

Very readable and fascinating, Lee's journey starts with what happened when an unexpectedly large amount of people got 5 out of 6 numbers right on the Powerball lottery. Turns out they were playing fortune cookie numbers.

Lee traces Chinese restaurants around the world, sometimes following the cookies, sometimes the workers, sometimes the food. She has essays on the evolution of Chop Suey and General Tso's chicken (both very American dishes, while Kung Pao chicken is "authentic" Chinese.) She talks about the advent of delivery and the quest to find the greatest Chinese restaurant in the WORLD. She delves into crimes committed on Chinese deliverymen in New York, and how most Chinese restaurants in the states are staffed from an agency under the Manhattan Bridge. Plus, a great examination on why Jewish people love Chinese food and the story of the Great Kosher Duck Scandal in 1989.

Random things I learned:

There are 2 Chinese restaurants for every McDonald's in the US
Almost all fortunes are written by just 2 guys
Cheap Chinese restaurants in South America are called chifa (chee-fah) which is derived from the Chinese words chi fan (chir fan) which means "to eat food"
Almost all of those little soy sauce packets are made by 1 company and don't have soy in them.

The writing is engaging and accessible, but well-researched. I highly recommend it, but just plan on having Chinese for dinner.

Written for adults, but teens will like it too. As long as you feed them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fairy Tales revisited

The 12th Bookworms Carnival is online! The theme is fairy tales...

Originally, I was going to submit 2 posts, the one I did submit, and this one that you're reading now. So, here are some more fairy tales, all of which are from the Once Upon a Time series.

Water Song Suzanne Weyn

Emma is British aristocracy, trapped at her mother's Belgium estate in the middle of WWI.

Jack is an American, fighting with the British. When he becomes a chlorine gas victim, all he can think of is that water will stop the burning, which is how he ended up in the bottom of Emma's well.

Taken prisoner by the Germans, some quick thinking by Emma will save them, but only for so long.

I was wondering how they were going to redo the Frog Prince. There isn't a lot of magic in this book, with the exception of Jack, who can commune through dreams with his dead mother, who was a medicine woman in the Louisiana swamps. What she taught him, and what she teaches him save not only Jack and Emma, but their friends as well.

Overall, it was really well done. I liked how it was more realistic/historical fiction than fantasy, but was still very much a fairy tale. Also, you don't see enough Frog Prince retellings.


Before Midnight Cameron Dokey

Once upon a time, there was a couple who were very much in love. But, when the woman died during childbirth, the new father spurned his infant, leaving her in the care of servants, while he tried to forget.

Then, one day sixteen days later, a woman and two daughters arrive at the large stone house, the new bride of the long-absent lord of the manor. Pawns in court intrigue, they never realize the servant girl is actually their step-daughter/sister. Victims to a feuding king and queen, they feel banished and are too wrapped up feeling sorry for themselves to actually be nice...

What I really like about this is how the evil stepmother and sisters had believable motivations for the cruelty, and how there was a thaw in relations. They are much more rounded characters than you usually see with Cinderella stories.

Golden

This Rapunzel starts the same as the others-- a pregnant woman craves the next-door neighbor's Rapunzel. Her husband steals if for her, invoking the wrath of the sorceress (or witch) who owns the burgled garden.

But, in this version, there is one difference. The sorceress says she will take the child if there is no room in her mother's heart. There isn't, for the baby is bald. She will never grow hair.

But bald Rapunzel and the sorceress live a happy life in a cottage, far from the fearful village--they fear the magic and Rapunzel's deformity. But then the fear becomes too great and they must flee...

And you're asking, what about the girl in the tower with all the hair? And yes, it's there, but I can't say anything more or it will give too much away.

I liked how the sorceress wasn't evil, but Dokey likes to talk about the "face of love" as it appeared in both of her books I reviewed today. It was good, but not my favorite of this batch. (My favorite, I think, being Water Song.)

Oooo! I wanna play!

Saw this on Becky's Book Reviews and thought I'd play, too. It's a photo-meme!

Image hosted @ bighugelabs.com

1. It wasn't enough for Sheila to be taller., 2. Popcorn´s house, 3. Fox River, 4. teatime, 5. Colin Firth revisited, 6. "Just call me Bubbles darling, everyone does!", 7. The prayers, 8. creme brulee cocktail, 9. Ci sei dentro, 10. What's Left Of The Night, 11. Come on, 12. swallowtail shawl variation

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into flickr search.

b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush/hero?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Everyone should do this, so if you haven't, you're tagged! ha!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Afternoons...

I have been spending a lot of time these past few days thinking about Iowa. Molly and Kelly say it better than I could, though.

I also have a post over on Geek Buffet about how kids are using the internet to further their reading experience...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And now to your regularly scheduled programming...

Dan got back from his business trip yesterday.

Me: Hey! So, I ended up winning the 48 Hour Challenge for most hours read!
Him: How many hours did you end up doing?
Me: Um... 42
Him: Yeah... some people have lives.

And just to prove that I really, really don't have a life, I've already read 3.5 books since then...

So let's review one of them, shall we? Ok.

Alice in Blunderland Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

This is one of the Alice prequels.

Alice is in 4th grade and things aren't going so well. Lester tells her that they're really escaped Russian royalty and that her real name is Alicia Katerina de Balencia Blunderbuss Makinoli. When she tells her friends at school this, she finds out that "blunderbuss" means someone who messes everything up.

Alice thinks that sums her up perfectly. Whether she's accidentally messing up Lester's chances with the ladies or having a very loud stomach at a slumber party, she can't do anything right. She's pretty sure that Lester would trade her for almost anything.

Then she and Lester mess up so badly, they have to get a horrible housekeeper!

4th grade has to be the worst year yet!

I love Alice and I'm really looking forward to growing up with her. Naylor remembers the agonizing details of the age and renders them with humor, but well enough that we all can cringe along with Alice.

The Alice series has been around since I was in elementary school and there's a reason they're still heavily in print! I really recommend them for kids and for adults, especially fans of Clementine or Ramona who are looking to move up to harder (and edgier)* books.

Not that I'd really call the early Alice books edgy, especially the prequels. But this one does feature Alice learning about babies and wondering about babies growing inside you. Not sex so much, but babies. The first book in the proper series The Agony of Alice deals with periods and stuff. Presumably they'll deal with even bigger issues as Alice goes through junior high and high school. I'll keep you updated as I read them!
adfa

Why I Blog

Did you read the post on Chasing Ray yesterday about building credibility? Very interesting stuff that's worth taking a look at.

Which brings back the question of why do you blog. I'll be straight up honest here. I would like to be a book reviewer and I plan to apply for some reviewing jobs when I graduate in December so I look fully accredited. (This will coincide nicely with my 3rd anniversary in children's services. And the 4th anniversary of this blog.)

This blog reviews books, yes, but not in the same way it would for something more serious. You can tell there's usually a difference in what I write for The Edge of the Forest and what I write here. Why?

Well, I started this blog after being a part of the knitting blog community, which is one big conversation. I was looking at the adaptation of Persuasion to Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and then how that changed again with the movie. My big complaint being that the movie stripped out all of the book's parallels to the original Austen. I never actually blogged about this, but that was what inspired me. My first blog posts were on my irritation on bad transliteration.

Over the years, it's changed a bit. I decided I wanted to blog every book I read. I found the kidlit community, so now the discussion I was looking for is really happening. People actually read this thing now.

Yes, I harbor secret fantasies of having a bajillion people a day read this thing and somehow make it my sole job. But, I also harbor fantasies of someone spotting me in a coffee shop and asking me to star in a romantic comedy opposite Colin Firth. A girl can dream, right?

I like the fact that this medium means I can write an in-depth review of something. I also like that it gives me the chance to state my opinions on how much I want to smack certain characters (Like JP in Princess on the Brink.) I like that I can just gush about a book. I like that I can be as formal or as informal as my mood strikes me.

Readers know that there aren't a lot of negative reviews on here. Honestly, when it comes to books, I'm pretty easy to please. My positive reviews might not say much, but I like to think my negative reviews do. I don't know.

So, then it comes down to the ARCs. Do I like ARCs? Yes. I like it when people want to send me their book to review. Dude. I like books. The vast, vast, vast majority of the books on this site are books that someone recommended or looked interesting when I ran across them in the library or bookstore. I *always* say where a book came from if it wasn't something I picked up on my own volition.

I don't blog for the ARCs. I blog for me. I blog for the fun of it. I blog so at the end of the year, I remember what I read and what I thought about it. I blog for the community-- I love non-fiction Monday and Poetry Friday and things like the 48 Hour Challenge.

So, yes. That's why I blog. Do I have credibility? I hope so. I strive to be very transparent and up-front about things. I'm not one of the top blogs, I know. I'm cool with that. But hopefully I'm a fun blog to read.

I'll get back to reviewing things soon, I promise.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

48 Hour Wrap Up + 24 Hour info

Alright, I'm insane and didn't sleep all weekend. And when I woke up on Monday at 12:00 (I didn't have to work until 1, and I had gone to bed at 9 on Sunday) I still felt like I had been run over by a MACK truck. Apparently flying to Iowa and back last weekend, a few days of Code Red air days and no sleep = sinus and ear infection. So I didn't go to work yesterday which is very, very poor form. BAD JENNIE. Also, there is definitely a point of diminishing returns. I probably could have read the same amount if I had slept because the lack of sleep was messing with my reading speed and comprehension.

But it was fun.

Anyway, today I'm adding pictures and things to my 48 hour posts, I'm also going to be posting some things on my spoiler blog because I have a lot of opinions on where Princess Diaries left off.

ALSO! The 24 Hour Read-a-thon is coming up in 2 weeks.

This one is a little different--

1. Everyone reads for the same 24 hours (1:59 11:59 Saturday afternoon to 1:59 11:59* Sunday afternoon if you're on the East Coast like me.)
2. You can read anything you want.
3. Instead of fame and glory, this one's for charity (Reading is Fundamental.)

SO! I'm asking for sponsors to help me for this. There are a few ways to sponsor me.

You can just donate a lump sum. Or, you can donate based on how I do.

I will personally be donating $.03 for every book, hour and page I read. Based on this past weekend, I'm expecting that to be around $60-$70.

I've already received some sponsors, so including my own donation, I will be raising $.08 for every page I read, $.06 for every book, and $.06 for every hour.

If you would like to help me raise money for this worthy cause, please email me at kidsilkhaze (at) yahoo (dot) com.

**Edited to correct times. I can't read a time zone map.

Anyway, some further thoughts on books. I think I forgot to mention that Pure Dead... talks about poop. A lot. Mainly dragon poop. And baby poop. And how Yetis like to eat poop. This can either be a turn off or a selling point, depending on your audience.

Also, it was obviously written by a mother. There is a lot in here for adults poking fun at childhood foibles that kids won't get. But, for kids, there's poop. Lots and lots of poop. And talking crocodiles.

Also, the character of Ffup was interesting. I'm still not keen on how her personality totally changed when she found out she was a girl. I also think her as a teenage mother was odd, because she was very much a teenager and not ready for a child, even if she was 600 years old.

All in all, it was just very, very British. British children's books are always much more adult than American children's books are.

UPDATE:

Also, I wanted to add how much I love Mia's dorkiness. She talks in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings similes. And she rights Battlestar Galactica fanfic. And is an expert on Lifetime movies, much like my friend Sarah.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hour 48

Hours read/blogging: 42 Hours

Number of books read: 19.25 books

Number of pages read: 4364

Well, at hour 48 I'm a little more than 1/4 of the way through Alice in Blunderland by Phylis Reynolds Naylor.

I'm also incredibly sleepy. In the past 48 hours, I got 5 consecutive hours of sleep. I got another 30 minutes taken in random instances of dozing off (about 5-10 minutes each) plus there was another 30 minutes of random cooking, laundry, and trying to put the duvet cover back on the duvet.

Anyway, I'm off for a nap. Tomorrow I'll do a rap-up post, going a little further in depth on some of the books I read, adding pictures and links, and spoiler pages for when I need to rant and rave about endings...

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

47 Hours, 30 minutes

Hours read/blogging: 41 Hours, 30 minutes

Number of books read: 19

Number of pages read: 4299

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Princess Mia Meg Cabot

Well, Michael and Mia are officially splits-ville. Mia spends so much time wallowing in bed in the aftermath that Lars has to literally pick her up, chuck her into the limo and drag her off to therapy. There she's told to do at least one scary thing a day. Like go shopping with Lana Weinberger.

And everyone thinks JP and Mia are a couple, because of some photos that appeared in the New York Post. Lilly's no where near talking to her.

Also, Mia has to give a speech about Genovia to this highly exclusive women's society, Domina Rei (like Opus Dei, but non-religious and for women.)

The following thoughts were so forceful that I had to type them while reading the book:

JP needs to go away. He needs to go away NOW. Or Mia needs to wise up to see what he's doing and PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE!!! He is scum! Trying to put the moves on her and drive Mia and Lilly apart. I mean, I have my issues with Lilly, but who the hell does this guy think he is?! And why doesn't Mia or Tina see it? Oh wait. Tina does see it. Someone needs to hit Mia upside the head with a frying pan and knock some sense into her.

Ok. Now that I've finished the book, and this is the last in the series so far, I definitely have some thoughts for the spoiler page. Look for them tomorrow.

Update: Here are my thoughts on the ending.

45 Hours, 10 Minutes

Hours read/blogging: 39 hours, 10 minutes

Number of books read: 18

Number of pages read: 4025

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Princess on the Brink Meg Cabot

Michael has invented a robot that will do heart surgery without having to crack open someone's chest. Only he had to go to JAPAN for OVER A YEAR to get it up and running. He needs to prove to the world and to Mia's family that he's worthy of a princess. It's his quest, but Mia's not handling it well... especially when he tells her that he's sick of cold showers so not being around her all the time without doing IT might make his life a little easier.

So maybe it's time to give him her Precious Gift (just the fact she calls it that shows she's so not ready yet) and then he'll change his mind and stay in New York.

I hate J.P.-- I'll add thoughts on this later if still necessary after reading the next book...

update: See my thoughts after my review of Princess Mia.

42 hours and a half (I think--my math is getting fuzy)

Hours read/blogging: 36 and a half (Again, with the fuzzy math)

Number of books read: 17

Number of pages read: 3787

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Valentine Princess Meg Cabot

So this is a short one AND a flash back to Mia and Michael's first Valentine's Day. Mia's all excited because she has a Valentine, except Michael doesn't believe in the Hallmark Corporate holiday... alas.

A confusing flap copy error-- it says that Boris would declare his love for Tina, which would have made this make no sense. But, in the book, he declares it for Lilly, who is the girl he was dating at the time.

And we finally get the lyrics to "Tall Drink of Water"

42 hours-ish

Hours read/blogging: a little under 36

Number of books read: 16

Number of pages read: 3701

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Sweet Sixteen Princess Meg Cabot

Another short one-off type vignette-y type book. This time it's Mia's birthday. After last year, she doesn't want a party, just a nice night out with Michael. Only Grandmere has something planned. Something big. Something that will appear on a special episode of MTV's My Sweet ROYAL Sixteen. And Lilly isn't taking Mia's side. Yes Lilly and Grandmere-- they're the Snape/Malfoy of the Muggle world. Only without the capes.

I love Mia's voice.

I love Meg Cabot.

I actually really like these little short installments of Mia's diary...

41 Hours

Hours read/blogging: 35 hours

Number of books read: 15

Number of pages read: 3619

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Party Princess Meg Cabot

This one took me forever to read-- the lack of sleep started getting to me until I made another pot of coffee. Anyway!

Mia's student government is out of money 3 months before the end of the school year--which means they can't rent the graduation hall. Whoops. So, in order to raise the money without having to sell candles, schemes are put into motion. Lilly has a lit mag that she's calling Fat Louie's Pink Butthole, of all things. And Grandmere has written a musical about Genovian history and forcing Mia to play the lead.

And Michael's throwing a party. So he invited Mia (duh, girlfriend) but Mia's not a party girl and doesn't want to go. Whinge whinge whinge.

Ok-- WTF is with Mia moaning on about this party? SUCK IT UP. Michael would for you. Dude. It's 1 party on 1 night. I could understand if she were freaking out about what to wear or even the how to act aspect, but no, she just straight up doesn't want to go and is moaning about that.

Also, you can't Netscape something. Netscape is a browser, not a search engine, so you can't force it into being a verb, like we've made Google a verb. Because Google is a search engine, so you can look things up with it. You can access Google via Netscape, but you can't check Netscape for something. Ergh.

BUT! I love that Hermione and Ron are on Mia's list of couples you'd hate to see break up. Especially because this came out in 2006, before they were ever officially together. Even though we all knew it was coming. Even if Ron does have the emotional range of a teaspoon!

Ok-- 7 hours left...

38 Hours

Hours read/blogging: 32 hours

Number of books read: 14

Number of pages read: 3313

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

A Princess Diaries Book Meg Cabot

It's Christmas in Genovia! Only Lilly, Michael, and half of Europe's royalty are going to be there. Because when activist Lilly has to put up with royals and court protocol, what's the worst that can happen? 2 words: Strip Bowling. Also, a nice nod to O. Henry.

I really liked this. It's nice to see Mia having to be all royal and Lilly actually seeing what being Princess is all about--not as much as the usual teen angst. I mean, Mia is Mia, but she's angsty about different things than normal teens in this short vignette, so it's a bit refreshing.

37 Hours

Hours read/blogging: 31 hours

Number of books read: 13

Number of pages read: 3228

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Princess in Training Meg Cabot

According to Lana Weinberger, all college boys want is to DO IT. Mia knows she's not ready for that. So not ready, she can't even talk to Michael about it. Plus, Lilly nominated her for student council president and is running her campaign with the help of Grandmere. Grandmere? Well, she might just be trying to deflect attention from the fact that Mia might have committed a small act of eco-terrorism over the summer that might get Genovia kicked out the EU...

Why is Mia always taking relationship advice from Grandmere and now Lana?! Seriously? WHY?! Tina's romance-novel based judgment is much better than theirs!

The ending was... not what I wanted, but realistic. Hopefully, when on Monday, I'll read this post and remind myself I want to post further thoughts on the ending over at the spoiler page. If they're not totally cleared up or negated by the next few books which I'm off to read!

And... those thoughts are here.

34 Hours, 20 Minutes

Hours read/blogging: 28 hours, 25 minutes

Number of books read: 12

Number of pages read: 2934

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Well, I'm not going to beat Midwestern Lodestar in books or page count (I must learn her secrets!) but maybe in hours? Let's not talk about how much coffee I've had to drink already... plus I've seen 2 sunrises this weekend... Anyway...

Princess in Pink Meg Cabot

All Mia wants is to go to prom with Michael, so why hasn't he asked her? Because he thinks prom is lame and doesn't want to go!!! Then, at her birthday dinner, a busboy trips over Rommel and gets fired for dumping soup over Grandmere. Lilly takes up the cause of the unjust firing, but then ends up choosing Jangbu (the busboy) over Boris (boyfriend of 8 months) for a rousing round of 7 Minutes in Heaven. And things go from bad to worse as the the busboys go on strike and most of New York's service unions join them... meaning it doesn't matter what Michael thinks about prom, as it's been canceled and everyone blames Mia.

Still funny! And this volume is still filled with the same self-constructed drama that wouldn't be an issue if Mia weren't so... 15. But there are some bigger things Mia has to deal with that don't have an easy out that her neuroses won't let her see.

Also, it's nice to see that sticking a spatula down your best friend's throat during a frosting-related fight is a recurring event in Cabot's books. (Also happened in the opening chapter of Allie Finkle. In this case, it's Mia remembering a fight she had with Lilly when they were kids.) Also Lilly... I don't know how I feel about her... she has a lot of negatives, and I'm not sure we've seen enough of her positives to balance those out yet...

31 hours, 50 minutes

Hours read/blogging: 26 hours, 35 minutes

Number of books read: 11

Number of pages read: 2659

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Project Princess Meg Cabot

A short little vignette of a book about Mia's G/T plus a few students' trip to West Virginia for to build houses for a Habitat for Humanity-esque organization. Plus, Mia gets 5 whole days without her parents, Grandmere, or Michael's parents to always be around. Now, if only she weren't so sleepy and smelly...

Cute and short. I can see where this would be a nice volume to hold fans over while waiting for the next full-length installment.

31 hours, 20 minutes

Hours read/blogging: 26 hours, 5 minutes

Number of books read: 10

Number of pages read: 2609

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.


Princess in Waiting Meg Cabot

I don't think I've mentioned this yet-- all these books start with a quotation from The Little Princess. It's awesome.

So... Mia's off to Genovia for Christmas, where she creates a minor political scandal when she starts saying that what they really need is parking meters. Also, she's trying to navigate her new relationship with Michael. Grandmere doesn't think he's the most suitable of consort, but if
Mia insists, she should at least play hard to get a la Jane Eyre. Now, there's one love affair I never understood. Had I not already known what was eventually going to happen, I would have been rather confused when they fell in love...

There's a lot of Mia-constructed does he love me or not drama. But you know it's a good book (or at least an engaging Character voice) when you don't mind reading 259 pages of whinging on about "does he love me like a friend or is he in love with me."

Also, I love the fact that Mia wears Queen Amidala underpants.

29 hours, 40 minutes

Hours read/blogging: 24 hours, 25 minutes

Number of books read: 9

Number of pages read: 2358

WARNING: I am reviewing series books. While this review contains no spoilers for this book, it probably contains spoilers for previous volumes in this series. It’s the nature of the beast.

Princess in Love Meg Cabot

Somehow Mia has ended up actually dating Kenny. And all of her friends have a boyfriend... and Mia has Kenny. Too bad she doesn't like like him. Nope, she still lurves Michael, who may have a girlfriend. Because that's bad enough, finals are approaching and when she goes to Genovia for Christmas, she has to address her subjects-to-be. Grandmere is insisting she wears a dress by a Genovian designer-- her distant cousin Sebastiano. (Who may be trying to kill her, as he's next in line for the throne if she's not in the picture. Only what he does might actually be worse.)

Ah... love. Hilarious still. I love Mia's voice.