Monday Memories: Sabriel

Monday Memories is a weekly feature hosted by Miss Print and the Book Bandit. Just take a photo of a book from your personal library (or a library book that’s significant to you, etc.) and talk about why it matters. Is it your first ever signed book? The first book you reviewed on your blog? Whatever it is, write it up in a Monday Memories post and share it. Just please link back if you decide to join!


Today for Monday Memories I’m talking about Sabriel by Garth Nix.


(Since I’m really excited about Clariel coming out this week I’m doing a week-long celebration of the Old Kingdom series here on the blog. I considered talking about Clariel today instead but it felt right to start at the beginning of this series.)

I first discovered this series years ago when I received the second book in the  series, Lirael, as a prize at a city storytelling festival. Soon after I went to my local library and borrowed Sabriel to read followed soon after by Lirael. This left me right on track to read Abhorsen near when it published along with the companion novella “Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case” which appears in the short story collection Across the Wall.

I love this series. Nix’s writing is evocative and thrilling in a way that was totally new and unexpected to me when I first read the series. While Sabriel’s story is incredibly entertaining, I surprisingly am even more fond of Lirael (who holds a special place in my heart as a fellow librarian of course).

I only recently bought the series for my personal library partly because of excitement over the release of Clariel and partly because I wanted to have the original trilogy with the cover art created by Leo and Diane Dillon since it’s what I remembered from when I read the books. Since Nix came to NYC for BEA last year, I also happily have an entire signed set of the series.

To join, click the Inlinkz frog below to link up. Then see what everyone else has to say :)

Week in Review: October 12


This week on the blog you can check out:

I’m kind of proud of the Halloween displays I made at my place of employ and my review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue so maybe you want to check those posts out?!

Monday and Tuesday of this week were lousy on just about every level. We’re past family birthdays now so I’m hoping the heaviness from thinking about my aunt’s death last year will lift a little bit but we’ll see.

On Wednesday I got to go to the AAP’s Children’s Book Buzz panel which was a blast. I got to see a lot of marketing professionals talking about upcoming titles. Also I got some free books which is always a kick of course. If you follow me on Twitter, you can scroll back to see all of my #bookbuzznyc tweets which give a pretty good live-tweeting recap of things.

In other bookish news I’ve been ruthlessly purging my books at home. I literally have three large bags to take to the Strand at some point to sell. I’m also being pretty ruthless about my TBR shelves on goodreads because I’m determined to get it down to manageable numbers and get through a lot of the books in my house. Determined!

I also finally cleaned up my desk drawers at work so it’s all much neater and I can find things again.

I’m also gearing up for Monday Memories which, if you have a blog or even if you don’t, I hope you’ll join!

That’s all that’s been going on in my neck of the woods.

How was your week?

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: October 2007 Edition, Vol. 2

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

October 2007: Volume 2

  • Missing Abby coverOctober 24, 2007: Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly–“Interestingly, it is only after Abby goes missing that Emma is able to realize how precious Abby was as a friend and subsequently find herself again.”









Library Life: October Displays (for Halloween)

This week I put up two new displays in my library’s teen space for the month of October. I could have done an autumn theme but to me October really only means Halloween so I decided to go in that direction. I knew one display was going to be “The Talking Dead” because it’s one of my favorite plays on words and themes (as well as the subject of a thematic list on this blog).

The problem was that I also knew I wanted to do a new trivia display on our larger display table and I wasn’t sure how to frame that for Halloween. Luckily my awesomely creative co-worker Ingrid (AKA The Magpie Librarian) had a great idea. Instead of trying to encompass all of Halloween in one display, Ingrid proposed we do a vampire-themed trivia display. Her idea was finding pictures of well-known vampires from movies/TV/books (or book covers if pictures of the characters were unavailable) along with a quote from the character with a tagline reading “Who am I?”

The display is titled “Name that Vampire!” and also gives instructions on how to answer the questions and win a free book.

I once again made all of the display graphics using a combination of photos Ingrid and I found online along with swatches and text available in PicMonkey.

Here is the display I made for The Talking Dead:


Here’s a close up of the sign:


First a detail of how the display works:


And here is the a secondary display because we got carried away and made more trivia than the foam board could hold:


And here is the big Name that Vampire display in all of its spooky glory:


I’m also saving the images in case I want to do something similar next year (and because it took me hours to make them in PicMonkey and it seemed a shame to not keep the files). And obviously the displays are also well-stocked with spooky books.

What is your library doing for displays this month?

The Accidental Highwayman: A Review

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben TrippIn eighteenth century Christopher “Kit” Bristol thinks he has finally found legitimate and respectable work as a gentleman’s gentleman. Yes, he sometimes misses his dramatic life working in a traveling show. Of course riding an old mare into town for errands can’t compare to riding a fine horse in a ring for trick spectacles. But Kit has left that life behind. He is a servant now with stable work in a lovely manor. It matters little that the manor is largely on the brink of falling apart.

Unfortunately, Kit’s visions of grandeur and legitimacy are rudely shattered one night when he learns that his master’s odd habits are hiding a secret. Kit has unknowingly been working for Whistling Jack–a notorious highwayman who is wanted by both the authorities and other, far more dangerous, foes.

In a fit of loyalty, Kit dons his master’s clothes hoping to buy Whistling Jack precious time after the highwayman is gravely injured. The deed is futile. It also drags Kit into the middle of his master’s unfinished quest–a fantastical mission that Kit is ill-prepared to complete.

Tasked with stopping the marriage of King George III to a fairy princess named Morgana, Kit will have to plumb the depths of his ingenuity and search for unlikely allies if he hopes to survive let alone succeed in The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides
(2014) by Ben Tripp.

The Accidental Highwayman is Tripp’s first novel for young adults. It also includes delightful illustrations by the author.

This book is an enjoyable fantasy romp complete with fairies, goblings (not to be confused with goblins!) and a fair bit of whimsy. Tripp does an excellent job of combing a historical fiction sensibility with a fantasy story to create a new type of fairytale with an 18th century background. Tripp’s illustrations also add to the playful quality of the story.

Although sometimes predictable, The Accidental Highwayman is a solid fantasy adventure that will appeal to readers looking for action as much as they are humor or romance. This rollicking story is but the first in an anticipated series that promises numerous adventures for both Kit and Morgana.

Thanks to Esther Bochner at MacMillan, you can also check out a clip from the audiobook of The Accidental Highwayman, narrated by Steve West:

Possible Pairings: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones, Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde, Candide by Voltaire, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Blue Lily, Lily Blue: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterBlue hasn’t looked back since taking up the strange quest that has consumed four Raven Boys. Since then Gansey, Adam, Noah, and even Ronan, have amazingly become her best friends. What first seemed like disparate priorities and an absurd alliance has since blossomed into the strongest friendship Blue has ever known.

Their friendship isn’t the only thing to have changed since the search started.

Some bonds have strengthened while others have threatened to break. Dreams have offered as much wonder as terror.

And family, it turns out, can mean all kinds of things.

But as Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah come closer and closer to the end of their search all of them have to wonder what will come next. With so much to gain from finding what they are seeking, none of them–maybe especially Blue–has thought hard enough about how much there is to lose in Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014) by Maggie Stiefvater.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third book in Stiefvater’s widely acclaimed Raven Boys Cycle. It is preceded by The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves. Although this book is the third in a four book series it works surprisingly well on its own with references to key events in previous books and a larger focus on both old and new characters.

This story picks up about a month after the events of The Dream Thieves.

Stiefvater offers another atmospheric fantasy filled with wry humor and unforgettable characters ranging from the protagonists readers have come to love to antagonists who are indecently likable. Lyrical, spirited prose moves along this character-driven story as we learn more about all of the major (and even some of the minor) players in this tale.

New problems–and losses–ensure that Blue Lily, Lily Blue will stand on its own merit outside of the (many) strengths of the Raven Boys Cycle. This installment also continues to keep the ongoing plot of the series fresh and exciting as nothing in this story is quite what readers will expect.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue also reaffirms the ties between these unlikely friends and the strength that can be found in such powerful bonds. While all of the characters grapple with what they know and do not know, both about themselves and their search, this novel cleverly celebrates the hidden depths to be found in all of their relationships.

This book goes in unexpected directions and circles back to events from the first book in a seamless manner that highlights how carefully this cycle is plotted. While Blue Lily, Lily Blue necessarily leaves unanswered questions it is a satisfying novel that strikes just the right chord between forward plot development and closure for this installment.

Possible Pairings: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, Pivot Point by Kasie West, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher*

Monday Memories: The Diviners

Monday Memories is a weekly feature hosted by Miss Print and the Book Bandit. Just take a photo of a book from your personal library (or a library book that’s significant to you, etc.) and talk about why it matters. Is it your first ever signed book? The first book you reviewed on your blog? Whatever it is, write it up in a Monday Memories post and share it. Just please link back if you decide to join!


Today for Monday Memories I’m talking about The Diviners by Libba Bray.

mmdiviners1 mmdiviners2

Like everyone, I really love Libba Bray. Back in 2012, Nicole and I were super excited to hear that Libba’s next book was going to be a fantasy/mystery set in the 1920s. Even more exciting, we realized that there would be ARCs of that book at BEA 2012. This was the first year Nicole and I braved BEA for the entire three days and it was super worth it. On our first day while exploring the floor we snagged beautiful ARCs of this book. I read it that summer (it did not take as long as I thought it would).

This ARC is particularly special to me now because the books have since been repackaged. While I like the new design I think this original art is much truer to the content of the story which is sweeping and dramatic and often quite chilling.

Later that year Libba Bray was at Books of Wonder for the launch of The Diviners. I was working that day and sadly didn’t get to enjoy a lot of the event. But Nicole did and she also got my ARC signed for me. I also incidentally have a Diviners medallion that Allison (from the bookstore) gave me too. Part of the good memories from this are realizing I no longer work at the bookstore which means that I can enjoy events instead of being stuck at the cash register always. But also it’s a book Nicole and I enjoyed together–something we did less often back then–which makes it even more special.

To join, click the Inlinkz frog below to link up. Then see what everyone else has to say :)