Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sunrise was at 5:19, sunset will be at 8:54.

We left our house and headed up the hill at just 5:19.

The windows in the houses across the valley catch the sun as the sun rises. As the sun gets higher in the sky, more of the hillside glows. It is a glorious way to start the day, the house covered hillside is magical for those very few minutes.

We turned at the edge of the driveway to look at the Olympic mountains and the very tops of the highest ones were pink, the tops floating above a batt of cloud. Birds chirping, a few other people on their way to work and on walks, no sign of Rainier so the bit of sun we are supposed to have today must have slipped through a rip in the morning cloud cover.

I'm dressed, lunches are made, Dennis left at 7 for his bus, it feels luxurious to have this extra time to be able to write before breakfast. I'm sure I will wonder how I can be running so late when I leave when I had so much time now!

I am in the middle end of the third of the Diana Peterfreund Ivy League books. I should be able to finish it before I go to work and I am really looking forward to the last one. It feels wicked, reading older books that I don't have to sell, don't have to talk up, reading something JUST FOR ME!

I have three new YA books that I am looking forward to: Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand, The Tension of Opposites, by Kristina McBride, and Restoring Harmony, by Joelle Harmony.

Elizabeth Hand has been one of my favorite science fiction writers for years. I have this beautifully designed proof for her first book, Winterlong, a "Spectra special edition", from my days as Science Fiction stocker at U of O Bookstore. Its copyright date is 1990 and I think Bantam had just started their hardcover book program, they had just started making galleys, advanced reading copies, of their books. It has thick, heavy cardstock covers, thicker paper than you'd expect, and the pages are loosening within. It looks, and was, well-read. I certainly didn't know anything about collecting books then! I think I'd better find a new, finished copy that I can re-read.

I don't know anything about The Tension of Opposites, but I love the cover and I love books that are described as "haunting psychological thriller".

And I have been waiting for Restoring Harmony, by Joelle Anthony, since Cecelia Goodnow wrote about it on her blog, Cover to Cover Kids. It's a Northwest book, Seattle and Canada, based in a future where the oil's run out and people have to grow their own food.

There's been a lot published lately about what's going to happen in the not-so-distant future. Some people are calling it dystopian fiction but I think this is more speculative fiction, it's more of a what if? book.

ANYhoo, it looks good and I don't know which to start first when I get done (just in time for my DAY OFF!) with Tap and Gown, the last Peterfreund. I also have a stack of books a foot high on my bedside table (hence the reason for my blog name) and I am smack dab in the middle of the buying season for the bookstore which means lots of new advanced reading copies (and most of them are adult books which are REALLY LONG!); I always feel like I need to read at least a few pages of each and that takes so much time. And wall space.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Diana Peterfreund

I've been totally indulging in Diana Peterfreund's books. I love it when there is a tidy stack of books out by an author and I have access to all of them at once. It feels like a vacation: they are like candy and sand.

I really like her books- I've blogged about the blood thirsty unicorns and their hunters in Rampant and Ascendant and now I am halfway through her Ivy League novels (there are four).

They are quick, funny, smart books about a secret society that only this year has allowed women to be tapped for it. The Rose and Grave Society is the oldest and most secret, and most male, club on the Eli Campus and not everyone is happy about the new change to the gender roster. Our hero, Amy, an English major, really wanted to get into the Quill and Ink Society, but was tapped for R & G by default. After the hazing and the oath taking, she quickly embraces the society, if not the stupid boy stuff it represents.

Over the course of time, as the patriarchs of the society begin to get angrier at the distillation of the group, awful things start to happen: internships are dissolved, blackmail is insinuated, threats against families are made...And Amy gets mad!

Taking on the old boy's club and getting her whole year involved in righting the wrongs that have been perpetrated only makes the club tighter and stronger in their insistence that the changes that were made are good ones.

These are so much fun! Lots of misunderstandings, entanglements, experimentation, friendship, humor, classic literature. We had them classified as adult fiction at the store but if you have a teenage girl who is reading the Gossip Girls or the other "mean-girl clique" books, they (and you) will really like these. There is sex in the books but it isn't graphic. There is also great female friendships, support, ethical issues, doing what's right and good for the whole, not just the one.

The books take place during Amy's senior year in college and she is such a great character. All the characters in the books are fully rounded and realistic, and I really appreciate that Amy has a healthy interest in a good sex life! I love that she enjoys it and her relationships and that she knows what she wants to get out of them.

I mostly read YA novels where girls aren't actually supposed to a: actively pursue a sexual relationship and b: ENJOY IT! and c: expect the same thing from the relationship the partner does. Having Amy and her peers be in college, of legal age, allows for this discussion. She has a healthy ego, her self esteem is high, and she likes herself and her friends.

NO vampires, no aliens, no mean girls tearing everyone else apart, some alcohol (college students after all), just really smart, funny people in a secret society.

My nieces who are on their way to college will LOVE these books.

My great thanks to my work friend, Monica, for introducing me to these!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010.

Happy Birthday, Cindy!

I'm getting ready to join Dennis downtown after he gets off work. I spent today reading and surfing the web. I read a lot, nothing really new there except that I usually don't read on my only day off alone. I like to clean. I dust, I wipe down the mirrors, do the laundry, sweep...I like to put things in order.

Today, while waiting for D to leave, I cleaned the birdcage, changed the catbox, took out the recycling, yard waste, and garbage, loaded the dishwasher (yay, for the dishwasher), pulled some weeds, shredded old papers and bills. And then, after he was gone, I read. Hours later, and after a short nap, I'd finished one book (Ascendant, by Diana Peterfreund, and it was good) and started another (Extraordinary, by Nancy Werlin). And yes, sometimes two books may get confused in my head. Not often, but sometimes.

I don't surf the web mostly because I never know what to look for, but today I had to find out more about the music I heard last night.

D and I joined his family at the Ethnic Cultural Theatre to watch The HusKEYS, an a cappella music group that our niece, Brittney, is a part of (Congratulations, Britt, on getting the lead in Hansel and Gretel!). What a great event this is! This was our second time and I am sorry we have ever missed a performance.

I can only compare it to Glee, a tv show I am sorry to have only seen a few times. It looks like they have so much fun working with each other coming up with choreography and rearrangements for their songs. They sing and dance to everything from old classics reworked into a modern twist to some wordless doodling to old soundtracks to Lady Gaga.

And the audience, which seems to be made up of friends and family, maybe a few people who have an arts credit to fill, is fully engaged- clapping, singing along when they should be, supportive when a lyric is forgotten, on their feet with applause as things go along. They are really a great group, and the music is pretty much always good. There are a few "really?" moments but nothing that stays with you for long. So MUCH fun, so much talent.

So I had to check out the originals of some of the music, Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson, Ingrid Michaelson, and get educated in the ways of youth music. It is easy to find yourself, hours later, achy and itchy-eyed, wondering what just happened to the day when you spend it on the internet.
Sunrise was at 5:45, sunset will be at 8:4.8 Ooh, balance in numbers. Must go to the gas station at the bottom of the hill to buy lotto tickets!

D and I were actually up and walking at sunrise. Again, a beautiful morning. I got up early (on my day off!) to badger him into putting his shoes on. Once our shoes are on, the battle's done. We walked up and down all the side streets to the south of us, looking at houses and yards, taking note of who else has birds nesting in odd spots.

Our lives are pretty stressful and doing one good thing just for us every day, something with no phones, type, computers or wires, no way of being contacted by anyone, is the start of learning how to deal with it. Even if it means I have to get up between 4 and 6 hours earlier than I have to be at work to do it!

The bike shop at the bottom of the hill was hosting a free EARLY morning bike maintenance workshop and, man, a LOT of bikers take that street past their store. The coffee place opened up early, too, smart to take advantage of the ride-by traffic. I love seeing people on our streets, out of their cars, nodding and waving at each other.

After my not-so-healthy but very comforting breakfast of ramen and celery and cheese, I hopped onto the couch (freezing- I had to turn the heat on) and wrapped up and finished Ascendant, the sequel to Rampant, by Diana Peterfreund. I know I wrote about Rampant before so you can search around for that, if you'd like. I have to tell you how much I love her books, so far. The two I've read, anyway!

Rampant and Ascendant are the story of the Llewellyn women, unicorn hunters from ancient times. The main character of our story is Astrid, 15 years old when the story begins, and a virgin. The night she is close to losing said virginity, her boyfriend is attacked by a unicorn and damaged. He is saved by "the Remedy", and decides Astrid is not the girl for him. Her mother, who has always believed that unicorns were real and that they are descendants of the best hunters ever, decides that Astrid needs to study and train in Italy, learning everything she can to defeat the no-longer, obviously, extinct species. But, are the myths true? Are the unicorns all blood hungry, savage beasts? What about the people who are searching for the remedy, the cure for all disease? Who do you trust when those you want to trust have motives that don't match yours? Were there nunneries filled with women warriors dating from the time of Diana who could keep the world safe from harm? Wouldn't it be cool if there were a reason for them to still be viable? Man (and woman)-eating, not fluffy, no pink or purple manes or tales, unicorns; maybe not, huh?

These books are really good. They are humorous and deal with a lot of the same questions that girls who aren't unicorn hunters have to deal with. There is high romance, a little low romance, big questions about certain parts of life and how valuable these things can be, big adventure, strong and brave women. Good travel books, too, especially if you are on your way to Rome or France; good descriptions of the nightlife and tourist worlds. They are really good summer books. Ages 14 and up. (HarperTeen. $17.99. Rampant is available now, and Ascendant will be available in October! Ooh. October! Put it on your list, you're going to want it when you're done with Rampant.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sunrise was at 5:27, sunset will be at 8:45.

It's sunny for now, heading toward rain by the evening.

D and I went out on a morning walk, not as early as I wanted (too comfy after the alarm went off) but early enough to walk, make breakfast and lunch, and get him off to work on time by bus. We're going to try and do this every day. Living on the hills we do, we should have some muscular butts by the end of the summer!

It was noisy with birds. The smell of an early spring morning made us happy that we actually did get up and out.

Last Friday Dennis and I went to hear Cory Doctorow at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard.

Such a great event: a little music by Pillow Army (I really liked this band), then Cory read from his new YA novel, For the Win (he read from his YA novel! In a bar! To adults! Who will then read a YA novel! Be still my heart!), and then Paul Constant, from The Stranger, conducted a short interview. Books were signed while the band finished their set.

I hope more of these events are in the hopper. It was just so cool to have a beer, reading while the band played, while waiting for the literary event to begin in the bar. University Bookstore was the bookseller of choice for this venue and even I bought two books. At full price. Dennis said he wanted to read For the Win and I hadn't read Makers, yet, so...a perfect confluence: author, books, beer. Books were bought and signed, beer was consumed.

And I just finished Makers minutes ago. What a book. Any book that can engage your every emotion by the end is a good one.

In this story, we have two best friends living in a hovel making things using trash and components and computer bits and selling them on E-Bay for massive amounts of money. They don't particularly care about the money, they just like to make stuff and then share how it was made - for free.

At this time a man named Landon Kettlewell forms a new company that will give money to little start-ups, like Perry and Lester, to be creative and to make things. A noble idea that changes the face of the new work force. Many people, especially younger people, are out of work, are tech savvy, and have a lot of time on their hands, and being paid to make things that could change the world is something most people can only dream of.

Throw in a smart and charismatic journalist following and blogging about Lester and Perry's work and how they are paving the way for changes in tech and tech use, and how this work can connect many disparate people and places, toss in a few truly evil people looking to harsh the buzz, and you have a book that pits little folk up against the biggest and most litigious company on earth.

Cory Doctorow is very able to use ideas like law, unions, history, technology, somewhat complex ideas, in a novel and make them understandable. And INTERESTING to boot! I don't know if the little robots and the computer-run doohickeys and the replicators in his book can really happen or are even in production but it is so cool that he thought them up! Funny, inspiring, I loved the friendship between the characters and the utter goodness of the people in their community. And the shanty town. I have this idea about empty hotels and buildings... If I ever hit the numbers and win the Megabucks lottery...I'm calling Cory to talk it through! Absolutely one of the most fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable reads I've had in a while.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sunrise was at 5:28, sunset will be 8:44. If it was clear out, we'd see the sunset- It's not. We have animals other than birds in our fountain. We saw paw prints leading away from it yesterday morning. I don't know what it is, maybe a raccoon?

I was awake at 4, hot, and opened the curtain above the bed, and was amazed by the sound of the birds at that hour. By 5 (and the alarm) it was a cacophony. The traffic and plane noise was still pretty sparse so the birds were clear - I heard calls I've never heard before. One bird's call sounded like someone calling HERE kittykittykitty. I am seriously thinking about hanging some sort of recording mechanism out the window so I can find out what the birds are. Probably one of the best reasons for getting up at that hour.

I was going to write about last night and dinner with Andrea Cremer, the children's booksellers and librarians of Seattle, and Andrea's new book, Nightshade (from Penguin Books), but I am smack dab in the middle of Makers, Cory Doctorow's last grown-up book, and I am going to spend the rest of the time before I head to work reading it. It is SO GOOD!

Andrea, sorry, I'll write about Nightshade later. (It's coming in October and, I know people hear this a lot but if you are looking for anything at all like Twilight but with a really intimidating female character, you will definitely want to get a copy of Nightshade in your hands. More later.)
BookNotes for May, 2010.

It is finally SPRING (for now!). What beautiful bookend weekends we’ve had. The little thermometer in my car said it was 103 degrees when I turned it on after work! Obviously, I was pointed toward the west and it had been in direct view of the sun for a very long time!

Patrick Carman is coming! The author of the Elyon books and the Atherton series has penned a new volume, Thirteen Days to Midnight, and will be at Third Place Books on Monday, May 17th, 7 pm.

If you could have a secret power, any power at all, which one would you choose? The ability to fly? To be invisible? To never die? Think the question through, the pros and the cons. Our hero, Jacob, doesn’t get to choose. In one horrifying moment, his foster father whispers, “You are indestructible,” to him, passing along a power that will change his life forever.

When his best friend and his new friend, Ophelia, find out what he’s been hiding, they decide to test its limits. How far does this new power extend? Is it right to use it to change the course of history? What happens when Death gets thwarted?

Thirteen Days to Midnight
was a pretty darned good read. It allows for some serious discussion about responsibility, about confronting your mortality, about what happens when you are given power. There’s a great deal of humor, a great deal of suspense, a little romance, some skateboarding. And it takes place in the Pacific Northwest!

This book is Patrick’s first young adult novel, but we think it would be appropriate for some sophisticated 5th grade readers. The romance isn’t graphic, but the violence inflicted on each other as they test their limits got a little icky for me. Most kids won’t notice, I tend to see everything I read in my head...the metal light pole scene…eww.

Come on by and meet Patrick Carman on Monday, May 17, 7 pm, at the Lake Forest Park location of Third Place Books (depending on traffic, it is a 20 minute drive from the Central District; don’t let the address of our store keep you and your kids from enjoying a cultural evening out). P.S. Check out Patrick’s website, too: . (Available now. Hardcover only. $16.99. Little Brown.)

(If you can’t make it to any of our events, call us! We can get books signed for you without your being there! )


Moonshot, by Brian Floca, is an amazing book about the flight of Apollo 11. Told in a poetic form, it is the story of the flight of the astronauts flying to the moon. A simple enough story but written in an epic ballad format, much like The Odyssey. It is a book made for reading out loud, repetition of certain words, a chorus, it is written so it can be memorized and passed on. There are phrases in the book that made chills run up my spine.

Along the way we learn a lot about how the astronauts dress, what it takes to get a rocket into space, a lot of information about the details of space flight and the moon. It is a mistake to consider Moonshot only a picture book.

The endpages are FILLED with information: the front ones are illustrations about the flight itself from rollout to quarantine and the back pages are text for older readers related to how the space program began and where it is now. This is a good time to introduce the book to young scientists who may help get the program back into space. This is a good book for ages 4-12 (and their adults!). ( Atheneum. Hardcover, $17.99. Available now.)

Crunch, by Leslie Connor. I love Leslie Connor’s books. This one is about a family working together when the parents are out of town, unable to get home because gas tanks across America have run dry. They are stuck on a highway, hundreds of miles from the kids. Dewey and his siblings are alone with the family bike repair business when the gas stoppage occurs. All of a sudden, he and the other kids are in high demand. As the gas crisis looms higher and goes on longer than anyone ever thought it could, there is trouble from the outside as things start to go missing and the very business is being sabotaged. I really like that the kids come up with their own ideas as to how to do things, they are quite inventive, and they can use tools! Crunch is a very good, fun, light mystery, with resourceful and polite kids. Ages 9-up. (HarperCollins. Hardcover only, $16.99. Available now.)

This Gorgeous Game, by Donna Freitas. This Gorgeous Game is a very intense book about a girl who wins a writing contest. The prize is enrollment in the adored local writer priest's writing class who then becomes her mentor.

He becomes obsessed with her and won’t leave her alone, texting her, following her, calling her phone and filling the memory with messages. At first, she is flattered and amazed that he would find her worthy of his attentions, but it doesn’t take very long before she becomes wary and scared. She tries to distance herself from him but he holds harder, insisting she read the book he wrote with her in mind. It seems he is using Thomas Merton as his role model. If you don’t know the reference, I didn’t, you will need to read the book to find out.

It is a scary book that many people will identify with: how do you deal with the aloneness that comes when you are the victim? Is the whole thing your fault? How do you stop it? Should you? How did this even happen? What if they get mad at you? Don’t “they”, those elders you should respect, know what’s best for you? It was really hard to put down but a good cautionary tale. Ages 12 and up. (Farrar Strauss and Giroux. $16.99. Available May 25, 2010.)

Sisters Red, by Jackson Pearce. A great riff on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale featuring two sisters whose grandmother is eaten by a wolf (a werewolf, known as a fenris) before the woodsman can get to the cottage to save them. In the battle to save her sister, Rosie, Scarlett kills the wolf but loses an eye.

Seven years later, the woodsman’s son returns to the sisters. There has been an uptick in wolf-sightings in the city, and many missing girls. The three of them set out to do some serious wolf-hunting but soon find that there is much more to the increasing numbers of wolves than luscious dragonfly girls (pretty girls in pretty clothes, more style than substance); they are looking for a “potential”, a new man to turn to werewolf-hood. Can the trio find a way to keep this from happening? Can they protect the girls in the city? Can they save themselves from their own history? Will true love drive the three friends apart? I absolutely devoured this book (ha ha) in hours. It’s a good addition to the fairytale variants for teens that are out there. Ages 13 and up. (Little Brown. Hardcover, $16.99. Due June 1, 2010.)

The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson. When Lennie’s older sister, Bailey, dies suddenly, Lennie is completely at sea. One morning her sister goes to school but doesn’t come home and there’s no chance to say goodbye. As Lennie tries to deal with this, she meets a new boy and really likes him and also begins a relationship with her sister’s boyfriend. What is she doing? How can she do this to her sister? People are complicated and The Sky is Everywhere highlights how quickly things change and knot up. It is very good, very romantic, very sad, realistic. I know how easy it is to make that one choice that twists the future just enough that you can’t see where you are going or where the path is headed.

It is also funny and I love the characters in the book. Lennie works through her grief by writing down memories of her sister, questions she wanted to ask, poetry about being her sister, leaving the notes in unexpected places. What a lovely idea. My favorite thing about the family, though? They road read. Read and walk through their neighborhood. Ages 14 and up. (Dial Books. Hardcover, $17.99. Available now.) I think this would be an especially good summer book.

Bullet Point, by Peter Abrahams. Peter Abrahams writes GREAT mysteries for adults and REALLY GREAT mysteries for young adults. His newest book, Bullet Point, is about Wyatt, a boy whose father is in prison. Wyatt’s never met his father, parents separated before he was born. His family, his stepdad and the rest, live in a dumpy little house and he goes to a dumpy school. And then Wyatt meets Greer, a girl whose father is also in prison with his dad.

When Greer arranges a meeting, Wyatt realizes that his father may be innocent. That means that Wyatt has to try to help him escape. Much excitement, much adventure, a lot of danger, Bullet Point is a thriller sure to encourage you to continue with the other books by him. Mr. Abrahams has written one other stand alone young adult novel, Reality Check, and a series called The Echo Falls Mysteries, all of which are immediately gripping. For you adults looking for books you won’t want to stop reading, give his adult mysteries a try. I’ve read a few of them, Nerve Damage and Oblivion are two (and they are all stand alones- thank you!) and every one I’ve read has been good. Ages 12 and up. (HarperCollins. Hardcover, $16.99. Available now.)

I am looking forward to reading the new Rick Riordan book, The Red Pyramid, and a grown-up mystery called Detective Inspector Huss, by Helene Tursten, the second one I will have read by this author about this detective (the series takes place in Sweden), and Philip Pullman’s new (and controversial) book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (written for adults).

I have one more project to write and then I’m heading out to the lounge chair and my patio. Surrounded by noxious weeds (blackberries) and holly bushes, once I’m in the chair, it’s almost like being in the woods, only rooftops showing on the street below us!

Let me know if you need some ideas for summer reading (I will be at the store on Sunday if you need to stock up during the sale!)-

Go out and read something in public! Share the love! Enjoy the weekend-

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5, Cinco de Mayo- the World Celebrates!

Today's my birthday! WOO HOO!

I am even up at sunrise, although it's cloudy and dark and you really can't tell: 5:46. Sunset will be at 8:27.

I am going to Vashon Island today with some other booksellers for tea at Karen Cushman's house. Karen is the author of The Midwife's Apprentice and Catherine Called Birdy and she has a new book out called Alchemy and Meggy Swann.

She writes about history in the most appealing and engaging way. Using characters who are often on the margins of their communities, she shows us what life was like in the middle ages, the McCarthy era, on the orphan trains. The daily life details she fills her books with are what transform her books from a simple story to a life lived.

Her main characters are mostly girls, girls who are damaged in some way. They might be crippled or orphaned or too smart, but, whatever the problem, they are able to survive or make their lives better because they believe in themselves. Yeah, it sounds goody-two-shoes but, believe me, the way to the end of the story is wrought with horrible strife, worse smells, and cheering from the outside of the book for our heroes.

I'm taking my camera, so, if I get permission to post them, WATCH THIS SPACE!

(Houghton Mifflin is the publisher. They are appropriate for ages 10 and up. All are in paper except for Alchemy and Meggy Swann which is brand new.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sunrise was at 5:47, sunset will be at 8:26. It is so cold in my house. It is MAY! Spring! Where is the warmth, babies? My birthday is tomorrow and I WANT HEAT!

I had to turn the heat on in here this morning. I am hoping it will be toasty before I get out of the shower or I may have to move my computer into the downstairs bathroom, the only room that actually gets totally warm.

It is cold, wet, gray, and the lilacs are nothing but fragrant brown knobs on the bushes. We had a windstorm and some downpours-a few of my little new plants are happy with the weather but I think more of them would be less spongy if they could dry out just a bit. (the photo is from last week! Gone so quickly...)

I just heard there might be thunderstorms and hail. I hope our plants survive this weather. Okay, I am done bitching about this. We don't have waves of oil floating at our door, we don't have oceans of saltwater washing down our hill. Our hummingbirds and sparrows are clean and we can drink the water.

We and our neighbor have starlings in our attics. The babies have very high pitched cheeps and I know D. can't hear them (too many years on an aircraft carrier). We have someone coming to rig up new ventilation hole protections as soon as they are gone.

It's kind of cool, having "wild" birds that close. They are just the right size for squeezing into these ventilation ports under the eaves, they look like cartoon birds, becoming the shape they need to be to get in and out of the attic, and they have such good navigational skills, flying up and onto the edge of the hole without a whole lot of misses. We heard the nests being made, the babies hatching. Their cheeps are becoming chirps and I'm looking forward to watching the hatchlings become fledglings.

A few books from the last week or so:

Siren, by Tricia Rayburn. Really good story about a girl named Vanessa who decides this will be the year she gets over her fear of water and will be more like her sister, outgoing and bold, maybe even turn her friendship with Simon into something else. When her sister dies after a diving accident, and there are a number of eerie water related deaths, Vanessa begins to realize that there is something much bigger than simple tourism and fishing surrounding her town and she and Simon are involved in a way no one ever suspected.

Very good story, lots of lore, atmospheric, I thoroughly enjoyed this new addition to the kind of paranormal books women (and some men) are picking up to augment their vampire choices. It is good for ages 14 and up, published by Egmont, and will be available for sale in June, 2010, in hardcover for $16.99. May I say that it will be a great selection for summer reading? Interesting, engaging, fun and light enough to offset the heavy summer reading lists that most teens have to get through at this time of year.

Another fantasy book, Pegasus, is written by one of my favorite authors, Robin McKinley, will be available in November 2010. Wait a minute- November? Never mind. I'll write about this one later unless you want to know more now.

I have to say that James Patterson's Maximum Ride are GREAT reading! Not high literature by any means, they may never make it to those hallowed reading lists, but there is a reason they end up on the best seller lists: They are GOOD FUN and sometimes that's more important than anything else. I've read them all, they start off in a science lab with genetically engineered children, kids with WINGS and a few other special talents. Any book you can enjoy where science is a main character gets my vote.

Anyway, the newest in the series is called Fang and in it we find out that Angel has prophesied that Fang will be the first of the flock to die, and her prophesies are never wrong. Fang is Max's best friend (there is a lot of history here and you really have to start at the beginning with The Angel Experiment) and she (Max) tries to protect him from whatever it is that is out to get him, hampered by the introduction of Dylan, another engineered boy created to be Max's perfect match. OOH! Great drama!

There are a lot of schools out there that are picking these up for their libraries because they are so gripping. There is a lot of adventure, drama, humor, they are fast-paced, lots of twists and turns, some character development, but if you want to get some tween and teen-aged boys reading through the summer (or now, I don't care, as long as they are reading), hand them the first one in the series. Girls will like them, too, it's just harder to find books for boys this age. They are good for ages 10 and up, and all but Fang are out in paperback. Pick up the first three and settle in. Great summer reading, too. (Little Brown. Ages 10 and up. All are available now.)

I am in the middle of a Swedish mystery that the Third Place mystery books guru has convinced me to read before her Scandinavian Mystery Books table goes up. It is called The Glass Devil, by Helene Tursten, and I am really enjoying it! Thank you, Joyce! She has been telling me for weeks that I would like it and she's right! That's why she's the guru of mystery...I'm not sure when the Scandinavian table will go up but I will try and remember to tell you when it does. It's kind of cool to go on those kinds of reading jags.

I have also just started the third book in the Chaos Walking teen science fiction series, by Patrick Ness. The author is coming to the store in the next while and I'll let you know more as it gets closer. The first book in the series, newly out in paper, is called The Knife of Never Letting Go. Amazing.

Now, go forth, read, and share.