New baby?

just one of the fur kind.  Meet Jasper (name pending) our new kitty!  He’s a 5-month-old silver tabby that we got from a rescue society yesterday.  His mama was a feral cat and they saved her and her kitties!  One of his eyes is a little cloudy from an old injury, but it doesn’t slow him down a bit.  And he is an absolute sweetheart!  We are all very excited (well, the daughter and I are) to have this new addition to our home.

Library Loot 2.27.2010

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Maybe if I post what I get out on a regular basis I’ll actually read what I checked out?

Maybe at least one of them?  Maybe?

Here’s hoping!

Here’s what I have this week.

It’s a lot.  Which is not unusual and maybe slightly sad.

Blankets by Craig Thompson for the Graphic Novel Challenge.  I’ve seen too many glowing reviews to ignore this one any longer.  The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger for the readalong that I’m trying to participate in.  I’m not hopeful, I can’t get into the one. It’s too…masculine (?) for me?  Committed: a skeptic makes peace with marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert(Audio).  I loved listening to Elizabeth Gilbert read her book Eat, Pray, Love so I think I’ll love listening to this one as well.

Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chaddaa because I asked the library to buy it A LONG TIME AGO and the finally did.  Anytime you ask my library to buy something they automatically add it to your hold list until they release it.  So yay!  Dewey : a small-town library cat who touched the world by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter was sitting on a table with a sign about something like Love Your Library Week (?) or something?  I was too entranced by that adorable little cat sitting in front of bunches of books too read it properly.  The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff because I read 84 Charing Cross Road (maybe someday, I’ll even review it!) and wanted to read the follow up.  I read somewhere (probably on someone’s blog) that they enjoyed this one more.

The faith of a writer : life, craft, art by Joyce Carol Oates.  It’s Joyce Carol Oates the most prolific woman I have EVER SEEN.  So I’m hoping that maybe I’ll learn something from her.  The help [POPULAR LIBRARY- NONRESERVABLE COPY] / Kathryn Stockett. Funny story here.  My copy really says that. Nonreservable. It’s can’t be checked out.  I didn’t see that. I saw THE *FREAKING* HELP sitting on the counter and snatched it up. The librarian wasn’t paying attention to it EITHER and scanned it in.  It LET HER, LET ME, check it out and she was SHOCKED.  But the damage was done.  I have the book!!  *squee!*  Keeping the feast : one couple’s story of love, food, and healing in Italy by Paula Butturini. because Nicole and Andi loved it.  And dude, it’s about FOOD.

A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis because I adored Mare’s War and, hello! It’s about FOOD.  Mouse Guard : Winter 1152 story & art by David Petersen. because I read Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 earlier this month and am anxious to continue the story (review forthcoming.  For the first one I mean. And hopefully even the second!).  Grace Hammer by Sara Stockbridge because it is Steampunk! And I love the cover!  And it’s Victorian!  And I haven’t read single book for that challenge yet!

When the library lights go out story by Megan McDonald ; illustrations by Katherine Tillotson and Here comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara are for the kiddos.  Aren’t they adorable?

So, what do you think?  Where should I start?  What’s good?

Willow by Julia Hoban

One of my favorite reads from last year, Willow by Julia Hoban, came out in paperback this week. Here were some of my thoughts about it: (my complete review here)

Willow is a beautifully written book.  Hoban doesn’t pull punches with pain, suffering, confusion and remorse.  Yet she never forgets the love, compassion, and commiseration we feel for others.  While Willow is in such exquisite pain, we see those around her reach out for her.  Her sister-in-law leaves her a note after a particularly ugly fight with her brother.  Guy waits for her day after day, to check on her, to make sure she’s okay.  He gives her his cellphone number.  He takes it upon himself to care for this scared, hurt stranger BECAUSE HE CARES.  Even her brother gives little overtures of love; even if Willow fails to see them.  The nuances in the writing Hoban shows with this novel are wonderful; I would have never believed this was a first novel.  There is one scene in particular, and if you’ve read this book you might know what I mean, that is particularly masterful and was pivotal in Willow’s path to healing.

What surprised and touched me most was the gorgeous ending.  It was perfect for a book like this and something I admire the author greatly for.  I will go no further for fear of spoilers, but I strongly encourage you to take up this book and give it a read.  It is worth every second it takes to read it.

If you haven’t read this amazing book yet, the paperback is out now!  In the UK, the novel has been released, with a different cover and name (Scarred) in March.  I highly recommend this amazing Young Adult novel to high schoolers and adults alike.

Purchase from

The Book Depository | IndieBound | Powells

Other reviews by:

YA Reads | S. Krishna’s Books | Look At That Book | All Five Stars | Shooting Stars Mag | The Compulsive Reader
Beth Fish Reads | Presenting Lenore | Dissecting Perfection | Frenetic Reader | Pop Culture Junkie
The Story Siren
| Harmony Book Reviews | Reviewer X Book Nut The Written World

I am a Book Depository, Powells, and Indie Bound Affiliate and will make a very small profit
if you buy a book through one of my links.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (audio)

I read the first three books in this series last year and loved all of them.  With Radiant Shadows coming out soon, I decided to revisit these books in preparation – this time in audio book form.  I am only going to review the audio book production this time.  Here is my original review of Wicked Lovely for more on my thoughts on the story.  I did have this to say at the time I read Wicked Lovely last year:

Marr has created a wonderfully detailed world within a world, rich with diverse people, faeries, and their politics.  The tension remains consistent and taut throughout the book as the points of view switch between the main characters.  The reader gains a feeling of sympathy for all the characters.  Marr’s prose is poetic, her imagery sensual; something I find essential for a faery tale book and she captures perfectly the confused emotions of young adulthood.  You’ll be left wondering how quickly you can get your hands on the sequel.

And I still feel this way.  Alyssa Bresnahan does a fantastic job with the narration.  She brings Marr’s rich, detailed world to marvelous life.  Each character has their own unique, distinctive voice, easily discernible from each other.  She doesn’t just read the novel, she doesn’t even act it out, she breathes life into the story, the characters, she makes it feel real.  This is without a doubt my favorite audio presentation to date.  If you haven’t read this book or have been meaning to reread it, the audio version of Wicked Lovely is a great way to do it.

Wicked Lovely
By Melissa Marr
Read by Alyssa Bresnahan
Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Harper Collins, 10 hours 12 minutes
Format: Audio Book
On Sale: 2008
ISBN: 9780061214677

Purchase from:

I downloaded my copy from  It does not appear to be available (at an affordable price) in any other way.

Other reviews by:

Beth Fish Reads | Fyrefly’s Book Blog | Bart’s Bookshelf

I am a Book Depository and Indie Bound Affiliate and will make a very small profit if you buy a book through one of my links.

Wordless/Wondrous Words Wednesday

More Wordless Wednesday fun here.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a fantastic meme hosted by BermudaOnion from BermudaOnion’s Book Blog. It is where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.

My words this week come from The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran.


from shirr

–verb (used with object) draw up or gather (cloth or the like) on three or more parallel threads. bake (eggs removed from the shell) in a shallow dish or in individual dishes.

3.Also, shirring. a shirred arrangement, as of cloth.


–adjective,lard·i·er, lard·i·est.

1. like or consisting of lard: lardy pastry.
2. fat or becoming fat: a diet designed for the lardy figure.
shirred and lardy were used in the same sentence…
“What’s the occasion?” she asked, laying out a plain supper of shirred eggs and lardy cakes.


I’m assuming this comes from dew·lap


1. a pendulous fold of skin under the throat of a bovine animal.
2. any similar part in other animals, as the wattle of fowl or the inflatable loose skin under the throat of some lizards.
Dewlappy, which I looked up and couldn’t find in the dictionary, was used in this sentence:
Dr. Pritchard escorted them to their cabin afterward, passing the animal pen along the way, where chickens mingled with pegs, and sheep stood with sad-looking dewlappy cows.

I can only assumed definition number one applies here!

What interesting words did you come across this week in your reading?

Admin stuff

You may see a little bit of weirdness going on around here this week.  I’m moving some of my old reviews over from the old Estella’s Revenge website that I never got around to moving.  I’m putting them at their original dates, so you may see that I “posted” in your feed reader and not see a new post; most are over a year old.  I should be done soon!  I will be linking all reviews and author interviews in their own pages, so if you’re curious, you may be able to find them there. 🙂


Have I mentioned the bet my hubby and I have going on?  We have agreed that if I can get down to 125 punds (not terribly unreasonable, I’m already 139 and the healthy weight for my height is 129) (what can I say, I’m a shorty!) (and there is nothing saying I have to STAY THERE) he will quit smoking.

Late last year I decided that I was going to get in shape and loose a few pounds. I’ve stepped up on the exercise (I just added jogging in this week!) and doing the eating right thing (well, most of the time). I’ve quit drinking sodas (did that months ago actually, except for the occasional ginger ale) and even tried The Game On! Diet (by myself) last month. So far I’ve lost about 7 pounds and I’m starting to feel really good. My body feels looser than it has in months, my thighs don’t rub together QUITE as much as they used to, and I’m not gasping for air if I take all 4 flights of steps up to the top floor at work!

Hubby thought if he bet me quitting smoking for weight loss, it would give me an extra incentive to work hard.  I think he should stop smoking anyway, but whatever.  I’ll wear him down eventually.  I’m more interesting in being HEALTHY than he is, obviously.

So, what do I need your help with? MUSIC. I listen to my iPod while I’m working out, like a lot of people do, and I usually listen to audio books. HOWEVER, now that I’ve added running into the mix, I can’t concentrate on a book any more, so I started listening to music. And I made a startling (to me) discovery. Dance music makes me MOVE. Most of the music on my iPod is rock music. I polled Twitter, which got me off to a good start, but I need more. So help me. What’s good to listen to when working out? I now have some Lady Gaga, some P!nk, some Christina Aguilera, some others I can’t think of at the moment…. who should I add? What do you listen to while you exercise?  I will love you forever if you can give me more!

When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

Honestly, the first thing that drew me to this book was the cover.  And then, the description reeled me in more.  When Jen at Devourer of Books told me she loved it and that I would too?  Well, that sealed the deal.

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Jessica Villareal has built her life around her career.  As a police officer, she has followed in her father’s footsteps, made the world a little safer for her own daughter, and found the fulfillment she had longed for ever since she was a little girl.  Now she’s facing life divorced, estranged from her only child, alone and very unhappy.   So when she decides to risk it all for a homeless girl and her Iraq-vet father who have been discovered, living in the Oregon woods, she begins to question everything she ever held dear.

Twelve-year-old Lindy and her father Ray have been living happily in the Oregon forest for quite awhile now.  He home-schools her with library books and they are reasonably well provided for by his disability checks.  She has a unique and enviable appreciation for the environment and has been thriving in her beloved woods.  When she is spotted one day out in the forest by a bird-watcher, she knows it’s all over.  She and her father try to escape, but the police catch them anyway.

Jessica is assigned to help Lindy.  She wants to help the girl and her father, but at what risk?  Should she help the state tear apart this small family forever or help the two stay together?  Her choice could change her own life, forever.  She faces loosing her job, the fragile link she has with her daughter and grandson, and even her solitude.  Can she make the choice that she knows is right?

Shortridge drew inspiration for When She Flew from a 2004 story of a Vietnam War vet who was found, living with his daughter, in a forested park outside of Portland.   Which only drew me into the book more, as that is something I’ve always thought of doing.  I often read news stories and wonder about the stories the news doesn’t report.  When She Flew is beautifully written, the characters (particularly Jessica) are well-drawn and, well, felt real, to me.  The plot, while at times a touch predictable, held my attention throughout.  I came to care about all these characters and wanted to see the best happen for all of them.  I was sad to tell them goodbye!  Jennie Shortridge may well be a new, favorite author.  I couldn’t wait to read more of her work, so I bought Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe with some of my birthday money.

When She Flew
By Jennie Shortridge

Published by NAL Trade, 652 pages
Format: Paperback
On Sale: November 3, 2009
ISBN: 978-0451227980

Purchase from The Book Depository | Purchase from IndieBound

Personal copy obtained through from Joan Shculhafer Publishing & Media Consulting.  Thanks Joy! 

Other reviews by:

Booking Mama | Devourer of Books |Musings of a Bookish Kitty |Dolce Bellezza | | Presenting Lenore | S. Krishna’s Books | Linus’s Blanket | and many more…

I am a Book Depository and Indie Bound Affiliate and will make a very small profit if you buy a book through one of my links.


Thirteen Reasons Why

I am reviewing way out of order here, which actually isn’t all THAT unusual, but this one couldn’t wait. I have to say something about it, now.  I also feel like I’m the last book blogger in the WORLD to have read this book, but I’m going to review it anyway.

Friday night, I was whining on Twitter about the fact that I have pretty much been in a reading slump for the past…oh, two weeks now.  I mentioned that I had picked up a stack of Young Adult books from the library and @myfriendamy asked what I had.  Thirteen Reasons Why was among the pile and tweets started flying in which  all boiled down to one thing; drop everything and read that book.

So, I did.  And I couldn’t put it down. From page one until the very end, Jay Asher grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go until the very last page.

Clay Jensen comes home from school to find a package on his porch.  It is addressed to him.  Curious, he carries it inside and opens it.  Inside are cassette tapes, seven of them, recorded by Hannah Baker.  Hannah Baker, the girl who committed suicide two weeks ago and was Clay’s secret crush.

He goes into his the garage and pops the first tape in the only tape player in the house.  Hannah’s voice floats out to him, twisting his heart and says there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Thirteen people. And Clay is one of them.  Clay doesn’t understand why he’s on the list.   He never did anything to Hannah.  They worked together at the movie theater.   And he stays up all night, listening to all thirteen reasons, to find out why Hannah did what she did.

“I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

Clay spends the night listening to Hannah’s story, her life, as she saw it.  She has connected the dots, the people, the rumors, the lies, the horrible misguided path, to her decision to end her life.   He must listen, and then pass the tapes on to the next person, or a secret someone will release the tapes into the world and these thirteen not be able to hide from them then.  He must listen, and finally get to know the girl he has liked for many months now.  Listen and get to know her and feel her loss all over again.  Listen and learn how even the smallest things, can mean so much to someone is so much emotional trouble.

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”

It’s no secret that kids can be mean, especially to those they don’t understand.  And the things these thirteen do to Hannah, aren’t that unusual.  What’s unusual, and what should be taken notice of, is how Hannah reacts to these things.   Jay Asher did an amazing job, not only getting into the male point of view with Clay, but the female point of view with Hannah.  Even without the textual clue of italizing Hannah’s words, I would have been able to tell the different between the two, which is the mark of a fine writer.  As the narrative moves forward, both Clay and Hannah’s pain becomes palatable and almost overwhelming, which for this situation felt true and honest.  I’m sure most girls would say they’ve been through things like what Hannah went through.  I know I did.   I like what Amy at My Friend Amy had to say about reading Hannah’s story:

Hannah’s story slowly unfolds and it isn’t pretty. Some of the things are hard to read and will be harder for the reader who has experience with them. And this poor girl certainly does get slammed. Yet at the same time that I grieved for Hannah, I grieved for every troubled teenager featured on the tape who would feel responsible for Hannah.

The book is, quite simply, riveting.  It’s impossible to put down.  And I think this would be a great book to read with your teen, if only to be able to communicate about these important issues with them.   That was my only problem with this book; it appears that there is no responsible adult in this town who could have helped save Hannah. I mean seriously, where were her parents?  Also, even though you know what happens to Hannah in the end, it does end on a hopeful note.  Oh, how I wish I had a book group I could discuss this with.  It would be a great one for a book group.

Thirteen Reasons Why
By Jay Asher
Young Adult
Published by Razor Bill, part of Penguin
Format: Hardback, 288 pages
On Sale: October, 2007

Purchase from The Book Depository | Purchase from IndieBound

Personal copy obtained through my local library.

Other reviews by:

Becky’s Book Reviews | Teen Book Review | The YA YA YAs | S. Krishna’s Books | Beth Fish Reads | Reviewer X | Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading | The Sleepy Reader | Jen Robinson’s Book Page | Bermudaonion’s Weblog | and many, many more

I am a Book Depository and Indie Bound Affiliate and will make a very small profit
if you buy a book through one of my links.