New Picture Books March 2, 2015

Every Friday a new set of books is put on display for students and teachers to peruse and put on reserve if they so wish. Here are a few of the picture books for the next week. 

Blizzard by John Rocco

There is something contrary about putting this book on display when the sun is streaming in through library windows and children are running around outside in t-shirts. Spring flowers and cherry blossoms are blooming everywhere. Still, I know that in other parts of the country, snow is commonplace. In sympathy with them, we'll read it. Besides, it's a testimony to the beauty of winter, wild weather, ingenuity and family. I can't help but point out that it was the reader who saved the day!
It's a stellar book that reminds me of being stranded in Nova Scotia during a blizzard.

Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison

I've been so busy with other stuff this week that we didn't get our new books out til Friday morning. This meant I had no time to preread the new picture books. When a group of grade 2/3/4's came in, I gave them a choice between Extraordinary Jane, and another book. They choose Jane. It is a beautiful story that resonates how important it is to be accepted for who you are. We loved and laughed at the illustrations. We were especially charmed by "the whole balancing ball disaster." We had to translate what 'grin and bear it' means, to them. (The bear is reading a book with this title while waiting in the hospital emergency.) Without a doubt, our favorite image is the last one. As the classroom teacher stated,  "That is a lot of love."

Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward

The illustrations are gorgeous, and the story is charming. As a Teacher Librarian, I wasn't happy to see the four page open section of the polar bear rumpus. It is a gorgeous image, but the pages just won't survive a lot of circulation. It will be worth it until then though. 

Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier & Kris Di Giacomo

Oh I love this book. It is an excellent alphabet book! Each page has a sentence that begins: Without the... Two words are then highlighted; one with, and one without the the letter. The illustrations add the extra oomph to tell the story. The letter P is the most devious as you can see for yourself here!

#IMWAYR February 23, 2015

For a reason to love Mondays, check out #IMWAYR, and visit hosts Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to discover what other readers are blogging about!

If you click on the linked titles you can read my full book reviews

5 stars
Mogie: The Heart of the House by Kathi Appelt

This is such a beautiful book about a dog who lives in a home for children who are dealing with serious illness. I teared up a few times while I read it. 

5 stars
Accidental Alphabet by Dianna Bonder

I've been trying to read more #canlit for children these days. Bondor's work is just stunning. 

4 stars
What do you do with an idea? by Kobi Yamada, Mae Besom (Illustrator)

I liked lots about this book, but it didn't work completely for me. I liked the beginning and the end, but somewhere in the middle, it fell apart.

4 stars
The Turtles of Oman by by Naomi Shihab Nye

I actually finished this one just over a week ago, but forgot to mention it last week. I loved it. This isn't a book that will have wide student reader appeal, but that doesn't mean it isn't a beautifully written book. This is a must read for teachers of immigrant children. 

3 stars
Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielson

I'm not unhappy that I finished this book, but if someone asked me for advice, I'd tell them not to bother with it. There was excessive violence and Jaren/Sage, was too egocentric and unrealistic for me. The first book is the best in the series. 

5 stars
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

Gush gush gush! I can't remember when I have felt such a profound personal connection to a novel before this one. We don't have it yet in our school library, but I went and added it to my order for when I have money to purchase books again. 

I've got a few books on the go right now. 

I finally managed to get 130 pages into How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg.  My partner got this for me as a Christmas gift because I love math. It's dense in places so I've had to do some rereading just to make sure I've got it. I'm not sure I really understand all of it, but it is profoundly satisfying to glean at least enough information from it, to say that I went to a workshop on Friday morning, and took it in through a mathematical lens. 

For fiction, I'm currently listening to The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander and reading My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian

What's up next?
Rachel Hartman's novel, Seraphina, was one of my top books in 2013. Shadow Scale was on my list of books to read last year, but didn't get published in time. To say I was euphoric when this arrived, might be a tad outlandish, but only just. I can't decide if I want to let my overdue library books go to heck, or save this to savor during spring break coming up in a few weeks. 

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

5 stars
Maggie is precocious, self absorbed, and completely loveable. From the first lines, her voice drew me in and held me in thrall till I finished the book. 

If only this book had been available when I was eleven or twelve. Aside from Pipi Longstocking, who lived a life free of crazy parents, everyone in my literary world lived in perfect families. Mine was not. Maybe that's why I lived so much of my life in books. If Maggie had been here then, I wonder if I might have been braver in my own life.

Maggie's father has multiple sclerosis. This book is her memoir of the year leading up to her 12th birthday.  It's heartbreaking, but at the same time, life affirming.  It's a kind of coming of age narrative. In this one year, Maggie comes to understand the magnitude of her father's illness.

My father used a wheelchair after being injured in a logging accident the year I was five. He returned home three years later, in so many ways, a changed person. Living in a family with someone who is chronically ill, (my father's kidneys were damaged as well) is challenging for everyone, and everyone deals with it in different ways.

All of this resonates in this book. As I read, I wept buckets. I wept for Maggie and her family. At the same time I wept for that little girl in me and my family. I can't remember when I last made this kind of profound personal connection to any novel.

Megan Jean Sovern's portrait of a family in the midst of crisis, is full of impeccably real characters. There are three girls. Maggie is the youngest. Tiffany is the middle child and Layla is the eldest. The older girls have a better grasp of what is going on than Maggie. There is the usual sibling squabbling, but also a coming together when they have to. When the father was forced, by his illness, to quit his job, their mother went out to work. She was tired all the time, and her absence, both physically and emotionally, leaves a void in their lives. Their father, who was once an unknown entity, is suddenly forced to take on the major caregiver role, a role he isn't equipped for. 

I know Maggie's family intimately, because our families lived through, and survived, a similar reality. I found my mother in Maggie's mom.  After my father came home, she went out to work. Especially in the early days, she was exhausted all the time from trying to do two jobs, the one of Mother, and the one of nurse in the hospital she worked in. I found my father in Maggie's father. When my father came home it wasn't easy for him to adjust to his changed role from family provider, to caretaker of a passel of small children. Although I empathise with Maggie, as the oldest of five children, I understand Layla best. Shouldering responsibility, and even taking on a parenting role, is what the eldest do at times like this.

There are many examples in this book that ring true for me about living in a family dealing with this kind of situation. Not the least is the magical thinking we try to hold onto. Maggie wondered if they went to church, God might fix her father. I remember when this kind of hope was part of my life. My father, like Maggie's, cured me of this.

Thank you Megan Jean Sovern for telling your story and helping me to understand that there are many families like ours. I'm so glad your novel will be there for kids dealing with similar realities today. 

Accidental Alphabet by Dianna Bonder

5 stars

I am a sucker for poetry. 
I am a sucker for alphabet books. 
Put them together, and if it's well done, it's a special delight. 
Glorious illustrations make it even better. 

In Accidental Alphabet, Dianna Bonder's language and illustrations are rich and lushly hedonistic. It's almost overdone, but so beautiful, you have to go back for more. 

Now throw in a splash of humor, and what can I say, it's like discovering a kind of literary paradise. 

Look at this page for the letter U and you will see what I mean.

At the end of the book are lists that turn the book into a search and find puzzle book. There is a list of hints for how you can find hidden letters and a list of questions that send you back to the book looking for specific details.

Even though this is not a new book, (it was published in 2002) it's new to our library. I predict children will love it. 

#IMWAYR February 16, 2015

For a reason to love Mondays, check out #IMWAYR, and visit hosts Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to discover what other readers are blogging about!

I've managed to read a number of fabulous picture books this week, finished up a chapter book or two, read some nonfiction and found time for poetry. So all in all, it's been a very fine reading week. 

4 stars
Katie Woo: Keep Dancing Katie by Fran Manushkin & Tammie Lyon (illustrator)

I like this series for young readers for many reasons. This particular title is a sweet story of a girl learning to accept and appreciate others. The multicultural characters are real, just like the kinds of children I see everyday at my school.

4 stars
The Magician of Auschwitz by Kathy Kacer & Gillian Newland (illustrator) (book club book)

This is one of our book club books. It has impressed students who have read it. It is a true story of two men who survived the horror of Auschwitz. Against that backdrop of evil, they connected and gave what they could to each other. Herr Levin, a magician, is kept alive because he is able to entertain the German guards and officials with his magic tricks. He passes some of his knowledge on to Werner. More important than the gift of magic, Levin and Werner give each other the gifts of friendship and hope.

4 stars
There's Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury (illustrator)

Oh so charming. Young readers will enjoy this book. It begins with a mother telling her young child that there is going to be a baby. What ensues is the child asking questions and imagining hilarious situations wherein the baby attempts to do things like cook and paint (with disastrous results). As the baby grows in the mother, we see the older child move from being anxious into joyful anticipation. Burmingham and Oxenbury have created a sweet book that I wish was around to read way back when I was the mother of small children. It would have been perfect to read to my older son when he was waiting for the new baby to arrive.

5 stars
Wild Berries by Julie Flett

These images are stunning. I love the use of red midst the otherwise neutral background. It's a simple tale of a young boy going wild blueberry picking with his grandma. The integration of Cree words in the text makes the experience feel magical: a connection to another time and place. The whole book reminded me of my own experiences as a child, heading off with my family into the wild to pick berries. Like Grandma, we also made sure to "check for bears maskwak."

4 stars
The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo

Everything Carrie Gelson wrote about this book last week is right on the money. I love the illustrations. It's a charming tale of a little boy who takes his little sister's stuffed rabbit and gets in trouble for it. When it goes missing again, he is thought to be the culprit, but then his stuffed raccoon, his boat, pirate and the rabbit all disappear. You will have to read the book to find out who the real thief is.

3 stars

Lily the Unicorn by Dallas Clayton

This is the sort of book and will probably appeal to fans of Richard Scarry's books. There is A LOT going on in the pages. It is the story of Lily, an extremely active unicorn who meets up with Roger, an extremely reserved Penguin. Lily manages to win Roger over. I had a couple of problems with this book. 1. it was too busy for me and 2. Lily is so much bigger than life and doesn't seem to really let Roger be who he is. I wish they could have met in the middle.

4 stars

Mama's Saris by Pooja Makhijani, Elena Gomez (illustrator)

This is another oh so beautiful book. A young girl is hanging out with her mother as she gets dressed in a sari for a special occasion: the girl's birthday. As they go through the collection of saris, they reminisce about the events associated with each one. Like most young girls, the child wants to be grown up like her mother. This book would pair up beautifully with Deep in the Sahara, a tale about a young girl who wants to wear the malafa. Both are visually stunning books.

3.5 stars

Nanny X by Madelyn Rosenberg

Imagine that your nanny is a secret agent. This is the premise for this chapter book. I enjoyed it and think many of my readers will also. It's got humour, adventure, and looks to be the first of a series. 

3.5 stars
Life Lines: the Lanier Phillips Story by Christine Welldon

This book worked for me on some levels, but at times the writing got in the way and interrupted what might otherwise be a fabulous read. It's still worth the time you put into it though. 

5 stars

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson, Hadley Hooper (Illustrations)
If you haven't read this book, you really should go out and find a copy. I got mine from the library, but intend to purchase my own so that I can reread these poems whenever I feel like it. 

Currently I am listening to Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen. I am finally enjoying it, but to be honest, I nearly abandoned it in the beginning because there is so much brutality and violence. Instead I skipped over chunks of it. I'm sad that I feel this way about a series that I was really excited about initially. It's just that it's been impossible for me not to compare it to Stroud's Lockwood and Co, a suspenseful, action filled, riveting tale without all the nastiness. I'm still working on How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg. I have no idea what novel I'll be picking up next. There are so very many of them in my pile....

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson, Hadley Hooper (Illustrations)

If I did not already love poetry, this collection would have tipped me head over heels into it. 

Each poem is a snapshot in time from one decade, (1940 to 1950) in Marilyn Nelson's life. We see her grow from a young girl of four to a teenager. I loved all of them. I loved that we see the world, through how she saw the world, based on her age. For example, in Bomb Drill (Lackland AFB, Texas, 1952) 

We ducked and covered underneath our desks,

hiding from the drajen bombs in school today. 

Maybe drajens would turn into butter

if they ran really fast around a tree.

I made many personal connection to these poems, especially the ones that reference her interactions with her sister. Sibling life, irrespective of time and skin colour, is universal. Paper Dolls (Kittery Point, Maine, 1958)

And again with Sinfornia Concertante (Fort Worth, Texas, 1959). I remember playing the viola and how "my squawks" set everyone in my family's teeth on edge. 

One of my favourite lines comes from Africans (Sacramento, California, 1959). 

"Some of the greatest wrongs of history

are being righted now," she says. "These are

our people." As I put a plate away,

I ask myself who is not my people.

While Nelson's poems reflect her personal coming of age and awareness of her identity, they also mirror the issues of the day. Readers see the impact of McCarthyism, fear of the atom bomb, racism, the civil rights movement, and even the beginnings of the women's movement. In addition, there is the constant upheaval and sense of rootlessness in the poems that reveals the universal reality of all children who live in military families. 

Thank you Marilyn Nelson for writing this book. 
Thank you Thank you Elizabeth Ellington for recommending it to me. 

Life Lines: the Lanier Phillips Story by Christine Welldon

3.5 stars
Newfoundlanders are renowned for their generosity and readiness to step up and help one another and anyone in need. This is a story about how a disaster, and their responses to it, became the fulcrum that enabled one man to change his own life, and consequently, the lives of many others. 

Lanier Phillips was born in 1923 in Lithonia, Georgia. From early on he was forced to deal with racism and hatred. By the time he was 17 he had a deep rooted, and justified, hatred and suspicion of white people. He joined the navy in 1941 hoping to improve his life, only to discover that, "The Navy was as racist as the state of Mississippi." 

Then in 1942, the ship he was on, the USS Truxton, smashed into rocks on the shore near St. Lawrence, Newfoundland. The citizens of St. Lawrence headed out in the cold wintery weather risking their own lives to rescue as many men as they could. The kindness of these all white citizens, but especially, Violet Pike, precipitated a profound shift in Lanier's world view. He attributed that their unconditional acceptance of him initiated a rebirth in him. They helped him to appreciate the dignity of all people irrespective of their skin colour, and through this, to have hope for himself. "In St Lawrence, Lanier had seen a different way of life where everyone was equal. He knew such a life was possible. He had to pave the way for change so other African americans could have an easier time when they tried to better themselves."

In spite of continued obstacles, Lanier Phillips persisted and went on to be the first African American sonar technician in the Navy. After he retired from the Navy, he worked with Jacques Cousteau on the ALVIN deep-water submersible. He walked with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery. 

I'm conflicted about this book.

There are some parts I really enjoyed reading - especially the narrative that tells the story of Lanier Phillips. It is actually a very gripping read. However, at times I was confused by the way the story jumps from this narrative to a more nonfiction based reporting of events and facts. I liked that Lanier's story is set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, but there are times when the same information is retold in a different sections. To be honest, this was irritating and confusing to me. I wish this book had been formatted differently so that the backdrop could have been more smoothly integrated into Lanier's life. 

I have some concern that Christine Welldon is a white woman telling this story, but then, I ask myself, doesn't this story belong to both those brave Newfoundlanders and Lanier Phillips? And I am reminded of a line from marilyn nelson's book, how i discovered poetry, "I ask myself who is not my people."

In spite of these minor quibbles, I'm glad I read this book. It opened my eyes to a piece of Canadian history I was unaware of. (Although at the time, Newfoundland was not part of Canada) 

We've got some students in our school working on history projects. I'm looking forward to introducing them to this story this week. 

#IMWAYR February 9, 2015

I love Mondays! If you are looking for a good read, come join hosts Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and discover what other readers are blogging about!

From picture books to novels, I read some fabulous books last week! I've been trying to keep up with my book club members at school, so I've dug into the nonfiction bin and read two books from there, as well as finishing up two novels from fiction bins.

Locomotive by Brian Floca (BookClub)
5 stars
This is why books win caldecotts. The illustrations and text come together in exquisite harmony to create a unique and enduring beauty.

Do You Know Porcupines by Alain M Bergeron (BookClub)

2 stars

I can't figure out why this one has an average goodreads rating of 4.2 stars. 
"This is a kind of nonfiction book with information text at the bottom of the page and an illustrated joke at the top half. The information at the bottom of the pages was great. I even appreciated some of the humor at the top of the pages, but I got tired of it pretty soon. On top of this, it didn't always work together. When it did, it added to the readers understanding, but at other times, it is confusing. For example: on page 26, it says that porcupines are nocturnal animals, but then goes on to show a porcupine with coloured leaves sticking all over it. (this is the cover image) It doesn't help the reader come to any kind of understanding of what nocturnal means. (although this word is noted in the glossary)
There are readers who like this kind of book. I'm not one of them."

4.5 stars

Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (BookClub)

There are few things in life as fine as a book that grabs you by the throat and won't let go until you are done. This is how it was for me with this one. Skrypuch has created fantastic characters set against a riveting historical backdrop. To top it all off, isn't this a beautiful cover?

5 stars
 The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co # 2) by Jonathan Stroud

If you haven't read or listened to any of this series, you are living a deprived life. Simply put, these are some of the best adventure yarns it has been my pleasure to read in a very very long time. I long for the next one. The Dagger in the Desk (a novella) is, according to Goodreads, available as an ebook today. I'm getting it. 

Fortunately The Milk written and read by Neil Gaiman (BookClub)

4 stars

"I enjoyed listening to Neil Gaiman narrate this audiobook.  I wandered down to the local grocery store and back while listening. Anyone noticing me might have wondered what I was up to as sometimes I just laughed out loud. When their father goes off to get milk for their breakfast cereal, two children wonder what happened to him as he is gone for ages and ages. Upon his return, he proceeds to tell them a very tall tale that involves; space aliens from outer space, a time machine wielding stegosaurus, pirates, vampires, and an exploding volcano. I'm sure I have left something out, but you should get the picture by now. It is a delightful tale. Unfortunately, because this was an audiobook, I missed out on all the whimsical illustrations created by Scottie Young. I peeked at them using Amazon's Look Inside! feature enough to realize what I missed. I will have to get a copy of the book just to spend some time appreciating them fully."

Currently I'm in the middle of Nanny X by Madelyn Rosenberg. So far it's pretty funny and a good mystery for younger readers to boot!

My partner and I have been out of town for the family day long weekend. I haven't read as much as I thought I would, but we've both really enjoyed this respite from our regular lives. We are heading back to Vancouver tomorrow and I'm still trying to figure out what audiobook I'll put on so I can read and knit at the same time. I'm thinking that once
Nanny X is done, I'll start reading with my eyes, how i discovered poetry, by marilyn nelson. Elizabeth Ellington recommended it so I know I'm going to love it.

Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

4.5 stars
In 1913, two Anatolian sweethearts, Ali and Zeynep, were separated through the machinations of a jealous mother and the ravages of war. Each carried a diary to write in. Their story is alternately told through these diaries. 

Ali made it to Canada where he found a job and began to save money to bring Zeynep over to be with him. In the mean time, Zeynep managed to escape their village of Eyolmez. She ended up living with American missionaries in the city of Harput, and worked along side them in the local hospital. Life seemed to be good. 

Then in 1914, war broke out. Canada sided with Britain against the Ottoman Empire. Ali, along with other Armenian Canadians, was rounded up and sent to Kapuskasing, an internment camp in Northern Ontario. 

Ali's life may have become difficult, but in Turkey, Zeynep's became a nightmare.  She was caught up in the midst of ethnic cleansing as 1.5 million Christian Armenians were gathered up and murdered by the Turks. At first, Ali was safe because she was Alevi Kurd. Eventually she too was forced to flee. 

I really enjoyed this book. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I appreciated the maps at the front and back of the book that helped me to put the events and places in geographical context. As I read I was fascinated to learn about the Alevi religion and culture. I was horrified to read about the Armenian genocide. Against this historical & political backdrop, Skrypuch has created authentic characters in Ali and Zeynep. I was deeply invested in their survival and eventual reunification. 

Dance of the Banished is exemplary historical fiction that fully engages the reader as it entertains and educates us about other times. After reading the author's notes at the end of the book, I was compelled to go and dig into more deeply into this time frame and these events. 

Thank you, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, for the fabulous history lesson. 

#IMWAYR February 2, 2015

It's Monday again! If you are looking for a good read, come join the fun with hosts Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

These are some new books that have either just arrived, or gone into our new book display cabinet this week. 

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough & Debby Atwell
4 stars
Atwell's folk art illustrations enrich and add atmosphere to the story of Miss Moore, the amazing librarian who pioneered unique library spaces for children. I wish I were half the librarian she was.

The Girl and the Bicycle & The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett
5 stars
5 stars
On Friday I showed these to my end of the day library monitor. Katherine's eyes picked up so much more than I did. She pointed out connections I didn't see, but then, in my defence, I read them in this order, and Katherine read The Boy and the Airplane first. If you haven't seen these two amazing titles, you should run out and find them right now. 

Cinderella's (Not So) Ugly Sisters by Gillian Shields
2 stars
The start was ok, but really this one is better off ignored unless you are interested in doing some work with twisted fairy tales. 

A pile of picture books arrived from the VPL this week for me to peruse before purchasing them. (My budget is nearly zero!) Here are the ones I hope to find money for. 

The Birdman by Veronika Martenova Charles (5 stars)
"As much as I appreciated the text, the illustrations by Annouchka Gravel Galouchko & Stephan Daigle, can be described as nothing short of gobsmackingly glorious." 

3 stars
Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty illustrations by David Roberts

I adored the pictures, but have reservations about the rhyming text. I would get in a groove with the rhythm and then it would fall apart. It ended up exasperating me. Its a Yes, because it fits in with engineering units.

4 stars

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story by Paula Yoo - illustrations by Dom Lee

This could be a perfect addition to our library for many reasons. It's inspiring, and it connects to units on immigration, sports, multiculturalism and biographies. It pairs beautifully with Wilma Unlimited.

Bad Bye, Good Bye by Debora Underwood & illustrated by Jonathan Bean

5 stars
I loved the simple rhythmic rhyming pattern in the text. Bean's illustrations kick  it up a notch or two by accentuating the emotions rife in the situation. Moving is messy business in many different ways. Underwood and Bean have captured it perfectly in this book.

I happily managed to finish two novels and one information book this week. 

5 stars
The Paperboy by Vince Vawter
"There is much to applaud in this wonderfully written book. As I became the protagonist for a while, I learned more than I could have imagined about what it feels like, and means, to stutter. I also grasped a clearer understanding of what it meant to grow up in the late 1950's in the American South. 
Over the course of the month, as he takes over his best friends paper route, Victor's life is transformed. 
While this is often a gentle book, it is powerful, and at times even frightening. Along with our narrator, we get glimpses of what goes on behind the doors the paper gets delivered to. 
When I was about the same age as him, I too had a paper route. Delivering the papers through all kinds of weather and trying to collect was no picnic I tell you. But I don't recall meeting up with or being so aware of the people I delivered to either."

5 stars
All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins
Let's get this out of the way first. I loved this book. After finishing a VPL copy, I discovered that I had purchased a copy for the library, but it wasn't yet catalogued. The exciting bit about this, is that my library monitor at the time told me how much she loved Criss Cross and was delighted to learn about this one. So many of our readers want action and suspense, I forget that there are those who love thoughtful reads. I can't wait to hear from her what she thinks.

4 stars

Tastes Like Music: 17 Quirks of the Brain and Body by Maria Birmingham Illustrated by Monika Melnychuk
I'm trying to catch up to the information members of our book club. In spite of a few quibbles, I liked it. 

These days I'm reading Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, another book club book, and listening to Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull. Who knows where next week will take me in my reading life?