January Wrap-Up

01 january

Books read:

Books started, but not finished:

  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells

Challenges completed:

  • um. none.

The BSC returns

The Babysitters Club Graphic Novels
Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

#1 Kristy’s Great Idea
#2 The Truth About Stacey
#3 Mary Anne saves the Day


How many of you read The Babysitters Club when you were younger? If you were anything like me, you had piles of them.

I can remember, all too clearly, my memories of the BSC. I remember sitting on my bed with a pile of them and spending all day reading. I remember having to run out to my mother at the beginning of chapters because I couldn’t read the handwriting (especially Mary Anne’s cursive). And I remember the day my cousin bequeathed her collection to me – it was a rather large collection and I felt I had been handed quite a treasure.

Well the Babysitters are back. And when I saw the first three graphic novels at my library I just had to grab them – despite my sister’s eye rolling. What can I say? she was never a BSC fan. babysittersclubthetruthaboutstaceyGN_80

Raina Telgemeier’s treatment of the story is absolutely fantastic, completely true to Ann M. Martin’s original books. Her artwork, likewise, is superb: not only is it wonderful on an artistic level, it completely satisfied me on a fan basis.

If you were a fan of the series – or maybe you have a child you’d like to introduce it to – I’d recommend your seeking them out. Despite my having read them many times before, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these new graphic novels. I, however, take no responsibility for any ten-year-old tendencies that may resurface as a result of reading. 4/5




Christmas Tales

Green - Let it SnowLet it Snow John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
published 2008; 352 pages

It was the night before Christmas.
Well to be precise, it was the afternoon before Christmas. But before I take you into the beating heart of the action, let’s get one thing out of the way. I know from experience that if it comes up later, it will distract you so much that you won’t be able to concentrate on anything else I tell you.
My name is Jubilee Dougal. Take a moment and let it sink in. (1)

This seems to be my month for short stories; Let it Snow is a collection of three interconnecting Christmas stories – novellas, actually. What I enjoyed most about the format of this book is that the small details from one story, interesting but inconsequential, become critical plot points in later stories.
Author John Green (Looking for Alaska), Maureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes), and Lauren Myracle (TTYL) set their stories during a blizzard in a small town. Their individual voices work well together – so much so that it wouldn’t take a lot to convince me that all three were written by the same author (a book like James Roy’s Town).
I’ll admit that I picked this book up simply because I’m a John Green fan (very much so), but the book as a whole was fabulous, and I’ll definitely be looking out for books by both Myracle and Johnson. All three authors weave together romance and humour in an entirely charming way. These are characters whom you might have known in your own youth. 4/5


Magical tales…

Gaiman - M is for MagicM is for Magic
Neil Gaiman
published 2007; 249 pages

Stories that you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit. (ix)


I was never a great fan of short stories as a whole until I discovered Neil Gaiman. And while I love all his writing, it is his collections of short stories that I have been devouring.

M is for Magic is a collection aimed at a younger audience. Though it appears to be marketed (and shelved, in my libraries case) at a junior level, it is probably more appropriate for a middle to YA level. With life-eating trolls, story-telling months and ghosts to boot, this collection is sure to please. The richness of Gaiman’s voice does not go lacking.

My only point of concern with the collection was that several of the short stories are found in other collections (Angels and Visitations and Fragile Things) – certainly not a problem, just something to be aware of. 3.5/5




Teaser Tuesday (Jan 26)

Teaser TuesdaysTeaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!


Wells - Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya SisterhoodIf I could pass my hand over my daughter’s back, over that entire Lent, over seasons of her childhood, I would erase it all. But I cannot do the godlike things I wish I could. (18)

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells

Happy Australia Day!


image by John White


Happy Australia Day to those so inclined!


Even if you’re not Australian, why not take the day to pretend you are? Wear thongs, have a barbie… get in the spirit of things :)

Musing Monday (Jan 25)

Musing Mondays2 Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about borrowed books.

Where do you keep any books borrowed from friends or the library? Do they live with your own collection, or do you keep them separate? Do you monitor them in anyway.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.


Before I start my response, I’d like to apologise (especially to the early birds amongst you) for today’s MM being up so late. Had some good old fashioned family dramas today that got in the way – this will teach me for not scheduling like usual won’t it! ;)

I have two narrow shelves, about waist high, that sit in the corner of my bedroom, inbetween my dresser and the wall. They don’t hold a lot of books, which is good because it acts as a check for my book borrowing – shelves won’t hold any more = gotta read some borrowed book.

For the most part any borrowed books I may have in the house are library books, as there aren’t a lot of people I trade with. If I do borrow from friends however, they sit on one side of the shelf so they don’t fall in with my own books. Not that I don’t trust myself to give them back (or my friends to remind me about them) but I have a tendency to get distracted by other shiny books if the borrowed ones aren’t in plain sight.

As for monitoring them, all books in the house that I don’t own get written up on a whiteboard so I know who/where I borrowed them from and, in the case of library books, when they’re due back.

What about you? How do you handle borrowed books?

Library Loot (Jan 22)


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.




With the weather being as hot as it has been lately, it takes a fair bit of enticement to get me to leave my nice air-conditioned house unless absolutely necessary. So today when Beth wanted to go out for lunch she had to make it seriously worth my while.

She offered up a trip to the bookshop AND library – as well as offering to carry my library tote back. She won!




For Beth:

  • Candy Girl – Diablo Cody
  • Nightlight: a parody – The Harvard Lampoon
  • Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen


For me:

  • Little Brother – Cory Doctorow
  • The Bermudez Triangle – Maureen Johnson
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
  • Star Trek Celebrations – Maureen McTigue
  • Star Trek: Action! – Terry J. Erdmann
  • I Lost My Mobile at the Mall – Wendy Harmer
  • The Looking Glass Wars – Frank Beddor
  • King Arthur: Dragon’s Child – M.K. Hume
  • The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil’s Biblical Roots – T.J. Wray and Gregory Mobley
  • The Bible and the People – Lori Anne Ferrell
  • When Women Were Priests – Karen Jo Torjesen
  • The Sandman: The Dream Hunters – Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano


Yeah… I went a little nuts. I blame Bethany.

Clover and Bee Poetry Challenge

cloverbeebuttonWhat can I say, I’m a sucker for a good challenge – and I wanted to read more poetry this year anyways.


The purpose of this challenge is to encourage more people to read and enjoy books of poetry. This years challenge will go through 12/31/2010.

There are four levels of participation:
Couplet: Read 2 books of poetry
Limerick: Read 5 books of poetry, and finish at least one badge
Octave: Read 8 books of poetry, and finish at least two badges
Sonnet: Read 14 books of poetry, and finish two badges, and one expert badge


I’m going to aim for the limerick level, but we’ll see how I go.


1. Ariel – Sylvia Plath

Awesome bookmarks

I found this via twitter today and thought it was such a great idea.

Be sure to click for more, they’re pretty impressive.



I can’t pick a favourite – what about you?

The Other Boleyn Girl

Gregory - The Other Boleyn GirlThe Other Boleyn Girl
Philippa Boleyn

published 2001; pages 532

The tent for the queen and her ladies was hung in cherry-red and white silk, the queen was wearing a cherry gown to match and she looked young and rosy in the bright colour. I was in green, the gown I had worn at the Shrove Tuesday masque when the king singled me out from all the others. The colour made my hair glow more golden and my eyes shone. I stood beside the queen’s chair and knew that any man looking from her to me would think that she was a fine woman, but old enough to be my mother, while I was a woman of only fourteen, a woman ready to fall in love, a woman ready to feel desire, a precocious woman, a flowering girl. (28)


Life at the royal court is not as easy or as glamorous as one might think. Behind the words of courtly love, exchanged between handsome noblemen and beautifully gowned ladies, are a multitude of schemes all designed with a singular purpose: to gain power.

In Tudor England, in the court of King Henry this is no different. Determined to profit from the King’s desperate desire to produce a male heir (not to mention his eye for the ladies), the prominent Boleyn family do all they can to put one of their own in the path of the King. Young Mary Boleyn, beautiful and somewhat naive to the harsher realities of court, is the one chosen. Coached and manipulated by her family and their unquenchable greed and ambition, Mary catches the eye of her king.

Until her sister Anne comes to court. Her more intelligent, more seductive – more ambitious – sister. And suddenly Mary finds herself set aside, becoming ‘the other Boleyn girl’, forced to aide her sister in procuring all she sacrificed for.

I’ll be honest right from the start: I absolutely adored The Other Boleyn Girl. The intrigue, the scheming, the oh-so-polite betrayals of the court – all of it was written so well that I simply couldn’t put the book down.

Everyone knows the tale – not to mention fate - of Anne Boleyn, second queen to King Henry VIII, but this is not her story. This is the story of Mary Boleyn, the younger sister abused and then thrown aside in the name of family duty. And this balance between Mary’s ownership of the story and Anne’s inherent capacity to dominate and control every situation is an interesting one.

Historical accuracy was, I felt, given its appropriate respect before giving way to the embellishments of fiction. It included enough history for those with no background knowledge to follow the story without turning it into an incomprehensible political piece. Having said that, I was left with the feeling of needing to know more. As I said earlier, this is Mary’s story – and once her time at court is over so too is the story.

Highly recommended to lovers of historical fiction or period romance. 5/5



Wordless Wednesday (Jan 20)

Will You Marry It, Marry It, Marry It

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Teaser Tuesday (Jan 19)

Teaser Tuesdays Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!


Pratchet - Wyrd SistersThrough the fathomless deeps of space swims the star turtle Great A’Tuin, bearing on its back the four giant elephants who carry on their shoulders the mass of the Discworld. A tiny sun and moon spin around them, on a complicated orbit to induce seasons, so probably nowhere else in the multiverse is it sometimes necessary for an elephant to cock a leg to allow the sun to go past. (5)

Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett

Musing Monday (Jan 18)

Musing Mondays2Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about tidy reading around people.

When is it inappropriate to read in front of others? Is it ever appropriate?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.


*NOTE: This is the Musing Mondays button that won the poll. However, feel free to use whichever one takes your fancy.


I spent most of the week thinking about what the next week’s MM will be. Partly because I like to have a good question and mostly because I find it as a way to get great advice on anything I come across.

For instance: I spend at least 1-2 hours a week waiting around for others, either in the car or in a doctor’s office and because I so hate having wasted time like that I’ve made that my reading time. However at the moment it’s school holidays and so there’s usually someone else with us.

I have no problem reading in public – even surrounded by people like in the shopping centre or doctors office. In fact, I think it’s ridiculous that MORE people don’t read. However I feel incredibly uncomfortable reading when someone I know is sitting beside me. Even if we don’t talk – and let’s face it, how much of a conversation does anyone ever have in a waiting room?

Outside of this scenario I rarely read in front of others, because I feel a little rude – unless it’s with a booky friend and we’re both reading, of course! But what about you? I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the subject.


My sister is a bit of a graphic site junkie, which is a good thing for me because she saves me things she thinks I’ll like and then sends them to me – isn’t she nice?

She often sends me wonderfully booky images, and this is one she sent me today and I couldn’t resist sharing. Be honest, how many of you would happily go to this sleepover?




Note: I did not take this photo, I don’t know who did – if anyone does know, please let me know.

Wordless Wednesday (Jan 13)


Library Day

Library Day

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Musing Mondays (Jan 11)

Musing Mondays (BIG) Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about tidy bookshelves.

Are your bookshelves strictly books only? Or have knick-knacks invaded? Do your shelves also shelve DVDs? Photos? Why not snap a photo – I’m sure we all like to spy on other’s shelves!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.


My house, at least my sections of it (yes, I’m guilty) are still cluttered with holiday mess and disorder – even my shelves a little. And as I was reshelving the books that had been returned or recovered, I realised just how many other things my shelves housed.




I have two book shelves. The bookshelf in our lounge room shelves all my Star Trek books. It also houses my collection of coffee table books, and my ever-growing notebook stash (no, there is no such thing as too many notebooks!)



It also holds what we call my “miniature menagerie” – something that started with the turtle and has grown since then, either by myself or the contributions of others.




My main bookshelf, however is in my craft room – a room already cluttered (and yes, very out of control at the moment. Wendy, don’t kill me) and so it collects it’s fair share of debris. I took a few quick photos of some of the items lining my shelves – they pretty much speak for themselves.




DSC05592 DSC05593 DSC05607


It wasn’t, however, until posting this pics now that I realised something: I counted 14 objects and 8 of them are related in some way to Wendy – which means she is responsible, and therefore not allowed to pick on my knick-knack collecting.

So how bout you? What does your shelf look like?

Library Loot


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. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

And the library is open again! Yay! Bringing the firsts Library Loot of the year. My brother actually braved the heat with me today (without his card of course), so he managed to sneak some books into the pile as well.



For Alex (you may sense a theme here):

  • Australian Photography, April 2009 [magazine]
  • Through the Lense: National Geographic’s Greatest Photographs – Leah Brendavid Val (Ed.)
  • How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures from your Digital Camera – Tom Ang
  • Portrait Photography: Secrets of Posing and Lighting – Mark Cleghorn

For me:

  • The Babysitter’s Club Graphic Novels: #1 Kristy’s Great Idea – Raina Telgemeir
  • The Babysitter’s Club Graphic Novels: #2 The Truth About Stacey – Raina Telgemeir
  • The Babysitter’s Club Graphic Novels: #3 Mary Anne Saves the Day – Raina Telgemeir
  • Ariel – Sylvia Plath
  • M is for Magic – Neil Gaiman
  • Let it Snow – John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
  • The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Ninth Grade Slay – Heather Brewer
  • Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant – Jason T. Eberl and Keven S. Decker (editors)

And of course, no trip the library is complete without a trip to the ‘for sale’ spindle (for 20c each!):

  • Girls in Love (3-in-1 book) – Jacqueline Wilson
  • Tomorrow, When the War Began – James Marsden

BTT (Jan 7)

Booking Through Thursday
What books did you get for Christmas (or whichever holiday you may have celebrated last month)?
Do you usually ask for books on gift-giving occasions or do you prefer to buy them yourself?

I don’t normally get books for Christmas – and haven’t done since I was very young. My family tells me they find it too hard, not knowing what I already have, or would like to read. I suppose I can understand this sentiment, though I have tried to nudge them towards gift certificates in the past.
This year, however, I did get a nice little pile of books. And my sister and I actually decided early to make a wish-list and exchange books this year.

20091225 (27)

  • Star Trek: Voyager – Full Circle by Kirsten Beyer
  • Graceling by Kristen Cashore
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • An Abundance of Katherine by John Green
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum/Charles Santore

It’s not unusual for me to slip a book under the tree for myself (what? I like getting books for Christmas!), and this year it was the new Borders special edition of Sense and Sensibility. I just couldn’t resist the prettiness of this edition.

My favourite, however, was undoubtedly the illustrated edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that my cousin Renae bought me. I collect copies of this book, and am always on the look out for something new. Charles Santore’s edition is just so beautiful.


As for requesting books for gift-giving occasions, no I don’t usually. If asked what I’d like (though I’ve been told I’m easy to buy for, so it doesn’t come often) I will give a title or two, but it’s not common.

Wordless Wednesday


click here for more of my photography

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The No Nonsense Guide to Soul Mates

The No Excuses Guide to Soul Mates
Stacey DeMarco and Jade Sky

The No Excuses Guide to SOUL MATESSoul Mate stories can be traced as far back as 3000 BCE Egypt... there has been evidence of Soul Mates throughout the ages, but the difference between our Hollywood inspired kind of soul mate and how the ancients viewed the idea are worlds apart. In most ancient references to Soul Mates, there was more than one type. (12-13)


Regular readers of my blog may note that non-fiction – self-help in particular – is not my usual fare, however when approached to review this book, the title intrigued me. And while it’s not a book I would have normally picked up on my own, I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading it, in part because of its novelty to me.

Authors Stacey DeMarco and Jade Sky call on their years of experience as spiritual practitioner and psychic/medium, respectively, to explore, explain and then advice on the subject of soul mates. While their focus is definitely of a spiritual – one might even say mystical – nature, I was impressed by their ability to seamlessly include both historical and scientific information on the subject.

The book takes on the mission to discredit the Hollywood notion of a singular soul mate

“Stacey... didn’t much like the idea that somehow she was fated to meet this person and if she messed it up, well that would be that and she would never be happy.” pg. 5

instead they centre on the idea of multiple soul mates – that a person can not only have more than one soul mate, but attract and possess different varieties that fulfil different purposes throughout their lives.

Being a self-help book, the book offers many suggestions or tips in attracting, keeping or dealing with soul mates. These tips range from the common sense (of the ‘you smile and the world smiles with you’ variety) to the more involved (rituals, or spells). The authors also provide case-studies from their own clients to demonstrate these examples. It should be noted that while the authors write with a genial, friendly tone, that the titles promise of a ‘no nonsense’ approach is certainly delivered.

I cannot honestly say that I was inspired to perform any soul mate-attracting rituals, nor have I discovered a long-lost karmic soul amongst my friends or family. However, as I said above, I did enjoy reading this short book. I was truly impressed by the authors’ attempts (I would say success) at writing a book of this variety that can and should cater to peoples of all lifestyles. The book is an informative and interesting read that would be appealing to those interested in the subject from either a practical or historical standpoint. 3/5

Teaser Tuesdays (Jan 5)

Teaser TuesdaysTeaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Gregory - The Other Boleyn GirlAnne was finally allowed back to court and took over my duties as lady in waiting to the queen as I grew weary. It was a hard pregnancy this time, midwives swore that it was because I was carrying a big strong boy and he was sapping my strength. (148)

The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory

Current Reading Challenges

Click here for completed challenges

Musing Mondays: 4th January

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about New Year reading.

With the New Year here already, do you have any reading resolutions or goals (challenges aside) for 2010? Perhaps a new author? Genre? Want to read more non-fiction? Write more reviews?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

Nb. check out the new MM buttons, and let me know what you think.

My number one reading resolution for 2010 is to review more – as much as I enjoy blogging, it’s usually my reviewing that gets hit first when things get crazy. This year I’m trying out a new system of reviewing which I’m hoping will help me out in this regard.
I’m going to be more organised with my reading challenges – this will be the year that I complete the A-Z challenge. I normally just have a general idea of what I need to read, and then fit them in where they fit, this year I’m going to have more specific books in mind.
And finally, I’m going to read more off my own shelves. This may involve some library avoiding, but that’s all part of the plan.

Monday Musings 2010

I’m a bit of a new year = fresh starts kind of person, so I thought it would be nice to have some new buttons for Musing Mondays for 2010. So take a look, and if you like one one let me know. You can use whichever you like, but the one you guys like the best will go on the weekly posts here.


Musing Mondays1 Musing Mondays2 Musing Mondays3

Happy New Year

new years