Posted in Five Minute Book Prescriptions, YA

Five Minute Book Review/Prescription: My Lady Jane

my-lady-janeSometimes you just need a distraction. And that is exactly where I found myself when I picked up My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows.  Having just started and abandoned no less than three other books (which shall remain nameless!), I was starting to feel desperate.

I was definitely attracted to this book when I saw the cover. But when I read the description, I was ALL IN.  My Lady Jane tells an alternate version of the fate of Lady Jane Grey, who was, in actual history, queen of England for nine days before being beheaded by Mary Tudor, aka Bloody Mary. In this retelling of  Tudor history, the three authors have followed the facts to a certain point before tossing it aside and writing their own, happier ending for Jane Grey.

This in itself is an intriguing and fun idea, but the authors have taken the idea even further out there, by reimaging the struggle between Catholics and Protestants as one between Edians and non-Edians. What, pray tell is an Edian? Edians are humans who have the ability to turn into animals. Some Edians have masterful control and can change at will, whereas others experience their “change” as more of a curse, and have no power over when it comes or goes. Some people in England find Edians to be abominations and would like to see them all rounded up and imprisoned or killed. Others, Lady Jane Grey included, would like to see a hospitable and collaborative relationship between Edians and Non-Edians.

The authors have made no secret of how much fun they had writing this book, and it is evident in the prose. Readers are treated to three points of view in alternating chapters: Lady Jane Grey’s, her new husband Gifford Dudley’s (an Edian who spends his days as a horse) and the sickly teenage King Edward Tudor’s. All three are an absolute delight to spend time with and their anachronistic, hilarious, sarcastic and sweet world view will make you love them. Indeed, I was so sad to reach the end of this book. In all honesty, I could not love it enough.

Prescription: The perfect read for anyone looking for something humorous, romantic and  good natured, but still steeped in historical references. Will also appeal to fans of Tudor history in general, even if everything you know about the Tudors you learned from the Showtime series, as I did.

Posted in Read and Resist

Resist and Read

There is so much to be angry about right now. As President Trump methodically guts the nation,  it feels hard to go about ordinary life without, I don’t know, doing something! There are lots of guides out right now providing instructions, including this one, at Daily Action, where you can sign via text to receive relatively simple instructions for one action item per day against the Trump agenda.

For those quieter moments in your life, when you are ready to read and reflect, or you are looking for ways to share information with your kids, consider some of these excellent book lists:

Children’s Picture Books about Protest and Civil Disobedience. 

Erica over at What We Do All Day provides tons of wonderful book lists for kids, from picture books all the way up to chapter books. I use these daily in my job as a librarian and when I’m looking for inspiration for my kids. She has several great lists including books about Peace, books to inspire kids to change the world and books about kindness. Her index of book lists is a treasure to have in your back pocket.

 

The folks at Book Riot can always be counted on to come through with a good list. (Full disclosure: I also write for Book Riot!) . The lists below have already come in handy for me. Remember to watch their page for more great lists to get you through the next four years.

Short reads on Race and Activism 

Must Read Immigration Stories by Latinos 

Books to Help get you through a Trump Presidency 

 

 

 

Posted in Five Minute Book Prescriptions

Five Minute Book Prescription: Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz

something-in-betweenWith the recent actions on immigration by President He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I keep thinking about Something in Between,  Melissa De La Cruz’s excellent and timely novel about an overachieving high school senior who discovers that her family is undocumented. Eighteen-year old Jasmine de los Santos has worked  hard throughout her school career to ensure that she will get into the  best college.  A nearly perfect student and the captain of her cheerleading team, Jasmine wins a coveted national scholarship and can’t wait to share the news of her achievement with her Filipino immigrant parents. Only, they seem less than pleased to hear the news. In fact, they seem crushed. Turns out, Jasmine and her entire family are undocumented. Her parents came to the U.S. with legit work visas, but did not leave when they expired. Jasmine has no social security number and is therefore unable to redeem her scholarship.

What’s worse, her family is in imminent danger of being deported if they are discovered, or if her father gets pulled over while driving. Jasmine is in shock. And to top it all off, she has just met a cute new boy whose father  happens to be a Republican Congressman dead set on crushing an immigration bill that would give her family a path to citizenship.

With all of these these things swirling around, Jasmine is forced to re-examine her life and goals. She must decide what steps to take and how to take them. Melissa De La Cruz does has written an excellent character in Jasmine, whose thoughtful, compassionate and level headed decisions make her sympathetic, relatable and admirable. De La Cruz expertly balances the drama of a teen romance with the practical concerns of a family in crisis.

A great read for anyone interested in, or even going through an immigration crisis of their own. Would also make a great read for someone who lacks sympathy and understanding of the plight many illegal immigrants with families. The Trump administration has a tendency to paint “illegal immigrants” as dangerous criminals, which is completely untrue and dangerous. Something in Between does a fabulous job of portraying a complex and difficult reality that many families are facing right now. Highly recommended.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

In which I Vow to Return, Again.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from trying to make a (part time) living as a freelance writer, it’s that finding the time to do everything you need to do feels next to impossible. Freelance writers are always always working and looking for projects and emailing and researching and editing. Very often, the paycheck you hope for is not the paycheck you get! And when you throw another professional job and a family in the mix, it gets even more challenging!

I’ve been bobbling back and forth about what to do with this blog and, without boring you too much with my reasons pro and con, I’ll tell you what I decided:  Let’s Do This.  I want to keep writing and I want to keep sharing the books I love. I also want to write more about the work I do as a librarian: What I’ve learned, what I still struggle with, what I still hope to learn. So I’ve expanded and added some new pages to the site. Library Dose now has a section about the work of a children’s librarian. Specifically, I will write about Baby Storytime and Middle School Book Club. And, as always, I will continue to highlight books I love for children and adults.

I can’t promise that I will faithfully write a post every week. There may be huge gaps, due to my other writing and family commitments, as well as the time I’d like to put aside for creative writing pursuits.  But I really want to keep this up. I have gained so much from reading other librarian’s blogs about stoytime, and I hope to give that back a little bit.

As always, I will keep writing about books, with five minute book prescriptions and lists, and thoughts on the power of reading and sharing literature in our current political climate.

Chin up everybody. I know the world feels like the beginning of a dystopian book series right now, but we have to moving forward. Remember the wise words of the late, great Carrie Fisher :

take-your-broken-heart

Posted in Five Minute Book Prescriptions

Five Minute Book Review: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

accident-seasonI started reading this book from my library’s digital audiobook collection mostly because it was immediately available and I needed something to listen to right away! Turns out, it is a story that hits so many of my literary sweet spots. Read by excellent Irish narrator Colbie Minifie, this eerie story follows the lives of one family who, every October, are mysteriously afflicted with what they call “the accident season,” in which family members are subject to injury and disaster. From minor bumps and bruises to fatal car accidents, the accident season wreaks havoc physically and psychologically.  This year, 17-year old Cara is particularly anxious as she investigates why a missing classmate has been showing up in the background of every photograph she takes with her phone. Dark family secrets and clues to the origin of the accident season will rise to the surface. Spooky, atmospheric and overflowing with lush prose, this book will transport you to the cobblestone streets of Dublin, broken down houses in the countryside, and the chilling quiet of an Irish forest. Fanastic!

Posted in Hear ye, Hear ye

It’s that time again….

October is my favorite month. I am most certainly not alone in my affection for this beautiful time of year, with its cool mornings, gorgeous blue skies and brilliant colors. I also love the appearance of spooky Halloween decorations everywhere. Pumpkins and bats and ghosts. The occasional skeleton hand sticking up out of the earth.

It’s also the season for All Hallow’s Read, that unofficial holiday made up by Neil Gaiman in which we are all encouraged to give someone a scary book to read. I have done this several years in a row now, and I look forward to doing it again this year. In the coming weeks, I will offer up a list of All Hallow’s Read possibilities for you to give away. In the meantime, please enjoy Mr. Gaiman’s video describing this wonderful tradition he created:

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Meanwhile, at Book Riot…

This month I published two pieces on Book Riot. Most of the books recommended in these posts were from my lovely summer o’reading. I largely avoided kid lit this summer in favor of long, beautifully written “adult” books that were getting a lot of buzz.

I’m proud of these lists as they encompass some of my favorite topics to read about. First, I wrote about Rock and Roll love stories. For this piece, I gathered as many music related books as I could in search of the perfect Rock and Roll read. What I really wanted is the book equivalent of everything I love about the tv show Nashville. Most of the writing on that show is painfully soap opera-like. The back and forth, breaking up and making up between the characters can be too much. However, I really love the duets that make up a good chunk of the show’s musical performances. I particularly love the scenes between Scarlett and Gunnar. Their love story on the show can be infuriating, but damn, do they make beautiful music together.

Sadly, I didn’t find the ideal rock duet love story.  I did find two gorgeous books about music and love, but not exactly what I’m looking for. I’m going to have to keep looking, or write one myself! Check out my article on Book Riot here. 

Next, I made a list of women’s coming of age stories set in New York City. I noticed this summer that a lot of the books I am naturally drawn to read are about young women in NYC.  I had no trouble putting this list together. In fact, I had to cut it down because I had so many options.  Read my piece here.

I recently quit Facebook out of frustration and my own lack of self control during this election season. I just can’t with the political arguing and the rampant sexism that seems to be dominating this election. Quitting Facebook, however, has been amazing. I suddenly have more time! Hopefully it will result in more posts.