And I Darken by Kiersten White

The female protagonist of this story is bold, fearless and hard to love.  She is easy to respect and has  great integrity as well as fierce loyalty.  Lada creates her own standard for what it is to be a woman.  She first allies herself with her father and other men, however she grows to find other women with strength, power and a will of their own even as they outwardly fit the customs of female fashion.

My favorite thing about this book is that Lada, even in love, commands respect and makes her own choices.  I will look forward to the next instalment of this series.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reading the Hobbit again is a delight!  I am steeped in its folklore and the tale is well known to me in cartoon, novel, movie versions.  It is the hero’s journey and I am happy to take it with Bilbo and the dwarves.  The wisdom of Tolkien’s descriptions and his observations of men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, dragons, wizards and other denizens of Middle Earth elluminate our human society.

To speed on the tale, whilst allowing the characters time to recover: “…days that are good to spend are…not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale.” (p. 57)

On Mirkwood: “…the echoes were uncanny, and the silence seemed to dislike being broken.” (p.62)

Best opening line of a chapter: “When Bilbo opened his eyes, he wondered if he had…” (p. 76)

Truth beyond measure: “…There are no safe paths in this part of the world.'” (p.151)

On Smaug the dragon:”His rage passes description-the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted.” (p. 236)


Two good books: Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz / And I Darken by Kiersten White

I have been distracted from my usual blogging and yet, I do want to share some good quotes from what I’ve been reading:


“Unlike owies, scabs aren’t about being hurt. They are proof I am healing” (p. 55)

“…I wonder if it helps to write about water when one is writing stream of consciousness.” (p.83)

“Infinity has a symbol. It looks like the number eight, only one that’s fallen on it’s side – exhausted from too much time.” (p. 128)

“I was careful to use fancy words like ‘cardiologist’ and ‘echocardiogram’ as I began to jog in place…It helps sometimes to have a high IQ. Adults like Principal White worry I am smarter than they are.”

“This father would never let his wife go crazy.” (p. 205)

“‘It seems there was an incident at home the other night,’ the social worker says…And what she says is both a statement and a question, and this is when I begin to truly hate her.” (p.217)

“And no one here calls it electric-shock therapy. They all call it ECT. Acronyms and initials are employed like camouflage or buffers; they are the sugar coating on a bitter pill…” (p. 230)

And I Darken

“It was a lonely, cold thing to live without expectations.” (p.133)

“She needed a job, something real, something she could focus on and channel her energies into.” (p.240)


The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Ruth thinks that her story begins with herself, as so many of us do.  However, she discovers that her story begins generations ago with her grandmother.  The grandmother who is now raising Ruth and her sister Lily in the wake of their father’s death and mother’s mental illness.

“Someone’s red frilly slip got hung up in Mr. Peterson’s climbing peas and made Lily laugh out loud until Gran shushed her. Gran’s face was as red as an overripe raspberry. Even in a flood, underwear was no joking matter.” (p. 5)

Hank has also lost his father and is doing his best to look after his younger brothers.

“For a second I wish I were Jake, who always sees the gossamer threads floating invisible between people. They are so translucent, it’s no wonder most people don’t see them-or the bumble along and end up destroying them without ever knowing they existed.” (p.166)

The different attitudes among Alaskan Natives and Catholics about unwed mothers is artfully approached by the author.

“At a truck stop somewhere near the Canadian border, I turned seventeen all by myself. I used my emergency money that Gran gave me knotted up in the corner of a handkerchief to buy a Hostess apple pie as a birthday cake. The baby seemed to like it, or at any rate it woke up and played me like a bongo from the inside for the next few hours. I guess I wasn’t truly alone on my birthday after all.” (p. 177)


The Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Favorite quotes:

“When Kaz had brought her to the Slat, he’d warned her that he wouldn’t be able to watch out for her, that she’d have to fend for herself, and she had. It would have been easy enough to turn away when they called her names or sidled up to ask for a cuddle, but do that and soon it was a hand up your blouse or a try at you against a wall. So she’d let no insult or innuendo slide. She’d always struck first and struck hard. Sometimes she even cut them up a bit. It was fatiguing, but nothing was sacred to the Kerch except trade, so she’d gone out of her way to make the risk much higher that the reward when it came to disrespecting her.” (p. 61)

“‘Your conscience is interfering with your memory.'” (p. 178)

“He’d helped her build a legend to wear as armor, something bigger and more frightening that the girl she’d been” (p. 189)

“It had started with a storm, and in a way, that storm had never ended. Nina had blown into his life with the wind and the rain and set his world spinning. He’d been off balance ever since.” (p. 224)

“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.” (p.229)
“She poked him in the chest.
‘ Stop that.’
‘No. I’m beguiling you.’
‘Quit it.’

‘It’s working! The beguiling has begun….'” (p. 240)

“The guards always thought they could rely on someone else to catch a mistake or fix a problem..Laziness wasn’t as reliable as greed, but it still made a fine lever.” (p. 280)

“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.” (p. 347)


Down hill from here: summer reading

Summer reading consumes much time, energy, thought, planning, budget, effort that for a public youth librarian, seeing school supplies being stocked in the market is a harbinger for relief.  We have about four weeks of summer events left.

We have done some amazing things this summer so far:


Lord of the Rings Live Action Role Play

In this teen event, our adventures played through an original game set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth.  The quest required them to work together in order to defeat the Necromancer and his minions that attacked Minas Tirith and intended to use the port city to drag Gondor and all of Middle Earth into a shadow realm.  Teens answered riddles, faced the challenge of the unknown and stretch their physical abilities to complete the quest.


Ravenclaw battled Slytherin for the Muggle Quidditch challenge.  Slytherin won the game, although Ravenclaw did put up a good fight.


Mad Science educator, Cretaceous Cara, at the Berthoud Community Center.


Pepper painting faces at our Summer Reading Kickoff Party!

forget tomorrow

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

Let me start by saying, this is birthday season in my family, which would explain the metaphor I’m going to use for this book.

Forget Tomorrow is like a lovely, rich chocolate cake that is drowning in an awful, paraffin infused, sticky sweet frosting.  The storyline is intriguing and the world view is tantalizing in its hinted at origins!  This is the cake, the bit that deserved more attention, time and care.  I wish it hadn’t collapsed under the weight of the sticky sweet romance that continually lumbered in trying to make the product look pretty and palatable while all the time ruining the best parts.

Dealing with time and time travel is challenging for the best writers, but when our protagonist is being sidetracked by water glistening in the hair of her love interest, it becomes difficult for readers to A) follow the adventure and B) care about the characters or even see them in more than two dimensions.  I am hopeful that this author will continue to write and grow.

Normally, if I don’t care for a book, I won’t finish it, nor will I blog about it.  However, this book, for all the issues I have with it, did offer enough good ideas that I wanted to include it in my blog and would recommend it to teens who enjoy romance with a little sci-fi thrown in.  With the caveat that I don’t personally promote people as possessions in romance and this book does,

Our protagonist awakes to find herself curled up with her male rescuer…”And his arm-it holds me close, traps me possessively, like I belong to him and him alone.” (p.142)

There are some gems worth digging for,

“The voice is young, so she must’ve been a newbie herself not too long ago. But her tone is heavy, weighed with the kind of complexity you get only with experience.” (p. 77)

“I think suddenly of the tree that grows in the middle of our school lobby. Students cover the bark with their initials and drawings-the only place in school where graffiti is tolerated. The only place it’s even possible. Everything else is metal and plastic.
Living things, it seems, are easier to disfigure.” (p.84)

*My son’s feeling was that he would’ve preferred to know more about the character who cut her arm to keep track of time and followed her story than the chosen protagonist.