Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Hi gang. Honestly, I started this post to remind you all the Every Day by David Levithan is out today, and to make sure you grab a copy. However, all of this just poured out of me, so I hope you don't mind.

I just wanted to pop on and let you all know that the family problems I've been dealing with since just after Christmas have ended, although new problems are just beginning. The very, very short story is that my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell lung cancer in late December, and yesterday she lost her way-too-short battle, at almost exactly the 8-month mark from her diagnosis. The past 8 months have been filled with taking her back and forth for chemo treatments and then shots to build up her blood counts after the chemo, and then radiation when it was discovered the chemo wasn't working. It's been very taxing, to say the least, on my dad, brothers, and myself. Mom was the glue that held this family together, and there is a void in our lives that can never be fully filled. She was a wonderful woman who gave everything of herself--when I was in 6th grade my best friend was moving, and she arranged for Kim to stay with us for 6 weeks so she could finish the school year. Innumerable friends have called her Mom over the years and she was a mom to anyone who came into her home. She was a beautiful, kind, compassionate woman, one of my dearest friends, and my heart is very heavy.

I apologize for burdening you with this, but perhaps some of you were wondering where I've been and what I've been up to, and so now you know.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon
Faie Miss Press, September 18, 2012
Read for 2012 Debut Author Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:
Jamie was born with a testis, an ovary, and a pixie face. He can be a boy after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone. That’s what his parents always say, but he sees an elfin princess in the mirror. To become the man his parents expect, Jamie must leave behind a little girl’s dreams.
At sixteen, the four-foot-eleven soprano leaves home school for a boys’ dorm at college. The elfin princess can live in the books Jameson reads and nobody has to find out he isn’t like the other boys.
When a medical student tells Jamie he should have been raised female, he discovers the life he could have as a girl. The elfin princess can thrive, but will she risk losing her family and her education for a boyfriend who may desert her, or a toddler she may never be allowed to adopt?
I was very intrigued when I read the description of this novel. While I've read many novels featuring lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters, I've read nothing about intersex characters. Lianne Simon does a good job of presenting Jamie as a hermaphrodite without making the book too scientific or dramatic. The novel takes place in the 1970's, which at first I found somewhat odd but soon realized is the perfect backdrop for this novel. Jamie possesses an innocence that I'm not sure would exist if the book were to take place in present day. She can't go online to research intersex, she can't find online support groups, she has no idea that other people are out there having the same experiences. 

In many ways, this is simply a coming of age story--16 year old Jamie is exploring the world, finding love, and struggling with her family while maintaining strength in her religion. Of course, there is so much more to it than that, but Simon takes great care with her writing and the result is a gentle novel about a strong girl who struggles with having to make the choice: can she be the person she wants to be if that's not who her parents think she is? Will she still be following God if she chooses differently from what her parents want?

And if you do have questions about intersex when you're finished reading this book (as I did), a wonderful resource is the author's own website: . Her "Intersex Primer" was particularly informative. She gives very matter-of-fact information on the different genetic anomalies that most of us lump together as hermaphroditism.  

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Lianne has graciously offered a signed copy to one lucky winner. To be entered, just leave your name and email address in the comments. Contest will close on September 7.

Enjoy your reading!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In My Mailbox (100!)

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.

This is my 100th IMM! Here's what I got this week:
Borrowed from the library:
  • Before You Go by James Preller
  • Hide and Seek (Lying Game #4) by Sara Shepard
  • A World Away by Nancy Grossman
Purchased for the Kindle app on my iPhone:
  • The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers (only $1.99! This has been on my 2012DAC all year and the price is right!)

What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (99)

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.

So here's what I got this week!
  • Borrowed from the library: Wonder by RJ Palacio (juv fic. I've been waiting forever for this, I've heard really good things!) & Small Damages by Beth Kephart
  • Purchased: Gone Gone Gone by Hannah Moskowitz (gave up on waiting for my library to purchase, so I grabbed this while we were at B&N for the Fortune Wookiee launch party)

What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

July 2012 in Review

I feel like I just did this post, but it's June I'm thinking of. Oh, well, such is my summer. In July I was able to read 20 books! I was going to start picking my favorite of the month, but there were soooo many good books this month--Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, Identical by Ellen Hopkins, What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang, Skinny by Donna Cooner, The Fault in our Stars by John Green, Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger (yes,  a juvenile novel!), Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Ten by Gretchen McNeil, Seconds Away by Harlan Coben, Popular by Alissa Grosso--how am I supposed to pick just one? So, I won't. It was an awesome month for reading, but a sucky month for blogging. I just can't bring myself to give the reviews the attention they deserve. Le sigh. I have two reviews due for September releases, so you'll have at least two upcoming reviews to look forward to!

Anyway, July. 11 of the 20 titles were for the 2012 Standalone Challenge, 7 were for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, 2 were 2012 Sophomore reads, and I was able to knock off 4 titles from my 2012 To Be Read Challenge! Yay me!

How's your summer going?
Enjoy your reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Christi's Adventures: The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee Launch Party!

A while back I discovered that the amazing Tom Angleberger would be having a launch party for The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, the third book in the Origami Yoda series, on it's release day, right at my favorite (although too-far-away) Barnes & Noble in Princeton, NJ. Yay! It was scheduled for 2pm, so I had to take the day off of work (double yay!), AND I kept Best Girl home from camp (triple yay!), and Laura, the children's librarian at my branch was able to take the day off and come with us (quadruple yay!).

We left my house about 10:30am and stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch--yum! There's just something about that place, and it's a little more than halfway from home to Princeton so it's a logical place to stop for a bite. We arrived at the B&N about 1pm and there were only a few people seated already, so we purchased our books and got second row seats. I let Best Girl get all three Origami Yoda books and Fake Mustache, which she read earlier this summer and absolutely loved. And I was so excited to see that Tom dedicated Fortune Wookiee to Jay Asher--Jay mentioned at his book signing that he had inadvertantly given Tom the idea for this book, and Tom told us about it at BEA. It was just a really cool author-full-circle kind of thing.

Most awesome book display ever.

Tom came out right on time and got right into it. He was so energetic and engaged the audience right from the start. He had one of those giant pads of paper on an easel and started a game--he would start drawing a character from one of his books and the first person to guess it correctly would get to win the drawing. He also said that not to yell out Origami Yoda right away, because that wouldn't be the first character. So, natural wiseass that I am, as soon as he put marker to paper I yelled out "Origami Yoda!" LOL

He started drawing and people started guessing characters from the Origami Yoda books, but it was Best Girl who realized it was Casper from Fake Mustache--before Tom even drew the fake mustache! He was pretty impressed. He talked about the book a little, and then asked for suggestions on what the kids would do if everyone thought they were adults. Most of the answers were pretty reasonable, coming from children ("I'd drink coffee and watch TV all day!", "I'd drive a Lamborghini!") but one was...not ("I'd get drunk!"). That response was met with gasps from the moms, but Tom simply laughed it off and moved on. AND Best Girl got the drawing!

The drawing of Casper that Best Girl got to take home. Tom is displaying a fake mustache, similar to (although not nearly as awesome) as the one Casper wears in Fake Mustache.
He played this game for a character from each of his books and kept the audience engaged and laughing for a full half hour.

Drawing Dwight from Origami Yoda.
He gave out green paper and showed us how to make Emergency Yodas, then handed out paper to make our own Fortune Wookiees (which, if I'd ever posted a BEA recap, you would realize that I already had, because I'd seen Tom there).

Fortune Wookiee!
He gave out green paper and showed us how to make Emergency Yodas, then handed out paper to make our own Fortune Wookiees (which, if I'd ever posted a BEA recap, you would realize that I already had, because I'd seen Tom there). Then we lined up for pictures and signatures. Tom connected with every single kid there, asking about their favorite Star Wars character, or what they were into if they didn't really like Star Wars. Best Girl made sure to tell him that Fake Mustache was her favorite book. :)

So awesome, right???
After we got our books signed, Laura and I decided to grab copies of Horton Halfpott, the one Tom Angleberger book that Best Girl didn't like. She was so impressed with Tom talking about it that she decided to give it another shot. So we purchased them (unfortunately, only paperback copies were available) and got back in line. Tom was only too happy to sign more books!

We made a connection with the interim person-who-does-author-bookings, and we're super excited because she's really interested in getting more kids and teen authors to come to Princeton, so I will hopefully be making even more trips to Princeton! Their website says there will be an author panel on September 14 featuring DAVID. LEVITHAN. So you know I'll be there!!

Enjoy your reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (98)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, borrowed, etc.

Here's what I got this week!

Borrowed from the library:
Cast Member Confidential (a Disneyfied Memoir) by Chris Mitchell (adult nonfiction)

Um, I think that's all I got this week! Slow week but I'm not complaining!

What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!