Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cover-to-Cover Commuting: Burned, and Smoke, by Ellen Hopkins

I had intended to review these two books during Banned Books Week, or shortly thereafter.  It's now two weeks later.  Good heavens, I hope my readers don't actually expect me to be timely, or if you do, you forgive me.  I'm a library director, and I have a second library job.  Both jobs are a lot of work, and consume a lot of time and energy.  Much as I'd love to blog more regularly, that's not going to happen.

Librarians are like teachers.  Overworked and underpaid.

 Enough of that, though.  Let me tell you about these audiobooks!  Burned was published in 2006, while its sequel, Smoke, came out last month.

Checkouts: Both owned in print and audio format at the small public library
Typical reader: Teens, fans of the author
Source: Burned was interlibrary loaned; Smoke was cataloged and checked out to me the day it arrived, hehe

Synopses: In Burned, Pattyn von Stratten is the eldest daughter in a fundamentalist home with an abusive father and useless mother.  Enraged by her really fairly typical teen actions, her father sends her away to his sister's ranch in rural Nevada.  There, she finds happiness and hope - which she must leave when the school year begins.  Smoke picks up not long after the cliffhanger ending of Burned, with Pattyn on the run and her sister Jackie picking up the pieces of their lives.  Can they rebuild, despite the lies and pain?

My Goodreads ratings: 5 stars for Burned, 4 stars for Smoke

Pattyn (named for General Patton; her father named all his children for generals) is likely the sweetest protagonist you could possibly find in one of Ms. Hopkins' novels.  The poor girl has a rough life, though, with a father who rules with an iron fist - which he often uses against his wife - and a fundamentalist church that looks the other way when its women need help.

When Pattyn gets into trouble with her father and at school due to a boy, she is shipped off to live with an aunt who has a ranch in rural Nevada.  This is meant as punishment, but it turns out to be the exact opposite.  There, she learns how it feels to be loved, both by her kind aunt and by a nice neighbor boy.  Love is a double-edged sword, however, which she learns when she returns home to face reality.  And man, can the consequences of love be disastrous.

The second book is narrated by both Pattyn and her sister, Jackie.  Pattyn is on the run after a horrific series of events, and tries to rebuild her life posing as an illegal immigrant worker to become a nanny on a rural Californian ranch.  (And that didn't come across as ridiculously in the book as it does when I type it.)  Meanwhile, Jackie has her own demons to face, and must help her mother and sisters cope with all that's happened.  It's a lot for a young teen girl.

Smoke is different from any other novel by Ms. Hopkins that I've read.  It's filled with so much hope.  Fans may find themselves torn between grabbing onto that hope and expecting everything to turn out okay for Pattyn and Jackie, and being cynical and waiting for it to all come crashing down, especially for Pattyn in her new life.  Can there be a happy ending?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Banned Books Week: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I must say, I am shocked at how well Banned Books Week went over at my library.  Pleasantly shocked, certainly.  But still, I am in awe of just how positively the community responded to it.  People were curious, and asked questions.  And they checked out the books.  Of the Top Ten Banned Books of 2012, only The Kite Runner and Beloved were left on the shelf when I closed up this afternoon.  There seems to have been a reluctance to take the books with the pink slips on them, but hopefully those will go out next year.  Hopefully by then, the library will be in its new home (just down the street) and I'll have more room to make displays.

I also celebrated Banned Books Week by listening to book number two on the 2012 list, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  The author himself read the book.

Checkouts: audiobook not owned by either library
Typical reader: teens, Native Americans, fans of the author, fans of banned books
Source: my hometown library

Synopsis: Arnold "Junior" Spirit is a 14-year-old Spokane boy who lives on a reservation.  At the encouragement of a teacher, he transfers to a better school 22 miles away, where the only non-Caucasian is its Indian mascot.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Banned/challenged for: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group

This is a slice-of-life story of a teen boy who changes his own life by upsetting all norms of his tribe and going to a school off the "rez."  It follows roughly a year of Junior's life, as he navigates his freshman year, friendships, racism and ostracism, loss, and basketball.

In listening to the audiobook version of this novel, I missed out on the art.  However, I gained the hilarious narration of Mr. Alexie.  I stuck the first CD in my car's player before I left the library parking lot, and proceeded to laugh all the way home.  The humor is deadpan and dry, a lot of the time.  But also, the voice the author uses for Junior's voice and internal monologue has an amazingly familiar accent.  Apparently, a brain-damaged teen Spokane boy from a reservation in Washington State sounds like a Finlander Yooper.  Seriously.  He sounds like my dad's Uncle Reino.  If you don't know what a thick Yooper accent sounds like, watch the movie Fargo and listen, particularly to the women in the bar ... or listen to this audiobook.

I loved this book.  It covers a wide range of emotions and life experiences.  Pretty much any teen could read it and recognize something for his or her life.  It's humorous, and it also has plenty of hyperbole.  Many of the stories remind me of American tall tales.

Does this book deserve its negative acclaim?  Let's break it down.
  1. Offensive language.  Everyone has a different definition of this.  But yes, there is a sentence where a character not only drops the F-bomb, but also uses the N-word.  It's a pretty knockout use, too, that really covers ...
  2. Racism.  Yup.  The sentence with the aforementioned words was definitely racist.  And there's also racism between Native Americans and Caucasians.  There's also a sort of racism within an ethnic people, as demonstrated by how other reservation inhabitants called Junior an "apple:" red on the outside, white on the inside.  But it's intrinsic to the story.  If everybody got along, if the US government had not discriminated against Native Americans and pushed many onto reservations, if ethnic groups did not stick together and create out-groups and outcasts, then maybe we wouldn't need stories that deal with racism.  People that complain about racism in this book need a reality check.
  3. Sexually explicit.  This isn't 50 Shades.  The most Junior does with a girl is kiss.  There are "gay" jokes.  The most sexually explicit thing would have to be his admissions that he masturbates.
  4. Unsuited for age group.  Because teens don't read about teens?  Sure, it's not what you might want to hand to a child in elementary school, but that's not its intended audience.  Teens are.  And teens can and should read it, and they can and should handle the book just fine.
In sum, beyond one over-the-top sentence that was important to a plot element (white guy insults Junior, Junior punches him, they become friends), this book is tame and appropriate for its intended audience.

What did you read for Banned Books Week?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week!

It's my favorite library time of year again: Banned Books Week!  This year, it's going amazingly well for me.  On Monday, before the small public library opened, I created a book display.  It had the Top Ten Banned Books of 2012, each with the rationale for banning and challenging.  Impressively, the library has nine out of ten; only And Tango Makes Three is not owned.  I also put together various books for the rest of the display shelving, and some face-out books above the shelves and on some tables.  The face-out books had slips of paper on them, with information about their challenges.

On Tuesday, my staff told me what a hit the display was.  I was shocked, because I honestly didn't know how it would go over in a small, rural town with an aged service population.  But a high school teacher checked out two young adult books to discuss censorship, and the books themselves, with his classes.  Patrons - and staff members - were intrigued by the reasons on the books, and wanted more!  So I labeled the rest of the books on display.

Here are some pictures of Banned Books Week in my little library.  I'm so pleased at the reception it's received.

Top Ten Banned Books of 2012
Several are checked out!
The key to a successful Banned Books Week is to celebrate the freedom to read.
The note on The Witches declares that Roald Dahl is a misogynist.

Classics are often banned and challenged.
The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild was burned in 1929 in Italy and Yugoslavia for being "too radical."

There are some wild women in books.
Harriet will teach your children to spy, lie, and swear, while Scarlett behaved immorally.

Children's and young adults' books are frequently called into question.
Remember, read freely and responsibly, and you and you alone are responsible for what you read.  Not other people.  And you have no right to tell other people what they can and cannot read, either.  Only minors in your care are subject to your views.

I have been reading some books greatly appropriate for this week, and will have to review them by the end of Saturday!  Stay tuned for a double feature of Burned and its recently published sequel, Smoke, by Ellen Hopkins, and a review of the audio version of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (one of 2012's top ten), written and read by Sherman Alexie.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Yay for YA: Fire & Ash

At last, Jonathan Maberry's fourth installment in the Rot & Ruin quartet has been released!  After Flesh & Bone, I really wasn't sure where this series was going to go.  I'm glad I stuck around to find out.

I've reviewed the previous three books on this blog.
Rot & Ruin
Dust & Decay
Flesh & Bone

Checkouts: Coming soon to the school library; has one hold.
Series checkouts: 29
Typical reader: Fans of the series
Source: Snowbound Books

Synopsis: It's the conclusion of Rot & Ruin!  If you've read the previous three books, you'll need to find out how it's wrapped up.  And that's all I have to say on that.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Hmm, that cover.  It's my one little quibble.  The first three covers are awesome.  This one?  I'm not sure what the artist was going for.  The guy on the left looks too old, really, to be Benny.  The ... woman? ... on the right is a mystery.  Is that a zombie?  While grey skin makes sense, the clown-like accents are weird.

But anyway.  We're not here to judge a book by its cover, right?

The conclusion of a series is hard to critique, and remain spoiler-free.  Therefore, this will be a short review.  Let's make bullet points.

  • The excellent storytelling still holds up.
  • The action had me on the edge of my seat.
  • Most story threads get tied up.  (Hey, it's not an omniscient narration; not everything can be known.  That's fine.)
  • If you were missing the rogue's gallery of the Rot & Ruin, particularly old friends, you'll probably be satisfied with what this installment offers.
  • Grimm is an awesome dog.
  • And Joe Ledger in this series makes me curious about Mr. Maberry's other books.  If the other Ledger books of the same continuity, I'll definitely have to read them at some point.
  • As with many science fiction and dystopian series, there's a bit of social commentary.  I particularly liked this quote, and what else Ledger had to say: "Sure, governments need to keep some secrets, but too often the people inside the government create for themselves the illusion that because they know things nobody else does, it makes them more powerful. That kind of thinking creates a kind of contempt for anyone on the outside." (Page 275, hardcover edition)
In sum, this is a most satisfying conclusion to a series I really enjoyed.  Now, I must get this book cataloged, because after only one library day, I have a waiting list for it.  :)  My preteen boys love the Rot & Ruin!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Yay for YA: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

I've gushed over books that have received the Michael L. Printz Award, or have been honor winners of the award, before, so I'll spare you the swooning with this review.  On the other hand, this book (a Printz honor recipient) won a Stonewall Book Award, as well as the Pura Belpre Award, and probably others but the copy I had access to only had so much cover space for award stickers.  And it has a great title.

Today I shall tell you about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  Doesn't it just sound grand?

Checkouts: 1 at the small public library
Typical reader: Teens drawn to literature that isn't heteronormative (I'm not trying for the acronym that keeps growing ...), fans of the author and/or award-winning books
Source: My small public library

Synopsis: In this slice-of-life tale set in the late 1980s, two Mexican-American teen boys become friends and try to find their places in life.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

For having such a grandiose name harkening back to a well-known Ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle (Ari) does not have many far-reaching ambitions.  He feels like his life is someone else's idea.  And in the summer of 1987, he was not aspiring to much beyond lazing about for the summer, perhaps at the pool despite not knowing how to swim.  But at the pool, he meets Dante, another Mexican-American teen boy with a lofty name, who offers to teach him how to swim and thus ignites a friendship.

This is a pretty pedestrian story, very slice-of-life, without goals.  Nothing exciting or thrilling happens for the first hundred pages.  (Then something potentially life-changing does.  But you know me, I don't do spoilers.)  Yet it has so much heart.  Plot is secondary to character and relationship growth and development.  Self-discovery and the complexities of friendships are the key elements of this book, and they really shine.

One part I had problem with was the resolution of the story.  I didn't particularly believe it.  Since I don't give away spoilers, it's hard to explain, but it didn't ring true for me.  While I've been known to be a poor judge of a certain characteristic pivotal to the end of the book, I also don't believe I was led as a reader to reach the conclusion that Ari did.  Your mileage may vary.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No-Nonsense Nonfiction: Death at the Lighthouse

Reading local books is always cool because the reader can recognize the places mentioned or alluded to, or perhaps knows the people in the book (when nonfiction) or people that inspired characters (when fiction).

The book I would like to tell you about today, Death at the Lighthouse by Loren Graham, is set on Grand Island, near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the small town of Munising.  While I have not visited Grand Island, I saw it six days a week during the past year.  Now that I am no longer working there, I will tell you that I was a library assistant at the library in Munising.  So there were locations in this book that I knew, and family names that I recognized.  I admit, that makes it more interesting.

Checkouts: 2 at the small public library where I am the director
Typical reader: True crime fans, fans of the author, residents and tourists of the area
Do the Dewey: 364.15 (true crime)
Source: Snowbound Books

Synopsis: In the early 1970s, the author and his wife bought the Old North Light on Grand Island, Michigan, as a summer home.  During the early renovations, they discovered that the lighthouse keeper and his assistant were allegedly murdered in 1908.  Graham spent years researching what had transpired, and this book is the result.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars

In June 1908, the assistant lighthouse keeper from North Light of Grand Island turned up dead in a battered boat, looking like he'd been beaten to death and set afloat.  The lighthouse keeper himself was missing, and turned up weeks later, dead on a beach.  What happened?

Good question.  The author delves deep into not only the deaths of the men, but also the history of the Upper Peninsula and Munising, the clashing, multi-ethnic cultures of the denizens, and the lives of the imperious tycoons that established industries and towns.  This is a fascinating read, if you like a bit of true crime in your history, rather than the other way around.

But was there a crime, and whodunnit?  The conclusion the author drew took me by surprise.  Maybe it's accurate.  Maybe not.  If you read this book, please let me know what you think.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Manga Monday/Graphic Is Great: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Ah, summer reading programs.  Love them or hate them, anticipate them or fear them, if you're in the business of public library science, they are unavoidable.  Personally, I embrace them, as they get people reading, enhance statistics, and are good publicity.  At the little library where I'm director, the summer reading program has been going great, with more than 100 children signed up to read and earn prizes.  There are smaller programs for high school students and adults, too, with the potential to win prizes from drawings at the end of the program.

My hometown library also has a robust summer reading program for adults, and since I don't work there, I can participate.  Every checkout of books or audiobooks gets me an entry slip that I can fill out and put into a prize box of my choice.

And the easiest way to get in a lot of entry forms is reading manga.  Which brings us to this review.

Checkouts: N/A
Number of volumes available: 13 in English, 17 in Japanese (ongoing)
Typical reader: Adults who like dark, edgy manga
Source: My local library

Summary: Five students at a Buddhist university are united by unique skills - some mundane, some supernatural - involving the dead.  They form a business of getting corpses to wherever they need to go to free the souls.  Sometimes they profit from this.

My Goodreads rating: 4 to 5 stars

As I tend to review books for the school library setting, let me say this right off the bat: This series is not for children, or even most teens.  It is a very adult horror series, with graphically portrayed dead bodies, full frontal nudity (mostly on corpses), violence, and occasional sex.  The last couple of volumes available have "PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT" stickers on the covers.  Get over the American idea that comic books are for children.

That said, if you're into dark horror with macabre humor and plenty of social commentary, that keeps things fresh and interesting, this is a great series.  Thirteen volumes are available in English, with more to be translated, and the series is ongoing in its home country.  I was a bit sad to finish volume 13, and hope that the fourteenth will soon be ready stateside.

Most volumes are filled with vignettes of cases that the team takes, which are often one to three chapters long.  (Volume two is a single story arc.)  The stories are influenced by a variety of sources, from traditional lore to urban legends, and from cultural quirks to ripped-from-headline sagas.  The manner of storytelling, and the fact that many jobs do not actually lead to money, makes this series a bit reminiscent of the classic anime, Cowboy Bebop.

Don't miss the glossary and notes at the end of each volume!  I had initially just skimmed the one in the first volume, until I got to one peculiar note.  "196.1 FX: PAKIII - sound of a bolt falling through glasses at terminal velocity into eye socket." (Volume 1, page 215)  Whoa, that's pretty specific.  So I read the rest of the notes.  They're worthwhile, for the humorous specificity as in the above quote, and also the interesting trivia they impart about aspects of Japanese culture, history, locations, and lore that I had previously known nothing of.  You can really learn a lot from the notes.

Which brings me to a last aspect I want to bring up.  While it's not to the level of Gantz for dark social commentary, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service definitely is -not- afraid to touch on taboo subjects.  Not only does the team go searching for suicide victims in Aokigahara Forest, they also deal with the Iraq War, the remnants of the biological weapons research the Japanese committed in Occupied China during World War II, the Japanese justice system, illegal immigration, athlete doping, infanticide, and more.

In sum, if you like dark humor, social commentary, and vengeful reanimated corpses, check out this series.

Manga Mondays is a meme used by many book review blogs, and is sort of hosted by Alison Can Read.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Author Day at the mall

The first annual U.P. Authors Day and Book Fair was held at the Westwood Mall in Marquette recently.  It was organized by members of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association (UPPAA) in coordination with the Westwood Mall.  (For more information directly from the UPPAA, visit their web page about the event.)

I went, of course.  My boyfriend and I had a great time visiting with more than a dozen friendly authors in the air conditioned mall.  (It was more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit; the A/C was very appreciated.)  Some were familiar faces, such as Gretchen Preston, who wrote Valley Cats and was thrilled that I reviewed the first in the series, and Deborah Frontiera, who said that Living on Sisu (also reviewed) was like the Dear America series because she was originally hoping to get it into that.  Others were debut authors, or people I simply had not heard of before.  Even local meteorologist Karl Bohnak was there with his two books.

I'll be honest; while I could strike up conversations with most of the featured authors, Mr. Bohnak is a local TV celebrity and I didn't say much more to him than how much my mom likes his book.  I'm shy!

Many books were bought in the course of the afternoon, for both of my libraries.  A few authors also were gracious enough to donate their books to the libraries, bless their hearts.  Much thanks to Kevin Kluck, Mel Laurila, and Mary Soper for their generosity!

It is worth mentioning that most authors who were in attendance at the Authors Day are self-published, many with printing services through Globe Printing in Ishpeming, MI.  Ergo, it may be hard to get these books outside of this region.  I will do my best to offer web sites and other information as available.

Below are pictures of my merrily obtained swag, along with their authors' names, and web sites when available.

For the charter school library:
Top row, left to right:
The Clue at Copper Harbor by M.C. Tillson; A&M Writing and Publishing (books available for purchase)
Where the Wind Blows by Ida Nord
Look Up! The Poems of Mr. Happy by Robert L. Cook; Mr. Happiness Online (autobiography and music available for purchase)
Snail-Shell Harbor by J.H. Langille.  This was originally published in 1870; this edition is edited by Donna Winters.  Great Lakes Romances (this book and many of Mrs. Winters' own works are available for purchase)
Bottom row, left to right:
Hamsters After Dark by Kathy Kuczek (book and art prints available for purchase)
A Day with Stanley by Milly Balzarini (web site has links to sales sites such as Barnes & Noble)

For the public library:
Top row, left to right:
Hamsters After Dark by Kathy Kuczek
Land of Enchantas by Corey M. LaBissoniere; Martin Sisters Publishing (web site has links to sales sites)
Yooper Bars by Randy and Kevin Kluck; Yooper Bars (book and t-shirt available for purchase)
Bottom roe, left to right:
The Clue at Copper Harbor by M.C. Tillson
Mine Games by Mel Laurila; Tate Publishing (book and ebook available for purchase)
Where the Wind Blows by Ida Nord
The Hospital Handbook by Mary Soper; The Hospital Handbook (book and journal available for purchase)

I look forward to reading and reviewing many of these books in the future!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

One week as director, solo

After about a week and a half of training, the former director left and I took the reins of the small public library I am now in charge of.  How has it gone?

Pretty well, overall.  I have dealt with a variety of new and different things.  If you're not in the business, I hope this is interesting and informative to you.
  • How many librarians does it take to change a light bulb?  Within minutes of the former director's departure, we had to call the township's maintenance people due to a faulty lighting outlet in the bathroom.  It was fixed the next morning, after the maintenance man had to call the electrician to take care of it.
  • Meetings.  The library is in the process of moving and expanding.  I attended the township's zoning board of appeals meeting, where we were granted all variances and other such things, and learned of a neighbor's concerns about our expansion.  A week later, I was at the library board's special meeting to discuss these matters, and to view and discuss the building plans with the architects.  There are many steps in creating a new home for the library.  The next step is to take the plans to the planning commission.
  • Ordering supplies and books.  This is pretty mundane stuff, but a lot of that is still new to me.  I'm pretty good at being frugal.  The one surprise here is how quickly the office supplies arrived after I ordered them.  I called in the order on Wednesday, and most of it appeared on Thursday!  This is pretty amazing, especially being in the middle of nowhere, Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  If you're in the need for office supplies for a business, might I suggest Quill?
  • Staff scheduling.  This wouldn't be an issue if the interlibrary loan (ILL) delivery system weren't changing its delivery schedule.  On the one hand, the company is giving all the libraries that had been on a 2 days/week schedule an extra day free (and boosting 4 days/week to 5, at larger libraries), to see if that makes ILLs faster and easier.  On the other, it completely throws staff schedules for a loop when it shifts from Tuesdays/Thursdays to Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays.  And we were only notified Wednesday, with the change going into effect next Monday, July 1.  Ack.
  • Auditors aren't as scary as some people think they are, so long as all your money is accounted for.
  • There is always someone higher than you, even if you're the boss.  In this case, I answer to the library board.  And at least for now, they want to know pretty much everything I do.
I have not had much time to read lately.  Hopefully I'll get some reviews written in the near future, though.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


If I still have any readers: Hello!

I'm sorry if you've missed me.  I had some work-related issues crop up regarding my blog, and did not feel able to update at all.  Plus I was busy.

Now, however, I have left that job, and have started a new one.  I am now a library director at a small town library.  I'm still keeping my job at the charter school, crazy though that may be.

I hope to post reviews soon, and tell you all about this new chapter in my life, as I continue to be a librarian moonlighting as a librarian.

Monday, April 8, 2013

No-Nonsense Nonfiction: The Bandit Queen of India

I'd been contemplating going on hiatus from this blog, but I found something that I absolutely must review today, due to recent world events.  As luck would have it, I finished this book today.

As you may have heard, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, died of a stroke this morning at the age of 87.  Regardless of what you might think of her policies and actions, there is no denying that she was a remarkable woman.  She was the only female Prime Minister Britain has ever had.  Women leaders, or women in any sort of role of authority, are unfortunately rare.

Much more common are the downtrodden and the abused.  Also newsworthy of late are all the rapes that have been occurring in India.  While the West certainly has its own problems regarding the culture of rape (see also the boys in Ohio who were convicted of such felonies, and how the media boohooed over the loss of their bright futures - and said little of how the violated girl's life must be in turmoil), India has been having problems.  There was the young medical student who was gang-raped on a bus and later died of her injuries.  Tourists have been raped in campgrounds and hotels.  And that really is only the tip of the iceberg.  Rapes happen in India for all sorts of reasons, including caste differences and other social conditions.

How do these two news items come together?  The book I want to discuss tonight is The Bandit Queen of India, an autobiography of Phoolan Devi (with Marie-Therese Cuny and Paul Rambali; Phoolan never learned to read or write).  This is the story of an amazing woman who was repeatedly raped, yet took justice into her own hands - and eventually was elected to a position of political power.

Checkouts: Not available
Typical reader: People who like biographies, stories of charismatic criminals, and/or Indian history
Source: Interlibrary loan

Synopsis: Phoolan Devi tells her life story, from her tumultuous childhood to her release from prison.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Phoolan Devi was born to a poor family of the lowly mallah caste.  She and her family endured hardships caused not only by their status but also by her father's brother, and later that uncle's son, in various ways.  Phoolan was married at the age of 11 to a widower in his 30s; while she should not have gone to his abode until age 16 or so, he insisted that she come with him to be his housekeeper.  That wasn't true; he locked her in a dark room and repeatedly beat and raped her.  She escaped repeatedly, until finally her mother gave back everything the man had given the family to renounce the marriage.  But after that, her family could not find a new husband for her.  Not only was she damaged, but she also was rebellious and had a penchant for talking back.

Eventually, she was betrayed and kidnapped by a gang of bandits.  This ended up being to her advantage, however, because one of the leaders, Vickram, fell in love with her and protected her.  They worked together, and she took revenge on not only her wicked husband but also many of the men who had raped her over the years.  She became a sort of female Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving their rupees and goods to the poor.  She exacted revenge on many members of higher castes (mostly thakurs) who had stolen from, raped, or generally mistreated her fellow mallahs or others from the low ranks of Indian society.

All good things must come to an end, however.  Vickram was murdered and she was gang-raped yet again; she took revenge, but her banditry gradually tapered off as her gang grew smaller and police pressure increased.  However, she surrendered under her own terms.  She spent more than a decade in prison.

After the tales in the book and her release from prison, she went on to be elected to the Indian Parliament.  There she served until her assassination in 2001.

I read this book because it was a selection for the public library's book club.  I finished it because it was so enthralling.  Phoolan's narrative is fascinating.  At times it seems like a fairy tale - a very dark fairy tale, true, but when she wins the love and protection of Vickram and is later able to be a source of justice for the poor of her home state and the surrounding areas, it seems to have a fantastic air.  And Vickram is one of the most romantic guys to grace the pages of a book.  He treats Phoolan as no one has ever treated her before: he asks her how she feels.  He gives her space.  He protects and defends her, and tries to teach her.  Their partnership may not have been lovey-dovey, but he stands out as a wonderful man.

Phoolan Devi may have been a bandit and an outlaw, a thief and a murderess, but she brought justice to herself and to many others.  She enjoyed sharing her rupees with those she felt deserved them.  In a land where the lower castes were - are - untouchable unless they're being raped, she was righteous and vengeful.

The world needs more women like her.  There needs to be justice of some sort for the poor and the wronged.  Phoolan may not have gone about it in the best way possible, but she was effective in her little corner of the globe.  Her tenacity was admirable, and should be instilled in more future leaders.  The princesses being raised today do not have that.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yay for YA: Born Wicked

Here is the first in my series of catch-up reviews.  This is a book that I read January 27-February 3.  Now it's almost the end of March.  Shame on me.

What's even worse about delaying this review is that it was such a good book!  Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood is a historical fiction, with paranormal and romantic elements, that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I can hardly wait for the sequel, which come out in June.

Checkouts: New to the charter school library
Typical reader: Teen girls in need of sci-fi/fantasy books, or teen girls looking for paranormal romance
Source: Authors Are Rockstars! giveaway

Synopsis: In an alternative turn-of-the-twentieth-century New England, religious orders hold sway and accusing witches never went out of style.  However, some girls and women actually are witches, such as Cate Cahill and her sisters.  Cate is coming of age, and she will soon have to choose someone to be betrothed to, or the priests of the Brotherhood will.  Luckily, her old childhood friend Paul McLeod is home and expressing interest in her hand in marriage - or there's the bookseller's son, Finn Belastra, who is the Cahill's gardener and oh-so-tempting.  All the while, Cate must try to keep the family secret from ruining all she cares for.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Be shocked!  I have given a romance novel 5 stars, a top rating.  What could make it so good that even I can applaud a romantic YA story?

First and foremost, there's the writing style.  It charmed me quickly.  Ms. Spotswood does a great job of introducing the characters straightaway, so that I soon knew them and could relate to and care about them.  Also, there author has no fear of flexing a large vocabulary.  I was scrambling to look up a new word on page 10 (barouche).  I appreciate learning new words, which is difficult to do with YA literature and my already-ample lexicon.  It's also appropriate for historical fiction, because educated people (such as Cate Cahill) actually did have decent vocabularies.

Second, there isn't just a love triangle!  It's introduced a bit late in the book, but there's a third option.  Cate learns some interesting tidbits about the Sisterhood from the governess her father has hired for her and her sisters.  Joining the Sisterhood, which would offer more educational opportunities, delay or stave off marriage, and include other benefits that I'm not going to spoil, is something Cate must consider in addition to the young men that vie for her affection.  Which will she choose?

Finally, there are some great twists to the plot.  That's all I'm going to say about that!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: March 22 edition

Heh heh, it's been a while.  Sorry.  But I've already made excuses, so it's time to stop avoiding the blog and start posting again.  I am at least six books behind in my reviews.  Let's get this show on the road again!  I'm participating in another Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Thanks for stopping by.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure as far as reading? Is it a genre, or is it a certain type of book?

A: I actually have a feature on this blog called "Guilty Pleasures."  These are books for adults, since I primarily read children's and YA books, and consider myself primarily a school librarian.  You can find those under the "guilty" tag.  Primarily, those are fantasy novels or true crime books.

I'm currently reading a true crime book, actually.  It's If You Really Loved Me by Ann Rule.  She's a great author, if you haven't ever tried her works.  If you like true crime, don't miss her most prominent book, The Stranger Beside Me, about her friend Ted Bundy.  Also, Ms. Rule is originally from Michigan, so she meets my one-a-month goal for reading a book related to Michigan, my home state.

Thank you for visiting my blog!  I do work all day on Friday, and cannot blog from work, so please understand that I won't be prompt in replying to comments.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to make a librarian happy: Feb 2013 edition

The Scholastic book fair went well, despite being held for a shorter duration.  Let me showcase the books the library got, through donations and Scholastic dollars.  It's a good haul.

As always, the titles of the books are linked to Goodreads for more information.

National Geographic Kids: Everything Dolphins
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Special Edition 2012
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Mush! Sled Dogs of the Iditarod

The Titanic series by Gordon Korman (It came with a poster!)
Deck Z by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon

YA sequels
Beautiful Darkness and Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Fire and The Kiss by James Patterson

More sequels
Confectionately Yours: Sugar and Spice by Lisa Papademetriou
Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All by Rachel Renee Russell
Nancy Clancy: Secret Admirer by Jane O'Connor
Beware the Ninja Weenies by David Lubar

Bargain books
Ravenwood by Andrew Peters
Agent Amelia: Ghost Diamond! by Michael Broad
The Truth about Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler

Scholastic nonfiction
World War II

Wild Age by Steve Parker
Everything You Need to Know about Snakes and Other Scaly Reptiles

Various nonfiction
Basher History: U.S. Presidents
Scary Science by Shar Levine

More animals
 National Geographic Kids: African Animal Alphabet by Beverly Joubert
How to Draw Angry Birds
101 Animal Records by Melvin and Gilda Berger
I Love Horses and Ponies by Nicola Jane Swinney

Middle grade/YA novels
Kissed (three books in one) by Cameron Dokey

Graphic novels
No DC, unfortunately.  Only Marvel.
Marvel Adventures Hulk: Misunderstood Monster

Series chapter books
Rainbow Fairies Special Edition: Brianna the Tooth Fairy by Daisy Meadows
Magic Tree House 43: Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne

Picture books
Fancy Nancy: Ooh La La! It's Beauty Day by Jane O'Connor
Norman Bridwell's Clifford Collection

I'm sure the students will enjoy these books!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Yay for YA: Between Shades of Gray

As any librarian can probably tell you, too often books have the same or similar titles.  Sometimes books sharing names can even have similar premises or locations, such as A Superior Death by Nevada Barr (a mystery set on Isle Royale) and Superior Death by Matthew Williams (a mystery set in the U.P.).  This can be a pain when trying to find the book that a patron is looking for.

In 2011, within two months of each other, two very different books with unfortunately similar titles were published.  Between Shades of Gray, a historical fiction YA novel about Stalin's ethnic cleanings of the Baltic states during World War II, came out in March.  Fifty Shades of Grey, an erotic, adult romance that had originally been Twilight fan-fiction, debuted in May.  The latter is a bestseller with a movie in the works.  The former has been the subject of many cases of mistaken identity (read an article about it).

So let me tell you about the lesser-known book, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  Ms. Sepetys is a Michigan native, by the way.

Checkouts: 2 at the school/public library; 1 at the charter school library
Typical reader: Teens looking for historical fiction, a Michigan author's novel, or untold history
Source: I checked it out from the school/public library

Synopsis: Lina lived a happy life in Lithuania with her parents and brother until, one night in 1941, the Soviets arrest them all and ship them away in cattle cars to Siberia.  Separated from her father, Lina and her mother and brother struggle to survive, first in an Altai village, and then north of the Arctic Circle.  Lina finds solace in her art, and dreams of home and being reunited with her father.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars (4.5, rounded up)

There are plenty of books about the Holocaust.  They tell the tales of those hidden away, or who try to save those targeted, or those who survived, or those who died.  But what about an extermination that was taking place at the same time?  What information is there, either in the history books or in fiction, that tell the stories of what happened in the Baltic states that were annexed/overrun by the Soviet Union?

After finishing this novel, I looked.  Believe me, there isn't much available, especially if you're looking for something that isn't scholarly.  Cut out Jewish Lithuanians' tales of the Holocaust, and there's even less.  If you include Finns in Karelia, you can find more books and information, but perhaps that situation is more known because Finnish-Americans and Finnish-Canadians emigrated there, only to be put into Soviet labor camps.  (I need to read more into this.)  And I honestly don't know if Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago touches on the Baltic citizens who were victims of the roundups and labor camps.

Between Shades of Gray might be a novel, but a lot of research went into making it.  When one considers how little information is accessible about its subjects to the average American reader, this book is quite valuable.  It's telling a piece of history that's rarely shared.  When I was done, I passed it on to my father; he likes history, and had just finished reading The Book Thief.  He also gave this book five stars.

Beyond the nerdy assessment, what can I tell you about this book?  It's gripping.  This is one of those novels that you cannot put down, because you must know how it turns out.  It also speaks volumes on how powerful hope can be, even when life gives you the worst possible situations, such as winter above the Arctic Circle in Siberia without enough resources.  It opens your eyes to see what terrible things went on under Josef Stalin - things not so different from what Adolf Hitler did - without being too devastating.  This is heavy material, yet it is written at an appropriate level for teens.

I can appreciate the characters not only at face-value but also at an overarching level.  They are realistic people, trying to cope with their situation or giving up hope, but they also represent larger themes.  Ms. Sepetys gives us, in Lina's group, a cross-section of the sorts of people who were sent to Siberia to be worked to death: intellectuals like teachers, professors, and librarians; bourgeois dissenters; those who would not give information about their colleagues; Jews; and the families of any of these.

I would not use the wording about this novel that I saw at a Scholastic book fair - "If you liked The Diary of Anne Frank, you'll love this book!" (my word, how distasteful) - but I do have to say that it is good, it is important, it is touching, and it needs to be read.  And then follow it with something light and fluffy, to make you feel better.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Excuses, excuses ...

I would love to have posted several reviews in the space of time between when I announced my giveaway winner and now.  I even have one in the works, about Between Shades of Gray.  However, there are several things working against me.  Here are my excuses.

  1. I've moved.  Sort of.  Due to the harsh U.P. winter, I am now renting a place within walking distance of my main job (the school/public library) from a friend's parents while her grandma is gone for a couple months as a snowbird.  My good, big computer is still at my parents' house, which I stay at on Fridays for my other job (the charter school library) and Saturdays (my day off).  While I do have my darling netbook here with me, it is not up to all the marvelous things my desktop can do.  This apparently includes signing into both my alumni email account and my Gmail account that's connected to this blog, on Friefox simultaneously.  Sometimes.  It's complicated.  I can get into my Google Reader (tied to this) just fine with both accounts on, but when I try to go to Blogger, it pitches a fit because the alumni account can't do that.  Gah!  Technology.
  2. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to write a review of a hard-hitting book like Between Shades of Gray.  Currently, it's become a very nerdy, librarian-y, historical geeky review of it, rather than something about the story.  Hopefully I'll figure out what I want in this review and get it up soon.
  3. I have a book fair this week.  If you've followed this blog for a while, you probably know that I get super-busy at that time, and then post the swag that I was able to get for the charter school library with our Scholastic Dollars.  It's so worthwhile, but oh, so time-consuming.
  4. Laziness.
Hopefully I'll soon get things together and tell you about the good books (and not-so-good books) I've read lately, and show off the delicious books that I'll be putting in the library.  Until then, stay warm.  And be thankful you don't live in a place where the snow never stops.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

And the winner is ...

Who won my giveaway for a $25 Biblio gift card?  Let's find out!

Congratulations, Wild Orchid!  I'll email you to confirm.  Please respond by Sunday.

Thank you to all who participated, and to the many more who follow this blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Graphic is Great: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

It has been too long since I've reviewed a graphic novel!  Let me share with you my thoughts on Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Checkouts: Coming soon to both libraries
Typical reader: Tween and teen girls and anyone else interested in theater or Ms. Telgemeier's works
Source: I couldn't pass up a signed copy that was available at Snowbound Books!

Synopsis: Callie loves theater, and she's thrilled when her middle school's drama production is announced to be the musical Moon Over Mississippi.  Singing isn't her thing, but she'll still be happily busy backstage, making the set worthy of Broadway.  But relationship drama of all sorts can be a bit distracting ...

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

I read Smile by this author a couple years ago, when it showed up in a Scholastic book fair.  That book is a nonfiction graphic novel, an autobiography of Raina and her teeth.  It's both amusing and horrifying.  I'd really recommend it for anyone who has suffered orthodontics or cosmetic dental work - but is not too squeamish.

Ms. Telgemeier has a great, unique art style.  It's very expressive.  Would you get what I mean if I say that it's cartoony yet realistic?  Because that's what I feel it is.  There's also great attention to detail, with foreshadowing that's handled well.  For instance, Callie finds a dress in the theater's storage area that doesn't suit the play.  But there will be some use for it later!

This graphic novel is a lot of fun.  The characters are all so vivacious in their quirky, adolescent ways.  They strike me as being older than middle school students - and I honestly don't know of any middle schools that can put on such large theatrical productions - but then again, I do find my 7th graders to be mature until hormones hit their brains and make them weird, haha.  Anyway, the characters are quirky, trying to find their places in life, exploring the labyrinths of relationships, and pursuing their interests.

Callie is quite the adaptable protagonist.  She's perhaps a little boy-crazy, but she can also roll with the punches.  Through the play, she meets and befriends two brothers, Justin and Jesse.  She crushes on Justin, but quickly finds out through talking with him that he's gay.  (He's a bit stereotypically so, being flamboyant and into theater.)  Callie has no problem with this, treating him just as nicely as ever and setting her sights on Jesse, the shyer, quieter brother who will be on stage crew with her.

This review was delayed last week due to inclement weather - or maybe just poor maintenance practices on the part of the local internet service provider.  Anyway, I feel like this was meant to wait.  Last night I saw the local youth theater's production of The Little Mermaid, Jr. (all actors 18 and under) and it was fantastic.  It's fun to tie life's experiences in with a book you're currently reading, or have read.  Both the cast of the real-life play and the one in this book are so talented.  Plus, perhaps some of my students who were involved will want to continue thinking about theater, and read this book.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

No internet, no reviews

Hello, my dear readers.  I've been without internet for a few days, thanks either to a nasty cold snap or to Charter Communications' brilliant "work on the lines and not tell anyone" maintenance plan.  It's hard to write reviews without internet.

Hopefully the internet will be stable and I can get some reviews up in the next few days.  Thanks for understanding.

And don't forget to enter my drawing for the $25 gift certificate!  Enter before January 31.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Feature and Follow Fridays: January 11, 2013

Hello, and welcome to the blog of a librarian moonlighting as a librarian (AKA Moonlit Librarian)!  I'm participating in another Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Thanks for stopping by.

Q: If you could choose one supernatural being/creature to really exists what would it be and why?

A: I'm going to be completely different and say, "Santa Claus."  What could be better than a timeless immortal who gives presents to deserving children?

Don't forget to enter my drawing for a $25 Biblio gift card!  You can find the entry form at

It's Elementary: In Our Mothers' House

It's been a while since I've written a review of a children's picture book!  What I have chosen to talk about today is interesting on many levels.  It's by a Michigan author.  And it's been challenged and banned in several school libraries in various places across the country.  That always makes for an attention-getting topic.

Let me tell you about In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco, and why it's caused a fuss.

Checkouts: Not owned by charter school library; own, but not yet checked out at the public/school library
Typical reader: People interested in banned books; fans of Ms. Polacco's works; families that are different
Source: I read it while I was cataloging it at the public/school library.  I admit that I've polished off a few picture books that way, while waiting for files to load or whatnot.  Guilty as charged!

Synopsis: Two women adopt three children and raise them in what seems to the children to be a perfectly normal, happy household.  Some neighbors don't accept them for some reason, but in this house, different does not mean wrong.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

This is a pleasant story about a family that adopts three ethnically diverse children and raises them in a warm, fun, loving home.  It follows the family from when the first daughter (the narrator) is adopted, through to the mothers' passing and how the son's family now lives in the house.  It's a very feel-good tale.

The real world, before and after the book, has not been so kind.  Ms. Polacco wrote this book after visiting a class and being inspired by the children she met.  That might sound sweet, but this story was pretty reactionary.  The children in the class she was visiting was reading essays to her, about their families.  One girl got up to read her essay, but was immediately asked by an aide to sit down.

"No don't come from a real family...sit down!" said the aide.

The girl came from a family of two mothers and two adopted siblings.

Ms. Polacco went back to her hotel room and wrote In Our Mothers' House that night.  (The account is taken from a guest post by Ms. Polacco on the American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."  Read the full article here.)

There are apparently plenty of people who feel the same way the aide does.  The book has been pulled from library shelves in Texas and Utah.  The Davis School District in Utah kept the book behind the circulation counter and required parental permission for checkout; there has been a news-making lawsuit filed against the school district.  Parents there had complained that the book normalizes a lifestyle that they don't agree with.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and parents have every right to say what their underage children can and cannot read.  But they should not infringe upon others' rights to read what they please.  The librarians in the district had bought the book for the collection because there are students that come from homes with two mommies or two daddies.  Yet the community continues to treat the children as if they do not have the right to feel normal or happy.

Does your local library offer books to make everyone feel like they are a welcome part of society?  Or do you have a tale of a locally banned book, that could have possibly helped someone feel better about themselves?

Don't forget to enter my drawing for a $25 Biblio gift card!  You'll find the entry form here.  The giveaway ends January 31.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

100+ Follower Gift Card Giveaway!

Ladies and gentlemen, my giveaway is here!  Enter now to win a $25 gift card (yes, I increased the amount) to Biblio!

This giveaway is open to entries worldwide.  Biblio is an excellent site where you can find tons of new and used books, from thousands of book vendors of all sizes.  I hope you like this prize.  I look forward to awarding it to someone on Thursday, January 31!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!  The winner will be determined by a random number generator.  Hopefully I'll have more entries than something I can choose by rolling a d20, haha.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Coming soon: Gift card giveaway!

Stay tuned, my dear followers!  I've passed the 100-follower mark on GFC (Google Friends Connect), and am going to be offering a gift card as a giveaway prize.  After some careful consideration and searching for options, this is what I've decided on:

A Biblio gift card for $20!

Biblio is an online store where you can find new, used, and even out-of-print books.  It works with personal vendors and a variety of bookstores worldwide, but unlike Alibris, Amazon, or ABEbooks, it does not take a cut of the profit (unless things have changed since when I worked in a bookstore that used it).  All the money from the sale goes to the actual seller.

This giveaway will be open for anyone worldwide who wants a chance at winning the prize.  Just please keep in mind that $20 may not go as far with variable exchange rates.

I'll have the giveaway up in the next couple days!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Yay for YA: Choke, by Diana Lopez

I seem to have been on a bit of a teen problem novel kick lately.  Here's my review of a fairly new book called Choke by Diana Lopez.

Checkouts: New to the charter school library
Typical reader: Middle school and teen girls
Source: Scholastic book fair, recommended for the collection by a high school student

Synopsis: Windy is a fairly typical eighth grade girl, in the "general population" of her school hierarchy, wishing she could change her appearance, improve her grades and her status, that sort of thing.  She seems to hit a lucky break when a new girl, Nina, comes to school and befriends her.  Nina even wants to be "breath sisters," but as Windy finds out what this means, she's not so sure she wants to be a breath sister.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Let me start by saying that while this is written below the reading level of the intended audience, I understand why.  The author is a teacher who encountered the problem dealt with in this book, and to get out the warning to everyone likely to be intrigued by "the choking game," she had to write it more simply than the grade level.  It's like how newspaper articles are written approximately to the third grade reading level, so the largest literate audience can benefit from them.  The struggling, reluctant reader can read an interesting, current novel that doesn't get too preachy, just as the top student in the class can.

So, don't expect the prose to be breathtaking.  (Sorry, the pun just slipped out.)  The plot is a bit predictable, too.  The characters and the realism hold the book together, though.  Windy is as quirky as any protagonist you'd find in a John Green novel, and is realistic and well-rounded.  She has high and low points, interests that any middle school girl would have, and problems any could encounter as well.  Middle school is a tumultuous time of establishing pecking order, and a plot of the story lines deal with that.  And what teen or almost-teen doesn't want to fit in and be attractive?  But self-image issues are not the exclusive territory of the young, and Windy's perception of herself is mirrored by her father's struggle to be less Latino to get a job as a TV weatherman.

I didn't find the book to be preachy in its message, which is an important message indeed.  Asphyxiation is not something anyone should be experimenting with.  It's hard to imagine why anyone would try it, but in middle school, there's plenty of peer pressure, and tweens and teens are risk-takers.  People can end up with brain damage from it, or even die.  Remember actor David Carradine's death a few years back?  This isn't just something youngsters try.

On a happier subject, I've passed the 100 mark with GFC (Google Friends Connect) followers this weekend!  How exciting!  I'll be celebrating later this week with a giveaway.  Stay tuned for details.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: January 4, 2013

Hello, and welcome to the blog of a librarian moonlighting as a librarian (AKA Moonlit Librarian)!  I'm participating in another Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Thanks for stopping by.

Q: What New Year's blogging or writing resolution have you placed on yourself?

A: My resolution is not tied to the new year.  This is something I resolved to do after my Marvelous Michigan Month in October.  I want to read and review at least one book tied to Michigan each month.  This helps me out with both of my jobs, and it also establishes something to make me stand out from other book review blogs.  There are other librarian blogs, other blogs that focus on YA/children's books, other blogs that highlight Michigan books (but tend to be more about adult books).  I'd like to be a bit more unique, while maintaining my diverse array of what I review.

Other things I would like to do this year?  Well, it would be good to get back into the habit of writing the reviews in a more timely manner.  I read Choke by Diana Lopez back in early December, and am still only partway through writing my review.  Oops.  It is tough to maintain a review schedule, since I'm working six days a week, with long commutes, and a tendency to be busy on my days off.  I don't know how attainable this ideal is.

I would also like to have a giveaway after I hit 100 followers on Google Friends Connect.  (I'm really close!)  This would be much easier to do if IndieBound and its member bookstores still offered gift cards that could be used at any participating vendor.  I will not support Amazon.  What I may end up doing is making this really personal, and asking the winner for his or her nearest/preferred independent bookstore and placing a gift card order over the phone with that store.  Still trying to figure out the logistics on that.