Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

New-to-me Author – The Humming of Numbers and The Farwalker’s Quest

HummingCoverI love it when I discover a new author with multiple books. I started with reading The Humming of Numbers (Holt, 2008) by Joni Sensel. To Aidan, living creatures hum different numbers. He doesn’t think his gift is from the devil, but since he’s a novice in Celtic Abbey, he doesn’t dare mention it. A girl is brought to the monastery for punishment. She hums eleven. Aidan is fascinated as he’s never met someone who hums of more than ten. His fascination gets him in trouble and he’s put in charge of Lana, who some accuse of being a witch. The Viking raiders come. To rescue the captives, he and Lana get caught up in a scheme which uses both of their talents. I enjoyed Joni’s story very much, and found myself wondering what number I hum. (This is a YA title.)
FWQCoverSmallThen I moved on to The Farwalker’s Quest also by Joni (Bloomsbury, 2009). In this believable fantasy world, 13-year-olds face a test to see which trade they belong to. Ariel believes she’ll become a healer liker her mother and Zeke, a Tree Singer like his father. But after she finds the telling dart and the Finders show up, Ariel fails the test and is labeled Fool. Both she and Zeke end up on an unwelcome adventure where Ariel discovers her true trade. I’m pleased to say Joni has written more in this world – The Timekeeper’s Moon comes out next March, and she’s at work on a third!
Joni (pronounced Johnny) Sensel lives near Mount Rainier in Washington state. She volunteers as Co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI Western Washington, does corporate writing, and was one of the members of the debut writers, Class of 2K7. Go to for more info.

Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Graveyard Book

2009 Newbery Winner
Have you read it yet?
TheGraveyardBookAn unusual premise and setting, yet author Neil Gaiman had me convinced of the world he created in The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins Publisher, 2008). He breaks one of the unwritten rules of children’s literature–start with your main character. Neil started with the villain. Well, actually he started with the weapon. Listen to this first sentence: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”
Hey, that’s passive writing, but doesn’t it work? Aren’t you nervous about what’s going to happen? I was. And the villain is horrible, has done horrible things and is now after a baby!
I’m not going to tell you anything else, because you really ought to read it! But I will tell you Neil’s website: And his blog about receiving the award. And a link to the youtube video with Steven Cobear in case you missed any of that.
P.S. FYI – Neil’s twitter name is neilhimself.

Posted in Award Winners, So Many Good Books, YA Novels


gracelingKatsa is Graced (talented) with Killing. She’s very good at it, and her uncle King Randa takes advantage of that fact and has her deal with people who have angered him, disobeyed him, etc. Katsa hates what she is and what she does. She hates how most people won’t even look into her mismatched eyes. If it wasn’t for her few friends, and the council she started to right wrongs, how could she keep on?
Thanks, Laura M., for turning me on to Graceling (Harcourt 2008) by Kristin Cashore. I hope this well-written fantasy becomes a classic. It’s another book that I’ll be rereading.
In October this debut author has another book coming out–I can hardly wait! Check out her website for more details on the upcoming Fire and to learn more about this talented (or should I say “graced”) lady. The title of her blog/website is: This is My Secret.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Yes, of course I read HP7…


HP7I picked the book up on Saturday morning and due to grandchildren present didn’t finish till Monday about 4 pm.  Some stuff in the book annoyed me and other things amazed me, when I thought, she had to have all this planned when she wrote book one.  My two guesses on which main characters would die:  well, one I was absolutely correct and the other I was wrong.  I don’t think the epilogue was necessary, but since it was there, there were some other questions I wished it had answered.  There was a place where I wish the characters (at least Harry, Ron and Hermione) had responded to the unexpected appearance of an object, which will remain unnamed so as not to spoil anything for anyone.  But overall, I enjoyed it.

I also recently watched movie 5 and liked it.  I try not to compare books and movies too closely so as not to be too disappointed by differences. I’ll definitely be watching for Harry Potter 6 & 7 to come out in the theater.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Beka Cooper, Terrier

I’ve been a Tamora Pierce fan ever since I found the Wild Magic series.  Went from those to the Magic Circle books then to the Keladry, Protector of the Small quartet.  Later, read the first books written by Tamora about Alanna and was surprised to see how much her writing had grown.  (It also gave me hope for my own writing!)  Next I read the Trickster stories.

But her latest, Beka Cooper, Terrier, is now my absolute favorite.

I love this character!

Beka Cooper’s a “puppy,” a rookie, with the Provost’s Guard and has been assigned to work the Lower City with famed veterans.  Beka has a problem though.  She can hardly look at anyone when she speaks.  How is she going to do her reports to her “Dogs” when she can’t even look at them?

Beka’s story is set 100s of years before the other Tortall stories in a very real world.  It has a slang and figures of speech all its own that are yet very understandable.  As I warned my husband, don’t start unless you have a lot of time to read it!  But, like myself, he didn’t heed the warning and ended up staying up way too late to finish the book.

Two things I’m definitely looking forward to:

  • the next book in the series, which doesn’t come out until October ’08


  • hearing Tamora Pierce speak at the LA SCBWI Conference this coming August!

Read about the author at: