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July 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Except the Queen by Jane Yolen & Midori Snyder


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  1. Grab your current read

  2. Open to a random page

  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

  4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Except the queen

I was just passing by the sci-fi section of Borders a few weeks ago - Honestly! I had no intention of buying any more than what I had in my hand which was MORE than enough! - when I saw this book prominently displayed and stopped dead in my tracks. What's this?!? A brand new book by TWO OF MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE AUTHORS?!? OMG, yes!!! Okay, so really my first thought was, oh, cool cover! But when I saw that Jane Yolen (my faves include: Briar Rose, Sister Light/Sister Dark and White Jenna.) and Midori Snyder (my faves: The Flight of Michael McBride, New Moon, Sadar's Keep, and Beldan's Fire, the last of which I own, but have yet to read, but I'm sure I will LOVE it.) collaborated on it, then it was, oh, yes, you will be MINE!

So without further ado, here is my teaser from page 38 of Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder's awesome new book, Except the Queen(cheating with more than two sentences, but you should be used to this from me by now!):

And as Jamie Oldcourse was all the people I knew in the human world, I had to trust her. Law number three. My sister, my clan and sept - all the fey that I had known - were dead to me; my court locked and barred behind me. The green world gone. So I would, all unfazed, be Jamie Oldcourse's friendly cow till I could get myself home again, however long that might take.

Happy Tuesday! 

Madrone Tree Update

I'm not sure, but I think my little Madrone tree might just make it. After spending a week spraying for spider mites, giving it all-purpose fertilizer and extra water, it's starting to look a little better.


There's some new growth on the ends that look pretty healthy.



I haven't seen any more bugs or webs or anything on it, so it just might be okay! In other gardening news, it appears that both our wild rose bushes are making a full recovery as well:



Pretty much everything else in the back is looking really good, too. There's a few grasses and a couple lavender plants that look sad, but I'm not too worried about them. All the plants are guaranteed for 90 days after planting, so there's still time to have them replaced if we want. The tree, for those interested in knowing, is guaranteed for one year. Hopefully we won't have to cash in on that, but it's nice to know we can!


Recently one of my favourite authors, Susan Beth Pfeffer, announced a little give-away on her blog, and since I love her books (well, the three I've read, anyway), I jumped on the chance to win an audio version of this world we live in and "mystery freebie prize". Last week my package arrived, and along with the audio book was a paperback copy of The Year Without Michael, a book I haven't read yet but have been wanting to! Yay!


Thank you, Susan for not only writing great novels, but for being so generous to your readers!

New Beginnings #17: Revamped and Revitalized


To remind you of the way this works, here’s how to play:

First — post your list of New Years’ Resolutions in a post at your blog (or in the comments here, if you don’t have a blog).

Second — every week, on Wednesday, write a new post about how you’re doing with each of your goals … you’ll have to list them, again, each week, as people won’t remember what you’re working towards, otherwise. Be brief in your updates, as there may be several blogs to visit! ((come give a quick update here at Should Be Reading, if you don’t have a blog)).

Third — after you’ve written your update, come back to Should Be Reading, and share your link so that we –the other New Beginnings participants– can stop by your blog and encourage you!

Important! … It would be absolutely great if you could visit at least ONE other participant’s blog  on Wednesdays and leave a comment on their post to share some encouragement for their efforts! Show your support! That’s what this event is all about — standing by each other to finally reach our goals!

NOTE: It's the middle of the year already and I was inspired by a recent post from our New Beginnings hostess MizB to reevaluate my 2010 goals/resolutions. So, I've made a newish list. It's slightly less complicated and will hopefully be easier for me to follow.

1. Health and Fitness
o   Get down to size 14. Since I should be a 14 by now, but I'm not, there's no way I'd make it to 12 by the end of the year, so I'll just try to get to a nice, comfy 14 by December 31st! 
o   Try three new recipes per month (one of which will be vegetarian). I didn't try anything new this week.
o   Hit the gym four days per week. I made it all three days even though going on Thursday - after a really hard workout on Wednesday - was really hard!

2. Writing (removed the poetry section since I probably won't be writing any poetry at all this year, and I'd rather not stress out over it)
o   Write 1st draft of a novel. This is one of the goals I've changed. I was having too much trouble figuring Falcon's Gate out, so I'm going to set it aside and work on something else.
o   Write a(nother) complete novel during NaNoWriMo. Begins November 1st and continues through November 30th. 

3. Photography
o   Take more artistic photos. Not done.
o   Spend more time composing photos rather than just “point and shoot”. Nothing new here. I took more pictures of my sad-looking Madrone tree, but they were to send to the landscaper to see if he knew what was wrong with the tree.
o   Go "old school": take some pictures using film with manual 35mm camera. Not done recently.
4. Homefront
o   Organize stuff. Reorganized all my medical/lab results/insurance crap in my file cabinet.
o   Reduce clutter. Got rid of TONS more magazines and catalogues this past weekend.

5. Fun Stuff
o   Go to the beach. Slightly modified this one since going to the beach "more often" just isn't going to happen, so I'm just going to try to get to the beach "eventually" this year. 
o   Get new ink. Still working on this one. Might actually be getting TWO tats this year if my BFF agrees to get inked with me!

The 2010 Summer Reading Challenge




MizB from Should Be Reading turned me on to Mary from Bookfan's Summer Reading Challenge, and it's so perfect for me right now I couldn't resist participating! You see, as hard as I try, I cannot resist buying books, even when I know I have several books at home that need to be read, as well as checking out books from the library (despite having enough stuff to read at home!). Basically my reading list is already out of control and I tend to add to the insanity. I recently finished (and returned) all my library books, and am just about halfway through a borrowed book, after which I planned to start tackeling my TBR stacks. However, because there's so many books, the thought of it was a bit overwhelming, so discovering this challenge was just the kick in the pants I needed!

So, without further ado, here's my list of 10 books I'm going to try to read between June 20th and September 20th. (The original deadline is September 6th, Labour Day, but I'll be out of town from September 2nd to the 8th, so I'm giving myself some extra time! Besides I'm starting late!)

Here's my list (in no particular order):

  1. First Test by Tamora Pierce
  2. The Riddle of the Wren by Charles de Lint
  3. Lynoesse (re-read) by Jack Vance
  4. Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson
  5. Except the Queen by Midori Snyder & Jane Yolen
  6. The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivey Harrison
  7. The Sight by David Clement-Davies
  8. Impossible by Nancy Werlen
  9. Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker
  10. Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Wish me luck!


Teaser Tuesday: The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  1. Grab your current read

  2. Open to a random page

  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

  4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



My teaser this week comes from page 210 of The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. This is the first Philippa Gregory book I've read - I borrowed it from a co-worker who told me it was really good; another co-worker has read many, if not all, of Gregory's books and simply raves about this author - and so far I'm quite liking it. I can see why she's so popular. Enjoy!

"Still young," gasped de Puebla. "Still a young woman, and near him in age."

"I don't think Their Majesties would want their daughter to stay in England for another four years without husband or household of her own," Henry said, with unconcealed threat.

Under Attack

While the rest of our newly landscaped backyard looks fantastic, something is attacking our pretty little Mardrone tree:


Some of the leaves are dry and spotty and brown:



AND, some of the leaves have been munched on:



We've found web-like clusters on the tree as well as this little bug:



le sigh! I've emailed these and other pictures to our landscaper, Daniel, and hopefully he'll have some idea what is causing the problems and, more importantly, how to treat them.

In other gardening news, it looks like one of the transplanted rose bushes is making a comeback:


The other one isn't looking so good and we'll probably take it out and replace it with some grasses or something, but we don't really care too much. They were both freebies - suckers off a rose tree I bought 10 years ago which sadly died - so we're not really out anything.

And yesterday I bought a pretty new birdbath: