Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Carnival cruise ship is sitting right out in front of us in the bay, waiting for the go ahead. Wonder if it is the only one in today. Will make traffic easier this p.m. when I pick Steve up from work if it is. I am exhausted this a.m. Been packing boxes and cleaning out files, etc. for the last 3 days. It is amazing how much paper "junk" one can acquire in a couple of years. I cleaned out files when we moved down here. Have packed boxes all over the living room to be shipped out. The worst part is having to write out the customs form for each box. Yesterday the power went out at noon time - right before I was ready to make myself something for lunch. It did not come back on until about 10 minutes before Steve got home from work at almost 5:30. I was not a happy camper - I was both hungry and hot. Our downstairs neighbor called a few minutes later and said WAPA (our electricity company) had just come out and turned the power back on. The guy asked Kim if she had finally paid the bill! Apparently our landlord had forgotten to pay the bill again. This is the second time in the last year. For his sake - he might want to stay away from me for a couple of days or I will have a few choice words for him. I am sure he heard it from Kim last night. This is ridiculous. Too bad it didn't go out during his party Sunday night - maybe he would make sure he didn't forget from now on.

I did take some time out to read - mainly because my back and hip get so sore from all the bending and lifting. Underworld by Catherine MacPhail is set in Scotland so the terminology this group of teens uses is fun to read - no profanity at all - at least from American English standards! :-) Four teens - the school's bad boy Axel, his "not as stupid as he acts" sidekick Liam, snotty uptight Zesh, the teased and torment fat girl Angie who is so upbeat and clueless she doesn't realize how much people dislike her, and Fionna the fag smoking sharp tongued bad girl - are trapped in a cave with their teacher who has been badly injured in a landslide. The entrance has been blocked and they are on their own to find their way out. They hardly take to heart the teacher's pre-spelunking lecture on the importance of teamwork. They are at each other throats immediately. It doesn't help any that they are all thinking about the Worm - the huge creature that is said to live in the caves. Some say it is just a legend but the noises they hear and the tunnel with soft sided walls make them think differently. Axel wants to leave the teacher behind and not look for Angie when she falls down a hole. He just wants out, and control of the group. He gets it when he takes Zesh's inhaler so that he can't breathe. Adding to the mystery and terror of the caves is the italicized short story line of a WWII German soldier caught in the caves with his insane commander and the Worm. Give this one to the guy who love horror and suspense. The group dynamics are fascinating to read about - reminds me of Joyce Sweeney's Free Fall, which is about a group of 4 teens trapped in a Florida cave.

Okay - need to haul boxes of books out to the car so I can mail them today. Only 3 days left. We leave here Friday afternoon. I am not ready!

Friday, July 21, 2006

One week from today we will be headed out to the airport with 2 golf bags, 2 suitcases, and 4 carry ons to get as much of my stuff to Greenville as possible without having to pay to ship it. I sent out three more boxes of books yesterday and will pack up some more today. There is so much stuff I planned on doing before I left, but I won't get to but about 10% of it. I am hoping one last trip to beach to swim a bit.

Was majorly stressed out last night with our slow Internet connection as I was trying to price cars online. None of them are really exciting me - it isn't like when I bought the Trans Am - I knew exactly what I wanted. There are no sport cars I am crazy about and the mini SUVs I really like are too expensive. Of course my favorites are the luxury ones, not the Honda or Kia! But, I will need to figure it out soon. Was looking at the Dodge Caliber (heaven forbid - it is called a wagon!), but I have never driven a Dodge in my life. I have always been a Pontiac or Olds girl. I waver between a smaller car I can easy manuever around and a mini SUV which puts me up higher. Decisions, decisions!!

After I got throughly perturbed with the Internet I went to bed and finished Brian James' Perfect World. What a strange book! The dialog is minimal and it is in italics and the extra white space between the paragraphs gives it a choppy appearance visually. It also reads "choppy" - but considering it is written in first person from the viewpoint of a very mixed up 9th grade girl whose father has committed suicide, the choppiness works. Lacie is immature for her age and is being pressured to get involved with boys as does her supposed best (and often nasty) friend, Jenna. When Jenna sets them up on a double date, Lacie finds a soul mate in quiet Benjy, who Avery (Jenna's boyfriend) calls Dogboy. The desperate need Lacie feels in holding onto Jenna's "friendship" is heart wrenching. Especially since Jenna basically keeps Lacie around as her "whipping boy" and resents Lacie becoming friends with the new girl in school. Severing the unhealthy friendship with Jenna is a good thing in Lacie's life, but losing Benjy is more than she thinks she can handle. Jenna's home life is tense and unhappy, but safe - except for the ghosts Jenna fears come through the walls and enter her as she lays naked in her bed. (Some really weird parts in this book!) Benjy, on the other hand, is emotionally and verbally abused by his alcoholic mother and physically abused by her numerous live-in boyfriends. Benjy loves Lacie, but his home life is too much for him and he is leaving for Portland to live with his father. Their last night together in the decaying foundation of a house in the woods opens new doors for Lacie. She has to let go of Benjy and also discovers she can let go of her grief. I have to admit, I wasn't crazy about this book, but it certainly is one I won't forget and I wil read the other James book I have on my shelf as he certainly has used a unique style of writing in Perfect World. It is far from a perfect world, although the houses neatly spaced apart give that appearance. Teens will relate to the characters and the physical ways they comfort themselves, even to Lacie's fingers in her mouth, like a small child.

Time to tape boxes together and wait to hear from Mary as to which house she fell in love with today! :-)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Decided I needed a day at home to just catch up on "stuff" and actually slept in until 8:30. It was heavenly to not need to jump out of bed and get ready. Curled up with the cat and read for a bit. Now I am on the desktop computer with the Martina McBride Timeless CD playing. Sure makes me think of my Mom. It is all the old country music. Her favorite was Lynn Anderson's "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden". I can close my eyes and see our old livingroom and that album playing on the stereo. Anderson was on Lawrence Welk so we had to watch that show too. Oh, those bubbles! And a one, and a two! :-) Mary told me about www.yourmusic.com and I love it. You create a queue of CDs you want and they send one a month - I think it s $7.95 or something like that and they even send to the VI. Had to cancel it until I get settled in Greenville, but I love getting the little package and knowing it is a CD I picked. Like a mini musical Christmas.

I am a big fan of Orca books and I love the Canadian authors - they just don't get enough attention! The cover of Waking by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry is very attention getting, with one drop of blood dripping from a blood red rose. A combination of straight narrative and dream sequences take you deep into Beauty's grief over her mother's suicide. The Shadow Lady and Beauty as a little girl appear in the dreams, filled with the smell and sight of roses, roses, roses, and her child self begging for protection from the Shadow Lady. Since her mother's suicide Beauty has been left alone in school - the others don't know how to interact with her - but new girl Luna doesn't have any reservations. She is the daughter of a free spirited artist and Beauty is welcome in their eclectic home, where she feels more at home than with her over protective father who will not allow Beauty near anything with a blade. She cannot even cut up her own fruit, for fear she will hurt herself. Harvey-Fitzhenry writes a enchanting tale of a young woman, opening up like the most delicate and beautiful rose in the garden, accepting her mother's death and opening her world to both Luna and Poe, the dark haired boy with the guitar, whose music fills her Sunday nights as it wafts through the trees between their yards.

Mary called to tell me about all the houses she and Scott have looked at in the Green Bay/De Pere area. Guess both mother and daughter have the nesting bug. Her lease is about up, and like us, a house payment is about the same as the rent on a nice apartment. She looked at 10 houses in 3 hours yesterday and now can't remember what was in what house. That happened with me and the condos. But I did get the dishes done while I talked to her! Now on to grading.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Took the day off yesterday to baby an upset stomach (couldn't have been my beloved 1/2 burger at Shipwreck!) and catch up on email and grading. Sophie was in second heaven that Mom was at home and working on the laptop. I used our king size bed as my "office" and spent the day cross legged with the laptop in my lap on the most comfortable piece of furniture in the apartment! :-)

Also did some online shopping. I will at least have bedding when I get to Greenville. I may not have a bed, but I have the "stuff" for it! After looking through Overstock and all the other online sites I still ended up ordering from JC Penney. I love online shopping, but it doesn't burn as much calories as hitting the stores in the mall does. Ordered the basic soaps, etc. from Drugstore.com. I love that online store. Only place I can get Luna bars at a decent price. Now to check the pictures I took of the condo to see if I can determine what color the tile is in the bathroom - I can't remember. Haven't ordered bathroom stuff yet. Oh, this is fun! :-) This is all being sent to my office at ECU so it should be interesting hauling the boxes out to the rental car when we get to Greenville. It is less than two 2 weeks before I leave. Time is flying by and lots of packing still do to.

Don't know why I hadn't read it when it first came out, but I really was drawn into Kate Morgenroth's Jude. The cover is dark, with the profile of what appears to be a trouble young man. Those were my thoughts when I picked it up and I was right - a very troubled and intensely angry young man. Jude was raised by his drug dealer father, moved from one dingy apartment in the rough part of town to another. That is until his father is shot dead in front of him, for cutting the cocaine with baby powder. Jude promises the hit man not to tell anyone who killed his father, or he dies too. Jude promises, even when he discovers that his mother is the local DA. Her companion Harry, who had once been Jude's father's partner when he was a cop, convinces Jude to admit to crimes he didn't commit, including killing his father. Jude goes from living in a drug infested neighborhood to a rich suburb, enrolled in a rich kids' private school. Life appears to be good until his mother decides to run for mayor and Jude has to sacrifice himself so she can be elected. With Harry's "help" Jude is set up and convicted of drug dealing, with the understanding that as soon as she is in office Harry will get Jude out of prison. Harry is not the benevolent man Jude thought he was and his innocence in shattered. His anger at this betrayal and need for revenge turns him into the most vicious fighter in prison. The Jude who emerges from prison 5 years later is out to seek revenge and it isn't going to be pretty. I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn't put it down. This is the perfect book to give to that teenage guy who says he doesn't like to read! He'll read this.

Time to head for Montessori. Need to finish up patron records. Got all but the parenting collection, videos, and Caribbean collection into the OPAC. They can wait until I am back on island.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A hazy Sunday morning out, but it is going to be a hot one again. Yesterday was intensely hot, but there was a stiff breeze that helped make it bearable. We had pastrami sandwiches at Coconuts for lunch yesterday - yummy! On the way back to the car we ran into Jeff and Nancy at the 19th Hole in Drake's Seat - a little bar in one of the many jewelry/sunglasses, etc. shops on Main Street. Gene and Harriett own the 19th Hole and are not only fun to talk to, they are a great source of information about the island. Jeff and Nancy were there celebrating their 6th month anniversary. They are so cute together. She is a hoot about dating in the islands. She was happy Jeff has all his teeth! Let's just say lots of the guys down here are less than GQ qaulity! :-) Especially when you get "a bit older" as we, and most of our friends, are!

In the evening we pigged out on favorite TV series DVDs since they came in from Blockbuster. It is like Christmas when we see that envelope in our mail box. Watched episodes of both Carnivale and The X Files. We watched the pilot and the first few episodes of season one of The X Files. Oh my were they both young in those episodes. Now Steve is watching episodes of Lost. I can watch this stuff once, maybe twice for some episodes, and then I need to move on, but Steve is watching earlier ones for clues to the recent episodes.

Although I haven't worked on the manuscript for weeks, I knew I want to include Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin in the second vol. of the booktalking book. But, I had to re-read as it had been 5 years since I initially read it. My students often do mystery themed booktalking sessions for their assignment and Black Mirror shows up on their lists quick frequently. I finished it this a.m. A smoothly written mystery for the older teen reader, which is what Nancy is incredibly good at writing. Food banks being run by prep schools and manned by scholarship students sounds wonderful, but what happens behind the scenes of the Unity Service food bank is less than charitable. Patrick Leyden started Unity Service when he was a Senior at Pentengill and moved on to open his own lucrative Internet company, funded by "angel" donors and young donors who were classmates of his. Daniel and Frances are now scholarship students at Pentegill. Daniel immediately became a central figure in the group of scholarship students volunteering for Unity Service, but didn't want Frances involved, not that she wanted to be anyway. She didn't like the slick Leyden and she really didn't like the way her brother idolized him and quotes from his books. Frances loves her brother, but not his snide comments and Buddhist quotes. When Daniel dies of a heroin overdoes Frances gets involved with Unity Service whether she likes it or not and discovers what Leyden really is up to. A thriller of a book that keeps you reading right up to the last page. Now to write the booktalk. :-)

We are out of Diet Coke so I need to make some strong ice tea to get rid of this headache! Then start working on the syllabi for Fall semester. Time goes by much too fast when your life revolves around semester due dates.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday is finally here - the week goes by differently when getting up early every morning! I fear I may becoming a morning person - how scary is that? I am actually waking up on my own slightly before 6 a.m. most mornings. Today is going to be 1/2 day at Montessori as I have a dentist appt. in the afternoon and am going to go to the passport office and apply for a new passport with Clark on it. They keep telling me at the airport I need to get it changed and with as much as I fly I had just better do it.

We went to Sop Choppy's for pizza last night and got to hear stories about when the hurricane hit both St. Thomas and St. Croix back in the 90s. All I can say is I am glad I am getting my photos and things out of here this trip to NC. The West Indians are saying that the weather this summer (dry and hot) is just like it was before the last big one hit. Many are predicting this is the year. Really creeping me out - I hate storms.

I love the covers on the Chris Wooding books. Storm Thief is no exception. It is a sickly green and has a picture of Rail, the ghetto boy with his respirator mask covering all but his eyes and forehead. And what eyes - I have the book on my desk and it feels like his eyes are literally watching me. What a cool cover! But, as far as Wooding's books go - this is my least favorite that I have read. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is my favorite - how can you not love a book about a "demon" hunter falling in love with a woman who is to be sacrificed to their god? Also devoured Poison as I loved the strong willed main character entering the nasty fairy world to find her sister and finding herself in the adventure. Both of these books have a horrific fantasy side to them that I loved. Storm Thief, on the other hand, reads more like SF instead of fantasy, as it is about a island city in the ocean that changes due to probability storms. The storms are created by a huge machine that the ancestors built. Orokos does not allow anyone to leave it, either by air or by sea, even though people keep trying, and for good reason. A probability storm took away Rail's ability to breath on his own. It could be worse - he could have been turned into an animal. Moa grew up in a hidden group of people who are certain there is land/life outside or Orokos. A bird unknown to them found in a fishing net asserts this truth, which is supported by the bird that flies into the tower room of Vago, the golem. He was created by the government, but was transported out of their control by a probability storm. He is befriended by Moa, even though Rail cannot stand or trust him. The feeling is mutual. Vago will be a pivotal character in the future of both young ghetto teens. The setting is futuristic, but the ghettos are very much like the Nazi created ones of WWII. The gruel the government feeds the Orokos ghetto folk is made from the bodies of the ones the government killed. Gross!! Very weird book, but teens will love it. Another unique and fascinating title by Wooding.
There is so much more I could write about this book, but I gotta get ready for the day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stayed up late and watch Hidalgo last night. I love this move. What an incredible horse - wild mustang of the old West. I read somewhere that Viggo Mortensen bought the horse after shooting the movie. I love the last scene with the wild mustangs running across the plains. Also enjoyed Omar Sharif as the sheik. He just gets better with age. One of those movies I can watch over and over again.

My one day home this week. Steve needs this car for an a.m. appt. so I actually "slept in" until 7:00. The deep breathing exercises I have been doing 4 times a day much be working as I am waking up earlier and not as grumpy as usual. Amazing what a little extra oxygen can do for you. Steve teases me about the women's magazines I read but I do learn a few good things from them. :-)

On the theme of women's "stuff", I have the coolest book in front of me that Catherine Balkin sent me for review - Insparation: A Teen's Guide to Healthy Living Inspired by Today's Top Spas by Mary Beth Sammons and Samatha Moss. It's a Watson-Guptil publication, a publisher that puts out some cool NF stuff. Check out their website at www.wgpub.com. Few teens, and many of their mothers, cannot afford the wonderful amenities of the wide variety of spas around the country. So this book has at home variations of everything from facials, a mother/daughter gab session with homemade apple crumble, yoga, henna tattos, scalp rubs, foot massages, sinus remedies, meditative walks, etc. A short description of the actual spa the at home activity is based on and the activity, often with color photographs of a teen involved in the activity, fill double page speads for each spa. There is a spa called Teens Too Day Spa in Raleigh, NC, not to far from Greenville. You go there to get dipped in chocolate, literally! :-) I love this book - I am trying out many of the at home ideas! This is a great addition to any teen collection - the girls will love it and may even convince their moms to go for a day at a nearby spa together or join them in the at home variation.

Today is going to be an exciting one! Grading and working on fall syllabi. Such a glamorous life I live. :-)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I can see one ship through the haze. Looks like it is going to be another cloudy and/or rainy day. That is fine with me as it makes the temperature a bit more bearable at Montessori. Yesterday I didn't feel like I had melted into a puddle of sweat by the end of the day. Even had energy to catch up on a bit of my email and grading when I got home last night. It was weird - although there was a ship in traffic was almost non-existent in the morning. Even in RedHook at lunch time - there were lots of parking spaces, which is really unusual. The end of the day was a bit busier, but not a whole lot. Maybe it was the rain as it came down in torrents and flooded the streets. Made me think of Bay Area Blvd. in Clear Lake when it would rain heavy. I'd leave UHCL and "float" down Bay Area in my Trans Am. Oh how I miss that car! Too bad they don't make them anymore or I might buy one of those in Greenville rather than another little SUV. I have gotten spoiled with sitting up a bit higher in the RAV4 though.

Chose a quick read for my last book - I Don't Want to Be Crazy by Samantha Schutz. It is a Scholastic Push title. It is the true story of the author's battle with anxiety attacks, written in free verse and one of the rare upper level YA titles I keep looking for. Excited about the freedom of being away at college turns out to be a frightening roller coaster ride of increasing numbers of anxiety attacks and the use of a variety of different prescription drugs, prescribed by a variety of psychiatrists, to keep the attacks somewhat in check. The fear and the frustration of not being able control that flight reflex that an anxiety attack brings on are raw on the page. It hurts to read about the repeated trips to the bathroom to sit and hold her stomach to her knees as the waves of anxiety roll through her. But Samantha does has a group of friends who eventually realize what is happening with her and a good friend, Rebecca, who helps her deal with the attacks, especially during their trip through Europe. My heart goes out to Schutz and I thank her for sharing this part of her life with readers. There are many people, of all ages, who suffer from anxiety disorder and this book will help them realize they are not alone and that it does get better. A gotta have in HS collections.

Sophie is being a major pill this a.m. and she knows when I am up this early she gets no mommy/kitty time in bed reading in the a.m. She has yowled and fussed and let me know how she feels about it, but that must have taken too much of her energy as she is busy eating to make sure she keeps her Rubenesque kitty shape! :-)

Monday, July 10, 2006

One cruise ship waiting to go into Charlotte Amalie. This is low season so there are days no ships are in at all. That makes things difficult for the local businesses. Our cheap DVD player from KMart gave up the ghost so we went downtown to the tourist area on Saturday to look for one and ended up with a great deal on a much better quality one for about the same price. They are dealing right now! Wish I could do that for the CD player in the car. It gave up the ghost too so I can't listen to book right now. Need to find my portable one so I can.

From the looks for the porch it rained during the night. It is still dreary out there, but we sure can use the rain. I decided even if I have to pay for the water I am taking real showers! I rush through it, but I don't turn the water off to soap up anymore. Hopefully we have gotten enough rain and the renters and the owner have been off island a lot so that means less water usage. Come September, when I am in Greenville, is when the real rains start and water won't be an issue. Last year the cistern overflowed down the inside of our livingroom wall.

Still pondering over how I feel about K.L. Going's Saint Iggy. This is an inner city white kid who gets himself kicked out of school. He follows a girl he thinks is good looking into a class he no longer attends and the teacher views him as a threat and things get out of hand. It isn't like this is the first time Iggy has used poor judgment - that is a way of life with him. He has all the good intentions in the world, but intentions and the outcomes of his often erratic behavior are two different things. In a way this book reminds me of Chris Lynch's Who the Man. Neither teen is what one would call mentally disabled but they certainly aren't making wise decisions and school is not easy for either of them. But Iggy wants back into school so he figures if he does a really good deed, saves someone, he will be seen as a hero and can get back into school. Coming from a home where he father is a stumbling drunk alcoholic and his mother is a drug addict who only comes home on a rare occasion, Iggy doesn't have much in the way of role models. But Iggy has Mo, who also has good intentions, but he is just talk. Although Mo hates where he comes from, he knows he can always go home to his parents' penthouse apartment and be taken care of by his mother. Out of money, and owing a drug dealer big bucks, Mo takes Iggy home with him. Mo is using Iggy to help him sweet talk his mother into giving them money. They tell her it is for Iggy to go to technical school. But, Mo's mother is not as dumb as she seems and things don't quite work out as Mo wants, but in the end Iggy does get his "sainthood", but not in the way one expects. This isn't a book that all teens will relate to, but it is a book I wish all teens would read. There are lots of Iggys out there in our schools and on the streets, with good intentions but not the life experience (even if they do live in the projects) or the knowledge to match appropriate actions to those intentions.

Time to haul boxes of books into the car to send to ECU. The power went out again this weekend and then the Internet was down so I was "forced" to do some packing for the move. Another day sweating in the buggy heat at Montessori. They took the screens out to clean but since I am working in the library this month they are waiting to clean until I am gone. So it is hot and the mosquitoes come in swarms. I have speckled legs.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Steve and I are watching a Discovery channel show on Costa Rican crocodiles. They sure are cute as babies, eating bugs, but no so cute when they get full size. People actually feed them chickens via fishline and wire, which gets caught in their jaws. A relaxing Sunday morning after Steve made breakfast for us. He cooks, I clean and I like it that way. Too many years of making everything from scratch, even bagels, when I lived in Alaska. My kids hadn't eaten a store bought birthday cake until they were in upper elementary school.

Sophie and I finished Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon this morning. This is a detective novel that could be booktalked, especially with teenage guys. Suggest this to those who read Brown's The Da Vinci Code, as the bejewelled falcon that in central to this book is a priceless statue created by the Knights of Rhodes, a very wealthy group formed during the Crusades, very similar to the Knights of the Templar from Brown's book. The characters in this book are unscrupulous in their manner of getting their hands on the statue. Sam Spade, the crusty private detective, bests them all, as he should. A fun read and a real reminder of how sexist and culturally insensitive these early detective novels are. It was originally published serially in 1929 and then as a book in 1930. Since Hammett actually worked as a private detective he certainly writes with a knowing eye as to how cool a private eye has to be, especially when he is being "charmed" by unscrupulous women. :-) Supposedly Hammett's best, but I prefer The Thin Man, which I am listening to, but I have to say I like the movie better. Mainly because of Asta the dog, that does not have the central role in the book that it has in the movies.

Next book will be a YA novels and then An Affair to Remember: The Remarkable Love Story of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy by Christopher Anderson. Even though it has a gorgeous picture of them on the front, the girl behind the counter at the used bookstore Steve bought it from had to tell him how much she loved that movie. Hmmm - I don't think Cary Grant looks anything like Spencer Tracy - much more handsome in my opinion, and oh, that voice. Okay - so I was born in the wrong generation - my idols are all from the b/w movie era. Houseboat is my favorite Grant movie - how can you not love a movie with Cary Grant and Sophie Loren in it? And, since this is when he asked her to marry him and she turned him down for Carlo Ponti you know there was a spark between them off screen as well.

On to grading for a bit before we go down to Blockbuster to see if they have a copy of the Maltese Falcon b/w movie. Steve says Sam Spade is played by Humphrey Bogart - not who I would have picked for this tall, blondish haired beefy man. William Holden would have been a much better choice.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A cloudy Saturday a.m. For the tourists' sake I hope it doesn't rain off and on all day like it did yesterday. The street was flood behind the Court when I picked Steve up. He was teasing me that we could be on St. Martin in this beautiful weather. He had wanted to go over there for a week but I am so far behind in grading and time at Montessori we stayed home. He has all of next week off. I will be at Montessori for most of it. I have nightmares I won't get their database done before I leave.

Anyone looking back through my blog will see that I do have a tendency to read fantasy, so of course I had to take a fantasy title with me on the New Orleans trip. I loved Calwyn, the sometimes insecure, but feisty female ice priestess in the first book of The Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy, The Singer of All Songs, by Kate Constable. I tucked the paperback copy of the second book, The Waterless Sea, in my carry-on. Calywn is coming into new powers. Perhaps she is The Singer of All Songs, something the wicked Samis was not capable of in the first book, but did he really die as they had all thought? And, Darrow has returned from his self inflicted isolation to find Calwyn and the rest of the "crew" off to the desert, the Empire of Merithuros, to rescue two children with the gift of enchantment. Children with the gift of enchantment are stolen away and taken to the Palace of Cobwebs, which the songs of the young enchanters keep intact. This is truly an ecological tale as the reader discovers that this desert was once forested and the dried out land grieves. It is also a social/political tale as the rulers of Merithuros have no idea how poor their subjects are, because they don't care enough to take notice. The inhabitants of the Palace of Cobwebs are more interested in how elaborate their leather gloves and court clothes can be. Constable has written a fast paced fantasy adventure with thought provoking issues of social conditions and ecology weaved into the story. Can't wait to read the third book, The Tenth Power.

We are off to have an early lunch at Shipwreck with Vickie, a friend who is leaving for a new job on the Mainland. She is so excited she was ready to go to the airport at 9:30 and then realized her plane doesn't go out until 3:00. :-) I can relate. It is very difficult for professional women to live down here.