Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Five Books Worth Reading: Books to Interest Kids in Dungeons and Dragons

So for those of you who haven’t heard of the classic tabletop role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons is back in a big way. That’s not to say that it ever really went away, it certainly didn’t. But for those of you who are unfamiliar Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D for short, is a role playing game where players design their own characters and form an adventuring party that sets off in a fantasy world, crafted by the Dungeon Master, or DM.

I managed to avoid the game in college despite all of my roommates at the time playing. But after college I was invited to join a campaign with some of my friends around two years ago, and I reluctantly joined and have been hooked ever since. I currently run my own campaign with a couple of my friends, one of whom has two young daughters who play with us.

I’m guessing that there are a lot of you parents out there who love the game yourselves, some new players and some who have been playing since you were kids. And you want to pass that love of the game along to your little ones. That’s where I can help. I’ve compiled a quick list of titles to share with your kids to get them interested in D&D and inspire them to create their own characters!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienIt would be irresponsible of me not the mention the Hobbit. I have too many friends who have told me that their love of fantasy started at a young age when the parents read them the Hobbit before bed to leave it out. And Tolkien was a huge player in the development of the modern fantasy genre. The adventuring party from his later books, including The Fellowship of the Ring could be considered the OG parties. They are so important to D&D because they sort of established that comfortable, companionable group of adventurers bringing their strengths together, which acts as a guide for assembling your party in the game.

Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain by Zac GormanAdmittedly I was embarrassingly late to the party on this one. I like to think that I keep up with my favorite creators but I somehow missed that Zac Gorman, one of my favorite cartoonists, had put out a fantasy book for children in April this year. But man did I love this book. Our hero, Thisby Thestoop (a play off of a poorly written note) is the gamekeeper at the Black Mountain. The Black Mountain acts as a sort of tourist trap for wannabe adventurers who are looking for a dungeon to explore, and Thisby spends her days caring for the creatures lurking in the dungeon. Her years working there have given her a familiarity with the dungeon’s most dangerous residents, which comes in handy when the crown princess and princess of the Land of Nth come for a visit and everything falls into chaos. This book is great for familiarizing your little one with all of the different types of monsters they might face in a D&D campaign, with everything from vampires to kobolds and more!

I love recommending "Choose Your Own Adventure" style books to young readers. To be honest, I wish there were more in adult titles too. Who doesn’t like holding a page with your thumb to go back just in case you don’t like how your decision turned out? The set-up of D&D lends itself perfectly to a Choose Your Own Adventure book. In total honesty I haven’t read through Escape the Underdark but only because we are currently playing through that story line in one of my campaigns and I don’t want any spoilers; my DM would kill me. I have however flipped through the book and something that I really appreciate about it is that it uses the artwork from the D&D Players Handbook, something that every player should familiarize themselves with.

Rutabaga: The Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal
This graphic novel has everything; it’s got adventure, fantasy, and cooking. Rutabaga keep stumbling his way into harrowing situations and finding his way out with his unique culinary skills. After reading it I just wanted to make a new character who is absented minded and loves cooking for the party. Bon appetit! And as an added bonus there are a couple of easy fantasy themed recipes in the back that parents and kids can make together (perhaps as snacks for your first game night).

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell
One of the most fun parts about playing D&D is the role-playing part, really getting into and playing as your character. Kids are gifted with very active imaginations, and have a knack for creating their own characters. So before starting your campaign I would recommend having them read Cardboard Kingdom. It is a graphic novel collection of stories about a group of kids who have created their own kingdom using boxes, tape, and their imaginations. Each kid has their own character that they play as, battling against their friends while learning important life lessons. Reading through the stories, it felt like a modern day Roxaboxen, which is one of my favorite picture books, and I would also highly recommend.

These books are a great starting point for getting your kids familiar with the fantasy genre and the concept of an adventuring party. Check out the D&D Player Handbook and your kids come up with some character idea of their own. And don’t forget to come up the Children’s Department for more recommendations and fantasy titles.

As a shameless plug for our other amazing library services I would also like to mention that you can print 3D miniatures of your D&D party using our 3D printer at the library. I’ve printed out miniatures for all of my games here and painted them and I couldn’t be happier with them. You can find free 3D miniatures models here and information about our 3D printing services here .


Friday, September 28, 2018

Banned Books Week 2018

That time of year is upon us--when we celebrate our freedom to read! Every year, the American Library Association compiles a list of books that have been challenged or banned throughout the country. From these, they compile their annual top ten list, the books that have been challenged most frequently. And this is Banned Books Week, when we celebrate these books.

Five years ago, I shared my favorite banned books here. Well, believe it or not, there are still books being banned, and I have some new favorites to share with you.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons for challenges: Drug use, profanity
Reasons I like it: Oh, this book is powerful. It is a ripped-from-the-headlines story of a teen girl who witnesses an unarmed friend shot by a police officer. The ramifications of this are startling. The story of the unarmed black teen becomes national news, and she is the only one who knows what happened. This was a can't-put-it-down, important read. It also has won many awards and will be a movie next month.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (on the top ten lists in 2014, 2016, and 2017)
Reasons for challenges: LGBT content
Reasons I like it: Telgemeier is insanely popular with middle school readers! She writes stories that feel like real kids, and illustrates them. Her graphic novels are colorful, funny, and creative. Drama tells the story of Callie, who loves theater, but can't sing/dance, so she joins the crew. Here, she finds her place among like-minded individuals, and discovers drama both on and off stage. It's adorable and so realistic (as someone who was in a middle school drama club, I attest to this).

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons for challenges: violence, profanity
Reasons I like it: Somehow, I managed to not read this book in high school or college. It wasn't until a few years ago that I actually picked it up. It was a childhood encapsulated so well, and made me nostalgic for a time I never lived in. However, a big portion of the book covers the injustices to the African American community, and the case that young Scout's lawyer father is trying. It was an eye-opening look into the legal system, and not in a good way. If you, like me, have avoided this book, pick it up sometime. It's a quick read, and worth its Pulitzer.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Reasons for challenges: offensive language
Reasons I like it: First of all, how dare they? I was shocked when this book appeared on the banned books list in 2016. Our staff love this book, see here, here, herehere, and here (we may have a problem). In fact, at the American Library Association Annual Conference this year I was asked to read a passage from my favorite banned book and the first thing I thought of was this: (see the embarrassing clip here if you want). I had the opportunity to ask Rowell what she thought of this when I was fortunate to see her speak in 2016, and it's a sore subject.
If somehow you've managed to avoid this book, I'll tell you a bit about it. Eleanor is an outcast in her high school in the 80s. Park is an oddball too. The two of them form an unlikely friendship forged first in their shared love of music, and then developing into more. It really encapsulates high school teen years well, and it's a beautifully written ode to first love.

These are all books I've read in the last few years, and enjoyed reading. It saddens me to see others trying to keep them from your hands. So raise your voice and stand for the banned with me! As Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, said "Banning books gives us silence when we need speech."

For more information on Banned Books Week, visit www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Books Becoming Movies

2018 has turned out to be an awesome year for movies inspired by books! This year has churned out more book-inspired films than I remember seeing in years past.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, in theaters now
If you haven't seen it yet, go see this new rom-com. The movie is really funny, with a good deal of family drama that is easy to relate to. Nick brings his girlfriend, Rachel, home to meet his family in Singapore, but neglected to tell her that his family is crazy rich. (see what I did there?) And she is completely surprised to discover not only how wealthy his family is, but how elitist they are about who "joins" their family. Trying to fit in is difficult, but Rachel tries. The book goes deeper into details about the family, and is the first in a trilogy, so hopefully more movies will follow this one!

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer, in theaters now
This movie is already receiving Oscars buzz for Glenn Close's portrayal of the wronged wife. The book surrounds the relationship between husband and wife as they travel abroad to a prestigious award ceremony. The couple have a tense relationship due to the secrets they've kept, both together and from one another. Everything comes to a head on this trip. The movie is sure to explore this complicated relationship with an all-star cast including Christian Slater and Jonathan Pryce.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, in theaters now
One of prolific author Ann Patchett's best works is finally being adapted into film. This PEN/Faulkner Award winner follows a tense hostage situation in a South American country. A party is interrupted by a terrorist group hoping to kidnap the president, but when he is not there, they instead take several high-profile party-goers as hostages instead. Over the course of the story, many complex relationships evolve, including between the kidnappers and victims. The film will star Julianne Moore, and will hopefully do justice to this tense tale.

First Man: the Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James Hansen, in theaters October 12
You know that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon, but do you know how he got there? And what came after? This definitive biography of the pioneer explores Armstrong's legacy, shedding light on this iconic American figure. The film is starring Ryan Gosling, and has been highly anticipated. Just before the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, this movie is sure to hit big at the box office.

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley, in theaters November 2
This memoir is about a young man whose Baptist family does not accept his homosexuality, instead forcing him to attend a church-sanctioned conversion camp. The movie, starring Nicole Kidman, is already getting a lot of buzz for tackling these controversial topics. This true story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Check out the book before the movie is released.

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz, in theaters November 9
The continuation of this bestselling book series into film form will be a bit different than the last incarnation of this series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which was released in 2011. With a new director, new cast, and new direction for Lisbeth, this movie continues the story, but will do so with a fresh twist. It seems fitting since Lagercrantz took over the book series with Spider's Web following Larsson's untimely passing after having the first three books completed. If you have managed to not read this series yet, now's a great time to start before the new film, starring Claire Foy, is released this fall.

Queen of Scots: the True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy, (movie title Mary Queen of Scots) in theaters, December 7
You've probably already seen previews for this sure-to-win-an-Oscar film starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan. The book covers the famous queen's life in a way never before seen. Guy did his research, and he very much released what is a definitive biography of a complicated royal. The film pulls together two complex characters, Mary Stuart (Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth I (Robbie). Read this biography before the film release to truly get inside these historical figures' heads.

Which one are you most excited about?


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Librarians' Line-Up: Favorite Reads of the Summer

We're back! After a summer hiatus, your MPL librarians are back to tell you what we're reading and why we love it. Check out some of our favorites from our summer reading! 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I got into reading a lot of romantic comedies this summer and this was by far the best. Two executive assistants, Lucy and Joshua, work in close proximity to each other and cannot stand one another. When a job opens up that they both want, they're forced to face each other head to head. But as tensions rise between them, they both discover they may not hate each other at all. 

I really liked this one because Lucy and Josh spent a lot of time together and actually talked (although a lot of the 'talking' was thinly veiled hate-flirting). It was funny, romantic, and I couldn't put it down. 

Fans of art, animation and women's history will love this coffee-table sized book dedicated to exploring the role women played during Walt Disney Studio's formative and golden years. Though limited because of the culture in the types of jobs they were allowed to receive, the women detailed in this book were talented artists and trailblazers for their time. I loved this as a summer read because the sheer size of the book required that I disconnect from everything else in order to read and soak in the beautiful full page photographs found on every other page. A great book to take your time with, and also be inspired by.  

Whisper by Lynette Noni
They say that words have power and silence is golden, but Jane Doe hasn't spoken for the two years she has been institutionalized and experimented on. Because, her words really do have power - the power to change the world, the power to create, and the power to kill. Then, suddenly, Jane finds out that she may not be only one... This is one of my favorite books of the summer/year.  


It’s Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make It Happen by Ashley Eckstein
Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem proclaiming my admiration for Ashley Eckstein, actress and founder of the Her Universe fashion line. Her Universe was founded as an inclusionary brand for fangirl fashion, and Ashley’s vision for a positive pop culture community is evident in all of her work. Last year I was overjoyed to hear that she was writing her own book called It’s Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make It Happen. After waiting patiently for a year, it finally arrived! And it was everything I hoped it would be. I actually picked up the book at a singing, and it was overwhelming to see all of the young girls who came out in their Ashoka t-shirts, clutching onto their books, waiting to meet their hero. Ashley’s book was a bright spot in my summer reading, with its positive message acting as a brief reprieve from more gruesome titles like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. In It’s Your Universe, Ashley goes over her journey from fan girl to CEO, with workbook sections for the reader to set their own goals. My favorite part of the book had to be the illustrations from Her Universe veteran artist Ashley Taylor. I look forward to sharing this book with my nieces when the get a little bit older, and encouraging them to work hard and do their best.

The best thing I’ve read this summer is Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw. Bourdain was a brilliant writer and his essays are a lot of fun to read. There’s less apocalyptic stuff about what goes on in kitchens (although there is some), and more about food and the food business in general. Bourdain could write beautifully in a lot of registers: sardonic, funny, humane, and brutally honest about his own failings. His essay about Alice Waters (founder of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse) is one of the very best pieces of writing that I have ever read.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

My favorite book read this summer was probably The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. It was such a sweet and cozy read. A comfortable story to slip into about a woman who gives up everything she knows to start her life over in a new country, where she wants to run a bookmobile. Adorable and picturesque, too! (I also loved The Hating Game.) 

What was your favorite read this summer? 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Top Ten Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

Top Ten Tuesday is a theme from That Artsy Reader Girl's blog.
They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic

Oftentimes, a good book is characterized by the immersive world an author is able to create, one that transports readers into a realm unlike their own. Some of these worlds are so richly detailed and beloved that movie studios and theme parks have made a living off of recreating them for consumers (think Harry Potter World at Universal Studios). However, being engrossed in the world an author creates and wanting to actually live in it are two different things entirely. Below, I highlight - looking at both classic and contemporary titles - the top ten books whose worlds I personally would rather admire from a distance.

Yes, the world of Dickens is filled with memorable characters, a quirky made-up vernacular including words like “jog-trotty” and “slangular,” and delightful references to the oddities of life in Victorian England. But make no mistake: London in the middle of the 19th century was noted for its filth, stench, air pollution and overcrowded streets. This was not lost on Dickens at all, who in the first chapter of Bleak House imagines the dark smoke and soot-filled sky as having gone “into mourning…for the death of the sun.” Bleak, indeed.
There are a few positives about the post-pandemic world the characters in St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven find themselves in - not having to live in a technology-obsessed culture and being made to recognize the importance of art in life being chief among them. However, let’s be real: this is a world where over 99% of the world’s population has died as a result of a flu pandemic, and where the few clusters of people left have to go on without electricity or any of the modern conveniences that they knew before. Oh, and there’s also the possibility of getting killed by isolated gangs of survivors for food. No, thank you!
This book, set in the indeterminate future, features a world without color! Okay, if that wasn’t enough to convince of this world’s move-in undesirability, there is also the fact that every child gets their future vocation and spouse chosen for them by a mysterious committee, and no one understands genuine emotion or pain. While I’m glad that protagonist Jonas begins to be troubled by these aspects of his society, I’d rather not pay him a visit.
In an age beset with an over saturation of news (and the propensity for fake news), it is interesting to examine a world in which the opposite was true: a time when news was so hard to come by that a person could earn their keep by traveling from town to town to read the newspaper to people who either couldn’t read or couldn’t afford to buy a paper. This is exactly what protagonist Captain Jefferson Kidd does in this tale of post-Civil War Texas. While I do believe unplugging from our fast-paced news cycle from time to time would be beneficial, I admit it would be very hard to be that unplugged.
I would say this one is a fairly obvious one, right? Kids being asked to kill one another, and…I don’t even think I need to say any more. Just get me out of here.
A fantastic and imaginative tale, this book is perfect for just that - the imagination. Much as I would like to say that I would find living in Wonderland full of fun and adventure, I think if I really met the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit in real life I would still have circles in my eyes. A great adventure, but once again I’ll just read about it.
I readily admit that the chance to live in this world - a virtual reality full of references to 80s pop culture and video games - sounds very cool. But two things would hold me back if I ever got the chance to do so. One, the threat of antagonist Nolan Sorrento hunting me down, and two, the fact that I’m not very good at any of the video games mentioned in the book (even Pac-Man). I suppose Sorrento wouldn’t hunt me down because I’m not good at the games, so at least there’s that.
The world of Hatchet is one where a person has to live in the Canadian forest all alone and learn how to hunt, gather food, create a shelter and ward off predators completely on the fly. A very admirable endeavor, but a hard one to wish for.

Austen’s books are beloved by many, reproduced on film continually, and spoofed on to this day. But it is probably for the best that some of the customs of the Regency era are of the past. For example, the five Bennett sisters in Pride and Prejudice, young as they are, all have to find husbands because of the laws that existed about only male heirs receiving inherited property. The horrendous proposal by Mr. Collins could have been avoided were it not for that law!
It is easy to appreciate the world of Out of the Dust without wanting to live in it. Set in the “Dust Bowl” of Oklahoma during the Great Depression, a young girl through poetry recounts the often hard and difficult life her family has to endure. Yes, the severe dust storms are something I would never want to go through. But in all seriousness, this book shows through its heartbreaking and poignant moments that although the world can be hard to live in, there can be meaning and beauty.

~ Meg

This was Meg's first post on Mentor's Reader! 
We look forward to more bookish insight from her in the future! Welcome, Meg!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Small Screen Reads: Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts

Where Meredith reviews books and the 
made for TV movies they have been adapted into.

The BookReena Hale craves the fire. It calls to her and has followed her for her entire life, ever since her family’s restaurant burned in a blaze when she was a child. Now, decades later, Reena is an arson investigator. When a string of threatening phone calls and suspicious fires cross her path, Reena is pulled into a life or death game of cat and mouse. While this is occurring, she also finds herself falling for the handsome carpenter next door. Reena must unravel the mystery of a long standing grudge before anyone else she cares about succumbs to the fire. I’ve never had the inclination to read a Nora Roberts book before, so this was a new experience for me. Honestly, I get the appeal. Blue Smoke was plotty and fast-paced and kept me entertained during a four hour flight to Phoenix. I understand why they sell them in airport shops.

The MovieBlue Smoke the book, at 400 plus pages, is actually kind of long, so the movie was forced to condense a lot of the plot. They truncated Reena’s early life which is a significant chunk of the beginning of the book and this is done to the detriment of the story. As it turns out, the man setting fires and harassing Reena has actually been stalking her since childhood. He’s convinced she’s the reason his father went to prison (for starting that first fire at the family restaurant) and as revenge, he’s determined to bring tragedy down upon her at every turn. So by reducing the amount of set up, it kills some of the suspense. Blue Smoke aired in 2007 on Lifetime as part of an eight movie series of Nora Roberts’ adaptations. It stars Alicia Witt, who I have an absolute fondness for thanks to her multiple starring roles in a number of Hallmark Christmas movies, as Reena Hale.

Left on the Cutting Room Floor – This book was actually pretty violent. The antagonist commits a number of gruesome murders and even rapes a woman repeatedly before setting her on fire (while she’s still alive). I was surprised that Nora Roberts went there. I hear her name and I immediately associate it with Debbie Macomber or Fern Michaels. That was an incorrect assumption. The movie reduces the body count and opts out of depicting any sort of graphic violence against women which is probably for the best.

Adapted for the Silver Screen – Certain chapters are told from the disembodied narration of the killer while he stalks Reena and kills the people she loves. The movie chooses to adapt this by shooting first person video and dubbing some gravely, heavy breathing voice over on top of it. The results are…less than effective. It ends up looking clunky and ridiculous while the actors smile widely as they talk to an unsteady hand camera, instead of being menacing.

Book/Movie/Both/Neither – If you find yourself stuck in jury duty or a doctor’s office waiting room, this is the kind of book you’d want to have with you. As much as I like Alicia Witt, I can’t recommend this as something entertaining to watch. I think because of the reduced backstory shown in the movie, Reena’s character lacks some of the depth and darkness that haunts her into her adulthood, which in turn, makes the ending less dramatic.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Slay a Lion to Get Early

Top Ten Tuesday is a theme from That Artsy Reader Girl's blog.
They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic
I am pretty avid about the books I read. I closely follow my favorite authors and series and put book release dates on my personal calendar, because the day a books comes out is often an EVENT in my life that needs to be planned around. In fact, Tuesday is my favorite day of the week because it’s New Book Day! 

So, what books am I waiting for? Here is a list of the ten books I would slay a lion to get early…

Court of Frost and Starlight (Court of Thorns and Roses, book 4) by Sarah J Maas – (May 1) – Fairies, magic, love, courage, honor, and treachery abound in this series. The Court of Thorns and Roses series started as a fairy tale retelling and has grown solidly past that into its own mythos. Maas is a great writer. I recommend everything she has written (both teen and adult).

Dark Queen (Jane Yellowrock, book 12) by Faith Hunter – (May 1) – After 11 books, I am solidly invested in the Jane Yellowrock series, starring a motorcycle, riding vampire slaying, skinwalker (shapechanger). A reader would need to start at the beginning, but I highly recommend the action packed urban fantasy series.

Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison – (May 14) – Who waits in breathless anticipation for a novella? I do. I cannot wait to see shapeshifting Dragos and Pia again. Their developing relationship has been one of my favorite shapeshifter paranormal romances. Harrison has said that this is going to be the last story from their points of view, so with sadness and bated breath, I wait.

Venom in the Veins (Elemental Assassins, #17) by Jennifer Estep – (June 12) – Gin, an assassin who has unwillingly become the nominal head of the magical underworld, is a memorable character and all of the Elemental Assassin books are quick, fun, exciting reads. I really enjoy the series and recommend them to someone looking for an engaging Urban Fantasy read. Even after 17 books, I look forward to each new book.

Smoke and Iron (Great Library) – Rachel Caine – (July 3) – Evil Librarians! What more can this non-evil librarian ask for? This series is slated for teens, but every adult I know who has read it has enjoyed it. I mean, who doesn’t love an evil librarian?

Shadow’s Bane (Dorina Basarab, # 4) by Karen Chance – (August 7) – Dorina, a dhampir (half vampire/half human), is trying to figure out how she fits in a world of humans, demons, magicians, and vampires. It is a wild ride. Book #3 of this series came out in 2012 and yet readers are still excited about a new book in the series in 2018… which just tells you how good this series is. And, for the record, I am very, very excited.

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews – (August 28) – Ilona Andrews is my #1 favorite author(s). I wait in breathless anticipation for anything out by this writing duo (husband and wife). Considering this upcoming book is slated to have the long anticipated battle between Kate Daniels and her world-conquering father, Roland, I would kill to get this book early. August 28th can’t come fast enough.

Leverage in Death (In Death, book 47) – J D Robb – (September 4) – A near future, sci-fi-esque police procedural, murder mystery, romance. There are 47 books in this series. 47! And my friends and I fight over who gets to read the new book first EVERY time a new one comes out. Me! Me! I’m first this time!

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2) by Lani Taylor – (October 2) – This is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer which was a truly haunting tale of gods, revenge, family, and hope. I cannot wait to see where Taylor takes the story. Since Taylor is known for twists, turns, and unpredictable storylines, I am sure it is going to end up nowhere I anticipate.

Uncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington) – David Weber – (October 2) – A new Honor Harrington book! A new Honor Harrington book! Spaceship war! The Star Kingdom of Manticore vs. the Solarian League. This epic battle has been in the making for years. It’s been five years since the last book and I need my Honor Harrington fix. Get me this book NOW!

These are the ten books I’d slay a lion to get early. Magic Triumphs even has a shape-shifting lion in it. But, I really don’t want to slay Curran. He’s too much fun to read about... and it would make Kate mad. I guess I’m going to have to find a different lion to slay.

~Mary P.