Category Archives: Just Cool

Happy 200th Lizzy Bennet!

Today is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice and I feel like celebrating. I’m home alone tonight, and I know exactly what I will be doing. I will be toasting Jane, and then maybe, I’ll soak up some of my favourite scenes from the book, brought to life on screen, such as:

I’ve also had my eye on a couple of adaptations for quite a long time. Maybe this is the week to give one a chance?


Would Jane be shocked? I like to think not. She had a sense of humour, after all. Tell me what you think about my options:

Thank you Jane. Happy Birthday Lizzy!


Thankfulness and a little linky goodness from all round the web

I’m heading into a long weekend…THANKSGIVING!!!, throughout which we will be celebrating the glories of all things butter. Before we get to that, I have to say that the picture above shows my excellent dear hound frolicking in the park last weekend. Right now we could not be more thankful for anything than the fact that he is kicking cancer’s butt. This is what I imagine he is thinking, “Ha! Take that cancer! Eat my dust! I frolic away from you because I am awesome!” (or something). I thought I’d keep the celebratory spirit going by sharing a few goodies I’ve been enjoying from all round the web this week.

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the leaves start turning and that chill comes back, I’m ready for some mulled cider. The other day I was in Williams Sonoma and I chortled (because that’s what you do when you are feeling all superior) at the skinny $18.00 jar of “mulling spices.” Seriously? Who does that? You don’t need to drop $20.00 to get great cider folks. Here are some good cider tips I found this week.

Oh my, do I ever want this book. It just came out. If you haven’t spent hours sighing over the pictures over at What Katie Ate, you can just say thank you to me for pointing you in that beautiful direction.

Speaking of sigh-worthy food, I made this apple cake with this cheater’s caramel sauce last weekend, and then we ate it ALL, just the two of us. Not in one night, but still. We might have also put whipped cream on it. Sometimes there are weeks when you need that.

Don’t you wish that you were in Paris right now, so you could stroll through the Jardin Luxembourg and see this autumnal prettiness for yourself?

This might be the best book to cozy up with this weekend. You can always count on that Laini for a story you want to get lost in.

Looking for the perfect Fall-themed card to give to someone special? Here it is. I could buy one of everything in Emily’s shop.

Here’s an interview with Mindy Kaling, because I am loving her new show. So far, it’s been my guaranteed mid-week mood-lifter.

And finally, what better way to round up some good links than a Maru video? Bless that crazy box-loving kitty:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Day 14, book 14: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Tacos are special to me. Is it because tacos were one of maybe three dinners my mom made when I was a kid that I actually got excited about? (Gracias Old El Paso, for providing a safe dining experience in my childhood world of tuna casseroles and stews and frikadellers, the infamous Danish meatballs that haunt me to this day). It might be the memories, but I think my true taco love is a more recent development, since my hubs is a dynamite taco making man. His mushroom tacos are killer. As it happens, I am also a fine churro-maker. And so we fell in love and have delicious fiestas whenever possible. (I promise I will eventually get to Dragons Love Tacos, but it would be selfish of me not to mention that this cookbook

will make you a very happy person if you enjoy tacos and churros and other Mexican delights. Plus it is pretty to look at. You should have it).

I was not aware that dragons have much the same feeling for tacos as I do. Thank you Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri for making this fact clear to all of us. Now I like dragons even more than I did before. If you’re planning to entertain some dragons, you will be needing a boatload of tacos (and taco balloons, if Salmieri’s illustrations are any indication). There’s just one very important thing to remember. Keep that salsa mild, because you do not want to see what happens if those dragons get into the hot stuff. Seriously.

Dragons Love Tacos is one of those picture books that will amuse parents as much as their kids. You’re reading this one for fun, not for deep insight. Not everything has to be thought-provoking, right? But the silliness of the premise is not so silly that grown ups will lose interest. Actually, it’s “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” clever more than it is silly, and the style and colour of the illustrations create an understated look that should fit right in on any hipster kid’s bookshelf.

If this book doesn’t inspire a whole lot of Dragon / Taco themed birthday parties, then I’d be very surprised. Now that is my kind of party.

Dragons Love Tacos is published by Dial Books for Young Readers. And it has tacos on the end pages. No drooling please.

Do you need to smile today?

The past few weeks have left me feeling distinctly “meh.” Meh about the books I’ve been reading. Meh about the cookies I’ve been making. Meh about just about everything.

I’m sure I will shake it soon. There is one thing that I stumbled upon today that brought a goofy, opposite-of-meh-smile to my face.

Have you heard of Child’s Own Studio? It is probably the sweetest home business I’ve ever heard of. You can send in a child’s drawing of a creature and have it made into an actual stuffed animal. Not Joking. You can view the amazing gallery of stuffies here. If that doesn’t fill up your happiness tank, I’m not sure anything could. Just imagine a kid’s reaction getting one of those?

I’m think that this…

plus a one-of-a-kind stuffed animal would make any creative kid feel like she’d won the Best Gift Ever lottery.

Sometimes I feel like there’s so much cool stuff out there that we’ll maybe never even hear about and this thought makes me feel like the world is full of awesome after all.

Grave Mercy: a speedy public service announcement of awesomeness

I am in the middle of reading Robin LaFevers first YA novel, Grave Mercy, and I thought it was worth pausing for two minutes to tell you that it’s the first book I’ve read in a long, long time that has been literally too good to put down.

Poison, political intrigue, girl assassins, and Romance with a capital R. (Actually, maybe all-caps ROMANCE).

I can’t say more because I have to keep reading. I can say it has 4 starred reviews (Kirkus, SLJ, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly).

I quite like the trailer, but it only hints at the awesomeness of this real thing:

Why indeed? Gotta go read now.

Elephant on trampoline

I’m not going to pretend this post is about anything other than an elephant on a trampoline. I mean, why would I?


I am only the 5 millionth person to see this, but I had to post it because I think every Monday should start with videos of bouncy cartoon animals. Yes? Yes!

Completely brilliant. Another reason to hug an independent bookseller.

Over the holidays, when I saw this, of course I thought the next moment of my beloved Flying Dragon.

If like me, this makes you wonder if you can keep believing in the magic of independent booksellers, maybe you should take a look at this:

There it is. Magic. Never seen a gang of e-book readers doing that, have ya? Real books are cool.

(And don’t you love the Harry Potter-esque music.? These people made it).

This has made my Thursday awesome. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.


I’m excited about…

Two things:

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I’m telling you, this book is really something. It’s kind of woken me up from a string of “meh, this is pretty good” books I’ve read lately. The number of times I’ve stopped reading for a second and noticed that I had goosebumps is clearly proof that this story is special. I cannot wait to finish it and I don’t want to ever finish it. It will be a tough act to follow.



The book trailer and behind the scenes video for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. My friend Vikki showed them to me the other day and wow. Wow. That is all.

All things lovely – Cybils, books read, books to read + tiramisu

I always feel like the first post of the New Year should be Important.

That is kind of intimidating (particularly when you were up very late the night before Celebrating).

Never fear Elflings, I have a few important things to share, all of them lovely, and I think Important.

1) The picture above is from the Musée D’Orsay. This is important because this year I get to go to Paris for the second time, but for the first time as a married lady. Ooh la la!

2) Today, the Cybils 2010 Finalists have been announced. Prepare yourself for a feast of loveliness. These titles represent many of the most wonderful books you could hope for from the past year. May I call your attention in particular to:

The Middle Grade Novel Finalists

With four other judging pals, I will have the lovely/very challenging job of choosing the winning Middle Grade Novel from this outstanding list. The winner, along with all of the winners in the other categories, will be announced February 14, 2011. I would like to send a huge thank you to the first round judges for their hard work, reading so many books and narrowing them down to this list of seven. Thank you to: Ashley Bair and Alysa Stewart, Everead, Jennifer Donovan, 5 Minutes for Books, Sherry Early, Semicolon, Melissa Fox, Book Nut, Kyle Kimmal, The Boy Reader, Sandra Stiles, Musings of a Book Addict, and Cheryl Vanatti, Reading Rumpus. You made an outstanding team.

3) Now, I wish to share Shelf Elf’s List of Loveliest Reads from 2010. Truthfully, I think you could look at my reviews through the past year as my list of Loveliest Reads, because I don’t usually blog about a book if I didn’t find it lovely. If I had to choose the 5 Loveliest (which is really, really hard), this would be the list:

The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson

Revolution – Jennifer Donnely

Plain Kate – Erin Bow

The Bride’s Farewell – Meg Rosoff

Farm – Elisha Cooper

4) Books the Elf is Most Eager to Read in 2011… That’s hard. I think I’ll start with my Xmas books, which include: A Homemade Life and Jane. In YA land, I have to say I’m pretty excited for Maureen Johnson’s new series, beginning with The Name of the Star in October 2011 (more details here). And then there’s this:

5) My holiday was full of lovely discoveries, treats, presents, friends, movies, dog cuddles, stories and more. One of the loveliest discoveries I made was Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s wonderful project, The Beckoning of Lovely. You may already know about it. If you do, you probably love it as much as I do. You probably hope that you can fill up 2011 with a lot more lovely, a lot more of the spirit and hope that Amy’s project represents. If you don’t know about her project, get caught up here:

Now you might want to give $2 towards the film Amy wants to make. I did. It felt… lovely.

6) Tiramisu. I think that Amy might be okay with adding “Make Tiramisu” to her list of lovely things people can do to make the most of their time here. I made some yesterday. It was the best tiramisu possible. It was lovely end to 2010, and it left me hoping that this year will bring many more sweet discoveries and contentment. Cue Nigella:

Welcome 2011. May you be lovely.

(Musée photo from stockxchng)

I regret to inform you…

… that if you are reading anything but this right now:

you really ought to put a bookmark into your book and get your hands on this one instead.

I haven’t been this into a story for quite a while.

Three words: Jane Austen, magic and highwaymen.

Oh, and one more… trilogy.

Thank heavens.

Here’s the adorable trailer for Stephanie Burgis’s A Most Improper Magick: