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Gene Ambaum (Editor)

I write Unshelved with Bill Barnes. I’ve worked as a paper boy, auto mechanic, courier, English teacher, operations manager, teen services librarian, and staff development coordinator. I enjoy a wide range of graphic novels and am currently obsessed with the work of Lewis Trondheim, Emmanuel Guibert, Hope Larson, and Kazu Kibuishi. My favorite book without words is Owly: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer by Andy Runton. My favorite book without pictures is Ursula LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea.

See all of Gene’s reviews.

Bill Barnes

I’m the artist of Unshelved and write Not Invented Here. I mostly read sci-fi, history, biography, science, and mainstream comics. Whenever went wrong in the past and resulted in an alternate dystopian present, I’m a happy man. I have a small bookcase of favorite books that I re-read every year or two.

See all of Bill’s reviews.


Flemtastic grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He frequently made his friends wait to play until he finished the latest Hardy Boys book. The public librarians he trafficked with often had to remind him that he had already checked out the maximum number of books. His path was clear, so he studied English at the University of Washington and then taught high school for 12 years. Faced with reading student essays until retirement, he completed a library certificate. He now works as a school librarian and gets to read good books every day.

He has lives just outside Seattle in the same neighborhood as his parents and sister. He wrangles time out of his intense parenting schedule (4 kids) to golf, play hoops and read. He has an understanding wife who he snagged before his hair loss became epic.

He especially enjoys fantasy novels, though he was caught in the faculty room reading How to Hook a Hottie. He has yet to live that down.

He likes Mexican food, cheap golf courses, thrift stores, Ebay, and driving his convertible with the top down for four days every year. He does not yet have a man cave, but after his kids move out, he is taking over a room with a giant flat screen TV, Barcalounger, and mini-fridge.

See all of Flemtastic’s reviews.


I’m Gene Ambaum’s wife. Yes, that’s my real name. I’m a physical therapist. I love Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, Yotsuba&!, Bone, and manhwa. I prefer audio books, so I don’t have to choose exercising over reading. I’ve written fan letters to Clint Eastwood and Ursula K. LeGuin.

See all of Silver’s reviews.


I’m eleven. I like armadillos, comics, and video games. When I grow up I want to be a veterinarian.

(Gigi is Gene Ambaum’s daughter. That’s not her real name either.)

See all of Gigi’s reviews.


I’m eleven. I like comics, soccer, Star Wars, and Legos. I’m a homeschooler and a Boy Scout. My daddy is Bill Barnes.

See all of Theo’s reviews.


I’m eight. I like dogs and music. I’m a homeschooler and a Brownie. My daddy is Bill Barnes.

See all of Rosie’s reviews.

Sarah Hunt

I am a second-generation teen services librarian. I’ve been reading avidly my whole life, but my professional reading focus is on books for the non-reader, since that gives me an excuse to read and recommend books involving poop and boogers. I enjoy nonfiction, especially books on science, history, and weirdness. The television episode that made me cry: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Body, made me scream: Dr Who, Blink, made me laugh until it hurt: Black Books, The Big Lock Out.

See all of Sarah’s reviews.

Emily Jones

I’m a recovering YA lit addict who has moved on to “grown up” thrillers and mysteries, preferably unabridged audiobook versions. My favorite brain-candy flavors include stories about extreme cold weather survival, books set in places I’ve visited on vacation, dystopias, attractive European authors, and books with one-word titles. I’ve also discovered a taste for forensic stories—I blame my husband, Carl, a pathologist who overshares when he gets home from work.

See all of Emily’s reviews.

Sara Cole

Currently I am the homeschooling mother of 2 children. My obsessive reading spurts tend to focus on nutrition, parenting, fitness, optimal education, sleep, adoption, understanding racism/white privilege and dogs. At this moment much of my free time is spent learning about attachment and bonding. Oh, and I love all things self-help.

Summer vacation growing up for my family was 10 days at the old family homestead complete with hand pumped water, rattlesnake infested hikes, driving the old Ford tractor, use of the outhouse, major amounts of roasted marshmallows and armfuls of books from the tiny library hosted in a tiny house in the tiny Wyoming town 20 miles away.

My degree is in French Language and Literature, and I once thought it would be a good idea to have a Masters in Medieval French Literature. The Count of Monte Cristo, Little Women, The Promise of Sleep and Usagi Yojimbo are some of my favorite books.

I take pride in the fact that I’m the person that introduced Gene (a buddy from post-college years) to Bill (my hubby).

See all of Sara’s reviews.

Dawn Rutherford

I’ve been a librarian since 1997, but working in libraries since 1990, and before that was a teen volunteer for 5 years. I’ve written down every book I’ve read since middle school, but unfortunately don’t have them all in accessible formats any more. I love graphic novels, innovative teen fiction, science fiction, poetry and stimulating adult non-fiction (especially if it is available on audiobook…I’d go crazy on my commute without them). My guilty pleasure reading includes steampunk werewolf romances, books featuring French Bulldogs, and anything with really excellent food descriptions.

See all of Dawn’s reviews.

Darcy McMurtery

Darcy McMurtery is a librarian in the Seattle area. She loves to read as much as she loves to write. Her books are stored on bookshelves but her mad scribblings can be found at

See all of Darcy’s reviews.

Craig Seasholes

I’m an elementary school teacher-librarian in Seattle, an outdoorsy guy blogging Books n’ Bytes. When kids call for “Bookman” I trust my instincts and leap up, up, and away with my enthusiasm for ideas and information.

See all of Craig’s reviews.

Angela Moeny

I’m an elementary school librarian, which means that I spend most of my time reading to small children in weird voices or hiding under my desk. When I’m not at school you’ll find me working with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at comic conventions or traveling the world with a Pentax and a Moleskine notebook trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Two books that changed the trajectory of my life are Go, Dog. Go! and American Gods.

See all of Ang’s reviews.

Wally Bubelis

Thanks to some great teachers in my life, I’ve discovered my fondness for foreign literature, classics, poetry, and chick lit (not necessarily in that order). My job as a teen librarian lets me see the latest trends in young adult lit, and I like a lot of YA books. When I’m not reading for teens, I read far and wide, and often surprise myself.

See all of Wally’s reviews.


I live in Massachusetts because of Anastasia Krupnik, which pretty much sums up how influential books have been in my life. In addition to Lois Lowry, my literary heroes include E. L. Konigsburg, Ellen Raskin, Mo Willems, David Sedaris, and Julia Spencer-Fleming. I like funny books, of both the ha-ha and strange varieties, and read mostly middle-grade and YA fiction and adult nonfiction. I don’t have the patience for most adult fiction. My home library is catalogued using the Dewey Decimal System, with spine labels and everything. (Shut up.) I have two insane children and a husband who can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan. In my spare time, I sing, go to church a lot, run very slowly, and write book reviews in bad haiku at

See all of Emily’s reviews.

Diane Ferbrache

Texan by birth, Pacific Northwest resident by choice, wife, mother, grandmother, and long-time school librarian (these days at Hazen High School in Renton, WA). I love travelling to new places, sewing quilts and quilted bags, watching movies, and checking out the treasures in antique stores. I read all genres of fiction, the occasional biography, and select narrative non-fiction. I can’t seem to keep up with a blog, but you can follow me on Twitter @DianeFerbrache, Goodreads (dferbrache), and Pinterest.

See all of Diane’s reviews.

Robert Leone

My parents made me do it! I’m a lifelong reader, and my interests range from the incredibly broad (anthropology) to the astoundingly narrow (astrophilately). I’m old-fashioned about many things (I still use fountain pens and own typewriters). My taste in fiction seems to come from my mother (science fiction, fantasy, and mystery) while the interest I have in military history and biography comes from my father. I’ve plenty of younger relatives, so I’ve been reading, and enjoying, a lot of children’s and YA fiction lately. I’ve managed to live car-free in southern California for about three decades, so I also have a deep personal interest in urban design.

See all of Robert’s reviews.

Lynn Schlatter

I’m a librarian who lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, but I’ve been various other things in various other places, and since I just finished writing a novel, I’m considering another life change. My usual routine with books is to open them up to the middle and see if they grab me, which means I’ve read pieces of a lot of them. If I finish a book and like it, I tend to read it over and over again, which is why my copy of The Stand has had to be replaced once already and the Twilight books are well on their way. I secretly grit my teeth whenever someone says, “You should read x.” Reading tastes are far too personal for someone to presume that way.

See all of Lynn’s reviews.

Murphy's Mom

I am Andrea Bledsoe King. I just turned 40 in August and have been married to Neale King for nearly seven years (as of 2015). I grew up in Bartlett, Tennessee, and now live 10 minutes from where the house I grew up (my parents still live there). Neale and I adopted a shelter dog 2 years ago who we believe is half pit bull, half beagle, and half everything else. We named him Murphy. I waited tables throughout college to earn my English degree and then became a Teen Services librarian just over 8 years ago. I enjoy reading YA novels, family sagas, and suspense — anything with a lot of emotional drama. My favorite books are Go, Dog, Go, Flowers in the Attic, and ROOM.

See all of Murphy’s Mom’s reviews.

Jordan Moeny

I’m a twenty-something admin assistant, which means I read science fiction on the bus to work, food blogs at my lunch break, and far too many emails the rest of the time. In middle school I convinced my parents to turn my bedroom closet into a “cave” with a padded bench so that I had a place to hide and read. I’ve read more young adult dystopian novels than is good for my health, and I’m always on the hunt for exceptional nonfiction.

See all of Jordan’s reviews.


I decided to be a high school librarian rather than an English teacher because it’s much more fun to help kids find books they actually finish than to teach them grammar. My favorite sentences are: “Mrs Conrad, that book you gave me was awesome! What else do you have for me to read?” My to read pile is never ending, and I love having 800 books in my purse because— e-reader! I read five or six books at a time, and read everything YA except dog books (those just make me cry).

See all of Stacey’s reviews.

Sarah Evans

I grew up the only child of two avid readers who loved to talk about what they read. I thought it was normal for kids to recommend books to adults, and that adults would actually read what I recommended. I tried to get kids to do this during the eight years I worked in public libraries and the two years I was a middle school librarian. Now I try to convince more adults to read and respect literature for young people as a PhD Candidate in Learning Sciences at the University of Washington where I’m researching adolescent literacy.

I read widely for both entertainment and information, but my favorite books combine both. My first favorite genre was mystery, thanks to Encyclopedia Brown and Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game. My desert island books would be the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett — they have all the wisdom you need about the human condition — and I think To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a perfect book. I listen to all seven Harry Potter novels and Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol at least once a year. And I unwind at night with humorous shojo manga titles like Ouran High School Host Club and Skip-Beat!

I live with my husband, two teenage sons, and our retired racing greyhound. My dad and are I still trading book recommendations.

See all of Sarah’s reviews.

Willow Payne

I’m a cartoonist from Tampa, Florida. When I’m not busy drawing comics, you can usually find me in used bookstores buying heaps of graphic novels and fantasy paperbacks. Favorite authors include (but not limited to) Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Hunter. S Thompson, and Edgar Allan Poe. You can read my comics over at

See all of Willow’s reviews.

John Carvajal

John Carvajal grew up in the endless summer weather of Central Florida prior to moving to the New England region. He is a cartoonist with an MFA in Cartooning from The Center for Cartoon Studies. John has collaborated with various writes including Aaron Humphries in Composition Studies issue 43.1, the Cambridge Historical Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Simon Mesnard on a new ongoing Sci-Fi series, Anterran. You can view some of his work here and his ongoing daily comics here. (Sometimes they’re nsfw-ish.)

See all of John’s reviews.

Snow Wildsmith (retired)

My mom says that I taught myself how to read as a toddler so that I would have something to do other than sleep when she forced me to stay in bed at night. I became a librarian because my other career options -— the military (I’m a Navy brat), dance (I studied ballet and modern for almost twenty-five years), and theatre (I toyed with being a stage manager) —- would cut into my valuable book hoarding time. I read mostly teen fiction and graphic novels (partially for work and partially because I love them), but I also like science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction.

After fourteen years as a teen librarian, I started a new career as the world’s slowest writer. My first books were finally published in May 2012: the five-book Joining the Military series from McFarland and A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kid’s Comics (co-written with Scott Robins) from Krause . In addition to Unshelved, I also review for Booklist. In my spare time I sew all the things and horde fabric like a dragon hordes gold. And, to quote Silver, “Yes, that is my real name.”

See all of Snow’s reviews.

Dan Ritchie (retired)

I grew up in West Seattle with a fabulous old public library down the street. I have been a JHS teacher-librarian for twenty-six years and, even with all the technology and changes, the books still rule. I love it when a student comes in with, “That was the best book – ever!” There is so much fantastic YA writing going on, it seems like each new book I read becomes my best book – ever!
See all of Dan’s reviews.

Editor’s note: Dan was an awesome guy. He passed away in December, 2014.

See all of Dan’s reviews.

Jana (ya-na) (retired)

I am a contemporary dancer and work as the Unshelved Store Manager. I really like to hike and go on adventures. My favorite book is Einstein’s Dreams by John Lightman. My favorite comic is Scott Pilgrim. I enjoy reading books recommended by close friends (which doesn’t mean I always like them). I grew up in Montana and have lived in Seattle for 10 years. Apparently I’m staying.

See all of Jana’s reviews.

Gwen (retired)

I rarely meet a fantasy novel I don’t like. In fact, I always have a stack of books that I’m waiting to read and most of them have some sort of fantasy or magical element to them. I also like to write. It probably won’t surprise you to know that my stories are fantasy, too. I love animals and the wolf is my favorite. While there aren’t any wolves nearby, I am training my husky to do agility. When the neighborhood coyotes are in full chorus, and Kenai tips her nose to the sky to howl along with them, it seems her wolf spirit is still strong. I love that eerie, primitive sound. My kitten, Alice, is usually right with me wherever I am. We live right on the beach, so I spend a lot of time outside surrounded by deer, coyote, otter, birds and seal. What else about me? I am twelve years old. Outside of school, I like to swim and draw.

See all of Gwen’s reviews.

Moon Shadow (retired)

When I turn the pages of a book, I expect to discover something between the black lettering that strikes me. I want to see the pale yellow leaf drifting on a gust of air, forgotten in the passing of one season into the other. I want to feel the flare of pain when the character’s bread knife slips, and I want to taste the chilly morning air on his or her tongue. Further than that, even, I want to feel the ache of a broken heart or the feeling of contentment after the character has forged his or her first sword. Someway, somehow, I want the story to affect me. No matter whether I am touched by the action, interaction, description, or complexities, this is what I look for in a book. I simply put down a book that does not satisfy that requirement.

I am sixteen years old and the focal point of my attention is placed upon the fantasy novel that I am in the process of writing. I have read extensively into both the fantasy and Sci-fi genres, but there has been a spattering of historical fiction, romance, and contemporary fiction to add diversity.

When I am not writing or reading, I am occupied with my pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in English. Currently, this manifests itself in the taking of community college courses that will eventually evolve into my associate’s degree.

See all of Moonshadow’s reviews.

Senger (retired)

I grew up in the beautiful Northwest. In between extreme bike races I could usually be found glued to a book. From Mad Scientist Club, Robinson Crusoe, The Chronicles of Narnia I drifted to Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Hunt For Red October and The Stand plus the magical world of Harry Potter. My passion for reading has taken me from the depths of the sea to alternative universes. I blame my book addiction on my parents and all the great librarians I’ve known. Nowadays I happily spend time with my wife in sunny Southern California — we explore the world together through movies, travel, zip-lines, exotic BBQ recipe’s and of course, books!

See all of Senger’s reviews.

Vanessa Borden (retired)

I come from readers. When I was younger, my parents were convinced that I must have been switched at birth as reading held no interest for me. It turns out that it was a matter of finding the right book to whet my appetite. In my case it was The Ghost in the Attic by Emily Cates, and I was hooked. Reading has become something of a compulsion. I feel itchy if I don’t have a good book at my finger tips. I love the classics, but draw equal pleasure from chick lit and sci-fi/fantasy. Reading is both a form of escapism for me as well as a path to self- reflection. I love being drawn into a different world, watching characters grow, and discovering something about myself along the way.

See all of Vanessa’s reviews.

Sharon Levin (retired)

I’ve been reading books for young people my whole life because they have the best writing. I frequently booktalk to parents, teachers, librarians and students. I love watching them light up when they hear about a book they MUST READ. I am getting my Masters in Education and Children’s Literature and serve on the ALA Committee for Notable Children’s Recordings. I have two daughters, 13 and 16, who make sure I don’t miss any good books, and who agree with me that Twilight is a badly written bodice ripper.

See all of Sharon’s reviews.

Matt Diamond (retired)

I am a computer consultant who writes computer games in his spare time. I like to relax with a good mystery, sci fi or fantasy yarn. I tend to stick with familiar, reliable authors for long stretches until friends or family twist my arm to read something they liked. But lately I’ve been making a conscious effort to read more non-fiction, mainly history and modern science.

See all of Matt’s reviews.

Rose B. (retired)

I am a teenager with a passion for reading, cats, swimming, dancing, and art. My friends are most often annoyed with me because I am unintentionally ignoring them to read whatever book I have on hand! I love fantasy. I read fast and have been known to read about forty-six hours a month. (Sorry, social life!) I love Scott Westerfeld’s books, when I read the last book in the Leviathan series, Goliath, I nearly cried. I have rather strange reading habits — if you see someone in an awkward, possibly uncomfortable position (think: upside down in a chair), reading a book and laughing, that is most likely me!

See all of Rose’s reviews.

David Tomashek (retired)

I’ve been told that my personality is like a butterfly, flitting from interest to interest without staying very long on any one thing. That has definitely been true in regards to my reading habits… over the years I’ve never stuck with any specific genre or type of book. I like any book that presents a unique character and/or situation, any book that can draw me in so deeply that I stop feeling the passage of time. I live in Colorado and keep as many library cards as can fit in my wallet.

See all of David’s reviews.

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