Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Musings 11/19

Well, I am a giant stress-ball at the moment, so I am playing catch-up a bit on my NaBloPoMo posting. I know there isn't anyone out there complaining, but I still feel guilty. Saturday and Sunday's posts will be up by the end of the day.

Today is the big day we get to talk to the relocation company and get the down-low on exactly what needs to be done by when, and where we will be and how we will get there. All good things to know. But we can't call until noon because of the time difference. Killer!

Tomorrow we're taking pictures to put up with our house listing, so we've been organizing and cleaning out the wazoo. It is hilarious to see how much clutter creeps into your life even when you think you're being good. Once we started moving it out into the garage, I remembered how nice and airy our house was initially. In our new home, I think I'll have to institute a much firmer policy on spring cleaning, and a "just because we have it doesn't mean we need to keep it" policy. Down with clutter!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Ramblings 11/16

So yes! Moving! I am currently neck deep in panicky thoughts about things like realtors, moving companies, and how to adjust my kids to a 3 hour time difference with a minimum of DOOOOOOM. Not exactly sexy blog fodder, amirite?

To perk things up, I did a google search. The topic? AWESOME THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND! Here is a list to help get me to see beyond the minutiae of the relocating process and into the funtimes that are coming!

  • Japanese Gardens! Portland is known for its awesome parks and gardens. This garden, over 5 acres and very authentic, is tops on my list to visit!
  • Portland Timbers! They have an MLS team! I love soccer, and it sounds like their fans are a lot of fun. We will definitely be checking them out.
  • Powell's City of Books! Because SERIOUSLY!
  • Food carts! A friend of a friend of a friend owns a food cart out there that sells PIE, I can't wait to hit it up! Come on, people. I'm not made of stone.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday 11/15

Well, this week I am thankful for POSSIBILITIES.

 Even when they kind of scare us, seeing our world open up in new directions is an amazing thing. My husband got the job offer. We'll be moving waaaaay across the country in about 3 weeks. Portland, watch out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: 11/14

This is another on Netgalley - I adore Ally Carter and the Gallagher Girl books, and I've heard good things about Audrey, Wait! so I'll definitely give this a whirl. It sounds like a lot of fun!

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good andbad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.
Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

ROBIN BENWAY is the acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! and The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June, both ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Benway's books have been published in 16 languages, won awards abroad, and been bestsellers in several countries. Formerly a bookseller and book publicist, she lives in Los Angeles.

Also Known As... comes out February 26, 2013!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Listening Library
Reader: January LaVoy
Source: Library
Rating: 7/10

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. . . 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Musings 11/12

Good morning lovelies! I hope everyone had a stellar weekend. Sadly, despite a gorgeous last gasp of nice weather before a cold front drizzles in today, it was my weekend to work so I got up to not much. I did volunteer to take the recycling to the center just to get outside a bit on Sunday, and it was totally worth it.

Today is expected to be the big day, regarding news on my husband's job prospects and our possible move ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY. Sadly, the time difference means a long, stressful wait. This is all very strange for me. I lived in the house I was LITERALLY born in my entire childhood. Then I went away to college, and then I settled into our current city with my boyfriend/future husband. Moving is just not something I've ever really done! *cue panic*

But of course, there is also a lot of excitement inherent in a move. New places, new dreams, new possibilities.

We'll be fine, wherever we are. I just want to knooooooooooooooooooow!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Around here 11/11

I love that I'm still able to wear my summer flats. I'm not a boot girl, it is so sad in the winter, when cute shoes disappear for a while.

Basically the cutest of all time, ever.

A new blanket. Sooooo soft. I think I'll be under this all winter, reading or crafting.
Our buddy to help us cheer on the Cards! It is that glorious time of year, when we have a football game on Saturday and a basketball game on Sunday! Wheeeee! Go Cards!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reading Roundup 11/10

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin


Even better than its companion novel, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (which won a Newbery honor), this book takes Chinese mythology to a new audience. Its interesting language and many short tales interspersed with the main narrative make it a unique and highly enjoyable read.

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt


While this story was sweet, I felt it was unrealistic that its narrator was actually 16. She felt much younger, especially as she was supposed to have grown up in a rather rough life with a mother who verged on negligent. It is listed as for grades 5 and up, which feels more appropriate, but our library has it listed as YA. Probably because of the narrator's age. Still, the foster mother was great, and I really liked Carley. Verged on sappy but held it off fairly well.

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann


A middle grade story of fairies colliding with Victorian England, this was a fun tale that had great plotting. Sometimes the characters were a little overly simplistic, especially when it came to vocalizing their motivations and plans, but I really enjoyed the Steampunk-ish vibe and had a lot of fun with it. The author is only 18, and he began writing this when he was 16, which kids will love to hear and which promises growing skills in the future, I hope.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst


Amazing, beautiful, powerful. This whirlwind tale of religion, love, politics, war and tradition was just perfectly done. The characters were so well drawn, especially our heroine, Liyana. I felt her emotions so acutely, and the writing was somehow lush and spare all at once. I adored every minute of it. Highly recommended.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier


A high fantasy tale of fairies and a world brought under the sway of an evil king, this book was a wonderfully done traditional sort of fairy tale. I loved the different "canny folk" we meet and our main character, Neryn, was a great heroine. The love story, such as it was, was very moving and well written.

The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell


A cute, non-preachy tale that melds the bullying of a young, overweight girl and the healing wounds of a traumatized Iraq veteran, with a healthy dose of magical realism. I really enjoyed this, although I do wish we saw Abigail find some way to truly get through to her parents. I understand the author was trying for a more realistic ending rather than all ends tied up and everyone perfectly happy, but I just felt bad for her mother. Less so her father. Hmph.

A seriously good week of reading. I'm trying to get a lot in so that I don't fall short over the holidays and fail to meet my goal of 250 books! I don't think I'll aim for that number again - it is getting a little rough. 200 I can hit easily, but 250 steps over into the realm of work. Although my career is based in books, I read for pleasure and I'd like to keep it that way!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Ramblings

While listening to the audiobook of The Diviners by Libba Bray (the audio version is HIGHLY recommended, very well done!) I was struck with a thought about my personal literary taste.

There was a particularly poetic turn of phrase, and my immediate reaction was annoyance. I actually don't dislike poetry, but when it comes to my prose, flowery overdone language is one of my biggest pet peeves.

This is not a big problem in The Diviners, Libba Bray is an amazing writer and most of her setting and imagery is wonderfully done, without crossing the line in my mind. There was just one sentence that really jumped out at me. Some books, however, fling themselves over that line as if it is a starting mark for the triple jump at the Olympics.

And that is fine, of course. Everyone has different tastes, and to some people a more poetic, lyrical tone is exactly what they want from a book. Some books that had that tone, I felt, were Delirium by Lauren Olivier, Shatter Me by

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday 11/8

Today I am thankful for...

The start of college basketball season! Go Cards!

My amazing job, working with children and books and crafts.

Big things coming in the future! Possibly a move, but if we don't move, a new program at work that will be a lot of fun!

My fabulous husband, without whom I would probably be a bank teller. (not that there's anything wrong with that - my mom was a bank teller for years! but he inspired and helped me to go for my dream.)

My adorable kiddos, who each day remind me who I want to be for them. They deserve the very best mom!

That's all for today, need to save a couple for the rest of the month!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: 11/7

I've been avoiding a couple of the more recent dystopians due to genre overload, plus a couple stinkers. This sounds very intriguing, and I think I'm ready to jump back in.

Kyla has been Slated—her memory and personality erased as punishment for committing a crime she can’t remember. The government has taught her how to walk and talk again, given her a new identity and a new family, and told her to be grateful for this second chance that she doesn’t deserve. It’s also her last chance—because they’ll be watching to make sure she plays by their rules.

As Kyla adjusts to her new life, she’s plagued by fear. Who is she, really? And if only criminals are slated, why are so many innocent people disappearing? Kyla is torn between the need to know more and her instinct for self-preservation. She knows a dangerous game is being played with her life, and she can’t let anyone see her make the wrong move . . . but who can she trust when everyone is a stranger?

Debut author Teri Terry has written a brilliantly compelling, original and thought-provoking novel about an uncomfortably plausible future.

Slated comes out Jan. 24 2013!
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote!

I know, it's a pain to leave the house some days, there might be a line, you don't want your kids to bug people... but it is important. Go. Vote. Be an active member of your society!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Karaoke Queen

I am not a professional singer, nor would anyone, ever, confuse me for one. Despite this, I just love singing, so the fact that in the past month I've gotten to rock my brother-in-law's amazing home karaoke system fills me with great joy.

Not only do they have a huge digital karaoke collection featuring very nearly everything you could ask for, when it is at their house they have a built in stage in their basement. It is, frankly, amazing.

So, despite my entirely average voice, I busted out quite a few songs this weekend. Another benefit over a bar - you get a lot more turns at the mic. My biggest hits were

  • Dog Days Are Over, Florence and the Machine
  • Heart of Glass, Blondie
  • Dream a Little Dream of Me, The Mamas and the Papas
  • Shoop, Salt 'n Pepa
  • Love Fool, The Cardigans
  • Viva La Vida, Coldplay
Quite a collection, I know. I must say, there is nothing funnier than busting out Shoop in front of your father-in-law. It is a modern classic.

What is your go-to karaoke tune? Everyone should have one on stand-by in case of emergency.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cute quote of the week

Hey, we're not going to make it 30 days straight of blogging without a little fluff, folks!

We were eating fruit snacks (leftovers from those purchased for a preschool Halloween party.) After finishing Malcolm declares "I'm still hungry!"

I explain that fruit snacks are just a fun treat, and not meals that fill us up, and he pipes up "I'm still fun!"

That boy is just cute.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Reading round-up

It's been a while since I've posted about the books I'm reading, so these cover 2 weeks! Luckily, during NaBloPoMo I'll be more motivated to keep up with doing it weekly.

The Spindlers by Lauren Olivier

Cute middle grade read, very imaginative! Olivier's second novel for young readers has a smart, feisty young female protagonist and a fast-paced plot full of creative twists. I really enjoyed it.


Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow (Strange Angels, Betrayals, Jealousy, Defiance, Reckoning)

Definitely action-packed, and full of sarcastic humor, this series started out strong but kind of sputtered out for me in the end. You can't say Dru didn't change, because she undergoes kind of a complete transformation, but there were a lot of issues that never got addressed and really bothered me. I almost feel like the author had started out trying so hard to make it gritty and realistic (emotionally, obviously, not situationally - vampires, werewolves, zombies, OH MY) that she ended up kind of disliking some of her own characters and felt unable to give the readers a more resolved ending. That's just a vibe I got, of course. It seems like there could easily be more books, in a spin-off or continued series, so we'll see. I'll probably pick them up.  6.5/10

The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas

A wonderful middle grade read full of adventure, hope, and amazing stories. Trinket is the daughter of a storyteller, and as she travels by his map to try to find him after her mother dies, she collects stories herself and works towards fulfilling her dream of becoming a storyteller in her own right. The writing is lyrical and the stories are just magical and wonderful, and I loved Trinket and her steadfast friend Thomas the Pig Boy. Just lovely.  8/10

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

I adore the Seven Realms, so I was a little sad to start the final book in the quartet, The Crimson Crown. I loved the first 3, and this one didn't disappoint, of course! Political intrigue, magic, history, love...there is so much in these stories that you feel completely immersed in this amazingly detailed world and you just want to stay there. I loved Han, and Raissa, and Dancer, and basically everyone. Chima has hinted that she has more stories to tell in the Seven Realms, and I will gladly pick up every one. 9/10

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Urgh, this book. Lots of potential, but in the end it just frustrated and bothered me. It's hard to review without spoilers, and I would never include spoilers! But that means a lot of what I ranted to my husband about last night after finishing has to go unsaid. Well. The treatment of clones is, of course, intended to be seen as terrible, but there is so little justification given for their use and existence that it seems improbable. There is a scientific issue that seems sketchy to me, but I can't complain about that without spoilers. I'll just say, this book really bugged me. The writing was fine, which is where it gets its few points. I've loved a lot by Rachel Cohn, but this book did not work for me.  3/10

Friday, November 2, 2012

Spit spot!

Mary Poppins at the library! Frankly, I was a little disappointed I didn't work during the morning storytime so I could sing at the little ones, but it did mean I could go to the kids' trunk or treat at daycare, which was aDORable. I love dressing up for Halloween, and this is one of my favorite costumes I've put together. Julie Andrews is tied with Angela Lansbury as the voice of my childhood, so I was felt it was a perfect tribute.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Well, this year, with kids at 3 and almost 2, the very thought of NaNoWriMo fills me with terror and a desire to take a nap immediately. I have never won NaNoWriMo, but I think each time I've tried has strengthened my writing and given me a better idea what I really want from a story. So, still a good thing. Just not a thing I can do this year without breaking into hives at imagining how little sleep I'd end up with.

So instead I'm going to try NaBloPoMo! It's a spin-off, which encourages blog writers to give a little extra love and attention to their blogs in November and post EVERY day. Since I've been more the 3 a week poster since I restarted, this will be hard but I'm feeling inspired.

I might just be hopped up on sugar from Halloween, though. Who can tell! Tomorrow I'll post my most excellent costume from yesterday. Though I say it myself, I make a pretty good Mary Poppins. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday...

Ooh, just saw it on Netgalley and am now agog. How does Brenna Yovanoff get such amazing covers? They're just exactly my cup of tea. I've loved her first two, no hesitation to snatch this one up as well. I was sold before I even read the synopsis, but here you go - it sounds great, no shock!

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record.  The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one.  Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders?  Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets.  She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine comes out January 8, 2013!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A question of cool...

What, exactly, is cool? It's been my personal philosophy that cool is nothing to aspire to - too often it seems that cool comes at the price of mockery. Declaring cool requires something else to be inherently UNcool, and I've never liked that. It is the same as my philosophy with sports - cheer FOR your team, don't cheer AGAINST the other team. Turns out the other team consists of human beings too, not demons. Except maybe for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they test my resolve on that.

So yes, I've been all hippie about it - like what you like, but don't disdain other people for liking something else. I thought I had it down!

But recently, my husband has been applying and interviewing for jobs across the country, and after analyzing the ball of stress in my stomach, I've realized my concern.

I feel like we're not cool enough.

I know, it seems ridiculous. But having lived in KY all my life, the thought of moving to a city like Portland or Seattle had my stomach in knots. I'd have to make NEW friends. I wouldn't have 5 sisters within 100 miles to lean on. I have a southern accent and slightly crooked teeth and I feel guilty at the thought of spending more than $30 on a pair of jeans. How would all this translate to the people we'd be meeting?

Thank heaven my husband would never dream of moving to California - clearly L.A. would eat me alive.

But as the process has wound on, I've started to settle down a bit. Thank goodness for unlimited calling, so at least the sisters will still be in contact a lot. And maybe having to make new friends would get me out of my shell a bit - I've definitely been a bit lazy on the friendship front for, oh, the last 5 or 6 years.

Nothing is certain yet. But even though I have never once in my life been cool, I know I'm brave enough to handle whatever comes our way.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I am super excited about Halloween this year. My kiddos are 3 1/2 and almost 2, so that means that they are old enough to know fun times are going down, but young enough that a) they don't demand difficult/expensive costumes and b) they don't notice when 2/3 of their candy disappears. Mmmm, mini-snickers...

And I get to dress up too! Last year I only dressed up for work (Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series), but this year I had a real, live, grown-up party to go to, so I needed a costume that wasn't from a children's book. Pictures are still pending, but my husband and I rocked a cheap and easy Amy and Rory Pond costume, and I karaoked basically all night. Awesome times.

For my work costume this year, and also for the kiddos' trunk or treat at daycare, I'm pulling out a Mary Poppins costume! I'm really thrilled about it as well, it started out as a long black skirt and black blazer, and I think it really came together well. It was clearly fated, because I found an $8 umbrella at Walmart with a bird head handle. CLEARLY. FATED.

I really adore having a job where I can dress up and play. Yet another reason to love being a children's librarian in October! (Another is the ability to wear Halloween socks without judgement.)

Anyone out there with costumes they're excited about? I know a lot of people have adult, boring jobs that don't encourage costumes, but if you have one I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jinxed myself...

When I posted about my top books of the year, I mentioned I was on track to meet my goal, as long as I didn't get in a rut. When will I learn? Cue a big ol' reading rut, right on schedule. Curses! I haven't completed a book in a week, which is a SERIOUS rut for me. I was ahead of pace for my goal, and now I'm just "on track" which really means "GET ON IT!!" Because soon it'll be Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you know what all that family togetherness means? Less time for reading.

Ah well. But when I got into work today, look what was waiting for me!

Ooh, goodbye reading rut. Can't wait to get to it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


To some, this might just be a pile of scraps, but to me it is a gorgeous sign of progress. Can't wait to show you more of this quilt!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Best books of 2012, so far

Barely 2 1/2 months to go until the end of the year, and I've got 50 books to go to reach my goal of 250 for the year. It seems like a lot, but Shelfari tells me I'm ahead of pace. Fingers crossed I don't get into a reading funk! 

I've had a fairly good reading year, very few books I actively disliked and several that blew me away. Now that we're reaching the end (and I'm so behind on official reviewing that I'll never catch up) I wanted to share my favorites so far. These are books I rated 5 stars on Shelfari, which translates to a 10 on my blog rating scale.

 The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour:

A smart, bittersweet look at the summer after high school for a boy and the girl he loves, and her terrible band. I was not expecting how much I would love this, not being a fan of bands or tattoos particularly, but the characters really got under my skin and I was completely rooting for them by the end.

 Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein:

Well, everyone and their brother has posted a glowing review of this book, and for good reason. Powerful, amazing writing and characters that will break your heart combine to wonderful effect. Hard to push on the teens at the library, but worth it.
 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:

Again, not suffering from a lack of press on this one, but I do try not to let the fact that others are saying something keep me quiet. I can sometimes be contrary but the smart, funny characters in this book made me fall head over heels for them, even though I knew from the start someone would cause me pain. Amazing.
 My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick:

This was a bit of a surprise! I was expecting a cute romance, fluffy and forgettable, and instead got hit in the gut with a moral quandary and a first love that knocked my socks off.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas:

Ah, it's like it was written with me in mind, I tell you. A smart, powerful assassin? A competition to the death? Unlikely love interests? Difficult decisions about whom to trust? Oh, I loved it all, even if one angle of the love triangle was much more perfect to my mind. I can't believe this was Maas's debut, I'll definitely pick up future books from her.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater:

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up. I adored Ballad and Lament, was utterly meh on the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and while I liked The Scorio Races, I wasn't as captivated as other reviews I read. 

It took me about half a chapter to start bouncing and grinning. This was the Stiefvater of Ballad and Lament, powerful and beautifully written, mysterious and charming without being overbearing. I loved loved loved this book and can't wait to return to the magical quest with Blue and the Raven Boys.

So, those are the best of the best so far! I'll try and post occasional reviews for the rest of the year, although as I mentioned the blog will be broadening its view as we go. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wandering thoughts...

1. It drives my husband bonkers when people use 4 periods instead of 3 for an ellipse. I almost did, up in my title, but my love for my husband forced me to go back and change it.
2. I've been an inconsistent blogger!
3. I considered just abandoning this poor sad blog, and starting over fresh, but a) quitting is lame and b) a lot of work, so consider this a reboot!
4. I participated in my first 5k last weekend! It was the color run, so not timed, but tons and tons of fun.
5. I started running after my miscarriage in May. My strongest memory of that terrible day is sitting, waiting for my ultrasound (already knowing what it would tell me) and watching the Today Show people do a terrible 'Call Me Maybe' dance on the tv.
6. Last Saturday, as the cheerful groups around me danced and sang as the DJ played 'Call Me Maybe', I teared up just a little.
7. But nobody could stay sad at a Color Run. I shook myself and had a blast, and ran, twirled and bounced through clouds of color dust, emerging a creature you wouldn't quite recognize (mostly due to an accidentally dash of blue right in the face! Glad they tell you to wear sunglasses, and I know it was an accident, Color Run volunteer! No worries!)
8. This rebooted blog will feature personal posts, craft posts, and books about Adult, Teen, Juvenile and Picture books as well as random geekery. Basically, whee!
9. I'm kind of losing steam. But... how can I live with myself if I don't get to 10! Incomplete list, just drifting to a close without a proper conclusion... too sad. I must soldier on!
10. PHEW. Made it. Will edit at home to add a color run pic!

ETA: Here it is!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Running Notes 7/18

This running schtick has been going on for almost 2 months now (go me!) and I'm still digging it. I actually haven't run in a week - I usually run MWF, and last weekend my mother-in-law took my kids for the weekend so I went on a hot date with my husband instead, and then Monday I was sick. But while at the beginning I was afraid that missing even once would lead me to lose my momentum, by now I knew it was no big. I would be back running once I felt a little better, and so I shall. Tonight.

I don't have any aspirations to run a marathon - any race based on a route that actually killed the first guy who did it, and that routinely has people discussing losing their toenails, just somehow doesn't appeal to me. I'm signed up for a 5k in October, and I'm already running about 2.5 miles each time (a 5k is about 3.1). My husband teases my for measuring my runs in miles, but I figure avoiding metric even when it's the reasonable option is ingrained somehow in my psyche.

So yes. Running! It is good for you and also really strangely fun. My butt is looking awesome these days. ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Books I Read 6/11-6/18

I was so busy pampering my husband for being such a great father I didn't get a chance to post a weekly round-up yesterday - pampering is hard work! So here are the books I read last week! Pretty light week.

The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith - 7/10

A solid middle grade read, about twins who discover a secret society of people who can control the weather. The villain was not quite as fleshed-out or believable as I would have liked, but if there are future books in the series I expect that will be remedied.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - 10/10

I'm not entirely sure how I didn't read this as a girl - I mean literally, my older sister Sara was obsessed with the series and had at least 3 copies of this book around the house. And I read everything back then, including my mom's mysteries and my brothers' high fantasy, so you'd think I'd have picked up a copy, but apparently not.

And I wish I had! I absolutely LOVED this book, it gave me that floaty, giddy feeling that only the very best books give you. I literally hugged it when I was finished. *sigh*

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts - 6/10

Nora Roberts books are like comfort food in book format for me. Nothing surprising or unexpected generally happens, but they are reliably enjoyable. This one was slightly lower than normal, this series has a rather overwhelming focus on architectural and interior design porn, with the actual romance feeling a bit like an afterthought. Ah well. I'll still finish out the series - listened to this one on playaway, great narrator.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery - 8/10

Not quite as transcendent as the first, and a little more preachy. Also, Paul Irving occasionally got on my nerves. Still enamored, though, and will definitely continue on with the series. Yes, that was the hideous cover I was reading - I'm never ashamed to rock a J or YA book in public, but I'll admit to being slightly glad I finished this one in the safety of my own home. So cheesy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Running Notes

- Last night as I was jogging up the street, I saw a rabbit, startled by a car at the corner, sprinting towards me. It got within 5 or 6 feet before it noticed me, and veered up into someone's yard. I love how many bunnies we have around the neighborhood (when they're not nibbling my spinach or peas) but this is the best close encounter yet.

- I know most people have fancy-pants smart phones to do this sort of thing on, but I'm a bit of a tech holdout in this case, because I have kind of an addictive personality and don't want to be one of those people that can't hold a conversation because they're constantly checking their phone. SO. I've been using the site RunningMap to plan out my runs and calculate my mileage. Fun!

- I think I'm going to buy this pitcher - I've cut down on sodas but sometimes I have a hard time making myself drink enough water - more important than ever now that I'm running in the sun! Looks delicious, I'm loving some of the combos on this site.

-I'm still loving going for runs, and after a little experimentation I've decided I really prefer an evening run to a morning run. I like putting the kids to bed and then heading out on my own to clear my head (while listening to NPR podcasts - mostly these two.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

My personal book kink

I haven't been paying super close attention to the news out of BEA (Book Expo America) this year. I've been working on spreading my focus and enjoying life beyond the books (which is hard for me!) so I merrily skimmed past most of the posts.

But I happened to follow a link to an article by Publisher's Weekly that discussed some of the biggest books that got the BEA buzz, and was immediately giddy about a book - Crewel by Gennifer Albin. The article didn't even give a blurb about the story - just the amazing story of the author having written it while on food stamps, which is all well and good, but from the moment I saw the title I was in a tizzy of anticipation. I didn't even finish reading the article - I was off to amazon to find the summary. Could it be? Was another book that featured my very favorite book feature coming out?

Ooh, yes. The book features a craft - in this case, working the looms of fate, it seems. Just like the knitting and embroidery that drew me to Jessica Day George's work - The Princess of the Midnight Ball and Dragon Slippers, respectively. Even though I was already crafty before I read these books, they always left me inspired anew and eager to find new projects to stretch my skills - and I hope that in teens or adults that read them, they inspire readers to give something new a try.

Crewel embroidery, in particular, is quick to do, has minor and inexpensive equipment available for beginners, and is endlessly flexible. You can create absolutely anything - a traditional pattern on a pillowcase or tea towel, or a quirky saying or design to be displayed.
The sky is the limit!

So next time you come across a craft in a book, give it a try yourself! Creating something with your own hands is one of the best feelings on earth, and challenging yourself to learn new skills keeps you young. Go crafts! ;)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Books I Read 6/4-6/10

Blackout by Mira Grant

I already posted about my reaction to the series as a whole - to sum up, YOU SHOULD READ THIS! But, about the book in particular I was sometimes frustrated by the alternating narrators, since we sometimes left characters in storylines I was dying to get back to. Obviously, that was meant to build suspense, but it bugged. The ending fell a little short, I think it could have used a bit more of an epilogue-type view of the new world, instead of the 'BAM!' - The End style. But, seriously, these are just nit-picks. Loved it.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

A week of finales! I loved Graceling and Fire, and I loved Bitterblue as well, but I found myself a bit frustrated for a lot of the middle of the book. I was mostly annoyed with the characters from Graceling, who seemed to have utterly abandoned Bitterblue as a 10-year-old queen with way too little guidance. I truly enjoyed the book, though, and will absolutely read anything Kristin Cashore puts out next.

Storybound by Marissa Burt

This one did not work for me - a bummer, the cover art is gorgeous, but I just found the writing to stilted and the storyline too generic and full of cliches. The start of a middle-grade series, I may or may not pick up the next...

The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

A classic I somehow missed! I love the old Disney movie based on this book, I watched it countless times growing up. The book was great, I appreciated the greater depths given to all the side characters and the loving depictions of the world at that time. Amazing stuff.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant

It is always difficult to review a single book in a series, and most difficult of all to try and review the finale. So, I'm not going to. This is a basically review of the whole series, because there is no way to separate my opinions of and reactions to Blackout from the other 2 books.

The Newsflesh Trilogy (I... don't love the name.) is an amazing look at the world POST zombie apocalypse. Even if you don't love zombies (I am generally hugely opposed, being kinda squeamish.) these are not truly zombie books. The zombies are not the story - they're just in the background. Moaning and shambling, yes, but the real story is about truth, justice, fear and journalism.

Georgia Mason is a great Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire heroine - cynical, loyal, and always willing to do the right thing, even if it leads to her own death. I have seem some reviews that didn't like the romantic angle taken, but I did not mind it.

The books are tense, powerful and suspenseful. I was very frustrated today, as I tried to finish the last 40 pages or so and the world (and my adorable kiddos) kept getting in the way. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Books This Week

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (8/10)

I've been attempting to read more adult fiction and non-fiction, and this was the Pulitzer winner for fiction last year so I grabbed it. When I started it I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it by the end. A series of interconnected vignettes that packs a punch and keeps you guessing - not your standard plot or structure, but I ended up liking it.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (9/10)

I love the Bloggess! She is hilariously amazing! I can giggle for ages if the phrases "Knock knock, motherfucker!" or "The motherfucking souffle is ruined!" pop into my head. Thanks to Jenny Lawson, that happens way more than it should. Vulgar, yes, disturbing, yes, (there were WAY TOO MANY dead animals in her childhood!) but completely real and hilarious as well. 

Deadline by Mira Grant (7/10)

Not as amazing as Feed, but really there was pretty much no chance it could be. My hold for Blackout came in today (very speedy, LexPub!) and it might kill me to wait until Tuesday, which is the only reasonable time for me to make it to the library. Oh, how I want to be unreasonable! Not talking about the book here on purpose to avoid spoilers, but you should read this series.

Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea (7/10)

While the writers were WAY more hardcore than I am, with my whole 2 weeks of running (minus 2 days that I was sick) it was still a good resource for information about running and how to balance it against life with a family. Really enjoyed reading it.

Cat Girl's Day Off by Kimberly Pauley (6/10)

A cute, fluffy book - some people have powers, and while Nat Ng's family all have impressive, useful powers Nat... can talk to cats. She is desperate to keep her lame power a secret, but of course events spiral out of control and Nat ends up saving the day with her cat powers. Like I said, cute, but pretty shallow. Loved having a minority MC, and a gay BF who gets a little angst-free romance, and it did its duty in being a light break from all the WWII and zombie action I had going down.

Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner (7/10)

Middle-grade adventure - Princess Charlie's mother disappeared 6 years ago, and when she randomly discovers a clue to the disappearance, Charlie must decide who to trust and how to deal with a castle in turmoil. A fast and enjoyable read, although I found the villains a bit one-dimensional and boring, and some of the characters were frustrating. Not bad for a debut novel, though.