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. :)