Monthly Archives: August 2010

Thursday Tidbits 8/26/10

I want fall to get here just in the hopes that things will slow down a bit!  In the meantime:

Unfortunately, that is all I have today.  I did start reading Mockingjay but I’m only about 50 pages in due to lack of time.  Hopefully I can really get in to it this weekend!

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The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan; read in February 2010.  ARC provided by Random House at ALA Midwinter.

  1. I have to admit up front that I did not like this as much as I liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  I think it boiled down to not liking Gabry.  Her perspective was less interesting to me, and I found her to be very self-involved and capable of making extremely dumb decisions.
  2. The differences between Mary’s life in the forest and Gabry’s life at the ocean are interesting.  I wondered if some of the differences could be related more to the passing of time since Mary was a teen, or if it was location.  For instance, the zombies are called Mudo, not the Unconsecrated.  A different type of zombie is explained; it was a mystery in the first one, but understood here, so I wondered if that was a zombie evolution over time?
  3. There is a crazy religious cult that gave me the creeps!
  4. Carrie Ryan builds this world further, and the back story explanations and developments kept me enthralled.
  5. Because of that, I will read the planned third book.  I assume it will not center on Gabry as this did not center on Mary (confirmed), so I can’t wait to see the further developments in Ms. Ryan’s zombie world.

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Photo Friday 8/20/2010

One of my husband’s aunts lives on a river outside of Baltimore.  Besides being a truly wonderful, loving person, she and her husband have created a beautiful home.  It’s a small house, but full of love; I always feel so welcome there.  We had our wedding and reception in their backyard. I really love their house.  This past weekend, we went up to visit and eat some steamed crabs (so delicious!).  I spent a few minutes on their dock, soaking in the evening and taking some pictures with my cell camera.

I wish this picture was in a higher resolution.  I took it with the Vignette Demo photo app on my phone.  I need to buy the paid version since that takes higher res pictures. I absolutely love this shot and would frame it if it was high res.


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Thursday Tidbits 8/19/2010

One bad thing about being back at work is meetings.  Some meetings are useless, some can be quite beneficial.  I attended a meeting today that was beneficial for a good portion of it, but way too much time was wasted by a few people.  I’ve decided that when you attend a meeting, you should be given a limited number of talking passes.  Every time you want to talk, you surrender a pass. Once you use up your passes – no more talking.  So much time is wasted by people who just want to hear themselves yammer.

Anyways, fun things on the internet this week!

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Back to School

I report back to work today.  The students don’t start until the day after Labor Day (thanks to what many call the Kings Dominion law, and I’ll reserve my opinion on that for another time) and teachers aren’t back until August 30th.  Our county contracts the library staff to start a week and 1/2 before the faculty to give us time to get the library ready since so much of that teacher week is taken up with meetings and things.  I really appreciate that our county does this since it does mean they start paying us a week and 1/2 early, but the time is enormously helpful in getting new books ready for the students and staff, getting organized, putting in orders, etc.  I also have to admit that starting with a half week helps ease back in to the work routine after the summer.

I’m excited to be going back for a new school year.  I’m not sure what the year has in store for us with a new principal in place.  He’s been an assistant principal for a few years so we know him, but a new principal is still a new principal, so I know some things will change.  This is my fourth year, which means the students who started in our school when I started will be graduating this year.  There is something exciting about being seeing my first freshmen go through their capstone year.

It’s been a busy summer, though, and I don’t really feel rested and refreshed.  It’s also going to be a busy school year.  I’m attending the YALSA Young Adult Literature Symposium, ALA Midwinter, and ALA Annual.  I’ll be turning 35 next month.  We have a wonderful wedding to attend in Syracuse in October.  My mom is scheduled for surgery in December.  We hope to get a new dog.  My husband hopes to move forward on more house projects.  I am on 3 YALSA committees.  Just thinking about it all makes my head spin a bit, but I’ll take it all one day at a time.

For today, it’s my first day back.  I’ll pull out my favorite pens, set my computer up, water the library plants, and go from there.

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David Gray at Merriweather Post

Sunday night, I was fortunate to have front row seats for the David Gray/Ray Lamontagne tour.  It was an excellent evening!

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Today – David Gray and a Film Premiere

I’m attending another David Gray concert tonight.  This one is at Merriweather Post, and I have front row seats so I am pretty excited!

Also, a friend of mine, Jason, premiered his short, “Mary Anne Goes to the Market” today in LA.  Well, he was one of the writers and one of the actors.  I’m hoping it went well.  The trailer is so cute!  If you watch it, he’s the one who collides carts with the girl.

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Photo Friday 8/13/10

Our friend Mikee, who was last seen on this blog modeling his Transformer’s costume, decided to gift a friend with a specific style of ice luge, and my husband helped him build it this past weekend:

How cool is that?

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Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl; read in August, 2010.  ARC provided by Little, Brown at ALA Annual 2010.

I’ve been pondering this review for the past week because all I want to do is gush, and I am not sure lots of gushing really equals a “review.”  Instead, I’m giving Beautiful Darkness a “book hug.”

Beautiful Darkness picks up shortly after where Beautiful Creatures left off.  Ethan and Amma attend a pre-dawn burial service for Macon.  Lena is taking the loss of her uncle very hard, and despite how Ethan reaches out to her with understanding from the loss of his mom, she starts to pull away from him.  He grows more concerned when Lena begins to spend more and more time with Ridley and a mysterious guy, John Breed.  Enlisting the help of Link and Liv, a British girl interning at the library with Marian for the summer, Ethan sets out on a quest to save Lena before it is too late.  Along the way, he receives help from surprising sources, but can a rag-tag trio of mortals really fight the powerful Darkness drawing Lena in?

Love, love, love this book!  Garcia and Stohl build on the world they created in the first book, layering in even more.  If you thought the Caster world was intriguing in Beautiful Creatures, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  I read most of this book at the Jersey shore beach and pool, but I have little memory of my vacation time in those settings as I was transported away from the water and sand into southern Gatlin and its mysterious corners.  Ethan’s journey takes the reader through some incredible places.

And Ethan…aw, I love Ethan.  I love his heart.  I love his kindness and patience, particularly for his aunts.  I love how he loves the people in his life.  But I particularly love how he loves Lena.  I love that even when he doubts their future together, he cannot doubt the Lena he knows and will do anything to help her see her own heart.  Ethan’s quest is truly a hero’s quest, and would be a great modern tie-in for students studying the hero’s quest throughout literature.  I can see it being a great choice for teen girls who might want more romance than some male-centric hero’s quest stories deliver.

The characters in Beautiful Darkness all make me love them even more than I did before.  There is much more than meets the eye in so many of the Gatlin residents, and some of the people that come forward to assist Ethan in his quest may surprise you. Or they may not, if you read this one with the reminder of the two sides of Gatlin and how those sides intermingled.  Link continues to be a favorite, and I think fans of his will love his development here.  Amma is wonderful, and her love of Ethan knows no bounds.  The Aunts are hilarious and continue to develop as individuals.  Boo isn’t seen as much, but another animal fills in the gap.  While it doesn’t replace Boo (you can never replace an awesome dog), I did not miss him much due to the awesomeness of this animal.  (I’ve never been a huge fan of this animal type, but this character made me want to get one of my own!)

My only slight concern from Beautiful Creatures – the lack of immediate fire some readers think they need in romance – is remedied here.  Even when Lena is drawing away from Ethan, she still can’t resist the physical pull between them.  The passion between the two is hot!

Do you see why I am calling this a book hug?  I can’t stop gushing!  I don’t want to say much more because this one should not be spoiled before you wrap yourself in it.  The ending does set-up book # 3 in an awesome but gasp-worthy way.  When I finished it, I couldn’t believe I have to wait another year to know what happens next.  This series is solidified as a favorite of mine, and I HIGHLY recommend reading Beautiful Darkness.  I can’t wait to order the released copy for my school library, and purchase a copy for my own personal shelves.

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Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland; read in July, 2010.  Copy provided through Netgalley by Houghton Mifflin

Louisa Cosgrove is an independent-minded young woman living in Victorian-era England in Jane Eagland‘s Wildthorn.  The novel opens on Louisa traveling in a carriage towards what she believes will be a sort-of job.  When she arrives, she realizes that she has been delivered to an insane asylum!  The staff insist on calling her by another name and point out the identity confusion as proof that she is in the right place.  Why is Louisa here?  Is she really who she says she is?  Can she rely on any family members to help her, or is she stuck inside this oppressive place?

I shudder to think of the number of women who must have suffered similar fates; locked away because they did not have the desire to follow society’s rules at the time, punished for being smart and wanting to read.  (I would not have survived!)  I’ve always had a mild fascination with old insane asylums and sanitariums/sanatoriums, the reasons people entered the facilities, and how they were treated.  Ms. Eagland allows the reader to get a realistic glimpse into these details, especially as Louisa moves throughout the asylum and sees different levels of care.

The book kept me on my toes, trying to figure out how exactly Louisa ended up in the asylum.  I liked Louisa a lot, and found her believable and sympathetic.  Her family, on the other hand, all had their faults, and I felt sorry for her being stuck with them.  None of them are likable.  One female relative (I’ll avoid saying who because it could slightly spoil the plot twists) could be an exception, but in the end of the book, I disagreed with the choices she made.  I do think said choices are what women in that time period would have done, so I think it’s just something I need to accept in my head.  I liked Eliza and could appreciate her character development.  She reminded me of Martha in The Secret Garden, which is a comparison I have since seen mentioned elsewhere.

I will definitely be adding this to my high school library once it is released.  The cover is very eye-catching and will sell itself to a number of readers.  I look forward to reading her other book, Whisper My Name.

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On a side note, this is the first full book I have read on a Kindle.  I don’t think I read it any slower or faster than a paper book, but I have to admit that at times, I was distracted.  The “page size” is too small.  The text size is fine, but I want the screen to be bigger, to fit more text on it.  I also took a while to get used to the button set-up.  I wanted the “next page” button to the left of the screen to be a “previous page” and I kept hitting that to go back.  It’s an older release, so it appears the buttons have changed.


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