Friday, January 29, 2010

so far, no snow

The kids are home, yet again, for a snow day. I'm looking outside at some very brown grass, overcast skies and wondering if/when the snow, sleet, ice etc will arrive. I understand the decision to close the schools today; a lot of rural areas will get dicey if the wet stuff comes down considering it is quite cold outside. And the last thing anyone wants is a bunch of school buses or teen drivers on the road if it does get icy.

So for right now, the girls are hovering waiting to get their hands on this laptop. The boy is upstairs in bed reading. I'm working on laundry and getting ready to put some beef roasts in the oven for supper tonight and for easy to eat meals over the weekend.

I am reading Tracy Chevalier's latest book, "Remarkable Creatures." I love her writing. Reading one of her books is sort of like eating a really good dessert. You want to slow down and savor every delicious and complex spoonful, but it is so darn good that it is hard to do that. She crafts some amazing sentences that flow into wonderful paragraphs then morph into compelling chapters and memorable books. She brings the past to life and her characterization is breathtaking and heartbreaking all at once.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

lots of drama

I spied "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" at B&N a few weeks back when I was browsing with the kids. I didn't pick it up, or read the blurbs, but when I saw it at the Library I went ahead and checked it out.

Author Beth Fantaskey's debut YA novel is going to make a lot of teen girls very happy. Although, I wonder if a few of them won't scratch their heads at the mismatched title and tone of the book. The title makes the book sound like a light hearted, frothy teen romance. Which, are fun to read every now and then, as you can just let you brain soak in the silliness. The plot of this book, however, isn't very silly or frothy. The title is a play on words for a book that our heroine is given by her 'betrothed' so she can carefully navigate becoming a vampire.

It seems that Jessica, whose real name is Antanasia, is a Romanian vampire princess betrothed in infancy to the rival vampire clan's prince in order to forge a peace deal between the waring factions. When Jessica's vampire parents are killed, she is sent to live in the U.S. with the anthropologists studying the vampires and is out of that culture for 17 years. Lucius Vladescu, in all his European royal hotness, shows up one day to claim his bride. Jessica wants none of it...well, at first. Even though she doesn't want to, Jessica falls for Lucius, her inner vampiness just can't resist him.

The conflicting tones in this story set my 'fangs' on edge. On one hand we have girls drooling over the new boy in class. On the other hand we have abusive family relationships, teens responsible for the safety of their families, and a conclusion that left me with a frown on my face. I won't spoil it for you in case you pick the book up and read it. The book does do a nice job of not falling victim to the you have to be blonde, skinny and a cheerleader with straight hair to be happy theme. Jessica is a strong girl, smart and resourceful. The dialogue reads well and it sounds genuine. The plot moves at a good clip, no sagging middle or unnecessary scenes.

But my problem is that the book feels like two possible stories melded into one. A light hearted dating romp with a paranormal twist haphazardly blended together with a rival clan damaged star crossed lovers tale.

I'd read another book by this gal, but I'd like to send a wet noodle to whoever gave the book its title.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

author visit

I was able to take the middle kid and attend the author visit at our library yesterday. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl stopped in during their Southern state publicity tour. They chatted and read from their debut novel, "Beautiful Creatures" for about an hour. The CRM from Barnes and Noble was on hand to sell the book, so we bought one and had the authors sign it.

It was very interesting to hear about how the story came to be, how they became agented and their road to publication. Most definitely not the norm and most definitely proof that knowing people in the industry helps once you've written the best book you can. The book was auctioned and the authors selected Little Brown from a field of several houses. A movie is in the works, Warner Bros. picked up the film rights. A screenwriter has been named and if I heard correctly, a director/producer has been picked as well.

All in two years time. Zero to Sixty.

Hubby asked me if it motivated me to get back to my own writing. No, not really. Those two gals put the E in exception and not the E in rule.

Can't wait to read their book; first two chapters pull you in and make you want to carve out some major time to read more.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


My middle kid sat down next to me last night and asked to be cuddled. She's feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the third quarter projects and assignments at school. Plus, soccer is starting to gear up for her and she is working out her place on this new team. She didn't start in the scrimmage on Saturday, first time ever the whistle blew and she was on the side line instead of the field. I could tell it bothered her even though she said she didn't mind. She understands she has to prove herself and earn that spot, but it still hurts.

She snuggled up next to me, being way too big to sit on my lap like she did when she was much younger, and we talked about what was going on with her. We talked about the Biology test Wednesday and the Spanish test on Thursday. We talked about soccer. We talked about English and the Animal Farm project due next week. She does have a lot going on right now.

I listened. I asked open ended questions. I kissed her head and told her it would all be okay. We talked about setting a schedule and working each day on these projects. We talked about how the best way to alleviate those 'stressy' feelings is to work on things and not just sit and think about them.

These cuddle moments will become fewer and far between as she travels further into her teen years. Those quiet moments when the distractions are few and she is really listening are sometimes hard to find.

It was a nice thing that we found that moment last night and that a cuddle from Mommy can still help.

Monday, January 25, 2010


We had a lovely Sunday dinner yesterday and a truly enjoyable weekend. Saturday I was able to watch both my girls play soccer, against each other, and play really well. That is always so much fun. The camaraderie withing this group of girls is a joy to watch. We enjoyed some great football yesterday. I'm reading a really good book. Hubby and youngest worked on a science fair project. It was just a lovely weekend full of good things.

So, today it is time to pay the piper and I need to give our home a thorough cleaning. Never quite got around to it last week other than spot cleaning a few spots. I imagine it will take the better portion of my child free time. Well, those four hours go fast no matter what I am doing.

I received a nice note from our local newspaper editor regarding the annual report I compiled and the article I submitted regarding our Friends group. Looks like she will be using it in a future edition. Our Library is hosting two YA authors tomorrow. I'm very excited about this as these two ladies are NYT bestsellers and now that the effort has been made to secure them, who knows who else we can get to swing by our place while they are in the area. Hope word spreads about how awesome we are!!

So, it was a lovely weekend and I have high hopes for just as good of a week.

Friday, January 22, 2010

spinning plates

Started a new book yesterday and while I was at the Library I checked out two more, plus I borrowed one from the bookstore stocking closet. Looks like my TBR pile is replenished now.

Hope the sunshine returns today as I'd like to take the Duke for a long stroll before I begin whatever chores I am going to attempt to complete today. The weekend looks like it will be rainy and gray, so I want to soak up as much sun as I can while the sun is shining.

As we enter the final week of January, I have to say that 2010 is off to a good start. All the plates are spinning, things seem to be moving along, everyone is healthy and life in this new year is okay-dokey.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

count saint-germain

I finished "Burning Shadows" last night while I waited for the middle kid to finish at soccer conditioning. So, there I sat in my mini van, in a mostly dark parking lot under one of two lights, reading about a Hun attack on a Dacian monastery in the year 439.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's books are always full of interesting historical and religious tidbits as she exposes her 2500 year old vampire to a variety of 'dangers.' Yes, Saint-Germain is already 2500 years undead in the year 439....he's seen a lot already. Probably my favorite part of this book is that Yarbro included Atta Olivia Clemens in the story. Olivia is a roman widow, brought to Saint-Germain's life several centuries earlier. Because Yarbro jumps around in time with these stories, she is able to resurrect characters that have 'died' in books published years ago.

I wonder if these stories are making a comeback and sort of expect to see the earlier Saint-Germain books republished with new covers and new blurbs. No reason Yarbro shouldn't cash in on the vampire craze now even though she has been writing this Count's story for the past 20 plus years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I just love Netflix. Yesterday in the mail two new DVDs were delivered, another disc in the first season of Supernatural and then Julie & Julia. The girls and I watched J&J last night and had a ball. Cute movie, good acting and ahhhh, the Paris scenes made us all want to catch the next plane and go back. The scene in front of Shakespeare & Co. made us laugh as we remembered our quest to find that bookstore.

I just recently added a bunch of titles to my queue, some of the movies aren't released yet, but I've slotted them in line. We are averaging about two movies a week, and I love the convenience of them arriving and departing via the mailbox.

Pouring rain moved in just in time for me to wake up. I enjoy falling asleep to the sound of rain, but loathe waking in a thunderstorm. I feel groggy all day when that happens and think I should take multiple naps.

Looks like it will be a good day to sit in the kitchen and work on the laptop. I have several things I need to take care of and may as well use the inclement weather as a nudge to finish them.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

when tuesday feels like monday

Having Monday off means a break in the normal routine and a nice three day weekend for the kids to enjoy. Then Tuesday comes and it feels like Monday and the rest of the week is all out of sorts. I'll cope with the odd flow of the remaining weekdays, because that extra day of 'rest' was appreciated.

This is project time for the kids. Lots of school projects for English, Science, Math etc. It makes the third quarter a bear, but it also makes the days fly.

I have Friends projects I should be working on, but I'm having a hard time getting geared up for them. I need to dig deep and get to work.

Yesterday I began a new book by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. She has been writing about Count Saint Germain for decades now. The book I'm reading is number 23 in his story and it appears she has no intention of stopping as she referred to number 24 in the dedication.

Beef stroganoff for dinner. No soccer tonight. Quick trip to the grocery store. Quick trip to the Library.

But first, the dog needs walking and I need to stretch my legs. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, January 18, 2010

reading away

I finished "Agnes and the Hitman" as well as "Divine Misdemeanors" over the weekend and enjoyed both books.

"Agnes" is the first book I've ever read by Jennifer Crusie. The story moved quickly, the characters were delightful, and the plot had plenty of twists and turns. I will look for more titles by her. "Divine" was a very typical Hamilton book, and once you begin reading her series you stick with them.

Kids off school today, eye doctor visit for one, then back home to enjoy the rest of the day.

Waiting for the sun to burn off the morning fog. Enjoy the beginning to the new week.

Friday, January 15, 2010

switching books

After my meeting at the library yesterday, I scanned the 'new book' shelf and came away with two titles. Then I drove to pick up hubby from the auto repair shop, had to wait a bit for him, and wound up reading. So, I have set aside "Agnes and the Hitman" for the moment so I can read Laurell K. Hamilton's latest Merry Gentry novel "Divine Misdemeanors."

Couldn't help myself. Once I got started in Merry's world, going back to the flamingo themed wedding shenanigans of Agnes' world just wasn't a priority! Merry has a mystery to solve, a pregnancy to cope with, as well as assorted other issues to deal with in this novel.

These books are always a quick read, so I figure I will be back to finish the Agnes book before the weekend is out.

Today is Costco day. I have a list, a plan and the will to get it done! Tonight is Winter Fest...first high school dance for the middle kid. She's excited as the the older one, should be a wild time as they hustle about getting ready to leave.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

crazy cooks and books

I jumped from the Tudors in merry old England to the rundown southern plantation home of a crazy cook and her assorted nutty mob-connected friends. Yep, I've delved into "Agnes and the Hitman" for my next read. I'm not quite finished, but I can tell you I will be looking for more books by the Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer writing team. Fun, quick, entertaining reads with snappy dialogue and a breakneck pace.

Up today is a meeting at the Library with the director about all things related to the Friends and the next two years as I steer the 'ship.'

I also need to finish making my Costco list as that is my destination for Friday. Winter Fest dance is Friday night for the girls, so I will need to pick up a few of the Costco take and bake pizzas.

Last night was a normal night for us...running the girls to and fro across town for soccer. It has been almost a month since we had soccer at night, and I think we were all feeling 'it' by the end of the evening.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Tudors

I just finished another novel set during England's Tudor era. Boy, those Tudors, quite the fodder for books. This novel, "The Pleasure Palace" is the first in a planned series called "Secrets of the Tudor Court" and was written by Kate Emerson. When I looked at the publication page, I noticed the copyright was given to Kathy Lynn Emerson. I've read books by Kathy Lynn before and quite enjoyed her mystery series featuring Susanna, Lady Appleton. That series was also set during the Tudor era and featured Elizabeth I.

So, Emerson is using a different name and reinventing herself as a writer for this new endeavor. Huh. I did know the Lady Appleton series began with one publisher and then finished with another. Not sure why the name change as it seems Emerson is quite established as a writer who does a good job with that period of history.

This was a good read. Jane Popyncourt is not an amateur sleuth like Lady Susanna, but she does have a mystery to solve. Who is she? Why did her mother flee France for England? Why was she taken into Henry VII's household immediately upon their arrival in England?

Books about children born on the wrong side of the royal sheets aren't uncommon, but Emerson does have a very deft hand with making history come to life and creating sympathetic heroines.

I'd read the next one if I found it at our bookstore or in the library..."Between Two Queens" is the upcoming book's title according the cover of the current novel.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The oldest kid and I watched a couple of TV shows last night. We flipped back and forth between Chuck and How I met your Mother. Love the latter show and if I'm inclined to watch TV at night, and this show is on, I make a point of watching it. Funny writing, good acting and it always makes me smile. Chuck, on the other hand, I watch only every once in a while. It is a cute show, seems to have good writing and decent plots.

Last night, the kid made a good observation. Chuck's brother in law seemed to be in danger of dying at the close of the show. We both thought for sure he was a goner at the hands of an evil assassin, but the previews for next week reveal he is still alive and kicking, although a hostage to no less than Angie Harmon, the celebrity guest sure to make all the men drool. She then turned to me and said, "If this was a BBC America show, he'd be soooo dead already. They kill people off without flinching and it works."

Why yes they do. They killed off Maid Marian and then Robin Hood in the Robin Hood series. They, on a regular basis, change the actor who portrays Dr. Who. They killed off almost all of the characters in Torchwood. They aren't afraid to really mix things up and hurt their little darlings.

Remember the high drama when a loved character died on Hills Street Blues or Mash or any other American TV show of the last three decades. It is a MAJOR event. It makes the papers. It is called daring, risky etc.

In British TV it is just good writing and good storytelling. The little darlings get hurt, sometimes they die and the other characters have to pick up the pieces and move on. Now that is DRAMA. And that is why we watch a lot of BBCA in our house.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Young Adult

It has been five years since I first started my job at the library as the Young Adult associate. I've been 'retired' for three years now, but during my two years on the job, I grew to enjoy YA books and became quite intrigued by the rapid development of this segment in the publishing world. I still scour the YA shelves looking for good things to read and it is the one section in Barnes and Noble that I spend the most time browsing.

I was in the store yesterday having a coffee with my friend Kim. She has a YA book coming out from a new small publishing company and has received her first round of edits. We looked through the current YA titles and discussed how much has changed in the tone of those books over the past five years. I'd say 90% of the book covers are dark in tone. I'm talking color choice, graphic choice etc. Fantasy reigns supreme whether it be fairies, vamps, weres or ghosts. Of course the tone of the stories has changed too. YA books can be gritty, dark and full of many 'adult' themes.

The market has grown. The shelf space given to YA in the bookstore now is double what it was five years ago. Our library added shelf space to YA as well, something that was planned before I left my position.

I've also noticed several books located in YA that were once kept in the Adult sections. Some books are being released and are automatically marketed for both segments of readers.

It was fun to look at the covers yesterday, read the jacket copy and wish I had my old job back so I could buy those books and get them on our library's shelves.

Friday, January 8, 2010


When I woke this morning our temp was at a whopping 9 degrees. Brrrrr. Well, I have a good coat and all the appropriate cold weather gear, so I will be heading out to the store this morning to do some pantry restocking and then home to snuggle up with a good book, a cup of tea and one of my mom's quilts.

Perfection, or at least as close at it gets to that state.

My brother will be arriving back in the states today from his most recent deployment to "the Stan" as he calls it. My parents along with his lovely wife will be there to greet him at the airport. I wonder if the kids know he is getting home today or if they will have a wonderful surprise waiting from them when they get home from school.

Got an email newsletter from Michelle Moran yesterday. I've blogged about her novels and she has even commented on a few of my posts. Pleased as punch that Target has picked her debut novel, "Nefertiti," as one of their book club selections. Spiffy new cover for the book along with lots of other neat things inside. She has a spruced up website, a facebook page and other fun things going on. Congrats to her for starting of 2010 in such a fantabulous way. She so deserves it. Michelle travels a lot and has interesting posts on her site about her excursions. Can't wait for her next book!

Looks to be a good weekend! Enjoy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

snow day

Yep, no school.
1/2 inch of snow.
Colder temps coming.

Stay tuned for more weather updates and school closings.......

Good thing I had a book to read today. I started and finished Anne Rice's latest, "Angel Time." Interesting read. Started off a bit odd, got rolling and now I can't wait for the next installment in reformed assassin Toby O'Dare's life as a time traveling helper to a Seraph.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

and here we are

I have my first meeting as president of the Friends of the Library today. Wow. Hard to believe that I've been technically 'out of a job' for three years now, because it sure seems like I've been busier than when I collected a paycheck. Yes, I left employment with the library three years ago and on the first day after my official last day, I joined the Friends. I've been working ever since.

But, I do love our library and the whole concept of libraries in general, so while I may not get paid in dollars, I do get paid in other ways.

I've been compiling our 2009 annual report and am always amazed, excited and proud of what this group has done. Every single active member contributes. We put on amazing book sales. The book store is thriving and serves a need in our community for inexpensive reading materials as well as a place to connect with other readers. We have raised money to make visible improvements to not only the library's collections, but also to the library's comfort level for users and employees.

I've made some dear friends through this group. I've grown from knowing them and am a better person today than I was three years ago from the experiences I've had.

So, at 1:00 today, I wield the gavel for the first time....wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

a day of "ings"

Up for today:

Yep, my life is now back to normal. I managed to get my presidential papers in order and now I have to take care of some official correspondence with two governmental agencies. Wow. Sounds important, doesn't it. I also have to get the first quarter's publicity put together and distributed. Then, with a final tweak to the agenda for tomorrow's meeting, I will be ready to roll.

And if i get all of that done, note I put 'reading' last on the list, I will crack open another book to TBR pile is dwindling. Perhaps I will raid the donation closet while I am at the library on Wednesday or maybe I will get lucky and find a new release on the shelf that I want to read.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First book of the new year

The middle kid and I ventured out to B&N on Saturday to purchase 2010 calendars and assorted other things we couldn't live without. Included in that would be the latest Georgia Nicholson book by Louise Rennison. I credit Georgia and her creator for sparking an interest in reading within my oldest child. Ten books later, Georgia is still as hilarious as ever and still on the "rack of luuurrve." "Are these my basoomas I see before me," is the final book in the series and we will miss the entire Ace gang and all of their antics. I hope Rennison has other books in her head and other endearing characters waiting backstage for their debuts.

Because I'm a lazy girl, I didn't enter in each title in the book series I read this past year. I clumped them all together and left it at that. Doing a quick scan and a quick count, I easily passed the 100 book mark again. It was a good reading year and with the excellent start I made over the weekend, 2010 looks to be a good one as well.

I also finished "The Fruit of her Hands" by Michelle Cameron over the weekend. Wonderful book that fictionalizes the true story of a famous Jewish rabbi's wife's story from the middle ages. The persecution of the Jewish people by the Church was horrific and was widespread not only in continental Europe but also in England.

Today is the day I've set aside to go through all the presidential stuff for the Friends and make my lists, take care of some things and basically get myself in order for our meeting on Wednesday. I also have some PR things to do for them and other miscellaneous duties. I hope it doesn't take all day, but I'm prepared in case it does.

The vacation is over. Time to get back to reality.

Friday, January 1, 2010

a new year

2010. It seems a bit surreal to type that number. Sort of like it is the harbinger of some major scientific discovery. Who knows what the new year will bring? Some good things, some bad things, some things that may not reveal their nature until later on down the road.

I actually stayed awake until it was midnight in New York, was able to see the ball drop and enjoy a toast with my hubby. Thank goodness for the one hour difference!!

When I was fresh out of college I used to sit down and write a recap sheet of all the things I had done the previous year and the goals I had for the new one on New Year's day. Then one year, shortly after hubby and I were married, my purse was stolen at the library and all those sheets were lost. I had kept them in my wallet. Once those were gone, I didn't keep up the habit.

Now that I have the blog, I do keep track of the books I have read. I need to count the listings today or tomorrow, write a recap and then get ready to put up a list for 2010. I also need to transfer info to my new 2010 calendar that hangs in the kitchen.

Beyond that, today is going to be a quiet day, we may take down some of the holiday decorations to lighten the work load for tomorrow. We have soup and munchies planned for food. I'd like to hit the bookstore for a while. I may work on my puzzle.

Maybe I will make one of those lists again like I used to. It is a good thing to take stock of where you've been and to think about where you'd like to go. Here's to a good 2010!