Tuesday, November 30, 2010

torment and other stuff

I read Lauren Kate's second book in her Fallen series yesterday. "Torment" was a quick read, and I skimmed some of the parts of the book. Luce has been whisked away by angel-boy, Daniel to a special school on the California coast. She will be safer there than at Sword and Cross, the school she attended in the first book.  Several of the angel and demon characters from Fallen make a reappearance in this story, but the far more interesting characters are the new ones. Luce makes new friends, questions her undying/reincarnated love affair with Daniel and begins to question if her future is as cast in stone as the angels would make her believe.

In other news.....the tree is lit and trimmed. The front door and holly bushes are lit and decorated. The fireplace has stocking hung on it and my every growing collection of Christmas books arranged in a huge laundry basket in front of it.  We are in countdown mode.

Hard to believe that 2 years ago we were counting down to our Europe trip. What an amazing vacation and experience that was. I think about it often, especially this time of year.

Happy Tuesday...lots to do today..but first, time to rally the troops.

Monday, November 29, 2010

mistress of the art of death

I find the best treasures in our donation piles at the library. A couple of weeks ago, a cover featuring a woman standing over a skull caught my eye.  When I realized it was a medieval mystery, the book came home with me.  Since then I've learned this title is the first in a series.  Of course our library doesn't own the series, but our neighboring town's library does and I've already requested the second book be sent over.

Ariana Franklin's heroine is a female doctor, a foundling raised by a Jewish doctor and his Christian wife. Adelia, trained at her father's side, becomes quite adept at 'reading' the dead.  Medieval forensics was based mostly on observations and intuition, but Adelia shows us that a whole lot can be told with careful looking.  She is sent from Sicily by King William to Henry II's England to help solve a string of murders, the victims all children in Cambridge.  Of course the Jews have been blamed and as the entire town's Jewish population is hiding behind the castle walls, their money making enterprises have now put a major crimp in the financial dealings of that region. Hence the king's interest and his request to borrow a 'death reader' from the medical school in Salerno.

Franklin does a great job with providing an interesting assortment of characters, some wonderful settings and plenty of action.

Well done.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving

As we feed our tummies with the wonderful food of the holiday and give thanks for all of the culinary delights on our tables, let us remember to give thanks for the many things that feed our soul.

Enjoy the holiday. Give Thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

democracy in action/inaction

You know you live in the buckle of the bible belt when it is okay to drink beer on one side of the town square, but not the other. And when 'small and less intrusive government' Republicans pass up the chance for retail tax revenue because it might not be family friendly.  Or because the Baptist minister tells them that it isn't family friendly.

Or, you might know you live in the buckle of the bible belt when a procedural vote to approve a basic housekeeping measure regarding the ordinance is voted down. Yep. Just. Vote. No. Vote No to all of it, just to be safe something doesn't slip by you.

It doesn't matter that 15 folks spoke in favor of the ordinance and only 4 spoke against...but that was obvious when one alderman voiced his opinion, from the bench, BEFORE the public comment portion even happened. Ahem.

The look on the other two aldermen's faces was priceless....those yahoos voted No on a housekeeping measure? Really? As in cleaning up policy and procedure already in place regarding beer licenses for existing establishments in town? No??  Guess not. Wallow away in your ineffiecieny, we just spout off about advocating smaller more effective government. Why use only one sheet of paper when ten sheets is far better?

So, you can have beer and wine on the east side, but not the west...just wine over there. No beer because beer drinking, especially the light beer variety, leads to stabbings, just like it did in 1970 at the pool halls, on paydays, back in the day....Seriously. And make sure in narrow, historic buildings you cram 48 seats in an eating establishment, because 25 might lead to anarchy.

And forget about paying for a $600,000 renovation on a white elephant of a building with no parking via tax revenue and rental income from private parties that might serve alcohol. Check into other revenue streams...hope all those Baptist kids are lining up to reserve the space for their birthday parties. No brides or grooms or corporate gatherings will be allowed, unless they like to toast with grape juice.

Good grief. Beam. Me. Up.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

wicked appetite

Before books are shelved on the 14 day racks at the library, they sit on a cart at the end of the circulation counter. I always peruse that cart before I leave. My stop there paid off yesterday as I was able to snag the latest Janet Evanovich book, "Wicked Appetite." Fun. Fun. Fun.

In her Stephanie Plum series, she has a few books called the 'inbetween the numbers' stories. These are more like novellas in length and feature a character named Diesel, who is quite hunky and also a bit magical. Diesel must have received a lot of fan mail, because Evanovich has decided to base a new series around him and a cupcake baking young woman named Lizzy Tucker.

Trademark Evanovich pacing, dialogue and humor reign supreme in this first book. I sat down and read the entire thing yesterday afternoon. Good Stuff.

Although I didn't review them, I did read two books last week. I read a Cat and Bones adventure from Jeanine Frost. Enjoyed it.  I also read a very interesting take on the Romeo and Juliet story by Anne Fortier entitled "Juliet."  Good book.

Off to enjoy that first cuppa and maybe convince the dog that he can fetch the paper even though we are in the middle of what seems to be monsoon like rains. Wowsa.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

J.K. Rowling! Thank you!!

Thank You for the gift you have given the world. Harry and his friends first came into our lives one Christmas. My parents gave my family the first three books as a gift and our adventure in your world began. My daughters have grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione and the books have helped them learn to love reading.

They went to see the first part of the final movie on Friday night with a group of girls every bit as enamored by your stories as they are. Hubby and I took the youngest on Sunday. The books and the movies are part of our child raising experience. Your world is part of our family memory. 

I don't think, when you held that very first book in your hand, you had any idea of how important these characters would become.

Game changer. Not just for you....but for all of us too. So, thank you. Thank you for writing them and thank you for not listening to all the 'No' answers from those first few publishers.

Books can change the world. Yours have.

Friday, November 19, 2010

harry potter

The excitement level has been steadily building all week. Heck, if I'm honest, it has been building in my house for months. It began when they discovered film #7's movie trailer on YouTube and has now reached fever pitch. The tickets are purchased and the older two are set to sit for 3 hours and lose themselves in the first part of the movie adaptation of the final Harry Potter book. Hubby and I will be taking the youngest on Sunday to enjoy the movie.

They are so excited they are actively pursuing establishing a high school club for Harry P. This club would be complete with a muggle version of quidditch and all. They have even chatted about what type of volunteer work they would do as a club. They have a faculty sponsor. Serious business!

Hats off to JK Rowling. When you look at her 'story' and the stories she created then shared with all of us, it almost seems like divine intervention combined with a lot of human perspiration.  Phenomenas are like that. Wow.

So, Harry and Ron and Hermione, I can't wait to see you again on the big screen!  Happy Weekend:)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

good news on all fronts

Yesterday was one of those banner type of days. The weather was perfect for hubby's office open house. They had a good turnout of folks who came over to wish them well and see the new place. I was able to network with some folks about my eventual return to the workforce. Hubby got a lead on a possible speaking engagement in the Spring.  The oldest called with the awesome news that she was accepted into the National Honor Society!!  Middle kid was recommended by the toughest English teacher in the high school as a possible tutor for a freshman girl who is struggling with sentence diagramming. Plus, tonight she will be inducted into the Beta Club! The youngest had a good chess match at his club. 

Good news on all fronts.

Off today to sort and stock at the bookstore and then we are having a farewell lunch for one of the ladies who is moving back home to Kentucky.
Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

running away

I ran away from home last night, kidnapped my husband from work, took him out for a bite to eat at our fave little restaurant on our town square and then over to the mall for some Christmas shopping. It. Was. Lovely.

Just what I needed. Ahhhhhh. A bit of spontaneity in my very scheduled life.

We may not get to sneak away, run away, hide etc. like that until after the holiday season is over.

So, my meeting yesterday went well and we hope to pare down our Friends website to a two page presence by year end.  It will be much more manageable and I hope we can find someone to take on that duty. If not, we have a plan to phase it out entirely and move some more content to the main library site.

I returned a book to the Library and came home to make dinner, do laundry and read a bit.

Hubby's office is having an open house at their new location today. As he asked me to invite some of my friends, I will be there for the duration. The rain has stopped, so if the temps rise a bit, it should make for a very pleasant four hours.

Happy Hump Day....Wednesday is here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Link Soup

I am facebook 'friends' with Anne Rice and she posted a link to this article about libraries. Now, granted, they focus on major metropolitan libraries on the coast, but I can see these changes trickling down, so to speak. I've actually had conversations with library staff about these concepts and how they might be implemented. Change.  Is it good? Is it a no call?


It is raining, raining, raining here today. Makes it hard to clear the cobwebs and sleep out of my head. But, I need to wake up and get ready to move. I have a meeting this morning with the volunteer who manages our website. She spent countless hours building it and has spent even more time taking care of it.  She is ready to start stepping away, so we are in the process of streamlining the site down to two manageable, bare bones pages. The problem is the majority of our volunteers are not interested in learning how to update the site and care for it. They like the idea of having it, but it takes work and that isn't so appealing.

I am also beginning a job search. Yep. I think it is time I became gainfully employed again and bring in a paycheck. Not sure what direction I will take, but 'work' is on the horizon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

not enough time

The weekends are never long enough. Mondays seems to also share that problem. I always have more to do on a Monday than time will allow. Unless I perfect cloning. Unless I have one of those cool time rewind gadgets Hermione Granger uses in Harry Potter to take a double class load during her fourth year.

Today is no exception. Ugh.

But, I'm going to make my list and hope to get the vast majority of it done before 2:30. The oldest has a 'friend' coming over for math tutoring....need to be around for that one.

Didn't finish reading my current book selection, but I hope to be able to get back to it, at least for a few pages today. I'm enjoying the beginning of Anne Fortier's novel "Juliet". Yep, and it is about THAT Juliet along with a modern day version.

Off to make my list. Happy Monday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

reading out of order

I finished reading the first Lady Julia book from Deanna Raybourn last night. Reading these novels out of order didn't bother me in the least.  I think I've found a new series and a new author to add to my ever growing favorites list.

"Silent in the Grave" was a wonderful read full of all the twists and turns a good mystery should contain. Add into that wonderfully vibrant characters, great dialogue and just about perfect plot pacing and you have a winner of a book.

It is Veteran's Day today. The kids are off from school and I have my  normal Thursday things to do. The middle kid has her first club soccer practice of the season. The youngest needs his allergy shot. The oldest has homework to finish.  Ho hum, ho hum.

I was thinking about Veteran's Day and wondering how many American families have Veterans or relatives currently serving. I wonder if that number has dropped as a percentage of our population or risen. I would think it has dropped as the draft is no longer an issue, but perhaps I am wrong. I'm sure I can find the answer with a bit of digging around online.

My family has a lot of veterans in the many generations that are still with us. And in my generation, I have cousins who have served and a brother still serving.  I wonder if that is going to become an uncommon American experience.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

busy day

Here we are at Wednesday already, and I'm not sure where Tuesday went. It was a busy day from start to finish as the kids' schedule was out of sorts which then threw my daily routine into the dumpster by 6:00 AM.

The youngest had to be at school very, very early to serve a detention for being tardy to his third period class. He had to sit and do social studies worksheets for an hour....perfect reminder for him about being on time. He is not eager to repeat that experience.  The other two girls were gearing up for the soccer banquet. So, I had errands to run for them while they were at school and then shoe shopping to accomplish for the middle kid once she got home.

The banquet was really very nice. The food is catered in by a local Italian restaurant and is quite yummy for banquet food. Hubby went this year with me; he's missed the last two years due to travel. He enjoyed the experience as well. It was really neat to see the oldest get her varsity letter. Several of the girls' friends won 'awards' this year...and the JV squad was recognized for the amazing season they had. They had a combined record of 16 wins and only 1 loss. Woot!!

Today I need to stay home and work here. No errands, I hope. But, who knows that can change once everyone starts climbing out of bed.

I did manage to find the first book in the Lady Julia Grey series at the library. I'm reading it  now and am enjoying it just as much as the second title. I also spied a Bernard Cornwell new release on the 14 day shelf, but by the time I got back to it, it was gone. I will have to keep my eyes out for it next week.

The book club meeting on Monday went really well and they are excited about our new book club in a bag program for 2011. The titles were selected and once I arrived home I was able to compile a list of them, along with the authors and the ISBN numbers so I can order them once we receive our institutional discount card from B&N.  Full steam ahead on this project.

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

lady julia grey series

When I found "The Dead Travel Fast" by Deanna Raybourn in our donation pile, it looked like a novel I'd enjoy reading, so it came home with me. In scanning the book's back cover blurbs I learned Raybourn also writes a series featuring an amateur sleuth, Lady Julia Grey. Hmmm. I thought those sounded like good reads also and jotted down the titles to see if the library owned them. Well, before I could check to see if we had them, I found the second title in our donation pile. Yippee.

Most authors of series will do a decent enough job recapping what came to pass in the first book as they set up the second book.  Raybourn is no exception and I was able to read this novel, "Silent in the Sanctuary" without feeling lost in the larger plot/character arcs.

Lady Julia is one of ten children in the eccentric March family....they inspired the saying "mad as a March hare."  She is a recent widow, her husband having been murdered. This death is the basis for the first book from what I can tell.  At the opening of book two, Julia is in Italy with two of her brothers enjoying the country and resting.  They are called home to England by their father for the holidays. An assortment of friends and family are visiting the March ancestral home, Bellmont Abbey.  When one of the house guests turns up dead in the abbey's sanctuary, Julia along with Brisbane, the man who helped her solve her husband's murder and has since stolen her heart, have only days to unravel what has happened.

Raybourn does a wonderful job juggling a wide assortment of characters. I fell in love with the Marches and am now on the hunt for the first book, "Silent in the Grave."

The fall time change has my internal clock quite befuddled. I woke yesterday at 3:50 and today at 4:40. I hope that by tomorrow I am adjusted to the 'new' time and can stay in bed for a few more minutes. Although, the quiet and peace in the house at 4:00 in the morning is enjoyable!!  Busy week this week for all of us.  The oldest will have school work to make up. The youngest will have school work to make up as he was ill on Friday, but was recovered enough to make the long awaited trip to the space center in Huntsville, Alabama. He loved it.  We have a soccer banquet to attend. The middle kid has her first club soccer practice of the year with her new coach. I have a book club meeting to visit so I can explain the new program.

A wide variety of events will make this a very interesting week!

Friday, November 5, 2010

heaven's spite

Wow. Wow. Wow. 

Lilith Saintcrow is one heckuva writer and creates the most amazingly wounded and damaged, but strong female characters. And in the current urban fantasy field , she has to rate as one of the best. Her plots are packed with non stop action. The book grabs you by the throat on page one and doesn't let you go until the final sentence. Maybe.

Jill Kismet has been kicking hellbreed butt for five books now. The next title, Angel Town, will conclude this series. But, back to "Heaven's Spite."  All hell is breaking loose, yet again, and the only gal who can keep things buttoned down is our girl, Jill.  But, all is not as it seems and Jill soons learns secrets that will shift her reality and make her ask questions better left alone.

These books are not for the faint of heart or the queasy stomach set. Saintcrow's version of urban fantasy has a lot of horror elements to it. Dark. Gritty. Violent. Down right scary.  But, if you want a story that refuses to compromise, and a writer who never pulls a punch and puts her characters through hell, brings them back and then does it all again...check Saintcrow out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

one and done

The oldest girl sat on the bench and watched her team lose 4-0 in the first round of state play. From what the newspaper reported, they out shot the other team 8-6, but were not able to find the back of the net. Guess it was cold and rainy too as the kid said she was glad I made her take two big trash bags with her for wet, muddy soccer gear. She said they came in handy. Hmmmm, mom may still know a thing or two!! Ha Ha.

But, instead of coming home today as they should....I guess our principal, in his ultimate wisdom, said the team can stay today and shop or maybe go to the aquarium. What the F????? They lost. They should be coming home. They should be in school tomorrow.

She wasn't too happy about this and her dad and I are really not happy. Arghhhhh. 

Of course the middle kid, when hearing the news, said it sounds like fun to her and is just one more reason she wants to make varsity next year.

Maybe the principal is really a teenaged girl in disguise. That could explain a lot.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

new books

I made a trip yesterday to B&N as the middle kid needed a book for an English project. Of course, the Friends store didn't have a copy. Yep, I had to pay full freight for "The Alchemist." Ugh.  But, while I was there, I found the latest Jill Kismet novel by Lilith Saintcrow...which I happily paid for as I checked out. Yeah!!

Something to read on a rainy afternoon and morning....go, Jill, go! Kick some hellbreed butt!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

behind door number one....

Not sure what today will have in store for us.  The oldest kid boards the bus for the state soccer tourney. Their first game is tomorrow. If they win, they play Thursday. If they win that one, they are in the championship game and play Saturday.  I seriously doubt she will see any playing time, but the experience is going to be interesting for her.

The middle kid is busy getting ready for club soccer. She and a team mate are working out every day after school. Treadmill, elliptical, ab work. Yep...I'm sure they are managing to have some fun too.

I have my meeting this morning with the Library director regarding the program the Friends would like to begin to honor Anne.  I put together my proposal yesterday along with Wednesday's meeting agenda. Keeping my fingers crossed that they will be willing to partner with us, but if they aren't, we are going to do this one solo.

Hubby was dismissed as a potential juror yesterday. He didn't make the cut for criminal court and was held for civil, but they managed to seat a jury before they got to his number. So, he is now done for the next ten years. He said it was interesting, but he was tired when he arrived home. He said it felt like being in an airport all day waiting for a flight.

Youngest has chess club this morning. When he comes home this afternoon, I will be treated to the play by play of the match.  He is very excited for his big field trip on Saturday to Huntsville.

I didn' do any reading yesterday, but did watch a movie called "Ondine" starring Colin Farrell.  Pretty good once I managed to 'tune' my ear to the Irish accents.

Monday, November 1, 2010

History and Mystery

Susan Holloway Scott has a knack for taking a royal mistress and bringing her to life. She does it again in "The Countess and the King, A novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II." Those crazy Stuart boys really knew how to woo the ladies during Restoration England. Katherine Sedley wasn't James' only mistress, but her unconventional upbringing makes her a very interesting figure. Not a beauty by the day's standard, she relied on her wit and intellect to navigate the court.  Good reading.

Deanna Raybourn crafts a nicely told Gothic mystery in "The Dead Travel Fast."  Theodora travels to the Carpathians to visit an old schoolmate who is engaged to marry the local Count.  Uh huh.  But, wait, all is not as it seems as science, reason, folklore and superstition clash. This plot has a nice twist, interesting characters and a wonderfully atmospheric setting.

The first week of the month is always extremely busy and this week in no exception. Between stocking the pantry, getting the oldest soccer girl ready for the state tournament, Friends stuff and more, the days are going to fly.  Better start making my lists.