Monday, December 31, 2012

Library Shorts : New Years Resolutions

Q & A The Librarian Way :
Library Shorts - New Years Resolutions

Can you believe 2013 is already here?!  Crazy...I mean, really crazy.  Despite the rocky start, I had a pretty amazing (mean often times equally frustrating and cool) year.  I got to attend my first ALA Conference, meet Libba Bray and Neal Shusterman, ride roller coasters with my boss at Disneyland, fly on a broom through Hogwarts, and fall absolutely in love with the sweetest puppy in the world.  It was a pretty good year.  But it feels like it was gone in the blink of an eye.

So New Year's resolutions...whether they are unspoken or shared with others, I try some form of resolution every year.  And I fail miserably every year, but this year I'm getting smart and picking attainable goals that might just get completely by the time 2014 rolls around.  Check out the video for my "5" New Year's resolutions for 2013, and after, return here for the full list of "20 Ways to Maintain Your Insanity."  Which one do you think I should complete???

1) At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars.  See if they slow down.

2) Page yourself over the intercom.  Don't disguise your voice.
3) Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4)  Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "in."
5) Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks; once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6) In the memo field of all of your checks, write "for smuggling diamonds."
7) Finish all of your sentences with "in accordance with the prophecy."
8) Dont use an punctuation
9) As often as possible, skip rather than walk
10) Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face
11) Specify that your drive-thru order is "to go."
12) Sing along at the opera.
13) Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme .
14) Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.
15) Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.
16) Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Bottom.
17) When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I won, I won!"
18) When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling "Run for your lives, they're loose!"
19) Encourage your colleagues to join you in a little synchronized chair dancing.
20) Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same outfits.  Always wear them one day after your boss does. (This is especially effective if your poss is a different gender than you.)

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Selection: a review

By Kiera Cass
3.5 / 5 Gnomes

A review in 10 words or less:  The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games meets Pride and Prejudice.

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

~Amazon Description~

The Breakdown:

Sometime in the future, the United States ceases to exist and is now known as Illea.  The country is organized into castes and run by monarchy.  Royal daughters are married off to other countries for peacemaking, while royal sons end up on The Bachelor.  Thirty-five girls are selected to move into the palace and attempt to woo the Prince.  America Singer wants nothing of the charade, but her family is desperate and the boy she loves insists so that he doesn't have a guilty conscience that just maybe she could have more out of life.  So America travels to the palace, and everything unfolds exactly the way you would expect.

The Awesome

I didn't want to like this book.  The cover was beautiful, but the story didn't seem like anything original.  But then I met the characters, and I just couldn't help myself.  Prince Maxon is dreamy.  He kind, compassionate, intelligent, and a friend anyone would be fortunate to have.  America is a bit whiny, but she has a strength that I'm excited to see grow.

I'm not a huge fan of The Bachelor television show, but cat fights sure are fun.  There are the sweet girls that you are rooting for (Marlee, Tiny, and Ashley) and the really nasty girls that you kind of hope get hit by a bus (Celeste and Bariel ).  Cass did an excellent job of putting you there in the battle.  I would have liked to get to know s ome of the girls a little better, but with world building and character development, that would have been difficult.

This book isn't all fluff.  Something terribly is brewing, and the royal family and remaining candidates seem to have their hands full just staying alive.  That's right, this book is also a dystopia!  It's rather cleverly wound throughout, building for a crescendo in the books to come.

The Not So Awesome

Have I mentioned that America is whiny?  She's suffering from a severe case of "I love you...I hate you...I love you...I hate you," which is not one of my favorite plot lines.  It seemed pretty obvious to me who she should pick, and not just because he's a Prince.  Much like The Bachelor, our rather naive  husband to be fall pretty quickly which is a bit annoying as well.

The Selection was a pleasant surprise.  Light, romantic, but leading toward excitement, a perfect vacation read.  If you liked Matched by Ally Condie or Delirium by Lauren Oliver, definitely give The Selection a read.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Friday Society: a review

By Adrienne Kress
3 / 5 Gnomes

A review in 10 words or less (or a little more):  This is a man's world, but it would be nothing without a girl.

An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns–and the heroines who use them all.

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

~Amazon Description~

The Breakdown:

Think Charlie's Angels in Victorian London without a Charlie.  Not sure that makes sense.  Something terrible is afoot on the streets of London and our three heroines have managed to firmly entrench themselves in the fun.  Cora strong-willed, intelligent, and terribly stubborn, tinkering with inventions in her master's hidden laboratory. Nellie is a magician's assistant for the Great Raheem.  She's beautiful, flexible, and perhaps a little on the naive side.  And samurai Michiko, quiet and calculating, helps her master teach self-defense classes to the uppercrust of London society.  The three strangers meet by chance after a gala one evening and stumble upon a dead body.  When the men in their lives fail to take the necessary means to find the assailant, the three girls begin an investigation of their own.

The Awesome:

Girl Power!! These girls know their minds and their strengths.  But more than anything, they know they are stronger together.  Each of them finds their niche.  Cora is an inventor, so her gadgets come in super helpful (see below for additional awesome), Nellie is pretty wicked as the magician's assistant.  She's flexible; she's stealthy; and she can totally kick butt.  And Michiko...the girl is lethal with her samurai sword and she's into parkour.

More awesome.  I mentioned awesome weapons, and one in-particular is beyond awesome.  You can take it all to pieces and store them on your person, and with the flip of a switch, they all come flying together into a whole gun.  No assembly necessary, it does it by itself.  And to top it all off, it disintegrates people.  Zapp-o gone.  That simple.  A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

The Not So Awesome:

The story wanted to be hip, but something was lost in translation.  That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the read, but between very predictable moments and some cheesy "girl time", it was all a bit much.  There was too much relationship building and not enough action.  And the book was a little low on steampunk-isnness.  

That being said, pick up The Friday Society the next time you visit your local library.  And if you like it, I sooo recommend the Nebury and Hobbes series by George Mann.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday : Etiquette and Espionage

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

Out of the Easy
By Ruta Sepetys
Coming February 12, 2013

It’s 1950 and the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets. Seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine, known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute,wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan to get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in a police investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.Should she avoid Jesse, the mysterious motorcycle boy? Can she trust Patrick, her best friend at the bookstore? Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. 

~Barnes and Noble Description~

I have yet to make it to New Orleans.  I know.  I can not believe it either.  But until that trip is planned, I'll live vicariously through the books on my bookshelf.  "...simmers with secrets" is just begging to be read.  Plus the cover is beautiful, despite the lack of frilly dress and dashing boy that looks nothing like the character is described.  Definitely adding Out of the Easy to my must read list.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Want to Give As Gifts

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Books I Want to Give As Gifts

(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I'm a big supporter of giving books as presents.  The fun part is trying to match the person with just the right book while maybe, just maybe, choosing something that they wouldn't necessarily choose themselves.  If they love, hate, or only find the book lukewarm, I always suggest donating their gently used copies to their local libraries or passing the love along to co-workers and friends.  Books, the gift that keeps on giving.

Books that are wrapped and ready for delivery:
1) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - For the literary inclined.
2) The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross - For those who like kick butt heroines.

3) Rebel Angels by Libba Bray - For those who have read teh first in the series.

4)  The Nigh Circus by Erin Morgenstern - For romantics and whimsy lovers.

5) John Carter of Mars Volume 1 by Edgar Rice Burroughs - For old-school sci-fi readers.

6) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - For 80's junkies and gamers.

Books friends and family can expect to get for their birthdays:

7) Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - For sarcastic, strong minded feminists.

8) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare - For readers who are getting ready for the movie.

9) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle - For those who appreciate special childhood reads.

10) For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund - For Jane Austen enthusiasts.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The most AWESOME holiday tradition ever

I love the Sunday Morning Show on CBS.  The news articles are interesting, quirky, and sometimes just down right hilarious.  Yesterday morning, Charles Osgood featured this story ["Holiday Greetings from a "Still Life" family"].  

Frustrated with her mother continuously asking when she was going to have her own family for those traditional family picture Christmas cards, she made her own.  I think this lady could definitely become my best friend.  Forget gnomes, can you imagine taking a mannequin with you to take pictures?  I can, which might actually be a problem.

For the whole gamut of hilarious cards, check out Suzanne Heintz on

Friday, December 21, 2012

Poison: a review

By Bridget Zinn
3 / 5 Gnomes
Netgalley Read: Book will be released March 2013

A review in 10 words or less: Poison master, future seer, kingdom saver, Kyra does it all.

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she's the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
~Amazon Description~ 

The Breakdown:

Kyra is a master potioner, which basically means that Kyra makes these totally awesome weapons that can bend a man to her will.  Unbeknownst to just about every one else in the kingdom, Kyra is also a witch, a Seer in particular, and she catches a glimpse of a future where the heir to the throne, and incidentally her best friend, turns super evil and destroys the kingdom.

Kyra can't have that on her conscience, so she decides to kill the princess before anything bad happens.  But, the talented Kyra misses, and is now running for her life.

The Awesome:

Have I mentioned how much I love strong, independent heroines?!  Love them!  Kyra can not only kick butt, she's also stubborn, proud, and not afraid to stand up for what she believes is right.  Kyra's made of all kinds of awesome.

Fred.  Such a common name for an uncommonly wonderful guy.  Fred is funny.  Fred is beautiful.  Fred is thoughtful.  Fred is also stubborn, proud, and not afraid to stand up for what he believes is right.  Fred is the perfect man for Kyra.

Ooo!  There's also a pretty fun twist near the end that I totally didn't see coming.  But I'm also not known for my powers of observation.

The Not So Awesome:

This is Bridget Zinn's first novel, and as first novel's go, it was a lot fun.  But I've read better.  The story was almost too sweet, too neatly packaged.  Everything ended all nice and tidy which was a little disappointing.  I suppose it's left open wee bit for some type of sequel, but I'm okay with where it leaves off.

Poison was fun, full of adventure, and an absolutely adorable romance.  Check it out this March!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Capture the Castle: a review

By Dodie Smith
A book club selection (December 2012)
2.5 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 words or less: How living in a castle doesn't sound cool...

I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"--and the heart of the reader--in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments.

~Amazon Description~

Perhaps it was all of the gushing reviews I read before starting, or the very large stack of books I personally picked out for my vacation taunting me from the corner of the room, but I didn't fall head over heals in love with the book.  Half way through I realized I'd seen the movie, and just about stopped.  But I didn't.  I continued on and never lost my ho-hum opinion.  I didn't dislike the book, it just didn't do much for me.

The Breakdown:

The Mortmain family lives in the ruins of an old castle in abject poverty.  There's 17-year old Cassandra (our narrator) who doesn't do a whole lot other than write.  Rose, her older sister, is pretty and suffers from an acute hatred of being poor, spends most of her time scheming ways to get married.  Topaz, the stepmother, is whimsical, beautiful, and hopelessly in love with her basically absent husband, but does seem to genuinely care for her stepkids.  Thomas, the young brother, goes to school.  Stephen, a young boy they took in, is madly in love with the oblivious Cassandra and becomes a male model and actor.  And Mr. Mortmain is basically a recluse who spends his days not writing his next great novel and instead loses himself in detective stories that the town librarian brings him.

So the family's "normal" is turned on its head with the arrival of the Cotton family, and especially Neil and Simon, two young men and possible suitors for Cassandra and Rose.

The Awesome:

I didn't hate anyone, which is pretty amazing since I usually truly dislike someone in a book.  I wanted to hate Rose, but you couldn't fault her for hating true poverty.  I wanted to hate Mr. Mortmain, but life didn't turn out quite like he expected.  And I wanted to hate the Cottons, but they seemed to genuinely like the Mortmain's, despite some ill-advised actions.  So, yeah, I didn't hate anyone.

Cassandra was fairly charismatic.  She was a bit naive, but fairly self-assured, and you wanted the best for her at the end of the book.

If you take all of Jane Austen's novels, pour them into a bowl, turn the clock to the 1940s, and stir, you have I Capture the Castle.  Not only does Rose dream of being in a Jane Austen novel, there are so many little moments that remind you of an Austen tale that it gets to be kind of fun finding them all.

The Not So Awesome:

What's with letting the nice boy you've known basically all your life slip through your fingers?!  Poor Stephen!  I so wanted Cassandra to get a clue.

If you take all of Jane Austen's novels, pour them into a bowl, turn the clock to the 1940s, and stir, you have I Capture the Castle. Yeah, I know I put this with the awesome, but it was also kind of not so awesome.  It felt like a rip off.  If I wanted to read this story, I could have just re-read the stories I love. 

So I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.  It's a sweet, well-written story that's definitely worth reading.  Maybe if it hadn't been for a book club, and thus felt a little like a homework assignment, I might have enjoyed it more.  So it goes.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waffle Wednesday: Soul Eater Vol. 1 Review

By Atsushi Ohkubo
A review in 10 words or less:  Kind of pervy tale of kids who try to kill and eat souls.

Maka is a weapon meister, determined to turn her partner, a living scythe named Soul Eater, into a powerful death scythe - the ultimate weapon of Death himself! Charged with the task of collecting and devouring the tainted souls of ninety-nine humans and one witch, Maka and her fellow meisters strive to master their weapons as they face off against the bizarre and dangerous minions of the underworld. But the meisters' own personal quirks may prove a bigger obstacle than any sultry enchantress!

~Amazon Description~

Emily to teen:  What should I read next?
Teen to Emily:  Oooo!  You hhaavvee to read Soul Eater.
Emily goes and grabs volume 1.
Teen:  Miss Emily, I have to warn you, it's a little pervy.

It was a hilarious conversation to say the least.  And the book was, indeed, a little pervy.  But overall I really enjoyed it.  From what I understand, (Imagine that!  I don't understand everything in a manga!)  the weapon meister (master) people use their soul eater's as weapons to destroy evil beings and then eat their souls.  But they are really bad at it.  There's Soul Eater who accidentally confuses a demon cat with a witch and now is stuck with a very voluptuous woman following him around; Black Star likes to give loud commentary when he's fighting which gives all of his moves away; and Death the Kid is so OCD that he gets distracted very easily.

So the pervy part...there are quite a few naked ladies without "true" nakedness being shown, and there is lot of alluding to sex.  But it's pretty funny, and I've been told that it gets less pervy the further you read.  So I will, because, well, why not.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Books I Read in 2012
(Feature Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Writing a blog makes this question sssooo much easier.  It was a good year for books.  A really good year, and I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store, especially since a few of my titles are a part of a series (ugh!).  Here's ten (or more) of my favorites for 2012!

1) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - An adventure for the techno ages and enough 80s references to make this John Hughes junkie super happy.

2) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - Quickest way to feel like a coward and appreciate this book.

3) Mothership by Martin Leicht - Total alien baby daddy drama.  Awesome.

4) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - Do you think it's too late to become an assassin and totally kick some butt?

5) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick - Oh dreamy.  Just dreamy.

6) Splintered by A.G. Howard - Wonderland on steroids, if that's even possible.

7) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - I'd tell you I love you, but then I'd have to kill you.  Oh're already dead.

8) And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - The ultimate whodunit.

9) The Diviners by Libba Bray - Libba Bray...1920s...ghost story...yes please!

10) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Amsterdam anyone?

and then there's Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, and...okay, I'd better stop, cause this could go on forever.

Happy reading!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Q & A: Library Shorts - Julia Gets Crafty

Turn Books Into Holiday Presents

In today's Library Shorts, Julia lends a hand with a last minute, homemade present idea!  There are many things I love about Julia, but one reason that is super "librariany" is her willingness to weed books from her collection.  Contrary to popular belief, weeding books is not a sin.  Really.  I love books.  I love the way they look all straight and pretty on a shelf.  I love the way old books smell (most of the time).  And I love organizing books.  Yes.  I'm a nerd.  But not all books belong on a shelf in the library.  And in those instances when a book needs to go, but is still in decent shape, crafting is an excellent alternative to just tossing.  It allows you to give those books a second life as something beautiful and nostalgic.  

I have used book pages to make a "book garden", turned old books into purses, and hidden secret treasures in book boxes.  Each book's second life is making my home one of a kind.

Check out Julia's books present ideas and give someone special a truly unique present!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Girl of Nightmares: a review

By Kendare Blake
3.5 / 5 Stars

A review in 10 words or less:  No I'm not going insane, that's my twice dead girlfriend.

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

~Amazon Description~

Can't believe I missed my chance to meet Kendare Blake at ALA this past summer.  I kind of stalked the Tor publisher table hoping to snag one of the Girl of Nightmares advanced reading copies, but no luck.  Finally though...finally we were able to purchase a copy for the library and my wait was over.

Only a few months have passed since Anna Dressed In Blood ends.  Anna is gone, having saved the Scooby crew from an evil ghost, monster, nightmare bad-y who was feeding off energy when Cas killed with his super knife.  Cas isn't dealing well with her loss, and Carmel and Thomas have been tagging along as he travels to nearby areas sending other bad-ys to wherever badies go when they get stabbed with the super knife.  And then all of a sudden, she's there, Anna, obviously in pain and only visible to Cas.  So he's either totally insane, or something isn't right with the other-world, and he's desperate to find out which.

The Awesome

Two of the best friends ever.  Not just anyone would follow you into haunted barns and the depths of hell for a ghost of a girlfriend.  Carmel and Thomas are beyond loyal.  And they're sassy too.  I like sassy.

Anna, again, is crazy scary awesome.  Sure, she's dead, and that totally stinks, but she's fearless and wicked with her uber-dead powers.

And Cas.  Oh sweet Cas.  You never pulled a Harry Potter and tried to leave your friends.  I like a guy that realizes he's stronger with his friends than alone.  Not to mention his wicked knife which I wanted him to name Mr. Pointy like Buffy.  Alas, he did not, but it was still super pointy and super effective.

The Not So Awesome

The story was a little slow.  It started off with a lot of action, and then it felt like an eternity before anything else happened.  Maybe I just wanted more Anna in the story.  She's not there, which makes sense because she's in hell, but she's kind of the point.

And I'm a big proponent for secret societies, but it was almost a little cliche.  At least Cas calls the cranky British dudes out on being a cliche secret society.

It ended though.  I ended really well.  Sure, the door is left open for a new story, but the story of Anna and Cas is finished, and it ended in the only way it should have, with a boy loving a girl.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: Chibi Vampire Vol.1

By Yuna Kagesaki
4 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 worlds or less: An anti-vampire vampire and her escapades at school.

"Karin is a cute little girl who also happens to be a vampire...with a twist. Once a month, she experiences intense bleeding from her nose--we're talking gushers! In other words, she's a vamp with blood to spare, so rather than stealing blood from humans she actually gives her blood to them. If done right, this can be an extremely positive experience that benefits the "victim" as much as the vampire. The problem is that Karin never seems to do things right!"

~Amazon Description~

Forget the Cullins.  Forget Dracula and the Vampire Diaries.  Forget everything you know about the creatures who lust for human blood and stalk the night.  Karin wishes she could.  Living in a family of vampires is difficult enough, but when you're an anti-vampire vampire, things can really suck, or in Karin's case, they don't.  Instead of thirsting for human blood, once a month Karin is oversaturated with it and must find ways to dispel it from her body or be left in a pool of bloody messiness.

Who's ever heard of a vampire giving blood away?  Kind of cool actually!  As for poor  Usui-Kun, the exchange student who keeps seeing Karin in compromising situations, maybe "cool" isn't the right word.

Volume 1 ends a bit abruptly, but now I have to see what happens effective.  If you're a bit tired of the same old hum, drum vampire, give Chibi Vampire a read.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 New-to-Me-Authors of 2012
(Feature Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

As I started to work on my list, I realized that many of the books I read (and loved) were from relatively new authors.  And I also realized that I've read some AWESOME books this year!  Makes me terribly excited about what I might read in 2013.

1) Maggie Stiefvater The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys

2) Mal Peet - Life: An Exploded Diagram

3) Elizabeth Wein - Code Name Verity

4) E. Lockhart - The Ruby Oliver series

5) Jennifer E. Smith - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

6) Kady Cross - The Girl in the Steel Corset, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

7) Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone

8) Ernest Cline - Ready Player One

9) Heather Dixon - Entwined

10) Catherynne Valente - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Monday, December 10, 2012

Q & A: The Librarian Way - Supporting the Classics

How to promote the classics in your library

The Hobbit is coming out!  We get to return to Middle Earth and the genius of Peter Jackson!  I'm so super excited.  Can you tell?  Sometimes it takes a movie coming out to really appreciate and promote a classic, but there are ways we can promote literary gems throughout the year.

I'll be the first to admit, I don't really like to read classics.  But the thing is...I can be persuaded, enticed, seduced into reading them with the right promotion and some clever spins.  So why not take the time to put clever spins on books not moving off the shelf for teens?

Our video gives you just a few ideas, but we'd love to hear more!  Do you do something special to push classics in your library?  Got a special program or display that has worked in the past?  Let us know!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Madman of Venice

By Sophie Masson
3 / 5 Gnomes

"Romance and mystery merge in this suspenseful tale inspired by Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Venice in 1602 is a vibrant and charming city. Yet beneath this splendor lies a sinister underworld in which murderous pirates and conniving noblemen have woven a tangled network. Along with his daughter, Celia; his clerk, Ned; and his sister, Mistress Bess Quickly, Master Ashby, a prosperous merchant, sets forth from London to Venice to investigate the pirate attacks that have been plaguing English ships. But the group's mission turns out to be far more than they bargained for when Ashby is beseeched to find Sarah Tedeschi, a Jewish girl who has vanished from the Venetian Ghetto after being accused of witchcraft by the powerful Countess of Montemoro. Is Sarah's disapperance somehow connected to the pirate attacks? Nothing is what it seems as Ned and Celia uncover secrets that have been hidden for far too long. "

~Amazon Description~

It feels like forever since I've read historical fiction.  The Madman of Venice is part mystery, part romance, two parts Shakespeare, and really well done. 

The Awesome

The setting.  I really, really want to see Venice and its architecture, canals, gondolas, creepy madmen hiding in the shadows.  Yes, even the madmen, because even they have stories, and sometimes the stories break your heart.
Celia, the daughter of Master Ashby, is stubborn, mouthy, and maybe my favorite part of the whole story.  The girl knows what she wants and doesn't let anyone get in her way.  Grant it, sometimes she jumps in without thinking, but her heart is always in the right place.

Not So Awesome

The story was really fast paced.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but with so many names, plots, places, and general chaos, fast paced can be difficult to keep up and the story can feel really rushed.  There were a lot of coincidences that were a bit too convenient.

And the story was predictable.  There was a bit of a twist at the end, but the bulk of the story was really revealed at the beginning.

This was a random, pull-off-the-library-shelf read.  Those are sometimes the best.  Apparently Sophia Masson has over twenty books published, so maybe I'll look up another and give it a try.

If you're a fan of Shakespeare, mysteries, or historical fiction, try The Madman of Venice by Sophia Masson

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Priceless Moments in Teen Librarianship

We get all types of teens that walk through our doors every day.  

You have the teens that genuinely love the library.  They love to talk books, explore stories, and spend time in the quiet nooks and crannies enjoying the space and expanding their imaginations. 

You have the teens who don't have anywhere else to be.  They  are killing time, sometimes loners, sometimes hanging with friends, but not really interested in anything you have to share.  And yet, sometimes they do.  They like the attention (and the free snacks).

You have the teens that use you strictly for homework.  They have a mission; find information and get their homework done.

And then you have the who can walk or ride their bikes to the library anytime, any day.  They often strut around like they own the place, and they are often very comfortable in the environment, getting into trouble, and finding ways to get attention.

Miraculously, I have managed to get at least one of each type in my Teen Advisory Board.  They say crazy things, offer crazy ideas, and try to one-up each other with comments and suggestions that are so totally off the wall that they are basically useless.  But they're fun.

Case in point - Monday night was our monthly TAB meeting.  We were sitting in a circle around a group of tables.  I was at one end going through the agenda, and we had gotten to the part of the meeting when the teens were suggesting ideas for programs and services.

The boy facing me at the far end of the table raised his hand.  It was about the 25th time he had raised his hand that night, and I was preparing myself for one of his usual, attention-seeking suggestions.  This teen is one of my after-schoolers.  He doesn't come every day, but he's there enough that I've gotten to know him pretty well, especially because he plays a saxophone right outside my office window..."practicing."  He only knows one song, and just my luck, it's George Michael's Careless Whisper.

So this teen asks me "Can we have a place where musicians can practice?  So I can play with my friends."

"Well," I said, "we can talk about it, if you can learn a second song."

He laughs, a grin spreading across his entire face, and answers, "But that's my sexy sax song..." 

He didn't miss a beat, didn't waste a second thinking about a comeback.  And the smile on his face said it all.

I'm adding that little gem into my "Priceless Moments in Teen Librarianship" folder.  It doesn't matter what type of teen they are when they walk in the building.  They all have the potential for greatness, whether it's in the art they give you to hang on your walls, the trick they can show you on the computer,  or the smiles they can put on your face without missing a beat.

This one I just had to share.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Book List to Santa

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
Dear Santa,

I have been a mostly good girl this year and would love to have a stocking full of books come Christmas morning.  I promise to treat them kindly, catalog them, and always keep them in order.  I also promise to share them with my friends and family.  Here are ten books I wouldn't mind adding to my collection:

1,2,3)  A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madeline L'Engle - My poor copy has seen better days.  While it will forever remain on my bookshelf, a new copy that can withstand my yearly re-reading would be wonderful.  Might as well throw in the other two stories in the trilogy!

4, 5) Lola and the Boy Next Door & Ilsa and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - Anna and the French Kiss is a bit lonely all by itself on my shelf.

6) Gulp by Mary Roach - I know it doesn't come out until April, but maybe as a special treat...

7) Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - Because the cover is so pretty, and I really must know what happens next.

8) River Marked by Patricia Briggs - Paperback of course.  It would match the other four in the series so well.

9) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - So that I'm ready when the rest of the trilogy comes out.

10) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - It was one of my favorites of the year, and I would so like to read it again.

So there you go Santa.  The top ten books I wouldn't mind recieving.



Monday, December 3, 2012

Q & A: Library Shorts - Talking Favorite Christmas Specials

Talking Favorite Christmas Specials & Muppets

There are a number of things that I don't really look forward to during the holiday season.  I'm not a huge fan of crowded department stores, long lines, and creepy animatronic decorations.

The things I do look forward to completely overshadow the little annoyances though.  I love critiquing Christmas lights, Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You", living Nativity scenes, and candy cane Hershey Kisses.  Not to mention my favorite holiday TV specials and movies.

There are so many I absolutely adore, but five that I must watch to feel in the holiday mood:

#5 - It's a Wonderful Life : Whether you think George Bailey is a whiner or the best neighbor ever, you can't deny that Jimmy Stewart is absolutely amazing.

#4 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas : The cartoon of course.  The live-action is okay, but just doesn't compare without Boris Karloff.

And my top 3...well, you'll just have to watch the video!  What's your top five?!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Junk Drawer: Celebrating in Decemeber

Want something other than Christmas and Hanukkah to celebrate at your library this December?  A little research revealed tons of other options.  Some are CRAZY, but they could definitely be a good time.  You don't necessarily need a big program.  Passive activities and displays will work!

1) National Fritters Day : December 2 : What better way to celebrate a day then with 
    delicious fried cakes filled with fruit or meat?
            * Invite a local bakery or pastry chef to host a program
            * Take a poll and find out your community's favorite fried foods
            * Make a display of pastry and pie books
            * Bring a fritter-y treat for your co-workers

2) Wear Brown Shoes Day : December 4 : Simplest celebration ever...
            * See how many patrons you can get to wear brown shoes by advertising before
            * Give a piece of candy to everyone who wears brown shoes
            * Make a display of books about shoes and fashion, bring your funkiest pair of 
              shoes to dress it up

3) Bathtub Party Day : December 5 : Sit back, relax, and celebrate!
            * Host a program on making bath salts and scented candles
            * Make a list of relaxing reads
            * Host a contest and give away a gift baskets with bathtub goodies

4) Letter Writing Day : December 7 : Bringing back a lost art
            * Contact a local museum or historical society and see if they have any antique 
               letters you  can but on display
            * Start a pen-pal program between your school-age kids and local seniors group
            * Write letters to Santa
            * Teach patrons how to make homemade envelopes

6) National Brownie Day : December 8 : Celebrate chocolatey, chewy brownies
           * If you didn't celebrate Fritter Day, bring the pastry chef or baker to the library to 
             make brownies with your community
           * Host a brownie taste testing event
           * Host a contest for the best brownies, most unique brownies, or best looking 

7) Bill of Rights Day : December 15 : It's like the 4th of July, in December!
           * Not your average December book list, but pull out some nonfiction books and 
             celebrate our individual rights!
           * Teach a homeschool class on the Bill of Rights and the American Constitution
           * Have patrons make a list of what they think are our individual rights  
           * Bring in a lecturer to discuss the significance of the Bill of Rights on American 

8) National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
           * Put chocolate on everthing
           * And repeat the above...

9) Humbug Day : December 21 : I could get into this day...
           * Show The Christmas Carol (may I suggest the Muppets version)
           * Create a wall for patrons to vent their Christmas frustrations
           * Offer a "Getting Through the Holidays" class

10) Card Playing Day
           * Invite card experts to the library to teach classes
           * Host card tournaments
           * Build a house of cardes
           * Have kids and teens design their own pack of cards

There's so much happening in December, so have some fuN!

(There is also a "National Ding-a-Ling Day" but I'm not quite sure what that entails, and a "National Roast Suckling Pig Day" which is just kind of weird...)
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