Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mysterious Saturday Review: Due or Die

 * book 2 in the series - read my review of Books Can be Deceiving *

Lindsey loves being a librarian. She does not love dealing with the fallout of the Friends of the Library vote for new president. The man who lost is unhappy. He and his strongest (and only) supporter are making life miserable for Lindsey.

The new president of the Friends group leaves her first meeting as head honcho to go home and discover her husband dead. He's been murdered. No one saw anything. Although the man was not well liked and had numerous spats with people in town, Carrie's the number one suspect.

Lindsey knows that Carrie's innocent. She's not sure what to do to help her friend, but she's going to try.  Add in a puppy who was left in the library book drop, a blizzard, and a choice between two men which all leaves Lindsey with her hands full. Will the snow prevent justice from being served?

My Thoughts: I adore this series. I love the library humor along with characters favorite books/authors. I loved Heathcliff, he was so charming. I loved the snowstorm, I could feel the cold as I was reading.  I love the quiet little town, it's perfect for the library. I love the description of the library, and especially the Lemon. While she's horrible to have in a library, I love her character. I love the romance heating up and can't wait to see what happens next.

Cover Thoughts: Cute and I love how it's a picture on a book. Plus I adore the puppy bounding through the snow and the snow spray.

Source: My Library

Up Next: Book Line and Sinker coming out December of this year.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Adult Review: A Rogue By Any Other Name

Life for Penelope hasn't been easy these last few years after her infamous broken engagement. Now her father's determined to marry her off. He's included recently acquired land in her dowry, which makes her more attractive to the men about town - and one man in particular. 

Twenty years ago, Bourne lost his entire estate (everything that wasn't entailed) in a game of cards. He's vowed revenge and he'll stop at nothing to achieve it. When his former lands become available through marriage, he kidnaps Penelope, forcing a marriage between them.

Penelope was overjoyed to see her childhood friend. However, she quickly realizes he's not the same boy she once adored. While they have a marriage of convenience, she negotiates a better life for her two younger sisters. Part of that negotiation involves selling their marriage as a whirlwind romance based upon a childhood love.

Will their feelings actually grow in time to reflect the love match they pretend for the ton?

My Thoughts: I LOVED the start of this new four book series! Of course, I adore the author. I loved her Love By Numbers trilogy and her YA book The Season. Honestly, I'll read anything she writes. I loved Penelope. She was tower of strength. I loved her negotiation skills. I loved her "sacrifice" for her sisters. I loved the moments between her and Bourne, especially the ice skating date. I enjoyed the gaming hell. I can't wait to read more about the Fallen Angel and the partners. I also loved the set up for the next book!

Cover Thoughts: Gorgeous! I love the color.

Source: Purchased (and signed by the author!)

Up Next: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover out in December

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: In Love with Papercrafts

I requested this be purchased for the library. It was. I took it home and devoured it. It was worth the wait! It's now circulating amongst the crafty staff.

It has great ideas for cards. The best part about this book is that while it's mostly filled with Valentine cards, the ideas work for any card.  It also has cards for weddings. There's also a scrapbooking portion.

It has great tips for using different tools. One of my favorites is using different stamps to create texture with other stamps.  There are some fun tool showcased.There's several  that I now will be looking for at my favorite crafting stores.

It has recipes.This one I think I'll use with my teens for a program at the library. It's the perfect holiday gift for any chocolate lover.

Sometimes the ideas come in 3D. I'll be making these for a display in the teen room come February. They'll hang over some romance books (I'm thinking of the title Romance is in the Air for this one).

I can't wait for Valentine's Day to make some awesome cards for my friends and family, but also with teens at the library.   The best part about this book is that while it's mostly filled with Valentine cards, the ideas work for any card.  It also has cards for weddings. I'm officially In Love with this book! If you're crafty, b sure to add it to your reading list.

Review: Babe Didrikson Zaharias

I read this book in preparation for my talk at the Sporty Women's Tea and I loved learning about her.  Before reading this book, I knew that she competed in a track meet as the single woman on her team and WON beating teams of women. I did not know that she was a professional billiards, baseball, and basketball player. I didn't know that the US Tennis Association refused to let her play tennis as an amateur because she was a professional in other sports. I didn't know that she went from professional golf player to amateur and back to professional. I didn't realized that she was the first woman athlete to earn 6 figure salary with endorsements and tournament winnings.

I loved learning more about Babe. She was an amazing woman and an awesome athlete. She was determined, disciplined, and competitive. She practiced religiously and excelled at every sport she tried.  This book was well written, interesting, and I devoured it. I don't read many biographies, but this one was excellent.  A great biography for kids, tweens, and even teens.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's On My Holds List (6)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold at the library. I usually have 20-40 items checked out at the library and another 20 items on hold.

Inn at Rose Harbor: The start of a new series!!!!!

Yippy Yappy Yorkie in the Green Doggy Sweater: A kids book from Blossom Street!

Unruly Queen: Sounds super cute!

Rest in Pizza: I just realized yesterday that a new book in this series was out. 

Cordially Uninvited: This looks super cute! Plus Jennifer Roy is half of the twin team that writes the Trading Faces books

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tween Tuesday Reivew: Dragon Spear

Creel's about to marry the Prince. She's devastated that her family of dragons isn't allowed in the kingdom and therefore won't be able to attend her wedding. As she doesn't need to plan the wedding this moment, she's happy enough to visit her dragon friends.

After a long journey, she and Luka reach their new island.  When she arrives, she learns that Velika, the Queen, is pregnant. Creel's excited for the future of dragons!

Unfortunately, not everyone shares her enthusiasm.  It's not long before Velika's kidnapped by her own kind and brought to a new location.

Shardas searches for her. They finally find her, but there are complications. Will the future of the dragon race be born in captivity, or will Creel be able to save the day once again?

My Thoughts: A great end to the trilogy. I love the dragons (especially Shardas) and I'm happy that Creel found a way to keep them in her life after the banishment of dragons from the kingdom. I love Creel for her strength, loyalty, determination, her creativity, and her sense of humor.

Cover Thoughts: Cool

Source: my Library

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sporty Women's Tea

On Saturday, we held the 3rd annual Women's Tea with the theme of sports. The tea takes place each March to celebrate Women's History Month. I adapted the tea program based off a program I attended at William Smith College (part of Hobart and William Smith Colleges).

We picked sports to gear up for the Summer Olympics and to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Title IX.

We team up with Norwich Free Academy, our local high school. Presenters research and present about one women's contribution to society. The goal for the tea is a fun, educational program that allows girls and women to learn about significant women of the past and present. We hope that by coming to the program or by researching amazing women, we will each make our own contribution to society.

Here's the room:





Me as Babe Didrikson

Eva the Rowing Coach from Conn College:

Listening to the others present:

All the Presenters:

Fun Photos:

ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Ayla Kell– Make It Or Break It

I really like this show - I've always loved gymnastics. Make It Or Break It returns with new episodes tonight!

Moderator                          Since this is a gymnastic show, do you think it's going to inspire girls to be more active in sports?

A. Kell                                   I do think so.  That's one of the things I love about the show is that it isn't showing just the boys’ side.  Something like Friday Night Lights does where only the boys are achieving and the girls are a side note to the boys achieving.  This is more about the girls going out there and getting at their dreams.  They're capable of achieving anything and their strength is more than the boys have, I'd say, for gymnastics.  So I love that it shows strong women at their best.  I do think that girls will want to go out and get some sports after seeing this because I know that after I watch an episode I have to go move my body and do something.

Moderator                          Would you and the other girls on the show consider starting a program for young girls, maybe touring schools and talking about proper diet and exercise?

A. Kell                                   Oh yes, that would actually be a great idea.  I know that we've gone to a couple of gyms already just to be a presence and make sure that we're being a positive influence with those girls because we know that gym girls especially do look up to us.  But that would be a great idea to be able to expand that even more.

Moderator                          We really love the dynamic of where Season 2 left off with the girls finally getting Team USA together and fighting so strong.  But now with Jordan thrown into the mix, how do you think that's going to skew the dynamics?

A. Kell                                   Well I think it skews the dynamic in, actually, a really good way.  It posed this problem for the girls of what's more important: the individual medal, the team medal, or us three making it to the Olympics.  So we have this kind of battle throughout the season of, is she competition or is she a teammate?  It's a little bit of a struggle. 

                                                So we start to finally figure out what it takes to win and what it takes to be a team and what it takes to be in this sport.  I think that she added a great level of realness to this season.  I think that, one, she's just gorgeous.  She's just gorgeous.  But she's also just a talented actress and she had so many wonderful scenes.  They did so much with her character this year that is going to, I think, really play as a real thing this year because it's been very prevalent in the news.

Moderator                          With the summer Olympics just a few months away and gymnastics is always such a huge part of it, are you and the cast going to watch and maybe get some inspiration for your characters?

A. Kell                                   Oh, absolutely.  We went to one of the qualifiers for the Olympics, actually, right before we finished, just to get pumped up for shooting the last episode.

Moderator                          How did your training as a ballerina prepare you for playing the role of a gymnast in the show?

A. Kell                                   I have to say, when I got the script it read so real to my life, just because I knew what it was like to give 110% into something.  I knew what it was like to be able to focus on nothing but dance.  Then when I saw Payson, who was that character for gymnastics, I got really excited that I had some real life experience for it. 

                                                Then, I'm always used to be in a leotard so that wasn't a huge culture shock.  Although, their leotards are way more spandex-y than dancer ones are.  But also, we use our bodies a bunch doing the floor routines.  So I'm actually able to do all of my dance stuff, my floor routines, my beam and stuff like that.  So it really helps when I have to do filming stuff as well.

Moderator                          How much of the actual gymnastics do you perform on the show?  Do they ever use any stunt doubles?

A. Kell                                   We use a lot of stunt doubles just because–these girls have been working at what they do since they were four.  We got cast when we were like 19 and 20.  We didn't have time to go back and learn all that gymnastics they had been studying their entire lives.  But we have girls who do all of these really, really amazing tricks. 

                                                I'd say that I do the little stunts.  I do all the dance stuff.  So any leaps, turns, anything like that, it's all me.  Any kicks, extensions, it's all me.  But when it gets to flips like double backs or any type of gainers or a double Arabian or anything, that's all going to be the stunt doubles.

Moderator                          Payson is one of my favorite characters on the show because she's transformed so much over Season 1, Season 2.  What are the core values and principals so that she's retained over the last two seasons?

A. Kell                                   I think she's really retained the core values that her family instilled in her.  The fact that if she does keep working hard and if she does strive for what she believes in and what she dreams about that she's able to make it there.  It's through the love and support of her family that she's really able to make it because otherwise her family wouldn't have been able to afford this.  They've pulled all these strings to make it happen. 

                                                Speaking on the transformation of Payson in the last two seasons, though, this season, I think, is the biggest transformation for Payson.  She really starts to understand that it's not just gymnastics.  That she has to find her voice as a woman and it’s thanks to a boyfriend, which she never thought that would be the case.  So we really see a change in how she carries herself and how she handles herself and how she even used herself, which really starts to benefit her gymnastics routines because she's trusting her body more.

Moderator                          What changes should we expect to see from Payson as she starts to prepare for the 2012 Olympics with her new boyfriend and things like that?

A. Kell                                   She's starting to prepare for the 2012 Olympics.  She's going through this other side of the battle which is her coach thinks she's safe, which is something she never thought she would ever hear.  Because of her back injury she went into ballet.  So now all of the sudden she's being called safe. 

                                                So she has to do something to completely blow the coach out of the water.  So her solution is to try going to a salsa club scene because going to a ballet class that Sasha had me go to, helped then.  So she's hoping that going to a salsa club will help.  So we'll see if it does.

Moderator                          I'm excited to see that. 

A. Kell                                   It was my favorite scene to shoot, I have to say. That and the make-up fight.  Those are my favorites.

Moderator                          Payson had such a strong relationship with Sasha.  Will she click as well with her new coach at the USA Training Center?

A. Kell                                   Well, anybody who knows Payson will know that she is going to be a resistant to the change at first; at the change of style and the change of how he views the girls and all of that.  I think the hardest part is having the Rock title ripped away from her because that's been her home for such a long time.  But as always, Payson is respectful and tries to work her hardest and tries to be the best she can be.  Essentially, in the long run she ends up clicking with the coach, but still needs Sasha to help her get to the Olympics.

Moderator                          What kind of changes, if any, will we see this year between Payson and Kaylie and Lauren?

A. Kell                                   We have such an exciting storyline between me and Lauren where we start to really rely on each other because we're confiding each other’s secrets in the other person.  So it becomes this little bit of a sisterhood between the two of us because Kaylie and I are on the out. 

                                                So, me and Lauren become very dependent on each other, and then have a big falling out after I think I'm doing the right thing by telling one of her secrets.  So then we have to work back our relationship because we are on a team, so we have to work as a team.  I have to say, the whole secret about who sent the kiss cam—it comes out this year.

Moderator                          Payson had a lot of love interests on the show with Nicky, Ike, Max and Sasha.  Who do you think is most compatible with her?

A. Kell                                   I think that the one you're going to see this year is the most compatible.  Every time it's been somebody who didn't quite understand what her goals were.  Because with Max, the problem was he has his own issues, obviously as we saw when he kissed Austin which, you know, kind of unexpected.  Then with Ike, obviously, he was in high school and was offering me drugs and wanted me to go to the Prom and stuff like that.  So he wasn't really quite compatible either. 

                                                Sasha, obviously, that's a long shot; although that was one of my favorite scenes to shoot last season.  But I think that the one you see this year, because we're at the USA Training Center where everybody there is going to the Olympics.  Finding a boyfriend there was, kind of, the perfect spot for her because it's somebody who has the same Olympic drive and that same 'go get them' attitude.  Wants her to achieve everything she can in gymnastics and just wants to support and help her.  I think that this year it's that kind of relationship that she has this year that really brings her out of her shell and really starts to show her the world outside of gymnastics.

Moderator                          Would you like to see her settled down with one character or remain single for awhile and play the field?

A. Kell                                   I like her settling down a little bit just because it's so new for her.  Both of the other girls have had boyfriends long term, and Payson never really did.  So I think that the security in that; it's almost like a little bit of a security blanket for her. 

                                                I kind of want to see her stay in this relationship.  Plus, I just really like this year.  I want to stick with this year's feel that we had; the way that the whole season ended up coming together.  It was just like all of the pieces fell into place this year.

Moderator                          If Payson had to choose between gymnastics or love, which one do you think she would choose and why?

A. Kell                                   Well, she's worked so hard for gymnastics that gymnastics will always win out.  But on the flip side of that, in this year it's the first time she hasn't had to choose between having gymnastics, or having a boyfriend, because it's not against the rules to have boyfriends at the USATC.  So she's not breaking rules here. 

                                                But if she had to choose it'll always be gymnastics because that's her love.  But I can't wait to see what people think about the whole relationship.  But the whole relationship between the two of us ends up being this very, very sweet, very heartfelt—it’s not like the other girls relationships is what I'm trying to get at. 

                                                It's not like Johnny and Emily.  Damon and Emily, or Nico and Emily, or Carter and Kaylie, or any of that where there's all this drama in between them.  We're very settled.  We're very calm.  We don't fight.  We don't go back and forth or anything like that. 

                                                It's literally–we get together, we talk about what we're doing.  Like, they do vent a little bit, talk about the other girls and I'm off.  It's just this great, like, it's a normal relationship.  That's what I like.

Moderator                          If Emily doesn't return for Season 3, how will that affect the dynamics?  You've talked about the relationship between the girls, but what can we expect between the three Rock girls this season and the trials and tribulations they go through?

A. Kell                                   With no Emily this year it left us with a little bit of a hole.  But it kind of forced then the three Rock girls to kind of step it up.  Then all of the stakes get higher because we realized how easy it is to be–how quickly it can happen that you're gone.  So it makes it kind of real for us that there's no room for error.

Have you watched this one?

Review: Touch of Power

Avry's a healer, with a price on her head. All healers have been wanted for capture since the plague hit.  As the healers couldn't save anyone from the plague, rumors swirled that the healers started the terrible disease.

Avry lives on the run, moving from city to city. If she stays in one place too long, she inevitably finds a sick child. Unable to help herself, she heals the child.  This time, before she can run, she's caught.

Just before she's about to hang, a man rescues her. Kerrick wants her to heal a Prince. Avry doesn't want to heal him, she's fighting Kerrick tooth and nail to release her. It's of no use. He and his band of men are too strong for her. She relents that she might heal him if Kerrick can convince her while they travel.

Kerrick's convinced that healing the Prince will bring peace to the land. Avry's not certain, but the more she learns about the land and the politics, the more scared she becomes for the future. Can she really be the one to save everything?

My Thoughts: I adore Maria V. Snyder. This new one reminded me a lot of Poison Study -which I also loved. I loved the tension between Avry and Kerrick. I loved the healing descriptions and the infirmaries. I loved Belen. I enjoyed Flea.  I liked learning about the plague and how it started. I liked the political drama and disputes. I loved Avry's soft heart, determination, strength, and wit. A wonderful start to a new series by one of my favorite authors.

Cover Thoughts: I don't like it

Source: Inter-library Loan

Up Next: Scent of Magic (coming 2013)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Matinee: Hunger Games

I've been waiting for this movie for forever it seems. I couldn't wait a minute more and went to the midnight showing on Thursday night.  While there were some differences from the book, I really thought it was well done. I loved it.

Differences my husband and I noticed:  
the introduction of the pin
The saluting of Katniss
Prim (was she so terrified at the reaping in the book?)

Moments they tried to include but lost significance: 
The bread moment
The long talks between Peeta and Katniss both before the games and during the games
Haymitch's drinking problem and the deal he made with Peeta and Katniss

I heard teens in the library talking - most loved it. There was one girl who didn't like it because she felt it missed the romance of the book.

My husband and I talked about that too. I thought the romance seemed forced from Katniss's perspective, but that it was supposed to feel that way. Chris remembered her being unsure in the book - but feeling something. I thought that didn't happen until the second book.

We also had different viewpoints on the Cinna/Katniss relationship. the movie didn't show the development of the relationship - how he was unique in the Capitol, more human.  With the style team not in the movie, it made it hard to see how different he was from the others. Aside from the gold on his eyes, he didn't share the crazy fashion of the Capitol. They were close in the movie, but the relationship seems more significant in the books.

Moments that stood out for me:

The scenes between Katniss and Prim (I teared up at these scenes)

Rue's scenes:

Caesar - was great for comic relief

The Capitol costumes were amazing

How the games were controlled:  a great addition to the movies that was not detailed in the book - really cool!

I thought it was true to the book. I loved Katniss and Peeta. I thought all the characters were well done.

 I thought the violence was handled really well - it wasn't too gruesome, but it wasn't cut out either. It was significant but not graphic.

All in all - a great movie. I hope to show it at the library. Everyone I know is buzzing about it - if they've seen it, when they're going, and what they thought of it.

What did you think of it?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mysterious Saturday Review: Buried in Buttercream

*17th in the series*

Savannah's recovering from her previous adventure where five bullets entered her body. She still gets tired. She still has the scars. She's still angry.

Despite that, she's ready to live her life in a big way. She's finally getting married to Dirk. Unfortunately, on their wedding day, the venue burns down.

Their next wedding day, Savannah discovers their wedding planner dead moments before the ceremony. It seems that everybody had a reason to hate the wedding planner from her ex-husband to her former business partner to her ex boyfriend's wife. Finding the murderer isn't easy.

Finding another wedding venue proves much harder. With Savannah's family all staying with her in her little house, she's feeling pressure from all sides.

My Thoughts: I love this series. This addition was lighter than the previous book, but still contained the weight of the matter as Savannah goes through recovery - both psychical and emotional.   I loved the sweet moments between Savannah and Dirk. I enjoy Savannah's crazy family - they're entertaining for sure. I love their Southern language.   The identity of murderer kept me guessing until the very end. I can't wait to read the next one to find out if life changes for Savannah and Dirk. 

Cover Thoughts: Love it, especially the skeletons!

Source: My Library

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Pretty Crooked

Willa and her mom move to a posh neighborhood where Willa enrolls in private school. It's the first time they've had money.  Willa isn't too sure about the school, but she lands among the Glitterati.

She soon discovers that the popular girls aren't the nicest girls. They talk trash about their fellow students, especially those students on scholarship. Willa can't bring herself to break up with the Glitterati, but she wants to find a way to help the scholarship students.

Willa begins thief lessons. Soon she's taking money from purses and buying items in secret for the girls.  She's a modern day Robin Hood. Willa loves the rush she gets from seeing the scholarship girls wear the clothes. She wants to do more and more.

Will her big ideas be her downfall?

My Thoughts: In writing this review, an idea just occurred to me in the future of the series. In my mind it makes sense and I can't wait to see if it's true. I liked this book. I liked the action. I liked the modern day Robin Hood idea. There were times that I didn't like Willa and I didn't understand her decisions.  I'm interested to uncover the truth about her mother. I really liked Tre. I didn't really like Aidan, but I could see his charm.  The ending took me by complete surprise and it will keep me reading the next book.

Cover Thoughts: Cute - but it doesn't totally match the book

Source: Netgalley

Challenge: Debut Author 2012