Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Queen of Hearts

* Royal Spyness Book 8 *
Georgie's still in Kent when a car comes barreling up the driveway in the middle of the afternoon. It's her mother and she's on her way to America for a quickie divorce. She would like her daughter's company.

On the boat there, a priceless ruby's stolen causing Darcy to show himself to Lady Georgiana. He's been chasing a jewel thief through England and now across the pond.

Aboard ship, Lady Georgiana and her mother meed several prominent people including a famous Hollywood actress and her producer boyfriend. When he makes an offer to her mother to make her a star, a plan's hatched. They install a look-alike in Reno to make the divorce legal and then Lady Georgiana and her mother head to Hollywood.

Hollywood isn't as glamorous as it seems; secrets lurk everywhere. The group takes a break from filming and head to the producer's castle for the weekend. During the first night, the host is found bludgeoned to death in the library. The murderer must be one of the them and still in the castle.
My Thoughts: I'm a huge fan of the series and I loved seeing old Hollywood and some familiar faces among the characters along with the behind the scenes look at the movies. It was also fascinating to see the differences between the Americans and the English mannerisms; how they treated the maids, their thoughts on familiarity, their thoughts on romantic relationships.  Lady Georigiana has always been up for an adventure, which I admire about her. She's also calm, cool, and collected when an incident occurs.  Everyone has secrets, but the very rich seem to have a few more and Georgie is very good at figuring them out, should the need arise.  

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Friday, August 29, 2014

SummerTime Book Review: Art of Lainey

Books perfect for the beach or to read by the pool

Lainey's boyfriend of two years breaks up with her in the middle of her work shift - in public and with no warning. She's devastated. She doesn't know who she is anymore without him. Now she's determined to win him back.

Her second best friend brings up the Art of War as a solution to her problems. Together the two of them pour over the ancient test looking for a battle plan. When they find one, it's time to put the plan into motion.

Lainey and her co-worker agree to fake-date each other to woo back their exes with jealousy. Micah's different than Lainey - they never really talked before, but soon she's starting figuring him out.

As the summer progresses, she learns a little more about herself and who she wants to be. 
 My Thoughts: Even though this book was predictable, it was a really enjoyable read. I liked the two friends pouring over the book, looking for a way to make a battle plan. I love it when books talk about other books (and bonus - this one was a summer reading book!)  I loved the friendship moments - even the hard ones like the conversation about "making" someone. I love how YA novels are the perfect ways to explore friendships and discovering yourself. I love how Lainey took a long look at herself after her relationship ended and realized that along the way, she lost her self and put the relationship first. I think that happens a lot and like how the author talked about it and acknowledged it - along with the shallowness of her thoughts the past few year. Plus, I loved Micah's sister - she was sweet, smart, and sassy. A fantastic debut novel that puts Paula Stokes on my must watch list.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Librarian's Job is Never Done: What happens after the Summer Reading Program

Last year, I did a post for the YALSA blog on this subject. This year, Abby the Librarian inspired me to take another look at the time after the summer reading program and in gearing back up for the school year. While in some ways, it's relaxing because the several programs a week is over, I'm not sitting around waiting for something to happen. It's busy.

In August:

After the finale, there is lots of clean-up involved with the prizes and the program itself

This year's prize closet
1. Prizes: What went over best that I need to purchase more for next year (Headphones), what prizes didn't go (DVDs).
2. I need to find a location to store the leftover prizes
3. Sort the books for other places (I give the high school ARCs to Erin who works with me, but also works as a Math teacher as the local Technical High School. She takes some for her library classroom. And I give the full books that we already have in the collection to another Librarian who works at the Reference desk during some shifts while her main job is the Librarian at the same Technical High School. And others I keep to use next year.) I should add that all the books have been from BEA, conferences, or review books form this blog.
4. Summer Reading Report - I need to gather up the STATs from the current year and compare them.
5. After looking at the STATs, I brainstorm ways to make next year's summer better (Tweak the finale - it was too long this year and there wasn't enough food - is just one of the ideas)
6. Share the STATs with people my bosses and with the schools

Then there are the specific year to year tasks
1. Getting ready to move my collection into a new space (My collection has been split over the summer during the construction time at my library - which has made summer better and worse in some ways)
2. Helping to plan the second NFA Expo coming up in October (more on this later)
3. Working on the NERTCL social media (I'm one of two representatives for Connecticut)
4. Creating YA Book Brochures for important teen social issues for those embarrassed to ask about topics and some topics that are generic so people don't have to be embarrassed looking that rack of brochures. (Right now I have Body Image, Cutting, Bullies, Life After High School, Death, Drugs, Alcohol, Depression, Poverty/ Homelessness, Suicide, Dating Violence, and Faith)

Then there are the day to day tasks
1. Ordering books for fall now that I have a new budget for the year
2. Figuring out fall programs
3. Gearing up for Round Tables (This year, I'm co-chairing two: a YA one and a Marketing one)
4. Helping last minute readers find a book for summer reading
5. Keeping up to date on our social media sites
6. Answering Reference/Computer help questions
7. Helping out in the library as needed at other desks.

Coming up in September:
As the teens and kids head back to school, I have lots of projects on my place.

1. Move into my new room
2. Get my office settled
3. Decorate both my office and the Teen Area
4. Inventory (weeding and collection development too)
5. Finally change my new books to old (I ran out space in my old room on the shelves and kept too many books at new for spacing reasons)
6. Hang up a slotted shelf on the wall for the newly printed Teen Brochures
7. Talk with school librarians on ways to Collaborate this year
8. Make some PSA for the NFA Book Expo
9. Host some programs in the new YA Room
10. Create some videos about the construction project for our Grand Opening in October to show off our renovated spaces.

What are you up to this fall in your library/job?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's on my Hold List (89)

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. 

I read lots of series books and love them. 

Maid of Deception: Loved the first book, can't wait to read more of this series.

Flashpoint: Still enjoying this series - and it was a popular series this summer at the library

Sealed with a Lie: I love a good spy book and the first one was great and this one is set in Europe.

What books are you waiting to read?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Do Not Own

This week's topic is Books  I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet. This one is hard for me because most of the books I read are library books or review books. So here are some that the library consortium doesn't own and neither do I.

Secret Agent Josephine in Paris
Pansy at the PalacePansy in Paris: A Mystery at the Museum
Castle: Unholy StormCastle: A Calm Before Storm
F this Test: Even More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test AnswersSuri's Burn Book: Well-Dressed Commentary from Hollywood's Little Sweetheart
Soul Mates: You Had Me at Hello Little Gift Book
Model Undercover: Paris
Taste of Home Soups: 380 Heartwarming Family Favorites

It's a random selection. What about you? What do you want to read, but can't get your hands on?

Tween Tuesday Review: X Why Z Animals

Kids ask questions about animals and the editors answer.

The Set-Up
The book's broken up into sections:
Sea Animals
and even Dinosaurs

Each 2 page spread contains two or three questions, pictures of each animal asked about, and a fun fact. 

My Thoughts:
The pictures are fantastic (Even though some like bats and snakes I wasn't eager to see)
The information's great and memorable 
Did you know that dogs can move each nostril separately, or that crabs breathe through their knees, or that the T-Rex name means Tyrant Lizard King in Greek?
The Q and A set up works really well - providing short and to the point information.

This book is perfect for kids who are curious and for those who love animals. 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: Sent for Review

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Bridge From Me to You

Lauren's new to town, she just moved in with her aunt, uncle, and two cousins. Lauren's trying to put her past behind her and move on, but she can't move on if she can't find a place to call home.

Colby lives in the same small town, but has visions of escaping.  He doesn't want to be known for his football skills. In fact, he doesn't even want to play football in college.

Can the two of the figure out a way to belong?
My Thoughts: I really love the dual perspective of this book and how Lauren's voice is in verse while Colby is in prose. The combination works really well. I love the small town which has virtually no secrets, as gossip spreads like wildfire. Although I like how Colby and Lauren can confide in each other. The accident that rocked everyone's world made the future a harder place to find --with secret wishes and then guilt. The themes of friendship and family were woven in nicely to this book, but the important piece for both characters was finding yourself, letting others in, and living for the day and not for the future. Stop waiting and live the you want now. It's easier said than done, but good advice. A fabulous book of small town life and characters with big dreams. 

Cover Thoughts: I love the wrap-around cover - especially the football field and the bridge. I wish they had combined the two to make guys pick up the book too.

Source: My Library 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Grace Against the Clock

* Book 5 in the Manor House Mystery Series *
The Manor's hosting a fundraiser for the town clock, which desperately needs fixing.  When Dr. Leland Keay disappears right before his keynote speech, Grace knows something is wrong.

When he turns up dead, she believes it wasn't from natural causes. She can't let the matter rest, especially since the crime happened at the manor and on her watch.  Can she uncover the events of that night that will lead her to the truth?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed that latest installment of this series. I love learning more about the manor and the people who work there - mainly Francis and Bennett. I love how Francis is warming up to Grace.  I liked the moments between Hilary and Grace and how they've been working together restoring her house. I loved the discovery of the secret passageway and learning more about the history of the house (and the town). The attempted sleuthing, uncover details about the house, friendship, and romance certainly make a winning combination.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Friday, August 22, 2014

SummerTime Book Review: Chasing Perfect

Books perfect for the beach or to read by the pool

Last year I read the Christmas book Christmas on 4th Street and I wanted to read the series from the beginning. So I started them over the summer.

Charity Jones just accepted a new position of City Planner in Fool's Gold, moving to take the job after a bad break-up. She's surprised to learn that the town has a serious lack of eligible single men and that one of her jobs will be to attract new businesses to the area.

In the first meeting to secure a new project for the town, her meeting is hijacked by the town's Golden Boy. It seems everywhere she turns, someone's mentioning Josh Golden. He may be a former cycling champion who still has big dreams and an even bigger secret, but finding a man isn't on Charity's to-do list. Sometimes, life doesn't work out the way we want...
My Thoughts:  A great introduction to this quaint small town, I loved meeting characters along with Charity and learning the town secrets. I liked the girls night and how quickly gossip spreads. I liked learning more about Josh and his past - especially his racing past. A fun romance that's perfect for summer reading and the start of a charming series that I can't wait to keep reading.

Cover Thoughts: Cute - I like the blend of colors
Source: My Library

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guest Post: Patty Blount

I'm excited to have a special guest Patty Blount talking about an important issue on learning the truth before speaking and the dangers of internet attackers. 

Among the deepest pain I’ve ever felt in my life is being unfairly judged and punished for something I never did by someone I trusted, someone who should have known me better. It hurt so much, I wasn’t sure I’d survive. I kept asking myself how anyone who knew me could think me capable of this. 

Thankfully, the internet did not factor into this particular trial. Imagining that sort of condemnation by hundreds of people who do not know me is a form of torture, I’m certain of it.

This is precisely how main character Grace suffers in Some Boys. After she’s attacked by sports celebrity Zac McMahon at a party, her friends, most of the school, and her parents don’t fully believe her side of the story. Worse, complete strangers enter the debate online, after her attacker posts an incriminating video. 

As I write this post, the internet has been lit up with news of the tragedy that occurred when race car driver Tony Stewart hit and killed another driver, who’d left his wrecked car. Internet users forget that they’re posting about people with feelings, people who may be experiencing guilt we can’t even imagine. They forget that they do not have all the facts in hand and are rushing to judge—to pile more guilt on top of what people are already trying to cope with because it’s just so easy to step onto that virtual soap box. 

Also as I write this post, news of comedian Robin Williams’s death has just reached me. In my favorite role as John Keating in Dead Poets Society, Williams said, No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Some Boys is sadly a story inspired by too many real news events. If my words and ideas can change the world, I fervently hope they will help encourage readers of this book to practice internet restraint the next time something happens in real life that compels them to take sides, to unfairly criticize or condemn someone simply because everyone else is doing it, or to shame them for something that was not their fault. 
Some girls say no. Some boys don’t listen.

When Grace meets Ian, she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses Zac, the town golden boy, of rape, everyone turns against her. Ian wouldn't be the first to call her a slut and a liar.

Except Ian doesn’t reject her. He’s the one person who looks past the taunts and the names and the tough-girl act to see the real Grace. He’s the one who gives her the courage to fight back.

He’s also Zac’s best friend.

Patty Blount works as a software technical writer by day and novelist by night. Dared by her 13-year-old son to try fiction, Patty wrote her first manuscript in an ice rink. A short version of her debut novel, Send, finished in the top ten of the Writer's Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's on My Hold List (88)

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. 

Picture Books: Even though I don't have kids and I'm not a Children's Librarian, I still love picture books. Here are a few I'm looking forward to reading.

Have You Seen My Dragon?: Love Dragon books - can't imagine losing one though.

Dinner with the Highbrows: Sounds like an entertaining dinner - lots of laughter and fun

What to do When You're Sent to Your Room: Usually I just read - but I'm sure this little boy also has some fun - he looks mischievous

Catch that Cookie: Honestly, the title grabbed my attention - it's a take on the gingerbreadmen story and it sounds clever and fun.

Monster Chefs: Looks super cute - a kind demands better food than eyeballs and ketchup

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommended Books

This week's topic is recommended books that I should read. A month ago, TFIOS would have been on the first book on the list, but I've read that one. So here are some others that people have mentioned....

My co-worker reads more books that I do, she reads really quickly. She's always sharing titles with me, which I love as we have very similar tastes.

Candy Aisle Crafts: Create Fun Projects with Supermarket SweetsMurder Is Binding (Booktown Series #1)It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars, #1)

Books that other bloggers have raved about:
Code Name VerityRose Under FireThe Glass SentenceOn the Fence

Emma Watson 
The Queen of the Tearling: Preview Edition e-Book

Kristan Higgins
Find My Way Home

My Husband:
Blood Song

Tween Tuesday Review: Robots

For anyone who is interested in the history of robots, robots of today, and what the future might hold. A great overview for anyone who finds robots fascinating. 
  • The book's divided into sections - Robots that Work, Robots that Protect, Robots that Explore, Robots that Fly, Robots that Help, Robots that Play, and Robots that kids made.
  • History of Robotics dating back to early automatons.
  • Break-out Points are in bright colors

  • What I Like:
    1. The examples of college students' work in the field. 
    2. The photographs are wonderful
    3. Informative and Entertaining but not too text heavy
    4. Reading Robots
    5. Mini Robots shown to size
    6. LEGO Robots
    7. Websites for more info
    8. The creativeness behind the robots build for kids
    A fabulous introduction to robots in an easy to read format with excellent photographs/illustrations

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Zest Summer Bloggin' Tour

    If you have teens stuck on duct tape - this book is perfect for them. I tabbed several that would be great at my library including:
    * Gift Bow
    * Carnation Pens
    * Basic Sticker
    * Cupcake Purse (everyone needs one of these)
    * Headbands
    * Rings
    * Bookmarks (We've done this before at the library, but they weren't rounded - nor did they have tassels)

    Plus obviously you can build upon each of these ideas. Don't fancy a cupcake purse, create a basketball one instead using the same ideas. 

    There are lots of great projects for going back to school

    The Set-Up:
    After the list of tools you can use and setting up your workstation, there's a chapter on basic duct tape techniques.
    Great pictures to go along with the instructions
    Levels of ease
    Time length it should take to complete each project
    List of materials
    Highlighted tips

    I confess, I'm not a huge lover of vegetables (those who know me, know that's a understatement - I really don't like them at all).  But I really enjoyed reading this book - it made me think about the foods that I do eat and how I could improve my eating habits.

    What I like about this cookbook:
    * The Set-up (see below)
    * Season dishes: I love the alternatives for dishes depending on fresh food
    * I love the idea of fresh food
    * Each recipe comes from a teen
    *Pictures are great
    * My favorite part of cookbooks is always the desert section

    The Set-Up
    Short Essays in the beginning which range from Vegetarianism to Eating Locally
    Chapter on basic recipes - staples for your kitchen
    Easy to follow recipes

    Follow the Tour:
    • Summer Bloggin Blog Tour page:

    More About the Books:
    • The Green Teen Cookbook book info:
    • Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects book info:

    Find Zest Books Online:
    Zest Books Facebook profile:
    Zest Books Facebook page:
    Zest Books website: and Blog Tour hub page:
    Zest Books on Twitter
    Zest Books on Goodreads:
    Zest Books Pinterest board: 
    Zest Books Instagram:
    Zest Books Tumblr:

    ABOUT ZEST BOOKS: Zest Books is an award-winning publisher of smart and edgy titles for young and new adults that cover timely topics in creative ways by incorporating solid life advice, practical how-to instruction, and humorous commentary. Distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, you can learn more about Zest Books at

    Contest: You can win ONE of the books: The prize includes an autographed copy of the book of your choice, and may even include a roll of duct tape or a special green-themed cooking tool, depending on which book you choose for your contest. 

    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Mysterious Saturday Review: Boiled Over

    * Maine Clambake series book 2 - Book 1 Review *
    Julia Snowden wants to belong to Busman's Harbor. After leaving for college and then finding a job in New York City, she's always felt like an outsider when she returns home. Now that she's back living in Maine, she decides that something needs to be done. She joins the Founder's Day Committee.

    The festival's off to a great start until a body's discovered in the clam bake oven.

    One of Julia's workers was seen fleeing the scene. N one can find him. Julia was so desperate to hire someone, she failed to complete the proper background check. As a result, they know next to nothing about Cabe.

    Julia refuses to believe that Cabe murdered someone. The more she digs into his background, the more questions arise. 
    My Thoughts: The second book in the series doesn't disappoint. I love the setting - it's both beautiful and believable with the small town charm and also the gossip grapevine.  I like how there are lots of secrets and the town protects their own. Plus, everyone has an opinion about your life.  I love the food - you can almost smell the goodies; it makes my mouth water. I love the plot twists. I appreciate how Julia's trying to become part of the community. Mystery blends with the romance, making me anxious for the next book in the series.

    Cover Thoughts: Charming
    Source: my Library