Saturday, August 13, 2011


If I could travel back in time, I would happily go back just a few hours ago when I accidentally wiped clean my camera's memory card, before I had transferred the pictures. So, yes, feel like an absolute idiot but I just wasn't thinking (and really didn't realize that by pushing "okay" I would wreak such havoc). Lesson learned.

But, has Gabi learned her lesson about messing with the time travel continuum (trust me, I know all about that as I did a special research project on it for my high school physics class)? Perhaps not. Luckily for the reader, that means that she has yet another adventure in medieval Italy! Yes, I am talking about Cascade the sequel to Waterfall. (As an aside, the titles in the River of Time series: Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent remind me of the three titles Tom Stoppard used for his Coast of Utopia series: Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage, as they go in a sequence.)

At the end of Waterfall, Gabi and Lia have traveled back to the present, promising Marcello and Luca that they will hopefully return someday (if Gabi has anything to do about it). The two are immediately embroiled in the battle between their mom and Dr. Manero, the Italian rival archaeologist, who would have clearly been on Florence's side had he been born a few centuries earlier, over control of the site. Despite her misgivings, their mother is convinced that they had actually traveled back in time and she convinces them to take her along. Because, really, who wouldn't want to go back to medieval Italy when there are some guys out there who want you dead?

Oh wait. What was that? People want you dead?


Although Gabi and Lia have been away from the past for a very brief amount of time, months had passed since their departure. Things have changed. Well, not everything since Marcello is still waiting for Gabi's return. Counting the days, actually. Fortino is hale and, as Lord Forelli, has worked out an agreement with Lord Rossi of Siena that he will marry Romana Rossi instead of his brother Marcello. And they are to bed wedded in just a couple weeks.

But, treachery is afoot, and with the help of the plague, it isn't too long before Gabi and Lia are matching wits and weapons with old and new foes. As word has spread about the Lady Betarrinis' fame, so to has the bounty on the She-Wolves of Siena's heads. It may take a miracle to survive this trip to the countryside.

This book is completely action packed from beginning to end. Though don't worry, there is also a fairly strong heaping of romance (my favorite bit of that was actually in the vineyards back when things were simple and happy for just that brief moment). I couldn't believe how few days had passed in the storyline compared to all that happened. I was happy to be reunited with old characters (hehe, Luca+Lia), was delighted to make the acquaintance of new ones (more Lord Greco, please, and their mom!), and saddened to see the departure of some others (it is a war, but don't worry, I won't tell you who). There was, I feel, a distinct lack of Fortino throughout the book. Mere mentions won't satisfy me. I am hoping that he is more present in Torrent. Fingers crossed!

My one quibble would be that Luca recovered remarkably quickly. Though, I fear I know as much of the plague as Lia does (a lot of what I know comes thanks to reading Connie Willis's Doomsday Book, another time traveling favorite of mine).

I came away from this book thinking there ought to be a new book in that "You Wouldn't Want to Be a..." series. This one entitled: "You Wouldn't Want to Be a She-Wolf in Medieval Italy".

Here is the trailer for Cascade. Enjoy!

And I leave you with my favorite line:

"Yuk it up, fellas. I'm all LOL myself."

Why is it my favorite? Just because it sounds so typical modern teenager, yet there she is stuck in 14th century Italy. It made me LOL a bit myself (and that is something I rarely do when reading a book).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'll let you go. If you stay.

It wasn't until last December when I was flying home to upstate New York that I picked up Gayle Forman's If I Stay. If I had to tell you why, it would be because I knew it would be a slightly depressing read and that I wanted to be in the right frame of mind for it. Of course, I then went on to read it in one sitting and was impatiently awaiting the sequel, Where She Went. Of course, once I finally got it into my hot little hands, I waited a bit to read it. Perhaps I wanted to draw out the suspense.

Where She Went is told from Adam's perspective and begins several years after the accident that claimed the lives of Mia's family. Like If I Stay, the plot jumps from the present action to flashbacks to life before the accident, which helps the reader to understand where Adam is coming from.

If you remember from the first novel, Adam promised Mia while she was still in a coma (and deciding if life was worth living) that if only she would stay he would do anything, even let her walk out of his life. And that is precisely what Mia did after leaving the west coast to go to school at Julliard. Her departure left Adam a complete mess; he even quit college and moved back into his parent's house. But after a year of mourning, he turned his anguish into song. When the novel begins, we are introduced to an Adam who is seemingly at the top of his game: he's a very successful rock star who is about to embark on an European tour. But instead of feeling like he is living a dream life, he can't sleep and is taking medication for his nerves. Not to mention an inquisitive report just asked him about the one topic he refuses to answer: his relationship to Mia Hall.

On his last night in NYC, he stumbles across a concert that Mia is giving and ends up meeting with her after the show. They end up going on a whirlwind trip around the city as Mia shows him the "hidden" city she has come to love. They are given this one night together before each one departs the city to go their separate ways: Adam to Europe and Mia to Asia. Will they be able to finally talk about what happened and learn the truth about what separated them?

Gayle Forman wrote another wonderful book exploring how one accident can cause entire lives to implode and then be rebuilt. I enjoyed how she wrote this from Adam's perspective because you really got to feel how much he hurt, despite the fact that it wasn't his immediate family who had died in the accident. In their own way, they were his family, too.

And, I quite love the cover. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is the colours.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My love is like a Waterfall.

Days like today, I always think back to what Harry says in Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword, "I come from a cold country, where the witches live in cool, green forests." Seriously, I can't take this heat. And in addition to myself, now I need to worry that my insulin might combust or just generally become useless? It is too much! I should move back to Canada (or just south of there).

Luckily, there is air conditioning. And good books. Like the one I just finished reading last night.

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren.

I first heard about this on Goodreads and it sounded quite fascinating so I went out and purchased it (because I wanted it in time for the 48-hour reading challenge and the library just wasn't there for me). Of course, I found it so fascinating sounding that I ended up not reading it for the challenge because I wanted to enjoy it (trust me, it makes sense in my head). But, I have read it now!

Waterfall tells the story of Gabriella (Gabi) Bettarini, a 17-year-old American who is in Italy over the summer with her younger sister Evangelia (Lia) and their mom who is an archaeologist with a focus on the Etruscans. At the outset, their mom has discovered quite an Etruscan find. Gabi and Lia know it is going to be a long, boring summer stuck out in the backwoods of nowhere (don't I know that feeling!). One morning, Gabi convinces Lia to go exploring one of the tombs with her. In the tomb, Gabi comes across a strange set of handprints on the wall. Her hand fits in one, and Lia's in the other. Suddenly, whoosh!, Gabi finds herself alone in the tomb with the sounds of fighting outside. Rival archaeologists or hot, Italian men from the 14th century fighting out a territory dispute? I'd go for the hot Italian men option. Which would be correct.

The rest of the action takes place in Medieval Tuscany featuring rival families. Gabi convinces Marcello and Luca Forelli that she is from Normandy (to explain her modern clothes) and has been separated from her sister Lia on their way to discover where is their mother. The family Forelli, fighting on the side of Sienna, takes her in and provide her assistance in her search. On her journey, she will need to use all of her skills and knowledge to survive in this foreign land, and perhaps begin to seek God's purpose in all of this.

Gabi reads as a modern teenager. I kind of giggled when at one point she was thinking that all she needed to do was "Google" something to find the answer. Because don't we all say that? And yet, she did manage to slip into fourteenth-century Italian language believably due to studying "the poet" Dante's works. And despite being able to beat people at swordplay, she isn't perfect because, well, her hair just won't stay in place.

There is quite a dash of romance in this book. Gabi is soon drawn into feeling something for Marcello, the presumed heir of the Forelli estate (his older brother Fortino, who is also fabulous, severely suffers from allergies and asthma and isn't expected to live much longer). Except Marcello has a long-standing engagement with Lady Rossi whose father is one of Sienna's "Nine", so this is a big time arrangement for the Forelli family. Marcello also has similar feelings for Gabi. But to pursue such a relationship has the potential to destroy the Forelli family. What is a girl to do?

I also was a fan of Luca. Perhaps because in his way, he made me think of Benvolio. Just as long as Gabi and Marcello don't have to stupidly die for their love. But, I think it was more the sidekick role (and the fact that he was of the "California surfer" type which makes me think of Gregori Baquet from the French Romeo et Juliette). Well, all I'm saying is that I'm still rooting that he and Lia get together (if I'm allowed to happily pair everyone off like Louisa May Alcott did at the end of An Old-Fashioned Girl.

All in all, a very fun read and I would recommend it if you have a thing for historical fiction/time-travel. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Cascade, the second book in the trilogy.

But, I will leave you with a bit of silliness. In other words, this is an example of why Kristin shouldn't read good books so quickly.

Quote from Waterfall:

[The doctor] stood again, this time moving to the head of the bed to examine my eyes, tongue, and then the beds of my fingernails. Looking for what? Signs of fever, infection, dehydration? Oh, or that body humours thing? I was surprised when he didn't ask for a urine sample. Apparently, they figured out a lot by the odor, appearance-even taste-of a person's urine.

"You are far[t]ing far better than I expected," he said at last.

So, yes, I'm the girl who read the last line with the word "farting" in place of "faring". My mind apparently went from urine samples to that. Sheesh. As soon as I realized my mistake, I could stop laughing. But, maybe you had to have been there (in my head) to really appreciate it.

And, the Waterfall book trailer:

Monday, July 18, 2011

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

Ah, it's been so long. My one excuse is that it is summertime at the library. And the living isn't quite so easy. My days are filled with all sorts of summer programs, the most well attended being the Lego programs we run. I can't quite seem to fill the teenagers with nearly enough excitement to attend the teen parties. Free food! X-Box games! Crafts! Just not good enough. But give the younger kids piles of Legos and they are happy as clams and clamoring for more. I've already had the good fortune as to be able to add a couple more programs in. Next one is on Wednesday.

Tomorrow I am going to learn more about ebook and ebook readers. Should be exciting.

Even more exciting are the novels I have read/am currently reading at the moment. My boss, Peggy, borrowed Warped by Maurissa Guibord through inter-library loan, and was kind enough to let me borrow it when she had completed reading it. I had earlier snagged it from the desk where she had unsuspectingly left it, not knowing I would want to snag it from her. I mean time-traveling hotties? Sign me up for a little of that, please!

Warped tells the tale of 17-year-old Tessa Brody who pushes her father to bid on a lot of books at an auction after seeing a tapestry of a unicorn that was included in the lot. She is drawn to the tapestry, though at the same time somewhat repelled because strange visions overtake her when she touches it, dreams of a past where she was the virgin in the forest entrapping a unicorn. And then a thread is plucked, the unicorn disappears, and a man appears in her bedroom, straight from the 16th century. It is William de Chaucy, a hot young nobleman who had been transformed into a unicorn by Gray Lily, a witch who learned the art of stealing human life threads in order to weave them into her own tapestry. She wants him back in her art; it is the only way she can stay young and alive. At the same time, the Norn Sisters are after Tessa because they believe she is the one who has stolen the threads. They threaten to destroy her life and those lives of the people she loves if she doesn't return the threads to them. Will Tessa be able to fix the pattern before her whole life is destroyed by Gray Lily and the Norn Sisters? And what will happen to William de Chaucy, a man whom she has learned to love. Their fates were entwined in the past, can she still hold on to him in the present?

Okay, I admit it, I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Perhaps it was because I picked it up and started it and then got distracted for a couple of days by life and other things and then finished it. So, I had forgotten some of the details of things starting out (like her unimportant date with some high school boy). And then the other part of me that wished that they had spent more time in the past. And the time in the past that they did spend was in the tapestry. So was that really the past or just some sort of Gray Lily's warped view of the past? Who knows. However, I did like the ending. And, as much as I'm all "meh" these days about girls meeting boys and falling in love with them after knowing them for a day (and the feelings being reciprocated), I'm giving this book a pass on that detail. Technically, they "knew" each other for centuries because apparently the Norn Sisters like to reweave your thread into the story even after it has been cut. Basically, she was the reincarnated virgin of the forest that had trapped Will when he was a unicorn. He got over that grudge, apparently, since they did have a nice make-out scene later in the book. All I'm saying is that the instant love kind of romance, I'm not buying it. But, then again, I'm the girl who has loved a guy for two years now. And he doesn't know I exist (as a girl, I mean, I'm like my own subspecies of an "it" to him). But, I digress. I guess that's why I take my inspiration from Helena (All's Well That Ends Well) and Cassandra (I Capture The Castle) these days. All about the unrequited love.

Still, it's nice to still be able to read and dream that these things can happen!

Speaking of Cassandra, I saw a wonderful reading of the new I Capture the Castle musical by Peter Foley held at Signature Theatre this past weekend. I had been looking forward to hearing this ever since three of the songs from the show were previewed a couple of years back in a cabaret. Okay, it was more like "They are doing a musical version of I Capture the Castle? I must to hear that!" Seeing as I always was a fan of the book by Dodie Smith. And, I happily wasn't disappointed. Now, some liberties have been taken. As a matter of fact, Cassandra and Rose's brother Thomas was written out of the show during the workshop process that happened in the three weeks prior to the reading. The actor ended up being the one to read the stage directions. And, it still dragged in places, but with a bit more work, I'm sure it will turn out to be a delightful piece. I put it very much in the same place of love in my heart as Paul Gordon's Daddy-Long-Legs musical. A show that I very much want to see, but I adore the recordings that I've heard because they take whole bits from the show. The one thing that I wish was expanded was the ending and how they have Cassandra say the line "I wanted to run after him and say 'yes!' But, that isn't enough, not for the giver." Because in the book, before the "but, that isn't enough" bit, there is the line about "And surely I could give him-a sort of contentment." I think you really should have left that it to make the last line make more sense. At least they have at the very end, "Only the margins left. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you...."

Ah, and yesterday I was sitting in the audience waiting for Oklahoma! to start at Arena Stage (very fun production, by the way) when I overheard the man next to me tell his son that when he was living in NYC everyone who visited him had to see Les Miserables. That meant he saw it all of three times and how it was four hours and fifteen minutes long. ::gasp:: I couldn't help but laugh because a)I've seen it too many times to properly remember how many, and b)it really isn't that long. Of course, he lost my respect when he smacked me in the face twice with his coat when he was taking it off and didn't apologize at all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Falling for shelf-reading.

I think I am finally getting recovered from the reading challenge this past weekend. That said, I did nearly fall asleep on my couch after work today. But maybe it was because there wasn't enough sweating going on in the book I was reading. (I was attempting to finish Falling for Romeo by Jennifer Laurens-it was the book my friend and I were using to read out-loud to each other during the time in the challenge when we were cooking dinner, the main male character likes to sweat, a lot).

I am currently working on one of my all-time favorite projects at the library. No, it is not prep work for computer classes (those I am very much not looking forward to). It's shelf-reading! Or, "refreshing the collection" as I like to call it. Do you know what it is one of my favorite and my bests? Not only do I get snatches of "me time" away from the desk, I also get to find rather interesting things our patrons have left behind in books. Okay, not everything is wonderful and fun (dirty tissues much?), but then you can also find some splendidly amusing notes, bookmarks, and drawings. I actually have a collection of them growing and I'm quite tempted to scan some of them to show you just how fabulous some of them are. Except then the patrons might start to think their privacy has been violated.

The most exciting thing I found today? A 2010 parking pass for Navy football games. One of these days I just know I am going to find a $100 bill instead of a growth of mold. I will, if I look in enough books! Of course, I'm also still waiting for a ginger-haired boy to come sweep me off my feet. Ever the optimist, here.

Oh, sure, shelf-reading also funnels my OCD-ness into respectable channels. The downside is how grumpy I get when a patron instantly starts to rearrange a shelf just after I had straightened it. It is a constant, and losing, battle this keeping the library clean.

One of these days I'll finish another book. And actually write a review on it. ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Done! ::confetti::

Hurrah! The 6th annual 48 hour reading challenge is over for the year (for me).

I totally slowed down at the end as far as quantity of books. In those 3 o'clock morning hours after going nearly 48 hours with no sleep, you start to re-read sentences, paragraphs, and just when you get to the end of the page, you miss the last sentence so you have to go reread the entire page. Or at least that is what it somehow felt to me.

The only two that I am going to count for this post (I have a few others that I started, but did not complete) are:

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

(I will be editing in thoughts a little later, right now I'm blank, like a white canvas.)

Time spent reading: 46 hrs, 50 minutes
Blogging: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time: 48 hours
Books read: 14
Pages read: 3774
Donations: $46.25 (14 books & 17 comments)

Happy reading for all those still working away on the challenge. I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs after a nap, or church, whichever I decide to do in the near future (and no, they are not the same).

That's my fort!

Just a little Liberty Smith theatre joke (yes, you can really tell how punchy I am getting here).

See that ladder? That's my fort. That is where I would be hiding for the next eight or so hours if I had something like that in my apartment. But, you won't find me howling at midnight the name "Martha Washington". Nope. Just, "when will it be 8:05?!"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Despair poisoned by hope.

It sounds like there is a storm a'brewing. That and there must have been an accident or some such thing because the sirens keep going off. Hopefully nothing too serious. All this excitement I could have missed had I chosen to not stay up! Eight hours left. Eight hours left. Am I going to make it? I certainly hope so!

Three more books for you (yes, this year is all about "3's").

Black Watch by Gregory Burke

This year's play selection! Set partially in Scotland and partially in Iraq, the play deals with the last Black Watch regiment before they were disbanded. The author me with some of the soldiers once they were home and after conducting interviews, this was the result. The show recently toured in the US (and I had to hunt down the new version with its new cover of the play for a while, and I'm happy I waited because it does include photos from the touring production-and Kenzie is so adorable). I was fortunate enough to have seen this play (in addition to The Great Game performed at Shakespeare Theatre in DC this past year. The unfortunate aspect of reading this play is there is a lot that you miss visually, especially the choreography. Take "Blueys", for example. Them telling you about the soldiers' reading their letters from home and then signing out the contents of the letter is nowhere near as moving by just reading it. Nor can you get the action of the 10 second fights or the beauty of some of the music (hey, what can I say, I like bagpipe music). Word of caution, there is a lot of swearing.

My Double Life by Janette Rallison

I got this nagging feeling about halfway through reading this that I had already read this novel. Or maybe it was just one very much like? Alexie is a dead ringer for rock star Kari Kingsley. When Kingsley agent offers Lexi a chance to be Kari's double, she jumps at the chance upon learning that she and Kari are half-sisters. Is there a chance she can finally meet her dad? Not to mention what other hot young celebrities might be heading Lexi's way. But can she balance her personal life with Kari's public life without things exploding? Dun, dun, dun.

Pulling Princes by Tyne O'Connell

First in a series. Calypso Kelly is an American in a posh British private school for girls. She doesn't have it all, but this year, with a little help from her mom's PA Jay (who's gay), she decides to get it all. That is, she is going to "pull" boys which will optimistically jettison her into popularity. Of course, she ends up getting more than she bargains for when Prince Freddie, heir to the throne, takes an interest in her after a fencing match. Who doesn't love boarding school stories?

Blogging time: 14 minutes

Time spent reading: 39 hrs, 4 minutes
Blogging: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Books read: 12
Pages read: 3264
Donations: $39.75 (12 books & 15 comments)

Where is my focus?

It is a major cause for celebration when I finish a book these past few hours. I've now been reading for 30 hours and 40 minutes. The veins are making their ritual appearance. Joy, joy. It's always disconcerting when you look down and see more than you want to see of your insides coming to the forefront.

What I've been reading since the wee hours of the morning...

Sugar and Spice by Kate Messner

This was actually an ARC that I acquired back at ALA last year. When I saw "skater goes to Lake Placid", I knew I had to read it. But it wasn't until I got home that I realized that the author, Kate Messner, actually lived down the street from me back when I lived in upstate NY. It was quite fun reading a book set in one's home locale. So many names and places were of a familiar nature to me. And there was the main character, Claire, playing the game "Who's that guy" with her brothers. I found it hilarious that the man the author described as being a "tall, skinny man with blond hair and glasses... and smiling like crazy" was determined to be an "alien from another galaxy posing as a geeky TV weatherman". Because, really, that is totally (in my opinion) describing the authors husband who is the weatherman for the local tv channel. So, a quite fun read, though I did figure out who the evil vixen skater was a bit earlier than Claire.

Cat's Cradle by Julia Golding

Julia Golding needs to keep pumping out her Cat Drury books every year so I will have a new one to read for the challenge. In this 6th book of the series (to go this high up, you have to order them from the UK because on the first few are currently published in the US), Cat has just returned home from her misadventures in Barbados with Billy Shepherd (whom as soon as we meet him, we have to say goodbye to him ::sniffsniff::) and is soon thrust into her latest venture which is posing as a mill worker in Scotland in order to find, perhaps, some members of her family. Many new characters were added, some nicer than others, though there were a few returning characters (mainly Syd and Frank). I'm not sure if it was the Scottish setting complete with Scottish terms, but this really reminded me so much of some of Sally Watson books. So, despite the lack of Billy Shepherd, I'm still a fan of book #6!

Kat, Incorrgible by Stephanie Burgis

What a fun novel. In a way it reminded me of Sorcery and Cecilia. Not in the format, but the whole set in early 19th century mixed with magic type way. Hah, yes, I think I've run out of things to say right now, but it was quite enjoyable and I am looking forward to reading the next adventure of our Kat (hah, two "Kat" "Cat" books in a row). Hopefully next time, there will be more teamwork with her sisters. I'm still wondering if there is any MP (Magic Potential) in Kat's eldest sister Elissa.

There, give me another 17 minutes for blogging.

Time spent reading: 30 hrs, 40 minutes
Blogging: 56 minutes
Books read: 9
Pages read: 2703
Donations: $30.00 (9 books & 12 comments)

I wish I wasn't so stubborn.

I am thinking that next year, I shall participate in the 48 hour sleep challenge. Or the 48 second reading challenge. Especially difficult is knowing that friends of yours have gone off to the beach this weekend. It is making me feel insanely jealous. But, then I look at the "pile" of books I have read, and I feel like I have accomplished at least a little something.

It is 3:15 a.m. here. What am I still doing up? And what does this mean for my reading totals? 19 hours and 10 minutes. No, I blogged for 20 minutes of that time. So my total reading time has been 18 hours and 50 minutes. Not too shabby, I guess.

What have I read?

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn.

Fourth in the Lady Julia Grey mystery series. I have a bad tendency to mix the first book in this series in my head with the first book of Tasha Alexander's series. So, I really don't remember how the series started other than by the death of Lady Julia's husband by murder which lead to investigations helmed by Nicholas Brisbane (now her husband). This one is set in India (maybe). It is a mystery. I am tired. What more do you want me to write. Are you even reading this?

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

I read the first book in this series (The Ghost and the Goth) and really enjoyed it. The sequel did not fail to delight me, though I have to wonder where the author is going to go from this ending. Like all good sequels (Yes, I'm looking at you, Demonglass), the author introduces a super secret organization that may or may not be on the side of right. Our hero must choose his partner in his battle. Does he stick with the dead or the living? And, really, who is "living" by the end?

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton

Full disclosure, I first learned of this book thanks to being Facebook "friends" with the author's brother (he is an actor and I enjoyed him in Les Miserables on Broadway). Therefore, I had to read her book. It was a very fun book. Our ten-year-old heroine, Persimmony Smudge, in the process of breaking her family's "Giving Pot", losing her hat, and running away from a fearsome poisoned-tongued jumping tortoise, learns of a devious plot hatched by the underground-dwelling Leafeaters. Which can only lead to the discovery of... a giant? Quite entertaining!

And, I am now reading a book by an author from my hometown. I recognize things. How frightening (in a good way, of course)!

Oh, and there's another 19 minutes blogging.

Ye olde tally:

Time spent reading: 18 hrs, 50 minutes
Blogging: 39 minutes
Books read: 6
Pages read: 1729
Donations: $20.25 (6 books & 9 comments)

Friday, June 3, 2011

And then I found out the truth... finally.

Hi, there! I've been reading now for, um, let's see... I started at 8:05 and now it is 3:24. That means I been at it for 7 hours and 19 minutes. And have only read three books. That seems a bit lax. Hmm. Especially when I see how much else there is to be read!

What have I read?

Linnet by Sally Watson

I actually picked one of her older books this year to read (not one of her newly published ones). To be honest, I like her old ones from the 60s better than the ones she is turning out these days. Not that I'm not grateful for additional Sally Watson books. Especially when they deal with additional stories from people you met in her earlier books. And, I actually hadn't read this one yet (very bad on my part, but she is kind of a hard, and sometimes expensive, author to find these days). Linnet is, as far as I can tell, more of a stand-alone novel than some of her others. But, perhaps it is just that I can't place her family in the context of her other stories. But, it also takes place during Queen Elizabeth I's time and the majority of the others I have read were all after that time. Still, the character Linnet does bear a shocking resemblance to many of Watson's other heroines as far as being quite modern and outspoken with her beliefs, though Linnet is also far too trustworthy. It is that aspect that gets Linnet into trouble in the first place. She has run away from home and meets a seemingly respectable gentleman on her travels to London. He takes her under his wing and instead of taking her to her relatives in London, actually deposits her into his "school" where he trains young orphaned children to be pickpockets, beggars, and cutpurses. It is quite entertaining as she matches wits with him (and of course succeeds in the end) and grows to love the other children whom she first would not deign to sit next to due to their grubbiness. Quite and enjoyable read!

My other two reads were Jennifer Sturman's And Then Everything Unraveled and And Then I Found Out the Truth. Full disclosure, I had read the first book when it had first come out a couple of years ago. It ends on a cliffhanger and I was like "I want to know what happens next like right now!" But by the time the sequel had finally been published, it had somehow slipped my mind. And actually the plot and characters had also dissipated in my memory, so I thought it best to revisit the first to fully comprehend the second. I was not disappointed in either. In And Then Everything Unraveled, we meet Cordelia (Delia to her friends), who has just learned that her mother's ship had disappeared after sending a SOS signal. T.K. (her mother) was visiting Antarctica with an environmental group. Everyone convinced that her mother is dead, Delia is sent to live in NY with her aunt Charity (Charley), though her other aunt, Patience, has control of her financial situation. Delia has never met either aunt. But is T.K. actually dead? Delia suspects not and is prompted into additional explorations of this after she receives a mysterious cell phone call of static. Her new friend traces it to Patagonia, very "near" where her mother's ship was last spotted. With the help of her friend, a possible boy interest, a psychic, and a pony-filled tie-wearing private investigator, Delia intends to find out the truth. And she does. But not fully until the second book. But, don't worry, I won't spoil you for it.

Really, how can you not want to read this author's books when the first book is dedicated to Michelle Jaffe. (I personally love her Bad Kitty novels and am eagerly waiting book number three, whenever that is coming out.)

Now, back to reading. But before that, a tally.

Time spent reading: 7 hrs, 19 minutes
Blogging: 20 minutes
Books read: 3
Pages read: 730
Donations: $10.25 (3 books & 5 comments)

Getting started

You know, I was just about ready to throw the towel in. The New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert is coming on in about an hour and how could I want to miss that?! Well, I'm working beyond that addiction and am turning off the television, brushing my teeth, and grabbing a good book (hopefully it will turn into more than just one).

Starting with Linnet by Sally Watson. Because I traditionally start with a Sally Watson book. And I am nothing if not traditional.

Good luck everyone and happy reading!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The great charity reveal.

I'm going to spare you the picture of how many books I have stacked up and ready to go for the challenge. No, really, I am. If I only read 16 books last year, I'm not sure why I'm being so downright optimistic about this year. Still, one can always strive to reach the "impossible dream" (and by that, I mean to actually have read all of the books I have in my house).

When it comes down to, it would be too embarrassing to admit how much I plan and look forward to this weekend. Something you might realize if you saw all of my books.

Okay, this is not my pile of books. Just a picture of our book drop after being closed a couple of days for the blizzards last year. Whew! What a lot of check ins!

And, my charity has been chosen! I looked around (okay, flying into a panic today because I hadn't figured out who to donate to though I did have some thoughts running around in my mind, trust me) and I decided to stay local. This year, I am going to support QACCA Our Haven Shelter, which is my county's homeless shelter. I think that this will be a nice balance with my co-worker Erin who is also doing the challenge (she also makes delicious cookies, believe me). Her chosen charity, Animal Resource Foundation (ARF) is an animal rescue organization. Aren't we both upstanding citizens of our county?

So, for every book I read, I will donate $3. For every comment I receive during the reading challenge, I will donate $.25. Run with that!

Now off to clean my bathroom. I managed to burn out my vacuum cleaner tonight attempting to clean the carpet in my bedroom. It is of some difficult type of carpeting that refuses to be cleaned. Excessive vacuuming is obviously not what it needs (which is why I then go around picking up lint bits by hand). Except now I'll have to do the entire apartment that way until I can get a replacement. Oh dear!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Give us your tired, your poor...

...your moldy books? Ok, maybe not. But that is one of the things we have to deal with at the library on, if not a daily basis, at least once in a while. Myself, I have been accused of being a a right terror because I am generally spot water or otherwise damaged books from a mile away.

Today, we had a patron come in with five bags of books asking if we were taking donations. As our library director had recently run an ad in the local paper that we were accepting donations, I said "yes". Perhaps most unwisely. The patron then went on to say that the vast majority of the books were ones pulled from the trash that Hospice had deemed unacceptable. He didn't understand why, as obviously we would want them. Reader, some of them were moldy clear through. Others were soggy. Um, ew. Generally there is a reason why books end up in the dump. Needless to say that as soon as they weren't looking, I marched out to our dumpster to dispose of the evidence (and the smell).

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing Liberty Smith at Ford's Theatre from the front row. It has been a while since attending a performance there as a patron (since seeing Meet John Doe for my birthday four years ago). I actually usher there, so I do see their productions all of the time. As an usher, you do get one free ticket per show that you usher (except for A Christmas Carol). This was just the first time my friend and I had taken them up on the offer.

Liberty Smith is about an orphan named Liberty Smith (Geoff Packard) who grows up in pre-Revolutionary War era Virginia. He is childhood friends with George Washington and is also in love with Martha Dandruff (I mean Dandridge). She, of course, looks down on him and tells him that the only way she would marry him would be if he managed to free the thirteen colonies of British tyranny. He goes galloping off to Philadelphia where he becomes Benjamin Franklin's apprentice, meets a more worthy object of affection played by Kelly Karbacz (though he doesn't realize that until act two) and her aunt Betsy Ross, the villainous Benedict Arnold, and eventually finds himself in the midst of Boston during the tea party and Paul Revere's (or should I say Liberty Smith's) midnight ride. Yes, he was there for all of it, but we just never knew about him because he never ended up in the history books.

Here's a preview:

The musical was actually originally written to be an animated movie musical and you can really see that whilst watching it. They don't hesitate to make modern references so it is filled with one liners. All said and done, it was quite the fun night of musical theatre (especially when one considers I typically see more dramatic pieces of art where people die all over the place). The only time it got a bit morose was for the end of Act One/beginning of the second act when all I could do was picture Liberty Smith listlessly counting bullets like Marius in the fabulous 1930s French Les Miserables movie. That said, I am a big fan of his "fort". My one quibble? Why in the world was Martha Dandridge dressed in a regency dress and spencer for part of the show? The other costumes were great and period correct. But that? Why?

And for the record, I took pictures. Of the set. Because we now can. Hehe. I can't tell you how many times I have had to ask people to delete pictures of the set because of copyright issues and now they finally gave up and we don't have to scold patrons anymore. How freeing! Well, except for when there are actors about. Then you still cannot. Don't worry, I didn't try to do that!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moving on up!

Ok, for a while there, I didn't think I could change my template. Apparently, I can. I just can't do it from home. It just sits there and loads and loads and does nothing. Very uninspiring. So, I played with it a little this morning at work and switched templates. Then I came home and created a new header. I'm not sure if I like it or not. Obviously, it does not work well with the present colours, but they can be changed. Let's just say that pink was so four years ago, and I really needed a change to actually match the title of the blog. Though, in reality, simply "Castell Glas" (or "Blue Castle") is the title. I love me some Welsh and some L.M. Montgomery.

I received today a commendation for using the least amount of sick leave last year. I have a certificate as proof. I find it all quite hilarious. Especially when you consider it all just collects and one day I am bound to go on a spree and use up all 50+ days of sick leave I have accumulated. Why don't I use it? Because my parents instructed me from a young age that one was never to call out sick unless one was sick enough to go to the doctor's. And who wants that? No thank you.

I finished Blackveil by Kristen Britain this afternoon. Hello, cliffhanger ending! The only characters you feel any relief knowing what has happened to them are the dead ones (::sniffsniff::). Everyone else? Well, it is going to take another how many years (and forgotten memories) to figure out what has happened to them. I actually felt for the length of the book, some of the subplots that were left hanging did not seem to be well developed at all (Amberhill much?). So, I will say that I enjoyed it, with reservations. The first book in the series, Green Rider, is still my favorite. Now, with all the "love triangles" blossoming, bits of it are turning into quite the little soap opera. What happened to the simple lives these characters once lead? Totally gone, I suppose!

And now back to the cleaning I ought to have been doing hours ago. These piles of books are not going to get sorted by themselves!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge!

Am I the only one who eagerly anticipates this time of year? Perhaps so. My poor co-workers have to put up with me perusing the list of books I have on Goodreads of my potential "books to read" for this challenge and trying to match them with ILL orders (because our library is small, there is no chance all the books I want will be purchased). This demands perfect timing for them to arrive not too early, but then again, not too late. Some are still too new so I will have to wait until next year. Though I ask myself, why do I go and order so many books when I have absolutely piles of them sitting under the table in my living room (not to mention actually on my recently rearranged bookshelves?). But, I never can think that having a greater variety can be bad.

More exciting news? Our library purchased a few eBook readers for staff to use in order to educate ourselves about them in order to better assist our patrons when it comes to downloading books from Overdrive and the like (or even just how to turn them on). I've become particularly attached to the Sony Reader we have. As in, I have yet to return it! (Don't worry, I dutifully check it in when it is due, but nobody else has laid claim on it yet so I check it right back out). I intend to put it to good use during the challenge. It is so nice and light for those late nights and will stay open perfectly well when I'm reading and eating at the table. Plus, I've fallen in love with Netgalley because I can get my ARCs in eBook format through them, they have a return date, and then don't take up any space in my apartment. How sweet is that?

Now my own mini-challenge of the month will be to blog more often here. Must get into practice again!

What am I currently reading: Blackveil by Kristen Britain. There, that makes this post even more bookish.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hour (what are we on?)

What have I been reading?

Yes, that's right. Jean Webster's The Wheat Princess. Back when I first started to read her books (I love Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy), I never picked up on some of the iffy things. Like dealing with the mentally handicapped children at the orphanage. In this book, there was a comment about how one of the characters tried to "assist the Negroes in the United States but found they were too lazy to bother to work for assistance". This book is not moving along as snappily as her others and I'm not sure if it is worth the effort to finish it. We'll see.

Why do patrons have to keep bothering me when I'm trying to read/write?

Here's another picture one. From a book I read recently and loved!

Can you guess what it is?

Dewey's 24-hour Read-A-Thon

Let's give this a try-out. I'm not sure how much reading will be accomplished as I am currently at work at the library. Thank goodness for GoogleBooks! I can do my reading online for the moment. I was going to start with Jean Webster's Dear Enemy, but Google Books actually opened The Wheat Princess, so we will see what that leads to.

Otherwise, I am reading First Rider Call by Kristin Britain on my eBook reader.

And answers to the questions:

1) I am currently reading at the libray. Should move home after work.

2) Three random facts: I am under 5 feet tall, hail from upstate New York, and am a new type 1 diabetic. Actually, that was part of the reason why I wanted to do this one. I'm used to the 48-hour Read-a-Thon, and thought this would be a good way to follow my BS levels throughout the day. I don't want to stress out my non-existant pancreas too much!

3) Hundreds? It never ends, does it?

4) To not cause my BS levels to spike. We'll see about that.

5) Plan ahead. This means books and meals. Walk around whilst reading. Don't let your legs go all veiny. And, most of all, have fun. Because if you can't have fun it isn't worth it!