Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday...I Got Nothing After That...

Not much going on right now. I am still having focus issues (squirrel!). I have loaded so many new programs onto my wee little notebook that I feel it is about to explode. I have had to reload some of those new programs (the blame lies squarely with the idiot at the keyboard, per usual).

I am learning to navigate fun things like Filezilla, Dreamweaver CS6, Putty, and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 (For the record, I know how to navigate the Office suite but apparently I had issues deleting 2007 and installing the newer versions). There was an Office Professional Plus 2013 version, but the idiot (that would be me, just in case you were confused) squandered her one time only key code by initiating a go back on her laptop because she thought she messed something else up that turned out was not messed up in the first place. But boy did she mess other things up really good while trying to fix that which was not messed up in the first place (I feel like this type of screw up deserves a medal or something, seriously, it was that pure of a moment of utter stupidity that was almost like art).

Anyhow, back to the focus issues. I am still plugging away at The Black Stiletto. I put it down for a day or two in order to do class readings and ended up picking up and finishing Splinter by A.G. Howard. It was that good, I could not put it down until I finished it in one go. I think this is my favorite book of the year, it was that good. I will review it this weekend. I promise.

Tonight I am back to my course readings on metadata and the joys of Linux. (I am! Can't you tell by this blog update that I am very busy reading Metadata for Digital Collections? Squirrel!). Did I mention my professor for the metadata course is a first time instructor? He is awesome actually. He is bending over backwards to make sure everything is understood by all and making sure is available to students if we have questions. He does all of this while still performing his umpteen other responsibilities as the Metadata librarian for the digital library for the school. He is also in a death metal band with another librarian. How hardcore is that, I ask?

I have also been busy scanning in some old family photos lent to me by a great aunt or is it an aunt once removed? I don't know but she was very nice and spent time telling me some stories about relatives who died too young for me to ever know, including my maternal grandmother (guess which side of the family I genetically take after? Oh joy).

Now where was I...oh yeah, have a goodnight. :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

It Has Been a Long Week

I am writing this post late on a Friday never use to be late for me on a Friday night but now that I am apparently old and decrepit, it is. It has been one hell of a week. I have focus issues with my newest courses and have veered slightly off course (ha, get course on my courses. I amuse me) and will have to spend my Memorial Day weekend playing catch up. I did not know what to do with two full days off back to back, so it is just as well.

The man plans to be swinging from the trees with his new arborist gear. I will be out there watching him work. We will also try and squeeze in a family outing with the in-laws this weekend too.

In other news, I am currently reading The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson. I had issues with the text early on but am warming up to the tale a bit as I continue reading. The book is about a man who after placing his aging mother in a home for Alzheimer patients, discovers a secret room in their old home. In this room are several objects, some specialized clothing and a set of diaries which reveal a secret about his mother he never knew before...she was a super hero! As the man struggles between disbelief and wonder, an old enemy of his mother resurfaces looking for revenge, and the whole family may be in danger.

I love the idea of finding out your seventy eight year old mother, the woman who barely knows who you are much less who she is, was a super hero. The problem I am having with the book is the swinging between the present day and the diary, mostly because the diary dialog does not sound like a young woman from the fifties is narrating. The diary sections are a little contrived early on but like I said, I am warming up to the whole story as I go because the diary does help flesh out the past of this once proud, ass-kicking woman. Another issue I am having is that after the first few diary sets (this is as far as I have read so far), we still do not get the son's perspective on what he is reading about his mother's history. I think a little interaction between the diary reveal and the son, as a reader, would have been a nice touch. I am intrigued enough to cut The Black Stiletto some slack though and promise to reserve judgement until I have finished the book (I can't say I am not making snide remarks on the notes in my Kindle, I am not that big of a person).

Anyhow, that is enough rambling for one evening. I hope everyone in the states enjoys their Memorial Day weekend. And for some readers who are not living in the states, I hope you have an awesome weekend too.

P.S. Don't forget to hug a veteran (only after asking them nicely if you may do so that is :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Goodbye Sookie Stackhouse, I Will Miss You.

It is a bittersweet place where I find myself right now, the minute after I finished  reading  Dead Ever After, the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. On the one hand, I am very happy with it ending the way it did, the way I knew it would, the way I knew it had to since I read the very first book. On the other hand, Sookie and crew have been my friends for nearly a decade. I have waited with baited breathe every spring for the next book in the series to arrive on my doorstep so I could catch up and visit with old friends. But all good things must come to an end. This is especially true for book series.

It has been proving a few too many times that a good book series turns bad when the author and publishing house tries to drag the cash cow out one time too many. Thank you Ms. Harris for being the true professional you are and knowing when to call time. Thank you for sharing your characters and their stories with us. Thank you for providing me with years of entertainment and fantasy. I know some readers are not happy with you right now, and that is unfortunate but I am definitely not one of them.  I have enjoyed your humor and style these past ten years and I hope there is good fortune enough in this world to allow me to enjoy your wonderful writing again. And thank you, especially, for bringing this series back to the place I thought it was going in the very beginning.

Some of you may notice I am not really reviewing the book. It feels too personal to me right now to provide a critical analysis (even the shallow type of review I usually do seems too intimate to share right now, after all I just said goodbye to some friends). I am experiencing that emotional cliff that follows on the heels of completing a book that draws you so completely into its world. The Sookie Stackhouse books may not be classic literature material but they will always have a place in my personal library. Over the years these books crafted by Ms. Harris have have made me laugh. They have been the reason I have stayed up late into the night trying to read one more chapter (which ends up always to be twenty or thirty more). They have even made me shout out in frustration a time or two and tear up for a brief moment here or there but they always left me with a warm and fuzzy place that I could revisit time and time again. A place that feels like I imagine Bon Temps feels like to Sookie; a place like home. 

I hope in time I will be able to reread these books and recapture the enthrallment of life in Bon Temps.  I guess there is but one more thing to say tonight: Goodbye Sookie Stackhouse, I will miss you dearly.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Morning Struggle

I have been up since nine this morning. I have accomplished little. Actually other than letting the dogs out, making coffee, unloading and reloading the dishwasher, I have done nothing. I have logged onto Facebook. I have cruised around I Can Has Cheezburger and Cute Overload websites (my morning coffee ritual). I have not rounded up the laundry that must be done today. I have not begun to clean my dusty little hovel yet. I have not cracked open a textbook and read the required chapters. I have also not logged onto my Courseweb to watch the class lecture from this week's classes.

When Sunday is my only day off (which it often is), I sometimes struggle to make it the productive day that it needs to be. What I do not struggle with is ways to procrastinate. Apparently I can do that on autopilot.

Meh, it's only 11:30 AM, I still have time to get stuff know, later on today.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington


Violet Eden is the main character in Embrace by Jessica Shirvinton. I had difficulty with the names of some characters at first (a little too saccharine for my taste) but Ms. Shirvington explains the main character's name genesis later in the book and I was cool with it, eventually. Embrace is the first book in What Shirvington calls the Violet Eden Chapters...I call it a series but the author does have some authority here.

Anyhow...Violet Eden is about to turn seventeen. She has a crush on her mentor and good friend, Lincoln but she is afraid to make the first move. Her best friend Steph convinces Violet to finally let the cat out of the bag or move on. Violet hates celebrating her birthday since it just reminds her that on this day x amount of years ago her mother gave her life so that Violet could live hers. She feels wrong celebrating her mother's death. However, this year she hopes an intimate party with just her father, her best friend, and Lincoln might be a good place to see if Lincoln wants to move their relationship out of the friend zone. Unfortunately, the birthday is a bigger deal than Violet knows and its significance will irrevocably change her life and her relationships.   

As her plans for the big night crash around her, Violet will have to deal with the aftermath of being betrayed by the man she desires, the realization that she is different and has some major choices to make. Choices that will either bring her into the center of a battle between light and dark forces that has been going on for eons or leave her a walking, talking target for those who wish to use her...or worse. On top of everything else, Violet has to choose between her friendship with Lincoln (and possible romantic relationship, if she can ever bring herself to forgive him, that is) and developing a romance with the enigmatic Phoenix, who has the eerie talent of being around when Violet needs him the most.

Violet has only two rules she lives her life by, don't run and don't quit. Will she be able to live by those rules?

I really liked the darkness of Embrace's storyline. You get a very real feeling that happy endings are not guaranteed in this world. Violet is a teenage girl who has had more than her fair share of brushes with the darker side of life. She is not the bubbly naive character you encounter in most YA books. She is not without flaw either, Violet is definitely not a Mary Jane though she does have powers that no one else has been granted. Unlike most YA paranormal I read, this series deals with more Judeo-Christian religious supernatural elements but it does not get preachy. I liked the not getting preachy part, since bible thumping of any sort tends to strike the wrong cord with me. I also liked the different perspective on Angel mythology. I don't want to ruin too much of the story but how many books do you read where Guardian Angels are not only real but they are bad ass? I thought this book was an excellent start to a series. I will be reading the other chapters to Violet Edens tale soon. Very soon.   

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Promo for Runes by Ednah Walters...

Runes Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

What reviewers are saying:

HOLY RUNES!I really enjoyed this story especially Torin *swoon*. Ednah did a wonderful job on Runes! It is a must read for fans of YA books!...Breanna-

Wow! I’ve got to start by saying that it takes something original and excellent to surprise me, and this book did just that! I found myself about 75% of the way through the book with my mouth hanging open... Carrie Williams (Goodreads)

Oh HOLY COW! This book was a mind blowing surprise! I loved the way it turned out and I am literally going crazy over the ending. I was not expecting it to turn out the way it did....Maida...full review May 23-

Links: where Runes will be available for a sale price of $0.99

Amazon links:

Barnes&Noble link:


About Ednah Walters:

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN.

Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS.

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She's presently working on book six. You can visit her online at or

But wait there is more..
Also there is a giveaway that will go along with the trailer reveal.  This is for US mailing addresses only.  Here is the Rafflecopter link:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Random Song: My Mind is on Shuffle

I have been listening to audio books on CD for a few months now in an attempt to multitask during my commute time. I have a forty plus minute drive to and from one of my jobs so I am using this time to become more familiar with the juvenile books so I can be more effective in reader advisory and as a bonus I have discovered the audio books help take the stress out of my drive. Seriously, one of the side effects of listening to the books has been a reduction in my urge to drive my car right up over the idiot in front of me while I yell, "turn signals are not optional *ou$% #@g."Win!

I have discovered another unexpected side effect to listening to books on CD. It is not really a positive side effect as the first one. Since I do not use this time to listen to music my brain has decided to fulfill its need for music by randomly pulling up old songs in my head and hitting the repeat button. Last week it was Zombie by the Cranberries. The week before that was a Hall and Oates song (private eyes, they're watching you, they see your every move...private eyes, they're watching you, they see your every move...). Before that it was Ten Wild Dogs by  Týr. And the week before that it was In Excelsis Deo. Today's nugget is Greensleeves.

Not only do these little nuggets get stuck in my head, I end up sharing them with my lucky coworkers. I usually just hum (quietly) but occasionally I will belt out a line or two. I feel now might be the time to inform you, I am not musically inclined. My coworkers remain unimpressed. This does not and will not stop me from sharing. :)

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Book Review: Skinned by Robin Wasserman

Skinned is the first book in the Cold Awakening series by Robin Wasserman. It is set in a dystopian world where the Nuclear Holocaust has already occurred and while humanity took a beating it kept on ticking just to a lightly different rhythm. Lia Kahn is one of the privileged class where if you have enough credit you can have whatever you want...including a new body should your old one expire.

A new body is exactly what Lia Kahn wakes up to after a horrific and freak car accident (when cars are programmable and drivers are not a necessary accessory, accidents are nearly nonexistent and therefore always freak by nature) proves fatal for her mortal body. A better, nigh indestructible body and a brain that can be downloaded and uploaded at will means Lia and others gifted with the download are never going to age but it does not mean their lives will be as flawless as their new skin...


Disturbing. Chilling. Creepy. Odd. I mean all of those things in a good way. Ms. Wasserman does an excellent job of world building in this first book. Her characters are well developed also but I found I was unable to become invested in any of their personal outcomes. There was not one likable character in the book. Regardless of this lack of empathy for the characters, I found this book held my attention throughout the entire story. While there was not a lot of action, I was very curious to find out where Ms. Wasserman was leading the reader. I guess I just have one last word to describe this book; intriguing.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Today's blog is about the first book in a YA series I recently read. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa marks the beginning of Meghan Chase's journey into Feary, where she will meet with first her birthright and eventually her destiny. This book is the first in the Iron Fey series. I really enjoyed this series, though like most YA Paranormal Romances it got a little sappy in some places. What sets this series apart from others in its genre is the hybrid fey who are born from the imaginations of modern humans.

Meghan Chase is turning sixteen. While Meghan is very excited about her birthday, she is disappointed to find out she is the only one in her family that cares. In short, Meghan's life sucks. Her  father disappeared when she was only six. Her mother moved her away from the life they had shared with him to a small town where she remarried a very nice man, a struggling pig farmer who struggles to remember Meghan even exists. At school, Meghan is very unpopular and the popular crowd go out of their way to make her life a living hell. Her only friend is Robbie Goodfell, who happens to be her closest neighbor, which means he lives less than two miles from the Chase farm. Robbie is also unpopular but as the school's master of pranks, he tends to not be harassed very often. Meghan resigns herself resentfully to spending her big birthday evening babysitting her younger brother. A task she has been assigned because even her own mother forgot her birthday.

Unfortunately for Meghan, Faery has other plans for her big day. Her brother is kidnapped and a changeling is left in his stead. Meghan must journey into Faery to save him. Along the journey Meghan finds out some hard truths about her past, her father, and her best friend's true identity. She also encounters a Faery Prince named Ash, who is the mortal enemy of Robbie Goodfell, wants to capture Meghan for his mother, Mab,...and is the one person who could actually help Meghan find her brother and bring him home before it is too late.

I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me very strongly of Labyrinth from the beginning so I was very pleased when it both embraced the more traditional fairytale myths and created a path for a new type of faery to travel the back woods of Faery. Ms. Kagawa does well in building her world. The characters are well developed and dynamic, yes some are a little predictable in nature but what more can you expect from characters like Oberon, Tatiana, Puck, Grimalkin, and Mab? The charm of this book, and really for the entire series, is the deft skill in which Kagawa blends the old and well worn with the new and shiny. When I finished Iron King, I immediately went to Overdrive and searched out the next books in the series. The other titles include Iron Daughter, Iron Queen, and Iron Knight,. The series also has several novellas: The First Kiss, Winter's Passage, Summer's Crossing, Ash's letter to Meghan, Iron's Prophecy.

One caveat with this series is the novellas. While it is possible to read the books without them, they are integral to the story. Also there is a fifth book listed on Kagawa's webpage as being in this series, it is titled The Lost Prince. On Goodreads it lists this title as the first book in the Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series. This appears to be a spinoff with a second book titled The Iron Traitor. I have not read either of these titles yet, but they are both on my TBR list.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Book Review: Savvy by Ingrid Law

I have been on break from school for more than a week now. Granted, I still have to work but you know, it feels kind of like a vacation. I have filled all the free time with books . Naturally. Housecleaning was supposed to come before books but housecleaning does not a vacation make.While I have been depleting my TBR pile and watching the dust bunnies grow to maturity, I noticed I have failed to review any of the books I have read. I plan to correct this oversight during the course of the following week. So buckle in!

First up is Savvy by Ingrid Law. This book won a Newbery Award in 2009. I originally checked the book out for a friend who needed it for a class project. When she returned it, I asked what her thoughts were on the book. I had heard a buzz about it a year or so ago but never followed up the lead to read it for myself. I also noted when I put a hold on it that only two out of seven books remained in the library system (the others were all billed). I thought this was a little strange. She looked underwhelmed as she shrugged and said "it was okay. It was not her cup 'o tea. It was a little too odd but otherwise okay." This review peeked my interest a little bit.

When I brought it back to the library, one of my regular library rats (I work the children's circulation desk in a small town public library) saw it and said they had just finished it the other week. I asked her what she thought of it. Her reply was a little more enthusiastic but it ended with "it was weird." Naturally, I was now completely intrigued, so I checked the book out for myself.Here is what I discovered between the pages of this mysterious, odd book that is weird but okay...and apparently good enough that others openly covet their library's copy.

Savvy is about a girl named Mibs Beaumont (Mibs is short for Mississippi). Mibs comes from a special family who upon their thirteenth birthday are gifted with their savvy. A savvy is a special kind of know how. Mibs' older bothers received powerful savvies when they turned thirteen. Rocket can manipulate electricity. Fish can create storms. In fact on his thirteenth birthday he created a hurricane, which forced their family to move inland so that no one would be hurt before Fish learned to scumble his savvy. Mibs is about to turn thirteen and is ready to inherit her savvy but before her big day arrives, her father is injured in a car accident on the interstate. As Mibs big day dawns, her father is in a coma in a hospital miles away from his family. Mibs prays very hard for a savvy that will help her father wake up and is convinced she will inherit one in time, if only she can find a way to be by her father's side in time.

Savvy takes the readers along for the ride as Mibs, two of her brothers, and Bill and Bobbi Meeks (who have secrets of their own) stowaway on a pink bus they think will take them to the hospital where Mibs' father lays unconscious.  The fun begins when the bus turns the wrong way on the highway.

I really liked this story. The characters were endearing and colorful. The story is obviously about more than a little girl's journey as a stowaway on a bible salesman's pink bus. It is a coming of age tale of a little girl  as she crosses the threshold into adolescence and learns to accept and embrace the changes that come with her new found powers. The vernacular of the narrative might be why some people have labeled it as odd or weird. It reminded me strongly of Faulkner's' As I Lay Dying (another book about a family's journey undertaken on the behalf of a parent).   The dialect in Savvy is some exaggerated  (or at least I think it is since I have never once heard someone speak this way in sooth) hokey Midwestern vernacular and not a backwater Southern hick dialect, still there is something about the dialect that made it hard for me to not compare the two books.  Savvy is not at all dark and dysfunctional as As I lay Dying but there were other things besides just the dialect that had me thinking of the Bundren family's journey as I read.

Granted some of this connection may be truly superficial and random. Every time I read the one brother's name, Fish, I thought about the chapter where Vardaman Bundren proclaimed "My mother is a fish." However, I also think that the comparison was invoked by the way the isolated part of the Midwest where the Beaumonts live is represented as a little backwards and slightly foreign. A world all its own. A world populated by quirky characters that could only be a product of their alien environment. I would be curious to see if other people have made such a bizarre connection between the books or if this is just proof my mind works at a slightly off angle.

I really enjoyed Savvy and would recommend the book to reader's of all ages.