Thursday, June 27, 2013

This is a Test.

Coveted (Coveted, #1) Coveted by Shawntelle Madison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is flawed but it still provides a very entertaining read. I started reading the book while I was looking for something light, cute, fluffy even and what is more cute and fluffy than a werewolf who suffers from OCD and hordes Christmas ornaments?

While the storyline has some issues with continuity, really temporal issues rather than inconsistency with the world building or the characters. In fact the character development is something Shawntelle Madison gets right immediately. She manages to humanize her supernatural characters in such a way that it is hard not to keep reading, despite the awkward beginning and any blips in the storyline, just so you get to find out more about them. In my opinion, this book and its sequel is a perfect beach read.

View all my reviews Kept (Coveted, #2)Kept by Shawntelle Madison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very satisfying sequel to Coveted. The second book in the trilogy has less flaws, less awkward moments in the storyline than the first and Ms. Madison improves on her already excellent character development. The story had just the right amount of suspense to keep a reader interested but did not try to be more of a complex plot than the story called for. I look forward to the third book in the series.

View all my reviews

I was testing to see if I could simply embed My reviews from Goodreads on my blog. Goodreads provides the code to do just this but I have never bothered to play with such things before and I was curious.  I do not usually summarize the books when I review straight to Goodreads because the synopsis is always posted at the top of the page, it is just redundant, so sorry there is not much info about the books themselves but the titles are linked to the Goodread synopsis. I am pleased with the effect but I don't know if I continue to repost my Goodread reviews here or not. I often provide a cut down version on Goodreads of my blog review and quite frankly, I prefer to continue the practice but it was nice not to have to do any work for the book images and links ('cause you know it is sooo hard to do a Google search then cut and paste the links).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's Raining, It's Pouring, the Old Man is Snoring...

So it is a little after 7 PM here and a huge thunderstorm has moved into the northern part of the county. The book return is filled with wet books (my first clue) and I can hear the wind and the thunder (my second and third clues) even in the children's library, which is in the basement. I know if the storm hits the southern end my poor "wittle pibble" (all 85 lbs of him) will be shaking in his crate until either the man or I get home to snuggle him. Seamus is such a big wuss. It is adorable in a way but I worry about him being home scared. My other dogs took to their crates, in fact they considered them sanctuary, not Seamus. He hates his and does not find comfort in the multitude of blankets we place in there to cushion his daily stay. Unfortunately, despite his size, he still has too much puppy in him to be allowed out of the crate when no one is home, especially since this time gives Gia a few moments to herself throughout the day.

In other news, I am currently reading an excellent book from Elliot James titled Charming. I think Mr. James has been added to my favored authors list.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tying Up a Loose End: A Review of The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson

A while back, I believe it was in May, I started to talk a little about the Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson. The book was leaving me feeling a little flat while I was reading it, however, I really loved the originality of the idea behind the book's story.
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. (see rest of first review here)
To sum up the story: We meet Martin Talbot in his mundane world, dealing with a multitude of mundane issues. Judy Talbots, his mother, is a is a seventy-two year old Alzheimer patient in a nursing home. Martin is her only child and thereby the only person who can take care of her and her affairs. Martin also has a teenage daughter with whom he does not have a close relationship. Martin biggest problem, however, is the fact that he does not command any respect. His ex-wife always sides with their daughter, especially about her decision to major in theater and not something practical like business or accounting like her father did. His daughter thinks he does not understand her, therefore does not deserve to be included in her life plans. His boss feels Martin's time away from work to take care of family matters shows he is not a team player and does not feel Martin's track record and his years of seniority are enough to warrant respect when the rumors of layoffs comes to fruition.

To top everything else off, Martin finds out his mother is not who he thought she was. His mother's lawyer and only close friend gives Martin a box upon the instructions of his mother. Inside this box are a letter and instructions on how to find a hidden room in Judy's home. Inside this room, he finds several articles of clothing and diary's that inform him of his mother's secret identity as a super hero from the late fifties and early sixties.As Martin reds the first diary he learns mother's past and how she became the Black Stiletto. While Martin is coming to grips with this revelation, someone from his mother's past is trying to find her in order to avenge their brother's death.

I had issues with this book early on but I have since finished reading it. While it was not my cup o'tea, I would recommend it to people who like the super hero genre. As I said before, I really love the idea that a super hero's secret identity is discovered by her son after she is placed in a nursing home for Alzheimer patients. The originality more than makes up for my lack of connection with the characters and what I perceived as a general lack of suspense in the plot. I think Mr. Benson did a good job of placing the super hero solidly in the mundane world.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Can Today be Over Already?

"I am in denial and I refuse to come out. I am not up this early. I do not have to be at work in an hour for another lovely morning meeting. I will not be at work until 8 pm tonight and I most certainly do not still need to finish and edit the paper due by 11:59 this evening."
This is my Facebook status today. I think it explains my whole week and why there has not been a review once this week. I did finish some flawed by entertaining books last week that I want to tell you about but that will have to be another day. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Out of Gas

I am once again completely done in for, there is nothing left to burn, no gas in the furnace, no fumes to coast on. Stick a big ol' fork in me, 'cause I am done. Summer in the children's portion of a public library is a very active season. Even in a very small town. Perhaps, especially in a small town. Either way, I find myself after a regular shift at the library absolutely exhausted. I tried to unsuccessfully connect with the professor and the rest of my Information Technology class via Google Hangouts (I refuse to take this lack of being able to successfully use technology children are able to navigate daily as a sign of what my grade for this course might be). I was then going to work on catching up with the reading for my metadata class but I have read the same paragraph over and over and still cannot tell you what I just read. This is a clear sign I should just give up the chase, curl up with the dogs, and shut my eyes even though it is only a little after ten at night.

I feel old. Grandma old. I am so tired I'm okay with that.

G'night bitches

Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Okay, I finally have a few moments to tell you about Splintered! First let me tell you again that I really loved this book. I honestly think it is my favorite new read of the year. I am writing my review while watching (more like listening) to the forth lecture from my course on I apologize now because there will be typos.

Have you ever wondered what happened after Alice went down the rabbit hole? Alyssa Gardner knows. She knows that she, just like her mother, and her grandmother, and her great grandmother, and her grandmother before her, will go insane. Just like every female descendant of Alice Liddell has since she returned from Wonderland all those years ago. In fact, Alyssa fears she is already inheriting the family curse because she can hear insects and flowers speak to her. She had held the madness at bay for a few years with her beautifully morbid works of art but Alyssa is unsure how much longer she will keep her secret hidden. She fears she will end up in the same asylum as her mother before she even graduates from high school, before she even has a chance to be kissed for the first time.

Alyssa would do anything to have a chance at a normal life. To have a chance at love with her handsome and talented next door neighbor, Jeb. To have a chance at a life out of the shadow of the asylum.

But Alyssa is losing hope that this will ever be a possibility for her. As she notices stranger things occurring around her, she begins to question her family's past. Just as her curiosity hits its peak, her mother's mental health takes a drastic turn for the worse and Alyssa must get to the bottom of the family curse before it is too late to save her mother. In order to save her mother, Alyssa must do the one thing she fears the most. She must find the rabbit hole and journey to Wonderland to undo the mistakes Alice made and to lift the curse from her family's bloodline. With the unexpected aid of her crush Jeb and her mysterious and seductive Wonderland guide, Morpheus, Alyssa plans to do just that. However, once through the rabbit hole, Alyssa learns that not all is as it seems, including who she always thought she was.


In A.G. Howard's deft hands Wonderland takes on a darker, more twisted, and by far more seductive role than the world originally created by Lewis Carroll. I always worry when a favorite book, legend, or myth is taken up by another artist. It is understandable why writers and artist attempt to add on and recreate the works of those who came before them. After all, the potential for greatness is very palpable and tantalizing but way too many grab the low hanging fruit and only manage to make a pale shadow rather than a transformative creation of their own. Howard's work is not one of those who grabs hold of the overly ripe fruit and pass it off as a tasty, yet stale, pie. Rather she manages to be one of the few who borrow, tweak and reform the classic work into something new, tasty, and delicious. I for one cannot wait for a second slice.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Not the Normal Wednesday Evening, but Still Wonderful.

Not sure how this post will turn out. I am exhausted and can go no further. I abandoned my metadata assignment because I was started to get really sloppy and just highlighting the areas I knew I would need to rework even as I typed them. My memory has quit on me and the effort to look up the proper format for even the date seems like too much work right now. The book is all the way in the kitchen, nestled inside my book tote. I would have to walk up three whole steps, cross my narrow living room, take two steps to clear the foyer and five more to reach the chair on which my tote is dangling. I am exhausted just thinking about its retrieval.  Why so tired you ask?

My dumb self stayed up till two in the morning working on said assignment, thinking it needed turned in tonight when in reality it is due tomorrow night. I did this to myself knowing I had to be up by six thirty so I could be ready in time to pull and open to close shift at the library. I swear my right side of my brain lives to set up my left side.

My normal quiet Wednesday evening at the library was not so quiet tonight. It was still very satisfying, if not serene day at work. Today was the second day registration was open for the Summer Reading program. All winter long they kept telling me, "you know nothing Andy ----. Summer is coming." I scoffed but they were right, the happy little book ravenous animals descended in droves with their siblings in tow (the northern part of the county likes to breed large families). All were very eager to sign up to read and perform tasks for prizes. It put a smile on my face, even as I walked down the aisles and righted the same rows of books five or six times throughout the day and picked up the same stuffed animals from various points throughout the library, all day long.

With the exception of the poo that was like cement in the one toilet (seriously, what are they feeding that kid?!), my day was nearly perfect. It was busy and filled with happy patrons (all right, there were a few miserable souls but they did not linger) and good conversations. But I am a waste of space at home right now. Time to put this lady to bed. I will set my alarm early so I can redo what I filled in tonight on my assignment. I will have four and a half hours to finish it before it is due tomorrow. More than enough time. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

Let Me Tell You About My Sunday...

It was wonderful. I did not get a few things accomplished on my list but I am okay with that fact. One of those things was t review Splintered by A.G. Howard, and for that I am sorry. I will get to it later this week, I promise. I really loved this book, so I am excited to tell you all about it.

What I did get done was help The Man rearrange the living room. This is something that has needed done for a while but we put it off until the need to install a window unit air conditioner made it absolutely necessary. This rearrangement of furnishings prompted a flurry of cleaning (by flurry, I mean a few moments of sweeping, dusting and rubbing the wood down with lemon oil. No other room was infected by this brief moment of productivity). The result of the switched around layout is very nice, cozy, and very ascetically pleasing. It also maximizes the rug to floor ratio, which means more protected areas of hardwood from giant dog claws. We love Seamus dearly but he is a force of destructive nature wrapped in a cute reddish brown package that has proven hazardous to our newly laid hardwood floor.

I also finished two small projects just in the nick of time for school. Caught up, well, almost caught up, on my reading for both classes. And otherwise enjoyed a nice relaxing night watching back to back episodes of Supernatural with the man (thank you Netflix). I enjoyed a few lagers, I knitted a little (I am making some really cute Christmas presents...shhhh, they're a secret) and topped the evening off by going to bed with a good book. How perfect of a day was that, I ask? For me they do not get much better.
In fact, this Monday morning is proving the opposite of yesterday, and I have only been awake for forty minutes. It is not a horrible day but some things are not as they should be, speaking of which, my coffee is finally done. A nice big cup of coffee should smooth some of the nasty out of this Monday morning.

Time to go look at some cute animal pictures.

P.S. My Monday just got better. After a few sips of the magic juice, I realized I had not set my alarm clock for the wrong time and The Man did not forget to program in the right time for the delayed brewing on the coffeemaker...I just woke up two hours early! I don't start work at 9 AM, I start at 11 AM. Bonus hours!