Back to the Bedroom by Janet Evanovich

Evanovich long ago hit on a winning combination for a great book - a neurotic lead character, quirky male interest, spunky sidekick and lots of mini-diasters to keep the plot moving. This title is no exception, but hey, I love it. :-)

Kate lives in Washington DC, a fairly quiet and mundane existence until a piece of helicopter rips through her roof and lands on her bed. This sets off a chain of events that includes her next door neighbor, Dave. This is just a fun, cutesy book when you need something light and funny.


Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by C.J. Critt, who is the mistress of all Evanovich audio. I won't even read (or listen) to anything Evanovich unless C.J. is involved. She rocks!

Serenity: Those Left Behind and Fray by Joss Whedon

I had to check out these two graphic novels when I saw Whedon's name attached - the man who created Buffy, Angel, and Firefly (three of my fave shows ever).

Serenity was the shorter of the two novels, but it was great to see the characters I so love again - this takes place between the series and the movie. The return of a past character, and the explanation for Book's exit from the ship are included - as well as razzle dazzle drawings of our heroes.

I heart Mal, and I loved getting to see him in comic book form. :-)

Fray is Joss' vision of a Slayer, several hundred years into the future. Fray is a scrappy "grabber" who works in a dark, evil world...until her "watcher" comes and tells her about vampires and the legacy she is about to inherit. I had more trouble following this novel, and getting my head around the fact there is no Buffy in it. ;-) Still, I liked the illustration of Fray, and it was an interesting read.

If Joss pens it, I'll read it. Recommmended!

Key of Light by Nora Roberts

Ya know, it's been a while since I read a book by Nora, and I thought it was time for a little easy reading, escapist story.

This time, Roberts weaves in mysticism and magic as three women, strangers to each other, are given an impossible-sounding task with a high end dollar reward. They must work together to find a key - a key that unlocks three goddesses trapped in torment for the last thousand years.

I know, it sounds hokey, but this is just a fun, escapist read. Of course, there are the obligatory men, sex, and even an overenthusiastic dog to even things out. ;-)

The story continues with the other two books of the "Key Trilogy", which I'll put on my TBR (To Be Read) list...

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

This was our assigned book discussion title for this month, a recommendation from a member of the group. I admit, I was initially a little skeptical about another family drama laced with potentially sorrow-filled endings...

I was pleasantly surprised...this is a book filled with fantastic prose, descriptive passages, precocious characters and an 11 year old narrator you can't help but adore. I loved traveling with the Land family, witnessing their "miracles", and searching for an end to an ugly dispute with two teenage boys.

I was sorry to see this story end...

The book discussion group unanimously loved it as well - a rarity! Thus, it's highly recommended!

On Saturday, Mary and I finally made the trek together to "the big quilt store" - the Village Mercantile in Boonville.


Fabric heaven.

We spent ages wandering among the bolts of fabric, and squealing over the too-perfect sets of fat quarters. We ate lunch in the tea room on the third floor, and after buying fabric (with much restraint, I might add), we wandered around the square and drove to the nearby campground and lake.

I'll definitely be making the trip to the quilt store in the future, but for now, I'm happy to be the final member of "The Quilting Ladies" to make the pilgrimage.

Good thing I'd paid bills and had no money left before I went...

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Marissa's Read Poster

Uploaded to the Read Posters Flickr group

We created a series of READ posters at APL over a year ago, and members of the staff have graced the walls of the library ever since.

Most staff members just chose a book, some posed with their kids, some with stuffed animals and even one with a bicycle helmet.

I think I'm the only one who incorporated weightlifting. ;-)

After working Monday night, and having a MARATHON board meeting on Tuesday night (complete with a capital projects hearing and two presentations from architectural firms), it was time to hit the road again...

...for a budget workshop.


Mary and I hitched up our wagons and headed to Columbus to spend the night with my folks before heading to Indy early in the morning for an all-day crash course in preparing budgets for libraries.

Nice how my parents are a hotel at times like these. ;-)

CIMG1756We ate Chinese, we giggled a lot, and we refused toast the 480735 times it was offered before we left.

(Don't worry, Mum, we got chips and candy bars and cokes at the gas station for breakfast)

The budget workshop wasn't as scary as anticipated, nor was the drive there or back home. In fact, it was a beautiful day, and Mary and I ended up eating outside right along the canal.

I miss Indy at times like that. :-(

Another budget workshop is coming up in a few weeks, but I have about fifty things on my plate before then, including a demolition, an executive session, a Battle of the Books, an author visit, a budget discussion, a capital projects whirlygig, training new hires, buying books, getting summer reading program ready and finding out where the trash can in the director's office went.

My days are fraught with excitement, man. ;-)

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Hands down, the best part of my week was finding out Mum's biopsy came back benign. Here's to 50 more years of trips to Sam's Club for "essentials", Mum. ;-)

Whew! It's been a busy couple of weeks, with much in the way of road trips, late meetings and little time spent at Highland Cottage.

My poor blog is being much neglected!

CIMG1713The fortnight whirlwind began last week when I traveled to Indy for the ILF Annual Conference, where I bunked with Jessy, our YA librarian. We hit the exhibits, grabbed much schwag from the vendors, went to sessions, and of course, had dinner at Palomino's. ;-)

We met up with Aimee from the Poseyville Library, our county neighbor and a supercool gal. We had dinner, we had drinks, and we had credit card receipts to show from Circle Centre. Shoes! Clothes! Chocolate!

This year's sessions weren't as inspiring for me as years past, but it was worth the trip to see old and new colleagues, to work with the Publications committee, and to spend time with my vendor folk, and to talk in depth with my "architect posse". It's going to be a fun few months at APL as changes begin to take shape...

Still, it was a good business trip, and good to see the latest in the Indiana library community.

(More photos here)

As the conference ran straight into our long Easter weekend, I went from Indy straight home to the parentals, who had lined up a fun-filled weekend for me...

Cleaning out the rest of the stuff in the attic.

Going to the dump to dispose of said stuff.

Sweating a lot in the process.

(Before everything is down, and after)

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In all fairness, we finally took every single thing (except for that stupid bed frame about 50 yards back) out of the attic, and gave away or threw away a lot of it. I went through a bigCIMG1743 sentimental journey, as I found boxes and boxes of detritus from high school, early college, and even elementary school. Good times...

Mum and I also "awwwwwwed" a lot at baby clothes, preschool toys and assorted other sentimental schtuff.

We also ate a lot, watched Food TV, worked on my quilts, went to Sam's and just generally relaxed.

CIMG1751We also had our traditional Easter morning breakfast of soft boiled eggs, complete with the requisite doodling with crayons on the hot eggs. We don't dye them or hide them, we Crayola and then eat them. :-)

A good weekend was had, and then it was time to hit the road again. I managed to barely outrun a nasty storm marching across the southern part of the state, and managed to keep Mum's Easter gift to me (a pretty new orchid) in one piece despite the ride in my car. It looks fab in my office, no?

And then the work week started again...


Acceleration by Graham McNamee

This is a fantastic YA novel! Tight plot, intriquing characters, and a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end as to how it will all turn out!

Duncan is spending the summer working for the Toronto subway system in the Lost and Found when one day he stumbled on a diary - a diary that contains horrific crimes and the plot to murder a woman. It's up to Duncan to solve the mystery - and prevent the murder - before it's too late.

What a great YA suspense novel!

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by the dreamy Scott Brick. We heart Scott Brick, and Scott Brick's voice and narration is like no other. This is a must-listen.

First Love by Adrienne Sharp

A long, long, LONG time ago, I was a dancer - specifically, ballet. Thus was I drawn to this tale of ballerinas in New York in the early 80s. This book features fictionalized accounts of ballet greats - Balachine, Baryshnikov and Gudunov, and two ballet stars caught between their relationship to each other and to the ballet.

This is more a literary fiction than a popular fiction title, and I was immediately drawn into the ballet world, but found myself coming to hate the lead characters more and more until I couldn't care less about their separate fates - or their entwined fate. The jumps from points of view are awkward, and by the end, the "tragedies" are trite and predictable. And I'm still not convinced the two lead characters like each other at all, even a little bit.

No wonder this is selling for $3.49 on Amazon...

Dog Days by Ana Marie Cox

This novel was written by the author of Wonkette - a blog I try and read as often as I can. This novel is clearly geared towards folks who understand Washington a bit more (you know, folks who read Drudge or Instapundit, watch The West Wing, have an interest in politics - you know, me, basically), but want a chick lit fix.

I was disappointed. The plot was thin, the characters weren't terribly likeable or fleshed out, and it seemed to steal from other political novels - Washingtonienne and Primary Colors, for example. Sure, I loved the Washington setting and all the manuevering, but overall, it didn't do much for me.

This might be a good Washington guilty pleasure, but I'd rather read Cox's blog than her fiction...

Lifeguard by James Patterson

I've been slowly working my way through Patterson books, because he is insanely popular at the library and I'd never really read him before.

Now that I have a few under my belt, I found this one to be a bit weak. Sure, the plotting was fine and the characters were fine, but nothing really GRABBED me and kept me intriqued until the last page like some other mystery and suspense writers I've been reading.

Not one of Patterson's strongest...I would recommend one of the series or >Honeymoon instead...

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Billy Campbell. Campbell's accents were a bit weak, but overall it was a solid performance (even if I did keep picturing Evil!Billy from Enough when he was a wifebeating meanie. ;-)

Easter Basket
Thank you, Easter Bunny. ;-)

(You know who you are...)

The weekend slipped by before I knew it (helped in no way by a debilitating migraine that robbed me of most of Sunday), and now I'm packing to head off to Indy for the ILF Annual Conference.

If you're at the conference and want to grab a bite or a drink, give me a shout! I'm looking forward to great sessions, good schwag, rockin' the Embassy Suites free breakfast and heckling my employee at her presentation. ;-)

After Indy, I'm heading for the hometown for a few days to see the fam over Easter. I've been promised lots of quality power lounging and exotic eats for the weekend - I can't wait! I'm loading up my current quilting projects, my books on CD and hittin' the road tomorrow.

Photos and reports when I'm back...and to everyone I *haven't* emailed, I will. Soon. I promise. :-)

When we did our big library furniture overhaul a few weeks ago, we also doubled the amount of public workstations available to our patrons - something that we knew (from the computer waiting lists) was sorely overdue.

And how!

In the course of the last month, our computer usage has MORE than doubled, and we still have waiting lists and disappointed patrons when our computers are all full. I created a quick wallpaper that we posted on each terminal which has drastically reduced the amount of people who just walk up and sit down without stopping by the Information Desk to register (which takes only a few seconds) with us.

Talk about supply and demand! I sense that more computers are in our future...

Another long overdue improvement on our computers...finally OPENING THEM UP! People can install IM message services, they can burn CDs, they use their jumpdrives easily, they can use Java-enabled websites and in week, can print in colour for the first time. This is a HUGE change (and accomplishment) from the padlocked Gates terminals we offered before.

I couldn't be more proud of the changes, and the gratitude we get from patrons proves that what I'd advocated was the right decision - give the people the tools they need to do the things want.

Now, if only we could double the amount of computers again...

Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton

This is a novella written by Hamilton that precedes her forthcoming title Danse Macabre. In this title (read in an hour or two), Anita is called to Philly to raise a zombie, and takes her Nimir-Raj, Micah, with her.

Because this is the first time they will be alone together (if you've read the other books, you know Anita is NEVER alone in bed), Anita rants, raves and pouts while dealing with her increasing power and romantic confusion with her lovers.

As with Hamilton's later Anita Blake novels, this one is rife with lots of sex and violence - but you know a bit more about Micah's background, which is nice. And hey, zombies.

An okay read, but a bit empty as a substitute for the rest of the series. Eh.

Candy Apple Red by Nancy Bush

The blurb on the front said for Stephanie Plum (of Janet Evanovich fame) to "move over", so I thought I'd pick up this mystery series.

I would lump this into the "cute" category...cute enough lead character, cute enough antics, cute enough pet, cute enough cute boy, but nothing about this novel really popped like Janet Evanovich. I got confused by all the characters thrown about in rapid succession, and then found the ending a bit rushed.

While I enjoyed it enough, it was just a cute read, not a highly recommended one.

You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister

I love MacAlister's books...they are fun, funny, sexy and full of larger than life characters and mystical elements - this book is no exception.

Aisling Grey is in Paris to deliver a priceless dragon statue, only to walk in on a homicide - and a sexy Dragon named Drake. What follows are a series of missteps, mystery and mayhem as Aisling tries to solve the murder, and not fall for the sexy dragon in human form.

I still think MacAlister's vampire books are my favorite, but this title had endearing characters and a fun premise - enjoyable!

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. Rosenblat's narration is amazing - her range of voices and accents is wonderful, and her reading style and inflection are priceless - her voice totally made the story for me. No wonder she's won Audie Awards. If you can find anything narrated by Rosenblat - do it!

Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

I wanted to read this New York Times bestselling book because the author, Robert Hicks, is going to be speaking at APL next month.

This novel is a fictionalized account of Carrie McGavock, who, in 1864, had her southern home turned into a field hospital. There were 9,200 casualties from the battle of Franklin, and many were treated or died on her property. Hicks also weaves in other fallout from the battle, and a romance with a soldier.

I think the story starts off powerfully, but the second half didn't grab me as the first had. Hicks explores more secondary characters, and I was more interested in the primary. I liked his use of different chapters from different character points of view, though.

An interesting read, particularly for those interested in the Civil War. I'm looking forward to Hicks' talk!

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Thanks for looking!