Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

This is the second fiction collaboration between romance author Crusie and suspense author Mayer, and once again, it's a doozy!

Agnes' life is threatened as she is in the middle of preparing a wedding at her home, and Shane (the hitman) is sent in to protect her. Throw in a very quirky cast of characters, multiple murder attempts, a cast iron skillet, a lot of food, the mob and some bombs, and you've got this novel.

I think this is another fun collaboration, with a fun mix of suspense, death and mayhem with girly issues and a sassy romance. I think this improves on the formula set down by the first novel between the two, Don't Look Down.


Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Sandra Burr. The echo-ey "thoughts" took some getting used to, but she did a fine job with all the characters and action.


So I had quite a surprise on Monday morning.

Mondays are my "split day" at work - I work 8am-12pm, and then 5pm-8pm, meaning I have the afternoon off.

Right around 11:30, I'm tooling around the reference desk, and step away to help a patron and when I come back...

My parents are standing there!

They had driven 3.5 hours as a total surprise to me to take me to lunch to celebrate the whole promotion thing. Isn't that rad?

(Also rad was having lunch at BIAGGI'S - the nummiest Italian restaurant going)

August 27

Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann

As you all know, I'm a big fan of Brockmann's romantic suspense novels (featuring SEALs, FBI, and cops as our big damn heroes), so I was psyched to hear a new title was coming out in August!

This time, Ric Alvarado (a former cop and current PI) gets tangled up in a terrorism plot while trying to protect his Gal Friday, whom he has loved from afar for years. Also in the mess is Jules Cassidy (gay FBI agent, and BELOVED characters of the series) and his sometimes love interest, Robin Chadwick. With two romance plots, a terrorism plot to unravel, and one heckuva finale, Brockmann has packed a lot into this title, and does not disappoint!

I love her stories (and as a bonus - no "past era" storyline!), and it's nice to finally see Jules be a main character, rather than an accessory. Read Brockmann - you won't be disappointed!

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

This book has been "buzzy" around book discussions and libraries since its release in 2005, and I can see why.

During a snowstorm in 1964, David helps his wife Norah (along with a nurse) give birth to twins. When David sees that his daughter has Down's Syndrome, he gives her to the nurse to take to a home. What follows is what happens when the nurse takes the girl and raises her as her own, and how one senseless act can affect a family for decades to come.

This novel is a character study more than a fast paced drama, and Edwards has some lovely prose contained, but I found myself struggling to remain connected with the characters. I loved seeing the progression of their lives, together and apart, and yet struggled with it. Well written and an interesting plot, though, and worth getting through to the end.

Definitely a good book for discussion, though!


CIMG4881Now that it's all official, I can tell y'all my news.

I have a new job.

After a year in the office, our director of APL (whom we found after I served as interim director for nine months) has chosen to resign and take a library position elsewhere in the Hoosier State.

As such, I have stepped into the role of Director of the Alexandrian Public Library.

Two years ago, when the job was open, I wasn't ready.

I didn't know enough, I was still learning, I was just a kid, I enjoyed my current job, I wanted to protect my friendships and my psyche from doing something I wasn't ready to do.

I'm ready now.

If I can handle writing a capital projects plan, if I can handle writing a budget, if I can handle a staff dispute that nearly went legal, if I can laugh when things break, if I can wrangle this staff of incredibly talented, creative people, if I can do all this...

I can do this job.

And the best part?

I've done all of the above, but this time, for real.

Everyone has been saying "you should have done this two years ago!" but I knew myself, and I wasn't ready.

Now, I'm ready.

I couldn't be more pleased that the Board has trusted me to take over the reins of my library, and while the pay raise will no doubt be nice, the affirmation I've gotten from the staff in the last week is worth even more to me.

I can't wait!

Here's to new challenges!

(Above is a gerbera daisy from the bouquet Becca sent - thanks, girlie!)

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Sex With the Queen by Eleanor Herman

This is the companion volume to Sex with Kings by the same author, though I chose to read this one first.

This non-fiction details the adultery, lovers, trials and tribulations of a thousand years' worth of queens - some are names you know and recognize (Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great) and some I've never heard of or knew little about (Sophia Dorothea, Maria Luisa), so it was an all-compassing, and engrossing, read.

I was a bit off-put by the chapter on Princess Diana (it was harshly written, and terribly condemning, whereas the other chapters were more sympathetic to the royal women0, but overall found this an interesting read on a topic you just don't see much in a non-fiction library collection!



I admit it, sometimes I'm a dork about book displays.

(Any excuse to use a diecutter, right?)

Two of my recent additions to APL…

New Display

(Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Pattersons)

I was particularly proud of that one. *grin*

New Display

(Need A Little Romance?)


bonesI've recently become addicted to Bones.

I know they are about to start season three on Fox so I'm a little behind the times, but because the show premiered on Monday nights (when I work), I kind of missed the boat, though it was a show I thought I'd enjoy.

Seeing a Kathy Reichs book reminded me of the series so I grabbed it and I'm loving it!

Though it was initially odd to see David Boreanaz being laughy, jokey guy (instead of hunky, broody vampire Angel guy), I really love the characters, the storylines that weave in and out, the DC setting, the mystery-solving, and the interplay between the gang at the lab.

I have learned the hard way not to eat lunch while watching an episode, though, unless you want to lose your appetite at times…

What a great show (and features some really great music)!

I'm eager to read a Reichs book now, to see how the characters compare - and I love that on the show, Temperance writes fiction about an forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs. ;-)

I'm definitely putting this on the fall television calendar!


This made me snort at an inappropriate volume:


That is so choice. :-)


Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews

I was between audiobooks, so I picked up this short (only 5 discs) novel on CD, having enjoyed previous Andrews novels.

BeBe is a successful businesswoman...until she meets Reddy, who swindles her for everything she has, leaving her with only a derelict motel to survive with. What follows is BeBe's quest to make the motel successful, to avoid run-ins with her manager Harry (who turns out to be hunky), and to get back at Reddy - and get her money back.

This is a fun story with lots of great supporting characters, and a fantastic doublecross that keeps the story moving. I didn't really get into the romance, but I wonder if that was abridged from the audiobook. That aspect just wasn't believable to me...

A fun read - I recommend Andrews' books as great beach reads!

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Isabel Keating. She was great at the female voices, but the male voices grated on me a bit.



So last night I got to participate in my very first "live draft" for a fantasy football league that Greg started.

I was superpsyched...particularly when I found out I was the ONLY GIRL in the league.

That means I have to kick some butt this season!

I actually got first draft pick (woot!), and I think I did alright for myself, with a little *ahem* coaching (thanks, Hilary and Nathan)!

My guys...

Quarterback - Peyton Manning, IND

Running Back - Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC

Running Back - Marion Barber III, DAL

Wide Receiver - Darrell Jackson, SF

Wide Receiver - Reggie Wayne, IND

Wide Receiver - T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN

Tight End - Todd Heap, BAL

Defense - Broncos

Kicker - Shayne Graham, CIN

My bench...

Quarterback - Brett Favre, GB

Running Back - Vernand Morency, GB

Wide Receiver - Matt Jones, JAC

Defense - Vikings

Running Back - Michael Turner, SD

Wide Receiver - Kevin Curtis, PHI

Tight End - Ben Utecht, IND

Not a bad group of guys, eh? We'll see how the season progresses...

Oh yeah...and my team name?

The Tinytown Trouncers. That's made of awesome. ;-)


Happy Lefthander's Day!

"Celebrate your right to be left handed..."

I've always noticed a high density of lefties in the library profession, which I think is quite telling, no?

Both my grandmothers were lefties, but I'm the only other in the family - and damn proud of it!

Lefty trivia: five out of the last six presidents have been lefthanded!

redbookfaithThough this has been making the rounds on the web, I wanted to post a link here as well…

Talk about the distortion of beauty…

Article over at Jezebel about the Photoshopping of beauty....

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Princess on the Brink by Meg Cabot

This is Volume VIII in the "Princess Diaries" series for young adults, a series I love from perennial favorite (and fellow Hoosier) Cabot!

Mia is in the throws of confusion as she is assigned to INTRO to Creative Writing, enduring Princess Lessons, and then discovers that her beloved Michael is going to Japan - for a year.

Once again, this is a quick and witty addition to the series, though Cabot leaves us *ahem* in the lurch waiting for Volume IX!

Great, great!


Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

This is the third book in what was originally going to be a trilogy by Meyer, a YA series about young love...and vampires. ;-)

Without giving much away, this novel continues to delve into the uneasy love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob even as a new threat comes to Forks, and Bella comes to grips with what she really wants in her future with Edward.

There were a few parts that felt stilted, a few parts that made me mad, a few parts that made me swoon, a few parts that made me laugh, and though the climatic battle felt a bit anti-climatic, I'm cheered that a new book is due next year to continue this story, because that ending was NOT an ending to me. ;-)

This is a great series - highly, highly recommended!


The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

After so enjoying Can You Keep a Secret?, I was looking forward to reading another "stand alone" title by Kinsella (of the famous Shopaholic series).

Samantha Sweeting is a workaholic lawyer in London who one day makes a mistake so huge she walks out of the office, onto a train, and into...a completely new job as a housekeeper. Learning how to clean, cook, fall in love and balance her life are bigger challenges than any legal contract for Samantha.

This is a funny, light read with lots of cute moments, fun characters, and a good message. I really enjoyed it!

Note: I listened to the audio edition, narrated fantastically by Rosalyn Landor.


If only this were true…

July 19

(Incidentally, the "2" was blowing around the parking lot...)


A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

This mystery series, featuring Anna Pigeon, Park Ranger (and this title in particular) is like comfort food to me. I began reading this series almost 10 years ago, and when I just need an escape, an intrepid heroine and a to travel to a new place, I pick up one of these novels.

In this title (the second in the Anna Pigeon series), Anna is assigned to Isle Royale, a national park on Lake Superior. When an experienced diver is found dead in one of the shipwrecks of the park, it's up to Anna to suss out what really happened.

Barr fills this novel with great and quirky characters, and Anna is the sort of woman you want to root for, be friends with and see succeed. I love this series - and it's nice to have a female protagonist who isn't a cop or PI! :-)

Highly, highly recommended!


Dark Thirst by Sara Reinke

I was feeling the need for a quick, vampire-y read, and grabbed this from our romance genre collection at the library.

This featured a slightly different vampire protagonist - Brandon is not only one of the "Brethren" (from Kentucky!), but he is a deaf-mute from a brutal attack when he was a child.

This book read a lot like a fanfic to me, and while the lead character was different (I mean, seriously, a deaf vampire? That's new!), and the heroine was alright, I wasn't as drawn into this world as I normally am by this genre. Lots of foreshadowing, lots of family machinations, obligatory sex and a big showdown.

An adequate read, but not one where I couldn't wait to see what would happen next...


This weekend I fled TinyTown just after 5pm on Friday to head to Bloomington to see Jen and the boys - and to celebrate Layne's third birthday!

The weekend involved spa pedicures (hot pink, baby!), a birthday party with lots of prezzies and nibblies, a "girls only" viewing of 300, and cheesesticks. Yay!

Happy Birthday, Layne!

Ain't We Purdy?


Crocodile Box

3rd Candle

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr

Anyone who knows me at all knows I've always wanted to see Rome - all the landmarks and all the history - and this was further exacerbated after watching Rome and devouring all I could on Roman history.

This is a short work of non-fiction (200 pages) from Doerr, who, on the night his twin boys were born received a letter that he had been granted a yearlong stay in Rome to work on a new novel.

He and his wife pack up the twins and settle in Rome, and this work takes us through the sights, the people, the struggle of new parents and the total mourning of Rome after Pope John Paul II's passing.

This is an evocative work, full of lovely images. A bit "kid heavy" for me, but understandable for a new parent! ;-)



It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Since I enjoyed Vizzini's other two YA novels, this one has been on my list of things to read for a while.

Longer and a bit darker than he previous works, this novel is about Craig - good student in a high pressure high school - who struggles with depression until the night he contemplates suicide and finds himself in a psychiatric unit of a hospital - the adult wing, despite his age.

What follows are Craig's five days in the hospital, and the characters he meets and progress he makes, as he tries to rectify his life on the "inside" with life on the "outside" before his release.

At times funny, then sad, then triumphant, this is a great read for any teen who has struggled with school, depression or life in general. A well written tome!


Now that Nat's finally had little Emma, I can finally show off the quilt I made for mummy and baby several months ago!

(front detail of the quilt)

I'd never worked with piecing triangles before, so it was a new (and exciting!) challenge, and I also hand stitched the.entire.quilt.

Every quilting stitch, done by yours truly.

I am most proud. :-)

Of course, it took me both seasons of Grey's Anatomy on DVD, but I did it!

Nat's Baby Quilt II
(back detail - you can really see the quilting design!)


Welcome to the world, baby girl!

August 1

(Auntie Marissa with Emma - ain't we cute?)

Emma Claire, born July 31 to proud parents Nathalie and Greg.

Congratulations to my best friend in TinyTown, the nicest guy in the world, and the cutest new baby!


Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure by Dave Gorman

This is a fun bit of creative non-fiction - read during breaks at work over the course of several weeks.

Dave (a comedian and writer) is given a commission to write a fiction novel, but instead becomes sidetracked when he received an email that his website was the home of a Googlewhack. Dave then sets off to travel the world, meeting Googlewhacks of his own.

This is a fun tale of adventure, meeting new people, and the power of the internet - I particularly enjoyed the photos and tattoo. ;-)

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to find a googlewhack of my own...