December 31, 2012

And update plus my favorite reads of 2012!

Hey everyone! It's been awhile since I last posted, but I'm going to make an effort to blog more next year, I promise! 

So where have I been? I needed a break from blogging so I wouldn't get burned out, and I turned out to be too busy to do it anyway! My days and nights were spent working at two jobs--an average of 60 hours a week, sometimes 7 days a week; driving to and from work (10-15 hours a week on the road on average thanks to construction zones inconveniently placed throughout my already long commute hehe); reviewing books for my favorite professional teen librarian magazine; taking classes at church with my husband; visiting several new doctors/specialists and going through all kinds of tests until FINALLY figuring out the cause of my various health problems; sitting at the allergist a few mornings a week to get shots; training and bonding with our new Doberman puppy; attempting to squeeze in visits to family and friends who live hours away; being a bridesmaid in a few friends' weddings...the list goes on and on! My husband works as a police officer on an opposite schedule of me, and he is in the Marine Reserves. He also started a home-based business this year. So in our extremely limited free time, I've been trying to spend as much time with him as I can! 

Unfortunately I had to miss out on attending some book clubs this fall, but hopefully my friends & coworkers understood why I needed those nights to go to classes at church with my husband or work my second job in order to meet our financial goals (we paid off one of my student loans, yay! And we're close to paying off my car). Or just go on a date! It's all about balance and sometimes you have to prioritize your family over everything else. Maybe when life slows down a bit I can start going again. :)

I did manage to meet my reading goal this year, since I could listen to audiobooks in the car and read eBooks on my phone/Nook whenever I had a few minutes. I almost always had a book or two with me! 

Here are some of my favorite reads of 2012, in no particular order: 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I'm sure no one is surprised that I included this! I love everything by John Green, but this is my all-time favorite of his so far. 

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
London, boarding school, ghosts, Jack the Ripper, mystery, humor, romance...awesome!
I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series. 

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
I'm not into football at all, but I really enjoyed this cute coming of age story, and I'm a sucker for romance. 


Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
A fabulous follow-up to Delirium. Can't wait to see how it all ends in Requiem

Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett
Yes, I actually do read books for adults sometimes. I loved the characters in this story! Looking forward to the next Sultry Springs book.

This is a great read for anyone who has kids or works with young people. It's available on NetGalley. My review is coming soon. 

Wow, what a gut-wrenching, inspiring story. 

Such a refreshing reminder that it's okay to be an introvert and in some cases, it's actually an advantage.

If I'd read this earlier, I could have saved myself years of health problems. 

These were some of my favorite reads of 2012. What were your favorites? 

July 18, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars Field Trip!

My librarian friends and I spent last Sunday afternoon driving around Indianapolis to visit places mentioned in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green or places that are similar to the descriptions in the book. We used this awesome nerdfighter's blog for inspiration, but we didn't get around to as many places as she did - we just picked some highlights like Crown Hill Cemetery, Holliday Park, and the "Funky Bones" sculpture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. 

Funky Bones! 

For more pictures from our little field trip, visit The Gnoming Librarian

June 29, 2012

Guest Post on Sunbeam Yellow

Check out my guest post on Sunbeam Yellow - a review of Rotters by Daniel Kraus!

June 25, 2012

Outlander Read-a-long Chapters 8-14

This week's questions come from Stalking the Bookshelves

1.  Claire has been given the task of healer at the castle. She must adapt her nursing skills for the time and learn what herbs and etc will cure each particular ailment that is presented to her. Do you have any home remedies that were passed down to you (cure for a cold, bee sting or what have you)?  I can't really think of any home remedies. I'm sure we had some when I was growing up, but now I just head to Walgreens whenever I have an ailment. 

2. What do you think would be the biggest challenge of living in the past? (Clothing, hygiene, food, etiquette or etc.)  I think the hygiene factor would be the biggest challenge for me. I would hate not having access to a hot shower, some soap, and a toothbrush!

3. Do you have a favorite character, scene or quote so far? If so, share it with us. 
Jamie, of course! 

"Does it bother you that I'm not a virgin?" He hesitated a moment before answering. 

"Well, no," he said slowly, "so long as it doesna bother you that I am." He grinned at my drop-jawed expression and backed toward the door. 

"Reckon one of us should know what they're doing," he said. The door closed softly behind him; clearly the courtship was over. 

4. What did you think about the addition of the blood bond in the wedding ceremony? Is this something you would do with the one you love? It was definitely an interesting part of the ceremony that I wasn't expecting. I would not want to do that - I get squeamish at the sight of blood! 

5. Are you reading along closely with the scheduled chapters or are you ahead or behind? 
I'm trying to stick closely to the schedule, but I got a little behind this week and just now caught up! 

June 18, 2012

Outlander Read-a-long Chapters 1-7

This week's questions come from Jess at Gone With the Words.

1. Outlander is a well-known book. Before you cracked it open, what were your expectations or assumptions about this story? Or did you jump into it with a blank slate? 
All I knew was that it combined historical fiction, time travel, and romance. My Goodreads friends either loved it or hated it, so I wanted to read it myself and form my own opinion. 

2. Claire's husband, Frank, is fascinated with learning more and more facts about his family tree, which extends back pretty far. Do you or anyone in your family keep a family tree? How many years/generations back does it go? If not, have you ever considered or attempted to create one? 
Personally, I haven't kept a family tree, but one of my uncles has traced our family tree back several generations (on my mom's side). It's fun to know which area our family came from before coming to America (Bath, England). I'd love to know more about my family's history on my dad's side. 

3. How did you find Claire's initial conclusions as to her surroundings after waking up from going through the stones? Did you think that was a reasonable conclusion? 
I think it was reasonable for her to conclude that she was in the middle of some sort of historical reenactment or movie set. I would have probably thought the same thing!

4. How about her composed, rational way of dealing with the fact she's traveled back in time. Did you find it believable? Do you think you would have acted the same way? 
I think her reaction is believable for her character and her approach to life. I, on the other hand, would completely freak out!

5. At this point in the story, what are your feelings or expectations on Claire and Jamie? Is Frank still a factor for you?
Hmm, Frank is still in the back of my mind because at this point, I'm wondering if she is stuck in the past forever or if she will be able to get back to modern time. I know just from reading others' reviews that Claire and Jamie get together in the future, though. 

Bonus Question: Frank encounters a man outside of the inn where he and Claire are staying. He is afraid it might have been a ghost. What do you believe it was? Do you have any predictions or suspicions on what that was about? 
At first, I was thinking that it was Randall. Now I'm wondering if it was Jamie...

June 8, 2012

Teen Room - New Furniture from IKEA!

Recently I posted a link to pictures of our old and new Teen Rooms at the library. I mentioned that we were receiving a grant for $5,000 to furnish the new room. We had so much fun shopping at IKEA and picking out furniture. Everything has been assembled and is being enjoyed by the teens already!

IKEA was so inexpensive that we had enough money left over to buy 3 new computers for the Teen Room (we haven't had a chance to set them up yet, so they are not pictured). We even had a little left over to get more gaming equipment too. :)

 Here are a few pictures I've taken so far. We're still in decorating mode - we have more signs to hang up and some paint and wall decals to add behind the reference desk. But you get the idea! We're really happy with how everything has turned out, and we're getting great feedback from teens and other patrons.

These retro gaming wall decals spice up the boring white walls

The clear chairs are really popular! And they are surprisingly comfortable.

Some study tables plus a few comfy chairs.

More comfy chairs! And I love the bright green tables.

These chairs face a TV which we show movies on after school.

This table will hold our touch screen computer soon - it will be used for searching the catalog, scanning QR codes, watching book trailers, etc.

We plan to turn this table sideways and put two new computers on it.They will be used for browsing the internet or doing homework.

This cubby in the gaming corner is for teens to stow their backpacks and other stuff. (The black cabinet was one we already owned and it holds our Wii and Xbox.)
Look at all that space and the awesome new furniture!

We're in love with our new Teen Room, and we are so happy that the move was done at no cost to the library thanks to grant money and volunteer who helped move everything downstairs!

Bookish Anniversary Pics!

My husband is not a fan of having his picture taken, but when our friend offered to do a photography session for free for our 1st wedding anniversary, I was able to talk him into it. I thought it would be fun to include our current favorite books in some of the pictures, and he was actually a good sport about it. :) Here are some of my favorites (all photos by Kristen Mason).

May 22, 2012

Outlander Read-a-long!

I'm signing up for the read-a-long of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I downloaded a free copy of it for my Nook awhile ago, but I've never got around to reading it. This read-a-long is the perfect motivation for me to actually read it! I've heard such great things about this book, so I don't know why I've been putting it off. Will you be joining us?

May 16, 2012

Teen Spaces

May 13, 2012

I haven't disappeared! ;)

It's been nice to have an extended blogging break, but I miss my little blog! I have a day off in the middle of the week, so I plan to write a few quick posts then.

  • I have pictures to share from my trip to Chicago, in which I dragged my husband to the Chicago Public Library to see their YouMedia teen space. He was actually a good sport about it and helped me take pictures. :)
  • I also have some pictures to share from my library's brand new Teen Room! I know you're probably thinking, 'Didn't her library go through severe budget cuts?' Yes, but we simply repurposed some space and used staff & volunteers to move everything for free. :) I'm kind of in love with our new Teen Room! 

On another note, if you are looking for a new blog to follow, check out Sunbeam Yellow. She's a super cool high school librarian in the community where I work, and she blogs about books, crafts/DIY projects, recipes, and fashion! I love reading book blogs, but sometimes it's nice to mix it up a bit and read about some other topics. :)

March 4, 2012

Another Hunger Games t-shirt!

I went to visit my husband in Terre Haute yesterday - he had a long day of drill (Marine Corps) and was staying in a hotel before flying out to Norway today for annual training. Well, his drill went a lot longer than expected, and I was going to just to wait at the hotel for him to arrive, BUT there was a Books a Million next door, so....of course I had to go in! 

I found this Hunger Games t-shirt and had to buy it. Don't you just love it?! 

So my husband was originally scheduled to get home from training on the 29th, but now they're saying it could be a week or so earlier. He told me not to cancel my Hunger Games movie plans because of him though. Aww. That's very sweet of him (usually he teases me relentlessly about my obsession with The Hunger Games! haha). He also confessed that went "hanklerfishing" in a store when he came across copies of The Fault In Our Stars. Be still my heart!  :) 

P.S. I found this shirt for sale on Amazon too if you don't have a Books a Million nearby. 

The Hunger Games - Down W/Capitol Poster Adult T-Shirt In Heather Charcoal, Size: Medium, Color: Heather Charcoal

February 28, 2012

February 2012 Wrap-up / Blogging break

My new Nook cover. I love it!

Here's what I read in February: 

1. Room by Emma Donoghue
2. Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4. Welcome Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Corriell
5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne   Valente
6. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
8. The Game of Triumphs by Laura Powell
9. The Master of Misrule by Laura Powell (ARC)

Formats: 5 audiobooks, 2 eBooks, and 2 print books

Sources: 5 library books, 2 owned books, and 2 review copies

Challenges: I know it's only the beginning of the year, but I think I'm going to drop out of most of the blog challenges I signed up for. I don't want to feel like I have to read something just because it fits into a particular category. I always get excited about challenges in January and then regret signing up for them later! haha. So for now I'm just going to work on my own personal challenge of reading the books already on my shelves (or on my Nook).

Book clubs: Our staff book club read Room by Emma Donoghue. I had to miss the book club meeting so I could celebrate belated Valentine's Day with my hubby (he had to work on V-day), but I was really intrigued by the audiobook and couldn't stop listening. The FYA Book Club met at Orange Leaf to eat delicious frozen yogurt and discuss The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. We liked this book much better than last month's pick!

Favorite book of the month: The Hunger Games! I've read the series before, but I'm re-reading them (as audiobooks this time around). I'm enjoying it just as much as I did the first time. 

Currently reading: I'm listening to Mockingjay and am still working on finishing the Tatiana and Alexander eBook. I like it, but I just haven't made time to sit down and finish it. 

Work: Our big event of the month was our annual Anti-Valentine's Day party (a fun alternative to red hearts and roses). We had around 60 teens show up. We kept them busy with games, crafts, and snacks. 

Blogging break: 
I think it's time for another extended blogging break for me. Blogging has started to feel less fun and more like work, so it's time for me to step back from my personal blog for awhile. I maintain the blogs at the library and review books for a teen librarian magazine, and I don't want to burn myself out by trying to keep up my personal blog too. I need to have some time to just read for fun instead of for a challenge or to write a review. I'll probably pop in every once in a while with a blog post, but I won't be keeping up a regular schedule for the near future. Thanks for understanding! 

How was your February? 

February 16, 2012

Library Blackout Poetry

One of the teen activities my library has have planned for this spring is blackout poetry - this is a simple activity that doesn't require much material or preparation in advance. We're doing this in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. I've seen several examples of blackout poetry online, and I decided to try it out myself and share my first attempt at it. 

You can use newspaper articles, book pages, or magazine/journal pages. Since February is Library Lovers Month, I decided I wanted to do a library themed blackout poem, so I picked up an old edition of College & Research Libraries News that I had in my office and opened it to a random page. 

I went through the page and underlined or circled words that I wanted to use to make a poem. 

I used a black marker to color in the rest of the page, leaving only the words in my poem visible. 
Here is my completed blackout poem (with a little added punctuation): 

Come to the library!
Our job - 
Value our patrons
Guide to resources, books
Promote content
Ask questions
Provide information
Librarians: We're significant.

Ok, so it's a little cheesy, but I had fun doing it. A twist on the blackout poetry is to turn it into a work of art with color and designs. Here is one example that I found on Pinterest:

How cool is that? I would definitely frame this and hang it on my wall. 

Have you ever tried blackout poetry? 


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