Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! Have Some Pumpkins!

Happy Halloween, everyone!  There's a lot of traditions involved with the holiday but none so creative as carving pumpkins to place on the porch, window, balcony, whathaveyou!  Here are some examples of great and unique pumpkin carvings, with the first six dedicated to the baddest brawlers of Halloween for my girls in Starting the Next Chapter's Bump in the Night Brawl!

(Thanks to Louise-vampires, Kyla-zombies, Christy-demons, Nikki-witches, and most of all Marla-ghosts!)

Next we have some amazingly detailed sci-fi features.  See if you recognize some of these characters:

(My personal favorite ^w^)

(Ack, the scariest one of all! *hides!*)

How about some Disney-themed pumpkins?

And now for some traditional scary pumpkins in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve!

(For you, Marla!)

(Guess he's got his eye on you! *rimshot*)

(The way to reuse that candy corn from years past.)

(Attack of the killer tomato pumpkins?)

(Wow.  Words escape me.)

Do y'all have some cool pumpkins to share?  I'd love to see them!

Random Acts of Kindness: October Wrap-up!


Autographed Nightshade by Andrea Cremer TO Aimee from Coffee Table Reviews

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs to Karis from YA Litwit

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck to Paige from Comfort Books

I didn't receive anything for October, but with it being my first month to participate, it is all good.  I'm looking forward to signing up for November's RAK.  Here's hoping everyone enjoys their books!

What did you send and receive for October's RAK?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Werewolf Guest Post

Do you have an abundance of lunar energy?  Do dogs bark their heads off at you and then roll to their backs, showing their submission to your greatness?  Is silver not really your color?  Well, my friends, you might be...

a Werewolf!
(Or a Werewolf Supporter!)

All this week on Starting the Next Chapter, there will be guest posts informing readers about the baddest creatures of the night: 

Ghosts with Marla of Starting the Next Chapter

Werewolves with *ahem* DJL of Denim-Jacket Librarian Dishes

Demons with Christy of The Reader Bee

On Sunday, October 30th, you will have the chance to vote for your favorite creature in a poll to decide who is the baddest brawler of Halloween, and naturally, when you think of brawlers you'll think of werewolves.  On October 31st, Marla will announce the winning brawler (which is going to be the furred ones, right?) AND there will even be a GIVEAWAY.

To get more information on Werewolves, please head over to Starting the Next Chapter to view my guest post and show the weres some love!  Just remember to bring lots of steak cooked rare, and vote for Werewolves on Sunday!  You won't regret it... unless you don't like shedding.  At which point, vote for Werewolves anyway!

TGIF Follow Friday

TGIF is a weekly feature created and hosted byGReads! that re-caps the week’s posts and has different question each week.

This Friday's Question:

Spooktacular Reads: Which books do you consider festive Halloween reads? Which stories have chilled you to the bone?

Goodness, there are so many books out there that are both festive Halloween reads AND ones that will chill you to the bone.  Below are a few that I have either read firsthand or have heard about and believe they are great spooktacular reads. 

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
After reading so many reviews on this one, I'm definitely certain it would make for the perfect Halloween read on a stormy night with a blanket wrapped around you.  Or maybe not on a stormy night?  Or maybe not at night at all? 

The Monstrumologist Series by Rick Yancey
Doesn't that cover just scream creepy?  Also, how can you go wrong with a scientist who bases his theories of science off the possibility that creatures that go bump in the night, namely monsters, are supposed to exist?  The first book was especially creepy, and you can view my review here

Bewere the Night edited by Ekaterina Sedia
This book even warns you (in a pun) on the cover about going out at night.  What can be more frightening than something that can disguise him or herself as human while hiding something far more powerful and more frightening inside?  I haven't read this one yet, but I definitely intend to.

What books do you find perfect for Halloween? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Destined by Jessie Harrell

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

By: Jessie Harrell
Publish Date: November 17th, 2011, by Mae Day Publishing

From Goodreads~

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girls in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear. As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

More Greek mythology?  A "Psyche and Cupid" remake?  Be still my heart, I'm so excited about reading this!  Mythology, particularly Greek mythology, seems to be on the rise within new books, and it's interesting seeing the different routes authors choose to recreate timeless stories for Greek myth geeks like me.  I'm eager to see just how Ms. Harrell will tell this mythical love story.  

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tune in Tuesday (3): Soundtrack Edition

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by Ginger at GReads as a means of spreading the love and word about music.  I'm definitely for anything that helps keep music alive in the world and in our hearts.  

October is soundtrack month, and here are my selections below for this Tuesday. I hope you enjoy them! 

Since it's getting close to Halloween, I thought I'd share some songs from one of my favorite Halloween films, The Nightmare Before Christmas.  

Here is the original of "Sally's Song"

And now here's Amy Lee's cover of "Sally's Song" from Nightmare Revisited

Finally, here is a song that sums up this month, namely "This is Halloween"

Enjoy and Happy Halloween! ^_^

Friday, October 21, 2011

TGIF Follow Friday & Book Blogger Hop: October 21-24

TGIF is a weekly feature created and hosted by GReads! that re-caps the week’s posts and has different question each week.

This Friday's Question:

Book Blogs That Make You Smile: 
Pick 5 book blogs you visit often & think others should, too.

Yes, I have cheated on my first TGIF! These blogging ladies are all amazing, and I love visiting their blogs. I may not always comment, but I do read their posts. And Karen, I hope you don't mind my makeshift "button" for you since I'm not always at my most creative this early in the morning. ^_~


Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:
“What is your favorite type of candy?”

Ever since my beau introduced me to Milka, it's been one of the only brands of chocolate I will eat.  And his sweet parents feed my addiction at Christmas, so lucky me!  A close second is Ritter Sport bars, another German candy.  Hmmm, guess I'm getting back into my roots. 
What candy is your favorite? ^_^

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Before the Blog (1) : White Shark by Peter Benchley

"Before the Blog" is a meme featured at YA Litwit in which we review books we read and loved before we started blogging about them. Each week, you choose a book, then answer the following three questions, and post your review. After posting, you can add the name and author of your BtB book to the widget on YA Litwit. It's that easy!

Why did you choose this book?
When did you read this book?
Who would you recommend this book to?

White Shark by Peter Benchley

Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 15th, 1995

Why did you choose this book?  Since it's the month of screams and scares, I thought it would be good to go with one of the books that scared the begeezus out of me back when I first read it.  I also wanted to read something more by Peter Benchley after reading Jaws, which I found to be on the too-long side for the overall story.  

When did you read this book?  Summer of 1996 (Rather long time ago, but this story still sticks with me.)

Who would you recommend this book to?  I'd give this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers and especially those who enjoyed or even just liked Jaws or any of Benchley's other works.  Personally, I liked it much better than Jaws because there was also the tie-in with experiments done during World War II that explained how the creature was created.  That alone was freaky.

At a small marine institute off the coast of Connecticut, only marine biologist Simon Chase realizes that a sixteen-foot pregnant Great White Shark is feeding in the area. But even Simon doesn't know that a far deadlier creature is about to come out of the deep and threaten everything he cares for. A creature whose malevolence is unthinkable. Whose need to feed is insatiable. And whose relentless hunt for prey is unstoppable.

Twenty years after his huge bestseller Jaws, the master of the deep has done it again, letting loose a chilling new predator that only he could create. Drawing on his singular knowledge of the sea, science, and history, Peter Benchley masterfully spins a suspense-filled novel that hits you on a primal level, makes your heart pound, and leaves your blood running cold.

Maybe it was due to my age when I read it, but despite what some reviewers say, I did enjoy this horrific story about a creature that terrorized a community both in the water AND on land.  The main reason I read this book was because Benchley wrote it as a means of undoing the damage caused with the "shark scare" from Jaws in the 1970s. It was during my shark fascination stage, and I was really big on shark conservation (which I still am, just not as vocally).

The novel is divided into two stories, one taking place in the past and one taking place in the present and told almost in alternating chapters. While the main story involves Simon Chase's crew, readers also get to see just how the amphibious creature was created in the past during World War II in one of Josef Mengele's experiments. When it comes to monsters like this, I really get into the story when I know more of the background of its creation depending on the origin. Where did it come from? How did it reach a civilized area? Why does it have such a sense of malevolence that animals do not usually possess? All of these questions were answered in the chapters told involving the Nazi scientist and his experiment, and reading this part actually made the story all the more chilling for me.

Overall, it is one of my favorite horror stories simply because the creature does not give much of a reprieve to the potential prey. If you thought it wasn't safe to go back into the water, what happens when you're not safe even on dry land? I get a chill just thinking about it, and I hope other readers enjoyed or will enjoy White Shark (republished in 1997 under the name Creature). 

My Rating:  4 Dishes - Enjoyed to the Last Bite

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tune in Tuesday (2): Soundtrack Edition

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by Ginger at GReads as a means of spreading the love and word about music.  I'm definitely for anything that helps keep music alive in the world and in our hearts.  

October is soundtrack month, and here are my selections below for this Tuesday. I hope you enjoy them! 

The first song is "The World is Not Enough" from the James Bond film of the same name.  

I had only heard about Garbage rather randomly, but then when I started watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I started listening to them more often.  Fascinating that the lead singer had such a big role in the series, so definitely check it out if you're into the Terminator movies or sci-fi series. ^_^  Here is the opening theme "Samson and Delilah."

If you want to join in on the Tune in Tuesday fun, check it out at GReads!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Say When by Elizabeth Berg

Title:  Say When
Author:  Elizabeth Berg
Genre:  Women's Fiction
Pages:  368
Publisher:  Washington Square Press
Summary:  Griffin is a happy man. Settled comfortably in a Chicago suburb, he adores his eight-year-old daughter, Zoe, and his wife, Ellen - shy, bookish Ellen, who is as dependable as she is dependent on him for his stability and his talent for gently controlling the world they inhabit. But when he wakes up one morning to hear of his wife's love affair with another man and her request for a divorce, Griffin's view of life is irrevocably altered. Overnight he goes from being Ellen's husband to being her roommate, from her lover to a man denied passion and companionship. Now he must either move on or fight for his marriage, forgive his wife or condemn her for her betrayal, deny or face up to his part in the sudden undoing of his seemingly perfect life.

The Dish:  There's one good thing about mediating the Adult Book Club at my library.  I'm able to test the waters in genres I wouldn't normally read through the titles selected from our library system's Book Club list, which doesn't include a lot of Paranormal or YA titles.  However, sometimes there are books that I just cannot enjoy, and having to read them for Book Club makes reading less fun.

I debated on doing a review for Say When and finally bit the bullet.  As I mentioned before, this title isn't really in my genre of preference, so that could have added to my disappointment in reading it.  Griffin is a man who is hopelessly in love with his wife... he just has an odd way of showing this love mostly in how he controls their family life.  However, now Ellen is wanting to find something to do with herself besides just keep house and take care of their daughter, Zoe, who is actually smarter than her age belies and definitely picks up on the rift between her parents.

It was very hard to like either Griffin or Ellen and try to feel for their separate situations, Ellen's in wanting to "find herself" and Griffin's in wanting to maintain the life and love he thought he had.  On the one hand, I can understand Ellen's desire to be more than a housewife, but I cannot condone the route she took in trying to become more.  There were any number of other means she could have done to expand her horizons: 1) get a job, 2) take a class she would enjoy, perhaps an art class since she seemed to favor paintings, 3) take up a hobby.  Perhaps it was because she didn't feel strong enough to truly express her thoughts to Griffin that she felt the need to just do something, and that might be the main reason I didn't like her.

On the other hand, Griffin did not really help the situation in trying to control their life even with a gentle hand. No one likes to give up complete control of their lives to any person, and even if he is the breadwinner of the family, that does not mean his wife cannot have an opinion of her own.  It's frustrating enough when one has to do the same old thing day after day, week after week, year after year, etc. but when they express a desire to make a small change, like say with a painting, why should the idea be shot down because the breadwinner doesn't like the painting?  Both of them were frustrating as characters, and even by the end I didn't see much growth on either of their parts, which was disappointing to say the least.

I did like being able to read from the male's perspective as a nice change.  Amazingly enough, Berg has a writing style that flows very easily from cover to cover.  She created very real, though frustrating, characters in a story that could happen in any city.  I do not fault Berg's writing skills; the content of the story within this particular novel of hers was just disappointing and not my cup of tea.  Some of the ladies in Book Club told me that while they didn't enjoy this novel of Berg's quite that much, they have read other titles by her and enjoyed them much more.  While that may be, I don't think I would actively seek out another title by Berg, though I would recommend her to those who enjoy women's literature, the heavier side of chick-lit.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: October 14-17

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?”

My Answer: I'm not into a lot of scary books, but I'd have to say The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey was pretty creepy.  It made me jump a few times, and I learned not to read it in the staff lounge with my back to the entrance.  The combination of something that can travel underground and has no head whatsoever on its torso is just uber-freaky.  

Runner-up: White Shark by Peter Benchley.  A man-eating creature that is amphibious is somehow more terrifying than something that is grounded on land or rules the deep sea. 

What's your favorite spooky book?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tune in Tuesday (1): Soundtrack Edition

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by Ginger at GReads as a means of spreading the love and word about music.  I'm definitely for anything that helps keep music alive in the world and in our hearts.  

October is soundtrack month, and here are my selections below for this Tuesday. I hope you enjoy them! 

First is A scene of Mozart's Aria from La Nozze di Figaro in The Shawshank Redemption one of the best songs (and movie scenes) on the soundtrack in my humble opinion.  

The next is "Sigh No More" from Much Ado About Nothing.  This was one of my favorite songs from the movie, and it reminds me of the madrigals we would sing in high school choir.

And my final song is "Written in the Stars" from Aida: The Broadway Musical, the first musical I actually saw on Broadway.

What are you tuning into today?

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Reference Librarian's Day

Being a full-time librarian, I have my busy days and not-so-busy days, and with new staff to train, most of my days are busy.  Sometimes, I have the feeling that some still believe the stereotype that librarians sit at the Reference Desk and read, which actually is against policy unless reading through professional review journals.  Here's a brief schedule of what my Monday was like. ^_^

12:00-1:00 pm: Arrive at the library, updating and printing copies of the weekly meeting schedule to distribute to all departments.  Update meeting log to include applications accepted over the weekend.

1:00-1:30 pm: Prepare the conference room for the Adult Services Book Club meeting, printing out reading guides and handing out the title for next month.

1:30-2:30 pm: Have a rousing and enlightening talk on current month's Book Club title.  Help direct the discussion along the reading guide's questions.

2:30-3:00 pm: Take down and close conference room, taking a 15 minute break afterward to check out next month's Book Club title and discuss possible titles for next year with coworkers.

3:00-4:00 pm: Review and contact patrons' requesting the use of the library's meeting/conference rooms if clarification is needed.  Take meeting room applications down to branch manager for approval.

4:00-5:00 pm: Lunch/dinner

5:00-7:00 pm: Cover Information Desk and Reference Desk, answering patrons' questions, directing patrons to titles and/or research materials, and opening meeting/conference rooms for tonight's outside organization meetings.

7:00-8:00 pm: Start planning out Reference Desk Schedule for following week and update Shelf-Reading Schedule to reflect new full-time and part-time employees.  Clean staff kitchen.

8:00-8:30 pm: Cover Reference Desk and train new full-time paraprofessional in closing procedures.

8:30-9:00 pm: Prepare the branch for closing, checking technical closets, straightening out the bookshelves, tidying the desks and tables, vacating the study rooms and meeting rooms, and closing the computer lab.

If you're a librarian, tell me how your day goes!  And if you're a library patron, tell me how your librarians help you! ^_^

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: October 7-10

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“It’s time to spread some love beyond the borders of the Book Blogger Hop! This week, we aren’t answering a question. We are spotlighting our fellow bloggers. Find your favorite(s) author interview(s), guest post(s), book review(s), or bookish article(s) that ANOTHER BOOK BLOGGER featured on their site recently and tell us why you love it/them! As an additional challenge, find your favorite one of EACH of the categories above and spotlight all 4 (interview, guest post, review, article).”

My Answer: Hmmm, this is quite the tricky question especially since there are so many great posts to choose from, but I've noticed several that I really liked this week. ^_^

Review & Interview from Carmel at Rabid Reads - If you're into paranormal novels (particularly those on werewolves), Carmel will never disappoint with her honest critiques. Author interviews are a common theme for her, and when you get both of them together like this, it's made up of awesome.

Review from Marla at Starting the Next Chapter - I have been wanting to real Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck, and Marla's review only makes me want to read it even more.  She'll always give a thorough review (and personally, I think she's a book reviewing dynamo!)

Bookish Articles from Arianna at Wandering Librarians - They always post some of the most fascinating and sometimes bizarre articles revolved around reading, libraries, books, authors, etc.  I know when they post the news there will definitely be some articles worth checking out. I especially enjoyed reading the article "YA Comes of Age."

Austin Teen Book Festival Recap

This past Saturday was the Austin Teen Book Festival held in our lovely and weird state capitol.  What better setting for readers of all ages to gather and hear about books while meeting amazing authors?  And believe me, there were a LOT of readers from single attendees to whole families to book clubs from high schools!  I have proof below!

The great thing about attending a book festival is that everyone there is as crazy about books and reading and authors as you are.  It's very easy to strike up conversation with the person standing, sitting, or leaning on the wall next to you.

Now going in there, I had to have a plan.  I'm just one of those kooky people that needs to know what to do and where to go at what time.  Having seen the list of books for sale at the festival, I'd made my decisions for purchasing while also bringing in my own copies of a few books to be signed.  I had my eyes on the prize and I figured it would be best to get my books ahead of time since the line would be crazy long in the afternoon closer to the Author Signings.  (See below: Boy, was I right!)

Luckily for me, the volunteers asked if anyone knew exactly what they wanted, and I raised my hand saying, "Right here!"  I bought a copy of Sweet Venom and Goddess Boot Camp both by Tera Lynn Childs, Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.  Despite seeing all the other pretty books, I was a good girl and stayed within my book budget.

The festival had 5 different panels to attend, and the first one I hit was the "Supernatural Suspense" panel featuring Tera Lynn Childs, Jackson Pearce, Heather Brewer, Sophie Jordan, Andrea Cremer, and moderated by Cynthia Leitich Smith.  Needless to say these were some funny and informative ladies.

Just before the panel finished, I headed over to the concession stand to pick up some food since lunch time was from 12:30-1:45 pm.  Rather lengthy, so after eating, I did what a lot of other attendees were doing, namely reading.

At around 2:30 pm, I snuck inside to listen to the "Pen Fatale" panel featuring Gabrielle Zevin, Mary Pearson, Jessica Brody, Alyson Noel and moderated by Margo Rabb.  Again, these ladies were full of advice for writers (and readers).  I've really got to check out some of their books, particularly Zevin's All These Things I've Done in which chocolate and coffee are *gasp!* illegal.

Once the panel was finished, I headed to the Book Sale area since the Author Signings would be next to it.  I also read more of Texas Gothic while waiting, and it didn't take long for the Author Signing area to be cleared.  Somehow I managed to get into Tera Lynn Childs' line quickly enough that I was close to the beginning.  I chatted with a couple of high schoolers in line, talking about books of course, and when the authors started filing inside, you knew by the many people who were sitting down that were now standing up.

All of the authors I hoped to sign my books were very nice, and they each had to read my T-shirt: "If you can read a book, thank a teacher.  If you can find a book, thank a librarian."  When I'm not wearing the signature denim jacket, this is my shirt of preference. ^_^  Rosemary Clement-Moore was such a southern peach, I was rather surprised there weren't more people in her line (though that was a boon for me to get to Andrea Cremer and David Levithan's lines quickly afterward).  All in all, I was happy to have attended my first book festival, and I'm hoping next year to bring a few friends with me to experience the excitement of the books, authors, and just the people.  Til next year, Austin!

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