Category Archives: misc

I’m not dead!

nyla2015It appears that, while I fully intended to post a quick little something last week, I merely *thought* about posting something.  Long story short, I was in Lake Placid, NY, for the 125th Anniversary NYLA Annual Conference!  Since I was presenting a continuing education workshop about VolunTeens and overseeing the rest of the YSS lineup, my brain got away from me.  Sorry to anyone who has become so accustomed to my OCD and “mandatory” weekly posts.  Though I am sure the people who follow me on Twitter figured out that something was up!  ;-)

I am about to start writing a book review, but I don’t have long until my kids get off the bus and might end up distracted/waylaid until tomorrow morning.  Rather than leaving y’all wondering what the heck happened, I figured I owed you a quick explanation.  But, yeah…  I need to get going on that book review so I can (hopefully) get it up in the next little bit.

Happy Reading!

Happy International Literacy Day!

How awesome is it that a librarian/book nerd like me was born on International Literacy Day?!?  In order to help spread the word about the importance of literacy/problems associated with illiteracy, I thought it would be a good idea to share this infographic [below] from Grammarly‘s blog post about International Literacy Day:

Literacy Day

There are a lot of organizations out there to help combat illiteracy.  To find out more about how you can help or how some of those organizations work to help people in need of literacy assistance, please check out:

Happy Reading!


So, I feel kinda bad about not posting a book review this week, but I just don’t have it in me.  I’ve been busier this week than I have been in a very long time.  Because I’m home with my kids, soccer is in full swing, and I’m getting everything prepared for both back to school and our Labor Day camping trip, I feel like my head is going to start spinning soon.  Rest assured, though, the kids will be starting school next week and I will begin to have some semblance of order in my life once again.  Until then…

Happy Reading!

Under the Shadow: Children of the First Star, Volume 1 by J. M. Kay [excerpt]

under-the-shadowI don’t usually do “guest posts” or participate in blog tours because I often find it difficult enough to find the time to keep up with my blog.  When I was contacted by BooksEndependent, though, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and help out a small press — especially considering the fact that I was being asked to participate during Banned Books Week.  I don’t have a problem with any of the large publishing houses, per se, and I don’t think of them as censors, but something about an independent/small press publishing house just brings to mind a sense of freedom.  If you are interested, you can check out the BooksEndependent website or their Rafflecopter giveaway…  But, first, you should check out the excerpt [below] from Under the Shadow!

Happy Reading!

Continue reading

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Reality Shock!

Reality_ShockI find it rather amusing that my 9-year-old son can’t handle seeing tiny hairballs on the floor from his beloved pet cat but that he was completely enthralled by the FOUR POUND tiger hairball (picture on pg. 9) that was the size of a basketball!  Looking through these books with my son, I always alternate between fascination and disgust.  And even though my own disgust sometimes outweighs my fascination, there’s something magical about bringing home a book that makes your child jump up and down with excitement and beg for just a few more pages before he has to go to bed.

Some of the most fascinating items in this issue were:

  • the skateboarding mice who can even jump through a ring of fire (pp. 14-15)
  • a woman named Barbie Thomas who, despite losing both of her arms at 2 years of age, has gone on to compete in fitness contests (pg. 97)
  • the man who took a picture of himself every single day for 12 years — a total of 4,514 photos! (pg. 152)
  • the Canadian base jumper who, after becoming paralyzed in a 2004 BASE-jumping accident, now jumps in his wheelchair (pg. 175)
  • the pumpkin artists (pp. 208-209) who are capable of turning pumpkins into sculptures of ghouls, goblins, and monsters

And some of the more disgusting items were:

  • the bedside table made from an actual, stuffed sheep (pg. 29)
  • the Sufi holy man who used a sharp stick to practically gouge out his own eye during the Urs religious festival in Ajmer, India (pg. 41)
  • the short-horned lizards that quirt blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism to scare of predators (pg. 90)
  • the “snot shots” (pg. 201) from artist Ulf Lundin’s Bless You project, in which people sneezed at a camera without covering their mouth/nose… ack!

If you’re looking for a conversation-starting/engrossing book to share with a tween, the Ripley’s books are a pretty sure bet.

Happy Reading!

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion For Life by Crystal Paine

Say Goodbye to Survival ModeI know my blog is primarily for reviews of books written for tweens and teens… but I also know that there are adults (parents, teachers, librarians, and writers) among my readers.  Therefore, I am taking some liberties and sharing this book review on my own blog as well as my library’s Staff Picks blog.  If any of my readers could stand to benefit from knowledge of a book, I think it’s worth making an exception once in a while.  :-)

Earlier this summer, a patron came in looking for this book because one of her friends swore it was a life changer. I was in over my head with both personal and professional commitments, sleeping poorly, and desperate for anything that could help me change my “barely keeping my head above water” style of living. As soon as I placed a request for the patron, I added another for myself. The very day that I started reading this book, I read the first couple of chapters and started making lists of my priorities, goals, and routines so I could set up a concrete plan for moving forward. I am sure I probably could have worked through things on my own, but it was so much easier to have a step-by-step plan that was created by an author who had “been there, done that.” Although I would like to say my life turned completely around in the week it took me to finish this book, I have to be more honest and say that I’m simply on my way. I’m working on saying no to things that don’t help me reach my goals rather than over-committing myself; I’m working on finely tuning my morning and evening routines to get all of my “must do” stuff done (while letting go of the stuff that doesn’t truly matter); and I’m trying to live by the OHIO (Only Handle It Once) rule I once learned at a workshop about organizing — don’t put it in a pile or on a list if you can just get it done right now. So far, so good. Wish me luck!

Happy Reading!

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate‎

One and Only IvanWhen this book won the 2013 Newbery Award, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to read it.  It just sounded too depressing.  Luckily, a friend read it and said it was actually funnier than it sounded, albeit sad at times, and that she thought my son would also enjoy it. I decided to get the audiobook because my son and I share 60-90 minutes of audiobook time per day in the summer driving together to my library and his day camp.  (We share a parking lot with the Y!)  This was our first audiobook of the summer, and it was a *HUGE* hit.  So much so that my son was pretty much devastated any time that his sister was in the car and requested that we “waste” any of our time listening to music.

Although Ivan and the other animals were being held captive in less than desirable conditions, their actions and stories they told one another were often funny.  The humor sprinkled throughout the story definitely helped to keep it light.  My son’s favorite new vocabulary word, and the discussion of which he often used to try to convince his sister to listen to the story with us, was me-ball.  You may be asking yourself, “What’s a me-ball?”  Why, it’s a rolled up, dried out ball of poop that gorillas like to throw, of course!  ;-)  He thought that was hilarious, and he loved the loving friendships between the animals.  The best part of the story, in my opinion, was at the end when the author’s note explained that this story was based on the true story of a gorilla named Ivan.  I think it will do a lot to help readers understand that, though the thoughts and specific stories told by the animals in this story were fictional, animals surely want (and deserve) companionship and appropriate living conditions.

Happy Reading!