Friday, May 13, 2016

Real Life Quidditch Skydive

Nobody will ever convince me that skydiving is a good idea, but these fellows seem to be having fun.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Read in April

Last month I read the following:

1. The Ring and the Crown - Melissa de la Cruz
2. The Autobiography of James T. Kirk - David A. Goodman

picture credit:   Tatyana from Evgeni Onegin Elena Samokysh-Sudovskaya

Friday, April 29, 2016

Afterlife review

by Claudia Gray
March 2011

First line: "Sunrise is coming," Balthazar said.

Vampire-in-training Bianca is dead, but still around as a mostly non-corporeal wraith. Her star-crossed lover Lucas has unwillingly been turned into a vampire. How much of a romance can this be with two leads who are both dead, only one of whom has a body??

Bianca and Lucas both still have that very restrained, mature approach to life - possibly because they're both only children, raised in circumstances where they don't interact much with other people their own age. (In Bianca's case, her parents and family friends are not just decades older, but in some cases, centuries older.) At several points in the story, it felt as if Bianca and Lucas were college seniors, not high school seniors. Their loyal vampire friends hunky Balthazar and quirky, about-a-thousand-years-behind-the-times Ranulf as well as human Vic all get the opportunity to assist Bianca and Lucas as they fight their way back to Evernight boarding school and attempt to figure out if there's any cure for their predicament.

We get a lot more of Evernight Academy's headmistress Mrs. Bethany's backstory in this novel, and the mystery of how and why the wraiths are connected to humans being admitted to the secretive formerly all-vampire academy is revealed. Did I miss something? Whatever became of Balthazar's sister, the threatening and insane vampire Charity?

Gray shocks readers yet again, with another surprising twist at the end of this book. While dramatic endings should be expected by now, it's honestly, a turn that readers will not see coming. It wasn't the ending I was hoping for. I want to say more, but I don't want to spoil it, either. The ending wasn't satisfying, but it didn't want me to make me throw the book across the room either. Much like Romeo and Juliet, it seems that Bianca and Lucas are not destined to make a life together after all.

Compare to:
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey
Marked - P.C. + Kristin Cast
Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz

I borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Read in March

Last month I read the following:

1) You're Never Weird on the Internet - Felicia Day

picture credit G. Cooper Reading by Hulton Archive

Friday, April 1, 2016

No Foolin'!

I thought we'd have a little fun at the library this April Fool's and had planned on putting out this "joke" self-check out. But, much like Google's April Fool's mic drop flop, it was not to be. Our real self-check out machine chose that day to go on the fritz - and a little joke like this might be funny, when you can point to the self-check just behind the patron and say, "Just kidding, it's right there," is NOT funny at all, when you've got to deal with troubleshooting a computer that's down. Rats. Maybe next year.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Word twins video

Interesting stuff! The fast-draw really makes this video entertaining.

Bunheads review

by Sophie Flack
October 2011
First line: "My name is Hannah Ward. Don't call me a ballerina."

19 year-old Hannah Ward has given up most of her childhood in pursuit of her dreams... a spot in the corps de ballet of the famous Manhattan Ballet Company. As a very worldly teenager, she's already been living in Manhattan for several years, and is slowly but surely attempting to work her way to the top of the heap in her clique-ish, exclusive world.

When I first heard about this book, I thought for certain it would be some kind of exploration of body issues, and maybe an anorexia book with touches of evil competitiveness a lรก Black Swan. That is the stereotype of the hard-driving, ambitious, slightly-crazy ballerina, right? I was pleased that the book dispels those ideas immediately. Hannah's not anorexic - she's always been naturally slim. It's just her natural body type. She eats healthy, but "cheats" every now and then with a big bowl of pasta or (thanks to lax city bartenders) the occasional glass of wine. She doesn't hate her fellow dancers - they are her best friends and constant companions. She doesn't even consider herself a true "ballerina." She's a ballet dancer, but she's not a star. For her, it's a living.

Flack's own experience as a dancer lends lots of realistic details to the book. Hannah and her friends are heartily sick of The Nutcracker, a perennial audience favorite which is physically challenging yet artistically boring. They are tired of having to dance through filthy re-used plastic snow every night, which then wends it's way into everything: hair, clothes, even the utensil drawer at home ends up with stray bits of dirty white fluff.

Another detail I didn't expect, but found completely believable was the staff of professional masseuses and sports doctors on hand to treat the ballet dancers - massaging them into shape, even offering an ultrasound machine in the basement, where dancers are invited to wand their tired bones back into fighting form again.

When Hannah meets Jacob, a gorgeous college-student musician, they are both instantly equally smitten. Hannah soon realizes just how all-encompassing her schedule really is as she struggles to make time for him. I loved how from her perspective, she sees Jacob, "all the time" - bending over backwards to call in favors and skipping classes in order to get in a simple date. From Jacob's perspective, he almost never sees Hannah. He likes her a lot... and he'll wait patiently for her, but even so, a man has his limits. In fact, Hannah is only seeing Jacob every couple of months - to her, with a jam-packed routine where every moment is either devoted to rehearsals, auditions, performances or classes, it really does seem like time flies. It would be so much easier to continue to ensconce herself in the world of the "bunheads" - the serious ballet dancers, and date the charming son of one of the ballet company's most generous benefactors.

As Hannah puts on a little weight, she's mortified to have to wear a bra for the first time. A few critical comments from her dance director leave her feeling shaky and unsure of herself. Again, I liked how this is a brief crisis of conscience, rather than an all-encompassing quest for her. I thought Hannah's main struggle was in how her ballet colleagues - who have been her entire universe - will most certainly judge her if she chooses to dial back on what is already a short-lived career for "some boy." Ultimately, Hannah has to do what feels right for her, and I liked being inside her head as she thoughtfully considers her options.

Romantic, funny and totally absorbing, I loved this look into the life of a dancer who struggles with "work/life balance," on a grand scale. I highly recommend this book.
Compare to:
Audition - Stasia Ward Kehoe
Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance - Brendan Halpin & Emily Franklin
Confessions of a Back-up Dancer - Taylor Shaw

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.


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