Friday, August 17, 2012

Home Front by Kristin Hannah - Blog by Sandy

This is a hard book to put down.  It is a story about honour, love, tragedy and family life. A troubled marriage is made worse when the wife who flies helicopters is sent to fight in Iraq. The husband, a workaholic lawyer, quickly learns what it takes to run a household and raise children. There is also the friendship between two female pilots that plays a big part in sustaining the characters and showing us two different type of military life styles.  The reader learns a lot about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and life in military families.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Odd Egg: Give this a try with your kids!

This past week at our TD Summer Reading Club, we did a group read aloud of The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett. This book features fun illustrations, split pages, and a suspenseful and joking story line perfect for kids. This book allowed a lot of feedback as we asked, "What kind of bird is that?" and "What do you think will hatch out of this egg?" Each of the children at the program shared their guesses and were quite surprised when it was revealed what was really inside the 'Odd Egg'.

To make this read aloud even more exciting, we provided each of the children with plasticine and encouraged them to build a creature (imaginary or realistic) that would be found inside of their egg. Their creations included bunnies, elegators (a mix between an elephant and an alligator), and robots.

After the plasticine creations were finished, we set them aside and got each of the kids to create an egg using a balloon and paper mache. This activity was super messy, but we had a tarp to protect the carpet and asked each of the parents to send their children in play clothes so that prevented some of the mess. The older kids grasped the concept more than the 5-year-olds who seemed to just enjoy getting their hands covered in the gooey mixture.

Before the next program, Emma and I are going to do another layer of paper mache on each of the eggs, give them a quick paint job, and cut a hole inside the eggs just big enough to squeeze in the paper mache creations. When the children arrive, they'll have their 'Odd Eggs' with their surprise creatures to either play their own guessing games with or share with their families!

This book was an awesome choice for our story time and the activity supplemented it perfectly!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Last summer, I went through an Emily Giffin phase. I read Something Borrowed, then Something Blue, then Love the One You're With, and Baby Proof. I'd seen numerous tweets from @emilygiffin on Twitter about her latest title Where We Belong so I just had to read it. I also tweeted about my desire to read it. I was kind of hoping for a retweet - that didn't happen. #sadface
Where We Belong was great! In this book, Marian is forced to confront a secret she's kept with only her mother for eighteen years... because her eighteen-year-old secret shows up on her doorstep. This little secret could not have come to light at a worse time for Marian. She is in a steady relationship, slightly putting pressure on her boyfriend to propose, has a career and hardly time for anything else.
Marian's secret, an eighteen-year-old drummer chick named Kirby, gives this novel a kind of  Young Adult twist. Kirby's character appealed to me as I could sense her hesitance and uncertainty in getting involved with a life-changing situation with Marian. 
If you liked Emily Giffin's other novels, give this one a shot!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

This isn't a book review, trust me, I'm not going to touch this one. Or as it has become to be known as in our library, It. Not a day goes by without someone asking, "Have you read It?" "What did you think of It?" These are just a couple reactions I've gathered from patrons (anonymous patrons of course) about It.

Staff: So, what did you think of it?
Patron: Well, you or I could have written it.
Staff: Uh.....
Patron: I mean the writing! It wasn't well written!

Patron: I wanted to know if you have Fifty Shades of Grey.
Staff: There's a reserve list on it. I can add your name to it.
Patron: Yes, please. I was in earlier but I was too embarrassed to ask Chris to put my name on it. *

*Chris is our only male staff member. It's okay, everyone, we've all signed a confidentially agreement that we won't divulge your book choices.

Patron: OH MY GOODNESS! I flipped through it and I couldn't believe my eyes! Then I flipped a few more pages and I still couldn't believe it!
Staff: Oh yeah, I flipped through it while I was cataloguing it and I was thinking the same.
Patron: Yes, it's outrageous. Could you put my name on the second one, please?

Staff: So what did you think of this one?
Patron: I'm trying to get through it. But it does make you think about that type of lifestyle. I don't know... If I was 35, it might be better.

Well, there you have it folks. It's almost worth reading 'Fifty Shades' just to see what the hype is all about. For the record, we have two copies of the entire series circulating here in the library. Lots of demand for this book!... :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Introducing... Lego Club!

Our CEO, Marie, had an idea at the beginning of the summer to begin a Lego Club here at the library. We're having our third meeting tomorrow and so far Lego Club has been a huge hit... because everyone loves Lego of course!
Each session has a theme. So far we've done zoos, outer space, and tomorrow we're planning on having a theme of architecture. Shhh, don't tell the kids! Each session opens up with five minute madness. We suggest that the children build a certain object in only five minutes. After this session, we share a little bit about our creations.
Our next activity lasts around 45 minutes. This is the main building activity related to the theme. During our outer space week, we gave the children 45 minutes to build a planet. The features that they built on these planets were unbelievable. The planets were able to sustain their aliens (built during the five minute madness) with food and water, offered defence methods with laser beams, and some even features methods of transportation. 
For the rest of the session, the children can continue to work on their 45 minute project, or if they would rather, they can free build. 
We wrap up each session with a round of sharing, a giant round of applause and take pictures of each creation. The creations go on display until the following week on the shelves in the children's sections of the library.
Our Lego Club is a drop in program. If you're looking for a fun way to channel your child's creativity, this may be it! During the summer, Lego Club will take place every Friday from 1:00-2:30pm. Feel free to drop in and see what it's all about!

Nicholas and Brooklyn display their zoo.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline - Jordan

I like books about relationships, specifically books about family connections. I also enjoy books with legal ties and theories and a slight element of suspense. I found all of these present in Come Home by Lisa Scottoline.
Come Home features Jill Farrow, a widowed, divorced, and now-engaged pediatrician who has lived an imperfect life, and admits to making flawed decisions. Jill's life seems to be finally coming together after a rocky past with her upcoming wedding and now-steady home life when she is shockingly reunited with her former step-daughter, Abby, who brings news of her father's (Jill's ex-husband's) death... and possible murder. 
Jill, who evidently cannot forget her obligation and motherly love toward her former step-daughter, makes a number of rash decisions in order to assure Abby that her father's death was not a murder. But then Jill begins to uncover some suspicious facts and becomes fixated on her ex's death.
Predictably, this puts a strain on the relationship between Jill and her fiancé Sam, and the sudden reappearance of her step-daughter Abby leads to friction between Jill and her daughter Megan.
This book kept me up late at night trying to unravel the mystery. I would recommend this book to any fans of Jodi Picoult. It was definitely a great summer read.

Monday, August 6, 2012


 Clockwork Angel
 by Cassandra Clare

            A light entertaining read with a fast paced, intriguing plot that is set in Victorian London.  If you like Demon Chasers, Vampires, Warlocks and Magicians this is the book for you.  It is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments Series but can be read on its own.  It consists of danger, action and romance as a young girl travels to London to find her brother only to learn hidden secrets about herself. The female characters are tough, opinionated, forthright, and fearless. Of the male characters one is emotionally challenged while the other is physically challenged but both are strong, cocky, and handsome.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My eReader Experiences - Jordan

Summer for me largely involves sitting in a lounge chair in my backyard with a novel. This year though, I've switched up a part of my old routine in favour of a recent innovation. I will admit that my dog-eared paperbacks have been swapped for a Kobo eReader. If I hadn't been generously given the Kobo by a family friend, this day might not have arrived so soon, but to my surprise, I can now comfortably read from an eReader with the same ease and familiarity of a print book. 
When I received this eReader, I borrowed a few books from Overdrive that I had been eager to read for some time but had not been available in print here at the library. If you're new to eReaders, my first recommendation would be download an eBook that you are genuinely interested in. Don't download the first available book you find just to try out your eReader as this not-so-favourable experience will likely create a negative association with your eReader. I believe this was my biggest mistake when I had borrowed an e-Reader from the library about a year ago.
If you've used Overdrive at all, you probably know most titles have extensive waiting lists on them. There were a few titles I wanted to read that weren't available on Overdrive (or in the library), so I purchased these from the Kobo store. This was so easy. Much easier than taking a twenty minute drive to the nearest Coles. Definitely a plus side to using an eReader. Probably not so great for my Visa bill but that's another story. 
Since getting my Kobo, I've also had the chance to use a family member's iPad as an eReader. The backlight display makes reading in bed so easy, and getting books from Overdrive takes just a few clicks. I'm  trying to trade my Kobo for the iPad... Just dreaming though.
If you've used an eReader in the past and didn't like it, I'd say pick it up and give it another try. Maybe try a different model and see what features are of importance of you and what you can do without. A lot of people are hesitant to abandon the print book... and that's completely unnecessary. There's no reason why you can't find an eReader that you love and enjoy the best of both worlds!