Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reintroduction (Part 4: 75-100 of 100)

The post in which I reintroduce myself. Did you miss Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3?

I don't like to eat oranges because I hate peeling them.

I don't eat tomatoes unless they are sauce. No chunks, please.

I like black licorice best.

But not when it's covered in chocolate.

I find chocolate covered caramel irresistible.

I have a bit a sweet tooth.

Okay, so I have a big sweet tooth.

Give me a choice, however, between a salty snack and candy, I'll pick the salty snack almost every time.

Just not when ice cream is being offered. Ice cream is always a yes, even on a rainy day.

Rainy days are my favorite days.

I like to people watch.

One of my pet peeves is tardiness.

But if you call me to tell me you are going to be late, I'm generally okay with it.

I tend to be a situationalist rather than an absolutist.

I might as well be an editor with the number of reports I read and correct on a daily basis.

The last thing I want to do when I get home from work every night is talk on the phone.

David Tennant made the best Dr. Who.

I don't know why anyone would want to sleep with a vampire. Brrr. Besides, doesn't that count as necrophilia?

My cat Anya was named after a demon from the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

My daughter was named after her Great-Great Grandmother and a close family friend, both admirable women.

I love the sound of my daughter's laugh.

I cried the first night we were supposed to put her in her own room to sleep. (She ended up staying in her bassinet that night after all.)

We tried again this weekend, only this time I was a big girl and didn't cry.

I wish my little girl didn't have to grow up.

And yet, I look forward to each and every moment of it. Almost.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reintroduction (Part 3: 50-75 of 100)

The post in which I reintroduce myself. Did you miss Part 1 and Part 2?

My bell collection started with a bell I received for Christmas one year when I was a child.

My first bell was of a girl in a white gown, my name printed across her skirt.

My second, which I got the same Christmas, was of a mother cat in a long skirt, holding her baby kittens.

I still have both bells, along with many others.

I haven't yet unpacked them.

I also collect miniature clocks.

I love clocks.

My house would be filled with them if my husband would only let me.

My dream is to one day have a grandfather clock. It'd be perfect in the library living room.

I live near an Air Reserve Base. It used to be an Air Force Base.

My dad was a career United States Marine before he retired to civilian life.

When he retired, we moved to a city with two nearby Air Force Bases.

Only one is still there. The other was closed several years ago.

I loved going to the air shows.

I can't wait to take my daughter to one.

Seeing the F-16 Fighter Jets was my favorite part.

I used to daydream about flying one someday.

Now I dream of flying a helicopter.

My mother was a school teacher before she retired.

She ran a daycare for a number of years when I was growing up.

I had a crush on the boy across the street.

My first crush came earlier though.

I was six. He was thirteen.

I met my husband my first year of college.

We got married seven and a half years later.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: The Sex Club by L.J. Sellers

The Sex Club by L.J. Sellers
Spellbinder Press, 2007
Crime Fiction; E-Book Format

L.J. Sellers is an author I came across via Twitter. I enjoy reading her tweets, and we've had the opportunity to interact once or twice. I bought an e-book copy of the first book in her Detective Wade Jackson series several months back after having read a couple of good reviews of it.

The product description at Amazon sums up The Sex Club quite succinctly:

A dead girl, a ticking bomb, a Bible study that's not what it appears to be, and a detective who won't give up.

Detective Jackson of Eugene, Oregon is initially assigned to investigate the bombing of a Planned Parenthood Clinic that performs abortions. That same day, however, he is reassigned to the murder of a young adolescent girl who he soon discovers was once his daughter's friend. Evidence suggests the girl had been sexually active, likely right up to the time of her death. As the investigation unfolds, Detective Jackson uncovers more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, he is pulled back into the bombing investigation when a nurse at the clinic who had treated the murdered girl before her death is targeted by the anti-abortion terrorist.

I found The Sex Club entertaining and suspenseful, just as a crime fiction novel should be. Detective Jackson is a likeable and sympathetic character. He is raising his 13 year old daughter on his own along with juggling his job as a detective with law enforcement. He hits it off with the nurse from Planned Parenthood, Kera, whose own marriage is dissolving. Both are lonely and drawn together by circumstance.

I really like Kera. She is a caring individual who finds herself in a precarious position. She has information that might help the police with their murder investigation, but due to confidentiality, she is unable to share it. Like her, I found myself looking for a loophole to make it possible. As a layperson, it's easy to say, "Just tell them! It's for the better good!" Unfortunately, it's more complicated than that. Confidentiality laws exist for a reason and breaking the laws could result in anything from a fine, loss of a job to imprisonment, not to mention the ethical implications.

In an interview I read with the author recently, she commented on getting some flack for writing about such young adolescents (13-14 year olds) having sex (for the record, the novel is not at all graphic in that regard). The reality is that they do. Like the author, I think it's important to acknowledge that fact for a variety of reasons, most important of which is to educate our children. And while parental control and influence can only go so far, there is also peer pressure to contend with.

I did have one issue with the book, which is fairly insignificant to the story itself, but it really got under my skin. In a couple of instances in the book, it is implied that evidence of an orgasm means sexual intercourse is consensual. Regardless of whether the murdered girl was a victim of assault or if the sex was consensual, it bothers me that the authorities, medical and law enforcement, would jump to that conclusion so easily. It is in fact possible for a victim of rape to have an orgasm. Male or female. It's a physiological response. And it often leads to further guilt in victims who experience it. As I read the novel, I hoped that this misunderstanding would be resolved but it never came up again. This particular issue stands out for me because of my work, and so maybe I am just overly sensitive to it. However, I would hate for anyone to walk away from reading this book with the wrong impression. In my mind, such thinking can be extremely detrimental.

Did this hurt my enjoyment of the book? At first. After ranting and raving about it to a couple of my friends and husband, I got it out of my system for the most part--enough to continue with the book. It wasn't hard to do as I really was invested in the characters and their plights. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, I would. I would even like to get to know Detective Jackson a little more and perhaps Kera if she happens to continue on through the rest of the series.

You can learn more about L.J. Sellers and her books on the author's website and blog.

Source: I purchased this book on my nook.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

From the Archives: June 2005

I began keeping a reading journal several years before I began blogging. I find it interesting to sift through my thoughts of books that I read back then. My reviews were often brief and contained little substance, but I thought it'd be fun to document them here on my blog as well as share them with you. Here are a few from June 2005:

Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong
Bantam, 2004; Fantasy, 414 pgs

Written from the perspective of witch Paige Winterbourne, Dime Store Magic picks up the story of Savannah Levine, the young witch who is just beginning to reach her full potential, as her father, a powerful sorcerer attempts to gain custody of her with the help an old enemy of Savannah’s and Paige’s. Paige is determined to protect her young charge, despite the lack of help from her coven. I had a lot of fun reading this book and getting to know Paige’s character better. Ms. Armstrong knows how to write a good page-turner.

Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
Mira, 2005; Fiction 298 pg

Me & Emma is one of those rare books that made me say, "Wow" when I read that last page. I thought the author did an excellent job of capturing the voice of her 8-year-old narrator and in describing her feelings, thoughts and reactions, to the terrible childhood she had to endure. This definitely was not an easy book to read based on the subject matter. That box of Kleenex by my side came in handy throughout the book. I do not read many books like this one, about child abuse and neglect, because I see, hear and read enough about it every day by way of my profession, but occasionally I pick up such a book when it comes highly recommended or if it catches my fancy. This is one book I'm glad I decided to give a try.

Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong
Bantam, 2004; Fantasy, 528 pgs

Cabal teens are being murdered right and left. The Cortez Cabal enlists the help of Paige and Lucas, joined by their supernatural friends, to help find and stop the murderer, knowing that Cabal politics would only get in the way. As usual, I quite enjoyed Kelley Armstrong’s paranormal fantasy world. I especially like the strong female characters she has created in her Women of the Otherworld series. It was great to see some of my old favorites back, Elena and Jaime (who actually is in the fifth book in the series, Haunted). This is a fun and entertaining series that keeps me up too late at night because I can’t stop reading.

Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
St. Martin's Press, 2005; Crime Fiction, 310 pgs (2005)

There are some books I just can’t wait to dive into, and a Stephanie Plum novel is at the top of my list. Janet Evanovich takes readers on a hilarious and suspenseful ride in the 11th installment of her bounty hunter series. Stephanie’s decided to give up bounty hunting, hoping to lead a less dangerous life. Unfortunately, she has a lot of enemies and one has decided to make her a target. Eleven on Top is full of laugh out loud moments. The characters are as wacky as ever. This is a fun and entertaining book, well worth rushing to the store to buy on release day. [Note: I no longer rush out to buy these novels on release day. I still enjoy the series, but I fell behind somewhere along the way and have no desire to collect all the books in hardcover.]

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reintroduction (Part 2: 25-50 of 100)

The post in which I reintroduce myself. Did you miss Part 1?

I kill bugs.

I kill plants too (but not on purpose).

My favorite way to drink milk is ice cold.

I like autumn best but winter, spring and summer are awesome seasons too.

I enjoy going to baseball games and musicals.

Reading is a passion of mine.

So is writing.

I wanted a maid like Amelia Bedelia when I was a child.

I worked as a maid one summer during my college years.

I wasn't very good at it.

Despite what everyone says, I would have made a terrible teacher.

Instead I became a social worker.

Early in my career, I investigated allegations of child abuse and neglect.

I then became a liaison between the agency I work for and the juvenile court system.

Somewhere along the way I decided to become a supervisor.

Sometimes I still wonder why.

I have been with the same agency for 14 years.

I have never tried illicit drugs.

I did get a contact high once at a Grateful Dead concert.

My mom and uncle were with me.

At the same concert, I found $20 lying on the ground.

I should have checked it for white residue.

Chocolate is my drug of choice.

I recently became addicted to the Home and Garden Television Network.

I could watch it all day.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reintroduction (Part 1: 1-25 of 100)

My given name is Wendy. My online handle is Literary Feline.

I am a 30-something old woman (fast approaching 40).

My husband and I have been a couple for over 19 years.

We celebrated our 13th anniversary last month, and I am still madly in love with my husband.

If you had asked me five years ago if I wanted kids, I would have told you no.

I changed my mind and am now the proud mother to a darling 5 month old.

I am also the adoptive mother to two cats and a dog.

My favorite color changes on a regular basis. Right now it's lavender.

Last year it was brown.

I like Mexican and Italian food best.

I enjoy listening to a variety of music. I couldn't begin to give you a list. The music genre names change too fast for me to keep up.

I like watching movies, especially action movies and a romantic comedy now and then.

I don't especially like reading romantic comedies though.

I also enjoy a good drama film.

And a well done fantasy or science fiction movie.

Comedy movies and I don't always agree with each other.

I am a rather reserved person. If you ever have the chance to meet me, don't expect me to talk much.

Once we become the best of friends, don't expect me to shut up.

I am fairly easy going most of the time, but I do have a penchant for overanalyzing.

And when I do worry, I really worry. Worst case scenario, anyone?

My politic leaning tends to be liberal although I do have some conservative tendencies. I guess that's where the term "moderate" comes into play.

Issues close to my heart include prevention of child abuse and animal cruelty as well as breast cancer and Alzheimer's awareness.

I was raised United Methodist but had some exposure to the Catholic faith as well. I converted to Lutheranism in college.

I don't know where I fit in now.

I find religions of any kind interesting and am drawn to reading about them.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Goodbye, Borders. You'll Be Missed.

Independent bookstores are hard to come by in my town. There is the university bookstore, which has a very small selection of fiction and quite a huge selection of text books. There's the shop that specializes in botanical reading material. A couple of antique stores that sport shelves of old books for sale. And two Christian bookstores. But nothing that really fits my needs.

And so I was ecstatic when Barnes and Noble came to town. Their huge selection of books, the open and friendly atmosphere. The staff are knowledgeable about books and extremely helpful. Not to mention the store opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m.! I love walking into the store at 9 in the morning, with hardly another shopper around. Only once did I take advantage of their late closing hour--that time I was in the middle of Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy and ran into a cliff hanger I just couldn't let go.

I was a proud Barnes and Noble customer (still am), armed with my membership card, when Borders came to town. A store opened up just down the street from my house. I begrudgingly went inside and instantly hated it. Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. It just didn't feel like home--not the way Barnes and Nobles did.

The storefront which came to house my local Borders had once been an indoor mall. It had seen better days. The mall was torn down to make way for an open air mall, revitalization the area desperately needed. If you ask me, Borders is what made that area come alive again. Restaurants, a department store along with other shops and stores, and a movie theater were built around it. My husband and I often would take in a weekly movie and dinner with a stop at the bookstore for good measure.

Somewhere along the way, a special place grew in my heart for Borders. I soon discovered that Borders was a treasure trove of those harder to find books. More and more I was able to find books at Borders that I wanted but not so much at Barnes and Noble (to be fair though, I did often shop at both stores regularly--often making a point of visiting both stores on my every other week book excursions). Sometimes when buying books, I would chat with the person behind the cash register, sharing book recommendations and other bookish talk.

The staff were extremely helpful. I remember one visit in particular in which a Borders' employee asked if she could help me. I didn't want to bother her, and so I told her no and proceeded to look up what I needed on a computer terminal available to help customers find books (something Barnes and Noble doesn't have, but I wish they did! It's a great resource.). I found the book on the computer and proceeded to head over to the mystery section to search for the book. Only, I didn't make it to far. The employee approached with book in hand. She'd evidently looked over my shoulder as I searched for the book and beat me to it. Sure, I could have been offended that she did that, but instead I was impressed with the degree of service.

In another instance, after searching on the computer and finding that a book was "likely" on the shelf, I couldn't find it anywhere. I approached an employee for assistance. The Borders' employee checked the shelf, checked nearby shelves, checked other sections, and even enlisted his coworkers in the back to search their stock for the book. He was determined to find it. And he did.

I came to love my Borders. Once it had felt like a big box store but now it feels like the cozy bookstore it is.

I was greatly saddened when I learned that Borders will be closing all its stores. I feel as if I am losing a best friend. That store and I have been through so much together. It was the place I went when I needed a book fix and when I was feeling down and in need of serious retail therapy. I celebrated the news of my pregnancy there. It was the first place I thought of when I had to get that last minute birthday card. I loved browsing their shelves, starting with the new releases and making my way to the fiction section, nonfiction and eventually crime fiction and fantasy. They had a good movie collection and I discovered new musical artists there.

I haven't been in the store in months, not since the baby was born, I confess. Too much else has been going on and book buying is the farthest from my mind. I can't help but think though how my Mouse will never know what a great store Borders was, never get to go to an author signing there or browse those great shelves. She won't get to go to a magic show or story time there. She will not miss it having never known the store. But I will. And I feel a sense of loss for her sake as well as my own.

Mostly though, I feel bad for the employees of the store and for all those others who will be impacted by the store's closure. So many people out of work. So many customers without a bookstore to call home. My own in-laws will no longer have any bookstores in their hometown.

Goodbye, Borders. Thank you for the good times.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sunday Salon: A Little Bit of This & a Little Bit of That

I am slowly beginning to emerge from the fog that is new parenthood. This past month, I began to take stock of what still needs to be done around the house, which eventually turned into a strong desire to finish the unpacking (still ongoing), and nest. I am starting to pay attention to the news again, although some stories just make me want to bury my head in the sand.

I thought perhaps this new found freedom from the haze meant I could try reading something a little bit more substantial--what better place to start than Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra? I caught a coworker reading the book a couple of weeks ago and mentioned I'd been wanting to read it. This past week I found the book sitting on my desk. I warned her it might be awhile before I finished it and could get it back to her. She doesn't mind.

I can tell Ms. Schiff is a talented writer. Just one chapter in, I am impressed with her writing style and am eager to learn more about Cleopatra. I am even thinking perhaps I may want to purchase my own copy of the book eventually and add it to my personal library. It's the kind of book I wouldn't mind my daughter taking an interest in when she's old enough. And yet, getting through that first chapter was harder than I expected. It was actual work. My concentration is still not completely there. I could feel my brain chugging inside my skull, trying to hold onto the words and make sense of them before they melted away. I have one foot in the outside world and one foot still in that postpartum haze. I can't seem to let go quite yet. Not completely.

I am still making my way through Harley Jane Kozak's Dating Dead Men, a book that I kept leaving behind when I most needed a book with me. Ugh. It's actually quite entertaining and I hope to finish it in the next week or two.

Books I have been reading with a lot more success include bath books--which Mouse would rather stuff in her mouth than actually read--and couple of other children's books. We recently read Water, Water Everywhere, which I just love. And then there's Little Quack's Bath Book, which is cute. The rave reviews of Goodnight, Moon are not exaggerated. It's a sweet story--perfect for bedtime.

I have been unpacking books like crazy. We started out with eight new bookshelves for the library living room, and now we are up to eleven. And that's not counting the bookshelves we have in other parts of the house. I let my husband decide how to shelve the books this time around. He decided to break tradition, and we have divided the books by category/genre. I don't have to tell you how challenging that is proving to be! I like having my books out in the open again. We still have not unpacked them all, but we're getting closer. I will be so glad when that last box is broken down and put in the garage.

I mentioned to my husband the other day that he might want to move or hide any of his books he wants to save from Mouse once she's more mobile. Dare I confess I am looking forward to the day she pulls a book off the shelf and makes it her own? One of my books, of course. Not behavior I want to encourage, I know, but still . . . It's a milestone of sorts!

Speaking of milestones, Mouse will be 5 months old this coming Tuesday. I can hardly believe it. She can eat from a spoon, babble like a pro and is constantly in motion. She can't yet crawl but she sure is trying. She scooches and rolls to get where she wants to go. She refuses to stay on the blanket we lay out on the floor for her during tummy time. She reaches and grabs and gives a big toothless grin when someone says her name. She smiles big when she sees me and lights up when her dad walks into the room. The books call this the golden time and I can see why. Mouse is a happy baby. Except when she's not.

Many thanks to all of you who entered my Anniversary Giveaway and to those who left comments. Your kind words brought tears to my eyes. It's been a great five years. If I could, I'd give you each a big hug right now.

Each entrant was assigned a number which corresponded with the number they appeared on the giveaway spreadsheet. Each number was given its own slip of paper and placed in a bowl. I enlisted the help of Mouse in deciding who the winner would be (she also provided the bowl).

There could only be one winner in my Anniversary Giveaway unfortunately, but I am thrilled to announce that the lucky winner of a $50 gift card to Amazon is . . .

Oh, but wait! This is my 1000th post. I think that calls for another name to be drawn. The lucky winner of a $25 gift card to Book Depository is . . .

Many congratulations to both of you!

Over the next four weeks, I will be re-introducing myself by way of the "100 Things You May or May Not Know About Me" list. I will finally be outing my profession. Just don't expect any big dark secrets. I wouldn't have one to share anyway. Also, be on the look out for my review of L.J. Sellers The Sex Club, more From the Archive posts and maybe a review of Dating Dead Men by Harley Jane Kozak!

I hope the month of August got off to a great start for all of you. Happy Reading!

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: Naptime

Hosted by Alice of At Home With Books

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday Fill In Fun

Graphic courtesy of Tonya!
*Click on the image above graphic to get to the Friday Fill-In headquarters, hosted by Janet!*

1. How can I fit in a little more reading time this weekend? Hmm. I'm sure going to try!

2. Despite giving away over 500 books before the move, I am finding more to weed out as we unpack them.

3. My hair is one of my baby's favorite toys. She loves running her fingers through it and, of course, pulling it!

4. He came to the reunion dressed in his finest: a polka dot vest, plaid bow tie and floral print pants.

5. My favorite summer fruit is watermelon. What I wouldn't give for some right now!

6. The scratching noise...what was that? It was Mouse, clawing at the side of her bassinet.

7. And as for the weekend, today I'm looking forward to seeing the latest (and final) Harry Potter movie and enjoying lunch with my husband, tomorrow and Sunday my plans include lots of play time with Mouse!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.