Book Blog

Book Blog: New Year, New List!!! (2018)


I’m not sure I have any reading goals for this year, I tried that last year and didn’t complete any of them. So maybe this year I’ll just enjoy the freedom to read and try to remember to post reviews in a timely manner. So far, 2018 is off to a great start!

There are a few titles I am looking forward to reading this year, and in no particular order they include… Melanie Benjamin – The Girls in the Picture, Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Labyrinth of Spirits, John Connolly – The Woman in the Woods, Christopher Moore – Noir, Rose McGowan – Brave, and Robert McCammon – The Listener.





Book Blog

Book Blog: Year in Review 2017


Book blogs are a great resource for recommendations while setting new goals for the upcoming year and/or expand in genres you may feel are lacking. For example, one of my goals this year was to read more non-fiction and poetry. Looking through my list, I don’t think I accomplished that, but there’s always next year.

Here’s a quick review of everything I’ve read in 2017. I will be updating with mini-reviews and comments, so please check back now and then. Happy Reading, Enjoy!


The Fifth Petal was my favorite. This book is filled with complex characters, a lot of supernatural intrigue, Salem-Danvers, MA history (The Witch Trials), and heartbreak. One of my favorite parts was Callie’s use of sound therapy to help those who are in pain and the use of something called the Sacred Solfeggio Scale (Gregorian Chants) which liberate energy and emotion.  It isn’t necessary, but I do recommend reading The Lace Reader first. It provides much needed backstory to some returning characters.


A Truck Full of Money is captivating, conversational, and easy to get into. He has an unconventional management style and a knack for being in the right place at the right time when it comes to technology. I really liked that I knew a lot of what was being discussed in the book regarding the creation of websites, apps, and tech based companies (Kayak, Blade, Lola) and how it goes into Paul’s bipolar diagnosis and hypomania, without over sensationalizing either disorder.

The Prisoner started out great, times have changed and the terrorist cells have become bigger, more powerful, and John must obtain the information he needs before a Sarin attack on Parisian soil is completed, but I found certain scenes a little far-fetched and too easy (i.e. John’s capture, imprisonment, and treatment in a Bulgarian prison). I did like car chase (at the end) in Paris and thought it was well written.


Grace Notes is told in essay format, this memoir is inspirational, heartbreaking, and refreshing to read. It’s filled with life lessons, it aims for your heart and doesn’t hold back. What I loved most were the stories about her music, being true to herself and the path it took to get there, rather than conforming to what others expected. I really liked how open and honest she is in this book, doesn’t let the possibility of controversy stop her and sharing personal stories regarding the loss of a child and the impact her co-workers have had on her (i.e. John Ritter) throughout her career.


No Easy Target; unfortunately, didn’t live up to my expectations and I kept getting the feeling that I had read this story before, especially the final confrontation in the jungle. I liked John and Margaret as separate characters, both independent, strong-willed, and determined. I liked that John was willing to do what it took to help his friends and Margaret’s ability to communicate with animals refreshing. However, I found the double speak between Margaret and John tiresome and their chemistry non-existent.

Right Behind You


Norse Mythology is a new refreshing look at some of the old familiar faces we have come to know and love (i.e. Odin, Loki, and Thor). This book breathes new life into stories of old. What I really liked is how this book isn’t your typical mythology book. Stories about how Mjölnir was created and later stolen, how Fenrir was chained, and how Loki is the blood brother of Odin, not Thor. Rather than the usual this is a god/goddess, this is what they’re known for, and here’s a story.


The Wanderers is a great read, I enjoyed this book and often wondered if maybe, in some way, the characters were robotic or had been mentally altered in some way, especially the astronauts. I also got the sense that they were actually traveling to Mars during the 18-month “simulation” and spent the majority of the time looking for clues to confirm. And I liked the side stories of how the families were processing their absence and having “epiphanies” of their own.









  • The Second Sister by Claire Kendal *GR*
  • A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan *AB*
  • The Spy Across the Table by Barry Lancet *AB*
  • The Last Hack by Christopher Brookmyre *AB*




I spent most of September doing what I have always wanted to do which was completing series. I would start a series and then get sidetracked and/or read a book in a series out of order wishing I had started from the beginning. I’m proud to say I got through two and a half of the four series I’ve wanted to finish for some time.


I didn’t finish The Song of Ice & Fire series (yet) because they follow so closely to television show, I kind of got bored. Knowing how something happens can be a blessing and a curse. I will pick it back up, maybe next Summer. Right now, my goal is to finish the Sandman Slim series.


Sadly, it was announced recently that author, Sue Grafton, has passed away. According to the message left by her daughter, Jamie, there will be no ghost writer to finish the series, which means, Y is for Yesterday, will be Sue’s final book.





I enjoyed every single one of these books, all for various reasons. I’m proud of myself for getting at least one non-fiction book in by years end. It’s hard to find something that will keep your interest, especially if it’s non-fiction and Scott Kelly’s was a great read.


I really loved Terminal Alliance and Meddling Kids, I couldn’t put them down. And you can never go wrong with a cozy mystery.

Final Thoughts

Looking through my year in review I count 54 titles, not including the books in the series I finished over the summer. Not bad if I do say so myself. I keep thinking there were more and just didn’t think to include them here. Oh well, there’s always next year!

There are a few titles I am looking forward to reading in 2018, and in no particular order they include… Melanie Benjamin – The Girls in the Picture, Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Labyrinth of Spirits, John Connolly – The Woman in the Woods, Christopher Moore – Noir, Rose McGowan – Brave, and Robert McCammon – The Listener.

This is my first year in review, so I’m still learning and evolving when it comes to reviews, lists, and layouts. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think, what you’ve read and what you’re looking forward to reading in 2018.


Special Collections/Archives

Special Collections Archive Internship Experience (Part 1: Getting Started)


Last year I had the fantastic opportunity of completing an internship in a special collections archive for my Library and Information Science Practicum. I learned a lot and thought it would be fun to share my experience with others.

I was able to complete onsite visits and interviews of various archives in the city, as well as, processing a collection and creating the collections finding aids for both written and metadata records.

Below you’ll find some of the objectives, activities, readings, and web tutorials that I utilized throughout the process, as well as, a list of onsite interview questions that helped me understand the similarities and differences between each special collection archive.

Game Plan:


  • Gain exposure to archive and special collection activities and issues within a variety of institutional contexts.
  • Obtain a broad overview of activities, institution types, and positions in archives and special collections.


  • Observe reference service interactions in archives and special collections department; participate as required.
  • Observe and participate, as necessary, in collection development, acquisition, and donor relations activities.
  • Arrange and describe a small archival or special collections collection according to institutional guidelines and standards.
  • Create an Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aid according to institutional standards.
  • Complete site visits and interviews with area archival and special collection professionals.
  • Complete assigned and elective readings in archival and special collections topics.
  • Attend appropriate department and committee meetings, as identified by supervisor.
  • Participate in digital initiative activities, as appropriate.


  • Bradsher, J.G. (1989). Managing Archives and Archival Institutions: Introduction to Archives. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
  • Daniels, M. and Walch, T. (1984). A Modern Archives Reader: Basic Readings on Archival Theory and Practice. Washington, D.C: National Archives Trust Fund.
  • Greene, M.A. and Meissner, D. (2005). More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing. The American Archivist, 68(2), 208-263.
  • O’Toole, J.M. and Cox, R. J. (2006). Understanding Archives & Manuscripts: Archival Fundamentals Series II. Chicago: Society of American Archivists.
  • Olivieri, B. And Mehaffey, A.M. (2015). Interlibrary Loan of Special Collections Materials: An Overview and Case Study. RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, 16(2), 113-126.
  • Roe, Kathleen D. (2005). Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts. Chicago: Society of American Archivists.
  • Society of American Archivists. (2013). Describing Archives: A Content Standard (2nd Ed.). Chicago: Society of American Archivists.


Site Visits and Interviews:

Here’s a list of question provided by my internship supervisor…

  • What is your job title and what do you do?
  • What is the scope of your collection? What do you collect and not collect?
  • What is your parent organization?
  • Who are your primary users? What types of research and reference questions do you receive?
  • What system do you use to manage your collections? Do you use Archivists’ Toolkit, Archives Space, and a homegrown system?  Do you work with a library system?  What are the benefits and challenges of your system?
  • Do you work with born-digital or digitized materials? What type of digital program do you have?
  • What is your educational background? What is your professional history?
  • Why did you decide to enter this profession?
  • What types of preservation and conservation activities do you do?
  • What descriptive standards do you use? Do you use DACS?  Do you create EAD finding aids?
  • What suggestions do you have for someone considering archives and special collections as a career?