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… Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Labyrinth of Spirits, Rose McGowan – Brave, Richard Kadrey – Hollywood Dead, Robert McCammon – The Listener, Edgar Cantero – This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us: A Novel.


What Does This Button Do? isn’t the typical sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll story. It was refreshing, funny, and inspiring. One thing I found interesting was how Bruce got that famous “wail” while singing and how it all comes from the diaphragm. Bruce didn’t let anything stop him from trying (i.e. singing, fencing, flying, battling cancer, etc.).


Firebrand is a great young adult novel, full of diverse characters and a ton of action. This is the second book in the Steeplejack series and is set in a 19th-century South African inspired city. Anglet (Ang) must once again use her steeplejack skills to catch a thief, uncover a conspiracy, and stay alive. One of the themes in this book is the use of masks, the masks we wear in public versus the ones we wear in private and how the best ones are the ones you can not decipher. Book three, Guardian is set to be released June 2018.


Thunderhead was amazing to read. It picks up where Scythe (Bk.1) left off and doesn’t stop. Citra tries to balance the life (politics, gleaning) of a scythe with family and discovers it’s harder than she thought, while Rowan has gone rogue and tries to find balance in who he was before and after his experiences with Goddard. I found Citra’s method of gleaning and how she makes her voice heard in the council refreshing. You won’t see the end coming.


Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence was a delight to read. Hannah is a spitfire and doesn’t seem to fear anything, including the devil. I loved the idea of The Sacrifice Machine (it channels the evil energy created by those who do evil deeds, to the devil, rather than releasing it out into the world). This story is a bit dark, but has a good message about family and the complexities of our actions and how they affect the world.

Hummus and Homicide is a great first start into the Mediterranean world, filled with great hummus recipes and murder mystery type suspense, but it falls a little flat for me or I should say the chemistry between the characters falls a little flat. Along with some of the situations Lucy finds herself in and how she interacts with certain characters while investigating a murder. It all seemed a little too easy for me and a bit far-fetched.


The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories is an amazing read. Reminds me of the Brothers Grimm, but better. This story takes the usual fairy tales (i.e. Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, etc. ) and spins them on their head. Definitely not for the faint of heart or for children, these stories are dark, a little erotic, and incredibly well written.


The Girls in the Picture was a wonderful look into the past (1914) and the creation of the film industry, going from silent films to the first talkies. Two complex women with vastly different backgrounds, driven to prove to others (and more importantly to themselves) that they can accomplish anything. I would have liked to have read more about Frances Marion, I found her to be the more well rounded one as well as the one who grew more as an individual in both her personal and professional life.


The Hunger is one of the well-written books I’ve read (so far) this year. Who knew a trip could be so creepy and scary, but this story is sure to give you goosebumps.


Higher is Waiting is filled with inspiring life lessons, common sense reflections, and affirmations to help you broaden your mind and open your heart. My favorite parts are the questions Tyler Perry asks at the end of each chapter. I think of them as personal journal prompts and found them to be quite helpful in organizing my thoughts and emotions. Also, there is a chapter called ‘Honoring’ and describes what he calls the ‘Tree of Life’ test. This really opened my mind in the way I approach professional and personal relationships.


Noir is a lot of fun to read and a hoot to boot. I’m not sure what I loved more, the cast of characters (i.e. “Don’t Call me Toots” Tilly is a firecracker, she may be a dame but she’s got moxie), the diner lingo (“… ax-murder a monkey and hump it three times!”), and/or how Lone got his middle name (lets just say it’s loosely related to a dinosaur). I definitely recommend reading this one if you’re looking for a good laugh, wanting to try a new author and/or have a cheeky sense of humor. Can’t miss with this one.

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It is a nice little reminder to be kind to yourself, don’t let the energy of ‘I have to be the best” or ‘I have to have more to succeed” get in your way of being happy. Be in the moment, create your opportunities, and remember, in the end it doesn’t matter. Perfect for the upcoming graduate and/or for those who need a little self care reminder.


The Dante Chamber is a rip-roaring good time of a read.




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  • A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley
  • Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines
  • Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
  • Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall (Galley, September 2018) by Tim Mohr *Currently Reading*
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 Second Sister by Claire Kendal
  • A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
  • The Spy Across the Table by Barry Lancet
  • The Last Hack by Christopher Brookmyre




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?