Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013



I put in my notice at my first library job to start working at my dream library.

I honestly can't recall anything about the month of February. According to my instagram, I had a super fancy drink on Valentine's day and got some gorg white roses. Apparently that's it...

I traveled to the cities to visit my BFF and celebrate my favorite holiday with her.

In light of the Boston Marathon bombings, I was inspired to sign up for marathon #6 in Madison Wisconsin.

We had a monster ice storm that took months to recover from.

I finally got back on the running wagon in May, thanks partially to seeing the "light at the end of the tunnel" of school and a marathon looming on the horizon in six short months. Welcome baaaaack running.

I got my first (and only) B in grad school. Dang you cataloging!

I had the month off from school and it was magical!

My nephew came to visit!

I ran a 10k in pouring rain and through flooded streets and won an AG award.

Kyle's BFF got married.

My mom and I went to the US Track and Field Championships in Des Moines and I got to see my runner girl crush Allyson Felix tear up the track in scorching heat and humidity.

Ollie enjoyed her first fireworks display and loved it. Weirdo.

I jetted to Vegas with one of my besties and her husband to witness my bestie and the love of her life tie the knot. I cried like a little girl. Don't be surprised.

Finally (ok, I say finally like the two years didn't flyyyyyyy byyyyyyyy, but still) graduated from The University of Alabama with my Masters in Library and Information Science degree.  Whoop whoop!!

I also was chosen to work at our brand new, just built library branch. I've spent the fall doing storytimes, leading teen programs, helping anyone and everyone find that *perfect* book to read, and started a book club for adults who like to read YA (young adult) books.

We spent some time at his family's cabin. Pure bliss.

Kyle got another year older. Whoop!

And my niece, baby Harlow was born!

I ran the Sioux Falls half marathon for the 9th consecutive time.
It was hot and humid, per usual..

I woke up at 4:45am to get in some crazy mileage before work most mornings and fell waaaay back in love with early morning running. And then the time change happened... derp.

We dressed up as Harry Potter characters at my library.

Ollie attended her second Pug-O-Ween as Yoda.

I ran a 10k in costume. Ribbit.

I carved a pug-kin. It took FOREVER.

I attempted (and failed) the NaNoWriMo project knocking out 10k+ words (goal is 50k, DANG), but still consider the attempt a win of sorts.

I ran my 6th marathon in Madison, WI and finally got to meet Krista and Renee in person and eat all of the cheese and drink all of the beer while I was there. Heaven.

I counted down the remaining days in my 20s and tried to stay warm. We had a couple of weeks where we didn't get above freezing. The pug and I were miserable.

I spent time with my bestie who was back from Texas and our fave preggo.

And then I turned 30 with many friends in tow. I hope you all have a safe and awesome NYE! Cheers to 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Weekly Reads: Two Boys Kissing

Two Boys Kissing is the newest book from one of my favorite authors, David Levithan. This title is on my list of Mock Printz books that I'm working my way through and I had been chomping at the bit to get my hands on it to devour it. It did not disappoint. Awws, lol moments, and inevitable sobs it was a truly great read. My immediate response upon finishing was how lucky today's teens are to have quality books like this, especially those that are struggling with being different, or those that need to be more compassionate and understanding to others.

A brief review: this story is told from the perspective and narration of a generation of gay men who have died from AIDS. Their story is spent viewing the lives of seven gay boys and their varying stories, while interspersing some of their own stories and struggles as a collective whole. The main storyline is of Harry and Craig, best friends, and ex-boyfriends who are trying to set the world record for kissing, at 33+ hours. Each boy in the story gets a glimpse of the news coverage of this event, both positive and negative, while their stories are being shared.

My rating: 5 stars.

Mock Printz potential: I will be very surprised if this isn't a Printz Honor book in January. Stay tuned.

Summary from goodreads:

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. 

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Weekly Reads: More Than This

More Than This is yet another book on my list of Printz potential titles. From the get go I was obsessed with the cover. That yellow part right there <-- is actually a cut out. Too cool right? Also the day that this came in on hold for me I was wearing new tights that are identical to the black and white background on the cover, along with yellow shoes. Eerie, right?

But the book! By page 3, the main character is dead. By page 4, he's convinced he's in hell. Boom. Off to a swimming start, huh?  (Pun intended, he drowns.) The reader starts the book knowing nothing, but as layer by layer is revealed, you become even more entranced in the story. I simultaneously devoured it while trying oh so hard to savor it. I rarely have an almost 500 page book feel like it has flown by in the blink of an eye. I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to give anything away, but definitely pick up this book.

As far as its Printz potential, I wouldn't be surprised if this walked away with the top title, but it should surely nab an honor award if not.

My rating: 5 stars.

Summary from goodreads:

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

They Say It's Your Birthday

... It's my birthday too.... Yeah!

Goodbye 20s, hello 30s. 29 was the best year so far so I can only imagine that 30 will be even better!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Happy Ollie-days and have an Ollie Jolly Christmas. I'll be enjoying my last day in my 20s today. Eeps! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekly Reads: Breadcrumbs

 I listened to Breadcrumbs on my trip to M adison WI and back. To be honest, I didn't really get in to it at the beginning. I listened to a disc and then didn't listen to any more until the drive home. On the drive home I finished three discs in a row before I needed to take a break to do some Glee singing to keep myself alert and awake.

The book was just ok, in my opinion. It's fairy tale inspired, which I love, but I just didn't get truly wrapped up in the book. It's a good fantasy read for children, but left some to be desired as an adult reader.

My rating: 3 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else. 

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbsis a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weekly Reads: Winger

The cover of Winger is easily enough to draw in any reader, especially a teen, in. Ryan Dean West is a junior at boarding school. He excels at academics and rugby, despite being two years younger than his classmates. He does not excel in relationships with girls or staying out of trouble. His love interest, Annie, is in his class but sees him as a kid brother. She also has a pug (!!!) so already I was on her side. Ryan Dean (he has two first names, btw) is an artist, so there are little comics spread throughout the story to enhance the storyline. Despite being about 450 pages, this was a super fast read, yet I wanted to savor it as best I could. There is a lot of profanity in this book, so it's probably better for older teens. This title is also on the list of potential Printz Award books that I'm reading for my bookclub. In my opinion, it's definitely Printz Honor worthy. We'll see!

My rating: 4.5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.