Tag: Summer Reading

What Long Antennae You Have

It was my turn to do the “big programs” at the branches this week. Incidentally, I went first of the staff members doing there. Now, it’s Friday and I’ve completed mine and it isn’t even June 15th. Method to the madness.

Each of us chose bugs to focus on–I picked ladybugs. I thought it would be relatively easy to find stories about ladybugs and the Incredibly-Patient-Mother offered to help me plan appropriate songs.

It ended up being a little harder than planned–origami is tough for small hands and I had tied on an extra set of legs. You would think that would be helpful but they got in the way. Still, we got through quite the rousing rounds of “We’re Going on a Bug Hunt…” and “Miss Ladybug Says.” These kids are far better than I am at listening for the Simon Says cue…

And the facilities crew may never let me live down the pigtails. Oh well, I’m sure Princess Leia buns will follow at some point.

Me…with antennae

My groups

Summer Reading Program: Blog Edition

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We did it before and we’re back again…it’s time for Summer Reading. My goal for this summer? Get through 3 books. Three specific books.

Middlemarch
Born to Rule
Secret Archives of the Vatican

Two of those need to go back to live at M’s house. And the other on was recommended by VA. So I need to get hopping. I figure there will be my usual dose of fluffy romance, ya novels, and revisiting of Jane Austen. But hey…sanity comes first.

What are you reading this summer?

Summer Reading Program (5): One Night With a Spy

If you hadn’t guessed, I read a lot of romance novels. I don’t watch television except for the occasional HGTV binge and I need something brainless with a happily-ever-after ending. Or at least a chance for happy but interesting-ever-after ending.

Celeste Bradley was recommended to me by an estimable branch manager friend over crepes one evening. After wading through (yesterday evening’s reading) a collection of short stories, I was ready for one of her longer works.

One Night With a Spy is part of a series of called “The Royal Four,” which is built around the idea of the King of England having four advisers who tell him the truth and pretty much seem to run the country.

The plot introduces, Julia, a young woman married to a MUCH older man who is part of the Royal Four. In his final years, her husband teaches her about the Royal Four and, following an accident that leaves him mostly incapacitated (it sounds like a stroke), she pretty much takes over. After his death she confronts his confederates to take his place—to their surprise and concern. To evaluate her they send in a very handsome young man who is being groomed to join the four also. However, they didn’t plan on an outsider who is also trying to kill her.

Bradley has Julia as a bright and imaginative young woman. She also has her as one of the more sexually frustrated and imaginative widows that I’ve read in a long time. Before taking on Royal 4 business, Julia wrote copious diaries of fantasies. Considering her experience is supposed to be a man over the age of sixty when he married her, even with a low upbringing (which she had), it seemed a little excessively detailed. Putting that aside, Julia’s pretty self-sufficient, and that’s nice. She’s interested in Marcus, the one sent to spy upon her, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of her being a functional person. Fantasies aside, Bradley did an excellent job of moving along a very interesting story.

The fun side note is Julia’s upbringing in a traveling fair troupe, which means that her butler likes to hang upside down from the chandeliers and her footmen are acrobats that like to do various stunts. It adds some light humor that is enjoyable.

Looking forward to seeing what else she’s written. Back to tormenting the cat with a ribbon….she’s much neglected because her mommy is out of town.

Summer Reading Program (4): Mike’s Mystery

Well…look at that. Despite what Muffin kindly told me (see the comments), I had it in my head that I only had until the 15th to finish my reviews.

Alright, I’ve a few more days and it’s time to get cracking. Considering I’ve read three books since I got home from work this evening, there’s obviously some work to do.

Earlier this summer, I had a bizarre desire to re-read the Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. While I sped through all of her books when I was probably between the ages of 8-10, I only read the ones she wrote, and have never been able to get into the more modern versions being published under her name.

Then I went on a reservation binge at work and I’m in the process of rereading all of the original 19 books that Ms Chandler Warner wrote. Starting with Mike’s Mystery.

Mike is a character who appeared in the second book in the series, Surprise Island, a resurfaces as a uranium mine. He’s a classmate of Benny’s and he’s loud and just slightly annoying. I realized about half way through the book that he’s a lot like some of my kids (at work)–great in small doses and good if you can keep them busy but when they’re bored they can drive you to distraction.

Someone is engaged in an attempt to cause problems at the uranium mine and it’s up to the children to figure out who is at fault. What makes this mystery a little different from the others is that the Alden children aren’t really the central figures–even for Warner. Instead she focuses on this other ten year old (age is my estimation) and let’s him be bright enough to determine what’s going on and to help bring down the bad guy.

John Carter plays an essential role–and as an adult I remember he seemed a slightly romantic character to me as a child. Then he was this mysterious cool guy who had connections to the FBI and was just always “there” to help with everything. As an adult, I’m not exactly clear on his role. He’s definitely around all the time to bail the Alden children out of trouble but how that equals being a jack-of-all-trades for Mr. Alden and being connected to the FBI is a little beyond me.

I’ll be plowing through the rest of them–about ten of them came in today for me. 🙂

Summer Reading Program (3): The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

It’s the 15th and I said I’d get 15 books recorded by now. That’s not going to happen, unfortunately, but I should at least go through a few of the things I’ve been reading.

In the last couple of days I’ve been flying through a second reading of

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

I have to note that it’s the only one of Miss Quinn’s texts that I do not yet own. I’ve restrained myself admirably I think.

Julia’s most popular series is about a family with the surname of Bridgerton and is often referred to as the Whistledown series. While this particular book does not feature any of the Bridgerton clan, it’s in a similarly engaging style.

The heroine, having fallen for her ultimate hero at the age of 10, starts a journal about life at his behest and these journal entries are littered throughout the book. It’s somewhat like the collection of interesting words kept by Caroline from To Catch an Heiress. It creates a familiar style that allows more insight into the characters and more of the witty humor that I’ve come to expect from Julia.

The plot follows a calm path: Miranda meets her best friend’s older brother when she is ten and promptly falls in love with him. Jump forward to when he is a widower from an unhappy marriage and she’s just coming onto the marriage market and they have their adventure of falling in love.

Miranda is a likable and appealing heroine. She’s easily imagined to be pretty without being the “diamond” –as follows par for the course for Quinn. The role of being in the center of society’s eye is left for her best friend Olivia–who comes across a little too 16 for her 20 years. Olivia is loud and making mistakes while Miranda is a little more sly in her sarcasm. Miranda has a fall from grace (of course, with the hero) and ends up pregnant. This terminates in a miscarriage but ends up leading to a wedding which greatly surprises his family.

The story rolls along at a smooth and comfortable pace. Quinn is not trying to reinvent the wheel but is providing an enjoyable story that pulls on many of her strengths. Miranda and Turner are believable as people, close enough in age to not be weird (I have issues with 35 year olds who are “young men” falling for just-out-of-the-schoolroom 18 year olds….*shudder*). It’s a girl next door story for a man who has been trapped and disappointed in an early marriage.

The pair marries on the sly and I enjoyed the idea of not everyone being prepared for the wedding or even immediately notified of it. They’re married for two months before the maternal figure (Olivia’s mother) is called down upon their heads to bless the marriage. The final problem is his admission of love for his wife, which only comes with the birth of their first child. It’s a little bit forced but understandable that a man severely disappointed is cautious with his heart the second time. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to smack him upside the head with the “Duh” stick but that’s what these stories are good for.

A very enjoyable addition that will hopefully find a home on my bookshelf soon–much to Roomie’s regret.