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I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed has been filled with pictures of beautiful beaches (Cuba, Bahamas, Florida, Hawaii, someplace other than here), and people having a wonderful holiday. Frankly, I’m sick of it. No, really I’m just sick of all the snow still on the ground, still falling, still in the darn forecast. When will it end, people???? When?

 

 

So, today, I’m going to be spending my morning at the coin wash. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s my little “holiday” during a busy month of work.

 

 

Yes, the coin wash. As you read this, maybe I’ll be fluffing and folding, or maybe still watching the spin cycle as I sip my green tea latte from Starbucks and read PAPER TOWNS for my teen book club later this week. Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s all good. I’ve earned this day off! I’m spring cleaning some bedding and tonight, I’ll sleep well under “spring blossoms” wafting against my nose.

 

 

March Break is finally over, and while it was a LOT of work this year (double the programs, double the tiredness!), it was also a lot of fun. I enjoyed working with tons of young writers on fractured fairy tales, poetry and even some mystery writing. (Can you believe the poetry session was the best one ever!) The rest of the week was filled with crazy bingo, painting with kool-aid, science experiements, Big Hero, and a French storytime. I think everyone had fun, including all of my co-workers, and now, I’m taking a break for a few days….re-energizing.

 

 

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(A few gems from our Poetry Party. Who knew poems could be so much fun?)

 

 

I’m gearing up for some challenges, starting with our new Teen Book Club! Yes! We have nine kids reading this month’s book, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs, and I can’t wait to talk to them about it (or eat cupcakes….whatever they feel like, really). And now that I’m done with March Break, I can get back to reading. Up on my list? Fellow YA Buccaneer Kathryn Holmes’ THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, the wacky western by Canadian author Patrick DeWitt THE SISTERS BROTHERS, and Neil Gaiman’s TRIGGER WARNING (which I just typed as Tigger Warning….a whole other set of ideas there, I bet!). Have you read any of these? Let me know what you think.

 

 

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming. See you later this week!

 

 

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spring

 

 

Over at the YA Buccaneers, we’re taking a break this month. No, we haven’t forgotten about posts altogether, we’re just relaxing a bit and getting refreshed for next month, which is bound to have LOTS of interest. So, while we’re reading, getting out to enjoy some fresh air, and finishing up projects, we want you to think about doing the same. It’s been a loooooooong winter for most of us, so we deserve a break.

 

 

For my Spring Break, I’ve just completed the first major draft of a book I’d been working on since early summer last year. I’m looking forward to catching up on some reading and planning the upcoming portion of my year. I have several new ideas for projects in the works, and hopefully, I’ll have some good feedback on everything and can move forward. Let’s cross our fingers, shall we?

 

 

Right now, I’m gearing up for the March Break at my library. It’s going to be a week full of events for children, teens and adults….most of which involve me doing something each day. I’m looking forward to it all being over, I must admit, and a few days where I can sit back and do nothing (no, not at work…I booked a few days off. Expect to see me at Starbucks!). I’ll post photos when I have everything decorated and put together. Let’s just say, I’m making flowers….and lips.

 

 

What are YOU doing for Spring Break?

 

 

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I’ve been busy. While I’ve been thinking about posts, and about getting back to social media for the last month, I’ve been keeping my head down and my fingers firmly planted on the keyboard, trying to get revisions on MANIAC finished and out to my critique partners. So, I can finally say it…I’m done! YAY! Now, on to other things.

 

 

So, what am I up to now? Reading, complaining about the snow that’s still here, and new ideas. But first, a few good books to talk about.

 

 

First, I’m scrambling to finish up DEAR LIFE by Alice Munro for tomorrow night’s Book Club at the library. I don’t really participate in our book club, but I’m covering for my boss who is lounging on a sunny beach in Jamaica right now. (Good for her!) This is a different book for me…CanLit at its best, really….and I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. Short stories…these I can handle. I had so much to do these past few weeks in preparation for March Break, I feel like a kid who has left things to the last minute. As I write this post, I still have 30 hours to finish it before book club starts. Can I do it?

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Last month, on my trip to Toronto for the Ontario Library Association Super Conference, I took along CREED by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie.  It’s about three teens who wander into what they think is an abandoned town after their truck runs out of gas. Okay, I swear, this book scared the HECK out of me! I couldn’t read it at night before bed, and yes, I’ll admit…I skimmed through a few pages because they were too scary. It’s a YA horror, so how scary could it be, right? S.C.A.R.Y.  Listen to this… “He bled her.” He bled her, people! It’s exactly what you think. Don’t pick this book up if you’re looking for a light read. You’ll be thinking about it for weeks after.

 

 

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So, to get away from all the heavy stuff, I chose WE ARE THE GOLDENS next, by Dana Reinhardt. A tale of two sisters and their bond. Yep, just something light and fluffy. NOT! This was a heavy book, even for one that appealed to me because of the moody cover and the fact that it was skinny. I kind of liked that it was written in the voice of one character talking to another. That made it unique. But it had a lot of dark moments as we find out what happened in their young lives to damage them both so much. Life isn’t ever what it appears to be, right?

 

 

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And my favourite of the bunch? ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven. I LOVED this cover…post it notes, cute colours. How could it be bad? And it wasn’t! I listened to the audiobook version, which was really great (even though I find it odd that two readers–male and female–don’t just read their own parts. It’s hard to listen seriously when a woman is reading the male part during “her” chapter etc. Why can’t they just read it like a play???? There’s two of them anyway……….Okay, don’t get me started.) But, this was a great book, along the lines of Rainbow Rowell’s ELEANOR & PARK, where two damaged teens come together to support each other in the most lovely ways. Finch and Violet were sweet, engaging, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always fascinating to piece together. I loved this book, and hope to share it with my new Teen Book Club at the library later this year. I think there could be a lot of discussion, and the characters are so likeable, it will appeal to both male and female readers. Loved it! Pick it up if you haven’t already.

 

 

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So, now that I have my life back for a little while, I intend to post more, read more, and start thinking about what to write next. This is always my favourite time of year. If only it would stop snowing!!!

 

 

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While this might not be the clearest picture, it says a lot about my relationship with my sister. And today over at YA Buccaneers, you can read all about our blog hop happening this month in celebration of fellow pirate Kathryn Holmes‘ novel, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND. And yes, I’m thanking my sister today. Isn’t she great? Go read the post now!

 

 

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cookbook

 

 

First up on my Cookbook Countdown is THUG KITCHEN: EAT LIKE YOU GIVE A F*CK: THE OFFICIAL COOKBOOK.  I must admit, I picked this up at work because it was a new cookbook, and well, of course I couldn’t resist the title. I really didn’t know anything about it or the popular THUG KITCHEN website, so it was all a surprise to me when I opened it up. Kinda fun, right?

 

 

Cookbook, reviews

 

 

The premise behind this cookbook is actually really good. It’s all about real people making real food. And this isn’t a cookbook for meat-eaters at all; in fact, there are no animal products in any of the recipes—-no eggs, butter, meat or milk. Crazy, huh? Growing up on boiled veggies that either came from a can or the freezer, I can tell you I was not a fan of the green stuff. It wasn’t until I was in University that I even ate things like green peppers(!), and my first taste of asparagus was made for me by my husband when we were first dating. Sad, right? No offence, Mom, but veggies weren’t your wheelhouse.

 

 

 

THUG KITCHEN aims to change that for people. The opening of the book talks about how easy it is to make great-tasting food without opening a package or going through a drive-thru. I love that they spend ten pages (10!!) talking about important things like reading the recipes through first, not leaving out ingredients, and writing down critical errors made on recipes you’d probably like to make again. There’s also a quick primer for cooking basic foods like rice or beans, things they won’t go into later within certain recipes. But it’s fantastic advice! And they do it in a really entertaining way. (Can we say “plant nachos”, people…aka SALAD!) Yes, there’s plenty of swearing in this book—-it probably isn’t something you’d buy for a member of your church group or your grandma—-but it adds to the whole you-can-do-anything attitude. Go for it!

 

 

 

Along with most of the recipes comes either a handy tip about what the food should look like during a particular step, or some great infotaining tips about the food you’re going to cook. Wouldn’t you like to be able to educate your guests about what they’re eating at your next dinner party? They’ll think you’re a genius!

 

 

 

The only negative is the lack of calorie/fat/etc. breakdown for recipes. If you’re on a restrictive diet, this might take some extra work to figure out.

 

 

 

 

This is a library book, but I want my own copy now. And if you’re looking for more recipes, drop by their website for a daily recipe, as well as timely ideas for holiday eating and more. Fantastic, right? It certainly makes our return to healthy eating more fun.

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a creative wedding gift for a YOUNG couple, this would be a great starter. It’s also something I’d recommend to someone going off to college and cooking for themselves for the first time. They’ll get it, trust me. Or just buy this for your sister or brother or best friend or mailman or….you get the point.

 

 

 

January was a good pick. What am I going to review for February? It’s a 2013 release…MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT FAVORITES: THE 250 MOST-REQUESTED NATURALLY DELCIOUS RECIPES FROM ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST-LOVED RESTAURANTS, THE MOOSEWOOD COLLECTIVE.

 

 

17167085

 

 

Yum!  And happy eating….

 

 

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