Monday, June 27, 2016

My mind was blown at "Librarianpalooza"

I had a plan.  Really, I did.  When I found out that I was being given the chance to attend the American Library Association annual conference 2016 (#alaac16) in Orlando for one day, I was so excited.  I poured through the programs and speakers that would be there on my day.  I chose three programs I wanted to attend. I went through the exhibitor list and wrote down my top 5 must see booths.  I was PREPARED!!

Upon arrival at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, I was amazed at the size of the place.

This is the South building.  It is the most distinctive building and catches your eye as soon as you see it.

The West Building, where the event was held, is a whopping 1,103,538 square feet! This photo doesn't give the West building credit.

I wish I had thought to take a photo of the exhibit hall.  When I walked into the exhibit hall, I felt like a country bumpkin seeing the big city for the first time.  Everywhere there was something to look at.

I managed to make it to two of the three programs I had chosen.I really wish I hadn't missed the Raspberry Pi programming one.  It was my #1 choice but it was not in the main conference area.  I would have had to take a shuttle and would have missed my ride back home.

The Active Shooter program was very good.  It is sad that we have to be prepared for something like this but I feel better knowing that I have some preparation now.

We headed into the Exhibit Hall next. Imagine walking into a room that is FILLED with aisle upon aisle of your favorite thing in the whole world.  This was me.

It took me about an hour to get through the first aisle of booksellers, authors, and publishers.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!  I started at the last row because I wanted to find the booth where my friend Patty's book was displayed.  I was so happy when I finally found it!!

After grabbing some lunch and seeing some more exhibits, we headed to our next program, which was about Maker Spaces and other programs in the library.  Ninety minutes later, full of knowledge and ideas, we headed out to see what we would do next.  We decided to head towards the van and head home since two of the three who were traveling together were not feeling well.

My loot haul from the conference:

I would say that my first ALA conference was a great experience.  I am looking forward to putting what I learned into practice.

P.S.  To celebrate my return from the ALA conference, I am giving away one ebook written by one of the authors I met at the conference.  Enter here.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cavendon Trilogy by Barbara Taylor Bradford

I received an advanced copy of The Cavendon Luck from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Shortly before The Cavendon Luck by Barbara Taylor Bradford was released on June 7, 2016,  I began reading the first book in the trilogy, Cavendon Hall.  This is my first time reading this author's works.  St. Martin's Press graciously offered me free access to all three books in the series and asked that I share my thoughts on the books.

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey and historical fiction, you will probably enjoy Barbara Taylor Bradford's three book series telling the stories of the Ingham and Swann families.  

In Cavendon Hall (3 stars for me) which is home to Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, and his wife, Felicity, their son Miles and four daughters, Deirdre, Daphne, DeLacy, and Dulcie.  Walter Swann is the Earl's valet and his wife, Alice, is a seamstress who makes the beautiful clothes for the ladies in the family.   The Ingham family and the Swann family have lived side by side for centuries.  When Daphne is attacked on Cavendon land, the Swann family comes to her aid.  Will what happened to her ruin Daphne's chances for happiness?  Not if the Swann's can help it.  As WWI begins to affect the world, the Ingham and Swann families must depend on each other during the hard times.  I enjoyed getting to know both families. I saw a lot of similarities to Downton Abbey in this book.  It did not detract from the Ingham/Swann family story though.  

Cavendon Women (3.5 stars for me) book 2 of the series, continues the story of the Ingham and Swann families.  It is now 1929 and the financial turmoil of the times had begun to affect the aristocracy.  Great houses are selling off their valuables and allowing tourists to pay to view their living quarters to make ends meet.  As the investments made by the men in the family fall apart, it is the women of the Ingham and Swann families that come to the rescue. This was a fast and enjoyable read.  I liked the fact that the women were not written as damsels in distress as is the case in most "romance" novels.  These are strong, smart women.

The Cavendon Luck (4 stars for me) is the newest release in the series.  It's 1938 and eldest daughter, Deirdre, is back working for the War Department. As Hitler and the Germans begin their assault on Europe, the Ingham and Swann families begin to prepare for the worst, an invasion of England by the Germans.  From victory gardens, war casualties, to air raid sirens, the reality of WWII England is here in full color.  This was probably my favorite book of the three.  Intrigue, family secrets, and a little bit of romance made it hard to put this book down.  

While not as compelling as Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale or Ken Follett's Century Trilogy, the Cavendon Chronicles will satisfy your Downton Abbey withdrawal.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Sometimes adults miss some of the best, most uplifting stories because they are packaged in a book written for juveniles.  This is why I aim to read at least ONE of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award books each year.  Beginning the end of April, I start checking to see if the list has been published.  Once it is, I make a checklist/bookmark for the patrons of the Charlotte County Library System.

The 2013 - 2014 Sunshine State Readers Award list for grades 6 -8 included Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which was about a ten-year-old boy who was born with facial deformities.  It remains in my list of top ten most moving books that I have ever read.  I can still get choked up thinking about the story.  It was THAT good.

I haven't had a chance to read anything on the 2014-2015 list yet, but I have my eye on Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.  Here is a video about the book from

This year (2016-2017), one book on the list jumped out at me.  It was a big book and was listed on the grade 6-8.  When I read the description, I knew I had to read this book.  Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.  Here is the book trailer.

The story begins when a boy named Otto becomes lost in the woods and is helped by three prophetic sisters who gift him with a quest and a harmonica. What follows is the story of the lives of three people who's lives become interwoven through ownership of the harmonica - Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy.  The book deals with the treatment of Jews in Germany during WWII, the treatment of orphans in the US during the Great Depression, and the treatment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor. The author wove all of the stories of these people together in such a beautiful way and then the ending connected them all through music.

If you can, I suggest getting your hands on the audiobook.  The story was enhanced by the wonderful music that was interspersed through the audiobook.   I listened to the book while driving to and from work.  I am so glad that I did.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Follow me on Twitter to try to win a copy of the Nora Roberts ebook that I am reading

My author I've avoided (see previous post.) for the month of June is Nora Roberts.  I thought I would give everyone who follows me on Twitter @KathyLoves2Read a chance to win an ebook copy of the same book that I will be reading this month - In From The Cold. This is a MacGregor's novella. One I have finished the book, I will share my review and hopefully the winner will also contribute his/her comments.

Go here to find out more.

Good luck.

If you want to purchase a copy to read along, here is the link.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Another Amazon ebook giveaway

While I am still perfecting my use of the Amazon Giveaway tool, I will be posting occasional giveaways.  Here is my latest.  I hope you win.

Amazon ebook giveaway

Coming soon....some more book reviews.

Thanks for reading.

Retiring this blog

I am retiring my Blogger blogs.  Starting today, June 16, 2018 my blog posts will be found at