Wednesday, October 31, 2012

stephen white: sending chills since 1991.

Happy Halloween! Today I was a ballerina, or a fairy, or a princess. Whichever my students preferred. I was one of the three teachers who dressed up at my school. I think this makes me extremely hip, and I think you all can agree.

For the occasion, I thought I'd review the very popular, spine tingling, Alan Gregory Series, which began in 1991, and is finally coming to an end with Line of Fire. The good news is that Line of Fire is only the first of the TWO-part conclusion. For those of you who live under a rock, Stephen White has written eighteen books, set in Boulder, Colorado, which will be on everyone's "to see" list once they dip into this collection. If you have yet to start your addiction to these unforgettable novels, you better catch up!

Line of FireLine of Fire
The first of the dramatic two-part conclusion to the bestselling Alan Gregory series.
The Last LieThe Last Lie
Alan Gregory's new neighbors host a housewarming party that ends in quiet disaster.
The Siege paperbackThe Siege(2009)
Sam Purdy finds himself in the middle of a kidnapping on the Yale campus.
Dead Time by Stephen WhiteDead Time
Alan's former wife, Merideth, asks for his help, dragging him into a complicated mystery that reaches back years.
Dry Ice by Stephen WhiteDry Ice
One of Alan's former patients is back for revenge — and nothing will ever be the same.
Kill MeKill Me
What if you could choose when to die? But once you decide you can't change your mind. Ever.
Missing-Persons-MM-ThumbMissing Persons
Alan Gregory finds his own colleague dead while one of her patients goes missing from Boulder on Christmas Day.
This Alan Gregory novel is about the bonds that hold men and women together and the betrayals that tear them apart.
The Best RevengeThe Best Revenge
What price do we pay for keeping secrets—even from ourselves?

Warning SignsWarning Signs
The brutal slaying of Boulder's controversial D.A. strikes deep in the heart of everything Alan Gregory holds dear.
The Program The Program
Kirsten Lord and her nine-year old daughter accept the Witness Protection Program's offer to hide them in Boulder.
Cold Case Cold Case
Alan Gregory and Lauren Crowder are asked to assist a private crime fighting organization known as Locard.
Manner of Death Manner Of Death
Alan's former colleagues' deaths are not occurring from natural causes. Who is targeting them?
CriticalConditionsNewMMthCritical Conditions
Alan is called in after Sam Purdy's 15-year-old niece attempts to end her own life.
RemoteControlNewMMthumbRemote Control
Lauren's friend Emma Spires is the target of a stalker. Can Lauren help save her?
Harm's Way Harm's Way
The murderer of Alan Gregory's neighbor may be the work of a serial killer.
Higher Authority MM New thumbHigher Authority
Lauren Crowder is thrown into a maelstrom of violence in a case of sexual harassment involving the Mormon church.
Private Practices MM New Thumb Private Practices
Alan gets caught in the middle when two seemingly "accidental" deaths occur to a pair of grand jury witnesses.
Privileged Information New MM ThumbPrivileged Information
One of Alan's patients is found dead and her diary describes her sexual obsession with Alan—and his willing involvement.
Winter will be here before we know it folks, and now you have some fabulous reading options to hibernate with. You're welcome. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

unleash the beauty of the web.

I have mentioned once or twice how much I love O'Reilly's missing manuals. They are, hands down, a technologically challenged girls savior. Chris Grover recently developed one for Adobe Edge Animate, and I will be forever grateful. We may live in a world where software is constantly being improved for our benefit, but you can't find printed instructions to save your life.

Adobe Edge Preview is now leading the way for an entire Edge suite. To be clear, the product that was once called “Adobe Edge Preview” is now “Edge Animate,” which fits within the new “Edge family” of apps and services. It is a tool for creating motion and interaction content with web standards like HTML5, and if you are looking to build your first animation, Adobe Edge Animate Preview 7: The Missing Manual is the book for you. This manual is easy to read and understand, and I promise you that all of the answers you need will be found inside. With Grover's help you'll be designing crazy good animations for your iPhone, iPad, and the Web in no time!

Friday, October 26, 2012

get out of your reading slump.

We all have those times when, no matter what, we just can't find a novel that sticks. We get through the first few chapters, and nothing magical happens. Well, help me, help you by picking up two fabulous novels that just so happen to have the same title. Cursed by Benedict Jacka and Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout

Benedict Jacka's second installment of his new urban fantasy series, Cursed: An Alex Verus Novel, follows the ramifications of his first novel, Fated. Protagonist Alex Verus's quiet life as a magic store owner abruptly comes to an end. His name is back on the radar for both light and dark mages, something he has spent years avoiding. But although trying to avoid trouble he isn't always successful as quite literally trouble comes crashing through his shop window. But what does drained magical creatures, a beautiful enchantress and a monkey paw have to do with him? After multiple attempts on his life, Alex decides to find out.

In Jennifer Armentrout's Cursed, high school senior Ember McWilliams was in a car crash with her family. She should have died right there along with her father. But her three-year-old sister Olivia brought her back to life with a mere touch. Whoa. Unbeknown to the family at the time, Olivia is gifted. She can bring anything back to life with just the touch of her hand. But for Ember, being brought back to life has left her cursed. She is the opposite of her sister, with one touch, Ember can kill. She spends her days dressed in long sleeves and gloves to keep everyone around her safe. Let's just say, life gets pretty interesting.

Enjoy these magical reads just in time for the spookiest season of the year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

must-have reference, advanced concepts.

I always talk about how NOT tech savvy I am, and then I proceed to write reviews on extremely techy books. Why? Because I WANT to be tech savvy. It's just a process people. I have to admit, I am a little over my head with this next one though. Microsoft's SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services: The BISM Tabular Model by Marco Russo, Alberto Ferrari, and Chris Webb....WHATTT am I talking about???

Chapters 1 and 2 are titled Introducing and Getting Started with the Tabular Model respectively, I wouldn't worry too much. We've totally got this. Well, I got it, as soon as I figured out what Tabular meant.  If you’re familiar with PowerPivot you should be comfortable with Tabular Models. While this is an introductory book on the Tabular Model, it is not even remotely a beginners guide. You may find yourself (like me) in tad bit over your head if you’ve never worked with Analysis Services in previous versions of SQL.

Why use the new BISM Tabular Model?
  • it is faster to develop than BISM multidimensional
  • it can used for creating prototypes and analyse later if a full blown multidimensional solution is required.
  • it’s easier to make changes to the model.
  • it’s less expensive to use in terms of time, resources and skill requirement.
  • DAX is fairly easy to learn and has a gradual learning curve.

Make the choice, and when you do, keep this baby close by. You'll be looking in it every eleven seconds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

really hear these words.

My friend Jessica has been updating her Facebook status as often as possible while she is traveling the world as a missionary. Here is her latest...
Now THIS is kicks ass.

Monday, October 22, 2012

the chaotic lives of parents.

I've never actually been a parent, but from what I've seen, it doesn't exactly look like a relaxing, easy breezy, stress free way of life. Manfriend and I went to Wal-Mart on Saturday, and as soon as you walk through the sliding doors you can already hear the screaming. On our way out, of course we passed a family who's children were beautifully behaved. You know, the kind of children that make you think that parenting may not be the worst idea ever. For the record, I'm still not entirely interested.

To keep yourselves sane, you parents need to laugh it off a little bit. That's where Scribbles at an Exhibition: Baby Blues Scrapbook 29 comes in. Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott have compiled illustrations of the trials and tribulations of parenthood. You overwhelmed parents will get a kick out of these funnies.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

designs worth forgiving.

Driving over bridges has always made me a little nervous. I spend a little bit too much time considering the fact that they could collapse at any moment and send me falling into a large body of water. I also consider the fact that getting into a car accident while crossing over a bridge wouldn't end well. I should probably stop thinking so much and focus on my driving. I do love crossing the RFK bridge that goes into Queens. Probably because manfriend is always on the other side. It shows an amazing view of the city skyline. I should probably pay less attention to that, too.

Henry Petroski is well versed in structure, design, and technology of bridge and building making,  In his latest book, To Forgive Design, he goes into detail about the many failures in a successful career of engineering. For example, the Tocamo Narrows Bridge totally collapsing in 1940, but before that, on particularly windy days, cars actually rose up due to the high winds. Hello, scary. Regardless, Petroski developed a super interesting narrative in To Forgive Design.

**For a chance to win a copy of this book - follow this blog AND email your name, address and this book title to:!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

a brand new historical thriller novelist just for you.

The Yard by Alex Grecian takes place in the Victorian era. This historical thriller features the men of London's Scotland Yard who have been assigned to work on a special task force to investigate murders, (established following the Jack the Ripper cases). In his debut novel, Grecian developed a great group of characters, all enjoyable to read about. And his villains were creepy enough to give me goosebumps, as every good villain should. Very Sherlock Holmes-esque.

The Yard opens with an officer found murdered. In the following chapter, we find out who the perpetrator is and learn more about him. Written from the opposing points of view of the murderer and the detectives, Grecian builds a great deal of suspense, willing me to read on.

Monday, October 15, 2012

well this will make you stop and think.

Before I begin this review, I need to state that I am not a Democrat or a Republican, I am not voting for Obama or Romney. I caught up on my DVR when the debates were on, and I plan on moving to Canada as soon as possible. That being said, I do believe that everyone should know all of their options before casting their vote in November. While you're at it, you should pick up Edward Klein's The Amateur. Klein conducted nearly 200 interviews with the people closest to Obama to fill these pages, giving us insight into what happens behind White House doors. Close to 1,000 pages of insight into the man who is running this country (in some of your opinions) into the ground.

Some of the information is a bit startling, honestly. And based on Klein's credentials, I'm not looking to second guess him. The Amateur is bound to give those of you who voted Obama in 2008 some buyers remorse.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

putting a price on tragedy.

When tragedy strikes the United States, you better believe there will be hell to pay. Literally. Washington lawyer and author, Kenneth R. Feinberg served as the special master of the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which distributed nearly $7 billion to more than 5,000 victims and families of victims of 9/11. Three years later, he agreed to administrate the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, set up for the benefit of victims' families in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting.

Feinberg recently wrote his insider's view in, Who Gets What: Fair Compensation After Tragedy and Financial Upheaval. In our world today, people are suing each other left and right. The reasons go from ridiculous to necessary, and Feinberg uses his expertise to describe his deciding factor on what is fair and why. If you're into finance, you're welcome.



Monday, October 8, 2012

a pleasant birthday novel.

Today is my 27th birthday. Moving towards my late twenties is a litttttttle bit painful, but it did include a party. A really fun party full of booze and foliage. I love being born in the fall and I love my friends, and their tendency to go over the top when doing anything.

Since it is my birthday, and a good novel is definitely in my top five favorite things, I decided to review Karen White's latest novel, Sea Change. The story begins with thirty-five year old midwife named Ava Whalen. Ava has lived most of her life sheltered in her small town when she unexpectedly elopes with a child psychologist, Matthew Frazier, and moves with him to his ancestral home on St. Simons Island. Whirlwind romances may seem Disney movie romantic, but there are always missing pieces. When you marry that quickly, you cannot possibly know all of your partners secrets, and as Ava and Matthew eagerly begin their new life together, the secrets begin pouring out.

Sea Change also includes a parallel historical fiction aspect about the couple who previously lived in this extremely old house - taking this story to another time and place. Adding to the mystery that White builds throughout the novel. It's really interesting.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

for the dog lovers.

I do not keep up on the dog show circuit. Honestly, I don't think I've ever actually watched a dog show, unless you count the Sex and the City episode where Charlotte shows Elizabeth Taylor. I'm going to count it.

In Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebread, Josh Dean gives a whole new understanding to the dog showing hobby.  Dean takes us behind the scenes, and with much humor, tells the story of Jack, his Australian shepherd show dog. I now know way more than I ever needed to know about the breeding process. Really, way more. The most fun was reading about all of the crazy "Toddlers in Tiaras" type people that crossed Dean's path. Show Dog is the very sweet and funny story of a beloved family dog.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

become a professional photographer, ya big dummie.

Anytime I see a photography For Dummies type of manual, I want it, I need it, I HAVE to have it. Especially when it's Nikon - which is basically the best quality camera brand ever. Julie Adair King likes to help all of us dummies out when it comes to photography, and she really outdoes herself with her Nikon D3200 for Dummies manual. As a girl who really needs it kept simple, I got a lot out of it.

Us non-professionals, aka everyone who reads this blog, are a bunch of freaks. Just admit it. We see the photo opportunity, turn our cameras on real fast, and take the shot. I want to get creative with exposure! I want to manipulate focus and color! I want to at least be able to choose a basic picture setting without sucking. Hello? How about we learn how to adjust manual settings for better results with exposure, lighting, focus, and color. Yes, how about that? Thanks Julie. She even keeps it very fifth grade with explaining how to download, edit and share our best photos with everyone we know, or don't know, whichever you prefer.

**for a chance to win a free copy of this book, email your name, address and this book title to:!

Monday, October 1, 2012

being an english teacher is fun.

As a teacher (it's still SO fun saying that), I am inspired daily. My students are the most inspiring aspects of my day-to-day life. What they say, what they write, I am inspired and impressed constantly. Well, not by everyone, but by a lot, and I am extremely proud to be able to say this about them. Now if only my blog wasn't so inappropriate, maybe I would let them read it...

Randel Plowman put together a little collection of project prompts, titled The Collage Workbook: How to Get Started and Stay Inspired. It is my job to inspire my students, and I have to say, that part is not easy. They are completely unaware of how inspiring and brilliant they are, even though I remind them regularly. Just like most of you out there. You grow, you get busy, you lose your creativity. Plowman (and his little sidekick, moi) are here to help you get it back! Okay, he did all of the work, but that's why they pay him the big bucks.

There are directions for all fifty creative project prompts in this collection, but still allowing you to explore your own unique creativity. I would love to incorporate some of these collage projects in my classroom. The only problem is, New York State doesn't leave much time for creativity, they'd much rather have me do the thinking FOR my students. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

*For a chance to win a FREE copy of this book, email your name, address, and this book title to:!