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Blog Updates

March 6, 2015 4 comments

Hello my lovely readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to let those of you who subscribe via RSS feed or email that my blog now officially has its own url.  It is now opinionsofawolf.com not opinionsofawolf.wordpress.com.  Don’t worry, all links to the old .wordpress.com address are set to automatically forward to opinionsofawolf.com.  I’m excited to be taking this leap forward.

I have also decided to focus my free time more in on my writing.  Long-time readers know I am also a writer (see my Publications page here).  In light of this, I have decided to close up my Etsy shop.  I enjoy cross-stitching and designing patterns, but I would like to revert it back to being a hobby.  However, I have made all the patterns I designed available on my Cross-Stitch page, and I will add more as I design them. At my leisure.

I have also designed and synced an author’s twitter to this blog.  There is a link in the sidebar, or you may follow it here.  This is a public twitter that anyone may follow.  I primarily focus on tweeting about writing, books, and links to things that interest me, as well as retweeting anything I find humorous.

I also hope to start doing a monthly reading and writing reflection post.  We will all see how that goes!

Happy reading!

Friday Fun! (May: MLA Chicago and Boston Calling)

Hello my lovely readers!  You may have noticed the blog was a bit quieter than usual this month.  That’s because I had my annual conference for work, and I extended my Memorial Day three day weekend into a five day one.  The month was so incredibly full of both good and stressful busyness, I’m kind of amazed I managed to blog at all!

Image of a sunset over a lake. Buildings are right on the water's edge.

Lake Michigan at sunset.

Every year for work I attend the Medical Library Association’s annual conference.  This year the conference was in Chicago.  I’d never been to Chicago before, and I made sure to make the most of my limited free-time to see the city!  I walked through Millennium Park and got a selfie in the bean, went to American Girl Place on the Magnificent Mile (and bought a mini version of the Native American doll, Kaya), and went to Navy Pier.  I also checked out the Chicago History Museum and got to see items that were melted in the Chicago Fire, such as marbles.  I walked through Lincoln Park and went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum where I got to hang out in a butterfly conservatory room.  None landed on me, but I got some great pictures! My partner’s sister and her husband live in Chicago, so I went and had dinner with them at a Chicago style hot dog restaurant that actually had vegetarian hot dogs.  Score!  They also took me to see Lake Michigan, and I was blown away by how soft the sand is and how the lake is so large it looks like the ocean.  I guess they don’t call them the Great Lakes for nothing!  I know that sounds like a lot to squeeze into the amount of time I wasn’t at the conference, but I am the queen of getting a lot of sightseeing done in a short amount of time.  I pre-plan, using Pinterest and its great maps feature, and plot out routes and timing so I can get everything in.  Plus, in museums, I only check out the exhibits of greatest interest to me.

Of course, the main reason I was in Chicago was for work.  I attended the conference, listening to many excellent plenary speakers, as well as presentations by various librarians and library students on their projects and papers, and networked with vendors at the opening event.  This year I was an official blogger for the poster sessions.  You can see my blog posts here.  Our library director also took us all out for Chicago style deep dish pizza.  While I enjoyed the deep dish pizza, it was a lot like lasagna without the pasta, I can’t imagine eating it more than a few times in my lifetime.  I still prefer the thin crust brick oven or thick crust New England styles!  When I got back to Boston, I taught a library skills class and presented a poster at an education event on my work’s campus.  After all of that work, I took my five day Memorial Day weekend!

A stage surrounded by blue signs with a dog in a suit and the words Boston Calling. A band is on the stage and a large crowd is in front of them.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performing at Boston Calling.

The reason I took the long weekend was because my bf and I wanted very much to attend Boston Calling, Boston’s live music festival.  My favorite band, The Decemberists, and his favorite band, Built to Spill, were both playing, as was the band that sings our song, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  The festival was Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday.  It’s held in the center of Boston, at Government Center, on two stages.  The architecture there is very brutalist, and the entry to the festival had signs up denoting male and female.  We figured out later the signs were just telling you if the person doing the wanding was a man or a woman, it wasn’t intended to split up the crowd along gender lines, but the whole thing felt quite dystopian when we arrived and lent the concert a pretty damn cool vibe.  I had such an incredibly wonderful time at the festival, I can barely put it into words.  Hearing Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros sing our song live was stellar.  I had seen The Decemberists once before, but not as up close as I got at this concert.  It was raining when they came out, which, if you know their music, gave the performance such a perfect atmosphere.  They sang both old and new songs, and it was just amazing.  I also really enjoyed watching my partner’s favorite band, Built to Spill.  They have amazing guitar skills, and their fans are of the cool head bob variety, so it was the perfectly chill performance for the sunny, relaxing day.  When we weren’t at the concert, we went a long motorcycle ride and grilled for the first time this season.  It was a great vacation!

Just because I’ve been busy doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading.  I finished seven books this month, three more than usual, but only managed to review two of them so far.  Definitely be prepared for an onslaught of reviews in the next couple of weeks!

I was also too busy for stitching most of the month.  I would have stitched on my trip to Chicago, but fellow cross-stitchers and embroiderers stated that, even though the rules don’t say you can’t have a sewing needle, a lot of the times they get confiscated.  I didn’t want to risk it.  Once my vacation was over, I picked it back up again.  I’m working on the second item for the Foraging New England line, and it is almost done!

Happy reading!

Friday Fun! (April: Busyness and Hiking)

View of Boston city skyline

The view of Boston on our hike.

Hello my lovely readers!

April was such a busy month, I can actually hardly believe it’s over already!  It’s always a busy month for me at work, as I help organize and run an annual event on-campus.  In addition this month, we also welcomed a new program to our campus, so the library was very busy putting in the groundwork for supporting students studying that new subject area.  I also submitted my first-ever poster abstract.  So busy!  On top of this, the weekend of my work event was the same weekend as the first motorcycle race weekend of the season for my partner.  He was incredibly busy prepping for the races.  Instead of just the normal getting everything running again after the long winter, he also was prepping a new (to him) race bike to be track ready.  Since I couldn’t go with him for the first race weekend, I wanted to send along something nice, so I made him a pie and cookies for carb-loading at the track.  I honestly found the baking to be stress-relieving and really enjoyed it.  I’m happy to report both the work event and the first race weekend went well!

In spite of the busyness, we were able to squeeze in quite a few hangouts with friends and dates for ourselves.  One of our dates was to hike a local trail on Easter Sunday.  It was gorgeous weather in a month of a lot of iffy weather.  I always find it so refreshing to get outside and in the woods, and even more so with my boyfriend.  We saw lots of jack-in-the-pulpits and also got a great view of Boston.

My stitching slowed down a bit this month, although I did release the first design in a new line–rhubarb in foraging New England.  The rest of the patterns for the line are designed but they still need to be trial-stitched! I hope to release at least one of them this month.

I read and reviewed four books this month, sticking to my overall goal of one book a week.  I’ll be happy if I manage to stick to that during my upcoming even busier month of May! In my own writing, I’m still working away whenever I have the time on my new book idea, writing background short stories.  The typewriter my bf got me for Christmas is coming in really handy, freeing me of distractions.

Happy reading!

Friday Fun! (January: Freezing Cold and Baking)

February 1, 2014 1 comment

breadHello my lovely readers!  I hope all of your new years started off well.

I’m sure most of you are aware of the intense cold snap that hit the United States this month, and Boston was certainly no exception.  There were a few nights where, even with our heat cranked all the way up, it still wasn’t exactly what you’d call warm inside our apartment.  The few times it did warm up, we got snow.  In fact, the month rolled in with quite the blizzard.  I got to get some exercise in shoveling out our steps and portion of the sidewalk, not to mention my boyfriend’s car (obviously, this was a joint venture).  With it being so cold and me having a 30 minute walk as part of my evening commute home from work, I’ve had to get creative in how I bundle up.  My dad had bought me some fleece-lined tights, and those have become my base layer.  So cozy!  Like wearing your jammies under your work clothes (but looks professional).  However, when I tried to get more, I couldn’t find any for less than $20 plus shipping, so I’m stuck washing them a lot.  Thankfully, today was our first warm day in weeks (43 degrees F!!) Yayyyy

Since it’s been so cold, and also since my dad gave us a Kitchen Aid for Christmas, I’ve been doing a lot more baking.  Basically anything that will let me run our oven for justifiable reasons, since that heats up our studio apartment.  I’d been struggling with getting my bread to come out right, so when we visited my dad back at Thanksgiving, he went over the process with me and caught two errors.  First, I wasn’t letting the yeast grow enough before adding the flour (I’m an impatient person), and second, I wasn’t kneading it long enough.  Well, the second problem was easily addressed with the Kitchen Aid.  The first was addressed by setting a timer with a set amount of time to wait before adding the flour.  My first loaf done with these tweaks and the Kitchen Aid came out perfect!  I was very excited.  Another recipe I finally perfected this month was vegetarian Thai red curry.  I read a tip that combining soy sauce with seaweed replicates the flavor of fish sauce better.  I also started using full fat instead of low fat coconut milk.  It came out much more authentic.

Coming up on the blog this month, I’m hoping to read another one of my 2014 review copies and offer up another giveaway (enter the one currently running if you haven’t had the chance yet).  I’m also hoping to read another book for the MIA Reading Challenge.  I’m glad I already got one read for the challenge and enjoyed it!  I’m also hoping to make an announcement this month of another project I’m working on, but I need to finish up some behind-the-scenes work first.

Happy reading!

Reminder: I Will Be Accepting Review Requests November 1st through December 31st for Review in 2014

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Just a quick reminder that Opinions of a Wolf will be OPEN to review requests November 1st through December 31st.  All requests accepted will be reviewed during 2014 right here on this blog.

November 1st is THIS FRIDAY so get your review request emails ready!

Further details on exactly how review requests work on Opinions of a Wolf, as well as details on what genres I am open to may be found on the Review Policies/Contact page.

Indie authors/publishers are strongly encouraged to submit!

I also strongly encourage anyone submitting a review request to read my article How to Successfully and Respectfully Pitch Your Book to Book Bloggers before submitting.

Remember: Don’t submit to me through comments. Don’t submit before Friday.

Good luck!

Medical Library Association (MLA)13 Boston, Intro and Plenary 1

An assortment of library-themed buttons.

Library-themed buttons acquired from the vendor booths during opening night.

Hello all!

Most of my readers know that, in addition to being a book blogger and indie author, I also have a day job as a librarian for the academic library that serves a Boston-area medical school and and teaching hospital.  Since this is my day job, I’m a member of the Medial Library Association (MLA) and every year we have a conference that my institution graciously sends me to.  Last year it was in Seattle.  This year it was in my home city of Boston.  Last year I blogged quite a bit of the conference information here both to share it and to help me remember what I learned.  You can see the series of posts starting with this one in May of 2012.  This year since I had a year of conferencing under my belt, I applied to be an official conference blogger, and I got the position. Yay!  I was assigned to write 2 to 3 posts about the plenary sessions.  So this year I will still be posting some information from the conference here on my own blog, but I will also be linking out to the official conference blog, as I am not supposed to reproduce my posts for that blog on my own personal blog.  I also will be providing additional commentary on those plenaries on my own blog, though, so they will also be discussed here.

The first event I went to was the grand opening of the exhibit halls on Saturday night after I got off of work.  I only was there for around 45 minutes, due to my work schedule, so I didn’t get to see even half of the exhibits.  Ah well!  It was still a fun start to the conference.

The next morning was when the ball really got rolling with the first plenary session.  The first plenary introduces the theme of the conference and features the address by the current MLA president.  You can see my summary of it on the official blog here.

While  was excite about the international aspect of MLA this year (the meeting was held in conjunction with the International Conference on Medical Librarianship (ICML), the International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists (ICAHIS), and the International Clinical Librarian Conference (ICLC) ), I was disappointed by the lack of content in the presidential address.  I’m not a big fan of “think positive” as a general message to begin with, but it also felt that Blumenthal really didn’t offer much practical advice from her extensive real world library experience to the rest of us.  I missed the enthusiasm of 2011/12 president Jerry Perry’s speech.

Stay tuned for notes from the 2nd plenary by Dr. Richard Besser, medical correspondent for ABC and one-time acting director of the CDC.

Book Review: Feed by Mira Grant (Series, #1)

January 25, 2011 3 comments

Bloody RSS feed.Summary:
Adopted brother and sister Shaun and Georgia Mason are part of the first generation to not remember a world without zombies.  The Rising occurred when a cure for the common cold combined with a cure for cancer to create the Kellis-Amberlee virus.  Now everyone has dormant KA cells in their body that can be activated anytime they come into contact with the live virus.  But that’s not all that’s changed.  The Rising led to bloggers becoming the more trusted news source, and Shaun and Georgia are part of the newly important news group of bloggers.  Their big break comes when they’re asked to be part of the media team for one of the presidential candidates, and their new job opens a whole world of intrigue.

Review:
I wanted to love this book.  I wanted it to be a 5 star read.  The world Grant creates is incredibly interesting.  Urban and rural structures designed specifically with zombies in mind.  Taking blood tests just to enter a town or a hotel as a routine part of your day.  The KA virus being in non-zombies as well as zombies.  The whole concept of bloggers rocking the media world.  (I mean, hello, I’m a blogger.  This is a fun idea).  Even though I usually find politics dull in books, the politics in this one were actually interesting since so much of the campaigns revolve around the zombie wars.

So why didn’t I love it?  The characters.  I have serious issues with the two main characters–Shaun and Georgia.  There is a creepy, incestuous vibe rampant around the both of them throughout the book that I don’t feel Grant ever sufficiently addresses.  They are nearly completely inseparable.  Georgia is in her young 20s, Shaun is 19ish, and they still sleep in the same bed together whenever they get the chance to.  In their underwear.  Neither of them has ever dated anyone, in spite of the fact that the presence of zombies doesn’t keep anyone else their age from dating.  The scenes between Shaun and Georgia read like scenese between lovers.  He even puts his hand on the small of her back at one point, something that I’ve only ever had men I’m dating seriously do to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can handle incest in a book, but a) Grant skims over it and doesn’t address it and b) it doesn’t seem to serve the storyline here at all.  It’s decidedly odd that in a zombie novel, the part that creeped me out had nothing to do with the zombies.  See what I’m saying?

Overall, the world-building is excellent, but the characterization takes away from it.  If you like reading books purely for the aura of zombie, you’ll enjoy it.  Those more interested in the characters should check out The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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