Musings

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Rebecca Ross: Sisters of Sword and Song

Have you ever been so desperate for something to read you just grabbed a random book with a beautiful cover and just started reading it even though you really didn’t want to you were just that desperate? No? Oh, yeah, me neither…..

Anyways, Rebecca Ross hit the author spotlight with her duology: The Queen’s Rising. First, I just have to gush over the beauty of the covers in this dulogy! I mean.. just look at them! They are so so pretty!

Anyways, I read the first one and it was such a unique read that I was totally ready for the next one. I fell in love with Brienna: her journey of self discovery, her thoughts filled with doubt, her strength in herself growing. I just couldn’t get enough of Brienna. Brienna’s story isn’t just about her romance with Aodhan Morgane, that’s a lower factor. The story is about her discovering herself and who she is and finding her strength inside of her. I loved it!

Sorry, I veered off track a little, the purpose of this blog is to highlight Rebecca’s new book, Sisters of Sword and Song. I just love that title.

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross

After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.

Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.

-Goodreads

It sounds so good! If you’re a fan of Ember in the Ashes, Sky in the Deep or Court of Fives, then I guess this is the book for you. It said so on Goodreads, so if you are a fan of those and you end up not liking this book, don’t blame me, blame Goodreads!

CLOSED on September 7, for Labor Day

In order to celebrate Labor Day, here are five facts:

  1. The holiday has evolved over the years. In the late 19th century, celebrations focused on parades in urban areas. Now the holiday is a celebration that honors organized labor with fewer parades, and more activities. It also marks the perceived end of the summer season.
  2. Labor Day is the unofficial end of Hot Dog season. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs.
  3. The first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, planned by the Central Labor Union.  The Labor Day parade of about 10,000 workers took unpaid leave and marched from City Hall past Union Square uptown to 42nd street, and ended in Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue for a concert, speeches, and a picnic.
  4. The year in which the 8-hour day was firmly established was 1916 with the passage of the Adamson Act.  This was the first federal law regulating hours of workers in private companies.
  5. Labor Day is viewed as the unofficial last day of vacation before the start of the new school year (and mourned by students all over).  Stated differently, it is the Back-to-School kickoff (cheered by parents all over!).

 

 

Also, don’t forget, the Aurora Public Library District will be closed on September 7, in observance of Labor Day! However, our digital collection is always open for you to use! 

Have You Been Counted?

Did you know that the U.S. Census is used for much more than deciding how many U.S. Representatives Indiana gets in Congress? The official census counts are also used to determine government funding for things like school lunch programs and road projects. Businesses use the census data to decide where to start a new business, and hospitals and other social service agencies use the information to determine what types of services are needed. An accurate count of the number of people living in Dearborn County is critical if we want to have access to all the services and programs that our communities need.

If you haven’t completed your official U.S. Census yet, you’ll need to do it before the end of September. Remember to count everyone who lives at your home; we’re all important. If you didn’t receive a census in the mail, you can complete it by going to: https://my2020census.gov/ The information you report is strictly confidential. The Census Bureau is not allowed to report your personal information to other government agencies.

Complete the Census

Celebrating Women’s Suffrage

 

Arrests of Suffragists carrying purple, white and gold banners near the White House, August 6, 1918

August 26, 2020 marks the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This right may be taken for granted today, but it was the result of decades of hard work, protests, and even jail sentences. Displays are in place at both the Aurora and the Dillsboro Public Libraries with books, quotations, and historical photographs. When looking for a book on the topic, don’t forget there are additional resources available to download through Overdrive or Libby.

    

In addition to our display, there are many wonderful resources online that illustrate the perseverance and sacrifices of the American suffragettes. Many of our national institutions have compiled special collections for this anniversary year, so check out these links for more information.

Women’s Vote Centennial Commission: https://www.womensvote100.org/learn

From the Smithsonian Institution: https://www.si.edu/spotlight/votes-for-women

From the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/exhibitions/women-fight-for-the-vote/about-this-exhibition/

From the National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/women/suffrage

From the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/womenshistory/19th-amendment.htm

 

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Midnight Sun

It’s finally here! Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer was published on August 4th. I have been waiting for this since I was a twelve year old girl reading the Twilight Saga for the first time and falling in love with Edward and Bella and the whole Cullen family! Midnight Sun had been rumored to be in production or in writing stages and nothing had ever come of those rumors and now…my life is about to be completed!

I just have to say one thing: it’s about time! I was waiting patiently…okay, impatiently, for this. When the Chemist came out, I totally lost all hope that she was even going to write it. Then it was announced and I was shoved back into my twelve year old self discovering the series again! The announcement of this book wasn’t even the best part! The best part is that we finally get to see Edward’s POV!

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting beautiful, mysterious Bella is both the most intriguing and unnerving event he has experienced in his long life as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he let himself fall in love with Bella when he knows that he is endangering her life?

In Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer transports us back to a world that has captivated millions of readers and, drawing on the classic myth of Hades and Persephone, brings us an epic novel about the profound pleasures and devastating consequences of immortal love.

-Goodreads

Okay, that cover? Beautiful! That summary? Don’t even get me started! I’m even more excited to read this than I was before reading that summary. I love the myth of Hades and Persephone so knowing that she used that as some of the inspiration is going to make this story that much better! My fingers are yearning to grab my Twilight book and start reading it already, but I really will force myself to wait. I want to read Midnight Sun, first then re-read the Twilight Saga for the umpteenth time after. I think seeing the story through Edward’s eyes will possibly change how we read and see the story ourselves!

Are you excited for this?

It’s International Left-Handers Day!

August 13th is International Left Handers Day! This holiday was created to celebrate all the lefties that have mastered living in a right-handed world. Celebrate by taking your left-handed friends out for coffee or lunch! If you’re right-handed, try using your left hand all day! If you’re left-handed, show your pride by posting on social media with #LeftHandersDay!

  1. Four of the last 6 presidents were left-handed!
  2. Twins are more likely to be left-handed!
  3. Lefties make up about 10% of the population.
  4. Lefties have an advantage in sports because righties typically only train against other righties.
  5. The majority of lefties are male.

 


  1. Oprah Winfrey
  2. Queen Elizabeth II
  3. Tom Cruise
  4. Morgan Freeman
  5. Albert Einstein

Trying to find a left-handed desk in a sea of right-handed ones.

Using a can opener that clearly wasn’t made for you.

The dreaded ink and pencil smudge.


 

                          



			

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings: Katherine Applegate: The One and Only Bob

So awhile back, I wanted to try an audiobook. I wanted a book that I didn’t really have to concentrate on but that would be interesting enough that if I had tuned out I could get back into it easily enough. I came across, Katherine Applegate‘s The One and Only Ivan. I thought to myself, what could it hurt.

Well, truth is, it hurt me. The One and Only Ivan is an absolutely amazing story and it still touches my heart and even occasionally makes me tear up when I think about it. While I was a little put off about it being a juvenile book, it didn’t stop me from being entertained and captivated by the story of Bob, Stella, and Ruby.

Thankfully, Katherine Applegate understood that Ivan just had to be shared with more people and is now adapting the book for the big screen with the help of Disney. The movie will star Angelina Jolie and Bryan Cranston and will premiere August 21, 2020 on Disney +. I am so excited to see this amazing animated film!

However, she also decided to write another story and she made it the sequel to the One and Only Ivan. and I am so so excited to listen to the audiobook of this one as well!

Published May 5, 2020

 

Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

-Goodreads

Ivan is in it and so is Ruby and that is enough for me to get behind this book and read it–or in my case-listen to it as well! Katherine Applegate will surely entertain even the most serious of readers with this and hopefully, she doesn’t tear my heart out like she did with The One and Only Ivan, I mean, thankfully, she gave me my heart back, but still.

 

It’s National Cheesecake Day!

July 30th is National Cheesecake Day! Take the time today to enjoy a slice. Stop by the store to pick one up, or stay tuned for a recipe to try at home!

The cheesecake is thought to have gotten its start in Ancient Greece. The earliest mention of a cheesecake is by the Greek physician Aegimus in a book he wrote on the art of making cheesecakes. However, a more modern version called a sambocade (pictured left), made with elderflower and rose water, can be found in Forme of Cury, an English cookbook from 1390. This has led to chef Heston Blumenthal to argue that the cheesecake is actually an English invention. The name cheesecake has been used since the 1400s; however, the cheesecake as we know it did not evolve until the 1700s when Europeans began removing yeast from the recipe and replacing it with beaten eggs instead. Modern cheesecake now comes in two forms: the regular baked cheesecake, and the unbaked cream cheese cheesecake on graham cracker crust that was invented in the United States.

Prep: 15 minutes

Inactive: 8 hours

Cook: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Serves 8-10


Ingredients

Crust

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch fine salt

Filling

2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups sour cream

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Topping

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

Berries, optional


Instructions

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
  2. For the crust: Melt the butter, covered in the microwave, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, or a saucepan. Brush a 9-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan, taking care to get the crust evenly into the edges. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool. Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan with foil and put in a roasting pan.
  3. For the filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat just until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Slowly beat in the sour cream, then eggs, vanilla and both citrus zests; take care not to over whip. Pour into the cooled crust.
  4. Bring a medium saucepan or kettle of water to a boil. Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don’t pull the rack out of the oven). Pour in enough hot water to come about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes—the outside of the cake will set but the center will still be loose.
  5. For the topping: Stir together the sour cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Spread over the top of the cooked cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven off, cook the cheesecake in the residual heat in the oven for about 1 hour. This gentle finish minimizes the risk of the dreaded crack in your cheesecake.
  6. Remove cheesecake from the roasting pan to a rack. Run a knife around the edges and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  7. Bring cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Remove the springform ring. Dip a knife in warm water, wipe dry before slicing each piece. Serve with berries, if desired.

Recipe taken from Food Network.

Prep: 20 minutes

Inactive: 8 hours and 20 minutes

Cook: 0 minutes

Serves 10-12


Ingredients

Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12-14 full sheet graham crackers)

1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream or heavy whipping cream

three 8-ounce blocks full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 


Instructions

  1. Make the crust: Stir the graham cracker crust ingredients together. Pour into a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan and pack in very tightly. The tighter it’s packed, the less likely it will fall apart when cutting the cheesecake. I recommend using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it into the bottom and up the sides. You can watch me do this in the video above. Freeze for 10-20 minutes as you prepare the filling.
  2. Make the filling: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy cream into stiff peaks on medium-high speed, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium speed until perfectly smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the confectioners’ sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Beat for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed until smooth and combined. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese. If there are lumps, keep beating until smooth.
  4. Using your mixer on low speed or a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake filling until combined. This takes several turns of your rubber spatula. Combine slowly as you don’t want to deflate all the air in the whipped cream.
  5. Remove crust from the freezer and spread filling into crust. Use an offset spatula to smooth down the top.
  6. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours and up to 2 days. For best results, 12 hours is best. I chill mine overnight. The longer refrigerated, the nicer the no-bake cheesecake will set up.
  7. Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean between each slice.
  8. Serve cheesecake with desired toppings. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe taken from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Want more desserts? We have a book for that!

                            

Ashton’s Literary Ramblings Review: Sarah J. Maas: Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood

So if you are a die hard fan of anything, then you know the anticipation and the eagerness that fills your veins when they (whoever they are) announce an addition or new item. Well, Sarah J. Maas announced early last year that she was starting an adult fantasy series called Crescent City. I was like a little kid in a candy shop with unlimited money; I was so, so excited. Then, of course, I had to wait…and I had to wait. As a reader, we know the definition of waiting. While some authors can publish a book each month (James Patterson, I’m pointing my fingers at you) or at least publish a few novels a year (Danielle Steel, this is where you come in), other authors take a long, long, long time. Look at Stephenie Meyer. She’s finally finishing Midnight Sun after thirteen years, but that’s a whole other blog post (coming soon).

First off as always:

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood

This cover is absolutely breathtaking! The cover is made by artist Carlos Quevedo, a Venezuelan graphic artist. The intricacy of his artwork is amazing and makes this perfectly suited for Sarah’s book.

Now let’s get to the point: the book. First, here’s the summary taken from Goodreads:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars, but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

 

At first, I struggled with this book. I didn’t like the set up of it or how Bryce was perceived as a ‘party girl’. Eventually, I started becoming more interested in the story. While I was still confused about how Sarah set up the world of Crescent City and how that world operated, I eventually became invested in the characters and the mystery revolving around the horn. Hunt and Bryce, of course, became a top contender of my favorite fictional couples. I could see how bruised and hurt they both were by things that had either happened to them in the past or things they had done in the past and how those things had shaped them as characters. Their relationship evolved from one of loathing to loving. However, if you’ve read anything by Sarah J. Maas, then you know about her plot switches. I won’t invest myself in any specific relationship in this series until book two comes out because I know how her plot switch upended my whole world when I read her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. 

Now, I’m back to waiting for the next installment in the series (no publication date yet). I’m hoping Maas will use Book 2 to fill in the cracks about this world in Crescent City.

Virtual Activity: Scavenger Hunt

It’s time for our final Sizzlin’ Summer Virtual Activity! Virtual Activities are challenges for you to complete at home with whatever you have around your house! You can find our previous virtual activities here.

This week’s activity is to go on a scavenger hunt outside and find something that reminds you of a story you’ve read! Be sure to get adult permission before going outside! Ms. Stephanie went on her own scavenger hunt and found some cows that reminded her of the book Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type! See what fun things you can find!

If you want your scavenger hunt findings to be featured on our social media, send a picture to Ms. Stephanie at stephanie@eapld.org. Make sure to include the title of the book, as well as if we have permission to share your picture and name on our socials. Pictures must be submitted by July 25, 2020.

You can download and print the entire summer schedule here.

Don’t forget about your reading logs! If our patrons collectively read 1,500 books, one lucky patron gets to throw a pie in Ms. Stephanie’s face! You can find more information on reading logs and the pie contest hereReading logs must be submitted by July 18, 2020.