September 20, 2010

Book Review: Ruined: A Novel by Paula Morris

Another book review ~ by Sara

So what might you read after you read a fluffy but pleasing fantasy romance? Well, I chose a tween ghost story set in post-Katrina New Orleans. I'm talking about Ruined: A Novel by Paula Morris. The premise is a girl is uprooted from her New York life to go live with her aunt and cousin in New Orleans while her father is on a business trip. Rebecca, our girl, does not fit into her new school because she is an "outsider," and the story really gets moving when she sneaks into the local graveyard one night, following the popular kids. There she meet her first friend in the area, Lisette. You guessed it - Lisette is a ghost and is part of the mysterious curse afflicting the local community.

I had wanted to read this book since I stumbled on it while flitting around Amazon. I thought the cover was just the right amount of creepy and pretty. Plus, who doesn't like a ghost story? In this case, the ghostly elements were reached quickly and moved along at a good clip. The characters were likeable if a little lacking in dimension, and the story was good if a little predictable. As with many ghost stories, the ghost was the best part. Lisette's story was-by far-the most interesting. It helped that I wasn't just handed Lisette's story. I was introduced to the other players in the community first and got an idea of how their value system works. Strangely, the values were more complicated by history than simply by socioeconomic factors. In addition to the expected parts of the story, the author manages a tidy insertion of some New Orleans history. For the most part, this history was slipped into the narrative with very few ripples, and I only occasionally felt like the author was trying to tell me this or that. It was a nice change of pace from vampires, werewolves, wizards, and the more urban things that go bump in the night.

I would recommend Ruined: A Novel--with a couple of warnings. This ghost story is not very chilling. The scenes involving danger are either far in the past or presented in a way that leads you to believe nothing bad will really happen. On the positive side, at least for me, the teen angst and "coming of age" elements often found when your lead is sixteen and interested in a boy are happily limited. This book is very suitable for a younger reader or anyone with squeamish sensibilities. For light reading, this is an excellent choice. If you want to be scared, try something else.

September 16, 2010

Super Stylie Specs at Glance

I think I need to get me some of these stylie specs from Glance Eyeglasses.

Check 'em out.

Glance Eyeglasses
330 Court St NE
Salem, OR 97301

September 12, 2010

September 11, 2010

September 10, 2010

September 9, 2010

Memories from the Oregon State Fair 2010

This year my middle child won big on the "shoot the red star" game.

Two Jumbo prizes.

My jaw dropped in shock as he came loping up with his massive sacks of booty. He was so proud. So cute. (He's still only 14, I can say that 'cause he doesn't read this blog. Nor do his friends.)

My favorite part of the fair is the animals.

Every year.
Love them.

My favorite ride of the fair is, and always has been, The Swing.

September 8, 2010

Ming Makes Cupcakes

I am mesmerized by these cupcakes.

They look scrumptious. 

I want to make cupcake 23


cupcake 31

Check out Ming's site. Ming Makes Cupcakes

September 4, 2010

Relaxing at Clockworks

I've found a new spot to sit back and enjoy a little pot of tea here in Salem.

Clockworks Cafe and Cultural Center.

Clockworks is located in downtown Salem on Commercial St. It is in a large building with lots of wooden tables, couches, and comfortable armchairs. I've already found my favorite spot.

The tea is wonderful. They serve Smith Tea. In addition, they serve Stumptown Coffee for those hankering for some caffeine and have a variety of sweets and sandwiches. No beer or wine though.

I've had their veggie sandwich which was no Queen of Tarts veggie sandwich but tasty all the same. It was served on Dave's Killer Bread with some chips.

Unfortunately I have not yet made it down for their evening events but am determined to make that happen. There are a variety of classes scheduled for just about every day of the week.

Wander in.
Take a seat.
Give it a whirl.

So here's my gripe. I love the steampunk vibe but if you're gonna have all those clocks at least make sure they work. Tick tock.

Oh yeah. Free wifi too.

Clockworks Cafe and Cultural Center
241 Commercial St, Salem, OR
ph: 503-339-7573

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