Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So, I was just wondering…

I can’t believe it’s almost a new year, a new decade! Remember when 2000 was just around the corner? (Y2K anyone?) I’m shocked that ten years have gone by already. *sigh* Anyway, with the end of 2009 comes the thoughts and discussions of memorable events gone by and what we have to look forward to in 2010. I’ve seen several discussions about favorite and least favorite books read and and also chats about new books that are coming up. My list is growing longer every day!

I thought I would ask about something different. I’m curious for those of you who have blogs, what do you expect to do in 2010? Are you making any changes with the new year? I’m not really sure for myself. I don’t have big plans at the moment. I guess I’ll just see where the road takes me. When I started this little adventure it was all about reading and having fun and I hope to keep it that way. Obviously, I won’t be making a career out of blogging. It takes a lot of time and hard work but that’s not a problem, I just want to enjoy doing it. I do know I need to budget my time more wisely and decide what my biggest priorities are so I make better use of that time. HA! It’s worth a try anyway. And of course I hope to maintain the friendships I’ve made here and look forward to even more. I’ve said it often but I’ll say it again, this is an amazing community of wonderful people. So, I was just wondering, what do you hope to accomplish in 2010?

I wish you good health, happiness and many good books to read! Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Contest Winners: Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Finally... I have winners! I'm so sorry for the delay. The holidays and illnesses knocked me out for part of the month. I slept through December 26th and 27th! I appreciate your patience and support and thanks for helping me try some new things with this contest. The form seemed to work really well and there was a positive response from the users. There are some kinks to be worked out if I use that system again. I need to pick the brains of some of you who use it on a regular basis. I have some more contests coming up so stay tuned!

Congratulations to -

CherylS22 (already won)
Lee P

I sent emails to each of you so please contact me with your mailing addresses.
*(Edit - new name added)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Three books this week, all won from Bookin' With Bingo (who has the best contests ever!) and all by Debbie Macomber. How perfect for the holiday season!

Mrs. Miracle

Seth Webster's heart never healed after he lost his adored wife. Now, with Christmas approaching, wild twin boys to raise alone, a home in chaos, and the latest in a long line of exasperated housekeepers quitting in disgust, Seth needs more than help to keep his family togethe...he needs a miracle.

And then a miracle arrives on his doorstep. Her name is Mrs. Merkle, but the kids call her "Mrs. Miracle"—and from the moment the warm, knowing, and very patient nanny appears, everything is different. Her sassy spirit is infectious, and it gives Seth the courage to approach Reba, a beautiful travel agent who's been hurt and betrayed, and is afraid to ever love again. Through the magic of faith—and with a little help from a children's Christmas pageant and a lot of encouragement from Mrs. Miracle—Seth and Reba might just be able to find a Christmas miracle of their very own: true love.

The Perfect Christmas

Christmas perfect? For Cassie Beaumont, it’s meeting her perfect match. Cassie, at thirty-three, wants a husband and kids, and so far, nothing’s worked. Not blind dates, not the Internet and certainly not leaving love to chance. What’s left? A professional matchmaker. He’s Simon Dodson, and he’s very choosy about the clients he takes on. Cassie finds Simon a difficult, acerbic know-it-all, and she’s astonished when he accepts her as a client. Claiming he has her perfect mate in mind, Simon assigns her three tasks to complete before she meets him. Three tasks that are all about Christmas: being a charity bell ringer, dressing up as Santa’s elf at a children’s party and preparing a traditional turkey dinner for her neighbors (whom she happens to dislike). Despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie does it all—and she’s finally ready to meet her match. But just like the perfect Christmas gift, he turns out to be a wonderful surprise! What would the holidays be without a Christmas story from Debbie Macomber?

One Simple Act

What if you, personally, could make the world a better tomorrow?

Debbie Macomber knows the secret to doing exactly that! In a world that seems too often stingy and grudging, she has witnessed how one simple act of generosity can yield unforeseen miracles.

You are about to discover, through true stories, what happens when we commit intentional acts of generosity. Lives are changed in ways we never envisioned. Come with Debbie late one evening through the checkout line at the grocery store. Discover the link between a submarine, a few bread crumbs, and some minnows. Visit ancient Galilee as a young boy volunteers his fishes and loaves to Jesus only to see his meager gift multiplied many times over to feed five thousand. You will stand amazed at what God accomplishes when we make ourselves available through simple acts of generosity.

This blend of true stories and motivating messages will delight and surprise you as you discover how giving the gifts of time, encouragement, hope, laughter, prayer, hospitality, service and even forgiveness can have a lasting, life-changing impact, not only on the recipient of such gifts but on the giver as well. Debbie Macomber invites us to offer who we are and what we have to God, to use in the lives of others. When we do so, lives -- including our own -- are changed in ways we couldn't have imagined. All it takes is one simple act.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How cool is this?

It's not another Christmas tree made from books but something just as clever! This is the email that came from Hatchette Books. Isn't it great??

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So, I was just wondering…

woman wondering

Well, it’s that time of year again. Christmas is almost here and my shopping is not done, my house is a mess and for yet another year there won’t be any cards sent out. We’ve cut way back on out gift exchanges and social obligations so that’s less stressful. My kids have outgrown their concerts and I don’t have work parties anymore so those are a few less things to venture out for. But we still enjoy the company of our friends and family and have learned to get together when it’s more relaxed and easier for everyone. My brothers stay home with their own children Christmas morning instead of making the two hour drive to get here the 24th and then rushing back home again that evening. My oldest son had his 21st birthday yesterday and he spent the evening with his friends and we will celebrate with the family next week.

Although my hubby will deny it, I’ve learned to let go of a lot of the things that I felt like I had to do in the past. I don’t have to have every single thing done the way I used to. It’s OK to let things go and relax. It’s OK to celebrate in any way we see fit and whenever we see fit. We don’t have to do it all and we can’t afford to anyway. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still stress but it’s not overwhelming and it’s much easier. I feel like we have our priorities in order.

This week, I called my 90 year-old grandmother who lives with my 87 year-old great-aunt and asked them if they would like to go for a drive to look at the Christmas lights. They stopped driving two years ago and rarely get out, especially in the winter and never after dark. They haven’t seen many decorations in the last few years. I helped them bundle up and off we went for a leisurely drive around our community. We picked up my mom along the way and three generations of women from our family chatted, listened to Christmas music and oohed and ahhed at all the pretty lights and the fresh snow.  They told us stories about the old homes, who used to live where and what our small town was like when they were young. When we had enough I took them home and ordered them a pizza to be delivered as a special treat for dinner. It was a very special evening and I’m so glad we did it. Although they thanked me for taking them I was the one rewarded by their company. It didn’t cost a penny but it was priceless and I will treasure it always.

This week, I wish you less stress and more happiness. I hope you find ways to celebrate every day in the ways that are the most meaningful to you. I wish you joy, love and peace. And I hope you find things to smile about every single day.

So, I was just wondering…what special plans do you have and how will you celebrate?

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mailbox Monday

I'm a day late this week and I'm very surprised it's only one day! Oh well, 'tis the season for chaos and compromise. :) Happy holidays!!

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
by John Boyne

won from Stark Raving Bibliophile along with $10 Amazon gift certificate

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Truly, Madly
by Heather Webber

won from LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it’s Lucy’s turn to step up and help out—in the name of love.

Plus, her rent is due.

Here’s the problem: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing engagement ring—on a dead body—she asks the sexy private eye who works upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…

The Christmas Dog
by Melody Carlson

set of 3 Christmas books won from Bookin' With Bingo

Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. There's church, of course. But who can she bake for these days? And who would care whether or not she pulled out the Christmas decorations? Her new neighbor just adds to the problem. He's doing home improvements that don't appear to be improving much of anything. These days when Betty looks out the window, she sees a beat-up truck, a pile of junk, lots of blue tarps, and--horror of horrors--an old pink toilet. But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about. This contemporary Christmas story is a timely yet gentle reminder that God can work miracles through something as seemingly insignificant as a little brown dog.

The Unfinished Gift
by Dan Walsh

Patrick Collins is seven years old, and on his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And, for reasons even he doesn't understand, he wants the soldier that's tucked away in his grandfather's attic. Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift tells in an engaging, simple style the story of a family, and reminds us of the surprising things that affect powerful change in our hearts--like a young boy's prayers, a shoebox full of love letters, and even an old wooden soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of forgiveness will engage readers everywhere.

Finding Christmas
by James Calvin Schaap

A gift. The baby. The pageant. The parties. The worship. The afterglow. The story. These are the elements of almost every Christmas. In Finding Christmas, award-winning author James Calvin Schaap takes a look at each of these elements through seven stories that show how imperfect people can find joy and grace in an imperfect world. His eyes turn on an outgoing bus driver, a passionate mother, a daughter reluctant to return to church, and even his own assumed-mediocre performance at a Christmas pageant. Along the way, readers see how the amazing message of Christmas can be found in the oddest of places. This heartwarming read is both moving and magical and will help readers usher in a joyful Christmas season even amidst the howling winds of winter.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are you surprised? It's another tree!

I'm officially addicted to these trees! If you're sick of them just skip right over but I think they're so creative and very beautiful. This photo came from today's edition of Shelf Awareness 12/18/09. The tree was created by a library in South Australia and was made from used books, magazine pages for the stars and cassette tape for the tinsel. All of the materials came from old library stock left over from the last book sale. Now that's clever! How could I resist posting this one?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gotta love these trees!

Are you tired of seeing these trees yet? I just can't help it! This image was on today's edition of Shelf Awareness and it's a photo of a window display of trees and a menorah made of books at Chiklit Books in Princeton, N.J. You can read more about it here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So, I was just wondering…

woman wondering

It’s beginning to look, and feel, a lot more like Christmas around here. We live in western NY south of Buffalo so you can imagine what our winter weather is like. We’ve only recently started to have cold or snow so it didn’t feel very Christmasy until we got that white stuff on the ground. Since it didn’t feel much like the holidays I only recently started (Yes started. Why should this year be any different?) decorating and shopping. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

When the kids were little I decorated like crazy for every holiday. Now I’m not that ambitious or organized. In fact, I need to get rid of some of the older things that I don’t use and don’t even bother to unpack anymore. My favorite decorations are the lights. They are so beautiful and calming and sometimes after my family is in bed I’ll turn everything else off and will lay on the couch admiring the tree and the other lights, inside and out. I often take a different route coming home at night so I can see the displays at other peoples’ homes. I promised my 90 year-old grandmother and 87 year-old great-aunt that I would take them for a ride around our town so they could see all of the decorations. They don’t drive anymore and rarely get out after dark. It will be a treat for all of us and I really look forward to it.

This isn’t related to my usual posts about books and blogs but it is December and the holiday season. What are some of your favorite decorations and what do you do at your home?

Review: Alphas by Lisi Harrison

Thousands applied.

One hundred got in.
Only one will win.

At OCD the losers are tormented. At Alpha Academy, they're sent home. Skye Hamilton has scored an invitation to the ultra-exclusive Alphas-only boarding school where beta is spelled LBR . What happens when the country's best, brightest, and hawtest begin clawing and scratching their way to the top?

This is the first book book in a new series from the author of The Clique. One of the main characters carry over and I hadn't read that series yet so I wasn't sure what to expect. It has an interesting concept but it's not unique. This is the Survivor of boarding schools. You don't want to get voted off the island.

Shira Brazille is an eccentric billionaire who founded an exclusive boarding school on a private island. Her intention is to nurture the next generation of gifted writers, dancers, musicians and inventors. She has selected one hundred special girls who will be eliminated one at a time for any reason. The winner will be the last person left and all of her dreams will come true.

Most of the characters were spoiled rich girls who were used to getting whatever they wanted. They are suppose to be exceptional young women but many of them are extremely shallow and not very likable. While I realize they are teens who are interested in boys, clothes, phones, etc., I expected more from the best of the best. Would they really squander away such a rare opportunity just to chase boys? Skye is a dancer who is known for her unique moves and her connection with boys. Allie is there because she mistakenly received another girl's invitation and decided to impersonate the famous singer. Charlie received a last minute invitation with the condition that she leave her boyfriend of many years, founder Shira's son. Do any of them have what it takes to make it to the end? And is Shira really as altruistic as she claims or does she have another motive?

The time period of the story had me confused. While there are current social references Alpha Island is very futuristic hi-tech. There are holograms that are so realistic it's sometimes impossible to tell them from the humans. Other gadgets like the students aPods (phones) and their own Personal Alpha Planes seem common here.

Some of the issues that bothered me may have been more about my perspective as a parent rather than a reader's of the same age. It's been more than a few years since I was a teenager so "Ohmuhgud!", 'hawt" and the arrogant attitudes can grate on my nerves. But I do like a fun story and although this book wasn't quite what I hoped, the rest of the series may be. The rather abrupt ending leaves you with a cliffhanger to be resolved in book #2 coming in April 2010.

Thank you to Little, Brown & Company for a review copy of this book.

Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release date: 8/25/09
Pages: 272
Price/format: $9.99/paperback
Type: YA fiction

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another kind of Christmas tree

I never quite warmed up to the whole Chia Pet thing but if you like them then this might be the holiday item for you. I have to say that I like the book trees better!

Review: Dixie Divas by Virginia Brown

"You found my philandering ex-husband?" Bitty asked. "Where? Mexico? Paris? In Tupelo with a cocktail waitress?" "In your closet," I answered. "Dead." Break out the hoop skirts and the zinfandel. The Divas are on the case. Wine. Chocolate. Transvestite strippers. Just another good-time get-together for the Dixie Divas of historic Holly Springs, Mississippi, where moonlight and magnolias mingle with delicious smalltown scandal. But Eureka "Trinket" Truevine, the newest Diva, gets more than she bargained for when she finds her best Diva girlfriend Bitty Hollandale's ex-husband in Bitty's hall closet. He's dead. Very dead. Now Trinket and the Divas have to help Bitty finger the murderer and clear her name. Virginia Brown is the nationally acclaimed, award-winning author of fifty novels.

I'm always happy to find a book that includes humor no matter what genre it may be. That's what attracted me to this one. It did get off to a bit of a slow start for me and I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps I was just anxious to get into the story. Once I met more of the characters the pace picked up.

Trinket has come home after a recent divorce and anticipates a quiet life helping her parents in their family home. But when her friend Bitty is accused of murder, plans change. A group of Bitty's friends who call themselves the Dixie Divas take Trinket into their circle and make it their mission to help find the real killer. Fortunately for me, this isn't an easy task but it is funny. The ladies know how to mix southern charm with kick-butt attitude and of course it leads to trouble. I enjoyed them more than the actual murder mystery.

This was a light read and nice stress reliever during a hectic week. I look forward to the next book in the Dixie Divas Mystery Series.

Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for a review copy of this book.

Publisher: Bell Bridges Books
Release date: 6/1/09
Pages: 308
Price/format: $14.95/trade paperback
Type: Fiction/Mystery/Contemporary/Southern Cozy

Monday, December 14, 2009

Unusual Christmas trees

I saw this photo on the Bonnie Hunt Show today and then here online
I decided to look for more Christmas trees made out of books.

I found this one here. It's a display at a library. My own library made something similar from red books last year and I wish I had taken a photo.

These are from shredded paper and folded pages of books, photos found here.
Aren't they clever? Look here for even more photos of beautiful trees created from recycled materials. Have you ever had your own tree made from something unusual?

Contest reminder

Don't forget that my contest for Dear John ends tonight, 12/14 at 11:59. There are five copies to give away so chances are good that one of them will be yours!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Three books this week, all won from other blogs and all creepy! Such fun! What did you get?

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

The Devouring
by Simon Holt

Won from Bite's Halloween contest

The Vours: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.

When dark creeps in and eats the light,

Bury your fears on Sorry Night.

For in the winter's blackest hours
Comes the feasting of the Vours.
No one can see it,the life they stole,

Your body's here but not your soul...

Child of Fire
by Harry Connelly

Won from Book Reviews from Reading It All...

Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He's the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him—or let someone else do the job. Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise's next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who's sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must also find—and destroy—the source of that inhuman magic.

Demon Princess
by Michelle Rowen

Won from Yankee Romance Reviewer

For Niki Donovan, being a teenager can be hell. Literally. Nikki didn't think her life could get any more complicated after she moved to the dreary town of Erin Heights - fitting in at a new school while navigating the social scene was stressful enough. But when her sixteenth birthday rolls around, she's visited by a mysterious stranger, Michael, who tells her that her long-lost father is actually the demon king of the Shadowlands - the dimension that protects our world from the Underworld and Hell. Maybe it's because she's in shock, or maybe it's because Michael is seriously cute, but Nikki follows him into the Shadowlands. There she learns about her half-demon powers, about the potential war between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, and that her father wants her to assume the throne - forever. Not to mention that her growing crush on Michael is completely forbidden... Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew - what's a teenage demon princess to do?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

by Ted Dekker

won from

I've been curious about Dekker's books and have wanted to try one his thrillers. I'm not sure if this is the right choice for me but I guess there's only one way to find out!

AS FORETOLD BY ANCIENT PROPHETS, an apocalypse destroyed Earth during the twenty-first century. But two thousand years later Elyon set upon the earth a new Adam. This time, however, He gave humanity an advantage. What was once unseen became seen. It was good and it was called...Green. But the evil Teeleh bided his time in a Black Forest. Then, when least expected, a twenty-four year old named Thomas Hunter fell asleep in our world and woke up in that future Black Forest. A gateway was opened for Teeleh to ravage the land. Devastated by the ruin, Thomas Hunter and his Circle swore to fight the dark scourge until their dying breath. But now The Circle has lost hope. Samuel, Thomas Hunter's cherished son, has turned his back on his father. He gathers the dark forces to wage a final war. Thomas is crushed and desperately seeks a way back to our reality to find the one elusive hope that could save them all. Enter an apocalyptic story like none you have read. A story with links to our own history so shocking that you will forget you are in another world at all. Welcome to GREEN. Book Zero. FOUR NOVELS. TWO WORLDS. ONE STORY.

About the series:

Unlike most series, the Circle Series is truly circular, meaning Green, Book Zero, both begins the series for those who have not yet read Black, Red, or White, and it ends the series for those who have read Black, Red, or White. Have no fear, the story works seamlessly either way, like a circle or a zero The choice is yours. Start with Black, then read Red, White and end with Green. Or start with Green and move on to Black, Red and white. Dive Deep."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Have you seen this?

I was in a local drugstore over the weekend and when I walked up the aisle with the holiday decorations I was surprised to see a new item. I’m sure this isn’t the first time it’s been sold but it’s the first time I’ve seen one. Before my very eyes were several boxes of Charlie Brown’s Christmas trees!  In case you’re not familiar with it (and who isn’t?) this was the “pathetic” little tree that Charlie Brown picked in the animated Christmas special that’s on TV every year. Isn’t it cute?   For just a few dollars more you can get one with Linus’s blue blanket!

And if you’re still feeling nostalgic, there’s the leg lamp from the movie A Christmas Story. Wouldn’t it look great in your living room window?

Have you found any special treats for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So, I was just wondering…

woman wondering

I’ve noticed on some blogs recently that they were posting reminders about the rules of their contests. They mentioned that some people were marking themselves as followers when they weren’t. Each one was kind enough to say that the person probably just forgot or thought they had already done it. I was so glad that wasn’t me.

The next time I signed up for a contest it was at a blog that I had been visiting for a year and it was also on my blogroll and on the list of blogs I follow.  I knew I had been following for a long time already but I decided to click on the Follow box just to check. Boy was I surprised when it prompted me to hit the button to sign up. I was positive I already had! I hit the button and was added to the list of followers. Now I do it all the time when I visit a blog or join in a giveaway just to make sure. If I ever did that for a contest on your blog I’m very sorry. I’m always honest about my entries and I would never have done that intentionally.

Have any of you encountered the same problem? J. Kaye at J. Kaye’s Book Blog recently put up a great post about this very topic and included detailed instructions and photos to help remedy the situation.  I found it to be very helpful so check it out if you get the chance. Thanks J. Kaye! I’m sure others have discussed the same topic too so feel free to link to them in your comments. The more information I can get on something the better!

I’d also like to thank all of my followers. Each and every one is exciting and surprising to me. While it is a benefit to be a follower for my contests I know that at least some of you have signed up of your own free will. It’s very much appreciated and I’m grateful you’re joining me on this crazy ride!