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!"

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page (this month at Rose City Reader) 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.

Another storm is coming with snow and very cold temps. It's been a long winter already! We cope with it well around here and it takes a lot to slow things down. As long as the plows can keep the roads clear we are good to go. It's great weather for reading and I have piles of books to catch up on. I hope we don't lose our power because I have lots of blog stuff to catch up on too. Whatever weather you're facing this week stay warm, safe and happy reading!

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Briggs

From Simon & Schuster

Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

Contest win from Bookin' With Bingo

Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything… When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiance thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting… Then her ex-brother-in-law arrives with a duplicitous journalist and a self-doubting parapsychologist, closely followed by an annoyed medium, Andie’s tarot card–reading mother, her avenging ex-mother-in-law, and her jealous fiancé. Just when Andie’s sure things couldn’t get more complicated, North arrives to make her wonder if maybe this time things could just turn out differently….

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page (this month at Rose City Reader) 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.

I'm a little late this week but I it's too cold here in NY state to type! This morning was below zero and schools were even closed. It takes a LOT to close schools around here! I still had to share what came in my mailbox. I hope you got lots of goodies too!

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

For review from Harlequin Teen

name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

From Harper Collins

R.S.V.P. to the most riotous wedding of the year . . .

Lucy J
orik is the daughter of a former president of the United States.

Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.

One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.

But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend's wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say "I don't," Meg becomes the most hated woman in town—a town she's stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom. Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What's the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and on
ly Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all.

Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut by Jill Kargman

From Harper Collins

rating Woody Allen's magical math equation, comedy = tragedy + time, a sensational collection of witty essays about life, love, hate, kids, work, school, and more from the author of The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund and Arm Candy

Jill Kargman is a mother, wife, and writer living the life in New York City . . . a life that includes camping out in a one-bedroom apartment with some unfortunate (and furry) roommates, battling the Momzillas of Manhattan, and coming to terms with her desire for gay men. In this entertaining collection of observations, Kargman offers her unique, wickedly funny perspective as she zips around Manhattan with three kids in tow.

Kargman tackles issues big and small with sharp wit and laugh-out-loud humor: her love of the smell of gasoline, her new names for nail polishes, her adventures in New York City real estate, and her fear of mimes, clowns, and other haunting things. Whether it's surviving a family road trip or why she can't stand Cirque du So Lame, living with a mommy vagina the size of the Holland Tunnel or surviving the hell that was her first job out of college, Kargman's nutty self triumphs, thanks to a wonderfully wise outlook and sense of fun that makes the best of everything that gets thrown her way. And if that's not enough, Kargman illustrates her reflections with doodles that capture her refreshing voice.

Little Princes by Conor Grennan

From Harper Collins

One Person Can Make a Difference

In search of adventure, twenty-nine-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.

Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war—for a huge fee—by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task. He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury. Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life’s work.

Little Princes is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, Little Princes is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyond our wildest expectations.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading and asks you to :
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3 . Share 2 "teaser" sentences also citing the title of the book and the author and in that way people can have great recommendations if they like the "teaser".
4. Please avoid spoilers!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I try to imagine a world of natural humans, when twenty was youthful, when it was years from a death sentence.

Natural humans used to live for a least eighty years, my mother told me. Sometimes a hundred. I hadn't believed her.

~page 25
Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Review: The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler

My Daughters,

My Illness,

and the Men Who Could Be Me

Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?"

Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters' lives. And he would call this group "The Council of Dads."

"I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives," he wrote to these men. "They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?"

The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters--how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America.

This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.

A touching story about a father's fight to survive and plans for his children in case he didn't. Author Bruce Fieler received devastating news that he had a rare bone cancer in his femur. With two very young daughters to raise he planned to win the battle against his illness but prepared to provide them with father figures if he had to leave. This book chronicles how he tackles chemotherapy and surgery with the help of a great support team. He includes emails and letters he wrote to update family and friends about his condition. He also dedicates chapters to a small group of men who had special meaning to him in different times of his life. Each of these six individuals represent something different, each of great importance. It's because of their significance that he chooses them to be a part of his Council of Dads. These men know him well and share his values so he knows that they will be exceptional father figures to his children. If they lose their dad they will not lose his voice.

The book was so well written, the fear was offset by humor and hope. Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way so Feiler's story strikes a personal note. I was in tears on more than one page. The back stories for his father, grandfathers and other father figures were thoughtful and interesting. I liked knowing what made them special to him. As a parent myself I understood his determination to take care of his children whether he was with them or not. His words were inspirational and I'm sure his daughters will cherish this book forever.

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

Publisher: William Morrow
Release date: 4/27/10
Pages: 256
Price/format: $22.99/hardcover
Type: memoir

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page (this month at Rose City Reader) 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.

Quite a variety this week! I hope you received lots of goodies too!!

Family Affair
by Debbie Macomber

From Harper Collins

This heartwarming and unforgettable story by #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber is available for the first time in over ten years!

When Lacey Lancaster's beautiful and beloved Abyssinian cat is wooed—and won—by the bad-boy cat next door, she's furious. Now, Cleo is going to be a mother and it's all neighbor Jack Walker's fault. He should have kept a better eye on his roving feline Romeo! As for Jack, how dare he flirt with her when it's pretty clear he's got a long-time girlfriend? After all, she can hear them fighting through the walls!

But when it turns out the woman in question is really his sister, Lacey realizes that love might indeed live right next door. She's been burned—badly—once before, but with kittens on the way and a good man at her side, maybe it's finally time to turn this into a family affair.

To Have And To Kill
by Mary Jane Clark

From Harper Collins

Piper Donovan, an actress who has been having a hard time of it living in Manhattan, has returned home to her parents’ small town in New Jersey. She’s been helping out at her mother’s bakery, which makes it perfect that Piper’s close friend, Glenna Brooks, has asked her to prepare the cake for her upcoming wedding. However, things aren’t as perfect as they seem, and when there is a murder, Piper is determined to figure out what happened and protect her friend.

A Lonely Death
by Cha
rles Todd

From Harper Collins

Y ard detective Ian Rutledge returns to solve his most exciting and shocking case yet in this latest entry in the bestselling series hailed as "outstanding" by the New York Times Book Review A breathtaking blend of psychological complexity, haunting atmosphere, compelling twists, and impressive detail, the novels in the Ian Rutledge mystery series have garnered their author widespread acclaim and numerous honors and awards. At the heart of the series is the compelling Scotland Yard detective inspector Ian Rutledge, a veteran of the Great War who understands all too well the darkness that lies within men's souls.

Now three men h
ave been murdered in a Sussex village, and Scotland Yard has been called in. It's a baffling case. The victims are soldiers who survived the horrors of World War I only to meet a ghastly end in the quiet English countryside two years later. Each had been garroted, with small ID discs left in their mouths.

But even Scotland Yard's presence doesn't deter this vicious and clever killer. Shortly after Inspector Ian Rutledge arrives, a fourth soldier is found dead. With few clues to go on and the pressure building, Rutledge
must gamble everything—his job, his reputation, and even his life—to find answers.

The Darlings Are Forever
by Melissa Kantor

From Disney for review

Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you’re afraid of doing.

When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren’t spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can’t help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?

The Butt Book
by Artie Bennet

From author for review

So why do you have a butt?'s a good place to put your underpants. It's a great place to sit. You can shake it when you dance. Without it, you wouldn't be able to ride your bike or sit on a seesaw or swing or do anything! Butts, as you can see, are as important as your eyes or ears, your head or your heart. In fact, in the end, your butt is probably one of the most useful things you've got.

Does your child have a bookshelf all his or her own? You can forget using it for awhile if you bring home this hilarious book. "The Butt Book" is going to become the most-read thing in your house.

Perfect for read-aloud sessions, this book contains humor that any 4-to-8-year-old will love. So reach around and grab a copy of "The Butt Book", sit your fanny down and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Final thoughts of 2010 and the future of 2011...maybe

There are some parts of my life that are incredibly organized (just check out how straight my drinking glasses are arranged and how tidy my plastic storage bowls are) but other parts are total chaos. I have piles of stuff around the house (but they are usually tidy piles) and we have stacks of papers on the kitchen counter, stacks of unmatched socks on the dryer, stacks of books and papers by the computer. I am also a firm believer in junk drawers and a junk shelf or two whenever necessary.

It should come as no surprise than that I'm the same way with my blog. I have notebooks and calendars to keep track of books to review, contests hosted, ideas for posts, etc. Unfortunately the stuff doesn't always happen that way. I've been blogging for 2 1/2 years now and still enjoy it, but to keep it going it must be constantly evolving. I didn't have as much time last year so I did less and took on fewer obligations. This is a hobby for me that I've enjoyed very much and I'd like to keep it that way. Although I missed posting and visiting other bloggers during the times I was away I knew it was temporary and for the best. If I have too many things going on then I don't have time to blog and it just becomes a stressful chore, then reading becomes a stressful chore and I don't want that to happen.

This time of year I see many people have written wrap ups for 2010, tallying up their totals for challenges, reviews, books read... I didn't do any challenges and I didn't add up anything but I am thinking of goals for this year. I need to change my background and make a new header. I enjoy changing it up for the different seasons and holidays. I hope to continue learning new things about blogging too. I like to know how to do things myself and where to go to find out more. I want to try some challenges and I have my lists ready to got I just need to finish writing the post. See what I mean? I've talked my mom into writing some mini reviews for me that I will be adding and I hope to get my old weekly feature So I was just wondering... up and running again. I have blogs to visit, books to read and more to add to my ever expanding to-be-read list. I find terrific ideas from all of you!

So I have lots to look forward to this year and lots of work to do too so I'd better get started. I need to catch up on some sleep first...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Society matched them,

but love set them free.

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

The first thing that got my attention was the striking cover. The girl in the bubble with the green dress and letters as the only accent color is simple but has significance. From the first pages it was an easy read and the chapters went quickly. The story itself started at a slow pace but that reflected the lifestyle. Cassia and her family live a plain, ordinary, predictable life because that's what they are suppose to do. That's what everyone is suppose to do. All their decisions are made for them to keep Society running smoothly and there is no individuality. There is no need for it and they are content until Cassia discovers that there may be more than this drab existence. It was sometimes painfully slow waiting for her to figure things out but it made more sense knowing that her character had never thought for herself.

I had many questions about their history and how the world came to be that way but the answers came with enough frequency to enjoy the story and keep me reading. I learned along with Cassia one puzzle piece at a time. It was a slow build up but even a single change in their world was extraordinary. The characters started flat but became more dimensional and likable. Although they had all been taught to be conformist it was interesting to see what their limits were and how far the Society could push them. The writing reflects the changes and growth of the characters from ordinary to lyrical. Each new experience brings new feelings and new descriptions. As Cassia discovers poetry she also discovers passion and she knows life can never be the same. Her story left off with a real cliff hanger, ready for book 2 of the trilogy, Crossed Nov. 2011 (Book 3 Nov. 2012). I'll be looking forward to it.

Thank you to Dutton Books for an advanced copy of this book to review.

Publisher: Dutton Books
Release date: 11/30/10
Pages: 384
Price/format: $17.99/
Type: young adult

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page (this month at Rose City Reader) 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.

Only one book last week but that was enough with all of the holiday stuff going on. Our New Year's Eve was happy, quiet and cold - great conditions for reading! I wish the best for all of you during the new year and may your mailbox always be full of goodies!

Three Seconds
by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom

To review from February Partners

Dark, suspenseful, and more riveting than any thriller at the local cineplex, THREE SECONDS is the latest novel from best-selling Swedish duo Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström-heirs apparent to Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell as the masters of Scandinavian crime.

Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he's become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden's prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country's most notorious jail.

But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens--a man who never gives up until he's cracked the case. Grens's determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman's true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

Winner of the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers' 2009 award for Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year, and a #1 best-seller there, THREE SECONDS captures a nefarious world of betrayal and violence, where a wise man trusts no one and even the most valuable agent can be “burned.”