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!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Sorry for the delay in announcing the winners. Congratulations to:
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
Fiery Na
Beth Clark
You have each won a copy of Perfect is Overrated by Karen Bergreen!
Lenore Keough Webb
You have won a copy of The Elves and the Shoemaker by Deanna McFadden!
I have sent you emails so please respond with your mailing address.
*Look for more giveaways on sidebar!* 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is back at Mailbox Monday this month and 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 got quite a variety of books in the last two weeks. I've cut back on the free ebooks but I still have to snag a few now and then. Especially the creepy ones for Halloween! I hope you got some goodies too and stay safe from Hurricane Sandy!

Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio
For review and giveaway from author
The Next Always by Nora Roberts
Free from (audio)
Vamped by Lucienne Diver
Free from B&N (ebook)
Alice In Zombieland by Nickolas Cook, Lewis Carroll
Free from B&N (ebook)
Gone With the Wind by Rodney Evans
Free from B&N (ebook)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Storms and stuff

It was a busy week of just "stuff" - doctor appointment, babysitting the grandkids, working on Halloween costumes (we made a Raggedy Anne wig), and being annoyed by a head cold that we are all sharing. We also had two days of gorgeous weather with temperatures near 80 but I feel like I wasted them. I should have been outside every second that was possible, enjoying the weather and putting away lawn furniture but I wasn't. I got a few things done but not enough.

Now we have this nasty storm heading for the east coast. We know how to handle blizzards but we don't experience much hurricane weather in western NY state. We are trying to stock up on supplies and prepare just in case we lose power for a while. Hopefully it won't be too bad and we can celebrate Halloween with lots of trick or treating. For those of you in harm's way, stay safe and take care. I'll be saying my prayers this week that Sandy fizzles out in the ocean and leaves us all alone!
My granddaughter picked out tiny pumpkins and arranged them together on the porch
My poor grandson was "forced" to try on a Halloween wig!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

I didn't have any expectations going into this book. I didn't even remember what the blurb was on the cover. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read and I was quickly pulled into the world of Alina Starkov. I could not put this book down! I don't know much Russian history, geography or some of the terms used, but it wasn't necessary to understand the story. I was able to comprehend it within the context and the writing flowed smoothly in Alina's narration. She recounts her lonely past, growing up in an orphanage with her best friend Mal. Now they are both soldiers - she is a mapmaker and he is a tracker. When it is discovered that she has latent magical powers that are unique, she is quickly taken away to the royal court to be protected and trained as a Grisha in a lifestyle that is totally foreign to her. There is a huge emphasis on beauty and wealth but this plays into Alina's insecurity and lack of confidence. The powerful leader of the Grisha is the Darkling and he takes a keen interest in this young girl. He is desperate to develop her talent but is it really for the good of the nation? As she finds her inner strength, she gains control over her powers but still has many questions and needs to determine her true purpose. 

The characters were well developed with their back stories being gradually filled in throughout the chapters. It was interesting to see who would be overtaken by desire and who would suffer the consequences. The world building was clever and enchanting. I was fascinated by the author's creations in this exciting and powerful fantasy that moved along at a brisk pace. Although I don't care much for love triangles, this was of a different variety. Alina loves and cares for lifelong companion Mal but is also drawn in by the mysterious allure of the powerful Darkling. Who can she really trust with so much at stake? And what is she really fighting for?

I was very impressed by this debut and I'm looking forward to next book in the trilogy!
Siege and Storms (The Grisha #2) coming 2013
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) coming 2014

Thank you to Macmillan (Fierce Reads) for an arc to review. 

Fierce Reads

Release date: 6/5/12
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 358
Type: YA fantasy

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giveaway - Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio

When San Diego weather caster, Jaswinder Park, is mysteriously summoned to the island of Maui in Hawaii to help her grandmother, she ends up losing her job. This fair-haired, light-skinned foreigner, called haole by the natives, decides to stay in Maui for a couple of days until she can figure out what to do with her life. She realizes that her quick trip to Maui may not be all she’s hoping for when:
-She has to bail her Hawaiian/Korean grandmother out of jail for possession of pakalolo.
-The only thing she can understand her grandmother say is: “Not that.
-She can’t decide which hurts worse, her sunburn, hangover, or memories of the night before.
-She’s labeled the “Liquor Licker” on the front page of the Maui News in a photo that shows her doing a shot of tequila with a hunky Hawaiian who’s been found dead.
-It seems she’s had orgasms that have lasted longer than her career.
-She scrapes the bottom of the barrel to find her guardian angel.

Beautiful fabric found in her grandmother’s closet unfolds a future for Jaswinder as she designs sensuous silky wraps called sunshminas that provide sun protection. She tries for a Hollywood connection, but her company, Haole Wood, has some growing pains. From trying to find a killer, to selling her sunshminas, to lusting after Dr. Jac, the island dermatologist, to trying to ignore her so-called guardian angel, can Jaswinder learn to embrace the island way of life? Aloha!

Thanks to the author I have three ebooks to give away!

- Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
- U.S. and Canada only (sorry everyone else!)
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- Ends 11/4/12, 11:59 pm EST 

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is back at Mailbox Monday this month and 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.
Last week was all about children's books. Those are just as much for me as they are for the kids in my life! What goodies came your way?

Oddkins by Dean Koontz
For review from NetGalley (ebook)
The Elves and the Shoemaker by Deanna McFadden
For review and giveaway from Sterling Children's Books
(I also received seven other fairy tales in the Silver Penny Series)
Yalu and the Puppy Room by Brain T Yates
For review from Bookmasters

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

 Saturday Snapshot is hosted by At Home with Books. To participate in this meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.
 In the last week our beautiful hillsides and foliage have turned blah and almost bare. The colors never last long enough. Now we have a yard full of leaves and brown trees. We also had a frost last night and most of my summer flowers froze. I hate that part too but now I can empty the planters and put them away for winter. I've been stowing away the lawn furniture but have plenty more to do before the snow flies. I even had to do the unthinkable - I had to take down my beloved hammock! Oh how sad that makes me. *sigh* Please keep me in your thoughts and maybe share a moment of silence... (especially you, Stacybuckeye! Someday you will get a hammock of your own. Until then you can lounge vicariously through mine. :D )

I did take plenty of photos of the wildflowers growing in our fields because I knew the were the last of the season. I have to share one more glimpse of autumn in my little part of the world. I hope you get to enjoy the beauty where you live as well!

My purple Mums on the porch

Purple Asters

I'm not sure what this  is - White Snakeroot?
Cassy with her favorite toy
Allie rolling in the leaves

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review and Giveaway: The Elves and the Shoemaker told by Deanna McFadden

Elves make magic for a poor shoemaker and his wife in this much-loved tale originally told by the Brothers Grimm. 

 This is the classic retelling of the popular fairy tale The Elves and the Shoemaker. Author Deanna McFadden keeps the story simple but true to the original theme using 40 pages in a cute, little book (5"x7"). The characters convey the importance of hard work, helpful hands and gratitude. There are enough details to delight every age but it is also short enough for little ones to relate to and enjoy.

Marcos Calo has added beautiful illustrations to every page. The soft hues, clothing choices and architectural detail add to the old fashioned style of the book. This charming story has always been a favorite at our house and now I look forward to sharing it with the grandchildren!
Thank you to Sterling Children's Books for a book to review.

Release date: October, 2012
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Pages: 40 (hardcover)
Type: children's fiction
From the adorable, little Silver Penny Series, a set of eight fairy tales from a variety of author and illustrators.
Puss in Boots

Thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away!

- Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
- U.S. and Canada only (sorry everyone else!)
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- Ends 10/26/12, 11:59 pm EST

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Fourteen kids 
One superstore 
A million things that go wrong.

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
This story started off with a bang. The first chapter had plenty of action and it sets the pace for the rest of the book. A bus load of children, ages 5-17, are struggling to understand what has happened to the world after a series of catastrophes. Luckily for them they have crashed into a superstore (think Walmart) so they have plenty of food and supplies but no idea what is really going on in the rest of the world. And no idea what has happened to their families. A very scary premise for sure (although staying in the store would be kind of neat!).

The characters seemed stereotyped at first but grew and developed as the story progressed. Some were very unlikable until more of their back stories were revealed. I found it interesting how the author had them problem solve and work together. Although they were young children and teens, creative ideas were introduced that were mostly believable for their ages and intelligence. They had to battle for their lives but had many unknowns. That actually made for a more exciting read because the characters and the readers didn't exactly know what the real enemies were. Heroes and villains emerged as the characters were thrust into roles they didn't necessarily choose and were also different from the roles they fulfilled in their "real" lives. Dean is our narrator and a junior in high school. He had always been bookish and on the outside fringe of the popular kids but here he became one of the leaders. He also has a genius younger brother Alex to worry about although his own knowledge becomes important to the survival of the group. The youngest children were very likable and provided a nice balance and some comic relief. The older kids became stronger and less selfish protecting them.

The writing moves quickly and feels like the voice of a teenager. It builds to an exciting ending with a major cliffhanger. I definitely want to see what will happen in next book and look forward to following these young people on their journey. I felt this was a successful debut and hope the action continues!

Monument 14: Sky On Fire due summer 2013
Thank you to Macmillan (Fierce Reads) for an arc to review.

Fierce Reads

Release date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 294
Type:  YA dystopian

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Perfect Is Overrated by Karen Bergreen


1. I haven't finished your book yet but the very first sentence grabbed my attention. How did this story come about and how much is your own story?
I love this question.  Even though Perfect is Overrated is a comedy--perhaps even a madcap comedy--the one serious thread in it is my attempt to capture--however exaggerated--my depression after I became a mom.  I'm not talking throw-the-baby-down-the-stairs-depression; I'm talking: Why isn't this more fun? / Why do I not love this/ Remember when I had a job I was good at and friends I could see?/Why is my husband oblivious to all of this kind of depression.  Mine wasn't as severe as Kate's but it's no fun to write about someone getting out of a teeny depression.  We want someone to hit bottom and get back on top.  And that is Kate's story.
My descriptions of the crazy meanie mommies are completely fictional but they reflect the essence of many a parent here in NYC and I think in other places as well: self-absorbed; entitled; disconnected from their kids.  They were really fun to write and super fun to kill.

2. If you could select the cast for the movie version who would you choose to play the main characters?
I love Amy Adams.  I think she would be a great Kate.  The hot ex-husband could be Bobby Cannavale.  As for the science teacher--the guy from The Amazing Spiderman because I have an inappropriate crush on him.

3. Your background is fascinating - paralegal, law clerk, comedian, wife, mother, author - WOW!  Which has been your favorite? (I won't tell the  others!)
I like sleeping

4. Where did you get your great sense of humor?
My brothers used to pound my head into the floor when I was a kid.

5. What are some other projects you've done?
6. Would you like to put in a plug for your upcoming appearances?
I will answer these two together.  I have a few taped TV appearances coming up.  Look for me on Nick Mom's Night Out.  I'm in a great episode with Chloe from 24, Nate Bargatze and Al Madrigal. I will also be in something else, which I can't promote because it hasn't been taped and I don't want to jinx it. 

7. More books to come? (please!)
Working on something right now

8. What do you hope to be doing five years from now? 
I hope to be going on long vacations, which include climbing mountains with someone who will hold my luggage and give me a back rub,

9. A favorite quote?
"God is dead." Nietsche. "Nietsche is dead." God.

 10. A favorite book?
So hard but it may have to be The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

11. Favorite dessert?
Chocolate Bread pudding, heated with lots of booze and whipped cream

12. Favorite season?
Fall despite the movie, Autumn in New York

13. Favorite place to hide to get some peace and quiet? (I'm a mom too. Desperate times calls for desperate measures!)
I sneak out to do stand up--that's where I can relax

14. Paper or plastic?
Glue.  Instead of putting my groceries in a container, I simply stick them to my body. 

15. Boxers or briefs? (I seem to see that question asked a lot)

Thank you, Karen!!
Thanks to author Karen Bergreen, I have three (yes, 3!) copies!!

- Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
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- Extra entries available
- Ends 10/21/12, 11:59 pm EST

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is back at Mailbox Monday this month and 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 didn't do this last week because the books have been slowing down as I try to catch up. And I've been trying to catch up on a lot of other things too this time of year but that never seems to happen... In the meantime, I have some really good books to read and I hope you do too. It's cozy reading weather!

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness
From Paperbook Swap
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Free from Barnes & Noble (ebook)
 Spinning by Michael Baron
Free Friday from Barnes & Noble (ebook)
 Diary Of A Vampire Stripper by Cinsearae S.
Won from author at Fresh Fiction contest (ebook)

Halloween bag from Cinsearae S.
zombie bag filled with creepy goodies from Mistress Rae's Decadent Designs
- bat earrings and hair clips
- glitter Body Charms & lipstick
- pins, stickers & postcards

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Malware warning?

I got an email from a friend a short time ago letting me know that she tried to access my Saturday Snapshot post yesterday and got a giant warning that she could get a virus. ACK!!! I've never heard of, or seen this on a blog but I don't want to take any chances. I have antivirus programs and run regular scans. I checked my blog on three different computers and didn't get a notice. I reported it to Blogger where I saw another person said the same thing happened to her yesterday. I checked out her blog without any problems. I'm not sure what to do but I'm working on it.

If anyone else has encountered this could you please email me? I want to get to the source of the problem and fix it. I hope I didn't create any problems for any of you and I'm very sorry for any issues. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

**Update - I think I have the problem solved. I had a link to another site that was suspicious so I deleted it. Fingers crossed!



Kathy at Bemudaonion
(entry #1)

For winning an autographed copy of Horten's Incredible Illusions! Yay, Kathy! Please reply to my email with your mailing address.

*New giveaway coming right up!*

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

 Saturday Snapshot is hosted by At Home with Books. To participate in this meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.
I just have to share more of my autumn photos! It's so beautiful here but it never lasts long enough. It already feels like it's on the way out today with colder temperatures and more leaves on the ground.

Our neighbor's barn and silo
The hills around our house
The view from our lane in the woods
Hubby and the girls going for a walk up the road
Allie posing in our field
So pretty against the blue sky!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week by Caroline Adderson


 Jasper, the Star!

At last, it's Jasper John Dooley's turn to be Star of the Week at school. Unfortunately, nothing turns out as planned. His Show and Tell falls flat. A new baby at his friend Ori's house steals his spotlight. And worst of all, the new baby has only-child Jasper wondering if his own family is too small. When Jasper decides to build himself a brother (named Earl) out of wood, Earl's schoolyard shenanigans send Jasper to the principal's office But with a little help from family and friends, things turn around for Jasper. And by the time Friday arrives, he is once again sure that he has what it takes to be a star. Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week is the first in a series of chapter books featuring a charismatic and funny central character. An only child with active, loving parents (and a most impressive lint collection), Jasper John Dooley is a true original.
Wouldn't we all love to be Star of the Week?  Unfortunately for Jasper, he isn't getting the attention he expected and his week is going down hill fast. He desperately searches for ways to regain the focus of his classmates but nothing is working. Not even the idea of getting a new brother. And Jasper only has one week!

 The idea for the story was cute and I sympathized with Jasper although I think I felt worse for his sleep-deprived friend Orin. This book should be entertaining to kids who can relate to Jasper's frustration. His antics were humorous and the adorable black and white illustrations by Ben Clanton make it even more appealing. The other characters added to the quirkiness and enforced the importance of support of friends and family.  I look forward to reading more from this new series and other work for author Caroline Adderson.

Thank you to NetGalley for an arc (ebook) to review.


Release date: 3/1/12
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Pages: 128 (hardcover)
Type: children's fiction, middle grade

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

From the author who's inspired millions worldwide with books like "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" comes his most imaginative novel yet, "The Time Keeper"--a compelling fable about the first man on earth to count the hours. The man who became Father Time.

In Mitch Albom's newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world--now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began--and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Told in Albom's signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it and how precious it truly is.

I've read and enjoyed Mitch Albom's past books. I find them unusual but charming and this one was no exception. While the theme is not unusual, about making the most of the time you have, the concept was unique. The three main characters and their journeys were extremely different - a man "sentenced" to be Father Time, a terminally ill, wealthy man and a lonely, teenage girl. Each of them longed for a different use of time and didn't appreciate all that had already been given to them. They weren't even very likable in the beginning but they each evolved into better people. Chapters alternated between characters until their lives intertwined. I wasn't sure how it would be done but the author was able to connect them all in an interesting way and tie up loose ends.

The chapters were short and a bit choppy but easy to read. With a storyline much like a fable, it delivered an emotional message about the value of the time. It was interesting to see if the characters, as well as the readers, learned their lessons. Fans of this author are likely to enjoy this book as well.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ebook to review.


Release date: 9/4/12
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 240 (ebook)
Type: Adult fiction