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, January 31, 2013

Review: My Robots by Johan Olander

Discover these amazing inventions and form your own theories about what really happened to Lady Bonquers.

In this intriguing volume, noted monstrologist and alienologist Johan Olander reveals the works of the talented inventor Lady Regina Bonquers III, a genius recluse who mysteriously disappeared in 1972. The collection includes some of the most fascinating robots ever seen ? and some never before seen. Shown here are Lady Regina's own sketches and personal notes, as well as marketing brochures, newspaper articles, and other artifacts relating to these machines.
A few years ago I reviewed the children's book A Field Guide to Aliens by Johan Olander. I loved it and was also lucky enough to win these terrific prints! When the author contacted me recently asking if I would like to review his newest release I was happy for the chance to read it. 

I have always Enjoyed this type of book. Not only is there an interesting story but the illustrations are in a variety of media and are amazing. Even inside the cover the images of assorted tools and supplies scattered on graph paper that's covered with notes, sketches and smudges introduces the reader to a mechanical delight. Each page gives the appearance of a bulletin board, the borders are trimmed with gears and grommets. Sketches and notes are attached to the board complete with tattered edges, wrinkles, thumbtacks and tape. It's such a creative design with so many fun details!

The work belongs to Lady Regina Bonquers III, the world's greatest robot maker.  Apparently she disappeared in 1972, leaving behind an empty castle in Scotland. Two young relatives eventually found her sketchbooks, diaries and notes and gave them to the author to compile into this book. The notes describe the different robots she created. The Chore Master X2000 had a variety of attachments (including the Flexgripper robot hand) to make it easier to help around the house. The Babysitter Bot was programmed to be a friend and babysitter and had an extra set of arms. The Auto Clown was designed to be an entertainer complete with magic tricks and multiple skills. Unfortunately, an unexpected mean streak took this model out of commission.
A brochure for the Auto Clown
The Personal Porter and Transport Robot
Firefighting Robot

While designated as a children's book there is something for everyone here. If the text is a bit complicated for the little ones the drawings are sure to get their attention. And as a grown up, I like it all! I know my nine year-old nephew will really enjoy this book but he will have to read this one at my house. Quirky, charming and clever - it's a keeper!


Thank you to the author for a copy of this book to review.

Release date: 10/9/12
Publisher: Amazons Childrens Publishing
Pages: 61 (hardcover)
Type: children's fiction/ Sci fi

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Twice Shy by Patrick Freivald

 High school sucks.
It's worse when you're dead.

Ohneka Falls is a small, Western New York town where everyone
knows everyone and nothing of note happens. Ani Romero is a sixteen-year-old girl who wants to play sports, hang out, and kiss Mike, her middle-school crush. A childhood carrier of the zombie virus, she died at fourteen but didn’t become a mindless, brain-eating monster. Her controlling mother forces her to join the emo crowd to hide her condition behind a wall of black clothes and makeup, and her friends abandon her.
When creeper Dylan learns her secret, he falls into obsession,
with Ani and with death. She bites him in self-defense. Persecuted by the jocks and ignored by Mike, Ani struggles through the motions of life hoping her mother’s research unveils a cure, or Dylan dooms them all to a hungry, walking death.
As her emo facade crumbles in the face of jealousy and obsession,
Ani knows that the worst thing she can do is be true to herself.

*(Tied for 1st place in the 2012 JS writing contest.)
It took me a little while to get to this but I was hooked as soon as I started it. What first attracted me to this book was that the setting was a little town in western NY state. I live in western NY state.  The major landmarks like Niagara Falls, Lake Erie, Buffalo or Rochester might appear in a story but the little places seldom do. It was so fun to hear mention of a small town I often drive through or a college I've visited yet unnerving to realize it was in the context of zombie inhabitants. Eek! 

The writing was very well done and so fluid. I was drawn into the life of Ani and her single mom. I constantly forgot this was a male writer because he captured a teenage girl's voice so well. There were many twists and turns that made this an exciting story and the details were terrific. It's hard enough to be sixteen but to have a virus that could lead to your instant annihilation at any moment could put a girl on edge! While Ani's life was filled with angst it seemed like she had constant dilemmas (understandable of course for a secret zombie teen). The tension was great but I felt that her issues became a bit overwhelming for the reader. Ani and her mom can't seem to catch a break! 

The story was a nice change from the traditional zombie tale. This is about life in the near future after an attack but not an apocalypse. People have overcome the situation and developed ways to live with it in a "normal" society. Ani is a unique individual who is struggling to maintain her humanity. I don't want to give anything away here because the surprises really enhanced the story and I'm so glad I hadn't heard details before I read Twice Shy.
The ending was abrupt, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but after such a detailed build up I found it unsatisfying and a departure from the style of the rest of the book. I did discover there is a sequel, Special Dead, which makes it more appealing. I look forward to reading that story and more from this talented author.
Author (Facebook)

Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an arc to review.

Release date: 10/26/12
Publisher: JournalStone
Pages: 240 (paperback)
Type: YA horror

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cold, cold, cold...

When I woke up this morning it was 4 degrees outside (feels like -2 with wind chill) and 54 degrees inside. On the coldest day of this winter (so far) our furnace quit working! Fortunately, Hubby is a manager at a heating/plumbing/lumber store and was a carpenter before that. He is extremely extraordinarily handy. He figured it out in no time and although it took a little longer than that to fix it, fix it he did! It's getting warmer and almost downright cozy in here. I've even been able to take off one of my coats. Is it wrong that watching Hubby restore heat to our cold, cold house is a turn on? Thank you to the sexiest man in the world!!!

*Update - The furnace quit again! Hubby had to come home from work for the third time today and put in a new motor. Luckily my youngest son had just gotten home from his job so he helped. I'm pretty handy but not that handy.  Fortunately all three of my boys are like their dad - they can fix vehicles, build things, weld stuff, etc. I never could get them to pick up their dirty socks but they are incredibly handy too! It's getting warmer now and I think I can take my coat off. Fingers crossed that this does the trick!
Awesome grandpa!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Home libraries

In today's issue of Shelf Awareness (1/18/13) there was a link to some amazing photos of Beautifully Organized: Home Libraries in apartment therapy (1/14/13). Of course there are some gorgeous designs that make me drool and here's just a few of them. These rooms aren't exactly my decorating style (or in my budget!) but I love the ideas. Do any of them appeal to you?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

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!
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Dear Reader,
It is with great pride and joy that I present to you the amazing robotic creations of Lady Regina Bonquers III, who was perhaps the world's greatest robot maker...
 ...In this volume I have collected the most fascinating robots ever seen and some never before seen. Many of the images in this book are from Regina's personal notebooks and research documents. 
~page 6 (hardcover)
My Robots: The Robotic Genius of Lady Regina Bonquers III by Johan Olander

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is at Lori’s Reading Corner 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.
Boy, it's been a while since I've done this and I've got plenty of things to catch up on. December is always so hectic than when the holidays are over I just veg out and have a hard time getting back into the rhythm of ... everything. I did get some goodies in the last month that were mostly ebooks. Even with the hundreds I already have I still can't resist some of the free ones but I've cut way back! Here's some of what I got recently. I hope Santa brought you plenty of good books too!

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
Won from Curl Up and Read (arc)
Who's Spying on You? by Sofge & Coburn
For review from Sterling Publishing (arc)
Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
Free from Barnes & Noble (ebook)
From Notting Hill With Love...Actually by Ali McNamara
Free from Barnes & Noble (ebook)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
From PaperBack Swap (hardcover)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
For review from Macmillan (arc)
 Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
Free from Barnes & Noble (ebook)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

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 love to make things and had so many plans for Christmas. Of course I didn't get to everything that I wanted to make (yet) but I did get to the most important items. Since my ideas came from other sources I thought I would share a few of my results.

I have a friend who is bonkers for Harry Potter. I do love the books myself so it's a fun topic for us. She knows I like to be artistic and crafty when the mood strikes me so she asked me to paint a quote from a book on a switch plate (light switch cover). I had to take it farther than that, of course, and decided to surprise her with a few as well. Instead of painting the quotes I researched some favorite lines, designed the look I wanted then typed and printed them on different colors of scrapbook paper. After I cut them down I attached with Mod Podge and added a few coats on top. I even covered the screws. I sure learned a lot between the first one and the fourth one. What a difference! And she was surprised. Just wait until she sees what's next!
Close up view
Homemade light switch covers with Harry Potter quotes

It's a homemade Golden Snitch ornament! (For the same friend)
A different view on the tree

I made some other fun things too but of course I didn't get to everything I had planned. I made ornaments for my son's girlfriend and the grandkiddos but I forgot to take photos. I have more to make that involve clear glass ornaments and glitter. Pretty!

These are the ones I did remember to photograph - 
The Princess made these coozies for her mommy and daddy!
I saw this idea on Pinterest so I made my own version for grandkiddos and a few other kids.