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, April 30, 2009

A special award just for "ed"

Thank you ed, for all of your very special and thoughtful comments! I really appreciate all of the time and effort you went through to visit my blog, not one, not two, but three times. I could tell you really worked hard, cutting and pasting to all of those posts. And then to be generous and share them with so many other bloggers too. Wow! What a guy/gal! You even signed your "name"too. It was nice to be able to click on your profile and see... nothing. I wonder why? Aren't you proud of your work? Maybe sometime you can visit all of these special blogs and leave a real comment. I bet you would be surprised to find such a great group of people.

I thought I would repay your kindness and give you this award I created especially for you! You are very, very deserving of the A.S.S. Award. You worked so hard to achieve it. Congratulations.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Review: Undress Me In The Temple Of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman

They were young, brilliant and bold.
They set out to conquer the world.
But the world had other plans for them.

This is a memoir from Susan Jane Gilman, a best selling author who decided to take an adventure and backpack around the world. In 1986, Susan and her friend Claire had just finished college and wanted a daring and original experience. They decided to travel for a year and they would start their trip in the People's Republic of China. Since it had only recently begun to allow independent travelers, they were almost immediately in over their heads. With their backpacks and only a few supplies, they ventured off into the streets of Shanghai and were overwhelmed by culture shock and unexpected obstacles. This was not going to be the carefree adventure they had anticipated.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this story. I hadn't read Gilman's past work but had heard good things about them. I thought this was going to be a similar style, a witty account of her travels, but apparently it is very different. This is the author's own account of her trip that was suppose to take her and her friend around the world. As two Ivy League graduates, they were excited to try something new. In a women's dormitory in China they realized just how unprepared they were when they compared themselves with other women travelers from other countries who had been on the road for months, and even years.
...they'd dispensed with all Western frivolities a long time ago. They were expert navigators now, muscular with experience. Sitting among them with our brand new backpacks, my snow-white virginal Reeboks, our crisp pastel-colored L.L. Bean sportswear. Clair and I weren't impressing anybody. (pg. 73)
You'll have to read the book for yourself to see how they fared for the first time in a public "restroom". A small, bare concrete room with only a trough running though the middle, with a trickle of water from a rusty spigot that carried waste toward a drain in the floor. Ugh.

Although they were faced with hardships they also met many amazing people along the way. With their help and a trusty guidebook, they were able to become full-fledged tourists and experience The Great Wall of China, Tienanmen Square and many other breathe-taking sites. And it was also with the help of these people that the girls were able to deal with illness and another major crisis.

I really enjoyed this story and learned so much about the Chinese culture and history. I am not a traveler so I wasn't sure if this would appeal to me but Gilman's writing along with the increasing suspense made this a very interesting read. It also made me appreciate my own bed and running water! Give it a try. I bet you'll enjoy it too. I'll be looking for more of Gilman's books to read next.

Thank you to Miriam from Hatchette Books for sending me an early copy of this book.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Awards - I have some catching up to do!

This award came from Sheri at A Novel Menageri.
This is very special because Sheri has been so kind and helpful to me since I've started blogging. I enjoy her blog and all of the unique and cleaver things that she posts.

Now I get to pass it on to some of my
readers who I am so lucky to have as a part of my blog. I am still so surprised that someone else finds me interesting! And they keep coming back! Every single comment and every single person is appreciated. You all make me smile when I see you have been here. I am passing this on to some of my extra-special commenters and I hope they will pass it along to 5-10 of theirs!

This award goes to:
* Kathy from Bermudaonion's Weblog - I bet you will get this award from every single blog out there but you deserve it. I see your nice comments everywhere!
* Toni from Circle of Books
* Serena from Savvy Verse and Wit
* PopinFresh from Popin's Lair
* Alyce from At Home With Books
* Anna from Diary of An Eccentric
* Karen from Bookin' With Bingo's
*Dar from Peeking Between the Pages
**I'm so sorry for anyone I've forgotten. There are so many of you who take the time to comment on my blog and share parts of yourself. I thank you and I admire you all!


This award was passed to me from Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals and it is for friendly bloggers who comment frequently. Two people can be named for this award. The envelope, please. This award goes to :

* Sheri from A Novel Menageri- You have been so helpful and have great posts. Thank you always making things interesting and fun!

*Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals - I know, you gave it to me but I have to give it back. You are truly a blogger's best friend!


Bev from Merry Weather passed on this award. This is one I'm going to pass on to all of my readers. Yes, ALL! This is the best community, filled with friendly people. I'd like to thank you all for your kindness.


Thank you to Mishel at Mis(h)takes and Stacy at Stacy's Bookblog for adding to the One Lovely Blog Award.
Thank you to Caspette at The Narrative Casuality and Missy at Missy's Book Nook for adding to The Lemonade Stand Award.
Thank you to Melody at Melody's Reading Corner for adding to the Proximidade Award.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mailbox Monday

~ April 27th

Thank you to Marcia at Printed Page for hosting this weekly meme!
I didn't have time to get the descriptions in this week. I'll try to add them later.

by Lauren McLaughlin

Won at The Shady Glade

Galway Bay
by Mary Pat Kelly

Won at This Book For Free

Bones Crossed
by Patricia Briggs

Won at Fresh Fiction

by Therese Fowler

*Edited to add:
This book was given by the very kind Marcia from Printed Page related to her weekly meme Cover Attraction. So sorry this wasn't on here when I first posted this!

From the Library

If I Stay
by Gayle Forman

The Dead and the Gone
by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Friday, April 24, 2009

Birthday Contest!

This is my birthday week so I'm giving presents! I hope there are a lot of mystery fans out there because this is for two James Patterson books, Run For Your Life and The 8th Confession. I can't wait to read these! Patterson books are always a quick read with lots of twists and turns. The perfect book to take to my hammock!

Run For Your Life also by Michael Ledwidge
A calculating killer who calls himself The Teacher is taking on New York City, killing the powerful, the arrogant, the don't-give-a-darnst-about-anyone rich. For some New Yorkers it seems that the rich were getting what they deserve at last. For New York's social elite, it is a call to chaos and terror. The Teacher's message to the wealthy is clear: remember your manners or suffer the consequences! Detective Mike Bennett is assigned the case. Managing the pressure from his Commissioner, the Mayor, and the New York media would be enough for anyone, but Mike also has to care for his 10 children-who are all under 12 and who all have the flu! Detective Bennett discovers a secret pattern in the Teacher's lessons-and realizes he has just hours to save New York from the greatest disaster in its history. From the #1 bestselling author who introduced readers to Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club-comes the continuation of his newest, electrifying series. Run for Your Life is his most heart-stopping thriller yet. (from Hatchette Books)

The 8th Confession (The Women's Murder Club)
also by Maxine Paetro
When a preacher with a message of hope for the homeless is found brutally executed, reporter Cindy Thomas knows the story could be huge. Probing deeper into the victim's history, she discovers he may not have been as saintly as everyone thought... Rich, beautiful, and powerful, Isa and Ethan Bailey were living in the spotlight as San Francisco's perfect couple--until they are found dead in their luxurious home. As the hunt for two criminals tests the skills of the entire Women's Murder Club, sparks begin to fly between Detective Lindsay Boxer and her partner, Rich Conklin, making it difficult to stay focused on the case. The electrifying new chapter in the Women's Murder Club series, THE 8TH CONFESSION serves up the mile-a-minute twists that only James Patterson can deliver. (from Hatchette Books)

There will be three (3) winners.
*The first lucky winner will get both books.
*The second winner will get one copy of Run For Your Life.
*The third winner will get one copy of The 8th Confession.
If you aren't interested in one of the books please say so in your comments.

+1 entry - You MUST leave a comment about your favorite birthday gift (given or received) or tradition. It can be for your own birthday or for someone else, but you have to leave a birthday comment to be included in the contest!***
+1 entry - If you are, or become, a follower or subscriber. Leave a comment to let me know.

This will be for one week and will end 11:59 p.m. EST May 1st.

Thank you to Hatchette Books for providing these prizes. I'm sorry that they can only be shipped to the U.S. and Canada.

Friday Fill-In



Thank you to Janet for hosting from here each week!

1. Apparently there's some sort of conspiracy to shrink all of my clothing.

2.Today is finally a sunny day.

3. 2009 has been a challenging, but pretty good year so far.

4. I blinked and that was it. My kids had become teenagers.

5. For too long (about 20 years) I've been slacking off with my exercise routine.

6. I am not obsessed with chocolate; I am not! (Who am I kidding! Of course I am, and proud of it!)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to my son's baseball game, tomorrow my plans include going out to dinner with my hubby for my birthday and Sunday, I want to enjoy the warm weather and read in my hammock!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cover Attraction - April 22

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Marcia at Printed Page. Pick a cover and come join us!

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP
by Lauren Lipton

After arguing with her live-in boyfriend about his inability to commit, Peggy Adams flies to a friend's bachelorette party in Las Vegas, and wakes up next to a man she can't remember. Hung-over and miserable, she sneaks out of the sleeping man's hotel room and returns home to New York, where her boyfriend apologizes for the fight and gives her a Tiffany box containing a pre-engagement ring. Not what she expected, but close enough! The next day she receives a phone call from the Las Vegas one-night stand, Luke, claiming she's already married to him¬-and he faxes her the license for proof! Both are ready for an annulment, until Peggy arrives in quaint New Nineveh, CT, where Luke cares for his Great Aunt, and the old woman makes Peggy an offer she can't refuse.
(from Hatchette Books)

I should be receiving this soon and I really look forward to it. This is a very simple cover but the bright colors really got my attention. For me it also conveys a certain lifestyle. Growing up in the 70's and 80's this was one of the fads we had in high school. It was called the "preppy look" among my friends. It was cool to have a polo shirt with an alligator on it. I even had some socks! For us it was a fad but for so many it was (and is) a lifestyle. I could never afford it!

Publisher: Hatchette Books
Publish Date:5/29/2009
US/Can Price:$13.99/$15.50

We have a winner!

The winner of my first contest for Keeper of Light and Dust is...


Congratulations! I've already received an email response so Angela will be getting a copy of the book. Thank you so much to everyone who visited my blog and participated in this contest. the next one is starting soon!

Don't forget about the other blogs still participating in this tour. Check out their reviews and contests.

A Novel Menagerie - April 2nd

Literary Escapism – April 7th

The Literate Housewife Review - April 10th

Peeking Between The Pages – April 17th

Saavy Verse & Wit – April 21st

Jo-Jo Loves to Read – April 28th

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review: Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center

A funny, poignant, and spirited
new novel about what happens
after happily ever after.

Lanie Coates and her husband Peter are moving across the country from Texas to Massachusetts. She's driving their three small children in the car and he's got all of their belongings in a U-Haul. They are leaving family, friends and the only home their children have ever known to give Peter a chance at his dream. He had applied to several schools and he finally won a free ride into the graduate program at Brandeis for music composition. So they loaded up and moved away. Now Peter is always busy with his music and she is always busy with the kids. Lanie loves her husband and children but somewhere along the way she lost herself. She doesn't have time to care for her own looks and needs. She doesn't have time for anything. But after 15 years of marriage and three young children she decides it's time to take care of Lanie. A new gym membership and a new hobby help to give her new life. Will she still have room for the old life?

Oh, can I ever relate to this story! I only moved across town with three small boys and a U-Haul but Katherine Center captures the very essence of motherhood in these moments. I can't imagine leaving all of my friends and family at a time when I needed them the most. These are the people I depended on to help me survive those early years when I was so excited to be a parent but so scared that I wasn't doing it right. It would be great to have an owner's manual with each kid.

The situations that occur in this story are often mortifying to Lanie but funny to the reader. When that post-pregnancy weight looks like another pregnancy (ouch!) and the boys misbehave in public, women can empathize with her pain. We can also be truly glad it wasn't us - this time. So many things made me laugh out loud. I can see little boys everywhere sticking maxi-pads to their naked bodies. You'll have to read it to find out why but just use your imagination.

What was close to my heart was how the main character struggles to find a balance between her roles as a mom, wife and young woman with her own hopes and dreams. She knows it's possible to have them all, but how do you have them at the same time? She loves and adores her family but she has always put their needs before her own. Now that they have moved she realizes just how much she has neglected herself and she starts a journey to find what makes her happy. As she begins to realize her dreams she must decide how much of her old life she still wants. It's a journey that so many of us take and often don't know how to fulfill. Why can't we have it all? Lanie's struggles may help some of us to figure that out. This was a book that I truly enjoyed and I recommend it to anyone who has ever been a parent or had a parent. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for the ARC of this book.

Katherine Center's website:

Publisher: Ballentine Books
Release date: March, 2009
Pages: 256
Price/format: $23.00/Hardback
Type: Fiction
Age: Adult

CONTEST: S. Krishna' Books is having a giveaway for this book. Sign ups close May 6th!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday

~ April 20th

Printed Page with Marcia is the host of this fun meme.
I'm so behind and late getting this together. It's a good thing I didn't have much to write about. In fact I was feeling a bit unloved last week with no packages coming in the mail even though I have deliberately cut back in an effort to catch up on reviews. On Saturday I was fortunate enough to get two books in the mail. Phew! It's a good thing it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Saturday April 18

The Scarecrow
by Michael Connelly

A newspaperman decides to make his last story the story of his career by writing about a huge murder case. When he realizes that the young man who has confessed to this murder may be innocent and that The Poet, a murderer he wrote about earlier in his career, is responsible he will be risking his life to track the killer.
From a request to Hatchette Books.

by Travis Thrasher

A best selling author of spooky stories has recently been widowed and is suffering from writer's block. When he uses another author's work as his own and receives accolades for the stolen story, the true author arrives and seeks revenge.
From a request to Hatchette Books.


by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

The first in the series about a Vampyre finishing school, The House of Night, where teens are trained to become adult vampyres in a contemporary world where they have always existed.

by Maggie Stiefvater

Celtic Faerie lore and dangerous forbidden love among teens in an
American contemporary setting.

Contest reminder!

Just a reminder that this is the last day for the contest here for Keeper of Dust and Light. A new contest will be starting soon so check back again!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Fill-In



Thank you Janet for hosting!

1. Join me in chatting about books.

2. Put a little smile in your day!

3. Happiness is a warm puppy.

4. Dazed and confused.

5. I'm waiting for a miracle.

6. Chocolate and a free book are hard to resist. And why would I want to? :)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to my whole family being home tomorrow my plans include ,my son's baseball game and Sunday, I want to catch up on my reading!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be
completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard...

After a tragic beginning Bod is being raised, loved and educated by ghosts who are his new family. He also has a guardian that doesn't belong to his world or the ghosts' world and he would do anything to protect Bod. And he does need protecting but not in the graveyard. There are dangers there but he has always been well taken care of. He has so much to explore and to learn. This is a place that offers a wealth of information from all of it's occupants and adventures that any boy would envy. Imagine learning history from the people who were actually there! Bod does need protection if he journeys out of the graveyard because Jack is the man that wants the boy. He needs to finish the job that he started when he killed Bod's entire family. And he's been waiting years.

I had recently read Neil Gaiman's book Coraline and enjoyed it so I thought I would try his newest book. I've liked spooky stories since I was a child and many of them involved a cemetery in some way or another. None of them ever did it quite like this. The graveyard wasn't just a setting, it was a character. Bod interacted with it and the ghosts that reside there throughout the story. There were so many interesting adventures that he participated in because he developed special abilities while living there. He was a living child but he had learned to fade out of view and to see in the darkness. He can see and communicate with ghosts and he can go places that other people can't. His story also involves the magic and the creative imagination of children. The author takes Bod and the reader on an adventure that isn't likely to happen to an adult. I would recommend this story for older children and up due to Bod's violent past. Although it's not graphic it is a frightening theme.

Neil Gaiman's website:

Publisher: Harper Collins Children
Release Date: 2008
Pages: 307
Price/format: /hardcover/$17.99
Type: fiction
Age: young adult

She's Home!!!

My cousin went home from the hospital last night! YAHOO!!! I haven't talked to her yet but our aunt who flew out to help with the kids (for the third time) left a message with the wonderful news! Brain surgery on Monday, home on Wednesday. It was the same thing two years ago for her first surgery too. She said she was ready to go home. I know she was anxious and is tough as nails but I hope that's been the doctor's decision each time and not the insurance company's. She has a lot of follow up tests and appointments so we'll have to wait and see what that brings. This time it's going to work. I have to believe that. Thank you again for all of your kindness. You've made a tough time more bearable and it means the world to me and my family.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review & Contest - Keeper of Light and Dust by Natasha Mostert

Mia Lockhart has a secret. Her mother was a Keeper, as was her grandmother - women who were warriors, healers, and protectors. As Mia practices among the boxers and martial artists of South London, she has no idea that a man who calls himself "Dragonfly" is watching from the shadows. Adrian Ashton is a brilliant scientist, an expert in the field of biophoton emissions from cells within the human body. He is also a skilled martial artist - and a modern day vampire. With the aid of an ancient Chinese text, he has mastered the art of draining the chi of his opponents - the vital energy that flows through their bodies. Mia finds herself drawn to his dark genius. but when he targets the man she loves, she is forced to chose between them. It becomes a fight to the death in which love is both the greatest weakness and the greatest prize. A fast-paced, highly evocative thriller, Keeper of Light and Dust is a twenty-first-century novel exploring themes as old as time: the imperative of violence and the redemptive power of love.
(- inside cover flap)

~Author's Notes


A thief of light...

I have always been interested in the concept of chi - the vital energy, which forms the basis of traditional Chinese medicine and which is so prevalent in Oriental thought. I therefore decided to turn my villain into a brilliant scientist who is passionate about chi and who has devoted his life to the study of this mysterious life force. But Adrian Ashton is not just a genius, he is also a killer. He has mastered the secret of draining the chi of his victims and making it his own. It was great fun researching the world in which he lives and I enjoyed putting a twist to the vampire legend, creating a vampire for the twenty-first century: a thief of light.

My second source of inspiration was the world of martial arts. I am a kickboxer and I love nothing more than to spar with some very cool guys in the two London dojos where I train. For years I've wanted to write a book that draws on my knowledge of the fighting world. Furthermore, I have long been fascinated by the many myths and legends featuring battle-scarred men who are protected - or cursed - by beautiful, powerful women. And so I created the character of Mia Lockhart, a martial artist descended from a long line of Keepers: women who are both warriors and healers.

Tattoos, quantum physics, sweaty men and chi: I started writing Keeper of Light and Dust* with a number of haphazard ideas in my head. Some of these ideas have been germinating for a while. When I researched the topic of 'remote viewing' for my previous book, Season of the Witch, I became interested in the concept of psi-space and read up on Hall Puthoff's work at Stanford Research Institute and his enthusiasm for the Zero Point Field. A chance reading of Lynne McTaggert's The Field, in which she offers a compelling argument for the concept of an interconnected universe, further inspired me, specifically her chapter on Fritz-Albert Popp and his research into biophotonics. Her second book, The Intention Experiment, was invaluable to my understanding of remote healing. My imagination was also kicked into overdrive by Robert O. Becker's intriguing book, The Body Electric, which deals with organ regeneration and biolectronics.



At the heart of my novel - like a golden pulse - lies the concept of chi.

Chi has never been clinically established inside a laboratory and it is not a concept used in Western medicine. In China, however, it is different. Chi lies at the heart of traditional Chinese medicine and the codified Chinese acupuncture studies go back two thousand years.

The concept of vital energy informs The Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine - the historical equivalent of the Western Corpus Hippocraticum.

Chi enters the body through acupuncture points and flows through twelve meridians and two midline collaterals and through paired yin and yang organs. The movement of chi builds up in wavelike movements, completing a cycle every twenty-four hours. In the early morning hours, chi is at its lowest ebb.

Although chi cannot be dissected under a microscope and does not fit the empirical model, many Western scientists have done experiments with acupuncture. Robert Becker, an American orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in biomedical electronics, found that there are electrical charges separate from the pulses of the body's nervous system, which correspond to the body's acupuncture meridians. Other scientists have proved that there are differences in the levels of potassium and sodium in acupuncture points compared to the surrounding tissue. Acupoints also exhibit lower skin resistance: these points conduct electrical current more efficiently. What's interesting is that this lower skin resistance is even measurable after death.

Chi and Reiki

In Keeper my heroine is a long distance Reiki practitioner who uses chi as a healing force to protect the fighters in her keep. The founder of Reiki is considered to be Usui Mikao (1865-1926) but it is worth remembering that the origin of healing through universal energy dates back before the time of Christ and Sammasambuddha. Fa gung - the transmission of chi through meditation -- is a very old concept.

Chi and martial arts

I believe in chi myself and I also think that we are all subliminally aware of each other's chi and react to it intuitively. Some among us are blessed with strong chi, in others vital energy is blocked and may lead to malaise and depression.

There is no place where I am more aware of my own vital energy than when I am training in the dojo. Increasing your chi sensitivity is central to the discipline of martial arts. For a beautifully written exposition of this journey I highly recommend Kenji Tokitsu's Ki and the Way of the Martial Arts.


I wasn't familiar with this book before I was approached for this blog tour. I had heard of the previous novel, Season of the Witch but not this one. I also didn't have a lot of knowledge about the topic of chi and martial arts but I knew enough to understand the description.

Natasha Mostert writes a detailed thriller that combines the western world with the eastern world, modern times with ancient times. Mia is a Keeper, a secret bestowed to her by her mother at the age of 18. She uses it to protect the fighters around her and since she is also a tattoo artist, she marks them each with a special tattoo. She has the closest connection with Nick, another fighter that she has been friends with since childhood. Their relationship has evolved into more than just friendship, they just don't seem to realize it yet. When Adrian enters their lives as Nick's new trainer you can feel the balance shift. Adrian helps Nick prepare for his big fight and achieve the best fitness of his life. Although Mia is drawn to Adrian's talent she senses that there is danger as well. And she is right. She eventually becomes involved in a battle of basic good versus evil. An evil man has the desire to live forever and he won't let anything get in his way.

The world of marital arts is described in detail and you can see how well Natasha's own experiences as a kickboxer have influenced her writing. It's not just about fighting but about the art and the history of it. Some parts of this took me longer to understand but as the story went on it became more clear. This story is a work of fiction but the concepts are not. While increasing chi sensitivity is an important part of marital arts, the author has used other seemingly unrelated ideas (to me anyway) and her own experiences and connected them to form a different kind of thriller. I am fascinated by the concept of Chi and how vital energy flows through our body. I have considered acupuncture for my own chronic pain but it's an expense that my medical insurance won't cover. (Big surprise) I have become more and more open to the study of other practices, to at least consider the possiblities of benefits and applications. I applaud Natasha for following her passion and for being so creative with this book.

~Blog Tour

There are other blogs having reviews and giveaways this month. Thank you to Sheri at A Novel Menagerie for asking me to join in.

A Novel Menagerie - April 2nd

Literary Escapism – April 7th

The Literate Housewife Review - April 10th

Peeking Between The Pages – April 17th

Saavy Verse & Wit – April 21st

Jo-Jo Loves to Read – April 28th - author's website - *The Keeper Game* is a personality game based on the book. You will be assigned a profile based on your answers and prizes are possible. First prize is a Kindle and there are weekly gift vouchers offered.

Publisher: Dutton/Penguin
Release Date: April 2, 2009
Pages: 310
Price/Format: $25.95/Hardback
Type: Fantasy
Age: Adult

** My First Contest
! **

For a chance to win a copy of Keeper of Dust and Light leave a comment below.
For an extra chance, become a follower or subscriber (also those who already are) and let me know.

Contest ends April 20th.

Update: My cousin and a blog tour with contest today

Great news! My cousin had a 6 hour surgery Monday morning to remove her brain tumor and it went well. Her surgeon was able to remove it easier than anticipated and he left 8 chemo wafers at the sight of the tumor. I got a phone call from my aunt at dinner time. She was at the hospital and had just talked to the doctor while my cousin went to recovery. What a relief!

I got a text message a few hours ago at 3:00 a.m. It was my goofy cousin wanting to know if I was still up. She was awake and in a room in ICU and wanted someone to talk to. She knew that I can never sleep and that's why she thought of me. I sent back a text and then she called me! They were worried that this surgery could affect her speech and thankfully she proved them wrong. We talked for an hour. She wouldn't shut up! Her head hurt but she was fairly comfortable. She finally left to get some rest. She is scheduled for an MRI in another hour. She is already talking about going to her local Cancer Walk this weekend.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and good thoughts. Please keep them coming because she's not out of the woods yet. She's been fighting this battle for two years and the tumor has come back twice. That's enough. She's going to beat it this time.

I have a review and contest to post for a blog tour for the book Keeper of Light and Dust. It's almost ready but I have a few finishing touches and I was a bit distracted the last few days. Right now I'm going to try to grab a few hours sleep then I'll get that finished. I have some more contests coming up this week too so please come back!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday

~ April 13th

Printed Page with Marcia is the host of this fun meme. Come join us!

Monday, 4/6

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls explores the emotions that underlie the obsessive, competitive culture of eating disorders as only Laurie Halse Anderson could. With lyrical, evocative prose, she tells the unforgettable story of one girl's desperate struggle to battle the demons within.

From a contest at Presenting Lenore
Release Date: March 19, 2009

Wednesday, 4/8
Words Unspoken
by Elizabeth Musser

Lissa Randall's future was bright with academic promise until the tragic accident that took her mother's life - and brought her own plans to a screeching halt. Eighteen months later, she still can't get back behind the wheel.

A casual recommendation to Ev McAllister's driving school sets in motion a cascade of events...until Lissa begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe, life isn't as random as she's thought.

From LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Release Date: May 2009

Thursday, 4/9
Immortal Law
by Lisa Hendrix

Painfully aware of the danger he presents when the moon rises, Steinarr initially refuses to help them search for the key to Robin's inheritance. Than a kiss from Marian awakens his desire. Driven to protect the maid he so desperately wants to possess. Steinarr joins the quest...while the sorceress Cwen gathers her dark magic to destroy them.

As the legend of an outlaw in the woods spreads, their band is joined by others. But it is Steinarr who has the most to gain and the most to lose - his chance to be free of the curse (half man, half beast) and to love as a man...

This came from a contest at Yankee Romance Reviewers back in November 2008. The ARCs just came out. This also included a personal letter from Lisa, bookmarks and a recipe for Scarborough Fair Herb Bread.
Release Date: June 2009

Runaway Bay
by Lisa Hendrix (Autographed!)

It had to be the worst weekend of Jackie Barnett's life. Her boyfriend canceled their romance - by voice mail. Her boss insisted she take a vacation. But she should have known - he wanted her to squeeze some grant money out of the head of the Phelps Foundation, who just happened to be staying at her resort. Her arch rival, Reade Hunter, was there steal away the Phelps Grant!

This time, Jackie's going to beat Reade Hunter at his own game. She's not going to lose this grant! And by the look in Reade's eyes when he spots Jackie in a very revealing sundress, he won't even mind losing...the grant or his heart.

This was from the same contest and I got to pick a title from the back list too.
Release Date: 2002

Friday, 4/10
B as in Beauty
by Alberto Ferreras

Beauty Maria Zavala has always been uncomfortable in her own skin. Even her names feels like a joke, so she simply goes by B. Never appreciated for her creative brain or her curvy body, B can't seem to find her way. Until she meets a modern day fairy godmother offering an enticing, if unorthodox, makeover.

Suddenly B is introduced to the weird and exciting world of New York City glamour and luxury. As she comes to understand her past and anticipate her future, she thinks she finally found the secret to feeling beautiful, confident, and happy. But is the new B who she should be?

This came from Miriam at Hatchette Books. Stay tuned. There may just be a contest coming!
Release date: April 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dragonflies and Extra Prayers

I have a very special cousin "D" who is more like my little sister. We talk for hours, she makes me laugh, she gets on my nerves... she's exactly like a little sister. She had a very hard childhood but our grandparents stepped in and took her and her brothers into their home. It wasn't ideal but they did their best and got them through school. Eventually D met the man of her dreams and started her own family. Her husband is in the service and they moved to California. That's such a long ways from home in NY state. They have four babies now, ages 11, 9, 7 and 5. They are beautiful, sweet, adorable kids. Our biggest dreams have always been to be mothers and now we are.

I haven't traveled to CA yet but they have tried to come home almost every year. We've been able to watch the kids grow and teach them all of the naughty things parents don't want them to know. (Hey, somebody taught them to my kids first.) They haven't been here in the last two years though because in February of 2007, D was diagnosed with an extremely rare brain tumor, Medulla Blastoma. This is a common tumor in children but not in adults.
The first course of action was surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. It worked for a while but then the tumor came back. Treatment took care of it again but recently it came back for a second time. She has maxed out her radiation and a different form of chemo only helped for a short time. The tumor grows so fast that it can't be left untreated. She will be having another surgery tomorrow, Monday.

At UCLA Hospital they have different animals that represent the different kinds of cancers. Dragonflies are the symbol for brain cancer. We now have dragonflies all over the place. Everything counts. I wish I could take her pain away. I wish I could take her cancer away. She is so incredibly tough that I am confident that she and her doctors will be able to do that together. We could use some extra prayers though. She needs to get well and go back to coaching soccer and helping in the classrooms. She needs to get well and go out to dinner to celebrate with her husband, for all of the months he's spent in Iraq and she's spent in the hospital. She needs to get well and take the kids to Lego Land and work on their scrapbooks. She needs to get well and come home to visit all of the family. She needs to get well to be a wife, to be a mom, to be my cousin and sister, to be anything she wants to be for many, many more years. She needs to get well. So if you have any of those extra prayers, could you please send them her way? We would really appreciate all of the help we can get. Cancer really sucks.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Fill-In



Thank you Janet for hosting this each week and for putting up with comments like this one below. I hope it's the only one you ever get.

Quoted from Janet's blog:
Last week, Anonymous left this comment: "*sighs* The last two of these have sucked royally...I love this thing, but now I'm having to go back in the archives and find ones that aren't totally ridiculous and moronic...". This week, I'm dedicating #1 to Anonymous :-)

1.'s so very rude and cowardly that you chose to anonymously insult someone who is kind enough to provide us with these every week. You don't have to participate, you can start your own meme.

2. Friday Fill-Ins is a fun and clever meme that I really enjoy and appreciate.

3. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, because everything is better with a hug.

4. Sunshine, flowers and my kids mowing the lawn are what I look forward to most about Spring.

5. Who needs therapy when you have moms and girlfriends.

6. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate MUST go into the Easter Basket!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing at home before hubby and youngest son leave for their baseball trip, tomorrow my plans include coloring eggs and hoping to catch a glance of the Easter Beagle and Sunday, I want to have dinner at my mom's house!