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, June 25, 2009

Family update

My cousin, who I have mentioned several times here on my blog, has been in the hospital for almost 6 weeks now. She has been battling a very rare brain tumor for over 2 years and after her most recent surgery she started to experience complications. They have compounded with time and puzzled her doctors, family and friends. During the last week it became clear to all of us who love her that she would never be coming home again. She was placed on life support two days ago and when her doctors confirmed that her cancer had come back yet again, her amazing husband had to make the agonizing decision to remove it all last night. The extended family is all on the east coast and they live on the west coast but it might as well be a million miles away. At last report this afternoon she is still hanging on and fighting to the end. I wouldn't expect anything less from her. I always, always thought that she was going to win this battle. I guess she's going to go out on her own terms after all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review and Blog Tour: The Host by Stephenie Meyer


Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

One of the most compelling writers of our time, Stephenie Meyer brings us a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the very essence of what it means to be human.

Author Q & A

1. What inspired the idea for The Host?

The kernel of thought that became The Host was inspired by absolute boredom. I was driving from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, through some of the most dreary and repetitive desert in the world. It’s a drive I’ve made many times, and one of the ways I keep from going insane is by telling myself stories. I have no idea what sparked the strange foundation of a body-snatching alien in love with the host body’s boyfriend over the host-body’s protest. I was halfway into the story before I realized it. Once I got started, though, the story immediately demanded my attention. I could tell there was something compelling in the idea of such a complicated triangle. I started writing the outline in a notebook, and then fleshed it out as soon as I got to a computer. The Host was supposed to be no more than a side project—something to keep me busy between editing stints on Eclipse—but it turned into something I couldn’t step away from until it was done.

2. Did you approaching writing The Host, your first adult novel, differently than your YA series?

Not at all. Like the Twilight Saga (this is probably the only way The Host is like the Twilight Saga!), The Host is just a story I had fun telling myself. My personal entertainment is always the key to why a story gets finished. I never think about another audience besides myself while I’m writing; that can wait for the editing stage.

3. You have referred to The Host as being a science fiction novel for people who don't like science fiction. Can you explain why?

Reading The Host doesn’t feel like reading science fiction; the world is familiar, the body you as the narrator are moving around inside of is familiar, the emotions on the faces of the people around you are familiar. It’s very much set in this world, with just a few key differences. If it weren’t for the fact that alien stories are by definition science fiction, I wouldn’t classify it in that genre.

4. There is a lot of internal dialogue between Wanderer, the narrator and invading "soul", and Melanie, the human whose body Wanderer is now living inside. Each character has her own distinct voice and internal struggle. Was it a challenge to have the two characters, who essentially take up one body, stand on their own?

Wanderer and Melanie were very distinct personalities to me from day one; keeping them separate was never an issue. Melanie is the victim—she’s the one that we, as humans, should identify with; at the same time, she is not always the more admirable character. She can be angry and violent and ruthless. Wanderer is the attacker, the thief. She is not like us, not even a member of our species. However, she is someone that I, at least, wish I was more like. She’s a better person than Melanie in a lot of ways, and yet a weaker person. The differences between the two main characters are the whole point of the story. If they weren’t so distinct, there would have been no reason to write it.

5. Did any of the characters surprise you while writing?

I am constantly surprised by my characters when I write—it’s really one of my favorite parts. When a character refuses to do what I had planned for him or her, that’s when I know that character is really alive. There were several characters who caught me off guard with The Host. One in particular was slated for a bit part as the wingman to the villain. Somehow, he knew he was more than that, and I couldn’t stop him from morphing into a main love interest.

6. Your Twilight series has had a lot of crossover appeal for adult readers, do you think The Host will also appeal to your younger readers?

I’ve had a great deal of interest from my YA readers about the release of The Host. I have no doubt that they will continue to make up a core part of my readership. I love blurring the lines between the different genres and categories—because in my head, a good book won’t fit inside the lines. I hope that The Host continues to do what the Twilight Saga is doing: showing that a good story doesn’t belong to any one demographic.

7. How do you feel about the enormous success that you’ve had with the Twilight series? How has it changed your life?

I am continually shocked by the success of my books. I never take it for granted, and I do not count on it in my expectations of my future. It’s a very enjoyable thing, and I’ll have fun with it while it lasts. I’ve always considered myself first and foremost a mother, so being a writer hasn’t changed my life too much – except I do travel a lot more and have less free time.

8. What adult authors do you read?

I’ve been reading books for adults my entire life. Growing up I was an avid reader—the thicker the book, the better. Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, The Sword of Shannara, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, etc. I’m a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, and Jane Austen-- I can’t go through a year without re-reading her stuff again.


I have to admit that sci-fi is not a genre that I'm usually drawn to. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't read it, it just depends on the story. I read the young adult Twilight series when it came out and while I wasn't always crazy about the story line I did enjoy Stephenie Meyer's writing. She made the pages fly by and I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

The same thing happened in this book. It took me a little while to get into it but once I did I was engrossed in the story. It's a large book but it went quickly. I had read other people's comments where they mentioned that it didn't seem like a sci-fi book once you started reading it. That was the same feeling I got. It's not that you forget that aspect, especially since it's about aliens invading humans' minds, but there is so much more to it. The relationships of the characters are quite complex and interesting. Melanie is the human and her body will become the host for Wanderer, a new soul. But Melanie doesn't give up and go away and she and Wanderer share one mind. Two species are intermingling in one body and that wasn't part of the plan. Wanderer begins to experience Melanie's emotions and memories and rather than destroy her they form a bond. When Melanie shares her worries about her loved ones Wanderer feels it too and they set off on a journey of survival, trying to adapting to their new world.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I cared about the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen to them. Meyer took an unusual idea and made it interesting. If you are a fan of her writing I think you will like this one as well.

Author's website -
Book website -

These are the blogs who are hosting for the rest of the month. Check them out!

Thank you to Miriam at Hatchette Books for including me in this tour and for providing me with the books to giveaway in my contest.

Slight delay...

Hi everyone. My review for The Host by Stephenie Meyer is coming right up. I have a family emergency and am running behind. Thanks for understanding.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Contest: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

It's time for another contest!

In honor of this month's blog tour for The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Hatchette Books is allowing me to give away three copies! I will have my review for the tour tomorrow, June 23rd.

- To enter leave a comment with your email address.
- Contest ends June 30th at 11:59 p.m. EST
- I'm sorry that this contest is only for the U.S. and Canada, no P.O. boxes.
-Winners will be drawn by

Extra entries: (You don't need separate posts)
+1 for new followers.
+2 if you are already a follower.
+3 if you promote this contest. Please leave a link.

Good luck!

Mailbox Monday

If you'd like to join this fun meme stop by Mailbox Monday and leave a link where you have your books listed. Marcia is kind enough to host it each week.

The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher

by Lenore Hart

From St. Martin's Reading Group Gold's Early Access program.

Becky Thatcher wants to set the record straight. She was never the weeping ninny Mark Twain made her out to be in his famous novel. She knew Samuel Clemens before he was “Mark Twain,” when he was a wide-eyed dreamer who never could get his facts straight. Yes, she was Tom’s childhood sweetheart, but the true story of their love, and the dark secret that tore it apart, never made it into Twain’s novel.

Giving Up The "V"
by Serena Robar

From a contest sponsored by the author.

Go to for a chance to win your own copy. She's giving away a book a day for the month of June!

What’s So Wrong With Waiting?

Spencer Davis just turned sixteen. But unlike most hormonal teenagers who seem obsessed with sex — like her entire crew of friends — Spencer just doesn’t get it. She’d rather wait for the right guy and the right moment. But that moment may be arriving sooner than she’d thought.

Enter Benjamin Hopkins, a new transfer student who seems to have his eyes on our V-card-carrying heroine. He’s gorgeous, funny, suave, athletic, and capable of making Spencer’s knees wobble with a single glance. Spencer has never felt this way about anyone before, but is Ben truly V-worthy?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

For the best father I know...

It's been 20 years since my husband's first Father's Day but it certainly doesn't seem like it's been that long. Oh where does the time go? I remember all of my great-aunts saying the same thing when I was a kid as they pinched my cheek and gave me a kiss with the fire-engine-red lipstick that wouldn't come off my face. Now it's me thinking and saying the same thing, minus the lipstick.

While I'm so very proud of all three of my kids and I'm glad to be done with the car seats, baby swings, diapers and cribs, (have you ever noticed that the smaller the person is the bigger their paraphernalia is?) I loved every stage of their childhood as we were going through it. OK, maybe I didn't love those late nights with a crying newborn that wouldn't nurse and I was sure I was starving him, but they were all important and so very special. Each of these photos was of my hubby and our babies when we were still in the hospital or on the first day home. They are all framed and on their separate shelves that have their first walking sneakers, first Christmas ornament, a portrait photo and other special mementos. These babies are now 20, 19 (next month) and 16 years old. When did that happen?

They have been blessed to have many people that love and adore them. People who have shaped their lives and always supported them in their every endeavor. Their biggest supporter, after me of course, is their dad. He was the first person to hold them and he's never let go. He changed that first messy diaper and the many, many more that followed. He's carried them, burped them, feed them, coached them, helped them, taught them, watched them, disciplined them, laughed with them and loved them. He's always been there and he always will because he is an amazing father and husband. It's not always easy but it's always worth it. And even as teenagers my boys know just how lucky they are. I hope they will bless their children with the same kind of love and devotion.

Happy Father's Day Hubby! We love you!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review: Jessica's Guide To Dating On The Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

The undead can really
screw up your senior year...

Jessica has a very ordinary, teenage life in a small town in Pennsylvania. She has a best friend Mindy and a crush on a nice boy named Jake. Lucius Vladescu is a new foreign exchange student from Romania who is in her senior lit class. He appears at her home later and makes outrageous claims. He is a vampire and Jess is really a Romanian vampire princess Antanasia Dragomir and they have been promised in marriage to each other since birth. They are to be married at the age of 18. She knew she had been adopted but had never heard such a story. Her parents confirmed it. She is shocked and appalled that her parents would allow it.

This is a debut YA novel and I had heard good things about it on other reviews. Since this is a hot trend right now I wasn't sure if it was going to be a repeat of so many other stories out now. It did have some of the same elements with the main characters who appear to be completely opposite, a love triangle, snotty rich girl who wants the new guy, new guy who happens to be a hot vampire... but it has it's own interesting storyline.

Jessica narrates the story but there are also letters from Lucius to his uncle mixed throughout the chapters. The author takes this opportunity to mix in some humor when Lucius complains about the American lifestyle and how much he abhors his teenage classmates. As he describes their spoiled behavior he is also slowly adapting to their ways. And Jessica is also slowly accepting the possibility that he may really be telling her the truth about his life. But she's no pushover and she doesn't just take his word for everything. When Lucius presents her with a written guide to becoming a vampire she tosses it aside. It must be nonsense! But as she starts to experience "symptoms" she decides to check it out a bit. Although some of the comments make her roll her eyes (Getting new fangs is like getting your first period. Ha!) they do become relevant, and quite funny.

This was an enjoyable and quick read. The way the book ended I can see a sequel coming. I look forward to reading it to see what happens next for these characters.

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Release date: February 2009
Pages: 368
Price/Format: $17.00/Hardcover
Type: YA fiction
Age: 14 and up

Friday Fill-Ins

I was away for a few days but I hate to miss this one so better late than never! This is always a fun meme. Join in with your own answers at Friday Fill-Ins.



1. All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting them to act just like you did!

2. Show me a good loser and I will show you a liar! (Kidding!)

3. Having sunshine, a good book to read in my hammock and 3 hours of peace and quiet is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs at one time.

4. Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy running their mouths and bickering.

5. I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine driving and asking for directions.

6. It is impossible to think of any good meal, no matter how plain or elegant, without a little salt or pepper in it.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to returning home from visiting my brother, tomorrow my plans include our first graduation party of the "season" and Sunday, I want to recover from the party, celebrate Father's Day with my amazing hubby and make up for all of the reading I'm not getting done!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


You're too kind people!
I have received some very nice awards lately. I really, really intend to pass them on as soon as I get them but obviously that doesn't always happen. That doesn't make them any less important to me. Since I started blogging last year (with no idea what I was doing) I've been lucky enough to meet so many great people and learn so many amazing things. I am grateful to each and every one of you who take the time to visit my blog. I have such a hard time choosing only a few people to pass these on to. I sincerely think everyone is deserving but these are some special acknowledgments.

The Heartfelt Award

This is one of the cutest darn awards ever and it came from Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals and all of her adorable and talented penguins.

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you’re relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family & friends?You know that feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea ~ or a hot toddy?That is what the Heartfelt award is all about feeling warm inside.

1) Put the logo
on your blog/post
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.
3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

- Wendy of Wendy's Minding Spot (love Eeyore too!)
- Alyssa at The Shady Glade (fun contests and there's always a good poll!)
- Amy of My Friend Amy (among many other things I love those Lost reviews!)
- Caspette at The Narrative Causality (another great blogger and lover of chocolate!)
- Stacybuckeye from Stacy's Bookblog (always a fun place to go with great trivia quizzes!)

The True Fairy Tale Award

Anna at Diary of an Eccentric kindly gave me this award.
The award is for the hopes that one day all your dreams will come true!! Because we all are still Cinderella's at heart!

I'm passing this one on to some of the newer-to-me blogs.

- Marie Burton from The Burton Review (I love what you have to say!)
- Wdebo from The Electrical Book Cafe (Great blog, I can't believe you just started!)
- I Heart Monster (Love your look!)
- The Book Butterfly (Such a cool blog and the best butterflies!)


Literary Blog Award

Another beautiful award and this one comes from Wendy at Wendy's Blogging Spot and The Kool-Aid Mom at In The Shadow of Mt. TBR. Isn't it the perfect setting for curling up with a good book?

The Literary Blogger Award acknowledges bloggers who energize & inspire reading by going the extra mile. These amazing bloggers make reading fun & enhance the delight of reading!

The Rules:
1) Put the logo on your blog/post.
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs.

3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.

5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I really think this award should go to every book blogger out there but I'll name just a few instead.

- Kaye of Pudgy Penguin Perusals is my biggest inspiration to keep on keeping on.
- PopinFresh of Popin's Lair
always has such good books and a great contest list. It's a fun place to be!
- As a teen and tween librarian and a new bride the GreenBeanTeenQueen is always energizing and inspirational!
- Bingo at Bookin' with Bingo has created an amazing blog in such a short amount of time. I can't even imagine what she will be able to do now that she's retired!

Bloggers who provide a service too:
- The ladies at West of Mars provide a very valuable service with their ongoing list of the many contests on the blogs. Love the new site!
- Marcia at The Printed Page gives us two fun memes that I always enjoy participating in - Mailbox Monday and Cover Attractions.
- Janet has another meme that provides lots of entertainment - Friday Fill-ins.

Angel On My Blog Award

This is a special treat that also comes from Wendy's Minding Spot.

There are no rules for this one other than to share, share, share!

I'm leaving this one open to everyone and anyone. It's meant to be enjoyed! (Yowza!) But I think that The Kool-Aid Mom at In the Shadow of Mt. TBR has the best sense of humor and will especially enjoy it!

Donna from
Bites added to my One Lovely Blog Award.
Thank you Donna!
Wdebo from The Electrical Book Cafe added to my Lemonade Award.
Thank you Wdebo!

Monday, June 15, 2009

We have an empty nest... literarily!

Early last week our baby birds (I mentioned them with photos here) were poking their little heads up. They thought everyone that walked by the porch was their mama bringing them food. This was what they did when my son just pointed in their direction.

Two days later, they were so big they were stacking themselves on top of each other. They needed little birdie bunkbeds!

At the end of the week I was surprised that the mama was staying by the nest when we were outside. In the past, she had flown away anytime we came out of the house. When I got closer I saw that this was one of the babies! I took a few photos and that was the last time I saw any of them. When I looked later they had flown the coop (I had to say that). My son saw them fluttering with their mama in a nearby tree.

The whole process from eggs to free-flying-birdies took less than a month. I wish I had written down the dates so I knew exactly how many days it took. I had to look it up and I found all kinds of interesting information here. By the way, it's 12-14 days for the eggs to hatch and 9-16 days before the babies leave the nest. It feels like my own kids are growing up just as fast!

Mailbox Monday

I just love to see what everyone got in their mailboxes! If you'd like to share too than join us at Mailbox Monday hosted by Marcia. It's always fun!

The Power of Two
Surviving Serious Illness with
An Attitude and an Advocate

by Brian & Gerri Monaghan

from LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Ten years ago Brian Monaghan, a fifty-nine-year-old trial lawyer at the top of his game, received the kind of news none of us can imagine - Stage IV cancer with a prognosis of three to six months to live. That night Brian and his wife Geri make a pact: "We are going to love and laugh and fight this. And we are going to win." This is how they did it...

I was thrilled to receive this book. I have been living with chronic illnesses myself for the last ten years. While they are painful, they aren't life threatening. I'm always interested in advice for myself and for my family who have also had the burden of living with this. My husband has had to take on so many responsibilities and my kids don't remember me any other way.

Another very important reason I was interested in this book was for any help it might provide my cousin and her family. I've often discussed what she is going thorough fighting brain cancer and the man in this book also has had brain tumors. He had a different kind of cancer but from what I've read already there are many similarities in their treatments and health problems. He also lives in the same state of California where she lives. I will be paying extra attention to any facilities or medical staff that were of benefit to him.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

Stop by Friday Fill-Ins where our host Janet gives us the best sentences to finish. It's always a fun way to end the week!



1. I grew up thinking adults in authority were always right and parents and grandparents could not possibly ever have sex (at least not mine! Ewww.) Boy was I wrong on both counts and I will never elaborate.

2. Pudgy Penguin Perusals was the last website I was at before coming here. Check it out! Go ahead, I'll wait.

3. Why don't you put your feet up and stay awhile?

4. Chocolate, girl talk, long walks and plenty of alcohol helps me relax. Oh yeah, and my hammock. (Just kidding about the alcohol but it would!)

5. Thanks for the nothing NY state tax department!

6.People who talk on cell phones while going through the checkout line, drive-thru, while placing an order in a restaurant and anyplace else that people are trying to wait on them is very off-putting.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to visiting friends, tomorrow my plans include enjoying the beautiful weather that I'm expecting and going to the Music Fest downtown and Sunday, I want to do some yard work and than relax with a book!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So much to do, so much to do...

I am so far behind on everything right now. This is a busy month here because school doesn't finish until late June. I've had kids graduate the last two years but my youngest is a sophomore so we have a few years off. We don't have the senior activities so we only have the end of the baseball season, the Spring Sports Banquet, after school review classes, final exams, road test for driver's license, summer baseball games, work... that's just for one kid. The other two are in college and more independent. This youngest one just can't ditch us as easy yet. Ha!

Next week is the beginning of the graduation parties for a nephew, two nieces and many friends. The celebrations last throughout the whole summer. It's a small town so everyone gets invited to everything. I also get to see my five-year-old nephew graduate from preschool next week. He's the youngest of my mom's grandchildren so it's sad but fun. He's excited we're coming but I'm betting money that he won't participate in anything during his "ceremony". He is one kid that you can't make do anything he doesn't want to do.

So I have a lot of catching up to do here. I have awards to post from the many generous people who gave them to me and the people I admire and have passed them on to. I really have been working on them. Really. I have reviews, upcoming tours, book club chats and a contest or two to finish putting together. And I have many of you to visit and comment on. I love reading your blogs and I can't wait to catch up with everyone. I have some really good books that I am itching to read every chance I get. My hammock is calling to me but I'm not getting there very often. It's a good thing books are portable because I take them with me everywhere I go.

My cousin who I've mentioned before is going through a very tough time right now. She had her most recent surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor over a month ago and was doing great. It's the complications from all she's been through in the last two years that are making her so sick now. She's been in the hospital for 3 1/2 weeks because of low blood counts, sinus and ear infections, loss of appetite and confusion from her most recent chemo. Fortunately her doctors are keeping her in there as long as it takes, which is unusual in this day and age of drive-thru hospital care. Her insurance company must be having a fit but this is a life or death fight and her doctors are doing what's best for her. Thank God. We want her home but we want her well. Right now we can use all the help we can get.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Marcia at The Printed Page hosts this meme. Join the fun and post what you got in your mailbox last week. I only got two but they both sound like the perfect summer books.

The Castaways
by Elin Hilderbrand

from Early Birds Blog Tours

A story of passion and suspense. When music teacher Greg MacAvoy spends an afternoon with a high school senior, rumors start and strain his marriage. He and his wife Tess, who has secrets of her own, decide to celebrate their anniversary on their sailboat and try to improve their relationship. But tragedy occurs when they mysteriously drown and leave behind two children. The three couples that are their closet friends are devastated and their grief brings out many emotions and conflicts. Now they are are seeking the truth. What really happened tp Greg and Tess?

Girls In Trucks
by Katie Crouch

won at Bookin' With Bingo

Sarah Walters is a member of Camellias, the oldest debutante society in Charleston, whether she likes it or not. The antiquated society is a privilege one is born into, and it's rules of ettiquette are meant to help prepare a girl for a charmed life and apropriate husband. ("Never chase men or buses." "Never let yourself be seen in a truck in town.") But Sarah doesn't always make the best choices in life and they are anything but polite. From her dancing lessons for her 8th grade Cotillion to her life in NY City at age 35, Sarah is on a humorous adventure. It takes a strange turn of events for her realize that where she came from will always affect where she ends up.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Our spring babies!

Last month we noticed that a bird had built a perfectly formed nest in the grapevine wreath hanging on the side of our house. Although there is a muddy mess on the siding we left it alone to see what would happen. About a week later there were four blue eggs.

In a very short time there were four teeny, tiny, scrawny, bald, ugly baby birds. Really ugly. But their mama still loved them.
After only a week those ugly babies are now cute little birdies with feathers. The nest is looking a little crowded so we're thinking they may need siderails on their nest. The mama probably isn't going to take us up on the offer though. Safety first!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Fill-ins

Thank you to Janet at Friday Fill-Ins for hosting this meme each week. She has the best questions! Join the fun by posting your own answers and linking back to your site. You know you want to!



1. Home, sweet home.

2. My favorite thing for dinner lately has been whatever yummy meal my hubby decides to make. He's an excellent cook and it's a good thing because I'd be satisfied with cereal or pizza every night.

3. My husband got the dog of his dreams last year and all we hear now is bark! bark! bark! She's going to be packing her bags if she doesn't shape up!

4. A nice long walk is something that I really enjoy, especially when shared with a friend.

5. We really need some good news.

6. When all is said and done, that carrot cake in the frig will be gone before bedtime.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to preparing for graduations later this month, tomorrow my plans include yard work at grandma's and Sunday, I want to read and lounge, lounge and read!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I hate my @*!#?$! dial-up connection! Have a nice day :)

I may just be the last person on earth to have a dial-up connection for my computer. We live in a rural area that doesn't offer it through our phone lines yet. We don't have cable access on our road and we use a satellite dish for our television. There are other alternatives now and we could also get a high speed connection from a satellite but it's quite expensive. Right now it's about triple the cost of what we pay for our service. I just can't pay that. While it's so very, VERY frustrating to have to wait for downloads and to be unable to access certain things like videos, vlogs and a million other things, none of that stuff is a necessity. I can still get email, surf the net, maintain my blog - and when I do need to do more I can take my laptop to town and use the wifi at my library or Dunkin' Donuts. it's just so frustrating!

Of course if I compare it to the good ole' days when we first got a computer this is lightning fast. You could go make a sandwich and unload the dishwasher in the time it took just to get connected. And that noise! I can't even describe it but everyone recognizes it. That squeak squawk computer buzzing sound dragged on and on. Now that squeak squawk computer buzzing sound is much faster. For all we've gained it's worth it though. My kids don't remember a time without a home computer and it's been very valuable for them with school assignments and of course those blessed social networks. (There was a lot of sarcasm behind that comment) It's also been a wonderful tool for us to be able to access so many of our personal accounts like the library, paying bills, etc. My favorite feature has to be email. I've certainly been lacking in my correspondence lately but it has made all of the difference in the world staying in contact with friends and family who live far away. I am still a big fan of sending "real" letters and cards through the mail but having email is convenient. And now with video features like Skype (which I can only use down town) I can stay visit with my cousin in California who is battling cancer. She has always come home every year with her family but because of her illness it's been three long years. My grandparents raised her and her siblings and now that my grandmother is 90 and a widow she can't travel across the country. Skype has made it possible for them to "see" each other and get the reassurance that they both need when they worry about each other.

I'm sure I'm not telling anyone anything they don't already know. In fact, I learn from all of you every single day. I find so many new things that make blogging more fun and interesting. It's just too bad I can't use all of them. If I had a faster connection I would get all of this done faster instead of always waiting, waiting for pages to load. I already spend too much time on here and that makes it even longer. Although if I had access to more things there's a good chance that I would do more things. Hmmm....

I really need to cut back on things and spend less time bonding with my computer, especially the summer months. Instead of waiting for things to happen I need to go outside in that beautiful sunshine and do some yard work and lounge in my hammock with a stack of books. In fact I think I'll go do some of that right now. Then I get to pump up the old frustration level again when I go to the DMV this afternoon. I need to renew my driver's license. In the past I've done it in the mail or online (there's that convenience factor again) but it's been more than six months since my last vision test with a participating provider so I have to go there to have it done. There are so many other topics that I could go off on right now but my fingers are cramping just from the thought of it. For now, I will stick with my complaint about my dial-up connection. And in the grand scheme of things that's a pretty small complaint. I'm going outside now. Enjoy your high-speed, sunshiny day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cover Attractions: repeat after me by Rachel DeWoskin

Thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting each week.

repeat after me
by Rachel DeWoskin

I saw this on another blog recently and I was really attracted to the cover. It's so simple but the colors stand out. The simple, lower case title fits in very well.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Cultures don’t so much collide as coalesce in DeWoskin’s sparkling debut novel, which follows the relationship of two people with more in common than their backgrounds would suggest. Aysha Silvermintz is a marginally neurotic, sublimely needy young instructor of English to immigrants in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Her student Da Ge is an intriguingly taciturn, softly menacing Chinese national who came to the U.S. in the wake of the Tiananmen Square uprisings. What they lack in fluid communication skills they more than make up for in shared emotional fragility, born of family tragedies and personal failures. Aysha falls instantly and secretly in love with Da Ge, long before he bluntly asks her to marry him so he can become a U.S. citizen. Aysha becomes pregnant, but before she can tell him, Da Ge commits suicide just days before his citizenship is finalized. Determined to understand what plagued this tortured, enigmatic man, Aysha moves to China, where she’ll raise the daughter he never knew. Infusing her multicultural narrative with vibrant observations that glitter with laser-intense acuity, DeWoskin demonstrates a smart, sophisticated literary agility. --Carol Haggas

Publisher: Overlook
Release date: May 14, 2009
Pages: 320
Price/format: /hardcover
Type: Fiction

We have our winners! Lots of 'em!

I did it! I spent hours figuring it out but I came up with the FIFTEEN winners who will each receive a set of FIVE books!

Here's a few fun facts:
- There were 170 total entries counting bonus entries.
- I used 5 sheets of notebook paper, front and back, to figure out all of those entries. (I had to write them out on a master list and give everyone numbers then sort them by categories so everyone could be entered in the sets they were trying for then draw the 5 winning numbers for each of the 3 sets then match the numbers to the master list and check to make sure I had the right numbers in the right places...)
- It took hours. And hours.
- The first person to enter was one of the winners.
- The third from the last person to enter, just 6 hours before the contest ended, was a winner.
**- The last person to enter was a winner.
- Several of the wins were from the bonus entries.
**- THREE people had their entry chosen and then had their bonus entry chosen after. In theory, two of those people won twice for the same set and the other won for two sets! Since each person can only win one set that second entry was tossed and the next number determined another winner.
- 3 people didn't leave their email address. It wasn't a problem for one because their comment linked to their blog where I easily found their email address. I don't mind that at all. I would hate to have someone miss out because they forgot their email address. The other two entries were a different story. As anonymous posters or posters who have a name linked to a profile but nothing else, I have no way to contact them. I'm sorry that those had to be eliminated but I tried to find them first with no luck. The next numbers were the new winners.
- I checked and rechecked stuff. A lot.
- There were very few names repeated in the entries. Although I'm sure we have a lot of common names, there are some very clever and original screennames.
**- There are 15 winners but there have been 27 names drawn due to people winning from another site, duplicates being drawn or no contact information. Fortunately, I saved the sequence of numbers from so it's very easy to just move down the line to the next winner. I appreciate people letting me know and passing on the books so others get to read them too!

Now, you probably want to know who the winners are, right?
(**Edited to add three new winners)

#1) The Mother's Day set
* Anonymous (patricjames as the beginning of the email)
* Danimal
* Jennsbookshelf
* Ashley
** nightreader
(** MJ already won this and is passing it on.)
(** ewalsh won this already and is passing it on.)

#2) The Latino Book set
* Kitten 22
* Sue W.
* principessa
(**Bingo already won this and is passing it on.)

#3) The Asian Heritage Month set
* Deedles
* Sara
* Marie Button
* lastnerve
* jemscout425

Special note - these people all won too but were generous enough to pass them on because they had previously won the same set at another giveaway.
* Bridget3420 (You must have great luck! I see your name as a winner all over the place!)
* nightdweller20
* Carlene
* Bingo
* MJ
* ewalsh

Congratulations everyone and thanks so much for participating! A new contest will be starting very soon. I've sent emails to all of the winners. If you see this first you're welcome to contact me at:

Please send me your mailing addresses so I can pass them on to the generous folks at Hatchette Books.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Review: The Gift of Valor - A War Story by Michael M. Phillips

This is a book I've meant to review here for some time. With Memorial Day fresh in our minds this seemed like an excellent time. I've read this little book twice and plan to read it again. And again. I don't very often reread books, usually because I have too many new ones to read, but this one is an exception.

This is a true story about Jason Dunham. I've posted links about his amazing life and a book description so I won't put all of the details here but he is his local hero. He has also become a national hero. I live in a very small town in NY state and he lived in an even smaller town in my county. With only one traffic light on Main Street it didn't take long to pass through. This young man grew up and went to school there, as most of his family had. He went on to become a soldier, to serve his country and to sacrifice his life for others. A true hero. His family has been honored by his many outstanding posthumous awards and achievements.

His story is inspiring and will keep you reading straight to the end. Even though I knew the outcome I didn't know all of the details until I read it. It's a strange feeling to know some of the people and the places mentioned in the book. I went to high school with one of Jason's relatives and my husband worked with a family member. The stores and the restaurants mentioned are the same ones we stop at or drive by almost every day. While those things are part of an ordinary life, the loss of Jason Dunham was not. I didn't know him personally or attend his services but no one around here could miss the attention to the events. They were grand and spectacular. They were professional and personal. They were fitting for a hero and so damn sad. Read the book and learn Jason Dunham's story. Unfortunately, it's only one of so many. I suspect most of us have our town heroes that we've lost. It's even more tragic how many have lost their own personal heroes.

So I'm mentioning this book now to remind others, as well as myself, that Memorial Day is a time for remembering and honoring. I've mentioned the word heroes so many times here but there is no better word for those who take on this mission in life. We've been blessed to have many heroes protecting us and we should never forget them.

(From Barnes & Noble)


Obscured by the ideological fog of war is a basic fact: Every day ordinary young Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq, with the same bravery, honor, and sense of duty that have distinguished the best American soldiers throughout history. One of these was Jason Dunham, a Marine corporal from the one-stoplight town of Scio, New York, whose stunning story reporter Michael M. Phillips discovered while he was embedded with a Marine infantry battalion in the Iraqi desert. Corporal Dunham was on patrol in the town of Husaybah, near the Syrian border, on April 14, 2004 when a black-clad Iraqi leaped out of a car and grabbed him around his neck. Fighting hand-to-hand in the dirt, Dunham saw his attacker drop a grenade and made the instantaneous decision to place his own helmet over the explosive in the hope of containing the blast and protecting the men beside him. When the smoke cleared, Dunham was laying facedown in his own blood, shrapnel embedded in his brain, and his Kevlar helmet was shredded. The Marines next to him were seriously wounded, but alive. Dunham became the first soldier in Iraq nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor. If the president approves it, Dunham’s act of courage will be the first to merit the Medal of Honor in eleven years.

Phillips’s minute-by-minute chronicle of the chaotic fighting that raged throughout Husaybah and culminated in Dunham’s injury provides a grunt’s-eye view of war as it’s being fought today—fear, confusion, bravery, and suffering set against a brotherhood forged in combat. His account of Dunham’s eight-day struggle to make it homealive and of his parents’ decision to remove their son from life support vividly illustrates the cold brutality of war and the fragile humanity of those who fight it.

Michael M. Phillips first told Dunham’s story on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, where it prompted an outpouring from readers unlike anything Phillips and his editors had ever seen. According to Phillips, “I received hundreds of letters.…At least half of the letter writers were crying as they wrote—for the Dunhams’ loss, for Jason’s sacrifice, perhaps even for their own feeling of inadequacy. Americans seemed to yearn for reassurance that U.S. troops still fight with courage and honor.”

Author Bio:

MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS, a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, has done four tours in Iraq with the Third Battalion, Seventh Marines. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.

Publisher: Broadway
Release date: May 31, 2005
Pages: 256
Price/format: $19.95/Hardcover, $12.95/Paperback
Type: Non-fiction

Honor the fallen: Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham from
War on Terror News: Cpl Jason Dunham, Medal of Honor, USMC, Iraq, Scio, NY

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mailbox Monday

This is a weekly meme hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Join the fun and post what you got in your mailbox last week!

Only one book! I didn't even get any from my library which is unheard of for me. But that's a good thing because I have plenty of reading to do. My hammock is waiting!

One Deadly Sin
by Annie Solomon

From a contest at Bookin' With Bingo. Thank you!

Edie Swanson has returned home for the revenge of her father's death. With a list of names in hand, she leaves every suspect a sign that he has blood on his hands. Her father's blood. Now the men on the list are dying one by one. The sheriff knows Edie has secrets but doesn't believe she's a murderer, even with all the evidence pointing back to her. Now she's in danger too and he must protect her and his town.