Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Have a happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics

Mailbox Monday

 Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is at Savvy Verse and Wit this month and is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I only got one book in my mailbox this week but it's a fun one! I've enjoyed these books since I was a kid and now my nephews enjoy them. I'm also loading up on the free ebooks that I can find for my Nook but I spend more time looking for them than I actually do reading them! It's till fun though. I hope you had a good week as well and have a safe and happy Halloween!

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Strikingly True
 Won from Bookin' With Bingo

For the legions of dedicated Ripley’s fans, and anyone else on the planet who loves unbelievable facts and jaw-dropping images, the latest annual in our bestselling series is a feast of delights. Be amazed at a portrait made from 200,000 dead ants, the man who traversed the English Channel by holding onto a bunch of balloons, and the single human hair featuring paintings of all 42 American presidents. A compendium of incredible and bizarre facts, stories, interviews and features, presented in a stunning new design, this book also drives readers to Ripley’s fully interactive website. There are intriguing interviews with some of the astounding individuals who are featured in the book that spotlight their achievements and reveal more about what motivates them.
One of the two dramatic eight-page gatefold sections presents Ripley’s first ever odditorium, which showcased sideshow performers and was built for the World’s Trade Fair in 1933. This features a selection of choice memorabilia including Robert Ripley’s original annotated list of performers. Informative “Ripley’s Research” boxes give the scientific explanation behind some of the most incredible tales in the book, such as how people have turned their fingers into magnets.
A section on the Olympic games, past and present, highlights the wacky as well as the amazing feats that have taken place at the height of sporting achievement.
Additional black and white Ripley archive photographs feature throughout the book, and miscellaneous lists are also scattered throughout. This year specially commissioned photographic features will also appear in the book.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


It's snowing. Right this very second it's snowing here. And it's still October! I hate it and I miss my hammock. *sniff* It's snowing!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Behind The Gates (Tomorrow Girls #1) by Eva Gray

  In a terrifying future world, 
four girls must depend on 
each other if they want to survive.

Louisa is nervous about being sent away to a boarding school -- but she’s excited, too. And she has her best friend, Maddie, to keep her company. The girls have to pretend to be twin sisters, which Louisa thinks just adds to the adventure!
Country Manor School isn’t all excitement, though. Louisa isn’t sure how she feels about her new roommates: athletic but snobby Rosie and everything’s-a-conspiracy Evelyn. Even Maddie seems different away from home, quiet and worried all the time.
Still, Louisa loves CMS -- the survival skills classes, the fresh air. She doesn’t even miss not having a TV, or the internet, or any contact with home. It’s for their own safety, after all.
Or is it?
This was a quick read with a mysterious plot. The dystopian theme is appropriate for younger readers because it focuses more on the suspense surrounding the school rather than gore, or many details about the outside world. At first the rules seem a bit odd but continue to get more strange as time goes by. They don't know the actual location of the school, have no contact with the outside world and are taking classes in archery and survival skills. The idea of a conspiracy theory begins to feel possible.

The characters were interesting and complimented each other well. Their different personalities created tension in the beginning that they had to overcome in order to work together for a common goal. What makes them unique is what makes them such a good team. And with the twist at the end of this first book it appears they are going to really need each other to survive. This is a great start to the series and very age appropriate. I'll be reading more!

The rest of the series: 
Run For Cover (Tomorrow Girls #2) 7/1/11 
With The Enemy (Tomorrow Girls #3) 9/1/11 
Set Me Free (Tomorrow Girls #4)11/1/11

Thank you to Scholastic for an ARC to review.

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: 5/11
Pages: 224
Price/format: $6.99/paperback original
Type: children (ages 10 and up)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2 Book Giveaway!

I meant to do this a long time ago! I also have reviews coming soon but I think I'll go ahead and have the giveaway now. I have two titles and you may enter to win both.

You Don't Sweat Much For A Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark

In her newest wickedly irreverent humor collection, Celia Rivenbark cracks up while getting her downward facing dog on, pines for a world in which every mom gets to behave like Betty Draper and wonders why everybody's so excited about the Science Fair when there aren't even any rides. In it you’ll find essays on such topics as:  Menopause Spurs Thoughts of Death and Turkey, I Dreamed a Dream That My Lashes Were Long, Movie To-Do List: Cook Like Julia, Adopt Really Big Kid, and Charlie Bit Your Finger? Good!

Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry

Ellie is just beginning to question her troubled marriage when her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Her perfect life unravels quickly as she is soon reunited with her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, who is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death.  Fighting their feelings, Ellie and Hutch set out together to dig into Lillian’s history. Using both Lillian’s diary and a trip to the coast of Alabama, Hutch and Ellie gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together Lillian’s unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts.

Thanks to Emily at Wunderkind PR I have 2 copies of each book to give away! You may enter to win both.


- Simply fill out the form below to enter.
- U.S. and Canada only (sorry!)
- Winners chosen by
- Contest ends 11/13/11 at 11:59 p.m. EST

Extra entries:
+1 new follower
+2 old follower
+2 promote - leave link

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading and asks you to :
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3 . Share 2 "teaser" sentences also citing the title of the book and the author and in that way people can have great recommendations if they like the "teaser".
4. Please avoid spoilers!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 My name is Lucy Parks Hamilton and in addition to being paranoid, unshowered, emotionally detached, and a liar, I am also a stay-at-home mom. Ten years ago, I would have met the idea that I would be going on playdates and walking around with streaks of snot on my shoulder with absolute indignation. Nowadays it's possible for me to wear the same pair of jeans for seven days in a row and not get too worked up about it. 
~page 4
Original Sin by Beth McMullen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: All These Things I've Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin


An impossible romance, 
a family living 
outside the law, 
and the ties that 
forever bind us. 

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. 

I really enjoyed Zevin's past book Elsewhere so I was looking forward to this one. I wasn't sure if the mafia topic would interest me but I was pleasantly surprised. The author seems to make any topic interesting and has mixed together an unusual and original combination. Her writing style is so good that the story easily flows. While it is a dystopian novel it is more believable than some books. Society has changed but it is still recognizable from our time. 

The characters are flawed but human. No one is all good or all bad and relationships change in a realistic fashion. Although Anya is only sixteen her circumstances have matured her quickly but again it's believable. She has developed into this person and wasn't instantly transformed. She was taught many lessons, especially from her father and grandmother, to prepare her for this life and it's challenges. Now she has many responsibilities, including the care of her brother and sister, and she will do what she must to protect them at the expense of her own life. Although she attempts to enjoy a few normal teen activities they don't always go as planned. As heavy as Anya's burdens already are it feels like there may soon be more to come from her mafia family. I will be reading the next book in this trilogy to find out.

Thank you to Macmillan for an ARC of this book in exchange for my review.
author site
book site 

Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Release date: 9/27/11
Pages: 368
Price/format: $16.99/hardcover
Type: young adult

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is at Savvy Verse and Wit this month and is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I haven't caught up with my mailbox in a couple of weeks but it has slowed to trickle lately anyway. I'm trying to catch up but we all know that's never going to happen!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Won from Diary of an Eccentric

"Opens at Nightfall; Closes at Dawn." The Le Cirque des Rêves is a circus unlike any other, just as this magical debut novel is equally unique. At the center of The Night Circus spectacle are two specially gifted young magicians, Celia and Marco, pitted against each other in professional competition, drawn towards one another in love. Erin Morgenstern's literary fantasy has already drawn raves for its captivating evocativeness: "A world of almost unbearable beauty.... A love story on a grand scale: it creates, it destroys, it ultimately transcends." "A novel so magical that there is no escaping its spell... If you choose to read just one novel this year, this is it."

Tempest (Tempest #1) ARC by Julie Cross
For review from LibraryThing Early Reviewer  

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.
Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.
But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.
Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Vampire Vacation (The V V Inn #1) ebook by C.J. Ellisson
Won from Tyra's Book Addiction

Meet Vivian. She's a 580-year-old vampire who exudes sex, has a talent for drama, and is passionate about two things: her human husband, Rafe, and their resort for the undead. Her ability to project physical illusions has created the perfect vacation spot -- a dark, isolated Alaskan hideaway where visitors can have their wildest fantasies come true.
Vivian knows the best performance requires perfect timing, but the powerful vamp is put to the test when she discovers a corpse in a locked guestroom minutes before the next arrivals. Always cool-headed, Rafe hides the body, convinced that he and Vivian can find the culprit without disturbing their guests.
Juggling the increasingly outrageous demands of their customers while tracking a killer isn't easy. Will their poking and prodding give them the answers they need, or will it uncover secrets that Vivian would kill to protect?

The Hunt (V V Inn #2) ebook by C.J. Ellisson
Won from Tyra's Book Addiction

Vivian thinks she can control every aspect of a deadly game with her usual manipulations… but what if she can’t? Journey along, in this next installment of The V V Inn series, for a wild ride as the tale is told through the eyes of all her new seethe members.
Seven vampires and seven werewolves pay to hunt a supernatural criminal across the cold, vast grounds of an Alaskan resort. The one to catch her, and live through the encounter, will increase their power by feasting on hers.
The tiny vampire they track is more than she appears, however. To escape a fate of ten years in silver chains, she'll do anything to survive the week long excursion. This time, the darkness holds more than just the stinging bite of the Arctic—it holds death.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's a sad, sad day

The time has come. It is with a heavy heart that I face my annual responsibility and put away my hammock until spring. Oh sorry, did you think I had some horrible disaster? Yep, that was sneaky but this is very traumatic for me every fall! I feel like there should be a brief ceremony and a bugle playing nearby. We have such a brief summer and our spring and autumn sometimes speed by in the blink of an eye. I love to be outside and the sunshine makes me happy. The green trees, blossoming flowers and freshly mown grass are a balm to my soul. I love to lounge in my hammock, barefoot with a good book. It calms me and makes me happy.

The change of seasons here is beautiful and there's plenty to do in those long (and I mean long!) winter months. The crisp weather brings a wonderful harvest and gorgeous colors along with the need to dig out the cozy sweaters, pretty scarves and fuzzy socks. But the older I get the more I long for summer. I certainly understand now why we have so many snowbirds (people who live here for the warm seasons than migrate south for the cold seasons). If I could afford two households I would do it too. I adapted to the Florida weather very quickly when we were on our recent vacation. Of course we were being pampered at a resort and it wasn't the middle of a sweltering July so we did have optimal conditions. Still, I think I could live in a hut on the beach just fine. Barefoot and with a book, of course.

Until then, my hammock is down and will be stowed away for several months. Luckily I have a cozy fireplace and a comfy couch (along with the requisite golden retriever) that are the perfect place to snuggle up and read. And I'm already wearing my fuzzy socks. How many months until spring?

(Yep, those are my tootsies in the Florida sand!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

I did it!

I finally took the plunge and got a Nook Color!! Woo hoo! Of course nothing beats the whole experience of reading a "real" book - the weight of it in my hands, the texture of the pages, the smell of a new (or not so new) edition, the fascinating cover, the fun bookmarks (the nice ones were gifts of course otherwise I would be  using my grocery list) *sigh* books are so wonderful... But with more and more selections going digital and having such a large choice of advance editions for review, I decided to give it a try.

I had been considering an e reader for some time now but the choices can be overwhelming. I'm so grateful I have this community to turn to for advice because it was a big help. Almost immediately I seemed to gravitate toward the Nook. The abilities to borrow from my local library and share with my Nook friends were probably the biggest factors in my decision. I also liked the extra features the Nook Color offered, especially with our trip coming up. I liked that I could check my email, play games and surf the web. That has been especially handy when in the car and on the plane. I was even able to reserve seats on our return flight plane while sitting by the hotel pool!

I bought the refurbished model because it was considerably cheaper and was so happy with it my brothers and I bought the new Nook Simple Touch for my mom's birthday. (She never would have bought one for herself) It's black and white but has a touch screen, is so lightweight and easy to use. She's still getting used to it but really likes it, especially the adjustable font.

I'm also grateful for all the links people have provided to great deals and helpful tidbits for e readers. I'm amazed at how much there is out there and I'm finding more every day! Thank you to all, I really appreciate it. Now I just need to get to it and read more. It sure makes those piles of books to be read a lot smaller!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm back!

My visits here have been scarce the  last few months. I purposely cut back in the summer because we were busy with my youngest son's graduation, the parties, preparing for college, fall baseball and I also wanted to spend more time outside instead of inside at the computer. We have enough cold months here in western NY state when I can work on my blog plenty. I still enjoyed reading just as often and of course I spent as much time in my hammock as possible!

I was also busy preparing for a trip my hubby won from Kmart. Last November he bought $10 worth of odds and ends, presented his Kmart rewards card at the register for an added discount, and when the cashier handed him his receipt she told him he won a prize. When he got home he read the receipt closely and although it didn't say what he had won it did say that it must be claimed by November 30th. It was November 30th. He drove back to the store and the nice lady at the desk looked it up for him and told him he won a trip! He didn't really believe it at first (and neither did I) but eventually we got the paperwork for a 4 day/3 night stay at Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida including airfare, 3 day passes to the parks, a room at the Hard Rock Hotel, transportation to hotel and airport, and $500 spending money!!! Since it was for 4 people and there are 5 of us we used the money to buy an extra plane ticket,  park passes and shuttle pass.

We had a year to use the trip so we went this week - left Monday morning and returned very late Thursday night. I have to say that I've never been much of a traveler and didn't take many vacations as a kid or as an adult. It was the first time all 5 of us had traveled together by plane. Let me just say that I could get to used to it real fast! It was wonderful! The weather was perfect, the accommodations and entertainment were amazing, everyone was so kind and the crowds and lines weren't bad. The huge pool with sandy beach, 2 hot tubs, beach volleyball court, club house, fountains, palm trees, rock music, etc., etc. was my very favorite place to be. Of course we ventured out on the winding walking paths or by water taxi to the parks and restaurants every day and night. We experienced as much as possible while we were there and had such fun. Alas, it had to come to an end and now we are back to our rainy, chilly weather with our trees almost bare. But our dogs were very happy to see us and it's always good to be home. I might not be sitting in the sand with a good book but I do have my cozy fireplace to read near.

Thank you, dear hubby, for using your card at Kmart that day! It was the trip of a lifetime and we all loved it. Since we just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary I'm hoping that maybe you can win us another trip for our next big one. Maybe our 26th??
Paradise! This is the pool as you step out of the hotel, and what a pool it was.

From the beach club at the far end of the pool facing back towards the hotel.

Universal Studios theme parks (view from our water taxi)