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, April 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is at Cindy's Love of Books 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 was a little under the weather last week but I did get to lounge around and read a bit. And all that snow and rain made it easier to snuggle down and be lazy. (OK, that's just an excuse because I can be lazy and read under any conditions.) I did get some goodies in the mail that I look forward to starting and with any luck I'll be enjoying them in my hammock, if I dare put it out this week. Oh how I've missed my wonderful hammock! I hope lots of goodies made their way to your home and you also found plenty of lazy reading time.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Won from Julie's Blog 

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
For review from Macmillan

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Surrounded by secrets

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write. (

This is the kind of book that made me fall in love with reading as a child. It has the simple bits of magic and mystery that took me away to a different place. The characters are flawed and a bit tragic. The reader gets to peel back the layers to see where they came from and who they really are. Roo is a little girl that I had sympathy for but she doesn't play the role of a victim. Despite her incredibly difficult childhood she is determined to survive. When she is taken to live with an uncle she had never met her curiosity about her unusual new home trumps her fears. As she begins to explore she discovers that the new people in her life have their own ghosts to deal with. Her uncle is complicated and she rarely sees him but she does begin to discover his secrets. She also meets two boys who she forms quit different bonds with that are cemented by their common interest in a hidden garden.

Nature is an important influence in this story. The beauty of the island is described so well and it's what begins to comfort a withdrawn little girl. And as she begins to nurture plants and animals she begins to heal herself. The mysteries give her purpose but the island gives her hope. My own visit was cut short as the end of the story came too soon. This book isn't just for the young but also the young at heart. It was a delightful read and I look forward to more from this author.

Thank you to Macmillan for the ARC for me to review.

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: 2/28/12
Pages: 192 (hardcover)
Type: middle grade fiction

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Winners of Calico Joe!

Congratulations to:
Tammy Ford Cuevas 
Debbie (evedale06@...)
I sent you each an email. Please respond with your mailing address. Thanks to everyone for entering and I'll have another giveaway posted soon!

Saturday Snapshot

 Saturday Snapshot is hosted by At Home with Books. To participate in this meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.
Here is western NY we are used to unusual weather. We have four seasons, sometimes all in one week. That was the case recently. After the mildest winter I can remember we had several days in March in the 70s. Several! The plants have even blossomed weeks earlier than usual. April has been closer to normal conditions but still pretty nice.  Last week we were playing outside in shorts, mowing lawns, tending to flowers. Three days later we had a storm for two days and almost a foot of snow. And two days after that it was almost gone. Like the saying goes - "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." (Twain)

Playing on the swing set in backyard (4/15/12)
The same swing set one week later (4/22/12)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is at Cindy's Love of Books 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.

Another week of crazy weather and it's not done yet! After the mildest winter I've ever seen I really can't complain but in the last seven days we've had rain, snow showers, sun and 80s, and now we are gearing up for a major snow storm. Argh! Well it is April in western NY state so it's not really that unusual but it sucks to have to mow your lawn and plow your driveway all  in the same week. I'm glad I didn't put my hammock up yet. Since several inches are predicted with the possibility of losing our power I need to post this while I can.  Fortunately for me I can read in any kind of weather. 
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
For review from NetGalley

Demons At Deadnight by A&E Kirk
Bought from B&N

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Giveaway: Calico Joe by John Grisham

Thanks to Doubleday I have 2 copies to give away!
My review of Calico Joe

- Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
- U.S. only (sorry everyone else!)
- Extra entries available
- Ends 4/25/12, 11:59 pm EST  

Review: Calico Joe by John Grisham

A surprising and moving novel 
of fathers and sons,
 forgiveness and redemption, 
set in the world of Major League Baseball…


 Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
     It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…
In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes CALICO JOE a classic.

I've always enjoyed Grisham's legal thrillers and novels and my whole family enjoys baseball. My husband and sons all played from Little League through college. This is the first spring in 18 years we don't have someone playing! I wasn't sure if I would like a combination of the two (Grisham and baseball) but I sure wanted to find out. I'm very glad I did.

Although this is a baseball theme the actual story is about the lives and relationships of three men. Knowing baseball certainly made it more enjoyable for me but it's not a requirement for reading this book.  Joe Castle is such a likable young man he becomes a nationwide hero in no time. Warren Tracey is his complete opposite. He's an older player who's losing his edge, a bully at home and on the field. His young son Paul is caught in the middle. He wants to adore his father but idolizes Joe Castle. When Warren changes his and Joe's career forever with just one pitch, Paul suspects it wasn't an accident.

This is Paul's story. He is now an adult with a loving family but a nonexistent relationship with his father. When a health crisis brings them together, Paul flashes back on his childhood and everything that brought them to this point. He is still haunted by traumatic memories and gets the opportunity to confront them to find out the truth. 

Grisham weaves an interesting tale filled with drama and heart. The characters are likable (or very unlikable) with dimension and depth. Chapters alternate between the past and the present, building the details of the story. Real teams and players are interwoven with fiction in a wonderful combination that pulled me into the drama. The ending is very satisfying and brings a form of closure to a broken little boy as well as the reader.  This was the perfect springtime read, especially for the opening of baseball season.

Thank you to Knopf Doubleday for an ARC to review.

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Release date: 4/10/12
Pages: 208 (hardcover)
Type: fiction

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mailbox Monday

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

I didn't get anything accomplished in blogland last week so I guess that was my spring break. Ha! Now it's back to work. These are a few of the goodies I got recently along with some libraries books and I'll be giving away some of my recent finds this week. I hope you are welcoming spring with some great reads!

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
For review from Macmillan


Under Wraps by Hannah Jane
Free with code from Kobo (ebook)

Cardboard Characters by Julie Seifert
Bought from B&N (ebook)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So, I was just wondering... - Google Friend Connect

I heard recently that Google was making some changes to Google Friend Connect. If I understand it correctly it is no longer available for non Blogger accounts. Now what? I really need to do some research because I keep seeing different ways to connect with followers and don't know what to use.  Should I have more than one? Here's a few that I've found while wandering through the blogosphere.


So, I was just wondering what are you using and how did you decide? Do you still have GFC?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were -
and Peter.
They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.
"Now, my dears," said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, "you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put into a pie by Mrs. McGregor."

~page 8 "The Tale of Peter Rabbit"
Giant Treasury of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter