Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The One That I Want Discussion

I do so hope I wasn't the only one who read this, because it will be sad to talk to myself. However, I came up with some questions while I was reading. And I had a few others that I knew sounded really good but then I forgot to write them down and I forgot them. Whoops. Blog fail.

Some of these questions don't necessarily require you to have read the book to throw in your 2 cents and I don't think I revealed tooo much to spoil it completely for you!

1. Do You think CJ leaves Westlake?

2. What do you think of the 'clarity' Ashley gave Tilly?

(Okay, I must say that the clarity thing had me rolling my eyes sooo much about this book. To me it was silly and preposterous and was a major problem I had with the book. Otherwise I enjoyed it. But I do know that there had to be some reason for Tilly to see what was happening, but I think the story could have gone another way. Just not big on 'clarity' or psychics or any of that.)

3. Do you choose to only see the positive and ignore all the bad? Do you solve other people's problems like Tilly?

(I am such a pessimist. Completely a see the bad never the good. I like solving other people's problems and usually can find positives for them. Just not myself!)

4. What do you think Tilly's future holds for her?

5. Can Tilly forgive her father for all of his transgressions? Including, the incident that Darcy walked in on?

(This is something that I would really have liked to see happen at the end of the book. Did she or didn't she? Old Tilly hands down would have, but new Tilly may or may not and I find that authentic and real and probably keeping her away would be a good idea!)

And here are a few questions from author Allison Winn Scotch's site.

6. If you could be given the power to see into the future like Tilly is, would you use it? What positive or negative effects could this have in the scope of your life?

7. Tilly and her sisters have complicated, tangled relationships. Do you think you can ever separate who you are from who your family has helped shape you to be?

(In the last year or so I have really started to notice that I act different around my family. I revert back to my youth and act in a manner that I did back then. Is it to keep the same facade up with them? Or is to keep myself safe from the judging? If I act like I don't care or I'm silly it won't matter that I am a huge loser and failure in life? Who knows. But I think the way we act around the people we have known the longest is quite interested and complicated. )

8. Many of Tilly’s happiest moments are set in her past. How does this influence her assessment of the present? Do you look back fondly on high school or is it a memory that you’ve long outgrown?

9. Tilly rediscovers long-abandoned aspirations and learns that even aiming toward small goals can change your life. What are your small but important goals that you’d like to achieve within the next year?

(I would love to have a job that I like. I would like to find some direction and determine what I want to do/what I should do / what will make me happy.)

10. Tilly discovers that destiny is only partially pre-determined, that life is a mix of fate and what you exert over fate. Do you believe in destiny or is life totally within our control?

Oh and a plug for Allison's blog because I saw she had a post today about maiden name v. married name and I know some of you (Kelly and myself) have struggled with this!
And don't forget to suggest a book for next month!! Poll will be up on the sidebar tomorrow!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Every Last One

The following post is the not the post I thought I was going to write yesterday. Yesterday, I was floating around in my pool thinking.. this sure is beautiful writing but we need a little something more. Quindlen does an excellent job of introducing the characters and their flaws, slowly releasing new details and uncovering secrets of the Latham family and of the narrator, Mary Beth Latham the mother. However, it was getting a little ho-hum and I was a little perturbed that I had already deduced in my head what ws going to happen. (Random factoid of me, I will read a books description when I decide if I will read it again and then never again. So by the time I read it, I have no idea what I am supposed to be reading.)

Then I moved from the pool to the tiki bar as the boys played video games in the late afternoon sun. The book moved into the climax the thing everything I had read was building for. When the reviews say it is breathtaking, they are not lying.

I then had to move to the hammock so the boys would not tease me for crying at a silly book. A book they kept trying to read the back cover of loudly and in annoying voices. Mary Beth truly endures one of the hardest things a woman/wife/parent ever faces and you (the reader) are taken on the journey with her. You cry for her. You want to scream for her. You want to shake her. You feel for her.

Sure, there are spots in the book where you want someone to scream and say YES you are partly to blame. You should have seen the signs. You should have stood up for your daughter. You should have been more firm. But at the end of the day, you never really know how your actions are going to affect the lives around you. Just as the butterfly wings in Mexico beating may cause the wind to blow on your face many miles away, the things you do or don't may affect your future forever and ever.

I think one of my favorite parts about this book is that the characters have real flaws. You recognize the every day flaws they have that you have, that your siblings have and it makes it a very believable story even when you are wondering how anyone could have ignored so many warning signs. Wonder how some could be so cavalier with sleeping pills and when their teenagers come and go. But you know, that is life. It's what happens and you can't over worry and you can't over protect. What will happen, will no matter how many ways you protect yourself from it.

"All that tread the globe are but handful to the tribes that slumber in its bosom." - William Cullen Bryant

Beautiful real characters and a beautifully told story.

I received a copy of this ARC from Crazy Book Tours. All opinions are my own.
Don't forget to suggest a book for September's Group Read.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

September Group Read Suggestions

I am going to do something new this month with our group read. At the end of the month when I post the discussion questions I will use the comment section to randomly pick a person to win a free copy of the October Group Read! So those of you who participate in the reading and discussion of whatever we pick for September have the opportunity to win October's book free! Also, for anyone who writes a guest post for the September Read will also get another 2 additional entries. So, participating in the September Read can get you a free book!

Books we have already read include...
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife Kelly's Guest Post Lisa's Guest Post
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

I will also suggest we pick something that has been out for awhile because it seems it is harder for everyone to get newer books! Banned Books Week is in September, so maybe we would want to read a book that has been banned? ALA site about banned books week Children's books that are continually challenged and the banned books site!

I will leave suggestions up until early Wednesday morning and then I will post the poll up til Friday!

Friday, August 27, 2010

My half-birthday is coming up..

So what better excuse to share what I would looove for my actual birthday?? Yeah, I kidd I kidd. Who am I kidding, you should totally get it for me for Christmas, because that is closer than my birthday and then I wouldn't have to wait so long! ;)

First, let me start with how MUCH I love uncommongoods.com it is one of my favorite sites to go on and just gawk at the things that I wish I could have, but sadly have to hope for 1 or 2 items every year at Christmas or my birthday. I think in the last 2 weeks alone I have recommended this site to a few different people who have admired my stuff I have from there or gifts that I have gotten others. Perhaps, they should hire me? ;)

The first thing that I noticed in their recent catalog were Multiblocks designed by Brad Singley. These blocks are even cooler than the blocks we grew up with. The nerd/teacher in me loves the measurement marks on them, the recycling of basswood leftover scraps and that they are made in my home state of Michigan! I don't even had a kid yet, and I want to play with them!

{source for picture here }

Uncommongoods.com says, "Basswood is a local, renewable wood that is sustainably grown and harvested on industry land in Michigan. Each set of blocks arrives in a recycled cotton storage bag made from 80% Ecotec(tm) (a blended cotton yarn produced from the excess fabric of newly made clothing) and 20% Bottle Bag(tm) (material made from 100% recycled soda bottles). "

For a set of 42 it is only $48

The wine lover in me NEEDS the Stackable Cork Wine Rack ! Not only is it 100% recyclable and fully biodegradable modular cork, BUT it comes with an expansion kit. If your wine stash grows so can your wine rack! (I totally need this!) It is sharp looking and looks very easy to put together. And it does match the homemade wine racks my hubby made for our downstairs, but it would be cute for upstairs!

{source for picture here }
Wine Rack = $38
Expansion Kit = $22

Reclaimed T-Shirt Scarf

This patchwork of unused reclaimed t-shirt scraps makes for a unique 100% cotton scarf. Talk about being hip and having a neat conversation starter! I don't own any cute scarfs and I think this one would be a sweet beginning of a collection! And it is only $25!

{picture source here }

This is just a small snippet of stuff that I could go on and on about. Seriously, I need a free pile of never-ending money! There are just soo many things on there that I want. You should check it out and I am sure you could find a gift for you or a friend or somebody that they'll love!

uncommongoods.com did not pay me, bribe me or ask me to share this stuff. It's just opinion about things I love!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dark Song - Gail Giles

Description: Mark said he heard the dark song when he creeped houses. The song the predator's heart sings when it hears the heart of the prey. I heard it now. Mark said it had always been in me. Lurking. Waiting for me to hear.

Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. Now, all she has is Marc. Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who owns a gun collection. And he'll stop at nothing--even using his guns--to get what he wants. Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies and self-absorption, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them?

Just like yesterday when I talked about Glass, this is a YA book that deals with real issues and isn't completely OMG HE IS SOOOO CUTE type of YA. GAG me with a spoon. '

The book starts out introducing us to Ames and her 'perfect' family Typical things in her family are spontaneous expensive trips, family game nights and everyone getting along. Her friends think they are freaky cuz what teen gets along with their family THAT well. While, I would agree with her friends somewhat, they are too dumb for me to want to agree with them. Typical private school floozies. Or just typical in how they are portrayed in books. Cuz I really don't have experience with private school floozies. If I did, I would suspect Ames friends would be them..

Anyway, her 'perfect' life is disrupted when her dad loses his job and her parents start fighting constantly and Ames finds out they are lying to her. In typical teenage fashion, she rebels. They fight. She does something stupid. They fight. They yell. Her dad turns to alcohol, her mom freaks out because she thought she left poverty behind. Her 6 year old sister is the only one with common sense. And then they find out Ames dad lied about the extent of his gambling/losing others money and there is no money. No money for the house, no money for college no money. They have to go to Texas and spoiled little Ames has to work. Her parents treat her like crap and she hates life.

However, she meets Mark. Mark is obviously trouble and Ames sort of realizes that but she is sooo sheltered and soo insecure and Mark is a leech and possessive and abusive and he knows how to get Ames where he wants her. The way there relationship was portrayed was scary and authentic. Older guys that creep on younger girls. Ewww.. Cuz really what does a 22 year old have in common with a 16 year old? Yuck.

I think the scariest part of Mark happened to be his guns. And the part where Ames thought they were cool. She was smart enough to have some thoughts about them but not smart enough to run run run run like a normal girl. But that is part of an abusive relationship. He gave her security and kept her safe when her parents had pretty much turned on her and her whole life flipped upside down.

I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it. It's GOOD YA and speaks to real issues. It also comes out in September so you can check it out then!

Oh and isn't the cover awesome???

I received an ARC from Traveling Arc Tours. All opinions as always, are authentically mine.

Have you ever been in an abusive relationship? Any of your friends?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Glass - Ellen Hopkins

Glass is the second installment in Ellen Hopkin's series about Kristina Snow, teenage meth addict. The first book is Crank and I reviewed it here. The last book in the series is Fallout and is coming out next month!

Kristina is a former good girl who is now completely hooked on meth aka the monster. She's 18, has a baby, is supposed to be getting her GED and supposed to have kicked her meth habit. Buuuut. She doesn't. She hooks back up with her former friend Robyn and meets Trey. Who she immediately falls in 'love' with and starts back up her habit. She gets a job to support her habit and everything else just gets thrown to the side. She forgets about her kid, she parties all the time and it is extremely obvious to her parents who play the oblivious role really well.

Until, she falls asleep and Hunter (her son) injures himself. Then she gets kicked out. So she moves in with a dealer and gets herself into some very compromising positions.

It is really hard to read this because you just want to shake her and tell her that someone will love her and support her without her being on meth. That Kristina is worth loving and that she doesn't need Bree (her alter ego). However, Kristina doesn't believe that anyone can love her or she believes to readily that boys love her when all the want is sex. Also, the way she can just disregard her son is horrible.

This book is YA, but really I think it is a good book for parents/educators/adults to read as well. It's also a YA book, that is real and not all puppies and rainbows, which I also like. Hopkins is a phenomenal writer and I really like her style.

I am unsure if you are aware or not but there has been a lot of drama/controversy lately about Hopkins and her writing. She was invited to the Teen Lit Fest and then UNINVITED because ONE librarian and a couple parents didn't think her writing was suitable for kids to be reading. So she got UNINVITED. Which led to other people dropping out (YOU NEED TO READ THIS POST BY Melissa de la Cruz) and then the canceling of the whole festival. Pretty unreal and pretty sad for the kids who were affected by this. While, I think it is the festival's right to invite who they want, I find the reasons behind it crap.

I think the more controversial, the more it should be talked about. Sure you might not want your kids having sex and doing drugs, but whatever better REAL way than to expose them to the BAD THINGS that can happen when you do them through literature. TALK, COMMUNICATE. BE THERE. Let your kid explore and make their own decisions. If you deny something, odds are they will fin a way. Closeting your kid and making them parrot you is not letting them think for themselves and does them no good.

More posts on censorship:
Pete Hautman
Kami Garcia
Book Hooked

You really should check out some of these links.

What do you think about censorship? Will you let your kids read what they want? Do you think it was okay for Ellen to be UNINVITED?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The One That I Want - August's Blogger Book Pick

Tilly grows up in Smalltown USA and finds it comforting and everything she could want. She marries her high school sweetheart, Tyler, and they live a 'perfect' life in their hometown. She is the guidance counselor at their old high school and Tyler, a former baseball standout, works at a sporting goods store and they live in a house that Tilly's dad bought them as a wedding present. Do you sense a problem yet?

Tilly runs into an old friend Ashley at the town fair and she wants give Tilly a palm reading. Tilly refuses but Ashley insists on giving her 'clarity.' The clarity is the beginning of the end of Tilly's perfect life.

Tilly starts passing out and dreams about things happening to her loved ones. She has a dream her dad is drinking again after spending 10 years sober. She dreams her husband is moving out of their house and she dreams her best-friend who is separated from her husband has a new boyfriend.

How could this happen? Why is her life spinning out of control?

Tilly is a complete control freak about having things like they have always been and not rocking the boat. But the clarity that Ashley has given her has turned her into an angry and rude person she never knew was inside of her.

I really enjoyed the book and the small town drama. I grew up in a small town and still live very close to it and have worked in it. You know everybody's business 24/7. It is sooo hard living in the same place you grew up in, especially if you hit your peak at 17.

The whole 'clarity' thing though was wtf. I just didn't get that and I thought it was a lot of whack. However, Tilly needed a whack on the head to see things clearly. She was a little dense, but it was definitely a coping mechanism that she had put in place after the huge disruption her childhood had.

I also really really really liked the growth that she experienced as a character through the book. I like that she took back a hobby that interested her and got brave and ventured out.

I liked it more than I thought I would after I got 8 pages in and realized it was about someone working in a school and trying to have a baby and those are all topics that make me a little moody these days.

What did you all think about the book? If you wrote a review and want me to link it up let me know, or if you want to write your own guest post here about the book, let me know!

I will post discussion questions in the next week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Sinner - Tess Gerritsen

The third installment of Tess Gerritsen's series on Rizzoli & Isles has things heating up relationship wise for both Rizzoli & Isles. We learn verry interesting new information on both women about former love interests and the case they are dealing with is also quite intriguing.

The new case centers on the death of a nun and a serious attack against another. The murdered nun has quite a few skeletons in her closet for a 20 year old who has devoted herself to God and the badly injured nun has spent time overseas helping the less fortunate. Who would kill a nun? (Probably the same type of person who would steal a baby carrier, but I digress.)

Rizzoli's colleagues also have an intriguing case who they have deemed Rat Lady. She is found in an old restaurant with her FACE PEELED off, her hands & feet chopped off and a single gunshot in her chest.

I really enjoy the authentic voice in these books. I like the medical terminology, while sometimes it does gross me out, it also is informative and not completely made up. I like that the pieces of the puzzle make SENSE when the mystery part is solved and you are not like, ummm how did that come together?

I will say my one pet peeve is that when Rizzoli is trying to deal with her 'relationship' with Agent Dean she is a completely idiot and does all the things that make me want to strangle a woman character in a book. Okay, so she is a difficult person who doesn't know how to get along with more people, we get that. But do NOT make her into such an idiot typical female character. "Oh, of course he can't love me. Oh, of course I won't tell him how I feel. Oh of COURSE I will have angry conversations about him, when I HAVEN'T EVEN TALKED TO HIM. Oh of course, he doesn't need to know ANYTHING. Because I am a woman, I am strong, I can do it all myself. " Whatever. I cannot stand when another perfectly fine character /book is reduced to cliches. Rizzoli is far better than how she is written while trying to deal with her feelings for Agent Dean.

I think it goes without saying, that I am really enjoying this series since I have flown through the first 3 books. I really need to step away from it so I can finish the ARC I have and 2 other library books to finish and then I shall pick up the 4th. I was looking over my shelves this weekend and I really need to STOP going to the library. bad bad me. I have too many books to read of my own!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Dance Party!

Err... well it's kind of like a dance party, but with some music that is best just danced to while sitting in your car and belting it out dancing.. you know the kind? good.

These have been stuck in my head lately and since I am oh so kind I am sharing. You are welcome.

I don't even know if I have EVER liked an Enrique song before but it has been stuck in my head. Probably because the 'young' dance crowd at Buffett kept playing this song and A (hubby) and I said that we had never heard it before but it would probably be like the most popular song ever. Now I can't get it out of my head... so now you have it in yours.. you are welcome

Love like Crazy.. omg.. this song is just adorable.. I love singing it.. and I heard it soo much on our trip that I have perfected the loud screaming/singing of it.. how adorable is it?? ;) my favorite lyric "never out smart your common sense.."

Love the way you lie.. oh my god..love this song. I haven't really liked Eminem since like high school but I love Rihanna and him both in this song.. and I may like it when he says "maybe thats what happens when a tornado meets a volcano" it may make me giggle.. and the rest of the song.. it resonates..

I blame this obsession on the Charlie St. Cloud movie.. I must have seen the preview like 82943 times and this song got to me and made me want to see the movie.. Kudos to you marketing people. Now if you'd only pay for my movie ticket I would be in the theater watching it and swooning over Zac Efron.. um is he jailbait?

Ahh one of the best summer song.. Love it.. and I almost went and saw them Wednesday night for our anniversary but hubby needed to work yesterday and getting home at 2 am or later on a work night was not very responsible.. booo.. come back on a weekend boys!!!

And I had to end with a Jimmy song.. This unfortunately was NOT taken by us because we were not so lucky to be close.. but I love FINS in concert it reminds me of O-H-I-O at Buckeye games.. love tradition. but this is from the concert we were at.. don't mind the drunken idiot/arse whose video I borrowed haha.. just look at FINS.. but i was dead center of Jimmy as well just like a football field away dead center on the lawn.. ;)

Happy Friday! What songs are in your head?

Oh.. and this really wasn't much like a dance party.. more like a sit on the deck and drink a cold one party!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three Years as a Mrs!

Three years ago I woke up to a cold August morning on my friends living room couch. That day was going to be the day that I walked down the aisle and went from Ms to Mrs. The day that it was legit. The day I would finally get to eat the yummy cookies and dance all night long.

I'll be honest, planning the actual wedding was so not my style. I turned most of it over to my mom. All I wanted to do was pick a dress, bridesmaid dresses, and party. Mature I know. But I never spent my childhood dreaming of the day I got married. More like I spent my childhood dreaming of traveling and living alone in a big city. So why the heck did I get married when I was 23 and stay around here? Good question. Still trying to figure that one out. Funny how life changes and you end up no where near where you thought/wanted to be. But I'm here all the same.

my dad and me

and we are married...

gatoring.. ;)
"I never had no one that I could count on, I'd been let down so many times.. I was tired of hurtin' so tired of searchin' til you walked into my life. It was a feelin' I'd never known and for the first time I didn't feel alone.." - Tim McGraw My Best-Friend

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Apprentice - Tess Gerritsen

The Apprentice is the 2nd installment in the griping and crudely detailed Rizzoli & Isles series. I like thrillers and I like things realistic and this series takes care of both of those requirements. Gerritsen knows the medical terminology to gross you out and make you appalled and the police work isn't solved 'magically' like some 'thrillers & mysteries' I have encountered.

The book starts us out back in the sweaty heat of Boston in the summer. Rizzoli is faced with a killer that immediately reminds her of last summers gruesome murders committed by Warren Hoyt who is wasting away in prison. At first, she is told no it couldn't be, you need to focus on this and nobody wants to accept that the killings have returned and Boston is once again faced with a serial killer.

Enter the FBI and sexy agent Dean. (I am a sucker for FBI agents in books with the 'tall dark and handsome' description.) He shows up on a scene and suddenly Rizzoli feels validated that something is up and pissed off that he won't share anything he knows. Forced to work with him, Rizzoli slowly builds some trust and finds herself attracted to him.

The police come up with a new name for their new killer, the Dominator, because he likes to surprise couples instead of single women. He likes to make the male watch as he dominates his woman in front of him. While trying to figure out who this new killer is, they are faced with a twist, Warren Hoyt has escaped from prison.

Rizzoli once again faces herself off against her male counterparts. She shows no weakness, asks no favors and always pushes herself even when a male counterpart would probably take a break. She has something to prove even if it is only to prove it to herself. I find her character very intriguing because she does grow as a character but fights it the whole way. Very realistic and very much what I think a female detective would face in a male dominated field. She reminds me of Benson from SVU. I also am glad I have seen a few episodes of the tv show cuz I can definitely picture Angie Harmon as Rizzoli. And can I just squeee about how much I love Angie Harmon? She's hot and damn I love her in everything I have watched her in! Including the sadly short lived Women's Murder Club Series whose books I also enjoy reading!

This is the first book that we are introduced to Dr. Maura Isles and the one part of watching the shows first makes it hard to accept the book version of her. The tv show definitely makes her more alive and that's what I picture, but the books haven't really brought her out to life, much more focused on Rizzoli, perhaps the other books delve more into her life. I did think that it seems like Dr. Isles was a last minute add in after the series sprung to life. She just kind of enters into this book instead of being introduced in the first book. That would probably be one of my only complaints about the character development.

I am already thinking about going to the library today to pick up the third book if it is available. I keep shelving the other two books I am reading to keep up with my new love of this series. The books that are suffering? The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and Glass by Ellen Hopkins. Both books that would probably hold my attention more if it wasn't for the fact that I WANT/NEED to know what is happening in this series. It's like a drug.

You all need to pick it up!

Oh and a piece of the past..

3 years ago we had our wedding rehearsal... here we are with our wedding partyand mom's

Monday, August 16, 2010

Buffett --- Pittsburgh Style

You may not have noticed but I went on vacation Wednesday-Saturday to the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania. Since 2003 we have traveled with a group of friends to various places around the Midwest to see Jimmy Buffett play. We fell in love with the tailgating and addicted to seeing him live in Tinley Park (now named Toyota Park) near Chicago, which now seems soo long ago and so small. We spent Labor Day weekend with him at Wrigley Field, we have partied our livers out in Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. We traveled to Cincinnati to check out what all the fuss was and were only slighted disappointed. This past week we loaded up the truck and headed for Raccoon Creek State Park, PA. Where we would stay for three nights and spend one glorious day drinking up, eating cheeseburgers, watching girls spin the wheel and listening to the man himself play at First Niagara Pavilion.

This was my favorite concert of his. The tailgating was pretty tame. Alpine Valley has been by FAR my most favorite tailgating place for Buffett. But this concert was my favorite. It may have helped that I made sure I was coherent at showtime but regardless, he was awesome. He played so many of my favorites that I haven't heard in concert/or just didn't remember ever hearing live. He also played old favorites and as he always does Jimmy made me cry at least once. Yeah, I cry at Jimmy Buffett concerts. But I can't help it. Seriously, Jimmy Buffett once a year makes me happy. It's hard to describe it, but there are just sooo many songs with so many memories and so many songs that just 'take me back' as my other favorite musician Kenny Chesney likes to say. It is like my yearly church visit. Refreshing, comforting and a heck of a lot of fun.
the hubby and me tailgating pre-concert (we got to the pre-tailgate lot around noon and stayed there for about an hour and got in line to park here. while in line it started downpouring, like standing puddles and everyone soaking wet kind of rain. after we parked and got set up the sun came back, the humidity stayed and it was sunny all day!)

my fellow female friend in the Buffett craziness. this year we only traveled with one other couple and usually it is her, me and 4-6 guys!

a view of the people tailgating down by us

the other side of people tailgating by us.. these people were very nice and shared their food and bathroom with us all day!

my hubby

a view down towards the bus lots and a view of our neighbors bathroom. it was a bucket with a lid and baggies inside (made for hunters) and then the shelter that zipped up there. it was wonderful. lots better than standing in loooong lines!

Honestly, you need to go see Jimmy Buffett at least once in your life. The tailgating is ridiculous and sooo sooo much fun! Oh and if you only know Margaritaville, Cheeseburger in Paradise or Fins, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE listen to other stuff. Oh you want me to suggest some Buffett for you to try? Why CERTAINLY!

A Pirate Looks at Forty "Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters
since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all, you've seen it all. "

Lovely Cruise "Drink it up
This ones for you
It's been a lovely cruise
I'm sorry it's ended
It's sad but it's true
Honey it's been a lovely cruise "


Changes in Latitude Changes in Attitude "It's those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane. "

And I could go on.. but just know there is more out there worth discovering!

Oh, and the camping was okay, but nothing to see again, but much better than the time we spent the night in a tent behind a random bar in Wisconsin! ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blog Fest 2010

BlogFest 2010

Get ready to have a blast September 10-12, 2010. Looking for increased traffic to your blog? Want to get out and meet some fellow bloggers? Come join us for this twice a year event as we celebrate each other! What is it? BlogFest is a blog run of sorts. A list of participating blogs will be provided on September 10, each offering a fantastic giveaway for readers to enter. Each blog will link to another, pulling readers through the fantastic party we'll have set up for them!

How do I participate?
Want to sign up? Fill out this form.

Finally, promote this event and have fun with it! This will be my first time partcipating and I am excited!

The rules are quite limited.

1. Each blog must host a giveaway between 12:00 am EST on the 10th through 11:59 pm EST on the 12th. There are no stipulations as to the monetary value of this giveaway.
2. Each blog must post the links provided to them on the days of the event.
3. Your BlogFest post can remain as a single post over the multiple days, but make sure there is an easily visible link to it from the top of your blog. If people can't find your giveaway, they certainly can't enter it.
4. Giveaway rules are up to you.
5. We will have a webpage and database for visitors to use to help track their blog visits. While it is not mandatory that you direct your visitors there, it is a tool available to you.
You can find the growing list of partcipants here.
For my giveaway, I am leaning towards letting the winner pick any of the books I have reviewed in 2010, plus some locally made book related stuff. Any suggestions on what you want me to giveaway??

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

100 Top Thrillers

I am a sucker for a good thriller (and for lists!!!) Be it movie or be it book. NPR has formed a list of 100 top thrillers, voted on by readers. Inlcuding, Stacy from Stacy's Books (which is where I found out about this!) I would have loved to have voted. I've bolded the one's I've read, linked to reviews that I can recall reviewing and italics to those that are on my TBR list!

1. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - review
3. Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson
4. The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum
5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
7. The Shining, by Stephen King
8. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
9. The Hunt tor Red October, by Tom Clancy
10. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - at least I think I read it in high school haha
11. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
12. The Stand, by Stephen King
13. The Bone Collector, by Jeffery Deaver
14. Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
15. Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown - My favorite Patterson
16. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham

17. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
18. Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane - LOOOOOVED this book. hated the movie.
19. The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth
20. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
21. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
22. It, by Stephen King
23. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
24. The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson
- review (I thought it was better than The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)
25. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
26. The Alienist, by Caleb Carr
27. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris
28. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
29. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
30. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson - review
31. No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
32. Gone Baby Gone, by Dennis Lehane
33. Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith
34. Rosemary’s Baby, by Ira Levin
35. Subterranean, by James Rollins
36. Clear and Present Danger, by Tom Clancy
37. Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King
38. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane
39. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John Le Carre
40. The Poet, by Michael Connelly
41. The Boys from Brazil, by Ira Levin
42. Cape Fear, by John MacDonald
43. The Bride Collector, by Ted Dekker
44. Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
45. Dead Zone, by Stephen King
46. The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon - Haven't read it but I watched the movie and did not like it!
47. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carre
48. The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
49. Tell No One, by Harlan Coben – My first and favorite Coben and I’ve read them all.
50. Consent to Kill, by Vince Flynn
51. The 39 Steps, by John Buchan
52. Blowback, by Brad Thor
53. The Children of Men, by P.D. James
54. 61 Hours, by Lee Child
55. Marathon Man, by William Goldman
56. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
57. 206 Bones, by Kathy Reichs
58. Psycho, by Robert Bloch
59. The Killing Floor, by Lee Child
60. Rules of Prey, by John Sandford
61. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins - really want to read this!
62. In the Woods, by Tana French
- I have heard lots of good things about this as well.. I will be getting it from the library as soon as I catch up!
63. Shogun, by James Clavell
64. The Relic, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
65. Intensity, by Dean Koontz – This was is very intense
66. Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming
67. Metzger’s Dog, by Thomas Perry
68. Timeline, by Michael Crichton
69. Contact, by Carl Sagan
70. What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman
71. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
72. The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
73. Charm School, by Nelson DeMille
74. Feed, by Mira Grant
75. Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child
76. Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay
77. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
78. The First Deadly Sin, by Lawrence Sanders
79. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
80. The Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell
81. Primal Fear, by William Diehl
82. The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry
82. The Hard Way, by Lee Child [tie]
84. The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper
85. Six Days of the Condor, by James Grady
86. Fail-Safe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
87. Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith
88. The Eight, by Katherine Neville
89. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
90. Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming
91. Bangkok 8, by John Burdett
92. The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva
93. Hardball, by Sara Paretsky
94. The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
95. The Deep Blue Good-by, by John MacDonald
96. The Monkey’s Raincoat, by Robert Crais
96. Berlin Game, by Len Deighton [tie]
98. A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith
99. Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
100. Heartsick, by Chelsea Cain

I am actually surprised that I hadn't read more on the list. But, it does give me a lovely list to go off of for new suggestions!!

What are your top 3 thriller books?
Mine would be The Girl Who Played With Fire, Mystic River, Pray for Silence..

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - The One That I Want

This Teaser Tuesday is brought to you from our August Blogger Group Read, The One That I want by Allison Winn Scotch.

"Okay, another confession: I have a wee bit of difficulty saying no, refusing requests when I have reason, every right to refuse them in the first place. I am the person who other people know will invariable say yes, so I'm asked for alot of things, which means that I also say yes to all of said things." - pg. 4

Alright, ladies (because I am not sure how many men relate to this) how many of you are guility of this????? My mom and one of my friends have this problem. They say yes to practically everything and then are overwhelmed, tired and get annoyed. The beauty of the word no is wondeful. Be selfish, take time for yourself. If it sounds boring? Say no. If it sounds ridiculous or something you don't want to do? Say no. People's feelings will no feel bad if you say no. That means you have a backbone!!! Don't let people walk all over you, because they will keep on doing it!!

Has anyone else started reading? I am on page 9. So far, I can really relate. I mean she is a teacher (hey, me too, if someone wanted to hire me!) and she is trying to have a baby. I think the scenes I have read so far accurately describe thoughts I have had so far in my journey of life. I think I have gotten myself hooked on page 9.

So.. fess up. How many of you are always saying yes? Anyone, with me and just says no??

Not to say, just saying no doesn't bring some guilt. Cuz when you say it to someone who always says yes, you feel slightly bad because they would have told you yes. But if you are me, then you think. WELL, maybe next time they will learn to tell my ridiculous request NO! (Yeah, women are really this crazy or maybe it is just me?)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen

I first learned of this series because of the new TNT series Rizzoli & Isles. (What can I say, I am a sucker for cop drama!) Then I started reading reviews about the newest book out in the series by Gerritsen, and decided that I must start it immediately. So I headed to the library and realized I was not the only one with this thought. So I put myself on the wait list and patiently waited one week to get this book. I flew right through it.
The Surgeon introduces us to Jane Rizzoli, Homicide Detective with a chip on her shoulder. Every one else is male and in the club, she not so much. She fights hard for everything she gets and struggles to make a name for herself in the good ole boys club.

The city of Boston, particularly, the women, are being hunted by a serial killer who seems an awfully like the evil Andrew Capra, who was shot to death in Savannah two years ago by Dr. Catherine Cordell after he tried to make her one of his victims. Ironically, Dr. Cordell has relocated to Boston and the deaths started soon after she arrived. The Surgeon is targeting women who vulnerable, who have suffered a rape and who are victims. He can only control and kill them if they are completely under his control and all the fight out of them. At first, the police thing perhaps The Surgeon is raping these women and then coming back for them, but with a few twists and turns they realize this is not the case.

The brutal part of the Surgeon is his method of torture. He binds up his victims with duct tape and then using a scalpel and other medical instruments cuts out their uterus. (The thing that makes them evil.) Then he cuts their carotid artery which finishes them off. UGHHHHHH. That is one of the things that grosses me out and freaks me out the most. Scary stuff.

Cordell is a great assist to the police and she and a male detective get a little hot and heavy. As the case develops it definitely looks like the killer is aiming in at the ultimate kill which is Catherine herself. Can Rizzoli find the killer and save her own reputation before it's too late? Better read to find out!

I really enjoyed that the book allowed for you to think of people to be possible suspects but they weren't like obviously oooh think this guy is the bad guy type stuff. It made you think and the killer did NOT come out of left field either, which is another positive in my book! I will be devouring this series as soon as the books get checked back in at the library!

Other books in this series include:

The Apprentice

The Sinner

Body Double


The Mephisto Club

The Keepsake

Ice Cold

What is a series that you have recently started and liked?

Besides this one, I think we all know I have enjoyed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Series!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Books on TV

I am a nerd. I like watching old movies and I grew up watching TCM (Turner Classic Movie channel) with my grandpa late at night. I was browsing through their selection for the next week or so to see what was coming up and next Sunday, August 15th they are doing a special on Margaret O' Brien who played the role of Mary Lennox (among other popular roles), the orphan in The Secret Garden. The Secret Garden was our July Group Read for our blogger book club and for those of you who enjoy old movies or watching the movies to the books you have read or for those of you who like to watch the movie but not read the book :::glares at my hubby:: then you may want to turn in to TCM next Sunday at 8:00 p.m. to watch The Secret Garden.
( photo taken from wikipedia)

this is from the trailer from Journey for Margaret

From gathering information from TCM's website, it appears this is the only version of The Secret Garden that stars a major child star in the role of Mary Lennox. Margaret O'Brien shot to fame in movie Journey for Margaret in 1942 at the age of 5!!!! She also played Beth in the 1949 adaptation to Little Women, my FAVORITE book ever. Which will be also airing next Sunday at 5:45 for those Little Women fans out there! (I may have to have my hubby record these for me, since we are having family over. Because I want to see Little Women, I don't think I have seen that version, but I may be wrong. I will also give The Secret Garden a shot, but I don't know if it will hold my attention. Maybe it will surprise me!)

Also, the movie is filmed in black and white EXCEPT for the parts where they are in the garden. Those are in color. I really would be interested in seeing how they can transform the description of the gardens into reality in the film.

Do you enjoy watching old movies?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Forget You - Jennifer Echols

I will preface this with saying, I really wanted to read this book. I read the description and thought, hey that sounds interesting.

But, it wasn't. It sucked. Hardcore suckage. The premise of the book, is Zoey is a perfect darling girl who has rich parents and has everything. Except apparently a brain. She is on the swim team life is perfect until it spirals out of control when her controlling asshole father cheats on her mom, gets his 24 year old gf pregnant and then makes her mom move out of the house to an apartment. Her mom then goes crazy, tries to kill herself and is sent to 'insane asylum' where it is determined she is bi-polar. Her ass of a dad threatens Zoey to not mention a word of this.

This craziness pushes Zoey out of control and she decides it's a fabulous idea to have sex with Brandon, the extreme player who she has been giving girl advice to all summer. I am all about having random fun sex if you can handle it. BUT, if you do it and then think you are this stupid player's GIRLFRIEND??? You lose all credibility. This is about the time I REALLY couldn't handle reading it. But like I said, I requested to read this book because I thought it sounded interesting. HA.

So they hook up, she doesn't hear from him for OVER a week and yet calls herself his girlfriend. HELLO CRAZYCAKES. YOU HAD SEX WITH HIM. That was it. Stop calling him your boyfriend. Anyhooo... like any other player he finds someone else to have sex with.

Enter Doug. Doug is this 'baaad boy' who went to juvie in 9th grade and yada yada yada he is sooo bad. We can't talk to him cuz he is a baaaad boy. So Doug and Zoey never have liked each other apparently, stemming back to when he went to juvie and missed homecoming, after he had asked her to go with him. Whatever.

So, one nite (a week after the hook up with player) Zoey wakes up and she has been in a car crash. She has no idea how she got there, no memory of most of the nite leading up to it. She doesn't admit this to anyone. (HELLO STUPID YOU HAVE A CONCUSSION AND THOSE CAN BE DANGEROUS.) Her dad flips out on her because HE is going to Hawaii to get married to 24 year old ho and SHE BETTER NO RUIN THIS FOR HIM. SO, Zoey lies about having no memory because he threatens to lock HER up in a looney bin if she says she can't remember anything. The wierd thing? All Zoey remembers is waking up to Doug pulling her out and then Doug shows up to her house acting all wierd the morning after. ALmost, like HE is her boyfriend and NOT Brandon.

So this is where I completely stopped attempting to like it and just started rolling my eyes and thinking ofa ll the stupidness. 1) What parent leaves their child less than 24 hours after they have had a MAJOR CAR ACCIDENT AND EXPERIENCED PASSING OUT frequently? 2) What hospital lets someone leave the same night when they CANNOT remember and had a head injury? 3) What idiot doesn't just say to her friends, dude I can't remember what happened. ha ha.. Tell me about it. 4) Doug's character is completely unbelievable. NO one acts like that. 5) Zoey starts swearing and acting completely different AFTER HER HEAD INJURY. HELLO ANYONE????

Ok, this book had a lot of problems and one of the most irritating to me was overuse of using animals in similies or the fact that Zoey just wouldn't freaking ask someone what happened, or that Doug wouldn't tell her what happened and the fact that she called a guy she had sex with once her boyfriend. Ok so that was more than one.

This book was horrible and the only reason I finished it was because I requested it as an ARC through Star Book Tours. Obviously, I'm an honest reviewer. Please do not waste your time.

What was the last horrible book you read?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Loving Frank

Wow. This book first hit my radar when Lisa told me about it and recommended it on her blog.

This book is about Frank Lloyd Wright and his affair with Mamah (May-mah) Borthwick Cheney. The affair is real, but little is publicly known about their relationship that turned heads and caused quite the scandal in the early 1900s.

Frank and Mamah are both married and have children, when Mamah and her husband, Edwin Cheney, hire Frank to build them a house in Oak Park, Illinois. They eventually leave their spouses and travel around Europe for over a year. Mamah, a graduate of the University of Michigan, has always been a feminist, but this time apart from her husband and her children really help her realize who she is. She gives up her family for her quest at living honestly, loving freely and rejoicing in her womanhood. Quite the scandal for 1909.

In this day and age so much about their relationship would have been okay and hampered on in the public as much and I think they would have been able to live without the ridicule and harassment. They would have been able to obtain divorces and regardless of her extra-marital affairs, leaving her husband would not deny Mamah her children. I find this so absurd. Yeah, men who rarely partook in the raising of the children, would keep them from the mother in a divorce to 'hurt' them but yet, in the end only harmed the children. Ah, the logic of olden day times and times before women HAD THE RIGHT TO VOTE or to NOT be property of their husband.

Wow. I really could not imagine what Mamah had to go through in losing her children to be with her 'love.' Her and Frank connected with the words of wisdom 'one only lives but once.'

I will say the book did portray Frank to be an asshole and Mamah to be a little too following for being such a 'feminist.' However, the feminists of the early 1900s are probably slightly more different than the feminists of today. Speaking of feminists, why is saying you are a feminist a bad thing? Quite frankly, I find a woman who doesn't consider herself to be a feminist a fraud. Do you not strive to be equal? To be treated for respect of your work and not your boob size? Do you want to be discriminated against? But that is yet another rant.

I really enjoyed the novel and it made me think and it was just pretty much amazing and I think all of you should read it as well. Oh and I second Lisa, the last part of the book is heartbreaking. I did wonder how it was going to wrap up in the next few pages, but the ending, so sad. I am glad I saved my googling on the subject until I was all done.

What book do you recommend that has a strong female role?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Swedish Meatballs & Veggie Salad!

Last week in the middle of my quest to empty out the cupboards/fridge/freezer I found oodles of cans of cream of chicken and a bag of frozen meatballs. Google and a family reunion reminded me of yummy meatball goodness with cream of mushroom sauce. But, I improvised.

I used 2 cans of cream of chicken and 1 can of evaporated milk as the base of my sauce. I would most definitely want to use cream of mushroom next time because I think the cream of chicken was a bit too sweet for what I was looking for.

I also used generous helpings of parsley. I want to say the parsley is from our garden and in this container because we had one empty. Not totally positive but I do know that we are growing parsley and that the parsley in that container isn't the parsley that came with the container. Confusing? Maybe haha..

I also probably used too much nutmeg. Confession: I do not measure spices. My husband hates that I don't, so I tend not to cook when he is around. I just dash and sprinkle and taste test!

So I threw all of those ingredients already shown and put it on the stove top on medium heat. The white glob? Sour cream. Next time I would probably use more sour cream (possibly a 1/2 cup.) I let it heat up.

And added salt and pepper. I would probably enjoy more pepper. I love pepper.

Here are the meatballs. I was lazy. So I totally warmed them up in the microwave. I like these soo much better than trying to make my own. My husband would totally make his own. But I really like the taste of these and they are just a random Meijer brand bag of frozen meatballs!

I had these egg noodles that I've wanted to eat for awhile so I thought these would go perfectly with the meatballs. I probably used about half the bag and it was enough with the meatballs for around 4-6-8 servings depending on how hungry you are.

Here are the veggies to cut up for the salad. Cuc and green pepper from my dad's garden, tomatoes from our garden and celery and carrots from the store.

Picture of the boiling water for the egg noodles.

Oh and then magically the egg noodles are done hahaha. I would say they took about the same amount of time or less than cooking spaghetti noodles. And I think they are yummier.

Here are the meatballs/sauce that I probably had on the stove together between 20-30 minutes on low. It just pretty much just sat there while I waited for the hubby to get home from work. But could be done in about 10 minutes cuz everything is warm already.

Here is the yummy veggie salad. I layered it with the different veggies and it was fab. I like just eating veggies without lettuce/spinach now and then.

And a picture of the plate. I used the parm cheese dressing and ate the meatballs.
Verdict = It was pretty darn good but I would definitely use cream of mushroom because it was too sweet and I think the cream of chicken was the reason!
What is your favorite way to make meatballs??

Monday, August 2, 2010

August's Group Read is..

The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch!

Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a guidance coun...more Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a guidance counselor in her hometown, trying for a baby. Perfect.

In fact, on the surface you might never know how tough things used to be. At seventeen, Tilly lost her mother to cancer, her father drowned his grief in alcohol, and she played parent to her two younger sisters more often than being a kid herself. Still Tilly never let tragedy overtake her belief that hard work and good cheer could solve any problem. Of course she’s also spent a lifetime plastering a smile on her face and putting everyone else’s problems ahead of her own.
But that relentless happiness has served her well—her sisters are grown and content, her dad is ten years sober, and she’s helping her students achieve all their dreams while she and her husband, Tyler, start a family. A perfect life indeed.

Then one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into the fortune teller’s tent and is greeted by an old childhood friend, now a psychic, who offers her more than just a reading. “I’m giving you the gift of clarity,” her friend says. “It’s what I always thought you needed.” And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; Tyler uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway; and even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly’s perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her. And she’s not sure what’s more frightening: that she’s begun to see the future or what the future holds . . .

As Tilly furiously races to keep up with—and hopefully change—her destiny, she faces the question: Which is the life she wants? The one she’s carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible.

I am so excited to read this one! I won it in a giveaway from Booking Mama and have been excited to read it. I know that we have some new people to join us this month and that makes me excited as well! If you want to do a guest post, or post your own review on your blog, let me know and I will post it here to share the word! The more the merrier because in the end, the more talk about books, the happier I am!
I also have to say that the cover of the book is super cute and may be a teensy part of why I wanted to read it!
Who can believe it is August? Holy crap. I don't want it to almost be fall. As much as I love college football, I love me some summer time, laying in my hammock or in my pool.
What did you read this weekend? I am finishing up Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, about to start The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and I have another book waiting for me at the library on a hold that I don't remember. I better get busy!