Friday, December 3, 2010

UPDATE - TBR 2010 Challenge

I just wanted to post a quick update on how I am doing with this challenge.  As of December 2, 2010, I have finished this challenge.  YAY!!!  I read 8 books from my original list and 4 from my alternate list. 

Information about the 2010 Original TBR (To Be Read) challenge can be found on the Should Be Reading blog hosted by MizB.

  1. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes - Completed and reviewed - Jan. 23, 2010
  2. A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat by Zell Miller - Read May 6, 2010
  3. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs - Completed and reviewed - Feb. 10, 2010
  4. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James - Completed and reviewed - April 10, 2010
  5. Treason by Don Brown - Read May 3, 2010
  6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - Read - July 27, 2010; Reviewed - August 27, 2010
  7. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
  8. Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky - Completed and reviewed - Feb. 10, 2010
  9. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - Read August 6, 2010
  10. The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace - Completed and reviewed - October 30, 2010
  11. When Character was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan by P. Noonan - Completed and reviewed - Nov. 23, 2010
  12.  Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper - Completed and reviewed - Dec. 2, 2010
The books I plan to read:
  1. Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley
  2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
  3. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  4. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - started

My alternate list of books to read:
  1. The Fate of Katherine Carr by Thomas H. Cook
  2. Dark Places by Gilliam Flynn
  3. The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
  4. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
  5. Sashenka by Simon Montefiore
  6. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
  7. Common Sense by Glenn Beck
  8. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

Buy One Book and Read It 2010!

Buy One Book and Read It 2010

Review - Anderson Cooper: Dispatches From the Edge

I wondered how I would feel about this book since I typically don't enjoy listening to CNN anchors whenever my husband turns on CNN. I found myself having a hard time putting this book down.

While I hadn't forgotten the events that Mr. Cooper writes about, I had not thought about them in quite this context.   It's one thing to see these events reported on television.  A viewer gets an idea of what is happening, and may even have a personal connection to the event, but if the viewer is not actually there, the seriousness of the situation truly does not really sink in.  Reading Mr. Cooper's first-hand experiences during these events, as well as the information about his past, made for a very interesting story.

I think that I am going to have to give Anderson Cooper a second chance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review - Happy Ever After

Happy Ever After is the final novel in Nora Roberts' romantic series, The Bride Quartet. Four childhood friends who have turned a favorite childhood game, Wedding Day, into a successful wedding planning business, Vows, in Connecticut.

Happy Ever After is Parker's story.  I really enjoyed watching Parker and Mal. Then again, I've enjoyed watching all four couples come together. They all work so well together, even if they might not have seemed to be logical at first. I think that of all the couples, these two were my favorite to watch. I also enjoyed seeing Mac and Carter's wedding at the end.

I just wish that I could have seen all four weddings.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cards

Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year.  During the holiday season, I love to send Christmas cards to my family and friends.  My husband says that I send too many out.  I don’t agree with him.  Christmas cards are my way of letting everyone know that I am thinking about them during the holiday season.  Since we started a family, they are also my way of showing family and friends, who don't get to see them, how much the girls have grown in the last year.   I also love getting Christmas cards from these same people.  It’s always a good time to open a card and see how much families have changed over the last year.

When a sorority sister and friend blogged that Shutterfly is giving 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers, I emailed her for the details.  I had recently received their mailer, about Christmas cards and Christmas gift ideas, and was already thinking about what I would like to do this year.  We had a family photo taken on Thanksgiving to use with our cards this year even before this, so I'm excited. 

Here are my favorite Christmas cards in no particular order:

I’m also considering photo books as gifts for the grandparents this year as well as making a calendar for my husband.  He really liked that idea, now to figure out a style to use and the pictures to go in it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review - When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan

When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan

When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan by Peggy Noonan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book and wanted to meet a character from it? Well, after reading this book, I really wish that I had had a chance to meet Ronald Reagan at some point.

Ronald Reagan is the first president that I have clear memories of, although I do have a vague recollection of Jimmy Carter. So many historic events happened under Ronald Reagan's watch and it was interesting to read about his thought process and how his character shaped his actions while in office.

I've heard Ronald Reagan referred to as one of the greatest presidents of our times and I have to agree. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review - Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead

Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead (Rai Rahotep, #1)

Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead by Nick Drake

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What can I say? I wasn't that impressed with this book. I had a hard time reading it because it really didn't catch my interest as I thought that it would.

View all my reviews

Review - The Camel Club

The Camel Club (Camel Club, #1)
The Camel Club by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd seen this book sitting at my parents for a while, but never picked it up and read it. Once I did, I really enjoyed it.

The characters and storyline were well written and kept my interest. The Camel Club is about four men, who are all current or former government employees, who all have special skills that they have use while they study conspiracy theories, current events around the world and the actions that the government is taking. They witness a murder and are convinced that it was government sanctioned so they begin their own investigation into the murder. The subplots of the story were interesting and added some twists that I wasn't expecting.

I'm looking forward to reading more of this series.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review - The Billionaire's Vinegar

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine
The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to say that I am a little disappointed in this book. It was good, but it took me forever to finish a book that should have kept me engaged since I am interested in wine and love a good mystery. I had a hard time reading more than a ten pages or so at a time. When I first started, the story was engaging, but as I got further into it, I had a harder time picking it up.

Mr. Wallace's descriptions of the characters and the locations, both past and present, were well written. I enjoyed reading his descriptions of what Thomas Jefferson probably experienced when traveling through the French countryside looking for wines to ship back to Monticello.

I'll probably give this book another try at a later date.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guest Author Post - Self Publishing, Bone of the Dead Cookies and Winston Churchill by Elle Newmark

The issue of my age came up shortly after Simon and Schuster bought The Book of Unholy Mischief. After I sent my new agent an overly-excited email, she asked, "How old are you?'

OMG, should I lie? No.

I shot back, "I'm sixty. Is that a problem?"

My agent is younger than my children. I considered emergency plastic surgery. I panicked because, frankly, I'm shocked to be over sixty. I feel like I'm thirty-five, only smarter.

I'm smarter, because I've lived. I've had jobs, marriages, lovers, friends, children and grandchildren. I've visited every continent and lived in on two of them. I've survived divorce, single parenthood, life-threatening illness, and even teenagers. And through all those heaving life experiences, I kept writing without ever publishing a word.

By fifty-five I had an epic collection of rejection letters, but I needed to write. At fifty-six, I finished my third novel, and I remember the surge of elation when that book caught the attention of a reputable agent who said, "This is a gold mine." It was finally happening!

Then it didn't.

One black day, I accepted that my work would never be published. It was crushing, and I spent weeks wallowing in the tragedy of my crucified ego. On my 60th birthday, I sulked on the sofa in rumpled pajamas and ate cold pizza.

Then I got angry. I'd given away control of my destiny, and the world had shrugged and given it back.

Fine. I'd do it myself. I took the humble route of self-publishing, because I thought just holding my book in my hands would be enough. I risked money and went through endless edits, and then my literary baby made its debut to a shrieking silence and a riot of apathy.

The book languished on Amazon, and that's when I decided that it wasn't only about holding a book but knowing that people were reading it.

One night, slumped in front of the TV, watching a glitzy book launch party on Sex in the City, I got an idea.

I gambled on a do-it-yourself website, took on an Internet marketing course, and threw a virtual book launch party. It was designed to generate a surge of sales on Amazon and catapult me onto the bestseller list.

I brazenly asked droves of website owners to help me. I sent letters, homemade cookies, and signed books marked on the page where those cookies appear in the novel. The cookies are called Bones of the Dead and so, with an aching back, I spent long days in the kitchen, shaping bone cookies -fifteen hundred of them.

Two days before my virtual party, my son said, "Mom, why not invite agents to your party?" Well, that would be a ballsy move indeed, but I figured I had nothing to lose. The night before the launch, I wrote personal invitations with a link to the party site to 400 agents.

By noon the next day agents were clamoring to read my masterpiece, asking me to overnight books to New York. Within 24 hours, I had offers from several impressive agencies-including William Morris, with whom I made an agreement at whiplash speed.

I did hit the Amazon bestseller list. Not that it mattered anymore.

Two weeks after my virtual party, my book went to auction. Bidding was due to start at 11:00 a.m. EST, but at 8:00 a.m. the phone rang. My agent said, "Are you sitting down?" I said yes, though I wasn't. She said, "Two book deal, Simon and Schuster." Then I sat down.

In the following heady days, the foreign sales started. It was a global feeding frenzy. As of this writing The Book of Unholy Mischief will be published in a dozen languages.

In all the excitement, I remembered a famous quote from Winston Churchill-with the sky over London littered with falling bombs and the city in rubble, the sixty-eight year old Churchill growled, "Never, never, never, never give up."

I didn't give up. That's really all I did. I have spent my life pursuing what I love, and every word I wrote was necessary to find my voice as a writer. And success is better later than early. Can you think of anything more depressing than peaking at the age of 25? Then what? Also, I feel profound gratitude, which I probably wasn't capable of twenty or thirty years ago. Being older makes it sweeter.

But here's the ironic part: Now that I'm published, I finally understand that the deepest satisfaction is in the writing itself. The best part is not holding my book or having other people read it-the best part was writing it. Writing is my passion, and passion is our consolation for mortality. Real success is finding something you love, and then doing the hell out of it.

My new book, The Sandalwood Tree, will be out in April 2011, and then I get to write another. And I am old enough to appreciate the hell out of that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review - The Book of Unholy Mischief

I saw this book at my local bookstore a while back and added it to my to-be-read pile.  When the chance came to get a copy to read and review, I was excited.  I can say that I wasn't let down.

I really enjoyed this story and found the book to be well written.  The descriptions took me into the story so that I was "seeing" everything as Luciano was telling it.  I think that Ms. Newmark brought these characters and this time to life for me.

I found it interesting how she wove the theme of hidden knowledge into the story.  It made me wonder about knowledge that has been lost over time both before it was written down or because people were afraid of it.  Using cooking to pass knowledge on is a unique twist on the secret society theme.

I look forward to reading more of Ms. Newmark's work.

I obtained this book from the publisher, Washington Square Press.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review - The Hunger Games

I decided to read this book after seeing that several friends were reading and enjoying "The Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

I have to say that I didn't like this book and would only give it a 2 1/2 star rating.  I can't put my finger on why I didn't like this book.   I had a hard time finishing this book.  It was well written, but didn't grab me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review - Anne of Green Gables

From the first time I read this book, years ago, I was hooked on Anne and the world of Avonlea.  I loved to immerse myself in this story and the other books that follow.  "Anne of Green Gables" is so well written that every time I read it, I find myself in the story living in Avonlea with Anne as she makes friends and lives with Marilla and Matthew at Green Gables.

I always feel as if I have rejoined old friends when I read this book.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Review - The Jane Austen Book Club

I'm torn on this book.  I had heard and read a lot of positive reviews about it so I was excited to read it.  I found it interesting to read, but I think that I expected more from the book.

The premise is a book club that is formed to read the works of Jane Austen.  I found this interesting and enjoyed seeing how the book's characters interpreted Austen's work.  What I had a harder time with and wasn't that impressed with was the stories that revolved around the club members.  None of the characters really excited me and drew me into their story.

I've heard that the movie was better than the book.  I think that I'll have to give it a try sometime.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review - The White Queen

This is the second Phillipa Gregory that I have read.  The first one, for some reason, I just couldn't get into and put down within the first 50 pages or so.  I had a good time reading this novel and read it through fairly quickly about 2 weeks ago. 

I know, I'm a little late in writing this but it's been a busy month and I haven't been very motivated to write, but I digress.

This book captured my attention and was a delight to read.  Ms. Gregory did an excellent job of blending historical fact and fiction together to create a believable story.  I love reading history and to see story of Elizabeth Woodville and the Plantagenets and how their lives might have played out was interesting.

Ms. Gregory wrote a story that had me seeing what was happening to Elizabeth, Edward, their children and his brothers.  I love to read stories that pull me in and have me "living" the story with the characters.  This novel did that.

I'm going to have to read the other novels in this series, The Cousins' War.  Next up, is the story of Margaret Beaufort in The Red Queen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Review - The Poisonwood Bible

I decided to read this book after several friends read it and I had heard positive feedback from them about it.  Here are my thoughts on it.

The Poisonwood Bible is a well written novel.  Barbara Kingsolver does a wonderful job weaving the different story lines and themes in this story together.  The characters were well written and the story lines flowed well. 

However, for some reason, this book did not hold me.  I read it through, but it took me a long time.  The book's length did not bother me as I've read several books that are several hundred pages.  I just couldn't get into this book.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review - The Life You've Imagined

The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book that I have read by this author.  It is a story of four women who are each at a cross roads in their life. 

It took about 30 pages for me to get into this book.  Once I did, I enjoyed it very much and couldn't put it down.

Have you ever looked at your life and thought about whether it was what you had always dreamed of or not?  This story does that with the four main characters, Anna, Cami, Maeve and Amy, who are all living in Haven, Michigan, their hometown.

Anna and Cami were best friends when they were growing up.  Both left their hometown as soon as they could and now both are back.  They both have issues they need to work through as they decide where they want to go from here.

Anna is about to be up for partnership in her law firm, but she has just lost her mentor.  She is having a hard time dealing with this loss although she insists that she is fine.  Her boss insists that she take bereavement leave so that she get work this out before she ruins her chances at partnership.  When she comes home, she finds that her father, who walked out on her and her mother twenty years ago, is writing to her mother.  This hurts because she loved her father and then he left without a word.  She also finds out that her ex-boyfriend's family business is evicting her mother from the only home and source of income that she has.

Cami has returned to her childhood home with her abusive father since she was kicked out by her boyfriend.  She "borrowed" money from him to try to win back money that she had lost gambling.  Cami needs to figure out how to get her life back on track and pay her, now ex, boyfriend back.

Amy, a friend of Anna and Cami's, lost a lot of weight after she graduated from high school and now is marrying the guy of her dreams, but is this really what she wants?  She and Paul seem to be drifting apart as their wedding day approaches.  Also, she isn't certain that she approves of the way that he is handling the closing of Nee Nance Store.

Maeve is Anna's mother and the owner of the Nee Nance Store, the convenience store that she and her husband, Robert, opened soon after Anna was born.  Since her husband left them, she raised Anna by herself and is starting to take care of Robert's sister, Sally, who is starting to suffer from dementia.  Before Anna returned to town, Maeve received the news that she was being evicted from the building where she has her store and her apartment.  She is taking a long look at where she is and what she is going to do with her life.

Each story and how they all weave together is very well written.  Ms. Riggle did a great job of narrating their stories and bringing these women back together after so long apart.  I really liked how these four women examined their lived and decided where they wanted to go from here.

I haven't read her first book, Real Life and Liars, but will be looking for it in my local library.

I obtained this book from the publisher, Avon (A), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review - The Da Vinci Code

It's been almost 6 years since I first read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.  Since than, I've seen the movie a number of times so reading this book away was very refreshing.  Don't get me wrong, I love the movie, but reading the book is so much better.

I had forgotten several items that are mentioned in the book, such as how the bank manager wants to protect the vault items and not steal them, Robert Langdon talking to his publisher about the manuscript that he just submitted.  I know that when books are adapted for movies, things are often left out simply because there is not enough time, etc.  That is why it's been fun reading this book again.  So many things that didn't make it into the movie, but were so important to the story.

This book also made me think about religion.  Religion is a touchy topic and not one that I'm in the mood to talk about.  Let me just say that I can see the possibilities that Dan Brown discusses in this book. 

Overall, this is a very good book and one that I will probably pick up and read again in the future.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hope's 4 month Birthday!

Today is my daughter's 4 month birthday.  Yes, my husband and I do like to celebrate these little anniversaries since they are nice milestones.  Here are some photos that I took of her and our oldest earlier today.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 30 of 30 Days of ME! - Whatever tickles your fancy

This is a crazy weekend for me.  It's my family's annual golf outing weekend.  The tradition started when my siblings and I were getting married, three weddings in three years.  The day of the bridal shower, my dad hosted a golf outing for the groom so that the guys had something to do.  My dad's side of the family had such a great time, getting together and golfing and socializing that it has become an annual event.

Everyone starts arriving in the middle of the week and that's when the festivities begin.  Golfing, dinner, family.  What could be better?  This is one of the few times of year that everyone gets together.  Not everyone comes in for the holidays since the family is scattered across the country and most split the holidays with their in-laws.  The family gathers at one house, usually my parents, from the time they start arriving until Sunday when everyone starts to leave.

I love getting to see everyone in my family.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 29 of 30 Days of ME! - Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days

You would think that coming up with a list of one's hopes and dreams for the next year would simple simple.  And in some ways, it is.
  • For my daughters to be happy and healthy.
  • To be happy.
  • To have my health, my family, my friends.
  • To have the means to live our lives comfortably.
  • For the world to find peace.
These things are easy but actually writing them out is not so easy.  Whether it's a fear of jinxing the future or an inability to articulate what I truly mean.  Are my hopes realistic or are they wishful thinking?  I'd like to think that they are realistic.  I guess it's going to take a year to tell which of these have come true and which are a work-in-progress.

Review - The Writing Circle

The Writing Circle - I read an Advance Copy of this book through the Barnes & Noble First Look Club.  This is the first book that we read that was an e-book.

I have mixed thoughts on this book.  It was good, but I think that I expected better.  I had a hard time getting into this book and I'm not sure why.  It might have had something to do with the style.  The chapters weren't chapters the way books usually are written.  The chapters would deal with one person with some overlap from the other characters, but it seemed that the story didn't follow over well using this format.  At least not for me in the beginning, I didn't get into this book until almost the end.

Aside from this, I really don't have a lot to say without giving too much about this book away.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 28 of 30 Days of ME! - This year, in great detail

I've spent the past year looking for a job and taking care of my daughter.  Hated the first part, loved the second part. 

My husband and I found out that we were expecting our second child.  We spent the next 9 months getting ready for her arrival and getting our first born used to the fact that soon she won't be the only child in the house but the big sister.

Now, our second child is here.  It is another girl and we are very happy and getting used to another person in the house. 

This summer is filled with enjoying my girls and spending time with family.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 27 of 30 Days of ME! - This month, in great detail

Where has the last month gone???  Well, let's see.  While I've been looking for a job to replace the one that I lost last year, I've been spending a lot of time during the day playing with my girls.  It seems like I get one down and the other one wakes up so I can have some one on one time with both of them. 

We've spent time at least one day a week at the local library in the children's section.  Syd's had a great time there.  I usually have to pull her out of the library, which from my point of view is a good thing.  I really hope that she continues to love books and that Hope grows to love them as much as Syd and I do.

We've also had a lot of family activities this summer, birthdays, holidays, etc.  This weekend is the family golf outing and people will be arriving from around the country starting tomorrow.  We are going to be spending a lot of time at my parents through the weekend so that will be good times.  Hopefully, the guys will be able to get their game in before any rain hits on Saturday.

There's also be the usual stuff of household chores that need to get done.  But those things are to be expected.

I wished a good friend and sorority sister safe travels a couple of weeks ago as she headed to Japan to join her boyfriend for the rest of the year.  It's a good thing that she and I are able to talk via email and private messages, cause otherwise, I'd really be missing her.  I'm glad that you made it safely and are settling in, Heather!  I can't wait to see more pictures and to hear more about your life there.  :)

That's about all for now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 26 of 30 Days of ME! - Describe the week in great detail

The girls and I started the week with a trip to the library so that DD1 could participate in the library's reading challenge for children.  After signing in for the week and getting out new books, we headed home with a stop at McD's for a shake.  Yum yum!  We spent the week trying to stay cool since it was so hot.  Thursday we went over to my mom's and spent the afternoon by her pool and had lunch.  Friday was spent racing around running errands and seeing cousins.  The weekend was spent cleaning the basement and the office thoroughly! 

Now this week has started off the same as last week.  The girls and I went to the library so that DD1 could check in and complete the reading challenge.  We also had to pick out new books to take home to read.  We dropped off the quarterly tax payment and spent the afternoon running errands so that I could finish the laundry. 

It seems that there is always something to do.  :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 25 of 30 Days of ME! - Today in great detail

There is not much to say today.  We, my husband and I, spent the day doing a major cleaning or the basement and our office.  There is now a large pile of garbage to go out this week.  I can't wait for trash day so that I can have my front hallway back again!

When I wasn't cleaning, I was walking around the first floor with the baby trying to keep her happy.  That's all folks!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review - The Killing Edge

I've found over the years that Heather Graham books are either hit or miss with me.  I either love the book or I don't.

This book, unfortunately, falls into the realm of not a favorite.  While it was interesting, it didn't grab my attention the way some of her other books have done.

The story is about Chloe Martin.  Ten years earlier, she and 3 friends survived a brutal massacre while staying in a Florida mansion.  Chloe was able to provide the police with a sketch of two of the killers who were later identified as members of a local cult both of whom were dead.  Now, she is a psychologist who specialized in working with trauma victims using art therapy.  She is working part-time as a swimsuit model when a girl goes missing. 

When the girl's ghost appears to Chloe, Chloe realizes that the killers from the massacre are still out there and it's a race against the clock to find them before they come after her.

I have to admit that I didn't see who the killer was until the end.  This was a good book, but as I said, it just didn't grab me the way some of her other books have in the past.

Day 24 of 30 Days of ME! - Whatever tickles your fancy

OK, I'm back.  The last two weeks have been busy with family events.  The Fourth of July weekend was spent bouncing between my parents house and my husband's parents (one in Cleveland and one in Pittsburgh).  Lots of driving that I really didn't want to do but that's another story altogether.  The week of July 5th was spent cleaning our house in preparation for our daughter's baptism on July 11.  There was so much to do, but somehow, as usual, it all got done in time.  Sunday was great with all the family here to celebrate with us.  I loved watching my oldest play with her cousins.  They had a great time together even though they don't all live near by.  It was sad when everyone had to go, but we'll be seeing my side of the family next weekend for the family golf outing. 

Now, I'm off to get ready for the day and to plan out the coming week.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Reading with my daughter

About 3 weeks ago, I was at the library with my 2 year old daughter.  We were there so that I could drop some books off. I decided to stop in the children's section of the library to get a DVD for her since she had been so helpful earlier in the day.  While we were checking out, the librarian asked if we were signed up for their summer reading challenge.

The challenge is to read 10 books a week as well as do a couple of activities, i.e., songs and rhymes, educational activities, etc., each week.  Since we already do the activities at home and she loves to read books, I decided to sign her up and we checked out 10 books to read for the week.

I decided to introduce her to Caldecott books.  We have a couple of these books at home, but there is a section at the library that is devoted to them.  Every week, I am trying to select a number Caldecott books for her to read.  So far, she has enjoyed all of the ones that I've selected.  I've created a page, Reading with my daughter, to document all of the award winning books that she and I are reading together.  I can't wait to see how this list grows.

Day 23 of 30 Days of ME! - A YouTube video

I was looking for something for my 2 year old and found this.  What happy memories!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 22 of 30 days of ME! - A website

I live on a couple of websites every day.  I am constantly checking my Gmail account since my husband and I email each other throughout the day.  I'm on Facebook several times a day.  I also check in with my sorority's online alumnae chapter, the Surfing Sisters of Delta Zeta.  I also try to keep up with what my friends are saying on Twitter

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review - The Bourne Legacy

Synopsis from
Jason Bourne is known and feared in the deadly world of covert-ops as one of the most highly skilled assassins for hire. Bourne, however, was merely an identity assumed by CIA agent David Webb, a personality implanted by the CIA to facilitate a dangerous operation, but one that threatened to subsume David Webb entirely. Years after the events of The Bourne Identity, Webb is no longer an active CIA agent and is now a professor of Eastern Studies at Georgetown University, living a quiet life, far from the dangers of his previous life. Until one day he finds himself the target of an assassin nearly as skilled as himself and is framed for the brutal murder of his two closest associates and friends. As he fights for his life against unseen assailants, as well as the full resources of the CIA, who believe he has gone dangerously rogue, the Bourne identity asserts itself, leaving Jason Bourne in control. Now Bourne must use all his skills to stay alive as he battles against a determined assassin, the combined skills of the world's intelligence networks, and a shadowy figure in the background, skillfully manipulating events and people, in a far deadlier and more dangerous game than any of them realize.

Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne series is continued with Eric Van Lustbader'sThe Bourne Legacy. I loved Robert Ludlum's original series and was uncertain if I would like the new books that Eric Van Lustbader is writing about Jason Bourne. I really enjoyed reading this book.  It had all of the suspense and twists that I expect when I read a Robert Ludlum.  I'm looking forward to reading more of the Bourne series as well as other books written by Eric Van Lustbader.

Day 21 of 30 Days of ME! - A recipe

I usually post any recipes on my cooking blog so I need to think about honor of Delta Zeta's National Convention going on this week, here is my recipe for Raspberry Sherbet Punch.  I've used this recipe for recruitment parties.

  • 2 2-liter bottles of Sprite or Ginger Ale
  • 1 c. Concentrated Fruit Punch
  • 1 container of Raspberry Sherbet (lime sherbet may be substituted)
  • Pour one bottle of Sprite into a punch bowl.
  • Add the concentrated fruit punch.
  • Pour the second bottle of Sprite into the bowl slowly.  You might want to add it one cup at a time to avoid splashing.
  • Add the sherbet.
  • Serves 20 - 30.
Note:  To add an extra touch, allow the sherbet to start to melt.  Once this happens, add fresh raspberries to the sherbet and refreeze before adding the sherbet to the punch.

Review - A Touch of Dead

With all of the '30 Days of ME!' posts, one might not think that I have been reading recently.  The truth is that I've been reading a lot, both for myself and with my 2 year old, but more about her later.

I recently checked A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris out of the library.  This book is a compilation of the Sookie Stackhouse short stories that she has written.  Each story was a quick read and in the case of "Fairy Dust", the story filled in a hole in my knowledge of the fairy twins, Claudine and Claude.  I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, if they have not already done so.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 19 of 30 Days of ME! - A Talent of Mine

I love singing.

Day 20 of 30 Days of ME! - A hobby of mine

I love crafts and hand made items.  Two crafts that I do a lot are cross-stitching and crocheting.

For Christmas this year, I cross-stitched these ornaments for each family in my immediate family, i.e. parents, sister, etc.

Last year, for Christmas, I made Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for my daughter, niece and nephew.

Day 18 of 30 Days of ME! - Whatever tickles your fancy

As I started to type this post, my 2 year old walked in from her nap.  As she curled up in her PBK chair, she asked me to turn on Disney.  I just turned to ask her a question and she's sound asleep.  I guess she was more tired than she thought.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 15 of 30 Days of ME! - A fanfic

I never read fanfic but since I love Harry Potter and this was one of the first hits when I Googled the term fanfic I'll use this one.

Harry Potter fanfic:

Day 14 of 30 Days of ME! - A non-fictional book

In a landmark work of history, the National Book Award—winning author of American Sphinx explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed men–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–set the course for our nation.

Joseph Ellis illuminates the profoundly deep bonds and the often fractious, sometimes blind, efforts of the Founding Fathers–re-examined here as Founding Brothers–to realize strikingly different visions of America. During their own time, and even more so in ours, the Founding Fathers were perceived as demigods no more tainted than marble statues by the stain of imperfect humanity. Ellis’s penetrating analysis of six fascinating historical episodes, including Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s Farewell Address, and the correspondence between Jefferson and Adams, brings these statues to life and their visions into focus.

Day 13 of 30 Days of ME! - A fictional book

Don't leave earth without this story of the end of the world and the happy-go-lucky days that follow. The writing of New York Times Best-selling author, Douglas Adams, has been brilliantly successful on both sides of the Atlantic in radio, television, theatre and spoken word audio.

Day 12 of 30 Days of ME! - Whatever tickles my fancy

Just some random thoughts here.  Nothing that is going to be very coherent.

Some of my favorite summer things to ice cream on a hot afternoon...listen to the rain falling while relaxing on the deck...playing with my daughter in the pool...

It's the simple pleasures in life that make it worthwhile.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 11 of 30 Days of ME! - A photo of me taken recently

My 1st Award: The Versatile Blogger

I want to thank Kailia from Reading the Best of the Best for this awesome award, my first! If you haven't seen her blog yet, hop on over and take a look.  It's great!

Here's how this award works:
  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
  4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

7 Things:
  1. I'm the oldest child in the family with a younger sister and a younger brother.
  2. I LOVE chocolate!
  3. I am a romantic!
  4. I love sports, especially football and hockey.
  5. I love traveling and miss it.
  6. I would love to write a book and get it published one day.
  7. I've got the cutest little girls in the world.
I am passing this award to:
  1. The Vintage Pearl
  2. Life As Wife
  3. There's A Book
  4. The Plum Bean Project
  5. Lost in Books
  6. Crazy-for-Books
  7. Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!
  8. BookMarc Blogpants
  9. It's All About Books
  10. Life and Times of Lizzie
  11. My Friend Amy
  12. Cleverly Inked
  13. Manda's Movements
  14. Reading on a Raining Day
  15. This is the Story of a Girl...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 7 of 30 Days of ME! - A photo that makes you happy

My girls

Day 6 of 30 Days of ME! - Whatever tickles my fancy

What tickles my fancy today is the World Cup.  The opening weekend was filled with some great matches.  Here are some of the highlights that I watched.

The USA team holding England to a draw...Japan beating Cameroon 1 - 0 when they were expected to be beaten....Maradona's debut as the Argentina coach.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bloggiesta Update - Final Wrap-up

Bloggiesta is over and I was able to get several of my to-do items done.  I have one review left to write and a new post that I want to write that is a follow-up to a post that I wrote over the weekend.  I'll try to get to those this week. 

The only template/layout item that I didn't get completed was a wishlist/nice-to-have item so that's ok.  It's not something that I need to have.

I also had a good time checking out the other blogs and seeing what others were doing this weekend. 
  • Write  reviews for the items that are currently in draft mode and schedule  them.
    • Review Savior the Moment by Nora Roberts
    • Review Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
    • Review Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
    • Review The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
  • Write Part II of books to  movies
  • Write a post  about turning books into movies.
  • Work on template
    • clean up sidebar
    • add Subscribe via email to  template
    • create drop down for main menu (will need to work on this outside of Bloggiesta since it wasn't working with my template.  I need to figure out where the code was breaking.  :( )
  • Review and  update pages.
  • Review and update challenge  lists.
  • Work on getting Google Analytics working so that I understand it.
  • Clean out and organize my feed reader list.
I'm already looking forward to the next Bloggiesta to see what else I can get accomplished.

Thanks Natasha for organizing this event!

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Review - Dead in the Family

    The latest Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse did not disappoint me.  I read it very quickly and had a great time with it.

    After the Fairy War, Sookie is having a hard time springing back.  She was captured and tortured during the war, and she also lost loved ones.  On top of this, while she loves Eric, she is also angry at him.  She feels that he let her down since Bill was the one to rescue her from the fairies, not Eric.

    While she is trying to heal, she also has to deal with the appearance of Eric's maker and the new vampire regime (Nevada) keeping a close eye on Eric.  Eric's maker's visit is causing problems for Eric as well as putting a drain on Sookie through the blood bond.  Sookie is also contending with Were politics within the Shreveport pack.

    Will Sookie ever catch a break?  I'm interested in seeing what the future holds.

    Bloggiesta Update - Day Two

    A quick update on how my Day Two.  Day Two wasn't nearly as productive as Day One was.  I was only able to get one item on my list completed because of my family.  Hopefully, Day Three will be better.
    • Write  reviews for the items that are currently in draft mode and schedule  them.
      • Review Savior the Moment by Nora Roberts
      • Review Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
      • Review Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
      • Review The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
    • Write Part II of books to  movies
    • Write a post  about turning books into movies.
    • Work on template
      • clean up sidebar
      • add Subscribe via email to  template
      • create drop down for main menu (will need to work on this outside of Bloggiesta since it wasn't working with my template.  I need to figure out where the code was breaking.  :( )
    • Review and  update pages.
    • Review and update challenge  lists.
    • Work on getting Google Analytics working so that I understand it.
    • Clean out and organize my feed reader list.

    Review - Dead and Gone

    Once again, I had a great time reading a Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse book.  I had a hard time putting this down once I started it.

    This book had several things happening.  First, the Weres announced themselves to the world.  The people of Bon Temps need to decide how that announcement affects their view of Sam, Sookie's boss at Merlott's.

    Then, the FBI shows up in Bon Temps to ask Sookie about the bombing in Rhodes.  If they determine that she has psychic abilities, Sookie is afraid that they will make her leave Bon Temps, something that she doesn't want to do.  Their conversation with Sookie is interrupted because of a murder of a Were.  If all that isn't enough, Sookie finds herself married to Eric and is drawn into the fae war.

    While a reader can read this book without having read the earlier books, knowing the background from those books definitely makes this easier to follow.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Review - Savor the Moment

    Savor the Moment is the latest novel in Nora Roberts' new romantic series, The Bride Quartet.  The Bride Quartet is about four childhood friends, Emma Grant, Lauren McBane, Mackensie Elliott and Parker Brown, who have turned a favorite childhood game, Wedding Day, into a successful wedding planning business, Vows, in Connecticut.  Each of the friends has a special talent that she brings to the business.

    In the first novel, Vision in White, Mac, the group's photographer, found love with Carter Maguire, a high school English teacher who had a crush on her when they were in high school.

    In the second novel, Bed of Roses, Emma, the group's florist, found love with Jack Cooke, another childhood friend who is also the best friend of Parker's older brother, Delaney.

    In Savor the Moment, Lauren, who is the wedding baker for Vows, must decide if she is willing to take a chance at finding love with Delaney Brown, the older brother of her best friend, Parker.  Del is also the group's attorney. 

    This novel is a fun romance as Lauren goes through the ups and downs of figuring out if she and Del have a chance at making a life together.  Part of Lauren's problem is that she has had to work hard to achieve her goals and dreams since her father lost all of his money while Del comes from old money.

    I have been enjoying this series.  The characters are well developed and the story keeps the reader entertained from start to finish. The interaction between the four friends, as well as Mrs. Grady, the Browns' housekeeper, the clients, and the men in their lives is beautifully written.  While you can see some of things coming, getting there is full of laughter and sadness.  Mac's mother is a recurring character that you love to hate.

    I am looking forward to the last book in the quartet, Happy Ever After, and can't wait until it comes out in November 2010.

    Day 5 of 30 Days of ME! - Favorite Quote

    I actually have two favorite quotes.

    The first is from Mark Twain:

    "Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth."

    People need to live their lives to the fullest and not be afraid of what others think.  I know that there are times when I need to remind myself of this.

    The second quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt:

    "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

    Bloggiesta Update - Day One

    A quick update on how Day One went.  I was able to knock several of the what my old boss would call "quick win" items from my list.  I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend working on the more time consuming items of writing reviews and other post ideas and getting them up on the site.
    • Write reviews for the items that are currently in draft mode and schedule them.
      • Review Savior the Moment by Nora Roberts
      • Review Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
      • Review Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
      • Review The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
    • Write Part II of books to movies
    • Write a post about turning books into movies.
    • Work on template
      • clean up sidebar
      • add Subscribe via email to template
      • create drop down for main menu (will need to work on this outside of Bloggiesta since it wasn't working with my template.  I need to figure out where the code was breaking.  :( )
    • Review and update pages.
    • Review and update challenge lists.
    • Work on getting Google Analytics working so that I understand it.
    • Clean out and organize my feed reader list.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Taking Books to the Screen

    I don't know about you, but I hate to see a movie or TV show before I've had a chance to read the book.  This is especially true if I am reading a series such as Harry Potter or Sookie Stackhouse or Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.  One of the reasons that I love to read books is because I love to use my imagination to "see" the world that the author has created.

    When I read a book, I create an image of the characters and how they speak and act in my mind.  When I am reading a book that is part of a series, I carry that image with me throughout the series and make adjustments to the character(s) along the way.

    When I see a movie about a book, that influences my image of the character so that the next time I read the book or the next book in the series, I see the characters as the actors portrayed them and not necessarily how I originally pictured them.  For example, ever since I saw Tom Clancy's "The Patriot Games", every time I read one of the Jack Ryan novels, I picture Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan and hear his voice in my head for the dialog.  Yes, I know that Alec Baldwin played Jack Ryan first, but Harrison Ford's version made more of an impact with me.

    When I was reading the Harry Potter books, I couldn't watch the movies because I had a picture in my mind of what Harry and his friends looked like and how they acted and sounded and I didn't want to replace that with the actors in the movie, especially if I didn't like them.  I bought "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" when I came out, but I didn't watch it.  I loaned it to my mom so that she could watch it with my sister one weekend.  I didn't see any of the Harry Potter movies until after I read book 7, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".

    I have more on this topic, but this is enough for now.

    Day 4 of 30 Days of ME! - Favorite Book

    Today's topic is Favorite Book.  Once again, I don't think that I can pick just one book.

    I loved the Harry Potter series and was sorry  to see it end.

    This series definitely makes me laugh!  I can't wait to see what happens next.

     This is one of my favorite books from when I was growing up.

    I loved this series!

    This is one of my truly all-time favorite books.  Ever!