Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfully Reading weekend Kickoff

I have many, many things to be thankful for this holiday, friends, the love of a good and honest man, a job (two, in fact, for the time being), a beautiful home, a new and reliable car, countless abilities that enable me to live as I do (sight, hearing, common sense), a sharp mind, a kick ass sense of humor, etc, etc. And, an incredible couponing stockpile that enables me to avoid shopping this crazy weekend! Though I do expect to be spending a few hours prepping Purely Vocals CDs for XMas presents, I plan on spending my weekend participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend, hosted by Jenn's Bookshelves

Today will be a busy day of travel and gobble, gobbling my way into a turkey coma...but I hope to attack my current read, In Cold Blood, as soon as I wake up! 

If all goes well. I may toss something else in there to keep my interest up. I've got an ARC of Dancing With The Devil and a few other goodies on deck.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and a reading-licious weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dirty Bombshell: From Thyroid Cancer Back To Fabulous! - Brunelle

Title: Dirty Bombshell: From Thyroid Cancer Back To Fabulous!

Author: Lorna J. Brunelle
Published: Genre: Memoir
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Purchased

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Stories about illness, Survival stories

What Its About:  
Lorna J. Brunelle was only thirty-two years old that fall day when her doctor found a lump in her neck. As not only a young woman in her prime, but also a professional singer and performer, she was horrified. While the cancer was considered a "good" cancer, ie easier to heal, she was terrified of losing her voice, her livelihood and her passion. She underwent surgery to remove her thyroid, then experienced radiation therapy to treat any lingering cells. She now receives hormone treatments (which she will use the rest of her life), to keep her body functioning correctly.

The Bottom Line: 
This is a challenging book for me to review.  I know Lorna J. Brunelle.

We are not friends, never have been, and likely never will be. We attended high school together and we likely share friends on Facebook. While I have seriously tried not to allow my experiences with her to cloud my review, it's only fair that I be open about that. In fact, in the interest of assuring that my review was fair, after reading this memoir I compared my thoughts with some comments on Amazon...

Lots of folks (more than one of whom are, I happen to know, friends and family) said the book was awesome. Some didn't like it quite so much.

I cannot deny the detractors have a point. Some said the book was too whiny and "woe-is-me". Others said it was narcissisticHaving no personal experience, thank the Lord, with thyroid or any other kind of cancer, I cannot speak for the medical issues. But it appears that more than one thyroid cancer survivor has commented similarly, that the cancer Brunelle had was minor (admittedly, even Brunelle calls it the "good cancer") and that Brunelle should suck it up and stop whining. To be clear, I feel that any cancer is major and frankly, all cancer patients/survivors have the right to whine and complain all they want! But I admittedly got tired of hearing that Mrs. Brunelle is a "full scholarship winner" to a prestigious music school (actually it seems the scholarship was from an organization from her hometown, not the actual school...which of course takes nothing away from that amazing honor or the skill required to secure it), a professional performer, and a casting specialist in Boston.

(interestingly, my computer demanded on replacing 'prestigious' with 'pretentious'...just sayin').

On the other hand, I don't disagree with her supporters either. Brunelle's book is quite funny and very entertaining. As others pointed out, Brunelle does a good job of pulling you into her story and making you feel as if you are living through it with her. She truly makes it feel as if you are chatting with a close friend. And, more importantly, she offers what are clearly meant to be valuable pieces of advise for others who might be struggling with a similar experience. She seems to strive to help others, and seems to carry this effort to help others into her professional life. Kudos.

Note however that the book is also...thorough. At 340 pages, this book is very, very (...did I mentioned very) long! Ultimately it is clear to me that Brunelle's work, while well worth sharing, would have greatly benefited from the heavy hand of a  professional editor. Along with fixing grammar and syntax errors, and perhaps focusing the work a bit more, a good editor would have cut this puppy down by about 100 pages!  

All said, this book was a really good first draft. It was a very deep and personal look into one woman's experiences with cancer and treatment. It was touching and funnyAnd while I was entertained by and enjoyed reading this version, I would have really preferred reading the final  product.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 11/25/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Food Glorious Food
Cast, Oliver!
Lionel Bart, Writer

Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty four
All we ever get is gru...el!
Ev'ry day we say our prayer --
Will they change the bill of fare?
Still we get the same old gru...el!
There's not a crust, not a crumb can we find,
Can we beg, can we borrow, or cadge,
But there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
When we all close our eyes and imag...ine

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood --
Cold jelly and custard!
Peas, pudding and saveloys!
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys --

Food, glorious food!
We're anxious to try it.
Three banquets a day --
Our favourite diet!

Just picture a great big steak --
Fried, roasted or stewed.
Oh, food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Glorious food.

Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed --
Still worth a king's ransom!
What is it we dream about?
What brings on a sigh?
Piled pieahes and cream, about
Six feet high!

Food, glorious food!
Eat right through the menu.
Just loosen your belt
Two inches and then you
Work up a new appetite.
In this interlude --
The food,
Once again, food
Fabulous food,
Glorious food.

Food, glorious food!
Don't care what it looks like --
Don't care what the cook's like.
Just thinking of growing fat --
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
Full-up feeling!

Food, glorious food!
What wouldn't we give for
That extra bit more --
That's all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
On food,
Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Fabulous food,

Beautiful food,

Glorious food!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Savings - 11/22/14


Riesen Candies:

Regular price = $2.99

No sale...but, I had two Register Reward coupons for $3.00 that were going to expire.


2 @ #$2.99 - $6.00 = $0.02 money maker


2 Catalinas printed for more Riesen candies ($1.50 off two). I am holding these hoping they will go on sale in time to use them!

Remember that Couponing is always a work in progress - and that is OK! 
I once again reworked how I am organizing my coupons. At first, I cut and separated them into a binder by category. Then, I decided (as did many other long-timer couponers) that a lot of time was wasted managing that system!
Then, I started keeping the entire coupon flyers by week... But that leaves you carrying around a ton-crap (yes, that's the official term) of extra paper weight.  And, more importantly, a lot of good coupons get lost!  In a perfect world, you have a stock pile of everything you need and you never use a coupon if something is not on sale. But realistically, I often get coupons for items I would buy whether or not they go on sale.  After cleaning out my expired coupons and tossing coupons for items I knew I had bought, I was kicking myself!


My new system is: 
Cut all coupons out weekly and toss extra paperwork. Separate/organize them by expiration date (kept in plastic slip covers in my binder)!  Most of the couponing sites that list deals also list the expiration date, so I can easily find them. Also, as the date nears...I can pull that envelope and flip through, pulling coupons for coupons that I don't want to waste, regardless of sales. Also, removing expired coupons is super easy, rather than the hours it took previously! I still use my binder separators for printed coupons, as I only print ones I know I will use.

Is it perfect? No, there have been a couple situations where I knew I had a coupon for an item I wanted to buy but couldn't find it, requiring a fair amount of sifting through coupons. But that's rare and a small price to pay.

Again, I am working this system for a few months to see how it works. If its not successful, I'll change again. But hopefully this will work better for me.  Couponing is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Do whatever works for you, whether its a big binder and lots of organizing or a small couponing envelope.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankfully Reading Weekend Challenge & Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon

Thankfully Reading Weekend, November 27-30! 

Here are the details:
-There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year. 
-Grab the button.

Join in for the weekend or for only a single day. No rules, no pressure!

  • Read-a-Thon dates: Monday, November 24 at 12:00am CST until Sunday, November 30 at 11:59pm CST (adjust your time zone accordingly)
  • You do not have to be signed up for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge to participate (but I sure would love for you to join us!)
  • I am not requiring that you read only Christmas/holiday books during the read-a-thon, but I hope you will pick up at least one holiday tale, even if it's just to read some children's books with your kids or some holiday short stories
  • to check in on Twitter, we'll use hashtag #CSreadathon
  • as usual, you do not have to have a blog to participate...feel free to link up and check in from Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

No Black Friday shopping for me...I'll be reading!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Getting Life - Morton

Title: Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey From Prison to Peace, A Memoir

Author: Michael Morton
Published: Genre: Non-Fiction
4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Book Source: This book was sent to me free from
Simon & Schuster for an honest review. All comments in this review are the honest opinion of the blogger.

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Stories about beating the odds, Memoirs about prison life

What Its About:  
When Michael Morton left for work one summer afternoon in 1986, he didn't know his life would change forever in a few short hours.  When Morton stopped at his babysitter's on the way home from work to pick up his three-year old son, he was surprised to learn his always-dependable wife had never dropped their son off that morning. This worried him greatly. A quick phone call home proved something had happened, something bad. 

Morton hurried home and was faced by a group of police officers who were none to friendly.  He learned that his wife was dead, having been bludgeoned to death in their bed. It didn't take long for the small-town cops to decide that he was the killer.  Sadly, despite the lack of proof linking him to the murder, the prosecution agreed and a few short weeks later the jury considered the limited information they were given and sent him to prison for the rest of his life.

Only after years of struggle, with the assistance of an amazing group of caring lawyers and an organization called Project Innocence, was he able to uncover the truth and prove his innocence. Not only had Morton not killed his wife, but the prosecution illegally withheld documents and information that would have enabled Morton's defense attorneys to make a fair case, possibly changing the course of events and his life.

Sadly, it took them 25-years to clear Morton's name and finally see him released from the Texas State Department of Corrections.  During that time, Morton's young son was raised by his late wife's sister with minimal contact with Morton.  After his release, his lawyers continued his  battle pro-Bono and initiated legal proceedings against the prosecutor who had broken the law by withholding information in efforts to build his own career. 

Despite those horrible and unforgivable events, Morton has learned to move on with forgiveness in his heart and has focused his efforts on changing and strengthening the law to ensure such horrors don't happen again.

The Bottom Line:

Told with complete honesty and straightforwardness, this story will break you heart and give you hope all in one reading.  

This book is exceptionally well written. With the breath of information and the period of time covered, the real possibility existed to get bogged down and boring. This never occurs, while you also never feel like you missed anything. Thorough in all the right places and never boring!

Seriously, read this!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 11/18/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Simon & Grafunkle, Artists
Paul Simon, Writer

When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all (all)
I'm on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I'll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh, if you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Monday, November 17, 2014