Monday, February 27, 2012

R.I.P. Mama Bear...

As a Pennsylvania native, it was impossible to grow up without ever reading (at least some of) the Berenstain Bears series.  Written and illustrated by Pennsylvania natives Jan and Stan Berenstain, and in later years by son Michael, this series charmed pre-schoolers and young children for over fifty years. 

Their first book, The Big Honey Hunt, was published in 1962 with the assistance of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Suess), a then children's book editor at Random House.  Since then, they have published over 300 titles in 23 languages. Millions of copies of their stories have reached children and touched their lives.

Based on the Berenstain family themselves, the series was about a family of bears (Mama, Papa, Sister and Brother) who experienced typical childhood issues and faced questions of family values: going to the dentist, entering a new school, going on a picnic, telling the truth vs. fibbing, etc.  Overall, this series was a guidebook for children, as well as their parents, to growing up.

Sadly, Jan Berenstain passed away this week after suffering a stroke. Her husband, Stan, passed in 2005 from complications from cancer. She is survived by two sons and grandchildren.

We can only hope that the family continues the legacy.

Mailbox Monday #2 - 02/27/12

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Mailbox Mondays has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. February's host is Kim of Metroreader.

Another ARC generously sent and gladly received. I look forward to reading it!

Hazel Creek [Paperback] 
by Walt Larimore
This title will be released on March 13, 2012.
by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster

Monday - 02/27/12

Sheila at Book Journey hosts this weekly event where we celebrate what we are reading for the week, as well as books completed the previous week.

As is typical, I planned my "on deck" reads and then promptly put them aside when something else caught my eye. Perhaps I am too fickle, but I much prefer reading what catches my eyes/heart rather than being forced fed a book that just isn't catching my interest that week...

Currently Reading:
When She Woke (Hillary Jordan)
Hazel Creek (Walt Larimore) - ARC Review Coming

Just Finished:
Rolling Pennies in the Dark (Douglas MacKinnon)

On Deck:

Triggered (Fletcher Wortmann)
Escaping Titanic (Marybeth Lorbieki)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - 02/23/12

What do you look for when reading a book blog? Does the blogger have to read the same genre? Do you like reviews? Personal posts? Memes? Giveaways? What attracts you to a book blog?
And–what are your favorite book blogs?
When I am deciding whether to follow a blog, the first thing I look at is if I have any interest in the books they have read recently (ie - recent reviews). So yes, reviews are very important.  Most of the time, the answer is yes. I have such a wide range of interests and read so many different genres. 

However, there are times that I scroll back several months and its nothing except...Paranormal YA....or Christian Adult...

Not my favorite, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are toast in my book. I will then look at a few of their posts. If their writing is interesting, funny, entertaining I will often give them a shot. I've actually got a couple of fashion blogs followed even though I have no interest in fashion, but the bloggers are fun to read.  If their reading taste is very different, or to specific, and their blog isn't very entertaining to me, I usually chock it up to "to each his own" and pass.

Generally,  memes and giveaways are the last thing I notice.

Some of my favorites are:


Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Stolen Life - Dugard

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Lee Dugard is the memoir of a little girl.  But, it is also a memoir of a grown woman.

Jaycee was only eleven when Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy kidnapped her. One of the "lucky ones", rather than using and killing her, Jaycee became their captive.  For eighteen years, Jaycee was held and forced to be Garrido's toy. She is made totally dependent upon Garrido and his wife (for years she relies on him to empty her bathroom bucket as her prison has no running water). Some days were full of forced, drug-fueled sex. Others were more "normal", as if such a thing could have been possible given the circumstances, with Jaycee working at the 'family' printing business and caring for the children. But those children were born to Jaycee from Garrido's rape and molestation. The first was born when Jaycee is just fourteen years old.  Nothing was normal.

As the years pass, Garrido became more unstable. He seemed to be slowly slipping into insanity. But Jaycee, just a child when she was taken, is unable to fight back or to run. Until, one day, Garrido (who was facing some legal issues) takes Jaycee and her children to the local FBI office to support his crazy conspiracy theories. The officers, who were slowly gathering information on Garrido, finally realized that Jaycee was not there by her own choice. They separated her and the children from Garrido and his wife Nancy.  Jaycee, who was forced to only refer to herself by her fake name, had to write her birth name for the officer. Finally, after eighteen years, Jaycee was freed, and along with her two children, returned to Jaycee's mother who never gave up hope that she was alive. 

This memoir is blunt in its honesty. Jaycee's recounts her experiences and why she lived as she did, why she did not run.  While she understood fully that the situation was not normal, not healthy, not right, she hung in and accepted her plight for what it is. She thought often of her mother and sister, but she couldn't foresee a future when things would change. Maybe others would have handled the situation differently. Many might have tried to run, but then many might have ended up murdered because of that effort. 

Jaycee is an intelligent woman, that is clear. She not only managed to survive eighteen years of captivity at the hands of this sick man, but managed to thrive while there.  Upon her release, with the help of wonderful therapists, she reclaimed her life. She began The JAYC Foundation, an organization which helps families who've been impacted by abduction. It is clear that Jaycee has a lot of time to make up for, and she is well on her way.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.
Mariandy's Book Blog 

Rolling Pennies in the Dark - MacKinnon

*This book was an advanced reading copy sent to me, free of charge, for my honest review and opinion.  All comments in this review are the honest opinion of the blogger.

According to his new memoir, Rolling Pennies in the Dark: A Memoir with a Message*, Douglas MacKinnon grew up in inner-city Boston, with stints in various Massachusetts suburbs and New Hampshire towns where rent was cheap. His mother, a nice girl from a dysfunctional family, and his father, a dirtbag from a healthy family, were alcoholics and neglectful parents. MacKinnon, his older brother, and younger sister were left to their own devices to care for themselves. They often went hungry and unclothed. Though they managed to get themselves to school regularly, they were unwashed and unkempt. The other kids were cruel and unforgiving, as often were the nuns and educators.

Despite all of that, MacKinnon manages to become an intelligent adult with a strong sense of survival, a keen sense of morals, and the street smarts of an alley cat.  Upon graduation from high school, and an apparently failed CIA interview, MacKinnon puts his skills towards writing and expressing his points of view (developed from many years with an extended family of political enthusiasts). Seemingly by a fluke (he barely skims this part of his life), he lands a very successful career writing for several presidents (Reagan, Bush Sr.), eventually serving as Director of Communications (press secretary) for Senator Bob Dole.

Douglas MacKinnon is a terrific writer. His experiences as a child are heartbreaking and horrific, though at times a bit unbelievable. A story of his mother shooting at he and his siblings, for example, is hard to fathom particularly because no one was hurt. I have learned however that those terrible occurrences are often the stories that are true.  They fall into the "too-horrible-to-be-made-up" variety.  Yet, MacKinnon offers the information in such a way that the reader not only feels bad, but strives to understand not just what occurred, but why. His work makes you truly think. 
The most unbelievable outcome of his childhood, in my opinion, is the fact that Douglas MacKinnon became a Republican.  Now, I have no interest in debating politics. When this ARC arrived, I was honestly worried I would be bored.  I feel this section was a drawback for the book. I realize that many will read the book especially for this section, but for someone who is either liberal or, perhaps, not at all interested in his political stance (or why Al Gore should have just rolled over and played dead, yes there is a whole chapter about why George Bush Jr. deserved his win) it was a bit unbearable. Thankfully, this section is relatively short. This made the political portion endurable.  

The final portion of the book is, literally, the "message" within the memoir. Again, this section is short, but it is also valuable reading. MacKinnon's points of view are very strongly expressed and, though mildly political (a couple anti-abortion rants, for example), very worth reading. Comments like work hard, don't wait for a handout from others, grow beyond your past and build your own future are well worth sharing. 
As I read the book, the thought that struck me was that this book might actually be great reading for high school and/or college level literature classes! Sadly, the strongly expressed politics might make it hard to see that happening.  Perhaps it is more suited for a civics class.  As a survival story, however, it is wonderful and valuable, a potential classic.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Teaser Tuesday - 02/21/12

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! 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!

My Teasers:


"'Shame scalded her, and she saw it reflected in her father's face.Hannah, and by extension, the Payne family, was a charity case now...

'We're lucky Reverend Dale has taken such an interest in your case.'

She imagined how it must have felt for Aidan to make those calls. Had he pitied her? Felt benevolent? Thought of her as one of them?

'Yes," she said woodenly. "We're very lucky.'".

When She Woke - pg. 74-75

Monday - 02/20/12

Sheila at Book Journey hosts this weekly event where we celebrate what we are reading for the week, as well as books completed the previous week.

Currently Reading:
Rolling Pennies in the Dark (Douglas MacKinnon)

Just Finished:
Voices of the Dead (Peter Leonard)

On Deck:

Triggered (Fletcher Wortmann)
Escaping Titanic (Marybeth Lorbieki)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Faves - 2/17/12

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five. It's Friday so that makes it time to look back over our week and look for those things we are grateful for. It may be big or it may be small and you have to dig for it, but there are always things we can be thankful for. Please join us as we share our favorite five. If you need the guidelines they are here

1. Alone-time
. The hubby had to travel to California for work this week. Though I missed him, and can't wait for his return today, it was really nice to have the house to myself all week. I cleaned Sunday...and it stayed clean all week! Heavenly!

2. Facebook. One of the cooler aspects of my "be-all-do-all" job is public relations. When I began at Tufts I started creating an annual newsletter, upgraded/updated the website, and generally have tried to expand the department's presence.  This week, I finally convinced my boss to let me start using Facebook tools as well. The communications folks at Tufts were concerned that we wouldn't have a good response (to few "likes/friends"). We went live this week, though we have not even announced it to anyone, and already we have a following of 10+. I know its only ten but we are a physics department! Ten is a great start! Hopefully once we actually announce our Facebook existence to our alumni, students, parents, etc. we will get a larger group. 

3.More performing. This past weekend my a cappella group did not one, but two performances.  Saturday we had a Gourmet Chocolate and Love Songs event. We sang for over an hour and entertained a sell-put crowd of almost 100. Very nice!  Sunday, we performed at a local Assisted-Living Community. The audience was slow to react, but once they got into it they loved it. Both have already asked about booking us again. Now that's success!

4. Building websites. I really enjoy building/maintaining websites. I have been doing so for several years just for fun. I did the site for my chorus for years, built and maintain my a capella group's site, and was even paid for several years to rebuild and maintain a site for another local chorus. Pretty good for a no-education-learn-it-as-you-go gal!  Recently, the local chorus decided they wanted to look towards some skills I don't have. I told them honestly that perhaps they should find someone with more experience. They did, but that's ok.  It motivated me to learn more. I have been reading up and feel confident that I can build a newer and exciting site for Purely Vocals with these new skills.  And, I'm putting this is in writing so that I have no excuses for putting it off!  It will happen soon!

5.Belated Valentine's. Though it was stinky to be alone for my first Valentine's Day as a married woman, it is cool that we still have this to look forward too. We plan on going out to dinner this weekend, or possibly lighting a fire and having dinner home. Either way, I am happy to have a "day of love" to look forward too!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blog Tour: Voices of the Dead - Leonard

*This book was an advanced reading copy sent to me, free of charge, for my honest review and opinion.  All comments in this review are the honest opinion of the blogger.

TITLE: Voices of the Dead
AUTHOR: Peter Leonard
PUBLISHED BY: The Story Plant

SBN-10: 1611880327
ISBN-13: 978-1611880328
GENRE: Suspense

ADDED INFO: 300 pages, Publication date 01/17/12

SYNOPSIS: The year is 1971. The place is Detroit. Harry Levin, a scrap metal dealer and Holocaust survivor, has just learned that his daughter was killed in a car accident. Traveling to Washington, DC to claim the body, he learns that the accident was caused by a German diplomat who was driving drunk. This is only the beginning of the horror for Harry, though, as he discovers that the diplomat will never face charges – he has already been released and granted immunity. Enraged and aggrieved, Harry discovers the identity of his daughter’s killer, follows him to Munich, and hunts him down. What Harry finds out about the diplomat and his plans will explode his life and the lives of everyone around him.

Brimming with action and dark humor, Voices of the Dead, firmly positions Peter Leonard as a writer ever suspense fan needs to read.

Voices of the Dead is part gripping suspense novel, part historical fiction. While I enjoy good historical literature, I rarely read action/suspense type novels. The mixture of these two genres really caught my interest.

Leonard is quite a good writer. He develops characters well and clearly did his research. His writing easily evokes images of both 1970's Detroit and 1940's Germany. These views into history made this read quite enjoyable. The combination of stories, the loss of his daughter and the Holocaust, was very well done.

Leonard's writing left me with two complaints though. First, his writing style is a bit staccato at times. His paragraphs move smoothly along, so smoothly that he skips nouns and definite articles (such as "he" or "the"). This may make him a literary genius for some. Personally, I found this quite annoying and the teacher in me wanted to whip out my red pen. Leonard sometimes goes chapters without doing this and then suddenly, annoyingly, it returns.

My other complaint is that this book is over 40 chapters long. Yes, I said 40. Now, to be fair, the chapters are short which keeps the story moving. But the constant jumping back and forth between the 40's and the 70's makes the book choppy. I couldn't help but wonder if some of the chapters could have been combined, making the book smoother to read.

Overall though, this was a wild-ride of a story and I am glad I read it.

I hear a sequel is coming. Personally, I don't like sequels and think I will skip it.


Hess found out the woman lived on P Street in Georgetown, not far from the consulate. He told the ambassador he was having dinner with potential clients, and wanted to drive himself. It was unorthodox, but plausible. He had been issued one of the embassy’s Mercedes sedans. He stopped at a bookstore and bought a map of the area, and located P Street. He drove there and saw the Goldman residence, a federal-style brick townhouse.

Hess went to a restaurant and had dinner and a couple drinks. At ten o’clock he drove back, parked around the corner on 32nd Street between two other vehicles so the license plate was not visible to anyone driving by. He walked to the Goldmans’, stood next to a tree in front of the three-storey townhouse. There were lights on the first floor. He walked to the front door and rang the buzzer. He could hear footsteps and voices inside. A light over the door went on. Hess stood in the open so whoever it was would see he was well dressed. The door opened, a man standing there, assumed he was Dr. Mitchell Goldman, dark hair, big nose, mid-forties, top of the shirt unbuttoned, exposing a gold chain and a five-pointed star. Hess smiled. “My car is on the fritz. May I use your phone to call a tow truck?”

Dr. Goldman stared at him with concern.

“I am staying just down the street at the consulate,” Hess said, smiling. Now the door opened and he stepped into the elegant foyer, chandelier overhead, marble floor.

“Mitch, who is it?” a woman said from a big open room to his right.

Dr. Goldman looked in her direction. “Guy’s having car trouble, wants to use the phone.”

“It’s ten o’clock at night.”

“He’ll just be a minute,” the dentist said.

Hess could see the woman sitting on a couch, watching television.

“The phone’s in here.” The dentist started to move.

Hess drew the Luger from the pocket of his suit jacket,and aimed it at Goldman.

The dentist put his hands up. “Whoa. Easy.”

“Who is in the house?”

“Just the two of us.”

“Are you expecting anyone?”

He shook his head.

“Tell her to come in here,” Hess said.

“What do you want? You want money?” He took his wallet out and handed it to him. “There’s eight hundred dollars in there.”

“Call her,” Hess said.

“Hon, come here, will you?”

“I’m watching ‘All in the Family.’ Can you wait till the commercial?”

Hess could hear people laughing on the television.

“Just for a minute,” the dentist said.

Hess saw her stand up and step around a low table in front of the couch, moving across the room, still looking back at the television. She turned her head as she entered the foyer and saw him holding the gun. Her hair looked darker in the dim light but he had only seen her briefly that day.

“Oh-my-god,” she said, hands going up to her face.

“We’re reasonable people,” the dentist said. “Tell us what you want.”

“The pleasure of your company,” Hess said. “Where is the cellar?”

AUTHOR BIO: Peter Leonard’s debut novel, QUIVER, was published to international acclaim in 2008 (“A spectacular will be holding your breath until the final page.”– The New York Sun). It was followed by TRUST ME in 2009 (“TRUST ME is fast, sly and full of twists.” – Carl Hiaasen, New York Times bestselling author). The Story Plant will publish Leonard’s newest novel, ALL HE SAW WAS THE GIRL, in the spring of 2012.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Wins Again...

Valentines = 36*
Me = 5*

For the vast majority of my life, I have been alone on Valentine's Day.  

Whether because I was single (as most 1-14 year olds are), because I was dating jerks (as many 15-35 year olds do), or because I was boycotting the whole "over-capitalized-too-much-hype-silly-card-store-holiday" the fact is that Valentine's has never been a great friend of mine. 

There were a few years there in my 30's when I was engaged and was happily coupled on Valentine's Day.  Minus the last year with that person, which involved a never-delivered dozen roses and several hours of my time on the phone fighting with the florist, ending in an offer for a coupon for a free bouquet ( if I would ever have seen those!), those were good days!  But, for the most part, I've been a Valentine's Day Loner. 

Today, sadly, is no different.

To be fair my exciting plan to cuddle up, alone, with my cat and my Valentine buddies Ben and Jerry is the result of the new hubby's company's requirement that he travel to a conference in California this week.  This seems silly to me, given that they have made it abundantly clear that his job is being sent overseas as quickly as humanly possible.  

...but I'm not bitter or anything.

So, we'll celebrate this weekend when he returns. Dinner out and maybe a movie...minus the crowds and pressure. Or maybe dinner in with a nice fire in the fireplace.  And, a long weekend to boot!


(*These numbers are approximate) 

Awkward Family Photos - Bender/Chernack is a hilarious website that enables humor appreciating folks to post embarrassing photographs and stories for the benefit of others who, quite frankly, want a good laugh at the expense of others (because let's face it, they too have a pile of these embarrassing photos at home and just aren't ballsy enough to post them). What a great concept!

Award Family Photos, by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack, is the brilliant attempt by some shrewd businessmen to capitalize on that concept.

Based on the Esquire magazine quote:  

“painful, regrettable, horrifyingly awesome snaps of family bonding, you will laugh so hard that people in adjoining offices will ask what’s wrong with you”—Esquire

I was anxiously awaiting the snorts and guffaws, the gasping for air between wiping the hilarity tears from my eyes. Sadly, they never came. 

Yes, there were a few giggles. A couple of chuckles escaped, but no guffaws or raucous laughter. Maybe the art of these hilarious photos just doesn't translate to the book form?  Or perhaps they saved the best pictures for another version of the book?  This book just wasn't as entertaining as it promised. 

They say, "Nothing says awkward better than an uncomfortable family photograph!", except perhaps the realization that maybe you have no sense of humor.

1/5- Don’t waste your time. 

Out of the Blue - Henderson

Tillie Harris is alone when she goes into labor. She is unpacking her newly moved home and her husband is traveling. She doesn't even know her neighbors. She has no family close by, except for her estranged father. Tillie is terrified of losing her baby, so she calls him for help.

So begins Out of the Blue by Susan Henderson. After finding her way to the hospital, Tillie is surprised to see that her father has come to meet her. She does not want to see him.

What follows is Tillie's memories of how and why that estrangement came about. The year is 1975 and her mother is ill. Tillie is young and does not understand, but Tillie's mother is clinically depressed. Her father, a staunch military man, is unforgiving. So much so that, when Tillie's mother disappears, she is left wondering if he has killed her.

When her mother reappears, Tillie is angry with her father. Her childhood wounds go deep, but not as deep as her blind love for her mother. Eventually, Tillie is faced with the truth of her mother's illness and the life-altering decisions that her mother makes to survive her illness. She has to face the very adult realization that sometimes the people who love you do things you do not like or your own good.

Susan Henderson has a unique gift. She offers a compelling look at a broken and disintegrating family from the voice of an eight-year-old child full of innocence and childhood bravado. Her writing is beautiful. Her plot and characters illuminating.

I enjoyed this book very much and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves a well written piece of fiction.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Other opinions at:
Blogging for a good book

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Mailbox #1 - 02/13/12

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Mailbox Mondays has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. February's host is Kim of Metroreader.


I am a library goer. I very rarely buy books and rarely get them (I read so much, folks are afraid to buy me something I have). But this week, I received my first ever ARC. It was kind of exciting! I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this book as soon as I can...

Rolling Pennies in the Dark: A Memoir with a Message [Hardcover] 
by Douglas MacKinnon
This title will be released on February 28, 2012 by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster

I also got a few NetGalley ebooks, I just hope I can finish them all before they expire!
Escaping Titanic (Marybeth Lorbiecki)
By the Iowa Sea (Joe Blair)
The Sum of My Parts (Olga Trujillo)
That's Why I'm Here (Chris Spielman)
Triggered (Fletcher Wortmann)

Monday - 02/13/12

Sheila at Book Journey hosts this weekly event where we celebrate what we are reading for the week, as well as books completed the previous week.

Been so busy with the wedding this week, still working on this...

Currently Reading:
Voices of the Dead (Peter Leonard)

Just Finished:
A Stolen Life (Jaycee Lee Dugard)
Awkward Family Photos (Mike Bender)

On Deck:
Rolling Pennies in the Dark (Douglas MacKinnon)
Triggered (Fletcher Wortmann)
Escaping Titanic (Marybeth Lorbieki)

Sunday Salon - 02/13/12

Well this week just totally got ahead of me! 

I kept thinking, "Oh, I'm going to sit down and blog today..." and then a million other things caught my attention and no blogging got done. I guess I've got to just chock this one up to a "vacation week" and move forward! 

Work and Family

Family and work wise, it's business as usual. Busy.

This past weekend my a capella group did two performances. Saturday night was an hour long gig, with an intermission of yummy chocolate goodies in honor of Valentine's Day. It was nice to have a full hour to ourselves, rather than the typical one or two song gigs! The audience was very supportive and gave us a standing ovation. 

Sunday was a performance at an assisted living home. The audience was low key, but seemed to have a nice time. Hopefully they will have us back. You got to love these paying gigs!

At my theater, the season moves on...but I have jumped to next season. I am looking at beginning my 2012-2013 season membership drive. It moves so quickly! I'm hoping for another successful year!

At this point, I am sure that just about everyone has heard about the tragic passing of Whitney Houston this past weekend.  I am brokenhearted.  Though I, of course, didn't know her personally, I grew up with her. She provided the soundtrack to my high school years. She taught me more about singing (both strengths and weaknesses) than many vocal coaches.  And though many had turned their backs on her and accepted her as the joke-of-the-week, I held out hope that she might once again gain control and get past this terrible time in her life.  Her last interview left me with hope that she was truly over the hump... She looked great. Sounded pretty good and was very excited about her latest piece of work, Sparkle (due out in August). Lady luck was not quite so kind this time around though.

Rest well sweet voice. I will listen for you welcoming me home in the angel choir, when my time comes.
Books and Reading
I finished up a couple library books these past weeks and hope to get reviews up soon.  I have moved on to finishing up Peter Leonard's Voices of the Dead for my upcoming book tour.  I hope to finish it over the next day or so and prepare my review so I am ready early... Check back on the 16th!
I also got a few NetGalleys this week. Usually, I am a library-book reader so this was pretty exciting. Then, I actually figured out how to get them on my Nook. I'll be able to knock out those ebook challenge books quickly! I just hope I can get through them all soon enough.
What are you reading this week?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Friday Faves - 02/03/12

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five. It's Friday so that makes it time to look back over our week and look for those things we are grateful for. It may be big or it may be small and you have to dig for it, but there are always things we can be thankful for. Please join us as we share our favorite five. If you need the guidelines they are here

1. Back to normal. The past week has been...restful. Don't get me wrong, I was busy but I didn't have to deal with any major events (other than finishing up my a cappella show). It has been a nice rest. Calm before next week's storm of two shows in two days!

2. Dentist appointment.  The best kind of dentist appointment is when they bring you in, take a look and say, "Everything looks fine." I do need some work, but my Monday night appointment didn't require the dreaded (IE expensive) "super-cleaning", so I was out in less than fifteen minutes. Very nice.

3.Spring.  Yes, it's only February but the past week has been really nice here, in the 50's. I am definitely a spring/summer girl and not a winter person. I love even the slightest hint of early spring!

4. Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of winter... Personally, I think he just keeps saying that because he's angry those obnoxious jerks keep waking him up from his winter nap!

5. It's Friday! Thanks goodness the work week is just about over!  The weekend holds a formal gathering (I had to go buy a dress, I had literally nothing to wear), another Cabaret show (watching this one, not performing) and a rehearsal for next week. Oh...and if I happen to catch of few minutes of that little sporting event, so be it.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

January 2012 ReCap...

Courtesy of

January 2012 Update

It was a not a great reading month for me.  Typically, between all my other activities and goings on, I can read minimum one book a week.  Some months are better and some are worse. But, on average, 50-60 books a year is my norm.

But January 2012 held a couple of zingers!

First, I discovered the loss of a dear old friend. This, quite frankly, ruined two weeks for me. I could barely think of anything else for days.

Then, a surprise wedding...mine! This ate up at least another week and a half. So, in theory, I should have finished 1/2 a book give or take. I finished two. So I'm ahead of the game, right?

Alright, two books in a month is ridiculously little. But I'm already well into my second of February, so I am trying to make up for the slow month. Hopefully by year's end I will be able to catch up and maybe surpass last year's numbers (which was, admittedly, a low count as well). Too much life and not enough reading!

This month I read:

Total Read: 2
Adult: 2
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0

YTD -2

The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout (Jill Abramson)
Out of the Blue (Susan Henderson)

Memorable Memoirs = 1 of 10+
Support Your Local Library Challenge = 1 of 37+
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 0 of 50 (2011) + 15
E-Book Reading Challenge = 0 of 5
A-Z Book Challenge 2012 = 1 of 26
What's in a Name Challenge = 0 of 5  
This entry was posted in

Booking Through Thursday - 02/02/12
Have you ever read a random book left in a waiting room or on a park bench, etc., and did you like it?

In college, I used to find myself at the local laundromat weekly. I have always considered laundry time relaxing and restful.  So, though I usually had classwork to focus on, I more often found myself looking to avoid it and zone out.

Many laundromats have TVs and, of course, you can always check out the other patrons (what color underwear does he wear?!?!). But I always loved it when folks left their used magazines and books on the window ledge. More than once I picked up a book and delved into it. Most of the time the books were not at all of my interest or taste, but given that I was looking for something brainless and offering little stress I usually enjoyed these books very much.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Library Loot - 02/01/12

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.   

Its been a while, and I barely got through any of my loot from the last trip but they had to go back.  Here is what I grabbed this time around...

New Loot: 
Salvage the bones : a novel / Jesmyn Ward. 
Water For Elephants / Sara Gruen
Men and Dogs / Katie Crouch
Its so Easy / Duff McKagan
The Fatal Gift of Beauty / Nina Burleigh
A Stolen Life / Jaycee Dugard
A Widow's Story / Joyce Carol Oates
A Smile As Big as The Moon /
Awkward Family Photos / Mike Bender
Last Men Out / Bob Drury
Moby-Duck /
The Summer We Came to Life / Degorah Cloyed
The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls / Wendy Delsol
The Book of Lies / Mary Horlock
So Much Pretty / Cara Hoffman
Lamb / Bonnie Nadzam
When She Woke / Hillary Jordan

Leftover Loot:
The children in room E4 : American education on trial / by Susan Eaton.
Shucked : life on a New England oyster farm / Erin Byers Murray.
Newjack : guarding Sing Sing / Ted Conover.
Dying young / Marti Leimbach.
Monster / Walter Dean Myers.
Unmeasured strength / Lauren Manning.
You are not alone : Michael, through a brother's eyes / Jermaine Jackson.
Please look after mom : a novel / Kyung-sook Shin.
The orchard / Theresa Weir. 

My Green Manifesto / David Gessner