Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Salon - The What the Hell Happened to Me Post

The Sunday Salon.comGood morning!! I really just wanted to thank all of you for your kind words this past week. I don't want to get into specifics, but the past month has been challenging to me in so many ways. 3rd shift has been taking it's toll on me for the past 2 years, and I think I finally hit rock-bottom with it. Things with the Red Cross went from bad to worse....and it put me in a serious depression. I mean, I've been depressed before, but this was different. This was the kind of depression that left me feeling drained. All I wanted to do was stay in bed all day (or night) and pull the covers over my head. I didn't want to read or blog or check my email or twitter or ANYTHING. So I took a mental-health break. I apologize if I concerned you at all. I got a few emails that I know I should have answered and a few phone calls as well. But I just couldn't answer them.

But this week, I feel better. On Tuesday, I started a new job!!! One that I hope I'll be at for quite awhile. I am working for DHL Export Company. I've been looking for awhile, but after the first of the year, I kicked that into overdrive. With my background in IT and my experience in Logistics, they gave me the job right away. It's first shift, Monday thru Friday. (at the moment there is also unlimited overtime, but I don't know how long that will last). I am an Ocean Export Rep, and basically what they are training me for is to set up bookings of ocean shipments across the world for Caterpillar. I met the Regional Manager this week and told him I'm already a certified 6 Sigma green belt (if you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry. It's a business thing and stupid as hell...but looks great on a resume!). He was super-impressed with that, so keep your fingers crossed that I'm here to stay!! I'm also sticking with the restaurant, as well. Scary thing is, I'm actually good at waiting tables. And the money is really good. I'm cutting my hours pretty drastically, but will use the money for my property taxes this year....and basically just as catch-up money. It was nice this year to pay cash for our entire Christmas!! Maybe another year of waiting tables, and I'll be able to pay for a really nice vacation for 2011. God knows, this family could use one!!

I even went to the library on Friday!!! I haven't done that in months. You know it's bad for me when I don't even want to go to the library. And I started doing a bit of blog hopping yesterday. Just so you know, I plan on catching up with all of you this week!! I saw that Carl has posted for the Once Upon a Time IV Challenge. If there is anything that could get me back into the blogging/reading mode again, it's one of Carl's Challenges!!! So look for a sign-up post from me this week.

During my month's hiatus, I finished a couple of books. Hex Hall, that I reviewed yesterday. Horns by Joe Hill. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Liga. And the 3rd Sandman and Fables. I don't know if I'll get to any reviews or not, but I will try. As for now, I am reading Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah and Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland. I also have a copy of the new Holly Black book on deck, White Cat.

And for the first time in over a year, I have the entire weekend off!!! Mike and Chad are out of town. They went to a racquetball tournament in Lombard, so it's been a "Girl's Weekend". This is something that I needed in the worst way. We went to see Alice in Wonderland. We went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday. And have been watching basketball and basically just hanging out. It's been incredible.

That's it for me today. I just wanted to thank all of you again. Not only for all your concern and kind words, but for your patience with me. And the fact that you still keep coming back to see me. I need you guys in my life!! The last month has proven that to me more than ever. So, thank you!! You have my undying appreciation!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blog Tour - Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

When Nicole from the Book Reporter asked me if I wanted to be a part of the "Hex Hall" Blog Tour, I jumped on the chance. As you all know, I have a huge affinity for YA, especially the paranormal. So, this was a pretty big chance for me. Unfortunately, I have been on a blogging break for the last 5 weeks, for personal reasons. But now I am back, and I'm ready to get started again!!

Felicia was crying in the bathroom. Again. I knew it was her because in the three months I'd been going to Green Mountain High, I'd already seen Felicia crying in the bathroom twice. She had a really distinctive sob, high and breathy like a little kids, even though Felicia was eighteen, two years older than me. I'd left her alone before, figuring it was ever girl's right to cry in a public bathroom from time to time. But tonight was prom night and there was something really sad about sobbing in formal wear.

Sophie Mercer discovered at the age of 12 she was a witch. It was at that time she came in to her powers. And it was pretty confusing for Sophie. Apparently, her father was a European Warlock, and she inherited his powers. But Sophie had never even met her dad. Her mother had a relationship with him until she found out about the whole warlock "thing", then ran screaming for the hills. But she was pregnant at the time. Now, he was a part of the "Council", or governing body for the Prodigium, and he kept tabs on Sophie in that way.

But a runaway "love spell" at Sophie's last high school is the final straw and the Council decides to send her to Hecate (or "Hex") Hall, which happens to be a reform school for Prodigium, including witches, faeries, and shape shifters. Here she will learn more about her powers and how to use them without Humans knowing. Because in the world today, there are people that want to see all Prodigium annihilated. Especially the group called L'Occhio di Dio, or "The Eye of God". For centuries, this offshoot of the Knights Templar have been killing Prodigium....and not in nice ways.

But when Sophie gets to Hex Hall, she realizes that living with her human mother has kept her sheltered from who she really is. Not growing up with Prodigium, she really has no idea about anything. And her first week at Hex Hall is anything but great. She immediately falls for the "hottest" guy in school, a warlock named Archer. Then she makes enemies with the 3 other dark witches who approach Sophie to join their coven. They just happen to be the prettiest and most popular girls in school. A weird ghost seems to be following her around. AND her roommate is the biggest outcast around: the school's only vampire.

I have to say I was really looking forward to reading this book. The last few months my reading has been really kept to a minimum, and I love a good YA book. Hex Hall and Rachel Hawkins did not disappoint!! What a great book!! I loved the story. I loved the characters. Sophie is so funny and sassy. With one foot in the human world and one foot in the Prodigium world, she is doing her best to find her way AND do the right things. Archer, although his motives are a bit suspect, is snarky as hell. And Jenna, the vampire-roommate, is tough. Not only is she forever destined to be 16, she loves the color pink, is cute and sweet, AND the only real friend Sophie has ever had.

But learning about the Prodigium is second to the mystery that surrounds Hex Hall. There is a series of murders/attacks on witches that makes reading this book even more fun! Of course, there is the whole "I'm-going-to-be-a-trilogy-and-this-is-just-a-taste-of-what's-to-come" thing that happens at the end of the book. *Sigh* It seems today there are far too few stand-alone books anymore. BUT I know for a fact that I'm super-excited about reading the next installment...just as soon as Rachel Hawkins publishes it!! If you like a fun, exciting bit of YA/paranormal fun, I totally recommend Hex Hall!!! 4.5/5

AND I have this snazzy Hex Hall T-shirt to giveaway!! Isn't it fun?? If you'd like a chance to win it, just leave me a comment. I'll contact the winner for a size next week when I draw!! (For the record, I got one myself. And it's cute as can be!) Good luck!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm Back!

Well....I'm back. I'd like to say that I am better than ever. But things have been a bit rough for awhile now. Honestly, a break was needed just to keep my sanity. Between work (which is in a really bad place right now) and my marriage (which is having a rough spot right now), things have just been really bad. I've spent the last 5 weeks pretty much in a huge depression.

But I've missed blogging, and I've missed my friends. So, I'm back. Hopefully things will be better all around. Tomorrow, I have a post for an awesome new YA book, called Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. I even have a great T-shirt to giveaway with it!! See? Things are looking up already.