Monday, April 30, 2007

Busy Weekend....What did I accomplish??

Well.....I wish I could report that the Sox kicked some major Angel butt....but no! A week after pitching a No-No against the Texas Rangers, Buehrle gave up 9 hits (including back-to-back homers in the 3rd!) in a 5 - 2 loss. The biggest disappointment of the day was that Jim Thome re-injured himself on Saturday and didn't even get to play Sunday! My son was pretty heartbroken about it because he spent all Saturday making signs for Thome. Of course, it was Kid's Day at the ballpark. Not only did the Chad and Bella get some really cool baseball cards when they got there, after the game they got a chance to run the bases! The day was beautiful and even though the Sox lost, we still had a lot of fun!!

Out of my HUGE list from Thursday, what did I get accomplished??? Well, I did finish Absurdistan. A review will be forth coming.....after I think about the book a bit. I ALMOST finished The Blue Zone. Should have that one done tonight. A surprisingly good thriller so far!!
  • Although I didn't get all 3 Netflix movies finished, we did watch Deja Vu with Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer. Very Good!! Complicated and little confusing at times, I really ended up enjoying it!! Denzel is the MAN!!
  • I got a few loads of laundry done. Not the whole pile, but a good start!!
  • I didn't run out of caffeine!! Made my way to the grocery store to stock up on the essentials.....Diet Pepsi, bread, cheese and milk!!
  • Finished all Bella's Books!!
  • Got out ALL the girl's spring and summer clothes and packed up most of the winter stuff and everything that is too small.
  • Now....the rest of the cleaning kind of fell by the wayside!! The bathroom in the upstairs is now clean, but the rest of the top floor STILL needs dusted and vacuumed. And Chad didn't come close to finishing his room. The bathroom downstairs still needs cleaned and I didn't even consider cleaning out the frig!

All in all I got a lot done!! But here is the reason I didn't finish my entire To-Do list:

Mike and I went to see Hot Fuzz Friday night. Oh man. What a FUN movie!! Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are absolutely HILARIOUS together. If you haven't heard of this movie, it's by the same guys (and STARS the same guys) as the British zombie movie "Shaun of the Dead". It's basically a spin on every Buddy Action movie ever made!! Simon Pegg plays Officer Nicholas Angel of the London police. He gets to be SO good at his job, he is given a "promotion" - a reassignment to a small country village called Sanford. (He is making the London office look bad....his arrest record is 400% higher than the closest officer!) Sanford just happens to be one of the safest towns around. He ends up partnered with Danny, Sanford's Chief Inspector's son. He is rather bumbling and naive, but he has watched a lot of American Action movies!! But while Sanford's Crime rate is incredibly low, it seems the "accident" rate is rather high!! If you are a fan a British humor and cheesy action movies, I HIGHLY recommend this one!!

I guess that's it for now....Later!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Overheard in New York

One of my new favorite blogs is called Overheard in New York. I can't help but laugh out loud. I gotta stop reading this at work!! (And see...I'm not the only one that thinks it's funny!!) It's a place where people log conversations they've heard in New York City. Some of them make me very glad I don't actually live in NYC!! These a just a couple of my favorites from today:

How the Projects Got Gentrified

Yuppie girl: Sometimes I feel like it would be fun to live in the projects.
Yuppie guy: Uh, why?
Yuppie girl: Everybody knows each other -- it's like summer camp.
Yuppie guy: But they shoot each other.
Yuppie girl: Yeah -- summer camp, but with guns.

--99th & 3rd Overheard by: Dan

Skinny NYU girl #1: Oh my god, I couldn't believe it happened. It's one of those things you have nightmares about.
Skinny NYU girl #2: I know. Don't people know they shouldn't eat for at least two hours before?
Skinny NYU girl #1: Duh, totally. Who farts in the middle of yoga class?
Skinny NYU girl #2: She'll have to go to therapy for months.

--Washington Square ParkOverheard by: Michelle

Check it out! Later!

Thursday Thirteen # 7's that time again, and it's Lucky #7. But today, I'm wicked busy at work and don't have all that much time to be creative. So, it's a boring one for me today, but I needed to make a list anyway!! So here it is:

Thirteen Things that Stephanie Has to do this weekend!!

1…My first order of business is to finish Absurdistan. It HAS to go back to the library by Saturday!! It's an Inter-library loan book and it was due yesterday!! I'm their best customer these days, and I would hate to have my privileges revoked!!

2. I also need to finish Blue Zone by Andrew Gross. I am late with a review to Harper Collins!! Man...being sick really cut into my reading time. I'm about 1/2 through this and it's really fast-paced, so I shouldn't have any problems finishing it.

3. We have 3 movies from Netflix that I'd LIKE to watch sometime in the next few days. The Good Shepard, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Deja Vu. I know....good titles. Just need to find the time!!

4. I have piles of laundry to do. It's amazing how much laundry can accumulate with 5 people. I try to do a load or so a night....but inevitably, I always have tons on the weekends.

5. Tomorrow night after work, I must go to the grocery store. You know...I hate grocery shopping. I always forget something. It doesn't matter if I make a list, it just happens. I'm about out of Diet Pepsi, and would hate to start the weekend caffeine free. That CAN'T happen!

6. Bella has to turn in her final "Book It" sheets on Monday. For a 1st grader, to get your "Book It" coupons, you have to read 10 books a month. BUT to get a BigTime Certificate at the end of the year you need to read 100 books! My being sick this month put a damper on our nightly reading, so I need to make sure she has at least 4 books done this weekend! Danny the Dinosaur and Sammy the Seal, here I come!

7. Because we only have a 3 bedroom house and the closet space SUCKS, I usually have to pack up the clothes by the season. It's time I pull out the girls' shorts, tanks and sandals for the summer!!

8. Since I'm doing #7, I might as well get the bedrooms straightened out. The kids have been lax the last few....months! It's time for an overhaul of putting toys away, dusting, and cleaning out under the beds. That could be scary!! (this one will be done with mucho help from the kiddies themselves!)

9. While on the subject, I need to haul the vacuum up to the top floor and vacuum and dust. I try to do this weekly, but it never happens. I really need to plan better.

10. The 2 bathrooms need cleaned. Do you see a pattern here?? 3 or 4 weeks of feeling bad, and the house has gone to hell in a handbasket. Try as they might (which really wasn't that much) the rest of the family didn't do too well without me!

11. Might as well go for the glory and clean out the frig while I'm at it. This is like the worst for me. Stuff always gets pushed to the back. You never know what might be lurking there!!

12. After all this cleaning on Saturday, I think I will need to take the kiddies for Ice Cream!! Yeah!! The Dream Hut is open again, and I love their waffle cones!! Besides that, they have little candy eyes and lips to put on the cones for the girls.

13. And the piece de resistance of the weekend. Tickets to the White Sox/Angels game at Comisky. Yes, I do realize it's not Comisky Field anymore. But it just doesn't sound the same by saying "US Cellular" field!! We have great seats and want to get to the field earlier. My son is making a sign for Mr. Jim Thome, who is a graduate of the high school in our fair town. Chad's hoping for at least a wave from the Big Guy! Can't wait. Supposed to be fair and in the 70's!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Kookiejar from A Fraternity of Dreamers tagged me for this literary related meme. Although I am SUPPOSED to be working, I've been trying to think of my answers all day!! Some days, I guess my head just isn't in the IT game! Anyway, here are my answers:

Name 3 Characters........

.............You wish were real so you could meet them:

  1. Atticus Finch - from "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. This man is the epitome of a great person. He did what he thought was right, no matter what anyone else thought. Everyone could learn a lesson from Atticus. "They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions," said Atticus, "but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
  2. Gandalf the Gray - from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit" by Tolkien. Gandalf is the archetypal wizard, combining kind wisdom with the ability to perform magical feats, particularly those involving fire. I can't help but picture Sir Ian McClellan when I think of Gandalf. He seems so wise, I'd just like to pick his brain!
  3. Estella Havisham - from "Great Expectations". Probably my very favorite Dicken's character. This beautiful and graceful gal is as cold as ice, taught by the loony Mrs. Havisham to be hard-hearted and unloving. I'd still like to meet her....see what makes her tick. See if she really does have feelings for Pip!

..............You would like to be:

  1. Hermione Granger - from the "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling. She's young, adorable and sharp as a tack. As Ron Weasley said, "You're a little scary sometimes, you know that. Brilliant. But scary." Yep. She's my kind of girl. AND she can cast spells!!
  2. Rowan Mayfair - from "The Mayfair Witches" series by Anne Rice. Rowan is the 13th in the line of Mayfair witches, and probably the one with the most strength. She's smart (a doctor), beautiful and has piercing gray eyes....and a whole bunch of powers! I WANT powers too!!
  3. Stephanie Plum - from the "Numbers Series" by Janet Evanovich. I AM Stephanie without the 2 hot guys fighting for me!! I'm stressed, spunky, have a completely whacked out family (although no gun-toting Gramma!), and have been known to total a car or two! I've got the bad hair thing going too right now. (gotta love growing out layers!) I just need to find me a Morelli and a Ranger, and I'd be set. (Personally, I'm a Morelli girl!)

.................Who Scare Me:

  1. Randall Flagg - from "The Stand" by Stephen King. Yes, this book scared the bejesus out of me. Flagg is sort of the Antichrist-like figure that personifies all that is evil. He stakes his claim in Vegas and tries to lure anyone that is willing to sell their soul. This is one bad dude.
  2. Lord Voldemort - from the "Harry Potter" series by J. K. Rowling. Come on....he's called "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named". Doesn't that tell you right there what a bad guy he is??? Not only did he murder Harry's parents and is trying to kill Harry, he is trying to gain unmatched power and immortality. Sounds like a pretty frightening guy to me!
  3. Annie Wilkes - from "Misery" by Stephen King. Talk about a nut-job. (Again, I can't help picturing Kathy Bates while I'm writing this. She SO deserved the Oscar for her portrayal The scene where she hobbles James Caan still gives me shivers). Annie Wilkes is not only a loon, she's a serial killer.....she was a nurse and ended up whacking patients in the hospital she worked at. Or just any random person that she sees as a threat.

So...that's about it. Thanks for the tag Kookie, and now it's my turn. I'm tagging Bellezza at Dolce Bellezza, Katie at Rhinoa's Ramblings, and Kristy at Just Another Blogger.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Books, Books, and More Books

As a resolution this year I promised myself that I would try not to BUY so many books. I already have so many books in so many corners of my house, I'm trying to get rid of the clutter a bit. I need to read what I have before I buy more. But the past month has been a bit of a challenge, what with getting my bonus and getting our taxes back!! I've been bad....and others are feeding my addiction as well!! I got a box of books from to review, 4 books from Harper Collins to review, I've won a couple of books, some library books and then I went on a buying jag! Figured I would confess here. I'm sure you guys will absolve me a lot sooner than my husband! He thinks I'm nuts with the books. Why buy more when there are so many I haven't read??? It really is a sickness!! are the books I've bought in the last 6 weeks or so:
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (had 46% off coupon from B&N)
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (another coupon from B&N)
  • Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy
  • Poison Study by Maria Snyder
  • The Scent of Shadows (The First Sign of the Zodiac) by Vicki Pettersson
  • The Taste of Night (The Second Sign of the Zodiac) by Vicki Pettersson
  • Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (Buy 1 Dresden Files, get one 50% off see below!)
  • Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • I am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett
  • A Mirror for Observers by Edgar Pangborn (Amazon Used Books)
  • Lest Darkness Falls by L. Sprague de Camp (Amazon Used Books)
  • The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. van Vogt (Amazon Used Books)
  • Earthman's Burden by Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson (Amazon Used Books)

Eeeek. No wonder my husband gets mad at me!! It doesn't look so bad until you lay it all out like that. Then you throw in the 8 or so books I have sitting around still waiting for me to review, plus my trips to the library......and yes, there are books everywhere! With all the books I just bought I still came home with these from the library last weekend:

  • Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson
  • Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • The Ananzi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • The Keep by Jennifer Egan

I admit it....I have a problem. Step one is knowing your powerlessness!!


Cool New Site To Find Books

Yesterday, I found a new website called If you ever buy books online, you should check it out. It's not a bookstore, per se. It's more of a search engine. Put in the name of the book you want (or game, or dvd, or cd), and it will give you back all the sites that carry it. It even finds used copies (which is especially good if you are like me and trying to save a few dollars!) What comes back from your search is a comparison grid. It shows the prices PLUS shipping so you can see where the best deal is. It can also show prices/shipping for both inside and outside the US.

I'm really impressed. If you are like me and are always looking for a bargain.....or books that are out of print.....then you might really like this site. You can search by name, author of ISBN number for books, audiobooks, textbooks, etc. You can even browse by categories if you don't have a particular book in mind. Pretty nifty, if you ask me.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Randomness for April 23

randomness...feed your mind and your blog

week of April 22: name 3 of each....
I couldn't have a list of my favorite things without including Pooh and friends!!

1. favorite tv programs
The Sopranos, Lost, Heros

2. favorite foods
Ribeye, Strawberries, Chicken Marsala

3. favorite books
(why ask me to name only 3??)
To Kill a Mockingbird, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Stand

4. favorite people
My three kids....Chad, Bella and Anastasia (and I have to throw my hubby Mike in for good measure!)

5. favorite movies
Donnie Darko, Dead Poet's Society, Shawshank Redemption

6. favorite vacation spots
Daytona Beach, Florida, San Francisco, CA & Puerta Vallerta, Mexico

till next time...

Birth and Death of the Bard

Not only is today, April 23 the day of William Shakespeare's birth, it is also the day of his death! So, even though my knowledge of Shakepeare's works is limited to what I read in school (Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Julius Ceasar and Much Ado about Nothing), I thought it would be remiss of me if I didn't acknowledge probably the greatest writer in history! (I'm also planning on reading A Midsummer's Night Dream for the Once Upon a Time Challenge). (Most of the information below comes from the Shakespeare Resource Center online).

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, allegedly on April 23, 1564. Church records from Holy Trinity Church indicate that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. Young William was born of John Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed local heiress. William, according to the church register, was the third of eight children in the Shakespeare household—three of whom died in childhood. John Shakespeare had a remarkable run of success as a merchant, alderman, and high bailiff of Stratford, during William's early childhood. His fortunes declined, however, in the late 1570s. There is great conjecture about Shakespeare's childhood years, especially regarding his education. It is surmised by scholars that Shakespeare attended the free grammar school in Stratford, which at the time had a reputation to rival that of Eton. As the records do not exist, we do not know how long William attended the school, but certainly the literary quality of his works suggest a solid education. What is certain is that William Shakespeare never proceeded to university schooling, which has stirred some of the debate concerning the authorship of his works.

The next documented event in Shakespeare's life is his marriage to Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. William was 18 at the time, and Anne was 26—and pregnant. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. The couple later had twins, Hamnet and Judith, born February 2, 1585 and christened at Holy Trinity. Hamnet died in childhood at the age of 11, on August 11, 1596. For the seven years following the birth of his twins, William Shakespeare disappears from all records, finally turning up again in London some time in 1592. This period, known as the "Lost Years," has sparked as much controversy about Shakespeare's life as any period. Rowe notes that young Shakespeare was quite fond of poaching, and may have had to flee Stratford after an incident with Sir Thomas Lucy, whose deer and rabbits he allegedly poached. There is also rumor of Shakespeare working as an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire for a time, though this is circumstantial at best.

It is estimated that Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588 and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain's Men (called the King's Men after the ascension of James I in 1603), but was a managing partner in the operation as well. With Will Kempe, a master comedian, and Richard Burbage, a leading tragic actor of the day, the Lord Chamberlain's Men became a favorite London troupe, patronized by royalty and made popular by the theatre-going public.
Shakespeare's success is apparent when studied against other playwrights of this age. His company was the most successful in London in his day. He had plays published and sold in octavo editions, or "penny-copies" to the more literate of his audiences. Never before had a playwright enjoyed sufficient acclaim to see his works published and sold as popular literature in the midst of his career. In addition, Shakespeare's ownership share in both the theatrical company and the Globe itself made him as much an entrepeneur as artist. While Shakespeare might not be accounted wealthy by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611.

William Shakespeare wrote his will in 1611, bequeathing his properties to his daughter Susanna (married in 1607 to Dr. John Hall). To his surviving daughter Judith, he left £300, and to his wife Anne left "my second best bed." William Shakespeare allegedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. This is probably more of a romantic myth than reality, but Shakespeare was interred at Holy Trinity in Stratford on April 25. In 1623, two working companions of Shakespeare from the Lord Chamberlain's Men, John Heminges and Henry Condell, printed the First Folio edition of his collected plays, of which half were previously unpublished.

William Shakespeare's legacy is a body of work that will never again be equaled in Western civilization. His words have endured for 400 years, and still reach across the centuries as powerfully as ever. Even in death, he leaves a final piece of verse as his epitaph:
'Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones"

His works include:


  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Love's Labor's Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Twelfth Night; Or, What You Will
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona


  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Othello, the Moor of Venice
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Troilus and Cressida


  • Henry IV, Part I
  • Henry IV, Part II
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part I
  • Henry VI, Part II
  • Henry VI, Part III
  • Henry VIII
  • King John
  • Richard II
  • Richard III

Late Romances:

  • Cymbeline
  • Pericles
  • The Tempest
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen
  • The Winter's Tale

Sonnets and Poetry.

I really to read more Shakespeare. I think to think I'm well-read person, but I seriously lacking in the Bard!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Again with the challenges???

Really, I should probably shoot Caribousmom for creating a site that actually LISTS all the challenges out there!! Ok...just kidding, Wendy!! I won't shoot you!! But are feeding the addiction!! Before it was just books. Now it's books AND challenges! For those of you that would like to check out this great new blog, it's called Novel Challenges. There is something there for everyone....that's for sure!!

Nattie over at Nattie Writes! is hosting a Newberry Challenge. (I added the Newberry pic. I thought it looked nice!) OK. I admit it. I love children and Young Adult books. And the list of Newberry winners is so good, that I had to throw my hat into this challenge. Come should be easy to slide in some children's books, right??

  • Pick 6 books from the Newberry list.

  • Comment on Nattie' s blog.

  • List your books.

  • Read and review from May 15th - Dec. 31 2007

Easy enough....until I actually had to pick my books!! There are some really good ones out there. But here goes:

  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L' Engle

  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

  • Holes by Louis Sacher

  • The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate Dicamillo.

Next up is the Dystopian Challenge. This is one is hosted by Lisa at Books. Lists. Life. Her rules are simple. Pick any number of books that you want to read for this challenge. (Hopefully, something you haven't read.....or at least not for awhile). And that's pretty much it!! The challenge has already started and runs until November 6th.

Did I sign up for this one? Of course!! (like you didn't already know the answer to that one!)

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry ('s up above too! Gotta consolitdate somewhere!)
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Faherheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

There still are tons more challenges that I actually haven't signed up for....yet! Two others I'm thinking about are the Something About Me Challenge hosted by Lisa at Breaking the Fourth Wall...which is really a cool idea. The other is the Southern Reading Challenge hosted by Maggie at Maggie Reads.

So....I guess I'd better get reading. Instead of crossing books off my list, I just seem to keep adding to it!!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6

Sorry Guys. Been sick. Still. I tell you what. This thing has zapped the life from me. I am starting to feel better, but it seems to have taken some of my creativity from me. So yesterday when I was reading Kookiejar's blog and I saw her History Quiz, I thought I would used it as a Thursday Thirteen! Save me from trying to think up a topic on my own! So here's what to do. Go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday (without the year), then you are supposed to list 3 important events, 2 birthdays, a death and a holiday. I'm just going to round out the list to:

Thirteen Things that happened on my birthday of January 13:

1. 1112 Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the miliary order known as the Knights Templar, delcaring them to be "an Army of God".

2. 1776 - The British raid Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay.

3. 1840 - The steamship Lexington burns and sinks four miles off the coast of Long Island and 139 lives are lost.

4. 1964 - Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, is appointed Archbishop of Krakow, Poland.

5. 1968 - Johnny Cash records his landmark album At Folsum Prison live at Folsum State Prison.

6. 1832 - Horatio Alger, Jr. American Minister and author was born.

7. 1926 - Michael Bond, British author was born. Bond was the creator of Paddinton Bear.

8. 1961 - Julia Louis-Dreyfus, American actress was born. (Big Seinfeld fan here. HAD to put this one in!)

9. 1966 - Patrick Dempsey (AKA Dr. McDreamy), American Actor was born.

10. 1977 - Orlando Bloom, British Actor was born. (I can't believe he's so YOUNG!)

11. 1926 - Wyatt Earp, American cowboy and lawman, died at the age of 80 in California. (Man...he survived Dodge City and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and died because of a urinary tract infection. Bummer.)

12. 1978 - Hubert H. Humphrey (Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson) died in Waverly, Minnesota of terminal cancer.

13. Feast of St. Hilarius of Poitiers (I'm Catholic and I've never even heard of this one!)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chick Lit with a Punch....Literally!

This is another book that was sent to me from Harper Collins. I Take This Man by Valerie Frankel (296 pgs) is an Avon Trade book and is definitely "Chick Lit". I have read a few books by Valerie Frankel and usually find them light and funny. This one was no exception.

Penny's wedding day is supposed to be the best day of her life. But instead of walking down the aisle with the man of her dreams, she finds herself deserted at the altar! Five minutes before the ceremony is supposed to start, she gets a note from Bram, her fiancee, that says he is sorry and couldn't go through with it. Penny's mother Ester is usually calm, cold and collected. But even though she never approved of Bram, she is seeing red when he dumps her daughter. So she heads up to his suite to find out what is going on. In an uncharacteristic moment of spontaneity, Ester hits Bram over the head with a bottle of champagne! She throws his body into a housekeeping cart and secrets him back to her mansion. There, she and Natasha, the ex-Russian Mail-order-Bride turned housekeeper, hide him in the old "playroom". This room just happens to be sound-proof, has an intercom system, and a two-way mirror used for observation.

There were quite a few laugh-out-loud moments in this one. The idea of Ester keeping Bram locked up until he eats 200 servings of prime rib and salmon, 28 lbs of shrimp cocktail, and a 4-tiered wedding cake that was SUPPOSED to be served at his wedding reception still makes me laugh! But the characters all start out a little flat, and it takes a long time for me to actually CARE what happens in the end. There is some mystery behind the death of Penny's father that is finally explained. I did like the dialog between Ester and Keith Shiratz, the would-be father of the groom. But I found the mother/daughter relationship between Ester and Penny to be a little too textbook. And the relationship between Penny and Bram just didn't work for me. Neither before the break-up or after. Not enough real life in this book.....but then again, I think that's the point. Chick Lit is escapism at best. And if that's all Frankel was aiming at, then she accomplished it. It was a cute book. 3.5/5

Friday, April 13, 2007

When will it end??? I mentioned earlier this week, I've been a bit under the weather. I worked a full day yesterday, but when I came home, I went straight to bed. I felt worse again today. My doctor is on vacation this week, so I decided to go over to Prompt Care on my lunch hour. Figured I could get a prescription for an antibiotic and be on my way. Nope. Turns out I was totally dehydrated....and have pneumonia to boot!! I spent the next 2 hours on an IV with my feet up. It was actually kind of relaxing. Then I had the chest X-rays which revealed the pneumonia.

So......if I don't post too often in the next few days .....or I don't answer emails, you know where I will be....In BED!!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5

Sorry guys. I've been so sick this week, I could hardly stand, much less log-on. I did post a short review, but that's about it!! I woke up with a fever on Monday....and I still have one today! So this one will be short as well.
With a tear in my eye and a sadness in my heart, I'm posting this Thursday Thirteen. Kurt Vonnegut, one the greatest authors of this century, passed away yesterday. He was my brother's favorite author. Me? I've only read Slaughterhouse-Five. And if you look at previous posts, you can see I listed it as one of my top 10 books! So I hold my head in shame that I haven't read more of his work, which leads me to my Thursday Thirteen:

Thirteen Things Works of Kurt Vonnegut that I must read:

1. Cat's Cradle - Filled with G-men and scientists and even ordinary folks, this novel is about people in search of the world's most important and dangerous substances....a new form of ice that freezes at room temperature.

2. Player Piano - Vonnegut’s first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines.

3. The Sirens of the Titans - The richest and most depraved man on Earth takes a wild space journey to distant worlds, learning about the purpose of human life along the way.

4. God Bless You , Mr. Rosewater - Eliot Rosewater, drunk, volunteer fireman, and president of the fabulously rich Rosewater foundation, is about to attempt a noble experiment with human nature... with a little help from writer Kilgore Trout.

5. Breakfast of Champions - Auto dealer, Dwayne Hoover sinks into madness after reading Kilgore Trout.

6. Slapstick - Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, centenarian, the last President of the United States, King of Manhattan, and one-half (along with his sister, Eliza) of the most powerful intelligence since Einstein, is penning his autobiography.

7. Jailbird - a fractured and comic, pure Vonnegut novel about the world of high crimes and misdemeanors in government...and in the heart. About the Watergate Scandal.

8. Deadeye Dick - funny, chillingly satirical look at the death of innocence. A tale of crime and punishment that makes us rethink what we believe...and who we say we are.

9. Mother Night - American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty?

10. Welcome to the Monkey House - Collection of short stories.

11. Hocus Pocus - While awaiting trial for an initially unspecified crime, Vietnam vet and college professor Eugene Debs Hartke realizes that he has killed exactly as many people as he has had sex with, a coincidence that causes him to doubt his atheism.

12. Timequake - The last novel he ever wrote. Vonnegut's Alter-ego Kilgore Trout is at it again....messing around with space time continuum.

13. A Man Without a Country - Vonnegut's most recent published work, this is a collection of articles that he wrote. Social Commentary from Vonnegut!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Harper Collins First Look Review

I was pretty excited to get picked to review this book. Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead by Nick Drake (352 pages) is an excellent novel about ancient Egypt and ten days in the reign of Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti (the Perfect One). Drake takes the few historical facts that are available and creates a very plausible mystery about why and how Nefertiti really disappeared. Akhenaten was trying to change the course of history by declaring the Aten (the disk of the sun) as the supreme deity and the worship of it as the only religion in Egypt. This was a pretty big deal and many of the priests at the other temples were furious over it. There was a lot of money that would be lost to them. Not only was he trying to restructure religion in Egypt, he had declared himself a God.

Rai Rahotep was a Medjay (police) officer and "Asker of Questions" in the city of Thebes. 10 days before the Festival that would solidify Akhetaten as the new capital city, he was summonsed to work on a case in this new city. Rahotep was called by the Pharaoh himself to find Queen Nefertiti, who had disappeared a few days before. Rahotep has 10 days until the festival commences to find Nefertiti or else he and his family will die.

Nick Drake's words are beautiful and lyrical. I can almost feel the heat of the desert on my skin and the grit of sand against my teeth. He takes a few historic facts and creates a fast-paced mystery that is a page-turner from the very first sentence. I will definitely be reading the two remaining books in this new trilogy. I can't wait!! 4.25/5

Saturday, April 7, 2007

In Other News......

I got up this morning to an email from Colleen Gleason, author of The Rest Falls Away (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles #1). I had entered a contest at her blog For All The World To See for an autographed copy of her book. AND I WON!! Yeah for me! I don't usually win anything, so I'm pretty psyched. And I've read some excellent reviews on this one. Book 2 hits the stores in June. If you haven't read her book, you should check it out. And the contest is still going on if you would like to enter!

On the downside, I'm fighting the oncomings of a major migraine at this point. I have a million things to do this weekend, so it's horrible timing. I'm getting ready to head out for some last minute Easter Basket shopping. I still have some little presents for the kids to wrap and ALL the basket stuff to put together. I need to grocery shop and put together something to take to my Aunt Peggy's for Easter dinner tomorrow. The thought of spending 5 hours with my family is actually making my head hurt worse. Don't get me wrong. I love my parents. But it's hard to be a mother and a career woman in my 30's, and spend time with them. They have a way of making me feel 13 and awkward all over again. We are polar opposites, my parents and I, in just about everything from politics to religion. Seriously. My mom reads Ann Coulter!!! It makes my stomach turn to just here her name!! My mom actually had the audacity to try to get me to read one of her books. I told my mom in no uncertain terms that as much as I love books and abhor book burning, I'd torch it page by page if she left one in my possession!! So yes, I tend to stress at the thought of spending time with them.

The one bright spot, is the fact that my baby brother Luke will be there. He and I are really tight and I haven't seen him since Christmas. You know, when Luke was born, I never in a million years thought we would be close. I was 12 when he came screaming into existence. When Luke started kindergarten, I was starting my Senior year in high school. I left for college that next year, and didn't look back. In actuality, I've always felt a bit guilty about leaving him. It was a crazy time in all our lives, with the loss of my other brother Chad. My parents went incredibly protective over Luke after that. They almost smothered the poor kid. Now...he's in college after 3 years in the Army, and he's awesome!! Smart, hilarious and a liberal to boot! (of course, Mom blames that on my influence, like it's a BAD thing!) And I know he'll have my back tomorrow when Mom and Dad start in on me. (Unless it's a Pick-On-Luke-Day....which means I'll have HIS back!)

In the meantime, I'm popping Excedrin like candy....while I'm hording the Maxalt just in case my head actually might explode. Wish me luck!


Friday, April 6, 2007

How Cool is this????

Well....I'm speechless. And Lord knows THAT doesn't happen very often!! But Amy at The Sleepy Reader just nominated me (as well as Kim at All Things Bookish and Kookiejar at A Fraternity of Dreamers - 2 of my favorite blogs!) for a Thinking Blogger Award.'s the deal. I started this blog for me. To review some books and vent when I had no other source. I guess I honestly didn't think OTHER people would actually want to read it. Well....a HUGE Thank you to Amy!! I'm honored that you do read my blog and thought enough of it to nominate.

So here are the rules:

1. If you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to that post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display your "Thinking Blogger Award" with a link to the post that you wrote.

After thinking about this last night, here are the 5 blogs that I am nominating for a Thinking Blogger Award of their own (and in no particular order)

  • Kelly at Kailana's Written World - a place to go for EXCELLENT reviews from a voracious reader!! (Actually Kelly's blog is the one that "inspired" me to start my own!)
  • Bonnie at Greening the Blue Planet - a wonderful site to go to see one woman's quest at saving the planet!! Bonnie also has a book blog that I read daily too!
  • Chris at Book-A-Rama - another great site for all things book and literary related. Chris has some great reviews that really make a person think!
  • Shelly Kneupper Tucker at This Eclectic Life - This is one of my favorite blogs to read daily. She talks about life, love, and all things Texas! Definitely one to check out!
  • Paul at Backcountry Musings - another place for book reviews that are intelligent and always make me think, from a person who's opinion I trust.

Well....that's it. Be sure to check out all my Thinking Blogger Nominees!!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4

If there is one thing I love almost as much as books, it's movies. And when I logged on to Yahoo this morning, I saw that Bob Clark was killed in a car accident yesterday. For those of you that don't know, Bob Clark was a Hollywood director. His movies included the seasonal favorite A Christmas Story (one of the greatest Christmas movies....EVER!) and the Porky's movies. I was really sad to see this. But it started me thinking of movies....which led me to this week's Thursday Thirteen topic. As a child of the 80's, I watched lots of movies. These movies shaped me into who I am today. And yes, I know almost ever line of each and every one of the following:

Thirteen of the Best Teen Movies of the 80's!

1. Say Anything (1989) - You say, "AGAIN with the John Cusak??" Yep. This is my #1 favorite teen movie! The movie that made me fall in love. If Lloyd Dobler, the underachieving-kickboxer can end up with the beautiful valedictorian Diane Court, anything is possible!! "She's gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."

2. The Breakfast Club (1985) - One Saturday detention, five unhappy teens, and their scramble to prove they're each something more than a brain , an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Could a person ask for anymore teen angst? "But face it. You're a neo maxi zoom dweebie, what would you be doing if you weren't out making yourself a better citizen?"

3. Heathers (1989) - Ok...this one is probably at the opposite end of the happy teen movie spectrum. It's the Anti-John Hughes teen movie! Can you picture Molly Ringwald spiking some's Tab with Drano? But if you ever had dreams about offing a classmate, this is one movie you should see! Christian Slater as J.D and Winona Ryder as Veronica are the coolest kids around. "Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count."

4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) - This movie tells you EXACTLY what it's like to be a teen in search of the ultimate: sex, drugs and rock-n-roll! And it launched the careers of so many actors, including Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicholas Cage, and Forest Whittacre to name just a few. Besides, where would we be without this little tidbit of wisdom: "People on 'ludes should not drive!"

5. Ferris Buehller's Day Off (1986) - Talk about the ultimate slacker movie. This in another John Hughes movie....about a guy on a quest to take it easy and ditch school for the day. What's not to love about this movie? Anyone, Anyone?? The sites of Chicago, singing "Danke Schoen" in a parade and having fun with your best friends. " Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people."

6. Better Off Dead (1985) - Yes...again with John Cusak. But come on, you have to admit this movie is hilarious! Lane Meyer's is dealing with a lot. His girlfriend dumped him. He didn't make the ski team. His family is nuts. And there is a homicidal paperboy after him! Face it. Lane can't even commit suicide correctly! This movie is filled with some of the best one-liners ever!! "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that."

7. Risky Business (1983) - Now, I'm not a Tom Cruise all. I personally think the man is a loon. But this movie is Pre- Couch-hopping, Scientology-is-the-way craziness. This is good clean fun. clean as it can be when a high school kid opens a brothel in his house to make enough money to pay for the repairs to his Dad's Porsche that he dumped in Lake Michigan when his parents were out of town. OK....not exactly clean family-fun. But no one will ever forget Tom Cruise in his tidy-whities singing Old Time Rock-n-Roll!! "I don't believe this! I've got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I'm being chased by Guido the killer pimp. "

8. Sixteen Candles (1984) - Molly Ringwald, as Samantha Baker, is just too cute. Her parents forgot her sweet sixteenth, her sister is getting married to a Bo-hunk, her house is invaded with relatives, she gave a geek her undies, and the boy of her dreams doesn't knows she exists. Teenage life at it's worst!! "Donger's here for five hours, and he's got somebody. I live here my whole life, and I'm like a disease."

9. Pretty in Pink I was obsessed with John Hughes movies!! Sue me. The underdog always wins and the girl always gets the guy. Total fiction, but it can give you a little hope! Should Andie have chased after rich, repentant Blane, or stayed at the prom with poor, devoted Duckie?? She was in love with the Richie, and she got him. Poor Duckie. I still mist up though when they hold hands and walk into the prom together to face everyone! And wasn't James Spader just the greatest bad guy all dressed up in white?? "I know I'm old enough to be his mother, but when the Duck laid that kiss on me last night, I swear my thighs just went up in flames! He must practice on melons or something"

10. The Lost Boys (1987) - You can't have a list of 80's teen movies and not include at least one movie with the Corey's! I, personally, like bad boy Vampire David (Keifer Suterland). Great movie. Again...what's not to love? It's a teen Vampire movie. Hot teen Vamps. This must be where my obsession started!! "One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires."

11. The Outsiders (1983) - I loved this book!! I loved this movie. Talk about throwing every hot teen star in Hollywood in one film! It was the Greasers Vs. The Socs. Poor little abandoned Johnny gets attacked one night and ends up killing a drunk Socs. He heads out of town with Ponyboy...and they end up being heros. The lines between good and evil are really blurred in this one. Stars just about everyone including Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze and Ralph Macchio. "We gotta win that fight tonight. We gotta get even with those Socs! Let's do it for Johnny, man. We'll do it for Johnny!"

12. Can't Buy Me Love (1987) - this one is kind of cheezy. What can I say? That's who I am!! Long before he became Dr. McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey played in this cute movie about a geek trying to fit in with the Popular kids. He tried a new approach. He tried to BUY his way in!! I actually went to see this one with my Grandma. It will always hold a soft spot in my heart because of that. "Nerds, jocks. My side, your side. It's all bullshit. Its hard enough just trying to be yourself. "

13. Adventures in Babysitting (1897) - I saw this when I actually WAS babysitting! Who ever said babysitting was easy never saw this movie!! When Chris Parker takes the kids she is babysitting into Downtown Chicago to find a friend at the bus station, she knew she could get into some trouble. Never in a million years could she guess the kind of trouble it would be!! Fun movie. Nothing more, nothing less. " Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues."

Well....that's it till next time!! Later!
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Personal Challenge - Classic Sci-Fi

My friend Paul at Backcountry Musings has presented a personal challenge that he is going to try at least 6 new classic Sci-Fi authors in the next 12 months. Paul is the main influence on my new reading habits!! I read my first ever "Science Fiction" novel in December of this past year. It was Clifford D. Simek's They Walked Like Men. I followed this up with the wonderful John Wyndham novel The Chrysalids. Lately I have found a calling in fantasy and science fiction. But since I am new to the genre almost ALL of the authors are new to me!! I guess that would make it an easy challenge to complete! So I'm going to take Paul's list and maybe add a few of my own to it. (I figure I should probably read a little Heinlein while I'm at it!)

  • Lest Darkness Fall - L Sprague de Camp
  • The Voyage of the Space Beagle - AE van Vogt
  • A Mirror for Observers - Edgar Pangborn
  • The Best of Stanley Weinbaum - Stanley Weinbaum
  • Earthman's Burden - Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson
  • Triplanetary - EE "Doc" Smith

The alternates that he has chosen :

  • Dying Inside - Robert Silverberg
  • Tales of the Dying Earth - Jack Vance
  • Cities in Flight - James Blish

And the few that I would like to maybe add to my list:

  • The Puppet Master's - Robert Heinlein
  • This Perfect Day - Ira Levin
  • I, Robot - Issac Asimov
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick

So....anyone have any burning recommendations? I'm open to the all!! Would anyone like to join us on this quest? Just let me know!


Monday, April 2, 2007

Spring Randomness

randomness...feed your mind and your blog

Week of April 1st: April showers bring May flowers

Well, Spring has finally arrived, how do you feel?
Relieved!! I'm so tired of cold and snow. My favorite times of the year are when the seasons change. I love the way Spring feels "new".

Has it been a long hard winter for you?
You bet it has!! Too much snow....too much water has been hell on my backyard, my animals and my basement!! I HATE the cold. I know in my heart I was supposed to be born in Hawaii. I just wish I could figure out how I ended up in Illinois!

Does the beautiful spring weather put you in a good mood?
Good weather in general puts me in a good mood. It's probably going to be a wet April. We've already had a ton of rain. But today is my daughter's 5th birthday!! That itself is enough to keep me smiling for at least another week!

Some people do spring cleaning,
some suffer from seasonal allergies,
and others just dont care at all.
How do you feel about Springtime?
Oh...the need to clean is there. Just no desire so far!! The kids are on Spring Break next week. Since we are planning to take a family vacation in the summer, I'm working. But I'm putting together a list of things for them to do while I'm gone! Hopefully, by mid-April, my house will be clean and fresh again!

till next time...

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Beautiful Story about the Building of a Wonder

Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors (324 pgs) was written in 2004. It is my 2000 read for the Decades Challenge. What a wonderful book it was too!!

As the tale begins, a woman has gathered her two granddaughters together to tell them a story. It is the story of their family history, the truth of which has been hidden from them since the day they were born. For their grandmother was not just the daughter of a simple fisherman. No. She was actually born into the Royal family. Her real name is Princess Jahanara, and her father was the Emperor Shah Jahan. And this is her story.

Princess Jahanara was the eldest daughter of the Emperor. And she was very close to him and his wife. In fact, she was just like her mother -- beautiful, intelligent and compassionate. She wanted nothing more than to know love like her parents shared. But she knew her duty was to the empire and did as she was told. When her mother died during childbirth, the Emperor was inconsolable. The grief he felt for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, led the Emperor to dream of the afterlife with her at his side. He wanted to create a monument dedicated to his wife. And so began the construction of the Taj Mahal.

But this story is not only about the Taj Mahal, but it is about the love that inspired it. And it is also about the rivalry between brothers and a sister. A rivalry that would tear this empire apart. Dara, the eldest brother and heir to the throne, was a man of compassion. He studied many religions and hoped to unite the Muslims and the Hindus together. He was smart and studious and philosophical. The younger brother, Aurangzeb, was a soldier. He was a cold, zealous killer and he was hungry to gain control of the throne for himself.

This book is a wild ride. Shors does a phenomenal job of not only bringing out the most beautiful of love stories, but also the bloodiest of wars, pitting brother against brother. He certainly has a knack for storytelling! Although this account is fictional, there is enough historical fact for the reader to gain some insight into 17th Century politics and the intricacies of Muslin/Hindu relations. The language is lilting and beautiful and it is a story that I highly recommend to both fans of history AND historical fiction. Wonderful!! 4.5/5