Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This month's Mailbox Monday blog tour is hosted by The Bluestocking Guide.

Check out the blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

Summer in the South by Cathy Holton (from author)

From author's website:
Summer in the South: A NovelFor Chicago writer Ava Dabrowski, fleeing her own troubled past, the chance to spend the summer writing a novel in quiet Woodburn, Tennessee seems a welcome reprieve. A guest of Will Fraser and his great-aunts, Fanny and Josephine Woodburn, members of an aristocratic, old-moneyed family, Ava soon finds herself surrounded by an eccentric cast of characters.

But the Woodburns are not who they seem to be. Gradually hearing rumors about the mysterious death of great-aunt Fanny’'s first husband, Ava stumbles upon a decades old family secret. Putting aside her planned novel, she begins instead to write the tragic history of the Woodburns, a family with more skeletons (and ghosts) in their closets than anyone can possibly imagine.

As she writes the history of the Woodburns, Ava begins to put together the pieces of her own fractured past, learning that a good story is always more dazzling, and ultimately less painful, than the truth.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beauty Queens - Libba Bray

Beauty Queens
Beauty Queens
By Libba Bray

Bray has created a book that is equal parts ridiculous, powerful, and relevant.  It is a must read, and a hilarious one.  I have every belief that the teens who love this book will grow up to love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. 

This is not a book written in the hand of Laurie Halse Anderson but it deserves equal space and (and love) on a teen bookshelf.  Did I think that Bray went over the top? At times, but how could I not love a book with footnotes that referenced other authors and every ridiculous reality show.  A book with commercial breaks for absurd (and often real) beauty products.  Did I roll my eyes, look at my husband and ask "Is this sentence the most over-killed metaphor you have ever heard?" OMG, I like so totally did!

Beauty Queens will make you think about the world.  It will make you question the things that are and should be important to you.  My favorite part of the book was the epilogue.  Let's just say I was literally dancing to the beat and it wrapped up the whole feel of the book beautifully. 

Check out this interview, Libba Bray is interviewed by...Libba Bray.  BUT don't read the comments because there is a huge spoiler (yes I read it before I finished the book...shoot). 

**Source: Amazon Vine

Friday, June 24, 2011


Have you seen this yet?

Check out the video and Pottermore! How bad do I want the sorting hat and owl made out of book pages!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Colorful Cupcakes

Months and months ago I came across a video for making rainbow cupcakes and thought "Holy crap how awesome!  I have to make these."  I decided it was finally time to try them and make a batch for my work peeps and a couple of friends who came to visit.

I didn't split the batter for all the colors equally so I ended up with a few Smurf cupcakes (all blue) and the colors aren't as dark as I had hoped but they turned out better than I was expecting.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lost in Shangri-La - Mitchell Zuckoff

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II
Lost in Shangri-La
By Mitchell Zuckoff

It didn't take me long to realize that not only was I going to enjoy this book but I knew someone else who would love it.  My step-dad can't get enough of these kinds of true stories.  I debated surprising him with it for his birthday but I was too excited to wait and told him about it while I was at the house for dinner.  He walked over to his favorite chair and picked up his own copy from the table next to it.  I guess I can say I know the type of books he likes!  And yes, he was enjoying it as much as I knew he would.

Lost in Shangri-La was truly a fascinating adventure.  I read it at work because I thought it would be safe as a tear-free read (once I got past the plane crash of course) but I found myself getting misty at the end as well. While reading the epilogue, I was truly sad to be coming to the end.  I was going to miss the people and their personalities. 

The story is about the 1945 crash of a military plane taking a recreation flight over a mysterious valley.  Zuckoff did a fantastic job bringing in the history of "Shangri-La" as well as a look at the people living there.  He wrote a story which gave the whole picture of what it must have been like to crash in such an unknown place.  I felt a connection to the survivors of the crash but I also felt connected to some of the natives they came into contact with. 

I loved reading about the way the survivors and natives were able to communicate without a common language. The relationships they built were fascinating to me.  From start to finish I was enthralled with the story, knowing that they must make it out alive but wondering exactly how they would pull it off and wondering how their presence would affect the lives of the natives.  I was fully entertained and my curiosity was satisfied. 

**Source: ARC from publisher

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This month's Mailbox Monday blog tour is hosted by The Bluestocking Guide.

Check out the blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Amazon Vine)

Beauty QueensFrom author's website:
From bestselling, Print Award-winning author Libba Bray comes the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

Lions of Kandahar by Major Rusty Bradley and Kevin Maurer (Amazon Vine)

From publisher's website:
Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All OddsOne of the most critical battles of the Afghan War is now revealed as never before. Lions of Kandahar is an inside account from the unique perspective of an active-duty U.S. Army Special Forces commander, an unparalled warrior with multiple deployments to the theater who has only recently returned from combat there.

Southern Afghanistan was slipping away. That was clear to then-Captain Rusty Bradley as he began his third tour of duty there in 2006. The Taliban and their allies were infiltrating everywhere, poised to reclaim Kandahar Province, their strategically vital onetime capital. To stop them, the NATO coalition launched Operation Medusa, the largest offensive in its history. The battlefield was the Panjwayi Valley, a densely packed warren of walled compounds that doubled neatly as enemy bunkers, lush orchards, and towering marijuana stands, all laced with treacherous irrigation ditches. A mass exodus of civilians heralded the carnage to come.

Dispatched as a diversionary force in support of the main coalition attack, Bradley’s Special Forces A-team and two others, along with their longtime Afghan Army allies, watched from across the valley as the NATO force was quickly engulfed in a vicious counterattack. Key to relieving it and calling in effective air strikes was possession of a modest patch of high ground called Sperwan Ghar. Bradley’s small detachment assaulted the hill and, in the midst of a savage and unforgettable firefight, soon learned they were facing nearly a thousand seasoned fighters—from whom they seized an impossible victory.

Now Bradley recounts the whole remarkable story as it actually happened. The blistering trek across Afghanistan’s infamous Red Desert. The eerie traces of the elusive Taliban. The close relations with the Afghan people and army, a primary mission focus. Sperwan Ghar itself: unremitting waves of fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades; a targeted truck turned into an inferno; the death trap of a cut-off compound. Most important: the men, Americans and Afghans alike—the “shaky” medic with nerves of steel and a surgeon’s hands in battle; the tireless sergeant who seems to be everywhere at once; the soft-spoken intelligence officer with laser-sharp insight; the diminutive Afghan commander with a Goliath-sized heart; the cool maverick who risks all to rescue a grievously wounded comrade—each unique, all indelible in their everyday exercise of extraordinary heroism.

33 Days by Bill See (from author)

From author's website:
33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream.For 33 days in the summer of 1987, critically acclaimed L.A. indie rock band Divine Weeks toured in a beat up old van, sleeping on strangers' floors, never sure they'd make enough gas money to get them to the next town. Bill See's deeply personal memoir follows his band's first tour across the U.S. and Canada. No soundman, no roadies, all they have is their music and each other's friendship. 33 Days captures the essence of what it is to be 22 and chase a dream, back to a time in life when dreams don't have boundaries, when everything is possible. The tour is one of those now or never experiences. Take a shot at making the band work or leave it all behind and go your separate ways. Every one of us has that moment where we have to decide to either live our dreams or give up and regret it for the rest of our lives. 33 Days touches that part of us. The road is filled with yuppies, brothels, riots, sleeping on floors, spiked drinks, DJs with no pants, and battles with racism. They set out on the road to discovery to drink in all they could and maybe sell a few records. They grew up instead.

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (from publisher)

From Amazon:
Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel.

The Dovekeepers: A NovelThe author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune’s Daughter, and Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet—one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.

In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.

This novel is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some Things That Make Me Happy!!

Muffin loves my computer.

#1 on my Things That Make Me Happy computer has been brought back from the brink of death!  This is mostly due to an amazing friend I have and his incredible StewMagic TM.  Even though he is in another state, he was able to work with my husband and fix it.  Oh happiness!!  Speaking of my husband...

#2 on my list is that today is my 4 year wedding anniversary.  I can't even believe it has already been 4 years but there you have it.  Years 1-3 still sounded newly-wed-ish but 4 years just makes me feel like I need to be more mature.  No mom I'm not having kids yet!

#3...while my computer was fighting back, I found comfort in a different electronic.  I am someone who always has a book in my purse (shocking right), but I took it out the other day because the book I'm reading was on the larger side and the weight in my purse was killing my shoulder.  I of course forgot to put it back and was so grateful for the books I have on my iPhone.  I decided it was time in my life for a little Pride and Prejudice reread and I finished it last night.  Oh how I love that book and can never get sick of it!

Let's, anniversary, Pride and Prejudice...oh AND I got the mail today and not only was my mailbox backed with 4 review books but I also got summoned to JURY DUTY!  No this excitement is not sarcastic, I am totally excited.  Yes, I know I am crazy.  It helps that my job still pays me.

Oh yes it tastes as good as it looks!

Lastly,  I had an absolutely delicious latte today.  Not only was it super tasty but look how pretty...