Thursday, December 27, 2012

Good vs. Super Awesome

A good friend will think of you with a smile when they see something that would make you laugh your ass off.

A Super Awesome friend sends you this:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall
By Lauren Oliver

Well I finally got with the program, joined in with the boatloads of brilliant people and read Before I Fall.  Yes this was another book that I finished, slapped my forehead, and said "why the heck did I wait so long to read this!"  I have no reasonable answer to this question.  But it is done now and wow.

I loved this book.  I remember reading a long ago that I can't remember where I read it...and it said that Oliver did teen angst right.  I have to agree.  Not only does she get it right but she makes you wait for it, earn it, until just when you start to doubt it is going to happen.  Oliver writes such a believable voice of a teenager that it was so easy to jump into the book and live in the story.  It wad equally heartbreaking, funny and honest.

"The crowd is thinning as people take off, but it's still hard to move.  Lindsay keeps calling out, "Excuse me, excuse me, move it, feminine emergency!"  Years ago we discovered at an under-eighteen concert in Poughkeepsie that nothing clears people faster than referencing a feminine emergency.  It's like people think they'll catch it"
-page 74

Before I Fall is about a girl named Sam who goes through a fairly typical day in the life of a popular high school student and then...well...she dies.  She dies and then wakes up again the next day only it is the day before, it is the day she dies and she goes through the day again.  She goes through the day seven times but no one time is the same.  The things she learns, about the day and about herself, are heartbreaking and eyeopening.  It was intense.  I continued to find myself putting the book down at the end of a chapter (the end of a day) and needing to take a break.  It made me realize how much it was really affecting me.  It was almost as if I was holding my breath, my body tense in anticipation of the moment the day ended.

**Source: purchased with my own sweet loot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I know I married the right guy because....

...he will have a glass of champagne with me (with a grimace on his face) even when his guy loses.  Did I go too far when I had him open the bottle for me?

Yes I know it's pink, it was the only champagne I had in the house.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm back with freaky food

Hello my long lost friends!  I have been AWOL for a long time now and I don't have any fun reasons, life just got in the way, but I am back!  I have reviews to post and pumpkins to carve and alien squash to cook. Yes I said alien squash and that is what I will be bringing to you today. 

Over the weekend, the husband and I met some friends (and their adorable orange tutu clad daughter) for some corn maze action.  We made it out alive and 30 minutes faster than last year so we had extra time to peruse the pumpkin patch.  Well this pumpkin patch sold a variety of squash and I couldn't pass up the blue hubbard squash when I saw it in all its ugly glory. 

Me and the husband with my awesome squash
At this very moment I am watching the Giants kicking some Game 2 ASS (and yes I waited to finish this post until the game was over because I didn't want to jinx anything) while my squash cooks itself into what I hope turns out to be a delicious soup.  Fingers crossed...

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Alive!

I grew up tending a garden that grew tomatoes, carrots and other delicious items as well as huge, HUGE zucchini that we then turned into delicious zucchini bread. Because of the size of the zucchini that grew due to my diligent watering I thought that I had natural green thumb. Alas, the green thumb belonged to my father who must have been sprinkling fairy dust on his magic beans. Over the years, no matter how hard I tried, my plants shared the same fate as my many goldfish. Oh Nemo how I miss you, and Harry, and Hermione, and Dory, and...well you get the picture. 


My luck has turned.  I found some very handy garden gnomes who have gone to work and I have tomatoes!!!!

One month ago

If you look closely you can see a missing tomato.  I ate it 3 days ago before the others were ripe and it was DELICIOUS!

And because I live in the wine country...
I did not grow the grapes.
These were growing along the fence of the local high school

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Queen's Vow - C.W. Gortner


The Queen’s Vow
By C.W. Gortner

Isabella of Castile is one of those women you read about and become angry you didn’t know more about a long time ago.  Or at least that is how it was for me.  She is the king’s half-sister with a crazy mom and a little brother who has a better chance of ending up on the throne than she does but then royal drama happens and scheming is afoot and her life takes some very interesting turns. 

I was fascinated by the way Gortner told her story and now I want to know more.  Isabella dares to take her life into her own hands and have a say in her future, with both catastrophic and remarkable results.  With one hand she signs away thousands of lives while the other creates a path for women to become educated as well as educators. 

The one thing that bothered me throughout the story was the way she seemed to explain away the actions of her husband.  There were moments when she was, justifiably, upset and the story seemed to brush her emotions under the rug.  She was incredibly determined and independent except when it came to her husband’s feelings of insignificance.  

Overall, the story was not only fascinating but also entertaining.  Gortner was able to show how Isabella’s world must have felt while still mocking in a way that made me uncertain if I wanted to laugh or smack the characters. 

“My brothers drew swords against each other at this very moment on a battlefield, the flower of Castile’s manhood lay dead around them.  Many more would be wounded.  And what did our queen do?
She danced.”
-page 113

I liked the way the book ended but I was also sad that I didn’t get to find out what happened next.  Isabella is the mother of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, and I wish that I could have read more about the later lives of her five children.  But, I guess there is only so much you can put in 400 pages.  I will have to find out more later. 


No one believed I was destined for greatness.

So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.

Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.

As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.


C.W. Gortner is the author of The Last Queen, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and The Tudor Secret. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. His novels have garnered international praise and been translated into thirteen languages to date. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues.

He's currently at work on his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about the early years of Lucrezia Borgia, as well as the third novel in his Tudor series,The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles (US) or Elizabeth's Spymaster (UK).

 Half-Spanish by birth, C.W. lives in Northern California.

Link to tour schedule: 
Twitter Hashtag: #QueensVowVirtualTour
Link to book trailer:

 **Thank you Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with an ARC for review.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kristin Cashore Book Signing!

Just me and my new friend Kristin Cashore
Well, Thursday was my big happy day.  Kristin Cashore's book signing at Copperfield's.  My husband didn't have to go to work until 10 pm so he came with me and held my camera (he's so handy).  Since I pretty much got all my gushing out in my previous post, I will try to keep this short and sweet.  I probably don't need to start by saying that Kristin is awesome but there it is.  She started by reading from Bitterblue and then talked a bit about her writing process (along with a slideshow including pictures of her notebooks-complete with motivational phrases she writes to keep herself going!) and then she did some Q&A.  She was entertaining, personable and so...human.  Go figure. 

So pretty!!
But!  I have to say that the icing on the cake was that my husband was actually entertained!  He laughed and learned and at the very end said "we should do this kind of thing more often."  Umm...OK!  That's pretty much the biggest compliment I can give to Kristin at this moment. 

It was an awesome day.  I didn't want to go to sleep that night and I kept having random bursts of giggles on the way home.  I'm a dork...I'm not ashamed!

Friday, April 27, 2012

And the Stars Aligned!

Please excuse any part of this post that doesn't make sense, I am slightly light-headed right now.

I was checking in with Kristin Cashore's blog This Is My Secret because her next book Bitterblue is about to come out and I read the most wonderful, amazing thing.  Seriously, I am getting kinda nauseous just thinking about it and part of me is scared that the moment I put it down something terrible is going to happen I'll find out this was all a joke or a mistake and all my happiness is going to be gone. 

She is coming!!!!

There is a list...a beautiful and yet heartbreakingly short list of her tour dates.  I wanted to care about the others but lets be realistic, I scrolled down until I saw CA.  Seattle, WA...getting close...CA! Only one location...I stared at that CA, refusing to move my eyes a centimeter to the left and see the city until I had willed it to be some place close.  Some place...not LA.  And it said...Sebastopol.  Huh, is there another Sebastopol in CA?  Because grew up in Sebastopol.  It's like...right over there.  In fact I was there last weekend for the annual parade with my mom and we walked past their lovely bookstore Copperfiled's.  What's the bookstore for the book tour?  Copperfield's.  Copperfield's.  COPPERFIELD'S!!!

Oh shit!!  Hard to blurry...must sit down...already sitting down...

AreyoukiddingmerightnowthatsheiscomingtoonlyonecityinCAanditisSEBASTOPOL!  (ps to anyone who cares, it is really hard to type without using the spacebar!)

Reality check, I work.  What's the date on this thing cuz I don't want to feel guilty and call in sick.  Thursday, May 10.  THURSDAY!  That's my day off!  DAY...lightheaded...OFF....blurred vision.

The stars have aligned!  I am cashing in my good karma! 

I just pulled up Copperfield's website and verified it is true!

Please excuse me a moment while I have a giddy scream....

Ok...better now. 

So yes, I am excited about this.  I was getting ready to post about my rereads of her 2 previous books and this is just the icing on the cake of the glass half full.

I'm so happy!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Love...

I love books (which contain words) and I love nail polish so of course I love....

Found myself some Sally Hansen awesomeness!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book of Lost Fragrances - Guest Post

Tuesday I had the pleasure of reviewing The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose and today I am lucky enough to have a guest post from the author.

 M.J. Rose says:
I've been fascinated with lost fragrances since long before I started writing The Book of Lost Fragrances... since I found a bottle of perfume on my great grandmother's dresser that had belonged to her mother in Russia. Here is one of those lost fragrances that stirs the senses and the imagination... (researched and described with the help of the perfume writer Dimitrios Dimitriadis)


With a name resembling that of the island in the South Pacific inhabited by French painter Paul Gauguin, Atuona; Atuana was a Jacques Guerlain creation that launched in 1952. Said to embrace the colour, liveliness and strength of the primitive cultures Gauguin encountered there, Atuana is an exotic perfume based around summery florals of neroli, rose, iris and jasmine. A feeling of equatorial warmth lay apparent just below the surface, furnished by accords of rich leather and amber which added infinite depth and character. Originally released in sparkling Baccarat flacons, Atuana sadly vanished from circulation only a handful of years later, and has never resurfaced since.


M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her next novel THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES (Atria/S&S) will be published in March 2012.  Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors -  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook.

For more information on the book and the blog tour check out: 
My review 
The tour schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #LostFragrancesVirtualBookTour 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Book of Lost Fragrances - M.J. Rose

The Book of Lost Fragrances 
By M.J. Rose 

When I opened this book, I knew it would have some romance and I hoped Rose would do justice to the fragrance part of the story but I was surprised by how much suspense played a part in the storyline. It actually concerned me a bit when I realized how central a mystery was to the story. Well, there was absolutely no need to be concerned. Rose delivers to all the senses. I was captivated by the story and all the layers to it. 

The extensive research Rose did was obvious in the details and emotional trials. From a lost Dalai Lama and a fragrance that is believed to unlock memories of past lives to an old love and an assassin, the multiple story lines pulled me in and left me completely satisfied when they came crashing together and the end. And the end, oh the end. Without giving anything away I will say that in general terms, under normal circumstances, I don’t like stories that have the kind of ending this one did, but here it was so perfectly fitting that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. 


A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra--and lost for 2,000 years.

Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances--and of her mother's suicide--she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it's financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing--leaving a dead body in his wake--Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother's disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac's quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.

Come back Friday, March 23 when I will have a guest post from M.J. Rose!

For more information on the book tour check out:

Link to tour schedule:
Twitter Hashtag: #LostFragrancesVirtualBookTour

**Thank you Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with an ARC for review.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Childhood Book: My Side of the Mountain

Fridays Shelf Awareness referenced a study on children's picture books and the decline of nature in them.  It got me thinking about some of my favorite books when I was growing up.  Although the books that came to mind weren't picture books, they were important stepping stones out of the picture book age.  I can't imagine my childhood without books like Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Incident at Hawk's Hill and My Side of the Mountain to stir my deep-seeded desire to run away and live off the land (yes, even now).

So, I decided to do something I have been planning on doing for a long time now, reread one of them.  I did actually reread Island of the Blue Dolphins back in 2010 and since I loved it as much as I remember I can't believe it has taken me so long to pick up another book from this list.  Luckily, I have been slowly buying books from my childhood so I only had to go as far as my bookshelf to find My Side of the Mountain.

Let me tell you guys...I still love this book!  In case you aren't familiar with the story, Sam runs away, lives in a tree (how freaking awesome!) and has a pet falcon named Frightful.  There is a moment in the book that really stuck with me the first time I read it in elementary school and over the years I think about it at the most random times.  Sam builds a fire in his tree and...

Then I noticed something dreadful.  Frightful was sitting on the bedpost, her head under her wings.  She was toppling.  She jerked her head out of her feathers.  Her eyes looked glassy.  She is sick, I said.  I picked her up and stroked her, and we both might have died there if I had not opened the tent flap to get her some water.  The cold night air revived her.  "Air," I said.  "The fireplace used up all the oxygen.  I've got to ventilate this place."
pg. 92-93

Ever since I imagined that sweet bird I was unable to get the image of her glassy eyes out of my mind.  

Moral of the story:
We need books about trees and animals and dirt and edible flowers.  Books set in natural environments.
Also, read books from your childhood.  It's amazing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts "Waiting on" Wednesday, a place where we can voice the books we are patiently - okay probably impatiently - waiting to be released.

Fever (Chemical Garden)
by Lauren DeStefano
Pub. date: February 21, 2012

From author's website:

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside,
they find a world even more disquieting than the one they left behind. Determined to
get to Manhattan and to find Rhine’s twin brother Rowan, the two press forward,
amidst threats of being captured again . . . or worse.

The road they are on is long and perilous-and in a world where young women only live
to age 20 and men die at age 25, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren
DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price-now
that she has more to lose than ever.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I got suckered in

So...I don't celebrate Valentine's Day.  I know, I know...please don't hate me for it.  It has nothing to do with relationship status, I was this way dating then single then dating then....well, you get the picture.  Every year my husband looks at me with his serious face and says "ok, I'm really not doing anything for Valentine's Day so this isn't just woman speak for 'I want you to surprise me' right?"  And I assure him I would like nothing more than for the day to pass without my even noticing it (which actually happened 2 years ago. Best. V-Day. Ever!)

What can I say, my mother was extremely vocal about her belief that if you love someone you should tell them every day not just the 14th of February (and yet she is the only one who gives me a Valentine every year).

However, this year I have been forced to play nice with the confetti slinging cupid.  Work is having a bake sale to benefit the Human Race.  Drat!  I can't argue with charity. So, I grabbed my wax lips, put on my smiley face and whipped up a batch of "just add milk" mini cheesecakes.  Then, I decided to add a strawberry heart topping and viola...I'm a step up from store bought red and pink sugar cookies.

Not too shabby for someone who hates this over-commercialized holiday thank you very much!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Book with a Bonus

I am currently reading The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose (and fully enjoying it) for an upcoming blog tour courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and I wanted to pass along the info of a very exciting promotion going on. 

Don't forget to watch for my review next month.

Discover the perfume inspired by The Book of Lost Fragrances

Pre-order The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose and they'll send you a free sample of Âmes Soeurs, the Scent of Soulmates. This exclusive fragrance, inspired by the novel, was created by Joya Studios and is not yet for sale. Joya’s Âmes Sœurs hints of Frankincense, Myrrh, Orange Blossom and Jasmine. It’s smoky uncommon finish suggests the past and the future, and lost souls reunited.

Just use one of the links at and follow the directions there.

Offer ends March 1, but pre-order now since they have a limited number of supplies! US and Canada only.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

O! M! G! know how my blog has been all possessed and I have been working my hocus pocus on it.  Well, I fixed it...YAY!  And it was something really stupid...GRR!  The post that blocked up the system was "My Fave Books of 2011" and all the cover images and made the post too big.  How stupid is that!!

So my brain is Blogger fried but all is on the up and up now...I just need to re-post my faves without all the pics.  Lame! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More from the "Technology Hates Me" series...

Well, we got our new router up and running in time for me to realize that my blog is having some serious technological issues.

Ever since I updated my layout my posts have been rebelling. The first one since decided it needed the homepage all to it's own. I tried to troubleshoot for a while and then decided it wasn't the end of the world it was just annoying so I decided to let. It throw it's temper-tantrum and once I had enough posts up after it all would be back to normal. Who was I kidding? It's never that easy!

It took me some time to realize it but all of those new posts aren't updating in google reader and who knows what else! S now I have to figure out what evil gremlin took over my blog and try to exorcise it. Does exorcism work on gremlins? Well I'm going to try!

I planned on spending last night throwing holy water at my computer and googling Latin chants but my Internet was down!! This time it was the cable modem so I went town (yes I live in the boonies and say things like "went to town") and swapped it out for a younger, more energetic model. We will see. If it works when I get home, so for now I am back to mooching free wifi from Starbucks.

Anyone know a good priest?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This month's Mailbox Monday blog tour is hosted Alyce from At Home With Books.

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

The Obsidian Pebble: First in The Artefact Series by RA Jones (from author)

From author's website:
Oz Chambers lives in a haunted house. His mother wants to move, but Oz believes that the old place is too full of mystery to leave. When he and his friends hear ghostly footsteps, they decide to investigate the house’s eerie reputation. But what Oz hasn’t bargained for is that he’s not alone in his quest and that solving Penwurt’s puzzles will uncover a murky secret, and the chilling realisation that nothing is quite what it seems.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Technology Hates Me

Our router decided to die so I am mooching off free coffee shop wifi. I picked up the macdaddy of all routers(that Best Buy sells, that is), now I just have to wait until my husband is home from work for more than an hour for it to get set up. I know I could set it up if I really wanted to but I am also certain that I would find some way to screw it up and just cause him more work in the long run.

On a side note...I am LOVING this rain that we are finally getting!

And to show my happy spirit, please enjoy this lovely pic of me in San Diego back in November. We were determined to the day a Sea World and a little rain wasn't going to stop us.
I'm embracing the drowned rat look.  Feel free to mock.
We decided we had to go on the outside water ride before we left and this is how we all looked afterwards.  And no, I don't really know why I decided I still needed to use an umbrella.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It could be worse...

What I hate:
I gave myself extra time this morning to get coffee before work and apparently the woman wrote down my order wrong but I didn't have time to get it fixed.  As I was walking into work, grumbling to myself about my stupid drink, I put the entirely full cup on top of my lunch to open the door and spilled it all down the front of myself!  Argh!


I also saw this little bit of awesomeness on Shelf Awareness which made me smile.

What Happens in Bookstores at Night

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Facelift in progress

You may remember that post I wrote months ago about how I was going to update my blog.  Well...I finally got over my scardy-cat-ness of change and beautification is here!  Organization is coming...