Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

 Glitter Graphics

Happy New Year Glitter Pictures

Hope you all have a happy and safe New Year's! Tai's got a cold so we'll be popping the bubbly and toasting in 2011 at home. 
I'm convinced I can read more book before I'm done with 2010, so look for my year end book tally next week!
Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Original TBR Challenge

The last challenge I've joined is The Original TBR Challenge (link corrected).
I'm listing my 12 books below as well as 12 alternates in case :

The main list

My 12 Alternates

I kept books from my Fill In The Gaps Challenge off this list. I didn't think that was fair. There's some overlap with my list for the YA Reading Challenge. I'd love to read both lists but let's see how I do :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Library Loot

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

I started planning for next year with this week's library loot. I felt aimless in my reading so I joined a few challenges and started digging through my tbr list to find some direction.
Industrial Magic by Kelly Armstrong. I've relooted this a few times. I reading it right now so I can move on in the series!
 It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh has been on my tbr list since I saw it on Elizabeth Anne Designs Living Blog. I can't seem to find the post mentioning it but someone there did! The new year is coming and one of my constant resolutions is get rid of clutter and live with less. Hoping I find some good tips in here.
 Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier has been on my tbr list since I read about it on Lovely Little Things.
 Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes is for my Fill In The Gaps Challenge. Ever since seeing the movie I've wanted to read this book!
 My Life In France by Julia Child. I loved Julie & Julia and wanted to read this since I saw that movie.
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. While searching for another book in the library catalog, I stumbled on The Beauty Myth. I forgot I'd wanted to read it so I added it to my queue and here it is.
Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. I add this on to my tbr list after Clare of A Captive Reader posted about it. Kind of a France heavy LL huh?
I finished It's Always Something by Gilda Radner and posted about it on The Fill In Gaps blog. I also finished Girl, Interrupted and posted my thoughts there too.
So what did you get this week?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Young Adult Reading Challenge

I've also decided to try the Young Adult Reading Challenge. I'm going for the The Mini YA Reading Challenge (Read 12 Young Adult novels). 
  I didn't have to make a list ahead of time but I did anyway.

I'm finally going to get around to The Hunger Games Trilogy. I hope to read them all back to back. I figure that will be one weekend :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Support Your Local Library and 100+ Reading Challenges

I'm also tackling the Support Your Local Library Challenge.
I'm going for the Mega Size – Check out and read 51+ library books. Since I get most of books from the library this should be easy.
I'm going to attempt to read 100 books again. I'm not going to make that goal this year but I'm hoping that I can do it next year! So I've joined the 100+ Reading Challenge.
I'm excited about both these challenges!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope you have wonderful holiday surrounded by friends, family and lots of love!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

War Through The Generations Challenge

I've decided to tackle some challenges in 2011-5 total. First up is the War Through The Generations Challenge. This year it's books about the Civil War. I do love books set in and around the Civil War time frame so I decided to go for it.

I'm going for the dip level, reading 3-5 books. I didn't have to choose my books ahead of time but I did anyway.

2. The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini

3. The Road from Chapel Hill by Joanna Catherine Scott

5. Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead

I admit I chose these books after reading brief synopsis about them on Barnes and Noble's website. Have you read any of these? Would you recommend another book set during the Civil War? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wishin' And Hopin' By Wally Lamb

I first read about Wishin' and Hopin' on The Lost Entwife. I never read holiday stories during the holidays so I thought this would be a great time to try one.
Wishin' and Hopin' is a collection of stories about Felix Funicello (a cousin of Annette) in the 60's. The stories follow Felix, a fifth grader, as the year winds down. I loved the people in Felix's life. Felix's classmates were a hoot especially Zhenya, a student who joins the class in the middle of the story. Felix's parents run a lunch counter and they are great parents-funny too.
Wishin' and Hopin' did remind me of A Christmas Story. It was full of cute stories and a great holiday read. Those who shared their thoughts on Wishin' and Hopin': The Brain Lair, Peeking Between The PagesMusing of a Bookish Kitty, and The Winey Mommy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Meme!

I saw this on Staci's blog and knew I had to play along!
When do you usually know and feel that it's finally the holidays?
After Thanksgiving, when I see houses decorated with lights and start listening to Christmas songs.

What do you want for Christmas this year?

I'd like a standing mixer, a dSLR, and an Xbox 360. But who knows what I'll get!

Do you go all out with decorations?

No, I put up a tree and display the holiday cards we receive. I was hoping to find a bigger tree (our current one is 4') but I couldn't find one that wasn't huge.

What are you doing Christmas Eve?
We usually head to a friend's house, have dinner, then go to midnight Mass.

What are you doing Christmas Day?

Tai and I get up open presents, have breakfast at home. Then head to another friend's house for dinner and a gift exchange.

It's Christmas time. What are you reading?
I'm reading Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin'. I usually don't read holiday books but decided to try one this year.
Favorite movie to watch during the holidays?

I love The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and A Christmas Story. I also love all the animated shows like Rudolph and Frosty.

Favorite Christmas song?
Too many to list here!

Favorite holiday drink?
Spiced apple cider. Yum!
How is your Christmas shopping going?
Pretty much done. I have to wrap everything and decide if I'm getting Tai one more thing!

If you could spend Christmas Day anywhere else, where would you spend it?
I don't care about where as long as I have those I love with me.

Any holiday traditions?
Spending Christmas with friends and going to midnight services on Christmas Eve.

Favorite thing about the Holidays.
Being with those I love.
Please play along if you wish to!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

I was wavering back in forth on waiting to read The Fall til closer to the release of The Night Eternal. But you know how things go, I didn't wait.
The Fall takes up where The Strain leaves off. The vampires have succeeded with phase one of their plan. Eph, Nora, Setrakian, Fet and Zack are trying to survive the vampire invasion. There's a new group of vampire hunters (pretty bad ass ones too) and I thought their addition was a good twist to the story. I also enjoyed learning more about Setrakian especially the flashbacks to his younger days.
I thought this was an excellent second book in the series. It made me excited to read the last one in the trilogy. Others who share their thoughts on The Fall: Chaotic Compendiums, Medieval Bookworm, Alive On The Shelves, and Devourer of Books.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweater Dress Obsession

I'm currently loving sweater dresses.

I'm hoping to get one before Christmas. I can just see wearing while opening gifts with friends. Comfortable and stylish.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Managing The Series

Do you ever forget where you are in a series? Have to go to Goodreads, a Wiki or Amazon to see what book is next? When I saw FictFact on Whimpulsive, I was pretty excited. I can't always remember what series I've started and what book is next, but FictFact makes it easy to see where you are in each series.
Of the 18 series, I've got eleven series that I'm behind on. Sometimes I miss when a new book is being released but this will tell me when it's being released.
Are you using FictFact?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
Just one this week. I've been waiting for the next The Good Neighbor graphic novel-Kind. I read the first 2 earlier this year. I enjoyed the first 2 and am looking forward to continuing the series.
What did you get this week?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Meme

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
I only drink apple cider during the holiday season.
2. Turkey or Ham?
We usually have ham for Christmas and turkey for Thanksgiving.
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
We have a fake tree since I hate dealing with the needles.
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
Nope. It's hard to decorate the outside of our apartment.
5. Snowball fights or sleddin’?
Both are hard around here. We don't much snow to have snowball fights or go sledding

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
I'm no longer a fan of holiday shopping. I hate all the crowds and the pushing people. I go as little as possible but I enjoy all the holiday decorations.

7. Favorite Christmas song?
I have a ton of favorites but I'm currently loving Baby Its Cold Outside as sung by Blaine and Kurt on Glee.
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
Love holiday movies. I usually watch A Christmas story my favorite a few times this time of year.
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Before Thanksgiving. I like to wait til after the turkey to start listening to it.
10. Stockings before or after presents?
Stockings then presents.
11. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you?
We have a mini holiday here just me and Tai before heading over a friend's house for the main celebration.
12. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
Nope, but I do like to watch the animated cartoon.
13. What do you do after presents and dinner?
After presents and food, we usually socialize at friend's house til we can go to sleep/play with new toys.
14. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Cookies baking.
15. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
Walking around the mall. Ice skating leads to hurt tushies.

16. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
Open all the gifts Christmas morning.
17. Favorite Christmas memory?
Opening presents with my grandma in Houston.

18. Favorite Part about winter?
Seeing old friends and catching up.
19. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Yes, I always find a way to get Tai under the mistletoe!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Artifical Night by Seanan McGuire

From Seanan McGuire's website:
Everyone in the Bay Area knows about Blind Michael, the unseen, dangerous figure whose Hunt sweeps the Berkeley hills on full moon nights. He's a familiar hazard of life in the Kingdom of the Mists, and most people don't waste time worrying about him. October "Toby" Daye certainly doesn't. She has better things to worry about, like paying the electrical bill on time. So it's understandable that she'd be upset when Blind Michael suddenly starts taking an interest in people that matter to her, like the youngest children of Mitch and Stacy Brown.
Tasked to find the missing children, and with the stakes growing higher by the minute, Toby has few choices and fewer allies to help her through the dangers yet to come. With the Luidaeg's help and a candle to light her way home, there's a chance that she'll come through this latest danger...but the sudden appearance of her Fetch doesn't give Toby all that much in the way of hope...

After not enjoying A Local Habitation as much as I enjoyed Rosemary and Rue, I really hoped that McGuire would recapture my attention and let me enjoying being in Toby's world again. And I really enjoyed this book. I really feel like the series is going the right way now.
In An Artificial Night, Toby investigates the disappearance of her friend's kids as well as several missing children from the Cait Sidhe. Her investigation takes her in and out of the fairy realms. I was really glad that Lily and Luidaeg got a lot more attention in this book. They are really interesting characters especially Luidaeg, a sea witch. Both of their powers were put on display and I enjoyed Toby's interactions with them.
Toby's Fetch shows up early in the book. A Fetch is a copy of you that helps guide you to the afterlife. When your Fetch shows up your days are numbered. And if you've read the previous books, you know Toby has a tendency to wind up in some life or death situations. Of course Toby's Fetch is interesting. I look forward to learning more about her Fetch. What you thought Toby died at the end of this one? Yeah right :)
Really looking forward to the next one coming out in 2011. Others who posted their thoughts about An Artificial Night: Lavinia Shadows, Cookies, Books and Bikes, and The Book Smugglers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Library Loot

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

Quite a stack this time. In attempt to get some more books finished before the end of the month, I got a stack of short book (all under 400 pages). I figure I can finish or or 2 a week and up my year end total. Plus I felt I was slacking on my Fill In The Gaps list. I wanted to finish 50 by June so I need to get a move on there.
So what did I get this time? Paradise by Toni Morrison is off my Fill In The Gaps list. I choose this book because I've like the other Morrison books I've read and I wanted to read more of her work. Girl, Interrupted is also off my Fill In The Gaps list. I've never seen the movie (maybe after reading the book) but the premise interests me. It's Always Something by Gilda Radner is another Fill In the Gap book. I've long been a fan of Gilda so I added her autobiography to my list. I read about Wishin' and Hopin' on The Lost Entwife. It sounded good so I added it to my queue. I almost never read about the holidays so I decided to give it a try now. And Dates From Hell which I added cause it has a story in it by Kelly Armstrong that helps tie 2 of the Women of The Otherworld books together. I love anthologies right now.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Remember 2 years when I made a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 40? Yeah, I been failing on that list hardcore. I kept forgetting about it. But I really wanted to do number one on the list-get a passport. I kept telling Tai we just needed to do it. But things kept coming up. We didn't have Tai's birth certificate and his father refused to help us. Then we sent away for his birth certificate and had to wait to it. Getting a passport is expensive. $110 for each passport book! We considered doing the enhanced driver's license but if we wanted to fly to Europe or Asia we'd need passport books. Plus I had a hard time finding a passport office with open times that fit with our schedule. Finally a few weeks ago, I took a Friday off and since Tai has half days on Friday, we hussled to the nearest court house where a lovely women (seriously she was so nice) processed our paperwork and got us on our way in less than 30 minutes! And after a few weeks of me stalking the mailbox, here are our passports!
Now we can start planning our out of the country trips. First on the agenda is Victoria in the spring!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Baking Day

This past weekend was holiday baking day. I did the majority  of my baking the night before. I figured it would be easier to get my stuff done the night before then hang out with the ladies. So Friday night, I started making my items but Jeff was over and he brought this adorable little guy:
He was underfoot the whole night. But I was using chocolate so I had to make sure he didn't get any.
I made 3 things for baking day. First up pretzel turtles:
These were so easy. A rolo on top of a pretzel with a pecan squished on top. Yum. I made tons of them. I would make these again in a heartbeat.
Next up is peppermint bark.
Someone makes this every year. There's no real recipe. I melted a combo of semi-sweet and milk chocolate, added peppermint extract when it was all melted. Then dumped it out on the parchment paper. I also melted white chocolate, added peppermint extract to it and poured a little bit to the chocolate. While it was still liquid, I took the spatula and drew lines and swirls in the chocolate to get that pattern. I took candy canes, crushed them and sprinkled them on top. Then let the whole thing sit til solid. I like to put the whole tray in the freezer. It's done faster.  One of my favorite things to do with peppermint bark is to make hot chocolate. I melt the bark in the milk and then you have peppermint hot chocolate. It's so yummy.
The third thing I made was the pumpkin pie bars. I have two friends who are gluten free so I made some gluten free just for them.
Everything was a success and I had a great day hanging out with friends and catching up!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Greetings

Yay! It's December. I can official start getting ready for Christmas and celebrate Hanukkah!
Actually my traditional start to the holidays is over Thanksgiving weekend. After I've stuffed myself with turkey and watched some football, I start writing and addressing my holiday cards. Since I buy my cards the year before (after Christmas when the deals are good), I can get them in the mail at the beginning of December.
Confession: I dislike photo cards. I know. I'm like the only person in the world that doesn't like photo cards! Probably cause I don't like most photos of myself, I don't want to send my mug out to everyone. Perhaps if I had kids or pets I might be more interested. Anyhoo, I love plain ole holiday cards like these:
I love the colors of this one.
Christmas ornaments are a winner for me every time like this one.
This one can't be sent to everyone but Tai loves a good joke one for me to send out.
If I were going to buy holidays cards from Etsy, I would check out ChellyBug, Shop Hearts & Anchors, Faroche, Big Red Scraps, Silver Light Photo, and SimplySilverton.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
Just one more me this week again. And it's reloot. I didn't get around to reading The Fall the last time it came home with me. Hopefully I'll get to it this time. I just can't stay away from the vamps!
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Book Tally

The Passage
Blood Lite
Magic Bites
American Vampire Vol 1

Five read this month. That brings my yearly total to 68. I'm starting to prep my year end stats and I realized that I was counting a book twice! No cheating here! This month's total is correct.
Nothing read this month on my Fill In The Gaps list.
So we got vampires, vampires and more vampires. What a vamp filled month! I'd starting to OD on the paranormal a little. I think I need to find some non-paranormal fiction or even some nonfiction to read. I still have a couple of paranormal books laying around (An Artificial Night, The Bleeding Dusk, and The Fall) to finish off first. But I'm hoping to pick up some light reading to round out the year.
How was November for you?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

I added Magic Bites to my to be read list after a review on The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell. Ass kicking female in world full of shapeshifters, vampires, and mages. Sign me up. I was not disappointed. Kate's a tough mercenary who is investigating a murder of a friend. Her investigation leads her to a pack of shapeshifters and their leader, Curran. What a hottie! I enjoyed the magic aspects of the book too. Kate's not your average girl but they didn't explain what her background was. I look forward to learning more about Kate and what she can really do. Magic Bites is a fun romp. I enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the rest of the series.
Other reviews: The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell, Carol's Notebook, and Sam's Book Blog.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful

Twitter Background

Every year Mom would make us go around the table and say what we were thankful for before we could eat. It was never my favorite part of the holiday. After my attempts to get out of it, I would either say I was thankful that the Cowboys were losing or that I was thankful for our health (everyone's favorite). But I don't say thank you enough so I'll take this opportunity to thank you to the important people in my life.

My husband-Again this man is a rockstar. I'm so happy that he has a permanent job now. His job is super stressful but he works hard for us. I adore him. I'm so thankful he's in my life.

My dad-I'm so lucky to have amazing men in my life. My dad has been dealing some health challenges but he's maintained his usual fantastic attitude. He's always there for me and Tai. I'm thankful that he's my dad.

My friends-When I was a kid, I had trouble making long term friends. I kind of thought I never would make the kind of friends I have now. I'm thankful for their friendship daily.

Blogging-When I started blogging I never thought I'd been blogging this long or that I would have met so many fantastic people. Each of your comments make me so happy and make blogging so much more fun. Thank you!

Have a wonderful day with friends, family and food. Hope it's a great one for you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cooking Frenzy

Today, I'm a cooking machine. I decided to make Thanksgiving dinner for Dad as well as a few dishes to take to our annual Thanksgiving potluck. Thankfully, I have today off to cook all this food.
Here's the menu for Dad:

Cranberry Sauce with Agave Nectar
Lima Beans (a traditional family side dish)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Turkey

For the potluck, I'm making:
Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic
Pear Salad With Mixed Greens and Walnuts
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Gluten-free brownies
TJ's Truffle Brownies

I love turkey so this is my favorite food holiday. We never leave the potluck with any leftover turkey so I plan on keeping some of the turkey for Dad to eat later.
What are you making this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts on The Passage and Feed

I wanted to read both The Passage and Feed close together. Since they deal with similar topics (a virus that infects out most of the human race) I thought it would be interesting to see how they compare. Overall I liked Feed better. The pacing was better and the story line was clearer. But both were terrific first books in a series and I look forward to continuing the series.
Feed is the story of Georgia, a blogger, who reports about life after the virus has hit. In Feed the virus is dormant within you but you need a trigger. Usually a bite or scratch from an infected person can cause the virus to activate. Georgia and her brother, Shaun, operate a blog about the zombies and life in America after the zombies have risen. Georgia and Shaun hit the big time when they are the first bloggers asked to join a presidential campaign. There's a lot more action overall in Feed. Shaun is an "Irwin" (like Steve Irwin) and his job, his thrill, is to provoke the zombies in order to get footage for the blog. So there are plenty of zombie encounters. I also enjoyed the banter between Shaun and Georgia. Both are fantastic characters, really well written. I also liked Buffy. I was disappointed in her storyline but understood what it added to the book. I did not like the end (really pulled the rug out from under me), but I can see where they are going with it.
Others who read Feed and posed their thoughts: My Friend Amy, Devourer of Books, and Vampires and Tofu.
In a review I read someone said The Passage was really 2 books in one. And that is a true statement. The first part of The Passage is the beginning, not just the beginning of the book but how everything started. The second part was about the after but not necessarily about the same characters in part one. Confused? Yeah I was. Nothing I hate more than investing 100's of pages caring about a character to have them disappear halfway through the book. Grr.
I really liked the first part of The Passage. A little bit of mystery, a government experiment (named Project Noah) to help people live longer. A girl on a journey, meeting those who will help and hurt her along the way. A broken man looking for a way out (actually that describes 2 characters). What's going on? What will happen? And plenty of action for me.
The second part is a little less action packed (til the end of the book, then there's more action). I feel like I would be giving away spoilers if I told you a lot about this part. But I grew to love some of the characters in the second half especially Alicia.
Oh and the creatures. In Feed they are zombies. I want to eat your brains zombies. In The Passage they are a cross between vampires and zombies. A little of both. They want to eat you. They want your blood.  They don't like the sun. They are killed by a shot to the breastbone, heart area. Both are equally terrifying.  I don't want to live in either world. Well Feed wins out a little bit since there are secured areas.
Those who read The Passage and shared their thoughts: One Person's Journey Through Books, Jules' Book Reviews, Reading With Tequila, Olduvai Reads, Layers of Thought, and Chaotic Compendiums.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Randomness

Sally at Already Pretty had a Specialty Size Bonanza this week. If you are petite, plus sized, tall, have wide feet, or narrow calves, go here for stores that specialize in your needs. Read the comments too. People chimed in about their favs too.
 I recently bought these boots from Target.
 A lot edgier than my usually choices. Incredibly comfortable though.
 I loved these too. But they didn't fit my calves. Boo!
I have been obsessed with mary janes.

I seriously need more in my shoe closet.