Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mindless Weekend Ramblings: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Welcome to my new blog event called Mindless Weekend Rambling where I will ramble on and on aimlessly about all the junk rolling around in my brain. Occasionally I might rant and rave about something that is bothering me or question the sanity of it all, or maybe choose to discuss my to do list or plans that I am making or maybe share something new I learned. The only thing I can guarantee is that it will be totally off the cuff. I hope you will bear with me and maybe get a laugh or two in the process.
So I was browsing the blogs I follow and I came across this post on The Notebook Sisters and thought it would be appropriate considering it is blogoversary month for me and it is about looking back at book loves you haven't heard from me yet, so why not some non-bookish facts about me while I am at it!
So here are 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me, Yet:
1. How tall are you?
I am kind of average, 5'5", mind you the exact same height as my mother (and dear goodness don't compare our senior pictures because we look exactly alike).
2. Do you have a hidden talent? If so what?
Oh goodness, I really have no idea here, maybe multi-tasking.  Even as I write this post I am on the phone at the office (two lines going about two different files), I am also texting Hubby about upcoming doctor appointments for Munchkin, sent a message on facebook to schedule a babysitter, and talking to the boss about one file and taking down a Staples order from the other assistant.  So yea I guess that is a talent (or I am just insane and my mind is going to implode at any given point).
3. What's your biggest blog related pet peeve?
I don't like overwhelming pages, the ones that have a ton of countdowns, flashing ads, or scrolling pictures in the sidebars.  I also am a little irritated by blogs with multiple submitters, I am not sure why I am so irritated by this but if the blog has multiple people writing post (other than guest posters) I pretty much don't read them.
4. What is your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
Seriously, I can only list one?! I guess my biggest pet peeve is shopping carts and lazy people who won't walk the 10 feet to put the cart in the return barriers! ARRGG! I hate driving around the parking lots (mind you I don't try to park close, I don't care if I have to walk) and can't find a spot that doesn't have a loose shopping cart in it or ready to ram my car!
5. What's your favorite song?
This changes constantly, but lately I am really just enjoying silence. I get so tired of hearing noise all day long and then Munchkin all night long, I just can't wait for a little bit of silence.
6. What's your favorite Etsy store that isn't yours?
These questions are tough, I shop on Etsy all the time and my favorite really depends on what I am shopping for, but if I must choose I would pick Immortal Longings because I love the unique artistic take on Shakespearian characters.
7. What's your favorite way to spend free time when you're alone?
I get free time & alone time?! When? Sign me up please!! In all reality I get very little alone time at all and when I do it is usually spent catching up on chores.  If I do get some free time I have my special little tea house I like to go and have brunch or lunch with a friend (or just a favorite book).
8. What's your favorite junk food?
I love junk food and particularly, salty junk food.  Favorites include butter popcorn, smart food, chex mix, corn nuts (especially ranch), and sunflower seeds.
9. Do you have a pet?
Yup, I am sure you have all heard me talk about Niko, our blue Doberman, and Valerie, our black cat. Both are rescues and while Niko is a little bit of a anxiety ridden spaz, they are a part of our family. Munchkin is especially attached to Valerie. My question is do husbands count as pets, because at times it sure feels like he is a pet or another child.
10. What is your top favorite fiction and non-fiction book?
Really?! I write a book blog! How on earth would I be able to pick an absolute favorite?!
11. What is your favorite beauty product?
I don't have much time for these, but I must say probably hand cream, because my hands get so dry handling so much paper. I also have an obsession with nail polish, decals and wraps.
12. When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
I am not sure, I don't really pay attention, but I am always getting tongue tied because I have so much going on so fast so I stumble over my words a lot.
13. If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life what would it be?
Definitely Coke! I need caffeine to survive and I don't drink coffee, so coke it is.
14. What's your favorite movie?
Without a doubt, Rigoletto!
15. What were you in high school? (prom queen, nerd, band geek, cheerleader, jock, loner, artist, etc.)
Our high school was so small you had to be a little bit of everything, though I was never a cheerleader, not much of a jock, never the prom queen or "popular", but I was friends with just about everyone.
16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I haven't really thought about it too much but I don't think my perfect place exists. It would be a small town almost country feel, but near big city things. Also somewhere warm but with mountains that have snow and fishing. But in all honesty as long as my family is there and I have books, I could deal with anywhere (except really big cities because I can't parallel park to save my life).
17. Mac or PC?
I have been PC for so long and had so few issues, you can't get me to switch over and have to re-learn everything.
18. Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse?
Hubby doesn't do big romantic gestures, he is all about practicality. I am sure in his eyes the last romantic gesture was the steak knives he bought me for my birthday (I had asked for a comforter for the bed, or a ring with Munchkin's birthstone).
19. Favorite Celebrity?
I am not much for celebrities, but I do love Stanley Tucci and Debra Messing in everything they do.
20. What blogger to you secretly want to be best friends with?
Well I am already great friends with several of you, both inside the book world and outside of it, but Angela from Angela's Anxious Life and I are scarily similar, I mean the same name and book tastes and other interests! I think we could be great friends, or maybe we are good and evil twins . . .

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bedtime Story: Dinotopia by James Gurney & So Many Memories!

Synopsis: "In the year 1860, biologist and explorer Arthur Denison and his son, Will, set out on a sea voyage of discovery and adventure. When a powerful typhoon wrecks the ship in uncharted waters, Arthur and Will are the sole survivors. Washed ashore on a strange island called Dinotopia, they are amazed to find a breathtaking world where cities are built on waterfalls, people have found new ways to fly, and humans and dinosaurs live together in harmony. With new discoveries at every turn, Arthur and Will embark upon their own separate journeys to unearth the mysteries of Dinotopia."

My Review: My brother and I wore the library's copy of this book out when we were kids and it is no different re-reading it as an adult. It is such a fantastic story that involves so many different elements it is sure to capture any person's interest. And need I tell you about the artwork?! You could spend days looking at all the detailed and beautiful artwork throughout the book.
My Rating: I loved this book so much both as a kid and now.  When I mentioned it to friends and family they also raved about this book, definitely one to have on the shelf. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag.
Memories of Dinotopia
When I said my brother and I wore the library's copy out I am not kidding. We would sit for hours reading the book and looking at the pictures over and over again.
There is an alphabet in the story
my brother and I would write each other secret messages in their language (granted my mom figured out what we were doing and made a copy so she could interpret - turns out she still has the alphabet in the computer desk).
There is also a lovely song
that I learned to play on both the flute and piano.
Do you see how much we loved this book?! I really cannot wait until I can share this book with my little Munchkin, but first I need to figure out the pronunciations and obtain more of the books in the series.
Let me leave you with just a couple of pictures from the book, but you really need to get a copy for yourself even if it is just to look at this amazing artwork!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review of Horse Crazy by Bonnie Bryant & Discussion of the Saddle Club Books

Synopsis: "Carole Hanson and Stevie Lake have been best friends ever since they met at Pine Hollow Stables. So when Lisa Atwood joins their riding group, the girls aren't sure she's got what it takes. Lisa may be the smartest student in the classroom, but she's got a lot to learn when it comes to horses. . . ."

My Review: It has been decades since I last read this book and thought it was about time I did again (especially since I have always ranked this series in high importance). It was really interesting to read this book as compared to middle grade and young adult books now. These characters seem so much more real, they have emotions, they are judgmental, they are selfish, but they are open to new relationships and experiences. While some of the aspects of the book are outdated (Stevie wins a Walkman from the cassette music store) I think that this could still be an influential book for those young girls entering the daunting world of the teen years.
My Rating: This first book in the series wasn't quite as great as I remember but I think it was more the series as a whole that I remember being so great.  I do still give this one a rating of Three Paws.
Memories of
The Saddle Club . . .
This particular series was huge for me. I have always been horse obsessed and this series of books started coming out at just the right time for me, they were a little advanced but I was able to start reading them fairly quickly after they came out.  On top of that my parents had finally okayed me riding horses with a friend. For years we traded copies of these books back and forth depending on who had what number.  Once she got her own horse and we got old enough to be left to our own devises with the horses we started acting out the books in full force.  I was always Carol and my horse was Starlight, she was always Stevie and her horse was Belle, I also had another friend that would join us on occasion and she became Lisa. I honestly wish every little girl got to grow up acting out her favorite book (well at least within reason, some of these books the kids read now I would worry about them acting out). I now own the entire Saddle Club Series including all the Super Editions and Inside Stories, this is definitely a series I will forever treasure (like my great aunt did her Nancy Drew series).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Looking Forward

Since I am spending most of this month looking back at the books I read prior to starting blogging, I thought I would take some time today to look forward to some of the books I can't wait to read in the future!  I am taking my queue from the popular meme Waiting on Wednesday but with a twist, several of these books are already on my shelf just waiting to be cracked open (yes I crack the spines, I personally love that feeling that you are the first to really dive into it).
A couple of books I can't wait to read next year & in the future:
From my Reading Across the States challenge next year
I love, love, love this movie and have never read the book!
Another movie I love (mostly because of Natalie Portman) and am looking forward to the story.
Waiting on My Kindle:
I loved the Study series, and can't wait to read this whole branch-off series but need the rest of the books first!
I am in love with the TV series Reign and love variations of Mary's story.
I read North of Need when it originally came out, a while ago and I have all 4 on my Kindle just waiting (and screaming) to be read.
This trilogy was a generous gift during this year's spring secret santa swap and I can't believe I haven't managed to squeeze it in yet!
Loaded on the Nook:
I don't know why but I keep putting this book off, even though it looks so good!
This book has been whispering to me for far too long and needs to be read
I have had this book suggested to me so many times and I have had it downloaded forever but never open it for some strange reason.
This book has been on my wish list for ages and I finally managed to download it
I have heard awesome things about this book and series, finally got the first book but now need the rest (I hate starting a series without having all the books).
Waiting Patiently on my Bookshelves:
I wanted this book forever and I know I am going to love it but the size is just so daunting, maybe a good book to read in March when there is nothing else going on!
I bought this book for the cover and was intrigued by the story, but I made the mistake of reading some reviews and am now hesitant but I still really want to read it!
I got this book at the Big Book Club Getaway this year and the author was so much fun, I can only imagine how fun this book will be to read!
To Listen:
I guess I have unfulfilled dreams of being a ballerina and love these books and this one has been waiting over a year!
I love greek myths, I love the Trojan War, I love epic poetry, I loved the Iliad, why have I not listened to this one yet?!
I have heard some interesting things about this trilogy, I only have this first book so I better get the other two so I can get to listening!
So there you have it, in a month of looking back at some great books, I have more great books to look forward to, and this is only a tiny tasting, like that TV show where the judges blind test a chef by just one mouthful.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review of Angels Watching Over Me by Lurlene McDaniel & Discussion of her books

Synopsis: "Happy Holidays! Bah humbug. "Happy" is not the way Leah Lewis-Hall would describe herself at the moment. She's spending her twelve days of Christmas in an Indianapolis hospital, while her mother is thousands of miles away on a honeymoon with husband number five. Leah went to the doctor with nothing more than a broken finger, but he ordered her to undergo some tests. Now she's stuck in the hospital, alone. Then Leah meets her hospital roommate, a young Amish girl named Rebekah, and her big family. Cynical sixteen-year-old Leah has never known people like this before. From Rebekah's handsome brother, Ethan, who can barely look Leah in the eye, to her kind older sister, Charity, the Amish family captivates Leah with its simple, loving ways. When Leah receives frightening information about her condition, her new friends show her that miracles can happen. And that sometimes angels appear in the most unexpected places."

My Review: It has been so many years since I originally read this book but it still has quite the impact years later. While it is clearly written for Middle-grade to YA audience it still has a certain appeal to adults. It is refreshing to read a clean book with touches of realism, romance, emotions and even religion without going overboard on any one. Not one sub-plot got carried away but only added to the main storyline. I enjoyed the changes in the characters and their own personalities. This is definitely a book to be kept on the shelf.
My Rating: I enjoyed revisiting this book and author and I hope to introduce these books at least to my niece when she is a little older.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
Memories of
Lurlene McDaniel . . .
Boy, Lurlene McDaniel played such a huge role in my Junior High/ Young Teen years.  Her books gave me an outlet for all those rolling emotions I didn't dare let manifest on their own.  I remember grabbing every book of hers at the library and devouring them, becoming attached to some of the regular characters.  Granted I did go through a phase where ever bruise, headache or random sickness must be something bigger like cancer but it lead to good things too, like an avid interest in the medical field and sciences as well as authors in other genres that specialized in medical based stories (my favorites from high school were the medical suspense/thriller books by Robin Cook).

Monday, October 6, 2014

What's for Dinner? (24)

What's for Dinner is a little insight into my life for you every Monday night. I carefully plan out meals for the week ahead of time and do my shopping over the weekend.  So I wanted to start sharing with you one of the recipes or dinners I am most looking forward to each week.
It has been getting chilly here, like turn the heat on, pull out the knitted sweaters and wool socks kind of chilly (well at least for me but I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather). So I broke out the winter recipes this week! I made one of my favorites . . .
My mom introduced me to this recipe back when she was staying with us the few days after me & Munchkin came home from the hospital. Granted at that time the chili didn't sit well with me or Munchkin but now we both love it!  It is a simple recipe and I have altered it some, occasionally I make it with ground chicken or turkey, and I usually make it in the crock pot, pre-brown the meat, onions & garlic then pour it all in the crockpot and let it heat throughout the day, adding the sour cream and cream at the last 15 minutes or so. Oh and of course I added mushrooms too (see I told you we add them to just about every dish)!
I wanted to make some cornbread to go with it but after being so sick, it was a miracle I managed to get this one on the table at all last week.

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Twice the Growl by Milly Taiden (After Dark)
Lady Rose by Stephen Cosgrove (Bedtime Story) & discussion of Serendipity Books
Sword of Sorcery Vol. 1: Amethyst by Christy Marx (Graphic Novel)

Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Lady Rose
Lioness Rampant

Currently Reading:

My Heart to Yours by Michelle Zarrin - PB - on page 15 of
Enchanted No More by Robin D. Owens - PB - on page 32 of 425
Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill - Audio - 18%
Bathing and the Single Girl by Christine Elise McCarthy - Kindle - on page 62 of 310

 Books to be Read Soon:
Behind You by Carly M. Duncan (Requested Review)

Interesting Tidbits from the Web:



Well last week started out with a bang, the stomach flu, and boy did it knock me off kilter.  You know I don't feel good when I go to bed early but don't even bring a book with me. It was a good 3 days of absolutely no reading or functioning other than taking care of Munchkin and getting through the work day.   Thankfully, by the end of last week I was feeling much better, though still exhausted and was able to start focusing enough to read, review and post. 

I have started posts for this months look back, as it is my 4th blogoversary, I have been taking a look back at those special books that came before the blog.  There are so many I would like to re-read and share with you but I know a month is just far to short to go back over all my reading from the previous 20+ years!  I hope you will stick around reminisce with me about all those favorite books, series and authors!