Monday, August 25, 2014

Blogging for Books: Until You're Mine A Novel

From Amazon: 
You're alone. You're vulnerable. And you have something that someone else wants. At any cost.
Claudia Morgan-Brown finally has it all. Pregnant with a much-wanted first baby of her own, she has a happily established family of two small step-sons and a loving husband with a great career. But she is also committed to her full-time job as a social worker, and her husband travels often. So when Claudia hires Zoe to help her around the house in anticipation of the baby’s arrival, it seems like the answer to her prayers. But despite Zoe's glowing recommendations and instant rapport with the children, there's something about her that Claudia cannot trust.
Moreover, there has been a series of violent attacks on pregnant women in the area, and Claudia becomes acutely aware of her vulnerability. With her husband out of town for work and her family far away, who will be there to protect her? And why does she feel unsettled about Zoe? Realizing appearances can be deceiving even in her seemingly perfect world, Claudia digs deeper into Zoe’s blurry past and begins to wonder – how far would someone go to have a child of her own?

Until You're Mine was a fantastic read! I love a great thriller-- fast paced, complex plot and a great twist mean an all consuming afternoon of great reading.I truly enjoyed this story, what a wild ride. It's rare that I read a book that makes me gasp aloud, OH My GOD! I'd definitely pick up more Samantha Hayes! If you haven't signed up for Blogging with Books yet, you definitely should! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Social

You know the drill, answer the questions, grab the button for your post and have some Sunday Social fun! Don't forge to link up with Neely and Ashley.  

1. One Item you wish you could splurge on right now: Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras. Anyone have an extra $700 laying around they wanna give me? 

2.  If you had an entire weekend of no plans what would you do? Rip down and remove wallpaper from my living room, prime & paint and make it feel a little more homey than it does right now, 1/2 done. My OCD is kicking in and I am starting to feel like a caged animal looking at the 10 layers of who the hell picked this shit out in the first place. 
3. Next place you are visiting outside of your current city? Either Las Vegas or Ft Meyers FL for a girls weekend in October with my momma.Well technically, we're still trying to decide. I have a flight credit on Southwest and need to use it up before January. Suggestions for the perfect mother daughter getaway location? 
4. Are you a neat freak or a clutterbug? Neat Freak. I can't stop. I won't stop. OCD freakshow over here. 
5. Favorite Summer purchase? My Lily Rose Lace Chiffon Maxi Dress. Its unbelievably comfy and perfect for work, going out, etc. And the price? Can't beat the $20 I spent on it. Kohls does it again! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fiend: A Novel

From Amazon: 
When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations. But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived. The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves.  And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity.Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins.  But is salvation just another pipe dream?  Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.

Although I'm convinced the world doesn't need another zombie novel, Fiend twists the genre in an interesting way. The title could refer to zombies, or it could refer to the dope fiends who are the novel's protagonists. They were metaphorical zombies, spending their lives "walking that thin line between suicide and preservation," even before a plague killed everyone and began reanimating corpses. Fiend is about living as a drug addict more than it's about zombies, but it may be necessary these days to add zombies to a novel in order to get it published. In any event, zombies are always good for a laugh, and the early chapters of Fiend offer some very funny moments. At the same time, an addict's misery isn't funny at all. Peter Stenson makes it feel raw and real. The metaphor, addict as zombie, is apt and effective.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Your move, chief.

I am not one to get emotionally upset over a celebrity passing. I don't act like I know them or let my world stop turning because they are gone. I did however, with Robin Williams. The man is a genius. I've grown up laughing and crying with him and his characters. But I think the reason my heart hurts so much for him, is because of his struggle. The struggle that he felt so alone and that life was so bad that he couldn't go on anymore. His world was so dark that he couldn't see any light. That despite being able to make the world laugh, he couldn't find his own happiness. Suicide isn't "giving up" or "giving in". Suicide is a terrible decision made by someone whose pain is so great that they can no longer hold it, and feel they have no other option but to end it. Its a decision you can't take back, and a decision that will affect your friends and family forever. It is not taken lightly. Imagine, if you will, feeling so desperate, so desolate, so incredibly sad and hurt that you honestly cannot see a way out. The feelings leading to suicide are the darkest a human mind can fathom. It’s like being shut into a dark tunnel with no point of light to guide your way. You can hear voices on the outside, but the walls are too thick to get in. And feeling like it’s closing in, like there’s no way out—well, suicide, for that person, is a blessed release. Life, however, is never wasted. Williams did things in his life that touched people to their core. It is a sad, sad loss, but it is not a waste.Suicide is not a weak decision. It is a decision that takes an incredible amount of strength to make, actually. Someone isn’t weak if they end their life. They are desperate. There is a difference. It’s okay to feel angry at the person for dying. It’s okay to question, to rail against the forces that caused this. But it isn’t weakness. Mental illness isn’t weakness. It’s a disease, a pervasive, sometimes awful disease. The person doesn’t deserve anger and skepticism forever. They deserve compassion. Their family deserves compassion.Ending a life is incredibly, incredibly tragic. It represents a lost battle with mental illness. In that, it is no different than cancer, or diabetes, or a heart attack. Where it is different is that suicide is a choice. Whether it is the right or wrong choice for that person is solely the business of that person who commits suicide. But for the family left behind, it is devastating.

Oh captain, my captain, I hope you find peace on the other side. RIP, Robin Williams. 

"So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right? … You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally… I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief."

So What Wednesday

Go say hello to Shannon at Life After I "Dew". Her So What Wednesday posts have always been my favorite and I think I'll jump back into the blogging world by making this my first post! 

Today I'm saying So What to... 

1. The fact that school starts tomorrow and my kids haven't practiced going to bed early or waking up before 10am yet. Oops! Tomorrow is gonna suck. 

2. Since moving into our new forever (or until I'm ready to move again) home, I haven't set up my office and I start my online classes today. Nothing like being unorganized and last minute. 

3. Balancing my checkbook and putting it off for 1 more day. Or two. 

4. People being dramatic and causing issues because they are lonely and feel bad about themselves. I won't let them bring me down. 

What are you saying So What to? 

Monday, August 11, 2014

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas

From Amazon: 
Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn’t realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it. As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.This is a unique book about what happens to several characters over the course of one day and night, Christmas Eve Eve, as they make their way through Philadelphia to a jazz club called The Cat's Pajamas. The City of Philadelphia gets top billing along with Madeleine, a nine-year old jazz singer; her teacher Miss Greene; Miss Greene's high school crush, Ben; Lorca, the club owner; Alex, his son; Pedro, the dog; Mrs. Santana, his owner; a snarky cockroach, Clarence; and so on and on.

I'll be honest. I'm still not sure what to think about the book. I alternated between delighted (with the spare, quirky prose, the detailed settings, and authentic characters) and frustrated (with the authentic characters) and occasionally confused (with the random fantastical element) while reading it. I stayed up finishing it later than I planned (a good recommendation), but I couldn't put a conclusion into words when I finished. That's not a bad thing, unless like me, you like to put things, like answers and endings, in their place. I'm glad I read it, and I'll be recommending it to my reader friends. I hope I get a taker because I want to discuss it with someone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Blogging for Books- The Opposite of Maybe: A Novel

From Amazon: 
Jonathan and Rosie have been together so long they finish each other’s sentences—so when he (finally) proposes and asks her to move across the country with him, everyone is happily surprised.
But when things suddenly unravel, Rosie sends Jonathan packing and moves back home with Soapie, the irascible, opinionated grandmother who raised her. Now she has to figure out how to fire Soapie’s very unsuitable caregiver, a gardener named Tony who lets her drink martinis, smoke, and cheat at Scrabble.
It’s meant to be a temporary break, of course—until Rosie realizes she’s accidentally pregnant at 44, completely unequipped for motherhood, and worse, may be falling in love with Tony, whose life is even more muddled than hers. When Soapie reveals a long-hidden secret, Rosie wonders if she has to let go of her fears, and trust that the big-hearted, messy life that awaits her just may be the one she was meant to live.
This is one of the most unique novels I've read in years. Within the first few pages, I was so quickly engaged in the lives of these characters that I laughed aloud while reading and woke my husband, then woke him again when I started sniffing and weeping later in the book. This deceptively simple novel is written with heart and generosity for even the most flawed characters (like the boyfriend who obsesses about starting a teacup museum, of all things). You'll be left wanting to dance, and maybe even feeling like you want to open your arms to forgive even the most churlish, petty people you've been mad at for years. THE OPPOSITE OF MAYBE is marketed as women's fiction, but it's the best kind of universal literature, with wit, depth, and a refreshingly humorous perspective on what it means to be human and pursue passion with joy and determination.

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