Saturday, July 14, 2012

Snapshot Saturday - Walkin' in Memphis



We're in Memphis this weekend for some work and fun.  This photo is sunset over the Mississippi River on the first night from the patio at the top of our hotel :) 
Just lovely, don't you think?

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce over @ At Home with Books

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review - Mockingjay


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Scholastic, 2010

Format? Hardback, purchased from Amazon and belongs to my firstborn

Why?  Besides daughter pressure, after I read Catching Fire, I was a little surprised.  I had almost decided not to read the 2nd and 3rd books in this trilogy bc of what so many others were saying about them.  Soooo glad I did.

What Now?  After my firstborn and I had a whispering conversation about the ending of this series during church this morning (oy), it will reside with her in her room on her keeper shelf.

Golden Lines

I stick to the road out of habit, but it's a bad choice, because it's full of the remains of those who tried to flee.  Some were incinerated entirely.  But others, probably overcome with smoke, escaped the worst of the flames and now lie reeking in various states of decomposition, carrion for scavengers, blanketed by flies.  I killed you, I think as I pass a pile.  And you.  And you.

Positioned on my dresser, that white-as-snow rose is a personal message to me.  It speaks of unfinished business.  It whispers, I can find you.  I can reach you.  Perhaps I am watching you now.

My skin itches with the ashes of the dead.  I feel the sickening impact of the skull against my shoe.  The scent of blood and roses stings my nose.
The pencil moves across the page on its own.  I open my eyes and see the wobbly letters.  I KILL SNOW. If he's captured, I want the privilege.

In other words, I step out of line and we're all dead.

Frankly, our ancestors don't seem much to brag about.  I mean, look at the state they left us in, with the wars and the broken planet.  Clearly, they didn't care about what would happen to the people who came after them.  But the republic idea sounded like an improvement over our current government.

When I wake, I wonder if this will be the only way I sleep now, with drugs shot into my arm.  I'm glad I'm not supposed to talk for the next few days, because there's nothing I want to say.  Or do.  I'm a model patient, my lethargy taken for restraint, obedience to the doctors' orders.  I no longer feel like crying.  In fact, I can only manage to hold on to one simple thought: an image of Snow's face accompanied by the whisper in my head.  I will kill you.

"It's a saying from thousands of years ago, written in a language called Latin about a place called Rome," he explains.  "Panem et Circenses translates into 'Bread and Circuses.'  The writer was saying that in return for full bellies and entertainment, his people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power."

I fall into a doorway, tears stinging my eyes.  Shoot me.  That's what he was mouthing.  I was supposed to shoot him! That was my job.  That was our unspoken promise, all of us, to one another.  And I didn't do it and now the Capitol will kill him or torture him or hijack him or --the cracks begin opening inside me, threatening to break me into pieces.

"Are you preparing for another war, Plutarch?" I ask.
"Oh, not now. Now we're in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated," he says.  "But collective thinking is usually short-lived.  We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.  Although who knows?  Maybe this will be it, Katniss."
"What?" I ask. 
"The time it sticks.  Maybe we are witnessing the evolution of the human race.  Think about that."

Summary

Picking up right where Catching Fire left off, Katniss finds herself in the middle of the rebellion in the once thought destroyed District 13.  Its leader, President Coin, with spies from The Capitol, have orchestrated a massive overthrow of The Capitol and Panem's President Snow.  Whether she likes it or not (and she doesn't for most of the novel), Katniss IS the Mockingjay.  Her face has become the impetus for demanding  freedom in all of the Districts, even District 2 where more Capitol proponents live than anywhere else.  Barely holding on to her sanity, Katniss agrees to be filmed in a series of propos to be used in televised breakthroughs masterminded by electrical genius, former tribute, BeeTee who was instrumental in destroying the Capitol force field in Catching Fire.  Unfortunately, every breakthrough inspires more violence from President Snow, with Peeta the center of his attention.  Even if they can rescue Peeta, Katniss knows that none of them will be safe until Snow is dead.  It is then that the real mission begins...infiltrate the Capitol via underground tunnels and execute Snow.

What I Liked

The Mockingjay costume and its maker, Cinna...I can't say much here bc of spoilers for the 2 people reading this who still haven't read this trilogy...but definitely a character to be remembered for a very long time.

Haymitch - drunk or sober.  How can you blame him?

Finnick - I disliked this character immensely when he first appeared in Catching Fire, but he grew on me by the end.  

No happy ending - there shouldn't be.  The ending is what so many people have not been satisfied with.  But, I get it.  If there had been a Cinderella, everybody walks off into the sunset ending, I would have thrown this book against the wall. 

What I Didn't Like

The violence - vivid images - many deaths, some expected and some not - characters gave their lives in this book...gave their individual lives for the good of the future of the whole world and all the people.

death by vicious beatings, being melted, vicious mutt creations tearing apart bodies, torture, bombs blowing off limbs - this movie, done well will be the most violent film for young adults in a while...I'm not sure how that will be accomplished without bringing in a firestorm of censorship

The Peacekeepers - for some reason I kept getting the image in my head of Stormtroopers from Star Wars...?

I also kept being reminded of the mindset of terrorists in comparison/contrast to our country's views...in Ireland I was blown away by the attention most everyone gave to the nation's history...even young children knew and participated in traditional songs/dance/sports of their country and its origins.  Most people can still remember the war and resulting violence of only a few years ago and so they appreciate the peace.  I don't get that same feeling in the U.S.  Quite the contrary I get the "so what" feeling anytime war or a difference of opinion is brought up in conversation and specifically from my experience, in the classroom.
"So what, that was way back then...that wouldn't happen today."  While we do have a military full of the bravest men and women in the country, we also have those who enlist for the benefits but whine and complain when it becomes time to serve.  We also have many more citizens of our country who would never even think about giving their lives for the good of anyone, much less our country.  Generation after generation becomes more and more ignorant of our country's history and could care less about our country's future.

Overall Recommendation

Readers of Hunger Games need to go ahead and finish the trilogy no matter what you hear others say...it's worth the ride, every difficult word and scene...still worth it.  This one has so much action that it was announced yesterday that it would be split into 2 movies...a friend of mine was upset about that, seeing it as a money-making move.  I'm realistic enough to know that yes, that's part of it, but I can definitely see how this one could be two very disturbing movies.  I haven't seen the first one yet btw but have it on my auto ship list from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Lovin Giveaway - July 11-17


**UPDATE: Stephanie from A Dream within a Dream is the winner of last week's Summer Reads Giveaway Hop :)
Congrats Stephanie!!


and
I'm not hugely into the romance genre, so I had to sorta browse the shelves in our house to see what the two oldest daughters might have picked up along the way for this giveaway.

Here's what I found:

Hold Still by Nina LaCour/brand new/never been read (paperback)

The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd: Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer/brand new/never been read/somehow we double bought on this one (paperback)

Twilight: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotta Vaz/a Christmas gift that's been read but doesn't look like it (large paperback)

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson/brand new/never been read (hardback)

The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad/my middle daughter loves this series but couldn't quite get into this one for some reason (hardback)

The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart/read and reviewed by me/ a couple of pages have circles around "Golden Lines" (hardback)

and

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen/another one that was double bought/never been read (paperback)



All you need to do to enter this time is leave your name, email, blog address and book choice in the comment section.
You don't have to follow this time, but I'd sure like it if you did...and I'll count any extra follows (GFC, Networked Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest or email follow) as extra entrees :) 

Now for the official stuff:

HOP RULES:

Young Adult Romance
& Clean Adult Romance



  • You must host a giveaway on your site, you are responsible for obtaining a prize for giveaway and taking care of the shipping charges. 
  • You must giveaway a "romance", either Young Adult or "clean" adult. 
  • Your giveaway post must include the hop image & linky (or links to the hosts' sites if you can't get the linky to work). 
  • Please only 1 mandatory entry - Keep it simple no long list of things for people to do.
  • Your post must be live by 12:01 EST on July 11th. (That is 9 pm July 10th if you live in California) 
  • The giveaway must be specifically for this hop. 
  • Your site must be family friendly - no erotica or 18+ sites. Your site & giveaway must be free of steamy images and book covers. If it would embarrass me to have my teenagers see it, it can't be on your site. 
  • It is your responsibility to check the linky on July 11th to be sure you are still on the linky and that your link is accurate. Please send me a direct link to your post when it goes live. 
  • If you are using Rafflecopter set it to begin on JULY 10th and to end on JULY 18th. Do not use the point values +4, +5, +10 + 25, etc.



  • WHAT'CHA WAITIN' ON, PEOPLE?  HOP ON!!




    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Top Ten Tuesday - Freebie Week


    Today's Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish is an open-ended list.  
    At first I thought, nah, I'll just skip it because nothing really jumped out at me on the list of past lists.  
    But then this morning as I was adding a bazillion more books to my Amazon WishList while scanning blogs, I realized the Top Ten Books on my Amazon WishList could be my topic. 
    So, there you have it.
    Today's top ten list is the Top Ten Books on my Amazon WishList (which is really the top ten books most recently added to my Amazon WishList).  
    If I had a dollar for every time I used the word "list" in this post, I'd be rich :/
    Oy.

    1. American Gypsy: A Memoir by Oksana Marafioti - added just this morning after reading today's edition of Shelf Awareness


    From Amazon:
    A vivid and funny memoir about growing up Gypsy and becoming American

    Fifteen-year-old Oksana Marafioti is a Gypsy. This means touring with the family band from the Mongolian deserts to the Siberian tundra. It means getting your hair cut in “the Lioness.” It also means enduring sneering racism from every segment of Soviet society. Her father is determined that his girls lead a better, freer life. In America! Also, he wants to play guitar with B. B. King. And cure cancer with his personal magnetism. All of this he confides to the woman at the American embassy, who inexplicably allows the family entry. Soon they are living on the sketchier side of Hollywood.

    What little Oksana and her sister, Roxy, know of the United States they’ve learned from MTV, subcategory George Michael. It doesn’t quite prepare them for the challenges of immigration. Why are the glamorous Kraft Singles individually wrapped? Are the little soaps in the motels really free? How do you protect your nice new boyfriend from your opinionated father, who wants you to marry decently, within the clan?

    In this affecting, hilarious memoir, Marafioti cracks open the secretive world of the Roma and brings the absurdities, miscommunications, and unpredictable victories of the immigrant experience to life. With unsentimentally perfect pitch, American Gypsy reveals how Marafioti adjusted to her new life in America, one slice of processed cheese at a time.



    2.  Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith - also added this morning from Shelf Awareness



    From Amazon: 
    Anxiety once paralyzed Daniel Smith over a roast beef sandwich, convincing him that a choice between ketchup and barbeque sauce was as dire as that between life and death. It has caused him to chew his cuticles until they bled, wear sweat pads in his armpits, and confess his sexual problems to his psychotherapist mother. It has dogged his days, threatened his sanity, and ruined his relationships.
    In Monkey Mind, Smith articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, and evocatively expressing its self-destructive absurdities and painful internal coherence. With honesty and wit, he exposes anxiety as a pudgy, weak-willed wizard behind a curtain of dread and tames what has always seemed to him, and to the tens of millions of others who suffer from anxiety, a terrible affliction.
    Aaron Beck, the most influential doctor in modern psychotherapy, says that “Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.” Neurologist and bestselling writer Oliver Sacks says, “I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity. . . . I broke out into explosive laughter again and again.” Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to all those who want someone to put what they feel, or what their loved ones feel, into words.


    3.  Flight from Berlin by David John - picked this one off Five Alarm Book Reviews "New Releases this Week" post.


    From Amazon:
    August 1936: The eyes of the world are on Berlin, where Adolf Hitler is using the Olympic Games to showcase his powerful new regime. Cynical British journalist Richard Denham knows that the carefully staged spectacle masks the Nazis’ ruthless brutality, and he’s determined to report the truth.
    Sparks fly when the seasoned newspaperman meets the beautiful and rebellious American socialite Eleanor Emerson. A superb athlete whose brash behavior got her expelled from the U.S. Olympic swim team, Eleanor is now covering the games as a celebrity columnist for newspapers in the States. While Berlin welcomes the world, the Nazi capital becomes a terrifying place for Richard and Eleanor. Their chance encounter at a reception thrown by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels leads them into the center of a treacherous game involving the Gestapo and the British Secret Intelligence Service. At stake: a mysterious dossier that threatens to destroy the leadership of the Third Reich.
    Drawn together by danger and passion, surrounded by enemies, Richard and Eleanor must pull off a daring plan to survive. But one wrong move could be their last.
    Set in America and Europe, David John’s Flight from Berlin is a masterful blend of fact and fiction, drama and suspense. A riveting story of love, courage, and betrayal that culminates in a breathtaking race against the forces of evil, it will keep you spellbound until its thrilling end.

    4.  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - everybody's been talking about this one with today's release of the sequel - I'm dying to get into this.




    From Amazon:
    "A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight."

    -People

    In a sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches became the "it" book of early 2011, bringing Deborah Harkness into the spotlight and galvanizing fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and the descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting story of magic and suspense. And the story continues in Book Two, Shadow of Night.

    5.  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness - released just today and is all over the media...if you've missed hearing about this one, you must be a hermit.



    From Amazon:
    "Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches
    Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
    Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
    Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.

    6.  The Thread by Victoria Hislop - another one from Five Alarm Book Reviews "New Releases"




    From Amazon
    From the internationally acclaimed author of The Island and The Return comes a sweeping and unforgettable story of love and friendship and the choices that must be made when loyalties are challenged.
    Thessaloniki, Greece, 1917: As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city where Christians, Jews, and Muslims live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will forever change this place and its people. Five years later, as the Turkish army pushes west through Asia Minor, young Katerina loses her mother in the crowd of refugees clambering for boats to Greece. Landing in Thessaloniki's harbor, she is at the mercy of strangers in an unknown city. For the next eighty years, the lives of Dimitri and Katerina will be entwined with each other and—through Nazi occupation, civil war, persecution, and economic collapse—with the story of their homeland.
    Thessaloniki, Greece, 2007: A young Anglo-Greek hears his grandparents' remarkable story for the first time and understands he has a decision to make. For decades, Dimitri and Katerina have looked after the treasures of those who have been forced from their beloved city. Should he stay and become their new custodian?

    7.  The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley - ummm, I can't remember where this one came from :p




    From Amazon:
    Spanning from the 1930s to the present day, from the Wharton Park estate in England to Thailand, this sweeping novel tells the tale of a concert pianist and the aristocratic Crawford family, whose shocking secrets are revealed, leading to devastating consequences.

    As a child, concert pianist Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the grand estate where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to this tranquil place. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.
    When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed the estate. Their search takes them back to the 1940s when Harry, a former heir to Wharton Park, married his young society bride, Olivia, on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt for generations to come.
    This atmospheric story alternates between the magical world of Wharton Park and Thailand during World War II. Filled with twists and turns, passions and lies, and ultimately redemption, The Orchid House is a beautiful, romantic, and poignant novel.


    8.  The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley - found this one on Unabridged Chick's Mailbox Monday just yesterday




    From Amazon
    From the author of the international bestseller The Orchid House, comes a mesmerizing story about two Irish families and the tangled ties that have bound them since World War I.
    Escaping a recent heartbreak in New York, Grania Ryan returns to her family home on the wind-swept coast of Ireland. During a walk on the edge of a cliff, she meets a young girl named Aurora Lisle who is about to profoundly change her.
         As their lives begin to intertwine, Grania’s mother becomes deeply troubled by the relationship. A century of entanglement and strife has brought nothing but tragedy to the Ryan and Lisle families, and the past is set to repeat its endless sorrows. But Grania’s curiosity about the joint histories of their familes won’t be stopped. After she finds a suitcase originally hidden in the attic of the magnificent Cadogan House in London during the First World War, Grania is taken back to 1914 where it all began. Ultimately, it will be Aurora’s intuition that has the power to break the family’s spell and unlock the chains of the past.
         Haunting, uplifting, and deeply moving, The Girl on the Cliff is an unforgettable tale of the triumph of hope over loss.

    9.  Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding - another "don't remember"



    From Amazon
    It is the early 1950s. A nameless man is found on the steps of the hospital in Iasi, Romania. He is deaf and mute, but a young nurse named Safta recognizes him from the past and brings him paper and pencils so that he might draw. Gradually, memories appear on the page: the man is Augustin, the cook’s son at the manor house at Poiana, where Safta was the privileged daughter. Born six months apart, they had a connection that bypassed words, but while Augustin’s world stayed the same size, Safta’s expanded to embrace languages, society, and a fleeting love one long, hot summer. But then came war, and in its wake a brutal Stalinist regime, and nothing would remain the same.
    Georgina Harding’s kaleidoscopic new novel will appeal to readers of Anne Michaels, Michael Ondaatje, and Sandor Marai. It is as intense and submerging as rain, as steeped in the horrors of our recent history as it is in the intimate passions of the human heart.

    10.  Crossing on the Paris by Dana Gynther - another one from Unabridged Chick's Mailbox Monday.




    From Amazon:
    Downton Abbey meets Titanic in this sweeping historical novel about three women of different generations and classes, whose lives intersect on a majestic ocean liner traveling from Paris to New York in the wake of World War I.
    The year is 1921. Three women set out on the impressive Paris ocean liner on a journey from Paris to New York. Julie Vernet is a young French woman from a working class family who has just gotten her first job as a crew worker on the ship. Escaping her small town and the memory of war, she longs for adventure on the high seas...
         Constance Stone is a young American wife and mother who has traveled to Paris to rescue her bohemian sister, Faith, who steadfastly refuses to return to America and settle down. Constance returns home to New York, having failed at the duty her father asked of her...
         Vera Sinclair, a rich, ex-patriate American is leaving France after thirty-one years to live out her remaining time home in America. Over the course of the transatlantic voyage, she reflects on her colorful life and looks forward to a quiet retirement. While each of these women come from different walks of life, their paths cross while at sea in a series of chance encounters. The powerful impact these disparate lives have on one another make for a magnificent and unforgettable read.


    There you have it! My Top Ten (most recently added) books on my Amazon WishList! 

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Media Monday - Dallas 2012

    Do you remember this?


    I surely do...every Friday night at 8 or 9 we tuned in for the drama of the week...Texas and Big Oil.  Evil J.R., alcoholic Sue Ellen, little brother Bobby and whiny wife Pam all headed up by ruthless Jock Ewing and his sweet loving wife Miss Ellie.
    The year J.R. was shot and we had to wait through the summer to find out if he would live and who did it was about as big as it got in television history at that time.
    I haven't revisited Dallas through the reunion show or two they've put on, but I did decide the other night to see what was up with the new generation on TNT.


    I was skeptical at first, thinking it would be pretty cheesy...I mean, with the story set to focus on J.R. and Bobby's sons John Ross and Christopher, how would even older viewers be able to connect since neither kid played a huge role in the original.  
    Well, I should have known that if Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy signed on to continue this saga if only for a little while, the producers/writers must have something worthwhile.  There have only been 5 episodes so far but here's my run-down so far:  

    John Ross - perfect casting here with Josh Henderson...John Ross is as mean as his daddy ever was, possibly meaner...with oil running through his veins.  He does seem to have a soft spot in Elena, the girl Christoper was set to marry two years earlier until a mysterious email arrived canceling the wedding.

      

    John Ross is at the top of my list because right now he's my favorite...and Lord, have mercy, he's pretty easy on the eyes as well, in a bad boy sortof way ;)



    Christopher - almost as whiny as Bobby was, sometimes irritatingly so.  Christoper is a scientist, looking for alternative ways to produce energy, preserving the land in the process.

    Rebecca - Christopher's new wife...looks like she's going to be the weak spot this time around, if she stays around.



    J.R. - evil as always...maybe even more so...the first episode finds him in a nursing home deep in depression...until Bobby visits and announces his plans to sell the family home, SouthFork. 

    Bobby - dealing with secret health problems and trying to protect everybody...as usual.  



    Sue Ellen - on the track to become the new governor of Dallas...boy that's a change! She's cleaned up and turned her life around.  I hope it stays that way bc the alcoholic Sue Ellen got on my nerves after a while...there's only so much wallowing a viewer can take.



    The new show is sexier...the younger generation isn't afraid to show some skin and the sex scenes are pretty steamy...if they'd been this steamy in the 80's, my mama wouldn't have let me watch it ;)
    Enough of the old supporting cast is back as well to satisfy curiosity...except for Victoria Principal who seems to have removed herself permanently from the Dallas lineup.  Don't know much about that except some of the more recent photos of her look like she's OD'd on plastic surgery :( 

    If you're an old viewer, give this one a chance; you might be pleasantly surprised.
    Anybody else out there watching this one with me?  If so, what do you think?  Which character is your favorite so far?

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Sunday Salon


    Giveaway - Since I've had a little extra time on my hands this summer, I decided to participate in some of the Giveaway Hops hosted by by Karen over @ I'm a Reader, Not a Writer. The Freedom to Read Giveaway was my first Hop and only my 2nd Giveaway ever  in the 3 years I've been blogging.  I was a little nervous at first, but then the entries started coming right on in :) I think I was paranoid that no one would want my prize :/ Yeah, yeah, I'm a 6th grader, I know.  
    I did things the old fashioned way by writing down every name, every entry, and extra entry on a piece of paper.  There were too many and it was too confusing to cut all those little things in strips so my youngest and I numbered them and then put the numbers on index cards and then the index cards into a hat.  We figure we can use these same cards each time depending on the number of entries.  Whatever person's entry corresponded to the number pulled from the hat was the winner.  Yes, I'm old fashioned. 
    The youngest pulled the number 120 and that number corresponded to a very nice lady named Marlene Breakfield who blogs over at Book Lover and Procrastinator.
    After I emailed Marlene that she had won and asked for her mailing address, imagine my surprise to find that she lives 25 minutes from me.
    How's that for a small world?
    Anyhoo, I'm participating in the Summer Reads Giveaway Hop now through July 11 so be sure to hop on by for a chance to win a book(s) up to $20 from Amazon.com.

    Dead Silence in Blogging Space - My friend Missie said to me one day, "You don't do anything half way, do you?"  The answer to that question is NO.  I have somewhat of an addictive personality :/  If I'm going to do something, it has to be done perfectly and to the max...no idea where my oldest kid gets her OCD :/  While there are good sides to this issue such as an end product that is no doubt a quality product, there are negative sides to this issue as well.  If things aren't going well, I also have the tendency to crawl up into a fetal ball and hide (not literally, of course...but close).  I also tend to get excited about said projects and expect everyone else to get excited about it as well.  You see where this is going, right?  So, when I'm blogging my little heart out, and commenting like crazy, I get all excited and can't wait to talk to my blogging buddies.  Then, I hear the echo and crickets chirping of the empty blogosphere and get my feelings hurt. 
    What did I say wrong?  Did I insult somebody and not realize it?
    Am I in the 6th grade again?
    :p
    Obviously I realize that my downtime is not everybody else's downtime and I am just being my terrier personality self, thrashing around with the toy in my mouth that I don't want to let go of even when nobody else wants to play and/or doesn't have time to play. I decided yesterday that I'm being ridiculous and probably need to step away from the laptop some...I have become somewhat addicted, so to keep myself from going through withdrawals once school starts back, I shall regulate myself to an hour or so in the morning and an hour or so in the evening.  Are you relieved? ;)

    Low Carb/No Carb - Part of my frazzled mental state has to do with this diet I'm on.  I started out with no carb, highly recommended by my friend Missie.  Missie has the willpower of Ghandi.  I think she could even fast for 40 days if needed.  Me, on the other hand, begin twisting and spinning out of control like the little girl in the Exorcist when there are potato chips on the countertop or Oreos, and I can't have them.  I am good until around 5 p.m. and then I feel like I'm losing my mind; I'm on a deserted island and there is absolutely no food anywhere to be found and I will die of starvation within 24 hours if I don't eat some Peanut M&M's and FAST!  
    The day I ate 6 pieces of bacon for breakfast and scraped off steak and cheese only off our pizza that night and then felt like I was going to vomit for the next 10 hours made me decide that this "all you can eat, fat laden no carb thingie" might not be for me.  Plus, how is a person supposed to eat like this for the rest of her life?  So, I dowloaded the South Beach diet onto my Nook and have been reading about a more balanced way of eating including learning the difference between good carbs and bad carbs and good fats and bad fats and understanding the ways our bodies react to whatever we put into them.  White flour and sugar are no-no's but 100% whole grains are not.  A balanced diet as close to the natural product as possible is what's recommended and that sounds more liveable to me.  I might not lose as fast as Missie, but hopefully I'll feel better and change the way I eat permanently rather than going on a "diet."  Bear with me, friends, while I learn to live without my pancakes and biscuits :/

    The Stand - I'm way behind on The Standalong, so far behind, in fact, that when everyone else was checking in at the half-way mark, I hadn't even started yet :(  I'm now 100 pages in and can't put it down...it reminds me right now of that movie with Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Renee Russo called Outbreak.  I loved that movie and can't wait to see what's going to happen to King's variety of characters I've met so far in The Stand.  Will their lives all connect somehow?  We'll see.


    The week in Review on Peppermint Ph.D
    Monday - I spent Monday talking to all the new bloggers/commenters entering the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop
    Tuesday - We lost Andy Griffith on Tuesday - Go Rest High, Andy
    Wednesday - Fourth of July holiday
    Thursday - Fourth of July canine photo session revisit
    Friday - Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop ends and Summer Reads Giveaway Hop begins.
    Saturday - Saturday Snapshot - Smoky Mountain Stables