Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Fun Post...ABCs about me from Mommy Run Fast

Laura at Mommy Run Fast posted this yesterday, and I couldn't help myself.  

A. Attached or Single? Attached. 24 years and counting :)

B. Best Friend? my husband

C. Cake or pie? good old fashioned, homemade chocolate pie

D. Day of choice? Fridays...the promise of the weekend and mostly laid back all day, even at work.

E. Essential Item? chapstick...any kind, any flavor, as long as I have something, I'm good.
F. Favorite color? red
G. Gummy bears or worms? Worms...the really sour ones
H. Home town? Starkville, MS
I. Favorite Indulgence? a "Little Bubba" from Bops ice cream

J. January or July?'s hot as blazes in the South in July, and we'll complain about it the entire month, but it's what we're used to.

K. Kids? 3 daughters, 20, 18, and 9...yes, I'm still sane...but barely :P
L. Life isn’t complete without? my long as I have them, everything else is no biggie.

M. Marriage date? March 4, 1989

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 1 younger brother 
O. Oranges or Apples? Apples...cored, sliced and dipped in Jif Peanut Butter 
P. Phobias? much as I love all animals and don't really even wish snakes any harm, I can't handle them.  They really freak me out.

Q. Quotes? 

“I can handle anything that life throws at me. I may not be able to handle it well, or correctly, or gracefully, or with finesse, or expediently, but I will handle it!” 

"I learned a long time ago life just isn't fair so you better stop expecting it to be."
Dana Reeve

R. Reasons to smile? my dog's soft brown eyes and her secret wink

S. Season of choice? Springtime in the South is incredible...especially with all the azaleas blooming
T. Tag 5 People. Anyone who would like to, please feel free to keep the survey going!
U. Unknown fact about me? I'm a pretty open book, so I'm not sure there's anything unknown, but I'm a napper...big time, and always have been.  My mom told me that when I went to first grade, the thing she worried about the most was how I was going to make it all day long without a nap.  I'm the same way now.

V. Vegetable? broccoli, asparagus, spinach, lima beans...I grew up eating out of our family garden, so veggies are 2nd nature to me.  
W. Worst habit? biting the inside of my jaw when I'm thinking hard about something.
X. Xray or Ultrasound? Neither bothers's the MRI's and cat scans I can live without.
Y. Your favorite food? cereal
Z. Zodiac sign? Libra

Who wants to play next??

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Dogma of Cats for Kids by Deb Snyder, PhD - Net Galley Review

The youngest and I have a couple (ahem) of Net Galley's to catch up on this week, so we figured we'd better get a move on!! 

Today's book, The Dogma of Cats for Kids, is by Deb Snyder, PhD
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 15, 2013)
32 pgs. 

According to Net Galley,  

"Deb Snyder, PhD is an inspirational speaker, spiritual teacher and the award-winning author of Intuitive Parenting: Listening to the Wisdom of Your Heart. She holds both Doctoral and Master’s degrees in Metaphysical Philosophy from the American Institute of Holistic Theology and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches heart-centered living workshops worldwide. Her work inspires others to be authentic, live fully and shine bright!

Dr. Snyder is also the founder and executive director of the HeartGlow Center, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to honoring the sacred devotion of family caregivers. She lives in Maine with her husband, daughter, and their four cats."

WHY?  We are cat lovers...particularly black cat lovers and are always on the lookout for more ways to encourage positive thinking and peaceful living.

Cover? Love it! :)

Title? If the word "cats" didn't real me in, the inclusion of the word "dogma" would have.

NetGalley Description - "Join an adorable collection of cuddly cats for their warm wisdom on how we  can live a happy, heart-centered life. With colorful illustrations,  mindful lessons and sweet, rhyming text, award winning author Deb Snyder  delivers a book that will have cat lovers of all ages purring for  more!" 

What I Liked - the premise of the book...the idea of pairing animal behavior with living a happy life...animals don't worry...why should we?

What the youngest liked - "learning about cats, and it rhymes"

What I didn't like -  the illustrations - I disliked them so much that they distracted me from the whole idea behind the a matter of fact, after I finished reading, I wasn't sure that the book actually accomplished what it set out to how cats live their lives to the fullest in a way that speaks to us about how to live our lives.  After a quick discussion with the youngest, and finding her favorite/least favorite illustrations, I realized that the book, or the words at least, do indeed make that connection.  I just missed it.

For example:
This particular illustration matches the cover illustration perfectly...

but it's followed by this illustration:

Which is cartoonish and looks like clip art...

This illustration: 

is followed by this one:

While this inconsistency may not bother some, it bothered me a just affected my entire mood.

What the youngest didn't like

Even though the author told us ahead of time that her cat Cagney would be on every page, the youngest thought that was overkill.  She didn't use that word, of course, but she said it was too much.

Overall Recommendation

The youngest didn't have the problem with the illustrations that I did, and she said if we were in a bookstore, she would want to buy this book.  I, however, would not.  With children's books, I think the illustrations are incredibly important, and this one just doesn't do it for  me.  Of course, it's not written for adults, so I'm not sure how my opinion weighs into that conversation.  The youngest did not, however, see the connection between the cats' behavior and how people can look at those behaviors in their own lives.
I think this is a great idea, just with more consistency in the illustrations.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Never Tell by Alafair Burke - TLC Book Tours

Never Tell by Alafair Burke
HarperCollins, 2012

Format?  Hardback
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclaimer - I received a copy of Never Tell from the publisher in exchange for a review.  However, the review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Title? more ways than one
Cover? I never imagined this victim with a frightened look on her face...and yes, I'm being ambiguous about who this victim is for a reason.  This cover doesn't work for me.

Why?  Alafair Burke is one of those writers for me that I know I can pick up her work and have a good time.  I read this one in about 2 days time...straight through :)

What Now? I've read and reviewed Angel's Tip and Dead Connection as well as Never Tell.  The third Ellie Hatcher was 212, and I somehow missed that one.  I missed a pretty important stage in Ellie and Max's relationship, so I want to go back and check that out.

Golden Lines

The tapping sounds against the keyboard were so quick and intense that the typist did not hear the approaching footsteps until a second face appeared, reflected in the laptop screen.
It was too late. (6)

She tried joining him in front of the television, but watching the real housewives fight over who drank more pinot grigio made her want to arrest somebody. (86)

...So to make sure nothing is taken out of context, no Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, all that nonsense.  One of the administrators told me that the school even hired a public relations firm to search the Internet for stories about the school and have the negative ones scrubbed.  It's like 1984. (130)

Brandon stared at his crossed feet.  When he looked up, Ellie saw a surprising softness in his expression.  "Like I said, Casey's my friend."  Ellie forced herself to remember he was only sixteen years old and had lived a young life so horrible that his current existence - alone on the streets of New York City - was an improvement.
"So when do we get our money?"
And, just like that, the moment of sympathy passed. (181)

Short and Sweet Summary

A mega-rich student from the elite Casden School in New York is dead.  The evidence points to suicide, but her mother demands an investigation...and she gets one via her husband's string pulling in the more money than anybody needs social network of New York City.  Ellie and Rogan are called in on the case, and Ellie's not happy about it.  She'd like to just call it what it is and move on.  Channeling leftover parental issues about her own father's death, Ellie has to repeatedly push her emotions aside in order to pull this very tangled web apart.

What I Liked 

Ellie Hatcher - Ellie is smart, gritty, flawed, and passionate about her work and who she is in contrast with what society expects of women, especially women in her profession.  The inside look at police work as well as that of the law and how the two professions work together (or not) to solve crimes is always very interesting to me.

Technology, Internet, Blogs...police work...Burke uses up to date issues and investigative procedures in her stories and that may be the most refreshing thing about her writing.  For example, the suicide note allegedly left by a teenager who probably wrote very little, if anything down on a piece of paper in her entire life..the need for handwriting experts is now completely useless. IT departments and techie gurus are now vitally important parts of investigative teams...where postings take place, IP addresses, blog owners, time frames, computer histories, etc. It's really mind blowing when you look at the technological issues of police work in today's social media culture.

Psychology, mental disorders of children and adolescents, medications, and big business associated with this ever developing problem.  Again, Burke keeps her focus on up to date issues...this time over-medicated kids and the high stakes, high pressured world of elite high schools and colleges.  While dealing with the crimes, Burke also takes the time to educate the reader on both sides of this problem, those who abuse the system and those who truly need help and slip through the cracks due to the aforementioned system abuse.

I've read 3 of Burke's books, and so far, they have been incredibly well thought out and put together layer by layer.  There is generally no one victim and no one bad guy...and it is very difficult to figure out what's going on until the very end.  I'm very bad about looking at the ending of books before I get there, but with Burke, you might as well not even do that.  The answers are too tightly wrapped up in events to be able to find the answer in one or two sentences.  That's great mystery/thriller writing to me :)

What I Didn't Like

I like Max...and I can really see this relationship working, but Max, please don't start pushing Ellie.  K?  

There were almost too many characters for me...there were leads and then there were leads that led nowhere...of course, this frustration could very well be exactly what Burke wanted her readers to experience bc I'm sure that type of distraction, whether it's routine distraction or "do-gooders," is something real-life investigators have to fight constantly.

Overall Recommendation

If you've read the other Ellie Hatcher books, don't miss this one...settle yourself in for some brainwork as well.  If you haven't read Ellie Hatcher but like a strong female, law enforcement protagonist, start with the first book, Dead Connection.  I do think to understand Ellie that the reader needs to know her story and how it unfolds throughout her adult life.

The Author - Alafair Burke

Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, May 14th: A Book Geek
Monday, May 20th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Thursday, May 23rd: Literary Feline
Friday, May 24th: Drey’s Library
Monday, May 27th: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, May 28th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, May 29th: Traveling With T
Tuesday, June 4th: Brooklyn Berry Designs
Wednesday, June 12th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Monday, June 17th: Peppermint PhD