Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review- The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
by Kelly O'Connor McNees
Amy Einhorn Books
339 pages

When Trish over at TLC Book Tours put the word out that she was looking for people to host a book tour for The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, I couldn't respond fast enough. I think Twitter even yelled at me I was trying to DM her so quickly. I am glad that I beat Twitter at his own game, because I got on the book tour. And I got the book. Oh yes. Take THAT Twitter.

It took me a few weeks before I could start it. But when I did, I devoured it. Three days it took me to read it. I was reading during my lunch break one day, walking around the outside of the building, and I walked straight into one of the fabulous plastic chairs outside the warehouse break area! That was awesome.

You all know how I feel about quotes, so here goes it- (please note, these are from an ARC and are liable to have changed by final printing)

"Conventionality is not morality.' Charlotte Bronte wrote that, and it is as true for me as it was for her. To do things just because others do is cowardly."

"She thought of all the sorts of faces that existed in the world- fat, thin or long, round, dark, white or freckled - and guessed that heartbreak looked the same on every one of them. One could spot it from a mile away."

The premise of the book is this- how is it that Louisa May Alcott, never married, could write such a love affair as Jo and Laurie's? Literary critics are constantly arguing about whether she did or did not ever fall in love with her own Laurie. So, Kelly O'Connor McNees created a Laurie for her. And thank goodness she did.

You can read more about it here. And you should.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On the dark side of the moon....

Hello? Hello? Is anybody out there?

I guess the proper question is, am I out here? Where the hell have I been?!

It doesn't matter! But I have a review coming up! It is a delightful novel titled THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT by Kelly O'Connor McNess (wonder where HER family comes from?! RIGHT?!). I will have a bunch of fun stuff up here for you on the 9th.

A lot of you have been emailing me to ask about the littlest one and his health. We appreciate it! He is just as cute as can be and moving along at his own little pace!

Sorry to leave you all hanging for so long....I know that you have nothing to occupy yourselves with when I don't blog. It must be rough.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

You knew it was coming!

First, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Then, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Now...

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls.


Here is a tantalizing excerpt from the website-

"In this terrifying and hilarious prequel, we witness the genesis of the zombie plague in early-nineteenth-century England. We watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naïve young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. We laugh as she begins her first clumsy training with nunchucks and katana swords and cry when her first blush with romance goes tragically awry. Written by acclaimed novelist (and Edgar Award nominee) Steve Hockensmith, PPZII invites Austen fans to step back into Regency England, Land of the Undead!"

Today, March 3rd, is THE day of reckoning for all zombies and undeads! Quirk Classics is hosting a fabulous monster Mash up day to celebrate the coming of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls!

There are so many things to do!

First, please visit Dawn of the Dreadfuls book page on

Then, make sure you go to the Message board - this prompts you to mention my blog. Then, you are automatically entered to win one of the 50 Quirk Classics Prize Pack!

What is in this Prize Pack you ask...

Well let me tell you!
  • An advance copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
  • Audio Books of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
  • A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
  • An awesome Dawn of the Dreadfuls Poster
  • A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Journal
  • A box set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Postcards
Pretty exciting, no?!

Get to it!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Giveaway! War of Words by Simon Read

Several months back I won War of Words, by Simon Read on a Twitter giveaway with the fabulous Union Square Press. From the website-

"War of Words tells the shocking story of the birth of the San Francisco Chronicle, a paper founded in a time when the news business was literally a matter of life and death.

In San Francisco of the Old West, bad news was considered the best news and the term “circulation war” was literal. In this midst, Charles de Young—co founder of the San Francisco Chronicle—launched his fledgling paper in 1865. With a nose for news and an ear for gossip, he promoted politicians he favored and lambasted those he scorned. His weapon of choice for ridding San Francisco of corruption was not sword or pistol, but pen.

De Young’s verbal venom targeted Isaac Kalloch, a golden-tongued preacher with a tainted past. Kalloch’s run for mayor infuriated de Young. Insults volleyed back and forth until the verbal blows erupted into explosive violence on the streets of San Francisco.

Using newspaper accounts, diaries, and letters, Simon Read reaches back in time to reconstruct a news story that captivated the nation, granting modern newshounds in-the-moment access to the shocking events that led to the start of one of America’s greatest newspapers."

You all know that I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and this one was an excellent read! At times it was heavy on the historical narration, but then it would swing right back to reading like a dramatic modern day soap opera. Anyone interested in history of journalism, San Fransisco, or just stories about crazy ole' times will surely enjoy this book!

Rather than host a giveaway, I am trying something new. FIRST PERSON TO TELL ME THEY WANT IT, GETS IT. Just leave me a comment below, and it's all yours.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You know it's good when it starts with "True Story"...

The other day I went to to visit my Nana. She is at the tail end of pancreatic cancer, so once a week I try to go and sit with her and visit. This week I thought I would bring her some candy. See's is her favorite, so I get in the car (waaaaaay later than I was planning on) and hop on the freeway. Why do I need to get on a freeway to get anywhere?! I mean come on. Then, I passed the exit I needed so I got off the freeway, got back on the freeway, got back off the freeway, and then maneuvered my way into the Mall. Unpack the stroller, drop a rock on my toe (THANK YOU MIDDLE SON) yadda yadda, get to the Sees store. I get her favorite, the 1 lb mixed box and a few things for the boys for Valentines day. Back on the freeway with said candy (and one in my mouth, but whatever). I tried to quickly get all the way over to the carpool lane, but then realized that I wouldn't make it in time for my freeway change, so I swerved all the way back over to the right, to merge onto the 405. I swear i'm a good driver.

Then it happened. Eric Estrada pulled up behind me. Solo. Aren't CHiPS supposed to always be in pairs?! Clearly he was already FAILING as a traffic cop.

Oh shit! Oh shit! Shut up I tell myself. Act natural! Why do we always say "shhhhhhhhhh" when we see a cop?! They're NOT librarians for Christs sake!

Then....the inevitable.....The lights and the "MERP MERP" soundy thing.

So I pull over and he approaches my passenger window.

Eric Estrada- "Ma'm, do you know why I pulled you over?"

Me- "I believe it would be safe to assume it was because I veered so quickly from the left to the right side of the freeway."

Eric - "You would be incorrect in that assumption."

This was gonna be great.

Then, Eric proceeds to tell me he pulled me over because.........of MY TIRE. It's low, and bald, and probably dangerous. But really?! My TIRE?!

Eric asks me for all my info, which I give him, after sorting through sippy cups, Manga novels, and a jumble of plastic body parts. Upon which he asks me THE golden question.

Eric - "And where are you headed young lady?" Oh now it's young lady?! I'm not the babysitter, dude.

And here it is- TRUE STORY...

So I say-"I'm bringing See's candies to my sick Nana who is dying of Pancreatic cancer."

At which point, Eric Estrada shits his pants, gives me all my info back, and wishes me a great day.

And then my Nana split her candy with me, while we watched soap operas and talked about Vampires.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In The Woods by Tana French

I know that I am horribly late with this review. It seems like I am the last person on the planet to read this book!

One of the downfalls of studying literature is that you study plot and narrative. This said, my husband hates watching movies with me because I always call the plot 20 minutes into the film. Not so with this book. There were so many twists and turns that I was honestly at a loss for most of the novel.

In 1984 three children go to play inside the woods of an estate in Ireland, Knocknaree. Three kids go in, but only one child comes out; in blood soaked tennis shoes and a shredded T-shirt, with no recollection of what occurred. He goes on to become a detective and is placed on a case in the same forest, a homicide. Are they related?

I liked the book a lot. HOWEVER, there are two things about this book that bothered me.

*****SPOILER ALERT************

1. Cassie and Rob sleep together! I mean, come on. Really? Although I do like that Sam and Cassie couple up at the end.

2. We never find out what happened to the other two kids. I heard that this is an actual myth in Ireland, and that supposedly these two kids still haunt the woods of Ireland. Who knows?

******SPOILER OVER************

I just checked out her second novel, The Likeness, which continues on with Cassie Maddox. I am excited to get started on it.

Also, I have a ton of really great reviews and giveaways coming up. Including, but not limited to (how much fun is it to say that?!), SkinMD Shielding Lotion, Admit One by Emmett James, Futureproof by N. Frank Daniels, and Now and Then by
Jacqueline Sheehan.

I am very excited!

Stay tuned!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Review- Home Repair, by Liz Rosenberg

Home Repair, by Liz Rosenberg
Harper Collins, 2009
328 pages

It occurred to me as I started to think about this review that I am going to have to post a review for a book that I DO NOT like. Otherwise, you all are going to start thinking that I am just full of fluff. Because I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!

I started this book one night while rocking the wee one to sleep. I only had the rocking time to read, and had I known what was coming, I would have waited to start it because once I started reading Home Repair, that was all I wanted to do!

Eve, Rosenberg's main character, decides to have a garage sale. She just needs a little space, some breathing room, just a tiny little wedge of space for herself. So she holds a garage sale. What she gets rid of in this garage sale, was her husband.

ANY mother that I know can identify with Eve, and her need for space. From Home Repair, "The inside of her car was messy with Marcus's old school papers, empty candy wrappers, and spring-water bottles or empty Gatorade. Both kids treated the car like a giant moving garbage can. She wished, not for the first time, that she could have one clear space she could claim her own." (160)

What we see after her husband, Chuck, abandons her in the middle of a garage sale is a story that strikes home with all of us. The characters are beautiful, round characters (you don't even really meet the husband until the latter part of the book, which is fantastic because all I did was daydream about what he was really like!) and a story that guides Eve right into her own independence, and no one elses.

You can find more about Liz Rosenberg's novel, Home Repair, here and here and here.

You can get it here and here. AND YOU SHOULD.


Friday, January 8, 2010

You want cement dust and chicken litter with that?

Most of you know already that I abhor fast food. I just can't stand it. I hardly ever touch it, and I think its gross that my husband is oddly cultish about the damn McRib. A few times during my pregnancies I craved really horrible fast food meal. With my oldest, I ate a Whopper once a day for nearly two weeks. These days I can't even look at them!

I have always tried to be educated and informed about the food that I feed my family. I have always made our baby food, instead of buying processed industrial baby food (plus its SO inexpensive! Try it!). I try to get what I can from the farmers market, and when I'm at the grocery store I read labels and not just prices. Sometimes we can't afford to eat the way I would REALLY like to, but I try to do the best I can with what we got. I thought I had it down pat...

Until I read The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.


Has anyone else read this book?! OH MY GOD.

I knew about the influx of corn into nearly every food product we eat today, but did you know that there are, on average, 45,000 products in your supermarket? Did you know that of those 45,000 more than a quarter of them contain corn in one form or another?

From his book-

"American farmers produce 13 million bushels of corn a year. (That's up from 4 billion bushels in 1970." Of those 13 million bushels, 10% goes into processed foods.


The same wet milled corn starch products that create industrial baby foods, instant puddings, custards, instant teas, low-cal sweeteners and salad dressings also create pastes, glues, fiberglass, insecticides, wallpaper, and leather products.

And we eat them...

The same native starch used to create precooked, frozen meals also creates dry-cell batteries, detergent, and charcoal briquettes.

And we eat them!

Chicken nuggets from McDonalds?! HORRIBLE. Chicken Nuggets, made by Tyson for McDonalds, contain, among other things, tertiary butylhydroquinone- a form of butane.

Pollan offers a list of possible ingredients in cattle feed- chicken manure, cattle manure, chocolate, cement dust, molasses, candy, urea, hooves, feathers, meat scraps, fish meal, pasta, peanut skins, brewery wastes, cardboard, feather meal, chicken litter (bedding, feces & discarded bits of feed from chicken farms) chicken, fish, and pig meal.

This is what we are intentionally ingesting?!

Not so fast you might say. But I eat organic you might say....get the book, read the chapter on Industrial Organic. It is eye opening.

I will leave with this quote- "The fast food meal seems cheap, but as we have seen, the costs are actually enormous. The industrial food chain costs each and every one of us: in government spending, in pollution, in global warming, and in our health."

He also leaves us with a bevy of resources and a list of ways to start changing how we view food, and how we view our natural surroundings.

I would STRONGLY suggest this book to EVERYONE.

Now, who's hungry?