Sunday, May 24, 2015

Check out Tyia

I am very excited about this wearable...
Tyia is a notification wearable that looks just like a piece of jewelry. It has a band similar to a leather watch and is available in silver or gold. In addition to being a notification device, it also works as an activity tracker. So much cooler and stylish than a neoprene band or bulky smartwatch.
Click here to sign up for updates. 




Friday, May 22, 2015

Two years later...

Hi! It sure has been a while hasn't it?

My last post was made in June...2013. So what have I been doing?

Working on a new book!

Best STEM Resources for NextGen Scientists: The Essential Selection and User's Guide should be released in late June 2015.

Intended to support the national initiative to strengthen learning in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, this book helps librarians who work with youth in school and public libraries to build better collections and more effectively use these collections through readers' advisory and programming.

 

Make sure to order your copy today!

 

 

 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

More adventures in cooking from scratch...using Pinterest.

Had a craving for chocolate, so my son and I made these chocolate muffins.

I love finding new recipes to try using Pinterest. Here is the recipe for the above Chocolate Muffins. I tweaked very little other than using all purpose flour instead of wheat and vegetable oil instead of sunflower oil. I also didn't have buttermilk on hand, so I substituted lemon juice and milk. They were very yummy!

If you use recipes you find on Pinterest, I recommend you create a board to repin the pins you have tried. Not only does it make it easier to find those pins again, but it also validifies that Pinterest is a very useful way to spend your time because you are using all those ideas you have pinned.

I have a lot of food finds pinned to my boards. Feel free to repin!

 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Adventures in Internet Baking

Wow, it has been a long time since I posted.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I would be experimenting with baking from scratch. Sometimes a recipe sounds awesome, but you just don't have all of the ingredients on hand. So far the results have been pretty good, especially considering that I like to "tweak" recipes to make them my own.

Here is one of my latest exploits:

Tropical Isle Biscotti Recipe

Prep: 25 min. Bake: 30 min. Yield: 18

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegtable oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup lime and lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup almond flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup flaked coconut

1 teaspoon grated orange peel (cut orange in half when done and squeeze juice into mix)

Directions

In a small bowl, beat sugar and oil until blended. Beat in the eggs, lime & lemon juice mix, vanilla and almond extracts. Combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in coconut and orange peel. Squeeze in juice from grated orange.

With lightly floured hands, shape into a approx 2 inch wide rectangle on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (you may need to divide the dough in half for two baking sheets). Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until set.

Place pan on a wire rack. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 3/4-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 5-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.

This recipe is based on the recipe for Lime Coconut Biscotti originally published in Healthy Cooking August/September 2011, p33.

 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

From Scratch...

I have talked before about how much I love Pinterest. It is just so inspiring. So many people comment on how it is a vortex to waste your time, but I have found many useful tips and tricks from the site. My favorite is the Fauxbreeze that can be found on my Frugal Me board. So Simple! I have also found that I am dressing and accessorizing better-- at least in my opinion. I have also created a Pinterest Stuff I Have Really Tried board to not only show other that it is a valuable tool, but also to prove to myself that it is not a waste of time.

Last month, we bought a waffle maker from Target. We used a boxed mix to make the waffles and they were less than appealing. We decided that we would make a batch from scratch. Which prompted a pretty funny conversation with my 6 year old.
Little Man: Mommy can we go to the store tomorrow?
Me: Why? What do you want from the store?
Little Man: Scratch!
Me: What do you want? <insert me confused>
Little Man: You know! Scratch...to make waffles from!
Me: Oh! Scratch isn't a specific thing, it means using ingredients to make something homemade. We have to pick up the ingredients to make waffles.
Little Man: Well, can we do that? 

Sadly, we still haven't made the waffles from Scratch, but I now have a stock pile of baking ingredients (including more bags of flour than I realized I already had). I started thinking while I was pinning recipes to my Food board on Pinterest that growing up, we didn't buy a box of cake mix. There were no cans of apple pie filling. When we wanted to bake something, we pulled out the Watkins cookbook with my grandmother's handwritten notes in the margin. Somewhere in high school, the cookbook was shelved and boxes started to take over the cabinet. I still use boxes, but is my son missing out because of this? It would be cheaper to make stuff from scratch even with coupons for all those box mixes.

I still have my grandmother's cookbook. It is very brittle with age now, but it is nice to have that little bit of family tradition and history. So I have decided there will be no more box mixes in my house. I do of course have to use up the mixes I still have, but I will not be purchasing more. I have quite the collection of recipes now from Pinterest, but do you have any particular favorite boards or blogs to watch for? Maybe a favorite waffle recipe? ;)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Author Interview & Book Review: Dead Reckoning



About a month ago I received an email from the awesome people at Bloomsbury with a list of YA titles for review. I got very excited when I saw Mercedes Lackey's name on the list. I have been reading her books for over 20 years. I also loved the Shadow Grail books she co-wrote with Rosemary Edghill (who is an X-Men fan BTW). It got even better when I read the description:

From bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill, comes a new thriller DEAD RECKONING. Jett Gallatin expected trouble in Aslop, Texas—but not zombies. Jett is a girl disguised as a boy, living as a gambler in the old West as she searches for her long-lost brother. Honoria Gibbons is a smart, self-sufficient young woman who also happens to be a fabulous inventor. Both young women travel the prairie alone - until they are brought together by a zombie invasion! As Jett and Honoria investigate, they soon learn that these zombies aren't rising from the dead of their own accord ... but who would want an undead army? And why? This gunslinging, hair-raising, romp will leave you on the edge of your seat.

DEAD RECKONING is a historical zombie apocalypse gender bender. It is like the authors rooted through my brain and picked all my favorites to wrap up in one book. Now somewhere I read a blurb for the book comparing it to Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Personally, I don't think the two can be compared because they are playing two completely different ball games.

THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is a dystopian series that takes place many years after the fall (i.e. the zombie apocalypse). They are not trying to solve where the zombies came from or even how to stop it; the characters are merely trying to survive. It was also heavy on the romance. DEAD RECKONING, while just as primitive of a landscape though with cool steampunkish tech like Gibbons' Auto-Tachypod, takes place at the beginning of a small scale  zombie uprising and yes, they want to solve and stop it. In other words, heavy on the mystery. The characters in DEAD RECKONING are complete strangers, not friends since childhood, who band together to stop a threat from harming others. The characters also have completely different personalities that perfectly complement each other.

As if reading such a fantastic book wasn't enough, I got the chance to submit some questions for the authors. I have talked to authors before, but this is my first legit interview. As I have said before, authors are my rockstars. Does that mean I am a groupie? Hmm...

Rosemary Edghill was kind enough to send out a wonderful reply to my questions. Now before we get started, everyone give Rosemary a virtual cupcake cause today is her birthday! Yay!

*Internet Hoards Singing*

Now, on with the show...

Q: I love supernatural books where the monsters are the evil-they-have-to-be-killed kind of monsters (you know, not the sparkly love interest types), so I have to ask, what inspired you to write a historical western featuring zombies?

R:We started with the characters: Gibbons the rationalist, and Jett the … not-so-rationalist. We wanted a threat that would pit them against each other as well as against it: so clearly it had to be something that looked supernatural. There's been a lot of stuff done lately to retcon zombies from supernatural creatures to natural ones (plague, alien organism, yadda), so they made the perfect slipstream monster for Dead Reckoning. And in 1865, we're still near the beginning of the zombie myth. The concept hadn't really made it out into the popular culture yet -- even Gibbons is barely familiar with it -- so it also gave us a chance to work with an archetype very familiar to our readers yet fairly-unknown to our protagonists. Which was a lot of fun.

Q: I like gender benders where the girl pretends to be a guy, I was taught Shakespeare did it in his plays because he was worried about the male actor's psyche of being in a dress and wanted to get the guy back in tights -or whatever- as soon as possible. Why did you decide to have Jett disguised as a boy in the story? Why not keep her gender secret longer than you did?

R:Jett is a Southerner in the post-Civil War period. She's lost everything: her home, her family, her future. All she has left is her quest to find her twin brother. But in the mid-1800s, a young woman couldn't just go off and do as she pleased. It would be the equivalent of, say, an eight-year-old child's position today. People wouldn't take them seriously. They'd always be calling Child Protective Services and trying to send them home. Of course, there isn't a Child Protective Services in the Old West, but if Jett were travelling as Philippa Sheridan instead of as Jett Galatin, she would be exposed to a huge amount of danger -- and have far less freedom.

As for why we decided to reveal her masquerade so soon…

If we kept it a secret, we'd have to present her to the reader as a boy, and that would mean we wouldn't be able to tell any of the story from her point of view. It would also shift the focus of the story we were telling to her disguise, and we wanted it to be about her relationship with Gibbons, and the two of them dealing with the zombie apocalypse. Last of all, if we revealed the truth about her disguise at a point much later in the story, the readers would already have gotten used to thinking of her as a boy, and there'd be this whole "Wait, what? What's going on now?" thing. And that would lose forward momentum at a point where we wanted the pace to pick up and head full-tilt into certain doom…


Q:I love all the background info you have regarding the mythos behind zombie lore and superstition. How much research did you do before you wrote the book?

R: I started out in Regency Romances (and I'm a huge history junkie to boot!), and Misty's Elemental Mages series is set in the Victorian period. We were both pretty familiar with the time period. (And my heroes have always been cowboys…) The main part of the research we had to do was to figure out what people of that period could know about zombies, based on the information available. The other part was in making sure that the real-life technology we described (such as the telegraph) worked as it would have worked in that time and place.

The one thing I had to do a lot of handwaving on was the food, actually. Canning technology was just starting to become widespread -- it had been driven by the need to feed the army (on both sides) during the Civil War -- and I knew there were a lot of canned goods available on the frontier (such as peaches, tomatoes, and condensed milk), but try as I might, I couldn't get a full list of what might be on the shelves of the General Store. So I tried to distract everybody, and concentrated on what I did know…

Q: How did the whole process of collaboration work with writing DEAD RECKONING?

R: This is our tenth book together, so we've got it down to a science by now.
We use Google Docs a great deal. We start by breaking the story in chat. At that point it looks like a really long book report full of spoilers. Then I go off and do a scene-by-scene breakdown. For example, the first scene in the book looked like this:

SCN 01: We establish the tiny Western town of Alsop, Texas. It's spring, but a Texas spring is like anyplace else's deep winter. It's the beginning of the droving season, when thousands of head of cattle are driven north along the Chisholm Trail to Kansas railheads. It's just dusk when a lone figure on a gleaming black stallion rides into town. The figure's fancy turnout -- silver conches and stamping on the black leather saddle, silver-studded reins and bridle, silver-studded saddlebags -- proclaim them less of a working cowboy than a "bad man" -- a "shootist" -- a gunslinger. The rider, too, is wearing black studded with silver, from the silver heels and toe-caps on the boots, to the silver spurs on the boots, to the silver conches on the black leather vest, to the silver-studded hatband on the black Stetson. The only touch of contrast is the ivory handles on the matched pair of Colt Peacemakers he wears strapped to his hips. The fact that they're tied down proclaims him as someone who lives and dies by the gun. The town of Alsop is a single street, with a livery stable at one end and a church at the other. Between the two are the usual buildings: hotel and dining parlor, general store, telegraph office, newspaper, sheriff's office. And of course the saloon. The prairie wind blows dust, discarded paper, and the inevitable tumbleweeds across the street as the black rider's horse ambles slowly up the street and stops in front of the saloon.

As you see, there's a lot of background information included, mainly so it's there when we need it.

Next, we divvy up the scenes and start writing. We post them in Google Docs, broken out into chapters, and revise each other's work as we go. When the book is done, one or the other of us downloads all the chapters, assembles them into a single document, does a last polish, and off it goes…

Q: Both White Fox and Jett left us with questions, is there already a sequel in the works for DEAD RECKONING?

R: Yup! We're off to Denver! And imagine my glee when I found a detailed map of the city from the very year I need…

Q: What would you say is different about writing for young adults rather than adults?

R: Wow. That's a hard one. (My work has always been tagged "of interest to teens" from my very first book, which was a space opera titled HELLFLOWER, so I may not be the best person to ask.) I think it's always a case of knowing what's important to your audience, and telling that audience a story that won't bore it. So if my main character is a sixteen-year old, I do my best to look at the world from that perspective. If my main character were fifty, the perspective would change…

Q: I am a fan of the romance genre, what would you say is your favorite genre to work with? (BTW congrats to Rosemary who with the addition of the Western has now written a book in every genre). *high five*

R: *high fives you back* If I were guessing about Misty, I'd say "historical fantasy" would be her answer. My favorite is urban fantasy, because I am totally in love with the idea that something wonderful and strange will suddenly show up in the middle of an ordinary day and an ordinary life and then there will be Adventures.. At least, I like to think it's wonderful Sometimes it's monsters, but in that case, a hero/ine is never far behind!

Q: Which books or authors would you say most inspired your writing?

R: ::laughs:: All of them! Mark Twain, Damon Runyon, Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Andre Norton (who I got to collaborate with OMG!), Georgette Heyer, "Doc" Smith, Leslie Charteris, Raymond Chandler, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber, C. L. Moore… Each one of them taught me something -- about how to tell a story, about how to make a character "real", about Sense of Wonder, which I think is the most important gift a writer can give themselves and their readers.

Q: I know many authors that are now using iPads to write on the go, what is your writing preference: paper and pen/pencil, desktop, laptop, or mobile device?

R: I adore my iPad, but I can barely write emails on it -- the touchpad is incredibly frustrating. So it's computer (laptop or desktop) for me. I actually wrote my first couple of books on an IBM Selectric (yeah, I know, the dark ages), and I used to write my shorter stuff longhand. But from the moment I got my hands on my first computer (an Apple ][e ) I've never looked back. Revision is so much easier!!!!

Q: Any advice for unpublished writers?

R: Misty's advice and mine is about the same (I know, as I've heard her give hers A LOT): write! There's nothing to beat Butt In Chair to help you hone your writing discipline and your craft. The basic rules are pretty simple:
1. Write. 
2. Finish what you write.
3. Submit what you write.
You'll face a lot of rejection, frustration, and disappointment along the way. But these three rules are the only ones I know to turn someone from Unpublished Writer to Published Writer.

Q: Between City of Heroes and the Marvelverse, you have both plied your craft in the realm of those a bit superhuman...If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

R: Misty may chime in later, but for me: FLYING!!! I want to soar above the towers of Gotham, or Metropolis, or the Big Apple! No contest!

Q: Thank you very much for sharing your works and words with us, is there anything else you would like to add?

R: I started out in fandom, writing fanfic, and the one thing I miss as a "pro" writer is the amount of feedback I used to get. Like the book? Hate the book? I want to know! You can find me in my usual hangouts: http://rosemary-edghill.dreamwidth.org/ and http://www.facebook.com/rosemary.edghill


Now if that wasn't just fabulousness in itself...Imagine if you will that Cowboys vs Aliens, Wild Wild West, and Walking Dead were all put into a blender...this book will appeal to readers who love historicals, steampunk, supernatural, and mysteries. Though the authors comment at the beginning of the book that they apologize for some of the rather unenlightened attitudes and language of the book, it is a clean read...well, clean other than disintegrating corpses. The target audience is grades 7-12 and is perfect to give to those middle schoolers looking for a good zombie book. It will even appeal to boys. 

*Update: Check out Bloomsbury Teens Facebook page for great prizes related to the books release! https://www.facebook.com/BloomsburyTeens

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Give me Free Shipping!

I love infographics. I found the link for this on Pinterest and thought it was just a little too close to what I was saying in a previous post not to share:

Source: VoucherCodes.co.uk

Now, I was already aware of some of the tricks marketers use to get us to buy...yeah, that whole color logo thing, ever wonder why McD's, BK, KFC, and all the ret use similar colors? Cause of the effect it as on our moods. They make us hungry and there are also colors that make us buy.

I wanted to point out part of the infographic that points out that when Amazon dropped their minimum for free shipping, sales went up. Consumers bought more and spent more. I have no problem with this. The way I figure it, it is just like when we have a gift card or a coupon when we go out to eat...we tip the server the difference between the bill and the discount (plus 15-20%...yeah, my husband has even there done that, so we like to pass it on). I have a budget when I shop online and have to consider S&H into the final total to fit my price. If I no longer have to pay the S&H ten I will not only buy more, but might even justify *cough* going over my budget *cough*.

So retailers, if you are reading this...more free shipping!

 

 

 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blatant Self Promotion..or Yay! I have been published

 <<<<<<<If you work in a library check this book out! Yes, this is blatant self promotion because I have a chapter in this book! I am officially published. 

Marketing Your Library:Tips and Tools That Work, 2012. Edited by Carol Smallwood, Vera Gubnitskaia and Kerol Harrod,231 (7x10) pages, $55 softcover, introduction, foreword, photos, appendices, index, ISBN 978-0-7864-6543-9; Ebook ISBN 978-0-7864-8995-4
"Provides the tools required to make your library's message a front page story"-Flo Caddell, Arts Director, Frankfort Community Public Library, Frankfort, Indiana; "This crucial guide outlines the tools unique to libraries to market themselves and their services."-Mary Jo McKeon, Librarian, The Sage Colleges, Albany, New York; "A must-have book...a crucial tool." -Linda Burkey Wade, Digitization Unit Coordinator, Western Illinois University Library, Macomb, Illinois.
Concise, how-to case studies from practicing public, school, academic, and special librarians provide proven strategies to improve brand management, campaign organization, community outreach, media interaction, social media, and event planning and implementation. Intended for the novice and the old hand, individuals and large staffs, this valuable guide provides librarians with the effective marketing tools necessary to help their libraries thrive in these challenging times.

Carol Smallwood, a Michigan resident, has edited several anthologies for the American Library Association. Vera Gubnitskaia is a youth services manager with the Orange County Library System in Orlando, Florida. Kerol Harrod, Denton, Texas is the creator, writer and co-producer for the children's television show Library Larry's Big Day.
Shipping/Handling: $5 first book, $2 each additional
Canadian orders: $15 first book, $5 each additional (UPS Standard).
International/ orders: $35 first book, $10 each additional (USPS international priority mail).
International/Canadian orders please pay in U.S. funds.Marketing Your Library $55 _______
Shipping/handling (see below) _______
Subtotal $_______
N.C. residents add 6.75% Sales Tax _______
TOTAL $_______
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers * Box 611, Jefferson, North Carolina 28640336-246-4460 * Orders 800-253-2187 * FAX 336-246-4403 * www.mcfarlandpub.com
Ship to: ____________________________________________
(please print) ________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________
Credit card orders: qVISA qMasterCard
qAMEX qDiscover
Account #___________________________________________
Exp. date ________ Telephone __ ___________
Account #___________________________________________
E-mail address ________________________________________
In Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, order from: The Eurospan Group, www.eurospangroup.comIn Australia and New Zealand, order from: DA Information Services, www.dadirect.com


JH "What can I say? Librarians rule!" --Regis Philbin

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Saving Addiction

For the past six months, I have been couponing. Now don't get me wrong, I have talked about couponing before and Walmart price wise was always the best deal. However, that is where the coupon matching comes into play. My local Publix accepts competitors coupons and I have to say that my savings would not work without this. The idea is to watch the sales circulars for the Buy One Get One sales that Publix runs every week...then pair that sale by stacking 2 manufacturers coupons with 2 store coupons. You can use 2 coupons because you are buying 2 items...even though the one will be discounted at the register, it still counts. Publix has store coupons each week plus my store accepts Target coupons (watch the fine print, sometimes store coupons are one per customer, not per purchase).

Yes, I do pour over the ads and scour my coupon batches to match stuff up, but technology is there to make things easier. I follow several coupon and savings blogs that match up the coupons for the sales. I used to follow the Krazy Coupon Lady, but found that I couldn't use all of her advice. (I tried the binder idea, but couldn't keep up. Right now I have the binder to organize my loose coupons and use file folders for my sheets of coupons from the paper and printed on the Internet.) She has just too many stores that I couldn't use, like Albertson's...oh, how I wish Albertson's were still in the area. I still use her site for links to printable coupons, but not so much for the deal match ups. One site that I found and absolutely love is Addicted to Saving. She is a Florida girl which means that these are deals I really can use. I love the Publix coupon match ups! Another great place to find matchups are the forums on Hot Coupon World. They list the sale items posted in the circular and then follow up with the coupons that correspond to the sales.

The trick to couponing is to have multiple copies of your coupons. You can buy coupons off of sites like Ebay, but I am leary of doing that because there are some dishonest people out there passing fake coupons that you will get charged the minimum $2,500 fine for using. You also need to be careful of what printables you download. (3/17/12 Update: You may check out the list of what currently circulating coupons are out there at the Coupon Information Corporation.) The best option is to either get your friends and family to give you their paper inserts or to buy multiple copies of the Sunday paper. Some cities will even allow you to have multiples devlivered to your house. I only get one copy of the paper delivered to my house, Sunday only. I admit this is because I am a bit lazy. I don't want to have to go out to buy more papers if they don't have any worthwhile coupons that I can use. Sunday Coupon Preview will give you a list of the coupons coming out in the Sunday paper, but I have found that sometimes there are slight variances, so I don't always rely on it (it is a great tool for planning Sunday shopping trips when you know a coupon you can use will be coming out that day).

So am I really saving with coupons? Well, yes and no. I average about 50-70% savings on every shopping trip. I am still spending as much as before, but we have a fully stocked pantry and freezer chest. My son has a variety of snacks to take to school and we try new foods out that we might have hesitated about before. We are also eating out less because we have things stocked in the pantry and freezer that are quick to cook when we don't feel like cooking (I.e. chicken fingers). Now a lot of the coupons are for processed food items, so you might not find that this is something that would work for you. But there are great deals on frozen vegtables and canned items. While fresh is always the best option, these are a pretty great second. Just remember everything in moderation.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Madness

My son is home sick today, but that is also good news for me because it means I have a moment to actually catch my breath. The past couple of months have been a bit hectic as I prepared and then presented library workshops all over South Florida for our Summer Florida Library Youth Program. I loved the experience and would probably do it again, except this time I will be much better prepared for everything that goes into the presentations. One up side is that I am no longer uncomfortable driving my husband's van as I logged over 20hrs in less than a week driving it up and down I-95 (Miami's roadways still terrify me a bit and thank heavens for the one Christmas present I didn't ask for but love- GPS.)

So somehow March happened without me even realizing it. Nothing that I said I would post after January got posted. I hate to use the excuse of I didn't have the time, but really I didn't. So much for writing more book reviews and tips and tricks like stuff on saving money. I have kept up to date through RSS feeds on my phone. I have found some great deals through the different blogs I read. My biggest scores have been on Target and Totsy. I have this real problem where I don't like spending money on clothes, but I love buying them. Target was running a promotion where not only did I score a 20% discount on everything, but also free shipping. Why is it that online sites charge so much on shipping? I only buy when the shipping is free or a flat low rate because it makes no sense for me to pay just as much in shipping as my purchase. Totsy only charges about $7.95 for shipping though you do have to wait a couple weeks for your order to come in. It is worth it to get such great deals on shoes, clothes, household, and kid's stuff.

Tomorrow, I hope to have a post recapping some of my favorite blogs to watch for saving advice. ;)

 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

You know the mark of a good writer when you are so deeply engrossed in a story and engaged with the characters to the point that you want to slap them over the head and shake some sense into them. Maybe you have some friends like that...those two who have been friends for ages and are perfect for each other, but something is holding them back from taking that next step. Then a choice is made and there is no turning back.

Life is full of choices.

Delaney made a choice when she kissed Carson Levine on Decker Phillips' couch, breaking the cardinal rule of best friends. She made another choice when she followed Decker Phillips across the ice. He made a choice by leaving her behind.

Three minutes without air is all you need to lose consciousness. At four minutes brain damage begins. At five minutes, you should be dead. Definitely at ten. Delaney was under the ice for eleven minutes.
She shouldn't have survived, but she did. She shouldn't be fine, but she is-- or is she? 
People are dying and Delaney knows who they are before it happens. Can she help before it is too late or is she the cause? Is she alone in this ability?

Delaney is a girl who should be dead or at least brain damaged. She survived a horrific accident to suddenly find herself with the ability to predict when someone is dying. As if being a teenager wasn't enough; she might be in love with her best friend, her standing as class valedictorian is in jeopardy, and her parents think she might be crazy.

Megan Miranda blends together ethical debate, the tragedy of death, and the drama of teenage love in this debut YA novel born from the author's fascination with scientific mysteries like those of the brain. Fracture is a fast paced and thought provoking novel delving into the world of miracles and medicine. Readers of Meg Cabot and Lurlene McDaniel will enjoy.
  • Fracture by Megan Miranda 

    Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens; 1 edition (January 17, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0802723098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802723093

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review: Simply Fresh

When I was in college, there was a Ruby Tuesday in the mall. I wasn't that big of a fan. Flash forward a decade and I love it. They have a very sophisticated yet still casual concept when it comes to their food and dining atmosphere. Yeah, they aren't just burgers any more.

Andrews McMeel Publishing has put out a new cookbook called Simply Fresh: casual dinning at home by Jeff Morgan. With over 100 recipes that have been inspired by the many dishes that grace the tables at Ruby Tuesday, this cookbook is one deserving your kitchen. The recipes are simple using fresh ingredients and easy to follow directions.

Now I love cookbooks, but I admit I have a problem following directions. I have to add my own spin to things. One of the recipes that I tried out was the Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil on page 82. Yes, couldn't leave it be. I added canned lump crab and diced frozen shrimp. This chunky soup is so rich and flavorful that even my husband who is not a fan of soup or tomatoes asked for seconds. We used the leftover soup the next day to top corkscrew pasta. Like all soup, it was even better the next day. Sorry, I don't have any pictures. We ate it all before I even thought about it.

Pictures of course are the best part of a cookbook. I know it is cheaper to publish a cookbook sans photos for every recipe, but I have never understood why that should even be considered. We eat with our eyes before we ever taste our food. I will not buy a cookbook that does not show me what the recipe will look like. That is another reason I love this cookbook. There are pictures galore.

Yummm...this is all making me hungry. Time to get cooking!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Think Pink! a book review of The Boy with Pink Hair


I love books where the main character discovers that being different is just awesome. I have a new favorite picture book.

Now it seems to be the trend that Hollywood is not happy with being just actors or singers. They want to be writers too. Madonna did it. Hilary Duff did it. Even the girl who played Winnie on the Wonder Years has done it. Now Perez Hilton has decided to put his hat in the Children's publishing arena.

The Boy with Pink Hair was great. It is not about a boy who wants to be a girl or dye his hair, he was born with pink hair. Rather than try to cure it like Gerald McBoing-Boing's  or even Daisy Head Mayzie's parents do, The Boy with Pink Hair's parents teach him to embrace being different and to play up what his talents are. In this case, his talents are cooking (especially pink food). I love that none of the characters in the book have actual names. They are referred to as The Boy with Pink Hair, The Girl with Pig Tails, and the Boy With the Bad Attitude (among others).

The Boy with Pink Hair says he dreams of a school where everyone has different colored hair and together they make up a rainbow. We are all too often discouraged from being different and not conforming. Perez Hilton says that he is working on being the change that he wants to see in the world. The fence seems to be be right there splitting everything when it comes to the celebrity blogger. He has been called a cyber bully and a man with an agenda among other things. To be honest, other than the fact that he is openly gay and in-tuned with the Hollywood gossip circuit, I don't know that much about him. I am judging this book strictly on the story which is awesome.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Of things to come...

This next month is going to be pretty crazy for me. I just don't know how to say no sometimes. I think I am finally starting to realize that I am becoming over extended. Yes, being Not Quite Superhuman is catching up.

I registered at NaNoWriMo's website but have not written a single word. I just like my WIP too much to switch to another idea right now. Though I admit that I love this month because there is just soo much advice out there from writers, agents, and publishers. The fabulous Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, was at my library last month. She started out during NaNoWriMo and said community was the best thing she took from the experience. So for the moment I am going to follow along on the networks and lurk on the blogs for all the advice and ideas that can be found.

I have also started what I am calling the great coupon experiment. I am in month two of trying extreme couponing. So far I am spending the same amount of money each month, but my pantry is full and we have been going out to eat way less. This month will be the true test because even though it is just the three of us, we still spend more when there are holiday meals.

I also started reviewing over at No Flying No Tights which is a graphic novel review website. Yeah, finally a legit excuse to spend more time reading manga and watching anime.

I fully have plans to revamp this blog started prob in January with more of a defined schedule. Some features that I am toying with are more book reviews, discount deals, and crafts. I am not sure yet what the schedule will be or what names I will call the features, but in the mean time I will offer a peek at a great discount deal. Enjoy!

Head on over to NoMoreRack for great deals on electronics, clothes, and more. Deals are good just for either one day or when they sell out, whichever comes first. You can get some items for up to 80% off or more in some cases. Plus shipping is just $2 per item. Great for holiday shopping!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: Between the Sea and Sky





  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (October 25, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1599904349
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599904344

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore takes Little Mermaid and spins it to whole new heights --literally.

Esmerine is a mermaid, well actually a siren; just like her older sister Dosinia. Receiving her belt should have been one of the best things that could happen to her, but she is still uneasy. Not only are her and her sister the first in her family to be chosen to be sirens, but she also has a history of being the mermaid who was friends with that winged boy. She also has a fondness for books, which don't do too well underwater. Then Dosinia goes missing and there are rumors from Land that she has been spirited away to the mountains by her new human husband.

Convinced that Dosinia was tricked into giving up her belt, a keeper of siren magic, to her new husband and thus trapped forever as a two-legger; Esmerine decides to investigate by journeying above the waves and onto Land. Mermaids don't do too well on Land, not even sirens with all their magic. Their feet feel unbearable pain which means they can barely walk. When a mermaid gives up her belt to a human, the pain goes away. Esmerine has no intention of giving up her belt.

Stranded in the middle of town with aching feet, she is surprised to discover that Alandare, the winged friend from her childhood, is working at a bookstore in town. Alandare agrees to help Esmerine find her sister, but their friendship has changed. It is both more and less at the same time, with neither one wanting the other to give up who and what they are. Is there any in-between for a girl of the sea and a man of the air?

What I loved best about the book was that Esmerine wasn't just a mermaid, she was a siren. Also while Alandare had wings, they are more like those of a bat and not the angelic feathers that most winged people are described as having. It kept things interesting. Esmerine's love of books had me thinking more of Belle than Ariel, which meant instant "like". There were also allusion to other legends, history, and tropes. Stealing a siren's belt for example, mirrored the tales of fishermen stealing the skins of their selkie brides to keep them on land. Alandare was a bit of a radical in his love of enlightenment era-ish pamphlets on philosophy. So this book was a delightful mix of traditional tale and more.

Dolamore does what she does best, taking a traditional tale and rethinking it. This story has been ten years in the making as it began with the seeds of a thought, "what if?". Dolamore went back to the good parts of that story to create Between the Sea and Sky. You will be hooked right until the very end wondering if the two will work out their differences.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Leaving a Little Bit Behind

No secret that I find Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to be an absolutely wonderful book that I share with absolutely everyone (Is that too many absolutely's? Well, that is how absolutely awesome it is!). It is the story of a little girl, Minli, who takes a journey to meet the Old Man of the Moon to ask how she can bring fortune back to her family. Grace Lin is on my list of authors I would one day like to meet.

Now, Grace Lin has found a wonderful way to have fun while traveling. She created little miniature dolls of herself that she is leaving around France as she travels. As her blog says, "They say you always leave a bit of yourself behind when you travel" and that is what she is doing. Check out the further adventures of Pocket Pacy: a pacy in the pocket.

I remember as a child, my family took a trip to Orlando, FL. We are talking mid to late 80s and we did everything from Gatorland to Disney to Sea World. But despite all that, what sticks in my mind is my father burying a plastic baggie with some coins and bills in the atrium of the hotel we were staying at. He had friends that were traveling to the same hotel the next month and created a treasure hunt for them. It worked too. They found the baggie right where he said it would be (though the bills didn't survive too well and I wonder about the maintenance of the hotel that the money was still there a month later). He had fun and they had fun. Win-Win!

What are some ways to unwind, let loose, or have fun while you are traveling? How do you make it a little bit more interesting than the everyday tourist thing?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

ARC Assembly

I am horribly horribly behind on my reviews. I know, I know...

So here is an assemblage of reviews for ARCs I have read from NetGalley.  (Have I mentioned just how awesome NetGalley is?!)



Title:A Midsummer Night's Sin
SubTitle:A Blackthorn Brothers Novel
Publisher:Harlequin
Imprint:HQNbooks
Pub Date:11/29/2011
ISBN:9780373776108


This is the second installment of the Blackthorn Brothers Trilogy by Kasey Michaels. The second book follows Robin "Puck" Blackthorn. A chance encounter at a masquerade ball throws Puck deep in the middle of a plot against the crown. Joining Miss Regina Hackett, Puck learns of the seedier side of London and a little more of just what his brother Jack does for the Crown. Puck may seem a mischievous sort, but this story shows that there is much much more hiding behind his jovial smile. Personally, I think this is the best book so far though I can't wait to read Black Jack's story in Much Ado About Rogues when it become available.

In Total Surrender
Title:
Publisher:HarperCollins
Imprint:Avon Books
Pub Date:10/01/2011
ISBN:9780062017314


Andreas Merrick wants revenge at whatever cost. Miss Phoebe Pace just wants her father's secret protected and her brother back home. When the two meet chaos ensues, literally. Phoebe proves to be tenacious in working her way under Andreas' skin. However, secrets about his past and his connection to her brother's disappearance might keep them apart. This was an enjoyable read with the best type of characters; the bad boy and the strong-willed heroine.



Title:One Night in London
SubTitle:The Truth About the Duke
Publisher:HarperCollins
Imprint:Avon Books
Pub Date:09/01/2011
ISBN:9780062025326


Here is another book series about brothers. While I was expecting the book to be about the older brother, I was surprised to find that it was actually the middle brother, Edward that this romance was about. Edward is the responsible one taking care of everything. So when it is discovered their inheritance might be in jeopardy, he immediately contacts the lawyers...the lawyers who just agreed to help Lady Francesca Gordon gain custody of her niece. Of course, the lawyers drop her case to pursue the more prestigious case. This causes Lady Francesca to place the blame squarely on Edward who finds himself agreeing to help her if she can staunch the new rumors. I admit to being curious about the other two brothers so I will definitely read the next books, but more than ever I hope there will be a book about Lady Francesca's niece when she comes of age. Should be interesting. 




Title:No One But You
Publisher:Dorchester Publishing
Pub Date:10/04/2011
ISBN:9781428511484


This Historical Romance takes place in the same world as Leigh Greenwood's Seven Brides series. I admit to really wanting to reread the series...if I wasn't so far behind on all my other reads. I love her books! Sarah Winborne needs a man to help take care of her land, only she can't pay him. The only option for her is to marry someone, but with two young children to take care of, she must be picky in her choice. She didn't mean to say the name she did, but her heart spoke for her. Wonderful book, but too bad that the seven brothers already have wives. This book takes place after Rose, but before the other brothers find wives...let's just say I thought Sarah's daughter would have made a good Randolph.