29 August 2011

It's Monday - With Books!

Mood: Happy - the circus is rolling into town (and no, I don't mean family - I mean the honest to goodness circus with tents and everything!)

Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, but the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear.  Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession.  But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons.  Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

 My Take:

Gretchen McNeil has delivered a truly spine chilling story with her debut novel, Possess.  Bridget Liu has a lot on her plate. At 15 years old she has the typical teenage baggage in the form of friends, boys and family drama but she also has darker, heavier burdens that she carries. Her father, to whom she was incredibly close, was brutally murdered by a patient, her mother seems to be moving on with one of two suitors who tend to hang around the house a little too often and as if that weren’t enough, Bridget discovers she’s a Watcher.

As a Watcher, Bridget has the power to banish demons back to the hell from which they came – and suddenly demons are cropping up everywhere – even in creepy dolls who insist that she listen to the message they’ve been sent to deliver to her.  It’s up to Bridget to decide who she believes and solve the mysteries surrounding her father’s murder, her own family history and get to the bottom of the demonic activity before it’s too late.

At a Glance
1.)    This book is genuinely creepy without ever going over the top – it will definitely make you think twice about the things that go bump in the night. Although the story is definitely creepy and there is some violence – none of it is gratuitous – it’s all organic, flowing from the story and serves to make the story stronger and more real.  LOVE

2.)    Bridget – she’s is an amazing heroine – sarcastic, smart and full of snappy one liners. At the same time, she realistically struggles with the reality of her situation and what her abilities really mean. 

3.)    The mystery – there is one and it’s well woven throughout the story. I admit I pretty much figured it out about ¾ of the way through but that did not diminish the enjoyment for me at all because there were still so many unanswered questions that I could not stop reading!

4.)    I LOVE that McNeil has explored the divide between good and evil – and found that line to be quite blurred and the divide not that wide.

5.)    As usual, there are boys and Gretchen McNeil definitely delivers a totally swoon worthy crush in the form of Matt Quinn. The handsome son of the local police chief is always there for Bridget – whether she needs him to go with her to see her dad’s psychotic killer, search for secret files, do a little breaking and entering or take her to the winter formal.

Bottom line - I loved this book and can't wait to see what the author brings next! 


26 August 2011

It's Friday and It's a Freaking Hurricane!

Mood: It's FRIDAY!!!!! 

Given the events of the past couple of days it's pretty clear that the earth is seriously pissed off at the East Coast.  Honestly, I'm not sure what they've done that brought down the wrath of Mother Nature but whatever it is I'd suggest they stop - ASAP!

In the meantime, they are all battening down the hatches to weather the next disaster in the form of Hurricane Irene. Here in the Midwest, our violent storms usually come in the form of severe thunderstorms/tornadoes. There's usually not much warning and, if you're lucky, you'll have time to run and hide in a basement or bathroom* before all hell breaks loose.

Unless, of course, it's winter - and there's a blizzard on the way. In which case we must all run to the store in a dead panic to buy all the batteries, milk and bread we can find.

<----Clearly, this is the general 'prepare for disaster' protocol. Oh, sure, East Coasters aren't running out to buy all the milk and bread they can get their hands on but the idea is still the same.

The good news is that generally, after all that milk and bread buying, the blizzard is rarely as bad as predicted and we all end up feeling a bit foolish scrambling to find recipes to use up all the bread and milk we've hoarded in preparation for our own personal version of the apocalypse.

So, to all of those in the path of Irene - batten down the hatches, stay safe and here's hoping that in a few days you end up with a whole bunch of unused panic induced apocalypse purchases.

Oh, and for those of you who are having hurricane parties? Let's get things started!

*This is at direct odds with my number one death rule: DO NOT DIE IN THE BATHROOM


25 August 2011

Tell the Truth Thursday

Mood: Hungry (Not exactly a mood but it's dinner time)

My truths this Thursday:

1.) I'm totes excited to find this

I've got a tiny apartment sized stove with an even tinier apartment sized oven with only ONE rack. Christmas baking literally takes me days to complete. With this I'll have THREE racks and I'll be able to finish my holiday baking before I get all stabby and Grinchy.

2.) I finally dyed my hair. The result was a bit redder than the auburn color indicated on the box. It's a bit of a change but hubs likes it and I didn't think it was too bad until...my boss said "Wow! Red hair - did you do that to yourself on purpose?" head.desk.

3.) The circus is coming to town on Monday!  I LOVE the circus but I always secretly worry when I’m sitting there under the big top. What if there’s an elephant stampede? Or what if the lions and tigers go rogue and start scratching all our skin off?  I mean, what if the HUGE, GIGANTIC SCARY animals suddenly realize that they’re way bigger and stronger than we are and they decide to kill us all!?!
4.) I've been a massive exercise slacker lately. Video Game Barbie and I have not tangled in quite a few weeks. I'm slightly ashamed of this but I admit it's the same sort of shame I feel about my junk drawers. I wish things were different but I'm not sure I have the actual drive to get up and do anything about it.

So, there are the truths in my world - what about you bloggie friends? Anything you want to share?

24 August 2011

WIP Wednesday

Mood: Stressed (it was one of THOSE days!) 

I'm working on my shiny new idea - we're in the honeymoon phase - it's a pretty, sparkly idea with no bad habits and it's just perfect and we're going to be happy together forever and ever!*

As with all shiny new ideas, this one requires that I do some research because, while I am a walking encyclopedia of useless information, I don't know everything.**

This week, my topics of research have included the following:
  • how long DNA results take
  • how long a body takes to decompose in water - in the summer
  • Whether bodies can be identified by standard means (dental records, etc.) or if a DNA test has to be done to confirm. 
  • Post traumatic stress syndrome
  • Psychopathic tendencies
All interesting topics but I fear that I'm going to have some 'splaining to do if the FBI ever decides to check into my on-line activity. 

*Or until it starts leaving its wet towels on the floor, refusing to cooperate and just generally being a major pain in my ass. 
** I know, it surprises me too. Also, do NOT tell my husband I just admitted that. 


23 August 2011

Tuesday Tunes - Empire Records Edition

Mood: Confused? Meh.

Time to show the little known, very underrated Empire Records some blog love

Sugar High! Couldn't find a version of the actual movie clip that would allow me to embed but I did find this nice edit without the movie playing and that works too! P.S. I only like the version of this song as it's played in the movie - the actual full version? Is a little too rated R.

I Want Money - Lots of Money - Joe's Money! A tribute to Lucas!

It's Rex Manning Day! Also? Video Killed the Radio Star...just saying...

I could keep going here because this movie is just made of dorky awesome so check it out. Seriously!

So Bloggie friends, what random earworms are travelling about in your brains today? Any movie soundtracks that just get stuck in  your head from time to time?

22 August 2011

Monday...Without Books. :(

Mood: Tired and a bit cranky (probably best to keep a safe no fly zone distance away from me today). 

It's Monday - which would possibly normally mean that it's time for another book review - but not today. Because today is a Monday without books. :-(

Okay, so not exactly a day without books - anyone who knows me knows that I've got three book shelves and a Nook filled with books so there are obviously books everywhere in my world. The problem is that I haven't finished reading anything in the past week that would lead me to say "YAY!! I must review this book on my blog! I just have to let others know about the awesomeness contained in these pages!!!"

Sigh. The truth is that I've been an epic failure as a reader. I partially blame my Nook. I love it. It's cute, and it's color and it allows me to have access to every.single.book I want to read. On the surface, this seems like a very good thing. In reality? Not so much.

Before I had my Nook, book shopping was an event. I would only get to visit a Book Store once in a great while. There are no book stores in my town so time had to be set aside to drive the 40 minutes to the nearest town with a large bookstore (my personal fave is B&N) and then I had to set aside a certain amount of money that I was allowed to spend on my book buying (because I have an ever so tiny book addiction and a very tight budget). THEN, I had to actually peruse the shelves and find books that I wanted to read that A. I could afford and B. I could find in less than the amount of time it would take my hubs to lose his mind waiting for me to find my books.

This plan worked for me. I had to decide what books I wanted to read and could afford in a relatively (by my standards - don't ask the hubs) short amount of time. Sometimes my choices were based on recommendations or my liking an author but most of the time my choices were made based on the shiny covers and the blurb on the back of the book jacket. I would take the books home, read them - like them or not - and that was the end of it.

NOW - I have all the books I could ever want available to be downloaded 24 hours a day! I can download samples, read the first few pages at my leisure and decide if I want to buy it to read the rest. Unfortunately I still have the small matter of a tight budget to consider - so what happens? I read sample after sample - wondering if each book, no matter how promising, might not be as good as the NEXT book sample I read. I worry that some night in a book nerd fueled frenzy I'll end up spending all of our bill money on downloading all the shiny looking new YA books and then hubs and I will end up sitting in the dark eating bologna by candlelight and not in the 16 candles romantic Jake Ryan way but more in the "I hate you and want a divorce" War of the Roses way.

Sigh. So, my fellow bloggie friends, anyone have any great recommendations? Something you've read recently that just knocked your socks off and you just have to share?


19 August 2011

Freak Out Friday...

Mood: Lazy

Most of the randomness knocking about in my brain today are the creepy and/or freaky variety - So...

1.) Brain Eating Amoebas!

I am not making this up! When  I loaded up the Yahoo home page to check my e-mail last night, the headline was something like “RUN FOR YOUR LIVES BECAUSE THE AMOEBAS ARE INVADING OUR BRAINS!”

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the exact headline but it might as well have been. My overly worried, OCD hypochondriac self was seriously freaked. Like seriously. Freaked. But then I realized that these nasty little bastards only hang out in warm bodies of water so as long as I don’t go swimming in a lake or pond, I should be golden, right? Wrong. Because it turns out that a young man was killed when he came in contact with the brain eating amoebas from his own tap water.  *Looks at shower* *whimpers* I don’t want my brains eaten by creepy amoebas!* 

2.) Creepy FISH CARS

We have a new neighbor and honestly, he kinda creeps me out. Or, more specifically, his vehicle creeps me out. I get that he likes fishing. That’s great, go fish, be happy. Whatever. But really? Walking out of my apartment building every morning and coming face to face with a giant Bass named Peggy Sue** with some sort of crickety, cockroachy type bug in her mouth makes me all stabby. (I don't even want to talk about the fish skull with the gaping mouth on his dashboard) 

So my bloggie friends, what is freaking you out this fine Friday?

*if my brains are to be eaten, I want them to be consumed by totally bad assed zombies. 
** You can't see it in the picture, but trust me - Peggy Sue is spelled out in sparkly letters on the mounting hardware. 


18 August 2011

Tell the Truth Thursday

Mood: Tired and ready for the weekend. 

My truths this Thursday

1.) I totally need to dye my hair. I've needed to do this for the last three weeks or so. I've got massive roots showing* and yet I've been too lazy to actually get it done. I did take the box out of the cabinet and open it so that's something, right?

2.) I've recently discovered the Vlog Brothers. How did not know about the awesomeness of these guys? If you haven't checked out their channel on YouTube, you should totally do it. Now. Also? This has helped clear up some confusion on my part over Maureen Johnson's use of the word "nerd fighter" in her Tweets.** If you're not following her on Twitter you should do that too.

3.) I cannot seem to stop watching all kinds of really bad reality type documentary shows. Hoarders, The Weird Addiction Shows, even a show about people who are obsessed with entering sweepstakes. I suspect this is because these nut burgers are the only people in the world who make me feel even remotely normal.

So, there you have it - what are your truths this week?

*I know, people don't have roots, trees have roots but the point is that my hair is way too technicolor with all the browns, reds and grays. 

**to be honest the term "nerd fighter" kind of scared me at first. I mean, I'm kind of a nerd and I totally can't fight so, yeah. I wasn't looking to encounter anyone who called themselves "nerd fighters". I have now been schooled. 


17 August 2011

Adventures in Writing

Mood: Happy - my sister's baby is perfectly healthy (there was some concern) and a BOY! We will be welcoming my new little nephew sometime toward the end of October. 

This is how my writer's brain has been feeling lately:

funny pictures - Too manee shinees fur my brain to handul!I've had tons of shiny new ideas running around in my head - each trying to claw their way out into the real world. Some good and some, well, remember that Eyes Wide Shut* was once someone's idea. *sigh*

And then there's my completed manuscript that I've tucked away for a while. I've come to realize that it doesn't just need edits, it needs a massive rewrite. *sighs louder* I still love the story and I'm crazy about my characters but I think it needs to rest a while longer before I start picking it apart again.

So, while I'm constantly writing, plotting, outlining and researching it seems like I'm spinning my wheels in mud and going nowhere fast.

I did start work on a new project last night that has me really excited so hopefully I'll soon break free of the mud. If not, someone feel free to give me a push. **

*That? Was a truly awful movie. I still want my 2 hours back. And Tom Cruise? No. Just NO! 
**and if the push is in the direction of cake? That would be made of awesome. 


16 August 2011

Tuesday Tunes

Mood: Kinda bleh

It's Tuesday - time once again to share the random earworms that rear their heads at the oddest times.

If I Die Young - The Band Perry
Hauntingly beautiful and sad this is the perfect song for my shiny new WIP idea so it has wandered through my brain quite a lot over the last few days.

Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae 
This just a fun song - it never fails to make me smile and sing along! *la la la*

Those are the songs that are constantly buzzing in my ears - what about you? Do you have any current earworms that just won't leave you alone?


15 August 2011

Monday In Books

Mood: Monday (it’s a Mood)

Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank

“It all started when I saw myself dead.”

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

My Take

In Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes, Denise Grover Swank has spun a tale that is part romance, part mystery and a compelling character study filled with a heavy dose of sleepy southern charm.

Rose, the product of an extremely critical and overbearing “momma”, is used to being the object of scrutiny in her small home town but she’s definitely not ready for the amount of scrutiny that comes with being the prime suspect in the murder of her momma.  The local busy bodies are ready to run her out of town on a rail. The police are keeping an ever watchful eye on her and her sister, Violet, is sure she knows what’s best for Rose. Also, her totally crush worthy but completely mysterious neighbor Joe is an unexpected complication in her life – but Rose is a woman on a mission to discover herself and live her life to the fullest – at least for the short amount of time she might have before either the local police arrest her or the murderers who killed her momma succeed in coming back for her.

At a Glance        

1.)    Rose is an amazingly real, three dimensional character and through the course of the novel she grows and really gains a sense of who she is and what she’s capable of doing. It’s a completely organic transition that is flawlessly woven through the story. LOVE this.

2.)    The “supporting” cast of characters is well rounded and very believable – from the busy body church ladies to Violet who desperately loves her sister but, in some ways, is just as overbearing as momma was.

3.)    The southern charm.  I’m just sure if I drove far enough through the south, I’d stumble across the little town of Henryetta where Rose is working at the DMV and the blue haired busy bodies are still fussing.  It’s this realism that keeps the reader engaged in Rose’s story and keeps Rose in your mind long after you’ve finished reading.

4.)    Joe *swoons*. Seriously. This is a massively crush worthy hero and not just because he’s totally sexy and mysterious enough to keep you constantly on edge, but because he’s strong enough to let Rose learn to be strong as well.  The fact that he’s willing to help her cross a few things off her list? *ahem – do more with a man*  Is an added bonus. 


12 August 2011

The Friday Five

Mood: Happy (It's the weekend baby! Although I'm a bit bummed b/c the hubs and I wanted to go camping but it's supposed to rain and while I don't mind camping in the rain, I loathe setting up and taking down in the rain). 

It's Friday, so it's time once again for the Friday Five!

So, the five random things knocking about the back of my brain today?

1.) Our new veggie to try this week is turnip. After my reaction to the Eggplant of Doom, I'm a bit nervous about trying the turnip. What if it's a TURNIP OF DOOM????

<-----------   See? Scary TURNIP OF DOOM! 

2.) I'm really, really loving the cooler weather that has been visiting our area for the last couple of days. It reminds me that fall isn't that far away.

3.) Speaking of fall, I totes love our new fall candle holders that we found at Walgreen's.

Super cute. We plan to fill them with some candy corn to stabilize the candles that we put in them. I think they'll be perfect fall centerpieces.

4.) I've been doing the low carb diet thing for almost 2.5 months now. It's working well (I'm down nearly 45 pounds! Yay and stuff) but there are times that I think I'd sell a kidney for a spoonful of mashed potatoes. #carbsaremycrack

5.) I've been watching a marathon of the show "A Haunting". Little piece of advice? If you go to look at a house and the current owners have boarded up rooms, run out and left everything including food in the fridge or are willing to part with it for a ridiculously low price? You probably want to keep right on moving. Just saying...


11 August 2011

Tell the Truth Thursday

Mood: Tired (it's been a LONG week)

My truths this Thursday:

1.) It's been way too long since I've blogged - I read somewhere that you're not supposed to point that out in your blog because it makes you seem "unprofessional"

2.) Clearly I don't care about vaguely random internet blogging rules

3.) I'm seriously thinking about attending my 20th high school reunion. Given the amount of emotional torture I endured during my high school years...

4.) I suspect this means that I'm either A. crazy or B. a masochist

5.) I think you should check out a copy of Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for this awesome book and I STILL bought a copy when it released. I will be doing a review on my next review Monday but really, just buy it because it's awesome.