Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Before I Go To Sleep

Oh lambwhores. Oh do I have a fantastic book for you!!

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love--all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life. 

You know I am nothing if not honest and I will tell you that after awhile I really struggled to get through the book. Don't get me wrong- it is magnificently written, it pulls you in and you are wondering if this is just a story about a tragedy or is it something more sinister? The only thing that kept me going through this book was the nagging thought that maybe it's more than a tragedy... maybe there is a huge plot twist at the end?

And THANK GOD that I kept with it because the twist at the end is so incredibly worth the wait.

Part of me really liked Christine's character because if you think about this, it is a terrifying thought. To wake up every day and not have a clue where you are, who is in the bed with you, how you got there, etc. The on the other hand, I got kind of annoyed with her because she kind of turns a little irrational. Which... I suppose you would kind of go insane after so many years of this continued cycle.

And oh lord do I want to tell you about the ending. It is SO good. At first I thought maybe the doctor is really her son, maybe Ben was trying to kill her, etc. I will tell you that none of those happen, but the ending is so worth reading this book. I hands down totally recommend it!

But definitely don't rely on just me, see what other people are saying about this book here. You can see S. J. Watson's Facebook, Twitter and website too!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Never go in without the caffeine.

Yesterday wasn't a very good day. For a lot of reasons, but pretty much nothing about yesterday was good and it only got worse as the day progressed. While I could talk about my frustrations with Matt being incredibly lazy as of late and me feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, I am going to talk about how you should never go to a vacation timeshare meeting with no caffeine in you, and worse yet, be persuaded by your husband when he gets giddy.

Oh yeah, you read that- we totally got scammed. BUT, this story has a *pending* happy ending, but for now, sit back and laugh at us. Because if nothing else, my increased blood pressure and anxiety that I am currently experiencing can be a funny highlight to your evening.

A couple of weeks ago we got a post card in the mail telling us that if we go to this "travel opportunity meeting" we would be awarded two round trip flights to anywhere in the continental United States as well as three nights in a resort. We totally bit on that because we are poor and want a vacation, but also because we've been through the timeshare crap before and held strong. I figured we were on our home turf and not some tourist trapped in a van being driven far, far away from your hotel, so we had the upper hand.

We got to the meeting way early, as directed by a coworker of Matt's who said then you got $50 in restaurant credit. So we got there early, got our credit marked down, filled out paperwork, and then watched a half hour of America's Home Video on Netflix. Not even kidding, that was their entertainment while we waited.

The presentation itself was fast, maybe thirty minutes? The guy doing the presentation, not even kidding, was on something. Nobody, absolutely nobody, paces that fast back and forth across the room speaking as fast as he was and gulping water. Not even televangelists are that frantic.

And we were the first group of the day, I'd be interested to see what the last group is like.

Of course, I was blown away by the prices they were showing us but I knew we didn't have no $7995 to plunk down on some program that enables you to travel. Matt though? Was SO excited. And for me to sit there and basically crush the enthusiasm, when he normally has NO emotional response to anything?

Not even I'm that terrible of a person.

So Matt completely said we'd buy in when the guy came to our table. And to be completely honest, the next 20 minutes were a blur. I really can't tell you how it all happened but we walked out of there owners into some weird vacation club. There is more to it, but I'm not going to throw Matt under the bus (though I totally could, I'm just going to be owning the fact that I signed on the line as well and yeah. *sigh*)

Once I got home, the reality of it set in and I go into full on investigation mode as I do when I'm stressed out. I arm myself with as much information as I can and go from there.

After a few hours of looking at their website, using other travel websites comparing trips, looking at online reviews, etc and I felt like throwing up. I literally felt like throwing up. So I had to talk Matt down from his euphoria of somehow thinking we're going to go on endless vacations and burst his bubble. I felt terrible, I really did. But I told Matt he absolutely had to sign the notice of cancellation form otherwise I basically would forge his name, get our money back, and move on.

So today I mailed the form and I am basically am holding my breath. I hope we can get our money back.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Happened To Hannah

Holy bucket loves! I totally forgot to post my review about this book and I'm sorry for that because it was amazing.

What Happened to Hannah- Mary Kay McComas

As a teenager, Hannah Benson ran away from home in order to save herself. Now, twenty years later, the past comes calling and delivers life-changing news: her mother and sister have passed away, leaving Hannah the guardian of the fifteen-year-old niece. Returning home to bitter memories and devastating secrets, Hannah must overcome her painful past to pave a future with her niece, the last best chance at a family for both of them. She beings to create a new, happier life with her niece and rekindles a relationship with Grady Steadman, one of the few people she's ever called a friend. But she can't forget what she cannot forgive, or lay to rest those ghosts that will not die. Will love and trust-and the truth-give her the strength to stand her ground and fight for what she deserves?

I will tell you that I could not put this book down. It took me a little over a day to fly through it because I was so engrossed in the story. I have to say that I was afraid I wouldn't like Hannah's character- a lot of times when you read books with similar story lines, the main character comes off basically as a bitch. Not to be crude, but that's how they come off. Mary Kay McComas did Hannah's character so well and made her someone you really feel like you'd want to get to know. She isn't over the top, she's realistic, she's methodical, and she is genuinely scared of what would happen to her and her niece if people really knew about the night she ran away.

The ending- I did not see coming. I had an inkling things weren't as Hannah remembers them, but the little twist Mary Kay puts in there blew me away. In a good way though, because I was worried that it would end in a boring, you-saw-it-coming way. Not the case in this book! I also really liked Grady. Raise your hand if you've read a romance novel with a police officer guy who comes off as over domineering and kind of a jerk? Yeah, we've all read those- but that is not how Grady is in this book. He comes off as a guy you'd like to date or even marry, just an all around good guy who just does his best with what he has.

After reading this book I am anxious for pay day to come so I can see what other works Mary Kay McComas has available because her writing style is fantastic and she writes a great a story. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good read or even something for a book club. I can't imagine anyone not liking this book!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Delicacy (GIVEAWAY)

Book review time! Do you need a fast read that is easy to stuff into your purse? Well here you go.

Delicacy- David Foenkinos

Reminiscent of novels by Nick Hornby, Muriel Barbery, and Jonathan Tropper, internationally acclaimed novelist David Foenkinos delivers a heartfelt and deftly comedic tale of new love brightening the dark aftermath of loss—and of wounded hearts finding refuge in the strangest of places. After her husband’s unexpected death, Natalie has erected a fortress around her emotions—and Markus, clumsy and unassuming, will never be her knight in shining armor. Yet slowly but surely, an offbeat romance begins between these two mismatched, complex souls, and contrary to everything Natalie knows of affection, her perfect suitor may turn out to be love’s most unlikely candidate—the fool, not the hero, who is finally able to reach her heart.

OK, so this book clocks in at an easy 250 pages but the cool thing? Is that there are 115 chapters. Yeah, you read that right. What makes this kind of a genius idea is that you can't stop at one chapter- you can easily read 20 chapters and feel like you are sailing through this book.

This book was originally written in French and translated to English which is kind of obvious in some parts when you read it. People don't speak, let alone write, the way the words are written in the book and I'm sure that's because of translation. The other thing is that I don't know if any other reviewers noticed this, but there is WEIRD punctuation in this book- periods where there should be commas and vice versa, which makes it hard to read in some areas. Basically, this means I had to re-read some passages again because I had a hard time understanding it.

The story itself is like any other story about a wife losing her husband and then falling in love with the unassuming character in her life. We've all seen movies and read books with the same story line and I didn't feel there was anything different about this story to make it stand out from all of those. But I will say is that I think sometimes as women (OK, and sometimes this is men too) get so fixated on their list of qualities they have to have in a partner that they overlook the obvious. So maybe the person you're overlooking doesn't have it all, maybe he has a receding hairline, a shitty job, or maybe she has a moustache- whatever. Just because they aren't ideally perfect according to your list doesn't mean they couldn't make you happy. I think that was the biggest thing to take away from this book is that often times it's the person you give no thought to that ends up being the one who really is perfect despite their imperfections.

Check out what other bloggers are saying about this book here. In the meantime, I actually have two copies of this book because I am an idiot. Why? Because a lot of times I pick out books to review months in advance, and then forget about it. Then I go online and buy books for cheap and think, "hey- I wanted to read that" and forget that I'm getting a review copy eventually, so I buy it. Then I often end up with two. Because I am an idiot. So as is the case with another book in a few weeks, I have an extra copy and one of you will win it.

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This giveaway will end on Monday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Hole. Part 2154678

Honestly, I don't remember how many hole updates you've had, but there has been progress. I can't even tell you how terrible fixing dry wall is but I can tell you that I hate it and I have lots of respect who do this as a chosen profession. I totally know why they charge so much for this shit because it horrid, horrid work.

For about two weeks my living room looked like this:

 It was a hot mess. Then once we were pretty sure we couldn't do any better of a job, we went to Home Depot to purchase paint. Guess what's really expensive? Paint and it's fucking supplies, that's what. We dropped $100 on three gallons of paint, one roller, some roller thingies, and something else I can't remember. We apparently have a large room which means you need this much paint.

So over the course of a week Matt and I painted our living room. I finally decided on a green (which may or may not have been blindly pointing at one of the two samples I had picked out. I'm sure the paint mixer guy sees lots of people like me) and a cream color for the walls, so I was already feeling badass.

Fun fact: Guess what I am not good at? Cutting in. I am not a cutter in any sense of that word. I don't have a steady hand apparently and I have zero depth perception. But guess what I'm a rock star at? Painting flat surfaces! I did a really good job. Obviously.

So here is where we are at now:
 The room already looks a million times brighter. So we have two walls green, two full walls and that little half wall cream. All of the trim is going to stay white because I couldn't commit to a third color and there we go.
The hole is painted on the inside, but there is not trim around the doorway. We are definitely going to make it a storage area for dvd's, scrapbooks, extra blankets, etc so it will be a functioning space. I thought about making it a play area but we let the kids in there and *surprise* it amplifies sound. Guess what we don't need in this house?

Amplified sound.

So that is a no kid zone because we are terrible, terrible parents.

Right now I have no pictures on the wall and I feel almost scared to go any further in the decorating process. I am finding I have a terrible time making a decision on anything and Amy can attest to that after my big IKEA weekend of stupid purchases. I totally choked under pressure. But I have a nagging idea to put yellow curtains in my living room. Would adding yellow be too much color? I'm talking about a light, almost sunshine yellow.


The other big news? We ordered carpet. But that? Is a whole other story.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I have had a pretty eventful couple of weeks and so much to tell you. A ton, really. But tonight while I get some stuff in order at home and some crap off my desk, I am going to review a book that I absolutely loved. Loved so much it's getting it's well earned spot in my top ten book list.

Spin by Catherine McKenzie

Kate’s To-Do List:
1. Go to rehab
2. Befriend/spy on “It Girl”
3. Write killer expose
4. Land dream job

Piece of cake!

When Kate Sandford lands an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line, it’s the chance of a lifetime. So Kate goes out to celebrate—and shows up still drunk to the interview the next morning. It’s no surprise that she doesn’t get the job, but her performance has convinced the editors that she’d be perfect for an undercover assignment for their gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow “It Girl” Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop—and complete the thirty-day program—they’ll reconsider her for the position at The Line. Kate takes the assignment, but when real friendships start to develop, she has to decide if what she has to gain is worth the price she’ll have to pay.

I want so much to tell you everything awesome about this book... but I can't. I can't because I feel like it would ruin it for you. But the quick and dirty is that Kate is a 20something aspiring writer who really wants to write for a music magazine but doesn't quite have her life together. She goes out drinking to celebrate her pre-birthday and from there she ends up going to her dream job interview completely drunk and has a not so proud moment puking in the bathroom. From there she goes to rehab because of her alternative assignment and she has to go through the motions as an alcoholic. When in reality, she is an alcoholic but just doesn't see it.

This book was funny, hands down. I found myself laughing and completely relating to Kate even though I don't drink at all. But I really appreciated her almost anti establishment attitude about rehab because I imagine if I were in her shoes I'd be the same way. The kicker is that she starts to befriend her "target" so to speak and learns some very real lessons in life. The book is sad in a way because you see a bit of a glimpse of celebrity and what it's probably like for them. It's hard to get better when everyone prefers to see you down for their own selfish reasons. The other thing I really liked about this book is that I think a lot of people have a drinking problem but think they don't. I can name at least two or three people I know who have issues but won't acknowledge it. It's harder to do the work to get better than it is to just drink it away and lose it all.

I so highly recommend this book to you. You will laugh, you'll get a few introspective moments, and you will have an incredibly hard time putting it down. Excellent book. I wish I wasn't so tired at this very moment to be overly expressive about the awesomeness of this book because it so deserves it.

You know I always recommend that you check out what other people are saying and you can do that HERE. Catherine has a website, Facebook and Twitter too.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why my porch smells like rotten milk.

Some of the people who know me in real life visit me often and drop by my house to borrow books, movies, kitchen shit, and sometimes I think they come because they know Matt will go get us ice cream without asking. Which is totally fine because I love having company and I think some of them secretly try to bust into my house to see it messy.

Which it rarely is, so I'm always on my toes.

But recently I've had a LOT of comments about the putrid rotten milk smell up in here and I know. I totally know it's rotten and rancid and bad. I KNOW. But there is a reason for it and it's a good one, so there.

Some of you know that I recently became the PTO President a few months ago. The job is pretty stressful so I completely understand how our previous President had to step down because it is a huge time commitment and she is hecka busy with her regular life. After I got my bearings about me and had someone of a vague idea of what I should be doing, it was time that we tackle... the milk caps.

Now, around here we have a semi-local milk company called Kemps that runs this super great program called the Nickels for Schools and it's basically we turn in specially marked milk caps, they give us a nickel for each one. It's simple for parents and the PTO gets the benefits. We also do the Box Tops for Education and the Labels for Education on select Campbells' products. (Do you just throw these out? DON'T! Our school could definitely use them!) Anyways. So the previous president told me she had a few bags of milk caps that needed to be counted and so we arranged for a time for Matt to pick them up after skiing one day. No problem.


Matt got home. Holy shit he was PISSED. Because I failed to ask how big the bags were... and there were five lawn sized trash bags. *gulp* Now, I didn't think it would take us long to count them because I had recently counted what was collected on the front table and I got through 2019 caps in about 20 minutes.

So after Matt dragged them into the house, we started counting them when the kids went to bed. We got through 4000 and had to quit. Our eyes were bugged out, we were both exhausted and it's hard to count when you're watching Hoarders at A&E because you look around yourself sitting in a pile of milk caps and think perhaps you aren't the person to be judging these folk. So we went to bed.

The next morning, I stepped in a HUGE fucking puddle on my living room carpet. Guess what happened? Some of the bags collected moisture and the caps had frozen into huge blocks of ice (they were stored in a garage, so this happens) and yeah..... overnight they thawed. On my stank ass already carpet. It was right around then that the smell of rotten milk wafted across me and I almost threw up right then and there. I had to go to work that morning and get the kids to school and to my mom's so I didn't have time to deal with it. When I came home, I was cleaning up a really disgusting mess.

Matt, obviously, was so pissed off he wouldn't look at me.

Rightfully so.

Because in the midst of the milk cap counting we were dealing with the hole in the wall in the living room situation. I feel bad that I didn't take a picture of all of the caps when they were in the massive pile because it was five times the size of this- no lie.
 Each box fits 2000 caps perfectly and I ended up with ten boxes total. So.. add more to this pile which is in my front porch. It all goes on Thursday so THANK GOD because my front porch now smells like rotten milk.
 Our school is also doing a classroom contest to see which class can collect the most milk caps, box tops, soup labels, etc so I had to come up with some collection containers. I ended up taking 20 empty coffee cans from my work and making them not look like coffee cans. But they made the other half of my porch look ghetto as well.
 But the cans aren't half bad. It's just awkward carrying twenty coffee cans into school.
So I've been busy. It's a good fundraiser for the school though so I'm happy to do it. I'll just be really happy when the milk caps are gone. And I'll have to just stay on top of the counting and boxing them up. Which I will be, no big deal. But I will say that Matt is kind of a milk cap counting rock star. He had a total system going and really counted more than I did, so fist pumps and booty shakes for him.

In other news, I'm fucking EXHAUSTED right now. Today was shit hole Tuesday which means I've only peed once and eaten none today. It is now 8:05pm and I am making Matt go get me something because I feel sick. And if you're wondering? I made it to everything without his help. Matt came to 4K registration, which was a stinking ZOO, and I ended up doing all of the paperwork while he sat and had pizza with the kids. I'll share more about that (with pictures) tomorrow.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Prime Suspect, Face In The Crowd

I have not one, but TWO book reviews for you tonight. In between multiple coats of paint this weekend I got two books finished. I'll tell you right now that I think I was high from the paint fumes since I wasn't smart enough to you know, crack a window, so my comprehension of the books may be skewed. I think.

The moment Jane Tennison takes over Scotland Yard’s investigation into the death of sex worker Della Mornay, two grim facts become immediately clear to her. First, that the constabulary’s old boy club is determined to hinder, harass, and undermine the new female Detective Chief Inspector at every turn. And second, that their murder victim isn’t Della Mornay. Now the police are a step behind, and a madman is loose on the streets of London. To apprehend the criminal stalking women through the city’s shadows, Tennison will have to steel herself against the hostility of her fellow officers and conceal her own mounting obsession with breaking through the glass ceiling of the station house—even as department politics, a crumbling relationship, and a wickedly elusive prime suspect threaten her very existence.

Prime Suspect 2
The coroner’s report identifies the body as young, black, female, and impossibly anonymous. Yet one thing is clear to Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison about the latest victim discovered in one of London’s poorest districts—that news of her murder will tear apart a city already crackling with racial tensions, hurling Scotland Yard and Tennison herself into a maelstrom of shocking accusations and sudden, wrenching violence. Even as London’s brutal killer remains at large, Tennison remains locked in a struggle to overcome her station house’s brutal chauvinism and insidious politicking. And as the department’s deeply rooted racism rears its head to overshadow every facet of her new investigation, the trail of her prime suspect is growing colder. Worse, when the details of the beleaguered detective’s stormy personal life explode across the headlines of London’s sleaziest tabloids, Tennison’s already frenzied determination to bring the killer to justice will be catapulted into obsession—one that could send her spiraling over the edge.

I am working on the third book in this series right now because one thing I can tell you right off the bat is that these books are catchy. You are hooked into them right away and the writing is gripping. The only complaint I can really say is that I really struggled with some of the British slang used in the books. Admittedly, it might just be my skills as a reader but I have a hard time reading through it and find myself re-reading some passages and trying to decipher the meaning of it. So.. you may have no problem with this.

The characters are... interesting. As a woman I want to root for Jane because she's rocking her vagina but also working her way up the ranks with brains, talent and skill in regards to her job so you automatically cheer for that. What I don't like is how she is almost.. stereotyped? Look at most crime shows where you have a woman in charge and what qualities do they have or lack? Usually they are ballsy, mouthy, maybe less empathetic than most women, sometimes oblivious to anything outside of what she's focused on, etc. All of these traits characterize Jane but at the end of the day- she is a damn good officer and her fellow police officers reluctantly realize that.

I kept trying to guess the outcome of both books and every time I thought I figured something out ahead of the characters... I was wrong. But I really like how the author changed up the story just a little bit and added so much to the story with very little effort.

I highly recommend these books because they are really great for suspense and the thriller aspect. It's like reading an episode of Law & Order. To see what other bloggers are saying about these books, check it out HERE. Lynda LaPlante also has her own website which I recommend.