Tuesday, April 30, 2013

That time I held Mikel Jollett's hand.

Otherwise known as that time I took my dear friend Emily to her first concert ever and we saw The Airborne Toxic Event. It was glorious.

It was mostly really great to see Emily because I miss her a lot even though I'm happy she's doing her dream job and lives in a place dubbed the River House. We had a great dinner in Roseville and though she was reluctant to wait for hours outside of the venue despite my logic, she was a real trooper. Freezing wind and all. And the fact that I promised that some random old guy would make friends and she was probably doubtful, but it really ended up happening probably helped. AND we made friends with a definitely crazy, possibly drunk girl from Denver. And by "we made friends" I mean she randomly asked if we were fans of the band, showed us pictures off her phone and almost set my hair on fire with her cigarette. So you know, a typical Sara Tuesday.

But once we were in it was pretty great. Kodaline opened for them and they were really great. I knew that I knew at least one song of theirs but then it turns out I knew all of the ones they played. Cute little Irish boys.

Kodaline played a relatively short set but they were really great. I can't stress that enough. Then of course The Airborne Toxic Event came on and I screamed like a twelve year old girl.  
The best part is that at like song two, Mikel climbed up the wall onto the stairs making his way through the crowd. And when he went by me, he grabbed my hand and squeezed it. Not going to lie, I almost died from it. I love him. Mucho. Like if he had dragged me away I would have went willingly. And he has soft hands. *sigh*

They did pretty much every song of theirs, played some new stuff and just made it a really fantastic concert. Oh! And then at one point Mikel spoke of the origin of the band name which is from a book called White Noise, and so I cheered because hello- read it! So he was taken aback and said, "Never thought I'd hear a cheer for a book at a rock concert." Um yeah- you're not aware of my bad ass-ness and we should be friends.
And it's always really great when you have a crowd of fans when literally everyone sings along, it brings the concert to another level. Which is exactly what happened. It was so great. I clapped so much that the palms of my hands had bruises, people. I sang along and the next day I felt like not only I had chain smoked a million cigarettes but that I was severely  hung over. All signs that the complete exhaustion was worth it.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Carry On, Warrior (and giveaway!)

I will be honest- when I originally saw this tour available, I skipped over it as soon as I saw that it was written by the creator of momastry.com. Not because I have anything against the website, but because I really hate mommy bloggers. I hate the "my kids are my life and it's always amazing and I am so blessed by Jesus" bloggers. I really would like them to show up at my house when I'm performing an enema on a seven year old while my five year old screams that I'm not spending time with him.

Like if I had a choice, I would chose an enema over Lego's.

But then I agreed I would do it and hot damn, I'm glad I did.

Carry On, Warrior - Glennon Doyle Melton
Carry On, Warrior

An inspirational, side-splittingly funny exploration of the power of living with love, forgiveness, and honesty.
In Carry On, Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton shares new stories and the best-loved material from Momastery.com. She recounts her mistakes and triumphs with candor and humor, and gives language to our universal (yet often secret) experiences. She believes that by shedding our armor, we can stop hiding, competing, striving for the mirage of perfection, and making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman trying to love herself and others, readers find a wise and witty friend who will inspire them to forgive their own imperfections, make the most of their gifts, and commit to small acts of love that will change the world.
 Carry On, Warrior features new material and selections from Momastery.com.

Largely, my gripe about other moms is that they aren't really honest. If you can't be honest with yourself that's a shame but to not be honest with the outside world is equally terrible. I have, to the chagrin of my extended family, been honest on my blog to the point where it is embarrassing for them. They feel upset with me and they don't understand it. But you understand it, because you are maybe like me. Immediately what won me was a little paragraph towards the beginning that made me say YES, Glennon is my kind of girl. 

"After reading a few of my essays, my dad, Bubba, called and said, 'Glennon. Don't you think there are some things you should take to the grave?' I thought hard for a moment and said, 'No. I really don't. That sounds horrible to me. I don't want to take anything to the grave. I want to die used up and emptied out. I don't want to carry around anything that I don't have to. I want to travel light."

And it just felt... good. It felt good to have someone else see it exactly as I do. Sure, some things I have to say maybe are embarrassing for someone else, or it makes them feel a certain way. But it's not really for me to worry about, is it? That means they have things they need to work through and it can't be my fault. I can't worry about that. So as I get older, I am getting closer and closer to dealing with things from my childhood that I know hinder me in some way as an adult. Slowly, I am getting there. 

But another theme through the book is how moms especially, feel a certain stigma about being honest. You know what, parenthood sometimes really sucks. And it's OK to say that. It doesn't make you a bad mother. Sometimes it is really hard to keep up appearances and be a really great mom, wife, friend, whatever. It's really hard to juggle it all and I am a poster child for that. Glennon struggled with addiction and other things during her younger years so she literally fell into motherhood completely not ready and anyone can appreciate that would be difficult. And one day in the park she decided to fuck it all, and she told another mom all of these things. Not only was it freeing to Glennon, but to the other mom as well. And think of how free you would feel if you just let it all go. Be honest. Live in the moment and not be worried about other people's perceptions of you. 

It would be momentous. 

Basically, I am telling you that as a vagina card carrying woman, you need this book. If you are a mother in any degree, you need this book. It does have a vein of religion in it which isn't my thing at all, but it's OK. I was able to pull enough out of it to overlook it. It's really just refreshing to read. It's not quite self help, but it's a memoir... kind of. Frankly, I don't know where you would peg this book but it's good nonetheless. And it also shows how no matter how put together you see a person, it's maybe hiding something totally different. 

To win a copy of this book (US/Canada only), there are only two rules: 
1. Leave me a comment on this post with your email address
2. Follow this blog using Bloglovin (link below)
Good luck! 
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mermaid in Brooklyn (and giveaway!!)

I know, you want updates on the house sale/hunt, you want to know about my concert last night, and one of you creepy readers asked for a boob pictures. I'll give you updates, no boob pictures, all in good time, but I have a book review and giveaway for you. And if you are a mother who is just so incredibly exhausted, you will love this book. Totally adore.

Mermaid in Brooklyn - Amy Shearn
Mermaid of Brooklyn final cover

Formerly an up-and-coming magazine editor, Jenny Lipkin is now your average, stretched-too-thin Brooklyn mom, tackling the challenges of raising two children in a cramped Park Slope walk-up. All she really wants is to survive the sweltering New York summer with a shred of sanity intact. But when her husband, Harry, vanishes one evening, Jenny reaches her breaking point. And in a moment of despair, a split-second decision changes her life forever.
Pulled from the brink by an unexpected ally, Jenny is forced to rethink her ideas about success, motherhood, romance, and relationships. But confronting her inner demons is no easy task. . .
I knew immediately that not only was I going to love this book a lot but that I was going to love Amy Shearn. First of all, she is hilarious. And I'd like to think she's been through post-partum depression and everything else that parenthood brings because it was so real. Jenny's story sounds so much like mine, minus the mermaid and cute dad situation, and I felt like I was reading my memoir. 
Which legitimately felt a little cheated because now I feel like I have a different route to go on my own memoir someday. But, that's a story for another day. Literally. 
Literally on the first page there was a line that I found myself saying, "dammit, I hear you on THAT", and here it is so you get a sampling of her voice:
"I would by lying if I said his leaving wasn't a tiny bit of a relief, at least at first. My initial thought-due mostly to sleep deprivation, the effects of which, as any mother or political prisoner knows, never entirely fades- was that once the girls were in bed, I could ignore the dishes to be done and laundry (still in a compact three-day-old brick from the Laundromat drop off service) to be put away."
Um, hello. I remember when Matt and I went through a rough patch and I made him leave, I was secretly grateful that all of a sudden, the pressure to be a good wife AND mother were temporarily gone. To make matters worse, Jenny's infant, Rose, is the epitome of what you don't want in a second child when you are already exhausted, questioning life, and basically over it all. She cries a lot, she is very high needs, and she never sleeps. It summed up what Olivia was for me. And when Jenny repeats, " shut up, shut up, shut up, please shut up" hoping for just a little respite, and maybe a nap, I totally got it. Totally freaking got it. It's everything you never want to admit to a mother and I laughed out loud when Jenny's character referenced "the sheet they make you sign saying you won't shake your baby no matter what" because honestly, been there. I get it. 
So I felt like Jenny was me. I connected with her throughout the book. Even with cute dad, a neighborhood dad that is basically a stay at home dad and leads Jenny astray even though her husband has seemingly up and left. And side note? When he sends her a god damn post card basically saying he needs time, but oh don't worry- he'll come back? Stab. I would have been homicidal. Like, oh- please. Take all of the time you need while I'm sleep deprived and trying to feed the dog cereal because I can't force myself down the stairs and down the street to the store one more time with two high demand children in tow. 
What else I loved? How her relationship with Laura starts out kind of indifferent, just like any relationship would be when you make a new mommy friend, and eventually grows into a lasting friendship. The irony here is  how I finished this book and one of the books I'm reviewing tomorrow made me think of this book again. I'll talk more about that tomorrow. But it's hard to make friends when you become a mother, especially if these are other mommy friends, because you feel judged. It's really difficult to get past that and really not care what others moms are thinking because you know you are doing the best that you know how to do, but at the same time, want to know what you can do to be better. 
I don't want to talk about the mermaid aspect, or if Harry comes back, or what transpires with cute dad, or none of that. Because it would ruin it for you and this is too good of a book to do that. But I will tell you this, I have mixed emotions about the ending. You knew it was going to happen (well, I suspected) and when it does.. I feel bad for Jenny. It made me wonder if it's really what she wanted or if she really just felt trapped. But at the same time, I totally understood it because I had a similar ending and look at Matt and I now. So who knows. (Is that enough of a spoiler?) 
To win a copy of this book (US/Canada only), there are only two rules: 
1. Leave me a comment on this post with your email address
2. Follow this blog using Bloglovin (link below)
Good luck! 
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Monday, April 22, 2013

I should be a foreman. Or be in management.

Do you remember on Friday when I was freaking out about home improvement stuff and I made totally "unrealistic" demands of Matt?

Well all of his bitching was totally ridiculous because it got done. Almost all of it got done with the help of my really great micro-managing skills, my multi-tasking job assignment skills and my refusal of breaks unless you thought you were going to have an accident. We're obviously not union run around here but we are productive.

 Though they aren't technically legal to work, I put Jackson and Olivia to work as well. This apparently required aprons and goggles. Safety first, bitches.
But this is the wall in the laundry room totally finished and painted. Door trim is up.  
 The laundry room also has a ceiling and light fixture. This room looks a 1000% better than it did before. The best part about this is that for eight years Matt has complained at what a pain in the ass job the ceiling was going to be. Guess how long it took him? A few hours. Whiner.
 The front porch seemed like more of a pain in the ass because it literally took him all day Saturday and part of Sunday to finish. I'm pretty sure that because nothing in there is level or square that it was really pissing him off. But it looks nice. The room looks brighter and cleaner and though it is paneling, it's not offensive poop brown paneling.
AND, my bedroom door has trim around it AND my baseboard are trimmed out. It's perfect. Even though Matt broke my side table lamp from IKEA because he breaks them all of the time, it's still a win. I just need to hope IKEA carries them still. (See, Amy? I knew I should have bought extras last time!!)

Tomorrow the Realtor comes to take pictures of our house and basically give us an estimate of what we could get for it. Crossing fingers. I've cleaned like a mother fucker all weekend, purged all kinds of stuff and I am currently getting ready to sweep and mop my floors. Matt says I've lost my mind. I say I want my house to look nice.

But again, I'm so nervous my bowels are rioting.

What's making me nervous is what if our house sells fast and there is basically nothing great to pick for us to buy? Because the market is kind of dead here as far as nice stuff. And what if our house doesn't sell fast? Or at all? It's really very stressful. So yes, cross your fingers. And toes too if you're a freak and can do that.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Sometimes good news give you diarrhea.

And that's just a fact. It's also a weird thing that I not only inherited from my mother but it's something Matt and I apparently have in common. Excitement, nervousness, and stress give us diarrhea.

I feel a little closer to you now that we've shared that.

But here's the deal. Today we had our appointment with the bank. It was supposed to be at 9 but because Mother Nature is illiterate and can't read "April" on the calendar, we got a ton of snow last night. Pretty much everything shut down this morning, and the bank had a message on their website saying they would open at 10, allowing roads to be cleared. So we were able to reschedule and get in at 11:30 which was the only other available appointment. I'm not going to lie, when we went? I was terrified. I didn't even eat breakfast because I couldn't guarantee it would stay down.

After a full hour of going over finances and our credit report and just everything that is involved with applying for a mortgage, and some not re-assuring facial expressions from the gal at the bank, she gave us the news.

Not only are we qualified for a mortgage (I squealed, Matt almost squealed but held himself together), but our debt to income ratio? 30%!! Now, most of you don't even know what that is or why it's important but let me tell you something: to be at 30% only four years after a bankruptcy? I almost started crying. This poor woman probably thought I have stopped taking my required medication. I was jumping in my seat, squealing, it's no wonder she ushered us out fast.


But now the real work starts. Our pre-qualification is good for 90 days. After 90 days they have to go through it all over again because that's what they do, and it's stressful. Because how many people do you know have sold and bought a house in 90 days?

Um, nobody. That's who.

So in order to get this shit done, we have a Realtor who was really aggressive with our friend's previous home and was really successful at getting them above what they needed. But in order for me to feel less terrified, Matt and I sat down and made a full list of what we financially can handle to finish on this house. The kitchen is out. There is no way we can do cupboards and honestly... no. It's just out. But here is what's in:

Front Porch: finish paneling, trim
Master Bedroom: finish trim
Living Room: paint cubby hole
Laundry Room: ceiling, paint, trim
Kitchen: Fix one section of flooring, trim
Back Porch: panel, paint. ??

The back porch is our wild card. Maybe it'll happen, maybe it won't. I think the little touches in the rest of the rooms are needed, but the back porch? Honestly, if they buyer had any sense, they would rip out the existing "closet" in there and make it a real mudroom. But we don't have time for that, so here we are.

Lambs- I'm scared. I am so over the moon excited but I am terrified at the same time. Literally terrified. I can't event think of the best case scenarios because all I think of are all of the things that could go bad. Primarily, this house not selling. My stomach is going to be totally rotted through by the end of this.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Have Mother, Will Travel

Anybody with a mother will relate to this book. Specifically, any mother/daughter duo will relate to this book no matter your relationship. Love.

Have Mother, Will Travel - Claire Fontaine, Mia Fontaine
Have Mother Will Travel
Their bestselling memoir, Come Back, inspired readers with the story of Mia Fontaine’s harrowing drug addiction and her mother, Claire’s, desperate and ultimately successful attempts to save her. Now, a decade later, as Mia finds that adult life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Claire realizes that she forgot to plan for life after motherhood. Determined to transform themselves and a relationship that has frayed around the edges, the pair sets off on a five-month adventure through twenty cities and twelve countries: an extraordinary, often hilarious journey that includes mishaps, mayhem, and unexpected joys, from a passport-eating elephant in Malaysia to the lavender fields of France, where they finally make peace with their tumultuous past. Wiser for what they’ve learned from women in other cultures, and from each other, they return with a deepened sense of who they are and where they want to go.

I'll start by saying that I did not read their first memoir together and after reading this book, I feel like I have to go back and read the other one. You can tell immediately that they love each other, they've been through difficult things, and they both communicate the same... but differently. It makes for a challenging relationship at times. But the best part about this book for me is that I could so identify with Mia. Sure, I have never had a drug addiction but I could really appreciate and understand her feelings toward her mothers and her view on their struggles. I think my own mother could relate to Claire as well and I think if my mother and I ever took a trip like this it would be almost an identical experience. 

Just like Mia and Claire, my mother and I struggle with opening up to each other and being vocal on what we need. I don't want to worry my mom and my mom doesn't want to worry me and in turn, we both end up worrying about the other in secret. It's really a terrible cycle to be in. 

Aside from the relationship aspect of this book, their travels? Hilarious. And terrifying. Because I'm going to be honest, I want to be a real virgin, vanilla traveler. I'd like to see the sights but I also don't want to get sick. I don't really want to experience ethnic food, and I don't really want to be scared because I don't know the language. I don't adapt well to situations like that and so as I'm reading this I'm equally excited and captivated by it, but I'm also cringing. Basically their trip is like the Amazing Race and they get points based on the experiences that they have in different areas over several countries. It feels very stressful and you have to be strategic, but you also want to enjoy the trip. And ultimately, they are having to work as a team and it's difficult. I imagine my own mom and I would fight a lot on this because we're both very bossy in our own right. 

In the end, I totally loved this book. It made me appreciate my mom in a different light and if Mia ever has a daughter.. I'd be curious to see what she'd think of her mother then. Perhaps a third memoir? Check out their website or their Facebook for more of their story. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

In preparation of a dream, first you must demo. Again.

I think I've made mention a few times that I'm a bit... impulsive. I am much better than I was a few years ago but still, I have a hard time shutting myself down when I get a bug in my you know what. It gets real dangerous when you throw in a spouse who is equally impulsive as well.

We can get into trouble real quick.

But when we bought this house we knew it was just a starter. Then for a few years there we were playing the "would really need to move" game and thinking maybe we'll just make this house even better and stay here forever and ever. Now that the kids are getting older, and louder, and want to have friends over, and are even louder, I've decided no fucking way. This house is too small for the four of us and it's only going to get worse. I mean, I can't even watching a show of Blood Relatives where family members kill each other without it sounding like a herd of buffalo are coming through the ceiling. So before we end up on an episode of Blood Relatives we've decided we need to move.

It's a big decision that I would be lying if I said didn't cause me anxiety, stomach and bowel issues, and sleepless nights. I'm also very excited when I look at houses in our city and think that we could have a really nice house. That doesn't require us to fix stuff. It's like a dream.

But we can't just sell our house. Oh no. Not with all of Matt's million half finished projects. We've made a list of what we think must get done before we can even list this bitch:

  • Finish trim in master bedroom 
  • Fix front porch so it does not look horrible and scary
  • Finish wall and ceiling in laundry room
  • Fix the back porch closet, make it not a weird purple room
  • Put on new front steps to match the back deck
  • Kitchen... oh what to do with the kitchen
  • Paint cubby so you can't see the children's art work all over the effing walls
But you are a visual person, aren't you? I'll show you what our projects are but hold your audible gasps, mmkay?
Front porch, left side. See the drywall cracks? Well a fun little lesson in home ownership. If every other person on your block with identical front porch has the same ugly ass paneling that you have? There's a reason for that. Do not think you can give Mother Nature and her frost heave ways the middle finger because she will show you who is head bitch up in here. 
And force you to realize that yes, paneling IS the way to go and I should never have doubted every other person on this block. Even when they laughed and tried to tell us we were wasting our money. We'll obviously be hauling the paneling in through the back door to prevent them from shaming us. Hilariously enough, the new neighbors next to us that you can see? Putting drywall in. *snicker*
 The laundry room ceiling. Fuck sake. Surely even YOU are sick of hearing about my laundry room and I'm sick of looking at it. But we've decided to just do a drop ceiling because anything else would be a complete nightmare and a drop ceiling at least makes sense should you ever need to get to the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom.
And here is the wall that is still missing even though the new door has been put in for a few months now. It looks so pretty. I still can't get over the fact it actually opens all year round. Like right now? I could open it. A bunch of times if I wanted to. So between the ceiling and the wall? I think this laundry room is going to be in great shape.
 So here is the kitchen dilemma. We are broke. We cannot afford to re-do the kitchen. Our options are fairly limited. We can either re-do these cabinets which has an estimated 40 coats of paint on them which is why nothing shuts. All of the hinges and hardware that is involved with cabinets needs to be removed and replaced. These are literally built into the wall, so if we remove them? We're fixing the wall behind. Nightmare. We could put in the really shitty, paint them yourself cabinets from Menards that look cheap but we'd have to literally eat cereal daily for months. And time is not our friend here. OR, we leave it. And hope that the next buyers are first time home buyers looking to make their stamp on a house. The other issue is that if we put any more money into this house, we aren't getting our money out of it. Know what I mean?
 I would paint the other walls the cream color to match the dining rooms' red/cream scheme since they are connecting rooms. I'm really torn on what to do. Because ideally, I'd like to put the house on the market in July. Our trip to Florida is in June so all of our money is essentially tied into that. Decisions, decisions.  The other thing too is that compared to where this house was when we bought it? TOTALLY different. I wish I had taken pictures of what it was like when we had moved in because it was disgusting and a total dump. Never buy a home while pregnant, you are far more optimistic than you should be.
But today, Matt put the wall in the laundry room up and the mud or whatever is still drying so we hope to sand tomorrow and put another coat on. I'll hopefully be painting this room next weekend. Matt also tore out half of the drywall out of the front porch. He's angry and not looking forward to paneling. Which, I don't blame him. BUT we found this really light colored, almost beach wood paneling that looks really nice. It's also light enough that it makes the front porch bright and pretty, which I think is important when you walk into a house.

So here we go. We're on the path of finishing up our projects around here to list. I'm scared, I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm happy. But it'll be weird to walk away from our first home. Like, super weird and sad. But then I think, I might get a basement with storage. And maybe be able to park in a driveway instead of a street. It's the little things, people.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Great Escape


You hear that? That's the sound of me finishing a book I absolutely LOVED and finding an author I adore. It's like falling in love on a first date. It's love on first read.

The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Great Escape

The dazzling sequel to Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s beloved bestseller Call Me Irresistible
Lucy Jorik is a champ at not embarrassing her family—not surprising, since her mother is one of the most famous women in the world. But now Lucy has done just that. Instead of saying “I do” to the most perfect man she’s ever known, Lucy flees the church and hitches a ride on the back of a beat-up motorcycle with a rough-looking stranger who couldn’t be more foreign to her privileged existence. At his beach house on a Great Lakes island, Lucy hopes to find a new direction . . . and unlock the secrets of a man who reveals nothing about himself. But as the hot summer days unfold amid scented breezes and sudden storms, she discovers a passion that could change her life forever.
Now, even though you didn't read the sequel, you can still love this book. Love it times a million. I didn't read the sequel, I didn't feel lost at all. I didn't feel like I missing key components of the story and you won't either. 
First up, I loved all of these characters. Even though they are all crazy and flawed, I loved them because they were true to real life. I admired Lucy's totally ballsy move and lack of greater plan. I love Panda (the rough looking stranger) because he's scary but adorable and pretty much the dream boat of my fantasies. I love how Lucy finds herself and figures out life and just goes for it. I love how story lines of multiple characters come together and not just Lucy, but everyone figures out their lives. They aren't perfect but they realize that the things that they are focused on are the wrong things. And you can't run away from your problems. From the things that hold you back. Nothing is ever easy and everything can be painful, but the key is just to do it. Face it head on and then enjoy the rest of your life. And you know what? Maybe it's not so awful to open up and tell someone the things that you dislike the most about yourself. 
I basically lived this book and I couldn't put it down. This is one of those times where I've finished the book and it was so amazing, that I don't know where to even start or what I can say to convince you that you have to read it. I just know that you need to bump this to the top of your reading list immediately. Now that I've read this one I feel compelled to read basically everything Susan has written because she is a talent. She writes with honesty and common sense but she pulls a bit of humor into it. She is just so fantastic and you just feel so happy reading her books. I literally squealed from the greatness of this book. I love me some Susan too. 
Check out Susan's website and her Facebook and properly stalk her like I plan to. 

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The Loved and the Lost

I'm excited to give you the third and final review in Lory Kauffman's Verona Trilogy.

The Loved and the Lost 
The Loved and the Lost
They are three time travelers desperate to return to 14th-century Verona to reclaim their medieval family s shattered lives. It is a mission fraught with danger and the risk of unexpected consequences for themselves and for their worlds. For all three, it is a matter of the heart. For one, though, it is truly the only thing that matters, as the fate of his eternal love and the life of their unborn child is the prize to be won or lost forever. In this, the final book of THE VERONA TRILOGY, Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln go on the boldest adventure of their lives. They will face hardship, tragedy, and threats from sources they couldn't have imagined all in an effort to wrestle a future from the steely grip of an unforgiving past.

I am going to say again that the history aspect of these books was an unexpected highlight for me. I usually steer clear from history books because I hated history in high school. Hated it, but that's for another day. I do like the concept of History Camps and it'd be fascinating to have something like this so that high school kids could experience what it really was like before so they can get a greater appreciation for what they have now. 

The great thing about this book in particular is that it really highlights the dangers of changing history, of changing time. We all know realistically that would be bad because present day is the result of culminating events in history that we build on. It's important. Bad things in the past are important to the current day and even the future. 

I love how the characters found their own. Lincoln got his life together and found his calling. Shamira found a love who has the same interests as her in art and that's a big deal. And Hansum, who I really like and I have liked his character in the other two books, is kind of lost. He was married to a woman in 14th century Verona and he has to leave her behind, he can't save her. It's a very different twist to a Romeo & Juliet love story. It seems particularly cruel that they can go back in time with their teachers to see what they did wrong because it shows them what could have been. It was really hard to remember that essentially, these are still teenagers. They make a lot of mistakes and they have poor judgement and I was frustrated with them and had to remind myself that this is what teenagers do, it's normal. I found it most interesting that for three kids who were so against going to 14th century Verona, they end up preferring that to their home in the future. And I really thought that was great, like they really understood the lesson and they picked up something from it. 

I really liked this book. I do appreciate that the book had an ending that was good that I didn't totally expect. It feels like there could be a fourth book but it wouldn't be unsatisfying if there weren't. I definitely recommend this series to anyone. It is a YA series, but as an adult I really enjoyed it.  I think it's challenging to write a book that is geared toward YA but is still enjoyable to an adult and Lory hit the mark. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

No Greater Illusion

Pump Up Your Book and K. Baskett will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card/Paypal Cash plus an autographed paperback & ebook copy of her book on her No Greater Illusion Book Blast today ! This promotion begins on April 1 ends on April 26.  The winner will be announced on April 27. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

A number of unacquainted adults, from various walks of life, routinely enjoy the benefits of residing in a nation where liberty and justice are among its chief luxuries. Having different statuses of education, income, and ethnicity, all are suddenly forced to cope firsthand with the "domino effect" of America's violent reaction to the assassination of a promising female presidential nominee, Gov. Ceinwen Jarvis. In a day and time where the advancement of technology allows one's voting status, banking information, and even medical history to be accessed by microchip scan, they quickly realize that America - as well as their own lives - will never be the same.

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Jack of all trades, master of none - save for the art of procrastination - K. Baskett lives by the motto, "Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow." K. firmly believes that you aren't really interested in the author's hometown, spouse, children or pets, and has therefore decided to spare you the details.  No Greater Illusion is the author's debut novel.
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Monday, April 8, 2013

One Step Too Far

As a wife and mother I know first hand what it feels like to think, "I could just leave. I could just go right now and start all over...". When I saw this book in the NetGalley listing, I knew I had to read it.

One Step Too Far - Tina Seskis

An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start all over again? Has she had a breakdown? Was it to escape her dysfunctional family - especially her flawed twin sister Caroline who always seemed to hate her? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past? No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?

I will start by saying that this was a weird book. It was good, but there were so many parts where I started to really hate Emily not just as a mom and wife but as a person. Even though I can sympathize with wanting to just start all over because it's hard. Life is hard but you add the duties of motherhood and being a good wife into the mix, it's even harder. But she has had a lot of confusion and inner demons her entire life and I guess over time, it just gets to be too much. 

The secret that essentially drives this book, it's what keeps you reading because you want to know what it is, isn't earth shattering. I read it and was like, "Ok. No reason to freak out, totally something you could work out.". But given the personality of Emily, I understand why it would be a big deal for her. 

Things I didn't like about the book- is that she seems really cold. I mean, the thing keeping me back from running away is knowing it would screw my children up forever. Now, she thinks it's doing her son a favor but come on.... does anyone really think that? I mean, somewhere in your mind you have to know this is wrong. Then she moves into the most bizarre living situation with all of these randomly put together flatmates and eventually develops a drug habit along with shoplifting and yeah. How a person thinks this is the way to turn your life around is beyond me. 

I so badly want to give my two cents on how the book ends because I hated the ending. Oh, did I hate the ending. The only thing about  the ending that I did like is that everything had closure. A lot of authors like to leave loose strings and you're left wondering what the characters did after all, but this book ties it all up. Nothing is left to your imagination, you get the answer for everything and I really appreciated that. Especially with this book weaving different points of view and just bizarre topics into the story in general. So overall... I'm a 2/5. I just... I just can't give it more. I really struggled through it and I felt myself irrationally angry through most of it and I just can't give a book more than 2 for that because it's not one I would pick up again and it's not one I would necessarily recommend. 

Reviewed for NetGalley. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nowhere but Home

Oh how I love Liza Palmer. I have been a Liza Palmer fan for quite some time so as soon as I had the chance to review this one I jumped on the bandwagon of awesome people who were reviewing it. And yay- it didn't disappoint!

Nowhere But Home - Liza Palmer
Nowhere but Home

The strategy on the gridiron of Friday Night Lights is nothing compared to the savagery of coming home . . .
Queenie Wake has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup . . . again. Now the only place she has to go is North Star, Texas, the hometown she left in disgrace. Maybe things will be different this time around. After all, her mother—notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money—has been dead for years. And Queenie’s sister, once the local teenage harlot who fooled around with the town golden boy, is now the mother of the high school football captain.
Queenie’s new job, cooking last meals at the nearby prison, is going well . . . at least the inmates don’t complain! But apparently small-town Texas has a long memory for bad reputations. And when Queenie bumps into Everett Coburn, the high school sweetheart who broke her heart, she wishes her own memory was a little spottier. But before Queenie takes another chance on love, she’ll have to take an even bigger risk: finding a place to call home once and for all.
The thing about Liza Palmer novels is that I never feel like I've gotten enough at the end. I always feel like there should be a sequel and there never is and I'm just always like, what the hell, Liza? Help a girl out here. But really, it doesn't matter and I can't be mad for too long because at the end of the day they are really good books all on their own. And I always really love her characters. They are just so inherently screwed up and need professional counseling but who cares because we really all root for the hot messes, don't we? 
And Queenie is a really great hot mess. How could you not be when you have the name Queen Elizabeth Wake and your mother is the town slut who gets murdered by her best friend once said best friend found her sleeping with her husband? I mean, it's very Days of our Lives and I love it. So Queenie is a hot mess who essentially runs from her home town because the Wake family has a reputation of sorts that the children don't live up to because none of the things said about them are actually true. They are living down the shame of their long dead mother. But after a series of jobs that don't work out in more exciting cities, Queenie finds herself back home. 
Of COURSE she runs into the love of her life who is a hometown hero with a good family name and she is not that. She also has a sister who has stayed behind to make a life in the hometown and just wants to break through the stigma of the family name and she thinks that will happen with her son becoming the star football player because in Texas- if you are a star high school football player you are basically royalty. 
The best part? Oh the best part is the job she gets herself to obviously pay the bills. She is a chef and a great one at that, so she becomes the person who makes the last meal for death row inmates. I know, right? So while you have your regular chick lit novel in there, Liza gets clever with you to put the whole death row thing into the book and you see how it wears on Queenie when she analyzes the meal and tries to figure it out. Which is really well done and I loved that aspect to the book. 
Overall? I loved this book. But I love Liza Palmer and I'm a super fan forever. Please check out her website (so you can see the other books of hers you have missed), her Facebook, Twitter, or her blog
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