Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nightmare From Under the Sink

It almost sounds like the title of one of those children's horror stories, doesn't it? Oh but it's not, it's a real life rendition of what our Monday night was. So kick back in your cubicle because you and I both know you should be working and you're not, and be prepared to snort and make your cube mates wonder what the hell you're doing in the privacy of your slice of working man's paradise.

It all started with the home inspection report our buyer had a week ago Saturday. Fortunately for us, nothing major was highlighted and the buyer still wants our house. YAY. The stupid part is how he wants us to fix a handful of really minor things that make it clearly obvious the buyer isn't what you would call handy. But it's alright- we had most everything we would need to fix it and most everything is a 5 minute job so Matt has tackled one per night because god forbid you put your Mr. Efficient pants on and get it all done at once.

Oh no.

The largest project was going to be "fix the leak under the kitchen sink". Which, we knew the plumbing would have to be replaced but I figured that clearly the new owner will re-do the kitchen and they would just do that then. But no. That's not what happens. So Matt, being the good husband he is, took on the plumbing project Monday evening. It was supposed to be a 20 minute job at most. He started at 7pm.

(And as a little side- this is one of those limited times where I will gush over Matt's greatness. He is the guy who does everything I don't want to do, if it's incredibly disgusting and foul, he'll take care of it. He really is a trooper in that sense.)

So Matt starts. He removes the existing stainless steel plumbing under the sink and folks? Do not use stainless steel. Fact #1: It really will rust, I don't care what Menards tells you. They are wrong. He removes that and as he goes a little further he discovers problem #1: the pipe that goes from under the sink, directly to the crawlspace, which then connects to the pipe that eventually connects to the city? It's maybe a 2 foot long pipe between the bottom of our cupboard to the crawlspace? Totally cracked in half. "Fixed" with a gross amount of duct tape.

Fact #2: Duct tape? Is not waterproof.

This duct tape means that half of what we put down our sink (think of how many times water goes down your sink in a day, times that by 10 years) sprays all over the crawlspace/under our cabinets.

So Matt determines that clearly needs to be replaced. But when he removes the board that it's stuck to courtesy of duct tape- the horrors of the mess under the sink? Let's just say I gagged and ran. Promptly turned on a show about wives killing husbands on the ID channel and called it good. Meanwhile, Matt is swearing and really hating his life right now.

He determines that he needs to go into the crawlspace to measure his pipes and will have to run to Menards to get the correct plumbing. While down there he discovers problem #2: When you have a 2 inch pipe in the beginning, you cannot go down to a 3/4 inch pipe. That much flow of water cannot conform to a smaller pipe with no notice. This means that smaller pipe? Will split in half as well and again, you will now have water leaking in two places.

Matt then sets off to Menards. Which is closed. He then goes to Walmart with false hope they'd have something. They do not. He then races like a crazy bitch in labor to Home Depot, which closes at 9 and it was 8:40. He got there as they are calling out letting people know they are trying to close. He's frantically running through the plumbing section and then had to get a new blade for his cutter tool thingie and he was out of there in 5 minutes. (And for those of you keeping track? We are not two hours into this project.)

I was kind of proud of his mad shopping skills. AND he had a list. *swoon*

When he came home he went into the crawlspace and figured working backwards is the best option. Unfortunately, while cutting through existing pipe he suddenly remembered that when you cut into old plumbing? Do you know what you smell?

I remember it from the laundry room project! It's probably right up there with the smell of a dead body as something you can always identify and you'll never forget.

Sewage! YAY!

It's the water that basically hangs out in your pipes so that the smell doesn't come back up through the pipes and through your sink and make your entire place smelly.

And poor Matt.

Poor Matt threw up. He threw up and he doesn't really throw up from gross stuff, but hearing him throw up makes me want to throw up.

A few minutes later, I hear thumping on the floor and he's like, "I can fucking hear you laughing! This isn't fucking funny, SARA!"

But let's be honest, it kind of really was.

Then Matt swears again because while cutting the pipe the rest of the way, the battery on his cutter thing dies. He then has to crawl out, switch it with his flashlight battery, which means he's now working 100% in the dark. And because it's dark, he crawls right through his piles of puke.

Be honest, you're laughing again, aren't you? I totally was.

He then is having me pull the pipe up out of the floor of the cupboard, which I cannot do because hello- it's totally stuck. As I'm pulling, the entire board is coming up two inches and it's going nowhere. I'm sitting there gagging because I can smell the sludge and the sewage smell and I don't think Matt was appreciating the fact I was even trying to help. That smell was serious. But eventually, I got it out but I was not touching that thing with my hand, ugh, so I propped it up. And then I obviously went back to my show.

After he finishes up in the crawlspace, he comes back out and then into the kitchen which, I should have taken a picture. He's covered in dirt, puke, water, mouse poop and what looks like saw dust. Head to fucking foot.

Poor Matt.

While he's putting the new pipes in, he's reminding me of how tiny that crawlspace is. I've never been in there but he's telling me that literally, he's on his belly all of the time working. Like, he can't sit up at all. It's that snug. That would freak me out because, ew. There are mice and spiders and now puke, ugh. So gross.

Thankfully, all of the plumbing worked perfect the first time he did it so he didn't have to go back down there. AND he even cleaned the really gross mystery sludge under the cabinets for me. And he gagged- I saw him. I can't even tell you how much bleach was used to sanitize it, but it was a lot. We were still high from it in the morning. All three cats looked high as well because I caught Stumpy and Batman licking the walls in the living room for no reason. So, there's that.

But Matt wasn't even bittersweet about finishing his last home project in this house. I believe his response was, "If this buyer asks for one more thing? He's on his god damn own. I hate this fucking house. And I smell like fucking puke- I think it's in my hair."

So that? That was the story of our VERY LAST home project in our clearly ghetto house. Good luck to you, Mr. New Buyer.

And Matt is now eagerly helping me pack because he can't leave this house fast enough.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cancer Time Bomb

I will always be the first one to stand up and say I cannot stand Angelina Jolie. She's a home-wrecking trash bag. Seriously. I don't like her, never have. She does these "stunts" to stay relevant and it's annoying. So when I saw her come out and say she had a double mastectomy I was like, "Why? Just adopt another child to stay in the news, whore." And it's more than just my dislike that irritates me about this story. It's mostly because now you have thousands of women who will try to be tested for the gene that causes cancer only to be denied coverage to do so or even coverage of stuff afterwards. It's really frustrating. Sure, you might be federally protected so your insurance can't rip you off, but if anyone knows how to kick you when you're almost dead- it's insurance companies. Let's be real. So while I hate Angeline Jolie for being a douche who should eat a fucking sandwich, I am (begrudgingly) grateful she at least brought this topic up for other women. Because I for one, who has breast cancer as rampant as chicken pox in my family, didn't realize the strange "why would you do this if you didn't actually have cancer??" response a person like Joelle would get.

But the irony here is a few months ago I received a book in the mail by Joelle Burnette and it's called Cancer Time Bomb: How the BRCA Gene Stole My Tits and Eggs, and quite frankly- who wouldn't pick up a book with that as it's title? I mean, I'm of the sentiment that if I have cancer- take my tits. Seriously. Just take the fuckers. I'd like to wear button up shirts, and tank tops where I don't look like floozy, and it would be nice to not have boobs big enough to look like I'm still nursing a child. They are heavy, I hate bra shopping and if we're being honest- I get no sexual pleasure from them. They are basically in my way. And I was always indifferent with my ovaries and such. I already have my babies, I hate getting my period, and I hate that birth control makes me chunky. So overall, I'm for getting rid of these.

Until I read this book and now I am all of a sudden, fiercely protective of both my tits and my ovaries.

Cancer Time Bomb

After finding out she tested positive for the BRCA genetic mutation, Cancer Time Bomb is Joelle Burnette’s non-fiction narrative about her prophylactic journey to becoming a “previvor” and free from breast and ovarian cancers.
Balancing a serious subject with sarcasm and humor, this powerful story chronicles Joelle’s 3-year odyssey as she justifies slicing away healthy parts of her body that have high odds of producing cancer. While pressured by surgeons and family to take drastic measures that would remove cancer’s potential threat, she offers insight into what it feels like to face these significant decisions while not having cancer, and knowing there’s Cancer Time Bombthat minuscule chance the disease may never strike. Offering raw honesty, she reveals the darker side of choosing TRAM Flap reconstruction after a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. She details the challenging, long recovery as she comes to terms with her choices and their impact on her as a daughter, woman, mother and wife.
Breast cancer had already impacted or taken the lives of several family members. Moreover, it was supposed to kill Joelle’s sister in 1994, according to the doctors. Regardless, 32-year-old Michelle suffered through powerful chemotherapy treatments and a painful bone marrow transplant to beat the odds and become a survivor. Thereafter, doctors had told the family, Michelle likely would die if she ever got cancer again. When she was diagnosed and survived a second breast cancer more than a decade later, Michelle’s cancer triggered a series of events leading to Joelle’s own battle to remain cancer-free.
Michelle fought cancer again while the health of these sisters’ father deteriorated after years of diabetes. All the while, caring for everyone was Joelle’s mother, Arlene, who played the strongest supportive role. Arlene remained by her daughter’s side while Joelle carried out the proactive steps to avoid cancer and stay alive for her two young children. And nobody dies in the end!
Absolutely anyone who knows me knows I cannot even get my finger pricked at the doctor's without tears coming. I'm absolutely convinced that when I was pregnant with both kids with grossly low iron levels which required a finger prick at EVERY visit, those nurses would fight over who had to deal with a grown ass woman hyperventilating, crying, and wiggling in the seat over a finger prick. To this day, I am 31 and I have not had a Tetanus shot since I was 12 because of my fear of pain and needles. 
So you can imagine how much convulsing I did while reading about Joelle's surgery. And her sister Michelle's horrendous ordeal with breast cancer treatments. I even braved it and went onto her blog Joey's Journal to see photos because I was having a really hard time visualizing her description of her new scars. (And maybe I wanted to see your boobs, Joelle. I'll be honest. I think your boobs look lovely. And I'm glad you didn't get your nipples done so you look like you're cold all of the time. Especially with hot flashes, that would be weird. I feel like you should have a shirt that says, "Say no to nipples" just to see what people say.) 
But here's what I can tell you- this book is hilarious, sad, terrifying, and completely informative. I learned more about breast cancer, treatments, and basically what it's like from this one book than I have from anything else. I love how she talks about the good nurses and doctors, and those who are complete fucking jackwads who shouldn't be in the medical field if your bedside manner is that bad. (Seriously, if that male nurse had hit my boob like that? I know my mother would have ripped his balls off. She totally would have.) 
I have always wondered if I would test positive for BRCA with breast cancer so prevalent in my family, but like Joelle- do I really want to know? Or do I want to wait it out and just fight the good fight if it happens to me? I don't know. I guess at this point I just wait. I really liked this book because after a few emails and finishing this book, Joelle and I? We'd be besties in real life. I feel like we'd just get each other. I mean, between her breakdown in the Macy's changing room over a bra (I have similar experiences every time I shop for pants and bras), her indecisiveness and personal worry over why she'd elect to have such a drastic surgery when she didn't have cancer. Yet. I know that if this were my story, it would be similarly written. Every concern and worry she had is one that you know would go through your head as well. And her decision to chose a TRAM Flap surgery instead of implants is serious, difficult, and courageous. 
Admittedly, when I've seen documentaries where women are like, "I have no boobs" and burst into tears, I have yelled at the TV, "Bitch- shut your mouth. At least you don't have CANCER. I'd rather be boob-less than die of cancer.". I really expected to leave this book feeling the same way, but I didn't. Because it's the little things like the loss of feeling feminine is what's important. It's not the size of your breast- it's the natural curve, the texture, all of these things about the boob that make it a great flappy thing on your chest that you lose. Sure, you have mounds of stomach fat fashioned into "cups" but they aren't like real boobs. I get that. I get why that would be weird and difficult to process. 
So while I could ramble on for quite awhile about this book, I won't because you'll just leave anyways. But if you are a woman who is curious about the BRCA Gene or even breast/ovarian cancer- read this book. If you are someone facing this yourself and considering which route to go- Joelle gives you some really great, very relevant, and totally honest information about her decision, why she chose it, and the aftermath. (And side note- I *totally* get you, Joelle when you want to know what the hell to expect. Sure- you know it will be painful but someone needs to explain what you can/can't do, what it's going to feel like. Just tell me what to expect- who wants to be surprised by the itch you can't satisfy?? Nobody. Nobody likes that surprise. Just like when I had Olivia and they told me I might experience "discharge" that is quarter sized. Well when I get something the size of a softball while at home walking with a screaming infant- I am not OK with that. Dang. That's half a placenta you failed to tell me about, DOCTOR. *end rant*)
So I invited you to READ HER BOOK, like her Facebook page, visit her website, and then buy extra copies of her book and surprise your friends with a great read. 

Tickling Daphne H

So full disclosure - I took a chance on this book because at the time when I was asked, I was really into romance and erotica (because like purses, I go through phases with books and switch my genre up periodically) so I jumped on it. And maybe because since then, I have been reading books with a heavier topic, I really struggled through this one.

Tickling Daphne H - Veronica Frances
Pump Up Your Book Presents Tickling Daphne H. Virtual Book Publicity Tour + Win Kindle Fire HD!
Tickling Daphne H. follows the ticklish journeys of Daphne, Dave, Carol and Harold, exploring how tickling deeply affects the lives of these four people.
The story deals with the many different faces of tickling; the addictive and torturous, the pleasurable and erotic and the humorous and romantic.
This is the very unusual love story of Daphne and Dave, two people facing their tickle-demons together. It is primarily the journey of Daphne, a 21-year-old very ticklish woman. Daphne finds herself in a world where every important person in her life has a tickling fetish, including her boyfriend Dave. She finds herself constantly surrounded by feathers and wiggling fingers, unable to escape the taunting sounds of her own laughter. She is also unable to escape her own mixed-up feelings about tickling.
As Daphne’s relationship with Dave grows, she must learn to face her fears and deeper feelings about tickling, for the sake of their relationship and herself.
When I think about what exactly turned me off of this book- it was the writing. I struggled through every page because it was written almost at a middle school level. I even had a friend read a few pages to see if maybe I'm just being overly critical but even she agreed. There are a lot of shouty caps used in the book and though I understand that it is meant to emphasize a strong reaction to the tickling, it's far over used. To the point where I was getting frustrated. The dialogue between characters felt forced and I guess when I read a book, I read it as if it's a movie going on in my head- so when I read a dialogue- if it doesn't sound like something a person would say? Dislike. But aside from the writing itself? I didn't enjoy the book. 
The entire concept of tickling for arousal is so completely beyond me. I even did some basic searching online and yes- it's a for real thing. There are erotic conventions that have tickle booths so you can try it out. Honestly, if Matt tries to tickle me he will get hit in the head or kicked in the balls. I don't like it, even if it's for fun. He knows better. So knowing my experience and preferences, I had a very hard time understanding how people do this for fun
The one aspect of the book that I could relate, or at least appreciate, is the fact that while Daphne suspects she has this fetish... she isn't sure really what to do about it. Are people going to laugh? Be judgmental? I mean, as a young twenty-something, you're basically discovering who you are as a person but also sexually, and it can be really hard to tell someone what you are into especially if it isn't necessarily "the norm". So with the help of her boyfriend Dave, Daphne discovers different avenues of tickling and how it's not necessarily in jest but it can be erotic and compelling. 
And unlike a book like Fifty Shades, which made me go out and purchase a spreader bar and some Ben Wa balls, this book not at all entices me to try tickling. Ever. I've already told Matt he tries it and he won't be able to walk the next day. But as I always say- just because this wasn't my cup of tea, I want you to give it a chance and then come back and tell me I'm an idiot. It's OK to do that. Click on the image below to the Pump Up Your Book webpage with a chance to win a Kindle Fire- ends May 31!
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Thursday, May 16, 2013


An interesting twist on life after death. Kind of.

Terminus - Joshua Graham

Having witnessed one too many senseless deaths, Nikolai, a disillusioned Reaper 3rd Class, resigns his commission with the Angel Forces after a tedious century of gathering souls. 

Immediately, another division recruits him with the promise of a more rewarding career, and issues his initial assignments: To bring down a few very dangerous threats to the human race. In the process, Nikolai falls in love with one of his targets Hope Matheson, a woman who will lead thousands astray. 

Caught between conflicting agendas, Nikolai chooses to fall from his celestial state and become mortal in order to circumvent angel law and be with her. But for angels and humans alike, things are not always as they appear. Still a target, the threat against Hope s life intensifies. 

Now, in order to save her, Nikolai must rally the last remnants of his failing supernatural abilities to prevent her assassination, as well as the destruction of an entire city by a nuclear terrorist strike. 

But his time and power are running out... 

Terminus is a perspective-altering saga that delves into ageless themes of redemption, destiny, and the eternal power of love.

I have actually read quite a few books that have the fallen angel theme to it and it doesn't matter how many I read, they are all so different yet all very interesting. This book moves quickly, so even though it's just shy of 500 pages- do not let that sway you. You'll get sucked in quickly and you won't be able to put it down. 

Nikolai is like a typical guy who eventually starts to hate his job. He finds no satisfaction in it, doesn't understand why it's important and grows weary. So when he basically goes to resign all together, he gets recruited for another "division" where he is basically in charge of stopping these three humans who would, if left alone, lead thousands astray and basically be bad for life as a whole. Easy enough, different than what he's doing, and he's actually making sure people who should die do. 

Except that's not really how it plays out and he actually falls in love with one of these people he's supposed to get rid of. But you can't do that because that's breaking angel law so he "falls" and becomes a mortal to get around the law and help her out. But oh surprise, that isn't really OK either because now you're really pissing off angel authority and she is still a target. 

I can't really tell you more because it would basically ruin the ending of the book. Or the last third at least. I absolutely loved this book because I really liked Nikolai. And dammit- I liked Hope too. She's got some issues but deep down- I kind of like the girl. 

The one thing about the story that I did struggle with was how it switches points of view and story line. They all run simultaneously, and you are flipped around quite a bit, and until you know really what's going on- you're left wondering how the hell all of these pieces fit together. But then it does and it works out and makes sense- but I did struggle for awhile trying to understand why these different points of views are happening, and how were they going to come together. 

Overall? 4/5 stars. Really. It's really that good. Such a good twist to the whole fallen angel, but not different where you think the author has really gone over the edge. Very good book. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fleetwood Mac.

So it dawned on me that I forgot to tell you I saw Fleetwood Mac back in April. It was kind of great because I went with my mom and despite our absolute nosebleed seats- it was an amazing concert. Best $200 I've spent in a long time. They basically played every single hit- they sound like they haven't aged a day and it was just very cool.

Fun fact- did you know I was named after a Fleetwood Mac song? True story.

They even played some of Stevie Nicks' hits from her solo career and a few of Lindsey Buckingham's. And I don't care how old they get- I have always held hope they'd get back together. Even though they are both married. Whatever. It's like peanut butter and jelly- they should never be separate.

Fun fact #2- my mom went to see Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty on tour when she was pregnant with me.

The total fan geek in me got all excited when Stevie comes out in her full dress, tambourine and her top hat. So wish I could have gotten pictures. They actually banned pictures and that's kind of bullshit if you ask me.

You know what else annoys me? When people constantly get up and down during a show. It's like, get drunk before, people. Get your drinks and sit the fuck down. I'm not trying to have you shove your ass in my face and step on my feet so you can get more beer. You're ruining it for me. Oh, and if you do get drunk? Don't be offended when everyone around you complains and eventually has you kicked out. Because that happened to the entire row behind us. We didn't get up to complain but another lady a few seats down did because these girls were drunk and apparently sloshing their drinks on people and singing to songs that very much were not playing. I always like watching people get kicked out of shows for being drunken fools.

I did sneak one picture- they did at least two encores, I think they even did three, and I took this picture during "Silver Springs".

Overall it was a really great night out with my mom. It was nice to talk to her on the long drive there and back and then during dinner. AND it was ridiculously warm the entire way there and even when we left so it was nice to get a break from the cold and snow here. I like going to concerts with my mom because all of my friends kind of think seeing the classic bands is a waste and I don't think so at all. This is what I grew up listening to and I still rock out to it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What about the new house? Or, how we might be homeless for 15 days.

It can never be said my life hasn't been full of adventure. In fact, I can't think of one thing in my life that went smoothly and without stress, drama, multiple bathroom trips, and middle of the night runs to Walmart for toilet paper. It really is quite the life I lead. I should never have thought that selling and buying a house at the same time would be easy, smooth, or enjoyable.

Perhaps I really am insane after all. Let's give you a run down of what my last week was like, shall we?

  • Listed our house on the market two weeks ago as of tomorrow. 
  • Last week we received four offers to purchase our home. 
  • We sorted through them all and picked one on Friday. 
  • We even looked at more houses, one of which was so horrific I want to say "Give her a raise!" to the Realtor who took the pictures because by god, those pictures were deceiving. 
  • We decided on a big, purple/blue house that has been on the market and vacant for the last 7 months. Sure, it's old, but it's solid. It's big, it's something we could really grow into as a family. 
  • So after picking a buyer for our house, we put an offer in on our Purple Dream. 
  • We go the entire weekend with loose bowel movements and briefly debate the merits of Depends because both of us are fighting over a bathroom. 
  • Monday comes and guess what? Our Purple Dream sellers are assholes. They counter a ridiculous amount. We counter back with a less ridiculous amount. 
  • They re-counter, standing firm. We say fine, but you're leaving your swing set/play set, appliances AND your porch furniture. Whores. (Except our Realtor says we can't call them whores. Apparently that looks bad.)
  • They take their sweet fucking time getting back to us and finally agree. Douchebags. 
  • We find out that HEY! The sale of our house is happening June 13 (30 days as of yesterday) but hold the fucking phone- there's a very good chance we cannot close on our Purple Dream in less than 45. 
  • We are now in the predicament of being homeless for 15 days. Sadsies. 
  • Quietly regretting selling the mini-van afterall. 
  • Start packing anyways because no matter where we are, the new buyers are not going to want our crap in here. 
  • We cannot afford a POD (holy shit I'd have to sell myself for a solid week), we cannot afford a storage unit and yay! Our parent's basements and garages are already full. Awesome. 
  • There is a really good chance we might be living in a Uhaul. At least for 9 days because the other 6 of that we're in Florida. But our three mentally deficient cats are with us so... I don't know that they would handle a Uhaul for that long really well. 
  • Today we got papers from the bank and we electronically signed them. 
  • Only afterwards did I realize it's the wrong offer amount. 
  • Lots of swears started happening as well as frantic emailing to nice bank lady. 
So that's where we are as of RIGHT NOW. There are lots of things freaking me out aside from being homeless. While that's not ideal, I'm more worried that something totally out of our control will derail everything. Like, what if the home inspection finds something wrong with our current house that we don't even know about? That would suck. I hope if they find anything that the buyer isn't a psycho and flips out and just says screw it all. 

Mostly because I spent and entire weekend packing my scrapbooking shit and my books. It took me all weekend, folks. Put that into perspective. That's only 4 shelves and a closet. I'm basically screwed. And out of boxes. 

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Here's a really good crime/suspense book that you should absolutely not read at night, or if you're scared of the dark. There's a bit of forewarning for you.

Grim - Joseph Spencer

In a gritty town rife with organized crime, dirty cops and corrupt politicians, Detective Adam White stands alone as the people's symbol of justice and hope for a brighter future.  He's cracked the biggest cases, and stood up to the crime families who've torn apart Prairieville with their power struggles. He's gorgeous, humble and incorruptible; a crime fighter so pure that the locals nicknamed him the White Knight.
What the people don't know is their reluctant hero is cracking before their eyes. Ten years have passed since a pack of bank robbers gunned down his wife in the street. He's relentlessly worked every case he could get his hands on since that night with the hopes of finding some link to her killer, but every lead always winds up a dead end. He made a vow on her death bed that he wouldn't stop looking or move on with his life, personal or otherwise, until her killer was either dead or behind bars.
His obsession is starting to affect his work, including a new set of murders which are eerily similar to cold cases in which a gangland legend called The Reaper is the main suspect. A routine canvas of the area in which the bodies were found led Detective White to Heath Grim, a reclusive millionaire with grisly facial scars and a past which doesn't quite add up. There's something about his story which makes Detective White curious to dig deeper into his background.
Just as Detective White closes in on his killer, the mob hatches an elaborate scheme which could cost him everything. In his moment of need, an unlikely ally presents a way out of the plot against him and information on his wife's killer. However, it leaves Prairieville's paragon of justice with a moral dilemma. Can he abandon all of the heroic ideals upon which he's based his life and become the type of man he's hunted for so long to settle a score with his wife's killer?I
So first of all, lots of gore in here. To the point where I actually had nightmares and envisioning the character of Grim is not something I would recommend. Aside from that, this story has all kinds of twists and turns, and while you think you know what's going on you really don't until you get towards the end. Grim's character actually reminded me a lot of Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in Batman, but you almost feel bad for the guy who clearly has a slew of mental health issues. 
Then on the flip side you have Detective White who is seemingly this straight laced, all American, blue collar guy fighting crime. But then you find out a little more about him and I was never really sure what I thought about him, but his character was a really good fit for this role. If that makes any sense. 
What I really enjoyed about this book? Is that you literally could not put it down. Things happened really quickly and you almost feel as if you are in the middle of it. The description of the crime scene makes you feel like you are right there looking at it, and then everything from start to finish is go, go, go. The best part is that it really makes you question morality. Do you do things by the book because it's the law, or do you look at the rationale and let it go? It's really not a black or white issue and this book challenges you all the way to the end. You absolutely would never know this was Joseph Spencer's debut novel- the writing was fantastic and nothing felt forced throughout the whole book. There were some parts of the book that are familiar in other books in the thriller/crime/suspense genre, but honestly I felt like he put his own twist on it. 
I really enjoyed this book and I think if you really like crime/suspense/thriller and anything to do about death- you're going to really like this one. But I really did have a couple nights of nightmares and so that was not awesome. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cassie Scot: (Para)normal Detective

Good evening, lambies. So, while I do have a book review tonight- check back later because I'll have a fun, regular post for you as well. Because I'm a giver like that.

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Cassie Scot: (Para)normal Detective
Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

I absolutely loved this book. I basically flew through this in one afternoon because I couldn't put it down. While it's technically a YA book, you would never know it- it doesn't have the random teenager fluff that some YA novels have. 

Basically this book is about Cassie, who is born into a family of sorcerers, but unlike everyone else, she has no real powers. She's kind of the black sheep of the family who is constantly being protected since she really can't do it for herself. She strikes out on her own and becomes a police officer only to quickly realize her whole purpose of becoming someone to protect others is useless because the people doing the bad deeds don't really worry about the law so much. Instead, she starts up her own private detective business and while not busy, she remains optimistic. 

Until she gets her first real client which sends her on a ridiculously dangerous path to dead witches, vampires, love potions gone awry, and of course, a hunky boy from her past who has secrets of his own. She isn't 100% sure Evan likes her that way considering they were friends for years but she can't be sure when everyone around her seems to think he is very much interested in her. He helps her out and basically saves the day for her several times but it all comes with a heavy price. 

Which you find out what that is at the end and you're left with holy hell- where the hell is the sequel? Because there HAS to be a sequel. You can't leave me hanging like this and give me no word of a sequel. (If you could see me now, I'm actually stomping my foot like a petulant child.)

So I'm telling you right now to go out and get this book. SUCH a talented writer, I'm very interested in reading some of her other books because hands down- a very entertaining, fast paced book that you cannot put down. 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Incidental Daughter

I've been on a pretty solid roll of good books and here's another one if you are looking for a standard chick lit/suspense book.

Incidental Daughter - Val Stasik
Incidental Daughter

When successful publisher Liz Michaels’ marriage to blue blood, Addison Tiffin Payne, fails after the loss of their baby and his growing alcoholism, she pours all her creative energy and passion into her work and finds comfort in her friendship with the co-owners of her company as well as the appearances of the spirits of her Polish mother and grandmother, who never speak except in dreams she cannot remember. Only her feelings from those dreams linger.
When Liz’s ex-husband plans to stage her suicide by pushing her off the balcony of her high-rise home in order to collect on a life insurance policy, he topples to his death instead. When the police arrive, Liz, the potential victim, becomes the prime murder suspect. She meets Pittsburgh Police Detective Jim Shannon, who may threaten her freedom or possibly gain her love. Her life is further complicated by her former mother-in-law’s attempts to destroy her reputation and damage her career. Her swirling feelings are complicated by the simultaneous appearance of a talented, familiar-looking intern at her workplace. He turns out to be her half-brother, but he is unaware of their connection. Although Liz is finished with a past that included a botched meeting with her biological father, the past is not done with her, for the intern and Shannon link her to that past. The cause of her ex-husband’s death is determined and Shannon and his partner, Santello, arrest the person responsible for what led to his death.
Internal conflict is soon compounded by external threats created by her former mother-in-law as well as someone seeking revenge on Shannon and his fellow detective. Just as Shannon and Liz are getting better acquainted, he is gunned downed, but survives. When Liz is leaving Shannon’s hospital room, she passes a woman whom she doesn’t realize is her dead father’s wife. The woman, Eileen, is also Shannon’s sister and notices the resemblance to her dead husband. Eileen did not learn of the existence of her husband’s daughter until after his death. This encounter sets in motion a series of touchy revelations and family get-togethers. All seems to be going well until Payne’s grieving mother decides to make Liz pay for Payne’s death. Warned by the mother’s housekeeper, Detective Santello and another detective rush to Liz’s office. In the shootout, Payne’s mother is killed but not before killing Santello who took the bullet meant for Liz. Will Liz be destroyed by this vortex, or will she use the crisis to open the door to a second chance at love and family?
Talk about a book with a lot of story in it. Coming in just under 300 pages you have everything from a suspense story line with the ex-husband's death, to a family exploration of past secrets and new family dynamics to a budding romance. It's kind of all going on at once but Val expertly weaves the story so you aren't overwhelmed with information. The flow from one thing to the next works really well which also made it a very fast read. 
I kind of adored Liz. She comes from a troubled childhood never knowing her father and seemingly being rejected once she does meet him as a young adult fresh off her mother's apparent suicide. That alone is enough of a story. But then she marries Addy who while originally a successful entrepreneur, eventually turns to alcohol and seemingly looses it all, including Liz. Because she no longer enables him, he basically goes off the deep end and it leads to his eventual death.  Which brings a certain detective into her life who she eventually starts a romantic relationship with. Which leads to her getting to know her family... because her father has since passed away but leaves behind siblings for her. 
Confused? Don't be- it all makes sense in the book! Overall? I give this a solid 3/5. Is it overwhelming fantastic? No, but it is a good read. It's fast, it doesn't require a ton of thought, it keeps you turning pages, and you find you're done with the book in no time. Perfect for those of us who don't have a lot of time but still want to read. Definitely check this out when you are lining up  your summer reads. 
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Sewage, Wall-less, and What The Fuck Happened Here?

Today our house was shown to three perspective buyers, we have three showings for tomorrow as well. I'll tell you what- if this joint doesn't sell it won't be because of lack of cleaning and staging. All of my hours watching HGTV are not for waste, bitches.

But because we have so many showings in such a short period of time, it's freaking me out. Like, we might actually have to move.Which- probably should have been on my radar when we you know, listed the house. But then it occurred to me, shit. That means packing, and cleaning a new space, etc. Ugh. This also means that we should probably get our butt in gear to look at what is for sale in our area within our budget.

And it's really sad because we're left with stuff we can't afford but love, stuff we can afford that look scary from pictures, and then three houses that by pictures, we like. They have potential, could be very Matt & Sara. Until of course, you see them in person. And then it's like holy shit. SO GLAD I didn't re-do my kitchen, apparently nobody else gives a shit either. At least I try to make what I have look nice. Here's a recap: (House Hunters style)

1. Desirable neighborhood, split entry: Outside is very cute, nice yard, quiet 'hood, lots of pretty flower potential. Inside, holy no fucking room. Like, no landing to take off shoes/jackets/gear. The living room, kitchen, dining, bath, and 2 bedrooms are upstairs. Family room, another bath, and another room are downstairs. The living room is nice and big, huge window. Kitchen is alright, but the "dining room" is the table shoved in the kitchen. No way could we host holidays or entertain. The rooms are all small, tons of paneling. Oh, the paneling. The bathrooms? Smelled like sewage. The upstairs was worse than downstairs which is odd considering downstairs there is a closet that has nothing but the sewage and water pipes running in it. WEIRD. Oh, and the bathroom downstairs? Disgusting. Oh my god. No way in FUCK would I shower in there. The best part is that they have regular drop ceiling tile in the shower. Which, hello- that gets wet and it's on you. Very much not what you use in a shower. The utility room is a mess, it's freezing in there, and it smells like sewage. So disappointing. It's not even worth considering.

2. Matt's favorite, which I knew would suck: Oh hey- if you're going to say that your house has not been in a flood, perhaps you should finish putting all of the walls back up in your basement. Especially when two of the bedrooms and the family room are supposed to be down there. And maybe cover up the fact that they drilled holes between each stud to drain water. That house is handicapped accessible, has a nice deck, pretty decent upstairs. None of the bathrooms are a full bath, they only had showers, so that was a problem. Kitchen is a bit dated and I didn't like the layout at all. I think Matt held out hope and was going to convince me that this was fixable but then I had to remind him that he hates to put walls up. He hates dry wall and all that goes with it. And it would be a HUGE job. We'd sink $10,000 into it by the time we had everything inspected, installed, and totally livable. And we'd have to do that in order to move in. I'm worried about eating in Florida on our vacation, I don't have $10,000.

3. The weirdo house we're looking at just to see what the fuck is up with it: It's weird. OK, it's actually really cute and honestly? I'm pulling for it. Sure, the layout is absolutely insane with no rhyme or reason. Sure, it needs new siding, soffet and fascia. Sure, the garage is settling and we'd have to see if this is a super horrible thing considering two rooms and a landing are above it/connecting it to the house. Sure, the kitchen needs to be updated a little and I don't know why there is blue carpet in the dining room and in no other room. But you know what? It's double the size of our house. It has TEN closets, not including what's in the bedrooms. It has a fenced in yard, a cute patio/deck area, BALCONY off the master bedroom, weird craft room, gigantic workshop in the basement, and a family room in the basement. No signs of flooding though! It does need work. It's the cheapest on our list. I'm kind of rooting for it. I've got a feeling about it. It feels very much like home.

So... we'll see. I have to look on the realtor websites to see if anything new is out there but the pickings are SLIM. Unless I win the lottery or want to live in the ghetto.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

Every once in a while a book comes along and it pulls at me from a place I don't really understand. I connect with a book in a far different way than most would and so I become inexplicably attached to the book. It feels like it becomes my story. One of the only books that has done this to me was Stiltsville, which still has lines that ring in my head and I recommend that book fully. But this book? This book is a little more special.

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope - Rhonda Riley
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

In the waning months of World War II, young Evelyn Roe’s life is transformed when she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier, all but completely buried in the heavy red-clay soil on her family’s farm in North Carolina. When Evelyn rescues the stranger, it quickly becomes clear he is not a simple man. As innocent as a newborn, he recovers at an unnatural speed, and then begins to change—first into Evelyn’s mirror image, and then into her complement, a man she comes to know as Adam.
Evelyn and Adam fall in love, sharing a connection that reaches to the essence of Evelyn’s being. But the small town where they live is not ready to accept the likes of Adam, and his unusual origin becomes the secret at the center of their seemingly normal marriage.
Adam proves gifted with horses, and together he and Evelyn establish a horse-training business. They raise five daughters, each of whom possesses something of Adam’s supernatural gifts. Then a tragic accident strikes the family, and Adam, in his grief, reveals his extraordinary character to the local community. Evelyn and Adam must flee to Florida with their daughters to avoid ostracism and prying doctors. Adrift in their new surroundings, they soon realize that the difference between Adam and other men is greater than they ever imagined.
Intensely moving and unforgettable, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope captures the beauty of the natural world, and explores the power of abiding love and otherness in all its guises. It illuminates the magic in ordinary life and makes us believe in the extraordinary.
To be frank, I don't know where to start on this book. I was originally supposed to post my review last week but I could not because I had to re-read some passages and this book was emotional. Not because it's sad or anything (though some parts are), but because it really challenges a lot about love. Evelyn finds a young man seemingly half buried in her back yard but soon after bringing him inside of the farm she has inherited, she quickly realizes he isn't quite ordinary. His face and entire body are disfigured, much like a burn victim, and he doesn't appear to have any particular facial features. His gender.. his a little ambiguous to say the least. But over the course of a few days the person changes. First changes into what will become Addie- seemingly Evelyn's twin. And while traumatic and a little shocking to Evelyn, the two quickly become inseparable. 
Addie has gifts with animals but also through singing. Without opening her mouth. It's clear from the beginning she's obviously not like Evelyn and over time, the almost soul mate connection between the two leads to an intimate relationship that Evelyn wants, but also fears. 
But over time, Evelyn realizes she really wants to get married, become a mother, raise a family. Addie recognizes this as well and feeling such an emotional bond to Evelyn, she does something to make this happen for Evelyn.
In a few days, in walks Adam. 
Unlike Addie who is virtually a twin of Evelyn, Adam is more her compliment. The male version of herself. Over time they marry, have several children with unique birthing situations because of the uncertainty of what Adam is exactly, and they live a happy and normal life. Until a tragedy hits the family and turns everyone upside down. The immeasurable grief changes Adam and when he does something in front of the community that basically scares the Jesus out of them, Evelyn goes into protective mode. She understands him and knows nobody else will. 
(Side note: this is where I felt like something rammed into my chest, because I got it. Sometimes I look at Matt with some of the issues he deals with privately and while I don't really understand why he does it, I sometimes feel like it's my job to protect him. I feel like I could never really leave him because he would be alone and I couldn't let him be ridiculed. It's me that keeps him in check and it's me that helps him navigate acceptable social behaviors, etc. And sometimes I feel there's a bigger reason that we matched up.)
So over the town gossip, Evelyn decides to pack up the family and just leave. They go to Florida and start a brand new life which seems to rejuvenate Adam. Unfortunately, it's around this time when Evelyn realizes that as she ages through her years, Adam does not. It becomes a little awkward and Adam tries to make this right because he wants to do everything for Evelyn, give her the world, give her the best possible life. What pulls at you is their love. It may not always be easy, the amount of love for each other is huge. It's like a couple that if you're in the same room you can't help but notice and feel how much they love each other. Which is exactly like Adam and Evelyn- times ten. 
And one day, it all ends without warning. I'll be honest- the ending hit me hard. I cried. I cried because I was sad it wasn't a forever love story, I cried because you don't know what happens to Adam. I can't even pose all of the questions I was left with at the end of the book because it'll ruin the majority of the book for you. But please read this. If you read nothing else I recommend, read this one. It will pull at you. It's one of those books that doesn't have a major, dramatic story line, but it's the story of a life. A life that seems so much like yours but at the same time nowhere near your ordinariness. Here's a quick video of the author explaining the novel. In a much more eloquent way than I can share. 
Also take a peek at Rhonda's Facebook page. But I'm telling you- this is going to be the best book of the year for me, I can feel it. It will easily make my Top 10 favorite books of all time. The writing is so beautiful, it's so true to life, and you just connect with Evelyn. You really start to feel like you're sitting with a new friend as she tells you her story in a nursing home visitor lounge. I can't give this book enough praise. Absolutely wonderful. 
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