Book Review - Homer's Odyessy by Gwen Cooper

Title: Homer's Odyssey
Author: Gwen Cooper
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: Sept 7, 2010
Paperback, 299 pages

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For those of you who own cats, this is not a book you will want to read in public. I was constantly caught laughing out loud, making odd noises and such because I too have a cat (or two) who do very similar chaotic and hilarious antics. I couldn't help but fall deeply in love with Homer in the first chapter.

I have been fondly stroking this book at work for months now. For whatever reason, I didn't pick it up until this past week. I just felt the need to read something of love and romance, but not the "ruggedly handsome swashbuckling shirtless sex hero." Rather I was in the mood for romance of the hairy kind.

For exactly two days, I have had this insane smile on my face while reading this book. It so warm and affectionate. Gwen writes with such abandonment that I can't help but see each and every detail in her stories of Homer. It begins with a start from the vet who had removed and sewn Homer's eyes shut. I found this heartbreaking and the most perfect beginning to an amazing tale.

Summary -


The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever.” But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease, survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night. But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that transformed Gwen’s life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized that Homer had taught her the most valuable lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Review - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: DoubleDay
Publish Date: Sept 13, 2011
Hardcover 387 pages

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You know when people use the term "dating up," well, this book is reading up. The level of writing is so poetic and beautiful that it really did feel as if I was reading poetry in another language. It was simply artistic. I found myself mystified by the words, the phrases and use of description that amazed even my 4 year old imagination. It would be a travesty if everyone did not take the time to read this book.

There are two main characters in this book, Celia and Marco, though they are really not introduced for a quarter of the book. Their lives start out as simple side stories that eventually twist and turn to interweave together. Then the last quarter of the book introduces side characters as a sort of main character replacement. Without giving too much detail, as the mystery of this book is much of the magic, it feels a little like six degrees of separation and how each person who enters your life may factor in to the development. People who are behind the scene end up being cataclysmal. One of my favorite characters is Bailey, a mere boy who feels out of place in his own life. His parents want him to run the farm, he feels the need to go to Harvard and then this circus arrives and he is drawn to it and the players inside. A seemingly innocent character with much to give.

This is not a blockbuster book, nor a sad drama filled read. It is simply an intricate weaving of people's life's with the magic and dream-like state of perception. Who's perception, depends on the chapter.

I would love to see this turned in to a movie, but would be surprised if anyone could give it the justice as Erin Morgenstern gave it.

Summary -
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Review - Crossed by Ally Condie

Title: Crossed
Matched #2
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publish Date: Nov 1, 2011
Hardcover, 368 pages

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I am starting to think I am just not a fan of the second book in a series. I once heard that a trilogy goes something like birth, life and death. The first book in the series is the beginning. The excitement of everything new and wild. There's love and learning and risk. The second book is built on the first. Maybe a few new characters, some new adventures, but it is almost like they are just setting us up for the final book. I feel like the second book is a roller coaster ride that never ends. I feel a bit tired, a bit motion sick, a bit bored mixed with the excitement, happiness and love reminisce of the first book. This isn't sounding like a positive book review, but the fact is, I like this book. The plot and concept are brilliant. The characters are smart, funny, vulnerable and good. There are secrets everyone is keeping, but we know it is for their own safety. It is very much a mirror to life, should we ever have society like this, hence dystopian.

Ally Condie has a very unique writing method that makes me feel I am there and I just love Cassia. If she were real, we would definitely be friends. She makes a great female role model. And Ky makes me sigh. He is romantic and caring and yet determined to be with Cassia. Secretly I like him better than Xander. But I like flaws. Xander seems too perfect, even though they reveal his secret in this book! The development of this society outside the city is fascinating. Meeting the farmers, their life and deaths. Wandering from outside territory and dealing with kids like them only lost. Finding Cassia's and Ky's own ways and wants.


It kills me to have to wait. I get why people say they wait for the entire series to be printing to start reading. I almost felt I needed to reread the first book. Regardless, I fell in love again. And it finished with a very wonderful lesson of "be careful what you wish for."

AND HER THIRD BOOK, yet to be determined, has the words on the pre-book cover "It's her turn to choose. Fall 2012. All will be sorted."

OMG I am so excited to read the ending. I hope she chooses Ky, but then again, the next book should have more about Xander so I will get to know him better. Maybe, maybe I'll like him better?

Summary -

The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

IMM - In My Mailbox

Bond Girl by Erin Duffy (see MY review)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
One For the Money (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich (soon to be a movie)
The Litigators by John Grisham (really for my mom, but I'll read it too!)
Crossed by Ally Condie (review posts Monday)


Review - Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry
Perfect Chemistry #1
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books
Publish Date: December 23, 2008
Paperback 360 pages

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The first book in any series is always the best simly because of the freshness and awe of the new ideas and plot. This is definitely the case in Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry series.

Two defining personalities end up shoved together in school and though all things point to "never gonna happen," Brittany and Carlos learn very quickly being from the opposite side of town doesn't mean there can't be attraction. Brittany is a good, hard working student. She is working on being perfect. A good boyfriend, a kind person and trying to hide secrets from her own personal life. Partnered with Alex, a gang member, Mexicano who is tough and doesn't minx words, she is struggling to stay out of trouble. Just being his science partner is getting her in trouble with the local Mexicana girls at school. Alex then agrees to a bet with his friends that will not only endanger Brittany more, but might show Alex a side of himself he has never seen before.

I loved this romantic story. It is a bit like a fresh take on Romeo and Juliet, though the ending may (or may not) be different. I will not tell. It is wonderfully woven of two opposites that desperately want to just be who they are, but society and culture won't allow it. In order to protect what they want, they must do what they need. Coming from a Hispanic background, I just loved this book. It was what real life looked like to me when I was growing up. No matter what, no matter who, maybe, just maybe good will prevail all else.

Summary -
A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Review - Bond Girl by Erin Duffy

Title: Bond Girl
Author: Erin Duffy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: Jan 1, 2012
Paperback, 304 pages

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Fabulous book!! So frickin' entertaining! What a wonderful surprise. I picked up this ARC (advanced reader copy) and honestly, thought it was about a woman detective. LOL It ended up being about Alex who was brought to Wall Street where he worked by her father when she was growing. From the first day of chaos and speed, she was hooked. She ended up in bonds. Barely got a job and immediately became the office "Girlie" who got lunch and coffee. Feeling like she was lost and not made for this job, she keeps at it in hopes to finally feel welcome and successful.

I laughed out loud through this entire book. Writing was so wonderful I could quote half the book. I am really looking forward to seeing other works by Erin Duffy.

Summary -
10. The number of U.S.-owned banks and/or brokerage houses actually located on Wall Street: zero.
9. Office windows that open are overrated.
8. Moran's Ale House & Grill, located in the heart of Manhattan's Financial District, caters primarily to Wall Street employees and people who want to marry them. It serves more beer between Memorial Day and Labor Day than any other bar in the city.
7. Free pizza cures all, especially before 10 A.M.
6. A $65 limo ride with road sodas is a perfectly acceptable way to travel 10 blocks...
5. ...or five blocks if it's raining.
4. Knowing math is important - but nowhere near as important as knowing wine, golf, and watches.
3. Gucci loafers go with every outfit, in all weather, all year round.
2. Socks are optional (and rarely necessary).

And the number on thing you probably don't know about working on the Street is...

1. A bet is a bet is a bet. If you lose at Credit Card Roulette, you will pay the bill. No one cares that you're only twenty-two and the bill is $1,000.

Review - Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Title: Chain Reaction
Perfect Chemistry #3
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books
Publish Date: Aug 16, 2011
Hardcover, 308 pages

Barnes and Noble

I stopped reading this book and picked up another book, then ho hummed my way back to the book only to realize I had already downed three quarters of the book. Oops! This book was the last installment in the series and apparently I liked it way more than I realized.

By now, I have come to really enjoy the lightness. I like that they cover racial issues and love being difficult enough to require work. It is nice to have such different stories and yet a feeling of familiarity. The characters have this quality where I don't want to like them, but they grow to become people I find fun and attractive. In the end, I am rooting for them to have a great budding relationship.

Check out my other reviews of Simone Elkeles books -
Leaving Paradise

Summary -
Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?

Review - Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Title: Unraveling Isobel
Author: Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: Jan 1, 2012
304 Pages

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Isobel was witty, fun and spunky. I liked her instantly. She was original and not afraid to face her demons. It is always a pleasure to read a female character who is strong and still able to be vulnerable. She has a history of "crazy" in her past with her father having been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. So she is in constant peril with the possibility that she is crazy. Her mother is a bit distant from her. They are better friends that family. And when her mother marries a new man and he drags them to a small island with him mansion and son, she is spinning her wheels. Isobel is befriended by the most popular girl in school and then develops a small crush on her step brother. Meanwhile she is seeing ghosts, or is she?

A really fun, light read. I enjoyed every minute along with the creepy parts too! Actually the creepy parts were so great! And I don't like to be scared.


Holy cow have you seen how many books Eileen Cook has written? Check out her blog here!

Summary -
Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

Wordless Wednesday - Shamrock Farms

I really didn't get as many great pictures as I would have expected, but we were on a moving tram and it was really overcast. However, we had a blast and drank lots of milk, ate ice cream and cream cheese and many other dairy products. YUM!

PS Their food smelled worse than their poop!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday - Tune In & Teaser

Harvey Danger, I'm Not Sick, but I'm Not Well -

The french chefs always gave me a hard time for being slow, but I would rather be slow and get it right. But they were always on my bollucks anyway. About three months in, there was a terrible scene involving a plate of ravioli. The ravioli in question were more like dim sum - made without an egg yolk. Robuchon got a hold of the plate, and threw it at me. It hit the side of my face. My ear was blocked with hot food, my face was burnt, and there was ravioli all over the place.

Roasting in Hell's Kitchen
Gordon Ramsey

Review - Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Title: Desires of the Dead
The Body Finder #2
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publish Date: February 15, 2011
Hardcover, 368 pages

Barnes and Noble

I reviewed the Body Finder #1 here.

Violet continues in her destiny to find out why she has been given this gift and whether it really is a gift or a disease. She picks up where she left off in book #1 with Jay, her long time friend and (could it be?) future lover.

I won't go in to too much detail because I highly recommend these books and this author.

She meet Sara, a supposed FBI agent who starts to inquire about how she was able to identify a missing body no one else could find that was behind a very large and very secure door. Will Violet confide in Sara or will Sara use her gift as a beacon to FBI abuse? Or is Sara hiding a few secrets of her own as well?

New characters, new cases to solve and of course, a new murderer following and hoping to kill Violet before she finds out who dun' it. I am just love struck with this series and could find myself enjoying these books for years to come. I hope it will be more than just a 3 book series. It would be sad to see these end. The possibilities are endless with this character and her gift.

Check out my review of Kimberly Derting's new book The Pledge
Pre-order the next in the series, The Last Echo, Body Finder #3 due out April 2012.

Summary -
The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

Review - Hooked by Catherine Greenman

Title: Hooked
Author: Catherine Greenman
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publish Date: Aug 9, 2011
Hardcover, 276 pages

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Thea isn't the character I thought her to be. The has interesting relationships with her parents - her mother is a hippie with no real focus, nor parenting skills; her father is overprotective and has his own idea of how her life should be lived. She then falls in love with a guy who I kept wondering what it was she really finds attractive. She talks a lot about his wandering eye which resulted from a freak accident. How he likes her from the beginning, but isn't really all that attentive. Then to be with him, she starts missing school, not doing homework and forgetting about practice SAT tests. Before she knows it, she is pregnant. Though she tells everyone she is taking care of it, she kind of forgets it's even progressing. She is able to lie to everyone til one day she lets it out of the bag - she wants this baby. Her first real decision to take life into her own hands is pretty much her downfall.

I wanted to like Thea so much, but she kept letting me down and making stupid decisions. She seemed smart, but did things against her father out of spite. She never really tried to talk to him. She also used her mother's inability to be present as an excuse as her relationship. I was confused through this book. I wanted to like it so much because there were key stories and people I loved, but then they turned around and did something that left me questioning their motives.

It was a good book. It covered some very important topics of teenage pregnancy, parental relationships, opening up and knowing who you really are. It can be so hard to hear your own voice when everyone else is yelling over yours. Finding a personal voice is a struggle just from being a kid and having parents, but add to that any major obstacles and it ends up being a bit like this book.

Summary -
Thea Galehouse has always known how to take care of herself. With a flighty club-owner mom and a standoffish, recovering-alcoholic dad, Thea has made her own way in her hometown of New York, attending the prestigious and competitive Stuyvesant High School. But one chat with Will, a handsome and witty senior, and she's a goner—completely hooked on him and unable to concentrate on anything else.
Always worried that she loves Will more than he loves her, Thea is pleasantly surprised when their romance weathers his move to college and Will goes out of his way to involve her in his life. But then, Thea misses a period. And that starts Thea and Will on a wild ride that neither of them could have possibly prepared for. When they decide to keep the baby, their concerned parents chip in what they can to keep Will in school and give both teenagers a comfortable place to raise their child. But when a freak accident leaves Thea shaken and threatens to upend their little family altogether, Thea is forced to turn to the last place she would have chosen for comfort: her stiff, uncompromising father.
This smart, touching first novel brims with realistic, beautifully drawn characters, and reminds us that love is never as easy or predictable as we might like it to be.

Review - The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
The Body Finder #1
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: March 16, 2010
Publish Date: Harper Teen
Hardcover, 336 pages

Barnes and Noble

Because I would like to be a published author one day and know how frickin hard it is to write, I can't stand those people who complain about how slow an author is to come out with the next book. However, with that being said, I LOVE KIMBERLY DERTING!! I am now officially a HUGE fan of her writing and for the love of god, PLEASE TELL HER TO WRITE ANOTHER BOOK!

I read both the books in the series up to this point in probably two days. I am hooked!!

Violet is a girl with a special, secret power of being able to detect dead bodies. Animals and humans call to her when dying of unnatural causes. Ever since she was a little girl they have pulled her to them. Her family has spent massive amounts of time and energy trying to keep her secret, but when a serial murder enters the area and she starts feeling the echos off not only the victims, but the murder himself, it gets interesting.

I usually do not like scary topics. I like to sleep at night, but I was so fascinated with this book. The topic was so well written too. It made it completely believable and I loved every moment.

Violet also has a love interest that even she is unaware of until he starts to become the center of attention at school. The attraction and friendship that Jay and Violet share is wonderfully youthful and hopeful. They have been friends all their lives and as we learn about Violet, we also learn about Jay. Kimberly Derting crafts the intertwining relationship that I too, fell in love and hoped for a love connection.

Summary -
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

Tuesday - Tune In & Teaser

I have been singing this song since I walked in the cafe and found one of our baristas mopping the floor. I'm on the hunt for the DVD version.

It's a Hard Knock Life from the movie, Annie

She was familiar enough with the meaning of this new, and misplaced, noise. Or at least with what it signified. She had been hearing sounds, or seeing colors, or smelling smells like this for years. For as long as she could remember.
Echos, she called them.

The Body Finder
Kimberly Derting

Review - A Year and Six Seconds by Isabel Gillies

Title: A Year and Six Seconds
Author: Isabel Gillies
Publish Date:
Hardcover, 256 pages

Barnes and Noble

I am not sure if I agree with Isabel's idea of falling in love in six seconds. With my ex husband maybe, but that didn't last. My current boyfriend, I feel the love she speaks of, the kind where I see marriage, kids and an entire life together, but I am almost positive that I fell in love with him over a year (possibly just half a year).

Having been in a similar situation of loss and having to move on, I completely understand her feelings of having a beginning, middle and end of transition. Though for me there was a lot of numbness followed by confusion and often, "Are you kidding me?" anger.

Her biography was heart-felt, true and completely and utterly understandable. Though I always hate to do this, it is a bit of, if you liked "Eat, Love, Pray" by Elizabeth Gilbert you will actually like this one more. It isn't as whiny or poor-me. It is much more of Isabel being in reality and walking us through how she is living. We get to walk in her shoes as she transitions. I was so incredibly sad when she spoke of her kids and wondering if they alone would help him stay. The parts with her living with her parents again and watching their faces and seeing their expressions. Wonderful writing.

Summary -

When you're waiting for love, what seems like a lifetime may only be a year and six seconds.

Isabel Gillies, the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Happens Every Day, now picks up where she left off in the true story of her valiant yet sometimes bumbling effots to pick herself up after her husband leaves her for another woman and she is told by a friend it "happens every day."

It is winter when she arrives home in Manhattan, with her two young sons in tow. Her husband has left her, and she's forced to move back in with her parents until she can figure out what to do next.

Determined to feel strong, remain lovable, and be productive, she creates and tackles a staggering to-do list, starting with (and not necessarily in order of importance): get along with her parents in tight quarters; find a preschool spot for son mid-year in Manhattan; break down only in front of best friend and not in front of children; receive one great, romantic kiss.

She makes her lists, she dates, she cries, she and her whole crowded family get the flu; and then, just when Isabel least expects it, she falls in love. A Year and Six Seconds is a buoyant, real, romantic comedy with an uplifting message, reminding us that while we all struggle and stumble at times, somehow we can come out just fine on the other side.

Visits, Homemade Desert and finished a book

I got lucky this year and received the day before Thanksgiving off from work. And even more lucky my boyfriend received a four day weekend before hand, so he came out to visit me. We spent some good days off baking, cooking, cuddling, watching movies and reading. Mostly just enjoying what would be our life should we ever live in the same city. Then we drove to his place. He likes to call them our summer and winter homes. He then got ready to work a couple of overnights for Black Friday and then an official opening on Black Friday. While he slept - tried to sleep, I went to my parents house.

I took my 15 year old niece driving. I think it was only her second time, though if you hear her talk, she has been "practicing"driving for years. I drove her to the courthouse parking lot and gave her the wheel. I talked her through where everything was in the car and then asked her to tell me what Bampy (my father) had told her. She then moved the mirrors and got settled. We basically spent thirty minutes or so driving loops through the lot and then parking. She was hilarious. She got nervous and said sorry, to which I shrugged because I am the girl who apologizes for saying sorry. She hit a curb and then rolled over the curb almost immediately thereafter, which ended our driving practice. I think she was getting tired and distracted. It was fun and I will never forget it. I hope to be able to assist her in the next year with more practice, but finding a good deserted place is a bit hard.

Saint and I spent time lying to each of my parents while we bought them both an ipad. They each wanted to give the other one and didn't know how or when to do so. We bought both and then I had to finagle them in the house without either knowing they each had purchased one for the other. My mom's birthday is next week and since my father will be out of town we gave it to her yesterday when we were all present. Then my mom wanted to give my dad his so they could learn together. I thought it was fun, neither had any clue. Which is really unique for me, as I cannot keep a secret. They were both highly pleased. We joked about rewrapping the ipad boxes for years to come.

Saint was a trooper and after four hours of sleep after being up and working for 30 hours, he still wanted to attend Thanksgiving at my Uncle's. My uncle's partner is a chef and oh boy, he makes fantastic food. It is all simple and healthy. I love that. I swear one day I will take a week off and go live with them while he teaches me to cook. He made turkey, stuffing, cranberry chutney, Parmesan potatoes, green beans and salad. I never like green beans, but I am forcing vegetables down my throat to find out how and why I like/don't like them. Knowing I detest green beans I served myself some anyway. OMG they were so delicious!! Weird. I still cannot get over how good they were. He only braised them and then added spice, so they were hardly cooked at all. Maybe that is key?. He then pulled out pumpkin cheesecake, coconut cream pie and then offered up chocolate volcanoes. I chose the chocolate because I knew Saint would get the others. I then could have a bite of his and enjoy my own.

We then had to head out so Saint could go back to sleep and prep for work in less than five hours and I had to start the drive home. Coming home to my cats, Izabel and Tuesday make the drive home not so bad.

I finally finished listening to Daughters of Darkness by VC Andrews on my Nook. It was so interesting. I will post the review later this week.

I will be working later today which in retail is code for cleaning up the Black Friday mess. lol

Have a great one!!

Black Friday is right

I have worked in retail for over 13 years and I still cannot stand the madness that goes into this one day of the year. I get that -
it is the busiest shopping day of the year
estimated to bring in over $65 billion
offers great deals
makes shopping easier bc it is on one weekend
creates competition among stores which lowers prices
wages of time and a half
more job possibilities (really? ok fine)
It also makes workers work on days that they should be with their families. My boyfriend works at a major retailer and not only worked on Thanksgiving, but worked TWICE. On a holiday. TWICE

Have we really come to point in our commercialized society that we cannot allow people to spend ONE DAY with their families? Have we become so involved in the bottom line that we cannot push the open doors back to normal or semi-normal hours? Do we really need 24 hour stores? Do we really require a midnight opening to get the TV of our dreams?

When we drove by Best Buy around noon on Thanksgiving there were already a couple dozen people waiting outside. SERIOUSLY?

Is getting the better deal more important than being with family?

I wish that we could close the retail doors for 24 hours a couple of times a year for all families. I understand this seems unrealistic because we need hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores, but do we really need video rentals, books, clothes, electronics open 24 hours a day? Can we not live without for one day?

Did you see the article about the group of workers who imposed a law about not working on Thanksgiving? That is the kind of attitude I am looking for here. We can still offer the doors to open at 6am and have blockbuster sales, but can it not wait for ONE DAY?!

Maybe I am just a little bitter as my boyfriend worked from 10pm to 7am and then went home to sleep for a few hours before braving it at my family's house and then going back home to sleep so he could go back to work at 9pm. On a holiday!

Review - You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publish Date: Dec 2, 2010
Hardcover, 413 pages

Barnes and Noble

I picked up this book expecting fireworks. Rage. Anger. Emotion. Fighting. Blood. Sacrifice. But it was calm. It was quiet. It was inner turmoil. It was loss and confusion. And then there was the possibility of hope, finding truth and will it really prevail?

It begs the question, Does Truth Really Win?

And does winning really mean good things will happen?

You Against Me focusing on the emotional and familial ties when tragedy strikes families. It doesn't just affect the family that was attacked. It pains the family who attacked as well. I was so enthralled with the power Jenny Downham gave the family of the accused rapist. I loved her character, the sister of the rapist, Ellie. She was scared and wanted to do the right thing, but WHAT is the right thing? I wanted to put this book down and run it is such a tough subject, but it pulled me in and I found myself rooting for these people. I wanted to the truth to come out and then I wasn't sure because with truth comes consequences and in this book, no one gets out without pain.

I am very interested in checking out Jenny Downham's other book, Before I Die. I love emotional books that make me think and this one, You Against Me had me struggling with all feelings.

Summary -
If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.