Monthly Archives: February 2012

Book Review: Fateful (Book One) by Cherri Schmidt – Guest Reviewer!

Review provided by Jeannette of Walking On Bookshelves!
Fateful (Fateful, #1)
A huge fan of Jane Austen, Danielle hopes to find her own Mr. Darcy when she leaves Colorado to attend art school in London. Of course she knows it’s silly to wish for that, naive even. But she’s met enough males who lacked respect for women, a growing trend it seemed. And at nineteen…well…. However, on only her second night there she gets lost and is threatened by a stalker who proves to be immune to her martial arts training. Before she is completely overpowered, she is then saved by Ethan Deveroux.
While Danielle does find the romance she seeks in Ethan, he’s no Mr. Darcy. Her hero is held by a spell which fractures their chance at a happy ending. During the day Ethan is closer to mortal than immortal and can date her like any other man. Yet, as the sun sets, the powerful magic of an ancient curse returns and the evil of that spell is revealed. When that magic begins, Danielle’s fairytale romance ends because Ethan Deveroux is a vampire.
Rating: 3/5
Where to begin…?  Well, let’s start with the MC Danielle.  I didn’t really care for her.  She was insecure to a point that I think she needed therapy.  For a girl who has a black belt in martial arts she needed a good dose of attitude to go with it.  She often came off as a helpless, pouty child.  The only time we get to see her with any fight at all is towards the end of the book.  Once the climax was over, so was her bravery.  She was like Bella in Twilight, but the watered down version.  Now on to Ethan.  I found him rather boring.  He wasn’t really consistent either.  First he wants to protect Danielle from his evil dark magic then he wants to take her to a ball, at night, when his & several others’ dark magic is in full force!  He’s so concerned with being proper, but he likes to get her drunk on his magical breath.  Um, weird.  The character I liked the most was Max.  He flirted with Danielle and that is so much more entertaining than being instantly worshiped.
The climax of the book was really good.  This is where Schmidt showed us some great writing.  My heart was actually pounding.  It’s because of that, I will read the next book in this series.  I would  really love to see a whole book just about Max!  Oh, one last tid bit that annoyed me was the whole lidded eye thing.  All I could picture were all these people talking to Danielle looking kind of stoned because they had to look at her through barely open eye lids due to the effect their eyes had on humans.
So, if you fall into the category of Twilight haters (I don’t judge), I don’t recommend this book.  But I do recommend it as a series to keep watch on.  I think it will improve.
Review provided by Jeannette of Walking On Bookshelves!

Disneyland: SIGNin’ In The Street – Downtown Disney District – March 17 and 18, 2012!

The event will spotlight top performers, interactive workshops, film screenings and appearances by the stars of ABC Family’s hit series, “Switched at Birth”: Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Constance Marie, Lea Thompson, D.W. Moffett, Lucas Grabeel, Sean Berdy and Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin.


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

In addition, two episodes of the show, including an exclusive sneak preview of the spring finale, will be screened at AMC Theatres on Saturday, March 17. Tickets to the screenings will be limited, so make sure to check back here to find out how you might grab one!The “Switched at Birth” cast will be on hand earlier in the day for panel question and answer sessions, as well as autograph signings.

I would like to see what I can do to get there!  I am a big fan of the show “Switched at Birth” on ABC, and of course Deaf events are my favorites.

#Awaken by Sarah M Ross – Book Tour & Giveaway

Awaken (The Patronus)

Lucy Donovan was supposed to have a weekend of fun in the sun, celebrating her upcoming graduation from college. In a split second, everything changed. A drunk driver ended Lucy’s mortal life.

Lucy opens her eyes to a world she never imagined possible and a new destiny: as a Patronus, a guardian of spirits. Adjusting to her new role and abilities while negotiating this confusing realm will test her limits and push her further than she ever dreamed she would go. From wayward spirits who don’t want her help to soul stealing vampires, and even a stuck-up British royal, Lucy must brave them all to save one spirit she can’t bear to lose.

Further complicating her confusing life is an inexplicable yet growing connection she feels to a member of her team, Max, whose mysterious behavior leaves her both confused and intrigued.

Waking up dead was just the beginning of her problems. Lucy’s death is about to become the greatest adventure of her life.

Buy it – Kindle, Paperback, Nook, and Smashwords

Author Sarah M Ross is working with Promotional Book Tours to bring you an incredible Prize pack. She is offering up

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Trapped by Technology – A gadgetphile comes clean.

I am a long-time lover of gadgets.  I don’t give a hoot about clothes, shoes, hairstyles .. all the things my daughter consumes herself with (are we sure she’s mine?) are of little consequence to me.   Don’t get me wrong, I put effort in, but it’s minimal.  It’s what gets me by to avoid ridicule, institutionalization, or getting side-eyed.  My focus is and always has been on emerging technology.

Link fights enemies on the overland map of Hyr...I am historically an early adopter.  I spent half my high school career playing Super Mario Brothers 3.  Legend of Zelda’s graphics & musical integration were off the hook.   I couldn’t believe how good we had it!  And this was early-90s.  And by early-90s I was deeply in love with technology, gadgets, and all the wonderment that accompanied them.

All of this is why I find myself confounded by my lukewarm feelings towards e-books, e-readers, etc.  This is my milieu, y’know?  I should be dripping with love for e-reading.  I’m not.  I am too easily distracted, and absolutely forget reading books at any decent pace while on the computer, iPad, or iPhone.  If I can switch apps and go do other crap on the internet, check my messages, play Words With Friends, I’m done.  I get lost, and the effort to get back to where I was in the story is overwhelming.

Recently, I was reading 11/22/63 on an e-reader, and hadn’t paid attention to how many pages it had.  Browsing books at Target one day, I picked up the behemoth hardback of the same book, and was utterly shocked how thick it was.  Shocked more, still, that I was already halfway through!

Kindle 2.0

Definitely, definitely, had I seen the size of the book before picking it up to read it, I would have been overwhelmed from the get-go … much like I am with Under the Dome.  But I find myself so drawn to the feel of books.  Holding it in my hands and turning the pages with my fingers… the smell of books!  Having a visual reference for how far through the book I am and absolutely NO idea what percentage I’m at.  These are all huge draws for me.

I wish physical books came with an electronic copy (much like many movies these days do – buy the DVD/Blu-Ray, and you get a copy you can put on your mobile device or computer) so that I could switch between them depending on my circumstances.  Reading at home with ample light?  Physical book. Reading on the go? Kindle.  Reading in the dark?  Kindle Fire.

Bottom line: I love reading.  I will engage in reading regardless of my feelings of the medium on which I’m doing it.  I am not at the point where I want to pay for both electronic and physical editions separately, but that doesn’t mean I won’t choose one and go with it.  Book me up!

Late Night Saturday Night

It’s nearing 11:30pm and my 7-year-old shows no signs of being tired.

This is nothing new for her; she’s been a night owl since the beginning of [her] time.  At not-yet-1-year, she was outpacing me for the New Years’ Eve celebrations.  The plus side was her ability to sleep in till 9 or 10 in the morning.  Excellent for weekends – not so wonderful for, later, getting up to get to school.

But I digress.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Tonight we are up, awake, and watching Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.  We saw this in the theatre last summer, and it was fun enough.  Quirky 3rd graders are my favorite kind of role models for my daughter.  Humor, good self-esteem, not a care in the world for what someone might think of her unkempt hair or ridiculous outfits.  Add to that her seemingly good-natured relationship with her little brother, and I feel comfortable indulging.

By the way, I love grown-up Steve Urkel.  He pulls this whole movie back full circle.

The movie is fast-paced and silly, and the color scheme is obnoxious(ly fun)!  Nobody in real life lives like these people, but there’s juuuuust enough reality to keep us connected.  Judy’s planning for a thrilling summer with her best friends and Frog Pee Club members, until two of them inform her that they’re not going to be in town for the summer.  Judy’s ridiculously disappointed.  Until her Aunt Opal (Heather Graham) arrives.

With Opal, Judy and her remaining best friend (who didn’t go out of town for the summer) go on adventures that will create memories that will surely last a lifetime.  Chasing Bigfoot, riding a vomituous rollercoaster, building a Bigfoot statue in the front yard, and decorating the huge mundane stone statues in the middle of town are just a short list of what awaits Judy, her good friend, and her little brother Stink.

We rate Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer at 4/5!  

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Lolo’s Review: Franklin’s Valentines by Paulette Bourgeois

I read Franklin’s Valentines by Paulette Bourgeois (link) on February 13, 2012.
Publisher Name: Open Road Media; Imprint: Kids Can Press

From Goodreads:
The Valentine’s Day Party has begun at last, but Franklin lost his cards on the way to school. As his pile of valentines begins to grow. Franklin feels bad that he has none to give in return. But in the true spirit of the day, everyone assures Franklin they don’t need a valentine to know they’re his friends.

1. What was your favorite part of the book?
When Franklin was making his Valentine’s Day cards in the beginning of the book.

2. Was this book funny, sad, silly, or boring?
This book was kind of sad in the middle, but was very happy at the end. Franklin knew he had very good friends and that he was a good friend to them.

3. Who was your favorite character?

4. Would you tell your friends to read this book?
Yes, ’cause it’s at my school.


Mom’s Review:

Franklin’s Valentines teaches a great lesson: Friendships exist and thrive because of our love for one another – not because of the gifts we give. As a parent of a young child, this message is important and this book beautifully illustrates how friendship transcends the desire for things. Our friends love us because of the happy way we make them feel when we’re together!

I appreciate Franklin’s concern that his friends might be hurt that he didn’t give them their valentine cards, and impressed greater still by his initiative to create cards for “Friendship Day” which he declares can be any day they like. What a great role model for taking a sad and disappointing situation and turning it around into an opportunity to display gratitude and take on an alternative perspective when things didn’t quite go his way.


Dear Miss Lauren: Leukemia Anniversary

February 10, 2012 10:47pm

Dear Miss Lauren,

4 years ago my life and yours were about to change dramatically. You were incredibly, incredibly sick, and I thought it was just the flu. You were so pale and lethargic with a cough and cold that seemed to have lasted forever. You had just turned 3, and your wonderful spirit shone through all the yuck and ick, and my beautiful girl was such a bright spot in my life.

Let’s go back a bit to June 1, 2004. That was the day I knew for sure you were on your way. I’d known even before that, though, but this was the day I finally felt confident enough to believe it!! I was thrilled yet scared. I was excited yet terrified. I was always, always happy. I felt such a connection to you immediately, and I was thrilled you were going to be a part of my life.

Before February 12, 2008, we never worried much about your health. You were healthy and developed quickly. You were speaking very clearly by 2, and physically right on track. Though very shy and terribly difficult to get to bed, you were engaging and fun. Everyone was so lucky to know you. That night changed nothing of our feelings for you, nor for our commitment to keep you healthy. It’s consumed our lives for a long time with the medicines timed just-so, and the frequent clinic visits… The spinal taps and going bald in the middle of the summer (08). Through it all, you’ve been cheerful and sweet, and such a thoughtful, caring, wonderful human being.

As your mom, I think a lot about the time leading up to your diagnosis of leukemia. I look back at the pictures from a month or two before, and I hate myself for not seeing what was so plainly there. I just thought it was the flu (which you were also sick with, concurrently alongside leukemia), and nearly everybody in our lives were concerned, but didn’t see reason to think anything more was going on. You don’t remember much of your time in the clinic and hospital now, so I don’t suspect you remember how terrible you felt in those days, weeks, months preceding the diagnosis, but I’m sorry. I am sorry I didn’t know. I am sorry i snapped at you that you weren’t being friendly to people. God, your little body was wrecked with cancer, and I was mad you weren’t friendly enough. It’s an ugly monster, that guilt. She would eat me alive if I let it go on too long. I’m not sure there’s anything I will be able to do to overcome the regret of not being more aware.

But here we are, looking at the nose of the diagnosaversary, and you’re in first grade in the advanced spelling group and the highest reading level group in your class! You are artistic and creative – more so than I have ever been all throughout my life. You are ridiculously intuitive and aware of your effect on other people. As a result of that, you are very sensitive to others’ feelings and sometimes take things personally when they’re not intended to be. You care an awful lot what I think, and you really really like to sleep close to me. However, you are a crazy turn-sideways kick you in the head type of sleeper, so we sleep close, but not in the same bed.

I love you, and I admire who you are. I am lucky to know you and have you love me.


Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King


On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed forever. 
If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you?  Would the consequences be worth it? 

I’m a time travel junkie.  I love love love to read anything time travel, watch movies about time travel… I’ll even spend a couple days’ worth of time on archived Internet forums reading about a guy who claimed to be from the future searching for a piece of an old IBM computer (John Titor fans, hello!).  So when Stephen King’s 11/22/63 was released, you can bet a time-travelling phone booth or two that I was gonna read it.

This book began with a delicious concept – a wormhole placed randomly in the back pantry of an old diner allowed for the traveler to be transported back in time to 1958.  Any changes effected upon the past would still be in place upon return to the present, but returning back to 1958 through that wormhole again will “reset” the changes entirely.   Go back in time, spend a couple of years wreaking havoc and having fun, come back to now, go back in, and any damage caused is undone – no hard feelings.  No consequences.

Al, the owner of the diner where our friendly wormhole keeps residence, has concocted a plan to go back in time, wait until 1963, and save Kennedy from assassination.  He’d do it himself, but lung cancer isn’t patient, so he asks Jake, our main squeeze, to follow through.  Al’s taken notes, gone back in time numerous times (resetting the past with each trip) and feels almost certain Oswald acted alone.  Jake’s job is to take the “almost” out of that equation, and ultimately save Kennedy!

Along the way to 1963, Jake attempts to adjust the lives of some unfortunate people whom he knows in his current iteration.  While a school teacher in real life, he poses as a contemporary-to-the-late-1950s version, as well.  He falls in love.  He commits murder.  He saves lives.  Ultimately, his goal to save Kennedy has an unexpected ending.

Finishing 11/22/63, I felt very conflicted.  As we saunter through our lives, our memories are created with others.  Rarely does a human create a bounty of memories created alone, or specifically not shared with anybody.  A man may climb a mountain alone, but he does so in order to share the ordeal with people… to inspire them, challenge them, share with them.  For Jake, in the end, I felt that he had nobody to share his ridiculously amazing experiences with, and it made me feel the whole journey was a waste of time.  I’d feel almost as if the whole thing were a dream, after a while of not sharing, and wonder if I’m crazy to even consider it was an actual set of events.

I feel a lot of disappointment for the ultimate position Jake is left in.  Sure, it’s bittersweet, and sure he is grateful for the experience, but was it worth it?  What could he have done with his life without taking on the burden of Al’s wish?  These questions don’t detract from the story; rather, I enjoy how much I feel  my feelings in this book. No question, I recommend this book!

Rating: 5/5!

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