Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I Read In 2013











Friday, December 27, 2013

Today I...

**a little different spin on my usual "currently" posts**

today, I..."walked" what should be the equivalent to a 1/2 marathon on crutches...in other words...not as far, but it sure felt like it since I was on crutches.
today, I...had a physical therapy appointment & my 1st post-op appointment from knee surgery. All going well.
today, I...enjoyed having lunch on my own at the hospital between my PT and doctor appointments.
today, I...received a text message from my doctor which included TWO pictures he took DURING my surgery. Ewwww!! But yet, so neat to see.
today, I...spent a couple hours with a sweet friend, who I also work for part-time. Always good to have "girl-time"
today, I... managed to put in a load of laundry all on my own...thanks to the handy push-scooter-thingee my mom loaned me.
today, I...rode around Kroger in one of the handicapped carts...and thoroughly enjoyed it.
today, I...made Ethan an appointment with my Ortho doc since his foot problem has flared up in past few days.
today, I...watched Despicable Me 2 for the 2nd time in as many days. Good thing I enjoy the movie.
today, I...have completely worn out my triceps...ugh, crutches.
today, I...am surprised to say that I felt pretty happy & really enjoyed my day...crutches & all.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

1. My Mother's Secret - Holocaust/WWII time frame...enough said.

2. Crossing on the Paris

3. The Uninvited Guests

4. The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe

5. The Girl in the Green Sweater

6. The Kitchen House

7. In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

8. Once We Were Brothers

9. The English Girl

10. The Lavendar Garden

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - New-To-Me Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Top 10 New To Me Authors I read in 2013

1. Kristin Harmel - I was fascinated with The Sweetness of Forgetting and can only hope she writes something else similar in the near future.

2. Charles Belfoure - I could not put down The Paris Architect...such a fresh & unique story from a much-written-about time period. Pretty sure this is his first work of fiction.

3. Jodi Picoult (I know, I know!!) - yeah, so I had never read anything by her before, always seemed too "sappy" or "depressing"...anyway, a friend told me about The Storyteller and the Holocaust story line...so I HAD to read it. And it was a fabulous book. I'm not necessarily sold on reading any of her other works, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Storyteller.

4. Julia Heaberlin -I absolutely loved her book "Playing Dead" and it looks like she had another published this year. I may have to try it!!

5. Rob Buyea - great middle school books, especially Because of Mr. Terupt...which I used with a group of 5th graders as book club. Everyone loved the book!! Bonus: filled with great school & life lessons.

6. Beatriz Williams - I really enjoyed reading A Hundred Summers...great characters and great writing.

7. John Green - yeah, I'm late to the game on this one too, but I finally DID pick up The Fault in Our Stars and it was just as great as everyone had said. Not sure I'll read everything Green has written, but I was pleased with what I have read!

8. Mary Alice Monroe - I read two of her books this year and was pleased with both. I will likely read more of her works as she tends to write alot about South Carolina, specifically the Charleston area and I LOVE IT THERE!!

9. Liz Trenow - I read The Last Telegram this year and found it to be a great WWII story. Creative story line for a much-written-about timeframe...and just happens to be my favorite type of historical fiction to read. 

10. Adriana Trigiani - ok, so I'm cheating here because I actually read The Shoemaker's Wife late December 2012, but close enough, right? I would DO anything to find another book like this one. Holy Moly! Amazing! Loved it...I figure when I can still remember ALOT about the book an entire year (and 50ish books) later, then it must have been good!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bout of Books 9.0

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 9.0!!!

Sign up begins today!! 

I didn't miss the deadline to sign up like last time so I'm officially "IN"!!

This is great timing for me too since I'll be on crutches the ENTIRE MONTH of January, I should be able to get LOTS of reading done!!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Time // 7:00 a.m.
Place // My desk
Eating // Dannon Light & Fit Greek Cherry Yogurt...just noticed/realized it has 20 calories less than the Yoplait and 4gms MORE Protein. That will be my preferred choice going forward.
Drinking // Diet Dr Pepper. Water. I should probably just eliminate this prompt since the answers never change. 
Reading // It’s not been such a wonderful week for reading, I basically read NOTHING over the weekend thanks to hydrocodone completely knocking me out and/or making the words on the page jump all around. I'm still 6 books behind my goal for the year...guess I shouldn't have raised it this year.  When I do read, however, I am reading The Paris Architect for me and Navigating Early for a 5th grade boys book club. I also just finished reading Counting by 7s for my 5th grade girls book club. 
Watching // DVR'd episodes of Cupcake Wars....the funniest thing is that Ethan WANTS to watch it as well.
Cooking // only if I have to. ick. do frozen french bread pizzas on Sunday count?
Blogging // still not too often. *sigh*
Listening // I'm really enjoying Joe Nichols new album, also "Carolina" by Parmalee and "Sweet Annie" by Zac Brown Band.
Thinking // about how irritating it is when people TELL me HOW to live.
Needing // to feel better about ME and my life. How does one do that exactly?
Wanting // a vacation to one of those cute little "cabanas" ON the water in FIJI. Yeah, like that will happen.
Hating // Not having enough "down/relaxing" time or in other words, rushing around EVERY.SINGLE.DAY after work to get things ready/done for the next day. Not fun!
Loving // sleeping. 
Avoiding // facebook. for a variety of reasons.
Anticipating // the next good book!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

GIVEAWAY!! Kindle Fire OR Cash!!!

Kindle HDX NOvember 
This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Ripple Effect Romance Series
  4. Dark Motive's Books & More
  5. Fae Books
  6. Author Marianne Morea
  7. Buku-Buku Didi
  8. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  9. Author Stacy Claflin
  10. Patchwork Press
  11. Author Louise Caiola
  12. Author Bella Street
  13. Author Bonnie Blythe
  14. Author Julia Crane
  15. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  16. Author Kim Cresswell
  17. A Bookish Escape
  18. Author Talia Jager
  19. Mother Daughter Book Reviews
  20. Fiction Dreams
  21. Book Angel Booktopia
  22. Kelly's Lucky You
  23. Author Roxanne Crouse
  24. Author Rachelle Christensen
  25. Author Jennifer Laurens
  26. Hardback Book Hotties
  27. Lori's Reading Corner
  28. Author Misty Moncur
  29. MyLadyWeb: Women's History and Women Authors
  30. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  31. Living, Learning and Loving Life
  32. Fairiechick's Fantasy Book Reader
  33. My Story That I Like Best
  34. LeahSay's Views
  35. Christine's Blog
  36. Candle Light Reads
  38. The Demon Librarian
  39. SMIBookClub
  40. Author T.L. Clarke
  41. Back Off My Books
  42. Michael SciFan
  43. Author Carole Brown
  44. Coffee and Characters
  45. No Thought 2 Small
  46. Stanley and Katrina, Pet Authors
  47. Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
  48. Love Bites & Silk
  49. Kimber Leigh Writes
  50. Author Rae Z. Ryans
  51. Author Georgina Young-Ellis
  52. The Reporter and the Girl
  53. Fic Central
  54. Like a Broken Vessel
  Sign up to Sponsor the December Giveaway (starting around December 2nd) http://www.iamareader.com/2013/10/december-kindle-fire.html   

Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 11/30/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. 

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. 
No purchase necessary. 
You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. 
The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Musing Monday

Musing Mondays post is sponsored by Should Be Reading.

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.

• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).

• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Miraculously, I actually haven't bought any books for myself in the past 12 days!! On October 30, I bought Emily Giffin's "Where We Belong" because it was offered for only $1.40!!! I've read all of her books except for this one and while I've sort of strayed a bit from the traditional "chick-lit", I still would like to read this one as I've always enjoyed her books. 

I have my "wish-list" set up on Amazon.com and check it every couple days as e-book prices are CONSTANTLY changing and when I see a book on my list drop in price quite a bit, I grab it...which means I ALWAYS have something waiting to be read. 

Right now I am reading TWO books...I'm not keen on reading more than one book at a time, but this problem has come about because the 5th graders at my school are loving doing "book club" with me. Yay!!  For my boys book club, I am reading "Navigating Early" by Clare Vanderpool...I actually haven't started it and need to read 78 pages before Thursday so I'll be getting started on that one tonight!!

As for my own reading, I have only read a few pages so far in The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. I had hoped to make some progress on this one over the weekend but the post-knee-surgery meds had other ideas...like sleep. Hopefully I'll get moving on it this week as it sounds fabulous!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WWW Wednesday


To play along, just answer the following 3 questions:
1) what are you currently reading?
2) what did you recently finish reading?
3) what do you think you will read next?

I wasted no time in starting to read ALLEGIANT yesterday - the very day it came out!!! Woohoo!! I am only 9% into it so far - thanks to having little to no time to read yesterday, but I'll make my way through it eventually. I cannot wait to see how this trilogy unfolds!!
After what felt like months, I finally finished The Orchardist. I bought this book quite a while ago when I kept seeing/hearing great reviews about it. From the description, the book sounded quite good and something I would enjoy. Well...not so much. I don't know if I'm missing something or maybe this was just a case where a book just isn't a good fit for me. I thought it was at least 100 pages longer than it needed to be and the author did this crazy thing of repeating what just happened simply by changing who the story was coming from. That was really annoying. I gave it 3 stars, though I sometimes feel like maybe 2 would have been more accurate for my experience.


I cannot wait to start reading THE PARIS ARCHITECT..this is one from my preferred time-frame - Holocaust era and it sounds like a fabulous story set in a very dark time in history. When this one first started showing up on book blogs, I immediately added it to my to-read list and then saw the e-book price of $14.49!! What?!?! Never saw one that high before!! Then my luck changed and yesterday it went down to $5.99 on Kindle!! Woohoo!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

thought dumping

I miss blogging...simple as that...here's the thing though, I am busier than I have ever been (and I really hate when people say "I'm so busy"...so sorry for that, but it's the truth)...but I also want to find the time to continue to blog. And then also keep it positive. That's probably the bigger challenge right now. Truth be told, there have been some dark clouds over me for the past few months. I'm hoping they move out, in one way or another. 

It's interesting, people supposedly come into our lives for a reason, and out for a reason too. Sometimes this is easy to see, other times not so much. Like I really don't see the reason for a particular person who I have ended up working with 1-2x a month only (thank goodness) as she is obscenely fake and I recently learned that she talks behind people's (mine) back. I just don't get the motive here...you know since I have nothing to do with her or her life. Leave me alone. This kind of stuff grates on me & I struggle to let it go...I feel like I want to tell her off, but that's never really been my style, though maybe I need to change it for situations such as this.

So Ali Edwards always posts and/or talks about "living the width of her life, not just the length"...this has been really getting to me lately. I feel like I am solely living the length and it's somewhat (ok, really a lot) depressing. I guess maybe I only live the width during the summer, when I have the time & means to make things happen. There are some things coming up that I would like to do/attend that would help me live the width, but I don't feel supported in them...or simply am NOT supported in them. So then they don't happen. See...struggling to stay positive. Sorry!

Knee surgeries...been on my mind a lot lately...still struggling to heal from 9.27 surgery. I can definitely see & feel a difference in my age w/this one...I know I didn't take this long to heal last time. I've managed to go to the YMCA and ride the bike 3-4x in past 3 weeks, you know since I only went to therapy 2x (fail!). Anyway, bike riding is just not the same as running and while I don't necessarily LOVE running, it burns WAY more calories and I've discovered that I'm already up 4lbs since the surgery. Boo!! Combine little exercise w/dark clouds and that's what happens. Bummer! Now to add fuel to that fire...the 9.27 surgery was only STEP ONE of TWO...in other words, I am supposed to have ANOTHER surgery to fully fix the problem. Hence...this being on my mind so much lately...this STEP TWO means SIX weeks on crutches and leaves me with the only opportunity of doing the procedure over Christmas break. While I am totally fine with doing it over the holiday, the six weeks on crutches worries me. It was REALLY hard to be on crutches for ONE week and be a single parent during the week. O would be home for the first couple weeks over the holidays but he would have to go back to work early January. I also feel like I really have no other choice but to do the procedure over break...the Summer would be worse as I'd be on crutches the entire time and O would only be home on weekends. I'd prefer to have to work 3 weeks on crutches than be on them all summer. And to top it all off...this surgery means NO RUNNING for 9-12 months!!! Oh goodness, I may be the size of a whale after all is said and done. :(  On the bright side(see, positive!!)....I could set a goal to run the WDW Princess 1/2 Marathon in 2015....or maybe just the 10k.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I've been noticing more and more this "trend" of Throwback Thursday on the internet...either in blogs, FB or Instagram...so as I was going through some pictures for a project that Ethan has to do for school...I came across this "beauty"...don't laugh too hard.

Circa 1975.76 - Florida

Monday, October 07, 2013


Eating:  still on the Yoplait Black Cherry Greek Yogurt - 100 calories! I usually combine that with a Kellogg's Antioxidant Chocolate Chip Bar...I'm starting to get bored with those though and haven't found a good replacement. :(

Drinking: no changes here. diet dr. pepper, water & Kroger diet orange. I have the occasional iced chai from Starbucks, but I am HAPPY to report that I've cut WAY back!! Woohoo!!

Reading: I've been plugging along with "The Storyteller" by Jodi Picoult. So if you know me and my reading habits, you KNOW that Picoult is so NOT the typical author for me....welllllll, a friend mentioned this story being a Holocaust story and that's all it took. Let me tell you - this is AN AWESOME BOOK...whoa!! It's taking me forever to read, but that's primarily due to not having time and that it's a good 450 pages!! 

Watching: yeah, so all 3 of you who read this already know I pretty much don't watch tv anymore...well since I've recently spent a little more time in bed lately due to the fabulous knee surgery, I revisited my love for "Cupcake Wars"...heck, I love baking and I love cupcakes, so of course I'd love this show. I DVR'd a few episodes and watched them over the past few days. I still wish I was a pastry chef!!! 

Blogging: goodness!! next to nothing...as seen in my history...I don't have much to say or time to say it either.  

Wanting: usually the easiest section for me to answer...however, my aunt just asked for our Christmas lists (!!!) and I have NOTHING on mine. Can't remember the last time that happened. I've really made a point to cut back on buying scrapbooking supplies so there is nothing I want there. As for books, well, I'll take an amazon.com gift card anytime, but other than that...nothing. 

Loving: the relief that icing my knee brings. amazing. that is also forces me to rest & relax is pretty awesome too. 

Hating: the constant achey-pain I have in my knee the past few days. Doc gave me an arthritis medicine for during the day since I'm completely useless when taking Hydrocodone...and they are almost gone anyway...but frankly, the arthritis med doesn't seem to be helping. :( Today is my first work day w/o crutches. Ouch.

Anticipating: going to see Elizabeth Gilbert with a co-worker friend on November 2nd. Should be a pretty cool event & I'm super excited since authors NEVER come here!!!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

7 years

It's amazing what a difference 7 years makes between knee surgeries...

*this time, I'm on crutches
*this time, I am a mom, which makes being on crutches 10000x worse
*this time, I could only stay home from work for one day
*this time, I'm so darn uncomfortable.

Hoping to be off the crutches by Friday. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays post sponsored by Should Be Reading.

What do you do when life gets in the way, and you just don’t have much time to read? Do you complain? Do you accept it? Do you do everything in your power to make time to read? Share your thoughts!

Oh this is a big deal for me...I get a bit frustrated when I don't have at least a little time to read every day. Normally I do my reading at night in bed. Some nights I'm just exhausted and decide to go to sleep instead...it's a tough choice for me, but I know that I will be miserable the next day. 

I feel like my reading time is my "treat" for the day...I rarely (never) get time to myself and reading is the only time I get for JUST ME and when it's "taken" from me, I struggle to accept it. My days are full and there is really no other time in my day to pull reading minutes from, though I do try....even during Ethan's crazy noisy TaeKwonDo class, I'll try to read a few pages...not the best environment, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Musing Monday

Musing Mondays is run by Should Be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
This is my first Musing Monday post...so I think I'll just tell a bit about what I'm reading right now as well as what I've recently purchased to read next.

I am currently reading "The Boy in the Suitcase" by Lene Kaaberbol. I am 53% through at this point, reading a good chunk yesterday. It seems lately I don't get a good chunk of time to read...it's 15 pages here, 10 pages there etc. Anyway, I bought it because (1) it sounded good and (2) it was super cheap, though that is not usually a requirement for me to read a book. I go more w/the description and also I LOVE looking on GoodReads to see which of my friends have also added it to their To Read list...I have a few friends on there with book taste VERY similar to mine and I love that!!

Initially the book was a bit confusing as it immediately introduced a TON of characters and I had to figure out just who went w/who...and then there are the Eastern European names to also get used to as well. I'm definitely into the "meat" of the story right now.

I am also reading "Raising Happiness:10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents" and quite enjoying it as well. I am reading this book along with some parents at the school where I work and I hold a "book club" every other Thursday morning to go over 2 chapters. We are currently reading chapters (or steps) 3 & 4. This book has been helpful to me both as a mom AND a school counselor. Hooray!

And up next to read for me will be "I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree: A Memoir of a Schindler's List Survivor by Laura Hillman. If you know me at all, you know my obsession with reading about WWII and the Holocaust. It is so unbelievable and sad, yet I am passionate about reading everything I can about the timeframe. I've been aching to make a trip to DC to see the Holocaust Museum and was thinking about trying in October during Fall Break, though I don't think it'll work out afterall...regardless, I want to read this book next and maybe follow it up with a few others I have on my To-Read list from this time in history.

Ok - it's your turn now...let me know where to find your "Musing Monday" post!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Time // 6:46pm

Place // Sitting in my desk chair, waiting for a couple friends to come over to help us polish off some taco leftovers from yesterday.

Eating // chicken & pork tacos. Mexican style, of course.

Drinking // Diet Orange from Kroger. Yum!

Reading // "The Boy in the Suitcase" - it's not too bad so far, but I'm anxious to move on to a new book. Also still reading "Raising Happiness" for my school Parents book club.

Watching // nothing really...though "Pretty Woman" is on the TV in the living room right now.

Listening // some crappy song O is playing on the iPod speaker. Blech!

Cooking // Gee whiz....I already said TACOS!!

Blogging // not a whole lot...I really want to get back to regular posts but for some reason I've had a hard time with that. I guess it just boils down to time. Bummer!

Hating // I have not had a good couple months...specifically August and so far September isn't too stellar either...gotta make a change. 

Loving // work!! Can you believe it?!? Never heard me say that before have you? OK, maybe "loving" is a bit overboard, but thankfully our new administration this year has made a world of difference in "my" world. :) Hooray!

Wanting // I want some things to change. I want my (2!) knee surgeries to not cost me a gazillion dollars

Anticipating // The rest of this year...in a sort of nervous and semi-uncomfortable way. Ugh. Total drag really.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week in the Life - Tuesday

Just sharing my Tuesday WITL pics...can't wait to get them into my SNAP! album!!

Ugh...my least favorite time of day...too early!!

Milo's morning routine.

Apparently, he wants to go to the YMCA with me today!

Banana-Strawberry Smoothie w/greek yogurt!

Driving to work/school.

Silly pic in my office before the bell rings.

I had Mass duty this morning.

One of the props for a class lesson w/1st graders.

My desk today...yes, I use Ethan's old Scooby Doo lunch box.

Coping mechanism of the day. Yum!

Leaving work.

I had a dentist appointment.

YMCA - run.

Home away from home.

Beautiful sky out my sunroof.

FINALLY driving home for the day. Whew!!

Turkey & Pepper Jack melt.

Shower & Bedtime routine.