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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Swoon Thursday

It's that time again ......

Swoon Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by YA Bound @

Here's how it works. You take a book you're currently reading or recently read and share what made your toes curl and your heart race!!!

This week's swoon is from Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck.

Ren turned toward me and pressed my hand against his heart. 

“Kelsey, my blood pounds and my heart races when you’re near. 

I have to make a conscious effort to restrain myself from touching you. 

From taking you into my arms. 

From kissing you. 

I would almost rather be tortured by Lokesh again than be tormented everyday like this by seeing you with Kishan.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Let's recap, shall we?....

The day started with me having to move hubby's care as he was blocking me in. He wanted to move it last night, but some mysterious black sedan was parked in front of our house. Hmmm. Well, that is suspicious.

When I got up this morning, the black sedan was thankfully gone, but in its place was a long bed truck. There seemed to be enough room in front of him before my driveway started, so I wanted to pull out and back into the spot. However, when I pulled out of the driveway, there was a line of cars hard on my heels. With no other option, I drove down the street and hung a U-y at the corner. The only trouble was that now the truck was on the other side of the road effectively blocking me from pulling the same stunt in front of my house.

I had no choice but to pull back into my driveway and reverse down the sidewalk in front of my house parking what I thought was far enough away from the truck.

That settled, I loaded up my car and pulled down my driveway. BY the time I got to the end, the truck was perpendicular to the road and completely blocking any kind of access. He was backing up and I had prepared to go around, but as it turned out he was done dropping off the garbage dumpster and he was trying to pull out.

Now, imagine if you will a road that is technically not even two lanes wide and a tractor trailer sized truck trying to pull an Austin Powers in the golf cart in the hallway. You all saw it. And you laughed. So did I, but I was cursing up a blue streak that this truck driver was driving like Artie Johnson as the old guy on the tricycle from Laugh In. And yes, I pretty much time-stamped my age there.

I sat there and watched as he inched forward and back and forward and back and turn just slightly and back and forward and back and turn slightly and back and I watched him praying he would not hit hubby's car because that would be my fault. This torture went on for at least five minutes.

By the time he pulled out and straightened out he bed of the car, I tore around him. I'm not proud of that moment, but I was beyond frustrated and there was an entire line of cars that I did not want to get stuck behind including a school bus. And a garbage truck was waiting to move on the other side. Worse than the gunfight at PK Corral there were so many cars.

Then I realized I forgot my sweatshirt. The usually try to blast us out at work.

The rest of the drive was uneventful unless you call getting stuck behind motorists out for a Sunday drive on Wednesday driving slow as molasses with no escape route to get around them and the line at Dunkin Donuts out the door.

As it turns out, today was National Walk at Lunch day. It is also Jean's Day and we can wear sneakers, but I can't fit into jeans, so I wore my capri pants which I meant to change out of for the walk. I brought sneakers, pants and socks figuring I would pick up my T-shirt before the walk.

I missed getting my T-shirt yesterday so I went down to get it a little past 11:30 and when I got to the first floor, the room was dark an empty. So I pulled out the email again which I luckily brought with me and the pick up dates were the 27th and 28th, not 28th and 29th. I did think it a little odd that I could pick up my T-shirt the same day as the walk. See no good comes from cubicles with no walls so we can't hang calendars and see what freaking day of the week it is!

But I digress.

So, I had no T-shirt to walk in, only the thin capped sleeved striped T I wore to work and the pants I brought were blue which did not match my black & white striped shirt. But I could work with that.

Until I realized I forgot to bring some deodorant. Wah wah wah. Imaging menacing piano keys in a descending scale if you will.

Be that as it may, I was determined to walk anyway, so I started walking down the sidewalk with the other hundreds of people walking all wearing blue shirts I might add. Get over it!

So I'm walking at a crisp pace when two things occurred to me. One, I started getting a cold and was finding it difficult to be a nose breather. It is very difficult to walk at a pace breathing through the mouth. MY throat was getting parched and so were my lips and I had brought no water. Two, I realized my lower back was killing me with every step I took. Inclines were the worst.

Then some woman who I did not know said I need to pull down my shirt as my pants are see-through. Say what now? I've worn these often for working out. I can only imagine it was the effect of the sun shining through the Lycra and I'll confess it. I've put on a few pounds so the fabric was stretched more than it usually is.

So here I am walking for two miles pulling my shirt down every couple of minutes. It was a losing battle.

I also had my headphones and iPhone so I could listen to music, but I kept getting my pedometer stuck in the headphone cord and I kept ripping out one of the ear pieces.

I also had my Kindle so I could read it at the elevator. We've got hundreds of people trying to get back to their desk at roughly around the same time. And since I moved, there are the 5 parking decks to walk the stairs up and then an additional 9 floors to my floor. So I'll wait thanks.

And lastly, I had my email notification of when to pick up my T-shirts that I clearly didn't read, but I didn't know what to do with it when I went to the empty and dark room. So I held onto it. Truth be told, I didn't even remember to pull up the email until it was already too late.

What? I was preoccupied!

Here's something you should all know about me. I am claustrophobic. I hate being in confined spaces and I hate, hate, hate being in a crowd that won't move except at a snail's pace. So I walked much of the time through the streets of downtown Newark on the fringe of the sidewalk or in the actual street to get past of these lallygaggers.

Still, the midpoint was bottle-necked where we had to wait in line to get our free bottle of water and our $5.00 coupon towards lunch.

So, I got my loot and started back. I was moving too quickly, or trying to, to risk stopping where I was sure I would never start again or opening the bottle as I walked which would be a disaster for all those concerned.

So I stayed parched just counting the minutes until I could sit. Ordinarily I am an excellent walker, but if my lower back is giving me pain, like today, I feel old and broken. Which I am, soooo that's fitting actually.

So I got to the lobby of my building and did something very impulsive. I decided to not wait for the elevator and decided to take the stairs to the cafeteria on the 1st floor. That's 6 flights after the two mile walk. I was able to do so, but was breathing really heavily when I came out on the floor. I sat down in one of the very swaggy chairs they have in the snack lounge. Oh yeah. There are some parts of my building that feel very like an airport.

Anyway, I finally got some water. Once I got my breathing under control, I went to the cafeteria where I got some soup, crackers to go with, yogurt, orange juice and an ice tea, Pure Leaf. When my throat is bothering me, I am all about acidic stuff which is the only thing that soothes my throat.

I paid for my stuff. Only had to pay out $5.00 additional and headed to the elevator. I was not climbing 9 more floors. While standing there, I realized I didn't have my water. I started to head back for it, but my back hurt and I realized I didn't know where I left it. If I found a bottle, it could be any one's, so I decided not to risk it. It was free anyway. A bit of a waste, but hey.

By the time I got back to my desk, it had been an hour end to end, so that's not bad considering the side trip to the cafeteria, but I was sweating. After I cooled down, I changed back into my capri pants. I couldn't walk around with see-through pants. Washed up a bit t, so I felt better.

Aaaaaannd...then, when I got home I dropped a juice can on my foot.

Aaaaaannd...stuck my thumb nearly into my eye, but it was my nail which is kind of pointy and hard and it smarted.

That was my day. I am now full on sick mode, so I had to get medicine. It's great because I have a wedding Saturday that I may not be able to go to and Avengers comes out tomorrow in celebration of hubby's birthday.

Last night I had a dream that I ran into JLA in an elevator and I was asking her when we were going to see the next installment of The Dead List. Today, I got a push notification that she made an update. Precognition or wishful thinking.

So, besides this crappy day, I finally got the Christmas boxes into the attic. It took all day Sunday, which is normally when I can write my blog posts.

My mortgage may be going up by about $600.00 monthly which I do not have.

My Penguins barely squeaked into the playoffs being the last team to qualify. I had hockey every other night for almost two weeks, but they got eliminated. At least they were not the first team to be eliminated. And really, they're better than what they've shown the past couple of months.

TV is keeping me busy. Everything picked up at the same time: Agents of SHEILD, Outlander, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time. I'm still trying to watch Arrow and Grimm, but those are on Netflix or I have on Blu Ray, so no hurry. Now Netflix's has the Daredevil original series which is awesome! I never watch a lot of TV, haven't for a very many years, but it just seems like that's all I do lately. Oh yeah, and the new series I Zombie is on which is from a DC comic book series I own. So...

I have about a hundred or so T-shirts to fold. A bedroom to clean. Comic boxes to put up in the attic. Books I want to get rid of to get out of the attic. And I have spring garland to string around the house.

I have a handful of other projects to do around the house, not the least of which is getting started clearing the debris out of the garden from last year.

And I have a handful o f reviews to write and post.

So, what does any of this have to do with books? Absolutely nothing. I just thought I'd share a typical day in my life when I am actually paying attention to the events that transpire. I can't make this crap up!

Soooooo....tomorrow then?

Providing I am not bedridden.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: In Deep by Terra Elan McVoy

Still doing the whole eBook sample clean up before more books come out that I have to sample. I still have 360 samples on my iPad. I probably read about 20 of them, but I need to see which ones I finished, which ones I started and which ones I still have to read. It's a never ending chore. You'd think I'd be satisfied with the books I do have instead of constantly fishing for new ones. But it's no the reading, well it is the reading, but it is also the having. So without further ado, I bring you To Buy or Not to Buy.

In Deep by Terra Elan McVoy
Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Ultracompetitive Brynn from The Summer of Firsts and Lasts craves swimming victory—and gets in over her head—in this irresistible novel from Terra Elan McVoy.


Nothing else matters to Brynn as she trains her body and mind to win. Not her mediocre grades and lack of real friends at school. Not the gnawing grief over her fallen hero father. Not the strained relationship with her absent mother and clueless stepdad. In the turquoise water, swimming is an escape and her ticket to somewhere—anywhere—else. And nothing will get in her way of claiming victory.

But when the competitive streak follows Brynn out of the pool in a wickedly seductive cat-and-mouse game between herself, her wild best friend, and a hot new college swimmer, Brynn’s single-mindedness gets her in over her head, with much more than a trophy to lose.

My First Impression:
Brynn is competitive and swimming is the only thing that matters to her. Grier is her best friend, a thrill seeker.

The story opens with the two of them floating in Grier’s pool. The only thoughts in Brynn’s head are that Grier was too slow in the meet that day. Then Grier surprises her by challenging her to a dare.
They haven’t played in a while, but Brynn can’t really think of anything challenging enough. Brynn reflects on friendship with Grier and we learn how they became friends. And just what type of girl Grier is.

Grier finds a container of salt from the bar at poolside and demands Brynn to dare her to snort the salt. Brynn will have to go next snorting the sugar.

Brynn dares her and after Grier snorts the salt, her nose starts hemorrhaging. When Brynn tries to get a towel, Grier stops her so they can look at the blood swirling in the pool. The blood is all over her face, throat and chest and she demands that Brynn take her picture before she gets cleaned up. She plans to post it.

Her rationale? “At least then we’ll have proof something happened for once. Don’t be so boring.”
In Chapter two, we learn about Brynn’s family; how her father died a hero, how her mother met her step-father and how they go to her father’s grave every Sunday as a family.

I couldn't care less about any of this or any of the characters. The first two chapters are slow and there was nothing happening that would pull me in. I couldn't relate to any of the characters either. It was just tedious.

My Decision?

Not to buy

Monday, April 6, 2015

Book Expo America - Here I Come

Well, I registered for BEA. As much as I love to go, there is always that moment of anxiety when I'm completing the registration and click the submit button. Am I doing the right thing? Ho will my feet and back handle the stress? Will I have a good time? It's a chunk of change, do I really want to do this? The questions come and go and in the end, I click the button, because, let's face it, I am a book geek. I love being around books, touching books, smelling books (weird I know) and I love meeting fellow bloggers, authors and other industry professionals. It's a great place to go and immerse myself in book culture for a few days.

So I pre-registered and was actually a little disappointed after the fact. I blogged ad nauseum last year about the horrors of Book Con and how crowded it was. I had heard rumors last year, that Book Con would be made into a two day event. I thought, that's great! It won't be so crowded if it is spread out over two days. I saw the first announcements and the two day even was confirmed. Book Con would be held Saturday and Sunday. I though, fantastic. What was a four day event is now a five day event.

Oh, Tammy, you are so naive. It's amusing, really.

What I realized after I registered for BEA is that BEA is still a three day event, but it now coincides with the Book Blogger's Con. The Book Blogger's Con is Wednesday, May 27 and BEA is from May 27 - May 29. It ends Friday. Last year, BEA went until Saturday and the one day Book Con was included. The Javitt's Center was basically split in two. Now however, if I want to go to Book Con, I have to purchase separate tickets. There is no combined two day price. It is a daily ticket for each day. There is a VIP pass which costs almost double the price with lots of perks, first seating at special events, etc, but that is sold out. So now if I want to go to Book Con, it will cost me an additional $65.00 for both days on top of the admission price for BEA.

I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I'm fairly sure I'm not happy about it. BEA is for book people by book people and it is an industry show. There has been something sacred about it. It's the Holy Grail of book cons, but for special people. And while I realize I am not an industry professional and am naught but a lowly book blogger, I would like to believe that there is a deserved place for me at BEA. But I feel now that BEA is being overshadowed by the dog and pony show that Book Con is becoming. I am afraid it is all about money and not so much about books. Have you seen the celebrity guest list for the weekend? So now something that was sacred and holy and only available to the lucky population of book industry people (book bloggers included), it has now been stripped of significance in the wake of Book Con 2015.

Will I attend? Probably, but now I have to ruminate on it before I purchase tickets. It would help if I knew everything that was scheduled at Book Con, what authors, etc, but if I register, it will be on speculation.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - April 5, 2015 - Easter Edition

First off, I'd like to say Happy Easter! I hope everyone got lots of jelly beans in their baskets. I think that was one of the moments when I knew I was a grown-up. I went home for Easter and my mom had made Easter baskets for my little brothers, but I didn't get one. I was gutted. She never could understand that. But I digress...

Wow! What a weekend! I actually did some writing and some reading. It felt pretty good I'll tell you. Aaand...yesterday was the Season 1 Part 2 season premier of Outlander which was preceded by a rerun of all of the first half of the season's episodes, so I saw about 5 or 6 hours of Jamie. Not a bad way to spend the day. It just amazes me how well done the show is.

And for you Marvel fans out there, I finally watched the last three episodes of Agent Carter which was excellent as all the Avenger's properties and tie ins have been.

Did I get out of my pajamas this weekend? Let me think. Hmmm. On Saturday and Sunday, no. It was brilliant.

Anyhooo....I was pretty good with books this week. I did have a discount coupon for the bookstore and it was burning a hole in my pocket, so I knew I had to buy something. I'm getting much better at restraint, though. Now I just have to clean out the books from the attic that I plan to get rid. Maybe next weekend.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Books Purchased:
I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell – Purchased Used

Love, Lucy by April Lindner

Kindle Books Purchased:
Broken Notes (Heavy Influence Book 2) by Ann Marie Frohoff – Free eBook

Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming by Alethea Kontis

Fever Pitch (#1.5 A Novella) (Heavy Influence) by Ann Marie Frohoff – Couldn’t read book 2 without reading 1.5 and it was only $.99

Higher Octave (#2.5 A Novella) (Heavy Influence) by Ann Marie Frohoff – Free eBook

That's it for this week!  TTFN!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

This was a read that was long over due.  It has been in my TBR pile for a couple of years and finally got around to reading it.  I didn't finish it in March, but if no one has any objections, I'm going to add it to my count for the March Clean up Your TBR pile challenge.  And while I didn't formally join the challenge, I challenged myself never the less.  I'm glad I did.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: January 2, 2012 | Age Level: 12 and up | Grade Level: 7 - 17
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

My thoughts:
This was a sweet romance about two mashed up people who find solace and strength in each other.

Hadley we understand from the beginning. She feels angry, betrayed, abandoned. Her father left for a temporary teaching job abroad and just never came back. He allowed himself to meet someone new and fall in love. Hadley doesn't know how to process that. So she lashes out at him, ignores him and makes up all kinds of scenarios in her head about what he thinks and feels and what he’s done to her and her mom.

It’s easy enough to do. When the person you are most angry with is thousands of miles away, it is easy to project your feelings and assumptions on them. It’s easier to do than to pick up the phone and talk it through. And the anger has staying power, years in fact.

However, she is now being forced to attend her father’s wedding to the home-wrecker in London. The fiancé has been trying to make friends with her via email and has asked Hadley to be a bridesmaid. Hadley’s mother is giving her no choice but to go, but Hadley would rather be going where else.

And it all goes wrong. She gets to the airport late and misses her flight by minutes having to wait for the next flight. We find out as she thinks back to the day that there were a dozen other little things that happened that caused her to miss that flight.

She meets Oliver who gallantly offers to give her a hand with her suitcase as she struggles with it. That’s all it takes. A chance meeting. Two souls that find their way to each other, they take comfort in each other’s company and while away the time waiting for the next flight.
We know Hadley’s story, but what about Oliver’s?

He’s charming and seems happy- go-lucky on the surface, but every so often we catch a glimpse of something lurking beneath. He doesn't let us in, though, not really, but we know there is more to his story and I want to know what it is.

In the length of time they are in flight to London, they make a very real connection, much more than a random encounter, but when the plane lands, Hadley loses Oliver in the airport and he’s gone.

Divorce is a common practice. We throw away so much in our lives why not relationships as well? If something is broken, we no longer try to fix it, we just get a replacement or an upgrade. Parents do understand that their actions have repercussions on their children when they decide to end a marriage, but the breakdown of the family hits every child differently and can be even more traumatic for a teen. I mean, they have enough to deal with.

I've been there. I felt the anger, the hurt, the hate, the disappointment, the disgust, but after I let all those horrible thoughts and feelings hold sway, some years later, I tried to think about it from my father's perspective. I began to soften up and started letting him back in. It was a very long process, but I began to understand that my parent's divorce did not change the way my father felt about it. Unfortunately, he lived hundreds of miles and several states away and while we started connecting again, it was infrequent at best.

Like Hadley, I also had a chance encounter. Mine was not in an airport, though, but in an abandoned castle in ruins near to the coast of Wales. It was a March day, March 18th to be exact. Unlike Hadley flying towards the source of her pain, I was flying away from mine. Just for a little while. It was the first time I traveled alone. I got a plane ticket to London on the wait list. I flew the day they told me they had a seat for me. The plan was simple. I would rent a car, drive straight for Wales so I could take the ferry over to be in Dublin for St Patrick's Day. St Patrick's Day in the heart of Ireland! But things don't always go as planned.

I made it to Wales and hit the coast. I was not far from the ferry, but when I looked into the rates, I found it was going to cost something like $200.00 to take over the rental car, so I decided to hoof it. I woke up St Patrick's Day morning to the rain and decided to fore go the ferry trip. The ferry from Aberystwyth left once in the morning and came back once in the evening. I didn't want to chance it. Instead, I went castle hopping.

Before I continue, I just want you to understand how I travel. I purchase a plane ticket. I rent a car. I take a map. And I go. I may have a general idea of some places I want to see, but I let the winds of fate blow me about and I end up where I end up. I have seen some of the most amazing things that way. This trip to the UK was the one that started this practice.

Anyway, I just started driving. I had no idea where I was going or where I was going to end up, but I find a castle on the top of a rock and decided to go check it out. The castle is Harlech Castle. I was the only one there. My reverence was obvious. I walked the stones and wondered what life was like when the castle was inhabited. I ran my hand over the walls, letting my fingers play along the stones. I wanted to feel the life vibrating off the walls.

 I walked every passage. Investigated every room. Sat in every window seat. The silence was divine. I had never felt so connected to a place even in solitude, but as I made my way out one of the towers, I passed by a young man going into the tower. The spell was broken. Every footstep intruded on my thoughts. I kept passing him. Finally he spoke to me and we chatted for a bit. He invited me for tea. I agreed because I was very stupid back then. Young women on their own in a foreign country should not be accepting invitations from strange young men they just happen to meet.

As it happened, we got along famously and ended up travelling together for the next several days before he had to head back to London, but we met up again when I got to London and even corresponded for a couple of years after. And while our paths diverged, the time I spent touring with him was one of the most memorable of my life.

All it takes is a moment and the right things to go wrong.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Conversation with my Brain and a Question to the Masses

Me: Hello, Brain!

Brain: …

Me: Hello?


Me: Brain!

Brain: What?

Me: I’ve been trying to get your attention. What are you doing?

Brain: I’m watching TV.

Me: Don’t you know that TV rots your brain? OMG! I’m turning into my mother!

Brain: TV can be educational.

Me: Reruns of The Scooby-Doo Mystery Hour don’t count.

Brain: They totally do. I am using my deductive reasoning to determine who the criminal is.

Me: Let me help you out there. It’s the creepy old guy in the floppy fisherman’s hat. It’s always the creepy old guy in the floppy fisherman’s hat.

Brain: Well, now I guess I don’t have to watch the end of the show now, so thanks for that.

Me: Can we talk books now? I want to talk about Divergent.

Brain: I wonder what’s on BBC America....

Me: Ugh! Never mind.

Since my brain doesn’t seem to want to talk to me right now and has nothing to say, I will pose my question to the masses, but let me preface.

I was looking up Allegiant. I know the book has been out, (I can get it on Kindle for $3.99), but the Collector’s Edition is coming out this fall and I wanted to pre-order it. So, I was looking up the listing and that is when I saw it. The words in themselves are innocuous enough, but strung together, the floor fell out from beneath me.

“The heartbreaking conclusion”……..

I read no further, but I wondered. I’ve actually been thinking about it ever since. So something really bad is going to happen and I probably won’t like it. The wheels have been turning trying to figure out what it could be. Only one thing comes to mind and, if that were the case, I know I know I’d be pissed as all hell.
No spoilers please, so don’t tell me what actually happens.

Divergent by itself is self-contained enough. The story could end there and I would be okay with that. The good guys won! And while the ending wasn’t exactly happy, it was satisfying. Victory has a price after all. Sequels aren’t always necessary. Look at Highlander. The first film was fantastic! I’m sorry, I meant the only film was fantastic! I kind of sweep any subsequent films under the mental carpet or hide them in the closet with the skeletons.

Knowing that something bad is going to break my heart in Allegiant got me to thinking, though. So here’s the question.

If you know before you even start reading a book that something bad is going to happen, would you read it anyway?