Monday, December 17, 2012

My Town Monday: the Latest Addition to Our Little House

Child #4 with two dogs at the dog park (taken with my Droid) 

 What is wrong with this picture?

 Sure, it's a little out of focus, somewhat crooked, and the lighting is probably off.

 BUT what is fundamentally wrong?

 There are TWO dogs!

 Yes, we have welcomed a second dog to the Summy household.

 "It's not fair. When we wanted a dog, you always said no. How come Child #4 was able to talk you into getting her a dog. And now into a second dog?" grumble Childs (Children?) #1, #2 and #3.

 I explain how it's a little like the last person being able to unscrew a tight jar lid. The first three children wore me down. They paved the way for Child #4 getting a dog.

 How did Dog #2 happen? Child #4 and I were picking up Dorothy (Dog #1) from the groomer's. Dog #2 was in the process of being groomed. Her owner is elderly, bed-ridden and very ill. The groomer asked if we knew of anyone looking for a dog. When Child #4 looked at me with hope in her eyes and when I thought of the poor owner worrying about her dog, I found that I couldn't say no. Ack! I'm turning into one great big bleeding heart!

 What is Dog #2's name? Well, she arrived with the moniker "Precious." Which no one could say with a straight face. We have renamed her "Marilyn" because, as Child #4 pointed out, the dog resembles Marilyn Monroe!

 Happy Holidays to you from Dorothy (the black dog) and Marilyn (the white dog)!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Book Review Club (December 2012)

This is our LAST Book Review Club of 2012! I know. It's crazy. Where did the year go?! Anyway, here we are in December, a month where you possibly/probably/hopefully buy lots of books to give as gifts. Check out the reviews below. They'll give you some great ideas (both for giving and for reading!)! Happy Holidays!

THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (originally published in French, 1943)

Child #2 arrived for Thanksgiving with his two roommates from Occidental College. They were delightful, btw. And not just because they gave us the the above book as a gift.:)

I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo, but this is no ordinary version. This is the DELULXE POP-UP version. It is oh so wonderful and fun and would make a great holiday gift. Above is Child #4 and our new dog (that's a story for another post) enjoying the book.

The first time, I read THE LITTLE PRINCE was a few short (okay, ages and ages and ages ago) years ago for high-school French. I was going to dig up my paperback dog-eared French edition to show you, but ran out of time. Anyway, I loved this book back in the day. Child #4 and I have been reading our deluxe pop-up version together. I still love this book.

In short: An aviator whose plane is forced down in the Sahara Desert encounters a little prince from a small planet who relates his adventures in seeking the secret of what is important in life. (from the inside flap)

You can read THE LITTLE PRINCE on a variety of levels. If you're in the mood to look for deeper meanings, you'll find plenty. For example, the prince has to pull up the baobabs regularly ("as soon as you can tell them apart for the rosebushes"), or his planet will be overrun with them. This led to a great discussion on self-discipline/not procrastinating and cleaning your room and not waiting too long to apologize if you've hurt someone's feelings. But, if you don't feel like analyzing, the story itself is entertaining. Also, the pop-ups are magnificent. They spin and turn and move from side to side. There are envelopes to open and flaps to pull. Incredible.

On that enthusiastic note, I urge you to check out the links below. These people always something of interest to say!


Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers (young adult fantasy)

Sarah Laurence: MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill (young adult)


Linda McLaughlin: THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES by MJ Rose (paranormal thriller)

Patti Abbott: THE UPRIGHT PIANO PLAYER by David Abbott

Staci of Life in the Thumb: MERRY EX-MAS by Sheila Roberts (contemporary, holiday romance)



Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Book Review Club (November 2012)

Welcome to our monthly online book review club! We meet the first Wednesday of the month, which, uh, is why this post is up today. Please scroll through the solid reviews below. Our goal? To topple your to-be-read pile. Weirdly, there are more reviews in the adult category and more mysteries than usual.  Enjoy!

(Elizabeth Dabney Hochman, Founding Editor and Publisher)

This month I'm reviewing something totally different: A quarterly online magazine written by and for teens and pre-teens around the globe. There is an annual print version with some of the best pieces from the year's web editions. To the left, sitting on my piano, is volume II of THE BEST OF KIDSPIRIT. It arrived in my mailbox recently, the ink practically still wet. (waving to the FCC)

How it works: Kids from around the world submit articles, poetry and art that speak to the themes chosen by the all-youth KidSpirit editorial board. Selected pieces go through two to three rounds of revision. A different theme is chosen each quarter. The BEST OF print version has pieces from each quarter. So, the themes tackled in the edition I read are: Conflict and Peacemakers, Exploring Humor, Creativity and Imagination, Ethics and Morality. Great stuff!

My thoughts: CLASSY. Everything about KidSpirit is classy. The magazine was a thoughtful, interesting, well-written read. The pages are thick and glossy, four color. If you know a pre-teen or teen who's into writing, I'd recommend they submit to this magazine.

Wrapping it up: KidSpirit isn't just an online magazine. It's also a community where members can "express their views and engage each other through groups and comments." (from The KidSpirit Editorial Board's mission statement) And it's an interesting place for teachers, parents and youth workers to hang out, too.

Before I forget, here's the website: KidSpirit. Also, the website is free and ad-free. Double yay.

And, now, onto everyone else's reviews. They are good! Of course, we expect nothing less!

Stacy Nyikos: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein (young adult)

Patti Abbott: SALVAGE THE BONES by Jessmyn Ward (National Book Award Winner)

Sarah Laurence: FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver (just released)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: MR. CHURCHILL'S SECRETARY by Susan Elia MacNeal (historical mystery)

Scott Parker: THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION by Michael Chabon (mystery, alt-history, literary, science fiction, the kitchen sink--joke!)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: BELIEVING THE LIE by Elizabeth George (mystery)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE LIKENESS by Tana French (mystery)

Beth Yarnall: IMMORTAL LOVE by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban (paranormal romance)

Linda McLaughlin: PROOF OF HEAVEN by Eben Alexander

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Book Review Club (October 2012)

It's the first Wednesday in October, and you know what that means...The Book Review Club is meeting. We've got some really interesting reviews going this month, more in the adult category than in any other category. Weird how that happens sometimes. We hope you enjoy!

Please give a warm welcome to my critique partner, the wonderful and talented Kathy Krevat. Out of the goodness of her heart, Kathy provided the review for my blog this month because she knows I'm scrambling to get out of a deep pit called Book Deadline. Thank you, Kathy.

And before I hand the blog over to her, let me tell you Kathy's BIG, HUGE, PUBLISHING news. Kathy just signed a deal for three cozy mysteries with Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin! Congratulations! You can only imagine how excited our little critique group is about this!

THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (adult fiction)

THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS opens on the eighteenth birthday of Victoria, the day she becomes emancipated from a group home after a lifetime of foster care. Immediately we care and root for this complicated, prickly and totally authentic heroine as she makes her way in the world, and we want to know her secrets. How did she learn the meanings of flowers? What happened to make her so antisocial? Why is she so alone? What is she hiding, even from herself?

The author, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, takes us between Victoria’s past as a nine-year-old with vineyard owner Elizabeth and her present day life as she tries to escape homelessness in San Francisco. With arranging flowers her only skill, and an inability to get close to anyone, can she make it?

My favorite part of this book was the almost antiquated meaning of flowers that sprinkles Victoria’s narrative and her absolute belief in them. In a voice both sympathetic and brutally honest, Ms. Diffenbaugh skillfully weaves a spell-binding exploration of survival and second chances.

 I love, love, love this book and highly recommend it.

Thank you, Kathy! And, now, drum roll, onto the rest of our reviews. Please, please click through. You're bound to find something to add to your to-be-read pile.


Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater (young adult)


Sarah Laurence: GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn (suspense/mystery)

Scott Parker: THE WRECKER by Clive Cussler (adventure/mystery)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE POACHER'S SON by Paul Doiron (mystery)

Patti Abbott: STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: HOUSE RULES by Jodi Picoult

Stacy Nyikos: THE BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC by Julie Otsuka

Beth Yarnall: PATHS OF DESIRE by Shannon Donnelly (historical romance)


Kaye of the Road Goes Ever Ever On: REFUGE: AN UNNATURAL HISTORY OF FAMILY AND PLACE by Terry Tempest Williams

Linda McLaughlin: TWILIGHT OF THE ELITES by Christopher Hayes

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Town Monday: A Pig Party in Pictures, San Diego, CA

 Happy Monday! It's been a while since I put up a My-Town-Monday post. I've missed them. I took off the summer, and, suddenly, it's October! I'm not sure where I misplaced September. :) Anyway, here goes...A Pig Party In Pictures in San Diego, CA!

A couple of months ago, Mr. Summy came to me with a suggestion.

Mr. Summy: Why don't we dig a hole in our backyard, fill it with burning coals and a whole, dead pig, and then throw a big party?

Me: You do realize we have both a functioning bar-b-que and stove? And that they sell pork chops at the grocery store?

Mr. Summy: Come on. It'll be fun, an adventure.

Me: You do realize that I have a book due this fall?

Mr. Summy: I'll do most of the work. You won't have to dig any of the hole at all.

From the pictures below, you will se that I capitulated. True, I did not dig any of the hole. Although I ended up doing quite a lot of prep to get ready for this party. Yay for girlfriends (ER, LP, PB) who helped out! AND I must admit, I HAD A GREAT TIME! I do enjoy a party. And this one was partic fun!

Every night for a week, Mr. Summy would eat his supper, then disappear to the bottom of our hill to work on the hole.
Mr. Summy and Child #4 drove to Ramona to pick up our pig. Mr. Summy and his friends name it "Wilbur." A fan of Charlotte's Web, Child #4 was not impressed.

The pig unveiled. Child #3 was so taken with the dead pig that he texted photos to his friends. As a result, we ended up with several teens at our party. Fun!

A co-worker of Mr. Summy's, Mr. Lewis applied a secret family rub to the pig. He declined to share the ingredients. We will continue to harrass him about this, as the rub was delish.

Mr. Summy and another co-worker, the crazy Mr. Barley (whose name was used as a suspect in i so don't do makeup!) inject the pig with a marinade.

The pig is stuffed with seasoned veggies (potatoes, carrots, onions). They cooked perfectly.

Super hot coals!

The pig is wrapped in wet burlap to keep the meat tender. It worked. Although  next time (did I actually just type that?!), I'd like to try wet banana leaves.

The pig is next wrapped in tin foil and then chicken wire. You can see, it's quite the procedure!

The Burial

Sixteen hours later, the hot pig is exhumed and carried up the hill.

The pig is cooked. The meat is falling off the bone.

p.s. There will be a Book Review Club meeting on Wednesday. Looks good!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Book Review Club (September 2012)

WE ARE BACK! After a summer of fun and games, and, of course, books, we're back in full swing for a Book Review Club meeting. We missed you and missed each other and missed talking books. Lots of great reviews below!

You remember KELLY HAYES, one of my Denny's Chicks critique partners? You're in for a treat because Kelly wrote this month's review for my blog. She's amazingly well read and an amazing reviewer. I have a book deadline this fall, and Kelly offered to do the September review to help me out. All together now....Awwwwww. Thank you, Kelly!

BROKEN HARBOR by Tana French

I’m not normally a mystery reader, but I love Tana French’s books. Maybe that’s because they’re not your average whodunits. Don’t get me wrong, they always start with a dead body and there’s always a hard-boiled Irish detective on the case, but that’s where the formula ends. What develops after that is always an intriguing story, with well-drawn characters, moody atmosphere and plenty of dark humor.

Broken Harbor, French’s fourth book, is set in an upscale seaside housing estate outside of Dublin. Well, it was supposed to be upscale, but when Ireland’s economy took a dive, the developers of the estate jumped ship. Now the place is a rambling, unfinished, isolated mess out in the middle of nowhere and its inhabitants can’t move on because they can’t sell up.

In one house, Patrick Spain and his two young children have been murdered and his wife, Jenny is in intensive care. The otherwise pristine house has strange holes knocked in the walls and baby monitors set up in odd places. Something very bizarre went on in this house. Enter Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy and his rookie partner, Richie to try to unravel this complex and psychologically wrought case.

One of the things I love about French’s books is that a secondary character in one book becomes the main character in the next. So you kind of know the character from before, but only from someone else’s perspective. And the main character is not always someone you‘d love to know better. Scorcher Kennedy is a by-the-book detective, detached and a little self-satisfied. He’s hard to know, but you still want to understand him. That’s what makes it so riveting when he begins to crumble under the strain of the case and his personal connection to it. This is a testament to Tana French’s talent. Her characters are always complex and acutely drawn.

Another device French uses in all of her books is the personal stake each detective has in the case. In Broken Harbor, Kennedy remembers the eponymous beach from his childhood, when his family took their annual holidays there. And he’s not the only one who remembers the tragic events that happened the last time his family stayed at Broken Harbor. His mentally ill sister remembers too and she’s not going to let Kennedy keep those memories neatly locked away any more.

French in not the kind of author who lines up the suspects and red herrings to confuse the reader. In fact, I usually have a pretty good idea who the culprit is about half-way through the story. But then, I don’t read Tana Franch’s books to be shocked and amazed at the end. Her books are not so much about who as they are about why.

If you are a fan of Tana French’s books you’ll probably find Broken Harbor as engrossing as the others. If you’ve haven’t tried her books, start with the first, In the Woods. If it gets under your skin like it did mine, you’ll want to read them all. And you’re in for a treat.

Thank you, Kelly! And, now, onto more amazing reviews! Please click through. It will make your day. Promise.

Jody Feldman: UNGIFTED by Gordon Kormon (upper middle grade)

Linda McLaughlin: THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY by Siobhan Dowd (middle grade)

Sarah Laurence: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein (young adult)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS by Robert Liparulo (book#1, young adult, fantasy adventure series)

Linda McLaughlin: DRAWN by Marie Lamba (young adult, fantasy)

Patti Abbott: CANADA by Richard For

Scott Parker: REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi (science fiction)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE MERYL STREEP MOVIE by Mia March (women's)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE BATTLE OF CRYSLER'S FARM by Ron Doering (historical)

Beth Yarnall: WICKED PARADISE by Erin Richards (urban fantasy)

Kaye of the Road Goes Ever Ever On: WAKING LAZARUS by T.L. Hines (thriller)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Staci of Life in the Thumb: ALL THE TRUTH by Laura Brodie (contemporary)

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Town Monday: A Great White Shark Visits San Diego, CA

This is a great white shark.
(image from I did not take this photo from the beach with my brand new Motorola Razr Maxx.) 

 La Jolla Shores, one of our local beaches, was closed today because a 14-foot great white shark was spotted a mere 50 yards from the beach. Apparently, a female lifeguard was paddleboarding when she saw the shark next to her. She was described as "distraught" when she got to shore and was relating the experience. (Personally, I would've been beyond hysterical.) Several other people also saw the interloper or at least saw that infamous triangular dorsal fin.

Can I just say that I was at this very beach last week with our company from Oklahoma, Child #3 and Child #4. In fact, I was thrilled that Child #3 was out in the waves, boogie boarding with Child #4!

 The beach will re-open this morning (Tuesday), assuming it's safe. do we know it's safe? Well, if our very vigilant (and they truly are) lifeguards don't detect any sharks swimming around in our waters.

That got me thinking. Do we know anything about the habits of great whites who come to visit our fair city? As in, do they stay in the area? For a day, a week, a month? Buy discount tickets for the zoo, SeaWorld or Legoland? Make plans for a family reunion? (presumably not as they're pretty solitary).

 I Googled, but didn't learn much about the great white's habits with regards to San Diego. I did, however, find a few interesting facts. Here they are:

 -A great white's eyeballs roll back in its head when it attacks. This is to protect the eyes.

 -We make an inappropriate meal for a great white. This is because their digestive system is too slow for a creature with our high ratio of bone to muscle and fat.

 -A nickname for the great white shark is...White Death. Da...da...da...da

 -Great whites have about 3,000 teeth.

 And....I have a favorite picture about sharks. It's very entertaining. I just re-read it last week. In case you can't decipher the title and author's name from the jpg: THE GREAT WHITE MAN-EATING SHARK: A CAUTIONARY TALE by Margaret Mahy

Hope you're all having a wonderful summer. I'm attempting to balance children, company, friends,  the gym, the garden, the house, the pets and a book due to Editor Wendy next month. You can imagine how all that's going!


local NBC news

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fundraiser flyer for Santana class of 2014

Hello all! This is not your regular post. Not that I've been writing many of those lately! I will be back. I promise. Or....threaten. ;)

 Here's an out-of-the-ordinary post. If you happen to be hungry today between the hours of 10am to 10:30pm, and you happen to live in the San Diego area, please consider eating at Panda Express, 9862 Mission Gorge Road, Santee.

 This is a fundraiser for Child #3's high class of 2014. Above is the flyer you need to present in order for the class to get credit. You might catch Child #4 and I eating our lunch there. I'll be getting something with tofu.

 Happy eating (if you're able to help out). Otherwise, I'll be back to post about the revisions on the book due this summer (yikes!), summer fun in San Diego, odds and ends!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Book Review Club (June 2012)

Hello first Wednesday in June! Which means it's time for our Book Review Club. Below my review, you'll find links to a variety of amazing reviews by amazing reviewers! All to help you navigate the waters of...summer reading!


PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is one of the best YA novels I've read this year. I'm not in the minority. This book was nominated for an Edgar and is a Printz Honor Book.

 In a nutshell: Vera is a straight A senior in high school. She works full-time as a "pizza technician." She's a binge drinker who lives with her accountant father. She has no contact (save one phone conversation in the book) with her mother who ran off to Vegas several years before the story opens. She gets involved with a 23 year old guy. She has a serious falling out with her neighbor and best-friend-since-childhood, Charlie Kahn when he dumps her, joins the Detentionheads and takes up with a mean, skanky girl. Charlie dies under suspicious circumstances. Vera knows what really went down.

 What I Loved: The voice. The voice is strong and pure and uniquely Vera's.

 What Else I Loved: The chapters alternate between the present and past. There are a variety of points of view: Vera, Charlie's ghost, Vera's dad, the town pagoda. The book is beautifully crafted. You can't not root for Vera. She's one of those characters that gets into your heart and head.

 I'm looking forward to reading A.S. King's upcoming release: ASK THE PASSENGERS (Oct. 2012). Oh, and I almost forgot; here's the author's website.

 Now, do yourself a favor. Scroll down and click through to the wonderful book reviews below. Your to-be-read list will thank you.

Jody Feldman: SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS by Sara Pennypacker (middle grade)

Sarah Laurence: THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (young adult, fantasy)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers'Road Less Traveled: GRAVE MERCY by R.L. Lafevers and SCARLET by A.C. Gaugin (both are young adult)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke (young adult)

Patti Abbott: THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY by Margot Livesey

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: NEARLYWEDS by Beth Kendrick (women's fiction)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams

Scott Parker: THE PRESIDENTS CLUB by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy (history)

Linda McLaughlin: A NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Walter Lord

Kaye of the Road Goes Ever Ever On: NOTHING TO ENVY: ORDINARY LIVES IN NORTH KOREA by Barbara Demick

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Book Review Club (May 2012)

I'm not sure where April went! But here we are, gathered together on the first Wed. of the month for our monthly Book Review Club. And it's May! There's an interesting selection of books reviewed. Just scroll down past my review for the links. You'll be so happy you did!

(listed for 7-9 year olds, which makes no sense to me. I loved it!) 

About a month ago, I found myself seated next to Wendy Kitts at a book signing here in San Diego. It turns out Wendy is a fellow Canadian, originally from Moncton, New Brunswick, but now living in Toronto, Ontario (my hometown). We started chatting and immediately hit it off. Love it when that happens! Wendy spends several months a year in San Diego, so we've planned to get together the next time she's down. I'm looking forward to it.

 I bought SABLE ISLAND and had Wendy sign it for Child #4's upcoming birthday later this month. Then I snuck-read it for this review. SABLE ISLAND is 90-page, non-fiction book about Sable Island, a small island (42 kilometers by 1/2 kilometer), often shrouded by fog, in the Atlantic Ocean. The book is printed on thick, shiny paper with lots of fantastic photos (many taken by the multi-talented author!) and neat sidebars. This gorgeous book is full of cool tidbits.

Some cool tidbits:
-When you walk on Sable (means "sand" in French) Island, the sand actually sings. You need certain conditions for this (super dry sand, round quartz grains). Not all singing sand sounds the same. In case you were wondering.
-There is only one tree on the island. A Scots Pine. The tree's nickname? The Sable Island National Forest. Yes, we Canadians have a wry sense of humor! Make that humour!
-Between 200-400 wild horses live on the island. How they got there is a mystery. There's a great story in the book about how Diefenbaker, Canada's 13th Prime Minister, saved the Sable Island horses.

That's it. You'll have to read this seriously fascinating book for additional cool tidbits. ;)

 Learn more about SABLE ISLAND and  the author by visiting Wendy Kitt's website.  

Oh, and speaking of cool things, be sure to check out the great reviews below!

Staci of Life in the Thumb: PHANTOMS IN THE SNOW by Kathlee Benner Duble (middle school, adventure)

Stacy Nyikos: WHERE THINGS COME BACK by John Corey Whaley (young adult)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green

Sarah Laurence: FEED by M.T. Anderson (young adult)

Scott Parker: EMPEROR MOLLUSK VERSUS THE SINISTER BRAIN by A. Lee Martinez (science fiction)

Patti Abbott: DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay

Beth Yarnall: NEARLY DEPARTED IN DEADWOOD by Ann Charles (mystery)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: FALLEN by Traci L. Slatton

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY by Margot Livesey

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE RESTORER by Amanda Stevens (paranormal romance)

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th! And other superstitions.


What is this?

A morbid fear of Friday the 13th!

And on this particularly supersitious day, I thought you might enjoy hearing about wives' tales from a few other countries.

Here goes...

If you are in Italy and a cat sneezes, you are in for some good luck.

In other words, go to Italy armed with a bunch of pepper. Then look around for cats.

If you are in England, make sure you slice your bread evenly. Otherwise, people will think you've been telling lies.

Or...make life easy on yourself, and buy pre-sliced bread.

If you happen to be in Korea the night before a big test, don't wash your hair. Or you'll fail the test. Because you washed away the memories of what you studied.

This could be a good excuse for a student in any country who fails a test. "Ooops. I forgot and washed my hair last night. My bad."

If you're in Turkey and come across a spider inside your house, you'll soon have guests showing up.

However, don't expect me to come knocking at your door. I'm not a big fan of spiders.

And last but not least, here's a superstition from my own homeland. If you happen to find yourself living in Canada, and a neighbor brings you a plate of food, return the plate dirty. Or else bad luck will befall you.

Apparently, this superstition only holds true for the Prairie Provinces. I'm from Ontario, and I've never heard of it. But I do like it; one less thing to add to my to-do list.

Disclaimer: I have no idea how accurate these superstitions are. And all the pics are from Google Images. Happy Friday the 13th!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Book Review Club (April 2012)

Well, it's that time again! The first Wednesday of the month. Which means The Book Review Club is up and running. Please scroll below my book review to find links to the rest of the reviews. It's quite a varied lot this month. Our goal is to add to your to-be-read book pile. And make it dangerously high. :)


by Andrew Smith (older young adult)

The cover is probably enough to get you to read this book:
Two brothers. One psychopath. A beautiful girl. The road trip from hell.

In a nutshell: It's 1970, and Jonah (16) and his younger brother, Simon (14), are abandoned by their mother. They leave their ramshackle home in New Mexico to head to Arizona in the hopes of finding the rest of their family. They set off with a whopping $10, a backpack of clothes, and letters from their older brother who's doing a tour in Vietnam. Oh, yeah, they also have a gun. Jonah and Simon take a ride from Mitch and Lilly. Mitch is a psychopath. Lilly is pregnant and desperate. Things escalate from there. The book is interspersed with letters from the older brother. The story is fast-paced and told from multiple perspectives.

What I loved: The relationship between the brothers was authentic. They loved each other, but there was some some very real antagonism. The characters acted and sounded like teens. There's a ton of conflict in this book. A ton. At times, my stomach actually hurt. It was that good. And I always love a book with mutiple viewpoints.

IN THE PATH OF FALLING OBJECTS is pretty violent. I wasn't bothered by it, but I wouldn't give this book to a younger teen to read.

Here's Andrew Smith's website.

And now, ta dum, onto the amazing reviews below. Please click through.


Stacy Nyikos: JEFFERSON'S SONS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (middle grade)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE LIGHT (MORPHEUS ROAD #1) by D.J. Machale (middle grade, fantasy)

Sarah Laurence: THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith (young adult)** includes an author interview **

Cassandra of Misadventures of a Teenage Writer: DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver (young adult, dystopian)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness


Patti Abbott: THE LIFE BOAT by Charlotte Rogan

Linda McLaughlin: CRUCIBLE OF GOLD by Naomi Novik (fantasy)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: PERFECT ON PAPER by Janet Goss (women's fiction)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: NOT IN MY FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS by Terrence Rundel West

Scott Parker: GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD by Michael Chabon (adventure)



Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. I'm out of town today, but will have access to the internet at some point. Thank you so much for your reviews!