Monday, January 16, 2012

My Town Monday: Living the LIfe of Riley in San Diego

Cats, playing at the San Diego Civic Theater (photo credit:

Late yesterday afternoon, Kathy Krevat, one of my writing critique partners phoned with an extra ticket for the play Cats.

As I'm not usually given to bouts of spontaneity, the Summy family was surprised that I agreed to go. But am I ever glad I did!

Kathy has special, high-falutin' President's Club tickets for the San Diego Civic Theater!

Here Kathy and I are entering the theatre through the special President's Club door. This leads to our close-to-the-stage seats. (I don't think my Droid camera likes the rain; hence the blurry photo)

Before the show, we ordered our complimentary drinks so that they'd be waiting for us at intermission.

Our drinks were indeed awaiting at a little table with Kathy's name.

I enjoyed Cats. Although definitely light in the plot area, I loved the singing and dancing and costumes. But, mostly, I loved hanging out with Kathy. On the spur of the moment.

Here's wishing you a very happy Monday. I'm this week's hostess. If you toss up a My Town Monday post, let me know here or on the official My Town Monday blog, and I'l link to you on both.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The End of a Chapter: Fat Letta Dies

It is with a heavy heart that I post today about the death of Fat Letta, our 4 + years female veiled chameleon.

She was an overachiever when it came to egg production, and, basically, she just wore herself out. It got to the point where no amount of calcium supplements was going to help her poor, depleted bones. She had trouble hanging onto branches and couldn't make her way around the cage anymore to chase crickets. I had to put crickets in a plastic bowl and hold it within reach of her tonuge.

I'm definitely the person the most broken up about her death. Probably because I ended up being her main caretaker. Even though she was originally Child #2's pet! Over time, I learned to read her pretty well. I could tell when she was ready to lay eggs and needed the 5-gallon Home Depot bucket filled with sand. I could tell when she'd be receptive to Mr. Conehead, her significant other. I was even able to predict her death.

I'll never forget how much self-confidence she gained after laying that first cluch of eggs. Twelve hours digging alone in the cold, damp sand taught her to stand up to Mr. Conehead. She never let him bite her again. She made sure he shared the heat/ultra violet lamp. And she stopped allowing him first crack at the crickets.

The only thing I regret is not keeping one of her female babies. Then, I would've gotten to know one of Fat Letta's daughters, and, somewhere down the road, perhaps one of her granddaughters. But, we sold all the babies to the reptile store in Oceanside. Here's the story. And there's really no way to track one down now. Sadly, there are no surviving eggs from Fat Letta's last clutch.

So, goodbye Fat Letta. I certainly never expected to get attached to a chameleon. But I did.

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of her.

Fat Letta

An x-ray of Fat Letta full of eggs

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Book Review Club (January 2012)

Happy New Year! And what better way to ring in 2012 than with a bunch of reading recommendations! My critique partner, Kelly Hayes, and I were at a party together last month. Fun times! And we were talking about books. No surprise there. :) Anyway, Kelly was RAVING about the book she'd just finished reading and offered to review it for us. And here it is!


Karou is not your average teen. Really. First of all, at the age of seventeen, she has her own flat in Prague, speaks many different languages, has blue hair, and goes to art college where she fills dozens of sketch books with monsters and fantastical beings. But those are the ordinary things in her everyday world. What really sets Karou apart is her other life, the one even her best friend doesn’t know about.
The only family she’s ever known is a group of beings from a parallel word. Her father figure is a monster named Brimstone, part ram, part lion, part human, who deals in teeth of all kinds from all over the world. Karou has been running errands for him for years, some of them extremely dangerous, but she still doesn’t know what he does with all those teeth.
She also knows nothing about her own origins. It’s all very mysterious and will keep you guessing for at least the first half of the book, while the artfully rendered backdrop of Prague adds a nice gothic feel.
Karou’s life takes a dire turn when black handprints appear on doors around the world, portals for dimension-hopping traders, one of which is the door to Brimstone’s shop. These portals are being sealed by a team of warrior angels. Suddenly Karou is cut off from her Chimera family. But, being the kick-ass heroine that she is, she’s not going to take this lying down. She fights an angel named Akiva, barely escaping with her life. Then he comes looking for her and all hell breaks loose.
What follows is a complex tale of war, forbidden love, identity, magic and mythology. And the way Laini Taylor weaves all these elements together is its own form of magic. Her blending of past and present, romance and violence, reality and fantasy is seamless. Her humor is of the darker variety and at times laugh-out-loud funny. And her prose is lyrical and surprising.
By all rights I should have disliked this book. Angels don’t impress me. I avoid most fantasy like a bad virus. And a three-part series can seem more like an endurance test than a pleasurable reading experience. Not only did none of this bother me, but I got sucked into this story like I had walked through a portal into a world I didn’t want to leave. Bring on that second book!

Thank you, Kelly! I love your reviews.

Please click through to the reviews below. It's a great way to start the year!


Stacy Nyikos: THE WAR HORSE by Michael Morpurgo (middle grade)

Jody Feldman: SHELTER by Harlan Coben (young adult)

Scott Parker: THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins (young adult, science fiction)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: UNRAVELING ISOBEL by Eileen Cook (young adult)


Sarah Laurence: THE LAST NUDE by Ellis Avery (historical fiction) *includes author interview

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: LEFT NEGLECTED by Lisa Genova

Patti Abbott: THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick deWitt

Staci of Life in the Thumb: BOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING by Jenn McKinlay (cozy mystery)

Riccarla Roman on Beth Yarnell's blog: DOWN THE DARKEST ROAD by Tami Hoag


Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: STORIES I ONLY TELL MY FRIENDS by Rob Lowe (autobiography)

Linda McLaughlin: JACK KENNEDY: ELUSIVE HERO by Chris Matthews

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips:

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!