Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review: Love You More

Love You More (Detective D.D. Warren #5)Love You More by Lisa Gardner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trooper Tessa Leoni is discovered beaten in her own home next to her husband who's been shot with her state issued Sig Sauer. What's not been discovered is her six year old daughter. Tessa is saying the shooting was justifiable as she feared for her life, but it wasn't until after she'd killed him that she realized her daughter was missing.

Detective D.D. Warren isn't so sure she buys all that. Things just don't feel right to her and she's on a mission not only to find little Sophie Leoni, but to straighten this whole mess out. All the while she's got her own mess to straighten out...

I think I like Lisa Gardner's writing more and more with each book I read. She starts off with a bang, immediately grabbing your attention and refusing to let go. She writes in a way that gives you intriguing little details here and there that seem to mean one thing but then take you by surprise when she reveals the big picture. She manages to put you in the heads of different characters without confusing you or the perspective which I really enjoy.
If you haven't read her books I strongly suggest you give them a try!

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Friday, March 30, 2012

5 Question Friday

So it's finally Friday. We've almost made it to the Final Four Civil War! Or the Battle for the Bluegrass!! Or the Clash of the Commonwealth!!! Whatever they're calling it, it's going to be big around here, I can tell you that for sure!! It's a sea of red and blue here at my work, where coincidentally not much work is being done. Hmm... The weather is great and I'm hoping it holds out for tomorrow so all the folks having parties and cookouts can really enjoy it. Me? I'm staying home, where it's safe. Where I can yell, holler and curse without fear of getting myself in trouble ;-) I'm making some yummy goodies to veg on and I'll post the recipes here soon.

And in case you're wondering, I'm in RED!


Anyway, thanks for stopping by from My Little Life for 5Q Friday! Glad you're here. Feel free to check things out, but be forewarned, this is a new one, so not much is going on just yet. I'll get there someday... Anyway, on to my answers...

1. What giveaway would you like to do on your blog? Hmm... well, I'd be happy to do just about any giveaway right now. Something fun for kiddos, gift cards, the latest techy gadgets... but seeings how I haven't done much on my blog yet to warrant anyone wanting to host a giveaway here (besides book reviews) I'd guess a book giveaway would make the most sense for my blog right now.

2. If you had to choose between natural artistic ability and natural athletic ability, which would it be? That's a toughy. If I had natural athletic ability would I be thinner? Maybe, since I'd be more inclined to do more athletic things, like, oh, I don't know... run?! If that's the case then I'd go with athletic. Yep. Definitely atheltic.

3. Do you ditch the coat the minute it becomes "spring" or are you a holdout for more cool temps? I definitely ditch the coat... if I ever had it to begin with. I'm notorious for not wearing a jacket. My mother-in-law (God love her) is always harping on me about it. She even bought me a coat a couple Christmas ago and out of guilt I wore it for as long as was required that season. Thankfully it's too big now, so I don't feel so bad that I haven't worn it- at all- this season. I'm hot natured, so I just don't see the point in bundling up to go from the house to the car, to then sweat my butt off because everyone else is always so cold and has to crank the heat up so they feel like they're in the tropics to something. To then make the quick dash into the mall or grocery store where I will promptly remove the jacket because again I'll be freakin' hot. Then what do I do with the dang thing? I have to carry it around all day? Gone are the days where you can tie it around your waist... So yeah, if I've been donning a coat at all during the winter, as soon as I get the first inkling that Spring is about to be sprung, that puppy is headed for the closet. Way in the back :-)

4. What would you do if you won the mega millions lotto of 1/2 billion dollars? What wouldn't I do? Let's see, practically I'd pay off any and all debt immediately. I'd give my friend C a million (we already talked about that). We'd probably buy property in the country near my in-laws to build a new house. I'd plan a nice Disney vacation- maybe a week at the parks then a week on a cruise. We're talking ASAP. That way we kind wind down, let it all sink in, and ponder, in peace, what we need to do from there. There'd be investments for retirement, education, setting the kids up for life, all that. I'd put the kids in private school. Then we'd begin to take care of our loved ones, paying off mortgages and car loans, maybe upgrading some people. I guess we'd be doing the same thing as any other person would if they're so lucky.

5. You are at a hotel by yourself...what do you do? Oh, fun! Does this hotel have spa services? If so, sign me up for a massage please! Then I'll relax by the pool for a while, read a book, sit in the jacuzzi. Later that night I'd grab dinner at the hotel lounge, have a few drinks, and people watch... supposing there are people to watch. What kind of hotel is this anyway? Are there any special events in the area? Is it crowded? Hmm... maybe I should just leave it with what I said before...

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First read on September 5, 2011
Read again March 2012

Since I was too busy trying to get to the next book to write a review the first time, I'll try now (though it can't possibly do this book justice).

Each year the citizens of Panem (which is the nation that rose after the fall of North America some years ago) are forced to send two tributes from the ages of 12-18, one boy and one girl, from each of the 12 Districts to participate in the Hunger Games. In the arena it's a fight to the death for there can only be one victor. One person who will no longer go hungry. One person who will bring pride back to their district. One person who will live with the games for the rest of their lives.

From District 12 Primrose Everdeen is chosen. A small blond girl from the Seam, the poor part of the district, who by all odds should not have been chosen. Her older sister, Katniss, quickly volunteers to take her place, a rare thing in this district, but what else could she do?

The male tribute chosen was Peeta Mellark. No one volunteered to take his place, not even his brother. Peeta and Katniss are not friends, him being from the merchants class and her from the Seam, but they do know eachother. This certainly can't make it easy on them.

No sooner than they're chosen they're whisked away with only brief goodbyes to their friends and family. They're put on a train bournd for the Capitol with only thei escort, Effie, and mentor, Haymitch (a former winner from their dristict who spends his days in a drunken stupor) to accompany them.

To say the Capitol and its people are extravagent would be an understatment. The people live lavish lives, only thinking of themselves. To them the Games are mere entertainment, the tributes just pawns in their games, not real human beings. They believe the tributes should be honored to be there, but it's difficult for the kids being sent to slaughter to feel very honored.

There's a little time before they're sent into the arena. Time to train, time to present themseleves to all of Panem. Time to let the world see who they are in hopes of gaining sponsors who could be their very lifeline in the arena. It's during this time, at their last interview, that a little secret is revealed that seems to change everything...

It seems I can't go any further than that without spoiling anything for anyone who may not have read it by now... and if you haven't I suggest you get to it right away!

Suzanne Collins wrote an exquisite book here. Her characters are so very well written. She gives such great information and details about their lives that I could really begin to connect with them. With their history and situations I could see why they would think a certain way or do certain things. They were very well developed and it truly helps the story.

Speaking of the story, wow! What a concept! I can honestly say, I was way behind the bandwagon on this. When I heard the basic plot I thought there was no way I could enjoy reading something like that... sending kids into an arena to kill eachother. Who comes up with this crap? Why would anyone read it? When I finally caved I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. The story just pulls at you, and it's certainly written from the right perspective.

Like I said before, no matter what I say, I can't begin to do this book justice. It's a must read! I can't even begin to describe how or why, but it really resonates with you. I know it did me...

As a matter of fact I was so hooked I read it all in one sitting... in the car on the way home from Washington, D.C. When I got home I was in such dire need to continue the saga with the second book that I immediately headed to Tar-jay with only minutes before they closed. Quite literally. When I parked there were four minutes til closing. I ran (yes, ran) to the doors, in which process my flip flop broke. When I got inside I proceeded to remove my flip flop, tell the person at the door that I was there for one thing, and one thing only and would br right back to check out. Yes, I walked through the store with only one flip flop on. Go ahead, judge me. I didn't care. I NEEDED that book. True story.

And, yes, it was all worth it. So go, hurry! Read on!!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Accountability: Week 8

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  165 lbs. 
           Current weight:   164 lbs.           
Weight +/-:          -1         
Total weight loss: -8          
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

Another week, another loss. Of the good kind, of course. I'm still not back to the routine I'd like, but I'm making an effort.

Not only am I planning on walking some more during my breaks this week and hitting the gym at least 4 times, I got some healthier options at the grocery this time. I have already packed myself two days worth of salads for lunches, got stuff for a couple healthy dinners, and bought and tried the 90 calorie Fiber One brownies for when I get that sweet tooth. And I have to say, they were surprisingly good :-)

It may not be much, but it's an improvement for me. The change isn't going to be overnight, but it has to start somewhere!

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Friday, March 23, 2012

5 Question Friday

If you're here from My Little Life for 5Q Friday, welcome! Glad you're here. Feel free to check things out, but be forewarned, this is a new one, so not much is going on just yet. I'll get there someday... Anyway, on to my answers...

1. If you were free to just hop in the car and drive, where would you go? Or, if you could hop a plane and go anywhere, where? I'd drive to this little, backwoods, country town called Elkhorn City, KY. Why, you ask? Well, that's where my Mama is resting. She was taken unexpectedly in a car accident about six years ago (4/2/06). Thankfully we had discussed her wishes before, for no apparent reason then, and I knew she wanted to be laid to rest with her father. They're a few hours away, so we unfortunately don't get to go as often as my heart would like. I know she's always with me, but there's just something about sitting on the side of that mountain, drinking a beer, talking to her. I just really feel her presence there. It has this amazing calming effect on me. With the anniversary of the accident coming up, I am yearning to be there. So, given the chance to just jump in the car and drive, that's where I'd go...

Whew... don't mean to be a downer... hopefully we can turn this post around!

2. What's your most recently read favorite book? Easily, without a doubt, The Hunger Games. Though I read it for the first time several months ago, I actually just spent the last two days rereading it in preparation for this evening, when I will go and see the movie. Who doesn't love this book? Am I right?

But aside from that, and something comparable, Divergent by Veronica Roth, I have recently discovered a new series of another genre that I am really enjoying... the High Heels Mysteries by Gemma Halliday. They remind me Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Maddie, the main character of the book, is a single woman, struggling to follow her passion, designing shoes. She finds herself mixed up in some strange situation which leave me laughing out loud. They're usually fun, quick reads, but I definitely recommend!

3. What's your favorite Spring Break memory? Hmm... not much of a Spring Breaker here. I'd guess spending Spring Breaks in Gatlinburg with my Papaw would have to be among my fondest Spring Break memories. Nothing specific really sticks out though. Sorry, boring answer, but it's all I've got!

4. What do you put in your child's Easter basket? Or, for those w/o kids, what was put in your childhood basket? Let's see, we usually do the usual with some various candies and what not, but seeings how we usually still have a bowl full of Halloween candy we usually try not to overdo it with all the sweet treats at Easter. We'll throw in a movie, new book, some new shades, maybe some flip flops, just some fun new little spring/summer necessities. Oh, and some sidewalk chalk, bubbles, stuff like that. A nice little mix of goodies and stuff for them to do.

5. Do you get a summer haircut? Absolutely. Well, not so much a "summer cut" just a cut once it's warm enough that I notice the hair on the back of my neck is bothering me. I have a short cut and in all honesty tend to let it go until it loses its shape and won't do anything right. But you can bet during that during the summer my hair is always looking good. I just can't stand to be hot and have the hair on the back of my neck. Drives me crazy.

Well, hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Review: Undercover in High Heels

Undercover in High Heels (A High Heels Mystery #3)Undercover in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

Maddie finds herself on the set of one of her favorite tv shows when she gets her boyfriend "demoted" to security detail for one of its stars. She's on a mission to help him solve the murders that are racking up on set. Somewhere in the mix though she ends up with her own stalker who runs her out of her own home.
She shacks up with Ramirez for a night before they end up in one of their typical angry phases. She's hiding out from her stalker and her boyfriend when she finds herself at that rat reporter Felix's house. She can't stay there long either, and before you know it, she's stolen his car and his press pass to get back on the set.
Not only are she and best friend Dana up to no good in this installment, but Miss Plastic Parts herself (Jasmine from the first book, you know, the secretary...) makes an appearance as well. These girls find themselves in a whole mess of trouble that will have you cracking up.

I just love this series! The characters crack me up. The plot lines are entertaining. You just never know what's going to happen next. Although, something did happen this time which I had been wondering about. Felix showed a bit of a softer side for Maddie. In the past it seemed he looked out for her because his own hide was on the line. In this book he's being more protective and caring. And then there's the little incident and his reaction to it. I won't say what; I don't want to spoil anything ;-)

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Accountability: Week 7

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  166 lbs. 
           Current weight:   165 lbs.           
Weight +/-:          -1         
Total weight loss: -7          
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

So, I finally weighed myself, and while it wasn't as big a number for a two week stint as I'd have like, it was a loss, so I can't complain too much... (except maybe about that huge run on sentence I just put out there...)

Anywho, I'm still not back to my amazing 5 nights a week at the gym, but last week I did start walking on my lunch breaks again. Last year while "training for Disney" I started walking my lunch breaks to break my new shoes in and just get used to the massive amounts of walking done at the parks. There's a park with a nice mile long loop near my work. Typically a coworker and I would head over and get a lap or two in, depending on the weather and our pace.

We're having some strange (yet amazing) weather for March, so I decided it was time to start bring the tennies to work so I could make better use of my lunch hour. My usual walking buddy hadn't broken her tennies out yet, so it was just me and my Kindle. In all honesty though, I think the Kindle makes a great walking buddy. I don't know about you, but once I get my head in a book I pretty much tune everything else out. I did two miles, two days in a row. I plan on heading over again this week as long as the rain holds out.

Well, I hope to see some progress this Friday when I weigh myself again. I can't let fear stop me from weighing in. Should I happen to face a bad week again in the future, and God forbid, face a gain, I'll just have to use the fear of seeing that (and having to post it) motivate me to work harder the following week. (Gosh, what is with these run ons today?!)

Here's to a new week!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Accountability: Week 6

Ugh! So I'm ashamed to say, but I didn't weigh myself last week. To be honest, I'm kinda scared to. Terrified really. Ya see, I kind of fell off the wagon last week. In my defense though I was battling an awful sinus infection. First I felt miserable because my head was so jacked up, but then I started feeling crappy because of the strong antibiotics. With the help of my hubby I decided rest was a bit more important than going and making things worse. Although, that doesn't have anything to do with why I chose to shovel crap down my throat that really wasn't beneficial to the healthier lifestyle I'm trying to lead here.

All in all, I sucked last week and am hoping to make up for it this week... minus yesterday which was the hub's and my friend's birthdays which of course had to celebrated with bad food and small piece of cookie cake. And by small I mean slice, but hey, it's a lot thinner than a piece of cake, right?! And then I couldn't just leave him on the couch to spend the evening alone, could I?

So today I plan on walking at the park during my lunch hour and hitting the gym hard tonight. Hopefully come Weigh Day this week I won't have sabotaged myself too badly...

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Friday, March 9, 2012

5 Question Friday

If you're here from My Little Life for 5Q Friday, welcome! Glad you're here. Feel free to check things out, but be forewarned, this is a new one, so not much is going on just yet. I'll get there someday... Anyway, on to my answers...

1. Are you looking forward to the time change this weekend? Eh, well, it's something we have to do, right? I'm not looking forward to those first couple days where you can really feel the effect of losing that precious hour of sleep, but I am looking forward to seeing daylight a little earlier in the day. That'll be nice :-)

2. Are you getting the new iPad/would you want a iPad? I think it'd be neat to have, but I'm not into all the hype. I know, it's blasphemous, right? The hubs is definitely pining pretty badly for one, but I just don't see the point when we have smart phones, a desktop and a laptop. Really? Why do we need another $500 gadget? I know they do some pretty awesome things... that plane landing game seemed to keep the hubs entertained for a while, but aside from that? What would really be the point? Do feel free to enlighten me...

3. If money was not a problem, what is the one thing you would splurge on? This is a no brainer... a trip to Disney! Right now. I'll get online, book the thang, pack tonight and we'll be off. Our last trip to Disney (the kids' first) was awesome... but Daddy didn't get to go. I want to go now, while the kids are still this little, where he can see the awe in their faces. I'd book reservations at our favorite restaurants, add some new ones, and leave a few slots open so we can wing it a little. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique here we come! And this time, instead of bringing our own dress, she'd get to go on a shopping spree when we got there. That'd really be something special! Oh, and since money isn't an issue we'd be staying for two weeks, so we'd have time to do all the things we wanted to on the last vacation but didn't have time to. And we'd be spending those two weeks in a Deluxe Resort, for sure. I'm just not sure which one... Something to think about there... Oh, I could go on and on...
Sadly though, money is a problem, so it looks as though we'll be saving and going in another couple years.

4. How did you and the Mr. (or Mrs.) meet? We met through some friends about 11 years ago. While I'd like to think we were both cute and all that, there wasn't some big attraction at first sight thing. We ended up being really good friends for a while before it finally dawned on us that there was really something more there. And here we are... best friends, married, two beautiful kids, and a dog. Who could ask for more?

5. Summer is right around the corner. Bikini or one-piece? Well, I currently have a tankini, but clearly it's to act as a one piece. And yes, I have the mom skirt. BUT I've been hitting the gym, and while I'm not seeing these amazing life changing results just yet, there's still time! If I got some real progress by then, I wouldn't be against the idea of a bikini. I'd just have to find one with a cute little skirt. Stretch marks on the hips, ya know... We shall see!
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Accountability: Week 5

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  168 lbs. 
           Current weight:   166 lbs.           
Weight +/-:          -2         
Total weight loss: -6          
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

I forgot to post this last week. It's been crazy at work and home. I was pretty bummed last week because I wasn't feeling very well and was only able to make it to the gym 4 days. Imagine my surprise when I saw I'd lost 2 pounds! Woohoo! Now that's what I'm talking about! (Yes, I'm easily excitable.)

I'm still fighting whatever it is I had last week. I thought it was a head cold, but after a day or two of relief it's back with a vengeance! I'm on my way to the doc this morning. I'm guessing it's a sinus infection, so hopefully with some antibiotics I can kick it. I don't want it to hold me back this week!

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