Monday, January 23, 2017

What I Read & What I Thought.....

Still loving NetGalley and being able to read ARCs of books that haven't hit the shelves yet.    I love reading reviews, so I figure I should post mine as well, so others might find my blog and stumble upon a great new title to read.  Or maybe one to stay away from.   : )

So, here's what I've read lately, and my honest opinions.....

It Started With Goodbye -   Christina June  - Romance - Teens & YA

Loved it.   Yes, it's another one I chose, in the YA (young adult) category, but I tend to really like some of those books.  This one was no exception.    Written well, kept me interested, and I was anxious to see where it was going.  A cute read for anyone, I thought. Reminded me of my teen years, a little, with the exception of having a stepmom and step sibling.  I read it in just a few days.

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult - Women's Fiction/General Ficton - Adult

Truth?   I started this title a while back and ended up quitting.   I was annoyed at the style of writing; each chapter alternated with one of the 2 main characters, and seemed a little repetitive.   Then, one day, I decided to be the loyal Jodi fan that I am, and gave it another chance.   Well, I fell right into it. I realized why that format was important, in alternating the characters and refreshing the previous chapter.   This book made me really think and actually put me in check a few times.  There were moments in this story, where I had to examine my own thoughts and actions.  I wasn't aware that Jodi Picoult wrote this book, after reading a true story, very similar to it.  That made the story all the more thought provoking & enlightening.

Never Let You Go - Chevy Stevens - Mystery/Thrillers - General Adult Fiction

This one is a big YES.   It frightened me, intrigued me, and made me realize how sometimes we just don't know people that we think we might.   Sort of a plot with a twist, although I felt like I was figuring it out without trying to.  Another title that I read in less than a week, because I had to keep going.
Excellent read and I would see the movie, if there were one in the works.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Don't be a boob

Image result for get your mamo

I know that most women, if not all, do not need reminders or annoying posts, encouraging them to get their mammograms.   But this might be more of a "note to self" for me.   I was on top of it, when I got my first mammogram.   That was 4 years ago.   Now, the procrastinator that I am, I'm well overdue.   I need to get one.  Not just because my mom had breast cancer, but because I have breasts.   That's all the reason you need, isn't it?     

Funny story:  When I wanted to schedule my 2nd mammogram, (which I later canceled), South Jersey Radiology called me to confirm insurance info, and then the woman who helped me, could not find me in their system.  She kept asking "are you sure you've been here, I can't find you in the system"....  So I replied "Well, then, we have a bigger problem, because, I came into your facility on a Saturday morning and I was fondled!"     The gal on the other line laughed so hard, as did I!  And then we figured out that the issue was the fact that they had merged with Booth Radiology and the system was a little screwy.     I didn't keep that appointment, but I should have.

So I'm all scheduled for this coming Saturday - It was easily scheduled online.
 I love being able to do that, because I don't always have time at work, and I can't always use the phone for personal conversations.    And, contrary to the banter you hear, it's not really that bad.   A little uncomfortable, but it's over in less than 10 minutes, and you're on your way out the door.   

Wonder why they don't encourage women to get their mammos, by having sexy men (or women) perform them?   It would feel more like "pleasure" and less "business"...  Should we look into this?
Ok, I will.     In the meantime, schedule your mammogram if you haven't.   

Two words:    Early Detection.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

who's your daddy

I was lucky enough to be given a free Wisdom Panel DNA kit, for our pooch, Miley.   I was actually really eager to use it, because I'd been wanting to buy one of these kits, ever since hearing about it.   All I had to do was swab the inside of our dog's cheek and get enough saliva to cover the bristle of the DNA sticks and that was it!    Then you just pack it back up in the box, you send it back to the experts, and they send you the results via email, when they've finished the processing.

When I received Miley's results, I was surprised at some of it, and not surprised at other parts.
Jeff and I were always trying to guess her true breed and the mixes that she had in her.  When we first brought her home, we were told she was beagle/cockapoo.   She has the beagle ears and the howl that they do.. (which is cute at times, but not when you're unsuspecting and you jump 3 feet in the air). According to the analysis, as it gets more into the breed detections, it does show Beagle as a prominent mix she has in her.

Here's a little snippet of what the Wisdom Panel folks told us about Miley...


The Wisdom Panel 4.0 Canine DNA Test provides you with information to plan for your dog’s unique nutrition, training and even healthcare. Results provide you with:
    Image result for wisdom panel dna stick
  1. Ancestry back to the great-grandparent level
  2. A predicted weight profile
  3. Information about the physical traits your dog may exhibit
  4. Testing for the MDR1 genetic mutation
  5. Testing for Exercise-induced Collapse (EIC)
Wisdom Panel 4.0 covers more than 250 breeds, types and varieties including all those recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and can be run for mixed-breed, designer, or purebred dogs. The procedure is the same for all three, but you decide at the time of activation how you would like us to run it. For purebred and designer dogs, the test will provide a Principle Component Analysis chart comparing your dog with others of that same breed(s) in our database and for purebred tests specifically, an additional Homozygosity Profile.

If you want to try it out, here's a promo code to save you $15 off of a kit.
Use code: FF5043172DA
 I thought it was a pretty cool report to have and to see what Miley's family tree might look like.  There's a lot of interesting information in it! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ARC reviews ~ My NetGalley picks

I've started to expand my reading horizons a bit, by choosing genres that I normally wouldn't.   Thanks to NetGalley, I've been able to do that.    The last 2 books that I requested to read, were from Mystery & Thrillers: The Girl Before  and YA {young adult}: - The 100 lies of Lizzie Lovett  

Both of these, I would definitely give the thumbs up.   I like to keep my reviews short and to the point.  I'm not going to tell the whole story.  The idea is for me to tell you what I thought and whether I'd recommend it.
I like to see reviews that do the same thing.    Sooo...

The Girl Before - JP Delaney

Image result for the girl before jp delaney

Loved it.  This book seriously started to mess with my mind, in a good, intriguing way.  It made me answer questions that I never really contemplated.   Somehow, there was every single human emotion in this book.  Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I realized I didn't.   At all.  The author didn't disappoint when it came to description and detail.  Woo!  Some of it made me blush a little ~    I would say give it a whirl, especially if you're into the thriller & mystery books.   Amazon tags it:  In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl.     So, yeah.     This book comes out on 01/24 , and I highly recommend it, folks.  You'll be as curious and anxious as I was.

The Hundred lies of Lizzie Lovett  - Chelsea Sedoti
Image result for the 1000 lies of lizzie

This book was pretty good too.    I thought it was written well and it kept my attention.  I wasn't bored; in fact I was pretty curious to see how it was going to end, so I was reading it at work and at home.  It was cute, mysterious, dramatic, and in ways, and even a little familiar. It looks like this was the author's debut book, and I think she did pretty well.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Don't Wish It Away

I heard Trace Adkins'  "You're Gonna Miss This"  on the radio yesterday.  I forgot how much I liked it.
I can remember the first time I heard that song; I was traveling back from PA to NJ, with my now husband, smiling at the similarities I had with the first character in the song.

I can relate to this song, so much.   I felt like someone was watching me as an adolescent and writing these lyrics, all the while.    I'm sure I'm not the only one.

 She was staring out the window of that SUV-  
                 Complaining, saying "I can't wait to turn eighteen" ♫

When we were kids, (my siblings and I), we were part of a pretty "normal", nuclear family.   Mom, Dad, kids.   Sometimes there were dogs, birds, bunnies, cats, hamsters, gerbils, fish.  Geez, looking back, I never realized how we had almost every species of a household pet!
Just about every weekend, my Dad would wait for us all to wake, and then we'd all pile in the car for our Saturday or Sunday outing.  Sometimes both days.   Sometimes we'd end up in Delaware (for the New Castle flea market) where I got my first Rick Springfield T shirt... thank you very much.  I remember there was a shop inside the flea market, where they sold all furniture;mostly wicker.   I always dreamed of having an all wicker bedroom, but I was floored at how much each piece cost and knew it wasn't going to happen. 
 We'd shop around, Dad would buy all the fresh meats for the week at the Amish market inside, {remembering to get me some pickled eggs and beef jerky} Then we'd pack it all in the Styrofoam cooler full of ice. After the flea market and sometimes shopping at Ames, we'd all have a family dinner at Dempsey's restaurant.   I'd usually order Chicken Parmesan with french fries.   Also LOVED the salad bar. I think that's where I started my obsession with chick peas in my salads.

Even as great as those weekends sound and how many kids today would love that family time, I wasn't always appreciative of it.   I can remember leaning on my palm, pressed against the window, many times, wishing I was anywhere but there.  Wishing I was home with friends, or listening to music. Riding my bike with neighborhood friends.   Wishing I was one of those kids who didn't have to partake in the family outings, and didn't have to be home for dinner every night.   I felt like the dork of all dorks.. that we had these Brady Bunch-ish weekends.   But, now?  Man, do I realize how great being a family was.  And is.
If only I'd known then that the time was so precious and that we were making memories I'd still remember at 40.   All of that family bonding and togetherness is probably what kept us all out of trouble, and on the right path in life.  Who knew then that our parents were so precious, and so important?  You don't think of those things as a kid.    You focus on how much you hate having to listen, having a curfew, how much they annoy you with rules and discipline.   Always acting like they know so much.   Then, one day, as an adult, you're writing a blog post about it, and you realize that Mom and Dad did know an awful lot.  They were never trying to piss you off, they were always just guiding you,molding you.    They took us along on those family adventures because they loved us and wanted to spend time with us.  They wanted us to be a FAMILY.

I wish I could get just one of those weekends back.  Just to really savor it and enjoy it for all its' worth.
  I would appreciate it more than I ever did, and I'd have taken it in just a little more.  I'd have made sure not to forget a single moment.  I would have spent more time enjoying it and less time wishing it away.  If only we'd had Smartphones then.   All the great photos and memories I'd have.   But, the ones in my mind and in my heart as just as awesome and just as clear.    ♥ Thanks Mom & Dad ♥

Friday, July 22, 2016

Debbie Macomber - Sweet Tomorrows {review}

Debbie Macomber's one of my favorite authors; I love her style of writing and the feel good books she puts out.   I saw Sweet Tomorrows on Netgalley and immediately requested it.   So glad I did!
Even though I'm not usually a series fan,  the Rose Harbor series converted me, if only temporarily.
Sweet Tomorrows is #5 in that series - and I can tell you that the 4 books before it, were as great a read as this one.   This book makes me wish that the Rose Harbor Inn was real.. and that I could go stay there for a weekend, to regroup, gather my thoughts and dreams and come home with some resolve.
  If you love a good book about love, friendship, healing, and finding yourself, this could be your perfect beach read this summer.

Sweet Tomorrows (Rose Harbor Series #5)

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

What I read & what I thought

I'm pretty hooked on this NetGalley site, where I can request to read copies of books that pique my interest.   Only problem is that I'm finding myself requesting like a crazy woman and then not being more committed to reading the titles that I'm approved for.    I did, however, just finish another 2 books that I really enjoyed.

American Tumbleweeds - Marta Elva 


  Honestly, I didn't think it was something I'd enjoy reading, but once I started it, I was hooked.   It grabbed my attention fairly early on.  I thought this story was written well, but I didn't understand some of the Spanish phrases that were used, but soon realized that there were context clues and usually right after a Spanish phrase, there was the English translation.  I liked the story itself, and I felt like I could actually see the characters and the scenery.  This story, although fiction, opened my eyes to an era and a history that I was unaware existed.  Or maybe I wasn't so much "unaware", but more uninterested.  That was BEFORE.
  When an author is able to bring a book to life and you are actually "in" the story and can visualize it, that is pretty awesome.  I guess it's not really a negative point, but I thought this book ended abruptly.   I liked the way it ended, but I didn't realize it was the end initially.  I thought I skipped over a few pages on my Kindle, so I had to go back and make sure.  Maybe it's going to be the first installment of a series?  If so, I'm pretty sure I'd look for the next book.

Sugar Daddy - Sawyer Bennett

Image result for sugar daddy sawyer                       Umm... I should have waited to read this until the other 2 were available.  Sugar Daddy is book 1 of the Sugar Bowl series.   (Sugar Daddy, Sugar Rush, Sugar Free)     Did not know that.   I'm kind of glad I didn't realize it, because I normally don't read series' or trilogies and may have never picked this up.     So glad I saw it on NetGalley and requested to read it.     I guess I would say that it's along the lines of a softer 50 Shades, if that's your genre... (it's not mine).   In fact, I once borrowed a book from the library, an author I'd never read before, and it was pretty raunchy.  I was reading it at work, on my lunch break and was almost embarrassed.   No one could possibly know what I was reading, but it was just not my kind of book.   I sound like such a prude.    I didn't feel like Sugar Daddy was that bad.     So, yes, there is sex talk in this book but it's not the entire basis.  It's got a little bit of romance, revenge, suspense...all wrapped up in one.
.   It was definitely, for me,  a "couldn't put it down" kind of read, and when it ended (still before I knew it was a series)... It was such a cliff hanger!  I'm so eager to read the next 2 books.   Definitely a beach read, this summer!  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The Things We Keep - Sally Hepworth

Image result for the things we keep     I loved this book.   That's it.   No, I'm kidding.   But, it really was pretty great.  It kind of centered around 2 women, who were both in different places in their lives and opposite roles - but it was easy to keep up with and was a great story line.  Even though it was fiction, I felt myself feeling sad for the young couple who fell in love, despite both having Alzheimer's.   It scared me that it could happen; I can't imagine living like that.  Or knowing someone so young who suffered from it.  Definitely recommend it.  This was the first Sally Hepworth book I read, so I'm interested in seeing some of her other titles.

We Just Clicked -  Sophie Childs

   I requested his on NetGalley, because when I read the summary, it sounded like something I'd enjoy.    I didn't get very far.   I don't know if it's the style of writing or what, but I couldn't get into this.   I didn't even understand some of the terms or phrases that were being used..  so I gave up.   In the author's defense, she is from the UK.. so that may have been the obstacle for me reading this.   Words and phrases I've never heard.

On my NetGalley shelf to read next:
Emily Giffin - First Comes Love
Debbie Macomber - Sweet Tomorrows

Stay Tuned! 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dog goodies

Image result for charlee bear treats

*I wasn't compensated or solicited for this review - It's all my own feedback and opinions; I just wanted to share a great product with you*  

I wasn't always selective about buying dog treats; I admit it.    But, as time went on, I noticed that some of the ones I was purchasing, were a little questionable.   I bought a store brand, a couple of times, and it finally occurred to me that these treats were making my dog sick.   She was having a lot of bile and vomiting, usually a day after I'd given them to her.   When I finally realized it was those treats causing it, I stopped giving them to her, and tossed the rest of the box.    This has happened so often.   Mostly because of all the crap ingredients that some of the companies are putting in their products.  Miley was even having weird episodes, physically, and the gas?  Oh Lord.   I may have been saving money buying those brands, but I was doing my poor dog a great disservice.
 Once I took the time to really read up on the ingredients and additives in most of the products I was buying, I knew that these were no good for my dog.     When I heard about the Charlee Bear treats, on social media, I was curious to see how they were different than the brands I'd been buying already.   Well, trust me, they are WAY DIFFERENT!   I was fortunate enough to receive a pack of the Charlee Bear crunchy treats, for my dog, on a Twitter contest.  Since I have been giving them to my dog, I haven't seen any issues with her digestion or anything else.    She enjoys them, of course, but I am really happy with the brand too.
I mean, just by looking at the ingredients, you can see the difference, compared to other brands.
I even like the serving size of these.  My vet once told us, when Miley was overweight, that dogs care about "quality", not "quantity", so we didn't have to give her big, full treats.  After that,  I started breaking her biscuits in half - and didn't feel that I was slighting her, because all she knew was that it was a treat.    With these Bear Crunch treats, I can give her just one.  But if I do give her a couple at a time, I don't feel that I'm over doing it because they're only 3 calories per treat.
If you're a dog parent, you'll want to check these out, if you haven't already.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Birthday Month

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So, evidently, we're in some weird time warp right now, and instead of April showers, we're having April flurries.   Odd, I tell ya.  Odd.     So, I figured since I have nothing better to do (other than clean the house and do laundry), I figured I'd update the ol' blog.    Especially, because, it's my birthday month.   Yep, I'm hitting 40 in ten days and I made a short list, in my phone, a few weeks ago, of things I want to do as I turn 40.  Or maybe, shortly after I turn 40.   I'm a procrastinator, so I don't know when "said" goals will actually be accomplished, but the intent is there.  I promise.  But it won't be before I turn 40, I can almost guarantee that.     My list, so far, is pretty boring, but who knows maybe I'll think of something more daring in the days that follow.       I wanted to do something fun on Facebook for my birthday month, like a giveaway or something, but I couldn't come up with anything creative, so I settled for just using a childhood picture as my profile photo.. (which reminds me, I need to dig out a bunch of old photos today, for my husband to use on a collage at my party.    Yes, I actually did want a party.  The girl who usually wants nothing, actually made it a a point to ask for a party.  Why not?   I've had a rough few years, so why not find something celebration-worthy and party it up?    I don't fret turning 40, but I do have regrets about not accomplishing certain things by this time in my life.   BUT, I also know that it's never too late, so I may surprise myself (and others) in the near future.    So, let's see...   What was I saying?   Oh, yes!    (memory loss already?)    My list of things I have decided to do as I turn 40....(in no specific order)

♦ get my nose pierced (I have wanted a little diamond stud forever and never did it)
♦ learn to knit (or crochet) is there a difference?  If so, it doesn't matter.
♦ start writing again (and possibly start the book I've always wanted to write)
♦ get a mammogram (that may seem odd, but it's important, and I know I need to) last was almost 4 yrs ago
♦ exercise every day (I've actually been doing wellwith this one! Once I got in a routine, I became consistent)
♦ blog way more often than I do now
♦ get another tattoo (in memory of Mom)

Hey, I told you it was boring.  But, that's it.   Like I said, there will be more added, as I think of them, but this is what I had for now.