Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where are you, BookLady?

Hi Friends! I went back to work this week = no blogging for me. Once I get situated and in a normal routine I'll be back! I am teaching a Language program at a local middle school. I am very excited and I can't wait to meet the students! Wish me luck!



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

Well, my daughter is going back to school today. Of course I will miss her, but I am also VERY excited for her! She is living her dream, after all. She is about to begin her 3rd year in The Marshall School of Business at USC! We are a TOTAL Trojan family! To help her prepare to, uh, miss me, I cooked a few of her favorite meals this past week! ;)

Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese!

Yes, I am reading while stirring the sauce! I could not put down The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!

Thursday: Tostadas and Spanish Rice! (and the beans are NOT from a can!)

My girl, may she study hard and get our money's worth!!! ;)


Visit Seven Clown Circus for more wonderfully wordy Wednesday pictures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Terrace Books Tuesday

So much going on at Terrace Books right now! Our readers are really stocking up on books. We welcomed about 10 new customers in the past week. Suspense books are selling like hot cakes and I just put in an order for lots of new vampire novels for one of our longtime customers, Marion. Another exciting thing: we are promoting the website, So far, four of us are members and we are close to becoming addicted, I tell you, it is hard to get away! If you decide to join, please look us up! Find our group listed under: Friends of Terrace Books.

But before you go, please read my mini-review that is posted on our community board at Terrace Books.

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Publisher: Dial Press, 2009 trade paperback edition, $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-385-34100-4 290 pages
Genre: Fiction, literature
Rating: 5 stars, outstanding!

What the book is about: Ever had potato peel pie? Don't worry, this book is not about cooking! It is a compelling tale about the German Occupation of the Channel islands during World War II. The story gives us an insiders view of the Occupation, written in a unique style of letters exchanged between the members of the society and Miss Juliet Ashton, a published author. This old fashioned book club was invented by the founding member, Elizabeth McKenna in order to create a diversion from the Germans during curfew one night. What entails is a moving masterpiece of history told from those that lived it and how the books they read helped them survive. Yes, the books helped them survive. It is somewhat of a love story: a love of books, a love of writing and a love of Guernsey. The relationships -- between the people and the books they read -- are revealed slowly and purposefully. Be prepared to fall in love all over again with the classics and with the unforgettable characters in this book.

Why I loved it: Each character is revealed to us through the books they read. They are, in essence, defined by their choice of book!

My favorite excerpt: "I love seeing the bookshops and meeting the booksellers -- booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one -- the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it -- along with first dibs on the new books." page 15 (My thoughts exactly!)

My recommendation: You will enjoy this book if you like historical fiction. It is a romance about books and reading. I highly recommend it for English teachers or anyone else whose profession revolves around reading. Also, those interested in the occupation of World War II should enjoy the historical implications. Very well researched and has made me move on to other Occupation non-fiction books.

What to read next: (all are non-fiction)
London 1945: Life in the Debris of War by Maureen Waller
The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule 1940-1945 by Madeleine Bunting
Our Longest Days: A People's History of the Second World War by Sandra Koa Wing


Monday, August 17, 2009

Manic Monday

Good Monday morning to you! Welcome to Manic Monday at my blog where I list the Tuesday book releases that I hope will interest you, my readers. So, shall we?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, hardcover. Historical fiction; England; War of the Roses (new series by this bestselling author!)

Vanished by Joseph Finder, hardcover. Suspense; missing persons; corporate intrigue

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli, hardcover. Non-fiction; biography; actors and actresses

The Shortest Distance Between Two Women by Kris Radish; paperback. Women's fiction; relationships; women's lives

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks, hardcover. Fantasy fiction; The Magic Kingdom series; epic

Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, hardcover. Fiction; Rwanda; women cooks; bakeries

Soul of a Dog by Jon Katz, hardcover. Non-fiction; essays; farm life; dogs; New York

August 24, 2009 (next Monday)
Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo, hardcover. Fiction; historical suspense; Alex Cross; race relations; Southern states

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gidget moments '09

The end is near. Sadly, the beach days of 2009 are dwindling. The days of sunshine and heat, that is. The beach is available year round, of course, but somehow being there with the crowds and sun and the noise and the trash and the endless search for parking . . . wait . . . uh, yeah . . . sometimes THAT part of the beach experience is NOT fun.

The trash. Ugh, it pains me to see when groups of people or kids leave loads of trash. Last time we were there, a day camp visited from L.A. A ton of kids went, and about 5 counselors were there to watch them. I caught on to their carelessness inexperience after a 4 year old came walking from down the coastline, amongst all the people, ALL BY HIMSELF. At the beach. Soaking wet, too, so yeah, he was in the water! I watched as he found his way back to their "camp" sat on his towel and no one cared. They didn't even know he was gone. From that moment on, Frank and I took turns watching out for "Orange Shorts" as we so lovingly named him.

Yet another idiotic strange thing I saw that day: A woman was there with the tiniest of umbrella and smallest of bag for snacks, with her baby. Her very WHITE and FAIR baby, so fair the baby's hair was even white. Guess what she did? She stripped the baby of all her protective clothing and let her sit on the towel, in the sun in only a diaper. That's it! Oh yeah, she put on sunblock, but HELLO? Sunblock does NOT protect a baby's sensitive skin, c'mon, you really don't believe that ONE layer of lotion is going to protect a baby THAT white? She MUST not know that damage to a childs' skin before the age of 7 is the MOST damaging exposure they will get in their life. It is the WORST set up for skin cancer in later life. I was just about to go explain this to her when another mom noticed the same thing. She went to her and said, "Would you like to share our shade?" BRAVO! That was good! Why didn't I think of that? Here I was thinking about all the damage that poor little girl would encounter in later years, that maybe the mom didn't know, that she would suffer cancer as she got older, and on and on. When all I had to do was offer them our umbrella!!! Wow, the things we learn from eavesdropping watching other people!

THEN the camp kids started packing up. And leaving trash. I just couldn't stop myself, I picked up their trash, too, and I wasn't too happy about it, let me tell you! I got tired of Frito bags getting blown into my face! I know I'm supposed to be all Gidgety and nice and sweet and stuff, but wait, Gidget was feisty! SOOO . . . I was about to go over and help the poor counselors assign trash duty and get the kids lined up . . . they were failing miserably. (The teacher in me was all ready to organize the departure.) But I didn't, because my kids were there. They are total Gidget moment killers. They get "embarrassed" whenever I talk to people I "don't even know." Imagine. And all I'm trying to do is educate people and make our world a little bit better!

Things to remember for your last Hoorah at the beach, '09:
Sunblock, sunglasses, umbrella, ice chest filled with water and good snacks, towels, flip flops (yes, people do try to walk all the way to the water from the parking lot without SHOES!).
For older children (pre-teen and up) BEFORE they leave your area, make them aware of their surroundings. Have them point to and identify the number of the nearest lifeguard tower, tell you the color of your umbrella, identify "neighbors" and so on. Set the limit for how deep the water can be on their bodies, waist is safest. My youngest is already 12 and these rules still apply (unless of course Dad is out there boogie boarding with him).

Last, relax, have fun, enjoy (as if!!!!).

Oh, almost forgot, I found another book for The Take A Chance Challenge! At the beach, I saw a woman reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (challenge #6:Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it). Yes! The first in the Southern Vampire Mystery series, I haven't read it yet so I can read it AND cross off another challenge! Yay for me! :)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Writer's Workshop

Today I am participating in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I grudgingly chose prompt #4:List ten things you would say to ten different people in your life...if you had the hutzpah.

First, I had to look up "hutzpah." It is Yiddish for "balls." Or some say, cajones, whatever, you get the picture. And I "grudgingly" chose it, because, well, the other prompts were a little to deep for me. Too much thinking. It's summertime . . . it's hot . . . coffee hasn't kicked in . . . you know what I mean. And, yes, I know, my blog is supposed to be about reading, so I've thrown in a few fictional characters to make it interesting.

1. Mark McGrath: Can I grab your be-hind? Oh, no wait, I already did -- without asking! Something about a tall, lead singer, white boy that I just CANNOT resist!
2. God: Why haven't I won the Lotto yet? (I'd probably get in BIG time trouble for that one!)

3. The family member that spread awful, hateful rumors about me: Why? Do you not have anything better to do with your time than ruin friendships? Are you happy now? (and the reason I don't say this is because I can't stand the mere sight of her. My "god moment" was when I got chills of danger once when she looked at me as if she was possessed; God was telling me -- Watch out! So glad I listened. From that moment on I believed in The Evil Eye! Whew, scary stuff.)
4. The boy I had a crush on in high school (okay, boys): What do you have to say, now? ;)

5. Rhett Butler: Can I be your baby-mamma? (I WILL not let him/her ride a pony)

6. Wannabe customers of my book exchange that think they should not have to pay because they are bringing in REALLY good books (which are REALLY old, falling apart and stinky): Do you even understand how a business works? It takes cash flow; what is so hard about understanding that??????
7. Bono: Will you write a song about me?

8. Gidget: Can I be the Latina version of you?

9. Pete Carroll: So, you wanna make my son a deal now, before all the scouts get sight of him?
10. Becky Bloomwood: PLEASE let me be your bestie! We can shop together, do lunch, laugh, go to shopaholic anonymous meetings together! It would be such fun!

Visit Mama Kat to read more Writer's Workshop prompts!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

This is Scooter. I'm sure I've posted pictures of him before, but he's just so DARN CUTE that I can't help myself!

Yup, that's right, strike a pose!

Last night we were "reading" together (I was reading, he was sleeping) and Frank takes this picture of us. Notice my insanely cool OpenPage book cover. It conveniently holds the book/pages open while you read. I sell them at my book exchange and on my website, Terrace Books. Customers love, love, love them! ;)

Visit Seven Clown Circus for more wonderfully wordy Wednesday pictures!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Manic Monday

Manic Monday is the list I compile of the interesting (to me) books ready for Tuesday release.

Tuesday, August 11,2009

Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett, paperback. Fiction, internet intrigue, blogs, teenage girls

South of Broad by Pat Conroy, hardcover. Fiction, friendships, South Carolina (author of Prince of Tides)

Smash Cut by Sandra Brown, hardcover. Fiction, legal mystery, suspense, Georgia

Blindman’s Bluff: A Decker and Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman, hardcover. Fiction, suspense, police spouses, LAPD, California

Atlantis Revelation: A Thriller by Thomas Greanias, hardcover. Fiction, archaeologists, conspiracies, Atlantis

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay, hardcover. Fiction, fathers and daughters, missing persons, suspense

Know of any good reads that I've missed? Please comment about them! Also, tell us about your favorite independent bookstore!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Snip It Saturday

It's Saturday! Time for a little snip-it, or preview, of the current book I'm reading. Enjoy!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: A Novel by Stieg Larsson
Vintage Books, c2008 (translation copyright by Reg Keeland)
ISBN 978-0-307-45454-6

So it seems everyone (and their mother) has read this book but me. This Vintage Books paperback edition was just released and it is on the PB Bestseller list. It is a story of crime, suspense and family saga. Alot of family saga. In fact, TOO MUCH family saga for my taste. I am on page 265 and am just now getting "in" to it. I tried my darnedest (is that a word?) to understand the family lineage, really I tried. But I got tired of it and just ended up skimming the paragraphs (and sometimes pages) of who's who in the Vanger family. Boring. But don't worry, I will not suffer you the same fate! I chose a scene which contains the more interesting side plot which includes the girl with the dragon tattoo.

Her classmates thought she was crazy and treated her accordingly. She aroused very little sympathy among the teachers. She had never been particularly talkative, and she became known as the pupil who never raised her hand and often did not answer when a teacher asked her a direct question. No one was sure whether this was because she did not know the answer or if there was some other reason, which was reflected in her grades. No doubt that she had problems, but no one wanted to take responsibility for the difficult girl, even though she was frequently discussed at various teachers' meetings. That was why she ended up in the situation where the teachers ignored her and allowed her to sit in sullen silence.

She left middle school and moved to another, without a single friend to say goodbye to. An unloved girls with odd behaviour.

Then, as she was on the threshold of her teenage years, All The Evil happened, which she did not want to think about. The last outburst set the pattern that prompted a review of the casebook entries from elementary school. After that she was considered to be legally . . . well, crazy. A freak. (page 229-230)

Good stuff! Of course, I am dying to find out what All The Evil is! The novel takes place in Sweden (another reason I can't "love" it; places I am not familiar with). The other main character, Mikael Blomkvist, is a journalist who is commissioned to solve a 30 year-old unsolved murder. Apparently, knowing the family lineage of the Vanger family is VERY important to the story. He has a year to live on the family owned island and solve the mystery. As a reader, the real mystery is how the two plots will intersect. So far, Mikael and Lisbeth (girl w/dragon tattoo) have only met once, briefly. What the heck is going on? I kinda don't care about the murder, I just want to know where the story is going. Maybe that's supposed to be the mystery!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Grunion Run!

What is a grunion, you ask? A grunion is a tiny, silver fish. Fish can run? Well, yes and no. They "run" along SoCal beaches at night during their spawning season. They come on shore, that is, and when you see it, it's amazing!

I was lucky enough (they are only on shore for 4 nights) to happen upon a grunion run during my senior year in high school. During Prom. With Frank. I know, you can stop gagging now, but really, we are NOT the perfect couple! ::wink:: The sight was fantastic (the picture I found makes them look like dead fish out of water, believe me, they are VERY alive)! It's as if the entire shore is moving. They seem to glow silver in the dark and they flap like crazy to get back into the water. Before that night, I had never heard of a grunion. I was so afraid to walk out there -- eww, what if it touched my foot? Frank, the gentleman that he is, coaxed me rather lovingly to just get a little closer (do you know where this is going?). "C'mon, you don't have to go any closer than you want to. That's, it, just a little closer. I -- I mean-- they won't bite." We did end up on the shore, but I dared not touch one! People were actually trying to catch them with their hands! Apparently, that's how you fish for them.

Anyway, yes, we did end up having a romantic, moonlit kiss on the beach that night. Since The Kiss happened during the grunion run, I have to believe that our lives were destined to mesh into a series of "luck" and "love" that continues to this day. Maybe I will try to convince Frank to go out tonight. And just maybe, I'll get LUCKY and see the grunions again. Wonder if it will be the same after 22 years? I'd love to find out (hu-muna, hu-muna!).

Check out Beach California to read more about the Grunion Run. There is also a list of the beaches and times that the grunion are expected to be seen.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Favorite Reads

Time Was Soft There: A Memoir, A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
By Jeremy Mercer
Publisher: Picador, St. Martin's Press, New York
ISBN 0-312-34740-5

From Publishers Weekly
Mercer explains his memoir's title this way: "Hard time goes slowly and painfully and leaves a man bitter.... Time at Shakespeare and Company was as soft as anything I'd ever felt." His graceful narrative follows struggling writers as they live on potato soup and dreams at Paris's famous expatriate bookshop. Mercer, a former Ottowa Citizen crime reporter, finds himself at Shakespeare one gloomy Parisian day in 1999, in his late 20s, with not much money and no plans for the future, trying to evade some angry newspaper sources back home. With little fanfare, he is taken into the store by its owner, George Whitman, a kindly yet scatterbrained man, who explains, "I run a socialist utopia that masquerades as a bookstore." Mercer begins working as an eager unpaid employee, running errands, acting as a referee between the writers who hang out there and ringing up sales (it's no B&N superstore: when Mercer asks where the credit card machine is, he's told, "Dude, Shakespeare and Company doesn't even have a telephone. Of course we don't take credit cards"). Mercer portrays the assorted characters and their adventures with an eye for detail and a wry sense of humor. Francophile book lovers will enjoy his finely crafted memoir.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

When I read it:
We took a road trip up to Sacramento to visit friends on New Years in 2007. Of course, we passed through San Francisco! I do not travel much, but when I do, I MUST visit an independent bookstore. My goal for that trip was The City Lights Bookstore, for it's history and just plain "coolness!" I found this book there and was on a fixation of the Shakekespeare & Co. bookshop in Paris at the time.

Why I chose it:
. . . Because of my fixation on the Shakespeare & Co. bookshop in Paris! I also read Shakespeare & Company by Sylvia Beach (the original owner of the bookshop) and when I get my mind on something, I go all the way (meaning, I want to visit it someday, too!). Mercer's memoir is about his time there and his relationship with the current owner, George Whitman. Shakespeare & Co. is a haven for writers. They are/were allowed to live IN the bookstore! Mercer enters into the bookstore's world with high hopes of writing a "brilliant novel at the bookstore" and be considered an "acclaimed genious." What transpires is a personal story of hope, maturity, and "life imitating art." The book has been acclaimed as a living biography of George Whitman, a very good one!

Visit At Home with Books to read more Favorite Reads.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordful Wednesday


My son plays football (he is visible in the 2nd pic, white t-shirt and red shorts). It is a grueling sport for a kid, he has played since he was seven years old. He loves it. Official practice began Monday night, the famed "hell week" is going on now. They run, run, and run some more. Next week they get their pads, then they will hit, hit, and hit some more!

Visit SevEn cLoWn CirCuS: Wordful Wednesday-Animal Incidents to see Angie's pictures and view more participants in Wordful Wednesday! :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Manic Monday

Good morning, fellow book and beach lovers! Welcome to Manic Monday where I list some of the books that will be released Tuesday. I call it Manic, because the amount of books released each week is absolutely CRAZY insane! It takes me AGES ::wink:: to browse through the lists and lists of titles, then decide which to include here!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eclipse (The Twilight Series) by Stephenie Meyer (paperback) vampire, romance, PAPERBACK!!!

Bad Moon Rising: A Dark Hunter Novel by Sherrilyn Kenyon (hardcover) paranormal; vampire/werewolf; gothic romance

The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners by Luanne Rice (hardcover) women's fiction; family issues; summer stories

I Can See You by Karen Rose (hardcover) romantic suspense; computer/online murder mystery

The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom (hardcover) debut author; ghosts; haunted house

Alibi by Teri Woods (hardcover) thriller; crime novel

The Last Ember by Daniel Levin (hardcover) legal suspense; religious/archaeological thriller (said to be comparable to DaVinci code!)

Of Bees and Mist: A Novel by Eric Setiawan (hardcover) debut author; mysticism; mystery; supernatural

Non-Fiction of Interest
A Long Bright Future: The Very Good News About Living Longer by Laura L. Carstensen, Ph.D (hardcover) longevity; financial security; healthy aging

Of course, these are not all books released, if you know any of interest that I missed, please comment about them here!


P.S. April Showers is having a totally groovy blog design giveaway!
Check it out, pretty please! ::bats eyelashes::

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sundays in My City

Welcome to Sundays in My City! Unknown Mami has devoted her Sunday postings to wonderful pictures of her city. Today, she invites us all to join in. Visit her to add your link or just to see how other bloggers spend their Sundays!

In my small city, we are lucky enough to have a labyrinth. It is a quiet, spiritual place to walk, meditate, and pray. The above photo is the entrance. The photo below is the angel statue which is a reminder of the sacredness (of quiet, peace, and no talking "policy").

The next photo is of the center of the maze. Here, one can sit and rest while praying or meditating before re-entering the maze to follow the way back out.

I enjoyed my walk to the labyrinth today. I felt calm and refreshed afterwards. (I spent about 15 minutes in the center of the maze, desperately trying to quiet my mind!) I have lived here for 20 years and love to share my favorite places with people. Our city is only 3.5 square miles, but it is full of wonderful surprises. Join me (and Mami!) every Sunday as I share these treasures with you!

Unknown Mami