Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life Eternal (Dead Beautiful Book 2) ARC ~ Yvonne Woon

Life Eternal (Dead Beautiful #2)
Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.  This is book 2 in the Dead Beautiful series and while I'm still not a fan of the Undead/Zombie world, I have to say I did enjoy the action and adventure in this one.

At the end of book 1, Renee and Dante (take second w/your thoughts...Dante...) have become "soul mates" but in order to keep her safe, he leaves her which is of course, how you prove to someone that you want to spend forever with them, right?  In his defense, he IS trying to keep her safe while he looks for a way for them to be together.

There's a  new school, with new friends and rivals as well as a new mystery to solve that could result in Renee and Dante finally being able to be together.  There's also a new guy, Noah, to complicate things for Renee and put her relationship with Dante to the test.  Not only is Noah a Monitor (and a cute one too) he's interested in helping her solve the mystery of the strange visions she's been having. (He likes girls who like action and adventure. If I wasn't married, I'm pretty sure I'd be a candidate for Noah's dream girl.)  Did I mention that Noah happens to be the boyfriend of Renee's latest rival, Clementine?  Yeah, that makes things kinda interesting too.  This sends them on an adventure that will not only challenge their skills as Monitors but will make them question all they've believed to be true about the history of the Undead right up to the heart racing end.

Let's not forget about Dante (as.if.) while we don't get to see him as much as we did in book 1, he's still around.  Whenever he does show up, he tells Renee that he's been doing things to help "them" and she needs to trust him.  He's constantly leaving her secret love messages (in Latin no less!) that only she can read but when her visions begin to take a dark turn, she starts to doubt him, their relationship and their love.  (While reading these parts, I wanted to shake her and say, "Helleeww Renee! Seriously?! This is Dante we're talking about! Dante!" This is hard to do with fictitious characters, and I'm prett-y sure my neighbors would think I'd gone off the deep end considering I was on my deck at the time.)

The ending had my heart pounding and I was happily discontent.  Why? Because I realized there will be another book that I have to now wait for and I'm not the most patient person.  I need to know what happens NOW! NOW! NOW!  See?  Not patient.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What Alice Forgot ~ Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot

If I ever have to suffer a head injury with memory loss (and I pray I don't!) this is how I'd want to do it.  Alice's story made me laugh, cry and I laughed until I cried - it was that good.

When we first meet Alice, it's 1998 and she is waking up to another lovely day of life in her fixer upper with her charming and somewhat goofy husband, Nick, teetering on the edge of 30 while expecting their first child together.  Life. Is. Good.  The only problem?  That's not reality.  She's actually waking up on a sweaty gym floor surrounded by people she doesn't recognize with a massive headache she can't explain.  Once she fully comes too, she's shocked to learn that it's actually 2008, she's almost 40, her life is not exactly as she thought it was AND she can't remember the past 10 years of her life.  One of the funniest things (in the beginning) is how upset she is to learn that she's a) so skinny, and b) in.a.gym! - she loathes exercising!  She also keeps insisting to everyone that she's pregnant (which she was in 1998) and the different reactions are interesting.

As her day progresses Alice learns that she has apparently changed into this "new Alice" and nothing about her relationships, with her husband, sister or friends is the same as she remembers.  She also can't understand why people are reacting to her they way they are and it's both funny and heartbreaking.  One minute you find yourself crying tears of laughter because of how absurd her situation is and then you feel awful for her the next.

How horrible would it be to truly not remember 10 years of your life?  For example, she learns she has kids (3 of them!) but she doesn't know who they are.  She only remembers being pregnant with her oldest but not any of their births, first steps, first words, etc.  How devastating for both parent and child.  When she discovers that she's in the middle of divorce proceedings with Nick, she's devastated but can't get anyone to explain to her why?  They keep telling her that once her memory comes back, she'll know why.  All she remembers is how much she loves him and he loves her.  Their first conversation after her accident is hysterical!  (I'll never think of paprika the same way again.)

Elisabeth, Alice's older sister has had in on going struggle with infertility and one of their conversations is about adoption.  When Elisabeth is explaining to Alice an argument they had days before her accident (one Alice obviously doesn't remember) about how she'd suggested adoption and that she'd used the example of the Angelina and Brad and all of their adopted children, Alice listens intently.  They go back and forth for awhile with Alice apologizing for interfering.  Just when you feel like real healing is taking place between these sisters, this happens...

They were silent for a few seconds. Alice said, "Are Angelina and Brad friends of yours?"
Elisabeth snorted. "Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. You've forgotten all your celebrity gossip, too."
"I thought Brad Pitt was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow."
"Ancient history. He's married and divorced Jennifer Aniston since then, and Gwyneth has had a baby called Apple. I'm not kidding. Apple."
"Oh." Alice felt unaccountable sad for Brad and Gwyneth. "They seemed happy in the photos."

That was funny to me on so many levels!  This is the kind of humor author, Moriarty weaves throughout the entire book.  It catches you off guard like a breath of fresh air.

Alice slowly begins to get snippets of her memory back and she starts to realize that she doesn't just look different on the outside but on the inside too.  She's not sure anymore if she really wants to remember the years she's lost, especially if they were painful.  Those around her, who've known her the longest are starting to enjoy having the "old Alice" back but are also in limbo because even though she's lost the past 10 years, they haven't.  It's interesting to watch the story unfold and how the relationships are affected. I loved the ending.  I felt it was smart and realistic.  I would love to see this as a movie someday.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene Prep - Let's go play outside!

Hurricane Irene Preparations:

Bottled water - check
Non Perishable food items - check
Flashlights/batteries - check
Candles/matches - check
Electronic devices charged - check
Playing outside during the hurricane - check...wait...what?!

I know, I know, that last one doesn't sound normal but I don't know that others would describe me as "normal" so there ya go.  

We survived Hurricane Isabel boarded up in a beach house on stilts on an island in NC with the hubs, his brother and wife and my then 3 yr old.  My SIL and I even went out onto the beach to take pictures DURING Isabel just to "see what it was like" because we're just that crazy (or stupid depending on who you ask).

So today as I was looking at the ominous skies above and thinking... OK, I was thinking, Crap!  If Irene really does hit us then I'ma be stuck inside with no power for who knows how long with the hubs and two kids who think living without electronic devices for longer than 24 hours is like an episode of "Surivivor".  Must. Escape. Now!  I grabbed my running shoes (these are really for looks because I have the lung capacity of a snail) and my iPod and was headed out the door when the rain started.  Boo hiss!  Then the 6 year old insisted that my walk would not be complete without him.  I watched as any alone time I might have washed away with the rain.

Time to switch up the game plan!  I hollered, "Who wants to go play with Irene?!"  The 6 year old quickly got his shoes and hat on while the 11 year old launched into an explanation about the safety hazards of being outside in a Hurricane.  I took that as his way of saying he didn't want to go with us...

Out the door we went and we had SO MUCH FUN!  We walked, ran, raced, jumped in puddles and skipped our way around the neighborhood and down to our local library which was closed for the day, all the while getting SOAKING WET.  The only damper (get it?) was when the total strangers driving frantically past took it upon themselves to yell at us from behind their closed windows. "It's raining!" Really? we hadn't noticed... 

Then there were the guys in the truck who were kind enough to point out that my shirt was wet.  I, of course, having walked out while it was raining, wearing exercise clothes, was not aware of the fact that my shirt might, in fact, get wet. 

The time and conversation with my youngest was the real blessing.  At one point he said to me, "I think these people driving past must think we're crazy!" To which I responded, "Maybe, but it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks of us.  All that matters is what God thinks of us and what we think of ourselves.  If we're living our lives in a way that makes God happy then who cares what anyone else thinks." He smiled at that.

I thought to myself that playing in the rain while having some good chat time with my kid was the real prep I needed because we're all gonna face hurricanes in our lives and they won't all be in the form of Irene.  If we know where we stand and on Whom we stand, then we have nothing to fear.  

"On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is shifting sand, all other ground is shifting sand."

Dead Beautiful ~ Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1)

*Spoilers*  OK, so I have mixed feelings about this book which I will do my best to explain.  I rated it 2 out of 5 stars because while I'm not opposed to books about death and dying, this entire book is about the subject which borders on the morbid.  I'm also not a big fan of the Undead, Soulless, Zombie types even if they are tall, dark, incredibly beautiful and irresistibly romantic.  I DO think this book was extremely well written and I actually enjoyed the inclusion of the Latin and Philosophy the likes of which I hadn't seen since my college days.

Renee is sent away to boarding school in Maine by her grandfather after the sudden and mysterious death of her parents on her 16th birthday.  At the Gottfried Academy, she encounters many new people, classes (Latin, Philosophy, Horticulture and Crude Sciences) and experiences.  Her roommate, Eleanor is a popular girl and a gossip who seems to know everything about everyone thanks in part to her older brother, Brandon who is a Monitor.  (Monitor's are a select group of older students whose job it is to oversee and represent the entire student body to the HeadMaster and faculty)

Nathaniel is a nerdy boy who Renee meets and quickly becomes friends with.  He's awkward but kind and willing to help her adjust to her new life away at school as much as he can.

Then there's Dante... he's is the tall, dark and beautiful boy full of mystery and hotness (or coldness in this case) who surprises everyone with his openness with Renee.  Until she shows up at school, he'd been pretty much a loner - the one all the girls swoon over but are afraid to speak too.  He and Renee seem to have a connection that neither can deny but Renee can sense there's more to him then Dante is letting on.  He's very romantic and while things between the two get Renee's heart racing, it's hard to take things too far since he won't even kiss her on the lips.  She thinks he's afraid of something called the Basium Mortis (death kiss) which several students have been rumored to have died from but he won't talk about it.

Strange things begin to happen at the school and when Renee stumbles across an old book telling about the schools history, she discovers there may be more to what's going on than she ever imagined.  She also learns that there's more to her own family's history and their involvement with the Gottfried school than her parents ever told her.  Her grandfather is the one who confirms her suspicions about the Undead/Zombies and how what role they play in the success of the school.  When he tells her that she herself is a Monitor (whose real job is not just to represent the student body but to kill the Undead) he explains how he views this as a gift or a talent but that she is the one who chooses how to use what she's been given.

Pg 426 ~  My grandfather interrupted my thoughts. "Renee, this is what you were born to do.  It will always be inside of you, no matter how much you fight it.  Any talent can be used for both good and evil.  If you think it's unfair, then use your talents to make it fair.  Work with what you have. "

So, now she has choices to make...choices about herself, her friends (many of whom aren't even alive in the way we think of "alive") and her relationship with Dante.  How far is she willing to go to save him?  Is she willing to risk her own life, her own soul for the one she loves?  She and Dante give new meaning to the term "soul mate" or shared soul.

I think the thing that made me most uncomfortable with this story was the idea of undead people, zombies, roaming around trying to steal people's souls.  I know it's a work of fiction but still.  It reminded me of why I didn't enjoy Philosophy very much in college, because there was too much "thinking" and not enough faith.
(I prefer to believe that we all only get one soul, there is life after death and we take our souls with us when we go.)

Besides, all that existential thinking makes my brain hurt which is very distracting...this in turn would make me a prime target for a life taking, soul stealing, beautiful zombie boy to go in for a Basium Mortis (death kiss).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Before I Go to Sleep ~ S. J. Watson

Before I Go to Sleep

This was a really good read!  I have to admit it started out a bit slow for me but I'm so glad I stuck with it.  Intriguing, suspenseful, terrifying, exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time.

In "Before I Go to Sleep", we meet Christine, whose woken up (like every day) and doesn't know where she is or worse, who she is.  She also doesn't expect to be as old as she is.  Christine suffers from a rare form of amnesia and can only retain memories from the day she is living in because once she goes to sleep each night, she forgets everything and everyone.  Her husband, Ben, tells her every morning the story of her life, their life together and about her amnesia which is the result of her accident that she had at 29. She is now 47.  She has no choice but to trust him and the memories he tells her they've made together, until one day when she receives a call that could change everything.

When Dr. Nash calls and tells Christine that they've been meeting regularly to work on recovering her memory and she's been recording her progress in a secret journal that Ben doesn't know about, the story really gets interesting.  Christine begins to read back through all that she's remembered, bits and pieces of her life and they aren't matching up with what Ben has been telling her.  As the events leading up to her "accident" begin to unfold, she starts to realize there's more at stake than just her memories and she begins to fear for her life and those around her.  She's not sure anymore who she can trust but she's learning that in order to survive she'll have to depend on herself and what she believes to be true, not just what those around her tell her.

This story is well written and really makes you think about how we remember things.  Do we always remember them the way they really happened?  Or as time goes on, do we remember people, events, etc. the way we want to remember them?  It's also scary to think about losing all the memories we have, especially of spouses, children, and loved ones.  Pictures are nice but if there is no memory to go with it then it's just a picture.  (Like buying a frame at the store with a stock photo in it - you might like the picture but it means nothing to you.)

When I finished this book I had two thoughts... 1) This would make a good movie (if done correctly) and 2) Those Brits sure do fancy the f-bomb.  ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gimme A Call ~ Sarah Mylnowski

Gimme a Call

Have you ever wished you could go back and do things differently?  Maybe tell a younger "you" who to be friends with, who not to date or what fashion trends to skip altogether?  I know I HAVE!  I've said many times that I if I could have the chance to talk to my teenage self again I would in a heartbeat!

Devi Banks is almost through her Senior Year of High School and is having quite possibly the worst day of her life when the she accidentally drops her cell phone in a fountain at the mall.  After retrieving it she discovers that it still works (thank goodness!) but there's a problem...no matter what button she pushes, she keeps getting the same girl who claims to be her, Devi Banks.  What. Is. Happening?!

Devi (the first one) quickly realizes that right before her cell phone fell into the fountain, she "wished" there was way she could talk to her Freshman self - tell her how not to screw up her life to the point that it is now in her Senior year.  She figures out that when she uses her phone, she's actually calling herself, her younger, 14 year old self!  Her wish has come true!  She now has the chance to go back and change her life, that is, if she can convince herself, her Freshman self, that she's, they're not crazy and that she (Freshman Devi) is actually talking to herself from the future.  Confused yet?

Once they figure out that they are the same "Devi" they get to work on "their" life.  The first problem to fix? Bryan. (world peace can wait)  Bryan is Devi's boyfriend who by Senior year has broken her heart.  We don't know exactly what's happened but we do know that they meet at a party Freshman year, one that Freshman Devi, or "Frosh" as she decides to go by (to make it easier to keep track of whose who) is on her way to the day of the cell phone disaster.  We also know that by Senior Year, Devi has no girlfriends, her family life is struggling and her plans for college look grim.  Basically, she's staked her whole High School life around Bryan and now she's all alone.

The story progresses and is filled with hilarious conversations between Devi and Frosh as they continue to make changes in the past that have immediate effects in the future. Some of these changes are positive and don't just affect Devi and some of the changes aren't exactly what she was hoping for. (One decision Frosh makes takes Devi from a normal teenager one minute, to a spiky, pink haired, delinquent in a heartbeat!)  The one thing that remains a constant throughout are her memories, especially the ones of she and Bryan.  No matter how hard she tries to change her past, to rearrange it so he's not a part of her life, he still manages to play a key role.  There are some pleasant surprises and Frosh makes better choices than Devi does the first time around even if it's not what she wants her to do.

One of the things that makes this story so enjoyable is that the characters are one in the same so when they are arguing, they are doing so with themselves.  I found myself wondering what my conversations with my 14 year old self would sound like and I couldn't help laughing.  There is a part of me that really would like the chance to talk to a younger version of myself and make some changes but only if I could have an "out", a way to keep things as the are now if I didn't like how they turned out.  If I ever get the urge, maybe I'll just go looking for a fountain, make a wish and instead of dropping a nickel, I'll drop my cell phone instead. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mindless Behavior + Old GLeeks = Plenty Entertaining

I went to see the Glee movie in 3D last night with 2 friends from high school and while the movie itself was fun, I'm finding that what happens around the actual "outing" is more entertaining the older one gets.

One of the nice things about riding in cars alone is getting to listen to whatever I want too, however LOUD I WANT TOO! (I'm sorry, was that too loud?)  The draw back to riding alone is that I am also the one responsible for the directions which can be a challenge when A) the GPS takes me the wrong way and B) the music is SO LOUD that I'm momentarily distracted (LL Cool J does have a way with words) and I end up in an area that I don't readily recognize.

After we loaded up and said goodbye to the cutest little redhead (my friend's son) we were on our way to the theatre.  It took us awhile to find a parking space because there were easily a million people waiting in line for something outside.  As we circled the parking lot and tried to remain calm we chatted about our favorite GLee characters...

Friend A: "My favorite is Finn. I know he's tall and awkward but I like tall and awkward. I married tall and awkward."

Friend B: "My Favorite is Puck.'

Friend A: "Mmm, I'd like to do things to Puck but Finn is still my favorite."

Friend A & C: "Hahaha! How can you argue with that?"

We parked and started to walk into the theatre which is attached to the mall, again passing a huge line of people, consisting of preteen girls.  I wondered aloud who they could be lining up for and my friend glanced over and said, "I don't know but probably not anyone we'd be interested in." As we opened the doors, the noise was nothing short of a dull roar.  We just looked at each other and proceeded to make motions with our hands because it was almost impossible to hear each other.

One of my friends walked over to a Mom in line to ask who they were waiting to see and almost had her head bitten off until the woman realized we weren't trying to cut the line.  We thought she said, "Maya" but instead she said, "Mindless Behavior" which I instantly knew to be a boy group (think New Edition for anyone over the age of 35) because I'm so cool and in "the know".  (snort!)  There was an FYE store across from the movies and the front gate was pulled halfway down with security guards lining the entire front of the store.  Put that with the screaming preteen girls who began singing at that point and it all added up.

We headed into the lobby of the theatre and were amazed at the quietness of it compared to the mall.  As I was walking up to pay for my popcorn, one of my friends was explaining to the cashier who all the people were in line to see.  I was already a little surprised that the cashier was even talking to us because in my experience, most teenagers (not all) just give you that glazed over look, take your money and grunt at you.  This young guy was quite entertaining.

Cashier: "Who are they lined up for?"

Friend: (turning to me) " What's the group called again? Mind-"

Me: "Mindless Behavior"

Cashier: "Oh! Mindless Behavior! Oh yeah!" (I half expected him to burst into song & dance but he didn't)

Me: "Yeah, they were on So Random! a couple weeks ago."

Friend: "Yeah" (She like me, is in the know & therefore cool.)

Cashier: "So what? random? what's that?"

Me: "It's a show on T.V." (Please don't make me say what channel...)

Cashier: "I've never heard of it."

Me: "It's a kids show." (You're gonna make me say it aren't you?)  "It's pretty funny actually and at the end they have a musical group. Mindless Behavior was one a couple weeks ago."

Cashier: "Oh. I know them but I don't know of "Sooo Raaandum". (not sure why he dragged out the pronunciation) what channel does it come on?"

Me: (Hesitating & handing him my money) "Disney Channel"

Cashier: (Giving me a funny look) "Umm."

Me: "I have kids. This is what happens when you get old and have kids. You get stuck watching stuff like Disney Channel with shows like "So Random", which is pretty funny and you should totally check out (I'm rambling at this point) and you get to know groups like Mindless Behavior.  And by the way, they were singing "my girl this, my girl that" and they're voices are too high.  If they're voices are too high they are too young to have girlfriends."

Cashier: (Grinning like I've lost my mind) "O-kay. Here's your change.  Have a nice night."

Me: (Flashing my biggest, "Yeah I know you think I'm crazy" smile) "K, thanks!"

The movie was fun and we sang and danced in our seats.  My one friend was teasing that we looked like the Blues Brothers with our 3D glasses on when I was attempting to take a picture of us.  I told her she should be glad I wasn't trying to plank off of something and there was plenty to plank off of...like the big sphinx in the lobby.  :)

Coming Up For Air ~ Patti Callahan Henry

Coming Up for Air

A beautifully written story about love - having it, losing it, rediscovering it and the lengths we'll go to for those we love.  The book opens at the funeral of Ellie's mother, Lillian, who we find out was a prominent member of Atlanta society, adored by many but with whom Ellie felt very detached.  We also learn that Ellie's marriage to Rusty is a troubled one even though he refuses to acknowledge it (Rusty has him some issues) and that all of the first born women in the family are named "Lillian" (they have a thing for the flower) but go by some variation of Lil, Lillian, Ellie, etc.   It's the female version of "This is my brother Larry and my other brother Larry and my other brother Larry." (you get the point)

Ellie's old boyfriend, Hutch shows up at the funeral claiming to have been in the middle of working on an exhibit that involved Lillian and he asks Ellie if she'd be willing to help him finish it.  She agrees, much to the chagrin of Rusty but then again, unless it was something Rusty wanted to do he's be chagrinned anyway.  Let's talk about our boy Rusty for a minute, shall we?  Rusty is a self centered, egotysitcal, controlling ignoramus.  He just doesn't have a clue when it comes to anyone but good 'ole Rusty.  He has some serious anger management issues too that he uses to control Ellie.  ("Hot and Cold" by Katy Perry could be his theme song)  His only concern is about whether or not their life "looks" good and whether or not something makes sense to him.  And golf.  Ellie is an artist and he can't understand why she gets consumed sometimes when she's working on a project. He'd rather she be a good little wifey and make sure the maintenance guy can get in the house while he's playing golf and fix whatever is broken. When she tries to talk to him about what's wrong in their marriage, he thinks buying her jewelry will fix it.  This is after he screams at her or throws something at the wall or hangs up on her and then gets all sweet and apologizes. He sounds like a keeper doesn't he?

Enough about Rusty, let's focus on Hutch.  Hutch was Ellie's college boyfriend and the guy she thought she'd spend forever with but unfortunately, Lillian didn't think he was good enough for her.  He didn't come from "good people" and Lillian tried her best to drive a wedge between Ellie and Hutch.  Hutch is kind and caring and he appreciates Ellie and her art.  He's just an all around good person. Unfortunately, Ellie learned (too late) that we all make choices and sometimes it isn't just one that changes the direction of our lives forever but a serious of choices.  Still after 20 years, and spending time together working on the project together, Ellie realizes that her love for Hutch never died.  She gave him up to be with Rusty because Rusty was "safe" but she realizes that living a safe life isn't always the best choice.

Ellie's research takes her to Alabama coast to stay at the Summer House of her mother's best friend, Birdie.  Birdie is full of love and grace and opens her home to whoever needs to come and stay.  There is a legend about her family's Summer House and that's - when people come and stay, they discover the truth about their lives.  It may not always be what they want to learn but it's the truth.  Sometimes when a friend asks me a question, before I give them an answer, I'll say to them, "Do you want me to tell you the truth or do you want me to tell you what you want to hear?"  This is how it is at Summer House.  Birdie is helpful in answering some of Ellie's questions about her mother but she doesn't answer them all because she says sometimes, you have to be okay with "just enough."

Hutch comes to Alabama too (he stays with a friend) and during their research, he and Ellie discover that Lillian played an active role in the Alabama civil rights movements in the 60's, including participating in Freedom bus rides, sit-ins and marches.  This is shocking to Ellie because this is not the same woman that she grew up with for a mother.  Ellie also discovers that Lillian had a love affair with a man over the course of two years. Lillian recorded all that happened between them and the heartbreaking end to their relationship but she never mentioned him by name.  Ellie begins asking around but no one will give her the name of this man.  Through her search for more information about who this person was she starts to understand just how devastating this loss was for her mother. She also learns that Lillian was trying to prevent Ellie from experiencing the same kind of loss with Hutch only to be the catalyst for it which is in the end a sad irony.

In the end, Ellie realizes that she's been living a parallel life to her mothers which really isn't living at all.  She is faced with making more choices, ones that she didn't plan on having to make but ones that will either bring her closer to the life she wants or continue in the life of false safety she's been living.

If you've ever suffered a major heartbreak, and seriously, if you're past puberty, you probably have, then this book may hit a nerve.  One of the major lessons learned is that you can't make someone love you, know matter how hard you try, will it or want them too, you just can't.  The other lesson is that your life is your story and you have to live it.  If you come to point in your story and it takes a turn you didn't expect, well, then sometimes you need to rewrite the ending.  While we all play a part in other people's stories, only our own story is uniquely ours...don't let anyone else tell you how to live it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Funny How Things Change ~ Melissa Wyatt

Funny How Things Change

This was a refreshing, quick read about how even the best laid plans can change when we discover what's truly important to us.  Remy (Remington) Walker is a 17 year old native of West Virginia whose long time love, Lisa Perkins is getting ready to go away to college in Pennsylvania.  They've always dreamed of getting out of their deadened town and even though Remy won't be going to college himself, he plans to go with her so they can get started on their life together.  That is, until Dana, a talented young artist from Maryland shows up for the summer and shows Remy, as well as the other residents of Dwyer, West Virginia what their town looks like through the eyes of outsiders.  

Remy is a salt of the earth kind of guy with a quick wit and he's one a girl can bring home to Mom and Dad.  He loves Lisa (almost to a fault) and is willing to do anything for her even if it means giving up the mountain that his family settled over 100 years ago.

Lisa is beautiful and kind and while she loves Remy, she wants nothing more than to get out of Dwyer.  She has big plans for her life and doesn't always realize that he may not fit into them long term.  Because of this, her selfishness is often overlooked by both of them at times.

Dana is cute, free spirited, fun loving and full of sass. (LOVE her!) She brings out a side of Remy that both scares and excites him.  With Lisa, he's always felt safe but whenever he's around Dana he feels alive.  

This book is full of good characters and really does the people of West Virginia justice.  The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the cover.  I'm a sucker for a pretty cover and this one just didn't do it for me but.  The title is what caught my eye and I read the summary and thought it sounded interesting.  Like author, Melissa Wyatt, my husband has family from West Virginia and I've visited there several times in my life so being able to relate to the scenery she describes was an added bonus. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Take a picture, it'll last longer.

We usually attend church on Saturday evenings and occasionally end up grabbing a bite to eat after and this past weekend was no different.  The weather in our area has been a little stormy the past couple of days and there was a "something smells like it's on fire" smell lingering in the air due to a wildfire burning south of us.  Church was great, the message was about living dangerously for God and the pastor even made a comment about being "tatted up" which my husband and I got a kick out of because he has lots of tattoos, many of which have a spiritual meaning.  (He literally has Jesus on his shoulder.)

By the time we came out of church, it was pouring down rain, all of us were starving and we decided to head to one of our favorite fast food places that serves a healthier fare.  When we pulled up to the building, we each commented that we were glad it didn't seem to be too crowded and that we were only going to get even more wet.  Like most places, this one is enclosed with windows but something really bizarre happened when we got out of our car...everyone inside turned to look at us, and I mean everyone.  It was as if someone inside, yelled, "Hey!  Lets all stop what we're doing and stare at this family walking in!"  It was awkward enough to make my kids notice.  It's not unusual for the people sitting at the tables right by the windows to pause while eating to look up but even the employees behind the counter stopped to stare.  We continued into the restaurant and so did the stares.  I stopped for a second and thought maybe my hair, which I already knew had taken on it's "white girl fro" appearance, had gotten severely out of control (it can be pretty scary) or maybe my fly was down, maybe I had grown an extra head?  We were glowing?  Did we spontaneously grow extra heads?  I didn't know but it was like walking into the Twilight Zone.  (the old school one, not the one with sparkly vampires & werewolves)

I DO know that I have the tendency to remind people of someone they know (someone they either love or hate) and have been followed around stores before (which totally freaks my kids out) until I kindly tell the person that we don't know each other but this was ridiculous.  My Mom would say they were all staring because of our beauty (snort) but she's biased.  The episode only last a few minutes but it felt like an eternity and was long enough to give me a complex.  I wanted to yell, "Take a picture people!  It'll last longer!" Instead I just smiled a polite smile and tried to enjoy dinner with my family.  

When my husband and I discussed it later, while I was suffering through my bout of food poisoning that I picked up from dinner, he said he thought it was more about his tattoos.  This kinda made sense because he gets judged a lot based on the fact that he has them.  He's been out to breakfast with our boys and had people come up and ask I'm if they can pray for him.  He's always polite, saying something like, "Sure, I'll take all the prayer I can get." but I tell him he should show them the Jesus on his shoulder, the Holy Spirit on his arm and the Angel (holding the baby we lost) on his leg.  He handles it must better than I do.  

But our experience on Saturday got me thinking about how I look at people.  Do I see people and smile or do I "look" at them and make them uncomfortable, even if unintentionally... like the people were doing to us?  I'm going to make a better effort to smile more.  :D  (see?)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Need So Beautiful ~ Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful, #1)I was really looking forward to reading this book and while I think the writing is good, it just wasn't what I was expecting.  The story is one of love and sacrifice (both good themes) and hints at the beginnings of a battle of good versus evil that I imagine will play out over the next few books since this is slated to be a trilogy.  My Trilodar went off around Chapter 2, I think.

Charlotte is the main character and she is a closet Angel or a similar form of "light" bearer and is regularly consumed by "The Need" which leads her to the people she is supposed to help.  Each time "The Need" begins she suffers severe physical pain until she completes her task but because she can't tell anyone about this (she tried telling a nun once who accused her of lying) she pretends it's just a series of asthma attacks.  She lives with Mercy, her foster Mom, who has also taken in Alex and Georgia.  Her best friend is, Sarah, a rich girl with major Daddy issues and a bad reputation at the Catholic school they both attend.  Harlin is her boyfriend who seems to genuinely love her but she still has to hide her secret from him.  Monroe, who is the closet thing to a father figure that Charlotte has, is a Doctor at the local clinic but he's also a Seer who ends up helping her when things begin to spiral out of control in her life.

The more "The Need" calls to her, the more she fades away and those she loves forget her and the closer she comes to the end of her life as she knows it.  She is ultimately faced with a choice...to fulfill her purpose, eventually crossover becoming a Forgotten or decide to stay and become one of the Shadows.  The more Charlotte learns about herself and her purpose in life, the more she struggles with putting her own wants first, ahead of others needs.  She also has to figure out who she can really trust.

I liked that Charlotte is loyal, loving and kind and readily gives in to "The Need" when it calls to her - wiling to help those around her even if she doesn't always agree with what message she's delivering.  She's a great friend to Sarah, sticking by her regardless of her reckless behavior and even seeing past it to the hurt and pain caused by her father. She tries on many occasions to encourages Sarah to make good choices but loves her anyway when she doesn't.  She loves Harlin wholeheartedly too and tries to help him mend his relationship with his Mom. (His dad was killed a few years prior.)

Angels/Nephilim/Winged Bearers of Good News, etc. have definitely taken over in the world of YA Lit and this book is no different. I'm not sure yet if I'll read the next book when it comes out but I might, even if it's just to find out who Harlin really is. ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Iron Knight (ARC) ~ Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)

I've just read through the entire "Iron Fey" series in the past few days (all 4 books, including the 2 novellas) and this is my favorite!  If I thought I was "Team Ash" before, "The Iron Knight" solidified it for me.  Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!  Author Julie Kagawa does NOT disappoint with this book dedicated solely to everyone's favorite Ice-boy, the Winter Prince Ashallyn'darkmyr Tallyn.  (I'm not usually a fan of winter but I could definitely get used to it.)

This book, the fourth official one in the series, takes us on the Winter Prince's journey from a faery in the Unseelie Court to the End of the World where he hopes to find his soul and become human. Meghan Chase, the new Iron Queen has exiled him, for his own safety breaking both their hearts in the process but he promises to find a way to become human and to return to her so they can be together.  He sets out on a quest that will change his life in ways he can't imagine.  (I was so caught up in this story (it woke me up at night) that I ended up skipping to the last chapter because I HAD TO KNOW what happened to Ash and Meghan and I almost NEVER do that...almost.  Once I knew what was up with them, I was able to go back and actually enjoy the rest of the story.)


Puck, Ash's old friend turned archenemies invites himself along which guarantees their journey will be anything but boring.  Along the way, Ash is faced with battling old demons, and a future that may not turn out the way he hopes.  His frenemy relationship with Puck is also put to the test on several occasions and their old vow to kill each other is renewed, especially when Ariella returns.  Yep, turns out she didn't really die all those years ago but had to stay in hiding, allowing Ash to suffer (Puck too) in order for Meghan to be able to fulfill her purpose in saving all of Nevernever.  If Ariella had told Ash what was going on, he would've chosen to stay with her having never met and fallen in love with Meghan and all of the Fey would've perished eventually because he wouldn't have been there to help Meghan defeat the Iron King.  (Gives meaning to the sayings "Everyone has a purpose" and "Everything happens for a reason.")  She explains to him that she's always been able to see a version of the future and that he must continue on his quest to become mortal and that she will see him to the end. He struggles with all this new information quesitoning his feelings for both girls now and whether he should fulfill his promise to Meghan or not.

Grimalkin and the Wolf return to join Ash, Puck and Ariella on this quest and each bring with them varying qualities to aid him along the way.  When Ash asks the Wolf why he's there, he keeps reminding him to just include him in the retelling of his journey.  He also warns Ash to stay focused on his quest and to be wary of Ariella because he believes she has ulterior motives.  Puck too is helpful in protecting Ash but also keeping him focused on Meghan even at his own expense.  He loves her too and Ash knows this.  At different times Ash questions whether or not Meghan would be better off with Puck in the long run considering if he does become human he will die but Puck will still stay the same, never aging, like Meghan.  Puck also spends a good bit of time reminding Ash of their previous times together which annoys him but is ultimately strengthening their friendship.

The closer they get to the End of the World, Ash and the others are faced with battling their dark "reflections" which is similar to facing our own inner demons.  They must work together to overcome many challenges and the loyally that forms, going beyond previously held prejudices is both heartwarming and hilarious at times. (I loved the exchanges between the Wolf and Grimalkin!)

Grimalkin continues to offer guidance in the form of knowing where they're headed, who to speak too and in helping Ash to see the bigger picture.  When they have reached the End of the World and Ash is being put through his trials by the Guardian, the first of which has him facing all of his past mistakes, (some of which are pretty horrific) he is ready to give up.  Faeries don't have consciences and therefore feel no remorse for anything they've done but part of being human is facing what we've done in our past and owning up to it.  Ash is so overwhelmed by all the harm he has caused and feels he doesn't deserve to be happy so he considers giving up his quest when Grimalkin offers this advice, "Do you think your victims care now whether you live or die?" "They do not. And there is no point in obsessing about what cannot be.  They are dead and you live.  And if you fail this test, nothing changes.  The only way to ensure that you do not become what which you despise is to finish the quest you started."  "Earn your soul, knight." he called, his gray form fading into the dark.  "Prove that you can learn from your mistakes. Only then can you become human."

There are two more trials Ash must endure the last of which involves his glimpse into his future.  Once again he's left questioning whether or not to continue and he has to make the choice, to go forward and get his soul thus making him human or go back on his promise to Meghan.  Part of his struggle is knowing that becoming human will make him physically weaker (leaving him unable to protect the ones he loves, in his eyes at least) and he discovers that regardless of how full of a life we live, all humans die alone.  He wonders if life as human is really worth it - all the happiness, joy and love you experience if you only end up old and alone at the end of your life?  He also don't know for sure if Meghan is still waiting for him or if she will even accept him in his humanness.  Puck tries to sway him to continue but Ariella is the one who helps him make up his mind.  Throughout his journey, he is reminded of their time together, the love they shared and finally comes to realize that while he will always love her, he's in love with Meghan and she's the one he wants.  Ariella also helps him see that humans, while not as physically strong as the Fey are not weak like Ash believes using Meghan and all she did while her faery magic was sealed as a perfect example.

One of running themes throughout this entire series has been sacrifice, and in some cases, "ultimate" sacrifice and sadly, Ash's journey is no different.  Ash is ready to receive his soul, making him human when the Guardian shares this tidbit with him, "But...something as pure as a soul cannot grow out of nothing. One final sacrifice remains, though it is not yours to make. For a soul to be born within you, a life must be given, freely and without reservation. With this unselfish act, a soul can bloom from the sacrifice of one who loves you.  Without it, you will remain empty."  Ash realizes then that someone has to die for him and it's almost too much for him to bear.  He can't comprehend how someone could love him so much that they willingly choose to die for him so he can live...especially with all that's he's done in his past.  This part of the book is truly heart wrenching for many reasons, mainly because we're so used to seeing Ash put up his icy wall of protection but at this juncture we see him completely broken. (and I thought the end of The Iron Queen was gut wrenching!)

*Personal side note* When I read this scene I was struck with how similar it is to my Christian faith because we have to face up to our past mistakes (sin), repent and accept the sacrifice that Jesus made when he died (willingly because of his overwhelming love for us) on the cross so that we can have eternal life. (I don't presume to know what faith, if any, Ms. Kagawa is or if she wrote that scene like that on purpose but it jumped out at me and I related to Ash's struggle all the more.)

This story is full of action, adventure, love and tough choices - ones that lead to the discovery of what makes one truly human.  The ending wasn't exactly what I expected but I was pleased with it.  I would have loved an epilogue showing the future, to see how it compared to the one Ash got a glimpse of when he was with the Guardian but then again, I could read another 4 books dedicated just to Ash, such as, "The Iron Knight - learns how to Bake Cupcakes (I would gladly teach him!), The Iron Knight - learns how to mow the Wyldwoods, The Iron Knight - learns how to drive or The Iron Knight - learns how to Twitter (I'm pretty sure he would break Twitter) :D

There are some fun extras at the end of this book, like a Survival Guide to NeverNever, a Discussion Guide and a fun Q&A with the author and some special guests.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Crescendo" ~ Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)

*SPOILERS*  you may not want to read this if you haven't read the book yet.

As far as sequels go, this one was pretty good.  Lots of action, lots of answers but not so much on the romance. In fact it was pretty much the depressing break-up book (think TW New Moon).  Honestly, I wanted to see more Patch & Nora.  I mean, it's great that he's her Guardian angel now but we want him to be human. Human! Ok, you get my point.  We find out that while our resident hot angel boy can feel her emotionally he can't feel her physically so when they're playing tonsil hockey or snuggling he feels nothing, nada, zilch.  How bad is THAT?!  As far as boyfriend/girlfriend relationships go, it kinda helps if you can feel each other when you're holding hands or kissing goodnight. This realization puts a damper on things for them.  It's also not fun to be the first one to say those three words and not have them reciprocated which is what happens when Nora tells Patch she loves him and he takes off.  He gives her the excuse that the arch angels are watching them and could quickly banish him to hell is they find out their relationship is more than strictly "guardianship".  WHAT-EVER!

He becomes more aloof and to make matters worse, begins to hang out with Nora's arch enemy Marcie.  (Do they not teach these guys relationship skills in angel school?)  At least Nora doesn't haven't to suffer alone because old childhood friend Scott moves back into own with his Mom.  The only problem is Scott is acting like a jerk to Nora at first...takes her out several times but leaves her stranded, having to fin her own way home each time.  He's also a full blooded Nephilim which he doesn't fully realize but means he's playing for the wrong team so to speak.  It seems the Fallen Angels and Nephillim are waging war against each other.  After a few scary encounters, Scott redeems himself with Nora and much to Patch's distaste, she wonders if her future might be with Scott.

Rixon, Patch's BFF is not as nice as we were led to believe in Book 1 which is sad because I liked him and Vee just LOVES him in "Crescendo" but then again, Vee loves just about any guy she deems as hot so she'll get over him, I'm sure.  He plays an evil game with several people's lives that backfires on him but not before doing some serious damage.

Marcie is just as catty as before but she shares some interesting info with Nora that changes the way she views Marcie and the score keeping they've both been doing over the years.  Turns out, Nora's Mom hasn't been all that honest with her over the years and while it unlocks some of the answers to her past, Nora is still left with more questions.  One question that IS answered is who killed her father.

"Crescendo" certainly lives up to it's name, right up to the last few sentences.  I just hope that in "Silence" we finally get to see Jev, (Patch's real name) and Nora get a happy ending- one where they get to be together for longer than 5 seconds.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Anna & The French Kiss" ~ Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss

This was such a fun book to read! It only took me a few hours to get through it. (It helped that I had most of the day to myself to read and the distractions were at a minimum, well, except for the pesky bees but that's another story.) This is a coming of age story that's full of fun, humor, romance and hot boys with accents...with ACCENTS! Doesn't get much hotter than that?! 

Anna Oliphant is our main character and she gets sent to Paris for her senior year of high school by her dad. Dad is a novelist whose books (which have been made into movies) make women swoon and who left Anna and her brother Sean when he was a baby. She and Dad don't have the best relationship but the one thing they do share is their OCD for cleanliness. Besides her OCD, Anna is a HUGE movie buff and an aspiring movie critic, writing reviews on her blog. Anna is not too happy about having to leave behind her best friend, Bridgette and a budding relationship with hot boy #1, Topher. Topher works with Anna at the local cinema and she's had a major crush on him forever and just when he starts to show interest, Dad springs the Paris thing on her. Way to go Dad!

Topher is a rocker boy (rocker = automatic hotboyness) and is in his own band. He has that bad boy attitude too which makes him all the more appealing to Anna but he's in America and she's in Paris. Kinda gives new meaning to "long distance relationship", huh? He e-mails and calls her reassures her that he can't wait to see her at Christmas. 

Bridgette is Anna's BFF! She's bold, brassy and an awesome drummer and she's also taken over as babysitter for Anna's 7yr old brother Seany while she's in Paris. She makes some interesting choices that affect their friendship in a way neither ever expected.

When Anna lands in Pairs at her new school, the first person she meets is Meredith, another senior. They meet when Meredith hears Anna sobbing after her parents leave her and head back home to Atlanta. Meredith is kind and selfless, putting others first. She's big into sports and spending time with her small group of friends which she readily introduces Anna too. 

Upon leaving Meredith's room that first night, Anna runs into, like literally runs into, Etienne...hot boy #2 (w/accent!) Beautiful, British, brown eyed, perfect haired, Etienne St. Clair...sigh. He's funny, charming, beautiful, kind, has a girlfriend, is fluent in French and, you caught that, didn't you? Yeah, I thought so...he has a girlfriend - boo! Even so, he and Anna become fast friends, he helping her find her way around Paris and she with his family stuff. They quickly realize that they have a lot in common and they also have feelings for each other that go beyond friendship. They ARE in the city of love, but there's Topher and Ellie (Etienne's gf) to consider. 

Anna also meets Rashmi and Josh who all part of the her new circle of friends and a couple too. (I enjoyed these two even if I don't agree with what they're up to all the time) Josh (hot boy #3) is an artist and Etienne's BFF. He has a great sense of humor but is also a tortured soul (criteria for hotness). Rashmi appears to be cold and only interested in playing tonsil hockey with Josh all the time but once we get to know her, we see that she puts up a wall to protect herself. 

During her jet setting journey through her senior year, Anna learns some hard lessons about love, friendship, trust and betrayal, forcing her to take a good look at herself and the hot boys. It wouldn't be high school without the teenage angst, secret crushes, unrequited love, nasty rumor mills, budding romances, break-ups and make-ups and talks of sex. There's also the occasional bad word yelled out of frustration or anger and they're in Paris where the legal drinking age is under 21 so some of the characters have an unpleasant experience with alcohol. Been there. Done that. Blech! 

There was a sweetness to this story which is what I enjoyed the most. That and all the details of Paris which really make me want to go!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Between Shades of Gray" ~ Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray 

A MUST read! This a beautifully written story about WWII that I've never heard before but one that needs to be told. Normally, when I think about WWII, I automatically think about the Holocaust which was horrific in and of itself but in "Between Shades of Gray" author, Ruta Sepetys, shares the stories of the Lithuanians who were under Josef Stalin and Soviet rule. There were hundreds of thousands of people from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that were deported and forced into labor and refugee camps in Siberia. They were imprisoned for over a decade and many died of starvation, disease or were killed and those who did manage to survive were treated like criminals even though they had done nothing wrong. 

"Between Shades Of Gray" is told from the point of view of 15 year old, Lina, and her family as they are forced to leave their home in Lithuania. She begins a long and difficult journey along with her mother, Elena and her 10 year old brother, Jonas. Her father has been taken also but the family doesn't know what has happened to him. Lina and Jonas are forced to grow up quickly and the horrors they see and experience are heartbreaking. 

Lina is a talented artist who is able to communicate with others through her drawings. She is also strong willed, brave and self sacrificing. Elena is a wonderful example of what it means to be like Christ in the way she treats each person she meets with compassion, respect, and love - including the enemy. She often gives up her own meager ration of food to others even if it means starving herself.

Jonas is just a boy but he too is strong and courageous and does what he needs to do to help his family and others survive for as long as they can. Andrius, a 17 year old boy is one of the many people that Lina and her family meet on the train and he is also searching for his father. He befriends Lina and Jonas, taking on a big brother role with Jonas. He is selfless and willing to put his life at risk repeatedly for those around him, especially Lina. 

The refugees do what they can to help one another and even celebrate Christmas together. They also pray and read Scripture, Psalm 23 at a funeral that they hold for one of their dead. 

The Soviets went to great lengths to hide these refugees during the war and to erase what happened afterward. The book jacket says that "The nations of Lithuania, Letvia and Estonia disappeared from maps in 1941 and did not reappear until 1990." There's something very wrong with that...this story needs to be told and Sepetys even encourages readers to do further research, to continue to tell this story so more people will know.

Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband)

Thank you to Goodreads and Rodale books for sending me this ARC to review!  The title is what caught my eye initially and I was curious to see what information the book had to offer.  

One of the first things to jump out at me was that the author has only been married for 5 years (at the time she wrote this).  That right there was a turn off for me because having been married for almost 15 years, I would've preferred the advice to come from someone whose walked the road of marriage for longer than me.  I mean no disrespect when I say this, it was just my initial reaction.  She did include women of various ages and stages of marriage, some in the midst of raising children and some without, etc.  She offered up lots of suggestions of how to spice up your marriage, date nights, sexy lingerie, planning a romantic weekend away, all the usual advice but also included scientific information on brain function and reaction which was helpful too.   

Going back to the title for a minute, after the humor wore off, it dawned on me that the wording actually bothered me a bit.  It almost implys that cheating in a marriage is normal, expected in some way, or bound to happen eventually once one of the partners gets bored.  If that's true, then you set up the marriage to fail right from the start.  Now, I understand that the author is not promoting infidelity but just the fact that our society today is so readily accepting of it is disturbing to me.   She noted that 50% of all marriages end in divorce which is no shocker but still sad to think about.

This book is organized and filled with helpful information.  

Love is a choice.  When you marry someone, you're making a choice each day to love that person, regardless of whether or not you happen to like them right then.  They have to make that same choice about you as well.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nutella S'more Cupcake

aka Nubettertaketheseaways'moreIeatemallmyself!

I'm not a huge fan of Nutella (my family eats it like it's going out of style) but I have developed a slight addiction to these cupcakes! (I ate 4 before lunch but really, whose counting?)

I made them for the first time the other day and I can't decide what the best part is...the marshmallow-like frosting, the graham cracker cake, or the combo of all three items. 

They go quite nicely with coffee.  They go quite nicely in your mouth.   And mine.  

One Day ~ David Nicholls

One Day   

I've got so caught up in this book with it's British prose that I've stahted to speak with a bit of an accent myself. Whut's next? Dreenking tea I s'pose. Bullocks! ;)

I picked this book up when I saw the movie trailer. I thought it looked interesting and wanted to read the book first because the book is always better than the movie. Always.

I enjoyed reading this, even if I did get strange looks from my children and have answer questions like, "Why are you talking weird?" (It's whut 'appens when you've staht 'earing your own voice in an English tone.) 

This is ultimately a love story about Dexter Mayhew & Emma Morely ("Dex and Em and Em and Dex") and their unconventional journey to find their happy ending. The story is told from both Dexter and Emma's points of view and takes place on the same day each year, July 15th and covers a 20 year span. It is well written, full of laughs, heartbreak, frustration, humaneness and most of all, love. Dex and Em have a fiercely loyal friendship that starts out a little dubious and would make anyone envious. (and does) The love they feel for one another is quite obvious throughout the book but timing never seems to be right. Over the course of two decades, they both are faced with decisions that will change their friendship forever, leaving them with feelings of remorse and regret. How many missed opportunities did they give up in the name of "friendship"? The old dilemma of woulda, coulda, shoulda plays out many times.

I liked these two characters even if I didn't always agree with the choices they made. They were believable and struggled with real issues like success, failure, insecurities and even addiction. I did find myself frustrated at times because I wondered if it really would take someone 10 or 15 years to see that what they've been looking for, what's really the best thing for them, has been right in front of them the whole time? I decided that yes, it IS possible, whether it's true love or something else. It is possible to miss what's staring you in the face because we're human and we're quite capable of being blind to such things whether by choice or sheer stupidity. 

The sad part is when you wait too long to recognize what you have right in front of you and then it's gone. So as Emma would say, "Carpe Diem!" Whatever that looks like to you, whether it's going after true love, changing the world, or just changing the world you live in, write a book or even baking a cupcake (wink wink), just don't wait... 

Monday, August 1, 2011