Sunday, November 27, 2011

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge

I've decided to participate in another challenge for 2012, in addition to the YA Challenge.

Update 4/30: The blogger who was hosting the YA challenge decided to quit blogging, so there's that. I'm adding my books for the YA challenge here, except the books released this year.  I am also upping the amount to {41-50 - Married With Children} level.

Update 11/8: I've accomplished my goal. My current count of finished books is 46. I haven't been really updating as much because 2 of the last 3 wrap ups weren't posted and it seems like this challenge lost steam and so have I with participating in yearly challenges. It seems like they are put on the backburner after a few months and it's frustrating.

Here's the guidelines via Bookish

Challenge guidelines: 

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL. 
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions

I'm taking the {11-20 - A Friendly Hug} level challenge

My books are:
  1. Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge - Finished 18 Jan
  2. Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II by Ron Koertge - Finished 18 Jan
  3. Mister Ray by Adam Perry - Finished 15 Mar
  4. Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan - DNF
  5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer by Seth Grahame-Smith - DNF
  6. One For the Money by Janet Evanovich - Finished 26 June
  7. Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich - Finished 4 August
  8. The First Husband by Laura Dave - Finished 28 July
  9. Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush #1) by Becca Fitzpatrick - Finished 5 Feb
  10. Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick  - Finished 9 Feb
  11. Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick - Finished 11 Feb
  12. The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 22 Mar
  13. The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 29 Mar
  14. The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 9 Apr
  15. The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 15 Apr
  16. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 23 Apr
  17. City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 4 May
  18. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 15 May
  19. City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 17 May
  20. The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner - Finished 22 June
  21. The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner Finished 23 Aug
  22. The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner Finished 25 Aug
  23. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater- Finished 14 Aug
  24. Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater- Finished 15 Aug
  25. Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater Finished Aug
  26. *Added* Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished 27 Jan
  27. *Added* Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished 1 Feb
  28. *Added* Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished 19 Feb
  29. *Added* Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - Finished 23 Feb
  30. *Added* On the Bright Side, I'm Now the GF of a Sex God by Louise Rennison - Finished 1 Mar
  31. *Added* The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Finished 12 Mar
  32. *Added* Delirium by Lauren Oliver Finished 24 May
  33. *Added* Still Alice by Lisa Genova Finished 24 May
  34. *Added* Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James Finished 11 June
  35. *Added* Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin Finished 18 June
  36. *Added* Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep Finished 20 June
  37. *Added* Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep Finished 20 June
  38. *Added* Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake Finished 31 August
  39. *Added* Fallen by Lauren Kate  Finished 3 Sept
  40. Marked (House of Night #1) by PC Cast - Finished 17 Sept
  41. Betrayed (House of Night #2) by PC Cast - Finished 10 Oct
  42. Untamed (House of Night #4) by PC Cast - DNF
  43. Chosen (House of Night #3) by PC Cast - Finished Oct
  44. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk - DNF
  45. Love, Lust, & Faking It by Jenny McCarthy - Finished 12 Sept
  46. Smashed by Koren Zailckas - DNF
  47. *Added* Fifty Shades Darker by EL James - Finished 29 Jun
  48. *Added* Fifty Shades Freed by EL James - Finished 15 Sept
  49. *Added* Across the Universe by Beth RevisFinished Oct
  50. *Added* Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich - Finished Nov
  51. *Added* Peach Cobbler Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished Nov
  52. *Added* Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell ZuckoffFinished Nov
  53. *Added* Where the Truth Lies by Jessica WarmanFinished Nov
  54. *Added* As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott Finished Nov  

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes [Review]

The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes 

528 pages
Published 1 Jan 2008

In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.

CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth, and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies…

My Thoughts:
At first, I didn't think I would like this book. However, it really sucked me in. It had me in tears quite a few times too.

This was the November Clamhouse Book Club Pick. :)

Previous Review:  Bossypants by Tina Fey [here]

Currently Reading:  Strawberry Shortcake Murder (HS #2) by Joanne Fluke

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FIR '11: Reading Question #9

If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.
I'm making a little progress...I've finished 2 books. *sigh* I'm hoping that I can finish at least a couple more. So I don't feel like I failed.
Today's Question:
What else do you do while you are reading? Eat? Drink? Household tasks? Or do you usually put aside absolutely everything to focus solely on the book at hand?

About 90% of the time, I am solely reading. As I have gotten older, I find it harder to concentrate when there are other things going on around me - other noises. A small amount of the time I'll listen to music or eat something, but I don't like things getting on my books, so I don't do it unless I'm really hungry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Once Upon a Time

There lived an awesome nerdberger and her awesome nerdberger husband.

Awesome nerdberger husband came home from a long year in a foreign country and saw his first commercial advertisements in a while. He saw this:

The Nerdbergers, however, did not own an Xbox360 and Mr. Nerdberger didn't want to wait until December to play this game. After telling all his companions about this amazing offered to give him an XBox360 for free. Mr. Nerdberger gladly took him up on this offer. This made Mrs. Nerdberger sad...she was planning on getting the mister the PC version for a dual Christmas - 5 year wedding anniversary present.

Yet again arose another issue...the Nerdbergers couldn't bring themselves to spending the massive amounts of money for the game to get it for the XBox. But the missus was sneaky.

When she was grocery shopping one day, she stopped into the magical store Gamestop and picked up Rocksmith. She also picked up a pack of Mister's favorite beer and a pick-six pack of random foreigny German beers for the Mister to try out. When she got home, she called for the Mister to help her carry in groceries and conveniently forgot the beer in the backseat. Underneath the beer sat Mr. Nerdberger's game.

The end.

WAH-HA. Enough of that crazy storytime... I get awesome wifie points for the getting of this game :) He actually grabbed the beer in a hurry to avoid crazy people and slammed the door and then had a "Durrrrrrr" moment and was like "Did I just see that?" and opened the door back up to find his game. He came inside with his beer, game, and the biggest shit-eating grin ever :)

He's been trying to think of what to get me and has been having problems. I'm the worst person ever to buy gifts for because I don't really "want" anything and I'm not particular on what I get. He was trying to find a spot to write in to Paula Deen or Bobby Flay about my food blog (so sweet!) or trade my DS in for a 3DS so I could play the newest Mario Game....although I told him I would've killed him if he did that. So now he's kind of back to square one on gift brainstorming. He said he would feel kind of bad if he got me all kitchen stuff - you know, woman in the kitchen - har de har har...but I'd be totally fine with it :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun With Our Phones Monday

I'm making up a word right now...and that word is nerdberger. a nerdberger.

I don't remember if I talked about it a while back, but our housing has an energy conservation program. We always use way less than the average usage for our neighborhood and we get lots of points for this. With those points you can get different things. I was eyeing Pokemon Black and White for DS because we tried for months to find them and we couldn't. We finally had enough right after my husband got home. So we got them. I've been playing Black and my husband has been playing White.

Last week I finally got to the part where the legendary dragon Pokemon show up!

Here's Zekrom...

and then Reshiram shows up (which is the one I caught because I have Black version).

Those Pokemon are BA...badass, if you will! :D

Then there is the kitties....they are getting along now...and have been playing a bunch. Muffin cracks me up...she'll start a fight with Bella and then flip on her back and act the victim.

Bella loves to sit on my blanket while I crochet it....Muffin likes to attack the yarn and break it in half :/

Then you have these crazy kids. They are quite adorable...but still crazy.

^^ My hair looks short in that picture...but it's looks mighty cute at that length though, huh?

I saw my bestie Amber had been writing things for her little man to copy, so I started doing that for the kids. We've been noticing that Matthew has been learning how to read little by little. I'm hoping this will help some.
This was Cami's copying of the word dance.

And I did another Pinterest project!! :) Picture on canvas - it's not completely done yet. I need to go out and get some black acrylic paint.

And that is it for my phone :) Yay! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend and has an amazing week! My husband is in his levi brief right now - EXCITED :D Hopefully he gets his orders soon...and then it will feel more real that we may actually be leaving Fort Drum!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bossypants [Review]

277 Pages
Published 5 April 2011

In her acceptance speech for Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey announced that she was proud to make her home in "the 'not-real America'." It is perhaps that healthy sense of incongruity that makes the head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC's Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock such a cogent observer of the contemporary scene. Bossypants, her entertaining new memoir, shows that strangeness has been her constant companion. Fey's stories about her childhood in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania are only appetizers for LOL forays into her college disasters, honeymoon catastrophes, and Saturday Night Live shenanigans. Most funny read of the month; the best possible weekend update.

My Thoughts:
Ever since her SNL days, I have loved Tina Fey. She's hilarious.

When I found out she was writing a book, I knew I would read it. I underestimated how funny it would be. I was laughing out loud, reading excerpts to my husband (interrupting him from whatever important thing he may be doing), and even noting a few things I really liked about the book.

I love her sarcasm, the part where she wrote back to her fans, her description of a typical photoshoot, and her opinions on breastfeeding.

My favorite part, however, was her talking about putting in her contacts...
"Right up until camera time, I was sweaty and green from having to touch my own eyeballs like that. If you've never had to do it, I'd say it's not as quease-making as when you lose your tampon string, but equally as queasish to a self-breast exam. If you are a male, I would liken it to touching your own eyeball, and thank you for buying this book."

Previous Review:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (#1) by Joanne Fluke [here]
Currently Reading:
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain (Clamhouse November Book Club)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

So...I've been searching ways to be more frugal. I think we can all agree that cleaning products are ridiculously expensive. Pinterest has been very encouraging for finding shortcuts in the home.

I discovered the recipe for homemade laundry detergent from a blog called Why Not Sew?

Sometimes I am a bit skeptical of things I see online - but Erin has spent a great deal of time answering questions and clarifying anything right up. Reading the comments definitely made me feel right at ease and I dove headfirst into this project.
So here's what you need:

  • 1 bar of soap (I used Dove Unscented)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup A&H Washing Soda
  • A big pot (it needs to hold more than 2 gallons)
  • A grater
  • A funnel
  • A long spoon
  • A container to hold your finished product (Walmart was selling those nifty 2.5 gallon drink things)
What you do:

Grate your bar of soap - sometimes it gets too thick, so 1/2 bar works. I used 1/2 bar and the consistency was fine :)

Add soap and 1 gallon of water into the pot. Cook until soap dissolves.

Add borax and washing soda - you can find these in the laundry/cleaning aisle. Bring to a boil (it should coagulate)...turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water.

Pour soap into container. It will solidify up within 24 hours. If not, you should probably use a whole bar of soap. If anything, go to Erin's page and read through the comments. She gives many solutions to different issues you may have. Mine worked out perfectly though. You use 1/2 a cup per load. 

You can also add in essential oils for fragrance. 2 gallons should last for 64 loads. I'll have to find the prices for the Borax, A&H and soap and figure out what the total cost is for 2 gallons of laundry detergent compared to the store bought stuff! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fun With Our Phones Monday

So I'm doing a little better this week with blogging. I'm still a bit out of it though. I do STILL need to make posts about the new kitty and my epic gift to hubby. AND homemade laundry detergent. :)

Amber sent us stuff from Maddie's party :) The kids were in love with the fangs!

Muffin is like a dog. She loves to chase her tail...although her method includes balancing on the back of a chair. LOL. She's silly :)

Not sure why, but Cheetos are like kitty crack to her.

It only took a week and now they are friends :D

Muffin is hubby's kitty :) You know, the guy who said no more kitties, he wanted dogs. haha

Kitty balls keeping mah feets warm!

Just when you think I'm not going to be political anymore, I am. Go check out my posts about him. Next debate is Nov 18 - listen to what he has to say. Really listen to HIM, not the media.

Wendy's has nifty little burger holders!

 I married Thor, be jealous :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Boob Tube Babble

Boob Tube Babble

Walking Dead - I think it was really smart to write on the car up on the interstate and leave Sophia a meal. I really liked how Darrell (I think that's the Boondock Saints bow and arrow guy's name) gave Sophia's mom the Cherokee Rose. The little Asian and Farmer Daughter having relations was pretty funny. I almost barfed when the waterlogged walker split in half into the well. :X But I had totally called it. And I think any mother who has ever not known she was pregnant and gotten a positive pregnancy test result within seconds knows that she is not JUST now pregnant...meaning that's totally Shane's baby. AHHH!

Terranova - (Hubby making a guest appearance here) First of all, if you don't watch Terranova, then I have the same thing to say to you as if you don't chew Big Red. This week was EPIC as usual. Bad A if you will....even if you won't, how they freaking herded a dino of monstrous proportions just to use as a diversionary tactic. The spider song sucked...really it was super lamesauce. The EMP situation was a little unrealistic though. Finally, the end was great, and it leaves you really wanting to know what the heck is going on with Commander Taylor's son, the sixers, and whatever damn mission they keep talking about. Watch Terranova....and chew Big Red.

Ringer - We're getting caught up from what my husband hasn't seen. And I think we are on the fifth or sixth episode now? The one where Gemma is murdered. Yeah. I'm kind of glad. She was obnoxious and now Bridgette is safe a little while longer from the FBI. I really HATE Andrew's daughter and think she is just playing nice. I love how the plot keeps unfolding and there are many many AHA moments.

We really need to watch Big Bang Theory. We've not seen any of this season and my husband is hounding me to watch HIMYM with him because he wants to see the newest episodes and I've not seen a-one.

Veteran's Day

So I decided to do a little political, Ron Paul is hosting a Veteran's Day Best Friend money bomb. My husband and I will be contributing again...this is why...

I know a lot of people don't care because they think they don't matter when it comes to how our country is run...I used to be that way. Please, PLEASE, take the time to educate yourself - GET INVOLVED! It's your "freedom" at stake. And make sure you vote in the Republican primaries. As a military family, I was so confused as to how I would vote and where I could vote. Fortunately, we found that both military members and family can vote in their state of residence by absentee ballot. Tennessee is an open state, meaning I don't have to change my Democrat registration to Republican to vote in their primaries.

I owe a special thank you to my friend, Angela, who is a veteran and is married to a veteran. She got me really interested in the presidential race and Ron Paul. And another thank you to my husband, who is currently serving in the army, for continuing my politics/government/economics education.

And a HUGE thank you to all our vets, past, present and future, for putting their lives on the line every day.

And yet another Ron Paul video to end this post..

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder [Review]

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1)

301 Pages
#1 in Hannah Swenson Mystery series
Published 2000

Hannah Swenson already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. 

My Thoughts:
So technically, I'm not finished with the book. There is a novella called Candy For Christmas at the end.

I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the others. I was initially drawn because I was told it included recipes. Yeah, that's right, recipes within an actual book. This one included: Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies, Regency Ginger Crisps, Pecan Chews, Black and Whites, Chocolate-Covered Cherry Delights, Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies and Lovely Lemon Bar Cookies.

I really love all of Fluke's characters. She made such a range of characters and I feel that they all have such a good backstory to them. The way she unveiled them was amazing. She's a very talented writer. I am excited to see what other murders happen in the following books. I think I understand a lot of the community she wrote about because I'm from Minnesota and grew up in a very small town of 350 people. :)

Previous Review:
Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten [here]
Currently Reading:
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain (Clamhouse November Book Club)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FIR '11: Reading Question #7

If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.
Today's Question:
Is there a book that has had a tremendous impact on your life? One that made you look at life in a whole new way, or caused you to completely change something in your life?
For me, the book "A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer is the book that had the biggest impact on my life.

Although I just went to Goodreads and found that it could be completely fabricated. *sigh* Either way, I read it when I was really young - it's the retelling of one of the worst cases of child abuse in California. It made me much more thankful for my life and my parents. I'm not big into reading life-changing books, I don't think. I usually stick to vampires :)

Bonus Question:
How is your Fall Into Reading coming along? Are you on track? Ahead of schedule? Falling behind?

This is so embarrassing, but I'm not even finished with the first book on my list :( I've been so behind in everything lately and it is sooo sad! I am about to read though right now. I'm pushing to finish my current book by the end of this week. I've been neglecting just about everything else too - like my crocheting. I finally did that yesterday and today too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fun With Our Phones Monday

I've got to be the world's worst blogger. My posting has gone from daily to 3x a week :( Shame shame on me!

 Last Weds, the kids had their 2nd dentist appt (well 2nd cleaning appt). They were both very sociable :)

Matthew did well until the flouride.

Cami FREAKED. She did so well the first time around..then this time she was pulling her drama queen routine the whole time!

Thursday, we brought Bella to the vet. It's located right outside the while I was with Bella, Nick took the kids inside the SPCA to look at doggies and kitties. We ended up leaving with another kitty. LOL. This is Muffin.

She's a little over a year old and crazy sweet.

She's woken me up most of the week by licking my face.

Nick tried to get pictures of her and every time she would "smile" - she's too cute.

Saturday when I was coming back from grocery shopping, 5 deer crossed the road. I had the compelling urge to pull over the car and chase them back across the road because there were two trucks of hunters on the side they were crossing too :((

I need to make a post about the new kitty and my awesome early Anni/Xmas present to hubby and how I pulled it off...ohh and I need to post about making my own laundry detergent! YAY! Hopefully I will remember these things. If not, my bad.