On my To Be Reviewed Stack!

On My To Be Reviewed Pile!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

When do children lose their innocence?

Is it in tiny increments?

Is it all at one time?

I have made quite an effort to keep my children sheltered. There are reasons, both good and bad about doing this.  

I grew up terrorized by classmates.  I don't want that to happen to the boys.  Kids pick on other kids for anything as stupid as having red hair, much less children with anxiety and autism, and who's behavior isn't quite the same as peers.  I have been vigilant in addressing anything I think is bullying.

The last few days, I've been getting snippets from Jamie.  He's afraid of looking stupid.  He's afraid people will make fun of him.

It's driving me crazy.  He's 8.  He should be enjoying dressing up like a cow for Chick-Fil-A Day.  Not worrying if people will think he looks stupid.

I hate that the world has turned my beautiful, innocent babies and are slowly turning them into cuss-word-hearing, self-doubting children.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The life and times of a stressed out momma

My life was alot simpler a year ago.  

I was planning the summer of fun with the boys.  A chance to reconnect with them, and spend time with them.  Try to be the kewl mom again, show how fun I can be.  I dyed my hair pink.  Took them to the pool every week, let them be a wizard with Harry Potter.

This year, I have a dad with terminal cancer, who has spent the last 2 months in hospitals and rehab.  Who was released last Tuesday, to be admitted back to the hospital with kidney failure less than 48 hours later.  He got out of the hospital Sunday evening, and again barely less than 48 hours later, he's being admitted for renal failure again.

We had to finally break the news to the boys tonight that he has cancer.  That's why he's been in the hospital so much, and why we'll likely have him in and out of the hospital all summer long.  Maybe it will make them more patient with our having to run around doing errands for my dad and step-mother.  

But we can't hide it any longer.  They need to know.  We need to start preparing Iain for the loss of his Pop. Pop had lunch with him every day for the first 4 years of his life.  And most of the first 3, he spent curled up in Pop's lap.

And now I'm trying to run a business at the same time.  Trying to make money for my family.  Trying to find something to keep me sane in the midst of all this calamity.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Be careful what you post

There's a big hoopla going on in the blogging world amongst the women bloggers about a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, by a female, about how women use conferences as an excuse to get out of the house and party and tie it up in a pretty ribbon, saying it's work.

I know female bloggers.  I know how hard they work. I know they work almost 24/7, interacting with readers, creating relationships with other bloggers and media organizations.

However, the women bloggers do seem to bring this on themselves.  

Have you been on twitter during BlogHer?  For an entire weekend, the twitter-sphere is inundated with bloggers talking about how so and so is feeding them free breakfast and lunch, and dinner. So and so is giving them sodas and food. And don't forget the whole Chris Mann thing, where women were raving like lovesick teenagers over him and he's making a living going to women's conferences to perform for women.

Every company has a hotel suite where there's a party that everyone attends to pick up swag.  They go on and on about all the swag they get.  They even have giveaways after the conference giving away some of the swag they got because it was so much.

While you may make those contacts during the conference.  You network with companies and other bloggers...  YOU make it sound like a 4 day party where you are pampered the whole time.  You make it sound like a party vacation.

I won't pretend to act like men are saints at conferences.  That men don't drink the whole time. That men don't use it as an excuse to get laid. 

BUT, they're not tweeting about being drunk, being wined and dined, partying all weekend.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Time is one of those subjective things.  At times time moves so slow you don't think you'll ever get what you're waiting for.  At other times it moves so fast you don't have time to blink before it's gone.

When I was pregnant, time moved so slow.   A nine month pregnancy felt like 2 years.  When I was in labor, time moved even slower.  Since the time the boys were born, time seems to have flown.  It seems only yesterday I was holding and cuddling them all night.  Now they're about to graduate 2nd grade.

When my Mom died, all I could do was lament that I didn't have time with her. I didn't have the time to tell her I loved her.

Now my father is dying.  We were promised anything between 2 months and 5 years.  We knew we didn't have much time, but we had time.  Time for us to say goodbye, make memories, one last trip to Disney, time for the boys to understand what is going on.

On April 1st, my father found out he had Stage 4 Colon and Liver cancer.  He went in for surgery on April 11th.  He's now battling for his life because he caught an infection in the hospital.  In 23 days, we've gone from having forever with my father, to the possibility that any day could be his last.

Where is this time we were promised?  I can't even complain it went by too fast, because we haven't had it!  I'm struggling with how to explain it to my boys who are completely devoted to their grandfather, and he them. I thought we'd have more time for memories, for explanations, for telling each other we love them.  That time is fading fast.

For my father, I'm sure he's thinking time is moving incredibly slowly. He's in so much pain, I'm sure he wants an end to the suffering.  For the rest of us, time is moving way too fast.  He's slipping away too quickly.  I still have tons of things to say before I say goodbye.

If only this could be one of those times when we could slow down time.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: The Nortorious Lady Anne by Sharon Cullen

Title:  The Notorious Lady Anne
Author:  Sharon Cullen
Publication Date:  February 11, 2013

Book Description
Nicholas Addison, celebrated captain of the Blackwell Shipping Fleet, has agreed to take Mrs. Emmaline Sutherland aboard the Pride and ferry the raven-haired beauty across the Atlantic on what he imagines will be a routine trip. But when the ship is attacked by pirates, the seemingly innocent passenger is revealed to be none other than the infamous marauder Lady Anne, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of sailors everywhere—and whose seductive wiles commandeers Nicholas’s affections.

Lady Anne, a legend of the high seas, has spent the last eleven years plotting revenge against her father, the owner of Blackwell Shipping. She’s targeted the Pride in hopes of plundering its captain’s company secrets. But beneath her fierce courage and bitter determination, Anne has the delicate heart of a woman—a heart that cannot help falling for Nicholas. Now Anne must make a difficult choice: bring down Blackwell or surrender to love.

Book Review:  5 out of 5 stars
This book is the book I've been searching for for over a year.  A good old-fashioned bodice ripper, but with an actual story!!

This novel takes twists and turns, as a reader, you're taken for a bit of ride, trying to figure out where it might be going, what the answers may be.  The great thing about this story, for once BOTH the hero and heroine have issues in their past.  Both have demons to overcome, both are proud, both are determined to do "what's right."  Both struggle with their decisions, the doubts on what they "should do," and the lives growing further and further entwined.

This novel was immensely enjoyable.  I spent every free minute reading this book, and waiting for the happy ending.  Waiting for two stubborn people to realize they belong together. Waiting for them to jump each other.

As someone reading romance novels for 20+ years, this story had everything I wish stories nowadays could pull off.  A real story, a real dilemma, strong personalities that aren't just thrown together to try to pad out a book.  And sexual attraction. Loads of it.
Ms. Cullen has brought back the "golden age" of romance novel writing, and I am a definite fan of hers, and would love to read anything past and present I can get my hands on.



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Huge Giveaway at The Framed Lady

My sister-site, Hair Made Beautiful, is taking part of a  HUGE Facebook Fan giveaway over at The Framing Lady.  I am offering up a pair of bobby pins (your choice) from Lilla Rose.  There are tons of prizes!!

Check out these amazing girls and the awesome prizes they donated to help me celebrate gaining 1000 likes on Facebook! Interested in being part of an awesome giveaway like this? Email Tess at tesiahwilk@yahoo.com!

Items you will win:
$20 Target giftcard from Simply, Ashley
Red, handmade scarf from Annie One Can Cook!
$15 Shop credit and free shipping from Top This By Leanne
2 elastic bracelets and a set of 1 wired bracelet and 1 pair of earrings from Sensational Creations
$15 shop credit to Studio Eleven
These Red Top earrings from Aditi Jewelry
$15 shop credit to Little Glass Slippers
Pacifier clip from Bling For Baby
$10 Amazon giftcard from Part of That World
A Vintage Feel Necklace from Peace Love Sequins
$10 Target giftcard from Sincerely, Leslie
$15 Starbucks giftcard from I Know This Much is True
A set of jeweled bobby pins from Lilla Rose

Ad Space you will win: 
210 x 210 ad from Ladies in Navy
2 Months Large Ad Space from Fox and Hazel
2 Months 200 x 100 ad space from The Crafty Side of Sarcasm
200 x 300 Large ad from Lily White English Rose
Medium ad from Pandora's Craft Box
Large 215 x 215 ad from The Cottage Diaries
Medium ad space from Serenity You
2 months 250 x 250 ad space from Sweet Silver Lining* (FEBRUARY SPONSOR)
2 months 200 x 200 ad space from Let It Shine
Medium ad from The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife
Large Ad from The Domestic Geek
Glass Slipper Ad from Life in a Breakdown
2 Months Large ad space from Homegrown & Healthy
Large ad from Sunny With a Chance of Sprinkles
3 months of 200 x 200 ad space from I Know This Much is True

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 1, 2013

Autism Awareness Month

As you may or may not know, I now have my own company, where I am an Independent Consultant for Lilla Rose.

Because I have two special needs children, and this is a topic very near and dear to my heart, I am on the look out for Blogs, Websites, FaceBook Pages, and FRIENDS to host a Lilla Rose Party in April.

During the month of April, any "blue" items purchased during your party (can run up to three weeks), customers will receive 10% off paid via paypal.

Party Ideas
  • A Facebook or Twitter party to talk about Autism and ways we can help, as part of your month-long campaign.
  • An in-home party, if you're local to my area.
  • A catalog party and/or online party for you to share at work and with friends and family.
 Hostess Rewards
  • You could use the hostess rewards to purchase "blue" pieces the website, to use for awareness campaigns or raffles throughout the year.
  • You could offer the person who makes the biggest purchase during your party, the opportunity to be the mystery hostess and receive the rewards. 
 Contact me now at jennirv4967@yahoo.com to book your party today!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monsters University

Most Disney films are ho-hum.  I don't really care when they come out.  But Disney now has a movie that I'm chomping at the bit to go to.  I'm even willing to go see it alone if the boys refuse to.  Monsters University.  I loved Sully in Monsters Inc.  When we went to Disney World, I dragged the kids to find Sully because I wanted my picture taken with him. :)

Monsters University comes out June 21..just in time to drag hubby to go see it for our anniversary! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title:  The Madman's Daughter
Author:  Megan Shepherd
Publication Date:  January 29, 2013

Book Description
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Book Review:  4 out of 5 stars
For everyone who loves to read and talk about books, I'm sure no one has been able to escape people talking about "The Madman's Daughter."  I heard so much about it, bloggers raving, that I had to read it. The book is a variation of "The Isle of Dr. Moreau" by HG Wells.  If you're not familiar with the story, it doesn't matter as Ms. Shepherd lays the story out very well.

I plunged into this book, riveted by the beginning and what leads Juliet to have to leave London.  The characters are extremely well-written, and throughout the book you're questioning who is the "bad guy" and who is the "good guy."  

Ms. Shepherd goes fully into the story, describing the island, the inhabitants, the procedures, and the housing. Some things you start to pick up on very quickly and guess what is happening, others not so much.  Until the end, I wasn't sure how it was going to end!

The only problem I had with the story is probably with my lack of patience.  There were just so many jaunts in and out of the woods, describing trees and journeys to such a degree that I got bored.  I think I probably would have enjoyed it more if all the jaunts were just combined into one single jaunt, where the important information could have been gleaned, but not  have extraneous things cluttering it up.

Also, the heroine's dilemma between Montgomery and Edward was drawn out a bit much.  I found myself muttering a few times to just make a decision already. I must admit that the ending threw me for a bit of a loop. I didn't expect it to end that way, but really, there was no way other than that ending that would have been true to the story and the characters.

I would definitely recommend the book.  It was quite interesting, and really forces you to think about humanity and what constitutes human.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Movie Review: Neverwas

Movie Description

Searching for insight into his father's life and the magical place he wrote about in the children's book, Neverwas, psychiatrist Zach Riley takes a job at the institution where his father was once treated. There, Zach meets Gabriel, a patient whose alternate reality is startlingly close to the world his father created. 

Review:  5 out of 5 stars

I recently found this movie on Netflix.  The description of the movie made me think this was a horror type movie.  The minute the movie started, I recognized Ian McKellan's voice, I started paying attention.

This movie has an all-star cast.  Ian McKellan, Jessica Lange, William Hurt, Nick Nolte, Alan Cumming, Brittany Murply, and Aaron Eckhart.  

The movie has a bit of a slow going, with flash backs of Zack's childhood thrown in here and there.  As an adult, Zack gets a mob at the institution his father was treated at, right before the anniversary of his death, to learn more about him and why he wound up taking the path he did.

From the moment Ian McKellan pokes his beardy, wild hair, and talking in riddles makes his first appearance, I got sucked in.  Watching him try to trigger Zack's long-repressed memory  He speaks about the Land of Neverwas like he lived in it, confusing Zack even more.

As the movie progresses, you learn more and more about Zack's father, and how a manic depressive was able to write one of the best children's novels in all time.  You also learn about a child's grief and sense of responsibility for his father's death keeping him from embracing what is surely just a movie.

The movie had so many different twists and turns, snippets of information thrown at you, leaving you the responsibility to sort them out until the end.  I still believe I hadn't paid attention enough to get as much out of the movie as I could, and plan to watch again.

The ending will leave you in tears, leave you inspired, and leave you wanting to stay with Ian McKellan to see what new adventure he has in store.

No review can do this movie justice without giving away major plot points.  But if you love an epic tale and Ian McKellan, you will love this movie.

This movie is one of the first movies that affected me so much I couldn't wait to shout it from the rooftops.  Due to some mature content, I wouldn't suggest children watching it, but if you don't, you are missing a terrific movie!

Book Review: Lucien by Elijana Kindel

Title: Lucien (Book 1 in Romantic Comedy Series: Manipulating the Masters)
Author: Elijana Kindel
Publication Date: January 5, 2013

Book Description
All's fair in love when Manipulating a Master...

Five years ago, businessman Lucien Masters made a deal with his grandfather to save his sisters’ inheritances that required he marry by his thirtieth birthday. Ten days before the deadline and his fiancée in the wind, Luc scrambles to find a replacement bride. Fortunately, the solution to his problem is sitting right across the office and struggling with a few issues of her own.

Elise Hamilton has more on her plate than she can handle. Temporarily assigned as Lucien's assistant, she's overworked, over-stimulated, and overwhelmed especially when her brother informs her the tax police are ready to slap the cuffs on their mother.

Fate intervenes in the form of a lightning bolt and induces Elise to accept Luc's last minute proposal, but if he thinks she'll fall headlong into his arms just because of an ‘I do’, he has another thing coming.

Review:  3 out of 5 stars

I found this book through a giveaway the author was having on her website.  She posted an excerpt, and it sounded great. Like the classic "bodice ripper" romances that I used to read before they started getting more explicit.

I immediately had to read it. 

The book was a very quick read, I think I got it done in a day or two max.  The characters were fun, their interactions fun and heated.  The chemistry between the two was very hot as well.

In most books, there's a villain or an obstacle the couple must overcome.  I spent most of the book wondering when that would happen.  It never happened.  The book was just one long tease and romance and then an abrupt ending.  The author had a good set-up for an obstacle, but before the obstacle could even rear it's head, the author dismisses is and leaves it as an ending hanging in mid-air.  

The other problem I had with the book is that in most novels, there's the "happily ever after" ending.  I like them.  But this book was all happily ever after.  The heroine had a problem, but immediately got out of the problem, and got the man of her dreams in the first 50 pages.  

I kept thinking, why does she get everything?  Why does she get bailed out AND the hunk falls for her?  It just bothered me.

If you want teasing, this is a great book.  If you want light-hearted, this is definitely that.  But as for a book and relationship of substance, it was lacking.   

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: Every House is Haunted

Title: Every House is Haunted
Author: Ian Rogers
Publication Date: November 06, 2012

Book Description
"There are haunted places in the world, all existing in reality and every bit as tangible and accessible as the house next door. Sometimes it is the house next door." In this brilliant debut collection, Ian Rogers explores the border-places between our world and the dark reaches of the supernatural. The landscape of death becomes the new frontier for scientific exploration. A honeymoon cabin with an unspeakable appetite finally meets its match. A suburban home is transformed into the hunting ground for a new breed of spider. A nightmarish jazz club at the crossroads of reality plays host to those who can break a deal with the devil...for a price. With remarkable deftness, Rogers draws together the disturbing and the diverting in twenty-two showcase stories that will guide you through terrain at once familiar and startlingly fresh.

Review:  4 out of 5 stars
I liked this book because it was a collection of short stories.  With "horror" stories, there's always the risk of making it look like padding, losing the thread of the story, growing boring.  Doing the book as a collection of short stories eliminates this.

Some stories should have been shorter, some I wished were longer.  The stories were all different.  It wasn't death, death, death.  There were different horror-genres represented.  

It was a pretty fast read, and an easy read because I could open it up and only read one story, and then put it down and go back to what I was doing.  Or in many cases, I'd think "just one more story" until I was 10 stories in.

The stories weren't all very interesting, hence the 4 out of 5 stars, but it was a solid book and quite enjoyable.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Memories are long when you insult people

This post could be about a multitude of things.  But this one is personal.

I enter alot of blog contests, alot.  I am unemployed, and sometimes I win something that will benefit the family, pay for the boys' birthday presents, give me books to feed my book addiction without having to buy them all, etc.

I read the terms listed on the blogs for giveaways, and follow them.

I've recently gotten into Lilla Rose.  I'm in love with the Flexi Clip.  I won one in a contest, and that set me off.  I've spent ALOT of money on Lilla Rose Flexi-clips.  Half my relatives got them for Christmas, and I have a pretty good collection in clips I've bought, won, gotten as hostess gifts, etc.

In December, I won two flexi clips.  When I entered the contests, they said nothing about you cannot have an account with another consultant.  I was signed up under a few consultants, one consultant even twice.  Most contests require you to sign up for their party in order to be eligible.  At no time, did they say you can't be listed under more than one consultant.  Heck, if there was a problem, wouldn't Lilla Rose have not allowed me to sign up under multiple consultants with the same email address?

I've continued to enter contests, but have noticed terms stating if you've won from that consultant before, you can't win, or if you're signed up under a particular consultant, you can't enter the contest.  When I read those terms, I don't enter the contest.  

Recently I asked one of the consultants if they knew why a clip I won hadn't come yet.  She said she'd check on Monday.  It was then that I got a scathing email that I am still upset about two weeks later.  

I was told that I was scamming the system by having emails listed under multiple consultants.  That my name has been frozen with Lilla Rose, and how I lied to the consultant when I didn't tell her I was signed up under another consultant.  

  1. I didn't KNOW you shouldn't have accounts with more than one consultant.  I have multiple accounts for most direct sales companies (Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Avon, Tupperware, etc.) because if multiple friends sell, I want to buy from them all.  There was NOTHING saying you weren't allowed to be signed up under more than one consultant.
  2. The consultant that I am closest with, talked to the people at Lilla Rose, and they weren't accusing me of scamming the system.  The consultant simply needed to pay for the clip out of her pocket (with the 30% discount she gets), and there would have been no problem.

I find it insulting to be called a liar, to be accused of scamming a system when there was no intent to.  The rules were followed, I promoted their name every day for weeks at a time.  And to be told in no uncertain terms that I am a liar and she refuses to fulfill her obligation to give me a flexi clip for free.

I will remember this consultant's name forever, and will make it a point to never purchase anything from her.  I will be sure to tell my friends not to purchase from this consultant as well.  

And to show that I do patronize consultants who I have won things from, I've purchased three flexi-clips in the last 2 weeks.  One of those orders could have been yours, but never will be.

When you run are a direct sales consultant, you base your business on word of mouth.  The consultant who is friendly and nice, gets business.  The one who sends out scathing emails accusing people of being a liar, will not, and will receive word of mouth of being a bad consultant.  

There are alot of consultants for Lilla Rose.  Ask around before you patronize a consultant, look for one that goes above and beyond for her customers, not one that accuses people of scamming the system to get out of paying $15 to fulfill a prize commitment.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

Title: Blue Asylum
Author: Kathy Hepinstall
Publication Date: April 10, 2012

Book Description
Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property.

On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents--some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris.

The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded "water treatment." She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I became interested in the book during one of the many blog hops I participate in.  A big portion of the draw of this book, for me, was the institutional setting.  And the appealing, lofty view of finding love in an asylum.

I read this book in a weekend.  It was so fast-paced, and interesting, that it drew me in, and I wound up walking around my house with the kindle attached to me. The read went so fast, that at one point I realized that the book was half over, and there were still so many questions to be answered, and that I might be disappointed with the outcome.

The story, however, is so very well written.  Explaining the monotony of life in an asylum, the injustices that put people there, as well as the treatment of people in asylums by hardened, uncaring staff.  While learning the backstory of every character in the book, the author only eeks out Ambrose's story bit by bit.    Many times I thought, this couldn't have been the reason he ended up in an asylum, only to learn a bit more and say the same thing again, with the same result.

Events in the book seemed to lead up to a climatic point, only to fizzle out in completion.  The escape part of the story was sort of a letdown after everything that had previously happened. 

What happened after the escape seemed a bit forced.  As I said, there was so much back story that when it got to the escape part, there wasn't any book left.

I did find that in the end, Ambrose's story was told well.  We finally discovered what had damaged his mind to the point of being sent to an institution in the first place, and his character and reactions of a "free man" were no less than one would escape from such a gentle soul as Ambrose.

I had a harder time identifying, even liking the main character of the story, Iris.  I got the injustice of it all, and the unfairness, and how the entire situation must have been maddening to her.  There was just something in the character that I did not like.  Maybe it was everyone falling in love with her, or that she was just so terribly wronged that it made her hardened,, but I just had a hard time liking her.

I'm trying not to give away the story, as I do believe the best part of the story is after they escape from the asylum.  Maybe because the end of the novel had her recreating a scene from Wizard of Oz, which I felt was so cliche and not a fitting ending to the story told.

This was a wonderful book that I will most likely read again and again, probably with a more keener eye than before because I know the end, it might help me like the heroine a bit more, or understand character's behaviors better.

Disclosure:  I received this book as a prize from Blood, Sweat, and Books.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

When did the shift happen?

Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I ran into a friend of mine at the local Wal-Mart.  He's worked there for well over 8 years, and used to work with my husband for awhile.  He's watched me get pregnant, have the boys and watch the boys grow up over the years.

Somehow we started talking about the website "People of Walmart," and I had joked that once I stalked this woman around the store trying to get a picture of her to send into the website.  It was then I realized the huge shift that society, and even myself, has taken in the last 10 years.

Before the boys were born, I was known to go grocery shopping at 2AM just because there were no crowds and I could get in and out quickly.  While there, I'd see people wandering in in their pajamas and slippers and a jacket on.  I would roll my eyes and think, "Who the hell goes out in public dressed like that?!"  It's also where the true hilarity of the picture floating around on the web where the woman was being interviewed and said she loved Walmart because she didn't have to get all dressed up to go there hits home.

I live 5 minutes from Walmart.  Right behind it. I could walk there, if I believed in walking. :)  

Most mornings, I'm so busy getting the boys up and dressed, lunches packed, arguing over turning DS' off and getting a book and getting out the door to go to the bus that I don't even bother getting dressed.  I just put on a jacket and go to the bus stop.  Hey, don't judge me.

And some mornings, after I drop the boys off, I find myself wandering into Walmart to pick up water, medicine, something the boys need, in my jammies.  At 8am, usually everyone is all dressed up for work, but there are a few people in jammies with me.

When did the shift happen?  When did we as a society decide it's okay to go out in public in our pajamas?  When did I decide it was okay to wander around in my pajamas?

Is it that we just don't care what people think of us anymore?  Is it that we've gotten older, so we don't care what teenagers think of us anymore?  Is it that we just don't expect much from people anymore?

It's generational, but it's more than that.  My great aunt never leaves the house unless she's nicely dressed, has her hair done, makeup on, perfume on.  I see her in the store, and I feel like a slob.  But I'm not so sure it's the 70+ group has more respect for themselves than we do, I think it's society as a whole.  

Back when my grandmother and great-aunt were growing up, they never left the house without being "done up." They dressed up for church, they never wore clothes with holes in them, they bought their grandchildren pretty dresses for church on Easter Morning.

Now we have people who wear holey jeans to church on Sunday, who think a pair of dockers and a polo shirt are suitable wedding guest attire, and people (like me) who wander into Walmart in their pajamas at all times of day.

What do you think?  Is this change a generational or a societal shift?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 TBR PILE Reading Challenge

This year I've updated my GoodReads ticker and really hope to read about 30-35 books this year.  To sort of keep me motivated, since I just petered out midway through the year, I'm joining the Bookish 2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge.  Hopefully this will keep me going.

I'd love company!!

You don't even have to commit to the particular books you're going to read, you can add to it, so if you're like me and can't decide what you're going to read until it's time to crack a book open, you can still participate.

The one big caveat is that if you want to participate in the giveaways, you must write reviews on your books, but they can be done on GoodReads, Amazon, Blogs, etc.

Good Luck!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review: Ripper's Row by Donnie Light

Title: Ripper's Row
Author: Donnie Light
Publication Date: November 01, 2010

Book Description:
In the fall of 1888, Jack the Ripper cut a swath of blood and terror through the streets of London, in an area known as Whitechapel. The papers called him a monster for attacking innocent women in the night. But if the world only knew the truth behind Jack's monstrous acts, they would think differently. Jack was a madman, yes, but a madman on a mission to save the world from the foul creatures of the night. Creatures that haunted his soul, tortured his existence, and made every minute of his life a living hell. Only Jack the Ripper could save the unsuspecting masses from the vampires that ruled the streets of Whitechapel after dark. Only he could strike down the dangerous Master Vampire William Carpenter-or die in the attempt. Follow the infamous "Jack the Ripper" through a harrowing adventure to take back the streets of Victorian London, and reclaim the honor of a love lost to darkness.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars
I have to admit that the title alone drew me to the book.  I'm a fan of alternate history, so a chance to read about Jack the Ripper made me giggly as a teenage girl.

For the most part, I really enjoyed this book.  Donnie Light and Shawn Weaver did a fantastic job of giving a back story to the characters.  I guess because there were only two main characters, it was quite easy.  But even the lesser characters got their "story" told as well.

I also loved the idea that maybe Jack the Ripper wasn't evil, he was something else.  There was careful interweaving of Ripper facts throughout the novel.

However, did find myself rooting quite heavily for the vampire throughout the novel, and wished someone would just get rid of Jack already, as his cockiness was getting to be a bore.  I guess this is more of a testament to Mr. Light's writing style that he could achieve the level of hatred in a reader that he did, and the level of sympathy that I did for his nemesis, William.

The book was a fast read, and very well written.  I got through it in hardly no time.

The one thing that I did not like, and caused me to only give it three stars is the ending.  I understand that authors now like to write series books.  They can be quite enjoyable.  Stephanie Laurens and Julia Quinn have done an amazing job doing this.  However, with Stephanie Laurens and Julia Quinn, each book, while part of a series, is stand alone.  I can read it and feel satisfied with the ending.

I was not satisfied with the ending.  The book just stopped.  And then was an advertisement to continue the story with his next novel, Ripper's Revenge.  I didn't want to have to invest in 2+ books to have the story told.  The second book could be about a character from the first, but don't just stop writing your book half-way through in order to force people to buy your next book just to finally read the ending.

I may just be nit-picky, but the ending of the novel made me mad, and made me felt like I wasted time reading it, because I don't know the ending.

Disclosure: I bought this book from Amazon.com. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and this review is unsolicited.