One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year came from my Buddy, B. She's a sneaky little thing and sent me a handmade gift that went straight to my heart. I have to admit, I had never seen this craft project, but she tells me it's all over the crafting blogosphere. I have been a bit remiss in my blog readings of late...so I've missed this adorable idea.
It's a wreath made from the pages of a book- two different books to be exact. The poetic justice is that she one of the books she used was from Janet Evanovich. (If you have been reading this blog or following my podcasts with Beth, you would really see the humor in that.) The other novel used was from author, Lori Foster. (Another old favorite of mine...)
I absolutely love this idea! It is completely adorable and personally meaningful. I've decided to hang this wreath on the french doors that lead into my office/library. The perfect place! This way I wll be reminded regularly of my friend who lives afar, but is never far from my thoughts.
I love the detail. I'm such a freak, I was trying to guess the books by reading snippets from the rolls of book pages. I totally figured out one of the books before she told me the other novel. (which by the way, she derived great pleasure in tearing out the pages...i.e. Janet E.)
If you would like to make one of your own- type into google, "book page wreath" and you will be overwhelmed with images and how to's! It looks like a lot of fun....I might try one myself!
I've been doing a lot of listening lately- to audio books that is....I journeyed down the Young Adult aisle and happened upon some really great stuff.
This is the story of Alice Bliss. A coming of age story told through the eyes of a 15 year old girl whose father has just been sent to Iraq. She's at a crossroads with wanting and needing her mother who is emotionally unavailable due to her own issues in dealing with her husband being gone. Throw in your first love and finding support where you least expect it- and you have Alice and her small town. This story made me anxious, as I felt the utter loss and helplessness one would feel when their loved one is sent off to war. I cried right along with each and every member of Alice's family.
I would not recommend this novel for the younger teen set, due to some of the adult themed story lines- but if your young teen is emotionally mature, have them give Alice Bliss a try. For that matter, your adult self should, as well.
Fifteen year old Carly has grown up in a family of wealth and privilege. She has always tried to remain the grounded one among her friends at her private school. Her sister has also been her biggest supporter and confidante. Then over a course of the summer, younger sister, Anna grows breasts and becomes the most popular girl on campus. How do Carly and Anna handle one another's changes- especially when you throw some boys in the mix? These are questions the girls must handle among other high school stresses.
Author Lauren Myracle has written many other young adult novels, including the tween set- "Eleven," "Twelve," "Thirteen," and "Thirteen Plus One." This book would be totally perfect for the Junior High reader. It does deal with peer pressure, puberty, friendships and family. It was an enjoyable "listen" as the narrator was perfect for this age group.
Youngest is a big fan of this author. I often struggle with if the subject matter is appropriate for the junior high set. Although most of Sarah Dessen's stories are about high school age themes, they are written in an appropriate matter and never stray too far. Honestly, I loved this story.
Maclean is a girl who is still struggling with her parent's divorce. She lives with her dad who is a restaurant consultant and they move around, a lot. Maclean loves to reinvent herself with each move, until she finds herself in a place that she thinks she'd like to stay. Maclean is an endearing character. The love she has for her dad is heart warming and although you want to be mad right along with Maclean at her mother, you root for them.
All three of these authors- I would personally read/listen to again. It was a nice diversion from my usual audio choices. However, next up- an epic journey is about to begin for me as I start book one of the Ken Follet Trilogy-
I'm actually quite excited to begin this series. I've been resisting starting since the other two novels aren't out yet and I have hard time with waiting ...especially when it comes to books. But, once I saw this on the shelf at the library, I knew I had to snatch it up. I'll let you know what I think, once I'm finished. I'm sure I won't be disappointed. As you know, Pillars and the sequel still rank on my all time favorite novels list.
That's what's been playing in my ear- have any of you been listening to anything I should check out? What about reading? Share with me people, I feel out of the loop. Glad to be back with you.
Just saw this today. I have to be honest I have been feeling pretty negative toward Miss Janet Evanovich and the direction the Stephanie Plum series has been going. I haven't read the latest novel and the next one is due out in November.
I've been a naysayer about the movie, "One for the Money." I couldn't see the actors that were cast in in their perspective roles. Well, I can admit when I need to eat some crow. And crow I will eat. Watch this trailer and tell me you aren't excited to see this film. (Only if you are a true Evanovich fan...)
I'm feeling warm, happy thoughts again. I think I should go and read the novel again. Watching this clip reminded me of the Stephanie Plum and crew that I knew and loved!
Who's with me on opening night? I'll even buy the popcorn!
I know, subtle right? I was going to go all literary and be creative and then I thought, what the heck. Just say it outright. So- I am. Go on over to Undercover with Deb and Beth or go to iTunes to download to your iPod or MP3 player- key word search-Deb and Beth or Check it out here!
How easy is that? I mean, seriously, I've given you two direct links and a search mechanism. So, really there's no excuse. Why wouldn't you listen?
By the way- we discuss James Patterson novels, programming Pandora and the new fall television series. It's a can't miss.
If you do listen, (and I'm counting on you to) come back here and leave a comment about what you enjoyed about this episode. Every person who leaves a comment will be entered to win a grab bag full of really cool stuff. (and by cool- I mean stuff that you'd love to have but maybe would have never thought to buy yourself.) I'll give you a week to do it- enjoy!
P.S. I apologize in advance- the audio quality is a bit remiss on this one. We've been trying to even both of our voices out- and unfortunately- one of us quite easy to hear and the other- you need to turn up the volume. We would like to blame our audio issues on this past weekend's Hurricane Irene, but unfortunately, we recorded it before she hit land.
I know, you're thinking, didn't you just talk about what you've been reading? Why, yes I did. But there are always books to be read and discussed. DISCUSSED being the key word. We have a new podcast up over here. You can also find it on iTunes, key word Deb and Beth. We are discussing our summer beach reads, among other things. Check it out....
One thing we do share is our love of ice tea/sweet tea. I'm going to share a new recipe for making a refreshing sweet tea with mint and ginger.
Brew the tea however you like. In a pot, with a tea kettle, ice tea maker, I use my coffee maker.
While the tea is brewing, make a simple syrup using equal parts sugar and water. I was making enough for 2 gallons, so I used 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water. Sweetness is purely up to your own tastes. Into the simple syrup mixture, I throw in mint leaves and sliced ginger.
Keep stirring until sugar dissolves and then keep it on a simmer for about 15 minutes to let all the flavors infuse. Once tea is brewed, mix in syrup portion (after straining mint and ginger, of course.) Pour over ice and enjoy. This truly is refreshing and a twist on your normal sweet tea.
Glass on the left is the green sweet tea and the right is normal sweet tea. (just to show you the difference.)
Be sure to check out my other blog where you can find a library of all our podcasts.
So someone sent me a link to the Miracle Whip You-Tube Video contest. You could win $25,000 for your wedding or divorce by submitting a video on how miracle whip has shaped your relationship with a current or former partner.
For Beloved and I the battle started over Hellman's Real Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip Salad dressing. I'm happy to report that I won that battle long ago. The only Miracle Whip that resides in my household is the smallest jar made by Kraft foods and it sits on the side door of the refrigerator waiting to be used once in a blue moon. I have always been a MAY-O-NNAISE girl. However, my allegiance has shifted from Hellman's real mayo to Duke's.
I had first heard of Duke's while reading the novels of Mary Kay Andrews. I picked up a jar when I was in South Carolina a few years ago and have been a devoted user ever since. (Living in the midwest, Duke's is not available in my area. I need to rely on the generosity of others who visit or live in the south to keep my supplied.) Recently, my friend, L brought me back a jar after her Myrtle Beach vacation. (Thanks, L! I was running low!)
So-the question remains....Are you a mayonnaise or miracle whip lover? Have you had discussions in your household regarding the use of either product? Beloved and I went toe to toe when first married because I did not use Miracle Whip when making macaroni or potato salad. Obviously, he's a convert now.
Condiments aside, because it's summer and because I haven't posted on books in awhile I thought I'd do a little update. Several months ago, I posted about the release of "Emily and Einstein" by Linda Francis Lee.
I have to be honest. I resisted reading this book. Although I dearly love all books, LFL, the premise of this book was a little different for her. So, I kept picking it up and putting it back down again. Luckily, I found the audio version at my local library and said, "what the heck, it's a sign." I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't want to like this book even after starting it, but I have to tell you, I fell for it. Pick it up, you will fall for it too.
I gobbled this up while on vacation. Again- I'm a huge MKA fan, liked this book quite a bit but to be honest not one of my favorites. This story follows three friends while on vacation from their lives for one month during the summer. I liked the story line- but I kind of wanted more. However- a great beach read and I will continue to worship at the shrine of MK. (Again- she had me at Duke's.)
I have been reading Jodi Picoult for many years. I have pretty much loved everything she's written up until her last few novels. They were okay- but I just couldn't get into the subject matters. Her newest novel, however was intriguing. I listened to this one- and would heartily recommend you all do the same. Ms. Picoult introduced us to her lyric writing talent in this book. Each chapter beings with a song and I understand if you buy the book, it comes with a CD of the songs.
Can I just say- I loved this book. This book made me cry. It made me uncomfortable. It made me smile. And for once- a Jodi Picoult book had an ending that didn't make me SCREAM! The novel is the story of a couple who after 10 years of a happy marriage and infertility, call it quits. One partner goes off the deep end back into alcoholism and the other falls in love with a person of the same sex. When the new couple decide they would like to have a baby using the still frozen embryos from the marriage- they need the permission of the ex-spouse, who now is a cleaned up- born again Christian. As you might imagine, a court case ensues over the custody of those frozen embryos.
I didn't think I was going to like how this one ended. But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I was so emotionally invested in this book and I find myself still thinking about it. Pick this one up or if you have the chance- listen to it! So worth it.
Final book of this post-
I had never read anything by this author before. I can remember seeing her novels on the shelves at the bookstore and at the library, but just never chose them. I take that back, I did check out "Hope in a Jar" once on audio book and never got a chance to listen to it before needing to return it to the library. I won't make that mistake again.
I liked this book. I bought this book on my Kindle based on a brief summary on a Facebook banner ad! (I know right? Who'd of thunk it?!)
The idea of this book is- "Do you ever really get over your first love?" And how does it shape you for future relationships? This story is told between the main character from both the past and present. We get a detail account of her first love relationship and how it is affecting her as an adult in the present. This was a fast read, enjoyable and fun to think about. Nothing heavy, just a fun little trip.
Okay reading fans- still about six more weeks of summer reading fun to be had....go on out get some. Be sure to check back and let me know all about it. If nothing else- tell me which you prefer-
MAYONNAISE or Miracle Whip?
Cue- Sun emerging from behind clouds. Check.
Cue- Angels singing in harmony. Check.
Cue- New Book Cover of Favorite Boyfriend Author #2 being revealed. Check, Check.
Remember last fall when I wrote about my love of certain male authors? Well, guess what? Finally, finally after a long wait Tom Perrotta has new book coming out....
The premise of this book is an interesting one. How would you rebuild your life after a world changing event such as the Rapture or something similar to the Rapture and you were left behind? Critics are calling this "his most ambitious works to date." I for one- can hardly wait.
And on a lighter and sure to be funnier note-
The start of summer reading releases!!
Well, I know it's not a Wednesday and no this isn't a words of wisdom post...just a little sumpn' sumpn' I found funny. And also I wanted to let you know that I have a new podcast up. A little blatant self promotion never hurt anyone, I always like to say.
So- click HERE or go on over to iTunes and download Epidsode 9- find us under search key words- Deb and Beth.
As always, don't be afraid to let us know what you think.
So, my audio selections have been quite interesting and eclectic these days. Let me share what I've been listening to while driving around throughout the days- One thing that all of these novels have in common is GREAT NARRATION. The narrator can make or break an audio book and I've been known to stop listening just because I didn't like the narrator, not the story.
This is the story of Dex and Em. They meet on the day of their graduation from University and we then revisit with them on the same day for the next few decades. It's a story of love and friendship, growing up and growing apart and together again. Dex is a character you want to dislike, but somehow he worms his way into your heart. Em is the underdog woman you root to finally find herself and become who she was meant to be. I truly enjoyed this author's style of writing- the story was sometimes comedy and sometimes tragedy, but always true to life. Additionally, I felt a real kinship to the characters as the story begins in the 80's and I felt like I was aging right along with them.
Have I mentioned my love for Philippa Gregory and her Tudor series? This story takes place before the Tudors and explains how they came to be in power. Margaret Beaufort is the central character in this historical fictional account of how her son, believed to be the true heir to the throne of England, fights his way there. He, being the father of Henry VIII. Always rich in description and intrigue-Philippa never disappoints.
I have to admit, I did not know very much about Frank Lloyd Wright apart from knowing about some of the buildings he had designed. I knew nothing of his personal life and his eccentric lifestyle. Although this is a fictional account of Frank's life with the Four Women he's involved with over his lifetime, it's based on true accounts. The real fiction coming from the perspective of one of Frank's apprentices, who's telling the story.
Although it did drag a bit sometimes- The Women is quite a fascinating story and holds up to the idea that you can like a person's work and just not like the person. Although I liked this book, I found this version of Frank Lloyd Wright very unlikeable.
Currently on deck-
This story starts out with 13 year old, Petra who along with her best friend, Sharon share a love for all things David Cassidy. Twenty-five years later, while dealing with the death of her mother and the end of her marriage, Petra finds out she had actually won a contest to meet David Cassidy and her mother hid it from her. In a twist, the original magazine editor who sponsored the contest, finds out and arranges for Petra and Sharon to meet their former teen idol today.
Being a child during this time period and owning every David Cassidy record ever produced, I so am connecting to Petra and her 13 year old self as she deals with growing up and learning to deal with boys, friendships, etc...I'm hopeful for the how this books ends up. So far, so good.
Hopefully, I've given you some audio books for thought, should you be in the mood to listen, if not, content wise these are all great reads, so pick up a copy and read them.
If you're still in the mood to listen, check out my other blog, where Beth and I compare and contrast the Nook vs Kindle. You can also find us on iTunes, key words- Deb and Beth.