Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cover Reveal: I'm not Crazy, I'm on Lupron; a Journey Through Infertility by Stacey Rourke

Today is the day for Stacey Rourke to reveal the cover art for her new, upcoming nonfiction book about infertility.

 If you read my blog often, her name might sound familiar to you because I have read her YA trilogy this year.  But all fiction aside, here is the cover for Rourke's latest book!

 Here's what the author had to say about her new book, which delves very deep into her own private life:
Basal body temperatures. Hormone injections. Invasive procedures - that leave no room for modesty. Tips on “effective positions” from well-meaning grandparents.

When the natural way fails to work these are all added to the so called “fun” process of making a baby. Walk this rocky path to motherhood with author Stacey Rourke as she openly and honestly shares every good, bad, and awkward step of her three-year long journey. Using humor to break through the perils of infertility, she gives the lowdown on all the strange, embarrassing, and heartbreaking aspects. Stacey guides us through an unforgettable path that ends with a kid on each hip and hope for all those suffering with infertility.

BONUS MATERIAL: “Morsels of Hope”
Success Stories from Infertility Survivors

While I cannot add any personal touches on the subject, I am sure that this book will be both informative and emotional, while still having a touch of Rourke's humor mixed in.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Camp Summer

Yesterday was the second official day of camp summer. I could barely get the kids to sit still long enough to eat lunch. Naps?  Only in my dreams!

Special Agent Oso helped with the 3 special steps to do a leaf rubbing, so Morgan, Daven and I went outside in search of some leaves of our own. It quickly became clear, however, that Daven only pretended to be interested in the search for leaves because it got him outside...with his golf clubs. 

After finding a few choice leaves, Morgan and I did our leaf rubbings while dodging golf balls. I did manage to get Daven to participate when I brought out the watercolor paint. I showed them how the crayon showed through the paint and we went through quite a few sheets of paper, as well as most of the purple paint. 

After their revolt against movie time and arguing with each other after sneaking onto the porch, I gave up on the thought of them resting and got out the sprinkler. I love the pictures I got where they were mid play. Every time I cracked open my library book, someone aimed the cold water at someone else. And Daven spent much of his time on his throne of dirt. After a while I gave up on my book and started chasing them all around with the spray sunscreen. 

A few juice barrels and popsicles later, it was almost dinner time. I'm pretty sure the kids would have stayed outside all night if I had let them!

Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour - Cover Reveal

 I stumbled across Donna's twitter account a while back, and for the past few months I have been reviewing an assortment of books for various blog tours that she hosts.  So far it's been great, and I look forward to continue reading and reviewing.

Donna Huber herself is coming out with a nonfiction book regarding these blog tours and today marks the day for her cover reveal!


Plan a successful blog tour while keeping your sanity.

From the publicist who introduced the world to Fifty Shades of Grey, Donna Huber is now revealing her secrets to successful blog tours. She shares tips and tricks learned through organizing over 30 tours, blasts, and promotional events for nearly 50 independently and traditionally published titles.

Secrets revealed in this quick read include,

* Planning stage decisions

* Different types of tours

* Recruiting bloggers and keeping requests organized

* Best practice communication tips

* Tricks to making a great guest appearance

* How to organize a fun (and legal) giveaway

* Actions to take during the tour

* Next steps once the tour is complete

* Virtual tour and other promotional opportunities

* When to hire a professional

In this easy to follow manual, Donna does not stop there. She spills even more of her blog tour secrets to help authors get the most out of their events by providing,

* Tour checklist

* Tour invite tips

* Step-by-step guide to creating tour graphics

* 10 broad guest post topics

* 25 sample interview questions

“I highly recommend this book for authors about to release their first – or their fiftieth! – book”

~Alison Deluca, author of the Crown Phoenix series


Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads where, in addition to book reviews and author appearances, she writes the popular blogging advice series, Tips on Thursday. She has worked as a freelance publicist since 2010 assisting publishers and authors with their marketing and publicity needs. Most notably, she was the publicist for The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House edition of Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James.

When she is not doling out blogging advice or promoting the next bestseller, she can be found spending time with family (particularly the four legged, furry members), rewatching Downton Abbey and Harry Potter, or trying to make a dent in her never ending to-be-read pile.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Blast: The Hitwoman and the Family Jewels

While I have not yet had a chance to get my hands on this series, it is on my list.  Take a look!

Summer has officially started and it's time to get reading!

Win a $25 Amazon or iTune Gift Card 

You could get this summer's funniest read:

How do you say “no” to a mob boss?

When bumbling hitwoman Maggie Lee is asked by her mob boss employer to kill a cop, she wants to say no.

When her sexy murder mentor, Patrick Mulligan tells her the cop in question is a guy she once dated, she REALLY wants to refuse.

But when her former date, Paul Kowalski tries to kill her, she changes her tune to “Hell, yes!”

Maggie and Patrick grow closer as they scramble to figure out what it is that Kowalski is looking for and what it has to do with her prison escapee father.

Maggie’s search is hampered by the presence of US Marshals hunting her father and her crazier-than-usual family.

Along with her snarky talking lizard, grammatically-challenged Doberman, and a pissy cat, she races to solve the mystery and protect her family. But nothing in Maggie’s life ever goes as planned….

Buy at Amazon, iBookstore, B&N

Chat LIVE with J. B. Lynn 
Thursday, May 30 at 8 pm eastern
Twitter: #Hitwoman

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A GWR Publicity event paid for by the author. Giveaway is sponsored by the author.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: A Child Called It

This book broke my heart.  And not in the Nicholas Sparks Someone I loved died and I'm never going to love again oh wait I think I'm falling in love way.  This was more painful to read than Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes.  This true, gut-wrenching story made me hurt inside.

The author, Dave Pelzer, narrates as himself from childhood, where he was brutally and continually abused by his mother.  There were multiple passages within that made me feel physically ill to my stomach.  The manner in which his mother singled him out among all of his other brothers as the "bad boy" and tortured him is unspeakable. 

How he managed to survive his long sentence with his family I do not know.  I certainly do not think I would have the will power to outlast everything that he endured.  I can't imagine the courage it must have taken him to write out his story on paper for others to know.  But I'm glad that he did, because we all need to be more aware of the prevalence of abuse, whether it be a child, a partner, or stranger.  Just because I kiss my child more times a day than I can keep track of doesn't mean that every other child in the world feels that outward affection and love.

This book is the first in a trilogy chronicling David's story.  While I don't want to deal with the raw emotions that accompany this subject, I feel like I need to know more about how everything played out.  While we are told in the prologue that David does eventually get taken from his abusive home, this book does not end with the trauma resolved.  

Hug your kid.  If you don't have one, hug the person nearest you.  Hug your dog.  There are cruel people in this world.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: The Lighter Side of Large

I downloaded this book free from amazon, although it is currently priced at $4.99.  This is Becky Siame's debut novel, in a genre called "reality fiction".  As you can probably deduct from the cover art, the book centers around an overweight female character.

Bella struggles everyday; bumping into people in a crowded coffee shop, self-conscious and pessimistic about life.  Her husband left her for her own sister when their second child was only two weeks old.  Now those two are getting married and Bella is expected to attend the wedding.  With much pushing and encouragement from her friends, she decides to make some big changes in her life.

I was afraid that this was going to be an unrealistic novel about someone who lost the weight quick and lived happily ever after, but it was much more than that.  And while the author didn't list the specifics of Bella's new diet and exercise routine, she did show the struggle that occurred. 

The book touched on the issue that self-acceptance is difficult, no matter what size you are.  It is a powerful message that I myself struggle with, and it was refreshing to experience it through this character's perspective.

Unlike Bella, who starts the journey a single parent, I have a husband who loves me for me, no matter the size.  Now I need to become healthier and happier with who I am.

Book Review: Confessions of a Scary Mommy

I had been wanting to read this book ever since I somehow stumbled onto the author's twitter.  But wouldn't you know that the library didn't have it and I couldn't afford to buy it.

Happy birthday to me!

Adam got me a gift card for my Nook for my birthday last week.  And after much frustration and multiple calls made to them wondering how an emailed gift card would take so long to show up in an email, even though the amount had already been deducted from our banking account, I finally got it yesterday afternoon.  Anyway.

Adam came up to bed at about 11:40 last night and was surprised that I was still awake.  "I want to go to bed.  I just can't stop reading."  And so about ten minutes later, I was finished with the book.  It is, after all, under 200 pages.  "Why did you buy a book that's so short?"

I have to admit, shelling out $11.99 for this book was hard to do, especially since it's very rare that I actually purchase a book.  But I had been wanting to read it for so long, I had to dive right in.  The author, Jill Smokler, has already written another book!  But alas, my gift card will not cover the cost for that book as well, so I will wait until Barnes and Noble snail mails my "I'm sorry we suck" $5 gift card.  Then I will have enough!

The whole idea for this book came from the author's blog.  Her family had just moved to a new city and she was home with three kids.  She decided to give writing a try.  After writing online for a while, she set up an anonymous confessional for her readers to leave comments about their own mommy woes, without worry of being flamed by the super-moms.

The book consists of many of the reader confessionals, all packaged into neat chapters about Smokler's own experiences ranging from pregnancy to how her life with her kids currently is.  Could I relate to every single confessional?  No.  But it was such a relief to read about other moms worrying about not being good enough.

A personal story that really stuck with me was the author's own struggle with breast feeding.  She even mentioned taking the same herb supplements that I did back when Daven was a newborn.  She talks about the overwhelming guilt that she had about not being able to keep her baby full and how switching to formula was such a rough choice.  I just read through, thinking I know just exactly how that feels.

So as you can probably tell, this book gets very personal.  But I really applaud Smokler's candor and telling it like it is, as apposed to sugar-coating everything.  Being a mommy is hard and in between those perfect pictures that we post online is a lot of frustration and self doubt.  And that's ok.  you aren't alone.

Being a scary mommy doesn't mean that you mistreat your kids.  It means that you haven't showered in days and don't think twice about sniffing a rear end to check for poo.  And that swiping some of your kid's holiday candy is alright.  I think that any and every mommy out there can resonate with the message of this book.  I can't wait to read her newest book.  Jill - thank you for this.  You rock, momma!

Daven Says - Potty Training

We've had a few good days with the battle of the potty. Daven has actually started telling us he needs to go. Woo hoo!

Today decided to sit down on the potty. A moment later I see him peeking down into the toilet. "Look, mommy!  Two poop hot dogs for the potty to eat!"

You give it your poop, kiddo. 

Carrot Chips...Kind of...

Carrots, olive oil and salt are all you need for this recipe. Supposedly, if you slice and bake, crispy chips will result. I'm not sure if I didn't cut my carrots thin enough or what, but mine ended up more mushy and floppy. I tasted them - yuck. But I didn't tell Daven my own personal verdict. 

He ate the heck out of these. And he never eats carrots. Raw with dip, cooked with roast, in soups - he just won't eat them. But these so-called chips got him eating more carrots than he's eaten since I made his baby food. 

He did participate in the process, which I think helped his desire to taste the finished product. He "cut" his carrots with a blunt knife while I stood beside him and cut for real. 

If you have made your own chips or try this for yourself, let me know how they turn out. I'd like to know what I could have done to make them better. I'd really like to try this with sweet potatoes, hopefully with a crispier result!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Daven Says

Daven and his cousin Morgan were busy playing outside this afternoon, switching between golf, the water table, bowling and such. While they were both playing in the sandbox I pointed out a bird that was on the hill looking for worms. 

"Oh, that's a pretty robin," said Morgan. 

"No, that's a bird. Robin is in Batman," was Daven's reply. 

I couldn't convince him otherwise. I blame his daddy. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Book Review: Dead Ever After

It's such a bittersweet moment, the end of a series.  Despite the fact that I wouldn't have minded if the Sookie Stackhouse series went on indefinitely, it is now officially over.  I received my copy for Mother's Day and wasn't able to put it down until it was finished.

Coming back to finish this story took a bit of memory refreshing.  It had been a year since the previous book came out.  Then there was a season of True Blood, in which the plot is absolutely different.  So I had to really think about which plot line went where.  Harris helped out with little refreshers in the book, without making it seem like too much of a review.

So how Bon Temps end up fairing?  Do the vampires take over?  Do the fairies and the witches have it out?  Well of course I'm not going to give any spoilers to that.  There are tons of people online making their hatred of this book clear.  I don't agree with them in the slightest.  I loved this book.  I loved how it ended.  It made me happy.  I need for some other people to read it so that I can talk about it with them!

Oh, and if you plan on reading it and don't want the ending ruined, do NOT google search the book in any way.  When I was looking for the cover picture to post, there were all kinds of spoilers abound.  So read first, search later.

One thing that I do think this final book was lacking in was more of an ending for all of the characters.  I understand that with a dozen books there are going to be a lot of characters that the readers have grown to love and invest in.  And while we get an ending for Sookie, Harris leaves us hanging on where some of the other players end up.

You know how at the end of some movies there is a reel that shows each person and underneath is a written blurb about what they ended up doing?  I wish there had been an epilogue that shared how everyone ended the series.  My guess is that Harris was more leaving this up to the readers' imaginations.  I can't say that I blame her - she's gotten death threats over how she mapped out Sookie's future.  I can't imagine how angry some of these people would be if she was more specific about the secondary characters!

I am admittedly sad that this series is over.  Charlaine Harris has other, shorter series and I have read pieces of those.  Sadly, the library's collection is incomplete.  I hope that she will continue to write, and I look forward to reading whatever she dreams up next.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Clarksville Little League Parade

We had a long and chilly day, as did many other baseball families.  Bright and early at 8:30 this morning, we were getting ready for the annual Clarksville Little League Parade.  Each team in the league had a "float" and we traveled all around Clarksville, waking people out of their weekend slumber.  Daven really wasn't sure what to think.

As you can see in the background, we had firetrucks to accompany the troop.  One of papaw's fellow police officers led the parade, while many others blocked off traffic so that the kiddos could ride around safely on a variety of different trailers and trucks.

I rode on the trailer with Daven and his team while daddy drove around and watched us from a couple different spots.

After the long parade route, we ended up back at the ball park, where they handed out trophies for the best floats in each division.  There was a scare and a pause in festivities when one of the coaches had a seizure.  Luckily, there were plenty of nurses there to help take care of him until the ambulance could arrive (Aunt Lauren and Uncle Gary were part of the group that helped him) and we hope that he is going to be ok.  It was startling to see, but all of the kids did a great job staying calm and remaining out of the way.

Our team won for the tball division!  I'm sure that the dugout moms made that possible.  All we did was show up to an already decorated trailer.

After all of this, we took a lunch break as a family to Arby's and then Daven played a game.  I didn't actually get any pictures, but he was a trooper and actually got up to bat twice.  He didn't run the bases, but it's progress!

We all took a nap when we got back home.  Phew, what a day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Applesauce Dots

Food is more fun when it's frozen, right?  Well, maybe not all food. But since yogurt dots were a hit with Daven a while back, I thought I'd try the same thing with applesauce. 

Put some applesauce into a plastic sandwich baggie and snip off one of the corners. Squeeze little dots onto a baking sheet. You could also just spoon some onto the sheet if you wanted. Then pop into the freezer for a few hours. After frozen, you can move them from the sheet to a baggie or container to save freezer space.

Just as I thought, Daven couldn't wait to eat these. They will certainly be nice snack for the summer!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Daven Says

Earlier this morning we were in Daven's playroom and we both seemed to notice at the same time that his pull-up was less than fresh.

"Ew, Daven. We need to change that. "

He looks down and gives it a squish. I cringe.

He then pats his crotch and says, "It looks like there's a baby in here. "

I think I said ew, although I'm not really sure. It certainly caught me off guard.

Later that morning...

I finally convinced him to change out of his pjs. With his shirt off, he said, "Look, mommy. I have tiny boobs. See, right here. ". He pointed to his nipples.

Then as his clean shirt was getting put on, he said, "This shirt like a bra for my boobs. ".

Oh dear.

Book Review: AfterLife

Although we meet Wes at the end of his life, there is more life after death. Wes becomes a member of the living dead. But these aren't mindless zombies eating human brains. Their souls are still alive, and after proper preservation of their newly dead bodies, as well as a tutorial on how to feed their soul, the dead blend into every day society.

Wes is reborn into the AfterLife; the good guys of the living dead. He soon discovers, however, that there is another organization with ill intentions, and they are angry that they did not get to recruit him first.

The premise of this book is an interesting one. Cloward creates a world different from anything else I've read or seen. While most living dead stories take place in an apocalyptic scenario, everyday society functions as usual in the new world that Wes is learning to be a part of.

While I found a bit of the midsection rough to get through, I enjoyed this book overall. As with all good vs evil, expect a showdown at the conclusion. It's an interesting one. Also, don't expect a happily ever after. There's a second book in the works to expand on the story. I'm curious to see what happens next.

If you enjoy a good book where things aren't always what they seem, give this one a try.