Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hellooooo out there!

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to pop on here and apologise for being MIA on here lately.  Since my Mom's stroke things have progressed from bad to worse and we are all desperately trying to figure out what the hell is going on.  This is taking every single emotional and mental bit of energy that I have so I just am not able to read, blog, or do much else but the occasionally "click like" on facebook. 

I am not gone forever, but have no idea when I will have much to post or visit other blogs.  I miss everyone!

I am also trying to get all of the assignments and training on my dog for my certification in February and with Christmas looming it is very busy!

Love you all.


Monday, November 15, 2010


Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme created by Marcia over at The Printed Page and is now a blog tour!  This month it is hosted by Julie over at Knitting and Sundries.  I love her blog, she is also doing a giveaway every week of her hosting! 

My mailbox is a combo of freebies and purchases, first I recieved a book from the publisher that I was SUPER excited about as I saw it last year over at The Literate Housewife and really really wanted it then and now I have it!  It is:
Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures by Trace Chevalier
Here is the blurb:
From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"--and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.
Remarkable Creatures is a stunning novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, is it a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship.

I have purposefully NOT read the blurb because a lot of the time I like to go in completely fresh with only a vague notion of what the book is about.  I know that it is about fossils and given the cover I am guessing it is set in the 18 or 19 hundreds. 

Some books I bought:

The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

This is perhaps one of THE most important books written about dogs and their relationship with humans ever written.  It is a classic in the dog training world, and I have only just started it but already am completely enthralled and learning a TON. 


Dogs:  A new understanding of canine origin, evolution and behavior by Lorna and Ray Coppinger
A great book based on years of study by a husband and wife.

And this one:

Canine Behavior:  A Photo Illustrated Handbook
by Barbara Handelman
Dogs have deliberate, subtle, and often humorous ways of expressing themselves. Canine Behavior - A Photo Illustrated Handbook includes 1,000 images of dogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes. It was created for everyone interested in dogs—pet owners, trainers, veterinarians, ethologists, and behaviorists. Using the interdisciplinary language of photography, Barbara Handelman illustrates and explains canine behavior and communication. Her book establishes a common understanding and vocabulary for people interested in, and working with, dogs.  
This book is loaded with pictures of dogs and wolves in various behaviors in play, agression, fear etc.  Fantastic!

For more mailbox Monday posts and to add your link to the fun click here!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today has a lovely Sunday "feel". Did you ever see that Seinfeld episode where Elaine, George and Kramer are all discussing the days of the week and how they "feel"?  Did you ever wake up one day and you have to keep reminding yourself it's a Thursday when it feels like a Friday?  That happens to me all of the time.

First off - reading-After finishing The Distant Hours I have been meandering through various reads trying to decide which one to dive into.  I have no deadline on any of them, but there are a few freebies I have on the roster and I want your opinion on which one I should read next, here they are in no particular order:

The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland


His Last Letter by Jeane Westin

Remarkable Creatures
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Any insight on any of these titles would be greatly appreciated!

Also, the pic of the adorable little pooch from wordless wednesday was our little foster from Mexico we had for just over a week.  Yesterday we took him to the Pawsitive Match adoption fair and when we arrived we were given a little "Adopt Me" bandana to put on him and as we were tying it around his little tiny chicken neck a lady and her adult daughter came up and "ooohed" and "awwwed" over him.  They had seen him on the website and took him in their arms immediately and an hour later my oldest daughter and I were saying our tearful goodbye to our beloved BJ.  He was such a fantastic dog, and we all miss him so much, but we are beyond happy that he has found his forever home with such a lovely family.  In fact, when the daughter came up to say goodbye he was over her shoulder snuggled into her neck fast asleep! 

Here is me getting one last kiss and snuggle:

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Monday, November 8, 2010


Release date: November 9, 2010
576 pages

Firstly I want to thank Anneliese of Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of this book!  I was so thrilled to get one as I read and LOVED The Forgotten Garden.

Here is the blurb from the inside jacket:
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 
The Distant Hours is in the same vein as Morton's other books as in there is a mystery that is introduced and as the story unfolds each layer brings us closer and closer to the truth.  Kate Morton has a lovely way of leading us through a story.  Some reviewers have admitted to getting distracted by the length of time it takes her to get from point A to point B, and while I understand their point, it really doesn't bother me.  But what is interesting is that just like with Forgotten Garden I found I really didn't get totally hooked into the story until about 1/2 way through.  That's not saying I didn't enjoy it up till that point, but it just didn't GRAB me.  But once it did, well, I just couldn't turn the pages fast enough!

I love the way the author weaves various time periods together.  As with FG there is a modern day person trying to uncover the mystery of a person in the past.  In fact in that way the stories are very similar.  I won't be reading another Kate Morton book for awhile because I have a sneaky suspicion that that is her style of story telling, and while I'm not complaining you wouldn't want to read too many of her books back-to-back like I just did.

Much of the story revolves around a castle, and if you know me at all, you know that I'm totally bat crazy about castles.  And although this one isn't exactly medieval like I would dream about, it's still dank and stoney and musty and kewl.  

And I am SO GLAD that the author dropped the weird way of structuring sentences as in Forgotten.  I forgot to mention it in my review which you can read here.  But here's the thing, if you are going to write something, why on earth would you do this:

She saw him laughing in the corner, couldn't bear to watch.


She collapsed on the bed from sheer exhaustion, didn't dare to look up.

Do you see what I'm getting at here?  When I was reading the last book, every single time I would come across one of these crazy sentences I would just boil.  It drove me NUTS.  I finally had to just let it GO, or I could have never finished it.  And once I just ignored it, I loved the book immensely.  It was like her editor or her felt they had to cut out words to tighten it up.  Thank GOD there was literally only ONE sentence in all of The Distant Hours that was like this.  And because it had to do with on of the more unstable of the Blythe sisters, it somehow made sense.

I think if you are a fan of Kate's books you will love this one.  After I closed the cover I felt very very satisfied, and will recommend it to anyone looking for a great enveloping read.  Like her other books, it's not one you can just read a couple of pages and put it down for a few days, I've found that you have to stay on top of her books.  I get way more out of it if I read it in large chunks for more than 30 minutes at a time.  The stories are fairly complex with a lot of characters and several time periods so it could be easy to not necessarily get lost, but to get "distracted" as one reviewer commented.

The Distant Hours would be a lovely gift for the holidays, it has a gorgeous cover, and it is a perfect read for a blustery winter day all cozied up by a fire.  LOVELY!

One last thing:
Here is an EXTREMELY cool book trailer for it.. most book trailers are kind of cheesy, but this one is very unique and funky...

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton from Pan Macmillan on Vimeo.

RATING: 4.5/5

Friday, November 5, 2010


Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi
Simon and Schuster Canada
Pages: 320
$25.99 CAD

Thank you so much to Anneliese from Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book!

Unbearable Lightness was a compelling read, in fact I read it in just 3 days.  Portia De Rossi has always been fascinating to me, she changed her name at 15 from Amanda Rogers to the more exotic Portia De Rossi on a whim, she is married to one of the most powerful lesbian celebrities out there, and she is a pretty good actress to boot.  I thought her book would be more about her coming out as a celebrity, but what it really is about is her horrific battle with anorexia and bulimia. 

This book is very painful and difficult to read at times.   Portia has said that she did not want to write the book from the perspective of a healthy person writing about their eating disorder in the past tense, instead she dove back into her life as it was and spoke in the insane justifying language that I can only imagine most women with this disorder use.  I had no idea that there was such obsession every second of everyday with counting calories and what food was digesting and what it was doing to the fat or lack thereof in her body.  Eating her food with only chopsticks and making sure that the size of food on her chopsticks was never higher than the width of the utensil.  Refusing to use toothpaste as she was terrified of ingesting any unnecessary calories.  In the end she was restricting her calorie intake to an unbelievable 300 calories per day! 

She claims that her disorder started quite innocently when she was twelve and blames it on modeling.  While I am not discounting that at all, as the modeling world was and is brutal to very young girls about their bodies, what I find interesting is that in her interviews and even in her book she seems to avoid putting any blame on her mother's obvious contribution to her illness.  At the age of 12 her mother would comment on her being slightly overweight and emphasize that she needed to be thinner to get jobs, and then would give her dieting "tips" on how to cut calories and exercise to lose weight.  She was TWELVE.  There seemed to be a sick connection between her mother and her when it came to weight loss, her mother would celebrate weight loss with her, and be quick to point out that she needed to lose weight and swoop in with suggestions.  Even though at one point in the book she does mention her mother's influence with some emotion, she never really says that this had a huge affect on her eating or in her case NOT eating. 

Her book at the end of it all is an extremely powerful message to any woman who struggles not to define herself by her beauty, weight, or looks in general.  This is a powerful read but not for the faint of heart.  My only worry in reading it is with so much detail in exactly what, when, and how much Portia ate every day to equal 300 calories and to subsequently reach a deadly 82 pounds, that she has unwittingly given women with eating disorders an exact plan to follow.  She describes how she would take one packet of oatmeal, a sprinkle of splenda, and a spray of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, or Jello with a spray of the butter for example.  I suppose for the number of women and girls she will undoubtedly help, it may be worth the risk, who knows?

Her writing style is very good and in her interview with Ellen yesterday both had said she wrote every single solitary word, and I have to say kudos to her as it was a very well written account of her struggle.

For more information about eating disorders and how you can help or begin your recovery visit:  http://www.nedic.ca/ in Canada or http://www.feast-ed.org/FEAST.aspx in the US, there are many organizations and support groups out there to help.


Book Blogger Hop

If you are stopping by from The Hop.... WELCOME!!!! I just love Blog Hop, I have met some fantastic people and visited some terrific blogs as a result!

Here's this weeks question:

"What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?"

I have to say I have wondered briefly about this on occasion, but I try not to worry about it too much.  Like yesterday I lost one follower, and I figured it was maybe because I haven't been posting enough?  Or maybe they just were not into what i have been reading?  The blogs that I read the most are the ones in my blogroll, I scan thru them everyday and read which ones interest me at the time.  I comment usually only if I really have something to say, and I don't expect a reply unless I have asked a specific question.  I think in my google reader I have hundreds of blogs that I "follow", but admit to not checking it as often as I should.  The only time I have un-followed a blog is if they have not had a blog post for a few months (like more than 3 or 4), and even then I may not.  

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


As I have said before things are very stressful right now with my Mom.  She is now being transferred to a care facility for 2 weeks where they can closely monitor her meds.  She is doing great, but they want to make sure that her meds are right and that she will not have another seizure.  It's so tough on my poor Dad.  ANYway, last night I stumbled accross this Hidden Camera prank that Sofia Vergara did on Ellen.  OMG it is SOOOO damn funny.  I have watched it a dozen times and still laugh my butt off.  She is so awesome.  LOVE her.  She is by far, next to Cam, the funniest cast member on Modern Family.  She's beautiful, funny AND smart. 

Anyway, ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Well, here we are again back at my most favouritest meme E-V-E-R.  Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.  So sorry that it is so late in the day.. but here goes..
  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page and select 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • try not to include spoilers... it can be tricky but sooo worth it!
  • include the name of book and author so we can add them to our morbidly obese TBR piles.
Like most of not all of you I am reading several things right now.  The Distant Hours (I am about 1/2 way and really enjoying it), A Furry Prayer, and a new book I just got today from Simon and Schuster the Portia DeRossie autobiography (I can-NOT put this book DOWN!).

Today's teaser, though, is from the doggie rescue book because the author is just so damn charming.  In a nut shell, in case you missed my last post, this very modern big city guy met a super incredible woman whose soul purpose was to save dogs.  He liked dogs, even loved them, but couldn't fathom spending your entire life running around rescuing them.  Once he met Joy, though, he fell in love so hard he just had to be with her at all costs... the rescue thing was just a side-line, that ended up being an incredible transforming force in his life.

(Disclaimer:  this will be more than two sentences, I'm cheating, but I can't help myself)

"Now wait just a minute," I tried to protest.  "I definately have some experience with altruism."
 "Which is?"
"Like everybody else who backpacked through Asia after college, I had sex with a Peace Corps volunteer."
"Uh-huh," she said, "absolutely, that counts."

For more teasers click here.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme normally hosted by Marcia at the Printed page but this month is being hosted by Julie over at Knitting and Sundries. 

Okay, so before I do my mailbox I have to say that the last week we had a family emergency in that my Mom had what they THINK may be a stroke on Thursday, or it could be a seizure from a mix of medication that she is on.  Either way I had to call 911 Thursday afternoon and she is still in the hospital but doing very well.  They do not want her to leave until they find out exactly why she had the event and how they can prevent it in the future.  It was one of the most frightening things I have ever been through, for all of us, not the least of which, obviously, for my parents.  SO, there has not been much of reading, blogging or work on my dog training course happening.

Before this happened I did go to the bookstore with my 3 year old and picked up a book I had read about : (which I JUST discovered while looking for an image of the cover that you can read the book FOR FREE onine at google books.  Click here to read it FOR FREE.)  ANYway, I'm not bothered, eventhough for a small book under 250 pages it's 30 BUCKS.  But I digress... just look at the cover..

I mean seriously.  Doesn't that little wee pathetic looking chihuahua mix just make you wanna run to your nearest acreage and open the flood gates letting every stray into your yard??!!!

The book is awesome and Steven Kotler is hilarious.  He was a city slicker with no desire for kids or the country life who fell in love with a woman who, although also wanting no kids, had a "thing" for rescuing dogs.  Before he knows it he is buying a small farm in the middle-of-nowhere New Mexico and taking in dozens of hard luck doggies from high kill shelters.  Okay, so maybe that part's not funny, but the WAY he tells his story IS.

I also received, from Simon and Schuster Canada (THANK YOU!)  a  couple of memoirs and a novel by Nicole Ritchie.  Hm.  I tried to read the first few pages of Richie's book but just could not stomach it, and I feel terrible about it!  But it really is just horribly written drivel.  The other two are:

I have to admit I am a tad curious about this one, Late, Late at Night Rick Springfield's memoir.  There may have been a few occasions in the mid 80's when my 14/15 year old self belted out Jesse's Girl.  But really, did he write anymore songs?  I have no idea...  All I can say is:  EASY on the eyeliner, buddy!  Can you see his eyes on the cover??  ANYway, I flipped through briefly to look at the pictures and one thing I did glean from them is that he has been with the same woman for a ba-zillion years, and that says something pretty cool about him.

The next one I already emailed S and S and told them I will most likely not read it and would be happy to ship it back to them.  I know that sounds awfully cranky of me but I can't help it.  I just have zero interest in reading this:

I mean really, people, an autobiography about Susan Boyle?  REALLY?!  Okay, I'm not insulting those of you that may want to read it, I'm not, but I just don't get the fascination.  So S and S said I did not have to send it back but I could pass it on to someone who might like to read it.

SO whomever would like the Susan Boyle autobiography and this book:

You can have them for free but the only catch is you have to pay for shipping.  So it may or may not be worth it to you to snap either or both of these up depending on where you live.

I am still so grateful for the publishers I am fortunate enough to work with and many many books that I have loved have come in the way of a package I have not expected and got to open like a little kid at Christmas.  But occasionally I am sent a book or two that I just cannot commit to reading to.  I have so many books that I still need to read (I am about a third of the way thru The Distant Hours and I have to finish it in 8 days!) and want to read, so I really have to say no when I receive a book that just isn't for me.

ANYway, that is my mailbox Monday and a bit about the stuff that has been going on around here!

Have a wonderful day!