Behind the Scenes of the Readathon: Part 3

October 13, 2015 Books 3

In the interest of, oh, I don’t know, showing how much work goes into the readathon? Not from a show off or complaining standpoint, but just in a “see, this is what we are doing” standpoint, I thought I’d do one more post from behind the scenes the week OF the Readathon.

  • Spent Saturday and Sunday (not all DAY, but probably a good part of it) establishing teams in Twitter and starting to move all the bloggers, Instagrammers, Tumblrs, etc, etc, into their spreadsheets. More than 200 people have signed up since I last looked at the list! Oh my! As each reader signs up, they are evaluated for whether they want a cheerleader or not, which platform they want to be cheered for on (Twitter, blog, Instagram, etc) and sorted into their houses teams. Can I be Gryffindor?  I would kill for a sorting hat.
  • Went ahead and wrote out my four posts for the Readathon blog and scheduled them. Nice to have that off my plate!
  • At this point, each platform has its own worksheet in my master spreadsheet, except for Twitter users. After last year’s record 1500 reader turn out, it was decided to move the Twitter readers to Twitter. Each reader has been put into a list in our Twitter account and every cheerleader for their respective groups will be able to go to their list and see just their readers. Our hope is to streamline
  • Emailed all the cheerleaders who have signed up so far. Basically saying, yes, we see you, we love love love you and there will be more information later. There isn’t much to say yet!
  • Come home Monday. After feeding family, I get online to check in. Over 30 more people have signed up! Get them into teams for their respective platforms.
  • Fire off a quick post on my own blog that, admittedly, I’ve been working on for about 2 weeks. Made me happy though, so it’s all good. Take a moment to consider writing up Readathon post but decide against it just yet. Just too much to do.
  • Jump on Twitter for a bit of networking. I just love talking to everyone! The excitement is building!
  • Oh wait, we have a quest Tweeter tonight! Small load off. lol
  • Have small epiphany. Start talking it out with Andi via Facebook Messenger. Did you know we spend all day on Messenger? Even in non-readathon times. We define “WOMANCE.” Again, I decide I don’t like this term. Just not as cool as BROMANCE.
  • Begin working to see if small epiphany (which is starting to feel larger by the minute) will work.
  • Mentally pace the floor. I can’t really pace the floor because I’m holding a laptop.
  • Go through list again. Am so happy to see so many return readers! And even more excited to see new ones! I just love this event.
  • Oh no! It’s 7:30 and kids haven’t done homework. Ugh.
  • Small epiphany turns into huge one. Am all kinds of shiny. Is it possible? I DO BELIEVE IT IS. Shiny shiny.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, do it all again. Thursday and Friday too.
  • Will go to bed early Friday, since I open the Readathon bright and early at 8:00 EST.
  • Will have minor panic attack Friday night (just ask Andi, I always do) that we’ve forgotten something. We never do.
  • At some point, figure out what I’m going to read and, even more importantly, what I’m going to EAT.

See you Saturday!



More things that make me ridiculously happy.

October 12, 2015 Books 2

  • I found a new podcast! You Must Remember This is about:

You Must Remember This is a storytelling podcast about the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Distributed by Infinite Guest from American Public Media, You Must Remember This is the brainchild and passion project ofKarina Longworth, who writes, narrates, records and edits each episode in her home in Los Angeles.

This podcast is a heavily-researched work of creative nonfiction. Every reasonable attempt is made at accuracy, but quite often when it comes to the kinds of stories we explore here, between conflicting reports, conscious and unconscious mythologizing and institutionalized spin, the truth is murky at best.

It is SO good. I’m binge listening.

  • The Blacklist. OMG
  • Andi. She’s my other soul mate. You know, after my hubby.
  • The Readathon. This week will be full of craziness but it’s all worth it.sully
  • Sullivan Stapleton. I didn’t have enough gruff ‘n scruff in my life, now that House is off the air. He’s on Blindspot, one of my favorite new shows this season.
  • Okay, yeah, one more podcast. It’s been a podcast kind of week. No time to focus on longer things! Oh, wait, podcast! It’s called The Message. It’s just started, having just released their second episode. The podcast is being co-produced by Panoply (a podcast network) and GE Podcast Theater. The premise is this: [The podcast is]

    following the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of 8 weeks, listeners follow a team of top cryptologists as they attempt to decipher, decode, and understand the alien message.

    Two episodes in and I am completely hooked.

That’s it for this week! What is making you ridiculously happy lately?



A More Diverse Universe – Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis

October 8, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 7 ★★★★★

A More Diverse Universe – Mare’s War by Tanita S. DavisMare's War
Series: diversiverse, mare's war, tanita s. davis
Published by Random House Children's
on June 2009
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Library

There are a great many things I find fascinating.  Family history.  WWII history.  Teenagers.  (No really, they are!) And road trips, for a start.

Mare’s War features all of these, so there was no way I wasn’t going to love this book.  And I did, I sooooo did.

Going on a road trip with their… unusual grandmother Mare is the last thing teens Tali and Octavia want to do with their summer.  At the insistence of their mother, the girls reluctantly get in the car and take off to a mysterious family reunion on the other side of the country, in Alabama.

The girls, like most teenagers, don’t know how they will survive the trip with Mare.  Before they have even left the driveway, their grandmother is getting on their nerves with her smoking and Mare is annoying with Tali constantly listening to music on her MP3 player.  The two make a pact; Mare will not smoke if Tali will give up the music.

To make the time go faster, Mare begins telling the girls stories, stories of her younger years.  The girls are astonished to hear about Mare’s youth in Alabama, about how she grew up during the Great Depression, the lengths she went to to protect her own sister and her differences with her mother.  The biggest surprise of all is learning how Mare ran away from home to join the WAC (Women’s Army Corp) and served during World War II.  Mare’s struggles at home with her mother and her mother’s abusive man make joining the army feel like a piece of cake.  It gives her a safe place to live, three meals and day and gives her strength and a belief in herself that could never be bought.

Yet, even though the WAC gave immeasurable help to their country while fighting the Nazi’s in Europe, the segregation that Mare and all the other colored soldiers in the 6888th Battalion, Company C, face is much harder to defeat.  Mare’s tough spirit and pride in her Company and all the women she served with  remain with her and become a huge part of who she is. After all she’s been through, is it any wonder she thinks Tali and Octavia are a little bit spoiled?

The girls are fascinated.  Who knew their grandmother had done such amazing things?  Mare’s stories are eye-opening to say the least.  By the end of their trip, the three have grown closer and the girls have a new respect for Mare – and Mare for them.

Tanita S. Davis has written a thoughtful, powerful tale about women, African-Americans, and the struggles they have faced in, not only the racist past, but in the still racist present we live in now.  Not only that, but it fills in a blank part of all American’s history of World War II, the brave way the women of the 6888th Battalion, Company C, helped end World War II.  And it’s powerful message of family, of history, of knowing your place in the world and the sacrifices of those who came before us, help shape every reader’s perception of themselves.  I hate to admit that I knew next to nothing about the 6888th Battalion, Company C, so I was so happy to learn more about these amazing women.  It’s a shame that their story has been so hugely lost to history and many props to Ms. Davis for bringing their story back to the light.  This is a book everyone woman, no matter their color, should read.

As for whether a teenager will sit through a book about history, I love what Liz B at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy has to say about that:

Oh, and if you have teens who you know will like this book but may be turned off by the history, because some teenagers eyes glaze over when you say “and it’s about women soldiers in World War II!” Simply say, “and then Mare went after her mother’s boyfriend with a hatchet.” Imagine hearing THAT about your grandma.

Not to mention Tali and Octavia do a lot of growing up during the course of their road-trip.  Octavia especially, a quiet, shy girl, learns to find courage within herself and that is always fun to read. And the dynamic between the two girls, typical sisters, friends and fighters, is well written and felt true to life.

Mare is one tough grandma and I couldn’t help but come to adore her (and the girls!) over the course of this book and is definitely why this was one of my favorite reads ever.



Listen Up! My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl

October 6, 2015 Books 4 ★★★★★

Listen Up! My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth ReichlMy Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life
on September 25, 2015
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”

My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.

The 136 recipes collected here represent a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl’s enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.

Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl’s most stirring book yet—one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world's most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Is there anything better than sitting down with a friend, sharing a meal, a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, some great conversation?


Listening to this book, which is yes, part memoir, part cookbook, feels like that. Listening is like sitting down with Ruth Reichl, as she tells of the dismantling of Gourmet magazine and how she handled the aftermath. She talks. She cooks. She inspires. She loves. Her voice is soft and relaxing. Her writing is gorgeous and will make you so very hungry. Really, you can’t go wrong here. Great writing, great stories, great recipes. And the best part? It’s a great story of how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and find the next thing to fulfill your life.

The only problem, FOR ME (since I had a review copy of the audiobook), is I didn’t get the recipes. If you buy the audiobook however, you get the recipes in a separate file. Win win for you! As for me, I’ll be buying the book.

Seriously, heavily, recommended. 5 delicious stars.



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

October 5, 2015 Books, Meme 3

h my GOSH you guys. I am reading the best books. The Dead Ladies Project by Jessa Crispin caught my eye weeks ago when Kerry from Entomology of a Bookworm was all Read This Now. And I was all Okay, As Soon As I Can Get My Hands On It. My hands are on it and they don’t want to come OFF y’all. It has so many of my favorite things. Food. Travel. Ex-pats. Looking For Oneself in Unusual (ie: the last place you would think to look for yourself) Places.

Did I mention it is so good?

I am also listening to Toni Morrison read her book Beloved because IT IS #Diversiverse Week!!!! So excited! Aarti’s link up post is here. Follow along with all the diversity fun and heck, link yourself up as well! JOIN IN THE FUN Y’ALL.

Did I mention Toni Morrison reads her book? Her voice is magic. Serious magic.

What are you reading this week? Is it any good?



Currently // Rain, rain, go away….

October 4, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 4

Right this minute | I’m listening to the wind and rain outside. It just doesn’t seem to go want to go away! It’s been raining since Friday. We have lots of area flooding and downed trees in the area. Thankfully, we’re unscathed (knocks wood).

Feeling | Pretty good! Just wish the kids would hush and get along. They woke up fussing.

Reading | I’ve already finished 2 books for my #15in31 challenge! I read Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (Scott Pilgrim #2) yesterday and started The Dead Ladies Project by Jessa Crispin yesterday. If I could find a quiet hole where no one could find me to bother me (the bathtub?), I could probably read a sizeable chunk of it today. I picked those two, plus My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, at B&N Friday night. I needed a bit of retail therapy. I hope to read MBF next.

Listening | I listened to Heartburn by Nora Ephron, read by MERYL F’ING STREEP, Thursday, then started Beloved by Toni Morrison, read by TONI F’ING MORRISON Friday. My God her voice is magic.

Watching | I’m all caught up on The Blacklist (Holy Cow! Bitch better step off my beloved Dembe!) and Blindspot. Need to catch up on Minority Report and Heroes: Reborn today.

Blogging | Blogging is going to be few and far between until after October 17th. All my free computer time is going to the Readathon. However, I did manage to post my join-up post for #15in31 and my meal plan for the week.

Promoting | The Readathon y’all! October 17th! If you can’t read, you can always help cheer!

Loving | Sweater weather!!! I got a new, cozy sweater Friday, and I’ve been living in it. I need to wash it so I can continue living in it.

Hating | While I love a great day of rain, I think we’ve had enough.

Eating | I just had some Cheerios. So good.

Exercising | I’m still trying to get more steps in throughout the day. Lots of pacing going on at work. I’m surprised no one has said anything about it yet!

Anticipating | The readathon! And getting back to my books! Bye!

Have a great week!



This Week For Dinner – Week of October 4th

October 3, 2015 Food, Weekend Cooking 6


I did such a great job planning my meals for next week that I couldn’t wait to share.

TodayHearty Hamburger Soup is in the Crock Pot! So necessary for this blustery, rainy, cold day.

Sunday – Most likely leftover soup! You should see how much soup is in that pot.

Monday –  I saw this recipe for Slow Cooked Tri Tips with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes and immediately put it on my list for next week. IT LOOKS SO GOOD. Will probably just serve with some green beans or asparagus.

Tuesday – It’s my daughter’s TWELFTH BIRTHDAY and she requested salmon patties. I’ve made this recipe before and apparently it was a great success!  She also wants fresh corn and collard greens. Twelve y’all. Twelve.

WednesdayLime Glazed Pork Chops! Egads they look delicious. Will serve with some jasmine rice and a salad.

Thursday – Eat with my aunt and uncle!

Friday – Just me! Who knows what kind of food I’ll get into.

Saturday – Do this all over again!

Let’s hope making this list will help me stay organized, focuses, and get it done quickly! Do you have any food plans this week?

I’m linking up to Weekend Cooking this week. Visit for more on all things food!

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.



#15IN31: or, yes, I AM THAT CRAZY

September 29, 2015 Books 5


My girl Andi, my girl with the crazy brilliant ideas. We’ve both struggled with reading this year and she managed to jump start her reading back in April with a similar challenge to this. Since she decided to do it again in October, I thought I’d join her this time. Lord knows I need to jump start my reading. If it’s not an audiobook, I’m not reading it and this has got to stop! I made a list of 15 books I’d really like to read in October, but of course, I refuse to hold myself to it. :)

  1. Nation by Terry Pratchett
  2. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  3. The Body Library by Agatha Christie
  4. Jackaby by William Ritter
  5. Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  6. Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
  7. Innamorata by Megan Chance
  8. Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson
  9. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  10. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
  11. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  12. Castle Waiting Volume 1 by Linda Medley
  13. Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb
  14. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
  15. The Porcelain Dove by Delia Sherman

Care to join us? You can sign up here!



Currently // Cough, wheeze, sniff

September 26, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 6

Right this minute | Wallowing in the first case of Bronchitis that I’ve had in awhile. I even had to get a shot! Ouch!

Feeling | Tired. And hungry.

Reading | I hope to finish up The Marvels today. It’s so good! I just love Brian Selznick’s work.

Listening | I started listening to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs on Friday. It’s a reread. I still haven’t read the second one and here is the third one coming out, plus the movie soon! I needed to refresh my memory of the story.

Watching | I watched the premiere’s of Blindspot and Heroes Reborn this week. Blindspot looks like it could be good, I just hope they start covering that poor girl up soon! I never quite finished the first Heroes series, but I’m almost there. I watched most of the new show’s premiere and I didn’t feel TOO lost. I need to finish Heroes soon though.

Blogging | I haven’t had much time to put into my blog, since I’ve been working on the Readathon! I did post a look at what’s going on behind the scenes of the readathon, from my viewpoint.  Andi posted another such post last week. Expect more of these!

I also posted my meal plan for the week last week. I hope I can stick to it!

Promoting |

Loving |

Hating |

Eating |

Exercising |

Anticipating |

Meal Planning|



This Week For Dinner – Week of 9/27

September 26, 2015 Food, Weekend Cooking 3


Whoa, you guys. Last week was freaking crazy. Monday night I had to work late to finish up a huge project at work. I just grabbed something when I got home. Daughter had her first band concert Tuesday, which brought back so many lovely memories (proud band geek here!) so we went out that night. A local chain just finally introduced gluten free pizza and y’all. It was amazing. I haven’t had a decent pizza in such a long time. So good. The rest of the week went by in a crazy rush. I don’t even know what we ate, which may be because by Thursday I was sick and didn’t want anything anyway! Yay bronchitis! I’m hoping by tomorrow my appetite will pick back up and I can get a few things out of my freezer. It’s freezer week! Yay!

Sunday – I have a small chicken thawing and hope to make some sort of chicken soup or dumplings with it. Just have to find a recipe for gluten free dumplings I trust. Maybe this one? The last (and only time) I tried to make gluten free dumplings resulted in a gloopy mess. I loved my grandmother’s recipe, so my standards are high.

Monday – What is it about Monday’s? I never feel like cooking. I have some kielbasa and potatoes left over from another day, so I’m doing to try this Cheesy Brat Casserole. Casseroles are easy, right?

Tuesday – I’m leaning toward this Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup. Hurray for crock pots! Plus, it gets those chicken breasts out of the freezer.

Wednesday – I have some fish in the freezer. I love to eat fish out, at restaurants, made by people who know how to cook fish. It’s never quite the same when I make it at home. I still keep trying though! I thought I’d do this method this time. It looks delish. I’ve been wanting some Brussels sprouts, so I think we’ll have some of those, roasted, with the fish and perhaps some rice.

Thursday – I’m hoping we can eat out this night. We usually eat with my aunt and uncle, but they are at the beach. I’d love to go back and get another pizza!

Friday – It’s just me! At home! No kids! No hubby! I may eat a pint of ice cream.

Saturday – Do this all over again!

Let’s hope making this list will help me stay organized, focuses, and get it done quickly! How do you plan for the week?

I’m linking up to Weekend Cooking this week. Visit for more on all things food!

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.