Wait...What Month Is It?

Every October* I look forward to pulling out the horror DVDs and working my way through both the classics,

and some more recent favorites before the witching hour on Halloween.

But in recent years, I've also tried to add some horror novels to my fun-stuff-to-do-in-October list. Besides Stephen King, I haven't read too much of the spooky stuff so I'm asking for your help. Are there any books about things that go bump in the night that you'd recommend? I'm looking for stories that forced you to leave the light on long after you finished reading. The stuff nightmares are made of.

The only new one I have so far is The Woman In Black by Susan Hill that will soon be released as a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe (Pssst...if you haven't seen the trailer yet, you should. It has everything a creepy movie should have, freaky moving toys, little girls reciting weird rhymes, and dead people popping up beside you at the window).

Last year I did a popular series of posts about my haunted hometown and I plan on bringing those back from the grave this October. Plus I'll fill you in on some new creepy places I've found this year. And at the end of the month I'll be participating in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop because who doesn't love to win stuff?

Have a wonderful weekend!

*Yes, I'm aware it's not technically October, but I love it so much I figured close enough!

Book Review - You Are My Only

From Goodreads:

Emmy Rane is married at nineteen , a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock. Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the “No Good.” One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that opens Sophie’s eyes, giving her the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever…

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

When I read Beth Kephart's last novel, Dangerous Neighbors, I knew I'd found a unique gem and told everyone who would listen to go out and buy it. I eagerly awaited her newest release, You Are My Only, and I wasn't disappointed.

As I read her luscious descriptions and insanely poetic use of the English language, I found myself hoping the story would never end. You Are My Only is a heart-wrenching mystery, full of intrigue and just a touch of romance thrown into the mix. As near to perfect as I've read in a long time. I urge you not to miss this one. Highly recommended.

You can pre-order from Amazon here - You Are My Only
And for the stories behind the books, you can also visit Beth's blog here.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation Blogfest!

First, I want to thank Michael for hosting this blogfest. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else did during the summer months.

I, unfortunately, did not travel to any exotic locations over the summer due to lack of funding despite the fact that I logged 2700 hours at my day job during the season (I'm asking Santa for a raise this year).

That's not to say my summer wasn't a productive one. From June 21st through September 22nd I read twenty books, wrote four short stories and five flash fiction pieces. I posted to the blog 25 times, including four blogfests and three book reviews. I also celebrated my one year blogoversary and have been doing some heavy volunteering for my daughter's softball league (Go Hurricanes!).

We spent quite a few days at the newly renovated waterpark just up the road from us.

And I did manage to plan a day trip recently to a local orchard/winery/petting zoo where I sampled the spiced apple wine and the kids got licked by goats (Ewww). So we all had a great time!

That sums up my summer “staycation”.

What was your favorite part of summer?


Worst Movies Ever Blogfest!

Thanks to Alex for hosting another fun blogfest!

I normally can find some redeeming quality for every movie I see. But some are so disappointing that I feel the need to warn people about them. You know the ones. You exit the theater feeling like you've been violated. And it's even worse because you paid money to feel that way.

Even if you can see them for free, the five movies I'm about to list will rob you of precious minutes of your life,

First on the list is Jaws 3 originally released in 3D. This was the first 3D movie I had ever seen and I was so excited. I expected things to jump off the screen at me, to be nearly able to feel the teeth of America's longest standing reason not to go into the water. What a crock. The 3D was laughable and the plot even more so. By the end, I was hoping everyone would be eaten.


Epic Movie - I guess we have Scary Movie to blame for all of these lame spoof films that came after it, but this one was particularly agonizing to sit through. I didn't crack a smile the whole 86 minutes of seemingly endless torture.

I watch a lot of horror movies and I've seen some real stinkers. But Leprechaun tops my list. Even with my fear of little people in creepy makeup, this one just didn't do it for me. Most famous quoted line from this movie, "I NEED ME GOLD!" 'Nuf said.

Son Of The Mask - I got roped into watching this one by my kids and I may never forgive them. Although I did find the baby scarier than the little guy in Leprechaun.

And last but not least I've chosen My Sister's Keeper - The acting wasn't bad and even people who hadn't read the book expected to bring tissues to the theater, but the reason this made my list was because they completely changed the ending of the story from book to screen. And this wasn't a minor change - a different character died! Unforgivable.

If you've enjoyed this post, I'm sure you will love visiting all of the other participating blogs. That's what I'm off to do.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

Wrap It Up, I'll Take It!

As you know, I'm a Campaigner and I've really enjoyed visiting all of the wonderful blogs in my groups over the past two weeks. The first challenge was so much fun and since I've always been a statistics freak, I thought I would pass along some info I noted while travelling through the massive linky list.

80% of the Campaigners took part in the first challenge.

Out of the 384 entries, I found 45 wordpress blogs and 266 set up through blogspot. The other 73 consisted of actual domain names, there were some through Weebly, and a couple directly linked to social networking sites (i.e. Facebook). 

Roughly 75% of the participants stated they didn't normally write flash fiction and approximately 25% said this was their first ever flash piece.

I say kudos to all of the participants because I read some really great flash entries.

In other news, the wonderful Blogger Formerly Known As has given me the One To Follow award. I would like to recognize five other blogs that I believe are very worth following:

I also received The Irresistibly Sweet Blog award from K.T. Hanna and I would like to pass this one on to the following five blogs:

If you haven't visited their blogs yet, you should head on over and introduce yourself. You won't regret it.

After being tagged last week, I was glad there were no rules with these two awards to list quirky things about myself because I'm actually pretty boring and I don't think I could have come up with anything else.

I'll be back on Monday with a special post for Alex's Worst Movies Ever Blogfest. If you haven't signed up yet, there's still time.

May your weekend be glorious and your muse submissive!

Tag Me, Baby!

I've been tagged by Allie and it couldn't have come at a better time as I was drawing a big nothing when I sat down to do blog posts this week. Here are 10 random facts about moi:

1. I find things innapropriately funny. Like when people fall down. My kids included.

2. I have trouble spelling certain words with repeating consonants. I always repeat the wrong one and have to correct. Like dissapoint disappoint. This annoys my friend Jeniffer Jennifer.

3. I've always wanted to belong to a huge family with tons of brothers and sisters that are forever in each other's business. 

4. Midgets, Dwarves, Little people freak me out. If they 're wearing clown make-up, even worse. I had a bad experience at the circus once. 

5. I eat my M&Ms two at a time by color and find it very disturbing when someone just rams assorted colors in their mouth at the same time.

6. I dropped out of college my Junior year to get married (although I'm single now). I've thought about going back and finishing, but I haven't convinced myself that it would be worth my time at this point in my life.

7. While I was married, I hardly ever read a book. After the divorce, paranormal romance got me back into reading, JR Ward's Black Daggar Brotherhood to be exact. These days I read what I write, YA.

8. I once lost a pet in a lawnmower accident. My dad ran over my hermit crab, Hermie (original, I know) when I was eight.

9. There are certain movies that the family and I watch on a regular basis: Galaxy Quest, So I Married An Axe Murderer, Haunted Honeymoon, Clue and Arachnophobia.

10. I love lists!

Now I would like to tag five of my new Campaign buddies. You should definitely check out their wonderful blogs. These ladies ROCK!

See you all back here on Thursday!

First Campaign Challenge!

I hadn't even seen the challenge until Tuesday when I visited one of my fellow campaigners and noticed their entry. When I went to Rach's site for the deets, there were already over 100 linkys! Call me impressed. You campaigners are really on top of things. I just hope I can find the time to read them all because the few I've seen so far have been awesome.

The rules:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

My entry is below and I managed exactly 200 words.

Hear No Evil

The door swung open. A brutal November wind invaded the kitchen and ushered in the last of the dead leaves that had gathered on the porch. They crunched under my feet as I hurried to close the one entrance I'd left unblocked. Our only way out.

Jake looked pale, much worse than when we'd arrived. The blood had soaked through his shirt again and his breathing seemed shallow and forced.

I sat down beside him on the floor and held his hand.

It won't be long now. Help will be here soon.” I hated lying to him. How many times had I wished he'd never been born? I'd take it all back if I could. Trade places with him right now. Nobody deserved what he was going through.

I'm so cold,” he said opening his eyes. “ I wish Mom was here.”

Me too.”

I slid the last of the antibiotics under Jake's tongue and quietly picked him up.

Stillness coated the house, but I knew what to listen for. I must have missed a way in. 

They were moving fast now. I thought I heard their whispers when we slipped out, braced against the cold as the door swung shut.

Don't miss the other entries at Rach's and have a great weekend!

Award Winning Reads Challenge Wrap-Up

This is the last day in the challenge and I am thrilled to say that I read all of the books on my original list and reviewed all but On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, only because I just finished reading it today (talk about cutting it close).

The challenge was to read as many Newbery and Printz award winners or nominees as possible between Memorial Day and Labor Day- May 30th until September 5th.

There were 4 levels of participation-

Level 1- Underachiever: Read 3 books

Level 2- Nerd: Read 6 books

Level 3- Brainiac: Read 9 books

Level 4- Teacher's Pet: Read 12 books

I signed up at the Brainiac level and the nine books I read are:
  1. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - my review
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry - my review
  3. Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - my review
  4. Going Bovine by Libba Bray- my review
  5. On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  6. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler - my review
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - my review
  8. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - my review
  9. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King - my review
I really enjoyed this challenge and hope the lovely ladies that put it together will do so again next year. My favorite book by far was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Since I'm done with this challenge, I could really use some suggestions of what to read next. What has been your favorite read this year?

I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, And Gosh Darnit, People Like Me!

An excerpt of a post on Blogher.com by Caitlin Boyle regarding body image:

There are two ways to determine your self-worth: You can base you sense of self-worth on how highly other people value you, or you can determine your own value. Many of us never take the time to consider how and why we value ourselves; we base our self-esteem entirely on outside opinions. If we don’t make the "beauty spectrum" in the media, we must not be beautiful. If no one else asks what we think, we must not be smart. If a friend walks all over us, we must deserve it.

The trouble is that everyone sees life through their own unique filter. How they perceive you is too wrapped up in how they perceive themselves. Waiting for people who are inundated with negativity to decide you’re good enough is ridiculous. Who says you need their validation? You don’t.

Powerful words. I thought about them this weekend when my daughter asked me if I thought she needed to lose some weight. 

I feel the need to give you a bit of that dreaded backstory here. Growing up, I was the fat kid in my family. Always on a diet and never happy about the way I looked. Then one day a few years ago when my kids pulled out the old family photo albums and I started leafing through the pages, I had a moment of clarity. The “fat” kid I was looking at hadn't been fat at all. Not even close. So why had I felt that way my whole life? Because that 's the feedback I received from others.

Mainly my mom. 

There is no one in this world I love more or who has been more supportive of me over the years in every other aspect of my life, but the more I thought about it, the more I recalled little comments about my weight and comparisons to some of my smaller friends that I hadn't noticed at the time or at least hadn't given much power to. That is, until she overheard my daughter's question this weekend and commented that she would look even prettier if she lost a few pounds. Not downright insulting, but the message came through loud and clear to me even if my daughter hadn't caught it. You are not good enough the way you are.

So I sat down and had a talk with my mom. It was hard. But it turns out she never realized how her comments about my weight had affected me all these years. I didn't completely change her way of thinking, she has always lived by the motto that you can never be too rich or too thin, but she agreed to be more conscious of the things she says and that's really all I can ask.

It turns out my daughter wasn't considering losing weight because she thought she looked bad, but because she wanted to increase her base running speed in softball. I told her we could talk to her coach and see what kinds of drills would help her meet that goal. And if she loses weight, she loses it, and I expect it will be a by-product of the increased exercise which makes her a stronger competitor in the sport she loves to play, not because someone tells her she should.

Have you ever had a life-changing revelation?
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