Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I got tagged!

Dear Marcia over at Tea Time For Marce tagged me with this meme and it looks like fun! Thanks Marcia!

4 Things in my Handbag

Burts Bees chapstick (I live in Minnesota, the temps are crazy and my lips suffer)
My blackberry
My current read always
Usually a diaper or a kid snack ( I forget to de-baby my bag sometimes)

4 Things in/on my Desk

My latte
A jade plant
My stack of books to review and my review calendar
Bubbles (yes, bubbles. they are oh so much fun!)

4 Favourite Things in my Bedroom

PIctures of my Grandma
My favorite pillow that I call Schmooshy
My slippers
My laundry basket that always seems to be full

4 Things I Always wanted to Do (but haven't yet)

Go on a baseball stadium tour around the US!
Travel! to London, Italy and Ireland
Shave my head (then I would be red headed bald child)
Live by the ocean

4 Things I Enjoy very Much at the Moment

Working at the Library
Storytime with my son
A Quiet moment

4 Songs I Can't Get Out of My Head

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse them song (grrrrrr)
Bob the Builder theme song (double grrr)
Taylor Swift "Fifteen" (And when your fifteen, somebody tells you they love you, your gonna believe la)
Pink "So What"

4 Things you Don't Know About Me

I get wicked gas
I LOVE the theater ( I have to restore some dignity here)
I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 9
I was in labor for 31 hours and I feel awesomely proud

I would love to tag
Stacy from A Novel Source

I haven't done a meme in a long time! This one was simple and fun!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review #86: The Paranoid Parents Guide by Christie Barnes


Title: The Paranoid Parents Guide:Worry Less, Parent Better, and Raise a Resilient Child
Author: Christie Barnes
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-7573-1505-3
Price/Pages: $14.95/250

My Review:

It's no surprise to anyone in my life that I would read this book. Reviewing it however was tough. I saw a lot of myself in many of the pages. I am indeed a Paranoid Parent! For some of my old followers, you may remember the accident my son had last fall. For my new followers, well, let's just say that moment changed how I parent.
I NOW worry about everything!
This book is very straight forward and to the point, full of facts, surveys and real life stories. This, as a parent, I can appreciate.
It lists the most common fears that parents have and then outlines them nice and neat by age; from Infants to College.
I have quite a few post it notes on the toddler section myself. Did you know that shopping carts are dangerous? Yes, they are. They are the leading cause of brain trauma. Holy crap!
Helpful to know. Yes. Terrifying? Yes!

One of my favorite chapters is Chapter 4; Myths expose: Parents' top Worries Versus Children's Real Dangers. This is where her research kicks in and out get some straight forward facts.
She breaks down the reality of some of the harmful things that could happen, like drugs, kidnapping and abuse.

This book is not something you sit down and read cover to cover. You read it bits at a time. It takes some processing. Did I feel immediately better after reading it? No. Did I feel more paranoid? No, not really. I felt more aware and informed. That, in any respect, is helpful in my eyes. In some areas I feel I know a bit more than I wanted but knowledge is power, I think.

Rating: 5 stars/ 6 stars
I rate this one high. As a parent of a toddler, I appreciate the straight forward, tell it like it is style. I was not shocked or put off by the title. I proudly read it in public! I am Paranoid Parent and know it! I even talked about this book in the Parenting class today. As the subtitle states, I want to raise a resilient child and I do honestly want to worry less. I think this book was a good choice for me to read and review. I recommend it to every parent out there,
especially with little ones.

Author Website and Blog:

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for asking me to participate in this tour. Please stop by the following blogs to read more about this title.

Wednesday, September 8th: Overstuffed
Thursday, September 9th: The Prissy Mommy Chronicles
Monday, September 13th: Juggling Life
Wednesday, September 15th: Suzie QTPie’s Scraps of Life
Thursday, September 17th: JDaniel4′s Mom
Monday, September 20th: From Marriage to Motherhood
Wednesday, September 22nd: Book Dads
Monday, September 27th: Red Headed Book Child
Wednesday, September 29th: Baby Dickey
Monday, October 4th: Eternal Lizdom

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nerding out to Nancy Pearl

This morning as the wind was whipping outside and the rain was coming down, I listened to Nancy Pearl on Midmorning on NPR. If you have not heard of her, please check her out. She is the author (and librarian) of the Book Lust books. Total, complete nerd, book loving fun.

Below is her bio from the NPR website and above is her new book. 
Check her out at her website.

Nancy Pearl

Commentator, Morning Edition

Nancy Pearl
Marco Prozzo

Nancy Pearl

text size A A A

Nancy Pearl is a regular commentator about books on NPR's Morning Edition and NPR affiliate stations KUOW in Seattle and KWGS in Tulsa.

The New York Times calls her “the talk of librarian circles.” Readers can’t get enough of her recommendations while bookstores and libraries offer standing room only whenever she visits. Since the release of the best-selling Book Lust in 2003 and the Librarian Action Figure modeled in her likeness, Nancy Pearl has become a rock star among readers and the tastemaker people turn to when deciding what to read next.

Having worked as a librarian and bookseller in Detroit, Tulsa, and Seattle, Pearl's knowledge of and love for books is unmatched. In 1998, she developed the program "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book," which spread across the country. The former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book, Pearl celebrates the written word by speaking at bookstores and libraries across the country and on her monthly television program Book Lust with Nancy Pearl on the Seattle Channel.

In 2004, Pearl became the 50th winner of the Women’s National Book Association Award for her extraordinary contribution to the world of books. In the moments when Pearl finds herself without a book, she is an avid bicyclist and happy grandmother of two. She lives in Seattle with her husband Joe.

Happy Reading and as always thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review #85: The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

Title: The Recipe Club
Authors: Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Genre: Fiction
Price/Pages: $15.99/352
Paperback due out in stores today!
Book Description:

Lilly and Val are lifelong friends, united as much by their differences as by their similarities. Lilly, dramatic and confident, lives in the shadow of her beautiful, wayward mother and craves the attention of her distant, disapproving father. Val, shy and idealistic—and surprisingly ambitious—struggles with her desire to break free from her demanding housebound mother and a father whose dreams never seem to come true.

In childhood, “LillyPad” and “Valpal” vow to form an exclusive two-person club. Throughout the decades they write intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets—and recipes, from Lilly’s “Lovelorn Lasagna” to Valerie’s “Forgiveness Tapenade.” Readers can cook along as the girls travel through time, facing the challenges of independence; the joys and heartbreaks of first love; and the emotional complexities of family relationships, identity, mortality, and goals deferred.

But no matter what different paths they take or what misunderstandings threaten to break them apart, Lilly and Val always find their way back together through their Recipe Club . . . until the fateful day when an act of kindness becomes an unforgivable betrayal.

Now, decades later, while trying to recapture the trust they’ve lost, Lilly and Val reunite once more—only to uncover a shocking secret. Will it destroy their friendship, or bring them ever closer?

My Review:
The Recipe Club was a unique novel because it was told in letters. The letters between Lilly and Val start when they are very young and go into early adulthood. They range from simple and sweet to angry and emotional, always including a recipe in the end. Recipes with clever titles like "Lovelorn Lasagna" (perfect to soothe a broken heart) or "Worry Free Waffles". 
Towards the end of the book, the novel changes shape and the letters stop. It reads like a normal novel at that point. 
The hardcover edition is beautifully bound with great illustrations and pictures of the recipes. It takes on the feel of a scrapbook between these two women. 
Val and Lilly are two very different people. Both raised in somewhat dysfunctional families, Lily is dramatic and beautiful and lives to perform, like her mother. Val, more shy yet ambitious struggles to break our of her shell. 
Both personalities are very strong  in these letters. 
It takes some getting used to reading a novel of only letters, especially when it's fiction  and the end was a bit jarring when it stopped.  I find that just reading letters seems a bit forced and too dramatic. The letters need to tell the story and sometimes they seem to tell too much, making them seem unrealistic. I used to be quite a letter writer in my youth and had several pen pal relationships. I love the idea of expressing yourself in this form and having relations that just exist through letters. This is why I thought this book would appeal to me.
Rating: 3 stars/ 6 stars
Overall, it was a quick, relatively enjoyable read. I  think it will find an audience of foodies and women's fiction fans.  I enjoyed the recipes a lot and will definitely try some. My only real gripe was that the novel being just letters. I think I would have felt more invested with the characters and their story if it was written like a novel with a few letters included. 
The letters seemed a bit forced and dramatic and I didn't get a good sense of the women as a whole. You really seem to experience only what happens to them, which seems to mostly the bad.
Author's Website:
Happy Reading and as always , thanks for stopping by!
red headed book child

Friday, September 17, 2010

I've been lost...

I am so very sorry I have been away for a few days. 

Okay, really it has been a week but I have been Kate Morton's Distant Hours.
 It rarely takes me this long to get through a book but, with a very busy few weeks coupled with a 700 page book, it took me some time. 
But, honestly, I also savored it. I didn't want it to end. 
I re-read passages. I put post it notes on my favorite parts. I sighed a lot. 
It is coffee stained and beaten up because I took it with me everywhere. 


But now it's over.

And now I have to put into words exactly how I felt about it.

Oh boy.

This is going to be tough.

I simply loved it.

love, love, loved it.

I hope I can do it justice.

More to come.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Master Butchers Singing Club World Stage Premiere

Though I have never read Louise Erdrich, she has been on my TBR list for some time now. 
She is local to the Twin Cities area and owns an independent bookstore here as well.

I have seen her at an event through the Friends of the Library with her two sisters, 
also writers and poets. 

This novel came out several years ago and has now been adapted to the stage. 
It is making it's premiere at the Guthrie Theater here in Minneapolis this month 
and I am going!
I am going with my step-mother-in-law tomorrow night.
She is a huge fan of her novels and was kind enough to offer me her extra ticket!

Has anyone read Louise Erdrich?

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WINNER of In the Belly of Jonah!

Marie from The Boston Bibliophile is the winner of In the Belly of Jonah by 
Sandra Brannan!

Thank you all for entering and reading all of my posts about this fabulous author and book.

If you wish to buy a copy, please check out her website.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, September 5, 2010

R.I.P Challenge V

It's that time of year again. Time for one of the coolest challenges out there. Check out 
Stainless Steel Droppings for the rules. If you are a fan of the creepy, eerie, gothic or strange; this challenge is for you!
Because I don't wish to overwhelm myself (which is super easy to do these days), I have settled on the very easiest of levels. Yep, one book. That's all I have to read.

I have chosen to read The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. If you've read some of my earlier posts you know that I have been looking forward to reading this one. Well, I'm excited to say, I got an advanced copy from the publisher and I am already loving it!
I actually squealed when I opened the package. Squealed, I tell you!

It would fall under the Gothic category.

Though I know I will read many other creepy, fantastical books during the next two months leading up to Halloween AND see a crap ton of scary movies, I think just one book will suit me just fine for this challenge.

Check it out!

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Review #84: Forgiving Troy by Thom Bierdz (Guest Review)

Title: Forgiving Troy
Author: Thom Bierdz

Genre: Biography/True Crime
Format: ARC 
Publisher: Thom Bierdz
ISBN: 978-1-6139-485-2
Price/Pages: $14.95/288

Book Description from Publisher:
In 1989, two months after Thom Bierdz first left the soap opera The Young and the Restless, his youngest brother Troy, later to be diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic, beat their mother to deaht with a baeball bat in her Wisconsin home. 

While Thom Bierdz disappeared from the public eye, he lived a life of silent horror and analysis, dissecting his early haunted years and trying to understand why a brother (or two) would become a killer.

In a raw and embarrassingly honest tome, Bierdz ugly secrets and finds a way to love and forgive his brother, and rebuild a broken family with broken people. The complicated Bierdz is as far away from a typical soap opera actor as one could. The critically-acclaimed book has his expressionistic paintings scattered throughout, giving the reader a visual to experience the heavy emotional story arcs and sublime joys.

My Two Cents:

I requested this book because of my early years spent watching so many episodes of The Young and the Restless with my Grandma and my mother.  It was definitely a staple in my household growing up. Though I have not watched it for some time now, my mother is still a huge fan.

Recently Thom Bierdz returned to the show, reviving his character of Phillip Chancellor III, who had been dead for twenty years. This pleased my mother so.

So, I felt my mother would be best for reviewing this book. She got so excited at the chance to read it and though she may not have any experience "reviewing" books, she is a passionate reader and very honest in her opinions. I got my love of reading from her and her and I discuss books during every phone conversation we had.

She will be passing this book on to her circle of friends and readers to share Thom's story.

Guest Review:
"I was anxious to read this biography Forgiving Troy. I have watched The Young and the Restless" for years and remember Thom playing Phillip Chancellor. I found out through a return visit to the show that he was also gay, something that was not known to me when I watched him years ago. To me this was a very moving, yet sad story. How Thom could still love and forgive his brother Troy after what he did showed great strength.

What talent Thom has with his art work, showing such sensitivity. What talent he has to look at himself to see just what he is really like inside. His overcoming this terrible tragedy and being able to forgive is an amazing thing to me. It was such a pleasure to see him again on the show and I continue to think a lot about his life and story. 

I strongly recommend this book, not only to fans of The Young and the Restless, but to those who appreciate a honest, unflinching memoir."

The book is available at 

Hailed by celebrities and even the Chief of Psychiatry for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the U.S, the 2010 International Book Awards honored Forgiving Troy with the Spirituality "Sacred Light" Award, winner in Autobiography/Memoir category, Gay and Lesbian:Non-Fiction Category, Non-Fiction Narrative category, and True Crime:Non-Fiction category.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RELEASE DAY! Meet Sandra Brannan, author of In the Belly of Jonah

So I've been telling you all about In the Belly of Jonah for the last few days and finally you get a chance to get to know the fabulous author behind it all, Sandra Brannan!

I'm sure you will like her just as much as I do!

Welcome Sandra!

Tell us about In the Belly of Jonah and the other books in the series.

My novel In the Belly of Jonah is a fast-paced mystery with what I hope readers will find to be a likable protagonist and an intricately woven narrative brimming with bizarre yet believable twists. The first in a series, the book lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her budding romantic interest in FBI Agent Streeter Pierce. Set in the mountain states, the Liv Bergen and Streeter Pierce adventures are oddly successful as a team and the attraction between them, titillating.

I developed the series around morphed biblical titles to highlight the dichotomic nature of Liv Bergen’s structured mind to her elusive faith, often underscoring this concept by selecting unexpected heroes to help solve crimes of unsuspected villains.   For example, when a woman who was destined to be Liv’s future sister-in-law is murdered in Lot’s Return to Sodom, a family friend casts a light in deeper corners than the FBI’s singular focus on a motorcycle gang member as the suspect.  In Noah’s Rainy Day, Liv’s nephew Noah witnesses a crime yet struggles to communicate what he saw because of his limitations with severe cerebral palsy.

You come from a large family, what was that like?

My parents had nine children – I was the seventh.   Living in the woods, far into the outskirts of town, our house was built by my dad, uncle and grandpa.  My parents had their own room.  The oldest three girls shared a room. My two brothers had their own bedroom, but shared a bathroom with the four youngest girls.  I shared a room with three other sisters and LOTS of dolls.  Home cooked meals, a milk machine, the smell of pine trees and cigars, hand-me-downs, Tonka trucks, fights over pantyhose, long lines for the bathroom, bike rides, military marches through the quarry, and lots and lots of memories, love and laughter. Lucky me!  And what great fodder for my hunger to create memorable characters.

After our own adventures, we’ve all chosen to move back to Rapid City as adults and remain best friends. Today I am married to the love of my life, a Vietnam Veteran with a Purple Heart of gold. We’re a blended family with four sons ranging in ages of twenty years. We also have three adorable grandbabies (so far).

Why have you chosen to write a mystery series set in the mining industry?

I grew up in the world of mining.  Literally.  My childhood home was nestled amongst three limestone quarries, a stone’s throw from each.  I never understood stereotypes of our industry because most miners I know are incredibly concerned for the environment and the communities where they operate.  By choosing a setting to my mysteries that I know and love so well, I hope to shed a little light on my world.

You have been a top executive in your family business working your way up from day laborer to running one of the divisions of the mining company. Can you tell use about your company and your experience?

The family company that I work for, a mining, mineral processing, ready mix and concrete block company, was founded by my grandpa, dad and uncle in 1944.  My dad and uncle sent home their earnings from WWII and subsequently the Korean War to help Grandpa Pete, a WWI veteran, build the company while they served our country.

Through high school, college and graduate school, I worked for the mine in the summers. I went on to work for Boeing for a few years, then started and sold my own company selling computer software. At the age of 28 and eight-months pregnant, I took over a Colorado division of our mining company that was struggling. Ten mines and 50 workers with families depending on them to make a living, I had to perform. It was a scary, but rewarding 10 years spent turning that division around to fit our company’s culture.

Today, I am Vice President Corporate Development for the company, but have carved out some time to write my novels, which is a passion of mine.

You’re pretty tough like Liv Bergen, the protagonist in your series. What are some of the things that have happened to you over the years that could easily be part of a mystery-thriller?

I don’t know if I’m tough, but I sure have found myself in some tough situations.  The first week into my new job, 28 and pregnant, taking over the Colorado division riddled with problems, I was served with a citizen lawsuit that drew national attention and was later dismissed.  With Colorado being one of the most beautiful states in the nation, mining is far from being the easiest business to operate, particularly when it comes to permitting.   As the manager, I received numerous threats, including letters and phone calls.  Eventually as I met with neighbors and invited those individuals to our operations, I realized most of the animosity toward mining was founded on misinformation, old ideologies, or broad brushed generalizations of operators because of one player taking short cuts.  Once we have a chance to welcome people into our world, clearer heads and more positive attitudes about mining prevail.

After Colorado, my success with sticktoitivity led me to spearhead two more business turnarounds in steel related divisions and eventually earned me a spot on the senior manager team as the Vice President of Corporate Development.  My job is to train our management team and to replenish reserves that supply our operations for the coming generations of at least a hundred years, a gift our parents and grandparents gave to our generation.

 What advice would you give aspiring authors?

I’m no expert, but I can tell you three things made a HUGE difference for me: 

Be a bumblebee.  Our mom used to tell us that the bumblebee was not aerodynamically designed to fly, but no one ever told the bee.  No matter what people tell you or how much they try to convince you otherwise, continue to pursue your dream.  If you love to write, then write!    Even if you weren’t trained as a writer (which I wasn’t), write anyway.

Sticktoitivity!  If you haven’t seen Walt Disney’s So Dear To My Heart, go rent or buy it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I’ve been writing since my youngest son was a baby, burning the midnight oils in a therapy I never knew existed.   I didn’t let rejections from potential agents deter my enthusiasm or whittle away at my persistence to improve my writing.

Write, write, write and read, read, read!  Regardless of whether or not you find an agent or a publisher right away, keep writing and learn by reading the books by authors in the genre you most want to emulate in your writing.

Thank you Sandra!

Today is release day! Please check out her website for a list of events she will be doing. She may be in your area. You can get her book at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon just to name a few. If you like what you are reading about her, convince your local independent bookstore to carry her book. 

It takes a village, people. You got get great books in people's hands!

Thank you so much for stopping by these last few days and getting to know Sandra and Liv and read about In the Belly of Jonah. I hope you all will look for it and read it! 

Oh yeah, I could probably help one lucky reader with that!


If you would like to win a copy of In the Belly of Jonah, please leave a comment, your email address and heck, wanna become a follower too, if you are not already?

Simple as that. I will pick a winner on Tuesday, September 7!

Do it! Sign up for it! Be a part of the cool club. Come on...


Happy Reading and thanks, as always, for stopping by!

red headed book child