Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday: The New Year's Eve Edition


2012 sped by for me!  I'd like to wish all of my readers a happy and healthy new year!  Do you have any resolutions for the new year?  My resolution for 2013 is two deceptively simple words: read more

Last week, I received two books.  From Zibilee's wonderful blog, Raging Bibliomania, I won Runaway Girl by Carissa Phelps, which sounds like a touching and inspiring memoir.  Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone, a book about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, was under our fragrant fir tree on Christmas morning.  I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat a lot of meat, and I'm always eager to learn more about health, so I think I'll find this book quite interesting. 

Mailbox Monday is a marvelous way to share our new books.  Created by Marcia, who has set up several book blogs as well as a blog devoted solely to Mailbox Monday, this meme has been "on tour" for the past few years.  I've greatly enjoyed hosting Mailbox Monday for the month of December.  Lori's Reading Corner will be the host of Mailbox Monday for the month of January.

What new books arrived in your mailbox or home recently?  Please leave a comment after linking.  Thank you!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Lines 2012


Created by Melwyk from The Indextrious Reader, the idea of the First Lines meme is "to take the first line of each month's first post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year." It's fun to revisit past posts and do a sort of personal review of your blog in this manner.  This is my fourth time to do this once-a-year, end-of-year meme.  I look forward to it all year; keeping this meme in mind reminds me to write more interesting opening sentences, especially at the beginning of each month. :)  To read more of any post, simply click on the month above the first line.



January
Usually, I let Bermudaonion--Kathy--do all the work.

February
Did the first month of 2012 fly by, or is it just me?

March
Mailbox Monday, hosted this month by Anna from Diary of an Eccentric,  provides a socially acceptable way for us to boast about our new books.

April
Sometimes, more times than I'd like to admit these days, I feel sort of "old school".

May
Welcome to the 45th edition of Really Random Tuesday!  

June
Before reading this book, I associated Transylvania with Bram Stoker's horror novel and film, Dracula, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

July
Does Laura mean lucky?

August
The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe is a novel about Grace Miller, who yearns for a child and opens up a French café in Macau, China, where she and her husband, Peter, live.

September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.

October
Pick a book, any book.

November
Will you join the more than 90 million Americans expected to cast their ballots today?

December
It's a wonderful life!


To my surprise, I discovered that I started the year with a meme, Wondrous Words Wednesday, and began a majority of months with memes, namely Wondrous Words Wednesday, Really Random Tuesday, and Mailbox Monday (which I've been hosting this month).  In 2012, I did plenty of memes, and aptly, my last post of the year will be a meme as well (Mailbox Monday).  On a different note, I did not include quotes from books or other sources as "lines", but I did include the opening line of the poem September by John Steinbeck, as that entire poem was presented as the first part of the ninth month's first post.

If the idea to gather your first lines also appeals to you, please feel free to follow suit.  You might learn a thing or two about your own blog in the process.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Last Words for 2012

A new word a day keeps the boredom at bay!  Once again, the words featured here are from my 365 New Words-a-Year calendar (which I need to replace soon).


1. sirenian:  an aquatic mammal (such as a manatee) with large forelimbs, no hind limbs, and a flat tail

Mrs. Fisher's third grade class was fascinated by the oddly shaped sirenians at the aquarium.

Manatee photo courtesy of Wikipedia



I wouldn't have guessed that sirenian is a noun--it sounds more like an adjective to me because of the "ian".  Wikipedia lists this word as 'sirenia', and then states that 'sirenian' is also used.  These sea creatures are considered to be the basis of the myth of mermaids.  Sirenian traces back via Latin to the Greek seiren, although modern sirenians differ from sirens, and don't resemble the half bird, half woman creatures who lured sailors to their doom with their irresistibly sweet singing. 


2. mansuetude:  the quality or state of being gentle; meekness or tameness

The mansuetude of the large basketball player surprised us all at the dinner party; he was a gentle giant.   

I'm still a bit surprised at the definition (you could have some fun using this word incorrectly).  But the word derives from the Latin verb mansuescere, which means "to tame", so the definition makes sense.


3. annus mirabilis: wonderful year

This is the final word for 2012 in my calendar.  I hope the past year has been an annus mirabilis, overall, for my readers.

The "year of wonders" to British poet John Dryden was 1666, due to the British naval victory over the Dutch and the great London fire, and he titled his 1667 poetic review of 1666 "Annus Mirabilis".


Hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog, Wondrous Words Wednesday is the superlative meme for word sleuths and wordsmiths.  What new words have you discovered recently?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mailbox Monday: The Christmas Eve Edition


Happy holidays to all of my wonderful readers!  Whichever holidays you celebrate, I hope this time of togetherness with family and friends includes ample warmth and joy--and some quiet, reflective moments with a book or two. 


Last week, I didn't receive a lot of books in the mail, but I did get a hefty parcel from author Sherban Young.  The package included Fleeting Glance and two copies of Fleeting Memory (one to read and one to give away to a reader), and some fun bookmarks. The covers on these might make you think they're graphic novels but they're in fact "MysteryCaper" books, lighthearted, humorous mysteries.  I've already started to read the first one, Fleeting Memory (I'm enjoying it so far).  After the holiday busy-ness subsides, I'm looking forward to spending solid quality time with these books.  I've been wanting to read more "cozies" and these should fit the bill.

Mailbox Monday is the ideal way to "show off" our new books.  Created by Marcia, who has established various book blogs as well as the Mailbox Monday blog, this meme has been "on tour" for the past couple of years; I'm happily hosting this month!  What new books appeared in your mailbox recently?  Or perhaps you've gotten some new books for Christmas (or another holiday).  Please leave a comment after linking.  Thank you!




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Really Random Tuesday #59: 7 Years Younger Winner, and Disney Candlelight

'Tis the season to be busy!  Today's Really Random Tuesday post is very short, as we're all in the middle of the hectic holiday season. (I do miss my reading....)

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Disneyland is Christmasland at this time of the year.  The Christmas decorations are quite abundant, and rides are also altered and adorned.  My daughter and her high school show choir performed in two Candlelight shows at Disneyland this past weekend.  It was truly spectacular!

This excursion led me to search for books about Disneyland.  If you know someone who loves Disneyland and wants to learn about its history, Disneyland the Nickel Tour: A Postcard Journey Through a Half Century of the Happiest Place on Earth  by Bruce Gordon and David Mumford would make a very nice gift (after this weekend, I'm tempted to buy this book for myself, if I can find a copy for a good price).

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The randomly chosen winner of 7 Years Younger is Holly from 2 Kids and Tired Books.  Congratulations, Holly!  Motherhood is rewarding but is also often demanding and exhausting; I hope you'll get a chance to relax with this book while your children are in bed or occupied in some other way.  I found 7 Years Younger to be inspirational and uplifting, a health and beauty book that makes you feel good as you read it.  

If you didn't win this time, keep your chin up; I have other great giveaways listed on the right side of my blog,  and an entry form for a $25,000 Spa Trip Sweepstakes which is part of the 7 Years Younger post.   


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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related things you can think of.  I often announce my book giveaway winners in these posts.  If you find you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, and add your link to the Mister Linky (a new feature for RRT).  Since I post this meme sporadically, I'll "reuse" this linky when I post--I think that will work.

As always,  your comments are welcomed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mailbox Monday: On the Way

Zero, zip, zilch!  Next time, I'll request expedited shipping. This past week, I didn't get any books in the mail--my mailbox was devoid of books.  Good grief!






Don't feel too sorry for me though, because I'm expecting a few books in the mail soon that I think will be extraordinary, including Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest by photographer David Hall, Fleeting Memory, the first mystery in the Enescu Fleet series by Sherban Young, and a book I couldn't resist ordering earlier today after seeing it on Bellezza's blog, Dolce Bellezza, Christmas Stories (Everyman's Library) by a variety of writers, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell.



Created by Marcia, who has established various book blogs and also publishes the Mailbox Monday blog, I'm hosting this magical meme for the month of December (even when my own mailbox is empty).  Mailbox Monday is a friendly way to share the new books we've acquired.  What new books appeared in your mailbox recently, or on your shelves by some other means?  Please leave a comment after linking.  Thank you!




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday: More Daily Words

If you want to give your brain a mini workout, Wondrous Words Wednesday, hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog, is a marvelous meme to participate in.  It leads you to all kinds of word discoveries, and makes you think about words in a more profound way.

I haven't had as much time to enjoy books lately because of the holidays.  Consequently, the first two words I've selected to highlight today are from my 365 New Words-a-Year calendar, and the third is from a new-to-me word site.

1. niveous:  of or relating to snow; resembling snow (as in whiteness); snowy

This word isn't used much today, except in spelling bees or word games, but I hope you'll enjoy these niveous photos from a few years ago.

Jenny
In loving memory of Jenny
Cuyamaca snow scene



2. shank's mare:  one's own legs

I jumped ahead in my calendar a few days for this word, because I think it's a great expression to know--and put into practice.  It dates back to the days before the invention of the automobile, when horses were the preferred mode of transportation.  The "shank" part of the expression refers to the lower leg.

The next time I want to take a walk, I may surprise my companion and suggest that we travel by shank's mare to our destination.



3. kiasu:  (adjective) afraid to lose; (noun) a fear of losing used to describe a person who's overly competitive

Sometimes I suspect that some of the people I play Words with Friends with are kiasu, and will do anything to win.

This word is the word-of-the-day from Wordnik, a wonderful word site I've recently discovered.



Wondrous Words Wednesday is the perfect meme for wordies or wordsmiths.  What new word discoveries have you made recently?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Really Random Tuesday #58: Buddha, Books, and a Lonely Linky

Can we be a friendly blogosphere?  

Please help me congratulate Elizabeth from Silver's Reviews.  She's won  Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo.  Congratulations, Elizabeth! 

I enjoyed reading about all the road trips in the comment section of the giveaway for this book.  Thank you for sharing your personal stories! 

If you didn't win this time, don't be dejected; perhaps some of the other book giveaways listed on the right side of my blog will tempt you to try your luck again.  You may also be interested in entering the $25,000 Spa Trip Sweepstakes which is part of the 7 Years Younger post

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Reading wise, I'm finding it difficult to squeeze in much time for books.  I do try to savor the season, as it's over all too quickly, but I feel as if I'm neglecting my reading life presently.  The holidays are not a vacation time for me--not yet, anyway--and I haven't had enough time for reading.  We're in the middle of all the events and concerts and parties (oh, my!).  Does your reading time also suffer at the end of the year, and how do you cope with this?
 
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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related things you can think of.  I often announce my book giveaway winners in these posts.  If you're inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, and add your link to the Mister Linky.  This a new feature for this meme.  Please feel free to add a few of your RRT links from the past (I did) so that Mister Linky won't remain lonely for too long.  ;)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mailbox Monday: So Many Books, So Little Time


It's beginning to look a lot like Mailbox Monday, the ingenious meme that enables us to share the new books or book-related goodies that appear, almost as if by magic, in our mailboxes.  Created by Marcia, who has had various book blogs and now runs the Mailbox Monday blog, this popular meme has been on tour for the past few years.  I'm fortunate to be the host for the month of December.






This past week, I did not receive any new books in the mail, but I finally got the nightshirt I ordered from Potpourri, a T-shirt with a logo that describes our shared "predicament"--so many books, so little time.  Due to its popularity, the shirt has been on backorder for about a month, so I was overjoyed to at last see the package in my mailbox this past week.  I look forward to wearing this oversized T-shirt while I read.  My hope is that it will give me permission to begin my reading earlier in the evening, or to linger with a book in the morning, or even to spend an entire day reading!  ;)




What new books (or book-related items) appeared in your mailbox recently, or arrived in your home in some other fashion?  Please leave a comment after linking.  Thank you!









Friday, December 7, 2012

7 Years Younger: Review and Giveaway, plus a $25,000 Spa Trip Sweepstakes!

Let's face it, ladies!  As women we want to look and feel young for as long as possible.  7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan by the editors* of Good Housekeeping magazine addresses all of the topics vital to our health and appearance: skin, makeup, hair, diet, fitness, brain health, stress reduction, and maintaining a healthy weight.  Many of the ideas presented in the book reinforce what I already know and have been doing.  Yay!  However, I'm learning and picking up more tips, tidbits, and "tricks" as I read, so hopefully I'll look and feel younger soon. 

7 Years Younger is positive, upbeat, and inspiring.  It features a practical, "commonsense" approach to health that appeals to me.  Personally, I can't stand the all or nothing mentality when it comes to health and fitness, that requires you to be extreme and overly-regimented  in your diet and exercise program.

Move it or lose it!  I'm talking about exercise, of course--and I'll try not to get too preachy!  The book advises us to find an activity that we love; it could be playing tennis or Zumba or dancing or yoga or walking your dog, but the point is get up and do something that you enjoy doing on a regular basis (because frankly, if you don't enjoy it, you won't do it for very long).  For me, it's Spin classes right now, because the music gets me pumped up; after a while, it feels as if I'm dancing at a party or a club, and it stimulates my creativity in various directions.  I am also big on walking, although it's often hard to "schedule" walks.  So, I try to walk whenever I can, if only for short distances.  As the book points out, you can take shorter (but more frequent) walks if need be--it adds up!  Take the stairs, walk a bit farther from your car to the shop, take "little" walks.  You don't have to go to the gym five times a week, which is inconvenient for most of us.  (And why go to the gym and then come home and sit in front of the TV or computer screen, immobile for hours?  Do some chores around the house: take out the trash, put stuff away, move around, pitch in; not only will your spouse or significant other appreciate your efforts, but you'll get those pesky chores done and reap other benefits as well--a neater home and a more fit and streamlined physique).  In a nutshell, find a joyful "workout", and try to naturally incorporate more activity into your life.

There is ample nutritional advice in this book, too.  I do see "food as medicine", and the book motivates me to continue to eat foods that are nourishing (although I'm not perfect, I usually do make good food choices).  One quick example from the book: prepare a big spinach salad as part of your lunch with two cups of greens, with sliced tomatoes, red peppers, and mushrooms.  Coincidentally, I've  been making similar salads many times a week for the past several months if not longer (to accompany dinner, using mostly organic ingredients), with baby spinach leaves and all kinds of good incredible stuff, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, olives, sesame seeds, and whatever else we have.  I love the salads I make (sorry if that sounds boastful but they are fresh and fabulous!).  I started to use spinach as my main green after having a terrific salad at Applebee's for lunch one day (prior to that I usually used romaine lettuce, which I also love).

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia
I was happy to read about other foods that I consume that are good for me, such as coffee, tea, and dark chocolate.  I always feel good when I read about the health benefits of foods I already love!  According to the book, coffee has "anti-aging virtues" and may lower the risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, melanoma, and Parkinson's, whereas drinking tea may lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, strengthen the immune system, fight cancer, protect tooth enamel, and help fight memory loss. (Wow! Time for some more coffee!  Later, I'll drink my "health tea"!)  Dark chocolate helps arteries function better, lowers bad LDL cholestrol and blood pressure, and improves blood flow to the skin and brain--all the more reason to indulge in this delicious, "decadent" treat! The book calls beans and lentils "protein powerhouses" and "nutritional fountains of youth".  (Okay, I promise I'll eat more beans and lentils!)  Fruits and vegetables, which I love and eat in abundance, are among the foods richest in antioxidants.  The book includes "age-delaying" recipes near the back which sound delicious, healthy, and easy-to-make,  such as Chicken Bruschetta, Shrimp and Spicy Tomatoes, and Turkey and White Bean Chili.  Yum! There's a wealth of nutritional information in this book, and it entices you to make the best possible food choices.  The outside reflects the inside, and what you eat is crucial to your health and appearance.  Simply put, you are what you eat, health and beauty wise.

I love books like this!  7 Years Younger is a pleasure to read, full of ideas, hope, and inspiration.  It's written in a friendly, down-to-earth manner, which is not overly scientific (although nutritional analyses for every single recipe and snack is provided in the appendix).  The book features the stories and photographs of ten real women who have taken the pledge, and you can sign your own "7 Years Younger Pledge" at the beginning of the book, and commit to the goal to look and feel your best by following the program in this book, which takes about two months, and which is thankfully about setting realistic and reachable personal goals.  I believe that health and beauty go hand in hand, from the inside out.  If you eat well, exercise, and get enough rest,  you will be healthier and look better and younger.  7 Years Younger is a valuable resource book for women of all ages.

7 Years Younger will be available to the general public early next year.  But, thanks to Bostick Communications and the editors of Good Housekeeping, I have an extra copy to give away to one reader.  If this sounds like a book you'd enjoy reading, enter my giveaway today (U.S. only)!

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
  • For one more chance, share a health or beauty tip in your comment.

Enter by 5 PM PST on Monday, December 17.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, December 18.

BUT THERE'S MORE--A FANTASTIC  SWEEPSTAKES FOR A SPA TRIP WORTH $25,000!  

To enter the sweepstakes, click here.  Good luck! 


* Executive editor Jennifer Cook, and other editors and director

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mailbox Monday

It's a wonderful life!  For the month of December, I'm pleased and honored to be the host of Mailbox Monday, a meme created by Marcia from the Mailbox Monday blog.  Mailbox Monday has been on tour for the past few years.  It's a grown-up version of "show and tell", an enjoyable way to share our excitement over the new books that have landed in our mailboxes, or that we've acquired in other ways.  For many of us, every day feels like Christmas, because a lot of books arrive in the mail, from authors, agents, publishers, and other book bloggers.



Last week, I received three books in the mail.  Perhaps that's not a lot by "book blogger standards", but it's plenty for me. :)  I received two copies of 7 Years Younger by the editors of Good Housekeeping from Bostick Communications.  I'll be hosting a giveaway for my extra copy (I may be seven years younger by then) and possibly mentioning a spa giveaway as well, so please stay tuned.  I won The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift on Darlene's blog, Peeking Between the Pages


Mailbox Monday is the only meme I know of that comes with a warning: "Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists."   This warning rings true for me in regards to my toppling TBR piles--my books runneth over!  My bedroom started to look very cluttered with stacks of books on top of other, more organized books.  I ordered this bookcase online, after a fruitless search around town for a small, low bookcase that would fit under a window.  After it arrived in the mail, I donned my carpenter hat, assembled it, and moved it downstairs.  Although this bookcase doesn't hold a great number of books, it does help a bit (and now I won't feel as guilty getting more books in the mail). 


What books (or book-related items) arrived in your home recently, by mail or by other means?  Please leave a comment after linking. Thank you!


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Some of the books reviewed here have been provided
to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents,
in exchange for my honest reviews.