Favorite Color Swap!

I’m a sucker for books, kids and apparantly swaps. It’s just that folks over at Chaotic Goddess Swaps always have such cool ideas. I can’t resist.

This time it revolves around favorite colors. If you sign up and agree to follow the rules you will be paired up with another blogger (what a way to meet new friends) and you will send them a package with AT LEAST five goodies that you, yourself, would love to receive. The package must include items in your partner’s favorite color. Sounds like fun to me.

Of course I have more than one favorite color. I’ve always loved green (hunter or kelly) maybe because I’m Irish. I love red because my husband was a combat engineer. But recently, my main favorite color has been pink, not because I’m a girly girl, but because I’m a breast cancer survivor and I participate in a lot of breast cancer awareness activities.

Doesn’t this sound like a great swap? You should hop on over to Chaotic Goddess Swaps and sign up.

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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


Review: Veiled Revenge by Ellen Byerrum

veiled revenge

Goodreads Summary:  Home of the helmet hairdo and congressional comb-over, Washington, D.C., is a hotbed of fashion faux pas. If anyone should know, it’s “Crimes of Fashion” columnist Lacey Smithsonian. She dishes out advice to the scandal-scorched and clothing-clueless, doing her part to change this town—one fashion victim at a time….


Washington, D.C., fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian has always believed clothes can be magical, but she’s never thought they can be cursed. Until now. Lacey’s best friend, Stella, is finally getting married, and at her bachelorette party, fellow bridesmaid—and fortune-teller—Marie Largesse arrives with a stunning Russian shawl. A shawl, Marie warns, that can either bless or curse the wearer. When a party crasher who mocks the shawl is found dead the next day, the other guests fear the curse has been unleashed. But Lacey has her doubts, and she must employ all her Extra-Fashionary Perception to capture a villain who has vowed that nobody at this wedding will live happily ever after…

My Review:  Anyone who knows me, also knows that The Crime of Fashion Mysteries are one of my all time favorite series. This was my spring break treat to myself. I love Lacey Smithsonian and I adore her creator, Ellen (whom I was blessed to have attend a fundraiser for my 2014 Avon Walk).

Veiled Revenge has a bit of everything, wedding drama, a hint of Russian intrigue, mystery, a touch of the paranormal, fashion tips and cherry blossoms. Ellen has created yet another entertaing edge of your seat mystery. I’ve always enjoyed Ellen’s books, but while reading Veiled Revenge I really felt as though I were right there in D.C. with the characters.  I can’t wait to see what happens next with Lacey.

If you a looking for a great series to follow, I strongly recommend this one.

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


Review: Under The Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Under the egg

Goodreads Summary: When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

 With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo’s search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she’ll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

This was an impulse check out. Both the title and the cover were intriguing. I actually felt compelled to check this book out. And I’m glad I did.

I love Theo. She’s a strong female character, but I do feel sorry for her. It’s tough to have to be the adult at 13 and be responsible for keeping the household together. There are number of stories like this written for children. What makes this one stand out for me is, of course, the mystery and Theo’s relationship with her grandfather. Readers who enjoyed Roxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, Chasing Vermeer, or The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler will enjoy Under the Egg.

 I especially enjoyed how Fitzgerald wove an engaging story with bits of history and art. Under The Egg would be an excellent read aloud companion to a unit on art history.

You may recall that I have mentioned more than once that I have a 4th/5th grade book club: The Book Detectives. It’s a Mock Newbery Club. I’m already looking for titles for next year’s club and Under The Egg will certainly be on the list.


Recommended for 3rd Grade and Up.


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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


Sunday Ramblings

Sundays should be reading catch up days (well that should be any day, but certainly Sundays.)  However, about a year ago I volunteered to help out my local VFW post by becoming a volunteer bartender. So most of my Sundays are spent pouring drinks and pulling drafts while casting longing looks at my bag which always has at least one or two books tucked inside.

Last night the post had a big celebration party for the canteen manager who turned 80 this past Friday. As a result the post is very quiet today. It’s just me and the ghost, whom I’m told lives upstairs. Do you think he will mind if I get one of my current reads out and read a bit?

Speaking of current reads, I’m indulging in my usual bout of multi-reading. (I am all about multi-tasking, just wish it would result in more finished projects.) I’m reading Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. It’s due on back at the library on Friday the 12th and there’s a list, otherwise I would be concentrating on The Secret Box by Whitaker Ringwald. I’m also reading Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for my Book Detectives Club, re-reading The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney for my Breakfast Serials Club and listening to Back on Blossom Street by Debbie MaComber in the car. (Why listen to the radio when driving when you can listen to a good book?)

Under The Egg is a pretty good read so far. It reminds me of Moxie and The Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne. I think my students will like it.

I’m on a Blossom Street kick. I recently realized that I had not read several of the books in the series so I decided to start over from the beginning.  As you probably know my to be read list is out of control and if I tried to read the print versions MacComber would have published way too many new books in the series and I’d never get caught up – so I’m listening to them in the car. And when school is out for summer, I’ll try to get them on Playaway.  I love her books. They make me step back and really think about/reevaluate my own behavior.  The characters have to struggles, but each book has such a feeling of hope. They are nice break from some of the dystopia novels I tend to read.

Well, that’s enough rambling for today. Got to make good use of this quiet time and see if I can sneak a few pages before the regulars start showing up.

So what are you reading?

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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


Review: Tesla’s Attic by Neil Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Tesla's Attic

Tesla’s Attic by Neil Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Summary from Goodreads:  Tesla’s Attic is the first book in a brilliantly imagined and hilariously written trilogy that combines science, magic, intrigue, and just plain weirdness, about four kids who are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla.

After their home burns down, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother, and their father move into a ramshackle Victorian house they’ve inherited. When Nick opens the door to his attic room, he’s hit in the head by a toaster. That’s just the beginning of his weird experiences with the old junk stored up there. After getting rid of the odd antiques in a garage sale, Nick befriends some local kids-Mitch, Caitlin, and Vincent-and they discover that all of the objects have extraordinary properties. What’s more, Nick figures out that the attic is a strange magnetic vortex, which attracts all sorts of trouble. It’s as if the attic itself has an intelligence . . . and a purpose.

Ultimately Nick learns that the genius Nikola Tesla placed the items-his last inventions-in the attic as part of a larger plan that he mathematically predicted. Nick and his new friends must retrieve everything that was sold at the garage sale and keep it safe. But the task is fraught with peril-in addition to the dangers inherent in Tesla’s mysterious and powerful creations, a secret society of physicists, the Accelerati, is determined to stop Nick and alter destiny to achieve its own devious ends. It’s a lot for a guy to handle, especially when he’d much rather fly under the radar as the new kid in town.

My Review:  I chose to read this book because it’s set in Colorado Springs and I love to read books set in the town in which I live. I was lucky enough to sit in on a presentation Neil Shusterman and Eric Elfman gave to one our middle schools, which made me want to read it even more.

Once I got into the book, I realized it would also be a good addition to the school library. I have several students who I know will race right through this book. There’s a bit of history, fantasy, science and adventure all mixed together to create an awesome middle grade read. The writing is fast past and will hook even reluctant readers. I’m not only adding it to the library collection, but I’m adding it to the reading list for our 2014-15 Book Detectives (a mock Newbery club).  It’s a great read for 5th grade and up.  One warning though: the story does include some history, but it is fiction. Be prepared to put your disbelief aside while reading.


Neil Shusterman speaking at Challenger Middle School

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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Uncategorized


Guest Post (Connie Archer) and Review of Roux of Revenge

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


It is my pleasure to have Connie Archer, author of the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries as a guest on the blog today.

My Review:  This was the first book I read by Connie, but with a last name like Archer I knew it had to be good. It was one of my spring break reads. And I truly enjoyed it, so much so that over the summer I plan to read the other books in the series.  Even though the story starts out with a death, there was just something peaceful and calming about Snowflake, Vermont. It’s certainly the kind of town I would like to visit.  I really enjoyed meeting all of the characters. Archer spins a wonderful mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. For all my friends and followers who enjoy Cozy Mysteries, I highly recommend Roux of Revenge.

And now a word from Connie . . .

When a band of travelers arrives in the village of Snowflake, Vermont and a dead stranger is found by the side of the road, the past returns with a vengeance. Long kept secrets will be revealed, lost loves will be found and the lives of many in the village will be irrevocably altered.


Special thanks to Booklady’s Booknotes for hosting this stop on my blog tour for A Roux of Revenge.


At my earlier stop at Books-n-Kisses (, I talked about my inspiration for this plot – it was a brief news article about a group of gypsies apprehended at the Canadian border attempting to illegally cross into the United States.


I realized that since the By the Spoonful Soup Shop is located in Snowflake, Vermont, it was quite conceivable that a group of travelers could come to town. My invented clan became an extended family of Scottish Gaelic-speaking musicians who trace their roots to Cape Breton and who return there every year. I hope the real residents of Cape Breton will forgive me for this license, since they are probably not travelers, but they are of Scottish descent and their language and music is famous the world over.


My fictional clan really wasn’t that much of a stretch because in Scotland, gypsies or travelers have been around for over 500 years. They are divided generally into three groups – the lowland travelers, the border gypsies and the highland gypsies. Today’s post is about this third group — the indigenous highland gypsies of Scotland. And for all I know, my travelers really are descended from this group.


The highland traveler community has a long history in Scotland going back to the 12th century. No one is quite sure where these people originated. One theory is that they are the descendants of Picts – remember those fearsome creatures who painted themselves blue and attacked the Roman legions from the trees? Another theory is that they were people migrating after a highland potato famine, or even families fleeing from the Norman invasion.

Scottish travelers are called by the derogatory term “Tinkers,” but highland travelers are also known as “Craftsmen” or “Summer Walkers.” They are culturally and linguistically distinct from other gypsy groups like the Romani, the English Romnichels and the Welsh Kale groups. They are closely tied to the native highlands, and many traveler families carry clan names such as MacPhee, Stewart, MacDonald, Cameron or Macmillan. It is estimated that perhaps only 2,000 people in Scotland still live a nomadic life — most have settled down to a more traditional lifestyle, living in houses in towns and villages.

Scottish travelers have kept alive ancient traditions of storytelling, folklore and music, as well as their language. My clan of Gaelic-speaking travelers are accomplished musicians, not unlike the talented people of Cape Breton today. And I’ll bet their music is just as haunting and beautiful. I hope you’ll read more about them in A Roux of Revenge.

Take a minute, if you can, to listen:

Ba Mo Leanabh

Mo Ghile Mear

or the Cape Breton fiddle


If you’d like to learn more about traveler culture, read on and explore the following websites.

The Gypsy Lore Society


Roma of the Americas


Irish Travelers



Connie Archer is the author of A Spoonful of Murder (, A Broth of Betrayal ( just released, A Roux of Revenge (

You can visit Connie at

Twitter: @SnowflakeVT


Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Uncategorized


Mug of Comfort Swap

DSC_3231 I had the pleasure in participating in another fabulous blogger swap hosted by Chaotic Goddes Swaps.

I was paired with the wonderful Kathleen Clegg at Fearlessly Creative Mammas. What a beautiful pink mug she sent me full of goodies (including a Starbucks Gift Card). Not only is Kathleen a great swap partner, her blog is awesome. You should check it out.

This is the second swap I have participated in and I really enjoy them. It’s not just getting goodies in the mail, but I like finding new blogs to follow and meeting knew people.

You should go over and check out GC’s scheduled swaps. The next one is the Favorite Color Swap and sign ups run from April 14th and go through April 21st. Just click on the tab that says ‘Upcoming CG Swaps’. Favorite color – hmm, I can’t pick just one, but I’m sure it would be fun to try.


Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


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