Category Archives: Books


Disclosure: I received a copy of DRINKING DIARIES from Culture Mom Media for the purposes of this review. The links include my Amazon affiliate account where I would receive a commission for any sales made.  

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 5.10.31 PMLike most women, I’ve had a complex relationship with alcohol.  I lived with my mom and my grandparents growing up.  My grandfather was an undiagnosed and unrecognized alcoholic. Someone who was putting away 4-5 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, meticulously warmed over the stove for maximum impact.  To deal with this and blot it out, my grandmother drank a huge chug-glug of Harvey’s Bristol Creme after dinner.  Not to to be outdone, my mom would have a glass of boxed white wine when she got home from her teaching job.  The ironic thing about all of this is my parents divorced in part because of my father’s alcoholism.  He left the family and got sober.  The rest of them apparently didn’t get the memo.  It’s no wonder I couldn’t imagine why anyone would ever want to drink.

My first memory of tasting alcohol was with some friends out in Aquebogue NY, where we had a summer house.  I was 12, maybe 13, and my friends (all daughters of a local policeman I might add) decided we s

hould sneak into the woods for some beer and cigarettes.  Why is not really a relevant question here, because when you are that age, why doesn’t matter.  The girls took the smokes from their dad, and I was charged with sneaking some PBR (we did NOT call it that, back in the day, but it’s easier for blogging to call it that).  I brought two cans out of the house and we met in the woods next to their house.  We lit up the smokes and did the customary teen hacking cough (WHAT were we thinking?) and then opened the beer.  The cans were warm and very foamy and when we tasted the neither cool nor refreshing beverage, we quickly decided to give up on the afternoons activities and catch the end of Luke and Laura’s hijinks on General Hospital.

As a teen and young adult, moderation was not really a word I understood.  There are some classic drinking stories from my college days, and for the time being they shall stay out of this blog.  I found as I got older that it was really an all or nothing when it came to booze.  I was either in for a case or sitting on the sidelines.  Even now, I think about the calories in a pint before I decide that I want to forgo dinner to have some Guinness.

But after reading DRINKING DIARIES, the equal parts entertaining and thought provoking new book from Seal Press, I think the real reason I don’t drink is I don’t ever want to lose control again.  To be dependent on something, or someone, to such a point that you cannot live without it.  And yes, I judge.  I once was meeting someone for lunch and she had to change restaurants because the place we were set to dine at didn’t have a liquor license.  It was lunchtime.  On a Wednesday.  How could you need a drink that much, unless, as I reasoned, she was a alcoholic.  In my mind, anyone who drinks more than 5 times a week falls into that category.  Maybe I see it as a sign of weakness.  Maybe I’m totally off the mark.  This attitude I know would not fly in Europe where most people don’t bat an eye when you drink at lunchtime.  But I do.  Can’t help it.  One thing I took away from the book is that everyone has their stories and attitudes when it comes to drinking.  They’re not all the same, but boy, will they make you think.  I loved hearing the stories of the women in this book.  They’re great writers and boy can they spin a yarn.   I can definitely say that I’d like to share some margaritas with them.  Without judgment of course.

You can purchase DRINKING DIARIES through this link or at a bookstore near you.





New Releases – Minnie and Daisy Books

The Pixie Dust Girls were the recipients of a lovely package from Disney Publishing.  It was a to-die-for Minnie Mouse tote bag filled with a few treats, including new books and a magazine all about Minnie and Daisy.

Have you ever wondered what Minnie and Daisy’s lives were like before Mickey and Donald?  Minnie and Daisy were friends long before they met their dashing duck and magical mouse, and they went through all the trials and tribulations of growing up just like all girls do.

 Now, Minnie and Daisy have their very own magazine and four chapter books that are the perfect read for tween girls who embrace school, sports, fashion, and growing up:

In Minnie & Daisy B.F.F. Magazine, girls will read about the power of friendship, take quizzes, do fun crafts, learn about caring for pets, read about fashion and their favorite music, and play games with their best gal pals. Surprise posters and comics are included, too! The magazine hits newsstands today at all major retail outlets nationwide for $4.99.

Even more fun is available through the Minnie & Daisy B.F.F. chapter book series! Two new books include “The Pesky Pet,” “Much Ado About Juliet,” “Dance Jitters,” with two additional books coming out in July.” Tween girls can read along as Minnie and Daisy get themselves in, and out, of some typical teenage situations. These titles are available for $6.99 wherever books and eBooks are sold.

PicMonkey Collage disney books


My girl is a little too old for these (13) but like a true pixie dust girl she squealed with delight anyhow and read the books for fun to her little brother.  Yes, the small man has quite a crush on these two fetching ladies, so he sat still for almost the whole read thru.  I think any tween girl would think these were awesome as they are a very girly take on the chapter book.

Disclosure: I received a tote bag with gifts and books from Disney Publishing but was not required or asked to review the books.    



A Night with Nicholas Sparks’ SAFE HAVEN

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 10.30.28 AMOne of the fun things about my job is the opportunity to work with books and authors that are beloved by so many.  Case in point – Nicholas Sparks.  He’s the author of 17 novels, with 7 of them adapted into films.

Wait!  Make that 8.  On Valentine’s Day, the newest Sparks book to be turned into a movie SAFE HAVEN will be released.  I’ve gotten the chance to see a preview and it’s quite good.  I think it will appeal to Sparks die-hards but also bring some new fans to his work. It’s a love story with a lot of suspense and action thrown in, so you can certainly bring your significant other and expect him or her to have a great time.

Relativity Media, the producers of the film, have teamed with Fathom Events on something really special.  They’re calling it  A Night With Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven: Filmmakers, Author And Stars Bring The Book To Life on Thursday, January 17th at 8:00 PM ET/ 7:00 PM CT/ 7:00 PM MT/ 8:00 PM PT in cinemas nationwide. It’s a live  one-night-only theatrical event featuring a lively discussion and Q&A, moderated by Maria Menounos, with author Nicholas Sparks and the cast of the film adaptation of his best-selling novel Safe Haven, including Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough. Attendees will be the first to catch a sneak peek at exclusive clips and behind-the-scenes footage of  the movie, which was directed by Oscar®-nominated Lasse Hallström.

If you are interested in buying tickets, they are going fast so visit the Fathom events site soon!  I’ll be watching the LA based event from NY and will be live tweeting and doing a follow up blog post on all the action!

New MONSTERS INC app and a SALE!


The most used apps on our family iPad are definitely the Digital Books from Disney Publishing.  J loves to play around with books containing characters he knows and loves.  Since we have movie nights almost every weekend, he’s gotten the opportunity to see quite a few family films, and by far, Cars, Toy Story and Monsters Inc are his favorites.

Now, with the movie being rereleased in 3D, Disney Publishing is out with the Monsters, Inc. Storybook Deluxe app.  In the app, designed for the Apple OS, you can join Sulley and Mike on their quest to return Boo back to her home, while also trying to keep her out of sight of course. Featuring original character voices and original movie clips, the app allows young readers and monster fans alike to discover hidden “Scare Cards” throughout the story, navigate their way through a Monsters, Incorporated scare simulator training room to collect scream energy in a new game, and even uses kids’ own recorded screaming and roaring abilities to personalize the app.

The Monsters, Inc. Storybook Deluxe app is available now for iOS for $6.99 on the App Store:

If you’re like me and are a bit behind in your holiday shopping, here’s a great deal for you.  Disney Publishing is offering a special price for all of its Storybook Deluxe apps in iTunes from December 21 through January 2.  I have both the Cars 2 and Finding Nemo apps and they are quite a hit in our house.  They also make great gifts for friends and family – you can gift the app and send the code via email or print out your order to place within a holiday card.

Tangled: Storybook Deluxe for $2.99 (orig. $6.99) – From mischievous thugs to dazzling festivals, Rapunzel and her friend Flynn quickly learn there is much more to life outside the tower!

Brave: Storybook Deluxe for $2.99 (orig. $6.99) – Merida, the Princess of DunBroch, adds her tale of courage and determination to the ancient lore  of the Scottish Highlands as she sets out to defy an age-old tradition and forge her own destiny.

Finding Nemo: Storybook Deluxe for $2.99 (orig. $6.99) – Join Nemo, Dory, and all your favorite characters in this fantastic retelling of the Disney-Pixar film with cinematic animation and word-for-word narration with the voices from the film.

Cars 2: Storybook Deluxe for $2.99 (orig. $6.99) – Experience the action-packed story of Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 with vibrant art, professional narration, exciting music and sound effects, plus A-list celebrity voices from the film.
Disclosure: I received a free download code from Disney Publishing to download the MONSTERS INC storybook.  I purchased the ebooks of Finding Nemo and Cars myself.