Saturday, April 29, 2017

Readathon Opening Survey

WildmooBooks Finalized TBR Stack #readathon
Finalized TBR stack!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon has begun! Thought I'd jump in and do the opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 
USA > New England > Connecticut > Guilford

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak. Reading it for Booktopia and have heard nothing but good things about it.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Potato chips!!! For three weeks now I've been practicing chip discipline and only eating chips once a week. Today is the day! 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm 51 years old and recently started a book podcast with my friend Emily (Book Cougars). Middle-aged book lovers represent! I think more middle-aged folks should start blogging if they aren't already.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I'll be taking a nap or two during the day, not because I'm old, but because 1) naps are good and 2) I'm on a multi-day sleep deficit from traveling during the week.

You can find other participant's responses here.

Off to read now!

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Night Before Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and a BIG BUG READING

Another glorious day dedicated to reading is almost here! Or at least a good chunk of my day on April 29th will be dedicated to reading because it's Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!

To be honest, this readathon sorta snuck up on me and I don't feel very prepared (I haven't even bought snacks yet!), but I'm happy to have a day to chill with some books. The 29th is also Independent Bookstore Day and the BOOKCLUB Bookstore in South Winsor, CT is having their grand opening tomorrow, which I'd like to attend. I'm thinking I can get snacks on the way home from the grand opening.

I went to a couple libraries today to pick up holds and a few other things that caught my eye. I haven't finalized my "official" TBR stack yet as I'm still pondering, but chances are I'll try to finish a book or two that I already have started and then flip around in some other books. I'm in more of a browsing mood today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. 

Here's a shot of today's library haul:


#libraryhaul for #readathon and The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

When I got home I was thrilled to find an advance reader's copy of The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry waiting on my porch. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, which is a bestseller in the UK. It's coming out this June in the US. I probably won't start it tomorrow, but isn't the cover fantastic?

One of the libraries I went to today is the Acton Library in Old Saybrook, CT. I adore their metal sculpture of a dragonfly reading Lord of the Flies.


Metal sculpture, Dragonfly reading Lord of the Flies, Acton Library, Old Saybrook, CT (front)

Metal sculpture, Dragonfly reading Lord of the Flies, Acton Library, Old Saybrook, CT (back)

Isn't she charming?

If you've never heard of Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, it's a reading marathon held twice a year, in April and in October, and hosted by Heather and Andi of The Estella Society. This October the readathon will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary, so I hope you'll consider joining in on the fun!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Dude Diet Update: First Recipe Attempts

Months ago, way back in November 2016, I posted about The Dude Diet by Serena Wolf and said Laura and I would be trying some of the recipes over the winter. Well, it's now spring, but we're finally getting into it!

Quinoa Crunch Granola from The Dude Diet on WildmooBooks.com

Laura made the Quinoa Crunch Granola. She's actually made it a couple times now, with some slight modifications based on what we had around the house (i.e, walnuts instead of pecans). The first time she used a liquid coconut oil and the second time a virgin coconut oil in solid form, you know, the white waxy-looking stuff? We both prefer the taste of the liquid coconut oil. The recipe calls for "liquid extra-virgin coconut oil," but we need to shop around a bit more for a liquid coconut oil that is also extra-virgin. The Quinoa Crunch has been a great addition to our breakfast routine and also does double duty as a snack.

Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew from The Dude Diet on WildmooBooks.com

The first recipe I tried was the Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew. With the exception of the cumin, which makes Laura ill, I followed the recipe to a T and--wowzers--was it spicy! I LOVED it, but the chipotle peppers in abodo sauce were too spicy for Laura. I made a less spicy version for her the next day that was a bit too bland that'll I'll work on jazzing up.

Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew with Goat Cheese from The Dude Diet (WildmooBooks.com)

I took Serena's advice and added some crumbled goat cheese the first time I ate this stew and it was so delicious--the creamy tang made me make obscene groaning noises as I ate. I've since tried it with sliced avocado on top, but my fantasies about this dish go back to the goat cheese version.

Up next, Smashed Potatoes with garlic and thyme.

You can check out Serena Wolf's recipes online here.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Book Cougars 10th Episode Giveaway

Book Cougars Top 10 Giveaway March 2017 (Ends 4/18/2017)


Cohosting the Book Cougars Podcast with my friend Emily is such a blast!

We've just entered the double digits with Episode 10. 

To celebrate we both listed our Top 10 books of all time.

It is more of a Top 10-ish list because we both cheated a bit. Okay, I admit I cheated more than Emily, but the point of this post is that we're offering a giveaway of our Top 10 reads as a thank you for all the support and encouragement we've received from listeners. 

And I wanted to share the enter-to-win here on WildmooBooks because you've all been so supportive of me over the years, Dear Readers. 😍

Here's the enter-to-win box. The follow us on Twitter is just an option, it is NOT required.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you'd like to share YOUR Top 10 reads, please do it over at the Book Cougars Facebook page:



Or feel free to list yours here in the comments if you're anti-Facebook.

Here's the link to Episode 10 where you can see our Top 10 lists and give us a listen if you're so inclined. You can also find us on iTune, Stitcher, and other podcast apps.

Happy Reading, Happy Listening, and THANK YOU again for all your support and encouragement!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend




"That's all they wanted, wasn't it? Milo thought. To know where they came from? It wasn't right, it wasn't wrong, it just was."

In the 90s, test-tube babies, as babies conceived in vitro fertilization were called back then, were headline news and a huge topic of conversation in the LGBT community. I remember regular conversations with lesbian friends about who'd they'd prefer to have as their sperm donor if they decided to go that route to have a child. A stranger via a sperm bank? A family member? A friend? Gay guys were scrutinized on the dance floor by their lesbian friends like never before. I also had a friend who donated her eggs, which is a much more complicated and painful procedure than donating sperm.

One of the main arguments against using a sperm bank was that the kids wouldn't know who their dad was beyond a number and some basic descriptive information. Some countered that it was the same as being adopted. There were more issues, of course, and this novel addresses many of them.

I was drawn to this book but a bit skeptical. The description gave me pause:
A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.

Milo has two great moms, but he's never known what it's like to have a dad. When Milo's doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo's extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he's always wondered about.

Hollis's mom Leigh hasn't been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis's half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.

Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.
Trigger alert! I thought. Such a novel could be rife with homophobic sentiments and cringe-worthy scenes of heteronormativity. I don't read a lot of LGBT novels due to the obligatory gay bashing scene and/or homophobic attitudes presented as "facts," but this novel is a breath of fresh air.

As the description states, the story is about a teenaged boy named Milo who lives in Brooklyn and a teenaged girl named Hollis from Minnesota, both of whom have lesbian moms. They met once when they were little kids and at the beginning of the novel are brought together again as teens. They track down more half siblings--kids whose heterosexual parents couldn't conceive. There's also Milo's best friend, JJ, a major character in the story, who is adopted.

There's so much that is gracefully packed into this story. There are the big issues at hand: what the kids struggle with, how the in vitro kids have similar yet different issues from the adopted, and how the parents cope with their own challenges regarding their decisions and fears. Also touched upon are numbing one's feelings, dating, bullying, gender vs genes, and grief after losing a parent/partner, among other things.

I was pleasantly surprised by this tender and seemingly "real" novel. I put "real" in quotation marks because I don't have direct experience with these issues, but I have friends who've dealt with a variety of them, both when they were children and now as parents. From what I know of their stories, this novel rings true.

In the end, being a teenager is hard no matter where you come from and who your parent/s is/are. As Milo's friend JJ says, "None of them get us, dude...They're parents."

Title: The Other F-Word
Author: Natasha Friend
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (Release date: March 7, 2017)
Bottom Line: Highly recommend to teens and YA readers interested in non-traditional family stories and LGBT issues.
Source: Review copy via NetGalley
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