Monday, April 26, 2010

A Couple of Cozies

I've heard about the "cozy mystery" genre but only recently gave a few a try -- I thought they would make good vacation reads!

I started with the first in a new series by Diana Orgain -- "Maternal Instincts Mysteries" -- called Bundle of Trouble about a new mom who stumbles into private detecting as an alternative to going back to work full-time after her maternity leave is over. In addition to the new-mom details (resulting in some comedy), I thought the mystery was pretty good. All in all, an entertaining read (thanks for the recommendation, Ruth Ann!), and I'll definitely read the sequel.

I snagged the second one at an independent bookstore while I was on vacation -- the title was clever, and the sleuth sounded like a fun character -- another first-time mom, but this one a Mennonite who owns an inn. And recipes were included! Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed by Tamar Myers' Batter Off Dead. There were no details at all about running an inn, Magdalena Yoder's main method of sleuthing seems to be talking at suspects until they snap, and the mystery itself was pretty dull. I probably shouldn't have jumped in in the middle of a series ("Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery" series), but I don't think I'll read any the others since I found Magdalena too over-the-top and, frankly, not very likeable.

Now I'm reading another cozy I got at the library, the first in another new series about two friends who open a cupcake bakery, called Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinley. So far it promises to be a fun read. And who can resist a book that includes cupcake recipes?
What about you? Are there any good "cozies" that you've read? Tell me about them in the comments!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Babymoon's Over...

...but the honeymoon is still in full swing.

Just kidding. Mike slept on the futon last night because my newly-acquired third-trimester snoring was keeping him awake. Apparently, I am swollen everywhere, including inside my nose! (See photo for reference. This is my size compared to the size of a Japanese van the Lodge keeps on the grounds.)

Anyway, I promised a Babymoon update. It was very nice. I'd definitely recommend the Lodge -- very pretty, good food, soft towels, lots of surrounding nature (Mike was thrilled by a wild turkey spotting), and a great price. The only drawback is that it really is in the middle of nowhere. It's about an hour to Traverse City, but we didn't bother. I did make the one-mile hike around the lake, and I think Mike was impressed by how slow and breathless I was. ;o)

I did read two books which I will review in my next post. I'm off to my doctor's appointment now to check in on Evan. I dread stepping on the scale!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I am typing this from the Caro District Library in Caro, MI. Mike is working in a couple of appointments on the way to our Babymoon! We're heading to Luther, MI, where Hillsdale College has a lodge -- check it out here -- for a couple of days of relaxation. Yes, I know we had a honeymoon less than 8 months ago, but since our plans for going to Israel before we have kids are obviously out the window, Up North will have to do! Mike is planning to do a little fishing, but I just brought along a lot of books and I may be persuaded to go for a little hike around the lake.

Lest you think I am just lying around at this point in my pregnancy (which, to be honest, is about all I feel like doing), I did start an AquaMoms class a few weeks ago. Mike thinks it sounds like a superhero gathering, but really it's just a prenatal water aerobics class. I go twice a week and it feels really good, plus it's good exercise! I might even sign up for the next 6-week session after this one ends, if I can fit it in around the childbirth class we're taking.

Well, that's my update for now. If I do get some reading done on this mini-vacation, I will post reviews when we're back!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

SLJ Battle of the Books Winner Announced! -and Finally, a Book Review!

Judge Katherine Paterson has determined who "The Big Kahuna" is in School Library Journal's Battle of the Books. Click here to find out the winner! It was a bit of a surprise to me. Now I have to read it!

And, here is my latest published book review, from the April issue of SLJ...note the "My Two Dads" theme before recommending.

IGNATOW, Amy. The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang. illus. by author. 208p. Abrams/Amulet. Apr. 2010.

Gr 4–6—Fifth-graders Lydia and Julie, best friends, decide to observe "the popular girls" at their school in preparation for junior high. Julie, who lives with her two dads, loves to draw, and Lydia, who lives with her mom and sister, loves to sing. In this Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams, 2007) for girls, the story is told entirely in full-color drawings and in each girl's individual handwriting as they pass their notebook back and forth to record their observations. Of course, things don't go as planned—though the girls' quest for popularity leads them to new hobbies and new friends, it also challenges their own friendship. This entertaining look at the social hierarchy of preteens and the challenges of growing up will entice even the most reluctant readers.—Laurie Slagenwhite, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI

Monday, April 5, 2010

Strep Throat: The Revenge

So, here I was, feeling almost normal on Easter Sunday morning and grateful I caught my strep throat so early. I'd heard the horror stories (much like all the childbirth horror stories that seem to come my way these days) and was happy to have escaped.

Then came Strep Throat: The Revenge.

I felt pretty good until late afternoon/early evening, when my throat, which had been barely tender up to that point, suddenly caught on fire. I spent most of the night waking up every time I had to swallow and then trying to go back to sleep. This morning I felt like I had that first-trimester fatigue all over again, on top of the sore throat and swollen lymph nodes, so I called the doctor and basically asked, "Aren't antibiotics supposed to make it better?" She assured me that strep often gets worse before it gets better (no one warned me!) and that I should give it one more full day, then call back in the morning if I didn't feel better.

Well, I do feel marginally better. Well enough to be online, which is saying something, since I barely felt like watching TV this morning, let alone reading or typing. I no longer whimper every time I swallow. And my appetite is coming back. (Yes, Laurie Suzanne actually had LOSS OF APPETITE, a very rare symptom in any of her illnesses in all her 33 years.) So I am hopeful. Penicillin, do your thing.

Thanks for reading! Hope to be posting some book reviews instead of complaints soon! And maybe another picture of my (ever-expanding) baby bump!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Strep Throat

For the first time in my life I have strep throat! After all these years working with kids...guess it's true that your immunity is down when you're pregnant! Thankfully, I don't have a fever (it could be dangerous to the baby) and within 24 hours I won't be contagious anymore, so I won't miss out on Easter Sunday with church and family. But in the meantime I am laying low. I'll take it as an opportunity to catch up on my reading. Now, my question is: could Mike have had strep last week when he had a fever for a few days? His throat wasn't sore but the lymph nodes on his neck were swollen (as mine are).

When I called my ob/gyn with news of my sore throat, she told me to go to a CVS MinuteClinic and ask for a strep test. It was great -- I waited for about 3 minutes and the NP was very nice. I just had to pay my co-pay and they will bill my insurance. I guess there are only 11 MinuteClinics in Michigan, but I would definitely go the next time I have a UTI or something similar. Very convenient.

Well, enough about me. I wish you all a blessed Resurrection Sunday! Christ is risen -- He is risen indeed!