Why try and teach this “old dog” a new trick?

1 May

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve NEVER been good with money.  My thought process has always been”hey I have some money in the bank, maybe I should go spend it.”  Well let’s just say that that particular frame of mind has also jumped over to credit cards as well.

Now I’ve acquired about $8,000 in credit card debt and I’m NOT liking living paycheck to paycheck.  Especially with gas prices at $3.99 here in my town in the Southwest corner of Wisconsin.  Not only do I have to pay down my credit cards I’ve got to fork over an ass ton of money to fill my gas tank.

So I’m in the process of trying to teach myself how to be more frugal.   All I know is that I don’t want to be 30 and still living with my parents.

So far these are some of the things/steps that I have taken towards becoming more frugal and at some point in the future debt free:

1. I have taken to paying more than the minimum payment on my credit cards…Even if it’s only a few dollars.

2. I’ve taken to using my public library more for books and movies.

3. I have a pretty extensive movie collection but there are movies that I don’t have and really want to see, so I’ve joined Netflix.  I’m currently on their digital streaming/1 DVD or Blueray program.

4. I’ve started shopping in thrift stores more often.  In my job my clothes get pretty beat up so I don’t see any reason to buy brand new clothes for work.  Plus, the thrift store in my town has a program that for every $10 you spend you get a punch and once you fill up your punch card you get $10 worth of “free” merchandise.  A couple of weeks ago I was in there and bought about $100 worth of clothing and a brand new set of Lands End sheets for $27.

5. I’ve been looking for all sorts of frugal and money-saving blogs on the net.  I see tons from all over the country but I’m also trying to find one or two from Wisconsin too.

6.  When I do know that I need to go shopping I make a list and when I get to the store I try very hard to stick to the list.

If anyone else has an advice/links/suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments section.  No suggestion is a bad suggestion.

Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

24 Apr

Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
RATING: 3.75/5

Synopsis:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

Review:

I received Anna and the French Kiss a couple of weeks ago as part of Book Soulmates RAK program.  I had been wanting to read this book for a long time and I could never get my hands on a copy.  I am very happy that an unbelievable nice individual sent me this book as an .epub file so I could read it on my Nook.

I really wanted to love this book.  I really did.  I thought that all of the characters, even the not so good ones, were written in a way that made them seem like they are actual people and not fictional characters.  My personal favorite character was of course, St. Clair.  The good-looking American with an English accent and a French father that he doesn’t like.  At times I had a hard time liking Anna.  I thought she could get a little bit too whiney and wishy washy.

I really enjoyed the beginning and end of the book.  Though I did think that the middle was a little bit to repetitive.  Then there was Anna’s relationship with St. Clair….I thought that it was at times a little bit rough to the point of being rushed.

Overall, I did enjoy the book.  Once I got started reading it I had a hard time stopping, I just didn’t LOVE the book.  Though I can for sure say that I am looking forward to the next book by Stephanie Perkins.

Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Trailer

24 Apr

Frugal Tip ~ Use your library

24 Apr

I LOVE to read and I’m in the process of trying to live a more “frugal” life.  Hence my attempt at mashing my love of books and my journey to be more frugal into one blog. Reading is one of those things that keeps me out of trouble…along with knitting and digital photography.  

 Because I love to read, I have a strong desire to buy books all the time.  Last year I would have given in to the urge to buy bags of books.  Now I have found that a HUGE chunk of the books that I have on my wish list are available in my library system.  So now I’m using my library more and when my mom and I go thrifting I like to check out the bookshelves….I love that I can buy a bag of books for a couple of bucks at our favorite thrift stores.

Right now I have 19 books checked out of my library.  All of them with the exception of 2 were on my wish list.  I also have another 14 books that were on my wish list that are “in transit” to my library.  If you don’t have a library card, I recommend getting one.  Especially if you like to read and save money.  With the exception of late fees or lost books, checking items out of the library (at least at my library anyway) doesn’t cost a thing.  I know that all libraries are different but please check into it.

In My Mailbox April 24, 2011

24 Apr

 

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This is what I got in my mailbox this week.  I hope you enjoy what I got and I hope you’ll leave a link to your IMM so I can check out what you got this week.

*RAK Program*

 

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

*Library*

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

R. A. Nelson takes us on a supernatural thrill ride, a modern-day vampire story set on a NASA base and filled with space-and-science intrigue. Seventeen-year-old Emma feels cursed by her epilepsy—until the lost night. She’s shocked to wake up in the hospital one morning, weak from blood loss. When her memories begin to return, she pieces together that it was a man—a monster—who attacked her: a vampire named Wirtz. And it was her very condition that saved her: a grand mal seizure interrupted Wirtz and left Emma with all the amazing powers of a vampire—heightened senses, rapid speed—but no need to drink blood. Is Emma now a half-vampire girl? One thing soon becomes clear: the vampire Wirtz is fierce and merciless, feared even by his own kind, and won’t leave a job undone.

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation—and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in “like” with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.

In the summer of 2001, twelve year old Fadi’s parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes lost in the crowd, just as Fadi is snatched up into the truck. With Taliban soldiers closing in, the truck speeds away, leaving Mariam behind.

Adjusting to life in the United States isn’t easy for Fadi’s family and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home?

Based in part on the Ms. Senzai’s husband’s own experience fleeing his home in Soviet controlled Afghanistan in the 1970s, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

After her sister Athena’s tragic death, it’s obvious that grief-stricken Persephone “Phe” Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister’s sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA — a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.
 
Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills’ history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach — the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after — seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister’s untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

24 Apr

Firelight
Sophie Jordan
RATING:4/5

Synopsis:

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

Review:

I received this ebook as part of Book Soulmates RAK program.  I had been wanting to read it for a very long time and I was beyond happy when a very nice individual offered to send it to me as an .epub file so I could read it on my Nook.  Yeah for the RAK program!

I started this book late yesterday morning and once I got started I just could NOT put it down.  I had to finish it, I had to know what was going to happen next!

Jacinda, one of our main characters, is a Draki.  Draki are descendents of dragons and can shift from draki form to human form.  As an unfortunate bonus for Jacinda she is a fire-breather, the first one in her pride in MANY generations.  Which makes her a valuable commodity to her pride…Much to Jacinda’s dismay, she’s not real thrilled about the fact that her mate has already been picked out for her.  After a near brush with Draki death Jacinda’s mom decides that for her families safety they are going to move….to the desert….to try and kill Jacinda’s Draki.  Again, much to Jacinda’s dismay.

This is a really great opposites attract love story.  Jacinda is a Draki.  The boy, Will, that she is interested in is a Draki hunter.  Even though she knows she should avoid Will like the plague she can’t help her growing attraction to him.  What I really liked about this budding relationship was that through the whole thing Jacinda’s personality doesn’t change one bit.  She isn’t afraid to stand up to anyone, Will included.

Will was a great character too.  I really enjoyed him a lot.  Not only does he do something he really shouldn’t have done at the beginning of the story, he also has a secret.  One that you don’t find out about until almost the end of the book.  It’s a pretty good secret too.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book a lot.  I had never read a book about dragon/draki before and I found the mythology captivating.  Like I stated earlier, I had a very difficult time putting this book down.  I had to know what was going to happen next.  The only thing I didn’t really care for and it’s really a teeny tiny thing, was the cliff hanger ending.  I can hardly wait for the next book to come out!