Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Release Day!

By: Kate Evangelista

Summery from Amazon:

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn't realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

Happy release day to Kate Evangelista! Her book Taste comes out today!  About two weeks ago I shared a sneak peek with you here, feel free to check it out in case you missed it! 

Z is for Zombies!! (and giveaway!)

Get A Kit,    Make A Plan, Be Prepared.

Of course Z is gonna be for Zombies!!!! I'm obsessed with zombies.  But hey I'm not the only one.  Even the CDC has a plan in case of zombie infestation!
I've read some really cool zombie books over the past year:

Zone One
By: Colson Whitehead

Omg!Just finished and loved this one. Click here to read my review!

The Dishonored Dead
By: Robert Swartwood

A neat twist, pov from the zombie's perspective! Check out my review here for more!

Zombie Tag
By: Hanna Moskowitz

This one had me tearing up in places.  Sad but good.  Check out my review here!

I'm still dying to get my hands on:





To help promote zombie obsession everywhere I'm giving away 2-I love Zombie book marks!  
Just leave a comment below telling me the best zombie book you've read this year, or want to read!  Contest ends 5/25 so be sure to comment before than!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yell!


Y is for Yell.  Because sometimes you just need to let out a really good yell and let out all the tensions of the day.So let's hear it people! Gimme your best yell!

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xiphosura

Xiphosura is scientific name of the Order that Horse Shoe Crab's are found in.  Horseshoe crabs are the only remaining Family in this Order. The scientific name of the family is Limulidae.  Despite the crab in their name they are actually related to arachnids.  There are only four types of horse shoe crabs left in the world.

<-----------The Tachypleus gigas found in South East Asia.

The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab------------>
(I've actually seen this type before at the beach)

<-----------------The Mangrove Horseshoe Crab found in                                    Asia.

The Tachypleus tridentatus also found along the coast of Asia.--------->

I mainly chose Xiphosura since I was looking for an X word that wasn't x-ray and because I like horseshoe crabs.
I've actually seen them in the wild before.  And while they are kinda creepy looking they are still really cool. 
Hope you enjoyed my letter "X"!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Winners and Winning!

I love winning things.  I love being a winner.  Who doesn't?  Some people say they never win anything, to them I say:

You're not entering enough contests. Stop being negative. 

My Kindle!
Usually in that order.  I enter pretty much any contest I can.  I mean someone has to win these contests, why not me? And there's no way I can win if I don't enter.

  I don't always win, and sometime when I win it isn't always something huge.  Sometimes it's nothing more than a free e-book, but I've also won some pretty cool stuff.  I won a Kindle. (that was REALLY cool)  I also won 2 books a month for 6 months  from Decadent Publishing. (That was pretty cool too!).  I've won gift cards and signed copies of books, T-shirts, and I even won a gift basket full of toys. (My kids enjoyed that one.)  
The best part of all the winning, besides the prizes of course, was the people I got to meet along the way.  If it wasn't for winning their books I wouldn't have met some awesome authors. I also wouldn't have found some absolutely awesome new bloggers and their blogs. (Well new to me anyway!)

Want to win something yourself?  Check out my contests/giveaways.

I currently have a giveaway for an e-copy of Griffin Rising,  I'm also giving away 2 postcards for Griffin Rising and Griffin's Fire to the first two people who comment on the release day post. (There's already a comment, but that's from the author, so there are still two available!)  Plus...and I'm just deciding this now...if you comment on the release day post I will also count it as an extra entry in the giveaway for the e-copy of Griffin Rising.  The contest ends on the last day of this month so hurry and enter! 

I also have the Pay It Forward Challenge, that runs until the end of the year, and I plan on having at least one more giveaway this month.  A Hint: I will let you know all about it in my Z post!  So be sure to check back then.

Good luck in all the contests you enter!  (whether they are mine or someone else's)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2012-April Round Up-Pt.4

This challenge is being hosted by Mother/Gamer/Writer.
 For more details on the challenge such as levels, guidelines, PRIZES!!!, just click here.

This post is to  link to all reviews of the books I've read for this challenge this month. To check out  books for this month read by other readers that are taking part in this challenge click here! 

So I didn't think I would be able to get my hands on Volume 4 of Venus Vs Virus 'til next month, BUT I had a surprise  and I was able to get it! YAY! So on with the review.  (If you want to see my review of the first volumes in the series click here)

Venus Vs. Virus Volume 5
By: Atsushi Suzumi

Summery is from both Amazon and the back of the book itself.:

Sumire Takahana is a seemingly normal school girl cursed with the ability to see malevolent ghosts known as "Viruses." Her life hits a crossroads after a run-in with Lucia, a "gothic lolita" clad monster killer for hire. Not content to stay on the sidelines while these "Viruses" prey on the weak, Sumire decides to join forces with the mysterious eyepatch-wearing Lucia to hunt down the Viruses before they can hurt anyone else.

Venus Versus Virus continues in this exciting fifth volume of the manga series. Its popularity continues to grow in conjunction with the recent North American anime release.

As mistrust and unease form within Sonoka's ranks, the evil mistress decides to grant her minions Guy and Ruka just what they desire most--the power to obliterate Lucia and Sumire once and for all!   Is this the ultimate showdown or a sign of much darker things to com? 

My Review:

Ok, things in this volume definitely take a turn for the creepy.  The reader gets some more back story on Ruka and also on Lucia!! (*SQUEE!*) Can you tell I've been waiting for that part???? Plus the connection between Lola and Layla is also revealed!

So still soooo loving this Manga! I've pretty much put my whole issues with the whole lolita thing to the side. (At least for the moment.  I still keep forgetting the main characters are as young as they are, so every once in a while when the story reminds me of their age it does make me have to think about how absent all the parents are.  But really the story itself has drawn me in and I just want to read more!)
I really love how the author has started to flesh out Lola.  She zips around taking over Nachash's place in the group and she always seems  know so much...and then she gets a whiff of chocolate! The contrast is sooo funny.  
Then there's Sonoka and her minions.  The author does an amazing job at making her uber-scary.  Plus there are some scenes where she is...oh how should I put it? Completely kookoo for cocoa puffs, if you know what I mean? The amazing part is, even if I just had the pictures of her face to go by, and I couldn't read the words, I would still realize that there's just something a little off with that girls brain. Yes, the artwork is that good.  The author also does a really good job of showing just how heartless and crazy she really is.  (I won't say how since I don't want to spoil it.) Click here to read the rest of my review!

Okay I think that is all the round ups for this month.  Total of 4 posts all together and 11 books reviewed.
Gosh, didn't realize exactly how many until I just added them up.  *WHEW* That's a lotta Manga!  If you're deciding to read any of these series that I've reviewed 'cause I brought them to your attention, I hope you are enjoying them as much as I have!
'Til next time!

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2012-April Round Up-Pt.3

This challenge is being hosted by Mother/Gamer/Writer.
 For more details on the challenge such as levels, guidelines, PRIZES!!!, just click here.

This post is to  link to all reviews of the books I've read for this challenge this month. To check out  books for this month read by other readers that are taking part in this challenge click here! 

So here are the rest of my reviews for Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori.  I only read up to volume 8, since that was the highest that was available at the time. Hopefully I will be able to get more soon!

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 5
By: Bisco Hatori

No real summery on this one either, just the same basic one from the first volume. So I'll just get on with the review, and let you know what happens in it as I go through.

Loving the cover art on this one!  Also the Ouran Corps Host Rangers!!! Sooo funny!  
The first chapter reveals a little more of Tamaki's background and how he meets Kyoya.  The story itself was kinda slim, Haruhi needs to place first in class testing or she will lose her scholarship.   But there were still some really funny parts, and the side story of Tamaki's missing things, plus the introduction of Ayame, a girl who is nicknamed Ms. Morse for her monotone way talking, kept my interest.  (kinda figured Haruhi isn't gonna fail her exams, otherwise how would she pay back the host club?) To read the rest of my review click here.

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 6
By: Bisco Hatori

All the episodes in this volume, except for the last, follow the host club as they prepare for the school festival and the actual festival itself. (the festival is basically an open house for the students parents to come to) This volume gets deep into some of the reasons for why Kyoya and Tamaki are they way they are. 
While we get to meet the twin's parents, and the father's of Tamaki and Kyoya.  Hunny and Mori's parents never do make an appearance.   And somehow Haruhi's father only has a one frame cameo at the end of the last chapter regarding this storyline. 
Was kinda disappointed by the last two facts.  I get a kick outta Haruhi's dad, and I really was interested to see if Bunny and Mori's parents act towards each other the way their sons do. 
 I found myself laughing at a lot of the one liners and the jokes through out the episodes (chapter's whatever)
However, The underlying stories of Kyoya and his place in his family, and of Tamaki and his missing mother and not so "great" grandmother...they were definitely revealing.  If kind of sad and definitely more serious than previous volumes.  Click here to read the rest of my review.

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 7
By: Bisco Hatori

Summery from Amazon:
Hunny's little brother, Chika, pays a visit to the Host Club--and immediately starts attacking Hunny, using all his martial-arts prowess against his older brother! Chika seems to be the absolute opposite of his sweets-loving, Bun-Bun-toting sibling, but why is he so angry with Hunny? The Host Club is determined to find out the cause...

My Review:

Though the summery says that Chika pays a visit to host club, that is not the only thing that happens in this volume.  The  volume starts off with the host club kidnapping Kyoya and dragging him along to a Regional Products Exhibition at a local (commoner) department store.  However he is still asleep when they get there so they just leave him propped up against a pillar and go exploring.  Fortunately he runs into Haruhi, who he uses to rescue himself.  
Then in the next few chapters we are introduced not only to Hunny's little brother Chika, but also to Mori's little brother
Satoshi.  It was really amusing seeing how Chika and Satoshi interact.  Especially considering how Mori treats Hunny.  Also I liked finding out how Tamaki recruited Hunny to the host club in the first place.   
In the final chapter Haruhi's father as well as the girls from the Roberia Women's institute make an appearance.  It's always fun seeing Haruhi dressed as a girl.  Every time she appears out of her male drag it gets harder and harder to see how they mistook her for a boy in the first place.  
Click here to read the rest of my review.

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 8
By: Bisco Hatori

Summery from the back of the book: 

The first years in class 1-A are taking part in a test of courage. Where the loser will receive the dubious honor of being dubbed "Best of Cowards". Kazukiyo Songa, the class president, and a fraidy-cat at heart, is happy to be on a team with the levelheaded Haruhi,  but will he be able to stomach the antic of his other teammates---the twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin?

My Review:

This one does start off with Class 1-A's test of courage.  Then the next  chapter shows how Tamaki became friends with Kyoya and ends up forming the host club with him.  (It also shows how Tamaki has influenced the overly straight laced Kyoya.)
The rest of the chapters focus on Ritsu Kasanoda and the host clubs efforts to make people like him instead of fear him.   Ritsu is a Class D first year, who is in line to head the most powerful Yakuza family, so while for business his scary appearance is a plus, for his personal life it makes him very lonely.  
There is also a bonus episode at the end, where we get to see life inside of Kyoya's home through the eyes of one of his body guards.  And there are a few extra strips at the very end of the book as well.  There's an especially cute update on the Nekozawa siblings.  (The head of the black arts club and his little sister) Sooo cute.  
Overall I liked this volume.  The first story however, the one that focused on the whole test of courage thing.  The story itself was fine, and there were some funny parts, but it seemed to skip around a bit.  I felt like some scenes were missing and I was kinda lost for a few parts.  It wasn't too bad, but it was unexpected considering how well the other stories have been put together in previous volumes. 
As for the rest of the stories, they didn't seem to have any issues, so that was good. 
Click here to read the rest of my review.

*sigh*  Here's hoping I can get my hands on more volumes soon! I've really enjoyed this series so far and can't wait to read more of it.  I also can't wait to see more of the covers.  My faves so far are the covers for 5 and 6.  Which ones do you like best so far?

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2012-April Round Up!-Pt.2

This challenge is being hosted by Mother/Gamer/Writer.
 For more details on the challenge such as levels, guidelines, PRIZES!!!, just click here.

This post is to  link to all reviews of the books I've read for this challenge this month. To check out  books for this month read by other readers that are taking part in this challenge click here! 

So let's continue my round up for April with some of the books from the series Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori.

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 1
By: Bisco Hatori

Summery from Amazon:
One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the 'Host Club', a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it's there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.

My Review:

OMG! This book is a laugh riot! The artwork is first rate, and I love the background detailing!  
I wasn't sure at first that I would like this one.  I probably would have gotten a bigger laugh out of it if I hadn't known ahead of time that Haruhi was a girl.  For the first part of the story I kept waiting for the other guys in the club to find out and it kinda made the story seem to drag out at that point for me.  But after that point I really enjoyed it.  It was funny. There were tons of tongue-in-cheek jokes.   I loved how all the girls loved Haruhi and thought she was a guy.  The fact that then Tamaki becomes obsessed with seeing Haruhi as a girl, but at the same time he needs to keep her looking like a guy, so that she can work off the money she owes for the vase.  Tamaki himself is hysterical! He is sooo overly dramatic and self-absorbed.  But since he is kind of oblivious to his own faults he just ends up being really funny. Click here to read the rest of my review!

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 2
By: Bisco Hatori

Summery from Amazon:

In this screwball romantic comedy, Haruhi, a poor girl at a rich kids' school, is forced to repay an $80,000 debt by working for the school's swankiest, all-male club - as a boy! There, she discovers just how wealthy the six members are and how different the rich are from everybody else...The school-wide physical exam has thrown the members of the elegant Host Club for a loop. How can the doctor not discover that Haruhi is a girl?! And once the female customers learn the truth, Haruhi can kiss her job goodbye. But then life at the club will be unbearably boring if she leaves! So the guys wrack their brains for a solution...

My Review:

Still loving Host Club!  
Tamaki is starting to get so over the top in his reactions, and Haruhi just shoots him down each time.  Honestly I think all the boys in the club are funny, but I do have my favorites. (Although sometimes it varies by chapter)  I especially got a kick out of the chapter were the twins  are "trying" to be different from each other and go so far as to dye Hikaru's hair Flamingo Pink. (I soooo wish these frame were in color!!) But really the way they all interact and play off each other is great. I found myself laughing every time I turned the page. Don't get me wrong the boys have their sensitive sides as well, but that doesn't take away from the fun.  Click here to read the rest of my review.

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 3
By: Bisco Hatori

Summery from Amazon:
It's summer break, and the Host Club crew head to the beach, dragging our reluctant heroine with them. When Haruhi stands up to some local bullies and gets tossed into the ocean, Tamaki, the Host Club King, rescues her. But afterward, he's so mad that he won't speak to her until she apologizes. Trouble is, Haruhi can't figure out what she should be sorry for!

My Review:

Loved watching the boys at the beach!   They are sooo funny! And how they turned it into a business venture in the process, so entrepreneurial.  I love the little side contest they set up to see what Haruhi is afraid of. Although the pictures of her that Koyoya offers to the winner are kinda creepy... I mean I understand they are in high school and her middle school pics are only a year or so old at most.  But She looks REALLY young in the pics he shows.   
Click here to read the rest of my review.

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 4

By: Bisco Hatori

So no summery for this one...have to write it myself, with as few spoilers as possible.

So the boys from the host club  decided to visit Haruhi at home!  As it left off in the previous volume, Haruhi's dad walked in right after Tamaki tripped and landed on top of Haruhi!  (despite his feminine attire, her dad has no problem being scarey!)  He also proceeds to go into disguise mode.  He and the rest of the boys from the host club, follow her and Tamaki to a local "commoners" store.  Needless to say hilarity ensues!
Also in this volume:
Valentine's Day at Ouran High, and the whole club goes down the rabbit hole and plays out Alice in Wonderland.  Plus the club decides to help out the school newspaper and let them do an article on them to help boost readers.  Of course their idea of a news worthy article is the paper writing about their playing a "Commoner's" game.  

Again, so loving the Host Club!  Haruhi's father is really sweet.  He tries so hard to understand and connect with his daughter, and fails miserably! (like most fathers)  But he really cares about her, and isn't afraid to threaten the host boys, who he sees as potential suitors to his precious Haruhi.  It's funny, Haruhi and her father have more in common then they realize.  For example they both are working as cross dressers...waiting for this one to come up in a future volume.  
Poor Mori, his relationship with Hunny is soooo complex... In the Valentine's episode he even turns a girl down, because he feels he needs to punish himself for failing his friend.  
Click here to read the rest of my review.

So there are volumes 1-4 of the Ouran High School Host Club.  I will put up the next 4 in another post later today!

V is for Voice!

So my "V" post is kinda short, but hopefully all your comments will make it look really long!  So I decided that V would be  for Voice.  Specifically your voice.  I've used my blogs to let my voice be heard and now I would like to hear yours.  So please feel free to leave in the comments your opinions of my blog. What do you like? What do you dislike?  What would you like to see more of or is there anything you think I should add?

I'd love to know what you think!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2012-April Round Up!

This challenge is being hosted by Mother/Gamer/Writer.
 For more details on the challenge such as levels, guidelines, PRIZES!!!, just click here.

This post is to  link to all reviews of the books I've read for this challenge this month. To check out  books for this month read by other readers that are taking part in this challenge click here! 

So here's my round up of the reviews for April.  (Yes this month I actually have more than one review *GASP*) In fact I kinda got buried under a pile of Manga and had to read my way out so I think I am going to do multiples of this post  this month, so all the books aren't all smooshed together. 

So lets start with the first series Venus Vs Virus by Atsushi Takahana.  I kinda referred to it in my "M" post so if you read that then you already have an idea about how I feel about it.  But definitely check out the reviews to get my complete opinion!

Venus Vs. Virus Omnibus 1 (3 Volumes)
By: Atsushi Takahana

Summery from Amazon:

Sumire Takahana is a seemingly normal school girl cursed with the ability to see malevolent ghosts known as "Viruses." Her life comes to a dramatic crossroads when she meets Lucia Nahashia, an eye-patch wearing, "gothic lolita"-clad monster killer for hire. Not content to stay on the sidelines while the Viruses prey on the weak, Sumire decides to join the Lucia in Venus Vanguard to hunt down Viruses before they can hurt anyone else.

But Sumire's battle with the Viruses has unforeseen consequences: a dark power wells up in her in a brutal berserker form! Lucia must stop Sumire from destroying all of Venus Vanguard without killing her friend. Meanwhile, Sumire's power attracts the attention of Sonaka, a mysterious who controls the Viruses, and watches, and waits, and plans...

My Review:

So this one was a really fun read.  It was nice and thick since it was 3 volumes in one, and it had some really nice artwork and full pieces to it.  I liked the dark elements as well as the whole goth style that the author worked in together.  Plus the stories were all nicely put together and there weren't any really confusing parts or parts that seemed to be missing. Plus at the end the author put in some really nice extras, and some of the reasons why she drew certain characters certain ways.  It still ends on a cliffie, which I dislike, but it is a series so I didn't really expect it to end differently.
The only thing about the book that really didn't mesh well with me was the whole lolita aspect. Click here to read the rest of my review. 

Venus Vs. Virus Volume 4
By: Atsushi Takahana

Summery from Goodreads:

Sumire Takahana is a seemingly normal school girl cursed with the ability to see malevolent ghosts known as "Viruses." Her life hits a crossroads after a run-in with Lucia, a "gothic lolita" clad monster killer for hire. Not content to stay on the sidelines while these Viruses prey on the weak, Sumire decides to join forces with the mysterious, eyepatch-wearing Lucia to hunt down the Viruses before they can hurt anyone else.
Venus Versus Virus Vol. 4As Venus Vangard squares off against Sonoka's evil minions, Sumire's berserker powers spiral out of control...and it's Lucia who's caught in the middle!

My Review:

I know in my review of the omnibus of the first 3 volumes that I said I had some issues with the whole lolita genre part of this series...Yeah, still having issues with that.  Still pause a moment when the age of the main characters is mentioned. But OMG! The story on this one, sooo draws me in.  I can't help it.  And I LOVE the artwork! The detailed work is fantastic.  Especially the backgrounds.  It's detailed without being cluttered. Even the simpler pieces.  Ones without the extra background detail are striking.  (I'm not saying every single frame is perfect, but the majority are really good) Click here to read the rest of my review.

So that is it for part one of the Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge-April Round-up.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for part 2!

Mother's Day Giveaway from Gone Reading!

So at the end of March I told you about Gone Reading.  They have some awesome merchandise, cute t-shirts, book lights, journals, etc. (  <-----like my little friend to the left)  Plus 100% of their after tax profit go to fund libraries and reading programs.  Now in addition to that they are having an amazing giveaway in celebration of Mother's Day.             One lucky winner will receive $100 in Gone Reading merchandise AND a $25 gift card to Amazon!  Cool huh?  All you have to do is click on the link below and scroll down to the bottom of the page to enter using the Rafflecopter form.
While you're there feel free to check out some of the really neat gift ideas that they have for Mother's Day. (So far they only have a few ideas up, but they add more every few days.)
Just for fun (this WON"T get you extra entries)  feel free to come back and share with me what you would get from Gone Reading if you are the lucky winner?(again this won't get you any extra entries, I'm just curious as to what other people like)

Good luck, click on the link below to go to the contest!

U is for Unicorns!

U is for Unicorns!  Unicorns have been one of my favorite mythical creatures since I was a kid. I remember going to Ringling Bros. circus the year they had a real live unicorn.   *sigh* It was wonderful.  At least until my brother decided to pick on me all the way home.  I still remember him telling me how it was really a goat and that they had grafted it's two horns  into one on it's head.  Bah! What do brothers know? I'd still rather be that little girl who believes in unicorns, then some disillusioned adult. (I really wanted to put a pic of the poster, but I couldn't find it on the web, and it is in an attic somewhere, but the one above is pretty isn't it?)

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Last Unicorn.  It was based on the book The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle ,

And who can forget the unicorns from Legend?

or Unico?

Ok, maybe Unico wasn't that mainstream when I was a kid. But I soooo loved watching  the movies!

So what's your favorite mythological or supernatural creature? 

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for...

T is for:

My TBR pile!!

Man it's huge! I didn't think it was that big, til I actually took a look at everything I need to read.  (And this pic doesn't even include everything, I've got 4 more books in a box in my room and I can't take a pic of the list on my kindle!)

"What has she put on my seat? These aren't the extra
pillows I asked for!"
The majority of these books are ones I've one from Goodreads First Reads, so when the reviews are done they will go up here.  There are a few that I'm gonna read for the Manga/Graphic Novel/ Video Game Novel Challenge I'm participating in.  Then there are one or two that are there simply because I want to read them.  No intention of reviewing them, though I might but a star rating or something on Goodreads to note I've read them. Unfortunately they fall to the bottom of the pile. :(

So how bad is your TBR pile?   Do you keep them in a specific order to read? Is there one you're dying to read but it's stuck lower on the list? Do you have separate TBR piles?

"Uh-huh, suuure you're gonna read all a these...probably
'bout the same time you bring me my extra pillows!"

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Secrets

So I decided to do "S" for Secrets.  I decided for "S" I would tell you some secrets about me. In exchange all I ask is that you tell me a secret in return.  It doesn't have to be some great state secret or something. It can be something silly or simply something that someone wouldn't know about you, since this is the Internet so you never really know the truth about anyone.  So on with the secret telling....ok it's more like one secret, but I figured it's Saturday and near the end of the challenge so you can get on to visiting more of the blogs.

I am absolutely petrified that people will hate me or think I'm stupid. 

I know, I know, tons of people have secrets like this. But it's something I deal with everyday, and it's not just new people I'm meet.  I'm always afraid that I'm going to say or do the wrong thing and absolutely offend or insult  someone I'm friends with and they are going to hate me forever. I always double check everything I write or obsess for hours over when I have plans to talk to someone.  Sometimes this leads me to stress over stuff long after it's happened replaying stuff analyzing everything I said or did.  God forbid I'm writing something and I forget to spell check.  I can literally send myself into a panic attack!   Of course sometimes this pushes me to the complete other end of the spectrum.  I tend to go overboard and get completely loud and obnoxious.  I always end up offending someone at that point....which of course leads me to even more hair pulling and teeth gnashing later!!  

I know not some dark, dirty secret.   But if you know and if I say something completely off the wall please remember my secret and please don't hate me! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Rett Syndrome

R is for Rett Syndrome

Now I personally do not know a whole lot about Rett Syndrome, however my friend Crystal does and she was kind enough to come and talk a little bit about it today.  Her daughter has Rett's and I think that it is important to get the word out there.  The more people know about it, the more people that can do things to help. So enough of my babbling and on with her post:

Rett Syndrome (RS) is defined as a neurodevelomental disorder of the gray matter (the major component of the central nervous system) of the brain, that almost exclusively affects females. The clinical features include small hands and feet and a deceleration of the rate head growth. Repetitive hand movements, such as wringing and/or repeatedly putting hands in the mouth are also noted. People with RS are prone to gastrointestinal disorders and up 80% have seizures. They typically have no verbal skills, and about 50% of individuals affected are not ambulatory. Scoliosis, growth failure, and constipation are very common and can be problematic. (duh?)
The signs of this disorder are most easily confined with those of Angelman's Syndrome, Cerebal Palsy, and Autism.
There are 4 stages of Rett Syndrome.  
Stage 1 usually begins between six and eighteen months, and is often overlooked, because the symptoms are just beginning and are somewhat vague. The infant may have progressed and gained new skills, but at a slower rate or later date then expected. She may have a "floppy" body and a poor suck. This stage usually lasts a few months, but can last more than a year. 
Stage 2 begins from one to four years and usually lasts from weeks to months. A general developmental decline is seen with regression and loss of acquired skills. This stage can have a rapid onset or it can be more gradual as acquired finger and hand skills and spoken language are lost. Stereotyped hand movements begin. Breathing irregularities may be noticed, and may include episodes of breath holding and hyperventilation associated with vacant spells. General irritability and irregularity may be seen, and some girls awaken with inappropriate laughing or crying spells. Tooth grinding is common.  
Stage 3 usually begins from two to ten years following the rapid destructive period and can last for many years. Regression is now over, and she reaches a stable period. Apraxia, motor problems, scoliosis, and seizures may be more prominent. However, improvement is seen in behavior with less irritability and crying, fewer autistic features and good eye contact. She shows more interest in her surroundings, and her alertness, attention span and communication skills improve. Many girls with RS remain in Stage 3 for most of all of their lifetime. Stage 4, which usually begins after age ten, is characterized by reduced mobility.  
Stage4-A is used to describe those who once walked and stopped.  
Stage 4-B describes those who were never able to walk. In this stage, muscle weakness, rigidity, spasticity, and scoliosis are prominent features which contribute to loss of movement skills. Feet are often swollen, cold, and bluish. However, there is no further decline in cognition, communication, or hand skills.

Ok, that is the CLINICAL definition of Rett Syndrome. That is what all the experts say. Here is what I say:

My daughter is 8. Her name is Gabby. She loves to laugh and play with her sisters. She loves going to school, her teachers, and just about everything to do with school in general. I won't say she loves physical therapy, but she does love her physical therapist. She wakes up in the morning smiling and goes to bed at night with a smile on her face. She cuddles with us and gives hugs and kisses more then either of my other girls. She will let you know when she wants something, and what she wants...if you pay attention and listen. Not just listen with ears, because Gabby does not talk verbally, but believe me when I say she gets her point across.
When we wake up in the morning at my house, I get woken up by my 10 year old daughter, who knocks on our door and says "Gabby's awake." I get up and go to Gabby's bed and there she is, smiling and waiting for one of us, because she cannot come and knock on our door to tell us herself that she is awake. So, as I lift the side of her bed, (the two younger ones sleep on bunk beds, but Gabby's needed some modifications, like both sides of the bed need to be enclosed so she doesn't roll out of bed) to begin our day, she (almost, I won't say EVERYDAY, but close to it) is happy, ready to go. so I pick her up and carry her downstairs. To start the day, she gets her diaper changed, her medications, getting her dressed, (which she does fight us about), breakfast, (which can take up to an hour to feed her, because she eats very slow and sometimes does not want to eat at all), exercises for her arms and legs to loosen up her muscles. Depending on what day it is, then it is school, in which she gets physical, occupational, and speech therapies. After school, it is a snack and more exercises, and when she isn't utterly drained, we try some practice with her communication, whether it is with her IPAD, or just reading, or trying to get her to answer questions for us. Then, dinner, which again can take considerably longer then most peoples dinners (up to an hour- hour an half), then bath time, and evening medications.  
Now on weekends, we try to stay with the schedule, but we also want her (and the other girls) to relax, so we do do some of the therapies and all, but not always.
Gabby spends her time between the couch, the floor and the dining room table. She spends enough time in her wheelchair or other equipment while she is in school, plus we don't have the equipment (other then her chair) here at the house. We wish we did, but it is just not possible right now. Her new wheelchair is currently in the works and has been since October, just to give you an idea of how long even the essentials take. But she plays on the couch or on the floor with her sisters and us, and she is good with that. She just likes being around us and spending time with each of us. Don't get me wrong, Gabby is not a perfect child, she gets in trouble. The "classic" "putting hands in the mouth" is actually a big problem for her because she gets infections in between her fingers, therefore we need to always take her hands out of her mouth. She has arm braces, that one of her doctors loving calls "no-nos". She throws toys, and gets them taken away from her. She hits her sisters, and gets told no.  
In December, Gabby was hospitalized for a reaction to a new seizure medication (among other things) for six days. In the 30 days following, she had something like 12 doctor appointments (of course mind you that is besides the other kids). Now in a regular year, a "typical" kid may go to see a doctor maybe 8 or 9 times (and that may be a lot for some), including sick visits. Gabby probably sees at least one doctor or another every 3 weeks or so. Sometimes more. And sick visits are more like regular doctor appointments, because we go to so many of them.  
Now the good news, there has been more research on RS in recent years done then ever before. More and more clinical studies come out, it seems every day. I read about new developments probably at least once a month or so. There is so much information out there that it can get very overwhelming, especially for newly diagnosed RS girls. But, if you look at a little bit at a time, digest it, then maybe a little more, you really can get through it. There are support groups and other parents who really do understand what you are going through. Not just RS parents, but any parent with a special needs child. My oldest daughter had a hand in starting a sibling support group at Gabby's school. The group is for "typical" children who have a sibling with special needs so that they can express how they feel about their brothers and sisters.  
And just so everyone really does understand, Gabby is my actually my step-daughter. She came into my life almost 4 years ago. So I still feel like I am playing catch up a lot of the time. But, she is the reason that my 10 year old doesn't look at people differently because something is "wrong" with them. She is the reason that my 17 year old wants to become a musical therapist for special needs children. She is the reason her father fights everyday, whether it is for her wheelchair from the insurance company, or because someone is parked on a handicapped parking spot that shouldn't be there. She gives him a reason to want to make things fair, in an unfair world. She is the reason that I learned how strong I can be because she needs someone to be her voice. We are her voice. We are her family. And she is our angel.

I want to thank Crystal for being willing to share a part of her life, and her family's life, with my readers today.  
Here are some more links to find out more about Rett Syndrome, and things you can do to help. Wikipedia-Rett Syndrome
Wikipedia-Grey Matter
Rett Syndrome: A Guide

The Rett Syndrome Handbook 
by Kathy Hunter

The Rett Syndrome Handbook: In Words You Can Understand From Those Who Understand
By: Kathy Hunter

Rett Syndrome Research Trust UK /

Rett Girl! and (the blog)

Girl Power 2 Cure

For people who are familiar with Rett Syndrome and would like to find out about clinical trials click below:

Clinical Trials

This post is a part of The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2012