Apr 30, 2012

Traditions

Thanksgiving Day Greetings
Thanksgiving Day Greetings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know that a lot of families have traditions that go way back.  But with everyone being spread out so far about this huge country of ours, how many of those have fallen to the wayside?  Or how about families that don’t have kids, do they maintain those traditions?  Or how about blended families,  how do they choose which ones to continue on?

I fall into the first two categories.  My mother is in Arizona and my sister is in California.  But then we didn’t have a lot of traditions to carry on in the first place.  It seems as though they were lost in my generation.  Heck I am worried that once my mother gets too old there won’t be any more family reunions either.  I know that I won’t be hosting them as I don’t even know how to get ahold of most of my family.

I also don’t have any children so what few traditions we had left, I just let fall to the wayside.  And my husband’s family had a couple like getting together on Christmas Eve but I don’t really get along with them.  Heck my husband doesn’t even get along with his close relatives so going over there is something that we pass on.

Since we have moved into our new home however we have started a couple of our own traditions.  One thing that we do is host a potluck for our friends on the third Saturday of every month.  It is a heck of a lot of fun and gives us time to just enjoy each other.  Lots of good food and conversation.
Another tradition we have started is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.  This again is for us and our friends.  Most of us don’t have families nearby to celebrate with so we celebrate together.  We have been doing this for 2 years now.  So a new tradition but one all the same.

I think that this year also I will host a cookie exchange for Yule.  Or perhaps get together to make up some gifts for Yule.  Hmm…  I will have to think more about those.

So how about you?  Do you have family traditions that you continue on?  Or perhaps you have like myself made up your own?
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Apr 29, 2012

Beautiful Things

Kitchen garden at Bolen residence
 (Photo credit: Gardening in a Minute)
I am actually doing this up Saturday night because I will be spending all day out at the Beltaine ritual.  I love the public rits but they sure tucker me out the next day and of course I have to work the next day.

1.  I have been on a plant kick.  I now have basil, rosemary, cilantro and one other herb planted out on my front porch.  I decided that since I get the best light out there that I will start a container garden there.  Working out at TERRA's Herb Garden on Earth Day really got me thinking green things.

2.  We now have propane in the BBQ and I just love the smile on my husband's face when he is out there using it.  It doesn't hurt that he makes the best grilled chicken either.

3.  Our anniversary is coming up in May so rather then picking up individual presents for each other, we decided to go put a BBQ on layaway.  Ours is getting older and well I love the grilled foods year around.
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Apr 25, 2012

Review: A Perfect Storm

He never saw her coming…

Spencer Lark already knows too many secrets about Arizona Storm, including the nightmare she survived and her resulting trust issues. But in order to expose a smuggling ring—and continue avenging his own tragic past—the bounty hunter reluctantly agrees to make Arizona a decoy. Yet nothing has equipped him for her hypnotic blend of fragility and bravery, or for the protective instincts she stirs in him.

Arizona wants to reclaim her life, which means acting as bait to lure the enemy into a trap. Sure it's dangerous, especially with a partner as distractingly appealing as Spencer. But as their plan—and their chemistry—shifts into high gear, Arizona may discover there's an even greater risk in surrendering her heart to a hero…

* * * * * 

A PERFECT STORM is the fourth book in the Men Who Walk The Edge Of Honor series and I am assuming that it will be the last one.  I can't really see where another book would come from unless Chris gets his own book but we will see.  Overall this has been a rather good series and I do have to admit that this book in particular has been my favorite.

What really sets it apart is Arizona.  She has gone thru hell in the past being sold as a sex slave and then rescued.  That has really caused some scars that need to be reopened and healed.  Luckily she trusts Spencer enough to allow the healing process to start.  Some of the scenes between them were almost enough to bring tears to my eyes.  

Spencer has his own growing to do also.  He is an alpha male which automatically makes him protective of any female and even more so to one he cares for.  What he needs to understand is that Arizona is a warrior in her own right and to respect her ability to protect herself and others.

I think that what I appreciated most about this book was the hard look at human traffickers.  It is happening yet so many people want to sweep it under the rug.  Ms. Foster has presented it in a way that is palatable to her readers.  And the more folks that know about it, the closer we are to stopping it.  Kudos to Ms. Foster for presenting a clear look at this uncomfortable subject.

I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys romantic suspense.  I would rate this book a 3.4.

***I received this book at no charge for NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  No monies have or will exchange hands.
Apr 24, 2012

Pig in what??

Sausage wrapped in pancakes, as served at IHOP...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's been a while since I have shared one of the strange and wacky holidays.  And today is definitely a strange one.  It is Pig In A Blanket Day.

Now this is a very easy day to celebrate.  It just consists of frying up some sausage links, and then making up some pancakes to wrap them in.  Oh and serve some syrup along side to sweeten up the pot. 


Oh and don't be fooled by the folks that insist that one takes a hot dog and wraps it up on a piece of dough.  Just not the same at all.
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Apr 22, 2012

Beautiful Things

Wow I am running late today with this post.  It was just to beautiful and I was playing with herbs.

1.  Last night was our potluck.  We had a newcomer who just slipped right in to the mix.  My potlucks sure take a lot of out of me what with scouring the house and all (the hubby actually does most of it) but they are sure worth it.  This time the theme was small plates so everyone brought an appetizer to share.

2.  I got off early Friday which was payday and pampered myself by getting my nails filled and a pedicure.  Since all I wear all sandals, I love to have my pretty toes.

3.  Thought that I was losing my roommate but instead of her moving back to Seattle with her fiance, the fiance is moving down here.  This is a good thing especially as the roomie is a great kid and she is my IT person.  DH loves it because she has Gamefly membership <snort>.
Apr 21, 2012

So bummed out

I have my favorite ice tea glass and I had three of them left.  Well in the last three days two of them have been broken.  I went looking online for them to discover not only are they not made anymore, but they are considered vintage and the only way to get more is on E-bay for $49.95 for two of them.

You can bet that I will be guarding the last one with my life.  Not only that but it is time to haunt second hand stores looking for Golden Harvest Mason Jar Mugs.
Apr 20, 2012

Review: Motor City Mage



As a cop who keeps paranormals in line, Des has a hard time trusting them. So why does he want the beautiful werewolf Lana more than his next breath? She's mouthy, flamboyant and distractingly sexy—not the type of woman for a reserved mage like him. Lana admires Des, but she can't be with someone who won't take her seriously, no matter how much she'd love to rip off his dr...moreAs a cop who keeps paranormals in line, Des has a hard time trusting them. So why does he want the beautiful werewolf Lana more than his next breath? She's mouthy, flamboyant and distractingly sexy—not the type of woman for a reserved mage like him. Lana admires Des, but she can't be with someone who won't take her seriously, no matter how much she'd love to rip off his dress shirt.

When a dangerous new drug shows up in Detroit, Des must locate the source, and Lana is determined to help. But their plan goes awry, trapping them in a demon dimension. To return home, Lana and Des must flee through a series of unpredictable alternate realities, fighting enemies while trying to shut down the drug trade. But if they're going to survive, they'll have to rely on each other, even though getting closer will add fuel to a fire that's already burning out of control...

* * * * *

MOTOR CITY MAGE is actually the fourth book in the Urban Arcana series and the second one that I have had the pleasure of reading.  And it was a pleasure even though I haven’t read them all.  Each book is complete within itself so I didn’t feel as though I was missing anything.  And since it is one of my pet peeves that so many series books that coming out lately really rely on reading the entire series, I am always ecstatic when I find books that are able to stand all on their own.

Another thing that I really appreciated about this book and this series is the fact that all of the magical species are well balanced.  Not one all powerful which really does lead to the races working together to solve issues.  Oh and let’s not forget the characters.  Ms. Pape does a wonderful job with the characters and the dialogue is very crisp and snappy.

I do recommend this book and this series to lovers of paranormal romantic suspense.  I rate it a 4.3.

***I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  No monies has or will exchange hands.
Apr 18, 2012

Review: Reswyt

After her father's death and her grandfather's disappearance,  high school freshman Sabine Jahn moves to Sacramento with her mother.  She doesn't fit in well in her school and the fact that she hasn't been able to sleep at night isn't helping.  Sabine has a tendency to fall asleep in classes and the popular kids like to pick on her.  In fact one breaks a necklace that Sabine's grandfather gave to her.  Actually Sabine discovers that the necklace is actually fixed and then all kind of strangeness starts.

* * * * *

It's no secret that I enjoy reading young adult novels.  I find a lot of times that the plots are fresher and more enjoyable then books written for adults.  RESWYT happens to be one of those novels.  

There is the usual teenage drama about romance and high school that one finds in this genre.  What makes it unique is the mixture of Egyptian mythology and dream interpretation that is added to the pot.  I found that adding in those additions really made for a unique storyline.

Mr. Mayer also did a wonderful job on his characters.  I enjoyed watching Sabine deal with her issues surrounding her father's death and the maturity that she increasingly shows in dealing with problems that I keep cropping up.  I don't want to say more about this issues as that would give too much away about the book.

I was very impressed by this book and recommend it to readers of all ages.  I plan on picking up the next book as soon as I can.

I rate this book a 4.5.

**I purchased this book thru Amazon.
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Apr 17, 2012

Book Review: Fair Game

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights..


* * * * *

Wow!  I have been a fan of Patricia Briggs since her very first book and I do have to say that FAIR GAME has to be her best book yet.  And with such a stunning ending, I am already impatient for the next book in this series.

I think what really made this book so spectacular to me was the characters.  Charles is usually the tough guy but he was really dealing with a lot of issues in this book.  One that could have severe consequences on his relationship with Anna.  Seeing him so vulnerable (at least in his thoughts) really was an eye opener about this strong man.   And Anna is a character that I have always loved from the get-go.

There were also some characters introduced that I wouldn't mind seeing in other books such as Lucas, the Boston Alpha, and the FBI agent Leslie Fisher who should be appointed to work with the werewolves as needed.  There was also an interesting fae character that you will learn more of when you read the book.

This book blew me away enough that even though I do run across one glaring content error I would still have to say that it is the best book I have read in 2012.

I rate this book a 5.

**I borrowed this book from the public library.
Apr 15, 2012

Beautiful things

Well since I wrote a post last night that kinda covered everything but the kitchen sink, I think that I will just list my beautiful things.  Especially since I can't seem to type to save my life today.

  • I feel like doing a happy dance.  We have our new computers at work.  No more waiting forever for a program to open.  Oh and dual monitors are just too convenient. 
  • My dog is laying here snoring so loudly that I had to stop to figure out what the noise was.  Oh this is just an extra aside.
  • I won some earrings from Valerie of Hot Fused Glass that are just gorgeous and so comfortable to wear.  I have a lot of issues with some earrings because the hole in my ears are so small.  These fit perfect and are so classy.  And Novica is such a great place to shop.  You get to almost meet the person that makes each item thru their bios.
  • On Wednesday, I received some goodies from my bead swap partner.  I really need to get some pictures taken so that I can show you.  Heck I have a few pics of some jewelry that I have made that I need to share with everyone.




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Just cuz...

Basil Basilico Ocimum basilicum albahaca
Basil Basilico Ocimum basilicum albahaca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I know that lately I have had a lot of posts but mainly book reviews.  I am really doing to try to get some non-review posts going also.  I mean after all everyone knows that I love to read and to tell others what to read <grin> but I do more then read.  So I am going to have some just cuz posts.

Today was an utterly gorgeous day and we managed to get some of the yard work done.  My DH mowed until his back gave out and then the roomie took over.  And finished all but one side yard where a giant spider jumped out and got her.  And it appears and I am the only one brave enough to confront this terror in its den.  So guess what I will be doing tomorrow along with doing my taxes. 

Yes I am horrible at procrastination.  There are really times when I wonder why I do all the finances as I can put things off.  But not just bills or money things.  I am bad about getting absorbed in various things and simply forget the others.

I had planned on repotting a plant also today.  One that deserves to live simply because it won't die.  When we moved in here, I was giving a Mother's-In-Law Tongue plant that didn't have enough dirt.  I mean the roots were showing.  And I remembered to water it sometimes.  Others I keep I forgot because I keep thinking that it was plastic.  Well I went out and got some potting soil.  I am going to do it up right.  And I just know that will probably kill it.

I also want to plant up some herbs.  I got some seeds today for basil, chives and cilantro.  I am going to plant those up together in a pot.  I also have another set aside for some more basil.  Some different varieties.  My goal is to make up some pesto and freeze it.  That way I will always have some ready. 

I did sit down tonight and finish a proofread on a book from Silver Publishing.  One of the cleanest edits that I have ran across.  So I guess that I did accomplish something.  Oh and I finished up a review on a tea gift pack that I received. 

So how was your Saturday?

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Apr 14, 2012

Review: City of Chaos

Ray Crusafi, private investigator, heads to Oklahoma but never makes it. Halfway there, he takes supposedly simple job investigating a shooting in tiny Eris, Missouri. Someone wants the local grocery store out of business, and will do whatever it takes.

However, Ray's presence escalates things. The store owner's son is killed, and the sheriff suspects Ray of murder.

Ray's wife joins him, but she is seen as the perfect opportunity, and she is kidnapped. Then the ultimatum comes; his wife will die in 24 hours unless he personally levels the grocery store to the ground.

To save his wife, and wrap up the case, he has only one day to discover who is behind it all.


* * * * *

I very much enjoyed CITY OF CHAOS though I will admit feeling sorry for Ray for awhile.  It seemed as though the only breaks that he could get were bad ones.  Not only is his wife kidnapped but he is beaten so many times that it is a wonder that the poor man could be alive let alone get his wife back.  

This really is a quick read.  The pacing is so fast going from one epiphany to another, from one disaster to the next that this book is really hard to set aside until the very end.  The characters are also very believable.  None of them really really come across as evil which makes it hard to pinpoint the villain in the piece. 

I do recommend this book to readers of mysteries and thrillers.  You are sure not to be disappointed.

I rate this book a 3.75.

**I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest and impartial review.  No monies have or will exchange hands.

Is Stamping calling your name?

 I know that it has been calling mine.  Heck I even have a pinboard set up with various stamping supplies that I would love to get if only the finances cooperated.  Well Lori Anderson of Pretty Things blog has a contest that could you or me started.

For more details click here.
Apr 13, 2012

Review: A Breath of Eyre


Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…

* * * * * *

I will be the first to admit that I don't read the classics.  I have never read Jane Eyre.  But there was something about this book that drew me so I tossed my name in the hat for it.  And I am glad that I did.

I was very impressed by the character of Emma Townsend.  She starts out as  a teen who has a stepmother that she doesn't care for and attends a private school on a scholarship that she hates.  Typical teen attitude in that the world is out to get her.  By the end of the book, she becomes a very impressive young lady.

Actually Ms. Mont does a wonderful job with all of her characters.  Even the villains are shown to have redeeming qualities. And they are all so realistic and really contribute to the book.

While the pacing in the book was spot on in most places, I did find it rather slow in the first scene in Jane's time.  Otherwise it was one of the books I couldn't put down.  I basically spent all day yesterday reading it. 

I am really glad that I have been introduced to Ms. Mont's work as I will be keeping an eye out for more.  Most of the young adult books that I have read were fantasies and I enjoyed being introduced to the new to me genre within a genre.

I rate this book a 4.5 and suitable to any readers.

--I received this book through GoodRead's First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.  No monies have or will exchange hands.
Apr 11, 2012

Book Review: The Forever Girl

At 22, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, living under the shadow of her bi-polar mother, religious prejudice, and a cold murder. Sophia can imagine lots of ways her life could be better, but she'd settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. The spell she casts goes wrong. The static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous.

One of them is a man named Charles, a centuries-old shape-shifter that Sophia falls for despite her better judgment. He has connections that can help her unveil the mystery surrounding her ancestor's hanging, but she gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust him. Survival in his world, she learns, means not asking questions and staying out of the immortal council's way. It's a line she crossed long ago.

If Sophia wants to survive the council and save the people she loves, she must accept who she is, perform dark magic, and fight to the death for her freedom. 


* * * * * 

I really had to sit and ponder about how to rate this book.  Or perhaps more correctly what I felt when I finished it.  There were a lot of points to consider, mostly good one.

Ms. Hamilton does have a gift with characters and dialogue.  I could so totally relate with Sophia and her insecurities.  And Charles is almost too good to be true so I would have taken as long as Sophia did to trust him.  Oh and don't get me started about her mother.  What a piece of work.

I loved almost all of the book.  I did find a couple content errors but they were small ones that didn't really pull me out of the story.  What I didn't like was the ending.  It felt as though it was just tacked on so that what was a really good single book could be stretched out into a series.  And I am still not sure what I think about that.

This book is worth reading.  Just be prepared for that sudden right turn.

I recommend this book to lovers of horror and paranormal romance.  I rate it a 3.5.

**I received this book at no charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Apr 9, 2012

Book Review: Blood Sense


Saxom is dead. The vampires know this. Anthony Hancock, Director of the Joint NSA/Homeland Security Department knows it as well. Tony and the vampires are now on the hunt for Saxom's brood, all of whom are determined to avenge their sire's death. Neither Tony nor the vampires are aware of the other's efforts to search out these rogues, who may number in the hundreds at the very least. Tony holds information the vampires don't—he knows that Xenides, Saxom's eldest vampire child, has allied with terrorists (both foreign and domestic). Tony also neglects to provide valuable information to Wlodek when he requests Lissa's help.

While struggling to recover from a near-fatal bout with the sun, Lissa fails to understand why Wlodek willingly sends her away on assignment so quickly. With very little information provided to her, Lissa is forced to face an enemy more deadly than anyone can imagine and unravel a plot that could kill millions.

* * * * *

This is one series that I have been reading as a treat for myself.   I found the series almost by accident when Amazon was giving away the first one for free.  And I couldn’t resist picking up the rest.  

BLOOD SENSE is actually the third book in this enjoyable series and I do have to say that the Ms. Suttle’s writing skills tend to improve ever book.  The pacing was right on and well I couldn’t set the book aside until the very last word.  The characters are ones that grow on you and become as old friends.

I did find a couple content errors in the book however they didn’t detract from my enjoyment in the least.  Also this series is more like a serial.  To get the most of the stories, you have to read the books in order.  I did mark the book down slightly for this fact as I really do feel that each book in a series should stand on its own merit.

I do recommend BLOOD SENSE to any readers that enjoy vampires and urban fantasy.  There are no explicit sex scenes in this book so it is suitable for all adult readers.

I rate this book a 3.9.

***I purchased this book thru Amazon.