Jul 30, 2013

Getting Smaller or Expanding?




When I was younger, I used to sit and talk with my Gram for hours about the changes that she had seen in her lifetime.  When she was age, people very rarely moved very far from where they were born.  You had a lot of family surrounding you since your Aunt might be living a couple houses down the street and your cousins all within a mile of you.  If one was in trouble, you didn't go to the government for help. That was what family was for.

Women were  slowly becoming more independent yet raising a family and taking care of the home.  My Gram worked along with my Grandfather maintaining the books for his business.  They were considered pretty progressive since they were an early adopter of the television.

Gram was able to watch a lot of changes from when she was a young girl until she was extremely elderly yet those are nothing to the changes that I have seen in my lifetime.  I remember when I was a teenager I had to watch how long I talked on the phone because party lines were still popular.  Now I have a cell phone and don't have to worry about long distance charges even when I am calling someone on the other side of the country.  Oh and let's not forget how I carry a phone with me almost all of the time.  Do you remember how easy it used to be to escape phone calls?  Now people can find you almost everywhere.

And music.  I used to have some old 78's (and I bet that a lot of people will have NO idea what those are) as well as 45s and lps.  I remember how excited I was when cassette tapes and walkmans came out.  Nowadays people are able to purchase individual songs to add to their playlists on their phones or mp3 players.

The biggest change however is the internet.  It really has made the world smaller.  Through social networking sites such as Facebook, I am able to chat with people from all over the world.  Someone that lives in Europe with their different customs is not as alien as they were when I was a kid.    Even this blog post, I am writing it while I am sitting in Washington state here in the US but I have NO idea just where my readers will be when they get a chance to take a look at it.

So is the world getting smaller or is it that my horizons are expanding?  I don't have kids but I can only imagine the changes that will be occurring within the lifetimes of my friend's children.  Any guesses?
Jul 26, 2013

Book Review: Bloodspell



The spell was simple...

Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.

What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself.


* * * * *

BLOODSPELL starts out with a lot of action yet it took a bit to grab my attention.  I just had problems relating to Victoria as she does have a lot of angst.   I am very glad however that I kept reading because the more I read the more I was drawn into the book and the characters.

Victoria, or Tori as her friends know her, shows a lot of growth as she learns to accept herself and the power that is her birthright.  She starts out terrified of her powers and what they can do and as times goes on, learns that they can be used for good as well as for evil.

I ended up falling in love with the characters of Tori and Christian and since this is the first book in the series, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the rest of this series.  I do recommend this book for lovers of young adult paranormal romance.  And if you find the beginning slow as I did just keep reading.

I rate this book a 3.8.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Jul 24, 2013

Book Review: Urban Farm Handbook


* More than 150 sustainable resources for the Pacific Northwest
* More than 90 basic home-production recipes
* 75 black-and-white and 35 full color photographs
* Up-to-date information on Seattle-area urban farming permits and policy

Is that . . . a goat in your garage?! It might be if you've been reading The Urban Farm Handbook: City-Slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading, and Preparing What You Eat. In this comprehensive guide for city-dwellers on how to wean themselves from commercial supermarkets, the authors map a plan for how to manage a busy, urban family life with home-grown foods, shared community efforts, and easy yet healthful practices.

More than just a few ideas about gardening and raising chickens, The Urban Farm Handbook uses stories, charts, grocery lists, recipes, and calendars to inform and instruct. As busy urbanites who have learned how to do everything from making cheese and curing meat to collaborating with neighbors on a food bartering system, the authors share their own food journeys along with those of local producers and consumers who are changing the food systems in the Pacific Northwest. Organized seasonally, this handbook instructs on:

> How to maximize space for planting a variety of fruits and vegetables
> Small-animal husbandry and beekeeping
> Canning, drying, freezing, fermenting, and pickling techniques
> Grinding grains for flour and other uses
> Tips for creating a farmer-to-consumer connection
> How to form a "buying club" with neighbors
> "Opportunities for Change" steps to follow

And so much more!


* * * * * 

I actually have a guest reviewer today.  Lou is very much an earth goddess who is heavily involved with the public herb garden at the Point Defiance Park here in Tacoma.  She however isn't that computer savvy so when she wanted to do up a review on a gardening book, I asked her to send it my way so that I could put it up on my blog. 


I have recently had time to sit down and read if page after page. This is one of the only non-fiction books that I've read cover to cover with out skipping ahead.

The URBAN  FARM Handbook authored by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols is a gardening/lifestyle bonanza. Written as a loose journal following the calender form with Winter as the first group of chapters. Through out the book are profiles on the people that assisted in the development of the life of a URBAN FARMER. Recipes are simple and sound oh so good. At the end of the book are a series of information pages listing plants both edible and not, a perpetual garden that included a sugar maple, plants for livestock, pollinators and cover crops that listed comfrey. There are listings of companies to go to for help and supplies.

 The prose is interspersed with black and white and color photos that add to the information and read. NO WHERE did I feel I was being preached at. This is a pleasing look into how 
two other families have handled tough times and trying to be good to the earth.
Jul 23, 2013

Great Weekend!



I had a lot of fun this weekend even though I hardly left my house.  I did a bit of rushing about on Saturday morning  doing some shopping.   I also had to take my Pomeranian in to be beautified.  I prefer to keep him in a puppy cut because he looks just like a stuffy then.  Also he really likes having his fur cut short.

Once I got home, I started cleaning and prepping for our monthly potluck.  I am very much an introvert however I really look forward to getting together once a month with our group.  It really has expanded in the last six months since three of our gang has gotten married to some really wonderful people.  I am just waiting for the last two to find someone.

And sunday...  I intentionally didn't plan a thing because I wanted to play in my studio.  I have had an idea rattling about in my brain for the last couple weeks and I finally got it out.  This is one that I can see me making several of and they will all be unique.  I am sending one out to a friend for critiquing and then I will share them with y'all. 

I also had some frustration as I had picked up some wonderful patinaed earring findings and they up and disappeared.  I spent about a hour tearing my studio apart and I can't find them for the life of me.   That is when I finally gave up and went and listened to podcasts for the rest of the day.  Overall rather relaxing weekend.

Oh and don't forget my contest for the wonderful GreenMan.
Jul 18, 2013

Birthday Giveaway!




 swear that lately procrastination is my middle name.  And I am getting better at it with practice.  I promised you all a contest for my birthday and well that was back on the 2nd.  Time to remedy that.

I picked up this wonderful Greenman in a little celtic shop that was closing down in Port Townsend, WA.  I swear that is such a delightful town with a business district that remind me of small town America.  You know back when all towns had a soda fountain.

The man is ceramic and has a wonderful bronze color to it that I wasn't able to coax out very well.  And I promise to pack him up very well for shipping.  Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jul 15, 2013

Popping in & a Contest

I just wanted to pop in and let everyone know that I am still alive.  In fact, I am feeling amazingly alive as one of my biggest sources of stress is gone.  Well almost.  I have a bit more to do but I can feel the tension lifting.  And sleeping for fourteen hours yesterday sure didn't hurt.

Myself and Saje went back to the Pennisula on Saturday.  It's a nice day trip and it allowed us to hit up a few places that we wanted to stop in at and were closed.  I picked up a fry bread mix with is supposedly like a bisquick for fry bread.  Saje is fixing it up for dinner so we shall see. 

I picked up a few great ideas for jewelry and hair ornaments..  Isn't it great when looking a piece sparks the idea for so many more.  Now I just have to find the time to make it into my studio.



And now for the contest!  If there is a queen of macrame jewelry, it would be Sherry Stokey and she is now offering classes.  I have plans to take one of them at the very least.  And to celebrate she is offering a free class and a kit to make up a macrame bracelet.  Just check out those goodies above.  For further info just click here.


Jul 11, 2013

Book Review: Keeper of the Shadows




Ancestral Keepers Rhiannon, Sailor Ann, and Barrymore Gryffald keep the peace between the supernatural communities in the shadowy Otherworld of Hollywood, where the mortals can be as strange—and dangerous—as the paranormals.

When a teenage shifter is found dead on Hollywood Boulevard on the same night as a studio head dies in suspicious circumstances, Shapeshifter Keeper Barrymore Gryffald is sure the deaths are connected. She discovers an eerie parallel to a fifteen-year old tragedy: the mysterious death of an iconic teenage movie star on the set of a cult movie about the Otherworld. Barrie reluctantly teams with the gorgeous and enigmatic Mick Townsend, a rival journalist on her paper, to dig into the movie's history and a cast of suspects that range from teenage runaways to international movie stars. As more victims surface, Barrie can trust no one, least of all Mick, who may well prove to be as inconstant as the shifters Barrie is sworn to protect.


* * * * *

I found this series a little late having missed the first book but I have been rather impressed by how each book stands so nicely on its own.  It was great checking back in with Sailor and Declan, the stars of the second book, yet I wouldn't have felt the lack of not reading their book in the least.

I just loved Barrie and I really wish that I had her sense of fashion.  She is spunky and never gives up though she would probably stay out of trouble if she listened more to the people around her.  Mick is a great leading man even though I figured out his mystery rather early in the book.  He tries to protect Barrie but he is another that she just won't listen too.  

I found KEEPER OF THE SHADOWS a great book to read while enjoying a glass of iced tea on my patio.  Just a hint of tension in places to keep it interesting and a surprise at the end as to who the villain really is.   I do recommend this book to my readers who enjoy paranormal romance.  I think that the book was really aiming to be a romantic suspense but I just didn't feel enough tension to put it in that category.  I rate this book a 3.6.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Jul 9, 2013

Book Review: The Sword Dancer




The Thief Who Stole His Heart

Sword dancer Li Feng is used to living life on the edge of the law—a woman alone in the dangerous world of the Tang Dynasty has only her whirlwind reflexes to trust. She will discover the truth about her past, even if that means outwitting the most feared thief-catcher of them all...

Relentless, handsome and determined, Han sees life—and love—as black and white. Until he finally captures the spirited, courageous Li Feng, who makes him question everything he thought he knew about right and wrong. Soon he's faced with an impossible choice: betray the elusive sword dancer he is learning to love, or trust his long-disregarded heart and follow her to dangerous, tempting rebellion..


* * * * *

I do love a historical romance on occasion.  For me, they are a great way to learn more about history then simply the dates.  Oh yeah and I hate the memorizing the dates thing.  I would much rather know more about the people and how they were effected by events.  That being said, I have never read one based in the East and now I have to ask myself why.

I was utterly fascinated by the culture that Ms. Lin presents in THE SWORD DANCER.  It is so different from what we experienced here in the West and being able to get into the mindsets of Li Feng and Han was a wonderful way to be introduced to it.  They are both products of their upbringing, and boy are they from different schools of thought.  Yet becoming friends and then falling in love causes them both to grow and change.

I very much enjoyed reading THE SWORD DANCER and recommend it to all of my readers who enjoy historical romances.  I know that Ms. Lin has made it onto my list of authors to watch for.  I rate this book a 4.2.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Jul 3, 2013

Phases



It is funny how a pendulum swings and how as time goes by different aspects of our personalities will come to the fore.  I have always been pretty much an introvert though for the past few years I have been more outgoing then normal.  Even though I am lucky enough to telecommute to work, I have been involved with quite a few things that would get me out of the house.  And I have made lots of online friends that I keep in touch with through email and Facebook.

Lately however I find myself drawing back.  I do hit Facebook but I tend to be much quieter when I am around.  I find myself considering stepping down as Chairperson for a local pagan group that I have been involved with for over ten years.  Heck I have even been quieter here on my blog then normal. 

I know that some of it has to do with my health.  I have fibro but have never had to deal with the chronic fatigue part of that syndrome until lately.  And of course, it hits as my husband's health is getting to the point where he doesn't trust himself to drive.  So now I find myself doing a lot of running about on my days off.   I find that I just don't have as much time as I am used too between the errands and being physically exhausted all of the time. 

So I guess that I have some decisions to make.  Do I keep pushing myself and hope that I get my energy back or do I withdraw into myself?  The only thing that I know right now is that I need to wait on any decision until I find out what is going on with my body.   For all I know, I might be dealing with a short term (hopefully) depression.  Time will tell.

Oh and I did pick up something wonderful for my readers yesterday.  I just need to get the energy to get some pics and put up the contest.


Enhanced by Zemanta
Jul 2, 2013

Celebrating

English: Downtown Port Townsend, Washington, U...
English: Downtown Port Townsend, Washington, USA at dusk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today is my birthday and for a change I do feel like celebrating.  Maybe I am strange but I have been looking forward to turning fifty.  I have been looking forward to signing up for AARP and taking advantage of their discounts.  I am looking forward to cronehood.  Now if only I can live up to becoming wiser.

We, myself and Saje, are heading out for a day trip down along the Washington coast.  I am planning on heading to Port Townsend and of course, stop by some of the neat little towns along the way.  And because I feel like celebrating, I will be picking up something for one of my readers.  More info about the item and the contest to follow.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Jul 1, 2013

Book Review: The Sassy Belles




Meet the Sassy Belles

They're strong as a mint julep, sweet as peach cobbler, and no matter what, they stick together.


There are only two seasons in Tuscaloosa football and waiting-for-football. When Lewis Heart, football announcer and voice of the Crimson Tide, vanishes after an impromptu romp with Vivi Ann McFadden at the Fountain Mist Motel, Vivi does what any Southern woman would do: call her best friend, Blake Hara Heart, attorney-at-law.

With the town gossip swirling around them, Vivi and Blake are determined to find out what happened to Lewis and clear Vivis reputation. Because after all, men may come and go, but the Sassy Belles are forever.

Not since Steel Magnolias have we fallen in love with such sexy, strong and hilarious Southern women. So grab your best girlfriends and join these Belles on the first of many joyrides through the Deep South.


* * * * *

I very much enjoyed meeting the Sassy Belles.  Anyone who still thinks that Southern women are all sweetness and light really should read this book.  A true southern belle can cuss you out in a very sweet accent all the while they are renewing their friendship with Jim or Jack.

I found THE SASSY BELLES to be a delightful bit of fluff even though it deals with a possible murder and a missing person.  All of the women in Blake's family are bigger then life and ones that I would love to call a friend.  Some of their antics and conversations just had me in stitches.  I am definitely looking forward to the next episode in their lives.

I do recommend THE SASSY BELLES to any of my readers looking for a little southern chick lit.  It is sure to put a smile on your face.  I rate this book a 3.7.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Enhanced by Zemanta