Thursday, December 31, 2009

A new blog post is long overdue, I know. And if you are like me at all, you have also been caught up in the melee known as the holiday season. I shopped, cleaned, cooked, worked, laughed, cried, and I am spent! Now the old year is over and a new year is only hours away and I finally have time to catch my breath. So here is a recap of all things Christmas-y that has been happening:

Not so much Christmas-related, but my roommate and I decided to redo the home office. Nothing crazy, a little paint, a new desk, make it a little more conducive to productivity. As a result, I have a piece of advice, never start a home renovation project, however small, in the months of November or December. Despite the best of intentions, it is near impossible to find enough time to complete. The good news is, the office is no longer living strewn throughout the family room and an "after picture" is soon to come.

I made these for a delicious holiday treat (among many other things), they're Pumpkin Pasties. And if you've read Harry Potter you know what I'm talking about. This is my version of that Hogwarts Express snack. It's super easy, and super yummy. Just pumpkin, pre-made sugar cookies and cupcake tins. They're like mini pumpkin pies.

My dad came to visit for Christmas.

He fixed things. Closet shelves, dimmer switches, refrigerator light bulbs. I didn't even know my refrigerator had light. And he took me to the dump.

<--Now my garage looks like this.

<---Instead of this.

Thanks Dad.

Cocoa also came for a visit. She's a sweet potato.

And now that they're gone, my dogs are sad. No, really. I'm not making this up. They miss my dad.

Did I mention I got a new camera? Can you tell?

I have my friends and family running for cover when I whip it out. But I have to practice on someone, right?

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Um, is this a hostage situation?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting in the Christmas spirit.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I've been waiting on awesomeness, so that a new long-awaited post would be exciting, dangerous, thrilling and maybe even slightly nauseating. Alas, I've been bogged down by humdrum daily life and have no new awesomeness to report. Those looking for awesome book recommendations. I am trying to wade my way into my massive reading pile, but I have reading ADD and keep starting something, then putting it down and picking up something else. Currently I'm reading the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. These are short, fast reads and hold my attention like a crime drama on television would. Nothing monumental, but fun. And while I'm waiting for the next book in the series to arrive in the mail, I'm reading Lament by Maggie Stiefvater. I talked about her book Shiver not too long ago. I just like the way she tells a story. This one is about fairies, not something I'd usually read, but I'm a sucker for a good storyteller. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Speaking of books in the mail, have you heard of Book Depository? I think it's based in the UK, but you can get new books pretty cheap. Now, I am a loyal fan of Amazon, so I was a little skeptical about a different place to get new books. I usually compare the prices, but on some books, Book Depository is significantly less expensive. I've gotten quite few books at half price and it's always free shipping, there's no minimum purchase amount to qualify. It takes about a week or so for the books to get to you and you can't really track your order, but if you're shopping for the book lovers in your family, it's worth a look. And the customer service was impressive to boot! (I had a snafu with one of the books I ordered, but they were very gracious and fixed everything right up.) I still love you, Amazon, but it's time we start seeing other people.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend. Hope everyone is fat and happy. No rest for the service industry, so eat a little turkey for me as I try to earn an honest living this weekend. And pray I don't throttle any cranky shoppers. I have an IV caffeine drip, it helps. And since I can't leave you without some sort of visual delight, as puny as this post may be...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This guy's got the right idea.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is my to-be-read pile of books. I rummage through 2nd hand bookstores, bargain bins, online clearances, and book swaps looking for books I've been meaning to read. And this is what has happened. I don't want to pass up good deals, but I am buying faster than I can read. And I can read pretty fast. It's overwhelming now, I feel like I'm in school and this is my required reading. I've tried to curtail the buying , but I keep breaking the rules. I mean, who turns down free books? I also tell myself that I can only get books from my "wishlist" but then I keep finding new books I wish to have. At this rate, I have enough to read for at least a year. Does that stop me? Um, no. I'm sick, book shopping is like a comfort food to me, and I can't stay away from book recommendations from people I trust. So I implore you all to stop telling me about great books, at least for a year or two. Even if I beg, plead or cry at your feet. I'm serious. My house is a fire hazard. And if you see me at a bookstore, shoo me with brute force if necessary.

P.S. This is what happens if you have a chihuahua and she feels ignored by your picture-taking
She wants to make sure that all household activities involve (revolve around) her. She also gets mad if you are downloading pictures and not holding her royal self.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I love the state fair. I know it's not for everyone, it's crowded and crazy. The rides look dangerous, and it's a lot of money. But when the weather starts to get cooler, and the days get shorter I look forward to gluttonous feast of deep fried awesomeness. I can't wait to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl or whack pesky little moles on the head as fast as I can. It is an insane, tacky, loud celebration of food and fun (and if you look for it, agriculture and crafts.) I haven't found anything else like it. Avoid the freak shows and make sure to have a deep fried pb&j, oh, and pace yourself. Eating at the fair is like a marathon, not a sprint. And that's all I can say about it, you really do have to see it for yourself.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

So I have been doing some reading. I have also been doing some forgetting. I forget to share what's new, like what I've read, which is the point of this blog. The point of the blog as far as I know. I believe the blog may have a mind of it's own and I can only do what it wills, it's very sneaky. So don't be alarmed at any wild surprises.

I'm rambling.

So a quick recap of what I've been reading:

The Dark Lover by J.R. Ward; Not what I expected. All four of the books in this post were recommended by my internet friends (not to be confused with face to face friends or t.v. friends) at paperback swap. I thought this was a Stephanie Plum-esque series but with vampires. I do like a good urban fantasy book now and again and again and again...Anyway, this book was more than I bargained for. It had a little of that urban grit to it, but it was a bodice-ripping romance novel disguised as a nice little vampire book. It was a little too raunchy for me, but I still trust my internet friends, Ward's take on the vampire myth was interesting and the non-romance novel parts were alright.

The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead; Before you think I'm on this huge vampire kick, let me reiterate that these are recommendations that I've received recently, so the quicker I get through them and mail them out, the sooner I get new books. And people keep recommending books about vampires. Blame Stephenie Meyer, not me. This is definitely geared to a young adult crowd. Not people who like to read young adult novels, but angst ridden, too young to drive but old enough to know everything, young adults. I had actually seen this book a while ago at a bookstore and put it down because it didn't look like a book I would like. Yes, I judged a book by its cover. But people (internet friends) kept saying how hooked they were on the series I had to give it a shot. Meh. Not my favorite. But I feel like it could be good, so since I already have book 2 in the series, I'm going to to see where the story goes. Then I'll follow up with an opinion better than meh. I know, who sums up a book like that? Lame.

Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley; A retelling of Cinderella. The feminist in me cringes to admit my love of Cinderella stories. I love fairy tales. I love Cinderella stories. Not Disney-fied, the real fairy tales people! Not that there is anything wrong with Disney. But that's just not what we're talking about today. I have read many (many) Cinderella retellings, and don't forget my confessed love for them, so of course I liked this one. It is a proper, satisfying once-upon-a-time/happily-ever-after tale. A clever, original retelling, and I found myself more in love with the supporting characters than the main ones. Even the antagonistic characters. By rotating the point of view, the author showed them as flawed and hurt, so although they did despicable things, you knew they hadn't always been despicable people. I really liked the shifting point of view, I think that is why I enjoyed so many of the supporting characters, and it didn't interrupt the flow of the story, so it really worked.

And (finally!) Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan; I wanted this book to be longer. I want to go to Africa now, too. Told from Rachel's point of view, a young girl living in Africa with her missionary parents, it is her voice that makes this novel poignant. She tells her story so beautifully and simply that it feels true. I just wish there had been more of it.

I promise not to procrastinate so long next time so that I don't burden readers (or, I think it's actually just reader) with such a long rambling post. Someone really should intervene when I decide to do this at 3 am. It's just not right.
So I was just reading about Roman Polanski, and I don't really want to get in to the Big Scandal with him. (This fledgling blog isn't ready for something like that yet.) But did you know he directed a movie titled Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in my Neck? Yep, it's a vampire movie.
That's the only way to eat sandwiches.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I have a confession.

I put a tutu on my cat. And it was hilarious.

I am a bad kitty mama. But not contrite.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is it bad that I enjoyed this more than the original movie?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I've finally finished Forest Born by Shannon Hale! I must preface this post by saying I knew I was going to like this book before I read it. The narrative voice or maybe the writing style of this series, is intricate, weaving lush narration with subtle humor and have strong, engaging, three dimensional characters. They have the magic of fairy tales, and characters that stick with you. I love these books, I think people mistake them as slow moving, but I disagree. They are refreshing and different, set apart from dime-a-dozen novels by the author's obvious love of her characters and painstaking attention to the details of this world she has created. Hale is an author that I would buy a book from without knowing the content because I appreciate her writing.

Okay, enough hero worship. Forest Born introduce Rin, a girl who is ruled by fear. Fear of showing who she really is. Fear in not really knowing who she really is. As with a good tale, she embarks on a physical and emotional journey and amidst adventure and danger begins to learn who she can be. I've over-simplified this, but if you decide to read this, you can see how complex and beautiful this simple story really is. I would actually star by reading Goose Girl, but from there you may have enough background to read Forest Born, but why skip the books between?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I love Kristin Cashore. Well, I don't actually know her, but I mainly like her because I liked the novel, Graceling. The other reason I like her is because she has this posted on her blog:

And her new book, Fire, is coming out. And mine is on the way to my house now, I can feel it. Why is anticipation so awesome, and so annoying at the same time?


(read it, it's good for you.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Have you read this book yet? It is the sequel to The Hunger Games and I think it's pretty darn good! I promise I read other genres besides fantasy, but people keep recommending them, so I can't turn down a good book! It is post-apocalyptic version of the world where the despotic, corrupt Capitol rules the exploited Districts. Every year the Capitol holds the Hunger Games to remind the Districts of the consequences of their rebellion long ago. The Hunger Games is like Survivor where the last one alive wins. Each district is required to send two tributes, children offered to the Capitol for their amusement. I don't want to tell you too much about Catching Fire in case you haven't read the first book yet. I will just say that it is great. It is rebellion, love, loyalty, suspense, survival and the story takes my breath away. I keep thinking about Katniss, the main character, how she is just a girl trying to figure out herself and her part in the imminent future of the Districts. I am not awed by her heroism, but I embrace her as a real person in a confusing and dangerous situation trying to do what is right for those that she loves. She is an everyman, we can all see ourselves in her and relate to her and I really like that kind of hero.

What are you waiting for? Go pick up this book or borrow a copy from your neighbor right away!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Think I Can Dance

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I wish I was going. But since, alas, I cannot, you should go and tell me all about it. Say hi to Shannon Hale for me. And Lois Lowry. And Holly Black. Tell Rick Riordan and Judy Blume I'll miss them. I'm must go and wallow in self-pity now.

For those of us that can't make it, I believe, although I am not positive, that there will be webcasts or podcasts of some of the action, I will definitely keep you updated, or check out the Library of Congress site here.

Monday, August 31, 2009


or what I do to maintain sanity

Last week I took a much needed mini-break and hauled my buns as fast as my little car could go to the Appalachian Mountains. Ah, serenity. I spent three days doing only three things

  1. Eating
  2. Sleeping
  3. Reading (in a hammock, where #2 often overlapped.)

It. Was. Awesome!

I don’t know what you do to keep everday life from getting you down, but I highly recommend mountain air, it’s good for the soul.

I read a few things while I was there. First was Your Coffin or Mine by Kimberly Raye. This is part of a series of books about vampire love. It’s fluffy, silly and pretty predictable, but sometimes you need just a cute little story to take a break from the Edwardian tomes I like to read use as paperweights. I also read Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. This is also part of a series. It features Mercedes Thompson, a shapeshifter and VW mechanic. This series I picked up not knowing much about them, but I’ve really gotten into them. If you’ve ever read the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, it’s like that but supernatural. What I mean is, there is this relatable, strong female main character, some suspense, a little mystery and a good read. I’m starting to read Briggs’ other series from this world, the Alpha and Omega series, but I haven’t really gotten into these characters as much. I’m not giving up, though, she is a good author, and so far I haven’t been disappointed. I can’t wait for the next Mercy Thompson book, due next year.

The last book I read was Wake by Lisa McMann. I write this knowing it will not be helpful at all, but I think I really liked this book. I’m unsure because I cannot describe what it was about it that captivated me. I laid down for bed one night, thinking to read a couple chapters before I succumbed to exhaustion (after that busy day of...nothing.) I did not put the book down until I was finished. It’s a pretty fast read, but it held my addled, sleep-deprived brain until the wee hours. Read it, tell me what you think. What is it about that book that makes me not want to put it down?

And now, mini-vacation is over, and the real world has hit me like a freight train. I think it’s time to plan another little trip.

**p.s. Just so you know, I had a beautiful and well put together layout done for this blog, but blogger hates me, or we just don't speak the same language, and I've have given up, my creative juices are kaput, and I just cannot figure out what I'm doing, I'll get there, I promise!

Friday, August 21, 2009

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

The writing engaged my senses completely. For me, this is a novel of touch and taste and smell and color. I could describe it as being in a dream. One of those dreams that you can’t remember all that happened but the feelings it gives lingers because it feels so real the line is blurred between dream and memory. I cannot say I feel like I know Grace and Sam outright but I am so immersed in their romance. I know the smell of Sam and the feel of Grace’s hair and the harsh chill of the Minnesota fall.

Their relationship has a charm and innocence that is unexpected and refreshing. It is also believable. Some romance gets a little too sentimental for me, but I loved how Sam and Grace spent their time getting to know each other and how the author brings you in to the details of their day to day life without being tedious. I love that, despite the struggles they face, the small moments like a stolen glance or a trip to a bookstore are what you remember and what makes these characters endearing.

Don’t forget about the whole werewolf thing. There is a duality to them. They are not wolf-men that snarl and stalk about, but either wholly wolf or wholly man. Sam’s fear is loss of his humanity, what makes him who he is. I liked that the supernatural elements didn’t overwhelm the rest of the story. It added depth and conflict, but I didn’t feel like this was a book about werewolves. It was a story about love. And some people turn into wolves. And I think that you should read it. Even if you’re not into werewolves. The author has a way of painting a story that will have you glancing at a clock and realizing you should have been asleep hours ago.

I’ve also heard that this is the first in a trilogy, so if you have read it, you’ll be happy to know that Sam and Grace will be year.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


What happens to the Internet when I try to start a blog.

Thursday August 20, 2009

It never fails that the minute I think I have something worthwhile to share with the blogosphere, trucks with flashing lights appear outside my house and suddenly my computer denies me access to life’s blood, the world wide web (melodramatic gasp). Okay so, in reality (which I try to avoid) the cable company is doing some work outside that seems to have knocked out internet access. Hopefully this is only a temporary setback and not an omen to cease my attempts at bloggy communication...or else (insert maniacal laughter here.) Is it bad that I am considering running out to those cable guys in my pajamas and asking them what the heck they think they’re doing to a poor girl? Then again, I live on a pretty busy street and my pajamas have monkeys on them, what would the neighbors think?

I feel like I’ve adequately broken the ice now that you all know what I wear to bed. I should tell you that juicy little tidbits like that are not what this blog is about, no sir. Okay so I have a confession, I just started this blog about five minutes ago so who am I to say what direction this little monster is going to take? I can, however, tell you my intentions. Then you can decide for yourself if you want to read it, that way we’re both being honest with each other. Look at that, what a great start! I can see this is going to be a beautiful thing we’re going to have together, can you see what’s blossoming?

Sorry about that, I’m getting a little carried away. Anyway, my intentions for this humble blog is for it to be a place that I can share books, recipes, and various other tidbits that I think are awesome. I like to read. A lot. But what is the use of reading a great book if you can’t tell anyone about it? I hope that you’ll want to hear what I have to say, and that you have stories to share with me, too.

Now where are my slippers? I think it’s time I had a word with those (grrrrr) nice young men outside trying to ruin repair the cable....