Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

I have done it!  I have discovered a sure-fire way to spend time reading!!!!!  I have recently purchased a Fitbit Charge HR.  Pretty awesome device.  I am super aware of my steps and sleep patterns now.  With the Fitbit you can add friends and challenge them to see who can can get the most steps in a day.  With my first challenge I became insanely competitive.  I would find myself pacing, A LOT, to get my steps up and hopefully win the challenge.  I would mainly do this when my boyfriend was in the shower.  I figured why sit on the couch waiting for him to be done when I could get some steps in.  After a while of pacing, it would get very boring.  One night I had an ah ha moment and thought to take my phone along with me and read on my nook app.  Before I knew it, I was hitting 10K steps and reading at the same time.

I have a lot of books stored on my nook but for some reason I keep going back to the Hannah Swenson series by Joanne Fluke.  I know they are not a literary masterpiece worthy of a classics stamp, but I love them.  Usually mystery books bore me.  But Joanne really paints Hannah like a normal person.  I can't help it but be sucked into the Eden Lake world.  Of course it totally helps that Fluke includes recipes in her books and my cookie-loving boyfriend loves it any time I try one of her recipes.  With reading this on the nook app on my phone, it's super easy to take screen shots of recipes that sound interesting.  This book went outside the sweets-only genre and added different recipes.  In this book, Hannah has decided to go on a diet after trying on a pair of older pants and realizing they were too tight.  At one point her assistant, Lisa, makes her low-carb, healthy pancakes.  They are made with cottage cheese and the recipe makes them sound really good.  I definitely want to make them.  It's pretty cool when they do things like that and add in recipes they don't exist.

My only critique with these books is I usually figure out who the killer is pretty early in the book.  But I still love the series and cannot wait to keep reading and find more recipes to make as Hannah finds more bodies to investigate!  

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Alchemist





Boy am I running late on this!  Between Superbowl weekend, work, getting ready to move, time has just slipped away from me.  Yeah that's right, I am MOVING!  Pretty soon I will be able to walk to work.  Which means I will be able to go home every day on my lunch break.  Which means I will be able to READ EVERYDAY!  Right now I get tired of sitting in my car to eat lunch and find myself driving through some drive-thru and getting bad for me food.  That's why it took me so long to read The Alchemist.

Now on to the book!  One day, in a casual conversation with my boyfriend's mom, she asked if I had read this book.  After telling her no, I wasn't surprised to find it amongst my Christmas presents from her.  At first I was a little confused by this book and found it hard to follow.  This book is very philosophical and the writing reminded me of text I read in my Social Ethics course in college.  Luckily I eventually got into a rhythm and the book started making so much sense. You start reading and think to yourself, "okay, this is a book about a shepherd trying to change his life?"  Not at all!  I feel like along the way, I started realizing some things about myself.  I have always placed too much emphasis on other people and what they think of me.  I need to stop doing that.  This book tells us that we need to follow our own personal journey.  We get so caught up in those around us that we miss out on the signs that are there to help us follow our path.  The shepherd in the story stopped and paid attention to those signs.  More of us need to do that.  This book had some great quotes.  I would love to re-read it and underline some of those quotes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Is it Reading Time Yet?

I have realized it is so easy to let life settles in and keep you always on the go.  When that happens it is very difficult to stop and relax with a good book.  I find myself being very busy lately, especially with the holidays and trying to cultivate a relationship with my boyfriend.  We have decided to move in together so I feel like all my free time has been spent researching apartments closer to our work.  It's all so expensive living in Southern California!  I just don't get $1600+ for a one bedroom, one bath apartment.  It's robbery!  I need to try and find time to read because I know it will help relax me.

Since my last post I have been able to finish two books.

First up, Redeemed, A House of Night novel by P.C and Kristin Cast.  Of course it just happens to be a book I did not take a picture of :/  Information about the series and book can be found at http://www.houseofnightseries.com/books/redeemed/. 

What do I say about this book...except I am so glad it is over!  Don't get me wrong, this is a really good series.  But after 12 books and four novellas, I'm ready for an ending.  For the past five or so books, I feel that the story line was always the same; Neferet suddenly appears when everyone thought she was thwarted in the previous books, Neferet wreaks havoc, Zoey cries, Zoey has men issues, they fight Neferet, Neferet goes away until the next book.  I am also disappointed with this book because I felt there were story lines that were not completed.  I really appreciate that Kalona's story line was able to be completed, especially after having read his novella.  I can't say much else about other story lines without giving spoilers, but the way the book ended sets it up for future books if the authors should so feel inclined to go back to the Vampire House of Night.  I could totally see them writing branch off stories about the Nerd Herd as they become full-fledged vampires and live their lives.  At the same time, I hope they don't.  Because the book did actually end on a happy note with the Nerd Herd (hopefully Aphrodite stops calling them that).

Next up, Four.  I guess when Veronica Roth first decided she wanted to write the Divergent series, she was originally going to write it from Tobias' point of view.  I love that the books are written from Tris' POV but it was really cool to be able to read anything from Four's POV.  I got lucky when I went to go visit my best friend in Albuquerque because I had lots of down time to read.




This book begins with Tobias as he was in Abnegation.  It's right before his choosing ceremony and he has gone through his aptitude test.  We see his thought process as he decides to turn Dauntless.  We then see his journey through Dauntless leading up to when he meets Tris.  It was pretty cool reading from his POV.  I feel that I definitely have a better understanding of Tobias that I did not have while reading the Divergent trilogy.  

Now off to lunch so I can read my next book!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cinder

I'm a huge Disney fan and love anything Disney related.  So when I saw this book and knew just from the cover that it would be a Cinderella inspired story, of course I had to read it!  Luckily, my super awesome friend had it in her book stash and brought it over for me to read.  This was such an interesting storyline; Cinderella meets Mulan meets Terminator...okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit. 

The story is set in New Beijing and the story line of the emperor and Prince Kai just makes me think about Mulan.  Not that Cinder pretends to be a man or anything, but when Prince Kai comes to her mechanic shop asking for help, she does hide the fact that she is a cyborg.  Okay, so maybe her being cyborg isn't enough to make a comparison between this and Terminator, but I did it anyways.  I don't know, I think it's pretty cool that Cinder can pop open the calf on her cyborg leg and store things in it.  Who needs a purse when you have a calf!  But, Cinder does not join in on my excitement.  She hides who she really is (*COUGH* Mulan *COUGH*). 

Simple love story, right?  NOPE!  Cinder lives in a world where is plague is happening.  The way they describe it makes me think of the black plague.  On top of that, there are people that live on the moon (yes, a man on the moon, I give you permission to giggle) and the queen is one gnarly witch with a capital B!  She wants to take over Earth.  See, alien life and they want to take over the world.  What makes them such big bad wolves?  Mind control!  EEKK!  The Lunar queen goes on and on about how there are no revolts on Luna, BLAH BLAH BLAH!  That's because you mind control and kill those that oppose you.  So yeah, you could say Cinder is dealing with a lot at such a young age.  And before you can ask, yes there are stepsisters, yes there is a stepmother, and yes there is a ball.  Not really a fairy-godmother unless you count the doctor that is...nope, not going there.  Spoilers!  Looking forward to reading more books in this series.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blueberry Muffin Murder

When I am stuck in long lines anywhere, I like to bring out my phone and open up my nook app so I can read while I wait.  I have a few books on my nook that I need to read.  Did I download any of them to read?  Nope.  I decided to buy and download the third book in the Hannah Swenson series.  Why you ask?  Well when I was in Albuquerque my best friend made me these killer blueberry muffins...and they came out of this book.  I admit it, I bought the book just so I could have the recipe.  But of course I had to read the book so I could get to the recipe.  See, there was a method to my madness.

It seemed like this book took place only a couple months after the last book.  Which means it is still winter and there were lots of descriptions of the snow.  While reading it while sitting in 95+ degree weather it just made me want the fall and cold weather to hurry up and come.  The town is having a winter festival-type event going on and they have invited a famous cooking person.  Makes me think of a Paula Deen or Bobby Flay type of person.  And you can guess what happens to her!  Yep, she's the first to get murdered.  I've noticed so far there are at least two murders that happen every book.  Of course I'm not giving you any clue who the second person is.  I can say that I was able to easily figure out who the murderer was.  In the first two books I could not predict who the murderer was until the very end of the book.  I just love these books because they are such quick reads and they hold your interest.

Now on to the baked goods!  First up, I made Blue Blueberry Muffins.  They were a huge hit with my boyfriend.  The little stinker took them to work and his co-workers ate them all.  Oh well, I guess I need to make them again.  I messed up on the crumble topping.  I added too much flower so it came out more cakey than a crumble.  But still so good!





Next up, Multiple-Choice Bars.  It's really cool because she has Columns A-D and you basically pick one item from each column to make cookie bars.  Column D is all nuts and I'm not a big fan of nuts so I skipped that column.  My cookies had Vanilla Wafers from Column A, chocolate and peanut butter chips from Column B (calls for one ingredient at 2 cups but I chose two ingredients and did 1 cup of each), and rice krispies from Column C. They taste even better the next day.




Thursday, October 9, 2014

School for Good and Evil

I am about to admit that I do something I should not do, I somewhat judge a book by it's cover.  I shouldn't, I know, but I do.  When looking at books and even video games, the ones with cool looking covers or titles is going to make me pick it up, flip it over, and read the information on the back.  In most cases it has worked and produced an awesome video game or book for me, and on rare occasions it has been a total flop.  I was walking through Barnes and Noble when visiting my best friend in Albuquerque and came across a display of teen books.  My eyes were instantly drawn to the cover for The School for Good and Evil.  I mean look at it!  Totally looks like something you would see in Disney!  I couldn't help it, I picked it up and started reading the synopsis: two friends stolen from their home, transported to a fairy tale world where one learns to become a princess and the other an evil witch, only to find out the princess-looking girl is sent to the School for Evil and the witch-looking girl is sent to the School for Good, totally up my alley!

Unfortunately, life got in the way and I got too busy to try and read :(  When I first started this book it was right in the middle of a busy time and I found the reading to be really slow.  I don't want to say it was difficult to get through, I was just so busy that it was not keeping my interest.  Thank goodness that all changed!  The whole story line is pretty cool.  Especially when you have the blonde that loves pink put into the school for Evil.  She was the most entertaining.  Along the way I really love what this book taught.  Beauty isn't everything.  Sometimes the most beautiful people on the outside can be the most evil people around.  It really plays up looking past how someone looks and instead look at their morals and character.  For example, Agatha (School for Good) was always trying to help Sophie (School for Evil) try and show everyone she was good and did not belong in evil.  Sophie would always try to do this by showing off her looks.  Agatha would try to get her to show off her personality and character.  But Sophie thought looks were all that mattered. 

When I finished the book I saw there is a second book in the series.  Time to go to Amazon and add to my "Books" wish list!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The One

I was all set to make this post be all about how much I am mourning the fact that The One is the last book in the selection series...but I went to Kiera Cass' website (http://www.kieracass.com/books/) and there will be more books!  I also saw that there were a series of novellas she wrote.  Why am I just barely finding out about this?????!!!!!!!  I love this series.  I don't know why, I just do.  I always tell people it's the Bachelor meetings the Hunger Games.  The chapters are short and before you know it, you have easily gotten through five chapters in one sitting.  Or in my case you get through half the book in one sitting. 

I love the main female character, America, but she frustrates me to no end!  She does not express herself to those she cares about so she is always on the verge of losing them.  But I still like her.  She does not let people tell her what to do.  She's stubborn but strong-willed.  This book also totally changed my way of thinking of Celeste.  It seems like America has even more challenges in this book than she has in any of the others.  Maybe because she is now one of the Elite?  Maybe because her outbursts have received unwanted attentions of the king?  All I know is I did not want to put the book down and even found myself trying to finish it up when I should have been on the road to go see my boyfriend.  Oopps!  My bad!  Hehe ;)