Category Archives: Book Reviews

Friday Letters

Dear Costco,

I have missed you.  Where else can you get a 48 oz bag of Craisens for $4?  That’s 3 lbs people!

Dear Sorel Snow boots,

Thanks for keeping my tootsies warm and dry and for not letting my fall on my ass when I step on a patch of ice.


Dear Library,

You have no idea how happy this makes me:


And a little stressed.  Time to get some reading done.

Dear Haley:

I really hope you don’t get your momma’s big old clodhoppers, but it might be looking that way.



Dear bloggers,

Happy Friday!



Linking up with Ashley


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Friday Letters

Dear Father in Law,

Thank you for watching Haley while Mike and I went out on our first date night out since we moved to MO back in October.  It was so nice to have some time alone with him.  Also, thanks for picking up pizza for dinner tonight so that I don’t have to cook.

Dear Bunheads,

I am so happy you’re back for season 2.  For anyone that loved Gilmore Girls, this is a must see.  It’s not quiet as awesome as GG, but it has the same random references and quick talking.  Also, it’s fun to see what Gilmore Girls actors show up.  So far I’ve seen 8.

Dear Readers,

Yes this is the third post for today.  I wasn’t going to do Friday Letters, but after reading other’s, I changed my mind.  It’s my blog, so I can do whatever I want.

Dear Les Mis,

I can’t wait to see you on Sunday!  Should I bring tissue?

Dear Cold (the sickness, not the weather),

I am ready for you to leave my house now.  You have got us all, stuffy noses galore at my place.  You have officially wore out your welcome now that Haley has an ear infection.  Please make you way to the door and don’t let it hitcha.




linkin up with Ashley


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Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)

Masque of Red Death

by Bethany Griffin

Book 1

YA, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Steampunk


ISBN 9780062107794

love love love Edgar Allan Poe’s works.  They’re creepy, and twisted and so weird.  Annabel Lee is one of my favorite poems.(I went to put in one line, but couldn’t pick just one, so you get the last two stanzas, enjoy)

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we—

Of many far wiser than we—

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;


For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea—

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

So beautiful, so tragic, so creepy!

So when I saw this book and heard it was inspired by EAP’s short story Masque of Red Death, I was all over it.  The book is set in an indeterminate time and place.  While at times it seems that the story is as if the plague in the 1300s spread farther and affected the whole world, they have some modern-ish technology like electricity and tall buildings.  However, they never mention cars or planes having ever existed.  So let’s just say the time and setting is completely fictional.  Like I said before, the premise of this book is that a horrible and deadly plague has “decimated the population” and left everyone else afraid to even be near other humans.  The rich can afford to wear specially designed masks that allow them to breathe the infected air without becoming sick, and to pay the poor to go out into the world for them.  The poor live in squalor, many not able to afford masks for their children.  The disease is highly contagious and corpse collectors are a common sight on the streets.  They live in a society ruled by Prince Prospero, who is rumored to be a little crazy.

Araby, our narrator, is one of the rich, her father in fact designed the masks that saved many lives.  She lives a protected life in the Akkadian towers with her parents and the memory of her dead brother.  To escape the terror of everyday life, Araby and her friend April go to the Debauchery Club, for drinking, drugs, and everything else that name suggests.

Ok, so I loved this story, but the writing isn’t all that great.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to be so interested in a story line that was so poorly written.  The narration jumped around a lot.  It almost felt like stream of consciousnesses, but not really. I didn’t understand some of Araby’s feelings and motives, they just weren’t explained.  I mean, I understand why she feels responsible for her brother’s death, but what makes her feel her parents wished it was her instead of him?  And please someone explain to me why she would ever trust Elliot!  Seriously, the guy’s an ass-hat and more than a little psycho.  I almost understand her trying to help him because they kind of want the same things, but I have no idea why she would begin to care for him.  I guess we needed the requisite love triangle.

So why did I like this story?  The society they live in is dangerous, they can’t trust anyone, there is a disease they can catch at any moment, there is a man out there trying to create a mutiny.  And then there is Will.  Definitely team Will from the beginning.  I don’t even know why there is any question, okay well there is one thing…

And for the Edgar Allan Poe tie in,this book creates the backdrop for what’s going on in the kingdom while Prince Prospero is having his lavish party.  I am interested in how the next book(s) fit in all this.

And I have to say how much I loved the way this book was put together.  The edges are slightly frayed, it looks a bit worn and old.  And there is this smoke image going through the chapters.

And read this first line…


Isn’t that a great first line?

The second book The Dance of Red Death comes out in April and I am looking forward to it.

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What’s on the Menu Monday

Welcome to

What’s on the Menu Monday!

We can start off the week swapping ideas for dinner for the week, or just share a couple great recipes.  Whatever floats your boat.

I have wanted to make a ham since Christmas, but since it’s just Mike, Haley, my Father in Law, and me, I did not want to make a ginormous 7+ pound ham.  Last Christmas there were like 9 of us and we didn’t even eat the whole thing.  But I really wanted to make a ham.  Then one of my neighbors told me I can buy a much smaller ham, like 3 pounds.  Whoa, who knew?  Well I didn’t and I was thrilled.  So I got one at Hy-Vee, 2.5 lbs for $6.99.  This is the recipe I used.  Since I didn’t have a 7 lb ham, I changed the serving size to 7 and used those measurements.  I used crushed pinapple instead of rings because, well, that’s what I had. Also, I felt it was cooking way too slowly so I upped the temp to 400.  I use a meat thermometer, so I don’t know how long I cooked it, but I read somewhere 15 mins per pound.  Since it’s already cooked and technically you’re just warming it up you don’t have to worry about under cooked meat. The last 5 degrees I put the oven on broil and it was Awesome!  My husband, who keeps telling me he doesn’t like ham but who enjoys it whenever I make it, loved it.  Definitely going to make this again.

IMAG1209 (1)

The rest of the week:


French’s Onion Chicken

Sloppy Joes

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Hummus Crusted Chicken– first time I made with plain hummus, this time I think Roasted Red Pepper.

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<div align="center"><a href="" title="Reading, Writing, and Whatnot" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Reading, Writing, and Whatnot" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  It’s that time again, to make some resolutions that don’t last very long.  This year I intend to make s solid attempt to follow through with at least some of my resolution, so I’m going to make a ton.  That way at I figure some will stick.

1.  Drink less soda/drink more water. I say this often, and I usually mean it, but lately I really haven’t been drinking enough water.  So That’s number one, drink more water.

2.  Work out more.  I have Just Dance 4, multiple work out videos, and I don’t work.  I really don’t have any good excuses to not work out more.

3. Write more.  More blog posts (at least 3 a week), more journaling, just more.

4.  Take more pictures of myself.  I know that sounds totally vain, but when I went to get pictures of myself, I have almost non.  I want more pictures of me with Haley, and me with my husband, and some of just me.

5.  Clean more.  I am not the best housekeeper.  I do not enjoy cleaning, at all.  But it is something that means a lot to my husband, and since he works so and I get to stay home it’s something that I can make more of an effort to do.


So that’s it.  I wrote it down and you all saw it, so there’s no denying it. Now time to follow through.  Hope all you’re New Year’s resolutions are successful.  Now I’m gonna go watch TV

= P.

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This n’ That Thursday

This:  Christmas was great this year.  It was just my husband, Haley and I this year so it was very quiet.  We opened presents in the morning, I made Eggs Benedict for breakfast, and we just hung out all day.  After we put Haley to bed, Mike and I played with the Xbox Kinect for a few hours.  We’ve had the thing for over a year now and haven’t used it much, but Mike got me Just Dance 4 for Christmas so I was playing that, then we played a bowling game, then soccer, then boxing.  I haven’t laughed that much in a long time.

THAT:  Haley loved her Cozy Coupe car.  She hasn’t left it alone much in the last two days.

haley car

She also loved the Activity Board my husband made for her.


The lights turn on and off with the toggle switches, there are washers on the handle, and the door opens to a picture of our family.  I am so happy that he made it for her.

This:  Now that Christmas is over it’s time to decide when to undecorate the house.  I am never sure when I should start taking down all the holiday decor.  I kinda just want to get it over with, but I also don’t want to ruin the moment, you know?  When do you all take down your decorations?

THAT:  I just got some Organix Morracan Argon Oil and I am very excited to use it.  It’s supposed to be really good for your hair.  I got it at Ulta (LOVE Ulta) for like 8 bucks.   Now i think I want a new curling iron.



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The Thorn Birds… sigh

There is nothing like lying in bed on a chilly Sunday drinking hot chocolate and watching The Thorn Birds.  Ok, I know it’s not Sunday anymore, but that’s when I watched the movie.  That’s also when I started writing this post, sometimes I’m a little slow.thorn birds

If you’ve never seen this you are truly missing out.  It’s a four-part mini series made in the 80s starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward. It has everything an 80s drama should have: passion, feathered hair, a leading lady with a husky voice, even lovers rolling on the beach.  Seriously what more could you want?  This is like a lifetime movie, but so much better.  If you’re looking for a movie to watch while lying in bed in your pajamas, this is it.


Rachel Ward is just gorgeous.  And she seems so strong and confident as Meggie.  I haven’t seen her in anything else, but I think she’s a     fantastic actress.


Richard Chamberlain is great as Ralph.  I have to admit, so many times I hated him for being so cruel to Meggie and so selfish.  He would lead her on then leave her again. He would tell her that he loves her, but just not enough. That’s just mean!


And Bryan Brown as Luke O’Neill.  Maybe it’s the Australian accent, or the abs, or that he’s the only manly man in this movie-seriously, the main thing this movie lacks is manly men, but it was the 80s– but he is definitely a hottie.  I think it’s the smirk =).  Too bad he’s such an ass, or maybe that has something to do with it too.

The synopsis on my tv says “The daughter of an Australian cattle rancher becomes romantically involved with an ambitious priest, which has tragic consequences for them both.”

Basically, this movie is about Meggie and Ralph de Bricassart.  The two of them are drawn to each other, but Ralph’s desire to become Pope takes him away from her. He tries to distance himself from her, but he keeps coming back to her as one of the few people who genuinely care about her and her happiness.  It takes place in Australia in the 1900s.  It begins with Meggie as a small child and ends with her a old-ish woman.

“But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it.”  This story is about how destructive love can be.  How we know it will hurt, yet we keep coming back and letting it tear us up again.  Frank, Meggie’s older brother, has a great line.  “You still think love can save us? It’s more killing than hate. Hate is so clean, so simple. Like being in the ring. With hate, you just keep hitting. You hit until they stop hitting back. With love they never stop.” I have been lucky to find a good love in my life, but I still appreciate what Frank is saying: it’s the ones we love who have the true power to hurt us, not the ones we hate.

Since it’s an 8 hour-long mini series, it’s not very cheap to buy.  I got lucky twice, it was on Encore this last weekend and I was able to check it out from my library because my library is awesome! It’s not on Netflix or Redbox, sorry.  You can buy it on Amazon for $24.99 before S&H or tax.  But  free shipping for orders over $25, so if you buy something else for more than $.01…  Or you can buy it at Barnes and Nobel for $24.48.  I looked on B& and found it at several store near my house.  Or you can buy it online and if you spend a few cents more, free shipping over $25.  I am not telling you to go buy the movie, I haven’t.  But if you wanted to, there it is.  You should however, buy and/or read the book.  As usual, it’s so much better than the movie.  So much more information.  It amazes me they made the book into an 8 hour movie, and they still had to remove so much.  Like Hal, if you don’t read the book you will never know Hal, sweet little Hal.I read the book many years ago, but watching the movie made me want to read it again. It is a very long, very sad book, but it is so, so great.



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A Blogger day of Silence



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Back at it!

After more than two years off, tonight I set foot on the soccer field.
I started playing soccer when I was 6 years old and it was my first love.  When Mike and I moved to Houston I was going to find a team to play on, but we soon decided to have a baby and there was no playing then.  After Haley was born it wasn’t a priority for me anymore and I just didn’t try to find a team.  I felt I already spent so much time away from her while at work, I didn’t want to add to it.

Now that I am not working, I don’t feel as bad spending a couple hours away from her once a week for me.

So tonight I had my come back! And man am I out of shape.  I really need to start getting Haley into that jogging stoller and hitting the pavement.  I have two weeks until our next game and I hope to not be hacking up a lung after that match.  I feel pretty good right now, just very sweaty, and tired.  We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.


Here I am in the Bulls t-shirt.  I was probably 11, maybe 12.

And here I am at 6 years old.  First team.  The Lilacs.  Don’t you love my perm?IMG_NEW

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The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cassselection

ISBN13: 9780062059932

Hardcover from library

Genre: Dystopian Society, Fantasy, Young Adult

I was interested in this book right away because it seemed like The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, which is weird because I don’t ever watch The Bachelor.  35 girls from the different sections of Illèa (what used to be the USA) are chosen and go to the palace and compete for Prince Maxon’s heart and to be Princess.

Before I read the book, I was under the assumption that the girls were forced to compete, this is not the case.  The contest is completely optional and they may leave at any time.  Also, the summary makes it seem like there is a ton of action in this book, which there is not.  It’s actually very uneventful.  And I don’t even think it has a climax. Well, if it did, I missed it.  Maybe with all the dystopian books I have been reading, I have come to expect much more fighting and action.  This story is not like that.  It’s more of a love story.  America Singer, our narrator, was in love with Aspen, a boy from her hometown who is in a caste below her.  Oh yeah, they have castes in this society, 1-8.  America is a five, the artist caste.  She is a singer and musician.  Aspen is a six, basically a servant.  He pushes her to enter her name in the drawing so as not to hold her back.  He then breaks up with her because he feels that he can never give her the life she deserves.  She is devestated, and when her name is called she is looking forward to being as far from Aspen as possible.   She doesn’t think she can love the Prince.

I actually liked this book, but I can’t exactly tell you why.  I mean, it’s not a secret, I don’t really know why I liked it.  Like I said before, it was uneventful.  I think it was because a friend of mine told me it wasn’t very good.  So even though I was looking forward to reading it, I was expecting it to be a bad book.  So it’s not great, but not bad.  I liked America Singer–hated the name though. She goes into the contest wanting to be herself.  She is kind, witty, and tough.  She also doesn’t think she’s anything exceptional, so she’s humble.  I would recommend this book, but I would tell people that if they’re expecting The Hunger Games or something action packed, this is not the book for you.  But if you liked Before I Fall or Pride and Prejudice this may be something you like.  DISCLAIMER:  I am not saying this book is as good as a classic like Pride and Prejudice, it’s not.  But it is a romantic love story more than an action book so it falls into the same genre.

The second book, The Elite, is coming out April 23 of 2013 (it’s on my “Can’t wait for books of 2013“)


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