27 July 2011

Review: Jukebox by Gina Noelle Daggett

Note: This review was originally published on The Lesbrary in June.


The Book:

Harper Alessi is the little rich girl being raised by her grandparents in Arizona; Grace Dunlop is the precocious English-born debutante. Fast friends from age eleven, Grace and Harper grow even closer as they get older. What's love got to do with it? Everything.

21 July 2011

The Man in My Life

...is eleven today.

At this year's dance recital.

I told his birth story two years ago. He is one of the most exciting challenging happy things in my life (along with his sister).

Happy Birthday, sweetie. I haven't even started embarrassing you. Too much.

20 July 2011

Review: The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

The Book:

Lady Lucinda Grey is an intelligent woman, and readily acknowledges that makes finding a match this season...well, difficult. Lord William Randall is definitely not the man to court her, for his reputation as a rake is known to be well-deserved. Yet she is tempted, not knowing that she is the target of a kidnapping plot or that William is in fact a covert spy for the elite Young Corinthians. William is brilliant at his work, and at seduction, but what will he do when he is seduced by the brilliant Lucinda?

17 July 2011

In My Mailbox (18)

Welcome to In My Mailbox! Hosted by The Story Siren, it is a way to showcase books received for review or won, picked up at the library, or purchased in the last week. Titles link to Goodreads.

Won:


Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. I won this from Lisa at Bluestalking a couple weeks ago and am pretty thrilled to read it. Reviews have been up and down, however I read the earlier books in the series and never like to leave one unfinished.

Love Letters from a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle. This came from a giveaway that Avon had on Facebook. It is an older historical romance, but still one of those Regencies I adore.

Many thanks to Avon and Lisa for these giveaways!

Gifted:



Wolf-Speaker and Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce.

More gifts from my girlfriend, who knows I will not turn down a Pierce book!

Bought:



This was recommended by Nici Cline at Dig This Chick. Nici is a crafter, gardener, artist, mom and all-around wonderful woman. Do I know her personally? No - but she inspires me all the time.

Happy Reading!

15 July 2011

Review:The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne

The Book:

Everyone wants a comfortable clean home, but with limited time and budgets, it seems there is really no way to do it. Or, maybe you are off to a good start but looking for a little more inspiration? In The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, take a tour through some great ideas to create the home you want in a fun and frugal way.

13 July 2011

Review: From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce

The Book:

Eating locally has become more and more popular, and farmer's markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are becoming a staple for many families. What do you do with all of that produce? This book will help guide you through recipes and tips for all sorts of summer vegetables.

11 July 2011

Mid-Year Check-In

Back in January I gave myself a list of goals for the year and it is time to take a look at where the standings are halfway through the year:

Books:
  • Read 100 books: My Goodreads Reading Challenge widget has me at 62 books for the year. 
  • Review at least 2x a month: I have clocked in at 37 reviews on the blog, and am keeping to at least one review a week. 
  • Try Audiobooks: I have still only listened to one audiobook so far. I have some driving to do this weekend, so maybe it is time to track down a copy of Bossypants

Yarn:
  • Finish Four Projects: I am still at one finished with two on the needles. *sigh*
  • Sort my Stash: I have finally gotten everything up to the spare room and am starting to unpack the containers into a storage block set my daughter gave up.
  • Get It All on Ravelry: I am really hoping to see this happen by the next check-in! 

Ink:
  • Get Tattoo: Time and money are the obstacle here. However, the niblets are going to be away in August, so maybe finally? 

Other Pursuits:
  • Grow My Garden: Well, it's growing? I think that the onions and leeks are doing well. I have tomatoes starting to set. I didn't get my soil tested, and I do have something that is munching holes in the kale.
  • Preserve More: I have a canning party planned when the tomatoes start being available!
  • Take Space: My Maine retreat at the Ferry Beach conference is fast approaching. 
A friend reminded me about 43 Things, which is a place to put personal goals on an internet board. I was thinking of taking a look at it, both for possibility of use and personal inspiration. How are your personal goals for the year? Do you look for inspiration within yourself, or look for it outside?

10 July 2011

In My Mailbox (17)

Welcome to In My Mailbox! Hosted by The Story Siren, it is a way to showcase books received for review or won, picked up at the library, or purchased in the last week. Titles link to Goodreads.

For Review:



The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough. I appreciate Storey Publishing sending me this title to review. I am really great at buying those wonderful seed packets each year, but thought it would be good to look at the opposite side of it and learn about saving them. 

Purchased:

This past holiday weekend I drove my daughter and myself back to upstate NY to pick up her brother before the start of summer camp. Of course, this meant I needed to avoid the highway traffic by taking the long way west, which also of course meant I should stop at my faves The Book Bear and Raven Books because who would pass up an opportunity to stop and shop for books?

Well, fine. I wouldn't.


Summer Knight and Death Masks by Jim Butcher. Love this series, so it is time to start collecting.

Stage Fright and Robber's Wine by Ellen Hart. Great lesbian mystery series I have been reading the last several years.

Decaffeinated Corpse and Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle. I reviewed the last title of this cozy mystery series back in February. Cozies and coffeehouses? Awesome mix. 

Bloodroot by Susan Wittig Albert. Another mystery series I enjoy, this one about an herbalist-shop owner.

Childhood:

I snatched a bunch of books sitting at my parents' home this past weekend. Childhood books that I continue to cling to, even though I know full well my niblets will never pick them up unless an animated series comes out on Disney or Cartoon Network first.


My Oz series. For those that may not have realized that there were books after The Wizard of Oz, the following books were SO much more entertaining, in my opinion. Even back then I didn't know to collect them all in one binding. Although I did have them all in that mass market run, yet Ozma of Oz seems to have gone missing.


My Raggedy Ann boxed set. I used to read Raggedy Ann in Cookie Land, then crave sugar cookies and a tub of frosting. Go figure. I think that Charlotte's Web and Superfudge were bought to read in school, probably third or fourth grade. The others were dug out of the attic of my mother's childhood home: Cherry Ames, Senior Nurse, Janet Lennon: Adventures at Two Rivers, and Trudy Phillips, New Girl


Trixie Belden. The hardcovers came from my mom's attic holdings, the paperbacks were acquired when they were reprinted in the early 90s. 

Do you have any books that were passed down in your family? Happy Reading!

06 July 2011

Review: Deadline by Mira Grant

Note: Some references to plot from the previous book, Feed.

The Book:

It is a world that has cured cancer, but created zombies. A world where the truth comes out over the internet and bloggers bring the news. Running the news blog group The End of Times wasn't part of Shawn Mason's life plan, nor was having a CDC doctor show up on his doorstep to talk about research into curing the virus being buried. Facing the zombies may be easier than what he has to do next, but if it helps Shawn discover who actually killed his sister, he is willing to do it. No matter what the cost.

03 July 2011

In My Mailbox (16)

Welcome to In My Mailbox! Hosted by The Story Siren, it is a way to showcase books received for review or won, picked up at the library, or purchased in the last week (or two). Titles link to Goodreads.

My mailbox was empty this week, although I know of one giveaway that I have won (Thanks, Bluestalking!) so I expect some happiness there in the future. I did make it to the library one evening this week. Now that summer has started, with my niblets' camp schedule I get out of work an hour earlier (and go in an hour earlier) which makes the evenings not feel quite so frantic. So, library time!

Borrowed from the library:


Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson. I have been a fan of caterer Goldy Schulz for a long time. This is probably one of the first cozy mystery series I started reading. The luster has started wearing off though, as can happen with long running series, so we will see if I enjoy this one as much as the earlier books.

I also ran off to the local big bookstore this week. I don't shop there frequently, but I was hoping that they had one book in particular.

Bought:


Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer. I have been hearing about Jeni's ice cream from various people the last couple of years. While not a local brand (they are based in Ohio), Jeni's is available by mail order and at various retail locations (eastern MA and the islands). I found out about this book a couple days ago, scoured my local libraries (no one in my network had it) and decided I MUST have it. I have been wanting to make ice cream for a while, so what better way than with recipes from Jeni?


The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne. This I ended up picking up while browsing the home care section (where I find all the urban homesteading books). I have been on a mental kick to start organizing and personalizing my home, and yes, I liked the cover. The inside tips I pages through while having my coffee were a bit quirky, fun and budget-conscious (thrifting and IKEA are mentioned) so I thought this was worth picking up. 

Happy Reading!

01 July 2011

Round Up


So, this week has been another whirlwind, yet at the same time a bit calmer than the frantic pace of the last weeks. With a long weekend coming up, I hope to relax some more at my parents' home in upstate NY.

What have I been up to?
  • Still engaging in what I like to call #opaccodewars (so known on Twitter). With the imminent migration to Evergreen, I have tried out multiple online catalog iterations, finally landing on their default interface for now. While the Evergreen community is working on a new catalog based in Template Toolkit, it is not quite at the stage of functionality my libraries need. I am really hoping to see this in good shape by the end of the calendar year, so we shall see what comes of it.
  • I did post over at The Plugged-In Librarian for CPD23. This week was about branding, which made me reflect on the "brand" I have created for myself with this blog, and whether it is still a good step to try to unravel the professional from the personal. I keep going back and forth on it.
  • I am getting the spare room situated for both my crafts (knitting and sewing) and my "writing" area. I tend to do my blogging at the dining room table, which I am thinking really isn't the best place. I want a space away from the rest of the house, plus get my computer out of my immediate eyesight so that I can do other things around the house without checking email every ten minutes. It is almost set, with a desk and a couple small bookcases. Just need to finish a couple more storage areas for yarn and supplies and it is good to go!
  • There was also cooking! The last two weeks I received garlic scapes in my CSA share. These are the green tops of hardneck garlic, which you can cut and eat. It also helps the garlic bulb form better when the tops are taken off. I hadn't cooked them yet, but found a couple people referring to making pesto from them. Of course, I am not really a person that likes nuts. It is a texture, not an allergy thing, but I don't buy them at all (except in their smooth and creamy form). Checking a little more online I found reference to pistou, which is basically a pesto without nuts! So, after chopping and gathering some oil and parmesan cheese, into the food processor they went.
These were some really large scapes!

A dark and somewhat creepy look down the food processor chute.
This pistou has a much more green flavor than basil pesto. Scapes are not even really garlicky, more onion-like in their taste. Delicious!

I took my houseplants outside to the front steps to get some sun and air circulation. It has made some of them really take off with new growth! The flower bed has gotten some blooms in also.

The front stalk is all new growth.

My daughter's sunflower.

Coneflowers coming in.


Lavender always makes me happy.

We cannot forget about the mint! (Lemon, chocolate and spearmint represented).
Some "wild" daisies next to the house.
These lilies have migrated from the neighbor's yard across the back fence.

The garden still needs work. Things are not growing as they should. I am going to have to evaluate and concentrate on building up the soil before planting next year. However, some vegetables are thriving, especially now that we seem to be getting more sun heading into July.


Some small tomatoes are growing now.


One. Tiny. Bean.
My zuccchini is convinced it will grow.


At least the broccoli is behaving.



Happy weekend!