Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

A big thank you to Terra57 at Yankee Romance Reviewers for nominating me for this award, the Kreativ Blogger award. My second award ever!

The rules are:
Mention the blog that gave it to you.
Comment on her blog to let her know you have posted the award.
Share 6 values that are important to you.
Share 6 things you do not support.
Share the love with six other wonderful blogging friends.

6 values that are important to me:
Fairness
Independence
Individuality
Responsibility
Creativity
Generosity


6 things that I do not support:
Irresponsibility
Opportunism
Injustice
Violence
Disrespect
Selfishness


Now for my 6 friends to share this with (I know this one has been going around for awhile, so I may be renominating some folks):

1. West of Mars - the Meet and Greet

2. Walking on Sunshine

3. Amberkatze's Book Blog

4. The Movieholic and Bibliophile's Blog

5. Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin' Blog

6. Breeni Books

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays Everyone!

In my last contest I asked people to tell me what their favorite Christmas movies were if they had one, so I'll share a couple clips from mine...

The White Christmas Finale:



And Sisters because it's the funniest one in the whole show to me. Be sure to watch both clips:





Happy Holidays everyone! Stay Warm, Stay Safe, and I wish a Peaceful and Blessed New Year to you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And the Winner of Holidays are Hell is....



Ruth Schaller


Congratulations Ruth! If you send me your snail mail to shaunesay@gmail.com I will get it sent out to you!

Ruth also has her own blog where she reviews books and gives fun quotes. I'm rocking to the Rob Zombie song on her site right now! Check it out, It's called Books, Books and more Books!

I don't think anyone who entered mentioned my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. I'm going to post a few clips from it later on to share. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Book Giveaway: Holidays are Hell by Harrison, Sands, Liu and Pettersson

FINALLY! I've managed to finish this one so I can run my giveaway! Trust me, it was not due to lack of interest in the book, just lack of time, I've been working so much! Don't they know I have important blogging to do?!

Holidays are Hell is an anthology of four currently popular paranormal genre writers, Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu and Vicki Pettersson. While I have a number books in mount TBR by all of these authors, this was the first time I have sampled any of them, and I enjoyed these stories quite a bit.

In Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison, Rachel's brother challenges her to do a high level spell in order to get his approval for her application to join the IS (a paranormal police type force). The spell succeeds, but not quite with the results she was after, but she ends up proving to all of them, including herself that she's got what it takes!

Run, Run Rudolph by Lynsay Sands is a fun holiday shapechanger story, full of action, romance and humor. Jill is zapped by a molecular destabilizer ray that gives her the ability to change into whatever she can picture. But will her new romantic interest be able to handle the new Jill, or will their relationship be over before it ever even gets off the ground?

Six by Marjorie M. Liu takes place during Chinese New Year, and the vampires are not our friends this time! Six herself is a specially trained agent working on a sting when Joseph steps in and throws a wrench in things. She begins to see that there is more to life than the job, but can she and Joseph make it out of this one alive to find out what a life together would be like?

Zoe Archer has given up her powers on the Light side of the Zodiac to protect her family in Vicki Pettersson's The Harvest. Stripped of her supernatural abilities, Zoe must infiltrate the home of the leader of the Shadows to save not only her own granddaughter, but much more as well.

I think my favorite one of this set of stories was Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel, but I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the writing style of all of these talented ladies, and will definitely be reading more from them in the future.

For more information on these authors, check out their websites:
Kim Harrison
Lynsay Sands
Marjorie M. Liu
Vicki Pettersson

Now for the giveaway! As always, this copy will be a used, and Bookcrossing labeled copy. If you win, the book is yours to do with as you please, I would love a journal entry from you, and you can do it anonymously if you decide Bookcrossing is not for you, but you certainly do not have to. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post and tell me what your favorite Holiday movie is, or if you don't have one, something else about the Holidays you enjoy (any Holiday, doesn't have to be one in the Winter). I will randomly choose a winner on Dec. 24th. Good Luck!

My favorite Holiday movie is White Christmas, though there are a lot of fun ones out there now!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

I finally finished it! Am I the last person to have not read this yet? Maybe. Okay, the last one of my immediate friends who are actually interested in it, but probably not the last one. I'm not going to say much spoilerish on it, just in case, because there are a lot of happenings in this one that are just one shock after another it seems. Lots of action, much different to me than the other 6 books because they aren't going to school like normal. Many revelations, that while answered a lot of questions, at the same time made me want to go back and read the others to find some clues I had missed.

I'm sorry that it's done, but I really feel like every book in the series was excellent, and there aren't many series, even by my other favorite authors that I can say that about.

I haven't decided how interested I am in Beedle the Bard yet. I just don't know that it could live up to the level of excitement that I want now after this last book. I'm sure I'll pick it up eventually though, as a good supplement to the series.

Visit J. K. Rowling's Official Website for more information

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Winner: Puritan Bride by Anne O'Brien

And the winner is....


Carolsnotebook!



Please e-mail me at shaunesay at gmail dot com with your snail mail and I will get this one sent out to you!

Stay tuned, I'll post the contest for Holidays are Hell as soon as I can finish reading it! Work has definitely slowed me down lately! :P

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Concert : TSO - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

If you don't already know who the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is you are definitely missing out! You may have actually heard them and just not known who they were. There are countless Christmas lighting displays that are timed to their music, one of the most popular being Wizards in Winter. Here's a good sample of what I'm talking about.



My husband and I try to go to their show every year, we've only missed a couple, and ever year they just get bigger and more spectacular! It's so funny to see these guys who are long haired rockers, some of them well known in the metal genre, wearing tuxedos and rocking out to electrified traditional Christmas songs, as well as their own original songs within a very touching storyline. But it's so much more than that. It's beautiful and inspiring and just embodies the wonder of Christmas that I think most of us lose as we grow older.



If you can't make it to one of their shows, I HIGHLY recommend you get one of their CD's, they have 3 Christmas ones and 1 non-Christmas one now. We're all eagerly awaiting the release of their second non-Christmas album, and have been for... well... a few years now... but we know it's going to happen, any time now, right? RIGHT?! (Please Mr. O'Neill, we're ready now!)

If you're interested (and you should be, because they're just amazing!) check out their official website for more info on the albums and the video: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The show is just spectacular and I guarantee you'll never listen to Christmas music quite the same way again. I wonder what Rudolph would sound like TSO-ified... ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book: Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

Becca has grown up on the tale of Briar Rose that her grandmother Gemma has told her and her sisters over and over again. It is only at the end of Gemma's life that Becca comes to find there is more to the story than just a fairytale to entertain children. A box is found in her grandmother's possessions that no one in the family had ever seen before, with keepsakes that are a mystery to them all. Determined to unravel the secrets of her beloved Gemma's past, Becca undertakes the search to learn the truth behind the story of Briar Rose, and who her grandmother really was. She follows the clues to Poland, where she finally finds someone who can tell her the whole story.

Briar Rose is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with the Holocaust as a backdrop, and at first I was a little fearful of revisiting this time period in my "entertainment" reading. Yolen's storytelling quickly drew me in however, and with Becca, I wanted to know what happened, how had Gemma gotten to America, and what was her real name, her past?

This is my first Jane Yolen novel to read, though I have several others on Mount TBR. I'll definitely be reading more, and recommend Briar Rose as an interesting and sobering twist on the Sleeping Beauty story.

For more information on this award winning author, visit Jane Yolen's Official Website

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HQ/Sil Challenge #4: Puritan Bride by Anne O'Brien

Title: Puritan Bride
Author: Anne O'Brien
Copyright Year: 2004
Imprint: Harlequin Historical

It is 1663 and King Charles has returned, bestowing his favorites with lands. One such was Winteringham Priory, formerly the home of the Harley's, now in possession of the Oxendens, chiefly Marcus, Viscount Marlebrooke. Marcus has proposed marriage to Katherine Harley, to solidify his claim to Winteringham by wedding the heir to the land. Marcus doesn't expect much from this match, hoping that they will be able to tolerate each other and Katherine herself is opposed to it, preferring her cousin Richard, but her uncle soon makes her see the decision is out of her hands. Or is it?

There is suspicion of a will left by her father, and if Kate can just find it, she may not have to wed him at all, instead being free to marry as she wants. She had not counted on actually falling in love with the Viscount however, which complicates matters considerably for her!

There's even a resident ghost!

I enjoyed this historical romance, a little break from all the paranormals I've read lately. Now I'm ready to pass it on for someone else to enjoy! As always, this is a gently used copy with a bookcrossing label inside. If you would like to be the next to read this book, just leave me a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite historical time period is. I'm partial to Ancient Egypt, Aztec, Mayan, Celtic on up through Medieval, and occasionally even up to the American Civil War time frame, all over the map I guess you could say! I will choose a winner randomly from all the posts on December 6th!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winner: Knights of the Round Table: Lancelot by Gwen Rowley

And the winner of this romance staring Lancelot is...

Susan


Who likes Lancelot, Merlin, and Morganna and is a fan of my favorite Arthurian Novel, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley!

Congratulations Susan I hope you enjoy it!

Check out the side bar for my next giveaway to come, my 4th Harlequin/Silhouette Challenge Read, Puritan Bride by Anne O'brien. If I can get enough reading time away from work to finish it up that is! After that I'll have a Holiday themed read to offer up that I'll be giving away in December!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Musical: The Lion King


The Lion King is by far and away my favorite Disney movie. The colors, the animals, the music, all of it combined to make an awesome whole that just really reached in and grabbed my heart and didn't let go. In fact, it is the only cartoon that has ever made me cry, and it did that the very first time I saw the preview for it at another movie, way back when! So when I found out there was a Broadway musical for it, I have always wanted to go. Finally it came here, and you can bet the first time I saw the commercial on TV, I was determined to go!

All the expected favorite songs were there, plus some from the follow up sound track Rhythm of the Pridelands, He lives in you is also one of my favorites next to Circle of Life, the one that I can't ever seem to listen to without crying *blush*. The costumes are technical marvels and so different from any musical I've ever seen. It was a real challenge for them to retain the feel of the movie live on stage, but it was truly amazing.

This video is from the Tony Awards and gives you just a taste of the costumes and the majesty of the show, but really can't do them justice.



It was interesting to me the mix of characters that were kept very true to the cartoon movie image (Zazu, Timon, Pumbaa and the hyenas), versus those that were more stylized but full body puppet type costumes (all the other lesser non-main character animals), and then all the lions, who each had a head mask and often a tail, but then were dressed in African patterned flowing pants and wraps. The lionesses were very beautiful and stately, Mufasa very majestic.

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed it, it was just beautiful and so interesting. If you get the opportunity to go, take it! you won't be disappointed!

Take a look a the Official Disney Lion King Website for more information and a photo gallery!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Book: Poison Sleep by T. A. Pratt

Marla Mason is back in her own city of Felport in this second novel of the series. Our story opens with the attempted breakout of a patient of the Blackwing Institute for criminally insane. While the patient trying to escape fails, another of the patients disappears, this one just as dangerous in her own damaged way. Genevieve is a reweaver, someone who can make reality over into what she wants, but her psyche has been injured by events in her past, giving her nightmares power over her reality, and everyone else's that she touches. She was safe locked away in Blackwing, but now that she's no longer confined there, her dreamworld is entering into the real world, and as the chief sorcerer of Felport, it's up to Marla and crew to get Genevieve back under control. As if things weren't busy enough with that, someone's trying to kill Marla, no big surprise in itself, but a little annoying when you have so much else on your plate, and you're not sure who you can trust!

A great second effort in the Marla Mason series! My husband read this before me and he liked it better than the first one, Blood Engines, feeling that the writing had improved. I think I still like the first one better as it seemed more colorful to me, though I agree that I think Poison Sleep was a tighter story. We see a lot more of Marla in Poison Sleep and a lot less of Rondeau it seemed. I'm definitely a Rondeau fan, so I was sad that he didn't feature as prominently, but there were other interesting characters to get to know, as we meet the other resident sorcerers of Felport that we'd only heard about briefly before.

The next in the series, and currently out right now, is Dead Reign, with a fourth, Spell Games on the way in April of next year. I'm looking forward to following Marla's continuing adventures!

T. A. Pratt's website, check it out for more info and links!

Get your Marla Mason fix Here!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Book Giveaway: Knights of the Round Table: Lancelot by Gwen Rowley

Just as I am a sucker for all things Egyptian, I'm also a sucker for all things Arthurian, and so of course I had to pick up a romance based on Lancelot! Now, I've read some truly bad (read cheesy and silly) tales with Arthur, his knights and Merlin as the basis. I admit, I expected this one might fall into this category. I was pleasantly surprised however to find what I felt was a well crafted romance that spent a lot of time developing Lancelot as a person rather than just using his preceding reputation and skipping over that development. We get to see a man that while certain of his warrior prowess, is very much tormented by his past and future, torn between his King and Queen, becoming very frayed at the edges and beginning to unravel.

Lancelot's relation to Guinevere here is treated a little differently than I've seen before, outwardly, there is still the suspicion that the two are involved romantically. The truth as presented here is a lot different, but no less stressful to them, as Lancelot feels it's Guinevere's secret to tell. She has never been my favorite character of the tale, and that doesn't change with this novel. This story is centered around Lancelot and Elaine, who together have a son, Galahad.

Elaine is very practical, and very involved in running her father's failing estate, ever since he's withdrawn in his search for the Holy Grail. Her brother Torre was injured during a joust, by Lancelot as it turns out, and has become a drunk, taking no interest in the welfare of the lands.

Lancelot arrives at Elaine's home, Corbenic, after losing his way in the woods on the way to a tournament. He had been traveling to the tournament to compete disguised, by Guinevere's order, and so he does not enlighten the family as to who he really is, asking to borrow a shield as his own is to easily identified. Before he leaves for the tournament, Lancelot and Elaine spend some time alone together, where he finds out her esteem for the knight Gawain, and her contempt for the arrogant Lancelot. Being anonymous lets him show her the real person, not just the self-important and arrogant hero she believes he is.

There are two more in this series so far, Gawain and Geraint, and I enjoyed Lancelot enough that I will look for the other two. Especially Gawain, since we get to know him a little bit here. I really have not yet found much information on this author, I will have to keep looking. She does not appear to have a website up, or any other information that I found on any other sites past the list of these three books. I hope she does more!

Now for the giveaway! As always, my giveaway copy is gently used, and Bookcrossing labeled. If you are interested in winning this to read for yourself, please comment here, and tell me what your favorite Arthurian character, and/or dramatization, novelization, etc. of any of the legends is. There are so many to choose from now! I will randomly choose a winner for all comments on November 15th!

I would have to say Excalibur was my first favorite movie, and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is my favorite novel, the book, not the movie. The movie was okay, but it really didn't/couldn't do justice to that huge novel in my opinion! Lancelot and Galahad were always my favorite characters, though Arthur is probably right up there as well, and Guinevere has always been my least favorite.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Winner: Breast Cancer Site Store Gift Certificate

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you got a lot of candy, and got to see lots of cute kids in costumes!

I said I would chose my winner today, so here I am!

And the winner of the Breast Cancer Site Store Gift Certificate is.....


Jezebelsk!



Looks like a new purse is in your future m'dear!

Congratulations!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book: French Pressed by Cleo Coyle

French Pressed is the 6th coffeehouse novel by Cleo Coyle, staring Coffeehouse manager and amateur sleuth Clare Cosi. This installment centers around Clare's daughter Joy, and her inolvement with the head chef at Solange, the restaurant where she is interning.

As Joy's affair with the married Tommy Keitel goes south, Clare's relationship with Mike Quinn is heating up to the boiling point. As usual, Clare's ex-husband Matt is both a blessing and a curse, helping her and frustrating her, and Mike, causing him to have a talk with Clare about where their lives are headed, and what they really want.

Of course murder is involved, and of course Clare is right in the middle of it, as Joy seems to be the prime suspect of not one, but two deaths! Being a little more intrepid than most mothers, Clare is never content to sit back and let the police do their thing, especially when it seems they're contect to stop looking after they've arrested Joy. Knowing her daughter is innocent, Clare even has a brief brush with the Russian mafia as she tries to figure out who the real killer is.

I enjoyed this one as I have all the rest, as usual, there are interesting coffee and this time also restaurant facts delivered in the course of the story. Also recipes in back which sound delicious, if only I actually did enjoy cooking, I'd definitely try them out! I'm looking forward to #7, Espresso Shot, which came out recently in Hardback.

If you've not read this series, I highly recommend it, the first book is On What Grounds, where we see Clare's initiation into the world of investigating when she finds her assistant manager murdered at the back of the store.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Mish-Mash, or Shaunie takes a day off, or what to do with all those eggs

Okay I actually took Friday off too, but today has been more fun so far. ;) I've bolded the high points for my own amusement.

I started out my day by sleeping in way too late! I must have needed it though, right, or I wouldn't have done it! That's what I'm going with anyway!

Next, I took myself voting. If you're in the US, you can't have avoided the fact that it's election time, unless you live in a cave or some other wilderness place with no reception of any kind. No, I'm not going to tell you who I voted for. All I'm going to say is, if you can vote early, do it! I was in and out in 30 minutes today, and that was even counting the time that I was lined up in my car just to get a parking space! I was worried when I saw that, but it actually went very smoothly, everyone was very nice and cooperative, and so today I was out there exercising my rights! So, get out there and vote! It's kind of like the lottery, you can't win if you don't play. And if you don't play, then you better not be complaining if it doesn't turn out the way you wanted because you could have helped it along but you didn't! Okay, done with soap boxing! ;)

For lunch I made myself a nice gooey plate of nacho bean dip, I take Old El Paso refried beans spread in the bottom of a shallow bowl, pour salsa on top, then cheese over that to cover and microwave until all the cheese is melted. It's not much of a recipe, but it makes me happy! It's good to cut up some onions on top, and some fresh tomatoes too if you have them and/or want to take the time, but I usually don't because I'm lazy-- I mean, busy, yeah, busy! I also made some peanut butter brownies, from a box, but again, easy is good! ;)

As I was making my brownies, I first tested the eggs I had left to make sure they were good. If you don't know how to do this, fill a bowl with water, and carefully place your egg in it. If it floats, it's bad, don't use it, if it goes to the bottom, it's alright, you can proceed! I'm terrible about buying eggs and not using them right away, there's just too many in a carton for what I usually need! You have to have them for brownies or cakes, and yet you only need 2 or 3, but you have to buy them in boxes of 12?! Anyway, I know they come in smaller boxes sometimes, but not the ones I like to buy. Moving on! I thought okay, these eggs are all still good, but not for much longer, so what can I do? I know, Self, says I, I can make deviled eggs! And so I did, and they are good. So good in fact I just informed my husband that I've decided to be a stay at home wife instead of working so that I might cook sometimes. Maybe. When I'm not too busy playing computer games and reading. He hasn't gotten back to me yet, I'm guessing the answer will be no.

So here's some more egg knowledge for you, to make hardboiled eggs, put them in a sauce pan, cover them with cold water, then bring them to a boil for 12 minutes. Then put them in the fridge to cool. It worked pretty well. Last time I did the 15 minutes that my cookbook said and it was too long. This time I looked it up on food network and tried that. I think my grandmother may even have said something like 8-10 minutes, then just let them cool in the water, off the burner, not in the fridge, and she makes awesome deviled eggs. The rest of the deviled egg mixture was pretty easy, though last time it was too dry, this time I got it just right! Mayo, mustard and sugar. No, I have no idea how much I used, I just kept adding until it tasted right, mish-mashed it with a fork (see, I'm tying this all together!) and then squeezed it back into the egg halves using a sandwich bag with a corner cut out. I'm feeling like a regular chef! Don't worry, it will pass. ;)

I'm considering making cabbage rolls for dinner! I hope it hasn't passed before then since we're sort of out of money until pay day so really there will be no eating out.

The rest of the day I've done some dishes, some laundry, read a book (French Pressed by Cleo Coyle, review coming soon), and played Guild Wars (I said I was bolding the highlights, dishes and laundry are NOT highlights) where their Halloween event is under way. You have to love a game that has trick-or-treat bags drop from killing monsters, and in these bags you can get things like, Witch's Brew (to work on your drunkard title), pumpkin cookies and candy corn that give you temporary boosts in the game, and potions that turn you into a candy corn person. I love this game! Not to mention it just speaks to the addictive collector part of me. Must get as many as I can AAAAHHHH!!!!

If you've made it all way through this post, you're either very patient with me (thank you I do appreciate that!) or really bored, in which case I hope I've entertained you a little bit. I do want to remind you that my Breast Cancer Site Store GC Contest closes soon, I will choose the winner on Halloween. To sign up, go comment on the post, the link is up there in the right hand side bar. The next contest after that will be for Knights of the Round Table: Lancelot, a romance by Gwen Rowley that I enjoyed, so if that sounds interesting to you, check back after Halloween! Hopefully I'll get some other review type things posted soon as well, as I went to see the Musical Production of The Lion King this past Saturday, and have read a few other books as well that I've not gotten around to posting about.

Thanks for hanging in here with me! Back to Guild Wars and Trick or Treat bag collecting!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FBIA - Bureau Update


The FBIA - Fuzzy Ball Intelligence Agency, pet project of FI6 Director Fergus McCat is well under way and showing strong results. Fergus started with just a single, well trained agent, OOWS (OO White Sparkle), and quickly saw the potential of an increased roster. And so he began training a carefully selected pawful of new agents, OORS, OOBS, OOPS, and then the less flashy OOG and OOP. Working without sparkle, they are much easier to send undercover in those dangerous situations when you must not be seen, and a careless light beam could give you away at any time.



Here we see top agents OOWS, OOPS and OOBS gathered in the debriefing room, cleverly disguised as the food dish, where Fergus McCat can interview his agents while seemingly appearing to just be eating his dinner.


The assignments for these agents have become increasingly more dangerous, having graduated from the early days of merely under the couch and chair, to the much less civilized under the stove, under the closet door, under the basement door, and behind the vacuum cleaner. These agents are fearless! In the last two days, 00P and 00G have just completed their most difficult assignments yet, to accompany the laundry not only out of the bedroom, but into the washing machine, and then on into the dryer. We now are able to document this entire process from beginning to end from the INSIDE of the machine, intelligence to a degree we've never had before.

Clearly Fergus McCat is a genius of domestic infiltration training and FI6 is now among the top Feline Intelligence Bureaus in the world. I will sleep much better tonight knowing that Fergus McCat and his crack team of FB Agents are on the job!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Book: Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco

At one time, Connor Grey was a druid investigator of high ability, moving up in the ranks of the Guild. After a violent confrontation (before the opening of this book) he has been left with almost none of his former abilities, even the slightest attempt at their use causing him great pain. He now works with the Boston Police Department, still investigating, in a much reduced state, not only of power, but in quality of life. He's come to appreciate many things he took for granted before. How frustrating it is to still retain all the knowledge of what you could once do with ease, but not be able to effect the smallest spell.

Connor is called in to assist with an investigation involving the ritual murders of fairy prostitutes down in the Weird, a run-down Boston neighborhood. He begins to see a pattern to the crimes, but can he figure out what's really going on before the final murder, which could cause the biggest cataclysm since the Convergence that brought the fey into the human world?

I definitely enjoyed this one, another in the Urban Fantasy detective genre that meshes fantasy with mystery. I will certainly be picking up book 2, Unquiet Dreams, and there is a third on the way in 2009, Unfallen Dead. Check out Mark Del Franco's website for more info!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ace of Cakes - Food Network

I'm not terribly excited about food shows. I know how to cook, I like my own cooking, lately I haven't been doing it much because of work, and I've never really enjoyed it a lot. Some people find it relaxing and enjoyable, to me it's kind of a chore. So when I am watching a cooking show, I'm mostly thinking "wow, that's a lot of work just to get some food."

However, if you've never watched Ace of Cakes on the Food Network, you really should! It is the most entertaining food show I've ever watched, and I love it! I would never even attempt anything they do, but the cakes they come up with are just amazing! These people are truly artists, and this show never fails to put a smile on my face. They are just such a fun and different group, and so talented.

Check out the website, they have a lot of short video clips of these amazing cakes. And yes, I still say "Wow, that's a lot of work just to eat it!" I think I wouldn't be able to, after watching all the work that goes into them!

My favorites of the clips they have are the Noah's Ark, and the King Tut cakes, but really everything they make is awesome!

Now I really want some cake!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And the Winner of The Mummy Case is...



Katayoun!


Please send me a PM through Bookcrossing with your address so I can send the book out to you! Congratulations!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Giveaway: Breast Cancer Site Store


As I'm sure everyone knows by now, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Early detection is the key, but even knowing that, I'm bad about doing a self breast exam. I'm young enough that I have not had my first mammogram, but I have known several people who have fought, and survived this cancer. I hope that if I ever am faced with breast cancer, that I have the courage to fight it and do what needs to be done. I'm blessed with insurance to cover the cost of a mammogram, many are not so lucky.

Tonight I decided to post a new giveaway, a gift certificat to the Breast Cancer Site Store for $25. Each item you purchase donates money to the cost of a mammogram for women in need. To read more about what the site has accomplished in the last 6 months, look Here.

The site has many fun t-shirts featuring the pink ribbon and catchy phrases, as well as a ton of other things. Check out the store

You can also help just by clicking the button, it's free, but still contributes to the cause: The Breast Cancer Site

To enter, please post a comment here. I will choose a winner on October 31st, and all I ask is that once you spend your GC (and I don't think anyone will mind if you spend more than the $25!) you come back and let me know what cool stuff you bought! You can get an extra entry by blogging about this contest AND providing the link for people to do the free click. Please give me a link to your post if you do this!

Help give someone the gift of early detection, it could make all the difference.

Also please take a look at the Susan G Komen Website for more information on breast cancer and what you can do to help the cause.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Because you can never have too many addictions...

So if you take a little peek to the left, you'll see my Dragon Eggs right there at the top, and notice that 2 of them have hatched, and one of them grew up (not bad looking for a little orange guy!), and the other one probably will have too by the time I get up in the morning. I'm actually quite pleased at how interesting they are!

I saw eggs posted on a friends signature in a forum, and thought to myself, huh, those are neat, but when I clicked on them to try and get my own, of course they'd all been taken. So periodically I'd try it again, not at all surprised that I didn't manage to catch any. So when I actually did, I was a little shocked, but of course, had to keep trying right away, (thus two hatchlings very close to each other) and then managed to rescue an abandoned egg, and even get a new one.

Needless to say, they're neat enough I'm going to have to keep playing with it for awhile, darn it! :P In fact, I just adopted another egg just now! MUST STOP! AAAHHH!!!! (But, but, but, it's pink! You can't not take a pink one!)

There is actually more to the site, they have a forum, and all your eggs and hatchlings and grown dragons are shown to you on your own scroll, and somehow clicks and views are supposed to help them hatch and grow but I really haven't figured that out. There are also some rules as to how many eggs you can have at once. So I really better stop until I get some more hatchlings and grown dragons lol!

If anyone else is interested, here is the site: Dragon Cave or you can get there by clicking on my little lovelies in the sidebar (I really don't like orange that much, but I still love my little dragon over there, he is my first dragon child, after all!) If you do decide to adopt some of your own, go ahead and leave me a comment with a link to where they are, so I can click on them and help them along, however that works, and see what they turn into!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Book: Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

Real Murders is the first book of the Aurora Teagarden mystery series by popular author Charlaine Harris, well known for the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series, which is the basis for the True Blood series now showing on HBO.

We meet Aurora for the first time here, a librarian in a town where everyone knows each other, and everything about each other, or at least they think they do. Aurora is part of the Real Murders Club, who get together periodically to present and discuss well known murder cases. It is Aurora's turn to present, and she knows her subject front and back. So well in fact that when one of the members of the club is found murdered before she even has a chance to discuss her case, she immediately is struck by the parallels to what she was about to present.

When the next murders take place, it's clear that it must be someone from the club, or at least someone connected to the members, but who could it be? At the same time, Aurora finds herself caught between two men in town that not only is she interested in, but are both interested in her, as they try to solve the cases together! Life has never been more exciting for her, or more terrifying!

This was a good beginning to a series, Aurora was a likeable character, and the story twists and turns to cast suspicion in several directions, by the end, all the members of the club are involved in one way or another, as personal items disappear from their possession to reappear as murder weapons planted in the vicinity of yet other members. It kept me wondering all the way through! I will definitely be reading more in the series!

For more information, take a look at the Charlaine Harris Official Web Site.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Movie: Silverado

I caught Silverado on AMC tonight (they play a lot of good movies!) and was reminded of the first time I saw this in the theaters. Back then, in 1985 (wow, feelin' old now) I didn't know who Kevin Costner and Kevin Cline even were, but I became fans after that movie. John Cleese is in it too, which I appreciate even more now that I'm more of a Monty Python fan than I was back then.

The storyline itself doesn't seem that exciting, brothers Emmett and Jake Hollis (Scott Glenn and Kevin Costner) are going to visit their sister before heading to Silverado, teaming up with Paden (Kevin Cline) and Mal (Danny Glover) along the way. They get mixed up with a crooked sherriff (Brian Dennehy) and corrupt rancher who they of course get the better of. What made this movie great to me was the scripting, the development of and interaction between the characters. The music was wonderful too, and was nominated for Best Original Score in 1985 but lost to Out of Africa. Look here for more info on this great movie! If you haven't seen it, and are a fan of any of the main actors, or even if you aren't, but just enjoy a good witty film, I highly recommend it!

Stella - "The world is what you make of it friend, if it doesn't fit, make alterations."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Feel the Love!



It's my very first blog award ever! Amberkatze and Ruthie both nominated me for this award, and now I get to share the love by passing it along! Thank you so much ladies! Everyone please go check out their blogs if you haven't already, and if you have already, well, just do it again, because they're great! ;)

Here are the rules -

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog (got it! Yay now I can add an awards block to the side bar!)

2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (done! see above, she's got lots of awesome reviews and contests, so you should check it out if you haven't already!)

3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4) Add links to those blogs on your blog

5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

I'm guessing that at least several of my nominees will have already received this from others, but I'm going to nominate them anyway, just so they know I love 'em!

My nominees:

Walking on Sunshine a friend of mine who also does book/movie reviews and has contests, good photos and life tidbits! Get to know her, her hubby and their lovely kitties! (all very photogenic!)

The Movieholic and Bibliophile's Blog Another awesome book and movie reviewer, I love the pictures that she adds in, they always have something to do with the story, though sometimes they seem a little off the wall! Very fun!

West of Mars - The Meet and Greet This is where you can meet and hang out with the band Shapeshifter and friends, courtesy of my friend Susan! It's a whole other world there... but then, that's not surprising since it IS west of Mars! Heehee!

Wendy's Opinion on Books Why look, more book reviews! Are you sensing a theme here? That I love books? I also love seeing what my friends are reading! Check out what Wendy's been reading and what she thinks of them!

Writing with Vicki Specializing in Paranormal and Romantic Suspense! I recently won a copy of the Accidental Demonslayer by Angie Fox along with some signed goodies *squee!* which came today by the way! Thanks again Vicki, and I love your blog! (not just cause of that though! hee!)

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin' Book Reviews Yep, you guessed it, more books, also giveaways (I won one from here too, Blood Noir by Laurell K Hamilton, I tell you, for awhile there my luck was just crazy!) SQT is on a bit of a break but hopefully back soon, in the meantime, check out the great past reviews!

Yankee Romance Reviewers Packed full of author interviews and giveaways, definitely worth a look, or three, or four, or.... I'm pretty sure Terra and the group has already gotten some of these awards from others, but hey, you can never have too much love, right?

There are certainly many more, so if I didn't name you, don't think I don't love you too! ;)

Now off to let these fine people know they've won a prestigious award from Moi!

Thanks again Amberkatze and Ruthie! I feel loved!

HQ/Sil Challenge #3: The Mummy Case by Dawn Stewardson

Title: The Mummy Case
Author: Dawn Stewardson
Imprint: Harlequin Intrigue #257
Year: 1994

Marina is an insurance investigator in the special claims department, a recent promotion from the auto claims. Her mentor Nat lands in the hospital with a heart attack, leaving Marina to work alone after only six weeks. Her current case involves a stolen mummy case, replaced with a forgery at the Donner museum's exhibit. The prime suspect is Revington York, the owner of Careful Wheels, the transport company hired to move the exhibit from LA to the Donner in San Francisco. Marina is determined to prove to her boss Charlie that she can do a good job, so that she doesn't have to go back to boring auto claims, but she soon realizes that this case is more than she bargained for. Revington, eager to prove his innocence demands to tag along with her and be involved in the investigation, and weird and dangerous things start happening. He gifts Marina with what he tells her is a reproduction of the mummy beads from the now missing Princess Amonit's mummy, but are they really? Marina begins hearing voices and seeing things she can't explain, narrowly missing several attempts on her life.

This was a fun little mystery, I'm a sucker for anything Egyptian so of course I had to snag this back when I found it on the sale rack! There's just a touch of the supernatural to it, and a shocking ending, because of course, you guessed it, there's a sequel! I may have to see if I can find a copy of the next one on Bookmooch or Paperbackswap, just to see what happens!

If you too are into a little romantic mystery with an Egyptian flavor, you're in luck, because I'm ready to pass my copy along! As with all my giveaways, this is a used copy, with a Bookcrossing label, and while I would love a journal entry from you if you are so inclined, the book will be yours to do with as you please.

To enter, just post a comment on this entry, and I will randomly choose a winner on October 18th! Please remember to include an e-mail address if your profile is hidden so that I can contact you if you win.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

And the Winner of Retrieval is....

Drum Roll Please! rat-a-tat-tat...


Carol!


Thanks to all of you that played along with my "retrieval" game, I promise next time's will be easier! ;)

Carol, please send me your snail mail info to shaunesay at gmail dot com.

I'll announce my next giveaways soon, so check back!

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Little Clandestine Activity

Work has been crazy the last couple of weeks, so now that I finally get a weekend after 12 days in a row, I told the husband I HAD to do something fun tonight to take my mind off of work! Our answer? A little night time geocaching! We've had a spot in mind to place another cache for awhile now, and so tonight we finally did! Our cache supplies order came in yesterday, and we've been excited to use it! Our first choice came complete with a security camera... not such a good idea. Finally after much debate we decided against it, but found another likely spot nearby, sans camera. So now we're anxiously awaiting the approval on our second cache to come through for it to be posted. We made sure to have the right coordinates this time, last time was just too embarrassing! This one is named "Pizza Bash", the reason for which would become clear as soon as you get to the right spot.

Our first cache is doing well, and has had 12 visitors, with no DNF's (did not find), yay! Curious about it? Then check out the listing for Space Cowboy.

We're up to 60 finds of other caches, and feeling quite proud of ourselves, I think we're getting a little better at spotting them. Husband managed to non-chalantly discover, pick up, hand to me to sign the log, and replace, all while talking to his daughter on the cell phone the other day, how's that for multi-tasking! lol! I'm hoping we make 100 by the end of the year, but not sure if we'll get that far.

Our travel bugs are also still around, someone has finally picked up my Jayhawk keychain bug and taken it to Colorado on it's first stop! Yay! Kill-a-bug-byte has made it's way in the opposite direction to Missouri! Good luck on your travels my little bugs! I hope to be sending more little bugs out into the world soon! Muahahahaha!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Book: Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin

Raine Benares is a seeker, not especially high on the power scale, but passable. Her family is mostly known for being smugglers and thieves, rather than upstanding citizens. They are however very loyal to their friends and each other, which lands Raine in the trouble that this first book in the series centers around.

Afraid that a friend and sometimes employee of hers is getting himself into trouble, Raine follows him to find out what he's up to. She finds Quentin breaking into the house of a well known Necromancer in the town. As expected, things don't go well, and soon they are in an all out battle with a certain faction of goblins known as the Khrynsani. Raine herself is an elf, and I typically imagine goblins to be nasty short little ugly creatures with big noses or something like that. Not so in this story! The Goblins of this story are more along the lines of dark elves, and are a beautiful but deadly night to the Elven day in aspect.

Once free of the fight, Raine questions Quentin to find that he'd been hired to find a certain artifact and bring it to his contact. She takes it from him, deciding that anything the Khrynsani are after isn't something they should get and so she decides to hold it for safekeeping, only she gets a lot more than she bargained for. As it turns out, the artifact she now can't get rid of without great bodily harm is actually connected to a much more dangerous item, and suddenly Raine is very high on everyone's list to acquire, as their key to finding it, the Saghred... the Soul Thief... Anything with a nickname like that can't be good...

I kind of had a hard time getting into this one, but I suspect that's more my real life circumstances and how busy and tired I've been rather than any fault of the story. It's actually very fast paced and witty, with likable characters, and well put together ideas. By the end I was definitely interested in getting the next book Armed and Magical to see what Raine and her friends are up to next! This is a good pick if you're looking for a fun fantasy romp.

See Lisa Shearin's Website for more information, and a peek at the covers for the next two books!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Movie: Wall-E

How on Earth do you make a little robotic piece of dirty junk that lovable?! I mean, for crying out loud, even the roach was cute! I actually saw this one the same weekend as jezebelsk at Walking on Sunshine, but I'm a slow poke and only now am getting around to posting about it!

The basic premise of the movie was that the earth was getting so overrun with trash that they decided to take all the people off on an enormous space ship, leaving the Wall-E units to clean everything up. In theory they would come back eventually and the place would all be cleaned up and ready to live in again. Only they didn't come back. And the Wall-E units kept faithfully doing their jobs until they finally all broke down except one, our lovable little star. And every day he continued to process trash into cubes and build with them, saving bits and pieces of this and that to add to his collection. They did an amazing job of building Wall-E's personality by showing the things he collected, his friendship with the little roach, the fact that he loved to watch old musicals...

The people cruising around on the ship were not out of the picture however, periodically probes were sent out to check for life on Earth, to see if anything was yet sustainable. Eve was one one these, and during her visit to Earth, she meets Wall-E and discovers the plant which triggers the process that is to eventually bring the ship back to earth. Wall-E's caring for Eve after she shuts down to await pickup is just heart breaking, once again showing an amazing ability at character building for a robot who really only says 1 or 2 words!

There is definitely some social commentary going on, about how people are too dependent on the virtual world, losing the ability to do anything for themselves as computers do it all for them, but overall the ending is hopeful, showing that humanity isn't a complete loss. All of Wall-E and Eve's adventures are just hysterical, and their interaction doesn't need a script it's so well built.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wall-E, and highly recommend it to anyone! I just wanted to hug him so much of the time, in spite of the fact that he was just a dirty little beat up robot!

Movie: Evan Almighty

Evan Almighty starring Steve Carell was a lot of fun. It is a "sequel" to Bruce Almighty, though I don't know if you really need to have watched it in order to enjoy this one. I love the Noah's Ark theme because I'm an animal lover and have always enjoyed that motif. Many funny moments, and Morgan Freeman was great as always in the role of God! I think one of my favorite parts was the animals helping him to build the ark. I cannot even imagine how complicated it was to have all of those animals together at one time. Especially on the group shots. I don't know if they were all really there together, or if they were digitized in somehow. Definitely a lot of fun if you're looking for something humorous and light!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Giveaway: Retrieval by Jeanie London

In life Roman Barrymore was the head of Sanctus, a secret security organization. In death, he's been charged with leadership once again, to fight a battle for control of the passage between life and death. He must rally a force to defend against the demons, the key to this force is one woman with the power to see things as they truly are. The only problem is she is currently residing in the body of a living woman, unaware of who and what she is. Roman's first engagement in this war is to win her back, then he must convince her, and her companions to join him, and that's just the beginning...

I have mixed feelings about this one. The writing style was fine, Jeanie London is the recipient of many awards, so there's no question she's a talented writer. Roman himself was my favorite character, but he just seemed to have a total disregard for the fact that he had died, it was almost like, ho-hum, another day at the office, here's the next big situation I have to defuse. I mean, I think I'd be a little more upset at being dead than he was! LOL! The ideas behind the story were very good, but it was a little tedious getting there in my opinion. I felt almost like the author felt guilty about some of the plot lines and had to make up for it by putting in a lot of agonizing over right and wrong. It felt like a lot of bouncing from one side of the spectrum to the other.

I liked it, about halfway through I went to see if there were any more in a series with it, and discovered that this is the last book FantasticFiction has listed for Jeanie London since 2006. So I went an looked at Jeanie's website to see that she had been diagnosed with cancer, and after coming through that, had decided to devote her career to a more religious focus. Jeanie's deep religious beliefs come through strongly, even in Retrieval, written before this change of professional direction. She is working on two writing projects currently according to the site, one a non-fiction look at miracles in which she invites anyone to share the miracles in their lives in a blog. The second project is a fiction series called Shadow-Seekers and in her words "deals with the darker side of miracles and how the devil works to deceive us into believing they don't exist. It's a fiction project about an FBI-type agency battling against the spiritual warfare struggles happening in our country today--struggles all too many people won't acknowledge exist." Hmmm... sounds a lot like Retrieval!

Does this sound intriguing? Great! Because I'm putting my copy of Retrieval up for Giveaway! As always it is a gently loved, Bookcrossing labeled copy. I would love for the winner to make a journal entry when they receive it, you can do so completely anonymously if you decide Bookcrossing is not for you, and whether you do or do not, the book is yours to do with as you please. :)

Giveaway Details: I'm going to make you work for this one a little. All bloggers that are open to the public view like to know that people are viewing what they're posting, right? I'm no different, I want comments and ego strokes as much as anyone else! ;) So... since this book is called Retrieval, I'm going to make you retrieve some info from my past blog posts to gain extra entries in the giveaway. Ready? Okay! Please feel free to comment on any of these old posts if you see something you like, and take the time to enjoy the pictures, I've posted them because I want to share!

First entry: You get one entry just for posting here that you're interested.

Now, the rest of these we're going to handle like this. To answer the questions, please post a comment ON THE POST IT APPEARS IN, NOT HERE! If you post it here, it will not count! I will tally your extra entries by the comment notifications I receive that you have posted there.

Second entry: You get a second entry if you can tell me what Chapungu is. (hint: can be found in a post under the Gardening category)

Third entry: You get a third entry if you can tell me some of the places that I visited on my honeymoon. (hint: can be found in a post under the Vacation category)

Fourth entry: You get a fourth entry if you can tell me what I grew in my flower pots instead of petunias last year. (hint: This post can be found under the Animals Category, but you might also see it under Gardening!)

Fifth entry: You get a fifth entry if you answer this correctly: True or False, the streetlights of downtown Hershey, Pennsylvania are shaped like Hershey's Kisses. (hint: This post can be found in the Food category, and a few other places as well!)

I will tally all the entries, and choose my winner from them randomly on October 4th!

I promise I won't make you work so hard on the next giveaway, but I just wanted to see if anyone would play along with me, and I wanted to share my pictures with people! ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book: Because Your Vampire Said So by Michele Bardsley

Because Your Vampire Said So is the third installment of the Broken Heart, Oklahoma series by Michele Bardsley.

For those who have not started this series, the Consortium, which was founded by Ruadan's sons Patrick and Lorcan and is dedicated to making the world a better place for all beings, has decided to make Broken Heart it's headquarters. This came after a brutal, but unintentional attack by Lorcan on some of the people of the town, which left no choice but to turn them in order to save them. Each book so far has focused on one of these victims.

This time our star is Patsy the town hairdresser and undead single mom. Lucky Patsy, her special vampire family abilities include seeing ghosts, a couple of which have taken up residence with her, one being her feisty grandmother. A mysterious, and of course gorgeous stranger keeps appearing just in time to save Patsy from demons and other dangers, then disappearing when anyone from the Consortium comes. Just because Patsy is a vampire though, doesn't mean she's exempt from the trials of parenthood. Her son has reached that rebellious and destructive age, is into drugs and goes against everything Patsy tries to get him to do. We learn more about the seven ancients in this one through short excerpts from Ruadan who turned them all. But wait, there's more! You've got to have a prophecy right? Of course!

Who is the mysterious stranger? Is Patsy really part of the prophecy? And just how many bad guys are there? A mother's work is just never done!

If you're completely confused, I recommend starting with I'm the Vampire, That's Why where this whole thing begins. It's a super fun series, light hearted, fast moving, action packed, and sometimes down right silly, but that's it's draw for me! My favorite scene in Because Your Vampire Said So has got to be the zombies, and that's all I'm going to say! ;)

The titles just crack me up, I can't wait for Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home, coming soon! LOL!

You can check out Michele Bardsley's Website for more information!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Geocaching taken too far?

It's been very rainy here these last few days, so we haven't really indulged in any geocaching. I was perusing the listings this morning to see if there was anything nearby where we were going to go to lunch when I noticed there appears to be a cache at the cemetary that my grandparents have chosen to have their plots in. Luckily they are both still with us, and honestly cemetaries seem to be a fairly common place to hide a micro cache, nice and quiet, peaceful, not terribly crowded most of the time. So I mentioned this to the husband, and he gets this look of "oh oh oh" on his face that wives know so well, he had an idea... he has many ideas, like everyone, some of them are good, some of them are bad, and some of them are just plain silly and meant to be that way! Today's idea just has to be shared: He decided that we should get ourselves a headstone with a special built in compartment to hide a cache in, so we could be assured that people would come to visit us, you know, later on, when we're gone... okaaaaaaay... funny, sort of, but I don't plan on being gone for a long time I hope! Talk about advance planning! :P

To be fair, I have plenty of my own bizarro ideas, so it's not just a guy thing! (Love you honey!)

Winner: Wicked Ways

And the winner of Wicked Ways by Kate Hoffmann is....

MsValerie


MsValerie, please send me your snail mail address using shaunesay at gmail dot com as I'm not able to access your profile to send you a note. If I do not hear back from you by September 27th, I will pick a new winner.

Thanks everyone!

Blog Rating

I stole this one from Walking on Sunshine (and just the word "stole" might make it change who knows!) and decided to find out how family friendly I am! Turns out, I must be pretty good! jezebelsk must be way naughtier than me! ;)

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Sites

Friday, September 12, 2008

Audiobook: Ireland by Frank Delaney

Ronan O'Mara is 9 years old the first time a travelling story teller visits their home. He is so enthralled by the old man's stories of ancient and medieval Ireland that he becomes obssessed with finding the old man after he is forced to leave the area rather abruptly.

Throughout his young life he seems to be just a step behind the storyteller, but never quite catching up to him. He collects the stories the man has told, and eventually becomes a student of history at college. As he grows older and becomes more aware of the adults around him, he begins to feel that people are keeping secrets from him, that they always seem to change the subject or veer away whenever he's just about to find out more about the old man that so affected his life.

He reaches a breaking point one night when his aunt Kate informs him that they will take in a boarder at the home the two have been sharing while he's been going to school and she's been teaching. Finally having had enough of the secrets he feels are being kept from him (and there is much more going on, but I don't want to spoil the read for anyone!) he leaves after a blowup, and walks, with no real purpose in mind except to get away.

For the first time in his life he's on his own with no one dictating his every move, and is amazed at the freedom he feels. He travels the country of Ireland, visiting many of the places that the storyteller told of, meeting many people, and continuing to search for the old man. During this trip he learns and grows, tries his own hand at some story telling. He does finally return home, and eventually learns the secrets that it seems were only kept from him. He also learns how to fit these into his life, and goes on to become a top student and then professor of history. There is one last surprise for him though in his continued search for the storyteller, who by now he is not even sure is still alive...

This was an amazing story. The copy I had was actually read by the author himself, and his voice was perfect, very resonant and colorful. I enjoyed this very much. To me the beauty of this story was not so much the plot line, but just the imparting of the stories, and what they and the storyteller meant to the people he shared them with. He really brings Ronan's struggle to life, and you feel the frustration of the boy becoming a man as he always seems to be one step behind the elusive old man that he longs so much to be like. You also feel the closure of everything coming full circle in the end, and how everything fits together. It was beautifully done, there's just no other description of it for me.

I will definitely be looking for more of Frank Delany's novels, preferrably audiobooks if he's read them himself! You can check out his website HERE.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Book: Dog Days by John Levitt

Dog Days is the story of a boy and his dog... well, not really, because Mason isn't a boy, and Louie isn't really a dog. Mason is a practitioner, one of those with magical ability. Louie is an Ifrit, which we'd probably equate to the term familiar. No one really knows for sure where the Ifrits come from or why, or to who when, they just appear and stick around. Sometimes they disappear, and that too has no real explanation. Mason is making his living as a jazz musician, picking up gigs here and there, not really staying with any one group, and is well known for his ability to improvise. That seems to be the case in his magic as well, the ability to take elements from the things around him to create the effect he needs on the spot.

Life is going okay, he gets by, he has Louie, and while things aren't as great as they could be, Mason is fairly content. Until weird unexplainable and dangerous things start happening to him. He has to turn to past friends (and not such friends) for help on this one, as the events are getting beyond his ability to deal with. Someone wants to be rid of him, but why? The mystery seems to revolve around a type of gem that Mason discovers while trapped in one of these situations. It's unlike anything he's ever seen before. Add to that the sudden increase in power of a previously unimpressive practitioner, Christoph, and there seems to be a full on emergency going on that Mason, Eli his mentor, and Victor (the not such a friend, but definitely someone to have on your side in this case) must get to the bottom of, and quickly. Then one on top of it all, Louie disappears... but that's just the way it goes sometimes... or is it?

This was an interesting beginning to a series, and I'm looking forward to more. I like the way he describes Mason's abilities when he needs to use power for something, and he draws energy from sometimes every day objects around him to get the effect he needs. Mason is a likeable character, basically a live and let live type of guy, sometimes hotheaded, sometimes not the most observant, and has a self-deprecating humor. Poor Louie got the lion's share of the trouble in this one! Poor little guy was getting it every time he turned around! I think I would recommend it to those who are into the urban fantasy/detective/mysteries with just a smidgen of horror. I'm liking this type a lot and am always on the lookout for more.

The next book in the series, New Tricks is due out in November, and on his website Mr. Levitt says that Ace has signed him to do two more after that, so it looks like we have a few more adventures of Mason and Lou to check out!

See John Levitt's Website for more information.

Location, Location, Location!

Last weekend we placed our first cache. As usual when doing something for the first time, your expections and the reality don't quite meet. I thought, hey, we'll place it on Monday afternoon, and go post it on the site, and that way someone can still discover it today on this holiday weekend. Yeah... no... So it takes 36-72 hours to be reviewed and posted. It finally got posted on Thursday I believe it was. So once again I'm all excited waiting for our first finder. Except we'd goofed, and the poor first person (luckily very experienced so he knew better than to stick his hand in there) got sent to the wrong coordinates. As soon as he posted this, I quickly disabled the listing so I could fix it. I was mortified. You see, we had a couple spots in mind. The first one we ruled out because there was poison ivy there. Only we forgot to tell our GPS that, and being still newbies at using it, what coordinates do you think we mistakenly put down? Yep, that's right, the bad ones. *sigh* And did we think to check it against the satellite map which would have clearly shown me it was in the wrong place? NOPE! So, when placing a cache, it is VERY important to check your location again and again and again! Luckily our very experienced first attempter is good natured (as is the second one, also very experienced) and went back out that very night to find it after I had posted that I had fixed the coordinates! We also quickly got several more entries, all successful, so now we're on our way! But hey, now I know how to use all those different types of updating posts that are available! LOL!

Here's another no-no I've discovered... I'm not sure what the real term for it is, but it happens when someone mistakenly (or intentionally, in my case it was mistakenly) posts pictures of travel bugs with the tracking number clearly visible. This allows someone who has never seen the item to discover/grab/place it wherever they want. I think I may have had this happen to me, and it was very puzzling. I posted pictures awhile back from the picnic we attended of our first travel bug, unfortunately I didn't think about the number being visible in the picture. We took it to the picnic, all the attendees "discovered it" (meaning logged it without taking it, just to show they'd seen it) and then someone from the picnic had taken it with them to eventually place in a cache, perfectly acceptable, and what we had intended. Several days later, I get a few weird log entries, culminating in a placement in Iraq! Excuse me? I suppose it was possible, but it seemed unlikely. The logs said it had been placed in a cache. The next logs for that cache, very soon after, said it was not there, and I believed it had been lost. Oh well, that's why you don't want to use anything near and dear or expensive as a travel bug, there's always that chance it will go missing. Then, I get another log for it, a local area cacher has found it again. Still in town... hmmmm... Obviously whoever logged it placed in Iraq, was full of you know what. So, all I can think it that someone took the number from the picture, and posted these false logs. I don't know why they would do this, but then I don't know why people do a lot of things! ;) I was able to delete the bad logs, bring the bug's mileage back to a correct couple of miles rather than over 6,000, and I've learned a valuable lesson, don't post pictures of trackables with their numbers visible! The reason? You didn't see it, you don't deserve to count it in your numbers, and it's not fair to disappoint people expecting to find it when it was never there!

In spite of these newbie goofs, we're still very enthusiastic, and managed to find several caches this weekend that we had tried and missed on the first time, so we feel quite successful this weekend at having hit 50 finds. :)

The adventure continues!

Our second travel bug is a keychain of my college mascot, placed in a nearby park, so far lying undiscovered...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Book: Stardoc by S. L. Viehl


Cherijo Grey Veil is a surgeon on Terra, who has discovered a secret kept by her father so dark that she feels she must flee for her life. The story opens with Cherijo trying to find passage off planet in the seedy taverns frequented by non-Terran regulated pilots. It's the only hope she has of getting enough of a headstart to get away before her father gets wind of her plans. She finally picks out a pilot, Dhreen, a non-human, and makes the flight with him to Kevarzangia Two, where she's signed on to work as a Free Clinic doctor.

Cherijo has never been off planet before, and now she's surrounded by aliens of all different types, and Terrans like herself are few and far between. She has many challenges ahead of her, fitting in with the staff of the Free Clinic as the new kid, learning how to treat many alien races that are structured completely differently than the human bodies she's used to, and retaining her independence once her father finds out what she's done.

This is actually an action packed and emotional story, with many twists and turns, colorful secondary characters that you come to love or despise, and conflicts that though taking place on an alien world, are very easy to understand and relate to.

Stardoc was brought to my attention through a group read and I'm glad it was! I had briefly glanced at this one before on the shelves of the store, but never gone so far as to pick it up until Wendy chose it for our group. If you look back a few posts on her blog, she's already finished the 3rd book of the series! How's that for a recommendation? ;) Thanks for bringing this one to my attention Wendy!

S. L. Viehl has a few aliases as well, one of which is Lynn Viehl, of the Darkyn series fame that's making quite a splash in the Paranormal Romance genre. I haven't read them yet, but I do have them all, and plan to get to them! Must read faster! :D

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hide and Seek

*insert Mission Impossible theme music here*

We've done it, we've just placed our very first geocache. I'm so excited and can't wait for someone to log it! Oh yeah, I guess we have to log it on the site in order for anyone to know it's there huh? *blush*

Off to do that RIGHT NOW!

*zoom*

Winner of A Babe in Ghostland by Lisa Cach

And the winner is....

A Real Librarian!


I'll be contacting you shortly for your snail mail addy. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who signed up!

Check back mid-September to see what my next giveaway will be!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

He can be My Angel of Music Anytime!

A few weeks ago, Terra57 over at Yankee Romance Reviews asked, what to do with Antonio?

Well here's an idea that I found on YouTube... He's no Michael Crawford, but when you're Antonio Banderas, you don't need to be! ;)



Evil, evil YouTube! You can lose HOURS over there!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Book: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre


Sirantha Jax is a jumper, one of the very few with a genetic constitution that allows her to navigate grimspace. Highly in demand, the Jumpers are rock stars in this world, at least until something goes wrong. Jax is the only survivor of a terrible accident, one which claimed many lives, including that of her lover and pilot Kai. The details surrounding the crash are vague, Jax cannot remember what happened exactly, even through repeated "treatment" at the Corp facility where she's being held. Subjected to brutal mind games, Jax is near the breaking point, and at times is uncertain of whether or not she did cause the crash, though she can't believe that she ever would have.

The Corp controls all the jumpers, and with them most of interstellar travel, but a small faction of rogue fighters has other ideas, and securing Jax is a central part their plan. Breaking her out of the interrogation facility she's in, they spirit her away, back to the small headquarters they have to begin their mission. Jax isn't so sure that her rescue is all it's cracked up to be, and at times even wonders if she might have been better off staying in the Corp holding cells. It seems that she destroys the lives of everyone she touches, but somehow through it all she becomes attached to the motley crew that rescued (kidnapped) her, especially their captain, as hard as they try to fight it.

I actually picked Grimspace up with no previous knowledge of the author while looking for some new Science Fiction, which I claim to like, but then never seem to read any of! Not long after that, I saw my friend Susan over at West of Mars promoting Ann Aguirre and thought, hmmm, I just bought that! I'm glad I did, it was fast paced and full of action, definitely keeping my attention, which I'm afraid at times that Sci-Fi won't. The feel I got from this one was something of a cross between the show Firefly by Joss Whedon and the Crystal Singer series of books by Anne McCaffrey, both highly worth the watch and read if you haven't! I also wasn't the only person to make the Firefly statement, as I saw at least one review on goodreads that said the same thing, after I had already thought that to myself. lol!

This is a debut I will definitely recommend, and I'm looking forward to the next episode of the Sirantha Jax story, Wanderlust, which is out now! If you check on the title link, you'll see that Ann is running a contest this week, so go out and buy them, right now! Borders and Barnes and Noble are open late, and Amazon is always online, so there are no excuses! ;)

Check out Ann's website HERE

Monday, August 25, 2008

HQ/Sil Challenge #2: Wicked Ways by Kate Hoffmann


Title: Wicked Ways
Author: Kate Hoffmann
Date: August 1996
Imprint: Harlequin Temptation #599

Hallie runs the Widow's Walk Inn, her ancestral home in the small town of Egg Harbor in Maine. She's happy with her life for the most part, maintaining the inn with the help of her two great aunts.

Tristan Montgomery is a horror novelist, looking for a quiet place to get away to work on his latest book. He thought that the Widow's Walk would be just the place, quiet and out of the way, so he's surprised when he isn't able to get a room due to a sudden influx of tourists.

The reason? Hallie's great aunts have talked about the family vampire legend to the newspaper and now people are flocking to the town in the hopes of spotting Uncle Nicholas, rumored to be rising from the dead.

Tristan convinces Hallie to put him up anyway, so she lets him take over the partially renovated coach house, separate from the main inn, where he can work in private. Although well known, he doesn't divulge his true identity or profession to Hallie, hoping to remain anonymous long enough to get some work done. He finds the surroundings inspiring, but his odd habits raise some suspicions, and only feed into the vampire frenzy that seems to have taken over the town.

Hallie stubbornly refuses to believe in vampires, but even she has to admit that Tristan's ways are a bit weird, and when the special delivery from his editor arrives, she doesn't know what to think! All she knows is that she's strangely attracted to him, no matter how hard she tries to fight it!

Wicked Ways was cute and fun, Tristan starts out as not so likeable, but you're soon rooting for him to at least escape the attention of Hallie's great aunts, who are determined to produce a vampire come hell or high water! They are a hoot!

I'm ready to pass this loved copy along, as with all my books there is a Bookcrossing label in the front, and while I would LOVE to get a journal entry from the next reader (which you can do anonymously and free if you decide that bookcrossing is not for you) the book will then be yours to do with what you like! If you are interested in reading this one, please comment on this post by September 13th to enter!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Historical Meme

I saw this Meme on Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews and thought it sounded like fun, since I love Wikipedia anyway!

The Meme is to put your birthday into Wikipedia, then list 4 events, 3 births, 2 deaths, and 1 holiday/festival that is observed on that day.

Here was what came up for mine:

Events:
*1098 - First Crusade: Antioch falls to the crusaders after an eight-month siege.
*1850 - The traditional founding date of Kansas City, Missouri. This was the date on which it was first incorporated by Jackson County, Missouri as the "City of Kansas".
*1888 - The poem "Casey at the Bat", by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, is published in the San Francisco Examiner.
*1965 - Launch of Gemini 4, the first multi-day space mission by a NASA crew. Crew-member Ed White performs the first American spacewalk (EVA).

Births:
*1808 - Jefferson Davis, American politician and President of the Confederate States of America (d. 1889)
*1930 - Marion Zimmer Bradley, American author (d. 1999) (she’s a favorite of mine, miss her)
*1936 - Larry McMurtry, American author

Deaths:
*1899 - Johann Strauss II, Austrian composer (b. 1825)
*1975 - Ozzie Nelson, American band leader, producer, director, and actor (b. 1906)

Holiday/Festival:
Roman Empire - Festival to Bellona. (Bellona was an ancient Roman War Goddess. She accompanied Mars into battle and is taken variously as his sister, wife or daughter.)

If you're a history buff/fan you'll enjoy this one. There were many more interesting things than I had room to list. :)

Geocaching Picnic and Our First Travel Bug!

We just got home tonight from the 8th Annual Kansas City Geocaching Picnic! I had no idea what to expect, but when I saw it would be at a park so close to home, I decided we needed to go, so I dragged jezebelsk and her hubby along with us! (That's her version, she really wasn't so hard to convince!) There were in theory 200 some people there, none of whom I'd ever met before, and only a couple that we had corresponded with a tiny bit through e-mails, so being an introvert, I was a little nervous about the whole thing, though excited (hello, geocaching, prizes, coin auction, food, need I say more?). Everyone was super nice, and super into geocaching, we were definitely some newbies with only 32 some caches logged to date. But that didn't matter, they were excited for us to keep going!

There were door prizes (didn't win), a travel bug trade/exchange table (left our very first travel bug ever and picked up a geocoin in trade to help on it's way), t-shirts (yep, we ordered a couple), a coin auction (yep, we won a couple) and lots of other coins and items for sale (didn't get back to here because I'd used my last two checks for the t-shirts and the auction, probably a good thing, could have been a lot more expensive!)

All in all a very fun time, nice people, a beautiful park, and yet another obssessive hobby, as if we needed one! ;)

Here is our first travel bug, we're so proud! It's already on it's way somewhere, I'm excited to get updates on it's travel! We've named it Kill-a-bug Byte #1:



Here is the coin we picked up in trade, it shows Old Faithful on the front and a cowboy riding a bronco on the back:



And here are the two coins we won at the auction, proceeds to go for funding next year's picnic:


This one is a compass rose and says around the outside edge "They say the Earth is flat, but I know it is round for I have seen the shadow on the moon" -- Ferdinand Magellan. I think it's beautiful!



This one is of grey whales, since I love ocean animal pictures, and when the sun hit it on the auction table, I was in love, very sparkly and pretty!

I don't know that either of these auction winnings will make it into a cache, they're just too pretty to let go of, but I did see someone with an album book of coins that were there for participants to "discover" though not take, and people were writing down numbers in a frenzy! It was funny, a little scary, and all together a total feed of the OCD-esque part of this hobby! There were people with travel bug numbered t-shirts, name tags and car stickers! I loved it! I have a whole page of numbers to log in for discovery! And Mr. Shaunie and I have decided we really do need those car stickers, they're great!

It was a great time, and we'll definitely go again next year if at all possible! Thanks to everyone that made the picnic possible!
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