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Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Grimm Warning - Chris Colfer

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series.
It's not just the wonderful spin on 
favourite fairy tale characters
but it's also the well crafted characters
and story line.

A Grimm Warning
does not disappoint.

Alex Bailey now lives in The Land of Stories.
She's training to one day become
the Fairy Godmother
and taking over for her grandmother. 

Meanwhile, 
her twin, Connor,
goes on a school trip to Germany
to hear the unpublished story
by the Brother's Grimm
that was found in a time capsule.

Soon the twins find themselves on another adventure.
This time, 
they are trying to protect the land
from a 200 year old French Revolution Army.

Now, 
the last two books
have that lovely fairy tale ending.
You know,
happily ever after.
And when you pick up the next book
you feel like you're back with some old friends
and hearing their latest adventure.
But this time,
this time,
oh my!
Colfer leaves you hanging!
Yes, he leaves us with a cliffhanger.
An OMG-did-that-just-happen
cliffhanger.
And I have no idea
when he'll publish the next installment!
Yikes!!!

Blood Genesis - Tessa Dawn

I have loved this series
since the beginning.
So when I heard there was a 
prequel
I had to read it!

This did not disappoint!

Blood Genesis
gives a glimpse into the origins
of the Blood Curse.
We learn more about the brothers,
Jadon and Jaegar,
the patriarchs of these great vampire houses.

It's a story about 
Timaos and Jessinia
and their sacrifice.

If you haven't started this series yet,
this is a good,
short,
introduction!





The Sisters Grimm - Michael Buckley

I have a love for fairy tales.
So when a parent at school
told me about this series
I had to give it a try.

It is lovely!!!

Sabrina and Daphne's parents
mysteriously disappeared.
They have spent the last year
floating between foster families.
Then, 
they are told their grandmother wants them to go
live with her.
This surprises the sisters,
as they were told their grandmother was dead.

So Sabrina and Daphne meet 
their eccentric grandmother,
Granny Relda.
She informs them,
that they are descendants of the famous
Brothers Grimm
and that all these fairy tale characters
actually exist.

Not only do they exist,
but it's part of the Grimm's family job
to keep them in line.

Soon, 
the girls find themselves on an adventure.
There's a giant on the loose,
and he's kidnapped Granny Relda.
The mayor (Prince Charming)
acts awfully suspicious.
With the help of Jack
(as in and the Beanstalk)
and Puck
(yes Shakespear)
the girls are out to
save their grandmother!


Friday, December 5, 2014

My Dad

My dad was a little man,
with an extremely large heart.
His heart was made of gold.
He cared about everyone, 
and tried to help everyone.
He never judged.

My dad was an avid reader.
Something I inherited from him.
He instilled in me the love of books
and the power of the written word.
He was able to talk to me about any book I read as a child.
It wasn't until later I learnt,
that every night,
after having gone to sleep,
he would read the book I was reading
just so we could discuss it together.

My dad has a large family.
And family is important.
And while the four of us lived quietly in Ottawa,
vacations were spent with the family.
It was important to him
that we knew we had a support system.

My dad loved to travel.
He saw beauty wherever he went.
He was intrigued by the history and culture
of every place he visited.
He'd enthusiastically share with you
the hidden gems
and myths about every place he visited.

My dad believed my brother and I
could be anything we wanted to be.
And while we often mistook it to mean
we were a disappointment,
he always supported us in our choices.
He encouraged us to be better.
He knew we could do anything
and taught us to aim high.

My dad believed education
can get you anywhere.
I hated school
and was never any good at it.
But I am so grateful
I finally got my Masters
and got to see the shine in his eyes
when he realized
I always heard him.

My dad had a way with words.
He wasn't always able to express himself verbally,
but give him a pen and paper,
and wow!
He'd blow you away.

My dad was religious.
He believed in that God is gracious.
He believed there was a reason for everything.
I wish I had the same faith as he.

My dad was encouraging.
He saw the best in everyone
and encouraged it.
When Ethan was two,
he scribbled.
But then told my dad an elaborate story to match the scribble.
My dad went out and bought
pens, colors, paints and paper
to encourage this budding artist. 

My dad was a sensitive man.
He didn't like conflict
and tried to please everyone.
He was open-minded and tolerant.
Qualities I will teach Ethan. 

My dad was amazing.
He raised two incredibly independant kids
and had two amazing grandkids.
He will always be loved.
He will be missed.

I love you. 



Monday, November 24, 2014

Seventh Grave & No Body - Darynda Jones

It took me a long time 
to gobble this one.
But it was not due to the book,
but that I was uber busy.
A flight home from Dubai
gave me the time I needed 
to catch up with Charley, Reyes,
Cookie and the gang.

The fun stuff included:
Cookie and Ubie are a couple.
And a cute one.
Osh, aka The Dealer
is a fun and intriguing new character.
I can't wait to see more of him.
Reyes pushes Charley to learn
more about her powers.
And then there's Jessica.
Dead, but not gone.
Will she continue to be a pest?

This time around,
Charley has to deal with a bunch of people
disappearing,
leaving behind suicide notes.
But they didn't write the notes.
She looks for a grave robber,
deals with the Twelve Hell Hounds
and learns the Vatican has been spying on her.
Oh, and then there's her dad.
He's gone missing.

Yes, 
life with Charley is never boring!
Gotta love that girl! 

This Makes Me Happy

There are many things that can make me
happy.
This weekend,
I was in Dubai.
And while the weather,
shopping,
food and
 mates
were great,
there was something else
that made me truely happy.

I attended a Cultures of Thinking
workshop
presented by Ron Ritchhart.
To spend 2 days,
listening to this man
was inspiring.
And truely made me happy.






Thursday, November 6, 2014

Writer's Workshop - Power's Out

List 7 ways to survive a power outage.

Oh MamaKat,
how you make me laugh!
I mean really?
Seriously?
Do you really know what it means 
to have a power outage?
I'm talking serious outages,
for days, 
weeks,
months.
Not just the bad weather,
oops power's out,
city is under emergency
outages.
I'm talking about the 
welcome to my world,
summer's here,
so the power goes off
every day,
for hours,
for weeks.

So,
I consider myself the expert
on power outages.
In fact,
just two weeks ago,
we had serious power issues
that we had no power for the entire weekend.

So here are the top 7 things,
for power outage survival:

7. Live in a house that has a pool.
It's getting hotter and hotter here.
Summer is on it's way.
Which means the power issues will continue.
You'll need to cool off,
so make sure you have a pool.

6. Do not have a lot of meat in your freezer.
We learnt this the hard way.
Years ago,
we had a mate that went hunting
and brought us some buffalo meat.
It sat in our freezer.
Then the power went off. 
And the meat went bad.
So we threw it out.
Only,
it left behind a horrible stench.
And I mean horrible.
And virtually impossible to get rid off.
It was gross!

5. Have lots of fruit, veggies 
and water handy.
Cos if the power's going to be out for a long time
you won't be able to cook,
unless.....

4. Use a gas cooker.
....you have one of these.
Because with the gas cooker,
as long as you have matches,
you're all set.

3. Get matches. And candles.
That way you can at least walk around the house
without walking into anything.

2. Stay at a hotel. 
Seriously,
if the power's going to be out
for a long time,
and the house is too hot to bear,
stay at a hotel!
The bonus is you get an awesome breakfast
in the morning.

1. Get a generator.
Yes it can be noisy.
Yes the fuel is expensive.
Yes, there are times there's a fuel shortage,
but seriously,
get a generator!



Monday, October 27, 2014

Awaking - Madeline Freeman

This book is a hard one
to review.
I really enjoyed it.
But there were times I got frustrated.
It's almost like there was something missing.
Something lacking.
I loved the characters
and the storyline,
I even felt the pace was great.
But something...
something was missing. 

Morgan Abbey is about to begin
her senior year. 
She has always had the ability
to read palms. 
She's even started a little side business.
A few weeks into the end of summer,
she meets a stranger who tells her
she's The One.
He also claims to know her mother
who disappeared 10 years ago.

Morgan is suddenly thrown into a world
she never knew existed.
She learns she is a part of a secret society,
called The Veneret
who have special powers.
They now live in hiding and she's viewed as the One
to save them.

I liked Morgan. 
She's an outcast,
her father was arrested for killing her mother.
Her mother disappeared,
no body was ever found.
She discovers her hobby as a psychic 
isn't just fun and games,
that she has a talent.
She also discovers she's developing new powers.

There's a love triangle,
of sorts.
First we meet Corbin.
Morgan's best friend has a serious crush on him.
Morgan attempts a reading on him
and suddenly opens him up to powers.
Then there's the barista, Lucas.
Again,
after a reading, 
he learns he has powers too.
And let's not forget Kellen.
The mysterious stranger who introduces Morgan
and her friends to the Veneret.
But is he a decent guy?
Or the villain? 
























Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Shadows - Megan Chance

I love going on vacation
with a Kindle full of books.
We were away this past week
and had no internet network.
I grabbed my iPad to find something to read.
But without internet,
I couldn't check what some of the books
were about.
That meant taking a risk.
And this turned out to be a great one!

The Fianna are a legendary group 
of ancient Irish warriors.
They have been asleep for over 2,000 years
but have now been summoned to help
the Irish fight the British.
Yet, they do not know who summoned them
and start to look for the veleda.

Patrick Devlin,
is a New Yorker of Irish descendant.
Having spent the last 3 years in Ireland
trying to help the cause,
he comes back determined to call the Fianna
for help.
He's passionate about Ireland
and Grace.

Grace Knox is about to turn 17.
Her family,
once wealthy,
have lost everything.
If she married a rich man,
her family can be saved. 
Grace's grandmother has told her the folktales
of the Fianna and Fomorians.
But she believes it's just stories.

Suddenly,
Grace finds herself in the middle of a battle.
The ancient tribes of Fianna and Fomorians
need her as the veleda.
She is also torn between Patrick
and Diarmid,
a Fianna,
whom she finds herself drawn too.

I've always loved mythology.
But have never looked at Irish myths.
I think it's high time I do!






Breeders - Ashley Quigley

In Breeders
we meet Ariet.
She lives in a new world.
One isolated from disease and war.
Her daily life,
follows a simple routine.
Each morning,
everyone has a brief medical examination.
One day,
what seems like a routine medical exam
everything is thrown upside down.

Ariet is drugged
and taken away from her family.
She is told she is the carrier of a unique gene
and therefor she is to become a breeder.
Her family will be told she died of an illness.
Ariet learns,
that not only is she a breeder
but her mate has been chosen for her.
She is given a few weeks to get to know her mate,
and then she is expected to start the breeding.
However, 
if the child does not carry the desired gene,
her pregnancy
and possibly her herself 
will be terminated. 

The concept of the book was fabulous
however,
it felt rushed.
Her relationship with Mason
doesn't really develop.
Do they have feelings for one another
or not?
We learn his parents were terminated
but never learn why.
At the end,
Mason's friend Thor
meets his grandfather.
And then we're at the epilogue.
Really?
Just cut us off like that?

So I don't know.
Did I love the book?
No.
But I did enjoy it.
That counts,
right?








Sixth Grave on the Edge - Darynda Jones

Oh Charley!
How I love you!
Sixth Grave on the Edge
has our favourite Grimm Reaper 
on a new adventure. 
She has a dead naked man
riding in her car. 
(He's a departed.)
She's learning,
or trying to learn,
more about Mr Wong,
the departed hanging out in the corner of her living room.
Her newest client wants her to help get his soul back.
Yes his soul.
He sold it to a demon,
but now wants it back.
Which means she now has to deal
with this demon
tricking people out of their souls.
Oh, 
and then there's the scared girl
who was abused.
Charley wants to find out what happened.

Yes Charley has her plate full.
On top of all this,
she has Reyes' proposal to answer,
she's looking into the 'kidnapping' of him 
as a child.
Oh, she's also conspired with Cookie
to make her uncle jealous.

And in the end,
well,
in the end,
Charley leaves us with an 
OMG!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Immortal - J.R. Ward

And another series comes to an end.

Immortal is the final installment in 
The Fallen Angels series.
And what an ending it was.
I'll admit,
I cried a little at the end.

So far, 
Jim, our fallen angel
is loosing to
Devina, our evil devil,
2:3.
He would have been up one,
but he exchanged a win in a previous book.
So now, 
there are 2 souls left.
If Devina wins the next round,
Hell wins.
But who is this soul?
Will Jim be focused?
He lost the last round,
as he could not focus on the "game".
His mind was focused on Sissy.
Even Nigel was disappointed in him.

Immortal begins with Jim deciding he needs to get
Nigel back.
He decides he must enter Purgatory.
The first half of the book 
you wonder who the soul is.
We all know Jim will be the last soul.
Jim spends the first half of the book
getting Nigel back,
working out his feelings for Sissy
and controlling his anger against Devina.

And even after he wins,
he's too focused on winning
and beating Devina
to realise there is another soul in play.

But really,
it's the last book with Jim.
Did you ever have any doubt he'd win?

This Makes Me Happy


Every once in awhile,
you see something that really makes you happy.
You know,
you can't stop smiling,
and every time you think about it,
you smile.
You know those things,
right?

Well, 
this is one of those things
that makes me happy.

So I had to share. 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Writer's Workshop - Books

October is National Book Month, 
tell us about the best book you've read so far this year. 

For the last couple of years,
I've challenged myself to read a certain number of books.
The challenge, 
and keeping track of the books
are all on Goodreads. 
So for MamaKat's prompt,
I decided to take a look at the 
26 books I've read so far.

Now really,
I'm suppose to choose the best
book from these?
Yikes!
Not sure if I can.

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
is a children's book
that I could not put down. 



Phoenix by Dawn Rae Miller,
was the end of an amazing YA trilogy.
And this one did not disappoint. 



Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
is the last book I read.
It's one I probably would never had read
had it not been recommended.
And I loved it!



I was chatting with a mate the other day,
commenting how I had a lot of reading to do
as it appears all the authors have chosen
October as the month
to release their new book.
In case you're looking for something to read
here are some great ones to look out for.









Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Baking Cakes in Kigali - Gaile Parkin

OMG! I loved this book!

Angel Tungaraza is a Tanzanian.
She now lives in Kigali, Rwanda
with her husband
and their 5 grandchildren.
In Angel's kitchen,
she bakes cakes
and listens to the stories of her clients.

A mate of mine recommended this book.
She loved it.
I loved it.
And then I noticed on Goodreads
that not many people loved it
as much as we did.
And that got me thinking
about the different reasons
I found the book endearing.
It was the stories
that Angle shared.
I found myself laughing out loud
at different parts.
And one reason I laughed so much
were these are things I could see happening here
in Dar.

Here, listen to the following story.
A baby is named Goodenough.
When asked why,
the reply is simply
"They really wanted a boy.
But a girl is good enough."
How many of you are shocked?
How many of you laughed?
How many of you can't stop laughing?
I'm the third.
Even now I'm still laughing!



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Writer's Workshop - Pin Me


Pinterest inspired! Try something you saw on Pinterest and share the results.

My Pinterest feed
has been full of all kinds of 
pumpkin delights
lately.
And,
being a HUGE Halloween fan
I thought I'd try a couple. 

Here is the 
Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte
I found. 

(Click on the picture to go to original site)
Now,
I don't have a pretty clear mug
to show off my creation.
(Note to self:
Buy some clear mugs to show off drinks)
I also opted not 
to add the whip cream.
I can already hear my trainer
bug me
"Why are you drinking coffee?
Didn't I tell you to cut back?"
The last thing I need is for her to bug me
"Whipped cream? Are you serious?
Does your coffee really need whipped cream?"


So now,
I have an open can of pumpkin
with two spoonfuls missing.
Obvioulsy I need to try something else.
Thank you
Pinterest!


It looked good.
And easy to make.
So how hard can ot be,
right?

Very easy!
And fabulous!
I made it for my son
to eat as breakfast,
but am not sure I'm willing to share.

Here's my version.


Have your tried any Pumpkin
treats?










Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fifth Grave Past the Light - Darynda Jones

I love Charley.
I believe,
if she were real,
we'd be awesome mates.
We both love coffee
and we both love Reyes.

I think
Fifth Grave Past the Light
is my favorite one to date.

Here,
our favorite Grimm Reaper
discovers her apartment is filling up
with dead blond women.
Twenty-seven women 
to be exact.
Charley needs to figure out
where these women are buried
and who killed them.

Oh, 
and let's not forget the arsonist.
Yes, 
someone has been burning down vacant lots.
Charley suspects she knows who it is
but can she prove it?

Then there's the husband
of a client.
She wants Charley to prove her husband is cheating.
The husband isn't too happy with Charley.

Yes our dear friend
gets into a lot of trouble.
But we'd never take Charley
any other way!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Chocolate Fruit Leathers

Ethan has been loving the fruit leathers
I have been making.
He has been bugging me
for a few weeks now
to make chocolate ones.
I decided,
if he wanted them,
he could make them.
So he did!

Ethan chops the bananas


Blends them with cocoa
We have to add here, 
we used pure cocoa powder from
I LOVE their chocolate.
The cocoa is awesome
as there is no added sugar.

Ethan helped me spread the mixture out
onto trays
and off in the dehydrator they went.

Yes he loves them!







Friday, September 12, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's been another lovely week,
filled with love, friends,
and wine.

Highlights include

Wine and yoga pants


There was a cute picture on Facebook
about yoga helping with de-stressing.
It went on to joke,
that the best way is to have a glass of wine
while wearing yoga pants.
I've got to add,
that wine and yoga pants
are a great way to relax
on a Sunday evening!

Flowers


In Zambia,
Ethan use to buy me flowers every week.
It was great.
Our dining table
always had a vase of
fresh flowers.
This week,
a friend of mine gave me a bouquet.
I have flowers again!!!!


Almond Butter


I made almond butter.
Yes, me!!!
Ok, granted,
it's not that difficult.
It just takes a lot of patience,
and well,
since I tend to lack in that department,
I'm pretty chuffed!!

Sports Day


Ethan had his first Sports Day
of the school year.
The third graders
are placed in Houses.
Ethan's a Mamba.
Today's events were track and field.
Not working,
meant I got to spend the whole morning
cheering him on!


Training


I have a fantastic trainer.
She comes 3 times a week
and makes me sweat
and feel pain.
Lately she's been on a burped kick.
Which,
since I've gotten better at them,
I don't seem to mind so much.













The Taking - Kimberly Derting

The idea behind this story
has potential
to be great.

Kyra and her dad
are driving home from her softball game.
They're talking about college
and they disagree.
Kyra gets out of the car,
to protest.
Suddenly she sees a white light
and hear her dad scream.

She wakes up behind a dumpster
still wearing the clothes from the day before.
She heads home,
but it's not her home.
It would seem,
she's been gone for 5 years.

A lot happened in 5 years.
Her father,
who saw the light,
is believed to be crazy.
Her parents divorced
and her mum not only remarried,
but also has a new child.
Her best friend is now dating her boyfriend.
And her boyfriend's 12 year old brother,
is now 17 and gorgeous.

But here's the thing,
Kyra doesn't seem to interested
in learning what happened to her.
Whether she remembers the light 
or not,
she doesn't support her father.
She's upset over,
rightly so,
about "the husband" and "brother"
but never really deals with it.
And when things do start getting interesting,
it ends.
Granted,
you'll probably learn more in the next book,
but do you really want to wait?
And do you really care?



Monday, September 8, 2014

The Truth About Lord Stoneville - Sabrina Jeffries

For a few years now,
my dear friend,
Sarah,
has been raving about
Sabrina Jefferies.

So, 
I asked Sarah to recommend a book.
It was high time
I discovered first hand
what the fuss was all about.

This is a historical romance.
A period piece.
A lovely read.

Oliver Sharpe
and his siblings
live a life with no rules,
or morals
and Grand Hetty will take it no longer.
She has given all her grandchildren
an ultimatum.
Marry within a year,
or be disinherited.

Well, 
Oliver will not be told what to do.
So he sets off to the brothel
to hire a woman to pretend to be his 
love.
This will surely shut Grandmother up.

But then he meets
Maria Butterfield.
A young American
who made the journey to England
to find her missing fiancee.

Oliver strikes a deal,
she pretends to be her fiancee
and in return,
he'll help her find her beloved.
But things don't always go as planned.

Thank you Sarah,
for introducing me to a great read.


Friday, September 5, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's been another fabulous week.
I'm finally settled back home
after our extended summer vacation
and Ethan is happy at school.

This week's highlights include:

Dinner with great friends
at Salt.


Peter and Nina will be leaving Dar soon.
It's sad when friends leave.
But being able to enjoy an
awesome meal at Salt
(Katy's new restaurant)
makes saying goodbye 
easier.

Chocolate



Really?
Need I say more?

Birthday dinner with my boys



This year,
instead of a big birthday dinner
I spent the evening with my two favourite boys.
We had dinner at Osaka
and came home to cake.
It was perfect.

Watching Ethan at his first skateboard
activity


I was a nervous wreck.
Terrified he'd fall and spend
the rest of the year
in a body cast.
I love how his mate,
an advanced skateboarder,
helped him
and was so patient.
And he didn't break any bones.

Ladies night


We tried a new Iranian place.
The owner brought out
a sampler for us to,
well,
sample!