Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars really – This is no Disney fairy tale. It’s dark and dangerous and the Fae folk are old school. Which is why Hazel has decided to be a knight, with her brother Ben as her bardic backup. When a sleeping Faerie prince wakes and the Folk become more malicious, it’s up to Hazel and Ben, along with their changeling friend Jack, to save the  town. This was a good read with a strong female protagonist. She did spend a bit too much time worrying about kissing and boys, but she is a teen girl, so I can excuse that teeny fault.

Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, I just finished and all I can say is, wow! I just loved this – I asked everyone at work back in probably January or February to give me their best recommendations. One guy who reads mostly fantasy and sci-fi named this one. I am kind of sad I waited so long to get to it. Definitely in my top books I read in 2014.  Lots of swashbuckling adventure and plenty of twists and turns – if you like fantasy and romantic adventures, you will love Locke Lamora and his gang.

 

Book Review: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I received this book free for an honest review.

The thing is, I really expected to like this. I’m unmarried (though obviously not single), have no children, and I love to travel. I thought it would be funny and that it would be more about being an  independent woman, that the author would at least be an interesting person.

She’s pretty much not any of those things or at least she doesn’t come across that way in her book. Instead it’s just a long account of self indulgence and sex with lots of men in other countries while she complains about being single at home. I don’t actually care how many men she had sex with, that isn’t my beef with this book. But that alone doesn’t make someone interesting enough for me to want to read about them. And the biggest thing for me is that it wasn’t funny, which for a comedy writer is kind of a let down. Made for a fairly boring read.

The saddest thing is that I’m sure there are plenty of women out there who could have done a book like this justice. Just not her, I guess.

Spring in Calgary

It’s been a long winter, but there have been some signs of spring finally showing up here and there. Spring here isn’t like the spring that I had always been used to in Georgia and Virginia, where suddenly everything is in bloom and after the first couple of weeks the heat sets in so that you’d never know winter had been there. (Although, I hear it hasn’t been like that there this year, either.)

Spring here is more timid. It creeps up shyly and you have to really be looking to notice some of the signs. There are teeny tiny green things peeking out through the leaves.

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We’ve had some snow and chilly weather here in the last week or two and we will probably have more before it’s done, but the sun has been peeking out a bit, too. We have had some tulips poking up and I had to go sprinkle some blood meal around them to keep the ginormous killer rabbits from eating them all like they did our first spring here. And just a few days ago, I saw our first crocuses blooming.

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To try to speed spring along, Ken started some seeds again this year, so this is our garden right now.

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And we have these lovely little things in the kitchen window because they outgrew the plastic flats.

DSC_1428 So in a few weeks, we will be ready to plant outside! I can’t wait!

 

 

Half N Half Cupcakes

Half N Half Cupcakes

My fabulous Mama, Fabgrandma, knows how much I like to bake, so back at Christmas, she sent me this cool Mrs. Fields Half N Half Cupcake Pan.

Mrs Fields Half N Half Cupcake Pan

I made some awesome Spumoni Cupcakes for Ken a while ago and it was a big pain to spoon the different batters into each cup quickly enough to get a cupcake that was really half and half. They turned out great, but I was still excited to try out this pan to see if it would make the job easier.

I had these colorful cupcake liners, which seemed appropriate for Easter weekend cupcakes.

Cupcake liners

First I put them in the pan and then added the plastic divider.

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Then spooned in the batter. I have to admit to being lazy and using boxed mixes for these cupcakes, but they were still yummy!

Batter in the half n half pan

It was a little messy, but not too bad. I was worried that it would make a big mess when I took out the plastic divider, but it was no problem at all. It came out and cleaned up easily even though I forgot to spray it first according to the instructions that came with the pan.

And they were ready to go in the oven!

Cupcakes ready for the oven!

When I took them out of the oven, I realized the one problem I had with these cupcakes wasn’t the fault of the pan. It was my own fault for using two different brands of mixes…doh! So that’s my one bit of advice for this pan…use two similar recipes or two of the same brand of mix. Otherwise, one mix might bake or rise a bit faster like mine did. Luckily for me, both cakes baked all the way through!

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After I added the icing, you’d never know about that little mishap, though!

Strawberry Vanilla half n half cupcakes

Delicious!

Yummy Strawberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Remembering Ilex

Ilex at Fish Creek A year ago today, Ken and I said good-bye to our favorite girl, Ilex. It was a hard day, to say the least. Today, I am remembering and missing her. There really isn’t much I can say other than that Ken and I both loved her so much. I thought I’d just share some of my favorite photos of her today to remember her beautiful smiling face.

Puppy 2

Ken was lucky enough to be there when this beautiful girl was brought into the ASPCA. If he hadn’t been, he might never have adopted her – you might say it was meant to be.

Puppy 4From the time she was a little puppy, she loved to carry her leash herself!

Water Baby And she loved to swim!

Young Ilex Claudia and Ilex Ilex and Ken Ilex eats flowers Ken had a lot of good years with Ilex before I met them. But she was happy to welcome me to her family!

Christmas 2008 Santa Doggie Santa dog 2

She was always a good sport about Christmas fun.

Santa Dog attacks Santa Dog Attacks 2

Well, sort of!

Autumn sun Climbing Mt Sunflower Moab 1 Near Sheep River Falls Revelstoke BC South Dakota 1 South Dakota Traveling dog in Colorado 165846_3783570981348_767676177_n

She loved to travel.

16135_1240970857934_4896949_n Mount Evans June 2009 Snow Dog - April 19 08 Snow dog 2 Snow dog angels 5 Snow dog angels 7 She loved the snow.

Soccer Ilex Sock Monkey 2 She loved her toys.

Autumn Sun 2011 3 Becca and Ilex Family Photo on Mt Evans Ken and Konza in South Dakota But most of all, she just loved being with us.

I love you May 19 2010 2 May 19 2010 Milk bone We love and miss you, baby girl!

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