Well, it’s a new year. Once again I’ve set a goal of reading 50 books this year. I’m off to a good start, and starting by stretching my usual reading boundaries. So far, so good – so hopefully it remains as such!! Don’t think I’ll have much on my “What I’ve read” list…as until recently I hadn’t read much. Without further ado…here is the reading list. What I’ve Read How the Ghost Was Won — This was, admittedly, a short book 100 pages. I happened to see it in my Facebook feed one day and was completely captivated by the cover. The blurb, however, did me in. I knew I had to have it. What’s more, I actually read it (a short time later – probably 6 weeks). And read it FAST (and not just because it was 100 pages). I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t care that I’d sort of guessed the twist early on (Guessed, but didn’t KNOW. Misdirection was entertainingly maintained to keep me guessing). Definitely a keeper…I’m even considering putting out the money for the paperback to keep around. I hope we see more in this world. So.Much.Fun. The Hunger Games Trilogy Months ago I posted about the random act of kindness that had a customer handing over this trilogy, in print, to me at work. I didn’t know when, or if, I’d get to them. Then one day I randomly caught the first movie on TV. I enjoyed it more than I’d expected, so I picked up the first book. And then the second. And finally, the third. I really enjoyed them more than I expected, considering my usual reaction to extremely popular books/movies is “eh”. The first two were great and held me captivated. The third…well, not so much. Reading through some reviews, the things that annoyed me/pissed me off about the last book were not what annoyed/pissed off everyone else, so I’m still out of the norm in some ways. 🙂 (translation: I didn’t give two figs who she ended up with) Anyway, I can finally say I read this trilogy and get it off my list. I’ve read, or attempted to read, three others in the past couple of months. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore had been on my list for a while. I read it, but didn’t enjoy it so much. The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty was so ridiculously unbelievable, and the characters so cloying I had to stop reading. I suppose the biggest disappointment of the three was Crewel. I bought it ages ago based on cover alone – bought the whole trilogy – but I couldn’t even finish book one. I’ve already sold it, actually. When you find yourself questioning some key characters straight off – and then really getting pissed off at one you know is going to be a major player (when you’re not supposed to)…you know it’s going to not be enjoyable. So I bid farewell to the pretty covers and moved on, happily, to other reads. What I’m Reading Now Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Not forgetting that this is a LARGE, VERY large book in the Harry Potter universe, I’m not quite as ashamed to admit that the wee one and I are STILL on this one. There are many reasons why we’re still here, but we are moving our way through slowly…and have passed the halfway point. Hopefully we will finish before the end of January, or February at the latest. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them The first book that stretches my comfort zone right now. As it’s a screen play, I was nervous to begin, but I find I’m loving it. Thankfully (and of course) I have seen the movie, which helps make the reading of it all the more smooth for me. I can picture it all just as if I were sitting in the theater watching again (which I’d love to do). Very glad hubby surprised me with this for Christmas. 🙂 Freeks This is a netgalley find – one I hadn’t expected to get, actually. I thought the cover looked great and ever since my performance in the musical Side Show, I’ve had a soft spot for freaks. 😉 A short way into it, and definitely intrigued. I have a lot on my plate, but looking forward to finishing it! Big Magic This one is a huge, giant step outside of my comfort zone. It’s NON-fiction! ~gasp~ And “self-help”. However…everyone I know that’s read it raves about it. Then, when hubby and I went out for an afternoon away from the kids (2 weeks of Christmas vacation gets a bit much sometimes 😉 ) – I found this in Barnes & Noble and started to read. I got so hooked in that I bought it there instead of the zon where it’s cheaper. I didn’t want to wait for it. It really is speaking to me where I’m at right now and I’m breezing through it pretty fast. World War Z (audiobook) Well, speaking of WAY out of my comfort zone…here’s this one. It’s a zombie book – and I’m not a big fan of such things. And…it’s my first ever audiobook. I have to say – if I was going to pop my audiobook cherry, I don’t think I could have picked a better way to do it. I am having so much fun listening to this (while working on puzzles) and hearing some familiar-to-my-geek-ears voices lending themselves to the story. I’m really enjoying that the story is not so much about the zombies themselves as the politics and such that led to the outbreak and it getting out of hand. I’ve got about 8.5 hours left to go, but find myself really enjoying this. I certainly won’t do an audiobook all the time (and have through trial and error that some narrators really annoy me)…but this is a nice change of pace, and knocks something off of my challenge list. 🙂 What I’m Reading Next Unmentionable I actually totally forgot I had this on my Kindle (thanks to netgalley) until making this list. As a historical writer, I really want to read this – of course I’ve heard some great things about this and imagine that I will (hopefully) be acquiring this in hard cover some time soon, if I can. Either way, it’s definitely next on my list. The Girl on the Train I am probably the only person on the planet that hasn’t read this one – but here I am. I bought this on my birthday trip last year from a little bookshop we happened upon. As one of my challenge items for the year is to read a book from a small, independent, bookstore – this would be the one. It will be stretching me out of my comfort zone again – but so far this year it’s working for me, so I’ll give it a try! Down the Rabbit Hole Another netgalley book I didn’t expect to actually get. It looks terribly interesting, and I always enjoy takes on Alice in Wonderland. It will also knock another item on my list – a take on a fairy tale. I was pretty excited to get my email saying I’d been granted permission to read, and look forward to getting started – once I get through the ones I’m working on now. 🙂 * *~* This year I hope to do better than last – where I barely made it to half of my goal. I also hope to put a moratorium on buying books, and to read what’s on my shelf, my kindle, and to utilize the library. And that’s where I’m at for now. More books coming in the near-future I’m sure. Here’s hoping I get through them all quick. 😀 Read more »
We started when they were little ones – infants, babies, toddlers and grade-schoolers. We stepped tentatively into the community with a post. Reached out to find others. We formed a bond. We formed a community. The world was a bit smaller for our camaraderie, our shared triumphs, our ‘misery loves company, our cheering each other on, and maybe just a wee bit of shadenfreude. Our kids started to grow, and so did the community and the eruption of social networks, viral feeds and competition for STUFF. Our kids are now rapidly approaching those teenage years (or, as in my case, I have one that is exiting them). They aren’t as cute or adorable, and the stories are more difficult to tell in their search for privacy, and our confusion and pain and sense of loss as their youth turns into a searching grasp toward grown-up-life. Social media has reduced our sharing to sound-bites on Facebook and Twitter (or not – does anyone use it anymore?) or Reddit or…okay, I admit it, I’m a social media dunce…what do people use now? I can’t remember the last time I saw a blog post in my FB feed…and if I even clicked on it. That all ended 3 days ago when a real, honest-to-goodness BLOG POST came across my feed. I’m not sure what it was about it, or why I stopped…except maybe that it was a BLOG POST! From an old friend I used to read all the time. Whatever it was, I stopped. I clicked. I read a post by the fabulous Ali over at Cheaper Than Therapy (check it out, it’s awesome). Thanks to the click I made and the ensuing Facebook conversation it sparked, I realized something. We still need each other. Speaking from experience, teenage years are HARD. I mean, brutal. In so many ways I feel like we barely made it through the teen years with Denver, and we have two more coming up…worse, they’re girls. I could use my community now even more than I did then – I think we all can. Parenting never gets easier, and it takes more than sound bites. I hope we can share again, I know I plan to. I have a list of posts waiting to be written. I hope you’ll join me, and Ali, and the rest of us still struggling through this parenting gig. We’re stronger together. Read more »
by Sarah CassMulti-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.
*This post is sponsored by Phoenix Trading Company. I was given an air fryer in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.* In the world of home appliances, I have both too many, and too few. Recently I got a new kitchen appliance that has brought about some good. See, we have had a bit of a problem in our marriage since day 1. I LOVE fried food. Erik hates it. So some of my favorite meals, he only picks at. He doesn’t like the grease, slime, general heaviness of fried anything. When I was approached to try out this Air Fryer, I jumped at the chance. What better compromise could this nearly-14 years married couple make than air frying? No greasy food, just pure taste. At least, that was the hope. Hubs wasn’t so sure once he heard about it, and saw the thing. But, I persisted. I made the one meal I love to make often, and hubs has always liked the taste of, but not the frying. Breaded lemon chicken (just call me Debra Barone). I did everything the same as I always did, but instead of fighting dropping it in a pan, I set it in a basket, spritzed it with some olive oil spray and slid it into the cooker. Ten minutes later, they were done. Bonus points I didn’t even think of? I didn’t have to worry about the chicken being cooked through in the middle. Normally in oil I either get the breading burned, and the inside isn’t cooked…or vice versa. In the air fryer every single piece was perfection, from the thickest to the thinnest. Oil burns be gone! See, I have a bad habit of getting burned by everything I cook in oil or in its own grease (hello bacon, my delicious nemesis). Holy cow is it nice to be able to not worry about that. My hands, arms, and even my face are free from grease splatter. If I was just cooking for one or two of us, I could have slipped our whole meal in one basket as their cooking time was the same. However, there were four of us, so I had to spread it out. Still, for a quick lunch, I’m all over this. It’s a smaller kitchen appliance that can either sit on your counter, or slip into a cabinet should you have a tiny kitchen with no counter space like me. 😉 Did I mention the no oil thing? A little spritz of olive oil instead of sitting in pools of oil will help keep me out of that plus size clothing 😉 My husband eats the food. Scarfed it down, actually. So we had a delicious meal. Perfectly cooked chicken, potatoes and cauliflower. A meal that everyone ate up, and turned out to be easy as pie. Oooh, pie. That’s something I should make next. Little mini pies in no time flat. You in with me? I can help you with that super easy. Because I’m sharing a giveaway for a Todd English 1500W 3.3 qt Touchscreen Air Fryer w/ Filter & Accessories !!! Seriously, you want in. Soon as I get that pie recipe done, I’ll share it with you. I’m on it tonight. Entry-Form About Phoenix Trading Company (PTC): First, we’re not in Phoenix, Arizona. Never have been (we’re in Boston). Our name refers to the mythical bird, the Phoenix, which is reborn to soar again. Our clothes and other products are sort of like that. We buy large volumes of out-of-season, overstock and clearance designer merchandise from national retailers and TV shopping channels, then pass the savings to you—on average offering our goods at 60% below retail. And by the way, the pictures of shoes and clothing you see on our site are the actual items that you’ll get in the mail. Nothing photo- shopped here. People seem to like us. We started in 2001 in 700 square feet subleased from a machine shop, and have grown to be one of eBay’s top three women’s clothing sellers. We’re also an eBay top- rated plus seller. Not that we’re bragging. It’s just true. There is something we’re kind of proud of, though: A third of our workforce are people who are housebound, either through physical disabilities or childcare responsibilities, and who would otherwise not be able to have a job. And honestly, we couldn’t function without them. So, that’s us in a nutshell. Phoenix Trading Company, bringing you style and savings at the click of a mouse. Social Media Links: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixTradingCompany Tumblr – http://phoenixtradingcompany.tumblr.com/ Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/phoenixtrading/ Read more »