Tuesday, January 31, 2012


So one of my dear friends sent me a request to join Pinterest. I had been delaying taking the jump into yet another 'social media' site, but her request came at a moment when I had nothing better to do.

Always have something better to do.

I can see why folks say it is addicting. What fun to look at gorgeous pictures of places, food, things and then pin them to these virtual boards you create. I have found some recipes I want to try, but better yet, my girls have found recipes they want to try creating and have requested kitchen time. Will wonders never cease. They might move beyond just making cookies or mac-n-cheese.

And Pinterest isn't just for the ladies, as evidenced by my favorite Texas blogger, Travis. He is now following me on Pinterest. By the way Travis, hope the hand heals up fast.....take it easy with the chainsaw, bud.

And speaking of nice photos...ever wonder where writers get their visual inspiration for characters? Check out Lisa's blog today. What a handsome fellow. I'm sure the seats in his classroom are always full of students.


Monday, January 30, 2012

games, thrones and other topics

I finished the most recent George R.R. Martin mega book, "A Dance with Dragons." This is the 5th book in his "A Song of Fire and Ice" series. Trying to review this book as a stand alone title is impossible. You really have to review it as a part of the whole. And the whole is so big, complex and filled with so many characters and plots that it is had to explain other than to say this is Epic Fantasy. Good Stuff.

My Nook has several more books on it now, two more from the library and a couple of freebies from B&N. Plenty of reading for me in the days ahead. I also need to download a title my folks suggested.

Downton Abbey continues to be the highlight of my Sunday nights. Love it. Thank goodness for PBS and Masterpiece Theater, excellent television we can all watch.

On Friday I had lunch with a library friend and then we went to see "One for the Money." The audience was filled with fans of the books, and we had a few chuckles, but I'm afraid the movie isn't that good. Cute in spots, but overall, it didn't work well. Definitely not enough screen time for Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur.

We did see the long trailer for "The Hunger Games" and have already made plans to see that in a few months.

It is Monday and the work week must begin. Enjoy your day.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Dagnabit, they lost! Blerg!!  Guess I owe the Cheesehead a lunch. Wonder if I can sneak some curry powder into his hamburger?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

the bet

My boss is a Big Ten grad. So am I. It was going to happen; our basketball teams face off tonight, at his alma mater, for their first match-up of this season.

Being the Big Ten fans that we are, we had to have a wager on the outcome of tonight's game. The winner is treated to lunch, with the caveat that if my boss' team wins, we can't have any 'ethnic' food. He's a bit of a picky eater, which I already knew, as I had him over for dinner back in the fall.

So, I said fine...but lunch has to be better than Sonic yet not as 'fancy' as Longhorn.  I'm thinking Newk's! Hmmm...what shall I order? I'm already noodling this over as I know my Hoosiers will triumph. Or at least I really hope they will as he will never let me forget if the Badgers beat them!

Thursday is here. Wow. The week went too fast and I have tons of things to do around here this morning and then after I get home from work. Company is coming tonight and then again on Sunday night. We've marshaled our forces and have a plan of attack. Let's hope it all comes together and we can get done what needs doing.

I'm back to reading the George R.R. Martin book. It disappeared from my Nook after the two week lending period was over, but I finally was able to check it out again and hope to finish the last 300 pages this weekend.

Liz, over and out.
Go IU, Fight, Fight, Fight!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a stew of reviews

The dystopian novel goes fae….and it works. Here’s the gist, the fae and humans have a war that destroys life as we know it. Fae magic now lives in our world and manifests in the children born after the war. Some of these children are embraced, but for 15 year old Liza, her blossoming faery abilities mean she must leave her home and try and find the mother who abandoned her years earlier due to horrific circumstances.  "Bones of Faerie" is Janni Lee Simner’s first YA novel. I really enjoyed it. A second novel in this series is also available and I hope our e-Library adds that title soon.  Good stuff.

“To Walk the Night” by E.S. Moore gives us a guy writing a female vampire protag who hunts and kills other vamps and werewolves. Hmmmm. Think there is a movie franchise similar to this. It was okay. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn’t hit the right notes with me. I ended up skimming it in an afternoon and returned it to the e-Library lickety split so I could find another title to borrow.

“The Mating” by Nicky Charles is a self-published freebie I found on B&N. It had a boatload of reviews, so I gave it a whirl. It was okay. Not great, but okay. Here’s the gist: the new alpha wolf needs a mate, so he goes to the territory next door and claims the neighboring alpha’s daughter.  Cue the typical plot conflicts and you have this story: sibling misunderstanding, romantic jealousy, a bitchy (no pun intended) ex-girlfriend, supportive new pack members and of course ‘steamy’ sex scenes.  I’m going to take a glance at the other freebies from Charles to see if her later books are a bit more polished. 


Overslept this morning! Yikes! Busy day ahead...the book reviews will have to wait!!

Happy Tuesday :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

monday, ugh part II

The sirens started at about 10:30 last night and lasted until close to 11:00. Ugh. The storm blew through in about 20 minutes and luckily I was able to fall back to sleep in short order after that.

Had a good weekend. I read three books...yes, three. On my Nook. I'm totally addicted to this device.

I will do short reviews on those titles tomorrow.

For today, I need a large cup of joe and the morning paper. Pronto.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the ball is rolling

Big meeting tonight for our fair town. The feasibility study conducted by the consultants hired to determine whether or not we could create our own municipal school district and leave the county wide system is now complete.

The ball is rolling.

All two hundred pages of it are available online. No, I haven't read it yet, but I did skim the table of contents. Of course the big city newspaper is having a field day with this. Lots of articles over the past week and two big ones in today's edition, front page, above the fold.

Our vet, great guy, seems to have taken this opportunity to become a force for change in our community and gather like minded folks together in hopes that if/when our town does this, it is done right. He's young, owns a business and has small children. He is a stakeholder.

I hope tonight that a lot of other stakeholders are there for this meeting and our local government gets the reassurance they need to take the opportunity and run with it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the fae on syfy

The oldest and I watched a new series on Syfy yesterday. "Lost Girl" is about a young woman named Bo who is a succubus. Yep. She sucks souls/energy out of folks and leaves them dead, but with a big old grin on their faces.

Of course, in the first episode, Bo doesn't know exactly what she is. But things become clear pretty fast when the leaders of the Light and Dark Fae kidnap her. See, you can't be wondering around Toronto (this is a Canadian show and that is where they shoot all Canadian shows, right?) without being on one team or the other. Having a freelancing Fae just isn't allowed.

Provide Bo with a cute, scrappy human girl sidekick, a possible Fae love interest who is also a cop and some kick-butt black leather clothes and you've got a show.

The oldest and I loved it! Not great writing, not great acting, but great fun. I wondered when the TV writers would tap into the Fae for story fodder and base an entire show around them. Didn't take too long.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

back at it

Off to work I go today! Short week, only three days in the office and then three days off.  Nice.

I didn't get as much reading done yesterday as I'd planned. Instead the girls and I ended up watching a few shows we had recorded on the DVR. We also got our cleaning completed and I took care of a bunch of odds and ends that I needed to handle.

Well, my morning solitude is now being cut short as the oldest is up and moving with a purpose. Seems she forgot about an assignment....hmmmm, senioritis striking a wee bit early? Or perhaps it was chocolate overload from the huge slice of cake she had for dessert last night?  I had key lime pie, it was amazing...as was the whole dinner.

Off we go! Happy Tuesday.

Monday, January 16, 2012


The kids and I are all home today for Martin Luther King Day. My office observes all federal holidays, which is a lovely bonus in my mind. Which means I'm ensured a four day weekend on a fairly regular basis. Not that my usual three day weekends are unwelcome.

Today we need to clean the house before I release them to go do as they wish. Tonight we are going out to dinner to celebrate their first semester grades...straight A's for the lot of them.

We spent some time this weekend putting together a spread sheet to compare colleges. The oldest is closer to making a decision, and if we told her she had to decide right this moment, I think she would be able to do so. By month end we should have this all figured out and begin the process of sending money to our new favorite institution of higher education!

I'm still reading the Martin book, but I'm halfway through now. Yeah! Hope to add to the page count today.

Enjoy the day!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

ta da........yawn

Ta da! Yep. There it is. Thursday. My last work day of the work week. This week flew by and I now have a four day weekend ahead after my 6  hour stint today. I have some Friends work to do, newsletter edits and website tweaks. I have a book to read on my Nook. I have household duties and chores to complete. The list goes on and on.

But, first, I have a stew to throw together and get into the crockpot for dinner tonight. One thing at a time, yes, I know that. But, for some reason my brain was working all night long instead of resting and I kept waking up and finally decided at 4:30 that it was time to rise and shine.

Not sure why some nights are so restless, but last night was not restful in the least.

Oh well.....off to chop some vegetables and brown off some beef.

Happy Thursday! Enjoy your weekend and see you on Monday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Looks like day three of gray skies and rainy weather. Ugh. I'm up to page 315 with my latest Nook book. Only 775 pages to go! Good thing we have a four day weekend ahead of us.

Hubby and I wanted to attend a meeting last night regarding the forced consolidation of the county and city school systems. His client meeting ran over, by quite a bit, and we weren't able to attend. I've already read a couple of comments on facebook about it and plan on reading the newspaper article in a moment.  But, I did learn, that our town is having a meeting about creating their own municipal district next Thursday. Thank Goodness the girls will be graduated and out of this mess, but I have major concerns for the boy. Think I will note that meeting on the calendar and plan on attending.

Okay, happy Wednesday...rainy or not, it is all we've got!

Monday, January 9, 2012

why i have a love-hate relationship with excel

In my new job, which I shouldn't really call new anymore since I've been employed there for 8 months now, I have to use Excel almost every day. I love the ability to organize data. I hate to try and figure out how Excel thinks.

One of the nifty things you can do in Excel, however, is create charts and graphs. Pretty spiffy stuff when I can use it to chart my reading genres for 2011. Of course this idea came courtesy of Lisa S. She borrowed the concept from another blogger. Gotta love bloggers! That being said, I was able to take my list of books, assign them a genre and then create this chart. It sort of confirms what I already knew. I read a lot of paranormal fiction in a year. I also read a lot of mysteries. Truth be told, many of the paranormal novels I read have a strong mystery element to them. Whodunits with a vampire, werewolf or witch inhabiting the role of sleuth. So, for what it is worth, here is my chart. And as a result, I now have a spreadsheet set up to keep track of my reading for 2012.

Gotta love it when a plan comes together....even when the plan wasn't yours to begin with!

downton abbey

I'm a huge sucker for British period dramas and was very excited to watch the season two premiere of Downton Abbey last night. Two glorious hours of witty dialogue, gorgeous costumes, drama, romance and conflict. Maggie Smith, as usual, steals the show. Yes, she can do more than be Prof. McGonagall in the HP movies!

In other news, I read yet another book on my Nook. This time I zipped through a Meg Cabot title, "Overbite." It was an easy read, as is to be expected from Cabot.

Up next, I'm tackling the latest from George R.R. Martin. So far so good on that one.

Happy Monday!  Geaux Tigers. Roll Tide.  Who will be the winner?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

are you still going to check out books?

I was asked that question yesterday by our library director after I told her about my new Nook Tablet. I rolled my eyes, she laughed, and said,  "Of course I will still check out books."

Now, just how many books I will be checking out versus their ebook counterparts remains to be seen. Right now the library, along with the other four libraries in their consortium, has a minuscule ebook budget.  I'm talking roughly $10,000 a year per facility. Peanuts. Everyone puts the money into one pot and we have access to each other's titles.

Personally, one of the first things I want to look at on the library board is the big budget. Just how much are we spending on DVDs? How much on audiobooks? Those items are pricey too, and yes they do create revenue, but they are on the way out. Perhaps it is time to reallocate some money.

When I logged into our account on Overdrive yesterday, only 45 titles were available for check out. I found two books I've wanted to read and checked them out. I also placed a hold on two more books. I'm in the queue as 20 on one title and 10 on another.

I have selected a variety of free books on the B&N website. I've looked at the titles on Gutenberg. I've purchased a few lower priced titles.

But, my main source of fodder for my Nook will be the Library's ebook collection. Bolstering that collection is my new mission in life.

All the other ebook readers in my town can thank me later.  Ha ha ha!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

queen militant

Okay, so the book "The Lady of the Rivers" by Philippa Gregory isn't totally about a queen militant, but I just adore that term. It stirs up vivid pictures of a medieval woman behaving 'badly'. That image, for some reason, is very appealing to me!

Gregory's latest historical fiction adventure is told by Jacquetta Woodville, an eyewitness and major player in the War of the Roses. She is also the mother of Gregory's White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Jacquetta is a fascinating character all on her own.

I enjoy reading historical fiction and between Sharon Kay Penman and Philippa Gregory, I can satisfy my itch to explore the 'what ifs' surrounding these figures and the aspects of their lives that didn't survive to fill the pages of a history book. Both ladies write about medieval women behaving badly, they capture the vigor of the more than one queen militant, and wonder about the powers swirling near the throne.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dru, the anti Bella

For those girls like my daughters who'd like to slap some sense into Bella S, Lili St. Crow has written a series of five books featuring a heroine named Dru Anderson. Dru's final adventure is captured in "Reckoning," the fifth title in the Strange Angels series.

Now, be warned, Lili St. Crow is not a writer for the faint of heart. She specializes in creating characters who thrive in grit, danger, mayhem, and major in kicking ass. These are most assuredly NOT books for middle school readers, unless Mom or Dad has read them first and signs off. My former middle school self would have loved them, but my parents never censored what I read.

I adored the ending of this series and wanted to leap off the couch and pump my fist in the air. A happy ending does not require wedding bells, babies or even a boyfriend. Another St. Crow trademark: the woman knows when to wrap it up. Nothing worse than a series that goes on and on and should have concluded several books sooner.

I'm not going to attempt to recap this novel or review this series. I've made comments on the other titles and if you read those it is pretty obvious I'm a big fan of St. Crow's. So, if you are looking for YA urban fantasy, with an edge, a bite and a growl....check out this series. And when you are older....check out Lilith Saintcrow's other titles.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jean Auel and The Land of Painted Caves

In 1980 I read Jean Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear" and was immediately enthralled. In the following years, I read the other novels in the Earth's Children series and have enjoyed Auel's unique way of storytelling. The basic premise of the novels is that a young girl, Ayla, becomes separated from her Cro-Magnon family during an earthquake and is raised by a clan of Neanderthals. She learns their 'language' and adapts to their customs as best as she can, but her inherent and genetic differences eventually cause her to leave the clan and venture out on her own. In subsequent books, Ayla has a variety of adventures that allow Auel to explore the ideas of domestication of horses as well as hunting techniques, medicine and cultural identity. Ayla eventually meets someone like her, another Cro-Magnon, and follows him back to his people.

Auel's final book in the series, "The Land of Painted Caves" is the first book I've read on my new Nook Tablet. In fact, it is also the first book I downloaded from our library. And since I read this title over the Christmas holidays, it brings full circle my relationship with Auel's books since I received other titles in this series as gifts when I was in high school. I still love getting books for Christmas!

By far, this wasn't the best book in the series. It was repetitive and I skimmed over many of the sections. The plot was plodding, the conflicts were predictable, and the book could have used some tightening down as the repetitive backstory rehashing became tiresome. But, I was glad I read it and finished Ayla's story.

After 32 years of having this interesting heroine in my reading life, I now have a conclusion. So, thank you Ms. Auel for gifting us with Ayla and Jondalar and all the rest of the Earth's Children. I enjoyed the ride.