Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Teaser Tuesday-The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Recently she had begun to sink more often into her former life. It was as if with the passing of the years her regrets grew stronger and her attachment to her memories more desperate."
pg 18 The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore

Monday, August 3, 2015

July Graphic Novel Reviews

I read the first volume of Glory last year. I enjoyed it and hoped to finish the series. I was lucky to find the entire story on the library shelf so I could complete it in one fell swoop. I liked the beginning of Glory but it got off the rails and ended somewhere else. The ending was good. I liked how Glory's backstory developed but it certainly didn't end I thought it would. 
I enjoyed the second one just as much as the first. Really looking forward to the next volume.
The story of a young woman who suddenly acquires supernatural powers. Interesting story, good characters. It's brief but maybe that's all it needed to be.
Fables vol 4
I was starting to lose interest in Fables but the second half of this volume renewed my interest.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekend Cooking: Bento Box in The Heartland by Linda Furiya

I picked up Bento Box in the Heartland for a couple of reasons. I love Japanese food and I like immigrant stories. Furiya was born in the US but her parent's immigrated from Japan. I enjoyed the stories Furiya told as well as all the recipes and food related tidbits.

Furiya grew up in small town Indiana in the mid 60's to late 70's. Her stories show the prejudice she faced and some of the hardships she and her family endured. I enjoyed the stories about her parents and how she was raised. I loved the stories about her favorite foods and how her mom prepared them. Furiya has 2 brothers but they are mostly mentioned in passing.

Furiya not only talks about the food but some of the traditions her parents brought with them. I liked the fact that her parents tried hard to bring a little bit of Japan to their small Indiana town. I also loved the relationship between her parents. Her mom was especially funny but her dad was kind.

A lot of the book talks about the foods her parents made and took them to eat. I loved her trip to Japan and all the yummy food details she includes. Japanese food wasn't easy to find in the Midwest when Furiya's parents arrived, They had to trek to big cities like Chicago to find ingredients. They would go every couple of weeks to stock up and even then her parents worried they would run out of ingredients. Her parents hoarded food and worried when they might not be able to make it an Asian grocery store.

Furiya includes a recipe at the end of each chapter. I decided to make gyoza. Her recipe is very similar to this one.
 I made a batch of just pork and cabbage and another batch with pork and kimchi (just mixed chopped up kimchi with the pork and a little sake).
First batch ready to be cooked.
The finished product!

I've never made gyoza before. It was a lot of work. I made 120 gyoza in about 4 hours. The cooking part took the longest. But they were delicious. Everyone loved them.

Furiya has another book about her time in China, How To Cook A Dragon. I might pick that one up too. Others who shared their thoughts on Bento Box In The Heartland: You Think Too Much, Shelf Life, and What Did You Eat?.
This is my fourth read for The Foodies Read Challenge.


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.



This one caught my eye at the library.

Finally! I can see what all the fuss is about!


What did you get this week? Claire's got the linky this week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesday-Girl In The Road by Monica Byrne

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"I have to find another place to apply the dressing, farther away from the explosion, the better. The barefoot girl can't track me if I'm on wheels." 
Pg 12 The Girl In The Road by Monica Byrne

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I picked up two books I've been looking forward to for a while.

You know I love Ready Player One so I've been looking forward to Cline's second book. 

I wasn't the biggest fan of To Kill A Mockingbird (I know) but I do want to read Go Set A Watchman. I've been reading some reviews and hearing some positive stuff. I know a lot of people are unhappy with Atticus' portrayal in this one but I'm willing it give it a chance. Might make me reread To Kill A Mockingbird.

What did you get this week? Share your loot below.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Teaser Tuesday-Thor's Serpents by KL Armstrong and MA Marr

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Matt thought of Nidhogg-a giant serpent that gnawed at the root of the world tree. When Ragnarok came, it would finally break through into the world and...Well it was called 'the corpse eater' for a reason."
pg 50 Thor's Serpents by KL Armstrong and MA Marr

Monday, July 20, 2015

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M Draper

I picked up Stella by Starlight after reading Becky's review. Her rave review had me running to add it to my library hold list. Stella by Starlight did not disappoint. I enjoyed Draper's story about a young African-American girl, growing up in the South during the Depression.

Stella is the oldest in her family. She doesn't like to write but stays up trying not to be the worst writer in her school. Stella struggles to do what's right and find her place in the world. One night, Stella and her brother, JoJo, see some Klan members burn a cross in their home. Stella is scared of the Klan. Stella by Starlight is more than a story about Stella. It's the story of her family and community as well. I loved how Draper weaved Stella's church community in with the story. I loved how the sermons weren't overly religious but almost like motivational speeches. I especially enjoyed the scene were 3 of the townsmen (including Stella's father) registered to vote and the struggle they faced. I knew it was hard for African Americans to register to vote and actually cast their vote (sadly this remains the case in some places) but I'd never heard it described so vividly. It was heartbreaking and educational at the same time. Draper does an excellent job of making history come to life. With plenty of rich characters and an engaging plot, Stella by Starlight was hard to put down.

I would recommend Stella by Starlight. It's a great middle grade book. Others who shared their thoughts on Stella by Starlight: Becky's Book Reviews, The Nerdy Panda, Reading, Writing and Random Musings, and Diva Booknerd.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

I picked up Lost Lake because I've enjoyed the other books I've read by Sarah Addison Allen. And while Lost Lake felt like an old friend, it was rushed in spots and not completely satisfying.

Kate's been asleep for the last year. After her husband's death, Kate simply lived a fog of grief. During that year, she let her mother-in-law, Cricket handle her life and her daughter, Devin. Now, Kate's house is sold and Kate and Devin are moving into Cricket's house. While packing their belonging, Devin finds a postcard from Kate's aunt, Eby. Kate reminisces about the summer she spent at Aunt Eby's lakeside resort. Kate decides to take Devin and visit Eby. At the same time, Eby decides that it's time for her to sell the lakeside resort and travel again. Both women's decisions affect others in their lives and shake up everything in everyone's life.

Like Sarah Addison Allen's other books, Lost Lake has a lot of magical realism. Devin communicates with an alligator and spends a lot of the book trying to solve its mystery. Selma, one of the women that has been coming to Lost Lake for years, uses magic to gain her husbands. Lisette, the cook of Lost Lake, is haunted by the ghost of her lover. Lost Lake failed to be as good as her other books because it was too rushed. I think it were an extra hundred pages so things could happen more slowly, it would have been an excellent book. Lost Lake is good but not Sarah Addison Allen's best. I wanted the magic to develop slowly but it happened so quickly, I felt like I missed a lot of it.

I would recommend Lost Lake. I loved the characters and the story but be prepared for less than perfect. Others who shared their thoughts on Lost Lake: The Lost Entwife, Write Meg!, and On A Book Bender.
Lost Lake satisfies the Body of Water category for the What's In A Name Challenge.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Fitness Journey

I was on my way home from a Zumba class, thinking about how far I've come. From dance classes as a little girl to virtually no exercise as a teen to feeling forced to exercise in my twenties to an almost 40 year old lady who looks forward to her gym time. I thought I'd share my story so far.

When I was a little girl, I took dance classes like a lot of other little girls. Tap, jazz, and ballet from when I was 4 until 6th grade (12 years old?). While I enjoyed dance, I loved ballet. I loved the positions, the grace, and elegance. I felt my most beautiful when I was dancing ballet and other ballerinas were so gorgeous. At 8, I wanted to be a professional ballerina. But when it was time to transition to pointe, my ankles were too weak and I wouldn't be able to. My teacher told me I would never have strong enough ankles to dance pointe and steered me to tap and jazz. Tap is only fun when you are a little kid and I couldn't see a life in jazz. This was the late 80's and jazz/hip hop wasn't big yet.

Here are a ton of photos from me back when I danced. Remember it was the 80's but I have no excuses for the perms:
I think I was between 7-9 here. These are probably the best outfits I got to wear to dance recitals.
 Now for the embarrassing ones. I should have never permed my hair. The two on the right are my last year of dance so I was 10-11, What is up with the iridescent legs on the bottom one? The one on the left was my favorite costume and my favorite dance recital ever. We danced to Conga by The Miami Sound Machine, thus starting my love of Latin music. 

I was moving to a more academically rigorous school and I agreed to drop dance until I got settled. I never went back.

My mom did Jazzercise when I was little but stopped when I went to school. Exercise wasn't something she did after that. My dad played handball until he broke his leg. And exercise in our family was minimal at best. My dad tried but my mom always shut it down. She didn't like getting dirty or sweaty. She didn't think anyone else should either.

In high school, I joined the track and tennis teams. I quit tennis when I found out we had to run laps daily. I hate running and refused to run. I wound up on track team because I discovered I liked throwing the shot put. Running wasn't mandatory when you participated in the other activities like shot put and javelin. We did some weight lifting but not much. No one wanted to be bulky.

In college, I discovered you could take all sorts of classes for your PE credit. I took bowling. I tagged along with some friends when they went to the fitness room but I mostly complained I was hungry and wanted to lay down. Other than walking, I did virtually no exercise until I left college.

At my first job, my coworker invited me to check out her gym. My coworker and I took yoga classes together. My mom was getting sick at that time and the gym was a great stress reliever. I would hop on a treadmill, walk for 45 minutes, and turn off my brain. I worked out almost daily for 2 years.

Then I switched jobs. My new job got me home later and I missed some of the classes I had loved to take. Then I met Taiki and I had other things to do than go to the gym.

After our wedding, I headed to Zumba and did that for about a year. Then the times the classes were offered changed and I couldn't make it anymore. Taiki and I joined a gym but finding time to go was difficult. When my dad first got sick, it was harder to find the time.

Last year, I had enough. I was tired of not feeling my best. I made some changes to my diet and headed back to the gym. I no longer rely on classes to get my workout in. I use Pinterest to find new workouts and I discovered kettlebells. I love kettlebells and I feel like such a badass when I do my kettlebell swings. Working out has become less of a have to and more of a want to. The time I spend at the gym is my time. It's all about me. And finding me time is essential to reducing my stress and increasing my sense of calm and well-being.

It's no longer just about the number on the scale or about the number on the back of my pants. It's about how much more I can lift today. How much more I'll be able to lift in 6 months? It's about how I feel.

What about you? Have you found your workout groove or are you trying to get the groove back?