Archive | November, 2010

NaNoWha?

21 Nov

Hey, remember back at the beginning of November I was all gun-ho and uber excited for NaNowWriMo?  How I was going to kick its butt? Yeah, so that plan went to Hell pretty fast and I haven’t written a damn thing since November 2nd. Normally this would make me all grouchy and depressed, but I thought I’d take a different approach to my kinda failure and try to figure out the why.

I realized something about myself this month: I am not a multi-tasker when it comes to my writing. See, I was in the middle of editing SUPERNORMAL one last time when I stopped to try to do NaNoWriMo. Actually, I was going to try to do both at the same time. But looks like my brain doesn’t work that way. But I still thought I should be able to do both, so I ended up doing neither. Not good.

I’m chalking this November up to a lesson learned rather than a complete failure and waste of time. I was also sick for most of the month and am still dealing with a bit of a cold and sore back, but I think even if I had been well, my book wouldn’t have gotten written this month. My brain really wants to finish the final edit on SUPERNORMAL before it moves on to anything else. So I’m going to let it have it’s way.

The month of December shall be about friends, family, chocolate, snow, presents and SUPERNORMAL.

It’s going to be a good month, my friends.

November, I hate you

19 Nov

Ah, November, how you have excelled in the suckage department.  A miserable three week cold that’s still hanging on, a pinched nerve in the back and weather that truly shows your multiple personality disorder.

There has been no writing, very little reading and if if wasn’t for The Gilmore Girls I’m sure I would be insane or severely depressed by now.

Thankfully you’re only around for another 11 days. I will try to make the best of it, but I am so looking forward to December.

To all that may have noticed I’ve been AWOL for most of the month, both here and on Twitter, I am still alive and kinda well. I’m taking the weekend to regroup and will be back to regular scheduled programming Monday.

Readathon for Hunger

12 Nov

Tomorrow is Readathon for Hunger. As you know I am all about the readathons, even though most of the time I don’t get a chance to complete them due to the animal gods’ poor timing.

The goal for the readathon is that you donate one dollar for every hour that you read tomorrow. When I signed up I committed myself to read for ten hours. Due to life and stuff I have to make a slight change.

I’m still going to read ten hours, but I’ll have to spread it out over the whole week end. I’m volunteering at a craft fair tomorrow and that’s going to take up some major time. I was thinking of switching my readathon to Sunday, but I’m having a candle party at my place. So, yeah, this will be an all week end when I can read readathon.

As for my reading list, I’m going to do something fun and 100% for me: despite the fact that I am chin deep in review books, for this readathon I am strictly reading books from my own stacks. Later today I’ll go throw my books and pick out the ones I want to read. I’ll post my list later.

Bobby Flay’s Throwdown

12 Nov

In celebration of the release of chef Bobby Flay’s book Bobby Flay’s Throwdown! (Random House Canada, 2010) book and foodie bloggers were invited to host their own culinary throwdown. I’m not normally competitive, but this sounded like a hoot so I figured, why the Hell not?

So the big plan was for me to pit my world famous (or at least amongst our friends famous) chili against Bobby’s. Then I got sick. Very sick. Like, worst cold in the history of colds sick. It’s going on, oh, three weeks now and I think I’m on round 4. Not fun.

Anyhoo, the last thing in the world I felt liking making – or eating- was chili. So the hubs, God bless his little soul, stepped up to the plate and informed me that he was going to do the throwdown by himself. Yup, two of the hubs’ many personalities were going to duke it out in the kitchen. But he was changing the menu. It was mac and cheese time.

The hubs makes THE BEST homemade mac and cheese. Oooey, gooey yumminess, it’s one of my favorite dishes. Sure, Bobby Flay is this big deal chef, but I knew that my man’s dish was going to win.

The hubs slaved away all day in the kitchen making the dishes. The only thing he changed about Bobby’s recipe was he didn’t add the sliced pancetta. We then headed over to friends for supper where we all indulged in the two dishes. And – color me surprised – Bobby’s was the fave.

I think Bobby’s win had to do with all the different cheeses in the recipe. It calls for like, a bazillion different cheeses (okay, really just 5 cheeses, but still).

I was so excited to dig in (or maybe I was a wee bit high on cough syrup) but I kinda forgot to take a pic of the finished dish. And by the time I remembered I wasn’t just there to chowdown on some mac and cheese, but had to blog about it too, this is all that was left:

So, yeah, the dish was a huge success.

Green Books Campaign: Tainted by Ross Pennie

10 Nov

I’m happy to once again be a part of Eco-Libris’ Green Books Campaign. Today at 1 pm Est over 200 book bloggers around the world simultaneously posted reviews of books printed on eco-friendly paper. Pretty cool, eh? The books are as diverse as the bloggers, so make sure to take a peek at them. And to make it easy-peasy for you, here’s the link.

Okay, now on to my review!

Publisher: ECW Press
Released: April, 2009
Genre: adult fiction, medical mystery
Review copy from publisher for Eco-Libris Green Books Campaign

In an affluent city perched on Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, residents begin turning up on the pathologist’s autopsy table with what looks like epidemic mad cow disease. Zol Szabo, a public-health doctor and former chef, and Hamish Wakefield, a young infectious-diseases specialist, must trace the epidemic to its source while dodging the deadly prions that appear to have contaminated almost everything in the supermarket. Things spin out of control and more lives are threatened when a government-appointed investigator pulls rank, hijacks the investigation, and allows his inflated ego to supersede common sense.

Incidents of contamination of the food supply are featured almost weekly in the news. In Tainted, the clock is ticking to discover the source of the disease before it can spread, while navigating the political minefield of the hospital and the media.

A suspenseful and vexing medical thriller, Tainted comments on the vagaries of modern medicine, and explores the complexities of relationships between men: fathers and sons, colleagues and subordinates, gay men and their lovers.

Tainted is a medical thriller that illustrates the potential disastrous consequences of misplacing our trust in those who manufacture our food and our pharmaceuticals.

From ECW Press website.

 

Once upon a time, all I read were medical thrillers and books about outbreaks. I would devour them, sometimes as many as four in a week. Then I kinda ODed on them and stopped reading them all together. In fact, it’s been a good three or four years since I read a real medical thriller.

So I was all kinds of excited to read Ross Pennie’s Tainted, a medical mystery outbreak novel that takes place right here in Canada. And while I enjoyed it and I think it was a solid book, I wasn’t wowed by it.

I really enjoyed the medical mystery aspect of Tainted. The science wasn’t too over my head, but it also wasn’t too dumb down.  At first I thought the reason behind the outbreak was going to be pretty straight-forward, but man, was I wrong. While I didn’t see the ending coming, it wasn’t far-fetched and was totally plausible, which I really liked. Sometimes in medical mysteries the author pulls something out of left field that makes no sense at all. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here, at all.

So, why was I so meh about Tainted? The characters. I just didn’t get a sense of who they were and quite honestly I didn’t care a fig about any of them. For me they weren’t written in a way that I could really feel a connection to them. I was often confused about their motivations and reasonings, even when it was being spelled out for me. I know that medical mysteries aren’t generally character driven books, but if I don’t care at all about ANY of the characters, then I’m not going to be a big fan of the novel.

I also found the writing at times clunky with awkward descriptions. There was also a subplot that I thought was a bit out of place and poorly executed.

I think if I had felt more of a connection to the characters I would have enjoyed Tainted a lot more. As it stands it was a decent medical mystery, but not one I was wild about.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge V

8 Nov

 

Holy crap I actually successfully completed a reading challenge! Yay for me!!!!!!!!!

I wanted to write this post last week but was hit with the cold from Hell. I’m still sick as shit, but decided to crawl out of bed long enough to blog about the books I read for the R.I.P challenge.

Now, as is the norm for scatter-brained me, the books I read weren’t the ones I was planning on reading. At all. Seriously. I find that when I give myself a list of books I plan on reading I never read those books. C’est la vie, I guess.

So I signed up for Perish the First, which means that I wanted to read 4 quailfying books.  In the end I actually read 6 qualifying books. Here they are:

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Torment by Lauren Kate
Dust City by Robert Weston
Ruined by Paula Morris
American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquereque

My only disappointed with myself is that I had wanted to read more horror, since I already read a lot of supernatural books. So next year my plan is to read only horror during the month of October.

Review: Gunner Hurricane Horse by Judy Andrekson

8 Nov

Publisher: Tundra Press
Released: September, 2010
Genre: Middle grade non-fiction
Review copy from publisher.

PBJ Decks Smokin Gun (Gunner) is an American Paint Horse, one of the many of Heather Lott Goodwin’s herd, and a valuable show animal that won the World Championship Paint Horse title. When Hurricane Katrina passed over the Goodwin property, it took with it the fences, the cattle, and several horses. Heather and her family lived in their horse trailer for six weeks and considered themselves lucky to have safe, comfortable shelter. After the storm, they searched for the animals and recovered many of them. But three months passed before they located Gunner, a hundred miles away. They were told he was in terrible shape and should be put down. Nevertheless, Heather drove on washed-out roads to bring him home, starving, dehydrated, and blind in one eye. With the help of a vet and her mother, she nursed him back to health. Amazingly, nine months later, he was well enough to compete again in the World Championship Paint Horse Show. Gunner’s story is a testament to love and to determination.

From Tundra Books website.

This is my first foray into kids non-fiction. Actually, before I read Gunner, I didn’t even know that kids non-fiction existed. This was a cute book and I think that kids who like horses will love hearing about Gunner and everything he went through. I also think that it’s a great book to teach about perseverance and overcoming hardship.

I love that while this was not a picture book, there were pictures included to accentuate different aspects of the story. There weren’t a lot, but I think that there were enough that any readers making the jump from picture books to chapter books would like it.

This book is geared towards 8-12 year olds, so I must admit my eyebrows raised at the use of the word Hell early on. Now, I am not against cursing, and quite often do it myself. I was just surprised at the use of the word in a book written for kids.

I think Gunner:Hurricane Horse would be the perfect read for kids not only interested in horses, but that are looking for more real to life stories.

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