Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Strawberry Fool

What am I reading now?  Obsidian (Jennifer L. Armentrout)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  Oh. My. Gosh. When is the next one coming out? (Oh, May 15th--I wonder if I can get an advanced copy.)

Both main characters are great. Katy is feisty and intensely loyal. Daemon is (to use Katy's words) a douchebag. And arrogant. And rude. And irritating. And ignorant. And controlling. And overconfident. And insane. And gorgeous. And an amazing kisser. Yeah, she knows she's in trouble when she falls for the most obnoxious guy she's ever met.

I read this book on loan and had to purchase a copy of my own. It's the kind of book I know I'll be rereading.

Strawberry Fuelle (Strawberry Fool) Dessert
This dessert is heavenly--not too sweet, light, fresh, yum. Here's how it looks.

I made 6 for the adults and three smaller ones for the kids from this recipe.

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 16-ounce container of strawberries (slice them)
6 Tablespoons  sugar
Ground turmeric (weird--i know, but I think this makes all the difference in taste)

Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of sugar on sliced strawberries and set aside.
Whip the cream into stiff peaks and incorporate 4 Tablespoons of sugar.

To Assemble the Parfaits:
Spoon whipped cream into the bottom of the glass.
Sprinkle with tuneric.
Spoon on strawberries.

Repeat for another layer of each.
On top, arrange a few more strawberries and drizzle the juice from the strawberry's bowl on top.

And was it good? Here's how my family voted:
But one is not finished... That's because the baby fell asleep before finishing. Soooo cute!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What am I reading now? On Little Wings (Regina Sirois)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?

Jennifer's life feels like a lie when she finds a picture in a book of a woman that looks like her. When she asks her parents about it, she finds she's been lied to her whole life! Her mother isn't an only child, she has a sister--that Jennifer's never met or heard of. Against her mother's wishes she travels to Maine to meet the only family she will know on her mother's side. She also meets a neighbor, Nathan Moore, who's a little older than she is, and wonders what falling in love would be like. The story is a journey of Jennifer as she tries to piece together the  story of her mother and aunt's shattered relationship.

 The writing is beautiful and once the story got to Smithport, Maine I couldn't put it down. The characters set up a stage and lead you through complicated relationships in Jennifer's family and with the surrounding characters. Many parts made me laugh and several made me cry too.

Though the main character is sixteen, it doesn't read like a YA story. Because the story lines surround numerous middle aged + characters, I think it's much more suited to an older audience and would be a great book for book clubs.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Retellings

What am I reading now? Entwined (Heather Dixon)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Love this beautiful, dark retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses.

As the princess, Azalea should be carefree. Dancing at balls. Choosing from among handsome suitors. Wearing beautiful gowns. But this isn't her life. Not since her mother died, leaving her to care for her eleven younger sisters without the help of the king, her grieving father. When they are required strict rules of mourning and forbidden to dance, Azalea leads her sisters into another world. But the enchantment of this hidden garden comes at a high price--maybe her life.

My favorite character in the book is Bramble, definitely Bramble. Here's a taste of her voice as she takes on their father, the king:
“Down with tyranny!' Bramble cried. 'Aristocracy! Autocracy! 
Monocracy! Other ocracy things! You are outnumbered, sir! Surrender!” 
I highly recommend this book.



Retellings

Here are some more of the retellings of stories that I absolutely love. I've read each of them several times!
Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine)
Beastly (Alex Flinn)
Book of a Thousand Days (Shannon Hale)




What are some of your favorite retellings?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Books are for Lovers

What am I reading now?  Persuasion: A Latter Day Tale (Rebecca H. Jamison)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  This is a modern retelling of the Jane Austen classic by the same name, for the LDS market. If you look back in my blogs to last Valentine's Day, you will see that I blogged about the Austen book last year. It is one of my all time favorite books! In fact there's a permanent crease in the binding at the point of Wentworth's letter. This story has just enough of the storyline to follow the expected romantic elements but enough twists with modern circumstances and dilemmas to be a fun read.

So, Rebecca Jamison's retelling:
When Anne broke of her engagement eight years ago, she thought she'd never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil's brother buys the house she grew up in , it seems fate has other plans in store, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that dome with Neil returns and starts dating her younger friend.

Here's the book trailer to whet your curiosity:


Books are for Lovers
Take a walk today to your local book store. You know, the kind that has aisles of hard-back and paperbacks. Where excitement comes from just tugging on the handle and entering a world where Dr. Seuss saves Lorax trees, Emily Dickenson delights in the wonder of a robin, and a trip to a rain forest is only as far away as turning the cover on the next book.

February 14 is "Books are for Lovers" day. Show some love in your favorite aisle and bring home a book to love for years to come.

I'll be bringing home Sophie Kinsella's new book; I've Got Your Number. Today is the release day! Now that's love.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another New Year's Goal. . .






















What am I reading now?  Moon Spell, River Cast and Blood Solstice  (Samantha Young, Lunarmorte Series)


And what do I think so far?  I'm really enjoying this series--lots of emotional twists. Painful--sometimes it's completely painful. I'll finish the third book tonight. Yup--good enough to keep reading the series. 

Here's the official blurb for the books: 
Enter a world of fierce wolves, stunning magic and romance...

It’s bad enough feeling different among the human crowd, but feeling different among wolves? 

No one said returning to her pack would be easy, especially after ten years without them, but seventeen year old Caia Ribeiro is unprepared for the realities of the transition. Caia was raised in a world with a real life threat of enemy supernaturals who might come creeping into their community to kill them in their sleep. She’s used to the mystery and the intrigue of the ancient underworld war she’s bound to by chance of birth. What she’s having trouble with are pack members treating her with wary suspicion, the Elders tucking secrets behind their backs, and her young Alpha, Lucien, distracting her with a dangerous attraction from her decision to uncover the truth.

But as the saying goes ‘the truth will out’ and when it does, Caia will only have so long to prepare herself before the war comes pounding on their door threatening to destroy the safe, secret lives of the wolves… and the girl they protect.

(p.s. I finished the third book before this posted--so--update. Yes. I enjoyed the series. Loved the connection with Greek gods mythology, only one scene skipped in book 1)


Another New Year's Goal I have been thinking about and making adjustments to my retirement plan.
I. Know!
Who wants to think about that?
It's all confusing, leaving me running and screaming to the mall.
But here's some help:
Retirement Quest (John Hauserman)

I'm not a do-it-yourself type of retirement person. But this book gives enough information that you can carry on an intelligent conversation with someone who can help you make decisions about saving for retirement.

The book blurb:
                                          Make better decisions . . .
•Get the unbiased advice you need
•Avoid costly mistakes
Where are you getting your financial advice? How to you know your interests are being safeguarded? How do you kno that your advisors are competent? How can you know they're putting your interests first? 


If you want to build a secure financial future, this it the book that will help show you how.