Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Giveaway: If The Shoe Fits--A Royal Pain Name Game!

Back at the first of the year, I stumbled across a new contemporary romance author who really gave me a great escape from the mayhem of my crazy work life.  That author was Megan Mulry, and she has another book coming out on July 1st!  Yes, A Royal Pain was a great read and I instantly signed up to read book two, which I did just two weeks ago.  I'm excited to get the next post up ASAP.

Well, in anticipation of her second book, If the Shoe Fits, Sourcebooks is running a fun game to go along with the royal baby excitement in the UK.  Here are the details:
 It’s time to play A Royal Pain Baby Name Game! To celebrate Megan Mulry’s upcoming July release, If the Shoe Fits, Sourcebooks would like to know what you think the name of Will & Kate’s new addition will be! Comment below with your boy name and girl name prediction! We will pick one winner who will receive a print copy of Megan’s first book A Royal Pain
 I'm going to make this simple.  If you'll post in the comments your one girl name and one boy name (and maybe even if you think it will be a boy or a girl--just for fun) along with your name and email address, then I will randomly draw one person for the free copy of Megan's newest book this Sunday, 7/30, at midnight.  Sorry, but this is only open for U.S. and Canada.

*Just as a quick disclaimer, neither book really has anything to do with Will and Kate's baby, but it does have that "royal" twist in it that is kind of fun.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Blathering: Breaking Through the Fog & a Yummy Watermelon Sorbet

It's time to see if I can fit sentences together.

Why, look!  I put one.  Two.  Three.  Maybe even a paragraph together?  Voila!  Yes, I've been struggling a bit this summer.  Before, I really could blame fatigue and work for my inability to get things posted, but now I can honestly say it's a simple problem of a brain fog that I can't get to leave me be.

I mentioned that I had to go to the ER for a pretty nasty migraine several weeks ago.  Well, the doctors decided to put me on Topamax, which has put my brain into a type of fog and my extremities into pins and needles.  Listen, I think it will all fade over time--I hope?  I haven't had a migraine in two weeks though, and only the faintest of headaches.  What I wasn't aware of though, was that I've been living with constant headaches around the clock.  I had just grown used to them, and even more used to downing a couple of liver and kidney killing Ibuprofen a day.

Needless to say, I'll be quiet about my mind-numbing health issues and try to put words together!  Thanks to this medication issue, I have literally been writing a blog post for over seven days--not cool.  I'm going to try to finish it today and get it posted for Monday or Tuesday, while I'm feeling a little less foggy.

On the home front, my mother is still sitting patiently on the short sale offer.  In the meantime, we're taking exercise classes, eating really clean and healthy, and getting some good R&R.  I'm taking a couple of professional development classes dealing with technology in the classroom and then teaching an online course, so there is still a little going on outside of the general summer slowdown.  Overall though, it's all very nice.

Well, before I run off for the day, let me share a really delicious recipe we whipped up out of some watermelon we were going to have to throw out if we didn't put to use.  It's a pretty simple  Watermelon Sorbet.

You start with a simple syrup by boiling together 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1/4 c. lime juice.  You then want to let it chill so you can bring it together with your watermelon puree.

Combine your simple syrup with 3 cups of watermelon puree, which we took our cubed watermelon and put through a blender and then through a fine sieve to get out the seeds.  Combine the liquids to create a beautiful liquid like this:

I combined it together in a measuring bowl that I could then use to pour it into the ice cream machine.

It then took about 30 minutes of constant spinning to get it to a nice, hard enough consistency to serve.

As you can see, it's still fairly loose.  You can then freeze it.  If you don't have an ice cream maker, just freeze the liquid in a cake pan and scape it with a fork to fluff it.

Either way, it comes out really beautiful and serves up a gorgeous color in the glass.

And the taste, is like summer in a glass!  :)  If you don't believe me, whip some up today!

If you'd like some more great ideas for recipes check out Weekend Cooking.  It is a great, weekly post run by Beth Fish Reads.  There are some really great food-related posts there.  Stop by to check out other great posts from this weekend.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Triple Review: Time to Do a Little Catch Up!

*Tap, tap, tap*  Hello.  Are we still up and running here?  *Clears throat*  Okay, so I've been off the radar a bit.  I've hardly had a chance to read or review as of late, so it kind of feels good to see some open space out ahead to do a few things I've been wanting to do.  In an effort to play catch up a little, I thought I'd do a bunch of min-reviews to get through some of the books I've read so far this year, but haven't yet reviewed.  Here's a few:

Open Heart by Elie Wiesel  is an interesting read about Wiesel's quadruple bipass heart surgery in 2012, but beautiful and poignant.  In this short novella, Wiesel reflects on life and death, his career, his family, and his own stamina to continue.  Throughout much of the book he considers whether he has done enough to share the message of peace, to honor the memory of all those who were killed in the Holocaust.  Although the reviews were mixed, mainly because many felt he spent too much time discussing the painful surgery, I felt moved by his words.  Maybe it is because I have faced my own life-threatening surgery that made his words feel so eloquent and familiar, but on the whole, I'm not sure that there is much that Wiesel can not put words to that can speak from one heart to another.  In short, I thought it was eloquent and beautiful and well worth a quick read.

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris is a real departure from the previous review in that Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series is a funny, drama-filled, vampire series.  As the 11th in the series, we're pulled into a new drama that surrounds Merlotte's and a possible prejudice-fueled crime against Sam and his two-natured kind.  At the same time, Eric Northman began a plot to take down his vampire master.  All of this drama, once again, pulls in Sookie whether she wants to be pulled in or not.  With the knowledge of her own faerie lineage, Sookie is in way deeper than she ever wanted to be.  Although I will finish out the Sookie series, as I've been a dedicated fan for awhile now, I do feel that this was a bit of a transition novel.  Okay, I get that there was a huge plot point tackled in this novel, but in some way, I just felt that it was setting up novels to come perhaps?  Still, it's a series that I've enjoyed and will finish with.

The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig is another long series and 9th in the Pink Carnation series.  In a series of female spies and Victorian age history and antics, The Garden Intrigue continues with secret agent Augustus Whitleby and the American Emma Morris Delagardie.  Although this is more of a male spy, the series itself still centers on the research of Eloise in the modern day, who is uncovering these stories.  Admittedly, I wasn't as into this particular Victorian story and have grown much more interested in the the modern day story of Eloise and Collin.  At this point in the story, Eloise now has to decide if she will return to the States to teach or stay--for what purpose--to continue her relationship with Collin.  As a long time reader, I want to see Eloise and Collin succeed, but it's realistic to say that the relationship is too new and too much is at stake for Eloise to just give everything up to stay in England.  Sadly, the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger with our modern couple and I'm eager to get my hands on the next book!  I really like this series and will probably be rereading these at some point.  Also, it's nice to note that these are great audio books!

Well, these three reviews scratch the surface.  I might be back to do another triple review!  Now I'm off to get some summer things done so I can go back to my reading.  What are you all up to today?

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Little Catch Up & Pride and Prejudice Fan Documentary

Summer break has finally begun for me.  Talk about a roller-coaster ride getting from the end of May until today.  Although the school year ended, I had to go to a conference for my online job on Monday, and lead a breakout session. That had me a bit keyed up.  Why, I don't know.

Besides getting ready for that breakout session, I had to drive home to help my mother pack up our family home to move down near me (4 hours away).  Saying goodbye to your childhood home is emotional!  I didn't enjoy that process at all.  You start just giving or throwing things away because you can't deal with all the stuff you've hung on to for years.  There is sentimental, and then there is hoarding.  Thankfully, the move is all over and my mom's stuff is now in my garage, waiting for her new place.  She found a nice place that went up for short sale, so we're crossing our fingers it doesn't take a year to get her into it.

Sadly, to top all this madness off, I ended up taking my first trip to the ER for a migraine.  NOT cool.  After moving everything into the garage, with the help of some family who came to help, I came down with a nasty migraine.  Three hours later, we were in the ER.  All I can say is thank goodness my mother was here to take me to the ER, and thank goodness for modern meds!

Well, on a bright note, I had a chance to catch a new BBC documentary coming out of the UK about Pride and Prejudice called "Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball".  It's about an hour and a half and full of really cool historical information that helps us understand Mr. Darcy's comments about dancing and balls.  You should check it out!

Okay.  I'm off to get some errands checked off the list and then maybe home to do some reading!