Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review-Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

from Publishers Weekly

It's not easy to find a fresh angle for the werewolf theme, but this debut novel from a Canadian writer proves that solid storytelling and confident craftsmanship can rejuvenate one of the hoariest of all horror clich?s. Elena Michaels is a self-described "mutt," a werewolf who left her secretive pack in upstate New York for a life among humans. In the year since she relocated to Toronto, she's embarked on a career as a journalist and begun a pleasingly mundane relationship with a decent man. All this is jeopardized when she agrees to help her old packmates hunt some troublesome mutts who are converting common criminals to werewolves and leaving a trail of conspicuous carnage. Reunited with her former lycanthrope lover and forced into brutally predatory confrontations, Elena finds the call of the wild subtly reasserting itself. Armstrong prepares readers for her tale's twists with several key revisions of werewolf lore the werewolf taint is mostly hereditary, and werewolves can be killed as easily as any human or wolf. Her true achievement, though, is her depiction of werewolf nature in believably human context. Elena's feral sensibility, like her psychological vulnerabilities, seems a natural outgrowth of her abusive childhood, and her relationship with the pack is that of any prodigal child to a close-knit family. The sensuality of Elena's transformations and the viciousness of her kills mesh perfectly with her tough personality. Filled with romance and supernatural intrigue, this book will surely remind readers of Anne Rice's sophisticated refurbishings of the vampire story. Agent, Helen Heller. (Oct. 1) Forecast: The sensual, non-genre jacket design will help to signal that this novelwill also appeal to mainstream tastes. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Tai found this book first. He was looking for some new books to read and found Bitten. Once he read it he thought I would enjoy it. I tried it and loved it. I found the characters engaging and the story fast paced. It was like reading a movie. I've read no books where the main character is a werewolf but I would certainly be on the look out for more.
Recommended especially for those who like werewolves and a little hot romance thrown in for good measure.
Other reviews can be found at All Booked UpMy Year Of Reading Seriously, and A Little Bookish.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Scaredy Cat Goes To A Horror Movie

I'm a scaredy cat. I don't go to scary movies period. Tai loves scary movies. When he heard about Paranormal Activity, he asked me to go. I've been watching some scary movies (The Thing, Alien) at home, with the lights on. I've been getting better about them. But Paranormal Activity was showing at midnight. Since Tai really wanted to go, I decided to try it (this should earn me major brownie points).
Here's the trailer:

Holy fucking shit (excuse my language)! This movie was so scary. The movie was almost sold out. The crowd was prepared to be scared and got into the movie. They were screaming and some of their reactions made the movie better.  I did have to hide a few times; I missed the last 5 minutes of the movie because I was too scared to look at the screen.But I know what happened since Tai filled me in.
This movie is similar to Blair Witch since it's a mockumentary although I did forget that towards the end. But it's mostly steadycam rather than someone running through the forest carrying a camera. So you won't feel sick from the motion of the camera.
If you like scary movies and Paranormal Activity is playing in your area (it's not achieved wide release yet) check it out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Do The Puyallup!

On Friday Tai and I headed to the Puyallup Fair, largest fair in Western Washington. It was Tai's first time there and his first county fair he's been to. It's by far my favorite fair. Plenty of good fair food, lots of animals and interesting hobbies & crafts to look at.
Since the fair at it's roots is an agricultural fair there was plenty of produce to look at.

I love how creative people can get.
Then we had to see all the animals. Sadly the cows and pigs weren't available to visit when we were there. But we saw lots of sheep, some donkeys and a zebu.

But the real reason we went to the fair was the food.

We decided to try a deep fried twinkie. We each took a bite and promptly dumped it. It was a lot of dough and not very tasty.

I had to get my roasted corn. It was damn tasty.

We stopped at BBQ Pete's for some ribs. Yeah this was definitely too much for the 2 of us but we wound up sharing with the family next to us.  

I had to get my scones before we left. I got a bag to go so we'd have some for breakfast.

Tai'd never had a scone. He really liked them and was glad I brought some home. He devoured half the bag for breakfast!
We had a great time. I don't know if we'll go every year but we'll definitely go again.
The title has to do with the song for the fair. I couldn't find the youtube version but the website does have the song for you to hear. It's terribly goofy but most people who've lived here for a number of years can sing at least the chorus when you mention the Puyallup Fair.
And for those of you who aren't local, Puyallup is named for the Puyallup tribe of Native Americans. It's about an hour south of Seattle so the drive there was fun :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Looking at Expensive Goodies at The Bravern

Last weekend, Janet, Kris and I went to walk around the Bravern (what kind of name is that for a mall?). Well really we went for cupcakes and to look at expensive clothes and shoes. What kind of expensive shops?

Oh, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Hermes, Tory Burch, Jimmy Choo. All places where things cost more than my apartment :) We adored looking at all the expensive shoes (Hello, Manolo!) and pretty dresses.
We stopped at Trophy for cupcakes.

Here's the s'more cupcake that I chose. We saw a lot of people carrying Trophy bags around. I think Trophy will do very well here in Bellevue.

The Bravern is very nice. I liked the vibe and all the little touches like this sculptures:

I could see walking myself around and sipping coffee enjoying the scenery.  Actually buying anything, not til I wind the lottery ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gym Clothes

I've started going to the gym with Tai. I do yoga 2 days and walk on the treadmill 2 other days. Sadly my gym clothing selection is tiny. I need to go out and buy gym clothes like these:

Any other must haves for the gym?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg 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!

My next book for Fill In The Gaps Challenge is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I've never read. Any tips or advice for me? I've seen the the Jeremy Iron's movie but that's so long ago I don't remember the details, just the gist.
I finished Bitten and should be writing a review soon for it. Tai started H.P. Lovecraft's The haunter of the dark and other grotesque visions but made me take it back. It messed with his mind. He's too OCD and he thought of it like a puzzle. He had to try to unlock it. It was too much for him. Tai finished Scent of Shadows and insisted I read it as well. I'm reading it now.

What did you get this week?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tilapia and Pear Beet Salad

I bought some panko crusted tilapia at Costco and didn't know what to make with it. Nothing exciting anyway. But then I found this recipe for raw crunch beet and pear salad. I thought it would go good together.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly (when do I ever?). I used Asian pears since that's what I had. I left out the mint and feta since I didn't either. Tai didn't know what to make of it but he loved it. It was refreshing which was what I was hoping for.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Five Guys Hamburgers

On Saturday morning, Tai decided that he wanted hamburgers. We contemplated where we wanted to go. I definitely wanted to try some place different and Tai wanted a good burger. We decided on Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

A new one just opened near us. I kind of wanted to go ever since I heard Obama went there on his burger runs in Washington DC.
The staff were really friendly and helpful in helping us decide on what burger to get. I choose the regular cheeseburger with mayo, onions, and mustard.

So yummy. Just like a burger I would make at home if I had all the best ingredients. And the fries were so yummy. They use peanut oil which I think makes the best fries.

They also have shelled peanuts but they don't want you to drop the shells on the floor so we passed on this time. But maybe next time. I do love peanuts.
I'm so glad Five Guys came to Seattle. I'll be back!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Wonder Little Random Thoughts

*If I eat 5 100 calorie packs of craisins in one day is that bad?

*I don't know what to do with my headphones? I need them on the bus and at the gym but there's no convenient way to carry them. Any ideas?

*Has anyone gone to Dream Dinners or Dinner's Ready type place? Yea? Nay? Somewhere in between?

*Why does my hubby give me that look, the look that say no way, Jose, when he's just kidding? How will I know when he is serious?

*Why can't my friends get along and not leave one ostracized person? I miss her and struggle to see her since she's not invited to group activities?

*Why doesn't Pandora have an all 80's station or an all 90's station?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Review-Perfection by Julie Metz

From Publishers Weekly
As recounted in this dark and affecting memoir, Metz's discovery of her husband's long trail of philandering well after he died reveals the state of willful ignorance and comfortable self-deception that reigned in her marriage. At their home in the northern suburbs of New York City on June 8, 2003, Henry, her husband of 13 years, suffered sudden cardiac arrest, leaving the author, a 44-year-old graphic artist, widowed and the sole caretaker of their six-year-old daughter, Liza. Initially unable to face the details surrounding his death, she left to her friends the task of cleaning out her dead husband's office, though those same well-meaning people hid from her the truth they gleaned from Henry's computer files and correspondence: he had been enjoying a two-year affair with another woman in their town, as well as numerous other dalliances. Metz, after the shock of Henry's death, found solace in shopping and flirting with a much younger artist, Tomas, who was also friendly with Henry; once Tomas intimated that Henry had another life, the author began digging, calling and e-mailing every woman she learned had had a relationship with her husband, obsessed with finding the truth. Metz's road to emotional honesty proves cautionary and trying. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I choose this book simply cause I liked the cover :) Seriously. The cover and the little bit I read on Diane's blog made me put it in my library queue. I'm glad I did. Metz takes you through her painful realizations after the sudden death of her husband. I admit her story is not unique. I'm sure we all know women and men who have been betrayed by a partner and had to deal with the aftermath. So I could read Metz's story and relate (although not intimately) with her story. It was a lot like listening to a friend talk about the pain she's going through.
One thing I thought was interesting was her relationship with her friend, Emily. After Henry (Metz's husband's) dies and Metz picks through the wreckage of her life, Emily keeps asking "When do I get my friend back?" Have you had a friend go through a life changing event-birth, death, lifestyle changes, emotional issues, physical violence? They never return to the person they were. They can't and you cannot realistically ask them to. It's painful for you as the friend to see your friend change and maybe slip away but I think a good friend allows the other to change and adapt even at the risk of loosing them as a friend. I think that topic could be a book all on it's own!
Other reviews of Perfection can be found at Raging Bibliomania, Bookopolis, and Bookbound.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg 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!

First we have the next in the Sookie Sackhouse series, Living Dead in Dallas. I read about Rosemary and Rue on Erin-go-blog. It sounded like Tai and I would both like. I found H.P. Lovecraft's The haunter of the dark and other grotesque visions while searching for more Alan Moore books. It looked intriguing and Tai did read several Lovecraft stories last year. Fall's the perfect time to read about fairies, vampires, and other creatures of the dark.
I finally posted my review of Christopher Moore's Fluke over on the Fill In The Gaps Blog. And tomorrow I'll post a review of Julie Metz's Perfection. 
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interview with Alyce of At Home with Books

As part of BBAW, I signed up to interview a follow blogger. I was matched up with Alyce with At Home With Books.  She has an interview with me today so make sure you check that out. But here's my interview with her.

Linda: Since I've never had the pleasure of reading your blog til now, tell me a little bit about yourself?
Alyce: I am a stay at home mom of two boys.  My oldest son is eight years old, and my youngest is five.  I play the flute in a community concert band and teach flute lessons to a couple of girls who live on my street.  I like to play golf, but am sorely in need of practice.
When I was ten years old I entered a reading contest in school. I read constantly for weeks, trying to raise my book total so that I would win the grand prize.  I lost the contest.  I still remember the name of the girl who won, and the disappointment that I felt when I lost.  Thankfully the disappointment faded quickly, and in its place was a love of reading that has endured through the years.
I don’t watch very much television, but my favorite shows are: The West Wing, The Gilmore Girls, The Biggest Loser and Secret Life of the American Teenager.  I watch a lot of them on DVD, and am still wishing that there were more new episodes of The West Wing and The Gilmore Girls.

Linda: You seem to read books from multiple genres. How do you choose what books to read?
Alyce: I do enjoy books from a lot of different genres. I like: general fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young adult fiction, memoirs, biographies, graphic novels and general nonfiction.
I really like to read almost anything as long as the writing is good.  Usually I choose books based on recommendations from other book blogs, friends, or Sometimes I will pick something up on impulse at the book store or library if I really like the cover and the description on the back cover is appealing.

Linda: What types of books do you avoid if any?
Alyce: I have an aversion to books with supernatural elements (especially things like zombies and vampires) or books with physical abuse.

Linda: It looks like we are both doing the Fill In the Gaps Challenge. I've finished 5 so far and I've been participating since the end of June. How are you doing?
Alyce: I joined the Fill in the Gaps Challenge in April and I have read fifteen so far.  I am in the process of reading two more right now.  I am about halfway through The Oxford Project by Peter Feldstein and Stephen G. Bloom.  It’s a hard book to classify, but I would describe it as a coffee table/social anthropology book.  It contains photos of everyone who lived in Oxford Iowa in 1984, and then updated information and photos of each person twenty years later.
The other book I am working on right now for the Filling in the Gaps Challenge is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I try to read a chapter every time I exercise on my stationary bike.  I have been reading it for a few months now if that gives you any indication of how often I ride my exercise bike.  I am reading it on a first generation Kindle that my husband borrowed from work, and that has been a fun experience.  After working out last week I figured I had to be close to the end of the book (it sure feels like I’ve been working out forever) so I cracked open my paperback version to see how much further I have to go.  I was shocked to discover that I am only about a third of the way through the book.  

Linda: And speaking of the FitGC, how hard was it to put together that list?
Alyce: Putting together my Filling in the Gaps Challenge list was something I enjoyed very much.  I was a little overwhelmed at first, but I was able to find about fifty books on my shelves that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time to start off the list.  Then I took a look at the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list and was able to easily fill out my challenge list from there.  I ended up adding a lot of classic literature titles and science fiction classics.

Linda: What blogger or reviewer gets the most blame for your book choices (ie who's recommendations wind up on your tbr list the most)?
Alyce: This is probably the hardest question for me to answer.  I counted my book blog feeds about a month ago and found that I had almost four hundred book blogs in my feed reader.  I generally will chose to read a book if I have read several good reviews of it on different blogs.
On my wish list I keep track of where I discovered each book, and out of the past fifty books on the list there were thirty-two different blogs listed.  Now you can see the difficulty I face – how do I choose just one out of those thirty-two?
However, for the sake of answering your question, the two that statistically showed up the most on my wish list were: Find Your Next Book Here and Age 30+ . . . A Lifetime in Books.

Linda: What book do you love that other people seem to dislike?
Timeline by Michael Crichton.  I love books involving time travel, but I know that a lot of people thought that this book didn’t live up to the quality of his other writing.

Linda: What book did you dislike that others love?  
Alyce: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  It wasn’t so bad after I finally finished the book, but I tried and failed to read this book over and over again for years because it is so dry and slow-moving.

Linda: Your favorite book is going to be made into a movie. What book is it? And who do you cast as the leads? If your favorite book has been made into a movie, recast it.
Alyce: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is actually supposed to be made into a movie soon.  I am terrible at casting for movies, in part because I’m not familiar with who a lot of movie stars are. For the role of Jamie I would chose someone who looks like Glen Hansard.  For the role of Claire I am at a loss.  I have a picture of her in my head that doesn’t match any actresses that I know of.  If forced to pick I would choose Keira Knightley.  In the rolls of Frank/Jack Randall I would cast a young Alan Rickman (if only time travel were possible).

Linda: Do you prefer to read one book at a time or are you a multiple book reader?
Alyce: I like to read multiple books at once, that way if my mood changes I always have something to read.

Linda: Favorite reading snack if any?
Alyce: Chocolate with a cup of coffee.

Linda: Favorite place to read? Picture if you can!
Alyce:  I normally read on the futon in our living room.  An absolute luxury would be to read in bed, but that only happens if I have someone else at home to watch the kids, and nothing that needs to be done.  That doesn’t happen very often.

Linda: Other hobbies besides reading?
Alyce: I play the flute and sometimes the piccolo.  At times I crochet, but my attempts are very amateurish.  I used to do scrapbooking, but just haven’t found the time for it.  I like to golf but am out of practice.  

Linda: Any advice for someone who would start a book blog?

1.    Find what you like to write about and focus your blog on that.  Above all else you want to enjoy what you are doing.  Once you have figured out what you are passionate about then settle down to work.
2.    Use the spell check and preview your post every time before you hit the publish button.  I’ve forgotten to do this before and ended up with embarrassing errors.
3.    Get to know other bloggers.  Visit other book blogs and comment.  Find out where the bloggers that you admire are hanging out (like twitter) and then go and strike up a conversation with them. 
4.    Join in on book blogging events, memes and challenges in order to let people know that you are out there.
5.    Host a giveaway.  Giveaways can draw a lot of new traffic to your site, just don’t forget to advertise your giveaways so that people know about them (on places like West of Mars – Win a Book!).
6.    Have fun!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yummy Cheese!

Last week, Ashley, Marta and I got together for dinner. When we were deciding where to go, I saw that Art Restaurant was having an all you can eat cheese bar on Twitter via SeattleMaven. If you living in the Seattle area or you are coming to visit you must follow Ann. She knows what's going on and points out good deals all day long.
So I convinced the girls that this was the place to go. As for the cheese bar I was expecting any where from 6-10 cheeses and some crackers. Not this:
There were about 30 cheese, plenty of crackers, nuts, dried fruits, caviar, and quince paste. It was an amazing spread for $12 a person! The waiter said this would be going on for a while so if you are in the area and like cheese go! And they had all different kinds from Bries to cheddar and everything in between.
I also got a salad with argula and artichokes. Yummy!
And Marta and Ashley got the popcorn soup. It actually tasted really good and a little sweet.
And the chef at Art used to be at Cascadia before it closed. A Cascadia he was famous for his sliders. Well he brought them to Art and we had to have them.
Definitely the best sliders ever.
It was a great meal. I can't wait to go back!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Useless Kitchen Gear

There's a kitchen store near my work that's having a big sale so I had to see if there was anything I wanted. I kept my purchases to kitchen tools rather than more expensive pots and pans. Since I didn't have much time I only bought this:

It's a Fridge Fork! I thought it would be useful for olives and pickles. I might have to get another one for Tai's Kimchi.
But I might go back for these:

Ok, most of these aren't useless. I almost bought another zester. I definitely need another colander.  And another silpat!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg 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!
So this week I got Channel Zero a new (to us) graphic novel from Brian Wood. Hopefully we like it more than DMZ. And then Tai found Magic To The Bone, a new to him series. It looks interesting and right up his alley.
I've just finished Fluke so I need to write a review for the Filling In The Gaps challenge blog. Tai's really liking Bitten. I think he'll stick with that series.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You Say Gamer Like It's A Bad Thing

While at a party over the weekend, I had the following exchange with another woman.

Her: I heard your husband got a new job. Where does he work?
Me: Insert local game company name here.
Her: Oh I'm sorry.
Me: Huh?
It turns out that this woman had some preconceived ideas of gaming. She told me that gamers particularly those who role play like to dress up like the game characters. She doesn't want her 2 teenage sons to get into D&D especially.
I was so confused cause this isn't the first time I've met her and she knows that we play games (board games, video games, etc). And I've never seen Tai dress up like a dwarf (not even on Halloween). Some people do enjoy dressing up but that's not limited to game players. Has she ever heard of a Star Trek convention?
So when I open mouth and insert foot I usually stop and reverse as quickly as I can. But this lady seemed to be ok rattling on her preconceived notions. I accept that she doesn't get it and I wasn't going to sell her anything she didn't want to buy, so I switched the subject when I could.
Do you have preconceived notions about people who play D&D? Should I dress up like an elf the next time I see her?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg 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 should rename this Tai's Library Loot since almost all of it his! Starting at the top, the next book in Laurell K Hamilton's Meridith Gentry series, Swallowing Darkness. Next the second book in the Northlander series, a new graphic novel we picked up. And since Tai liked World War Z, he wanted to check out Zombie Survival Guide. On the bottom row, we have Scent of Shadows, another series Tai decided to try. I heard about the Island in the Sea of Time on Seattle Metblogs and thought Tai might like to try it. And last, a book for me, Perfection which I thought I read about on Omnivoracious, but I guess not. And I didn't write it down so I don't know who to blame!
We finished the next 2 in the DMZ series. Niether of us were overly impressed by these. I don't know if we'll read book 7 when it comes in.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Winner, Winner & A Chicken Dinner!

Congrats to Jennifer who won the Old Bay Giveaway! Email your address so I can get your gift to you!
And I have another Old Bay recipe to share. This one came off the Old Bay container-Spicy Marinade for Chicken.
1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a dish or ziploc type bag. Add one pound of chicken and refrigerate for 20 or 30 minutes. Broil or grill.

It was a great quick, tasty meal. I paired it with some sweet peas. Yum!
Congrats again, Jennifer. I hope you share what you do with Old Bay Seasoning too!