Friday, May 31, 2013

Feature and Follow [12]: Live and In Person!

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow
This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.
Here are the general rules to Follow Friday:
1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - This week's feature blogs are: Mad Hatter Reads and The Fiction Conniption
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!

This week's question is: What blogger would you most like to meet in real life? Tell us about him or her.

There's no "most" about it. I have so many new friends from venturing into this wonderful world of blogging, I tell you what, if I ran into a person in the grocery line and she mentioned she blogged, I'd be her best friend. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but bloggers are awesome people. We click, click, click away to share our passion for stories and characters, to connect with other book people, to get away from the puzzled looks on our family's faces when we're outraged over the crap ending of a book we've been waiting a year to read. We're chatty, opinionated, crafty people. Basically we rock and I'd love to hang out with any book blogger. I will say that I was so lucky to stumble onto JC's Book Haven's blog to ask Jaclyn if she'd like to review my book, Soul Walker. We've become great friends. And from there, I met other bloggers I call friends.

Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven (now co-starring Melody whose reviews I look forward to stalking)
Rivie @ Bookshelf
Brandee @ Bookworm Brandee
Jodie @ Aussie Bookworm
Lexxie @ [un]conventional Book Views
Kaykay @ The Creative Forum
Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl
GoFlashGo @ Read, Rinse, Repeat
Snuggles @ Rainbows and Books

If I didn't mention you, I'm a jerk and never forgive me....Or take pity on a girl with spacing out issues.
I'd also like to note that I'm dying to add more to this post. I don't want anyone feeling left out. (can you tell I had dodgeball teams issues as a kid?)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Think Out Loud [11] Favorite Summer Recipes

Rain, rain, go away! 
Riddles aren't working, so I thought some positive thinking might do the trick. I'm going to share a couple of my favorite summer recipes in hopes the universe will freaking pay it the soggy Pacific Northwest! (totally self-serving, I know)

rob's salsa (AKA Madre's salsa and Ted's salsa from Soul Bender)
2 tomatoes
1 red or white onion
2 bell peppers
1 Jalapeno (optional)
3-6 lemons depending on size
fresh cilantro
garlic salt

1. Peeling the tomatoes: Boil a pot of water and place the two tomatoes in it for a couple minutes. You'll see the peel unraveling. Take them out and let them cool.
2. Onion time: I like using red onions because they're sweeter and offer great color to the salsa. I use at least half the onion. Reds also tend to make the salsa a bit spicy. Peel, run under cold water for a quick second, then cut in chunks for the food processor. Have a big bowl handy, this turns into a big batch. I like to blend separately, but if you want to go nuts and combine everything, have at it.
3. Here we go with the color: Cut and core the bell peppers and toss them in the processor next. This is also when you add the jalapeno if you want some heat.
4. Peel (and chop if you have to) the cool tomatoes. Add them to the thoroughly rinsed cilantro into the processor. (a little cilantro goes a long way)
5. Time for the zing. I like this salsa extra tangy. I use 3 or 4 big lemons or 5 or 6 small ones. Pour the juice  (watch for seeds) into the bowl with everything else and stir. 
6. Add about a tsp of garlic salt to start with. 
Stir, taste. Add more garlic salt or lemon depending on your preference. 

This salsa is amazing with nacho cheese Doritos. It's also great with fajitas, or plain old corn chips. There is a little dish that's kind of silly, but I love it so much. You crush a bowl of corn chips, add shredded cheddar cheese, and several spoonfuls of the salsa and stir. Oh my goodness!!!

Island style marinade and sticky rice
Low Sodium Soy Sauce (also comes wheat free)
2-3 lemons
1 onion
black or ground pepper
tiny hot peppers (optional)

medium grain rice + rice cooker

1. This recipe is made by the finger smacking approach, meaning you have to dip your finger in the marinade to test whether you have the right flavor. Start with a cup of soy sauce in a container. Consider making enough you can pour half into a bowl to spoon over the meet while you're cooking and then over your meat and sticky rice once the food hits the plate. 
2. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Start with 1-2 lemons. 
3. Chop (don't mince) 1/4 of the onion to start. I prefer yellow onion for this version of island style marinade. It has more tang.
4. Add a tsp of sugar and a dash of pepper. 
5. If you're brave and have gloves, break out the tiny hot peppers. Good luck with that.
TASTE...tweak here and there, more soy sauce, more lemon, more sugar. You want tang with a hint of sweetness. 

Separate the marinade so you have enough in a container for your meat, tastes amazing with beef or chicken. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Longer is better. You can either BBQ, broil in the oven, or saute in a pan. Sauteing is the only way you can use the marinade the meat soaked in, otherwise, you have to dump it and use the uncontaminated portion during the cooking process and after when preparing your plate.

Almost forgot the sticky rice. Rice cookers are so cheap and easy, I'm only a pro at making sticky rice with one. So here it is (it's so easy, I feel silly telling you). Pour however much rice you want into the cooker pot. Rinse it (not sure if this is a must, but my mom taught me this way). Level the rice by gently shaking it out, then add water. You use your finger to measure a single finger notch above the leveled rice. That's it, a single finger notch is the trick. Told you it was silly.

No rules, just what's on your mind. Join Think's awesome Think Out Loud meme!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

robgirlbooks' Flash Review Marathon (part 3) Oregon Zoo

My reviews tend to go on and on with fangirl love. I thought I'd try something different. This week I plan to share speedy blogger love that spans books, movies, and even a zoo.

Oregon Zoo is 64 acres of awesomeness. We drove down from Washington to Portland, Oregon. My 4 yr old couldn't wait to see the hippos. I really wanted to catch the flamingos. My eleven year old couldn't wait to get the special car toy that accompanies road trips. We expected 72 degree weather. It was 89. Yikes! We started off with easy directions from the website and then excellent road signs directing us to the alternate lot since the main one was full. The prices are great since it's such a big zoo. Then we walked for four hours, moving from one exhibit and habitat to the next. Eagles so close I couldn't believe how big they are. Polar Bears swimming and lazying around. Turtles and sea otters. Two mountain lions (wow, those guys are HUGE). Lions, tigers, leopards. Oh, bears. We saw bears and of course hippos. Giraffes (my mom's favorite). Flamingos, much smaller than they look on TV. My favorite by far has to be the bats. Oh man, they were huge and all wrapped up and hanging there. I could have stayed there for hours. Oh, oh, we saw an anaconda. Sheesh. There was a room so hot and humid I have no idea what was in it. I walked right through without stopping. After hours of walking (and at a brisk pace) we still didn't see everything. If you can fit Oregon Zoo into a trip to the Pacific Northwest, do it.

As a little side note, I'd like to thank my friend and fellow author/blogger, Cat McHahon, for posting her video of Oregon Zoo because I caught it on Google+ and planned our trip that very weekend.

Monday, May 27, 2013

robgirlbooks' Flash Review Marathon (part 2): Epic, Iron Man 3, Blood and Chrome, The Host, and How to Train Your Dragon

My reviews tend to go on and on with fangirl love. I thought I'd try something different. This week I plan to share speedy blogger love that spans books, movies, and even a zoo.

How to Train Your Dragon (animated movie): 4.5 STARS. My 4 yr old and my 11 yr old both love the whole dragon, underdog kid, snarky sidekicks bit. I loved the wonderful blend of drama and humor. After I put the kids to bed part way through the DVD, I finished the movie alone. I had shows waiting for me, but I couldn't wait to finish this one. That's how good it is. The reason for the missing .5 star has to do with how awesome they wrote the girl in the story only to have her kiss the boy just because she's a girl and he's a boy. The movie didn't need the kissing scenes even as short as they were. The TV series Dragons: Riders of Berk is based off the movie and it's even better.

The Host (movie): 4 STARS. It's very difficult to have a character in a movie have regular back and forth conversations in her head. It took time acclimating to that part of the story. Some of the casting was off for me. Ian was spot on. The special effects were excellent, especially the way the souls looked. I found the Seekers' silver cars and clothes distracting. And a few of my favorite parts of the book that gave Wanda depth were stripped from the movie. But I'd see it again and I love the effort and I love the main characters.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome: 4 STARS. I am a huge fan of the modern version of Battlestar Glactica. Luckily my public library has the entire series including the BSG NBC miniseries that started it all and Razor, which was just plain hardcore. I wish Blood and Chrome took after Razor, because it needed more of an edge (oh, ho, ho, get it, edge). Still, young Adama was spot on. I loved his arrogance and dead set belief in what is right and wrong. I loved that people didn't drop at his feet like he's some prodigy god. I thought some parts were predictable, then my guesses would be wrong, not predictable at all. There was a horror movie scene involving a cave I thought was silly instead of scary. We want a battle with the toasters, not Saturday horror TV night. It's very possible I'll watch anything BSG and company come up with, but I hope for the next venture they shoot for more...something, magic maybe because to me the series was plain magical.

Iron Man 3: 5 STARS. AWESOME!!! Tony Stark is my favorite arrogant, genius, billionaire superhero. His snark is always spot on. The mystery part of the story isn't such a mystery, but how Tony overcomes certain challenges is a treat to experience. The best aspect of the story comes in the form of sidekicks. Tony can't do it alone this time and he's not very graceful about it. Oh, the other best aspect is the seamless blend of special effects and acting. Sometimes you get these huge comic turned movie blockbusters that spend all their focus on mind-bending battles, car chases, and explosions. We get all that, but we get the fantastic script too!

Epic: 4 STARS. I went with my 4 yr old, my 11 yr old, my mom, and my sister. The previews were excellent (weird to mention, but they helped turn bouncing restless boys into eager moviegoers). The movie starts off with an oddball looking man running through the forest like a crazy person. The boys loved it. The animation was brilliant, especially in terms of nature and animals. The creators put a lot of attention into the three legged dog, maybe thinking the little beast would be a comedic anchor. Same with the snail and slug, and those two were great. They made me laugh the most. Sadly, the best scenes are in the previews I caught on Youtube. The storyline had heavy moments and scary moments. At one point my oldest was on the verge of tears and another time my youngest curled into my arm because it was too scary for him...but normally the 4 yr old loves scary. I thought it was fun, sometimes scary, and thoroughly captivating. Okay, and I really wish Pitbull's character Bufo broke out in song because I love him!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

robgirlbooks' Flash Review Marathon (Part 1) The Hollows book 1, Bloodlines 2 & 3

My reviews tend to go on and on with fangirl love. I thought I'd try something different. This week I plan to share speedy blogger love that spans books, movies, and even a zoo.

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead: 4.5 STARS. Jill is dating a human boy. Awesome Eddie and what the hell Angeline continue to act as guards and high schoolers, which just gets weird sometimes. Sad Adrian is even sadder because his ex-girlfriend's lover (yeah, I said lover) is in town to figure out this whole Strigoi turned back into Moroi business. And you have Sydney who has magic in her just dying to turn her into the worst alchemist of all time! I love the faster pace and funnier banter in the second installment of the Bloodlines series. I laughed out lout and maybe got a bit teary. In the midst of revelations and a setback or two, I discovered I actually like Sydney. Finally!

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead: 4 STARS. I know, everyone LOVES this installment of the Bloodlines series, but there were a couple things that made me talk back to the book and not in a "hey, how you doin" kind of way. The Marcus storyline and the Angeline storyline both fell flat for me. Mead seemed to let both build up and then peter out. There were times Sydney acted completely out of character or at the very least made me step out of the story to rationalize her actions in order to keep the peace. It also wasn't as funny as book 2. And yet I give it 4 STARS because Adrian and Sydney and their back and forth are just so awesome. They couldn't carry the whole book for me, not when Mead designed this series as an ensemble type deal, but still they were the entire show, that and the magic use.

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison: 4 STARS. I never thought I was the type to fall in love with a pixie, but holy goodness, Jenks is the most entertaining character I've come across in a long time. He's four inches of hostility and hotness. I know, weird. Rachel is a witch with chip on her shoulder and I respect that. Her world of friends is limited to Jenks and a vampire named Ivy. Ivy keeps tossing her thrall around. Rachel keeps alternating between terror and rapture. The world Harrison created was so elaborate and complete I had no idea what was coming and I couldn't wait to find out. The reason for the 4 STAR rating instead of top billing is the lack of romance. There's a wish-washy bit of batting eyelashes and eyeing of physiques, but that's it.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [18] Bad Guy Turned Good! (no spoilers-promise)

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type
• Share a picture and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment

Jaclyn picked a doozie for this week's Sidekick Saturday challenge. I can't read her pick or Lexxie's or Aussie Bookworm's! So here's my bad guy turned good. No spoilers-promise.

Tony Giodone from the Tales of Sazi books by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp (now the team go by Cat Adams) is a hitman for the mob turned werewolf. He meets Sue Quentin and decides to make his life more complicated by falling in love with a complete innocent. This is a straight up paranormal romance series. Sue verges on being wussy, but there is still something about her I find compelling. Tony's POV is sometimes shocking, which I guess is the draw. The Sazi books tend to conform to a bit of old school romance storytelling, and I still love this series. Tony is a jerk. He has almost no morals. And the evolution of his character happens slowly over the entire series. He bares his teeth often, loves his shiny guns, and fights much bigger dogs because that's all he knows how to do. He makes several appearances throughout the series. I love some books more than others and next year we get a new story arc. hehe.
"I'm an assassin. A killer-for-hire. If you have the money, I'll do the job. I like puppies, kids and Christmas, but I don't give a shit about your story-or your problems." (Hunter's Moon, ch. 1)

Oh boy. My sidekicks jumped in with the same answer to this week's challenge. And they're both from my Touched Girl series. Those who have read the books know exactly who they picked, so I'll leave it at. But I will share the conversation I had with my sister.
"Shan, time for this week's sidekick challenge."
"I have a quote."
"No, I have a quote for this week's sidekick."
"Shannon, you don't even know the theme yet."
"Robyn, I have a damn quote."
.....(I guess I was supposed to write the quote down)....(I do know it's from First Grave on the Right)
"Isn't that funny?"
"Yeah, but the theme is bad guy turned good."

(I will update this post with the quote.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Think Out Loud [10] Worst First Dates

I've been thinking about dating and how I do not have the best track record in this area.

High school, hot guy friend Marcello asks me to the Valentine's Day Ball. He's Italian and tall and a total player. I'm crushing hard on a different boy and we're only at the mild flirting stage, so I say yes to the dance. Enter an all day car wash, a bathing suit, and a stupid girl. My back was burned so bad it blistered all over, but my mom told me you never back out at the last minute. I went to the dance, severely pink faced and very grumpy. My first words to my amorous friend? "Touch me at all and I'll kick you in the nuts." The date was a big fat bust...totally my fault.

College, cute boy at my favorite coffee shop gets to talking to me and then asks me out. I give him my address...because really, I had no concept of reality. He knocks on my door only a few hours later. Holy goodness. He's wearing a dress. On our date. A dress he must have bought at Ross the same time I did because it looked just like mine, only without the tights. Soooo he took me to a lesbian bar. We went out several times after that, but I let him have at my closet first.

College again, neighbor with bright green hair asks me out. This one should have been obvious, but I really loved the particular green he chose, think Manga and anime. He was straight out of a Japanese comic! And I was an artist and stupid. This is him in the car after hours of revealing the Manga color was not a coincidence, "If I had to have sex with any guy it would be him." Him being his best friend whose house we just had to stop at on the way home. 

I've learned a lot since I was a kid, like not handing out my address to a total stranger. And not deciding to go out with a guy just because he chose a pretty green color to dye his hair. 

How about you, what have you been thinking about? Join Think's meme and have a chat!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Game of Tag!

Tag! You're an Author and You're "IT"

You may know this game, but not played in quite this manner before. So, Tag an author who is now "IT”. To play this game you have to share your Work in Progress (WIP) or it's a smacked bottom and straight to bed with no supper! Kaykay at The Creative Forum tagged me, and these are the rules:

· Give credit (including URL/link) to the person or Blog that caught you and  who made you "IT" I was caught fair and square whilst running away.

· Play by the rules - no pinching, kicking, spitting, Chinese burns, crying and definitely no tantrums! Which also means you must post the rules.

· You must answer 10 questions about your current WIP, no matter the genre, because possibly we may like to get to know each other a little better (to be honest it's only 9 because as the 10th question is really only the next step)

· List 5 other authors or Bloggers with their hiding places (URL/Links) so that they can be chased down and made "IT" so we can all go home now we've finished playing. Go in, eat supper, and check out THEIR books.

Q 1) What is the title (or working title) of your book?
Shadow Town 
Q 2) What genre(s) does your book fall under (or land near really!)?
Paranormal Romance
Q 3) What actors would you choose to play the characters in the film version of your book?
I can't cast my own characters without my Beta readers describing my picks as "interesting."
Q 4) What is the main outline for your book?
Damaged, foul-mouthed nineteen year old Maggie Lane manages the weirdest estates ever. She's always been weary of the majority of the residents she calls Shadows, then Damon Charles moves in. She wants more than anything to be on the other side of her painful past and finally experience love, but not with a Shadow. Too bad because her life is about to take her back to her past to unravel the ultimate question, why? The answer will shred her world as she knows it.
Q 5) Will your book be Indie published, self published or represented by an agency and sold to a traditional publisher?
Q 6) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Three weeks.
Q 7) What other books in this genre would you compare yours to?
Morganville meets Succubus Blues, then throw in a dash of the Kinsey Millhone mystery series 
Q 8) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The character that became Maggie Lane sat on my shoulder for a while before I found the right storyline for her. My college best friend had this edge when I first met her. I was a total kid who danced around and talked to too many strangers. She said the "f" word with feeling and flipped people off like she still lived in New York (and we were in Hawaii). 
Q 9) What else about the book might pique the reader’s attention? 
There's adventure, snark, and steamy romance. 
Q 10) Thank goodness!! Phew I've ran as fast as I can and these are the author's I've caught (and any who don't have a Blog of their own are welcome to have a sleepover at mine and post their answers here)
Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl
E.J. Wesley @ The Open Vein
Rivie @ Bookshelf
Jennifer Anne Davis (author of The Voice)
Amber @ Book Geek Speaks

Hey, if you're a writer/aspiring writer and want to play, drop me a line and I'll tag you. No one gets excluded on my watch...on purpose.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [17] LOYAL!!

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type
• Share a picture and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment

I'm so excited about this week's challenge because I can finally cast Marshal from E.J. Wesley's Moonsongs series. A few months ago I won Blood Fugue and Witch's Nocture in a giveway. I fell in love with the novelettes and quickly bought Dark Prelude, book 3 when it came out in April. Jenny is the star of the show, but she's nothing without her best friend Marshal. He's amazing, annoying, outspoken, funny, and of course LOYAL. Jenny's life takes a dramatic turn for the bizarre in book one, and Marshal is right there by her side. Here's a tidbit of a character interview I did with Jenny and Marshal last month when I reviewed Dark Prelude (which I gave 4.5 STARS).

Marshal, if Jenny gave you carte blanche with her style, what would you change?

Marshal: *claps hands together and turns to Jenny* First is the hair—the purple faux-hawk was cool on Joan Jett in like 1984 or something.

Jenny: Hey, I thought you said it was alternative chic? And Pink’s look isn’t that far off, so don’t act like I’m the first—

Marshal: *clears throat* My question! As I was saying, ditch the hair, the cargo pants, the tacky videogame t-shirt that I totally don’t get, the—well, everything. We’d give her a shoulder length bob with angles sharp enough to cut tomatoes, a skirt to show off those long legs, and maybe something sleeveless to accentuate her shoulders.

Jenny: *glares*

Marshal: What? You have pretty shoulders. If you didn’t dress like an angry tarp, people might actually notice. When you aren’t running around the house in your underwear that is.

Jenny: See the sharp, pointy tool in my hand? That’s what I think you should notice.

I'm pretty sure without Marshal to argue with Jenny would start attacking random people in her Texas town, not with her scary tomahawk, but with that brazen mouth of hers.

Now for my own sidekicks. My wonderful mother chose Jared from Soul Walker (which I wrote). Jared is amazingly loyal. Sheesh, the guy will even damn himself seeking revenge if you get yourself murdered, he's that loyal. He might fall for your girl, but don't quit on him for that because he never quits on anyone.

Sister time. I was all prepared to give Shannon snark. I called last night so she had time to think about it, but I heard her eager voice while I talked to our mom. I knew something was up immediately. Then she hopped on the phone. "I have a pen, Shan. Go on with your Kelly Meding selection." She laughed, but I grew up with that laugh. "I choose Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley." Shit. She knows Harry Potter is book blogging gold. She knows you never get the wrong answer if you tap into that treasure chest. Sneaky. I had nothing...for all of twenty seconds. "Okay, I'm ready for your quotes." "You are such a shit, Robyn." I'm nodding, but still on the phone and laughing. I almost never contribute quotes to the posts because I'm a library girl and don't have immediate access to the books. I tell her it was a low blow going with Harry Potter. She agreed, but told me I deserved it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Think Out Loud [9] Fantasy Land

This week I was fortunate to join my son and his fifth grade class on a field trip to the EMP Museum in Seattle.

Seattle Center, Space Needle, Experience Music Project, Sci-Fi Museum
(By Go Card USA from Boston, USA (Seattle Center - Space Needle - EMP - SciFi Museum) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

The perfect museum for downtown Seattle. We're talking pop culture mania. I didn't get to spend much time enjoying every nook and cranny because I was assigned six kids to watch (including my son). But then we headed to the fantasy exhibit. I got to see Xena's outfit, the lion's costume from the original Wizard of Oz, along with costumes from The Princess Bride and a slew of other sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV shows. Also on display were hand written pages from the early stages of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. The kids loved the mechanical dragon the most, especially Will.

I realized Will lives most of his life in a fantasy realm, part video games, part movies, part his immediate family. One of the facets of his autism happens to be echolalia, mimicking. I waited a long time for his first word, then even longer for his first genuine word spurred by his own motivation to speak. I remember it clearly. I was tucking him in bed. He was four and a half and I walked through whatever routine we had at the time. That night I sneezed and for the first time he said, "Bless you, Mom." I have to tell you with a hard of hearing husband (divorced now) and a son with autism no one had said bless you to me in years and then to be called mom, I bawled my eyes out.

Will goes back and forth between lines from his fantasy world and his real feelings. Think of Bumblebee from Transformers. His voice-box/translator/something is busted so he uses lines from songs to communicate. Will does that, but he uses dialogue he's memorized. I thought about how much I love his optimism because there is nothing more optimistic than believing good triumphs over evil, that superheroes exist, that he can be a superhero. I don't want to take that away from him, but I also want him to live here in the present. I had an idea. I have this juvenile fiction story I created that's on hold. I thought why not write it with my boys. Will can help me create a story so he can see fiction as it's being made. Maybe I can help him understand the difference between pretend and real. Maybe all that will happen is a new addition to the library of go-to lines, but you always have keep trying stuff.

I'm not sure how to start. I have the names. I have a premise. A rough sketch in my mind of the alternate world I want to create. How do I bring the boys into it so they own part of the story? I have to figure out that part. I also have to make it a part of our weekly routine. Maybe have a big sheet of paper taped to the wall where they can spout ideas and I can jot them down immediately. Hmm. Any ideas? Suggestions?

Have something stirring around in that head of yours? A joke you want to share? How about a quote or your favorite song? Join Think's awesome meme because we'd love to hear form you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Oh Mercy! robgirlbooks' Review of Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned
by Patricia Briggs
Published by Ace Hardcover (3/5/13)
352 pages
My Own Copy
4.5 STARS!!!

Mercy Thompson takes her stepdaughter shopping on the eve of Black Friday. Much complaining and a sizable fender bender lead to a terrifying discovery; the mate bond between Mercy and Adam has gone quiet. Our favorite heroine switches to stealth mode to find out what's wrong because she's poked the supernatural beast enough to know something really bad has decided to bite back. With Bran busy negotiating with the Fae and almost every pack member unreachable, Mercy teams up with unlikely helpers and like always takes on more than she can chew.

The moment I cracked open Frost Burned, I happily fell into Briggs' easy style of storytelling. I love Mercy's snark, especially when she's cranky. And she's cranky about shopping when she should be rubbing her full belly after a big Thanksgiving Day dinner. She's always had this air of maturity, but she seemed extra grown up in this installment. She's a step mom now. She has an entire pack to worry about, as well as her mate who is in some kind of danger that has him in pain and raging pretty hard. She mentions several times she would like to hand over the decision making to someone better equipped, yet the fate of the world and her loved ones reside right there on her shoulders. I remember in Moon Called she wore the same cocoa stained shirt forever. I wanted to personally escort her to a hot shower. This time she's battered by one event after another with no sleep, no food, no medical care. I wanted to bandage up her many scrapes, feed her some soup, and tuck her in bed.

Along with the action starting up right away, we're treated to Adam's POV. It's a switch up to her previous Mercy books. And it's awesome! I would have liked a little more man-type thoughts. Most of them revolve around his monster-ness. Doesn't he know Mercy loves all of him? To counter the warm fuzzies inspired by insight into one of our favorite characters, Briggs kills us a little bit by revealing a less cool Stephan. What is happening to our favorite vampire? He's so dark. I want to slap him out of his funk, but then he'd just kill me for it. And I'm not entirely sure I want a friendly Stephan again. Maybe I like a potentially evil former Scooby fan lurking about.

The mystery part of the story is great in that I had no idea what/who was the big bad. I had my guesses, oh and my author judgements. "Patty, come on. That is so obvious." Ha! I was wrong with every dang guess. Some of that had to do with too much misdirection. The action was riveting. Briggs added new elements, new ways to fight, and new types of things to fight.

I loved Frost Burned. I couldn't read it fast enough, yet I tried to take my time. I haven't started stalking Briggs' website (which has had a complete makeover!), but I'm sure any day now I'll start hunting down the next big release date.

Talking points for those who have read Frost Burned.

The romance part in some ways was wonderful. Mercy loves Adam. We love Adam. It's all good. But come on, Briggs. They did it in Silver Borne. You can't reclaim your Urban Fantasy genre status because we've been rooting for this romance too long and you already gave it to us and we sat through a wedding ceremony. So give us the dang sex. Grrh. Anyone else feel this way, that Briggs was holding on to keeping this series light on romance when that ship has already sailed?

After reading the third book in the Alpha and Omega series, Fair Game, I wondered how Briggs' was going to address the fact that she just remapped the world. Briggs does a good job of filling in the blanks for those who need a refresher. For those who opted out of reading the Alpha and Omega series, they'd have the basics, but not the justifiable anger the Fae feel toward the human justice system. Was there too much backstory in this installment? Not enough? I personally do not like backstory. I want the most minimal possible to keep the read fresh and exciting and still fluid with the series.

I know Mercy is smart, but there were a few showy moments in this book where I felt like the stupid one at a cocktail party. Sheesh, even Tony said, "I and the police department..." or some such. Mercy had just used the same sentence structure pages earlier. It didn't feel like the way you'd expect conversation to naturally flow. I guess this one's more of a gripe than a talking point.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [16] FIERY!!

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type
• Share a picture and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment
This week's challenge is FIERY. I love it! Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven chose Christian Ozera from the Vampire Academy series. Best pick ever! Christian is part jerk, part hero, all the way firestarter!
I'm choosing Della Tsang from C.C. Hunter's Shadow Falls Series. Della is getting her own spinoff, but in the mean time the girl is the epitome of fiery. She's an Asian American teen vampire who was probably fiesty before she became a bloodsucker. She constantly fights with Miranda, one of her best friends and a witch who is quick to twitch her picky...meaning quick to throw a spell around. Della's hostility comes and goes especially if she has a crush on you. Yikes! I love her. Underneath the super speed, strength and pointy fangs the girl is all heart. She's vulnerable and lonely and sweet. But all that exists under layers of snark and death threats.

So here's my sidekick part of Jaclyn's Sidekick Saturdays. My mom bounced a few ideas around until settling on Dixie Weaver from A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams. Dixie is the outspoken best friend to Olivia, the main character who's not short on fiery either. Oh, Dixie also happens to be a rollerskating dwarf.

"I'm not little." 'Little' implies young or innocent. Like a cute puppy or a baby bird. I'm a middle-aged waitress with a litter of children and a permanent tan. I smoke and do shots of tequila and I'm not cute." (pg.5)

Now for my sister. You will not believe it. She's using the character from last week, only this time she told me his name. Ack! I have to confess, I cannot remember it. D-something? So I'm going with her first pick, Eve Rosser from Rachel Caine's Morganville series. I told her I thought Eve cried too much to be considered fiery. At the time Shan was committed to her choice. Ha! Now she's stuck with it. hehe

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Feature and Follow [11] Mother's Day Special!!

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow
This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.
Here are the general rules to Follow Friday:
1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - This week's feature blogs are: Counting in Bookcases and
The Nerd Herd
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
This week's question is: Happy Mother's Day! Who is your favorite mom from fiction?
Any one who hasn't read River Marked, stop reading this post. I don't want to spoil anything for you. Okay, I've done my spoiler alert duty. I'm going with a stepmom.  

In River Marked, Adam and Mercy get married and go on their honeymoon. All hell breaks loose of course. But that doesn't change the fact that Mercy is now a stepmom to Jesse. She's an awesome kid with a super alpha dad and a shitty mother. Mercy bakes homemade cookies, always tells Jesse the truth, and risks everything for her family, even for the ones who want to take a chomp out of her hide. This maybe an unpopular opinion, but I'd love to see Adam and Mercy have a baby, for now, Mercy is doing a grand job as a stepmom, especially in Frost Burned, the 7th installment.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Think Out Loud [8] Time for some Escapism!

Today has been one of those days. I'm sure there are moms out there who take the punches gracefully, who swallow their frustrations, who still manage a small smile at the total terrors wreaking havoc on her sanity, unicorn moms I call them. They exist, but I don't behave too great around them. Since exercising didn't work. Homemade pizza did not work. Watching back TV shows and finally working through a tricky scene in my next novel didn't work, oh and the woman at the grocery store going out of her way today to give me a pep talk about motherhood, making me cry right there at Fred Meyer's and then hugging me didn't work, I've decided to focus on escapism. Specifically the movies, TV shows, and books I'm looking forward to in the near future (meaning between now and the end of summer). 

Movies in the theaters
Iron Man 3
Star Trek (no brainer for me-I loved the original movies, I loved the last release, and this one looks so good)
(sorry that's it for near future)

Movies on DVD
The Hobbit
Safe Haven
Silver Linings Playbook
(I'm on the wait list for all of them at my library-yay!)

TV Shows
Longmire on A&E (Walt's got a girl, maybe)
The Glades on A&E (No more long distance romance...please!)
Covert Affairs on USA (What the heck was in that file folder?)
Burn Notice on USA (Fi, baby, don't be so mad at Michael)
Big Brother on CBS (because I can't help it, okay?)

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine
Chosen at Nightfall by C.C. Hunter
Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Oh, and my friend Snuggles at Rainbows and Books has a Reading for Whimsy feature on her blog, so I'll be reading either The Great Gatsby (again) or To Kill A Mocking Bird (which was my vote)
I almost forgot, Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven flipped my switch about Kim Harrison. So I'll have a book from that series at the ready for a while since I'm only on the first one.
Lastly, I'll be reading at least one Craig Johnson book (the Walt Longmire series - adapted to the TV series I mentioned above).

Come and play. Vent, chat, sing, post whatever is on your mind. Think Out Loud is just that kind of meme!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hunters, Vamps, and a Whole Lot of Ego! robgirlbooks' Review of Promises to Keep by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Promises to Keep (Den of Shadows 9)
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
258 pages
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 12, 2013)
Borrowed the  book from the library

Jay comes from a line of witches with a long history battling vampires. He takes his chosen path as a hunter seriously, about the only thing in his life he treats this way. Otherwise the nineteen year old lives a nomadic existence. Then he scores an invite to the vamp party of the year. No witch or hunter would dare attend, except for Jay. That one night changes the world as we know it. (And I blame Jay completely.)

This is not a stand alone book. And those Den of Shadows fans out there might want to familiarize themselves with the series again before diving into this read. Rhodes is one of my favorite authors. She has an easy style of writing that I love. Jay is charismatic and one of the most interesting characters I've come across. He lives for the hunt, both for the rush and adventure of it, and because he believes it's his duty to stand between innocents and evil. I also enjoy the wide range of morality the vampires possess. At times you find yourself rooting for an evil bloodsucker and then you shake your head, "but she's one of the bad guys, right?" I like that.

I wish I had studied up before reading Promises to Keep because a lot of names were mentioned (especially in the recap at the end). Also as much as I love Jay, part of his drive seemed too ego driven for me to fully cheer him on. There were times I wanted to shake his shoulders and tell him "Knock it off and stop making everything worse!" My last gripe has to do with his flirting and romantic interests. Rhodes took this aspect of the book in two different directions, then watered it down to the point I felt like I was misreading the signals. Did Jay want to hook up with the hot male vamp or was he falling in love with the partly evil female vamp? I would have been happy either way, but the wish-washy back and forth left me annoyed.

I gave this book 4 stars despite my issues with it because I couldn't stop reading it and because I really did enjoy my time with Jay and all the chaos he triggers.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Road Trip Songs for the Kids

Western Washington hit a spell of amazing weather this weekend. My first thought like always when the meteorologists promise the impossible, BEACH!!! We live over three hours from Long Beach, WA, but it's worth it. We were hoping for seventies, but hit 80's instead. What a boon. Oh, we consists of my two boys, my sister, and my mom. But with over 6 hours of driving time total all in one day, we have to be armed with entertainment...MUSIC. For all those who plan to take to the road with children, here are a few of my favorite songs/albums.

My boys rock out hard when they listen to The Imagination Movers. Okay, so do I. The music is fun and easy to pick up...even for me.

My mom always asks, "Who is this?" "They Might Be Giants, mom." "Or they might not be."

Warning: The song One Small Voice by Kenny Loggins & Kids can turn your happy sister into a griping grouch until the song ends, then when your son who loves slow songs asks you to replay it and you do, be prepared. It's not a pretty sight.

This album will inspire some hip shaking and possibly your kids shouting from the backseat for you to stop singing. Also, if you are not musically inclined and have no music memory it's possible a single song lyric will stick in your head for weeks, keeping you up at night, sneaking past your lips as you walk your kids to school. You've been warned.

VeggieTales is Christian based and their songs are ridiculous, but man, my kids love them, especially the Pirate song and the Bunny song. I do not know why.

Check the library because it seems this CD is out of stock. There's a song along the lines, "M-O-M-M-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E." My kind of song. A little goes a long way for this pick.

Pete the Cat is a wonderful series of books with I Love My White Shoes being my favorite. This song closely matches the book and my boys love both! Other books with great songs are Brown Bear Brown Bear and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (spell this one correctly on Amazon or else...yikes!)

Don't forget tapping into movie soundtracks. Madagascar, Chicken Little, Cars, Tangled, Mulan, Curious George. Or TV shows like Yo Gabba Gabba and Playhouse Disney. Think about throwing in some classics like Queen's We Will Rock You. Kids love rock! I suggest making mixed CD's. It's just more fun that way. Happy Driving!!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [15] SHIFTER!!!

Sidekick Saturday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type
• Share a picture and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment
Arctic wolf canis lupus family canidae or plains tundra or timber wolf
(By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
I choose Ben from Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series.
(gdcgraphics [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

He's awful, the most sexist character I've read where he's not the bad guy and yet he's won me over completely. I just love him. He's one of the most loyal to Adam in the pack, plus he loves Warren and Kyle. That's right, he loves them even if he'd never put it like that. He's particularly on my mind right now because I'm 2/3 through Frost Burned, the 7th book in the series (and it's so good). He hasn't had much opportunity in this installment to throw out the "c" word, but that doesn't mean he's worked through his issues.

I posed this challenge to my mom and sister. So my sister...first she suggested a shifter in the second book of her Kelly Meding series. That's how she put it, like that is information. I grilled her, she repeated herself. I told her she's fired. I bugged her about it later, but she went back to her first and only pick. I suggested Perry from the C.C. Hunter Shadow Falls series. She was real excited about that choice, but I saw the stubborn glint in her eyes. So her pick is some nameless hot shifter in the second book in a series I haven't read. (She's aware my brattiness carried over from our conversation to this post.)

My mom struggled because the only paranormal books she reads are mine. I even wrote a shifter series, but it was during my divorce and let me tell you it's bloody and the men do not fare well. Then her eyes lit up, "Does the person have to shift into an animal?" She chose someone from Soul Bender who truly shifts into something else. Can't say who without it being a spoiler.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Think Out Loud [7] Heroes

I've been thinking about heroes lately. Last week, my 4 year old ran ahead while I was locking the door to our apartment. I knew he would stop at the stairs, but I heard a funny sound. My eleven year old heard it too. He ran faster than me. When I appeared on the scene, a little yapper dog was being strangled by his leash as he made every attempt to bite John. Will jumped in front of his younger brother, throwing his arms wide. "I'll protect you." Just so you know, these two are mortal enemies most of the time. I jumped up and down and clapped. The dog owners thought we were a bunch of crazies, but who cares? This was huge. The two flights of stairs down to the parking lot were spent with me letting John know that his older brother loves him so much he just saved him and letting Will know that he was so neato.

Heroes. They come in all shapes and sizes. My most memorable hero has to be the mean white kid back when I was in elementary. That's what I called him, still call him because I have no idea what his name is and he was mean and white. The only other white kid in our class and he still called me honky and haole (sounds like howly) despite being keenly aware of how much it hurt to be teased about your race. One day on a field trip to the military base, I had wandered away from the group (happened a lot). I wanted to see what a white person's church looked like (think beige). I sat in a pew near the front and spaced out on things way beyond my comprehension (also happened a lot). One of my classmate's uncles suddenly appeared in front of me. I forgot he tagged along on the field trip. I knew I was in trouble. I had heard about him. All the kids had, but on Guam when I was a kid, sexual abuse was handled in-house. I couldn't move, not even when he sat down next to me, or when he put his hand on my leg. Then the main church doors pushed open. There was the mean white kid. Harsh sunlight haloed his frame and I swear he was an angel to me at that moment, still when I think back, I hear music like the heavens opened up. "Robyn, get out here!" I flew out of the pew, out of the church. I loved him, still do. I never developed a crush on him. Hell, I didn't even try to remember his name. He never took a break from calling me names. But I saw the look on his face, he knew what was about to happen. He saved me.


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