Tuesday Book Talk

Let’s talk books!

Just Read

I finally sat down and read this one.
Pagan Fire by Teri Barnett

Why I picked it up: The title actually drew me in on this one. Then the back blurb hooked me.

What I liked: I predicted I’d enjoy the Celtic mythology which I did. The story intrigued me from page one and moved forward with a steady pace. The brutality of the time period wasn’t shied away from nor was it graphically in your face which I appreciated. The author obviously did a lot of research and it didn’t come out as info dumps. And while I wasn’t expecting a HEA the author delivered one for me :)

What I disliked: I predicted being worried about the mixed reviews which were founded. The narration, at best, is omnipresent and, at worst, a bundle of head hopping, neither of which I have much patience for.

Just Read

Because, once again, I’m between books at the moment.

Master of the Opera by Jeffe Kennedy (click on the covers to go to Amazon)

Why I picked it up: Phantom of the Opera, duh. Don’t those covers just draw you in…?

What I liked: This was a nice twist on the Phantom. Set in New Mexico, with Native American themes running through it, and modern day; we have Christine arriving as a prop apprentice, Roman (Raul) as her childhood sweetheart, and the Master (Phantom). The author wove a wonderful who-done-it tale with my beloved POTO story. We have the tragic hero in the Master. I wanted him to win just as much as I have ever wanted Eric to. Christine isn’t quite as naive as her namesake, though she has her moments. 5 stars all the way.

What I disliked: I’m not a fan of the serial, so waited until all the parts were published. I wish this was available in a single eBook for my keeper file :)

SPOILER: This had the HEA I’ve always wished for Eric to find. Thank you Jeffe!

Just Read

Because, once again, I’m between books at the moment. Yeah, I’m sounding like a broken record.
Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Why I picked this up: I honestly don’t remember. It was sitting on my eReader for some time before I clicked it open. I’m guessing the blurb caught my eye.

What I liked: I was pleasantly surprised by this tale. It reads like you’ve picked up someone’s diary and it works really well for this story. The main character is Vida and she’s been dying her whole life. There’s quite the emotional ride as we follow Vida and her quest for life and discovery of self. Which is all I’m going to say because I don’t want to ruin the tale for you. This rates one of my rare 5 stars.

What I disliked: I can’t say there was anything I disliked. I will say those who don’t hold with cellular memory will likely find a lot of this story requires the reader to suspend belief.

What are you reading and loving at the moment?

Happy Father’s Day!

May YOU not be all by yourself.

You’ve probably already seen this but, hey, I live in Vegas. BTW, I have NEVER seen McCarran this empty. Ever.

Even Celine Dion loved it!

And the behind the scenes…

Wishing all you dads out there a wonderful day

with the ones you love!

Ten on Tuesday: Live

ToT-ButtonThe Ten on Tuesday topic for June 3rd is 10 Bands (or individuals) You Have Seen in Concert. Better late than never :)

Health Update

I’m a figment of your imagination today as I’m attending my nephew’s wedding, visiting family, and spending a day with BFF.

Send good thoughts to That Man for holding down the fort :)


I’m back to walking 2 miles every morning with Beastie Girl. We’re out the door at 5 AM on the dot, because it’s already freakin’ 80+, and back by a quarter to 6 depending on the route we take. I’m hoping to work up to 3 miles but need to work on my speed a bit. No more attempting to run for me! Doctor’s orders.

I’m officially down 11 pounds since I started this trek. Yay!

However, that means I also recalculated my daily calorie intake/burn numbers, something I plan to do every 10 pounds lost so I stay on track. I lost 40 calories a day, boo hoo. I decided to keep the burn amount the same for now. Once I reach 1200 calories per day I’ll definitely have to work on increasing the number of calories I burn each day.

More than the weight loss, though, I feel healthier and have more energy.

Tasty Tuesday: Stuff Peppers

When I decided to return to a vegetarian diet I had to pull out some of my old favorites, you know, the recipes the males in my house won’t eat because, gasp, veggies!

Here’s a simple one I like to do on nights when I’m making rice as a side for the family anyway.

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Stuff Peppers1 medium red bell pepper, cut lengthwise

4 tablespoons cooked rice

1 tablespoon chopped green onion

1 tablespoon chopped tomato

1 tablespoon feta cheese

1 tablespoon pine nuts

Mix the rice, onion, tomato, cheese, and pine nuts. Fill the pepper halves. Wrap in foil and cook at 35o for about 20 minutes or until the pepper is cooked through. Makes one serving of approximately 425 calories.

Add a side salad and this is a great low calorie dinner.


Thank you to our men and women for your service ~ past, present, and future.

And thank you to all the military families for your sacrifice.

Video I Love: Movie Hat Tricks

Yeah, a wee theme going on there :D

What movies have you seen three or more times?

Getting Healthy in 2014

Back at the beginning of the year I stated I was going to lose 50 pounds this year.

Yeah, that hasn’t exactly gone as planned.

Around my one-year anniversary at the Day Job I realized I’d put on 10 pounds since starting. :head desk:

And the birthday rolled around with the realization the big 50 is looming all that much closer.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • I downloaded Hydro on my phone. This app allows you to set your choice of measuring units and your weight, gender, and lifestyle. It calculates how much water you should drink daily. You also have the option of hot day and/or strenuous activity. It then reminds you every hour (or whatever notification alarms you set). This alone has helped me constantly increase my water intake to the point I regularly exceed my daily goal.
  • I also downloaded C25K. Due to my bum knee, my plan had been to power walk the running segments of this program. Sadly, this aggravated the injury. I’m not ready to give up on this program but it’s on hold for now.
  • The big change occurred when we changed cell carriers and I upgraded my phone to the Samsung S5. One of the standard features on this is something called S Health. S Health has a Pedometer, Exercise (walking, running, biking, hiking) Tracker, Heart Rate Sensor, Food Diary, Weight Tracker, and a “Coach.” I’m still learning my way around all of this stuff. (Samsung has wearables that work with S Health but I’ve seen less than stellar reviews of them.)
  • The first thing I did was activate the Pedometer. The second, order an arm band for my phone, LOL. It showed me just how inactive I’d become. Rather shocking considering the wee beasties pull me in a gazillion different directions. In fact, I’ve only managed to reach the 10,000-step goal once since Easter weekend. Because I can’t carry my phone around all the time with me at work I still plan to get a wearable pedometer.
  • The Weight Tracker was next, only because I needed to fill in that info during the profile set-up, but I’ve been steadily entering my weight each morning since April 30th.
  • When I realized the C25K wasn’t going to work for me at this time I turned on the Exercise feature. You can set this either by distance or time. You do need the GPS feature turned on to track the distance. It signals the start, half-way, almost there, and goal complete marks and will work with Pandora running.
  • Then I did a kick-start. A co-worker of mine has a friend who is a holistic coach and has a juicing business. One of her programs is a 3-day cleanse which I completed. I dropped 7 pounds in those 3 days. Since I’m drinking more than my recommended water intake I know this was not just water weight.
  • Based on recommendation of this holistic coach, I now also drink 16-20 ounces of water each morning BEFORE I even roll out of bed. I just take up a big glass of ice water with me when I go to bed, so yes, it’s room temp in the morning. This water shouldn’t have anything in it, like lemon juice, because when you add stuff like that to your water your body needs to metabolize the additive before it can metabolize the water. Who knew.
  • During the cleanse I made the decision officially return to a vegetarian diet. I also researched what my daily calorie intake should be for maximum weight loss and how many calories I should be burning each day. I updated my settings accordingly.
  • By making sure I have pre-measured snacks and eat something every few hours, I’m not hungry. In fact, I often have a hard time MEETING my daily calorie goal.

Now, I have not managed to lose any additional weight yet but nor have I gained any back. I’m sure once my knee is appropriately healed and I can return to my morning walks with Beastie Girl the weight will start dropping again.

Other things down the pike:

  • Regular massages. I’ve been reading up on the health benefits and decided to add them to my routine.
  • Joining Curves (or similar) for strength training.
  • Joining a Yoga class because it isn’t happening at home. I’m also sure more regular, and consistent, practice in this will help my knee.

I have an initial goal to reach before Christmas. With a secondary goal to reach before my next birthday. I’ll keep you posted :)

How do you stay healthy?

Ten on Tuesday: Continuing to Learn

ToT-ButtonToday’s prompt is Ten Things (Or Subjects) You Wish You Knew More About

  1. Tarot. Yes, I know that may seem strange given the amount of Tarot on this blog but I feel I have just touched the tip of the iceberg.
  2. Gardening. I want to do more to help save on our food bill :cough: four boys (two of which are teens!) :cough: and reduce our footprint a bit.
  3. Yoga. I do it but, like Tarot, feel I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg.
  4. Exercise. I need to learn more non to low impact exercise options. I’ve, once again, aggravated an old knee injury :sigh:
  5. Gaelic. I would love to learn Scottish Gaelic. I’ve found Irish Gaelic courses online but not Scottish.
  6. Celtic Holidays. I want to incorporate more into our family life.
  7. Celtic Traditions. I want to incorporate more into our family life.
  8. Plotting, Writing, and Editing. I want to continue to learn the process and grow.
  9. History. I’ve always been fascinated by Celtic and Native American/Canadian First Nation history and religious beliefs.
  10. Goal Setting and Time Management. This area can always improve.

How about you, what thing/subject do you wish you knew more about?

Tuesday Book Talk

Let’s talk books!

Just Read

Relentless, Pieces of You, and Bring Me Home by Cassia Leo

Why I picked it up: The first one was a freebie from somewhere and I was sucked in enough to grab up the other two. The first one can stand alone to a degree but the others don’t, at least for me. (Note: there’s a fourth book, Abandon, featuring secondary characters.)

What I liked: This one falls under the Young Adult genre and I think it delivers nicely. The characters are all late teens/early twenties when the story opens. There’s not much I can say about this trilogy without spoilers. The story centers around Claire. Claire has been dealt a crappy hand. She has two men who save her in different ways. It tugs at all the right heartstrings for me.

What I disliked: While I understand the need for multiple POV characters, especially in the third book, I felt it drew away from the central arc of the story a bit. I would have preferred the POV limited to Claire, Chris, and Adam.

Just Read (because I’m in between books at the time of posting this)

Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Why I picked it up: Moning is an auto buy for me. This is the first of the Fever series spin-off featuring Dani O’Malley, the spunkiest 14 to ever walk the fictional universe.

What I liked: It had everything I expected from Moning and the Fever world. Dani is a breath of fresh air character, though I suspect I’d be grayer, and probably bald, if I was her parent. We see poor Christian again, even get his POV, and I want to root for him because of who he is. The mysterious Ryodan is back and simply because of his relationship with Barrons I want to root for him. And we get to know Dancer who is so good for Dani you can’t help but hope he comes out on top. All in all, an awesome addition the series/world.

What I disliked: Moning is notorious for her cliff-hanger endings in the Fever series and this was no different. With Moning’s firm one book per year stance, I waited as long as I could to read this. (Book 2, Burned, is available for pre-order, coming out January 2015.) I will say there’s a bit of an ick factor in Ryodan and Christian’s fixation on Dani (IE: Adults lusting after a teen), but I trust Moning.

Will Read

Pagan Fire by Teri Barnett

Why I picked this up: The title actually drew me in on this one. Then the back blurb hooked me.

What I expect to like: The Celtic mythology.

What I expect to dislike: I’m a little worried about the mixed reviews I’ve seen, after I picked it up. Probably why this wasn’t the next thing I read back in December.

What are you reading and loving at the moment?

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