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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Remember when I reviewed Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger earlier this month? Well, when Netgalley gave me the opportunity to review the second book in the series, Curtsies and Conspiracies, and couldn't pass it up.

These books are some of the most fun reads I have had all year. They are beautiful, steampunk, young adult fiction that will keep you guessing how they are going to end. I love that these books are such a dramatic departure from my typical reading. They are filled with new words, some real, some not (I used my dictionary feature more with these books that most I read).

Curtsies and Conspiracies picks up the story of Sophronia Temminick after she has returned to Madame Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Girls of Quality. Her debut class undergoes their first big testing and the results are interesting. Sophronia soon has to figure out who her friends really are and who will be on her side when things take a turn for the different. 

Another interesting part of the book was the interest shown to Sophronia from a young man who has joined the school (along with his professor and several other students). Can Sophronia figure out his intentions? Does he really have any or is he just practicing his skills in flirtation?

Of course, Sophronia also gets herself into a heap of trouble along the way because of her insatiable curiosity, her unlikely friendships and her inability to stay out of other people's business.

This was a great book. I can't wait for book three to come out on November 5!

A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hay! Stop Being so Corny!

Over the weekend Pop Rocks and I enjoyed some family fun at a local corn maze. We went with our niece and several other adults. While we had fun, we did not have enough fun to justify the cost of admission. 

It was a bit of a racket. It cost us well over $20 to get in and while there were lots of activities included in that price, the only three that were not purely kid themed were the petting zoo, Corn Maze and the Hey! Hey! Hayride. I think the price should be considerably higher for kids than for adults.

This particular corn maze had their own currency which could be purchased when you paid for admission. We opted not to get any as we couldn't see that we would want it. Here was the kicker - there were pony rides, which was super exciting to the kids - but they looked like they were free. There was no sign saying they cost anything extra. So the guy doing the pony rides would wait until it was just about time to get on - while kids have been standing excitedly in line - and then start lining them up and letting parents know that is an additional $5. Oh and he only takes cash, not the special currency that you already purchased. WHAT????

I was glad that I wasn't having to cough up the extra money, but seriously! That is ridiculous.

This was my first experience with a corn maze/pumpkin patch. Is that what they are all like? I was really excited about the whole thing, but was severely disappointed with the experience. Maybe I will try a different one, but I for sure won't be going back to that place.

(And please, don't get me started on the cost of the pumpkins!)  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Min Pin Monday - 10.13.14

Its been awhile since we've had a Min Pin Monday post! I finally have a camera that I can actually get some pictures of the pups with, again. 

Don't let this picture fool you...


That my friends is the picture of entitlement. Back in the spring we started a evening routine of a teeth cleaning treat after dinner we decided to see if a teeth cleaning treat every day would help keep some chompers shiny. It worked for one of the little guys, but mama can't give one a treat without giving both a treat. 

The results are somewhere between ridiculous and adorable. See, Mary always moped around for the two hours leading up to dinner, if we're home. Now, she eats her dinner and then stands in that corner staring at the treat bag until she gets one. I didn't immediately realize what she was doing but, it became apparent the night I forgot to get her a treat. She stood, in the dark, staring for about two hours. I thought she was in the other room on the couch. 

Also, it should be noted that there was no treat in my hand when I was taking this picture. I was just trying to get a picture of Mary and Will assumed it was treat time and sat down (their trick for their treat). 

See ridiculously adorable!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Readers first meet 14 year old Sophronia when she is in her family's dumbwaiter trying to ease drop on one of her mother's visitors. This does not go as planned and Sophronia soon finds herself whisked away to finishing school.




This is a fun novel. It is important to note that it is a steampunk novel set in the victorian era. This adds to its charm, but took a bit to understand.

Unknowingly Sophronia has stumbled into a life very different than what she and her mother thought she would be getting at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. 

I really liked Gail Carriger's Etiquette and Espionage. The plot was fun and engaging. There was no sappy plot line that led to Sophronia in the middle of a love triangle. It was just the adventures of a spunky young girl trying to grow up and not lose herself. 

The plot was interesting and kept me guessing. There were several loose ends that I would guess will be tied up in the series later books. The main plot points, however, were finished and made this a stand alone book. I will probably be looking into the rest of the series (book three comes out November 5!) and the one that came before it, but is set later.

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Late Night Questions

"Are you heading to bed soon? If so, are you going to go to bed in a clean and organized bedroom, with happy kids in your home? Are you going to lie down feeling totally content and satisfied with your day? Happy with the direction your life is headed?
"If not, Erin, then please don't waste another day like this. You were meant for more!!"

I got this email the other weekend. I thought I would share my (somewhat annoyed and a bit sarcastic) answers here:

Are you heading to bed soon? Yes - I am. For the record, I happened to check my email right before bed the day I received this. I don't normally do that, nor do I normally open the emails from this company. But, I needed to take Mary out (in the rain) and was trying to give Will a chance to relax and not scream about not getting to go outside. 

If so, are you going to bed in a clean and organized bedroom? No - I am not. I have enjoyed my day of total rest (the first in twelve days) and did not bother to clean and organize my bedroom today. 

With happy kids in your home? No - I do not have kids. But, hey thanks for thinking that I am less of a woman because of that one fact. I do have two dogs, a husband who works really hard, a full-time job outside of the home, and a rich family life on both sides. My life and plate are completely full.

Are you going to lie down feeling totally content and satisfied with your day? Yes - I am! I have enjoyed a day of doing nothing in fact... I read one whole book and parts of two other books. I snuggled with my min-pins. I worked outside. I spent time with my husband's family celebrating our September birthdays (there are five of them and an anniversary!). And for the first time in a while I feel de-stressed and relaxed. 

Happy with the direction your life is headed? Actually, yes! You see, you may think my life is a disaster (I think you think this because of your follow-up statement, "please don't waste another day like this. You were meant for more!!"), but I happen to like it. I am married to the most wonderful man in the world and we have so much love for each other, it might make some people sick. We have two amazing dogs that fill our home with happiness, excitement and joy. We don't have our future figured out, but that's because we don't know what it holds. We trust that Someone Else has a plan for our future and will work it out for us.

So no, I won't be buying your product, but I will be going to bed in a room that is messy and chaotic, but filled with love. In a bed that doesn't ever get made so that Mary and Will can find a place to chill when they need it. I will enjoy not having kids, because once it happens, I won't ever be able to do it again. I will lay down with a content sigh and a prayer of thanksgiving for all that I have had the privilege to do today. And I will rejoice that I don't have to have all of life's answers. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rebels (Safelands #3) by Jill Williamson

Rebels is the conclusion to the Safelands trilogy by Jill Williamson. The first two books, Captives and Outcasts, were good and I was eager to read Rebels. It did not disappoint. If you haven’t read the first two books, be warned that this will likely contain spoilers for them.





Picking up where Outcasts leaves off, we find that the Glenrock remnant is headed underground. Mason and Omar are headed for liberation which most think means death. Levi now fully bears the mantle of leadership for his people and it is a heavy burden. The Owl figure who Omar created to show truth to the Safe-Landers will have to be resurrected with help from the Kindred. The Kindred are the underground group of which rebel leader, Ruston, is a member. They welcome the Glenrock remnant, but not fully. Shaylinn especially will have to figure out these new, tenuous relationships.


Rebels was full of plot twists and turns. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was definitely a fast-paced read. I didn’t want to put it down and when I had to, I kept finding myself wondering what was going to happen. Something I have mentioned before, Williamson continually changes the perspective of the story. I liked this as it provided a complete story that showed what each character was facing. This was handled very well and I never once had to figure out who the focus was on at any point.

I highly recommend this trilogy. It draws from the story of Daniel in the Bible and his experiences in Babylonian captivity. There are lots of other themes throughout the series, but I like that the themes of loving others (espcially those who have a different lifestyle) and family are the most resonant. Rebels was a great conclusion to the story and really seemed to wrap up all of the loose ends that come from the other books.  

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Life Together


Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."On the contrary: 
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him, 
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this you will heap burning coals on his head."

Do not overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.


When I read this passage early this year it hit me like a ton of bricks. This was it. This was the secret to living. I read and read it. Then I walked away and started to forget about it.

Recently heartbreak has been entering the lives of our loved ones (our framily) and this verse keeps coming to mind. 


Mourn with those who mourn. 


We mourn with each other because it helps to know that others hearts have broken because of your broken heart. It makes the road of life easier to travel on when there is someone with you to hold you up, when you want to sit down, cry and just stop going.