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Showing posts from November, 2014

Weekend Cooking - Book Club discussion of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The obvious choice for this meeting would have been for someone to make Potato Peel Pie, but if you've ever looked at the recipe or read reviews of the dish you would probably veto the option just like we did and stick with our normal choices of baked goods, picky foods, and wine.

I felt like we needed to have something potato related to discuss this book and looked around online and found a number of mashed potato pie recipe ideas.  I picked this one:

Ingredients 

instant mashed potatoes 1 teaspoon garlic powder 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese or 1/2 cup Romano cheese 1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese ( divided) paprika 
Directions 

Make mashed potatoes according to package directions for 7-8 servings. Stir garlic powder, eggs, Parmesan and one cup of the mozzarella into prepared potatoes. Pile mixture into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup of mozzarella and a sprinkl…

Book Review: The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviews of I Want it That Way and As Long As You Love Me.

We go back to apartment 2B in this third book of Ann Aguirre's trilogy. This book runs along side As Long As You Love Me  Nadia makes a reference to Rob and Lauren's break up over Thanksgiving.

When Lauren moved out to go home, Courtney moved in to take over her spot in the apartment.  Courtney and Max were friends before she moved in and their friendship was the support both needed. Max needed her when things were going south with Lauren and Courtney needed Max when things were going horribly wrong with her breakup.

Max has to go home, some place he hasn't been in years and he's not sure of the welcome he'll receive. He doesn't want to go alone and asks Courtney to go with him. In meeting Max's family, Courtney gets a better understanding of Max and an opportunity to see him as something more than just a friend.  The same can be said of M…

Mini-Review: Santa Claus is for Real by Charles Edward Hall

Santa Claus Is for Real: A True Christmas Fable About the Magic of Believing by Charles Edward Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read this book by the Radio City Music Hall Santa, Charles Edward Hall. Charles has played the roll of Santa for over 25 years, he's the Santa many of us grew up with in experiencing the wonder that is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

I was interested in his journey in becoming this roll (if you've had the pleasure of seeing him in this role, you know he becomes this character) from some one who didn't believe in the spirit of Christmas.  What bothered me about this book was his "discussions" with the real Santa. These just didn't work with me and wish they would have found a different avenue for sharing his conversion to a believer.

I also would have liked some more from the show itself and how it's changed over the years and how his role of Santa has changed along with the holiday.

It was an enjoyable r…

Nonfiction November - Diversity

This week's prompt:
Diversity and Nonfiction: What does “diversity” in books mean to you? Does it refer to a book’s location or subject matter? Or is it the author’s nationality or background? What countries/cultures do you tend to enjoy or read about most in your nonfiction? What countries/cultures would you like nonfiction recommendations for? What kind of books besides different countries/cultures do you think of as books of diversity?What does “diversity” in books mean to you? Does it refer to a book’s location or subject matter? Or is it the author’s nationality or background? 
There is so much talk right now about the need for diversity in reading. (Search "We Need Diverse Books") The movement is really about the large scale need for diversity on our bookshelves in both libraries and personal collections. I think it's a good movement and an important undertaking to diversify literature/reading.

However, I feel that we can all read diverse books on the small sca…

2015 Finish the Series Reading Challenge

Here are the rules guidelines.

1) All books that are part of a continuing series qualify (i.e. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, James Patterson's Alex Cross, etc. etc.)

2) It doesn't matter if you have 1 or 10 books in a series to complete it, it qualifies (i.e. if you only need to read one more Sookie Stackhouse book to complete the goal, that's fine) The goal is to complete a series from wherever you are up to until the last published book.

3) The qualification period is January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. Books must be read during this time frame to count.

6) Any format of book counts - print, audio, ebook, etc.

7) You should choose the series you want to finish before the challenge begins, but it isn't necessary. It's fine to change series during the year - as long as you complete whichever series it is.

8) Choose a level....

Level 1 (Novice series reader) - Complete 1 series.
Level 2 (Testing the waters) - Compl…

Writing Prompt 16

Describe a time when you were brave.

I looked up to my destination. It was a long way up to the peak, but the view was worth the climb. I know it was worth the climb because I had made the climb before, but always with help. Today I'd be doing it on my own. No one was around to help me and I wanted to see the view.

I knew I could do it, two steep jumps.  The first onto a wide landing.  Today there was some debris on the landing but there was still enough room for me to make my landing.  Ok here it goes. Jump!

I did it! I stuck my landing.  Now for the second treacherous jump. This jump is a bit more difficult without help.  I'm jumping blind since the peak is behind a curtain. This jump is always easier with help, but I know the peak is back there and I know it's worth the jump.  

The ledge I'm on has a small outcropping that makes the jump easier. I can use it to help push myself through the curtain. I ready myself for the jump, push off the outcropping, and land on the p…

Nonfiction November - Be The Expert

This week's prompt:
Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). I'm going to Be The Expert and recommend three great books on Jane Austen and her fandom.

A Memoir of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh

Written by her nephew over 50 years after her death it contains the memories of many of her relatives.  Following in the footsteps of Cassandra, Jane's sister, in the decision to burn many of her letters, the book leaves out a lot of personal information. The book help build readership for Jane's books which before had not been read by many outside of the literary world.

Jane Austen's Letters

As mentioned ab…

Notes on My Thesis

My thesis has been submitted! I have a good solid start on my short story collection of intertwined stories. Here's what my professor had to say about my work:

Hi Amelia, thanks for your hard work this term. I'm really impressed with the way this is coming together. You've really built a world here--and as unf amiliar as it is, it comes alive to me. I'm so impressed with the way you're able to create life out of the long-gone past, people who seem modern and real even if their moment was decades ago. I feel that you've really imagined your way into the characters' lives in these stories, and your imagination and largeness of heart come through.I'm thrilled! He's also given me some great advice for editing once I finish the first draft of the collection!

Reader's Workouts - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gym

Reader's Workouts is a weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.




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Not really a workout story or an achievement in working out, but I just had to share this story!

I was just getting ready to pull into my friend's neighborhood when I saw a dog. Just a dog, no human. I didn't think anything of it since it was dark, the dog was dark, and he was in an unlit area on the side of the road.

As we were pulling out of her street a minute later, I realized that it WAS just a dog and he was booking it down a busy road towards an even busier intersection. We knew we had to catch this dog!

We followed him down towards the intersection and thankfully he turned the corner instead of running into traffic. He stopped to sniff and we tried to lure him to the car but he took off again running into an apartment complex.  We couldn't get into the complex and drove along side the complex to see if he would run out. When we didn't see him we decided to just turn around …

Weekend Cooking - The Chopped Cookbook

I love Chopped. It's one of my favorite shows, but I was a little nervous about the cookbook.  I wondered if it would be a cookbook of weird food combinations. But thankfully it's full of recipes I can't wait to try. 
I have a sensitive stomach, so a key test for me when picking new cookbooks is finding out how adaptable are the recipes.  I went through the book and marked a few that looked good and looked like I could make the slight changes I would need and still have a good meal.





I chose the Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Parsley Pesto.

The adjustments I made were small and just dealt with the seasonings.  We cut the 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes in half (it was still a little too spicy for me) and did away with the 1 teaspoon lightly crushed fennel seeds.

The sandwich was really easy to make and was really good. The pesto was delicious but was nothing compared to the toasted buns.  The buns are toasted with Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and the fennel seeds…

Writing Exercise #15

Tell your life story in ten lines.
Once upon a time a Princess was born to a King and Queen and there was much joy. Two years later a Prince was born and there was more joy to be had for all except the Princess who was no longer the center of attention. Many years of prosperity passed and the family was happy.  Then the King died too young and there was much sadness. The Queen did her best and raised the Princess and the Prince to be successful and happy adults. The Queen was ready for grandchildren but the Princess was too busy exploring the world of academia. The Prince provided an heir and the Queen rejoiced. The Princess thought she was off the hook, until the Queen started in on the desire for more grandchildren. The Princess buried her nose in a book and mumbled something about working in a female dominated profession. The Queen will not stop until she has more grandchildren, redheaded preferred, and the Princess will keep evading the Queen on this front.

Nonfiction November: My Year in Nonfiction

This week's prompt:
Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? 
I don't know if I can pick one favorite, I looked at my list and there are at least 10 that I really enjoyed so far this year. If I had to pick my top three they would be:

Caffeinated by Murray CarpenterMy Beloved World by Sonya SotomayorI Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai All three of these books really caught my attention and really made me take a look at my life.  I saw how much of a caffeine addict I really am, how lucky I was to be born in the suburbs in New Jersey, and how with hard work and determination I can achieve my dreams.

What nonfiction book have…

Reader's Workout - Biggest Loser Run Walk 5K

Reader's Workouts is a weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.




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Biggest Loser Run/Walk 5K A photo posted by Amelia (@litjrzygrl) on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:54am PST

This past weekend I participated in the Biggest Loser Run Walk 5K. I walked the 5K and had a great time despite the cold. It was a chilly blustery day (as you can see from our pictures). This was my second 5K and I felt a lot better when I finished this one than the last one. When I finished the Color Run I could barely muster a smile as I crossed the finish line. At the end of this race I was tired, but still felt good.

I had a goal of doing the walk in under an hour. This is what my tracking said:

I saw this - I met my goal of walking the 5K in under an hour! #fmsphotoaday A photo posted by Amelia (@litjrzygrl) on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:59am PST

The official time is different and puts me at a minute over an hour, but I still feel good about that time. The results show that I finished 6th for female walkers in …