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Top Ten Tuesday - #libfaves16

Below you will find my favorite books of 2016. I really dislike having to put them in a 10-1 order so I kind of kept it simple. I looked at all the books I had read up this point and listed the 5-star books first in order that I would recommend them to someone and then I did the same with the 4-star books. Had I made the list today instead of a few weeks ago, the order might be different. Anyway, these were books I would recommend and they cover a slightly varied reading tastes.

 #libfaves is a yearly hashtag event where librarians share their top picks. It's been going on for 6 years now and you can find the top ten picks over at EarlyWord.

You can find the full list of books I've read over on GoodReads.

[View the story "My #libfaves16 Picks" on Storify]

3 Word Wednesday - 9/28/2016

kindly,lighthearted,melodramatic
It's been a number of years since I've commuted daily on the train. However, after today's NJ Transit crash in Hoboken commuting has been on my mind. When I sat down to write on yesterday's prompt I just kept thinking about all the train trips I've taken.

A smile from a kindly old man, insisting I take his seat.
A lighthearted laugh between long time friends reminding me to text mine back.
A melodramatic conversation between the two college girls brings a smile to my face.
It may have been a long day and I may be on a crowded train.
But I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's Monday! What are you reading? - The Portland Heat Novellas

I've been in a kind of reading slump lately. I'll get a few books out from the library, read a few chapters and then give up on the book. I think a lot of them sounded interesting but just didn't grab my attention.

So last night I'm browsing my library's ebook collection when I see this pop up as new books.


Bundled Up by Annabeth Albert
All three of The Portland Heat Novellas together for the first time!

Served Hot
In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…
Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their …

Book Review - Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the outside Maribeth would seem to have it all. She lives in NYC with her husband and two kids and has a job working with her best friend in their chosen field. Inside her life, Maribeth is busy, so busy she mistakes her heart attack as just bad Chinese food. 

Maribeth has a hard time recuperating at home after her surgery because everyone still needs everything from her. They don't know how to function with out Maribeth guiding them. Knowing that she needs to focus on her recovering Maribeth hastily packs a bag, leaves a note for her husband and then runs away.

Maribeth needs to heal from more than just her heart attack. She needs to heal her soul. She needs to uncover part of his past and reevaluate her current life if she's going to be happy in the future.

I was torn about even picking up this book. I love Gayle Forman and was excited to read her first adult novel, but I dislike the 'run away from your life to fix it…

five minute friday - July 22, 2016

I walked in the door carrying with me not only my bags but the weight of the day on my shoulders. The tension was pinpointed in between my shoulder blades. I dropped my bags, kicked off my shoes and sat down on the couch. I just wanted to close my eyes and just sit in the cool darkness in my living room. It quickly became clear that sitting down was not going to be an option.

"Do you think you're helping?"

She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and I just melted. I gathered her up in my arms and just snuggled her to my chest. The stress of the day melting and a sense of calm came over me. Lola looked up at me and wiggled out of my hold. She sat next to me her eyes begging me to get up. 

"Okay fine, you win. We'll go for a walk. Go get your leash."  

A walk was just what I needed to walk off the remainder of my day. What a smart dog I have!

*My Lola would rather cuddle and nap, I wish she would pester me for a walk instead of just treats, but that's life…

3 Wood Wednesday - 7/20/2016

Fatal,Gaping,Harmonious
I'm not telling how much of this is true and how much of this I made up to fit this prompt!

I can’t remember when I fell in love with blacksmiths, but they have been my secret obsession for years. It probably started at one of those living history sites, the smithy shop has always been a favorite stop when walking around the town. There was something magical about the elemental way they can reshape metal. As a teen I’m sure it became more about staring and trying not to gape at the blacksmiths themselves. Even today, I find myself drawn to these demonstrations. Watching as they pull the metal out of the fire, shape it on the anvil and then cool it in the water. I have quite the collection of pieces created by this technique.
The pieces are scattered around my apartment as to not draw attention to the collection. The same can be said of my collection of books featuring a blacksmith. I started by picking up nearly every book I could with blacksmith in the ti…

Three Word Wednesday - July 13, 2016

carefree,deadpan,ear-splitting
Maya and her boyfriend were sitting at a table outside of a little café enjoying their Saturday routine of coffee, scone and free Wi-Fi when an ear-splitting scream disturbed the peacefulness of the morning.  Glancing in the direction of the scream, Maya could see a group of teens in the park across the street all running towards the girl, phones drawn and at the ready to catch whatever it was that the girl was so excited about and soon they each were just as excited. Quickly they were off to hunt the next creature to capture.
“Wonder what they caught?”
“You could go over and find out.”
“And ruin the image of a grown adult who is sitting here reading the New York Times on an iPad?”
“Like you haven’t been playing on your phone the whole time we’ve been sitting here?”
“Fine.” In as casual as possibly Maya got up and walked across the street. She was just a carefree woman walking into a park looking at her phone, nothing more, nothing less. That was until …

Three Word Wednesday - July 6, 2016

Wasteful,Addicted,Bruise

Ode to an Avocado

Oh, avocado! How I love thee (I’m sorry I didn’t love you sooner) The smooshie goodness that is beneath your skin The tears that form when I cut you open and; notice the bruises from those people who squeezed you too hard.  
Oh, avocado! It’s so wasteful when I have to scoop around brown bits I feel sad that you were not able to be fully enjoyed That sadness is washed away once I start to mash you Oh how creamy and yummy you look
Oh, avocado! You taste amazing when I start to turn you; into something amazing like guacamole You’re an addiction I don’t want to fight I just want another avocado!

Weekend Cooking - Green Smoothies by Fern Green

Book Tite: Green Smoothies: Recipes for Smoothies, Juices, Nut Milks, and Tonics to Detox, Lose Weight, and Promote Whole-Body Health  Author: Fern Green Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Description: (From Goodreads) A collection of 66 illustrated smoothies, juices, nut milks, and tonics to kick-start metabolism, fire up the mind, and promote whole-body health.  An easy-to-follow and informative guide, this book pares smoothie-making back to its essence. Each recipe is presented in a highly visual spread, and grouped ingredients are displayed opposite finished smoothies and juices, providing at-a-glace instruction. Recipes like Dandelion Tonic, Popeye's Juice, Coconut Kale, and Pineapple Twist provide a simple introduction for the new smoothies making, as well as new inspiration for the experienced blender. A seven-day detox plan with straightforward recipes energizes and invigorates. 
3 Little Thoughts: 1.  I got my hands on a juicer and dove into trying this juicing thing. I can&#…

3 Word Wednesday - Brutal, Clammy, Dense

Brutal,Clammy,Dense
Working on my short sci-fi story and this prompt fit in perfect with a section that needed to be rewritten. This might not be the final draft of this section, but it works for this draft.
Marissa walked out of her front door and looked out towards the horizon, the brutal winter weather was setting and the sun was just starting to rise, burning off the dense fog that had blanketed the night. It was bound to be a glorious day. She dried her clammy hands, hitched up her dress and set off to milk the cows.

Weekend Cooking - Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101

Book Tite: Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101  Author: Sara Moulton Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Description: (From Goodreads) In Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101, Sara helps answer that eternal question, "What's for dinner?" This must-have resource combines 150-plus all-new recipes with time-tested methods that elevate meals from everyday to extraordinary. Sara guides readers every step of the way, from including detailed instructions in every recipe to ensure the dish comes out perfectly every time to tips about selecting ingredients and balancing flavors. Bright color photographs and straightforward techniques show how easy it is to build flavors in a pan for a one-dish dinner, bake seafood in parchment for a quick healthy meal, and turn fresh seasonal produce into scene-stealing side dishes. Readers will find recipes to please every palate, including a whole chapter of vegetarian and vegan options. Enjoy fresh-tasting classics such as Sautéed Lemon Chicken with F…

3 Word Wednesday - Naked, Obey, Piercing

Naked,Obey,Piercing
She could only make out random words and phrases while in an isolated cell.  The compound’s leader was yelling about being humiliated and not being obeyed. He said something about a punishment of being stripped naked.  The Chief Authoritarian quietly responded. Marissa couldn’t hear him but she did hear the leader’s piercing scream of frustration.

Sunday Scribbling 2 #114

This week's prompt: dither
I've spent too much time on Twitter
And now I've been in a dither
I haven't been writing
Let alone anything exciting
So this really bad poem
Was the only thing flowin'
Please don't ask, "What's with her?"

3 Word Wednesday - Engulf, Fearful, Grimace

Engulf, verb: (of a natural force) sweep over (something) so as to surround or cover it completely.
Fearful, adjective: feeling afraid; showing fear or anxiety, causing or likely to cause people to be afraid; horrifying.
Grimace, noun: an ugly, twisted expression on a person's face, typically expressing disgust, pain, or wry amusement; verb: make a grimace.

“…and this year’s top marketing rep is, Cassie Roberts!” Mark’s announcement was met by applause and eyes all turning in my direction.
I forced a smile onto my face and hoped it looked like a smile and not a grimace. Each new set of eyes was like another wave of panic as I slowly stood and walked towards the stage. The further I walked the deeper I became engulfed in the panic that had started at a slow boil when I learned I was even in the running a few weeks ago.  

Later Derek would tell me that he might have been the only one to recognize that the look in my eyes wasn’t a happy glint but a fearful pleading to make it all stop. I …

3 Word Wednesday - Backbone, Cheapen, Dangle

Backbone, noun: spine, spinal column, vertebral column, vertebrae; back, mainstay, cornerstone, foundation, chief support, buttress, pillar, tower of strength, strength of character, strength of will, firmness, resolution, resolve, determination, fortitude, pluck, pluckiness, nerve, courage, mettle, spirit, moral fiber, guts, spunk, grit, true grit.
Cheapen, verb: demean, debase, degrade, lower, humble, devalue, abase, discredit, disgrace, dishonor, shame, humiliate, mortify, prostitute, reduce, lower (in price), cut, mark down, discount, slash.

Dangle, verb: hang (down), droop, swing, sway, wave, trail, stream, wave, swing, jiggle, brandish, flourish, offer, hold out; entice someone with, tempt someone with.


Becareful Andrew, I’m coming for your job. Keep an eye on me, because there is only so much you can take back promotions. Notice me and accept me as an equal in the office.

Cheating me out of my due is only hurtful to you and each person who has thought less of me. Andrew, please take care in…

Sunday Scribblings 2: Prompt 111 - Screech

The feeling of being startled awake only to awaken into complete silence is disturbing. I lay there for a moment wondering what really just woke me up. Was it really a sound or just my dream that sent my eyes snapping open and my heart racing? I strain to hear a sound, any sound when I hear it, the district sound of heavy furniture being moved over wood floors. It’s a dull screech in short bursts as whatever piece she is currently moving is too heavy for her to easily maneuver.
I swing my legs out of bed, fumble on my nightstand for my glasses and shuffle my way into my mother’s room. There she stands in the middle of the room, hands on her hips, clad in only in her nightgown staring at the chair that used to be on the other side of the room.
“Mom.” I say it quietly, I don’t want to startle her.
“I didn’t like it over there in the corner, I think it works better by the window, but now I can’t get around to my side of the bed and I can’t sleep on your father’s side of the bed that just w…

Weekend Cooking: Cooking the Calendar: January

Every year I try to change up the calendar hanging in our kitchen. Just before Christmas we were in Bed, Bath, & Beyond and I saw this really neat looking calendar that had a recipe for each month.  Christmas morning it was under the tree for me!

January was:

I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder, a too big pinch of salt, and had to switch pots half way through (started out with one that was too small) but I have to say it turned out really yummy.  Since it was a lot for just me I stored it in a mason jar and enjoyed hot cocoa a few days and then mixed it equal parts with coffee for a few days of mochas. 

Book Review - Yes, Chef by Alex Cohen

Yes, Chef by Alex Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description
Nothing is more important to Diego than his kitchen. He's dedicated to his job running one of the top restaurants in town and doesn't have time for relationships. Then the boss, building on the restaurant's success, brings in Ben. He's young, hot, and not nearly as unlikeable as Diego wishes.

But between the distance of age and the old wounds both men are still nursing, it may be easier if Diego gives up on making something other than his kitchen the center of his world.

Review
I really liked this novella. It was a romance that focused on the relationship and wasn't all about sex, sex, sex. I also liked that it was in a restaurant kitchen, those are always great because it means a focus on food and some great descriptions. It was nice to see that Ben wasn't a chef in training but a pastry chef who was settled in his own chosen career path. 
There were some stilted sections in this novella. Places that se…

3 Word Wednesday - Madly, Nocturnal, Omen

Madly, adjective: in a manner suggesting or characteristic of insanity, with extreme intensity (informal).
Nocturnal, adjective: done, occurring, or active at night.
Omen, noun: an event regarded as a portent of good or evil, prophetic significance.
This week's words worked perfectly in my writing prompt for Monday night's Writers' Group meeting.

To:                  Boss Lady From:             Bob Date:              January 21, 2016 Subject:        My Raise ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I don’t understand why I was passed over for a raise yet again and I would like the opportunity to speak with you about this situation.

To:                  Bob From:             Boss Lady Date:              January 21, 2016 RE:                 My Raise ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Bob we’ve discussed this before last year. Pleas…

3 Word Wednesday - Eager, Frenzy, Guzzle

Excited to be getting back into some calm writing and happy to have found this writing prompt.

Eager, adjective: (of a person) wanting to do or have something very much, (of a person's expression or tone of voice) characterized by keen expectancy or interest.
Frenzy, noun: a state or period of uncontrolled excitement or wild behavior.
Guzzle, verb: eat or drink (something) greedily.
For this prompt, I felt the words fit in perfectly to help me rewrite a chapter in my fun work "Cows".
Marissa sat with the other overnight guests. She was eager for dinner having missed lunch but not enough to participate in the frenzy of filling plates that was going on around her. She carefully reached a hand towards the food and took a bit of everything while the man next to her guzzled his food.