Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Author: Katja Millay
ISBN-13: 9781476730943
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 6/4/2013


I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Two and a half years after an unspeakable tragedy left her a shadow of the girl she once was, Nastya Kashnikov moves to a new town determined to keep her dark past hidden and hold everyone at a distance. But her plans only last so long before she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the one person as isolated as herself: Josh Bennett.
Josh’s story is no secret. Every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. Everyone except Nastya who won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But as the undeniable pull between them intensifies, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

I recently read this book on our drive to Mount Rushmore.  My poor husband had to drive the entire way in silence, because I would not put this book down!

It is a story about tragedy and healing.  About how our scars affect us in irrational ways, but given time and the right company, we can find our way back to ourselves even if we aren't what we once were.

The first part of this book was what captured my attention and wouldn't let go.  From the beginning, you know something bad happened, but you don't know what.  And you want to know!

I'm not going to spoil anything, but about a quarter of the way through the author exposes something about the main character and it's one of those...Wait..What?!!? kind of moments. 

For me the middle dragged a bit, but never enough to make me want to put the book down.  I wanted more to happen, I was waiting and waiting for them to get together.  So I was impatient.  But looking back, this story builds exactly how it needed to given the history and personalities of the two main characters.  I like stories where the characters do things for each other without realizing they are showing their attraction.  Not everything in romance has to be about sex.  In fact it's usually better reading when the story centers on the building emotional attraction.

This was a refreshing break from all the over-sexed "new adult" books that are on the shelves today. 

If you are looking for a relaxing beach read, I can't say that this is the book you'll want to pick up.  But I highly recommend adding this to your reading list.

You can get your copy here:
Sea of Tranquility - Barnes and Noble
Sea of Tranquility - Amazon

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review: Ready to Die by Lisa Jackson

ISBN-13: 9780758287519
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 7/30/2013 (nook) Hardcover available now


His blood quickens as he stares at the photographs. Six faces, all guilty—and detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez are at the top of his list. One by one, he'll stalk them, then he'll squeeze the trigger, savoring the way each lifeless body crumples to the reddening snow. One down already. And then there were five. . .
Can Prepare You
Sheriff Dan Grayson lies near death after a shooting, and the police department of Grizzly Falls, Montana, is in shock. Alvarez, torn between a new relationship and her loyalty to Grayson, works with Pescoli to whittle down the list of suspects. The deeper they go, the more personal and dangerous the case becomes. Then a prominent judge's body is found and the killer sends a sinister warning to the press: "Who's Next?"
To Face A Killer
Pescoli isn't waiting to find out. Headstrong and eager for justice, she'll track the scant clues on her own if she has to. But her search leads her straight to a monster who has had her in his sights all along. And when hunter meets prey, both must be willing to kill—and ready to die. . .

The good:

The suspense is this book wasn't nail-biting, but it had a good plot and didn't reveal the who-dun-it till the very end (although I suspected it from the beginning, so you probably will too.)

The characters were unique and flawed and interesting.  I cared about what happened to each of them, so that kept me reading as much as the crime/mystery plot.

The bad:

I felt like I came into this book behind the curve (which I did).  This is the latest in a series of books about these two detectives.  The beginning of the book tried to push in a lot of backstory.  It wasn't boring, it did give insight into the characters, but I felt like so much had happened to them that I had missed out on.

This was not a romantic suspense.  Even if it's labeled that way, I disagree because I think a romantic suspense by definition should have a happily ever after.  This was a mystery book with relationship subplots.  If you are looking for a love story, this is not your book.  I'm thinking that the "couples" that are developing in this story will play out in other books, but since this series has been going a while, who knows when that pay out will be.

Overall, I liked the book.  It kept me interested and again, I liked the characters.  Had I known there wasn't a guy and girl who end up with a happily every after, I might not have picked it up, but it was a good read all the same.

I will probably read the next book in the series if it comes out soon, but I won't be picking up any of the past books in this series. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Guestroom Redo

I have wanted to make this head board for a while now, but I had to wait on my husband to do some cutting for me.  I can use a few power tools, but some (like the jigsaw and circular saw) are best left in the hands of the more experienced.
I'm sure I could figure it out, and maybe one day I will, but for now, I'm happy to have my husbands help.
So, I found the shape I wanted on pinterest and had a piece of OSB cut down to size for a full bed. (about 56 inches.  I wanted it to go a few inches past the bed on each side.) They did this at Home Depot for free.
Cost of OSB and 2 2x4's: $15
I was originally going to put foam in the middle of this and create a border with nail head trim around the "puffy middle".  But I decided to go a different route after looking online at some other designs.  But, I still needed the extra depth the 2x4's gave me on the sides so that I would have something to hammer the nail heads into.  The OSB wasn't thick enough for that.  I like how thick this is with the 2x4's, but you could use 1" dimensional lumber as well.

I covered the 'new' front with batting.  I got the batting at Joann's.  It was a queen size batting roll.  I had thought about double layering, so I wanted to have enough.  I went with one layer instead.  Two layers would have been too thick for my staples after the fabric was added.  And I was concerned that two layers would make my corners less sharp-looking.
Cost of batting: $14 (I downloaded the Joann's app while waiting in line at register and got a 40% off coupon)

After stapling the bejesus out of the batting, I laid out the fabric face down and aligned my board on top.  I recruited the help of my ten year old for the remainder of this project.  It was just too much for one set of hands.
I stood it up to staple the fabic.  That's why I needed help holding it up so I could staple.  The fabric wouldn't have been as smooth looking if I had kept it lying down.
This fabric is actually a curtain that I found at World Market.  I new I wanted dark green velvet, but I couldn't find it at any fabric stores, and when I saw these, I knew they were perfect.  But, there was only one left!
Cost of fabric: $17

The fabric was like 1 inch too short to wrap around the edge of the 2x4.  I know, you would think that I would measure the fabric first and then cut my board, but that's not how I do things.  I rarely do things in the correct order, I just get too excited. 
And, asking my husband to cut down the board another inch was soooo not happening.
So I took my seam ripper and undid the seam.  Then it fit perfectly.  Thank God for seam rippers!! They are my favorite tool, especially since I tend to make this stuff up as I go, therefore making a lot of mistakes along the way:)

I got too involved in the next few steps and didn't take enough pics, but basically I stapled and stapled and stapled till my hand cramped.
Getting the fabric flat around the curve was difficult work.  I think I may have thrown out a couple of inappropriate words.  At least that's what my ten year old said.  I don't remember, I was too busy tugging and stapling and sweating and tugging to pay attention.

After getting the edges as smooth as I could get them, taking a minute to cool down and apologizing for my scaring my child, I added nail head trim to the edge. 
I read several blogs that said using individual nail heads was much nicer than the trim. (which is like a metal rope of nail heads that you only have to hammer in every fifth head)  I agree that it would be more consistent to use individual heads.  The color of the nail head that you hammer in is just a tad bit different from the rest.  And if I weren't so lazy and impatient, I would have purchased individuals.  But I am impatient, and I wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible.
So, I used the trim instead.  It was the easiest part of the whole project.  In fact, I had several feet left over and walked around my house looking for something else that needed nail head trim.
Several little things ended up with trim, whether they needed it or not, just because I could.  :)
Cost of trim: $8 (again, because I had the app coupon)

And here it is all put together.  I made the bed skirt and four of the pillows.  I'm having my mom bring up another curtain that she found at her local World Market for the real bed skirt.  This is just some fabric that I had to use in the interim.  I used the cut-offs of the curtain for the edges of the skirt.
Sorry the pics aren't great.  I used my iphone.  Not a great photographer here!  That is definitely on my to do list, take photography class.  

Right now the head board isn't attached to the wall.  It's sitting on a couple of 4 inch boxes that I had lying around.  I had wanted it taller, but hubby has yet to get around to that.  He seems to think it looks fine as it is, go figure.  But, I eventually would like it to sit up a bit taller. 
So total cost of head board: $54  
Yay!  And it's exactly what I wanted.  Hope this was helpful, it's my first blog project.  Next time, I'll take more pictures.
I'ld love to hear what you think and if you have any projects you're working on!!

C.A.R. Bot Wars by J.V. Kade

ISBN-13: 9780803738607
Publisher: Dial
Publication date: 3/21/2013


Twelve-year-old Trout St. Kroix has been searching for his missing father for the last two years, after his dad disappeared while fighting in the Bot Wars. The Bot Wars began after robots became so advanced that they revolted and demanded more workers' rights, causing the government to declare all robots terrorists and ban them from the Districts. Trout never questioned anything the government told him—even when his own nanny bot was banished—until a vid he posts about his missing dad goes viral and new information pops up. At first Trout is wrenched his dad might be alive, but when his brother disappears, Trout learns nothing is what it seems . . . not even his own father.
Percy Jackson meets Transformers in this heart-stopping, futuristic adventure that will make you question everything you know—and look at robots in a whole new light.

This was an action book set in the United Districts after the creation of robots.  The robots have become so advanced that they started to think for themselves.  After the Bot War, the robots were forced to a territory called Bot Territory that is protected by a shield.  The main characters were Trout [Aidan is his real name] Po ,Vee (who are all human) and LT (a bot).  It’s an adventure where bots and humans have to work together to save Po from the U.D.   

I feel like these characters are real because the author uses descriptive words to tell about them in the book. There was a lot of adventure in the book from cover to cover. It was easy to read this book because there weren’t many difficult words.  I like how the author described the book and I could easily picture it in my mind. My favorite part in the book was probably when trout goes to this secret place in Texas to spend the night.  There is a lot of neat technology in this book, which made it fun to read.  Anyone interested in futuristic technology would find this book interesting.