Miscellaneous Ramblings

Thinking about the future

20130329-081749.jpg

So earlier this week one of my favorite bloggers, Trish over at Love, Laughter, Insanity, wrote a very poignant post about being more than just a book blogger.

It’s like she read my mind.

This is something that I have been struggling with for some time now. Most of my loyal followers know that I have considered closing up shop completely.

But the truth is, I worked darned hard to get where I am today with my blog. I worked very hard to get the connections that I have with the publicists/authors/publishers. I’ve made what I consider friends through my blog. I might not ever meet them in person, but I always know that I can count on them for good thoughts, recommendations and insights when they’re commenting.

And it’s like I told my husband – do I really want to give that up? Do I really want to give up 5 years of my hard work just to have a little bit more free time?

Well, the truth is – not really.

However, that’s not to say that some things don’t need to change around here. Because they do. I’m still not 100% happy with the way things are run on my blog. I’m not happy that I have too many commitments to be posting as many reviews as I used to (oh, but my son is SO worth it!). I’m not happy that 95% of the stuff I post on my blogs are memes. I’m not happy that I feel as if I am a book blogger and I can’t step outside those boundaries and post personal stuff.

That’s not who I am anymore.

Sure, I’m a book blogger. But is that really how I want to continually define myself? Is that where I see this blog in a few more years?

Not even close.

I am a mommy. I am a (sort-of) foodie. I am a reader. I am a sports fanatic. I am a dog lover.

And the fact of the matter is that this blog doesn’t really reflect any of that additional stuff. Sure I’ve posted a few recipe posts here lately. And I’ve done a few personal posts, but those were mainly done while I was still pregnant – and hormonal, ha!

Trish made a bold move a few years ago – she changed her entire blog. Well, actually, she merged two into one. And as she explains in her post from earlier this week, she took a risk that paid off.

This is something that I’ve been considering for some time now. To be completely honest, I never truly enjoyed “Tales of a Book Addict.” It’s just a name I came up with on the fly when I was originally setting up my blog. I don’t think I anticipated sticking around as long as I have. And I don’t think I truly understood that your blog name would be your brand, and that it would be nearly impossible to change.

I should have changed it last year when I bought my domain name. I seriously considered it. But then I realized that people wouldn’t be able to find me. And I definitely didn’t want that. And I was also a little scared to take that leap of faith. The leap of faith that my faithful readers (all 5 of you – ha! joking!) would follow me no matter which way I decided to go on. However, it’s a change that I’m not going to be making now. I’ll keep my domain name, but I might change the actual title of the blog itself. To something more appropriate for what I’m feeling.

So, what does this big long rambling post really have to do with anything?

Here’s the deal. I’m sticking around for longer. But definite changes are happening here on my blog.

I am no longer strictly a book blogger. I am throwing that designation out the window effective immediately.

You will see more personal posts about me, my family, my life in general. I will obviously continue to do my book reviews and some book related memes, but I’m also going to incorporate a lot more stuff into my blog.

I also am going to step away from taking on so many review books. When I first got into the book blogging business, I saw so many big bloggers getting free books. And I wanted to know how they were scoring all that awesome loot. Now I’m bombarded by offers. And I’m overwhelmed. I have a very hard time saying no. I’ve taken on WAY too much already and I am actually booked through May right now. So, once I am finished with the commitments I already have on the table, I will be taking a major step back from taking on any more. I will probably only continue to utilize NetGalley and Edelweiss as well as the tour companies I host for.

Am I going to lose readers who only want book-related stuff? More than likely. Will it matter? Not to me – because I know the readers who truly care will stick with me through this transition. They are the ones I consider friends.

Get ready folks, big changes are happening. And I don’t think I am the only book blogger out there feeling this stuff right now. There seems to be a tide turning within the book blogger world. Who knows where we will go from here.

But wherever we go … we will go with our books in our hands and our hearts on our sleeves.

If you’re still reading this – thanks for sticking with me. Please understand this is a change I have to make for myself. If you’re not still reading this – I wish I could say I was sorry. But I can’t.

My name is Tara. And I am now a book-foodie-mommy-life in general blogger. Have a nice weekend and Happy Easter 🙂

Advertisements
DNF Books

2013 DNF #2: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Bossypants
by Tina Fey

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 275
Format: Print

Blurb: Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon – from the beginning of this paragraph to the final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.


I got this book from the library in the hopes of using it for the humor section of the Eclectic Reader challenge. It’s an understatement to say that this book is beyond bad. It just is not the right book for me. I like Tina Fey, a lot. But for some reason this book was  just bland. I flew through 50 pages without blinking an eye and then set it aside. And I never wanted to pick it back up. Want to know why? The writing was so atrocious I almost couldn’t stand it. This book may be for you, but it’s definitely not the one for me.

AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2013.15 REVIEW – So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison

So Close the Hand of Death
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 406
Read: March 15-24, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 15
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

So Close the Hand of DeathBlurb: It’s a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Predator is back … and he’s got helpers.

As The Pretender’s disciples perpetrate their sick homages – stretching police and the FBI dangerously thin – Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won’t risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll – she’s beside herself and ready to snap.

The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch…


Review: I love, love, love the Taylor Jackson series. It’s one that I found a few years back and have read almost all of them – I only lack the latest one (is it the last? I just might cry if it is … but at the same time, I’ll be relieved because I kind of prefer to have some closure to series, not the huge 40+ book long-running ones).

Anyways, I must start this review with stating that if you have never read a book in the Taylor Jackson series, do not start with this one. You will be so confused. You probably won’t like Taylor’s character. You have to start from the beginning to really understand this book and who she is in this installment.

That being said, I think that this is the best book in the series that I have read. It’s so raw. It’s so eye-opening. It’s just a perfect blend of everything I love in  my mystery/thriller books.

The storyline is so fast paced in this book. It really starts off and never lets up. I was constantly turning the pages trying to figure out what was going to happen. And the end-game between Taylor and The Pretender is not at all how I expected things to happen.

And I must say that I really like the sound of the next book in this series. I don’t have a copy of it, but I’m definitely on the hunt. I think it’s going to be a very good installment. I’m interested in seeing what happens between Taylor and Baldwin … there’s a definite disconnect after the events of this book, and it will be interesting to see what happens between them.

Final Thoughts: I can’t say enough good things about this book. Or the entire series, really. So –  read this series. End of story.

Recipes

RECIPE: Salmon with Balsamic-Honey Glaze

Salmon with Balsamic-Honey Glaze (8 servings)

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or  chicken broth (I used the broth)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I didn’t have dijon, I ended up using spicy brown instead)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

Directions

  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Place salmon skin side down on a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon glaze over salmon; top with oregano.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home

Personal Review: Salmon in general is not my favorite fish, but when I saw this recipe in my latest issue of Taste of Home, I knew that I had to try it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe. I really thought that the glaze was delicious and perfectly complemented salmon.

I can’t really say much negative about this recipe – it was a quick meal to come together, perfect for a weeknight and it definitely beat any way I’ve had salmon prepared in a restaurant.

Highly recommended.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, March 18, 2013

Mailbox Monday time again! And March’s host is Caitlin at Chaotic Compendiums

Lots of goodies came this week!

From Paperbackswap:

Want to Go Private Want to Go Private ? by Sarah Darer Littman

When Abby meets Luke online, she can’t believe her luck. He’s nice. He’s funny. He listens to her and he thinks she’s pretty. He even gets jealous of other guys, which is adorable. Without Luke, Abby’s not sure how she’d make it through her first year of high school. Everyone, including her mom and her best friend, Faith, tells Abby that if she just made more of an effort, she’d be having fun instead of dreading each and every day as if it’s a prison sentence. But there’s nothing fun about being the lowest link in the social food chain.

Abby knows she’s not supposed to chat with random guys online. But Luke isn’t random, and he isn’t a stranger. Best of all, he loves her. So what if she never goes out with her friends anymore and her grades are slipping? All she needs is Luke. Luke is her secret, and she’s his – it’s perfect that way. So when Luke suggests that they meet each other in person, Abby agrees. And then she’s gone. Missing. Without a trace. And everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don’t, they’ll never see Abby again.


A Game of ThronesIn A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has created a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere.

In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the North of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.


From LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program:

Mistrial In Mistrial, Mark Geragos and Pat Harris debunk the myth of impartial American justice and draw the curtain on its ugly realities – from stealth jurors who secretly swing for a conviction to cops who regularly lie on the witness stand to defense attorneys terrified of going to trial. Ultimately, the authors question whether a justice system model drawn up two centuries before blogs, television, and O.J. Simpson is still viable today.

In the aftermath of recent high-profile cases, the flaws in America’s justice system are more glaring than ever. Geragos and Harris are legal experts and prominent criminal defense attorneys who have worked on everything from celebrity media-circuses to equally compelling cases defending individuals desperate to avoid the spotlight. Mistrial’s behind-the-scenes peek at their most fascinating cases will enthrall legal eagles and armchair litigators alike – as it blows the lid on what really happens in a courtroom.


For Review (I’m scheduled for a blog tour stop on 4/12)

Evidence of LifeAs her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey’s hair, reminds NIck to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all – a perfect marriage, a perfect life – until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace.

When Nick and Lindsey are presumed dead, lost in the raging waters, Abby refuses to give up hope. Consumed by grief and clinging to her belief that her family is still alive, she sets out to find them. But as disturbing clues begin to surface, Abby realizes that the truth may be far more sinister than she imagined. Soon she finds herself caught in a current of lies that threaten to unhinge her and challenge everything she once believed about her marriage and family.

AUTHOR, Book Review, F, Fiction, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.14 REVIEW – The Dark Pool by J.E. Fishman

The Dark Pool
by J.E. Fishman

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 424
Read: March 6-14, 2013
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 14
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for review

The Dark PoolBlurb: Shoog Clay: The nation’s winningest inner-city high school football coach resists pressure to move up to the college level because his kids in the Bronx mean everything to him. But more powerful people won’t take no for an answer.

Antwon Meeps: One day Harriet Tubman High School’s star running back is a shoe-in for a college scholarship. The next day he’s accused of a rape he didn’t commit, his life begins unraveling, and he doesn’t know how to stop it.

The Mean: This incognito Greenwich hedge fund manager is so rich he keeps a giant sea creature as his pet. But a risky investment threatens to ruin him, and a stubborn high school football coach holds the key to his redemption.

Soon a tragic hanging in the school gymnasium will lay bare a secret force that none of these men understands. In a “dark pool”  marketplace, insatiable Wall Street players have wagered everything on certain real-world outcomes. When fortunes hang in the balance, financiers cloaked in anonymity won’t hesitate to pay off their claims with the blood of others.


Review: Financial thrillers aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but when I was pitched this book, I figured that the rest of the description would cover enough of the financial aspects for me to enjoy this one. And I was right to take a chance on this book. I really enjoyed it.

If J.E. Fishman is good at one thing, it sure is character development. By the end of the book, I felt like the characters were family to me and I was rooting them on to make it out of the mess they were in. But that’s not to say that they were absolutely perfect. First, I have to admit that I found Shoog Clay’s character really sticking his neck out the entire book for one of his football players was a little unrealistic. Not very many high school football coaches are going to go on the run with their star football player. And the idea that Clay’s boss would harbor both of them, as well as keep important details from the police, well that is a little unbelievable as well. And while that might have come out negative, it really didn’t have an impact on my feelings toward the book. In fact it was quite the opposite – I was flying through the pages trying to figure out exactly how Shoog, Miranda and Antwon would get out of the mess they were in.

The writing was very good. The chapters were short, which kept the pages turning. And the action, while not what I would necessarily consider fast-paced, was definitely not slow either. The storyline was interesting – the so-called dark pool is a secret marketplace where the richest investors bet on certain things, and you definitely don’t want to be on the short end of the bet. But what’s really interesting is just how far some people will go to manipulate the dark pool in their favor.

Overall, I felt like this was a very good thriller that will appeal to a wide variety of audiences – financial thriller readers as well as crime fiction fans will all enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation.

Recipes

RECIPE: Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches

Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches (6 servings)

  • 1 loaf (10 ounces) frozen garlic bread
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup sliced onion
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound shaved deli roast beef
  • 6 slices Colby cheese

Directions

  1. Bake garlic bread according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Layer each half of garlic bread with roast beef, mushroom mixture and cheese. Return to oven; bake for 3-5 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home

Personal Review: I used to relish long recipes that allowed me to stay in the kitchen for quite some time preparing dinner. Now with a 9.5 month old son and a job outside the home, I live for the quickest recipes I can find. This recipe fits the bill.

I’m not huge on mushrooms in general, so I ended up picking them off my pieces of the bread. But the rest of the recipe was delicious in my opinion.

There’s not much to say about this recipe – except don’t let the bread slip on the baking pan …. I had just gotten everything all layered perfectly and on neatly and then when I went to put the bread back in the oven it shifted and made a mess everywhere … frustrating!

Overall a tasty and quick recipe that is sure to please.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, March 11, 2013

Mailbox Monday time again! And March’s host is Caitlin at Chaotic Compendiums

I know better than to go to the bookstore 🙂

Purchased:

Capital Murder Defending Jacob Fear Collector


For review (I’m scheduled for 4/11):

Untold DamageEstranged from his wife and daughter, former undercover cop Mark Mallen has spent the last four years in a haze of heroin. When his best friend from the academy, Eric Russ, is murdered, all the evidence points to Mallen as the prime suspect.

Now Mallen’s former colleagues on the force are turning up the heat and Russ’s survivors are asking him to come up with some answers. But if he wants to serve justice to the real killer, Mallen knows he’ll have to get clean. Turning a life around is hard work for a junkie, especially when a gang of low-life thugs wants him dead. Bruised, battered, and written off by nearly everyone, can Mallen keep clean and catch a killer?

Recipes

RECIPE: Crispy Onion Chicken

Crispy Onion Chicken (4 servings)

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (6 ounces) cheddar or original french-fried onions, crushed
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)

Directions

  1. In a shallow bowl, combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, add 1/2 cup-fried onions. Dip chicken in the butter mixture, then coat with onions.
  2. Place in a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Top with remaining onions; drizzle with any remaining butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170°.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home

photo (4)

Personal Review: This is a recipe that I’ve been making for a few years now. It’s super easy to make, it definitely takes longer to bake than to prepare – something that I appreciate in a recipe now that I have a crazy 9 month old son who can’t sit still!

The only thing that might be a little off-putting to someone is that there is a very distinct mustard taste. It doesn’t bother me, but it is something that you can really taste in this recipe. But then you put the french fried onions on – and who can beat that? Ha!

There’s not much for me to say about this recipe other than that I hope it peaks your interest enough to try it. We definitely enjoy it in our house. Served with a salad, veggie and potato and  you’ve got a great meal!

And it makes me realize that I have a million different ways of making chicken 🙂

AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, Read in 2013, Review Book, U-V-W

2013.13 REVIEW – The Trajectory of Dreams by Nicole Wolverton

The Trajectory of Dreams
by Nicole Wolverton

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 285
Read: March 1-5, 2013
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 13
Format: Print
Source: Author for review

The Trajectory of DreamsBlurb: For Lela White, a Houston sleep lab technician, sleep doesn’t come easy—there’s a price to be paid for a poor night’s sleep, and she’s the judge, jury, and executioner.

Everyone around Lela considers her a private woman with a passion for her lab work. But nighttime reveals her for what she is: a woman on a critical secret mission. Lela lives in the grip of a mental disorder that compels her to break into astronauts’ homes to ensure they can sleep well and believes that by doing so, she keeps the revitalized U.S. space program safe from fatal accidents. What began at the age of ten when her mother confessed to blowing up the space shuttle has evolved into Lela’s life’s work. She dreads the day when an astronaut doesn’t pass her testing, but she’s prepared to kill for the greater good.

When Zory Korchagin, a Russian cosmonaut on loan to the U.S. shuttle program, finds himself drawn to Lela, he puts her carefully constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. As Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe.


Review: This is one of those books where it’s going to be very hard to review it without giving away too much of the plot line, so I’ll do my best to avoid any kind of spoilers.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Lela White is absolutely insane. It is obvious that there is something seriously wrong in the head with this woman from the first page. But to be completely honest, it’s not until the very end that the reader becomes aware of just how serious her problems really are. I certainly had no idea as to the severity of her mental illness. I had a pretty good idea as to what had happened to her mother, but other than that it was completely surprising to me.

I thought that overall the writing was very good, there were a few typos here and there, but I was reading an ARC, so hopefully they were caught before final publication. However, I have to say that I kind of thought some of the transitions could have been smoother. Nothing that a couple of spaces between paragraphs couldn’t fix. It might have been something done intentionally by the author to further the picture of Lela’s character. I’m not sure. But then again, this might just be something that I like after having so many professors in college pound the words “transition sentences” into my brain!

As I stated above, this is a really hard book to review without getting too detailed. All I can say is that Lela White’s character is insane and that the storyline itself is pretty good and the reader should be stunned at the end.

Now go read it 🙂


NicoleWolverton_highres_RTAbout the Author:

Nicole Wolverton is the author of the upcoming psychology thriller, The Trajectory of Dreams (Bitingduck Press, March 2013). Her short stories and flash fiction have appeared in Black Heart Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, and Penduline, among others. In addition to writing fiction, Wolverton is founder and managing editor of Farm to Philly (www.farmtophilly.com), a website devoted to locally grown foods and sustainable living. She resides in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area with her husband and small cadre of pets.

Praise for The Trajectory of Dreams

“The Trajectory of Dreams is unsettling, beautifully written, and truly original. In Lela White, Nicole Wolverton has created one of the most haunting characters in contemporary fiction. This is a remarkable debut.” –Emily St. John Mandel, author of THE LOLA QUARTET, THE SINGER’S GUN, and LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL

“This novel is a free dive into the bottomless ocean of insanity. With every chapter, every kick of the fins, you’re sucked in deeper as the darkness mounts and the pressure builds. And like the ocean, The Trajectory of Dreams gives up its secrets grudgingly, so you’ll continually be stunned as the protagonist, Lela, falls to her inevitable implosion.” –Mike Mullin, author of ASHFALL and ASHEN WINTER.

“This is a psychological thriller of epic proportions. […] 5 out of 5 stars for its crazy twists and exhilarating ending. This is a gripping, disquieting look at mental illness that will cause you to question how well you can truly know a person, especially those with something to hide.” –Literary R&R


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation.