July 27, 2010

Book Review - Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Another book review by ~Sara

Once again, the newest book in a favorite series lived up to the hype. In this case, I thoroughly enjoyed Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews, the latest book in the Kate Daniels series. In short, Kate Daniels lives in an Atlanta where magic and technology shift back and forth and weres, vampires (more tool than actual entity), and the rest of the normal urban fantasy cast live (or possible only survive) in near harmony. She works as a Knight of The Order which assists with magical disturbances. She has spent the last few books solving magical mysteries and trying to survive her heredity. In the latest book, Kate sets out to solve the mystery of weres going loup and strange plagues. In the meantime, she has to deal with her heredity finally catching up with her in a big way and the further development of her relationship with Curran.

I loved this book due to unforgettable characters married to quick action. I didn't have to wait around to see why there were strange plagues, and it didn't take long to figure out how Kate ended up in the middle of the mess. Additionally, Saiman kept up his on-going half courtship/half business pursuit of Kate with somewhat unexpected results. There is an unforgettable scene involving industrial glue and a blueberry doughnut, and I would recommend everyone watch for all the commentary regarding black paint and its apparent comeback. Plus, the attack poodle. . . . Oh the attack poodle. The mad puking and urinating skills. Perfect - absolutely perfect and totally laugh-worthy. I also liked that Kate and Curran's relationship continued to develop. While I have skimmed some reviews that take issue with Kate's immaturity in this area, I found Andrea's explanation on why things are the way they absolute spot on. Suddenly a lot of the things Kate does make total sense - especially when you watch her behavior around Curran. That's about all I can say without giving away too much. Man, that's rough. So, let's just go with I loved this book!

WAIT - I do have one complaint. It is that the book is only 384 pages. I mean I understand the conflict had resolved and that is plenty long enough for a paperback, but I just wanted the book to go on. I wanted more poking into the Jim-Dali relationship. I wanted more Julie and more Derek. I wanted more attack poodle. And you know for sure that I wanted more Curran. . . who wouldn't??? So now I will just have to wait it out for the next book. Of course, the release of Bayou Moon in September (the second book in The Edge series) will help ease the withdrawals. . .I just hope I can make it. Perhaps another support group. . . .

July 18, 2010

My Art Fair Swank

Another Salem Art Fair has come and gone but this one has left me with some memorable swank.

Is that a real word? Swank?

Apparently my volunteer efforts for the Salem Art Fair warranted me worthy of the Volunteer of the Year award.

So unexpected but wonderful none the less.

The best part is that this little diva figurine was decorated by quite a few of the artists at the fair.

It's quite a treasure.
Which I will treasure.

Here it comes.

My pitch.

Which I'm sure my friends and acquaintances are quite tired of hearing.....

..... but if you would like to volunteer for next years art fair just let me know.


July 17, 2010

...more Salem Art Fair

The weather has been perfect for today's festivities. I'm sitting in my booth setting up this blog post. Ah, the convenience of my iPhone.

I've been able to get away and have spotted a few more artists that strike my fancy.

Mandy Allen from Portland makes beautiful, affordable silver and anodized aluminum jewelry.

Aisle 19 - Booth 223

Lisa Telling Kattenbraker from Olympia Washington has lovely, whimsical paintings. I was admiring them and then realized after going up close for a look at the detail that they are actually batik. Wow!

Aisle 20 - Booth 230

Christopher Bibby from Portland has a variety of colorful urban skyline paintings. The colors are fresh and fun without being kitschy.

Aisle 8 - Booth 85

Come on down, there's only one day left.

July 16, 2010

Salem Art Fair & Festival

The 61st annual Salem Art Fair and Festival starts today.

The childrens parade just passed by with lots of streamers, strollers, noisemakers and smiles.

The fair has an admission this year: $5 per day or a multi-day pass for $7. The art fair is the main fundraiser for the Salem Art Association.

Come on down and take a peek.

Hours are:

Friday 10-7
Saturday 10-7
Sunday 10-5

The 5K Walk and Run for the Arts is Saturday morning beginning at 7:45 with registration at 6:30.

I've already discovered a small treasure that must find a spot in our new home. It's by artist Kathy Ross, a sculptor from Washington. She is in booth 30 aisle 3.

I have a view of the Habitat for Humanity ice cream bar booth from my tent which will be a must visit spot later this afternoon.

It's a perfect day for the art fair. Come on down.

July 13, 2010

Book Review - Silver Bourne by Patricia Biggs

Another book review by ~Sara

Apparently, I am doing some reading again. Of course, that will continue right up until I get my new DS game (sometime next week - heh heh heh). But I thought I'd ship this off to you in the meantime. :0)

Well, I'm going to start this review with a whine. I know - shocker!?!!?! I am really sad but have decided that I have a couple of regular series I'm going to have to give up or at least ignore for awhile. I made this decision about the Dresden books, and I just added the Rachel Morgan books to the list after being absolutely bored and disappointed by the last two books. . . or is it three??? For Dresden, it was because there was too much focus on characters I absolutely didn't care for-hello new apprentice. For the Morgan books, it is because they've all become throw-aways. There was no real point to Kisten's death except to get rid of an inconvenient boyfriend, and the replacement characters are - well - icky to me. Maybe I'll go back to these used-to-be-loved favorites and maybe I won't. Sad but true. So, will this entire review be about my disappointment. No. It's actually all a huge set up to say how happy I was with the fifth book of the Mercy Thompson series, Silver Bourne. Go Patricia Briggs!

So this is another character debate for me (again, I know you're shocked since my prior complaints were NEVER about character). Strangely, I wasn't sure I wanted to read this series. In fact, Brigg's Alpha and Omega is what sucked me in and made me want to read more about the Tri-Cities pack. Now, I actually prefer Mercy. She is interesting and evolving. Her portrayal is consistent and - darn it - I root for her every time. Her on-going struggles as Adam's mate and her changing relationship with Adam's pack are believable. Throw in the blow up with Gabriel's mother and Samuel's life plans--I'm hooked. While I did miss Stefan, this was barely a blip as I finished the book. Instead, I spent time thinking about Ben. In fact, I started to re-label my opinion of him after Iron Kissed but the scene after the fire in this book really made me wonder if I would like the pack as much without him?? One of my other favorite scenes was how Mercy chooses her dating attire. It was a nearly perfect way to sum up Mercy and Adam's relationship as well as Mercy's relationship with Jesse. I suppose I could gush some more but to do that without revealing too much well-it ain't going to happen.

The downside of this book depends on your POV and why you pick your books. The plot is weak. In fact, I'd say the plot is merely a backdrop to explore how Mercy is going to fit into the pack and work out some of the Samuel issues. Additionally, a new character appears as a deus ex machine to help with the whole Samuel problem. Apparently such a long life means that you have met the perfect person to solve all problems and they will pop up possibly with the assistance of the all-knowing Marrok-just when things seem hopeless. Finally, the fact is that you don't get that much reading for the price of the hard cover book. For me, 352 pages and $24.95 (or whatever sale price you can get) should take more time to digest. However, that still wasn't enough for me not to love this book and not to be excited that River Marked is set for release January 25, 2011. No vacation from Mercy needed!

July 11, 2010

Books I Had Forgotten

I discovered more than a dozen boxes of books in storage during my recent move.

Opening the cardboard vaults took me back to my childhood, my high school years, college, the birth of my first child and many years of falling asleep reading to my kids.

Childhood - The Little House on the Prairie set, The Ghost of Windy Hill, The Secret Garden, Where The Wild Things Are

High School Years - I am the Cheese, The Scarlet Letter, A Tale of Two Cities, many, many Agatha Christie novels

College - James Joyce, Henry Miller, Douglas Coupland, D.H. Lawrence, Keats, Byron, Shelley, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Katherine Dunn

Birth of my first child - What To Expect When You're Expecting, My mom's Dr Spock book, Goodnight Moon

Many years of falling asleep reading to my kids - Go Dog Go, Are You My Mother?, The Little Engine That Could, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, The Giving Tree, The Sorcerer's Stone, Where The Wild Things Are

I've made a stack. I've made a stack of those books that are on my get reaquainted list.

First up is a reread. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Here's a quote that caught my attention.

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."

It just struck me is all.

Another little nugget I pulled out of my cardboard vault was Alexander Dumas' Dictionary of Cuisine. It's familiar but not so much. I suspect it was purchased just prior to those 'falling asleep while reading to my kids years'.

A little gem from the Dumas' Dictionary.

"Pears with Bacon. Cut bacon into little cubes and fry. Peel and cut up cooking pears and steam in a little veal broth. Drain the bacon and the pears and mix them in a pot, adding a pinch of nutmeg, coarse pepper, and a few tansy leaves. Cook together 1/2 hour and serve this fine German dish with fried croutons, as it is served every Wednesday at the court of W├╝rttemberg."

July 4, 2010

July at Detroit Lake

It's so nice being lazy here at the lake. Detroit is the highest I have seen it in years. It's beautiful.

I have so many memories of spending weekends boat camping, reading and fishing here at Detroit as a kid. Now it's my kid's turn.

A few snaps:

Fresh trout is an extra bonus.

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