Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Update XI & XII

I completely forgot to update for November!  I just finished the challenge!!  It was fun, but I'm definitely ready for a break from reading.  I read seven books in November and only one in December if that tells you anything about how burned out (and busy) I am.

These aren't going to be in order because I was reading some of them at the same time (on two different devices) and I don't remember which ones I finished first.  So for November we have...

I started reading Drama Geek, a free book on Amazon Kindle app, because I finished one in the middle of the night and couldn't sleep.  My first impression was "Ahhhhhh another first person, present tense ahhhhh!!!!!!"  Seriously why doesn't anyone write in past tense anymore??  After I got over that I actually really liked it.  It definitely was aimed at young adults, because I'm not sure most parents would want their teens reading this (language and suggestiveness).  The use of all caps for yelling was extremely annoying and really pulled me out of the story, but overall I enjoyed it and read it in two days.  It had a few typos and tense inconsistencies, but not enough to really bother me (or maybe I'm just numb to them after the one in October....).

I chose Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes for my book with a number in the title because it's the first free one I found with a number in the title hehe.  I was happy to find that although this one was in first person it was in past tense!  Yay!  It was silly and weird, but I really loved it.  Seriously anyone with a sense of humor that likes love stories, character growth and a bit of a (slightly predictable) mystery will love this one.  I read it in two or three days.  It had a few typos, but not enough to really bother me.

I chose Sherlock Holmes The Hound of the Baskervilles for my book that is over a hundred years old.  I have been curious about the Sherlock Holmes books for a long time because it has a huge fan base, people make references to it everywhere, it's mentioned in the dog mysteries series I read and the TV series looks interesting.  I was tired of not being in the know, so I used this as an opportunity to read one.  I don't know if my expectations were too high or if I just forgot that it was written over a hundred years ago, but it was difficult to get through.  I think I've been reading too many of these really simple books, so it took me a while to get used to the verbose language in this one.  I used to only read classics.  I grew up reading them.  I teethed on them.  They aren't foreign to me, it's just been a while and I'm a little rusty.  I also think I knew at one time that these were written in first person point of view and that they weren't in Sherlock's point of view, but I had completely forgotten that when I first started reading this.  It threw me off a bit and I had a really hard time getting into it.  In the end I enjoyed it and I liked the mystery.  It was slow paced and although reading it was a grind, my lasting impression of it is favorable.

I chose The Scarlet Letter for a banned book because I read that 140 years later it was still being banned (reference link)......  It was awful.  It took me over a week to read it because I just couldn't concentrate on it for long periods of time.  The biggest problem is I was reading it on my tablet so the internet was only a click away.  It was easy to get distracted with something more interesting.  I would even find myself having read several pages with no memory of what I read because I was thinking about something else.  I didn't read the intro... the information at the end of the book was more interesting than the actual book.  There was a summary of the story at the end that basically told the whole story in three pages!!!!  It was truly agony getting through this book.  I'm not normally put off by long descriptions, but this book was so full of excess words that there were no actions.  Each chapter was long, but very little actually happened in them.  One whole chapter was her recognizing someone standing in a crowd... the whole chapter!!!  It was just overkill.

I finished Scarlet Letter and was desperate to read something else, so I went through the free books looking for anything in past tense.  Senseless Attraction was the first one I found.  It was in first person, but I didn't mind as long as it wasn't present tense.  The first third of the book was interesting and a quick read.  Then it left on a cliffhanger and went to a whole new set of characters (but at least it was still in present tense... I have when they change tenses).  I've never been fond of books that switch point of view characters mid book, especially in first person, so I was irritated, but I kept reading anyway.  In no time I'd guessed what would happen.  The ending was very predictable.

The last half of the book (it was actually in three parts) was switching back and forth between the characters in each chapter... annoying.  The worst part is how much the personalities changed.  It's like the first two parts were written and then the author forgot everything about the characters in the last part.  They were even using pet named they had never used before.  It was very jarring.  Overall they would have been decent stories if they had been stand alone, but the way it was pieced together just didn't work for me.

It had that annoying high school drama "are you really that stupid" vibe, but it wasn't that bad.  I just didn't like how it was separated into three parts.  Also the parents were really weird and annoying.  Normal parents don't act that way and their jobs conveniently kept them out of the way so the kids could get into mischief.  So it was... eh.

I chose The Catcher in the Rye for a book I should have read in high school because I read somewhere that the protagonist's fear for adulthood would make this book easy to relate to.  Seriously???  He wanders around New York for a few days and does basically nothing.  Nothing happens.  He learns nothing.  Nothing changes.  I don't want to give away too much about it so I won't bother saying anything else except every other word was practically a cuss word.  He also repeated himself a lot.  He called everyone old, said he hated everyone, everyone was a bore and he added "and all" to almost everything he said!  Maybe the only way I could relate to this is if I was a teenager?  Or a boy?  The absolute only thing I found endearing was his perception of time and the way he said something happened ten hours later (when it was just a few minutes) or he was a kid fifty years ago (when he's only a teen) because I used to do that (and probably still do).  The whole exaggeration of time for effect.  I've been known to call something older than dirt when in reality it's only a decade old or whatever.  At least that part made me grin.  Everything else was.... pointless.

I chose The Diary of a Young Girl for my memoir.  I could relate to Anne Frank a lot more than Holden from Catcher in the Rye.  Maybe it's just a gender thing?  A teenage girl is easier to relate to than a boy for me I guess (which is why when I write my main character is always a girl!).  I can't believe I hadn't read this book earlier.  I read a version that had all of her original, uncensored writings in it (I think the first version published was edited by her father to keep from making people look bad).  It had a lot of information in the back too.  I've never read a book that is basically a compilation of diary entries before, but it didn't bother me at all.  It made the book quick to read because the chapters were short and sweet.  There wasn't a lot of word fill if that makes sense.  As I read this book, knowing it was a true story, my heart broke for Anne.  The things she went through, the things she missed out on, knowing what happened to her before I started reading, etc.  It all made reading it very emotional for me.  I'm a very empathetic person.  I could easily imagine what it would have been like to be in her position as I read.  It is a valuable book to read for perspective, but it is heartbreaking.  I wish things could have been different.  I wish she could have known that she managed to write a book that is still being read so many years later (she wanted to be a writer).  Anyway I could go on and on, but I'd be saying the same things over again.  I'm very glad I read this book.

That was all for November.  For December there is only one book and that finished out my 2015 Reading Challenge!!

I chose Nora Roberts' Irish Thoroughbred for a popular author's first book.  It had horses in it!  Easy choice!  The amount of time it took me to read this is no reflection on the book.  I was just finally tired of reading and was busy doing other things.  I went for a couple of weeks in the middle of this book without reading it.  I enjoyed it, although it wasn't nearly as good as her later stuff (obviously).  She's grown a lot as an author from her first book.  I enjoyed the characters, but the story was a little slow and just lacked some meat to it.  It just couldn't hold my interest very well with all the other stuff going on right now (need to do a blog post!).  I actually have the trilogy that is linked above so I'm going to go ahead and read the other two books, but it's not part of the challenge so they won't be listed here.

So that brings the challenge to an end.  I really enjoyed this!  It was so fun to keep track of everything I read for a year and sharing my impressions of them.  I think I'm going to continue tracking what I read and writing my impressions, even if I don't share them here.  It's really fun to go back and read what I thought of a book.  :D  I hope you enjoyed following my reading challenge.  My mom did it too (she's the one who introduced me to the idea) and she totally smoked me.  She's a fast reader!!  My dad loves to read too.  It's no wonder I love it.  It's just in my genes hehe.

Here is the final list.  It does not include a book I didn't finish and a book I reread.  It does include new books I read that may not apply to the list.  My total for the year was fifty eight (can't forget the trilogy) and a half books.  I'm linking each book to the post about them instead of to Amazon like they are in my sidebar.

1. Share & Share Alike by Hannah Hooten for a book I started but never finished.
2. Barker Street Regular (Dog Lover's Mystery) by Susan Conant for a mystery or thriller.
3. Trixie Beldon Book 1 The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell Tatham for a book I can finish in a day.
4. Trixie Beldon Book 2 Red Trailer Mystery by Julie Campbell Tatham for a book with a color in the title.
5. Trixie Beldon Book 3 The Gatehouse Myster by Julie Campbell Tathem for a book your mom loves.
6. Playing For Love (Summer Beach Vets 1) - Escape Down Under -  by H.Y. Hanna for a book set in a different country.
7. Curse of the Scarabs by H.Y. Hanna for a book with nonhuman characters.
8. Evil Breeding by Susan Conant for a book from an author I love that I hadn't read yet.
9. Unlisted for a book written by an author with my initials.
10. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns for a book that became a movie.
11. Creature Discomforts by Susan Conant for a book I own but hadn't read yet.
12. To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee for a Pulitzer Prize winning book.
13. Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce for a book with magic.
14. TinTin in Tibet by Herge for a graphic novel.
15. Dragon Fantastic for a book of short stories.
16. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell for a book with more than 500 pages.
17. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for a book that was originally written in a different language.
18. The Perfect Date by R.L. Stine for a book from my childhood.
19. Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts for a book by a female author.
20. The I's of Iris by Gayle Sliva for a book by an author I'd never read before.
21. Melting Into You by Tracey Alvaraz for a book set somewhere I've always wanted to visit.
22. The Rancher's Promise by Jillian Hart for a book based entirely on it's cover.
23.  The Playboy's Redemption by Diana Fraser for a book a friend recommended.
24. The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde for a play.
25. Absolute Fear by Lisa Jackson for a book that scares me.
26.  Playing to Win by H.Y. Hanna wasn't part of the challenge.
27.  The Netherfield Affair by Penelope Swan for a book published this year.
28. Hunger Games by Susanne Collins for a trilogy.
29.  Aurora by Steve Lowe for a book at the bottom of my to read list.
30.  Red Rising by Pierce Brown for a book written by someone under 30.
31.  Summer Beach Bride (Summer Beach Vet series) by H.Y. Hanna wasn't part of the challenge. 
32.  Wicked by Gregory Maguire for a book with bad reviews.
33.  Veronica Mars by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham for a book based on or turned into a TV show.
34.  He Sees You When You're Sleeping by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark for a book set during Christmas,
35.  Hot Ice by Nora Roberts for a book with antonyms in the title.
36.  Birthright by Nora Roberts for a book with a one word title.
37.  Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams for a funny book.
38. The Wicked Flea by Susan Conant wasn't part of the list.
39. The summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han for a book that made me cry.
40. Sing For Us by Steven Wise for a book based on a true story.
41. Rebecca  by Daphne Du Maurier for a classic romance.
42.  Anxiety by Chris Kelly for a nonfiction book.
43.  Confessions of a Kleptomaniac by Jessica Sorensen for a book set in high school.
44.  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen for a book with a love triangle.
45.  Unlisted for a book set in my hometown,
46. Unlisted for a book that came out the year I was born.
47. B The Exxtinction by Santiago Mantilla for a book set in the future.
48.  Drama Geek by SM Dritschilo wasn't part of the challenge.
49.  Twenty-Eight and a half Wishes by Denis Grover Swank for a book with a number in the title.
50.  Sherlock Holmes Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arther Conan Doyle for a book over 100 years old.
51.  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne for a banned book.
52.  Senseless Attraction  by Lila Rose wasn't part of the challenge.
53.  Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for a book I should have read in high school but didn't.
54.  Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank for a memoir.
55.  Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts for a first book by a popular author.

The Amazon links are in the sidebar or on the individual posts.  That was a lot of fun!  Now bear with me and I'll try to get an update post up soon.  I know I've been very scarce in bloggerland lately.  Everything is fine, so no worries!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Update X

Wow I did a really great job last month!!  I read eight books and I'm halfway through another one!  Granted they were fairly short books, but I'm really excited.  The past two weeks have royally SUCKED because everyone at work is sick (except me... so far....) so I've been doing a lot of reading to try to relieve stress (being around sick people stresses me out).  It truly is my go to coping mechanism when my anxiety or stress levels are high.  So it's been good for the challenge at least haha.  I now only have six (actually five and a half) books to go.  I was feeling overwhelmed for a while thinking I wasn't going to make it, but these shorter books have been a huge help in getting caught up.  I'm so glad I got the long ones out of the way at the beginning of the year, especially Gone With the Wind since it had eight or nine hundred pages.  So enough rambling, here's what I read for October.

I read Sing For Us for the based on a true story.  It was set during the civil war and was actually a really good book.  It's funny because I really don't like war movies, but books are usually good.  Of course it wasn't really in the middle of the war.  It was actually about a Confederate hospital close to the end of the war and was a love story.  I wasn't too sure about it at first, but by the time I finished it I liked it.  It has some really sad parts in it, especially knowing that stuff like that really happened.  Some of it was really gross too by the way!  Overall I enjoyed it.

Rebecca was suggested to me for classic romance and the person compared it to Wuthering Heights (okay didn't really compare it, but said if I liked Wuthering Heights I would like this).  I loved Wuthering Heights so I was excited to read this, however the comparison gave me expectations that were wrong.  This book was not set in the same time frame and it took me a bit to realize that.  When I first started reading it the first person point of view totally threw me for a loop because nobody wrote in first person at the time Wuthering Heights was written (well not that I've read anyway).  Once it finally sunk it what time it was set in I really enjoyed the book.  It was strange and different, but I liked it!  It doesn't really send out a very good message... but it was good lol.

I wanted to get the non-fiction category over with so I started looking through the Kindle Unlimited stuff on Amazon (I had a free trial) for the shortest non-fiction book I could find.  I knew if I started reading one of my horse books it would take forever for me to finish it, because I like to slowly peruse them and absorb what I'm reading (not to mention some of them are really long and most of them I've already read a lot of and I didn't want to read something I'd already started).  I found this anxiety book and figured I would give it a shot, since I have problems with anxiety.  I'll just say... I'm glad it was really short.  I don't even remember much of it because it was mostly stuff I already knew.  Oh well, at least that dreaded category is over with.  :)

I read Confessions of a Kleptomaniac for the set in high school book.  It was kind of weird... I'm really not a huge fan of switching points of view (although they did at least only switch in different chapters), especially in first person present (why is that all anyone writes anymore??????), but at least they were consistent.  Once I got used to the flow of the story I did actually like this one.  The characters were interesting and the story was definitely different from anything I've read before.  This was another Kindle Unlimited book.  I made good use of my trial lol.

I borrowed the movie Water For Elephants from a friend.  I'd been wanting to see it because the book started out as a NaNoWriMo novel!!  Learn more about NaNoWriMo here.   I'm a huge fan of NaNo, so this has been on my list a while.  I really enjoyed the movie so I started looking for the book and I found it on Kindle Unlimited (yay free trial!!).  It was different from the movie, but I loved them both equally (rare for me)!  Again it was first person present tense... does anyone write in third person anymore????  It seemed to work well for this one though, but it's really been an adjustment reading all of these present tense books.  I really, really enjoyed learning more about how the circuses used to be.  The facts in this book were so interesting.  The author spent a lot of time on her research!  I enjoyed reading more about her too.  :)

I didn't have a category in mind when I read this one (I wanted to read it before my trial ran out), but I decided to put it in the love triangle category and I'm moving Wicked to the book with bad reviews category.  I was having trouble finding a book with bad reviews because I was looking for one that had mostly or all bad reviews.  That's really hard to find.  On Amazon and Goodreads both you rarely find a book under three stars.  Then I realized I could interpret it differently... it's says a book with bad reviews... it doesn't say how many bad reviews.  So technically any book with more than one bad review would fit this category.  Wicked had quite a few bad ones and to be honest my own for it isn't great, so I figure it works.  :)

This is going to be a first for me... I HATED this book! I chose B The Exxtinction for the future book because it's set in 2034 and it was on Kindle Unlimited (thank heavens I didn't pay for this one... if I had I would have burned it and I truly respect books).

This book is without a doubt the worst book I have ever read in my entire life!  The only reason I finished it is because it's short and I really wanted to see if it could get any worse lol.  Not only is it full of typos but it has chapters that are in first person present tense and other chapters that are in third person past tense.  Who does that??  That's bad enough, but there were even sentences that were half present and half past tense!  In the same sentence!  What the heck???  This author should NEVER write in present tense ever again (if he should even write anything at all... the idea behind the story wasn't that bad, but I couldn't enjoy it because everything else was horrible).  I don't think this book was proofread at all.  It also broke one of the biggest rules of writing in present tense... the main character tells parts of the story in first person present tense of things that were happening somewhere else!!  The whole point behind first person is that you're only supposed to know what the character knows.  They can't know what is happening miles away in present tense!  This book should never have been written in present tense.  It would have been so much better in third person past tense!  Why doesn't anyone write fantasy or sci-fi in past tense anymore?

I've been reading a lot of self published books this year and I try to ignore the typos because it happens, but I couldn't ignore the constant and repeating errors in this book.  The writing was so stilted that there was no flow at all.  The grammar, the punctuation, the spelling... all horrible.  He couldn't even get redneck right!!  He left the apostrophe out of y'all.  Some examples of the horrible grammar and spelling are... creator was used TWICE for crater... lighting instead of lightning... your instead of you're... whaling instead of wailing (seriously??)...  I can care less instead of I cannot care less... peaks my interest instead of piques my interest...  crevasse instead of crevice... what is really funny is he tried to use a bunch of big words to sound smart, but couldn't even get the simple words right.  Something else that annoyed me to no end is he kept using "I will like to say" instead of "I would like to say".  I've never seen anyone write or heard anyone say "I will like to say"...

Anyway I could go on and on... it isn't like me to completely trash a book like this, but it truly was horrible...  I did realize after I'd finished reading it that the author's name is Santiago Mantilla... which is Spanish... so maybe English isn't his native language... in which case he should have paid a proofreader before publishing.  The truly awful thing is that it has four 5 star reviews on Amazon... hahahaha!!!  Anyway I'll quit rambling on about this book.

So the other two books I read were for the categories "A book that takes place in your hometown" and "A book that came out the year you were born".  For obvious reasons I'm not writing the titles on here.  It's probably a good thing anyway because the book I read for my hometown was bad... not as bad as the above book, but I didn't like it.  The one I read that came out the year I was born I really liked though.  :)

The only categories I have left are:

1. A book with a number in the title - Was thinking of Fahrenheit 451 if I can find it.  Anyone read that?
2. A popular author's first book - Already have this one picked out.
3. A book more than 100 years old - halfway done with this one.
4. A book you were supposed to read in high school, but haven't
5. A memoir
6. A banned book

P.S.  If anyone made suggestions for any of these categories and I didn't use them, it was nothing against you.  I just couldn't find them for free.  I've been getting all of these books from my mom, the library, free on Amazon or with my free trial on Kindle Unlimited.  I can't afford to buy all of these books, so I hope I didn't offend anyone by not using your suggestion.  I really appreciate all of your help!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Progress IX

I got a bunch of Nora Roberts books for really cheap at a yard sale (they were less that 25 cents a piece) so I've been taking them to work for something to read.  They are much better than the stuff that's available up there lol.  This one fits the category of a book with antonyms in the title.  I wasn't sure I'd like this book because I had just read He Sees You When You're Sleeping and that wasn't my favorite, but I loved this book.  I don't know how Nora Roberts does it but her books just draw me in and I can't put them down.  This had such interesting characters and even the story line was unique and interesting.  I definitely enjoyed it.

I was skeptical reading another Nora Roberts book back to back, because normally I don't like that unless it's a series with the same characters, but I loved this one too!  The story line of this one was definitely one of a kind and really interesting.  I did not guess the ending at all!!  This one fits the one word title category.

I think I'm too dumb to truly appreciate this book (quantum physics has never really been my thing lol). I'm putting this in the funny book category because I did laugh out loud at some of the jokes and funny books are hard to find it seems like... I was seriously thinking about reading a Hank the Cowdog book because I couldn't find anything and I loved those books when I was a kid.  Once I realized what year this book was written I did understand a little better why everything thought it was so great.  It mentions touch screens before touch screens were a thing lol.  Still... wasn't my favorite.

I finished the previous book in the middle of the night and didn't have a book on my nook that applied to the list so I just started the next Susan Conant book.  Once I start one I have to finish it even if I can't find a category it fits in.  I loved this, obviously, it's been one of my favorite series hehe.  It seemed like she spent a lot of time explaining dog facts in this one where she didn't do that in the previous ones, but I still liked it.  One of the things I really enjoyed about this series is that when I started reading it I noticed how it talked about dogs like the reader already knows a lot about them and is already just as obsessed hehe.  :)

The high school librarian at the school where my husband works is helping me find books for the challenge (because I was running out of stuff I already had) and she chose this one for the based in high school book.  Unfortunately it's based during summer, so it doesn't apply to that category, but the ending made my teary eyed so I'll put it in the book that made me cry category (I had put one in that category before, but I moved some around so it's still available).  The ending was kind of expected, but the way it put you in the main characters point of view so strongly it did get to me more than I thought it would.  I didn't care for how it jumped around in the beginning, but once I got into the story I realized how it was kind of necessary to really show me who the main character was.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Well that's all for September.  I'm already halfway through two other books (one I don't think applies... ugh!), but they will go in the October post.  :)  I seriously need to read more!  I'm running out of time!!!!

P.S.  I really could use suggestions for the rest of the categories, especially a classic romance, a book I was supposed to read in school but didn't, a book with bad reviews, a book set in the future, a book set in high school and a banned book.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I rode a motorcycle!

I got to ride a motorcycle with my best friend last weekend!  I've never been on one ever in my life before then.  I was just riding with her, not driving, because I have no idea how to drive them lol.  It was terrifying!!!!!  After I got over being terrified of dying and road rash I had a lot of fun.  :)  Don't worry I was wearing a helmet and protective gear.  I just took all that off for the picture.  Safety first!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jackal's Vet Visit

I took Jackal to the vet for several reasons.  There was a lump on his leg that I was worried about, he's been limping again and he hasn't lost any weight (although he does have a waist now, the number hasn't gone down at all in the year he's been on a diet).

The lump is nothing to worry about.  It's a benign fatty tumor.  Actually the vet found one on his side too that I wasn't aware of.

The vet agreed to try a course of Doxycycline to see if the limping is related to his Ehrlichia like Storm's was.  For those who may not know I was unaware that Storm had Ehrlichia for seven years because she never showed signs of it (no fever, lethargy or loss of appetite).  However she limped off and on for a long time.  I thought it was from an old injury that didn't heal properly.  When we got Jackal we had Storm checked out and one of the things they did was test for Ehrlichia.  Lo and behold she had it, so they treated her with Doxy and the limp went away and never returned during her last five years.  So I've been wanting to treat Jackal to see if his limp is related to it.  The vet said it could also be arthritis, so if the Doxy doesn't help we might have to look into that.  He said to keep exercising him and continue to keep him off the pavement.

As for his weight we decided to check his thyroid levels since he hasn't lost any weight.  He got fat because my grandparents were feeding him cat food behind my back, but he no longer gets that since their cat (actually she was mine) died (of old age at 16).  He was actually in the low normal range (1.3), but the vet decided to go ahead and put him on it (since anything under 1 is considered low) to see if that helps him out.  He has a recheck in a month.  His thyroid meds are almost as expensive as mine!!!!  Yikes!

Other than that he's happy as can be and has a great appetite.  So we will see how the meds help.  I'll update again in a month and let you know how he's doing.  Keep your fingers crossed that the limp goes away and that he starts to slim down and feel more energetic!

He did really well at the vet.  He whined and yelped (almost bayed) a little bit (which is his normal thing), but eventually settled down as you can see in the above pictures.  He was really excited about the other dogs, but he listened well.  :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

30 Before 30 - #8 Complete

Okay first of all, it is way past my birthday... I still consider my 30 Before 30 list a success because everything was completed before my birthday, I just haven't had time to make videos or do posts.  Sorry!!  Wait until you see the test results for our pasture!  Your jaw is going to hit the floor lol.  Anyway today's post is for the learning archery goal.

I haven't had much time to practice, but I'm not too horrible lol.  You can see in the above picture how close I got to a bullseye.  Here is a video (yes I was still in my breeches from riding earlier lol).

Archery is so much fun!!!  My form is slowly improving.  Faster than my accuracy LOL!  My dad is practicing for his concealed carry license (hence the gun target behind my archery target) because he has to work late at night sometimes and had a scary encounter recently, so we're all going to do a lot more target practice on the weekends.

I only missed the bag once, went too high and 
look how far through the gun target my arrow went!

I shot hubby's E.A.Witness .40 too.
I'm waaaay out of practice lol.

I am going to do a post showing video of how the horses reacted to the guns on my other blog so keep an eye out for that.

Anyway I had fun today!  I miss this!

I'll try to get the other 30 Before 30 posts up as soon as possible, but it might be a while.  Things have been really hectic lately.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Progress VIII

I'm behind in posting this. I've been really busy, so I only read three books for August. I'm going to have to get it in gear if I'm going to complete this challenge in time!!

I started reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire with the intention of it being for my one word title category, but then I realized it actually fits in the love triangle category so I'm going with that.  The one word title will be much easier to find another one for.  I loved the idea of this book.  I was never really a fan (because we watched it too much when I was a kid) of Wizard of Oz, but I appreciated it as a classic so the idea of learning the history of the wicked witch of the west was a really cool idea.  In that sense I really did enjoy the book.  However it was really weird at certain points and the language was very... I don't know... silly or something.  It's like he just strung together long sentences of big words just to seem smart or fill space, but they made no sense.  It was very bizarre.  If you're interested, click on the Amazon link and read the review that someone did called Wicked Sucks because that person wrote it better than I could.  So I'm in love with the idea, but not a huge fan of the book... I did finish it though!

Okay confession time.  Veronica Mars is one of my all time favorite T.V. shows (right up there with Gilmore Girls and Big Bang Theory)!!  So when I heard there was going to be a book I jumped on the chance to read it for my based after a T.V. show category.  :D  It did not disappoint!!!!  It picks up right where the Veronica Mars movie left off, completely got all of the characters right and was just all around amazing!!  I don't know what else to say about it except that I loved it.  It was a short, easy read too.  I also just realized there is a second book!  Yay!!!!!

I read this one for the set during Christmas category. It was meh.  Not bad, but not mind blowing either.  Kind of slow and predictable.  Cute story idea though.  :)

I've already finished one book for September, so fingers crossed I get more read this month!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

30 Before 30 - #19 Complete

 This one was harder than I thought it would be.  Number nineteen on my 30 Before 30 list is find a food I've never eaten and try it.  Bonus points if I cook it myself.  :)  I obviously went for bonus points hehe.  The hard part was finding something I haven't eaten before.  I am willing to try almost any food (nothing raw or weird stuff like caviar).

I finally decided on sweet sticky rice cake.  It's a really popular Asian dessert that I'd never tried.  The problem is I couldn't find sticky (glutinous) rice anywhere, so I finally ordered some online.

Hubby surprised me with an early birthday present (because I had to do this before then obviously) with an authentic Thailand sticky rice steamer!

How cool is that??  The water goes in the pot and the rice is wrapped in cheesecloth and put in the basket.  When the water boils it steams the rice.  :)  Here is a link on how to make it.

In my excitement I soaked the rice for six hours, wrapped it in the cheesecloth and put it in the basket.

 Put a lid on it and let it steam 45 minutes.

It actually looks really yummy when it's done and it's SUPER sticky!!  They aren't kidding about the stickiness of this stuff lol.  I tasted it plain and it had a good flavor. Tt doesn't taste sweet like the name implies, but I'm a rice lover so that didn't bother me at all.  To me it needed salt, but I'm a salt-a-holic so that's not surprising.  Once it was done cooking I finally realized that the rice isn't cooked in the rice cake recipe!!!  Oops!!!!

So I looked up other things to eat with sticky rice (it had to be eaten lol).  Most of the suggestions were things I didn't already have, but I found one that suggested fried eggs and soy sauce.  Sounded good to me and luckily I had gluten free soy sauce already on hand.  :D

So hubby fried up some eggs for me (I suck at frying eggs).

I put them on the plate really pretty for the pictures...

... but to eat it I chopped up the eggs in the rice, covered it in soy sauce and mixed it up.  It was DELICIOUS!!!  Seriously I could eat it every night it was so good!

So the next day I started over with soaked, but not cooked rice for the rice cake.  Here is the recipe (LINK).

First step was greasing the pan with coconut oil and then spreading the soaked rice in the pan.

Then I mixed up the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a bowl.

Jackal is my cooking partner.  He politely lays in front of the fridge and watches, hoping clumsy me will drop something (I often do... seriously I'm clumsy... he knows to wait permission though so it's not like he's going to eat something he shouldn't, I pick up poisonous stuff like onions or chocolate).

Then I poured that over the rice and stirred it up.

Then I put it in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.  While that was cooking I started on the topping.

I put the rice flour, coconut milk, egg, salt, brown sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat.

I know this part is boring Jackal.  :)

Then I whisked and whisked and whisked until it started to bubble.

Then I turned the heat to low and whisked for two minutes, then I took it off the heat and whisked some more... thought my arm was going to fall off lol.  It gets THICK very quickly.  Once it was smooth and thick I put it in a bowl to cool while the rice layer finished cooking.

Pulled the rice layer out when it was done (you can see where I didn't whisk the egg white enough).

Spread on the topping.

Stuck it back in the oven, over a pan of water (one inch of water and put it on the bottom rack under the cake) and cooked for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Pulled it out and tada!  Sweet sticky rice cake.  I let it cool a little before cutting it.

To be honest it isn't my favorite dessert.  It's not very sweet at all (I guess I was expecting sweeter?) and it has almost a bread pudding texture (or soggy quiche) that I'm not fond of.  The flavor is really good though (just not sweet... oh and you have to like coconut, which I do).

The cool thing is this recipe can be modified in a million different ways so I can always try again.  :D

So I had a lot of fun with this and I'll definitely be making sticky rice and fried eggs again!!