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Dishing with Dee….GNO (the May edition), AKA, I have very sneaky friends

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So it took me a little while to get this post up, mostly because I failed epically in the taking photos aspect and had to hit up some of the participants to see if they had any from our awesome GNO evening. Sub-title of this, should be, I have some very sneaky friends who probably need careers in the spy industry. the plans for GNO started out like they do every month – the 4 (or 5) of us getting so busy that we forget until a few days prior; Jamie setting up an invite on Facebook (even though we had been smart enough to do that the previous month) and finally settling on a place – previously, we’d done a chocolate bar and then a farm to table type place, so for May we decided on Sushi. I will admit that i’m relatively new to the sushi eating world- its only been a couple of years since I tried it, but when I do manage to drag friends out with me to have it, my goal is to always try something different – so I was excited to have a group of people going with me. Fast forward to Saturday night, and after a hectic day of workouts, errands and an insane desire to skip because I was so exhausted, followed by a hike from the metro – I showed up at MoMo Sushi in Old Town Alexandria.

avery selfieAs I walked up the stairs to the restaurant, I realized that there was not only 1 but 2 extra people at the table from our normal group. I knew about the one (a friend bringing her sister who was in town), but the second was a total surprise and thus the comment about my sneaky friends. An author that I love (Kelsey Browning) had been touring the country as part of a Free Little Library tour with her writer cohort in crime and she just happened (magically of course) to be in the DC area on the same night as our Girl’s Night Out (funny how those things work out right?). And Jamie in all her secret squirrel wonder had invited her along as a surprise for me (because I had been asking her when Kelsey was going to be here). I’m amazed that none of the people spilled the beans…I mean, that was some serious secret keeping…lol! Not long after that, we were joined by our pseudo party-crashers (they were expected, we just didn’t know when), Kimberly Kincaid and Avery Flynn – both authors who I totally fangirl over, if you have read my reviews of their books). Avery even managed to get a selfie with all of us in the picture – which took some considerable skill since she didn’t even have a selfie stick!

sushiOf course, it wouldn’t be a sushi meal without a funny sushi story – which of course, revolves around me being an idiot/nearly choking on a piece of sushi. but first, an awesome sushi picture (this wasn’t my roll, because I ate it too quickly to take a photo) – but mine was as visually pretty as this one that Kimberly and Avery shared. but back to the funny sushi story – although, I can safely say, that is wasn’t actually my fault…I blame it all on Kelly! There I was, sitting innocently next to Kelsey, working on my Spider Roll (which was awesome BTW). Jamie/Kelly and Kelsey had just gotten done talking about kids antics and a comment had been made about people and how they deal with visual sighting of half eaten food. But back to the story, I had literally just managed to pick up a delicious piece of sushi from my roll and shove it, in its entirely into my mouth when Kelly turned to me and asked me a question about the shrimp in the roll, I think, whether it was tempura shrimp. For some reason, this was insanely funny (i have no idea why) and I started laughing, while I had a piece of sushi in my mouth. Comments were made about people being waitresses in former lives, because of their ability to ask questions as soon as you try to eat. In the meantime, I’m laughing so hard, I was trying to not choke on my sushi or spit it up into somebody’s lap and the folks down the other end of the table were trying to figure out what I was laughing about. Never fear, I did survive both the laughing bout and the piece of sushi.

A fabulous night of frolicking fun was had by all and I can’t wait for the next edition, even if it will likely be back to our smaller group

kk af dee
GNO all

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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TBR Tuesday – 05 May 2015

TBR Tuesdaythe Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman

Purchased: 17 January 2012

Review: Neil Gaiman either seems to be an author you love or an author you hate – but honestly, I can’t really say that I fall into either camp. I like his writing and how he weaves the fantasy in his stories; but I always feel as though there is something missing when I’m done. The premise of the story reminded me in part of the movie BoxTrolls that I had just watched a couple of weeks ago, but rather than trolls taking in the child, it was ghosts in a graveyard. The story was much more of coming of age/finding your place in the world – and there were some parallels to Narnia in places (the part where the children get too old to return – or in this instance see the ghosts) being one. The author himself was the narrator of the audiobook and I think that added to my enjoyment of the story – I don’t know if I necessarily would have stuck it out, if I had just been reading the book. This is the second book I’ve read by Neil Gaiman (the first being The Ocean at the End of the Road) and unsure about where to go next…does anyone have any recommendations?

I’m slowing plugging away at Mt TBR – how about you?

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

Audiobook Review – A Second Chance – Jodi Taylor

Audies nominee paranormal

a second chanceA Second Chance
Author: Jodi Taylor
Series: #3 in the The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series
Rating: 3.5 stars

Narrator: Zara Ramm
Run Time: 9hrs 14 min
Narration Rating: 4 stars

Description:
St Mary’s is back and nothing is going right for Max. Once again, it’s just one damned thing after another. The action jumps from an encounter with a mirror-stealing Isaac Newton to the bloody battlefield at Agincourt. Discover how a simple fact-finding assignment to witness the ancient and murderous cheese- rolling ceremony in Gloucester can result in CBC – concussion by cheese. The long awaited jump to Bronze Age Troy ends in personal catastrophe for Max and just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse – it’s back to the Cretaceous Period again to confront an old enemy who has nothing to lose. So, make the tea, grab the chocolate biscuits, settle back and discover exactly why the entire history department has painted itself blue …

Review:
Oh where to begin, of the 6 books nominated for the paranormal category for the Audies, this is the one I was probably looking forward to the most. I’m a huge fan of time travel type stories (i mean, my addiction started with Outlander like 15 years ago), so when I was reading the description I was sucked in. From the get-go, A Second Chance was a roller coaster right of history, funny and educational at the same time. I could tell that the author had a passion for it because of not only the general history that most people know about different time periods, but all the other random factoids – like Cheese Rolling (yes, you read that right, Cheese Rolling!) And better yet, Cheese Rolling STILL EXISTS! Yes, I want to try it! (5 absurd food-based sports you couldn’t even make up”).

One of the things I enjoyed the most about the book was that Max and her folks didn’t try to change history, but were rather there to just observe it. It made it more enjoyable because you knew that none of the actions of the teams from St. Mary’s were going to change how the Battle of Agincourt played out, or what Newton did…I think if I had found myself in the same situation, it would have been hard to not want to change things, especially if you knew something bad was going to happen…so the fact that the historical encounters in the book were solely fact gathering missions made it intriguing to me. I starting thinking about where would I love to visit, if I was given the opportunity to travel back in time and honestly, its still up in the air. I’m going to have to think about it and who knows, maybe when I go back and listen to the rest of the series, since I will be doing that, maybe a trip will really spark my interest.

Zara Ramm was a new to me narrator, but I can safely save (as with several other narrators nominated in the paranormal category), it won’t be my last time listening to her. In fact, I’ve already purchased the first book in this series, as well as several freebies that are available (what can I say, I only have a slight problem with freebies)…i think one of the good things about how well her narration tied into the novel was that it was told from a female POV, so having one who was well modulated and articulate (as Max was, since she is a historian and a department leader) worked well. There were times during the narration I was laughing so hard at the antics of Max and her crew (and no, not just the cheese rolling), that I thought I was going to have to pull the car over so as to avoid an accident.

If you are interested in a comedic romp through history with a well-meaning but slightly disaster bound historian, then this series may be one for you. I do recommend not drinking while listening however, as you may find that you need to purchase a new computer monitor (or similar). 3.5 stars for the book and 4 stars for the narration.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Dishing with Dee….i have a confession to make…

dishing with dee 2

My name is Dee and I have a confession to make – i’m a gadget-o-holic! I really believe that someone needs to start a Gadget-O-Holics Anonymous! I’ve probably have 4 different GPS devices over the years; bike computers; stride/cadence sensors for running – you name it, I’ve probably tried it at one time or another (and that is only looking at triathlon stuff, don’t get me started on kitchen gadgets). And yet, when I want something new, I just add to the stash…so I’m super happy to introduce you to the new member of my gadget family – the Polar V800 Multisport Watch. It arrived in the mail yesterday and I’m super excited to start using it!

gadget geekThe main box is the GPS watch which while biggish on my itty-bitty wrists, doesn’t make me feel like I’ll give myself a concussion with it, should I whack myself in the head (yes, I’ve done that before)…and the bottom box is the stride sensor, so I can see what my foot cadence is while out running. This is something new to me, I’ve never really paid attention to that before, but a friend of mine who just finished the Bostom Marathon (in a sub-3 hr time), swears by it, so I figure what is the harm in trying – right?

Anyways, I’d write more, but its time to get and test out the new device – but I’m sure i’ll be back in the future talking about the stats, but i’m also a stats junkie ;)

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Dishing with Dee….Things I never thought I would wear…

dishing with dee 2

You know how there are some things you just never see yourself wearing and then when you do, you are like well, lookey-here…well, I had one of those epiphany’s this morning. Don’t worry, I wasn’t wearing anything completely whacked – like a can can dress or a sombrero (but hey, you know, Cinco De Mayo is coming up)…just a simple cardigan/button-up sweater. I remember going shopping with my Grandmother about 10 years or so ago, during summer vacation from college (I mean, I was never one to turn down a chance to go shopping, especially when I knew that I would be spoiled rotten…) and while we were looking, she was trying to convince me that I needed to have some button-up sweaters in my wardrobe because they are simple, easy to wear…and look the typical time I was like uh-huh, yeah, no thanks (etc etc). But in the last year, I’ve come to appreciate this under-estimates item of clothing. I went from one job where we were allowed to wear sleeveless dresses in the office, to one where it was frowned up – but its not like I could afford to completely re-do my wardrobe…enter the button up sweater…with a simple flick of the wrist, my sleeveless dresses, get a cute update and I’m ready to go…and when I leave for the day, the sweater comes off and voila!

what about you – is there a daily item of clothing that you wear now, that in the past you would have scoffed at?

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Dishing with Dee, Uncategorized

 

Audiobook Review – Beauty from Pain – Georgia Cates

audies nominee erotica

beauty from painBeauty from Pain
Author: Georgia Cates
Series: #1 in the Beauty series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Bunny Warren, Robert Black
Run Time: 9 hrs, 9 mins
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
They agreed on three months…but their love knew no boundaries.

Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.

It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he’s ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.

Review:
I’ll admit it, i’m a sucker for a gorgeous cover and if I had been in the bookstore, Beauty from Pain (and its subsequent books) totally would have caught my eye. I love the black and white photography with the erotic looking cover, that still stays this side of being too much. But since I was listening to the audiobook, well, I did still gaze at the cover, but it didn’t affect my choice as much. I will admit that when I pick up a book that has been marketed as erotica/nominated in an erotica category for awards, I have certain expectations and unfortunately for me Beauty from Pain just didn’t live up to that. For me, erotica is about the sexual journey of the participants and while there were some spicy scenes in Beauty from Pain, it read more like a traditional romance to me. The only thing that really could potentially push it into the “erotica/erotica lite” category is that there really wasn’t a happily ever after which is required for a romance, but that being said, this was really the first in a series with a continuing storyline where I expect one to culminate at the end of book 3.

While the storyline was intriguing, I found the writing to be chunky in places with lots of redundant sentences. Maybe it was because I was listening to it, but weak writing is much more obvious to be when I’m listening to audiobooks, rather than when I’m reading. I think because I actually concentrate more in the audio, rather than reading where I tend to skim read. And maybe it is a small thing, but it got really annoying with the alternating point of views, that each chapter was titled who was speaking/thinking – I wish that had actually been left out, because I do think the voices were distinct enough that it was obvious the POV that the chapter was written from (also an minor irk, Laurelyn barely went by that name in the book, so it was disconcerting to hear that every time it was her point of view). In general, I didn’t mind Jack and Laurelyn’s story – I think it had potential to be really good, although there were some things that Jack did that just weren’t resolved for me. Certain things he was adamant about and then all of the sudden just changed his mind, no explanation (i mean, I’d expect that from a female, but not a male…well, you know what I mean – j/k) however, I spent the majority of the book hating the secondary characters. I wasn’t a fan of Laurelyn’s friend, or her friend’s brother (Ben) because he was a douchebag and the limited mention of Laurelyn’s mother made me go crazy, she was just so self-obessessed (and I have a feeling she is going to be significant in book 2, which I’m not looking forward to).

Both Bunny Warren and Robert Black were new narrators to me. I’ve found when listening to duo’s narrating books that I often really like one, and not so much the other; or find them both to be fairly middle of the road. In this instance, it was the former – I really liked Bunny’s narration – I found she did a great job of narrating Laurelyn’s POV – her voice was pleasant to listen to and I found myself sucked into those portions of the audiobook. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Robert Black’s narration. Maybe it had something to do with having grown up in Australia (for the first nearly two decades of my life), but the accent that he used for Jack just grated on me. Maybe that is how Australian’s sound to a complete outsider, but I don’t remember ever hearing them talk to like. I found it hard to listen to and distracting to the point that I struggled to listen to his portions of the audio. I almost wish I could have listened to Bunny’s stuff and read the male POV’s – it may have worked better for me. It also seemed like the author dug in and found all the random slang that aussies use – some frequently and other not so – I actually posted a question on facebook about one such phase because I had never heard of it in my life (apparently, Sanga is short for Sandwich, but not where I grew up). That made it hard for me.

I know that I will be finishing the series – because I want to see what happens between Laurelyn and Jack (and because book 3 in the series was also nominated for an audie award in the same category). But overall, I was disappointed – it didn’t live up to what I expected, based on the number of high rated reviews from Goodreads friends/ the fact that it was nominated for an award (even if the award was for narration). Both the story and the narration got 2.5 stars from me, but if Bunny had been the sole narrator, it would have been more like 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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Dewey Read-A-Thon – Its Cheerleading Time!

dewey 24 hour

Last October I discovered this great event called Dewey’s 24-hr Read-a-thon – where readers from around the world, all start reading at the same time and try to read for the entire 24 hours. I had a great time participating last year, even though I only made it through about 15 hours of it. Unfortunately, when it came time for the April iteration of it, I had previous commitments (it was my monthly military drill weekend). But just because I didn’t have time to read this season doesn’t mean that I can’t participate.

pearl krabsI loved the support that I got from other readers last time, so I decided to sign up to be a cheerleader – pom pom’s and all ;) The basic role of a cheerleader is to check in with various readers (all of us are assigned to different groups) at various times of the day – give them a cheer if they look to be struggling or a *virtual* high-five if they are kicking ass. All kinds of jazz like that ;)

I’m having a great time doing it so far and hope to check in with other readers during the course of the night – especially as people may start to wan and want to fall asleep. Wish me luck!

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2015 in Reading Events

 

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