Thursday, September 24, 2015

Semper Fi by Keira Andrews

Semper FiSemper Fi by Keira Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This incredible book, Semper Fi, was so good and will become one of my new comfort re-reads. I cried through a lot of it (mostly good cries though a few achy sobs too).

I admit I was kind of reluctant to read it (war stories make me so sad) but after reading Keira's, Kick at the Darkness I knew this author was good and would do justice to this topic.

I'm not fond of the back and forth in time thing but Keira wrote it to perfection and I actually looked forward to the switches showing how Cal and Jim got closer over time. Jim's GFY (really OFY) was easily understood.

And the kids, well I didn't even mind the kids either and they really added to the story. Please write more books like this, Keira.

And now I have to go to work and try not to grin/weep through my day thinking about this book.

Thanks, Keira.

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wonderfully Wintery Wonderland

Winter Wonderland (Minnesota Christmas, #3)Winter Wonderland by Heidi Cullinan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heidi, the cover of this book had my pulse racing before I even opened the cover and now I kind of wish it was Christmas. That is if we can keep the snow off sidewalks and roads. Thanks.

This was the third book in Heidi’s series, Minnesota Christmas which began with Let It Snow. While I have yet to read the second book in this series the third book was very good (and I think would work well as a stand alone read) maybe even as much as the first one which I really liked. And yes Winter Wonderland made me cry and yes, I may have blushed once or twice over the hugging, kissing and sexy stuff and now I’m blushing again writing that bit of info but that's all okay and frankly why I read.

And no, I can’t say bears are my thing (or maybe they will be now... hmm) but I wouldn’t kick one off my couch for getting Christmas cookie crumbs everywhere either. In fact I may look into a few more bear type book characters because Heidi makes them sound so delicious.

I loved the character portrayals and was glad to see the male nurse, Kyle, and his bear, Paul, get a wonderful (that word again) HEA. Kyle’s family members were such a great support to Kyle and Paul. Kyle’s awesome twin, Linda Kay, was so loving and funny and Kyle’s parents were so supportive and... well then there was Paul’s family which helped to balance things with their somewhat homophobic (but maybe just scared and unsure) views of their son, Paul.

Hopefully Paul’s family will settle down in time perhaps in Minnesota Christmas part 4? I can only hope especially if their granddaughter does turn out to be lesbian (or not) and/or she is, at least, trying to accept her Uncle Paul more than the rest of this sad family.

For fans of fuzzy warm feelings (and if the idea of stroking a nice furry chest appeals to you or just reading about it) this is a book you will enjoy reading.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Young Man in the Snow Globe

Winter OrangesWinter Oranges by Marie Sexton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shades of Boy in the Plastic Bubble and yet not really.

Marie Sexton really had me here because I was afraid I wouldn’t get the HEA I was hoping for but I did. She had me fooled until the end. Good job, Marie.

I’ve enjoyed Marie’s books, Between Sinners and Saints was amazing and Cinder: A CinderFella Story which I thought I would not like but did enjoy very much. Never a Hero was another of her books where I actually learnt something, cried several times and yet was very happy at the end of the book.

Winter Oranges had an excellent premise so naturally I had to devour this book. A child star, now a washed up actor, falls for a man who has been trapped in a snow globe for over a hundred years. I’m often surprised when said star goes on to have some kind of happy life because doesn’t it seem that Hollywood destroys them much to the delight of the tabloids and tabloid readers? Surely I wasn’t the only one who thought about breaking the snow globe closer to the start of the story?

I enjoyed the characters and could very much relate to Jason’s pining away for his fellow actor Dylan’s heart (Dylan was a player, no?). And it was great that Ben didn’t have a perfect healthy (what with his asthma) body. Also it was nice that this was not insta-love which does get kind of annoying. I do enjoy a sensible slow burn (as opposed to ridiculous) and Jason needed real love in his life and Ben surely did too after over a hundred years going without and luckily Ben was gay too though after that long if I was Ben who would have cared if I had been given a Jason or a Jasmine (of course I'd most likely have skipped this book if it had been a Jasmine... no offense).

I’m pretty sure I had to wipe my sad eyes on my shirt at least once while I read this tale which was kind of nice too that my heart hasn't totally frozen through just yet and Marie can still reach me.

It did kind of nag at me to wonder how Ben’s sister was able to do what she did to... you’d better just read the book to find that out. The genealogical research was a nice touch too.

I’d give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I'm thirsty now

 Gardening with less waterGardening with Less Water: Low-Tech, Low-Cost Techniques; Use up to 90% Less Water in Your Garden by David Bainbridge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Why are we not more serious about using less water? What will it take to make us be a little bit smarter about water usage?

I don't know about you but water is pretty important to me and yet I know I could still get so much better with lowering my water use.

Books like this help us learn better ways to lighten up on our use of this precious resource. I'd like to say I read it all in one sitting but I took my time to read through it slowly and understand how I could have better used water, and harvested rainwater, in my previous yards.

This book had a lot of good information though I found it a bit dry (sorry) and I wished there were more examples for me to follow.

There are many other important books out there to read as well such as Brad Lancaster's, Rainwater Harvesting For Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2: Water-Harvesting Earthworks. Lets' face it even a balcony can be a dryland.

Also websites such as Inside Urban Green teach us more about the importance of SIPs (sub-irrigated planters) and there are commercial planters out there like Earthboxes that every balcony gardener should try to have or emulate (EarthTainer anyone?).

Now I'm thirsty and I may just go throw a bucket on my balcony to gather some of the rain that is falling today. Nice.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Who wants to build a tree house?

Microshelters:  59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses and Other Small Structures by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen
Who doesn’t want to build a secret fort or tree house?  I’m thinking of building one on my apartment balcony so I can get away from it all.
I’ve always enjoyed Deek’s sense of humor and have followed his website, relaxshacks, for several years.  He's got some Youtube videos out as well and I bet taking a class with him would be lots of fun. 

I enjoyed this book and felt like maybe I could actually be successful building a small structure.  Fine, I ‘d probably mess it up but eventually I think I'd achieve something I could be proud of and this book would help me get there. 

Also I really like the ‘tiny words of wisdom’ from other tiny project people throughout the book and to have all their websites at the end of the book. 

Now I did have to force myself to read through the blueprints at the end of the book (blueprints are kind of boring unless you actually need them) even though I’d need help with those particular projects just like Deek suggested (it’s like he knows me).  Actually I’d need help with most of the projects in the book but Deek made me feel like I could try and fail and still be happy with what I did.  Thanks, Deek. 

This would be a great book (don't go for an ebook with this one) for any coffee table (even on a table you built yourself) and I will recommend it to others.  I’d give this 4 out of 5 stars, a well liked book for me.  

**Copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures