Posted by: Kelly | August 26, 2015

Random August Photos

  

  
  
  
  

Posted by: Kelly | August 24, 2015

Cotton Candy Grapes

I can remember from my childhood how exciting it was when green seedless grapes became available in our local grocery.  Dealing with seeds was always such a pain.  Of course now there are all sorts of grapes to choose from in the supermarket, many of those seedless.  Recently I was perusing the bags of red seedless grapes (my favorites) when a produce employee asked me if I’d tried the “cotton candy” grapes.  He pointed towards the display and said to go try one.  Feeling a bit daring as I reached into a bag for a taste (I frown at folks eating their grapes while shopping – it’s stealing!), I popped one into my mouth.  Amazingly, it tasted just like cotton candy!  I was delighted and added a bag to my cart along with the red ones.  You can see from the label that they’re “non GMO” (if that matters to you), so I have to wonder exactly how they get that flavor in there.

Cotton Candy Grapes

Posted by: Kelly | August 22, 2015

Distant Suns – The Silexous

Distant Suns - The Silexous

Distant Suns – The Silexous  – by Patricia Smith

FROM AMAZON’S BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“As the survivors of the catastrophe that turned Earth into a barren rock are settling on their new planet, an enemy from a past encounter finds them and a new fight for survival begins.”

FIRST SENTENCE:

“Anton leaned forward and studied the display.”

MEMORABLE MOMENT:

(54/55% into the Kindle version)  “It was a beautiful bright day, with a clear cerulean sky dotted with only a few elongated clouds, wispy at the edges like snow blowing across a distant hill in a blizzard.
The sun, risen for a number of hours now, had had time to warm the air and ground enough to encourage the small lizards basking on the roofs of the cabins to climb down and start scurrying around after insects.
Solar panels and tiles which captured and stored heat from the sun’s rays faster than the surrounding rocks, had been discovered by the reptiles after the rooftops were also found to be the perfect hiding place from predators.
The humans noticed none of this as the shadow of their torment blinded their eyes to the fresh bright beauty of the start of the day on their new world.”

MY THOUGHTS:

It was with excitement and just a wee bit of trepidation that I began reading Distant Suns – The Silexous, the third and final installment in Patricia Smith’s Distant Suns trilogy.  It had been awhile since I’d read the first two books and I was a little concerned I might have trouble remembering pertinent facts about the plot and characters, therefore spoiling my enjoyment.

I need not have worried.  the author does an excellent job of bringing the reader “up to speed” in an unobtrusive way.  Just as with her earlier books, I was immediately drawn into the story and love the format of her writing.  The short chapters that alternate between characters and locations keep the reader on edge and quickly turning the pages – exactly what’s called for in a good science-fiction book!

Thanks to Tracy over at Pen and Paper for introducing me to Patricia Smith.  Her recent post announcing this book provides some interesting links, such as her interview with the author (who also happens to be her personal friend).  I’ve been pleased to correspond some with Patricia by e-mail and she has kept me posted on the progress of her various works, all of which I’ve read and enjoyed once available (having already caught up with the older stuff).  She was kind enough to insist on providing me with a copy of Distant Suns – The Silexous, but of course that in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

For those who enjoy science fiction or stories about space, I highly recommend the Distant Suns trilogy.  If you’ve never read any sci-fi, it would be a great introduction to the genre.  Either way…give it a shot.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Posted by: Kelly | August 20, 2015

Fudgsicles

How about this for a tasty way to cool off on a hot summer day?!

Fudgecicle

When I saw the recipe for these frozen treats, I knew I had to try it.  For one thing, it looked easy and delicious, but also because it uses coconut milk – a new-found fascination for me.  I’ve discovered it’s a versatile product, having used it to bake scones, make soup … and now these.

The recipe is courtesy of The Two Kitchens.

 

Posted by: Kelly | August 17, 2015

Deadly Election by Lindsey Davis

 

Deadly Election

Deadly Election –  by Lindsey Davis

FROM AMAZON’S BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“In the first century A.D., during Domitian’s reign, Flavia Albia is ready for a short break from her family. So despite the oppressive July heat, she returns to Rome, leaving them at their place on the coast. Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, the famed private informer (now retired), has taken up her father’s former profession, and it’s time to get back to work. The first order of business, however, is the corpse that was found in a chest sent as part of a large lot to be sold by the Falco family auction house. As the senior family representative in Rome, it falls upon Albia to identify the corpse, find out why he was killed, who killed him, and, most important, how did it end up in the chest.

At the same time, her potential young man, Faustus, comes looking for help with his friend Sextus’s political campaign. Between the auction business and Roman politics, it’s not quite clear which one is the more underhanded and duplicitous. Both, however, are tied together by the mysterious body in the chest, and if Albia isn’t able to solve that mystery, it won’t be the only body to drop.”

FIRST SENTENCE:

“Never hold an auction in July.”

MEMORABLE MOMENT:

(Page 37)   “People with asthma should avoid men who are running for office.  They are called candidates because on formal occasions they wear robes whitened with chalk.  The Latin for “white” is candida.  I found this year’s contenders by following the clouds of white dust and bystanders coughing… I am not entirely joking.  But the commotion made by the chalkies’ supporters, together with the hoary jeers they were throwing at each other, helped identify them.”

MY THOUGHTS:

This third outing with Flavia Albia made me happy.  So often spin-offs (both in books and film) can be disappointing and the first in this new series from Lindsey Davis was exactly that… a disappointment.  While I won’t say the plot of this one was as good as book two (which I loved), it held up to the quality I expect from Davis.  And, while not a cliff-hanger by any means, it did set itself up for more books and I look forward to seeing where it takes the characters.

Keeping names straight when reading about ancient Rome (whether fact OR fiction) can be difficult under the best of circumstances.  Fortunately Davis always provides a humorous “cast of characters” at the beginning of her books and this time also provided a chart of the families involved  when wrapping up the mystery.  Considering I’d found things a bit confusing at times, it was a welcome addition.  I wish she would include more of the characters from the original series (this one takes place 10-12 years later) rather than just making reference to them, but perhaps that’s her way to make sure this is a distinct series of its own.  Understandable.

 

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