Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tragedy & Remembrance

I'm sure by now we are all aware of the tragic school shooting that happened yesterday in  Connecticut. I've had some time to absorb this and to read a lot of articles and other's opinions on this and I have some things I want to get off my chest.

First, I have never cried so hard for people I didn't know as I have been this last day. Even now, as I allow my self to think about it, I'm crying. I just can not imagine what it must be like this morning for all those parents who are waking up (assuming they ever fell asleep) without their little one. My heart literally aches for them.

Now, I'm a little bit disgusted with some members of our human family. Of course, it didn't take long for the gun control issue to be brought up. People tried not to bring it up, but even President Obama couldn't help mentioning it in his speech yesterday. I even read a few passing comments about violence in our media.

So here's what I don't understand. Why are we so busy pointing the finger at all these other issues? Why are we trying so hard to find something or someone else to blame besides the evil Monster that did this?

Because let's face some facts people, this Monster (and yes, that is what I'll be referring to him as, he doesn't deserve to even be called a person) was obviously mentally ill in one way or another. It's safe to assume that he woke up Friday morning and thought, "I'm going to hurt as many people as possible today". You can try to blame the entertainment media for all the violence in movies and music and video games, you can try and blame the availability of guns in this nation, but that does not change the fact that this Monster made a terrible decision and acted it out. He is responsible for his actions.

And I'm sure that as we learn more about the Monster and his history we might find that he was abused by his parents or bullied in school and then we'll blame his parents, or the people who hurt him in any way. But trying to put the blame on everyone and everything besides him doesn't accomplish anything. It doesn't change what he did and it won't bring those 26 people back.

So here's my unprofessional, uneducated opinion. Typically, we get angry to cover up how sad or hurt we are. I believe it is easier for us to talk about gun control than it is to let the sadness and the grieving enter our hearts. We don't want to deal with that sort of pain. It's so much easier to lash out and say, "We'll if he didn't have a gun, if guns were illegal..." or "If video games didn't glorify violence, then this wouldn't have happened". We can play the What If game all day. That doesn't change anything.

And I know some of you are thinking, "But Kristen, if we change some things now, we can prevent something like this from happening in the future". I'm going to lay out a cold hard truth for you, no we can't. If there is a person out there who is determined to hurt another human being, there is very little that can stop them. For instance, I just saw a headline about a man who wounded 22 children in China with a knife.

Now we could go back and forth all day about what that means. But I don't want to because it doesn't matter. There is evil out there in the world and there is very little we can do to completely stop it. And I'm not saying that we should do nothing. Sure there are somethings that can be changed to make us all safer but we all must understand that when a crazy Monster decides to hurt people, he will do it.

So here's my final thoughts. Let us all stop arguing about things that don't matter. Allow your self to grieve for these people, even though you don't know them. Feel sad, cry a little, it's okay. Don't let all this make you angry, those sweet souls who are with their Heavenly Father right now wouldn't want that. We should not let their tragic death be a point of contention between us.

My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with all the people effected by this. If you have children in your life, keep them close today and be kind to them, hell, spoil them a little and be sure to tell them you love them as much as humanly possible.

Thanks for reading. :)

EDIT: Now that we know the names of these victims I wanted to share them. I got this information from CNN.

Charlotte, 6

Daniel, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia, 6

Josephine, 7

Ana, 6

Dylan, 6

Dawn Hocksprung, 47

Madeleine, 6

Catherine, 6

Chase, 7

Jesse, 6

James, 6

Grace, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack, 6

Noah, 6

Caroline, 6

Jessica, 6

Avielle, 6

Lauren Russeau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto, 27

Benjamin, 6

Allison, 6

I also found this article that talks a little bit about some of the victims. There isn't a ton of information out about the children, which is understandable. As a parent I'm pretty sure I'd have a hard sharing my lost little one with the world right now as well. 

So now that we know their names let us remember them for the rest of this year and for as long as we can. And remember their poor families who have to go through this Christmas season with out their loved one.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm still here!

Привет из Америки, чтобы все, кто вконтакте сюда из России.  :)

In English, the above says: Greetings from America, to all of you who stumble in here from Russia. I hope Google Translate got that right. I put that there because I've had over 140 visitors from Russia in the past month. It has to do with the way I spell Konfessions, I believe in Russian it means: "Church of" but I could be wrong. :)

Anyway, I know it's been awhile since I posted, the holidays get busy. And to be honest I'm not sure I'll be back here until the New Year since we'll be out of town visiting family for Christmas.

So if I don't see you soon, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Results

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to try to stay off the internet for a week. Well I didn't completely cut my self off, but I did keep my self to only getting on once or twice a day. Overall, my experiment worked pretty well. It wasn't perfect. I still got online more than planned, but it wasn't half as much as I usually do.

And I did get more accomplished in my daily life. More cleaning got done, more errands ran. But I still wasn't as productive as I'd have liked to be. I truly don't think I'm being a  perfectionists about this. I just feel there is always room for improvement.

Now the new hurtle for me to climb is to stop playing stupid games on my tablet. A couple weeks ago I found this great tower defense game for free and it is awesome. I can't stop playing it. I even got Daniel addicted to it. Sad, really.

So now I've got to get my self to stop playing that game every time my butt is in a chair. It takes up a lot of time. *raises fist to the sky* Damn you awesome game creators!!

This whole "trying to be a productive adult" thing sucks sometimes. And trying to overcome 20 years of laziness seems impossible. Why does it have to be so hard?

For my dad, even though he never reads my blog unless I tell him too. ;)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Kindle Fire HD Review

Okay, I know I said I wouldn't be online for a week, but I really wanted to tell y'all about this before it all slipped my mind.

So yesterday, I got a brand new Kindle Fire HD for free from the bank as a promotion thing. Super freaking excited! I've had it for 24 hours now and I wanted to do a little review of it.


I'll start by saying I'm not sure I would have bought this myself. I was pretty satisfied with my regular Fire and from the research I did I found that the only real difference between the two was the High Definition screen and the Dolby sound system. I figured I didn't really need that. But I was totally happy to get this one for free. ;)

I'm going to break this review down into the features I like and dislike. First what I liked:
  • The volume control buttons. I like that these buttons are on the outside of the device and you can adjust the volume without turning on the screen. I didn't like the three to four step process of adjusting the sound with the original Fire.
  • The High Def screen. While I don't need such a fancy screen, it is nice. The picture is sharp and clear.
  • The sound system. Again, not a need, but definitely better than the original.
  • The calendar. I never understood why the original never had one built in. My boring cell phone had more basic features than my fancy tablet. So I'm glad this came with a nice calendar already put in.
  • Skype. The HD has a camera and is made for video calling on Skype. I use Skype a lot so this is nice.
There are only a few things I don't like, but they are pretty important to me and what made this loose a couple stars.
  • Ads. If you want to pay just $199 for the HD you'll have to put up with something I think is kind of stupid. Screen savers that are also ads. So when you turn on the device the image that pops up is an ad for Discover Card or AT&T or any other "offer" Amazon has going. If you don't want to deal with that, it'll cost you an extra $15. Now, since I got my HD for free, I didn't know this and it took me some research to figure out why I was getting these stupid ads. So my "free" device has now cost me $15. Still a great deal, but also still annoying.
  • Ads Part 2. On the HD's home page you have the Carousel that shows all the recent content you've looked at, and under each icon is this "Customers Also Bought" thing that shows similar content. For example, under my Sudoku game icon it shows me Bejeweled 2, Scrabble, and Tetris. I don't really care what other people bought. Yes, I can see how this can be useful. Like if you finish reading a book and want to read more like it, that information is right there on your homepage. But to me, it just screams "More ADS! More MONEY!" And there is no way to get rid of this "feature".
  • Favorites. The original Fire had a favorite thing as well and I love that. The HD's is pretty much the same except it won't save the order I put the icons. I move them into the order I want them and then go do something else and when I come back to my favorites page the icons are all random again. This is only a little annoying, but it just seems like something really basic they could have work.
So there you have it. Hope this helps you as Christmas shopping is underway. My basic recommendation is if you want the Fire HD, spend the extra $15 to avoid the ads.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Life Experiment

I came to a realization last night. I spend way to much time on my computer doing nothing and most of that time is spent checking Facebook, Twitter and Absolute Write over and over again. And really not much happens during the day.

I've known for a while that I have a weakness for being lazy. I'm easily distracted with books, games and anything that I can use as an excuse to not get needed things done. I've been like this since I was a teenager, and this my bad grades in high school and college. I can always find something else I'd rather be doing than cleaning, or writing, or even playing with my boys.

The end result of this is that I've been miserable and feeling guilty all the time. I have these high expectations for my self. I know what I should be doing, I know that I am capable of doing it, I just chose not too because I'd "rather do something fun". It's a pretty immature attitude.

I'm 26 and the mother of two boys, it's time I grow the F* up. I know this will be hard at first. It will take a lot of self discipline and self control to keep away from all the things I have that distract me. But I also know that I can do it and that I'll be a better person for it.

So what happens now? Well, I won't be online as much as I used to be. I'll check in maybe once or twice a day, but that's it. I want to have it that the only thing I use my computer for is to write or research things. Plus, I'll have to keep from playing games on my Kindle. I already don't watch much TV, Will has a hold of that most of the day. And I won't stop reading, I need something to make me happy.

So we'll see how keeping off the internet for a week goes. If I can do it without going crazy and see how much I can get accomplished when I'm not sitting on my butt all day.

Thanks for reading! Have a happy Thursday and November. I'll check back in a week and tell y'all how it went.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Recent Adventures

This is a photo dumb that I'll try to make interesting. ;)

William (2, almost 3, years old)
Jacob (5 months old)

An X-Wing replica at Wings Over the Rockies

Daniel pushing William around in a peddle plane at Wings Over the Rockies.
He tried nearly every plane they had.

Me in a tiny plane named The Cricket.
We thought it would be fitting. ;)
In other news, I got my hair cut and dyed this weekend. I'm still trying to take a good self portrait so I can share it but my face just doesn't want to be photogenic today.

Thanks for reading! Happy Monday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review: Seer of Sevenwaters

Picture & Information taken from Amazon


Get swept away in the romantic fantasy of this national bestselling author's world of Sevenwaters

The young seer Sibeal is visiting an island of elite warriors, prior to making her final pledge as a druid. It's there she finds Felix, a survivor of a Viking shipwreck, who's lost his memory. The scholarly Felix and Sibeal form a natural bond. He could even be her soul mate, but Sibeal's vocation is her true calling, and her heart must answer.

As Felix fully regains his memory, Sibeal has a runic divination showing her that Felix must go on a perilous mission-and that she will join him. The rough waters and the sea creatures they will face are no match for Sibeal's own inner turmoil. She must choose between the two things that tug at her soul-her spirituality and a chance at love...


It hurts me so much to give this book such a low rating, but I couldn't even force my self to finish it. I barely got 10% of the way through it. I normally love Juliet Marillier. The first three books of the Sevenwaters series is great but I realized as I was reading Heir that she was slipping.

So why did Seer get just one star? I found the main character, Sibeal, boring. Yeah she's a seer and a Druid in training but I just couldn't get my self to care about her. Nor could I care about the shipwrecked boy, Felix.

And even though I didn't finish the book I can tell you how it ends. I'd bet $100 that Sibeal will chose to be with Felix instead of becoming a Druid. I hope someone could tell me different, but I doubt it.

So 1 star for being predictable and boring. :(

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: The Sandman Vol. 1

Information and Picture taken from Amazon.


New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings," which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death. Includes issues 1-8 of the original series with completely new coloring, approved by the author.


I'd like to begin this review with a warning to my younger and/or more sensitive readers. If this book got a movie rating it would be rated R, and more like a horror movie R than an action movie R. There's some scenes and some images that might disturb you and there's a whole chapter that had me a good bit troubled, although it ended on a good note.

Anyway, I am becoming a pretty big Neil Gaiman fan. This is the 3rd book of his I've read and I really like him. He's a little dark sometimes but it works.

And I loved The Sandman. The world Gaiman created is fascinating and I didn't want to leave. I now think the Sandman is pretty much one of the coolest characters ever. The writing was great and the art was good too. I'm not sure how to judge the art, most of my graphic novel reading comes in the form of manga and that's a totally different art style.

My favorite part is the last chapter where you meet the Sandman's sister. I love the idea of Death being a goth looking girl with crazy bedhead. If that's who comes to get me in the end I'll be pleased. :)

I've now got the next couple volumes of this series on hold for me at the library. One thing I love about comics is that it's a fast read. So, yes, I'll be reviewing the rest of the series as well.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Books I Couldn't Finish

So I've had two books recently that I just couldn't finish and it makes me sad. I'm not sure if I should really review them or not. One of them I think I'll pick back up here soon, but the other I just don't care about.

The one I'm having a really hard time with Stephen King's The Gunslinger. (And today's his birthday and everything, sorry Mr. King) I'm not really a fan of King, mostly because I don't read horror, but I know he's an amazing writer. In fact, my first book about writing was On Writing and I've read it many times. I respect him as a writer, but this book is just not for me.

I feel no connection to the gunslinger and I just find my self caring less and less about his story and whether or not he'll get to the "Man in black". Everything just feels real distant to me in this story and I don't like that. It's like I can't get a clear vision of the story, everything is fuzzy around the edges. So even though I'm 87% (according to my Kindle) of the way through the story I have no desire to finish it. It was a struggle just to get this far.

So I'm not sure if I should really rate/review it. If I did, I'd give it maybe 3 stars for it being okay but not my cup of tea, kind of like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. If you're already a fan of King then I'm sure you'll like this, but I was less than impressed.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Review: Pandora's Star

(Info & Pic taken from Amazon <--- Buy the book!)


Critics have compared the engrossing space operas of Peter F. Hamilton to the classic sagas of such sf giants as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. But Hamilton’s bestselling fiction—powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills—has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens. Hugely ambitious, wildly entertaining, philosophically stimulating: the novels of Peter F. Hamilton will change the way you think about science fiction. Now, with Pandora’s Star, he begins a new multivolume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet. 

The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some four hundred light-years in diameter, contains more than six hundred worlds, interconnected by a web of transport “tunnels” known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over one thousand light-years away, a star . . . vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears. Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him.

Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer. Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship’s mission for its own ends,.

Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated. Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery whose unleashing will threaten to destroy the Commonwealth . . . and humanity itself. 

Could it be that Johansson was right?


This book was pretty much amazing. So why 4 stars instead of 5? Well it ends in a literal cliff hanger. Actually, more of a waterfall hanger, but same difference. I'm going to have to read the next book to finish the story. Which is okay, I was going to read the second book anyway, but I just do not like that kind of extreme cliff hanger.

Anyway, like I said this book is great. It's very complex. The universe is massive, the character list is large and the scale is epic. Within the first few chapters you are introduced to at least 5 major characters. So there is a lot to keep track of, but Hamilton handles it beautifully. He's great at creating distinct voices for all the characters.

This book was a slow start for me. But I think that was mostly due to me not being used to reading science fiction. I'm used to reading about horses, swords and magic, not wormholes, laser pistols and quantum physics. But I still got pulled in so hard and the characters were so well established in my mind that even after taking a two week break from the book, I could jump right back where I left off and still love it.

Also, this story covers every classic scifi theme possible. There are wormholes, spaceships, aliens, artificial intelligence, robots, people living forever, war, politics, terrorism, everything. It's a complete, living breathing world.

Overall, 5 stars, minus one for the mean cliff hanger ending, for a total of 4 stars. And yes, I will be reading the next one, Judas Unchained, as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Review: Assassin's Apprentice

(Info and Pic taken from Amazon <-- Buy the book here)


Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father's gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz's blood runs the magic Skill--and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom. 


I really enjoyed this book. I adore and sympathize with Fitz all the way. Which is surprising because in the past I don't do so well with a male first person POV. I have a harder time connecting. I think it worked this time because we start with him as a little boy at the age of 6. Overall, this is a sad story, Fitz goes through a lot of loss. But he keeps going and he keeps trying to find his place in the world. I like that about him.

There is a good deal of political intrigue, but I found it interesting and easy to follow. And I did not see the Big Bad Guy coming. At least I knew he was Bad, but not Big Bad.

This is the first in a series and I really want to read the rest, mostly just to see if Fitz does get some more happiness in the end.


Happy Friday and Happy Three Day Weekend to my American readers. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Trolls, Unprofessional & Drama Llamas

So a while ago I mentioned some drama that was going on in the book community that was pitting reviewers against authors. This problem has not gone away. If anything it's gotten worse.

Now I'm not going to try and document this whole drama llama, but if you're interested, just Google "authors behaving badly" or "stop the goodreads bullies". Or, there is a great thread on Absolute Write that documents a lot of this. But I'll try to summarize it for you.

There are two major parties involved, the Author and the Reviewer. The Author writes a book, the Reviewer reads the book and then post a review of it somewhere on the great Internet. Pretty nice arrangement right? And if the Reviewer liked the book and does a positive review then all parties win. Author adds a good review to their resume and Reviewer read a good book and gets to recommend it to others.

Where this all starts getting ugly is when there is a Negative review. From this point on our two parties get separated into two smaller sections. There becomes Troll Reviewers and Honest Reviewers. And then there is your Professional and Unprofessional Authors. (I use Professional as in the way they act, it has nothing to do with how they were published).

First, let's talk about the Honest Reviewer. An Honest will read a book and if they didn't really like it, will give it a low rating and then explain why they gave it that rating. They will talk about the problems they had with the book and try to be fair with their critique. They are simply sharing their opinion.

On the other hand, a Troll will give a negative review whether or not they've read the book. Their review will be overly nasty and sometimes talk about the author personally. Trolls are all over the internet. They live to be mean and make people miserable. And sometimes, good normal people can act like trolls. Emotions, they make us crazy.

Now what Author does about the Negative review is what divides them into Professional and Unprofessional Authors. A Professional Author will do one of two things with a Negative review, no matter if it's Honest or a Troll. They will either not respond at all, or thank the Reviewer for taking the time to review their work. Minimal drama.

The Unprofessional will respond in anger, no matter if it's Honest or a Troll. They will tell Reviewer they are wrong for having an opinion and make all sorts of accusations. This is where the Crazy Drama Llama comes in and starts shitting on everything.

So what parties are in the wrong here? The Troll and Unprofessional. The Troll is of course wrong because they're just trying to hurt people and summon the Drama Llama. Trolls live for this stuff. And in the grand scheme of things they're just little people who have no control over anything and need to get laid more.

The Unprofessional Author is a whole other creature. They get angry about a Negative review (which they have a right too) and then take that anger out on other people. When they get angry at a Troll it's simply a waste of time. Most people who've been on the internet a while know that you Do Not Engage The Trolls. You're just giving them what they want.

And then the Drama Llama has a good ol' time when an Unprofessional acts out against an Honest Reviewer. The UnP will whine in the comments of a review and then go onto their own blog and talk bad about the Reviewer. This is where the UnP shows their true colors and their thin sensitive skin. And this is where the Internet steps in and starts making people look like fools, because the Internet is For-ev-er.

So, how do we keep the Drama Llama at bay? If you're a Reviewer, be fair and honest with your reviews. Don't attack the author, keep everything focused on the book and try to be objective. If you're an Author, your best bet is to not respond to bad reviews, even the Trolls. Having one or two bad reviews is a lot better than the career suicide you'd be committing by battling it out on the web.

There's my two copper colored round metal objects worth. :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Heir to Sevenwaters

(Picture and Info taken from Amazon)


The chieftains of Sevenwaters have long been custodians of a vast and mysterious forest and a new heir has been born. But the family's joy turns to despair when the baby is taken, and something unnatural is left in his place. To reclaim her newborn brother, Clodagh must enter the shadowy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there.


So this book is number 4 in a series. I own the first three and thought that was it for a long time, but just a few months ago I learned there are two more books already out and a third due in Nov. So I'm very excited to have new Sevenwaters adventures.

For those of you new to this series I strongly suggest you start with the first one Daughter of the Forest. Unfortunately, Heir to Sevenwaters is not a stand alone book. This series revolves around a family in medieval Ireland and the family connections of who married whom and what kids they have start to get complicated by the 2nd and 3rd books. But it is all very worth the read.

I'd given the first 3 of this series 5 stars and the only reason I gave Heir 4 stars was that it became apparent to me that Marillier uses a formula for these books. It's a good formula and I enjoy it because the characters are still original and the stories interesting, but sometimes you want a little variety.

One thing I love about these books is the love stories. They always tug at me and make me all warm and fuzzy inside. And the love story in Heir was very well done and at the very beginning the relationship between Clodagh and Cathal made me think of the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Which works well for me. :)

So overall, I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. And again, if you're interested in this book, you really should start at the beginning of the series.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mommy Confessions: Cleaning

When I was growing up, I hated cleaning. I mean, what kid/teenager didn't? My room was always a mess. And I (as well as my siblings) put up such a fuss when it came time to do the dishes. It's funny to think back on.

But now that I'm all grown up (riiiight) I find that cleaning isn't such a big deal. In fact, I get more annoyed by messes than anything. It does get old washing the same dishes every day and folding the same clothes every week (or more) but I come away feeling very satisfied with my self. There's no better feeling sometimes then marking something off on that mile long To Do List.

Besides, if I get the cleaning done early then I don't feel guilty for sitting around and reading/writing all day. ;)


Thanks for reading! I know I've been spamming y'all with a million book reviews and I promise that is slowing down now that I've caught up. 

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Trance

(Info & Pic taken from Amazon)


Kelly Meding’s war-ravaged Los Angeles is ground zero for the ultimate Meta human showdown in this sexy, action-packed new series.

Fifteen years ago, Teresa “Trance” West was a skilled telepath and a proud member of the Ranger Corps. But ever since the Rangers were inexplicably rendered powerless at the climax of the devastating Meta War, she’s bounced from one dead-end job to another. Now her powers have reappeared just as mysteriously as they vanished— only they’re completely transformed and more potent than ever. And they’re threatening to destroy her.

Trance heads to Los Angeles to track down the surviving Rangers and discover who restored her powers—and why—but a phantom enemy is determined to kill them before they can reassemble. As they dodge his deadly attacks and come to terms with their new role as heroes, Trance and the rest of the team set out to annihilate the sinister madman . . . only to discover their own powers are his greatest weapons.


I really loved this book, thus the 5 stars. I'm a pretty big fan of superheros. I never got into the comics but I love most of these movies that have been coming out the last couple decades. I'm especially a fan of X-Men. And this book is a lot like X-Men because of the ensemble cast, all with very different powers.

I fell in love with Trance from page one. She's an extremely likable character and Meding did a great job of making her come to life. I believed Trance and her decisions and rationale every step of the way.

And the world Meding created is so real and gritty. An alternate reality to our own that honestly explores what the world would be like if people had super powers. It's not a pretty one.

There is a love story intertwined in all this and it was very convincing. Gage is a real person with real problems, just like Trance. And Meding took "steamy" to a whole new level. ;)

The ending is wonderful. It looks like there is no hope of the good guys winning and that the bad guy (who I didn't see coming) will have his twisted way, and then, well, I won't spoil it. :)

So overall, 5 out of 5 stars. I got this from the library but I do plan on buying it and the next one in the series, Changeling.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: The Gift of Fear

My sister Michelle suggested I read this, so I did. :)

(Info & Pic taken from Amazon)


True fear is a gift. Unwarranted fear is a curse. Learn how to tell the difference.

A date won't take "no" for an answer. The new nanny gives a mother an uneasy feeling. A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers unsolicited help. The threat of violence surrounds us every day. But we can protect ourselves, by learning to trust—and act on—our gut instincts.

In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the nation's leading expert on violent behavior, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, to act when approached by a stranger...when you should fear someone close to you...what to do if you are being to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls...the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person...and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life. 


I learned so much from reading this book. I learned about how intuition works and how to make it work in my favor to help protect me and my family.

This book is geared towards women, mostly, but I strongly suggest everyone read it. It teaches you what to be afraid of and what not to be afraid of. And how to deal with threatening people and/or situations.

Sometimes, it seems a little scary to read when de Becker recounts stories of people being hurt by others. But there is so much to learn from other's experiences. This book will change the way you think, I promise that.

4 out of 5 stars for being incredibly enlightening and informative.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Facebook is Silly

Has anyone noticed this trend on Facebook?

It's kind of ridiculous isn't it? I mean, the ones about family/friends are OK I guess. It's cute to those of your family/friends who are on Facebook. But the ones that bother me are the Jesus ones. Like this:

I mean really? So by scrolling past this picture, because, frankly it's ugly, I am now a Satan lover? I'm pretty sure Christ doesn't care one tiny bit if you hit that stupid like button for a picture of Him. Trust me when I say that is not how you're going to get into heaven.

And I don't mean to be insulting to those of you who do hit that "Like" button. But wouldn't it be better to show you love for Jesus by, say, following his commandments, doing service for those in need and just being Christ-like in general? Wouldn't that mean more in the long run than the .002 seconds it took you to hit "Like"?

Yeah... Just a thought.


Thanks for reading! Don't forget to comment! 

Have you noticed I'm posting regularly? If I keep this up you'll see book reviews every Monday & Friday and then something like what you just read on Wednesdays. :)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: Bound

(Info and Pic taken from Amazon)


When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia, has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira's life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she's falling in love with. No longer the timid mouse her mother accused her of being, but a woman who finds the mental and physical strength to endure and survive. BOUND is a heroic tale of true friendship, infinite sacrifice and untamed love. 


I got this book for free off my Kindle. The description there sounded interesting so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was way better than I expected.

The character's felt real to me and I really sympathized with Kira. This book took me a lot of different places that I wasn't expecting and the world Bryant created felt totally original to me.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because I was not expecting a free Kindle book to be this good. This is another world that I will be revisiting in Bryant's next installment Broken.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: Banshee Charmer

This book is written by a friend of mine from Absolute Write, Tiffany Allee.

(Info and Pic taken from Amazon)


When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworld Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aiden knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count… 


I really enjoyed this book. It's not normally the genre I read, being that it's part paranormal romance and part murder mystery, but I was very entertained. I do watch a lot of crime TV, my two favorite TV shows being Bones and Castle, so I really enjoyed the "who-done-it" aspect of this.

The characters were well done. I liked the air of mystery around Aidan. As you read, you know he's somehow involved in the murders but the way in which he is I did not expect. And of course, this is a romance, so the steamy bits were steamy. ;)

Overall, 4 out of 5 stars. A fun read and a world that I plan on revisiting with Allee's next book Succubus Lost.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ranty Mood

So events this weekend have put me in a ranty/angry mood and I'm going to let off some steam. I'm going to talk about some current events news wise, events in my personal life and online drama. I could provide links to news stories and stuff, but that's more work than I care about right now, so as my favorite YouTuber, Phillip DeFranco says, "Google is a thing". And I'll try to keep this short.

First, the movie theater massacre that happened early Friday morning.
A) I am so sad and mourn for the family and friends of those who were killed, injured, or who were even there and had to go through such a terrifying experience.
B) I am angry that people and the media are more interested in talking about gun control (this country will never give up rights to bear arms, deal with it, and even if "stricter" gun laws were in place, that wouldn't have stopped this from happening) or violence in video games, movies, media, etc (you can't blame anyone else beside the gunman, he pulled the trigger, not a media franchise, or our society or anything else) than the victims. Yeah, those topics are more interesting, but trust me, nothings going to change on either of those fronts.
C) I am of course, appalled at what happened. And I'm intensely (morbidly?) curious as to why he did it.

Second, apartment drama.
There's a roach infestation here that started in the apartment above ours and has not been properly dealt with by management. We've had bug people here to spray twice and it has not solved the problem. Management didn't tackle this problem right away and now it's out of control and inconveniencing everyone. I literally thank God that we are moving into a new place on Saturday.

Third, internet/literary community drama.
Goodreads is a pretty awesome site for book lovers and the people who write them. One of it's biggest features is the reviews that people post about books. Over the past week or so (although I only learned about it yesterday) there has been a lot of drama and bad things going on between book reviewers and authors. Here's my take away from it.
If you review books on your blog (as I do, sometimes) try to remember what you learned about critiquing in school. Try to be constructive and don't make personal attacks on the author. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are NOT entitled to be an ass about it.
If you are an author that gets a negative review about some of your work, even if the reviewer is being a total troll, DO NOT ENGAGE! Many established and published authors will tell you to not respond, period, and some say to just thank the reviewer. There are many cases where an author has argued with a reviewer and it has never ended well.

Ok, I'm done now. If you'd like to know more about what I think on any of the topics I touched on. I'd be glad to respond either in the comments, or if it's a big enough discussion, I'll do a separate blog post. And please comment, I'd love to know how you feel as well. :)

Have a Happy and Relaxing Sunday and Thanks for Reading!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: The Magicians & Magician King

I'm reviewing these two book together because I believe that if you're going to read one then you need to read the second to finish the story.

(Taken from Amazon)

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.

(Taken from Amazon)

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory - a fictional utopia - was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.

Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off - only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.


Overall, I loved both of these books. :) These were a little different than what I usually read and I wasn't sure I'd like it, but it was so different, it just worked for me. I felt there was something very real and gritty about the world and how magic was handled and perceived in it.

I really identified with Quentin and I think that was the the biggest hook for me. I've felt much the same way as he does in the first book. Always looking for something more and sometimes not being satisfied with it. I also believe his life journey is pretty typical for a 20-something year old to go through (minus the magic stuff of course ;) ).

In the second book my favorite parts were the Julia chapters. You meet Julia briefly in The Magicians but she plays a much bigger role in The Magician King. Her journey also felt very authentic and a little tragic to me.

In the end these books are a coming of age story for the 20-30 year old crowd. If you liked Harry Potter growing up, then the first book should appeal to you. But really, these books call to the Narnia lover in me. The way Grossman handles the magical world and how one gets to and from it to our own is pretty much exactly like Lewis did in Narnia. But it isn't fan fiction, or a bad rip. It's more of an homage and it's done really well.

So five stars for both books. And like I said if you read the first you should read the second as well, just to get the full story.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Moving, Again

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated. I was going to do a post about ObamaCare but decided that the last thing the internet needed was one more opinion on something that can't be changed right now.

So, a life update! We're moving this month! Woohoo!

I've never liked the apartment we're in now. I only chose it because I had 2 weeks to move from Utah to Colorado and it was the first one to become available. I am never choosing an apartment via the internet again.

We never felt safe in this apartment and I was always ashamed to have people come over. The only thing that's better about our current place compared to the last place we lived in Utah is that the maintenance is slightly better, more square footage and our current residence allows dogs. But our new place is going to be awesome.

We're moving into a town home and for me anything with stairs in it makes it feel more like a house than an apartment. It's in a nicer area and the outside looks really nice. Technically, the town home has a little less square footage than our apartment, but I'm ok with that because a) lots of storage space b) two toilets! c) my laundry area won't be sharing space with the kitchen and d) private patio area outside the front door.

We'll be moving at the end of the month and I'm so excited. Of course I'm not overly excited for the moving cost but we're making it work. It is kind of ridiculous though with pet deposits. You get a dog from a shelter for like $100 but then pay $300 in pet deposits. I've been warning Happy this week that if he annoys me too much I'll decide he isn't worth the pet deposit. I'm totally joking of course, but it makes me feel better in the moment. :)

So once we move in I'll take pictures and post them and all that jazz. In the meantime, I put up another book review at the end of this week.

So Happy Independence Day tomorrow! Be safe with your fireworks and remember what this day is all about and what makes this country so great.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Skinny Confessions

For those of you who know me in real life, you know that I'm on the slender side when it comes to weight and body type. Those of you who don't know me, were probably able to guess that from my pictures. I have always been skinny, and tall. Well not really tall, only 5'7", but too tall to be called petite. My size is totally genetic, my mother is petite and so is her mother. I have a pretty high metabolism for someone who sits on her butt all day.

I've always been this way. And when I was young, like middle/high school age, I got a lot of flack for it. Yep, I got picked on just as much, if not more so, than the fat kids. We learn at a young age to not make fun of fat people (at least not to their faces) but no one ever thinks about skinny people. I guess because everyone wants to be skinny.

But it wasn't about being made fun of because I was thin, it was about being singled out as different than everyone else. No one wants to feel different, even if that which makes them different is a good thing. And that happens a lot; for instance, smart people get made fun of all the time. Kids are very good at noticing what makes other's different from them selves.

But you know what, this kind of singling out, didn't stop after high school. Nope, this stuff continued on into my adulthood. Hell, it happens now, and I'm 25. I'm still thin, even after having two kids. That doesn't mean I have the perfect body, but I am smaller than most women my age. And while, now that I'm older, I can appreciate my body type, that doesn't mean I don't want to improve upon it. Especially after having a baby.

And yet, I have encountered a problem when talking with my peers. Whenever I mention working out or doing a diet, the response I get goes something like this: "You don't need to workout/go on a diet! You're already so thin! I wish I looked like you after having a baby! Yada Yada Yada!" And all I think is, "Yeah, well, you're not me."

And side note: I'm not trying to get back to my pre-pregnancy self, that's impossible. When you have a baby, your hips get wider, there isn't much you can do to change that. And this isn't about what the scale says either, this is about toning all this fat on my hips and thighs into something useful. And just being healthier in general.

So my end point here is, just because I'm thin doesn't mean I don't have the same body image issues as everyone else. And just because I'm thin, doesn't give anyone else the right to nag me about it by pointing it out all the time. I can't help it, just like I can't help that I have brown eyes. Pointing it out all the time just makes you look dumb. Thank You Captain Obvious. 


This message was brought to you by An Irritated Kricket. No offense was meant, or singling out. If you think this applies to you in a negative light, it doesn't, get over your self. ;)

Thanks for Reading!  Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quickie Reviews!

Have I mentioned that I have a big list of books I've been wanting to review? Well, in light of that I'm doing a quickie edition where I review two books in one post because they don't deserve a post by them selves.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  3 Stars
(Taken from Amazon)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.

Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in. 

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.


This book was recommended to me by my sister. She's a science fiction fan while I'm more fantasy so we've been suggesting books for each other to read.

I gave this book three stars because it just wasn't my cup of tea. All the technical stuff was really good, but I was bored reading it. I didn't connect with Rick at all and the world in general kind of lost me. I guess I was looking for a lot more action but it just didn't come. So while it is a good book, it's just not my kind of thing.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies  0 Stars
(Taken from Amazon)
The New York Times Best Seller now with 30% more zombies!
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded version of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. This deluxe heirloom edition includes a new preface by coauthor Seth Grahame-Smith, thirteen oil painting illustrations by Roberto Parada, and a fascinating afterword by Dr. Allen Grove of Alfred University. Best of all, this limited special edition features an incredible 30 percent more zombies—via even more all-new scenes of carnage, corpse slaying, and cannibalism. Complete with a satin ribbon marker and a leatherette binding designed to endure for generations, this hardcover volume honors a masterpiece of classic zombie literature. 


This book was terrible on every level it is possible to be terrible. I didn't even finish reading it. I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen and P&P is my favorite of her work. Of course, I thought I knew what I was getting into when I bought this book. I expected it to be funny and quirky and I was just curious to see what the author did with the idea.

I could write a college essay on what makes this book so awful, but I'll spare you that. I'll just say that I kind of wish I had bought a "real" copy of this (instead of on my Kindle) just so that I could have burnt it.


And there you have it! I'll wait until next week for my next review. It'll be two books again, but they're part of a series and go hand in hand.  Happy Wednesday Readers!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Book Review: Don't Bite the Messenger

Don't Bite The Messenger  4 Stars

(Taken from the Amazon page)
Anchorage, Alaska
The vampire population may have created an economic boom in Alaska, but their altered energy field fries most technology. They rely on hard-living—and short-lived—couriers to get business done...couriers like Sydney Kildare.
Sydney has survived to the ripe old age of twenty-six by being careful. She's careful when navigating her tempestuous clients, outrunning hijackers and avoiding anyone who might distract her from her plan of retiring young to a tropical, vampire-free island.
Her attitude—and immunity to vampires' allure—have made her the target of a faction of vampires trying to reclaim their territory. Her only ally is Malcolm Kelly, a secretive charmer with the uncanny habit of showing up whenever she's in trouble. Caught in the middle of a vampire turf war, Sydney has to count on Malcolm to help her survive, or the only place she'll retire is her grave...
32,000 words


I read this book because it was written by a friend of mine from my favorite writing forum Absolute Write. Also, I read this a couple months ago, but having a baby has set me behind on my book review schedule.

I'll be honest and say that I don't normally read a lot of paranormal romance. The last book I read in that genre was the Twilight series and it seriously put me off for a long time. But after reading this I've begun to explore the waters a bit.

Over all, this was a fun, fast read. I love Summers take on vampires and the culture surrounding them. So very high marks for creativity and originality. Sydney is a fun character to run around with as Summers throws her into ever increasingly dangerous situations.

The reason this only got 4 stars was it was too darn short! I would have loved to spend more time with the characters in their world. I wish there had been more fleshing out of, well, everything. Of course this makes me eager to read the next book but when I got to the end of this one I kept turning the pages on my Kindle wondering were the rest of the book was.

So if you're looking for something fun, fast and action packed (with a side of romance ;) ) then try out Don't Bite the Messenger.


I'm trying to catch up on my book reviews. So if things go according to plan I should have a new one up every week.

Thanks for reading and Happy Sunday!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mommy Confessions

Seeing as this blog is titled "Kricket's Konfessions" I've got somethings to confess that I haven't before and it has to do with motherhood. Most people know that being a mommy is freaking hard. It's hard with one kid and then it just gets harder with a second. But for me, in some respects, Jacob has been a lot easier than William was at this stage.

You see, giving birth to William was one of the worst experiences of my life. I was in labor for over 24 hours and I spent two and a half hours trying to push him out. There were a lot of things that went wrong in the day and a half it took to bring Will into this world that made an already scary thing that much more terrifying. And even though William came out perfect and healthy, I ended up being torn up physically, mentally and emotionally.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I remember next to nothing about the first couple months of William's life. Because of how much physical pain I was in I was taking a lot of Percecet for the first couple weeks. I forced myself to stop taking it, despite the pain, because I didn't like the way it made me feel. Also, I was worried about how it was effecting Will.

I tried to nurse Will for the first three weeks of his life. It was agonizing. Will didn't take to nursing very easily and I learned very quickly that I could not function without sleep. After only a few days, I dreaded feeding my baby. According to my husband and my mother, I cried every time I had to feed him. It was a miserable experience for all of us.

It took my mother, who is a huge nursing advocate, to tell me that I should formula feed William for the misery to stop. It's like I needed someone to give me permission. I felt guilty for not giving my baby what everyone said was best for him. But once I started bottle feeding him, things began to get better.

As I said, there were also some mental/emotional concerns as well. During the delivery, I felt my mind crack. I was so panicked and out of control and terrified. I thought I was prepared. I went to all the classes, read all the books, but I had no clue. And honestly, no one really does their first time, but other circumstances just made everything worse.

I was a mess when I got home. With my mental state and the hormone changes that all new moms go through, I was barely sane. Little things would set me off. William crying would send me into a panic. There were many, many times that I just had to leave him in his crib and close the door while he screamed. I was horrified by the waves of violence that would surge through me.

In retrospect, I had quickly crossed the line from baby blues to full on postpartum depression. And poor Daniel, he had no idea how to help me. Luckily, my mom came to help.

Two things pulled me back to myself, bottle feeding and going back to work. When I switched to the bottle I was finally able to get some sleep as well as do other things instead of holding a baby to my breast all day. And even though I really didn't want to go back to work, having something else to focus on and interacting with other adults really helped me. There was a time where every morning I'd wake up and think "Oh, I just found another little piece of me."

It hasn't been until just recently that I could admit that I was very very close to the edge there. It's terrifying to think back on but it also makes me so grateful for what I have now.

Giving birth to Jacob and this first month of his life have been a breeze in comparison. I was calm and relaxed through the delivery; no panic, no loosing control. And while I'm still sleep deprived most days, I can't help but smile at my sweet little boy.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I don't loose my temper sometimes or even wonder why in the world I had a second baby; but at the end of the day I can still look at both of my sons and smile and feel this overwhelming love for them.

I am not a perfect mom, but they are perfect spirits that Heavenly Father has graced me with. I don't know how I deserve them and I pray everyday that I don't screw them up. I try my hardest everyday and some days are better than others. Being a mom isn't easy and some days I really wonder if it's worth it, but as long as William keeps smiling at me and Jacob continues to sleep best when I'm holding him then I guess I'm doing something right.

William 2.5 years old and Jacob 1 month

Thursday, May 3, 2012

He has arrived!

This here is Jacob! He was born Monday, April 23, 2012 at 4:58pm. He weighed 6lbs 9oz and is 19.5 in. long. He's perfectly healthy and is a strong little boy.

I was induced Monday morning and the whole process was actually pleasant. I was nervous because I'd heard that being induced was hard/long but I was pretty relaxed most of the time.  Of course, my previous experience with giving birth was rather traumatic, so anything even marginally better would have been fine. But this was a complete 180. I can now finally see what women mean when they talk about how beautiful giving birth is; I never believed it last time.

So everyone is settling in fine. William is fascinated with "Baby!" and is still trying to get used to the new routine.  I'm already suffering from lack of sleep, but it's not that bad. Physically I'm doing a lot better now than I was this time after Will was born. I foresee things just continuing to improve from here on out and that gives me a lot of peace of mind.
Even Happy approves of our new addition. :)

My boys!

So there's the baby update!

As of now, I have no clue how often I'll be able to update this. I want to get back into a normal schedule, but my real life has to get in line first. So I guess I'll see y'all when I see ya!

Happy Thursday! and Thanks for reading!