Friday, May 18, 2018

Book Review: The Birth of Death

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Book Review - Katrina Roets - The Birth of Death
Book 2 in the Blood Gods Trilogy Christopher Von Calistein knew that if he was to defeat the usurper Wendell he would have to look to his past for guidance, a nagging voice in the back of his mind insisted it was so. Using a spell taught to him long ago he watched as the world around him was consumed by a plague mankind was unprepared for. Saw the young woman he had fallen in love with named Aurora grieve his passing, unmindful that he yet lived in undeath. Turned by the shadowy figure called The Beast who had haunted their every step . He felt the joy course through his body again as he watched his past self stalk his family one by one, changing them to be as he was. Then the real horror had begun as Christopher realized that to save his new race they must lead an army of those they preyed upon against the humans who had started it all. For the former rulers of the world had discovered a way to destroy their creations in the form of a being trapped inside an ancient mausoleum whose blood is the stuff of life and death, and whose existence Christopher had never suspected could be the key to destroying Wendall and his undead empire.

It took me a bit, but I finally made time to read book 2 in this series! I'm glad that I did. Let me tell you why...

The Good:

Another story that grabs you from the first page and keeps you reading to the last. I found the entire story fascinating which is just what an origin story should be. It should not only walk you through the entire backstory but make you eager to jump back to the current time to see what's going to happen next.

The Bad:

I'm going to get nitpicky simply because there isn't a whole lot that I didn't like. There were some grammatical errors but most likely not enough that it would pull the average reader away from the story. Other than that, well, it's violent and if you have a vivid imagination, gory. That really isn't surprising though for a book about vampires, right?

The Summary:

All in all, another really good book by Ian Totten. I have the third book in the series and I'm already looking forward to breaking out my ancient Kindle and giving it a read! 

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Greek Spiced Ribs

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Crock Pot Cooking - Katrina Roets - Greek Spiced Ribs

I love ribs. I don't think there's anything about ribs that I don't like, unless it's when they're all gone. For me, they're one of those foods that once it gets warm outside, I start thinking about them. I can't wait to get this recipe back into my crock pot!

Greek Spiced Ribs:

4 pounds pork spareribs 
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon anise
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 
4 whole cloves 
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup orange juice


Place ribs into crock pot. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar with all of the ground spices. Rub this mixture the best you can on all sides of the ribs. Throw in the whole peppercorns and cloves. Drizzle on the honey, and add orange juice.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

So, so good!

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Review: The Case of the Cat Show Princess

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Cat detectives Buckley and Bogey have barely advertised their new detective agency on the Internet when they receive a secretive email from a cat who claims she is in danger. Of course, the cat doesn't give any details, like who she is or what kind of danger she's in. Instead she mysteriously signs her name as P.A. and says she'll be at the St. Gertrude Cat Show on the weekend. To investigate, Buckley and Bogey soon find themselves at that very cat show. And, as part of their cover, Buckley enters the Cutest Family Pet Competition and Bogey enters the Agility Competition. Before they know it, they come nose-to-nose with a real, live Princess. One who even wears a diamond collar! That's when the boys uncover a case they can dig their claws in to, especially when they find evidence of a cat burglar stealing jewelry from the pet parents. But the boys really get their fur ruffled when they discover that P.A. is definitely in danger, and before long, so are they . . . Holy Catnip!

If you've been following along, you'll know that I have fallen in love with this series of books. I'm so bummed that there are only four. These cats have become friends that when I'm having a bad day, I go to and spend time with them. In this book, they're at it again with more adventures, more friends, and just plain more awesome.

I honestly cannot say enough good about these books. I love them. Since the first time I read one, I've gotten to know the author and she's as lovely as the kitties that she writes about. Plus, she posts pictures of the real Buckley and Bogey plus her other wonderful cats. She loves cats as much as I do and that's a good thing.

If you're looking for a light mystery to lose yourself in, these are a great choice. If you know a middle reader, these are a great introduction to the mystery genre. If you like books, cats, adventures, or any combination of those, please check these out!

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Dry Rub Pork

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Crockpot Cooking - Katrina Roets - Dry Rub Pork

I can't believe that I'm about to say this, but my oldest's last day of high school is in a mere 11 days. It doesn't seem possible that he's 18 and about to graduate. One of our big discussions around here has been what to serve at his open house. He wanted a dessert bar, but his stepmother wouldn't hear of it. So, she's going with hot dogs and the like along with a cake. Should be tasty...but I'm a tiny bit sad that they aren't going with the open house staple of pulled pork. What's a girl to do? Pull out her own tasty recipes for pork and dive right in!

Dry Rub Pork:

1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
3 to 4 pounds pork roast (butt/shoulder)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground corriander
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 2 limes, for serving (optional) 


Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the onion rings into the bottom of your cooker, spreading them apart. Place the pork directly on top. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and all dry spices to create a rub. Using your fingers, rub this all over the meat, flipping a few times to ensure good coverage.

Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat has lost shape and pulls apart easily with a large fork.

Serve over a bed of rice or quinoa, or stuff into pita pockets, lettuce leaves, etc. Squeeze lime over top if desired.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks

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Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next case hits a little too close to home. Because someone has been breaking into houses and stealing all the Christmas presents! And the first two robberies even took place in their very own neighborhood. Holy Catnip! Of course, the boys leap in on all fours to investigate right away. Then it isn't long before they realize they are dealing with some real criminal masterminds, since these burglars know exactly how to cover their tracks. Plus, the crooks have the whole town of St. Gertrude on edge and they're threatening to ruin Christmas for everyone. But figuring out the identity of the Christmas Crooks isn't the only mystery around. After all, Buckley had just been adopted from the cat shelter this year, and this was the first he'd ever heard about Christmas. And he quickly finds out there is a lot to learn! From Christmas trees to Santa Claus, and jingle bells to the birth of baby Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas is a mystery to him. But he and Bogey can't really enjoy any of it until the Christmas Crooks are caught. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick these Christmas Crooks have set their sights on the boys' house, too! And the burglars are headed straight for their door. Holy Mackerel!


I usually try to break down reviews into the good and the bad, but honestly, when it comes to Buckley and Bogey, there really isn't any bad. They're the perfect books to curl up with, along with your own cat, and spend an afternoon or evening just diving into. I can't get enough of all of the individual characters in these books. Every single cat has their own personality and their own way of doing things. It's very much like every cat that I have ever known. The stories draw me in, every time, and before I know it, I've spent hours reading and have zero regrets for doing so.

If you like mysteries or know a middle reader who does, these are the perfect choice. Honestly, I'm just going to stop writing because I'm just going to continue raving about how great these books are and I don't want the author to waste any more time reading this, if she does, because I'm hoping that she's writing more!

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Sweet and Spicy Salmon

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I'm back with more salmon! This isn't a favorite fish of my kids, but I love it. I'm going to keep trying it different ways to see if I can't convince the boys that they love it too.

Sweet & Spicy Salmon:
2 largish pieces of salmon
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon crushed garlic (2 cloves, smashed and chopped)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
aluminum foil


In a medium-sized dish (such as a pie pan), combine all of your spices with the brown sugar. Tear off enough foil for each piece of fish and lay it out on the counter. Place each piece of fish on its own piece of foil and rub the salmon with your spice/sugar blend. Fold the foil over and create a contained packet. Place the packets into the crockpot.

Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours.  Serve with rice or quinoa and some veggies.

I just found out about boil in a bag quinoa! I'm so excited to try that out alongside the salmon. Let me know what you pair with this! I'm always looking for new ideas.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Book Review: The Case of the Clever Secret Code

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Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next big case with the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency to be their most difficult yet. It all starts one hot summer day, when the boys are sitting in the front window of their Mom’s antique store. That’s when they see a big, black limo crawling up the street and going right through downtown St. Gertrude. So who is in that long, black car? None other than famous movie star, Steele Bronson! And his surprise arrival sends the entire town into a tizzy! Especially when he announces his plans to shoot his next movie right there at the St. Gertrude Library, housed in a historic four-story mansion. And wouldn’t you know it, but it all happens just Gracie, the boys’ human sister, is a finalist in the town’s Fourth of July essay contest. Holy Catnip!

But it isn’t long before Buckley and Bogey realize there is something very wrong with the whole picture . . . including the one that Steele Bronson is filming. Because it soon becomes very clear that the guy is after much more than just an Academy Award. And when the drama turns to danger for the boys and their family, that’s when Buckley and Bogey jump into the scene. Because this is one case that has it all — from Fourth of July festivities to tales of the American Revolution, and from a secret code to a hidden key! And unless Buckley and Bogey want to see this movie turn into a tragedy, it’ll be up to them to crack the case . . . as well as the secret code . . . Holy Mackerel!

Holy catnip! If you know me, you know that I love cats. Just check out my Instagram! When I first picked up a Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper a few years ago, I loved it. Recently, I found another one on my Kindle!

The Good: These are an easy read and full of great characters! For me, I quickly fell in love with all of the cats in this book and just wanted to hug Gracie more than once. It takes a good writer to get you to connect quickly with their characters.

The Bad: There aren't enough books in this series. I honestly cannot get enough of these kitties and their capers.

The Summary: If you have cats, love cats, even like cats and also love a fun read, you're going to want to check out this series.

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