It’s been a long year, hasn’t it? Who would have ever thought that the pandemic would be still dragging on at this point? It’s been almost 2 full years of the pandemic and it has impacted every aspect of our lives. We started out the year with vaccinations being approved which made us all hope for a swift end to things. Alas! So many people have still not gotten vaccinated, which has enabled the virus to mutate and surge in waves. With the holidays currently running, another surge is expected as people travel home for the holidays.
So how has all this impacted you? For myself, I find that despite not being able to get out as much, I don’t have the time I’d like to have for myself. When I checked my blog stats, I posted a whopping 283 posts! That’s almost 1 post per day! But along the way, I discovered some things about the posts. I needed to put more of myself in them.
My husband’s take on all this was that I was overwhelming myself trying to do a post a day. So let me see about changing that. Now there will still be Lifestyle posts, in fact, I will have a guest post next week. I also want to start including some Blog Tour Posts on new books.
The main focus of the blog will still be on book reviews, but if I’m honest with myself, that doesn’t mean that I have to write all the reviews. I may flirt with reposting reviews from other blogs.
My year in books
I took a look at my GoodReads stats and was really surprised.
424 books read
70,867 pages read
Shortest book – 22 pages
Longest book – 1209 pages (Lord of the Rings)
Average length – 167 pages
Most popular book shelved – Lord of the Rings (414 people)
Average Rating – 4.23
Highest Rated on Good Reads – 4.95 (Submission by Delta James)
First Review of the Year – His Human Claim by Stella Rising
Last Review of the Year – Alien Conqueror by Sara Fields
I have to laugh at myself. These stats would have been very different if I had remembered to mark all the ones that I was REREADING again!
It’s been a long year for my house. My husband’s decreasing mobility has meant that I spend a lot more time caregiving than I do other things. Thanks to a visit from a friend from Ohio, I’ve started taking time for myself away from the house. Right now, I’m attending Country Church with a newly widowed friend on Saturday nights. When I can, I take a walk.
If you’ve found yourself serving as a caregiver for a loved one, remember to take time for yourself as well. It will make a world of difference for you.
This is hard to write for me. I’m still trying to process what happened. Our very beloved Shitz Tzu, Coco, passed away on Christmas Eve. Her death left my husband and myself reeling a bit.
On both December 22 and 23, she had a case of the runs. We couldn’t figure out what was causing it. On the 22nd she ate her supper and seemed in good spirits. Unfortunately on the 23rd, it was another repeat of the very liquid, stinky poo but this night she threw up a little. Not knowing what else to do, we cuddled her all she would let us.
The morning of the 24th, Coco seemed to be back to her same old self. She never went poo that day, but I wasn’t too worried since she hadn’t eaten supper the night before. She climbed up on the chair with my husband and we thought everything was okay.
At some point that evening, I remember catching sight of her behind his chair. I didn’t think anything of it since she would frequently sleep back there. Then came bedtime.
As we went back to the bedroom, I didn’t hear her nails clicking on the floor as she came back. So I started looking for her. She wasn’t under the bed, in her bed in the living room or on the shelf. I glanced behind my husband’s chair at the blanket and she wasn’t there either. I double-checked to make sure she hadn’t followed me outside to turn off lights. Nothing.
Coming back into the living room, I started checking all the smaller spaces she could have gotten into. Then I caught sight of her tail coming out from under his chair. Now our chairs are power lift chairs so there is some room there. I hit the button to lift the chair higher, thinking she’d gotten stuck.
My worst fears were realized as I grabbed her out from under the recliner. She was absolutely limp. I yelled for my husband who came out to check her out. She was gone. Take great care, we laid her to rest in something that we could use to transport her to Pet Passages, which is where we took Odie when he died.
My husband says no more pets. At the moment I have to agree with him. I don’t know why Coco died, but she will live on in my heart.
I struggled with this one. It’s well written, both main characters are great, but… The heroine is decidedly strong-willed and is a missing piece of the puzzle that is needed to finally get rid of the Darkness, but ….. There’s just something that isn’t sitting so well with me.
The Darkness has never seen anything like me.
I have been rejected my whole life because I am a sorceress and a wolf-shifter. I have only shifted a few times in my life. I live outside of the closest pack on unclaimed land and have worked hard to make a life for myself in a small village in the Outer Hebrides.
Branson Norris is the son of the Alpha of Ravenscar and the Madonna of the North. He’s a man who is celebrated for his family and his accomplishments; he thinks he can claim me as his fated mate.
He is willing to take on the Darkness and the Ruling Council when they try to intervene. He will stop at nothing to claim what he thinks is his.
We must face the Darkness together to begin understanding the evil that is stalking our world.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bran and Renata💕
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2021
I loved this story!! Renata’s character has a rough start in life but definitely overcomes that! Bran has everything he could want except a fated mate. The two of these characters come alive when your reading this book! The emotional ride of their romance sucks you in to enjoy it also. And as you know, the path to a fated mate is never truly very easy. The loneliness and seclusion is not a good thing for anyone. For this writer to actually convey such feelings makes such a wonderful read!! Of course, the HEA is an absolute rewarding thing of beauty. I love this series that Delta James has created is just so detailed that I feel as the reader that I’m actually have stepped into that story. I definitely recommend if you like a good book!!
I reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Renata and Branson
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2021
We are getting closer to the end. They have found their sorceress. Renata is both a wolf shifter and a sorceress. She has been raised outside of the packs, so she is at a loss when dealing with an alpha. Branson is an alpha and he has found his mate in Renata.
This is a wonderfully complex book. The author skillfully weaves all the different threads together to give us a better picture. This is not the last book in the series, that is still coming. I loved the HEA for Renata and Branson and am looking forward to the next book.
I received this book as am Advanced Reader Copy and this is my honest opinion.
The long awaited return to the world of Dragonfury is here! For those of us who have been eagerly waiting for this book, the author doesn’t disappoint. The story picks up almost seamlessly from the previous book and gives us the story of the next Nightfury to find his mate. Along the way, we see couples from the previously books and get what I consider to be hints of action to come!
A man on the warpath…
Dragon warrior Gage has earned his brutal reputation. He strikes hard and fast, killing without mercy or remorse. But with the Nightfury lair full of females and a newly adopted son to protect, his ability to focus takes a hit. When one mistake leads to another, putting an innocent woman on enemy radar, he’s forced to decide—keep her safe by taking her with him or roll the dice and hope she goes unnoticed by the Razorback pack.
The woman in his way…
Samantha Redhook isn’t a pushover. She floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. But with her business failing, desperation pushes her to take a contract she normally wouldn’t have, landing her in a world of trouble. Can she save the situation before things get worse or will an error judgment put an end to her dreams, and then her life?
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for Nightfury fans
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2021
This book was a long-awaited continuation in the Nightfury saga. While the book was mostly about Gage returning home and adjusting to life away from his time in captivity, it was also moving everyone else's story right along with him! A lot happens here, and I do mean a LOT! Gage finds his prickly mate while laying a trap for the Razorbacks. Once he realizes he is in the presence of his mate and muscles his feisty Samantha away to safety, the multi-story arcs kick into high gear!! We get a much closer look at Azrad (his talents and intellect are eye-opening) and his pack to see how events are coming together with Ivar's plan for the HE female breeding program. Angela and Rikar are soon front and center for a surprising revelation after her brief exposure to Ivar's lab. Bastien and Myst are worriedly preparing for the arrival of their son. Sloan is finally in the spotlight and steps up in huge ways to help out his pack and to rejoin the land of the living. We get to know all of the metallics (Haider & Nian along with Gage) and Osgard more clearly. We see how they are working through their shared trauma together and coming along as a family. We also start to see outside alliances forming to aid in the war against Rodin. Zidane and his death squad and mercenaries are officially in the Seattle area and gunning for the Nightfury pack. That may not be his only agenda however... Lots of action sequences, surprising abilities being revealed, as well as steamy bonding time between Gage and Samantha as she finds her way in her sudden new reality.
We all have a favorite recipe we love to use for lasagna. I have to admit that the first recipe I tried came from a book included with a microwave. It made good lasagna so I kept it. Only problem was that it made a 9 x 13 pan of lasagna.
Now if you have a larger family, or they are big eaters, this size isn’t a problem. This size is also great for taking to potluck dinners. If you don’t eat all of it, there is usually enough to store for later consumption. Win – win, right?
Or is it? At this point in life, it’s just me and my husband. The kids are grown and married. Trying to make a 9 x 13 pan of anything just results in too much food. Most people can only stand leftovers so long before they grow tired of them. So how can you cut things down?
Change the Pasta
Rather than using the typical lasagna noodles, swap to an oven ready version. These are much easier to use and fit in smaller pans. A single piece fits in a loaf pan, while 2 can fit side by side in an 8 x 8 pan. As a plus, you don’t have to spend all that time boiling the lasagna noodles before you assemble your meal!
Change the Pan
As I mentioned, switch to smaller pans. A loaf pan will make 2 generous servings, while the 8 x 8 pan will make 4 servings. Since your original recipe make a much larger pan, you will in all likely-hood be able to make multiple pans.
Assemble your lasagna in your normal manner. The only change I would recommend is to leave off any toppings that you may add to the pans that are destined for the freezer. Put a lid on the pan if you have one, or wrap it tightly in freezer paper.
When you start to pull out that frozen lasagna to make for the night, defrost it first overnight in the refrigerator. Then increase the baking time to 1 hr. If you just made it ahead and the pan has been in the refrigerator, no defrosting is needed. But you will still need to bake it longer.
And there you have it!
Your favorite lasagna recipe, now sized to fit your family as it exists today. It wasn’t all that hard, and only needed to change a few things.
Ms. James has obviously done her homework as another historical figure makes her appearance. The series already features multiple names from the beloved Sherlock Holmes series, but now someone who truly live appears!
None other the Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. We are taken from her tragic death in 1536 to current times when she runs into Saoirse who recognizes who and what she is. One thing leads to another and Anne comes to the famous Savoy hotel where she meets Gabriel. Hmmmmmmm…..
She has watched through the veil for centuries… now it’s her time to escape.
Denied her happily ever after, Anne Hastings has waited almost five centuries to pierce the veil and find one for herself.
Gabriel Watson suspects Anne is in trouble when he sees Anne entering the Savoy with Rachel’s friend, Saoirse. He wants to know who she is, why she’s checking into the hotel with no luggage and why she’s meeting with an infamous forger?
His friends Roark and Holmes have settled down with two beautiful mischief makers. Gabe figures whatever they’re up to with Anne can’t be good. And he’s right. Anne is on the run from two men who will do whatever it takes to drag Anne back—the Warder of the Veil and the Angel of Death.
Gabe has to solve the mystery that surrounds Anne before she is pulled back into eternal darkness and torment. But time is running out.