The Chief

This review contains spoilers. 

The Chief by Monica McCarty

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  • Genre : Historical Romance
  • Date Started :  May 2, 2015
  • Date Finished : May 26. 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website. This is book 1 of the Highland Guard series.

This book is about a Highlander Chief, a lady with hidden talents, deceit, mighty warriors, war and love.

Wanting to stay out of Scotland’s war and to reclaim his clan’s honor, Tor heads to a meeting with Robert Bruce and other clan leaders. His clan comes first and since his parents death, he’s sworn off everything but getting back his clans honor. At this meeting, Tor, our Highlander Chief gets caught in a compromising position with a young lady. To appease the woman’s father and avoid bringing war on his clan, Tor agrees to marrying the lady and is manipulated into training Robert Bruce’s special army. Tor doesn’t want a wife or any part of the upcoming war but now he has both.

Christina wants a fairy tale love story and for her sister and her to be safe from their father. After being manipulated by her father and ending up in a compromising position with a Highland Chief, Christina uses her wits to get her sister sent to the nunnery of her choosing and she gets a husband that sparks passion within her. Things don’t go the way Christina hoped and it’s getting harder to illicit any sort of emotional response from her husband, well besides anger.

This book should not have taken me so long to finish. Why did it take me so long? Because I didn’t want it to end! I’m not exactly sure how to describe this book. The Chief is a typical Highlander romance but the way the author told the story seems to set it apart from others I have read. Christina, while wanting a silly ideal Lancelot, was not overly silly or annoying. She was young and in love and wanted more than what she was getting. She valued herself and what she could bring to the marriage and I didn’t have moments when I thought, WHY are you doing that?? Then we have Tor, who has a hard time with emotions. Out of the two mains, he was the one that frustrated me the most. He was so cut off and cold at times and his reluctance to trust Christina was infuriating. Those cold moments made the times when he was sweet towards Christina even better and more heartwarming, the small amount we got anyways. I let myself get into this book. I was sad and heartbroken when Christina was. I was happy when Tor was happy and I’m pretty sure I had tears a few times.

The only problem I had with the book was when Tor used a nickname with Christina. I get that you use the nickname to drill home the fact that Tor was being affectionate and was softening towards Christina, but the nickname itself threw me out of the story every time. I just thought of Napoleon dynamite, a stripper or Bob’s Burgers every time he mentioned the nickname. I’ll definitely read this author again but I’m still not sure about this book in particular. The level of romance and tension was just not high enough for me but I know I’m going to the library to pick up the next one in the series!

I’m giving The Chief by Monica McCarty 4 stars.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 4 Stars

Empty Space

I’ve been a little preoccupied lately and forgot to do a blog post. I even forgot to send a mother’s day card. I did call her, I’m not a bad daughter! I made up for it though. I sent a mother’s and father’s day card with an AMC theater gift card for a movie date night. I think that will do. 🙂

So what’s keeping me busy? Honestly it’s cleaning but I set myself up for some trouble. I need to read like 5 books in the next 2 weeks and have been attempting to minimalize my home. I also just celebrated my 30th birthday, that has been weighing on me and I’m going on a mini vacation at the end of the month. Just a lot happening for me this month and while I know I need to start cleaning up my life sooner rather than later, it’s just kind of catching up to me.

On Saturday my friend and I did dinner and a movie. We do this every year for my birthday and with all the amazing movies that come out in May, seeing a good one is easy. Now I’m a planner, not sure if you have picked up on that while reading this blog but I am. I decided on a time and place to meet my friend. I was running late so she ran in to buy the movie tickets before we went to IKEA. I KNOW when I checked online the movie was playing at the theater but turns out, it was not. Apparently the theater didn’t get the movie and had lots of people trying to see the movie there. The nice attendant told my friend that the movie was playing down the street but it’s earlier than we wanted. We run over to the other theater and buy our tickets and end up skipping IKEA. Totally bummed out because I love IKEA. So my friend and I walk into the theater and this is what we see, not a single person there.

IMG_20150516_143454We went to see Pitch Perfect 2 on a Saturday on its opening weekend. This is an older theater but the new theater was not even playing the movie, what is going on! Well as soon as we sat down, the theater started filling up. My theory, everyone went to the new theater first, because online it said they had it and when it was not showing they were told to go down the street to this one! Fantastic movie by the way, not as great as the first but still fantastic.

I hope to have an updated blog post for my Battling Chaos series soon but it’s taking some time and I’ve run into some problems. Here is the before picture, see what I have to work with!

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Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

Battling Chaos v.5 : Hammer out the details

Planning Planning Planning!

Now that I have the reasons for my change I need to create an action plan.  

This week should be used to plan how I’m going to accomplish what I wrote down as my wants and needs.

I have a lot to do and a lot to accomplish if I want to start putting a dent in those need and want lists. I’m going to hit my home in sections see how this works. The list is not set and I may add items to it. (see list below) Once I start getting my home in order I’ll start adding in other aspects of my life I’d like to simplify.

For each area of my home, I’m going to clear out everything, pack it up or put it in a designated spot, clean the empty space and then divide all the items I pulled out into items I want to keep, sell/donate or trash. My plan is to post before, during and after pictures to go along with each blog post.

Home

  1. Computer Area
  2. Fireplace & Tv area
  3. Under the stair storage
  4. Entry way and Coat Closet
  5. Rest of living room
  6. Dining Room & long bookcase behind it
  7. Kitchen, fridge and pantry
  8. Downstairs bathroom
  9. Linen Closet
  10. Laundry Room
  11. Master Bathroom
  12. Master Bedroom
  13. Master Closet
  14. 2nd Bedroom
  15. Car

Life

  1. Create a budget and stick to it
  2. Work towards becoming debt free
  3. Cook more food at home
  4. Exercise more
  5. Make time for reading
  6. Make time for crafts – Knitting, card making, painting

Battling Chaos v.4 : List time!

Why, Wants and Needs

Time to write it all down. I want big whys and wants as well as the small things that I often gloss over. This shouldn’t take long but I decided to take a few minutes and write down my list. I let it sit for a few days and went back over my list to see if I needed to make adjustments.  

WHY: Write down why I’m making this change. Why do I want to live with less? Knowing my whys can be a huge motivator when things get rough.

You might not think knowing and writing down your whys are a big deal but they are the reasons you want to change and can be huge motivational tools.

  • I don’t like my messy house
  • I’m tired of the clutter in my home
  • I’m tired of buying items to reflect myself in a certain light to others instead of things I’m passionate about
  • To create a structured and relaxing home

WANT : What do I want to accomplish? What do I want to get out of minimalism?

Knowing what you want helps you find and develop your passions in life.

  • I want to reduce chaos
  • I want to feel energized
  • I want to focus on my passions
  • I want to find my passions
  • I want to be happy
  • I want my home to stay clean
  • I want my home to be guest ready
  • I want to be proud of myself
  • I want to be healthier
  • I want to find love
  • I want to be stable
  • I want to find myself
  • I want to be financially ready for almost anything
  • I want to feel safer
  • I want to be debt free
  • I want to be more than just good at my passions
  • I want to find my focus
  • I want to be stress free
  • I want to be more social
  • I want to read more
  • I want to exercise more
  • I want to feel good
  • I want to start running 5ks again
  • I want to cook more
  • I want to budget my money better

NEED : What do I think I need from life? What do I think I need to be happy? I’m thinking I might be surprised by the end of this. My needs will either be completely wrong or true.

  • I need stability
  • I need to be happy
  • I need my car
  • I need my home
  • I need my dog
  • I need a creative outlet
  • I need to read
  • I need a way to unwind
  • I need financial freedom
  • I need friends
  • I need family
  • I need structure
  • I need spontaneity
  • I need to eat healthier
  • I need to take care of myself
  • I need to donate more
  • I need to listen more
  • I need to workout more
  • I need to be stronger
  • I need courage
  • I need to find a career
  • I need to focus
  • I need to develop my talents
  • I need to let go
  • I need to be more honest with myself
  • I need to travel more
  • I need to get out of my comfort zone
  • I need to live
  • I need to participate more
  • I need to stick to the financial budget I set

Now that I have my reasons figured out, now onto my next step! I’ll post my plan next.

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

That’s a bummer

On my way home, I decided to stop by the library to see if my books were in yet. Luckily my trip was not wasted and 2 of them were indeed in and ready for pickup. I need 1 for my book club this month and hate getting the book right before the meeting. I mean I can read fast when I want to but it’s not as enjoyable. So I open up my Goodreads app to add the book to my currently reading list and do a quick check on the series. We are reading the book Jason, which is book 23 in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton and I wanted to see if I could remember what’s been happening in Anita’s world. It’s been a while since I’ve read this series and I tend to forget easily, plus Affliction (book 22) came out in 2013. Turns out I have not even read the last 2 in the series, that’s a bummer.

So now I have a month to read 3 books from the Anita series, 2 of which I have. The library luckily has book 22 and I need to wait for that one to be transferred to my library. On top of the 3 Anita books, I need to read book 12 in the Elemental Assassin series.

At least I’ll have plenty of books to do reviews on and I just was talking to a friend about wanting to read more this month!

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

Shadow Of Night

This review contains spoilers. 

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

11559200

  • Genre : Romance – Historical – Supernatural
  • Date Started :  January 10, 2015
  • Date Finished : May 7, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website. This is the 2nd book in the All Souls Trilogy.

I really wanted to like this book. I loved the start of the series yet this book felt like a chore. I was expecting a book much like the first one and most of this book was a slow and somewhat boring history lesson. That’s not all I got but the entire time they were in London I wanted to fall asleep and dreaded continuing. I was expecting a grand adventure since the whole reason for time walking was to get the manuscript/book and find Diana a witch to help with her powers. I know the reason they traveled back to this particular time but really, can you pick a worse time to travel back in time to find a witch? Maybe a time in history where witch burning and hunts were not all the rage?

Most of the new characters you meet when they first get to the past are either forgettable or highly annoying. I did like his friends that at least tried to make Diana feel welcome. I really liked the stammering Henry, Phillip grew on me and Gallowglass was amazing. I found it heartwarming for Diana to take in Jack and loved watching Jack and Matthew’s relationship grow. I also enjoyed Diana taking in Annie and making her feel like part of the family. Even if Annie was meant to spy on them for a vampire. I did not like either of the main characters personality changes when they time walked. Matthew’s change of character was way more overprotective and controlling and Diana seemed to get more annoying. I gave some leniency to Matthew because he was a different person in this time period and he needed to keep up appearances. Diana on the other hand knows about time periods and still tries to be a 21st century woman. They each got better the longer they were back in time so that helped, a little.

Another thing I didn’t like about this book is how many villains there are. I swear, every time Diana and Matthew were in a good place and sort of happy, some new horrible person pops up to ruin everything. It was incredible frustrating. I know that you need someone to be the bad guy in books but this book was crammed full of people who either wanted to kill them, get in their way or were too nosy for their own good. The bad guy could also be a “friend” who is so drugged on opiates that he kidnaps Diana and plans to kill her to get Matthew back! Ugh I really hated Kit and was not at all sad that he died a horrible death! I still have no idea how Matthew and Kit’s talk went and whether or not Matthew forgave Kit like Diana suggested.

The story starts to pick up when Diana finally meets the witches who help her discover what type of witch she is. Learning about Diana’s powers was fascinating and meeting the Jewish weaver was pretty cool. The witches Diana meets really made the story enjoyable. I was a little surprised that, even with all the crap they were going through and all Diana’s time spent with the emperor’s dancer/painter, etc, that she pretty much forgot about studying her powers. I know the manuscript/book was so close and they were focusing on that but it still surprised me.

Towards the end, they finally get the book, after the pages are ripped out of course. When they start preparing to travel back to their own time after spending MONTHS in Elizabethan London, they run into Diana’s father. He helps her discover more about her powers, with the help of the witches before he travels back to his time. He also tells Diana and Matthew that the book is going to have to stay back in time. So while they accomplished 1 of their tasks, the 2nd task, the manuscript/book is still incomplete and they have to leave it behind. The bright side, at least they got a chance to see the manuscript/book when it was whole, even for a brief time. They also discovered that the pages that were ripped out might be available back in their own time. The also learn that the manuscript/book is literally made from the flesh of dead supernatural creatures, creepy.

Then we get back to present day and find out Em, Diana’s aunt has died. No build up, no real explanation, just died during the birth. I better get an explanation about this in the next book! I also want to know how much trouble their 7 months back in the past effected the present. Every thing I’ve read about time travel says that small changes can throw the entire future out of whack.

I’m still trying to figure if I liked this book or not. I started reading this book back in January and had to switch to audio because reading it felt like a chore. The woman who reads the audio did a fantastic job and I’m so happy I switched. I would not have finished had I needed to read this book. For me, the main story is interesting and I wanted to know what would happen. The author’s description of the past make you feel like you are really there but at the same time, parts of the story felt unnecessary. It’s like listening to a friend who has a great story to tell but they won’t get to the point.

I’ve had a hard time deciding on what rating to give this book. If I would have read the book I probably would have given up but the story was interesting enough to find another way to get through the story. For me her writing just didn’t engage me enough but I don’t feel like this book deserves 1 star. I’m giving Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness  2 stars.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 2 Stars

Intricate designs

The following pictures are not the greatest but they do a good job showing what intricate means to me. There is something chaotic about the back of my Sounders blanket but when you flip it to the right side, a nice picture will be shown. To me, Intarsia knitting is incredibly intricate and the process of creating your design can be chaotic.

back

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Intricate.” What does the word “intricate” mean to you?

Battling Chaos v.3 : My first steps to Minimalism

My Journey to Minimalism

You have to start somewhere right?

My home is a mess! When I get home all I want to do is sleep. On the weekends I don’t want to leave and I don’t want to do anything. This feeling and the way I’m living my life need to change. I need something drastic but gradual enough that I won’t overwhelm myself and give up so I’m turning to a simple way of living, Minimalism.

One of the most used phrases I’ve come across in the search for simplicity is “find a style of minimalism that works for you”. This is exactly what I plan on doing and anyone who is reading this, this is a work in progress. I’ve not completed this journey but instead you will get to come along for the ride! Sounds exciting right??

This week I’m going to start by writing down all my reasons for doing this, what I want from life and this change and what I think I need. I’ll post these in a few days.

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

Monster

This review contains spoilers. 

Monster by A. Lee Martinez

7159704

  • Genre : Urban Fantasy – Supernatural – Paranormal – Fantasy – Humor
  • Date Started :  April 23, 2015
  • Date Finished : May 1, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website.

Based off the book description, I was expecting a very different book.

Monster is a human who works for Cryptobiological Containment and Rescue Services, basically he traps mythological creatures. Judy is a human who has horrible luck and works at a grocery store. They don’t really like each other but Monster seems to hate everyone and Judy just seems unhappy with life and takes that out on others. They end up meeting each other due to yetis destroying the grocery store that Judy works at. She calls animal control and they send Monster and his sidekick, Chester. Chester is a paper gnome who is the only voice of reason and logic, even though he is not from this world and does not understand puny little human thoughts.

They end up running into each other again after Judy’s apartment is destroyed by trolls. Lots of bad things happen to Judy and she asks to do a ride along with Monster. Judy’s thinking of maybe having a career change. Problem is, Judy’s ability to remember and understand what’s going on with the mystical world is fleeting because some human brains don’t accept it as magic. She has to wear a rune on her forehead that helps her remember what she has been through and who Monster and Chester are. The book explains this and how magic is dying in this world and making it harder for most humans to recognize a mythological creature as what it is vs just a dog.

We find out later that Judy is a special human who is the universes plan to stopping Lotus, the leach, who has been abusing the power of the stone (the universe) for billions of years. Essentially Judy is the key to saving the world. This explains why Judy has always had such bad luck. The universe and her subconscious try to help her but the universe is sort of stupid and does not quite understand the way the human mind works. It sends Judy or Monster creatures to help but tends to only make things worse. Of course they figure out what’s going on and after Monster joins with the stone to absorb some of its knowledge, they are able to defeat Lotus and right the world. They stop Lotus from destroying humans and turning them all into cats.

Overall I was expecting a story about hunting monsters and that’s not what you get at all. While the story was a good idea and could have been something entertaining, it fell flat for me. Up until about 75% of the book, it was slow going. Instead of a thrilling and humorous monster hunt I got a boring story about a guy who only cares about himself and hates his job, a woman who is content with her life of unlucky living and a plot to destroy the world that was just meh. The book is not bad it’s just rather slow and not what I wanted.

I’m giving Monster by A. Lee Martinez a 2 star.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 2 Stars

Battling Chaos v.2 : Discovering Minimalism

I mentioned in a post the other day that my house is driving me crazy. I have too much stuff and surfaces seem to multiple the crap that goes on them. I’ve also stated about looking into battling this chaos by learning about minimalism. Some of the things I’ve learned from researching minimalism have sort of scared me. I mean I get anxious just thinking of going through my possessions but I like the minimalist idea.

What does minimalism mean?

A minimal policy, style, technique, action, etc. Buying less and doing more. Experience more of life to live a happy life. Understanding what you actually need and living a meaningful life with less stuff. In one word, simplifying.

What I thought minimalism meant.

Before I looked into minimalism, I assumed it was all about stark living, with little to no personality, cold and unwelcoming homes. A person who creates a clean space with little to no distraction or knickknacks and only uses neutral colors. While this may not be inaccurate, it is not necessarily the norm. People who are minimalist can range from extreme to moderate to light.

What will being a minimalist mean to me?

Right now, fear! Fear of the unknown, drastically changing my habits and doing something unknown and out of my comfort zone. Reading some of the minimalist websites seriously gave me anxiety. Sell my house and my car? You want me to pack up my whole house?? I HATE that part of moving. The reason The Minimalists give, I get and fully agree with but still causes me to have a small panic attack imagining myself doing that. Seriously though, pack up my whole house in 1 day? I have way too much stuff! Hence learning about minimalism, but that is beside the point. These are the extreme examples but can you see how that might cause some anxiety? Hopefully the fear will change quickly into something better but that may take some time. Change does not always come easy to me. On this journey I hope I find benefits such as spending less, being more productive, less clutter and chaos and being happier in my home.

I have a long way to go to figuring out how this will work for me and I won’t do it all in one shot. I’m not that dramatic and need to be eased into drastic changes. I got a lot of great information from the resources I linked below and plan to create my own Journey to Minimalism. My next action plan, creating a rough draft Journey to Minimalism guide for myself. I’ll post my first step soon.

Resources:

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus