Open When Letters

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OPEN WHEN…You miss home – INSIDE : 1. Put on rain boots 2. Pay too much for a chai 3. Find traffic and sit in it. ENJOY!

I’m sure you have heard about Open When letters. If you have not, they are a great low cost going away gift for friends or family members. I found a few pictures on Pinterest about them and thought it would be a great idea for one of my book club friends, S, who is moving away.

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OPEN WHEN…When you need a vacation – INSIDE : Hop into a dirigible, but don’t forget the chicken.

I’ve been trying to think of a great going away gift for her. She has been with the group for about 3 years and we are sad to see her leave. She’s changing professions and moving to an island so we are not THAT sad for her but I wanted a way to show her we will miss her. We are really going to miss her, she is constantly upbeat and wonderful.

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OPEN WHEN….It’s the first day at your new job – INSIDE: At least you aren’t the Dark Arts teacher, they never last the year…You’ll be great! Have Fun!

I came up with a few ideas for the envelopes and inside but wanted the whole book club to participate. I wanted it to be a group effort and I’m glad I did because I got some great cards out of the group. On Friday during book discussions I handed out note cards, envelopes, and pens. S had to miss the meeting so it was the perfect opportunity to complete this project. We wanted the cards to reflect some of the books we had read and you’ll see examples from Harry Potter (JK Rowling), Finishing School (Gail Carriger), Cat and Bones Night Huntress (Jeaniene Frost), Anita Blake (Laurell K. Hamilton), Kate Daniels (Ilona Andrews), Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs), October Daye (Seanan McGuire), and Chicagoland Vampires (Chloe Neill). Here are some of the ones we came up with, from our book club to her when she moves away.

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S absolutely loved the open when letters and even cried.

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

Now that I’m starting to post my Minimalism changes I’ve added a new page under Projects! Check it out.

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What the [BLANK] happened this weekend?

I had my monthly book club meeting this weekend. It was slightly different than most of our meetings since we did some crafts during discussions. Good book discussions though. We are reading a series that 90% of the members like, so that helps. To be honest, I’m not sure why we are reading the series because most of us have already read the whole series. Oh I know why, because it’s a fantastic series. We love Kate Daniels!

I also came up with a pretty aggressive reading schedule for myself. I’m not behind on my book club books, with the exception of the Anita Blake series. In order to keep up I need to stick to the following schedule though. I have 10 books to read by October 2nd. My upcoming reading;

  • Finish the second half of Second Grave on the Left (8/10-8/12 : 62 pages a day)
  • Continue reading Kiss the Dead (8/12-8/15 : 96 pages a day)
  • Start Dark Debt (8/15-8/19 : 93 pages a day)
  • Start Night Seeker (8/19-8/23 : 85 pages a day)
  • Start Summer Knight (8/24-8/28 : 113 pages a day)
  • Start Affliction (8/29-9/4 : 82 pages a day)
  • Start Third Grave dead ahead (9/5-9/9 : 78 pages a day)
  • Start Jason (9/10-9/16 : 43 pages a day)
  • Start Magic Bleeds (9/17-9/20 : 117 pages a day)
  • Start Dead Ice (9/20-10/2: 42 pages a day)

This weekend I also took my nephew to see Ant-Man. My sister needed help this weekend and when I asked my nephew if he wanted to see it, he got super excited. He really likes superhero movies and even knew more about the movie than I did going in. The poor kid had never seen a Marvel movie in the theaters before, glad I could change that for him. After the movie we went and played mini golf. He really likes mini golf but boy does that kid need to learn how to accept the word no. Every time I told him no or not right now he would try to negotiate with me. When I would repeat myself and say no he would start to throw a fit. Luckily it was never a full blown tantrum but damn that kid tries to negotiate everything.

Other than that I was pretty lazy and didn’t do anything productive, except run the dishwasher and do 1 load of laundry.

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

What the [BLANK] happened this weekend?

Does this blog post title look familiar? I’m trying to build or create a posting routine. Since I’m generally not in the writing mood on the weekends, I decide that this title would be my weekend update. I might change it later on but for now, it’s staying. Haha.

On Saturday I spent the morning at Maker’s Mercantile, I seriously love this place. I enjoyed their Saturday morning breakfast, a cup of coffee and knitted for a while. After that I finally gave the dog a bath. She hides from me after every bath, I just don’t get it. She needed it pretty bad though and as much as she hates it, she stunk!

Saturday was also the Sounders game against the Whitecaps. I was looking forward to the game. We COULD have taken home the Cascadia cup. The majority of our starters were back, things were looking up. Apparently the team did not get that memo. We have been on a losing streak, I think in the last 8 games we have won 1. The games we do lose, we lose it in the last 5+ mins of the game. It’s tough to watch your team lose but even worse when you know they are great players that are playing like shit. I’d like to pick on our midfield, because they really are playing the worst but it’s a team effort and they need to get back into fighting form. To make things worse, every time the Whitecaps scored, they would run over to their sideline and take a quick water break. How rude is that??? I get celebrating and encourage it, but what they did was a time waster and uncalled for. If I was a sounder player I would be fired up for the Concacaf game we have against them on Wednesday. Okay now I’m riled up again, MOVING ON!

Sunday was a slow day. I played some DragonAge and The Sims 4. I received an email about 7 free days for my World of Warcraft account. Contemplating doing that just to play my beloved character again for 7 days. I raided M-Th for about 4 years and the end of Wrath and beginning of Cata killed my love of the game. I would play that game casually if there was no sub but I just don’t have the same time or money like I used to.

After breaking from computer games, I did some spot cleaning in the dining room. It’s looking nice and clear. I did a Harry Potter marathon on Sunday as I played games and cleaned. I really need to read those books. My book club has told me in the past  they are thinking of giving me the boot because I have NOT read them yet. They are on my list…..so let me stayyyy. Plus who would lead if I was gone!

Sunday night I went over my planning. I was getting stuff together for my book club meeting on Friday and realized that this Friday is the last meeting one our members will be going to. She has this fabulous opportunity and will be moving away and I really want to do something nice for her. Turns out she’s going to miss the meetup but I think my idea is easier if she is not there anyways. I’m planning on getting a farewell card for the group to sign and then taking a group picture. Just something for her to remember us by. I also wanted to do a farewell package from us. I sent an email to my book club members asking for their help in filling out and coming up with Open When letter ideas. I have a few ideas but I’m excited to see if anyone else came up with something.

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

What the [BLANK] happened this weekend?

This weekend was a successful weekend, well productive at least. I was SUPPOSED to post this yesterday but my NEPHEW WAS BORN! So excited to have another nephew! Okay now on to the post.

My voice came back and while I’m still coughing here and there, I sound 100% better. On Saturday I helped my friend paint her bedroom. We changed it from mocha to a pale grey. Then we moved in all her larger furniture, hung up wall decorations and shelves. and purged a lot of her makeup, clothes and items she totally forgot about. I had to tell her sorry when I left because I was really hard on her and while I’m coming to terms with purging things I NEVER use, she has not. I was rather harsh, but what are friends for right?? We also painted a few furniture pieces that she wanted to match to her new color scheme. I had planned on going to the gym Saturday but I was at her house from 9am to 8pm. I felt that while I did not get a real workout in, I did work pretty hard. Seriously. I’m short so I was in charge of painting the lower half of the wall which meant I was in a squat position most of the time. the back of my legs are sore. I miss being sore.

Sunday was sort of a lazy day but I worked out a schedule/timeline for finishing my friends scarf as well as a timeline for finishing my book for book club. I started working on clearing out my dining room and getting it ready for a battling chaos post. I have mass amounts of books that I need to purge as well but I feel like that’s going to be incredibly tough and I want to save it for last. If I do it now, it will just end up pushing back other minimalist projects that I can get done quicker. So overall a productive weekend.

I also planned out my week using my awesome Plum Paper Planner. Adore my Chris Evans Dashboard, haha.
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Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

Riding the high

This last weekend was amazing and I’m still hyped up over it. My beloved Sounders won on Friday, after a losing streak. With Dempsey out on suspension/gold cup duty, Evans out for injury/gold cup duty, Papa out for gold cup duty and a large group of our starters injured, this win was just what we needed. Even though Tyrone Mears probably did it for the Queen, since he is English, it’s still a great way to start off July 4th weekend! Not much to say about the 4th of July except it was nice. A great time to hang with family and enjoy each other’s company. Then on Sunday, the US Women’s team defeated Japan to take home the World Cup! Seriously, if you did not watch that game then you missed out on some fantastic soccer. I’m still too emotional from that win to talk calmly about it but wow, still riding that high.

Then today, I see that my Plum Paper Planner should arrive today and I can’t wait to get home and open it up! I’m still waiting on all my planner stickers and coil clips but still excited to start using it and getting organized. I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover etsy and now that I have, I think I’m in trouble!

As for this week, I’m putting a hold on my purging. Book club is this Friday and I have read 0 of the books. Don’t worry though, well like you would waste your worry, I have a plan. I have 3 book to read and I’ve broken it down below. I just need to stick to the timeline and not skip any! Ugh I brought this on myself! Why did I wait so long again???

Night Veil – 294 pages left – read 100 pages a day – 40 pgs at lunch or at work & 60 pgs at 5pm – 6pm M-T-W

Grave Peril – 378 pages – read 80 pages a day – 80 pgs at 7pm – 8:30pm M-T-W – 40 pgs at lunch or at work TH-F & 80 pgs at 7pm – 8:30pm TH

Burned – 273 pages left – Read 91 pgs at 8:30pm – 10pm M-T-W-TH

After I get all my books read then I can get back to purging and start working on my crochet blanket for my nephew that should be here aaaaaannnny day now.

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

Monster

This review contains spoilers. 

Monster by A. Lee Martinez

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  • 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

*Spoilers* First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

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  • Genre : Paranormal – Supernatural – Urban Fantasy – Romance – Chick Lit
  • Date Started :  March 9, 2015
  • Date Finished : March 9, 2015

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

Charley can see dead people and has been able to since birth. Yes, that’s right, she remembers this because she can remember being born. Not like you and I know we were born because we have pictures or video and we are alive, but she can remember the doctors cutting her cord. Life is different for Charley and she is not your average human. She also happens to be a grim reaper, THE grim reaper, and the dead come to her because she is bright. Charley is also a Private Investigator and a consultant for the local police force.The dead come to her for help crossing over and if solving a murder helps get her father and uncle a promotion, why not right?

I enjoyed the story, the evolving case and how it wrapped everything up. I was not expecting that the case the police, Charley and Garrett were working on would intertwine and evolve into the big case it became. I liked that through her own abilities and her uncle believing her, they could work together and solve the case. In the forefront you have the cases they work and the dead clients that Charley helps, then in the background you have a much larger issue. The larger issue, a war between Heaven and Hell that the author barely touched on, that is bubbling to the surface.

Charley’s interactions with her dead clients are hilarious and great. It was interesting and kind of cool to see how they helped with her cases. Although I was surprised that the dead were not in denial about being dead for longer. I mean with the exception of the one ghost who would not leave his body, but even he got over it pretty quickly. Her interactions with real people on the other hand are a little less friendly, except with Cookie and her daughter. Charley’s reactions to people are totally understandable though since they tend to look at her weird or funny because of the rumors about her. I mean, look at how Garrett and Tate treated her. Garrett stopped being friendly toward her and Tate verbally attacked her. I do think her reactions are a tad extreme but I guess after the dozenth time of the same reactions, you get short with people. The woman has created some sweet sarcasm retorts though to cover up her insecurities. Her sarcasm spoke to me, probably because I’m pretty sarcastic too but it had me laughing out loud with how outrageous she is. It makes me want to get to know Charley even more and pick at her brain!

Now for the good part, her love interests. Obviously Reyes is the main love interest here, but I think this might either turn into the “can’t have them” sort of relationship or they recklessly love one another while Heaven and Hell battle it out and they live with death at their heels. I like their intense, sort of relationship, where they don’t really know each other all that well but are extremely lustful. I mean he’s like smoke most of the time and in a coma, so it’s not like they’ve had the opportunity to get to know one another. Yep, that sounds as weird as it does while reading the book but this book is filled with odd paranormal activity, so just go with it. Then we have Garrett. Charley thinks he is hot but it doesn’t seem like she is into him at all, maybe if he was not such an asshole, her words. Jones drops a few giant hints that Garrett is into Charley, flirting, getting jealous and worrying about her safety. I’m not a fan of either love interest yet but I look forward to learning more about each of them.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and was not expecting so much humor. First grave on the right is a witty, paranormal, chick lit novel with some heavier undertones. If you like slightly raunchy humor, over-confident females (pretty sure this is just covering her insecurities), witty banter and mysteries, you will like this book. My only real irritation with this book is that there are so many attempts at jokes. I found some of them hilarious but it almost felt like Jones was trying too hard to make you laugh. I gave this book a 3.5 stars because it was a great read but book 1 is just not purchase worthy for me.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 3.5 Stars

*Spoilers* Revenant Review

Revenant by Larissa Ione

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  • Genre : Romance – Paranormal – Supernatural – Urban Fantasy
  • Date Started :  March 2, 2015
  • Date Finished : March 3, 2015

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

I absolutely love this series and liked the way Ione ended it, satisfying end and wrapped up. Revenant is the sixth and last book in the Lords of Deliverance series and eleventh and last book in the Demonica series. This book is about a fallen angel, Revenant who gets his entire world turned upside down when he learns that he has a twin brother, he really is an angel, not fallen and he gets his memories back. He struggles with this information, especially since he is pushed away by his twin and heaven doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him. Rev is in a tough place because he wants to be welcomed into heaven but he is stuck with the taint of Satan. He might be the 2nd most powerful thing in hell but he still has to partially follow Satan’s commands. Now that he knows who he really is, he struggles with the guilt of being the evil fallen angel he used to be. Then he meets Blasphemy and it becomes even more difficult to do what Satan wants.

I enjoyed both of the main characters in this book. Ione creates such fantastic characters, both the good guys and the bad guys. I stared this book thinking, how the hell is Ione going to get Rev out of the mess that is his life and then how is she going to keep Blasphemy alive. The odds were against them both! Both main characters don’t really have a place in the world.They are lost and torn between the worlds they live in, with no place they feel like they can belong. Both struggle with trust, which is understandable because the world has been a hard place for them.

There are so many good characters to talk about but I’ll stick with the two mains. So Rev, oh boy was his life and path filled with horribleness. His early life growing up and what he had to do was heart wrenching and painful to think about. I felt sad for Rev’s twin, Reaver in the last book but holy hell, Rev’s life was so much worse. I mean the poor guy was literally living in hell.  After all that we have learned in this series about Lucifer, Satan and hell, we know his life was horrific. I’m glad they did not get too graphic about his experiences growing up because we already know from previous books what it can be like. While I was reading, I felt like Rev and Reaver had a similar dynamic to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Acheron and Styxx. Although I did not come into this book with the same amount of dislike I had for Styxx.

As for Blasphemy, I loved her but was sort of disappointed that she was not involved with more of the action. She seemed like a strong character. Even though she doesn’t know who she really is (because she’s been living as something else) she has standards and a moral code. Especially since her cover is of a slutty false angel and keeping up that appearance didn’t turn her evil or make her start acting like a fallen angel. I just wish she would have been involved with saving herself more. All the other females in this series seemed to take a more prominent role in the solution than Blas did and that was disappointing. I did like how Ione slowly revealed who Blas was throughout the story. It was interesting to read about what she was and to learn about the ritual her mother completed to hide what Blas really was from the angels who would kill her because who she came from.

As for bad guys. I forgot how much I hated Gethel and Satan, serious psychopaths. I feel like the solution to getting ride of the bad guys was sort of pulled out of left field because I didn’t remember much about the prophecies mentioned in this book or previous ones, but I liked what Ione came up with. Also, a certain Angel gets what is coming to him!

I truly love this series and enjoyed this book. Although I feel like this story was focused more on the whole picture/wrapping up the series than being focused on developing Rev and Blas’s relationship. I would have liked to see a deeper relationship developed but I think that would have crowded the book. Regardless of what it didn’t have, Revenant was a can’t put it down book for me, the humor, the story and the characters had me hooked and I’m giving it 5 stars. I can’t wait to read it again even though I have plenty of other books to read. Maybe I’m just missing the Demonica series now that I know it has an end.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 5 Stars

Night Myst Review *Spoilers*

Night Myst by Yasmine Galenorn

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  • Genre : Urban Fantasy
  • Date Started :  January 30, 2015
  • Date Finished : January 31, 2015

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

Night Myst is about a town being overrun by a “MYSTerious” (oooh) force. People are being kidnapped, humans and non-humans, and the police have no interest in finding them. This story is primarily about vampires, witches, fae and something new I’ve never read about, vampire fae. Wars are breaking out between multiple mythical races (Vampire fae vs vampires, vampire fae v fae, vampire fae vs everyone) and the people of New Forest are suffering the most! Our heroine and her friends are smack dab in the middle, being played as pawns (like infecting the vampire fae with a virus that backfires on them) between each of the warring races.

Cicely Waters, our heroine, has grown up away from her home town and only came back because her wind elemental informs her that her family in New Forest is in danger. That might sound strange to you but fear not, Cicely has wind powers and other powers I won’t give away. Although her wind elemental helps her out a great deal, moving objects, telling her things through the slipstream (you learn about that cool concept in the book) and all together saving her ass. People are being killed and kidnapped and when Cicely heads back to New Forest she is greeted by an unfriendly welcoming party. This basically kicks off Cicely’s adventures and they go down hill from here but not so bad that you get the “seriously, not again” feeling.

Long story short, Cicely teams up with both the vampires and the old fae queen of the ravine in order to stop the crazy vampire fae queen, Myst. We find out that Myst and her people are kidnapping the towns folk and why and Cicely and her friends challenge her and rescue one of the kidnapped victims. We also learn that Cicely’s old/current love interest was changed from fae to vampire fae when Myst took over control of the town. Myst is now using him against Cicely, since turning and trying to use her aunt against her was not working. Which by the way bothered me a lot. I know Cicely is a badass street kid but come on. I feel like there was no real emotion towards her aunt being changed and her cousin was not as emotional as I would have thought.

We learn A LOT about this world, about the people of New Forest, about witches, fae and vampires. It is a lot of information to take in, so many interesting characters! To me, it was a lot of information but not really the information I wanted. I’m going to assume we get more about her past/family and how it all connects later on, but I would have liked more now. I’m pretty sure others would disagreed and I’ve been told this first book might be a little heavy on world building for some.

I enjoyed this book and the concept/plot but I’m not sure if it’s one I would read again. Although I thought the same thing about the first Kate Daniels book and I LOVE that series. I’m going to continue this series, mainly because we are reading it for my book club but also because I’m interested to learn more and see where the story goes. I’m giving Night Myst by Yasmine Galenorn a 3 star.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 3 Stars