It’s Monday! What are you reading?

φ(..)Greetings. I want to throw out a quick thank you for yesterday’s visits. Like how there are many of you who look forward to getting those much-anticipated books of the year into your hands and delving into a character’s world, we – crafters – feel the same way about trying new patterns or projects. With my diversified interests in reading, knitting, cooking, cardmaking (My cousin in southern Cali texted me over the weekend to thank me for his awesome waterfall card!), and sewing, it’s been a little difficult this year to get more knitting done. I hope my Year of Projects for 2017-2018 will be more fruitful.

So, it’s the first week of July and we’re hitting America’s birthday already. What are your plans? My dad had given us his old Weber some time ago. The husband is going to dip his toes into the world of outdoor BBQ. I picked up some basic sausages at Costco and took out chicken thighs (They’ll be immersed in a marinade soon.) from the freezer. I look forward to seeing and tasting his results.

Linkin’ up with Kathryn…First up…audiobooks.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is about a game on a private island where people by any means necessary try to win for the much coveted prize. Scarlet and Tella, trapped under their cruel father’s domain, have always wanted to be a part of Caraval for each of her own personal reasons. When invitations come for them, the adventure begins from leaving the island to full immersion into the game. But Scarlett is left on her own when she unexpectedly finds out Caraval this year centers around her sister. It becomes hands on learning when she has to decide what is real and what is not and who can be trusted and who can’t.

There is atmospheric magic and there is a mysterious vibe to this plot. Not much is known about what happens at Caraval. It did feel like a circus of people with all of the different personalities of the main players and the roles of the performers. The game was intriguing with its many twists and I didn’t know what to expect in every chapter.

While Scarlett got on my nerves at times, I did understand the gradual development of her character. Who wouldn’t be naive isolated on an island under strict rule of a domineering parent? And then to suddenly be thrown to the sharks in an environment of people who were thinking only of themselves and their needs? Yeah, I can see why for her thoughts and actions.

I have to admit the younger sister, Tella, got on my nerves because of her impulsive and somewhat endangering behavior which kind of goes against my grain because I love strong, female characters. But in this book, of course there had to be an antagonist and just because there are two daughters in a family doesn’t mean they’ll have the same personalities.

However, as the book wound down and the game was coming to an end, it was like there were pin points of light filtering through the dark. I liked how this first installment came to a satisfying close and didn’t have one of those irritating cliffhangers where you feel the editor chopped off a manuscript after a certain point to make way for another book. I liked the sly prelude to book two for this series, one that definitely intrigues me. And oh boy what a terrific movie Caraval would make! Three, solid stars.


I was on the hold list for this audiobook for one month and three weeks. I had probably heard this was a good book which had motivated me to put myself on the list. It was worth the wait!

In W. Bruce Cameron’s book, A Dog’s Purpose, this canine tries to make sense of each of his reincarnated lives. He wonders why am I here? What’s the purpose of my existence?

As a former dog owner and a dog lover, I was thoroughly entertained by this book, even in its audio form. The narrator, William Dufris, did an excellent job portraying the canine and the human characters. Each rebirth was an interesting life, making me think about the different environments dogs can live in, how they can be used in society, and what they can go through. Some elements were creepy, most made me smile &/or laugh, and some even made me tear up. A tidbit: At one point I was yelling out loud for this dog to triumph!

There was nothing I didn’t like about this story. I loved it from beginning to end. I know there is a movie version which I know will more “Hollywoodized” as I call it but I look forward to checking it out. Five stars without a doubt.

And the lone cozy…

Well, you know me. I need to change it up each read so I went for this cozy mystery.

Nicknamed Foxtrot, Deirdre is the personal assistant and manager of a whole estate owned by a zany zillionaire who likes to spend her dollars on eccentric items, like animals. While busy with the daily wrangling, Foxtrot finds out she can communicate with the paranormal and ends up teaming up with her reincarnated childhood cat and an ectoplasmic dog when there is a murder in the mansion. Together this trio has to unearth the unknown threat to Zelda who owns the adjoining cemetery of ghostly crossroads.

I usually don’t like ghosts in a story and tend to not add them on Goodreads when I see paranormal listed in the genres section. However, this is one of the very few exceptions. I liked the team and how it had the yin and yang of cat and dog. From the very start of the Kindle book, the plot took off and kept going. I enjoyed the bevy of house guests who were of different ethnicities and professions. I liked Zelda’s eccentric tastes and sharp mind. I found this cozy definitely different from others I’ve read.

One thing I didn’t quite like was the introduction of someone’s ancestral power (I’m paranoid about giving anything away.). The only reason why is because I felt it was out-of-place and wondered what did it have to do with the whole plot. I guess maybe it will be a part of another installment but I found its placing awkward. I do look forward though to learning more about it and seeing it have an important role in another book.

Overall, I enjoyed this first introduction to the Whiskey, Tango, & Foxtrot series. I will certainly be reading more. Four stars.

Currently Reading

  1. Angel’s Blood (Guild Hunter #1) by Nalini Singh
  2. Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel
  3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling

Currently Listening To

  1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

What the Dames Are Reading

  1. I am so proud of the tween! She found The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton at our recent trip to Costco and picked it up. My daughter is a fan of realistic fiction and mentioned this book would be read in eighth grade. She has started it and says, “It’s good.” I don’t think I’ve even read it; shame on this mommy.
  2. The 10-year-old found at Costco The Misadventures of Max Crumbly 2: Middle School Mayhem by Rachel Renée Russell.

OMGosh; I think this is the most thought out book post I’ve ever typed up. I want to make a better effort in general so I used this basic format for reviewing a book; it helped me without getting too complicated or me having to spend so many brain cells, LOL. It’s technically Sunday right now so I need to massage three racks of baby back ribs with oil and dry rub so they’ll cook slow and low in our oven over three hours. Thanks for stopping by and BTW, what are you reading and/or listening to?


How I Cook Our Ribs (Recipe somewhat adapted from Dave Lieberman’s Memphis Dry Rub Ribs)

Dry Rub:

  • tsp of oregano
  • tsp of salt
  • tsp of cumin
  • 2 tsp of paprika
  • 1.5 tsp of sugar
  • about 20 cranks of the pepper mill
  • tsp of garlic powder
  1. Space out your two oven racks, one at the last bottom slot and then the other in the slot above it. Turn your oven on to 350°.
  2. Prepare the dry rub mix three times, placing each batch into separate bowls.
  3. Pour vegetable oil into a bowl, filling it half way; my bowl is the size for cereal.
  4. Line two of your largest sheet pans with foil.
  5. Take out the three racks of baby back ribs from the Costco package. Place the two smaller ones on one sheet pan and then place the heaviest one on the other.
  6. Brush each rack on both sides with vegetable oil.
  7. Rub each rack (top and bottom) with one batch of dry rub.
  8. Turn your oven down to 300°.
  9. Place the sheet pan with the two baby back ribs on the top oven rack. Place the sheet pan with the single rib rack on the bottom oven rack.
  10. Set your timer for one and a half hours.
  11. When your timer goes off, take out both sheet pans. Cover each with foil.
  12. Place the double baby backs on the bottom oven rack. Place the single baby back on the upper oven rack.
  13. Set your timer for one and a half hours.
  14. When your ribs are done, take out the sheet pans and place them on your stove. Remove the foil. Let your ribs rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting them apart.
  15. Get your grub on.

14 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What are you reading?

  1. I certainly would be interested in Dog’s Purpose. Great reviews Stef. There are so many books to read that I find bloggers thoughts most helpful. I am reading A YEAR of LIVING BIBLICALLY. Fireman’s aunt gave it to me. It is pretty funny so far. I read all my books in paper form still…


  2. Love the rib recipe…it is uniquely different from the one I use…I love Dave Lieberman’s recipes, too. The latest rib recipe is that the ribs cook in a slow cooker with 2 cups of barbecue sauce. There is a rub involved, too, but the ribs come out falling apart and very saucy.

    You certainly had variety in your reading this week!


  3. Looks like you have been having a great time lately, reading and knitting. 🙂 Caraval sounds really interesting, I will have to check it out! And I read The Outsiders, but many moons ago now. Lol.

    For the 4th we are going to the parade in our downtown (I never miss!), and then we are grilling food things at my brother’s house. I am hoping to make a cherry clafoutis, and my SIL is making this awesome looking strawberry cake. So we have desserts covered at least. Lol.


  4. Enjoy your Fourth of July celebration…you will have awesome food!

    I’ve seen Caraval around…a lot, but haven’t read a description that tempted me as much as yours. Thanks for sharing…and enjoy your week. Thanks for visiting my blog.


  5. Great post. I’ve never read the Outsiders but loved the movie as a tween (?) Not reading anything yet today (work, work, work, work, work…and laundry lol) but my day’s (and last few week’s) reading pile is a rotation between In time of need by Shakirah Bourne and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, the former a contemporary Caribbean read with, so far, a seesaw between humour and deep pain, and the other latter a Caribbean classic that somehow I haven’t read (I don’t think) to this point but already know (in the way that classics and much talked about books seep in to your consciousness without any effort on your part). Just took my nephew’s phone away and gave him Littletown Secrets by K. Jared Hosein to read…he’s quiet and absorbed shhhh


  6. Happy 4th, bet you enjoy it. Oh my 5 stars from you is impressive. Will be interested to see what you think of Angel’s Blood, I liked it but prefer the psy/changeling series but happy to see you giving her a go!


  7. Happy 4th, and hope you have a great barbeque! I love barbecuing in the summer… yum! Your recipe looks good…

    I’ve been really interested in Caraval so nice to hear it’s good. And I never read the Outsiders either but I did see the 80’s movie.


  8. I am near the end of “big little lies” which is quite good. My son read it and recommended it to me. I have no idea what I’m going to read next. I have three piles of physical books to choose from!!


  9. Love your reviews and they all look interesting for sure! Right now I am STILL reading all the Light We Cannot See, I finished the Alchemist and I’m reading a non-fiction called The Hungry Ocean. Also, watching The Crown (Netflix series) and it is excellent! Thanks for the recipe but I only grill out in the late fall early Winter… November……too hot to grill out here! LOL!


  10. I’m glad you enjoyed Caraval for the most part and I agree – it would make an awesome movie! A Dog’s Purpose – I am too scared to read or watch that one. Is it a sad ending??

    I hope you are enjoying Harry Potter – I’m listening to the last audiobook at times as my ‘re-read’ of the series but I haven’t managed to get very far!

    Inkheart is on my TBR!

    MMMMM. Those ribs sound GOOOOD! I’m going to have to take down that recipe!


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