Monday, May 30, 2016

Life Hack - old shirts

People wear beloved t-shirts until they are nearly tatters, then toss them. Or try to, if they have sentimental value. Here are some ways to keep those shirts around and still useful, or to use old t-shirts which would otherwise be tossed in the trash.

Cut off the arms of large t-shirts, above the seam, and they make fantastic hair covers/sweat catchers when you're working around the house or yard. You can pull them over your hair and wear them under a hat or cap. Or wear one under a wig.

You can also sew the hemmed end together and gather the ragged end to create makeshift grouch bags or utility bags for small items or items which might otherwise leave a mess behind - baby eating utensils, bottles, milk bags, etc.

Scraps from fronts or backs are great for:

  • working on the car - who cares if it gets greasy or gross?
  • wearing around your neck in the yard for a quick sweat wipe.
  • t-shirt material doesn't usually leave a lot of fibers behind, so it's great for wrapping sex toys made of jelly or silicone or other soft materials. If you wrap your sex toys, anyway.
  • baby burp rags.
  • baby chew toys.
  • baby lovies - many babies want something soft in their hands when they're going to sleep.
  • oversized handkerchiefs for the snot overachiever in you.
  • oversized handkerchiefs for your runny-nosed toddler.
  • clean and toss - no guilt for throwing money in the trash if it was already scrap anyway, and t-shirts are much sturdier than your average paper towel for those extra elbow grease places.
  • kitten and puppy rags - cleaning them up after birth and housebreaking/litter training accidents.
  • cat and dog rags - lining pet beds, wiping allergy eyes or noses, tying in knots to play tug-of-war, cleaning up pet yak, cleaning up cages at a mobile pet adoption center.
  • keeping in the car for emergencies - vehicle accidents, unexpected visits from aunt flo (in case you don't pack sanitary supplies in your purse all the time - many women don't), tying to your antenna if you want/need help but don't feel comfortable standing outside your car, carsickness, moving injured animals off the road.
  • practice sewing, applique, test stitch changes on your machine.
  • in your purse to line the back of a movie theater seat - have you ever gotten lice that way?
  • in your purse for any emergency/random act of kindness - I can't count the number of times having a wad of t-shirt in the bottom of my purse means having exactly the thing someone else needs right then.
  • wrapping rolls or biscuits right out of the oven.
  • tossing over rising dough.
  • wrapping thawing meat so the flies don't get to it.
  • tossing over cooked meat on the platter if you're grilling outside, or any other non-liquid food outside.
  • cleaning out that fridge containing science experiments.
  • cleaning around that nasty toilet or urinal.
  • cleaning out under the kitchen sink which has had one too many broken pipes - vinegar, wipe with a t-shirt, toss that motherfucker.
  • bathing/molting your snake - your actual serpent, not your body part. lol
  • napkins for barbeque or eating watermelon or other messy foods.
You can wash t-shirts until they literally fall apart, so you're going to get your money's worth out of even the most expensive t-shirt.

What do you use old-t-shirts for?

Book: Suddenly Spellbound by Erica Lucke Dean

Suddenly SpellboundSuddenly Spellbound by Erica Lucke Dean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book from the author for the purposes of providing a review.

Ivie has a wacky sense of humor, and I laughed out loud several times while reading Suddenly Spellbound.

Ivie is surrounded by a family of both blood and love, and enjoys her life, with one possible exception: her dad has been acting so weird since she changed him from a cat to a human. Long story.

So Dad asks for Ivie to swing by his work really quickly, and when she does, he pulls her into a little spell. Turns out not to be so little, and boy is her fiance pissed when he picks her up at the police station later.

After the spell, Ivie is stuck in a love triangle, but it's not what you might imagine, and the resolution of this triangle is funny and dramatic and suspenseful and sad and unexpected.

If you're looking for a contemporary romance with humor, more than a touch of paranormal, and a happily ever after...well, two out of three ain't bad. It's not exactly a cliffhanger, but there's a twist on the final pages of the book, and in the overall scheme of Ivie's life, well, it's just another day.

I look forward to reading what happens next.

On the technical side, I found few errors and no formatting issues.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Book: Men Out of Uniform - novella collection

Men Out of Uniform (Includes: Shadow Stalkers, #2)Men Out of Uniform by Sylvia Day

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first novella, taking up nearly half the book, was sweet. I enjoyed the heroes' no bull approach to seducing the heroine, and the tension created by the plot twist was compelling. Both heroes were refreshingly honest and forthright, except for their one big misstep, which frankly, I'm not sure how they could have gone the other way.

The second novella started out with a gratuitous and mildly graphic sex scene involving the "hero." It lays the foundation for an unlikeable man with bad intentions for the heroine. Turns out he doesn't, but I still kept expecting him to frak over the heroine and show his true colors. Once emotion entered the story, it flowed better, but I still finished the novella with a vague expectation that something big was going to go wrong.

The third novella was Sylvia Day's contribution. It was a solid novella, and the chemistry between the hero and heroine was understated yet believable.

Two of the three novellas were second-chance romances, so the insta-love had a reason for being. All three had a bit too much focus on anal sex instead of vaginal sex.

It IS possible to have sex in a romance without having anal sex. It's not the be-all and end-all of sexual intimacy. I can deal with it, but too much is too much, for frak's sake.

Despite these three authors being major players, I found the collection as a whole mediocre, though some of that was personal, I think. Your mileage may and probably will vary.

This book was on my "wishlist," and I found it at the library.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

GIVEAWAY!! #EdgeofWild

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book: Discovering You by Brenda Novak

Discovering You (Whiskey Creek, #10)Discovering You by Brenda Novak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was gifted a digital copy of Discovering You by the author for the purposes of providing a review.

This was an interesting relationship, because some aspects of it were slow burn, while others were on the fast track, but the dichotomy worked well here.

Rod and India, who have already met, ran into each other on a dark street late at night when she was coming back from an art show. The situation was tense, and India attempted to shove Rod into the "bad boy" box in her head, to convince herself she wasn't interested in him. She wasn't really fooling herself. Or me.

I loved the way the Dylan especially tucked India right into the "family" place under his wing without question, once Rod communicated his interest. I loved that Rod was unmistakably interested in India, but was willing to help her even if they never got together - insisted on it, in fact. It's a total line, and it's a romance novel, but I believed this man when he said it.

Discovering You kept me reading from beginning to end. I don't think I even took a bathroom break. lol Suspense and making neighborhood connections and reconnecting with Rod's inner child via an actual child. All good things.

The only downside was the Mack/Natasha subplot. It took up too much space. It took too much focus away from the main relationship and the nerve-wracking things happening around it. And though I care whether Mack and Natasha ever figure things out, I didn't like having so much of it worked out in this book.

Discovering You is a solid entry in the Whiskey Creek series. This book, though it builds on a reader's knowledge of characters previously mentioned, very much stands alone. It's been a while since I read the last WC book, and I had no trouble getting back into the Amos family.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Book: Deception Island by Brynn Kelly

Deception IslandDeception Island by Brynn Kelly

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm afraid Deception Island didn't do it for me. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but once "Laura" was kidnapped, it failed to keep my attention.

Romantic chemistry was nonexistent as far as I was concerned. I didn't care about Laura/Holly's relationship with Jack/Rafe. In fact, by the end of the book, I was much more invested in whether or not Holly would bond with Theo.

Aside from that, there were serious issues with words involving the letter "f", most of which were divided by a space after the f. This made for difficult reading, when "muffled" became "muff led" or other similar words. It was extremely frustrating.

The formatting was also messed up. Many conversations, while they were offset by individual quotation marks, were all crammed together, without paragraph changes or any other means of determining who was speaking.

Overall, between the writing itself and the formatting issues, I can't recommend this book.

ETA: I received a digital copy of Deception Island from Netgalley for the purposes of providing a review.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book: Edge of Wild by Danika Stone

Edge of WildEdge of Wild by Danika Stone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

FULL DISCLOSURE: I had the pleasure of reading this many months ago as an alpha reader, and I was gifted a digital copy of this book by the author. I am on the street team for this book. None of that in any way impacts my opinions. DK knows I would tell her if it blew.

Edge of Wild

The story has changed so much from initial writing to now, and is a better book for the input of Stonehouse Publishing.

Edge of Wild is a mystery. It's a love story. It's a paean to the Northern Rocky Mountains and Waterton, Alberta, Canada. It's a peek into the secrets kept even, perhaps especially, in a small town. Some of those secrets are worth killing over.

Rich is a fish out of water in Waterton, and he plans to enjoy the challenge of getting a hotel up and running in an area with not enough tourist traffic. What little enjoyment he has, though, is ruined piecemeal, with problems ranging from relatively fixable issues like plumbing to much more dangerous vandalism, along with creepy discoveries both in and outside of the hotel.

Lou is appealingly odd, and befriends Rich from the start when he brings his car in for repairs. She's got a gift for fixing things, a story for everything, and a ready smile whenever Rich shows up.

Edge of Wild is very much Rich's story, and yet Lou as his touchstone is integral to the plot.

You'll encounter suspense aplenty, with several smaller mysteries contributing to the larger plot arc. Intense descriptions of the scenery made me question more than once why I wasn't living there instead of in Texas.

Edge of Wild kept me reading every evening, is on my "rereadable" list, and has me more than curious about what comes next for this small town.

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