Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fire with Fire

In this sequel to Burn for Burn, Mary is not satisfied that Reeve, the bully that forced her to leave the island, has truly gotten what he deserves.  True, his scholarship chances are gone, but he still has that cocky attitude and shows no remorse to Mary.  With the help of Kat, and Lillia, another plan is hatched to make Reeve pay, but this one will come back to hurt Lillia as she can't separate her feelings from her assignment and could cost Rennie, the evil queen bee, dearly.  This massive tale of revenge soars leaving readers breathless, confused, and begging for the final installment.

I was able to score a digital ARC from Edelweiss and I'm very happy I did.  Burn for Burn was a typical revenge novel with a paranormal twist at the end.  So little is said about that ending in the second book that the characters, and the reader, start to think it was all just imagination, but no, Mary really does have a secret that even she does not understand.  I can only say that I started to figure it out toward the very end, but the logistics of this secret will have readers scratching their heads, in a good way.  This final book is going to have a lot of explaining to do.

I said this was a massive revenge tale, weighing in over 500 pages, but it fills those pages nicely.  Readers get to burrow into the minds of Lillia, Kat, and Mary even more, learn more about their histories and conflicted feelings about the characters around them.  All except Mary who is fully consumed with Reeve, Reeve, and only Reeve.

Since this is an honestly written book with true to life dialogue, there is some bad language.  Kat, the rebel, knows her way around the F word.  Even Lillia is known to drop a choice four-letter beauty.  To me, it wasn't gratuitous, rather it was well placed and true to life.  And really, if you are reading a book about three girls exacting the ultimate revenge on their enemies, shouldn't you expect some salty language?  If you don't approve of their language, you definitely won't approve of what they do.

But, it's a good fantasy.  I bet we would all like to take our turn as karma, maybe not by drugging people and humiliating them in front of the whole school, but just a little prank to let them know you think they suck.  Like stuffing someone's locker full of shredded paper so it's just an inconvenient mess.

Not that I've ever done something like that.


Speaking of pranks, who watches New Girl and loves that Winston is terrible at pranking?  It takes a strange and beautiful mind to think of releasing a badger at someone's wedding.

Back to topic!  I haven't been putting books to the sequel slump or expiration date test lately.  This sequel does not slump, in fact it amps up the action and drama so much, that I honestly liked it more.  But this does have a pretty hard and fast expiration date.  I'd say if you've graduated college, don't read it.  Unless you are a YA junkie like me and enjoy revenge fantasies.

That said, if you need a quick escapist read this summer, read Burn for Burn.  Then sit tight until September when you too can read Fire with Fire.  Then start theorizing how the series will end for the next year until the final installment, Ashes to Ashes, is released.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lies that Bind

Kate attends an elite high school which is ruled by two secret societies, the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood.  These two groups have been at war ever since the school became integrated, but now this war has causalities.  Kate's best friend Grace died in a fire that was caused by the Brotherhood and now it seems like the Brotherhood has kidnapped Bethany, a mean girl leader of the Sisterhood.  Kate helps queen bee Taylor track down her friend while enlisting the help of her next door neighbor, boyfriend (but not for long), and secret crush.  Can Kate save another girl from the Brotherhood before it's too late?

Cue ominous music.

I just realized that I had an interesting experience with this book.  It was sent to me by the publisher, and I thought that this was the first book in a new series, but no, this is the second book in this series.  I feel like Grace's death and so much of the backstory make sense now.  I thought all of that just happened off screen and the reader had to accept it, but now I know that this all went down in another book.  However, I picked up pretty easily, so I would say that you don't necessarily have to read these books in order as the plot, characters, and setting are all pretty stock.

This uber-elite boarding school was set in Cleveland.  That's right, Cleveland.  I don't think old money and privilege when I think of Cleveland - I think of The Drew Carey Show.  And nothing says class like The Drew Carey show.  Right away, the school felt forced.  This wasn't some crazy elite boarding school, just a private school in a mid-western town that, to me at least, is not known for being highbrow.

I also feel like I've met these characters before.  Kate, the rebellious outsider that secretly wants to be part of the country club set, trying to solve the murder of her best friend at the hands of the cool kids.  Liam, the alternative boyfriend that wants Kate to walk away from all of this craziness.  Taylor, the queen bee who must reach out to the rebel Kate because she's the only one that will believe her.  Seth, funny boy-next-door that doesn't have a chance (but just wait until he gets that Silcon Valley job and the ladies will be lined up around the block).

Didn't I already watch this Lifetime movie?  Wasn't Candice Cameron in that one?

The Liar Society is meant for fans of Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game I'm sure.  I have read one volume of The Lying Game and those girls were practically sociopaths.  The action is so much more intense and the characters are amped up too.  This book just does not live up to it's predecessors.

If you are looking for a book about extreme mean girls, read The Lying Game or better yet, Burn for Burn (just started the second in that series Fire with Fire and I can tell it's going to be good).  If you want a girl detective, check out Heist Society or the adorable Also Known As.  If you want secret societies run amok, watch The Skulls.

Remember that movie?  A little Paul Walker action before he made 29 Fast and Furious movies.  Really, we should all go watch Fast6 because Paul Walker has to eat!

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weather Witch

In a fanstatical, pre-steampunk Philadelphia, Jordan is preparing for her 17th birthday, which is the most important of birthdays.  If by your 17th birthday, you have shown no signs of magic, then you are good and truly Grounded.  In this society, witches and magicians are fiercely distrusted, and tortured and abused into providing power for the entire city.  Some visionaries are calling for steam, but the population cannot trust witches, so the practice of mining witches continues.  Someone is playing a dark game, and Wardens are sent to Jordan's party where she is shown to be a Weather Witch, then she is hauled away to Holgate, the community with Makes and houses witches.

While Jordan is captured, her friend Rowan is busy defending her honor and getting himself into trouble.  Also, an escaped weather witch, Marian, is on the lose set on seeking his family and destroying the man that Made him.  And what of the Maker, the cruel designer of witches and their trade.  He has just learned he is a father and is burdened with a child that teaches him more about love and responsibility than he thought possible.  All things come to a head at the end, leaving more action for another installment.

This is another NetGalley title.  Again, the freeness of this book does not effect my review.  And I am trying to get through as many galleys as possible in preparation for ALA.

At first glance, this is more than just a steampunk book.  Truly is has much of the marking of steampunk with a revisionist history and alternative technology, but there are positively fantastical elements at play, that often compete with the main plot line of the story.  There are strange water beasts, like the Merrow, that are problems in this story, and the reader can only assume will have a bigger role in future books.  There are several plot points that will hopefully be addressed in later books, like Lady Astrea's reanimation, and perhaps the implied treachery of Carina.

Rowen is a wonderful character that adds comedy this quickly paced book.  Jordan, despite her high class upbringing, is surprisingly brace.  Although why did Rowen tell her to "be brave" before there was any danger.  Perhaps that will be answered too.  Bran, the Maker, is despicable at times, but sympathetic at others.  There are also some engaging passages and peripheral action that will keep readers turning pages.

As a reader that is admittedly not entirely on board with steampunk, I have to say that I enjoyed this book.  I did want to know what was happening with Jordan, and I loved the intensity as she discovered the cause of her witchcraft toward the end.  That being said, I'm not sure that I would continue in this series.  The characters seem pretty predictable and while I can't guess the specifics, I bet I can guess the main outcomes for this series.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, I am just not that invested in the characters to read for the exact details.

For fans of steampunk, this is a worthy book, but I don't see it gaining much mainstream acclaim.

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 21, 2013

VBS Preview

Oh, it's finally over!  VBS is fun but exhausting.  This year we went four days, two hours per day, 25 kids, six baggies of sand spilled all over, one mashed up cupcake, two buckets of water mostly worn by our kids, one robot made out of a Culligan bottle, and one great time being together learning about Jesus.

And I couldn't be more tired.

This week I spent eight hours at work, 20 minutes at home, nearly an hour prepping, two hours overseeing the crazy, another 1/2 hour tearing down, then 20 minutes or so awake in my home before I just couldn't take it anymore and went to bed.  For four days straight.  I haven't had time for dinner since Sunday and I endured one fun panic attack, but it's over and it was worth it.

And I'll tell you all about it next week.

Last night as I was basking in the glow of a successful VBS where everyone had fun, no one was hurt (we used to play Red Rover at my VBS as a child, so someone always went home with a black eye), and all adults were pleased, I checked my email.  And you know what I saw-previews of the themes for VBS 2014.  Seriously.  I just finished, minutes ago, and know I'm thinking about next year.

But next year sounds cool.  It's Gateway to Galilee and will be all about Jesus and his work with the disciples.  And I won't have to explain the Transfiguration to five year olds so bonus.

Soon I shall sleep.  After I finish cleaning up the mess and props from VBS in time for our ice cream social tonight.  Maybe I'll actually try to eat dinner tonight.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Funny

I received I Funny as a free galley from the publisher.  The freeness of this book did not impact this review.  Frankly, I have a big stack of galleys that I am trying to get through before my trip to ALA next week where I will undoubtedly pick up more free galleys.

Jamie Grimm is the class comedian, in addition to being not only the new kid, but also the kid in the wheelchair.  He doesn't let that get him down, and in fact, bullies are his biggest audience, and there's no bigger bully than his adopted brother, Steve.  Between dodging Steve, helping at his uncle's diner, and cracking jokes, Jamie has a pretty full life.  Then he hears about The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic contest, and even though he's insanely nervous, he does it anyway and learns more about himself, his family, and his friends than he thought possible.  Also, wrapped up in this story of jokes and laughs is a serious plot line, although it does not get the credit that it deserves.  With black and white illustrations, plenty of jokes, and some heartfelt action, it seems that James Patterson (although more largely Chris Grabenstein) is trying to cash in on the success of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but this is one joke that just falls flat.

I have to admit that I have never made it completely through a James Patterson novel; adult, children's, written by him, mostly written by a co-author or otherwise.  I tried with Maximum Ride but I found his style of taking one step forward and two steps back distracting.  And I Funny is no different.  Take out the repetition, pictures, and 20% of the bad jokes, and you have a 20 page book, max.  You feel like the book is not going anywhere since you spend half of each two page chapter summarizing the chapter before.

Aside from the frustration, it's a very quick book.  Patterson (and his legion of co-authors) writes books for those of us with short attention spans, however, I think even a fruit fly has a longer attention span than this.

Do you get the feeling that I wasn't completely blown away by this book?  Parts of it are funny.  Parts of it are touching.  Parts of it are worth reading.  But those parts do not make a whole.  When boiled down, this is a good book about a positive kid overcoming his obstacles in a mostly un-sappy way, but the delivery is all wrong.

For young readers that want a funny book, full of cool illustrations, give them Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, 43 Old Cemetery Road, or one of the dozens of joke books shelved in every public library.

Happy Reading

Monday, June 17, 2013

Will in Scarlet

Thank you NetGalley for a free ARC of the latest Matthew Cody book!  The freeness of this book did not influence my opinions.

William Shackley is the son of a wealthy land lord in service to King Richard.  At first, his life is all lessons, diplomacy, and the occasional trick on his Nanny, but when it is reported that King Richard has been imprisoned, and Will's father with him, and that Prince John is taking the throne, diplomacy becomes the main focus of Will's life.  But when he justifiably attacks the lackey of the vile Sir Guy, the whole castle irrupts and Will must flee.  Instead of fleeing to France with his mother, Will ends up with the Merry Men where he plots to kill Sir Guy, befriends ne'er-do-wells, sees England for what it really is, and awakens a legend.

On the surface, this is a retelling of Robin Hood, but Rob, as he prefers to be known, isn't the central character.  Will and the miller's daughter masquerading as a boy, Much, are the two primary characters. For Will's part, he grows from being a spoiled and sheltered lordling to a fine and generous bandit.  The first scene in which he becomes Will the wolfslayer really foreshadows the whole story quite well, in that he is fighting an enemy that he does not know or understand and he might be fighting against the wrong one.  The losses that Will experiences are difficult, but all of that makes him into the young man that he is by the end of the book.

Much has her own secrets that she is hiding.  As a girl living amongst bandits, she gets protection, but it also seems that she sees things the other miss and having her narration adds to the fullness of the story.

Rob is a secondary character seen through Will and Much's eyes.  Once he finally sobers up (and it's not until he's truly good and sober that the reader even realizes who he is), he becomes the arrogant and boastful leader of the Merry Men.  Honestly, I would say he is a little like Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow--lighthearted and witty, yet determined to reach his goal.  Little John is a kind soul in a giant's body, and the rest of the lot seem to be cowardly scoundrels, but likable enough.

I would say that Will in Scarlet is another good Caudill candidate.  This book would appeal to grades 5-7, and since it is told in both Will and Much's voice, it should appeal to boys and girls.  Also, while it alludes to drinking wine and rough language, it never actually shows those activities, rather it uses the type of Shakespearian insult that are more funny than crude.

While I don't think that Will in Scarlet necessarily needs a sequel, I think one will be on the way.  But if not, the story ends in quite a satisfying manner, so either way, readers will enjoy.  It is nice sometimes to read a book that ends cleanly enough that you are pleased, but leaves just a few questions.  More like a vague "and then what happens?" rather than a frantic "I must know what happens next!!"

I think that might be a key difference between children's and YA lit.  In children's lit, there is more resolution between plot points, with enough room for more adventures, but in YA, the author ends a book by saying "That's when the shooting started"  (Thanks Veronica Roth).

All in all, Will in Scarlet is a fun historical fiction (heavy on the fiction) adventure story.  And this reader looks forward to a new adventure down the road.

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 14, 2013

New Shoes, New Look, New News

Happy Friday!!  I'm looking forward to a nice weekend full of frantically running around prepping for VBS on Monday.  And taking a nap.  Or sleeping for a week.  One of the two.

There are several items of note that I want to address today, so let's get started!

1.  New Shoes for a New Upgrade!  Yup, my lowly secretarial position was upgraded to a slightly less lowly secretarial position with a slight pay increase, so that means new shoes!  I bought these funky little beautys for $15, because honestly I'm making maybe $4 more per day and there are other expenses in my life that are more pressing than footwear.

2.  New Look!  I changed up the blog a little bit.  I like the new look.  It's cleaner and simpler, like how I would like my house to be.  Also, my little blog has been going for a whole year now, and while I'm not the most popular book blog on the block (not by a long shot), I enjoy it.  It gives me a reason to read more and do more.  Yea for motivation!

3.  New News!  I've hit upon a couple of great articles this week that I think you need to read.

I read this article last week about GRRM of Game of Thrones fame set to write a children's book full of the kind of death and destruction that zaps all joy and light from a child's eyes.  Someone tell me this is satire.  I want this to be satire.

Amy Poelher loves Judy Blume and wants to sit at her feet and be read to.  Don't we all!

NPR has sparked some hot debate about what kids are reading, but their source is the hated Accelerated Reader-hardly an authority in book leveling to many librarians and teachers.  Get in on the action or grab your popcorn and enjoy the drama!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of good books, good food, and good naps!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy

Kami has lived her whole life in Sorry-in-the-Vale, a small yet strange town settled amongst woods and the towering Auriemere Manor, home of the mysterious Lynburns.  The Lynburn family is treated with awe and fear by almost everyone in the town, but Kami does not understand why until the Lynburns come back, this time with a big surprise for Kami.  Kami has always had a voice in her head, but this goes beyond the common imaginary friend, and when she finds out that not only is this voice, Jared, real but that he's a Lynburn, she thinks she will finally get some answers, but it only brings up more questions.

Even though the Lynburns are supposed to protect the town, there has never been more danger and Kami's team of would-be journalists and friends are the only ones that can discover its source.

I initially started reading this book last summer as a galley from NetGalley, but I just couldn't get through it.  Remember how not every book speaks to you?  Well, this one was not talking to me.  Then I found it as an e-book from my library, so given another chance to read it for free instantly, I took it.

Then I remembered why I had trouble reading this book in the first place.  It feels flat to me.  The whole situation with Kami and Jared being in each others head constantly is an interesting concept, and their feelings when they discover that the other is real is pretty entertaining.  Kami as a character is pretty well drawn, although a little annoying in her constant state of curiosity and action.  But her opposite is the strikingly beautiful, yet unbelievably lazy, Angela, a girl that is up for a nap anywhere, anytime.  (I've never identified with a character so strongly as with Angela-not on the beauty thing, but the nap thing).  Jared is a love sick bad boy, and again, like Edward Cullen, it gets old pretty fast, but there's at least a good reason why he is so annoyingly in love.   Then there are the other Lynburns who are more dark and brooding, except Ash who engages himself in a love triangle with Kami and Jared.

Oh, and werewolves, I really thought there were going to be werewolves.  I was trying to work out some connection between Lynburn and lupine I guess, but it didn't work that way.  There are no werewolves, although there is a clue to the Lynburn secret in an obvious name, but I'm not telling.

It seems like a lot, and it is, and it should be enough, but it's not, not until the very end.  There are some great descriptive passages and one liners, little quips that would make a whole chapter worth it, but it felt like the spaces between those lines were mediocre.  I especially loved the line about Kami's shy brother Ten: "Dad loved Ten the best because Ten needed someone to love him best."  That line is just heartbreaking and sweet all at the same time.

While there were great lines and some pretty unsettling action, it just didn't pick up until right at the end.  I wish that the rest of the book had been as engaging as those last few chapters.  Maybe I was biased form the beginning, maybe I was disconnected because I read it on my Kindle, but I really think that this is a book written by a talented author that hasn't entirely hit her stride yet.  Then again, this is being said by someone who has never written a book, so grain of salt there.

The ending did save this book entirely.  All I will say is that I thought I had some difficult breakups, but no, not compared to Kami.  And while the ending was fantastic and dramatic and heart-wrenching, it wasn't The Raven Boys.  As far as modern gothic romance, I think that The Raven Boys is the gold standard, and Unspoken was a solid effort that feel just a little short.

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Red Pyramid-Again

It's not often that I re-read a book.  Mostly I only do that when the movie comes out or to brush up before the next book.  But as I've mentioned before, I really had a craving for The Kane Chronicles this year.  Not that it is the most amazing book ever, but mostly because I wanted some fun adventure for the summer.

As second readings go, it was pretty good.  Having read the trilogy, I did notice when they were setting up the action for later books.  Some parts did take me by surprise and I loved reading back over some of my favorite parts.  Like when Carter fights Leroy in the airport and everyone thinks the Set Animal is a rabid moose.  Good times.

I also took my time with this book.  I already knew how it ended-all of it actually-so unlike most plot-driven novels, I wasn't tempted to jump ahead.  I could actually take my time and savor this book and all it's odd little detours, like convincing the lion goddess that jalapeƱo-laced salsa was blood.

I'm so glad that I took the time to read something familiar (not The Familiars, that's totally different).  My mind is all over the place with VBS starting in one week and ALA the next week, but I knew that I could shut down and relax while Sadie and Carter battled terrible beasts.  Bone crushing crocodile gods are so calming.

Are you doing any re-reading lately?  Catching Fire is coming out soon-anybody brushing up?  How about other old favorites?  Given that I love watching reruns on TV, you would think that I would constantly have a re-read going.  Let me know what you think!

Happy Re-Reading

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Familiars

Aldwyn is an ordinary alley cat, lightly hoping from one roof to another, stealing food when needed, and sleeping with one eye open.  That is, until Grimslade the feared bounty-hunter comes after him, so Aldwyn hides out in an unusual pet store where he is mistaken for a magical animal and purchased by a young wizard.  Now Aldwyn is the Familiar for Jack, a wizard in training.  He meets two other wizards, Marianne and Dalton and their Familiars, Gilbert and Skylar and trains for only a few days before a prophecy shows that three will over turn the kingdom.  Suddenly, the young wizards are captured, the wise mentor is dead, and the Familiars must work together to save their companions.

This is the first in series, although I have to admit that close to the end, I was hoping this was a solitary book.  The relationship between the Familiars and their Loyals is very touching, as Aldwyn, always the loner, cares very much for Jack and will do anything to save him.  The teamwork between know-it-all Skylar, perennial-screw-up Gilbert, and not-really-magic Aldwyn is interesting and their friendship is also entertaining.

Animal stories are popular, and magic is too.  Mixing the two might not always be a good combination, but this is an entertaining book for younger readers.  The danger faced by the Familiars is descriptive and exciting, but since it is happening to animals and not people, readers are more removed and it might be less frightening.  The action is well paced and appropriate for the age group, and I didn't see that ending coming until those last few chapters, so I would say that readers will be surprised as well.

Did anyone else catch the odd Animal Farm-esque reference toward the end?  Only me?  Well, young readers won't get it either, but I can see that there are going to be some weird parallel themes between the two.  That could be a hilarious book report from an over-achieing third grader!  Four Legs or Two:  Power Structures in The Familiars and Animal Farm

All in all, I liked this book for those just past early chapter book readers.  It isn't as mature as Percy Jackson, but still gives readers the magic and adventure they crave.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

You Can't Resist Me!

Get it?  It's a post about resistance band training!  Hahahaha.

My non-librarian job has a couple of cool perks, and in office resistance band training is one of them.  Once a week, a fitness instructor comes to my office to show me cool resistance band exercises, then I am responsible for doing three sets of 10 each day, and I have a little worksheet that I have to turn in-not for points or anything, just to be accountable.

So, my first week was awesome.  I rocked those sets!  But this week has been slow, and I didn't meet my goal.  So I sadly handed in my barely filled in worksheet.  I even tried to catch up by doing a few extra exercises this morning because I was ashamed.  Now I am armed with five new exercises and a whole week to succeed.

No, I'm not going to get ripped doing these exercises, but if I can get my booty out of my desk chair for a couple minutes a day, I consider that good.  And just a little accountability is a good thing because I also talk to my instructor about the other fitness classes that I am trying to take like PiYo and TRX (which almost killed me).

Here's to a healthy new outlook this summer, one exercise at a time!

Happy Exercising!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Miss Tiff Does Everything But Read

Wow-it was a busy weekend!  After being out of town two weekends in a row, my house was a mess, my fridge was empty, and the projects were just piling up!  This weekend meant no reading, but I can look back with a great sense of accomplishment!  My house quite clean, VBS is coming along (it starts in 2 weeks!), and a few things finally got crossed off.

Project 1:  Denim Dog Toy

On Friday night, Doug was cleaning out the closet after a big round of outlet mall shopping and gave me some old ripped-up jeans.  So, I did what any Pinterest-obsessed girl would do-I cut them up and made a chew toy.  I cut the jeans off at the knees, cut some strips, braided, knotted, and done!  Instant dog toy.  Lucy loves it and it is already being torn up.  These types of toys keep her really entertained and are great for when we visit people because she can tear into the toy and stay out of trouble.  Not only do I have plenty of material for more toys, but Doug also has some awesomely terrible new denim cutoffs.  I did take a picture of him but I promised him it would not find its way to the internet....yet.

Project 2:  Kill the Ants!

We still have ants!  I thought I got them all, but no, there are more ant colonies attacking our house.  Now, I'm not afraid of RAID or other products like it, but with a dog, we can't go around spraying that stuff.  (Is it weird that I'm more concerned for my dog's health than mine?)  So, instead I made borax ant baits to kill the little buggers.  It's just 1/2 cup or so of sugar, 2 or 3 tablespoons of Borax and a cup of boiling water.  Mix it all together, soak some cotton balls, and wait.  On Friday night I saw two or three ants, so I put out one cotton ball.  On Saturday morning I woke to an invasion of ants crawling from my dining room window to that one cotton ball on the counter.  I put out five more cotton balls after that.  That's the bad thing about this trap-it gets worse before it gets better.  But after about six hours of a total swarm of ants, the colony will be dead and you can go on with your life.  After you disinfect every surface they could have possibly touched.  I'm getting a crawly feeling just thinking about it.

Project 3:  Build a Robot

Please excuse the sucky picture.  It was late and I couldn't find a light switch at church.
Meet Gizmo, the robot mascot of this year's VBS.  I fashioned Gizmo out of an old Culligan bottle, HVAC tubing, sand bucket, funnel, and lots of cable ties.  I love cable ties!  Pretty well everything is connected by either cable ties or superglue.  It was a funny scene Saturday night as Doug drilled the holes in the bottle, I threaded the cable ties through the bottle and used a crochet hook to fish them out through the holes.  It was precise and dangerous work.  But he looks good.  I text my pastor on Saturday to let him know that Gizmo had been installed at church and he text back "Okay, but I'm not letting the robot preach".  Ba-dum-bum-bum.  Get it?  Installed like set-up, and installed like ordained-haha!  Maybe it's a Lutheran thing.  No, Gizmo didn't preach, but he makes a great prop.

Also, I'm married to a pretty incredible guy.  I told him that I need vent tubing "the shiny, silvery, collapsable stuff", and not only did he find it, but there were these little corner connectors that he said "we could use these as feet and get gloves for the hands"!  Seriously-I'm a lucky girl!!

Project 4:  Yard Work

Due to being gone and all of the rain, we not only didn't have time to mow the yard, but it also grew really fast.  I basically had to mow before Nat Geo came to film a nature documentary in my yard.  I'm terrible at mowing the lawn, so let this be a lesson to you, hubby, if you want it done right.....

Project 5:  Fence in the Air Conditioner

While I finished mowing, Doug was finishing up the cedar fence to go around our air conditioner, and digging up some ugly weeds and bushes.  (I think I got the better end of this deal by mowing.)  This fence will prevent a certain beagle dog from chewing on the wiring and causing us to call a repairman-again.  Plus is makes it look like we are going to raise goats or something.  I'm already thinking that I need to add a rustic star or giant bell for added country flare.

But that's not all!  I dared to do something even crazier this weekend, and once I snap a quick pic, I'll be back to share the details.

Happy Not Reading!