I needed an excuse to dress up today, since I’m stuck at home on med leave. Heh.
I needed an excuse to dress up today, since I’m stuck at home on med leave. Heh.
Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles, #3)
Firstly – let’s hear it for my 125th book & completed Goodreads challenge! wooty woot! Last year I read 120 books, so I beat that a lot earlier and I still have two more months of reading ahead! I am curious to see how much I will read between now and then. November isn’t generally a big reading month for me, but I’m on medical leave until the 20th, so I don’t know. December is when the reading explosion happens.
Secondly – I thought this series was a trilogy, therefore my mind was BLOWN by the ending of Beautiful Chaos. I thought, now THIS is the way to end a series! Then, when I went to mark it as read on Goodreads, I noticed that there’s a fourth book (still untitled at this point) coming out sometime next year. Hmm.
You see, Internet, I am not sure how I feel about this. On one hand – yay! More Beautifulness. On the other, this book ended so brilliantly that I don’t want to ruin that feeling by changing or adding or finding out what happens next. I honestly feel that the three books were enough.
Of COURSE I will be reading that fourth book, because, well, to be honest, this series is EPIC. Kami & Margaret know how to write a gosh darn fantastic gothic story. I always crave lemonade and porch swings when I read these books. Lemonade I can do, but porch swings in Montreal October just won’t happen. Brrr!
Everything about this series is just fantastic. Sure, I get a little eye-rolly when Ethan and Lena get lovey-dovey, but their relationship works for me. It works. It’s done well. Other YA authors who want to add romance to their novels should take a clue from the Caster Chronicle books. Hell, I even love Link and Ridley together (and not together). They have CHEMISTRY. So, so few YA novels give their romantic leads any chemistry these days.
There’s just so much I love about these books. The Sisters, Macon, Boo Radley, Link (I ADORE Link! Linkubus! HAHA!), Ethan, sometimes Amma (she makes me cranky once in a while). The setting, the dialogue, the mystery and magic. I love love it all.
These are hefty, meaty books that are over 500 pages each, and each page is wonderful.
I will admit to being slightly confused by the prophecy this time around and all the hoodoovoodoo that went on towards the middle and end, but it was still well written. I just have a slow and simple brain. 😉
I would like to spend this last paragraph rambling about how much I LOVE these covers. They are simple, yet stunning. The hard covers are so shiny and eye-catching. I LOVE the type face used for the titles and the brightly coloured text over the shiny black backgrounds just make me swoon. Just realized I have to go out and find Beautiful Darkness in hard cover, because I still only have the ARC that I got at BEA in 2010. Oops. I like my series to match, ok? Don’t judge.
So, whilst I spend a year wondering if I really want to know what happens next (of course I do, I’ll just realize it by next fall), I shall leave you with the links to the rest of the books in the series. Have you read this yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!
Last night I found out that my neighbour’s wife died at the end of August.
Even though in the (almost) five years I have lived here, I only know my neighbours ever so slightly due to the occasional chat over the back fence, or in the front yard, my stomach dropped to my toes when he told me.
I knew she was sick. For a little while there was a warning in the window nextdoor that oxygen was in use. My neighbour would smoke outside, rather than indoors and at one point over the summer, I heard him telling the neighbours on the other side of his fence (two doors down from me) that his wife had cancer and was in a half-way house sort of deal for the treatments.
I thought she was still there.
It all started when I was sitting outside on the stoop with the dogs waiting for Shawn’s bus to come down the street. My neighbour was outside, smoking, and he said “I have an odd question, is it recycling this week?” I thought about it and replied “No, it’s mortgage this week.” (My mortgage payments are on opposite Fridays to recycling, it makes it easy to figure out.) We both laughed. Then he said “I’ve been a little mixed up with days. I don’t know if you know, but my wife passed away in August.”
“No. My go– no. I didn’t. I’m so sorry.”
He shrugged and said, it’s ok, I’m doing ok.
I said, “I knew she was sick, I heard you telling the people on the other side, this summer. I thought she was still in the hospital.”
He then went on to tell me that on May 31st she was diagnosed with lung cancer. It then spread to her liver, then bones, finally her brain. From the diagnosis at 9am on May 31st until her death at 8am on August 31st, it went fast.
She apparently had it for years and didn’t know. She got a little sick in May and it was a shock to find out what was wrong.
I knew something was up. Not just because of the horrible coughing I could hear in the house over the spring, and not only because of the sign in the window. My neighbour plays his electric guitar for fun and relaxation. He’s pretty good. But he’d been playing it more and more, and it’s louder and louder. I even heard it around 4 in the morning on night. That’s when I knew whatever was going on wasn’t good. I had no idea that his wife had already passed away.
Two weeks ago, my neighbour dismantled the porch swing he had in the backyard. It went in the garbage with some other patio chairs. I remember saying to Shawn that I think that meant bad news. They never take it down in the winter, just cover it with a tarp. His bringing the parts to the front for garbage pick up brought tears to my eyes and I felt my pulse race with worry.
When he told me that he’d lost his wife, less than 2 months ago, I couldn’t hold back the tears as we chatted.
I don’t know them well at all. I know they have two boys, I don’t think either are 30 yet. This is not an old couple. Maybe late 50s? The wife wasn’t that old. For cancer to strike and act so swiftly, it’s just, heartbreaking and terrifying all at once. She was nice. Very shy and nervous about her English, so she wouldn’t say much when her husband would speak with me in English. I’d make sure to speak French with her, because she even let me know she was too shy to try English because it wasn’t good.
We have had them take in our mail for us while we’ve been at Disney World. We talk about the random deaths of my stupid tree in the front yard and I found out that this is a regular occurrence. Even the ice storm didn’t kill it. It’s been dying in the middle of summer for years. We’d talk about all the dandelions in the yard. The swampy backyards. The skunks that live under sheds. We’d curse the amount of snow we’d get, or the lack of snow.
These are people I only know peripherally, because they share a wall with my house. But the thought of her being ill and now knowing she’s passed away, just hit me so hard. These are such wonderful people. The man next door is so friendly and fun to talk with. I hurt for him.
She apparently had no pain. The cancer didn’t kill her, she just faded away. She was ready to go. She’d lost her appetite, even when he’d leave work and pick up her favourite pizza. She wasn’t on much morphine, she was just tired.
When Shawn and I finally came in, he hugged me. I was crying. I said “I don’t like when people die.” Sort of a silly thing to say, because, duh! But it was the only way I could voice my grief over a life that I didn’t really know, but missed.
Over the summer when my neighbour was telling the neighbours who share his other wall what was going on, I heard him say “I promised that I wouldn’t smoke in the house anymore, and even though she’s not home yet, I am keeping that promise.”
He’s still smoking outside to this day.
(Hee! See what I did there?)
I knew by 3pm today that I wanted to do something about dinner. I wanted a quick & easy, healthy option but I had no ideas. I was craving stew, but normally I slowcook that stuff and that wasn’t going to happen tonight. I picked up the special edition Clean Eating magazine from this month (101 Comfort Foods) and looked through the sticky-noted pages to see if there was anything in there that jumped out and wouldn’t take too long. Once I found what I was looking for, I jumped (hobbled) into the car and headed to the store to pick up the fixin’s for this:
Clean Eating, 101 Classic Comfort Foods, October 2011 – p. 31
As always, when I try to make something it turns into an adventure. I was determined to make something delicious though!
This is what goes in it (edited for my own adventure!)
With everything mostly ready, it was very pretty.
So many chopped things!
In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add onion & garlic and cook stirring frequently. 2-3 minutes.
Add chicken, breaking it up with a spoon and add chili powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon (and cloves). Stir frequently, until chicken is well browned, 5-7 minutes.
Add both bell peppers and stir constantly for 1 minute. (I goofed and added the broth here, too, since I read “both” as “broth”. Meh, it didn’t harm nothin’!)
Add tomatoes, broth (if you didn’t already goof and put it in), beans… stir.
Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until chicken is tender. About 30 minutes.
Now, I brought it to a light boil and then turned it DOWN to simmer on my stove. I don’t know if that was written properly or not. Either way. I actually simmered it for about 45 minutes. Shawn ended up being really late, so I left it covered, on the stove (which was off) and it was still warm when he got home – an hour after I had mine!
Dinner for one!
It looks a lot darker in the magazine, my chicken didn’t get all dark brown, but, oh well. It was good. A little too watery, I think my tomatoes added extra juice. Maybe I should have put in some tomato paste? I do know I need to add the red pepper flakes next time, this needed a kick.
I buttered (no salt) two pieces of whole wheat bread to add to the meal. I know bread isn’t the best thing, but I wanted something comforting! And it was whole wheat, so it counts for something, right!
Shawn now has something tasty to take to lunch with him tomorrow! Me? I think I’m hitting up Wal-Mart with my sister & nephew.
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