Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Series Recommendation

It's been awhile since I discovered a new (to me) series that I can read all the way through without waiting for the next book, so I'm very happy that I discovered Thea Harrison's "Elder Races" series this fall.

I somehow ran across a $.99 short story set in the series called Peanut Goes to School. It had an adorable cover, and after I downloaded and read the free sample, I went ahead and bought it. It turned out to be about the young son of two shapeshifters, one of whom was a dragon. To my surprise, I found it to be very well written, and I enjoyed it very much. So I ended up purchasing the first full length book, Dragon Bound, shortly thereafter.

The series is set in a world where there are shapeshifters, fairies, vampires, etc., which isn't all that different from a lot of paranormal novels. But there's just something about the way Harrison writes that brings this world to life in a wonderful way that I haven't experienced in awhile. Maybe it's because I'm gorging on them.

Dragon Bound is about Dragos, a shapeshifting dragon -- the shapeshifting dragon. There are a lot of other shapeshifters, but only one dragon. Normally I would scoff because the premise sounds so crazy, but once I started it, I couldn't put it down. It's a romance -- a young shapeshifter woman (Pia) (not a dragon, but we don't find out what she is until much later) is blackmailed into stealing something from the dragon's hoard, and even though it's only a penny, the dragon notices that it's gone and devotes himself to finding who stole it and why.

It's a romance (obviously), and it's just wonderful.

The rest of the books are:

No. 2 - Storm's Heart, about Tiago (the Thunderbird) and Tricks (an elf)

I really enjoyed Storm's Heart. Both Tiago and Tricks are employees of Dragos'. Tiago is an ancient Native American God and Tricks is an elf, Dragos' PR person. Part of what makes these books so addictive is the protective aspect of the (very) alpha males.

No. 3 - Serpent's Kiss, about Rune (a gryphon) and Carling (a vampire)

Each of the books are about a different couple, and when I read that the third book was about Rune, a gryphon and Dragos' second, and Carling, the former queen of the vampires, I put off reading it for a couple of weeks. I just didn't warm up to Carling when she appeared in the other books. But I finally bought it, and as I was reading it, I was thinking, don't even worry about the rest of them, just buy them, they will all be wonderful.

No. 4 - Oracle's Moon, about Grace (an oracle) and Khalil (a djinn)

I was a little hesitant about the fourth one as well, Oracle's Moon, but I bought it yesterday and finished it this morning, and it is my favorite so far. I thought the oracle would be interesting, but again, I hadn't warned up to Khalil, the djinn, in the other books. But he turned out to be one of the most interesting characters, mostly because he is the least human (of course, not human at all).

It might actually be one of the best books I have ever read. So I have no qualms about buying the rest of the series:

No. 5 - Lord's Fall, Dragos and Pia again

No. 6 - Kinked, about Aryal, a Harpy and Quentin. Okay, I'm a little leery of this one, because after reading some reviews it sounds a little, well, "kinky," but I'll give it a shot.

No. 7 - Night's Honor - Tess and Xavier (vampire)

No. 8 - Midnight's Kiss (due to be published 5/5/15) - Julian (vampire) and Melisande (fae)

There are several other novellas and short stories sprinkled throughout, and Harrison's website lists them all in order.

I just wanted to mention these books in case anyone else is looking for a really absorbing series to get lost in.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

I'm not a big shopper.  I'm a big browser, I guess, but I don't really buy a lot of stuff.  I do go out on Black Friday, but traditionally, I make it a day for myself and just buy a few little things.  Today I gathered up my coupons, and went out at around 9:30.  My day:

Starbucks: A Grande Peppermint Mocha, free, using my filled-up holiday drink sticker card (buy 5, get one free)

Ulta: A free mascara for my birthday.  I also tried to convince the salesgirl that shampoo was on sale, when it clearly wasn't, because I knew I had seen it.  Turned out, it was on sale at:

Beauty Brands: The shampoo I use, Matrix Biolage Color Care, was half price, a normally $19.99 liter bottle for $10.

Kohls: I had a 15% off coupon, plus a $10 "gift" coupon.  I'd been wanting some stud earrings.  I knew I couldn't afford diamonds, and most of the cheap cubic zirconium ones are too sparkly and fake looking, but I wanted to look again.  I wanted some yellow gold ones.  I was going to settle for a sterling silver pair, but found some 10K gold ones with white topaz stones.  They're a little larger than I wanted, but very pretty.  The original price was $125.  They were on sale, then there was an extra 20% off, and with my 15% off plus my $10, they ended up being around $27, which I didn't think was bad.

Then I had lunch at Long John Silver's, using a coupon for a free fish sandwich.  It was pretty good.

Then I went to Barnes & Noble.  I had a 30% off coupon that was only good today.  I had gone online and had them save a calendar for me, one that I get Bob every year (shhh), and I wanted to be sure to get it.  So I got that, and I used the 30% off coupon for a small red Moleskine agenda to carry in my purse.  I haven't given up on the big Daytimer--I still use it for work--but it's too big to carry around all day, and I like to have something small to write in if the urge strikes.

So then I went to Target, but first I stopped at Macy'sShopKick was doing a big Black Friday push where you got 200 walk-in points at several locations, so I walked into Macy's and got 200 points, then went to Target, and with the 200 points there, plus the ones I already had, I had enough for a $4 coupon, which I used to buy a $5 DVD copy of "The Holiday."

And I went to WalMart to see if I could get a DVD that Bob wanted, but they didn't have it, so that was kind of a waste, except that I got another 200 ShopKick points.  I also went to CVS to try to spend a $3 birthday coupon, but I didn't really need or want anything and was getting tired, so I went to Hen House to get a couple of things--bread, 7-Up, and tortilla chips, and came home.

I pretty much had a coupon for everything, and any actual money I spent came off of a gift card that I had been given in thanks for some work I did, so I didn't spend any real money at all. Pretty good day, actually.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


When did it become acceptable to use "ask" as a noun, i.e., "I need to take care of a client ask," or "Here's a list of the asks."  What's wrong with "question," or "request," or "requirement?"  Too many syllables?  Where did it come from?  Is this just a case of someone trying to be clever and it spilled over into marketing-speak?  I've started to hear it all over the place, and I think the thing that annoys me about it the most is that it's not a new, made-up, word, but an existing word used in a weird, awkward way.  I see no need for it.

I went to the allergy doctor several months ago and he said that he believed that I had both asthma and acid reflux, which often go together.  He prescribed several, well, five, medications for me.  I dutifully filled the prescriptions and have been taking everything at the mandated times.

For about a month I have had excruciating pain in my knees. I figured I had twisted my knee or something, although I couldn't really remember anything.  I wore a brace for awhile, and that helped, but I hated to get dependent on it.  It was getting so bad that I could hardly walk.  Hot baths helped, but getting in and out of the tub was almost impossible due to the pain in my knees.  I've been hobbling around like an old woman, thinking maybe I'm just too heavy, and I reached the point at which my knees could no longer take it.

On Friday evening, I was lying in bed with my legs up over a pillow to keep them in a semi-bent position, which seemed to work the best.  If I laid when them out straight, it was terrible to bend them, and vice versa.  I thought, this is ridiculous, I feel like I'm in a hospital bed. And I had this epiphany--maybe the joint pain was a side effect of one of the new meds I was taking, because it didn't really make any sense.  The arrival of the knee pain corresponded closely with the time that I stopped using a sample Symbicort inhaler that the doctor had given me, and started using a new one, Advair, since my insurance wouldn't cover the Symbicort.

So I didn't take anything on Saturday or Sunday, and Monday morning I would estimate my knees felt 80% better.  On Monday afternoon, though, my chest was feeling tight, so I went ahead and took an asthma pill (Singulair), and I was having heartburn later in the afternoon, so I took the acid reducer (famotidine) when I went to bed. I did not use the Advair inhaler, which is what I believe is causing the problem.  (This may be just because I hate it -- it tastes bad, is unpleasant to use, and is very expensive.)

Last night I ran a bunch of errands after work -- got gas, went to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a small space heater and humidifier supplies, picked up a book at the library, cashed a check at the bank, went to Kohl's to spend a $5 coupon that expired today, and went to the grocery store.  By the time I got home several hours later, my legs were really tired and sore, but they didn't feel too bad this morning, certainly better than they had for weeks.

I called the doctor's office yesterday, wanting to talk to him to see if it was plausible that one of the meds was causing the joint pain, and someone from the office called back this morning.  She said he had left a note that I was to stop all meds for one week, then add them back in, one per week, and see if the pain came back.  This was extremely upsetting, because the whole reason I had gone to him in the first place was that I was coughing so badly that I was sleeping on the couch so as not to keep Bob up, and maybe sleeping two or three consecutive hours a night.

I understand what he is trying to do, and it makes sense, but I just don't see how I can do it.  I would be absolutely miserable for six weeks without anything to treat the asthma, allergies, or acid reflux.  The nurse asked, "Is that something that you can do," and I told her no, I just didn't see how I could.  I said that I would think about it and maybe call the doctor back next week.  I don't know what to do.  I really like the doctor, and I want to do what he says, but I just don't think I can do it.  I think I'll try a few more days without the Advair and see how it goes. That will be my version of a scientific experiment.