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text 2018-12-13 19:37
24 Festive Tasks | Door 1: Día de los Muertos
The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season

 

 

(November 1)

 

 

Updates


12/13/2018
Completed Book Task!  Finished re-reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton on 12/10/2018.  With this update, I've officially completed all the tasks I will probably complete for this door.

11/10/2018
Completed Task 4 - Treat yourself to some Mexican food!  Also updated the Book Task to reflect my chosen book.

11/04/2018
I'm stealing ideas.  I like this idea of just reserving a post per square and filling in the deets as each task is completed, so I'm going to do the same.  Meanwhile, I will also keep a separate tracking post linking to each of these Door/Square posts.  I'll link to another separate post from these individual Door/Square posts if a task merits its own independent post.

First task up for completion is Task 2 - Sharing an epitaph.

 

 

Task 1


Write a silly poem or limerick poking fun at the fiction character of your choice.
-- SKIP --

I don't poem or limerick, so more than likely skipping this one.

 

 

Task 2


Share your favorite gravestone epitaph (you know you have one).
-- COMPLETED 11/04/2018 --

I actually don't have a favorite gravestone epitaph--at least none that immediately come to mind.  But in light of the festive activities, I decided to do a little Google search and came up with a couple that stood out to me.

 

"I HAVE SO MANY
MEMORIES,
MEMORIES I MUST
KEEP.
FOREVER THEY'LL
BE WITH ME,
EVEN WHILE I
SLEEP."
-- Lloyd "Billy" Andrews

 


Apparently that second epitaph is inscribed on the grave marker of one Wade Huff Andrews.  You can see different angles of the tombstone at the memorial page I found, linked above.

 

 

Task 3


Create an altar (either digital or physical) for your favorite book, series, or book character, and post a picture of it. Inclusion of book cover encouraged.
-- DECISION MADE / SKIPPING --

It's hard to find a single favorite book or series out of so many I personally love, so this one is under consideration at the moment.

I figured if I haven't done anything for this task by now, I'm more than likely skipping it.

 

 

Task 4


If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to your favorite dish and share a photo of it.
-- COMPLETED 11/10/2018 --

I have a hankering for tamales...

And so, the first thing I thought to do on my first free weekend since the game began, was get myself some tamales!

To be totally honest, Mexican food isn't exactly my go to type of food.  I like tacos and chips and salsa.  I like queso... a lot, even though I shouldn't be indulging too much in anything that creamy.

Tamales, though, are my utmost favorite of Mexican food, thus far in life.  I first encountered them when a relative made them for us, and something about that corn dough and the juicy meats wrapped within just really hits all the right spots.  It helps that I have a thing for corn (cheesy corn casserole is one of the best things I know how to make... among the very few dishes I know how to make...).

Tamales, unfortunately, I DO NOT know how to make.  And thus, it's either restaurant, or store bought, and I had picked up a package of tamales a few days ago thinking I might just heat a few up for my task.  Of course, I DID also consider, briefly, just running out to a restaurant and enjoying myself.

But I'm glad I picked up a package of these, because wanting tamales for lunch today, I did not feel like leaving the house, on account of it's very, very cold out today.

 

 

 

The above picture shows the tamales before I remove the corn husk wrap.  Also before microwaving them.  The below picture shows my attempt at putting together a fancy luncheon meal with a side of salsa and avocado.

 


These aren't the best of pictures, nor the best placement on a dish for any wonderful aesthetic appeal.  I had considered making the entire thing look pretty, but after I plunked my side dish of avocado down, and tried to add sour cream... well, the entire thing sort of fell apart.  I tried not to cover up the entire tamale with the cheese, to show what it looks like unwrapped, though.

And yes, I enjoyed myself a lot!

 

 

Book Task


Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico.
-- COMPLETED 12/10/2018 --

One possible book is Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, probably because of our Flat Book Society read this month.

 


Finished listening to the audio book of Jurassic Park, written by Michael Crichton, narrated by Scott Brick.  This will fit the "re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author" part of this task.  I might have a review out at some point.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/12/24-festive-tasks-door-1-dia-de-los.html
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review 2018-12-13 18:37
Oh It Was Terrible
Unearthed - Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner

1.5 stars. Audiobook. Narration 2.5 stars- Quick thought: A bad remake of Indiana Jones and The temple of Doom.
Long, long and mostly boring inner dialog that made me tune out. This was a book where I just wanted the characters to stop talking, yeh not good. The female MC was so irritating, she had this uncanny ability to do stupid stuff and then talk herself into thinking it was brilliant. She's a cliche in all ways, a street rat trying to save her sister from slavery, a school drop out who is actually a mathematical genius, perfect because the male MC isn't at all and they need it to save their lives. It's not that she's smart that bugged me it was how it suddenly came up and then became her crown, and her old persona was forgotten. The male MC was the son of a famous notorious man who is on a mission to prove his daddy right. He's English, and unprepared for this planet. yes they are on another planet. So we have a street wise scavenger and rich college grad, to save them all. There is an uncomfortable bit of romance going on that does not fit in the story at all.
The adventure is them trying to solve an ancient mystery left by an alien race filled with booby traps. Oh and yes they are also being chased by evil villains armed with guns. Very Indiana Jones with out the fun entertaining parts. They are able to solve puzzles and escape traps, amazing right ? Then when danger is nearest they rest/sleep and get caught. So they out smart, dumb down and out smart back and forth till finally at the end we see what the real deal is. The doom that only these two misfit kids could figure out and just when you think things might resolve, they get caught again.
Stupid

 

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review 2018-12-13 07:12
Ranting Thoughts: Midnight Sacrifice
Midnight Sacrifice - Melinda Leigh

Midnight Sacrifice

by Melinda Leigh
Book 2 of Midnight

 

 

One by one, people are mysteriously disappearing from a small Maine town.  Four months ago, a ruthless murderer killed two people and kidnapped three more, including Danny Sullivan's sister, who barely escaped.  Unfortunately so did the killer, vanishing without a trace into the vast wilderness.  When the police fail to find his sister's captor, Danny returns to Maine to hunt him down.  He begins his search with another survivor, bed and breakfast owner Mandy Brown, but her refusal to cooperate raises Danny's suspicions.

What is the beautiful innkeeper hiding?  Mandy Brown has a secret.  But sexy Danny Sullivan, his relentless questions, and the desire that simmers between them threaten to expose the truth.  A revelation that puts her family in danger. As more people disappear, it becomes clear the killer is planning another ritual--and that he's circling in on Mandy.



I seem to be in the minority about this book (and maybe the series overall).

In a nutshell, this book was too long for the material it presented, with our heroine rehashing her own "woe is me" story on repeat several times.  Mandy probably could have been a better character to relate with if she'd just get over herself.  She was a great independent and strong type, with resources and skills that many women would kill for.  But her unwillingness to speak up about the threats she'd been getting from the antagonist, Nathan was what bugged me the most.  What she knew, and the fact that she'd been getting threats, might have been helpful--after all, everyone thought that Nathan might be out of the area or dead, so the manhunt had been called to a temporary halt.

Instead, she spent the entire book moping about how her life had turned out, about how she and her family are now in danger from a crazy man out to make human sacrifices, about how she'd do anything to protect her family... and yet when she's questioned, she adamantly denies the fact that Nathan could still be alive.  I guess I just didn't understand her logic, because allowing someone to know that her family might be in danger would have gotten her more protection.  Accepting help from someone who could keep an eye on her property and her family could have kept her brother safer.

Giving the authorities, or even our main hero, the information necessary to help find Nathan is probably a better way to make sure her family stays safe.  Because no matter what she was thinking, the fact that her brother was already on Nathan's radar meant that nothing she could do, including keeping silent, would ensure her brother's safety--as is ultimately proven by the end of the book.

But she decided to go the stubborn, independent, stupid route of, "I can take care of myself and my own."  Except that she wasn't equipped to do any of that, nor did she possess the skills necessary to combat a half-maniacal, determined psycho killer.

But anyway... in the end, it was all a moot point.  It didn't even seem like anything Mandy knew about Nathan could have done much to help capture him--simply it would have proven that there was a chance that random hikers disappearing wasn't just another case of "hikers disappear in the mountains all the time," due to getting lost or eaten by a bear or whatever.  But the whole "if we find Nathan's secret girlfriend, then we can find Nathan" thing was a waste of story line, because it went nowhere.

Which brings me to how laughable the entire law enforcement investigations turned out.  As Danny kept bringing up, over and over again, the last time a couple hikers/campers disappeared, it wasn't by accident or due to nature.  So the fact that every cop so readily dismissed a second set of campers disappearing, only months after the first incident involving disappearing campers and ritualistic sacrifice of living humans...  It occurred to me that everyone in this book was in denial except for Danny and Jed.  It seemed like there had been no effort put into the entire investigation, whether on the side of the manhunt to find Nathan, or even about the disappearance of the campers.

And while we might say that the entire town only had one cop who wasn't exactly top notch police material, there was also the state police that kept being referred to.  There was no talk about what they were even doing.

And when the first set of campers disappeared, I was actually quite surprised that a full scale Search and Rescue wasn't launched--especially when a child was involved.  This just reeked of poor outlining, to be honest.  Everyone was all, "They probably just fell in the river, got carried downstream.  We'll see them surface at some point."  But... what if they hadn't fallen into the river?  What if, psycho kidnapping for ritual sacrifice aside, they'd gotten lost?  We're just going to leave it to presumption that they probably just fell in the river?  The apparently quite shallow river?  And got carried downstream?

Is nobody going to even consider the possibility that they might be wandering lost?  Even if we don't want to contemplate the fact that there's a kidnapper out there, already running from a statewide manhunt?  Why would we take the chance that they could be lost and not send a team in to look for them?

And what if they DID just "fall into the river?"  Why are we still NOT looking for them?  What if they are still alive in the river?  What if they did just "get carried downstream" and managed to climb out of said supposed river scenario?  What if a child is shivering to death after being soaked in a river?

And nobody thinks it's worth it to further investigate?  Or send SAR out to find this child?

But anyway...

Meanwhile, Danny was pushy and one-dimensional.  He was the only person with sense in this book, but he let his emotions and his dick lead his actions.  But otherwise, he didn't really stand out much.

Every other character was also quite one-dimensional, truth be told.

I liked Mandy's brother, Bill.  And I liked the dogs.  There should have been more about dogs.  I have a hard time believing that someone who made a living out of training dogs didn't at least train a few for Search and Rescue.  Especially in a town where there are mountains and woods, and apparently campers and hikers get lost on a regular basis, and just fall into rivers and hypothetically get carried downstream, just waiting to be discovered later.

The logic holes in this book are insulting.

That's probably about it.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/12/ranting-thoughts-midnight-sacrifice.html
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review 2018-12-13 06:53
Thoughts: Dim Sum of All Fears
Dim Sum of All Fears - Vivien Chien

Dim Sum of All Fears

by Vivien Chien
Book 2 of A Noodle Shop Mystery

 

 

Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else.  Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge.  Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place.  Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . . and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case.  But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .



As a whole, Dim Sum of All Fears seemed to have cleaned up a bit of the amateur sleuth thing that was bugging me about the first book.  Lana's questioning and snooping actually came off a lot more casual than it did previously--rather than in a short, brusque interrogation style, she managed to just sound like an acquaintance or friend, curiously asking random, innocent questions.

Unfortunately, as a whole, this book was actually much more boring than the previous one.  And I'm not sure if that was my problem, or the book's.  I couldn't quite pay attention to much of the story, and probably couldn't even recall how the investigating went.  In fact, at times it didn't even really seem like there was much of a case going on, as it seemed kind of delegated to the background.  Really, everything about this book felt like it got delegated into the background: the Chinese New Year's upcoming festivities, the romance with Detective Trudeau, Lana's taking over of her parents' noodle shop...

In a way, it felt like there were too many story tangents going on with no real focus.  I kept finding myself thinking that I wished we could see more about the Chinese New Year since it's such a big part of Asian culture.  On the one hand, I love that Lana is being portrayed in such an Asian-American way--rather than deliberately making her seem or feel more Asian, she simply comes off as your average Asian-American girl; a half-Taiwanese, half-English, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, who acts no different than any other average American girl, save for the references to her Asian background.  And I love that!

But on the other hand, this cozy mystery is set in a very Asian, Asia Village, where you DO notice that a lot of older generation Chinese and Taiwanese are pretty prominent members.  I guess that I would have expected more ado about the Chinese New Year, even if Lana's own parents are currently out of the country.  I mean, I'm a rather more American Asian-American, but Chinese New Year is still a pretty big deal!

Aside from that, I was also hoping to see more of a development to the romance between Lana and Detective Trudeau, but the two had zero chemistry.  And it was a bit of an eye roller that people were constantly telling Lana that Detective Trudeau is "crazy about her."  I mean, I don't blame Lana for having doubts because I don't see it either.  I don't necessarily need romance for a book to be good, but if you're going to include romance, you should at least make it a believable one--it's not even a slow burn.  There is no burn.

And then the conflict at the beginning wherein Lana gives up the chance at a job interview to help her parents run their restaurant was never brought up again.  So we're left with some open-ended deal where everyone, except for some of Lana's select friends, continuing to think that she hasn't gotten her butt in gear to look for another job, and that she's just being a lazy layabout claiming to have stuff to do.  And it was irritating as heck that her sister kept throwing that in her face.  And, even though this is besides the point, I got a little irked that everyone kept telling Lana what seems more like "her type of job."

Has anyone bothered to ask Lana what she actually wants to do?  And actually cared to listen to her rather than either belittling her, or telling her she's wrong?  About what she wants with her own life?  It's also quite irksome that everyone feels like they have the right to expect Lana to move on in her romantic life as well and find a new, nice boyfriend.  And I get that mothers (especially Asian mothers) are all about their daughter finding a nice man and getting married and starting a family, but the insinuation that the only way Lana will be happy is if she finds a nice man and gets married can start grating after a while.

And I know that the bickering between Anna May and Lana was supposed to come off cute, but I was really getting irritated with Anna May.  Because even though Lana's narrative made it seem like the two bickered regularly, what I was seeing was that Anna May was swooping in and belittling Lana every chance she got.  None of the bickering scenes were started by Lana herself, despite what the narrative or others seem to claim.  I also didn't get why Anna May was so pissed off at Lana about her parents leaving her in charge of the restaurant--it's not like Anna May really had the time to focus on being in charge herself.

And even in spite of all this... I still want to read the next book.  Because I like Lana and I love Megan, and I love them as a duo.  And I'm hoping that the mystery aspect of the books will continue to improve, even if slightly.

And I'm hoping for a new love interest.  Detective Trudeau does nothing for me.

And I was also hoping for a bit of development in Lana's own career choices, which may involve her parents' restaurant.  There was something that had been brought up in the first book that mentioned Lana maybe experimenting with food services from a cooking stand point.  That maybe, aside from just being there to work her shift and make a little extra cash to pay bills and rent, she might get involved with more of the food prep... which I hope will spiral into her maybe helping to expand the restaurant's menu or creating new, fun, menu items... or something like that.

Please bring that small, almost insignificant recommendation to Lana from the first book back to the surface.  Even if just for a small glimpse at a possibility.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/12/thoughts-dim-sum-of-all-fears.html
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text 2018-12-12 20:41
Reading progress update: I've read 289 out of 289 pages.
Girl Made of Stars - Ashley Herring Blake

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