Kate’s Book Club: A review of Katie Schickel’s Housewitch

Housewitch by Katie Schickel

In this fourth Wednesday of April 2015, I hereby call to order the 41st meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

Club members this week we review Housewitch by Katie Schickel.

The Blurb:

Allison Darling, former foster child, now a stay-at-home mom of three, desperately wants to fit in with the organic latte drinking, hundred-dollar-yoga-pants-wearing moms who run Monrovia, her charming seaside village. Constantly feeling like an outsider, Allison dreams of more for her children.

When the Glamour Girls, a soap-selling company run by the most charismatic and powerful women in town, recruits Allison, she jumps at the invitation. The Glamor Girls have a hand in everything in Monrovia, from bake sales to business deals. This is what Allison’s wanted her whole life—to be liked. To be popular. To belong.

After Allison’s estranged mother passes away, she learns her family’s heartbreaking legacy and the secret Allison’s been fighting to suppress all her life emerges: she’s a witch. What’s more, she’s not the only one in town. There’s more to the Glamour Girls then it seems… and once you’re a Glamour Girl, there’s no going back.

Allison must use her rediscovered magic to defend Monrovia, protect her marriage and her children, and reclaim her legacy. Fighting tooth and nail for her family is easy, but what about for herself? Is it too late to confront her own demons and become the woman she dreams of being?

Kate’s Book Report:

As a fellow Katie and a huge fan of witchy paranormal fiction, I was really looking forward to Schickel’s debut novel. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Kate’s Book Club: A review of The Miss Mirren Mission by Jennifer Holiday

The Miss Mirren Mission by Jenny HolidayIn this third Wednesday of April 2015, I hereby call to order the 40th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

Club members this week we review The Miss Mirren Mission by Jenny Holiday.

The Blurb:

Loving her would be his downfall…

To society, the Earl of Blackstone cuts a mysterious figure. He is eligible, withdrawn, and endlessly fascinating. Yet as an integral part of London’s underground spy ring intent on defeating Napoleon, Blackstone has no mistress but the cause.

Miss Emily Mirren is considered “unbiddable” by the ton. She wields a fierce intellect, which she channels into her own secret cause—writing an abolitionist newspaper column under
a male pseudonym.

When Emily’s aims clash with Blackstone’s, they stray into a dangerous game of attraction and subterfuge, and secrets are the going currency. And in order to complete the most important mission of his career, Blackstone must thwart Emily, even if it breaks both their hearts.

Kate’s Book Report:

Yes! Finally, a book that really surprised me! Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Kate’s Book Club: A Review of Kate Triumph by Shari Arnold

Kate Triumph by Shari ArnoldIn this second Wednesday of April 2015, I hereby call to order the 39th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

Club members this week we review Kate Triumph by Shari Arnold.

Kate Triumph blurb:

Normal is so overrated. At least that’s what seventeen-year-old Kate Triumph tells herself everyday. But the truth is she lives in constant fear that someone will discover how not normal she really is. With her startling speed and her unusual ability to heal, Kate believes she’s something of a freak.

Then Andrew Shore arrives.

He claims he’s her father, sticks around for a few days and leaves her a plane ticket. “Come to Mercer Island,” he says. “Give me a chance to get to know you.” Soon Kate is floundering in a world of new: new address, new car, new high school and, of course, new father. Not to mention Zack, her intriguing new neighbor, who makes her want to abandon her steadfast rule of never allowing anyone to get too close. But when she discovers someone is trying to kill her, life for Kate gets a bit more complicated. And a lot less normal.

Kate’s Book Report:

This book is awesome! Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Kate’s Book Club: Q&A with WereLover Kate Thomas

Resounding Truth by Kate Thomas

On this last Wednesday of March 2015–Ok, wait. The joke is on me! It’s April Fools’ Day.–so, on this first Wednesday of April, I hereby call to order the 38th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

We met her last week, and this week, club members, we quiz Kate Thomas! (Then scroll to the bottom for your chance to win Thomas’ hot off the press new werewolf release Resounding Truth – a yummy novella bite.)

Kate answers all your questions:

Who named you Kate and why?

I named me Kate. My real name is Laurie and my oldest girl is named Katelyn, quite simply because it’s beautiful. As I needed a pen name I realized quickly that “Kate” was everything that described me as who I was and who I wanted to be. It’s strong and bold, demanding and sexy. You know there might be more to the name, but the shortened version is so “punch-you-in-the-face” powerful that I snagged it. I’d be a Kate if I could without offending my preacher mother.  :P

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Adventures in Greening: Coffee Break

tumblr_n3mdccUpQY1sm3vxwo1_500

By Catherine Moran

Ages and ages ago, I wrote about my penchant for cold-brewing coffee. This weekend, I took my cold brew process a step further: I ground my own beans!

I was in Nicaragua on a yoga retreat last month (such a beautiful country, I must say!), and, coffee lover that I am, I had to pick up a bag of beans. I knew I wouldn’t be able to use this bag right away, so I took home beans in order to better preserve them until I could grind them for fresh use.

IMG_6127

My mum passed along a Krups grinder that is about 10 years old, and still in fine working condition. (Back in the day, things were built to last, and look at it now!)

IMG_6135

Granted, I can’t do an entire bag at once, but it’s no trouble to do a few rounds. Plus, in doing smaller rounds of beans, I can see how finely ground my beans are. For cold brew coffee, the coarser the better, which means that grinding the beans takes even less time!

IMG_6128

IMG_6129

This post doesn’t feel like an especially green commentary, but I’m lauding the appliance that I used. It is possible to buy beans that aren’t already ground, but if you do so in the grocery store, you’ll need to find a way to grind at home. Most local coffee shops (and, indeed, grocery stores that have bean dispensers) have machines to grind your coffee in-store. A home coffee grinder isn’t a necessity, but I’m certainly glad to have it for home grinding and subsequent brewing and drinking. Cheers to caffeine!

IMG_6137

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

Tagged , , ,

Kate’s Book Club: A Review of Billie Morton’s How to Un-Marry a Millionaire

How to Un-Marry a Millionaire (bookclub)In this fourth week of March 2015, I hereby call to order the 36th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

This week we review Billie Morton’s How to Un-Marry a Millionaire. (No there is no Kate author or character here, but this Kate read the book and felt the need to put in her two cents.)

Kate’s Book Report:

How to Un-Marry a Millionaire sits quite comfortably in the humor section. From the very first page Billie Morton had me hooked. I read the whole book in almost one sitting because I had to know what happened next and how these disparate, desperate female characters would converge. Starting with rough-around-the-edges upstart Ricky Hart then jumping to elderly socialite Phillipa Carmel and middle aged gold digger Suzanne with the four last names, this novel takes you on a roller coaster ride from the very beginning. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Kate’s Book Club: Review of Kate Thomas’ 1st Equilibrium series book, The Core

The Core by Kate Thomas

In this third Wednesday of March 2015, I hereby call to order the 35th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

Club members this week we meet Kate Thomas and review the first book in her Equilibrium series The Core.

The  Core blurb:

 There’s something strange about David, something that goes beyond the way he makes Ellie feel. He’s wealthy, poised, and a complete enigma. With nothing to lose but her heart, Ellie goes in search of the truth — a search that leads her down an eye-opening path that reveals secrets about the world she thought she knew.The world’s order is held in careful balance, the essence of good and evil tilting the scale. When the fabric of reality is stripped away, Ellie is forced to make a decision to follow the path David’s constructed before her or simply walk away. The Core is missing and someone must step up and stand between the light and darkness, holding each back and maintaining equilibrium.

Meet Kate Thomas: Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Adventures in Greening: Taking out the Leftovers

Document

By Catherine Moran

After three years of writing bi-weekly posts, it sometimes feels like I’m out of new things to try to Go Green, if only because writing a green blog isn’t my day job (who knows, maybe one day!), and I don’t always have the time I’d like to research and experiment. In that case where there’s a time crunch, I try to bring you news tidbits. Friends often aid me in this endeavor by sending links my way, so thank you to people who keep my green inclinations in mind! This piece is the result of one such instance.

typing-gif

This news is coming out of Seattle (the west coast continues setting the trend for green endeavors!) Seattle is saying “no more mister nice guy” to residents throwing out food scraps: a new law, currently in effect on a trial basis, makes it illegal for there to be an excess of 10% of food waste in one trash bin. This trial period seems to be more focused on drawing awareness to how much food people throw away, only flagging violations for now. Starting in July, households will be charged $1 per infraction. It’s not much of a fine, true, but perhaps the biggest hurdle in getting people to change their habits will be to make them aware of how much waste they are producing that could be turned into something useful, such as compost. This is sad news for the local animals, who enjoying scavenging the trash:

templetons_bowel_movement_by_juliomartell-d30457u

Have a great week, greenies!

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

Tagged , , , ,

Adventures in Greening: Greening the Afterlife

biodegradable-burial-pod-memory-forest-capsula-mundi-6

By Catherine Moran

Is there such a thing as being too green? You may think so, after reading this post. I, on the other hand, think that what I’m about to share with you is really neat (big surprise, right?) So what is the topic of today, you ask? Organic Burial Pods! Two Italian designers have come up with an alternative for people to consider when deciding on their final resting place.

Cremation and being interred underground are the two ways that we care for the remains of our loved ones after death. But what if their bodies could contribute to the earth even after death? That’s the idea behind Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel’s burial capsule.

Miranda grave

These burial pods are organic and biodegradable (as are we!), and would provide nutrition for a tree seed or tree that would be planted above it. Then, instead of a tombstone, families and friends could visit and care for their loved one’s tree. This seems like a gentle way of reminding us that we can still celebrate life and beauty, even in the depths of sadness and despair.

What do you think? Is this just a bit too “Circle of Life” to become a valid burial option? Would this option only make us further vulnerable to the zombie apocalypse?

tumblr_m3qhr4u9br1r100poo1_500

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

Tagged , ,

Adventures in Greening: Sweatshop

10932119_1539264656326097_612140947_n

By Catherine Moran

This link popped up on my Facebook feed a few times last week, so you may have already seen it, too. I linked to a piece about fast fashion a few posts back; living in New York City, a fashion capital of the world, I see a lot of fast fashion. You can actually see trends being born when you live here. As Heidi Klum says on Project Runway: “One day you’re in, and the next day, you’re out.” That’s fashion, apparently. But how can we chuck out clothes every “season” and get on board with new trends? How is such clothing made so rapidly?

Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion follows three young Norwegian fashion lovers who travel to Cambodia to learn about where the clothes they buy and discard come from. The idea behind Sweatshop is a good one, and is worth the watch (especially given that all five webisodes are no longer than one hour altogether). Talking about sweatshops is one thing, but seeing the reality of it is another; even though, as Ludvig remarks, the sweatshop they work in for a day is one that actually allowed them access. Those that denied the production team are probably much, much worse than what they experience here.

BmiTAuBIMAAR_DY.jpg large

The three fashionistas hear stories about why some of these people have to work in sweatshops, and they are given such tasks as trying to make a meal for multiple people and buy three toothbrushes and toothpaste for only $9 ($3 a day is the average living wage for a sweatshop garment worker in Cambodia). They even see some of the protests that workers are staging, demanding to be paid a living wage. This is important stuff for us to see; fast fashion is not just a problem in Norway: we have H&M here, too. It’s a cheap go-to for clothes that will wear out after awhile, but people don’t shop at H&M thinking their blouse will last them for more than a few months. The clothes just aren’t made that way.

There are a few issues with watching Sweatshop: the English translation is a bit off, which can be distracting, and the opening credits make it feel like this is some version of an upbeat British teen drama. But stick with it! Seeing these three people with their perceptions about fashion (and, to be honest, their sense of entitlement), and the effect the truth has on them, is pretty interesting. This isn’t a hard-hitting documentary, but if you’ve wondered about who makes your clothes, and what that her everyday life is like, this is a quick glimpse, and may make you think twice about where you are spending your dollars.

made-for-one-dollar-bought-for-100-dollar

 

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

Tagged , , , ,

Adventures in Greening: See Ya, Styrofoam!

recycle_styrofoam

By Catherine Moran

I read some exciting news about my neighborhood last week: starting this summer, New York City is banning foam food packaging. Additionally, foam packing peanuts will no longer be sold in the city. This means that food cart vendors (of which there are many) will have to find a different way of sending you off with your food. This is exciting news for the treehuggers, but city officials have been fair to those who oppose the initiative, giving supporters of foam packaging a year (in 2013) to prove that the material could be recycled. Their findings? Foam cannot be recycled.

1274875474_cat-vs-trash-bin

This is, on the whole, great news. However, nonprofits and smaller businesses can apply for exemptions if they can prove that purchasing other containers would be a financial hardship. It’s not difficult to imagine that cart vendors will receive this exemption; thus, the ban will not completely eliminate the use of foam containers in the city. But, hey, it’s a pretty good start! A step forward, no matter how small, is still a step forward.

This leads to another interesting idea: alternatives to foam packaging. Many restaurants in NYC use #5 plastics, which can now be recycled in the city’s recycling program (or brought to Whole Foods—or other participating stores—to be recycled as part of Preserve’s Gimme 5 Program). #5 packaging is the most sensible packaging alternative for vendors, but! What if, in the future, foods (although maybe not hot to-go food) could be purchased in…edible packaging? Yes, the future is here. At this date in time, Wikipearl is still in development, and working to overcome challenges, but you can buy yogurt and ice cream in edible packaging in some Whole Foods stores. Whoa!

wikipearl7-537x357

The idea behind Wikipearl is that we buy produce, such as grapes or apples, that’s in edible packaging, meaning that there is no waste associated with the item. What if most of the food we buy was sold in packaging that could be consumed or composted? We’d cut down on so much waste! There’s a ways to go with the idea of edible packaging, but it’s an idea that may prove fruitful in future.

2015 is shaping up to be a good year for green enterprising. Let’s hope the trend continues!

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

Tagged , , , , ,

Adventures in Greening: New Year, Same Me…

new-years-resolutions

By Catherine Moran

…with new goals, that is! I’m not one to ascribe to new resolutions at the start of the year (I make ‘em throughout the year!) But here’s a list of things I hope to have accomplished by the end of the year. I don’t want to overwhelm myself, and I don’t want to make the list unrealistic. We’ll see how things are going at the end of the year, which, given how quickly this year went, might just fly by.

• Say goodbye to my plastic razor with throw-away heads, and invest in a safety razor and real blades.

import-Merkur-REAL

• Successfully use aforementioned razor.

• Get back to making lunches for the week on the weekend prior.

• Donate, donate, donate.

• Utilize Craigslist for moving Stuff to a new home.

• Minimize.

• Buy less Stuff, and continue using my dollars to purchase more tickets to shows, faraway places, and athletic and creative classes. There’s a lot to DO in the world!

Photo by Catherine Moran

Jason Mraz and Raining Jane
(Photo by Catherine Moran)

 

What do you hope to accomplish in 2015?

tumblr_mz69pl8CMz1rqfhi2o1_400

Tagged , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: