Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up

51H8x07Fd7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg (245×346)

Author: Marie Kondo

Published: Ten Speed Press, 2014

Pages: 213

Genre: nonfiction

Obtained: library

Summary: In this book the author explains how to declutter your house by first getting rid of everything that does not bring you joy and then organizing and storing what is left by category.  By going through this process, and then being surrounded by only possesions that bring you joy, your life will be a better one.

Thoughts: I read this book, but did not go through the process of "tidying up".  You are supposed to hold each item you own and decide if it brings you joy.  If it does not, then you get rid of it.  You then store all your belongings by category.  This is a huge project!   It is supposed to be done all at once.  Now was not the right time for me to even attempt this.
     This book was a good reminder that I have way too much stuff and really do need to go through things and get rid of a lot.  Sometimes it is hard for me to get rid of certain items, for example, gifts I have been given or things I intend to use someday.  The author described the reasons why it is hard to let go of these things and made me feel it was better to get rid of these items.  There were also great storage tips.  I particularly liked the way the author folds and stores clothes.
     There were some things about the book that were, well, bizarre to me, like making sure I greet my house every day when I come home.  Another example of this is taking everything out of my bag or purse every time I get home and putting everything in it in its designated place in my home.  This just didn't make sense to me.  I always carry the same things with me and this seems like a time waster to me.  Also, I would forget to put things that I needed back in my bag.
     If you are ready to reorganize your house I would definitely reccommend reading this book. It not only has good ideas, but it is highly motivating.


Company: Art of Tea

Tea: Coconut Cacao Pu-erh

Obtained: gift

     This Coconut Cacoa Pu-erh was one of the teas in a Pu-erh Tea Sampler.  It was in an air tight, good quality tin.  It was easy to open.  The leaves were medium sized, long, and thin.  There were chunks of cocoa and coconut mixed in with the leaves.  The scent of the leaves was not pleasant to me.  It was somewhat earthy, but sour smelling.  There was a chocolate scent mixed in with this, but the sourness overpowered the chocolate.
     I poured 8 ounces of hot water over 1 tablespoon of leaves and let this steep for 3 minutes.  The liquid was a medium brown with an orange tint.  The scent was of warm chocolate with just a hint of coconut.  The liquid had a much better scent than the leaves.  The taste was of smooth sweet chocolate with an earthy background.  There was a slight coconut flavor mixed in.  It made a delicious blend.  I did not expect to enjoy this one as much as I did.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

51bY71UBtaL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg (230×346)

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Published: July 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Pages: 319

Genre: fantasy, young adult

Obtained: library


Summary: Harry Potter's son, Albus, is now at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  He was placed in Slytherin by the sorting hat and his best friend is Scorpious Malfoy.  Albus and Harry are struggling with their relationship.  Although Albus is different from his father in many ways, Albus ends up on a typical Harry Potter adventure with his best friend, of course. This time, unlike Harry,  Albus has his Dad to help save the world from dark magic.

Thoughts: This book is a play, not a novel.  Therefore, it is really not "the next Harry Potter book".  This is something different.  Since it is a play, it consists mostly of dialogue and the settings are limited.  It does not read like a book.
     I thought the characters from the Harry Potter book series remained true.  They changed somewhat, but they are nineteen years older.  The new characters seemed just as enjoyable as in the other Harry Potter books, especially Draco's son, Scorpious.  The dialogue was wonderful and I thought the play had more humor than the books.
     What was really missing when reading the play was the feeling of being in these magical places.  I'm sure if I was watching the play it would be there, but just reading it is different.  Also, there are not as many details in a play as there are in a novel.  The books had so much detail and many subplots going on.  You just don't get that here.
     I thought this was wonderful and really enjoyed it.  If you are expecting the next Harry Potter novel, you will be disappointed.


Tea: Dragon Well (Long Jing)

Company: Yezi Tea

Obtained: purchased

           I purchased the Farmer Favorites Tea Sampler from Yezi Tea.  The cost was only $5.99 for six samples and the shipping was free.  This is the first sample that I have tried from this company.
     The tea was packaged in an easy to open pouch.  It did not seal back up, but it does open easily and neatly so that you can roll down the top and clip it to keep the remaining tea fresh if you don't use it all at once.
     Long Jing or Dragon Well tea is a green tea grown in China.  Yezi Tea writes on their website that the tea is composed of unopened leaf buds called dragon sprouts or water lily hearts.  To me, the leaves were beautiful- big, long, light green leaves that looked like they had been pressed.  The leaves had a grassy, seaweed scent.
     I poured eight ounces of hot water over four teaspoons of leaves.  The leaves were hard to measure exactly because of their length.  I let this brew for a minute and thirty seconds.  The liquid was almost clear with a slight yellow tint.  The scent was of grass and leaves.  The taste was fresh, light, and vegetal.  After swallowing there was a spinach and seaweed taste, but very subtle.  It was not bitter at all and very refreshing.  
     I think this is the best straight green tea (not blended with something else) that I've ever had.  To me, some green teas can have an overpowering taste.  This one was more subtle, yet not weak at all.  Very refreshing!



Friday, August 12, 2016

The House of Secrets

51X2tJuK0bL.jpg (331×500)

Title: The House of Secrets

Author: Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg

Narrators: Scott Brick and January LaVoy

Format: 9 discs, 10 hours

Publishers: Hachette Audio, 2016

Genre: mystery, action

Obtained: library

Summary:  Hazel Nash wakes up in a hospital and is told that she was in a car accident with her father and brother.  Her memories are scrambled, due to head trauma.  She is told that her father, the host of a conspiracy television show died in the crash, but that her brother, who also is a part of the show, survived.   An FBI agent begins asking Hazel lots of questions about her father, her brother, herself, and a man that was found dead with a bible in his chest.
     Hazel begins to ask herself questions.  Who is she, really?  Did someone kill her father?  Does she have any friends?  Did she or someone she knows kill the man with the bible in his chest?  Hazel doesn't know who she can trust, so begins her own investigation into these deaths to find out what is really going on.

Thoughts:  This book had a crazy, unbelievable plot, but somehow the authors made it work.  I think they did this with the writing style, the way they kept the reader guessing, all the twists and turns so that you didn't know where the story would go, and the action.  It was a busy, entertaining story that kept moving.  The protagonist having amnesia added to the mystery because the reader didn't know who he or she should trust.  There were traitors, conspiracies, mysteries, and secrets throughout the book.  Also, the characters had distinct, developed personalities.
     The narrators added to the story.  They were actors that made the characters come to life.  They both read at an agreeable pace and spoke clearly.  The story was easy to follow and I was engaged throughout the whole book.
     This book would make a great action packed movie.  If you're into realistic fiction you will hate this book, but if you enjoy books where there is a lot going on and you don't mind if a story is a bit unreasonable, this book is for you.  



Obtained: purchased

     Lemon Zest is a caffeine free tea blend which is made up of rooibos, honeybush, lemon bits, flavoring, and cornflower blossoms.  It was in a small sample tin that was of good quality.  I opened the tin after some difficulty.  The lid was stuck, but after finally getting it off the first time, it can be put back on and removed easily.  The tea leaves were small and brown with yellow and violet flower blossoms mixed in.  The yellowish brown lemon bits were also visible.  The scent of the leaves was very sweet with the honeybush and lemon scents prominent.  
     I poured 8 ounces of water over 1 teaspoon of leaves and let this steep for 4 minutes (4-5 minutes was recommended).  The liquid was a dark orange brown and had a very sweet scent with a lemon background.  The taste of the tea was first of lemon and rooibos, and then the sweet honeybush.
     This tea was reminiscent of lemon meringue pie.  It had the lemon flavor, but was extremely sweet and somewhat creamy tasting.  I personally did not care for this tea, but if you like sweet tea or lemon meringue pie, you will love this tea!