October 30, 2006

Halloween Party II

This weekend went by much too quickly. As usual. It seems every weekend this month has been booked. Over the last few weekends we've had two Halloween parties, a couple of football games, campground trick-or-treating, a Whirley Ball event, and I can't even remember what else.

This weekend the hubby and I attended the second party of the month. My cousin and his girlfriend (someday she'll be his wife...I have no doubt!) had their second annual Halloween party. This means most of my family was in attendance. My dad and his girlfriend. My brothers. My Sisters. My sisters-in-law. My brother-in-law. My sister's boyfriend (who we really, really like). Cousins. Aunts. An Uncle. And a few friends tossed in here and there. I would post pictures but...

wait for it..

I forgot my camera! Yes, it's true. I forgot my camera. I know, I can't believe it either.

I'm hoping my cousin remembers to send me the pictures through e-mail like she promised. (If you're reading this, Jessica, that means you!)

All in all, it was a lot of fun. I owe my brother $10 now, though. That would be how much I owe him from the poker game I lost. Okay, so I got up and left my meager pot about ten minutes after he paid to put me into the game. I suck. I realize this.

Lucky for me, he loves me anyhow.

October 26, 2006

Sick

It's that time of year again, folks. The kids and hubby have all gotten sick and now it seems to be my turn. I don't know what this is but my back and legs ache and my head feels two sizes too big. Yet, there's no snot or congestion. And I haven't lost my breakfast, lunch or dinner. I am extrememly exhausted. All the time.

Bleh.

October 18, 2006

A Valley Full of Praise




Awhile back I received an ARC of Tamara Siler Jones's Valley of the Soul, scheduled for release on October 31, 2006. Before I get to my reaction to this latest edition, let me just say how appropriate that date is for this particular author! A Halloween debut is perfect for this latest addition in the Dubric Byerly series.

Now, I don't want to give anything away because I really want you to go out and buy this book. It's fast-paced, exciting, and a tad bit disturbing. Just the way I like my Dubric books.

Of course, if you know me at all, you'll know my attraction to these books isn't really rooted in the plot or the setting. I'm all about the characters. If I care about them, I'll follow anywhere they lead. In her first book, Tam introduced the cranky but honorable Dubric Byerly, a castle castellan who has been cursed by a goddess his dead wife once served. The goddess punishes him for his crime by forcing him to see the ghosts of the murdered men, women and children he is sworn to protect. These ghosts will only disappear when their murderer is brought to justice.

Dubric isn't taxed with solving this crimes by himself. He does have a considerable staff, one well trained and effecient. While there are many secondary characters, Tam (aka the author) brings into focus Dubric's most trusted assistants: Dien, Lars, and Otlee. These three work on a daily basis with Dubric and soon become as integral to the story as Dubric himself. For the record, Lars is my favorite.

In addition to Dubric's team the reader is also introduced to Jess, who plays a bigger role in each consecutive book. No, I'm not going to say more. If you don't know how or why she plays a bigger role, go buy the book!

In this book, the third in the series, the horrors from Threads of Malace have left their mark. Although a new murder mystery is introduced, Valley does not shy away from the physical and emotional scars each character had suffered at the end of Threads. This book follows the journey of several characters as they struggle to make sense of what has happened to them and their loved ones. As new dangers and dramas evolve the characters adapt or break, snapping under the pressures layered upon them. A mixture of external and internal forces collide in this book, offering a new perspective on these well-developed characters and the world they live in.

I hope you take a chance and try it. Be prepared for some graphic material (no, that doesn't mean explicit sex scenes, people!). And while it's not necessary, I would suggest buying the first two books and reading them before diving into Valley. Half the pleasure is watching the characters develop and grow.

October 2, 2006

Weekend in the Rain

This past weekend the family went camping. We packed the boys' halloween outfits and enough candy to feed a small army. I even went so far as to borrow outdoor decorations from my in-laws. I wanted to make sure our campsite screamed Halloween. After all, campground trick-or-treating is a wonderous thing not just because of all the candy and the costumed children, but because people decorate their sites and truly give off the Halloween vibe.

I don't know if you've ever done it or not, but Halloween camping is the best. The kids absolutely adore it. Not only is there costumes and candy, there's spook walks and hayrides. Does it get much better?

Well, it might have been better if it wouldn't have rained all day Saturday. Although we camped with several other families, we were all trapped inside our campers the majority of the day. Although I must admit there was a lot of camper hopping. The adults would skip from camper to camper, checking on their offspring now and again to make sure the damage wasn't too great.

The gods were kind, though, and the rain paused long enough to let us participate in the costume contest (two of our kids won!) and get some trick-or-treating in.

Here is a group pic of all our kids. Aren't they cutest?