Book Review: Blood Tide by Brian Burt #WWVBT


Blood Tide, book two of Aquarius Rising, by Brian Burt is a great read!

As most of you know, I’m not a huge science fiction fan. However, I have recently found myself reading more and more science fiction and this book is a shining example of why – it’s interesting! I’ve been sucked into this book and just find myself turning page after page.

This book actually takes place under the surface of the sea as an underwater world, as opposed to space. In this book, the underwater world is actually trying to repair itself after the destruction in the first book. It is easier to read than many science fiction books because there are small familiarities which tie us as humanity into the book: internet and the memories of humanities past presence.

The main character is Megalops, a dolphin-human hybrid, is so plagued by what happened to his wife and daughter that he loses all sense of ‘humanity’ and releases a virus just as deadly as the one that turned his loved ones to stone on the Juno water tower. This results in a species on species war which is wrought with suspenseful twists and turns.

Ocypode makes a reappearance from book 1, and it’s interesting to read on and find out how it’s really going to go with our hero Ocypode back in the midst of things.

This is a really good book and I would recommend it for adults who enjoy reading Sci-fi. I must suggest that you read the first book, and then the second. In the first book, it lays out much of the thoughts and emotions involved in this cataclysm and the horrors felt during a time of genocide. In the second book, it is more of a continuation of revenge and although easy to empathize, you don’t truly get the full effect of the heartbreaking emotional pain which is the driving force behind this book.

This ebook can be purchased from amazon by clicking here.

Great read!

Thank you for reading!

-Mliae

*Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this e-book in exchange for my unbiased and honest review

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Google is my frenemy

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It’s only been a few weeks since the engagement and I’m already experiencing a range of emotions…Happy beyond belief, absolute infatuation with my fiancé, bouts of panic, daydreaming about an assortment of wedding scenarios, a dash of frustration and downright hilarity. What do I do when these emotions hit? Well, the same thing as the rest of us. I google, of course!

Ah, google… I can see all the most perfect wedding pictures, the most expensive dresses, the biggest horror stories (which for some reason, I find hilarious), gorgeous ideas for a rustic wedding, jokes and a ton of  -um – bridezilla stories (don’t want to be one of those…no, no, no!).

All of these wonderful and scary things, though entertaining, can be a bit overwhelming. So my lovely finance (who actually wants to be involved in wedding planning…YYYEEEAA!!) and I decided to sans the google searches for a little while, create a list of ideas which we come up with then look for creative and affordable ways to make it work.

Any suggestions?

-Mliae

Wedding guests confess: What happened at a wedding that tipped you off that it wouldn’t last?

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I’ve heard some funny, and some totally horrific stories that tipped off friends and family that the nuptials weren’t made to last.

Reddit, also made a post asking this question and received approx 12,000 responses! If you want a good true-life horror, click here to read some of the reader responses! I am posting a few of the comments below:

  • destiny divided commented: ‘The groom looked drunk and the bride seemed incredibly angry. Then there was this woman walking around during the reception placing bets on when they would divorce. I later found out she was the mother of the groom.What are some of your wedding stories?’
  • jennygraham2012 commented: ‘Grooms mistress found out he was getting married and showed up at the wedding, in the middle of the i-do’s, walked right up on stage and smacked him in the face.’
  • vogelarcher15 posted: ‘At the rehearsal dinner, the groom’s mom is in tears, because “he looks miserable” and he was, we all knew it. During the vows they had written for eachother, the bride starts with “I know I can be a pretty terrible person, and I don’t know why you’ve stuck around, but that’s all going to change starting today!” They were divorced a year later.’
  • Owtlaw1 shares that: ‘The bride had the minister put “Til death, or divorce, do us part” into the ceremony.’
  • cricketino posted: ‘My cousin (the bride) told us, as she was going from table to table thanking the guests, that she didn’t think it would last. We were stunned. They lasted about a year.’
  • Sunkenloki commented: ‘Groom got caught getting frisky with a bridesmaid. That marriage lasted for about two hours.’
  • Conundrum1 says: ‘At the end of the reception the guys are sitting at a table away from everyone else talking and we ask the groom why he proposed. His answer? “Because she was naked.”
    Marriage lasted about a year and a half.’
  • And for a stranger than fiction comment, colonial chicken posted: ‘Holy shit. My cousin “Jan’s” wedding was basically just a preamble to an elaborate Dance of Divorce that we all knew was coming from the moment the engagement began. For context, this took place 15 years ago in the backwoods of NC. My family is just a generation or two removed from snake-handling in church, so some of the wackiness is the product of upwardly mobile inbreeding, and redneck gumption. Just a few things that come to mind:
    Her fiance proposed to her OVER THE CORPSE OF HER FATHER. He was over with the family watching TV when Jan’s dad collapsed on the floor. He died before emergency services arrived. Her boyfriend grabbed her hands as she was sitting next to her father’s body, pulled her up to her feet, and then asked her to marry him. He later said that he “didn’t want her to get away”.
    The fiance then disappeared for a month the week after the funeral. Nobody knew where to reach him.
    The bride’s white trash mother told Jan that she had to get married within 4 months because she (the mother, my aunt) planned to move to another state with her new boyfriend to avoid bill collectors.
    When Jan’s fiance showed back up, he was cagey and weird. Eventually, it came out that he’d been living with his ex-girlfriend because she insisted that he had to give her a month of his life, or she’d take him to court for child support that he was supposed to be paying on their infant son, but had never paid.
    Throughout all of this, Jan continued to insist that she wanted to marry him. My mother and I did most of the wedding prep and arrangements (Jan’s mom, despite insisting on the 4-month timeline to help pay for the wedding before her move, never contributed a dime.), and we were both pretty convinced that the wedding was going to be cancelled at any moment. But, the day arrived, and so did the principle players. At the wedding itself:
    The groom walked around drinking PBR out of a massive travel thermos with a novelty straw, and told everyone who would listen that Jan was a good “starter wife”.
    Jan threw several tantrums about stupid shit, including one in which she accused the groom of stealing her drink. He told her she was a “dumb whore”, but it all worked out because then she found her drink.
    The groom pulled the ring off of Jan’s finger during the reception and swallowed it “as a joke”.
    The groom picked a fight with his father because his dad had asked the ex-girlfriend to stay at home, and the groom had really wanted her to be there. Jan was in the dark about this invitation until the fight broke out.
    Epilogue: Shocking precisely nobody, except possibly Jan herself, they eventually did divorce. Eating the ring caused the groom some discomfort, so they had to cancel their honeymoon to the mountains so that he could go to the ER and get hospital-grade laxatives. They lost money on the cancellation and the ER visit, which they really didn’t have to lose. That resulted in some immediate debt problems, and they lost the trailer they’d planned to rent when they couldn’t come up with the deposit. That resulted in both of them moving into the groom’s parents’ home, into his old bedroom. Things went downhill from there.
    The groom’s ex-girlfriend popped back up less than 3 months after the wedding, heavily pregnant with his second child. She went after him for another “shared month”, but Jan wasn’t cool with it. The ex ended up taking him to court for child support. Jan got a second job to make ends meet while resigning herself to living with her inlaws for a while longer. One day, after he’d dropped her off at work, the groom sold Jan’s car. He then disappeared for several more weeks. She lost both jobs, and shortly thereafter realized she was pregnant.
    The groom accused her of cheating because he thought he couldn’t have more than two children in a lifetime, and his ex-girlfriend had already filled the quota. As I understand it, this is what ultimately caused the rift in their relationship.’

I am now officially horrified to see whats going to happen!

I would love to hear some of your wedding horror stories…Please Share!

-Mliae

Our DIY Rural Engagement Party

I absolutely adore the outdoors…especially in the countryside! When my lovely fiancé informed me that he was planning an engagement party this summer, I got so excited!

True, like most couples, we made ourselves borderline insane trying to plan the perfect party. True, we argued about furniture placement and menu ideas. True, we both have champagne taste and a zero budget. True, we love each other and finally decided the best part of all of it was putting it together and enjoying the journey…not just the destination.

We have several picnic style tables and this gorgeous rustic tree table and bench, which we set up in the yard and also indoors. We made 3 canning jar bouquets of wildflowers. The only additions to the flowers I purchased, was 1 stem each of sunflowers and small lilies for each jar, plus a small woven metallic heart for a little extra – Umph. The wildflowers were picked from the yard the morning of and included; daisies, purple clover, some little white flowers I have no idea what they are, purple and white lupines, and bunches of red burning love.

For the food, we put out plates of mini doughnuts, white chocolate & cranberry cookies, Sandwich cake with roast beef florets, fruit filled truffles, fruit and cheese assortment, rice pies, cream filled pastry, stuffed olives / cocktail pickles and cheese assortment, coffee, juice & soda for the kids and champagne for toasting. Not surprisingly, there were basically no leftovers.

The party lasted about 6 hours if you factor in the early comers who helped setup, and the late stayers who helped clean up. It was fantastic and we didn’t slow down a bit throughout the whole thing! The weather was calling for rain the entire day and we were very fortunate that not only did it NOT rain, but the sun was shining beautifully and there was just enough breeze for everyone to hang out outside and have some fun 🙂

I must admit that I am more of a formal girl when it comes to parties and important engagements. Had I been left to my own devices, I would have surely planned a sit-down catered champagne and dancing dinner. However, it would have been a huge mistake! Being able to show people around, laugh, play with the dogs, play football in the yard, take my time straightening up afterwards, have access to a functioning kitchen, and be able to help serve my guests (even if only by making pot after pot of coffee) – which really made me feel like a good hostess, and watching people mingle and play freely (which they wouldn’t have been able to do given my ulterior ultra formal controlled setting) – I realized that having a fun beautiful happy day was more important than keeping appearances. And it turned out FABULOUSLY!

Please share any of your party or wedding ideas!

Thanks for reading 🙂

-Mliae

 

 

Product Review: Yves Saint Laurent Forever Youth Liberator -Eyes

I am finding myself to be rather partial to this product. Granted, it is a bit of an investment, but as a lady in her late 30’s, I can easily tell you that an investment into skincare is a solid investment indeed!

Similar to the Clarins eye cream that I loved, the difference seems to be subtle…until you stop using it. After a 3 days forced break from this eye cream, I looked in the mirror and realized that OK, this is actually making a HUGE difference!

Although I’ve had a problem with dark circles under my eye area this year, Forever eye cream by YSL has actually made a difference. The lines and darkness are reduced, but not eliminated. I have to say though, that I would much rather look in the mirror and see the slightly tired eyes of a late 20 something, as opposed to the dark exhausted eyes of a 50 year old staring back at me. This made that difference, so I recommend it!

Runs at $100 and can be purchased in many upscale department stores or online by clicking here.

What are some of your to-swear-by eye products?

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

Product Review: Italian Summer Fig Eau de Toilette from The Body Shop

I quite like this product. I usually frequent fragrances which are a bit headier, musky or very light and airy. This is quite light and is named perfectly. It smells very summer day-ish (if thats possible) and has a headier fruity aroma.

One good spritz is enough. I like the packaging because it is compact enough to fit in my clutch, and since one spray doesn’t last an extremely long time, it is nice to have with you.

I must admit however, that I am guilty of giving a spritz or 2 into the entry hall and front rooms when I am expecting company. Smells much better than most air fresheners and it lingers for awhile 😉 It’s a nice little trick.

This product runs at 15 British pounds, 16,90€ or $15 and is available online or in shop via The Body Shop.

What are some of your favourite fragrances?

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

WWWOOOOHHHOOO!!! Winter Slim down goal achieved!!

After a very long battle with my weight…I’VE DONE IT!!

yeah-baby-yeah

This has really been some sort of journey! I started out at 76 kgs (168 lbs) and more than 2 yore than a year later, I’m now at 59,9 kgs (132 lbs)! I picked up on my attempt at shedding those last stubborn 20 lbs of weight while blogging. Those were absolutely the most impossible and stubborn to shed! But today, I’m here to celebrate meeting weightless goal! I’ve tried and failed, tried and succeeded with so many different things and I’d like to go over some of those now.

To recap some of the alternatives I tried:

  • No sugar
    • This actually helped a lot but I was astonished to discover that everything we eat has tons of sugar in it! I mean seriously! Take a look at your ketchup bottle. Now divide the grams by 4 and thats how many tablespoons of sugar are in 1 serving of ketchup! If you can curb the sugar, its a great feeling. You know your body is starting to get over it when you feel like someone has hit you head with a sledgehammer.
  • No booze
    • This was a no-brainer. Booze has tons of hidden calories in it, and I always get the munchies when I indulge. So, I limited my intake to 1 or 2 glasses of wine or a small cognac on only special occasions.
  • Dramatically limiting my calorie intake
    • Great in theory, horrendous in practice. No doubt. I was hungry all the time, and completely lost my senses – resulting in The Nacho Incident. If you scroll down to the bottom of the linked post, you’ll see a list of low calorie foods and their serving sizes in 100 Kcal increments.
  • Strict exercise regime
    • When I finally realized that I desperately needed some outside help, and someone that I trust to hold me accountable for my own failure or success, I was fortunate enough to get David from Chape Personal TrainerChape Personal Trainer to work me into shape! David has been awesome! He takes the time to explain things to me that defy logic, listen to me whine about my bad diet days, patiently listens to me bitch about muscle soreness, and has supported me with friendship, consistently updating new workouts for those  soft cushy spots on my body that are driving me mad and always adjusting whatever need be to make sure that I had a positive and successful experience with him as a personal trainer. Thank you, David! You pushed me to meet my weightless goal and I DID IT!!
  • A not so strict, gradually increased exercise of convenience regime
    • This was at the beginning and I…sucked at it. I’ve discovered in this process that I have zero will power if I allow myself even a millimeter of lee-way.
  • Diet soups and green teas
    • Green tea helps a lot, but really only by getting rid of water weight. Green tea is super healthy though, so I say go for it! The diet soups worked well…for awhile. But then I was just – HUNGRY! The lack of vital nutrients made me feel really run down and basically worthless. The hunger turned me into a monster.
  • Vegan and vegetarian
    • This, I highly suggest – if you make sure to have enough protein. Always have a backup though because when Chape suggested I lose the tofu, tempeh and cheese for a week – I lost my mind.
  • Only eating fresh fruit and veg
    • This, I loved! It was a bit more time consuming to cook and clean, but I felt really great, higher energy and less hunger!
  • Consulting Chape Personal Trainer
    • BEST MOVE I MADE!  I seriously could not have done this without David’s help! Super simple – All I had to do was consult daily. I kept a daily/hourly food and drink journal, David posted workout regimes, times, weigh in days, measurement days and scales for me and then would adjust the workouts to fit my needs as he saw fit. This took all the stress out of trying to figure out what was best. I just trusted him, and on occasion listened to him tell me things in a quite loud voice, and IT WORKED!
  • No fizzy drinks
    • This was easy, and I suggest it as a first move to anyone who’s trying to shed some weight. Fizzy drinks have TONS of sugar and other bad stuff for you and cutting back on just one a day can make a massive difference! I went to mineral water, hot teas, black coffee and the occasional juice. Also, shocker: cutting back on fizzy drinks actually reduces your thirst. Fizzy drinks dehydrate you – making you thirsty.
  • Eating my carbs in the morning
    • This was actually a great suggestion by a fellow blogger at Olivier fiction. And it actually worked out pretty well! At least when you eat your carbs in the morning, you have time to burn them off throughout the day and you don’t crave it so badly. Not exactly sure how it works body-wise, but it helped ease the pain of the carb and sauce cut down.
  • Cutting carbs completely
    • Oh Atkins, how you mutilate my mainly vegetarian diet! This just wasn’t for me. Granted, broccoli has tons of protein. Buuuttt, do you have any idea how frustrating it is to be a herbivore on a carnivores diet and still manage to find something yummy to eat? No fun…no fun at all.
  • Going yeast free for 1 week
    • This was actually something I did not share on the blog. I wanted to see if I could actually even pull it off. I did! Surprisingly, yeast is in lots of baked foods which one would not expect. After what I thought was a sly move on my part when I bought a weeks worth of tortilla wraps as a substitute, my fiancé took one look at me and said ‘you know thats made with yeast, don’t you?’. I didn’t believe him. I was wrong. Gggrrr…I hate being wrong. The yeast free week was a long one – especially when I got to watch everyone else enjoying my wraps. But you know what? At the end of the week, my belly looked pretty flat! I never realized how much yeast containing products contribute to belly bloat! So, if you’re working on that beach bod, I’d give this a shot!
  • Reducing portion sizes
    • This was quite easy. Stopping myself from getting seconds was the hard part.
  • Eating earlier in the day
    • Great in theory, virtually impossible when you are eating in a household setting and with others who actually have schedules to contend with.
  • Guzzling matcha and cutting back on the sauces
    • Matcha, I love you. Sauce, I love you too. Putting a few drops of salad or hot sauce on my food just didn’t cut it. Sorry.
  • Drinking more water
    • I’ve been told to do this on countless occasions. But I just don’t like it. I try, but I float. I’m a chic. I’m already running to the Loo every chance I get. Add a preliminary water consumption minimum and I might as well set up shop there. Tried, and failed. However Im drinking more than I was – so maybe not totally failed.
  • Eating more
    • When David suggested this, Thought he had lost his mind for sure. After he explained it to me, I thought – great, I’m going to go on an eat more diet and turn into a blueberry. But, I tried it. And you know what? IT WORKED! How the hell???
  • Drinking Yerba Mate before meals 
    • This is actually something a girlfriend of mine from Argentina suggested when I very first trying to shed the weight, weighing in at 76 kg or 168 lbs. I was desperate to lose some of the flab before I turned into a ball. She suggested drinking a full glass of heavily steeped yerba mate before every meal so as to reduce my appetite. It worked! I will never again have a home without this stuff in it.
  • Fasting
    • Intermittent fasting wasn’t actually bad at all and I managed t0 pull it off for like 2 weeks. However, eventually my body began to expect food at 4 and to not be hungry after 7, but the weight loss stopped. When I stopped fasting, I re-gained the weight.

Moments when I went totally off the rails:

  • Christmas and New Years
    • I decided I would allow myself some holiday indulgence. What a terrible idea this was…I actually gained back all the weight I’d lost (while trying to shed this last bit) + 2kgs/5lbs! Nothing like starting all over again 🙁
  • The Nacho incident
    • I don’t even know what happened on this day. It’s like I was being a nice normal chic in the supermarket and then…insanity struck. I kid you not when I say that I barely even remember grabbing all requirements for an amazing set (or 2 – YES, 2!) of nachos! Including a solid weeks worth of my calorie intake. Boy did I ever regret that move!

Some of the exercises that worked really well for me:

  • I used forearm planks and flute bridges as warm ups and to tone my core:
    • Forearm plank – I find myself doing extra of these randomly and mixing with ->
    • Glute bridge – Doing flute bridges feels like a bit of a break after planks. Mixing these is awesome and its really simple to just jump off the sofa and do a set!
    • Bird Dog
    • Dumbbell Shrug – I love this one! Simple and really effective 🙂
    • Reverse fly – Great for arms, shoulders and back. You get used to it, but at first = Ow ow ow! However, it’s a REALLY important exercise so I suggest you try it if you are doing any for of weights.

Some of the exercises that were difficult:

  • This reverse crunch is a great exercise, but hard, hard, hard!!
  • This Alternating Shoulder Tap Plank made me feel like I was going to land on my face. But its super effective, and to tell you the truth, I was incredibly proud of myself when I finally nailed it!

In addition to all the exercises I received from Chape (there are many), I also go on several dog walks daily, which aids in burning some calories. I have been intermittently trying to conquer the kettle bell swing. I look like Mr Magoo trying to do it, but I will nail it down eventually.

Although I have met my weight loss goal – YYYYEEEESSSS!!! – I do plan to continue eating well and utilizing these exercises. I would like to at least maintain my weight and would be very happy to take up more! Besides, I want to look fantastic in that bikini and I have a wedding dress to fit into! I will, of course keep you updated on my progress and pitfalls.

I am SSSSOOOOOO HAPPY! I was seriously starting to doubt that this milestone day would ever come! Just consider me living proof that a woman metabolism does not come to a screeching halt in her 30’s 😉 Thank you all so much for following me and my journey, for all the support and ideas, suggestions, encouragement and motivation! Thank you David, for all the time, effort and energy you put into getting me into good shape! And a special Thank you to my fiancé for putting up with my whining about sore muscles, midnight rampages about being hungry and not having suitable food, and for laughing at me when I’m acting like a total psycho.  We did it!!! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

My June read for the Recycled Book Reading Challenge is ‘Bad Monkeys’ by Matt Ruff. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! So much so, that I am unable to pass it on. I have to keep it in my personal library to re-read at another time.

The book is set in a Las Vegas mental ward where the star of our story, Jane Charlotte is being interviewed by Dr. Vale. Jane contends that she works for a secret organization, and her department is called ‘Bad Monkeys’ for short. Her role as an employee of Bad Monkeys  is to put down people who are evil. Not bad people, but evil….completely unredeemable people. According to Jane’s story, she has landed herself there because of an unauthorized kill.

Throughout the story, I found myself trying to decide if Jane was absolutely mad, bad, sane, or a thorough mix of all of the aforementioned.

It’s not often that you find yourself siding with the ‘bad guy’ or possibly ‘good guy’ – perhaps the ‘good guy with a good motive to be bad’ in a book. This book contains multiple plot twists, a bit of humor and a lot of psychology.

I do suggest this book. It’s a lot of fun and the at least half of it moves at a fast pace so your mind is always stimulated.

If you are interested in purchasing this or other Matt Ruff books, you can click here for his amazon page.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll join in the challenge!

-Mliae