09 May 2014

01 May 2014

More books for the to-read mountain. I might have an addiction.

More books for the to-read mountain. I might have an addiction.

via Tumblr http://ift.tt/1nOr8iZ

28 April 2014

It’s possible my “To Read” pile might be...

It’s possible my “To Read” pile might be getting a tad out of control. #ReadAllTheBooks!

via Tumblr http://ift.tt/1iwhJ7F

03 March 2014

Book Review: The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastards #3) by Scott Lynch

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3) The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this series. I cannot say enough good things about the characters and world building, the tone and pacing, the plot and prose. That said, this may be my least favorite book so far in the series - and yet it had some of my favorite moments in the series, as well. Oh, I know, that sounds contradictory. And maybe it is. Lemme ‘splain.

First, if you’ve read the first two Gentleman Bastards books (and if you haven’t, for gods’s sake, don’t try to start the series with book 3! That’s just uncivilized in general and in this specific case would be a tragic disservice to yourself as a reader.) Ahem, as I was saying, if you’ve read the first two books, you know that the storytelling pattern here is two timelines unfolding at once: The “Now” timeline, juxtaposed with interludes from the “Past”: Locke’s (and Jean’s and Sabetha’s) childhood years.

In the “Now” timeline of this installment, we have The Heist Plot and The Relationship Plot - it’s up for debate as to whether the heist is the “Plot” and the Relationship is the “SubPlot”. I, personally, think of them the other way ‘round.

In the “Past” timeline, the interludes unveiled a “Past Heist” and “Past Relationship” plots as well. Through all three of his books, Mr. Lynch does a terrific job of pacing the reveals and twists and turns of each timeline and each plot with excellent timing so that the unfolding stories complement in a most satisfying manner.

In Republic of Thieves, though, I found something lacking in the The Heist of the “Now” timeline. This was somewhat disappointing considering how fantastic The Heist plots were in the previous two books. This one just fell flat in several areas, including a huge overall “huh?” factor when it came to the motivation of the “Clients”. There were a few fantastic signature “Gentlemen Bastard” moments, though, that mostly made up for the overall “meh” I felt about The Heist.

But if The Heist Plot left something wanting, The “Now” Relationship Plot and the plot/subplot of the “Past” Interludes more than made up for it. Maybe it has something two do with the two books’ worth of teasing, (You are slightly evil, Mr. Lynch. Anyone ever tell you that?) but I was so full of antici … pation about finally “meeting” Sabetha and seeing her and Locke together that I was actually afraid the reality could not live up to the hype. But it did. I love these characters together - past and present - and I cannot wait to see how The Relationship unfolds as The Heists continue in the next books.

Trying to stay spoiler-free and not give away a bit of a “twist” toward the end of the book, I will say that Lynch introduced a new and pretty much un-foreshadowed element in this third installment of Locke’s story (Yes, I ADORE Jean and Sabetha, but let’s be honest, this is Locke’s story.) that I’m not entirely sure I am going to like. But this author has more than earned the benefit of my doubt and I will be very interested to see where the next book takes my favorite Gentlemen Bastards.

View all my reviews

via Tumblr http://ift.tt/1c2wClI

31 October 2013

The Writing Dead: Party like you have to climb back into the grave at sunrise


Okay, maybe not. It's probably still Mostly Dead. But Mostly Dead is Slightly Alive, right?

But, I did say that there was a possibility of reanimation, didn't I? And what better day than All Hallow's Eve  for a possibly-one-night-only rising from the dead? 

It's no secret Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And even a slow-moving zombie wouldn't be able to shamble far through this blog without stumbling over my love of vampires and zombies and all things slightly sick and twisted, oh my.  

So, I couldn't let the day go by without reanimating ye olde blog for a little Dead Man's Party. And so, for your spooktacular enjoyment, I present:

Zen's Top Ten Halloween Songs

This is your mandatory October playlist people, write it down.

10) Odds Are

Okay, technically, this is not a "Halloween" song. But it IS my favorite band of all time AND it DOES have zombies. So, shut up. It counts.

9) I Put a Spell on You
This is one of those movies I just HAVE to watch every October.
Amuck, amuck, amuck!

8) Beetlejuice: Day-O and Shake Senora

A twofer from Beetlejuice: Yes, technically, neither of these songs are specifically "Halloween-y". But I defy you to find someone in my generation who doesn't immediately think of this movie when they hear them. 

7) Ghostbusters
  Trigger Warning: 80s Flashbacks may ensue.

Most people don't even know BOC even HAD other songs, do they?
Oh well. These guys still rock it.
And the guitar solo around 2:50 is almost worth including this one all by itself.

5) Time Warp
Is it even possible to make a Halloween song list without including at least one song from Rocky Horror? Or maybe two ... 

4) Science Fiction Double Feature

This one's a twofer, 'cause, sure, the classic from Rocky Horror is, well, The Classic. But I love this cover by Black Math Experiment, too (skip ahead to 1:09 for the good stuff).

3) This is Halloween! 
Another classic with a twist: "This is Halloween" from Tim Burton's iconic "Nightmare Before Christmas" - but this time performed by my favorite Las Vegans: Panic! at the Disco. Speaking of Danny Elfman .... 

Yeah, it's gonna be in your head all day now. You're welcome.

Oh, come on, like you didn't know this was going to be here.

Kiss Kiss, Bite Bite,

08 May 2013


It was Miss Zen. In the Library. With the Candlestick.
Zee Blog, She iz dead.

Well, she's taking a really long dirt nap, anyway.

I thought about trying to reanimate her. I mean, it's not like I have anything else to do with this athame and chicken blood ... but, if you read/watch Sci Fi, you have to know those things almost never end well.

So, rather than risk unleashing a brain-craving, blood-sucking, soul-stealing creature from hell, I'm just gonna let her nap. You're welcome.

You can still rifle through her pockets for loose change, if you'd like.

And, no, I'm not going to explain or justify or wax philosophical about it. I'm just gonna let her sleep.

Pfft. Screw THAT. I'm not dead. I'm just available in less concentrated doses ...

OneZenMom on TwitterOneZenMom on TumblrOneZenMom on InstagramPinterestGoodReads
If you know my real name ... you can find me on Facebook and Google+, too. 

And don't worry, I'll keep that chicken blood in the freezer, just in case. If I'm suddenly inspired to start randomly rambling again, we can all set fire to celebrate the resurrection of my undead blog together.


09 January 2013

Work is love made visible

There are exactly 200 screws in my kitchen cabinets.

I know this because I removed and replaced Every. Single. One. of them by hand last week.

Loyal readers may recall that I don't really do New Year's Resolutions. I figure that if you're going to do something, just do it. Right this moment. And then the next moment. And then the next.

But, I also know that sometimes we walk around with a big list of "shoulds" and "wannas" and "somedays" in our heads and it can be hard to find the "right" time to get started on them. And it can be even hard to follow through and actually finish them. So, I get why some people grab onto the new year as a good transitional time to start that new project or set that new goal.

Quite a few of my "somedays" are centered around home improvement. We bought this house when I was 3 months pregnant with The Professor. For those keeping count, he's 8 now. We knew the new Casa de Zen would need a lot of updating and TLC and we've put in quite a few DIY hours on projects like painting rooms, adding pool fencing, remodeling the guest bathroom, moving from a septic system to the city sewer (oh yeah, that one was fun), keeping up with pest control, and even knocking down a wall, to name a few.

But one of the more public areas of the house that hasn't gotten a lot of attention so far has been the kitchen.

A full remodel is pretty high on the list of things I'd do with a sudden financial windfall. As I don't have any rich aging relatives and I don't play the lottery, I don't see that happening anytime soon. So, since ripping it all out and starting from scratch isn't really an option, I've had a lot of "shoulds" in my head about that room for a lot of years now.

Last week, I decided it was time to turn one of those "shoulds" into a "did" ...



Okay, so, the "before" is actually kinda early in the "during" and the "after" is really more like "not-quite-done-yet". but, you get the idea.

No, it's not the "new" kitchen I fantasize about. But, I think it's quite an improvement for a few dollars' worth of paint and supplies, about a week of my "spare" time, and a little (okay, it felt like a lot of) elbow grease. (And, looking at that before picture a little closer, at least one glass of wine. Apparently.)

I'm genuinely pleased with the results aesthetically and financially. Physically, I'm still recovering. ;)

But you know what the best part is? It's looking at my kitchen and thinking, "I did that. Me. With my own hands. All by my onsies." Kinda makes me want to thump my chest or maybe roar just a tiny bit.

There are a lot of ups and downs of home ownership. But, I gotta say, the completion of a home improvement project is a pretty damn satisfying up.

So, what kind of DIY projects are on YOUR to-do list for 2013?


P.S. - Because it really wouldn't be a OneZenMom home improvement project without at least one moment like this:

"Work is love made visible." - Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


Oh, did I mention I also painted my front door recently?