cookies

Book Review: The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies by Laura Levine

Posted on Updated on

The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies, a novella included in a 3-story book, written by Laura Levine is a fun holiday cozy mystery to read. It’s an in-between read that’s part of a larger series focusing on Jaine Austen. In this caper, she’s visiting her parents for the holidays and becomes stuck in the middle of her family’s often meddlesome ways… her cat has decided Jaine’s mother is perfect and Jaine is awful. Jaine’s father is getting in trouble while trying to protect Jaine. And a doctor leads 4 women on until he finally dies during a play rehearsal while acting in a lead role. It’s a short ~100 page story, but fun and easy to read. Jaine sometimes talks directly to the reader but it’s adorable in a charming way. I like her spunk. It makes me want to start reading the entire series. There are only 8 so far… maybe I can handle it!

fluke

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Advertisements

365 Challenge: Day 25 – Obsessed

Posted on Updated on

Obsessed: preoccupied with or constantly worrying about something

There are varying degrees to which someone can be obsessed with something or someone, ranging from healthy to serial killer. [No, I’m not one]

I’m in that range somewhere. After 24 days, I suppose you think you know me well enough to pinpoint roughly whereabouts I’d fall in that scale. I’ll make it easy for you… it all depends on what I’m obsessing over. I have been known on occasion to be so obsessive, it is scary. Not scary in “he’s gonna go pyscho,” but scary in “did he seriously just do/say/eat that AGAIN?”

Since this post could go on forever about different types of obsession, I’ll share a few things where I find myself obsessed, but ultimately, I’m going to blog about my obsession with food and drink. Things I’ve noticed obsessions over:

  • Test Results: whether it was in school waiting for a grade, getting blood work or updates from a doctor, or DNA results from Ancestry.com, I would check every hour to see if something was new (if it was online, that is… I’d never actually call and ask someone the same question every hour — I do have some level of self-control).

  • Updates: Checking to see if the dial has changed on something (anything… temperature, stocks, points, votes, etc.), I check way too frequently to see if the number has increased or decreased since the last time I saw it. And if the WiFi or screen freezes for any moment, hell hath no fury like an obsessed Jay!

  • Email: At my last job, I looked at my mobile phone every few seconds to see if a new email came in as I was freakishly paranoid about missing it and not getting back to someone timely. I carried it in my hand (not in my pocket) — with the volume off of course (see post on quiet) — just so I could feel the vibration and know I was needed. It rested under my pillow while I slept too.

But… today I am choosing to focus on foods and drinks. So here is the problem… I’m very self-conscious about looking good and being healthy, so I am often balancing my diet, working out and generally trying to maintain a stress-free life. (Note, for another day I’ll cover stress: my opinion is stress causes all the disease and physical pain to manifest in our bodies. You may already have the gene markers in your DNA for it to happen, but cutting out the stress could help prevent it from developing or getting worse) — not a doctor — just my opinion from research and observation!

What foods and drinks am I obsessed with? And by obsessed, I don’t mean I eat them all the time and can’t stop thinking about them. What I mean is… if it’s on the counter or in the closet, I will eat it ALL. I therefore try really hard not to buy these things… and when my mother brings them over on Sundays, I just hate myself. 😛

  • Desserts (cakes, cookies, anything sweet)
  • Chocolate
  • Champagne
  • Cheese
  • Bread

If I open the bag of cookies, I will eat the entire box in one sitting. But I won’t go to the store to buy it every day. If I open a bottle of champagne for dinner, I have to buy at least two: one for me, and one for the other person. And I hope that (s)he does not finish all of theirs so that I can have more. And if I buy cheese and crackers as a pre-dinner snack, I do not believe in wrapping up the remaining cheese for another day. If it’s been opened, it is meant to be consumed. I’ll shove 3 or 4 pieces in my mouth at once. I’m a freakin’ monster when it comes to foods that I love.

And while it’s happening, I’ll reason with myself while sitting on said couch. Typical conversation with myself:

ME: “You had ten, that’s enough.”

ME AGAIN: “One more won’t hurt.”

ME: “OK, just one.”

… [scramble from the couch… into the kitchen… gone longer than should be… back on the couch]…

ME AGAIN: “You had just one, right?”

ME: [can’t speak because mouth is full]

ME AGAIN: “You didn’t, you pig!”

ME: [head hangs in pseudo fake-shame]

ME AGAIN: “How many did you eat?”

ME: “The better question is how many are left!”

That is obsessed. And it leads to a few moments of “got to go work out NOW” and “I feel sick,” but I still do it every time in the future when the opportunity presents itself. Gluttonous is most appropriate word to use. That said, a few interesting  sidebars I’ve noticed:

  1. It doesn’t show because I am probably almost as obsessed with working out, taking vitamins and eating healthy otherwise. I need to balance it out somewhere.
  2. Alcoholism and diabetes run in my family, which means I’m keenly aware of the effects over indulgent behaviors. As a result, I have always been cautious and aware of the risks… and I’d like to say I would never become dependent on these things. Yes, I obsess over some of them, but I also know enough to stop when I need to. (I only do that crazy cookie eating thing once a month!!!!!!)
  3. It makes me human. Perhaps I’m not so peculiar after all… though we all have some crazy in us.

I’m curious why I do these things… why I allow myself to become obsessed? Since it happens beyond just eating and drinking, it’s not some missing vitamin or mineral or chemical in my internal biology! 😛

Am I needy? Am I bored? Am I wanton of things I don’t have? Nah… I think everyone does things like this from time to time. We let our minds control us for so long on certain topics until we decide to just accept or forget the supposed importance. Obsessions just show how much you love something, right? Assuming you keep it healthy and non-impacting to anyone else, then it’s all cool, right? The other people are wrong.

365 Challenge: Day 1 – Dedication

Posted on Updated on

Dedication: an act of commitment to a goal or way of life

Dedication is an important characteristic to achieving success. I want to be successful in all that I choose to do. I have goals and I want to reach them; therefore, dedication is necessary.

In the past, I have been quite dedicated at several of my jobs. I usually worked 60+ hour weeks in order to achieve my goals. Some may say I wasn’t organizing my day properly if I couldn’t achieve everything in a normal 40 hour week. I do not agree with this statement as it is too defined; subjectivity is important to consider each of the levers being pulled that alter the course of my day. It was my choice to work more than necessary as I wanted to continue optimizing and moving towards my end goals.

Could (or should) I have called it quits at 6pm to properly balance my day? Would it have been more advantageous to have a mental break from formal work in order to be more successful the following day? Perhaps…

I lack dedication in some areas of my life. Everything is always in order, as I’m very particular and organized; however, I often find myself devoting more time to some things than others, without a fully balanced equilibrium in place. I want to be healthy, in good shape and fit. So I work out often. But I often eat an entire sleeve of cookies (Girl Scout cookies this week that a nameless someone brought home against my wishes… mmm thin mints… plus the new smores!) in one sitting followed by a bowl of ice cream and several glasses of wine. Do I interpret this as lack of dedication to achieving a goal of becoming more physically fit?

I’m more inclined to say it doesn’t really impact my level of dedication on the whole or average. If it’s important to me, and has a long-lasting impact, I follow through on the dedication. But if it’s minor and has little impact, I’m willing to let it go (unless it also conflicts with another strong belief — like not letting someone down). That said, if I let myself eat the cookies and drink the wine every night, I’d need to change my level of dedication. Or decide I’m dedicated to weight gain. No. Not for me.

So what does this mean to me? I believe in dedication. I respect dedication. I want to be emblematic of dedication unless it is something I should be dedicated to but find myself steering in the wrong direction. Then I allow myself to accept that I am not being dedicated.

Where do I go from here? Perhaps I should only allow myself to stray from dedication when it is a conscious acknowledgement of it happening. Don’t let myself eat the whole sleeve of cookies unless I’ve also worked out that day! Ah success…

Yeah, right, not that simple! 🙂

Dedication is about more than staying focused. It’s about understanding the end goal and directing (or re-directing) the path to get there.  Worry less about the individual cookies and more about the most expedient course to the completion of the goal or task. (Eat the whole box once in a single sitting… you know, so it’s done and gone and no more temptation???)

No. Apply dedication on those things that are important to you. Apply wisdom and knowledge for the rest. Balance my food intake. Allow some cheat nights. Allow some plain old-fashioned healthy nights. Enjoy my food but don’t be gluttonous.

But I should pick something I believe I am strong at when it comes to the use of the word dedication… so that when I say I am dedicated, I am clear on why I am certain (1) I am dedicated and (2) I want to improve my dedication.

My dedication:

  • 365 days of reflection and discovery by choosing characteristics I have or want to have as part of who I am:
    • Accept that on a few occasions I will miss a post, but I will make up for it the next day.
    • Acknowledge that I need to invest value in each post and not let them be trivial.
  • I’ve dedicated myself to reading 78 books this year on Goodreads.
    • I already expect to increase it to 104 (2 per week) in the near future.
    • If I increase it, I must dedicate myself to achieving the new goal.

Review: The St. Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

Posted on Updated on

The St. Valentine's Day Cookie MassacreMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Elisabeth Crabtree‘s The St. Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre, the first book in the “Hatter’s Cove Gazette” mystery series. I downloaded this e-book for free several months ago and found myself with a few spare hours this evening… so I jumped on it and am glad I did. It was a really fun new series I look forward to reading more. I’ll even check for other series by this author.

Kat Archer has taken a job at her local paper, hoping to get back into her investigative journalism career, but her new boss has put her on the food critic beat until he can hire more staff. After several bouts of food poisoning, and a few death threats, she worms her way into colleague Simon’s news reporting to try and mentor him while finding better stories for herself. When her mother’s best friend requests that Kat cover the new opening of her cookie shop, Kat has no choice but to comply. And by the time the party’s over, she sees tons of gossip and feuds ripe for the picking. But it’s when she tries to meet a snitch later that night that she finds her first dead body. And her mother’s best friend is the prime suspect. As Kat tutors young Simon, deals with the arrival of a new detective she once knew in Miami and finds herself attracted to her new boss, the paper’s owner, she’s about to crumble like the cookie. She narrowly escapes survival after weeding through several potential suspects and in the end finds herself with the culprit, and sent back to the food critic beat until they hire someone new!

For a debut cozy, it’s really good. The plot and the complexity of the timeline in the crime is pretty organized and detailed… too many things have to add up for it to be each potential suspect, and someone has to be lying, but Kat can’t figure out who it is. You can tell a lot of thought went into the relationships built between all the characters in order to make this work so well. And it really did.

Kat is likable, a little annoying at times, but heading down the right path if she can keep her opinions in check from time to time. I like her budding friendships with her fellow colleagues at the paper. And her two potential love interests both have a nice shine to them.

It was a little too short and rushed at the end. I thought the author could have drawn out the suspense and the resolve for at least another 30 pages to really keep the reader guessing. But it was done well and I will definitely read another book in this series.

Nice work!

View all my reviews