Geek · review

[Book Review] The Casquette Girls

Alys Arden’s “The Casquette Girls” is a novel that I’ve been wanting to pick up since it was released. I have a slight obsession with New Orleans, mostly thanks to having read a lot of Anne Rice novels during middle school. However time got away from me, as it tends to do, and it wasn’t until this month that I was able to purchase it. The sequel to “The Casquette Girls” is set to be released in May and I must admit, I am anxiously looking forward to it!

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Photo from http://www.thecasquettegirls.com/

Synopsis from Amazon:

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return. Adele wants nothing more than to resume her normal life, but with the silent city resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

Strange events—even for New Orleans—lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years. The chaos she accidentally unleashes threatens not only her but also everyone she knows.

Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, Adele must untangle a web of magic that weaves the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has secrets and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless…you’re immortal.

What I like best about this novel is that the author does not specify which hurricane hit New Orleans, just that it was a hurricane. That helps to make the novel relevant to the current day and age instead of dating it. The destruction of New Orleans is not something that I hope happens again but it is interesting to see how the author embraces that and explores how the city starts to rebuild itself, even with vampires running a muck.

Her characters were well written and showed great growth during the course of the novel. There were a few questions I had that I hope to have answered in the sequel, but isn’t that what a good author does – leave you wanting more? The setting was of course magical. The town, although destroyed, was described in a way that I could picture everything in my mind.

All in all, a good read for any age group! I can see this easily being able to be turned into a television series as well.

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Holiday · Life

Happy November!

How was your Halloween?

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I went simpler this year in decorating, mostly because my schedule was all over the place. I didn’t feel in the Halloween spirit this year and did you know, I had not a single trick or treater come knocking at my door last night? I had 9 or so last year. I didn’t even see any kids out and about in the neighborhood. It’s a good thing that I bought the candy that I enjoy. So I filled the house up with the comforting scent of a spaghetti sauce bubbling away on the stove and chocolate chip cookies in the oven. I showered, changing into my ‘Night of the Living Parrothead’ Margaritaville T-shirt and my LuLaRoe Yeti leggings. Robb put “Beetlejuice” into the DVD player and we spent the night relaxing, which was much needed. All things considered (including a grandmother in the hospital), it was a good Halloween.

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I wasn’t feeling pasta, so I served my spaghetti sauce with a garlic cheese bread.

 

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Onto other things. Today is November 1st. Do you know what that means? What? All Saint’s Day? Well, true. But today also marks the start of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month! The goal is NaNoWriMo is that participants work towards of goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by midnight on November 30th. I’ve been a participant on and off since its early days but have never successfully accomplished it.

I’m doing NaNoWriMo a little different this year. Sure, I’m going to still work on some fiction pieces (saying I’m not going to work on a story is like telling a dog not to eat poop) – but I’m going to focus on blogging. My goals for NaNoWriMo are two-fold:

This isn’t such a bad goal to have, right? I still have a goal of finishing a novel by January 1st, but doing NaNoWriMo allows me to focus on that as well as helping me put in the effort to my blogging.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?

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Food · Holiday · Life

Trick or Treat (pic heavy)

October 31st was the scariest day that I have probably experienced yet. My Halloween weekend started out so well too. My boyfriend and I went out to Plaza Azteca on Friday night and got THE PIG. I can’t ever remember what the pig is actually called but it’s onions, green peppers, chicken, steak, shrimp, and pineapple served in this sizzling hot bowl shaped like a pig, sort of like fajitas. It is the best thing on their menu and the only thing we will get from there (plus, it’s big enough for us to share WITH leftovers).

Saturday morning, we woke up and he headed out to cut down some brush for his duck blind. We decided to take the dogs to where we were going because there would be plenty of room for them to run and play without having to worry about traffic. As you can see, everyone had a great time.

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Shortly after we all got into the truck to head home, things took a dark turn (okay, maybe I am being a bit dramatic). Belle was riding in the back of the truck when she spotted two golden retrievers out playing. So she LEAPS from the back of a truck going 50-55 mph and right into the path of an oncoming car. The car slammed on breaks and I still don’t know how she managed to not get hit but she apparently bounced up as soon as she hit the pavement and started running.

I was absolutely terrified and the dumb dog seemed to think we were all playing when we were trying to catch her so she kept running with blood dripping down her face. We got her home and I took her directly to the bathroom to evaluate her injuries. Belle has a bad case of road rash on her check, a busted chin/lip, plus all sorts of scraps on her legs/elbow/paws but she seems relatively okay. She even wanted to go outside so she could catch Frisbee’s. I’ve been trying to keep her injuries clean, checking her pee and poop for signs of blood, and have given her the rest of the pain pills from her spaying earlier this year to help with the pain and soreness the rest of the weekend. I am so grateful that she was not injured worse and I probably should have taken her to the vet but they were all close for the weekend.

(Side Note – 11/13/15: Following Belle’s flying leap for freedom, Thursday night of the next week, my boyfriend and I were putting our Halloween decorations away in the attic. His dog runs into the attic and next thing we know, he has disappeared! The dog FELL through the attic! There was some siding over the front porch that had never been nailed down and with an 80 lb. dog stepping on it, it gave. We raced downstairs only to find that his dog was not there. Apparently as soon as he hit ground, he started running figuring that he was in big trouble! Thankfully he was okay and Belle’s marks have all nearly healed to just pink blotches for now).

So how was the rest of my Halloween? Fantastic. My mom and her boyfriend came over Saturday night to check out the Halloween decorations. Belle was so excited to see them. Then my cousin, her nephews, and their mom came over to trick or treat. AND THEN my grandma and granddaddy came over to see my glorious Halloween decorations. I didn’t have quite as many trick or treaters as I expected, but since this was my first year decorating, I’m sure more will come next year.

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PicMonkey Collage

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With the time change on Sunday, I woke up bright and early to take down my decorations and return my boyfriend’s house to normal. Sunday was a day of relaxing and walking Belle some so she wouldn’t be too sore. For supper Sunday night, my boyfriend made up a delicious collard mixture (with collards and beans from our garden, local potatoes, fatback, and a delicious juice of apple cider vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes and who knows what else) that we ate with my super-secret cornbread (with cheese, cream of corn, and candied jalapenos that I canned earlier in the year).

Life

Elizabeth City Ghost Walk

First off – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Yesterday was my birthday. 🙂 I had a good day surrounded by some of my loved ones.

This past weekend was an exciting one. Friday night, my mom took me out to eat at 309 Bistro. She got steak and a salad, I got the Red Eye Gravy Chicken with brussel sprouts casserole and gruyere potatoes. It was a delicious combination. 309’s red eye gravy is perfect with just a bit of a spicy kick. I finished off my meal with a chocolate bundino. It was a perfect finish – chocolately without being overwhelming sweet.

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Saturday night, my boyfriend took me out to eat at Logan Ray’s, a local downtown bar. I had never been there before but it had a good atmosphere. From there, we made our way to the Elizabeth City Ghost Walk. The theme for this year’s walk was the Jazz Age featuring prohibition and bootleggers. Our first stop was the Arts of the Albemarle building. I had never been there before, but I have heard that it puts on a lot of plays/shows during the year. It also is a local art gallery. I really enjoyed exploring it.

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There were 7 or 8 stops on the walking tour, taking you from private homes to the courthouse to a local graveyard. I enjoyed myself but I did notice that unlike the Edenton Ghost Walk that I went on a few years ago, the EC one did not contain many ghost stories. Instead, reenactors talked as if they were a spirit from the prohibition era, giving us glimpses into their lives. Some of the history was quite fascinating! The final stop on the ghost walk was a local cemetery, which was my favorite stop. I loved going to a cemetery after dark!

Tickets for the ghost walk were $12 each or $10 with military ID and there was also transportation provided between each destination in case you chose not to walk everywhere (and we did not feel like walking to each home).

Arts of the Albemarle
516 East Main St,
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

309 Bistro and Spirits
309 S Broad St,
Edenton, NC 27932

Holiday · Travel

Oops.

Happy Halloween! Wait, it’s already November? And what is that you’re saying – that I should be working on my novel for #NaNoWriMo instead of blogging? Oh well.

I hope everyone had a good and safe Halloween. My Halloween didn’t turn out quite like I expected it to, but I still had a fun evening of passing out candy downtown with a coworker.

So my little friend in Florida and I had a pumpkin carving contest Wednesday night. My mom was the judge and she took her job seriously, rating us in originality, cleanliness, etc. She has yet to name the winner (though I’m feeling that she will side with him) but I’m still holding out to hear my name.

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My friend’s pumpkin is the one in the lower right-hand corner and I think that he did a wonderful job (besides, I’m absolutely thrilled that I had even convinced him to participate with me!). I really stepped up my carving this year and am proud that I was able to pull off something different from the triangle eyes and huge gaping mouth (with no teeth) that I usually wind up with.

Last Saturday, myself and three other friends found ourselves heading up to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg for Howl-O-Scream. I have heard a lot about HoS the past few years and have been dying to visit. We made almost a whole day of it, which meant that by the time night fell, I was already exhausted. We rode Apollo’s Chariot, the battering ram (I always have to ride this one first), and the Loch Ness monster (twice).

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While my friends were riding Verbolten (which had an hour wait and had been broken down earlier – huge red flag for me), I snuck off to Das Festhaus, which had been turned into the Casket Club. I was there between shows but as I ate, I realized that while I would love to go back to HoS next year, I would change a few things. The first being that I would find someone who would go to the shows to me. The second being that I would definitely invest in the Quick Queue pass so that I can make it to more than just 2 haunted houses. The lines weren’t as long as I had anticipated (maybe 45 minutes at the most) but rumor had it that one line was almost 4 hours.

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I loved the amount of detail that Busch Gardens had included in each of their various territories, even regardless of it being Halloween. There was a quaint Irish pub that was so realistic – at least in my mind. I heard that there wasn’t as many creatures jumping out as in the previous years, which was perfect for me.

Just one more thing to add – the Elizabeth II sailed in the port (of Edenton) last Friday and Saturday. My mom and I made sure to stop by during my lunch break on Friday and it was pretty amazing to look at.

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