Sunday, June 22, 2008

Conspiracy Game

Author Christine Feehan either mesmerizes, or she disappoints. Her books are typically paranormal romances with a fair amount of spice. Like many prolific authors, she writes various series, including her vampire series, now up to about twenty titles, all of which begin with the word “dark” such as Dark Melody. Since I don’t read vampire books, I have not read any of those.

The first book I read by her, Wild Rain, is part of another series, but stands alone quite well. I loved the suspense, which Feehan can do fabulously indeed. I tried one of the Drake sisters books, another series, and I managed to finish the book, but I have not revisited the series because that one just didn’t hold my interest. One problem with writing a series is getting the “back story” covered in other books into the current one, that’s where Feehan can stumble. When she devotes too many pages to backstory, she risks losing the immediacy necessary for suspense.

A year or so ago, I was watching “book trailers” on YouTube and noticed the one done by COS productions for her suspenseful paranormal romance, Conspiracy Game. I was so impressed with the video that I marked it as a favorite and bought the book. I don’t remember why, but I parked that title, along with quite a few others, in one of my ever growing “to be read” stacks. A couple of days ago I picked up CG, and I was hooked within just a few pages. This book is just what I like to read— a mysterious plot with characters who are strong but not without vulnerabilities, military action, circus daredevils, medical mystery, plenty of paranormal elements, and not too many stray body parts leaking fluids onto the pages. Other books in the series include Shadow Game, Mind Game, and Night Game. I’ve included the book trailer, featuring Liz Maverick as the heroine. BTW, Maverick is another good paranormal romance writer.

Conspiracy Game is still available in mass market paperback, and provides plenty of entertainment for eight bucks. Oh, and it is quite suspenseful, if you just skim the backstory.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008


According to the Wall Street Journal, modern children should count themselves as privileged if they have a father figure in the home. My father was certainly not perfect (who is?) but he was a man who did care about the welfare of his family. From my earliest recollection, he was interested in me, and did his best to provide for all our needs. When my stick horse lost its ability to entertain me, he built a sturdy saw horse and stuck the head at one end so I could grasp the reins and be off on myriad imaginary adventures, even if the horse was stationary.

From an early age, Daddy taught me how to identify and use the tools in his tool box and his workshop. I can read a rule, saw a board with a hand saw or a radial arm saw, and design and produce basic and intermediate furniture projects, due to his tutoring. He also taught me to mow a lawn, ride a tractor and a horse, and yes, how to ride a motorcycle. Although he did issue verbal instructions and tell stories, he also understood that imitation is a great teaching tool. He would straddle one motorcycle, and as I sat another one, he simply said, “Follow me and do as I do.” One of my cousins laughed at the way I set up for a curve when on two wheels. “Pam, you ride that Honda like a it was a Harley.” That makes some sense, in that Daddy was originally a Harley rider, and I learned my riding skills by watching every nuance of his technique.

Although he had little formal schooling, Daddy tried to help us with ours. He willingly built gadgets for science projects and even a minature version of “Uncle Remus’ Cabin” for an eighth grade Georgia history project. When I wanted to go to college rather than a trade school, Daddy didn’t really understand, but he helped with the bills, and I never left home without him asking if I needed some money to get through the week. He even rescued me when I had car trouble, and over the years I was in college and graduate school, he made many trips to the mountains, with a tool box and a lot of skills not taught at either Piedmont or North Georgia College.

Later, he passed on parenting skills. “Pam, those children are smart. Don’t just tell them what to do, explain it.” Hubby and I differ on that point sometimes, but I do think that when students or my children know why I make the decisions I make, it is easier for them to be motivated. I use this when I teach and when I parent.

Daddy is gone, but not forgotten. Never.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Beating the pump

The price of gasoline is increasingly on many people’s minds. A couple of folks I know have purchased more fuel efficient autos recently. One of them traded a large SUV for a smaller, more fuel efficient SUV, and got a style upgrade as a bonus. The other one managed to find a great deal on a “legacy” small car; one that is on the Consumer Reports list of fuel efficient cars under $10,000.

For the time being, we are going to stay with the vehicles we already own. Due to hubby liking motorcycles we have more transportation choices than some families might have. Hubby owns a large scooter as well as a motorcycle, so I can drive his car and leave my van sitting, thus saving some gas, while he is out having fun on his scoot. I grew up with two wheeled transportation, and if you consider the fact that almost all of the energy used by vehicles is used moving the vehicle and not the cargo, then using a smaller, lighter vehicle makes a lot of sense. Scooters generally have automatic transmissions and lower centers of gravity, making them friendly for newer riders, and the fuel economy varies widely, from over 100 mpg to around 40 mpg, which crosses over the line to what might be expected in daily driving for a hybrid car. But, a scooter is fun, and hubby reports 40 to 50 mpg, depending on the driving situation. His scooter is large, with enough cargo capacity to bring home a couple of bags of groceries, and it will go really fast!

If you have little choice as to what you will drive today, here are some tips for making the gas in your current vehicle go farther. Certainly, driving smoothly and a bit more slowly will help you beat the pump.

For those who are considering buying a different vehicle, purchasing a used one can make a lot of financial sense. My friends did just that, and both of them were pleased with their "new" wheels. Buying used can be fuel efficient as well as cost efficient.

Last month’s car sales stats just came out, and the Honda Civic was on top. That is surprising, in that the Ford F-150 (translation, full sized pickup) has been at the top since 1992, I believe. However, my daughter drives a used Civic, and it deserves to be a top car. We have found it to be fuel efficient and fun to drive. The newer one is more powerful and easier on the eyes, so I do understand that folks who are making a shift toward better gas mileage have good reasons for choosing it. To close this entry, Consumer Reports has a yet another list of new cars which deliver fuel economy, so here a a link to that.

While y'all are car and scooter shopping, I need to grade some papers....

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