All posts by cupcakesandmachetes

About cupcakesandmachetes

I read stuff, I bake stuff, I rant about stuff. Book in one hand, cupcake in the other, machete for a mind. I find myself endlessly entertaining. You might too. Or you might not, but you'd be lying to yourself.

My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog: 101 Tales of Canine Companionship – Book Review

Published Date: September 7, 2021

Pages: 368

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My aunt purchased this book for me as a birthday present just two short months following the death of my beloved dog, Ozzy. My husband wisely said that I should probably wait a little while before I attempted to read this. So, I waited until around June/July before I took it to work as a lunch book.

It was the perfect lunch book in the fact that, the essays are only a couple of pages long. You could gobble 4-5 essays easily while taking a break.

Some stories are fun and quirky. Others bring a tear to your eye and get you all choked up when you’re supposed to go back out and deal with the public shortly. All of them remind you about why dogs are so awesome.

I would definitely recommend this one to dog lovers.

A River Runs Through It

Oh yeah, I totally jacked that title just because a river runs through my town.

The last couple of weeks have felt very hectic. We’ve been doing something every weekend, so it was good to take a morning and sit by the river. Mr. C&M loves to fish, so he fed all his worms to the nice fish while I took pictures and just soaked in calm, lazy river atmosphere.

What was your favorite thing that you did this past week/weekend?

The Hunting Wind (Alex McKnight #3) – Book Review

Published Date: January 1, 2001

Publishing Co.: St. Martin’s

Pages: 352

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure the two reasons I keep going with this series are as follows; my grandfather recommended it to me before he passed, and it’s set in Michigan. I’m largely familiar with the cities/towns that the stories tend to take place in and that adds a bit of the nostalgia factor I guess I would call it.

If it weren’t for those two things, I would probably drop this like a hot pasty.

The main character, Alex McKnight, isn’t all that likable. I’m not entirely sure how he manages to have any friends and I like cranky old man characters. His conversations with people are bland and sometimes he comes across as rather dumb. But, no worries, by the end of the book he will have solved whatever mystery as he is so smart and brave. Although, in reality, it’s like he stumbles his way across it and manages to not die.

Now, my reading of the series has several year gaps in between, but it also seems like he’s always falling in lust with every woman (even if it’s a client, how professional) he comes across. So, ladies, he’ll investigate your undies too if you so much as look at him a certain way.

I’m sure you’re wondering, even with nostalgia factors, “why do you keep reading this? It sounds lame.” The first part of the books always seem to take awhile to get into the meat of the story, but once the drama starts, I can binge 100 pages without trying. It is 100% a 3-star read, which means overall I tend to enjoy myself even with its imperfections. Don’t be surprised when you see me pick up the next book in a few years.

10 Year Blogiversary

It’s been 10 years since I built this blog. If that seems crazy to you, it seems crazy to me too. There was about a 4-year period where it lay dormant though. So, realistically, it’s been around 6 years.

Anywho, I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this craziness and also to say thank you for all the comments, questions and cyber companionship over the years. I’ve only encountered 1 troll in all that time which is impressive! You guys have really been great, especially since the pandemic came to conquer the world and force us all into our houses for awhile.

Cheers to 10 more! (Haha, maybe.)

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law – Book Review

Published Date: September 14, 2021

Publishing Co.: W.W. Norton Company

Pages: 308

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Are some species just dicks?”

A poignant question poised by the author. It’s rhetorical of course. Animals are just being animals whether humans enjoy it or not and this book is mostly about humans trying to stop them from inconveniencing them. Like the time some people tried to take caterpillars to court to get them off their property. It went as well as one would suspect if you had half a brain.

Humans have created a lot of the problems themselves. British immigrants to New Zealand missed their rabbit hunts back home, so they imported some. New Zealand doesn’t have any large predators, the rabbits, boinked like rabbits do and overpopulated the land. Humans then brought over stoats and cats in an attempt to take care of the problem only to ultimately be overrun by rabbits, stoats and feral cats. These imported species take up the habitat and kill the native species to the island. Now, it’s a race against time to save endangered species before they’re gone forever.

So, what I’ve learned here is that it only takes one nostalgic human to ruin everything and years and years of research to try to fix anything. Often, without any success.

The battle against nuisance species is a delicate balance. Back in the day, humans would happily slaughter any animal that was inconvenient or effected their livelihoods. Even to the point of extinction because how dare they? People are slowly becoming more cognizant to animal suffering. Less people want so-called nuisance animals harmed. Preferring relocation if possible. However, relocation doesn’t tend to work effectively according to research in Fuzz. Scientists are busy trying to come up with more humane (or less harmful) ways to manage species that get in our way or cause us problems. The results are years off but provide for a fascinating read.

And maybe, just maybe, take the time to remember to lock down your garbage properly so some bear doesn’t get euthanized for stealing your scrumptious muffins you didn’t finish. A little mindfulness goes a long way in saving lives.

This is my first Roach book. I enjoyed her writing style and extensive research. I’m sure I will check out her other publications down the road.

June 2022

2022 has mostly been a dumpster fire for Mr. C&M and myself. June was less so and we could really use for things to turn around. Fingers crossed, the second half of the year, proves much better than the first.

Plants update:

My pepper seeds sprouted awhile back. Unfortunately, all the habaneros were knocked over in a storm and lost. The hot pepper mix (red, jalapenos and others that I forget) are going strong after being transplanted. My cherry tomatoes have tiny little tomatoes starting and the rosemary and basil are plentiful despite a squirrel attack. (The squirrel is an assumption. Something broke some stalks.)

Dogs:

Samus went for her first ice cream walk yesterday. There is a cute little shop at the end of our road, and she enjoyed the ice cream. She did not enjoy the other people as much. She’s not a fan of children after being carried around like a football by them in the house she came from.

The second picture is not a new addition to the house but a visitor at work. Her name is Brie and she’s the best lil corgi on the planet. One of my coworkers is dog sitting via Rover.com and has had Brie for almost 2 weeks. Her owner travels a lot for work and that kind of upheaval is difficult on a dog when they’re shipped from place to place while the owner is gone. (She was with one dog sitter that ditched her, to her owner’s friend’s house for one night and then onto coworker.) Brie has bonded very heavily with my coworker. To the point that her owner did come home for two days, and she didn’t care much about his reappearance. However, when he dropped her back off to my coworker, she lost her mind jumping and doing zoomies. She’s always welcome at the pharmacy though. She’s great for morale and the customers love her too.

Reading:

Assassin’s Quest Review

Current read:

I’ve tried to spend as much time as possible outside. The heat and humidity have made it difficult but, every day that is even a little bit cooler, I’m out there soaking it in. I’m hoping for a weekend trip up to my dad’s neck of the woods sometime this summer. He needs some help on his hunting cabin and I just want to go where I can’t hear vehicles for the day.

Do you have any plans for the Fourth of July weekend?

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3) – Book Review

Published Date: November 5, 2002

Publishing Co.: Spectra

Pages: 757

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ah, here we go. Another classic me. I claimed in my review of book two that I would be running out to buy the third book had I not just picked up several books from the library. The implication being that I would buy it after I finished them. That was 2017. Five years later, not only am I finishing the Assassin’s Quest, I’m finishing my quest to finish this trilogy.

Warning: Spoilers abound.

Fitz has been resurrected from the dead. The world besides Chade and Burrich, believes him dead by King Regal. His nefarious uncle who tortured him mercilessly in his dungeons. He’s not quite himself but what is the correct way to come back to life after narrowly escaping death?

First, Fitz must heal mentally and physically before he even grasps the concept of seeking revenge or searching out the true king, if he still lives. He does this in a cabin with his wolf, Nighteyes, and the help of Burrich bringing him supplies. From there, he travels to Tradeford to bring his revenge down upon Regal. Thworted, his efforts change to finding Verity deep in the Mountain Kingdom after being summoned to him by Verity’s Skill. Why has the true king not returned? His people suffer, both from the raiders on the coast and the complacent, lazy king on the throne. Now, Fitz must trek halfway across the world to find answers.

I love the slow burn of Hobb’s writing. It genuinely felt like I was along for Fitz’s entire journey. When I sit back and think about where the story started, to where it ended, it feels like I have read an entire trilogy in one book. We traveled the entire country, visited many people, survived many trials, lost ourselves, found ourselves, and brought legends to life. We starved, we ate until bloated, lost old friends, gained new friends, and fought many battles. It was an amazing adventure.

Hobb has skyrocketed to my favorite authors list.

Happy Place

Welcome to my new happy place folks. Mr. C&M and I were wandering around, checking out state parks and happened across this secluded fellow.

It’s a state park and waterfowl preserve. Certain times of the year, endangered bird species come here to reproduce. No boats allowed and you can only fish during certain months of the year (the ones opposite of breeding season). So, Mr. C&M took up his reel and caught a decent number of perch and sunfish while I wandered around taking pictures of everything under the sun with my fancy camera. (These are phone photos.)

A small herd of deer came down and walked through the water, not caring very much that I was there. A great blue heron flew back and forth across the lake catching his breakfast. Massive bullfrogs called to one another and there were red-winged blackbirds everywhere. The air randomly smelled of wild roses. It was perfect and it’s only 20 minutes from our house. With gas prices being so high, this is probably where you will find us for most of the summer.

For anyone interested, there is a wonderful app called iNaturalist, where you can take pictures of plants and search their database in order to learn what you’re looking at. That is how I learned that this lovely purple flower is called Spiderworts. Not sure what it did to deserve that name but there you have it.

I hope you’re finding peace in your day-to-day. ❤