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.

June 2020 in Books

A surprising amount of reading happened in June. Granted, many of them were smaller books, they still count!

4 out of 5 stars – I actually finished this the very last day of May but I had already done my May books post. If there is a strong female lead in an urban fantasy series, you bet your sweet honey ass I’m going to give it a go. I read the first book in this series years ago and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I was dying to get the next book. After book two, I feel much the same. I enjoy it, I’ll pick it up when it’s on sale, but I’m not rushing to purchase the next installment.

5 out of 5 stars – I couldn’t decide what I felt like reading so Ignited Moth kindly decided for me. This book has been sitting on my TBR shelf for roughly 6 years. I am so glad that I finally made the time to read it because it was splendid. Have you ever heard me call a book ‘splendid’? Probably means you should read it ASAP.

3 out of 5 stars – During this pandemic, I decided to bring a book for lunch reading that just stays as work to lower any chance of someone putting their filthy virus hands on it. (I’ve decided on all selections being something I’m not in a rush to read.) This is an easy, peasy read that I have described as a “cozy Southern murder mystery.”

4 out of 5 stars – Not my favorite Alpha & Omega installment but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and the drama of Bran’s disappearance was riveting, since he’s never bailed on the pack before.

Rants From the Hill (Pictured above)

4 out of 5 stars – An educational, fun essay collection from an environmentalist who lives out in the high desert of the United States. It’s a different world out there but the author manages to make it sound magical and just as important as all other ecosystems out there that have better reputations.

4 out of 5 stars – Dina is forced (kind of) to host an intergalactic summit at her inn. The inn requires guests to thrive and so she must accept a deal that no other inn on Earth would. She’s not sure she’s powerful enough to keep the peace between three warring factions from another planet, but her little dog Beast is there to help her try.

4 out of 5 stars – The inn’s latest guests are a race of aliens who have been hunted to near extinction by another close by planet. If there is one thing Dina can’t resist, it’s helping out the underdog. Not to mention, rescuing her sister and niece from a barren planet exiled from the rest of the galaxy. Just another week at the inn.

Books Purchased:

Succubus On Top b y Rachel Mead $1.99

Imprudence by Gail Carriger $1.00

Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne & Delilah S Dawson $1.99

Total Spent: $5.04 (Only $1.06 came out of my actual pocket. The rest were still on my amazon giftcard that has lasted me forever.)

I’m currently at 25 out of 30 books for my Goodreads 2020 Challenge. I see no reason I won’t get 5 more books in by the end of the year.

How are you doing on your 2020 bookish goals??

Coffee & A Chat – Staycation

Good morning you beautiful sirens and stud muffins! What has me in such a good mood? I haven’t worked in a week!

As an essential employee (pharmacy), I only quarantined on my days off and on one of those days, I always had to grocery shop. Luckily, I haven’t gotten sick (yet anyway). But as time wore on, customers became less and less nice. At first, people thanked us left and right for working through this pandemic and then gradually, they got pissed off that they still couldn’t come inside. You see, in Michigan, as soon as the governor lifted the stay at home order, people thought that that meant the virus no longer exists. It’s been real fun.

That all brings us to ME, and how I told my boss that I HATE the general public and needed a vacation, even if I couldn’t go anywhere and he happily agreed. In fact, he said, “Why not take it sooner rather than later?” So I did. I have a great boss and in the entire 8.5 years I’ve worked for him, I’ve never once told him I hated the public. I think he took that very seriously.

So, what does a C&M do on a staycation? Well the intent was a whole hell of a lot more than I actually got done. We had a very nasty storm last week that brought down very large branches out of our ancient maple trees. That made a lot of the week doing clean up. Not so bad since it’s been fairly nice outside and the pups have loved the hell out of it.

One other major project happened. Two weeks ago today, our roommate moved out. Amicable and long overdue. So we turned his old bedroom into Mr. C&M’s new home office to work and game out of. Since he works at home, I can officially be inside now without worrying about making too much noise or the dogs barking in the background of his calls. 😀

The roommate chose this color, which I was fine with BUT he painted the damn ceiling!
That ceiling took THREE coats of paint WITH primer to cover up.

Why black and white? Because why the hell not? We’ve both wanted a black room since we were teenagers and were always told no by our parents. NOW WE OWN THE PLACE AND NO ONE CAN STOP US!

I’ve also been working on some wood projects that I’ll post in the future when they’re done. The toughest one being a Father’s Day present I’m working on. I’m a perfectionist but I don’t have the wood working stills to back it up yet and it’s frustrating the hell out of me.

What big projects have you accomplished recently?? It can be anything!

May 2020 in Books

Books and coffee, the two things keeping the world go round.

I had the fabulous idea that I would post all the books that I’ve read since I took my little hiatus and…..it was quite a few more than I thought. I’m a lazy book reader now guys. This is the new program. So, I’ll just post what I’ve read throughout May. 😀

5 out of 5 stars. The Witcher series is proving to be a slow burner. The plot line creeps along but there is so much character development and political intrigue that you hardly notice until you’re finished.

3 out of 5 stars. This was enjoyable and the main character was the polar opposite of Jorg in the Broken Empire series this is an off shoot of. Call me crazy, but I preferred the dark anti-hero Jorg. I’m sure I’ll continue the series at some point, but I’m not rushing to the next book.

5 out of 5 stars. I am an Ilona Andrews addict and this new series just hits all the buttons for me. It’s an incredible world that has been built with commanding characters and adrenaline fueled adventures.

One of my bookish goals for 2020 was to purchase as few books as possible and work on my current collection. Well, Covid made that hard as hell. I can’t borrow physical books from the library OR my best friend. All things considered, I’ve only spent actual money on one book since this all happened. Otherwise my husband bought it for me or I used my Amazon giftcard.

Books purchased May 2020:

Gideon the Ninth by Tamara Muir $2.99

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews $2.99

The Innkeeper Chronicles Volume One by Ilona Andrews $0.99

Total Spent: $6.97

Not too shabby if I say so myself. 😀

How have you guys been keeping from going Covid crazy???

I Lied.

That’s probably pretty obvious after a two month hiatus. Sorry about that. I’m not here to promise that I’m going to be active again, but to explain why.

It’s going to be a little TMI:

The first and foremost reason behind my disappearance was a change in birth control. Sounds weird right? But, after reading reviews of the birth control I was using at the time, I found a lot of reviews complaining of depression and brain fog. I had never considered that my brain fog and sometimes bouts of mild depression might be caused by my birth control. I always thought it was an issue stemming from my grandfather passing away, which was about the same time that I started BC and I never put the two together. So, I decided to switch drugs and see if I had different results. It has very much turned my life around. I feel like my old, happy, creative self again.

Second, my husband had lost his job due to corporate restructuring. A lot of stress there. He was re-employed again in just a few weeks thankfully.

Third, Coronavirus hit. Being a pharmacy technician, work got crazy (still is). Plus, we live in Michigan, one of the hardest hit states. So obviously, life has been very different and my attentions have been else where.

On top of all that, I decided that I wasn’t reviewing books anymore. It was becoming a bit of a chore and since quitting, I’ve been enjoying reading more.

Where does all this leave my blog? Honestly, on the back burner.

I want to try to post at least once a month BUT I’m not going to pressure myself.

I am however, off to catch up on some of my favorite blogs while the mood has struck me!

Stay safe everyone. ❤

Salad & A Chat – Look Who’s Back

Yes, you read that right.SALAD and a chat. Because it is the evening and I can’t have caffeine after 5 pm or I don’t sleep at night.

Secret things that happen over my shoulder when she thinks I’m not looking.

I’m not 100% sure that I’m out of my blogging/reading funk but I’m here anyway! My little cousin made it through his surgery great and is home resting, but that was an intense 4 days. I took time off of work since I have a ton of vacation hours and no vacations planned, so that I could help my aunt and uncle as needed. I tried to make sure they ate and tried to get some sleep and didn’t burn themselves out.

On top of all that, there was a job change for Mr. C&M that was/is a bit stressful so all-in-all, it was probably a good thing that I took some time away.

This also means that I have a few things to post from my backlog. I’ll be reviewing the book that I did not finish, still debating reviewing The Chamber of Secrets and a baking recipe.

I bought two books in February: Master Assassins and The Kingdom of Copper. They were $1.99 each on the Kindle. Did I just ruin my New Year’s Resolution? NOPE. I have a $20 Amazon gift card that I’m working off of, so technically, I’ve still spent $0 of my own money on new books. ^.^

In review, hopefully March is a much better month.

I’ve been trying to catch up on everyone’s blogs, but going days at a time between logins makes that very difficult. If I’ve missed anything of yours that you think I would be interested in, please feel free to link it in the comments!

A Bit Extra Hiatus

Hey guys. Life has been a bit extra lately, so I’m popping in to let you know that I’ll be in a bit of a mini-hiatus for the next week.

I had a fantastic girls weekend with Ignited Moth while Mr. C&M was out of town, but now my little cousin heads in for open heart surgery for the third time in his life. (Heart defect) So you can definitely say that I’ve been a bit distracted.

I DNF a book but I don’t even have the attention to sit down and review it. I also began rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. But other than that, I think I’m a book slump as well.

I will still get on here and there to keep up with your lovely blogs but there will be less posts from me for a minute.

I hope everyone else is doing well!

Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim #1) – Book Review

Published Date: July 21, 2009

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 388

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Dragged to Hell by demons at the behest of his supposed friends, Stark has spent 11 years battling in the arenas in Hell. Instead of facing lions and bears, he faced demons and other hell beasts. He was traded from one of Lucifer’s generals to another and was just generally treated as Hell’s bitch. Now, he has snuck his way out of the pit and is more than ready to seek vengeance for both his false imprisonment and the murder of his beloved girlfriend.

The world has changed a lot in eleven years. Not only must he adapt quickly, he has to launch a game plan to get his vengeance before everyone knows he’s back. Some groups have already been tipped off to his presence and are hindering his quest. He’s a one track man though and he’ll have his vengeance, opponents be damned.

This was a fun, although not very profound, read. Stark is stubborn, yet not unfeeling despite all the torture he’s been through. He’s amiable in the face of a world against him. Literally both Heaven and Hell do their best to get in his way, but he’s picked up so many tricks in his short, violent life, that even they cannot quite catch up with him.

So if you’re looking for a good, fun vengeance story that features a hit man that escaped Hell, look no further.

Slow Cooker Apple Cobbler

What?!?! Two recipes in one week’s time AND one of them isn’t banana? That’s right, I’m putting the ban hammer down on buying bananas for while so my husband cannot, deliberately, not eat them so that I’ll bake something.

Speaking of which, he was having a bad day at work so I made this amazing little treat despite being tired from work and grocery shopping. Yeah, I’m pretty awesome.

And so is this recipe! I will be making this for guests in the future.

Recipe Here.

Banana Spice Cookies w/Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Here’s what I ended up making for the Super Bowl party. The picture isn’t too pretty because I forgot to take a photo until later after the cookies had been layered in a travel container. They received praises from everyone who tried them so we’ll label this recipe a win!

One thing I will note, don’t try this frosting recipe unless you have a hand mixer OR prepare to pump your muscles up with intense whipping action.

Cookie Recipe Here.

Frosting Recipe Here.

High Voltage (Fever #10) – Book Review

Published Date: March 6, 2018

Publishing Co.: Delacorte Press

Pages: 476

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This might as well have been titled: Dani: The Most Unique, Misunderstood, Better Than Everyone Else, Heroine.

Man, does this girl love talking about herself and how different she is from everyone else on the planet. I don’t care if it’s true, I don’t need to read about it relentlessly. I fully admit that the Dani books are always the hardest for me to slog through. I thought it might be a bit better because she’s an adult now but unfortunately, her mind is still very much a teenager.

I’m not even going to explain the plot, it barely moved. There was a bad guy, they take care of it all too quickly because Dani is oh so mighty and then they move on to more character “development” for Dani.

I could care less about Kat’s point of view, though I know it’s required for the minimum amount of plot movement that happens.

After all of this complaining, why I am still reading this series?

1. I have a lot of time invested in it.

2. I love a lot of the side characters.

3. The world building is great.

4. The plot line is still interesting even though it stalls in this volume.

5. It looks like Mac is back as main POV in the next book.

I’m actually giving this more stars than it deserved because I still did enjoy myself whenever Dani stopped talking about how awesome she is.