This blog contains my thoughts and feelings only. It IS titled, "The Daily Life of Carol: My Thoughts, Rants & Raves." They do not represent those of anyone else. While I still can't imagine how my little blog is making the rounds locally, it is mine and mine only. If you are going to be offended or feel it necessary to whine or complain to those completely unassociated to me and my blog, stop reading and find something else to do with your time.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger, Book 5) by Jonathan Maberry

After 11 long months, I finally have my hands on the fifth book in the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry - Extinction Machine. This man is a genius. His Joe Ledger novels are unlike any other. I re-read the other books in the series while waiting for the next one to be published. Yes, they are that good. Maberry's books flow quickly so you get caught up in the action right from the beginning.

Brief bio - Joe Ledger, a Baltimore detective assigned to a counterterrorism task force, is recruited by the government to lead a new ultrasecret rapid-response group called the "Department of Military Sciences" (DMS). His job as team leader is to battle monsters, mutants, genetically-altered humans and whatever nastiness is thrown his way. Ledger is the uber-fighting machine. In Extinction Machine, the ever mysterious Mr. Church has promoted Ledger and now he commands 200 people at the Warehouse, the third largest Dept. of Military Sciences field office located in Baltimore, Maryland.

In Extinction Machine, since the alien crash in Roswell, New Mexico, someone has been collecting parts and pieces of all the crash sites around the world including alien DNA. Now the aliens want their technology back. Ledger must locate a kidnapped president and deal with a despised vice-president, China, and a good-turned-evil organization in the U.S. Of course let's not forget the alien/human hybrids that have been breed to fly the alien spacecrafts. When the president is kidnapped, the vice-president takes over and is out to destroy Joe Ledger and DMS and take control of the world's most supercomputer MindReader owned by Mr. Church of the DMS. The vice-president declares Ledger a terrorist, an enemy of the state, and now the feds and soldiers want Ledger dead.

I encourage everybody to read this series. You do not have to be a sci/fi fan - I certainly am not. The books are more action/adventure. The sci/fi in the book is explained well and believable.

I certainly hope this is not the last Joe Ledger book. The ending was too tidy, too sentimenal. It made me nervous. I may have to wait a year to get my latest Joe Ledger fix, but the books need to keep on coming!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Review: The Ghosts Of New Orleans by Terri Reid

If you have read my other reviews, you will know that I really like Terri Reid's series about Mary O'Reilly. I cannot wait for Book 10 to publish. So, because I like the other Terri Reid books I bought The Ghosts Of New Orleans (A Paranormal Research and Containment Division (PRCD) Case File). This one, however, is stupid, stupid, stupid.

The story takes place after Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. There is lots of newly deceased as well as displaced cemeteries. Eloise Parker is supposed to be this great paranormal psychic, who is brought in to contact the ghosts and help them more on. But, there is a terrible evil presence that is keeping thousands of ghosts hostage. Eloise cannot defeat ghosts unless she is making out h-e-a-v-i-l-y with her ex-boyfriend. Seriously. They practically have sex in front of everyone. Yesh.

This book is such a disappointment because I really like Terri Reid's Mary O'Reilly novels. Don't bother with this one, but definitely read her others. I'm sorry I paid the $2.99 for the ebook. More than two thumbs' down.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa

In the past, Lent has not been very personal for me, or the boys. Oh, I would give up coffee, chocolate or such and attend Stations of the Cross. The boys would select something and then we'd all try to remember what we weren't supposed to do. I was volunteering in the parish office, so I thought that was enough almsgiving.

Sometimes it is difficult being a newbie Catholic. I do not have family or church traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. The boys rely on me for activities. So, I read books or articles, surf through Catholic websites and blogs, and try to find something "Catholic" to bring into our lives. 

For Lent this year, I wanted something more personal for me and the boys. I wanted to bring Lent alive. It is a tremendous help that the boys and I are co-teaching Sunday School/Prep. Class for PreK4. The parish provides the materials, and, my co-teacher rocks the kiddie crafts! The children are such a joy. We've really paid attention to Lent and Easter season this year because we have to explain it to a room full of 4-year-olds!

I purchased Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Reflections and Activities for Families by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle. This has been an helpful book. Each day it offers prayers, reflections, stories about Mother Teresa's life, suggestions for fasting and almsgiving. My favorite sections of the book are fasting and almsgiving - there's different suggestions for each day of the week. For fasting there's "give up a TV show, a video game, or the internet." For almsgiving there's "think of someone who is in need of love and what could be done to show love for this person." Contemporary and personal.

The boys and I read thru the day's pages and decide as a group what the fasting and almsgiving will be. One day they may give up two hours of internet before bedtime, desserts or no complaining and bickering for a day. We also pick something good to do, like random acts of kindness. Oh, one particular day was smile, and mean it. The boys had no problem  with that, but I had to face all the parents in carline. Smile and mean it? When I wanted to run them over with my car? Oh, now that was a tough day, but in the day I felt better for it.

Whenever there was "do something special for a classmate, teacher, neighbor or friend" the boys would choose do something for Nana, like taking her dinner, writing pictures or poems, offering help. It's important the boys learn to really help the family and Nana was so happy with each gift or gesture. Another win-win.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Kudos to my sister Julie for finding this brilliant story. The authors are total geniuses. This fabulous book is The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell. I am usually not interested in historical fiction. I find those books dull, boring and hopelessly incorrect. However, The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series is amazing.

I loved this book. I absolutely could not put it down. But, I had a tremendously difficult time writing a review. There was so much that I wanted to say, however I could not get my thoughts organized. So, forgive me for my lack of imagination, but here is the description of the book. Please do not let my lack of originality keep you from reading this awesome, awesome book.

An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl.

But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb's sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ's own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. The enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.

From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity.

Here is a novel that is explosive in its revelation of a secret history. Why do Catholic priests wear pectoral crosses? Why are they sworn to celibacy? Why do the monks hide their countenances under hoods? And why does Catholicism insist that the consecration of wine during Mass results in its transformation to Christ's own blood? The answers to all go back to a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs

Vampires, werewolves, and fairies! Oh my!! The series of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs is wicked cool. This is a fantastic series. Definitely begin with Book #1, Moon Called. I have enjoyed these books so much that I'll write a separate review for each book.

In a world where vampires, the fae and werewolves co-exist with humans, Mercy straddles the line as one of the few remaining "walkers" from a Native American magical bloodline - she can shapeshift into a coyote. As a child, Mercy was orphaned and was raised by a pack of werewolves. She ran away from the pack and an early marriage in her teens. Now she lives alone, the owner of her own car repair shop. The Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack is her neighbor, her old boss is an ancient fae, and she fixes car for the vampire seethe. This is one cool chick.

Moon Called focuses on an apparent clan war among werewolves. When Mercy takes in a newly-made teen werewolf she discovers someone is performing experiments on werewolves and creating new werewolves to sell. She seeks refuge in her childhood pack when the Alpha is badly injured, and must solve what evil is preying on young werewolves.

Moon Called is a tautly written action thriller in a believable alternate universe. B
riggs outlines a creative, highly detailed society in which they live without long detailed explanationsHer characters are well-written, sympathetic and entertaining. There are a ton of characters to cheer for, and among these different supernatural species only Mercy is friend to them all. Well, almost all.....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Habemus Papam!

What an exciting week it has been, and we give praise and thanks to God for guiding the cardinals in the conclave to elect our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, and his acceptance of the election as 266th head of Roman Catholic Church. 

To understand the election of Pope Francis, it is vital to comprehend the dimensions of global Catholicism. Around 700 million of the world’s Catholics live outside of Europe, and 450 million of them live in Latin America. His election is a stunning development, but it is also recognition of the College of Cardinals that while the Church is truly global, the center of gravity has shifted to the Southern Hemisphere. The Church in Latin America is half a millennium old, and the election of the pope from that continent is a proclamation that it has truly come into its own. 

Pope Francis is the first Latin American pope and the first Jesuit pope. At the age of 76, many were surprised at his election, but let us all now join in asking God to pour out His blessings on our new Roman Pontiff, who in the words of Archbishop Charles Chaput, "is a wonderful choice; a pastor God sends not just to the Church but to every person of good will who honestly yearns for justice, peace and human dignity in our time."
What a great day to be a Catholic! Let us pray that our united witness to the world will inspire more Catholics to come home to Christ's Body--the Catholic Church!

O Lord, guide Pope Francis I in the way of Jesus. May the Gospel inspire him and may truth be his guiding force. Give him wisdom, zeal and the gift of governance as he leads the Church on the journey to the Kingdom. Amen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day at Melbourne Beach

Tuckaway is the blue two-story.
View from the patio.
We had a delightful day visiting relatives at the Melbourne Beach. They had a room at the Tuckaway Shores Resort. Their room was on the first floor, facing the beach. I did not book or pay for the room, so I cannot comment about their service. But, the room was cute and the view was fantastic! If you do rent a room, ask for Room 109. I loved its location.

Boys of Summer
(Taken from the room patio.)
It is so relaxing to sit at the beach and listen to the waves crashing on the surf. The day gave me plenty of time for reading. The boys spent a lot of time on the beach. I am always so happy to see them spending a Florida day on the beach.

Because we did not want to leave the room or the beach, we had takeout for dinner. I definitely recommend the No. 1 Chinese Restaurant on Eau Gallie Boulevard.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Movies: Skyfall (James Bond)

I am seriously, seriously worried about Nana and Miss Julie. They both recommended the latest James Bond movie Skyfall. So, the family sat down to watch it together. Epic fail!

The story begins with James Bond getting shot and believed killed in action. Of course, he wasn't. You cannot kill off James Bond and still have a James Bond movie. Anyway, Bond returns to help Queen and Country when Mi6 headquarters are bombed. Mi6 is moved to Churchill's WWII tunnels. (Why wasn't Mi6 - a "secret" organization always located in secret location?) The bad guy just wants to kill M.

I have disliked the new James Bond movies since they replaced Pierce Brosnan with Daniel Craig. It is not Daniel Craig's fault. The storylines are unBond-like. They have forgotten who James Bond is.....a suave, debonair, ruthless, cold-blooded killer. After all, he has a license to kill. The new Bond is too vulnerable, too hesitant, too flawed. During the movie I kept thinking "Bond would never do that." "Bond wouldn't let that happen." Jason Bourne is more Bondesque than James Bond.
The new Q

Not only have the storylines fallen apart, so has Q (Quartermaster). Desmond Llewelyn portrayed Q from 1963 to 1999, who will always be the real Q. Then, John Cleese was Q from 1999 to 2002. He was good and put his own sassy spin on the Q character. Why didn't they return with John Cleese? With all these Bond changes, they need some consistency. Instead, there is a new Q played by Ben Whishaw. He is a cutie and does a good job, but they have made Q all about computers. Huh? James Bond is about gadgets, gadgets, gadgets. I was so disappointed there were not any cool gadgets in this movie.
The evil agent Silva

Finally, there was the worst villan. Javier Bardem portrays Raoul Silva, a former Mi6 agent also believed to be killed in action. This character is just freaky. He is totally obsessed with M as "Mommy" and just wants to kill her. My 15-year-old said "awkward," left the room and never returned during the I-want-to-be-gay-with-Bond scene.

When the movie finished (thank goodness), I thought "weird and boring." My 14-year-old said "uninteresting and disturbing." I totally agreed. Oh, I was concerned about watching a James Bond movie with my teenagers because of sex scenes. Miss Julie said not to worry. Um, wrong! There were two naked-with-Bond scenes and we were all uncomfortable being in the same room. Perhaps I'll let them watch a James Bond movie with Pierce Brosnan was Bond - just with Daddy.....

Opinion? Two thumbs' down. So, now what do we do about Nana and Miss Julie??

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review: The Black Echo (Harry Bosch, No. 1) by Michael Connelly

I am so glad to have finally read the first in the series - The Black Echo (Harry Bosch, No. 1) by Michael Connelly. The problem with starting a series from the middle or end is that you don't get the character development or history from the beginning.

Although I knew from other books that Eleanor Wish was the mother of his daughter, I did not know when they met or under what circumstances. That story is told in the very first book of the Harry Bosch series - The Black Echo. It is a very good story. Of course, Eleanor does not tell Harry that he has a daughter until three years later (I think). If that is the correct timeline, it makes sense after reading this book. The book also includes a bit of Harry's history in Vietnam as a tunnel rat. His service is referred to in other books, but it is really explained in this first one. His freight of tunnels isn't just because he was a tunnel rat, but actually happened in the tunnels. "Out of the blue and into the black....the black echo."

Interestingly, the story begins after Harry's fall from grace in the Robbery-Homicide Division. I always thought that story would be its own book. Not so. When Harry returns from his suspension, he is assigned as a homicide detective for LAPD's Hollywood Division. He is called out to the homicide for a street junkie. Everyone wants to write the death off as an overdose, except Harry. He recognizes clues that it is actually a murder. And, he recognizes the victim - a former Army buddy/tunnel rat from Vietnam. But, it seems that only Harry wants the truth!

Each of the Harry Bosch books stands alone, yet I recommend reading from the beginning of the series with this first book. I had several "ah ha!" moments when part of this story connected with his other books. Definitely, two thumbs' up.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

TV: How the States Got Their Shapes

Did you know that Atlanta gets more rain per year than Seattle? But, Atlanta is built on bedrock so the ground cannot absorb all that water. Or, that Nevada's state line was lowered into Arizona's territory so that Nevada would include part of the Colorado River? Why? Because Arizona sided with the South during the Civil War. Cool, huh? Did you know it took Canada and the U.S. decades to agree to a treaty that determined the Maine and Canadian borders? Know how they finally decided. Watch the show! 

As part of Steven's homeschooling courses, he is learning history. But, I did not want all of his lessons to come from books. Reading, reading, reading. Good to know, not always the right way for a particular student to learn. I discovered a fantastic TV program on the History Channel: How the States Got Their Shape. Today's lesson was "A River Runs Thru It." Hence, the paragraph above.

I enjoy the mini-quizzes. Which river is longest? The Mississippi, the Missouri, the Colorado or the Ohio? Nope, not the Mississippi. It is the Missouri River. What is the water source for the City of Las Vegas? No googling........ Lake Mead. But, is Lake Mead actually a "lake"? No. It is the reservoir at the Hoover Dam. Where is the Hoover Dam? It is located on the Colorado River about 24 miles from the Strip southeast of Las Vegas.

It's a very enjoyable show with information about the states, but not presented in a boring documentary sort of way. The host Brian Unger travels to each state, showing the area and asking local citizens questions about their state. We do not have cable or satellite TV so we were watching it online at but then discovered it on Amazon Instant Videos. We have Roku and watch the episodes thru that service. We have Amazon Prime so these particular TV episodes are free (otherwise they're $1.99 each). They're also online at or DVD. 

I recommend the TV show for everybody - It is informational, interesting, entertaining and fun.

Friday, March 1, 2013

TV: Body of Proof

The third season of Body of Proof has started - Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. on ABC. I really like this show. Dana Delaney portrays a medical examiner in Philadelphia named Megan Hunt. Of course, medical examiners perform autopsies, not investigate murders. And, no woman who stands on her feet all day would wear her fabulous platform pumps..... but I like it anyway.

The end of season two was a shocker. The writers were killing people off right and left - people who worked with the medical examiner. At the end of season two, Dr. Hunt's medico-legal detective Peter Dunlop was stabbed and she was calling for help. This season starts off Dr. Hunt's returning from a three-month leave of absence after Peter's death. they did kill him off. Answered that question. I am always surprised when a main character is removed from the show. He was the secondary character after Dr. Hunt. Boom! He's gone.

Season three begins with a two-part episode called "Abduction." Someone is killing U.S. combat veterans and removing their spleens. Ew. Dr. Hunt must discover who are the killers and why the veterans are being killed. Soon after she makes a startling discovery, Dr. Hunt receives a phone call that the killers have kidnapped her daughter. She has something they want back. Hum, interesting.

Although I enjoyed the episodes, anything involving the U.S. military makes me squeamish. The mainstream media does enough trash talk about our armed forces, so I dislike when they're portrayed as bad in movies, books, TV. Of course, the allover message of the show was our veterans need more help, but still.......

I still recommend the show. Two thumbs' up!

About Me

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Winter Springs, Florida, United States
I am a stay-at-home mom to three boys (18, 16, 14), three Mini-Dachsunds, and a wife to an incredible husband {think MacGyver}. I am Catholic. I am passionate about making a difference in my world while still making a great life for my children and family. Besides being a mom, I am also a blogger for and I hope to make my voice heard and make a difference in my own way.