Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Just Finished The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch but I Didn't Want it to End!

I just finished reading and reviewing The Hangman's Daugher by Oliver Potzsch for It was really great to get a free Kindle copy of this book, especially since it turned out to both a fascinating and entertaining summer read. Like I mentioned before, I have never been a big fan of historical fiction, but I couldn't put this book down. Darker themes such as murder, witchcraft and extortion characterized this story, but this was balanced perfectly with the subtle humor incorporated into the descriptions of the characters...Below is my review from 


"I just completed the first book in The Hangman's Daughter series and I'm officially addicted. I'm beyond excited that this book is part of a series because I was so sorry to see it end. The vivid character descriptions, detailed sense of time and place, and page-turning suspense completely immerse the reader in the story. The Hangman's Daughter and its colorful cast of characters transported me to the bustling world of 1659 Schongau, Bavaria in the midst of a town crisis that invovled murder, alleged witchcraft, and greed in its ugliest form. In this story, an unlikely cast of characters (a hangman and his daughter along with the town's young physician), take it upon themselves to solve the mysteries around the killings and set things right in the town of Schongau before times runs out... This was an outstanding read, especially for fans of historical fiction. I'm so glad that the story of the hangman along, with his sidekicks, continues with the next book in the series, The Dark Monk. I can't wait to start reading it today" - mkbashline from

Check out this awesome series on

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Hangman's Daugher by Oliver Potzsch...Even Better Than I expected.

First off, although I'm an extremely avid reader, I don't read much historical fiction. However, I do enjoy reading such novels when the opportunity arises.  BzzAgent has given me the opportunity to enjoy and review two very engaging historical fiction novels by Oliver Potzsch, The Hangman's Daughter and The Dark Monk. 

I received my complementary Kindle copies of the books only a couple of days ago and I've already read over half of the first book in the series The Hangman's Daughter." This book grabbed my attention from the very start with the graphic execution scene described in the prologue. 

The following is taken from my first formal review on

"I'm now over halfway through the first book in this richly detailed historical fiction series by Oliver Potzch and I'm enjoyed the it immensely. I've been completely drawn in by the incredibly vivid sense of place developed by the author. One of the things about this series that makes it so enjoyable to read is its ability to transport the readers to 1659 Bavaria...The descriptions of the characters themselves and the town of Schongau made the reader feel that they are living the story. The story itself chronicles the events that unfold in tight-nit 17th century town after several of the town's orphans turn up murdered. The gruesome details surrounding the deaths of the children spark accusations of witchcraft and malay quickly ensues. If you enjoyed reading about the Salem Witch Trials of other historical concepts of a dark nature, this series may be an excellent summer read. Some of the details of the book can be graphic and violent but they are written so appropriately within the context of the story that the novel retains it's dignity. I hope to finish "The Hangman's Daughter" by the end of the weekend and start right into the next book in the series, "The Dark Monk."

Please check out these great alternative summer reads at the

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Looking Forward to Being Inspired by "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead."

I've just joined a new BzzCampaign through BzzAgent and I'm really excited to receive my BzzKit featuring the documentary "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead." This documentary explains how juicing with fresh fruits and veggies can have enormous health benefits like weight loss, lower blood sugar and reduced cholesterol. I juice pretty regularly but I'm really excited to amp it up as part of this new campaign. I'm hoping to discover some great new juicing recipes that will motivate me to possibly take my juicing and  veggie intake to the next level. One of the greatest things about juicing is that it gives you the ability to take in large amounts of nutrients at one time from fruits and veggies...By extracting the raw, nutrient rich juices and removing the plant fiber, one is left with a liquid powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and macro-nurients. 

We Survived the Trip to Pennsylvania...

I'm very happy to report that Stephanie and I arrived in Pennsylvania without incident. We made it through two flights and one long layover in Houston with no projectile vomiting airsickness episodes, screaming tantrums, or falls down the escalator. We also managed to get through the TSA screening without being detained and questioned over a very suspicious Sesame Street sippy cup full of apple juice. The truth is, when Steph and I travel together without the husband/father things can get pretty hairy...

(Steph waiting at the gate)

When traveling, I'm definitely not the perfectly put together mom who wears skinny jeans and six inch wedges while managing to calmly march her three impeccably behaved children in a line through the airport. Much unlike aforementioned "put together mom", I have failed to master the art of fitting all of me and the kiddo's carryon needs into one compact and stylish bag. When flying with Steph, I'm usually sporting my Old Navy yoga pants, a tunic, and Crocs as I shlep through the airport with a stroller or cart piled high with bags of various sizes and a carseat (sometimes kiddo is strapped to it). On other occasions, I have Stephanie tethered to her Winnie the Pooh backpack-harness/leash (as I push the stroller full of junk)...this I have found is the only way to keep her from running off into the crowd and pickpocketing people for their smartphones.

(Smartecarte = Perfect for Hauling Toddler and 70lb carseat)

(The availability of Dora in flight kept things under control.) 

So the point is here that traveling alone with a toddler is never pretty when I do it, but we get it done. It's just so nice to be back in the hometown, spending time with family and catching up with some awesome lifelong friends. Steph is loving the stay with Grammy and PapPap (who's house now looks like four toddlers live there). We're also taking in the beautiful Pennsylvania weather and lush green landscape (two things I miss terribly living in Central Texas). It's going to be a relaxing couple of weeks...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Iced Herbals...A Refreshing Choice for Hot Summer Days

Summer is officially here and it's the perfect time to enjoy iced tea. Here in Texas, iced tea is a staple at family dinners, barbeques and relaxing weekends by the pool. I've always been a big fan of traditional iced black tea with lemon (usually substituting stevia for sugar when I can). But recently I started playing around with some of my favorite herbal teas by serving them over ice. I've tried almost a dozen herbal teas over ice and each and every one has been delicious, but my personal favorite iced herbal blend is Country Peach Passion by Celestial Seasonings. When served over ice, this stuff is about as refreshing and summery as it gets. I usually amp up the natural peach flavor by tossing some frozen peach slices into the glass or pitcher. 


It's super simple to prepare in large batches or individual servings...


(Iced Country Peach Passion Herbal Tea)

Iced Herbal Tea (flavor of your choosing) 


2 cups of boiling water

4-6 cups of cold water

4 bags of herbal tea of your choice (fruit flavors work best)

1 1/2 cups of frozen fruit of your choice

1/4 cup sugar or 4 packets of stevia (or sweetener of choice) 

Enough ice to fill your pitcher to halfway 


1) Bring 2 cups of water to a rapid boil and remove from heat.

2) Add tea bags to boiled water and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes, then remove..

3) Add sugar or sweetener to hot concentrated tea and stir until dissolved. 

3) Fill a pitcher halfway with ice.

4) Add the frozen fruit to pitcher.

5) Add the 2 cups of steeped sweetened tea to pitcher.

6) Add 4-6 cups of cold water to pitcher and stir thoroughly. 

7) Serve in tall glasses being sure to include some fruit in each glass. 

* All ingredients can be adjusted to taste


Friday, June 1, 2012

Delicious vegan cuisine right here in Kyle, Tx!

Tex Mex Calabaza (Steph and I just loved this yummy lunch)


 I'm always looking for a way to incorporate more healthy eating (way more fresh and organic veggies) into into our lives without spending mucho money at the grocery or three hours a day in the kitchen. As a busy mom and student, healthy and convenient are two qualities that I'm always looking for when it comes to quick lunches and dinners for myself and the family...Now enters the answer to my prayers...Veggytopia! Veggytopia is this awesome family owned vegan meal delivery service that set up shop right here in the Plum Creek subdivision. I've placed weekly food orders almost a dozen times now and I've never been disappointed. The fare is extremely creative, flavorful and fresh. The convenience of the food alone has saved me on many a night when I haven't had the time to whip up dinner from scratch. Just heat and serve. This kind of quick-fix convenience is usually associated with food that has tons of excess calories and preservatives, but at Veggytopia, every meal is crafted with health in mind. They also offer an outstanding line of made-to-order vegan baked goods. I've tried the Cranberry-Orange Nut Muffins and they were perfect for breakfast. All wheat-contaning meals and baked goods are also available gluten-free!!! Veggytopia, you definitely got it right. If you live in Kyle or the surrounding area, you have to check them out. The staff and owners are super friendly and always looking for ways to create a better customer experience.

The Hangman's Daugher series is on the way from BzzAgent!!

I'm so excited to start reading The Dark Monk and The Hangman's Daughter. I'm just waiting for my digital copies to arrive on my Kindle via BzzAgent. I love historical fiction, especially darker tales, like these books appear to be.