Caller of Light
by TJ Shaw is an intriguing fantasy that introduces a society that has creatures known as Critons and reminded me of how much I fell in love with the dragons that populated Anne McCaffrey's tales. The author did a lovely job of introducing a charismatic young woman who seeks to be loved by her family but somehow is shunted aside because of her half-breed status and resorts to keeping company with the formidable flying creatures who are used in defense of various kingdoms. This is a more adult fantasy that still manages to instill in the reader that sense of awe and fascination for the idea of bonding with a semi-wild creature that can fight and fly but allows special people to ride him or her. There are naturally some sections of the story that could use a little polishing but nothing major that detracts from the overall tale. I like my heroines with a little more spunk than she displays initially but she acts in a manner consistent with her background and, although I would like to shake a little sense into her hard-headed lover, he does seem to wise up over time, thank goodness. I think this is a great start to a series that has a lot of possibility and I look forward to reading about more adventures in this universe. My Amazon review is at this link. The author's website is at this link.
On a personal note....
One of the most thoughtful things that my best friend does for me is to find treats for me to consume. The previous Christmas she reminded me of how much I love pineapple Jelly Bellies. It is amazing how you can forget about things that you used to really love although it is just as well that I stopped eating the addictive things since they were doing strange things to my jaw, not to mention what all that sugar did to my teeth, lol. This past Christmas she provided trail mix from Trader Joe's. Naturally, mine had dried pineapple chunks in it (yum) but I have found that I no longer appreciate raw nuts so much so we picked out the fruit and roasted the nuts. Delicious!
We tend to eat a lot of pecans (yes, warehouse stores are dangerous) but I freeze the package and take out a quantity for the week and roast them. It is pretty simple, just spread them out on a baking sheet and place them in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees Farenheit. Bake for about 4 minutes and then stir (I usually have a piece of foil on the baking sheet so I carefully lift diagonal corners and use that to shuffle the nuts around), salt if so desired and bake another 3-5 minutes. You have to watch them because they can burn fairly quickly but I have found that sniffing for the nice nutty aroma or watching for a darkening of the nuts usually indicates when to remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool and then they are great to nibble on as a snack, add to hot or cold cereal, or use in cookies. Yum.