Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Double Strike

The third installment of the Davis Way Crime Caper series is as laugh out loud funny as the first two.  I read it in less than 24 hours and it had got me rolling with laughter.

"She'd mentioned it.  She made me hang my head out the window on the ride over.  No hair and Makeup Angela had somehow gotten her hands on a gallon jug of bull goo (I didn't ask) and I was treating myself to a Viagra mask before this Monday got into full swing.  Angela taped a note to the bucket: Get it on for an hour in the mornings, let it sink into your scalp, and even after you shampoo it out it will work its magi all day.  I had a shower cap over the bull mask and a cashmere sweater tied around the shower cap (a last-minute grab because I tossed ten drawers in our closet and still couldn't find a scarf) but bulls are stronger than plastic and cashmere.  I couldn't do the keep-it-cold business, because I just didn't have time to fashion an ice hat for myself, and I didn't want to freeze to death.  After battling the sleeves of the sweater out of my face a hundred times, I gave up and tied them in a knot on top of my head.  "This isn't a fashion show, Fantasy."

The book begins the day before Davis is supposed to marry Bradley Cole, but of COURSE nothing goes as planned. 

Description: Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way knows three things: Cooking isn't a prerequisite for a happy marriage, don't trust men who look like David Hasselhoff, and money doesn't grow on Christmas trees. None of which help when a storm hits the Gulf a week before the most anticipated event in Bellissimo history: the Strike It Rich Sweepstakes. Securing the guests, staff, and property might take a stray bullet. Or two.

Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way has three problems: She's desperate to change her marital status, she has a new boss who speaks in hashtags, and Bianca Sanders has confiscated her clothes. All of which bring on a headache hot enough to spark a fire. Solving her problems means stealing a car. From a dingbat lawyer.

Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way has three goals: Keep the Sanders family out of prison, regain her footing in her relationship, and find the genius who wrote the software for futureGaming. One of which, the manhunt one, is iffy. Because when Alabama hides someone, they hide them good.

DOUBLE STRIKE. A VIP invitation to an extraordinary high-stakes gaming event, as thieves, feds, dance instructors, shady bankers, kidnappers, and gold waiters go all in. #Don'tMissIt

This book was great.  Davis, Fantasy and Baylor keep getting into ridiculous predicaments and it is down right hilarious! I really enjoyed all the different hash tags and the making fun of social media.  It was genius.  I also loved the new story lines and new characters that brought hilarity to the group. 

This is a smarter, funnier Stephanie Plum series.  Or maybe like the early Stephanie Plum was.  It's great!  If you need a laugh or a new series to check out I highly recommend the Davis Way Crime Capers by Gretchen Archer!

The only sad part is that I will have to wait so long until the 4th book comes out.  YOU however can catch right up to the series as this book comes out today!!!

What was the last laugh out loud book you read? Do you ever wonder what behind the scenes at a casino would look like?

I received this book from the publisher for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stitch Fix #2

I got my second Stitch Fix last week, a day earlier than it was expected again, and I once again loved my selections! After my first Fix when things weren't exactly fitting well but were all things I liked, I adjusted my settings and this second Fix was a much better fit!

The first thing I noticed was the WHITE Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse.  I had pretty much decided before I even looked at how it fit or the price that it would go back because me with white is just asking for disaster.  At work, I have 14 little bodies to hand print it with another color and at home I have a 3 year old buddy to do the same.  And ANYWHERE, I have my clumsy self to deal with.  I did however try it on and it was very see through so it would require a tank underneath.  However, it was snug in my chest area but lots of material on the sleeves, so just no.

The second thing I tried on were the Kaleigh Ankle Biter Skinny Jeans.  While in the last fix I couldn't even get the pants all the way up, these I could and they fit! I tried these on probably three different times debating on them.  I didn't LOVE them.  They were amazing.  They bunched a little weird on my lower leg.  I also own a pair that is slightly similar in color.  So I decided no, because I didn't NEED them or LOVE them for $88.

I though the Mico Cut Out Drop Earrings looked super cute.  I tried them on and I just wasn't comfortable in them.  They are super cute, but I am not used to wear BIG earrings and I just wasn't in love.  Honestly, now with my new hair cut I may have liked them a bit more.  I just felt a little uncomfortable wearing them.  I think I only own stud earrings and a few drop earrings but not even a hoop.  So I may need a earring stylist ha.

Next I tried on the Corinna Striped Dolman Top.  I really liked the green color and I loved the length.  It was perfect for me to wear with skinny jeans or dark work pants.  The arms fit and the chest area fit.  However, it was very roomy in my stomach area.  Like so roomy that it then didn't lay right.  I honestly tried this on multiple times with multiple pants and looked in multiple mirrors because I WANTED to like this shirt.  I've been wanting a shirt just like this.  But, I knew if I got it, I would constantly be worried about the baggy-ness of the stomach area.  So, this was sent back too.

I have a cardigan problem.  I adore them.  I live in them.  I was so excited to try on the Chamberlin Striped Drape Front Cardigan.  It's a nice long perfect length for what I like.  So perfect with my jeans and boots and PERFECT with my leggings.  It was a bit pricey so I tried it on a gazillion times with almost my whole wardrobe and I finally decided to ignore my cheapness and get it! Also, the sleeves fit perfectly and it is so soft! I'm worried how the drape will lay occasionally, but I don't really care.  Because it is so soft and comfy!

I decided to sign up for another fix, but not until December.  I've been impressed with the selections because they've all looked like things I'd enjoy on the hanger, but the putting it on my body is always up for a crap shoot!

If you'd like to check out Stitch Fix and give me a credit for my next fix, please and thank you! Please click here for my referral link!  Otherwise, this is solely my opinion and paid for by my hard earned dollars. 

If you don't know about Stitch Fix, it is a service where you pay a $20 styling fee and get 5 pieces delivered straight to your house.  You can try them on and keep what you want and mail back what you don't.  You can spend as little as the $20 if you don't like anything but if you do buy something the 20 is taken off that item.  You also get a discount if you order all 5 things!  It's pretty fun and it will sure beat going out into the crowds this winter!

What was your favorite item pictured? (Sorry, I suck at actually photographing my stuff! ha)

And a bonus pic.. My new hair.. I kinda love it.  I just hope I can make it cute on my own!

Monday, October 6, 2014

GI Brides

I love WWII stories.  I love reading about the people, how it happened, what life was like, and what they did to make do.  I really enjoyed GI Brides by Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi which is a TRUE story of four different British women who married American GIs.  It isn't all roses, but what marriage is? There is pain, trouble love and perseverance.  There is polio, alcoholism, gambling, ridiculous in laws, courageous women, fabulous sister-in-laws, supportive parents and great new friends.

Description: For readers enchanted by the bestsellers The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Summer at Tiffany’s, an absorbing tale of romance and resilience—the true story of four British women who crossed the Atlantic for love, coming to America at the end of World War II to make a new life with the American servicemen they married.

The “friendly invasion” of Britain by over a million American G.I.s bewitched a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms, and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s easily conquered their hearts, leaving British boys fighting abroad green with envy. But for girls like Sylvia, Margaret, Gwendolyn, and even the skeptical Rae, American soldiers offered something even more tantalizing than chocolate, chewing gum, and nylon stockings: an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a new life in affluent, modern America.

Through the stories of these four women, G.I. Brides illuminates the experiences of war brides who found themselves in a foreign culture thousands of miles away from family and friends, with men they hardly knew. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America, or found their soldier less than heroic in civilian life. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair, and prove to those back home that a Hollywood ending of their own was possible.

G.I. Brides includes an eight-pages insert that features 45-black-and-white photos.

My favorite part about this book is that it is true and it does NOT read like a boring non-fiction read.  Not to say that non-fiction is boring, but we've all read the type! This reads like fiction and you would never know it was true if you didn't read the back cover.  Err, that would be me ha.  I apparently didn't read that little fact until midway through the book they had the pictures and I was like oooh and I looked on the back and read "true story" yeah...

I loved reading all the different stories.  I enjoyed reading about Sylvia's time during WWII when she worked at a hotel and volunteered for the Red Cross.  Margaret's situation with her husband kept me intrigued and I couldn't wait to get back to the chapters about her.  Lyn had a fascinating life and I really enjoyed reading about her Italian mother-in-law who she feuded with! Rae was a very brave and strong person and her story was very interesting as well. 

I can't really pick a favorite because they each had very interesting parts of their stories.  Hence why they were picked.  In the back the authors were interviewed and they said they had interviewed thousands of women who came across to marry their GI's but they picked these four because they all over came an obstacle. 

A very quick and entertaining read.  Super informative and a new look into WWII for me!

Have your read books about what was happening in Great Britain during WWII? Did your grandparents meet during that time period? What is your favorite WWII book?

I received this book from the publisher but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Looking Forward

The weather has been amazing but it's right at that point where it's turning into the dreaded 9 month winter.  Please let EVERYONE be wrong and have a super mild winter.  PLEASE.  I'm getting old and can not take anything under 60 anymore.  I need to play the lotto to get myself outta here! ;)

Today - Hump Day! I'm excited that I only have students one more day this week after today! We are learning about apples right now and it's exciting watching them just soak up new information.

This weekend - I am getting my hair cut and dyed! I am so ready.  I haven't been since April.  My hair is a weird color and it needs to go.  And my hair has hit the length where I'm always like CHOP IT OFF! I can't decide if I want to do 3 inches or four.  I know I want a dark brown color with no red hints.

This month - Louisville! A family friend is getting married and I am headed down with my parents.  A whole weekend child and husband free!! WOOO.  I am stoked to hang out with some friends and drink and read! And not be in charge of anything! I'm also excited for our family pictures! But I need to figure out what we are wearing!

This year - My bff is getting married! I can't wait.  I am so excited for her!

What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Letter to My Morning Grumble Grumble

Dear Mr. Big Truck Hauling a Boat,
You sir pulled right out in front of me while I was going 55 miles per hour on a state highway.(Okay, more like 60).  There was NOBODY behind me.  You then proceeded to pull your precious dinky fishing boat the half mile to the local fast food eatery at a snails pace and then pulled in without a turn signal.  I will let you know, that you made me slam on my brakes made my THREE year old yell WHOA and annoyed me greatly.  Seriously, THERE WAS NO ONE BEHIND ME.  I WAS RIGHT THERE.  Wait 30 seconds and annoy no one.  I hope you drive your boat better than your truck.  Watch out for the stumps.


(P.S.  I have the road rage bad, especially in the morning. Do not talk to me until my coffee is digested.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Favors & Lies

This is the third book by Mark Gilleo that I've read and it is by far the best.  His first Love Thy Neighbor was eh, with a great plot, but the writing bothered me and the second, Sweat, was better than Love Thy Neighbor, but I had to look up both of the books to remember much about either of them since it has been two years since I've read them!

I read Favors & Lies in one day.  My laptop was being weird during nap time so I ran a scan and plopped down on the couch and there I stayed for the rest of the day minus a few interruptions.

Description:  Dan Lord is a forty-year-old private detective with a law degree working the blurred line between right and wrong in the Nation’s Capital. As a self-employed solutions broker and legal consultant, he works for a very select clientele. He doesn’t advertise and only takes cases on referral. But when two people close to him are murdered, Dan's work becomes very personal.

With the assistance of a newly hired female intern, extracting clues from a ladder of acquaintances, Dan bounds through both the underbelly and elite of society, each step bringing more questions and yet ultimately taking him closer to the answer he seeks. A bail bondsman, a recluse hacker, a court clerk, a university student, an old-school barber, a high-class madam, an intelligence officer, a medical doctor, and a police detective are among the list of people Dan must cajole for help. His quest will lead him to discover things he never wanted to know, and put him in the position to reveal things that important people would prefer remain unrevealed.

Tense, ingenious, and filled with the unforgettable characters that have become a Mark Gilleo trademark, FAVORS AND LIES is the most thrilling novel yet from one of the great new voices in suspense fiction.

Dan Lord is the first main character of Gilleo's that I actually really really liked! I mean like the other's he is self-assured and confident but he DOES NOT come off as a major jerk unless he is talking to the police.  He is a main of intrigue and little tidbits about him came out as the plot thickened.  The way the book ended it left it open for a possible sequel and I would totally be interested!

This was a very fast paced suspense book that had madam's, prostitutes, the mob, CIA, Russian spies and more! It never felt like too many characters and it wasn't easily figured out.  Which, I liked.  All the questions were answered in the end and done so in a way that didn't leave you rolling your eyes or wondering how the heck that could have been!

I love detective suspense stories especially those that include the CIA or FBI.  I told my husband that if he ever were to pick up a book he'd like it and he said, "Whenever I want to read a book, you are so I can't." Whatever dude! This would make a great movie.

Do you read suspense novels? Do you watch suspense movies? I don't enjoy them as much as I do suspense TV and books!

I received this book from the publisher but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Murderer's Daughters

Ever have that book that stands out on the bookstore shelf at you time and time again and you just can't decide if you should spend the money? The Murderer's Daughters has been that book.  Ever since it came out it has taunted me.  I knew I'd eventually read it because it is right up my alley.  However, I couldn't justify a hardcover price, my library didn't have it and then finally I suggested it for a Books & Bars pick.  So, I went to my trusty friend amazon and finally spent the money.  It was worth it.

Description: Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He’s always hungered for the love of the girl’s self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.

Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.

For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success.

This isn't a book that wraps things up neat as can be at the end.  But, is there a happy ending after your father kills your mother and tries to kill himself and one of his daughters? This book focuses on the emotions and the havoc that is caused in Lulu's and Merry's life after their mother is killed by their father.  When you are essentially orphaned and your families hate each other and your grandmother's are old, whom do you turn to? Who will rise up and save you? This book focuses on the helpers and those hurt hindered Lulu and Merry after their childhoods were ruined.

It's sad and honest.  It's heartbreaking and beautifully written.  A simple question asked by one of the girls to their father at the end had instant tears in my eyes as I thought of my OWN baby girl growing up without me and wondering a simple fact about her mother that tore her up because she had no one to ask her family history. 

Ugh, gut wrenching, but I do recommend it!

Did you ever wonder if you were adopted when you were growing up? Did you ever imagine what life would be like if your parents passed away? Do you get along with your siblings?

Monday, September 22, 2014

October's Group Read is..

....The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry!

Description: On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

I will be posting discussion questions on October 31st! Who will be joining?

Monday, September 15, 2014

October Group Read Suggestions

Once again, I apologize for taking September off, I needed a breather with certain live issues! Here is a list of books we've already read and discussed...

The Pearl that Broke its Shell
On the Island
Eleanor & Park
Jane Eyre
The Rent Collector
Labor Day
Orphan Train
The Death of Bees
Liberating Paris
Life Sentences
Looking for Me
Ladder of Years
Where'd You Go Bernadette?
Beach Music
The Dinner
The End of Your Life Book Club
Still Alice 
The Song Remains the Same
Those Who Save Us
We Are All Welcome Here
Gone Girl
Prisoner of Tehran
The Wednesday Sisters
Looking for Alaska
Cutting for Stone
One Summer
The Year of Fog
Winter Garden
The Violets of March
State of Wonder
The Invisible Bridge
The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

What sounds good for you in October? Leave a suggestion in the comments on this post until the 19th and I will use random.org to pick a book for October!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September Meal Plan

Back to the grind again so that means back to meal planning a month out.  I let it go after spring break last year and that definitely turned into poorer eating choices and irresponsible grocery shopping.  But I'm starting off the school year fresh again with a plan.  Last year I had good intentions of making muffins on the weekend and having them for breakfast.  I think I lasted one or two weeks.  I'm giving it a go again this year but with the intention of freezing some each week and switching out with other ideas.  So, I will always have a quick to go in the freezer option or the generic cereal/milk or whatever we have around.  We always have oatmeal as well. 

For dinners I'm definitely starting the school year with a collection of your favorite one skillet meals, soups and crock pot recipes!

Week 1 -
Breakfast - Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

2nd - Cheesy Chicken & Rice in crock pot
3rd - Rotel Chicken (crock)
4th - leftovers
5th - leftovers or take out

Week 2
Breakfast - Baked Oatmeal Squares (big plans to add in pumpkin!)

8th - Quesadillas
9th - on our own (AND MY BABY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL!!!!)
10th - Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
11th - Cheesy Taco Soup

Week 3
Breakfast - Hard boiled Eggs

15th - Southwestern Chicken Skillet
16th - leftovers
17th - Three Cheese Lasagna Skillet
18th - leftovers
19th - takeout

Week 4
Breakfast - Banana Chocolate Muffins

22nd - Skillet Chili Mac
23rd - leftovers
24th - Buffalo Chicken Cheeseteaks
25th - book club / on your own
26th - Italian Chicken

Week 5
Breakfast - Smoothies

29th - Spaghetti
30th - Tacos

When I am doing my weekly shopping I will decide on fruits/veggies depending on what is on sale / our garden and what goes well with what is on sale.  I do rely on a lot of steamfresh bags of veggies for our sides.

Lunches are typically leftovers, quick sandwiches or I'm thinking of using muffins/hard boiled eggs as options too.  I have to eat my lunch with my students so I need something quick.  Especially now that we are eating in our classrooms and I probably won't be able to run out to use a microwave until nap time so then that would push my lunch time back until after 1:30.  So quick lunches with no need to reheat need to happen.  I never have good ideas for lunches besides chicken salad sandwiches and salami and cheese until I get sick of that.  I never really want salads at lunch unless they are taco salads.  Any lunch ideas?

What's on your menu? Any crock pot links that you've tried and loved? How do you make your hard boiled eggs? How do you eat them? Favorite fall food?