Thursday, April 6, 2017

Double Up

Three years ago I was introduced to the Davis Way Mystery series.  These books make me laugh out loud and are so quick to read they are perfect for a Sunday afternoon on the couch or for the beach.  Actually have read 2 of them on the beach and the rest in a day on the couch.  May have been Sunday's, may be not.  The point being, if you need a book you can polish off in a day or something slim to throw in a beach bag, settle in I have a new one for you!

Double Up, by Gretchen Archer just came out March 21st from Henery Press and it's worth the space in your bag! This is the 6th story featuring the ever amusing Davis Way.  Each book has a new twist on Davis's job with the Bellissimo Casino.  This time she has newborn twins, a bit of post-partum anxiety/depression and a house that is ALIVE to deal with!

Description: Welcome aboard flight DOUBLE UP. Fasten your seatbelts for non-stop action as stiff competition blows into town and the resulting turbulence threatens to take down the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Super Secret Spy Davis Way Cole, who lives on the twenty-ninth floor of the hotel with her CEO husband and newborn twins, takes it hard. If the casino goes belly up, she won’t be a stay-at-home mom because she won’t have a home. Not to mention her husband won’t have a job.

Davis can’t find a way to stop the inevitable end of the Bellissimo life she loves until her ex-ex-mother-in-law shows up, unexpected and definitely uninvited. Davis makes the best of a bad Bea Crawford situation and recruits her for a little corporate espionage work, which would’ve been great, had Bea not turned out to be the world’s worst spy.


Seatbacks and tray tables in their upright positions as we prepare for a bumpy ride with babies, bankruptcies, besties, and shrimp. (Shrimp?)

Enjoy your flight. .

Books in the Davis Way Crime Caper Mystery Series:


Oh my GOODNESS.  I was dying at this book.  My favorite part is towards the end with Davis is with her partner and crime and they are trying to 'save the day.'  The description of the smells and disgustingness they go through to save their jobs and loved ones had me rolling! I can't go into more detail without blowing plot but OMG, if you haven't started this series you need too. 

I keep saying I will check out other cozy mysteries from this press and each time I'm  at the library I forgot.  This summer I need to get on it.  They take me back to the early years of the Stephanie Plum series and boy do I love that series!

Anyone have any other funny/cozy mystery suggestions?

I received a copy of this book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wilde Lake

I think it is well established that I adore series.  I started the Tess Monaghan series when I was pregnant and basically caught up on the series within the first few months of my daughters life.  It started my love of Laura Lippman.  I've read a few of her stand alone novels, but the Tess series has been my favorite work by her.  Wilde Lake will now be my second favorite.

About Wilde Lake
• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)
An African-American man accused of rape by a humiliated girl.  A vengeful father.  A courageous attorney.  A worshipful daughter.  Think you know this story?  Think again. 

Laura Lippman, the “extravagantly gifted” (Chicago Tribune) New York Times bestselling author, delivers “one of her best novels ” (Washington Post)—a modern twist on To Kill a Mockingbird. Scott Turow writes in the New York Times, “Wilde Lake is a real success.”

Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney representing suburban Maryland—including the famous planned community of Columbia, created to be a utopia of racial and economic equality. Prosecuting a controversial case involving a disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death, the fiercely ambitious Lu is determined to avoid the traps that have destroyed other competitive, successful women. She’s going to play it smart to win this case—and win big—cementing her political future.

But her intensive preparation for trial unexpectedly dredges up painful recollections of another crime—the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Justice was done. Or was it? Did the events of 1980 happen as she remembers them? She was only a child then. What details didn’t she know?

As she plunges deeper into the past, Lu is forced to face a troubling reality. The legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. But what happens when she realizes that, for the first time, she doesn’t want to know the whole truth?

Another thing this book has is flashbacks.  Lu is our narrator and she goes from 2015 and her first days on the job as a state attorney and her childhood.  Each trip back to childhood gives the reader more insight into this calm collected private grown woman.  Per my usual, I adore the parts where she goes back slightly more than present day.

One of my favorite parts of reading a Lippman book is the bonus Maryland history lesson you get as you read it.  As someone who has never been to Maryland, I feel like throughout my years of reading her book I've learned bits and pieces of its history and it sure has made me more interested in Baltimore than I ever was pre-Tess Monaghan series reading!

This is a book that sucks you in as you learn more about the family dynamic of the eccentric Brant family and the legal cases that ensnare the lawyers of the family. 

If you haven't picked up a Lippman novel before or you are a fan of the Tess Monaghan series, definitely try this one! Like I said, it's probably my favorite standalone by her that I've read yet.  She is a masterful crime/mystery writer.

Have you read any books by Laura Lippman? Have you been to Maryland? Do you work in the same field as a parent?

If you would like to check out the book you can purchase it from HarperCollins!

Thanks to TLC book tours for sending me this book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Friday, February 17, 2017


I have been looking forward to the weekend since last Sunday, A nice long weekend will be nice and refreshing.

The high of my week was being able to attend the Q&U wedding my daughter's class had on Valentine's Day! It was so cute and she was so excited that both of her parents could attend!

The low of my week was feeling like crap a lot this week.  Lots of headaches.

A book I am reading is The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diament.  I took a break to read a new Gretchen Archer book but I need to finish it up!

The best money I spent was hopefully on a new tanking from a Zulily sale.  Here's to hoping it fits/looks good when it arrives!

My plans this weekend include dinner out with daughter and husband tonight, possibly stopping by to see cousins that are in town for the weekend.  Tomorrow possibly a cider tasting and maybe out to dinner with said cousins.  Sunday we had talked about using the most current Book IT coupon the child has accumulated.  Monday I am the only one off so that will be nice and relaxing! Probably will get Starbucks, do some shopping, and reading!

What was the high of your week? What are you reading?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday Rambles

Ever wake up and your coffee makes you feel on top of the world? Welcome to this Saturday morning.  My coffee hit the spot for the first time this week (may also have coincided with a good long sleep last night) and I feel ready for anything.  I'm focused and wanting to make plans.  Just not ready enough to shower and get dressed ha.

I have some plans for the weekend but nothing concrete.  I got a new book in the mail, Double Up, by Gretchen Archer and I really just want to bury myself under the covers in my bedroom and read and laugh hysterically all day.  However, I think I have to parent.

We need to find evidence of art in the community so since it is going to be a whopping 40 degrees today I think we are going to our local public gardens to find some art.  I also need to fold some laundry and I feel inspired to do a workout, but I feel like this is rushing things just a tad.  May be a little to ambitious for my usual weekend plans.

However, this ready to go feeling may come from it being the first Saturday in weeks that I feel 100 percent.  And I'm not actually 100 percent because I still can't fully breathe through my nose, however I did not wake up with a sinus headache and it's a major win here.

I'm trying to do a little meal planning today as well because we need quick and easy during the week.  I'm trying to add more and more healthier options into our eating without alienating the natives.  I sautéed kale this week and it was actually a win so I want to recreate that again.  Our problem is my least healthiest eater is the cook.  So that is a problem ha.  I get home from work 30 to 40 minutes after them so it just makes sense for them to start dinner.  So it has to be chef approved to even attempt.  I did make a huge batch of chili last weekend and we froze some and the chef made some pulled pork that we froze so those are options.  We finished all of the creamy tomato soup that we made with our garden tomatoes last summer, so that's sad.

Basically, I need to find something that doesn't sound healthy and doesn't contain 'weird' items.  Weird items would include quinoa and anything whole wheat hahaha.

Have I mentioned how much I love coffee? I am mid-way through my second cup and it's just amazing today.  I had one cup with creamer and this is just black and let me just tell you it is love.  Coffee is love.  And so is no sinus pressure.  That is for the birds.

Switching topics I have a book problem.  I am partway through The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diament and I need to start Wilde Lake for a review and then Double Up is staring at me just wanting to be read.  SO MNNY BOOKS.  So very little time.  I just probably stop rambling to read, however I just felt that I've neglected this place so much that when I had a brain dump in my head I should utilize the motivation to place it here.

You're welcome.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Dressmaker's Dowry

This was the perfect book to read during the Super Bowl! (shhh) Okay, so I am a huge football fan but I was not interested in this years match up so I read the majority of this book during the game with breaks for the commercials.  Probably the first time in my adult life I did this.

About The Dressmaker's Dowry
• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 7, 2017)
For readers of Lucinda Riley, Sarah Jio, or Susan Meissner, this gripping historical debut novel tells the story of two women: one, an immigrant seamstress who disappears from San Francisco’s gritty streets in 1876, and the other, a young woman in present day who must delve into the secrets of her husband’s wealthy family only to discover that she and the missing dressmaker might be connected in unexpected ways.
An exquisite ring, passed down through generations, connects two women who learn that love is a choice, and forgiveness is the key to freedom...
San Francisco: 1876
Immigrant dressmakers Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O'Brien struggle to provide food for their siblings, while mending delicate clothing for the city's most affluent ladies. When wealthy Lucas Havensworth enters the shop, Hanna's future is altered forever. With Margaret's encouragement and the power of a borrowed green dress, Hanna dares to see herself as worthy of him. Then Margaret disappears, and Hanna turns to Lucas. Braving the gritty streets of the Barbary Coast and daring to enter the mansions of Nob Hill, Hanna stumbles upon Margaret’s fate, forcing her to make a devastating that will echo through the generations.
San Francisco: Present Day
In her elegant Marina apartment overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Sarah Havensworth struggles to complete the novel she quit her job for. Afraid to tell her husband of her writer’s block, Sarah is also hiding a darker secret—one that has haunted her for 14 years. Then a news headline from 1876 sparks inspiration: Missing Dressmakers Believed to be Murdered. Compelled to discover what happened to Hannelore and Margaret, Sarah returns to her roots as a journalist. Will her beautiful heirloom engagement ring uncover a connection to Hanna Schaeffer?

My thoughts:
This book hooked you in with the historical San Francisco storyline.   It was fast paced and the mystery was definitely one that kept the pages turning.  The past storyline was probably my favorite.  I really wanted to know what was going to happen to Hanna next. 

The present day storyline had me roll my eyes a few times.  Like how Sarah could marry her husband and not share a pretty major part of her past with him.  It was far more predictable than the past.  I felt it was necessary but could have been given a better intrigue in her story.  The throw in of her old magazines new editor was just a bit much.

I think this book is quite timely in reminding us that immigrants have always been judged harshly in America.  It's never been easy, but it's always been worth it.  Our ancestors bled and died for us to have the lives in the United States that we have today.  We should look back on their mistakes and know that you shouldn't be scared of new immigrants just because they are different than you.  Also, to think that back then there was no real immigration policy and people could randomly be turned back and sent back home or who knows who could just come!  Families got ripped apart then like they are ripped apart now.  But for always, America is a dream for many and the dream is simple.  Be free, work hard, and do better for your family without fear of persecution because of your religion, skin color, or sex.  Let's get it together America.

One last thing.  The name of the book.  It should be different in my opinion.  Dowry? Doesn't seem to fit the book.  I just had to get that out.  Maybe I'm missing something.

In conclusion, if you like historical novels, are interested in 1876 San Francisco (fascinating!), or just looking for a quick read that will make you think a bit, pick up The Dressmaker's Dowry by Meredith Jaeger.

You can purchase through HarperCollins

What are some historical fiction books you have enjoyed reading? What books set in California have you enjoyed?

I received this book from the TLC book tours all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Book Stats

How many books read in 2016? – 47 with a few unfinished.  Just couldn’t get them done in time.

How many fiction and non fiction? Two memoirs (same as last year) and 45 fiction.

Male/Female author ratio? 21 female and 8 male.  About the same ratio as last year which was 25 women and 10 men.  I tried not to double count authors.

Favorite book read in 2016? According to my 5 start goodreads ratings Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  I’d agree with these.  They are the ones I was most likely to recommend afterwards as well. 

Least favorite? Probably Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why? None that were so bad that I couldn’t finish but I had to stop Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardner because it was giving me anxiety and I set down with intentions of finishing Ginny Gall and Rare Objects, just have a couple chapers left but moved on and forgot to go back. But I have the best intentions to finish them out ha.

How many books from the library? 15 which is up from 8 from last year!

How many books read did I purchase?  6 new this year all for book club, 1 I bought used from a book sale a few years go

How many were gifts? 2 were Christmas gifts from last year, some of the magic tree houses were gifts /hand me downs and the Ivy & Bean books were all gifts too.

How many borrowed from others? 0

How many were given to me for reviews? 5 of my finished ones were.  2 of my unfinished were, so 7 total.   

How many books read on kindle? Like last year I read a half book of a Linda Castillo novel on kindle and I think I read Wench on Kindle.  So 1 and a half.  I bought a ton of books this year that were cheap on Kindle but I just haven’t read any.  I definitely prefer reading a real book. 

Any re-reads? Nope

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading? Italy, United States, Argentina, Canada, Thailand, Luxembourg, England, France, and Sweden.  There may have been more European countries involved but I can’t remember. 

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation? Beat the Reaper and The Good Neighbors wasn’t on my radar until book club.

Which author did you read the most of? Adriana Trigiani and Mary Pope Osborne ha.  Followed by the authors of the IVY & Bean series I read to my daughter.

What was your best reading month? February and March I both read 6 books.  But it seemed I averaged around 5 books a month.  Except for when I didn’t ha.

What was your worst reading month? August and October I only finished the book club picks.

2016 Reading Goals - revisited...

1. Read 52 books. – 47.  Almost.
2. Complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. – The thing about setting goals is you need to make a plan.  Kind of fell of this plan. Plus I wasn’t really interested in the topics this year.
3. Read more books that I own and continue donating. I donated two more bags of books that I can remember and sold some at a garage sale.  I think I read 2 books that had been on my shelf for awhile.
4. Post more on the blog.  – BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. WHOOPS. 

2017 Reading Goals (why I make these when we all know I don’t actually do work towards them)
1. Read 52 books.
2. Complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.  It does appear more interesting to me this year.
3. Read more books that I own and continue donating

How many books did you read this year? Did you complete your 2016 reading goals? What are your goals for 2017? Which author did you read the most of? What was your most recommended book? Any you couldn't finish?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Books Read in 2016

I've had a pretty decent year reading. Not that I did a good job of sharing it here! I haven't been IN LOVE with anything as this is the best book ever but I've read quite a few enjoyable books this year that I've recommended to others.  I was trying to think of my favorite pick and I just couldn't pick 1 that was the best thing ever this year. So without further ado, here are my picks out of what I've read this year no particular order..

The Boston Girl - Anita Diamant

This book is narrated by Addie who is telling her life story to her grand daughter.  It's a story of immigrants, coming of age and the way of life for young women coming up in Boston during the early 1900s.  The glimpses of how life was like kept me fascinated.  Hearing Addie tell her story in a no nonsense manner and how she came from sharing a bed in a tenement house to married to a lawyer and a professor is quite fascinating.  This was a book club pick.

Brava, Valentine - Adriana Trigiani

This is the second book in a three book series that focuses on Valentine Roncalli , her business adventures, her love adventures and her crazy family.  Sensing a theme here in my reading, this series is also a coming of age story.  I picked the second book to share my love for this series because this is the one I loved the most.  The first book is great and so is the final book, so go beginning to end! But the middle will keep you hooked. 

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

I had heard so much about this book but at first I was leery because I am not typically a dystopian reader.  But I've read a few lately and non have actually disappointed.  I suggested this as a book club pick and we all loved it.  It was actually a local pick for our library's community read awhile ago and I wish we had read it then because I believe the author actually came.

Anywhoo, this books premise is that the world has been infected by a horrible flu and almost everyone dies.  Those that don't are forced into a world with no electricity, no gas, nothing modern.  Thrown back into the world of survival, cults and danger everywhere.  It follows this rag tag group of actors who perform Shakespeare around the area formerly known as Michigan.  SO GOOD!

Good Neighbors - Ryan David Jahn

This book is loosely based off the Kitty Genovese murder in NY in the 1960s.  It is fascinating.  How many people heard/saw things of a brutal attack and murder of a neighbor and no one did anything.  They all assumed someone else would do something or had done something or that they shouldn't get involved.  This is a great book for discussion.  Also a book club pick.  We apparently had a stellar year of picks!

The Kitchen House - Kathleen Grissom

Also a book club pick! ;)

Description:  When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk

What are your favorite books of 2016? Did you read any great books with a book club that you think we might like to read this year? We are picking new books in March! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Meal Plan

I am not as on the ball as I used to be with a monthly meal plan but I have gotten better at doing a weekly meal plan and sticking to it.  This summer we were a HOT MESS in this department but I swear the school year structures us so much better.  And plus since I am not the main chef during the week and we eat later  now that we ever have I've gotten to find the quickest and easiest week day meals.

Monday - Parmesan Pork Chops , Macaroni & Cheese and a Salad

This has become a family favorite and is so yummy.  We actually have never made them with lemon because we forgot to buy it the first time and it's so good without it we don't need it.  We've also discussed making this on chicken.  It is our favorite way to do pork chops for sure!

Tuesday - Tacos and Spanish Rice

Wednesday - Stuffed Broccoli and Cheese Chicken breasts with butter noodles and peaches

Thursday - Homemade Roasted Tomato Soup with Corn Muffins  We made a ton of this soup with tomatoes from our garden and froze it.  So yummy.  Honestly the only tomato soup I've ever liked!

Friday - Leftovers or if we don't have leftovers we are doing breakfast for dinner!

As a weekly meal plan bonus we made Crockpot Italian Beef Sandwiches on Sunday and they were soooo darn good!

For lunches I am planning on a lean cuisine meal, some salads and maybe soup.  My child will most likely have salami and cheese every day ha.

What's on your menu this week?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Last Week's Workouts

I have really been having a hard time (per usual) maintaining a workout program.  A friend and I were discussing the phrase "it's a lifestyle" and umm what if I don't want it to be a lifestyle but more so a chore that I am consistent with? Such as like how often I clear the counters in my house? That I can get behind.  And like working out, cleaning is also an area where I just don't have a schedule that's consistent, nor a house that is always clean.  So, yeah. 

However, whenever I can make a streak I do like to brag so here I am.  ;)

Monday -  33 minutes on the treadmill and then a mix of strength and core.  I'm most successful when I use the treadmill consistently.  It works for me.  But, I also get bored.  Probably because I also can't run forever and day or fast so it's a chore.  I started with a 3 and a half minute walk, jumped off the treadmill did 10 jumping jacks and then got on for another 3 minutes, hopped off and did squats and so on until I hit around 20 minutes.  I should also say I started super slow and then after I hopped of the treadmill I moved up the speed a tenth each time.  I bottom out at 3.8 and then go down to 3.5 and up again and so.  Also at 20 minutes I hopped off to do weights or calf raises every 2 minutes.  My main goal was to at least hit 10,000 steps on my fitbit and try to beat people that I was in fitbit challenges with.  I like competition ha.

Tuesday - Same story.  Did the time on the treadmill and hopped off to do some strength and core activities.  I had made a list of a bunch of them one other time so I just went down the list as I went.  It definitely kept things moving.  My memory is shot but I may have ran some today too. 

Wednesday -  I did 40 minutes and added some running today as well.  I switched every 2 minutes with increasing speed and then when I got to 20 minutes I walked a minute, ran 30 seconds and did that to 25 minutes.  When I got to 30 minutes I walked a minute, ran a minute and did that up to 35 minutes without hopping off to switch.

Thursday - 25 minutes on the treadmill.  This time I started running at 15 minutes and did 1 minute walk, 30 second run up to 20 minutes.  My legs were feeling the 4th day of working out and were super heavy.  So when I reach the steps I desired I cut short at 25 minutes.


Friday - I took a 15 minute walk during my lunch hour.  I found a neighborhood nearby that I can park in that is quiet and easily walkable.  I probably can get up to 30 minutes on a day that I packed a lunch.  Maybe even more just depends on timing!

Saturday - off

Sunday - 30 minute walk , it was beautiful outside so I went for a quick walk

This week I have plans for ore of the same, with increasing my speed and run time.  I made a list of strength/core/leg/butt/lifting moves to do in my hopping off the treadmill time.  But it definitely keeps me entertained.

Did you workout this week? Did you plan ahead or go with the flow?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Five Things Friday!

TGIF!!!!!!!!! I wish I had today off with my kiddo.  She and my dad are hitting up the zoo later today and I am jealous that I am stuck in the office.  Adulting is hard!!!

1.       I am so proud of myself! I’ve worked out 4 days this week!!! 4 days after I my kiddo to sleep I went downstairs and worked out! I did some intervals on the treadmill mixed in with strength and core exercises.  Last week I managed to put ON the workout clothes but THIS week I DID IT!!!! Thank you fitbit for the motivation, and Becky’s ridiculous steps to keep me on the treadmill when I wanted to quit but I also wanted to try to beat her.  Ha.  ;)

2.       Devil Food Cake donuts may be the best thing I discovered this week.  See also why I need to work out.  I can’t seem to eat healthy no matter the prepping I do ha.  But OMG these with coffee are the best things right now.
3.       Kindergarten is hard stuff.  My child is a nightmare.  She is so freaking tired and eats like we never feed her.  I know she is getting good food and snacks and I can’t possibly pack her more of a lunch because she has no extra time to eat more food.  But man.  We have severe emotional events on the daily because of lack of sleep or hunger or because I do not know the words to a dang made up song her teacher taught them about the month of October. I AM NOT A MAGICIAN.  Basically, she gets a nap every day that I can get one in her.  YOU GET A NAP. YOU GET A NAP. YOU GET A NAP.  

at least she's cute???

4.       We are planning on going up north to check out M-22’s Tunnel of Trees and I AM SO EXCITED.  We found a groupon for a resort hotel in Bellaire (near Short’s Brewing Company) woot woot and plan on hitting as many wineries as possible.  I am hoping to stop in Fishtown to show Isla the docks and just see the awesome beauty of northern Michigan in autumn! Before I want to curl up and cry for the next who knows how many months that winter will last.


5.       I really need to update stuff in my house.  I have been looking at house listings for houses near me and for houses up north where we hope to eventually by a vacation home and my carpet needs gone NOW.  And I need a new couch and a decision to be made on wall colors.  WHY IS THIS SO HARD??? My carpet and walls has been high priority since JANUARY 2015.  I just cannot commit.   I know I want a brown couch.  And brownish carpet.  Not all brown but a mixture.  I see it in pictures what I want but then I go to stores and just no.  Not what I want.  Then I kind of want to have the kitchen painted a dark color and that to extend to the dining area and that opens directly up to the living room so do I want that to be a light tan or what? Then I randomly like blue walls.  But will blue walls go with the furniture? The furniture that we have that is staying are brown shades.  AHHH.  I wish I could make decisions.  Or that my husband could.  For real some first world problems up in here.

What are your plans for the weekend? Reading anything good?