Monday, December 8, 2014

Best of 2014: Thrillers/Suspense

It's that time of year again where I like to share my lists because if there is something I love almost as much as books it is lists! Though, in true list making paranoia, I hate actually doing these in December because I mean there are still reading days LEFT IN 2014! What if whatever I end the year on is amazing and I can't share it because it falls in the in between of 2014 and 2015 reads? Ahh the horror. ;) I'm going to start this year with my favorite thrillers/suspense which I use loosely so get over it and make your own lists.

Dick Wolf - Intercept
Dick Wolf - Execution
Hypocrisy - D.M. Annechino
Say Goodbye - Lisa Gardner

Postmortem - Patricia Cornwell
Favors and Lies - Mark Gilleo
Surprisingly I didn't read as many in this category this year even though it is one of my favorites.  I basically kept it light and simple this year and it worked but I did miss my thrillers/suspense.  I can't believe I didn't read any Tess Gerritsen or Karen Slaughter.  Must remedy that soon.
What were your favorite thrillers/suspense books read in 2014?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Stitch Fix #3

Last weekend I opened my third Stitch Fix package! It is addicting.  I can't wait to see what I'm going to open.  I'll admit that as soon as I get the email that my box has been shipped I do go look in my cart to see what is coming my way and try to google or use pinterest to see what colors or what it may appear like.  Sometimes I can find similar items but I still don't always know what color or what it will specifically look like but it's enough of a tease to keep me excited!  Plus, I can start thinking about what I may want to keep or send back before I even get the items. ;)

I had requested a bag and they sent this gorgeous tote.  I liked it since I normally go for large bags but I didn't like that it didn't have a zipper on the top.  I am too klutzy to not have a zipper with a bag that large! It had a insert pouch that was a decent size but it wasn't love at first sight nor something I neeeeeded so I returned this.

This dress I loved.  I had pinned the exact one on my Pinterest board and my stylist sent it.  For a dress it was a miracle that it fit my boobs, was a perfect length, everything! But.... my butt looked rather large in back.  So it was a no go.  It did look super cute with leggings and my boots and probably a cardigan would have made it awesome too but I know me and it wasn't a winner.  Maybe if the chevron did not include white I would have been a fan.  As you can see, I had a playing dress up 'helper'.   Also, disregard my hair, I had no makeup on nor did I do my hair, since it was a Sunday.

I debated on this sweater.  It was a pinkish color and I need new sweaters like this, but it just seemed to make feel boxier or something.  It may have been from what I had available to try on underneath it at the time.  But I did like it.  I used to own a similar styled sweater once and I think if I was also the same weight as then I would have liked it.  But my boobs are like whoa and that is about all the positives and that is not really a positive.   And once again my helper.

In my last fix, I was sent a shirt that I really liked.  It was a green dolman styled top with thin black stripes.  I liked it but it was much too big.  So they sent me this blue with black hints one in a size smaller. This is not the most flattering picture and I need to clean my mirror from my helper (ha) but I really ended up liking it.  It makes my eyes pop and it's comfy and casual.  Something I need in my wardrobe.  I ended up keeping this one.

There was another shirt that I didn't even bother taking a picture of.  I had it also pinned on my Pinterest board and in theory it was cute.  Until it was on me.  Then it was a hot mess.  The top was cute and laid nice over my boobs and arms but it crossed over/ cinched on the side and went to a different print and it just accentuated my stomach area which was not good.  So it did not win a photo haha.

Overall I've been very pleased with what I've been sent.  It's been nice to slowly get newer nicer items into my wardrobe and I am going to continue scheduling fixes every now and then.  Right now I am pretty much doing about every other month and that seems to be about what I'll keep up for now.  It is so convenient to be sent to my house, try on, and send right back out! For 20 bucks to give a shot at clothes, it's as good as driving to a decent mall by me to attempt the same!

If you want to give Stitch Fix a try use this link to sign up and see what it's all about.  And get me a store credit if you do happen to schedule a fix! ;) Otherwise, it's just my opinion and my dollars at paying for these clothes.

Do you use Stitch Fix? Do you have a problem finding sweaters you like? How many undershirts do you own?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War

I admittedly do not know a lot about the Vietnam War, so when the opportunity to read this book written by a widow of a Captain in the U.S. Army who was killed in Vietnam I jumped at the chance.  There is something about reading a first person true version of our history that makes any topic infinitely more interesting. 

Description: A secret is revealed long after the battlefield death of a beloved and courageous army officer. His young widow, in an act of love, is inspired to climb to the treacherous north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps to find solace. She discovers years later that those who survived the war - his comrades devoted to keeping his memory alive - would bring the ultimate healing into her life. A compelling true story with a surprising revelation for those who seek to understand the sources of resilience and emotional transformation following heartbreaking loss, demonstrating the tenacious will of the human spirit to heal.

This is a powerful emotional personal account from Ruth.  She shares her background growing up in a peaceful religious family and how she met and fell in love with her beloved husband David Crocker.  He grew up in a military family and had a very different upbringing than herself. She shares how she innocent and naive she was in her first months of marriage when the military sent them to Germany.  She shares her lack of knowledge about what was going on in Vietnam at the time and so many other tidbits. 

The book skips around from different time periods (present day, her childhood, when she met Dave, his time at West Point, their different postings, her time at school, time after Dave etc..).  For someone who loves reading about others lives this was a unique peek into her life.  She was only 23 when her husband was killed!! He was 25.  Both of their lives were just beginning.  My heart broke for both of them so much.

This was a very quick read that I would recommend to anyone interested in memoirs, military life for wives during Vietnam or just an interesting life story by a very strong woman.

You can also enter to win a free copy through December 10th on goodreads.

My only complaint was that some things were repeated a few times when the time period switched back and forth.

Have you read any books about the Vietnam War? Any memoirs from spouses or servicemen or women from any war?

I received this book to read and review but all opinions are my own.

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Life According to Books 2014

While reading Stacy's blog I came across this fun meme.

1. Black Friday makes me (say) Don't Try to Find Me - Holly Brown

2. If you post racist jokes on Facebook, I Say Goodbye - Lisa Gardner

3. In my ID photo, I look like The Virgin of Small Plains - Nancy Pickard

4. If someone interrupts my reading, (their life may be..) Endangered - Jean Love Cush

5. When I read/watch the news, I (think) Hypocrisy -DM. Annechino

6. The last time I visited the zoo, I (saw) The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht

7. If I were a Supreme Court Justice, I (would deal with) Favors and Lies - Mark Gilleo

8. Absolutely nothing compares to The South of Broad - Pat Conroy

9. Best advice my mom gave me Those Who Remain (are true friends) - Ruth Crocker

10. My hope for 2015 is Summer Rental - Mary Kay Andrews

I hope you'll play along either on your blog or in the comments!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fun Weekend

I had such a great weekend it was one of those that you need a Monday off to recover.  If only...

My parents invited Isla over for a sleepover on Friday so I picked her up from daycare and dropped her at my parents after I was out of work.  Then I stopped by a friend's house to visit with her because she had an AWFUL fall and hurt her trachea/larynx, eye and broke 6 ribs!!!! She is so lucky to be okay.  I also feel bad for her because her daughter-in-law's mom passed away today and she feels horrible that she can't travel out of state to be with her son and his family right now.  So if you could keep my dear sweet friend in your thoughts I'd appreciate it.

After I visited with her I headed home and we got to pretend like it was 2010 before children again.  We relaxed, changed clothes and got ready for dinner out with our bff! It was so fun.  We ate dinner and chatted and then the husband and I hit up the store for supplies for our Saturday fun and then we went to our local taproom and had a drink before we headed home.

The reason we were very responsible on Friday was because we had a VERY long day of tailgating and attending the Ohio State vs. Michigan State football game in East Lansing! I was so pumped.  I am a lifelong buckeye fan who attended MSU.  So there is never a sad outcome.  Well, lets be real.  I do get sad when OSU loses.  I can't help it.  I always wear both my colors and whichever team is at home is the team color I wear outwardly.

the first layer.. well really there is a long sleeve shirt under here too.. IT WAS COLD!!!

 I'm sure people thought I was crazy in Spartan Stadium in my MSU gear cheering on my buckeyes. We got in to E.L.  about 12:30 and were in our parking lot by 12:52 even though the lot was supposed to open at 1:00.  We tailgated with some family and friends and it was a VERY fun day since the game started at 8:00.  I love college football and I love Big Ten campuses on Saturday's in the fall!

us with my dad's osu friends who came up for the game!

The Buckeyes prevailed and it was amazing.  I was shocked.  I honestly thought MSU was going to do the butt kicking. 

a view from our seats early in the game..

We didn't get home until after 2:00 and I was exhausted.  Especially since our darling was dropped back off home at 8:45 by my in laws.  Because oh yeah, my kid grandparent hopped over the weekend. ;) It was a fun fun time.  I spent most of Sunday recuperating on the couch.  Mainly because I woke up with an out of whack neck on Thursday that has NOT fully recovered.  Today was the first day I didn't require medicine or a heating pad to get out of bed.  Hoping tomorrow is even better!

What was your weekend highlight?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Vineyard

I like the unexpected and The Vineyard definitely is an unexpected book.  The description reads like it may be a chick flick but it goes much deeper than that.  The book begins with Charlotte arriving on the vineyard preparing her suicide.  It is hinted that she meets a fisherman that affects her and soon you meet this person and that person is very surprising to the plot and I don’t want to say much more in that regards.  But the beginning of the book introduces and reveals characters that make you want to keep flipping the pages to find out what is going to happen next…..

Description: From Michael Hurley, winner of the Chanticleer Reviews Grand Prize for his debut novel, THE PRODIGAL, comes a complex and ambitious tale of old money, young passion, and ancient mystery in a classic New England seaside town.

Dory Delano, Charlotte Harris, and Turner Graham have been drifting through life since their days as roommates at Smith College, ten years ago. Dory is resisting taking the reins of her family’s legacy and fortune even as she relishes the fabulous lifestyle it affords her in the fashionable seaside resort of Martha’s Vineyard. She invites her old friends to join her for a summer on the Vineyard in hopes of rediscovering the innocence of old days and healing new wounds. But hidden in their midst and unknown to all but a few, a reclusive—some say dangerous—fisherman wanders alone, fueling wild speculation about his purpose and his past. None of these women can imagine the events their encounter with the fisherman will set in motion, the shadow he will cast over their destinies, or the transformation that awaits the world they know.
Here is a link to the book trailer...
I will say that I think this would make an excellent book club selection and I'd love to discuss it if/when others read it!
Have you ever read a book and immediately seen symbolism? Have you ever been surprised in a non eye rolling way by a turn of events?
I received this book through TLC book tours.. all thoughts and opinions are my own!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And The Mountains Echoed

We read this for our October Books & Bars meeting.  All of us had read and loved The Kite Runner and one of us had also read A Thousand Splendid Suns so this seemed like a perfect pick.  The overall feeling was it was not as good as the others but we all enjoyed it to an extent.  I did think it drug on in spots and was a little blah but the storytelling was good.  We also agreed that while The Kite Runner stuck with us long after we had finished, this just wasn't one of those books. 

Description: Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page

My favorite parts were probably Nabi's, Idris's and Pari's.  I really wish instead of learning about Markos and his background there would have been a section on Nila and her upbringing and her feelings after leaving Afghanistan.  It was interesting to see how all the stories were intertwined and how one decision can affect so many in different generations!

Since I know most of you have already read it, I thought it would be neat to share a couple questions and if you remember and want to share some thoughts, that would be great!

1. Ultimately, do you think Pari would have had a happier life if she had stayed with her birth family?

I don't think she would have had the same opportunities and I don't know if she would have been as happy with the life that she would have had with them.  Not to say life with Nila was ideal, but her adult life would have been far different. Of course she would have had her brother but life for girls in Afghanistan at that time in such a small village did not hold a lot of promise for her.  Personally, I'd choose the new life she was given over what her birth family could offer. 

2. The book raises many deep questions about the wavering line between right and wrong, and whether it is possible to be purely "good"—or purely "bad." What do you think after reading the novel: Are good intentions enough to create good deeds? Can positive actions come from selfish motivations? Can bad come from positive intent? How do you think this novel would define a good person? How would you define one?

Nabi was very selfish when he suggested adoption to Nila.  Good did come from that but it wasn't his original aim.  Parwana I struggle with her choices.  I don't think in her heart she was very pure or good. I also think bad things do come from positive intent.  And in the book Idris definitely experienced that when he got too attached to the girl but then didn't follow through because he wasn't strong enough. 

Which book of Hosseini's is your favorite? Have you read any other books set in Afghanistan and/or the middle east that you'd recommend?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Five Things

Good Tuesday Morning! Here are five random things about me..

1. When I was younger I wanted to be a writer and filled many notebooks and journals with stories.  I lived so much in my head I could barely keep all my stories straight.

2.  I love road trips but prefer to be the driver.  As long as we aren't in a city or on a super busy highway.  I love two lane roads for random drives because I tend to get car sick as the passenger.  Unless the car is cold.

3. I spent my freshman year of college spring break with my grandparents in Scottsdale, AZ and would do it again in a flash.  I loved hanging out with them and had a lot more fun than if I had gone with my friends to Panama City, lets be real, I've always been an old person.

4. I hate cold weather.  It's getting worse each year.  I think I need to be in a place where 60s is the low in the winter.  I just cannot do this.  It's only the beginning of November and we had a decent October.  I don't think I own enough hoodies and sweats to get me through the winter.

5.  I don't really like apple cider.  I keep trying but unless it is a spruced up with some liquor and warmed, I'm just not that excited about it. 

What's something about you that I may not know?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Goals for this week

I am taking a page from Kelly and posting my goals for this week.  I can't be trusted to do a whole month of goals.  Meal plan? Yes.  But goals, eek. 

1. Work out twice this week.  My coworker and I are going to try to run/walk together right after school twice this week so I am planning on that being my two times.  We are doing a weight loss challenge and while I've done pretty well food wise, working out has been horrible.  So I need this so I don't have to pay in on Thursday!

2. Read the majority of The Vineyard.  I need to spend more time at night reading.  But it seems that I've spent most of my Internet time at night catching up facebook groups that I'm apart of and that is why I can't even stay up to date on my blog/blog reading.  And then I just want to go to bed early and no reading.

3.  Drink two of my water bottles full of water M-Th.  I've been slacking on the water consumption but I feel like I never remember to drink while I'm at work until after lunch!

What are your goals for the week? Month?

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Reading: The Vineyard!

Loving:  cardigans.. living in them.  that and these awesome jeans i got from old navy that don't fall off my butt and don't stretch out during the day!!

Thinking: about what I want to do with my life..

Frustrated:  my job

Feeling:  crazy, pulled in a million directions and that I am not doing any of my 'hats' well..

Anticipating: thanksgiving crazyness

Watching:  lots and lots of football!

Sad:  that I saw SNOW FLURRIES on Halloween which means WINTER.

Working:   on improving my life

Grateful:  for my child and how hilarious she is.  and smart.  she's so awesome.

Listening:  to kids books on cd on the way to and from work.  ever since my XM subscription ran out I've been very disappointed in local radio stations

Wishing: I could work part-time or in a position that I felt was a good fit.  I've been really pulled in a certain direction that is not where I'm at but I need to decide something soon...

What are you currently reading, watching or thinking about?