Monday, February 12, 2018

Looking Forward

Lately, I've been wanting to write more but felt too exhausted with life to come up with too many of my own thoughts.  So, here's too pre-scripted prompts..

This weekend we actually do not have anything planned, but a lot of our winter weekends have turned into extra chapters read in whatever Little House book we are in and extra episodes of the show.  I'm not quite sure what we will do when we come to an end to both!

This month not much.  February is such a blah month for me and after January felt like 2 years, this seems like this month at least has flown by.

In March my birthday! And the beginning of our road trip for Spring Break.  We will be spending the last bit of the month in Morgantown, West Virginia.  I can't wait!

In April I'm looking forward to our site seeing adventures in Washington D.C.  We have been watching you tube videos and talking about people in history and their memorials to get our daughter excited! 

This spring I'm looking forward to my program ending for the school year session in May.  It's been a very trying first year.  I will be glad to see it be done with!

This summer I'm looking forward to the sunshine! And hopefully visiting lakes and beaches in our pretty state!

What are you looking forward to these days?

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Reading : I just finished The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure.  I'm about to start Longbourn by Jo Baker.

Loving: How obsessed my daughter is with Little House right now.  The books and the TV show.  We have been reading the series as a family read aloud and watching episodes together too!  Also plotting out a road trip to check out the various Laura spots.

Feeling: DONE WITH WINTER.  SO done.

Thinking: about summer and what our plans will be.

Anticipating: spring break and our road trip to Washington D.C.!

Watching: S.WA.T. is my new favorite this year.  I mean Shemar Moore.. :)

Grateful: we've been mostly healthy this winter!

Listening to podcasts.  I just started "My Favorite Murder," and its good!

Wishing: for vacation.  and the sun.

What are you reading, watching and listening to currently?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Because of Winn Dixie

I'm generally not a book after movie person, but I so rarely read middle grade books that I thought it wouldn't matter.  So I recorded the movie and watched it a few years ago.  It's just a glimmer in my memory.  I've owned the book for several years and in December I decided it would be a great last book of the year or a great first book of the year.

First book of the year it was! Such a great quick read.  It would be a great read aloud, which I plan to do with my own daughter after we finish the Little House Series. 

India Opal is a very lonely girl who has just moved to a brand new town with her preacher dad, who she calls, Preacher.  Her mama left and she doesn't really remember her.  Opal lives in a trailer park with no other kids and hasn't made any new friends since she moved.

Enter Winn-Dixie.  Winn-Dixie is a lovable dog that Opal claims one day while shopping in the produce section of the local... Winn-Dixie.  Winn-Dixie brings Opal a bright spot that opens the door to friendships and belonging.

Such a cute tale and I good see glimmers of the movie in the back of my mind as I read.

Definitely recommend!

Are you a book before movie person or does it not matter?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

House Plans

I'm participating in Apartment Therapy's January Cure and today's task is to go through the house and find 3-5 big things in each area to attack this year.  I'm using this things that I need to update/organize better too.  Here is my list.

Entry Way
- Empty/clean/organize the closet
- Look into new tile
- Paint if windows/heating gets done

Living Room
- Empty/clean/organize my catch all drawer/cabinet
- Get bins to organize dvds (and/or get rid of them)
- Get bin to organize blanket area

Dining Room
- Clean Walls / add new photos to wall collage
- Get a system for storing homework/mail that doesn't include my kitchen table / possibly a small desk/table
- Look into getting a new overhead light

- Empty/clean/organize gadget cupboards
- Find a new overhead light
- Get new kitchen blinds

Kid's Bedroom
- Organize closet
- Get carpeting
- Paint/if windows/new heating system gets in

Bathroom Upstairs
- Organize Cabinets
- Clean Walls

- Clean closet shelves
- Clean/organize desk
- Go through filing cabinet

My Bedroom
- Clean Out closet
- Get new comforter
- Go Through sheets

Laundry Room
- Donate the donate bin
- Go through closet
- Organize left over items

Downstairs bathroom
- Paint

Bar/Hang out Area
- Organize the toys

Storage Room
- Go through boxes

This seems super overwhelming but I need to get this house under control.  Our new big projects are to get central air and replace the windows.  We also want to get an estimate on an addition for a master bedroom/bath and deck.  Basically, if that's out of our budget/won't be worth it in our neighborhood we may sell.  However, we do need to do the central air and windows.  And carpet in the living room and bedrooms.  And then the entire house needs painted.  After windows are done we will most likely need to get new siding.  So it's a huge mess.  I suggest we just move.  Since we can do none of the things.   I basically need Fixer Upper to come and completely redo my house for me to even like it.  And that's not going to happen.  I'd rather be in a different neighborhood with a house that is all ready.  The end.

What big house projects are on your agenda this year?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Best Books Read in 2017

I went through a lot of reading spurts in 2017.  I like different little rituals that I do in different situations.  Listen to a gazillion podcasts? Monday, I go by the most episodes per episode and the least amount of episodes back and forth when I have time to listen.  Tuesday, the latest downloaded episodes and the newest.  Wednesday, I scroll down twice and pick the shortest length podcast.  Thursday, I scroll down once and pick the shortest podcasts.  And Friday, I go to specific podcasts I want to catch up on.  I am a bit weird.  Also, in the card and need a new one? That's one scroll and a random pick.

Around November I decided to help pick up my reading by grabbing one book from the New Section of the library which was a two week check out and one from the Express Section that was a one week section.  I'd say since I read 15 books between November and December it was a good decision. So this new reading ritual (obsession) may be my new thing.

Some of my favorites in 2017 in no particular order...

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
I read this very early in 2017.  I was a super quick read and I wanted to then put it in the hands of all my friends that are going through rough patches and need a little encouragement.

Description: Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the "great green room" might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
I love Laura Lippman's books,  and this one did not disappoint. 

Description: Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.

As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of 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. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?

The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Wow.  This was so good.  Such a good book about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley.  An interesting fictional insight into the Jazz Age Paris and the artists they came in contact.  What a time it must have been!

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh
This was a great book I heard about on one of the Book Riot podcasts and one of my ritual pick ups from the library! Definitely recommend!

Description: Imagine a place populated by criminals-people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they’ve perpetrated a crime, or just witnessed one. What’s clear to them is that if they leave, they will end up dead.

For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace—but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her—and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway. It’s simmering with violence and deception, aching heartbreak and dark betrayals.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Ah! I loved this.  It was good ole Karin Slaughter at her best.  If you are into  suspenseful thrillers you need to check it out! I mean any book that has the description.. "Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind."

Beartown by Fredrick Backman
This was probably the book that was recommended the most that I held off the longest.  The description was sort of off putting to me, especially coming after reading A Man Called Ove, which I liked but took a bit to get into!

Refugee by Alan Gratz
This is a middle grade book that I highly recommend! It goes back and forth between 3 young kids in different time periods in different places throughout the world that need to seek refuge in other countries.  It is heartbreaking as hell and it makes you want to throat punch people who do not want to help those less fortunate than us lucky enough to not be a minority, under rule of a dictator or persecuted because of our religion. 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
I love The Daily Show.  It's been a nightly ritual going back to 2002.  I was very leery when Trevor took over for Jon Stewart as Jon was my guy for so long.  So I was skeptical, but Trevor is Trevor.  And he's gotten my late night approval.  This collection of essay's of his life growing up in South Africa under apartheid was so damn good.  Highly recommend it and you don't even need to be a fan of the show.  Nothing about his current career is touched upon, but really focuses on his childhood and ridiculous adventures.

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence

This is so so good.  Highly recommend to all lovers of books.  Especially those of us who write letters to them in our heads or on paper or on the internet.  And you will then need to add 23434234 more books to your TBR list.

Description: A Gen-X librarian's snarky, laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life.

Librarians spend their lives weeding--not weeds but books! Books that have reached the end of their shelf life, both literally and figuratively. They remove the books that patrons no longer check out. And they put back the books they treasure. Annie Spence, who has a decade of experience as a Midwestern librarian, does this not only at her Michigan library but also at home, for her neighbors, at cocktail parties—everywhere. In Dear Fahrenheit 451, she addresses those books directly. We read her love letters to The Goldfinch and Matilda, as well as her snarky break-ups with Fifty Shades of Grey and Dear John. Her notes to The Virgin Suicides and The Time Traveler’s Wife feel like classics, sure to strike a powerful chord with readers. Through the lens of the books in her life, Annie comments on everything from women’s psychology to gay culture to health to poverty to childhood aspirations. Hilarious, compassionate, and wise, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the consummate book-lover's birthday present, stocking stuffer, holiday gift, and all-purpose humor book.

What were some of your favorite reads of 2017? Which book should I pick up next? Did you read any of these picks this year? What were your thoughts?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Book Stats

How many books read in 2017? – 54

How many fiction and non fiction? Two non-fiction.. 2 more were novels but based on true events..

Male/Female author ratio? 34 female and 10 men.. I think… Some names were pretty unisex and I didn’t look too hard into figuring it out.

Favorite book read in 2016? According to my 5 star goodreads ratings Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarians Love Letters and Break Up Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen, Refugee by Alan Gratz, Bear Town by Fredrick Backman, The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter, and Goodnight June by Sarah Jio.  I definitely would say Bear Town , Born a Crime, and Dear Fahrenheit and Refugee would be my top 4.

Least favorite? Always by Sarah Jio or 16th Seduction by James Patterson…

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why? Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng due to it needing to be back to the library, Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman because I just couldn’t get into it, and Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigani because I realized I missed book 3! 

How many books from the library? 21 which is up from 15 last year.

How many books read did I purchase?  12 of the books I bought new/used this year, a few others had been purchased from library sales a few years ago..

How many were gifts? 2

How many borrowed from others? 0

How many were given to me for reviews? 6 were for reviews 

How many books read on kindle? 2… The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes and Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson.  Kept collecting more, but I prefer books in my hand. 

Any re-reads? Yes… Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Vacation Under the Volcano (Magic Tree House Series)

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading? America, England, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Cuba, Germany, China, Syria, Hungary, Austria, Greece, Turkey,  South Africa to my best guess…

What states did you go through the page in your year of reading? Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, New York, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, California, South Carolina, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, Michigan, Mississippi, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.. I think J
Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation? Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Double Image by Kate Francis, Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, and Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Which author did you read the most of? Sarah MacLean.

What was your best reading month? November when I read 8.  Followed closely by December with 7.

What was your worst reading month? May, I only read 1 book.

2017 Reading Goals - revisited...

1. Read 52 books. – Wooooo… I read 54!
2. Complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.  It does appear more interesting to me this year. –
I completely never looked at it after I stated this.
3. Read more books that I own and continue donating
. – I did this! Tons of donating and more to come!

2018 Reading Goals

1.     Read 52 books.

2.     Keep doing Family Chapter Book Read Alouds.  We are currently on the second book in the Little House Series...

3.     Read more historical non-fiction.
A look back at 2016...

How many books did you read this year? Did you complete your 2017 reading goals? What are your goals for 2018? Which author did you read the most of? What was your most recommended book? Any you couldn't finish?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Currently: November

::dusts off the space and settles in:::  Miss me?  It’s been awhile….   I have a new job.  Was an unplanned new opportunity and in the meantime has sucked all of my time, energy and spirit.  Sounds depressing, but as much as I seek change, I don’t do well in the midst of it.  And basically everything with this change is one step forward is 324234 steps backward and nothing goes correctly the first time.  So challenging.  But I keep reminding myself, my mama did not raise a quitter.  That said, let’s try jumping back with something simple….

Reading:  I am supposed to be reading Crimes Against a Book Club for book club, but I got a few pages in and I’m not feeling it.  So I am thinking of starting The Lost Girls by Lee Smith.  I’ve been flying through books lately.

Loving:  snuggles with my best girl

Feeling:  stressed to the max 

Thinking:  about how cold I am. 

Anticipating: our spring break trip to Washington D.C.  I’m so excited.  It’s not a beach, which I wanted but we had to move up our family trip to D.C. because the person we are visiting is about to be transferred to Germany so we wanted to take a family trip while they were still there. 

Watching:  right this second, last night’s Late Show.  I love Colbert. 

for the mom of my kiddos friend.  She is so nice, fun and helpful.  And her name is my name too!

ugh.  I’m starting a program and there are challenges.  Lots of challenges.

I am still enjoying all the Crooked Media podcasts and am sooo behind on all my podcasts.  But I listen every day in the car for sure.

for an impeachment.

What are you reading, loving and grateful for these days

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Kiss Carlo

I recently took a reading personality quiz that said I was a social reader.  One of the attributes being that I find books/authors from talking to others.  Adriana Trigiani is one such author.  If it wasn't for the social networking of blogs, I wouldn't have heard the rave reviews from Nora about this lovely writer!

My love of series has been mentioned numerous times and I adore her Valentine series! Reading the blurb about Kiss Carlo reminded me of the family tale weaved into the Valentine stories so I was eager to give this book a shot.

Description: It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.
Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.
From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.
Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia,

I had a small issue with Kiss Carlo.  I feel like it was such a thick book.  So many story lines and plot twists that it could have been made into it's own series and saved the hefty weight of this solo novel. It got a bit wordy at points when describing things which is the part of all books that I dread.

BUT, the family story and the rise and fall and rise of Nicky Castone was captivating.  It was entertaining and I did want to see it through.  I read this book in 3 days and it was quite a few pages.

I'd recommend this for other Trigiani fans, but for those who haven't read her I'd suggest starting with Lucia, Lucia or the Valentine series before you decide to tread here.

If you'd like to purchase your own copy check out the HarperCollins site for more info!

What family saga books do you enjoy reading?

I received this book from TLC Book Tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lowcountry Bonfire: A Liz Talbot Mystery

Looking for a beach read? I have a new one for you! The newest installment from Susan Boyer's Liz Talbot series is out and ready for the beach bag!

If you haven't read any of her others, start out with Lowcountry Boil and move on down the list.  I have now read 3 of the series (not in order either) and it hasn't impeded my ability to read any of them.  Though, I will say I am trying to fill the holes as soon as I can via the library and amazon!

Liz Talbot is a private investigator who works with her husband Nate Andrews.  She is currently contracted through the Stella Maris Sheriff, her brother Blake, to assist in certain cases.  You also have to bend your mind a bit because her childhood friend Colleen (17 years deceased) helps them out too.  You did not misread that.  I definitely recommend this series for fans of Gretchen Archer, Janet Evanovich or Dorothea Benton Frank.

Description: Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. So when Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is hiding, they expect to find something looney but harmless. After all, this is the guy who claims to have been a DEA agent, a champion bull rider, and a NASCAR driver. But when he turns up dead the morning after Liz and Nate deliver the incriminating photos, Tammy is the prime suspect.

Questioning the truth of Zeke Lyerly’s tall-tales, Liz and Nate race to uncover small town scandals, long buried secrets, and the victim’s tumultuous past to keep Tammy Sue out of jail and the case from going up in flames.

“The authentically Southern Boyer writes with heart, insight, and a deep understanding of human nature.” – Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha Award-Winning Author of What You See

“Susan M. Boyer gets it. And by ‘it,’ I mean ‘the Southern voice.’ And by that I do not mean she throws 'Y’all' into every other line of her dialogue. I mean she understands deep down how Southern people talk and can replicate the cadence and music of that speech on the page as delicately as a master chef adding a last pinch of sea salt to a batch of Hollandaise sauce.” –

Related subjects include: women sleuths, private investigator mystery series, cozy mysteries, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, Southern fiction, Southern humor, Southern living.

Books in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series:


Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all!

Fast paced and a mystery to figure out! Perfect for the beach bag, which is exactly where I ended up reading the bulk of this book. Even missed a few minutes of the bonfire to finish it up.  Not scary, not gory.  Just a cute quirky mystery to ponder while the waves crash against the shore.

Have you ever visited the Lowcountry in South Carolina? I love reading about this area and hope to one day visit!

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

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!