Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Cotton Queen

I picked up a bunch of books last June from the library’s used book sale and I really haven’t put a dent in them.  I have a true book problem.  I also had a real reading slump last school year so I have a huge pile up of books that I need to get into before I bring anymore into my house.  Though, I have done a fairly decent job trying to get rid of books this summer.  It’s just hard for me to part with books, even if I don’t think I’ll read them again.  I think I have an attachment issue with books.  Anyway, The Cotton Queen by Pamela Morsi has been sitting on my shelf for a year and I figured this would be a great book to take camping with me.


Description:  The road away from home always seems to lead back to our mothers.

I am not, nor will I ever be, the kind of woman who wears pearls with her apron while cooking meat loaf for her husband. But when I was a kid, my mother, Babs, prepared me to be the next June Cleaver -- teaching me lessons that belonged to another era. Another world, practically. My mother's world. I couldn't wait to leave home and get away from her. But now, well . . . let's just say life hasn't turned out quite as I'd planned. And heaven help me, I'm going home.

Laney Hoffman -- Cotton Queen, 1975

It's funny -- all I ever wanted was to teach my daughter, Laney, how to be a lady so she could find a good husband and take her rightful place in our community. But Laney has always remained convinced that my life and my ideas are, well, pathetic. She has no idea -- no idea! -- what it is to lose a husband, to watch your dreams wither while keeping a smile on your face for the neighbors. Now, that is a talent. Laney is probably too smart for her own good, but being smart hasn't kept her out of trouble. Thank heavens I'm here to help pick up the pieces.

Babs Hoffman -- Cotton Queen First Runner-Up, 1956

I loved this book! It was a great look into the changing roles and views of women in the last 50 years.  It covers women gaining leverage in the work place, fighting for equal footing and the relationship with mothers over the years.

 

Both of the women who the book flipped between had positives and negatives.  I had moments when I wanted to shake them both.  They had issues but they sometimes made poor choices.  Don’t we all. 

 

It touched on some heavy topics that pushed it above the general chick lit category for me.  One of the characters is a solider in Vietnam and is completely changed by this experience.  In turn, this changes his relationship with his entire family when his brother has a different viewpoint.  It forces a divide that takes many years to fix. 

 

It also has a heavy focus on rape and how it can affect the victim’s life forever.  How it changes viewpoint, relationships, mental health and personality.

 

So avoid if that is a topic that is a trigger.  Otherwise, I’d recommend it for a quick weekend/beach read.

What's the last book you read that switched viewpoints? What books have you read about families recently?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Can You Keep A Secret?


For July we picked a super chick lit book for Books & Bars.  We had come off a few months of tougher reads and we all agreed we needed something funny.  After a rather raucous meeting at a local establishment in June we quickly picked Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella because one of us owned it already and the rest of us were numbed by the beverages and were non-caring. ;)

 

Description: Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I've always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn't share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company's elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her...

 

Oh Emma… She is something.  She is something I can’t stand reading about too.  She’s a cliché woman character that I just can’t get behind.  I don’t do the stupid ditzy chick and that is her.  The dialogue is hilarious and it’s a quick funny chick lit read but it’s just not something I would have ever chosen for myself.

 

Jack is a meant to be complicated character who really isn’t.  I don’t think his character was true to itself all the way through and he just was a jerky kinda nice guy.  I don’t know he just didn’t do it for me in the mystery dark past man role.

 

Basically, if you want a funny chick lit book.  This fits the bill.  And if you need a book that makes you laugh? Go for it.

 

Beach read potential? HIGH.

What was your last beach read?

Friday, August 14, 2015

TGIF!


The high of my week was just want a pleasant time I experience with my family every night this week.  I’m a lot less stressed and I feel a lot more ‘in’ when I’m home with my family right now.  I also enjoyed my parents stopping over for a visit and how excited my daughter was about it.  We also had a great event at work and I got to interact with a lot of kids and parents and it felt good!
 

The low of my week was how yucky I feel about myself right now.  I had made such an improvement in my working out and then totally fell off the wagon in July.  I know I had a lot of changes and what not but that really was not a good excuse.  I went on a few walks but that was it.  Any inches I lost previously are back it feels like and they are all centered in my gut region! I need to eliminate that.

The book I’m reading is I finished The Cotton Queen by Pamela Morsi.  I read this book in practically two days.  It was a multi-generational book that looked at the lives of a mother/daughter pair who thought they were soo different but had a lot in common.  It was a really interesting book.  It switched perspectives between Babs and Laney and there were so many women lib issues covered that it was neat to see the differences between the two generations.  Slightly more than just a quick beach read because it delves into rape, drug use and parental death. 

For my workouts, I completed Monday and Tuesday I started the week strong ha.  Monday I ran on the treadmill a run/walk combo of just over a mile.  I did 50 squats and 30 crunches.  Tuesday I walked 25 minutes on my lunch.  However, that night I started PMSing and used it as an excuse not to lift and then I never did anything else all week.  But I worked an even on Thursday which was a lot of walking and carrying heavy items so at least I was active.  I had planned on working out 4 days this week but hey, I did it twice.  Next week I’ll plan for 4 and aim for 3. 
 

The best money I spent was I didn’t do it, but it was from ‘our’ money.  My husband decided that he had enough of paying my ridiculous student loan payment with the high interest rate so he logged into my account and paid it in full.  Best $18,152.  I’ve ever spent!

My plans this weekend include We are going to Ludington this weekend with some cousins / my husband’s sisters and their families.  So 8 adults and 6 kids! We will hopefully be relaxing on the shores of Lake Michigan!

What was the low and high of your week? Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 10, 2015

A- Z

It's been a long time since I've done a survey style post.. So why not today? I'm stealing this from Amber. 

A – Age: 31, it just doesn't seem right.. I live by Jimmy Buffett's words, 'growing older but not up'.  Though I am maturing in my older age ha.

B – Biggest Fear: the unknown
hor
C – Current Time: 9:45 pm

D – Drink You Had Last: currently drinking a Short's Bellaire Brown.  Love my Michigan craft beer!

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: my mama

F – Favorite Song: I don't really have one.. I like country.. I love singing to Luke Bryan and Eric Church.. and some top 40 stuff..

G – Grossest Memory: I have dealt in such gross matters it's hard to pick something that stands out.  I mean I've been thrown up on by a child not my own, stepped in a child's poop on the floor... I mean i dont know.. my kid had super gross poop for like a year ha.

H – Hometown: a very small town in MI that I will not name because it basically would out me if someone googled.. not to say someone couldn't figure it out anyway.. I just don't like connecting a lot of dots ha

I – In Love With: coffee.  I've become a bit obsessed in the past year.  more so than normal

J – Jealous Of: People who know what they want to do in life

K – Kindest Person You Know: probably one of my former coworkers

L – Longest Relationship: 12 years with my husband.. we will have been married for 8 this  month

M – Middle Name: my maiden name..

N – Number of Siblings: 1 – younger brother

O – One Wish: to know if I want to have another child or not.  I always thought I'd want four.  I think if I stayed home and didn't need to worry about work it would be easier to make this decision.  But I like the lifestyle we have when we both work.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: I'm thinking it was a client at work yesterday.  I rarely talk on the phone!

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: When are you going to have another child?

R – Reason To Smile: It’s a Saturday night!

S – Song You Last Sang: I tried singing along with Ariel when we were watching The Little Mermaid earlier and my daughter told me to stop

T – Time You Woke Up: 6:53 when I heard my daughter screaming for me to get out of bed

U – Underwear Color: pink and black

V – Vacation Destination: this summer we've done Higgins Lake and Clear Lake with Ludington (Lake Michigan) and Port Crescent (Saginaw Bay/Lake Huron) on the agenda.  Savannah/Charleston is going to be our next planned trip I think

W – Worst Habit: interrupting people

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: knees and ankles and arm.. maybe the knee was an MRI.

Y – Your Favorite Food: nachos

Z – Zodiac Sign: Aries

I’m just going to pick some random letters for you to answer in the comments. Tell me the answers to: D, G, S and V! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Double Mint

Last summer I was introduced to the Davis Way Crime Caper Series and read the first books as quick as I could.  I was contacted again this summer because the 4th book, Double Mint, came out this summer.  I was glad to cozy up in my chair and read about Davis's hilarious misadventures.

Description: It’s convention season at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino and Davis Way Cole barely notices. It’s hard to pay attention when you live in a Jambalaya Junkyard. But when Special Events Coordinator Holder Darby walks off the job just as five hundred Alabama bankers pour in the front door, Davis steps up.

Or would that be in? Definitely in. Davis steps in.

It.

Not only has the convention director vanished, but a certain Bellissimo guest is missing. One who forgot to pack the million dollars he left in the bathtub. It looks like our redhead newlywed Super Secret Spy’s lazy summer is over when the Bellissimo vault is robbed. Can Davis connect the dots before it’s too late? Can she get her Taser gun back from Bianca Sanders? Will she be stuck with Eddie Crawford’s 1962 Cadillac forever? What Davis needs is a little faith. And a lot of luck.

DOUBLE MINT.

New money. Old sins. Back to jail. And a cat.

(A cat?)

Break the Bank


Like the other books, there is something special going on in the casino and of course there is an issue with it.  Of course no one will listen to Davis (I mean she does tend to ramble and ridiculous things seem to follow her but...) and she plunges head into finding out the whodunnit, why and when.  Of course there is a motive for her (get rid of Magnolia from her apartment) but it is after all her job to protect the casino's interests! 

The book is funny, this series is hilarious.  I would highly recommend it as a humor book!

However, I'd recommend starting at the beginning! It's hard to jump in to the characters without the background.  But have no fear, it will only take you 3 days to get to book number 4 because they are that funny and that quick to read!
 
What humor books/authors have you read? What cozy mystery books have you read? What has made you laugh out loud recently?

I received this book to read for review but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stitch Fix #8!

I was super excited to get my latest Stitch Fix box.  I had asked for some sleeveless shirts under $50 for my new job and shirts to possibly go with my new navy pants. 


I was excited about all of these things.  Especially the Filbert Henley shirt and the Pixley dress.  I had pinned the Pixley dress awhile ago and had gotten another pretty navy dress in place of it but I was stoked to get this one and try it!

Papermoon
Norris Abstract Houndstooth Sleevelesss Blouse




I really wanted to like this shirt.  It was soft.  It was flattering and it fit.  Plus goes with my navy pants.  However, even though this is a Petite size the back is long and it just does not flatter my behind.  After a lot of thought I'm almost 100 percent certain I'm sending it back.

41Hawthorn
Quilted Detailed Blouse


Once again I really wanted to like this shirt.  I love the color, it fits fabulously but it feels awful.  And there is something weird with the arms.  My husband walked in while I was trying it on and asked if it was my pirate shirt ha.  So, if this was a different material and the arms weren't weird I'd buy this in a heart beat.  Love how it looked on me!




Papermoon
Mesli Crochet Detail Blouse
 
 
There was nothing wrong with this shirt.  It fit.  But I didn't like the color on me and it also felt weird.  It had a metal button ish thing in the back that was interesting but made me feel like I needed to rip it off and eh...
 
Pixley
Florence Colorblocked Dress

 

 
LOOOOVE THIS.However, this is a size smaller than I wear so it didn't fit.  It was too tight.  If I was 100 percent certain the size up would work I would ask to exchange.  Super bummed.
 
41hawthorn
Filbert Abstract Henley Blouse
 
 
I'm thinking of keeping this one.  I'm almost sure I'm going too, mainly because I don't want to lose my styling fee.  It fits, it looks nice, it's flattering, I'm not innnnnn love with it but I do like it and I think it would be a good addition to my wardrobe.  It's soft.
 
 
 
Overall I was more disappointed in the feel of the shirts than anything.  Fit wise, minus the dress it all fit.  All things I'd love to wear except the coral/orange shirt.  Just stinks because I was hoping for more wows this time since I am in desperate need for some work shirts.
 
What do you think? What should I keep? Send back?
 
If you are wondering, what is Stitch Fix? I can help.  Stitch Fix is a styling service where you fill out an online profile, link a pinterest board if you want and like magic, a box of clothes appears at your house.  You get five items and you can try them on at your house, alone and with your whole closet to help you.  If you keep all five items you get a 25 percent discount.  If you want to keep one, you can!  Here is my referral link.  If you sign up using it, I get a $25 credit towards more clothes!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Lost Ones

Okay, I have no idea why but every time I go to write the title of this book I want to call it The Lone Ranger.  Whoops.  The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins is the second in a series of books set in small town Mississippi about former military man Quinn Colson.

We read the first book, The Ranger, as a books and bars pick last year so I figured I'd eventually get around to reading the rest when I saw them at the library.  I was digging through the mystery section earlier this month when I came across it and remembered that I wanted to check it out.

Even though this is the second book, I would not say you REALLLY need to read the first.  Yeah there is back story and some of the same characters but I literally could not remember what happened in the first book and it was okay ha.

Description: Fresh from ten years as a U.S. Army Ranger, Quinn Colson finds his hands full as the newly elected sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi.  An old buddy running a local gun shop may be in over his head when stolen army rifles start showing up in the hands of a Mexican drug gang.

At the same time, an abused-child case leads Quinn and his tough-as-nails deputy, Lillie Virgil, deep into the heart of a bootleg baby racket and a trail of darkness and death. And when the two cases collide, Quinn and his allies are forced to realize that, though they may be home from the war, they are now in the fight of their lives.


This is a very fast paced book.  I read it in one day.  I started during nap time and stayed up and finished it the same day.  So a great book for the beach, vacation or just when you need a quick zip away from reality. 

I feel like his books would be great for a guy who might not be too into reading but like it a little.  I've told my husband if he read books he'd read this one.  And if it was a tv show, he'd be all over it. ;)

Do you ever go years between reading books in a series? What book have you read recently that you thought would be a good tv show or movie?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dollbaby

I had heard people recommend Dollbaby earlier this year but I hadn't really looked into it until I was at the library and found it in the New section.  I read the jacket cover and thought, hey, this is my jam, why haven't I read this yet?  So I picked it up and had to renew it twice because I kept reading other things and then I sat down and started and then I blinked and hours had passed and I kicked myself for not reading it a month earlier!

Description: A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been — and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum — is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secret.

For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.


I loved the characters in this book!  Well, minus Ibby's mother because, seriously WHO DOES THAT?  Anyway, it's a great story.  Ibby comes to live with her grandma and meets a whole new world that takes her in like family and she learns things she never knew existed.  I love the back history of Fannie, Dollbaby and Queenie. 

The different viewpoints of the civil rights between Dollbaby and Queenie was interesting.  Dollbaby wanted to be an active part in change and Queenie wanted things to stay the same.  Dollbaby's daughter inspired her to take part and yet at the same time Queenie wanted to use her as the reason for Dollbaby to not take part. If this was generational differences or just individual differences would be a good discussion.

I love books set in the 60s in the south and Dollbaby does not disappoint.  I like the glimpse into New Orleans because besides Lavina I'm not sure I've read any other books set in Louisiana off the top of my head. 

It's hard to really write about this without giving away the secrets that the book lets out but I did enjoy it and I'd recommend it!

Have you ever been to New Orleans? Do you have a group of people you consider family even if they are not related? Do you tend to take an active part in making a difference or do you shy away?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Currently...


Reading: I just finished The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen.  I think I'm going to read The Lost Ones next or The Detroit Electric Scheme..

Loving: The beautiful green around me.  The view of my yard from the fire pit.  Friday night family fires that include a bottle of wine after the kiddo goes to bed.

Thinking: A lot of about the changes that are coming our way and how scary change is but how ready I am for a change!

Frustrated: About people's reaction to information I've shared with them about the change happening.  If you are not me, you will not truly get the horror of the last year people, so no, I don't really care about what you think is better for me. 
 
Feeling: Nervous.  Excited.
 
Anticipating: Our last three camping trips that are going to be a tad shorter than we had planned but still so much fun. I love Michigan lakes in summer!

Watching: Odd Mom Out on Bravo.  OH MY GOSH.  HYSTERICAL!

Sad: I've really been missing my grandpa.  And it's stirred up missing my grandma and how I wish I could share the awesome they were with Isla and that every kid had such an amazing pair of grandparents as that.  12 grand kids but each of us had a unique relationship with them and a unique memory to share.  Incredible.

Grateful: For change!

Listening: The Highway, Y2K Country or Margaritaville on XM.  I am going to be so sad when my trial runs out!

Wishing: to know the future

What are you currently reading, watching or anticipating? 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Newport

The first book I read on my 8 day camping trip was Newport by Jill Morrow.  I love books written between the 20s-40s with period specific story lines.  Newport did not disappoint! 

About Newport

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 7, 2015)
In a glamorous Newport mansion filled with secrets, a debonair lawyer must separate truth from deception. . . .Spring 1921. The Great War is over, Prohibition is in full swing, the Great Depression is still years away. Wealthy families flock to the glittering "summer cottages" they built in Newport, Rhode Island. Having sheltered in Newport during his misspent youth, attorney Adrian de la Noye is no stranger to the city. Though he'd prefer to forget the place, he returns to revise the will of a well-heeled client. Bennett Chapman's offspring have the usual concerns about their father's much-younger fiancée. But when they learn of the old widower's firm belief that his late first wife, who "communicates" via séance, has chosen the stunning Catharine Walsh for him, they're shocked. And for Adrian, encountering Catharine in the last place he saw her decades ago proves to be a far greater surprise.Adrian is here to handle a will, and he intends to do so—just as soon as he unearths every last secret about the Chapmans, Catharine Walsh . . . and his own very fraught history.
Vividly bringing to life the glitzy era of the 1920s, Newport is a skillful alchemy of social satire, dark humor, and finely drawn characters.
Adrian has a past that is slowly given to the reader as you progress in the novel.  I will admit at first the seance and the thought that the first Mrs. Chapman was orchestrating this new marriage had me thinking of a great scam, as the story went on it was quite entertaining to learn what secret the late Mrs. Chapman may let out at the next chance. 

I'm not even someone who is sure I believe that people can speak for the departed but this was not overdone in fantasy land.  If that is giving you pause, I'd say still give the book a chance. 

I found myself engulfed in the what happened between whom and what else will be revealed and how will it end.  If you do like something a little more complicated to figure out, this isn't for you.  It's pretty easy to figure out some parts of the story but others are still hidden in a bit of mystery. 

Great book to throw in your beach bag this summer!

What books set in Prohibition have you read? Ever read Ragtime? Which historical fiction are you currently recommending?


I received this book through TLC Book Tours, all thoughts and opinions are my own!