Wednesday, September 26, 2018

New Library Haul

I have a problem.  A library problem.  I keep going back and getting more books to add to my stack.  And then not finishing the stack.  It's a real problem here folks! I have the best of intentions and want to read these books.  But I get swayed by book club books, books with my kid, books for review, and you know the internet and chores and stuff. 

I won't lie, I don't hate the problem.  And it's probably way better than my Reeses Peanut Butter Cup problem. 

I was going through some library withdrawal since the last two books I read were 1) a review copy and 2) a kindle read so I stopped today when I was done working out and it was open.

I mean I stopped for my kid and got distracted a bit.

She is loving anything Little House related.  She's a few chapters in Little House on Boston Bay by Melissa Wiley so I got book number 2 since it was checked in.  She got started on the Maple Ridge series earlier this month when I asked the librarian for a suggestion because she has read almost all the books our library has about Little House related characters and I figured she needed a new series.  Logan Price is a young boy in the 1800s and she flies through these books as well.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes was for myself.  She is the author of Ghost (which I LOVED and will not stop recommending) and the Louisiana Girl Trilogy that I read through this summer (Sugar, Ninth Ward, and Bayou Magic).

I'm about to start The Miscalculation of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty, which I already had at home from the library.

Do you suffer from a library addiction? Any book recommendations for my Little House lover?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Murder Flies the Coop

One type of book that appeals to me may be surprising based upon my other likes and dislikes are books set in England.  This could be 1800s, 1900s, or present day.  Does not matter.  Give me a book where they will have tea and cute (to me) sayings and I’m on it. 

A less surprising book that appeals to me are books that have strong female characters.  One of the biggest ways to turn me off from a book is to have weak female characters. No thank you. 
Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott checks both of those above boxes.  Set in a small 1920s English village and has two strong female main characters, Beryl and Edwina.  Murder Flies the Coop is the second book in a series (another love of mine) but the first does not need to be read to enjoy this cozy book. 

Edwina and Beryl are referred to as older women, but not so old that Edwina couldn’t possibly have a child someday.  In my mind in the 1920s that could be anywhere from 25-45! Also, actual ages may have been shared in Book 1 but it was something that interested me as in the past anyone over 22 could have been deemed ‘older’. 

The women are living in Edwina’s family home and money is a bit tight.  Edwina has sold off most of everything worth selling and is getting worried about money.  At the beginning of the book they reference how the ladies solved a murder a few months prior and Beryl thinks they should open their own private inquiry business. 

These two are opposites and a very good fit for each other.  Edwina is conservative and still takes time to think of what is proper and then goes ahead and does what she wants anyway.  Beryl, who has multiple ex-husbands really doesn’t give a fig what anyone thinks and jumps first so to speak.
There are quite a few funny bits in this book and the town characters all have distinct descriptions to keep them separate. 

All of this is to say if you enjoy cozy English books with strong female leads this book is for you! A perfect fall book to cozy up with under blankets!

Description: One would hardly call them birds of a feather, but thrill-seeking American adventuress Beryl Helliwell and quietly reserved Brit Edwina Davenport do one thing very well together--solve murders . . .

Sharing lodging in the sleepy English village of Walmsley Parva has eased some of the financial strain on the two old school chums, but money is still tight in these lean years following the Great War. All of Beryl's ex-husbands have proven reluctant to part with her alimony, which is most inconvenient.

So when the local vicar--and pigeon-racing club president--approaches them with a private inquiry opportunity, the ladies eagerly accept. There's been a spot of bother: the treasurer has absconded with the club's funds and several prized birds.

Beryl and Edwina hope to flush out the missing man by checking his boardinghouse and place of employment at the coal mine. But when they visit the man's loft, they find their elusive quarry lying in white feathers and a pool of crimson blood, stabbed to death--the only witnesses cooing mournfully.

After a stiff gin fizz, the ladies resume their search for the missing funds and prized birds--and now a murderer. Beryl and Edwina aren't shy about ruffling a few feathers as they home in on their suspects. But they had better find the killer fast, before their sleuthing career is cut short 

What is your favorite book set in England?

I received this book for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Reading: Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott. It’s a cute mystery about two single women in 1920s England.  It’s the second in the series, and I didn’t read the first, but it hasn’t slowed me down.  Love the feminism in it.

Loving:  how I am making progress on decluttering and organizing the house.  I’m making a lot of progress on getting rid of clothes that are too small and going through old stuff that was saved and I have no idea why.  I’ve also made a daily cleaning list that has helped immensely.  I focus on different things 5 of the days of the week so on the weekend we can all spend time together and only a few smaller projects instead of having to do alllll the things on the weekend.  It's been nice! 

Feeling: good.  One of my health goals for September were to walk at least 3 days a week at least.  So far I’ve done that at least.  I think each week I’ve had 4 walks at least.  Usually the 4th walk is a walk with one or two of my family members so it’s usually either shorter or not as fast as I go by myself.  My hope is to try to start up the couch to 5k in October.  But slow, very slow.  I’m going to have to do some thinking on how I want to add that to my walking.

Anticipating: our last camping trip of the year.  We are going to one of our favorite spots, but we didn’t get the site we normally get.  We are going with a few friends and kids and are planning on a chili cookoff on Saturday.  I’m pretty excited.  It should be cooler but I’m hoping cooler on the water doesn’t mean too cold so that the kids won’t be whiny since we can play in sand but probably no venturing into the water! 

Grateful: for the wonderful teacher we have for second grade! She generally cares for the kids and I love that she is into changing things up when she learns about new things even though she’s been teaching for 30 years.  That is such dedication and I’m glad my kiddo is loving school, even when she is majorly exhausted and so attitudy at the end of the day.

Working:  on potentially getting a very part-time online teaching gig.  I wasn’t going to search out opportunities but it came to me in an email and well, why not?

Listening: to lots of podcasts.  I’ve started listening to Hysteria which is an all female podcast and still trying to finish the second season of In the Dark.

Wishing: for a warm fall full of adventures with my loved ones!

What are you reading, anticipating, and grateful for?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What's On My Fall TBR List

Lists of books that I want to read will never end.  I always have ambitious goals of what I want to read and then a new book pops up on my radar or an old idea comes through and off on a tangent I go! However, I do have some thoughts on what I want to read coming up this Fall!

These are the books I currently have out from the library

I go a bit overboard when I'm at the library.  My system of grab 2 books every time I'm there is unhelpful when I go multiple times a week ha.  Besides reading these that I have checked out I also want to get a Laura Lippman novel I missed in the Tess Monaghan series and read more in the Louise Penny series.  I also am hoping to get Linda Castillo's newest in the Kate Burkholder series from the library as well.

I also plan on reading these two that I got for a future review on the blog.  I'm excited.  Forever Fudge is set on Mackinac Island! One of my favorite places to visit.

I also need to re-read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood for book club.  I cannot find it right now so I'm a bit bummed since book club is meeting next week and I assumed it was somewhere on my shelves.  I am going to have to hope the library has a copy! Also coming up for book club are The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent and The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.

What is on your Fall TBR list? Have you read any of these books?

Friday, September 14, 2018


What a full week! I got so much accomplished.  I'm in the middle of getting rid of/selling old clothes of the kiddos that I have held on to for way too long.  I've probably 'made" about 30 bucks in the last week! Woot.  And donated a huge bag of clothes/stuff and have another HUUUGE bag half-way filled up to go.  I also got the house decorated for fall and am taking stock in what I want to get to still decorate some more.  I've always wanted to be the person to decorate for seasons but I never had the damn time or patience.  So woot.  I've also volunteered and signed up for some upcoming sub jobs and did a LOT of cleaning that this dang house needed.  

Second week of school is going well.  No homework yet, but it starts Monday.  I'm working on some flashcards today for math practice.  I'm first going to check pinterest and teacherspayteachers to see if i do not have to reinvent the wheel.  We need to work on speed for addition and subtraction up to 20 by the end of the year so I'm thinking of making some sets and doing about 10 a night when we do the other homework.  It seems super doable what will be expected and the teacher flat out said she values family time and extra-curricular time over more homework.  She only really stresses 10-15 minutes of reading a night.  So reading and studying for spelling words should be the only main stuff and once a week vocab and math.

My favorite picture from the week:

how she  smiled when I said, smile like you will for pictures today!.. ha

The high of my week was once again volunteering at the school book fair.  It was so much fun to watch so many kids so excited for books! When I was last there they had already sold about $7,000 in sales! That was Wednesday morning and I'm curious to see how it ended up.

The low of my week was  finishing the potato soup I made. It was so good.  I love a good soup.

My Workouts were the husband and I took a walk Saturday night, then I walked Monday, Thursday, and Friday myself. We took a family walk Tuesday night!

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday - Big Boy to use the kiddos free meal coupon from the summer reading program!
Tuesday - Steak with baked potatoes, salad, and homemade applesauce
Wednesday - Make Your Own Mini Pizzas with homemade applesauce, salad, and pita chips
Thursday - Sweet Potato Hash, Eggs, and crescent rolls with homemade peach jam!
Friday - Cheesy Taco Soup with chips and salsa

This weekend we are going to a get together and we will be taking bbq pork butt! Not sure sure what we will do Sunday yet.

The best money I spent was on books from the book fair!

To be fair.. the kiddo purchased the bookmark and the Elephant and Piggie book with her own money.  I only got her the Coretta Scott King book and the Princess in Black book.  The rest are Christmas presents for my niece and nephews! I highly recommend the Bruce books.  Last year I got my niece and one nephew Mother Bruce and they loved it! So I got my niece the Hotel Bruce book this year and the nephew got the Snake book because he loves snakes!  Isla and I are loving the Princess in Black series.  We love the illustrations and we each read a page at a time.  We usually finish off a book in one sitting!

What I’m listening to   podcasts of course! I really enjoyed Hysteria's episode Freedom Hangover from July.  I also liked listening the first episode of the Atlanta Murders.  

What I’m watching we are catching up on last seasons Criminal Minds.  We are also PBS fans and have watched episodes on the history of Flint and I've watched some of the Great American Read and a special on Margaret Mitchell.  

What I’m reading:  Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes which is the third in a middle grade series.  We also started By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a family.

My plans for the weekend include being lazy tonight! The kiddo and I were discussing pajamas and a movie tonight.  And hopefully popcorn! Tomorrow she has a birthday party/sleepover and we are going to catch up with some old friends.  Sunday should be a relaxing day unless we have to take the pool down then. 

What are you listening to? What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Lost for Words Bookshop

Oh man! I just finished an amazing book.  A few weeks ago I was quickly scanning the ‘New” shelf at my library trying to grab a quick book before we headed to the children’s area for the kiddo.  I quickly read the first paragraph of the book jacket,

“Loveday Cardew prefers books to people (YUM YES, THIS IS ME).  If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattoed on her skin.  But there are some things Loveday will never show you.”

Okay, this sounds good.  A book about bookshops and preferring books to people.  Sounds good to me. Next two paragraphs that I may not have finished reading before grabbing it,
“Into her refuge – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday.  Someone knows about her past and she cant hide any longer.  She must decide whom around her she can trust.  Can she find te courage to right a heart-breaking wrong? And will she ever find te words to tell her own story?”

I figured a book about someone working in a bookstore who loves books, should be decent.
It was way more than decent.  The writing is beautiful.  Loveday has a very traumatic past and an interesting present.  The book switches time periods between 2016 which is book present day, 2013 when something happened that is revealed to the reader and to 1999 when her life changed.  The jumping around is not hard at all to follow and is a very neat way of revealing to the reader Loveday’s story.

I read this super quick and it was hard to put down.  It was moving, entertaining, and shared some hard realities of an abusive relationship.  I can’t even use my words to describe the way the author beautifully wrote this book. So many little pockets of humor and tenderness.

Highly recommend!

What is the last book you read that you just loved?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Today's Library Haul

As much as I enjoyed going to the library so much this summer with the kiddo, I do enjoy my solo trips.  I get more time to check things out and I can pick books for her that she may not let me pick when she's there.  Today, I didn't even make it out of the kids/teens areas for books.  I already had a ton of books checked out but then I added more in.

The 7 year old is in a huge love affair with Laura Ingalls Wilder.  We are currently reading By The Shores of Silver Lake together.  She's read most of the Rose offshoots that are the thinner variety.  Not the longer novels by MacBride.  I'm thinking we will read those together after we finish the Little House series unless she's ready to move on.

I got a few of the picture books that we haven't had a chance to read yet.  They are basically snippets from the books but with full colored photos and slightly simpler writing. 

The Maple Ridge series is a new find from last week at the library.  I talked with a librarian who suggested the Maple Ridge series when there weren't any Little House books in that we hadn't read.  Yesterday the kiddo sat down with the first book Logan Pryce Makes a Mess by Grace Gilmore and quickly read the first 12 chapters.  She loved it! She asked me to get book 2 this week since she only has 1 chapter left.  I haven't read any of it, but she seems to love it.

Little House by Boston Bay is the first in the fictional series of Charlotte who was Laura Ingalls Wilder's grandma.  I had tried to get her to read that book earlier this summer but she wanted to read the Rose books first.  Sadly, she has read the last one in that series! So off to check these out.

The librarian also suggested the Disney Beginning's series which is about Disney Princesses when they were young girls.  I grabbed the Ariel Makes Waves, because I know she likes Ariel and we saw the production of Little Mermaid earlier this summer.

One of my mom's friends recommended The Princess Academy Series by Shannon Hale.  It looks like it might be a bit older for her yet, so I will read it and see if it's something I'll intro to her.  She loves Hales Princess in Black series, so I'm sure it will eventually be a winner.

I then did a quick through of the teen area and grabbed We Were Liars (have heard nothing but good things), a Sarah Dessen novel because I realized it had been 8 years since I last read one!!!! and In Real Life by Jessica Love.

I still have a massive list to get through from the library but I can't stop checking out books!! I just returned The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach today and am reading and enjoying The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland.

What are you reading? What have you recently checked out from the library? Any series to suggest to my little reader?

Friday, September 7, 2018


Phew! First 4 week day of the school year is at the weekend! On our way out the door today my daughter said she was excited to sleep in tomorrow and I was not to wake her up unless she slept until 12:00! Got it, kiddo! Sleep is wonderful!

My favorite picture from the week:

The high of my week was volunteering at the School Book Fair today! Loved helping the kids find books that matched their interests and how excited they all were to get new books!

The low of my week was missing my girl now that she is back to school all day. 

My Workouts: a family walk on Tuesday and then solo walks on Wednesday and Thursday

Meal plan for the week was Make your own Mini Pizzas with green beans, Smothered pork chops / mashed potatoes zucchini parm crisps and peaches from our garden, Sweet potato hash with Eggs, tomato soup and toast..Tonight we are going to a festival that has food trucks and Monday we had leftovers from the weekend!

The best money I spent was on my mom's birthday present from a local store that sells homemade Michigan products!

What I’m listening to   This week I've been catching up on a lot of older Book Riot Podcasts and Chatty Sisters!

What I’m watching Just starting Little Women on Masterpiece

What I’m reading:  STILL READING The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and Will's Choice by Joan Lowery Dixon.  Plugging Away!

My plans for the weekend include a festival tonight that has live music, food trucks and a beer garden.  Tomorrow football watching and the kiddo is having a sleepover with my mom so we get to have a date night.  Not sure what we will do! I am going to make potato soup and we will use the potato skins for a football snack! The weather is cooler this weekend so it will be good to give the kiddo some down time and not feel like we need to be out in the sun!

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

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer TBR Update

I thought I would check back in with how my summer reading turned out.  At the end of May I had posted a picture of my at the time currently library stack along with a few others that I wanted to check out this summer.

Overall from June to August I read a total of 23 books! And 3 more that I shared reading duties with the 7 year old!

What I read in June, July and August .. plus A Reliable Wife

My favorite books I read over the summer would be We’re Going to Need ore Wine for this by Gabrielle Union, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz, and The Third Hill North of Town by Noah Bly.

Books I didn’t get to were  American Lion, Almost Sisters, The Hate U Give, and Love and Ruin. 
I returned American Lion and Almost Sisters before I read them.  I just kept picking up more and more stuff that enthralled me and it got put on a back burner.  I will eventually probably get back to them, but maybe not.

My favorite places to read were in my hammock in the backyard and on the beaches we vacationed on this summer!

Here are some recommendations:

If you are interested in current eventsGhost Boys tackles police violence against young black males.  It is a middle grade novel and is a very quick read.  Very good!

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario may be a few years old but is very relevant to immigration issues that the United States is still dealing with.  Just throwing out my unsolicited opinion on the matter --- Anyone who risks there entire life to cross 1 or more foreign countries, risking death  Our being OTHER FREAKING HUMAN BEINGS.  I’m not a religions person but if I were to look up to Jesus as a role model, I’d have to take a hard look at myself if I wasn’t doing everything in my power to help those less fortunate than myself.
, hunger, rape and the potential separation from their child is someone who desperately needs our help.

Looking for a new series? – Check out the Louise Penney series! Still Life is the first one and I’ve read quite a few others.  You would not need to read them in order.  There is a lot of character development and they are mystery but not gory.

Middle Grade Reads – Ghost Boys, Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Orphan Train Children Series by Joan Lowery Nixon, and Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  Bottom Line – Get some Jewell Parker Rhodes in your LIFE!!!

How many books did you read this summer? What were your favorites? Any you'd recommend to me based off of what I read this summer?