Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Last week flew by! We had a pretty good week, on the home front here. Today we are throwing a party for my mom's birthday - she is turning 70 this week! I spent much of last week gathering things together and ironing out last minute details with my sister-in-law and aunt. It's a small gathering but I think it will be really special. It's also why I am up early on a Sunday, typing up this post! I know I will be pretty busy the rest of the day, and wanted to get this finished while I could.

Read Last Week:


We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson: I read this book before bed every night, a chapter here, a chapter there. It was a nice way to end the day. This book also had cool hand drawn maps by the author from his favorite parks, with little details thrown in, tips and info about coffee houses and people and whatnot. I am a map nerd so I am going to go back and really peruse those soon. Review soon.

The Ridge by John Rector:  This was a very fast read for me. It was pretty good, but felt a little underdone when it came to the characters, although, that might have been intentional, honestly, as the MC is isolated from her community, and therefore doesn't really know the other characters. It was good but I wouldn't say I completely loved it.

Still Reading:


Still reading about my rabbit friends on the Down.

Reading this Week:



Posted Last Week:





Watching:

Riverdale, The Path, Bletchley Circle, 13 Reasons Why, iZombie (yay!). We also found the show Powerless and we are in love with it! Just the right amount of cheeseball humor and it is so fun. Plus, Abed from Community is in it! 


So what about all of you? What have you all been up to this week?





Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Snapshot ~ April 22


This guy. My #cpwarrior. Stubborn, strong, determined, so loving. He turned two at the beginning of March; his actual due date was April 19th. This week on what would have been his actual 2nd birthday, he sat up all by himself for the first time. And hasn't stopped. He is so proud and so are we. He works so hard he should be proud. 😊 Love him more than anything.




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Review: Any Day Now by Robyn Carr

Title: Any Day Now
Author: Robyn Carr
Source: Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

The highly anticipated sequel to #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr's What We Find transports readers back to Sullivan's Crossing. The rustic campground at the crossroads of the Colorado and Continental Divide trails welcomes everyone—whether you're looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or a whole new lease on life. It's a wonderful place where good people face their challenges with humor, strength and love.

For Sierra Jones, Sullivan's Crossing is meant to be a brief stopover. She's put her troubled past behind her but the path forward isn't yet clear. A visit with her big brother Cal and his new bride, Maggie, seems to be the best option to help her get back on her feet.

Not wanting to burden or depend on anyone, Sierra is surprised to find the Crossing offers so much more than a place to rest her head. Cal and Maggie welcome her into their busy lives and she quickly finds herself bonding with Sully, the quirky campground owner who is the father figure she's always wanted. But when her past catches up with her, it's a special man and an adorable puppy who give her the strength to face the truth and fight for a brighter future. In Sullivan's Crossing Sierra learns to cherish the family you are given and the family you choose.
 

My Thoughts:

I have to say, I have never read a Robyn Carr book before this one, and I am glad that I finally did. When I received the inquiry email, I fell in love with this cover, as well as the idea of a quirky campground owner and an adorable puppy. Those were the hooks for me apparently! I am glad that I followed my curiosity to this series set in the town of Sullivan's Crossing.

I loved the characters - Sierra in particular appealed to my bleeding heart for all underdogs. And when she finds her own underdog ~ heart melt. I found Sierra's journey to be very believable, and I commended her for realizing she had some issues that needed to be addressed, and addressing them. When the big looming "What If" that dangles over her is finally faced, you know that she is going to be ok. She has some serious demons in her closet, including a very dangerous one, a few plaguing huge questions as well as some hard trauma from her youth and even more recently, a new trauma to overcome. She is a determined and tough woman, knowing that her path is going to be one full of hard work, but she is unafraid to put in the time and do what she needs to do.  And of course, there is the matter of a certain fireman..

Overall, I love where she landed! The place, the people, the community- all were endearing to me, and I loved reading about them. I plan to read the first in this series very soon!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Happy Easter, to those who celebrate! It was a beautiful day in our neighborhood, and we celebrated the day with a delicious family brunch followed by a small trip to the zoo. We had a great day and are now exhausted! 

I am also an aunt again! My brother-in-law and his wife had their little girl Friday - 7 lbs 7 oz of awesome! I love her little self so much already!

Read Last Week:

   

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs: I've said it before, and I will say it again, I really think this series gets better and better every book, with the exception of River Marked, which I actually really didn't like. Lol. This one however was hands down my favorite in the series - I loved it! Review soon.

Reading This Week:
I'm left with a few "slow reading" books, those books that you take your time with and read a little here, a little there. It's also time for me to read my annual spring read of my favorite book!

  

Watership Down by Richard Adams: I was so sad to hear of Adams' passing last year. This book has been my favorite for most of my life, and I read it every year in the spring. 



We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson: I read a chapter from this every night, and it is the perfect end to the night. Calming, zenlike. 

Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson: I am enjoying this look at Jackson's life through her work. I am also enjoying taking my time with it. 

Watching:

Riverdale, The Path, Victoria, Grimm, Supernatural, 13 Reasons Why

Posted:



How about you? What's been going on in your world?


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Giveaway: In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen


I meant to post this with my review the other day, but me being me, I forgot until I was moving stacks of books around today! Better late than never though, I say!

This giveaway is for a brand new hardcover copy of In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen, that was provided to me by the publisher. 

To enter:


1. Must live in the U.S. or Canada

.  You don't need a blog, just an email.

2.  Enter using rafflecopter below.

3.  Contest is open until April 20th at 12 am.  Rafflecopter will choose the winner!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

The weather was cold and icky and rainy all week, then boom - beautiful for the weekend. I can live with that! It was good weather for sleeping, according to my son, who took great naps this week. Lol. Usually I catch up on housework or other work while he naps, but this week I decided to read instead. I am glad that I did, it was nice downtime for me too. 

Read Last Week:


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: I loved this book! I immediately requested a few more Jackson books from the library, I loved it so much. At 160ish pages, it is a good short read too.

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen: I enjoyed this one as well! I don't usually read books set during wars, but this one I really liked. My review is up if you are interested. 

Reading This Week:

I went to the library and came home with a ton of books, between my stack and the boy's. I think I have narrowed it down to these two.
   
  

Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs (so excited!)

Delivered:

I received two books this week, yay for book mail!

  



Watching:

Riverdale, The Path, Big Little Lies (although, now it is done! noo), Trial and Error. iZombie started again but we are going to let the episodes build up before starting it. We also added 13 Reasons Why, which is amazing, but I had to take a break, espeically with watching Big Little Lies too. So much violence toward women, it was almost overload. Both shows are excellent though.

Posted:



How about all of you? What have you been up to?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Book Review: In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

Title: In Farleigh Field
Author: Rhys Bowen
Source: Little Bird Publicity/Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.


My Thoughts:

I will be honest - I don't normally read books that are set during the war. I'm a history buff, but there is something about WWI and WWII books that don't usually appeal to me. However, unlike other wartime setting books, I ate this one up!

I loved this book. I loved the characters, the plot, the mystery, all of it. Of course, the two English Setters helped a bit, as my beloved dog who passed away was a beautiful setter. Not that they were a major part in the book, just mentioned a few times. Anyway, I digress. I was prepared to not be overly wowed, so imagine my surprise when I couldn't put it down. I found it very readable, not overly taxing with battle scenes, or a plethora of exposition about the war itself. It begins with the finding of a soldier who had fallen from the sky, right into Farleigh Field, at the home of Lord Westerham and his family. His home has been appropriated by a regiment of soldiers, and the Sutton family occupies one wing. His five daughters are scattered here and there - Pamela, who works at Blectchley Park as a codebreaker, Margot, who is trapped in Paris, and then Diana, a restless 19 year old living at home, Phoebe, just 12, and finally Olivia, who is described as matronly, a mother, and whose husband is stationed in the Bahamas with the Duke of Windsor. Poor Olivia. The story centers mainly on Pamela Sutton, and her two childhood friends, Ben Cresswell, and Jeremy Prescott, and their various involvements in the war. There is intrigue, scandal, romance, mystery, and a dramatic finish! I am not sure if there will be a sequel but I am hoping that there will be - I would love to read more about these characters and their wartime exploits and heroics!

A little about the author:

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City, and the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England, as well as the Constable Evenas mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won fourteen awards to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and MacAvity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans from around the world, including the 12,000 who visit her Facebook page daily. She is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. Connect with her at rhysbowen.com.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Reviews ~ Let's Talk Hygge

So what exactly is hygge, anyway? From what I have been reading, it is a feeling, a state of emotional well-being, coziness, contentment. Enjoying good things, with good people. Enjoying the moment. It is a type of mindfulness, but to the Danish it is a way of life, one that helps them through all those dark and cold months, and really, helps them be the happiest country on earth.

Like most Americans. I often have to be reminded to stop, enjoy, just be. To not settle for fast food while on the go, but to take the time to make good food, and spend time with my family, away from distractions like cell phones, social media, the television. I would go go go and do do do, not taking time for myself, like an Energizer bunny. I want to be more present. I want to enjoy a good cup of hot chocolate, in my comfy home, lit by candles.. That is what hygge is about. Enjoyment of life.

Last Saturday we went out as a family, into the woods. It was a little chilly but the sun was shining, and the birds were out full force. We ran into an old friend and her children, who had moved away and was in town to visit, and had a nice chat. I also bumped into a former student library helper of mine, who was in 5th grade when I knew him - now he drives. It was good catching up with all of them. We went home feeling amazing, and the feeling carried through the rest of the weekend. This morning, instead of racing through a weekday breakfast, I took a few extra minutes to make pancakes for Wyatt and I - and we were both feeling full and happy after.

So now, the books.


How to Hygge by Signe Johansen: This book was the first I really read about the idea of hygge. I loved the photos, and the descriptions of the author's life, her chunky sweaters, her 20 year old Timberland boots that have been on countless hikes. The best part however were the recipes.  I need to return this book to the library, so I won't get to try them just yet, but there are some seriously delicious treats within its pages. Oatmeal waffles, pancakes, and for the practice of fika, the getting together with friends over cake and coffee, there are such desserts as a midsummer almond torte with lemon and elderflower glaze, and a cake called darkness and light. This book talked a lot about nature, food, comforts, and natural materials, warm sweaters. It is not just a feeling, but also tactile feeling as well. I relate it to how I love to cradle my beloved ceramic mugs that my mother-in-law made me, my slouchy fat belly one, and the one that reminds me of the Great Lakes at night, when they are full of coffee or tea and I just hold them, feeling comfortable and safe and happy.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking: From what I believe, this is the book that launched hygge into the the rest of the world. Wiking works at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, which sounds like a wonderful place to work. (and don't get my husband started on Copenhagen, his dream city) I feel like of the two books, this book was the better of the two in terms of some sort of practical guide. Both are more for the beginning reader on the topic, but this one was broken down more into an easier to understand format. I like lists, and it was sort of listy. While hygge is associated more with autumn and winter, this book offered suggestions on how to hygge year round. It too, provides delicious sounding recipes, and since I bought this book, I will definitely be giving them a go. 

Wiking describes hygge as "humble and slow. It is choosing rustic over new, simple over posh and ambiance over excitement." This is a feeling and a movement I can understand, feel, and totally get behind. It engages all the senses. It's casual. It involves chocolate.

Since tonight is a perfect night for hygge, with a quiet rain hitting the window outside, I think I will finish here, and go snuggle under a blanket, while I drink a cup of mint tea, my favorite. And I may even have a slice of pie with it.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date!

I feel like I putzed a lot last week. I did a little of this, a little of that. I have been trying to go through all of our stuff, and decide what we can donate or sell or just plain get rid in an attempt to control the chaos that is our home. We have lived here long enough that our possessions have run amok! And add a toddler ~ yikes! Lol. I am currently in high organization mode ~ if you follow me on Pinterest you can see all the stuff that I've pinned but maybe won't do! Lol. Anyway, it's been fun putzing.

Read Last Week: 


 

Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller: I hate to say this, but while I started off enjoying this book, it just ended up boring me and I had to force myself to finish it. 

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking: This book was a great resource for anyone just starting to learn about the whole hygge lifestyle, like me. Plus, I want to work at the Happiness Research Institute. How fun does that sound!

Reading this Week:

  

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: Our book club pick for the month. Shirley Jackson rocks. (I wasn't trying to be ironic, but there you have it)

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson: From Blogging for Books. So far, I really like it, and I read a chapter every night. It is nice way to end the night.

Bought for my Kindle under $2.00/free:

 


Falling Free by Shannan Martin - I used to read her blog, Flower Patch Farm Girl or something like that. I loved it, so I am interested to see what her book has to say.


Watching:

We finished up Bones ~ the final series episode was last week, and I was teary! We also are watching Big Little Lies (so good~ I really need to read the book, eh), Riverdale (although on hiatus?), Victoria, Supernatural



How about you all? What's going on with you?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review: Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

Title: Confessions of a Domestic Failure
Author: Bunmi Laditan
Source: NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

There are good moms and bad moms—and then there are hot-mess moms. Introducing Ashley Keller, career girl turned stay-at-home mom who's trying to navigate the world of Pinterest-perfect, Facebook-fantastic and Instagram-impressive mommies but failing miserably. 

When Ashley gets the opportunity to participate in the Motherhood Better boot camp run by the mommy-blog-empire maven she idolizes, she jumps at the chance to become the perfect mom she's always wanted to be. But will she fly high or flop? 

With her razor-sharp wit and knack for finding the funny in everything, Bunmi Laditan creates a character as flawed and lovable as Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood while hilariously lambasting the societal pressures placed upon every new mother. At its heart, Ashley's story reminds moms that there's no way to be perfect, but many ways to be great.


My thoughts:

This book cracked me up!  Laugh out loud funny in places, there are times I could totally and definitely relate to Ashley, as all my own failed Pinterest projects will testify to.

Ashley is a wonderful mother - she is attentive, she loves her baby with all her being, she devotes much of her life to her, but like some moms, doesn't feel that she is doing a good enough job. She feels that she is not a perfect mom - she doesn't make her own baby food, she wasn't able to breast feed, her home is usually a bit of a mess, and Ashley wants it all, that big picture perfect shining example of motherhood. When her favorite mom icon has a Motherhood Boot Camp, with a grand prize of $100,000 she is ecstatic at having been chosen to participate. Each week has a theme that the chosen moms focus on, from hobbies to husbands to work outs to finding their mommy tribe to home design and decor. Ashley does her best, but her efforts don't seem to measure up as well against her fellow moms. In the end, Ashley realizes that no one is perfect, and that although she can't craft her way into her own Etsy store, she is a wonderful mother. I loved Ashley's evolution throughout this book, from losing herself to the ideal of what a perfect mom is, to finding her own voice and fully embracing her strengths, and gaining self-confidence.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date!

Last week I am terming the week of the Not-so-Funtastic Cold! My cousin's daughter had a birthday party at one of those indoor playground things. and boom, a few days later, our household was down for the count! Yuck, to early spring colds. Needless to say, I didn't get much reading done while taking care of a sick two year old.  I also had book club, which was a fun reprieve!

Read Last Week:


I did get a chance to flip through this and I am hooked. I can't wait to hygge my life. Lol. I also ordered the book The Little Book of Hygge!

Reading This Week:

  

Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller: I received this in the mail last week, which was perfect timing really. When I did get a chance to read, this was a great escape! I didn't finish it although I plan to this week. 

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris: From NetGalley. Paris' last book truly scared me so much I had to set it down! I am looking forward to  this new thriller. 

Watching:

We did a lot of tv watching last week! Lol. Big Little Lies, The Path, Victoria, Bones, The Crown, Schitt's Creek for some "Levy-ty" (bad Eugene Levy pun. Sorry. Lol.) 



So how are all of you? What have you been up to?



Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date!

My family is very firmly Irish, both sides, and this year we celebrated a more family style version of St. Patrick's Day. My brother invited us over for dinner, and it was more about kid wrangling than anything else. Needless to say, it was a great time. I had been playing the Irish Rovers all day for Wyatt, and apparently, my brother had been playing them for his daughter as well. I grew up on their lively songs, and remember my mom dancing around the living room holding me when I was Wyatt's age, spinning and singing ~ maybe Wyatt will have the same memories with me. 

I love gardening, and I am feeling the itch to start planting! Michigan is not cooperating though. I am starting some seeds this week, and I have begun a new obsession with buying indoor plants. We will see how that goes, since I usually am terrible about houseplants. So far so good!

Read Last Week:

 

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan: This book was hilarious, laugh out loud funny in parts. I very much enjoyed this read! Review soon.

Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne: I was so excited to get this in the mail for review this week! It was a great surprise - I love the Haven Point books, and this one is maybe my favorite so far.

Reading This Week:

  

How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life: I am really looking forward to starting this book!

Ravencliffe by Carol Goodman: It's taken me some time to get to this second book in the series by Goodman, but I am in the mood for this kind of read this week.

Watching:

The Crown (so good!), Riverdale, Bones, Supernatural, Schitt's Creek ( I love Eugene Levy!), Big Little Lies


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Reviews in Brief: The Final Vow and A Million Little Things

Title: The Final Vow by Amanda Flower
Source: NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I highly recommend this series to fans of the cozy mystery, especially if you are a history buff. I love that Kelsey and her son live right on the grounds of the Living History Museum that she runs ~ although, with the amount of dead bodies that seem to turn up regularly, I might have second thoughts about living there. Kelsey's natural nosiness and desire to keep the museum open, and therefore keep her job and home, lead her to getting involved with the mysteries that plague the museum. This time, a wedding planner is pushed out of the steeple window, right before the wedding! Kelsey is determined to solve the mystery and keep the wedding on track, as the bride is a bridezilla, well-connected, and did I mention marrying Kelsey's ex-husband? Things are a little rocky in the romance department for Kelsey this book as well ~ and the ending had me on the edge of my seat! This was a great read that I hope you like as well as I did, and a great book for history buffs and cozy readers.


Title and Author: A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery
Source:  NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This was my first foray into the Mischief Bay series, and one I greatly enjoyed. There were a wealth of different characters, with unique situations and voices, their own sets of issues. I immediately connected with the character Jen, an overprotective, worried, helicopter mom, as those adjectives could sometimes be used to describe me as well! I am not as extreme as she is, but I think that her over-the-top behavior and worry was used illustratively, and effectively. I have a special needs child, and it is easy to let that consume you, especially when it is your first child. Mothers can get crazy! However, Pam, who is Jen's mother, is a different sort of crazy mom - and one I didn't care for. Judgmental, controlling, and just plain mean at times, which was a total 180 based on how we are introduced to her, as a business woman whose entire career is based on giving other women a helping hand. Her treatment of Zoe is deplorable, especially for a woman who is supposed to be lifting other women up. Which brings us to Zoe. Zoe is sort of adrift, having bought a house and quit her teaching job in preparation for a future that never materialized. She gets a huge surprise midway through the book, and that is when things get really going. This book is a good look, if slightly exaggerated, of three women at three very different points in their lives.

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

  

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date!


I'm a little tardy to the party today! I blame the snow. Lol. We are having a crazy March snowstorm today with an expected 5 inches. The weather this month has been absolutely crazy ~ I know March comes in like a lion and all that, but this is ridiculous! Right after midnight on the first of March, we had severe thunderstorms with a chance of tornadoes. Last Wednesday we had hurricane force winds that took out the power for 600,000 plus people in our area. Some people are still waiting for their electricity to be restored! Now today, snowstorm from hell. (Do they have snowstorms in hell?)

Read Last Week:

 

The Turn by Kim Harrison: I loved this book!! I can't wait for the next book in this series - and I seriously hope there even is one.

The Sh!t No One Tells You About Toddlers by Dawn Dais: Because all of a sudden my sweet boy can be a little stinker! Lol. 

Reading This Week:


The Widow's House by Carol Goodman: I love Carol Goodman, although her more recent books haven't resonated as well with me. I am hoping that this one is a return to the Goodman I love. If not, I will be grabbing an older one off of my shelf, just to remind myself of the magic of her words!

Watching:

Santa Clarita Diet, Riverdale, Supernatural, Bones, The Mick, The Crown