Monday, April 10, 2017

April Reading List


April is here!  And here's what I'm aiming to read this month.
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey was a gift from my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa last year.  I've been looking forward to this read and have been trying to keep away from spoilers, so I'm not sure what all I'm in for, but looking forward to the ride.
  • One True Ocean by Sarah Beth Martin was on my to be read list way back in October of 2015.  But, I never even cracked it open.  So, this is the month for redemption.  It's 
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is being turned into movie.  When I was at my aunt and uncle's cabin a few years ago, I found a copy there and started reading through it.  So, when I found a copy at a book sale, I snapped it up.
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller us described as a sort of Anne Lamott style book.  So, of course I had to give it a go.  It's been sitting on my shelf for months but decided it was time to dust it off.
What's on your reading list for April?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

March Book Recap


March was a surprisingly good month for reading.  I had gotten into a habit of coming home, plopping in front of the TV and watching reruns until my husband got home, so I broke that and switched from TV to books.  Of course, once you're immersed in a good story, it's hard to put a book down, so I ended up spending a lot of nights curled up with a book.  Here's the details.

I read
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky, which had been on my February reading list, but I never got to it.  It was a quick read, but much more intense than I was expecting.  I was expecting this cutsie little story about friendship and finding your place in life, and that is not what this is at all, it's much darker and more intense.  But it was good and I'm glad I finally read it.
  • The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (originally from my November 2016 reading list) was also darker than I normally read.  I think this would be classified as horror, where I'm more a suspense type girl.  I really liked the premise of a time traveling serial killer, but there was a lot of questions left unanswered and some of the relationships and decisions of the characters just didn't seem reliable to me, and the gore was more than I care for in my books.  But it was interesting, that's for sure.
  • Still Mine by Amy Stuart didn't live up to my expectations.  I didn't really like any of the characters except for maybe the missing girl's mother, who has dementia.  The whole town sounded like a downer and being in healthcare, one my biggest annoyances was that this town of like a couple hundred people, two hours from anything in the middle of no where, isolated from everything because it's on some remote mountain road, has a hospital even though it seems like there's only one doctor and one nurse running the whole thing.  The grocery store consisted of a couple rows of stuff in the hardware store.  The town residents drive two hours to get food, but they manage to maintain a hospital?  Seriously, my town has about 4,000 people and we are pretty tiny to have a hospital.  It probably seems like no big deal to most readers, but the whole remoteness, yet randomness of this town really annoyed me.  And like I said, combine that with characters you don't care about- even the missing girl seemed unremarkable, and it makes for a fast but not really memorable read.  I did enjoy the parts of Claire's story that fleshed her out a little, but there wasn't enough to make me care about her that much.
  • Children of God by Mary Doria Russell was much better than I was expecting.  It's the sequel to The Sparrow, which was my favorite read of last year.  While the sequel wasn't as good (are they ever), I did enjoy reading more about Emilio Sandoz again, and watching him overcome the trauma he experienced in the first book.  The war in the middle got long, and I felt like a lot of it could have been cut or condensed, but I liked the back and forth point of views, where one chapter would be on Earth and the next would be on Rakhat.  I think this is one of those books that you either love or hate.  And you definitely need to read The Sparrow before this one, or you're going to be lost, or at least not as emotionally invested in a lot of the characters.
I added
  •  Lenten Lands by Douglas Gresham is a memoir of C.S. Lewis' stepson.  The more I find out about Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis' marriage, the more I want to hear about it, so this book by her son seems like an obvious read for me.
  • What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault is a murder mystery with a strong family story woven in.  To be honest, the cover drew me in, but I have a feeling the book is going to go a whole different direction.
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes was at the dollar store, for $1.  I picked it up before I read The Shining Girls and now that I have read The Shining Girls, I worry it may be too gory for my taste, but I'm willing to give it a read.  Per Goodreads, it got slightly higher ratings that The Shining Girls.

2017 Totals
Read- 9, Acquired- 11

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter Bingo Wrap Up

Well, it was my first time playing Bookish Bingo, hosted by Bekka from Pretty Deadly Reviews.  I didn't get many books read this winter, but did manage to eek out a Bingo.  Here it is...


Set Abroad: The Man from Beijing by Henrik Mankell
Romance: Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange
Free
Blue Cover:
Stone Mattresses by Margaret Atwood
Unreliable Narrator: Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Simple

Also read...
GR Choice Nominee: The Trespasser by Tana French 
Not YA: The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg
Super Hyped: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brenea Brown

If you want to play along this spring, go to Pretty Deadly Reviews and sign up.

Friday, March 3, 2017

March Reading List


Here's what I'm looking forward to reading in March.
  • Still Mine by Amy Stuart was on my reading list way back last June, but I never got around to giving it a try.  It looks like a good mystery, so I'm looking forward to giving it a whirl.
  • Children of God by Mary Doria Russell is the sequel to my favorite read of 2016- The Sparrow.  I've had this copy for probably six months now, and finally decided it's time to give it a read.  I'm not expecting the same magic of The Sparrow, but I'm looking forward to seeing where this book takes those characters.
  • Soul Shift by Steve Deneff is nonfiction book all about spiritual transformation.  It details how we sabotage our efforts to change and how to shift your mindset.  It's been on my shelf for a while, but I feel like I could really use it now.
Have you read any of these?  Or have a recommendation for me?  Feel free to drop me a note in the comments letting me know.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

February Book Recap


February wasn't as good of a month for reading as I was hoping it would be.  To be honest, I've just been trying to survive the winter.  I haven't felt like doing much of anything- no reading, no cooking, no sewing.  Just working and occasionally going out to see friends.  My coping skills for winter consist of drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and napping.   I'm looking forward to spring though.  We just got more snow yesterday, but I feel optimistic that it can't last much longer.

Anyhow, on to the recap!

The only book I read was Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  It was funny and entertaining, if not a little predictable.  But, I liked the combination of letters, faxes, emails, and even medical bills used to tell the story.  I'm glad I finally read it,

What I added... well, my birthday is in February so some of these were gifts and a couple had been on my search list for a while.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence and Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach as well as The Passenger by Lisa Lutz were all birthday gifts, although you really couldn't get much different than devotions written by a 17th century monk on being present in even mundane tasks and a thriller about two women on the run from their past.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a book that I've been hunting for quite a while, so I was excited to find this one and Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende on Bookmooch.

Jo Nesbo is an author I've been wanting to read for a while, but I wanted to start the series at the beginning, so when I found The Bat at a used book store while on my weekend out of town, I snapped it up.  Definitely worth the $4 price tag.

So, while I added quite a few, all of these were ones I've been wanting to read.  I'm excited about that.  Totals for 2017, I've read five, added eight.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Recap

Okay, first off, February is always a tough month for me.  As I mentioned in my last post, Christmas is done, but there's still winter and snow and darkness and cold.  Cabin fever starts to hit a fever pitch.  But this February has been especially hard.

When I worked at the hospital, I worked the afternoon shift, so I could get out in the morning and go cross country skiing or even out of town for a few hours and go for a nice long car ride, but now I'm stuck indoors from sunset up to sundown.  Luckily, we are getting more sunlight so sundown is already starting to occur after I get home.  But really, I think there's nothing more depressing then going to work when it's dark and getting home and it's already dark.  I don't know how people in Alaska or those with really long commutes manage that.  So, I've been missing sunlight.

Then I turned 34, which happens every February.  You'd think I'd be used to it by now.  But no, it seems every year my birthday puts me in a funk, thinking of all the things I should have accomplished by now or how I imagined life turning out.

Then, last week, I came down with a nasty cold.  I actually missed work, which rarely happens.  But, I was just worn out.  I slept a lot and watched Netflix.  I've hardly read or created anything, but I'm feeling like winter is wrapping up and that's going to change now.

Here's what has been taking up my time...

Listening to: A lot of Avett Brothers and Avett Brothers type artists.  Loving this song from Shakey Graves and the True Sadness album from Avett Brothers.




Watching:
Black Mirror on Netflix.  I had forgotten season 3 was out on Netflix so I powered right through it.  I started it a couple years ago, and nearly gave up after the first episode which I thought was just gross and disturbing, but I'm so glad I kept watching.  There's swearing, violence, sex, and I definitely wouldn't let kids watch it, but the stories just blow my mind.  I really liked "Hated in the Nation" and "Nose Dive" best this season.  The episodes are all stand alone and question how we use technology and where we're headed.  Think of them as kind of cautionary tales.  I don't feel like I'm doing it justice, but it's so hard to categorize and I can't really think of anything to compare it to, except maybe like a modern day "Twilight Zone".

Traveling: I got up north with one of my friends to visit our friend that lives near the Wisconsin/Michigan border and we had a blast.  My brother took me out for my birthday where he lives.  We went to a restaurant I'd never been to so that was fun,  and then we went out for a few drinks with his girlfriend after she got off work.  It was actually a lot of fun.  I love going new places and my brother and I don't get to hang out very often. 

My Masterminds group and I also went to a room escape and did a puzzle.  Room escapes are right up my alley, but this was at the start of my cold, and I just felt a little off all night.

Room Escape
Here's our pictures.  We made it out with just under ten minutes to spare.  That's me on the end, with my coat and scarf on because I was freezing the whole time.  That should have been my first sign that I needed to be dosing with Vitamin C and Echinacea.

Eating: These Swedish Meatballs are the ultimate comfort food.  I've also made this crockpot recipe that is basically shredded chicken breasts, a can of drained black beans, undrained corn, a jar of salsa, and a pack of cream cheese.  It creates this rich, spicy, deliciousness.  It's so easy that I've made it twice already.

Looking forward to: I'm hoping to get back in my morning routine and want to get back to doing morning pages as well as more sewing and reading in March.  How was your February?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Galentines Swap Reveal


We've reached that stretch where winter starts getting unbearable here in Wisconsin.  Christmas is done, we've made New Year's Resolutions, but the days are still short and cold and there's still snow.  So, when I saw that sign ups where open for Sweet Progress' Winters Swap or Galentine's Swap as they nicknamed this season's I knew I had to join.

I was paired with the lovely Sana from SuperSana.  She is gorgeous and a motivational dynamo blogging about healthy living and weight loss.  I feel like if she lived near me, I'd do a lot better about keeping on my fitness goals.  Check her out, she's awesome!

Her package arrived Friday and it was filled with treats that were right up my alley!

Galentines Swap

It was so nice out this weekend, that I did my pictures out on the deck!  The snow is rapidly melting, and although I'm sure we'll get a few more dustings, it does do good for my soul to see signs that spring is coming.  But, anyways, lets look closer, shall we.

The whole package was cushioned in a sea of hot pink tissue paper and inside was a large paper mache box which I can't wait to doll up as well as a cute card, Dove and Ghiradelli chocolates, and these treasures...


This adorable desk set in gold with blinged out paper clips, clips to organize papers, sticky notes, and erasers.


Gel pens.  I love these.   They write like a dream and jazz up list writing and notes, as well as a face mask.  I keep a basket of pampering goodies just for times when I need a little extra TLC.


And, a lovely pink potholder and polka dot dish towel.  I love pretty things that are also practical.  And, this adorable K initial necklace.  I where more necklaces now that I work at the credit union so this will be great to add to my rotation.

It was such a fun and thoughtful package and I'm looking forward to keeping up with Sana's blog.  If you want to see what everyone else got, you can head over to the link up.  And be sure to follow Mrs. AOK or Happy.Pretty.Sweet. so you can join in next time!