Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Using Essential Oils to Clean Naturally- Lavender

Using Lavender Oil to Clean

Alright, this is my last post for cleaning ideas with essential oils.  And I saved my favorite oil for last!  Lavender is good for so many things, but normally it's thought of as a perfumer for things like bath salts and bombs or sachets for in your lingerie drawer because of it's relaxing properties.  But, you can easily use it to give your laundry a light, natural scent.

Here's how:

When you go to put your laundry softener in, simply add some essential oils to the softener cup.  I use an unscented softener with about ten drops of lavender.  Sometimes I use a citrus scent, sometimes vanilla.  Depends what I'm feeling.  If you don't use a liquid softener, you can mix some baking soda or washing soda with your oil of choice and add it to the drum of you washer prior to filling.  I have a front load washer and when washing sweaty workout clothes, I often add about half a cup of washing soda to give my detergent a boost.

I was recently introduced to New York Biology's essential oil line.  If you're looking for a source for affordable essential oils, you should check them out.  Lavender smells great, they're pure oils, and bonus- they even come with a handy dropper which gives you much better control over how many drops get dispensed.  They're also very affordable.  Right now on Amazon, you can get one ounce of lavender for $10.50. 

I received a free sample of New York Biology's lavender oil in exchange for an honest review through Tomoson.  All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Using Essential Oils to Clean Naturally- Peppermint

I have two cats, and while I love them, they definitely make more work in the cleaning department.  There's all the cat hair that needs to be vacuumed up, litter box, cat toys scattered around the house, and food and water dishes.  Sometimes, I feel like they leave the house smelling a little less than fresh.  So, a lot of times when I vacuum I use baking soda to deodorize, and I add some essential oils to make it smell fresh.

It's super simple.  Just throw some baking soda in a bowl.  I usually use about a cup.  Add essential oils of your choice.  I usually prefer peppermint or grapefruit.  Stir in about 10 drops our so.  Then, you just sprinkle it over your carpeting.  I usually just use my hand but have used a flour sifter before to get it really evenly dispersed.  Then, you just let it sit for a little bit.  I usually wait fifteen minutes or so.  Then you just vacuum it up.  If you have a bag vacuum, you may not want to do it all the time, because then you're just filling your bags with scented baking soda, but if you have a canister, it works great!

I was recently introduced to New York Biology's.  If you're looking for a source for affordable essential oils, you should check them out.  Shipping was fast and I was very happy with the quality of the oils.  Smells just as it should, they're pure oils, and bonus- they even come with a handy dropper which gives you much better control over how many drops get dispensed.  They're also very affordable.  Right now on Amazon, you can get one ounce of peppermint for $14.50. 

I received a free sample of New York Biology's peppermint oil in exchange for an honest review through Tomoson.  All opinions are my own. 

Using Essential Oils to Clean Naturally- Tea Tree

I was first introduced to essential oils by a lady who had me babysit her son when I was in high school.  I thought they were kind of mythical and unreal but she gave me some lavender, and I did like how it smelled.  A few years later, we started selling them at the Hallmark store I worked at and then I really got hooked.  I've been using them ever since.

One of the easiest ways to get started using essential oils is in cleaning.  You gotta do it anyway, why not cut out some of the toxic chemicals and go with something natural that smells good.

One of the best oils to clean with is tea tree oil.  Personally, it's not one of my favorite scents, but tea tree is a great antibacterial and antimicrobial which makes it awesome for cleaning in areas where you need germ killing powers, like in the bathroom or on kitchen counters.

Here's the "recipe" I use:

Tea Tree Oil

Fill an empty spray bottle about 1/2 to 2/3 full with water.  Fill almost to the top with white vinegar.  Then add about 10 drops of tea tree oil.  Shake.  And then spray where needed.  You can also add another essential oil if you have a smell preference.

And that's all there is to it.  If you're looking for a source for essential oils, I was recently introduced to New York Biology's.  I like them because they are pure oils, and bonus- they even come with a handy dropper which gives you much better control over how many drops get dispensed.  They're also very affordable.  Right now on Amazon, you can get one ounce for $12.50.

I received a free sample of New York Biology's tea tree oil in exchange for an honest review through Tomoson..  All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sign Up for A Very Jane Austen-esque Giveaway

I love Jane Austen.  I thought Northanger Abbey was hilarious and Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite movies.  And I can't wait for Love and Friendship to come to Netflix!  My blog name is even inspired from a Jane Austen quote,
"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."
So... when Maggie at The Novel Orange announced she wanted to host a Jane Austen themed giveaway hop in October, I knew I had to get in on it.  If you blog and are a Jane Austen fan as well, all you have to do is come up with a Jane Austen themed prize worth at least $10, and post a participation post like this one and then link up on Maggie's page.  She has all the specifics at there.
I haven't decided what I'm going to give away yet, but I have some ideas.  The giveaway runs from October 16-23 and should be a lot of fun!  Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 26, 2016

5 Sewing Blogs You Need to Know- Summer 2016 Edition

The blogging world is saturated with lots of people blogging about all sorts of things, and it can be easy to just kind of have blinders on and read the same bloggers all the time, but be missing out on some really great ones in the meantime.  So, I am going try to give a little quarterly review of some great bloggers you may be missing.

First up... the sewers/ quilters.  If you sew or quilt, want to learn, or just like a little creative inspiration, you really need to check these ladies out.

1. Sew Mama Sew- If you've been sewing for a while, you've probably checked this one out before, but if not, you really should.  It's the perfect blend of skills and projects.  There's hundreds of tutorials and many are great if you are looking for something quick to whip up.

2. Oonaballoona- Marcy Harriell aka Oonaballoona is a sewing machine.  She alters her patterns and whips up these amazing creations that are beautiful and crazy and wonderful.  I wish I had 10% of her sewing skills.  If you don't sew, you still have to see her awesome fashion sense. 

3. Sew Can She- Another place to find lots of great, quick tutorials- everything from pot holders to bags to dolls.  And she always has the cutest fabric!  I have a ton of her projects pinned to my Pinterest sewing board.

4.  Noodlehead- The online home of  Anna Graham.  She's a fellow Wisconsinite who sews beautiful bags.  I've made her Super Tote several times.  Here's one I made for a friend for Christmas and here's another I made for a different friend.  I also have a 241 bag I made for myself, using her pattern, but I don't think I ever photographed it.  She also has great tutorials and pattern reviews on her blog.

5.  Charm About You- The only non-American on this list, Lucy is from the UK.  She sews the cutest projects and quilted things with the most adorable fabric.  If you're at all interested in English Paper Piecing, you have to check her out.  She also frequently shows of fabric, notion, and stationery hauls that usually make me fall down a rabbit hole, checking out the Etsy shops she purchased from.

So now the next time you need a little sewing inspiration, give one of these a try.  And if you know of a sewing blog you think I should check out, leave me the link below!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten- Tales from Book Purgatory

Book Purgatory List

This week's Top Ten is a list of books that have been on your shelf since before you started blogging.  Oh my!  So many to choose from.  But, I finally narrowed it down, and above you will find the ten books I chose.  Here's a little about how they ended up in book purgatory.

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.  After plowing through The Handmaid's Tale, Wilderness Tip and The Robber Bride, I started buying up anything of Atwood's that I came across.  But, I got tangled up on The Blind Assassin and I think that made me a little gun shy about the rest of her canon.  Although I've read Oryx and Crake and a couple others since, so I really need to give the rest a read!

Watership Down by Richard Adams.  I've had this book for years, and just last month one of my friend's read it and was telling me all about it.  I think it got pushed aside because I thought it was going to be too sad. 

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.  Lot of people were talking about this one when I bought it a few years ago, but it just never made it off my to be read shelf.  Now that I've read Lake of Dreams by the same author, it's got a better chance of being read.

Lisey's Story by Stephen King.  Believe it or not, the only Stephen King book I've read is On Writing.  My copy of Lisey's Story is one of those stout, little, mass market paperbacks, and I'm not even really sure what made me pick it up, but I really should read it.

The Namesake by Juhumpa Lahiri.  Again, not sure how this one found it's way home with me.  I'm guessing it was being talked about a lot, and I jumped on the bandwagon when I found a copy on a swap site or something.

Life of Pi by Yahn Martel.  Another instance of buying something because it was popular...

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.  Recommended by my women's studies teacher in college.  She has excellent taste in books so I really need to give this on a read!

Eva Luna by Isabele Allende.  Isabele Allende is another one of those prolific authors who have yet to read something of theirs.  I don't know if Eva Luna is the best choice, but I gotta start somewhere.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.  Another author whom I have never read.  (I'm sensing a patter here.)  I think this was resigned to the stack because I thought it may be too sad, but I should really read it and find out.

Hiroshima by John Hersey.  Talk about depressing reads.  But, I feel like this is another one of my gaps in history and culture.  It's also super tiny.

Okay, so help me out.  Have you read any of these?  Which ones should I read right away and which onces can be made into doorstops?  Also, is there a different book by one of these authors that you think I'd like better than the one I listed?  Let me know!  And then stop over at The Broke and the Bookish and check out everyone else's Top Ten Tuesday List!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Short Attention Span Sewing

Quick and Easy Sewing

Guys, things are still crazy slow at work.  Last week I was on call for twenty five hours and only actually worked for fifteen.  It's enough to make a person go stir crazy.  Because while being on call and not working sounds delightful, the reality is that you have to be ready to respond to work at the drop of a hat, and you're on call pay is only $1.50 an hour (pretty sure they haven't raised on call pay since the opening of the hospital).  So, it's easy to fall into this trap of just watching a lot of Netflix.  (I speak from experience.  I powered through Jessica Jones and have moved on to Stranger Things.)  But, I've been trying to be more productive and read more and I decided to dust off my sewing machine.  I have barely used it since last December when I finished a big project for someone and sewed for a craft fair.

I don't really feel like working on a something big or persnickety, like sewing clothes for myself or trying a new bag pattern, when I'm on call and may have to leave in the middle.  But I realized little projects that can be done in steps are a win.  Things that you can start cutting out, but if you get called away, you can easily shelve until you get back to them have become my jam. 

So, if you're a lover of small but functional projects, or if you're a new sewing looking for some confidence boosting projects, here are my recommendations!

Tea Wallets

Tea Wallets

I use this tutorial from Cafe Mom but instead of making a loop out of fabric, i use pony tail holders or elastic cording.  These were a great seller at last year's craft fair.  They use up scraps and only take one 5x7 piece of interfacing.  So, they're great for cleaning up smaller pieces.  You can make the cover out of one fabric and then the inside out of something else, make them all the same, whatever you like.  I like to just iron pieces from my stash, cut them, and then sew a bunch of these up at once, assembly line style.  As you can see, I've made one or two of these.

Reusable Grocery Bags

Reusable Grocery Bags

Sitting beneath these tea wallets are one of my most made sewing projects.  These grocery bags from Michelle's Patterns are so versatile.  I use the large size at the grocery store and always receive a lot of compliments on them and the small ones are perfect for toting lunches to work, using as gift bags, or as produce bags at the grocery store.  You can see past ones I made here and here and here.  Like I said, they're a favorite project.

Boxy Bags (a.k.a. Dopp Kits)

Dopp Bags

These boxy bags from Kelly B Sews are a new favorite pattern.  They take much less fabric than you'd think, they look snazzy, and are highly functional.  All things I love in a pattern.  I've made four of these this month alone, and even finally cut into some of my favorite stash fabrics.  I love the Sweet as Honey line from Art Gallery Fabrics, but only had a yard each of a couple pieces.  But, I think these are totally worth it.  And with I yard, I can make four of these without breaking a sweat.

So there you have it.  If you're new to sewing these are all really easy projects.  And if you want to try the dopp bag but are worried about installing a zipper, never fear!  The directions are VERY clear and she gives some great tips to make it go super smooth.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Time for Books 'n Bloggers!

Hey, it's time for my favorite swap!  Chaotic Goddess' put on some amazing swaps throughout the year, but my far and away favorite is Books n' Bloggers.  This is the swap where you send and receive three books.  You send your partner a book off their reading list, a book you've read and think they'll enjoy, and a book of your choice.  And they in return do the same for you.  I don't know what I enjoy more- picking out three books for my partner or seeing what they pick for me.

In the past, I've swapped with some awesome ladies, like Olive from A Book Olive and Stephanie from Wife, Mommy, Me.  If you love books, and you blog, you really should join.  Just head over to Chaotic Goddess' sign up page and fill out their handy dandy little form, post a post like this, and then just wait to be assigned your partner.

And, is there anything I should be adding to my reading list?  Give me a recommendation if you've read something good lately!

Monday, August 15, 2016

5 Ways to Survive an Unfulfilling Job

Okay, so like more than half of Americans are unhappy with their jobs.  Is this surprising?  Well, it probably depends on which side you're on.  If you love your job, and find the work you do fulfilling or magical or life giving or some other big adjective, then the rest of this post is probably not going to make much sense to you.  But, if you wake up each Monday with a case of the blues, or you just wish you knew what you wanted to be when you grew up, this post is for you.

As someone who still isn't sure what I want to do with my life (and now in my 30s), here are some strategies for surviving.
  1. Figure out what you enjoy doing.  Not what you can make a lot of money at or think you're expected to want to do.  What do you enjoy?  If you aren't really sure anymore, think about when you were a kid, what did you like to do?  For me, I've always had three main loves, that I can trace back from childhood to the present: baking, reading, and writing.
  2. Figure out ways you can use these skills, even if it's not in work.  I find that having another area of your life where you're growing can make life more satisfying.  So, if you love animals, volunteer at your animal shelter, or if their social media could use some help, offer.  If you love to write, think about blogging, or if you don't want to have that kind of commitment or are nervous about it, get in touch with bloggers and see if you could contribute for them.  I don't know of any small bloggers that have a budget for guest posters, but if you have something to write about and want to share you wisdom, they may let you use their platform to get your feet wet.
  3.  Don't neglect your friends.  It's easy to get into a rut where we work, work, work, and then spend the weekends sleeping or catching up on laundry or marathoning Netflix but spending times with friends is so good for you mental health.  Don't talk about work and focus on being in the moment. 
  4. Learn something new.  Sometimes we get in a work rut and it can just make us feel like we're a zombie only good for faxing, collating and stapling.  But, learning a new skill can reignite you passion for life.  Learn to cook something new (affiliate link), take a class at the extension office, download an app to learn a foreign language, or decide to learn to snowshoe this winter.  Having a hobby or project is essential to keeping life fresh and livable.
  5. Stay positive and start working on an exit strategy.  This doesn't mean surf the "Help Wanteds" and switch one dissatisfying job for another.  This means really start thinking about what you want to do with this one life you've been given.  Figure out if it means you're going to need more training and how you're going to get it.  Maybe you want to start your own business on the side, start figuring out what you need to do to make it successful.  What do friends and family tell you you're good at?  Is there a way for you to monetize that?  With the internet, it's easier now than ever to start your own business.
So what about you?  Are you doing what you love?   What would you be doing if you knew you could make a living at it?  Leave me a comment below

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top Ten: Books I Have Never Read

It's rewind day over at The Broke and The Bookish and they invited everyone to pick a past top ten that they had skipped or missed and do it this week.  So, I'm giving you my Top Ten Books (or series or authors) I've Never Read.  Some of these are going to probably be a surprise, others not so much.
  1. Anything Harry Potter.  Harry Potter came out when I was in high school and I dismissed it as being too young for me.  I was at this pretentious age where I didn't read anything unless the author was dead (meaning a classic- Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie).  I seriously thought if it wasn't a classic, it wasn't worth my time.  Man, was I a little book snob!  I do plan on reading Harry Potter some day though, hopefully soon.

    I just finished watching Firefly for the second time, sorry.
  2. Twilight anything.  I think this whole series has been way over exposed  Like, I feel like I know the story without ever cracking the book.
  3. The Divergent series.  If a book is made into a movie and I haven't read it yet, the odds of me reading the book go down tremendously.  If I was smart, I could probably make some type of formula to show this, but just take my word for it.

  4. There's some truth to this.
  5. Anything Nicholas Sparks.  Ugh.  I saw A Walk to Remember and The Notebook, but his writing is a little too sappy for my liking, and the fact that someone usually dies doesn't earn any bonus points with me.
  6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I originally dismissed this as a straight romance novel, which I usually avoid like the plague, but the premise does sound intriguing.  This one may get a read someday.

    Okay, who doesn't want to be in a relationship with pizza?
  7. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  If I had $1 for every time I stumble across this book at a garage sale, thrift shop, or used book store, I'd probably have $100 by now.  And it's not like I'm opposed to reading it, it's just that every time I see a copy of it, it makes me want to read it less.

  8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It's been on my reading list for years, and I've physically possessed a copy for over two of those years thanks to my Books'nBloggers swap with Jolene, yet it still is unread.  Why?  I have a feeling it's going to be soooo sad.  But, I really do want to read it!  And plan to some day.  Hopefully soon.

  9. True or not true?
  10. Anything by John Green.  No Paper Towns, no Fault in Our Stars, nope.  I think I view him as the young adult Nicholas Sparks, but I could be wrong.  He may get a shot some day.

  11. Anything by Lee Child, James Patterson, Vince Flynn, Sandra Brown, or Danielle Steele.  I have a tendency to keep away from the mass market paperback, so I've made it into my thirties, without reading some of the authors who probably move the most books.

  12. Anything by Charles Dickens.  I know what I said in #1, but the truth is, I've never finished anything by Dickens.  I've seen some movies, I've started some, but I've yet to get all the ways through a Dickens novel!  Another to add to the book bucket list.  
How about you?  Got a confession to make?  Or want to make a case that I need to give one of these a try ASAP?  Leave me a  comment below.  And don't forget to head over to The Broke and the Bookish to see what every one else posted.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer Salads

Summer is salad season.  And I firmly believe salad counts as a meal.  I pack it for lunch on the regular.  But, leaf salad gets a little boring and creamy pasta salads are tasty but they aren't exactly on the nutritional up and up.  So, I'm always on the look out for more healthy choices that still taste delish.  Here are three I've been eating this summer.

Kale Blueberry Salad
Kale Salad with Blueberries from Natasha's Kitchen.  I've never been a big lover of kale.  But this recipe makes it so flavorful,and softened it up just enough that it converted me.  The blueberries and dried cranberries give it a hint of sweet, the slivered almonds and carrots- a little crunch, and the apple cider vinaigrette pulls it all together.  Note, her original recipe doesn't call for almonds, but like I said, I think they add a little extra crunch.  Just, add them at the end with the blueberries and onion.  And you have to make sure you let it sit a couple hours so the flavors meld.

Caprese Salad
Caprese Salad is one I've been making for years.  It's easy to make.  Traditionally Caprese is made with Roma tomatoes but I like to cut up a pint of cherry tomatoes, toss in some basil leaves, and take a cup of mozzarella pearls or a mozzarella ball and cut it into chunks, then toss with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil and add a little fresh sea salt.  You can eat it right then and there, or it'll keep nice in the fridge for a day or two, but to be honest, I don't think I've ever had any last that long.

Artichoke Rice Salad
This Artichoke Rice Salad may not look like much but it's pretty tasty.  I made mine with red rice.  And I use whatever color pepper  I have on hand.  The recipe says let it sit for three hours.  But I think it's better if you let it sit overnight and really give the flavors a chance to develop.  And don't skip on the fresh parsley.  It really does add to the salad. 

 So there you have it, my three salad champions of the summer.  Got a recipe to share?  Put the link in the comments.  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August Goals and July Recap

July is in the rear view mirror and August is laid out all flat and full of promise in front of us.  So, that means it's time to look back at how July went and what we're planning for August.  Let's jump right in.


July Goals

  • Hang up gallery wall.  Well, it's in progress.  The frames are bought, and I have five pictures up.  But, it turns out a lot of the pictures I planned on using can't be blown up to 5x7 pictures, let alone 8x12.  So, it's taking a little more time than I planned.  But, I'm happy with the progress so far. 
  • Write one hour a day, five times a week.  Blah!  I was able to get more blog posts up, but didn't do much other writing. 
  • Cook one new recipe a week.  I only managed two new recipes.  One wasn't very tasty, but the roasted cauliflower was pretty good.  I've made it twice already.   
  • Take two fun excursions.  I managed to take four!  Two kayaking trips with some friends.  Tried out a new coffee shop and explored the used bookstore in the next town over.  And, visited Brunet State Park for a nice hike. 
  • Lose four pounds.  Ugh!  Stress eating really did a number on me.  I gained three pounds.   
  • Read five books.  Nope.  Only got three done. 
  • Sew up two old WIPs.  Only managed one and it was a tiny one.  But, it was an old one. 
  • Daily devotions.  Struggled.  Getting back on track though. 
  • Love people more.  Oh my gosh! I swear as soon as this one came out of my mouth, the challenges started.  I'm sure a lot of it is stress related.  I'm more on edge.  I was eating crappier food.  I wasn't exercising.  Everyone and everything was irritating me.  What can I say, it's a work in progress.

Alright, here's what my August plan is.

August Goals

  • Reestablish morning routine.  I need to get back into some healthy habits. 
  • Start back with morning pages.  I have all sorts of thoughts rolling around.  And I need to find some sort of outlet for all that. 
  • Walk at least three times a week.  I need to get more exercise just for my mental health, if nothing else.  
  • Clean eating.  No more potato chips.  
  • Sew twenty things for up coming craft fairs.  Got a lot of little projects lined up. 
  • Read six books.  With all the extra time I have had off lately, I figured I should have enough extra time. 
  • Four creative excursions.  Nothing fancy, just something to liven up the daily grind. 
  • More blog posts.  I'm aiming for twenty.  That'd be more than I accomplished in any prior month this year, but like I said, more free time.
So, how'd your July go?  Get anything crossed off that had been on your to do list?  Want to see what everyone else is up to?  Check out the link up at My So Called Chaos.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August Reading List

I got big plans for August.  I'm hoping to make it through six books this month.  I've got some that I started last month, but here are the four that made the reading list for this month.  Warning: It's kind of a hodge podge of randomness.

Finding Your Extraordinary by Jessica Dilullo Herrin- This one came at just the right time.  I'm looking for uplifting stories of women who get stuff done.

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olson- One of my girl friends read this and I don't think she really enjoyed it so it kind of got pushed to the back of my to be read pile, but my desire for a Scandinavian mystery caused me to pull it out for August.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell was a library book sale find from a few years back and reading the back cover now, it sounds a little dark, but I decided to give it a read anyway.  It rated out at 3.80 on Goodreads, so that's a good sign right?

48 Days to The Work You Love by Dan Miller- With all the weirdness going on at work, I've been pulling anything that may be illuminating off my bookshelf and giving it a closer look.  There's conflicting info on whether your work should be your calling, after all, as Mike Rowe argues, we need septic tank cleaners and bug exterminators.  And I'm willing to bet  those people don't feel that their work is their calling even though it's important.  But, I figured I could at least give this one a read.

Anyhow, with being temporarily/partially laid off as late, I figured I should be able to catch up on my Goodreads challenge (I'm currently two books behind), and if I get all these read, I still have books from past months and even last year, still waiting to be read.  What is one book you're hoping to make it through this month?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Shopping Spree

This week, Broke and the Bookish asked what ten books we would buy right now if we were handed a loaded gift card.  Ooh!  So many choices!  But I was able to quickly put together my dream shopping cart.  Here it is!

Children of God by Mary Doria Russell- I read The Sparrow, not knowing there was a sequel, but know that I know it's out there, I want to know what happens in it!

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz- Similar feeling here.  I didn't feel like I needed another adventure of Elisabeth Salander, but if someone wrote it, I want to check it out.

A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan- A not food related book!  Instead it's the story of Pollan building his own adult playhouse.  That may sound taunting, but in actually, I love the idea of having a seperate little place of ones own.  I still miss the playhouse my brother and I had as kids that my dad had built us.

The Bat by Jo Nesbo- This one made the list because I want to start reading the Harry Hole series, but feel like I need to start with book one.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey- I know just enough to know I want to read it.  I purposefully stay away from it because I don't want to read a spoiler, but I believe it was Printcess or Page a' Vu where I first read a review and I've been on the lookout for it ever since.

Hunting Eichmann by Neal Bascomb-  Nonfiction and involves Mossad.  I found this book at a Goodwill but they wanted like $7 for it, so I passed.  I am fundamentally opposed to paying more than $3 for a used book at a thrift store.  A girl has to take a stand.  But, I still really want to read it.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- Love books that foster creativity and independent thinking.  I hear it's great!

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield- I loved The Thirteenth Tale, and while this book wasn't as highly rated, I'm willing to see what Setterfiled was cooking up this time.

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eicher- If you aren't familiar with the Dyatlov Pass Incident you should really listen to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast regarding it, unless you are home alone and scare easily or are prone to nightmares.  It really is a mystery. In 1959, a group of Russians ventured into the Ural Mountains for skiing and camping and where never seen alive again.  Their remains would make it appear that something very wrong happened up in the mountains, but what?  No one seems to know.

The Trespasser by Tana French- I know this one isn't going to be out until October, but I would be snapping it up on preorder if I could.  Tana French is a favorite and this one features Antoinette Conway.  I'm interested to see how she's holding up in Murder.  She's tough, unbending, and no nonsense, but you still love her.

Total cost according to Amazon, for all ten books: $127.29.

So what's on your list?  Share some of the titles or the link to you post below.  I'd love to check it out!  Or head over to The Broke and the Bookish to check out the link up.

Monday, August 1, 2016

July Book Recap

It seems like a lot of people are looking at August as a fresh start.  My Facebook and Instagram feeds were full this morning of people recommitting themselves to eating better, being more organized, and getting back on track with their goals.  That makes me think that I can't be the only person who had a frustrating July, which is a little reassuring. I had aimed to read five books this month, but only got through three.  But, the good news is I should finish two this week alone.

Here's my monthly recap of what I managed to finish and what found its way home with me.

What I Read
Missing You from Harlan Coben.  It was my first try at his books and while the story was fast passed and kept me reading, it was just a little too ridiculous.  I was trying to explain the plot line to a friend and she just started laughing.  It's kind of like Castle or 24 or any action packed television show.  While you're watching, you can suspend belief and enjoy the ride, but afterwards it's all just a little bit too much.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch,  This book took me a couple of months to get through, but I finally made it.  While the first third is all about the Rwanda genocide- what led up to it (going back hundreds of years), the principle players, stories of survivors, heroes, and the like, the rest of the book is about the aftermath.  I was in late grade school, early junior high, when all this was going down so I don't really remember it, but realizing how the UN sat on their hands and watched all this happen is just unbelievable.  Even more mystifying was how after the outside Tutsi army finally pushed the Interahamwe out of Rwanda, the Interahamwe were treated as victims by the UN, Red Cross and relief groups, even though they had started the genocide and directly murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people.  It was such a interesting book, but so frustrating, and made me despise politics even more than I had.

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards was not as sappy as I thought it was going to be.  But, I could totally see it being made into a Hallmark movie, especially if thy softened it down a little.  It was an interesting read and I was satisfied with the ending, even though I thought I wasn't going to be when I saw it coming.  Feeding off last week's top ten, it made me want to lean more about stained glass and the process that goes into making it.

What I Acquired
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde.  This is book four in Fforde's alternative universe, Thursday Next series.  I'm really looking forawrd to finding out what Thursday is up to.  I've been looking for this book for a couple years and was excited to finally find it!

Find Your Extraordinary by Jessica Dilullo Herrin is all about following your dreams and I think it'll be a good read with all the job uncertainty I feel coming.

The Husband's Secret by Lianne Moriarty was found at a local thrift store.  After the roller coaster of What Alice Forgot, I'm reading to job on for another ride.  Moriarty rights this rug pulled out from under you books that make you ask what you would do in the same situation.

Simplify Your Life, And Get More Out of It by H. Norman Wright was found at the same thrift store.  I'm still working at decluttering, but I was drawn to this book because it also deals with uncluttering your mind.  Something I feel like I could use some help with.

2016 Totals
Books Read: 25
Books Acquired: 31 

How about you?  Find any great books in the last month?  Or finally track down something that's been on your reading list for a while?