Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Five Around the Web

I am sorry I missed yesterday.  The little one - who turned 5 months old on Wednesday - has been fighting off a cold and feeling yucky.  Yesterday, I spent the day cuddling her and getting our fretful selves to the doctor. Happily, she is feeling better today.

Here's five things I'm loving reading around the web:

One.  Winter Shape up over on Gina's page and Anne's page.

2016shapeup general 2

Two. This spot on blog about being a stay at home mommy.  Love it or hate it or both?

And that without your coffee you’ll be no good to anyone. | 20 Shirts That Understand Your Life As A Mom:
Three.Can you believe how serious this Zika virus is?  I can't imagine how horrifying it must be to be a woman in Brazil right now especially if you're ready to have children, and the government says hold your horses, ladies.  We recommend waiting at least TWO years for us to get this under control.  Here's an article about it.

Four. I actually skipped the GOP debate last night.  I feel good about seeing three of the never ending Republican debates.  What do you think of Trump skipping it?  Here's the coverage I've been following.

Political Cartoons of the Week: New GOP Debate Rules:

Five. This facebook post from Rebekah Borucki.  I'm not going to post all of it, because I don't want to nab it without her getting her due credit.  But I also can't link it, because my profile is private.  If you're interested, track down her site, and go from there.

"Truth for my mamas:
Parenting isn't something to be mastered or controlled or scheduled.
Birthing a baby isn't a sport.
Newborns aren't meant to be managed.
The key to successful parenting is allowing... understanding that it's a process bigger than you and that surrender is necessary to survival.
Attempts at mastery and perfection are only going to bring you misery and struggle.
Motherhood is not a competition!!
Babies don't care how fast you get back to pre-pregnancy weight or if you ever do at all! And they don't care about schedules or what time of day it is or what the appropriate times for eating or sleeping or pooping are. They do it all when they need to. They are born with the infinite wisdom of the whole Universe.
Just stop it. Put the book down. Stop crowdsourcing for advice. Just stop everything you're doing that doesn't feel good. Find a loving, compassionate, non-judgmental friend who really knows and loves you, and ask for her support. Tell her your worries, and she'll tell you everything is going to be just fine.
Talk to your doctor. Confide in your partner.
Spend lots and lots and lots of time just doing nothing... with your baby.
Surrender to the process. Accept that new parenthood isn't a time for control. It's a time for letting go and learning... receiving."

It was just the reminder I needed after a rough couple of sick days with the baby.

The 8 Things You Need to Do When Your Baby Gets Sick via @PureWow:

I am linking up this week with these lovely ladies.


What are you reading and following this week?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Library Dilemmas

The day before yesterday I got the dreaded email: Your items are due in 3 days.  Ugg.

After a change in the baby's sleeping pattern and my workout routine, my reading has taken a sharp decline.  As a result, I had only gotten through 1 checked out book and half way through 2 others of the four I had nabbed at the beginning of January.

This looks like a place where I would love to spend the afternoon.:

I HATE dealing with a book I've only gotten halfway through when it's due date rolls around.  I also HATE dealing with no books at home or waiting through the day for my husband to return books back to me.

This got me thinking about my check out strategy.  At the beginning of the month, it seemed like a fantastic idea to max out my allowance to reduce library visits as the twenty week old baby makes trips out a little challenging especially in the middle of winter.

"Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.” ~Mary Oliver:

Now, I'm rethinking it and considering a more staggered check out schedule.  It would be nice to still have one or two books at home now so that I'm not without books.

What do you think?  All at once or staggered?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gilead: Recommendations

2016 Reading Challenge care of Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book you’ve Previously Abandoned

Photo: 18 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Books by Women You Should Read Right Now | Bustle:

It is not particularly easy to recommend based on a book that I did not enjoy reading in the first place.  However, for the entirety of this novel, I felt like I was reading a Faulkner novel.

I have read exactly two Faulkner novels.  In high school, I read Light in August which I hated.  However, there were very few literature teachers who could help me enjoy a novel.  I always felt like they over analyzed and butchered the joy of novels.  Plus, I feel that it wasn't until I was early to mid twenties that I was old enough to appreciate more complicated time period literature pieces.

Light in August

In my twenties I voluntarily picked up The Unvanquished mostly because it was a quarter at a used bookstore, and I used to have purchasing and hoarding used book problems.  I ended up greatly enjoying it.  Now I don't know how I feel about Faulkner over all.

The Unvanquished

Did you enjoy great works of literature in high school?  Or struggle through them?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gilead: Book Club

2016 Reading Challenge care of Modern Mrs. Darcy
A book you’ve Previously Abandoned

In Gilead, the novel is set up as a letter to John Ames’s little boy.  Here’s what I would write to my little girl about my life in a much more abbreviated style than Robinson.

♥♥♥ SALE For 15% off your order, enter SMILE (all capitals) above Item total at checkout.♥♥♥    Mommy Carry Me is a large fine art print of an:

Dear baby girl,

Before I tell you anything else, I want you to know that everyone will have an opinion on how you should live your life.  Live it for yourself, sweet girl.

I have lived a very blessed life, and I hope you also get to appreciate one.  My parents are some of the best.  They have shown me support, love, and guidance – but only when I asked for it.  That’s pretty huge.  Unsolicited advice is the worst.

I met your dad when I was just shy of twenty years old, and that has been the best adventure yet.  He has loved me in such a sweet, special way just like he is loving you in such a sweet, special way. 

I hope you know that when it comes to love that you deserve someone that you are crazy about but that is also kind to you.  And will love you no matter what.  That’s what I’ve had, and I couldn’t ask for more.

Love you baby girl.  So much.

Jessie Wilcox Smith...15 Lieblingstag 12.2015 Einmal etwas ins Herz geschlossen, weil von Herzen geschenkt bekommen. wie das Licht von einem Leuchtturm, dass den Durch-, Überblick bewahrt und die ÜberS-'ich't ins rechte L-'ich't einbettet! Wunderschönes Licht':

What would you write?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Gilead: Review

2016 Reading Challenge care of Modern Mrs. Darcy

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

By Marilynne Robinson

A book you’ve Previously Abandoned

Oh gosh, y’all.  I should have kept this one abandoned.  To be honest, I had forgotten that I’d tried to read this one already.  It was before the handy dandy record keeping days of goodreads, and it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner that I hear about all the time.

This was not for me.  It was suppose to be written in the style of a letter of  a dying man to his son.  But often is takes on the tone of a journal.  And it reads like a haphazard, willy nilly journal.  Not like a novel journal that follows some logical order and some reason for the different scenes included.

The Journal Diaries - JOSE'S MOLESKINE

Maybe there is some high brow literary theme that went over my head, but all I can comment on is how tedious this book was.  Unless you are hard core into southern literature or religious literature, I’d skip this one if I could go back in time.

Happy reading.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nightingale: Recommends

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake House

This is a multi generational book where parts reside in WW2 as well.  Morton's style incorporates a little more suspense and mystery than Hannah, but they both have beautiful prose and a compelling story.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

American Wife

This novel is more present day than Nightingale.  However, Sittenfeld's prose style reminds me of Hannah's.  It is detail oriented without being heavy with detail.  It focuses on female character's trials and tribulations.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden

This was the first Kristin Hannah novel I would recommend prior to Nightingale's publication.  It is heart breakingly beautiful so be prepared for a tear jerker.  It is complex and haunting, and one of Hannah's best.

Is there any novel you would add to this list?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nightingale: Book Club

This book reminded me why I want to have more than one child, God willing.  I was one of three girls, and the companionship I had as a child and as an adult is unparalleled in any other relationships I have.  I read an article about having a newborn by a dad that said there is a reason no one makes any major decisions during these six (if you are the luckiest human on earth) to twelve weeks of severe sleep deprivation.

How true is this as I scroll through Pinterest at 5AM after hours of listening to my son cough through the night? Sigh.:

In the middle of mind numbing crying jags and sleeplessness that I’d had no understanding of BEFORE baby, I couldn’t imagine emerging from that fog and wanting to do it ever. ever again.  Even in the midst of that, crying and blubbering, I said that if I ever had another one it would be for our little one’s sake, because there’s only the one way to have a sibling.

Baby girl is almost 19 weeks old, and already the mania those first dozen weeks has lifted.  There are moments when I still think I must be mad to consider having another one, but then I video chat with my sister and her new little baby.  The cousins are six months apart.  Adorable.

PRE ORDER Baby Girl Take Home Outfit Newborn Baby Girl Hello World Onesie Grey Bloomers Pink & Grey Headband Set:
In Nightingale, the sisters are very different and have their issues.  But at the end of the day, there is this unspoken bound that you don’t walk away from your sister.  And I want my little one to know that when life has broken apart around you, when your parents have passed, and when no one else understands you, you still have your sister.

God willing, this is what I pray for for my little one.

S.W.A.L.K. Stamp Collection 2-My Sister -

How about you?  Only child?  Get along with your siblings?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Nightingale: Book Review

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah

This was one of my all time favorite reads of 2015.  I read it when it first came out but am coming back to it now because Dead Wake and Gilead have slowed my progress down.  And this is a novel not to be missed.

Most of Hannah’s current works are excellent reads.  Her older novels are a little fluffier and generic, but I don’t miss any of her new novels.

The Nightingale was no exception.  It is about a family in France during WW2.  I’m already very inclined to love a WW2 historical novel, but this one had all the juicy tidbits that had me finish this novel in a record 2 days.  It also showed a side of the war I haven’t read much about.

The main characters of my novel are Rose and Jeremiah. Jeremiah's family emigrated to America from France in 1755.:

There is such complexity to WW2 that many authors will swing to a heavy emphasis on the events of WW2.  While WW2 is important enough to this novel to be another character, Hannah never forgets her focus which is this family that is surviving occupied France.

This is a book I would widely recommend to anyone.

Happy reading.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cress: Book Club

This Christmas, my mother – who has outdistanced me on this series after I put Cinder in her hands in early December – had Cress sitting out on a sofa end table.  My sister pointed it out and said she likewise enjoyed reading the first three of this series.  She, however, read it this past summer, and she doubted she’d finish it with the latest installment, Winter.

Winter by Marissa Meyer • November 10, 2015 • Feiwel & Friends

That got me thinking.  Is it better to hold your horses until a series is complete to read it or take them as they come?

It has been a happy coincidence that I didn’t discover the Lunar Chronicles or the Grisha series until they were completed.  I didn’t hold out on purpose, but there is this happy obsession that happens when you can lose yourself completely in a series, going from one to the next as quickly as you can handle it.

The Peanuts Gang catching up on their reading! Will someone please help poor Woodstock though…:

Of course, I am on a wait list for Winter, but I doubt it will be long before it’s my chance to nab it.

I’ve also gotten caught in many series as they were being published: Harry Potter, Outlander, and Ken Follet’s Century trilogy all come to mind.  Outlander, in particular, has been brutal waiting it out.  I started that series when the first 3 or 4 had already been published ten years ago now, and then hit the brick wall of Gabaldon’s extensive and timely research and publication dates.  Ugg.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

When the series builds on itself – like most do – I find it hard to keep track of what has happened for the new novel especially with Outlander.

As much as I like the idea of being a patient enough person to wait until a series is complete to binge read it Netflix style, let’s be real.  If a good book recommendation comes along, I’m going to take it.

How about you?  To wait or not to wait?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cress: Review

Cress by Marissa Meyer

By Marissa Meyer

Cress is the third installment of the Lunar Chronicles, and a spin off of Rapunzel.  If you have not picked up this series yet and you fell in love with Harry Potter, Twilight, or Divergent, go pick up the first one, Cinder immediately.

Cress, a Lunar shell, is imprisoned in a satellite orbiting Earth, forced to do Mira Sybil’s bidding.  Cress is the Lunar responsible for keeping all Lunar ships cloaked and is the first to find Cinder’s gang in the Rampion.  What happens next is an adventure epic full of missteps, friendships, maybe more than friendships, and a rollercoaster good time for the reader.

Lunar Chronicles - Is that all hair?? by on @deviantART:

Like the other books in the series, this one is not winning any awards for sophisticated writing style.  However, the plot line is full of adventure – which I swoon over – and has these little touches throughout all the books that make it a treasure to read even for adults.

I didn’t love it quite like Scarlet as the sheer amount of characters is beginning to make the story telling a tad unwieldy.  However, I still devoured it in record time, and I would recommend it quickly if you’ve already fallen in love with the series.  It does not disappoint.

"I can't see him! Where is he?" He yelled. "I got your back!" Amelia grabbed Jay's hand holding the gun. She skillful pointed it at their foe and shot.:

Happy reading.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Boston Girl: Recommendations

The Water’s Edge or Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants

Both of these novels are light hearted, easy reads in unique settings and historically rich time periods.  I enjoyed Water for Elephants more than The Water’s Edge, but I am an animal lover who tracks the elephants down at the zoo right after we’ve sat for hours watching the lions and tigers.  The both have rich character conflicts as well.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha

This is another time period piece that I enjoyed.  Golden truly immerses the reader in 1930s Japan.  A truly haunting read.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street

This is set in present day, but it is a novel rich in ethnic texture.  This is also a fast, easy read.

What are your favorite time period pieces?  Ethnic/culture specific pieces?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Boston Girl: Book Club

New York City , en los tempranos años 1900 , coloreada digitalmente / / . . . New York in the early 1900s, colorized.
The early 1900s held an armful of juicy, intense transactions making it a treasure trove time period to set a novel in.  I have always felt a little daunted about setting novels in different time periods because of my own perceived “lack” of knowledge of the events.  Do fiction novelists just do intense amounts of research or make up the details or maybe a happy combination of both?

Regardless, I like to stick to what I know.

Last week was my first week using my midori travelers notebook as a planner and I am pretty sure I am in love with everything about iI.:

For my reading entertainment, my favorite early 1900s topic is hands down WW2.  It might even be my favorite historical fiction event of all time.  I will forgive a novel a LOT of flaws if it includes some aspect of pre, during, or post WW2 facts.

However, there are numerous gems that stand out: anything by Kate Morton, the Century Trilogy by Ken Follet, The Shell Seekers, and Catch 22.


The Boston Girl skirts WW2, focuses a little more intensely on WW1, the flu epidemic, and women’s rights.

How about you?  What’s your favorite early 1900s event to read about?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Boston Girl: Review

The Boston Girl

By Anita Diamant

I constantly make this rookie mistake.  I pick up a well known author’s latest work instead of picking up their acclaimed work and moving on – or not – from there.  I did it with Anita Shreve and read A Wedding in December mostly because I got a copy for free instead of reading The Pilot’s Wife. 

And I hated A Wedding in December.  Now Shreve is ruined for me, and I am very unlikely to pick up another one of her novels.  That’s a shame if A Wedding in December was a fluke, and the bestselling The Pilot’s Wife is actually a fantastic read.

The Pilot's Wife: A Novel Tag: Author of the Weight of Water

See where I’m going?  This book was fine.  I did not hate it.  It was not the worst book in the world.  I did finish it which says something.  I should have picked up The Red Tent for my first Anita Diamant so I would know definitively if I just don’t like her style.

This book just lacked anything special.  A few scenes were nice, but never really tied together in a meaningful way.  The writing was basic without any flourish.  The characters were relatively flat.  It is a very predictable story of a young girl in the early 1900s as she grows up through the first world war and the depression.

Horace Warner. Adelaide Springett was born in February 1893 in Wapping, both her parents were street sellers. Adelaide’s twin sisters, Ellen and Margaret, died at birth; another sister, Susannah, died aged four. Adelaide’s last known address was recorded in 1901 when, aged eight, she lodged with her mother at a Salvation Army shelter.:

While the novel did bring to light a fatalistic flu virus that is often neglected during this time period, the rest of the story was lackluster.  You’re not missing much if you skip this one.

What about The Red Tent?  Is it worth a try or not?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Scarlet: Book Club

winter marissa meyer | Tumblr

Orphans in Young Adult Literature

As an adult, I have read much more young adult literature than I did as a young adult.  It is an exploding genre with fantastic options these days.  When I was younger, there were a few options, but not like it is today.  That’s awesome.  I am particularly hopeful for young adult books that mindfully tackle tough subjects for young adults rather than just pure entertainment.  However, pure entertainment has its place too.

A prominent theme I’ve noticed in Harry Potter, arguably Divergent, the Grisha, The Lionness Quartet, and the Lunar Chronicles are orphaned teenagers.  I wonder why this is such a popular theme.  Does it speak to overcoming obstacles?  Does it provide the tumultuous back drop necessary for the adventure that awaits them?

Adopting 1 child won't change the world but for that 1 child the world will change.:

I hope it’s a way to introducing young adults to the eventuality of journeying out on one’s own, and that friends and success lie on the other side of hardship.  However, I am also concerned.  Does our youth relate to these stories because of discontent and disconnect from their parents.

Part of me feels that this concern is melodramatic as I enjoy theses series too, and I have great parents.  Which brings me back to the question, why are so many popular young adult books dealing with orphaned children?

Image of heart for the orphan. Love this artwork and the stories behind each set of shoes. <3

What do you think?  What books have you read also dealing with this tough topic?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Scarlet: Review

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)

By Marissa Meyer

Oh my, y’all!  I flew through this Lunar Chronicles second edition.  I had it lying on my lap to read while baby M was falling to sleep.  I found a way to prop it in my recliner while she was taking a bottle.  I could not put this one down!

It even snuck up on me that Scarlet is a Little Red Riding Hood spin off until a Part II quote made it click.  We will chalk this one up to mommy brain as my own mother who is also reading the series thought it was pretty obvious.

This picture is classic image of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. I chose this picture because it represent typical imagery in fairy tales. The young, innocent looking white girl going up against a bigger, badder, scarier creature.

Here’s what I loved about the second – which in my opinion was even better than the first!  There were elements Meyer introduced in the first novel subtly that became big deal plot lines in the second.  I love that kind of sneaky plot ability. 

For example, in the first novel Meyer brushes on the wolf beast army Levana has created.  In the second novel, it plays a huge part.  And – hopefully no surprise – it plays off the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood.  Adorable!

"Red Riding Hood - Peace Offering" Art Print by Budi Satria Kwan on Society6.:

This novel is definitively the second chronological book in the series even though Meyer also introduces vignettes to supplement the series that I have not yet read.  It continues Cinder’s story while adding Scarlet’s story.  While the series is still written at a young adult reading level, the characters are swoon worthy and the plot development made it nearly impossible to fit in a non-Lunar book before starting Cress, the third novel in the series.

If you had any interest in Cinder, go get this one right away!

little red riding hood ~ be my valentine

Happy reading.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Light Between Oceans: Book Club

When Isabel and Tom find a baby Mose’s style – i.e. washed up on their banks – they decide to keep it.  Really, Isabel so desperately wants to keep the little girl that Tom goes along with it.  The rest of the novel takes the reader through the journey of this consequence.  What would you do?

Week 7: Bible Story Baby Moses Coloring Page

I have a hard time relating to Isabel’s desperation.  I have been blessed.  When my husband and I decided to have our first child, I got pregnant easily and quickly with no dire threats to my or our little girl’s safety.  As I am getting older – just celebrated my 32nd birthday – I try to sidestep judgment on situations that I have little to no experience with. 

I don’t know what I would do in Isabel’s situation.  I would certainly have given the baby a loving home for as long as she needed, but I don’t know that I would have hidden it.


I do know that I wanted Tom to ask Isabel one thing before giving in to her wishes.  “What if it was your baby?”  What if someone – inexplicably – had taken your baby girl from you and she had survived a treacherous boat ride at sea, but then been kept  from you.  I want to hope that plea might have swayed Isabel’s decision, but I would have loved to see that reaction.

How about you?  What would you have done?

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Light Between Oceans: Recommendations

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

This is probably the closest match to me.  Set in WW2 France, it also focuses on the destruction war plays on families.  The writing style is beautiful, and this was one of my favorite reads of 2015.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time

While this does not share a lot of plot line similarity with The Light Between Oceans, I still have this gut feeling that if you liked The Light Between Oceans, you’d like this one by Picoult.  Like most of Picoult’s novels, it deals with tragic family issues.  This one centers on a teenage girl trying to locate her missing mother.  As an animal lover, it has the added twist that the main character’s missing mom was an elephant caretaker.  Another moving, beautiful novel.

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge

This novel underwhelmed me last year, but it has the same readability as The Light Between Oceans.  Plus, most people loved this new release of Gruen’s.  It chronicles a trio as they investigate a lake monster in England in the ‘40s.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

White Oleander

This novel also centers around female family members.  It is written beautifully and sheds light on how much girls need their mothers.  This one is worth the late read if you’re not looking for a warm and fuzzy read.

Happy reading.