Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Five

TGIF! I'm ready for the weekend right about now, and getting to relax a little.  Here are a few things I found online this week in between soccer practices, XC practices and meets, and other various events.

Apple Valley Scarf - I love this scarf.  It would go with so many different things.  

2.  Tierra Del Sol Socks - and these socks! I love these, too.  Pretty much anything on Sundance would be fantastic to add to my closet.

3.  The Spitfire Fringe Boot - The Big Mama Blog highlighted these boots this week. I seem to remember that my sister had a hernia when I once picked some fringe boots for a previous Friday Five. I am guessing these won't meet her approval, either, but I love them.  

4.  Burgundy Puffer Vest - My daughters' school colors are maroon and gold. I'm looking for some type of burgundy/maroon vest. 

5.  Textured Frost Free Vest - and here's another option from Old Navy.

6.  La Paz Bracelet Trio - I hardly ever wear jewelry- and have very little to choose from I like this bracelet combo.

7. Plaid Peasant Blouse - I love plaid in any shape or form.  

What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

TLC Blog Tour: Bone Trees

You know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words?"  I wish someone had taken a picture of my husband and me the other night.  We were both reading Greg Iles' books. My husband is still working on Natchez Burning, which he is finding difficult to put down (and he is staying up waaaaaaaay to late reading every night).  I'm working on The Bone Trees, the second in the series.

I'm reading these books so close together that picking up the second one shouldn't be hard to do. And it isn't. But, for anyone who has let a little time lapse between these two novels, Iles does a great job of picking up right where Natchez Burning leaves off and recapping what happened in the first novel.  

I'm also finding The Bone Tree hard to put down.  There is more about some of the other minor characters than in the first book, and I'm enjoying getting to know them. 

The one minor flaw is one that I think happens in many trilogies: the second novel drags a bit.  I didn't dislike this book, but I firmly believe that Natchez Burning was a better book.  However, I'm still excited to read the third book which will come out in March 2017.  

There are plenty of twists in this story, just as in Natchez Burning. There are some major plot details I'm finding it hard to resist divulging, and people who are interested in Bone Trees, should definitely read Natchez Burning first.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

For purchasing information, visit Harper Collins online.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Small Admissions

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that highlights soon to be released books that we are anxious to get our hands on.

This week's pick: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
Due out: December 27, 2016

Product Information taken from Amazon:

For fans of The Nanny Diaries and Sophie Kinsella comes a whip-smart and deliciously funny debut novel about Kate, a young woman unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat world of New York City private school admissions as she attempts to understand city life, human nature, and falling in love.

Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancĂ©,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns ofSex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Timely Read: We Are Unprepared

This past week we've had flooding in our area. Enough flooding that some area schools have been canceled and businesses closed.  I picked up We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly while all of the flooding was first starting.  This book was a timely read, as the characters in the book were dealing with some extreme weather of their own.

Ash and Pia have relocated to a small Vermont town, looking for a change from the urban lifestyle they were living. As they try to decide if they are going to have a family together, they are confronted with an upcoming weather crisis unlike any the  United States had seen before.  

As the town tries to decide various steps to take to prepare for The Storm, Pia and Ash must also make some decisions.

It is true that stress can make or break a relationship, and readers get to see that firsthand in Pia and Ash's marriage. The town also struggles to make decisions because there are many different viewpoints and different groups that have formed to deal with this upcoming Storm.

Meg Little Reilly's writing is what drew me in to this story.  I loved it from the first page.  Although it reminds me a bit of Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It series, We Are Unprepared is not as dramatic or full of action. Instead, this novel focuses more on the characters and the decisions they make with the circumstances they are in.

I will happily be recommending We Are Unprepared to friends.  This one falls a little outside of my comfort zone; apocalyptic novels aren't something I always feel the need to read, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one and hope to read more by Meg Little Reilly.

One of the pictures of the flooding this past weekend.  
My friend, Robin, took a ride in her husband's plane to see 
the flooding.

Monday, September 26, 2016

TLC: The Well Tempered City

The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Nature Teach Us About The Future Of Urban Life by Jonathan F. P. Rose is not a book for easy reading and skimming. I found it very thought-provoking and interesting, but definitely not something I could quickly read.

Rose's book is full of research and plenty of ideas that were new to me.  This book discusses topics like population growth, income inequality, and the depletion of natural resources.  

As I looked over the list of blogs also reviewing The Well-Tempered City I noted that many of the reviewers are people interested in cities and urban planning.  Although I lack that background knowledge, I still found this book very interesting (I also enjoyed the book Walkable City by Jeff Speck).  

So, this book might not be for everyone, but if you are someone interested in cities, how they develop and change and their history and future, this book is for you.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Click here to purchase this title from Harper Collins or Amazon.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Five

Happy Rainy Friday.  We are drenched here in Iowa, and several area schools are closed due to flooding.  This is the one time I wish I owned an umbrella; yesterday I looked like I had just had a shower by the time I got into the school.  Oh, well.  

Here are a few things that have made me happy this week:

1.  This Is Us - I watched nearly all of this premiere on NBC and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I am finishing it up on Hulu this weekend.

2.  I'm always on the hunt for a good podcast. I've listened to two episodes of What's The Point which covers a wide range of topics and brings data into the discussion. So far, I've heard about bears and where they live and their movement, and how to choose an NFL team to root for.

3.  Cortez Ultra Moire Sneaker - I broke down and bought a pair of new polka dot tennis shoes last week and had plenty that I looked at. These retro sneakers are also calling my name.

4.  Cozy Modal Stripe Scarf - I have plenty of scarves, but would still be happy to add one more to my collection. Gap has some beautiful choices right now.

5.  Nut Butter Filled Clif Bars - As far as health goes, Clif bars aren't all that great for you. However, I do like these new nut butter filled bars as a treat.

6.  Gap + Pendleton Small Utility Tote - There were several years where I rarely ordered from the Gap. Lately I have found tons of stuff I like. Right now they have a Gap + Pendleton line of plaid items I love.

7.  Multi-Color Stripe Sweater - and one more item from The Gap....this sweater. It reminds me a little of a sweater I had from there back in 1995-96.  Sadly, I think I gifted that one to my mom, who has probably gotten rid of it since then.  The updated version is one I'm really liking.

So, how about you? What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

TLC Blog Tour: Commonwealth

Although I haven't read all of Ann Patchett's books, I have loved the ones I've read. Add that to the fact that I was able to visit her bookstore Parnassus when we were in Nashville this summer, and my author love continues to grow stronger.

And then add in the fact that she has a new book out.....well, was there any question that I'd love it?

Commonwealth shares the story of two families joined together by their parents as Bert Cousins kisses Beverly Keating while they are both married to different people.  This kiss sets a series of events in motion that forever changes the lives of these two families.

Patchett's novel covers decades as the children in the Keating and Cousins families grow up as step-siblings, travel to see their parents at holidays and during the summer, and eventually help them in their old age. 

Franny, Beverly's daughter, begins an affair with an older man, author Leon Posen. Her childhood memories are used as fodder for his bestselling novel, dredging up events that they must confront and come to terms with.

Patchett writes her novel in a way that allows me to feel as though I could be sitting in the kitchen with her characters as they are making the orange juice she vividly describes.  

There's a lot of buzz about this novel, and deservedly so.  I love character driven novels, and Commonwealth certainly fits the bill.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book for my review. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Commonwealth is published by Harper Collins Publishers.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Little Deaths

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that highlights a soon to be purchased title we can't wait to get our hands on. This one was hand-sold to me at BEA and I'm waiting to read my ARC until a little closer to its publication date.

This week's pick: Little Deaths by Emma Flint
Due out January 17, 2017

Product Description taken from Amazon:

It's 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone--a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress--wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy's body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.'s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth. 

As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth's life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth's little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman--and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children's lives.

Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete's interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there's something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance--or is there something more sinister at play? 

Inspired by a true story, Little Deathslike celebrated novels by Sarah Waters and Megan Abbottis compelling literary crime fiction that explores the capacity for good and evil in us all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Best Man

Richard Peck is one of my favorite young adult authors. I especially love his historical fiction novels, but am always excited to read whatever he has published.

The Best Man falls into the realistic fiction genre, tackling the tough topic of same sex marriage.  

Archer's story begins with his kindergarten year, as he looks back from upper elementary. He recounts the way his friendship began with Lynette and other interesting characters from his class.  Peck has a way of infusing humor in his stories, and The Best Man is no exception. I found myself chuckling as I read, appreciating Archer's obliviousness and the way Peck writes with exaggeration.

The Best Man is a great book for providing positive male role models.  Archer's dad and grandpa are involved and loving.  His uncle Paul is also a frequent visitor.  Archer gets even luckier when he has a student teacher, Mr. McLeod, who is the first male teacher in the school's history, and who has a unique way of teaching his students.

So, when Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod start dating, Archer is ecstatic.  

There are funny moments, and a few sad ones as well as Archer tries to navigate the years between childhood and adulthood.

Peck never disappoints and The Best Man is a great book for all tween readers.

Monday, September 19, 2016

TLC Blog Tour: Do Your Om Thing

I've never done yoga before, but after reading Do You Om Thing by Rebecca Pacheco, certainly has made me think about trying it out.  (I even looked up the hot yoga class times in my area yesterday).

Pacheco does a fantastic job of explaining the eight limbs and connecting them to her own life by sharing some stories about herself.  She explains the spiritual aspect of yoga well.  And she provides good information about the chakras.  A bit of this was like Greek to me. I am not well versed in yoga-speak.  However, I appreciated the wealth of knowledge she has about yoga, her passion for it, and her ability to make this knowlege accessible to everyone.

I still don't totally understand yoga. But, I appreciate the photographs that give a visual aid for the various positions and poses.  Pacheco's book is a treasure for those already doing yoga. But even for me, I found Do Your Om Thing to be a great resource.  Often I pass books on after I have read them. I am keeping this book. I am certain I will refer to it in my future either as a guide to my own yoga practice, or for something like meditation which Pacheco also recommends. 

My Om Thing might not look exactly like Pacheco's, but I'm certainly willing to give it a try.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for a copy of this book. As usual, all opinions expressed are my own.