Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Caroline

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post where I feature a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: Caroline, Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller
Due out: September 19

Description taken from Amazon:

In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.
In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.
The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.
For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

TLC Book Tour: Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

I love a good mystery and after some of the heavier things I've been reading, I was ready for this fun book

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes is set in 1992, the ninth book in this mystery series. Although I wish I would have read the previous eight books (just my own personal preference with reading series books), this book does stand alone.  

"Hoagy" (Stewart Hoag) is a ghost writer and amateur sleuth. He finds himself caught up in a mystery when a former love, Reggie, and her sister Monette come back into his life.  Both girls are estranged from their father because of a memoir Monette wrote accusing her father of sexually abusing them.  Now after the passage of twenty years the girls believe their father has contacted them again.  Hoagy's detective skills are especially needed when a murder is committed and he must find the killer.

This is a fun series. I liked the characters and I enjoyed the plot. I also liked the 1992 setting which felt a little bit nostalgic to me.  This book was a perfect read as I go back to work and want to be entertained.  I thought I had things figured out, but Handler surprised me in the end. 

Readers who enjoy mysteries, stand alone, or series, will find this a fun book.  

Thanks to TLC Books for providing a copy of this book for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.
For more information visit the HarperCollins website.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sunday Salon: The Night Before the First Day of School

Technically school doesn't start tomorrow.  Students come on Thursday, but tomorrow is the first teacher work day.  I'm at a new building this year.  After twelve years as an elementary teacher librarian I am moving to middle school.  

Aside from summer ending, our other milestone in our house this week is Big Sister turning 16.  

She has her driver's license now which is exciting and scary all at the same time.

It's always amazing to look back on how quickly summer has gone by.  I'm excited to start something new, but understanding how the new sixth grade students must feel as new students in an unfamiliar building, not knowing anyone or where they are going.  

The girls get to stay home and relax for three more days, but the 2017-2018 school year is officially beginning for me on Monday.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Five: Back to Reality

It's back to reality for me. I head back to work officially on Monday, but will be conducting an all day training for the new teacher librarians in the district today.  It's always hard to believe how quickly summer flies by.  This year I'm trying something new: I'll be a middle school teacher librarian in a different building in our district.  After twelve years in the same elementary school I'm having more first day of school jitters than usual.  However, I'm excited for the change and looking forward to the first day and really getting into things.

I've had a hard time focusing on reading this week, but looking at various things to spend money on has not been a problem.  

Here are a few things I've found:

1.  Adidas Stan Smith Originals - there's something about how crisp and clean these look that really make me want them.  

2.  Women's Scoop Hem Sweatshirt - I NEVER order from Abercrombie because usually everything is super tight and small. However, I do want a camo sweatshirt and this was 40% off and I read the product reviews which claim it isn't small.  I broke down and ordered it, so we shall see how it fits when it arrives.

3.  Women's Peakaboo Cardigan Sweater - This is a new selection from Eddie Bauer's fall catalog.  It comes in two different grays as well and seems like the perfect thing to throw on.  And this weekend is 40% off for Friends and Family.

4.  Women's Eddie Bauer Laurel Chukka - I used to find several pairs of shoes in the Eddie Bauer catalog each season that I wanted. That's changed over time, but I do like these shoes that are in the fall catalog.

5.  Midrise Camo Zip True Skinny Jeans  - camo always calls my name.  I'm not so sure about the "skinny" part of the description. 

6.  Kenneth Cole Sierra Sneakers - I saw a shoe like this featured on something on Facebook, but when I went to find it, it was gone.  Luckily I found a similar pair on Garnet Hill's site.

7.  Twill Field Jacket - I already have a jacket like this but mine doesn't have embroidery. And I love embroidery.  

8.  Zella Fierce Gym Crop Leggings - when we were at Nordstrom a few weekends ago during a short trip to the Mall of America my girls fell in love with the Zella Girl stuff in the youth deparment.  The exercise clothes for adults is also fantastic.

9.  Autumn High Waist Moto Ankle Leggings - I also love the look of these leggings.

10.  Levar Burton Reads podcast - I didn't watch Reading Rainbow as a child, but I have watched it as an adult when I've shown some episodes to students. I keep hearing such good things about this new podcast that I'm going to have to check it out.

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

TLC Book Tour: The Quiet Child

The Quiet Child is a book that will easily grab you and leave you thinking about it long after you turn the last page.

Set in 1954, this is one of my favorite time periods to read about.  Burley's book is a mystery,  yet with great character development and it is not solely the action of the book that moves this story forward, but also the characters and their individual stories.

Brothers Sean and Danny are kidnapped one night from a store parking lot as their father is inside paying for their groceries.  A manhunt ensues with the police trying frantically to locate the boys.  Danny, who is just six years old, does not speak, which has somehow caused people in their town to view him as a harbinger of bad luck.  His own mother is slowly dying from some mysterious illness she contracted after his birth.  

I'm not a fan of the supernatural, and although there are hints of it because of Danny's lack of speech, it didn't bother me in this book.  Burley moves the story along briskly and I found myself wanting to know more about this poor family who was already suffering so much.

It was all I could do not to read ahead, and I hope that people who pick this book up will also resist the urge.  The ending is well worth the wait.  

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.
For more information visit the HarperCollins website.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Best Day Ever

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I showcase a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

Product Description taken from Amazon:

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he's the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That's why he's planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever. 
But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? 
Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

Monday, August 14, 2017

TLC Book Tour: Whispering In French

Whispering in French was a fast, entertaining read by a new to me author, Sophia Nash.

I thoroughly enjoyed the French setting of this story and especially appreciated Kate, a character I could identify with.  

Kate has come to France to convince her aging grandfather to sell his home. He, of course, does not like this idea despite the fact that he has run out of money to pay for it's upkeep.

Kate, who is a therapist, meets Major Edward Soames, who is with the British military and is suffering from PTSD. I especially appreciated her interactions with him and what her role as a therapist brought to their relationship.

Perhaps the only thing that I didn't enjoy was the portions of the novel where the animals speak to each other. I wasn't sure if this was essential to understanding the story later on (it wasn't), and as I'm not one to enjoy talking animals in my stories, this didn't appeal to me.  

Readers will enjoy the steady pace of this novel, the French setting, and the characters.

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

For more information about Whispering In French, visit the HarperCollins website.

Friday, August 11, 2017

TLC Book Tour: Dryland

Dryland: One Woman's Swim to Sobriety by Nancy Stearns Bercaw is a memoir I enjoyed so much that the only fault I could find was that it left me wanting more from her.

This memoir's focus is Bercaw's alcoholism that has been a problem for her for several (maybe even many) years.  However, even though that is the focal point, there are several other aspects of her life that I found fascinating:

Bercaw was a champion swimmer, qualifying for the 1988 Olympic swimming trials.

Her father and grandfather's death from Alzheimer's impacted Bercaw's own belief and actions about her future and a disease she believed awaited her.

She lived in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer, where a friend was murdered.  This story especially piqued my interest and I am still wondering what really happened.

Bercaw and her husband and son live in Abu Dhabi, US expats, an interesting place to move and make a home.

This memoir moves back and forth in time sharing portions of her past and the present and her eventual decision to quit drinking.  So many aspects of Bercaw's life were intriguing to me.  I wish I could sit down with her and get to know her; she definitely has some amazing stories to tell.

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

Friday Five: The Dog Days of Summer

We are at the point in the summer where I am sick of hanging out all day with my  kids, yet not quite ready to embrace the idea of going back to work.  And we will officially be on high speed next week as we finish up some last minute summer errands.

I'm loving looking at new fall clothing, but am also enjoying some of the summer items that are still being featured.  I missed last week's Friday Five (summer laziness on my part), so I've got ten things for you this week:

1.  Women's High Rise Floral Embroidered Mossimo Light Wash Jeans -  I love embroidery on jeans.  These have a nice, affordable price tag, but I'm not so sure about the "high rise" part of the description.

2.  Women's Crocs Leigh-Ann Ankle Strap Leather Mini Wedge - my middle daughter has been dying for a pair of crocs (had I known they would ever come back in, I would have saved her my pair that I got rid of several years ago).  So, we stopped at a Croc outlet last week. I am always pleasantly surprised by the different styles of shoes they now sell.  And how comfortable they are.

3.  Sofft Somers Slip On Sneaker - I've seen a variety of this shoe for a while now. I could wear these with jeans or khakis, so they might eventually be something I need to add to my wardrobe.

4.  Sugar Mill Wedges - Since I can't wear open toed shoes to work and my normal summer wardrobe consists of black Lucy shorts and a t-shirt, there isn't a great need for a dressy pair of sandals. But I love these.

5.  Rafaela Printed Sweater - Boden's new catalog came this week. I love this sweater which comes in a few designs. This is my favorite.

6.  Statement Pullover - Gap Factory Outlet had great deals last weekend. I'm still kicking myself for not getting this sweatshirt.  

7.  Nindi Long Sleeve Thermal - my mom recently purchased this shirt was in beautiful in person.  It's a bit of an investment, but I'm hoping someday she gifts it to me when she is tired of it.

8.  Women's Rugby Stripe - my new Eddie Bauer catalog also arrived. I don't order from them as much as I once did, but I love these stripe rugbys.

9.  Lay's Potato Chips - our household has tried them all.  I can't pass up a good chip and although I didn't love any of them, none of them were too bad, either.

10.  Fully Booked Podcast - my list of podcasts is ridiculously long and I'm never caught up, but of course when I heard there was a book podcast I didn't yet have on my radar, I quickly subscribed. I've listened to and enjoyed two episodes.

So that's it for this Friday. What's caught your eye this week?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: We Were Strangers Once

Each Wednesday I highlight a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter
Due out: September 12, 2017

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

For readers of The Nightingale and Brooklyn, an exquisitely moving novel about friendship, love, and redemption in a circle of immigrants who flee Europe for 1930s-era New York City.

On the eve of World War II Egon Schneider--a gallant and successful Jewish doctor, son of two world-famous naturalists--escapes Germany to an uncertain future across the sea. Settling into the unfamiliar rhythms of upper Manhattan, he finds solace among a tight-knit group of fellow immigrants, tenacious men and women drawn together as much by their differences as by their memories of the world they left behind.

They each suffer degradations and triumphs large and small: Egon's terminally acerbic lifelong friend, bestselling author Meyer Leavitt, now wears a sandwich board on a New York street corner; Catrina Harty, the headstrong daughter of a dirt-poor Irish trolley driver, survives heartbreak and loss to forge an unlikely alliance; and Egon himself is forced to abandon his thriving medical practice to become the "Cheese Man" at a Washington Heights grocery. But their spirits remain unbroken, and when their little community is faced with an existential threat, these strangers rise up together in hopes of creating a permanent home. With her uncanny ability to create indelible characters in unforgettable circumstances, Betsy Carter has crafted a gorgeous novel that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt adrift and longed for home.