Thursday, December 3, 2020

Friday Five


1.  Poison Burnout Fleece Sweatshirt - I had a friend in high school that loved Poison (and any other hair band she could find). Some of her music tastes rubbed off on me a little and seeing this sweatshirt brings back a wave of nostalgia for the early 90s.

2.  Lululemon Align Crop - I don't own any Lululemon but there have been some fantastic sales right now.  I did order these and wore them for my workout this morning. They are truly buttery soft, which I have heard many people say about them.

3.  The Cory Flat in Cow Print Calfhair - these have been super marked down and I'm here for anything that is calf hair.  

4.  Cornelia Cord Dress - this comes in just two colors but I like them both.  

5.  Flannel Sunday Shirt in Buffalo Check -buffalo check in a new color scheme. I'm all for it.

6.  Hot Pepper Red, Reindeer -I am always loving holiday sweaters although there is not a lot of time to wear them.  This is one of the cute ones that's out this year.

7.  Shimmer Fair Isle Shirttail Sweater - and how could I not take an opportunity to share a fair isle sweater?

8.  Velvet Puff Sleeve Top -I also love this velvet top which I think would look lovely with some corduroys.

9.  Polar Bear Sweater - and obviously I'm in a sweater's another one I'd like.

10.  You're Wrong About Podcast -I have a new podcast I'm enjoying - especially the ones about Princess Diana.

That's it for me this week.  What's caught your eye?

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Efficient, Inventive (Often Annoying) Melville Dewey

 I've taught students about the Dewey Decimal system for years now, but never had a great read aloud to share with them about the man responsible for how libraries are organized.

What I knew of Dewey was minimal at best, so I appreciate that this picture book adds to my depth of knowledge.  I also love that this is a book that shows Melvil Dewey realistically. While he had a fantastic method for organizing books - one that is so good we continue to use it for more than a hundred years -he was not a likeable person (at least for many people).  

I wouldn't read this book to lower elementary, but it is perfect for upper elementary and even middle school.  Most of my students have never even wondered who came up with the way we organize library books, so this is a book that's full of good information and presented in an easily readable and enjoyable format.  

As an adult I love that there is an author's note providing more information, a timeline of his life and accomplishments, as well as some other information about the Dewey Decimal Classification System.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: People We Meet On Vacation

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

This week's pick: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Due out May 11, 2021

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

With one week to win back the best friend she might just be in love with, a travel writer plans the trip of a lifetime in this sparkling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read.
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, November 30, 2020

'Tis The Season: 16 Christmas Novels

I'm not much for a Christmas themed novel.  They are always a little cheesy and predictable, but lately I've been really wanting to curl up with something like that.  Blame the pandemic, celebrating Thanksgiving without extended family, or the fact that it's dark by 5 PM every night....whatever the reason, this year this is the type of book that I'm here for. 

I've got sixteen novels that I'm sharing if you, too, need a feel good holiday read.  I've read nearly every one on this list (so maybe I really am for a good Christmas themed novel and I just didn't realize it?!), except for those that I purchased to read this year.  

So, happy holidays and happy reading! 

1.  Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark -  Alvirah Meehan meets up with Regan Reilly (from CHC's novels) to help solve the kidnapping of Regan's father.  This is just one of a series featuring these sleuths. The holiday novels are fun and entertaining and incorporate a mystery that takes place during the holiday season.

2.  Let It Snow by Nancy Thayer-Christina runs a toy shop and is in the midst of the holiday shopping season when she finds out that her scrooge-ish landlord is raising the rent.  There's no way Christina can afford it and she's hoping that somewhere under that hard exterior Oscar has a heart.

3. Recommended For You by Laura Silverman - this rang all my bells and whistles - set in a bookstore at a mall during the holiday rush, Shoshonna and her new co-worker Luke compete to sell the most books and win a $250 prize.  This is a G-rated YA rom com you won't want to miss.

4.  Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella- Becky shops all the time and the holiday shopping season is certainly one that she wouldn't miss out on.  Becky has to host the holiday this year, though, and it's causing a lot of stress and not much holiday happiness.

5.  Skipping Christmas by John Grisham - I read this years ago and love the movie, but this book about a family who attempt to skip the holiday hoopla in favor of a tropical getaway is a Christmas classic

6.  In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren -Set in a time loop as Mae relives the holiday in an attempt to find the one thing that makes her happy, this is at the top of my TBR.

7.  One Day in December by Josie Silver-Laurie didn't believe in love at first sight until she locks eyes with a stranger one day on the bus.  Laurie doesn't run into him again, although she tries...until her best friend, Sarah, brings him with her to a holiday party.  

8.  The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini - this the 21st installment in the Elm Creek Quilters series -the annual Christmas craft sale gets moved to Elm Creek Manor after winter weather damages the church where it was to be held.  The women bring quilts that evoke memories of Christmases past and even of those to come.

9.  Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg - set in small-town America, there's Flagg's usual humor and the story of a man who moves to a small town....Flagg's book has a happily ever after ending for everyone

10.  Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand - the first in a four book series- a family prepares to get together at the Winter Street Inn to celebrate Christmas, but there's family drama to get through before celebrating can happen.

11.  Last Christmas In Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - historical fiction set during World War I -Evie's brother and his best friend head off to war, all believing it will be over soon. Evie longs to do her part, and she and Thomas begin exchanging letters.  There's a dual timeline to this story, which I love, along with a little romance.

12.  The Christmas Promise by Thomas Kinkade - I love the Cape Light novels that are predictable....set in a small town, it's easy to fall in love with the residents of Cape Light and get to know them.  There are several novels set during the holidays that won't disappoint.

13.  The House Without A Christmas Tree by Gail Rock - this is the perfect family read aloud - and one I read with my youngest daughter years ago.   Set in 1946, a young girl tries to understand why her father won't let their family have a Christmas tree.

14.  Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss - Kate doesn't hold out much hope of finding a happily ever after for herself. She's 34 and has made peace with being single.  When her best friend signs her up on  dating website that promises true love before Christmas, Kate has to go on 12 dates in just 12 days....and each date is more disastrous than the one before it.

15.  Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah - Joy is recently divorced and doesn't feel like celebrating the holidays, so she takes an impromptu trip to the Pacific Northwest and unexpectedly ends up in the woods of the Olympic rainforest. Meanwhile Bobby is six and trying to come to terms with his mother's death. When Bobby and his dad Daniel meet Joy, the three find happiness until it is ripped away from them.

16.  10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston - this is a fun YA rom-com featuring Sophie who is being set up on blind dates by her family members after being dumped by her boyfriend, Griffin. This is a lot of fun with some romance thrown in.

I know there are lots of other Christmas books out there, but I can stand by these sixteen as being worth taking the time to read.  What others can you recommend?

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Monday Mini-Reviews: A Mixed Bag

 I've had a little bit of time off from school for the holiday weekend and really had high hopes of getting lots of reading done.  I have done a bit, but I do seem to find it really hard to just relax and read when I can see many things that need to get done at home. I might read ten pages or so, and then jump up and clean out the dishwasher or throw in a load of laundry.  I wish I could go back to the days when the mess all around me didn't bother me as much.

Here are a few of the titles I did find time for:

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue - I love historical fiction and this one was recommended to me by my friend Kristin who had to wait patiently until my library hold finally came in.  Set during the Spanish flu epidemic in Ireland, this one felt like I was reading an episode of Call the Midwife.  I liked this one a lot, although I did feel that the fact that Julia's one shift encompassed 160 pages of the novel was a bit much.  This one was a very fast read and I feel like this is the type of book that I will like more as time passes. 

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie- this was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick and although those are hit or miss for me, this one was one I enjoyed.  Afi is a young woman without much hope for her future, until she is married off to Eli, a wealthy businessman - something their mothers engineered.  Afi is a little concerned about being married to a man she doesn't know, but after she spends time with Eli, the two seem to be in love with each other. The only thing that stands in the way of Afi's true happiness is the fact that Eli has another woman on the side.  And even though Afi's mother counsels her to leave well enough alone, Afi can't.  She won't be happy unless she knows that Eli only loves her.  This one left me needing to talk to far I'm just thinking things through by myself.

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig - this book has been on my shelf since 2006 (which shows that Marie Kondo is wrong.....people really will read books they've had for a while) and is one I had on a shortlist to read this fall/winter.  I love a good pioneer story and this one features widower Oliver Milliron placing an ad for a housekeeper to help him raise his three sons in the Montana homestead where they live.  When Rose arrives with her brother Morrie in tow, things get a lot more interesting for the Millirons and I loved the humor and wit in this story.  I'm also excited to realize that this is just the first in a series.

I'm working my way through some library holds as well and attempting to work my way through the list of books I set aside to read this season.  What books did you find time for this past week? Any I should add to my TBR?

Friday, November 27, 2020

Friday Five: Black Friday Shopping

 I've had this post ready to go long before Black Friday.  After looking it over this morning, I know several items I feature are marked down considerably.  This is always a dangerous time of year for me.  I'm busy buying gifts for other people, but I find so many things for myself as well.  How does this always happen?

We did a little Black Friday shopping online last night, and are still debating whether we attempt to go to a few places in person today to pick up some things.  So far this morning there has only been donut-eating and relaxing accomplished.  

Enjoy my finds!

1.  The Clair Lace-up Boot in Leather

2.  Placed Bobble Mockneck Sweater

3.  Andean Alpaca Plaid Coat

4.  Sequin Blouse

5.  Corduroy Skinny Jeans

6.  Half-Zip Faux Fur Sweatshirt

7.  Cozy Fair Isle Blouson-Sleeve Sweater for Women

8.  Three Tier Tartan Midi Skirt

9.  Joy Sweatshirt

10.  Gap Corduroys

That's it for me this week. What's caught your eye?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: The Husbands

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

This week's pick: The Husbands by Chandler Baker

Due out: June 29, 2021

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network comes a novel that asks: to what lengths will a woman go for a little more help from her husband?

Nora Spangler is a successful attorney, but when it comes to domestic life, she finds she’s always the one doing more. She packs the lunches, schedules the doctor appointments, knows where the extra paper towel rolls are, and designs and orders the holiday cards. Her husband works hard, too…but why does it seem like she is always working so much harder?

The Spanglers go house hunting in Dynasty Ranch, a nice suburban neighborhood where Nora meets a group of high-powered women―a tech CEO, a neurosurgeon, an award-winning therapist, a bestselling author―with enviably supportive husbands. When she agrees to help with a resident’s gruesome wrongful death case, she delves into the lives of the women there. She finds the air is different in Dynasty Ranch. The women aren’t hanging on by a thread.

They swear by an unorthodox method of couples’ therapy that has transformed their relationships. Even as she fears digging up the secrets at the heart of her own marriage, Nora is tantalized by the possibility of a life that’s under control. The men seem strange. But maybe they’re just evolved. Soon Nora is relishing that her husband now shoulders half the load at home. But something is deeply wrong in Dynasty Ranch. As the case unravels, Nora uncovers a plot that may explain the secret to having-it-all. One that’s worth killing for.

Smart, sharp, and timely, this novel imagines a world where the burden of the “second shift” is equally shared – and what it might take to get there.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Non-Fiction November Week Four: Adding To My TBR


How can it be week four of Nonfiction November?  I haven't visited as many blogs as I would have liked, but my TBR has still grown.  Here are some of the titles I've added to my ever-growing list. This week is being hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey.  Head on over to her blog to check out other participants' posts.

No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier recommended by The Paperback Princess

How To kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality adn The Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter Moskowitz recommended by The Paperback Princess

Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crossowrd and the Puzzling People Who Can't Without Them by Adrienne Raphel recommended by Musings of a Literary Wanderer.

Golden Gates: Fighting For Housing In America by Conor Dougherty recommended by Happiest When Reading.

A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy From Fascism by Caroline Moohrehad recommended Silver Button Books.

I love Nonfiction November and know that by next year I still won't have all of the additions to my TBR read, but that's half the fun.  

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Monday Mini-Reviews: Five Star Reads


I've spent a good portion of the week reading two fantastic books. I'd love to say I had a couple more books finished off, but what I read was fantastic, and I appreciated not being rushed and savoring how good both of these books are.  

With just five or six weeks left in the year, there is a short-list of titles I really wanted to read yet before the end of 2020. 

We Keep The Dead Close: A Murder At Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper - I'm not usually a huge fan of true crime books, although there are a few that I've really been sucked into.  When I heard the premise of this book I was a little bit curious.  And then I started reading reviews and hearing other people's comments after they had read it which made me want to drop everything else and read it right away.  It is true crime but it is also much more than that. Part of the book is somewhat autobiographical about the author and the time in her life when she decided to research Jane Britton's murder.  Part of the book is informational about Harvard- their attitude toward women in the 60s and the anthropology department - and all of it put together masterfully make it really hard to put down.  I spent a great portion of this past weekend reading this book and enjoying every page.  I did have to touch base with my uncle who had been a student at Harvard when Jane Britton was murdered. He admits that he does remember it, but it was a long time ago and he wasn't much affected by it.  I think he would really enjoy reading this book and perhaps reliving some of his college days, recognizing some familiar names and places.  And I think that even if you have no connection to Harvard and aren't particularly into true crime, this is still a book you would enjoy.  

White Ivy by Susie Yang - I love good women's fiction, and White Ivy is a book that will stick with me for a long time.  Ivy is a character that is incredibly flawed.  We know her entire life story as she was sent to live with her grandmother while her parents established themselves in the US and then joined them. She has forever tried to fit in and be American, embarrassed by her parents and the ways they are not able to assimilate. She makes bad choices, picks less than desirable men to sleep with, and isn't horribly likeable.  And yet, Ivy is a fighter.  She wants so badly to succeed.  After she becomes an elementary teacher she runs into the sister of a junior high crush and is reunited with Gideon at a party.  He is everything she wanted at one point.  And she realizes that he still is.  There are secrets, more questionable decisions from Ivy, and yet I was rooting for her the entire time.  Ivy will stay with me as I think about her from time to time; I love an author who can create a character that feels so real.  

What are the books you want to get to before the end of 2020?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Friday Five: It's My Favorite Time of Year

This time of year is my absolute favorite in terms of shopping. There are so many beautiful holiday sweaters out there and so many of them are calling my name.  This year we may have nowhere to go and no need of dressing up.  That makes me so sad since I can find quite a great variety of things I'd love to wear. I'm thankful for each day that I get to go to work with students coming to school in person.  Although we are seeing a huge surge in Covid cases, I am still hoping and praying that we are able to carry on with life without shutting down entirely.  Maybe wishful thinking on my part, but I have no desire to shut down again.  

Here are some of the great things I found this week: 

1.  Kinetic Conquest Boots - I love these boots that are featured in Oprah's December magazine. She gives a discount code for them and I wish I could think of some reason I need a pair.

2.  Festive Check Skirt - I already bought a festive skirt in buffalo plaid but I also think this one is lovely.

3.  Green Corduroy Ashford Pants - I have never in my life considered a pair of green corduroy pants, but now that I've seen them, they are all I want. 

4.  Chambray Bow Shirt - my initial reaction to this bow shirt was rather meh. But I've seen it a few times now and it has grown on me.  Definitely falling more in love with it.

5.  Scarf Pullover Sweater - and now that I've seen this sweater, I want it.  I just wonder if somehow the plaid portion would look wrinkly, tangled, etc.  Right now it looks so crisp and clean. 

6.  Vero Moda Simone Fair Isle Sweater - and how could I have a Friday Five without a Fair Isle sweater?

7.  Fair Isle Sweater  - or two?

8.  Velvet Trimmed V-Neck Tunic in Stewart Tartan- Stewart Tartan is another favorite of mine. I love the velvet detail.

9.  Pull on Peyton Pants - I fell in love with these pants last year, but never ordered them. I'm still waiting for a great sale, but I'm happy to see them again.

10.  All I Want For Christmas is Books Sweatshirt - I'm debating on if this is something I need. I would love to wear it to school for the holiday season, but that's about the only place I would want to wear it, and I'm not sure it meets our dress code requirements.

That's it for me this week. What's caught your eye?