Tuesday, June 18, 2019

BEA 2019 Highlights

At the rate I've been going, I'll be planning for my BEA 2020 trip before I actually share anything about 2019, so in an effort to get a post completed before I leave for vacation tomorrow morning, I'm writing up a brief recap of this year's trip.

This year was Little Sister's turn to visit NYC and attend BEA.  I am always lucky that my mom comes along with us and hangs out with whatever daughter I have brought along.  This year Little Sister got to meet quite a few authors that she was interested in.  Although she's not a Goosebumps reader, she commented several times about how nice RL Stine was and how he really tried to talk to everyone who was getting an autograph. He shared with LS that his grandson had a new sister and wanted to name her Olive Popsicle Stine (the parents did intervene).  Jason Reynolds was another great experience - as were Julie Murphy (Dumplin') and Dusti Bowling (Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus).  

This is my fourth year attending BEA and the magic doesn't really wear off. I was just as excited to see what new books are planned for the fall as I was the first time I attended.  

I don't take as many pictures (at least I didn't this year), but there are certainly great books to pick up and great authors to rub elbows with.

I listen to the From the Front Porch podcast each week and was delighted to run into Annie B Jones, the owner of a bookstore in Thomasville, Georgia and host of the podcast.  Unfortunately there wasn't time to talk about books, but we did get a quick picture together.

I mailed home three boxes of books (last year I sent home four) and tried to be a little more discriminating about what I picked up, but there are a lot of really great books I'm looking forward to diving into.

And in addition to the BEA experience, Little Sister got to enjoy a few other things in the Big Apple.

The annual tour of Google where my cousin, Nicholas, works.

Lunch at Juniors

Times Square

We also managed to visit Central Park, see The Jersey Boys, visit St. Paul's Cathedral, FAO Schwartz, Rockefeller Center, The Plaza (where Eloise lives), One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.  Little Sister is my child who loves nature and being outdoors. Although I think she had fun on this trip, she was more than ready to get back home.

Me? I'm already trying to determine how I can attend BEA 2020.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Five Star Fiction: Searching for Sylvie Lee

It's always great to have a little more leisure reading time to enjoy some good books.  Summers are the perfect time to fit in a few more books than I have time for during the school year and there are several this summer that I'm determined I'll get to before they got lost in a TBR stack.

Searching for Sylive Lee by Jean Kwok has been on my radar for a while.  I featured it in a Waiting on Wednesday post a while ago, and was excited to have Jean Kwok comment on the post.  When I saw she was signing her book at Book Expo, I knew I wanted to meet her.  

It is always a treat to meet an author, and I loved connecting with someone whose work I've loved in past (Girl in Translation is still a book I think about and it's been years since I've read it).  My only regret is not taking a picture of Jean Kwok and me (somehow I only took pictures of my daughter with various authors this year).

Searching for Sylvie Lee was also picked by Jenna Bush Hager as a Read With Jenna pick for June, which meant that I need to pick it up sooner rather than later.

Amy has always looked up to her big sister, Sylvie, finding her close to perfect. She's smart, beautiful, married with a great career.  When Amy is contacted by her cousin in the Netherlands expressing concern about where Sylvie is after she goes missing while visiting him, Amy must put aside her own fears and try to figure out what happened to her sister.

Narrated by Sylvie, Amy, and their mother, many secrets are revealed, and a much different picture of Sylvie emerges.  This novel feels like a mystery with plenty of suspense about Sylvie and what might have happened to her along with some fantastic character development and interesting people.  I loved every single page of this and having the story unfold bit by bit.  The mother narrates just a few chapters, but I especially enjoyed seeing things from both Amy and Sylvie's perspectives. 

I loved, loved, loved this newest book by Kwok, and can't wait to talk about Searching for Sylvie Lee with other readers.  

Summer is off to a great star with this five-star read.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Five: Summer Is Actually Here

Tuesday was my last official day of work, so at this point I've enjoyed summer break for three whole days.  We're leaving tomorrow for our family vacation, so these three days off have been spent getting ready to leave and realizing I have no good clothes to take along with me on vacation.  And by good clothes I mean jean shorts.  It appears that today may entail a quick trip somewhere to look for a clothing item or two for our trip.

I did find some cute things this past week, though:

1.  Printed Button Front Shirt for Women - I actually carried this shirt around in Old Navy the other day but my girls were so offended by the thought of me buying it, I put it back. And I haven't stopped thinking about it since.  I love a good Hawaiian shirt and who cares what my teenage children think?! 

Printed Button-Front Shirt for Women

2.  Women's Lagaci Beautiful Escape Swim Dress Cover-up - I did purchase this swim cover up to take along on our trip.  For a few days we'll be sitting on the beach at Dauphin Island and my current cover up is probably a decade old and looks it.


3.  Women's Z Supply Pocket T - I love the look of this shirt, which comes in a variety of colors. However, I would have to wear something underneath in order for it to work for me.


4.  Women's Silver Jeans Suki Mid-Rise Bermuda Short - and these are the jean shorts I want. Unfortunately they aren't at the store in my size and there's no time to order them online before we go.  Poor planning on my part.


5.  Utility Shirtdress - I've seen this dress in an army green before, but I like the khaki as well. And with the right jewelry or scarf I'd love to wear this.

j.crew factory: utility shirtdress

6.  Printed Tie-Front Button Up Shirt - I'm starting to warm up to the front tie look, and when stripes are involved, I'm even more interested.

j.crew factory: printed tie-front button-up shirt

7.  Genevieve Top - I love the embroidery paired with the stripes. This would go well with a pair of jean shorts or a pair of white jeans.

8.  Drawstring Joggers in Linen -I saw these at the Gap when we were in New York and wished I would have tried them on.  I also wish I could get away with wearing joggers to work. The linen aspect makes them seem a little dressy for just hanging out at home, but because they are joggers, it probably would violate our dress code.  

Drawstring Joggers in Linen

9.  Chevron Midnight Maxi Skirt - I feel like this style of maxi skirt has been around for a while and I still like it. 

10.  When They See Us - is based on a true story. I keep hearing great things about it and just started the first episode earlier this week.  

Image result for when they see us

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dutch House

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 Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Due out September 24, 2019

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Ann Patchett, the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, returns with her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.
“‘Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?’ I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.”
At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.
The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are. Filled with suspense, you may read it quickly to find out what happens, but what happens to Danny and Maeve will stay with you for a very long time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Non-Fiction Tuesday: Memoirs in the Fall

Each Wednesday I feature a book that I can't wait to read when it is published. Mostly I focus on fiction.  Today I'm sharing some non-fiction books coming out this fall.  I love biographies and memoirs and although I don't always want to read about celebrities, I'm intrigued by all three of these titles.

The Beautiful Ones by Prince - due out October 29, 2019

Me by Elton John due out October 15, 2019

Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore due out September 24, 2019

Monday, June 10, 2019

Blast From the Past: June 2009

Although I missed my blast from the past routine of posting on the first Monday of the month, I didn't want to entirely bypass June and sharing some of the great books I read back in June of 2009.  

So, I'm sharing a week late today, and hopefully will be back on schedule soon. 

Coop by Michael Perry - I've loved Perry's books since I was first introduced to his books, and the more I read that he's written, the more I enjoy them.  This one is just another slice of Perry's life which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow - Zaslow shares the story of a group of women from Ames whose friendship has endured for forty years.  Interesting to me is that one of the women in the book is the sister-in-law of my neighbor.  I love reading about familiar places and making connections with the books I read.

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth - this was a family read aloud one summer and I loved reading this memoir of a family of twelve children and the many hilarious stories that comes with having a huge family.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz - college stories are ones I gravitate towards and this novel about Portia, a Princeton admissions counselor and the cut-throat world of college admissions is one that truly captivated me.  I also enjoyed the movie based on the book a few years later.

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman - this YA novel is one I devoured in one sitting, and still think about a decade later.  I fell in love with the narrator's voice and although I liked the second novel in this duo, the first is by far superior.

Those are five of my winners from back in June of 2009.  What were you reading ten years ago? Five? Last year?

Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday Five: The Last Day of School

We've been counting down for quite a while - and today it is finally here! The last day of the school year!  Teachers still have to work next week Monday and Tuesday, but the kids are done today.  And it is about time!  The many, many days we missed during the winter for snow and the polar vortex all seemed fun back then, but just as I warned my children, it was not fun making them up in June when the weather is hot and you would rather be at the pool and sleeping in late.

I still hope to share some BEA highlights from last week, but this week has been all about getting caught up at work.  We did a little shopping in NYC, so some of these items I actually saw in person and liked enough to want to share.

Happy Friday, everyone!

1.  Gap Logo Tie-Dye Raglan Sweatshirt- this shirt is beautiful in person. The colors are a little brighter and it the perfect sweatshirt to throw on for a cool summer evening, a night at the beach, or even after a quick workout.

Gap Logo Tie-Dye Raglan Sweatshirt

2.  Stripe Print Dress - I had never been to Zara before, but was impressed with it.  Their clothing is smart looking and reasonably priced.  I like the bottom of this, although it is calling it a dress, in other Zara ads, the model was only wearing the skirt portion.

3. Skyline Pant -I've looked at these pants at Athleta for a while. Initially I wasn't interested because the one place I don't want to draw anyone's eye is my stomach.  (Unfortunately I don't have a six pack, and am always self-conscious about this part of my body), but the more I've seen them, the more they are growing on me.  I like this color in particular, and feel like I could wear them to a lot of different places.

Skyline Pant

4.  Front Print Shirt - Zara also had several cute graphic t-shirts. There was no shortage of fun designs, most with women featured on them.

5.  Perfect Popover Shirtdress in Chambray - and I've been thinking about getting a denim dress. I love denim and this would be a wardrobe staple I could wear pretty  much anywhere.

Perfect Popover Shirtdress in Chambray

6.  Silk Bandana -I'm still seeing bandanas everywhere and have yet to buy one.  I think it's only a matter of time.

Silk Bandana in bone multi image 1

7.  Slant Striped Shirt - I love chevron print and although this isn't perhaps exactly chevron, love the diagonal stripes on this shirt which looks great with white pants or shorts.


8.  Librarian T-Shirt - this librarian tshirt comes in a variety of colors (I'm eyeing the aqua one) and I firmly believe that I can't ever have too many book/library themed t-shirts.

9.  Starter Women's Lightweight Packable Puffer Jacket - Amazon has a cute puffer jacket that's under $60 right now. I love olive but this one comes in a few other colors if olive isn't your thing.

10.  Ziploc Flexible Tote -I had never seen these until recently, but I'm excited to get these out and pack away some things. I've also thought about bringing them on vacation and using one to pack our food in that we bring to snack on in the car.  

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Giver of Stars

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 Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Due out: October 8, 2019


Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their unforgettable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You and The Peacock Emporium 

When Alice Wright agrees to marry handsome American Bennett Van Cleve and leave behind her stifling life in England for a new adventure in Kentucky, she’s soon disenchanted by her newlywed status and overbearing father-in-law, owner of the local coal mine. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt's new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice's greatest ally, is Margery, the smart-talking, self-sufficient daughter of a notorious local criminal, a woman who's never asked a man's permission for anything. Alice finds Margery as bracing and courageous as anyone she's ever met--and comes to rely on her, especially as her marriage starts to fail. 

They will be joined by three diverse women and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. 

What happens to these women--and to the men they love--becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers--from moonshiners to snakes, from mountains to floods--and social disapproval to boot. But they believe deeply in their work bringing books to people who had never had any, expanding horizons and arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America's past, the storytelling itself here is enthralling--the pages fly, and the book is unparalleled in its scope and its epic breadth. Funny, heartbreaking, and rewarding, it is a rich novel of women's friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Blog Tour: The Friends We Keep

Jane Green and summer reading are two things that go hand-in-hand for me. Unfortunately, I'm still in school (although the end is in sight), so her latest book which releases today is a bit of pre-summer reading for me.  

I'll read anything Green writes, and although I like some stories more than others, generally enjoy the way her stories play out.

The Friends We Keep is the story of three college friends: Topher, Evvie, and Maggie. There is a brief chapter at the book's beginning set in 2016 where we learn of some difficulties each is facing, but the story really begins in 1986 when they are about to start college.  

As we learn more about each character, time continues to pass.  They graduate from college, begin careers and relationships of their own, and generally lose touch with one another.  There were times I groaned a bit inside at the decisions they made, but overall I liked each of the three main characters.

And of course, as we meet them again in the present day, we learn of some secrets and struggles that each is having that needs to be dealt with. 

This is the perfect book to throw in to your beach bag.  It's a great choice for the sun-filled summer days, but I would happily curl up with this one any time of year.  Personally, I found myself gravitating toward the characters as they are now-not the twenty-somethings that Green created at one point in the novel, but as the middle aged adults who are reconnecting.  (Maybe that means I'm getting older myself because had I read this book a decade ago, I'm not sure that's who I would have connected with).  Because Green shows theses characters at various points in their lives, I think this will appeal to a wide audience, as younger and more mature readers will have characters they identify with.

As with any Jane Green novel, they are always finished too quickly, and already I am awaiting news of her next book's release.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday Five: Book Expo Friday

I'm in New York City this Friday with Little Sister, my mom, and my sister at Book Expo. It's my fourth time attending and each year I think I'm going to skip the next year, but as the date approaches, I can't imagine not getting to attend such a fun gathering of book lovers.

I've got my Friday Five post done on Memorial Day as I am rushing around trying to pack and get organized.  So because my "to do list" is really long, I'm not adding any commentary to the ten things I'm sharing.  

When I return on Saturday I hope to have pictures to share.

1.  Organic Cotton Twist Neckline Top

2.  Cordani Dorene Wedge Sandals

3.  The North Face Mountain Collarless Full Zip Jacket

4.  Striped Sleeveless Wrap Dress

5.  Riviera Shorts with 10" Inseam

6.  Great Lakes Graphic T-Shirt


7.  Women's Silver Jean Suki Mid-Rise Bermuda Shorts

8.  Women's Aventura Crissy Tank

9.  Women's North Face Baseball 3/4 Length T

10. Readerly Report Podcast - I'm not sure how I've missed this podcast up until now. I've enjoyed the episodes I've listened to already, and can't wait to listen to more.

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