Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Five

1.  GapFit gWarm Cable Quilt Turtleneck - this sweater popped up on my Facebook feed this morning and I instantly developed a desperate need for it.  I LOVE how warm and cozy it looks.  Gap is always having sales so I'm waiting a little for this one to get reduced further.

2.  Women's Eddie Bauer Lodge Boot  - and just yesterday I was showing a friend these Eddie Bauer boots.  I commented that they would go down in price soon.  And voila! Today they are 50% off.    I have a black pair much like this from a few years ago and LOVE them.  Merry Christmas to me, is what I'm thinking.

3.  Assymetrical Snap Popover - I have the navy blue version of this shirt and I wear it so often I might need a second one.  Abercrombie was sold out in many of the colors, but just this morning I see there is a whole new bunch of colors being offered.

4.  Alpine Village Cardigan - this sweater is more than I want to pay, but I really love sweaters and so far this year I have yet to purchase a new one.

5.  Alyx Top - I like the style of these tops - a torso different colored than the sleeves.  This would be a nice winter shirt to throw on with jeans.

6.  Women's Down East Baseball 3/4 Sleeve Shirt - and this one would makes me think a little bit more that winter may not last forever.

7.  Women's Adidas Coulfoam QT Racer Casual Shoes - my husband doesn't understand that it is OK to pick out a pair of shoes based on the color. I love these maroon shoes.  

8.  Assymetrical Ruffle Front Top - JCrew Factory has been very good to me lately. This stripe top adds a new touch with the ruffles, meaning I could wear it with jeans, or with a pair of dressier pants 

9. Fabric Reindeer Objects - we didn't do a very good job of decorating this year, only getting out a smaller tree and a few of our decorations.  At this point I'm happy we even got that much done.  Here is a cute little reindeer I think would make a nice addition to the decorations I have.

10.  The Other F Word - again, I'm late to the party on this one.  This is on Amazon and is a funny little sitcom. One of the best features is that each episode is only about ten minutes long.  Even I can find time to watch them.

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: I Was Anastasia

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

This week's pick: I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Due out: March 6, 2018

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:
Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn.

Russia, July 17, 1918 Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed. 

Germany, February 17, 1920
 A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.

Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson. 
As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: the nature of identity itself.
The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Podcast Love: 5 Fantastic Podcast Episodes

I'm a big podcast listener.  In the past I've shared some of my favorite podcasts. Today, I'm going to give you five great episodes that are worth listening to.

1. Death Sex and Money with Anna Sale - Katie Couric on Death and Dishonesty - Couric talks about the death of her husband Jay.  I remember so well watching her on the Today Show while Jay was sick and after he passed away.  This was like catching up with an old friend.

2.  Just The Right Book With Roxanne Cody - Episode 52:  Books That Will Make Your Holiday Wish List  part of the reason I loved this episode so much is because my TBR list is huge after listening to it. The other reason is because I love Michael Kindness and since his podcast with Ann Kingman ended, I am excited to listen to him whenever he is a guest on another book related podcast.

3.Satellite Sisters - Episode: Matt Lauer's Sex Toys, Uterus Transplant, Book + Movie + TV Picks-  I really enjoyed listening to these five sisters discuss current events and give their recommendations for entertainment in various formats.  I've only listened to this one episode which is a shame because it's really quite good

4. Part Time Genius: Is There A Rosy Future For Libraries? this podcast is one librarians will love because it actually provides some positive feedback for people invested in libraries- and who might be concerned about job safety. This podcast is full of interesting topics and fun facts about some obscure things.

5.  The Big Boo Cast: Episode 88 -this episode deals with football coaching changes, which really aren't so exciting to me, but also about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement, a topic I'm really excited about.  Plus, I just feel like I'm catching up with my good friends Melanie and Sophie every time I get to listen to their podcast.

What podcasts are you listening to that I should add to my weekly routine? Any great episodes out there I just shouldn't miss?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Five: Buffalo Plaid And A Few Other Cute Things

It's beginning to feel like winter and look a lot like Christmas, too. Except not at our house.  We have yet to put up a tree or decorate.  A few years ago when we did our big kitchen remodel we didn't decorate, but I have no excuse this year except being busy  ALL THE TIME. I would love a quiet night at home tonight, but instead we'll be at my husband's office Christmas party.  So once again the tree will have to wait.  

Tree or no tree, the holidays are quickly approaching.  Here are some things I've found this past week:

1. Buffalo Check Slip-on Sneakers - so I think buffalo plaid is my new thing. It doesn't take the place of fur or sequins or camo, but I'll just add it to my list of things I seem to love. These slip-ons would jazz up some of my outfits.

2.  Women's Woven A-Line Skirt - and what about this buffalo plaid skirt? I'd probably pair it with a sweater.

3.  Women's Oslo Funnel Neck Sweater - long ago Eddie Bauer was my go-to. I still like some of their stuff, but don't drool over it as much.  This would be a great sweater to add to my wardrobe this winter.

4.  Gap Hasbro Flannel Pajama Set - Gap has a line of pajamas that feature various board games.  I like the Operation set, but there are some other to choose from.

5.  Crescent Hoodie - and just in case you didn't get enough buffalo plaid earlier in ths post, I really like this North Face hoodie.  

6.  Open Front Long-Line Sweater For Women - a few weeks ago I saw a colleague wearing an evergreen colored cardigan.  She looked so cute and paired it with a scarf similar to one I already own.

7.  Victoria Cardigan - LOVE this cardigan.  Sundance has some beautiful clothes.  I think it could easily work as a jacket as well.  

8.    ChickLit Designs Phone Case - this Etsy shop has super cute phone cases featuring classic book titles. There are lots to look at and several I want.  I could definitely use a case like this that allows for a place to hold money.

9.  Rustic Blossoms Scarf - and what a great scarf to pair with a jacket, denim shirt, or sweater.

10. Reading Socks - This is a little out of my comfort zone - the profanity- but the socks do make me chuckle a little.  And I do have a few friends who would find these totally up their alley.

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wicked Redhead

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: The Wicked Redhead by Beatriz Williams
Due out: July 3, 2018

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—a spellbinding novel of romance, murder, class, power, and dark secrets set in the 1950s and ’60s among the rarified world of a resort island in the Long Island Sound . . .

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the Island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans--the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph helps his father in the lobster boat, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph has enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and has a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. On its surface, the Island remains the same--determined to keep the outside world from its shores, fiercely loyal to those who belong. But the formerly powerful Fisher family is a shadow of itself, and Joseph Vargas has recently escaped the prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of Miranda’s stepfather eighteen years earlier. What’s more, Miranda herself is no longer a naive teenager, and she begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice to the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.

Monday, December 4, 2017

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

Back when I was in sixth grade, I signed up to get a pen pal.  I had various pen pals throughout my childhood, but the one I had from England is one I still keep up with today- three plus decades later.

I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for books about pen pals and I Will Always Write Back is such a heartwarming story that this is one I won't soon forget.

Caitlin and Martin were paired up as pen-pals in school. At first their letters reveal a few things about themselves to each other, but it takes a while for the two of them to develop a true friendship that runs deeper than inquiries about weekend plans and school drama.

Martin definitely has many concerns in his daily life: where he and his family will get food, how they will pay rent, if he can come up with the money for his schooling.  Caitlin's life,  by comparison, is easy.  

As the two get to know each other, Martin finally discloses to Caitlin exactly how poor his family really is. By sending $20 here and there to Martin, Caitlin is able to ease the family's financial stress considerably. But it is when her parents begin to get involved and offer support that Martin truly begins to be a part of their family - someone they have never met, but feel connected to and care for like their own.

This book made me tear up a few times.  I loved watching their friendship develop as they grew up.  I loved reading about their first meeting face to face.  I love that one person made such a difference in someone's life.

My eighth grade girls book club is reading this book now. I'm looking forward to discussing it before we break for the holidays and feel like this is a great book to end 2018 with - a story that provides hope for our world and the impact we have on others.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday Five: The Shopping Season Is Upon Us

I love the holidays and all the on-line browsing that goes with it for me.  However, it is also a challenge for me not to spend money on myself during this season of shopping. There are great deals everywhere.   Here are a few things I'm loving:

1.  Dolce Vita Lanie Zip Suede Boots - Garnet Hill has these boots right now -reasonably priced at $125 right now.  I feel like I'm always wanting new boots.  I rarely wear heels, so this would be something a little out of my comfort zone.

2.  Lucky Brand Women's Basel Booties - Macy's had these on sale on Black Friday.  I just put them on for the first time this morning and am happily wearing them to school today.  (and yes, I will treat them tonight).

3.  Shimmering Cabled Cashmere Sweater - another Garnet Hill item I love.....cashmere, who wouldn't?  I'm waiting for this one to go on sale.  

4.  Buffalo Check Shirt-Jacket - on Black Friday I was at the JCrew Factory Outlet and pretty much fell in love with tons of stuff there. This shirt jac comes in a few different plaid patterns.  

5.  Classic Plaid Scarf - and this seems to be the year of the plaid scarf.  I love so many of them.

6.  Stretch Slim City Pant -another Gap Factory item....seriously, Gap had a 60% off sale on Black Friday weekend, and this is another purchase for me.

product photo

7.  Love Your Melon Hats -I've been seeing these hats everywhere and mostly I think they are overpriced.  However, I do like that part of the profit goes to pediatric cancer research.  

8.  Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy - this is on my list for Big Sister's Christmas. She doesn't really have a certain scent she likes more than any other, but has been looking at these items when we are at Bath and Body Works.

9.  Drapey Ruffle T-Shirt - and who doesn't need a holiday shirt? I think this one would be perfect to wear to those holiday parties that are fast approaching.

10.  Prince Harry's Engagement to Megan Markle - There is no way I can't mention Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement. I'm so happy for the both of them and love all the press coverage on this story.

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Flight Attendant

Each Wednesday I am featuring a book that will be released soon that I am anxious to read.

This week's pick: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
Due out: March 13, 2018

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room, a powerful story about the ways an entire life can change in one night: A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man - and no idea what happened.

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police - she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home - Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did? 

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendantunveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Two On Tuesday: The Last To Let Go and This Is Really Happening

I am loving all the middle grade/YA reading I have been doing lately. Part of that is because I am now in a middle school library, and I feel like I need to do that for work, but a lot of it is simply because I have had a lot of new books make their way to me and they all look so darn good.

Here are two I'm sharing this week:

This Is Really Happening: True Stories by Erin Chack - I struggle to find great memoirs and biographies for the teen set.  There are lots of picture book biographies out there, but not a lot that would appeal to older readers.  This book is set up like a collection of essays, all about Chack's own life. They all have a good dose of humor in them, but some are also pretty serious.  Chack was diagnosed with cancer during her first year of college, so she doesn't shy away from tough topics and is open and honest about what she went through. I'd love to see a follow-up collection that covers more of Chack's own life- whether she decides to write more about her childhood or her adult life- I'm not picky. I'd read anything she wrote.

The Last To Let Go by Amber Smith - Smith covers the tough topic (and does it well) of domestic abuse in this novel.   Brooke has a lot going for her and is anxious to make a fresh start at a new school. However, when she arrives home one day she is greeted by emergency vehicles and her mom being arrested for killing her father.  Brooke and her siblings try to move forward, while still clinging to the past.  It's hard to let go of your home and the memories that were made there- even if some of them weren't very happy.  Each child has their own way of dealing with things, although Brooke is the focus of this novel.  There is the topic of domestic abuse, friendships, moving on, letting go, acceptance, and even a little romance to keep readers turning the pages.  Readers who love realistic fiction will fall in love with this novel.

You won't go wrong with either of these books. Both are fantastic YA reads that would be appealing to adults as well.

Monday, November 27, 2017

TLC Book Tour: The Paris Secret

I loved the movie Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren which is the story of a woman who sets out to retrieve the artwork her family lost during World War II. The Paris Secret by Karen Swan is a novel with a similar story line, a book I quickly devoured.

Flora Sykes is an art agent who has come upon a fantastic assortment of artistic treasures- some worth thousands (maybe millions) of dollars.  The wealthy Vermeil family owns these paintings, and as she begins to catalog these pieces and attempts to trace the trail of people who owned this art that has been locked and forgotten in an apartment for seventy-three years, she comes upon family secrets people would rather remain buried.  

The suspense of this story and the Nazi involvement was definitely enough to keep me wanting more.  I had a hard time reading slowly and found myself racing ahead, trying to find out quickly what would happen.

In addition to that story, Flora has her own family secret as her brother is struggling with something he doesn't want others to know about. And, there is also the matter of Flora's love life that adds to the story.

This is a great novel - although it's realistic fiction, there's enough World War II history thrown in that I would almost add historical fiction to the description of this book -and there's suspense.  The Paris Secret hit all my feels and I was sorry to finish it so quickly.

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

Visit the HarperCollins website for more information about The Paris Secret.