Friday, October 11, 2019

Friday Five: It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Colder Around Here

Just this week I informed one of my girls that there are only twelve Fridays left until Christmas. This seems a little amazing to me, almost like it is right around the corner. My daughter didn't seem impressed by this fact at all, and I suppose when you really think about it, that  means Christmas is 3 months away, which is still a ways off.  

But next week we've got parent teacher conferences at school already and that is a sure sign that time is moving along quickly.  Before you know it, it really will be Christmas.  

The weather is downright cold and nasty the past few days and the clothes I've found to share are definitely cold weather pieces. Enjoy!

Printed Raglan Sweatshirt - I am loving this sweatshirt - and all the dots.  JCrew Factory has great sales often, so I'm keeping my eye on this one until it gets marked down.

j.crew factory: printed raglan sweatshirt

2.  Flannel Shirt Jacket - a few years ago I bought a buffalo plaid shirt jac from JCrew Factory and I wear it all the time. I love this one as well.  The question is, "how many shirt jackets does one need?"

j.crew factory: flannel shirt jacket

3.  Crewneck Sweatshirt in Beaded Leopard -I love the beads on this one, but am still wondering what is leopard-like about this sweatshirt. Maybe I'm missing something?

j.crew: crewneck sweatshirt in beaded leopard, right side, view zoomed

4.  Parke Blazer in Velvet - I love that velvet blazers are in style.  I still have a red velvet blazer hanging in my closet from years ago and I'm wondering if it is still in style enough that I could drag it out for this year.

5.  Estella Sweater - I'm a sucker for anything with the Union Jack on it....perhaps my obsession with the Royal Family is to blame.

Estella Sweater - Conker Flag

6.  Cordelia's Fair Isle Sweater - and Fair Isle anything is always calling my name.

7.  Leopard Open Cardigan - I'm seriously considering purchasing this.  It is a pretty standard leopard print cardigan and it would just add to my collection of animal print clothing I've been amassing.

8.  Reindeer Names T-Shirt  - it's time to look at the holiday Breton designs on Boden. I like all of them, but am perhaps a little partial to this one.

9.  Women's Flannel Tunic Top - Lands End has a great assortment of tunic tops in flannel plaid.  I love the colors of this one, but I could be persuaded to purchase any of them.

10.  and the royals are at it again. This time William and Kate took their two older children to a football game.  I would have spent more time watching them than any game going on.

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

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: Such A Fun Age

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:  Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Due out: December 31, 2019

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Non-Fiction On Your Radar: We Will Rise

I read a lot of fiction, but I also love non-fiction.  On random Tuesdays you'll see me share a non-fiction title or two that I'm looking forward to reading when they are published.

Here's one book I've pre-ordered and can't wait to read:

We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland by Steve Beaven
Due out: December 1, 2019

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

The inspiring true story of the tragic loss and triumphant resurrection of a basketball team and its coach at the heart of a small Indiana town.
By 1977 the University of Evansville’s Purple Aces basketball team had won five small-college national championships. With a charismatic young coach and a freshman phenom, this small Indiana city hoped to see its team shine in the national spotlight. Then, on a foggy night, after just four games, the plane carrying the team and its coach crashed after takeoff, killing everyone on board.
The tragedy seemed insurmountable, a devastating blow to the identity of a fading factory town. But, with the support of a city in mourning, ambitious new coach Dick Walters promised to rebuild the cherished institution. Assembling a team of castoffs, walk-ons, and overachievers, Walters restored the legacy of the team and its fans. Against all odds, his young men made history.
A tribute to those who were lost, and to those who carried on, We Will Rise is the rich and powerful story of an underdog team and its fans and the spirit of a resilient community.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Blast From the Past: October 2009

I've commented a few times lately about how little I've been reading. I will admit that I've actually read through a few young adult books this weekend, and am enjoying how quickly YA books can be enjoyed.

Ten years ago, I read some fantastic YA books as well (along with some other very enjoyable books) Here are the highlights:

All The Broken Pieces by Ann E Burg - this novel in verse is one I just book talked to students this past week. I love the time period (after the Vietnam War) and the story which centers around a boy airlifted out of Vietnam who is adopted by Americans, yet still feels unloved because his mother gave him up. 

Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer- I love most of Krakauer's books, and have always been intrigued by Pat Tillman's story. In this book we learn about Tillman and why he chose to leave football to join the military. He was truly an inspiring and interesting man.

The War With Grandpa by Robert Kimmel Smith-Smith wrote Jelly Belly, one of my all time favorite middle grade reads, but I had not read many other things he'd written The War With Grandpa was a read aloud to my girls that I thoroughly enjoyed.  This is one of those novels that was written long ago, but I feel like it stands the test of time.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo- this is the first in the Kate Burkholder series featuring a former Amish woman turned policeman who solves crimes in her hometown, having to work with the community that she is no longer a part of.  I love this series of books  and am always anxious for the next installment. I just find it incredible that they've been around for a decade.

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner - Messner is one of my go-to authors at this point, but in 2009, this was her first chapter book I ever read.  I love realistic fiction for middle grades and Gianna was a girl I could relate to.  This is the book that got me looking for Messner's work, wishing she would write faster.

So what about you? What were you reading ten years ago? Last year?  Have you read any of these books?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Friday Five

It was a chilly 46 degrees this morning as I drove to work.  I have visions of baking some apple bread this weekend and reading some great books.  My reading has still been slower than I would like. That might just be the new normal.  

I also found a few things to share with you this week.  I love sweater weather, which is probably a good thing since here in Iowa we wear sweaters for many months.

1.  Mesh Walking Shoes - these shoes look so comfortable and come in a variety of colors. I'd love to try a burgundy pair.

2.  My Only Sunshine Sweater - The chunky knit of this one is what really caught my eye, but I also like the color and the neckline.  

Free People My Only Sunshine Sweater

3.  Fringed Wrap Style Skirt - I love the colors of this skirt as well as the fringe.  JJill has a few tops that would work with it as well giving it a little versatility.

Image For Fringed Wrap-Style Skirt from JJillf

4.  Tretorn Nylite28 Plus Sneakers - I broke down and bought a pair of leopard print Tretorns this summer, but now I'm loving the plaid, too.  

5.  Print A-Line Shirt Dress - an A-Line cut is so flattering and the fact that this comes in leopard print is a huge drawing card.

Print A-Line Shirtdress

6.  Tiger Stripe Textured Turtleneck Top - I'm in need of a few new turtlenecks. This would work great alone or under a black top.   In addition to leopard print, I also love tiger stripes it seems.

Tiger Stripe Textured Turtleneck Top

7.  Tiger Striped Sweater - I've been eyeing this sweater all week, but just coudn't make myself pull the trigger to buy it.  I was so disappointed to see that it's sold out, and am hoping they restock it at some point.

Tiger Striped Sweater

8.   Cheetah Watch Band - I don't have an apple watch or fitbit that would allow me to accessorize by changing watch bands, but this cheetah print band is calling my name. I might almost want to buy a new watch just so I can wear it.

Apple Watch 38mm Bands - CHEETAH DOTS

9.  Saxon Cardigan - I just found this cardigan on the Bungalow123 site and am in love.  I've ordered from them before and always been impressed with the quality of what I've received. I'm almost positive I won't wait very long before breaking down and ordering it. 

10.  Next Question with Katie Couric - I am a huge podcast listener and love Katie Couric, so the fact that she has a new podcast I can listen to is a win-win.

Image result for next question katie couric

And that's it for me this week, folks.  What's caught your eye?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: A Good Neighborhood

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: A Good Neighborhood by Therese Ann Fowler
Due out: February 4, 2020

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

“Therese Anne Fowler has taken the ingredients of racism, justice, and conservative religion and has concocted a feast of a read: compelling, heartbreaking, and inevitable. I finished A Good Neighborhood in a single sitting. Yes, it’s that good.” ―Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light
A gripping contemporary novel that examines the American dream through the lens of two families living side by side in an idyllic neighborhood, and the one summer that changes their lives irrevocably, from the New York Times bestselling author of Z and A Well-Behaved Woman.
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door―an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.
Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll?
But with little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers. Told in multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today ― what does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye? ― as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

Monday, September 30, 2019

TLC Book Tour: The Lost Daughter

I have always been fascinated by the story of Anastasia, the Russian princess who was shot and killed along with the rest of her family, but who presumably didn't die, paving the way for a variety of people to claim they are her. 

Paul's novel sucked me in from the very first page.  Lots has been written about Anastasia, but this book focuses on Maria, another of the Romanov sisters.  Maria writes of her time under house arrest, and then the family's forced move to an underground room.  When a few guards enter the room and begin shooting, Maria realizes that her entire family is to be killed.

And yet through some miracle, she manages to survive, being carried in to the forest and cared for by a guard.  Paul's story unfolds sharing the hardships of Maria's life as years, and eventually decades pass without anyone knowing her true identity.

In 1973 Val is living in Australia in an abusive marriage, stunned by her father's repeated confession, "I didn't want to kill her," shortly before he dies.  This sets Val on a quest to learn more about her father's early life and time in Russia as a young man.

Paul weaves these two stories together seamlessly and I was enjoyed the fact that I wasn't able to guess how the stories came together until I read it for myself.  Although this is a work of fiction, I enjoyed reading about the Romanovs and Russia during this time period.  The Lost Daughter has piqued my interest in knowing more -and refreshing my memory on what I do know -about this royal family.

I absolutely loved this novel and spent much of the weekend curled up reading, unable to put it down.

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

Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday Five

It's Homecoming weekend for my girls which has made this week busy. My husband was also in Washington, DC, for work until yesterday.  I'd like to say this weekend will be relaxing, but there are plenty of things on the schedule including the homecoming game, a cross country breakfast for the team, hair and nail appointments for my older two girls, and an evening out with friends tomorrow night.  I'd love to have a four day work week  and an extra day of recovery from weekends.  

We've had a heatwave here for a while but the past day or two it has seemed much more fall like.  The things I'm sharing seem to be cold weather wear as well.

1.  Textured Houndstooth Coat - I love houndstooth and this oversize jacket is taking me back in time. Now I'm wondering why I got rid of all my oversize jackets that I wore so many years ago.

Textured Houndstooth Coat for Women

2.  Caddick Puffer Jacket - I'm loving the color combination of this and the puffer style as well.

Caddick Puffer Jacket - Navy

3.  Bozz Prints - this site has some fantastic prints that feature Iowa as well as some other midwestern states and cities.  I'm trying to decide if any of these would be good additions to my house.


4.  High Waisted Elevate Power Soft 7/8 Length Side Pocket Leggings for Women - I love a good pair of printed leggings (much to my daughters' chagrin).  Although I have some plain black pairs, I really like some extra color to my workout wear and like the combination of colors of these.

High-Waisted Elevate Powersoft 7/8-Length Side-Pocket Leggings For Women

5.  Lake Como Love Square Printed Tassel Scarf- I have a tasseled scarf that I like, but this one is a more up-to-date version. I like the colors as well.

6.  Camo Weekender Sweatshirt - who can pass up a good camo item?  I like that this is oversized and would work great with a pair of leggings.  I truly don't need one more piece of camo clothing in my closet, but would still love to have this one.

Z Supply Camo Weekender Sweatshirt

7.  Zoe Fair Isle Sweater Navy Multi-Star - I love the yoke around the neckline of this sweater.  It seems like a little twist on the traditional fair isle sweater.

Zoe Fair Isle Sweater - Navy/Multi Star

8.  Apple Graphic T - an apple t is perfect in the fall.....loving this one.

j.crew factory: apple graphic t-shirt

9.  Moa Moa Striped Color Block T - I took my daughters shopping the other night. My oldest daughter picked up a few new things for senior pictures. I wanted this shirt, but used my willpower so far.

Moa Moa Striped Color Block Tee (Juniors)

10.  Just Mercy Trailer - I loved this book and can't wait to see the movie.

11.  Archie makes a rare appearance - and who can resist the newest pictures of baby Archie?  He looks so much like his father.  

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: Holly Banks Is Full of Angst

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: Holly Banks Is Full of Angst by Julie Valerie
Due out: December 1, 2019

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A laugh-out-loud debut novel for anyone who’s tried to live the perfect life—and learned the hard way there’s no such thing.
Holly Banks could not have made a worse first impression on the seemingly perfect moms in her new affluent community, the Village of Primm. Turns out wearing pink piggy pajama bottoms while dropping off her kindergartener late to the first day of school wasn’t her best look.
Not to mention Holly’s worried her husband may be having an affair, she can’t get her daughter to stop sucking her thumb, her hard-won film degree is collecting dust, and to top it all off, the power-hungry PTA president clearly has it in for her…
To make matters even worse, Holly’s natural eye for drama lands her smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood mystery—right as her own crazy mother shows up in Primm “to help.” Through it all, Holly begins to realize her neighbors may be just as flawed as—and even wackier than—she is, leaving her to wonder: Is there such a thing as a perfect mom?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

TLC Book Tour: Rule of Capture

Earlier this week my husband was searching for something new to read.  Eventually he picked up something and started in. When I got around to inquiring what he had found and whether or not he liked it, his response was interesting.  He replied that what he had chosen was a legal book, and you really can't go wrong with those.  

I'm sure somewhere out there, there are some "legal books" that aren't great, but mostly I, too, have enjoyed this type of book.

Rule of Capture by Christopher Brown is a "legal book."  It also is a dystopian novel of sorts.  I can't help but wonder if this is a book my husband would enjoy, or if this added element would be a deal breaker for him.

“This one is fresh, intelligent, and emotional with a plot that envisions an alternate reality hard to dismiss as unreal.  It’s a legal thriller, with a big twist, stirring and imaginative, brimming with skullduggery, that will have you asking: is this possible?”
— New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
Better Call Saul meets Ben Winter’s The Last Policeman in this first volume in an explosive legal thriller series set in the world of Tropic of Kansas—a finalist for the 2018 Campbell Award for best science fiction novel of the year.
Defeated in a devastating war with China and ravaged by climate change, America is on the brink of a bloody civil war. Seizing power after a controversial election, the ruling regime has begun cracking down on dissidents fighting the nation’s slide toward dictatorship. For Donny Kimoe, chaos is good for business. He’s a lawyer who makes his living defending enemies of the state.
His newest client, young filmmaker Xelina Rocafuerte, witnessed the murder of an opposition leader and is now accused of terrorism. To save her from the only sentence worse than death, Donny has to extract justice from a system that has abandoned the rule of law. That means breaking the rules—and risking the same fate as his clients.
When Donny bungles Xelina’s initial hearing, he has only days to save the young woman from being transferred to a detention camp from which no one returns. His only chance of winning is to find the truth—a search that begins with the opposition leader’s death and leads to a dark conspiracy reaching the highest echelons of power.

Now, Donny isn’t just fighting for his client’s life—he’s battling for his own. But as the trial in the top secret court begins, Xelina’s friends set into motion a revolutionary response that could destroy the case. And when another case unexpectedly collides with Xelina’s, Donny uncovers even more devastating secrets, knowledge that will force him to choose between saving one client . . . or the future of the entire country.
This novel is one that was out of my comfort zone.  I like "legal books," too, but don't usually look for dystopian novels.  However, there's lots of action and suspense in this book, which covers some timely topics like political corruption and climate change.  Rule of Capture is also the follow-up to Tropic of Kansas which I have not read.  This novel works well as a stand-alone, although I would have enjoyed knowing more background to this story.
Thanks to TLC Book for providing a copy of Rule of Capture for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.
For more information, visit the HarperCollins website.