Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Five: Five More Days of School Until Winter Break (Not That I'm Counting Or Anything)

YAY-Friday!  Last night I realized that this weekend isn't jam packed with activities and I was thrilled.  I'm excited to have a few free hours ahead of me (although I'm sure they can be quickly filled up) and hope to get in some reading.  

I do have a few last minute Christmas things to grab -and some really glamorous things like dog food and Tide to buy along with groceries, but otherwise, I'm pretty well done. 

However, I'm still finding some great things online.  Here are this week's finds:

1.  Penguin Sweater - this penguin sweater means I've finally accepted that winter is here.  Sigh.  I do like the sweater, but I can't help but reflect that a few months ago I would NOT have been excited about anything that even hinted at cold weather.

2.  Snow Beaded Sweater - I also love this sweater which is a little bit dressy and a lot classy.  

3.  Alive and Well T-Shirt - I also love a good t-shirt. J Crew has several new ones I'd love to add to my wardrobe.

4.  Piece of My Love T-Shirt - and this t-shirt is also calling my name.

5.  Funnelneck Shirt in Stewart Tartan with Jeweled Buttons - although I love buffalo plaid and black watch plaid, I'm also starting to really like things in Stewart tartan.  I ordered a beautiful skirt in this print a few weeks ago, but unfortunately it was too big when it arrived.  And when I tried to exchange it, my size was already sold out.  The good news is that I saved money, but I will definitely be looking for a similar skirt next Christmas season.

6.  Winter Lace-Up Boots - way back in second grade I had a pair of boots that looked very similar to this. I didn't much like them at the time, but now I really want a nice pair of these boots.  

7.  Fur Hood Puffer Vest - I still love a good warm puffer vest. I've been looking for a green one for a while and olive seems to be a popular color this season.

8.  Fit and Flirt A-Line Skirt in Library - I'm not sure if I've featured this skirt before, but I saw it again this week and I just can't seem to stop thinking about how perfect it would be for work. I'm sure it would get the kids' attention - and probably a few comments and eye rolls.

9.   Center Stage Peepers - my husband is always looking for his cheaters which seems to be essential to his every day life at this point.  I don't wear glasses or contacts, but I can tell that I might soon be needing some reading glasses myself.  My husband will just pick up the cheapest pair he can find at Dollar General, but I'm enjoying the variety on Peepers.  And this pair might be the first I purchase after I can finally accept the fact that I really do need them.

10.  Lou and Grey Striped Plushfuzz Tunic Sweater - I am loving the mustard/gold color I've been seeing everywhere and this sweater would be such a nice addition to my wardrobe.  Right now it's 50% off, which is really testing my willpower.

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: A Palm Beach Wife

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: A Palm Beach Wife by Susannah Marren
Due out: April 9, 2019

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

For readers of Elin Hilderbrand, a delicious and irresistible commercial novel set among the high society galas and gossip of Palm Beach. 

Amid the glamour and galas and parties of Palm Beach, Faith knows that image often counts as much if not more than reality. She glides effortlessly among the highest of the high society so perfectly that you would never suspect she wasn't born to this. But it wasn't always so; though she hides it well, Faith has fought hard for the wonderful life she has, for her loving, successful husband, for her daughter's future. In this town of secrets and gossip and rumors, Faith has kept a desperate grip on everything she holds so dear, built from so little. And yet even she--the only one who knows just how far she has to fall--never suspects from which direction, or how many directions all at once, betrayal will come.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Monday Mini-Reviews: Looking For Great December Books To Finish 2018

2018 is winding down quickly.  I still have a few Christmas things to order and I need to look at my book journal where I keep track of the books I've read this past year so I can start making my lists of best reads.

I've asked a few people which books I need to grab before 2018 is over, and this is one I've been meaning to get to for a while now.

Charlotte Walsh Likes To Win is a fun and interesting story.  Charlotte is running for Senate in an election that will impact the nation because the seat is she is running to win change which political party is in control of the Congress.   She is a woman who appears to have it all. 

Her husband Max and their three young daughters have moved with Charlotte to the small Pennsylvania hometown they left and tried to forget as the campaign unfolds.  The scrutiny is relentless and Charlotte is surprised by how dirty her opponent is, all in the name of winning.

Nothing is off-limits, and Charlotte's marriage suffers as she and Max can't find time to spend together.  Life seems to be all about politics and winning - and Max and the marriage certainly are not a priority, even when they are in need of attention.  

I loved this book for many reasons. I enjoy any political story. This look at one couple's marriage was well done. I could feel myself cringe a little at some of Charlotte's choices, and at some of Max's, and yet I was really rooting for them as a couple to find a way to make it work.  I also liked that Piazza shows how brutal the world of politics is for the families that choose to be a part of that world.  

I'd happily hand this book off to a variety of reading friends.  And now I need some suggestions. What books do I need to try and read quickly before the end of 2018?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Five on Sunday: The One In Which I Seem To Focus on Footwear

Friday I spent the day curled up on the couch sleeping. I knew by Thursday night I didn't feel good, but had tickets to take my youngest daughter to the Maddie Poppe concert (she won American Idol and is from a nearby town), so I made it through the concert and then went to bed.  I still didn't feel great in the morning and although I rarely stay home sick, the only thing I could imagine doing all day was sleeping. My stomach hurt and I wasn't much interested in eating, and for that's a pretty rare event. 

So now here it is Sunday night. The weekend has flown by and I still have a Friday Five post that was mostly done by Friday morning, but never got posted.  

Since I went to some work to get it done, I'm still sharing it.  I like these things now just as much as I did on Friday.

1.  Explorer Joan Boots -every year I think I should get a new pair of boots to replace my old and not so lovely snow boots.  However, snow boots are expensive and I also spend a lot of time trying to find a way not to wear snow boots and counting down until spring. This is one pair I would consider purchasing.

2.  Bowdoin Jacket - not quite buffalo plaid, but plaid nonetheless.  I love this jacket.

3.  Nightfall Cargos  - I love velvet and these cargos look so soft and cozy. They're a little out of my price range right now, but I'm keeping my eye on them.

4.  Red Plaid Felt Women's Classics - I have one pair of buffalo plaid shoes, but I like Toms and these shoes also come in Black Watch plaid for those people who aren't fans of the buffalo plaid.

5.  Gap/Tretorn Rawlins Retro Lace-up Sneaker -Gap had a pair of these a while ago in different colors, and now is offering some new color combinations.  I'm just waiting to take advantage of the frequent 50% off sales Gap seems to run.

6.  Mou Eskimo Boots - and we're back to boots.....

7.  ASOS DESIGN relaxed long sleeve top in stripe -I have some nice striped shirts already but this one looks so crisp and clean. I'm always needing to update some wardrobe basics.

8.  Cas Slip On Sneaker - I bought a pair of Ugg slips ons from the clearance room at Von Maur this fall. They truly look like a summer shoe, so I'm excited to see that there are a few other options out there.

9.  Women's Quest 1/4-Zip Pullover - Eddie Bauer has these fleece shirts marked down to just $25. There are a variety of colors to choose from, and since it's winter in Iowa, this will be getting a lot of use.

10.  Dumplin' on Netflix - I love the book, Dumplin', by Julie Murphy and I am excited to watch the movie that Netflix made 

Sorry for the delayed Friday Five.....what's caught your eye this week?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Home For Erring and Outcast Girls

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

This week's pick:  Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler
Due out: June 4, 2019

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

An emotionally raw and resonant story of love, loss, and the enduring power of friendship, following the lives of two young women connected by a home for “fallen girls,” and inspired by historical events.

In turn-of-the-20th century Texas, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is an unprecedented beacon of hope for young women consigned to the dangerous poverty of the streets by birth, circumstance, or personal tragedy. Built in 1903 on the dusty outskirts of Arlington, a remote dot between Dallas and Fort Worth’s red-light districts, the progressive home bucks public opinion by offering faith, training, and rehabilitation to prostitutes, addicts, unwed mothers, and “ruined” girls without forcibly separating mothers from children. When Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there—one sick and abused, but desperately clinging to her young daughter, the other jilted by the beau who fathered her ailing son—they form a friendship that will see them through unbearable loss, heartbreak, difficult choices, and ultimately, diverging paths.

A century later, Cate Sutton, a reclusive university librarian, uncovers the hidden histories of the two troubled women as she stumbles upon the cemetery on the home’s former grounds and begins to comb through its archives in her library. Pulled by an indescribable connection, what Cate discovers about their stories leads her to confront her own heartbreaking past, and to reclaim the life she thought she'd let go forever. With great pathos and powerful emotional resonance, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls explores the dark roads that lead us to ruin, and the paths we take to return to ourselves.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

TLC Book Tour: Once A Midwife

I absolutely fell in love with the book The Midwife of Hope River and Patience Murphy the main character in that novel.  I am always happy to visit with her again.

Although it took me a few pages to reacquaint myself with Patience, I was happy to be transported to the early 1940s and life in Hope River.  

World War II is underway and Patience and her husband have many discussions about their viewpoints and feelings about whether the United States should be involved.  She is still a practicing midwife, and as area women go into labor, she is often called to assist. 

Patience's friend, Bitsy, has returned to Hope River with a child she has taken in and is raising on her own, and Patience is especially grateful for the help and companionship she provides.

At the forefront of this novel is the developments of World War II, and Patience's husband, Daniel's, refusal to enlist.  Daniel served in World War I, and it is his experiences there that have led him to have these strong beliefs against US involvement this time.  These beliefs, however, cause their family to be vulnerable to attacks from other people who don't understand or respect Daniel's position. They also leave Patience to the reality that Daniel will probably be arrested and imprisoned for a time, leaving her to handle everything alone.

There is so much to love in this novel. Although this is part of the midwife series by Harman, and there are stories that truly capture that subject, this novel is more than just a story about a midwife. We are treated to a character that presents herself as real and flawed, and someone who I feel accurately depicts women in this time in our country.  She is a mother. She is a midwife. She is a friend. She struggles and loves and works hard and despairs over things from time to time.  

Harman's novels always tie up rather well, but they also always leave me hoping that she will keep coming back to Patience again in the future.  I'm crossing my fingers that this isn't the last we've seen of Patience or her family.

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 this book, visit the HarperCollins website.

Monday, December 3, 2018

First Monday in December: Blast From the Past

November flew by and since this is the first Monday in December, it's time to take a look back at what I was reading a decade ago.  There were some pretty great books that I spent my time with back in December of 2008.

Radiant Girl by Andrea White- I still think about this book every once in a while.  As a child of the 80s, I remember watching news clips about Chernobyl and being horribly concerned about it. This middle grade novel about a girl whose father works at Chernobyl and how she was affected was completely fascinating to me.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - I was totally absorbed by this Swedish thriller.  I've never seen the movie, and despite reading the first three in the series, still have the fourth (is there a fifth?) to catch up with.

Thin Is The New Happy by Valerie Frankel - a memoir about one woman's quest to stop focusing on her weight, the scale, the mirror, and accept herself. I think many woman can relate to her feelings and her constant awareness of her weight.

Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell - a middle grade novel set during the 60s. Jamie's brother heads off to Vietnam and she's excited about it. Jamie's family is military and she thinks it is great that her brother gets to fight in Vietnam.  Her brother starts to send her rolls of undeveloped photos of his time away and when Jamie develops them, she can see what her brother can't put to words in his letters home.

Waiting For An Ordinary Day: The Unraveling of Life in Iraq by Farnaz Fassihi- Recalling this title makes me want to re-read it. Fassihi looks at several different working class people in Iraq and their lives. I loved reading their stories, despite how heartbreaking they are.

How about you? What were you reading back in December 2008? Last year at this time?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Five: Christmas Shopping for Myself

This week has been full of UPS and USPS deliveries to my house.  One would think I am done with Christmas shopping based on the number of packages we've received. But in reality I've barely started. My mother-in-law has me do her shopping for my girls and there were already a few things the girls needed (and perhaps a few things I bought myself along the way), so now I really need to get busy with figuring out what to buy to give other people.

And there are lots of great things online again this week:

1.  GapFit Jacquard Knit Funnel-Neck Pullover Sweatshirt - I absolutely love how warm and cozy this looks.  And not only does Gap have great deals, but it also comes in a variety of colors.

2.  Modern Skinny Jeans in Leopard Print - I love a good print pair of pants, despite the fact that I generally don't need to attract attention to some parts of my body.  It is nearly impossible for me to walk away from leopard print.

3. Scotch Plaid Flannel Shirt, Sherpa Lined Hoodie - plaid may be my Achille's heel....and since I'm so darn cold, I could definitely use a good sherpa lined jacket to wear around - in the house.

4.  Talbots Chatham Velveteen Ankle Pants- Black Watch Plaid - and some more Black Watch Plaid (obviously a favorite) - again....printed pants may not be the most amazing choice, but this is definitely calling to me.

5.   Plaid Shirttail Hem Blouse - I think this shirt with a nice pair of pants would be perfect for a holiday party.  

6.  Mock Neck Tunic Sweater - a pretty basic sweater - and this picture doesn't do it justice- that comes in a variety of colors. I bought one in a beautiful green for just $29 and I can't wait to dress it up with a necklace I found over the weekend at the outlet malls.

7.  Sherpa Lined Parka - this is another item I just couldn't pass up.  This jacket was 60% off plus an additional 15% off, making it just $40.  I have been wanting something a little longer for a while now and this style is one I've had before and liked.

8.  Oblong Camo Floral Print Scarf - anyone who reads my blog knows I have a thing for camo and I love that it's a little jazzed up with some bright flowers on it.

9.  Print Twist Neck Fit and Flare Dress - this past fall I bought a dress from Banana Republic Factory that I really liked. I saw this at the outlet mall as well and really like it, especially the detail up by the neckline.  And the deals right now are amazing.

10. Featherweight Stripe Turtleneck - I have one navy/black striped turtleneck that I love.  I am always looking for another one that looks crisp and sharp.

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Nonfiction November: Wrap Up

I'm sad to see NonFiction November come to an end. I've loved looking back through the non-fiction books I've read and recommended others, and I've loved adding to my own TBR.

This week's NonFiction November prompt is hosted by Doing Dewey and is a nice collection of posts where bloggers share the books that they've added to their TBRs after reading the many fantastic nonfiction November blog posts this past month. 

My TBR has also grown.

Here are some of the books I've added to my list:

1.  Fifty Acres And a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas recommended by Stacey at  Unruly Reader

Stacey also recommended another title via a comment on one of my NonFiction November posts about my enjoyment of all things First Family

2.  Thank You, Mr. President by A Merriman Smith, another look at the White House which is out of print. However, I've got a copy of it in my cart on Thrift Books and can't wait to dive into.

3.  Bears in the Streets was recommended by What's Reading and because I'm a child of the 80s and grew up during the Cold War, I'm fascinated by Russia.

4.  The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang - As soon as I saw that this was set during WWII, I was interested.  This rec is from Julz at Julz Reads.

There were also a ton of books I added to my Goodreads Want to Read list and I did a horrible job of tracking where those recs came from.  My TBR is certainly exploding with fantastic nonfiction reads. I'm already looking forward to Nonfiction November 2019.

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girls at 17 Swann Street

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released book.

This week's pick:  The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgh
Due out: February 5, 2019

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib's poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman's struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.