Thursday, January 23, 2020

Let's Talk About A Picture Book

I've seen this book at the library, at bookstores, featured on different blogs and I have resisted it until just the other day.  I'm not sure why this book didn't appeal to me, but after reading a rave review, I finally decided to pick it up. 

I'm so glad I did.

Margaret Wise Brown is known to me as the author of Goodnight Moon, a children's book I read and re-read to my daughters when they were younger.  I knew little about her except that she died tragically at the young age of 42.  

This picture book is a biography of sorts, sharing some interesting details about Brown.  Tidbits about her childhood, her adult life, her journey to becoming an author are all shared.  

Mac Barnett and Sarah Jacoby have managed to reveal aspects of Margaret Wise Brown's life that young readers will find interesting, especially since most of them will remember reading some of her books when they were younger.

If you are looking for a fantastic new picture book, this one is worth picking up.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: What You Wish For

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

This week's pick: What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Due out: July 14, 2020


Samantha Casey loves everything about her job at an elementary school on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school’s beloved principal retires, he announces that his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before. When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety.
Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—even trying to replace the building itself with a high-tech version that’s nothing short of a prison—Sam has to find her voice and use it to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.
Told with Katherine Center's unparalleled warmth, humor, and heart, this new novel proves why she is one of the fastest rising stars in fiction today.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Blog Tour: Almost Just Friends by New-To-Me Author Jill Shalvis

Yesterday I shared three novels I read during my four day weekend that I enjoyed.  Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis was also a novel I devoured this past weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed as well.

First of all, I can't believe this is my first experience with Shalvis' work. It certainly won't be my last.  I love a good romance every once in a while and this fits the bill nicely.  I didn't realize this is the fourth book in the Wildstone series, but after doing a bit of research it seems that my enjoyment of this book did not depend on having read the others.  

Piper is used to being in charge and being in control. She and her siblings lost their parents while she was a teenager, and she has spent the last decade and a half raising them and helping them out.  When she meets her neighbor's son, Camden, she thinks the two of them can have a little fun together, but is scared of any relationship and being vulnerable.  However, her feelings for Camden seem to be out of her control (this also scares her) and even though Cam is only stopping by his father's for a few weeks, their relationship seems to be moving full steam ahead.  There is family drama which includes Gavin, Piper's brother, and Winny, her younger sister who both have their own struggles to deal with, and Cam is dealing with the loss of his younger brother.  Shalvis does a great job combining romance, suspense, drama, and even some humor in this book.  

This is a fast read, and an author I'm going to be looking for in the future.  I'm glad that this blog tour gave me the opportunity to become acquainted with Jill Shalvis.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday Mini-Reviews

I've had a good week of reading.  I lucked in to a four day weekend since I was sick on Friday and we don't have school today for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  

My girls had a day off of school on Friday as well as some winter weather decided to come to Iowa.  We were a bit stir-crazy by Saturday night, but did finally manage to get out to do some grocery shopping today and have a few things planned for tomorrow.

Here are three reading suggestions I'm happy to share:

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover- this novel has two narrators, something I enjoy.  We meet Morgan when she is just seventeen and realizes she is going to be a mother.  Clara, Morgan's daughter, is the other narrator, a teenager herself.  As we see how Morgan's life has unfolded, we watch Morgan and Clara struggle with the usual relationship issues that a teen daughter and mother may face, as well as a loss they both feel they may not recover from - and some big secrets it's hard to imagine they can ever understand.  Hoover has some true twists to this story. A few I saw coming....a few surprised me. This book is easy to read and moved fast.  I enjoyed it a lot and can think of several friends who would also find it worth picking up.

Recipe For a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown - I loved, loved this book.  Alice and her husband move from New York City to the suburbs where Alice intends to write a novel while Nate commutes to work.  The house they've bought needs some fixing up and when they move in, Alice finds a cookbook the former resident left behind.  Nellie lived in Alice's house in the 1950s and we learn of her inability to have a baby with her husband, Richard, who is abusive.  Alice learns more about Nellie as she reads some letters that are discovered from Nellie to her mother, and I was intrigued by both storylines, rooting for Nellie to find happiness, and groaning inwardly at Alice's decisions.  There was plenty to keep me turning the pages and I loved the story, characters, 50s setting and nostalgia of that time.

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas- Dallas is a go-to author for me. This latest from her tells the story of a group of women who are accompanied by some pastors as they make their way out west to California with their covered wagons and oxen. There are struggles along the way, and the women rise to every challenge they face. As the story unfolds their bond grows stronger so that when Maggie is confronted with her past, these women stand with her as she faces the one person who nearly destroyed her.  This novel includes Dallas' signature clever twist, and this was a pleasant story to curl up with as the snow fell outside.

I'm not sure what I'll find to read next.  There are plenty of things to choose from and it's always hard to pick.  I've had such great choices lately it's hard to think I will find another book that will be as enjoyable.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Five: January In Iowa

January in Iowa is typically frigid, and this week has reminded me of that.  It is definitely winter.  I had to get gas yesterday when the temps were below zero which makes me anxious for spring.  However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I've noticed.  When I pick up my child from basketball practice at 5 PM, it is no longer dark. The days are getting longer and I'm enjoying every minute of it.  

Mostly the weather has me wanting to wear cozy sweaters and clothes that keep me warm.  I'm seeing a few spring-like pieces of clothes as I look online, but if I buy any of them, I definitely can't wear them.  

1.  The North Face Women's Osito Fleece Jacket -  I have an orange fleece North Face jacket that I bought a few years ago and love. I love the color of this one.

The North Face Women's Osito Fleece Jacket 1

2.  Date To Remember Key Necklace - I saw Jen Hatmaker wearing one of these necklaces (or one like it) the other day, and decided I really liked how it looked.

Date to Remember Classic Key Necklace Necklaces The Giving Keys CUSTOM Antique Gold

3.  Relaxed Vintage Crewneck Sweatshirt for Women - I bought a white/navy stripe sweatshirt last year from Old Navy that I loved.  This is the same idea, just different colors and patterns.  

Relaxed Vintage Crew-Neck Sweatshirt for Women

4.  NYPL Michael Storrings Puzzle - We've been on a bit of a puzzle binge.  I love anything about the NYPL, and would love to do this puzzle.

NYPL Michael Storrings Puzzle

5.  Vintage NYPL T-Shirt -and the NYPL has a new t-shirt as well.  

Red-brick color Unisex t-shirt with a NYPL vintage logo with an illustration of the NYPL Schwarzman building.

6.  Wartburg Tie Dye Hoodie - my daughter will be attending Wartburg College next fall. This is my alma mater and my husband's. We used to have lots of college apparel, but most of that has been purged from our closets. I have visited the book store a few times recently, and am eyeing this new sweatshirt they just got in.

Display larger image of this product

7.  Waterproof Sneaker Bootie - I have a pair of these in a soft burgundy suede that I love. I have received tons of compliments on them, and would be happy to have a more neutral pair.

SĂ–FFT Britton II Waterproof Sneaker Bootie, Main, color, LIGHT BROWN SUEDE

8.  Fortyish T - I'm liking this T-shirt, which is from Milk and Honey (that is synonymous with ultra-soft).  This one has a limited shelf life.....I don't have that many years left before I hit the big 5-0.

9.  White Sunglasses T-Shirt - sunglasses.....white t-shirt.....this is screaming spring to me.  

Robyn Jersey Tee - White, Sunglasses

10.   Cheer on Netflix - two of my daughters have binged on this show.  I'm still working on The Crown, but maybe when I get done with it, this will be a show I try.

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

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 Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin
Due out: June 23, 2020

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

In the irresistible new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted and Something Borrowed, a young woman falls hard for an impossibly perfect man before he disappears without a trace . . .
It’s 2 AM on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar on New York’s Lower East Side, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew.
As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it—you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen to him, and over the next several hours—and shots of tequila—the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, the timing couldn’t be worse—Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart over her head.
Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who he seemed to be?
The Lies That Bind is a mesmerizing and emotionally resonant exploration of the never-ending search for love and truth—in our relationships, careers, and deep within our own hearts.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday Blast From the Past

Last year I was organized enough to have posts started for each of my blast from the past installments months in advance of when they would be posting.  Apparently I was only organized through December of 2019 and the first Monday in January totally snuck past me.  

I love looking back through what I read and the books from January of 2010 are definitely worth remembering:

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt is absolutely one of my favorite books of all time and this first reading ten years ago is just one of several I have had since then as I shared the book with my daughters and book clubs.  I love the 60's setting, the Shakespearean references, the humor and the heartbreak in this novel.  Holling Hoodhood is a protagonist I loved and I wish I could meet up with him again.

Saving Ceecee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman - this book sticks in my mind only because I know I loved it.  Coming of age novels are some of my favorites, and this fits the bill, as well as provides a quirky cast of characters and a southern setting.

Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs- I loved The Friday Night Knitting Club books and happily enjoyed this addition to the series set around the holiday season. I haven't though about these books for a while, but now that I ran across this title, it makes me wonder what happened to Kate Jacobs and her characters.

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery- I never read this series as a child, instead reading and re-reading the Little House books numerous times.  Ever since reading this first one, I've often thought to myself that I would continue on with the series.  Seeing that an entire decade has passed, perhaps I should at least pick up the second book this year.

The Road to Tater Hill by Edith Hemingway - this middle grade novel centers around Annie who is living with her grandparents when her dad is deployed.  Her mother has given birth to a baby, a little sister for Annie, that dies. Annie's mom seems to be slipping away, and Annie could really use her dad's help right about now.

Such great books I have had the pleasure of reading!  How about you? What were you reading a decade ago? What about last year at this time?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday Five

1.  Brooks Ghosts Flannel Collection - I've got a lot of buffalo plaid in my closet, but I don't have a pair of buffalo plaid running shoes. I'm so loving on these right now.

Ghost 12

2.  Loose Crewneck Sweatshirt in Floral - I'm a big fan of the striped Old Navy sweatshirt I bought last year and have worn it often. I like the colors of this floral scene and think this would be a comfortable addition to my work week clothing.

Loose Crew-Neck Sweatshirt for Women

3.  Salutation Stash Pocket II in Gravel - I have bought all my girls Athleta leggings (which they love), but find it hard to spend that much money on a pair of them for myself. They can wear theirs to school, while the only time I would wear them is to exercise....such a big expense for no one to see them.  Anyway, someday I really will spend the money on a pair. This pair is definitely one I'm keeping an eye on.

Salutation Stash Pocket II Gravel 7/8 Tight

4.  Loose Fit Mock Neck Blouson Sleeve Top - another comfortable looking top I could wear alone or under a cardigan.  

Loose-Fit Mock-Neck Blouson-Sleeve Top for Women

5.  Leopard Print Beanie - who doesn't need a leopard print beanie?  This is one clothing item I have yet to purchase, but considering how much I love leopard print, I may need to invest in one.

j.crew: leopard-print beanie in supersoft yarn, right side, view zoomed

6.  Boden Sweatshirt - Boden makes my very favorite sweatshirt and I have a few I rotate between.  They've got new patterns and prints out right now and I'm finding it really hard to resist this one.

The Sweatshirt - Maroon, Animal Stamp

7. Falmouth Linen Shorts - I know it is nowhere near spring time (although it should be noted that it is now late past 5 PM each day, so we're moving in the right direction), but these shorts are something that caught my eye. It makes me a little happy that retailers are already thinking spring.

Falmouth Linen Shorts - Dropped Pollen

8.  Patch Pocket Hoodie - this hoodie is a new arrival at JCrew. I love the patch pocket, which also comes in a red version for those who want it to pop out a bit more.

j.crew: patch pocket hoodie in striped mariner cloth, right side, view zoomed

9. That Sounds Fun podcast -this is new to my podcast line-up, but I'm enjoying listening to Annie Downs recommend things to me that she's enjoying.

Image result for that sounds fun podcast

10.  Royal Portrait of Four Generations - there's been so much royal news right now, with Harry and Meghan announcing that they are stepping back as senior royals...I'm not sure what to think about all of that yet, but I do love this four generation photo that has just been released.

Image result for royal portrait george tartan four generations

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: 28 Summers

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:  28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
Due out: June 16, 2000

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of '69: Their secret love affair has lasted for decades - but this could be the summer that changes everything

Once a year, Alice and Tom have met on Nantucket to rekindle the passionate love affair they began 28 years earlier. Each married to someone else, with busy lives and happy families, they've managed to keep their secret, and to keep their love alive.

But nothing is forever. Tom's wife is in the national spotlight for her controversial and increasingly popular campaign for a Senate office. And Alice has received a diagnosis that puts her future in doubt. Could their 28th summer together also be their last?

Monday, January 6, 2020

Monday Mini-Reviews: The First of 2020

We went back to school last week, and it's like we never had a break. I like being in a routine, but I don't necessarily enjoy being overscheduled and busy every single minute.  Ah, well. Such is life.

For my first Monday, I've got three books to share that I enjoyed:

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher- this is one of my Book of the Month selections I ordered and enjoyed the storyline.  Thursday is married to a man with two other wives.  He spends one night a week with her and then rotates to his other wives. No one else knows about their arrangement, but Thursday is curious about these other wives and starts to do some investigating about who they are.  I liked the suspense of this one, but after some strange twists and turns, was a little disappointed by the ending.  

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb -I've always enjoyed reading about Princess Grace, and this historical fiction novel was enjoyable for the storyline that centered around Sophie Duvel, a parfumier, who befriends Grace Kelly as she tries to hide from the press.  James, the photographer who was chasing Kelly, meets Sophie and the two have an instant connection.  However, events in both their lives occur at critical moments, keeping them apart.  

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano - Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed 191 people.  This novel moves back and forth in time, from the present where Edward has moved in with his aunt and uncle and is trying to deal with his grief, to the events on the actual flight, where we meet several of the people on the plane.  I wasn't entirely invested in the stories of the various passengers initially, but as the novel progressed, I did care about them and their stories.  This is an enjoyable, if somewhat heartbreaking, story.

Despite having something planned each night this week, I'm hoping I can carver out a few minutes to get some reading done.