Friday, July 19, 2019

Friday Five: It Might Be Horribly Hot, But I'll Take It

Today my oldest daughter and I went on a college tour at the University of Iowa.  The morning was full of informational meetings and presentations and a 90 minute walking tour. Normally I am not bothered by walking and am in good enough shape that it's really no big deal. However, today the heat index shows that even though it's 99 degrees, it feels like it's 114.  

And I can verify that is the truth.  At one point sweat was running down my face and into my eyes.  My shins had a constant stream of sweat coursing down them and the tops of my hands were even drenched.  Some other people were sweating like me, too. But then I'd catch a glimpse of someone in jeans and a long sleeve shirt carrying a child, looking all cool and fresh.  How?!  

And yet, I love this type of weather so much more than the frigid cold days of winter.  

I'm not really looking at fall clothing yet, especially since we are in a heat wave here. But I have noted there are a few places now showing some wintery looking things.  Which means school is right around the corner and I should get out and enjoy the heatwave while I still can.

1.  Lightweight V Neck Sweater - I'm glad this one says "light-weight" because the idea of putting this on right now makes me start sweating. It comes in a variety of colors, but am partial to this pastel version.

2.  Bermuda Roll Short with 10" Inseam - I've been looking for a long walking short I can wear to work when school starts.  I like how these look, but wish they came in a true black.

Bermuda Roll Shorts with 10 Inch Inseam

3.  Zebra Linen Blend Pocket Dress - I've always liked leopard print clothing, but I also love a good zebra print which we don't see as often.

Zebra Linen Blend Pocket Dress

4.  Floral Mixed Media Tie Hem Top - the colors of this top are what initially caught my eye, but I really like the tie on the side as well.

Floral Mixed Media Tie Hem Top

5.  Hoka One One - I've been telling everyone I need new running shoes for a while.  These are more than I like to spend, but after we took my youngest daughter to a physical therapist for an Achilles issue, the PT endorsed these shoes and the support they give.  So, my pair should be arriving tomorrow.


5.  Women's Seeded and Sewn Lattice Front Tank - these come in a variety of colors and I like how they look with a cardigan to dress it up a bit.


6.  Mixed Eyelet Popover - I like both eyelet and popovers and feel like this would be great with a pair of black pants for work or a pair of jeans.

j.crew: mixed eyelet popover, right side, view zoomed

7.  Bedford Two Strap Sandals - I have yet to break down and get any new sandals this year. I like that these are still casual, but the detail on the clasp/buckle make them a little dressier.

j.crew: bedford two-strap sandals, right side, view zoomed

8.  Leopard Print Straight Jean - this is probably the one item that screams "fall" to me.  I know it describes them as a jean, but I'm thinking I could wear them to work with a variety of sweaters and they would be OK.

Leopard Print Straight Jean - Leopard

9.  Paddington Women's V-Neck - Out of Print continues to update and add to their collection of book related shirts. Paddington Bear is the first chapter book my mom read to me, so it holds a special place in my heart.

10.  White Lies Podcast - next up for my listening pleasure.  I thought I was doing so well at the beginning of summer with the podcasts I was listening to and keeping up with.....well.....I've slowed way down.  Time to get back at it!

Image result for white lies podcast

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Train to London

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 Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

Due out : September 10, 2019

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

The New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Exiles conjures her best novel yet, a pre-World War II-era story with the emotional resonance of Orphan Train and The Nightingale, centering on the Kindertransports that carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave woman who helped them escape to safety.
In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis’ take control.
There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.
Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday Five

So here we are. The dog days of summer.  I am not sure what those are exactly, but I'm thinking that a string of 90 degree days qualify somehow.  I'm still waiting for all of my free time to materialize.  I've worked three partial days this week, and although I've enjoyed it, I've still got projects at home calling my name.  

I did find a few fun things this week, of course.  Here's what I have to share:

1.  Camo Contender 7/8 Tight in Power Lift- I'm so sorry I have to subject you to my camo love.  I can't help it.  I can't imagine that I won't break down at some point and get these tights.  

2.  Jessica Linen Dress -this dress just seems so comfortable while still being stylish.

3.  Carina Suede Wedge Espadrilles - I've read that these shoes (not this color, though) are Duchess Kate's shoes of the summer. I wouldn't mind a pair, but they aren't exactly cheap.  

4.  Camo Utility Jacket - I apologized earlier, and I will apologize this jacket.  It is part of Nordstrom's sale. 

5.  Ryder Stripe Cardigan Sweater-  this sweater is also part of the Nordstrom sale. I love the color block look of it.

6.  Stripe Twist Front Designer Shirt - Banana Republic Factory has this shirt for under $15. I feel like it is something I could throw on with jeans, shorts, a pair of white pants; it goes with nearly everything.

product photo

7.  Striped Tie Waist Flare Dress - I love how crisp and clean this dress looks and the stripes going in different directions.

8.  Cozy Chic Lite Circle Cardigan - this is way to warm to throw on now, but fall weather will eventually arrive.  The rounded edges of this cardigan are what really make it look different than a lot of the other ones I already own.

9. - I don't always listen to the Popcast with Jamie B. Golden and Knox McCoy, but always enjoy it when I find time to tune in.  However, I have long wanted Jamie to do some form of tutorial on skin care.  I know I need help, but don't know where to start.  I just heard that her website provides a lot of good information.  I feel like I'll be spending hours on here trying to decide what products I should use.

Jamie B. Golden

10.  Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor's Christening - and I love when the royals are in the news.  Not only did we have Archie's christening last weekend but both Meghan and Kate have been watching their husbands' polo matches so we've seen them and their children in pictures recently.

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

Thursday, July 11, 2019

TLC Blog Tour: A Beach Wish

Shelley Noble is one of those authors who I feel consistently produces solid, interesting women's fiction novels for readers.  I haven't read everything she's written, but each time I do, I am always satisfied by the experience.

A Beach Wish is Noble's latest, and while it does make a great beach read, it would be a great book to pick up all year round.

Zoe has spent her life making practical decisions, even giving up her dream of attending Juilliard and attending business school instead.  After her mother's death, Zoe is the one who carries out her mother's wishes/instructions  to spread her ashes at Wind Chime Beach...and what she discovers is a secret her mother has kept from her: Zoe has another family.

Zoe is drawn into a family feud as well as the need to reconcile her life before she found out about her new family with the idea that her mother had a whole different life before she was married and had children. This concept is one that I appreciated Noble providing. It's hard for kids to imagine what their parents were like before they came along -or the idea that their parents had a whole other life before them.  This is such a fascinating thing to discuss with your parents or children and Noble does a good job writing about how Zoe feels about this.

I liked Zoe a lot and was easily rooting for her as bits and pieces of her mom's story were revealed to her.  I feel like anyone who enjoys women's fiction won't be disappointed in Noble's work, whether you pick up A Beach Wish, or her previous novels. Shelley Noble does a great job creating likable, realistic characters and interesting stories.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Swallows

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 Swallows by Lisa Lutz
Due out:

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war—with deadly consequences—in this dark and provocative novel by the author of the New York Times bestselling author of the Spellman Files series

“Suspenseful and utterly riveting!”—Tess Gerritsen 

When Alexandra Witt joins the faculty at Stonebridge Academy, she’s hoping to put a painful past behind her. Then one of her creative writing assignments generates some disturbing responses from students. Before long, Alex is immersed in an investigation of the students atop the school’s social hierarchy—and their connection to something called the Darkroom. She soon inspires the girls who’ve started to question the school’s “boys will be boys” attitude and incites a resistance. But just as the movement is gaining momentum, Alex attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her—and what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.

Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can’t find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there’s Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt. As the school’s secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal—and potentially fatal—consequences for everyone involved.

Lisa Lutz’s blistering, timely tale of revenge and disruption shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long—and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Tuesday Non-Fiction: To Be Published

I love featuring a fiction title on Wednesdays of each week that I'm looking forward to reading when it is published.  On a Tuesday or two every month, I am sharing some non-fiction titles that will soon be published that I'm also looking forward to reading

This week's pick: The City Game:Triumph, Scandal and a Legendary Basketball Team by Matthew Goodman

Due out: November 9, 2019

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

The powerful story of a college basketball team who carried an era's brightest hopes—racial harmony, social mobility, and the triumph of the underdog—but whose success was soon followed by a shocking downfall

The unlikeliest of champions, the 1949–50 City College Beavers were extraordinary by every measure. City College was a tuition-free, merit-based college in Harlem known far more for its intellectual achievements and political radicalism than its athletic prowess. Only two years after Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier—and at a time when the National Basketball Association was still segregated—every single member of the Beavers was either Jewish or African American. But during that remarkable season, under the guidance of the legendary former player Nat Holman, this unheralded group of city kids would stun the basketball world by becoming the only team in history to win the NIT and NCAA tournaments in the same year.

This team, though, proved to be extraordinary in another way: During the following season, all of the team’s starting five were arrested by New York City detectives, charged with conspiring with gamblers to shave points. Almost overnight these beloved heroes turned into fallen idols. The story centers on two teammates and close friends, Eddie Roman and Floyd Layne, one white, one black, each caught up in the scandal, each searching for a path to personal redemption. Though banned from the NBA, Layne continued to devote himself to basketball, teaching the game to young people in his Bronx neighborhood and, ultimately, with Roman’s help, finding another kind of triumph—one that no one could have anticipated.

Drawing on interviews with the surviving members of that championship team, Matthew Goodman has created an indelible portrait of an era of smoke-filled arenas and Borscht Belt hotels, when college basketball was far more popular than the professional game. It was a time when gangsters controlled illegal sports betting, the police were on their payroll, and everyone, it seemed, was getting rich—except for the young men who actually played the games. 

Tautly paced and rich with period detail, The City Game tells a story both dramatic and poignant: of political corruption, duplicity in big-time college sports, and the deeper meaning of athletic success.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Monday Mini Reviews: 5 Star Reads

It's been a long time since a Monday mini-review post and although I've slowed down my reading considerably, I still have some amazing books I want to share.

First of all, I've made a conscious effort to slow down on my reading.  For a while I was just feeling meh about nearly everything I read, and I'm happy to report that that isn't the case any more.  I'm still participating in some blog tours, but aside from that most of my reading is all based on what I want to read.  That has helped a lot!  Instead of never finding time to crack open books I've been waiting for, I'm reading some of the books I want to read right away and I love it.

Summer has always been one of my favorite times to get some extra reading in, and these three five star reads would be a great choice for anyone to pick up.

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore - I love this author, so I'm always happy to pick up anything she's written. The Islanders does not disappoint.  Anthony has come to the island to lick his wounds and regroup after his sophomore novel doesn't live up to expectations (to put it mildly). His father is a best selling novelist, so the stakes are high for Anthony, and in addition to his professional failings, his personal life is faring no better.  Lu is tired of being a stay at home mom, but her husband doesn't listen to her when she tries to talk to him and her secret life as a blogger is turning into something more successful than she ever imagined.  Joy is busy with raising her daughter and running her business selling whoopie pies, but her daughter is pulling away from her as she enters her teenage years and her business is facing some competition on the island this summer.  All three of these characters' stories converge by book's end, and I loved every single page of this novel. The Block Island setting was also one that intrigued me as a friend of mine has vacationed there for years.  

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes- I occasionally read romances and have been pleasantly surprised by how much I love them.  This book left me with a book hangover for a while; it was hard to find anything to live up to how much I loved this book.  Evvie's doctor husband has died just a year ago at the young age of 33.  She's spent the year grieving as everyone expects her to, but Evvie's feelings about her husband's death are more complex than her just grieving.  When she rents out a bedroom in her house to Dean, a major league baseball player who has a case of the yips causing his career to tank, the two begin a friendship that both are in need of. There's a little predictability to this story, but I read it in just a day and couldn't put it down.  

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert - Gilbert's been writing for a while, but I hadn't read anything of hers until now.  I went into this one having heard rave reviews, but slightly skeptical myself.  I quickly was sucked in, and because I was on a sixteen hour car ride home from vacation, I devoured this novel in one sitting.  Starting in 1940, we follow the life of Vivian Morris who has been kicked out of Vassar College. Her parents send her to New York City to live with her aunt Peg who runs a struggling theater company.  Vivian meets an interesting cast of characters who make up the theater and enjoys life in the big city, but when her behavior results in a scandal, Vivian is impacted by her decisions for years to come.  I love novels that span an entire lifespan and this story is written in Vivian's perspective as a letter to someone asking how Vivian was connected to them.  By book's end this question is answered as Vivian has reflected on her life and the one true love she had.  

We're already halfway through 2019 and I can't imagine that these books won't be on my best of 2019 list.  I've been so lucky to have had one great book after another this summer.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Friday Five: It's July and I Feel Like Summer Has Just Begun

We've been home for nearly a week now, and I feel like time is just flying by.  I have also spent time wondering how in the world I get errands and appointments taken care of during the school year, because they honestly feel like they are taking up all my time right now.  

I have also been working on cleaning the room where I store my books. Calling it a library would be giving it a little too much credit.  Our home has virtually no storage of any kind, so that room has become a dumping ground for anything my kids don't want or that we think we might sell someday at a garage sale.  Between going through books and garage sale stuff, I managed to waste two entire days this week.

I'm hoping once I am truly done with this project, I will have some "free" time, but I have a list of orthodontist and dental appointments, sports physicals, practices, college visits, and other random things already on my calendar.  

I did find a few things this week to share, though:

1.  Women's Camo Sweatshirt - while we were at a cabin with friends last week, their daughter threw on a camo sweatshirt that I loved. She told me she got it at Target, and I was thrilled to find it online quickly.  It was in my mailbox by the time I got home.

Women's Crew Neck Sweatshirt - Universal Threadâ„¢ - image 1 of 10

2.  Short Sleeve Photoreal T - we stopped off for a 45 minute visit to the Mall of America on our way home from the cabin last weekend.  Sometimes Abercrombie has a lot of stuff I like, and sometimes nothing at all. This is one time I could have shopped there for many things.  This new series of T-shirts is one of the things that caught my eye.

model 1

3.  REI Co-op Expandable Packing Cube Set - and while at the cabin, my friend, Sarah, showed me her handy packing containers.  They expand if needed and she thinks they work great for separating out things like underwear so you don't have to dig through your whole suitcase.  She travels much more than I do, and her packing cubes probably get a lot of action.

Product image for 3/4 front view (Cobalt)

4.  Hot Dogs S'mores and Fireworks T-  the Fourth of July holiday passed quietly at our house. I love looking at the pictures of families on various social media sites all America-ed out.  Someday I might buy myself some holiday wear.

 Hot Dogs S'mores Fireworks Graphic Cotton Blend Tee, Main, color, WHITE MULTI 4TH OF JULY

5.  Utility Button-Up Skirt - I also saw this skirt at Abercrombie.  It comes in a few colors, but I especially like this one.  As of yesterday, everything online was 50% off, making this only $27.

model 1

6.  Peanut Butter T-Shirt - it's no secret that I have an extreme love of peanut butter.  This shirt would be a fun one to add to my t-shirt wardrobe, which gets a pretty good workout in the summer months.

Women's Peanut Butter is My Favorite Food Group T-Shirt

7.  Linen Ruffle Back T - I love this bright pink T which is just a little bit dressy that I could wear with a pair of nicer pants to work or with a pair of shorts for casual.

j.crew: linen ruffle-back t-shirt, right side, view zoomed

8.  Gingham Tie Sleeve Top  I like the details of the sleeves and love gingham.  I also like that this is a pretty basic piece that seems a little bit dressy

9.  Leopard Print Popover Camp Shirt  - not only is this shirt leopard print, but it's also a great deal -$24.99 with an extra 15% off right now.  Again, this would be so easy for me to wear to work.

10.  Gangster Capitalism Podcast -I will admit a certain fascination with the college admissions scandal going on in the news. This podcast has only six episodes so far, but I'm enjoying listening to them.  I walk my dog a lot more in the summer than the winter, so I have much more free time to listen while I'm outside walking.

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Confession Club

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 Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg
Due out: November 19, 2019

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

In a captivating novel from the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv, a group of women in Mason, Missouri discover that best friends are made by sharing secrets.

It all started as a supper club, a group gathering monthly to share homemade dinners, until the night one woman made a startling revelation. After that, the "Confession Club" decided to meet weekly to feast not only on dinner, but on admissions of misdeeds, embarrassments, and insecurities. 

When Iris Winters and Maddy Harris are invited to the club, they find that it's just what each of them needs. Iris hasn't yet told anyone about the unlikely man who has captured her attention, and Maddy has come back home to escape a problem too big for her to confront.

The Confession Club is a heartwarming and illuminating book about women, friendship, and how sharing the secrets we're afraid of revealing can actually bring us closer.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

TLC Blog Tour: The Cutting Room

I love a good mystery series and the characters I grow to love as the series unfolds.  The Cutting Room is Ashley Dyer's second in her mystery series featuring Ruth Lake and Greg Carver.

I have yet to read the first book in this series, Splinter in the Blood, but I didn't find that getting in the way of my enjoyment of this book; I just have another novel to add to my TBR now.

This is a fantastic British procedural, featuring two detectives who are in search of a popular host of a British crime show.  There's no body, so at first it's not certain if the host has been murdered or has simply disappeared. However, there are crimes being committed in Britain that are meant to attract attention, and the detectives are put to work solving this mystery.

I loved the British setting and the way this story unfolded.  There is plenty of suspense and although I would have enjoyed knowing the background information about the characters that was revealed in the first book, it didn't take anything from my enjoyment of this one.  

The Cutting Room is one I struggle to write a review on because I worry about giving away too much of the story.  I'll just leave you with my endorsement of this novel and the knowledge that if you are a mystery reader, this is a series you should look into reading.

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

For more information, visit the HarperCollins website.