Thursday, January 26, 2023

Friday Five: The Last Week In January


I am at the point in the winter where I am ready for spring.  So, so ready.  One day this wee I drove through bad fog on my way to work. One day was icy, and today was snowy.  Enough already!  

But today is Friday and I am hoping to get a lot done at work and maybe even find some time to read tonight at home.

Here are the things I found to share this week:

1.  Ruffle Trim Velvet Popover

2.  Throwback Fleece Jogger

3.  Preston Print Top

4.  GH Bass Wynn Mules

5.  Moon Collared Sweater

6.  Pilcro Buttondown Utility Shirt

7.  Ivy Jane Faux Fur Coat

8.  Isla Braided Button Down Cardigan

9.  A Day Without Reading Sweatshirt

10.  1619 Project on Hulu

That's it for me this week. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday: Someone Else's Shoes

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

This week's feature:  Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes

Due out: Februray 7, 2023

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances, this is the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars

Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?

Nisha Cantor and Sam Kemp are two very different women.

Nisha, 45, lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband inexplicably cuts her off entirely. She doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.

That’s because Sam – 47, middle-aged, struggling to keep herself and her family afloat – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag.

Now Nisha’s got nothing. And Sam’s walking tall with shoes that catch eyes – and give her a career an unexpected boost.

Except Nisha wants her life back – and she’ll start with her shoes . . .

Someone Else’s Shoes is a funny, moving and heartfelt story about how, for any of us just one little thing can suddenly change everything.

NonFiction Tuesday: Good For a Girl

 I have so many thoughts about Good For A Girl by Lauren Fleshman. This is my first five star nonfiction read in 2023, and I have already compiled a list of people that absolutely need to read it.

Good For a Girl is part memoir, part book about running and being a female athlete.  Fleshman shares her life story- her initial interest in running when she started high school and saw success led to a stellar career at Stanford University.  After graduating she began her professional running career.  However, she suffered from injuries at various points, derailing her progress and success.  

While Fleshman recounts these life events, she also looks critically at the sport she loves.  The phrase "good for a girl" is one that is familiar to females when compared to males.  Fleshman shares statistics about the number of females that drop out of athletics by the time they are seventeen.  (The male dropout rate is much lower).  Puberty changes a female's body which impacts sports performance.  Eating disorders are prevalent in runners, leaving them with problems that may impact them in the future.  The number of female coaches is also much smaller than male coaches.  

I could highlight something interesting or important on every single page; this book is full of insight and wisdom.  I am the mother of three daughters; all of them are runners.  I have seen many of the things happen to female athletes that Fleshman writes about.  My girls have been blessed with coaches that are interested in more than the time the finish line shows when the race is over, but I still plan on buying a copy of this book for their high school coach and Middle Sister's college coach.  

I was interested enough in Fleshman after reading this that I also listened to her interview on the Another Mother Runner podcast.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Monday Mini-Reviews: Mysteries

Although I read mysteries, I don't ever think that I read a lot of them and often find the details fairly forgettable shorty after I turn the last page.  

This month I've already raced through three page turners, and they are unique enough that I don't think they will be so easily forgotten.

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson was published in Australia (the setting of this novel) and the UK last year.  I purchased my copy a few months ago from The Book Depository, so I sat down with it this past week, intent on reading it before the US publication on January 17.  This is a clever and unique mystery narrated by Ernie as his family convenes at an Australian ski resort for a weekend.  We find out how various people in Ernie's family have died, and while the mystery is interesting enough, I liked the narration and the way Ernie (the narrator) breaks the fourth wall and talks to the reader.

Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce- I haven't seen much about this one, which is a shame, because it is good.   Two boys discover a hand on the beach in Florida. A mother reports her husband and children missing - but delays doing so.  And an author fixates on the death of her mother's childhood friend that happened decades ago. These stories all converge and the last hundred pages flew by.  I had no idea how this would all connect in the end, but Royce ties it all together well and I will be recommending this one to anyone who likes a good mystery.

All The Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham - Isabelle's son Mason was taken from his bedroom in the middle of the night a year ago. Since then Isabelle has only slept for short bursts of time, desperate to find him.  Her marriage hasn't managed to make it through this trauma, and her soon to be ex-husband has moved on, already starting a new relationship.  Isabelle has a history of sleepwalking and what worries her is that she may have had something to do with Mason's disappearance.  This one is a page turner and moves along so quickly it could easily be read in just one sitting.  

Friday, January 20, 2023

Friday Five

It's Friday already and in addition to this only being a four day week, yesterday we had a two hour delay because of the snow we got on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  

I should have taken pictures because it was beautiful, but at this point, I'm more interested in when spring is coming.

Here's the fun things I've found this week to share:


1.  Cora Slip-on Sneakers

2.  Canyon Insulated Vest

3.  Maeve Heart Cardigan Sweater

4.  Stadium Striped Sweatshirt

5.  Prato Knit Jumpsuit

6.  Smocked Ruffle Denim Top

7.  Faye Jacket

8.  Dansko Sophie

9.  Book Lover sweatshirt

10.  Thoughts From the Pages Podcast - this podcast has been around for a while so I'm enjoying getting to listen to the many earlier episodes as well as the current ones.

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday: Yours Truly

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

This week's pick: Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

Due out: April 11, 2023

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A novel of terrible first impressions, hilarious second chances, and the joy in finding your perfect match from "a true talent" (Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.

And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she 
can’t refuse.

“Abby Jimenez’s words…sprinkle humor and warmth all over my life.” –Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Friday Five

1.  Flecked Sherpa Full Zip Pullover

2.  Quilted Pullover

3. Women's Corduroy Long Sleeve

4.  All Over Patch Jeans

5.  Hand Embroidered Blouson Sleeve Sweater

6.  Indigo River Vest

7.  Halo Essential Hoodie

8.  Embroidered Floral Jumper

9.  My Intent Bracelet - I watched a segment on the Today show about these bracelets- and now I want one!  

10.  Tomie DePaola is getting a stamp.  These should be released in May.  He's long been one of my favorite kids authors and I can't tell you the number of times I've read his work to groups of students

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday: The Farewell Tour

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 feature The Farewell Tour by Stephanie Clifford

Due out: March 7, 2023

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Everybody Rise, a rich and riveting novel with the exquisite historical detail and evocative settings of The Cold Millions and Great Circle that tells the story of one unforgettable woman’s rise in country and western music.

It’s 1980, and Lillian Waters is hitting the road for the very last time.

Jaded from her years in the music business, perpetually hungover, and diagnosed with career-ending vocal problems, Lillian cobbles together a nationwide farewell tour featuring some old hands from her early days playing honky-tonk bars in Washington State and Nashville, plus a few new ones. She yearns to feel the rush of making live music one more time and bask in the glow of a packed house before she makes the last, and most important, stop on the tour: the farm she left behind at age ten and the sister she is finally ready to confront about an agonizing betrayal in their childhood.

As the novel crisscrosses eras, moving between Lillian’s youth—the Depression, the Second World War, the rise of Nashville—and her middle-aged life in 1980, we see her striving to build a career in the male-dominated world of country music, including the hard choices she makes as she tries to redefine music, love, aging, and womanhood on her own terms.

Nearing her final tour stop, Lil is forced to confront those choices and how they shaped her life. Would a different version of herself have found the happiness and success that has eluded her? When she reaches her Washington hometown for her very last show, though, she’ll undergo a reckoning with the past that forces her to reconsider her entire life story.

Exploring one unforgettable woman’s creativity, ambition, and sacrifices in a world—and an art form—made for men, The Farewell Tour asks us to consider how much of our past we can ever leave behind.

NonFiction Tuesday: Upcoming Release


I love reading nonfiction and am always looking to add new titles to my TBR.  This newest pick comes out in April and as a mom of college and high school age girls, I feel like this one hits close to home.

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Operating Instructions meets Glennon Doyle in this new book by famed NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly that is destined to become a classic―about the year before her son goes to college―and the joys, losses and surprises that happen along the way.

The time for do-overs is over.

Ever since she became a parent, Mary Louise Kelly has said “next year.” Next year will be the year she makes it to her son James’s soccer games (which are on weekdays at 4 p.m., right when she is on the air on NPR’s All Things Considered, talking to millions of listeners). Drive carpool for her son Alexander? Not if she wants to do that story about Ukraine and interview the secretary of state. Like millions of parents who wrestle with raising children while pursuing a career, she has never been cavalier about these decisions. The bargain she has always made with herself is this: this time I’ll get on the plane, and next year I’ll find a way to be there for the mom stuff.

Well, James and Alexander are now seventeen and fifteen, and a realization has overtaken Mary Louise: her older son will be leaving soon for college. There used to be years to make good on her promises; now, there are months, weeks, minutes. And with the devastating death of her beloved father, Mary Louise is facing act three of her life head-on.

Mary Louise is coming to grips with the reality every parent faces. Childhood has a definite expiration date. You have only so many years with your kids before they leave your house to build their own lives. It’s what every parent is supposed to want, what they raise their children to do. But it is bittersweet. Mary Louise is also dealing with the realities of having aging parents. This pivotal time brings with it the enormous questions of what you did right and what you did wrong.

This chronicle of her eldest child’s final year at home, of losing her father, as well as other curve balls thrown at her, is not a definitive answer―not for herself and certainly not for any other parent. But her questions, her issues, will resonate with every parent. And, yes, especially with mothers, who are judged more harshly by society and, more important, judge themselves more harshly. What would she do if she had to decide all over again?

Mary Louise’s thoughts as she faces the coming year will speak to anyone who has ever cared about a child or a parent. It. Goes. So. Fast. is honest, funny, poignant, revelatory, and immensely relatable.

Monday Mini-Reviews: Ending the Year With a 5 Star Book and the First 5 Star Book of 2023

 Black Cake had been sitting on my TBR pile for months and it took  hearing someone on a podcast rave about it  along with it being one of President Obama's best books he read in 2022 that gave me the ambition to pick this one up.

Byron and Benny, estranged siblings, have connected after their mother's death.  The two are directed to listen to a voice recording their mother made and have a black cake in their freezer that they are instructed to eat when the time is right. Their mom tells them they'll know when that is.   As they listen the two start to understand their mother's past- a history she kept hidden from everyone that began on an island when she was a young girl.    I liked the alternating storyline/timeline and the brother/sister relationship that developed as they came to terms with where their relationship fractured.  This is a debut novel and it was amazing.  Book clubs should love reading this and discussing it with each other.

And just like that, 2022 ended, and I have already managed to read a fabulous book in 2023.  

Sam by Allegra Goodman is Jenna Bush Hager's book club pick for the month of January.  I don't think there's a good way to accurately describe this book, which tells the story of Sam's growing up.  The story begins when Sam is little - six or seven years old- and she sees things through a child's lens.  Her parents aren't together and her mom struggles to make ends meet. Sam takes up climbing, and wants attention from her coach that isn't appropriate.  She struggles with growing up, with knowing what to do with her life, with trying to follow the path her mom wants for her rather than the path she might want - and also struggles to figure out what that path might be.  I think everyone can see some of themselves in Sam and the struggle that is universal in becoming an adult.  JBH picked another winner!

I'm stuck in a little bit of a slump right now. I feel like that happens when I've had an abundance of great reading and a little bit of a book hangover.  It's hard to know what to pick up after a five star read.  I've attempted a few but abandoned them after just a few pages - not even a DNF, really, but just not catching my attention right now.  I'm hoping that I will soon find something great that I can't put down.