Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Hey all! Snow! I love snow! I am sorry though if the snow caused any of you hardships. I'm kind of snow fan and I am slowly turning my son into one too. Lol. I showed him the snow falling out the window the other morning and he kept wanting to look at it all day. :) Although, it seems like the south got more snow than we did here in Michigan, at least my corner of Michigan.

Prayers for all those affected by the California wildfires. This year has been so bad for disasters. :(

Read Last Week:

  

This was a cute little read for the holidays! A shortie but goodie that brought a smile to my face. I also started rereading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - one of my favorites in the series! Isn't there just something about Christmas that makes you want to read HP again?  I guess it's all those Hogwarts Christmas'!

Reading This Week:

I am going to be reading a bunch of books at once for a bit, I think. I'm kind of a in a book grazing mode. Little bit of this one, little bit of that.

  


Poison - which I have started for NetGalley and I am really enjoying, but I keep letting my Kindle accidentally die!

The River at Night - for my online book club, Hike Like a Woman book club

and the aforementioned Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. 

Watching:

Christmas stuff, but none of my favorites really yet except Love, Actually. Those are coming up this week and next, all the way to Christmas. Any must watches for the season? I have to watch Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas every year, Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. I think I am going to add in The Polar Express this year too - Wyatt will love it. I think we will also give him his first taste of hot cocoa too! Any suggestions or favorites for hot chocolate?

For television, we are watching The Gifted (not too bad!) and Riverdale. 

How about you guys? What's going on in your part of the world?





Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Book Reviews: The Rancher's Christmas Song and Christmas in Icicle Falls

If you have visited my blog before, you might already know of my love for Christmas romances - especially those by RaeAnne Thayne. This one was no exception, as I thoroughly enjoyed reading about music teacher Ella and her adjustment to life out west. Ella may have spent most of her formative years in the city with her mother, yet her love of her dad's ranch didn't diminish, despite an accident as a child that left lingering scars. She has returned the ranch she once spent joyful summers riding horses to take care of her ailing father, and to confront a few demons as well - including two little twin imps from the ranch next door, whose father makes her weak in the knees. I loved the touching story of the twins love for the father, and what they do to make his Christmas special, along with the role that Ella plays. I love Beckett and his love for his high spirited but good hearted boys. And I love that Ella go to prove once and for all that she belongs to the ranching life, with her spirit, perseverance, and mettle. A heartwarming read for the season!  Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a free galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Reminiscent of the little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, Muriel Sterling, renowned in the town of Icicle Falls for her books, her family's candy factory that is central to the town, and for her parties, especially at Christmas, unboxes her tree to find that it is not what she expected - in fact, it's kind of ugly. After discovering that there is no other tree to be had, Muriel realizes her "ugly tree" just needs a little love and bam, it is no longer an ugly tree. She just had to see its potential. After telling her friends Sienna, Olivia, and Pat about her ugly tree, they realize they all have their own ugly trees in their lives, in the form of people who are hard to get along with for one reason or another. They resolve to conquer their own "ugly trees", see the potential, nurture it. I loved this concept, as well all have those people in our lives, who test us, just a little - or a lot! Sienna has her grouchy neighbor, who in turn has a good looking nephew, while Olivia is dealing with a new daughter-in-law she is skeptical of, while Pat puts up with the landlord to her bookstore. And Muriel - she has someone else that she is seeing the potential in, all of a sudden... I really enjoyed this book, once I got all the characters straight. I haven't read all the books in this series, so some of the back story was lost on me, but it didn't matter once I got into it. And once I got into it, I was hooked! I may even have to read the rest of the series! Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

I had a non-stop to do list last week! The holidays are definitely getting closer - and my list is getting longer and longer. We've had unseasonably warm weather too, that has us wanting to go outside and play more than focus on what we need to do. This is just a family of Grasshoppers! This week however is going to be much colder - I see soup in our future!

Yesterday we went to The Pottery Market, which is an art show of just pottery. It was amazing to see all the creations and to shop from all the choices! There were ornaments on up to bird baths - even a small Christmas tree - for sale. I purchased a few small things for my book club. My talented mother-in-law had a booth there, and it was awesome to see her work on display. (we also get first dibs on all her "seconds", the pieces that would get pitched) When we got home we decorated for Christmas. This year we just put up a little tree but I love it. 

Read Last Week:

I was bad and didn't read the review book I had planned! I did read a different review book though, so, redemption?


This was a fun holiday read.  Review soon. I'm a holiday book addict. I apologize in advance for going nuts this month. You will see.

Reading This Week:

 


Watching:

Riverdale - That last episode was amazing!! Anyone else catch the reference to Miskatonic University and HP Lovecraft? And Tony Todd delivered an amazing cameo performance! 

Grace and Frankie. And a lot of YouTube weirdly. Lol.


How are all of you doing? What's new in your world?

Monday, November 27, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?




It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Thanks everyone for all the well wishes for Wyatt last week! He is feeling better!

I've been a bit AWOL from the blogging world, it's been a really really long twelve days! But hopefully things will be back to normal starting soon. Today would be good actually. 

I can't believe it is almost already December! November disappeared before I knew it. I think tonight we are going to have a simple dinner, one of our comfort foods, Pannukkau and go for a walk to look at Christmas lights, then come back and have some tea. I love winter walks, even more so when there is snow. I can't wait!

Read Last Week:

  

I needed some happy reading, and The Rancher's Christmas Song fit the bill. It made me want lots of snow though! And horses. 

I really enjoyed The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow too! The department store setting in London made me think of the tv show The Paradise, and the story itself was really entertaining. I liked the characters too, especially quick witted Sophie. 


Reading This Week:


I have seen mixed reviews on this title, so I am looking forward to reading it. 

Watching:

Lots of Christmas movies. I've been soaking it all in - the two that stand out in my mind are The Christmas Bunny (set in Michigan!) and The Christmas Prince. I'm a sucker for these type of movies. Lol. I also watched Love Actually for the first time this season. It's my all time favorite movie ever.



What about you? What's been going on in your world?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Last week was a doozy. Tuesday Wyatt and I were on the way to one of his appointments when another driver hit our car, waved to me, then drove away. I have never been in a hit and run accident before, and honestly, I had no idea what to do. We were on an overpass so there was no shoulder to pull over onto, but the doctor's office was about a quarter mile up the road so I just went there. It was not a big accident, no damage was done to us or the car, thank goodness, but it was traumatic. I was worried about Wyatt of course, but he seemed ok at the appointment. Them the very next day, Wyatt came down with the stomach flu. My little guy is little, so after a few episodes we had to take him to the emergency room, and after some blood tests they admitted him for dehydration. Dehydration sounds so minor but it is so serious, especially in little kids.  To top it off, it was my birthday. It was a crazy crazy week. I must admit, I am feeling kind of drained, physically and emotionally. 

Needless to say, I didn't get any reading done, other than magazines. (Country Living and Birds and Blooms to be specific). I did get some Christmas shopping done - thanks internet!

Reading This Week:

Same plan. This is a review book so I need to get it done ASAP!


Watching:

Well, I watched quite a bit of tv. Lol. I binge watched Hart of Dixie (love that show!), HGTV, and Grace and Frankie. I love that darn show. Jane Fonda looks amazing, and I want to be a version of Frankie when I get older. Lol.


What about you all? How was your week?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Weekend Update



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date


Posting a little early for me, but tomorrow (Sunday) we are going to be out, visiting my stepmom. Billy is going to do a few chores for her, while she teaches me how to felt stuff. I am looking forward to it!

This past week was pretty much, just you know, life. Routine. But it was a good week nonetheless. I read another amazing book - two five star books in a row! 

Read Last Week:


Omgilovedthisbook! It was just so so good. I loved all the things about it. And, it was so perfectly autumn on top of it all. Except now, I want ooey gooey appley desserts and I want to eat them up while drinking some ice cold tart cider. Goals, right? 

Reading This Week:

I kind of have book hangover. Two great books in a row - how to follow that up?? I'm going with a Christmas romance! 


Watching:

We just finished up Stranger Things, and have moved on to Alias, Grace and Grace and Frankie. (weird, all that Grace). Plus, Riverdale! 

How about you guys? 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Few Quick Reviews

I waited very impatiently for this to come in from my library holds, and it was very much worth the wait. I absolutely loved this book! It was one I couldn't put down. I wanted to read it for the setting - the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the Seney Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite spots in all Michigan. If you have ever been there, you are familiar with the Seney stretch, and just how far you are from cities and well, other people.

The characters are amazing, and I loved how this story is told. It begins in the now, present day, with Helena as a married woman with two daughters. Her father, who had kidnapped her mother and held her prisoner for fourteen years or so, has escaped from prison. And Helena, raised by the Marsh King himself, knows his ways better than anyone, and has the skill set to match his. She knows she is the one who will have to catch him, that no one will be able to beat him on his own turf. As the chase wears on, the reader learns about the years in captivity through Helena's memories - and while her mother was a true prisoner, Helena's experience was different. The Marsh King is her father, and while he was not a good man, she spent twelve years of her life learning from him, and trying to impress him. She wanted to follow in his footsteps, and was starving for any affection from him. While he was abusive, callous, and a kidnapper, he did seem to care about Helena, as much as he was able to care about another human being, or at least that is my opinion, as he did take the time to teach her the things important to him. And when Helena and her mother were free, Helena had to adjust to an entirely different world, one that was confusing and had many rules - and people. This whole book was fascinating, riveting, and fast paced; as I said, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it.


Caraval was another great read - entirely different, but definitely worth reading. It was fun, like a crazy mixed up Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka meets...something not so nice. While this crazy kaleidoscope of magic and fantasy and game play is all supposed to be part of the show, with everyone either a player or an actor, there is maybe a bit more going on than meets the eye. Scarlett is a little annoying at first, but she grows on you, as the game takes over and she is further from her horrible father, who is a perfect villain. I loved all the magic and color and imagery in this imaginative story; I loved the setting and the characters, and I really enjoyed every bit .

 I can't wait for the second book in the series, Legendary, to come out - I am looking forward to reading more in this world, and about these characters.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

We spent Halloween trick or treating with Wyatt's little cousin (my niece) and we had a blast! The sidewalks were filled with costumed children, parents, people outside. It was festive and and friendly and reminded me of the 1980s, when kids were always trick or treating. We even had to wait sometimes to get on porches, it was such a busy night. I loved it, and I know everyone else did too.

After the franticness of our October, we are easing into November slowly. And from all appearances, it looks like we will stay in this mode for quite a while. But that is ok - November is the perfect time to start hibernating at home all cozylike. 


Read Last Week:


I picked this up on a whim from my review pile, and then found I couldn't put it down! It was so addictively good! I read way past my bedtime with this one. So good I actually gave it five stars on Goodreads. It caught me off guard with how good it was. 



Reading This Week:


So far, I am in love. I have a thing for apples though. Lol.  

I am also slow reading this one:


Wildwood by Roger Deakin I am occasionally in the mood for these nature nonfiction reads. I loved Meadowland last year, and this is reminiscent. 

Watching:

Stranger Things, Outlander, Riverdale, and rewatching the Great British Bake Off.

How about all of you? How have you been?

Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?




It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Yesterday was a rough day, as we memorialized my grandmother who passed away last week. It was a very emotionally draining day, but also one filled with stories of her life, about her wit and independence and artistic. We were surrounded by her artwork, reminders of her life and all that she had done. It was a perfect memorial for the life of my spirited grandma.

Last week was about Halloween and preparing for the memorial - when you have a toddler, life still moves on. We went to the Greenfield Village haunted village trick or treat thing with my brother and his family, and had a great time seeing our kiddos together. And they got us some great candy! :) Lol.

Read Last Week:


Caraval by Stephanie Garber - I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced read. It was the perfect distraction!

Reading This Week:

I can't make up my mind. I keep bouncing all over the place. I think I will finish up my October reads with these two. I have been wanting to read Ghostland for ages!



Watching:

We finished up Miss Fisher and are feeling sad about it. We miss crazy Miss Fisher and the straight laced Jack. I am definitely going to have to read the books now. We are also watching Stranger Things, and lots and lots of Halloween cartoons - including Curious George Boofest, over and over...lol. We watched my favorite, Disney's Headless Horseman, and also Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin. I am sure we will watch that again tomorrow. Finally, I have been watching a lot of book vloggers do book hauls. 

I also found this great Jack Skellington/Headless Horseman theory! I love it because it combines the Disney movie I love with Nightmare Before Christmas, another favorite of mine!







Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Source: NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.


My Thoughts:

So earlier this week I said I didn't like this book, that I was disappointed in it. Which is true, and I will go into that further in a moment. First, let me say that  I was stupid excited over this book. I love Hoffman's work, I love Practical Magic, I love stories about witches - so the stars were aligned for me to love this book.

This book was beautifully written. The descriptions were rich and wonderful, magical even. I loved the characters, their evolutions, their backstory, if you read Practical Magic. I love Vincent. How could you not love a character so charming he was stolen  for a few hours by his nurse at birth? He was the anti-hero and the hero all in one. The imagery, the sprinkling of folklore and superstition and herbal magics, I loved all of it. I loved the little surprise of Vincent's. However, I didn't love this book. It was just too sad for me. I felt like there was such little joy in this book, in their lives in general. I understand it was the curse surrounding them, but I guess it was too much for me. I don't need a story to be all sunshine and rainbows, but I guess I do need some happiness. And there were small pockets of happy tucked in here, but overall, it made me depressed. It was a very slow going read for me as well - over three weeks which is crazy for me. I kept getting distracted by other reads, then I realized the truth - I didn't want to go back to this book. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it when I read it, but it just didn't do it for me.

Overall, I would say this book is beautifully written and crafted, as all of Hoffman's books are, it was just a little too gray and sad for me.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date


I managed to get some reading done!

Read Last Week:


So. I was so excited for The Rules of Magic. I love Alice Hoffman, I loved Practical Magic. But Rules of Magic was a bit disappointing. :( Review soon. 

However, I loved The Marsh King's Daughter. Wow. So so so good, I could not put it down. I am hoping to review both of these books this week!

Reading This Week:


I am not sure which one will get the nod first - both look really good!

Watching:

We are watching Phryne Fisher still - Mrs. Fisher's Murder Mysteries. We finished off Lore on Amazon Prime - it was amazing! I loved it. We plan on squeezing in some Halloween movies for Wyatt and some scarier ones or at least campy, horror movies for us this week. 

Listening to: 

I love podcasts! That is how I found Lore in the first place. I am also listening to Unsolved Mysteries, and Thinking Sideways. They are pretty interesting.


So, how about you? How has your week been?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: The Witches of New York

Goodreads Summary:

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and "gardien de sorts" (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients. 

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? 

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force. 

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?



My Thoughts:

I love this cover.  And all things witchy. I love reading books with witches, ever since I read Anne Rice's Witching Hour (I still love that book!). 

This book was amazing, but terrifying. Not necessarily terrifying in a horror genre way, but more in a crimes against women way. I am not intending to be political by saying this either, I am referring only to the time period in which this book is set. As the description states, it is a time when "women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds" which is a true fact, albeit a sad one. It is horrifying in the same way that The Handmaid's Tale is- for women of today, modern women, with all of our rights and freedoms, to imagine what life was like for our ancestors, who were not allowed to read newspapers even. A time when women were always being sized up and judged, and if found to be different, sometimes labeled a witch. 

There were some pretty scary parts in this book - zealots of any brand are pretty darn scary, and this book has one or two. But the scary is outweighed by the beauty of the writing, the way the story unfolds, the characters themselves- Beatrice, Adelaide, Eleanor, and Quinn. Add in a raven (who is more than meets the eye) and I am sold on this story. The magic shop, the tea, the fortunes, the time frame, the ghosts - I loved it all.  I became immersed in this world and could have kept reading. 

These three women are tough and resourceful, strong and smart, and despite the problems and evils they encounter, are able to survive and bloom, maybe even stronger and better off than where they began. These characters are strong women, in a time that was tough on women. I definitely enjoyed this book, with these wonderful witchy women characters. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?





It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

So I knew last week was going to busy - but I still wasn't ready! W. had so many appointments, and we were exhausted by the end of the day. Our weekend was also busy, but with fun stuff, not yucky doctor's appointments. We went to the Detroit Zoo Boo, and despite the rain we had a fantastic time. Then Sunday we went to an apple orchard - my favorite fall thing to do. It was so blustery and windy I thought we were going to blow straight off the porch while eating our doughnuts but we managed. The weather only enhanced our day, honestly, making it feel more cozy to be all snugged away with our cider. 


Greg at Book Haven nominated me for a blog recognition award! Thanks Greg! I hope to get my post up soon!


Read Last Week:

I'm afraid to say - not much! A little more Harry Potter, and a little more of Hoffman's new book, Rules of Magic. (which I love!) I also hope to read more this week!

Reading This Week:

And hopefully some library holds come in!

 

Watching:

Lore (Amazon Prime) - we binge watched soo many episodes on Sunday. We ended up stopping because I got freaked out by the Robert the Doll episode, so scary!

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

and we are going to be starting Riverdale again, woohoo!

So that's my week - not much progress on the reading front, but I hope to change that this week. How have you been doing?