Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

I had a busy week last week - full of some fun, some not as fun. I spent three days studying for my final, which paid off in a perfect score! Yay!

It helped that one day I studied here:

Half of our city library looks like this. It was such a gorgeous place to sit and study. 

I also registered on Be The Match this week, pledging to donate my bone marrow if I was someone's match. If you are interested, check it out here.

Read Last Week:


Blythewood by Carol Goodman: I loved this book!! Loved it. I need the second one ASAP! I don't think it is out yet though. 

I have also been reading reading blogs like an addict lately!

Reading this week:


The Road to Burgundy by Ray Walker: I am about halfway through this and I am really enjoying it!

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews: I just love this author. And this cover! 

The Hexed by Heather Graham: I can't stay away from this series.

Also Paris In July starts this week! I have some cool things planned for this month.

Posted last week:

Summer Memories - June

Summer is just beginning, and it is off to a great start!!

With iced lavender lattes

massive blooms in shades of pink and white

Twilight walks in the woods
and these tiny you see them? 
Which made me think of this book

The river

Sun dappled pastoral landscapes

Strawberries that turned into jam

And all of these as well

What about you'all? How is your summer starting?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: Midnight Crossroad

Title: Midnight Crossroad
Author: Charlaine Harris
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...

My thoughts:

Let me start by saying this is the first Charlaine Harris book I have picked up since abandoning the Southern Vampire series about halfway through. So, when I picked up this book I wasn't sure what to expect. Would I get more crazy Sookie-type storylines? Would it be like the beginning of the Southern Vampire series, which I actually liked? What I got was not all that bad.

I have only read one book in the Harper Connelly and one book in the Lily Bard series, but I am thinking that this book series is more in line with those, especially as one of the characters, Manfred,  is actually friends with both Harper and Lily. This book is set in the small town of Midnight, Texas, a town so small they have only one stoplight.  The town may be small, but it more than makes up for that in its depth of characters that live there. There is the handsome Bobo, who owns a small pawnshop; Fiji, the local woo-woo lady who runs a magick shop in her living room, Mr. Snuggly, Olivia, Lemuel, the Rev, and the Lovell family who runs the Gas and Go.

This town is mysterious and quiet. No one asks questions, or answers them about the past. They are friendly and close knit with each other but skeptical of strangers. I have always been fascinated with small towns as they are portrayed in books and on tv. I think of Stars Hollow, Walnut Grove, Thalia, TX - actually more than I can list here. They seem wholesome, quirky, fun. Yet lurking down below there are secrets, maybe not in those small towns, but in some. Reading this book I was reminded of the eerie small towns I have stopped in, that uncomfortable feeling you get for no reason at all. That is the feeling of this town.

I thought the characters were interesting in this story, but the point of view skipped around so much, I didn't feel that I got to spend quality time with any of them. Maybe that was on purpose, fitting in with how the town works? This book was also slow, slow, slow. It plodded along, but not...plotted. (sorry, couldn't help myself!) I think it seemed like an incomplete story. But it wasn't a bad book per se. I am curious enough about it to want to read the next in the trilogy. I'm willing to give it another go.

June Book Club

Hostess: Jennifer
Book:Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Food:  Hand-size spinach pies, greek pasta salad, brie with thyme and rosemary from the garden and good crusty bread, a homemade strawberry cake 
Month: June
Wine of the Night: Espuela Del Gaucho Malbec

Jennifer lives the farthest from the rest of us - not far, but going there is always an event of getting together who is driving with whom in what car. This time, we all met at my house, divided into two cars, and left the city field trip style, bound for Jennifer's house.

I can imagine the sight we presented to Jennifer when we pulled up within seconds of each other, all piling out of the car like a book club circus. We filed into the house, plopped onto the couches, and immediately the wine became open and flowing. We checked out Jennifer's new bathroom remodel, which is gorgeous and such a soothing and comfy color. I loved it!

We chatted, there was a lot to catch up on! Mary's home invasion, Jennifer's new bathroom,  Ladies of London, Pretty Little Liars, Jill's trip to Cleveland, my Italian class, among other topics.

After we had eaten and chatted, we started talking about the book. This discussion was perhaps our most spirited! Everyone had strong opinions on this book and its characters. There was anger, frustration, bewilderment - how could any adult who knew that situation let it continue? Why didn't the mother leave? We talked about abusive relationships, in all its various horrific states.We talked about Eleanor, and Park, and Park's mom and dad. We talked about what those three words were on the postcard from Eleanor (which is obvious but we had fun coming up with alternatives). We disagreed on things, and emphatically stated our reasons why.

This was an excellent book. Two of us cried at the end. Your truly, included.

We hope there is a sequel. Will there be a sequel? Please tell us there is one coming.

I know there is a debate about adults reading young adult books. Personally, I feel that YA can teach adults valuable lessons too, and make us look inside and see how as adults we react to these situations, to the kids in these books. We think, what would we do? As an adult? How could we help. if we were to encounter these things in real life. I don't see anything wrong with it either, if they are purely for entertainment. A book is written to be enjoyed, to be loved, to enlighten, to challenge your opinions and create some new view points. I don't believe in age limits.

All in all, the night was filled with conversation, food, and friendship.

Next month is Kelly!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

Last week I saw so many beautiful moments - a pair of baby raccoon while on an evening walk in the woods, beautiful bright bouquets of sweet William, a heron flying over the river in a dense fog...surprising moments that were brief but an amazing reminder of the world. I have been reading and studying so much, that it was nice to glimpse these moments in between.

I also finally saw The Fault in Our Stars! I loved the kid who played Augustus - he did it perfectly.

Read Last Week:


Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris: I thought this book was ok. It was a bit rambly and the plot was a little loose, but I am willing to give the next one in the series a try when it comes out. Review Thursday.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: This book broke my heart! Review Friday in my book club wrap up.

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts: I finished this one just today, and I needed it after the emotional turmoil of Eleanor and Park and the movie. 

Red-Tails in Love by Marie Winn: Omg I loved this!! Review Tuesday. 

Reading This Week:


Blythewood by Carol Goodman: I saw this on Greg at Book Haven's blog last week, and it reminded me that I wanted to read it!

The Road to Burgundy by Ray Walker: I received this book from the publisher, and I can't wait to get started.

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson: It seems like a good time to read this book. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

Yay!!! Summer vacation officially began last Friday! Three months of reading and blogging lie ahead! I also scored some free books from my stepmom Shellie!

Read Last Week:

Finding Me by Michelle Knight: What a sad sad book. It was very difficult to read in places.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer: I am probably one of the only people who think this, but I didn't really care for this book. I get that the title is ironic, but..these characters were so smug and boring and pathetic at times! Review soon.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki: Another book I didn't quite get the subtleties of I guess. The art work was gorgeous, and much of the book was really good, but it fell sort of flat at the end.

Reading This Week:


Red-Tails in Love by Marie Winn: From the Shellie pile. You might be able to tell from my blog name that I love birds! Lol. I love the movie The Big Year, I could watch it every day. I spotted this on Shellie's shelves, and knew it was going home with me. I am loving it so far!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Our book club book for the month. I have heard good things!

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris: I don't know what I am getting into here. I never read the last Sookie book, they got so bad. But here I am, giving Harris' new series a try. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

One more week, then schools out for summer!!! 

Read Last Week:

I lied last week, and read none of those books! I ended up voraciously reading cookbooks all week. I have my garden all planted, and I can't wait to start making some fresh meals this summer straight from my own backyard!


Reading This Week:


The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer: I started this last week, and while I like it, I have not yet been pulled into it's grip to the point I can't put it down. So far, its ok, I like it.

Finding Me by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford: I can't imagine the horrors this poor woman has faced. 

Posted Last Week:

I was apparently all about editions last week.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thowback Thursday #TBT Blog Edition

Have you all seen the throwback Thursday meme on Facebook? It's when people post pictures of themselves from when they were younger. This might be happening on other social networking sites, but I haven't see it myself on any other site. Anyway, I was thinking today I might do some sharing of the throwback variety here, on my blog. Here is a quick pic of me from when I was little in the 1970s (the late 1970s that is)

But I didn't really want to just do the photo share. I wanted to talk music. You know how some songs just throw you back in time, to a certain age or era of your life? That is what I wanted to share today, some of my remember back when songs.

Kid Age - like pre-pre-teen. Is that a thing?

Jack and Diane by John Cougar Mellencamp - This was back when he still had Cougar in his name. My cousin Melissa and I listened to this song like crazy! When I hear it now,  I think of hot summer days in cut off shorts and Ghostbusters T-shirts.

Say Say Say by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney -  Another Melissa memory. We used to act this video out in her bedroom. I was always Paul, she was always Michael, because she was bossy and dictated who would play whom. (who?) In the video, MJ jumps out from behind a tree; Melissa would make her entrance by leaping from behind a dresser or her closet, whichever she felt like at the time.

Hey Mickey by Toni Basil -  Yet another musical adventure with Melissa, where we would act out the video.

The Middle School Years

Bon Jovi - I discovered Bon Jovi in middle school. He never left my walkman that year!

Poison - Another discovery. I listened to them all up and down the east coast on a vacation one summer. 

High School 

Dinosaur Jr. - I loved this band! Very mellow and sunny days for me. 

R.E.M. - Another love affair here. I don't listen to them much anymore, but I used to constantly play them.  Orange Crush was my fave for a long time.

Nirvana- Smells like Teen Spirit- Yep, I was that girl who wore Dr. Martens and listened to Nirvana. I felt like, finally, music for me, when this video came out!

College (Bear with me, I am almost done)

I wish I could share all the music that makes me think of this era, but it could go on and on! So I will share just three, but know that the others included Rush, House of Pain, Eric Clapton, each representing one of my friends from these days.

Queen - Killer Queen - I met one of my best friends my freshman year in college. She played this for me once and told me it made her think of me. Now this song makes me think of her! We still talk all the time though. 

Blind Melon - No Rain- You couldn't go anywhere in 1993 without hearing this song! I hear it now and think of sitting on grass outside the dorm, with my above-mentioned friend.

The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be 500 Miles- I started dating my now husband the summer before I went to college. I'm pretty sure I listened to this song more than 500 times, pining away for him. Lol. 

As for now, I am still making these music memories. Van Morrison's Moondance makes me think of my wedding; it was the song Billy and I danced to. American Woman by Lenny Kravitz makes me think of driving across the country in a moving van. Home by Edward Sharpe makes me think of my brother's wedding day, it was the song he and his wife walked in to the hall to, and it was such a joyous moment. 

What about you? What songs/bands remind you of  sometime in your life? I would love to know!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Club: The April/May Edition

My schedule has precluded me from completing posts in a timely fashion! Therefore I will be posting about two months of book clubs in one single post. This time of the year we are also struggling with finding a day we can all meet - with spring/summer classes, work schedules, and children's various practices, it is hard to pin down a day! It seems to be evening out a bit, thank goodness!

April Book Club

Hostess: Alyssa
Book: Still Missing
Food: a Middle Eastern smorgasbord, and beautiful petit fours
Wine of the Night: A sweet moscato

Alyssa's heart has an infinite capacity for injured or homeless animals. The fact that she works in a animal shelter means that at any time you may never know what menagerie she will be fostering. At book club when I pulled out my chair to sit down at the kitchen table, where we all linger for a bit before flopping over into the living room, Kelly told me to watch for the kitten. I found the cutest little tuxedo kitten hanging out on the chair seat. He had a little cold, and the cutest French name that I can't remember. Pretty soon out toddled his litter mate, as well as a puppy! We all had a good time playing with Alyssa's fosters, catching up on everyone's lives. After eating our fill of the delicious middle eastern food she had, we commenced to the living room, where we discussed this book! What a crazy scary book! It is the type of scary that you know happens, which makes it even worse! We all enjoyed the book although it gave us the major heebie-jeebies!

May Book Club

Hostess: Jill
Book: Still Life with Woodpecker
Food: Pasta Santorini, hummous and pita, fresh veggies, and homemade German chocolate cake
Wine of the Night: Sangria

Our schedules got the best of us with this book club -3 of our members were not able to make it, which is huge when there are only 7 of us total. There was just not one single evening that all of us could make, so Jill went with the one day someone suggested as being the better one. It was a tough call. And on top of it, the rest of us had hammered schedules as well, and were not able to read the book. Even me! So May's book club was more of a get together with friends than a book club.

We discussed our lives - Jill's new job, Baby Will, my midterm and classes, Kelly's vacation..we may not have been literary but we did make the most of the evening, squeezing in some stolen moments to hang out for a few hours.

Next book club is Jennifer's and we are reading Eleanor and Park. It looks like it should be a good night!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

Only 8.5 more days of work!! Woohoo!! I can't wait! I am looking forward to reading, gardening, cooking, blogging, basically doing all of the things I haven't had much time to do recently.

Read Last (2) Weeks:

Reviews to be up soon! I promise!


The End of Everything by Megan Abbott: Another home run in my opinion; I am really enjoying Abbott's work!

Paper Towns by John Green: LOVED it!! I am definitely a John Green book addict. 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio: I bought this for work, and read it immediately after buying it. I really loved it, and it made me cry. 

Reading this Week (or so):

I'm getting graphic.



Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes: I love this book, and I picked it up last week again while I was studying for midterms. It was so nice to retreat to this world Mayes has created.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer: It is finally the perfect time to read this.