Sunday, November 29, 2015

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 

So last week was insane. Wyatt was still dealing with his cold and teething (the second tooth was trying to come in) and didn't want to eat. As a preemie, he is already underweight and we struggle daily to get him to gain. Needless to say, I was very busy with the boy last week, between his cold, his teething, and getting him to eat. However, we did manage to have a great Thanksgiving with our families! We have a lot to be thankful for this year. I hope that all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving enjoyed your holiday as well. 

Read Last Week:

Nothing ~ crossing my fingers that things are a little more back to normal this week for my guy. Poor little fellow needs a break! He does have two new adorable teeth though!

Reading This Week:



The Man in the High Castle and Jessica Jones - both are really good but not exactly feel good shows. I am looking forward to adding Christmas movies into the mix!

I apologize for not commenting or responding last week ~ the week just got away from me!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

Rough week at our house! Wyatt had his first cold, and also his first tooth broke ground the other day! These two firsts have made for a week of sleepless nights ~ for him and us. Poor guy. He is doing better today though. It's been hard on us to watch him suffering so! I got a lot of reading done, since he wanted to sleep a lot while being held, but not much time to do anything else. But I got lots and lots of Wyatt cuddles time!

We also had our first snowstorm of the year Saturday night!! It was crazy! Some areas around us got over 10 inches. We only got about 4 but it was nuts to go from sunny and high 60s to 4 inches of snow! Maybe the weather knew I started reading Christmas books?

Read This Week:

A Cold Creek Christmas Story: It was nice to fall into this happy little tale during such a stressful, tiring week. Review soon! (hopefully)

Stitches in Time: A reread but a good one. It's been nice to read Michaels again. 

Reading This Week:

My husband got me the Amazon Fire I asked for for my birthday - yay for ebooks again and my NetGalley list!



The usuals - iZombie, The Originals, Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead
We are also going to start Jessica Jones tonight and check that out. I have heard good things about it!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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

The weather turned gusty and blustery and rainy for a few days last week, but it was worth making it through, as today was another gorgeous day. I can't imagine we will have many more, but who knows, Michigan be crazy sometimes.

I spent today actually roasting and pureeing the millions of pumpkins I had. Before Halloween, our local farm market had a sale - buy one, get three free. So I had four full size pumpkins, and four pie pumpkins sitting around. We carved three full size pumpkins for Halloween, and saved the fourth for puree, and pureed the pie pumpkins as well. It was my first time doing something like this, but I am looking forward to pulling some of that puree out of the freezer in the winter to make soup or bread or pancakes! I even found a recipe for pumpkin sugar cookies! Yummers, as I say to Wyatt!

Read Last Week:

Beneath the Bonfire by Nickolas Butler: A short story collection that started out strong for me, but then I had to abandon. Every single story was so bleak and sad; it was depressing me. Butler's writing is so descriptive and haunting and beautiful, bur stark. Which is ok, but these stories didn't make me feel hopeful for any of the characters - except one short story, about a grandfather, that still made me cry.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn: I really liked this tiny little story! It was very short but very good. It kind of scared me! 

Not Tonight Darling, I'm Knitting: I checked this out for my Stitch and Bitch night, and the only book I actually read cover to cover. I loved it! More anecdotal than an instruction book, I loved reading all the little knitting tidbits it contained.

Reading this Week:


A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne: I am taking a chance assuming my husband bought me the e reader I wanted for my birthday (#40! Yikes!!) - but I think my odds are pretty good! 

Stitches in Time by Barbara Michaels: I'm on a Michaels roll, might as well keep it up. This is an old favorite as well.

Posted Last Week:


Grimm, The Vampire Diaries, iZombie, The Originals, and The Walking Dead - everything has really hit the ground running this year! We are also watching The Middle, which is hilarious.

Friday, November 13, 2015

What Wyatt's Reading: Fall/Thanksgiving Edition, Part 1!

This month I am still reading autumn and Thanksgiving themed books to the kiddo, with a few extraneous books thrown in for fun. I mean, when you are shopping the library shelves, the books just beckon like jewels sometimes, am I right?

Thanksgiving in the White House by Gary Hines: This book was a lot to read but fascinating! I am not sure how much a small toddler would enjoy it, but maybe an older kid would. Briefly mentions the possible execution of a Civil War soldier so if that sort of thing bothers you, stay away from this book. I really enjoyed this book! 

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri: Wyatt loved this one - it had huge illustrations and quick little sentences. Fun, simple read for a child, or for a read aloud. 

The Squirrels' Thanksgiving by Steven Kroll: This was a bit longer picture book as well. It was a little dry, but had a good message overall, to be kind  and thankful for other people, especially the ones we love.

What is Punk by Eric Morse:  My husband found this one but we both loved it! We are adding it to Wyatt's permanent library - if you grew up listening to punk or still listen, you will like this book too. It mentions all the big names, including Iggy Pop and Detroit. 

Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan: Probably got the biggest reaction from Wyatt out of them all. He squealed, smacked the pages, scratched them (didn't damage them) - I would say this book was a success. Another book we are adding to our own library. I love to read owl books in November - this is when all the owl prowls start! We are going  to one in December (without Wyatt) - be on the lookout for my recap of that night. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Stitch and Bitch Recap

Last night my friends and I got together for our first ever Stitch and Bitch night. Only two of the five of us already knew how to knit (that would be Chrissy and Mary) but the rest of us were mostly game to try it out.

We started with drinks - wine for most of us, Pellegrino for those with nursing babies, grabbed our plates of snacks and settled in. But before we started clacking away, we chatted away. I don't know about you and your friends, but when we get together its a gabfest. We all have stories to share. We get together often, but not often enough where we are totally caught up on each other's lives. So it's fun to dish on what is happening, whether it is good or bad or ugly.

I read this article a few weeks ago, and it really resonated within me. I too, miss the village I never had. I yearn for that sort of closeness, that community, and wish that is how life could be. Why don't we have this? Why isn't this an option? Maybe it can be - we just need to turn our priorities around, add balance to our lives - there has to be a way. This night, our Stitch and Bitch, was a first step. I read in one of the books I checked out about knitting, that knitting was the only social outlet for many women in the "olden days". Knitting was rebellious (Madame Defarge), it was a source of income, it was even a way to identify your husband if he was lost at sea (Guernsey or Gansey sweaters). It was a sense of community. It heals. They say that knitting can help a person recovering from a traumatic event. It is also said that your project can hold your emotions, that when you look back on it later, you remember what it was you were thinking about at the time.

So with all of this in mind, I arranged my own little community of women to get together and get clicking.

I did check out some books from the library about knitting, just in case anyone wanted to flip through them. There were so many to choose from! There were vintage pattern books from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. There were modern books, books about knitting for babies, about knitting cute little stuffed animals, and then there were books that were vaguely naughty sounding. They weren't, but their titles were, and in the spirit of sisterhood and rebellion, those were the ones I brought home.

The Knitting Sutra is more of a memoir, about the meditative journey of knitting. I am actually reading it right now, it is pretty interesting! Dominknitrix has patterns for things like knitted hats with devil horns or sweaters with skulls on them - punk rock style knitting. Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation, of course I had to get that one! The book that started it all, it changes the stereotypes of what one can knit. And then my favorite, Not Tonight Darling, I'm Knitting. This book was full of facts - the ones I talked about above actually are from this book. I was fascinated by the history of knitting, by the benefits, by the little quirks of detail within the pages. It also breaks knitting down into the basics, with introductions to different types of yarn, etc. 

Overall, I didn't get too far. But I started, and that counts, right? I am not going to give up either. I am going to finish it! I would love to be able to make all sorts of things - hats, scarves, little animals. I mean seriously, this is adorable. Or these. Or this!It just might take awhile. And maybe more of these nights with my friends.

Are you a knitter? Any recommendations for us?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Two Short Book Reviews: The Dancing Floor and Witch by Barbara Michaels

Goodreads Summary :

A silent stranger moves in twilight shadows...It was more than her dream house. For Ellen March, buying the secluded old house nestled in the pine woods marked the start of a new life. Now she could put her failed marriage behind her, enjoy the quiet solitude of small town life, and get to know her worldly new neighbor, handsome Norman McKay... But strange visions began to cloud her mind - the shadowy figure of a woman, a ghostly white cat - and Ellen's safe haven slowly became her prison. Had she buried the past? Or had a dark legend come back to haunt her...?

My Thoughts:

I so enjoy reading this author in the fall - her books seem tailor made for the changing weather, the cool nip in the air at night, the rustling of leaves that could be the wind, or even something else more otherworldly.. Not overly scary, they have just enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. Witch is one of my favorites. I would love to move to the country one day, to a little house in the woods - but maybe not one like this. Ellen's life begins idlyllically, cooking, baking, strolling through the forest, reading as much as she likes, and then slowly, slowly things begin to change. The reader is left guessing as to who the villain of this story really is, until the very end, when things culminate and break wide open, like a sudden, violent storm. 

Goodreads Summary:

For years, Heather Tradescant had dreamed of the journey she and her father would take to England--a pilgrimage to the great gardens of history. Now that her father is dead, Heather is determined to fulfill his dreams. Unfortunately, her request to see the fabled 17th-century garden of Troytan House is denied by the owner. Though unwelcome, she braves the walls of briars and reaches the Victorian manor house beyond. She senses a strange mission of evil lurking, tainting the manor's peaceful beauty. Only then does Heather begin to wonder whether it is only stories of long-vanished witchcraft that haunt Troytan House or whether there is some more modern horror, hearer at hand, and far, far more dangerous. Continuing in the classic tradition she established with such acclaimed novels of suspense as Stitches in Time, Vanish with the Rose, and House of Stone, New York Times bestselling author Barbara Michaels has penned a chilling tale that will keep you reading until the last page.

My Thoughts:

This book is good to read in the spring or fall - I actually usually read it in the springtime, on those days of endless spring rains. However, since it follows the theme of witchcraft I had going already, I picked it up.  I love Heather, the main character. She is spirited, sassy, fearless, and bound and determined to get to the bottom of things. The question is - what is really afoot here? And who is the real target, and why?

One thing I love about this author is that Michaels' has a way of sprinkling in the most interesting folklore, superstition, and myth into her stories, and this one is no different, with its talk of mazes and labryrinths, which was all just a bonus. I think finding these tidbits are the best part of her books. These kernels of lore pique my interest and encourage me to read up on topics I would never have ever researched if I hadn't been introduced to them in her stories.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

October Book Club

Month: October
Hostess: Chrissy
Food: Margherita pizza, Spinach and feta pizza, and delicious brownies

Book Club has been crazy lately - three babies have been born since March! Usually conversation begins heavy on the baby talk, but then as the night goes on the talk tapers off to talk about the book, as well as our random chatter about what is going on in our worlds.

We all love book club. It is a time not only to discuss books and reading, which we all are fans of, but it is a dedicated time for us to get together with our friends once a month, guaranteed. It is the night we stop the rest of our lives for, to set that two and half hours to catch up and relax and laugh and have fun. I know we all look forward to these hours every month, and now, I find I love them even more. I miss the Boy when I am gone, but it is nice to come home feeling refreshed and recharged. 

This book was an amazing book. Our hearts went out to Victoria, whose life was so hard. Jill was reminded of Gillian Flynn's work while reading this book- it was dark, gritty in places, with a topic that was hard to bear at times, especially for those who are overly empathetic to characters, as most people who read are. Personally, I also have always enjoyed reading about the Victorian meanings of flowers - what a cool way to have a conversation with someone, without words but with posies or roses or carnations or forget-me-nots. I love flowers and gardening, and although I never have quite enough time or the budget to do everything I want, I always try to buy at least one new plant for our yard every year.

Speaking of, does anyone know what kind of flower this is? I love its old world feel. 

November is Alyssa's month, and we are reading The Execution of Noa P. Singleton. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

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 

The weather in Michigan was unseasonably gorgeous this past week! It was a week to be outside as much as possible, to soak it up before it disappears for the winter, which will be here soon enough. Saturday in particular was a wonderful day spent with Billy and the Boy. We headed to one of our favorite places, Oakwoods Metropark, where we sat in their big room that is all windows, looking at birds and chatting with our two favorite interpreters. The wind was blowing outside, but the fire was blazing and keeping us just warm enough without being too hot. Wyatt seemed to really enjoy his time there too, for a bit. When he got tired of sitting there, we took a walk through the woods, leaves crunching underfoot, the colors of the trees blazing as brightly as the fire had. I had my camera with me and managed to snap a few shots.

This shot in particular seemed hauntingly autumnal to me. It makes me imagine.

I am looking forward to Wednesday this week - my friends are coming over for our first ever "Stitch and Bitch". A few of us are not crafty, but Chrissy is going to teach those of us who want to knit how to make a baby headband, and I am going to have some beginner embroidery kits on hand as well. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone creates! Of course, there will be sparkling water for those in our group who are nursing moms, and wine for those who are not. I love the idea of this - women gathered together in friendship, being creative, chatting and sharing food and drink. It is going to be fun!

Read Last Week:


Beneath the Bonfire by Nickolas Butler: I haven't finished this yet, but I am enjoying it. Butler can really paint a scene!

The Dancing Floor by Barbara Michaels: Once I broke into the Barbara Michaels stash, I can't stay away. I am enjoying my reconnection with her work. 

Reading This Week:

Finishing up Beneath the Bonfire, and starting a new one.

Posted Last Week:

Posts Planned for the Week:

Reviews of the Barbara Michaels' books that I read
October Book Club summary
Latest installment of What Wyatt's Reading


iZombie, The Originals, Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead

Two Short Book Reviews: Eight Hundred Grapes and Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Goodreads Summary:

There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…

Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.

But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.

Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…

My Thoughts:

Whew, this book was full of confused characters, not knowing what they wanted or wanting something they maybe couldn't have. It was a good read - a very balanced blend, if you will. Not too intense, yet not too light. The characters were interesting, the setting amazing (because who doesn't want to live at a winery?), and it was just complex enough to be unpredictable. This book is best when paired with a rich, flavorful red. And maybe some cheese. 

Goodreads Summary:

When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine—and a dashing sommelier—he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter—starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

My thoughts:

I loved this book - all the way until the ending. Overall, it didn't affect my opinion of the book that much, but I am a person who wants a concrete cut and dried ending, one way or another. I don't like ambiguous endings, and I felt unsatisfied by this book's ending. Just a personal quirk, I guess. If you take away the ending though, this book was awesome, amazing, I loved it. Written from multiple viewpoints and skip-hops through time, the reader follows the story of Eva, whose life is anything but perfect. The different perspectives are woven together expertly to create a cohesive story line,  like a well-planned meal, full of different flavors yet all complementing one another.  This book was really very well done. (except that ending! but that's just me)

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

Well, if this Halloween was any indication of the holidays to come, we are going to be busy over here! I had no idea how busy a holiday could be lol! And Wyatt is still a baby and didn't trick or treat! We had a great night although he was a bit baffled by the whole proceedings. He fell asleep, woke up in a costume and had cameras instantly in his face - he handled it well, but I think it was partly because he was still in a sleep induced haze.

Our little Ewok

He looked super cute with his cousin who was dressed like Princess Leia!

It was a fun weekend, filled with pumpkin carving, too many treats, and family.

Read Last Week:

Season of the Witch by Christopher Knight aka Jonathan Rand (American Chillers): I had forgotten how much I liked this book! And I loved reading a Michigan author!

Reading This Week:


One of these, I'm not sure which!

Posted Last Week:

My plan for the week is to get a few reviews in, and also catch up on commenting! Fingers crossed for a few naps longer than 15 minutes for the boy. 


The Walking Dead - so far this season is amazing!!
The Originals, Supernatural, iZombie,  and The Vampire Diaries