Sunday, April 24, 2016

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 

Busy week, and I honestly can't even tell you what we did. It was one of those weeks that was frittered away in small amounts, until it was gone. Not a bad week, just kind of a week, you know? 

Prince's death was such a sad shock. I had to introduce Wyatt to his music, especially my favorite "Little Red Corvette". Prince was such a huge part of my childhood, musicwise. It's hard to believe he is gone. 

I am finally after a year feeling easier about my leaving my son to go out for a few hours on date nights - his prematurity I think sent me into overprotective overdrive for a while. Last night my husband and I went to our favorite metropark, on a night bird walk and bonfire. It had been a warm but slightly brisk day, and neither of us dressed for how cold it became once the sun started to go down! We ended up staying to catch sight of the birds (American Woodcock) we had gone to hopefully see, then headed home. It was a fun night - we are obviously nerdy daters. This week we are going to the new penguin exhibit at the Detroit Zoo on a date. The new exhibit is the largest in the world, at 33,000 square feet and 326,000 gallons of water. The zoo is having special after hours members only evenings and so that is what we are going to do. Usually there are adult beverages at these special nighttime events, so a glass of wine would be nice too. Our dates are very bird-centric this month so far!

Read Last Week:

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler: I am so close to being done!! I am in love with this book so far, it is a really fun adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. 

I had no idea when I started this book last week, that last week was the week of Shakespeare's birthday! How appropriate, right? Goodreads had a weeklong celebration, and I saw so many online articles about the Bard, that I had to check them out. I will include the links to a few interesting ones at the end of my post!

Reading This Week:


Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

I won't get to both of these but it is one of these I will be reading.


The Originals, Supernatural, TVD, The Ranch with Sam Elliot, and Game of Thrones returns tonight! Woohoo!

Posted Last Week:


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Snapshot


This week was all about flowers and sunshine. I really love dandelions by the by. One afternoon I spent a few minutes just hanging on the porch step, and it was all sunshine and dandelions and my baby on my lap. It was a perfect moment. 

Linking up with Saturday Snapshot hosted by WestMetroMommyReads

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

Title: The Happiness of Pursuit
Author: Chris Guillebeau
Source: Blogging for Books

Amazon Summary:

When he set out to visit all of the planet’s countries by age thirty-five, compulsive goal seeker Chris Guillebeau never imagined that his journey’s biggest revelation would be how many people like himself exist – each pursuing a challenging quest.  And, interestingly, these quests aren’t just travel-oriented.  On the contrary, they’re as diverse as humanity itself.  Some involve exploration; others the pursuit of athletic or artistic excellence; still others a battle against injustice or poverty or threats to the environment.
Everywhere that Chris visited he found ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals, making daily down payments on their dream.  These “questers” included a suburban mom pursuing a wildly ambitious culinary project, a DJ producing the world’s largest symphony, a young widower completing the tasks his wife would never accomplish, and a teenager crossing an entire ocean alone - as well as a do-it-yourselfer tackling M.I.T.’s computer-science course, a nerd turning himself into real-life James Bond, and scores of others writing themselves into the record books. 
The more Chris spoke with these strivers, the more he began to appreciate the direct link between questing and long-term happiness -- how going after something in a methodical way enriches our lives -- and he was compelled to complete a comprehensive study of the phenomenon and extract the best advice.  In The Happiness of Pursuit he draws on interviews with hundreds of questers, revealing their secret motivations, their selection criteria, the role played by friends and family, their tricks for solving logistics, and the importance of documentation.
Equally fascinating is Chris’ examination of questing’s other side, including questers’ acute awareness of mortality, their struggle against monotony, and their wistful feelings once a quest has succeeded. What happens after the summit is climbed, the painting hung, the endurance record broken, the “at risk” community saved?  
A book that challenges each of us to take control – to make our lives be about something while at the same time remaining clear-eyed about the commitment -- The Happiness of Pursuit will inspire readers of every age and aspiration.  It’s a playbook for making your life count.

My thoughts:

I'm a dreamer by nature. I am the person who will reach for that pie in the sky, or believe that anything is possible.  Sometimes for me, the dream is all I need though - I am also very content by nature. This book however, was very inspiring. It makes you want find that one quest that you feel that you can't live without completing, to get up and visit all the countries of the world, or at least just cook dishes from each one (Sasha Martin).

Guillebeau had a calling to travel and see all the countries of the world - it was a need he couldn't ignore. Along the way, he met people or heard of people like him, who had personal quests that they just had to do, or they would regret not trying their whole lives. The family who rode their bikes from Alaska to Patagonia, the man who walked across the United States, they had to do these things, and not for any other reason than they wanted to. The book is chockfull of stories like these, real people, real stories. The teenager who sailed around the world on her own (Laura Dekker), the woman who lived in a tree for a year to stop illegal logging (Miranda Gibson) - but not all these stories involved just leaving your entire life behind. There were people like Robyn Devine, who wants to knit or crochet 10,000 hats, or A.J. Jacobs, who read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in one year. These stories were fascinating to me. Who wouldn't want to have conversations with these people? I love to meet new, interesting people, and hear their stories. I think that is why I enjoy the blogging community so much.

This book does more than share these stories, it serves as a jumping off post for those who would like to begin their own quests, but don't know how to get started. There are resources and ideas listed throughout the book, as well as lessons and tips.

My only negative is that Guillebeau said in his book, "Hopefully, the sacrifice won't be huge, but the point is, right now, you could be doing something else instead of reading." That kind of rubbed me the wrong way, as someone reading and reviewing his book. There were actually a lot of other things I could have been doing, and not even part of a quest - but I was choosing to read his book. Just a small little thing really, and I understood his point but I took a slight umbrage to it.

There is a quest for everyone out there - big or small, near or far. Adventure is waiting within us, we just need to find it and go for it. I know that I will be starting my own personal quest soon - right after I decide what it is.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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

Last Sunday, there was snow. This Sunday, it was 73 degrees! Such a wonderful turnaround - we spent the weekend out and about and running around with friends. We are all exhausted but it was a great weekend. We had dinner with friends and babies Friday night, a flea market, sushi and ice cream on Saturday, and Sunday went to Greenfield Village with my brother, sister-in-law and daughter. It was opening weekend and we ran into our good friends as well as more cousins!

Here are my happy guys enjoying the sun.

Read Last Week:

I ended up reading my slow read first! Lol.

The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau: I am reading this with my husband - rather I read it and he is listening to it on audio. I am excited for him to finish because I had mixed feelings about it. It will be fun to discuss!

Once a Rancher by Linda Lael Miller: I am almost done with this book - so far so good! 

Reading This Week:


Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler: I didn't get to this last week so I am excited to start it this week.

Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer: I received a free copy of the first book in this series a few years ago, and really enjoyed it. It is the year of the mystery for me I guess! Maybe it is because the first book I read this year was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie! Speaking of..any recommendations for my second Christie read? I enjoyed the one I read, and I want to read another but I am not sure which one to choose!


Everything is kind of wrapping up and getting good! The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Outsiders, Supernatural - not sure what we will do once summer is here; probably hang out outdoors more lol. I think we will try to catch up on the new season of The 100 for sure.

For class this week we watched Indus The Unvoiced Civilization. It is a little more academic and the quality isn't great, but it was pretty fascinating! The people of the Indus region in the Middle East had flush toilets and elaborate water systems about 5000 years ago, which blows my mind. If you are interested I think you can find it on YouTube.

Around the Interwebs;

Just a few links to a few articles I found interesting last week.

Call a Random Swede (I want to do this!)

And this op-ed piece by the manager of the indie bookstore Malaprops in Asheville. It is about the boycott of her state due to the transgender bathroom law that just passed in North Carolina. It was very thought provoking. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Few Quick Book Reviews

I really enjoy the Fool's Gold series of books. The town is adorable, the characters enjoyable, and this book is no different. Shelby and Aidan both have things about themselves they would like to change, and strike a deal to help each other out. They will be just friends for 6 months, and will not date anyone during this time frame. Aidan is all about activity, adventure, and runs his own successful adventure business; Shelby is more cautious, and is a baker. Their little non-dates are adorable and I loved the chemistry between these two. My only issues with this book was that it was a little sexist. I didn't like the implications that a woman wouldn't like to bowl, or a man would have an issue talking to his friends about problems they were having. This book came from a very traditional sense of what women like and what men like, and that was a bit of a turn off for me. Plus, I do think men and women can be just friends! I have a ton of guy friends. So- while I overall enjoyed this book, I found the stereotyping along gender lines a little much. I could have handled it better if it wasn't quite so overt.

I received Best of My Love from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first time I have read Penny Reid and it was a fun little read as well. I absolutely loved Janie's quirkiness - her tendency to break into nervous fact babble when around McHotpants (Quinn), her practicality to the point of ridiculous, but her cluelessness was a bit too much at times. Her character is way smart, but it took her way too long to figure out something pretty big about Quinn. It just didn't make sense to me that she could be so smart but completely miss it. Regardless of that, I did really think this was a great read. And Quinn! McHotpants for sure. I also loved that nickname - it sounds like one my friends and I would have come up with back in the day. This story was funny, sexy, and smart- a trifecta of goodness! There was great tension between the two characters, and I enjoyed the unraveling of Janie's story - which begins in a bathroom stall with no toilet paper.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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

Whew this week was a rough one. Just everything was fight to get through for some reason. I am hoping this week goes easier! Maybe it is just the weather making things feel this way - where the heck is spring? "O wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" All I can say is, we had thunder sleet the other day. 

We did get to babysit my adorable niece last week - she and W. played so nicely together! It was a fun little cousin play date. The first of many. Usually they just kind of ignore each other, or pull each other's hair, etc. but this time was more of a mutual interest and playtime.

In church last week, our pastor asked us to think about our calling - she said this can be anything, it doesn't need to be a huge calling, but something we feel that we need to do. Then I started the Happiness of Pursuit book, and that is all about personal quests - what makes a quest, stories of people's quests - so far it is a pretty interesting book. It has definitely given me a lot to think about! 

Read Last Week:


Death of a Nurse by M.C. Beaton: It was a nice week to return to Hamish and his beloved Lochdubh. This was a fun quick read.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid: I finally finished this! I was almost done a few weeks ago but then never actually finished it. I took care of that this week. 

Reading This Week:

Trying to knock out some of my NetGalley books this week!


Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler: I am curious about this one - I always liked The Taming of the Shrew!

Once a Rancher by Linda Lael Miller: I didn't get to this a few weeks ago- I want to try to wrap up these books. I'm feeling bad!

Slow Read with Husband:

The Happiness of Pursuit : Our little own book club book. Billy is also listening to the Mistborn series, and says it is awesome!


TWD!!! What the heck finale!!!! I think I know who it is though... :(

Outsiders, The Originals, Vampire Diaries, iZombie

For class this week, we had to watch Engineering an Empire: Egypt from the History Channel. It was really long but pretty fascinating!!

Here is the link for anyone interested in watching it:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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

This week spring cleaning hit us hard - Billy and I have made plans to revitalize our house, since we haven't changed it really since we moved in 16 years ago! This planning led to us starting to throw out/donate/sell some of the stuff we no longer need, that we have accumulated over time. It's been fun! We haven't done anything too big, and don't plan on going nuts - we just want to make a few little changes here and there to breathe new life into our home. We have a small budget but lots of ideas! A fresh coat of paint, some new artwork, new curtains, a little ingenuity and creativity - small things can make a big impact. 

Also, our little guy has had a huge month! Turned 1, got 3 new teeth, grew two inches in length, and drum roll.....gained a pound!!! Woohoo! Little man is working so hard and eating like a champ. We also got a new physical therapist for him - he has motor delays stemming from his birth, and we love this new PT. She is perfect for working with our guy - she is patient, gentle, and kind.

Read Last Week:


Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs: I swear, this series gets better and better! I loved this book!

Reading This Week:

Death of a Nurse by M.C. Beaton: I love this series. It is such a cozy mystery series to snuggle up with, and now with the return of winter, boo, I needed a snuggly book. 

The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau: Received from Blogging for books. I think this is going to be the book that Billy and I have our mini book club with this month! He will listen while I read. I am excited to see where our discussion will take us!

Posted Last Week:


The Walking Dead - what what what was that episode last week!! I can't even fathom...Daryl is my favorite!

Outsiders - this show is nuts!! It's like Mad Max meets a crazy tribe of Mountain men

and the usual suspects - iZombie, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Supernatural

We also watched the Nova episode Secrets of Stonehenge. I had to watch it for my archaeology class, and it was extremely interesting! I highly recommend it- it is available on Amazon Prime.