Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Through the Lens: Belle Isle~ The Water

In the summer, the smell of BBQ grills  being put to use is heavy in the air - grilling meat, that faintly chemical smell some people use to start the grills, smoke - its one of the signs of summer on the island. Cars are lined up to park at the beach, and the road around the isle is packed with cars. People are biking, boating, swimming, walking and hiking, picnicking; it is a place of life again.

Belle Isle is huge at 982 acres and has something for everyone - water, views, woods, museums, a gold course, and the Detroit Boat Club . Once a place of great activity for Detroit area residents, around the mid-80s or so it became notorious for criminal activity, and no one really went there for fun anymore. The city ran out of money, and the park really went downhill. Recently, Belle Isle was taken over by the state, and is slowly finding its old glory again. I can remember a few years ago when Billy and I would visit, we would be one of a few cars. Now every space and lot is filled, and there are people having fun in every nook and cranny.

The James Scott Memorial Fountain, built in 1925, white marble. James Scott was really quite scandalous, and the his story and that of this gorgeous piece of architecture is really quite interesting. HistoricDetroit.org has a fascinating article on him, if you want to know more about this "rapscallion".

I have lived within a mile and a half of the Detroit River my whole life, and sights like this still weird me out. This is one of the narrow shipping channels, and as you can see, this freighter is crazy close. Where I live the river is much wider and freighter don't pass by right next to your face, but on the part of Belle Isle, they do. I can't honestly tell you if that is Canadian water, American, or International right there - the apartments and such you are seeing on the other side are in Canada, while I am standing in the United States. 

A photo of the beach I took from the moving car. I have never actually been swimming at this beach, I am kind of freaked out by swimming in the Detroit River! Billy hung out here all the time as a little kid though, playing happily in the sand and splashing in the water.

Next time, I hope to share photos of the museums, aquarium, and conservatory. The architecture is beautiful!

All photos are my property. Please don't use without my permission.

Sunday, June 26, 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 

Last week was a no man's land of books and reading. Could this be a slump? Maybe I just needed a summer break. We had a pretty lazy week, which I think we needed. We've been running like crazy for a while now - it was good to just veg out. Maybe this week I will find the book that will get me reading again. 

Read Last Week:

Er, the internet?

Reading This Week:

I need to find my mojo. It has also been so hot this weekend, it has zapped my will to do much of anything. 

Posted Last Week:


GoT (finale tonight! Noooo!), Community, Wayward Pines, Alone, Orange is the New Black, Penny Dreadful

Watched from my Summer Movies Project List:

National Lampoons Vacation, Meatballs, Addams Family Values

This is just the saddest little post this week. I will leave you with a photo instead of all this text.

I did put my hands back on my camera after 2 years of it gathering dust. I missed it! This is my little sunshine boy, enjoying some porch sitting. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Two Short Book Reviews: Vinegar Girl and Missing Pieces

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
by way of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I loved this retelling of The Taming of the Shrew! It's been a while since I read the OG version by Shakespeare, but Kate was always a favorite character. I like blunt, honest people better than those who play games. Just tell me like it is. And Kate Battista in Vinegar Girl does exactly that. In fact, I expected her character to be even more "shrewish" than she was ~ an example of when a character defies their intended place on the page. She was warm and caring and nurturing as well, taking care of her family. I also loved the dynamic between Kate and Pyotr, her intended through a set up by her father. I actually really didn't like her dad much, at least until the end. he was a jerkface. All in all, I found this book delightful, funny,  lighthearted - a fun take on the Shakespeare version.

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
by way of NetGalley for an honest review

This book was so good! I love a good murder mystery and this one creeped me right out! Unfortunately, I did figure out the who pretty early, but it didn't deter me from reading it until the end, rapt with attention. I didn't want to put it down; I had to know what was on the next page. The reader is led down the path of two murders, one in the past, one in the present - could they be connected? Then surprises pop up at you - like a haunted house of horrors. The tenaciousness of the main character Sarah was admirable, although sometimes I believe she went a bit overboard. Who can you believe, who can you trust? This book was awesomely scary, and I highly recommend it for those who like a thriller.

Monday, June 20, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

Happy Father's Day to any father's out there!

It was a great week, punctuated this weekend by Father's Day celebrations. We had a great time visiting my father Saturday, and then Sunday just our little family of three went to Belle Isle in Detroit. It was a 95 degree day, and everyone says that the island is cooler, and I can attest to the fact that it really is! I was surprised actually, at how much cooler it was. 

Read Last Week:

I was supposed to be reading my book club book, but I don't think I can do it. I have never DNF'd a book club book before, but this one - I just can't do it. We are reading Homeboy by Seth Morgan, and try as I might, I can't get into it. Or force myself to read it.

The Love the Split the World by Emily Henry: I liked this book? Lol. I liked some of it, I guess? It kind of confused me in spots, with too much scifi/time travel talk. It was good but weird, is how I described it to Billy, and I am sticking with that description.

Reading This Week:

I am in a bit of a no man's land of books right now. I am waiting for a bunch to come in from the library and have nothing else at home I want to read. This is quite an issue!!! I might have to break down and buy a book in the interim. Which is ok too, but I try not too buy too many for myself, that was an addiction that got out of control. Lol. I might read this, if I my holds don't come in tomorrow..


Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica - but I am feeling ambivalent about it

Also, I might start working on my Stephen King rereads, beginning with Bag of Bones, my favorite! ( I might say that about all of his books)


GoT, Alone, Community, Penny Dreadful - also watched movies from my big list. We watched National Lampoon's Vacation and Addams Family Values. 

Posted Last Week:

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Few Short Book Reviews

Once a Rancher by Linda Lael Miller
From: NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I had never really read anything by Miller and I enjoyed this foray into her world of the Carsons. Who doesn't love a cowboy, especially a cowboy who is really more of a movie producer? This was a fun, quick read, with a kind of creepy mystery element to it. I enjoyed the dynamics of the Carson family, as well as between Slater and Grace, and then again, Slater and Ryder. My only complaint is that everything felt a little rushed. I actually could have used more in this book, even if it made the book longer. I found their story compelling and interesting, but feel it could have used more, if that makes sense. And if my only complaint is that I feel it could have been slowed down and expanded, then that is a pretty good complaint!

Accidentally Hers by Jamie Beck - Book Club pick for May (Mary's choice)

My friend Mary picked this book for book club, and I have to say I enjoyed it as well!The characters had a lot on their plates, and their dilemma was unique ~ there was so much going on between these pages! I liked Avery, and I liked Grey, and think they had chemistry despite their challenges. My only complaint with this book is the opposite of that in Once a Rancher - everything moved too slowly!!The main dilemma was dragged out a little too long. Oh, one more thing - the character Grey had dyslexia. It kind of bothered me~ my husband has dyslexia as well, and Beck wrote Grey like all he could be was a ski instructor, because he was unable to do anything else.  I didn't care for her message there, and it was never resolved. Other than that, I actually really did like the book. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series, which is about Avery and Grey's best friends, Kelsey and Trip.

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kristen Weiss

I thought this little murder mystery was pretty cute. That sounds kind of weird, but I think you get my meaning? I loved the supernatural theme, and also the little mini mystery within the overall larger plot mystery. The characters were fun and interesting, especially the cat.  And seriously, the thought of a scary doll room scares the heck out of me!! I hate dolls - they are terrifying to me! This book had just the right amount of creep and cozy to be a light, entertaining read but still had some teeth too. I recommend reading it on a lazy rainy afternoon, my favorite time to dig out a cozy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Ultimate Summer Movie Project

Ah the movies. I have had this list brewing in my head for some time, but when Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads posted about summer movies the other day, it just further fueled the thought. While she posted about movies that remind her of summer, I was a bit more literal with the summer theme ~ I listed as many summer vacation/summer camped themed movies as I could.Some are old nostalgic favorites, others scary, some just funny. I decided that this summer every time Billy and I are at odds about watching a movie, we will pull one of these names from a jar and that is what we watch. I am pretty excited about this. I love themes, and love to stay in season with reading and watching movies. I am weird like that. I can't read or watch winter things in the summer, and vice versa. Unless it is Dr. Zhivago on a really hot day. Like really melting hot. Those scenes of a frozen Russia can really make you feel cooler. Turn your air conditioning off first though. I dare you to try it!

Here is my list, if you are interested. Ultimate might be a bit of a grandiose term, but a list about movies is allowed some drama, in my opinion. 
If you can think of any additions, let me know!

  1. National Lampoon's Vacation 
  2. Tiny Toons How I Spent My Summer Vacation
  3. Cheaper by the Dozen 2
  4. Addams Family Values
  5. Meatballs
  6. Wet Hot American Summer
  7. Sleepaway Camp 
  8. Sleepaway Camp 2
  9. Friday the 13th
  10. Dazed and Confused
  11. Moonrise Kingdom
  12. The Way, Way Back
  13. Now and Then
  14. The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills version only!)
  15. Dirty Dancing
  16. One Crazy Summer
  17. Dr. Zhivago - but only on a really melting hot day
  18. Summer School
  19. The Great Outdoors
  20. The Sandlot
  21. American Grafitti
  22. Stand by Me
  23. Jaws 
  24. Caddyshack
  25. Indian Summer
  26. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
  27. Troop Beverly Hills

Sunday, June 12, 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 

I am so excited - I am signing Wyatt up for his very first summer reading challenge today! Our library's theme is Wild at the Library and his category is "Bush Babies", for the littles who can't read on their own yet. I will also be signing up for the adult summer reading program while I am at it. :)

It was a week of play dates, visiting, celebrating the wedding of two wonderful friends, a graduation party for a cousin, and ended with a slightly traumatic first swim in the pool for a little guy. He was doing ok until his father inadvertently splashed him then all hell broke loose. I am sure next time will be better!

Read Last Week:


Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson: This book was hilarious! It had its serious moments as well, but Lawson made me laugh until tears rolled down my cheeks!

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf: A quick thriller - I say quick because it is not very long, but also because I couldn't stop reading it, so..it went quickly. 

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This was a fun spur of the moment read.  I saw it at the library and it just seemed like a breezy summer read. I enjoyed it! 

Reading This Week:

I am not sure! I am starting our book club book for sure, but I plan on perusing the books at the library, so I am sure I will find something! I am hoping for a book to offset the intensity of this book club book! Maybe another YA book or two?


Posted Last Week:


GoT, Alone on the History Channel, Sesame Street (Wyatt loves the Count's Number of the Day song and Elmo's letter of the day song.) We are also watching Community, which is hilarious.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What Wyatt's Reading

It's been so long since I have done of these posts! There is no way I would be able to post everything we have read so I am going to share just some of our recent highlights from May.

No, No, Gnome! by Ashlyn Anstee: This book was so cute and Wyatt just cracked up while I was reading it to him. Like really really laughed. Lol.

Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith: I loved this book - just the colors alone were amazing.

 Verdi by Janell Cannon: I had read Stella Luna before but never Verdi. I enjoyed this book about growing up and this book made me realize Wyatt is really listening to me when I read to him, because when I read a part about Verdi biting a fish on the nose, Wyatt turned around to show me his nose. It was cute. I love that kid. Lol.

The Umbrella by Jan Brett: One of Wyatt's grandmothers went to Costa Rica for two weeks so we checked this book out to read about the types of animals she might see. We will find out soon if she saw any of these guys! I love Jan Brett.

 If I had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle: LOVED this book!!! So fun and imaginative.


If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack: Much in the vein of If You Had a Gryphon, but with dinosaurs. I loved it but then I love dinosaurs. Wyatt seemed to enjoy the illustrations.

Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner: A very quiet, gentle book. Wyatt and I read it in the evening after his bath. It was the perfect time to read although before an afternoon nap would work too.

Sunday, June 5, 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 

Wyatt and I had the busiest week we have ever had!! I am still exhausted from it lol. Poor kid was a trooper though and did great. This week looks to be seriously busy too, but then I see much smoother and easier weeks on our horizon. Yay! This last week we had an end of the year picnic, a visit with my old boss, therapy for the boy, Wyatt's first trip across state lines to visit his cousin Gus, which was super fun, followed by our weekly Friday night visit with our friends, then this weekend was all about catching up on all the running around we should have done this week. Phew. 

I did get some reading in!

Read last week:


The Raven King: By far her very best series. So so good. I am sad it is over!

Reading This Week:


Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson: So, I started this the other day, and laughed my brains out while reading it. Tears in my eyes kind of laughter. I love this book so far!!


GoT, and we started watching Alone on the History Channel. Omg, that show. All I can say is bears and cougars - no thanks!!

Posted Last Week:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Saturday Snapshots

My friend's old man kitty. He doesn't venture far from the door but loves the feel of the sun or the cool evening breezes. 

Snapshot Saturday is a weekly meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.