Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

This past week was better for our family, thank goodness. I was pretty busy, but it was all fun - hair appointment, book club, and my sister in law's baby shower. I had a blast at book club - I love my friends. Alyssa made the best darn food too - Chickpea dumpling soup, pizza, chocolate cake. I was drowning in delicious comfort foods washed down by wine. Lol. I also had a morning coffee date with my husband, which was really nice. We don't get enough time just the two of us, hanging out. And finally, today we had a big family dinner with my mom, brother, aunt, and cousin and his family over at my cousin's house. It was an awesome time, and one we plan to repeat every month. 

I'm pretty excited about February. Usually the slowest yuckiest month here in Michigan, this year I am going to embrace it, and do some Valentines things. I am currently making valentines for Wyatt to send to his friends, and planning a few more fun outings, including a dinner out for Billy and I at a restaurant we've been wanting to go to. It is also my book club month! I am having a hard time deciding on a book - I am open to suggestions for a fun, lighthearted read, that is easy for everyone to get at a library. I was kind of thinking The Readers of Broken Wheel? 

Read Last Week:

In keeping with my week of comfort, I sought out a comfort read. I've read this before, and I can't help but love it. And, it snowed! It's been so ugly and gross here, that we needed a little bit of happy snow.

Reading this Week:

So, moving on!

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan: I am looking forward to this fun sounding read! From NetGalley.


Veronica Mars, How to get Away with Murder, Sherlock, Top Chef, Alone - the list is getting kind of long! I blame winter. Lol.

Posted Last Week:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book, but I have been dragging my feet on this review. I am finding it so hard to process what I thought, and to articulate it correctly. So please bear with me.

This book is beautiful, and stark, and beguiling. It tells of a world that is caught in between the old ways and the new religion, a village that serves both, a girl that is able to touch and see the old guardians. It is a tale of warning, a fairy tale, a fantasy. One that you will read and never quite feel warm while doing so, even under blankets, even with a cup of hot tea. I loved the writing, the way we are drawn in, the description of Vasya as a wild thing, feral almost in her beauty and affinity with nature and with the things that lived in the woods, the old ways. She is a captivating character, special. All the characters were vivid, and all had their parts to play, especially that of Morozko, whose presence and explanation eluded us until almost the end.  I didn't want this book to end, but I also wanted to know what was going to happen next. It made me remember my previous love and obsession with all things Russian, and now I want to dig out all of my old Russian books and read more on their folk lore. I love when books make me read more books.

I very much recommend this book, and if you can read it while it is cold and snowy out, even better.  Have some tea and a blanket nearby, and if you are lucky, a fire in the fireplace. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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

Last week was a rough one for me; one of the roughest I have had in a very long time, personally and emotionally. But this week is a new week, with a new frame of mind. Book club is the week too, I am really excited about it. I can't wait! Except, I am a terrible book clubber this month - I didn't read the book!! I am going to try to read it before Thursday, but it sounds so intense and I am not in a good place for that kind of book right now. But I will give it a whirl. We are reading Mischling by Affinity Konar. 

Read Last Week:


A Darkness Absolute was amazing!! Just as good as I had anticipated and heard. 

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes - so I have somehow made it this far without having heard anything about this book. I mean, I have heard about the author, her books and such, but nothing beyond that she is awesome. I came across this book in a free book bin and grabbed it up, not knowing what I was in for! I was loving this book, then I found out the end. I don't think I can do it, y'all! So I am stopping where I am, and respect that this book is awesome, but I can't do it. I'm just too weepy these days!

Reading This Week:



Fresh Off the Boat, Veronica Mars, Top Chef, How to Get Away With Murder, The Goldbergs, Alone, Emerald City

Now, I am off for some wine and chocolate!!

Sunday, January 15, 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!

Billy and I had a crazy work week last week! We both had a late night where we worked until 9-9:30. That is unusual for us. I personally had to print a file for work that was 7000 pages! Lol. It was huge and sooo much paper!! And, I got a paper cut and broke a nail. So it was a bit dangerous as well. Lol. With two late nights, it put me behind on my other stuff. Yuck. However, Billy did manage to paint our dining room this weekend. I love the change!! We went from an apple green that I picked out a million years ago, to a calming gray (Tsunami Sky - name not so calming.) I also had a new parent freak out! We bought the VOC free paint but I was still worried that the fumes would be too much for Wyatt, although there hardly were any. I ended up calling my aunt and uncle at 8:30 at night to see if they would take in two stragglers escaping their home, and they did, happily. I have such great family, truly. No questions asked, no worries - and when I got there my aunt had my little bed all set up for me. 

Read Last Week:


Two very different books, and I loved them both. Reviews soon. 

Reading This Week:

(clicking on cover should take you to Goodreads)

I started A Darkness Absolute and I love it so far. In fact as soon as I finish this, I am going to retreat to the couch, sip my coffee, and read a little more. And hope that I haven't jinxed myself and nap time!


Alone, Drop Dead Diva, Emerald City, OA. I am still reserving judgement on those last two. Oh, and Veronica Mars (awesome show!!)

Book Review: Pretty Little World

Title: Pretty Little World
Authors: Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino
Source: Free in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

On a cozy street in Philadelphia, three neighboring families have become the best of friends. They can’t imagine life without one another—until one family outgrows their tiny row house. In a bid to stay together, a crazy idea is born: What if they tear down the walls between their homes and live together under one roof? And so an experiment begins.

Celia and Mark now have the space they need. But is this really what Celia’s increasingly distant husband wants? Stephanie embraces the idea of one big, happy family, but has she considered how it may exacerbate the stark differences between her and her husband, Chris? While Hope always wanted a larger family with Leo, will caring for all the children really satisfy that need?

Behind closed doors, they strive to preserve the closeness they treasure. But when boundaries are blurred, they are forced to question their choices…and reimagine the true meaning of family.

My thoughts:

I was so excited to read this book. I am always telling my friends and family we should just start a commune together. It is something I still believe, provided we all live in our own homes. Which is where I think the families in this story went awry..

The families in this story - Celia and Mark, Stephanie and Chris, Hope and Leo - had been living in each others pockets, yards, homes, for years. Taking care of each other's children, filling in where necessary. Yet they always had their own space. When this space started to become too constrictive for Celia and Mark, and threatened their little close-knit group, the walls came down, the final barrier to a shared lifestyle. On the surface, it seemed perfect! Hope desires nothing more than staying at home and taking care of the kids; Leo is excited to be able to cook for everyone. Everyone seems to get a little something out of this deal. But then lines become a little blurry, and the story strayed into an area I had never imagined. With three very different couples that bring their own baggage to the group, these differences become more apparent. Problems between married couples start to rise to the surface as well, and there is more than a little bit of looking over the fence at the neighbor on the other side, if you catch my meaning. The honeymoon period begins to wear off, and as it does, all involved must search inside themselves to decide what they really want.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I thought the plot was unique, although I wasn't sure about the turns some of it took, honestly. I didn't like that everyone was apparently unhappy in their marriage, that seemed kind of sad. And there was some weirdness with Stephanie and Leo that I didn't really like. And Hope and Chris. I don't know. I thought that it was a bit of overkill. Regardless of a few small things that I didn't care for, for the most part, I found this book very entertaining and I read it pretty quickly, not wanting to put it down! It was a good quick read, one that was different from most of the books that I have read.

Thanks to Little Bird Publicity for the chance to read and review this book!

Sunday, January 8, 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!

Brrrrrrrrrrrr!!! The cold weather has set in, and winter has showed its teeth in Michigan finally. Saturday we huddled inside keeping warm and being lazy, which was quite fun. I made soup, we read, we watched television - it was a good day. Today we ventured out a little, meeting my stepmom for coffee, then later on tonight, we are going to my brother's for dinner with him and his family. I am looking forward to it. 

I also started a second blog, where I talk about other things - its more of a lifestyle/my life blog. You can check it out here if you are interested.

Currently Reading:

I am in the middle of two books right now, and I expect to finish them in just a day or two. 


The Bear and the Nightingale (Netgalley): I am loving this book! I am halfway through and I think about it when I am not reading it. Although, I do think it is contributing to my feeling so cold...
Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I love Rainbow Rowell, and this book hasn't disappointed so far. I can't figure out yet how it will end! Always a good thing. It's a good book to balance out The Bear and the Nightingale.

Next up:

A Darkness Absolute (Netgalley): I can't wait to start this! I loved City of the Lost, and I am really excited to see where Armstrong goes with this series.

Posted Last Week:

Currently Watching:

We just finished Longmire, now we have the long wait until next season...nooooo! I am also watching a few lighthearted shows - Drop Dead Diva, and Fresh Off The Boat. We are also watching Veronica Mars, which we love!! I didn't watch it when it first came out and it's fun to revisit that time frame. Lol. We are also going to start watching Sherlock very soon. As for reality shows, we are watching Top Chef and Alone. One of the contestants on Alone has a fantastic looking shelter. I kind of want her to build it in my backyard for me just to hang out and read in! Wyatt likes to watch a little Daniel Tiger in the morning, or to change it up, The Backyardigans. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Review: Weregirl

Title: Weregirl
Author: C.D. Bell
Source: Library - saw it on Greg's Book Haven

Goodreads Summary:

Eager to escape her small hometown, high school junior Nessa Kurland is focused on winning a college scholarship for cross-country running. A chance encounter with a trapped wolf while out on a run leads to powerful and frightening changes, and one day, Nessa is transformed into a full werewolf. Now Nessa must navigate the challenges of high school while coming face to face with true human darkness, as she tries to make peace with her new wild nature.

My Thoughts:

This was a pretty entertaining read! I was in the mood for some YA angst mixed with some sort of supernatural type element, and this fit the bill perfectly! The fact that it is set in Michigan is just a bonus. I am a fan of werewolf stories, and this cover - you can't deny that it stops you in your tracks, with those ice blue eyes staring you down, daring you to pick this book up and read it.

Nessa is a super-driven, motivated high school student with a set goal and a plan. She is a cross-country runner on her school team, and knows her talent and athletic prowess is the only way to pay for college. She needs to have a stellar year in order to be even considered for an athletic scholarship, and has put in the time pounding the pavement to train for the season. Unfortunately, there is one hitch - as a result of one moment's kindness, Nessa is bitten by a wolf, jeopardizing her chances. She is told she won't be able to compete for at least a month to allow the wound time to heal completely. Nessa however, begins to heal faster than the doctor said, letting her continue to practice. Good stuff right? The flip side of faster healing? Suddenly growing fur all over your body. Gross. I can only imagine how I would react as a teenage girl, to a sudden growth spurt of animal hair, on me. I had the chicken pox in high school, and honestly, that was hard enough! Yep, you guessed it. That wolf bite had the power to transform her into a wolf.

The rest of the book is Nessa dealing with her newfound wolfish nature, as well as what she learns about the truth behind her town of Tether as a result, which includes a mysterious and ominous chemical company that polluted the water in her town for years.

I think what I really liked most about this book was Nessa herself. The central plot kept my interest, but I really liked how real Nessa was. She had a real life. One where she had to take care of her little brother, who has autism, and has a part-time job. She has to balance her home life with work life with school with track - as well as a social life and boys. She has self-doubts, and dreams. It was very realistic, in my opinion, making her relatable. Not everything is handed to her easily on a platter. This girl has to work for it. On top of all of this, now she has to deal with turning into a wolf as well following down the track of the dark undercurrents of her town.

I thought this book was a fun read, with a unique perspective on the whole werewolf scene. I look forward to visiting this world again, and seeing what happens next!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

Phew! The holidays are behind us, fun as they were, and I feel like the quiet of January can finally descend. Christmas was fun, New Years was great, and my brother is all moved into his new house too, so all the big stuff is kind of done around here for a while. We have spent today being lazy together, taking a drive, watching movies, reading, and hanging out playing with new toys. It was nice. Tomorrow we are going to do some cleaning, and Billy and I are even going out for a coffee date in the morning, just the two of us! 

My new banned book socks!

I also want to remember not just the celebrities that have died this year that, which were all so incredibly sad, some that were icons of my youth - George Michael, Prince, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia..I am heartbroken), but three of my very favorite authors passed away this year as well. Richard Adams, who wrote Watership Down, my favorite book, as well as Pat Conroy and Harper Lee. It was a sad year, with the loss of so many beloved authors and entertainers. 

“My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.”
- Richard Adams

Read Last Week:


Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand: This was my Christmas Eve book from Billy. It was a fun and fast read, great for the holiday season! I found myself pretty invested quickly in the lives of these characters.

Weregirl by C.D. Bell: I saw this book over on Greg at Book Haven's blog, and I knew I had to read it. That cover alone is pretty arresting! Add the fact that it is set in Michigan, and involves werewolves - all things that grab my attention and make me want to read the book. I liked this book! I am not sure if there is going to be a follow up but I hope there is. Review soon!

Reading This Week:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Another cover that just stops you in your tracks. I can't remember exactly where I saw this book first, but I want to say Rita at View From My Books. It is going to be my first book of the year! (well, that isn't a picture book..)


Veronica Mars, Longmire, Fresh Off the Boat, Alone, Top Chef