Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

Yesterday was a rough day, as we memorialized my grandmother who passed away last week. It was a very emotionally draining day, but also one filled with stories of her life, about her wit and independence and artistic. We were surrounded by her artwork, reminders of her life and all that she had done. It was a perfect memorial for the life of my spirited grandma.

Last week was about Halloween and preparing for the memorial - when you have a toddler, life still moves on. We went to the Greenfield Village haunted village trick or treat thing with my brother and his family, and had a great time seeing our kiddos together. And they got us some great candy! :) Lol.

Read Last Week:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber - I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced read. It was the perfect distraction!

Reading This Week:

I can't make up my mind. I keep bouncing all over the place. I think I will finish up my October reads with these two. I have been wanting to read Ghostland for ages!


We finished up Miss Fisher and are feeling sad about it. We miss crazy Miss Fisher and the straight laced Jack. I am definitely going to have to read the books now. We are also watching Stranger Things, and lots and lots of Halloween cartoons - including Curious George Boofest, over and We watched my favorite, Disney's Headless Horseman, and also Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin. I am sure we will watch that again tomorrow. Finally, I have been watching a lot of book vloggers do book hauls. 

I also found this great Jack Skellington/Headless Horseman theory! I love it because it combines the Disney movie I love with Nightmare Before Christmas, another favorite of mine!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Source: NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

My Thoughts:

So earlier this week I said I didn't like this book, that I was disappointed in it. Which is true, and I will go into that further in a moment. First, let me say that  I was stupid excited over this book. I love Hoffman's work, I love Practical Magic, I love stories about witches - so the stars were aligned for me to love this book.

This book was beautifully written. The descriptions were rich and wonderful, magical even. I loved the characters, their evolutions, their backstory, if you read Practical Magic. I love Vincent. How could you not love a character so charming he was stolen  for a few hours by his nurse at birth? He was the anti-hero and the hero all in one. The imagery, the sprinkling of folklore and superstition and herbal magics, I loved all of it. I loved the little surprise of Vincent's. However, I didn't love this book. It was just too sad for me. I felt like there was such little joy in this book, in their lives in general. I understand it was the curse surrounding them, but I guess it was too much for me. I don't need a story to be all sunshine and rainbows, but I guess I do need some happiness. And there were small pockets of happy tucked in here, but overall, it made me depressed. It was a very slow going read for me as well - over three weeks which is crazy for me. I kept getting distracted by other reads, then I realized the truth - I didn't want to go back to this book. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it when I read it, but it just didn't do it for me.

Overall, I would say this book is beautifully written and crafted, as all of Hoffman's books are, it was just a little too gray and sad for me.

Sunday, October 22, 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

I managed to get some reading done!

Read Last Week:

So. I was so excited for The Rules of Magic. I love Alice Hoffman, I loved Practical Magic. But Rules of Magic was a bit disappointing. :( Review soon. 

However, I loved The Marsh King's Daughter. Wow. So so so good, I could not put it down. I am hoping to review both of these books this week!

Reading This Week:

I am not sure which one will get the nod first - both look really good!


We are watching Phryne Fisher still - Mrs. Fisher's Murder Mysteries. We finished off Lore on Amazon Prime - it was amazing! I loved it. We plan on squeezing in some Halloween movies for Wyatt and some scarier ones or at least campy, horror movies for us this week. 

Listening to: 

I love podcasts! That is how I found Lore in the first place. I am also listening to Unsolved Mysteries, and Thinking Sideways. They are pretty interesting.

So, how about you? How has your week been?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: The Witches of New York

Goodreads Summary:

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and "gardien de sorts" (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients. 

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? 

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force. 

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

My Thoughts:

I love this cover.  And all things witchy. I love reading books with witches, ever since I read Anne Rice's Witching Hour (I still love that book!). 

This book was amazing, but terrifying. Not necessarily terrifying in a horror genre way, but more in a crimes against women way. I am not intending to be political by saying this either, I am referring only to the time period in which this book is set. As the description states, it is a time when "women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds" which is a true fact, albeit a sad one. It is horrifying in the same way that The Handmaid's Tale is- for women of today, modern women, with all of our rights and freedoms, to imagine what life was like for our ancestors, who were not allowed to read newspapers even. A time when women were always being sized up and judged, and if found to be different, sometimes labeled a witch. 

There were some pretty scary parts in this book - zealots of any brand are pretty darn scary, and this book has one or two. But the scary is outweighed by the beauty of the writing, the way the story unfolds, the characters themselves- Beatrice, Adelaide, Eleanor, and Quinn. Add in a raven (who is more than meets the eye) and I am sold on this story. The magic shop, the tea, the fortunes, the time frame, the ghosts - I loved it all.  I became immersed in this world and could have kept reading. 

These three women are tough and resourceful, strong and smart, and despite the problems and evils they encounter, are able to survive and bloom, maybe even stronger and better off than where they began. These characters are strong women, in a time that was tough on women. I definitely enjoyed this book, with these wonderful witchy women characters. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

So I knew last week was going to busy - but I still wasn't ready! W. had so many appointments, and we were exhausted by the end of the day. Our weekend was also busy, but with fun stuff, not yucky doctor's appointments. We went to the Detroit Zoo Boo, and despite the rain we had a fantastic time. Then Sunday we went to an apple orchard - my favorite fall thing to do. It was so blustery and windy I thought we were going to blow straight off the porch while eating our doughnuts but we managed. The weather only enhanced our day, honestly, making it feel more cozy to be all snugged away with our cider. 

Greg at Book Haven nominated me for a blog recognition award! Thanks Greg! I hope to get my post up soon!

Read Last Week:

I'm afraid to say - not much! A little more Harry Potter, and a little more of Hoffman's new book, Rules of Magic. (which I love!) I also hope to read more this week!

Reading This Week:

And hopefully some library holds come in!



Lore (Amazon Prime) - we binge watched soo many episodes on Sunday. We ended up stopping because I got freaked out by the Robert the Doll episode, so scary!

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

and we are going to be starting Riverdale again, woohoo!

So that's my week - not much progress on the reading front, but I hope to change that this week. How have you been doing?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review: The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing, who provided this book to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Goodreads Summary:

Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins--they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again. That was then... For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything. This is now... After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth. Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.

My thoughts:

This is my 2nd Carr novel, and I adored it even more than the first that I read.

The Summer That Made Us is about family, the secrets that hold them together, the secrets that pull them apart. The summer of ‘89 was a bad one for the Hempsteads. Their picture perfect idyllic summers at the lake house take a 360 degree turn in the other direction, when the youngest family member tragically drowns.  The once close family splits apart, sending the cousins, and their mothers, adrift on their different courses, not all of them good ones.

The book is set twenty-seven years after this incident. Meg is sick, and wishes to spend what could be her last summer at the lake with her family - all of them. Slowly, bit by bit, family members arrive, secrets are divulged, pieces are put back together, and things start to look up.

I did have a few unanswered questions at the end of this book; however, they were small and inconsequential for the most part, and didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this wonderful story. Heartwarming and bittersweet, this book has a little of everything, and a lot of reasons to read it.

Sunday, October 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

October is so busy! And hot. Where did this sticky hot weather come from? Blech. I've been working hard lately. It's been fun but has been keeping me ultra busy! I did however get a chance to make a small Halloween/fall craft, and go on a "daycation" to Saugatuck, MI with my friends. 

I am not a great crafter, so when I saw the easiest craft in the world intended for children on Pinterest, I knew I had a winner. Mine are still a bit messy, but I love them anyway. I have them stashed and tucked in among my other fall decorations and they look pretty cute!

My day trip was a blast. I haven't been out like that since my little guy was born, and while I missed him, I needed the time out. I had such a good time just laughing and chatting and sharing with my girl friends. We had mimosas in the morning and ended the night with wine on the water. Then we had to book back across the state to beat the storm system that was moving in. We stayed ahead of it the whole way home thank goodness. 

We went to The Butler, which felt rather iconic - old, classic, traditional. We had a great dinner and the view of the water, and coming storm added some drama.

Read Last Week/Reading This Week:

I seem to have fallen into the wizarding world and I can't get out! I can't stop with the Harry Potter reread. I did start The Rules of Magic but the heart wants to read what the heart wants to read. And right now, I am reading Harry. I am almost finished with Chamber of Secrets, and will probably finish up with The Rules of Magic this week as well. It is a long week for me, with two appts for the kiddo, plus 4 therapies for him, and a haircut, but I have found that sometimes when I am most pressed for time I read more. Maybe because I have to actually make time for it? I also have Caraval waiting for me at the library! 


And finally I am reading The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow for work. It looks super fun!


Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries - we are in love with this show on Netflix. I am a big fan of the time period though - I think I would have been an awesome flapper

Getting ready to watch Riverdale, which returns this week (yay!), and also a new show called Lore, which is on Amazon and based on my favorite podcast of the same name! The trailer is pretty scary so I will just share the link. I can't wait!

What about you all? What's going on in your world?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review: Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

From Lake Union Publishing/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she's been living. She's made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn't one of them. Julia's looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker's latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia's care for the holidays, she'll take any help she can get—even Jamie's. 

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that's much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can't last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever…

My Thoughts:

Let’s take a step back from fall and Halloween for a minute. Or rather, a step forward. To winter, and Christmas, and RaeAnne Thayne’s Sugar Pine Trail.

Sugar Pine Trail is another great story from Thayne, and in my favorite happy time genre, Christmas romance. Is there anything more joyful?

Julia Winston has a great life - friends, a job she loves (librarian!), a beautiful home. But she is also lonely, a little regretful, and yearning for more in her life. When her book club reads a book that asks the members to make a list of things they would like to do, a bucket list of sorts, she complies, albeit slightly tipsily. She doesn’t expect anyone else to see the list, so is no holds barred with her last experience on it.

When dashing, charming, adventurous, larger than life Jamie Caine moves in upstairs, into her neat and tidy antique house, the neatness of her life becomes a bit messy, like coloring outside the lines a bit. And unbeknownst to Julia, Jamie finds her list..and is set upon helping her to fulfill it.

Added to the new crazy of her life are two lost little boys, who seem to be living in the library. With the help of her friend Wyn, Julia takes them in while Wyn and the authorities search for their mother. Jamie is not only super hot, he is also good with kids. He helps Julia out with the boys, trying to keep their spirits up through the holidays.

I really enjoyed this book - all the different plotlines worked well together, and it was both fun and heartfelt, with touching moments. The boys, of course, were heartbreaking, but all in all, this is an uplifting, romantic holiday read. And it doesn’t even need to be the holidays to enjoy it!

Sunday, October 1, 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

We decorated for Halloween - my favorite! And wow, for being my favorite holiday I have like 4 things to decorate with. Lol. I'm going to try my hand at a few super easy crafts this month. Lol. I am not a great crafter but I always try. I am on the hunt for a chestnut tree; I want to gather a bunch for a project. My brother has a giant oak tree, so I have a source for acorns, and I plan to fill up a bag with them today. I also bought some orange yarn - I saw a Pinterest post for an easy craft for kids, but I am going to try it myself. :) Lol. I'll post pictures if I manage to do it. Or maybe even if I can't.

This week we don't have much on the schedule - next week however, is a nightmare. I am looking forward to the 7th though - I am going to Saugatuck for the day with a few friends for some shopping, a drink or two, and some time away. 

Read Last Week:


This book was excellent! Review very soon. 

I had planned to read the new Alice Hoffman, but somehow I picked up Harry I have been wanting to reread that series and I guess it was time I did. I am enjoying it just as much as I did the first time!

Reading This Week:

And probably finishing up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. 


Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries, American Gods (so good!), and we finished up Midnight, Texas.  And it's officially October, so it's game on for scary movies! (although we have watched Curious George Boofest quite often...)

How are you all doing? What's going on in your world?