Monday, May 7, 2018

Book Reviews

I may not have gotten as much done this winter as I would have liked, but I did read! And that makes me happy! So, there's that!!
Here are a couple of book reviews for you.


Both of these books came from my Kindle Book subscription from Amazon Prime. I get both the book and the audible so I can switch back and forth to the form which works for me.

When You Disappeared is about Catherine and Simon and their marriage. They have 4 children; one, Billy, died when he was but a baby. Catherine wakes up one morning and finds that her husband has gone for a run before he heads to work. Except he never comes back. Twenty-five years passes before she finds out what happened to him. The story is told from Catherine's view and from Simon's view. It flashes between present time and the past. The characters are pretty well developed. But none of them are very likable. Catherine is way too much of a victim, in my view. And Simon, well, he's just a giant piece of crap. The horror of the story is about Billy in my estimation. This book has it all: murder, drugs, , death of a child, lies, suspense. I enjoyed the story but if I had just listened, and not had the book, I think I would have been very confused. Sometimes when the story jumps back and forth it is hard to keep up. But I will give it a solid *** for the story.


The Last Thing She Ever Did takes place in Oregon along the banks of the Deschutes River. (Which I have to admit I had never heard of). The town has built up along the river with houses owned by people who have lived there for years and years. And then there are mansions built by the very wealthy who have come to make this town theirs. The main characters of this story are Liz and Owen, Carol and David and their young son Charlie. Charlie mysteriously disappears one morning when Carol has turned her back on him while he plays on the river banks. Liz knows what happened to him. In one horrible moment, while on her way to take the bar exam, Liz backs over Charlie with her car. It is an accident. But instead of calling the police, she covers it up. The only other person who knows what happened is her husband Owen. Owen is not a very nice person. His main concern in life is to get rich. And he doesn't want it known that his wife not only hit this child but covered it up. So he helps her hide the accident. However, someone else knows what happened! And Owen knows more than he lets Liz know. 

The characters are well developed, but much like the first book I reviewed, are not very likable. I think the only person in this book I remotely liked was the female detective. The story takes many twists and turns and the ending, although abrupt, was satisfying to me. Another solid ***!

Now I imagine my reading will slow down as the weather gets nicer. Anyway I hope to get out into the yard and do some work. Do you read more in the winter than in the summer??

Thursday, May 3, 2018

April Favorites

I can't even believe I just typed that! Is is possible April is already over? Yikes!!!

I wonder if it is crazy that some of my favorites in April are about food! I think I must have been doing a bit of eating in the month of April. I think that is because I am depressed that winter will just NOT end. However, today May 3, we are now seeing spring. It is in the way of thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches. But it IS spring. 

Now on to the favorites for April.

I have discovered the best hummus I have ever eaten. Do you like hummus? Hummus is a thick paste (spread) made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon and garlic. Well that is what 'real' hummus is. And I like it too. But in April I discovered Lantana Black Bean Hummus. And it is to die for!! It is made with black beans. I love, love, love, black beans. This hummus is sweet AND spicy. It has a corn relish topping in the middle. And the best thing is it is ONLY 45 calories per 2 tablespoon serving. Hip, hip, hooray. Lets hear it for black bean hummus. 


You might ask what I eat my hummus with? Well, let me tell you what else I have discovered that I am in love with. Wasa Crackers. These are a very thin multi-grain crisp bread. And they are perfect spread with a layer of hummus and topped with sliced cherry tomatoes. My favorite snack of all time for the month of April. I have already gone through 2 tubs of hummus. My favorite flavor of Wasa crackers has been Rosemary and Sea Salt. Try them!!



For my birthday in early April I received a gift box of sangria. It is Lolea Sangria. A Spanish sangria made with fine wine and natural ingredients and is soooooo good. And the bottles are delightful. 

I also found a new podcast that has quickly become a favorite. Do you listen to podcasts? This one is my go to podcast when I am having trouble sleeping at night. It is called Sleep With Silk. They have several different ones that you can download in the iTunes store , but my favorite is Nature Sounds. It is awesome. You can listen to water babbling, winds blowing, birds on a beach, a backyard fire-pit....and on and on and on. I am in love. And the best part is it is FREE!

That's it! Just a short list for April. I really didn't do much in April so I didn't try out many new things. I didn't order much on line (I am waiting on a couple of light cardigans for spring) so my list is short. But they are my favorites. Let me know what you found to be a favorite for April.  


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May ! Currently....








Outside my window...

I think we have finally arrived in spring! But with spring comes bad weather in Tornado Alley! Today is one of those kinds of days. It is dreary. No rain yet! Temperature is 77* and the winds are blowing! Supposed to have the 'possibility' of bad weather later today.


Pondering..

OMG there is always so much to ponder. But I just can't get to it all. Our dear leader of the United States is all over the news today (as usual) bashing the free press. Anything he doesn't like is a Witch Hunt. I wonder what will we believe once this is all over. Will it have been for naught? Or will we find that we have the most crooked president ever? I'm voting for the later. Sorry to all my Trump loving friends. While there are some things he has done well (excuse me while I try to ponder this) he has slandered and bashed so many that I just cannot really understand how he has people who still like him. It's just a mystery to me. But......

Watching...

Who is watching Dancing With the Stars? Me! Me! Although I have to admit I'm not as enthused about all the athletes this go-around. I am stunned that Kareem did not get eliminated last night. He has a huge fan base. I'm glad they are giving Tanya Harding a chance. I think she has paid her dues to society and it is time to move on!


Reading...

I'm reading/listening to The Last Thing She Ever Did by Gregg Olsen. And I'm still working on Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. 

 
Creating...

I am creating space! This weekend I cleaned out one side of Richard's closet. There were 54 boxes of canceled checks!!! And an entire box of cash register receipts. I knew the man was a pack rat but really! I have been shredding checks! Big job! God Bless his soul :)

Learning...

Oh my goodness there is so much I am learning. And I am not yet ready to share. So there's that!



Planning....

We are planning a Graduation Party. On May 12th. Saying Goodbye to high school. She says it can't come soon enough. Wonder what she thinks college is going to be like??



What's in the kitchen...

I've been terrible at meal planning lately. Harley is gone more than she is home. She is doing her nursing home clinicals after school these past weeks. So it is just me. And I don't feel the need to plan for one. YET! I will be sharing a recipe when I do my April Favorites. Stay tuned!


A quote to share...


If only it were that easy Walt!




Photographing...

Harley and Isaiah
Her Senior Prom

Taken downtown

Granny with Harley

Paige and Blake
Her Senior Prom
Paige with her daddy


A final thought...

I cannot say it often enough. Time is flying by. We need to pay attention to all the little details of our lives and love the ones who are in it. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.


Happy May



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Currently......









Outside my window...

Will spring ever come, we ask? We thought is was here and then this past Friday night it snowed. And the temperatures dropped down in the 20's! (And my furnace blew a fuse, although I didn't know that was the problem. A very sweet furnace guy came and changed the fuse without charge). Today we are partly cloudy and 65*. Will this last? Maybe. Only the good Lord knows for sure. Has spring arrived in your neck of the woods?



Pondering..

Today I am pondering on things the millennials are killing! I listened to a podcast recently that was talking about this. These are some of the things they said were being killed off because the millennials are no longer using them in a way that will allow them to stick around:

Malls
Hotels
Credit
Movie Theaters
Banks
Casual dining chains like Applebee's
Starter homes
Cereal
Napkins
Tissues
Bars of soap
Diamonds
Football
Marriage
McDonalds

According to a couple of articles I have read the generation called the millenials (those born from 1980's to the early 2000's) are not using banks, not shopping in malls, not going out to eat as much, not getting married and putting off buying homes until they can afford the more expensive homes. Many of them just stay at home with their parents. They are choosing unconventional stones for their jewelry; therefore the diamond industry is suffering. The introduction of the Internet has them doing all their banking online, checking football scores on their iPhones, watching movies on their laptops or tablets, and choosing to stay in B & B's over hotels. These articles even said golf is suffering as these kids are not into playing golf and the baby boomers are aging out. If you are interested in learning more you just need to Google "what millennials are killing" to find out. Fascinating! What are your thoughts??




Watching...

I'm watching The Voice, Survivor, and the last episode of Scandal this coming Thursday. What are you watching?

Reading...

Currently I am reading/listening to From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. This is a book about Italy during the Holocaust. I'm getting ready to start Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by. C. S. Lewis which is our May book club choice. I've been to the movie (with Johnny Depp) but never read the book.

Creating...


I'm not really being very creative right now. But I still am enjoying my Bullet Journal which allows for a bit of creativity.

Planning....


Prom is this weekend! So we are planning for that. And then graduation is right around the corner. We are planning for a small celebration following the ceremony. Paige will graduate the following weekend after Harley. Harley enrolled in our local community college to start in the fall. So, there's that!


What's in the kitchen...

This weeks meals will be on the simple side as the girl is rarely home. Probably sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, and such.


A quote to share...







A final thought...
 
I swear I am going to get up off my lazy butt and do something today. The laundry is always calling. I have a master bedroom that is need of some deep cleaning and de-cluttering. What are you putting off??





Monday, April 16, 2018

Getting Up To Date with Book Reviews

I haven't been doing a lot recently. It just seems like my get up and go is gone! Do you know what that feels like? But I have been delving into books. Mostly audible. I love listening to them. Most of the time. Sometimes I have to find my place if I have fallen asleep. But here are three I have finished recently.


 P. S. I still love you by Jenny Han is the second book in the trilogy written by Ms. Han. The first book, To All The Boys I've loved Before was a book club selection. And so is the book below. So I just had to read the middle book to stay up with the story. The stories are about a teenage Lara Jean and her life in high school. And the boys she shares her memories with. They are light reading. Not really my kind of books. But I found them easy to read and a good place to hang out for a time away from the stresses and dark days of life. Have any of you read them?  


Finally, there is The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. This is more along my line. It is a suspense novel. The characters are well developed and I liked most of them. Jacks was married for 8 years to a husband she was keeping a secret from. He wanted babies really badly. But she wasn't able to get pregnant. And then she received the news that he is dead. Killed in a car accident in Hawaii. But she thought he had been on a business trip in Kansas. And with him was a young woman who had left behind her own sad fiance, Nick. Nick and Jacks go to Hawaii together to find out why their partners were leaving them behind. The ending was a huge surprise to me. I really enjoyed the story. But then I usually do like these kinds the best. What do you think happened?

I also listened to The Tour by Jean Grainger. It is an interesting and very different book. The narrator is Irish. The book takes place in Ireland.(I thought of you Kwizgiver, my friend). The story is about a tour guide and his group from America who are touring Ireland. They are a motley crew to say the least. The story is fun and interesting. And a trip all it's own. This one is light and enjoyable. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

March Favorites

Ah the end of another (stressful) month at my house! But there is hope and spring in the air! So time to share with you some of my favorites for the month of March.

I can't help but start this favorites post with something good to eat. I got a bag of toffee in my monthly subscription box from a local boutique. This was a bag of awesome toffee from Toffee To go. Delicious! Was mouth-watering milk chocolate with toffee and roasted almonds and coverered with walnuts on top. I ate every single piece of it myself. Didn't share with a single soul!

I have used Clinique products for years. But I haven't tried this one before. It is also delicious. It is a moisturizer in the form of a gel that goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly. It is not greasy. A little goes a long way. A full size bottle of this is more than I want to pay at one time but I got a smaller size at Ulta for only $5. What a bargain.

 If you are like me (and many older women) you have disappearing eyebrows. Mine are due to years and years of plucking them into a really find line. Which is no longer in style. (not that I give a hoot about being in style). I've tried many brow pencils, powders, and creams over the years but this simple little cream has become my current favorites. Plus I got it at the Dollar Tree. So it only cost me....wait for it...a buck. Yep. And it stays in place all day long. Goes to prove you don't need to spend a lot to look fabulous.

Justin
Spring brings back the birds. And this month I have two favorite pictures of birds. The one on the left is a picture of Justin. He is on duty. They found this bald eagle while on patrol. It had an injured wing and couldn't fly. So they rescued it and called in Wild life specialists to repair the wing and allow it to heal before being released. The wing span is 8 feet. Can you imagine. Justin says he's playing "dead" in this picture, but he is very much alive. Cool, huh? 

Then there is this darling little
From the spirit world

guy who flew onto my back patio and spent the day pecking at my window. Have you heard the legend of the Cardinal? Supposedly they are bringing messages from the sprit world. Brought me comfort anyway. 


Last, but not least, is my Spring/Easter mantle. It has brought me much joy in the month of March. The top picture is a Happy Easter wooden banner that I bought at Target (we no longer have a Target store in Hutchinson...it closed) last year for $3. The little blue ball lights I have had for a couple of years. They, too, came from the Target Dollar Spot. I think they were $5. I bought the wooden spring and Easter words at Target this year. $3 each. The adorable little teddy bear was a birthday gift from Justin many, many years ago. The ceramic bunny is from the Dollar Spot last year ($3) and the bowl of eggs with spiky sweet gun balls sit in the middle of my dining room table. Harley and I gathered the little gum balls from my cousin's sweet gum tree while we were in Oklahoma for spring break. Love them. 

That is my favorites for the month of March. What has been your favorites this month??

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

An American Marriage-A Book Review

I listened to this book with my Audible subscription on my phone app. I absolutely love Audible but I am thinking of dropping the subscription because I can get so many books with my Kindle Unlimited subscription and I don't really need two subscriptions. The Audible one is $14.95 a month. 

This book was narrated by Sean Crisden and Elisa Davis. Both had strong, rich African-American voices. (Is that still politically correct to call them African-Americans? To me they are just 'black' but I don't want to offend anyone in our easily offended culture we live in today).

This book is one of Oprah's Book Club selections, which I don't normally like to read, because she selects such dark books. An American Marriage was not really that dark.

The story starts out with a young, newlywed couple who are living the American dream. She is an artist and he is a rising young executive. They have had the normal tensions in the beginnings of married life. One night, while staying at a hotel, their door is kicked in by the police and Roy is arrested for the alleged rape of a fellow guest in the hotel. He is not guilty of the crime but he is found guilty and sent to prison. While he is in prison, his wife, Celestial, takes comfort in the arms of her childhood friend,Andre.

After five years, Roy's sentence is overturned and he is released from prison. While in prison he meets his real father and loses his mother in death. When coming out of prison he has to face the fact that his wife moved on even though she did not divorce him. 

The characters are well developed. Most of the story revolves around Roy, Celestial, and Andre and each chapter reflects the story from their point of view. The plot is a timely plot but doesn't really dwell on the facts of prison life. More about the feelings between the characters.

I was pleased with the ending. It left me happy for the characters.

I want to read other books by this author. I will give this book ****. I don't think I will forget their story. .