About Me

My photo
I've been cooking since I was 13-years old. I also love to read, crochet, and spend time with my granbabies.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Book of the Month Picks for October

I start stalking the Book of the Month webpage on the last day of the month.  I keep refreshing even though I know it will be mid-afternoon before the selections show and early evening before I can add my choices.  I get seriously excited.  Almost every month, I struggle to pick just three.  I almost always want all 5-books.  This month was no different.  Here are the October selections. 

I will start with the two I passed on.  I'll likely still end up picking these up.

Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad—“propulsive, surprising, ravishing, and revelatory…a profound page-turner that will transport and transform every reader.”—Booklist (starred review). Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men. ‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished. With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.

"Stunning." —Entertainment Weekly | "Raw and perfect." —Laura Miller, Slate "Heartbreaking yet hopeful." —Samantha Irby, Marie Claire A fierce memoir of a mother’s murder, a daughter’s coming-of-age in the wake of immense loss, and her mission to know the woman who gave her life. When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse of the sun, an event she took as a sign of good fortune for her and her mother, Crystal. But that brief moment of darkness ultimately foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine, just a few feet from Sarah’s bedroom. The killer escaped unseen; it would take the police twelve years to find him, time in which Sarah grew into adulthood, struggling with abandonment, police interrogations, and the effort of rebuilding her life when so much had been lost. Through it all she would dream of the eventual trial, a conviction—all her questions finally answered. But after the trial, Sarah’s questions only grew. She wanted to understand her mother’s life, not just her final hours, and so she began a personal investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, taking her deep into the abiding darkness of a small American town. Told in searing prose, After the Eclipse is a luminous memoir of uncomfortable truth and terrible beauty, an exquisite memorial for a mother stolen from her daughter, and a blazingly successful attempt to cast light on her life once more.

Both of these are incredibly intriguing.  However, I decided to go with...

"Told with brains and heart" ―Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment "Bristles with charm and curiosity" ―Winston Groom, New York Times bestselling author of Forrest Gump "A wholly original and superbly crafted work of art, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a masterpiece of the imagination." ―Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author of The Life List and Sweet Forgiveness "Charlotte's Web for grown-ups who, like Weylyn Grey, have their own stories of being different, feared, brave, and loved." ―Mo Daviau, author of Every Anxious Wave Finding magic in the ordinary. In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder. Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was. That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it. There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

Rosalind's secrets didn't die with her. The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind's student years and then again when she returned to teach drama. As much as Rosalind's life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town's richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her? Rosalind's enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets--an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past. Brilliantly rendered, THE DARK LAKE has characters as compelling and mysteries as layered as the best thrillers from Gillian Flynn and Sophie Hannah.

**WINNER OF THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION** What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power? In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power--they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets. From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, THE POWER is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.

I am looking forward to reading there books.  Hands down, I am most looking forward to The Power.  

If you have not tried The Book of the Month, I strongly suggest you give it a try.  You will not regret it!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Royally failed #royaltyreadathon and #bannedbooksweek

I was very excited about #bannedbooksweek and #royaltyreadathon.  I set up my TBR.  I hashtaged on twitter.  I was ready.  I decided to read the banned books first.  I cheated and started Saturday evening.  I read until 2 am, slept for a while, woke up on Sunday, and had breakfast.  My husband is working on his Masters, so he started studying, and I sat down to read.  I got through The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife.  I decided to take a break and we had dinner and watched Assassin's Creed.  I figured that I could easily finish The Amber Spyglass on Monday and start on The Royalty Readathon.

I have Fibromyalgia.  Monday the barometer plummeted, and a storm parked over me.  I went into a horrible flare up.  When a flare-up is really bad, I can hardly get out of bed.  My hands are so sore, it is hard to even hold a glass of water.  The brain fog gets debilitating.  Reading is out of the question.  Tuesday was the same.  The weather was supposed to clear on Wednesday, but it didn't and Thursday was even worse.  Finally, late Thursday afternoon it cleared and the forecast for Friday was good.  Of course, it does not get better immediately, but I was so hopeful that Friday would bring some improvement.  THANKFULLY, I am starting to feel marginally better.  At least, I can type.

I might try to read one book from my #royalityreadathon TBR.  I'm not sure.  I have so much housework to catch up on.  Plus, the forecast looks like next week will bring more crap.  I'll see what I can do. 

SO, I royally failed at the #royalityreadathon and I fell short on the #bannedbooksweek.

Let's hope that #victober and #spookathon workout better.  My TBR for those challenges will be posted tonight or tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

#bannedbookweek and #royaltyreadathon

I am going to attempt two readathons Sept. 24-30.  The first one is #bannedbookweek.  I'm reading Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.  I want to reread this in preparation for the Oct. 19, 2017 release of The book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage.  I am ridiculously excited about this new trilogy that will take us back to the parallel world of Lyra.

My other readathon is #royaltyreadathon.  This is hosted by the blog To Be Read run by Kati.  Here are the challenges and my choice of books.


The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard


Girls of Snow and Glass by Mellisa Bashardoust


The Final Empire by Brian Sanderson 

8-books in 7-days.  I really am a glutton for punishment.  Wish me luck and join in either one...or both!  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#thereadingquest/The Mage/Progress/Day - Three

I finished two books on day one of #thereadingquest.  I read Harry Potter and the Philosophist's Stone by J. K. Rowling.

This is my beautiful UK Ravenclaw addition.  I've lost track of how many times I've read this series.  I intend to reread each book on its 20th anniversary.  I'm not ashamed of how excited I am when I have the entire set of Ravenclaw books on my shelf.

I also finished Dancing with Dragons by Patrica C. Wrede.  It is the first in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles.

I love this series.  Princess Cimorene is a bad ass heroine who refuses to adhere to the norms of her society.  She picks the strongest and most dangerous dragon there is and moves in.

So far that's 540 pages, 30 EXP, and 54 HP.

I'm finishing The Kraken Sea by E. Catherine Tobler tonight.  Tomorrow I'm going to start Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and also The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  This is my buddy read with The Book Moo and Faye.

Friday, August 11, 2017

#TheReadingQuest TBR

Well, I'm going to start up again.  I never seem to find the niche that keeps me excited about blogging.  I got laid off in July and I'm trying to find something that will keep me engaged.  I really do love reading.  I've been reading since preschool.

About six-months ago, I found BookTube.  If you don't know, this is a community on YouTube consisting of people who are passionate readers.  They do book reviews, book hauls, book tags, and much more.  The first BookTuber I found is problemsofabooknerd.  I adore her.  She is charming and well read.  She eloquently reviews books and she loves all things, Harry Potter.   From there, I fell down the rabbit hole and I am so very glad I did.

I was watching A Dash of Ash and she mentioned she was going to do #TheReadingQuest.  It sounded like so much fun that I headed straight over to Read at Midnight to check it out.  Since I've got some time on my hands, I'm going all out and try to fulfill all the challenges.  Here is the game board.  All of the graphics are by CW from Read, Think, Ponder.  She is so talented!

I am starting with The Mage and here are my selections -

First Book in a Series

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J. K. Rowling:  I've am planning on reading each of the books on the 20th anniversary.  This is the gorgeous UK Ravenclaw addition and I'm looking forward to reliving this first book in the iconic series.

Pages 332 - 33 HP 

A Book Set in a Different World

Dealing with Dragons:  The Enchanted Forest Chronicles:  Book One By Patricia C. Wrede:  This is a charming story of kick butt Princess Cimorene,  She is bored so she runs off to live with a dragon.  Of course, she picks Kazul the most powerful dragon there is.  If you have not read this series, I encourage you to pick it up.  It is well written and a fun read.

Pages 208 -  21 HP 

A Book Based on Mythology

The Kraken Sea by E. Catherine Tobler:  Foundlings, Dragons, The Kraken.  Honestly, I cannot WAIT to read this book.  It's been on my shelves for WAY too long.

Pages 122 - 12 HP 

A Book That Contains Magic

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell:  This is the stunning UK version of the fan fiction Cath wrote in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell; inspired by Harry Potter.  I loved Fangirl and the vignettes of Simon and Baz were so fun.  I've heard it is a fast read.  I sure hope so because...

Pages 517 -  57 HP (yikes)

A Book with a One Word Title

Fallout by Todd Strasser:  I picked this book days before the NK crises loomed up.  I almost decided to change it, but I decided I'm intrigued by the premise and I'm going to plow through.   It's 1962 and our protagonist. Scott, is not interested in the news of the day.  He and his friends are interested in being kids.  Scott's dad IS very concerned by the news.  He builds a bomb shelter in the back yard for his family of 4.  Something happens and Scott, his family, and 6 others are in the shelter.  10-people trying to survive with resources meant for 4.

Pages 258 - 26 HP 

That is The Mage challenge.  I am committing to completing this challenge FOR CERTAIN.  However, as mentioned above, I've got time on my hands so here is the list of books for the rest of the challenges.  

The Rouge:  Pages 1802 180 HP 

A Book Published by a Small Press - 
The Keeper's Vow by Francina Simone - Check out her BookTube Channel

A Book with <500 -="" goodreads="" nbsp="" on="" p="" ratings="">
A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A Book with a Partially Obscured Face -
The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

A Banned Book -
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

The Bard:  Pages 1306 131 HP 15 Hours 46 Minutes 47 HP

A Book Translated from Another Language
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

A Book with a Striking Topography 
Splintered by A. G. Howard

A Fairy Tale Retelling
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

A Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation (listening to this on Audible)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Knight:  Pages 1417 142 HP 15 Hours 46 Minutes 47 HP

A Book with a Red Cover
PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

A Book with a Weapon on the Cover
Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

A Book with a Verb in the Title
Searching for Dragons:  The Enchanted Forest Chronicles:  Book Two by Patricia C. Wrede

That's 16 books in 29 days.  Holy crap LOL.  I have not finalized books for the extra challenges.  I'll update when I pick those.  

Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Behind in my Progress

I am sick, yet again.  I think I may have a drug resistant strain of bronchitis.  I see a specialist on Monday.  Every week or so, it flairs back up.  Each time it's worse than the time before.  I am so very sick of antibiotics and prednisone.  It is extremely difficult to keep up with a project that revolves around happiness when you feel defeated by illness.

Of course, that is exactly why I need to keep moving forward with the project.  Now is exactly the time I need tools to keep a happy and positive outlook.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Happiness Project

I started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I have not gotten as far as I wanted to.  I’ve been sick again: Bronchitis, sinus infection, and conjunctivitis.  My eyes hurt and burned so badly, I was not able to read at all last week.  It was a big bummer, but I concentrated on resting.  Today, I finally feel a bit better.

The first part of the book is called Getting Started.  Gretchen quotes Sidonie Gabrielle Colette on the second page.  Colette said:  “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.  Gretchen indicates that this quote has haunted her for a long time.  She writes:  “I didn’t want to look back, at the end of my life or after some great catastrophe, and think, ‘How happy I used to be then, if only I realized it.”  This concept is part of what spurred me to use this year for introspection and re-evaluation. 

The second thought that stood out is on page six.  What is happiness?  There is never going to be a universal definition of happiness. Dictionary.com defines happiness as good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.  Each of those words will mean something different to the individual.  For example, say you find out that a previously unknown relative passed on and left you a thriving business.   One person may be thrilled.  This is the opportunity they longed for and they are ridiculously happy at the prospect of running the business.  Another person may think this is a nightmare in the making.  They don’t want the responsibility and the thought of being chained to a business makes them sick.  Good fortune to one, bad to another.  The same can be said for pleasure; contentment; joy.

Gretchen quotes Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity was, “I know it when I see it.”  Louis Armstrong said, “If you have to ask what Jazz is, you’ll never know.”  Finally A. E. Housman wrote that he “could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat” but he “recognized the object by the symptoms it evokes.”  At the end of the day, we all need to define happiness for ourselves. 

I decided I want to define, not only happiness, but unhappiness as I perceptive them.  Knowing triggers that cause me unhappiness might give me more insight into what brings happiness.  It’s a thought anyway.  That’s my assignment for the rest of the week.  I’m going to build two lists:  What makes me happy and what makes me unhappy.  I am intrigued to compare the lists and see what trends I find. 

My new favorite blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, sparked an additional list for this week.  In her post from January 25, 2016, she invited her readers to ponder Things That are Saving My Life Right Now.  Any of us who live in places where winter is brutal, often need to hold on to something that will help get us through.  I’d never thought of making a list of the things that are holding me together during the bitter cold and snow.    I’m looking forward to exploring my own list and reading others.  February 1, 2016 is the day MMD will share her list and her readers will share their lists.  You should stop by and participate.