Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It's All About The Books - Vol. 16

I wasn't sure I was going to get this post together but I realized I had such a great reading month I should share. Finding books others love is one of the great things about this link up.

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub - I loved this story, we'll call it a coming of middle age story. Straub has created characters that have traits and feelings you can identify with. Do you remember the moment you realized I'm a grown up, the things I use to think were a big deal really weren't in the grand scheme of things, and adult friendships are so much different than the friendships of our youth? Straub does a great job of capturing all these feelings. 5/5

The Never Open Desert Diner by James Anderson - Full review here. 4/5

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich - The characters in the Stephanie Plum series are some of my all time favorites and they didn't disappoint in the twenty-second book in the Plum series. I started laughing out loud on page 4 of this book and kept laughing all the way through. This is my second favorite book in the series so far, I can't wait to see what Stephanie, Joe, Ranger, Lula, and Grandma Mazur gt into next time. 4/5

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andews - At 464 pages this is a little long for what I usually consider a good beach read but a good beach read it is. It has all the ingriedients of a beach read; romance, mystery, a hurricane, and of course the beach. Good for reading while you people watch on the sand. 3/5

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - First, I always wonder how two people write a book? Team work in book writing seems like it would be complicated. Second, I really adored this story. I wouldn't call myself a royal watching more of a sometimes interested in the stories of the royals. The author's did a great job of pulling pieces of gossip from the Will and Kate story and building a what might have happened around them. I really enjoyed the read and found myself wondering if any of the real royals found it entertaining. 5/5

What did you read last month?

Life According to Steph

Friday, July 1, 2016

Sea La Vie - 7/1

Oh hello there, yes I'm still around although I've felt very unbloggish lately hence the break. I'm still feeling slightly unbloggish but I thought I'd do a Sea La Vie since summer is in full swing and I haven't shared any of our summer fun.

// The kid is out of school and we have enjoyed a few summer activities like the Alligator Adventure program at the library. She's outgrown clothes that fit her just a week ago and we've been outlet shopping for new ones. She quit karate which makes me sad but  I don't want to be the mom that forces activities upon her child. Except that I did sign her back up for swim classes when you live at the beach learning to swim isn't optional.

// I've read books that I've loved which is always a good thing, I'll show those to you when Steph and Jana show us their books. I've got the new Elin Hilderbrand from the library (first in line) and I plan to spend my long weekend getting lost in Nantucket.

// We've sat on the beach, played in the sand, and swam in the ocean. Not as much as I would like thanks to rain but still more than most people. We even had an evening beach picnic with friends one Tuesday night.

// We chased the strawberry full moon and finally caught it. Last years full moon chasing was interrupted by the weather every. single. time.

// We've played one round of mini gold and been to see one kids movie, next up Finding Dory for K and The Secret Life of Pets for ME!

// After all of that, it still feels very un-summerish to me this year. I don't know where my summer "spirit" is but it needs to show up ASAP or summer will be over.

How is your summer going?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Never-Open Desert Diner: A Book Review

I received the Never-Open Desert Diner from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. This book was weird but I loved it! I love finding a book that surprises you in such a way that you don't want to put it down.

Ben, Claire, and Walt are all fascinating well-developed characters that keep you reading because you want to know more about their story but also more this remote section of desert where people live anonymously without mailboxes and don't can't get cell phone signals.

The missing chello mystery and Ginny the pregnant daughter of Ben's ex both added additional reasons to keep reading the book. I do wish we'd have found out more about Ginny and her story since I was just as fascinating as those told by the main characters.

If you're looking for something just a little bit different and wacky but still believable and completely entertaining you should add this book to your to-read list.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Whipser of Doubt vs. The Voice of Dreams

If you've been around here any amount of time you know I'm a dream chaser, the funny thing about dreams though is you don't stop having them once you've caught what you thought was the dream. One day you're happily living the first dream you chased down when you realize you have more dreams and while you're not at all unhappy with the first dream you can't really see any reason to stop chasing dreams now. After all, some of us know you can catch a dream.

Recently I've been dream chasing again and as with all dream chasing, I had my doubts at first. Even now after I've just reached my first "mini win" the voice of doubt can still be heard whispering.

"Why rock the boat, you've already got a good thing going?" 

"What if you fail?"

"What if you succeed?"

"Introverts aren't meant to be dream chasers."

"Can this really work?"

I'm not going to lie some days this voice wins and I stop dream chasing but then nighttime comes and the voice of dreams says.

"There's no harm in trying."

"You'll regret it if you don't."

"Imagine what life could be if caught this dream, look I'll show you!"

As a dreamer, I'll admit I have half-realized ideas littered throughout my past. Things that excited me for a brief moment before I realized maybe the whisper of doubt was on to something. Things I wasn't willing to put in the work for because, work, yuck. This time feels different I feel like I'm ready to do the work and despite the whisper of doubt, the voice of dreams and I have been killing it. We're motivated and moving forward giving the middle finger to the whisper of doubt we've left in the dust.

It feels good, so good I want to give a platform to the voice of dreams. The voice that says:

"You can do it!"

"The time is now."

"Don't give up."

"Screw whisper of doubt he has no idea what he's talking about."

I'm talking to you and so is the voice of dreams, because some dreams are worth the work.

Are you listening to the voice of dreams or the whisper of doubt?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It's All About The Books - Vol. 15

// Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer - A light summer beach read when you're looking for something easy and happy. Not my favorite Nancy Thayer book but worth a read if you're in the market for a beach book. 3/5

// The Island by Heather Graham - This book has a ton of one and two-star ratings on Goodreads but I like a good Heather Graham mystery now and then so I thought I'd give it a try. It's not a literary work of genius and the main character was a little annoying at times, heavy on the romance light on the mystery this book won't be for everyone. 3/5

// Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys - I love historical fiction and I like books set in New Orleans so I thought I'd give this book a try. I loved Josie's character but I'd have liked to see more of the Josie/Jess plotline. I felt those two characters belonged together despite Josie's obvious attraction to Patrick. Overall a good book but it could have had a stronger ending. 3/5

// The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton - I had high hopes for this book, I've read some other" what if you could change your life books" and loved them but this one left me wanting. Even though the characters were on the precipice of turning 40 I didn't really identify with them in a way that made me feel like we were the same age.  What this book does do a good job of showing is that life can be hard no matter what decisions are made when. 3/5

// Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight - The premise of this book sounded interesting and I wasn't disappointed. I had to purposely not let myself this book several times when I was dying to because I knew I wouldn't have time for more than a few pages and there was no way I could read just a few pages. Written from a mother's POV after her daughter's death/suicide and from the POV of the daughter before her death/suicide by the end we get the entire story that will make you wish you didn't have to let your kids grow up. 4/5

// The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman - This was a strange and interesting little book, if you're looking for a quick quirky read this might be your book. I loved the strong female characters and the magical element, at 170ish pages, this is a quick weekend read. 3/5

// Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King - It pains me to say this book was a DNF for me. Probably the worst piece of writing I've ever read by Stephen King. From his elementary foreshadowing to his downright boring play by play of what was going on. I've never been more disappointed in a book by Stephen King. DNF

// Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler - I adored this book! For me this book was about feelings it evoked, feelings I've felt before which led me to identify with "the new girl" (Tess) in a way I don't identify with many book characters. I found the sometimes love isn't enough storyline fascinating as much as I did the relationship between Tess, Jake, and Simone. A very accurate portrayal of restaurant life and the things that go on after the guest have been served. 5/5

What did you read last month?

Life According to Steph

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Summer Break Day

My days are about to look a lot different with no kid schedule to keep, I can't say that I'll mind the little break. This is what my day looked life during school if you're interested and here's what it will look like now.

6:00 AM - 7:55 AM - I get up at some point during these two hours depending on my need for sleep. I like 6 AM dog walking in a quiet peaceful world but some mornings my pillow says don't go so I don't.

7:55 AM - 8:05 AM - Nothing much has changed here, I still log on to my work computer and answer emails and take care of priority work that needs to be done. Most of my fellow co-workers run on central time so the workload is light between 8 and 9 every day.

8:05 AM - 9:00 AM - Feeding the dogs, watching the Today show, making K breakfast, logging K on to her computer, grabbing a bite of my own. Checking for emails that need attention.

9:00 AM - The 9 AM hour is always my most productive, I tackle top priority work related tasks at 9 AM and try to get them all done by lunchtime. I like easy afternoons or at least room to handle any work related surprises that may pop up basically the later I read your blog any given day the busier I am.

10:00 AM - Morning computer time is up for my kid, in order to earn evening screen time (computer and/or TV) she must complete her daily chore list starting now. Her chore list includes things like brushing her teeth, putting away the dishes, and emptying her bathroom trashcan but it also includes daily reading, writing, outside time, and creative play (I'll go ahead and thank Facebook for that idea). While she's doing chores I'm in my bedroom at my desk working or at least being available to work if I'm not busy.

12:00 PM - Lunch. I'm a creature of habit and I prefer now and have always preferred to eat at noon. I use this time to disengage completely from work related activities. You can usually find me in the living room with Tyson catching a couple episodes of House Hunters but sometimes I use my lunch hour to do things I don't want to do later like go to the library, grab something for dinner, or clean up my beach access.

1:00 PM - 5:00 PM - The dreaded afternoon, most days Tyson has gone to work by now and at some point K has earned back her screen time. I'm doing work as it flows in or adding things to my to-do list for the next day. By 4 PM the lunch schedule across all the time zones is over and the phone, call volume has died down. I feel like the day starts to drag and I get restless to leave my bedroom/office.

5:00 PM - Bedtime - This is the time for several things but most importantly it's time for dream chasing, beach visits, book reading, and just plain life enjoying with K. We don't do hard bedtimes in the summer like we do during the school year. If we want to make an ice cream trip at 8:30 PM we do because it's summer and we can sleep in tomorrow!

Are your summer days different than your other season days?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sea La Vie - 6/3 (LAST DAY OF SCHOOL)!!

Happy last day of school for me and any other fellow parents out there who no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to get their kids off to school. Enjoy your break, before we know it we'll be counting down the days until we can send them back!

// Memorial Day weekend we ended up with fabulous weather. With the tropical storm just to our south most of the rain stayed south and west giving us lots of sunshine and a refreshing breeze. The water was too rough for swimming but the sand was warm and the sun felt heavenly.

// I caught some gross kid stomach virus on Tuesday which left daddy in charge of getting K off to school on Wednesday, his first time all year. Her hair wasn't braided and she was late but her clothes matched and she got to enjoy her end of year celebration. So we'll call it a success on Daddy's part.

// This weekend we're going to visit Bama to hear all about her trip to Greece, I even get a birthday present from Greece. I agreed to wait for something fun and foreign, it's like my birthday all over again! My sister seems to find all kinds of great treasures when she travels so we'll see how mom did.

// Gave up on Mr. Mercedes, finished Sweetbitter, and am going to plow through The Assistants before it's due. So looking forward to reviewing my books with Steph and Jana this month, I've got everything from great to hate!

What have you been up too?