Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cat Thursday-- August 16, 2018

This week is all about the kitten memes! I needed a good laugh. Go check out more cuteness at True Book Addict.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Mini Book Reviews-- Bingo Love

Once again I fail to keep up with my book reviews! I've tried to keep them clear and concise.

1. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

I loved the sweet love story between Hazel and Mari. The illustrations are beautiful. I'm looking forward to reading more about the characters and their families.

2. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

I loved this take on zombies rising during the Civil War. Jane was a slave until they were all freed when the dead started to rise. She's been sent up to a finishing/fighting school to help protect precious white women from being eaten. She soon find herself kidnapped and taken away with a fellow cohort to a strange western frontier town where all is not what it seems.

We've got fighting, great characters, serious but light discussions of race and class. It comes together for a wonderful story. Can't wait for the next installment.

3. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Pessl is a fantastic world and character-builder. Her creepy purgatory of Neverworld is truly terrifying. It's a haunting and poidnant story on grief and friendship.

4. Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper

I loved reading about Homer and his sisters. The most harrowing chapter was Cooper's experience of the 9/11 attacks in New York. It was gripping and told a side I had never heard before. And the horror she went through to get back to her cats was truly terrifying.

5. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Yay! One done on my big Classics list! I enjoyed the mini series BBC put out a few years ago. The story focuses on one women in Victorian times England who must make the ultimate decision to leave her abusive husband. How does she do it? How does society view her? Big questions especially for that time. But ultimately it was too long. The middle was tough to get through. And the way she ends it reminds me a lot of Jane Eyre. Too easy in a lot of ways. But I get why she did it. Not the best of the Bronte sisters but still worth a read.

6. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I read this one for Emma Watson's book club Our Shared Shelf. I'd bought this book of poetry a year or so ago when it went on sale. I'd heard it was pretty heart-breaking. No lie. The poetry rips right through and makes you feel. It was enlightening but tough. Give it a go, though; it's very short.

7. Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu

I loved this collection of bad-ass women in history. My favorite was Therese Clerc who came up with quite the utopian conclave and inspired women to come together and take care of each other especially as they age. She was very inspirational.

8. Longbourn by Jo Baker

Read this one for Austen in August as part of the read-along. I listened to it and found it a lot more interesting than I would have otherwise. Baker takes us downstairs to the servants quarters in Pride & Prejudice's Longbourn. We see bits and pieces of all of our favorites but they don't come off so shiny clean as they do in the original. It is an interesting twist but I would rather have had this as a historical novel rather than a reworking of Austen's P&P.

9. How Not to Get Shot and Other Advice from White People by D.L. Hughley

This is sadly hysterical. Since it's so true and yet Hughley brings it to our knowledge with not so delicate humor. He goes through each "sound" advice letting us know exactly why it doesn't work and won't in the future. It's a quick. It'll leave you reeling, that is for sure. But pick it up. I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Horror Movie Wednesday-- Breaking In


Breaking In (2018)

What I didn't like:

  • The thieves did not have a good plan to execute the find safe and empty in only 90 minutes. They never did any research on family and who actually owns the house! They were sooooo dumb.
  • We do not get a background on her she military trained? Grew up as a survivalist? She did some pretty amazing things which would not come to you without training.
What I liked:

  • Gabrielle Union kicks butt! She goes into mama bear mode and gets her kids. It's a fun thriller and I enjoyed the perspective of mom saving the family, including the saving of her husband---he did not take the beatings as well as she did.
  • I enjoyed the end scene with her encircling and hugging and protecting everyone in her family. It's a sweet moment and one you usually see with the man in that role. It was a fantastic twist and hope to see more like this in the future.

Bout of Books 23

I've heard a lot about Bout of Books over the years in the book blogosphere and I'm finally taking the plunge and signing up! Yay! This is my first time and know it won't be my last.

For those unfamiliar with Bout of Books:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01 am Monday, August 20th and runs through Sunday, August 26th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. --From the Bout of Books team

I'm going to pick up some quick and easy reads. I bought a few mysteries and romances and think these will do the trick this week along with reading through my regular fare. Good luck to all!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Finally! July Wrap-up and Week-in-Review


July was so much fun! It's my favorite summer month. June is my birthday but July has so much going for it. The wildflowers are in full bloom in the mountains so it's warm enough and the snow has melted so we can hike!

Independence Day is the big holiday of the summer for us. We host a big neighborhood BBQ and light all the fireworks. There's usually at least one trip planned during the month and in Utah we celebrate Pioneer Day--or as us heathens call it Pie n Beer Day! Another neighborhood BBQ and I add a little extra pie and beer. Plus more fireworks!

The kitties enjoy lounging in the sun and spending nights rolling around on the concrete outside on our porch. It's the month where you finally find your groove and yet school is still too far off to worry about.

I read 10 books over the course of the month. I joined in on High Summer Readathon hosted by Michelle over at Seasons Reading. Check out my post for info on all the books I finished this month.

Lammas Day was August 1st--it's the first sabbat for Fall. It comes from Old English for loaf mass and is a way to celebrate the wheat harvest or bread! I love bread! It's about the only time I put forth some cooking skills to make homemade bread. It turned out yummy (which means I should so more of it!) I like to celebrate little things throughout the year and Lammas day is perfect. It gets us thinking about the end of summer and the good food that is in season. I'm not much of a baker or cook but I do the best I can and enjoyed making a little Lammas figure and some homemade honey wheat bread along with honey butter. A simple grilled chicken dish, grilled corn on the cob and some blackberry cobbler rounded out the meal.


Saturday we headed over to a Food Truck and Brewery round up for some good eats and drinks! The air had cooled a bit and we enjoyed walking around and soaking in the sunshine.

Food trucks

Saturday night was my 20 year high school reunion! What?! How time flies. A group of us got together for an impromptu dinner at Chili's.



I'm about halfway through Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Ayedemi on Audible. Also listening to Longbourn by Jo Baker for Austen in August. Halfway done with The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Still reading The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert but it is a difficult read because it is a tad tale to tell about us and our world. I'm also making my way through the graphic non-fiction anthology Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate--reading with G aloud before bed.

I finished up  in one day How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People by D.L. Hughley. It's so good. Heart-breakingly funny and sad.


TV: I finished up The Sinner and will start up the second season soon. Quite a few plot holes but it was such an interesting storyline. I truly enjoyed it despite its flaws. Plus I have a crush on Bill Pullman. I've been a fan since Spaceballs!

Sharp Objects. I really want to read the book now. Fascinating.

Hulu's Castle Rock. I haven't read a lot of Stephen King. He's a little too wordy for me. But I do enjoy watching anything that gets made of his. There are a lot of Easter eggs spread throughout. I had to look up many of them but I did catch quite a few! It's weird and creepy. My kind of TV show.

Dietland: Just bingewatched the first 7 episodes yesterday due to illness...Love! I need to read the book as well.

Making It: Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Gold. Pure TV gold.

Movies: I saw The Darkest Minds in the theater. My brother wanted to see it for his was as good or bad as I thought it would be. Though, I did enjoy the actors. They just didn't have much of a script/story to work with but they were all phenomenal and look forward to Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give.

Books acquired:

Library: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, I'm Fine...and Other Lies by Whitney Cummings.

For the Kindle: Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski, Special Topics in Calamity by Marisha Pessl, Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, and The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

Looking Forward to:

DH's work is having a night at the zoo tonight. We get to see the animals and enjoy free food!

G has another summer camp this week and I'm enjoying the time to get caught up on my items and to-do projects.

The Book Rat

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Cat Thursday-- August 2, 2018

The True Book Addict

Welcome, August! Where has the summer gone? And onto another Cat Thursday hosted by Michelle over at The True Book Addict.

This week I thought I'd highlight a little spotlight on some bookstores that have in-resident cats! KQED, the local PBS branch of the Bay Area, went out and met some local bookstore cats. Here are a few highlights but go check out the original article for all the details!

Meet Hudson from Borderlands:

According to Borderlands if Hudson were an author he'd be Oscar Wilde. "Because he's a sassy freethinker, yet very lovable."

Meet Owen from Aardvark Books!

According to Frieda if he were an author he'd be Christopher Isherwood, "because he's loving, kind, pragmatic and takes life as it comes. Nothing really seems to upset him."

I love cats and bookstores! They go together like Sonny and Cher or peanut butter and jelly!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

High Summer Readathon Wrap-up

Seasons Reading

I did really well this July! I petered out a bit toward the end with a big vacation in the middle but I read 10 books! And none were the ones I was planning on in my sign-up post! Ha! Such is the life of a reader...

I finished:

1. People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman by Richard Lloyd Parry

2. Silent City by Alex Segura

3. The Epic Failure of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

4. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

5. Down the Darkest Street by Alex Segura

6. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

7. The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

8. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

9. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

10. Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline, or How I Learned About Life and Love With a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper

2 non-fiction, one short story collection, 2 mystery-crime novels, 3 young adult books, one classic, and one graphic novel.

Some of these I started before July but I finished them in July so I'm counting them!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday-- It's All About the Book Hype!

What are 5 books that lived up to the hype (for me)?

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ( One of my favorite reads last year) I hope they do right with the movie.

2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (while I'm not finished with it, I'm halfway through and it's definitely living up to the hype!) This is also getting turned into a movie and it'll be amazing if done right!

I love this cover so much!

3. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

4. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

5. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

What are 5 books that are all the rage that I need to read soon?

1. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

3. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

4. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Mass

5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Have you read any of mine? Did you like them? Hate them? Have you read any I still want to read and thought they lived up to the hype or not? Join in on the discussion over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

Goodreads Summary:

From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved "Children's Stories Made Horrific" series, The Merry Spinstertakes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts from Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children's stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg's boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg's oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bedtime will never be the same.

My Thoughts:

There are some truly creepy and disturbing stories in this collection. Ortberg has a wicked sense of humor and she knows how to turn all our know stories into even more terrible tales. I mean, fairy-tales are creepy but she adds an extra layer that turn them all on their heads and makes our heads spin right along.

One of my favorite retellings was of The Little Mermaid called The Daughter Cells.

"The prince asked her who she was and where she came from, and she looked at him with not a little disgust, that he did not know her. No point in sufering for someone who hasn't asked you to do it, the witch had said, but please yourself; he won't recognize what pain looks like on your face, that's for certain. He evidently couldn't recognize disgust, either, taking it for a softer emotion and guiding her inside a nearby building." (p.18)

I couldn't help but think about how that is similar to my culture. Men not understanding pain and disgust and mistaking it for compliance. Her stories are riddled with these nuggets of truth.

Another great quote comes from The Six Boy-coffins a retelling of The Six Swans and The Twelve Brothers.

"Being beautiful had never prevented her from remaining in the woods alone before, but there was nothing she could do about it. Beauty was what gave him the right to talk to her as if they had been introduced, and take her hand, and make her wear his cloak, and take her from her tree and to his home."

The retelling of The Wind in the Willows was one of the most disturbing stories I've read in a long time. Go seek this collection out! Ortberg is a master story-teller!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Week-in-Review-- Washington State Trip

My dear friend and her family moved away up to Washington state in May. So with summer in full swing and with them purchasing a new home, I knew we needed to get away and visit. It was a success! I drove me and G all the way up there with no DH in tow (work wouldn't allow it, unfortunately). We did it in two days on the way up and then two days on the way back. Boise, Idaho was our stopping point. It is a long-ass drive....

But it was worth it! We had an amazing time! It has been healing to see her settling in and making a new life for herself and her family. I'm still extremely sad she's not so close anymore but we have plans for New Year's and plans for a girls' trip next Fall!

We went to the Dash Point Beach near Puyallup. Washington is gorgeous! So many trees and greenery everywhere. You have beaches and mountains within a relatively short drive. Amazing. They even found a live sand dollar! I didn't know they were fuzzy!

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The next day we headed out to the local parks. The parks are filled with lakes, ducks, and wild areas where bunnies roam free! Beautiful scenery so close!

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Our second to last day we headed down to the Ape Caves in the Mount Saint Helen National Park. They're lava tubes formed a long time ago but this is the biggest one I've been to. It was 1.5 miles to get out. And we climbed all over rocks and trenches and even scaled a wall! It was hard! G and the other kids were having a few breakdowns but we all did it. G even had quite a few tears along the way. But we did it! Woot!

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G and L were all tuckered out in the end. Adorable. Blessings from heaven...

We relaxed the last day and just talked and drank wine and played games. I didn't get hardly anything read at all along the way; I was too tired by the end of each day to read much.

This week is the recovery and get back into the swing of things. DH kept the cats alive and my plants too!

I hope to get my blogging caught up and get more reading in.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Cat Thursday-- July 26, 2018

Michelle @ True Book Addict

Mine is a simple one this week. I've been vacationing the last week and I'm trying to catch up this week so without further ado...

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Here is my sweet Shadow. She's a lover. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Week-in-Review--4th of July, Hiking...

We all had a great time on the 4th. Every year we get together with our neighbors and go in on fireworks, potluck bbq and all-around craziness!

Here are some highlights:

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G having fun with the other kiddos in the pool!

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Pumpkin shots that lit on fire! Ooooo!

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A pic right before the big firework show!

G got a little sick after the 4th but he perked up enough Monday to head out on the summer wildflower hike with me! So gorgeous!

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Right now I'm on a Marvel movie marathon. It started with the Ant-Man and then I thought about how great it would be to watch all the movies in order. So since most of us were sick last weekend, I decided to get going on them! I just finished off Captain America: Winter Soldier last night. I'll probably have enough time for two more before we head up to Washington to see my friend who just moved and her family.

And with TV I've been obsessed with The Sinner. Netflix just added the first season. The flashbacks to her childhood are tough to watch but they're short so I can handle them in small doses. I also just finished up the second season of Nailed It! and the second season of the Santa Clarita Diet.

I'm reading the second book in the Pete Fernandez mystery series The Darkest Street; the second book in the Earthseed series The Parable of the Talents; and Dread Nation. I'm listening to Longbourn in honor of Austen in August read-along from The Book Rat.

I also picked up Heart Berries, Vaccinated, The Ends of the World, Another Country, The Song of the Dodo, and Stalingrad from Kindle Deals off of Amazon. A Quiet Place just came in the mail! And for horror movie night my friends and I went out to see the new Purge movie: The First Purge. (Cheesy in parts but had some great things to say on race and class).

I'm really looking forward to our road trip up to Washington to visit friends. G will be able to play with his best friends again! They just moved in May and it's been a hard summer without them here. We're heading up to play and see their new house!

Things I accomplished this week that make me proud--I love to make new things or old things if they're good for holidays and friend get-togethers. I decided to make some jelly shots for the 4th. I layered three jellies in shot cups, red, white, blue! They tasted yummy and were a big hit with everyone. I didn't have one leftover. I also made a new peanut sauce noodle recipe from Pinterest and it turned out really well! We also got our vacation plans to Disneyland in October finalized! Yay! That's been weighing on me over the last little bit. I cannot wait!

The only bad thing this week was DH's car broke down and we had to get that fixed. Some extra funds we weren't planning on were spent.

My goals over the next week are to read chapter 4 in my philosophy book, finish Dread Nation, The Darkest Street, and the 4 Agreements. I also need to keep up on The Tenant of WildFell Hall so I can be done by the end of July. I need to read 200 pages in War and Peace in order to catch up by the end of September! Yikes! These are the biggies and if I can get these done then I hope to catch up a bit more on some other books I've been piece-reading for a bit.

I'm also hoping to blog more often. I need to do it for myself. It helps me focus and plan out my reading. I'd also like to hone my blogging skills. I know there is a bloggiesta twice a year where fellow book bloggers clean up their spaces and use that time to do it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mini Book Reviews-- Silent City, Believe Me...

Here is the second set of my mini book reviews....

Silent City by Alex Segura

This is the first book in the Pete Fernandez series. Pete is an alcoholic sports columnist for the Miami Times who's barely keeping it together. His father died a year ago and his fiancee left him and now he has nothing and hardly anyone except for his buddy Mike. A colleague begs him to look into his daughter's disappearance. But all is not what it seems. Soon he finds himself digging into decades old serial killer and running for his life.

Segura sets up the hot humid nights of Miami perfectly. I loved seeing this side of the city. Pete is also relatable. He's a hot-mess but still someone you could sit down with and have a good conversation. I'm reading the second book in the series and will probably continue to read all about Pete and his investigative exploits.

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard

Listen to this one read by Izzard himself! He actually does a real-time recording where he Googles info and asks his director for things. He adds extemporaneous footnotes throughout! It's a wild listen. I enjoyed learning more about Izzard and how the death of his mother when he was a very young boy shaped him. His philosophy is to do hard things and work hard at everything you want to do in life. Boom! Fascinating fellow and a fascinating journey his life has been and I assume will continue to be!

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Wow! You definitely need to listen to Ms. Haddish read her memoir. While there isn't a cohesive story arc in this memoir, it has passion to make up for it. Her life has been hard. There are experiences she shares that are absolutely horrifying. But she is one of the most optimistic people I've read about. She never let any of her experiences keep her down. I have a new-found respect for Ms. Haddish and will continue to enjoy following her career. Listen for her song at the end of the's hilarious!

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

This is a juvenile fiction book that I read with my son. Arturo lives in a small close-knit Cuban-immigrant community in Miami. His abuela and mother run the family restaurant called La Cocina de la Isla. They want to expand their restaurant by buying the city-owned land right next door. But a developer named Wilfrido Pipo wants that land to build a giant exclusive apartment building and put La Cocina out of business. It's a story about family and community. We both loved the coming-of-age story of Arturo and how he handles a new crush, a death in the family, and bringing together everyone else in the community to battle Wilfrido Pipo.

Cartaya even offers up two family recipes at the end of the book! I'm looking forward to trying them soon.

*all pictures are taken from the website


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