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

Friday, July 13, 2018

Mini Book Reviews--Educated, Parable of the Sower....

Summer is going fast and we've been out and about and I haven't found the time to blog as much as I would I'm very very far behind on my book reviews. Shame on me. So I will highlight a little from each book and add a companion mini review post in a day or two. Hopefully that will catch me up a bit since I'll be out of town all next week! Oh those lazy summer days...

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

I listened to this one. And I loved it. I grew up Mormon so I could identify a lot with some of the things she talks about in the book. But her family is mentally ill and they subscribe to some very extreme beliefs. I loved hearing how education helped her get out and see the world completely differently.

The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

This is the first book in her Earthseed series. This is a sci-fi/dystopia based on a waning US future where states have closed their borders, food is scarce and the police are corrupt and the government is no longer reliable and global warming is being felt by all. It all feels very timely.

Lauren is a hyperempath who feels everything awful and amazing happening to those physically around her. It's a liability in this world when one is fighting to stay alive. Her and a friend from their neighborhood take to the streets to find a better place and pick up plenty of stragglers along the way. She's come up with a new philosophy of life/religion and she wants to settle with her followers. It's a great story on finding a family, trust, and love. I loved it.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

This is the first book in the Expanse series. It's also an amazing TV series! Check it out. Earth has left earth and has settled on the moon, Mars, and the outer parts of the solar system. But it's not a utopia like Star Trek. Mars and Earth use the outer belt for resources and the Belters are left with the scraps. Mars is jealous of Earth for their resources as well and uses all their money to build up their military and to terraform Mars to look like Earth.

I love that it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Even though they've left Earth, humanity still does the human thing of fighting and treating each other as us versus them. Corey takes the time to build a solid world and the characters are great too.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

It's a beautifully written fantasy from medieval Russia. She combines old Russian folklore and myth with early Christianity. It's a lovely story about the struggle between the two belief systems and how they coincided side by side for awhile. I enjoyed reading about the different spirits and how they worked with the people. Vasilisa is a strong-willed girl and I enjoyed her journey of self-discovery.

People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucy Blackman by Richard Lloyd Parry

This is a true-crime story on the murder of Lucy Blackman, a British woman living in Tokyo in the year 2000. Parry delves into the criminal justice system and the police force of Japan and how it failed Lucy and many other Japanese women and foreigners just like her. He also delves into life of the killer and what possible made him do what he did. It's a little longer than I would have liked but overall it's a fascinating and horrifying look into the underbelly of Japan and what happened to Lucy Blackman and how society failed her.

Parry is a gorgeous non-fiction writer. Check out his latest book Ghosts of the Tsunami.

*all pics are taken from the website

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cat Thursday--July 12, 2018

Michelle @True Book Addict

Here's a little story from Bored Panda about a family who got a little note from the previous owners of the new house they just bought.

The little feral kitty left behind...they decided to name him Raz. Read the story; it's a good one. Here are some pics of the little guy they ended up adopting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July!


From the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--"

While these words didn't in fact include all men or women, it has helped to define our highest aspirations of what our country can be and should be. Even if we've never quite been there, but we can always have hope to be better than we are.

It's been awhile since I've read the Declaration of Independence and I chose today to be the day I did so again.

We didn't actually declare our independence on July 4...nope, that was two days earlier. July 4 is the day the Second Continental Congress decided to approve the Declaration of Independence. Is the day that we declared these grand ideas to the world. According to George Pyle of the Salt Lake Tribune it is the day we explained our declaration of independence.

So yes let's celebrate with fireworks, bbqs, drinks, and flags but let's also remember why and do more to be better citizens of our country.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English by Lynne Murphy

Goodreads Summary:

An American linguist teaching in England explores the sibling rivalry between British and American English 

"English accents are the sexiest."
"Americans have ruined the English language." 

Such claims about the English language are often repeated but rarely examined. Professor Lynne Murphy is on the linguistic front line. In The Prodigal Tongue she explores the fiction and reality of the special relationship between British and American English. By examining the causes and symptoms of American Verbal Inferiority Complex and its flipside, British Verbal Superiority Complex, Murphy unravels the prejudices, stereotypes and insecurities that shape our attitudes to our own language.

With great humo(u)r and new insights, Lynne Murphy looks at the social, political and linguistic forces that have driven American and British English in different directions: how Americans got from centre to center, why British accents are growing away from American ones, and what different things we mean when we say estate, frown, or middle class. Is anyone winning this war of the words? Will Yanks and Brits ever really understand each other?

I loved this book on American and British English differences! Lynne Murphy is sharp and witty and I loved reading about her experiences as an American linguist living in the UK for over 20 years. She has a very unique ability to talk about this from both sides of the aisle, especially as a linguist.

I would almost call this book an introduction into the study of linguistics. I sure wish I had this to read while getting my linguistics degree back in the day. She breaks language terms down and also has some history about how and why our dialects and accents have become so different.

She also brings up global English and how we as North Americans and British do not have control over how English is developing around the world and that's a good thing and we should embrace all the English in it's multi-colored and various forms.

If you love language or are curious about English its varieties, this one is for you!

Bookly Update

Summer is so weird. I love it but I hate it. Lots of BBQing, lots of sangrias to be made and frozen cocktails, holidays to celebrate, kid to entertain, work to be done, long days and short nights....All the things. Week 3 of summer vacation is still going strong. G and I have planned to hike at least once a week. We've done two so far and with minimal whining so win!

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Looking forward to:

1. Planning Disneyland in October! It's a lot of planning and a lot of stress but I know it'll be worth it.

2. Planning a camping trip in September. G will be back in school but it's still something to look forward to before Fall is in full swing.

3. Birthday-- it was last week but I never mentioned it. I had a great time seeing Deadpool 2 with DH and another movie with my sister and brother and then a fun bowling night with friends.

Books Acquired:

1. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor. I love her Akata Witch series as well.

2. The Universe edited by John Brockman

3. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen

4. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

5. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgarov


1. People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo--and The Evil that Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry

2. The Band's Visit DVD--Hebrew original production which the Tony award-winning Boadway played is based on! I'm very excited to see this!

3. The Overstory by Richard Powers



The Shape of Water on DVD. A beautiful fantasy about love and acceptance from the master storyteller Guillermo Del Toro.

Hereditary. Saw this one in the theater. Great atmospheric drama with horror elements. It's bloody and weird and good! If you loved The Witch then this will be right up your alley.

Jurassic World. Oh this was terrible. When you wish all of the dinosaurs would just kill all of the humans already, you know you've crossed a line! But G loved it and he'll probably beg us to see it in July...

Mirrors. So bad it was funny. It is not a comedy.


I'm catching up on season two of Queer Eye. I'm watching Money Heist as well on Netflix. Fabulous crime drama from Spain. Westworld! from HBO! So good this season. So. Damn. Good!

And I binge-watched The Staircase.... OMG! This show got me. All the emotions. Thought he was innocent, guilty, innocent...don't know! fascinating so go watch that one.

Marcella on Netflix. It's a great British crime drama. It doesn't add to the genre...all the stereotypes are there but it's a good time.

I'm also trying out YouTube TV this summer so I'm watching all the shows I don't usually have access to like Dietland, The Last OG, The Sinner, etc.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cat Thursday June 21, 2018

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle over at The True Book Addict. Join and share all things kitty!

This week I'd like to share a photo site that has been photographing women with their cats! Girls and Their Cats is a photo site dedicated to these women. Here a few snappy photos of these cute kitties and their on the link to see more of these beautiful kitties!



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse by Diana Rowland

Amazon Summary:

Our favorite white trash zombie, Angel Crawford, has enough problems of her own, what with dealing with her alcoholic, deadbeat dad, issues with her not-quite boyfriend, the zombie mafia, industrial espionage and evil corporations. Oh, and it’s raining, and won’t let up.

But things get even crazier when a zombie movie starts filming in town, and Angel begins to suspect that it’s not just the plot of the movie that's rotten. Soon she's fighting her way through mud, blood, bullets and intrigue, even as zombies, both real and fake, prowl the streets.

Angel’s been through more than her share of crap, but this time she’s in way over her head. She’ll need plenty of brainpower to fit all the pieces—and body parts—together in order to save herself, her town, and quite possibly the human race.

At least for now.

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in the White Trash Zombie series. I've really enjoyed the first two. The third book feels a bit bogged down. We're getting more back story to who the zombies are, where they might come from and who are the evil private/gov't companies trying to abuse all of this? Angel is right in the thick of it all. 

It's humorous and fun. It's not great lit but it's not supposed to be. I like the other books better but I feel like it's just middle series slump. I'm sure the next one will pick up with the back story we get in this one.

Plus, the covers of each of these books are phenomenal. If you enjoy zombie lore and funny with a kick-ass female character this is the series for you!

Once Halloween gets a bit closer, I think I'll keep working on the rest of the series.

High Summer Readathon 2018

Seasons Reading

Michelle over at Seasons of Reading is hosting another readathon for July, all month long! Just grab a book or two or more and get going on that ever-piling-up TBR stack. She's also hosting a Christmas in July for the last four days of the month. Christmas can never come too early...!

I always have quite a stack to choose from but here are my official goals for July:

1. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I've heard all the good things about this series and now that the movie is coming out in August, I figure I will get it read before I see the movie!

2. The Overstory by Richard Powers

It's a big book but I'm hoping if I plan accordingly I can make it through in July. I've been attracted to books about nature this spring and summer and this one looks right up my alley.

3. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

I just picked this one up on audiobook so I'm hoping to finish this the first week of July.

I'll do really well to get through these but here are some back ups if I have time or find a way to fit them in in between my other books:

4. The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams

5. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

6. Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

7. Hardscrabble by Sandra Dallas

8. Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

*all images were taken from

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sci-fi Readathon Wrap-up Post

I managed to finish off two books this read-a-thon. I usually do better but some things came up and my time got away from me.


1. The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

2. White Trash Zombie: Apocalypse by Diana Rowland

Still reading and hope to finish this week:

1. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Correy

2. The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

I'm going to get some reviews up for those first two and get them linked up soon. A big shout out to Michelle for hosting! It forces me to read books I usually don't make the time for!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Moab Camping Trip

It's been a tough month. We've been busy finishing off school, helping my friend and her family move to Washington, and a little vacationing along the way. Throw in a little illness over Memorial Day weekend and it's been a crazy 6 weeks or so and blogging has slogged a lot.

Summer is here and I'm excited to get back to it and share the fun stuff of summer and books and movies and TV!

G has officially finished off the 3rd grade. I really can't believe it. The last day I went to his classroom to help him gather all of his stuff and carry it to the car. Every last kid in that classroom was crying their little eyes out. They loved their teacher and the fun times they had with her this year. They will never forget her. Teachers are amazing but the special ones who can connect with kids like his teacher has this year are priceless.

The weekend before Memorial Day we were able to slip down south to Moab, UT for a little camping and hiking! G hiked all the way with lots of complaining and down time to the most famous feature in Moab, the Delicate Arch. The views were gorgeous and the spring flowers were still mostly in bloom. It was a great way to get away for a few days.

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our camping trailer we rented out!

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Delicate Arch trail

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