Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Week-in-Review: Easter!

Our dear friends that moved last year came down for a visit a couple of weeks ago. We played games and had some drinks. G had so much fun playing with his besties again. It's sad to see them leave again but there are plans for the summer! We always make sure there are plans for the future, something to look forward to.

Those yummy cookies and bagons from Pokemon Go. Community day was last weekend and a local baker had made up some special cookies for the event. One of the things we love about Pokemon Go is the fun people you meet with a shared activity.

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G had World Culture night as his school. Lots of people volunteered to showcase various countries from around the world. It was a fun and successful night.

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Happy Easter! The Easter bunny made a visit. We colored eggs, had an Easter egg hunt, even did a walk in the rain. But alas, I did not get the primo pics for these various fun activities! So our bedheads and bunny ears will have to do. Oh and Shadow cuz she's just always cute and adorable.

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I read: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz and Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit.

Listened to: Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution by Amber Tamblyn and NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.

Currently reading: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Small Spaces by Katherine Arden, Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy, Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

I watched: Lots of NBA Playoffs. My team the Utah Jazz just won their first game against the Houston Rockets but it's highly unlikely they'll win the series. But that one win felt good! The TV series What We Do in the Shadows on FX is hilarious. Caught up on that one.

Movies: La Llorona, Elle, and Pet Sematary. Reviews soon...

Made: hamburgers, fried rice, crepes, mimosas! Some fun spring and summer food. It's getting warmer and warmer and I get excited.

We also finished off our edging around our flower beds and made the veggie garden box. We plan on planting this weekend!

Looking forward to: My nephew is getting married next week and his wedding dinner is Saturday. He's half Tongan so it'll be quite the party with a luau! Yummy food and dancing to finish off the evening. I'd like to pick up a fun spring dress for the event.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cat Thursday-- Garfield!

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us (Michelle at True Book Addict) by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats!

No, not that Garfield. This one comes from Ely, Cambridgeshire! According to the BBC Garfield is a ginger tomcat that made his second home at the local grocery store Sainsbury. He started visiting the store after it was built in 2012 because it now stood on his favorite meadow. He now has over 5500 Facebook fans and has even come out with his own book!

According to the BBC:
A book of his adventures and misadventures has now been written by Mr Willers with Suffolk author Cate Caruth.
The title - What's THAT Doing There - refers to Garfield's reaction when a fence was erected across his favourite meadow ahead of the supermarket being built.

Garfield even signed all his books with his own special paw print ink!

Congrats, Garfield! May you have many more adventures to write about!

*All images were sourced from the original BBC article.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mini Book Reviews: The Wild Robot

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Published in 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Sci-fi, juvenile fiction
Format: Hardcover, 279 pages, library
Rating: 4.5 stars

Roz is a robot who gets stranded on an island with only animals as companions. She raises a goose and learns how to survive in the wild with the help of all her furry friends. Until one day more robots show up to bring her back home. 

I loved Roz and her animal friends. She tries to learn and teach and survive. It's the only way she knows how to do things. But where does she come from? Who are these robots that want to take her to a place she's never known? Who created her and for what purpose? It's a fun ride through the natural world. Brown brings philosophy into his book for young readers. What makes something human? Who gets to decide who lives and who dies? My son and I are looking forward to book 2!

The Call by Peadar O'Gulin
Published in 2016 by Scholastic Inc.
Genre: Young Adult, horror
Format: Kindle, 320 pages, Own
Rating: 4 stars

The island of Ireland has been surrounded by mist and has lost all outside communication with the world. The old fae the Sidhe are coming to take back their island that they lost thousands of years ago. In their revenge they "call" teenagers to their forsaken land. Can the teens survive the hunt of the Sidhe? They have 3 minutes and 4 seconds our time to survive but in the land of the fae it's hours. Now Ireland trains all of their teenagers to survive their time in the land of the fae. Some don't make it back, some make it back seriously injured and horribly misshapen.

It reminded me a little bit of Hunger Games. The teens are survival training. But they're not fighting each other or at least not yet. It's bloody but not gloriously so. Nessa is a great character. She can't use her legs well but she makes up for it in other ways. But she knows when she's called...she probably won't survive. I loved the weaving of Irish myth with dystopia. It's a clever idea and I look forward to the next book.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
Published in 2018 by Penguin Books
Genre: Crime thriller
Format: Kindle, 400 pages, Own
Rating: 3.5 stars

Cormac Reilly was a young cop when he answered the domestic call that found Hilaria Blake dead and her two children Maude and Jack left home alone. Jack was only 5 and his sister a young teenager. She disappeared from the hospital. Twenty years later Jack is found dead in the water from a presumed suicide. His partner Aisling can't imagine he would've done it nor his long-lost sister Maude. Cormac is new to the force since he moved back there with his partner Emma. He's not loved in the department and things are being kept from him. He knows there is more going on. How does it all connect?

I enjoyed the atmosphere and the mystery. The ending fell apart a bit. And the villain was a little too over the top for my liking. Quite the first villain trope. But it's a good debut and I will probably read her next one. I bet this one would be fun to listen to with all the Irish names and accents.

The Call and The Ruin were read as part of the Spring Into Horror Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Week-in-Review: Spring Break!

Well, blogger literally just ate my whole post that I spent 45 minutes here's the shorter version. Gah! I'm so annoyed.

G just had spring break last week so we headed up to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho and relaxed in the hot springs and played in the swimming pool. We ate some great food and had a blast just getting away. We also attended our yearly tradition of the Holi Festival of Colors that Krishna Temple puts on. We always enjoy this time of year.




We got a lot done this weekend. We got our edging for our garden! Every year the landscapers weed whack our plants so we're hoping with edging they'll be less likely to do so.

We're also Konmari Methoding in our house. Just did clothes! Next is books...but I'll probably keep most of them but need to organize the shelves and make sure everything fits.

Love spring and am looking forward to all the flowers and veggies I hope to grow soon!

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I finished off Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe--all about the Troubles. To go along with that book I watched the documentary on Dolours Price I, Dolours. I find it all fascinating and disturbing. It's hard to wrap my head around that period of time.

Watched Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which was fantastic. Started Santa Clarita Diet. I plan on watching Queer Eye too this week. PBS came out with Mrs. Wilson based on Ruth Wilson's grandmother. It's a wild story.

I'm taking part in the Spring Into Horror Readathon and have started The Call by Paedar O'Guill, The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, and The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. I also just started NOS4A2 by Joe Hill on audio! Wowzer, it's creepy. I want to finish this before the AMC series airs this summer.

This week is all about planning out the rest of gardening and working on spring cleaning and organizing. My bestie is also down with her littles and so we'll be spending some quality time together too.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Source: Goodreads

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Published in 2019 by Doubleday
Genre: History, Ireland
Format: Hardcover, library, 441 pages
Read: March 12- April 2

Goodreads Summary

From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.

Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution; to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark; to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army; to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past, Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.

My Thoughts

Being a teenager in the 90s I remember hearing some things about The Troubles but not much. It didn't affect me so why worry or remember or think much about it at all? And it wasn't until the whole Brexit fiasco did I even start to remember I'd heard anything about it. I started looking into books I could read to find out more about it. What happened? And why? Well, Patrick Radden Keefe came through for me and just published Say Nothing. He uses the murder of Jean McConville, a protestant living in Northern Ireland at the time, a mother of 10, and a recent widow to talk about The Troubles and its aftermath.

The way he writes about everyone involved makes you think. He explains the views of each side and how it all escalated to the beginning of the conflict in the late 60s. I really got a sense of the injustice the minority Catholics had felt being in Northern Ireland after they were left behind when the 6 counties were formed that stayed in the UK after the civil war.

The main characters Keefe focuses on are the McConville children dealing with the aftermath of the disappearance of their mother, Dolours Price who helped orchestrate the bombing of the Old Bailey building in London, and her sister Marian. Dolours Price grew up in a Republican family. Her Aunt Bridie had her hands and eyes blown off and out when she was only 25. She was a living martyr. But Dolours and her sister wanted to give non-violence a chance. A lot of idealistic youth at that time organized a peace march drafted after Martin Luther King's Selma march. But it went all wrong. The Protestant Loyalists and the Protestant majority police force stood back and watched while the protesters were beaten terribly.

Dolours said she looked into the eyes of one of the Loyalists who were beating her and her fellow protesters and saw a fog of hate. And she knew she would never be able to get him or people like him to sympathize or change their minds. That's when her and her sister Marian joined the I.R.A. 

England sent in soldiers to mediate but they targeted Catholic communities and let Loyalist paramilitary attacks slide. This in turn caused more people to join the I.R.A., which in turn caused more violence and escalation. This new I.R.A. "...aimed to be clean, disciplined, organized, ideological and ruthless. They called themselves "volunteers,"...As a volunteer, you stood ready to sacrifice everything--even your own life--in service to the cause. This pact tended to inculcate, among the revolutionaries, an intoxicating sense of camaraderie and mission, a bond that could seem indestructible."

In this environment Dolours and Marian and many others were willing to kill people in the name of their cause, no questions asked.

Eventually Jean McConville was found but no one has ever been prosecuted. Her children have suffered terribly. She is one of the disappeared and no evidence has ever been found of her being an informant to the British.

It's an astounding account of what humans will do to one another. Us vs. Them. Dolours gave a couple of interviews before she died in 2013 where she was willing to discuss her crimes while apart of the I.R.A. She said she's not very religious but that she still says a prayer for the Disappeared. Not religious. Her fight, while technically sectarian--Catholics vs. Protestants, was actually something quite different.

For more on The Troubles check out the documentary I, Dolours which was done by Ed Moloney who interviewed her in 2010.

*linking up with Nonfiction Friday at Doing Dewey

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Cat Thursday-- Cat Vs. Rattlesnake

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us (Michelle at True Book Addict) by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats!

This week features a family cat Oreo who comes to the rescue of her staff against a rattlesnake.

YouTube video description:

When a fearsome Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake slithered into the Peterson family's yard in Lake County, Florida, their cat rushed to protect his owner, Jaiden, 10. Oreo the cat fought off the venomous snake while Jaiden ran away, but the fierce feline suffered a bite during the scuffle. The Peterson family hurried Oreo to the vet to save his life. Oreo now wears a cast and can't go outside, but the animal clinic expects him to make a full recovery.