Memorial Day

Happy Holiday Weekend!

I still love a three day weekend even though I don’t have to schlep off to work every morning.  Usually it’s an occasion to be lazy, though that’s not the case this time around.  The hubbs is off from work so we have a bit of a relaxing weekend.

This weekend we have both been pretty productive.  Taking advantage of the extra time to get some projects done around the house.  I am in a cleaning mode – taking down curtains to wash, cleaning up some blinds- all the stuff that isn’t on a normal cleaning routine.  Last week I sorted out drawers and closets.

Not really jobs that are fun but are nice to have done.

Hoping to still get a book read this week – despite the busy schedule.  We’ll see how that tuns out.  I give it a 50/50 chance.

From The Stacks:

Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer is a great summer read.  The novel is quick and light and it’s perfect for a beach weekend!  I really loved this novel and look forward to other things by Nancy Thayer.  I have a blogging friend who also likes her books.

Nantucket Sisters is about the ins and outs of a childhood friendship between two little girls as they grow up. Maggie and Emily are from different paths of life in nearly every way.

Maggie is from a poor family and a broken home.  Maggie resides on Nantucket Island year round and has a deep love for the nature and beauty of where she lives.

Emily is from a rich family that lives in New York City but visits their summer home on Nantucket.  What draws the girls together is that Emily also has a deep passion for books and nature.

Through many twists and turns of live we see the girls grow into adults and the ties that bind them are strong.  Even though they spend several years absent from each others lives, the two always find a way back to their special friendship.

Nantucket Sisters is truly a book to love.  It paints a picture of the special kind of love between lifelong friends.

Look for Nancy Thayer’s novel in stores June 17.
As always, thanks to Ballentine and Edelweiss for the Advance Read.

Enjoy the short work week and get out and get some sunshine!
XX

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Empty Thursday…

I am a die-hard Grey’s Anatomy fan.  So, once the season has officially ended I am left with an empty, lonely Thursday night.  Thursday has been “me night” for quite some time and honestly I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when the show ends.

Christina is gone.  This is just heartbreaking!  I’m still not over George and Sloan so loosing Christina is just a mess.  Though I must admit part of me (a very microscopic sized part) wants the show to end on a good note and not run into the ground after too many bad seasons that no one really watches anymore.  Maybe this next season will be the final one.

Aside from the Grey’s Anatomy grief not much else is going on.  That can be good or bad depending on how you look at things.  There are a few busy weeks coming up so not having much to do this week isn’t so bad. Just taking on some small projects and cleaning chores around the house to get ready for vacation.

From The Stacks:

I FINALLY finished this gardening book!!  It took me awhile to get through it!  It was really packed with information.  I’m sure some would argue that there is no need to pay for a book like this when most of the info is easily available on the internet.  This is true.  However, sometimes having a book full info that’s presented in such a nice way is a good thing.  This would also make a nice gift to gardeners both old and new.
Some of the book was a bit hard to get through – I think most books that are info and not novels are best done in small doses.  I was glad I stuck it out though as I did learn lots of neat things.
Just started reading this and it’s really great!  I LOVE this book cover!!  That spot on a beach surrounded by nothing is exactly where you want to be when you enjoy this novel.  Grab it before you head out for your summer vacation spot.  I haven’t even finished it but I already love and recommend it.
If you’re a fellow Grey’s fan, Here’s to finding something to do from now to September on Thursdays!!
XX

This past weekend was beautiful!  I hope you all enjoyed the nice weather as much as the hubbs and I did!  We went to the 13th Annual International Beer Fest here in our area.  It was a really good time – I love that sort of thing.  We are lucky enough to have great venues for things like beer and wine festivals, several concert venues, and celebrations throughout the year.
I have been working out in the garden – obviously!  It’s amazing how well things are going!  The tomato plants already have flowers and the peppers won’t be too far behind.
As far as reading goes; I am behind!!  I hate that.  I haven’t started anything new in days.  I’ve been busy with other stuff around the house.  Getting closer to vacation time and I’m trying to get all things clean and organized before we go.  Vacations are much more work as an adult than the summer getaway when you’re little.
From The Stacks:
The Shadow Year from Hannah Richell  is already out in stores so the good news is that you can pick it up right away.  And you should!
The rundown on this novel is that it basically follows two story lines that alternate. The book unfolds as the two plots come together into a fascinating ending
 First there is Lila who has just suffered the loss of her first child.  She inherits a lakeside cabin in a pretty remote location.  The kicker is that Lila doesn’t know this property even existed or better yet who left it to her. 
Upon her first visit to the cabin Lila discovers that the property has been neglected for a very long time. However she feels a kind of inexplicable connection to it and decided she is going to bring it back to a beautiful little spot.  She really underestimates the time and work this endeavor will be and her husband is not to thrilled with the project.
Rewind thirty years into the past and you get the second group of characters and their story.  A group of college room mates have just graduated.  They decide to throw caution to the wind and abandon their lives for awhile.  The group of five make a life in the little lakeside cabin.  What they encounter and their trials through this time brings some closer together and tears some of their friendships apart.
Lila’s discovery of the cabin is long after it has been, what appears to be, a very strange and hurried abandonment of the group.  Through the novel she discovers who lived their, what happened to them all and even more importantly how it impacts her life now.
This is a debut novel for Hannah Richell and it is amazing.  I look forward to her future works.
Enjoy your week!
XX

Outdoor Adventures

This is my kitty Simon.  Although this photo was taken last summer, going outside (to eat grass) still remains one of his favorite activities.  He loves to smell the breeze and lay in the lawn.

Since the weather has warmed up we have been enjoying outside time for the past few days.  Though I have four cats, Simon is the only one that goes out.  The others are much more ‘normal’ and skittish about things. Not to mention that Simon goes outside because he’s completely nuts.

Simon is my challenging child.  He’s nearly five now and we love him dearly – he has always been a daddy’s man.  Simon is hyper-vocal and very rambunctious.  So we have outdoor time to help chill him out a bit. Some days it works better than others!

Currently Simon has a basic harness but I’ve been looking into some of the walking vests.  Particularly the one from sturdiproducts.com.  I really like all of the stuff by this company, the cat carriers are amazing! Thanks to Jackson Galaxy more and more kitties are having safe outdoor experiences and cat harnesses have come a long way.

From the Stacks:

The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard – what a great book this was!  I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful novel and as a once upon a time floral designer, it had special interest to me.

So the basic run down is our main girl, Ruby, has had a fairly rough childhood.  With an addict for a mother and an absent father Ruby and her sister end up in foster care.  Luckily their grandmother wants to raise them and the girls are returned to family.

As young adults Ruby’s sister, Daisy, meets tragedy and passes away.  This loss is paralyzing for Ruby  and she deals with it in different ways through her life.  Daisy’s death is what leads Ruby to become a florist. Learning about the flowers and making beautiful arrangements is her therapy.

This book is really about love, family and self growth in many, many layers.  The novel is full of wonderful characters and they really make the story what it is.

I very highly recommend you pick this up on June 3 when it hits shelves.

I’ll post a picture of the new harness when it comes in!  Hopefully anyone with a kitty who enjoys, or might enjoy, a chance to get out doors will like them.

XX

Mother’s Day

Getting ready to celebrate Mother’s Day.  I’m lucky enough to have a special mom, aunt, and grandmother to share today with.  I made a special gift so that’s always fun.

Enjoyed a snack of apple slices and peanut butter  before heading out to dinner.  Let me go on the record as saying that I truly believe there should be a statue somewhere of the guy who invented peanut butter.  I really could do without the apple – and just eat a small bowl of the peanut butter!

Reading a book called The Art of Arranging Flowers- so far I am really enjoying this one!  Which is great since the last one was okay and the one before wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.  I love when you pick up an unknown book by an author you don’t know and it’s really enjoyable.

Since I’ve been reviewing books I’ve expanded what I normally read considerably.  I’m much more willing to read new things by new people rather than wait for one or two favorite writers to have something new.

I am pretty much caught up and on schedule for my Good Reads book challenge.  I didn’t start it in January so that left me some catch up work to do.  This year I set a goal of reading 50 books.  That averages one a week and I felt was do-able.  Guess we’ll just have to see how many I actually get under my belt!

Enjoy your mom, moms, or other wonderful ladies in your life this weekend!

XX

Favorite Things….

The warm weather ushers in so many of my favorite things.  Today would have been a perfect afternoon to head over to the beach.  Relaxing in the sand with a book and listening to the waves is one of my favorite ways to pass the time.

When I first moved here I thought for sure I would head over routinely and stake my claim on a patch of shoreline for the day.  Yet, like most locals, I hardly ever go.  It’s a shame since I do love it so much.  But a day at the beach really is more of a vacation activity and doesn’t fit into every day life.

Usually I settle for an hour or so in a chair in my back yard.  Not exactly the beach – but nice enough to read and catch a tan.

I’m also checking in on the garden and watching things grow.  It’s so neat to see what started out as just seeds transform in to ‘real plants’ and later bring in a great harvest!  Growing from seed was luckily much easier than I had anticipated and definitely worth the time.

From the Stacks:

I started and finished Cruise by Suzanne Vermeer.  It was a delightful and easy read – just perfect for summer!  Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for the advanced read.

Cruise is a novel about a married couple who end up on a cruise for their honeymoon.  The husband mysteriously disappears in what we find out quickly is a plot to fake his own death.

The how and especially the WHY of this event is the basis of the whole novel.  Cruise isn’t really a mystery but there are some twisty plot points that keep it exciting.  The writing style is fluid and light which makes the novel a quick read.  Suzanne Vermeer does a wonderful job of painting a picture of the Mediterranean and her characters are well written.

What I particularly liked about this novel was the setting.  Most of the book takes place in Spain and the Netherlands.  This was such a refreshing change compared to all the novels that are set in sunny California or busy, trendy Manhattan.  A setting to which the reader has no real reference point allows for more imagination and added a lot to the overall experience of the novel.

I recommend this to anyone looking to pick up a good, light read.  Look for it to hit bookshelves in mid May.

Wishing you happy reading and sunny skies!

XX

Summer is here, bring on the fancy drinks!!

Well if you blinked around here you certainly missed Springtime.  It seems every year we go from frozen to hot here in Virginia.  On April, 16 we had sleet and cold – today May, 8 – it is nearly 90 degrees outside.  I can never make sense of this phenomenon.  
I enjoyed my first harvest from my garden today!  I had to pinch back my mint plant so I figured waste not want not and I made myself a Mint Julep.  It’s how any good Southern gal partakes of hard liquor in the afternoon.
From The Stacks:
The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett is a narrative told from the perspective of a young pre-teen girl living in the midst of devastating Pennsylvania coal mine fires. The novel is inspired by real events in the the 1960’s, and interestingly, some of those same fires still burn today.

Our main character is Brigid who is, for her time, a precocious little girl. She comes from a poor family who has seen their fair share of trouble of all kinds. Brigid’s family loses their home to the fire and we experience this loss through the eyes of a child. Her disheveled, broken family craves a better life that will never come.

This book, for me, is about the setting and the town but even more than that The Hollow Ground is about a young girl coming of age and learning to let go. Brigid learns about family, she learns that her parents -especially the father she loves desperately- are not who they seem. She begins to make up her own mind about things and how she feels rather than follow in the footsteps of her mother.

What doesn’t work for me in this novel really is the writing style. I found myself thinking that it felt very repetitive. I felt that the author kept using the same terms and expressions rather than finding different ways to get across a meaning throughout the novel.  The dialect of the characters gives the reader the impression that they are all unintelligent. I think it’s very stereotypical that just because they are poor that it fits they are also simple minded.

I enjoyed the story line but I cannot say I’m a fan of the delivery of the story.  This is not a book that will end up on my recommendation list.  However, I’m sure lots of people will not have the same issues I did and will enjoy the novel.

As always – Thanks to NetGalley and to St. Martins Press for the advance read copy.
Enjoy any Spring you may have left in your area!  If you’ve already found yourself in some summer time heat then enjoy a tasty beverage!! 
XX