Friday, March 22, 2019

Page-A-Day Calendar

A secret apartment above a library, and in NYC no less?! Anyone else just find this to be the epitome of NIRVANA?!?

Sign me up, I'm selling my home and moving as soon as possible!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Idaho - Ruskovich

Title: Idaho

Author: Emily Ruskovich
Genre: Fiction, Women's Fiction

Rating3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library


What Its About:  
Ann is determined to figure out what happened. For years, she has lived with her husband Wade in his mountain home, teaching students to play piano and shaping their lives together. But Wade is slowly losing his memory to Alzheimers; and Ann is desperate to learn as much of his history as she can before she loses him.

Wade's previous wife Jenny is in jail for a horrific act of violence, killing her own daughter. And their second child has been missing since that day. Ann, who recalls her piano lessons with Wade prior to the murder, wonders if her perceived emotional connection to Wade led to this violent and evil act and cannot seem to let go the possibility that she was the cause of the event.

In many different voices, we learn about Ann's, Wade' and Jenny's lives and learn how Ann tries to take responsibility for the event, recreating Wade's life after the loss, and helping Jenny as well, whether out of guilt or responsibility.

The Bottom Line: 
If the reader is looking for some hard-core answers, you will not get them from this book. Some stories, experiences, cannot be explained and the events in this book are no different. However, the stories are so well written, the prose so fitting, that you are left not minding the loss. Rather, you feel like you got all you bargained for and more.

An exceptional story, well worth the read.

Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award

Monday, March 18, 2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? - 03/18/19

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.

Currently Reading

I've randomly found a few "trauma cleaner" videos on YouTube. They are NOT. PRETTY. But they do spark some weird...interest in the watcher. So I figured this is a good way to satisfy that interest, without the gore.

Just Finished

Friday, March 15, 2019

Yea or Nay: Audio Books

There are many folks who love audio books and equally as many who just don't, for a multitude of reasons. Here are some thoughts...

  • Audio books are cheap, convenient, and portable. You can get them for a few dollars or grab them from your library. You can listen to them in your car, on your phone, working out, just about anywhere.
  • Audio books can be shared over various electronics (computer, phone, iPod or iPad, etc.) and therefore require no carrying around of books or ereaders.
  • They don't take up a lot of space, very convenient if you have a small apartment/home.
  • They are eco-friendly.
  • They are easier on your eyes.
  • Narrators and authors can share audio books with emotion and pronunciation that you might misread (Hermione!). They can introduce new vocabulary or difficult names.
  • They allow for a shared listening of a story, for example on a road-trip, which opens up opportunities to discuss with a partner.
  • Audio books can allow readers to access content that is beyond their reading level. Children for example or making longer classics accessible for someone who otherwise couldn't get through them.
  • Audio books teach critical listening skills.
  • Some people hate having books read to them.
  • Initial costs. Along with a book file you will need to provide technology to play it (phone, computer, etc.) with speakers or headphones.
  • No real way to mark or tag passages or save comments/thoughts on what you have read.
  • You must actually be relatively tech-savy to get audio books onto your player, with any required apps, and then figure out how to access and play them. And, files can be lost.
  • Audio books make you anti-social as you block out others while listening.
  • If you are easily distracted, its easy to lose your place.

In my opinion...

Audio books are convenient, but they NOT reading (in my humble opinion). Just like watching a movie of a book isn't reading.

And frankly, I just cannot concentrate on the intricacies of the story, cannot visualize the characters or environments when someone is reading to me. And I am way to easily distract...

Nope, audio books are not for me!

What about you?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Suburban Junkie - Jude Hassan

Title: Suburban Junky: From Honor Roll to Heroin Addict

Author: Jude Hassan
PublishedGenre: Memoir

Rating3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Family and Relationships, Drug Culture


What Its About:  
Jude Hassan was always a "good kid": good grades, involved in sports, close to his family. He had a lot to look forward too.  After moving to a new town however, Jude decides he wants to be something new, something fun. He wants to be popular. He wants to make friends and date girls and have a good time. Jude makes a new friend, a buddy who can hook him up with friends, girls...and drugs.

Peer pressure, naiveté, and curiosity lead Jude down a steep, scary slope. What begins as an innocent couple of drinks and tokes of marijuana turns surprisingly quickly to a heroin addiction. Within a few months, he is hooked and his perfect life has slipped away. 

Losing his parents trust doesn't reach him. Ending up in trouble with the law doesn't reach him. It's only by the sheet grace of God that Jude is able to get control, with the guidance and love of his dying father, as well as a burning guilt of what he has done and lost. 

The Bottom Line: 
A very interesting read. Hassan spares nothing in his honest and detailed explanation of how quickly drug use can get a hold of you and lead to poor choices, bad decisions, and loss of control. Some of the book (particularly how his mother spoke to him) felt a bit contrived, silly. Of course, I can't possibly know...but I chose to believe that he was rewriting her words for ease. But overall this book was well written. Worth a read.

Monday, March 11, 2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? - 03/11/19

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.

Still Reading:

Yep, still reading this one. Its well written...but dense.

Up Next:

Not sure yet...suggestions?

Friday, March 08, 2019

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and not so bookish bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise.

It's Friday y'all!

Tax season is upon us. Hubby and I have an appointment with our new tax-prep person next weekend. We had been using the same guy for years, but as we sold our condo this year we needed someone who handles the more...advanced tax issues, like capital gains. Blah! Oh well, the sooner it's over the better.

Hubby bought a new car this week, used as always. But he bought a Honda with only 40k miles, so we expect it to last him for years (assuming no major accidents). Hoping to pick it up this weekend.

The Nobel Foundation has announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature for both 2018 and 2019 will be awarded later in 2019. 2018's prize, as you likely know, was put on hold due to a sexual assault scandal.

Along with two kitties, hubby and I have a fish tank. At one time, our 55 gallon tank held quite a few fishies. We are now down to two fairly large babies. Unfortuantely, we discovered Wednesday the tank was leaking. Thankfully we were both working from home due to doctor's appointments. We rushed to get them switched to an emergency tank, but it will take a few days to get another tank we own set up and acclimated (its a bit bigger than this emergency tank). All this to say, my home is currently a freakin' nightmare with fish supplies and tanks laying all over the place. I know what my weekend looks like!

And the cats have finally discovered that we have fish... We had to surround the tank with boxes to keep the kitties short-term memory blank.

We finally got our snow day here in Boston. We got two storms this past weekend. The first was a big 'ole bummer. We barely got two inches. The second was Sunday night into Monday and was supposed to be six inches...we got fourteen. Yipee! Monday was a half day, but I worked from home as I needed to handle snow removal (hubby's still hurting from the accident and is PT bound).

Now that we've had our snow day, I am ready for summer! That's it. I'm good. Let's go with the sunny, warm days and vacation days off. And, of course, after months of abnormal 30-40 degree days, it's now 12-18 degrees EVERY DAY! March is acting like February. Pooh!

Remember this weekend is daylight savings everyone. I hate losing the hour of sleep, but I like the evening sunshine.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore - Fu

Title: The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

Author: Kim Fu

Genre: Fiction, YA Fiction
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

Recommended if you like: YA Fiction, Women's fiction


What Its About:  
A small group of young girls - Nita, Andee, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan - set off for an overnight canoeing trip with their veteran guide. The guide opts to change the camping destination at the last minute, despite the dangers of doing so. Sadly, she passes away that evening while the girls sleep in their tents. The girls are left facing the most difficult and terrifying experience of their young lives. Stranded on an unknown island alone, they must find help or save themselves and in turn grow up quickly.

An exploration of how the event affects the girls’ actions and alliances during the trip, as well as how the experience shapes the rest of their lives via interspersed chapters of the girls, now women, experiences later in life.

The Bottom Line: 

I didn't love this story. Nor did I hate it. It was well written, entertaining. But it did not leave me with a wow-factor ending. Rather, it was more like a strong, but quiet whisper. Worth the read.

Saturday, March 02, 2019


Thanks Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for this idea. 

5- The Last Things I’ve Read
1. Work emails 
2. My page-a-day calendar, Sa Sartiglia (Oristano, Italy)
3. An article about what it would take to impeach someone...just research, ya know
4. Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
5. Facebook

4- What I Really Want to Draw
1. A landscape scene with a lake in graphite
2. A child's portrait with colored pencils
3. A tree branch with intricate bark and a pine cone, perhaps in tinted charcoal
4. An animal, in pastels, with distinct fur patterns that is good enough to inspire commissions (or anything good enough to inspire commissions, honestly)

3- Things I expect to be doing this weekend
1. Helping hubby car shop (his was officially totaled this past week when some guy rear-ended him)
2. Working on painting and cleaning our rental condo for a quick sale this spring
3. Hunkering down in the foot or so of snow we are expecting

2- Items I would like to eat right now
1. Homemade banana bread with nuts
2. The leftover Chinese food in my fridge right now

1- I want more than anything
1. Financial security enough to retire early and spend the rest of my days creating art, making music, and volunteering with animals. I don't ask for much, do I?