Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekly Refresh

~currently involved with~ storm clouds in the best kind of way. They are moving on from us right now so we have a cool looking sky but another awesome storm will be here tomorrow. Also, the in-laws are in town and arrived with a lovely bouquet for me. 

Walking around the neighborhood

 ~moving on from~ Hopefully a cold. I have been sick for a week and I think this is going down as the worst cold I have ever had. I will be happy if I can leave it behind me this coming week.

My brother, just something to make me smile.
 ~taking with me~ things that make me smile. Hanging out with my family and taking a random picture of my brother after telling him I don't want to hear him slurp his wine. He works at a winery and I enjoy giving him a hard time about his snooty tasting practices because he is so not a wine snob.

~quote of the week~ Another one from my boys. We were watching March of the Penguins and being teenage boys they couldn't get over the reproduction part. One boys explained it to another who had missed the scene...
"They did a sexual transaction. They did it out in the open. They didn't even use a cover."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lost Lake - Sarah Addison Allen

Lost Lake
by Sarah Addison Allen

 Welcome Spring. I feel as though every one of Sarah's books (I feel as though we are on a first name basis by now) set me up to dance into a beautiful Spring. They have a history of being light and airy with a touch of magic and I am always happy while I am living inside them. Lost Lake was no different. The characters were all so wonderfully unique and developed to perfection. I want to visit Lost Lake, I want to stay.

My book is marked with tabs and I had plans to quote one or two here but as I read them over I find that they fall a bit flat out of context. I didn't mark them for the wonderful sentence structure, I marked them because they had the ability to evoke so much emotion in the moment for me. So you will just have to read it to see what I mean.

I will include one because, as a book lover, this one really made me think.

"She had laughed and said, 'I've read them all. I want to remember them the way they were. If I read them now, the endings will have changed.'"

**Spoiler-ish things ahead...

I can't talk about this book without talking about the end of the book and while I won't say exactly what happens I have to say what I felt about what I thought was going to happen in relation to what actually did. I got about halfway through the book and thought I knew exactly how it was going to end. This wasn't exactly a bad thing and I came to terms with it pretty quickly. I mean I was looking forward to a happy ending and all so I would have been disappointed if it hadn't ended all neat an pretty. But as I'm reading I'm contemplating some upcoming twists or surprises knowing that Sarah had something aside from a straight line to the finish for me. And I got a little mixture. And then I got to page 289 and read this:

"Sometimes, the best endings are the ones that surprise you. 
Sometimes, the best are the ones that have everything happening exactly how you want it to happen. But the absolute perfect endings are when you get a little of both."

Well played Sarah Addison Allen, well played.

**purchased from a local bookstore

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekly Refresh

This pic is strikingly similar to last week....hmm
~currently involved with~ The sunshine. I am just about to head to my mom's for a BBQ.

~moving on from~ Will I sound too repetitive if I say the negativity of my job again. It has been a crazy week. I was so out of it a few days ago that I poured myself a glass of water and it wasn't until it was at my mouth that I realized I had poured it into a measuring cup.  Sigh. It actually started off pretty awful but yesterday ended on a good note...sort of. While I did have a boy call me a bitch at the end of the night I also had one give me a hug just because he said he knew I had a rough week. From a 16 year old boy that is really sweet. 

Apparently I am also leaving behind my Coldest Girl in Coldtown audiobook for awhile because I ran out of lending time (stupid app deleting my book...just charge me for being late, I'd much rather pay and finish the book) and there are 4 others on the wait list now. Bummer. I am anxiously awaiting my email saying it is my turn again. I have always had trouble sharing *cough* blog title *cough*

~taking with me~ The happiness from finishing a great book....Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. I waqs late getting this post up because I was caught up in the story.

~quote of the week~ I'm pulling one from a book this week. 
"Magic is what we invent when we want something we think we can't have. It makes her happy to think she's a femme fatale. We go along with it."
pg 66, Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St Patty's Day!

Got my green on and some daffodils for $5. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekly Refresh

~currently involved with~ I'm deeply involved with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black on audiobook right now. It has been a nice treat on my commute but I have found myself listening to it more when I am off at night because the mood it better in the dark (that and I have been rocking out to my jams during the day in the beautiful weather we have been having). Then, I play it while I am getting ready for bed and it has kept me up late like I only thought "real" books could.

~moving on from~ This week would have been difficult even if one of my boys hadn't vandalized something with "f*** you Jessica." Charming. But it was really sweet to see the caring and protective way many of them reacted when it was found. So I'm moving on from the negativity.

~taking with me~ Well first of all this gorgeous weather. Love! I am also taking a new book home with me. My local bookstore didn't have Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen in stock so I had them order it and it arrived. I am usually at the bookstore on release day for Sarah but for some reason that didn't happen this time. Her books remind me of warm days in NC and really good memories of being there. We will see if it feels the same reading her books in CA but the weather today is really working for me. I may have snatched an additional book on impulse while at the bookstore. What? I'm trying to support local businesses. More is better. 

~quote of the week~ The quote this week is actually a conversation I had with one of my boys that cracked me up. Maybe it won't make sense out of context but at my job it is encouraged that we show emotion. Timing is everything and it can be a good tool. Well it has been difficult lately and I have found myself expressing myself in tears more than usual...I'm emotional, what can I say. So talking to one of my teen boys this is how it went.

Boy: How are you doing?
Me: Good. How are you?

B: How come every time I ask you how you are, you say good?
M: (shrugs) You ask me when I am good.
B: No I think you just say you're good.
M: Well maybe you only ask me how I'm doing when I'm in a good mood. Did you ever think about that?
B: Yeah, well all the other times you're crying.

Oh these boys!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Stillwater - Nicole Helget

by Nicole Helget

 It's weird, I read the first chapter of Stillwater and it didn't really draw me in the way I hope first chapters to do. It was a bunch of names of people I knew nothing about and there was a logjam in a river and okay where was this going? I didn't even remember this first chapter until I just picked the book back up after finishing it but now after getting to know all the people and the town of Stillwater I think this is my favorite chapter of the book. It was like I reread the book in just that one chapter (and yet I kind of want to reread it for real right now) because while that first chapter didn't initially give me any warm fuzzies, by the second chapter I was hooked.

Stillwater wasn't a difficult read but I wouldn't call it an easy one either. As Helget takes us through the intertwined lives of our characters there is racism and sexism and just plain nasty old men farting all over the place (and farting doesn't usually bother me, I work with teenage boys for goodness sake!) but it was the way the world was so realistically created that got to me. When I read about Angel, the daughter of a wealthy politician, things were pretty and smelled good but not happy. As opposed to when I was with Beaver Jean the trapper and everything was disgusting and offensive. But still the complexities left me sometimes feeling bad for the characters I didn't like (Beaver Jean) but he got it (and by "it" I mean an axe in the head) in the end, which was really the beginning so that isn't a spoiler because it happens in chapter 3.

Which leads me to the timeline of the story. We began at the end and then moved to the beginning before finally filling in all the middle. It sounds confusing but was actually really easy to follow and quite enjoyable. The only thing I had an issue with was the part at the end about the middle when our main characters Angel and Clement are growing up. There were a few times I completely lost track of how old they were supposed to be but it didn't slow me down and I caught on quickly enough. The story was wonderful in all the connected twists and painful turns. I didn't want to set it down.

Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover; 336p
ISBN-10: 0547898207 

Synopsis:  Clement and Angel are fraternal twins separated at birth; they grow up in the same small, frontier logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Clement was left at the orphanage. Angel was adopted by the town’s richest couple, but is marked and threatened by her mother’s mental illness. They rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come to save him.

Stillwater, near the Mississippi River and Canada, becomes an important stop on the Underground Railroad. As Clement and Angel grow up and the country marches to war, their lives are changed by many battles for freedom and by losses in the struggle for independence, large and small.

Stillwater reveals the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, nuns, squaws, fur trappers, loggers, runaway slaves and freedmen, outlaws and people of conscience, all seeking a better, freer, more prosperous future. It is a novel about mothers, about siblings, about the ways in which we must take care of one another and let go of one another. And it’s brought to us in Nicole Helget’s winning, gorgeous prose.

For more information on the book tour check out:

Tour Hashtag: #StillwaterTour

About the Author

Born in 1976, NICOLE LEA HELGET grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota, a childhood and place she drew on in the writing of her memoir, The Summer of Ordinary Ways. She received her BA and an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Based on the novel’s first chapter, NPR’s Scott Simon awarded The Turtle Catcher the Tamarack Prize from Minnesota Monthly. 

Nicole Helget shares her thoughts on writing and her influences, as well as beautiful photos of her family (including six children!) at her blog. You can also follow her on Twitter.



Buy the Book

  Amazon (Hardcover)
  Amazon (Kindle)
  Barnes & Noble (Hardcover)
  Barnes & Noble (Nook)
  Book Depository
  Google Play

**Thank you Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with an ARC for review.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Weekly Refresh

Muffin: on the table, among books, in the sun. She totally takes after me

~currently involved with~  I have been loving the fact that I can get audiobooks from the library to listen to on the way to work lately and I just started One Day by David Nicholls. I also checked out Reconciliation by Benazir Bhutto, which I started reading right after it was released but stopped (I can't remember if it was a casualty of my move or I just got sidetracked) and never picked back up.

~moving on from~  Hopefully the scariest drought possibility ever. It has been raining all week and I LOVE it, not to mention we need it badly. We need a lot more to get us anywhere close to comfortable but hopefully we haven't seen the end of our wet season. 

~taking with me~ Some sweet ass rain boots and I am excited to have weather that actually permits me to wear them.

~quote of the week~  I was at a birthday party for my niece and someone commented on my brother's lack of hair (he is 27 and has been balding since 23ish). His response was "I'm not losing them, they're just getting lazy and falling down to my back." Love this guy!!