Friday, December 8, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  Books.  Is it crazy that I want to purchase multiple copies of my favorite books? I want all of the different covers and editions. Is that too much? Or is every bookaddict doing this?  Here are some of the books I am coveting:

2.  TV.  I have not watched TV this week. Okay, so I did watch the news a few times and maybe one Christmas movie on Hallmark, but that was it. I just found that nothing really interested me this week. The Christmas I did watch was on a whim. It was called Engaging Father Christmas and was a sequel to a movie I have never seen. Its basically about this young woman who found out who her father was the year before. Turns out he was a famous actor who cheated on his wife with her mother! Anyhow, he's passed away and so has her mom.  The family he's left behind take her into their fold, but at a distance.  Of course, she's met someone in the small town the family lives in and gets engaged when she returns (hence the title) to visit with her new family.  Along the way, she runs into her ex, who she confesses her secret to - that her dad was a famous actor. And suddenly, she's getting texts threatening to reveal the truth about her parents. Now she's worried that her new family will drop her like a hot potato once they found out that their secret is out. In the end, everything works out and she gets the man she loves and her new family's trust - plus, the home her father first bought.  Its a bit unrealistic, but still heartwarming. And I loved it.

3.  NetGalley.  So many great books to choose from! I am getting addicted to requesting again - OMG! I just go approved for these three and can't wait to devour them:


4.  Christmas shopping. I am nearly finished - Hurrah! I've been buying so many things online lately - its a huge help.  I'm headed to the shops this weekend and can't wait to finish off my list.  For some reason, its been a lot of fun buying gifts this year. And I'm looking forward to wrapping them all up, too. I think its the holiday spirit in the air that's cheering me up lately and I love it!

5.  Music.  Christmas music and Selena (not Gomez).  I was in Target the other day and found a Selena CD for 5 bucks and bought it on a whim. And now, I can't stop listening to it. 

And now, I'm off to re-read A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear.  Hope you all have a great weekend! Happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My Christmas Wish List...

Its nearly Christmas and that means making lists. I've already made a few and crossed some names from them.  Now its time to make a list of my own.  Of course, mine is filled with books, but I can't help it. I'm bookworm at heart and all I want for Christmas are books.  Here are some of the titles I have on my Christmas Wish List:


What do you think? Not a bad bunch, right? My fingers are crossed that I'm gifted some of these lovelies for Christmas.  What about you? Are there any books you're hoping making it into your stocking this year? Here's to hoping we each have a book-tastic holiday season!
Happy reading! And, Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 1, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  Its December 1st and that means Christmas is on its way - hurrah! My tree is up and fully decorated. I have ordered gifts, crossed names off lists, and have stocked up on wrapping paper. My cookbooks are out and ready to be perused, so that I can choose a few (or a lot) of recipes to bake this holiday season. Christmas music is playing throughout the house and in my car - I love it!  I'm ready to watch Love Actually and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation over and over again.  And I'm making a list of everything I need to do this holiday season - yikes!

2.  TV shows.  I am still watching the Housewives shows on Bravo. I'm addicted, so what can I do?  The OC's reunion was rather lackluster.  Although I do hope that Vicki and Tamara are friends next season, because this past season was seriously dull.  NJ is beyond ridiculous and I'm starting to wonder why I watch it. Dallas was seriously the best, but way too short - they only show 10 episodes compared to the other shows which get over 20.  And BH is coming back this month - woo hoo!  I've stopped watching TWD - its just so boring lately.  They really need to defeat Negan and move on.  Stranger Things 2 was so much fun. I loved the Snow Ball at the end - it was one of the highlights of the season.  Plus, the 80s music was awesome - who doesn't love Cyndi Lauper?  And I finally discovered Ghosted, starring Adam Scott and Craig Robinson. OMG! What a fun and ridiculous show - I loved it!

3.  Books.  My reading has fallen to wayside. I can't seem to find a book that I actually want to get lost in. So, I've been re-reading the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I love these books and tend to re-read them every year.  I'm currently on the third book in the series, Pardonable Lies. I'm near the end, where Maisie is discovering the truth about one of her clients. She's been through the ringer with this story - realizing that slaying one's dragons isn't as easy as she had imagined. Its definitely one of my favorites in the series. Oh, and I just found out that Winspear's next book (To Die But Once) in the series comes out next March - woo hoo!!


 4.  Planners.  I have recently fallen down the planner rabbit hole on IG and YouTube - OMG! So many planners and so many ways to plan. I decided to try the Hobonichi Techo. I love the covers and the idea of using different planners for different things. I hope that I can stick with it - I usually start a new planner and then forget about it midway through. I tend to write lists and jot down appointments on notepads.  Wish me luck!  And let me know what type of planner you use - give me some new ideas.

5.  Photograph by R.E.M. featuring Natalie Merchant. Two of my absolute favorites!! I hadn't heard this one in ages:

And now, I'm off to go through the latest issue of Vogue. I just received it in the post and can't wait to check it out.  Happy reading!! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Three Things...

Howdy strangers! Its been so long since I last posted and I have to admit that I've missed writing on my blog. I have a huge stack of books to read and review.  And I need to catch up and read your blog posts, too. I feel so out of the loop.  Hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving - mine was chock full of family and too much food (all of which I love). 

I thought I'd write a quick post sharing three things - something to get my blogging back on track.

1.  Losing weight.  Yes, I want to lose weight to get healthy and feel healthy.  Except that the way I recently lost weight is not my ideal strategy.  So, my sister and I had McDonald's one night for dinner (we were lazy and wanted fast food).  I ordered the Chicken Nugget meal - something I never normally get, but for some reason wanted.  As a result of that meal (which tasted sub par), I wound up getting sick.  Like I was basically chained to the bathroom all night long throwing up. I felt wretched and weak afterward.  And the stomach issues lasted all week long. I wound up losing nearly 12 pounds.  Shortly after that dinner fiasco, I decided on the spur of the moment to join my parents and favorite aunt on a road trip to visit family up north in Ohio.  Well, we ate at a service plaza for dinner one night and I wound up getting sick from that meal (KFC - yes, I know, I need to stop with the fast food).  I spent the week we were in Ohio eating nothing, because everything and anything made me sick. I wound up losing another 10 pounds. So, all in all, I lost over 20 pounds by getting sick on fast food. Talk about an unhealthy diet. Knock wood, I am finally feeling better and so I've been slowly adding foods back into my diet. Healthy foods - tons of veg, fruit, and lean meats. And, I started going to the gym again.  My fingers are crossed that I never throw up again. 

2.  Ohio.  I had not been in ages (since I was in college) and my aunts are getting older (late 70s), so I figured why not go. My parents were already packed and ready to leave when I decided to join them. It was the three of us, plus my favorite aunt.  We drove the whole way and stopped too many times, but enjoyed the road trip.  I have to admit to loving seeing the different states along the way - the leaves are changing, the mountains rise up high, and the fog settles in thick.  Its definitely fun to leave behind the palm trees and sunshine, especially when its Fall.  My mom's family lives in a small town called Fostoria, or as my favorite aunt likes to call it, "the town that time forgot".  She is so right. This town has not changed that much since I last visited (which was sometime in the late 90s).  The only difference between now and then is that more shops have shut down and more homes have been abandoned. Its crazy how so many people live there, but they all work and shop in a different town instead of their own. Driving around, my mom and aunt were reminded of the places they lived and shops they frequented when they lived there.  And seeing my aunts, uncles, and cousins was a blast from the past. Especially, since my favorite uncle came down from NY to see us.  It was so nice to catch up with everyone in person and just talk, laugh, and spend time with each other. Oh, and the weather - freezing! It was in the 20s and low 30s when we there, so we had to borrow jackets and scarves. I had anticipated 40s and 50s, but apparently there was a sudden drop in temperature the week we were there. It was cold and I loved it! Of course, everyone had their fireplaces roaring and their heaters cranked up high.  We made a trip to Amish country and bought tons of their baked goods to enjoy with the family (none of which I could eat).  So much food on this trip! And all I ate were flour tortillas (which were delicious, because they were homemade) and drank ginger ale or water. Ugh! I had to pass on my aunt's tamales (which she made just for us). The not eating was the only downside of the trip.  By the by, I couldn't help but think of that show, Breaking Amish, when we were in Amish country - how crazy is that?!  All in all, it was a great trip and the car came back  loaded with Christmas decor we bought at local craft fairs - I love craft fairs! 

3.  Holidays.  Thanksgiving has come and gone.  And now, we are gearing up for Christmas and the New Year. Talk about time speeding up. I feel like the year is ending much too quickly, but I am certainly looking forward to 2018 - I have my planners all lined up.  Hallmark is on all the time and I am loving all the new Christmas movies they have been showing lately. Of course, whenever I watch them all I do is complain about the lack of diversity and how the women are portrayed - and yet I can't stop watching them.  The tree and house are decorated. Presents are being bought and wrapped. I'm making a list of what to bake.  And I'm already planning what to cook for Christmas dinner and New Year's brunch.  Oh, and my car is loads with Christmas CDs.  I am definitely enjoying the holiday season. 

P.S.  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged - how exciting!!  They make such a lovely couple. I watched their interview on the BBC and thought they seemed so happy and in love. I feel like William and Kate are so reserved compared to them. 

Hope you all have a great week!! Happy reading!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Austen Escape: A Novel by Katherine Reay

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Love Jane Austen? Then you’ll adore The Austen Escape.

Falling into the past will change their futures forever.

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.
But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

my thoughts:

I am a huge fan of Katherine Reay's novels - The Bronte Plot is a favorite! So, I was super excited to have the opportunity to read her latest book, The Austen Escape. I just knew that I would be in for a treat, especially as the book would be Austen-centric.  And I do love me some Jane Austen.

Mary's life is pretty good. She enjoys her job as an engineer. She has friends. She has a crush. And she likes living in Austin, TX. Except, something seems to be missing and she just doesn't know what.  An old friend from childhood named Isabel proposes a trip to England.  Two weeks on an estate - what more could she want, right? Did I mention that the estate is Jane Austen obsessed - as in, its a retreat where you get to experience life as if you were in a Jane Austen novel.  How fun does that sound? Well, it would be a hoot, if Isabel didn't lose her memory.  Yep, Isabel experiences some sort of medical mishap that has her believing she is actually living in a Jane Austen novel - like, she believes that is her real life and identity.  Talk about Mary having her hands full, eh?  Instead of enjoying a two week vacation, she is now tasked with taking care of an estranged friend in a house full of strangers in another country - Whoa, Nelly!?

The Austen Escape is chock full of delightful surprises: a bit of mystery, some romantic entanglements, and infused with Austen references throughout. Its truly a fun read!  I found it to be the perfect book to escape into on a rainy day.  I just loved getting lost in Mary and Isabel's story - friendship can definitely be complicated and dramatic at times.  Plus, reading about England was pure bliss for me - I love all things British!!

I would happily recommend this book to fans of Reay and anyone looking for their next great read - you will fall in LOVE with The Austen Escape!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Austen Escape
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!