Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Currently: October 18, 2017


Yep. Usually Currently posts are slated for Sundays. But...when have I ever been one to follow the rules (even if they are my own)? I skipped out on topics for Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday this week partially because they just didn't grab me and partially because the Boy and I have both been fairly under the weather for about a week. I have been a serious slug.

So...partially because I didn't do this post on Sunday and partially because there is a HUGE readathon event going on this weekend, I'm posting a Currently post in the middle of the week. And because...hey...why not?

Weather: 

We are experiencing fairly nice fall weather this week. Word is that it will be our last one before the snow starts flying. Yeesh. Time goes by too quickly. (Additionally, I would be totally okay if the snow holds off for a bit longer.)

Today it was pretty and sunny out. It stayed in the low 60s with a soft little breeze. Not too bad if you're out in jeans and a hoodie. I went out briefly when one of the pigs was threatening to escape. Other than that, I've been holed up in the house with this ridiculous cold.

The sun, however, beamed pretty strongly into our southern facing windows, so it was a nice and toasty 78 in here. You'd think it was late August. I had to open a few windows to cool it down a bit. Seems like such an odd thing to do in northern Minnesota in mid-October.

Watching:

It took us two nights due to a cranky and sick baby and honestly not feeling so chipper ourselves, but we had a relaxing couch viewing of The Age of Adaline on Amazon. I'd been wanting to watch it for quite a while and, though I wasn't originally sure how it would go, turns out we both enjoyed it. It was nice to just unwind for a few minutes while still doing something together.

Reading:

I have a teensy, tiny bit of The Lauras left to read. I'm mulling over my opinion about it...we'll have to see how it wraps up. Meanwhile, I have about five (!) pages of notes on it. Apparently I'm getting a bit better about keeping a book journal.


Once I finish The Lauras, it's time to get (finally) started on Slade House. It took forever for it to show up in the mail and I'm already missing out on group discussion for RIP XII. Gah! Now I have to be careful to avoid spoilers. With any luck, I'll have enough readathon time to wrap it up this weekend and get back into the RIP swing.

Listening:

I flipped on my Spotify yesterday while I was getting ready. I had the Boy in the bathroom with me and he was feeling a bit off, so I wanted something to soothe him. The playlist of choice? Nothing fancy...really just some Beatles tunes with a bit of solo John Lennon thrown in. It was a nice change to have some music filling the air while we got set for the day. While I won't be doing it every day, it is definitely something that can liven up an otherwise slow or painful morning.

Learning:

I am devouring the web for ideas on how to finally put together my own bullet journal. I've been contemplating starting one for a long while now, but just haven't gotten my guts up. I have all of the supplies: some great notebooks, some good pens, a pack of twistable colored pencils...I've just let myself get held back by the fear of imperfection. Ha. As if I would ever be fully satisfied with any form of bullet journal I managed to create. I have a feeling that I will still feel the pull towards a notebook that I can add to and remove pages from, we'll see how I do with my first foray. I will admit that I'm a bit put off by the fact that I'm starting it at a super odd time of the year, so it won't be a January - December thing, but honestly...I'm always going to look for an excuse, so it's going to be time to just jump in.

Making:

I'm super dragging my feet on finishing up my canning. Pathetic. I have a small pile of pumpkins, a butternut squash, and a few acorn squash sitting on the step just waiting to be processed. I also have yet to pull my carrots. It's going to have to happen in the next two days. This stuff needs to be done, dang it!

It's not really "making" anything...more like getting rid of something, but I've been working on weeding through my saved Facebook posts and the pile of Pinterest emails that I have accumulated over the last few months. Holy crap, it takes forever! It does feel somewhat accomplishing to hit that unsave or delete option though.

Thinking/Feeling:

To be blunt, I feel like garbage. This cold is killing me. It's been nearly a week and I just feel drained. My head is pounding and my body is super achy. I have a ridiculous cough and every once in a while my nose decides to start running like a faucet.

The Boy isn't his chipper self either. He's been waking up between 6 and 7 times a night because he's honestly just so miserable. Between getting up with him and being stuck awake because of my own incessant coughing, I've been averaging about 2 hours of sleep a night. Not the best when you have a cold. Luckily, his fever has subsided. Mine seems to be making intermittent returns, though of a less intense nature each time. I really hope that we're nearly fully on the mend by this weekend. It would be great if we both felt somewhat normal tomorrow since I have some plans for us, darn it.

I'm also feeling some serious anticipation for the weekend. The 10th Anniversary run of Dewey's 24 hour Readathon is this weekend. For my time zone (Central US), it starts at 7am on Saturday and runs through 7am on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to it. It's one of my favorite readathons.

I probably won't read through the whole 24 hours, instead treating it a bit more like the 24 in 48 readathon and reading as much as I can for all of Saturday and Sunday. It's just the way the cookie crumbles when Gary has to work all weekend and the Boy and I are running this show together. The good news is that I will have myself a bit of a readathon partner, so there will be some children's books thrown in the mix to break up my own reading.

Wanting/Needing:

A maid? Can I just put that out there? I really hate having strangers in my house. Even more so, ones that will judge my cleanliness or lack thereof. But after a week of not feeling up to things, I could super use a one day housekeeper to just put things back together. If they could also repair the dishwasher that currently refuses to close, that would be even better. You never realize how ridiculously fantastic it is to have a machine that cleans and dries all of the darned pots and pans and eight thousand cups and spoons until you don't.

Loving:

My best buddy right now is orange Gatorade. It's my go to when I'm not feeling right. It may be total crap for my teeth, but at least I'm staying hydrated, right?


While I'm not thrilled that he feels miserable and is definitely more whiny and less happy than usual, it's nice to know that the Boy still wants to snuggle up. I'm the one he wants to hang out with. The clinginess makes it hard to get things done, but he's so stinking cute. And he tries so hard to be himself. He's a really good boy and I'm super lucky. 

Planning:

All the things. Let's see...

I'm hoping to go with my little family to a pumpkin patch tomorrow. We'll see how the weather is and how everyone is feeling. It would be nice to get some more fall pictures of B.

I also need to make a Costco run. I have a box of requested goodies for a birthday that can only be purchased in this area of the nation and need to be shipped back to Idaho next week. That is big, important, top priority stuff. Besides...this gives me an excuse to buy Costco candy for this week's readathon.

I'm really hoping to get my bullet journal off the ground in the next week or two. Is it sad that I have to plan my planner before I can make my planner? I swear, sometimes I'm a raging disaster.

And OF COURSE I'm planning on taking part in Dewey's 24-hour Readathon! I'll post a prep post a bit before start time (probably the night before) that will spell out all of my plans for the weekend. I'm still working out the details on how I'm going to manage my time and what books (and even more importantly, snacks) will be on the agenda. If you're a reader (even if you can only participate for an hour or two), go on over and check it out. Join in on the fun! I promise...this is a good one.


What about you? What does your "Currently" look like?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Blogger Hop: The Horror!


It's Saturday, so that means Book Blogger Hop. It's operated by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week (on Friday), a new book related question is posed to participating bloggers.

This Week's Question: 

Who is your favorite horror/suspense author and why?

Ah...now I have to see this as two separate questions. For me, horror and suspense are two very different categories. Horror has more of a ghoulish type application...a kind of supernatural influence. Suspense, meanwhile, is a bit of an offshoot of mystery. Maybe I'm just special...or overly picky. Probably both, let's be honest.

Either way, I'm totally splitting this question apart and using that as an excuse to give you two different authors as my answer. I know, total cheat move. I'm not ashamed.

First, let's talk horror...

hor·ror
/ˈhôrər/
noun

1. An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
2. A genre of fiction which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror.

I'll be honest...I don't read much horror. It's just not my thing. That wasn't always the case though. I went through a phase of huge fascination in horror reads during my early teenage years. Between grades eight and ten I read quite a few horror novels with gusto. They may not be my first pick for a good read now, but I absolutely see good reading value in them and wouldn't be completely averse to giving one a shot now and then.

That being said, there are two great choices for me here. And I'll be honest, they'll probably be the two most talked about authors for modern day horror choices. I'm speaking of Stephen King and Anne Rice. They both just have a supreme touch for the macabre. However, I've already cheated once in this post, so I'll just pick one of the two. Realistically, it's not that hard for me to pick which one I would choose as my favorite, though I do really (or at least did at one point really) enjoy the writing of both.

          

Stephen King is, most simply, the king of all things horror. His writing is fantastic and his sense of creativity and humor are just the right amount of warped. There are still plenty of his books that I haven't read and, though I don't read horror often, there are still books on my TBR from his vault.

Any true reader of horror has at least one of King's books in their library and has read a few of his works. There are few readers I have encountered, be they fans or foes of the genre, who don't appreciate King's mastery of his craft.

I'll be honest, regardless of the genre, King is difficult to top. But...we have one more category and one more awesome author left for me to share. On to suspense...

sus·pense
/səˈspens/
noun.

1. A state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen.
2. A genre of fiction made up of stories that stimulate pleasurable fascination and excitement, mixed with apprehension. The lack of predictability keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

Suspense is a bit more my speed, but still not the highest on my reading genre list. Again, I think I read a lot of suspense back in my teen years...perhaps a natural progression from the horror reads? Who knows. I do find them fairly entertaining (if that can be used as the correct word) and there are a few authors out there who really know how to set the hooks and write a book with so many twists and turns you never know what's coming. 

Again, there are some magnificent authors on the list and I could share a small handful. But...I'll narrow it down to one. The sad part here is that the reading options are limited because this author has sadly passed away. But his writing is not to be missed.

  

Stieg Larsson. Whoa. Seriously. An amazingly gifted author. His Millennium series is just fantastic. It's one of those where you'd better have all three books on hand because you're going to want to roll right into the next one.

I haven't yet read the continuation of the series by author David Lagercrantz, but I will tell you that Larsson's works are just phenomenal. The second in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire, won my Book of the Year for 2011. I cannot give these books high enough praise.

Larsson's characters are realistic and rough around the edges. His narrative is crisp, but gritty. And, oh boy, does it ever fill the category of suspense. If you're a nail chewer, you'd better be prepared. These books will have you down to the nubs in no time.


See? Isn't it good that I don't like to follow the rules? Two great authors for the price of one.

Do you agree with me that these are two different genres? Who are your picks for the best authors in these categories? Who should I venture out and read?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Creepy Settings


Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly book meme created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey and hosted via Goodreads group by Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes. Each week brings a new twist on a literary topic and a whole host of book bloggers and booktubers take to the internet with their representations of what that means.

I've been out of town and things got a little hectic. We came home to some madness at the farm and both the kiddo and I managed to get sick. I'm still feeling under the weather, writing this under an afghan on the couch.

So...it may be Friday, but we're still going to go for a Top 5 Wednesday. Why not? I couldn't just let this week's topic slide by.

This Week's Topic:

Favorite Creepy Settings. (These don't have to be from horror books, but any setting from any book that gave you the heebie jeebies...in a good way.)


When I looked through my book list to find picks for this topic, I realized quickly that my list was going to likely be a bit different from the average this go round. I don't read a lot of thrillers or horror, so those dank and dark places just aren't as frequent. Instead, my creepy settings have a bit more modern feel to them. I'm turned on to dystopia and I find reads in this genre to be intriguing and sometimes applicable to our current politicosocial environment. So...that's easily reflected in my list. Still...I have some wicked awesome creepy settings that will definitely give you the uncomfortable in your skin feeling that still somehow just feels right.



love Margaret Atwood. She is an amazing author and an even more amazing person. I was lucky enough to hear her speak a few years back at an author's conference in Boise. She is brilliant and articulate while still having a very decent sense of humor. I snapped up The Heart Goes Last as soon as I was able and I was not disappointed.

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around - and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in...for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residence of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes.

Both Positron and Consilience were creepy locations for me. The daunting and dangerous prison and the somewhat Stepford civilian town. It's an interesting backdrop for Atwood's story and the entire novel just proves over and over again that she has an amazing creativity when it comes to storytelling.



Library of Souls is the culmination of Riggs's fantastic trilogy. The bulk of the book takes place inside a time loop known as Devil's Acre. There are creepy and dangerous people, streets full of smoke, a mysterious fog, and a fortress guarded by a moat and a bridge-dwelling monster. The entire series is really packed full of ominous locations, but Devil's Acre takes the cake. 



This one is tricky to explain without wrecking some of the story...and I detest spoilers. So...you'll have to trust me when I tell you that this one will blow your mind and that what you originally feel is normal suddenly will morph into one of the most uncomfortable locations ever. Your heart will start pumping fast and you'll want to speed read just to see how it all turns out. But don't. Slow it down and take in the surroundings. They may be creepy, but they're brilliant. This is seriously one of the most amazing books I've ever read.



And now a couple of classics. The Handmaid's Tale has hit the big-time with the new Hulu series based on it's plot and it has become increasingly applicable as a harbinger of potential things to come if society does not remain vigilant. 

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

In this case, the whole of society is the creepy setting. There is nothing here that is normal. The Republic of Gilead is one dreadful thing around the corner after another. 


Let's end this with the most touted creepy setting of all. Orwell's 1984 is a true classic. And it was definitely crafted well before its time. The power of this narrative is beyond explanation and its relevance remains prominent throughout the decades. 

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" - a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imagination of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions - a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

The blurb says it pretty powerfully, but the creep factor in this one I think stems from the fact that it is so innately possible. In this age of increasingly intelligent technology, Big Brother is already watching. Perhaps we just don't understand the length to which this observation and manipulation extends. Just contemplate the fact that ads for items you have viewed on Amazon over the last week suddenly appear in your Facebook feed. It's a little thing, but it's just a snapshot of how intrusive society has the capability to be.


What do you think? Do you get the same "creep" factor from these reads as I do?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, created due to a fondness for lists. Each week they post a new Top Ten topic. After that, it's bloggers UNITE! Participate with your own Top Ten post, have fun, and get to know your fellow bloggers.

This Week's Topic:

Ten Books with Fall/Autumn Covers/Themes. (If the cover screams fall to you, or the books give off a feeling of being fallish.)

Well...it seems that I'm not much of a "fall" reader. Either that, or authors just aren't really drawn to that type of theme. I have soooo many books that obviously feel like summer or winter. And, very often, their covers reflect that. But seriously...fall feeling covers are few and far between.

It took me quite a while to find ten appropriate covers in my lists. Only one book came from the read file...the remaining nine currently reside in the TBR. However, doing this exercise has refreshed my memory as to why I added them, thus potentially increasing the speed with which I work to read them.

Maybe some the synopses will inspire you as well...besides there are a few super pretty covers in here. I always have been a sucker for cover love.

1. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire


We have all heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty...and what curses accompanied Cinderella's looks?

Set against the backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris's path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister. While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household -- and the treacherous truth of her former life.

The only one in this list that I have actually read. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is a retelling of Cinderella written by the same author who penned Wicked


2. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks



Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person he thought he'd fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town's Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter's life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood...

Beautiful fall leaves I'm familiar with both the book and the movie versions of Nicholas Sparks' novels. However, I've never been familiar with both versions of the same story. I have seen the movie A Walk to Remember with Mandy Moore. Despite typically hating reading books after I've seen the movies (ugh...they're always just wrecked), I still want to tackle this one.





Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of friends, the journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

I have actually read this one before. I think I tackled it sometime in high school. But...I don't remember it. Like, at all. I know...horrible. So it's back on the TBR for a fresh start.





Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.

The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to the maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

I used to be a huge John Grisham fan. I read everything he wrote. A Time to Kill still ranks in my top favorite reads. I still think his writing is fantastic, I just shifted my genre preferences. But there isn't any reason I can't widen my horizons back up. So...Sycamore Row is on the list.


5. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth



When Cameron Post's parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they'll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn't last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship -- one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to 'fix' her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self--even if she's not exactly sure who that is.

I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age story. I will admit, I initially was drawn to this book because of the cover. It's just so pretty. And...hey...(hay...haha, get it?), it's a harvest scene.




In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D'Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed.

Now, two generations later, Alessando D'Ascanio plan to stage his grandfather's masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands - at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D'Ascanio's magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake's disappearance-and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.

But the closer Celia gets to learning the first Celia's fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back...

I've read a few of Susanna Kearsley's novels and really enjoy her writing. Apparently more than I realized, as Kearsley has two novels on this list. A bit overly coincidental.




For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread -- its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn't keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid in his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they're forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary's tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take...to find the road that will lead her safely home.

See...two in a row! Historical fiction is well represented in this list by Kearsley. Apparently I really need to get a jump on her novels.


8. Grounded by Kate Klise



After her brother, sister, and father die in a plane crash, Daralynn Oakland receives 237 dolls from well-wishers, resulting in her nickname: Dolly. But dolls are little comfort to a twelve-year-old girl whose world is rocked by the dramatic changes in her life, including her angry, grieving mother's new job as a hairstylist at the local funeral home.

Dolly gets a job, too, where she accidentally invents a fashionable new haircut. But in Grounded by Kate Klise, her real work begins when a crematorium comes to town, and someone has to save a dying business, solve a burning mystery, and resuscitate the broken hearts in Digginsville, Missouri, population 402.

Maybe I've been watching too much Jane the Virgin, but the premise of this one sound like a bit of a crazy telenovela. Nonetheless, it's on the TBR. I'll be honest...this was yet another cover pick. I'm a fan of the drawing style. But hey...why not give it a try, right? It has decent ratings and the worst that could happen is that I shuffle it into a DNF pile. No harm, no foul. Broaden my horizons and all that.


9. The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick



The Sparrow sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow's herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite point is consumed by a long-buried fear--and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

Not only does this one have a fall cover, it has a synopsis that totally fits the season. It has pieces reminiscent of Practical Magic. I'll admit that could be a good thing or bad, depending on how it is taken on. I'm willing to give it a try.


10. When We Fall by Emily Liebert


Ready for a fresh start, Allison Parker moves back to her hometown in the suburbs of New York. While she'd once savored the dynamic pace of city life, sadly, it lost its allure after her husband's untimely death. Now, ready to focus on her art career accompanied by her ten-year-old son, Logan, Allison doesn't anticipate that her past will resurface. When the wife of her husband's best friend from summer camp takes her under her wing, things begin to spin out of control.

At one time, Charlotte Crane thought she had it all--a devoted husband, a beautiful little girl, and enough financial security to never have worry. But behind her perfect facade lie a strained marriage and a fractured relationship with her sister. When new girl Allison arrives in Wincourt, Charlotte welcomes the chance to build a friendship. Before long, Charlotte begins to see life through Allison's eyes, and the cracks in her seemingly flawless existence become impossible to ignore.

As Allison heals from the loss of her husband--even wondering if she might be ready to date again--Charlotte feels more distant from her loved ones than ever before. The emerging friendship between the two women appears to be just the antidote both of them so desperately need...until everything falls apart.

I saved the prettiest cover for last. Seriously, how gorgeous is that? And yes, I get the play on the title with the word "fall", but it could be appropriate...not just corny. I'm going to look the other way on that one for right now. 


And there you have it...a pretty diverse list (kind of). Some chick lit, some YA fiction, some mystery, some historical fiction, and a classic. Not too bad for having a hard time finding appropriately qualifying books. 

What "fall" reads are on your list? Did you find any new items for your own TBR?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Currently: October 8, 2017

Location:

This isn't a regular category for me, but this isn't a regular week. I'm typing this edition of Currently from my parents' kitchen.



Yesterday, my adorable travel companion and I got up in the wee hours of the morning and hopped on a plane. After a very long day and two connections, we were met at the airport by Nana and Papa, who were very glad to finally see him again (and maybe a little okay that I came too).

So I'm hanging out in Idaho for the next few days. It's nice to be with family and to see some of my friends, but it's hard being out here without Gary. He wasn't able to come and we're missing him. So...though vacation is nice and we like being with everyone here, it will still be good to go home on Thursday.

Weather: 

It was a bit cooler today than it has been at home the last few days, but that's okay. We brought jackets and we're all set. It looks like it will be crisp, fall weather for our entire stay. Harvest season around here is in it's decline and all of the fields are neatly harvested. It's a reminder of all the things I love about fall.

Watching:


We sat down as a family a few nights ago and watched The Secret Life of Pets. It was a pretty cute show. I even found myself laughing out loud once in a while. Not bad. 

Reading:

I'm about midway through The Lauras by Sara Taylor. It's an interesting read. Taylor has a way with words and her ability to provide fantastic description is just simply amazing. Her writing is rich and smooth and immersing yourself in the story becomes quite easy. But the narrative in this is extremely emotionally gripping and I have, more than once, found myself somewhat aching for the characters. I'm interested to see how I will feel when I've finished it. I will say that I already enjoy the narrative of this one much more than I did her The Shore which felt disjointed and choppy. This flows so well and it has a clear path. I very much enjoy that. Lurching story lines make me feel far too uneasy.

Learning:

While I am incredibly lucky that my little traveling companion did fantastically on the trip here, I have discovered that it is ridiculously exhausting to travel with a child by yourself. We had an early start and between that and the two connections, the day just felt unendingly draining.

I have also learned that there may be few things worse than changing your child in an airplane bathroom. Those places feel plenty small enough when you're merely trying to situate yourself without falling over or bumping an elbow. When you're trying to wrestle and infant who wants to roll away from you on a surface that is just not long enough to contain his whole body and the entire room is also bouncing around, it's kind of like being in one of those boxes where money flies up at you while you wildly try to grab it. It's claustrophobic, chaotic, and you just hope you walk out of there with some of your dignity, most of your sanity, and maybe a successful minute and a half's worth of work. It is the one thing I am very much not looking forward to on the way home.

Making:

I am in "making" hibernation mode for a bit. I've more or less completed the garden. I have some pumpkin and squash remaining to tend to along with the carrots that I am hoping will get their act together.

This past week, I froze up an additional four bags of Brussels sprouts and four bags of kohlrabi. I also made some applesauce (both spiced and plain) and tried my hand at apple scrap jelly. 

The jelly itself turned out fantastic and tastes something akin to a honey, but the process was a bit of a mishap. I managed to turn away from the stove at a very inopportune moment and lost what had to have been at least a half pint of jelly to overboil. It was a very sticky and long process to clean my poor stove.

Thinking/Feeling:

I am torn between feeling homesick and comfortable. Being at my parents' house is always a nice feeling. I love my family and I'm really glad when I get to spend time with them. Being so far away is difficult. Especially since everyone else is here. 


But I do miss the farm. And I really miss Gary. This is the first time our little family has been separated. It's not easy. It's not something I care to repeat very often.


Wanting/Needing:

I have been contemplating it for a while, but this trip has reinforced the fact that I really need to get myself a booklight. Reading before bed, I always feel guilty keeping the bedside lamp on when Gary has to work the next morning. With traveling, I've decided it's an absolute necessity. So...I think that will go on my purchase list when I get back.

Loving:

While I don't have a photo to share just yet, I am loving the shortness of the haircut I got today. I have a stylist who I went to high school with and she has been doing my hair for years. She's the best and I refuse to have anyone else cut or color my hair. So anytime I'm in town I try to make an appointment with her. Today she gave me a nice, short a-line with some two tone color. Dark underneath and highlighted. It looks like good, natural color while giving me some dimension and should grow out without giving me a stripe...which is important since I won't be able to see her again until we get back around Christmas time.

Planning:

Right now, my most important immediate plans concern tacos. Really. I'm meeting up with some friends for Taco Tuesday at one of the most fabulous places ever. It's a small restaurant in my hometown. Ah...Imelda's. I always have to eat there when I come home. Homemade tortillas and the best barbacoa around. It's delightful. I'm salivating just thinking about it. Outside of being able to spend time with my family and friends, it's always one of the highlights of my trip.

In the slightly longer run, I'm planning on taking part in the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon when I return to Minnesota. This year is the 10th anniversary. It's always a great time and I'm really glad that I should get to participate some this year. I'll have more info about it next week.


What about you? What does your "Currently" look like?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Book Blogger Hop: Classic Horror


It's Saturday, so that means Book Blogger Hop. It's operated by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week (on Friday), a new book related question is posed to participating bloggers.
This Week's Question: 


Both Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein are considered classics. Have you ever read either of them?




Well...this is fairly embarrassing. I'm in the midst of getting and English degree. I've considered an emphasis in literature. I read a wide range of genres and I have a list of classics I'm happily reading through a bit at a time. And yet...I haven't read either of these novels. Yes...I'm overly familiar with the authors (particularly Mary Shelley), but somehow I have yet to put my hands on either book. Travesty.

Both books are on my TBR, so eventually I'll get my crap together. Maybe. Horror reads just typically aren't my picks. This wasn't always the case. I went through a phase in junior high where I read nothing but Anne Rice, Stephen King, and the like. It's a bit curious that I didn't grab either of these during that period of time. Maybe I just had an issue with the idea of reading a classic at that point. I was used to classics being books assigned by an English teacher that just felt...old. And boring. The good news is that I have...matured? beyond that superficial analysis. I've read more, I've experienced more. And now I can read in a way where I can appreciate the quality of a classic.

I guess books just have to come around at the right point in your life. I have to be in the right mood and the right frame of mind. Sometimes, you just can't take on a particular type of book. It just doesn't fit. And the last thing that I need is to take on one of these fantastic reads only to either lose interest because I'm not in the right reading mood or to wind up placing it "in the freezer" (for those familiar with Friends). One of these days it will happen. The stars will align. And if that doesn't come soon enough? Well...I'll just have to bite the bullet and dive in.

What books are on your TBR that you are embarrassed to admit you haven't read yet?


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Witchy Reads


Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly book meme created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey and hosted via Goodreads group by Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes. Each week brings a new twist on a literary topic and a whole host of book bloggers and booktubers take to the internet with their representations of what that means.

This Week's Topic:

Books Featuring Witches. There is a topic later this month about paranormal creatures, but 1. witches aren't creatures and 2. they deserve their own topic. These can be "witch books" or books that happen to feature witches as characters, whether they are main characters or side characters.


When trying to decide on my choices for this week's topic, I actually discovered that I have quite a few witch novels that I need to read. I wound up adding a couple to my TBR pile that had somehow inadvertently been missed. How does one forget The Witches of Eastwick

However, when it came to my picks for my top 5 witch featuring tomes, I just couldn't pare it all the way down. Therefore, I'm including a slam dunk bonus that shouldn't surprise many. Ready for my faves? 



All of Sarah Addison Allen's novels contain a bit of magic. Garden Spells is an enchanting tale of the Waverley women. Allen's writing is intriguing and comforting at the same time. She weaves a beautiful narrative and the result is a lovely, seamless read. I need to get my hands on the sequel, First Frost.



It's been decades (wow...that's dating myself) since I read this one. I remember reading this very early on. I'd say somewhere around fourth grade in all likelihood. I honestly don't remember too many of the details of this one, but I do remember really, really loving it. I'd say that The Witch of Blackbird Pond was one of my favorites in my pre-teen years. I believe I still have it in my personal library. Maybe it's time to dust it off and give it another whirl.



I read this two years ago and it still has my head spinning. The Library at Mount Char has the unique position of being a book that I very much enjoyed and can still recall fairly vividly, but honestly can't fully explain. It was just one of those "wow" reads. I've recommended it over and over again and I'll probably never stop hoping that Hawkins will write a follow-up.



Ah...another tween read. I actually just purchased the remainder of this series so that I have them all and I need to do a reread before the movie comes out next year. A Wrinkle in Time was my first foray into fantasy reads. I reread this one more than once in my younger years and I will definitely be reading it again.



I read quite a few Anne Rice books back in my early teenage years. She's an incredible author with an amazing imagination. She is known most prominently for her vampire books, but it is her Lives of the Mayfair Witches series that I enjoyed the most. The first book in that series, The Witching Hour was easily my favorite. I loved the setting, the characters, and the level of complexity in her tale.



I include this one is a bonus for a few reasons. First of all, I'm sure that the Harry Potter series will show up on the majority of lists for this topic. They're great reads. But as good as it is, I didn't want it to overshadow other options...so I created an extra slot. I also add it as a bonus because it's terribly hard to choose one book out of the series. They're all fantastic. Personally, my actual favorite is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. However, when it comes to witches, I think the culminating novel is the one that shows the greatest strength. So that's the one you're seeing here. 


What about you? What are your favorite witchy reads? Do we share similar reading tastes? How many of my picks made your list? 

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