The Reading Chicks WFH Wednesday- 10 Accomplishments While #Socialdistancing

Week three of this working from home thing. It’s not all bad, but it does get rather boring. I find my attention wanders and I procrastinate quite a bit more than I do if I’m sitting in an office.

Speaking of which, yesterday I got an email from my cousin Madalaine, who lives up in Illinois and is also practicing social distancing and staying at home with her family. She sent me this clever idea that I thought I’d share with you all as a way to engage, even if only through this post. She and her friends are sending emails to each other talking about the Top 10 things they are doing while practicing social distancing. I thought I’d give you my 10 that I sent back to her.

10 ACCOMPLISHMENTS WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING

1. Walk two miles with the dog twice a day. 

2.  Put makeup on every day regardless of whether wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt.

3. Tackle some of the recipe’s that we have ingredients for in the house. Or creative cook/bake! (Last week I made some yummy Hazelnut Praline White and Chocolate Chip cookies from extra’s we had in the house).

4. Corona Cocktails on the weekend! I’ve done three so far and they’ve been pretty tasty. Again, using ingredients we already have in the house. Sidenote- my drinks are a little strong but not too many complaints. The picture below is a Dark and Stormy. Rum, Ginger Beer, and Lime. Tasty!

Esquire magazine

5. Puzzles!  We have been on a puzzle binge. I think we are on our 5th?

6. Finish out some TV series we’ve had recorded and start up some new ones. After seeing Josh Gates at the Ryman, Derry and I are binge watching Expedition Unknown. There are 7 seasons if you’re interested! We love the archeology and adventure aspects. Plus he’s adorably dorky-cute.

7. Clean out my drawers. I’m pretty good about the closet because we live in such a small space, but boy do I have too many t-shirts, pj’s, and old underwear. TMI, I know! LOL and I promise, no pictures of this one.

8.  Call, instant message, and/or Skype with someone every day. Stay in touch!  I’ve got friends up in New Jersey and New York that I’m worried about and now is a great time to tell them I’m thinking of them.

9. Watch a couple of movies. I have the attention span of a gnat, so I do much better with hour long shows, but there are so many movies I’d like to see! We did watch Murder Mystery on Netflix. It stars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler and was so cute!

10. READ, READ, READ. Gosh, I have so many books and now that I have the time, I should catch up on my reading!

If you’d like to chime in and let me and all of your followers know what your 10 Accomplishments are while social distancing, please feel free! I’d love to read them so please tag me!

Take care and get to work on your next accomplishment!

Deb

This Chicks WFH Wednesday- week #2

Good afternoon, or morning if you’re in another country and are reading this post with your morning tea or coffee. I have another week in the books on working from home. I’ve started to overcome my main challenge. Snacking indiscriminately. I know this is a challenge that many of us WFH-ers are facing, the fact that snacks are easily accessible. When you go to work in an office, you have only the snacks you bring to work with you. At my work we don’t have a kitchen with a coke machine or vending machine so it really controls those impulses. Now, I make sure to have on hand healthier options than cookies and candy. It helps that I haven’t gone to the store in a little while and haven’t replenished those goods.

One thing has changed. I have a new WFH co-worker!

My husband is now also working from home. We live in a 700 sq ft apartment and have had to shift a chair into storage and bring up an old table for him to use as a desk. We’ll see how this works out. First day in and we’ve been very respectful of each others spaces. I’m kind of going to miss listening to my audiobooks on the speaker system and will have to get used to my earbuds again.

As far as desks go, I definitely got the better option.

Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone I was on Facebook!

After sitting her staring at these Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris I realized I just may have to re-read this series. It’s been years! Good news is I think I’ll be able to clear my schedule and make that happen.

I got news today from work that we are working from home indefinitely. The school is closed through 4/24, but TN is way behind the northeast, who have already canceled the school year so I can almost guarantee that that date will get pushed into May. I know I’m not the only one who is in this situation and am trying to be patient, follow the guidelines of the CDC and our government (god help us). Hopefully we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

As always, please stay safe! Social distancing is still so important in helping us slow down this virus, so please do your part.

Take Care,

Deb

This Chicks WFH Wednesday- Week #1

Hi from Nashville, Tennessee! This week Nashville and most of the US have joined the majority of Europe in instituting Social Distancing in order to try to “slow the curve” of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. What is Social Distancing? It is working from home, staying 6 feet away from another person, minimizing your contact with society, and with washing your hands (ALL THE TIME) hopefully helping to halt the spread of the virus.

Working from home, or WFH, sounds great but in the last week I’ve definitely learned that there are more con’s than pro’s.

WFH PRO’S AND CONS

Feeling like I’m on vacation- Normally when I’m “at home” it’s because I have the day off, it’s the weekend, or occasionally I’m sick. When any of these things happen I have free reign over what I can do with my time. I might read, write on my blog, watch TV, bake, run errands, etc. 830a-530p are my work hours and with the exception of an hour for lunch I should be working.

Social interaction- I’m the Marketing Manager for Nashville Ballet, so normally I work on a team and have constant interaction as we complete projects. The only personal interaction I have right now?

Meet my new team members! Sam on the left and Nash is on the right. I love them to death, but they also think I’m on vacation.

Personal space is gone. LOL.

ALL THE SNACKS!- I’m now a week into this WFH situation and I’m doing a little better with this issue, but it took me eating a box of Ginger Snap cookies in two days to see that I needed to take control of my eating habits. Leave the cookies on the shelf and grab the apple, Deb. That’s my new mantra.

Worry- After my first couple of days freaking out over all of the news exposure and going to the store and waiting in super long lines to get my share of toilet paper, milk, and bread I decided to do my thing, wash my hands and tune it out. At least until the 4p news where I’d find out the latest virus growth rate and store closures in the US. I’ve read my share of post-apocalyptic romances and this true life scenario is scaring the bejeezus out of me. So, watching the news does not make for a very productive day.

As an aside, I have to say that this all reminds me of Rebecca Zanetti’s Scorpius Syndrome series. The further you read in the series the more alpha the heroes get but the gov’t is corrupted by this virus also. You can only hope we aren’t headed in that direction…. It’s actually a good series, but a little life-like for me right now. I’ll drop the link below in case you are interested.

Synopsis: With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynne Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynne is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury… . Mercury Striking (The Scorpius Syndrome)

I’ve mentioned a couple of the con’s and given you a good post apocalyptic book rec, but what are the pro’s?

MOM- My mom is in the top percentile at risk if she does catch the coronavirus. She’s 78 and has pretty bad asthma. Living in a multi-generational home, I was worried that I was going to have this virus attach itself to me at work and bring it home to infect my mother. I guess that could still happen because even though we are all limiting our involvement with the outside world we do occasionally venture out to the store and my husband who works in the newsroom at a local tv station still has to go into work every day. BUT we are doing what we can. We aren’t eating out, we’re not going to movies, we aren’t going to a concert, etc. Well, now you can’t do any of those things anyway, but over the last week we didn’t. I feel like my family has been proactive. That’s all you can do.

Spending even a moment more with my babies is a joy. If I’m feeling down I just reach out and get a kiss or a hug and it makes me feel better. If my dog wasn’t an 85 lb ball of energy I’d request that I take him to work once a week. He’s such a love bug.

Baking!- Maybe I can knock out a couple more of my Bouchon Bakery recipes. It would have to be something I have all of the ingredients for but I think I’ve some basics in the house.

Maybe I’ll even have time to read a book. Hmmmm. I bet I can find the time to do that one first!

I hope everyone is staying safe, keeping your distance, and washing your hands. We’ll get though this and I think come out on the other side an even better world than we are right now.

xoxo!

Deb

It’s been a long week…

Tuesday night around midnight a tornado ripped through Nashville. Starting in a popular historical neighborhood called Germantown, jumping the river into East Nashville and then staying on the ground for 60 miles through Mt. Juliet and Cookeville. Was it a blessing or a curse that it happened in the middle of the night? There was a school that had considerable damage, so I guess a blessing because if there had been kids in that school hundreds could have been injured and died. That it happened in the middle of the night meant if you had awakened to the sirens you could find your safe place, but some people were ripped out of their homes and died. 24 of them.

I live in the city of Nashville and thankfully saw little damage. However, my husband and I have an Airbnb in East Nashville and we had guests staying in it the night it hit. Our place was in the path of the tornado but a block away it veered east and our block was skipped. Our guests were ok. I can’t even tell you the relief I felt.

I’m in a Facebook group for Airbnb’s in Nashville and this woman told her story about her home getting hit in Germantown. Their guest had to be cut out of the host Airbnb because she was framed in by bars. That guest was fine, and in fact, stayed to help clean up the area. I’m tearing up as I write this because that is only one of the many wonderful stories that I’ve heard in the aftermath of this storm. Thousands of people are donating, bringing food and water, cooking and giving out free bbq, cleaning debris, putting tarps over holes in people’s roof’s, and so much more. I’ve always loved the city of Nashville and these stories only make me love it that much more. The people here are really that special.

Here are a few photo’s from the damage from the storm. These building’s span businesses, low income property, and homes. These people’s lives have been disrupted in a huge way. There is an organization who has handled the majority of volunteers, donations, etc. If you feel like donating to help Nashville’s recovery please do!

Hands on Nashville

#Nashvillestrong

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Should author’s ever take a Do-Over?

Most book bloggers started reading as children and have a huge catalog of books that are favorites, or struck a chord for a certain time in our lives. Have you ever gone back and re-read a novel that you just loved when you were younger but now you see all of it’s faults and frailties through eyes that have lived a little. Or you notice how women, ethnic people, or children may have been treated poorly even though at the time that book was written those things weren’t questioned? How does that affect what you think of that long loved book?

Recently, I read a post from another blogger who was talking about a much loved science fiction novel that she’d read over and over throughout her life but as time went on she realized, ‘wait a minute’ some of these things this author says in this novel just aren’t right! Does that mean I shouldn’t like this novel anymore? Do I overlook those things because it was acceptable at the time it was written? If I’m thinking these things does the author who wrote them cringe at their own words? Do they wish for a do-over? Is it acceptable to re-write a novel written ages ago to make it acceptable for today’s readers? I’m not talking Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, or Gone with the Wind- all books that have been re-hashed, re-printed, and gone over in schools ad nauseam. Also all books that have a few cringeworthy moments.

We live in an age where we try so hard to be politically correct. Bloggers focus on books where diverse characters are highlighted, explored, and celebrated. Would we like The Wizard of Oz more if the Lollipop Guild had been female gay rights activists and Dorothy was fighting for equal rights against the tyranny of a misogynistic Wizard? Hmm, maybe I’m onto something here!

How would readers feel if some of their favorite books were re-written? Would I still love that book? I really don’t know if I would. There’s something about an emotional connection to a book because it was read at the right time. Maybe when “that” book was written and popular it was that books moment to shine regardless of how I now feel about it 20 years later? If it was a piece of art and I was looking at the painting at age 12 and again at age 25 I wouldn’t have the same viewpoint. The same thing applies to a book. My life’s experiences no longer allow me to view it in the same way and I guess I’m ok with that.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite book that you’ve re-read and thought “well, wait, did she really just say that?”

If you read all the way through this post, thanks for listening to the thoughtful ramblings of a bookaholic.

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: BookLoversCon #BLC19 Finale!

I’m sitting in line at the FedEx store waiting for it to open so I can mail home a box of books. I’ve whittled down the stash so that I am bringing the most anticipated, new to me authors, and swag. Most fit in my two bags but for a little 20 book pile. Oh to have those problems, right? This trip has been so much fun and I probably haven’t taken enough pictures to show but here’s a few.

Heather Graham showed up to the Historical Fiction party in her full Voo Doo regalia. She hosts an evening function with a different theme and kind of combo’d the historical dress with the VooDoo head gear. She was charming, beautiful and very down to earth. I loved this chance to chat briefly with her.

This picture shows the set up for most of the functions with one host per table. Some are themed-this was Entangled’s Candy and Spoons game. Always a very popular one as the winner walks away with a stack of about 15 new books. My sister was a lucky winner and her table got super rowdy! All in good fun but they pass out bandaids for a reason! Lol.

This picture shows my day two of swag. I received a few ARC’s at a Berkley Blogger party that I’m very excited about!

Book Fair! Some authors just show up for this super large signing. I took a couple of snapshots of a few I was excited to see!

Jasmine Guillory!

Susanna Kearsley!

Shannon K. Butcher/aka Anna Argent!

other big names including Kristen Ashley, Christina Lauren, Rebecca Zanetti, and so many more! It was overwhelming and fun!

This morning we end with a brunch which I hope to make but first priority mail those books!

Looking forward to next year when Booklovers Con will be in my city! Nashville!

Deborah

An ode to Mom- Mother’s Day 2019

I have this memory from when I was young where I was lost and reached out for the hand of a woman I thought was my mother. I think we were at the grocery store and I had wandered away from her, drawn by the mystic mint cookies or some other sweet I had loved. I raced back to the woman who I thought was my mother, held her hand and then looked up. That moment of shock and horror has stuck with me all these years. In my panic I quickly drew my hand out of the stranger’s and it wasn’t until my own mother called to me and I had my hand in her’s that I felt like I stood where I belonged, in safety. Sometimes I still look back on that moment of panic and wish that happiness came as easy as finding your mother in a crowded grocery store.

Now, older, my mother and I are living under the same roof again. After a tough day at work it’s comforting to know I’ll be walking through the door to hear her voice asking “how was your day?”. When I say “hi Mom” that same feeling of calm comes over me, if only for a brief moment before all of life’s burdens weigh me down again. There is something about being with your mom that takes you outside your own sphere of life and its fears, worries, and regrets. I hope to be able to walk in the door and say “hi Mom” for many years to come. It would be nice to capture that essence and carry it in a bottle for those days when she’s no longer there. Like capturing the sand from your beach vacation. Mom in a bottle. LOL.

I would like to wish my own mother a very Happy Mother’s Day. I don’t think I bring her the same kind of peace she gives me, but I hope that she feels the tremendous amount of love I have for her and isn’t scared by the big bottle I’m going to ask her to breath into.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Deb

My Mom.

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Ashley @Ashes Books & Bobs

OK, this is going to make me sound weird, but when I hop over to Ashes Books & Bobs I just love the organization and general feel of her home page. I can scroll through blog posts, just like on a newspaper website and pick and choose based on the headline. Also, the pictures feel so literary and make me feel like I’m on bookstagram instead of a website. I can get caught up in surfing the pictures as much as the content. Ashley and I love some of the same authors so believe me, I do get lost in that content too. If you haven’t jumped over to check out Ashes Books & Bobs please click the link below, but come back and take a look at her answers!

Ashes Books & Bobs

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in the USA. Texas to be more specific.

What is the view outside your front door?  

My neighbors’ houses. I think the view from my backyard is much better. 🙂

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.


Ashes Books & Bobs is a play on the British saying “bits and bobs”. I was looking for a way to incorporate my love of British things into my name. I started blogging over 2 years ago with a good friend and decided to branch out on my own in October of last year. This name fits who I am and the theme I wanted to stick with.

Describe where you write your blog.


I write anywhere I can find a quiet place. Usually on my couch, at the kitchen table, or in bed.

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?


I have a huge stack this year because I’m trying to catch up on all of the unread books I own with the Beat the Backlist Challenge. I’ve already read some of these this year, but I still have to cross of The Shining, The River Widow, The Proposal, and more.

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?


R.S. Grey’s books are a great way to lift my spirits. She’s the queen of ROM-COM!


When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?


I’m a stay-at-home mom and homeschool my children, so I’m usually spending my time with them. I also enjoy working out or occasionally watching tv shows or movies with my husband.


What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?


It may be slightly controversial to discuss but I was really proud of my post discussing politics in fiction: https://ashesbooksandbobs.com/2018/11/08/modern-books-and-political-agendas/.

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?


Yes! I met Tarryn Fisher almost exactly a year ago. I wrote her a letter telling her about the impact her books made on me because I knew I’d be too nervous to say anything in person. I’m glad I did because she messaged me on Facebook later that day telling me my letter made her cry, which in turn made me cry.


If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question,  who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?


I’d love to have a nice chocolate cake with Amy Harmon! She’s one of my very favorite authors and I’d love to discuss how she’s easily able to transition from one genre to the next with each book release.

I’d like to thank Ashley for her answers and some great book recommendations. Tarryn Fisher’s books might scare me a little but the synopsis look fascinating. I am also a fan of Amy Harmon, she’s a great writer!

If you’d like to be featured on Blogger to Blogger, please reach out and let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deborah

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Happy International Women’s Day!

I am always on the lookout for articles on this month’s best of list in genre’s I love to read, aren’t you? It’s hard to not click the link to see if I’ve read any of the books on the list or to discover a book that hadn’t been on my radar but looks too irresistible to overlook.

I’ve liked the Bookish page on Facebook and will admit to getting lost in their articles, must read lists and book giveaways. Did you know Friday March 8th was International Women’s Day? A day to celebrate women, a group I am proud to be one of, and I didn’t even know about it! I think women should always be celebrated but I guess I’m biased. Bookish created this very cool, empowered graphic to honor literary bookish women. I wanted to share it with all of my fellow book bloggers.

I may be a few days late, but as I said above, women should be celebrated every day! Happy International Women’s Day!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: January ’19 Wrap Up!

I know, it’s already almost mid February and I’m a little late with my wrap up post. 2018 finished with me sick as a dog and 2019 began with that same damn cold. So, after finally being healthy for a few weeks I’m just getting back into my regular posting. Thank goodness for scheduling a few out in advance! So, here I am ready to talk about what happened on my blog in January. First Up!

Great January Reads!

Ache for You (Slow Burn #3) by J. T. Geissinger

‘This is a very sexy slow burn novel. Kimber and Matteo’s chemistry is off the charts but because they are adversaries it’s set on a slow simmer through most of the book. I’ll admit that I love slow burn stories and love the engagement of the characters leading up to the big moment usually more than that big sex scene. Although in this book, that also was pretty great. ‘

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

‘I love YA action novels and Song of the Current hit the right note for me. It did start off a little slow but that was to be expected as the characters and world building needed explanation. As soon as she pushed off down the river and opened that crate the story took off and the adventure began. ‘

Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

‘I love a fast moving plot and Ignite the Stars was quick, emotional, and fun. It’s hard to believe this was Maura Milan’s debut novel. It seemed like every character had their own hidden battle they were fighting. I’ll admit that Brinn was probably my favorite character, but Ia was a close second. They were both underdogs, and I do like to root for the underdog. ‘

What Doesn’t Kill Her by Christina Dodd

‘What Doesn’t Kill Her was even better than Dead Girl Running, and I loved that novel! There was some great dialog between Rae and Kellen that provided comic relief to what would’ve been a non stop action novel. Those moments of warmth between mother and daughter allowed the reader to build a deeper connection with Kellen, and I cared even more when she and Max reunited as a couple. ‘

Blogger to Blogger Series

We met a couple of great book bloggers on my Blogger to Blogger series last month. If you didn’t have a chance to hear how they answered my 10 questions please click the link below.

Julie @ A Little Book Problem

Zoe @ Zooloo’s Book Diary

This Chicks Sunday Commentary

Even though I was under the weather for the first couple of weeks of January, I did try to rebound with a couple of posts on my Sunday series.

I think I missed the mark with the first as I was trying to get my fellow bloggers to tell me what question they were dying to ask J. K. Rowling. I only got a couple of responses. Maybe not that interesting? Who knows! If you want to take another shot at it, please click on the link below.

If We Could Ask J, K. Rowling One Question…

My other post was a little more interesting and talked about YA trends and how even when they are hated, I kind of still like them… Feel free to read and still join in the discussion!

YA Trends (and tropes!) Let me Count Thy Ways…

Eliminating my TBR

Who are we kidding, eliminate it? Nah! However, there are a few book that I’m hoping to read in February. Let me tell you about a couple!

Circle of the Moon (Soulwood #4) by Faith Hunter

Synopsis: Nell can draw magic from the land around her, and lately she’s been using it to help the Psy-Law Enforcement Division, which solves paranormal crimes. Joining the team at PsyLED has allowed her to learn more about her powers and the world she always shunned–and to find true friends.
 
Head agent Rick LaFleur shifts into a panther when the moon calls him, but this time, something has gone wrong. Rick calls Nell from a riverbank–he’s naked, with no memory of how he came to be there, and there’s a dead black cat, sacrificed in a witch circle and killed by black magic, lying next to him. 
 
Then more animals turn up dead, and team rushes to investigate. A blood-witch is out to kill. But when it seems as if their leader is involved in the crime, the bonds that hold the team together could shatter at any moment.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.

But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.

Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.  

Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.

Oh gosh, there are so many more!

What books are you looking forward to reading this month?

Until next Sunday!

Deb