Everyone is saying that they can’t wait for 2020 to be over and I’ll admit, I feel the same. The bad certainly outweighed the good. If I dig deep there are some good that also came out of 2020. Really.
Working from home- I know, I miss people from work too. That personal interaction is great but my quality of life has improved. I spend more time with my family, helping to cook in the evening instead of eating whatever has been cooked. I feel more involved in their lives.
Not spending as much money- We didn’t go on expensive vacations. I didn’t have to update my wardrobe although I did buy more sweats, shorts, and nice t’s. Our food bill did go up because we were eating every meal at home so that may have balanced the lack of expensive vacations and clothes.
Decorating early for every holiday. Our block has a lot of spirit! Who knew that we had that many Halloween enthusiasts or that everyone actually owned an American flag? All of the decorations certain uplifted our spirits.
Spending time with our pets- It’s so nice to be able to walk the dog when it’s light out then just jump into the shower and check emails and answer messages while getting ready in the morning.
Getting an extra half hour of sleep- again not having to dress up for work saves time in the morning for other things like drinking coffee, walking the dog, or having conversations with the hubby. It’s nice. It feels a little slower and less rushed.
There are many more positive things like having a bigger world view, paying more attention to local politics, making decisions that don’t just affect me but other people as well. All of these thing happened this year. Not all of them were good, but I want to be optimistic and hope that some of the things we’ve learned we’ll take with us when we can return to some kind of normalcy. Even if it’s not what life used to look like.
I wish for all of us that 2021 will bring with it good health, happiness, and good fortune for everyone.
Without sounding like I’m on repeat, Friday is January 1st, the start of a new month and a much needed and wanted new year. Since I’m not re-capping the horrors and highlights from 2020… yet, I’ll just get on to the books I’m looking most forward to being released next month.
#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE
This novel set in 14th century England is a mix of fantasy and reality. I’m looking forward to reading how this author brings those fantasy elements to life in this Wild Swans re-telling!
Where there is wealth and power, there’s always someone willing to do anything to take it.
England, 1381: Delia’s idyllic life as daughter of an earl is shattered when her father dies and his wife accuses Delia’s seven brothers of treason and murder. The youngest is only ten years old, but this doesn’t stop the guards from hauling them off to the Tower of London. There they await a grim fate, as child-king Richard II is executing anyone who poses a threat to his throne. Delia is their only hope for pardon and freedom.
Sir Geoffrey did not expect his first assignment as captain of the guard to be the arrest of boys so young. He dutifully imprisons the brothers, but he can’t ignore the sense, rooted in personal experience, that injustice and treachery are at work.
Determined to rescue her brothers, Delia secures a position as a seamstress for the queen. Her quest is all but impossible as the executions continue. Sir Geoffrey offers to be her ally, but should she trust him in a court where everyone has an agenda?
From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a tender retelling of “The Wild Swans,” where the virtues of loyalty and love face a harrowing showdown with power and fear.
I don’t know why I haven’t read the previous novels in this series, but I love Jill Shalvis and there’s something about this synopsis that makes me think this will be the perfect escape from reality.
When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.
Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery.
Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger.
The first book in this series made me an instant fan and I can’t wait to read Enjoy the View and catch up on my favorite characters from Moose Springs, Alaska. These novels are rom-com’s with a lot of heart and the characters are nutty, gritty, and genuine. Sarah Morgenthaler is a new find and an author you want to share with everyone.
Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.
Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.
Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.
I really enjoyed this author’s previous novel Tweet Cute which put her on my radar for her next book release. Also a YA novel, this plot is reminiscent of Parent Trap or at least a cousin to it. What secrets would be revealed if you found out you had a long lost sister?
When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.
But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.
When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents ― especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.
The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.
But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.
For those of you who know me well, it won’t come as a surprise that Ilona Andrews newest release is my #1 pick for the month. This writing duo never disappoints and I’ve so been looking forward to Julie’s story!
Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it’s a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival.
Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she’s back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name—Aurelia Ryder—drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit.
If Aurelia’s true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she’d ever loved could threaten everything.
One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it’s relationships that are hard.
I hope that wherever you live you are celebrating this holiday and the end of a very challenging year. If you are with your family gather your loved ones close and enjoy this time together. If you are by yourself reach out with a phone call or Zoom. Celebrate virtually, you are not alone!
This time of year can be challenging but this year we all have stresses that we have not seen in years past that may cause depression. Please make contact, reach out, talk to someone.
I am hoping to relax with a good book, de-stress, and maybe eat some leftovers. most of all I am going to hold my loved ones close.
It’s almost August! I feel like that needs to be shouted to the world because even though life seems to be at a crawl at the same time it’s flying by. The heat has definitely hit Nashville and I’m spending more time indoors in the cool air conditioning catching up on my reading. This last week I slowed my reading down so I could thoroughly enjoy the novel I just finished. Let’s get to it so I can tell you a little bit more!
This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.
A series that has quickly become a favorite, I was excited to sit down and read this urban fantasy novel. Do you know how there are some books that you read quickly and others where you slow your pace wanting to live in all of those anticipatory moments? This series is one of those for me. It’s so intricate, the emotions so real, I spent one week reading this novel. It comes out Tuesday and I’ve already purchased the audiobook so I can read it again!
I’m changing pace again and picking up this interesting sounding women’s fiction novel. I’m looking forward to reading a novel about a woman who may be a little closer to my age, still learning things about herself, and may possibly find a bit of romance.
What book are you reading today to help you get through this week?
My husband and I have agreed that we’re going to try to take a month off of Facebook. It’s so easy to get caught up in surfing that feed and getting frustrated or angry at people who have a difference of opinion than my own on the importance of wearing a mask, or the incompetence of our President. My husband is even worse than I am and peppers his “friends” with shared posts delivering scientific facts that he hopes will change their minds. He’s currently unemployed and I could see him spiraling into an unhealthy aggravation that we can easily avoid. So, we have agreed to call it quits with Facebook for one month. One week in and how are we doing?
Well…. I do check in on my blog Facebook page to make sure my posts are delivering but I have not gone through my feed. So I think that’s a success! I think he’s done even better and truthfully I can see a difference in both of our attitudes. We’re a little calmer, and much happier not re-hashing what so and so said and getting ourselves amped up over the stupidity of people we haven’t seen in thirty years.
Why do we still traverse the Facebook universe? I’ll admit, I do get some comments on my The Reading Chick page and I have a friend who has a group for her home business Color Street nails and she plays games and posts photo’s of manicures which sound stupid but are really fun to look at. Other than those two things I can’t say I want to go back. Then, if you throw in Zuckerberg’s views about not policing fake content, do you really want to support that? I’m mulling that one over still.
What are the things I’m turning to instead of Facebook?
1)My husband and I spend $12 a month on the NY Times digital subscription where with that subscription we also get the NY Times Crossword puzzle app. We do a LOT of crosswords. LOL.
2) I also scroll through my Twitter feed, but gosh the book nation on Twitter is just as political as the Facebook nation. Everyone is so opinionated about EVERYTHING. So, I may cut back a little on the Twitter account as well.
3) Pinterest! I love looking at pictures, reading nails, and looking at clothes I’ll never wear because I’m in t-shirts and shorts 24/7 working from home.
4) Tending our family garden. This is probably one of my favorite activities at least once or twice a day. If I need a break from work? Check and see if the tomatoes are turning red. If our cucumber crop is about to need picking- look up cucumber recipes on Pinterest! Did you know you can make cucumber bread? Yeah, kind of like zucchini bread. Funny! Who knew!
5) Bake/Cook- I made some awesome Cardamon, Orange, Dark Chocolate Chunk shortbread cookies that were to die for. I’m really interested in odd flavor combo’s lately and this one was great. Look it up on Pinterest and give it a try. Also, last night was Greek night in our household. We had all the cucumbers to make Tzaziki dip, Cucumber dip, we made hummus, cantaloupe, grilled some beef and home grown zucchini and voila! Greek night. It was pretty damn good. 🙂
6) Read more books on my TBR and watch some Netflix and chill. Pretty self explanatory, right?
You get my point though. We don’t need to do things that make us crazy. For me and my husband that was trolling Facebook. If you find yourself getting aggravated, I think you should give it a try. If you need help finding something to do I’ve got this great recipe for Green Tomato Salsa Verde I can share if you’ve got some time to burn.
Taking care of yourself means taking care of your mental health too!
Stay safe, stay calm, and reach out if you need to talk.
Hi! It’s that time of year when we all look back on the books we’ve read and evaluate our favorite’s least favorite’s, etc. I’ve done this book tag for the last couple of years and it’s always fun to write and remind myself, yes, I did read all of those books. With all that’s happened in the world this year I’ll admit that my concentration and ability to read quickly has deserted me and I’m only 46% to my goal of 180 books, and I lowered my goal at the beginning of the year by 20 books to give myself time to read. I’m not going to stress about it and just keep on reading what draws my eye and mind to try to escape from the all of the stresses.
Here are my answers to the Mid Year Book Freak Out book tag.
Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2020
There were a few books that I’ve really liked this year but Emily Henry’s Beach Read was my favorite. You know when you have that perfect storm of being in the right mood, having the quiet time to read and not be rushed, and loving all of the emotions the characters make you feel? This book was that for me.
I think the definition of a sequel is the second book in a two book series, right? Well, I’m stretching that definition to be any book after the first, in a series. Why Kings Confess is the 9th book in the Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery series. Each book finds Sebastian solving a murder and those are great, but the way this author evolves these characters keeps me coming back for more, and that’s saying something when I’m listening to the audiobooks. Davina Porter is the narrator, and she’s fabulous, but they are like 14 hours each! This is my favorite so far because of the love that has developed between Sebastian and his wife Hero. His words to her? Sigh….
I eagerly bought this book and it has sat on my coffee table since March. Why? I don’t know! I love this series about Veronica and Stoker, the mysteries they solve, and their developing love and friendship for each other. I need to read it stat!
I had heard so many great things about this author and was so, so disappointed that this was my first peek at her work. I really disliked it. I hate to remember how much, actually.
A straight fiction novel is such a big departure for me. Especially lately when I only try to read books I know will have a happy ending. The Big Finish had characters with great heart and I shed a boatload of tears, but I also smiled a lot too.
When I submitted a request to read Blitzed by Alexa Martin I did it not knowing it was the third book in the series so I checked out Intercepted and Fumbled and read those, then Blitzed, all in one weekend. They were funny, irreverent, and sexy. Just what I needed to read that weekend. I LOVE this author and will snap up her next one as soon as it gets released!
Check out her bio on Penguin’s website and click HERE
I really don’t do fictional crushes so this one was difficult for me. You see, for me, it’s all about the fictional couple and their story. How they find each other and fall in love. BUT, if I had to pick one for this year, it would be Gus Everett. Although, I LOVED him with January.
Newest Favorite Characters
This book takes place in a small town in Alaska and centers around Zoey and Graham, BUT the cast of characters also shone and I can’t wait to read their stories as well! If you haven’t read this one and you need a pick me up, pick IT up!
My husband and I found ourselves with two weeks without jobs. He was laid off and I was put on a furlough for two weeks. For those of you that don’t know a furlough is where you are not paid for the time you’re out, can file for unemployment, and are guaranteed a re-entry into your old job. In my case two weeks. Instead of sitting on our butts at home and playing it safe, we decided to play it as safe as possible on the road. We are visiting a bunch of National Parks and site’s that we’ve always wanted to see, but never had the time. What does this have to do with books? Well, not a whole hell of a lot except we’ve listened to a couple audiobooks, visited a cool mural in Kansas City, and been inspired to write about the gorgeous scenery we are seeing in the great U.S. of A.
Honestly, we’ve seen so much in the past week that it’s hard to put it all down on paper, but I’ll give you some highlights, and of course show you some photo’s. Consider this our generations slideshow that when I was a kid we’d make visitors sit through when we returned from our vacation.
First night- Kansas City! Honestly this was just a stop on the road after driving for 8 hours from Nashville, but I knew I wanted to eat BBQ and take a picture in front of their library.
Our goal was to drive through South Dakota to get to Mt. Rushmore. A national monument I’d always wanted to see and a state I was supremely curious about. I fell in LOVE. What a beautiful state! Now, granted, we were seeing it in June and the weather was pleasant. This is an area that gets a TON of snow. I think we came at the right time of the year.
We passed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home as we listened to an audiobook about the History of Bourbon. Yes, I know it’s not my normal reading, but I knew it would be something my husband would be interested in hearing. It was a little dry, but a really interesting topic!
While listening to this book I looked at this scenery. Truly glorious, isn’t it?
Can you imagine viewing this prairie and thinking about pioneer’s, wagon trains, and whether you yourself would have the fortitude to make that trip? In a car it took us 11 hours to make the drive from Kansas City to Rapid City, SD. That would equate to what, a couple of weeks, months? So no. Definitely not.
We did make a stop in the Badlands where we saw our fist buffalo, some amazing scenery and a prairie dog.
We did finally get to Mt. Rushmore, and it was splendid. In fact, after visiting that park we went to Custer National Park and on the drive there, you could see Mt. Rushmore from many different vista’s. Here’s my favorite, and yes, we wore masks the WHOLE time! I wish I could say the same for everyone else.
Because we were making things up as we went along, we stopped at a geological site and saw some Mammoth skeleton’s, went to Vail Colorado for lunch, and again enjoyed all of the different scenic vista’s of the country we were driving through. As we entered Utah and the desert, I popped in a new book that I thought my husband might enjoy. It was Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. There was actually quite a bit of humor in these tales and even though I imagined Chris Hemsworth as Thor, every time his stories were told I grew less enthralled with that character. He was really not a very bright god! In the end my imagination took me from Chris Hemsworth to a more fit (and more hair) Homer Simpson. I much prefer the movie version, but it passed the time and my husband enjoyed the stories.
We went through Arches National Park in Utah and drove down through Monument Valley on our way to the Grand Canyon, where I am right now. I haven’t seen it yet, but will let you know my thoughts! Here are a few photo’s of the previous places mentioned. I would totally recommend Arches National Park, and even the drive through Monument Valley, although I’d wait until post COVID. It was hard to find a pit stop because the Navajo and Indian nation’s have been hit pretty hard and most store’s/restaurants were closed.
One last thing! We got to Tusayan tonight and as we were heading out to dinner say this visitor walking towards us on the street. Freaked me out! It’s an elk, by the way, not a moose, and yes that is my commentary. Like I said. I was freaked!
This was our first six days on the road. I did leave some photo’s out, but gave you quite a few to ruminate over! I hope you enjoyed my slideshow, 2020 style!
Have a great Sunday! I know I will. I’ll be in California Visiting my Dad for Father’s Day. 🙂
I know this year we will all be celebrating Easter a little differently than we have in the past. Typically, if you are spiritual you may celebrate with your family at church, cook a big meal, hide the eggs and hope they all get found before the next heatwave. This year we are streaming our family church services from our couch, enjoying a nice ham sandwich, and getting nostalgic looking at photo’s of past Easter dresses and bonnets. Yes, it’s a different world we are living in right now but we can still find little ways to celebrate safely.
Google how to color your hair a soft pastel shade with food colorings you have in your kitchen. Seriously, I’m seeing pictures of some of my more conservative friends who are now rocking purple or pink hair.
2. Now that your hair is styling, get out of your PJ’s and switch to your pastel colored leggings and fuzzy socks and stream your church service. Even though you can’t see all of your friends, it will be nice to hear your pastor’s voice deliver his Easter message. Here is my own local church service live at 10am cst. St. George’s Episcopal Church
3. I am lucky enough (well, most of the time I think this way) to live on my family’s property and because we are in constant contact with each other, and all of us are practicing social distancing we feel good about eating dinner together nightly. For our Easter dinner I’ll be making a Coconut cake with pistachio buttercream filling. I already have some prepared leftover pistachio buttercream and now need to attempt a homemade cake. THANK YOU PINTEREST! There are so…many….recipes!
4. Watch your favorite holiday movie while holding hands with your significant other. I say that last because I sleep in the same bed with my husband so I figure what he’s got, I’ve got. One of my favorite Easter movies is an oldie called East Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. I haven’t watched it in years, but I may torture my husband today by finding this and singing along while I watch Judy Garland try to get noticed in NYC’s Easter Parade.
I’m really going to have to find this movie, it’s bringing back such great memories!
5. Curl up in your favorite reading spot and finish that book you just started. For me that would be Jasmine’s Guillory’s The Proposal. I find that a romance takes me away from reality and that happily ever after gives me a moment of happiness. I’d recommend this one because it’s funny too!
Regardless of how you spend your Easter today, please spend it safely in your own home. Skype with friends or do a Zoom family reunion. Our troubles are not yet behind us, but they will be soon!
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!
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!
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.