Posted in Family, quarantine, raising kids, Reading, social media

Quarantine: Week Two

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. My family and I have gotten through another week of quarantine and we haven’t lost our minds…yet. I’ve been putting my story together and I’m getting more and more excited. I’ve written this story differently than my other stories and I really like how it has turned out. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

So far, my family and I have stayed healthy, so the quarantine is working for us. It has also brought us closer together with late night Uno games and binge-watching Netflix. I love hanging with my kids.

 

Photo credit: hannah.rosen on Visual hunt / CC BY

But this quarantine can be hard on people who don’t have a family. People who live alone can become depressed and lonely. So, check on your friends who live alone, send them a text to make sure they’re okay. This is a time to stay connected even if we can’t get together.

There’s a variety of ways you can stay connected in this trying time. Social Media is a great way to stay in touch and make sure everyone is okay. There’s also program’s like Skype and Zoom where you can video chat with your friends. At the very least, you can pick up the phone and give them a call.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Another way to fight depression is to stay busy. I’ve been working on my book, so it doesn’t register that I’ve barely left the house in two weeks. Hubby has a couple of major projects going on around the house that’s keeping him busy and the boys have their video games where they communicate with their friends. I’m letting them have more screen time because playing video games is another way to fight depression.

They’ve been reading every day and their school has a website set up where they can do some assignments. I think it’s great, but I’m not forcing them to do it. I believe they’ll be just fine when they get back to school. The school must adjust to the students needs and I believe they will.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

So, that’s how were dealing with the quarantine, working on our own projects and having more family time and staying in touch with my single friends. How about you? How are you combating depression in this crazy time when you can’t leave the house? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, World War II

Stuck at Home because of Social Distancing? Check out what I’ve been Reading!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of hard work, writing, and the Corona Virus.  It has been a week of first times, let me tell you.

My kids are off school for the next three weeks, a month if you consider the fact that spring break is the first full week of April. I’m also working from home indefinitely. Strange times, for sure.

While I’m practicing my social distancing, I’m working on my story. I’m excited to say, I’ve reached the end. An end that I’m happy with, for the moment. You know how we writers are. LOL! 😉

Since I’m spending the majority of my time at home. I plan on doing more reading and I thought all of you might be interested in my list of favorite books in case you have some extra time on your hands.  I’ve read these books in the last year and I really enjoyed them. So, without any further ado, here they are:

 

 

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Winner of the 2015 Audie Award for Fiction

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

 

The Nightingale

 

Audie Award, Fiction, 2016

In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.

France, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

 

 

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

 

Number-one New York Times best-seller and the perfect holiday gift.

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” (Reese Witherspoon)

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart. 

 

 

The Ragged Edge of Night

For fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeBeneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.

 

 

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

 

A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet….

So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue – in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’ case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family, Hannah, who observes far more than anyone realizes – and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping pause-resister and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

 

Little Fires Everywhere

 

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

The runaway New York Times best seller!

Named a Best Book of the Year by:

People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, Book of the Month, Paste, Kirkus Reviews, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more!

“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting.” (Jodi Picoult)

“To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” (Reese Witherspoon)

“I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I’ve read this year.” (John Green)

From the best-selling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants – all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.

 

Before We Were Yours: A Novel

 

THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT – A New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Best Seller

For listeners of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a “thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart…based on a notorious true-life scandal.”

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge – until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents – but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals – in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country – Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Publishers Weekly‘s #3 Longest-Running Best Seller of 2017

Winner of the Southern Book Prize

If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection

“A [story] of a family lost and found…a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.”(People)

“Sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year…. Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you’ll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann’s legacy.” (Parade)

 

The Orphan's Tale: A Novel

 

New York Times best seller!

“Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will embrace this novel. ” (Library Journal)

“Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion…. I read this novel in a headlong rush.” (Christina Baker Kline, number one New York Times best-selling author of Orphan Train)

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another – or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

 

Gone Girl: A Novel

 

Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times best seller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unpausable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl‘s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.

Under mounting pressure from the police and the media – as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents – the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter – but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

 

11-22-63: A Novel

 

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back?

In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King – who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer – takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

It begins with Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away: a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life – like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963 – turning on a dime.

Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession – to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world – of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading, eventually of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful – and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

 

So, there you have it, ten incredible books to keep you busy during this period of social distancing. I’m always on the look out for a great story, so if you have any recommendations, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, reviews

My Thoughts on 11/22/63

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. We’re in the middle of an ice storm right now. It was supposed to be much worse than it is, and I’m glad it’s not as bad as it was originally predicted. I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t lose power.

I’ve been busy dealing with sick kids after the holidays, so I haven’t had a lot of time for writing or exercising. So, I’ve got to get back on track with both of those goals.

But enough about that. Today, I want talk about what I’ve been reading. I finally finished Stephen King’s 11/23/83. I enjoyed it. The time travel element was a nice spin and I enjoyed the relationship between George and Sadie. Did it answer the burning question, ‘did Oswald work alone?’

 

 

One of the Ten Best Books of The New York Times Book Review
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Now a miniseries from Hulu starring James Franco

ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963, THREE SHOTS RANG OUT IN DALLAS, PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED, AND THE WORLD CHANGED. WHAT IF YOU COULD CHANGE IT BACK?

In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer—takes readers on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

My Thoughts:

Like I said before, I loved the relationship between George and Sadie. King has a way of creating believable characters. He has a way of showing them as flawed and strong at the same time, but enough about that. Did the story answer the question, ‘did Oswald work alone?’

According to the story, he did and the afterward in the book seems to lean that way as well. I wish there were a more concrete answer to that question, but I think you’ll have to do your own research to find an answer that satisfies you.

The story was told in fresh Stephen King style, and I liked it so much, I picked up another Stephen King book. So, this is what I’m reading now in between writing jaunts, work, and family. 😊

 

 

The Outsider: A Novel by [King, Stephen]

Soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!

Evil has many faces…maybe even yours in this #1 New York Times bestseller from master storyteller Stephen King.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

 

I’m excited about this story. It looks really good and what better time to read than during an ice storm, right?

How about you? What are you reading? Do you have any recommendations for me? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading

What I’ve Been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been reading. I meant to do it last week, but you know inspiration hit and well…the rest is history.

When I was sick, I wasn’t able to write and when I started to recover, I did a lot of reading because there’s nothing like a good book to make you feel better. Am I right or am I right?

So, without further ado, here’s a list of some of the books I’ve been reading. They were awesome!

 

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by [Honeyman, Gail]

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fineis the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart. 

 

My Thoughts:

I loved this story! I love how Eleanor heals herself with the help of some unlikely heroes. I love stories where broken people overcome their obstacles. Eleanor was an amazing character. She’ll make you laugh at times and cry at others. It is definitely a good one to put on your summer reading list!

In a Dark, Dark Wood by [Ware, Ruth]

An NPR Best Book of the Year * A ShelfAwareness Best Book of the Year * An Entertainment Weekly Summer Books Pick * Buzzfeed “31 Books to Get Excited About this Summer” Pick * Publishers Weekly “Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers” Pick * BookReporter Summer Reading Pick * New York Post “Best Novels to Read this Summer” Pick * Shelf Awareness “Book Expo America Buzz Book” Pick *

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Sometimes the only thing to fear…is yourself.

When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods.

 

My Thoughts:

This was an incredible story for people who love thrillers. I’m one of those people. Ever since I’ve read this book, I’ve been binge-reading Ruth Ware. This was a great story that I read in a couple of days.

 

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by [Ware, Ruth]

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s fourth novel, “her best yet” (Library Journal, starred review).

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

 

My Thoughts:

When I said I was binge-reading Ruth Ware, I wasn’t kidding. This story draws you in with the characters and keeps you guessing until the very end. I’ve read another Ruth Ware book, The Woman in Cabin 10, but I didn’t like that one as much as I did these two. But, don’t worry, it’s still a good story.

So there you have it, what I read while I was recovering. Awesome stories. How about you? Have you been reading? Leave a title and your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Reading

I’m back and I’m talking about Self-Care

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have to apologize, I’ve been hit with the Bronchitis bug and have been too sick to post on my blog. So, I apologize for my long absence and I’m finally back with a post.

Because I’ve just gotten over a bad case of Bronchitis, I thought I’d write a post on the importance of self-care. I tend to put myself last because I’m a mom and that’s what a lot of us moms do.

The thing is if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. Health is our wealth. It’s not money. You can have all the money in the world, but if you can’t enjoy it because of failing health, it’s worthless.

Photo on Visualhunt

So, take the time to cook yourself healthy meals. It’s a great way to bond with your kids and teach them healthy eating habits. In my opinion, good health starts with good food. Your diet is so important. Food fuels your body and builds it up to fight disease and sickness. If you’re filling it with empty calories and no nutrients, you’re not giving it what it needs to keep you healthy. So, start this habit while your kids are young and it’s never too late to take better care of yourself.

Photo credit: moonjazz on Visual hunt /CC BY

Another element of self-care is exercise. Yeah, going to the gym is a great way to get those miles in on that treadmill, but if you can get outside, that’s even better. Getting out in the sun is so good for you. We all need our vitamin D and the best way to get it is from the sun. I believe a daily dose of fresh air and sunshine is good for all of us. Heart and Soul.

Photo on Visualhunt

And if you can somehow get out to the woods or walk near the beach, that is the best for you. Remember the trees in the forest emit tiny microbes that help us fight disease and the fresh air from the beach has many health benefits as well.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

So, diet and exercise are two of the key ingredients to good health. Another ingredient is stress reduction. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress, but there are others.  One of the activities I like to do when I’m too stressed is read. Yes, reading can drop your stress level within minutes of opening your book. It gets your mind off your stressful situation, your heart rate will decrease, and you’ll begin to relax. Reading is a perfect way to de-stress when you can’t make it to the gym or just don’t feel like exercising.

Photo on Visual Hunt

So, there you have it, the three elements of self-care. What do you do to take care of yourself?  I’m always looking for new ideas, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Reading, reviews

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and writing during these snowy winter days, so I thought I’d share with you the latest book I’ve finished. It was action packed and full of twists and turns. Without further ado, here it is!

 

 

Legacy's Impact (Destiny by Design Book 3) by [Andersen, J. ]

 

 

Kate’s genes say she’s a rebel; will her heart tell her the same?

Katherine Dennard was supposed to go back to a perfect life in The Institute with her fiancé, Saul Goodman, but her amnesia is making that wonderful life harder than she hoped. When that crazy guy, Micah Pennington shows up and tells her everything she knows is a lie, she doesn’t know who to trust, but one thing’s for sure: it isn’t Micah. The thing is, Micah might be crazy, but Saul is definitely hiding something.

Kate must sift through the mysteries of her past to uncover who she is, but unraveling the truth unearths secrets that threaten to destroy the only life she can remember. If Kate can’t remember who she was, how can she figure out who she’s supposed to be?

 

My Thoughts:

This is the third story in the Young Adult series Destiny by Design. I’ve read the first two books and this one is my favorite. The story line is exciting and full of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages. The characters are realistic and complicated which makes for a better story. The science in the story is well-thought out and believable and that made the story intriguing as well. If you are a dystopian lover, I highly recommend this series. The books are well-written, and the plots are realistic.

 

If you want to start the series from the beginning, here are the first two book covers and blurbs.

 

 

The Breeding Tree (Destiny by Design Book 1) by [Andersen, J.]

When Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don’t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body tossed in the trash could be hers.

“This is a powerful story about the meaning and value of life–we don’t have enough of those.” ~ Terry Trueman, Printz Honor author, Stuck in Neutral

 

The Gene Rift (Destiny by Design Book 2) by [Andersen, J.]

Seventeen-year-old Katherine Dennard will risk the freedom she fought so hard to gain to rescue the man she loves, even if it means making an unthinkable deal with Saul, a high-ranking military officer determined to capture her and destroy all Natural-Born rebels. But the arrangement may forever strip her of the quiet life she desires with Micah and her newborn son and thrust her back into the dangerous world of The Institute — where only perfect, genetically-modified babies are allowed to survive.
Natural-Born rebel, Micah Pennington, will die in prison before he gives up information that would put Kate and her child in danger or reveal the secrets of the Hidden City. And if by some miracle he does escape, he must find a way to obliterate The Institute and their genetic engineering practices once and for all.
Saul Goodman fosters trust with the rebels in order to infiltrate their society, reveal intel, and devise a way to eliminate them. Kate holds the key to the downfall of The Institute, and Saul will use her baby against her, stopping at nothing to protect The Institute’s future.
Will Kate choose to save Micah even if it means placing the life of her baby in Saul’s hands?

Posted in Reading, reviews

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today as winter storm Xanto rains down on us here in the Midwest. I plan on getting a lot of writing done this weekend as I huddle beneath my blankey and wait out the storm. It’s supposed to be historic, and I’m praying for at least one snow day out of it.

But enough about the weather, I’m back to talk about one of my favorite things in the world. Books. I’ve just finished a couple of great ones, and I thought I’d share them with all of you.

The first one is a new to me author. I haven’t read any of her previous stories, but she has a great reputation so I thought I’d give her latest release a try. It’s a young adult story so if you have any teens looking for something to read, check her out.

The title is “Still Life with Tornado” and the cover and blurb are below.

 

Still Life with Tornado by [King, A.S.]

 

Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.
 
Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of abuse, survival, resurgence that will linger with readers long after the last page.

 

My thoughts: (spoiler alert)

I didn’t get the title until I’d finished reading the story.  Needless to say, it makes perfect sense. I loved the story. It’s about a family and how domestic violence affects everyone in the family. It’s told from two viewpoints and one of them is Sarah. The only person who hasn’t experienced her father’s fists. In the beginning of the story, she has lost the ability to create art. Her passion. She’s also no longer attending school and that has everyone worried. No one knows why and the story is intricately woven together as the author takes us through Sarah’s journey. We learn about her love for her brother who moved out and the incident that sent her into a spin and brought her world crashing down.

The second viewpoint is Helen, Sarah’s mother. She’s a nurse and she’s the person stitching the family back together when her husband’s rages tear it apart. She doesn’t know what caused Sarah to slump into a depression, but she’s got her own issues to deal with. She’s the one who tries to keep her husband on an even keel and avoid his punches at the same time. She’s walking a tightrope so she isn’t able to give Sarah the attention she needs, but she’s trying.

The one negative I have about this story is that I didn’t feel that the mother’s voice and Sarah’s voice were distinct enough. There were a few chapters where I was half way down the first page before I realized the narrator had switched. This pulled me from the story and created a. bit of confusion. We all know it’s a bad thing to frustrate our reader, but that’s the only negative I have. Otherwise, it’s a great read especially for teens.

 

The other book I read was an adult suspense written by the author of “Luckiest Girl Alive.” This second story did not disappoint Its title is “Into the Water” and the cover and blurb are below.

Into the Water: A Novel by [Hawkins, Paula]

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER

An addictive new novel of psychological suspense from the author of #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train

“Hawkins is at the forefront of a group of female authors—think Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott—who have reinvigorated the literary suspense novel by tapping a rich vein of psychological menace and social unease… there’s a certain solace to a dark escape, in the promise of submerged truths coming to light.” —Vogue

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

My Thoughts:

This one is written with a non-linear time line so you have to pay attention otherwise it gets confusing. It’s the heartbreaking story about a single mom who’s investigating some strange deaths in her town. She’s a photographer and she has become intrigued by the mysterious deaths surrounding the river winding it’s way through the tiny burg.

Her daughter’s best friend commits suicide and her daughter, Lena, is the only one who knows why. Katie, Lena’s best friend, does this by jumping off the cliff and into the river. Months later it appears as if Lena’s mother, Lorna, has done the same thing.  Lorna’s found dead in the river as well, and so the mystery begins. Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? The story pulls you in and it goes deeper and deeper into the tragedies of this small town, revealing secrets and uncovering the ugly truth. It’s a great read and Paula Hawkins has just become one of my favorite authors.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my reviews. How about you? Do you have any great books you’d recommend? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!