Reading more: Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle

book squareGabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle by George Hagen was provided to me at no charge through NetGalley. The opinions are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

Again, I may have missed my calling teaching kids to read, but then again, I like to read for enjoyment, not to dissect a story, characters, and plot within an inch of their lives for a deeper understanding.

Let me read to read, enjoy, get a little lost, and maybe learn something new.

Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle is one of those books I suspect is being picked apart bit by bit to have every microscopic element examined and analyzed. It’s a good one.

From Amazon:

A tangle of ingenious riddles, a malevolent necklace called a torc, and flocks of menacing birds: these are just some of the obstacles that stand between Gabriel and his father, Adam Finley, who has vanished from their Brooklyn brownstone. When Gabriel rescues an orphaned baby raven named Paladin, he discovers a family secret: Finleys can bond with ravens in extraordinary ways. Along with Paladin and three valiant friends, Gabriel sets out to bring his father home. They soon discover that Adam is being held captive by the evil demon Corax—half man, half raven, and Adam’s very own disgraced brother—in a foreboding netherworld of birds called Aviopolis. With help from his army of ghoulish minions, the valravens, Corax is plotting to take over the land above, and now only Gabriel stands in his way.

The book took a little to get into, but once the action got going in part 2, I really liked it. It had riddles to decipher, magic, mystery and adventure. While the components were quite fantastical, they fit the characters and the plot of the story well.  I appreciated the compassionate tones that ran through he book as Gabriel was on his quest to save his father, the commentary on human (and raven) nature, and the characters.

There were some dark and what might be scary portions of this book. It’s geared to 4-7th graders. It would be okay for many, it wouldn’t be awesome if you had a more sensitive child.

Is this something you’d read? Would you read it with your child? Hand it to them? Why or why not.

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Reading More: Witch of Painted Sorrows

book squareWitch of Painted Sorrows by  M.J. Rose was provided to me at no charge through NetGalley. The opinions are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

I’ve professed my love of M. J. Rose before and I’ll likely say it some more. I really like her books even though nothing about her genre entices me otherwise.

I’m just not a fantasy, gothic, historical kind of fiction girl.

I’m a M. J. Rose girl though for sure.  Let’s talk about Witch of Painted Sorrows…

From Amazon:

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten–her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse

There was some back and forth mystery, some really naughty bits, intrigue and fun. There’s something about reading the mostly positive presentation of an 19th century courtesan that’s refreshing for a time I understand to be really uptight about such things. (I could be wrong.)

The only thing I had to keep straight in my head was that it wasn’t present day. Often times I had them walking around in present day clothing and had to back up and re read sections because it was wrong. I like to get the picture right in my head.

If you’ve read other M. J. Rose you should read this one. I hope they bring Sandrine back for another book. I don’t know that they will, but is already another Daughters of La Lune Series book to come out.

I’ll be checking that out as well.

Is this something you’d read? Why or why not.

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Thursday Three: Thoughts I’ve had this week

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At least the snow’s good for something.

Do you prefer to think of “Thursday” as “Thursday” or as “Friday Eve”? I think of it as both or not at all, I suppose it really depends on how the week has gone!

This week has worked out okay so far (knock on wood it doesn’t change between now and Saturday afternoon!) but it’s had some rough moments.

Let’s not talk about them though. Instead I want to share some of the thoughts I’ve had so far this week:

  1. I really shouldn’t be watching Dancing with the Stars Most Memorable Year while whormones are in full swing. No, I wasn’t the one with feelings leaking out of her eyes! Okay, I was. I didn’t even get the second half of the night watched. Maybe I’ll save it for next week.
  2. Oooh they have the big box of Amy’s Broccoli and Cheese Bake! That’s a good price for lunch and would be delicious. I should get the family sized one! [Reaches for it but sees the individual size at eye level.] Damn it, be reasonable that’s not a good idea. Shame on you Court. Shame. [Puts the individual one in the cart.](For the record, I sort of regret not getting the big one. I’m sure my belly does not regret my decision.)
  3. No, I’m not going to buy yarn today. No, I’m not going to buy yarn today. No, I’m – Shit that color is perfect for [insert name of someone I’m going to make a gift.Damn it. I bought the yarn.

Have any good thoughts lately that you’d like to share?

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Reading more: The Skeleton Garden

book squareThe Skeleton Garden by Marty Wingate was provided to me at no charge through NetGalley. The opinions are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

A bit back, I read The Red Book of Primrose House for a review and once I got into the book, I thought I might like to read more about Pru.

When I saw this come up on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to get a sneak peak to find out what Pru’s been up to lately.

From Amazon:

Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but she never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employers offer Pru and her new husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of their nineteenth-century estate while they’re away for a year, she jumps at the chance. Sweetening the deal is the prospect of further bonding with her long-lost brother, Simon, who happens to be Greenoak’s head gardener. But the majestic manor has at least one skeleton in its closet—or, rather, its garden.

Working on renovations to the extensive grounds, siblings Pru and Simon squabble about everything from boxwood to bay hedges. But when the removal of a half-dead tree turns up the wreckage of a World War II–era German fighter plane and a pile of bones, the arguments stop. That is, until a rival from Simon’s past pays a surprise visit and creates even more upheaval. It’s suddenly clear someone is unhappy their secrets have been unearthed. Still, Pru’s not about to sit back and let Simon take the fall for the dirty deed without a fight.

Again it was a little slow to get into, but much faster than I found the The Red Book of Primrose House to be. I still enjoyed Pru and seeing more depth to her relationship with Christopher. There’s also further development of Pru’s relationship with her brother, sister in law and others. Getting to know more of her family was fun. I also loved how a big portion of the plot had to do with the history of this little countryside town they live in and the party they were planning which tied into it.

This book was just generally cozy, lovely, and I enjoyed it very much. There are apparently two I have missed and at some point, I may go back and read them.

Is this something you’d read? Why or why not.

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Good things 2016: Week #13

Fotor_145947461502065(Due to the way I write organize Good things posts, even though it was yesterday, I’ll talk about my birthday next week. Big thanks to everyone who sent pleasant thoughts!)

It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

Not going to lie, the past week was a little fuzzy at times because I’ve been fighting a cold off. Not the day before yesterday, but the Saturday before that, one of my instructors didn’t show up so I had to teach all his classes.

One of the little girls coughed in my face. It happens with 3-4 year olds. Guess who I didn’t see this week at lessons. I have to guess it’s because she had a cough too.

Good Things

  • Dinner being ready when I got home from the pool. (I’m usually quite famished by then.)
  • Lunch with my previous supervisor and all the laughs we share
  • Not making eye contact because doing so will make you giggle at the wrong time
  • A surprise free night from the pool
  • A visit from Ms. Bix and her boys. I adore them to pieces. We played Mad Libs, had snacks, colored, and pealed crayons.
  • Brody cuddles
  • My TV lineup on On-Demand like civilized society intended
  • Cold meds, cough drops, and hot tea
  • New smoothie maker even if I didn’t have the yogurt I like
  • The final Dorthy Must Die book, Yellow Brick War.

Good reads (Other interesting reads are here.)

Favorite Photo:
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Favorite Song:

I think it’s really the video I love for some reason.

How have you been? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes? Read anything good this week?

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Coffee Date

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This picture has nothing to do with this post.
Just wanted to share.
Brody loves chewing on this stick.

Happy Friday to you and you and you! (And happy birthday to Not-So-Sweet Pea!) Thanks for stopping by for a cup of coffee.

We’ve made it through another week and while mine was a little fuzzy (thank you cold meds!) I don’t think it was a bad one. Today, I really changed things up on the coffee front and decided to have VANILLA coffee, not hazelnut or Kahlua. While child right here. Did you drink anything exciting this morning?

So what’s new? How has your day/week been?

I’m taking everything with a grain or three of salt today because it’s April Fools day and I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to be a fool if possible!

I’ve seen some baby announcements, some firing announcements, and Google’s bad prank but nothing too terrible. (And for I really know, they could be real, time will tell.)I do hope the fake pregnancy announcements aren’t too prevalent. I know some people who really struggle with seeing them (summed up nicely in this post). While not all of us struggling to have little ones of our own feel this way, I know many who it does hurt deeply. Just be careful. You may not know someone in your circle is struggling because most people don’t talk about it. (When I posted this post, I literally had dozens of people I didn’t know about reach out to me privately to share their story.)

Let’s just be mindful about our pranks and who they might be really hurtful to, hmkay? So have you been pranked yet? Did you prank someone? I haven’t but the day is young. Plus I do like to spread them out so people are less suspicious.

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Good things 2016: Week #10-12

Fotor_14579172630789It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

I haven’t checked in in a bit so let’s ease back in slowly. How about some good things from the past few weeks?

  • Cocktails, adventures, food, and generally vacation in Key West
  • New music
  • Settling back into home
  • Rereading M.J. Rose (in the right order)
  • Watching HGTV, FYI, DIY renovation shows/marathons with Frank
  • Great swim lessons with my kiddos
  • Internet research skills
  • Staff who is willing to help me out
  • Oranges
  • A request specifically for you to do something for work because they like you and want to work specifically with you.
  • Ginger cheweys
  • Exciting news for friends
  • Smiles from babies
  • Hugs from one of their mommas
  • Catching up on sleep
  • Free books that are pretty good
  • Seeing friends I don’t get to see often
  • Getting approval for a trip to Atlanta for work.
  • GF Girlscout cookies
  • Replies to tweets and other Twitter fun

Good reads – You should probably know that I missed a lot of reads on vacation, but here were a few I saw.

Favorite Photo:

Fotor_145840577559583
Fotor_145912763982334
Favorite Song:

How have you been? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes? Read anything good this week?

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Good things 2016: Week #8 and 9

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This yarn was helpful.
It told me who it wanted to go live with.

It’s important to remember the things that are good in life. It reminds me how blessed I really am and also helps to ease the sting of the bad. I’m incredibly lucky, there’s more good than bad (Knockonwood!) and I want to document how thankful I am for it.

I’d be lying if I said the last couple of weeks were awesome. They had some awesome moments sure, but overall it’s been difficult. More difficult than feeling lousy, perhaps, is struggling with figuring out WHY I’ve felt so lousy.

I’ve identified some things I’m working on adjusting (like remembering to take my vitamins, B & D are critical for me) and seriously cutting back again on facebook and other mindless uses of social media and activities. Also Whoremones are really mean.

Like I told my brother. I’ll be good.

Onto the good things!

Good Things

  • The enormous blackberries someone left in the kitchen to share
  • Lunch with a friend instead of shopping on my lunch break
  • Finding I did have GF chicken tenders in the freezer at work and not having to go out for lunch on an icky day.
  • Being able to help with some design work for a friend in a pinch
  • Exciting news about seeing my nephew
  • Visiting a friend and leaving him in a better place then when I got there.
  • Getting back to Sunday yoga class even if I’m not sure about the instructor
  • Hopefully getting to the bottom of my general feeling of unrest, gloominess,
  • Listening to the yarn I was working with and knowing who it was supposed to belong to.
  • My office flowers blooming again
  • Getting some projects out at work.
  • Dishwashers
  • Naps, oh goodness, glorious naps.
  • The problem with the dryer being a small one
  • Going into the craft store for only what I actually needed to get.

Good reads

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Many blooms.

Favorite Photo:

Favorite Song:

I actually like most of this album.

Also this isn’t a song, but this looks like a great game to play! I don’t know what it’s called, but Tic Tac Toe Sprint sounds good to me.

How have you been? What made you smile? Tell me about one of your successes? Read anything good this week?

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Day 3 #sol16 – Yarn and a hook has me hooked

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Round and through and round and through…repeat and repeat and repeat 1000 times more.

It started when I was a little girl at Mehmere’s side wanting to know how it worked and wanting to try. She handed me a beautiful lavander hook and some yarn and we set to work.

Crocheting didn’t stick then, but fast forward 20+ years to my brother’s first deployment and all the sudden I needed something new to learn. I was visiting her one day and asked her to show me again. She pulled out the lavender crochet hook and some yarn, patiently walking me through the steps again. That day she sent me home with that crochet hook to practice.

This time it stuck. First a scarf! Then another! Then a hat! And a more fancy one!

More than some yarn and a metal hook, every project was a small escape from the realities of the situation. A distraction from the stress and anxiety. I had to count everything stitch, talking it out in my head – sometimes out loud as each project started to take shape.

I also found a way to relax which was new and exciting for me. Crocheting provided not only an outlet, but something I could do right even on my worst days. If it was wrong? It’s easy to take out and do again. Knowing there’s something you can do without question? Sort of proceless. It’s served me well.

Currently my brother is state side but I have other reasons to need an escape and relax. Stress from the day, something to do, gifts for a loved one, there are any number of ways crocheting has helped me. Mostly I just know it’s something I can DO.

If you’d like to join here’s the info. There’s even a post of ideas.

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Day 2 #sol16 – Visits

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I miss them so, in many more ways than I ever thought was possible. I also see, feel, and hear them in more ways than I ever thought possible.

They come to my dreams, sometimes actively, sometimes in the place between awake and sleep. A laugh here, a whisper of loving words there. Almost daily a message of love from one if not more of them.

I see hellos from them when I’m out and about. The owl hidden in the gable, the hidden rainbow only seen when I have my sun glasses on, the wing special on a Wednesday night, finding the perfect item on sale, a broken GI Joe somewhere I’m sure I didn’t leave it…

A hundred hellos as long as I’m looking.

If you’d like to join here’s the info. There’s even a post of ideas.

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