Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

Happy 2015!
I hope everyone had a blessed holiday season. Christmas for us was very busy (I changed our guest room sheets 3 times!) but quite peaceful despite the rotating house guests. We brought the new year in with some friends (a 14 year tradition that now includes our kiddos) and spent new years day with family. To say I'm ready for along winters break (nap) would be correct! I have quite a few books stacked one upon one another that I'm working my way through. The leaning tower of literature ... fingers crossed for lots of reading this winter.
So .... on to Turn the page ... Tuesday! I read this trilogy the beginning of 2014 but thought it would be great to share in January (um - not to mention that I was in a bit of an unplanned/unannounced blog sabbatical). There's lot of snow and down right miserable conditions - perfect to read while curled up by a cozy fire with a kitty (or dog) on your lap.

The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, and The Summer Garden is a love story that begins in Russia during WWII. There is so much that happens that it really is hard to believe. It had me often thinking "seriously - no way". BUT. If you are one to root for the underdog you become a cheerleader. You can't help it. You can't put the book down. The author hooks you with so many twists and turn. You have to know what is going to happen next. I only made it through The Bronze Horseman because I knew there two other books - the main characters had to make it - right?! Thankfully I'm not a nail bitter - I would have none left otherwise.

I will say there is quite a bit of  "adult content" in these books but there is also a lot of Russian history and references to Russian literature. I was often referring to my friend Google to know more about a person, place or an event. I even ordered a few books that would have never been on my radar had it not been for this series.

When I was done with the last book (I literally read 3000 pages?! in a week - don't ask about the state of my home or children or husband during that time) I couldn't pick up another book. I just had to sit with the characters a bit longer. AND THEN. As fate would have it - I was able to track down a little bit more of my people - Tatiana's Table.

Now - if you followed that link - don't think I've lost my ever lovin' mind or are top of the Forbes list like Bill Gates. No, I referred to old faithful again to search - and search - and search - and well. You get the point. I found a used copy in New Zealand. Apparently, whoever owned it wasn't nearly as interested in Russian WWII cooking as me and was willing to sell it for a decent price. The shipping cost me more than the book! I know. I have issues. And no. I have not cooked one single thing from the book. But I've read it. It actually is a book not just a cookbook so the recipes are embellished with a few chapters that compliment what was in the series.

Once I satisfied my appetite (I know - I slay me) - I was able to move on to other books. Relief! I'd hate to have loved a series so much that it ended my reading career.

Yo! Adrienne says: Goodness. Go order all three (and the cookbook if you can track it down for less than the cost of your first born). Hunker up by the fire with a box of tissues (oh yessss - you will need those), a hot cup of something (or wine depending on time of day) and get going!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

LeRoy and I had a nice little chat ... and now I'm live! Well, actually only partially - something is wrong with my laptop but at least our desktop is connected. So - with out much further ado ...
Welcome back to another edition of Turn the page ... Tuesday! I've got quite a few for you this month. I hope you enjoy.
600 Hours of Edward and Edward Adrift  were such engaging reads. I really came to love Edward and all his quirks (don't all have a few?) and was pulling for him to "step out" of his comfort zone. Much happens in Edward's life that is comical, heartbreaking and heartwarming. Despite that fact that Edward is 37 years old these books are really a coming of age story.
From Amazon: "A 39-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10 p.m.).But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone. Over the course of a momentous 600 hours, he opens up to his new neighbors and confronts old grievances with his estranged parents. Exposed to both the joys and heartaches of friendship, Edward must ultimately decide whether to embrace the world outside his door or retreat to his solitary ways."
Yo! Adrienne says: Add them to your list. They are definitely a fun and engaging read.

So some of you may already be rolling your eyes at the thought of a cat story.  Stop right there. Even if you are not a cat lover Homer's Odyssey is a great read! We all love our pets like family and are convinced that they completely understand us ... and us them (ok - so we really don't understand our cats but we wish we did!). Gwen Cooper was cracking me up when she was describing her self as "that cat lady - the one who will always be single because she has (shudder) three cats." How she comes to become that cat lady is a wonderful story that has many bumps, 9/11, and a fairy tale ending. No more cats but definitely a knight in shining armor.
From Amazon: "Once in nine lives, something extraordinary happens... 
The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.
Everyone warned that Homer would always be an "underachiever," never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.
But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.
Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet." 
Yo! Adrienne says: Definitely a Christmas present for the cat lover in your life not to mention a fabulous read for yourself. Meooooow.

Goodness.  Sophie Hudson makes me smile. Almost everyday (I read her blog and you should too). She is so funny and genuine and that 's how she writes as well. You feel like you are on the phone with her or in her living room. I had seen A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet around in the blog-o-sphere but for some reason didn't pick it up. Something lit a fire under me and I randomly put it in my shopping cart. I read it in record speed and laughed out loud more times than I can count. I found myself saying "Rocky, listen to this ...." and reading a section (or two or three). Something you must know about Sophie (since I'm on a first name basis with her now that I read her blog) - she is a HUGE sports fan - specifically anything to do with Mississippi State. Her antics about life in the south, food, family, and lets not forget State football are not to be missed.
From Amazon: "There's nothing quite like family--and some people would say that there's nothing better. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do about the people sleeping right down the hall, it's easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There's even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time's-a-wastin', we need to be careful that we don't take our people--and their stories--for granted. 
Whether it's a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

Written in the same witty style as Sophie's BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet is a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie's very Southern family. It's a look into the real lives of real people--and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all."
Yo! Adrienne says: Another one to add to your must read and to give to every gal you know. She has another book coming out and I cannot wait!

Another one of those books that just kept popping up and I kept ignoring. Good golly. I'm going to start wizening up and start adding those books that catch my eye into my cart! The Antelope in the Living Room is down right belly holding, cheek hurting, and eyes watering funny. Again poor Rocky was subjected to my bursts of laughter and reading aloud. Melanie sums up marriage perfectly - even if your hubbie isn't a hunter and you don't have an antelope in your living room as she does I guarantee you will relate to her witty and sweet narrative of her marriage.

From Amazon: "Welcome to the story of a real marriage.

Marriage is simultaneously the biggest blessing and the greatest challenge two people can ever take on. It is the joy of knowing there is someone to share in your joys and sorrows, and the challenge of living with someone who thinks it’s a good idea to hang a giant antelope head on your living room wall.

In The Antelope in the Living Room, New York Times best-selling author and blogger Melanie Shankle does for marriage what Sparkly Green Earrings did for motherhood—makes us laugh out loud and smile through tears as she shares the holy and the hilarity of that magical and mysterious union called marriage."

Yo! Adrienne says: Get shopping/clicking/or checking out - this is another must read and a great gift idea. Melanie also has a blog that I stalk and a book about being a mother (need to read that one myself) along with another (book - not baby) on the way.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Technical Difficulties

I think our elf on the shelf LeRoy is making mischief. Our internet is down and TTPT is waaay to long to peck out on my phone. Thankfully I have most of my post done so fingers crossed that at some point tomorrow I will be up and runnin!

Stay tuned ... Reviews that you won't want to miss as are headed your way - right LeRoy?!

Friday, November 28, 2014


We woke up at the crack of zero-dawn-thirty and braved the freezing rain ...

to run with one of many turkeys ...

one turkey in particular who had never ran in a race much less 3 miles. 

We were more than ready for naps and good eats (and in that order)!
Hope you had a blessed thanksgiving filled with every turkey (or ham) that you love.
Trot on over this Tuesday for another edition of Turn the page ... Tuesday! I've got some good ones for you and I can't wait to see where your beak - I mean nose has been.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lofty Ideas

My boys share a room and have since John was 3 1/2. He has no recollection of ever being alone. Henry on the other hand does remember; albeit vaguely.

I am a bit selfish and do not want to give up the other two rooms in our house quite yet in order to give them their own room. One is Rocky's office (man cave) and the other is our guest bedroom/sewing room/Wii room/and no where else to store it room. It's the last room in our house that needs to be painted and decorated. It's pretty beat up and I'm looking forward to after 10 years rolling up my sleeves and making it a nice girly cove. In other words - neither one of us wants to sacrifice our space (and for me soon to be space once our basement is boy caved).

But back to the boys room.

Neither child has blatantly asked for his own room but I know it's coming.

Henry is a tween (how did that happen?!) and fairly tidy.

John is John and a creative messy marvin.

Thankfully the space they share is generous for an old home and houses them quite comfortably. Their closets are a bit tight because they are built into the dormers but we make do. We will certainly have to get creative the bigger they get (i.e. the bigger their clothes get).

Rocky and I had discussed the idea of buying lofts with desks underneath to give them more of their own space and a place to do their homework. Then we hit the internet. Then we realized that it would have to wait. To buy two, have assembled (because we don't have enough common sense to do it from scratch ourselves), and then painted we were looking at a hefty bill. So much for that idea.

Or so we thought.

I have a love hate relationship with Facebook.

Stay with me. This bunny trail has a happy ending.

I like to see what people are doing and lurk on and off.

I hate it when I get sucked in and truly waste time or when someone expects me to know what is happening in their life because the posted it on FB.

I LOVE it when I see a post by a friend who is selling her son's loft beds.


And she lives just a few blocks away.

Did I mention son's loft beds. As in she was selling two-matching-beds.

Doin' the happy dance.

I heart Facebook.

So we hopped in our pick-em-up truck and headed down the street. We brought home two loft beds and my friend's husband and oldest son. They helped reassemble (since they had been there done that) and wha-la! Loft bed times two.

Being the procrastinator that I am I knew that if I did not paint these loft beds immediately either my children would be:
  1. permanently moved to the soon to be girly room sharing a queen bed until Henry went off to college OR
  2. never painted and always be the light honey color and never match our dark furniture and drive me to drinking because they did not match

I got over my procrastinator self.

I ignored all the laundry, housework, grocery shopping (as opposed to just kinda ignoring it all in a regular week) and got my ready to prime and paint self to the Benjamin Moore store and stocked up.

I was armed and dangerous. Not to mention a little afraid of heights.

One primed and ready to paint.

John's turf

Henry's turf

Did you notice the desks? Henry's is a clean slate. John's is already loaded.
To say the boys are happy is an understatement.
I have this lofty idea that this will give us a few more years until one of us has to sacrifice our cave/cove.
One can always hope!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

Welcome to Turn the page ... Tuesday! So glad you are here.

I've decided to do my reviews based on loose categories until I have caught you all up on what I read while on my blogging hiatus. Today's genre is WWII-ish and or set in Europe.

So much happens in the life of Sara, The Seamstress, that I felt it was best to quote Amazon's summary:
"A striking Holocaust memoir, posthumously published, by a Romanian Jew with an unusual story to tell. From its opening pages, in which she recounts her own premature birth, triggered by terrifying rumors of an incipient pogrom, Bernstein's tale is clearly not a typical memoir of the Holocaust. She was born into a large family in rural Romania between the wars and grew up feisty and willing to fight back physically against anti-Semitism from other schoolchildren. She defied her father's orders to turn down a scholarship that took her to Bucharest, and got herself expelled from that school when she responded to a priest/teacher's vicious diatribe against the Jews by hurling a bottle of ink at him. Ashamed to return home after her expulsion, she looked for work in Bucharest and discovered a talent for dressmaking. That talent--and her blond hair, blue eyes, and overall Gentile appearance--allowed her entry into the highest reaches of Romanian society, albeit as a dressmaker. Bernstein recounts the growing shadow of the native fascist movement, the Iron Guard, a rising tide of anti-Semitic laws, and finally, the open persecution of Romania's Jews. After a series of incidents that ranged from dramatic escapes to a year in a forced labor detachment, Sara ended up in Ravensbrck, a women's concentration camp deep in Germany. Nineteen out of every twenty women transported there died. The author, her sister Esther, and two other friends banded together and, largely due to Sara's extraordinary street smarts and intuition, managed to survive. Although Bernstein was not a professional writer, she tells this story with style and power. Her daughter Marlene contributes a moving epilogue to close out Sara's life. One of the best of the recent wave of Holocaust memoirs."
Yo! Adrienne says: I'm a sucker for WWII survival stories and this one did not disappoint. I am always amazed at how one survives. I guess you don't know how until you are in the thick of it. If you are fascinated by tales that share the worst and best of humanity this might a good one to add to your nightstand.

Ya'll might remember that I have a thing for Persephone books (you can reacquaint with yourself with my obsession here). Good Evening, Mrs. Craven was one I had sitting on my shelf for far too long when I finally pulled it down and read it. This is another collection of short stories so I just worked my way through when I was looking for something quick to read. Again, I think Amazon does a better job of summarizing:
"For fifty years Mollie Panter-Downes's name was associated with The New Yorker, for which she wrote a regular 'Letter from London', book reviews and over thirty short stories; of the twenty-one in Good Evening, Mrs Craven, written between 1939 and 1944, only two had ever been reprinted - these very English stories have, until now, been unavailable to English readers. Exploring most aspects of English domestic life during the war, they are about separation, sewing parties, fear, evacuees sent to the country, obsession with food, the social revolutions of wartime. In the Daily Mail Angela Huth called Good Evening, Mrs Craven 'my especial find' and Ruth Gorb in the Ham & High contrasted the humour of some of the stories with the desolation of others: 'The mistress, unlike the wife, has to worry and mourn in secret for her man; a middle-aged spinster finds herself alone again when the camaraderie of the air-raids is over...'"
Yo! Adrienne says - The short stories were a quick satisfying read. If you like British humor and sensibilities then I think you certainly enjoy this little bit "history".

I got lucky on this one - it was a kindle book at my library. SCORE! Since we've established that I am a WWII book buff this one was right up my alley. I'm not even sure how I stumbled upon How Huge the Night but I vaguely remember thinking I was going to screen it for Henry - I think - or maybe not.
Julien Losier is a fifteen year old "city boy" who has to relocate to a small village in France in an attempt to escape the Nazi's - only Julien is not a Jew. His family heads back to his grandfathers home where his dad grew up to try and avoid the havoc the war is raging on Paris. Julien figures out quickly that he is not really welcome and viewed as an outsider when he begins school. It's tough being 15 much less a city slicker in a rural tight knit community. He also realizes what is required of him - splitting wood and working in the garden; all things that he is inept at which doesn't help his attitude. Thankfully his grandfather is patient with him and seems to understand what he is going through. The story begins to get interesting when the Losier family hosts a young man that is Juliens age who also doesn't really fit in. Many hard choices are to be made by all and bullies abound.
Yo! Adrienne says: Read this book! It might be listed as young adult at your library but it's soooo good. No teenage girl drama pinky swear. I loved that this WWII book was from the perspective of a non Jew teenage boy. It really gave a totally different viewpoint which once again reminded me of how may people were affected by that ugly war.

The Lost Wife is a story of sweet love and devotion to family - a love story that is shattered by war. Lenka and Josef have wonderful and affluent lives before meeting one another. She an art student and he a medical student. Lenka is friends with Josef's sister and well - you guessed it - they meet, fall in love and marry. BUT, it's actually not quite that easy. There's an impeding invasion, "papers" to be gotten, plans to leave the country, and those that are being left behind - or not. There are many twists and turns to this book but it's easy to follow; and heartbreaking. There are financial heartships, ship wrecks, concentration camps, and lost children. There is also great beauty in the art that is created, the love that is shared, and putting one's life back together.
Yo! Adrienne says: This is not one to be missed. Have some tissues at the ready and be prepared to not want to put this book down.

I know - you saw this cover last month but I read another short story and wanted to share. In Tsunohazu is a story of a middle aged man and his wife who are childless and are being transferred from Japan to Rio. Sounds glamorous but it's actually a demotion. One that Kyoichi Nukui does not deserve. Being the honorable man that he is he took the fall for someone else. Nukui's team is heartbroken and threatening to try to bring down the whole company (they have now been promoted) to restore his honor. Nukui insists that they let the chips fall where they may. His wife is quietly supporting him and making all the arrangements for the move. Encouraging him gently with out belittling when he thinks he saw his long lost father; the hard drinking drugging father who left Kyoichi to live with his uncle so he could follow a woman who had no interest in an 11 year old boy. It's a good read - just like all the others in The Stationmaster. I encourage you to find a copy.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Trick Or Treat



Turn the page ... Tuesday is this week. Hope to see you!