Friday, June 17, 2016

You Scream, I Scream

Almost Home by Mariah Stewart
: March 22, 2011 by Ballantine Books
Series: Chesapeake Diaries #3
When I was in 1st grade I wanted to be an ice cream man when I grew up (or an astronaut for somewhat higher ambitions). When I was in college, I wanted to be a food chemist creating ice cream flavors. Needless to say, I was quite excited to finally read the book in this series about the ice cream maker.

First of all, I love hearing all the new flavors Steffie makes in her ice cream shop. (Actually they're mentioned in passing throughout the series, but obviously more here.) I also loved seeing her process of making new flavors. Of course, each time it made me hungry and wish I could try them all.

But while the ice cream is important, there's a love story here that's the highlight. Like I say in all my reviews about this series, it's obvious what's going to happen. But that's half of the fun! The love interest here is a craft beer brewer who has a secret I wouldn't have expected, but is reveled fairly early on.

Of course the fun part of reading a series like this is getting to check in on all the other characters. There's lots of big updates from past protagonists, which makes it feel like your catching up with an old friend.

These books are always so much fun to read, and now that it's summer I think it's the perfect weather for me to pick up another one!


Disclosure: I was provided this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Back to the Ward

The Isle by Jordana Frankel
: January 19, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
I was so excited to finally be able to read the sequel to The Ward. Granted these books are written by my good friend, but even if that was the case it would still be true, especially knowing the cliffhanger the first ended with.

This book has a bit of a different feel than the first. First there's the obvious, since instead of just being told from Ren's point of view it alternates between Ren and Aven. But it's more than that. I think a lot of it is there's more action. Yes, the first had its racing scenes, but this time what's happening is far more life and death.

Going into the book I was a bit disappointed that part of it hard already been spoiled. Not by reading a spoiler, but from a conversation with my friend, the author. While she did assure me that what she told me happened early on, it was pretty devastating to know out of context. Thankfully she was right and it did happen quite soon and didn't detract from the story.

Once aspect I love about this book is the fountain of youth subplot. Although a lot of that steams from seeing Jordana watch Tuck Everlasting (the one with Alexis Bledel) over and over our freshmen year of college. I just think the book is so her, and absolutely loved reading it.

Clearly my opinion is biased, but justifiably so, I think. These books are pretty awesome and unlike a lot of other YA, so if you haven't found this duo-logy yet, now is the time!


Disclosure: While I did purchase my copy of this book, in case you couldn't tell, I'm good friends with the author.

Monday, June 6, 2016

16 Months Update

16 Months
16 Months
You are 16 months old! Or at least you were, a while ago. But you're still a few days away from turning 18 months, so I'm not officially late. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
Our first LSU baseball game of the season. Enjoying the remains of a snow cone. #geauxtigers
February 20
You had your 15 month visit and were 17 lbs 6 oz, bringing you down to the 0.26th%ile. Your height was 30 inches, up to the 31st%ile. Finally your head circumference was 44.5 cms at the 13th%ile.
First Ponytail
First Ponytail, February 21
You're pretty solidly wearing 12 months clothes, with a mix of 9 months thrown in. You're still in size 3 diapers and we snap your bumgeniuses the same way.
Driving My Car
February 26
You 4th bottom tooth came in, which means we're just waiting on your canines. In total, you have your 4 center teeth on top and bottom and two molars both on top and bottom.
Drinking a Juice Box
February 29
You have so many new words, that I'm sure I'm not going to remember them all, although it might be easier to list them in categories. There are those for things you want to do, like out, more, sit (normally what you tell me to do), or night-nght. There's food items hot, snack, or cheese. There's words for excitement like whee (normally when you're sliding off something) or yeah. There's the standard ones you'd expect a baby to say, no (while shaking your head from side to side), mine, and finally mama. There are things like "poon" (spoon), book, bowl. There's even your first character, "Mimi" (Minnie). Of course there's the things most important to you "Po" (hippo) and "bebe" (pacy/binky).
March 2
You've even got a few animal noises down. You're pretty good at repeating them when I say them, although are really good at making monkey noises. Besides that at first guess every animal moos. As for naming animals you say duck and puppy. You still say shoe (ALL THE TIME) but have added sock to your regiment. Like I started out with, I know I'm forgetting some, but I think I did a pretty good job getting most of them.
Getting back to normal posting... Playing outside with our car.
March 7
You are obsessed with books, not too surprising considering your parents. You ask for books to be read to you all the time. You're constantly carrying them places so the migrant from your bedroom to the living room to our room to even the kitchen cabinets. You don't necessarily have a favorite book, just whatever one you pick you want it read over and over and over. We're reading books at bedtime again. Each night I tell you to get a book and you pick one out from your bookshelf. Normally we read 2 or 3 books this way.
Marching in her #Purim parade
Marching in Your Purim Parade, March 24
Besides books some of your other favorites are shoes, "Mimi" (aka Minnie), and babies. Good thing on that last one since you'll be a big sister later this year! As for favorite foods you love broccoli and marinated mozzarella.
March 27
You are non-stop and always on the go. You're climbing whatever you can, taking things out of cabinets, leaving your living room in a complete disarray...But as much as you drive me crazy, I know I'm going to miss you being this little.
April 9
And yes, you may have noticed that pregnancy announcement hidden in there. Surprise! That's actually the main reason why my blog has fallen apart lately. For so long I was too tired to sit down and blog and then once I fell out of the habit it's hard to get it back. But I really do miss blogging and I miss all of you, so hopefully I'll be back slightly more regularly than I have been. At least until we add this second kid to the mix!
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months
IMG_414011 Months12 Months
10 Months ~ 11 Months ~ 12 Months
14 Months
14 Months

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mailbox Monday (130)

I'm managing to check in for a bit and post a Mailbox Monday update!
Mailbox Monday
For Review from France Book Tours
The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose
I've read two other books by M.J. Rose and have enjoyed them both. Each one was historical fiction with a bit of magic thrown in, and I'm pretty sure based on the cover that will be the same this time.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I feel like I'm the last one to jump on the train here (Get it?!?), but I've finally arrived. I've actually already read this, and loved it. I totally see where the hype is coming from. Review to come... hopefully in the next year or so!

From Paperback Swap
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
So five years ago, I read Hex Hall, the first in this series. Obviously, I've forgotten quite a bit, but do remember enjoying it. Hopefully this is as good as I remember, and maybe I'll even finish the series before the decade is over!

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Last Meal

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
: April 2, 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
I first discovered this book on So Obsessed With, so when I won her giveaway for a free book, I knew this was the one I would request. With all the books I want to read, it did take me some time to get to it. But to ensure it finally happened, I suggested this book for our book club. A valid choice, since it was one we all fell in love with.

Even though I had read such rave reviews about this one, I wasn't quite sure what it was about. I knew it took place in the South and knew there were delicious descriptions of food. It definitely made that mark! I think the closest thing you could classify this as being is chick lit, except it isn't really cheesy and there's so much heart to it.

I loved all the relationships through the story. I loved the characters. I loved all the little details. And of course I loved the food. But again, there was just something extra to it. In a way I was so disappointed when the book because I really didn't want to leave this world.

This is actually the first I've ever read by Liza Palmer. Although I guarantee you with as much as I fell for this book, I know it won't be the last!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Painted Ponies Go Up and Down

I remember back when I was pregnant with Elley, everyone told me how fast time would fly by. So often that it started to feel a little annoying. After all, I was an adult and already knew how you'd blink and find the year was ending.

Except then I actually had a baby, and I got it. There's something about having a concrete marker of time that puts everything in a new light. You don't realize 4 months have gone by, until you look back at newborn pictures and see how different a baby looks. Especially since photos of me 4 months ago, well they don't look a whole lot different than I look now.

As much as I look forward to the future and seeing Elley grow, part of me wishes I could go back and repeat it all. Just to hear one more time her little baby grunts or smell that newborn baby smell.

Alas, that technology isn't quite there. But we are left with pictures and videos, a snapshot of what's gone by. I thought I had a bunch of photos on my phone before baby, but it's nothing like what's on there now. Except sadly, that's where they stay.

Yes, I upload them online to save them. I've had photos printed once, but none of those are actually in a frame. I've been working on a photo book, and hopefully I'll finish it by the end of the year. And that's just the photos. What are you supposed to do with all the videos?

Lucky for me, I was contacted by Chris of GrandVideo, a service that takes all of your short videos and edits them together into a professional movie. He explained to me his company, but even more than that offered me a video for Elley. Besides book reviews I very rarely write sponsored posts but this was too good to pass up!

Speaking of time flying by, I've actually had this video for a few months now (hence the fact it's about Elley's first year and she's almost a year and a half!), but I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you all. So after much anticipation, I'm excited to share Elley's first year with you all!

Elley: Year One
from GrandVideoSF on Vimeo.

How do you preserve all your photos and movies and memories? Hopefully you're better at it than I am!

This video was provided to me free of charge from GrandVideo. All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Morlands in Tudor England

The Dark Rose by by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
: July 1, 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark
First Published: 1981
Series: The Morland Dynasty Series # 2
More from the Morland family! This book takes place several generations after the first, although considering how many years went by in the first book several characters are still alive. As with the first, it is difficult to keep all the family relations straight, but the main characters are easily kept track of.

This book takes place during the reign of Henry VII and our main character, Nannette Morland, becomes good friends with Anne Boleyn. Several years ago, I probably would have loved this book. But over the years I've read so many books that deal with Henry VII, and Anne Boleyn specifically, I was kind of over those part of the book. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this, and can't wait to continue through history with the Morlands.