Friday, June 26, 2015

From PA to NJ to MD

That Chesapeake Summer by Mariah Stewart
: June 23, 2015 by Pocket Books
Series: The Chesapeake Diaries #9
I may not read a ton of romance series, but have been reading this one and have been having fun with it. I've enjoyed pieces of every single one, but this one has been my favorite so far out of all the ones I've read.

I think a lot of that is because the romance felt real. Yes, you knew who was going to fall in love. And yes, the did have somewhat cheesy professions (self-help author and the owner of an inn). But the relationship made sense and they didn't fall in insta-love.

Plus there's a bit of a mystery that I appreciated and took me a while to figure out. Once I did though it made complete sense, that I really should have seen in coming. Definitely a great addition to the book for me.

Since this is the 4th book I've read of the series, I loved getting to see all the supporting characters. As cliched as I know this is going to sound, these books really feel like you're back home catching up with old friends.

I still have 4 books left of the series to read, at least till next summer with the 10th comes out, and I can't wait to read them. Especially knowing that the next ones I'll be reading are about the ice cream maker, cupcake baker, and wedding planner. Talk about the perfect romance novel professions, right?


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

Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Project 365: Days 139 Through 146

Look at this... 4 weeks in a row of posting daily photos, someone is really on a roll.
Congrats Graduates!
May 19, 2015 - 139/365: I drive by this neighborhood's sign everyday to and from work. They change them up throughout the year depending on the season. While this one was about graduates in general, it was especially fitting since the boy had just graduated with his PhD.
Sleepy Time
May 20, 2015 - 140/365: Why yes, it's another sleeping baby photo.
Eating Sweet Potatoes
May 21, 2015 - 141/365: Getting Messy Eating Sweet Potatoes.
photo 11
May 22, 2015 - 142/365: Chewing on a Pacifier.
photo 13
May 23, 2015 - 143/365: It's a morning photo in an alligator onesie.
Chewing on a Tablet
May 24, 2015 - 144/365: Chewing on a Tablet. I'm not sure this tasted the way she expected it to.
Happy Baby
May 25, 2015 - 145/365: Another one of those morning photos.
Fast Asleep
May 26, 2015 - 146/365: Of course, there's no better way to end this post than one final sleeping baby shot.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Movie Review

Jurassic World
Like the rest of the world, we went and saw Jurassic World opening weekend. I absolutely love the first movie, the sequels not so much, so while I had high hopes for this I also knew how it could play out.

Starting though, with the theme park itself, it looked amazing!!! The dino petting zoo and the baby triceratops ride... I immediately asked the boy if he'd let Elley ride one. Then the kayak ride down the river with grazing stegosauruses, I would definitely go on that ride.

As for the movie itself, it was definitely enjoyable, although maybe not as good as the original. I did love all the throwbacks to the first, and while I know I didn't catch them all had fun trying.

Knowing how much money this has already made you know they will be making a sequel. I just hope it's far more like Jurassic World instead of The Lost World.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mailbox Monday (114)

It's Father's Day! Not only that, it's the boy's first Father's Day. We going to be heading to dinner with my in-laws shortly, but first I'm sharing the books I've recently picked up with Mailbox Monday.
Mailbox Monday
A Walk in London by Salvatore Rubbino
I was purchasing a book as a baby shower gift recently, and since I was already ordering books decided to order one for Elley as well. After loving A Walk in Paris which my Dad gave us recently, I decided to buy another in the series. This one is about a mother and daughter who take a walk in London.

From Paperback Swap
The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
I've actually already read this one, although still need to review it. It's about what happens to two girls after their father murders their mother. Not necessarily the type of book I was expecting, but still interesting.

Inconceivable by Carolyn & Sean Savage
I remember when this book came out being fascinated by the idea of it. It's a memoir about a couple who gets pregnant by IVF only to discover that the embryo implanted belonged to another couple. You can tell from the subtitle what they decided to do, but I'm still really curious to read their story.

For Review from TLC Book Tours
In a Dark Wood by Joseph Luzzi
Yet, another one I've already read, although this one I've reviewed. (You, can tell I'm a bit behind posting these books.) This one is also a heartbreaking memoir where the author's pregnant wife gets into a car accident and he becomes a widower and single father. I actually wasn't that big of a fan of this one, though, but still appreciated ths story.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Laura and Almanzo

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
: 1971 by Harper Trophy
First Published: 1943
Series: Little House #8
The main things I remembered going into it this were Laura being miserable at her first teaching job and the sleighing parties. Except once I started reading, realized that all happened in the first few chapters, and there's actually quite a bit more.

In elementary school I had a hard time understanding Laura and Almanzo's relationship. After all, when he started driving her she was only around 15 and he was around 20. I still don't think that kind of age difference would work today, at least until they were older. Instead a 23-year-old dating a 28-year-old seems quite possible. Plus considering the books took place almost 150 years ago, it makes sense to me now. But at age 8, I thought it was a little gross and couldn't quite understand it.

Part of that though, is that it isn't written in a fairy tale type way, which I'm sure I wanted back then. Instead it's a friendship that slowly turned into a romance. I do think it's adorable when Almanzo surprises Laura for Christmas and asks, "Can't you thank a fellow better than that?" It's probably the most lovey-dovey moment between the two of them, and I'm sure I didn't quite grasp it previously.

The is actually the last Little House book I'll be reviewing, at least for now. The set of books I've been reading, which were originally my mom's and are basically falling apart, didn't include The First Four Years, and I'm not planning on buying it anytime soon. I did read my friend's copy previously so I have at least read it before, and remember not liking how it didn't have chapters and felt different than the rest. Which is why I think it makes sense to end with the books that Laura herself had published. That and the fact I'm not planning on buying a new set of books for a while. But it's definitely been fun to find myself back in these books, and I'm sure at some point I'll be reading again.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Project 365: Days 131 Through 138

Yes, it's that time again... time for another collection of daily photos.
5 Month Outtakes
May 11, 2015 - 131/365: 5 Month Outtakes.
Cafe au Lait & Beignets Ice Cream
May 12, 2015 - 132/365: Cafe au Lait & Beignets Ice Cream from New Orleans Ice Cream Company.
Lunch at Whole Foods
May 13, 2015 - 133/365: It's been a while since I've shared one of these... Lunch at Whole Foods.
Sleeping on Stomach
May 14, 2015 - 134/365: We're still putting her to sleep on her back, but she pretty much rolls over to her stomach at some point every night.
Eating Sweet Potatoes
May 15, 2015 - 135/365: Trying Sweet Potatoes.
Shepherd's Pie
May 16, 2015 - 136/365: The boy made shepherd's pie for dinner.
At Daddy's Baseball Game
May 17, 2015 - 137/365: Hanging out at one of the boy's baseball games.
Playing With Toys
May 18, 2015 - 138/365: Playing with her Toys.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6 Months Update

You're 6 months old!
June 11
Which is the same as half a year old! How did that happen?!?! You had a doctor appointment this month, which does mean more shots, but it also means official stats.
Sleeping on Stomach
May 14
You're a teeny tiny thing and are only 12 lbs 5 oz (2nd%ile). Your length measured the same as in April at 23.23", although now falling down to the 1st%ile. Your head circumference is basically the only thing that isn't dropping in percentiles at 41.5 cm (23rd%ile).
Someone caught us sleeping this morning #latergram
May 23
You're still primarily in 3-6 months clothes and size 2 diapers. And you're still wearing bumgeniuses with two unsnapped at the waist.
I Got These
May 30
You've tried all types of new food this month, sweet potatoes, bananas, and avocados of which the bananas were probably your favorite. Plus you've had a few bites of non-purees with pancakes, french fries, and I believe you may have even stolen one of your dad's Doritos.
Trying Bananas
Trying Bananas, June 2
You're still a pretty serious baby just watching all that's going on around you. You may not be the most smiliest of babies, but what that means is that when it happens it's even more special.

June 4
You're babbling now saying bababa, mamama, or dadada although without any type of meaning behind them. It actually seems to happen most often in the car, maybe because you're trying to sing along with the radio?
Look I'm Standing!
June 5
You still aren't quite sitting up yet. I do think you could if you really wanted to, but anytime you're in a sitting position whatever is in front of you is far more exciting and you learn forward to grab it.
photo 36
June 7
You're not quite crawling yet, but you're definitely able to get where you want to go. We'll set you down on the couch and while it doesn't look like you're making progress all of a sudden you're a foot or two away from where you started out.
photo 2
June 8
What you have managed though, is standing. You can't get there yourself, but assuming someone is willing to stand you up next to the ottoman or back of the couch, you'll continue to hold yourself up for a bit.
photo 6
June 9
These 6 months really have flown by. But I'm sure I'm going to blink again and as crazy as it's sounds, I'll be writing about your 1st birthday!
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
4 Months ~ 5 Months

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love

In a Dark Wood by Joseph Luzzi
: May 26, 2015 by Harper
One of my favorite memoirs is Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logelin. It's just so inspiring to read about how Matt became a father and a widower in a 24 hour period and managed to create a new life for him and his daughter. Clearly I'm not the only one who felt that way since Channing Tatum is working on a movie adaption, but that's really not the point of this review. Basically knowing my feelings about Two Kisses for Maddy and knowing that this was also a memoir where the author becomes a father and widower in only a day, I had high hopes.

Except unfortunately for me, this didn't live up to my expectations. While the loss of Matt's wife made him step up and act as both a father and mother to Maddy, that wasn't quite the case here. Luzzi doesn't actually abandon his daughter, but instead leaves almost all of her upbringing to his mother. It takes almost 4 years before he's actually ready to be his daughter's father.

I do understand he is grieving, and can only imagine what it would be like to loose your spouse unexpectedly. But as a new mother it's hard for me to imagine turning so much of my child's care over to someone else. I can't imagine my husband doing it either.

I do realize I'm making a big deal out of one aspect of the book, but clearly it's hard for me to get over, so much that it clouded much of the rest of it. But apart from that, I wanted more from this. Parts of the book are intertwined with analysis of Dante's work. But while I understand why it's there, I didn't appreciate them as much as the actual memoir pieces. I also felt like I never really got to know any of the people within the story, at least except for Luzzi himself.

Unfortunately I don't feel like this book and I were a very good fit. I guess overall I wanted more from it, and it just never quite got there for me.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The What Ifs

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
: December 30, 2014 by Gallery Books
I normally try to write my reviews as soon as I finish a book so its fresh in my mind. Except that didn't happen here. In fact I've already finished reading the book I started once this was finished. Thankfully this is a book I can't imagine forgetting, although exactly what I wanted to write here is a little foggier. I did love this book though, and already am regretful I may not be able to do it justice here.

Within the first few pages of this book Kate looses her first husband becoming a window. The next chapter is 12 years later and Kate just accepted her fiance's proposal when she starts to have visions of what her life could have been like. Except neither we, as the reader, nor Kate are sure if what we're seeing is merely a dream or some type of alternate reality.

I absolutely loved the chapters where Kate was able to see her potential life, and any time I saw that was the next chapter I knew I couldn't put the book down. I do wish the book explained a little better what was happening with them though. It does still wrap the story up, but while they may not have been that necessary, I was still left with a few questions.

I think after loosing my own mom several years ago, I've started to really enjoy reading about death because it helps me process my feelings a little better. This was definitely the case here. While I haven't been in Kate's exact situation, I was able to relate and understand a lot of her thought process.

Overall I loved my time with this book and thought it was a great escape. Yes, it does deal with somewhat of a heavy topic, but I still found it light and fluffy enough to qualify as "chick lit".


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Project 365: Days 123 Through 130

It's yet another update in the seemingly never ending saga of trying to catch up with daily photos.
May 3, 2015 - 123/365: Hanging in the Exersaucer.
Hanging Out
May 4, 2015 - 124/365: While this photo is a little blurry, there's just something about her fuzzy hair look here I love.
photo 3 (3)
May 5, 2015 - 125/365: Taking a cat nap just before bed.
May 6, 2015 - 126/365: Working Towards Crawling.
Baby & a Sophie
May 7, 2015 - 127/365: A Baby and a Sophie.
Chewing on a Monkey
May 8, 2015 - 128/365: Chewing on a Monkey.
photo 9
May 9, 2015 - 129/365: Hanging Out at Daddy's Baseball Game.
Happy Mother's Day
May 10, 2015 - 130/365: In honor of Mother's Day, it's a mommy and a baby... bird that it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mother's Day Take Two

Recently I wrote about how we spent Mother's Day at an LSU baseball game. Yes, we all had fun, but it wasn't necessarily how I would have planned on spending it. Which is why the following weekend I decided we needed to go to brunch.
photo 12
We went to our current favorite brunch spot, Another Broken Egg Cafe, where I had their cinnamon roll french toast, along with a side of scrambled eggs and turkey sausage. Elley even got in on the food action and gummed on an English muffin. Then promptly dropped it on the ground, but she seemed to enjoy her few seconds with it.
photo 13
But our Mother's Day celebrations still weren't finished. First though, we spent Sunday morning in the crazy heat at the boy's baseball game.
photo 4
From there we went to dinner with the boy's family at Acme Oyster House. His parents had actually been in Alaska on Mother's Day, which is why we hadn't been able to have a family dinner on the holiday itself. Basically we were able to spread Mother's Day celebrations over two full weekends, which is the way to do it... at least according to me!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mailbox Monday (113)

It's been over a month since I've been able to link up with Mailbox Monday, but I'm happy to be back today.
Mailbox Monday
From Goodreads
Stepdog by Mireya Navarro
I may not necessarily be a huge animal person, but even so think this looks like a fun. It's a memoir about a women to starts a relationship who finds the hardest part is dealing with her boyfriend's dog. Honestly, it sounds like an issue I'd potentially have myself. So even if I may not be dying to own a dog myself, I think I'll enjoy this.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And would you consider yourself an animal person?