Summer Book Reviews and fall reads

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Is it seriously September tomorrow?

Where did the summer go?

I've clearly NOT been a blogging machine this summer but I did manage to get in a few audio books.

I mixed up my picks using the list provided by the Blended Blog but also picked a few that were on my "to-read" list.

Here's what I "read" (aka listened to) this summer and my (brief) thoughts on each:

The Year of Pleasures - Elizabeth Berg
Recommended by the lovely Deena. I liked this book but I can't say I found it riveting. It was a nice story about a woman finding herself after the loss of her husband. The story-line isn't such that it has you dying to know what happens next but it was a very pleasant read. I liked the focus on self-discovery and friendships.

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It - Steven Stosny and Patricia Love
No, my marriage is not in trouble lol but I wanted to start adding some self-help ish books to my reading list and this book came up and had good reviews so I figured I'd give it a go. This book did get me thinking and helped changed my perspective in a few areas. It helped me better grasp some differences between my husband and I and how we process things. I also liked that it doesn't focus on talking things to death (and actually says that's counter productive). Worth a read if you're wanting to personally take some steps to better your relationship/connection/communication.

Wonder - R. J. Palacio
Katie recommended this read and she was right on. I REALLY liked this book but it also made my heart ache and reminded me how cruel the world can be. I don't know what to say other than I feel this is a really "special" book about differences and seeing people for who they are on the inside. It's such a touching book and I wish it was required reading for late elementary school.

My Not So Perfect Life: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella
I love me some chic-lit and Sophie Kinsella is one of my faves. I loved this book and there were so many parts that had me laughing and embarrassed for the main character all at the same time. A quick and cute read for chic-lit lovers.

A Hundred Summers - Beatriz Williams
One of the recommendations from the Blended Blog book club and for some reason I didn't think it would interest me. I was hooked right from the beginning! I found myself trying to figure out how everyone tied together and to solve the little mystery that's presented early on. Definitely had my "side" picked early on and enjoyed the present-to-past and back perspectives to unravel the story. Great read.

The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
I'm quickly becoming a big Liane Moriarty fan. When I first started this one I found myself constantly trying to figure out how everyone fit together and trying to guess what the big "secret" was. Needless to say, eventually all is revealed and I really liked the way it all came together in the end. A great look at the complexities and intricacies of relationships and how things definitely aren't always what they seem.

Winter Garden - Kristin Hannah
I LOVE the last Kristin Hannah book I read (the Nightingale) so I was looking forward to listening to this one. For me, it felt like it started a little slow... I was frustrated by some of the characters and because of that it took me a little while to get into it... but once I did... wow. I said before that I don't typically read or love historical novels but I love the way Hannah makes these historical pieces so personal. It's gut-wrenching and beautiful at the same time and I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased with the way she ended this lovely book.

How'd you do with your summer reading/listening?

We're linking up book review posts below and we'd love for you to join us in September with some great picks from Deena, Sheila and Alison!

the Blended Blog Asks - summer

Monday, August 7, 2017

Welcome to another edition of The Blended Blog Asks - my friends and I at the Blended Blog come up with a bunch of questions and it makes for an easy and fun post for us and you!

I am pretty sure I mentioned my indecisiveness in my last question and answer post... don't think I'll all of the sudden be providing succinct response lol
Here goes:

1. Pool, lake or ocean?
I like to lay by the pool, swim in the lake and look at the ocean :) So all of the above really

2. Camping, cottage or hotel?
I've done my fair share of camping but if we're being honest, I'd much rather sleep in a comfy bed where bears can't get me lol. I LOVE going to a cottage and just chilling but there's also something fun and exciting about staying in a hotel. Again, I'm not really answering the question am I? In short, for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors, cottage it is. If I want to explore a new city and enjoy luxury, hotel all the way.

3. Favorite ice cream flavor?
You're asking the pregnant lady? Give me ALL the ice cream!!! There's few flavors that I don't like but if I HAD to pick one, I'd probably opt for french vanilla.

4. PJs, nightgown, t-shirt/shorts or birthday suit?
Depends on the time of year. In summer I'm usually in underwear and a t-shirt, in winter it's pjs.

5. Fave summer beverage?
Wine... always wine :)

6. Would you rather be hot or cold?
Neither lol but if I HAD to pick, I guess cold, because then I could add blankets, turn on the fireplace and get all cozy.

7. Sandals with heels or flats?
If they didn't hurt my feet I'd do heels all the time. Having said that, I'm VERY pregnant this summer so it's been consistently flats for this momma.

8. Shorts or skirts?
Depends what I'm doing. Shorts are easier if I'm out and about with the kiddos because I don't have to worry about flashing anyone my undies.

9. Sit in the sun or the shade?
I love the sun!

10. Water, tea or soda?
How about coffee? I always have my water with ice with me.

11. Fave summer fruit/veggie?
Fresh picked strawberries and corn on the cob!! YUM!

12. Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise. It's such a quiet and calm time of the day.

13. Bike ride or walk?
Walk. I haven't rode a bike in ages and given my 8+ pregnant-status, riding a bike isn't an option at this point.

14. Winery or brewery?
Have you met me? Winery ALL the way!!

15. Garden or no garden?
Does my planter hanging from the fence with 3 pepper and 2 tomato plants count?

16. Big summer concert or music in the park?
I love a more intimate venue - as long as there's good music and tasty drinks are always nice.

17. Fave cookout food?
Nothing like a BBQ steak, baked potato and corn on the cob! YUM

18. Dine indoors or patio?
If the weather is right, patio is where it's at!

19. Fave summer destination?
Does the back deck count? We don't have a regular go-to summer spot besides spending as much time as we can outside.

20. Big theme park or local carnival?
BOTH! We've got little people so either are a hit! I feel safer on rides at a big theme park but there's nothing like a local fair :) We've already been to a few this summer (one today actually!).

21. Drinks blended or on the rocks?
I don't usually do sugary drinks but I guess blended seems more summery to me.

22. Popsicle or freezie flavor or choice?
I used to LOVE banana popsicles... I don't even know if they still make them.

23. Hotdog or hamburger?
I can't pick (shocking) both hotdogs and hamburgers are summer staples around here and I love them both equally... and now I'm hungry (also shocking, I'm sure).

Make sure you check out how the other ladies answered and feel free to grab the photo above, answer the questions and linkup with us below!

Christy @ R Squared
Carrie @ A Stylish Fit
Shaunacey @ Simply Shaunacey
Lana @ My New Happy