30 books in 30 days

Even though I am currently taking care of two houses , two cats, one second grader, and one husband, and whoever I can get to come work on our house, Heather’s interest pushed me from my hesitation.  For the third September in a row, Gage and I will be reading a book a day.  I’ll probably update here weekly, but here’s my first post on my 30 day challenge blog…

It’s here! The first day of my 30 books in 30 days reading challenge!  We had a lazy morning after spending all day yesterday at Cedar Point, but both G and I got our books done early. For him, having a wide variety of books that are just under his reading abilities is going to be important.  He does not want to have to work too hard, lol.

G chose the latest Pete the Cat, The Petes Go Marching and I enjoyed hearing him sing this book to his dad this morning 🙂

I’ll admit that I started How To Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh in the spring, but didn’t make it too far, so I decided to start again this morning when I couldn’t sleep at 2 am.  This is part of his mindfulness series, of which I’m a huge fan.  Hanh is a Buddist monk and his books expand the way I see the world and his books will always be on my to-read list.  This is a slight 125 page book on not only how to eat, but how to do so with the meaning.  Mindfulness is about being present in all that you do, so by bringing that to your food, you can change your life for the better.  This is not a diet book, but he does touch upon that we should only be putting the healthiest of foods in our body and that we should not be eating our worries, fear, or anger.  I’ll leave you with a few quotes.

“Enjoy your meal. Stop thinking and be here fully, body and mind.” page 32

“With each meal, we make choices that help or harm the planet.” page 59

“If we feel empty, we don’t need to go to the refrigerator to take things out to eat.  When you eat like that it’s because there is a feeling of emptiness, loneliness, or depression inside.  The moments of our daily lives can be filled with joy and meaningful activities.  Our community includes our family and friends and our connection to other living beings.  They are there to help us get out of these feelings.  We are not alone.  Sharing a meal together is not just to sustain our bodies and celebrate life’s wonders, but also to experience freedom, joy, and the happiness of being in a harmonious community during the whole time of eating.”  page 77

“May we find ways to live more simply in order to have more time and energy to change the system of injustice that exists in the world.”  page 113

Heather (Gofita’s Pages) is joining us this year, YAY!  Here’s her post from yesterday.  So happy to have her aboard.

August’s Movies & another house update

Our poor house is still struggling and we’ve extended our stay at the condo close to downtown and the beach.  I am so thankful that we can afford to do so, but before all is said and done it will be 3 months there and that might even be pushing it.  Our poor house only needs people to work on it.  We’ve had such bad luck with hiring people that don’t do the job correctly and/or don’t show up for weeks at a time.  Just hired someone new yesterday and are paying double the cost of his competitor because he can get started in September and not October.  The outside will be started on next week and the inside by the end of September.

While we’ve had people not showing up Jason has taken on a lot of the burden himself.  He spends a few night a week here at the house working late into the night and in the wee hours of the morning.  Gage stays with Grandma once a week and that means I get to spent the night in the condo all by myself (I tried staying here one night but the house in its current state made me sick). Such a weird feeling.  So weird that I fell prey to having a glass of wine and watching a few teen rom-coms that felt like throwbacks to my favorite 80’s John Hughes movies.  I admit that I’ve secretly liked being able to sleep in the next morning before meandering back to my guys 🙂

Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity.  Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity.  Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $93 right now.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before poster.jpgTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, 2018 (Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart. John Corbett)      Grade B+

Sweet diverse teen romance.


The Kissing Booth.pngThe Kissing Booth, 2018 (Joey King, Jacob Eldori, Joel Courtney, Molly Ringwald)             Grade B

Energetic heroine + Hunky Anti-Hero 80’s Throwback

The Glass Castle (film).pngThe Glass Castle, 2017 (Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Max Greenfield, Naomi Watts)        Grade B-

Loved book, adaptation not so much.

 

The Immortal Gene by Jonas Saul

Title: The Immortal Gene, Author: Jonas Saul  The Immortal Gene. Finished 8-14-18, rating 3.5/5, fiction, 319 pages, pub. 2018

From my earlier thoughts…

I’m scheduled to post about The Immortal Gene today for a TLC tour so here I am providing you with half review and half life update.

I’m over half way done with the book and really like it. The story is good, even if the bad guy really sickened me last night when I was reading before bed.  It runs along two main storylines, Jake the detective and Jeffery the serial killer.  There’s a mysterious shadowy group that has something to do with why Jake was in a coma for two years and why he now appears to be something more than a man.  I like the writing and the story and look forward to finishing and telling you more, hopefully next week.  (original post)

Okay, I liked this one, but the first half worked a little bit better for me. When I referenced Jake turning into more than a man, well,  that went full scale reptile in the second half and it was both interesting and a bit too much for me.  I do think it will appeal to many sci-fi readers, especially since the basis is rooting in reality.  This is the beginning of a series and I may read the next one to see what happens since there was a lot left unsettled at the end.

 

 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Title: Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Series #3), Author: Robert GalbraithCareer of Evil. Finished audio 7-5-18, 3.5/5 stars, mystery, pub. 2015

Cormoran Strike #3  (1-The Cuckoo’s Calling, 2-The Silkworm)

Unabridged audio read by Robert Glenister. 17 hours

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them….  from Goodreads

Let me start by saying that I love Cormoran and Robin and their relationship, which is a good thing since the book was full of the twists and turns of their working turned personal life.  Cormoran is involved and Robin is planning her upcoming wedding but the tension and intimacy are there to complicate things.  Will the marriage happen?  You find out at the end.

The mystery was good, but since I was listening in the car I had a problem keeping the three suspects separate in my mind.  They often lumped together.  I thought they would differentiate themselves eventually, but some of the enjoyment was lost because of how long it took.  But I did learn a lot about the creepy obsession people have for losing limbs.  Not really a world I enjoyed too much.

If you like this series you’ll like this book, but I don’t think this would be a great one to read without having read at least one of the first two.

Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling for those who have forgotten 🙂

Heartbroken by Lisa Unger

Title: Heartbroken, Author: Lisa UngerHeartbroken. Finished 7-19-18, 3.5/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2012

Kate has written a novel based on a tragic love story from her family’s past. Emily is a struggling waitress whose toxic relationship with the wrong man has led her to make a horrible, life-altering decision.

Without knowing each other, and with lives that couldn’t be more different, they head to the same point on the map: Heart Island. It’s an idyllic place in the middle of an Adirondack lake, and home to harsh and unyielding matriarch Birdie Burke. These three women find themselves on a heart-wrenching collision course–with dark memories, restless ghosts, and one another. And unbeknownst to them all, Heart Island has a terrifying history of its own.

Heartbroken is a tense, mesmerizing novel about the limits of dysfunctional families, of an island haunted by dark memories, and of the all-too-real demons we must battle.    from Goodreads

Sometimes when I’m listening to a book in the car I’m willing to put up with a slower story since I’m only half listening anyway 🙂  This book with the storylines from three women, Birdie, her daughter Kate, and young Emily who seems to make all the bad choices started slow and its pace never really picked up until the end. Birdie was a tough one to like, but fit perfectly on Heart Island, a remote place that had been passed down from generations ago.  Kate, seemed to be a in perfect place in her life, so having to deal with Birdie issues made her more interesting.  Emily was the outlier.  The reader knows she’s connected but sure exactly how. As much as Birdie was cold, Emily was at least that much confused and because of that confusing.  I wanted to like her but really couldn’t.

I liked it. Heart Island was a character all of its own and the atmosphere was perfect for the messed up family dynamics.  There was a mystery of sorts on top of trying to figure out how Emily fit into the story.  For a thriller it was slower than I prefer, but since it was a car listen it worked just fine.

Finer Things by Brenda Joyce

Title: The Finer Things, Author: Brenda JoyceThe Finer Things. Finished 6-15-18, rating 3.5/5, historical romance, 375 pages, pub. 1997

The Pretender
An orphan from London’s East End, a fugitive from the poorhouse, Violet Cooper was tired of sleeping on stoops and being hungry and cold. But she dared to enter a world forbidden to her and her kind. Even marriage to a gentle, elderly knight and the title Lady Goodwin could not open closed doors, stop the cold stares, or hush the shadowy rumors of murder.

The Aristocrat
He was a man of the world. The rules of Victorian society did not interest him, nor could a gauche pretender with a Cockney accent possibly turn his head. Yet Theodore Blake, second son of the Earl of Harding, was immediately compelled by Violet—and soon found himself defending the vulnerable young widow in the face of a murder investigation. But wedding vows were the only way to save her from a certain hanging.

The Finer Things
Two people from different worlds were brought together by passion, bound together by whispered accusations, and torn apart by scandal and misfortune  from Goodreads

I love Brenda Joyce’s historical romances.  They have a richness that I find missing from many other authors.  This was no exception although I did feel that it had some weak spots.  The heroine was a little too much for at times, but there were unexpected twists that made the story make up for some of those feelings.  I liked this one, but not one of my favorites by her.

Calling All Crazy Book People

For the last couple of years September has been the month that I’ve chosen to challenge myself to read 30 books.  Last year Gage even joined me!  This year with everything that’s been going on (I’m literally writing this at our house where I haven’t been since last Friday and I’m leaving again in an hour) I was on the fence about it UNTIL Heather said she was up for it too 🙂  Yay!!!

So now I’m wondering if anyone else wants to join us?  I could have a daily post where we can all link up and even start a Facebook page if there’s enough interest.   No pressure if you don’t make it, life happens, but it’s always fun to try.  I’m already thinking about how to make it doable this year.  Shorter books for sure, but maybe even a different kind of book.  Kids, graphic memoirs, or novellas would all work.  And for sure Gage is joining in.

Here’s my wrap up posts if you’re considering joining in on the fun.

2016 wrap up

2017 wrap up

I’m excited to have Heather by my side and hope that some of you may join us too!

 

Beyond Soap: The Real Truth About What You Are Doing to Skin and How To Fix It For a Beautiful Healthy Glow by Dr. Sandy Skotnicki

Title: Beyond Soap: The Real Truth About What You Are Doing to Your Skin and How to Fix It for a Beautiful, Healthy Glow, Author: Sandy SkotnickiBeyond Soap. Finished 8-7-18, 5/5 stars, health, 296 pages, pub. 2018

North America’s leading dermatologist offers a ground-breaking, informative, and incredibly practical book that reveals the harmful effects of our modern skincare habits and how you can eliminate common skin conditions.

Sensitive skin is one of the most buzzed-about topics in dermatology today. It can be painful, debilitating, and inconvenient. Astonishingly, many of the women and men who suffer from problem skin are unknowingly causing it by washing too frequently and using too many skincare and beauty products. Often, we slather ourselves in creams and balms that can actually damage the skin. The miracle products we buy at department stores, specialty shops, and pharmacies have the potential to make us less attractive and prematurely age our skin.    from Goodreads

I accepted this book for the  TLC book tour  and just finished it last night, so good.  I could have skimmed it and gotten it done sooner, but once I started reading I was hooked and didn’t want to rush.  I thought I was going to read about how to fix my skin and I did, BUT it was so much more than that.  It was also a history and science lesson. I loved learning about the history of how we wash ourselves.  I know, I was surprised by this too.

An average woman uses 12 personal products which contain 168 different ingredients on a daily basis.  So, when you have a reaction how do you know what’s the problem?  Labels like hypoallergenic mean nothing since they aren’t really regulated.  You need to look first for products with no fragrances and as few botanicals as possible.  The BIG BRANDS of body products (shampoos, body washes…) go to great lengths to woo dermatologists, but in reality are little fazed by suggestions from them.  The companies want what the public wants and the public loves scents so most products are full of them.  Her advice?  Wash less and use fewer (and better) products. She does provide lists of some of her favorite products, but you’ll have to read the book to find them 🙂

Dr. Skotnicki was preaching to the choir about over washing since I gave up my daily shower a few years ago,  but I think this book would be great for everyone to read regardless of whether you think you have a skin problem.  The skin is our largest organ and what you put on it will have profound effects on your body as a whole.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.

July’s Movie & money for charity (maybe yours!) & another life update

The saga of the last post continues with no end in sight.  The mold remediation company has decided to stop work.  This after they contaminated the whole house and have left 5 rooms completely torn up with mold to still be treated.  Not gonna sugarcoat it, it’s been a nightmare.  The outside front of our house is just as big a disaster, but at least that company has bent over backwards to help us.  We can’t live here and haven’t for over a month, although Jason often stays here to work at night, so we are renting a condo 30 minutes away.  We have taken no possessions but clothes as I’m in the middle of purging the house since it must be completely empty of everything for the final cleaning.  That may not happen until the middle of September and that’s only a soft commitment at this point.  We have to hire more people to come in and fix what’s been done, I’m told now, much of which was unnecessary.

And then, to top it all off, Jason’s mother passed away this week.  It was not unexpected, but the timing couldn’t have been worse for Jason.  Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  A lot of stress around here and I worry about him.

Somehow in the midst of all of this we managed to see two movies, even getting Gage to the theater once.  The show must go on.

Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity.  Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity.  Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $93 right now.

Bridgetoterabithiaposter.jpgBridge to Terabithia, 2007 (Josh Hutcherson, Anna Sophia Robb, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Zooey Deschanel)        Grade B

Classic coming of age story.

The book won the Newbery. (Brendan)


Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018) Poster.jpgHotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, 2018 (Voices-Adam Sandler, Andy Samburg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan Michael-Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Mel Brooks)                      Grade B

Silly, much-needed, laughs.

 

The Immortal Gene by Jonas Saul is good – so far at least and a LIFE update.

I’m scheduled to post about The Immortal Gene today for a TLC tour so here I am providing you with half review and half life update.

I’m over half way done with the book and really like it. The story is good, even if the bad guy really sickened me last night when I was reading before bed.  It runs along two main storylines, Jake the detective and Jeffery the serial killer.  There’s a mysterious shadowy group that has something to do with why Jake was in a coma for two years and why he now appears to be something more than a man.  I like the writing and the story and look forward to finishing and telling you more, hopefully next week.

Now for the life update.  We’re going through some major house issues.  What started with a question from Gage’s doctor, “Have you checked your house for mold?” has led us to a house in chaos. Without boring you with every last detail, yes we did, mainly in our master bedroom and Gage’s toy room and it’s been going on for years and years because of the faulty design of the original roof (1984).  You could not see this mold.  Starting in February I started doing some detective work that led me to remove all wallpaper where we found what looked like mold behind outside wall.  Blah Blah Blah and that corner now looks like this IMG_3724 No walls, ripping out flooring and subfloor from both rooms today.

This is what the foyer and living room underneath that looked like yesterday IMG_3722 And because the walls went together and our house was due we decided to renovate the whole outside of the house, removing the stucco board and replacing with cement boarding, but looking for rot and mold along  the way.  This is my current view IMG_3731

Everything on the top floor is being thrown or has been thrown out.  Seriously.  I’m currently in the middle of cleaning what I can on the first floor and putting it in a pod.  The pod and dumpster compete for space in our driveway.

When all the dust and mold has settled I’ll post about what mold you can’t even see can do to your health.  Til then keep us in your prayers.