This Week – At the Movies

Fave pic IMG_3495

A family portrait on a sunny day.

Highlights of the Week  Last week’s Valentine’s Day plans were canceled, but Jason did make me lobster mac & cheese on Sunday IMG_3491 and it was definitely my food highlight of the week!  After not getting to the movie theater since December, I managed two trips this week!

30 Days Challenge UpdateFacebook can be tamed

Books Read Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, #12) (review)

Puzzles Completed

Movies Watched  Just Mercy Official Poster.jpgGo see it!    Sonic the Hedgehog poster.jpg

Currently Reading Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict Between Conscience and Success Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life: … Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power …

Currently Listening The Water Dancer Seventh Heaven

On the Small Screen Survivor Winners at War logo.pngWe’re back into Survivor mode here with a season full of past winners over the last 39 seasons.

Plans This Weekend  Getting the kid healthy is my only goal.  We are lucky to have a good doctor friend who made a house call just before bedtime last night to check on the still sick Gage.  We are seeing a pediatrician this morning and hoping for some help in getting him over this yuckiness.  Please send some good healing vibes.

I’ve linked up with The Sunday Salon this week.



Nothing to Lose by Lee Child

Title: Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher Series #12), Author: Lee Child Nothing to Lose. Finished 2-17-20, 4/5 stars, thriller, 531 pages, pub. 2008

#12 of the Jack Reacher series (1-Killing Floor2- Die Trying, 3 – Tripwire, 4 – Running Blind5 – Echo Burning6 – Without Fail, 7 – Persuador, 8 – The Enemy, 9 – One Shot, 10 – Hard Way, 11-Bad Luck and Trouble)

It wasn’t the welcome Reacher expected. He was just passing through, minding his own business. But within minutes of his arrival a deputy is in the hospital and Reacher is back in Hope, setting up a base of operations against Despair, where a huge, seething walled-off industrial site does something nobody is supposed to see . . . where a small plane takes off every night and returns seven hours later . . . where a garrison of well-trained and well-armed military cops—the kind of soldiers Reacher once commanded—waits and watches . . . where above all two young men have disappeared and two frightened young women wait and hope for their return.

Joining forces with a beautiful cop who runs Hope with a cool hand, Reacher goes up against Despair—against the deputies who try to break him and the rich man who tries to scare him—and starts to crack open the secrets, starts to expose the terrifying connection to a distant war that’s killing Americans by the thousand.   from Goodreads

This is how I described Reacher in the second book, “Jack Reacher is a man’s man, but one that women are drawn to because of his sheer masculinity and unavailability.  He is who he is, take him or leave him and that confidence and physical presence makes him a force to be reckoned with.” This is still accurate all these books later although I would add loner to the mix.  The books are long, but read fast and should be enjoyed by starting at one and working your way through.

As Reacher is making his way diagonally across the country, from Maine to south of San Diego he walk from Hope to Despair in Colorado and all hell breaks loose.  He is beat up, locked up and thrown out of the town told never to return all because he walked into the diner and ordered a cup of coffee.  Reacher is not one who likes to be told what to do and sneaks back in more than once.  When all is said and done he has uncovered an Armageddon type plot and added another notch to his bedpost.  Not bad for a week’s work.

This was not my favorite, but anytime with Reacher is time well spent.


This Week – Sickness with a side of puke

Fave pic QFXY7984 The week started out lovely as we celebrated my parents’ anniversary and my dad’s birthday.

Highlight of the Week  Um. Gage came home yesterday with fever, he’s had a stuffy nose for a few days, and no appetite.  This afternoon he projectile vomited all the way down the stairs that even covered most of the foyer floor space.  It was a sight to behold.  He’s pretty sick.  Motrin took the fever down and he actually ate a small dinner.  There is very little chance that I don’t end up with whatever nastiness he has.  Oh, and Jason came home and is down for the count with some to-be-determined, but different ailment and is laying in a dark room.  Luckily he brought home beautiful flowers and a bottle of champagne yesterday, both of which are making me feel better tonight  🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day to us!

Finished Reading  Starry Night (review)

Currently Reading  Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power … Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, #12) Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict Between Conscience and Success

Currently Listening  The Water Dancer Seventh Heaven

In the Mail LVXW1793 Kathy sent Gage some books with a sweet card.  Book blogger friends are the best!


On the Small Screen  Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.jpg Just as stupid as you might imagine, but I did laugh.

Documentaries Watched  I’m boycotting my Dr. Pepper.

Weekend plans…Cleaning up puke?  Trying to avoid the plague?  Please tell me about your wonderful Valentine’s Day or weekend plans.  I need some excitement here.

I’m linking up with the Sunday Salon.

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Title: Starry Night: A Christmas Novel, Author: Debbie Macomber Starry Night. Finished 2-9-20, 4/5 stars, romance, 231 pages, pub. 2013

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.    from Goodreads

Sweet, implausible, and just what I needed.  This Christmas romance came at the perfect time, after a few heavy reads and winter firmly settling in.  Finn is a man’s man and Carrie a girly girl and when the two first met it was not love at first sight.  But somehow in the span of a few short days the recluse from Alaska and the reporter from Chicago fell madly in love.  The characters were good and the tension was perfect enough to carry the story and leave me in a happy place.

Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

At Home With Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott

Title: At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life, Author: Jennifer L. Scott At Home With Madame Chic.  Finished 2-9-20, home/style, 4/5 stars. 281 pages, pub. 2014

At Home with Madame Chic reveals the secrets to having a happy, fulfilling, and passionate life at home. Jennifer explains the morning send-off need not be chaotic, it’s possible to look stylish with minimal time and effort, a little forethought makes it possible to serve a home-cooked dinner every night, and details like music and scented candles can set the tone for the whole family’s evening. Organized by the pleasures that can be found throughout the day, this charming, helpful book is full of ideas, playlists, recipes, beauty routines, and advice that can turn an irritating day into an enjoyable experience.   from Goodreads

This was a perfect timing kind of read for me.  This is not the type of book that I would normally pick up, but my 30 day challenge for next month involves my wardrobe and I was browsing the library shelves in that area I picked this up.  I’m so glad that I did.  Our home is still causing me quite a bit of stress and the emphasis on putting some love and attention into your daily life, your home included, helped me view the chaos around me with a little more clarity.

As a mom with two young children she spoke a language I understand about the importance of making a childhood for your kids that they will look back on and want to emulate.  The ‘chic’ you see in some woman starts from an inner peace, an air of mystery, and there are things we ‘un-chic’ gals can do to feel some of that ourselves.  At least that’s what she tells me 🙂  There’s a lot more in here about your daily life and ways to make special memories every day, including recipes, games, wardrobe lists, and playlists.

The author has written several Madame Chic books and I do plan on looking for the others.  The library book I checked out?  I returned it and bought my own copy.  It’s such a pretty little book and something that will remind me to slow down and put a little more love and intention in to my day.

This Week – Chillin’

Fave Pics

IMG_3403 IMG_3441  I took the first picture on Monday when I walked the half a mile to Gage’s bus stop in 50 degree weather. The second I took this morning.  A tale of two Februaries in one week.

Highlights of the Week  Thankfully this has been a much-needed mellow week.  Three mornings at the library sorting books (my happy place),  errands, bills, signing up Gage for summer camp, making appointments, sorting the house because Madame Chic told me too.  I’ll review the book on Monday but it was a perfect read for me this quiet week.

Finished This Week Home Truths (review) At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life

Currently Reading Hope and Other Superpowers: A Life-Affi… Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power … Starry Night

Currently Listening The Water Dancer Seventh Heaven

Library Book Sale Finds  IMG_E3440

Currently Puzzling  IMG_E3442 A Christmas gift.

On the Small Screen  The Stranger Poster I have read all of Harlan Coben’s books and I think this is the third Netflix adaptation and definitely my favorite so far.  Jason and I finished the last episode last night.

Outrage of the Week  Feel free to weigh in on Newton’s demise here.

Mary Higgins Clark  I loved Mary Higgins Clark books when I was in high school.  I read a few more over the years, but not many.  Since she recently passed and I thought I’d share this post about the time I bought Mary and her daughter a glass of wine 🙂    Do you have any good Mary Higgins Clark stories?

I’m linking up with The Sunday Salon.

Home Truths by Susan Lewis

Title: Home Truths: A Novel, Author: Susan Lewis Home Truths. Finished 2-6-19, 3.5/5 stars, fiction, 480 pages, pub. 2020

Angie Watts once had what seemed like an idyllic life: a house in a small town in the English countryside with her beloved husband Steve and their three adored children. She never could have predicted how her life would one day turn out.

When her oldest son, Liam, grows from a sweet-natured boy to a troubled teen, Angie’s world begins to crumble. Expelled from school and disappearing from home for days on end, Liam falls in with a notorious local gang. After arriving home one day to find their 5-year-old son with a syringe Liam has left lying around, Steve makes a rash decision that will have lasting repercussions on their family.

Two years later, Steve is gone, Liam is missing, and with money running out, Angie and her other two children are on the brink of eviction. Then Angie is called into the police station and informed that there’s been a murder—and Liam is a suspect. As Angie’s desperation to save her family leads her to take drastic measures, her daughter secretly devises her own plan to save the family…which could put everyone in danger.   from Goodreads

I have never read a book with such dramatic lows and dizzying highs.  For over half of the book Angie is faced with a multitude of of woes straight from the evening news.  Brutal murder, human trafficking, extreme poverty, homelessness, child disappearance, drugs, and gangs.  Through it all she has the love and unwavering support from her sister and even manages to keep her job.  Her pride stops her from seeking out the help she needs and she spirals down until all that is left is her walking down the main drag begging shops for a job while she sleeps in her van at night.

Amazingly, she walked by a man who had known her husband and justlikethat he became a knight in shining armor the likes of which I rarely read about outside of romance novels.  Now every low was countered by a high that gave me whiplash.  I know this may seem like I didn’t like the book, but that’s not true.  I liked this book and the large cast of characters and their plights.  Angie’s story showcases how fast one’s life can spin out of control. My biggest issue was that the last fourth of the book was every aspect of her life, unbelievably, turned around tenfold thanks to a man.  Angie was rescued.  I was happy for her and her family, I even shed a tear near the end, but the triumph was a turnaround of her situation, not because of her fortitude.

So, for all the issues that I had with the rescuing, I did like Angie and her family and friends.  The reality of Angie not eating all day just so her kids can have food and the hopelessness of a parent when their child falls prey to the perils of social media were gripping and emotional.  Thankfully, there were happier endings almost all the way around.  I never tired of the story and at 480 pages that’s quite a feat.  This is my first book by Susan Lewis and she drew me in with sympathetic characters and a compelling story.

I want to thank TLC Book Toursand Harper Collins for the book and the hours of enjoyment they sent my way 🙂


Reading with Gage

Gage is reading Wonder with his class.  It’s slow going for him and we struggle.  On the weekends we’re going with shorter books, but trying to stay in the chapter book area.  One stuck out for me and let me tell you why…

IMG_E3432 James Moody, or Stink, is tired of being Judy Moody’s little brother (Judy has her own series and this is the first of the Stink series).  He has her measure him every day to see if he has grown and one day he realizes that he had shrunk a quarter inch. His gym teacher tells him this is normal in the course of a day, to shrink a bit as gravity and our own weight take it’s toll on our body (honestly, I had no idea!).  Anyway, during this whole period of Stink being afraid he was really shrinking he gets to take the class pet home for the weekend, Newton the newt.  His sister convinces him that the water in the tank needs to be changed and the two head to the sink where somehow Newt escapes down the drain.  This is what happens next


That’s right, the GRRRRRRR! was Newton getting ground up like dinner leftovers.  I cannot even tell you how much I expected Newton to somehow make some miraculous return showing that he escaped the blades, but no, it was not to be.  This becomes known as the G.D.I. (Garbage Disposal Incident) and I’m still mourning Newt.  I think he deserved better.

Gage doesn’t really care about reading more about Stink, thank goodness.  I don’t know how many of these incidents I could take.  Have you ever read of another pet being ground up in the garbage disposal or is Newt the first one?


Liars’ Legacy by Taylor Stevens

Title: Liars' Legacy, Author: Taylor Stevens Liars’ Legacy. Finished 1-31-20, 4/5, thriller, 339 pages, pub. 2019

Book 2 of the Jack and Jill series (1-Liars’ Paradox)

The assassin broker is dead. The power void has left the network he controlled without restraints, and the world’s deadliest killers free to pursue their own vendettas and political agendas. The United States government, unwilling to risk upheaval and global chaos, has mobilized killers of its own to preemptively hunt down and destroy each potential threat.

Among the most dangerous on that list are Jack and Jill.

Often estranged–always connected by a legacy they can’t escape–the siblings have eluded many who want them dead. As they board a flight to Berlin hoping to meet the father they’ve never known, they suspect a trap. What they can’t predict is how far a high-level Russian operation will go to secure their skills, or how hard the U.S. operatives sent to stop them will fight to assassinate them first.   from Goodreads

I really liked the first in this series of assassins.  The seemingly unhinged mother, mysterious father, the two twins who are rarely on the same page, but both deadly.  In that book the Broker who ran the web of assassins around  the world (easy to picture if you’ve seen the John Wick movies, but not nearly as civilized as all that) was murdered.  This second installment is what happens in the aftermath.

Jack and Jill are flying to Berlin to meet the father they’ve never known, but they know they are being watched, hunted even.  With a little help from fellow killer for hire Holden the three of them manage to stay one step ahead of the Russians and Americans who want them either locked up or dead.  It was a little confusing, I was always a move or two behind.  Once they returned to the United States things became clear, even though Jack’s plans are always too smart for me to even guess at before the action starts.

I liked this one, and not just because Jack ends up in Cleveland for a bit (hanging with our homeless no less!).  It was nonstop action for over half the book until it slowed down just enough to let you catch your breath and enjoy the finish.  I loved that Holden was back and appreciate the way he sees Jill and likes her, but is willing to walk away from the crazy.  I’m intrigued by Kara, who has a thing for Jack, but works for the government.  I’m interested to see where this thing with with their father takes them.  So many things I look forward to finding out in the next book.

If you like nonstop action in your thrillers this is the series for you!

This Week – In the Pod

Fave Pic

IMG_3365Gage started tae kwon do a few weeks ago but Wednesday was the first time I was able to watch.  He has a friend in the class and it’s a great workout.  He’s the last one on the left.

Highlights of the Week

It was a crazy busy week.  It was Catholic Schools Week so I spent time buying and wrapping teacher gifts, helping out at the school wide sundae bar, buying a book for each grade at the Scholastic Book Fair (so fun!), taking a class photo and framing it for Gage’s teachers, and then on another day filling in for teachers during recess and lunch so they could have a relaxing luncheon just for them.   I was supposed to work the pizza lunch on Friday too, but since Jason had the day off I sent him 🙂  Jason also had Thursday off and we spent the 10am-8pm on a Cleveland date, doing some shopping, eating and trying new things like this fancy float spa IMG_3368 (1) I already raved about it on FB, and I can tell you too that it was so much better than I thought it would be.  This was my room and my pod.  You shower first, get in and lay in 10 inch water that has over 1000 pounds of epsom salt in it to make you float.  Oh, and you pull the door shut, turn off the light and lay there for an hour.  I kept the light on and the pod cracked a bit.  I made it 50 minutes before I sat up just meditated.  Have any of you tried it?  I’m looking forward to going back.

New Challenge

This month’s challenge is giving up Facebook for a month.  Yikes!

Finished Reading This Week  Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World (reviewExit Strategy (review) Liars' Legacy

Finished Puzzling IMG_3324 The three of us did this 500 piece puzzle together in 1 hour and 23 minutes.  I’m willing to mail it to any of you you want to try an beat our time 🙂

Currently Reading Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power … Home Truths

Currently Listening The Water Dancer

Received in the Mail The Stone Girl

Movies Watched 1917 Poster Thought it was well done.

This Weekend  I might be coming down with something so I’m hoping to keep it close to home this weekend.  We’ll see what kind of fun we can find.  What’s going on with you this weekend?