This Week – Paris is July Fail

This whole month has been something of a anxious mess for me and Paris in July had to be left behind for sanity’s sake. I’ll try and give it a go next year.

Gage finished his sixth, and final, week of camp, so it’s been a fun summer. I went to my yearly family weekend with 12 of my aunts and cousins for the first time since covid. We rented a B&B in Jeffersonville, Indiana and it was a great weekend, but also a bit stressful since I had to walk the fine line of having a blast and trying to make good covid choices. The time with the women of my family was much needed.

Tomorrow we start half days of homeschool and I still need to come up with our concrete schedule and activities. On Tuesday, I’ll work at our primary election so my mom will take over substitute teacher days two days in. I’ve been called for jury duty next week and the week after that we’re on vacation to Michigan. Today will be spent trying to figure out our school schedule in all that mess.

On to the books! I finished 17 books. Six adult books and 11 kids books with Gage or in preparation for school.

Gage and I started reading this series together and it’s my favorite book of the month. Why? Because Gage still looks at reading as a chore and this book actually had him looking forward to our reading time. The whole book is a foreshadowing of terrible things happening to three orphan siblings and my kid can’t resist a train wreck. We’re reading book 2 now.

Time is too short for more. Hopefully, calm will prevail this week. Has your July been crazy too?

Paris in July, first week with puzzle giveaway!

Hosted by Thyme for Tea and Readerbuzz.

My first week has been slow to Paris, but busy here on the homefront. If you are participating in Paris in July this year and would like to try your hand at this puzzle, I’d love to send it on to you. Leave a comment telling me you want it and I’ll get it sent out next week!

On the 4th of July I finished The Third Girl, the first of the Molly Sutton mystery series set in a small French town. Molly is 38, a recent divorcée, and the new owner of a property near the village. As she settles into her new country and new job renting out the cottage on her property, a local art student goes missing and casts a spell over her new home. I liked it. An American goes to France and falls in love with small village living. I plan on reading the next in the series soon.
1,000 piece Hinkler puzzle while drinking tea from Paris and listening to The Little Paris Bookshop. Sammi loved Paris too 😻

The Little Paris Bookshop has such a great premise. Monsieur Perdu has a floating bookstore in Paris where he interviews customers to chose just the right book for what ails them. He’s a book doctor! That’s not the plot, but those parts were my favorites. After chapter 6 or 7 I had to stop and think about my reading habits. He really made me want to elevate my choices, which went along well with Read Dangerously that I read last month. I read to escape, but choosing quality choices for me is also important. The story wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I did really like it and some parts were pure magic.

I’m hoping for more Paris and more posts (reading and writing) this week while Gage is at camp.

June Movies and Money for Charity

You know the drill, 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. Click here to see past movie posts.

We’re at $85 right now.  Your charity could be next 

Shows I binged this month… We finished the first season of the network comedy Ghosts (so much fun!), watched the first half of Stranger Things, season 4 (started slow, but looking forward to series finale next week), and the mini series The Night Manager with Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston.

The Devil All the Time, 2020 (Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlan) Grade A

Dark, post war, backwoods, all-star cast

The Kissing Booth 3, 2021 (Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elori, Taylor Perez, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Molly Ringwald) Grade B

Fitting soapy end to trilogy.

The Wrath of God, 2022 ( Macarena Achaga, Diego Peretti, Juan Minujin) Grade B

Dark psychological thriller from Argentina.

Revenge is a dish served bold. Tony

American Hangman, 2019 (Donald Sutherland, Vincent Kartheiser, Oliver Dennis) Grade C+

Murder trial by social media.

After, 2019 (Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Selma Blair, Pia Mia, Dylan Arnold, Jennifer Beals, Peter Gallagher) Grade C

Trilogy perfect for insomnia binge.

After We Collided, 2020 (Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Dylan Sprouse, Selma Blair, Charlie Weber, Rob Estes, Louise Lombard, Candice King) Grade C-

Insomnia solution, not much else.

After We Fell, 2021 (Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Louise Lombard, Rob Estes, Arielle Kebbel, Mira Sorvino) Grade D

Worst of the bunch.

Paris in July 2022


It’s Paris in July 2022, hosted by Thyme for Tea and Readerbuzz. Last year I shared photos and stories of our trip there in 2010, but this time around I’ll be doing some of the usual things, books, movies, puzzles, postcards, food, wine..

Here are some of the books I’ve set aside for the month and it was the extent of my pre-planning, lol, BUT this week I watched James Corden’s Crosswalk the Musical in Paris -Les Miserables again and laughed out loud just like the first time I saw it. Enjoy.

June Stats and Favorites

I finished 10 books this month, The Bat by Jo Nesbit isn’t pictured because it was an audio. I don’t remember the last time I liked all of my reads so much. 6 of the 10 were sent to me in exchange for a review, so most of these are new and for the first time in forever, no library books!

You can see my 3 favorites, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them! And honestly, from the time I took these pics this morning to the time I’m posting this I already would have changed one of my favorites 😆. Just add them all to your list.

I’ve read 166 books of my 300 goal so I’m on track.

What was your favorite book this month?

Ghost Games by Brooke Mackenzie

Ghost Games by Brooke Mackenzie, 4.25/5 stars, 264 pages, 2022

Do not play these games.  This is the standard Internet disclaimer given to anyone who wishes to summon the supernatural through a potentially dangerous ritual or game.  

But how scary can a game really be?

As it turns out, games can be terrifying. GHOST GAMES is a collection of short horror fiction intended for adults (but appropriate for young adults), in which the female main characters throw caution to the wind, play a game, and summon an entity.  What happens next will make you think twice before riding in an elevator, looking in a mirror, or soaking in a bathtub. There are seven fictional stories—each one devoted to a specific game—and one non-fiction story, in which the author describes her real-life encounter with an evil spirit after playing with a Ouija Board.

The stories in GHOST GAMES thrill with satisfying scares, and tap into each character’s internal psychological struggles as the motivation behind wanting to escape reality. The reader develops a relationship with the characters, making each of their experiences all the more harrowing.  While the stories themselves are fiction, each of the games they describe has a life of its own on the Internet, and several forums are filled with firsthand accounts of bold (or foolhardy) players who played the games with terrifying results. 

from bamackenzie.com

Ghost Games by Brooke Mackenzie is a spookily great collection of fiction stories based on known and searchable urban legends. Not that you need to search because at the end the book she includes the rules for each of the games and where they came from.

I’m not a ghost seeker, but I flew through these eight fun and eerie stories. I’d never heard of these before, but some of you probably have. The Elevator Game, the Three Kings Game, the Closet Game, Bloody Mary, the Telephone Game, the Bathtub Game, the Hide-and-Seek Game and the tried and true Ouija which I have tried with no success.

I really loved these stories and think even those who get spooked easily will love them too. I’m not sure I can even pick a favorite, there wasn’t a clunker in the bunch. The protagonists were all women living an upper midclass lives, a choice the author purposely made. The women in stories ranged in age from teens to 40’s.

I want to thank TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour and Brooke Mackenzie for sending me a copy of the book. I’m excited to see what you write next!

The Craigslist Incident by Jason Fisk

The Craigslist Incident by Jason Fisk, 4/5 stars, 218 pages, 2022

In The Craigslist Incident, Edna Barrett takes an advertisement out on Craigslist: I’m an 18-year-old female and I want to take a hit out on myself. Joe Dolsen, a 20-year-old who has suffered from periodic blackouts his whole life, answers the ad. What would bring two people to such ominous points at such young ages, and will they actually go through with it? from Goodreads

“Women Seeking Men: I’m an 18-year-old female and I want to take a hit out on myself.”

You know from the first page that it’s going to be a wild one. Edna’s father killed himself when she was a teen and she had a hard time adjusting, getting into fights and writing disturbing poetry for class assignments. Joe, raised by a religious fanatic mother who thought his blackouts were a sign from God, had his own violent tendencies. They had been failed by the system and/or their parents.

I really felt for both Edna and Joe and their struggle to make their way. Edna’s depression and the way that adults failed her, except for her mother, was an easy thing to believe because we’ve all seen it happen. One bad decision at 18 and her life goes off the rails.

This book reads fast and really showed the mental health crisis many are facing in this country firsthand. I really liked it, especially the unexpected ending.

I’m on a book tour for The Craigslist Incident today. The author was kind enough to mail me a copy. Thanks TLC Book Tours and Jason Fisk

This Week -A tough one

It’s been a week of unsettling news and I’m still feeling very sad about Friday’s Supreme Court news. I don’t think the government has a say in ANY health decisions made between a woman and her doctor. And as someone who had a miscarriage at 6 weeks I can say that my experience reinforced my view that conception may mean possible life, but it doesn’t mean baby. I can’t believe we’re at a place that if my miscarriage happened now it would be considered suspect.

On a positive note, Jason and I went out to an actual restaurant without the boy for the first time in over two years last night. We ate outside which is really what I’m comfortable with at this point. We made it to the bottom of the strawberry daquiri 🙂

Gage finished up his third week of camp with his fourth starting tomorrow. This week he’ll be going with two friends and we’re going to carpool! As a stay at home mama I’m usually the one to trek the kids around if necessary, but this week those working moms have insisted on covering 3 days. I am grateful.

Books finished

To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters, 3.5/5 stars, 336 pages, 2022

Lady Emily has spent her life being perfect so that no touch of scandal could touch her cash strapped family. Lord Julian Belfry needed this pristine reputation to bring respectability to his theatre. It was a marriage of convenience. Will these two, both looking for acceptance from their parents, fall in love along the way? It is a romance after all!

My favorite character was Cecil, the kitten who brought bloodshed to their wedding night 😽. This is book 3 in the Regency Vows series and can be read alone, as I did. But I do wish I’d read the first two so I could have spent more time with Emily’s friends.

Read Dangerously: The Submersive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi, 4/5 stars, 256 pages, 2022

Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi is pure delight for lovers of literature and its power of illumination. My book club read her bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, a few years ago and I loved it for all that I learned about Iran. In this book,as an American citizen now, she takes on current America.

What’s missing in our current discourse? Nuance and empathy. These are things that you can find in great literature, especially those books that go against the norm and force you to think about what’s being said. She takes on politics, democracy, freedom, and Trump by analyzing some of the greats like Morrison, Baldwin, Atwood, and Plato.

It’s a book to be loved by anyone who has spent time reading literature. I mostly listened but had my hard copy handy to mark up thoughts I wanted to revisit. She’s got some powerful stuff in here.

There are 5 sections and in section 3 I was so moved that I put one of the books she talked about, Places & Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning by former marine Elliot Ackerman, on hold at the library. He writes fiction now, but this is his memoir.

This was in my latest #gettbr box and it was just what I needed. It’s not an easy read, but one I’m glad someone chose for me.

I talked about Remember Whose Little Girl You Are by Ellen Nichols for a TLC Book Tour here.

On the Screen

We watched two little known movies this week.

I LOVED The Devil All the Time on Netflix.

American Hangman was interesting, but had some problems for me.

We’re in the middle of the mini-series, The Night Manager and are really liking it.

Plans for the weekend

Yesterday was so busy so I promised Gage a quieter day today. We’re going to visit a few houses on the Parade of Homes and he’s got to visit a home to get directions for his next pet sitting/plant watering gig.

What’s up in your corner of the world?

Remember Whose Little Girl You Are by Ellen Nichols

Remember Whose Little Girl You Are by Ellen Nichols. 4/5 stars, 129 pages, 2022

Remember Whose Little Girl You Are captures the flavor of the Deep South like no author since Eudora Welty or Flannery O’Connor. Ellen Nichols captures the tenor of small-town Southern life in the fifties and sixties, with its vicissitudes and hilarity. One is captured with her openness and drawn deeply into the dialogue-so much as to, according to one reader, sometimes feel guilty of spying.

Read it and see if you want those times back-or are just relieved they’re gone.

Remember Whose Little Girl You Are is a memoir of growing up in the South during the 1940s-60s as a preacher’s kid. Ellen Nichols tells her stories with an intimacy that make you feel like you’re sitting around the kitchen table with a girlfriend.

I loved her stories from her early childhood best as she moved every few years with her family, but her college years had the added layer of the civil rights era protests that she participated in in both small and large ways.

A fun southern memoir that is brief enough to be finished in one sitting.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me and Claire McKinney PR for the book and 🧦.

This Week – Nature

Gage spent the week at a nature camp with a friend this week and had a great time. The Nature Center of Shaker Lakes is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Cleveland, even having made a half hearted attempt for us to move there a few years ago. It didn’t happen, but I loved that after dropping Gage off at camp I could walk and enjoy the neighborhood once again.

I visited two independent bookstores for the Zibby Books 22in22 challenge to visit and log 22 bookstore trips this year. Loganberry Books in Cleveland Heights and Appletree Books in Cleveland were visits 6 & 7. It’s never too late to sign up. There are prizes 🙂

What I read

I shared my thoughts about both here.

I’ve finished 161 books so far this year.

On the Screen

We finished season one of the comedy show Ghosts, so much fun. And we finished part one of season four of Stranger Things. So looking forward to the conclusion next month.

We also watched the Netflix movie The Wrath of God, an adaptation of the book The Book of Murder. Jason thought the psychological thriller was boring, but I really liked it.

Puzzle finished (with a bonus Sammi)

Plans for the weekend

We’re going to the toy store today to pick up a game and for Gage to spend some of his money. Tomorrow we’ll serve Jason breakfast in bed (he’s requested waffles) and go over to my parent’s for a bit to mark the day. What do you have planned this Father’s Day weekend? Or the long weekend if you also get Juneteenth off on Monday?