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.


June’s Movies

I feel like I’m in the middle of a mess that just won’t end. I should do a post to catch up with all of you who think I’ve forgotten about you.  Too much going on right now. Some of you follow me on FB or IG but the rest of the story defies a short post for sure. Til next time!

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 $92 right now.

The Incredibles 2.jpgIncredibles 2, 2018 (Voices-Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L Jackson, Catherine Keener)     Grade B

That baby could end the world!

Kid-friendly Avengers movie, with heart!  (Heather)

Thor Ragnarok poster.jpgThor Ragnarok, 2017 (Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo, Karl Urban, Matt Damon)                                Grade B

Humor filled fun. Avengers lite.

Best Thor–yay no Portman!  (Heather)

BookClubPoster.jpg  Book Club, 2018 (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Canice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T Nelson, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson)                     Grade B

Aged well with books and wine (and plastic surgery)

It’s Bergen, then Fonda. Sheesh.  (Brendan)

Looking for love over 70.  (Kathy)

Image result for the week of movie posterThe Week Of, 2018 (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi, Rachel Dratch)                                                                   Grade B

Reunited and it feels so good!

Storks (film) poster 2.jpgStorks, 2016 (Voices-Andy Samburg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammar, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Poole)   Grade B-

Those babies are the cutest!

Masterminds (2016 film).pngMasterminds, 2016 (Zach Galifianakas, Kristin Wiig, Owen Wilson, Kate McKinnon, Jadon Sudeikis, Leslie Jones)                     Grade C+

The hair alone earns points.

I wanted it more dirty!  (Heather)

April & Oliver by Tess Callahan

Title: April & Oliver: A Novel, Author: Tess CallahanApril & Oliver. Finished 6-6-18, 3.5/5 stars, fiction, 326 pages, pub. 2009

Best friends since childhood, the sexual tension between April and Oliver has always been palpable. Years after being completely inseparable, they become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives cross once again with the sudden death of April’s brother. Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April – and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to “save” his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own–secrets he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his fiancee. But April knows, and her reappearance in his life derails him. Is it really April’s life that is unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral…towards salvation.  from Goodreads

I very much disliked April and this book for about 100 pages.  The only reason I continued is that I remembered so many fellow book bloggers loving it when it came out.  I thought I must be missing something, only that’s not quite right.  I don’t think I was supposed to like April for a while.  This young woman was a complete mess and I didn’t really understand her on any level.  So, what changed?

The book begins as April’s brother dies in a car crash.  April grieves, hides the death from her grandmother, and is beyond prickly with her remaining relatives.  She also has one of a string of abusive boyfriends in the picture.  But, as scenes with Oliver, her childhood best friend who comes back to the area with his fiancée, flesh out more of the younger April, the characters start to grow on me and all of the sudden I am looking forward to seeing where their chemistry takes them.

This is not a sunny, beach reach kind of book.  This is a rainy day read that will ultimately satisfy.  I’m glad I stuck it out.


Sundays with Gage – New York City

Two years ago Jason had a work conference in downtown Manhattan and Gage and I tagged along.  It was August and about 100 degrees every day we were there. Gage didn’t want to walk much.  It was not the best experience for this mama who loves New York City.

This year the work conference was in June at the Grand Central Station Hyatt and we decided to try again.  Of the 4 days we were there it was upper 90’s twice, but because Gage was more willing to walk and I planned a bit better the trip was much more successful. Gage loved the city, even though he did mention that it wasn’t really for kids.  We did manage to find a playground he liked in Hell’s Kitchen and it was only a 15 minute walk  through Times Square.  He made friends both times we went.

IMG_3061Being in midtown made it much easier to get to Central Park so that’s where I wanted to spend most of this trip since we had done most of the downtown area last time.  We visited The American Museum of Natural History, the Central Park Zoo as well as walking completely from one side of park to the other on the hottest day because I got completely turned around in the Rambles.  This is what poor Gage looked like by the time we got to the subway that day – dripping with sweat but still happy.

This is what he looked liked when we got on the completely packed train with nowhere to sit or move.

We visited a few churches, St. Bart’s and St. Patrick’s, both of which I’ve visited many times before, but wanted to share them with Gage.  We were even able to catch Mass at St. Patrick
IMG_3271We ate lunch at the library in Bryant Park, we walked through Grand Central Station multiple times a day and, for the first time, we parked in New Jersey and took the train into the city.  A fun experience for all three of us.

We did a lot of walking and I was proud of him.  I will say that my biggest complaint was staying at the Grand Hyatt.  We could not walk out of our hotel (even the just the lobby, really) without having a tight grip on our seven year old.  He was a champ and loved all of the people and I convinced him that we needed Daddy to find a job here for a year so we could do more exploring 🙂  No more than a year.

It was a great experience and this was a perfect age to introduce him to one of my favorite cities, two years ago was too soon.  Even though he had fun when we asked him his favorite part of our trip he chose the day before we got to New York where we stopped at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania.  We happened to be there the same day that my cousin from Maryland was there with her family and we were able to meet up briefly.IMG_3030 I know he chose the Park because of all the roller coasters he was able to ride now that he’s 48 inches, but I like to believe that seeing family had a little something to do with it!



Freebie Friday

We took a little trip to New York City and got back last night, so I’m trying to catch up.  More on Gage’s time in the Big Apple on Sunday.

I’m weeding my personal library by giving away books.  On Fridays for as long as I can I’ll be offering to mail these books to you free of charge.  Please request no more than two.

I’ve read all of these but they are still in good shape.


This One is Mine by Maria SempleIMG_3296

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

Dream Country by Luanne Rice

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens  for Guatami

IMG_3297 (2)

I’m also offering this selection of early reader books to one lucky person 🙂  for Jordana

Also, there are a few left from last week if you want to take a look.

The first one to request each book in the comments will ‘win’.  Thanks for helping keep my book hoarding in check! Come back next week and grab up some more!


Last Words by Michael Koryta

Title: Last Words (Mark Novak Series #1), Author: Michael KorytaLast Words. Finished 5-30-18, 4/5 stars, thriller, pub. 2015

Unabridged audio read by Robert Petkoff

Mark Novac book 1

Still mourning the death of his wife, private investigator Mark Novak accepts a case that may be his undoing. On the same day his wife died, the body of a teenage girl was pulled from the extensive and perilous cave system beneath Southern Indiana. Now the man who rescued the girl, who was believed to be her killer, begs Novak to uncover what really happened.

Garrison is much like any place in America, proud and fortified against outsiders. For Mark to delve beneath the town’s surface, he must match wits with the man who knows the caverns better than anyone. A man who seemed to have lost his mind. A man who seems to know Mark Novak all too well.    from Goodreads


Mark Novac works for the Innocence Foundation, due in great part to his deceased wife, who was following a lead when she was murdered.  Fast forward a few years and Mark is not coping with her unsolved murder as well as his bosses would like so they send him to Indiana on a wild goose chase.  Only it turns into something more for Mark as his life is threatened and he begins to care again.

I liked this thriller and recommend it to fans on the genre.  There was a lot of caving details in it and I appreciated learning about something new that wasn’t boring because the story fit the setting perfectly. I like Mark and see that there’s a second book so I’ll have to get that soon.


Freebie Friday

The first few years of this blog I culled my personal library by giving away books.  Well, the time has come to cull again so on Fridays for as long as I can I’ll be offering to mail these books to you free of charge.  Please request no more than two.

This week they have all been read but are in good shape.


1.Water Tales by Alice Hoffman  headed to Cali on Monday

2.Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

3.The Sister by Poppy Adams

4.Bloodman by Robert Pobi

5.The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain  off to Erica’s soon

Also, there are a few left from last week if you want to take a look.


The first one to request each book in the comments will ‘win’.  Thanks for helping keep my book hoarding in check! Come back next week and grab up some more!