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 🧦.

Some Quick Book Thoughts

In my attempt to get more of my thoughts on the books I read on here I’m going to share a few. I’ve had a great reading month so far!

Secret Identity by Alex Segura, 4.5/5 stars, 368 pages, 2022

Set in 1970’s New York City’s comic book publishing industry, this book wasn’t something that grabbed me right away, but I quickly got so sucked into this noir-ish mystery that I listened to the audio when I couldn’t be reading. I’m not a comic book reader and the comic world was fresh for me. The struggles of a woman, Carmen, trying to prove that she was worthy during that time was recognizable.

I never would have chosen this for myself and that’s why I love having someone picking books just for me. This was a thumbs up.

I’m not really doing any special reading for pride month, but with that in mind it’s worth noting that Carmen is a lesbian and it’s a part of her story. She’s a gritty and admirable heroine. Loved her.

The Patron Saints of Second Chances by Christine Simon, 4/5 stars, 304 pages, 2022

This is a zany Italian romp. I was enchanted even as I rolled my eyes at some of the antics.

Signor Speranza is the mayor (self appointed) of a small town in Italy, Prometta, population 212, and he’s just been told that they must pay an exorbitant amount of money or the water will be shut off to the whole town. Speranza comes up with one crazy idea that gets out of hand.

It’s a fun, summer read, especially for lovers of Italy. 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, 4.25/5 stars365 pages, 2016

This was a delicious way to start the summer. I absolutely loved the snark and the sexual tension.

Lucy and Joshua share an office and an attitude of dislike for each other. Then Lucy has an erotic dream and things start to get fuzzy. Is it really hate she feels?

Although the hate/love relationship is a predictable one, this story started right where it needed to keep the story moving forward with no down time. This is not a high brow romance and it definitely falls into some issues with the physical aspects of the characters, but it was also a lot of fun. Perfect for summer.

I listened to this one and the audio was very good.

The Bat by Jo Nesbo, 4/5 stars, 369 pages, 1997

I listened to The Bat, the first in the Harry Hole series. I’ve always wanted to give this Norwegian Jo Nesbit mystery series a try and it was a great audio for puzzling and running errands. I look forward to more of this flawed character in the future.

In Search of the Magic Theater by Karla Huebner

In Search of the Magic Theater by Karla Huebner, 4/5 stars, 254 pages, 2022

Why, the rather staid young cellist Sarah wonders, should her aunt rent their spare room to the perhaps unstable Kari Zilke? Like the nephew in Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, Sarah finds herself taking an unexpected interest in the lodger, but she is unable to stop at providing a mere introduction to Kari’s narrative of mid-life crisis and self-discovery, and develops her own more troubled tale of personal angst and growth, entwined with the account Kari herself purportedly left behind. Generational tensions, artistic collaborations, and even a romance steeped in Greek myth follow as Kari and Sarah pursue their very different creative paths in theater and music. And while Kari seems to blossom post-divorce, Sarah must grapple with the question of what the role of mothers, fathers, aunts, mentors, and male collaborators should be in her life as a young musician. from Goodreads

In Search of the Magic Theater 🎭 is a sophisticated story of two women, both creatives, whose lives change because of one person. Kari, a recent mid-life divorcée, rents a room from Sarah, a young repressed cellist, and her aunt. As Kari tries to find her way back to her passion, experimental theater, Sarah tries to find any passion at all.

Set sometime in the 1990s and told with alternating chapters between the women, it surprised me by having me more interested in one at the beginning and the other near the end. It’s heavy in mythology, art, and theater, as well as music. I felt educated and entertained.

I enjoyed the story of these women and the different ways that each approached life and found their own happiness. Anyone interested in mythology or theater should definitely pick this one up.

I want to thank TLC Book Tours for getting this book to me and for the author for sending a sweet card and additional information.

April Favorites

I ended my book a day streak April 15th and my reading, as I feared it would, has fallen off a cliff. It’s been an extremely busy few weeks that will continue for a few more, so I am trying to sneak in more reading time. A real bonus of taking my time with books is that I’ve completely abandoned two audiobooks already whereas before I would have probably powered through just to finish. I love the luxury of just moving on, abandoned books in my wake.

I finished 23 books in April, bringing my yearly total to 139. I read 7 fiction, 4 nonfiction, 7 kids nonfiction picture books, 4 kids fiction picture books, and 1 kids nonfiction chapter book.

My 5 favorites were

A Sparrow’s Disappearing Home by Mary Ellen Klukow and Albert Pinilla, 5/5 stars, Nonfiction kids picture book, 24 pages, 2019

One of our Earth Day reads and I loved everything about it. The illustrations were fabulous and the story of the sparrow’s search for his native habitat in an increasingly hostile world was powerful. The story ended by showing the heroes that were doing something about it, those working to save the environment and the birds. It also had a list of ways to help the birds and a map. This is part of a series and you can be sure we’ll be checking out the rest.

Infinity and Me by Gabi Swiatkowska and Kate Hosford, 5/5 stars, 32 pages, 2012

A beautifully illustrated book about infinity. Infinity is a big, huge thing for small kids and somehow this book makes it work. We follow a girl as she asks her classmates and some adults in her life what they think infinity looks like and, not surprisingly, everyone has a different answer. This had a sweet ending and led to a good discussion.

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli, 4.25/5 stars, 320 pages, 2012

Terrier Rand was from a notorious family of thieves. They were all good at stealing money, wallets, expensive items from your house, and doing it without violence. Until Collie goes on a bloody rampage leaving 8 dead. As Terry comes home for the lethal injection of his brother he finds himself more fearful than ever of the blood that runs through him.

I was drawn into this one right away and loved the balance between action and introspection. The Rand family was captivating and I loved the gritty reality of them. Terry has a follow up book and I’m going to have to see what Terry does next.

Falling by TJ Newman, 4.25/5 stars, 304 pages, 2021

Are you a fearful flightier? Terrified at turbulence? Skittish of soaring 20,000 feet in the air? Me too! And yet this thriller managed to entertain not invoke nightmares.

The pilot’s family has been kidnapped and he is ordered to crash the plane or they will die. Will he choose his family or the souls onboard his plane?

Fast paced and pertinent to today’s politics this was a great audio book.

I’m always jealous of happy fliers. Are you one of them?

Past Tense by Lee Child, 4/5 stars, 382 pages, 2018

This is #23 in the Jack Reacher series and I’ve read them all in order up to this point. I love the Reacher and especially love the books that have a family connection. Reacher spontaneously gets off the bus in the small town his father grew up in and wants to see if he can find where he grew up. But, nothing is easy with Reacher and I like it that way 🙂

A Wager

Let me tell you about a little wager between Jason and me. If I lose 35 pounds by the end of the year, I pick out the vacation next year, anywhere in the world. I don’t even have to take this trip with either of the guys living in my house. I don’t need to take their interests into my planning at all. (Can I really do that? Probably not but it’s nice to dream)

The mug is from our trip to Italy in 2008. I’m still trying to narrow down where I might like to go. Top 3 at the moment- Ireland, Greece, Australia,

What would yours be?

If I don’t lose the 35, Jason chooses and I’m pretty confident we’d be headed to Egypt.

This started April 1 and I’ve lost 3.5 pounds using Buddha’s Diet. But let’s call it what it is, intermittent fasting. You eat 9 hours of the day, preferably starting when you wake up. No alcohol, but no other food restrictions.

The book is good. It has some information about Buddha’s life and also the science behind some of the aspects of fasting and other factors like stress and exercise.

I’m sure that this won’t be my only diet modification, but it’s where I’m starting this month. This wager comes out of love. Last year I wanted to read a book a day (done and still going) and lose 50 pounds before I turned 50 (not even close).

Wish me luck! And tell me where you’d go! I love inspiration 🗺

Migrations Across Borders

Trying to be better about logging my books!

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy, 4.25 out of 5 stars, 256 pages, pub. 2020

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy is our book club read for this month. I had no interest in it during the first bit of listening, but the slow moving story grew on me as it weaved between past and present. It’s one that I’m sure will benefit from a group discussion.

Franny is desperate to find a boat to help her find the last of the Arctic terns as they make their last migration. We feel her despair even though we don’t understand it until the very end of the book when we learn of her past. Frankie was a complicated character, both heroic and prickly, and always, it seemed, utterly true to herself.

I don’t know if I liked it because I went in with such low expectations or if the underlying environmental theme drew me in, but either way I think this will stick with me for a while. And I look forward to our book club discussion.


Drawn Across Borders: True Stories of Human Migration by George Butler, 4 out of 5 stars, 56 pages, published 2021

My friend Diane (Bibliophile by the Sea) sent this to Gage a few months ago, but I’m the first one reading it! I’m curious to see how it works as a kids book because I loved the heartbreaking insight into the tragedy of loss and the beautiful art.

Artist George Butler made his way across war zones and refugee camps to document the people he found there. Looking for the many reasons people choose or are forced to move from their homes to places where they are often unwelcome. The places he visited were in Europe or the Middle East and I was captivated by how much could be gleaned from 4 pages about each place.

I wanted more detail and more stories, but as a book for older kids it worked. A great book to consider what makes a person a refuge or migrant.


The Sensory Team Handbook by Nancy Mucklow, 4,5 out of 5 stars for Teens, 180 pages, pub. 2009

This is a great book for preteens/teens who have any kind of sensory issue. It is a positive book with enough science to explain what is going on in their bodies without being overwhelming. It’s full of easy at home weekly and daily exercises to help them gain more control of their body. Will be so useful for many.


What You Must Know About the Hidden Dangers of Antibiotics by Jay S. Cohen, 3.5 out of 5 stars, 144 pages, pub. 2018

Gage has had too many antibiotics in his few years and finding an alternative is sometimes possible, but always more time consuming.

This book is about the family of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, (Cipro, Levaquin, and others), but I found it’s usefulness beyond that. Author Jay S. Cohen, MD did a good job in laying out the many supplements that are helpful not only for people injured by these antibiotics, but also for those just trying to heal from other toxicity.

*there are times when antibiotics are the only answer, yes.*


Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D Williams and April Harrison, 4.25 out of 5 stars, 48 pages, pub. 2021

Loved this book about Shirley with its overriding message of persistence.


The Eye That Never Sleeps: How Detective Pickerton Saved President Lincoln by Marissa Moss and Jeremy Holmes, 4 out of 5 stars, 48 pages, pub. 2018

A story I’ve never heard before about the threat to Lincoln’s life before he became president. I liked the illustrations, but they were very busy.


Peter Pan: A Graphic Novel by Blake Hoena and Fernando Cano, 1.5 out of 5 stars, 72 pages, pub. 2016

Um. just no.

Women’s History Month Reading

A few of my reading favorites so far this month…

❤️My favorite was The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. Dual storylines and three perspectives made this a fast read. In the 1700s there’s an old apothecary shop that women in need can find to assist them with their troubles, man troubles. A young girl visits one day bringing friendship and disaster. The current day storyline involves a woman with man troubles of her own unraveling the mystery of the serial killer apothecary.

❤️ Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin’s Hijab by Priya Huq is a colorful graphic memoir by a Bangladeshi-American. I really liked this true story of her experience as a 13 year old girl being targeted in a hate crime. She showed the struggle of coping, the family drama, and the lessons learned about friendship, as she came out the other side of her PTSD a stronger person. Perfect for tweens who need to read from another kid’s point of view.

📚The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict was a good historical novel that imagines what was behind the true life 12 day disappearance of renowned mystery writer Agatha Christie. I liked it , but admit I wasn’t thrilled at the end 🤷🏻‍♀️ it did make me do some internet reading, so it sparked an interest!
On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk. A sensible young woman with a fiancé who doesn’t appreciate her has the opportunity to live out her wildest dreams. It definitely had some Cinderella vibes, in the best way. One magical night at a ball brought Fran the excitement she didn’t even know she was looking for. She was kind and funny and I liked her journey to find herself and the friends she picked up along the way.

I was sent the ARC but ending up mostly listening to it because I really liked the audio.
These are a few of the favorites we’ve read for Women’s History Month this week pictured with the only other girl in the house.

We just finished Who Was Amelia Earhart after dinner. I learned new things that either I didn’t know or didn’t remember. It really is amazing how her plane just disappeared with a Coast Guard ship waiting for her and 10 ships and 65 planes trying to find her soon after. A mysterious and tragic end for a badass woman.

We read She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton. It featured 13 women who didn’t take no for an answer. We used the one page as a starter and supplemented with other books or articles. A great message for girls (and boys, but I imagine it would mean more for girls).

Who Said Women Can’t be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone was great. She applied to 28 medical schools and was told NO! by all. Women were not doctor material. Her 29th application proved fruitful and in 1849 she graduated and became America’s first woman doctor. If that doesn’t convince your kid to never give up on a dream I don’t know what will.

Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World by Jessica M. Rinker is a nice reminder to all of us that change doesn’t happen without a fight. Too many people like to wax poetic about the good old days without bothering to acknowledge the ridiculous limitations put on women (and others but specifically women here). It was a nice reminder to use your voice for progress.

Picture Books for Black History Month

Another installment of our picture book reading this month.

❤️ Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills was so fantastic. I loved the story and the illustrations.❤️

❤️ The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. I always like sharing these kinds of stories with Gage so I can see his complete shock that anyone would think it’s okay to tell people who they can and can’t marry. We ARE making progress. ❤️

❤️Sisters & Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams. We’ve read a few books about these powerhouse women and this one was really good. ❤️

❤️ Follow Chester!: A College Football Team Fights Racism and Makes History. Perfect for Gage’s Super Bowl reading 😁

❤️ Opal Lee and What It Means To Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth.

Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing” Inspired Generations

This is the Rope: A Story From the Great Migration by Jaqueline Woodson

Sweet People Are Everywhere by Alice Walker. I like the idea, but needed more.

Visiting Langston by Willie Perdomo and Bryan Collier. There wasn’t much of a story but we loved the illustrations.

Two Good Books

I’ve been reading so many picture books this month that I’ve been struggling to finish books over 40 pages, lol. Here are two that I read and liked… (The TBR book service I mentioned below is having a giveaway for one lucky person to try it for free here)

Last year Razorblade Tears was a standout for me so I decided to try his other book that also received a lot of buzz, Blacktop Wasteland. I listened, and as before, Adam Lazarre-White made it flow like fine wine.

Beauregard ‘Bug’ Montage is a reformed criminal with a wife and kids, but when money troubles threaten to consume him he finds an opportunity. No fast money is free and Bug must turn back into the man he said he would never be again. With his father’s ghost hanging over him and threats to his family turning ugly Bug has to choose who he is and who he wants to be.

Lots of violence, like the other one, and that didn’t bother me. I wasn’t quite as drawn into the storyline as I was with Razorblade, this one is heavy into cars, but I did love getting an inside look at Bug’s life. If you liked Razorblade Tears this will probably be your kind of read as well. A good Black History Month choice too.

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina was in my first box of books from Book Riot’s TBR (Tailored Book Recommendations) and I’m thrilled with this selection. Rey chose this for me because it’s a family saga full of magical realism in the vein of Isabel Allende.

The Montoya family has been summoned back to Four Rivers to attend the death of the matriarch, Orquidea. I loved her transformation and the way the family reacted to it. She leaves them all a gift, some beautifully visible for the world to either admire or shy away from.

Three of the cousins are close and this becomes their story as well as a quest to learn more about the life of Orquidea and how it poses a danger to them now.

The story was full of whimsy, magic, and foreboding and I really enjoyed it. In the end, while I did get Allende vibes, I wish some of the characters had been more fleshed out. But that is a small wish about a book I really had fun with.

And this is why it’s great to have someone else choose books for you. I never would have picked this up and yet it was exactly what I was in the mood for 😁