Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Salon: Stormy weather

Good morning...finally!  Seems like I've not been getting my posts in early lately.  It's not easy when you get up and go to 7:30 Mass.

This week was definitely one to put behind me.  We got over 6 inches of rain (wish we could send some over to our friends in California!).  We got no definitive answers from the doctor on my son's weight loss (more blood tests to come).  My daughter got her driver's license, and immediately began traipsing around on the busiest and most dangerous highway in the area, therefore I feel sick to my stomach all the time.  (Still no parking at the school, but I've found a local business that is willing to let her park in their lot...for now.)  And my best friend lost her father yesterday to cancer.  It was one of those weeks where you just focus on a distant point of reference and keep walking.

But we've got Ryder Cup today.  Gone Girl comes out next week in theaters.  The new season of American Horror Story and The Walking Dead are coming soon.  I've started taking Polish classes on Wednesday nights.  An indie bookstore is coming to town soon.  And I've been reading some great books.

In print I finished "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel.  It truly is an incredible book, and there is no question in my mind why she's been nominated for the National Book Award this year.  I'm now about 50 pages into "All I Love and Know" by Judith Frank, insistently recommended by Heather at Book Addiction.  You would think this was some story about a middle-aged woman having drama, right?  But it is most definitely NOT.  I'm really hoping to dig in more today.

On audio I finished "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler which was...unique.  Very readable, and covers a topic you don't often see (no spoilers).  I also blew through Jojo Moyes' "One Plus One" which couldn't be more precious, and an excellent audio production.  I'm now a couple discs into "Dear Daughter" by Elizabeth Little.  I've been seeing some buzz on this one, and was on the Must list in EW a few weeks ago.  It's intriguing, snappy, and the narrator/protagonist is bratty but I think that is the point.

For the first time, my daughter is driving herself clear across town for her SAT class, so we lost our excuse for our Winter Park brunches!  Guess I'll sit here and worry instead - LOL!  Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, and please let me know what you're up to and what you're reading! 



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Salon: All I Need

 Better late than never, right?  I've already been to church and had a walk, and thought I'd try to bang out a quick update of my week before we have to leave to take my daughter to SAT class.  Taking note of my stress level, my husband has silently made this Sunday SAT thing a good excuse for the two of us to have a weekly brunch together, walk around doing window shopping and taking deep breaths.  

I won't go into detail of my week.  You don't really need to hear about it.  I will say that I've been working on pulling myself together, and that really friends, Xanax and Tana French are all I need.  (Having visions of Steve Martin in The Jerk!  LOL).  In an act of pure charity, when I expressed a mood that wasn't conducive to book club this week, a small group of friends whisked me out for a more intimate setting of drinks and talking.  This stuff is good for the soul.

So Tana French.  I knocked out her latest release "The Secret Place" on audio this week.  While I don't think it was her best work, even then it is better than almost anything else out there.  Psychologically twisted, clever and finely-wrought dialogue, and a bunch of fairly toxic girls in a boarding school?  It doesn't get any better than that.  And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, her audios are sheer perfection.  After I finished that book, I started "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler.  TBD on my opinion of this one, but is it narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, whom I love.

In print I finished "Wool" finally, and deem it to be genius.  I don't care what your favorite genre is, you are going to love this one.  And there is more to come, with two more installments plus a buttload of fan fiction too I hear.  I am now about a quarter of the way through "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel.  This book was just nominated for the National Book Award and I couldn't be prouder of this little whisp of a girl who writes in a big way.

Hope you all have a pleasant Sunday.  Make sure you let me know if you have anything awesome going on your nightstand!!! 



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Salon: Keep Calm and Read a Book

 It's another beautiful Sunday, and a reason to celebrate being alive!  This is the attitude I'm determined to take.  My weeks are always busy and things tend to get under my skin.  Stupid, petty things, that end up giving me heart palpitations and make me lose my shit.  My family gave me a few side glances this week, so it's time to take a step back.  Life is good.  Keep Calm and Read a Book.

So, we had a typical week at hand.  Husband was out of town for some of it.  A kid was sick.  Doctor appointments.  Hours in the car every day.  My son had his second attempt at the gastric scan (he was able to eat the radioactive oatmeal - woo hoo!), results TBD in a couple of weeks.  My dad and his buddy made an impromptu trip down here to get his boat.  5:30 am Cross Country practices.  Dinner with friends on Friday night.  Crazy mixed with good.  I haven't started playing golf yet because I feel like there is too much going on (and it is SO HOT) but I probably need to start that back up again, for no other reason than to do something for myself.

I finished up the first two seasons of American Horror Story, so I was able to get back to reading.  Still working on "Wool", and I'm totally into it now.  Let me just say this.  I am tired of dystopia, but this book is brilliant.  It is knocking my socks off.  And lo and behold, IT IS A TRILOGY.  OMG!  And the books are long.  But I fear I'm not going to be able to resist not reading them all fairly quickly together.  In terms of world-building and amazing characters, this is where it's at.

I did finish up Camilla Lackberg's "The Ice Princess" on audio, and it was OK.  There were some problems, but I think there is enough attraction with the primary characters to bring me back.  Maybe.  I'm now about 7 discs into my beloved Tana French's latest book "The Secret Place".  Oooh, these audios.  All that shite and mordor.  And wicked boarding school teenagers.

I'm hoping to carve out some time today for "Wool", in between church, SAT class, and the normal prep for the upcoming week.  Anybody have fun plans, or reading something extra special?    




Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Salon: Slight derailment

 Happy Sunday everyone!  Because of Labor Day, we had a shorter week but it sure didn't feel like it.  There is just so much going on, I feel like I am in a tornado of STUFF.  Finally after four months, a tiny bit of work is being done on our demolished wall, but that requires babysitting (especially when the clean-up crew punctured a water main which was fun).  My son was supposed to have a gastric scan but that went bust when he couldn't choke down the green radioactive eggs.  We had to reschedule, and this time I guess we will try oatmeal.

Yeah.  We will see how that goes.

Starting a major overhaul of the backyard, so I'm getting bids while simultaneously attempting to prepare the area for this work.  Had some pool issues going on.  Have some very sick loved ones who are battling cancer, and are always on my mind.  I'm not yet settled I guess is the bottom line, which means that I am easily distracted.  I picked this week to start watching "American Horror Story" on Netflix (Seasons 1 and 2 at least), and with my spinning brain combined with my obsessive nature, I basically derailed.  I didn't read any print at all (currently about 150 pages into "Wool").  I didn't read blogs.  I just watched hour after hour of this freaky, disturbing show that is completely up my alley.  I don't know, I'd say the creators could give old Uncle Stevie a run for his money.  I think I may heave a sigh of relief when I knock this series out so I can try to return to the land of the living.  At least I'll be prepared for Season 4 which starts early October, and has the theme of "Freak Show" which will tie nicely into Ti and my readalong of "Something Wicked This Way Comes".

I did make some progress with my current audio "The Ice Princess" by Camilla Lackberg.  I can't say it has blown my mind yet.  The narrator's voice tends to cause my mind to wander, but I am getting invested in the characters, and probably will continue the series.

Today we have church, my daughter's SAT class, and probably that is it (pool floating for me perhaps?).  The kids are slammed with homework.  Hope you all have a pleasant and relaxing day.  Is anyone reading anything good?



Monday, September 1, 2014

Something Wicked...coming October 1st


You all know what happens when like-minded bloggers start talking on social media...plans are inadvertently hatched and it becomes A Thing.  In this case, my buddy and twin in all things scary, Ti of Book Chatter, mentioned she was going to read "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury for Halloween.  I quickly hopped over to Amazon and read the synopsis...two boys and an evil carnival?  Ha!  You guys know I couldn't say no to that, and thus we decided to make it a readalong.  Here are the details:

Hosted by Ti (Book Chatter) and Sandy (You’ve Gotta Read This!)
- The read along begins on October 1, 2014 and ends on October 31, 2014
- This read along will take place mostly on Twitter using the hashtag#EnterTheRingmaster. Use the hashtag to share your thoughts while reading. Search for that hashtag on Twitter to see what readers are saying.
- The book is short and broken down into three sections.  I will be listening to this on audio, and Ti will be reading it on Kindle, thus no page numbers, so for those who want structure, here are some guidelines:
  • Finish Section 1 (Chapters 1-24) by Friday, October 10th
  • Finish Section 2 (Chapters 25-44) by Friday, October 24th
  • Finish Section 3 (Chapters 45-54) by Friday, October 31st
- On each of those dates, Ti will try to post a little update on her blog for anyone who’d rather chat there.  I will probably talk about it on my Sunday posts.

Doesn't this sound like fun?  While we were hatching our plan, I also noticed that not only was there a movie made based on the book, but there are evil carnival-themed movies that I may be watching as well, provided they are on Netflix.  I'll make sure and post about those too as the time gets closer, if you want to watch with me (if you dare!).  I also understand that the new "American Horror Story" (premiering October 10) has a freak show theme.  So!

We did learn that the cover is in redesign, so there aren't copies of the thing readily available at the bookstores, which is why we are giving you a head's up now.  Ti tells me the Kindle version is somewhere around $5.

If you want to join us, head on over to Ti's place to register with Mr. Linky!



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Salon: Something Wicked

 Good morning and a happy long Labor Day Weekend to you all!  It  has been a busy week here at the Nawrot house!

The first bit of fun was on Monday night.  I met up with Jackie from Farm Lane Books for dinner while she was visiting here from England with her family.  Jackie and I have been following each other almost since the beginning of our blogging careers, so it was really nice to finally meet her in real life!  I got to meet her adorable husband and children as well.  I've said this before but it is kinda amazing when you do a blogger meet-up...it feels like you've known them forever.  














We also had a back-to-school night at my daughter's school on Wednesday, which is a three hour ordeal.  I brought my husband this time so he could see what he was paying for.  It was at this event that I learned that there is a long waiting list for student parking spaces.  So that dream that in three weeks, when my daughter gets her license, my troubles are over?  Nope.  A little piece of me died when I found that out.  I can't even think about it.

The husband was out of town later in the week, on his annual trip to Chicago.  I got my first turn in getting both kids to school in the morning!  Hee Hee!  (That would be my maniacal cackling.)

If we are going to do a glass half full attitude though, I am KILLING the audiobooks.  I finished up "You Should Have Known" by Jean Hanff Korelitz, which really pulled me in but overall had some issues.  I won't go into the specifics but the link will connect you with my Goodreads thoughts.  I then quickly flew through the fifth installment of the Kate Burkholder series "Her Last Breath" by Linda Castillo.  This series will never be a mind-blower, but is fascinating because it takes place in Amish country.  A very treacherous Amish country it seems...I'm thinking more murders per capita there than Chicago.  Then just yesterday I finished up Rob Lowe's second memoir "Love Life".  While I didn't totally love this one as much as his first, it was entertaining albeit a bit scattered.  Inspired by someone (I'm sorry I can't remember who), I decided to start the Swedish crime series by Camilla Lackberg, "The Ice Princess".  If I enjoy it, there are six or seven more installments to pursue.

In print I read the short but devastating "The Colour of Milk" by Nell Leyshon.  Then I turned to "Wool" by Hugh Howey.  This one is going to take longer.  It has some amazing world building I must admit, I just haven't been settled enough to really sit down and dig in.  Maybe this weekend.

So before I sign off, I just wanted to let you know that Ti at Book Chatter and I will announce a fun project tomorrow that we hatched a few weeks ago.  You know how those e-mails go...you start talking about something and before you know, it spirals into a Thing.  Just earmark your October.  Stay tuned! 



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Salon: Blessings

I'm definitely breathing a sigh of relief after the end of this week!  It was my son's first week of high school, and I think I was as nervous about it as he was.  But he got through it, I got through it.  He was placed in a couple of classes that were not honors and should have been, so we are still hanging in limbo a bit trying to finagle some schedule changes.  I'm also trying to figure out pick ups and drop offs, with two kids at two schools that are far apart from each other with different hours.  Logistically it was a total nightmare, and I declared that I cannot do this for an entire year.  I just pray that in a month when my daughter gets her license, she is able to get a parking spot at her school and this insanity can end.

But!  There were good things happening this week as well, and I need to focus on that.  On Thursday, my husband and I had our 22nd wedding anniversary.  We celebrated with a nice dinner on Friday night at a place called Eddie V's.  They greeted us with rose petals on our table, a card, a rose for me, and a free dessert.  It was a nice touch!
   













On Saturday night we attended a 50th birthday party for a friend we have known since our kids were 3 years old.  He just completed a year of battling colon cancer and he has recently gotten clear scans, so we were celebrating more than just his birthday last night. It was wonderful to see him and some old friends.  These are the blessings that I need to remember when I'm a fugue state after being in the car for three hours!  LOL

I had a good bit of reading this week.  I finished "Duma Key" by Stephen King on audio, and it was really an enjoyable book.  He created a wonderful setting on a fictitious key on the gulf side of Florida, with some spooky stuff but not too much.  This story was more about the bonds of friendship.  Great King storytelling at its best.  I also finished King's "Joyland" in print, rounding off my Summer of King.  This was another novel that was light on the scary and heavy on the feels.

I am now nearly through the audio of "You Should Have Known" by Jean Hanff Korelitz, and the jury is out on this one.  I hate the characters, very large chunks of the story seem to be missing, and it seems to be wrapping up a little too conveniently.  So stay tuned for the final verdict on that one.  Have any of you read this one, and what did you think?  I am also reading "The Colour of Milk" by Nell Leyshon in print.  A short book, but one that is promised to level me.

We've got nothing on the agenda today but taking my daughter to her SAT class.  Maybe a little pool action later since it is probably going to hit 98 again today.  Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, and hopefully one that is cooler than mine!