Jun 282020
 
Sunday Reflections

Reading…
Manatee Bay (6 short book series) by Hazel Taylor

Listening To…
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Books Reviewed Last Week…
A Life Without Water by Marci Bolden

Watching…
Last night I was scrolling through Netflix and saw a documentary named  Oceans. Anyone who knows me will tell you I LOVE anything to do with oceans and beaches, so today I plan on watching  it

In The Kitchen This Week…
Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
Cheese Tortellini with Peas, Corn, and Alfredo Sauce
Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
Homemade Pizza
Chicken a la King

New To Me Stuff:
My son got a new garbage disposal for me and put it in yesterday
He also put up a bird feeder I bought

Last week I stopped at Publix to get a few things and saw Mayfield Premium Orange Pineapple Ice Cream and it looked good so I bought one, it had barely any taste at all 🙁

Today’s To Do List…
One load of laundry, tv, books, maybe go for a ride

Looking forward to…
Baby Countdown: 6 days!!!!

A Favorite Bible Verse…
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away
Isaiah 43:1-3

From the camera…


I can’t wait until I can go back to the beach!!!

Jun 222020
 

A Life Without Water audiobook cover art

A Life Without Water by Marci Bolden
Narrated by: Tanya Eby
Series: Life Without Water, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-28-20
Language: English

Carol Denman divorced her husband over 20 years ago and has never looked back. But on the day before their daughter’s 30th birthday, John barges back into Carol’s life with a request that threatens the fragile stability she has built.

John Bowman is sick. Very sick. While he still can, he has some amends to make and some promises to fulfill. But to do that, he not only needs his ex-wife’s agreement…he needs her.

With the past hovering between them like a ghost, Carol and John embark on a decades-overdue road trip. Together they plunge back into a life without water…but which may ultimately set them free.

Thoughts
Oh my goodness, this was so good but it was also very sad. I loved going with John and Carol on the journey to fulfill the promise they made concerning their daughter. If it had been me, I would have wanted each of us to do it on our own but since John was sick I would have done it with him like Carol did, no matter what my feelings about him were. I knew the reason why they made the promise but finding out the details of what happened took quite a way into the book.

The trip they took was very interesting, lots of stops in different states and even one stop that really surprised me. In the end Carol realized that not all the things that made her resent John were his fault, some of them were hers.

Even though this book is such a sad story, there are also some uplifting moments and even a few that are funny.

The narrator did a good job and made this a very easy book to listen to.

This is the first book by this author that I’ve read but I’m patiently waiting for the audio of book #2 in this series, A Life Without Flowers which is expected to be released on September 29th of this year.

Jun 212020
 
Sunday Reflections

Reading…
The Sand Dollar Inn (Manatee Bay Book 1) by Hazel Taylor

A Treasure to Die (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery Book 1) by Terry Ambrose

Listening To…
Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Books Reviewed Last Week…
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Watching…
Last night I watched Change In The Air with Olympia Dukakis

In The Kitchen This Week…
Today I’m going to try a quick and easy recipe I found online:
Chicken A La King  @PegCochran

New To Me Stuff:
Nothing exciting but last week I did buy a 120 pack of Incense because I ran out,  an Olive Oil Sprayer because mine broke, a 100 ct. 3 – Compartment Biodegradable Plates to use for cookouts etc., 300 ct.  Paper Plates that go in those plastic holders (anyone still use them besides me?) and a FurEver Love Calming Pet Bed for Kaiyo

Today’s To Do List…
Might be going to look for a new mattress. I loved my memory foam when I got it about a year and a half ago, but now I think I want a firmer one

Looking forward to…
Great grandbaby! She’s due in 13 days!!!!

A Favorite Bible Verse…
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exodus 20:12

From the camera…

Jaspurr

Jun 182020
 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland audiobook cover art

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Narrated by: Michael Scott
Series: Alice in Wonderland, Book 1
Length: 2 hrs and 44 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-05-18
Language: English
Publisher: AB Books

In the opening scene of this story Alice is a young girl living in the country and becomes bored by her sister sitting out in the open field quietly reading. When a white rabbit passes by Alice decides to follow it and when the rabbit pops down a large rabbit hole, well Alice follows as well. Once at the bottom she explores a new and strange world where nothing is as it seems and everything continues to change. She meets bizarre and crazy characters who speak in rhymes, riddles and just plain nonsense.

Thoughts
I’ve had this book on my tbr list for so many years but just never got a copy. A few weeks ago I thought it was way past time for me to read it so I got the Audible copy. It surprised me that the book was so short, I thought it would be a lot longer. But one thing happened after another so it didn’t really “feel” that short. I was totally engrossed in the book.

The book was really good. It was silly, funny, and had a great cast of characters. I loved the Queen and all her “off with their head!” comments over and over, when random people did random things.

Other quotes I liked were:
“It would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig.”

“I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”

A few of my favorites are:
“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”

”And what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?”

I loved this quote the most since it is very true with what’s happening in the world today:
“It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

The story started out a bit different than what I thought it was going to and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I thought the flow of the book was great and that Michael Scott was the perfect choice for the narration. I loved listening to him tell this story. Between the writing and the narration I could see the story in my mind.

If you haven’t read this yet, you should. I really enjoyed it.

This will be a book I return to every so often. It was an easy listen and a great story. It got me out of the reading rut I fell back into when  2020 hit the fan.

BTW: I’ve never seen the movie either, so I plan on watching it soon.

Jun 152020
 

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl audiobook cover art

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

INTRO:
Chapter One
Brooke: Shattered
It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy. Which, don’t get me wrong, is plenty bad enough. And some leftover feelings from the odd conversation I’d had with the young woman at my daughter’s new day care might have factored in.

TEASER:
I felt my foot come off the accelerator.
I felt myself out in the air of the night.
I landed on my hip on the tarmac.
I looked up.

Jun 142020
 
Sunday Reflections

Reading…
Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French

Listening To…
Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Books Reviewed Last Week…
None, I’m 3 books behind

Watching…
I was searching for a movie to watch and found Long Lost Son,  I loved it!

In The Kitchen This Week…
Arby’s Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad for lunches
Haven’t made a weekly menu yet so I’m not sure what else

New To Me Stuff:
My boss was telling me about a store she loves, World Market, and so I went there yesterday to check it out. They have a big selection of products and I really liked the store. I’ll be going again

Today’s To Do List…
Work this morning and then maybe get my new bird feeder set up, try to finish my current read, find another movie to watch

Looking forward to…
Having Tuesday off because so far I have nothing that I have to do and it’s rare that I get a day off that I can just stay home and relax

A Favorite Bible Verse…
Rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer
Romans 12:12

From the camera…

Not so patiently waiting until I can go to the beach again

Jun 092020
 

Picture

Picture

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press (May 5, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1631528629
ISBN-13: 978-1631528620

Buy Unlocking:  AmazonBarnes&NobleIndiebound

While recovering from a near fatal illness, Nancy Pressly discovers a treasure trove of family material stored in her attic. Haunted by images of her grandparents and her parents in their youth, she sets out to create a family narrative before it is lost forever. It takes several more years before she summons the courage to reconstitute a path back to her own past, slowly pulling back the veil of amnesia that has, until now, all but obliterated her memory of her childhood.
In this sensitive and forgiving meditation on the meaning of family, Pressly unravels family dynamics and life in a small rural town in the 1950s that so profoundly affected her―then moves forward in time, through to her adulthood. With an eye attuned to visual detail, she relates how she came into her own as a graduate student in the tumultuous sixties in New York; examines how she assumed the role of caretaker for her family as she negotiated with courage and resilience the many health setbacks, including her own battle with pancreatic-related cancer, that she and her husband encountered; and evokes her interior struggle as a mother as she slowly traverses the barriers of expectations, self-doubt, and evolving norms in the 1980s to embrace a remarkable life as a scholar, champion of contemporary art, and nationally recognized art museum strategic planning consultant. Full of candor and art-inspired insight, Unlocking leaves the reader with a deep appreciation of the power of art and empathy and the value of trying to understand one’s life journey.

Thoughts
The author of this book has done what I’ve often thought about doing, which is to research past generations of my family.

Nancy Pressly spent hours and hours researching all the information she could find about her family, all while going through serious health and personal issues. Her love of her family definitely comes through in this book.

I found all aspects (the research & what she found, her personal and professional life) of this book extremely interesting.  I loved the photos she added to the book.

The book is full of facts but doesn’t have a text book feel like other books I’ve read where a lot of research was involved. Her writing style makes you want to keep reading and I did, in one sitting which is rare for me, especially for a memoir.

Very interesting & I would recommend it!

Thanks to Teddy @ Premier Virtual Author Book Tours
for a copy of this book for review

Nancy L. Pressly, a graduate of Goucher College, received her master’s degree in Art History from Columbia University. She began her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and subsequently held curatorial positions at the Yale Center for British Art and the San Antonio Museum of Art, where she organized several important exhibitions, most notably the acclaimed Fuseli Circle in Rome: Early Romantic Art of the 1770s.
In 1984 she became Assistant Director of the Museum Program at the National Endowment for the Arts; was a visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts during the fall of 1992; and in 1993 founded Nancy L. Pressly & Associates, a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in strategic planning for art museums. She has authored numerous publications, most recently a book titled Settling the South Carolina

Follow Unlocking: Memoir of Family and Art by Nancy L. Pressly Tour
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 4 Kick off & Interview

Miller Amazon June 5 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews June 8 Review & Guest Post

Vicki I’d Rather Be At The Beach June 9  Review

Linda Lu Goodreads June 15 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 18 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews June 23 Review

Bookgirl Goodreads June 26 Review

Just Another Reader July 9 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads July 14 Review

Infantina The periodical gazette July 29 Review & Excerpt

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books July 31 Review

GIVEAWAY
This giveaway is for 3 print copies open to the U.S. only. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends August 1, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jun 092020
 

 

Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French

INTRO:
The New World

Eleven elephants. One plane. Hurtling together across the sky.

The scene sounds like a dream conjured by Dali. And yet there it was, playing out high above the Atlantic. Inside the belly of a Boeing 747, eleven young elephants were several hours into a marathon flight from South Africa to the United States. Nothing could have prepared them for what they were experiencing. These were not circus animals, accustomed to captivity. All of these elephants were wild, extracted at great expense and through staggering logistics from their herds inside game reserves in Swaziland. All were headed for zoos in San Diego and Tampa.

TEASER:
Ellie was guiding Matjeka and the others through the basics of zoo life, showing them how to stay calm when the humans touched their trunks or exfoliated the skin with brushes. For captive elephants to remain healthy, skin care was almost as important as their foot care.

Jun 072020
 
Sunday Reflections

Reading…
Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French

Listening To…
Cut and Run by Mary Burton

Books Reviewed Last Week…
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Watching…
From Here to Eternity for Food n’ Flix  (because I’ve never seen it)

In The Kitchen This Week…
Sunday: Kobe Beef Hamburgers & Fries
Monday: Brown Sugar Pork Chops, Brussels Sprouts, applesauce
Tuesday: Oven Fried Chicken Chimichangas
Wednesday: Black Eyed Peas w/sausage & corn muffins
Thursday: Leftovers from Wednesday
Friday: Eggs, Sausage, Biscuits & Gravy
Saturday: ordering out

New To Me Stuff:
I’ve only eaten at Chick-fil-A few times because there isn’t one in the town I live in, but yesterday my son was driving by one and brought me a grilled chicken sandwhich and some waffle fries. I’ve always had the Polynesian Sauce on my fries but he also brought me 2 packs of the Chick-fil-A Sauce, and I LOVED it! Which sauce is your favorite?

Today’s To Do List…
Watch From Here To Eternity & Along Came Polly
Read and/or listen to my current books

Looking forward to…
New episodes of my favorite tv shows, I miss them

A Favorite Bible Verse…
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
—Galatians 6:7

From the camera…

I always see things in things

In this photo I see the bottom half of a face,
an upturned hand, a dolphin, the head of a pony

Do you see anything?

Jun 042020
 

The Giver of Stars audiobook cover art

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-08-19
Language: English

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So, when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them – and to the men they love – becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic – a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Soon to be a major motion picture!

Thoughts
I think anyone, especially women, who loves books or historical fiction or hf based on true events would love this book! I don’t think I’ve ever heard about Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky so this book was an eye opener. I like to think that if I was living in that area at that time, I too would have joined these women. I can’t imagine not having easy access to books.

The women where very brave, having to deal with people who didn’t want books loaned to their family members.  The mountains were hard to navigate and bad weather was a whole other issue. They had to memorize all their routes so they didn’t get lost, maybe forever.

Some of the women had personal things they had to deal with along with the worry of the trips, but they all were very strong and dealt with things as they came, and forged a friendship with each other that was a very strong sisterhood.

The descriptions of the area and what was going on brought this book alive. Julia Whelan did a great job with the narration.

I loved this book so much! It’s the first book by Moyes that I’ve read and now I want to read more.

May 312020
 
Sunday Reflections

Reading…
Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French

Listening To…
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Books Reviewed Last Week…
Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor

Watching…
Last week I was searching for a new series to binge watch and found The Durrells in Corfu on Prime Video. This series is based on Gerald Durrells book trilogy. I finished the series yesterday, which was short at only 4 seasons, and I loved it! I plan on watching What the Durrells Did Next soon, and reading his books.

In The Kitchen This Week…
Thinking about:
BBQ Meat Loaf Minis, pea salad & mac and cheese
Smoked Sausage Cajun Alfredo
Air Fryer Drumsticks with mashed potatoes & corn

New To Me Stuff:
Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

Today’s To Do List…
Going to the baby shower for my great grandbaby who is due July 4th

Looking forward to…
❤️ The baby ❤️

A Favorite Bible Verse…
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 17

From the camera…

May 292020
 

Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor

Narrated by: James Taylor
Length: 1 hr and 33 mins
Performance
Release date: 01-31-20
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Original

“I’m James Taylor and I’m a professional autobiographer,” says the celebrated folk singer at the start of this tender audio memoir. Through decades of music by one of the best-selling musicians of all time, who created classics like “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina in My Mind,” James Taylor has doled out his history in the poetry of his work. Taylor says his early life is, “the source of many of my songs,” and Break Shot is a tour of his first 21 years in rich, new detail. Praised by Forbes magazine as going “beyond the spoken word,” Break Shot combines storytelling, music and performance to create a one-of-a-kind listening experience. Longtime fans will savor a crop of musical gems, including an unreleased recording of the beloved hymn “Jerusalem,” selections from his newest release American Standard, as well as new original scoring by Taylor specially recorded for Break Shot and more from the Grammy Award-winning artist.

Recorded in his home studio, The Barn in western Massachusetts, Taylor tells the deeply personal story of his youth, which is entwined with the story of his family. What started as an idyllic tight unit soon became a family sent to different emotional corners—like a break shot in the game of pool, he says, when you slam the cue ball into the fifteen other balls and they all go flying off. By the time Taylor released his breakout second album in 1970, Sweet Baby James, he had seen the disintegration of his parents’ marriage and his family crumble in the aftermath. He had committed himself twice to a psychiatric hospital, battled depression, a heroin addiction, suffered a relapse, and traveled far away from the wood smoke and moonshine of the North Carolina landscapes in which he came of age. Despite it all, he was also on the cusp of superstardom and on his way to bringing light and joy to millions. He was 21.

Journey with James Taylor to a time before he became a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts—and a beloved voice to millions.

Thoughts
I’ve always liked James Taylor’s songs. They are very mellow and calming. I knew nothing about him other than his music so when I saw this Audible Original I knew I wanted to listen to it.

A few things I learned were… he came from a well to do family, he wasn’t as squeaky clean as I thought he was, he had 3 brothers and a sister and that many of  Taylor family members suffered from alcoholism and depression.

This was a short book at just over an hour and a half, but it was packed with information and I was glued to the story.

Taylor narrated the book himself and did a good job.

I think fans and non fans of James Taylor will enjoy this.

May 242020
 
Sunday Reflections

Reading…
Zoo Story by Thomas French:  A look at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo (recently re-named Zoo Tampa)

Listening To…
A Life Without Water by Marci Bolden

Books Reviewed Last Week…
None, as usual I’m behind on reviews

Watching…
Our Planet

In The Kitchen This Week…
This week I’m going to use what I have on hand to cook.
Easy Chicken Vegetable Soup (aka Pantry Soup)
Zatarain’s Dirty Rice (using ground turkey instead of ground beef)
Tortilla Pepperoni Pizza
Eggs, Sausage, Toast

New To Me Stuff:
We tried the Serious Bean Co. Sweet and Sassy Dr Pepper Baked Beans. Didn’t like them much 🙁

Today’s To Do List…
Working this morning and then just relax

Looking forward to…
Beauty Salons are opening up, I can’t wait to go get my hair cut

A Favorite Bible Verse…
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy
Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked
Psalm 82:3-4

From the camera…
The last time we went to Ohio, we drove. I was taking photos out the window and saw something move on the dash, it was a reflection on my daughter’s phone of me taking the photos

May 102020
 
Sunday Reflections

 

Let's Say Happy Mother's Day to All the Moms Out There ...

Reading…
Unlocking: A Memoir of Family and Art by Nancy L. Pressly

Listening To…
Today I’ll finish Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor
and start Forever Is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagán

Books Reviewed Last Week…
Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Watching…
Trying to decide which one to start binge watching.
Have you seen any of these? What do you think I should watch first?
CommunityBrooklyn Nine-Nine, Fargo

In The Kitchen…
I saw a recipe for Instant Pot Egg Salad that you don’t have to crack the eggs and thought I’d try it. I didn’t have a pan to fit in my Instant Pot so I ordered a Fat Daddio’s PRD-72 Round Cake Pan. It came yesterday so I’ll be trying the recipe soon.

New To Me Stuff:
I’m thinking about getting a Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, if you have one let me know what you think about it

Today’s To Do List…
Hanging around the house

Looking forward to…
I sound like a broken record but I can’t wait to go to the beach and out to eat at a restaurant

A Favorite Bible Verse…
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
Psalm 56:3-4

From the camera…