Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Girl on the Train

It might be the only time I ever say this, but I hope the movie is better than the book. I apologize if you just choked on your beverage but we all have to be honest with ourselves, this is not that great of a book.

The Girl on the Train - Pamela Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? 

To be fair, I bought this book WAY before it was a thing. I was a trendsetter and didn't even know it. Then I didn't read it because it got all hyped up and I had a ton of review books, and then I found some other books on my shelf that grabbed my attention and I truthfully forgot about this. But the movie is out soon and now I feel like I can't go see the movie if I haven't read the book, plus I'm on this kick where I should legitimately start reading the books on my shelf I haven't gotten to before I buy more so I picked this one up, assuming I'd fly through it. 

Except I didn't. This book is incredibly slow until you get to the last third of it and it's like we rush through everything. We rush through who the actual killer is (which I had pegged almost immediately), we figure out what the deal is with Rachel and Tom (again, pegged it almost immediately), and nothing feels... finished. Clearly, the killer is finished but there are some characters that I feel had a story line, we're involved, and then bam- character is nowhere to be seen in the book again. I really hate when authors do that because I feel like you just took me on a tangent that was totally pointless to the greater story. 

My other problem? Rachel. Rachel is a grossly unlikable character. You literally cannot like her. I couldn't even feel bad with her at the end and you find out what her deal is, what her story is. I think it's really terrible when I like Anna, the original mistress, more than Rachel. Often compared with Gone Girl, this book isn't executed anywhere near that. Gone Girl is really on a whole other literary level and I think the author really tried to get this book there but fell short. 

But you know me, I want to hear your thoughts! If you haven't already jumped on this train (see what I did there? HA!) you can get your copy of The Girl on the Train on Amazon now. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Zumbathon Fundraiser in the books!

This past weekend I took part in a Zumbathon fundraiser my friends Cassandra and Connie organized to help with the costs of life post amniotic fluid embolism and birth of baby Lucy. I actually have an update to give you on what life is like now, but maybe later this week I'll get to that.

We'll see.

(Hint: my sense of time is kind of non-existent. I feel like I float through the days mostly.)

I was kind of worried about going because I'm fat and totally out of shape. I'm also not feeling up to much of anything anymore, which I'm not sure if that's because I'm bone tired every day all day or if it's the depression. Maybe both. I also knew that most of everyone I invited wasn't going to come outside of a few, and I try to not take it personally. But let's just say thank god Cassandra and Connie know so many people because it was 98% of their friends that came and I was blown away.

But I would be remiss if I didn't say HEY to my friends who did come. It was great seeing them, it was great to know others in the crowd, and it meant a lot.

I also should point out that holy hell, I am so grossly out of shape. I haven't worked out in almost two years... it's been since before I had Penelope. Yikes. I also was reminded how much I do like zumba, and I need to get myself to a class once our finances aren't so scary.
I brought Olivia with me because she said she'd like to spend more time with me. She actually kept up pretty well, and she hung out with friends, too. And she saw her previous dance coach, so she was so excited to give her a hug.

Overall, we made just under $600 at the event, which paid our van payment this month and our next two weeks of groceries. I hate how tight things are right now. I hate that I am not bouncing back and able to just do it all on my own, which is what I'm used to. I hate that I feel like I'm a burden to Matt and his job. They really need him, god knows he has more than enough work he could be doing there, and I feel like they probably wish I could just pull it together, too. I'm trying. I'm trying every day. Like I said to people on Sunday, physically I look good, but I'm faking it. I'm faking it every day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Devil Sent the Rain

According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I'm eleven books behind so I've got to step up my game if I want to meet my challenge of 100 books this year. The pressure!

Devil Sent the Rain - Lisa Turner

Fresh from solving Memphis’ most sensational murder case, Homicide Detective Billy Able and his ambitious new partner Frankie Malone are called to a bizarre crime scene on the outskirts of town. A high society attorney has been murdered while dressed in a wedding gown. Billy is shocked to discover he has a very personal connection to the victim. When the attorney’s death exposes illegal practices at her family’s prestigious law firm, the scandal is enough to rock the southern city’s social world.

In a tale of the remnants of Old South aristocracy and entitlement, twisted by greed and vengeance, Billy must confront the secrets of his own past to have any chance at solving the murder of the girl he once knew. But as he seeks the truth, he’s drawn closer to an embittered killer bent on revenge—and eliminating the threat Billy poses.

Full disclosure, this is the second book in the Detective Billy Able series, but it really is a stand alone. I haven't read the first book and I didn't feel like I missed anything that is relevant to this story, so no worries, lambs! Secondly, I don't know why I assumed Billy would be a guy because the book description clearly states it's a guy, so I don't know what my problem is, but Billy is a guy. 

My favorite parts of this book are obviously the mystery theme, which is done VERY well, but I like southern feel of the book. (Which made me reflect on some of my favorite books and they are all set in the south and I wonder if I'm drawn to books just by that.) And what is it about the south that automatically gives you deep roots and feuds that never end? The story is Billy on the case of the death of Caroline Lee, who is found murdered after calling off her wedding and still in her wedding dress. Why would anyone want Caroline dead and in such a manner? We go through all of the obvious suspects, but we quickly walk into family secrets, cover ups, connections that run deep, a revenge twist, and the ending has a really good bang that I didn't see coming. I think I watch too many episodes of crime shows because I struggle with mystery and thriller books because I can see the ending coming, but this one wasn't like that for me and that I very much appreciated. My only complaint is that there are a LOT of characters. Most aren't important and you only have them in passing, but it's a peeve of mine because I'm that reader who doesn't want to read what I don't need. I don't want fluff, I don't want added things for the sake of filling pages of possibly giving the author another way to take the story should their original plan not work out, it's just too much and I feel like I'm wasting my time. So if I have to give you a negative, that would be it. 

If you are a fan of mystery and you need a good read to get through the crappy, rainy days of fall, I highly recommend this one! You can find it on Amazon as well as the HarperCollins website. You can even catch up with author Lisa Turner on her website as well as Facebook

Happy reading, lambs! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Penelope and Lucy - the dynamic duo

I forgot to give you a monthly update on Penelope, and I haven't done any on Lucy, which I was SO good about with Penelope. Alas, they are both still alive and keeping me on my toes.

The first question I get from people is how is Penelope adjusting to Lucy? And overall, she's done really well. She will cry when Lucy cries, she will hand me diapers and her bottle, she steals Lucy's blanket and pacifier, and she tries to give Lucy toys from time to time. I think these two are going to be good friends. I also think Lucy is going to be the toughest child on the planet. You'd almost have to be with Penelope as your big sister.
But Lucy is a pretty laid back baby overall. I said Penelope was my easiest baby ever but I think Lucy has taken that title. She's getting better at sleeping at night, but she's sleeping in a Rock & Play we're borrowing from a friend. Penelope has moved to a toddler bed at night, but during her afternoon naps I've been putting her in the crib otherwise she won't nap at all.  But Matt has been doing all of the night time feedings which is really great because my meds make me feel really off if I'm not getting solid sleep.
Which makes it sound like I must be getting great sleep but no, that's not actually true. The sleep I do get is shit and just when I think I'm falling into deep sleep? Time to pee again. And drink water. The thing about diabetes insipidus is that it makes you VERY thirsty, literally all of the time. The kind of thirsty you feel when you're almost dehydrated, haven't had any water in far too long. It's like that all of the time. Cue constantly full bladder. I'm on medicine for that but trying to find the right dose to make your drinking and peeing manageable but also so you still have natural cues to drink water because hey- it's been awhile, is really tricky. So most days I look like this. I look like a freaking mess. And I usually smell, if we're being honest.
The big kids are in love with Lucy. They always want their turn to hold her.
And it's kind of great. I mean, at least they are getting experience with babies, I guess. Someday they'll have kids of their own and I hope they remember these moments. Lord knows all of the time they spent with Penelope as a baby paid off because she thinks Olivia and Jackson are the greatest people in the world.
And lets talk about Penelope. Penelope has entered terrible two's a few months early. She's into everything. She climbs on everything but often can't get down so she'll stand there and scream until you get her. Then promptly climb back up. She feeds the dog his food and waves him away when he tries to get her snack. She's bossy- she'll point at the ground and that's her telling you to sit RIGHT THERE, not next to her hand, but directly where she is pointing. Or else
She tries to be helpful. She's taken to dragging the poor dog in the backyard to where she thinks he needs to be. Thankfully he's such a good dog and pretty damn tolerant. Mostly because she feeds him food and I'm pretty sure she sneaks him parts of her meals when I'm not looking.
Penelope is spunky. She's such a jokester, but she's also a girly girl. She's so damn smart, too. I don't remember Olivia and Jackson being this smart at 15 and 16 months old, but who knows, maybe they were. But she stacks blocks now, she cooks in this play kitchen thing, she takes care of her baby dolls, she's learning how to dress herself, she can identify objects in books, put beginner puzzles together, and she can now jump (sometimes on command, even!). We're trying to get her to say some words but she can say: mama, up, out, and got it. But she points at things and wants me to tell her what it is so I'm pretty sure she's going to just start talking up a storm when she feels good and ready.

But every day is definitely an adventure with these two, that's for damn sure.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bossy Flossy

I bet you thought I was going to write about myself but no, lucky for you this is a book review. Which might be a description of myself, but I'll never admit to it.

Bossy Flossy - Paulette Bogan
Flossy is the bossiest girl around. She's bossy at home and she's bossy in school. She's bossy to her friends and she's bossy to her cat. Sometimes she's even bossy to her teacher! Flossy doesn't understand why no one will listen to her. One day, Flossy meets Edward, a boy who may be just as bossy as she is. Has Flossy finally met her match?

You can guess that this is a children's book and an adorable one at that. It's only 32 pages but it's a fast read and would be a great book for your first and second grader to read on their own. It would also be a great classroom read for those of you who are teachers, or volunteer readers, because you can really make it fun by changing up your voice while reading. Clearly the topic of the book would be a great classroom discussion, especially with the beginning of the school year, some kids maybe forgot over the summer how to be kind to others. And some students, like kindergartners who maybe haven't been in a classroom setting, could benefit from this book as well.

It's the story of Flossy, who is VERY bossy. She even bosses her mother (and teacher). She meets Edward, who is also very bossy, and Flossy gets to see how her behavior is by watching Edward. They eventually learn how to work things out together and listen to each other and perhaps be a bit less bossy. The illustrations are really adorable, the story is so fun to read, and it has a topic that you can discuss with your child and maybe ask them if they are ever bossy, and how they can be a bit less bossy.

It's such a great read, it's a good addition to any home, classroom, or school library. Paulette Bogan has a great website, and you can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sunset in Central Park

OK, so you are probably noticing a bit of a book trend with my posts this week, but I can't help it! I've had so many great books and book related things going on so it's what we've got. But Friday I'll have a non-book post for you, and this weekend I'll have actual things I'm doing so hopefully I'll have fun posts next week, too.

One thing that is super fun is my friends are hosting a Zumbathon for us to help raise money to help us with bills related to the birth of Lucy and me subsequently dying and being sent back to do whatever it is that I was meant to do here. It's in conjunction with our GoFundMe and I'm just super, super lucky to have such great friends.

This was one of the first books I read once I got home since I spent a lot of time laying down, and it was a fun read for my dark mood.

Sunset in Central Park - Sarah Morgan

Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents' divorce, she's seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that's strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race… 

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he's known forever and doesn't want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset? 

This is actually the second in the From Manhattan With Love series, so if you've read the first one, you'll already recognize and know Matt and Frankie. The really great thing is this author writes these as stand alones, so you don't necessarily have to read them in order, but if you do it's a really sweet expansion of story. So there's the technical stuff. 

On to the actual story: Frankie is so stinking stubborn. Almost to the point where she's frustrating to the reader, but it's also what makes her absolutely unique and someone you can relate to at the same time. She's honest, to a fault, she isn't good at romance, she can't flirt and is kind of awkward around others, loves alone time over anything with people, but she's hugely loyal to her friends. I think she wants to have that companionship a partner would bring but she's the worst candidate for it because everything is stacked against her. Like, you have to leave the house to meet people, but she's so awkward and not an extrovert in any way, so it's not going to come easy for her. But then you have Matt, who is so patient and kind, and he's pretty sure that him and Frankie are meant to be so he's spending the majority of the book woo'ing her in the sweetest, most perfect way. 

I'm assuming book three will be Eva's story, so I'm pretty excited! This book was such a lovely read, it's an upbeat, sweet, classic romance but it's also funny so it makes for a fast read. You'll fly through this! I actually have to give this book five stars because I really enjoyed Frankie's character. She reminds me so much of myself that I found myself nodding in agreement with her logic because it's the same as mine. 

You can learn more about Sarah Morgan on her website, Facebook, and of course, Twitter. In the meantime, you can purchase your own copy of Sunset in Central Park on Amazon!! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September OwlCrate: Darkness

I was going to post about this later in the week, but the box was SO GOOD that I literally cannot wait. So you get it today.

Behold, lambs... my September OwlCrate!

Can we all just take a minute before we rub all of the things inappropriately?

Just kidding- rub all the things!

The read this month is from Kendare Blake, Three Dark Crowns, which looks amazing. We also got a signed bookplate, letter from the author and a paper fortune teller from the author. The book itself sounds interesting:

.. a tale of three sisters, each blessed with unique powers, and each cursed with the need to fight the others to their death in order to claim the crown of their kingdom. But things are never what they seem, are they?...

So excited to get to this book!
The rest of the box was equally great and included:

  • A small candle from The Melting Library inspired by the Throne of Glass series. It's vanilla based, so that's instant migraine for me, so I'll be gifting this to someone. 
  • The large black item is a cool zippered pouch inspired by Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children, in time for the movie. 
  • I am so excited about the Fortune Telling Bomb bath fizzer from Da Bomb! I am mostly looking forward to it because it means I'll obviously be in the tub, alone, in the quiet, for some time. I can hardly wait. 
  • We also got a bookmark from Evie Bookish, a cool button, a passport coloring book, and it looks like a second book called ReMade, A Serial in 15 episodes. I've never read anything like that, so I'm intrigued already. 
October's box is themed "Once Upon a Dream" and is going to feature an item from Whosits and Whatsits, so I'm looking forward to that box already!