books

Summer Reading

summer-education

Guys, summer is here! Since second-grade when Sister Yvonne Therese threw down the gauntlet with a summer reading challenge, I have been all in on summer reading. To be honest, I’m all about reading all year long. There is no such thing as no time to read in my book (see what I did there, hehe) and summer is especially sweet to me when it comes to reading time because there are so many more places to read in the warmer months and with school in the rearview mirror, it’s a more relaxing family time too. Outdoors is probably my favorite place to read this time of year. The hammock. The park on a blanket. A covered porch. The beach.

Speaking of the beach, on Friday we leave for Dewey Beach, our family summertime getaway for the last eight or so years (minus last year when we mistakenly went to Florida instead). I usually clock in about 4 or 5 books during the week and it is pure heaven. One year it rained most of the week and it didn’t matter much to me because I was able to sit on the porch outside our unit and visit other worlds while still having the beach in my sightline. I also love being under a covered porch during a rainstorm, book in hand. That year, the place we rented was stocked full of books and there’s nothing better than finding a great book from someone else’s library.

I spend a lot of time in the weeks preceding vacation culling my books to bring. Much of it is also dependent on the library as most of my books come in hardcover or electronic form based on what I have on hold. I had been anxiously awaiting the new book by B.A. Paris and was hopeful it would be coming with me to the beach but since it only came out last Tuesday, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get it. I got a notification on Wednesday it was waiting at the library and I didn’t know whether I should collect it right away or wait until we were close to leaving for vacation. I don’t have much willpower when it comes to books I want to read and so I collected it Friday and finished it over the weekend.

My vacation list so far: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bordain, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn and I will likely pick up something at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth (probably Less by Andrew Sean Greer – 2018 Pulitzer winner).  The rest of the list will depend on what comes up on my hold list. Elin Hilderbrand’s The Perfect Couple or All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin are my top hopefuls. My super secret trick is to request the large print edition which comes quicker and is actually more comfortable for me to read these days since I need readers most of the time.

I also have a few books loaded on my Kindle: There There by Tommy Orange, The Goldfinch and The Secret History by Donna Tartt and I’m currently reading Ruth Ware’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway which I want to read in every spare minute so I’m pretty sure it won’t be making the trip with me. I know all this makes for a very big reading goal for the week and I’ve already received a comment from Liam about how all I do on vacation is read. I will have to be cognizant of spending time with the family too!

If you are looking for something good to read during your summer vacation, here are a few from my already read pile that I highly recommend.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (psychological thriller). I rarely give a book 5 of 5 stars but this one got them. A woman is in a coma and we go back to the events that preceded it. A page-turner with lots of twists!

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances (psychological thriller). You are probably seeing a pattern here and this also gets 5 of 5 stars. It’s set in London which is one of my favorite settings for a novel. This is about a mom and her son’s girlfriend and has a bunch of twists.

The Wife by Alafair Burke (psychological thriller). 5 of 5 stars. I loved this book so much that I checked out two of Alafair’s earlier book from the library and may tuck them in my beach bag next week. The wife of a well regarded and bestselling economics professor has a secret past and one event snowballs into a big scandal for their family.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (romance). Jasmine’s writing is wonderful. This was a well-done story of a best man who needs a date for the wedding of his best friend and ex-girlfriend. I wanted this story to go on and on. Another 5 of 5 stars!

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (current and historical fiction set in Memphis). I loved this story which was ripped from the headlines of the 1940’s about an orphanage where kids were stolen and sold off to wealthy families. 5 of 5 stars.

The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin (romance/fiction). I may have written about this one before because it was my favorite book of 2017. I loved the characters and the setting and how they were all intertwined in Lara’s flower shop, Blossom & Grow.

Happy Reading!

MC

 

 

 

 

 

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travel

Hola from Costa Rica

We are on day two of our Costa Rican adventure and while everyone is resting in the rooms, I decided to run downstairs and hop on the computer for a bit. I absolutely love our hotel, Hotel Presidente. It has a great vibe, is very eclectic and there are a bunch of little sitting areas in the lobby to just sit and enjoy the atmosphere. The computers were in use so I’m sitting on the coziest of leather sofas while I type this on my phone.

After a busy day, this is the kind of relaxing I like to do. There’s great jazzy music in the background but when I tried to find out what it was through Shazam, nothing came up. Today we visited the Irazu Volcano a couple hours outside San Jose. The weather was perfection. The forecast called for rain but we saw only clouds and blue sky. The roads here are bumpy and sometimes circuitous but our driver, Eduardo, handled them beautifully. As you can imagine, the ground around the volcano was ashy. We were at 13,000 feet elevation and the air took a little getting used to. The walk wasn’t long but by the time we headed back to the bus, my lungs were desparate for a break. After all the running I’ve been doing to get into shape, this felt a bit like a betrayal to me. Once back in the van, I was able to easily recover.

From there we wandered through a couple of towns. Easter week is a major holiday here and we saw a couple parades celebrating The Passion and it was very moving. We went into the Bascillica of Our Lady of Los Angeles to say a prayer since we are missing mass this week due to heading to the jungle tomorrow. Then we were on our way to a hot spring for the afternoon. It was beautiful and relaxing and they fed us a wonderful traditional Costa Rican meal. Not sure if I’ll be able to eat again today.

Better go check on the troops! Adios until we meet again.

MC

Writing

It’s a wrap on February

I had another post ready to go for my last day of daily blogging but I thought I’d save it. Yup, I finish my daily blogging challenge today. I did it! I failed miserably when I tried this in November but I think it’s already a pressure-filled time of year to have tried to add daily blogging to the list.

Today is also going to be my dad’s last day here. Unfortunately, a friend of his passed away and he needs to go home to offer his support to the family. We had such a great time catching up. I heard a ton of stories I never knew about him and now he’s transferred them to me. Hopefully, I can remember them all.

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Writing

Random writing

I’ve made it to day 20 of daily blogging! I love to go to my stat insights page and see all the blocks for February filled in because it makes me feel so accomplished. That and getting my weekly Grammarly Insights email that tells me how many words I’ve written and the number of unique words I used. But the truth is, writing and publishing something every day hasn’t been easy at times (as many of you who have blogged daily for many, many days, months and years can attest – hats off to you). While I am constantly searching my brain and my surroundings for topics to write about, sometimes I come up blank and write about random things as I did yesterday. And guess what, those are my most read and liked posts. Who can figure? The good thing is that daily writing has not felt like a burden.

As I prepare for vacation later this week, I’ve thought I’d try pre-writing and have some posts ready to go next week so I can spend more time writing the book I haven’t been working on lately. I don’t want to spend all my time writing at a computer while my dad is around because he is all about limited screen time (except when it involves baseball and movies). If ever I’m on my phone too much he will definitely pipe up. Also, if I leave writing to early morning or nighttime, it likely won’t happen.

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Life

Monday Morning Blues

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I want to go back to bed. Instead, I’m at work in our redesigned department, a line of desks against a wall, all exactly the same. It looks so robotic, so office-like. Of course, I do work in an office. I’m waiting for our IT folks to bring the phones and computers while I’m pretending this new floor plan isn’t happening.

My old desk was against a row of windows where I had a front-row view of a major road (there were often fender benders directly in front of us – none causing grave damage as far as I could tell). Now I’m looking at nothing but a vibrant blue partition. I need to look on the positive side of all this so let’s conjure up some good thoughts.

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Life

Making a plan for dinner

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I’m going to have to pass on undulate guys. My brain is just not clicking today.  What I want to talk about instead is meal planning. This is something I used to do several years ago and I thought since I’m trying to cut back on foods that are overly processed and sugary, this would be the best way to go about it.

Back in the early days of motherhood and when I was planning to go back to work after maternity leave, I knew it was time to get organized. Liam was turning one at the time and as I think back now, those were the easy days of juggling family calendars. But I knew meal planning was going to be important if I wanted to get a meal on the table every most nights.

Continue reading “Making a plan for dinner”