Currently // Vacation Blues

August 2, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 7

Right this minute | I’m at home. On my couch. Trying to hold my stomach down.

Feeling | BLAH. We went to Asheville this weekend and, while it was absolutely lovely, a small case of food poisoning went down as well. I don’t want to see ANY barbeque for a very, very long time. Or pork, for that matter.

Reading | The kids, hubby, and I finished The Graveyard Book (Full Cast Production) and Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman. We have now listened to all three of his middle grade books and they are disappointed there are not more to listen to. I’m going to get them started on Rick Riordan next, I think.

I also started reading The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck, while on vacation and so far it’s right up my alley. American History, history I don’t really know much about (outside of my Oregon Trail skillz), and great writing.

Listening | Once I finished Kitchens of the Great Midwest, I started on Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Right now, I have no words, except Powerful and Important.

Watching | Coloring videos on YouTube. Hey, you asked.

Blogging | Let’s just say it happens when it happens. Ain’t gonna force it.

Promoting | #EstellaGram on Instagram! This month is COLOR!

Loving | Coloring, audiobooks, Biltmore House, my kid, my hubby, Neil Gaiman, and calm car rides. Thank you Neil.

Hating | Hives, my doctor, food poisoning, the ends of vacations, the laundry from said vacations, and even the thought of barbeque. Ugh.

Eating | Not much.

Exercising | Not much. lol

Anticipating | Starting Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. The author’s prefered text made its way to my house last week!

Meal Planning| That’s kind of shot to hell until I get my appetite back. Whatever I can find in the kitchen most likely.

Have a great week!!



Top Ten Tuesday – My Literary BookTwins™

July 28, 2015 Meme 10

Is there anything better than meeting someone in a book who reminds you so much of yourself? It provides a completely different level of immersion for me. It’s like…finding yourself in a book. And what could be more delightful than that? Here are ten of my very very best BookTwins™ along with a quote. Just a little extra proof for ya.


1. Francie Nolan – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Proof: “From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.”

2. Jo March – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Proof: “Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.”

3. Cassandra Mortmain – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Proof: “When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it – or rather, it is like living it. It makes reading so much more exciting, but I don’t suppose many people try to do it.”


4. Margaret Lea – The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Proof: “All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes — characters even — caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you.”

5. Daniel Sempere – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Proof: “Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”

6. Emma Bovary – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Proof: “What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book, with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright…Haven’t you ever happened to come across in a book some vague notion that you’ve had, some obscure idea that returns from afar and that seems to express completely your most subtle feelings?”


7. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Proof: “Are you sure that’s a real spell?” said the girl. “Well, it’s not very good, is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course.”

8. Matilda Wormwood – Matilda by Roald Dahl

Proof: The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

9. Tyrion Lannister – The Songs of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

Proof: “My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind…and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.”


10. Alaska Young – Looking for Alaska by John Green

Proof: “When I look at my room, I see a girl who loves books.”

How about you? Do you have any BookTwins™?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

July 27, 2015 Books, Meme 5



Last week: Slowly but surely, I’m finding ways to read! Apparently, my mind can only handle the audiobooks, which was just fine and dandy because THAT little jewel up there came out last week and I promptly devoured it. Ernest Cline did not disappoint (me!).


This week: I’m almost finished with The Shore! It has been great, I just have trouble picking it up. I’m flying through Kitchens of the Great Midwest. I’m listening to the audio and it is ALL KINDS OF DELIGHTFUL. Honestly, I haven’t picked up Go Set a Watchman in a week, but don’t take that as an indicator of my feelings on it. It’s totally my mood. I hope to get back to it.

wrathanddawnsorcerer_front mech.inddtheoregontrail

Up next: I’m not sure! These are the three I’m looking at hard. I’ll probably start The Wrath and the Dawn after I finish Kitchens of the Great Midwest. Since it’s an audiobook and it sounds sooooooooooooooo freaking good! I haven’t read any books like it in awhile, so I figure I’m due.

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.





Currently // It’s All About the Relax

July 26, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 12

Right this minute | I’m sitting on the couch, writing this up, and trying trying trying not to scratch.

Feeling | ITCHY.

So, yeah, remember the rash? I went back to the doctor, got ANOTHER course of steroids (prednisone this time) and the promise that if this didn’t work, I’d be going to the dermatologist because they have no stinking idea what is going on.

I’ll be going to the dermatologist. Hopefully soon. The DAY AFTER I FINISHED THE STEROID I broke out all over my legs. So shit.

Reading | I’m listening to the MOST DELIGHTFUL BOOK. Kitchens of the Great Midwest is exactly, EXACTLY, what I was looking for.

Listening | See above. And also my excellent Southern Gothic (or Gothic Americana) playlist. I keep adding music to it, so I’m up to 2 and 24 minutes of music. I’ll be adding more. I’ve been exploring! Here it is again, if you want to give it a listen.

Watching | Right this minute I’m watching Minecraft videos on YouTube. My son is obsessed with Stampy Longnose. If you know who that is, I’m sorry.

Blogging | It’s so hard to blog in summer.

Promoting | Nothing at the moment.

Loving | COLORING. I have been doing SO MUCH COLORING. This is what I’m working on at the moment, the octopus in Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom. He’s fun.


Hating | THIS RASH.

Eating | I had the usual. Waffles with peanut butter and honey. With a chai latte. 😀

Exercising | It’s on the to-do list. After the rash is gone.

Anticipating | Autumn. I am anticipating it so hard. I’m ready for sweater weather.

Meal Planning| Well, since VBS was last week, I didn’t get to cook much last week. So it’s basically the same plan as last week.



I Don’t Feel So Bad – Some Favorite Things

July 23, 2015 Lists, Miscellaneous, Music 17


1. Chai Latte. Where have you been all my life? Seriously. I die without it.


2. Coloring books. It’s not COMPLETELY new, I’ve been coloring (and drawing and such) for a long time, but in the last couple of weeks it has reached near obsession. Buying Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest DID NOT HELP.

3. Pasta. Again, not new, but since going Gluten Free I have had a super hard time finding one I like. Now I have two! I had alfredo the other night and I HAPPY. Two years without good ole pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, and parmesan is a freaking long time.

4. YouTube. Hey, I didn’t say they were NEW or OLD favorite things. Sure, YouTube has been around a VERY LONG TIME, I just never paid it much attention (except for you, my dear Andi!) but now, suddenly, I am waking up to the marvels of YT. I’m learning InDesign, getting coloring tips, and excellent book recommendations. Oh, and the occasional Jamestown Revival song:

or The Brothers Bright

5. Incidentally, I am really loving on some music right now. I went on a mission a month or so ago to find some new tunes and I hit the jackpot in a little genre called Southern Gothic. I’ve also seen it called Dark Americana, Americana, and other such things. It’s like the bastard lovechild of Southern Rock, Bluegrass, Folk, Rock, American Roots, and Country. With some soul and jazz thrown it. It includes old (Johnny Cash) and new (Delta Ray) and oh so much loveliness in between. It nurtures my repressed goth soul. Some of my favorites include the aforementioned Delta Ray, The Brothers Bright, Jamestown Revival, and others like Lucette, Dorothy, Sun Kil Moon, Kari Kimmel (Black is like the BEST SONG EVER), Whiskey Shivers, and yeah, I could go on and on. I’ll make you a playlist. I’m sure you won’t listen, but if you actually do, PLEASE let me know if you like any of it. I don’t know anyone who listens to this stuff!

What new (or maybe not so new) favorite things are you jamming on right now?



Top Ten Tuesday – I Just Want to Celebrate!

July 21, 2015 Meme 6


Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC,  neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.)


Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis (my review) – I will never tire of pushing this one on each and EVERY one of you. I love this book so hard.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles S. Blow – From GoodReads, because I can’t say it better: “A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America’s most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past.” What a book. What. A. Book.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – OMG y’all. I can’t believe I didn’t review this awesome awesome book. I feel like a heel. Diary tells the story of Junior, a young Indian growing up on the reservation. He decides to “take his future into his own hands” by transferring to the all-white public school in town. Heartfelt, hilarious, and gorgeously written, it’s a don’t miss book!


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – One of my favorite graphic novels by one of my favorite graphic novelists! And another I haven’t reviewed. I’m such a stinker. And there is so much to this novel that I can’t being to summarize it here. Check out the description on GoodReads, to learn more about this imaginative, powerful book.

Pantomime (Micah Grey, #1) by Laura Lam (my review) – Hey! I reviewed this one! And just like all those years ago, I still don’t quite know how to describe this book. It’s one of those books that can’t be described too much because one doesn’t want to give anything away! Let’s just say there is a lot of magic, mystery, lots of thoughts on gender roles…. Here, you’ll get more from The Book Smugglers.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (my review) – Another I reviewed! And another that I loved. Celie’s story moved me in so many ways. She and Shug remain some of my favorite characters, ever.


The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri – I read this such a long time ago. And I didn’t review it. But I remember enough to know that I loved the rich writing, the different characters, and the glimpse into the immigrant experience. It may be time for a reread.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (my review) – I really appreciated this book, not only for the history and insight into how the Chinese think, but for showing me that basic things like family, land, honor, and pride, are universal.

Waiting by Ha Jin – I read this BB. Before Blog, over 10 years ago. Yet I still clearly remember loving this book. It’s a love story, a tragedy, the tale of a man caught between two women and two lives. The writing gorgeous. I need to reread this one too.


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie – Another BB book. And another beauty. And, because I can’t do it justice after so long, here is a GoodReads description for you: In this enchanting tale about the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening, two hapless city boys are exiled to a remote mountain village for reeducation during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. There they meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, they find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.

There are so many more books I could mention! How about you? What diverse books would you celebrate?





Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

July 20, 2015 Books, Meme 8



Last week: Wow. One book. At least it was a decent one.


This week: Here’s the thing. I am enjoying all of these books. When I pick them all up, I read quite a few pages. But then, there’s the whole PICKING IT UP AGAIN that I’m having a probem with.

Up next: I have absolutely no idea. Any suggestions?

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.




Currently // Is it Fall yet?

July 19, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 6

Right this minute | I’m on the couch waiting for my breakfast to finish cooking!

Feeling | Well rested, for once. My doctor put me on something a little stronger than Benadryl for this rash (that I still have) and it knocks me out good and proper. I have a little bit of a headache from it, but goodness, that was some good sleep.

Reading | I am currently struggling (because slump) through Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, The Shore by Sara Taylor, and Armada by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton. I’m actually not struggling through Armada, audiobooks are still working for me, plus Wil Wheaton! I’ll be glad when I break through this!

Listening | As I’ve been coloring more than reading this week, I’ve been listening to Armada, as well as music. Shoshtakovich has been in rotation, as well as Lucette, Kari Kimmel, The Brothers Bright, and Jamestown Revival.

Watching | I started watching Bomb Girls yesterday. It looks like it’s going to be fantastic! We also went to see Ant-Man, which was really good. May be high on my list of favorite Marvel movies. Just wish Josh Paul Rudd had taken his shirt off a couple more times. Hubba hubba.

Blogging | I took a week off and it was really nice. I feel the words coming back.

Promoting | I can’t think of anything at the moment.

Loving | Van’s Gluten Free Blueberry Waffles with peanut butter and honey. I can’t wait for them to get out of the oven.

Hating | Rash. See above. 6 weeks now and they don’t know why.

Eating | Breakfast!!!

Exercising | What is that?

Anticipating | AUTUMN. OMG I AM SO READY.

Meal Planning | Meals this week are….

1: Cheese lasagna (with GF noodles) and a salad

2. Crab Nachos

3. Baked Thai Salmon with rice and squash

4. Sausage Hashbrown Casserole

Have a great week!




It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

July 13, 2015 Books, Meme 5


Ugh. I have no idea what I’m reading. Seriously. I know there are books in my GoodReads queue marked as “Currently Reading” but I’m only sure of The Shore by Sara Taylor. I will literally have to go to the site to say what else I’m “reading.”

Since my brain is decidedly shut down at the moment, I’m going to give it the break it needs and take a week off. See you next Monday!

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.




Top Ten Tuesday – No, No, No, Mamma Mia!

July 7, 2015 Meme 13

Or; Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read


1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James – No. Just…no.

2. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger – Just never felt the…whatever…I need to read it.

3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel – After reading Beatrice and Virgil, I’m kind of glad I never read this one.


4. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – I actually tried this one. My eyes crossed immediately. Usually a good sign my brain won’t do it.

5. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling – I don’t know. I just can’t get past that it isn’t Harry Potter. Plus, it’s not one of my usual genres. I know, I’m being narrow-minded. Bad Heather.

6. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer – This is odd, seeing as how I loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Just can’t seem to find the desire to read it. Maybe someday.


7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson – Yeah…just not my cuppa.

8. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – I don’t even know what it’s about, honestly, and I don’t want to know. IT IS TOO POPULAR. Or, at least it was? Maybe I just don’t like people telling me what to do? AM I BEING NARROW-MINDED AGAIN?

9. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – Tooooooooooooo looooooooooooooong.


10. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – His attitude. Ugh. I mean, just, ugh.

How about you? What overhyped books will you (probably) never read?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.