Top Ten Tuesday – You Are My Favorite?

April 21, 2015 Meme 0


I don’t know if it’s just me, but this is one of those questions that makes me squirm. How do you pick a favorite author? How do you pick TEN? I have no idea! What I say now could be different in ten minutes. I’ll remember someone I forgot, or I’ll remember that one book so-and-so wrote that just broke my heart with its How-Could-You terribleness. And then, what determines a favorite author? That one book they wrote that changed your life? Or the fact that you’ve loved every book they’ve ever written? Or the fact that they are on your must buy list? THE CHOICES. THEY KILL ME.

So, I will do the only thing I can do. These are my TOP TEN TUESDAY favorite authors OF RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE. This is going to be all STREAM OF CONSCIENCE style. Okay? Ready? Here we go.

Neil Gaiman – For Neverwhere, Bod, Shadow, and Coraline. And so many more.

Diana Gabaldon – For Jamie. Yeah, and Claire.

Sarah Addison Allen – For finding magic in the ordinary.

Shaun Tan – For telling a story with no words.

Jeff Smith – For Bone. Always Bone.

Stephen King – For The Stand. And now also Ray Garraty.

Joanne Harris – Sleep, Pale Sister. And Chocolat.

Harper Lee – For Atticus and Scout.

Patrick Ness – For a certain boy colt.

Patrick Rothfuss – For Kvothe. For Bast. And also Auri.

How about your? Who are some of your favorite authors? Would your list change day to day, hour to hour?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



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

April 20, 2015 Books, Meme 5


As I complained said yesterday, I’m reading a big fat of nothing, SO, I thought for this post, I’d just discuss what I plan on reading Saturday. I’m pretty sure this goes for Andi too when I say, it’s hard for us to read on the actual Readathon day. There are so many things going on behind the scenes and I know I want to be present for it all. So reading usually consists of sitting at the computer and reading a couple pages every now and then. So, this year, I’m leaning even more heavily on comics and graphic novels.

So far, my pile consists of:

  • The Graveyard Book Graphic Novels by Neil Gaiman (volumes 1 and 2)
  • Fables 14-20 by Bill Willingham (I am so behind)
  • Capture Creatures, Issue 3 by Gibson and Dreistadt
  • The Fade Out, Issue 6 by Ed Brubaker
  • Lumberjanes, Issue 13 by Noelle Stevenson
  • A Glance Backward by Tony Sandoval

And, for short books, I have:

  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman Perkins, of course
  •  The Campaign for Domestic Happiness by Isabella Beeton
  • A Tidewater Morning by William Styron
  • The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

And of course, anything can pop up. If they don’t immediately grab me, they get thrown to the side.

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 // Readathon, readathon, readathon

April 19, 2015 Currently 8

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Right this minute | Taking a break from cheerlead planning.

Feeling | That mild, last week to plan, panicky feeling.

Reading | Nothing, absolutely nothing. There is no time for such frivolity!

Listening | To Jamestown Revival mostly. My new obsession.

Watching | A steady stream of blog names, Twitter handles, and Tumblr blogs flow by my eyes. People get pretty creative when naming things.

Blogging | THIS.

Promoting | Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! IT IS THIS SATURDAY Y’ALL.



Be there or be square!

Loving | All the excitement and energy leading up to the Readathon. It is palpable. It gets us through this week, that is for. sure.

Hating | The feeling my hips get when I sit too long. Time to stretch!

Eating | I had cereal and milk. Breakfast of champions!

Exercising | My fingers. Lots of typing!

Anticipating | Making my Readathon pile!



Weekend Cooking – When Cooking Slumps Hit

April 18, 2015 Weekend Cooking 9


I am in a bonafide cooking slump. I don’t want to cook. At all. Anything. At times like this, I subsist on sandwiches and waffles with peanut butter on them.

It’s sad. And scary. It’s Spring for goodness sakes! The asparagus is growing! The Brussels Sprouts are at the Farmer’s Market! What the heck is wrong with me?

What do you do when a cooking slump hits? I search magazines, Tastespotting, Pinterest, my favorite foodie blogs, and cookbooks, for something, ANYTHING, that appeals to me. And I try to find simple things to fix. No barbecue chicken pizzas on a gluten free crust. No highfalutin’ crustless quiches. Just simple, easy, normal fare.

So, here’s my meal plan this week.

Sunday: It’s just me and the hubby, so something simple. Maybe just some pasta or soup. I think I have some gluten free noodles….
Monday: Breakfast! Scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, and cheese grits.
Tuesday: Sauerkraut and kielbasa with potato pancakes
Wednesday: GF Macaroni and cheese, roasted broccoli, and wedge salads
Thursday: Eat with my family
Friday: Just me! And I’ll be neck-deep in readathon-ing, so actually, probably just a sandwich.
Saturday: Mississippi Roast in the crockpot cause I’ll be reading and cheering and co-hosting all day long.

What are you planning on cooking this week? What are your go-to simple meals? What do you do when you have a cooking slump?

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.



Listen Up! Start Up!

April 16, 2015 Listen Up 1

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Who: Start Up, by Gimlet Media

When: Twice a month, but I believe it may be on hiatus until the second season starts, sometime this month!

How long: They average about 30 minutes.

What: Podcast about starting up a business.

Where: You can listen here, at Gimlet Media’s website.

Why: That is an excellent question. If you had told me a few months ago that I would be listening to, and completely loving, a podcast about starting a business, I would have laughed in your face. Sure, like most readerly types, I daydream about owning my own bookstore, but when I sit and try to think of the logistics, the money, the time, and commitment it would take, I pale and feel nauseous. Listening to someone starting a business sounds way outside my wheelhouse.

But then, right after I started this Listen Up! feature, Aarti from Booklust, emailed wanting to share podcast lists. I was all over that like a fish in water. And she had Start Up on her list. Now, I trust Aarti implicitly and I know she wouldn’t steer me wrong. So I subscribed. (I subscribed to a LOT because of her. Love you Aarti!) Yet, I held off, still unsure. And then came the day when I was all caught up on everything I wanted to listen to, except Start Up. So, I reluctantly downloaded the first episode. And damn, if it wasn’t compelling. I downloaded the next, and the next, and so on.

I was hooked. Still am.

More: Host Alex Blumberg, of This American Life and Planet Money fame decides to strike out on his own and form his own podcasting company. Along the way, he podcasts his experiences. I mean, from the VERY BEGINNING. From getting money, to getting employees and finding an office, to overworked employees and experiencing burnout, he chronicles it all. And damn, if it isn’t compelling.

Reminds me of: Serial, in a way. It’s one story, told through many episodes, and, in the words of a reader, “you just can’t put it down.”

Give it a listen and see if you don’t agree.



Top Ten Tuesday – You Can Quote Me On That

April 14, 2015 Meme 8


OMG, this will be such a long post. Oh well. It’ll be fun too.

“Let us begin this letter, this prelude to an encounter, formally, as a declaration, in the old-fashioned way: I love you. You do not know me (although you have seen me, smiled at me). I know you (although not so well as I would like. I want to be there when your eyes flutter open in the morning, and you see me, and you smile. Surely this would be paradise enough?). So I do declare myself to you now, with pen set to paper. I declare it again: I love you.”  ― Neil Gaiman – Doesn’t that just make you want to tell the one you love that you, well, love them?

“When I was your age, television was called books.” ― William Goldman, The Princess Bride – Makes me want to turn the damn thing off!

“If you’re 50 years old or younger, give every book about 50 pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up.

If you’re over 50, which is when time gets shorter, subtract your age from 100 – the result is the number of pages you should read before deciding whether or not to quit. If you’re 100 or over you get to judge the book by its cover, despite the dangers in doing so.”  ― Nancy Pearl – WORDS TO LIVE BY.

“I don’t know what rituals my kids will carry into adulthood, whether they’ll grow up attached to homemade pizza on Friday nights, or the scent of peppers roasting over a fire, or what. I do know that flavors work their own ways under the skin, into the heart of longing. Where my kids are concerned I find myself hoping for the simplest things: that if someday they crave orchards where their kids can climb into the branches and steal apples, the world will have trees enough with arms to receive them.”- Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Vegetable Miracle – So much of this book inspired me. It changed the way I cook, shop, and grow my own foods and it will continue to do so for years to come. I have goals people, because of THIS BOOK.

“The older the violin, the sweeter the music.” ― Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove – Good old Gus. He makes me a little less afraid of growing older. 

“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents – Be the hero of my own story. Or, well, try to be.

“Yes! I’m me! I am careful and logical and I look up things I don’t understand! When I hear people use the wrong words, I get edgy! I am good with cheese. I read books fast! I think! And I always have a piece of string! That’s the kind of person I am!”
― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men – I’m making myself sad, but, oh Terry. So full of wise words. 

“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”  ― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men – SEE WHAT I FREAKING MEAN????

“Now … if you trust in yourself … and believe in your dreams … and follow your star … you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Goodbye.” ― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men – I know I should stop, but geez. He was full of these things. 

“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.” ― Terry Pratchett, Nation – Still learning here. 

How about you? Have any inspirational quotes to share?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



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

April 13, 2015 Books, Meme 6


offshore prince 95968

Woo hey guys and Happy Monday!!! We all know I’m not actually this chipper, so we’ll just pretend I am together, shall we?

So, guess what? I didn’t hardly read a lick this weekend. We were super busy (as you know from yesterday’s post, house hunting. Also, we’re looking to build, since we have land.) and I started seriously working on the Readathon, so there went my extra time. I did manage to read some of Feeding a Yen last night this morning, around 3 am, because INSOMNIA. I quit because it was making me hungry. I’m in the Chinatown section and I’m really regretting I can’t eat Asian food any more. Because soy = gluten. Boo.

As I mentioned yesterday, I finished Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey and it was completely, heartbreakingly, wonderful. The girl writes beautifully. Seriously. Look. It. Up. I was going to wait and start Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin today, but then I was doing chores yesterday and looked for something short. Turned out The Little Price was only about 2 hours long, so I started it instead. I haven’t read it in years and the audio is a delight. CLCL is definitely next though.


The last book I’m supposedly reading is Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen. I’ve really only read the introduction and half of letter A and I’m dying to get into it more. There’s that whole TIME issue though. It’s super interesting. And don’t you just want to lick that cover? What? You don’t lick books? Okay, smell it then. Judgers.

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 // Hunger for Food, Books, and Money

April 12, 2015 Miscellaneous 6

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Right this minute | I’m wishing I could eat more breakfast. I’m trying to limit myself to 1700 calories a day (this girl could stand to loose a few, or go shopping) and I’m saving up for lunch. My mother-in-law is a great cook and I’ll regret it if I can’t eat a lot there. Where is my water?

Feeling | Snotty. Damn allergies.

Reading | I finished THE BEST BOOK Friday. Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey. Look it up. Now I’m in between audiobooks (I think I’m going to start Crooked Finger, Crooked Finger tomorrow) and reading Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen and Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald. Damn Amazon for putting a bunch of Fitzgerald’s on sale. (No, actually, thanks Amazon.) (Even if I really need to be saving money.)

OH, and I’m still poking along with Feeding a Yen by Calvin Trillin. It just makes me so hungry y’all.

Listening | Catching up on the podcasts. They completely fell by the wayside thanks to Anna Lyndsey.

Watching | I’m all caught up on The Blacklist, so I’m looking for something to watch. Apparently, I need to check out Daredevil. Hubby is loving it.

Blogging | I’ve been working on a Listen Up! post and a couple reviews. I’m feeling moved to write up Girl in the Dark very soon.

Promoting | Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, of course!! I’ve started working on the cheerleading teams. Captains in place!




Sign ups are live! Here!

Loving | The weather! 80 yesterday with clear skies. More of the same today. I’m ignoring that rain coming next week. I refuse to believe it.

Hating | Normally, I am happy with the amount of money I make at my job. We’re comfortable and I love being there. This is (usually) much more important to me. However, we need to move. We found our dream house yesterday and it is JUST OUTSIDE OUR BUDGET. My heart is broken. And I wish I made more money. ::sigh::

Eating | Let’s see….I had a Kind Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate protein bar (gluten free FTW) and an apple. Plus two slices of Colby Jack (my favorite). I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry.

Exercising | We walked over 6 miles yesterday looking at houses. I didn’t need to exercise. I may go walk the train near my home today.

Anticipating | Going to the grocery store. I hate going there, but we need food!

Meal Plan | I really need to get back to this:

Tonight : Crustless quiche made with spinach, feta, and mushrooms
 : Salmon patties, potatoes, and roasted asparagus
Tuesday : I have no idea, I’ll figure something out.
Wednesday:Lemon pepper tilapia, roasted Brussels Sprouts, and rice



Orchard House, or, What I Want to Be When I Grow Up.

April 9, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 2 ★★★★★

Orchard House, or, What I Want to Be When I Grow Up.Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow
by tara austen weaver
Published by Ballantine Books
on March 24th 2015
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
For fans of Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving memoir of rediscovering, reinventing, and reconnecting, as an estranged mother and daughter come together to revive a long-abandoned garden and ultimately their relationship and themselves.
Peeling paint, stained floors, vined-over windows, a neglected and wild garden—Tara Austen Weaver can’t get the Seattle real-estate listing out of her head. Any sane person would’ve seen the abandoned property for what it was: a ramshackle half-acre filled with dead grass, blackberry vines, and trouble. But Tara sees potential and promise—not only for the edible bounty the garden could yield for her family, but for the personal renewal she and her mother might reap along the way.

So begins Orchard House, a story of rehabilitation and cultivation—of land and soul. Through bleak winters, springs that sputter with rain and cold, golden days of summer, and autumns full of apples, pears, and pumpkins, this evocative memoir recounts the Weavers’ trials and triumphs, detailing what grew and what didn’t, the obstacles overcome and the lessons learned. Inexorably, as mother and daughter tend this wild patch and the fruits of their labor begin to flourish, green shoots of hope emerge from the darkness of their past.

For everyone who has ever planted something that they wished would survive—or tried to mend something that seemed forever broken—Orchard House is a tale of healing and growth set in a most unlikely place.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Back when I was a kid, I would occasionally (read – often) steal my grandmother’s romances and read them under the covers at night. A bad habit to be sure (kids, listen to your parents!) but at the time, I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want me to read them! I do now. Why am I telling you this?

Well, one time, I read one of those romances and it was about a woman who bought old homes and renovated them to sale (and yeah, I think she wound up in love with a contractor and they did the YOU KNOW WHAT all over one of those houses and then fought and broke up then made up and then lived happily ever after the end.) (12-year-old me says “blush.”). Something about that touched the romantic and ambitious part of me. It sounded so fantastic! To buy an old home, rip out all the rot, the ugly, the unwanted, and make it warm, cozy, and a home again. And the garden. My dream garden, with flowers and vegetables and fruit, everywhere. It sounded terribly awesome.

I decided that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. Refurb houses, not read romances. Because ick.

Flash forward 25 years (or so) and that is definitely not what I am doing. And yet, I still find it a romantic thing to do. I moon over old houses in our area. I love looking at books, magazines, and websites about decorating. And someday, I will take a house and make it my own, although probably not an old one. Oh well.

So, when I saw this memoir, I knew I had to read it. And it’s why I loved so much. Tara Austen Weaver finds just such a house, with “peeling paint, stained floors, vined-over windows, a neglected and wild garden…” just what she (and I) can see so much potential in. She convinces her mother to come to Seattle and they start planning.

This book. Wow, this book. It sounds sappy to say it “touched my heart” but it honestly did and dude, you know I’m a cynic. I did not have a relationship with my mother, but I did with my grandmother and in many ways, the relationship between Tara and her mother reminds me of the one I had with her. We were so much alike and so very contentious. And part of the beauty of this book is seeing how these two souls manage to love and work together, despite their ways.

And the food. Oh the descriptions of food. And the garden. I read this when it was too early to get out in the garden, but I was dying to do so while reading it. I even mentioned starting an orchard on the land we’re going to build on eventually, so perhaps we’d have fruit by the time we moved and my husband said yes! Color me delighted.

All in all, if you love foodie, gardening, mother/daughter relationship, family relationship, etc, type books, I can’t see why you wouldn’t love this book as much as me. Highly recommended.