Book Review Wild by Cheryl Strayed

WildBLURB: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

MY THOUGHTS: If I met Strayed in real life, I’m not sure I’d stop and share time with her. I very nearly abandoned this title three chapters in, altho I’m glad now that I did persevere, I’m not likely to pick up another of her titles or go to her TED talk. She struck me as self-obsessed, willfully ignorant and frankly, annoying (naming herself “strayed”? really?).

However, even I with my distinctly non-rose tinted glasses could see her personal progression thru the book, and I did enjoy her descriptions of her fellow walkers and most especially the scenery. Oh my, that scenery. Three stars, and I’m not watching the movie.

If, however, I didn’t put you off or you also hadn’t read one of 2012’s Books of the Year (Boston Globe, EW, NPR etc) there is an extract and reading guide HERE

Book Review The Empty Nesters by Carolyn Brown

empty nest

BLURB: Dear friends and army wives Diana, Carmen, and Joanie have been through war, rumors of war, marital problems, motherhood, fears, joy, and heartache. But none of the women are prepared when their daughters decide to enlist in the army together. Facing an empty nest won’t be easy. Especially for Carmen. With emotions already high, she suffers an even greater blow: divorce papers. Diana understands the fury and tears. She’s been there.

With nothing to lose and no one at home, the girlfriends impulsively accept an unexpected offer from their elderly neighbor. The recently widowed Tootsie has an RV, a handsome nephew at the wheel, and an aim for tiny Scrap, Texas, to embrace memories of her late husband. Still grieving, she can use the company as a balm for her broken heart. So can the empty nesters.

Embarking on a journey of hope, romance, and healing, Diana, Carmen, and Joanie are at a turning point in their lives. And with the open road ahead of them, it’s just the beginning.

MY THOUGHTS: I do remember reading Carolyn Brown a few years ago – particularly taken with her title genius – My Give a Damn’s Busted resonated with me at the time – but I thought then that the romance was ok, funny in parts, but it was something l sped read thru. This one was something that I slowed down on in parts, as it runs a vast range of emotions and circumstances. The scenarios are fairly realistic and you can see the characters grow and change. They aren’t in general one-dimensional and there isn’t anything surplus either. I can see myself reading more of Brown’s later standalones. Three & a half stars.

If you’re on Prime, or Kindle Unlimited, this title is free to borrow.

WIP Wednesday #267

20200205_090808.jpgHey look! A photo this week – because it’s now a new month, and I’ve rolled over into the next of the Jim Shore 12 Days charts, Two Turtle Doves. I am enjoying this design, as it’s so different to what is in my WIP pile, and I’m looking forward to having it made into a lap quilt or wall hanging for this coming holiday season. Unfortunately it’s stinking HOT here (29 deg C when I got home from work yesterday) so there’s minimal progress. I did get more done on Celtic Sampler while sitting in the shade/breeze up at the SIL’s, and have (date excepted) completed my February goal of finishing that first band. I’m now all the way across to the LHS and am fairly confident that this will be a 2020 finish.

As the January month ended, I did find myself $6.84 in the red for Stitch from Stash, despite the two finishes. I brought fabric from Catherine for another mermaid (actually, thinking it will fit both the Moonlight and Sunlight Laguna maids, with a little adjustment & border realignment). Never mind that I actually need to finish SOMETHING else in my Nora/Mirabilia pile!

Tomorrow is Waitangi Day (our National day here in New Zealand) and then I have Friday off – have told the fam that they are at work/school so I have the day to myself! Catching up with a friend, stitching & possibly a long walk on the beach. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?

Australia – romance fundraiser

(From an author newsletter)

Australia Romance Anthology, $6.99 (U.S.) – All proceeds go to help Australia during the catastrophic wildfires. Preorder thru 2/4/20. Links at bottom.

ALL royalties from this project will be donated to relief funds in Australia, with 50% going to a firefighter charity and 50% going to a wildlife charity. We aren’t affiliated or endorsed by these charities. We are simply authors who want to support an important cause.

So happy to be part of this! Australia has some of my favorite people in all the world! Since news has spread of a fire-ravaged Australia, I’ve been sick with the loss. There is so much devastation to that country, it’s almost hard to fathom. I’ve felt helpless from my safe cocoon over in the US, which is why when the opportunity to join forces with some truly amazing authors and help came up, I jumped at the chance.

AUSTRALIA is a romance anthology with over THIRTY original, never-before-seen stories from bestselling and award-winning authors. Each piece was written for this anthology to benefit firefighters and wildlife in Australia. AUSTRALIA is only available for a limited time, so one-click your copy before it’s gone.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Penny Reid, Meredith Wild, Carly Phillips, Sierra Simone, Emma Scott, Susan Stoker, Kennedy Ryan, Willow Aster, Skye Warren, Kylie Scott, Aleatha Romig, Willow Winters, AL Jackson, Julia Kent, Rebecca Yarros, Tijan, Giana Darling, Emma Hart, Chelle Bliss, Noelle Adams, A. Zavarelli, Jenika Snow, Dylan Allen, Audrey Carlan, Robin Covington, Mary Catherine Gebhard, Melanie Moreland, Parker S. Huntington, Nana Malone, Jewel E. Ann, Annabel Joseph, Celia Aaron, Michelle Heard, Brighton Walsh, Tamsen Parker, and Pam Godwin.

Preorder here:
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/38CbQIv
International: http://bit.ly/2RmjOzr
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2RHIcut
Nook: http://bit.ly/2NR2hxc
Kobo: http://bit.ly/36kNW2z
And here’s Australia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/

Book Review – An Utterly Impartial History of Britain by John O’Farrell

ImpartialBLURB: Many of us were put off history by the dry and dreary way it was taught at school. Back then ‘The Origins of the Industrial Revolution’ somehow seemed less compelling than the chance to test the bold claim on Timothy Johnson’s ‘Shatterproof’ ruler.But here at last is a chance to have a good laugh and learn all that stuff you feel you really ought to know by now…

In this ‘Horrible History for Grown Ups’ you can read how Anglo-Saxon liberals struggled to be positive about immigration; ‘Look I think we have to try and respect the religious customs of our new Viking friends – oi, he’s nicked my bloody ox!’ Discover how England’s peculiar class system was established by some snobby French nobles whose posh descendants still have wine cellars and second homes in the Dordogne today. And explore the complex socio-economic reasons why Britain’s kings were the first in Europe to be brought to heel; (because the Stuarts were such a useless bunch of untalented, incompetent, arrogant, upper-class thickoes that Parliament didn’t have much choice.)

A book about then that is also incisive and illuminating about now, ‘2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge’, is an hilarious, informative and cantankerous journey through Britain’ fascinating and bizarre history. As entertaining as a witch burning, and a lot more laughs.

MY THOUGHTS: I found this title by randomly selecting the podcast We Are History, a relatively new addition to my listening agenda, by Angela Barnes and this author. It’s funny and informative, and available on a number of platforms (I use Podcast Addict on my android phone).

I listened to this title during my week’s commute to & from work on Audible, but again, the book is available from many different sources. This version is unfortunately abridged, but I didn’t notice that until I read someone else’s review after finishing (whoops!). That said, I enjoyed learning more about things I’d skimmed over in the past and also his irreverent but truthful view of some of the most obvious cock-ups in British history. An easy listen that might send you off onto another learning tangent or satisfy your need for one-off entertainment. Four stars.

WIP Wednesday #266

No photo this week – I haven’t done much stitching since my WIPocalypse update earlier this week; I’ve nearly finished the second block of this side row and have worked out how to fit “2020” into the “2013” space. Go, me! I am taking part in a 6 week challenge RESET (which is as you know, my One Little Word for 2020) and am focusing on a few key things:

  • Being conscious of what I eat
  • Becoming more physically flexible
  • Losing some weight (obviously – stress is terrible to your health)
  • Getting back on track looking after ME

Because I now throw myself into adding at least a walk into every day I haven’t stitched this week at lunchtime, and home is cut down a bit too. Part of this is the need for the spa – my thighs are sore!

January WIPocalypse Wrap

Hello everyone! It’s a hot & muggy Auckland Anniversary Day here in NZ, and I celebrated the day off by running myself into the ground, lol! Bootcamp, a hospital visit to the MIL, finished loading the trailer then a dump run, dropped a dresser off & finally sat down. My arms hurt, my butt hurts & I really want a nap!

Anyway, let’s get into the Wipocalypse wrap. You can find our group in FB & in wordpress. Click the icon over on the right to be taken to Measi’s site.

My January Goals:

  • Complete the first panel of Jim Shore’s 12 Days (new start)
  • Complete 500 stitches in Fairy Idyll
  • Christmas Ornament FO
  • Disney Cloudsfactory item for Aurora FO

I got EVERYTHING knocked out this month. I’ve stitched every day (although one day was only 39) & made huge progress in big parts of Fairy Idyll. I did avoid any over one, so that helped, but I can’t ignore that forever.I also started Antique Celtic Sampler on a piece of 28ct lugana that I dyed myself. I was going to do it on cream, but this is the fabric MIL chose.

February Goals:

  • Finish the second panel in 12 Days
  • Finish the second panel in Celtic
  • Another 200 over one stitches in Fairy Idyll
  • Walk every day that I don’t bootcamp.

  • The question of the month is about what SALs we are participating in and the current answer is – a big fat NOTHING. Hooray for gap year!

  • SFS is still going for the month, so I’ll update that later. Right now, healthy as.