Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review: "The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky" by Summer Heacock @TLCBookTours

The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky by Summer Heacock
Date Finished: July 5, 2017
Date Published: July 25, 2017
ISBN: 9780778330851
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Stories about self-discovery, books that feature female friendships, humorous novels

Summary:
Having sex wasn't a big priority while Kat Carmichael's successful cupcake shop was taking off. But when she realizes that it's been nearly two years since she and her boyfriend, Ryan, have been intimate, she makes a pact to break her dry spell-and cure her vaginismus, a muscular condition that can make sex physically impossible.

Out of guilt, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, so that he can see other people while she attempts to fix the issue on her own. She throws herself into physical therapy, but soon discovers her solo mission is more complicated than she anticipated. Fortunately, Ben Cleary, the shop's best (looking) customer, is also a physical therapist, and volunteers to help out.


As time goes on, however, the boundaries Ben and Kat have set between friendship and love quickly become blurred, leaving her more confused than ever about what to hang on to and what to let go.

My Thoughts:
First, a confession: I decided to read this book more out of curiosity than out of interest.  I found the premise to be potentially problematic and I wasn't sure how it could respectively handled in what was sold to me as a "great beach read."

Here's the deal: I read this book in one day.  I can't even remember the last time I did that.  It helped that we were on vacation with other relatives who could occupy my kids while I hid out in a lawn chair with this book.  Still, I could have split my reading time among other books, but it is this one that caught my attention and kept it.

My concerns about this book, while valid, did not come to fruition.  Honestly, I can't think of any other book that talks about these health issues that so many women face.  I'm not sure many people even know what this is, but Heacock expertly explains it through narrative, instead of just giving her readers a medical lesson.

Kat is a fantastic character--she's wholly realistic in that she's likable, and yet still has glaring flaws.  She's the sort of person I would like to have as a friend--usually.  And, those times when she isn't a person I'd like to know in real life, her fictional characters call her on her behavior.  A common problem I find in books that feature a "group of girlfriends" is that the friends tend to all sort of blur together.  That is not the case here.  Each of Kat's friends have a distinct personality and I can tell that Heacock had backstories in mind for each of them.

It is important to note that this is not a romance, because the romantic element in the story is predictable.  However, I'm fine with that.  The real story is Kat and her experience and the romantic element is a tool in that experience.  Even though I knew where the story would end, I was still fascinated with how Heacock would get us there.

Finally, just a small aside.  I get from the subject of this book that it might seem that this would be a, what I would call, a spicy read.  If that is not your thing, please do not pass over this book.  Admittedly, the story isn't chaste, but it is not a sexually graphic book and the intimate scenes are written with great and not-overly descriptive respect.

It's exceedingly rare that I spend a day reading one book and, when it happens, I want everyone to know about it.  This is one of those cases.  Even if you don't have an entire day to devote to this book, it is definitely one you will want to savor and enjoy.

About the Author:
Summer Heacock is an author of contemporary women’s fiction and prances through life like a Disney cartoon that says the “F” word a lot. She lives in a teeny Indiana town, where she’s a stay-at-home-mom to two scampy tots, wife to an amazingly understanding husband, herder of a rescue critter menagerie and collector of life-size celebrity cardboard cutouts. When not writing or hoarding jellybeans, she’s a member of the Midwest Writers planning committee and a cohost of PubTalkTV.

She can be found at www.Fizzygrrl.com and on Twitter as @Fizzygrrl. The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky is her debut novel.



I received an electronic copy of a book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? - July 24 #IMWAYR

Well, hello there!  Yes, I've been absent for the past few weeks...and my absence was due to the most pathetic reason ever.  I was procrastination on writing 2 reviews.  Now, I enjoyed both books (Kiss Carlo and Lift and Separate) and was excited to tell you all about it...but it just took everything in me to actually sit down and write the reviews.  I still have one more to write (you'll see it on Wednesday) and, while I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the review has yet to be written.  Sigh.  You just know that once I finish that one--the last solicited review I have on the docket at the moment--I'll probably get the urge to review all the books.  Because that's how things go.

Anyway, this past week was a hectic one as it was my daughter's first of two weeks of day camp.  It's the same thing this coming week, except the drop-off is farther away and we have to be there earlier.  Because, again, that's how things go.  After this, though, we have nothing planned for the rest of the summer.  We are hoping to go up to my father-in-law's house to do some camping at some point and we might squeeze in a road trip.  We have yet to make it to the beach this summer, so I'd like to see that on the docket as well.  My kids start back to school on August 29th, so it is still a question how much we can fit in before then.


It's Monday...What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.  Please visit her blog to link up and join the fun!  Also, if you are participating in the meme, please be sure to link to your blog in your comment so that I can visit!


So, I realized this week that I have too many books that have been languishing on my Currently Reading list for far too long.  So, my current project is to get through these books before I start anything else (well, I'll probably start a new audiobook once I finish my current one..but the others are top priority!).

I was really concerned about Lust & Wonder: A Memoir.  The only other book by Augusten Burrough's I've read was Running with Scissors, which I hated.  But, so far, this one seems a bit easier for me to handle and I think I'm in it for the long haul.

I've been waiting ages to read An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League) and just now was able to get to it.  It's my current eBook and, sadly, I'm not having as much time to devote to it--partly because I have all the other books to read and partly because I don't have a lot of waiting-around-time when my kids aren't in school.  I do, however, try to only bring my Kindle when we travel, so I should plow through some titles if we get out of town.

I'm still working on The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.  I put it aside when we went north for the 4th because, as I said, I don't like to bring print books when we travel--and that one is a library book and I'm paranoid that those will be left behind.  Anyway, I'm getting back into it again.

I was trying to "work" through Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere), but now I've decided to just read it through and then go back and do the exercises.  I think that I need to have the complete view before I get too deep in the actual writing.  But more on the writing later (probably much, much later....)

I had started reading The Littlest Bigfoot to my daughter, but I think the subject matter was just a little too old for her.  I don't mean that there was anything objectionable, but that my daughter just couldn't quite relate to it yet.  So, the two of us will try again later.  In the meantime, I'm going to finish it!

I'm still working through the audiobook of  In Her Shoes and I hope to be finished soon.  I can't think of anything more to say that I haven't already said.  I've already read it, so the story is not new.  I'm enjoying the story, but I think the narrator (Barbara McCulloh) is miscast for it.

My goal is to finish all these books this week and then have a completely new, and shorter, slate to share with you all next week.  Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Saturday Snapshot - July 22

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

This week was the first of 2 day camp weeks for my daughter.  This is the 3rd year that she has attended this week's camp (it will be the first year for her at the next camp, but the camps are similar--both Girl Scout camps and at the same location).  Wednesday was "crazy hair day," which my daughter loves (and I much prefer it to pajama day).  Here is the creation we came up for her:


My son didn't want to be left out, so I gave him crazy hair, too!


This last picture was taken on the last day and it is my son's favorite shirt.  It was project in his kindergarten class and it has the handprints of all his classmates (and it is his favorite color!)


Next week, we're at the zoo!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review: "Lift And Separate" by Marilyn Simon Rothstein #TLCBookTours #LiftAndSeparate

Lift And Separate Marilyn Simon Rothstein
Date Finished: July 5, 2017
Date Published: December 1, 2016
ISBN: 9781503940307
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy / TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Stories about women of a certain age, books that balance humor and emotions

Summary:
Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.


Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.

My Thoughts:
This is a book that had been on my radar for quite some time--I mean, just look at that title.  I also follow the author on Facebook (she is hilarious), so I felt like it was going to be the perfect vacation read.  And it was, but it wasn't quite what I expected.  I went into reading this thinking it would be a light romp featuring a more mature heroine.  Instead, I found a more thought-provoking and sensitive novel, which still led me to laugh more times than I could count.

I appreciate that Rothstein was able to balance humor and seriousness.  The scenario of a long-standing marriage in jeopardy is not a funny one and Rothstein never tries to make light of it.  Instead, the humor comes from Marcy's insight and reactions.  Not only does this lighten the mood, but it adds great depth to Marcy.  I found her to be a believable and sympathetic character, and one that I rooted for.

Around Marcy is a colorful cast of characters.  Rothstein hits the sweet spot for the size of her supporting cast.   Every character plays an integral role in Marcy's life and they help to propel the plot forward.  Each person was distinct and fleshed out, with the exception of Harvey.  But, honestly, this book isn't about Harvey.  He's obviously important to the situation, but what is going through his mind isn't important to the story.

Once I was able to devote time to this book, I was hooked.  The plot moves smoothly and swiftly and Marcy's experiences were authentic and believable.  There were many times when I really wasn't sure what decision Marcy would make and, even if I didn't agree with what she chose, I could still believe that she would choose it.

This was an entertaining novel with more depth than I expected.  It is one that I would recommend to anyone wanting something humorous and deceptively un-fluffy.

I purchased my own copy of this book, but I was solicited for this honest review.




If you would like to read more about this book, please visit some of the other stops on the blog tour.


Thanks to TLC Book tour, I have one print copy of Lift And Separate for one of my viewers.  This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada and will run until midnight (Pacific Time) on July 25.




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Friday, July 14, 2017

Saturday Snapshot - July 15

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Here are a few more pictures from the 4th of July, but from earlier in the day.  That morning we took the kids on a little hike on Bainbridge Island.  The hike was in Grand Forest Park and our guidebook indicated a 2 mile trail.  I think we may have not done exactly what it said, but it was still a nice walk.

Setting off on the trail

We found this decorated bench less than a mile into our hike


I'm  not really sure what the story about this is--maybe they are trying to summon their own Blair Witch?--but my kids contributed to the stone towers!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review: "Kiss Carlo" by Adriana Trigiani #KissCarlo #TLCBookTours

Kiss Carlo Adriana Trigiani
Date Finished: July 4, 2017
Date Published June 20, 2017
ISBN: 9780062657275
Genre: Historical Fiction (mid-20th Century USA)
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Stories about big families, novels about the theater, coming of age books,

Summary:
It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.

My Thoughts:
Oh, I love me some Adriana Trigiani!  There are few authors who can create such lively personalities and families that I just want to crawl into the book and live with them.  Kiss Carlo is no exception!  This epic book follows Nicky Castone, the Palazzini family and the Borelli theater company as they navigate their way through the wilds of mid-century Philadelphia (okay, I know Philly doesn't sound too exotic, but it really works here).

I have read many, but not all, of Trigiani's books and this is the first one where the clearly main character is a man.  In my experience, writers who generally focus on main characters of one gender try writing a main character of the other gender sometimes have problems.  Trigiani does not--Nicky is a fun, likable, and believable young man.  He's the sort of guy who could easily step into the "book boyfriend" role, yet still comes across as complex.

Like many of Trigiani's other works, this one features a large cast of supporting characters.  Most of the characters fall into one of two categories: the Palazzini family or the Borelli theater company.  I will admit that some of Nicky's male cousins ran together in my mind, but their wives were all distinct and interesting, as well as his matriarchal Aunt.

Despite having so many characters, as interesting as they are, Trigiani is still able to tell a fairly well-defined story.  There are a few things that either should have been better integrated or omitted--mainly the split within the Palazzini family that seems to be mentioned at the beginning and again at the end, but not really at any point in between.  Even though this book is a bit of a chunkster, I enjoyed the narrative so much that I would not have minded more pages to expand on that plot point.

I'm always a little wary of movies made from books, but this is the first novel that I've read in quite some time where I realized that it would make an excellent film!  The plot moves at the right clip that would translate well to the screen and, well, Nicky is so wonderful that I want to actually see him.  So, for all you film execs who read this review, you know what to do!

All in all, Kiss Carlo was the perfect book, both heartwarming and enthralling.  I would invite anyone to crawl inside this world to experience it for yourself.

About the Author:
Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

Visit Adriana at her website: www.adrianatrigiani.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

To read more about this title, check out some of the other stops on the blog tour!





Friday, July 7, 2017

Saturday Snapshot - July 8

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

I'm writing this on July 5th, up at my father-in-law's house...I thought I'd better get this post ready to go in case things get crazy on Friday (the plan is that we will still be here, but that may change) and I don't get a post up in time.

Anyway, we had a great 4th up here..the weather cooperated (which is always a big question mark!) and my husband had a good stockpile of explosives to entertain the kids.  Here are a few pics from the day...

We pulled the kids away from their shenanigans just long enough to get one family picture!

A lot of the fireworks we had this year were ones that my husband purchased in Oregon and brought up.  Oregon has much stricter fireworks laws, which meant we had a lot of fountains (but we also had some mortars from Washington!)

I'm not super happy about this, but here is my husband teaching my son how to set off bottle rockets....


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

My 2016/2017 Television Report Card

I actually don't watch that much television, partially because I don't have the opportunity (4 people in one house with 2 televisions means that at least one person doesn't have the remote control) and partially because I'm as persnickety about what I watch as I am about what I read.  Let me tell you folks, I can be a real joy when you make me watch something I don't think is up to snuff.

This past television season, I decided to keep track of what I watched, whether I finished the season, and what I thought.  And you, my friends, are the lucky recipients of my judgments!

A couple quick disclaimers.  First of all, these are only network shows, although some of them I streamed and/or binged.  I'll probably do a post on my streaming shows in the future--but, for the purposes of this post, it is hard to equate them with broadcast shows.  Also, I have 2 shows at the end which don't quite fit in...because I either haven't finished or haven't started the current season, which I will explain when I get there.

Got it?  Good.  Here is what I watched this year, in objective alphabetical order.


The Big Bang Theory
This is really a standard for me.  Let's just say my husband has some Sheldon-tendencies (and I often feel like Amy), so some of the jokes really hit home.  All that being said, I was pretty meh on this season.  There were some funny episodes but, more often than not, things fell flat for me.  I know this is almost blasphemous, but I think it is time for them to end this show.  With comedies, there is a point when they get too far from their original premise and this show is there.  Still, the season finale was fabulous!


Black-ish
I actually didn't start watching this show until last summer, when I streamed the first 2 seasons so that I could be up-to-date when the 3rd season started.  Like, The Big Bang Theory, this show had its high points--but more often than not it didn't live up to previous seasons.  Plus, there was a period in the middle of the year where they obviously shuffled some episodes--which is normally fine, except the lead female character (not actress, just the character) was pregnant, so she would be more pregnant in one episode, and less pregnant in the next...which is very strange...

Designated Survivor
I will admit that the pilot for this show was fabulous.  I think I forced house guests watch it...  Unfortunately, it quickly went downhill after that.  It was so terrible at its mid-season hiatus, that I had decided to turn it off--until I heard that they were bringing in new show runners.  And, it was better when it came back--for about 2 episodes before it started sliding again.  Finally, I just gave up on it....  I didn't make it through the first season and it won't be returning to my TV next season.

Downward Dog
I know I've been rather negative so far (and, trust me, I'll be getting a heck of a lot more negative later...), but if I had to choose my best show of the year, it would be this one.  It's about a woman and her dog...from the dog's point of view.  It has so much heart and humor that I can hardly bear it...and, I'm guessing because of all that heart and humor, ABC canceled it.  Of course they did...  The good news--or at least the prospect of good news--is that they are shopping the show to other networks, so hopefully we haven't seen the end of Nan and Martin yet.  If you haven't seen this, you must check it out.  It is available both on OnDemand and Hulu.

The Good Place
The season for this show ended in January, but I watched the entire season over 3 days last week after hearing people gush over it.  It's definitely unique and pretty dang funny. If you aren't aware of the premise, it is set in the afterlife (where no one can swear, and now I say, "What the fork?" far too often!) and, well, that's all I'll say about it.  The season finale was especially good and it will definitely be on my viewing list next season.


Great News
You may have missed this one as NBC ran double episodes for about 6 weeks at the end of the season.  Basically, it is 30 Rock set in a TV newsroom.  With an overbearing mother.  I'll be honest, it didn't work for me more often than not.  The 30 Rock comedy doesn't easily translate from musical variety set to new set and I didn't find the main character that interesting.  However, Tina Fey is supposed to appear next season, so I may stick with it a bit longer.

Me...after this season ended....
Grey's Anatomy
Folks, I have been with this show from the beginning...that's is 13 seasons/12.5 years.  I've been with this show longer than I've been with my husband and I've sat through the great, the good, and the musical episode (just thinking of that makes  me itch).  This past season was...forking terrible!  Honestly, nothing happened.  Other than one plot point, which was basically dropped when it should not have been, the show was in exactly the same place at the end of the season finale that it was at the beginning of the season premiere.  Plus, there were so many dropped story lines and mind-bendingly bad attempted couplings that I just wanted to rip my hair out.

But, here's the thing.  I've been with this show so long that I'm not going to stop watching.  Probably the only thing that would get me to turn it off is that if they decided to embrace rape culture by having one character sexually assault another and then have the two fall in love.

Speaking of which....

Grimm
Sigh.  I'm going to try to contain myself here....

Oh, forget it...there's no way I can control my anger and frustration over this one.

Here's the deal...I really love the cast of this show and it was filmed here in Portland and I'm all about supporting the entertainment industry here.  But then this happened....and I turned it off.  The ratings for the previous season swirled down the crapper and, while it was renewed for another season, the series order was cut in half and it was announced that this past season would be the last one.

I knew I shouldn't tune back in, but...as I said, I love this cast.   And I hoped that the abysmal ratings for the previous season would have convinced that show runners that, no matter what 15 or so people on Twitter said, pairing a rapist and her victim was not a good idea.

Wrong. Wrong.. WRONG.

I turned it back on and, yep, they were still pushing the rapemance and for that, the show runners--David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf--will never be forgiven...and their work will never be allowed on my screen again (of course, with my luck, they'll hire the same cast for their next project...).  Just pulling that stunt should get them blacklisted from every network.  As long as networks (prime time AND daytime...I know what goes on in the soaps!) continue to allow this, they will continue to support rape culture, and that cannot be tolerated.

But enough of that...for this post (trust me, ranting and raving about that will never be enough).  There were plenty of other problems with this show.  First of all, the show runners do not have the ability to tell a story.  We're talking hundreds of dropped story lines (yes, there are lists of them out there), no adherence to any sort of logic, no rules to the universe, as well as superfluous characters, blatantly stolen plot devices, and character assassinations/miraculous redemptions (both of which are signs of unskilled and lazy crafting).  If this were a book, there isn't an agent around that would risk their career by trying to shop it around.

And the writing...oh, lordy!  You know, the series started out strong enough but somewhere around the end of the third or beginning of the fourth season, they seemed to have replaced their writers with 3rd graders learning cursive.  Well, during the 5th season (I turned it off 2 episodes into that season), they apparently replaced their 3rd graders learning cursive with kindergartners learning their alphabets.  Folks, I cannot tell you how horrendous the dialogue and scripting was in this show--I think I spent the entire time watching this with a cringe on my face from the unbelievably corny dialogue.  I know that I haven't seen every show there is, or even the smallest percentage, but of what I have seen, I can say that Grimm had the worst story-crafting and writing of any scripted show.

As with season 5, I made it 2 episodes into the 6th--and final--season before I realized that I just could.not.do.it.  My life is too short to waste on offal like this.  Plus, my family really didn't deserve to live with me for about 2 days after I watched an episode.  I think I'm just going to stop acknowledging that seasons 5 and 6 exist and that the show ended after season 4.

So, I wish the cast the best and I'll be watching to see where they land and I'll watch them in anything--as long as it has nothing to do with David Greenwalt and/or Jim Kouf.

(Okay, shake it off!  Shake it off!)

(Also, I'm sorry if I insulted any 3rd graders or kindergartners.  I know that any child could come up with a better story than what I found in this show).

Life in Pieces
On a more positive note...I watched both seasons of this one in the past couple months.  I don't know how I missed this when it started last year, but it is absolutely....frighteningly delightful.  Look, sometimes shows are just so true that they are painful and that is this show (at times).  I'm saying all this in the best possible light!  Family comedies are my favorite types of sitcoms and this one definitely ranks up there.

Making History
I think my original description of this show, "It's like Timeless, except it is a comedy...on FOX" pretty much says it all.  The first 2 or 3 episodes--where the time travelers accidentally prevent the American Revolution and then have to start it, are pretty hilarious.  After that, though...it doesn't work at all.  It is no surprise that it was canceled pretty quickly.

Modern Family
With the exception of the pregnancy, pretty much everything I said about Black-ish could be said about Modern Family.  Still, though, I have to love Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.  And, honestly, all shows have seasons that don't work as well as others and, ultimately, I still think this one is worth watching.





Pitch
I had high hopes for this one and we started watching it but, frankly, I just never felt compelled to tune back into it.  I wish I could give you an actual reason, but I just can't put my finger on what was not working for me in this show.  Too bad....

Powerless
What a weird little show.  It's a sitcom set in the DC universe with sort of second (or fourth) string characters.  So it is sort of like the DC version of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, except it is a completely different sort of show.  I mean, we really liked it.  Unfortunately, not enough other people liked it and it was canceled before all the episodes had even aired.




Superior Donuts
I watched two episodes.  I laughed once.  How this was renewed and Downward Dog was not will never make sense to me.... (Yes, I know they were on different networks...but there is still no fairness in the universe).

Timeless
Before the season started, this was the show I was most looking forward to watching.  Time travel?  Yes please!  But, I barely made it halfway into the season.  I wasn't impressed with much of the acting (especially the two leads) and, sadly, the writing seemed a little late-season-Grimm-like to me.  I learned my lesson with Grimm and I opted not to waste any more time on this one.

This is Us
Okay, I know that people love this show.  And I will say that this is the one show I made the point to watch live each week.  But, I'm not quite as in love with it as many others seem to be.  This show's highs were ah-maz-ing.  The episode entitled "Memphis" is one of the best things I've seen on television...ever.  But, if I take those high points out of the equation, there is still quite a bit left and I found all that to be only moderately better than just okay.

This is Us is also one of those shows that I just find to be manipulative.  It feels like they are far more concerned about trying to get a reaction than trying to tell a good story.  I'm also a little concerned about how they are going to sustain the success they had in the first season in subsequent seasons.  I don't think there is any way a show can keep what this show has going for long and I'm afraid that they don't have anything to back it all up.


Trial and Error
On paper, I should not have liked this show.  My husband and I sort of stumbled on it and we were both hooked.  It's a very absurd little show--it is a short run series--about a murder case in a small Southern town.  The humor definitely leans to the wacky, something that doesn't always work for me.  But, sometimes, wacky can be smart and that is definitely the case here.  This one was definitely worth our time and I am so glad that it will be back next season.

Now, the two "extra" shows.  Right now, we're in the midst of watching Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Turn: Washington's Spies.  In the case of Agents of Shield, we had decided to give up on the show after the previous season, but then I've read how good this season is so we decided to give it a try.  I don't think we're halfway through the most recent season yet, so I'm withholding judgment for the time being.

I missed a big chunk of the last season of Turn: Washington's Spies, thanks to us cutting cable and trying to figure out which streaming service we wanted (the answer was apparently "all of them.").  The fourth, and final, season just started airing, and the third season just dropped on Netflix.  So, right now, I'm rewatching the first 3 seasons so it will all be fresh when I finally get to the current season.

And that, my friends, is what I thought of broadcast TV during the 2016/2017 season.  I'll admit that there are quite a few shows coming up next season...so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

It's Monday...What Are You Reading - July 3 #IMWAYR

Guess what!  I survived VBS* week!  It always seems like such an accomplishment when we're all done, but my kids love it and I feel like I should help out (until my daughter is old enough to be youth helper, then it is all on her!).

Anyway, VBS is one of those physically, mentally, and emotionally tiring experiences for me, so I didn't do much besides that this week.  My daughter did end up have 3 play dates (which my son loved as he got me to himself for 2 of those play dates).  Two days out from the end of VBS and I'm still recovering!  Oh, and you'll see how this all was reflected in my reading below.

Oh, one more thing.  Last week, I talked about some changes I was making to this blog and how I do things around here.    Among the changes was that I would be doing fewer book reviews and any books that I would review in sort of a "traditional" way would be solicited.  I also mentioned that I would be more selective so, you know...don't expect too many.

Well, I wish I had looked at my schedule before I said that.  My plan for the summer is 3 posts a week--the Saturday Snapshot, this Monday update, and something else.  This coming week will be a non-book post (all about television, with a foray into rant land...) but then it looks like I have nothing but book reviews for the rest of the month!  So, yes, I am making changes...it just won't seem like it for a while!

*VBS is Vacation Bible School--basically a day camp many churches do.  It's great fun, full of songs that will never leave your head, but oh-so-tiring!

Anyway, on to this weeks, update:


It's Monday...What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.  Please visit her blog to link up and join the fun!  Also, if you are participating in the meme, please be sure to link to your blog in your comment so that I can visit!


Why, yes, that is same the collage from last week...because I did not finish a stinkin' thing this week.

Now, to be fair, I did make time for some reading (although not as much as I would have liked, thank you VBS), but here is the problem.  My next review is Kiss Carlo on July 11th and that book is HUGE!  I realized that, at the rate I was going, I wasn't going to finish it in time.  So, midweek, I put everything else (other than In Her Shoes, as that is my audio re-read) aside to concentrate on Kiss Carlo.  I'm pretty sure I'll finish it soon, and I don't have too much left in  Lift and Separate, so I'm expecting to finish at least those two this week.

So, I'm hoping for a lot of quality reading time this week...and a brand new collage for my next Monday update post.

Last week's posts:
Book Review: "Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father" by Sally Cabot Gunning
Saturday Snapshot

Friday, June 30, 2017

Saturday Snapshot - July 1

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.


This week was Vacation Bible School week for us (my kids go every year and I volunteer), and that has pretty much been our life.  Because of that, I have another set of unrelated and scattered pictures to share this week...

My kids at VBS.  There is a new theme each year and this one was a hit!

My daughter had a play date after VBS on Monday, so I had a lunch date with my son at his favorite restaurant: McDonalds

My daughter's Girl Scout troop decided to use part of their cookie earnings to buy diapers or pull-ups for a local charity that helps families living in poverty in our area.  The agency specifically asked us for large-size pull ups, so that is what they got--over $300 worth!  We finally had a chance to bring these in this week (and get them out of the back of my car!)