Thursday, July 12, 2018

Because I Promised

I promised you before and after pictures of my backyard and if you follow me on Instagram you probably already saw these but, if not, here they are!

I actually grew up in this house and once upon a time it didn't look THAT bad but by the time my husband and I bought it, it had been neglected and looked pretty you can see.

This one's my favorite. It looks so completely different! See that resort look I was going for?

 This was a before the before picture. We used to have a deck but it was falling to pieces.

I'm so bummed that we didn't have a before shot from this angle because over where the fire pit and my husband's shop is was a huge pile of branches and logs and just a big ol' mess!

And one shot at night because the lights are my favorite part!

It was a lot of work and took way too long to finish but I'm so glad it's done now. I spend most of my afternoons out by my pool reading! I love how low maintenance the yard is because the pool, while fun, is NOT low maintenance so every little bit helps.

Thanks for letting me show it off!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: Wishtree

Title Wishtree
By Katherine Applegate
Genre Middle Grade Fiction
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Told from the perspective of a tree comes the story of a young girl that doesn't fit in and a blooming friendship that will be forged to save the tree's life.

First Sentence
It's hard to talk to trees.

I've never read a Katherine Applegate book before. I like middle grade books well enough but I don't really seek them out. I found this beautiful book at a thrift store and couldn't resist it's charm.

The book is beautiful; and I don't just mean the story. Every page is illustrated with sketches of leaves to enjoy but also has these beautiful pictures that go with the story. If you read this one for no other reason than the artwork you'd be satisfied.

But the story is beautiful too. It's a simple story that's been told before of prejudice and judgment and friendship conquering all. I didn't find anything new within the pages but the angle of the tree telling the story was a fun one and gave this book life.

 I'm lucky to have found a hard copy cover of this sweet story and am happy it's in my collection now.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Decisions, Decisions

Have you ever gone and seen the film adaption of a favorite book? Of course you have. Did the movie disappoint? There's a good chance it did. Or maybe you see the preview for a movie and know it's based on a book and scramble to read the book before seeing the movie?  Or have you seen a movie, found out it was based on a book and added the book to your TBR?

Why the blazes am I asking all these questions? Well, you're in luck. I'll tell you. I've done every one of the above mentioned things and started wondering which is better, watching the movie first or reading the book?

Of course this implies you've neither seen or read either. So let's play that hypothetical game, shall we?

When you read the book first it can be fun to see all the characters you love brought to the big screen; watching to see who's being cast as who and debating whether that was the best choice. And when Hollywood gets it right it's glorious. Or you see the movie and it's a train wreck. It feels rushed and they leave out all the good parts or, worse, they completely change everything, and not for the better.

When you watch the movie first and enjoy it; learning there's a book is like finding a twenty dollar bill in your pocket you'd forgotten about. You get to enjoy the story all over again and get the story from it's source. And the book is always so much more detailed than the movie. Of course, sometimes you find the book a little too long and detailed, or maybe you agree with the changes Hollywood made (I'm looking at you, The Bourne Identity).

So say you've seen the preview for a movie based on a book. What do you do? Do you hurry and read the book in preparation or do you watch the movie as a sort of preview of the book?

I think I've finally decided. I prefer watching the movie first. It takes two hours to watch a movie and (for me) much longer to read a book. If the movie is bad or rushed compared to the book but I haven't read the book than I can't do any comparing. That way, I usually enjoy the movie and then read the book and when it's way better than the movie, which it often is, I get to enjoy them both. Make sense?

What about you? Which do you prefer?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: The Broken Girls

Title The Broken Girls
By Simone St. James
Genre Adult Suspense Horror
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️

Alternating between the past and the present, The Broken Girls tells the story of a run down boarding school and the secrets it holds. Fiona has reason to hate the abandoned and derelict boarding school Idlewild. Her sister was found murdered and dumped on the grounds 20 years ago. But the old school has a history long before the tragedy that's haunted Fiona for years and she's about to learn all about it.

First Sentence 
The shrill of the cell phone jerked Fiona awake in the driver's seat. 

Oi! I've seen this one popping up all over the place; people raving, and praising it. So of course I had to get my hands on it. Peer pressure and all that. And once again,  I found myself feeling like the little child in The Emperor's New Clothes; wondering what the hell everyone was talking about! There's nothing special here!

Ugh! I kept stopping mid sentence in this book to look up again who published it because I was so sure it was self published. It had to be. It was so painfully bad. The conveniences were too many to count! I found myself rolling my eyes so hard and often I got a headache.

Why? Why did I keep reading? I guess I wanted to know how it would end and if it could redeem it's self but when the MC ended up with the man who's father tried to kill her...Yeah, no. I just couldn't get behind this one. At all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

June Wrap-Up 2018

June brought another crazy month around here. We FINALLY got our backyard finished; that dragged out way too long. I don't have complete pictures yet because I'm waiting for my husband to re-set the diving board for the pool so it's all perfectly complete. When that's done I'll be posting some very dramatic before and after pics. Seriously! I just hunted down the before pictures I took four years ago and it's NUTS! It look so different!

Besides all that craziness I had to finally go see a orthopedic surgeon for my thumb. It's been giving me grief for over a year. After an X-ray and an MRI, they determined that, no, I didn't injure the ligaments (yeah, I could have told them that) and that, no, there's no cancer, (thank goodness!) but that there's tendinitis (just as I suspected) and calcification around that joint that may be a cause or a result of the tendinitis. So basically they gave me another steroid shot and told me if it acts up again I'll most likely need surgery to remove the calcification. Can I just cut my thumb off? Grrrr!

And we have another real estate deal underway that's turning into a huge ordeal. When that's all done and set in stone I'll let you know know all about it. For now, I'm just trying to get ready for the pool party I'm having for Independence Day and trying to read as much as I can to counteract all the stress.

Here's what I managed in June. 8 books. Not bad.

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, The Broken Girls by Simone St. James, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, The Optimist's Guide To Letting Go, and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

Favorite this month was Eleanor Oliphant. Least favorites were The Perfect Nanny and The Broken Girls.