Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I'll show you my books, you show me yours 2020 v.1

I have not blogged in over 2 years, but I can't think of anything better to pull me out of a blogging hibernation than a Show Us Your Books link-up!  So, here I am.  The beauty of Steph and Jana (and all the other SUYB gang) is I know you all will welcome me back.  Thanks, readers.

What's been happening in my life for the last two years?  I suppose that's content for another post to get myself back into the blogging game.  But for now, I'm "stood down" meaning I still have a job but have no idea when I will be back to work.  So, a SUYB link-up is perfect stimulation and escapism for me right now.

Will I continue blogging?  Don't know?  Will I read every SUYB link this month?   Yep. Can't wait to see/read some familiar faces I interacted with years ago, those that still participate in my book challenge, and new book-lovin' peeps too.

Life According to Steph

Uhmmmm...how do I start? Let's see last link up was the 10th of March, 2020...so these are the books I've read since then.  That's how this works, correct?

1.  Dropped Third Strike by Micah K. Chaplin - What a great way to jump back into the blogging game...promoting a blogger's book.  (Does Micah still blog?  Let me go check.  Yes! Here's her blog: Unabashedly Me)  We participated in a book swap years ago, and Micah kindly sent a copy of her book to me.  I'm pretty awful about reading the books I own because I love going to the library so much, so it sat on my shelf.  Welllll, fast forward to now and no baseball.  I thought it was finally the perfect time to read a book that baseball plays such an important role.  But, this book is more than baseball.  There's a strong female lead and characters that I became invested in.  I enjoyed the writing style and how it smoothly transitioned from one character's voice to another's.
If you are missing baseball like I am, I recommend this book.  4/5

2.  Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah - due to so many rave reviews telling me to read this book, I finally did.  What a life.  What a story.  What a man.  What a mom who helped shape the man.  5/5

3.  Heaven, My Home by Attica Lake - This is a follow-up book to Bluebird, Bluebird...a book I enjoyed so much I put in my reservation for this one immediately after finishing it. This one was...fine...but not nearly as rich as the first.  Would I recommend it to others that read Bluebird, Bluebird?  Yes.  Do I think you need to rush to do so?  No. 3.5/5

4.  Sadie by Courtney Summers - Sometimes a book has so much hype surrounding it that my expectations are too high.  I think that happened with this one.  Or, maybe it's because I don't listen to podcasts, so I just missed that connection entirely.  But, I had to push myself through the first half of this book because of the rave reviews I'd seen.  I just wasn't feeling it.  I actually enjoyed the ending (which some readers loved the book but were unsatisfied with the ending), so I'm just sitting in the minority on this one.  2.5/5

5.  A Lesson in Violence by Jordan Harper - Sometimes, Australia likes to confuse me and release books with a different title here than in the U.S.  This is one of those.  I'm pretty sure it's called She Rides Shotgun in America. This book is brutal and brilliant.  Some of the writing seemed simple, but I found that added to its brilliance because the subject matter and character development was so far from simple.  5/5

I did it!  I wrote a blog post again!  Go me!  I hope my blog email still works...….

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New year, new post

Let's state the obvious, 2017 was not a good blogging year for me.  Sadly, I don't see many changes for 2018 to be a good blogging year either.  But, I don't want to give this up entirely.  So, it will stay a page...a page on hiatus...until I can work out a different life schedule that includes blogging again.

I hope the new year brings you love, light, new adventures, positivity, kindness, and genuine connections with good people.

Speaking of connections...

Connection with you is one of the things I enjoyed the most about blogging.  So, here are places to find me, so we can stay connected:

follow me on instagram

Or follow me on twitter

Or add me on snapchat (username: texerin)

Or join my book challenge

Or become my friend on goodreads 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I'll show you my books, you show me yours...vol.32

Here I am again with a late post.  (That's exactly how I began my last post for this link-up.)  I keep intending to jump back in the blog game.  Obviously, that hasn't happened.  But, I was not going to let the third anniversary of Show Us Your Books pass without my acknowledgement of what a wonderful contribution this link-up has been to my reading habits.  Thanks to each and every one of you for the book chats, the reviews, the recommendations, and the insight...and BIG thanks to to our hosts Jana & Steph for hosting this awesome book party.

The books I've read since our last link-up (it's been a couple of months, so this may be lengthy...just read my ratings to see if you're interested in reading my review):

1.  Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter - A charming book with the reminder to always look at the glass as half full.  3.5/5

2.  Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail by Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden - These were definitely some fascinating tales of life for a Brit convicted of smuggling drugs and landing in a Bolivian prison. The ways of this prison are unbelievable. But, honestly, in this case, I'd have rather watched a full length documentary than read a book.  Some of the story-telling dragged and felt self-indulgent.  I think I'd rather see and hear Thomas tell his stories. 2.5/5

3.  Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley - A true gem of a YA book.  A book that examines grief, love, family dynamics, coming of age, and the love of stories, words, and genuine connections with books and stories. 5/5  Thanks to Steph for bringing this book to my attention.  

4.  The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas -   I don't know what I can say about this book that other readers haven't already said. Powerful. Thought-provoking. 4.75/5

5.  The Good Girl by Mary Kubica - Eh. It was alright. I've read much more interesting, intriguing books that utilised Stockholm Syndrome in the plot. 2.5/5

6.  The North Water by Ian McGuireMan vs. Man; Man vs. Nature; Man vs. Self ... This book has it all. The writing is so descriptive and engrossing, but it is not for the faint at heart. This book is an example of one of the many reasons I love book chats with other readers.  I doubt I'd have given this one a look if it weren't for other readers' reviews. 4/5

7.  One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus - Although it often lacked depth, I enjoyed the read from start to finish.  4.25/5

8.  The Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin - I'm a participant in an Aussie Author Book Challenge. This book reinforces why I participate in such a challenge. A new-to-me author writing a rich cast of characters set in an Australian community during a time I'm unfamiliar with their specific history. The "who-dun-its" weren't overly surprising, but getting to the closures made for an enjoyable read.  4/5

9.  The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter - I am a self-professed Karin Slaughter fangirl.  I love her writing style, her characters, and her stories.  This book is a good example of why I find her books so enjoyable.  If you are a thriller fan and haven't read Karin Slaughter, this is a good one to grab.  4.5/5

10.  Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris - I am torn. I found the plot unique, yet unbelievable. At times, I couldn't put the book down. Other times, I skimmed because I was annoyed. So, I'm torn. 2.5/5

11.  And Fire Came Down by Emma Viskic - This is the second book of a series.  I raved about the first one (Resurrection Bay), and I will continue to read this series after this solid second effort.  The protagonist is a deaf investigator and the author learned "Auslan" (Australian sign language) in order to understand her character more. His relationship with his brother and his on again/off again partner are bonus additions to the mystery/thriller stories.  4.25/5

I've shown you mine, now you show me yours............

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I'll show you my books, you show me yours... vol.31

Here I am again with a late post.  I intended to get this post ready on time, but my canines had another idea.  They busted through our fence, got caught by the council rangers, taken to the pound.  I posted bail, picked them up from doggie jail, and dealt with putting together a temporary fix until I could get the fence fixed properly.  But, enough about my dog dramas, let's talk about books!

Again, much thanks to our hosts Jana & Steph for hosting this awesome book party.

The books I've read since our last link-up:

1.  We Are Okay by Nina LaCour - I loved every single character in this poignant YA book. 4/5

2.  An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire Reading the synopsis, I assumed this book was a thriller/mystery. Yes, there is a horrific murder. But, this story focuses on the aftermath, the pain, the grief, and the life-shattering experience felt by the closest loved one of a murder victim. The parallel story about a novice crime writer becoming invested in the victim's story was less compelling to me. 
The author dabbles in discussion of crimes against women and the inequality of language, viewpoints, and treatment of females, particularly in a small town.  Overall, it was a satisfying read. 3.5/5

3.  Before the Fall by Noah Hawley - At times, I almost gave up on this one, but there were parts of this book and one character that kept me interested enough to stick with it. Overall, I was disappointed. I skimmed paragraphs, and I got bored too many times to call this an enjoyable read. 2/5

4.  Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough Nope. Nope. Nope. I hated this book, and I rarely say that. I can't really say a whole lot without spoilers. Apparently, many readers have enjoyed it, so I don't want to spoil it for others potential enjoyment. But, it did not work for me. 1/5

5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - One of those books I've intended to read for years, but it took my book challenge to convince me to finally do it. So grateful I did. The madness and power of one's mind made this such a fascinating read.  Warning: could be a trigger for suicidal ideations.  4/5

6.  The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - Again, this is another book that I've been meaning to read for years, and it took this challenge to encourage me to finally pick it up. I'm so glad I did. It is a memoir that could be described as "stranger than fiction". The author is able to share so many layers to her life and upbringing by an intelligent, alcoholic father and an artistic, removed-from-reality mother. The experiences shared are full of poverty, neglect, hunger, and abuse. Yet, also described is a family's bond, their version of love for one another, and each's struggle for survival. An excellent read.
To touch on this being a "banned book"... it is banned because “it includes explicit language and references to child molestation, adolescent sexual exploits, and violence as it recounts the author’s experiences growing up with an alcoholic father and a mother who suffered from mental illness.”
Are the lives lived in this book beyond difficult? Yes. But, it is a reality for some. And, if we ban some children's reality, aren't we adding to the shame they already feel? I believe so. I support the notion "knowledge is power". When society becomes more knowledgeable about the strife of others, perhaps we can be more compassionate. 4/5

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Fall Film Challenge 2017

I've participated in every one of Jenn's Fall Film Challenges, but I've never finished.  Jenn was the same with my book challenges, until the last one...she conquered it.  So, now I'm feeling the heat to complete her challenge as well. 

Don't know what I'm talking about?  Check out this link.

Some of these were tough to choose.  I'd find a movie that I'd want to see, but I'd have no idea what category it would work for.  So, some of these may be a stretch... Updated: I need some help with one of the categories, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

one. starring anthony hopkins. - Thor: Ragnarok
three. about charity: an organization, an individual, a cause, an act... interpret this as you will. - The Way Way Back - the guy at the water park tries to help out an awkward teen; that's somewhat of a charitable act, correct?
four. starring robert downey, jr. - Good Night, and Good Luck - I've pretty much seen every RDJ movie I want to see, but I'll give this one a shot.
five. about envy: a character, a plot device... use your imagination - Memoirs of a Geisha
six. about faith. - Spotlight
seven. about greed. - Deepwater Horizon
eight. about hope. - Sing Street
nine. starring jeremy irons. - High-Rise
ten. about justice. - Patriots Day
eleven. starring kevin bacon. - Black Mass
twelve. about lust. - Lawless
thirteen. starring ian mckellen. - The Da Vinci Code
fourteen. set in a castle. - The King's Speech - He's a king; he spends some time in a castle, right?
fifteen. about fortitude. - The Birth of a Nation
sixteen. about pride. - Cinderella Man
seventeen. starring alan rickman. - Eye in the Sky
eighteen. released last year and reviewed on slothsandmovies.com. - Sully
nineteen. about temperance. - Amy - Watching a documentary about someone who died from alcoholism makes you want to abstain from drink, correct?
twenty. about prudence. - The Sound of Music
twenty-one. starring val kilmer. - Palo Alto
twenty-two. about wrath. - The Equalizer
twenty-three. set in an exotic locale. - The Little Mermaid
twenty-four. about gluttony. - The two movies I thought about (Se7en and What's Eating Gilbert Grape?), well, I've seen those - any suggestions?
twenty-five. set in space. - The Force Awakens

Join the facebook group to join in the film fun!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

5 Things

I saw this post by Heather at Heather's Hurrah, and I decided to steal borrow its structure to share things that have been going on with me since I've been mostly absent from the blog game. 

Most of you know, I went home to Texas for a visit in late May.  Here's 5 things I did while there:
  1. ate a lot of food
  2. visited family
  3. fed the family cows
  4. shared some quiet with my stepmom
  5. saw niece 2 graduate high school as valedictorian

In honor of my niece's graduation, my mom, my niece, my sis-in-law, and I shared a getaway in San Francisco.  5 things touristy things we did there:
  1. rode a double decker bus for a bus tour around the city
  2. visited Muir Woods
  3. drove the world's most crooked street
  4. rode a trolley car
  5. had lunch at Fisherman's Wharf
Here's 5 pictures from that fun time:

5 people I've been lucky enough to see:
  1. had a meal, a chat, and some laughs with these beauties, Rachel from A Nesting Nomad and Kristen from See You in a Porridge:
  2. shared a meal in Texas with this gal that I've known for 25+ years, jenn from quirky pickings:
  3. while in Cali, I got to see my stepsister, her lovely husband, future bambino, and fur baby:
  4. shared a girls' getaway in Sonoma, CA with two of my most favorite people in the world, college friends, Katy and Kari:
Okay, that's six people, but they were all worth mentioning.

I absolutely adored Sonoma and would happily go back and spend time there again.  Here's 5 reasons that I fell in love:
  1. wine tasting rooms
  2. cute cottages with beautiful gardens
  3. independent shops with shop cats
  4. good food and near perfect weather
  5. a Friday night farmer's market that seem to bring locals and tourists together
Remember when I had a pile of books that I was happy to give away to share with other readers?  Well, I'm doing it again.  I send it to you for free!  The only catch is that I encourage you to share the love, pay it forward, and give it to another when you're finished with it.  First come, first serve.  5 books up for grabs:
  1. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  2. Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad
  3. Violent Ends edited by Shaun David Hutchinson
  4. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  5. The Cleaner by Paul Cleave

Hold up, wait a minute.  I've got more books to give.  How convenient is it that I have 5 more on offer?! 
  1. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  2. An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire
  3. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
  4. Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos
  5. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I've read 5 books for Book Challenge by Erin 7.0 (goodreads group, facebook group, my reading list), and I have 5 more to go to complete the first round of the challenge.  These 5 books are next to be read:

Speaking of my book challenge, I'm breaking away from "5 Things" to give a shout out to the reading rock star known as Bev from Confuzzledom.  She's the first to complete our challenge this time around.  Way to go, Bev!

Now, tell me 5 things going on with you!

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Teens, adults; work colleagues, school friends; the successful, the unsuccessful; the unknown, the revered; Oscar & Grammy winners. 

Suicide.  It impacts and reaches into the lives of so many.  We continue to talk about it, but we continue to see lives extinguished that are experiencing turmoil and turbulence.

It's Saturday night.  I'm looking at articles, watching youtube videos, and reading lyrics because of the death of Linkin Park's Chester Bennington. 

Lyrics like these:

Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real

from 2000's "Crawling"

I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I've felt so long
(Erase all the pain 'til it's gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I'm close to something real
I wanna find something I've wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

from 2003's "Somewhere I Belong"

Take this all away
I'm suffocating
Tell me what the fuck is wrong
With me

from 2007's "Given Up"

Now in my remains
Are promises that never came
Set the silence free
To wash away the worst of me

from 2012's "In My Remains"

I wanna fall wide awake
Watch the ground giving way now
You tell me it's alright
Tell me I'm forgiven, tonight
But nobody can save me now
I'm holding up a light
I'm chasing up the darkness inside
'Cause nobody can save me

from 2017's "Nobody Can Save Me"

I'm holding on
Why is everything so heavy?
Holding on
To so much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what's bringing me down
If I just let go, I'd be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy?

from 2017's "Heavy"

Did I know Chester Bennington?  No.  But, I've known pain, confusion, darkness, depression.  Do I know his journey?  No.  All of our journeys are unique.  But, when I read that someone's journey has led to the outcome of Chester's, I ache.  And, I contemplate my own journey.

Personally, I've used Lifeline before.  I've called that number when I didn't know who to call.  I have family and loved ones who would want to tell me that I'm special, worthwhile, valued...but there have been dark times in my life when I was lost enough I didn't want to turn to them.  So, I called Lifeline, and I'm grateful that I did. 

Lifeline Australia 24/7 hotline: 13 11 14

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline USA 24/7: 1 800 273 8255

This link may be one of the most helpful things I've ever seen on Wikipedia:  List of suicide crisis lines by country

Rest in Peace, Chester
from Linkin Park's twitter