Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Decades Playlist by Jana and Erin: 1950s

Last Thursday of the month means it's time for another playlist with Jana  and Erin - a playlist with a twist.  Not "The" Twist because that song was released in the '60s, so that doesn't make the cut.  Yet.

The 1950s. A time for poodle skirts, sock hops, and soda fountains. Also McCarthyism, the Cold War, and Jim Crow but that's the part that sucked so we're not going to talk about that today. Nope. Instead, we're going to talk about one of the fun parts of the 1950s--the music!

I (Jana) love 50s music. It melts my dark, hard rock loving heart. It's fun and catchy and not at all like anything we have now. When I need a pick-me-up, I'll put on one of my 50s Spotify playlists. It makes me happy. Probably has to do with childhood memories of listening to the music at bar mitzvahs or with my grandparents. But who knows? I just like it. #noshame Hope you guys like some of the songs, too!

This is also the beginning of our through the decades playlist series (think of this as the Time Life version of our playlist series. Anyone else remember the Time Life CD collections? No? Just me?) and thanks to Erin for indulging me in this decade first. 

Songs from "The Day the Music Died" artists:  Sadly, all three of the following artists died in a plane crash in Iowa in February 1959.

Come On, Let's Go by Ritchie Valens (1958):  This video clip is fun, even if the person who uploaded it misspelled the artist's name.

Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper (1958): "Hellllooooo baaaaaby!" 

Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly (1957): Jana is a big fan of this bespectacled musician's songs.  He appears in our playlists from time to time.

Songs from piano men:

Tutti Frutti by Little Richard (1955): 

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957):  Let's forget about that whole marrying his teenage cousin part of the story.

Songs by brothers: 

Shout by The Isley Brothers (1959):  The dance scene in Animal House with John Belushi in a toga is one of those iconic cinematic scenes where the perfect song was picked for a movie.  But, that's not this video clip because that was Otis Day and the Knights covering The Isley Brothers.

Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers (1957):  fun fact~the daughter of one of these guys is named Erin Everly and that's who inspired Axl Rose to write the lyrics for Sweet Child of Mine.

Songs that make you want to dance (besides the ones already mentioned):

Shake, Rattle, and Roll by Bill Haley and the Comets (1954):

At the Hop by Danny & the Juniors (1957):

Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry:  Since we forgot about Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his cousin, let's forget that Chuck Berry allegedly had cameras installed in the women's toilets filming them while using the restroom at a restaurant he owned...

Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley (1956):  For that slow dance...

Songs that were introduced to me (Erin) by my grandfather:

Your Cheatin' Heart by Hank Williams (1953): 

It's Only Make Believe by Conway Twitty (1958):  Sometime, in the '70s, my (Erin's) grandparents and extended family went to a Conway Twitty show, and Dolly Parton was the opening act.  My uncle bought me nachos, and I was sitting on his lap eating them.  Then, I puked all over his boots while Conway Twitty was playing.  Awww sweet memories. 

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash (1955):  Johnny sings "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die."  Johnny was gansta before gangsta rappers.

But, what's great, is songs like these have lasted SIXTY years.  Think about that.  What songs recorded this decade do you think will last as long as these?  What artists will the bloggers of 2076 be sharing? 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pumpkin Swap


Reasons that I shouldn't sign up for "The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap" hosted by Kristin and Becky:
  1. It's not fall in Australia.
  2. I'm celebrating springtime which happens to be my favorite season of the year.
  3. Shipping costs to Australia aren't cheap.
Reasons that I should sign up:
  1. I've attempted to sign up for a couple of other swaps, was denied, so I avoid that rejection...but...Kristin already told me that I wouldn't be denied in this swap.
  2. I like sending care packages.
  3. I like receiving care packages.
  4. The world needs more care packages.
  5. Fun with other bloggers
  6. I can educate others about seasonal differences in different hemispheres.
Clearly, there are more reasons that I should sign up than shouldn't.  So, I've thrown my hat in the ring. 

Do you want to join the fun of The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap?  Go here to sign up!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reading a book by a foreign author set in a familiar location PLUS Aussie Author Challenge: Book 10

I like mystery/crime books.  I like them a lot.  There was a time when I pretty much only read books that fell into the mystery, crime, thriller, or true crime genres.  Yes, I've expanded my reading horizons, but a good mystery book is still one that I love to curl up and read.  So, I'd been looking forward to finally reading a book from Michael Robotham because he is an Aussie author that I regularly see him mentioned as a recommendation for this genre. 

When I picked up this book, all I knew was the synopsis from goodreads, that it had a 4.05* review on goodreads, and it was about a guy who escapes prison the day before he is set to be released.  Sounds like my kind of book.  But, I made an assumption.  I assumed this Aussie author wrote his books set in Australian locations. 

Lo and behold, on the very first page, I see a reference to "Lake Conroe".  Uhm.  My dad owned a house on Lake Conroe.  Not to be morbid, but my stepmother lost her battle to cancer in this very house after spending late spring and early summer looking out the window at scenes on Lake Conroe.  Is this my Lake Conroe?  Well, yes, yes it is.  I got even more excited to read this book. 
There were many references to areas and locations that I know very well.  The teenage character in this book goes to the very high school that I graduated from.  My intimate knowledge caused me to stumble across a few edit mistakes.  For instance, there is a massive "master-planned" community called The Woodlands.  That's its name...with an upper case "T"...The Woodlands...not just Woodlands, or lower case "t", the Woodlands.  But, hey, I don't want to be pedantic or pretentious. 

So, I saw a few of these minor mistakes.  Then, I saw another.  As seen in the following picture, a passage mentions some girls at a "honky-tonk" (fine, no problem, there are actually bars in Texas that we call "honky-tonks"), but these girls seem to be at a bachelorette party (Aussie "hen's night").  The author says that the assumed bride-to-be is wearing "an 'L-plate' strung around her neck." 

Hold up.  America doesn't have L-plates.  It is safe to assume most Americans don't know what L-plates are.  And, it is even safer to assume that a bride-to-be in a Texas honky-tonk won't be wearing an L-plate around her neck. 

Am I nit-picking?  Is this book, published at an Australian book publisher, is it edited for Australian readers?   Therefore, are changes made to the book for Australian readers, and the American version wouldn't mention L-plates?  I don't know. 

I asked Kristen (our favorite Aussie expat in America blogger booklover) what she thought.  She said:  "you should apply things to where it is set, regardless of where it is published."  I must admit, I agree with her. 

Rachel mentioned something similar to this about a recent book she read written by an American that was set in London (Lovestruck in London by Rachel Schurig).

Okay...................all the edit questions/comments/concerns aside, I liked this book.  I liked the story.  I liked the characters.  I liked the pace.  It wasn't too fast or "thrilling", but it wasn't slow either.  It was good story-telling of a crime & mystery book.  I liked that the author gives the reader some nuggets of clues throughout the book, as if he wants you to figure some things out on your own, and others he wants to still remain a mystery.  In the end, all of the stories are tied together and resolved, and I liked that too.  I will definitely read more from Michael Robotham, and I'd recommend him to others.

One more example, Americans call it a "tank top", not a "singlet".  In fact, it took me a good month or so living here before I even knew what Aussies were talking about when they said "singlet".  If the book is set in Australia, call it a "singlet". If it's set in Texas, call it a "tank top". Am I right?  

Okay.  I'll stop now.  My point was already made, right?  Now, I know I am nit-picking.

Two more to go; I got this!

It's the 7th year for the Aussie Author Challenge, and my 2nd year participating (click on the picture/link to take you directly to the site for more information).  My working book list is as follows:

Female Authors:

Male Authors:

Authors New to Me:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.91

Australia doesn't typically have candy corn anything, so when I stopped by this shop that imports American candy, I flipped out when I saw these. Y'all, those M&M's are crazy good.

I got anew dress that may look a little Stepford Wife-ish, but I love it. 

Also, I love when my mom sends me messages like this...a picture of J.J Watt...she cracks me up. 

Saturday night, my guy and I had a decent meal with a few fun drinks. 

He refuses to behave for selfies. 

We babysat our friends' cat while they were away for the weekend. This is Dash. 

As a "thank you", they gave me this "Halloween" pumpkin spiced candles. It smells delicious!

I hope you had a fun-filled, delicious weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stuff and Things: the Emmys edition

I like awards shows, but I prefer to record them and fast forward through parts that are boring to me.  As I type this, I've yet to watch the Emmys, but I've read some articles and looked at pictures.  I'll share some "stuff and things". 

When I share my thoughts about fashion, I try to only share the positives.  There are plenty of places telling you about what looks were wrong or misses.  I like to share what I perceive are hits.  Sadly, there weren't many (any) looks that really WOW-ed me.

But.  I can't look past this.  Claire Danes has walked many red carpets.  I'm going to assume she has a seasoned stylist as well.  How in the world did this orange glow, bad fake tan happen? 
Photo source
If I was attending an awards show and had to sit for hours and hours, I'd choose a dress like this.  How comfortable does this look?  Once again, Tina Fey proving that she is smarter than most.
Photo source
Yes, these looks remind me a little of 1980s prom, and I'm sure that fashion gurus will disagree, but I think it is adorable that he wore a matching bow tie to Viola's dress.
Photo source
Speaking of fashion gurus, I adore this purple velvet jacket on Brad from E!'s Fashion Police.
Photo source
I can't decide if I love or hate this dress Kristen Bell is wearing.  It's fun and whimsical, and I like fun and whimsical.  What do you think?
Photo source
Hey, Tom Hiddleston.  How ya doin'? 
Photo source
Don't you just love Hollywood couples that seem like somewhat normal people who have fun together and enjoy each other?  That's my impression of Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy.
Photo source
My favorite picture from the Emmys.  Yes, he is a working actor on a popular comedy series, but he's still a kid.  Love this pic of Rico Rodriguez from Modern Family.

Do you watch awards shows? 

Linking up with  Kristin & Joey

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Blogger Love vol.8: Lessons Shared from Bloggers

Sometimes Often, I learn lessons from other bloggers.  It's one of the reasons that I enjoy blogging...I learn so much from so many of you.  Here's a sample of lessons learned from blogger buddies' recent posts:

As I told Alyssa after reading her post, you never know when and why you are put in the path of someone else's life who needs you.  This post of hers was a great reminder of that:  A Dime a Dozen.  It is also a reminder that we can learn lessons from one another when we may not expect it.

It comes as no surprise (to me) that when Jana has something to say, I fully support it, like this: Something to Believe In , and this one that made me cry:  Exposing Depression's Lies.  Both of these posts are chockfull of lessons.

There is so much honesty (and several laughs) in Jenn's post about Stupid Reasons I've Unfollowed.  What lesson did I learn?  I learned things to avoid getting cut from Jenn's regular reads.  haha!

Another Jenn, another great post, but for different reasons: if you don't stand for something.  She shares the lesson that you don't have to agree with someone to respect someone's point of view.

I enjoyed Ericka's personal experiences and insight when sharing her Thoughts on Quitting.  She also shares lessons learned from her childhood and parents, and I'm guessing many of us can relate in our own personal way.

Nadine is preggers with her first baby, and it's a girl!  This post that she shares is so lovely:  Things I Want for My Daughter.  The lessons that she wants to share with her infant daughter are thought-provoking lessons for all of us.

Steph's lesson that she preaches in  Any Book Worth Banning is a Book Worth Reading is a banner that I want to wave too.

Audrey shares some thoughts and lessons about giving a happy home to canine fur babies in her post The Origin of Dogs.  As a mama to 2 mixed breed fur babies and 3 kitties from the Animal Welfare League, her post spoke to my heart: 

Linking up with Mattie and Lexi for "Weekly Lessons".

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Olympic Book Tag

Shannon started it...

Then, Kristen and Kristen joined the fun...

And Rose...

And Bev...

And Jenn...

(and if there are others I'm missing, share them with me because I'd LOVE to read them!)

How could I pass up a post like this?

A Book I Loved from the First Page:  This is the first paragraph of the Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys"My mother's a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She's actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute."  I was immediately invested in the story.

Favorite Road Trip Book:  Violet and Finch explore their home state of Indiana through some adventures similar to a scavenger hunt in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, but this book is about so.much.more than that.

A Book with a Good Love Triangle:  The love triangle of Ridge, Sydney, and Maggie is heart-breaking and well-written.  It's YA, and yes, there's some cheesiness, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

A Book I Really Didn't "Get":  Sorry, not sorry.  To me, there is nothing sexy, attractive, or appealing about Christian Grey.  The believability factor was completely off the map for me with 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  I quit it with only 50 pages to go because I just did not care what happened.

A Book Set in the Summer:  Released under two different names, Vanessa Lafaye's Summertime (or Under a Dark Summer Sky) is set in the Florida Keys during 1935 Hurricane Season.  A book about relationships, duty, racism, love, small town dynamics, crime, life after war, death, a hurricane, and loss, there are just so many reasons why I loved this book.

A Book with a lot of Fighting/Bloodshed:  Don Winslow's epic saga portrayed in The Power of the Dog and it's follow-up, The Cartel is a realistic account of Mexican drug cartels and the "war on drugs".  Guess what.  There's A LOT of violence, fighting, death, and bloodshed in that world.  A lot.  Not for the faint at heart, but so, so good.

A Book with a lot of Plot Twists:  After reading I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, this is what I had to say:  "You know when you're reading and think you've got it figured out...then you change your mind... then think 'well, maybe'... then you are completely wrong...then you are kinda correct, but there's a twist...then you've figured part of it out but it doesn't matter because the book is still so good? That was this book for me. I stayed up past my bedtime because I couldn't put it down."
A Book that Made Me Sob:  Others have listed this one as well, but I posted photographic proof that Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale did indeed make me sob black mascara streaks down my face.

A Slow Paced BookI'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid is so slow that I almost quit it, and I don't quit books often.  Then, the last third of it (or quarter of it), it changed, picked up the pace, and I felt like I was watching a horror movie.

A Childhood FavoriteThe Poky Little Puppy is the book that I remember begging anyone and everyone to read it to me.  I loved it so much, I wanted to learn to read just so I could read this book.

A Book Featuring Animal(s):  The love I feel for The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale is all about the cast of characters: a teenager who is chasing after a group of men who kidnapped his sister, Jack Parker, a charismatic "bounty-hunting dwarf named Shorty, a grave-digging son of an ex-slave named Eustace, and a street-smart woman-for-hire named Jimmie Sue" plus a wild hog that truly is a character all himself.

A Book I Struggled to FinishRunning with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs - ** SPOILER ALERT ** This book and I didn't click. Sure, I could find the hilarity in the absurdity. But some of the severity of the dysfunction (particularly the graphic sexual abuse of a young teen boy by an adult, and the acceptance and encouragement by other adults for this "relationship" to take place) was so disturbing that I couldn't take the hiding behind humor and shock value as the only view presented.

A Book with a Great Friendship:  There is so much beauty to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak including both of Liesel's significant friendships: with Rudy and with Max.  A very close runner-up that is also WWII based is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne and the friendship of Bruno and Shmuel. 

A Book that Actually Features Olympic Sports:  When I first created this list, I thought of The Book Thief for this category because Rudy idolized the great Olympian Jesse Owens.  But, the story of the friendships was much more important, so it went to the category above.  Then, I realized I had no rock bio in my list, and I read many rock bios.  In It's So Easy by Duff McKagan (bass player and founding member of Guns N Roses and other bands), he discusses at length the many tools he learned to fight addiction and excess.  One of the disciplines he practices is cycling. 

I've discussed almost all of these books in the past, but this was such a fun way to compile them in this post.  Won't you join in the Olympic Book Tag fun?  If you don't create your own post, then at least tell me at least one book for one category that you'd select.