Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekend Reflections 6/24

Looking outside...it's sunny with blue skies. Currently 76 with a projected high of 90. 

Listening...to the fish tank, the fan, the sprinklers hitting the window.

Loving...blue sky and white clouds.

Thinking...that I need to get moving.

In my kitchen...Not sure yet about dinner. At the moment, it's Crio Bru. It's always Crio Bru.

Wearing...denim skirt, purple shirt.

Reading...I had three reviews post this week, but my reading has been slow.

Today...The Doctor is driving with my sister to pick up her children who have been with their father this month. We love it when the kiddos are back home.

I have some errands to run.

The Artist is biking the Hiawatha Trail next week and we need to get his gear ready.

Quoting...“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Feeling...Tired. I'm tired to begin with, but any heat just takes it out of me. I'm doomed in August...

Planning...going over our house maintenance "To-Do" list. It seems to be never ending, but we're slowly checking off things.

Gratitude...for air conditioners, fans and the fact that I don't live in Arizona or Las Vegas.

From my world... 

Seriously. Follow The Psychotic Penguin on Instagram and Twitter. You never know where he'll turn up next...

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, June 23, 2017

With You Always...Review

About the book:
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

The stories behind The Orphan Train have always fascinated me. That people were so desperate that they sent their children away to be adopted by other people. Those stories did not always have happy endings. What I didn't know was that during the financial crisis of the 1850s, the Children's Aid Society also sent out women: usually seamstresses and trade girls to work on the new frontier. Their stories also didn't always have happy endings.

Here we learn about Elise Neumann who must leave New York for a job in Illinois to provide for her younger siblings after their mother dies. Elise crosses paths with Thornton Quincy, the son of one of New York's wealthiest men. Thornton and his brother are in a competition to see who can establish a successsful town first and inherit their father's business.

Jody Hedlund has a way of showcasing, not only the human spirit, but the strength of women and this is just one reason I adore her writing. Elise is feisty and soon realizes that the opportunities promised in New York are far from ideal. I loved how she stood up to Thornton and convinced him to work alongside his employees so that he might now how the working class feel. And Thornton finally standing up to his brother and father was awesome.

The story is tinged with sadness and heartbreak and while not a cliffhanger, we are left with uncertainty about Elise's family and I am grateful that this is the first of a series so that we might know what happens to everyone.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Jody Hedlund here.

Read 5/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cover Crush...Summer by the Sea

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I love the beach. I miss the ocean desperately. And the Outer Banks of North Carolina are one of my favorite places in the world. So, a book set there? I'm all in. Walking on the beach hand in hand with my husband is sheer heaven. Naturally, a cover like this one completely draws me in. Who are these people? What is their story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

An Extraordinary Union...Review

About the book:
As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past...

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other...

I had so much hope for An Extraordinary Union. I loved the premise: a former slave with an eidetic memory who is a spy for the union. How cool is that? That she falls in love with a white detective who is undercover as a Rebel soldier is even more enticing.

The story is fairly well paced and there is plenty of action and a glimpse into the glamour of the rich who lived well despite blockades and an ongoing war. Politics is always there no matter what.

This novel had so much potential, especially a forbidden interracial romance and we did get some great story bits here and there. Elle undercover as a mute slave in a Confederate household. Elle almost captured by slavers.

However, the story was less about the historical part and more about sex. There wasn't much to call romance. Instead, everything was tinged with sexual tension and the need to act on it that didn't add to the story or make it better.

Elle as a character is terrific. Strong and fearless. Being a free woman and willingly going undercover as a slave and being treated as such? Talk about strength. She had more going for her than Malcolm ever did.

Unfortunately, instead of telling the story of a strong woman helping the Union win the war between the states, sex became the focus. That's always a disappointment.

This is the first in a series and I am undecided on whether or not I will read any future books.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Alyssa Cole here.

Read 5/17

* *
2/5 Stars