Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Friday, February 24, 2017

5 Books I Want to Read...Comedy

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2745. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing.

There are a lot of funny people in Hollywood these days. But, few comedians will become classic or timeless comedians. And for the record? Profane humor isn't funny. Especially if that's all a comic does. A well placed expletive has its place, but being profane, just to be profane isn't enjoyable comedy to me.

Humor comes in many forms and these 5 comedians are amazing. Each has a body of work that speaks for itself and each is enjoyable to watch, whether it's on screen or on stage.


Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys by Billy Crystal

Hilarious and heartfelt observations on aging from one of America’s favorite comedians as he turns 65, and a look back at a remarkable career.

Billy Crystal is turning 65, and he’s not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like “Buying the Plot” and “Nodding Off,” Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him.

He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Readers get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever “test positive for Maalox”), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (“the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac”), grandparenting, and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal’s reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett

A touching and hilarious memoir by the author of Carrie and Me: A Mother Daughter Love Story, This Time Together is 100 percent Carol Burnett – funny, irreverent, and irresistible.

Carol Burnett is one of the most beloved and revered actresses and performers in America. The Carol Burnett Show was seen each week by millions of adoring fans and won twenty-five Emmys in its remarkable eleven-year run. Now, in This Time Together, Carol really lets her hair down and tells one funny or touching or memorable story after another – reading it feels like sitting down with an old friend who has wonderful tales to tell.

In engaging anecdotes, Carol discusses her remarkable friendships with stars such at Jimmy Stewart, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, and Julie Andrews; the background behind famous scenes, like the moment she swept down the stairs in her curtain-rod dress in the legendary “Went With the Wind” skit; and things that would happen only to Carol – the prank with Julie Andrews that went wrong in front of the First Lady; the famous Tarzan Yell that saved her during a mugging; and the time she faked a wooden leg to get served in a famous ice cream emporium. This poignant look back allows us to cry with the actress during her sorrows, rejoice in her successes, and finally, always, to laugh.

What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life by Tim Conway

Six-time Emmy Award–winning funnyman Tim Conway, best known for his characters on The Carol Burnett Show, offers a straight-shooting and hilarious memoir about his life on stage and off as an actor and comedian.

In television history, few entertainers have captured as many hearts and made as many people laugh as Tim Conway. There’s nothing in the world that Tim Conway would rather do than entertain—and in his first-ever memoir, What’s So Funny?, that’s exactly what he does. From his pranks in small Ohio classrooms to his perfor­mances on national television and movies, Tim has been cracking people up for more than seventy years. Long regarded as one of the funniest come­dians around, Tim also boasts an inspiring rags-to-riches story.

What’s So Funny? captures Tim’s journey from life as an only child raised by loving but outra­geous parents in small-town Ohio during the Great Depression, to his tour of duty in the Army—which would become training for his later role in McHale’s Navy—to his ascent as a national star and household name. By tracing his early path, this book reveals the origins of many of Tim’s unforgettable characters—from Mr. Tudball and the Oldest Man to Mickey Hart to everyone’s favorite, Dorf.

What’s So Funny? shares the hilarious accounts of the glory days of The Carol Burnett Show and his famous partnerships with entertainment greats like Harvey Korman, Don Knotts, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, Vicki Lawrence, Bob Newhart, and of course, Carol Burnett. As a bonus, readers will enjoy never-before-shared stories of hilarious behind-the-scenes antics on McHale’s Navy and The Carol Burnett Show.

Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

"Sometimes the greatest things are the most embarrassing." Ellen Degeneres' winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air. (To date, it has won no fewer than 31 Emmys.) Seriously...I'm Kidding, Degeneres' first book in eight years, brings us up to date about the life of a kindhearted woman who bowed out of American Idol because she didn't want to be mean. Lively; hilarious; often sweetly poignant.

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin

In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away."

Emmy and Grammy Award winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written.

At age ten Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott's Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes.

Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times-the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies.

Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.


What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

#CoverCrush: The Funeral Dress

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 have always been fascinated by the tools and accessories that accompany sewing. Rows upon rows of colored thread. Pins lined up in neat rows along a hem. Ribbons and trimmings. The title of this book suggests a dress that is specifically worn to a funeral. Is it special-made? Is someone a dressmaker or seamstress? The needles, thread and scissors would indicate that sewing is involved, but how? 

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 Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


About the book:
Marc Mondragon is your average teenager: always getting into trouble, crushing on the pretty girl in school. But when strange things begin happening to his body, Marc is thrust into a new world where dragons are no longer just fairy tales. Now knowing he’s part dragon, Marc joins a group of Dragonkyn who call themselves Sorceron. As Marc discovers new powers within himself, he starts to wonder how much he can really trust his fellow Dragonkyn. After the leader of Sorceron orders the rest of the group to kill Marc, he flees. But when he discovers that people are going to attack the Sorceron, Marc is faced with a dilemma. Will he try to help the Dragonkyn who tried to kill him?


About the author:
Nathan Smith Jones graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English Literature. The fourth of eight children, he is the author of the children's book, The Boy Who Ate America, and several other novels and screenplays. He lives with his wife and five children in Utah.


Thanks to the author and Cedar Fort for the opportunity to spotlight this book. You can connect with Nathan on his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can purchase your own copy here. You can see reviews and tour stops here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Skeleton Garden...Review

About the book:
USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed series continues as expert gardener Pru Parke digs up a Nazi warplane—and a fresh murder.

Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but she never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employers offer Pru and her new husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of their nineteenth-century estate while they’re away for a year, she jumps at the chance. Sweetening the deal is the prospect of further bonding with her long-lost brother, Simon, who happens to be Greenoak’s head gardener. But the majestic manor has at least one skeleton in its closet—or, rather, its garden.

Working on renovations to the extensive grounds, siblings Pru and Simon squabble about everything from boxwood to bay hedges. But when the removal of a half-dead tree turns up the wreckage of a World War II–era German fighter plane and a pile of bones, the arguments stop. That is, until a rival from Simon’s past pays a surprise visit and creates even more upheaval. It’s suddenly clear someone is unhappy their secrets have been unearthed. Still, Pru’s not about to sit back and let Simon take the fall for the dirty deed without a fight.

I guess I've just been in the mood for cozy mysteries. Or a really funny heroine. Maybe both. At any rate, Marty Wingate doesn't disappoint. The Skeleton Garden picks up after Pru and Christopher's marriage. They have been offered the chance to stay at Greenoak for a year, while friends are out of the country. Pru jumps at the chance to do so, because the gardens are gorgeous, but also because her brother Simon is the gardener.

While working on the grounds, Pru and Simon discover a buried German fighter plane with human remains nearby. The old locals remember the plane crashing, but no one knows the identity of the bones, and soon, a real dead body turns up in the gardens as well. Pru, being curious, can't keep herself from doing her own investigating into both situations.

The story begins with a flashback and incorporates so much more than just a murder mystery. The quirky townspeople are very much a part of Pru's life and the story of what happened during the war. Christopher's nephew comes to stay and he's a load of fun. Pru's housekeeper is prickly and her sister-in-law's former beau shows up. All in all, it's a delightful, engaging story with endearing characters you'd love to be friends with.

Fourth in the Potting Shed Mystery series, just like the others, the book stands alone well. But, as with any good series, I always recommend reading the books in order for depth and character development.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Marty Wingate on her website as well as Twitter and Facebook.

Read 2/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend Reflections 2/18

Looking outside...it's cloudy and rainy. But, it's not snowing. And we had sunshine this week. One day the sun was shining and it was 37°. I actually had my back door open. It was lovely.

Listening...to peace and quiet. The fireplace is going. 

Loving...that The Artist has a fantastic youth group at church. He's on a campout this weekend. 

Thinking...has the writing of thank you notes and acknowledging wedding or shower gifts gone the way of manners and kindness? I have a list of wedding and shower gifts that I have given over the last two years. I am not even at 50% for having those gifts acknowledged.

The Doctor says that you give a gift from your heart, not to be praised for it and I agree. But, I would like to know that my wedding or shower gift was received. Sometimes I have taken the gift to the reception or shower. Sometimes I have mailed it and have delivery confirmation to tell me that it arrived somewhere, but I'd like to know that the recipients received it as well.

I will concede that gifts or cards can be lost in the mail, because, if it wasn't for the fact that my list includes 6 specific instances, I'd assume that every one of those gifts was lost and not received by the bride and groom. However, the odds of 6 separate gifts going astray is not likely.

So, do I just sit and stew? Or do I ask? And who do I ask? The bride and groom directly or one of their parents? The parents I have asked (and it has been several) just tell me how frustrated they are about it as well and then make excuses that they can't control their children once they're adults, which is true. But by asking, at least I know the gift was received or if it was misdelivered.

And for the record? The gifts that cause the most problems? Amazon registries. Even if you include a personal note, the recipient doesn't always know who the gift was from. I won't give gifts that way any more.

Bridal and baby showers are given for the sole purpose of receiving gifts. Sure, you can say they're given to celebrate the wedding or birth, but we all know it's so the bride or mother-to-be can get gifts.

Wedding invitations are sent to announce a marriage and/or invite people to celebrate with the bride and groom. It is anticipated that invitees will bring/send a gift.

Since you've all pretty much asked for gifts (when the registry or gift preferences are on the invitation/announcement, that's exactly what you've done), the least you can do is send thank you notes.

The Boy wrote out thank you notes for every graduation gift he received. I had the thank you notes from my bridal showers and wedding written within two weeks after our wedding. I had the baby shower thank you notes written within a week, while caring for a newborn, since I was given a baby shower after The Boy was born. I did not get thank you notes sent to everyone who brought us a meal while he was in the hospital after his open-heart surgery and I do regret that. I did send notes on my family's behalf to everyone who brought a meal, sent flowers or made a donation after my dad died. I didn't want my mom to have to worry about doing it.

I'd even accept an email or text. I don't need formal, although hand written notes are lovely to receive.

I'm turning into a grumpy old woman.

In my kitchen...Dinner with friends. Hot chocolate at the moment.

Wearing...black skirt, black tights, black pumps, dark purple turtleneck and black sweater.

Hoping...that the sun comes out.

Reading...Finished The Skeleton Garden by Marty Wingate. Review goes up next week.

Today...went to the temple this morning with The Doctor. The Boy is at work. The Artist is on a scout campout. Dinner with good friends tonight.

Quoting..."No matter what you have, where you're at, you can accomplish any damn thing you want. Use what you have, and take those steps each and every day to get where you want to be. What ever happens along the way, failures, set-backs, injuries, seemingly wasted time, it is what it is! It's all in how we react." -- Steven Conner, Forge Your Potential

Feeling...So energized from this week. I'm not doing the ketogenic weight loss like The Doctor is, but I'm finding what works for me and I'm seeing success. He's had a good week professionally and it's so wonderful to feel hope. Life has its ups and downs, but it really is good.

Planning...the week, looking at appointments and obligations.

Gratitude...for opportunities. The Doctor had the opportunity to do a podcast with a couple of awesome guys from Forge Your Potential. He was able to talk about his weight loss, his experiences, his goals. I loved watching him and even participating a bit. I am grateful that he desires to use his experience and his talents to help other people. He wants to encourage and inspire people to become more than they are, to reach their potential and discover that life is worth living. 

I am grateful for people like Conner and Dustyn who have created an organization to do just that and who provide people opportunities to share their experiences and teach others.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can do so at Forge Your Potential. I'm a bit biased, but I believe it's worth a listen and I promise that you'll come away inspired and thoughtful.

From my world... 

My Valentine's Day flowers from The Doctor. Still looking pretty.

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

Childhood Favorites...Summer Pony

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

I loved the Scholastic Book Orders that we used to bring home from school. I would mark them up and choose which book I absolutely needed to have. My mother was fairly indulgent when it came to books and I was always able to get one or two.

Summer Pony was one I got from the book order. Ginny always wanted her own horse and one summer, her parents took her to this run down horse ranch to choose a horse that she would be able to keep for the summer. The pony she chose was neglected, shaggy and unkempt with two different color eyes. But Ginny fell in love and named the pony Mokey.

That summer, she learned to care for Mokey and even eventually showed her. But, when the summer ended, Ginny didn't want to return Mokey to that old rundown ranch.

I loved Ginny. My grandfather raised quarter horses and every summer we would visit his ranch and I would get to ride horses. It is one of my fondest memories and to read a book about a girl who was my age, who had a horse, was pretty neat.

I still have Summer Pony. It stands up to time.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#CoverCrush: Life is Sweet

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.

Cupcakes. Who doesn't love cupcakes? Seriously. Little morsels of cake goodness. How do cupcakes fit into the story? Do they or is it baking in general? The polka-dotted dress is sweet and innocent, the cupcake looks delicious. This cover is happy. It makes me smile. I have no idea what it's actually about. 

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 Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Between a Rock and a Hard Place...Review

About the book:
Perfect for fans of Laura Childs, Ellery Adams, and Jenn McKinlay, Marty Wingate’s enchanting Potting Shed Mystery series heads to Scotland as Pru Parke plans her wedding...all while a vengeful murderer is poised to strike again.

After her romantic idyll with the debonair Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse culminates in a marriage proposal, Pru Parke sets about arranging their nuptials while diving into a short-term gig at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. At hand is the authentication of a journal purportedly penned by eighteenth-century botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. Compared to the chaos of wedding planning, studying the journal is an agreeable task...that is, until a search for a missing cat leads to the discovery of a dead body: one of Pru’s colleagues has been conked on the head with a rock and dumped from a bridge into the Water of Leith.

Pru can’t help wondering if the murder has something to do with the Menzies diary. Is the killer covering up a forgery? Among the police’s many suspects are a fallen aristocrat turned furniture maker, Pru’s overly solicitous assistant, even Pru herself. Now, in the midst of sheer torture by the likes of flamboyant wedding dress designers and eccentric church organists, Pru must also uncover the work of a sly murderer—unless this bride wants to walk down the aisle in handcuffs.

It was so fun to visit Pru and Christopher again, in another installment of the Potting Shed Mystery series. Christopher has proposed and Pru has been offered a short-term job in Scotland authenticating the journal of a famed botanist. Pru sees it as a fantastic opportunity while she is planning the wedding.

As nothing ever quite goes as planned for her though, Pru finds herself working with a disgruntled colleague, questions as to why she even has the job and ultimately, the mystery of a dead body. Always curious, Pru can't help but get involved in the investigation.

Pru Parke is just one of my favorite heroines. Partly because she's mature in age, partly because she's just a lot of fun. The secondary characters bring a humor and depth to the story that goes beyond entertaining. It's just good storytelling.

Third in the Potting Shed Mystery series, the book stands alone just fine, although I always recommend reading a series in its entirety for depth and character development.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Marty Wingate on her website as well as Twitter and Facebook.

Read 2/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Weekend Reflections 2/11

Looking outside...it's warming up. We've hit the 50s and it's so warm! The snow is almost gone. There is more bare ground than snow at our house. Flooding is now an issue, which isn't good. There is rain in the immediate forecast, but no snow.

Listening...to the family moving about. The Doctor has continuing education this weekend. The Boy isn't working.

Loving...that having our own practice means more control over schedules. The Doctor has been home more and it's been wonderful.

Thinking...that it's confession time. 

I rarely talk politics with people, because it seldom, if ever, is a productive conversation. When I do have political discussions, I enjoy them the most when parties and voting choices don't come into play. I have actually had several enjoyable discussions like that since the election. Personally, I think we can have conversations that don't have to involve politics and if they do, they don't have to be acrimonious. But they usually are and because of that, it's just easier for me to not talk politics. 

So, since the election, every single person who has asked me directly who I voted for has gotten a different answer. It's true. Some people think I voted for Hillary. Some think I voted for Trump. Others think I voted for McMullin or Johnson. Sometimes I come out and say the opposite of who they support, sometimes I just agree with them. Yeah, I'm a liar.

I did that for a couple of reasons. One, it's no one's business. Two, it's been an interesting experiment to see how I've been treated. I've had a couple of people cut off any sort of meaningful contact because they can't get past their belief that I voted for Trump. I've agreed with people who voted for McMullin and they've proceeded to lambaste anyone who voted for Hillary or Trump. I've agreed with people who voted for Hillary and they have told me how horrible anyone who voted for Trump is and they can't get past it. 

Honestly, it's been disappointing, because rather than listen, people just want to prove that their points are right and yours are wrong. 

This election was personal for everyone. And while there are extremes in every party, I think that for most people, their voting choice wasn't an easily made decision. Since the election and inauguration, there are a lot of concerns on many issues. But, I think most Americans are in agreement that they love this country.

However, everyone believes that their viewpoint is the only one. And no one is willing to listen to someone else. Whether you're conservative or liberal and regardless of how you voted, you're being judged as a lunatic by the other party. Tolerance needs to go both ways, not just your way.

Not that anyone reads these reflections, but I have deliberately written about my election/political thoughts from a non-partisan viewpoint. I didn't want someone to read them and know instantly who I voted for. I still don't.

I won't unfriend people on Facebook for political differences, but I have unfollowed a lot of people because their political posts are prolific and often incendiary and intended to insult and drive home their points. And, here's a heads-up. Anyone who knows you, already knows how you feel politically. You don't need to be rude about it on social media.

And, honestly? I don't care who you voted for or how you feel politically. I do know that your reasons are personal and important to you and I respect that. What I do care about is how you treat other people. And, quite frankly, most of you suck at how you've treated other people during and after this election. 

If you're not happy with the way things are, find out what you can do, if you already aren't. Write letters, make calls, donate, march. But don't be mean about it. If you're happy with how things are, don't be mean about it either. Seriously. Hate isn't what causes change. Love does. So, be kind. Do good. Love is a verb.

So, if you want to know how I voted? I voted how you voted. And I don't judge you for it.

In my kitchen...Not sure what's on the menu for tonight. Hot chocolate at the moment. 

Wearing...blue BSU pajama pants, gray turtleneck and gray fuzzy socks.

Hoping...that we finally have all the info we need to start our taxes.

Reading...Finished Between a Rock and Hard Place by Marty Wingate. Review goes up next Wednesday.

Today...I need to go to the grocery store and the bank.

Quoting...“A choir is made up of many voices, including yours and mine. If one by one all go silent then all that will be left are the soloists. Don’t let a loud few determine the nature of the sound. It makes for poor harmony and diminishes the song.” ― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Feeling...so excited for Avengers: Infinity Wars. Saw some stuff about it online yesterday. Actually squeed a bit. And Guardians of the Galaxy 2? Looks amazing!

Planning...looking over the coming week.

Gratitude...for sunshine. Especially winter sunshine. After cold, gray days, winter sunshine is the best. I don't care how cold it is. When the sun shines in the winter, my spirits rise.

From my world... 

Grateful for a Saturday with few responsibilities and some time to just be. 

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dating Never Works...Until it Does: Spotlight

Why does dating never work? Because it’s not supposed to—that is, of course, until you meet the last person you’ll ever date. It took Zack Oates over 1,000 dates to find his wife and he has 100 pieces of advice to help you do it in less time with more fun.

Dating Never Works…Until it Does will help you get from first contact, to great dates, to overcoming heartache, and all the way to a happy marriage. It is full of practical steps, crazy dating stories, and hilariously accurate pieces of wisdom to give you a boost at any stage of dating. Pull up a chair, grab some ice cream and come have a chat with a new friend about dating and life. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and in the end, you’ll realize that dating isn’t broken it just hasn’t worked for you…yet!


About the author:
Zack Oates is an entrepreneur, husband, hot tubber, and author (but not in that order, necessarily). He went on over 1,000 dates with hundreds of women before he met his wife—and would appreciate any advice on how to make sure that his next 1,000 dates are with the same woman.

He grew up in New Jersey in a home with rockstar parents who showed him anything is possible—even a happy marriage. His dad is a three-time Super Bowl champion and his mom is a model; but admits that he was given his dad’s looks and his mom’s athletic abilities.

In addition to earning his MBA, he has started six businesses, voted Top 100 Entrepreneurs, rung the NASDAQ bell, and has been featured in numerous major news publications (Wall Street Journal, NYTimes, Wired Magazine, Mashable, etc.) for his ventures. He is currently a management consultant for Fortune 100 companies. He has also started an international nonprofit working with victims of domestic violence. He has written hundreds of dating, relationship and inspirational advice to hundreds of thousands of readers at BowlofOates.com.

He has been to over 30 countries, but is more proud of going to over 100 hot tubs. He has a love-hate relationship with running, in that he loves the thought of it, but hates doing it…yet somehow he has limped across the finish line for one marathon and dozens of half marathons. In his spare time he can be found on an adventure with his wife or staring at a map planning the next one.


Thanks to Zack for the opportunity to spotlight his book. You can connect with Zack on his website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I suggest you do, because he is a riot as well as an insightful writer! You can purchase your copy here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

#CoverCrush: Guarded

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.

This vivid scarlet cover caught my eye immediately. A pretty dress, a young woman holding a stack of letters. Who are they from? How do they fit with the title, which suggests restraint or suspicion? So many questions that are only answered by reading the book.

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 Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic Swede, Layered PagesindieBRAG, Literary Vacation.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man...Review

About the book:
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner first crossed paths as actors on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Little did they know that their next roles, in a new science-fiction television series, would shape their lives in ways no one could have anticipated. In seventy-nine television episodes and six feature films, they grew to know each other more than most friends could ever imagine.

Over the course of half a century, Shatner and Nimoy saw each other through personal and professional highs and lows. In this powerfully emotional book, Shatner tells the story of a man who was his friend for five decades, recounting anecdotes and untold stories of their lives on and off set, as well as gathering stories from others who knew Nimoy well, to present a full picture of a rich life.

As much a biography of Nimoy as a story of their friendship, Leonard is a uniquely heartfelt book written by one legendary actor in celebration of another.

Because William Shatner is William Shatner, this book is as much about him as it is about Leonard Nimoy. But, instead of being a Nimoy book about Shatner, it's more a book of Shatner's reflection next to Nimoy. Bill obviously has a great love and respect for Leonard and it comes across. He is straight-forward in most things as he talks about Leonard's life and their shared experiences.

Much of this was new to me, because for all my love of Star Trek, I really haven't followed the careers of the actors or obsessed about the details of their lives. So, I didn't know that Leonard's family were Jewish immigrants from Russia. I loved the family parts and Leonard's obvious respect for his upbringing and heritage and his trip to Russia as an adult, where he was able to return to the village his parents fled and meet family members.

I enjoyed the honesty. That Leonard was a recovering alcoholic and how that affected his life and relationships. The actor's perspective that Shatner brought to the book was effective as he shared Leonard's experiences and compared them to his or to acting in general. This was especially enlightening as he explained their perspective of filming the original series and thinking they were all going their separate ways when it ended. Then their sincere shock at the popularity of the series in syndication, the original fan conventions and the films. They all thought they would escape the Star Trek phenomenon at some point, and then their realization and acceptance that it was forever part of them. It was not only informative, but insightful.

I haven't read any Trek biographies, so I don't know how much of this information is already out there or how much is uniquely William Shatner's knowledge. I really don't care. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I have been a Trekkie all my life and being that I was born the same year the series premiered, I can say that with certainty. I remember watching it with my dad when I was little. And can I just say that I loved how Shatner used the original term of "Trekkie" rather than the term "Trekker", because that is the name I grew up knowing. And, seriously? Who the hell cares? Trekkie sounds geekish and Trekker sounds pretentious, but whatever. You want to refer to yourself as a Trekker? Fine. You want to refer to yourself as a Trekkie? Fine. People who love Star Trek, love Star Trek. The labels just don't matter.

Sorry, rant over.

Interspersed with the recollections and experiences were little nuggets of wisdom and insight. I underlined some parts and reflected on others in this book. But, I came away with a better understanding on the remarkable person that Leonard Nimoy was and the life he led and the lives he touched.

It's incredibly cheesy and cliche, but Kirk's eulogy in The Wrath of Khan really is perfect to describe Leonard Nimoy in so many ways, "Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most....human."

Leonard Nimoy left an incredible void, not only in the world of Star Trek, but life in general.

This was my personal copy, not a book for review.

Read 2/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Books I Have Forgotten

Each month I revisit some of my past reviews. One of the reasons I started this book blog was to remember what books I have read. My memory isn't the greatest anymore and I found that I would read a book and then not remember if I liked it or what it was even about.

Maybe one of these will prompt you to seek out an older, but amazing book. Or, if you've read one of these and your review was different, please share!


The Lady's Slipper
2/5 Stars

"This one sounds so good, and from an historical standpoint it is. It's a fascinating account of England in the 17th century as it recovers from Oliver Cromwell's parliamentary rule. The novel also explores the origins and establishment of the Quaker religion. I thought that using a rare flower as a main plot device was certainly unique and unusual and was one reason I was drawn to the book. The writing is lyrical and the descriptions vivid.

However, the story itself was simply not something that ultimately appealed to me. I didn't really care for the characters and found myself more annoyed than enthralled. This isn't a fast read, it's more of an ambitious one that can hamper a reader's enjoyment. The sex scenes were unexpected, unnecessary and quite vulgar in their descriptions.

I found the religious aspect fascinating, especially the lengths one character went to in order to become a Quaker and the ease with which another ultimately disregarded his Quaker faith."

Apparently I didn't love it.

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck
3/5 Stars

"A cute story, nothing stellar, but laugh out loud funny in parts and completely entertaining. Katie is spunky, Luc is charming, Dexter is completely unbelievable and Eileen is a kick. Predictable and implausible and in serious need of a good edit, this is still a light and entertaining read. True chick-lit, light on everything and a nice diversion. I read in in a couple of hours.

This is the first Kristin Billerbeck story I've read and I can see myself reading some more, simply for the sheer entertainment value."

Apparently I liked it. Bummer, because I remember nothing about it.

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones
4/5 Stars

"This was, quite simply, a fun book to read. A bit far-fetched, but honestly laugh-out loud funny. It's a nice diversion. I didn't like Lucy right away, but she grew on me. I loved that her job involved working with at-risk girls who had graduated out of foster care. When her non-profit funding is cut, she finds herself accepting an unusual proposition. Can she commit to it and follow-through or will she finally listen to God and let her heart take over?

While a classic chick-lit novel, it's not quite as light as one would think. The Christian overtones are strong and the lessons learned include forgiving ones self and turning your life over to God.

Loved the characterizations and Julian, especially, was a total kick. Clare grew on me as well and I loved the interactions between the two. Predictable, but with a sweet ending, this is an enjoyable diversion and one that was fun to read.

Minor peeve: While I loved the shout out to Science Fiction/Fantasy fans, and especially the reference to Doctor Who, I have to complain that real fans won't call it Dr. Who like it was used here, they use the whole word Doctor... and it would have been neat to have a real reference to show that Lucy really did know the show...such as which series/doctor was on the DVD set in her bag."

Man. Wish I remembered it. Sounds fun!


What about you? What are some of the books you've read in previous years?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Weekend Reflections 2/4

Looking outside...it's warming up at a balmy 39. We were supposed to get 1-3 inches Thursday and Friday and we got none. Thank goodness. Now things are actually melting a bit and you can see bare road on our street. 

Listening...to The Doctor on a call. The clock ticking. The fish filter running.

Loving...that The Boy has a job. Full-time for the semester until he goes back to school.

Thinking...that I am not going to rant today. I'm done with political things this week. Get along. Listen to each other. Be kind. Do good. Love is a verb.

In my kitchen...Not sure what's on the menu for tonight. Hot chocolate at the moment.

Wearing...denim skirt, pink turtleneck, gray cardigan, gray socks and shoes.

Hoping...that the sun peeks out today.

Reading...Finished Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner. Review goes up Wednesday. Really liked it.

Today...went to an early morning temple session with The Doctor. Some household chores and catch-up for the remainder. Sometimes a quiet day at home is nice. The Artist helped my sister move some furniture.

Quoting..."True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island…to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing." -- Baltasar Gracian

Feeling...So tired of the gray, but we've had moments of sunshine this week. We've had time together with each other and our boys. It's been a good week.

Gratitude...for kind, generous people. The Doctor and I had a fantastic Sunday last week. You can read about it here on Facebook. We made new friends. Had a wonderful experience flying to McCall for lunch. Good times, good people, good conversation. Thank you Ryan and Nelya.

From my world... 

So grateful for new friends and new experiences. 

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

Friday, February 3, 2017

Пятница Ponderings: Too Many Tabs Open

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian


We have several computers and at least one laptop in our home but, more often than not, I end up using my tablet. The Doctor had wanted to get me a tablet so I could use it for ebooks. But, I prefer print books, so I resisted for a long time.

I finally gave in and I love it. I'm on my second one. I have a wireless keyboard I can use so it's convenient to type blog posts and reviews. The Doctor likes to tease me for how much I actually use it. I don't play lots of games, but I have a word find game I enjoy and I've been known to play Angry Birds. I have banking apps and I love my Albertson's app for shopping. I also have the Kindle app and I have a ton of ebooks on here. It is convenient for reading and travel.

I like sitting at the kitchen table and blogging or reviewing. I'm where the family is and The Doctor can do his patient work in the office.

My tablet was sitting on the table a week or so ago and The Doctor and the boys wanted to look up something, so they used it. They proceeded to inform me that I had 89 tabs open. Yes, 89. They were shocked and I was instructed that my tablet was slow because I had so many tabs open.

My first reaction was to tell them that those 89 tabs were a great example of what my brain is like. I have way too many tabs open in my brain. I know I'm probably not the only person, man or woman, to be that way.

I think the tabs analogy is perfect. It really does describe how thoughts can be. Our minds are swirling with thoughts and ideas and worries. We are bombarded with information at every turn and our brains try to process it all. There are tabs opening and closing all the time. Some tabs remain open indefinitely. Others close without our actually having learned something or resolved anything.

With a computer or a tablet, having too many browser tags open can slow down processing. People are the same way. Too many tabs open, too much worry and information, can slow us down. We get hyper focused and caught in information loops. Our mind browsers lock up and just like a computer needs a restart, so do we.

How do we do that? How do we restart and refresh our mind browsers? I wish I had answers for you. I wish I had the secret. I have a lot of suggestions though that, while trivial, do hold merit.

I do know that sleep is good. Sleep is the perfect example of a computer restart in humans. Finding ways and taking the time to relax is good. Even 5 or 10 minutes with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, sitting quietly can help. The Doctor likes meditation. Exercise works for some people: a workout or just a walk. Reading a book, taking the time to do something creative or something active can help.

Are your browser tabs tasks you can complete or delegate? Then do so and close them. Are your tabs something you can act on? Then do so and close them or bookmark them (make a physical note) and then close them.

Most importantly, be aware. Be aware that your mind is swirling and why.

I sat down this week and sorted and closed most of those 89 browser tabs. At this very moment, I currently have 27 tabs open. Still too many, but better than 89. Ten of those will close within the hour, because they are articles or posts that I will schedule to share on my Facebook page and Twitter. That leaves 17, a much more manageable number than 89.

Now when he sees me on my tablet, The Artist asks, "How many tabs do you have open, Mom?"

I want to reply, "On my tablet or in my brain?"