June 3, 2018

Monthly Book Review: May 2018

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover - a touching story about recognizing the signs and breaking the cycle of domestic abuse. Very real and relatable (with the exception of references to extreme wealth and genetically blessed appearances).

City of Thieves by David Benioff -  a tale of brotherhood, bravery and first love set in Russia during WWII.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - the daughter of a political figure finds that her family’s background isn’t what she thought it was. A touching based-on-a-true story about children stolen from impoverished birth families and adopted out to people of means. 

Next up:
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The Map of Heaven by Eben Alexander
All Clear by Connie Willis

May 10, 2018

Summer Reading List

I’ve added 7 of these to my reading queue.

May 7, 2018

5 Things You Might Not Know About "The Sound of Music"

1. Julie Andrews kept falling over during that iconic opening scene. The down draft from the helicopter shooting the mountaintop sequence knocked Andrews over every time it circled around her. "It was fine for a couple of takes, but after that you begin to get just a little bit angry," she said. "And I really tried. I mean, I braced myself, I thought, 'It's not going to get me this time.' And every single time, I bit the dust."

2. The Sound of Music was the last Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
The legendary partnership between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II produced classic musical theatre hits like Oklahoma! and The King and I. The Sound of Music opened on Broadway in 1959 (six years before the Hollywood version appeared on the big screen). In 1960, Hammerstein died from stomach cancer. The last song he wrote was "Edelweiss."

3. The movie could have starred Audrey Hepburn and Bing Crosby.
Other potential Marias included Doris Day, Leslie Caron, Anne Bancroft and Shirley Jones. Captain von Trapp was also almost Sean Connery or Yul Brynner. And some well-known names auditioned for the von Trapp children, including Mia Farrow and Richard Dreyfuss.

4. Julie Andrews yodeled with the real Maria von Trapp.
In a 1973 episode of the variety TV show The Julie Andrews Hour, von Trapp told Andrews that the actress was "absolutely wonderful" in the film, but her yodeling was not quite up to par—leading to this duet.

5. The Sound of Music is #4 on AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals of All-Time list.
The film also won five Oscars® in 1966, including Best Picture and Best Director. And adjusted for ticket price inflation, The Sound of Music is the third highest-grossing film of all time (behind only Gone with the Wind and Star Wars).

May 3, 2018

Monthly Book Review: April 2018

All the feels from last month are a distant memory. I had every intention of reading more than two books in April, but ... I don’t even have an excuse. Lame.

Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray (nonfiction) - I don’t recall how I stumbled on this. It is a delightful mix of throwback pop culture references and cringe-worthy life experiences. You’ll want to invite Lincee over for margaritas and discuss if it is possible to watch too much television.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - This was already in my queue when I suggested it for book club. It’s two years post WWII and Charley is a spirited girl looking for her French cousin. She gets mixed up with Eve, who has major PTSD and an ax to grind from her days as a spy in WWI’s Alice network. The book alternates between the two women and the intersection of their stories is fantastic. Everyone in book club agreed that they wanted more when the story came to an end.

Next up:
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
City of Thieves by David Benioff
The Map of Heaven by Eben Alexander
All Clear by Connie Willis

April 3, 2018

Monthly Book Review: March 2018

I feel like I'm back on track reading four books this month (though my son says I'm not reading if I'm listening ... oh to be young and to have all the answers to life).

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter - two sisters, two different perspectives on tragic events. This is a bit dark with fiesty women so right up my alley. It was a bit long - every single thought in every monent of each character is chronicled. B

Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler (nonfiction) - my pastor referenced this in a couple of sermons so I needed to check it out. Kate is a Duke divinity professor diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The book details how that rocked her world and how those around her reacted to it. The title is one of the "lies" she loves. A

I've Been Thinking ... by Maria Shriver (nonfiction)- I was gifted this and it was the perfect flight read. Short, sweet, genuine, introspective and full of hope. I read several excerpts aloud to my daughter. She has so much faith, but eager to say she doesn't have all the answers and that she's changed her mind on quite a few things along the road of life. I want to have lunch, coffee and dinner with Maria (maybe a sleepover too). A

Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero - back to my home base of WWII fiction. The lives of a Jewish girl from Poland, a half Jewish young woman from Romania and a Nazi doctor collide. Is the harm to one worth saving many? I found myself wishing hateful, evil events weren't rooted in truth and hoping others had really taken place. This book has a more hopeful slant to it than many others in this genre. A-

In my queue:
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray
The Map of Heaven by Eben Alexander
All Clear by Connie Willis

March 8, 2018

I Will Ski

Chunky and I learned to ski this winter (technically I re-learned, but I didn't have much to start with).
Afton Alps offers a three-week school including your very own skis. Unfortunately I tore by right-hand UCL the week after we finished the course so my career went the way of Lindsey Vonn for the season (darn those little speed demon child snowboarders). The important thing is we did something new and fun and did it together!

March 7, 2018

Monthly Book Review: February 2018

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro - Oxford defines soul as "a person's moral or emotional nature or sense of identity". What determines each of our souls? This is the kind of book that you can't say too much about or you'll give it all away. I felt like I should like this book more than I did so I rented the movie (I didn't even know it had been made into a movie until I started looking for more info after I finished the book). It's rare that you can say the movie was a good compliment to the book. 3/5

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult - Timely topic + good character development + moral dilemmas = great book. Ignorance is a lack of education and ability to ignore what is. It is through small acts that racism is perpetuated or negated. 5/5

In my queue:
The Map of Heaven by Eben Alexander
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
All Clear by Connie Willis
Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover