Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Daily Routine Makeover: Morning Edition

I'm going to keep this review fairly short and sweet, as this was a fairly short and sweet e-book!

I am NOT a morning person. I am always telling myself that I'm going to wake up at 5 am and do my full Miracle Morning routine...and I am chronically disappointing myself. So, while perusing books on my Kindle, I came across this cheap little book (just keeping it real here!!) and thought hey...why not?? The Daily Routine Makeover: Morning Edition by Zoe McKey I believe is available only as an e-book or a Createspace Paperback.

Coming in at a whopping 128 pages, I managed to read it super quick one night when I was having trouble sleeping. Chances are I was probably laying there thinking about how I needed to get up early and exercise in the morning. I initially gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, but in looking at my highlights to write the review...and seeing that I highlighted almost the entire damn book...I guess in all fairness I should change it to 4! But it is very simplistic, so if you are one of those people who hop out of bed peppy every morning, this is not the book for you.

The first big takeaway for me came in the first 19 pages. The author says that she realized that her self-help books weren't the problem, she was. That she had "overestimated my adaptability". She was biting off more than she could chew...and needed to start smaller and work her way up to the big changes she wanted. I think this is probably the root of my own problems. I have always been an all or nothing person, but maybe I should follow her lead and pick one or two things to start with instead of a full 2 hour morning lineup. So I started highlighting away!

The other big takeaway was starting your day immediately with a mantra that sets the tone for your day. She suggests "I feel great and energized! This will be a fantastic day!". I have been reading a lot about repeating mantras or affirmations to yourself, but for some reason it wasn't until reading this that I remembered my Grandmother telling me to do it back when I was in Junior High. I was going through a rough period of family drama, and had been missing a lot of school for "stomach aches". She told me that as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning I needed to tell myself that it was going to be a wonderful day...that it was the key to getting past the drama that my young self would start dreading and worrying over immediately upon waking. Somehow, in the almost 30 years that have passed since then, I've stopped that practice, and I think it's time to start it back up again!

The book offers a few other little nuggets including exercise and nutrition tips, all of which are pretty basic. There are tips for people who work shift work, and can't wake up at 5 am to start their day. The author also mentions maybe starting with a 15/15 morning, where you do some fun heart-pumping exercise to music for 15 minutes and then 15 minutes of restful yoga or meditation. Basically all of her tips are bite-sized and easy to implement. For me, it was totally worth the $2.99.

So, for curiosities sake...are you a morning person? Do you have a great morning routine you'd like to share?? I have never had a great one, and have always wanted to pick the brains of my friends to see if they're doing anything that maybe I could try. So please share in the comments here or over on my Facebook page!! I really am dying to know 😁

Friday, April 21, 2017

Things I Love This Week...

In an effort to give y'all another glimpse into the woman behind the tequila-tinted book reviews, I thought I'd do a quick post for this Friday on a few of the things that I'm loving this week! I'm thinking this will be a cross between a get to know me a little bit better, and a chance to share some things I think are cool that might not be strictly related to books. Feel free to admire my attempts at a good selfie to send to my mother, that I have so artfully used to create a nice graphic to go along with this post. Those friends who get daily Snaps from me are used to seeing these faces pretty regularly.

Okay, first off I'm going to say...go to the website to look at these shoes because I clearly can't take a cool photo of shoes to save my life! My new Allbirds Wool Runners are AMAZING. I have a history of destroying my feet in ill-fitting and uncomfortable shoes. These Merino Wool, lightweight shoes feel great on my poor tootsies. I'd read about them online and thought I'd take a chance and order some, since their return policy is fairly generous. I can barely tell I have them on, they are so light you can barely tell you're wearing shoes. This pair was $95, and well worth it in my opinion. I'd love the buttery yellow color, but I can't think of a single thing I'd wear them with...so can't justify it at the moment. But my heart gets all twitterpated when I look at them. 

The Bee Gees Grammy Tribute Special

I wouldn't be me if I didn't mention this. I know, last week I was going on about Barry Manilow and now I'm talking about the Bee Gees! I'm not sure I can accurately describe how big of a fan I am of the Brothers Gibb. I grew up in a house with a Bee Gees poster over the washing machine, and I forced my friends to do the line dance from Saturday Night Fever during our lock-in for graduation in 1993. I clearly have a problem. But I was gutted when I woke up Monday morning to realize I'd slept through a special on t.v. devoted to my band! Thank the heavens it was available on the CBS website because I could've cried. I'm sad that poor Barry is on his own now, but I think this was a good show. No one made me cringe, and I was blown away by both Keith Urban and Andra Day. Plus I am eternally grateful to Nick Jonas for not messing up my favorite Andy Gibb song too badly, or I think I might've thrown something at the computer. I'm not sure about that thing he did at the end though...

I have only read and reviewed one of Sarah Knight's books, but after watching this TED talk I immediately purchased her other book and I will be reviewing it soon. I think I might have a slight crush on her actually, and have had to refrain from squealing when she's interacted with me on Twitter. You see, I care entirely too much about what other people think of me. It is a major flaw of mine, and one that drives my husband batty. I like to think I'm getting better the older I get, but I fear I might just be lying to myself. I need more Sarah Knight in my life. Click on the link up above, or type "Sarah Knight TED Talk" into the YouTube search engine and give this a watch...but beware of the many F-bombs.  

Okay, this must be the week of shoes because I also purchased my first pair of Tieks! First off, the presentation of these shoes could not be prettier. I just wanted to spend the day taking pictures of the pretty box, with it's flower on top. Now, I have to admit that I haven't worn my Tieks out of the house yet, so I can't say without a doubt that I'm in love with them 100%. Out of the box, my pair of classic black leather Tieks made strange fart noises when I walked in them...but thankfully that's gone away. I don't think my self-esteem could hold up to the stares! I'm really hopefully that these shoes will be nice and comfy, and I'll have a great pair of ballet flats to wear that won't destroy my feet. I'll keep you posted! 

 The Graham Norton Show on BBC America

I have been a fan of the Graham Norton Show for quite a few years now, but this week I was reminded of why I love it so much. I have watched Graham since we lived in England in 1998 and his show was a lot naughtier, but it is still the best "chat show" on air. The celebrities seem more at ease, he gets the best stories out of them, and it's just a lot less formal than American late night television. Plus the slightly naughty vibe that still persists...especially in the show I just watched with Hugh Jackman, Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart, is right up my alley! Don't even get me started on the episodes where my beloved Michael Fassbender has made an appearance. 😍

Books, Books and More Books!!

 I have so many new books that I'm reading, or have sitting on my reading pile, that I'm incredibly excited to share with you!! But the next few months will be a little chaotic in my house. My husband should be coming home soon, and we'll be moving across the country within the next month and a half, which is always boatloads of fun. I will do my best to keep posting regularly though. Remember, you can always subscribe and have my posts delivered straight to your inbox. Or follow me on Facebook, as I always share my stuff on there. Living out of a suitcase may hamper putting original photos on my reviews, but it won't keep me from posting 💛

I might have a review for you tomorrow, if not I'll be back next week with some more bookish fun!! Now...where did I put my drink...🍸

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How Many Wrongs Make a Mr. Right??

I have another long awaited book review for you today. As I said on Monday, I am a bad book blogger. One of the side effects of having the job I do is I'm constantly handling shiny new books, and sometimes they distract me from reading the ones I have on my Kindle. This does not bode well for Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) or e-books that authors have sent me. I love getting them, and it's a fabulous "perk"...but I am easily distracted by the beautiful pages that pass through my hands on a daily basis at the Library. At least I own up to my flaws...

So, back in January...when I was in the throes of pneumonia and hating life...the author Stella Hervey Birrell contacted me and asked if I'd like to have a look at her book How Many Wrongs Make a Mr. Right? My guilty conscience feels wretched that it's taken me until now to finish it!

The book skips around in time through main character Melissa's life. We see her as a mother with a young son, working on her patience with an energetic child who is constantly pestering her about daddy. We also see Melissa as a teenager, asking her Dad to stop calling her Melly...being fussed at over homework and spending so much time on the phone. But for most of the book we catch Melissa living in the Lake District or Edinburgh, in timelines not too far apart...navigating her early 20's, dating and friendship...and sorting out who she is.

Melissa makes a lot of bad decisions...as most of us did in our early 20's.  When you meet her you learn that her father has recently passed away, and she was hospitalized for some sort-of undisclosed mental health issue. She works in a pub...and when she's not working there, she's drinking with her friends there. You find yourself hoping that she has eventually grown up and lived a good life that produces the child you meet from her future.

It took me quite a few chapters to get into this book. I'm giving it 3 stars on Goodreads, but I can't quite put my finger on what's keeping me from giving it a 4. I'm going to try and suss it out though.

I really struggled to keep the two time periods that are close together from getting all jumbled up in my mind. They were just too similar in date and voice. I spent a few chapters getting Gary and Gerry confused...along with mixing up a few of Melissa's other friends. I also didn't love the main character enough to be truly invested in most of it. I think it was just missing that special something really.

But it wasn't a bad book...not horribly written so don't get me wrong. I read until the wee hours to see what was going to happen in poor Melissa's love life. I enjoyed the descriptions of the folk music scene in Edinburgh, and how this young woman still went to church on most Sundays...occasionally with a killer hangover. Plus it made me miss living in Europe.

So, a nice book but it was lacking that indefinable spark that brings a book from good to great for me.

Also...were people really texting much in the UK in 2001?? Someone please let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page. It has been driving me crazy since I finished this book. We left England in February of 2001...and I don't remember people texting much. I don't really remember people texting friends until closer to 2006. Or at least texting with regularity. Didn't you have to be using the same phone company, or paying per text message, or some sort-of pain in the ass system back then?? Let me know!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wake Up To The Joy Of You

 Wake Up to the Joy of You by Agapi Stassinopoulos | Tomes and Tequila Blog
A huge Thank-you and shout-out to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for sending me Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life by Agapi Stassinopoulos to read. I am horribly behind on my reviews, so this book came out in December. I know, I know...bad book blogger!!! It's even worse because I thought it was a great book.

Wake Up to the Joy of You is one of those books designed to be read a chapter a week. One you would keep on your nightstand, and pull out on a Sunday night and then work through for the week...focusing on the subject that is discussed, doing the exercises and meditations, and then moving on to another chapter the next week. Since I was reading it quickly to review, I did not do that.

I read this puppy from cover to cover, and highlighted like crazy. It's good that my copy was on the Kindle because I'm more apt to highlight and take notes when it's that format. I am very hesitant to mar a physical book...even if I plan on keeping it forever. My inner rule follower screams that you're not supposed to write in books!! It makes it tough to keep track of things I want to go back over, even if I have those little medal flags to mark sections.

Most chapters end with a meditation that focuses on the subject covered in that chapter...anything from self-esteem and joy to money and childhood trauma. If I had any complaint about this book it would be that most other books I've read recently that include meditations have a site that book owners can go on to download the meditations, and this book didn't include anything like that. It is very hard to read a meditation and do it, but listening to it is a whole other ball game. I mean, when you're reading a meditation and you get to "now close your eyes and visualize"...uh...my eyes are closed....now how am I supposed to read what I'm supposed to be visualizing?? And if I read the whole thing, and then try to do the meditation, am I going to forget what I was supposed to be doing?? It's much easier done with audio.

But honestly, other than that, I really enjoyed this book. Agapi has a fresh way of thinking and wording some things that were truly different than I'd ever read in a book of this genre...and you all know that I've read my fair share. I found myself going to work repeating mantras of positivity, and thinking about her theories of goodness instead of happiness. And trying to find ways to give to others throughout the course of my day.

So, even in reading through it fairly quickly, and not necessarily doing all of the dirty work...I really think I got something out of it. Generally speaking, if I'm still thinking about a book days after I finished it, I'm going to give it 5 stars. And I'm definitely giving this book 5 stars, and I'll be going back over some of the chapters. And trying to do the meditations 😜

Are you a fan of 52 week devotionals?? Or books that you are meant to do a bit at a time throughout the year?? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page.

Friday, April 14, 2017

All Grown Up Review

 All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg | Tomes and Tequila Blog

I'm fairly certain that, judging by some of the other reviews of All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg, I am not the sort-of woman most would expect to be giving this book a 4 star review. Let me explain.

First off, I am a mother of two and spent the vast majority of my adult years at home raising my children. I didn't have a paying job outside of the home until my children had been in school for years. And I loved it. Did I love every single minute of it?? Of course not, but I was more than happy to be allowed what I felt was a privilege to spend so much time with my munchkins.

The second factor would have to be that I married my high school sweetheart, and we are still happily (or at least I like to think happily) married after almost 24 years. I still get a little twitterpated when I see him, and God forbid he come see me at work...I turn into a giggling mess. But don't get me wrong, we have had a very real marriage, full of the ups and downs you would expect from people who have been together since before they were able to operate motor vehicles.

And last of the obvious issues would be the fact that, although my blog name clearly reflects my love of cocktail hour, I can state without fear of a comments section declaring otherwise that I have lived my adult life steering clear of recreational drugs. I don't scream it out in every post, but my husband is in the military and I work on a military installation at the moment. Those just don't lend themselves to a life reminiscent of the mom from Weeds. I'm certainly not a prude, but my extracurriculars have been strictly limited to libations.

So now we get to the nitty gritty of this review. I really enjoyed reading All Grown Up. This small (197 pages) book is basically filled with short anecdotal stories in the life of Andrea, a 40-something unapologetic woman bucking the trends of life that she feels are expected of her. The timeline hops all over the place, and it's written in small vignettes with no real plot...just a lot of one woman's messy life.

This book did not read how I thought it would, and I think the blurbs on Goodreads and Amazon actually did it a disservice. I didn't find it humorous really. To market it as "wickedly funny" just doesn't sit right with me. This book was smart and intellectual...and gritty. The main character Andrea wasn't prettified for the public. She let it all hang out, whether you liked it or not.

Now I started this review the way I did because most of the positive reviews I've read were from women who saw themselves in Andrea from a very obvious standpoint. They were from single women. Women who weren't interested in marriage, just like Andrea. Women who had chosen to never have children, just like Andrea. Women for whom casual sex and drug use didn't seem all that out of the norm. The negative reviews were from people who you would think I shared more in common with. Women who couldn't believe that this fictitious character blatantly states that she does NOT like kids, and never wants to have them. Women who were disgusted by a woman who doesn't beat herself up a whole lot for dabbling in recreational drugs and having sex with a man she doesn't plan on making breakfast for in the morning. They just couldn't see themselves in her, and were so blatantly turned off by this woman that they vehemently tossed this poor book aside and gave it 1 star.

I loved it. You may not look at me and see it, but I could relate to some of the internal dialogue that Author Attenberg so unselfconsciously gives to the character Andrea. A coworker recently told me that for someone who appeared to have their shit together, I sure read a lot of self-help books. Let me tell you folks, internally...my shit ain't together. 😄 I go through periods of it, but I am definitely a work in progress. And although the character wasn't really searching for any form of resolution to a problem or issue, we share the internal self-analyzing gene of people who have maybe never learned how to properly turn their brains off.

And even if I couldn't find a single thing I could relate to...not an ounce of this character that I could see myself in...I would still find it a fascinating book. Because I'm a firm believer in reading about characters that open your eyes to something different from the reality that you live on a day to day basis. It's one of the wonders of literature. Books give you the ability to put your feet in someone else's shoes.

I also feel I should add that I wouldn't be making these arguments if it was written badly.

So, I'm giving All Grown Up 4 Stars on Goodreads. And when I read the authors tweets that come from such a vastly different place than mine are coming from, I will smile because it just makes my day a little more interesting.

Do you prefer to read about people who are similar to you?? Or are you open to reading about characters who are vastly different, with different morals or backgrounds?? I'd love to hear your thoughts either in the comments here or over on my Facebook page! It's the last day of National Library Week...and I managed to post every day of the work week!! Yippee!! Don't forget to keep showing your support for your local library. It's important now more than ever...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

On Barry Manilow and Booze...

I'm going to tell you a little story that will explain a whole lot about me...and it doesn't involve books. So if you have only ever gone to my blog to read the reviews, and you skim over the first couple paragraphs where I go on about what's happening in my life, or some crazy event that relates to the book I'm reviewing...feel free to skip today's post. For the rest of you, just consider this the Tequila portion of my blog. I've been planning on writing more posts in addition to the reviews, and I finally have a great story to start off that section...but I will always label these for the folks who just aren't interested.

And on to the hilarity...

Okay, so for some back story. I was born in 1975 and raised on Barry Manilow's music. Yes, there were others in the mix. Both of my parents were young and cool, and the stereo was always going. But my mother is a HUGE Barry Manilow fan and she passed that love on to me and my big sister. I listened to his music alongside my Nirvana and Pearl Jam in high school, and my Alanis Morissette and Hootie and the Blowfish in my early 20's.

When I segued to CD's from cassette tapes, and finally had the money to really invest in building up my music selection, I bought this beautiful Barry Manilow box set. I think this was around 1997, and I was on a quest to have all of my mother's favorite albums on CD. I stopped listening to them regularly around the time that my young son walked up on the stage at our base club in Italy, grabbed the microphone, and started belting out Copacabana to the abject HORROR of my country loving husband. My boy had fallen in love with the song after watching the VHS tape that came in the box set...all of those fancy costumes and half-naked dancers had some appeal apparently. So my husband put the kibosh on Barry, and I was forced to keep my love for him secreted away.

Cut to 20 years later.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind as I tell you this new Barry Manilow story. First off, I have an issue with insomnia. I don't sleep a lot and am often up in the wee hours of the night for no good reason. Second important thing to remember is that my husband has been deployed for 6 months now. (this is absolutely PIVOTAL to this story....) And third is that I have turned into a total lightweight when it comes to booze, mainly because my partner in crime is out of the country.

So the setting is my living room at about 2 am on a Friday night (or technically Saturday morning). My sister mentioned drinking a beer to me the other day, and I'd thought...hey, I haven't had one of those since the hubby left...and promptly bought myself a 12-pack of Michelob Amberbock, which I hid from my hubby during our nightly Skype call (because there's no need to be cruel...). I can't sleep, so I am back up, and bored...and the house is empty...which I'm not very good at dealing with. So, I turn on my favorite Spotify playlist and crack open a beer. Then I start singing...and before you know it I'm opening another beer and shouting at Alexa to turn the volume up. And eventually Could It Be Magic comes on...

Now, when stone cold sober, Could It Be Magic is probably my all time favorite Barry Manilow song. After a few beers and very little sleep, I am REALLY getting into my Barry. Did I mention my husband is gone? Plus, have you ever really listened to that song, and how it just builds and builds?? So I grab my phone.

And this is where things go a little wonky...because after 10 pm and a few beers, I should not be allowed to do anything on my phone. But there I am, opening up my Twitter app...and this is the Tweet that I compose.
"I think I'm finally old enough to admit that I get aroused by the @BarryManilow song Could It Be Magic. Yes, I'm drinking. 🍸"
Then I go back to singing, and happily having my own little middle of the night Bridget Jones-style house party.

It takes about an hour before I think...what the hell did I just do??? Did I just tag Barry Manilow on a tweet, proclaiming his music made me hot and bothered on the week that he's on the cover of People magazine?!? On the Twitter account that so far has only shared book material?!?

So I promptly deleted it...like the coward that I am.

Then this morning I wake up to see that Barry Manilow is following me on Twitter.

So Barry, if you're listening...coming out of the closet has in no way kept your female fans from loving you. And my mom wants to make sure you know that we are as devoted to you as we've ever been. And apparently your songs are still turning me on...so I'm sorry I was a coward and kept the world from finding that out.

Anyway, I thought y'all might find that funny...as I sure as hell did. It will very clearly tell you a lot about the woman who is writing your book reviews and perfectly illustrates how badly my husband needs to return home. Oh, and why my cell phone needs a breathalyzer (and before anyone asks, no I don't routinely drink by myself or to excess, blah blah blah). Hopefully I haven't just lost all my readers. My public service announcement is, don't tweet at 3 am!!

It is still National Library Week, so don't forget to share the love!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Among The Branded

It doesn't happen very often, but every once in a while an author will reach out to me and ask if I'd like to review their book. I am still blown away by this fact. After I have recovered from the fainting spell I will inevitably have at these occurrences, I am usually filled with immense trepidation. What if I don't like it? What if it's just horrendous? What about the giant teetering pile of books I already have sitting in various locations around my house?? Do I even have time to bring in a book that has a person on the other end who is probably waiting for a review to be posted?? In other words, I am very careful about what books I accept to review.

When Linda Smolkin wrote me to see if I'd be interested in her debut novel Among the Branded, I was first intrigued because she mentioned an ex-boyfriend and the worm in the bottom of a tequila bottle. (bonus points in my book) But I was really sold by the tiny blurb of a synopsis she put in the bottom of the e-mail. And I'm very happy I said yes to this book.

Among the Branded is a feel good novel with a conscience.

Stephanie is an art director who decides to attend a "Valor of the 40's" event with her youngest son and husband after dropping her oldest son off at college. While there she buys a bundle of old love letters, thinking they'll help inspire her with the design of a new project for a client. One of the letters isn't like the others. It isn't a love letter at all, but a pleading letter for help from a camp in the South of France. A Jewish family is headed for the concentration camps and desperate to get away. Intrigued, Stephanie has to find out if the family made it out alive.

Her search leads her to Isadore...or Izzy to his friends. And soon it becomes much more than history or an abstract idea of what happened in the past. It becomes a present at odds with her beliefs, and she must decide what she's willing to give up to be happy with her own personal story.

This book gave me warm and fuzzy feelings throughout. It wasn't shocking, and it didn't have any crazy-epic plot twists, but for me it was a warm cup of hot cocoa book. I just liked it. I thought it was very well written, and I fell in love with a few of the characters...namely Stephanie's best-friend Sveta and Izzy. Sveta, mumbling cuss words in Russian under her breath at work just cracked me up. And there wasn't much not to love about Izzy...the joke-cracking, video-game-playing professor.

I think the book has a boat load of conversation fodder. In the novel the context is the Holocaust, but a big discussion throughout is whether you have a responsibility to tell your story, whatever it may be. And I think that's a great thought to ponder...do we all need to be advocates? Should we all tell our stories if it might help someone, or keep some ill from happening again?? And how important is it to deal with people who share the same beliefs that you do? Can you separate someone from their ideals??

I'm giving this 4 stars on Goodreads as I truly enjoyed the book from cover to cover. It was a quick contemporary read with a touch of the historical. If you enjoy reading books that deal with the Holocaust in any way, this ones worth reading. The publication date is May 2, 2017 but the Amazon pre-order price for the Kindle is currently $2.99...and you really can't beat that! The copy I read was a paperback. Amazon currently says they are unavailable but I'm sure that will change soon. 😁

It is still National Library Week, so don't forget to share your support!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

National Library Week!!

Guess what week it is???

It's National Library Week!!!

As most of you know by now, my day job is as a Library Technician/Cataloger on a small military installation. I am extremely passionate about literacy and books in general, but overwhelmingly so about Libraries and their place in the community.

I think it's fairly safe for me to assume that if you're reading this blog, you are also a fan of the written word...or you're related to me, in which case you are probably also a fan of books. I don't know many people who aren't. If that's the case, I'd like to ask a favor of you.

Since it's National Library Week, I'd love for you to help me spread the love for our libraries. I know that everyone is busy, so I'm going to give you a few suggestions on ways to help the cause this week because Libraries need our help. Budgets and funding are being cut, and some people just don't realize everything that is available in our libraries anymore. I have previously written about what resources you can find at most libraries (here and here) and I also have a video on my Facebook page talking about how to make your library work for YOU instead of the other way around. Libraries have become more like Community Centers...but I won't repeat myself here, or this is going to be a super long post instead of short and sweet.

So, how can you help spread the love this week??

My first suggestion would be to stop in at your local Library this week. Most Libraries are going to be doing something special, and would appreciate having the extra visitors. My Library is having an open house all day tomorrow with a special "Libraries Through The Ages" Program and refreshments! We have put a lot of work into it, and would be horribly disappointed if we had low participation. How many places do you know where everything in it is FREE, and they are just BEGGING to do stuff for you?? So stop in at your Library if you have the time.

If you don't have the time for a Library trip, consider visiting www.ilovelibraries.org and checking out their section on National Library Week. They have some really cool graphics you can share on social media, and they even have one of those banners you can add to your profile picture on Facebook. Today is National Library Workers Day, so I submitted a few coworkers on the Submit a Star section of the ALA website so if you know anyone who works in a library that is just ROCKING their job, maybe throw them a bone (or a star I guess) on there! Toss out a few cool Library-centric hashtags on Twitter or Instagram this week...like #nationallibraryweek or #librariestransform along with your book photo. Every little bit helps.

And if you really want to be a hero to the staff of your local Library...bring them cookies. You would be surprised what we will do for a Patron if they bring us cookies. 😋

If you like books, you should love Libraries. They are magical places that contain the ability to transform your life. I truly believe that. So...help me share the love.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bookish Goodies Vol. 8 The Game of Thrones Edition!

*this post contain an affiliate link, please check out my review policy for more info

First off, I feel I need to start with a giant It's National Library Week!!! My big plan is to have content on the blog EVERY DAY to honor this most fabulous of all weeks. It would be great if all of my readers popped into their local Library this week, if for no reason other than to support the cause. 

And now on to my latest Bookish Goodies Guide, this one devoted to all things Game of Thrones! I first have to admit that I have only read 1 1/2 of the books. 😛 This is that spot in the blog post where you're allowed to be disappointed in me. But I am a HUGE fan of the show, and my children have read the books (please remember that they are both actually adults). 

Just like with my Harry Potter list, my biggest issue is paring it down to only 10 items...but I'm going to try my best. 

So here is my Etsy Game of Thrones shopping guide in all of it's glory....

 Game of Thrones Playing Cards | Tomes and Tequila Blog

I absolutely adore themed playing cards, and this Game of Thrones deck does not disappoint. I think the aging suits the design perfectly and it would be fun to play cards with this deck! You can find it on TimeVoid for $25.00. 

 Game of Thrones Mug Set | Tomes and Tequila Blog

I found numerous items on Etsy that had Khaleesi and Khal Drogo's sentimental lovey-dovey sayings on it, but my favorite was this coffee mug set. Thank heavens they didn't call each other pookie or snuggle buns...or something ridiculous like that, it would make for a lot more nauseating marketing. But this would be a good set for the Moon of Your Life...or Your Sun and Stars, for $19.38 by Dreamscapeink

 Hold the Door Mat from Game of Thrones | Tomes and Tequila Blog

My son claims it's too early for this one, but I think it's amazing. I also found a door wedge that said this...and it was a close second...but I went for the door mat. My door mats usually last about 1 season up here in the frozen tundra, so why not have one that makes your guests start crying as they walk in the house...at least for a few months?? You can buy this from SouthbySouthHome for $34.99

 Game of Thrones Keychain Bottle Opener | Tomes and Tequila Blog

I can never find a bottle opener when I need one, and neither can my husband. I even bought him those flip flops with the bottle opener in the bottom, and we both forget it's there. It can't hurt to have another bottle opener on his keychain...this one is PERFECT for him! Because just like Tyrion, he drinks...and he knows things. You can find this one at LoraDouglasJewelry for $17.50+

 Night's Watch Oath Poster | Tomes and Tequila Blog

My daughter can't hear this without crying hysterically...therefore we've already bought her a t-shirt with the Night's Watch Oath on it. I'm thinking she now needs this incredibly cool typographic poster for her room. We are cruel people sometimes. You too can inflict emotional pain on your family members for $13 at EAlexDesigns

 Game of Thrones Sweatshirt | Tomes and Tequila Blog

Okay, every woman wants a Khaleesi shirt...or a mother of dragons shirt...or some other shirt that makes them feel like her royal badass. I think this take...the Targaryen Whiskey sweatshirt...is pretty cool. Plus it looks warm. You can find it at the parenholly shop for $26.99+

 Game of Thrones I Love You Card | Tomes and Tequila Blog

I have just found the next Anniversary or Birthday card for your significant other. You can thank me for this later. I don't have much else to say other than I love this so so much. You can find it at JessicaScissorhands for $3.84+

Game of Thrones Music Box | Tomes and Tequila Blog

I think this music box that plays the theme song from Game of Thrones is incredibly unique, and great for a collector or super fan of the show...or music boxes in general. You can buy it in white or black from CajasMusicales for $15.91

 Game of Thrones Apron | Tomes and Tequila Blog

This is a lovely large, heavy duty apron with 3 pockets to wear while showing off your love for Game of Thrones. Insert cool and witty joke about Dinner Coming right here because I'm having a hard time coming up with one but I really thought the design of it was snazzy. This one can be found at WayLife for $29.49+

 Game of Thrones T-Shirt | Tomes and Tequila Blog

I am really and truly in love with this shirt. I think I'm going to write this saying down as part of my daily affirmations...because it's true. And considering what George R.R. Martin has done to most of his other characters, it's truly amazing that Sansa is still around. You can buy this beautiful t-shirt at Nerdabel for $25

And because my snark is especially strong today, and my descriptions are exceedingly short, I am going to throw in an 11th item for good measure. 

 Game of Thrones Love Card | Tomes and Tequila Blog

Okay, excuse the horrendous cuss words but this card is amazing. You can find it at DesignGenesStudio and it will cost you $5.50. I'm not sure MY husband would enjoy receiving this as much as I would enjoy handing it to him, but it would definitely be a memorable occasion. 😂

So there be just a few of the amazing Game of Thrones themed items I have found perusing the interwebs. I hope you like them as much as I do...or you at least laughed a few times while scrolling down the page. Let me know either in the comments here or over on my Facebook page if you have a theme or fandom you'd like me to make a Bookish Goodies guide for! Only about 3 1/2 more months until the show comes back on again!!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Opal Review

 Opal by Diane Thomas-Plunk
I am not sure if I have told you, my beloved blog family, that I call Louisiana home...although I am not currently living there, and that I have a truly enormous extended family. I wasn't born in Louisiana, but it's where my mother's family is from. I moved there as a teenager and swiftly fell in love, both with the State and my now husband. I am enamored with the South, while still holding onto some of my Oregon sensibilities (I am laughing as I write that...). I also married a man with 10 brothers and sisters. So when I got married I went from having one older sister to having more family than I could keep track of...and I love them all dearly.

I give you a quick run down of my regional affiliation and enormous familial clan as some pretext to my buying the book Opal by Diane Thomas-Plunk, and my falling head over heels for it after the first chapter.

I have a niece who lives in Mississippi currently who is as big of a reader as I am, and she wrote me to say I had to read some of Diane Thomas-Plunk's work...and sent me over to her website. At that time the book wasn't published, but she was sharing short stories and poems on the site, and Nicole thought I might love it as much as she did. I thought they were great...bookmarked the site, and of course promptly forgot about it...like the scatter-brained Aunt that I am. Until Nicole let me know that the author, whose website she had sent me to months before, had a book available to buy. And I snapped it up...because I'm a nice and loving scatter-brained Aunt.

Enter Opal.

The book is comprised of short stories mainly centered around Opal Pratt, a plain woman who never married and lives in her childhood home in rural Mississippi. She's a bit of a recluse who lives a simple life, and doesn't care to deal with people a whole lot. But when she decides she does care, Opal is the woman you want in your corner.

We also meet some of the other people in her community, and the folks who weave in and out of her life...from her best friend Billy, the little boy who lives down the street, to Francine, the stripper from New Orleans, whose car breaks down in Opal's driveway.

I absolutely fell in love with this book, and I know I probably won't be eloquent enough in my reasons why...but I actually shed a couple tears in the last chapter, if that tells you anything.

 Opal by Diane Thomas-Plunk

This book is Southern writing at it's finest. In a way the writing reminds me of Pat Conroy, whose book Prince of Tides I loved so very much. This book is filled with good Southern characters, but none of them are stereotypes or caricatures. It includes all of the things that I love about the South, yet it isn't afraid of showing the flaws. But then again it isn't ONLY about the flaws. And it's just well written.

I don't want to give away any of the precious stories because I'd like you to discover them for yourself, but I have to say that I adored when Opal suddenly had a gentleman show up to court her. The story of Lem and his attempts at wooing, for lack of a better word, just killed me.

At 184 pages, Opal left me wanting so much more! I was not ready to leave her universe. So many of the characters in this could've had their own books. I want to know what happened to Frances, or Olivia and Levi. I'd love to read more about Pastor Markov. Thomas-Plunk has such an amazing literary voice, and so artistically paints pictures with her words, that I could feel myself being transported to the South that I love so much.

I hadn't read a book of short stories since the P.D. James book The Mistletoe Murder, which I gave 5 stars to and reminded me of how good a mystery or detective book could really be. And although a completely different genre, I'm giving this book of short stories 5 stars also. Maybe I need to read more short stories!!

If you're a fan of Southern Fiction, I highly recommend picking this one up. And let me know in the comments what you think of short story books in general, as I'd love to know! Be sure to like my Facebook Page for updates and random book tidbits I find online.