Monday, June 29, 2015

Hyacinth Girls // A Blogging for Books Review

I have to be brutally honest and say that I did not like this book. While it dealt with a very serious subject matter--bullying--I felt that this novel could have done better. As a plus, the story was very nuanced and subtle, mirroring for me the way bullying often is, but the storyline often became overly complicated and not well explained.

The biggest con against the book for me was that it felt very scattered. The book frequently jumped to parts of the narrators past without any indication that the transition was taking place, and then it would jump back to the present situation just as suddenly. This heightened my confusion in the story, and I also felt the shift in narrators towards the end was out of place and unnecessary.

Overall, although I felt no connection to the plot, I feel that this novel raises important issues. Bullying is a very really problem, especially in teenagers lives, and I think that they would benefit from and enjoy this book more than I did.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Monday, June 22, 2015


At work the other day, someone filled up a table in the breakroom and said that some plants were up for grabs. Since free is essentially one of my favorite words, I picked out the plant that looked the best and that I thought had the greatest chance of surviving in my care. The only problem is that none of the plants have tags so I have no idea what kind of plant I adopted. I posted a picture on Instagram asking people with greener thumbs than mine what kind of plant they thought it was, and although I don't have a finite answer, the concensus was some kind of a yucca or a dragon plant. What I really wanted to glean from this information was how to care for the plant, and I'm pretty sure that moderate to direct sun and minimal watering would be best.

If you have any idea what kind of plant this is, or if you think I'm totally on the wrong track, let me know because I would like this plant to stick around awhile, evidenced by the fact that I named it--usually a sign of over-attachment, but I thought it looked like an Edith. Call me crazy.

Nonetheless, I bought a beautiful planter for it, mostly because I'm trying to dress up the apartment a little bit, and I think it looks gorgeous. Of course, no picture is complete without a cuppa tea (in the most beautiful mug I own).

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Mapmaker's Children // A Blogging for Books Review

This book by Sarah McCoy tells the story of two different but similar women from two very different centuries. One is the story of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, who creates a life for herself during the Civil War continuing her father's work with the Underground Railroad. The other parallel story is of present-day Eden Anderson who moves into an old Virginian home where she discovers an old doll head in the house's root cellar--a part of a doll that turns out to be remains of an Underground Railroad doll, revealing a telling history that becomes applicable in the present day.

Overall, I loved this book for its storytelling. Although a work of fiction, it includes many real-life characters that actually existed and actually worked on the abolitionist movement. It depicts history in a vivid and believable way, and the characters are well-developed and extremely likable--by the end of the book, I felt invested in their stories and their lives.

Even better, I loved the way the two story-lines intertwined. Although the two protagonists of the book lived very different lives at very different times, they both share underlying qualities that connect the two women together. Besides both being unable to bear children, Sarah and Eden redefine family measure in their own ways. I am definitely going to be passing this book onto my sisters as I know they will appreciate the strong women that make up this story.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

I made this hat this past week for a very special lady who needs something to keep her warm during long chemo sessions. This is the Lotus hat, and I knit it in an organic cotton yarn, so it should still be breathable for summer. Most importantly, it's soft and was knit with love and prayers.

You can find my Ravelry notes here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

On My Bookshelf: June

I can't believe it's already June. I always think that I'll read more during the summer, but that doesn't usually hold to be true. Still, I have some books this month that I'm excited to read!

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
This book is essentially Steve Martin's autobiography about how he started out as a comedian and then his subsequent rise to fame. I've already started this one, and I am already really enjoying it. I've been amazed by the story so far--I never knew how Steve Martin got his start, and this story is really one of perseverance.

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy
This is the latest book that I have received on behalf of the Blogging for Books program, and it's the first work of fiction that I have obtained from the program in a while. The book contains two story lines: one follows the life of Sarah Brown who expertly draws maps into artwork to help slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. The other is about a modern day woman, Eden Anderson, who moves into a old historical home, and as the book progresses, it turns out that these two women have many things in common.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

This past week, I finished crocheting the Halstead Shawl, and I am so thrilled with how it turned out. Seriously, it is so beautiful; both the yarn and the pattern exceeded my expectations. As I mentioned last week, the yarn was quite expensive, but I'd love to work with it again (it's a product of Mia Bella yarn store in Highland Park, Illinois).

I'm so eager to actually get some use out of this gorgeous shawl. David and I are taking a long weekend later this month and going to Door County, Wisconsin. I think that might be the perfect opportunity to show it off!

You can find my Ravelry notes here.