Tuesday, March 31, 2015


If you’re an audiobook fan and would like to take up the challenge, hop over to The Book Nympho or Hot Listens for the Reading Challenge details and levels. I’ve gone for the Marathoner (50+) The challenge runs from Jan 1st 2015 until Dec 31st 2015 and you can join in anytime.
Audiobooks are great for those times you can’t read a book for whatever reason and if you find a great narrator they can make the story so much better.  Here are the books that I've listened to from April - June 2015.
The Magician's Lie By: Greer MacCallister
Dragonfly in Amber #2: By: Diana Gabaldon
Room By: Emma Donoghue
Garden Spells #1 By: Sarah Addison Allen
Defending Jacob By: William Landry
The Paying Guests By: Sarah Walters
First Frost By: Sarah Addison Allen
Moriarty By: Anthony Horowitz
Station Eleven By: Emily St. John Mandel
The Boston Girl By: Anita Diamant
The Miniaturist By: Jessie Burton
I Heart My Little A-Holes By: Karen Alpert
Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are By: Carlin Flora
The Fortune Hunter By: Daisy Goodwin
Red Queen By: Victoria Aveyard
The Kitchen House By: Kathleen Grissom

Sign Up For The Challenge HERE

Friday, March 13, 2015


30 Before 30  Charleston Friends

Ok, so one of my 30 Before 30 includes visiting friends in Charleston, but with the way things went for selling my house (which we AMAZINGLY have a contract for at the moment) and my birthday coming up this month, there is simply no time to really get away and go down to Charleston.  So I grew up in South Carolina and I was able to meeting wonderful friends that have last my lifetime, and my friend's moms have so to speak become my mom as well!  So this past weekend when I was in Richmond for a Reading Conference I was able to meet up with my friend, Nikki's mom and her husband Don, it was a magical time and I thought, since she always makes the think of home and my friends who are still down there.  I was so blessed that they came and picked me up from the hotel, WOW, Richmond is such a confusing place with all their one-way streets and places where they have terrible street signs that are no staggered and hard to see.  BLESSED is all I have to say on that matter!  We arrived at this awesome gem of a hotel, The Jefferson

When you arrive you are engrossed completely in the scenery, it absolutely breathtaking.  You are able to do a complete 360 while looking up and down and you will still be amazed at this hotel's beauty.  

So there is a nice restaurant inside the walls of The Jefferson Hotel and its name is Lemaire.  So I was definitely fine dinning, we had a two page menu with hot and cold small plates as well as the main dishes.  Mrs. Debi and I took some shots with each other during dinner to capture our fun times.  

Here is what the room looked like, however it was a lot more dark and we were sitting in the far corner!

For dessert Mrs. Debi and I split a Hot Chocolate Creme Brulee!  Ooh it was so tasty!  

After dinner we took another little stroll around the hotel stopping to do what we do best, take some pictures!  Look we even managed to match with our similar cut blue shirts!  

I had such an amazing evening spending time with my "extended" family.  I definitely need it after a long day at the conference.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

30 Before 30 - VOLUNTEER

So I had been close with the previous President of the Suffolk Reading Council, and we spoke about taking the council in new directions this coming year.  She was offered an amazing job close to where her husband had just accepted and an equally amazing opportunity up in Northern Virginia.  Although I was extremely happy for her I was sad because I didn't know where it left the council.  The council was almost completely dismissed by most.  However I went to my first Virginia Leadership Meeting in December of this past year.  WOW, what an amazing group of women, they certainly gave me some good advice and some really great starting points.  Within this organization there are some truly remarkable people who are wanting to make a difference in the literacy of tomorrow.

So, I am going to fast forward a bit and say at the beginning of it all there were a handful of members, yes I could count them all on one hand.  Now we are 33 strong and I would like to think that we are going to be growing with every event we hold.  We are going to grow to amazing heights!  Ok, COMPLETE optimist right here!  I am just so excited.

Ok, so this has been a year of me stepping outside of my shell.  I have been ready for a change but it has definitely come quietly to me.  I think I was ready to make a leap and my life at the moment is about me finding myself in the baby steps.  This may seem like all jibber jabber at the moment, but what I mean to say is that I wanted to just be able to step into the role of an "amazing leader".  However, that is just too big of a leap for me, since I am for the most part an introvert and a person who LOVES my personal time to sit and craft or read or listen to an audiobook just to have time to myself.  Now, I am loving the feeling of making an impact on a council I have been lucky to get involved with.  That being said I was put up for and volunteered to be the President-Elect for the Suffolk Reading Council and I couldn't be more excited.

Today I was able to be in a photo in our local newspaper for the work that our council did this past month with donating over 1,000 books so that kids in homeless shelters could have a book of their own as well as having lots of reading material for kids who may not have much to choose from.  I am very happy that our organization could donate to this cause!

Here is the photo for the paper.  If you click on it, it will link to the newspaper article.

Not the best picture, I will absolutely love the sun to come out and melt all this snow away and take away my pasty skin of winter!  But that's all for now!  Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Kitchen House By: Kathleen Grissom Book Review

The Kitchen House

By: Kathleen Grissom
The Kitchen House
Good Reads Synopsis:
When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. 

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
My Feelings on The Kitchen House:
The book started out strong with the premonition of what was to happen.  You kept thinking throughout the entire story that you seemed to know who would be hanging by the end of the story, which is a gruesome way to go throughout an entirety of a book, but I was captivated!  This book went through many different themes.   I liked the theme of family that this book conveyed.  I really felt like Lavinia although her life was rough through most of the book finally had her place at the end of the book.  However, I still felt that Lavinia ended up with Will in the very end, it just makes more sense that way, she deserves it! :)
My favorite quote from The kitchen House is:

 Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks