Reading Lately

I haven't been great with my reading these days.. the days are going by so quickly.. these were the last few books I did get the chance to read.

Another Woman's Husband by Gill Paul

Synopsis - Two women who challenged the Crown. Divided by time. Bound by a secret...

1911 - At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal.

1997 - Rachel's romantic break in Paris with her fiance ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world...

Thoughts - Historically speaking, this was an extremely fascinating read. Until I watched The Crown I hadn't even heard of Wallis Simpson. I definitely preferred reading about the past than the present. For anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction and the current monarchy than this is the perfect read for you!  

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

SynopsisHen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace. 

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.
Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. 

Thoughts - This is my third read by Peter Swanson and while I immensely disliked the first, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart. I thoroughly enjoyed the second one A Kind Worth Killing. I was a little on the fence about this one when I picked it up.. but I'm glad I did.. I enjoy it. It had plenty of twists and turns and brought light upon many mental health issues and the effects of a troubled childhood. 

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Synopsis - Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. 

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiance, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Thoughts - I have seen this book pop up a lot on my social media.. it sounded intriguing.. Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. I was prepared for this to be a tearjerker. Yet I felt nothing. Not sure what went wrong but I felt bored.. Yes, it is heartbreaking what happens to children in orphanages and foster homes, the fact that most of these children were not even orphans was even more heartbreaking.. but I didn't feel any of that heartbreak.. Maybe we are becoming desensitized to these horrors because we read about them every day?

The boy's pediatrician noticed the book in my hand and said she too has been trying and struggling to read the book.. 

It has great reviews so we may be in the minority. If you've already read it I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides

Synopsis - Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. 

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him

Thoughts - This was another though one. It sounded promising.. the reviews were terrific and everyone claimed it was unputdownable.. So I am once again in the minority. I didn't care about any of the characters.. the twist came in the last 10 or so pages but it was not worth the first 300 something pages I had to read to get to it.  Have you read it? What did you think?

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20 Questions with D

1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy/game? Carrom Board
3. What is your favorite fruit? Raspberries
4. What is your favorite food? Tortellini 
5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Cotton Candy
7a. What is your favorite tv show? Good Mythical Mornings - on youtube
7b.Favorite Movie? Bedtime Stories
8. What is your favorite animal? Gorilla 
9. What is your favorite song? It's Raining Taco's by Parry Gripp
10. What is your favorite book? Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford
11. Who is your best friend? Z.FAN
12. What is your favorite city/country? Budapest
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play Tennis
14. What do you want to be when you grow up? Dentist
15. What is your favorite thing to do with mummy? Playing Clue
16. What is your favorite thing to do with baba? Playing Foosball and Carrom Board
17. What is your favorite thing to do with Hasan? Playing with each other
18. What makes you feel sad? When I don't have lots of friends
19. What makes you feel happy? Summer

20. What was your favorite thing about your birthday? Pantyhose Bowling

To take a look back here are
20 Questions with D at 4
20 Questions with D at 5
20 Questions with D at 6
20 Questions with D at 7
20 Questions with D at 8 

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D's Amazing Race Party

Last weekend our eldest turned 9.. and we threw him an amazing race birthday party!

As with all the boys other parties.. I bought a plain white cake from Wegmans and let D decorate it himself.

We had a total of nine kids.. they picked bandanna's out of a bag to create 3 teams.

First Task

Not all the kids knew each other.. they were too amped up with the idea of winning that they couldn't manage to calm down and read the clue.. so we had to really guide them through it.. they made mistakes and we let it go.. it seemed a tad chaotic.. 

Second Task

I had 33 little medicine cups filled with M&M's and Goldfish crackers.. 6 of them had stickers on the bottom. The first two teams found the sticker in the first try... what are the odds!? And the third team had to eat a lot of snacks before they finally found their sticker.

Third Task

I bought 48 piece puzzles from the Dollar Tree. The boys took their time making them.. it was then that we finally got a chance to take a breath and just be able to watch them all at work.. 

Fourth Task

The kids had a blast with this one.. M and I disagreed on a few of the details regarding this task. First he thought filling the glass to the brim with only a bandanna was too much so we settled on 75% full. Then I thought the bucket was too high up on the hill so we moved it slightly lower.. We were both so wrong. These are 9 year olds.. they should have been filling the cup to the brim and the bucket should have been farther up because even though they were huffing and puffing the task took them barely 5 minutes.. they were breezing through these!!

Fifth Task

Sixth Task

We assigned a different color of Fruit Loops to each team.

Seventh Task

This was another fun one.. the kids had to make multiple trips to get the sequence correct.

 Eighth Task

This game was such a hoot.. the boys even took turns playing it once the actual race was finished. 

Ninth Task

M and I tried this activity to see how long it would take.. we had to really shake it! The kids twerked 'em all out so quickly I didn't even get a picture!

Last Task!

The secret message read - Congratulation You Have Completed The Amazing Race

All the Winners!

The kids went through the games quicker than we had expected so they filled the rest of their time playing more Pantyhose Bowling.. soccer.. just running around and a water balloon fight. Then it was time for cake and pizza

It was a great party.. it had been a little tricky keeping all the games a secret from D.. I gave all the kids jump ropes as party favors.

Here's a look back at some of his previous birthdays
1st Birthday
4th Birthday
5th Birthday
7th Birthday
8th Birthday

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