Friday, March 31, 2017

March is #trypod month

So about a year or so ago I finally downloaded a podcast app and started listening. In typical Andrea fashion, I subscribed to about 40 of them. Some of my original ones have gone and new ones have come, but the number is still about 40. March is #trypod month, as in try this podcast and see what you think. I don't think there is any way I could narrow it down to a handful that I like, so I'll just list all the ones I listen to weekly.

True Crime
Already Gone - She is from Michigan and mostly focuses on Michigan. She has good cases, many of which I have not heard before. And her voice is very soothing.
Casefile - This host is from Australia and has cases from the US, Australia, and the UK.
Criminal - This show mostly has interviews with people who have been convicted or affected by crime. It is mostly kept pretty light and brings an interesting perspective to exactly what a criminal is.
In Sight - The hosts are from Australia and Kansas City. so the cases vary as to which contient they are on. Many of these shows do not overlap their cases.
The Generation Why - Aaron and Justin have been around for a while. I love their common sense looks at these cases and mysteries.
The Trail Went Cold - Many of these are lesser known cases. The host is a big Unsolved Mysteries, so many of the cases were on there originally.
The Vanished - This is dedicated to missing people. She often talks to family members of the missing. This one gives us a close up look at those who are affected by these cases.
Thin Air - This is another missing person podcast. The two hosts of this trade off cases. One week is Jordan and one week is Daniel. They do great research on this one. 
Thinking Sideways - The trio of Devin, Joe, and Steve discuss true crime as well as other mysteries around. The three of them have great chemistry that make listening very enjoyable.
True Crime Garage - True crime with a couple big personalities. They also have a book recommendation every week too!
Twisted Philly - This is obviously based out of Philly, but often extends to the rest of Pennsylvania and sometimes New Jersey. Some true crime, some paranormal, and some cool history. And the host is honest and makes it interesting.
Unexplained - This one is more paranormal than true crime, but the host does a good job of telling us the stories.
Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories - These are true crime stories with parts reenacted by actors. It is an interesting combination of story telling and radio play.

Life Encouragment/ Advice
Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers - This is obviously for teachers. It has good advice that is generally pretty easy to enact.
At Home with Sally and Friends! - This is mostly for mothers and it is really encouraging.
Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram - This is for Christians and helps with daily living out of your faith.


Lore - True life scary stories from history.
Myths and Legends - Telling the stories of myths and legends from around the world.
Remarkable Lives. Tragic Deaths - Stories of the lives of important or famous people. Part story telling and part voice acting.
Stuff You Missed in History Class - Historical things you may not have heard of, but really should learn about.
The Memory Palace - Historical stories, as in historical facts told in a story format.
The Peripheral - Stories from people's lives that aren't mainstream.
This American Life - Stories about one theme from all over the world.
Who We Are - It started as Career Day, but it is more about people telling how their career became important to their life.

Old Time Radio
Old Time Radio by Misfits Audio Currently playing X-1 episodes.
The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio - Boston Blackie, Richard Diamond, Johnny Dollar, Dragnet, and many more detective stories.
Suspense OTR - Episodes of the radio show Suspense from back in the day.
Westerns OTR - Old radio western shows, like Gunsmoke, Doc Six Gun, etc.

Professional Book Nerds - A podcast about books from Overdrive, a library company.
Sophomore Lit - A podcast talking about literature some people read in high school.
The Baby-Sitters Club Club Two middle aged guys reading The Babysitters Club books and analyzing them for all the literary value in them.
What Should I Read Next- Tell Anne 3 books you like, 1 book you hate and what you are reading lately. She will tell you what you should read next.

The Steve Austin Show - I weirdly like his observations and opinions about the professional wrestling industry.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review: Relics 3 by Nick Thacker

I have previously reviewed Relics 1 and Relics 2, so getting to book 3 was the wrap up for these characters. I wanted to know what happened to these people and the system. Unfortunately, I have been so busy I could not just sit down and read without interruption. That was a bit frustrating. So be aware that you will want to start and not stop until your done.

Relics: Three (Relics Singularity Series Book 3)Relics: Three by Nick Thacker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The one negative I have is that the books came out a bit spaced apart and made it difficult for me to accurately remember all the characters. However, each character did have a unique voice and I mostly remembered their back story from previous books. For you the new reader, the solution is simple, get all 3 books at one time and read them all together.

Now the stuff I liked about the book, the ending. Seriously the last line of the book is one of my favorite ever. It ranks up there with the last line of 1984 and the last lines of A Farewell to Arms. You need to read the entire series just to get to the last line and let it hit you like a semi-truck. Oh my gosh that ending!!!

I liked that there was action without being over the top. I liked that there was some character development. I liked that the System was shown to be flawed and beatable. It was not this hulking unstoppable thing that magically got beaten. It had a flaw that was exploited by those who would know and see it. Not everyone would see it, but those who know saw it and exploited it. It didn't end with massive explosions or crazy things. It quietly ended and therefore the last line had a humongous impact.

So pick up book 1 today, read it all together, and wallow around in the genius of the last line

View all my reviews

Did I mention that ending?! I'm so in love.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Stress Doesn't Have to Win

I had a post ready for Monday, but I'm just not sure about it. So I'm going to leave it in drafts awhile longer.

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

This week has been so long and so stressful. I stayed an hour longer at work most days grading because Friday was the end of the quarter. Several other things also happened. The kitchen faucet broke. I forgot to feed Ben breakfast twice this week. 2 library audiobook holds came in this week and 2 ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) came in this week. I also already have 2 library books. Ben and Drew started soccer practice this week too.

So it has been crazy!

However I haven't given in to the stress. I have been stressed and upset, but I haven't given in to it. I noticed that I was getting into a spiral of stress and thinking about how stressed I was and then getting more stressed. I didn't let myself sink into that spiral. I stopped that and came up with something much more productive to tell myself and I moved on. It felt like a victory. I think I am abiding in Christ and I am reaping the benefits of that.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Am I Passing On A Love of Reading?

I have been trying to take books off our shelves to read to the kids almost every night since the beginning of the year. Lily and I are slowly reading through Heidi. She seems to enjoy it. I had been reading a book with Ben. It seemed like a great book to read with boys, but I haven't enjoyed it. It is dense and the tone is darker than I want to read with Ben. But I kept slogging through.

Monday I listened to a podcast. The idea of being formed by the stories you read and being able to share these things with your kids resonated deep inside me. I know the power of story deep inside me, but I'm not sure I'm sharing that with kids up to the standard in my head.

Sally mentioned the book A Wrinkle in Time and how much it meant to her. That book is on our shelves and I fell in love with it in 7th grade. So I made the decision to abandon the book that was dense and dark for a book that is imaginative and hopeful. I told Ben that I wanted to pick another book because that one had too many facts and not enough story. He went along with it and didn't seem to have much of an opinion.

A Wrinkle in Time
We started reading it last night. He curled up beside me and put his head on my arm as I read. He has asked me about the characters to get them straight. He is excited to meet Mrs. Whatsit. He is also talking about new drawing projects. I don't know that the book inspired that, but it is encouraging. Maybe I'm doing pretty okay after all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cozy Mysteries

I am obsessed with cozy mysteries. In case you don't know, this is a definition of cozy mysteries from Wikipedia.

"Cozy mysteries, also referred to as "cozies", are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.[1]"

"Cozy mystery" Wikipedia

My Grandma Ann raised me on Murder, She Wrote. I am still in love with Jessica Fletcher. Lily and I watch Jessica Fletcher often as well. (Until it went off of Netflix.) Then I discovered that there are Murder, She Wrote books. In a bargain section, I came across Death of the Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton. From here I learned about cozy mysteries. I love the mystery part and the lack of violence and sex in the stories. There are times when I have read too many of them and the tropes of the genre get on my nerves. I move away from them for a couple books and then I'm ready for more. Thankfully there are no shortage of cozies to enjoy. So I'll share with you some of the series I enjoy besides Murder, She Wrote and M.C. Beaton.

The Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs

Charleston, South Carolina is becoming a favorite setting and Theodosia is teaching me, so much about tea.

My current Tea Shop Mystery

Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle
New York City makes for an interesting group of characters and again I'm learning. This time about coffee.

Josie Prescott Antiques by Jane C. Cleland
The setting of New Hampshire provides some great mind pictures from the descriptions she gives. I also love hearing how Josie runs her business and tells us about antiques.

The following I have only read one in the series, but I liked the one.

Key West Food Critic by Lucy Burdette

Key West and Food? Need I say more?

The Lighthouse Library Mystery Series by Eva Gates

The Outer Banks, a library, and books? Yes please!

Tradd Street by Karen White
Charleston and some ghosts. That's an interesting twist

A few more that I have read and didn't talk about above: Being a Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron, Irene Seligman by Paula Paul, Chief Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny, Java Jive by Caroline Fardig

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lily Turns 3!

Lily is 3 by Slidely Slideshow

A couple years ago I wrote this post. It is that time of year again, Lily's birthday.

Most people notice her curly red hair right away. I think she likes that because she doesn't like anything in her hair, no headbands, no ponytail, no barrette, no nothing.
Others notice how she chatters. Several months ago my husband was asked when she will turn 4. People think she is older than she actually is because of her height and her vocabulary.

What do I think about?
I think of how often she laughs. She wants to be tickled often. I think of how she insists on feeding herself. Only in the last few weeks has she started accepting food when I'm holding the spoon. And even then it is only because I'm making noises and she thinks it is funny. She loves eating chips, mashed potatoes, and meat. She loves drinking milk or juice, lots of milk and juice. She loves reading books. She will pick them and tell herself the story. Sometimes she hands me the book and wants me to read it. The library is one of her favorite places and that makes me so happy. She loves to color, but only with markers. I did get her to color with crayons on Friday when I was coloring with crayons at the library. However, at home she will only color with markers. If I suggest something else, she will not accept it. She has an opinion and does not mind sharing it! If you don't agree with her, she is likely to yell at you, tell you to "Stop cheating me!", or turn her head away and refuse to look at you. She wants to do whatever her brother is doing unless he suggests it. She loves picking flowers and playing with her baby dolls. She loves the color pink, but I think teal . She loves to jump. In fact after children's time this week at church, she jumped her way back down the aisle to our seat. She still doesn't want to cuddle, unless Ben is getting a hug or a cuddle. Then she shoves him away and takes a cuddle. She loves the soundtrack Sing and Frozen. We often listen to those as I am rocking her to sleep. She loves her blankets. She can't fall asleep without at least 4 of them. She doesn't like going potty on our toilet at home. We have tried and she did once, but she says it scares her. So we are impatiently waiting. Mostly I think about her zest for life and her happiness with her world.

I am lucky to be her mom.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Leave Some Space

Photo Credit: Ian Sane

So I'm doing really good at updating my other blog about reading even if I am a day or so off, I get something up there. However, on this one, I'm coming up empty. I have had a thought or two about what to post, but then by the time I sit down, the idea has completely flown away. I also have been struggling with writing in my journal as well. Again I think about doing it when I'm not at home or near my journal. Then I get to home and have the time and the thought has flown away. I don't think it is a coincidence that I am struggling on here and with my journal writing. I think both of those things tell me that I am not paying attention. I'm going through life, but I'm not really sitting to capture my thoughts.

Life has been a bit busier with birthdays, conferences, and my daughter getting up early. I have also checked out too many books from the library recently, so I'm feel like I'm constantly reading against the deadline. Most of these things are not much of a reason to be ignoring my reflecting space. The only one might be my daughter getting up early. She has started getting up about 5 minutes before my alarm. So there is no time to get her back to sleep, so she is just up with me while I"m getting ready. I don't have a sit down focused reflection time in the morning, but I do use some of the quiet time for thinking. Even then, that doesn't offer much of an excuse. I have several other hours in the day, but I just don't make time for reflecting.


I guess I feel like I have too much to do. I can't take time to stop because then I won't get those other two or three things done. I need to prioritize. I know me. I know if I start sacrificing here, then I'm going to start stressing more and putting more and more on my to do list. I'm going to start feeling like I need to accomplish everything instead of putting some things off or just saying no to some things. Abide is my one word for the year and it picked me because I need to be okay with the stopping. I find that I am running the risk of not leaving space for myself. That is not a good place for me to be.

So even though, I didn't have lots of good thoughts, I sat down to write anyway. I made myself reflect, so I can start capturing more reflections. I made myself leave some space.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reading Together

My son likes books. He likes to have books. He doesn't read them as often as he just collects them. So it is a pretty common "discussion" in our house of how many pages he should read and when he should read.

Yesterday I tired a new thing. I got my book that I am reading and we had a contest to see who could finish the chapter first. He liked it. He read without complaining to where I told him to read. AND I got to read as well. So while we are each reading our own individual book, we are doing something together. I like this and he likes this. So yay for everyone.

The books we are reading:

Scarlet (Scarlet, #1) One of the books recommended to me from Professional Book Nerds podcast. Goodreads link.

Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.) (Junie B. Jones, #25)  The second time Ben has gotten this one from the school library. I think he is going to finish it this time. Goodreads link