Monday Morning Check-In: Giveaway

Good morning everyone, I’m coming to you from a rainy Monday here in eastern Iowa.   The title isn’t click bait I do have a giveaway for you all but you will have to wait until the end of the post for more details.  Not a lot of reading going on last week because I was preoccupied with a new used car search and a trip to Chicago for a book signing.  We decided to combine these two activities and searched for cars out in Chicago.  It paid off because we ended up finding a wonderful new ride for an amazing price.  Several thousand dollars cheaper than we would have found here at home.  On Thursday we headed out with one car and came home Friday with a 2015 Toyota Rav4!  The car is practically brand new with only 21,000 miles on it and after 60 reasonable payments, it will be all ours.

The original purpose of our trip was to attend a book signing with author Chloe Neill of the Chicagoland Vampires series. This signing for the first book in her spin-off series The Heirs of Chicagoland, the first book being Wild Hunger (linked to review). She shared with us that she is under contract for two books but there could be more depending on sales!    It was a super fun evening listening to Ms. Neill answer questions about her books.  While I was there I decided to pick up an extra copy of Wild Hunger to giveaway on the blog.  I did share on Instagram that details would be in today’s post so here they are.

Giveaway!

To win the signed copy of Chloe Neill’s Wild Hunger, first in the Heirs of Chicagoland series, all you need to do is leave a comment sharing your favorite Chicago food.  If you’ve never been to Chicago no problem, simply share with which food you would love to try!

One comment/entry per person, US entries only (international shipping is outrageous! (and pesky international laws…)). Comments will be open for one week, Monday the 20th to Monday the 27th.  I will randomly select the winner on Tuesday the 28th and contact them.  If no reply I will randomly select another winner.

 

Good Luck!

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Monday Check-In: Better late than never…

My brain is fried.  I have done nothing but cook and search for a new car.  That is it.  We have decided it is time to get our SUV and now the search begins and I hate the search.  Probably more than the negotiating or paperwork.  We are going to have a second car loan which sucks but it is coming to the point that neither one of us want to drive the Honda.  It has been a great car but is reaching the end of its life.  We didn’t want to be pressured into having to buy a car so we started looking now.

We are also on this Whole30 and didn’t get a chance to cook yesterday so this morning I did that, hence no post this morning.  I’m listening to The Young Turks now and after the news is over I’m going to step away from the computer and go read in bed because I am done looking at cars that are either too far away or more than I want to pay…  Hopefully, we will find something soon because I’m already tired of looking.

Have a great week everyone.

Monday Morning Check-In: Do What I Want

Good Monday Morning everyone.  I actually got to this post before noon this week!  I received a bit of a shock last week and perhaps a bit of a wake-up call as well.  I ended up going to the doctors for a rash that ended up being shingles!  Now I know I’m old but not that old but apparently, it is quite common for people under 50 as they are half the cases diagnosed.  I’m thinking the stress of dealing with a difficult person and a week in Chicago was what triggered it.  So I need to be better at managing my stress levels.  That means saying no more things, not worrying about pleasing other people, less news, and more of doing what makes me happy.   That does include reading but not last weekend because it was our 23 wedding anniversary on Sunday.  We had a nice day out and visited a farmer’s market and some indie bookstores on Saturday and then on Sunday, we started a whole30 together.  Speaking of stress…  No, this shouldn’t be a big deal, my husband recently read the book and it is easier to have a successful whole30 if you have a partner so why not.  Maybe this time it won’t suck so much.

I have a review book that I NEED TO FINISH but keep getting distracted by my shiny computer game. I might need to make the rule of read first, game second.  Anyway, have a great week everyone!

Monday Morning Check-In: I can’t read.

Okay, that might have been clickbait.  Obviously, I can read but over the past month, I have noticed that I physically can’t read the words on a page anymore.  I would love to be able to just walk into Target and pick up a pair of readers off the shelf but that isn’t possible for my prescription.  I need a negative number and readers are essentially just magnifiers and don’t do squat for me.  That means I need to dig out the insurance card, find out what providers are in the network, and make a freaking eye appointment.  I need bifocals.  I don’t really want to buy the expensive eyeglasses in the store like I’ve always done so I need to grow a backbone and say just give me the prescription, please.  My husband had success ordering glasses online for work so I’m going to go the same route this time.  I want to have multiple pairs of glasses, bifocals for work, a set pair of readers, and maybe a pair without the bifocals for distance while driving, while we are at it I might pick up a pair of prescription dark sunglasses.

In the meanwhile, I will continue with audiobooks and play my new game, Sims 4.  Hopefully, I will have new glasses soon and be able to enjoy reading again.

Monday Morning-Check In: Mamma Mia 2 Review (Spoilers)

Good Monday morning everyone.  Hubby and I went to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again over the weekend and I’ve been stewing over my thoughts on the movie all weekend.  So I’m going to use this platform to discuss the movie.

Warning there will be spoilers.  If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know what happens then click away now.  

 

Alright if you are still here then you either have seen the movie or simply don’t care if it is spoiled.  Now for what I thought.  Basically, I’m torn.  I loved the first movie so much and it continues to be one of my favorites when I want a fun feel-good movie to brighten my day.  I was excited to see the sequel/prequel that we ponied up the money to see it on the Imax screen, in 2D thank God because I’m not a fan of 3D.  For the first spoiler, you were warned, they killed Donna off.  They let us know pretty quick that Donna had died a year earlier and all the returning characters spend much of the movie mourning her loss.  Talk about a buzz kill!  It cast this cloud over the film that just brought the whole mood down.  Also, Donna was my favorite character from the first movie and her loss was definitely felt.   This isn’t to say there were not fun moments, there were, but much of time I kept think about how much I wished Donna was there.  What makes this movie work is the chemistry between the characters and to have Donna gone disrupted that too much. Besides that, though, the cast was amazing!  They did an excellent job of casting younger versions of the characters.  The addition of Cher was also a great choice but underutilized in my opinion.  They should have given her a bigger part as it would have made up for the loss of Donna.  Why not have a reconnection of Sophie and her Grandmother earlier in the movie so we could enjoy more banter between the two.  You could have still had the showstopper number at the end of the film.

The flashbacks with the younger actors portraying how Donna ended up on the island were fun for a while but not that interesting.  I enjoyed learning how she met each man but I felt they could have been condensed.  I would have much rather spent my time in the present with Tanya and Rose and Sophie.   The musical numbers were fun but some of the songs could have been left out.  The whole Kissed a Teacher number, in particular, is not appropriate.  Sorry, it isn’t.  Then just as I’m getting over the loss of Donna they brought back her spirit for the last scene when Sophie baptized her son.  That was simply rubbing salt in my wounds at this point and a horrible note to end the film on in my opinion.  I’m coming off the high of seeing Cher sing Fernando to watch Sophie have a duet with her dead mother!  I bawled.  I’m sorry it needed to end with Cher they should have kept Donna out altogether.

OR, a better idea would have been to have Donna and Sam off enjoying their lives together after turning the resort over to Sophie and Sky.  Now I’m sad from this movie but now when I watch the first one I’m going to be sad all over again knowing that Donna and Sam just have a few brief years together before she dies.  Thanks.

Despite my bitching, I did enjoy this movie.  It is just the more I think about it the more disappointed I get over it.  I want to watch it again, though, I want to see how I feel about the movie going in knowing that Donna has died.  Perhaps I will be able to just let that go and enjoy the silliness of what a movie based on Abba songs should be, simply fun.

Alright, that’s a lot of rambling for a Monday morning.  Sorry to dump that on you all but I needed to get it out of my system.  It is just that I was looking so forward to the movie and then deeply disappointed by what it ended up being.  I needed to vent…

Monday Check-In: Feeling Down…

Hello everyone, happy Monday to you all.  Feeling a little depressed or melancholy today.  Probably from the stress last week or just a case of mid-summer blues.  I’ve survived vacation and the fair, summer reading is almost over, the garden is in full swing.  It’s not the first time I’ve been hit with a case of the blah’s this time of year.

I did manage to finish an audiobook last week as well as made some progress in an ARC that I really need to read before next month.  I’m excited about reading it but just don’t ever seem to make time for it.  I’m also going to be a lot more distracted as I’ve decided to buy myself a new computer game for my birthday tomorrow.

I do have some exciting news in the reading front. I’m going to head back to Chicago next month to attend a book signing by Chloe Neill!!!  She will be in Naperville signing her upcoming release of Wild Hunger her first book in the Heirs of Chicagoland spin-off series!  I can’t wait to meet her as she has been on my author bucket list for some time.  I’m toying with picking up a second copy of her books for a giveaway on the blog.  Comment below if that is something you all are interested in.  If nobody is then I’ll just grab myself a copy.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday Morning Check-In: There’s No Place Like Home

Good Monday morning everyone.  I’d love to tell you I’m back on a normal routine this week but it is Fair Week in the county where I live so I will have another busy week where I might not get a ton of reading done.  Last week we were on vacation in Chicago, five days four nights coming home on Thursday. We had fun but came home exhausted! I also came home with an inflamed Achilles tendon after walking far more than I normally do.  I did take an audiobook and reinstalled a reading app on my phone but opened neither one while we were away so I haven’t read anything in over a week.  After we came home I returned to work and needed to catch up on yard work, much to the detriment of my recovering heal.

Today I plan on taking things easy while icing my heel off and on so I hope to start a new audiobook while I work on last-minute details for my fair entries.  Other than that it might be another week of little reading.  Or who knows maybe I finally finish the ARC I’ve been dying to start.  Have a great week!

Tuesday Morning Check-In: Adapting…

Good morning everyone. Since I made the mistake of scheduling my TTT post for Monday this week I decided to write my Monday Morning Check-In post on Tuesday.  It has nothing to do with the fact that I was busy yesterday morning.  Nope.  Not at all.

Anyway… Not a lot of reading going on at the moment.  We are leaving in next week for a vacation to Chicago and I have been busy getting the yard, animals, and house ready for our absence.  I did manage to start The Devil in the White City audiobook which is about a mass murderer in Chicago around the same time as the World’s Fair of 1893.  I was a little leery about this book as I’m not a huge fan of historical reads or non-fiction but I have to confess I’m hooked!  Not a fan of the sections about the serial killer but the sections about the world fair are fascinating.  Husband and I plan on visiting Jackson and Hyde Park while in Chicago next week and I can’t wait to explore the grounds that once held the fair.  I also want to go to Navy Pier, a place I usually steer clear of now, to ride the Ferris Wheel.  It will mean so much more now that I know how the first one was for the 1893 Fair.  Should be fun.

Next Monday I won’t have a check-in post or a Wednesday post as we are going to be gone.  If you want to see pictures of our trip follow my personal Instagram account: amyjoiowa.

Have a great week!

Monday Morning Check-In: Feeling the Heat

Good morning everyone.  I did manage to get some reading done last week and even finished a couple of books.  Then the heat wave struck and you would think that I’d just hide in the air condition and read.  Nope.  I did try to listen to an audiobook but then realized I was distracted for the second half of the book and decided to try again.  I hope to finish up that today and post a review.  I do have another short book to finish up and review before its release date next week.  Then I hope to start the ARC that I’m most excited to read before our trip to Chicago next month.

There is only one more day left in this heat wave and it is my day off so maybe I will be able to step away from the computer and actually read.  Have a great week everyone!

Monday Morning Check-In: Time to Get Serious.

Alright, enough of this non-reading lifestyle.  I need to turn off YouTube, step away from Sims 3, just let the garden grow.  I need to focus on reading and not these other distractions.  Of course while I was typing this I needed to stop and deal with cows out and dig up my septic tank so it can be emptied.  The thing is I’m enjoying my two current reads, audio and print, I’m also excited about one of my review books as well.  I just need to stop being a scatter brain and focus.  I’ve noticed this in other areas of my life, however, I’m losing things around the house.  I just feel like I’m dealing with brain fog as well as hot flashes again so perhaps my current level of estrogen isn’t cutting it anymore.  I don’t know, but I’m not reading a lot currently and I’m feeling guilty over it.   Have a great week everyone.  I hope to have a book review or two for you by the end of the week.  Finger’s crossed.