Friday, June 23, 2017

Purple Smoke

 My purple smoke FINALLY grew up.   :)

Here is a closeup of the delicate leaves that resemble smoke.

We planted this tree 20 years ago, and it finally is tall enough to be considered an adult.  LOL!!

It was not growing for the longest time so my husband and son ran over it with the lawnmower, and the next spring it grew about two feet.  :)  LOL!!

This actually is a tree, but looks like a bush.

I am just happy it finally got a bit larger.

I like the smoky, fuzzy leaves.

Does anyone else have a purple smoke in their yard?

Book Beginnings - 6/23/2017

*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page. 
My book beginnings is taken from THE WILDLING SISTERS by Even Chase:

"None of us can bear to touch his belt, so horrifyingly intimate.  But as we drag him across the lawn, it plows into the soil.  He's heavier than he looks, unwieldy."

What a good beginning, right?  

It is a bit of a mystery and family saga.

I am enjoying the review will be on July 26. 
Books Finished:

THE SUMMER HOUSE by Hannah McKinnon

Review will be on June 29.
EVERY LAST LIE by Mary Kubica: 

Review will be on July 5.

THE CHILD by Fiona Barton
Review will be on July 20.

COCOA BEACH by Beatriz Williams
Review will be on June 27.

Book Bloger Hop - 6/23 - 6/29

 Question of the Week:

If you are at a really good point in a book and the phone rings or the door bell rings, do you stop reading or let the phone or door bell go unanswered? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
My Answer:

I am laughing at my own question because I did let the doorbell ring one time but not on purpose.  I was just so absorbed in my book and was in an upstairs room.

I actually didn't hear the bell.  I still don't know who it was, but it must have been someone I didn't want to see anyway.  :)

I definitely let the phone ring unless it could be an emergency.

Caller ID is wonderful isn't it?  :)

Friendly Fill-Ins - 6/23/2017
Friendly Fill-Ins

1. A recurring dream I have is ____.

2. Turn___ into ____.

3.       is driving me crazy!

4. Lately, I have been          .
                                     My Answers:
1.  A recurring dream I have is actually nothing.  I normally do not dream.

2.  Turn good deeds into your blessings.

3.  Not having summer temperatures is driving me crazy!!

4.  Lately, I have been reading and relaxing more.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

International Giveaway and Spotlight of My Sister's Mother by Donna Solecka Urbikas


Donna’s story, My Sister’s Mother, has just been named a finalist in the Chicago Writers Association’s 2016 Book Awards! It’s a unique and compelling story that will capture the interest of many.

Donna Urbikas' half-sister Mira was five when she and her mother Janina were taken from their small family farm in eastern Poland and shipped to a hard-labor camp in Siberia amid the turmoil of World War II. 

That shared experience of war and exile created a bond between mother and daughter—an exceptionally close relationship that Donna, born years after the war and raised in the Midwest, would struggle to achieve with either of them.

Yet, despite Donna's comparatively privileged upbringing in postwar America, the events of war-torn Europe cast a long shadow on her life. She grew up fascinated by stories of wartime deprivation, but at the same time drawn to mainstream America and the elusive dream of a "normal" American family. 

In the years that followed, Donna lived through ordeals of her own as she first coped with cancer and then watched a son struggle with the same disease. In her own way, she realized, she was also a survivor, like her mother and sister.

In My Sister's Mother Urbikas recounts Janina's arrest in Poland, the grueling journey to Siberia with her young daughter Mira, the hunger and sickness that attended their life in the camps, and their refuge in Persia, India, England, and finally the United States. Interweaved with her mother's and sister's memories of their past are the author's own experiences—less dramatic, to be sure, but also requiring reservoirs of inner strength.

At the broadest level, this is the story of a woman trying to reconcile her identity as a first-generation American with her awareness of herself as a second-generation survivor of World War II and its tremendous upheavals.
Born in Coventry, England, Danuta or “Donna”Urbikas immigrated to the USA with her parents and sister, the subjects of the book, in 1952, settling in Chicago, Illinois, and growing up in the Polish community.  After attending Catholic grade schools and a public high school in Chicago, she graduated from the University of Illinois—Chicago Circle with a degree in biology and began teaching high school biology.
In 1976, she took her first trip to Poland to meet relatives and explore her parents’ home towns.  On the cusp of the Solidarity Movement, her movements were restricted by the Communists and the trip became a significant life experience.  Later, she graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, with a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering.  
The author has published her thesis, technical articles, worked as a teaching and research assistant and served as president of the Society of Women Engineers in Chicago, participating in numerous public speaking engagements.  She went on to work as an environmental engineer and project manager in charge of water and wastewater compliance at coal and nuclear power plants and as an industry spokesperson.
The author is a cancer survivor, currently working as an Illinois Licensed Real Estate Broker, community volunteer, and writer, living in Chicago with her husband.
Facebook URL:

Buy link for My Sister’s Mother Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:


The giveaway copy is “Courtesy PJ Nunn
Publicist, BreakThrough Promotions”




Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Monday! What Are YOU Reading? - 6/19/2017
I hope you had a great reading week.  
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at BOOK DATE!

Post the books completed, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish at some point.
Books Completed

HELLO SUNSHINE by Laura Dave - review will be on July 12 - finished June 18.

THE SUMMER HOUSE by Hannah McKinnon - review will be on June 29 - finished on June 16.

A lovely, heartfelt read.

EVERY LAST LIE by Mary Kubica - review will be on July 5 - finished June 10.

My first Mary Kubica book...a good thriller.

A RULE AGAINST MURDER by Louise Penny - review is in the book's title.  Finished June 7.

THE CHILD by Fiona Barton - review will be on July 20 - finished June 5.

A little slow at first, but got intense and interesting about half way through.

THE SUNSHINE SISTERS by Jane Green - review is in the book's title - finished May 22.

Excellent women's fiction.
THE ALMOST SISTERS by Joshilyn Jackson - review will be on July 11 - finished January 15 - I thought the book's publication date was February 15.  :)  I am not an over-achiever.  :)
Book Currently Reading:

THE WILDLING SISTERS by Evan Chase - review will be on July 25.
Books Up Next:

THE BOOK OF POLLY by Kathy Hepinstall - review will be on July 27. 
THE COTTINGLEY SECRET by Hazel Gaynor - review will be on August 1
EMMA IN THE NIGHT by Wendy Walker - review will be on August 8

THE DAUGHTERS OF IRELAND by Santa Montefiore - review will be on August 15

BEST INTENTIONS by Erika Raskin - review will be on August 29.


LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES by Jamie Ford - review will be on September 13

SILVER THREADS by Bette Lee Crosby - review will be on September 12.