Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday Motivation- August 24, 2020

 


Happy Monday! 


What a crazy time we are living in. I am back after a few months off, dealing with some issues that have come up. It's been a hard year for everyone, but the most important thing is to keep going. Try to hold on to positivity. Be persistent. Be kind to others, because we are all in a new and scary situation! 


Today's motivation quote is a Japanese proverb that I love. I really believe the key to life is in never giving up. Yes, you will fall or get knocked down a few times, but never stay down. 


Take care and stay safe! 


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Monday, May 04, 2020

Monday Motivation- May the Fourth Be With You!



Good Morning and May the Fourth be with You!

Hope you are all staying safe and well. I know I'm planning on a socially distanced Star Wars marathon. :) Have a great week. 

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Friday, May 01, 2020

Off the Shelf: I, UNICORN: Use Quarantine to Get Enlightened NOW by Natasha Ewendt





Title: I, UNICORN: Use Quarantine to Get Enlightened NOW
Author: Natasha Ewendt
Pages: 27

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of I, Unicorn to review, and I am so glad Natasha reached out to me! Unlike most books on meditation and mindfulness, this book was so much fun to read. This book a meditation crash course, designed to help those of us struggling with the overwhelming stress (note: it doesn't have to be overwhelming!) of the current pandemic. This book really points out the silver lining of this epidemic, which is that it gives us some much needed time to slow things down and work on ourselves in ways that will benefit us on a much deeper level than the Netflix binges that we may have been indulging in (guilty!). But instead of coming across as somber and preachy, the author is hilarious. This is a rare treat in books on meditation :). The terms used are hilarious, and the basics are explained in an easy-to-understand way that is perfect for beginners. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in getting into meditation and mindfulness. You will not be disappointed!  

Get this book and enjoy it! Meanwhile, I'm going to go meditate. :) 
Here are the links:
Amazon

Bonus: there are challenges involved! It's time to get your unicorn on! 

Become a unicorn and find insta-peace in 15 pages for $1. With a YouTube prank competition & a chance to tell your apocalypse story. Get involved now – get unicorned!




Check out Natasha Ewendt on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud


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Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 25th, 2020- Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon!




Good Morning Readers! 

I have been looking forward to this Saturday for months now! This is the first readathon I've participated in for a couple of years, but I was determined to make this one work out. :D I'm located in Georgia so my Readathon Start Time is 8AM. 

Stay tuned for hourly updates and feel free to comment! I'll also be posting to my Instagram and Facebook pages, so check out the links listed at the bottom of this post. 

Happy Reading! 

8AM Update: Super excited! I'm starting this day off with Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare, the first book in The Last Hour series. Let's get reading. :D



9AM In love with this book already! Chain of Gold is the first in a series about the Shadowhunter generation following those in the Infernal Devices era (my favorite of Clare's series). :)  

10AM One of my favorite things about Cassandra Clare's books is how beautifully quotable they are: 


Memories can be bitter as well as sweet. 


11AM Does anyone else love books that start new parts/ chapters with quotes? I love how Cassandra Clare incorporates literary references and quotes into her works.  There's a lot of Dickens and Wilde in this one. :) 



12 Noon About halfway through my first book of the day! Caught one typo on page 258 (Lucy instead of Lucie). Time for lunch! 

1 PM Another lovely quote: 

All misery passes. Humanity is drawn to light, not darkness. 


2PM Over 3/4 of the way finished with Chain of Gold. What to read next? :) 

3PM My reading buddy is taking a catnap. :)



4PM Less than 100 pages to go! Think I'm going to read The Dracula Dossier next. :) 

5PM Finished Chain of Gold, now on to The Dracula Dossier by James Reese! 






6PM The Dracula Dossier seems promising at roughly 50 pages. :D Cool blending of Dracula and Jack the Ripper! 

7PM Loving The Dracula Dossier. If you like historical fiction, you should check it out! 



8PM Twelve hours in! :) We've reached the halfway mark. 

9PM Callie is snoozing comfortably. :) 


10PM Going to switch over to audiobook for a little while and take a stretch break. :) I'm downloading the first Lore book by Aaron Mahnke. It should be a nice eerie way to go into the late hours! 

11PM Vampires and witch hunters... This is a fun audiobook! Listening to The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke. 

12- Midnight Switching back to The Dracula Dossier.  Less than 100 pages to go. :) 

1AM Completed The Dracula Dossier by James Reese. Awesome book! Onward to my third Readathon book, The June Boys by Court Stevens. 



2AM The June Boys was an excellent decision! A great fast-paced YA Mystery/Thriller to help me stay awake during the last couple of hours. :D


3AM Getting a little sleepy, but not as sleepy as Merlin! :) On page 176 of 357 in The June Boys.





4AM Almost there! Less than 100 pages to go in The June Boys. Super intense book, for thriller/suspense fans. :) 

5AM Completed The June Boys! Kept me guessing until the end. Now, I'm going to switch back to Lore and get some steps in before I fall asleep ;) 



Readathon Wrap-up! I almost made it!  Last time, I checked my phone, it was 5:28 AM... 

I read three and a quarter books and a total of 1,379 pages. 

Did anyone make it the full 24 hours? What was your favorite book? 

Hope everyone had as much fun as I did! :) 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Adventures in Journaling I



Good Morning!

Welcome to the first part of my new series, Adventures in Journaling.

One of my favorite hobbies is journaling. Journaling has provided a great way for me to keep track of my life's events, given me a place to vent or celebrate, and allowed me to take time to reflect on my day-to-day routines. My first journal entry was jotted down in a composition book when I was twelve years old. My grandfather's dog, Toby, had just been put to sleep, and I was so overwhelmed with sadness and didn't know how to release it, so I just took a notebook and poured my feelings onto the page. 

Little did I know this was to become a lifelong journey for me. Soon, journaling became a daily habit for me. Whether I was excited about a new idea, depressed about a sad development, or just recording the events of another boring day, journaling became a safe haven for me, a place to record my thoughts and feelings without judgment. 

With all the changes in the world, I hope that by doing a series on journaling--including types of journals, the benefits of journaling, and where to begin-- I can encourage others to take up the journaling habit and reap the benefits as well.  Each month, I will also post a list of journal prompts to help you out on the days when you draw a blank on what to write (trust me, it happens a lot :) ). Journaling has been a therapeutic hobby for me. I hope that as you begin your own journaling adventure, it will help you as it has helped me. 

Everyone approaches journaling differently, and indeed, journals are as unique as the journalers themselves. What works for me may not work for you. Your journal may serve a different purpose altogether, but if there's one thing I've learned, everyone can obtain some benefit from journaling. There are many different styles and types of journals that I will discuss in this series. 


Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means a small portion of the proceeds go to support Pines and Peaches, at no additional cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here


Journaling doesn't require anything fancy, although there are some absolutely elegant and beautiful notebooks out there. You can start with a mechanical pencil and a composition book like I did all those years ago. Now I have upgraded to a refillable journal, available at Amazon or your local bookstore, and use Zebra Sarasa pens (purple whenever possible!). 

There are guided journals, ones that are pre-filled with prompts to get you started, and journals geared towards various topics (fitness, travel, mindfulness, etc.) The best type to start with is whatever you feel most drawn to, remember, if you don't use it, then it is not the right journal adventure for you. 

For the rest of this year, I will be covering different types of journals and journaling techniques, in addition to a monthly list of journal prompts (stay tuned for the first prompts list coming soon). 

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have anything journal related you'd like me to cover or address, feel free to leave a comment. :) 

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Monday Motivation: April 20th, 2020




Good Morning, 

Hope everyone is staying safe and well. As the quarantine drags on, I know everyone is getting frustrated. Times are hard right now for a lot of people. One thing that gets me through difficult times is focusing on what I'm grateful for (cats, books, journals, family, etc.) and taking the time to slow down and re-evaluate my goals in life. Keep in mind that these troubling times will not last forever. One day, we will be able to rejoin the world, so let's use this time for self-growth and personal development so we can be the best version of ourselves when the world returns to normal. 

Take care and stay safe! 

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Off the Shelf: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow





Author: Alix E. Harrow
Pages: 374

While browsing the shelves at the local bookstore, this book jumped out at me and I am so glad it did! This book is simply magical. I could not put it down and breezed through it in two days. January Scaller, a woman of color in the early 1900s, is the ward of an older gentleman who hired her father for his help with a mysterious archaeological society. At age seven, January stubbles upon a Door that takes her to a different realm. She receives a gift that reveals the truth of the Doors, this world, and the worlds beyond. Feeling trapped by the restrictions placed upon both women and people of color during this time period, January seeks the freedom and escape that such Doors would provide. I highly recommend this book for fans of fantasy/ adventure books, especially if you enjoy Erin Morgenstern’s books! 


Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means a small portion of the proceeds go to support Pines and Peaches, at no additional cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here



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Monday, April 13, 2020

Monday Motivation- April 13th, 2020



Good Morning and Happy Monday, 

This C. S. Lewis quote is a comfort during these turbulent times, as it reminds us that nothing lasts forever, not even the bad times. This too shall pass! Hang in there, friends. 


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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!



Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have a blessed day and get to enjoy some outdoor reading time. :) 

Stay safe and stay well! 


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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

10 Must-Read Cozy Mystery Series


Good Morning! 

One of my absolute favorite genres is the Cozy Mystery. They are just perfect for when I am in need of a quick, fun read. I joke that reading cozies is to me what binge-watching the Hallmark Channel is to some of my friends. One aspect of this genre that I love/hate is that there are so many series!!! It's a lot to keep up with. 

There are series centered around crafts, pets, holidays, hobbies, you name it, there's probably a cozy series about it. Here is a list of ten of my favorite series, with the first couple of books of each series listed. 

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means a small portion of the proceeds go to support Pines and Peaches, at no additional cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here


A Hannah Swensen Mystery series by Joanna Fluke

No one cooks up a delectable, suspense-filled mystery quite like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke’s dessert-baking, red-haired heroine whose gingersnaps are as tart as her comebacks, and whose penchant for solving crimes—one delicious clue at a time—has made her a bestselling favorite. And it all began on these pages, with a bakery, a murder, and some suddenly scandalous chocolate-chip crunchies. Featuring a bonus short story and brand new, mouthwatering recipes, this new edition of the very first Hannah Swensen mystery is sure to have readers coming back for seconds…
 Hannah already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother’s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can’t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. But if she doesn’t watch her back, Hannah’s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.


*Note: try the recipes in the books! Trust me, you will not be disappointed. :)

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3















A Fixer Upper Mystery series by Kate Carlisle

In the seaside town of Lighthouse Cove in northern California, everyone knows the best man for the job is actually a woman—contractor Shannon Hammer. But while her home-renovation and repair business is booming, her love life needs work.

On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, Shannon has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. She's happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.
 
Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure...



Book 1
Book 2
Book 3














Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle

Brooklyn Wainwright is a skilled surgeon. Sure, her patients might smell like mold and have spines made of leather, but no ailing book is going to die on her watch. The same can’t be said of Abraham Karastovsky, Brooklyn’s friend and former employer. 
 On the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration, Brooklyn finds her mentor lying in a pool of his own blood. With his final breath Abraham leaves Brooklyn with a cryptic message, “Remember the Devil,” and gives her a priceless—and supposedly cursed—copy of Goethe’s Faust for safe-keeping.  Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to Derek Stone, the humorless—and annoyingly attractive—British security officer who found her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice...


Book 1
Book 2
Book 3














Cat in the Stacks Mystery by Miranda James

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the good-natured librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel that he walks on a leash.  He’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but soon enough he’s entangled in a real-life thriller...

 A famous author of gory bestsellers and a former classmate of Charlie’s, Godfrey Priest may be the pride of Athena, but Charlie remembers him as an arrogant, manipulative jerk—and he’s not the only one. Godfrey’s homecoming as a distinguished alumnus couldn’t possibly go worse: by lunch, he’s put a man in the hospital. By dinner, Godfrey’s dead. Now it’s up to Charlie, with some help from Diesel, to paw through the town’s grudges and find the killer before an impatient deputy throws the book at the wrong person. But every last one of Charlie’s friends and co-workers had a score to settle with the nasty novelist. As if the murder wasn’t already purr-plexing enough...

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3















Books and cats? Does it get better than this? :)

Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery series by Maia Chance

1867: After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position for a crass American millionaire. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, she begins to wonder if her fast-talking ways might have been too hasty. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. And when her millionaire boss turns up dead—poisoned by an apple—the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene.
 To keep from rising to the top of the suspect list, Ophelia fights through a bramble of elegant lies, sinister folklore, and priceless treasure, with only a dashing but mysterious scholar as her ally. And as the clock ticks towards midnight, she’ll have to break a cunning killer’s spell before her own time runs out…


Book 1
Book 2
Book 3


  











Magical Cats Mystery series by Sofie Kelly

When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen's fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there's something more to these kitties.

When murder interrupts Mayville’s Wild Rose Summer Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect. More stunning is her realization that Owen and Hercules are truly special—perhaps even magical. Now, with a little legwork from her four-legged friends, Kathleen may be able to solve this purr-fect murder...


Book 1
Book 2
Book 3















Library Lover's Mystery by Jenn McKinlay

Lindsey is getting into her groove as the director of the Briar Creek Public Library when a New York editor visits town, creating quite a buzz. Lindsey’s friend Beth wants to sell the editor her children’s book, but Beth’s boyfriend, a famous author, gets in the way. When they go to confront him, he’s found murdered—and Beth is the prime suspect. Lindsey has to act fast—before they throw the book at the wrong person.


Book 1
Book 2
Book 3















Book Retreat Mystery series by Ellery Adams

Someone resorts to murder and mayhem in the first mystery in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat series...

Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime-solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…



Book 1
Book 2
Book 3














Year-Round Christmas Mystery series by Vicki Delaney

In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer in the first Year-Round Christmas mystery.

As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That’s why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoe-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry’s float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there’s a Scrooge in Christmas Town.

Merry isn’t ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph’s Christmas spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter’s body on a late night dog walk—and police suspect he was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky—Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who’s really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa’s naughty list…


Book 1
Book 2
Book 3














Liss MacCrimmon Mystery series by Kaitlyn Dunnett


As a professional Scottish dancer, Liss MacCrimmon has performed strathsprays and reels, jigs and Highland flings until a knee injury cuts her career short. Returning to her hometown of Moosetookalook, Maine, she decides to help her aunt run her Scottish emporium.
Liss hasn't been in Moosetookalook in over ten years, but the quaint little town, nestled in the hilly terrain of western Maine, looks exactly as she remembers it. But then her bliss soon turns to dread when she finds the dead body of her aunt's nosy neighbor, Amanda Norris, under a bolt of Flower of Scotland fabric in the stock room. And if things weren't bad enough, the state police hone in on Liss as the prime suspect. Now Liss will have to do some fancy footwork to prove she's innocent while avoiding becoming the killer's next victim. . .



Book 1
Book 2
Book 3













Hope you enjoyed this list and that you have found your new favorite cozy series? Is there a cozy mystery that you recommend? Feel free to leave the title in the comments. 

Thank y'all for reading. Be sure to enter your email address for all the latest updates from Pines and Peaches.