First of all, I wanted to say Thank you! to everyone for the adorable Tucker birthday wishes and comments.  He had a vet appointment today and he’s doing great.  He needs to put on a little bit of weight, so he’ll be dining on hardboiled eggs (in addition to his stinky dry dog food) at breakfast and dinner.

Both Kostas and Tucker are very fit and lean dogs–Kostas actually weighs 20 pounds more than Tucker!  He carries his weight in his huge ears 🙂


Moving on to recent reads…

Cold, snowy, icy weather the past couple of weeks has meant I’ve been A-OK with taking some time to read.  Here are the last few books I’ve read:

A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass – My niece suggested I read this book and I’m glad I took her recommendation.  It’s definitely in the YA genre so it wasn’t too taxing.  The book is the story of Mia Winchell and her struggle with synesthesia – her senses mingle and so words and letters have color for her.  She tries to hide this from her friends and family, but she is struggling in school so her parents take her to a series of doctors.  Mango, the family cat, is also central to the story.  No spoiler alert here, but the ending is sad.  I was intrigued to learn more about synesthesia.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell – The overall premise:  two young sisters are forced to take care of themselves after the “mysterious” death of their parents.  The friendly neighbor takes the girls in and starts to get suspicious that the parents are not coming back from their trip to Turkey (this is what the girls tell people – their parents left town).  This story pulls at the heartstrings and is a brilliant debut novel.  On Goodreads I only gave this 3 out of 5 stars because it was just so depressing.  The ending was a real shocker and I think when I closed the book after finishing it I let out a very audible sigh because I’d been taken on an emotional roller coaster.  All that said, I still recommend it.

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus – If you read this, try to read it when you have time to dedicate to getting through the entire book in one or two sittings.  You’ll want to get to know the characters and find out if/when they are successful at starting over.  Thomas and Silke Tessler live together in their New York apartment but Thomas has sequestered himself in one room–for the past three years.  The Tessler’s son died and Thomas feels to blame.  Thus, the seclusion.  He only goes out at night for groceries – microwave dinners and instant coffee.  Silke wants her husband back.  She hires Meguni, a young Japanese immigrant attuned to the hikikomori phenomenon, to lure Thomas back into the world.  This is a complex story and I enjoyed it because I learned about hikikomori and felt invested in these characters.

These books have been a bit deep–I may need to read a book about puppies and rainbows to bounce back!

How is your Monday?  Any book recommendations to share?

City of Dark Magic

You may have heard–it’s cold in the Midwest.  Yesterday I think the wind-chill got down to -20.  At a certain point I stop paying attention to the actual number – these below 0 wind chills are cold and dangerous.  My walk to work today was frigid–so frigid that my hair sticking out of my hat (that was fully dry) froze.  Dry hair – frosted over.

What to do on a day off (yesterday) when it’s too cold to go outdoors?  At-home workout – check.  Make another batch of Roasted Celery Puree–check.  Fluff and scratch Labrador ears–check.


Finish another book–check.  Yesterday I was able to sit down and make my way through City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte.  I can’t even begin to do this book justice by trying to explain what it’s about.  If you have a couple of minutes, I’d suggest watching the book trailer.  And then add the book to your To Read list.

Magnus Flyte is the pseudonym for the writing duo of Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch.  I heard them interviewed on Milwaukee Public Radio last week and was intrigued that they wrote the book by volleying it back and forth to one another.

Prague is a main character in this story and when I finished the book I wanted to dust off my passport and book a flight to Prague.  I went there during my senior year in college and have fond memories of my two weeks in the Czech Republic.  Prague is such a mysterious city full of legends, shadows, and characters.  I still remember the small hotel I stayed at along the river – our top floor room had a skylight that opened and in the early morning I stuck my head out to see the city enveloped in fog and mystery.

Have you been to Prague?  What are you reading?