Sunday Bookends: What the family is reading, cold weather moves in and a self-imposed media break

It finally happened. My brain snapped this week and I had to impose an overall media break on myself.

Social media.

News media.

Gone for three to four days at least, if not longer. After snapping at people, shaking from anxiety every time I logged off, and having crying fits based in depression and anxiety I knew it was time.

Luckily, after starting the break I felt so much better with less bouts of anxiety. Until I went back on and got in a completely unnecessary word exchange with an acquaintance

I broke it a couple of times for brief updates then went right back into my clueless hole and blocked the sites on my phone and Facebook.

If anyone else wants to join me on my break, you’re welcome to. Just make a list of things you would rather be doing and then commit to staying away from news and social media and at the end of the time you set for your break write about you felt during the break and after.

So far, I have filled my time with some reading (not as much as I would have liked), blog reading, working on formatting novel two and writing novel three, researching gardening and compositing (Lord Jesus, help me. I’m not sure I’ll be able to figure all that out), and watching The Chosen.

I also spent two days avoiding looking out the window since it snowed. Yes. Snowed. In May. I did not take any photos of it because it was insanely depressing.

I thought I’d share what the family is reading this week, since I’m reading pretty much the same books that I’ve been reading for a while.

What I’m reading: A Light in the Window by Jan Karon and Sweet on You by Becky Wade and About Your Father by Peggy Rowe (I read one story a night from this and talked about the book first HERE).

Planning to read soon:
Death of A Gossip (A Hamish Macbeth Book) by M.C. Beaton

Husband: The Poet by Michael Connelly

Description: An electrifying standalone thriller that breaks all the rules! With an introduction by Stephen King.

Death is reporter Jack McEvoy’s beat: his calling, his obsession. But this time, death brings McEvoy the story he never wanted to write–and the mystery he desperately needs to solve. A serial killer of unprecedented savagery and cunning is at large. His targets: homicide cops, each haunted by a murder case he couldn’t crack. The killer’s calling card: a quotation from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. His latest victim is McEvoy’s own brother. And his last…may be McEvoy himself.


Son: Harry Potter and the Half-Bred Prince


Daughter (with me) Ree Drummond’s book Charlie and The New Baby and Ramona The Pest.

Mom: Somebody’s Daughter by Rochelle B. Weinstein

Description:

Emma and Bobby Ross enjoy a charmed life on the shores of Miami Beach. They are a model family with a successful business, an uncomplicated marriage, and two blessedly typical twin daughters, Zoe and Lily. They are established members of a tight-knit community.

Then, on the night of the girls’ fifteenth birthday party, they learn of Zoe’s heartbreaking mistake—a private and humiliating indiscretion that goes viral and thrusts her and her family into the center of a shocking public scandal.

As the family’s core is shattered by disgrace, judgment, and retribution, the fallout takes its toll. But for Emma, the shame runs deeper. Her daughter’s reckless behavior has stirred memories of her own secrets that could break a marriage and family forever.

and before that Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne (My mom reads much faster than me so I have trouble keeping up with what she is on).

Description:

In this self-published bestselling e-book by a real illusionist—the first thriller in a sensational series—now available in paperback, FBI agent Jessica Blackwood believes she has successfully left her complicated life as a gifted magician behind her . . . until a killer with seemingly supernatural powers puts her talents to the ultimate test.

A mysterious hacker, who identifies himself only as “Warlock,” brings down the FBI’s website and posts a code in its place. It hides the GPS coordinates of a Michigan cemetery, where a dead girl is discovered rising from the ground . . . as if she tried to crawl out of her own grave.

Born into a dynasty of illusionists, Jessica Blackwood is destined to become its next star—until she turns her back on her troubled family, and her legacy, to begin a new life in law enforcement. But FBI consultant Dr. Jeffrey Ailes’s discovery of an old copy of Magician Magazine will turn Jessica’s carefully constructed world upside down. Faced with a crime that appears beyond explanation, Ailes has nothing to lose—and everything to gain—by taking a chance on an agent raised in a world devoted to seemingly achieving the impossible.

The body in the cemetery is only the first in the Warlock’s series of dark miracles. Thrust into the media spotlight, with time ticking away until the next crime, can Jessica confront her past to embrace her gifts and stop a depraved killer?

If she can’t, she may become his next victim.



I tried to distract myself this week with movies, but mostly failed on that front. I had considered the newest version of Emma, which you could have rented on Amazon for $20 and now can buy for $14.99. I knew I didn’t want to buy it and after reading some reviews, I’m not sure I even want to rent it. This was my favorite review on Amazon:

“I am sitting here alone, in the midst of quarantine, because the rest of my family couldn’t handle this movie any longer and fled. I have not left my house in five days, but death by coronavirus would be more merciful than continuing to watch this movie. Everyone in this movie is so unlikable, which is not Jane Austen’s fault. The other versions were good. The only saving grace is Chummy from “Call the Midwife.””

Ouch.

So then I tried Little Women. My brother and sister-in-law loved it and telling them I didn’t was hard, but I didn’t. I just didn’t. I guess it was supposed to be artistic but I had to agree with what a reviewer on Amazon said: “The film felt like a very long trailer.”

Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet in Greta Gerwig’ LITTLE WOMEN.

All the flipping back and forth between the past and present was extremely confusing at times and the orange glow on all the outdoor scenes made me want to adjust the lighting on my computer. If the story had been told in a more linear way I might have been able to actually like the characters, but since it was a movie of five minute clips here and there, I never really had a chance to get to know them unfortunately. Of course, I know them from other movies. I should say I know them from the book, but I never finished the book. I know. I’m awful, but it’s true.

The actors were very good, however, so I really wanted to give the movie a shot again after stopping it only half an hour in the first time. The guy playing Laurie looked 14 whether he was actually supposed to be 14 or in his 20s and he looked slightly stoned the entire time so I really had little interest when he came on the screen. I won’t lie and say there weren’t parts I didn’t cry through, because there were, but I’m not lying when I say I barely had time to cry for Beth because they had flipped to another scene before I knew what happened.

Instead, I watched a more traditional version I found on Amazon that was split into four episodes and featured actresses who seemed to fit the parts more for me than the other actresses did.

I also distracted myself from the news of the world by blogging last week:

Faithfully Thinking: He will lift it soon

A small family greenhouse in the middle of nowhere (this was my most popular in months. I think because it was shared on Facebook and a lot of local people saw it.)

“Did you go outside today?” Yes, Mom, in fact we did.

Fiction Friday: The Farmer’s Daughter Chapter 7

So how about all of you? What are you reading, watching, writing and doing these days? Let me know in the comments.

Written by Lisa R. Howeler

As a writer, photographer and former journalist, Lisa R. Howeler writes a little bit about everything on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She self-published her first novel, A Story to Tell, in September 2019 on Amazon. She's a wife and a mother and enjoys a good John Wayne movie and a cozy Jan Karon book. She's also a freelance writer and photographer who is a contributor to various stock agencies, including Lightstock and Alamy. Her photography work focuses on documentary and photojournalism.

18 comments

  1. I kicked everyone off computers Thursday. I know you’re homeschooling, but my kids are schooling-at-home; I normally have strict limits on screen time and have *hated* how long they’re in front of a computer lately!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We actually don’t use computers very much. I have textbooks for him and make him actually write things down by hand. Gasp! Sometimes. He has one subject online – math. And I allow him to type his essays or book reports into his Word program so we can read over them together and edit them.

      So I don’t blame you about not wanting them on devices all the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to say, while I liked the new movie visually and certain aspects of it very much, the only reason it didn’t confuse me was how familiar I am with the last iteration of the story. I recognized the reimagined and reorganized scenes so I was able most of the time to keep track of past /present, though not all the time. Part of the confusion was having Florence Pugh as Amy in scenes where Amy was supposed to be like eleven. I was also distracted by the fact that Timothee Chalamet does not look like a day past sixteen no matter what you dress him in. He might have that issue Leonardo DiCaprio had, where he didn’t look like a non teen until he was forty. I agree with you about it not developing characters much ; you love them because you already know them and not necessarily because of what this movie shows you. The last movie also did a better job of explaining why the Marches lost their social position and their guiding philosophy, which has much to do with who the girls are as individuals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You do have a point that I knew where the story was but I just didn’t like the flipping back and forth. Still, the acting was very good. I loved Saoirse Ronan as Jo. I didn’t despise the movie at all. I loved the focus on her writing especially. It just wasn’t my favorite telling of it. Then again, sometimes change is good and having a familiar story told a different way makes life interesting 🤔 😁

      Like

      1. “I don’t understand why everyone always wants to leave…. Now I’m the one going away… But I shall be homesick for you…. Even in heaven….”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am soooo over cold weather!
    So important to disconnect from social media at times, I deleted Facebook years ago but will get on moms account at times to post something I’m selling and inevitably I get sidetracked by something on there and typically it’s just worthless, depressing, irritating rubbish….

    The books look great!!❤️take care!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am glad to hear the break is helping! It helps me too. 🙂

    I really enjoyed the new Little Women but feel the exact same way about that Laurie! Lol.

    I hope you like Hamish!

    I was inspired by your local nursery post and I remembered one that is sort of hidden around here – and ventured out to it yesterday, my first outing in two months! 🙂 Hope you had a good day yesterday. 🙂

    Like

  5. Oh, yes, I am on a partial social media pause for now too–that being Instagram for me. What a pressure lifted off of me when I disconnected on Monday! Although I miss connecting with a few friends there, it just was not worth the angst that I felt every time I checked in there. I am thankful that God gives us grace and calls us to step away at times. We just watched the new “Little Women” movie, and I felt the same way you did. You described it better than I did though. 🙂 My husband kept asking me, “Which time period are we in now?” Blessings to you in the quieter times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. You too. I find everytime I click into Facebook I brace myself to see horrible news. I can’t handle that every day anymore. We had horrible internet service at my parents and part of the time that drove me nuts, but the rest of the time I was thrilled that I couldn’t access social media as easily! May your break be a nice reprieve.

      And I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who struggled with that new version. I think if it had been done in order it would have been predictable, yes, but the acting would have held it together well.

      Liked by 1 person

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