What I'm Reading

This week I have been all over the place in my reading.

I finished Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. 

I have loved Drew Barrymore for YEARS and this book further cemented that. She writes from the heart and is just someone so very likable. I wish she were my best friend. Highly recommend. It was a very different book than other celebrity autobiographies I have read this year. It wasn't as laugh out loud funny as Bossypants or Yes Please, but I did laugh quite a few times. It wasn't as serious as Troublemaker, though there were quite a few serious passages, and it was just way better than Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (I did not really like that book at all).

I have also been reading a Lucas Davenport novel; Invisible Prey by John Sandford. I've read a few of these books and they are always a good pick when I am in-between novels and something that I can come back to when a book I've been waiting for becomes available. 

I've also been reading a series that only recently came on my radar. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. 

This is the first book in a trilogy which includes The Glass Magician (Book 2) and The Master Magician (Book 3).

I just finished chapter 4 and expect that over the Christmas Holiday (I am off for 4 days) I will finish book 1 and probably book 2. It's an interesting story and I am really enjoying the dynamic between Ceony and Thane. 

What are you reading? Have you read The Paper Magician trilogy?

The Circus is coming to Tampa January 6-10, 2016

For the 12th consecutive year the #TampaTrio will be heading to the GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! Of course I am referring to The Ringling Bros Circus.

The Legends Tour will be in Tampa January 6-10, 2016.

Our family LOVES the circus. Here is James and Ronin at the 2011 show.

And the girls at the 2008 show. They were so little!!

The circus ALWAYS has come to Tampa right around Haley's birthday and this year will be no different. She'll be turning 12 on January 5, 2016 and we're heading to the show on Saturday January 9.


We all have our favorite parts of the circus but all 5 of us LOVE the GLOBE of STEEL!

This year Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson guides Paulo the Legend Seeker on a quest to discover real, living legends from around the world. Audiences will experience Alexander Lacey and his enduring bond with his lions, majestic leopard and tigers during one of the most captivating acts. The Solar Hawks, a dream team of acrobats, come together to amaze by attempting four consecutive triple somersaults on a one-of-a-kind double-wide trapeze specifically designed for The Greatest Show On Earth®.  The Riders of the Wind, Cossack trick-riders will thrill as they thunder into the arena on the backs of thoroughbred horses stealing your breath with their daring stunts. Experience and learn about the special relationship between trainers and treasured Ringling Bros.® Asian Elephants as each trainer shows off individual elephant’s natural skills and abilities.

Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-show starts an hour before the show. Come down to the arena floor and meet the performers of The Greatest Show On Earth, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind pachyderm painting. 

My trio LOVE the All Access Pre-show. Here is Ronin in 2008 (he's 2 and oh so cute!!) at one of the Pre-show activities!


The showtimes are as follows:

Wednesday, January 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, January 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 9 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 10 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m.


For more information visit Ringling.com.

Tickets for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS start at $16. All seats are reserved and tickets are on sale now. Tickets are available at www.Ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amalie Arena box office (phone for information only: 813-301-2500). For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.

You can also ‘buy early and save’ with this offer for $4 off using promo code 4MOM. The promo code is not valid on day of show or premium seating.

I also have a giveaway!! You can win a Family 4 pack of tickets simply by leaving a comment telling me what your favorite part of the circus is. Winner will be randomly chosen on December 30.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at the circus!

What I've Been Reading

I haven't blogged about my current reads in over a month!! And I've certainly read a lot over the past 34 days.

Since my last post November 6, I've read:

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

The Nightingale

The Night Circus

Serafina and the Black Cloak


and I'm currently reading Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. I love it when audio books are narrated by the author.

Cover art 

I also read quite a bit of Norse Mythology to help Haley with her National History Day project.

Of all the books I read this month, two really stand out; The Nightingale and The Night Circus. I loved them both so much and they are so different! But at the core they are both about the power of love.



The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead."

I loved this book! The imagery was amazing and I felt transported. I wanted to become a Reveur. The illusions that Celia and Marco created were awe-inspiring. The scene where Celia and Marco disappear into a sea of ink on a boat with sails made of books. “Only the ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.” I loved this imagery. And Celia's dresses sound just amazing! You can view the fan trailer for the potential movie below.


And now...The Nightingale. Sigh. So many feels.

"In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women."
Having recently read All the Light We Cannot See I wasn't sure that I would like The Nightingale.  I'm so glad I gave it a chance. I actually enjoyed it more than All the Light.
This map features some of the locations featured in this remarkable tale of war time France. Touraine is in the Loire Valley where Carriveau is located in the novel.
Be prepared to weep when you read this book. What these women went through, what they suffered, what they saw. The brutality of it all and the unfairness of their situation – grabs you by the throat and never lets you go.
What the novel excels at is the stark portrayal of the decisions these women faced on a daily basis. Imagine having a Nazi soldier take over your home? Your children starving because of the rations, the inability to do and go where you want? The fear and the not knowing. The Nazis do everything to break the spirit of the French people and the death camps are in full operation. These scenes are amongst the most heartbreaking I’ve ever read.
I can't imagine the courage that these women had. They were so brave. I try to imagine a 20something ME leading downed RAF men through the Pyrenees Mountains like Isabelle did and I can't even.....
Though the cold winters, ice, snow. Minimal food. Ill fitting shoes. Not enough clothing. Hardly any sleep.
The Nightingale left me in tears. Sobbing. Gut wrenching. A must read.
What have you been reading lately?