Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Review The Churchill Sisters by Rachel Trethewey (audiobook)

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Format: audiobook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Bright, attractive and well-connected, in any other family the Churchill girls – Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary – would have shone. But they were not in another family, they were Churchills, and neither they nor anyone else could ever forget it. From their father – ‘the greatest Englishman’ – to their brother, golden boy Randolph, to their eccentric and exciting cousins, the Mitford Girls, they were surrounded by a clan of larger-than-life characters which often saw them overlooked. While Marigold died too young to achieve her potential, the other daughters lived lives full of passion, drama and tragedy.

Diana, intense and diffident; Sarah, glamorous and stubborn; Mary, dependable yet determined – each so different but each imbued with a sense of responsibility toward each other and their country. Far from being cosseted debutantes, these women were eyewitnesses at some of the most important events in world history, at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. Yet this is not a story set on the battlefields or in Parliament; it is an intimate saga that sheds light on the complex dynamics of family set against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.


Kritters Thoughts:  There are a few reasons why this audiobook completely worked for me.  First, I love listening to non fiction, I haven't been able to find the right fiction genre to work for me in audio form, still on the hunt.  I also love all things royal or royal adjacent and Winston Churchill was surely royal adjacent and to hear more about his family was so interesting.  I also love history, so to hear about Winston's daughters but also more about the events of the time was just great.  

About this book.  I went into this book knowing nothing about Churchill's family from his wife to his daughters, so all of this book was new information to me.  To hear about the strong women that were in his family and the things they did to support him and his efforts, but also the way he encouraged each of them to have their own avenues - I loved it!  I knew nothing about his wife and while this book didn't focus on her, she made appearances and this book inspired me to go find out more and read more about the woman who stood beside such an influential man.  

This book accompanied me on car rides to run errands, many hours cleaning the house, and some time prepping the garden for this year!  I love how an audiobook can join you in life and it feels like you are accomplishing so many things at once.  


Rating:




Audiobook 2024 Challenge: 2 out of 24

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, April 1, 2024

source

Just one book finished this month, ended up being a busy month with a lot of other things taking my attention - early garden prep, big projects at work, and a few other things!

1. The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin


Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 355


Where Have I Been Reading?:
Dakotas


Sunday, March 3, 2024

Recipe Review: Creamy Garlic Mushroom Chicken

For recipes for March, I accidentally purchased too much chicken, so March will be the month of chicken! The first recipe I tried, was my first foray into dredging and pan-frying chicken.  While the meal itself was a hit, I want to try a different technique than what was in this recipe for pan-frying chicken the next time; using no egg and just dry ingredients was interesting, but when I make a recipe I stick to the instructions the first time around!   

I made this meal on a weekend when I had my favorite handyman - my dad at my house to make some fantastic custom closets.  It was such a joy to be able to feed him while he was making three closets of my dreams!  AND thank goodness it tasted way better than it photographed!  It even reheated well as leftovers.     

I then made the meal during the work week for just myself and tried the pan fry again and tried to see if it would maybe photograph better! This is a recipe that I can now keep in my back pocket, minus the need to have mushrooms and heavy cream on hand which I don't always have.  

Friday, March 1, 2024


A month where life went a little off course, but for good reasons. My reading and workouts went off from the goals I set for this year, BUT I have not one but two brand new custom closets built by my dad and I, and the designing and building were the best experiences. SO things can take a turn and then the first of March, new goals can be set!

1. The Opera Sisters by Marianne Monson
2. Trailed by Kathryn Miles
3. Data Baby by Susannah Breslin
4. The Presence of Absence by Simon Van Booy

Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 1,080


Where Have I Been Reading?:
Appalachian Trail, VA
California 





Sunday, February 25, 2024

Recipe Review: Homemade Pasta Sauce

Three weeks in a row with pasta, BUT this one is extra special.  One reason is because my nephew Jacob was here to help make and taste test.  AND second because the pasta sauce was made from tomatoes that I grew in my garden last year and froze.  

My hope is that this is the first of many recipes that includes things from my garden and with four garden beds and a few grow bags, my 2024 garden should be bountiful.  

Now to the recipe.  I had low expectations as I am quite opinionated on pasta sauce, but this one quickly went into the notebook to use over and over again.  With the aid of my immersion blender (first-time use!) my tomatoes were easily thinned out and adding minimal seasoning, the tomatoes were the star of the show which made me even happier that they were fresh from the garden because are always 10 times better than store-bought.  

Jacob chose penne pasta and we added some meatballs and this was a great dish for a rainy weekend.  

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Crack Chicken Soup


Slow cookers always make me think of wintertime meals and I was excited to try this recipe knowing from the beginning that it could freeze, so I could eat what is made and stow the leftovers for another time.  

I had heard of marry me chicken (and had it, very good!), so I was sort of intrigued by crack chicken.  A super easy recipe like most crock pot recipes are - put ingredients in turn on.  BUT mid way through, you pull the chicken out and need to shred and one of my most favorite kitchen hacks (thanks to Instagram!) is to place chicken or chunks of beef in your stand mixer and its shredded in mear seconds or minutes.  


Once your chicken is shredded put back in crockpot and then add the last few ingredients, 10 minutes and serve!  I served it as soup with some great garlic bread.  AND then the next day I added macaroni noodles to try something different and it was so good!  I was able to freeze the remainder in a few sandwich bags and froze laying down for easy storing.  


I hope to do this one once a year to eat off for a little bit and then have some in the freezer for later!
    

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Review: Data Baby by Susannah Breslin

Publisher: Legacy Lit
Pages: 224
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What if your parents turned you into a human lab rat on the day you were born? Would that change the story of your life? Would that change who you are?
 
When Susannah Breslin is a toddler, her parents enroll her in an exclusive laboratory preschool at the University of California, Berkeley, where she becomes one of 128 children who are research subjects in an unprecedented 30-year psychological experiment that predicts who she and her cohort will grow up to be. Decades later, trapped in an abusive marriage to a man with a violent history and battling breast cancer, she starts to wonder how growing up under a microscope shaped the person she became and her life choices. Is she the narrator of the story of her life—or is something else? Already a successful journalist, whose published work has appeared in ForbesThe Atlantic, and Harper’s Bazaar, she decides to make her own curious history the subject of her next investigation and embarks on a life-changing journey that will expose the dark secrets hidden behind the renowned longitudinal study of personality development that she grew up believing knew her better than she knew herself.


Kritters Thoughts:   Susannah Breslin grew up in California and with two very academic professors as parents, they enrolled her into this long-term research project where her and her life were observed and theories were made based on her reaction to tests and to life itself.  Essentially Susannah and many of her peers across the country were lab rats and their response to various tests were used to make predictions on what kind of adults they would become and the life they would end up with.  

Maybe spoiling it a bit, the last chapter was it for me.  While Susannah was a lab rat, aren't we all now with big tech tracking our every moves through google searches, phone analytics and gps.  It made me remind myself that for sure the instagram and facebook ads are targeted and know exactly what I am shopping for or what life issues I need solved (dog hair in laundry!).  So maybe in the end we are all being tracked and companies are predicting the life that we want and the products that will best get us there!

A quick little memoir that really made me think about the quality of research and had me pondering all of those personality tests that affirmed what I was already thinking about myself.      

Rating:



Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Legacy Lit.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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