Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Romantic Random and Easter Baskets

Happy Tuesday, My Lovelies!  I hope you all had a very Blessed Holy Week and Easter.

Today's post is a quick one celebrating romantic notions with a little Easter thrown into the mix.

Mr. Art @ Home has been full of surprises lately.  He bought me some delicious macarons from Sucré.
This one was my favorite:









It's an Irish Cream macaron....Yummy!



I love forced bulbs in the spring.  I forgot to post these earlier, but they're share-worthy for sure!












I wanted to feature the lovely anniversary present Mr. Art @ Home gave me.  It was made by New Orleans artist Susan Bergman.  We burn lots of candles, so the oversized votive holder will be used often.  Thank-you, Mr. Art!












I used this as the centerpiece for our Easter dining table.




Speaking of romance, my oldest daughter's third romance novel in her Crescent City Creatures series was released yesterday! 


Buy Enspelled here



Can you believe that my 23 year old and 18 year old still want Easter baskets?  :/



Sorry for the dark photo, but Easter Sunday was stormy here in Central Alabama!  




We have a busy week of school ahead.  Plus we're spring cleaning this week....oh, joy!


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


Friday, March 25, 2016

Literary Friday: Early One Morning



Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  I hope y'all having a blessed Good Friday.  This week I read Early One Morning by Virginia Baily.  It was recommended by my librarian, so I checked it out.  It is a fantastic World War II historical, and I wasn't disappointed.

According to Goodreads:

Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded on to a truck with her family.

Claiming the woman's son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a child in her charge.

Several decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained woman working as a translator. Always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, whose absence and the havoc he wrought on Chiara's world haunt her. Then she receives a phone call from a teenager claiming to be his daughter, and Chiara knows it is time to face up to the past.

Daniele's mother makes a tough choice in giving Daniele to Chiara, and Chiara is beyond brave to take this small Jewish boy as her own nephew.  But Daniele is not grateful, he's not a very delightful person.  Instead of living a purposeful and productive life, he turns to drugs and crime.  What a waste to his mother's choice and Chiara's loving care.  

Daniele does bring some joy into the world through the daughter he has with a Welsh girl named Edna.  But he never knows about his daughter due to a few miscommunications and misunderstandings.  In the mid-seventies, their sixteen year old daughter, Maria, finds out that the father she grew-up with isn't her biological father at all, and she demands to visit Rome and learn about Daniele.  Maria mistakenly thinks that Chiara is Daniele's old landlady.  Eventually truths are revealed, both about the past as well as the present.

Told alternately in Maria's and Chiara's point of view, the narrative switches back and forth between the present and past.  (We also get Edna's POV in Italy, and we briefly get a different picture of Daniele though her eyes).  Although Baily tells the story seamlessly, I got a little frustrated with the revelation of the WWII storyline.  But the ending is worth it because if certain secrets had been revealed earlier, the suspense wouldn't have been as wonderful.  

If you enjoyed The Nightingale, I think you'll appreciate Early One Morning.  I think it would be a wonderful book club selection!  

What have you been reading lately?  Please link-up!


Art @ Home




Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Dining Room Table

Happy Thursday, My Lovelies!  Shelley and I decorated our dining room for Easter Tuesday.  We're having a light brunch this year after church....nothing very special.  Our girls have been so busy:  Big Sister with tests in graduate school (a big one on Monday after Easter) and the Lil Sister had SOAR at her college yesterday (Student Orientation Advising Registration).  Can you believe she's enrolled in college already?

Here are some views of the dining room table:







































Simple centerpiece: the votive candle holder is an anniversary present from Mr. Art @ Home.  More information about it next week!
















Resources:
Everything on table from Pier 1 except:
vintage fabric Easter eggs
Cutlery Pockets:  by Le Cadeaux via Chelsea Lane, Chelsea, Alabama
Votive Holder:  One of a kind art by Susan Beckman, New Orleans


I hope you and your family have a Blessed Good Friday and Easter Sunday!


Linking to SYC!



Until next time...

Easter blessings!
Ricki Jill


Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Spring!

Happy Vernal Equinox and Holy Week, My Lovelies!  There's no better way to celebrate spring than with art and flowers.  Below are some of my favorite scenes from Art in Bloom at the New Orleans Museum of Art.










Mail in the Baroque gallery




Floral fountain among the folk art




A floral lady sits beside a golden replica of Abraham Lincoln'd childhood cabin.  The cabin is true to size, and patrons can walk inside.  I was amazed at how tiny it is!




I particularly enjoyed the floral arrangements inspired by paintings.  In these photos below, you can see the arrangement in the foreground and the paintings in the background.














The Easter Bunny is helping me decorate for Easter.  Come back on Wednesday and see our joint efforts!



Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, March 18, 2016

Literary Friday: Perfectly Broken



About Perfectly Broken

• Hardcover: 270 pages

• Publisher:

Story Plant (March 8, 2016)

His rock star days may be behind him, but stay-at-home dad Grant Kelly's life is getting more interesting by the day. It's the beginning of the post 9/11 era, and he and his wife and four-year-old son have traded a New York City apartment for a Catskills farmhouse, where ghosts from the past, worries for the future, and temptations in the present converge to bring about drastic changes in their marriage, their friendships, and their family. A gorgeously nuanced novel with unforgettable characters, Perfectly Broken is a story of human frailty, the endurance of the heart, and the power and possibility of forgiveness. 


Praise 

“Robert Burke Warren's sensory acumen and keen eye for detail – emotional and physical – make Perfectly Broken a wonderful ride. Fantastic, sharp dialogue and vivid characters, all in a distinctive, captivating voice. A stunning debut novel.” – Rosanne Cash, multi-Grammy winner, author of New York Times bestseller Composed

“Whether writing about music, parenthood, or life in the sticks, every page crackles with been-there-done-that verisimilitude. At turns funny and suspenseful, heartwarming and heartbreaking, Perfectly Broken hits all the right notes, covering fame and fortune, love and death, success and failure, and fatherhood and marriage. A triumphant debut.” - Greg Olear, author of Los Angeles Times bestseller Fathermucker

"Parenthood, adultery, love, lust, ambition, loss, friendships gone to seed, a marriage at the turn of this century in full tilt midlife madness, with rock and roll in the bones and on the soundtrack. Warren creates a sensory world so sharply observed, the experience of reading becomes visceral. It pulled me in and I didn’t want to let go." -- Beverly Donofrio, author, New York Times bestseller
Riding in Cars With Boys


Add to Goodreads badge



Purchase Links



Robert Burke Warren AP

About Robert Burke Warren

Robert Burke Warren is a musician and writer whose work has appeared in Paste, Salon, The Bitter Southerner, The Good Men Project, The Rumpus, The Woodstock Times, Texas Music, Brooklyn Parent, Chronogram, The Weeklings, and the Da Capo anthology, The Show I’ll Never Forget. He lives in the Catskill Mountains with his family. This is his first novel. Find out more about Robert at his blog and connect with him on Facebook.


My Review:

The oxymoronic title Perfectly Broken is the first thing that intrigued me about this novel.  The second is the main character Grant Kelly.  Grant is a fantastic husband and father, yet he struggles with anxiety and self-doubt about his parenting skills.  He suffered as a child at the hands of selfish, stoic parents, and clearly children are not resilient:  Grant is proof of this fallacy (many of the main characters espouse to this lie as they quote this several times in the novel).

The story is told from Grant's point of view, and I almost wonder if he might be "spectrum-ish" because he is very descriptive of how people smell:  His friends don't seem to bathe very often. However I appreciate his descriptive observations and internal struggle with his anxiety and self-medication.  And in spite of his self-doubt, I trust him as a reliable narrator.

Grant's character as well as the other main characters are very well-developed, and Grant's transformation from beginning to end is nothing short of miraculous.  Although Grant is certainly flawed, he's still very likable and I found myself pulling for him the second half of the novel.  I must confess that I don't like many of the characters other than Grant and his son, Evan.  He's more mature than most of the adults, and I like how he calls out his mother, Beth, on her cursing.  There's a lot of cursing in the book (my only complaint). Perhaps that's a literary device Warren uses to enhance the characters' immaturity.

The story maintained my attention, and halfway through I couldn't put it down.  I can't imagine living in a post-911 New York City.  The setting is very intriguing, especially when the Kellys retreat to a tiny upstate New York hamlet after being evicted from thier rent-controlled Manhattan apartment. Warren is a wonderful storyteller, and I really like his writing style: Warren can write! I think it would make a fantastic movie.  ;)

DISCLOSURE:  I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. 






What have you been reading lately?  This is a link party!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill





Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: St. Patrick's Day Decor


































Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill