Category Archives: Living

Just the discussions of a person who loves life, loves to have fun, and loves laughter from herself and from others…

The Walls by Hollie Overton. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Walls by Hollie Overton

On the way home from my visit to see my daughter, I started reading The Walls by Hollie Overton and finished it the next day. While it was a very quick read for me, it left me wondering about the tagline. “Would you kill to protect your family?”

Kristy Tucker had a brilliant future ahead of her until a one night stand ended in pregnancy. Now 15 years later she is working for the Texas Justice System as a public relations officer working with death row inmates, the media, and the system. It isn’t a job she loves, but it allows her to take care of her ailing father and the son that she adores.

She just wants more.

When she meets Lance, she knows that he is different from the other few men she has dated. He is a kind, doting man and he loves her son. After they marry, however, he becomes possessive, jealous and violent, but only to her. Her father and son are completely unaware.

When one of the inmates suggests that she take matters into her own hands, she knows she would never do that. Until the day he threatens the two people in the world who mean everything to her.

But can she actually go through with it? Having worked for 12 years with prisoners, she knows there is no perfect crime, so the fear of being caught weighs heavily on her mind. But can she stand the abuse any longer? And would Lance really hurt Ryan and her father?

As I said, this was, for me, a quick read and it left me wondering how many people are in Kristy’s situation day in and day out and what their options are for leaving. It is a truly harrowing thought. What would you do?

The audio version of The Walls is read by  Therese Plummer.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A beautiful terrible thing by Jen Waite. A Propensity to Discuss review.

A beautiful terrible thing by Jen Waite

I recently took a trip to visit my daughter, P and since I am unable to drive long distances, I flew there and back. And what better way to pass the time in the air than by reading? On the first leg of the trip, I was accompanied by A beautiful terrible thing by Jen Waite.

I found this to be a very well written book that included a good deal of information about the sociopathic actions of the author’s husband. Unknown to her, he led many lives, all the while completely convincing her of his doting love for her. I do not want to give much away except to say that when the pieces started falling, they just kept coming!

I know this is a true story and I have so much empathy for what Ms. Waite endured, but it just is not what I was expecting. To be honest, I expected something much darker and was a little shocked that basically, it was a cathartic exercise for the author. I fully believe in the power and value of such an endeavor, but it just sort of left me a little flat. I attribute that to the fact that I have such an amazing husband and could not fathom Marco’s actions.

I do not say any of this to take away from what Ms. Waite experienced! It had to have been so harrowing and debilitating, but I just could not really wrap my head around it. It also enlightened me a bit as to the characteristics of sociopaths. I was actually very shocked. I never thought you could live next door to such a person and have no idea. Now I know and I will be looking!

 

A beautiful terrible thing by Jen Waite. A Propensity to Discuss review.

There is an audio version of A beautiful terrible thing read by the author, and perhaps I would have felt more emotion had I listened to it instead of reading it.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

3 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Call the Midwife (TV Series)

After reading/listening to Call the Midwife on audio, I put off watching the show, as I knew that I would be hooked and want to binge watch. That doesn’t really bode well for me during the school year, so I put it off until the summer. And I am so glad that I finally took the time to watch the series.

Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Helen George (Trixie), Bryony Hannah (Cynthia), Jessica Raines (Jenny), Miranda Hart (Chummy)

The show, while some of it runs extremely close to the books by Jennifer Worth, takes on a life of its own and I have become highly attached to the characters. Over the five seasons that are currently available on Netflix, not one of them stands out above the others. The reason for that is that they are all amazing. Remarkable. Undeniably one of the best shows I have ever watched. Ever. And I mean that about every episode!

The show takes place in the East End of London in the 1950’s. Having just come out of World War II, the area has yet to rebound, as it historically was, and continues in the series, to be one of London’s poorer neighborhoods. When a new episode begins, you know several things:

  1. You will meet people who will do anything to make their lives better.
  2. Most people that you meet have a long history and a lot of family in the East End.
  3. The Nuns and Midwives of Nonnatus House will do everything in their power to help those in need.
Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Cliff Parisi (Fred), Helen George (Trixie), Bryony Hannah (Cynthia), Jenny Agutter (Sister Julianne), Pam Ferris (Sister Evangelina), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica-Joan)

What you don’t know when you begin, is that you will encounter the truth of the era, see people living in poor conditions with no bathrooms, no running water, but with homes as clean as they can get them, and watch as the Sisters and Midwives work through the squalor to bring babies into the world and help those who are desperately sick.

 

Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Laura Main (Sister Bernadette), Pam Ferris (Sister Evangelina), Jenny Agutter (Sister Julianne), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica-Joan)

In pretty much every episode you will also find yourself faced with a controversial issue, from a young nun who is questioning her call to God, women who are shamed for working outside the home, abortion, neglected children, stillbirths, thalidomide babies, racism, cancer, TB and with all of this, in every single episode, you will find some happiness. Some reason to smile.

Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Charlotte Ritchie (Barbara), Victoria Yeates (Sister Winifred), Emerald Fennell (Patsy), Helen George (Trixie)

These nuns and midwives work and live together, not always in perfect harmony, but always in a way that supports their patients throughout every aspect of their lives. And it is so well acted and costumed that it takes you straight to the East End with every episode you watch.

From the history lessons, the quiet rise of feminism and women’s rights to work, to the life and death struggles and the advances in modern life due to medical advances, this, in my opinion, it is the best show on television.

I highly recommend it!

Links to all seasons: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link:  https://propensitytodiscuss.wordpress.com/book-reviews-list/

This post may contain affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products!

Syringomyelia 1 - Movie 0. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Syringomyelia 1 – Movie 0

Syringomyelia – 1        Movie-going – 0

Yep. Going to a movie lost out to syringomyelia (SM). Hubby and I went to see the movie Dunkirk and it was really good (click here for review) and it was really bad.

No, not the movie, but what seeing the movie did to me. After seeing it on Saturday, I spent all day Sunday, most of Monday and part of Tuesday on muscle relaxers, pain pills, a heating pad, and on the sofa recuperating. No, I am not kidding.

The movie was very intense and I spent probably 100 of its 106 minutes stressed out about what was going to happen and who might die and when the next bomb may hit. Tensed is not a way for me to spend 100 minutes. Or even 30 minutes.

Why didn’t I leave the movie, you ask? Why didn’t I stop watching? Quite honestly, because it never crossed my mind that seeing a movie was going to put me out of action for the next 3 days! Would it cross yours if it had never happened? No, probably not. But I know better now. I had even taken medicine as a precaution to sitting in the chairs at the movie, but even that didn’t help.

Syringomyelia sucks. Just saying.

Syringomyelia 1 - Movie 0. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Other than the pain, there are the “little” things.

I drop things. Sometimes my hand(s) just let go and whatever I was holding is on the floor. I don’t drink out of glass anymore, don’t worry!

I get vertigo at very inopportune times. Like one day I was fine and hubby and I walked into a Subway to get lunch. Ten steps in and the world shifted and began to spin around me. The teenagers behind the counter thought it was great that I was drunk. Until I told them that I don’t drink alcohol. That’ll shut ’em up quickly.

I can’t get to a word sometimes, even though I know it. I was talking to my dad one day about my eyes and was trying to say that I have astigmatism. I know that word. But all that would come out was augmentin. Even after he said it to me, I could not say it back. The next day, I could say it perfectly.

My balance is really bad. If I ever got pulled over and asked to do the DUI test, I’d never in a million years pass it. Except that I don’t drink alcohol, so there is that. (And no, I do not drive when I am heavily medicated.)

My legs and feet go to sleep. Most of the time without me knowing it until I try to stand up. It’s not a pretty sight, I tell you!

My family and sense of humor keep me sane. When I drop something, I just pick it up with a loud thank you that it wasn’t glass, or priceless. When I can’t come up with a word, I generally insert a nonsense or alternate one and those who know me just roll with it. When my balance is bad, I am so thankful for a hubby and kids who non-theatrically steady me.

My faith in God sustains me. There is no possible way I could handle this on my own, so I lean into my faith to help me through the hardest days and I know that I am loved.

So after SM won against the movie, I spent several days reading, watching a couple of no-stress-at-all movies on Netflix and resting. While I did take muscle relaxers and pain meds, the one thing that seemed to help the most was Amish Origins Pain Relief Cream. This stuff is magical on sore and tight muscles! I found it a couple of years ago at a Mennonite bakery that we go to often and the owner assured me that it helped. I have since found it on Amazon (the bakery is 4 hours away) and I still use it.

Syringomyelia 1 - Movie 0. A Propensity to Discuss post.

While I don’t generally post about my issues with SM, I do believe that it is very important to bring awareness to this issue, as there are so many of us out there struggling to live a “normal” life and not let SM control us. But it is an every single day kind of struggle. We don’t want pity. We don’t want unsolicited advice (sorry, we have lots of doctors giving advice). We don’t want to be left alone. We want your support. We want your love. We don’t want to be in pain.

But most of all, we want you to know that sometimes just listening to us rant, without judgment or attempts to “fix” us is the thing we would like most.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products!

A – Z Romantic Comedy Movies

In continuing with my A-Z listings theme that I have used before, (A – Z Books for Adults; A – Z If I Were Stranded on a Deserted Island)  I have gone with one of my go-to types of movies, romantic comedy.

I did have to take a little poetic license with a couple, and there is one of those that is a stretch to make it a rom-com, but I’m not the one who names the movies. Let me just tell you, those people are sort of stingy about using the letter Q!

Hope you enjoy this. If you haven’t seen these, I highly recommend them all!

A*American President, The (Michael Douglas, Annette Bening)      [Amazon, IMDB]

BBreakfast At Tiffany’s (Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard)     [Amazon, IMDB]

CClueless (Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

DDeeds, Mr. (Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder)     [Amazon, IMDB]

EEnchanted (Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey)     [Amazon, IMDB]

FFailure To Launch (Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

GGrease (John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John)     [Amazon, IMDB]

H*- How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey)     [Amazon, IMDB]

IIt’s Complicated (Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

JJust Go With It (Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston)      [Amazon, IMDB]

KKnocked Up (Katherine Heigl, Seth Rogan)     [Amazon, IMDB]

LLife As We Know It (Josh Duhamel, Katherine Heigl)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

M*My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Nia Vardalos, John Corbett)     [Amazon, IMDB]

NNotting Hill (Julia Roberts, )     [Amazon, IMDB]

OOne Fine Day (Michelle Pfieffer, George Clooney)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

P*Pretty Woman (Richard Gere, Julia Roberts)     [Amazon, IMDB]

QQueen* (Kangana Ranaut)     [Amazon, IMDB

RRoxanne (Steve Martin, Darryl Hannah)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

S*Sweet Home Alabama (Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey)     [Amazon, IMDB]

TTwenty-seven (27) Dresses (Katherine Heigl, James Marsden )      [Amazon, IMDB]

UUgly Truth, The (Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

VValentine’s Day (Jessica Alba, Bradley Cooper, Patrick Dempsey)     [Amazon, IMDB]

WWhile You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman)     [Amazon, IMDB]

X – SeX And The City (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis)     [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

YYou’ve Got Mail (Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan)     [Amazon, IMDB]

Z –  CraZy, Stupid, Love (Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore)      [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

 

One other one that I dearly love and watch over and over and over is Sabrina, both the original (1954 – Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn) [Amazon, IMDB] and the remake (1995 – Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond) [Amazon, IMDB]

A - Z Romantic Comedy Movies. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

*Favorites that I can watch over and over.

**Okay, so I took a little poetic licensing with this one. It’s not really a rom-com, more of a falling in love with oneself. But how many movies with Q in the title are there?

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products! The only one I have not seen is Queen and that link is not an affiliate. 

Two more children…

In 1996 when my doctor told me that my body could not handle another pregnancy, I was so very hurt. This was after a very difficult pregnancy in which I had gone into labor at 31 weeks. I had three amazing and beautiful children and absolutely no reason to be sad, but I had really wanted another one. So I was hurt. Not devastated, not depressed, just sad.

Two years ago, however, I defied the doctor’s orders and added another child.

Two more children...A Propensity to Discuss Post.

This past weekend, I added child number five. And my body didn’t have a say in it at all.

Two more children...A Propensity to Discuss Post.

You see, these two beautiful, amazing children were added through marriage. You may be saying, yes, but they aren’t really your children. To you, I say yes, they are. I did not give birth to them, but I could not love them more if I actually had given birth to them.

When each of my children was born, I began praying for their future spouses. That may seem a little strange to some people, but to me, it was just what I knew I needed to do. And let me tell you, God is good! My prayers were answered with two very different girls, for my very different boys. Both of my sons married girls who suit them to a T. And there is no doubt in my mind that this was no coincidence. It is good, old-fashioned answered prayer.

The thing is, not only have I gained 2 amazing new daughters, I have gained incredible extended families, as well. During the planning of both weddings, Hubby and I had the pleasure of getting to know the in-laws, and what a blessing that has been. It has been such a wonderful experience getting to know them and forming a bond that is something beyond friendship.

I just cannot express how thankful I am that our lives have been so blessed by these new editions, how much I appreciate the way these girls love my boys, or how much we love them. Thank you, K and A, for seeing our crazy, wacky, loving family and joining in. I honestly feel as though you’ve always been a part of us and I look forward to all the craziness, love, and laughter to come.

Two more children...A Propensity to Discuss Post.

All of my girls!

Do any of you have a special bond with your newest family members?

One note that rocked my world…for the best.

I went to a very small school from 1st through 12th grade. We had somewhere around 400 students in all the grades combined. We also had a shared library. The books were in an L shape and the elementary and middle school students had an area, and the high school students had an area. And as Kipling said, “never the twain shall meet.”

As a 7th grader, I was NOT allowed on the high school side. And I certainly could not check out a book from that area. So when I pulled one that had caught my eye several times and confidently took it to the circulation desk, I knew, really, that I wouldn’t get away with it. However, I was told that if I had a parent note, I could check out that book.

HA! At home that night, I just mentioned that there was a book that I wanted to check out and I couldn’t. Sympathy at home? Nah…something more resembling a quiet fury. If they had been looking at me, they probably would have seen a small, sneaky smile. Note in hand, the next day I got my prize: John Steinbeck‘s East of EdenThe librarian had held it for me, knowing I’d get the note. That magical piece of paper, written and signed by my dad, said I could read anything I wanted to check out. Handing it over, she told me that I was going to love that book. And I did. I still do.

East of Eden. One note that rocked my world...for the best. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

John Steinbeck is still one of my favorite authors, even when so many high school students find his books boring…I was allowed to choose it. It was some forbidden fruit and I could have it. Yum!

My love of reading had obviously developed long before then, but that led me to more than a love of Steinbeck and literature. It led me to a realization that my parents trusted me to make good decisions. They trusted my judgment. They allowed me to choose for myself. And they never once went back on that. They never once questioned any book I read. Ever. Did I read things I was too young to understand? Probably. Did I read things that many found inappropriate? Absolutely. Was I warped from this? Not one bit.Was my brain corrupted? No. Did I turn into an immoral, unethical, spiritually damaged adult? Certainly not. Did I go to college extremely well-read? Yes. I did. Did it help me? No doubt!

Avid readers read for the story and the nuances, not for foul language or erotic scenes. Honestly, I generally gloss over all of that. Only if the foul language is in every other sentence do I notice. And I tend to agree with John Grisham on that…If that is the case, the writer doesn’t have a great grasp on language.

I just think that if you like to read, you should read. Anything. Everything. If you don’t like to read, it’s because you are reading the wrong things. And yes, reading the newspaper is reading. Reading blogs is reading. Reading comic books/graphic novels is reading. Just find what interests you and read about it.

As for the note that my parents sent to school, not only did they trust me, but they also saw the value in reading and how much a person can learn from reading. Never once did they ever imply that a book was inappropriate for me or anyone else, for that matter. Challenge a book? Never! Just because it isn’t right for one or two people, doesn’t mean that it isn’t right for anyone.

I have since thanked my parents for that note and for allowing me to read whatever I liked. There is no real way to tell them just how thankful I am and how much it means to me now.

As an adult, when Harry Potter first came out, I wanted to know what all the fuss and fury was about. Ten pages in I was hooked. I started reading it because it was a little more of that “forbidden fruit.” Yum again. Personally, I think some of the fire around that book was fanned by the publishers for this very reason. Call me cynical.

I do not think that all books on the Banned/Challenged list are put there by overzealous publishers looking for hype. However, if you have a little publicity going your way and you know you have something that bad publicity will not destroy, you should probably use it to your advantage. After all, bad publicity certainly worked for HP!

All of this being said, I was shocked to find out later in life that there are people who seem to get their life’s thrills from working to ban books from everyone just because they do not approve. Go figure! Why don’t we just burn them all and be done with it. Let’s just be a completely uncultured, uneducated society. Heck, let’s go live with the wolves after that!

You may be surprised to see some of the books on the Banned/Challenged lists. The list below is the Top 50 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009: (The full list is 100, click the link to see the rest.)

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell

5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz

8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman

9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers

12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris

13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey

14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

16. Forever, by Judy Blume

17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous

19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

20. King and King, by Linda de Haan

21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar

23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry

24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak

25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan

26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison

27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier

28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson

29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney

30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier

31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones

32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya

33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson

34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler

35. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison

36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris

38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles

39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane

40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank

41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher

42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi

43. Blubber, by Judy Blume

44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher

45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly

46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey

48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez

49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Are there any books on this list that surprises you? Which ones?  Do you read anything and everything? Have you ever wanted to challenge a book? If so, which one and why? I’d love to know.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.