Book Reviews: October 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

October was one of those months where I just couldn't get into anything.  I started and stopped about 4 books before finally finishing one.  Hopefully November will be better since the SCWBC starts on the 1st.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had a hard time rating this book.  I struggled with the beginning of the book, it took me weeks to read it.  Once I got about halfway through, I started to enjoy it a bit more and read the second half in an afternoon.  My first struggle was that it seemed to center around babies and pregnancy which just isn't my thing because I don't want kids, so I can really relate to people who want them badly.  It was a little hard to connect with the characters because of this.   My other struggle was all of the drama.  I can't say much without ruining the book, but it was just a bit too much for me and not the light Christmas read I expected.   I did enjoy the setting and the Christmas town, I had no trouble imagining it in my head.   After viewing some reviews on GoodReads my opinion seems to be the minority, most people really loved it.  I was just looking for and in the mood for something lighter.  I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good romance. 
I gave this book a 3/5 on my GoodReads.

Meet Bolt

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

If you read my monthly update, you know that Josh and I adopted a dog from the SPCA a few days after we moved to NY.   Josh and I had been watching the site for a few weeks now.  One thing we realized was that dogs go super fast from this place, which is a good thing but it made it hard to really look until we were actually here.

Our first day here I noticed a little beagle and I wanted him but unfortunately for me he got adopted super fast.  We decided to go to the SPCA and pick up an application just so that if we saw a dog we really wanted, we could fill the application out super fast and hand it in.  When we visited all I wanted was to get an application and get out.  Places like that are really hard for me, it breaks my heart that these dogs were abandoned.  Somehow I ended up in the back room looking at the dogs.  I cried when we left and refused to go back.  Josh and I really liked Bolt.  We had actually looked past him on the website because we thought he was a pit mix which we're not allowed to have on post.  Lucky for us the guy told us he is a Shepherd mix.   There was another dog there that I also liked, Jasper, who was a senior Beagle.  We ended up putting in an application for Bolt the next day (Josh took it) and were told that there were two applications ahead of us, but to call back on Wednesday to see if anything changed (this was on Sunday).  By Tuesday they had called us and said the other applications backed out and we could pick him up whenever!  

After a trip to Petco and target I was on my way to pick him up (I didn't have to go in the back room).  I asked about Jasper when I went and was told that he was going home the next day.  If he hadn't been adopted within two weeks, I was going to go get him, too.  Bolt is good with other dogs so it wouldn't have been an issue.   When they finally brought him out to me he was going nuts.  I don't think he'd ever been so happy to get into a car!  It was definitely a long drive home! 

When he got to our house the first thing he did was pee on the living room floor.  I found out a little later that, that was our fault.  We should have taken him straight to the back yard.  Luckily he is fully potty trained and that was the only issue we had.   Our main issue is biting.  He is a herding dog so he nips at my calf when I walk and he is really mouthy when he's playing.  We've also had some issues leash training him.  We we're trying to deal with the issues ourselves but he is super stubborn.  We started adult dog training classes (he is 1 year and 2 months old) at the beginning of October and it's been super helpful! 

Overall he's a great dog and we're so happy to have him!  I'll definitely be posting Bolt updates periodically. You can also find him on my Snapchat: jennyferlr

Thousand Island Winery

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Josh and I both happened to have off on Columbus day so we decided we wanted to do something fun before I had to take Bolt to doggy school.  We decided to make it a wine themed weekend and check out Thousand Island Winery in Alexandria Bay.

LOVED IT!  This is definitely a place where we will be taking all of our visitors! The winery is beautiful and the staff was great.  They have a few different tasting options all at a great price.  4 wines for free, 6 for $1, or 10 for $5.  I tried 10 and Josh tried 6.  All of the wines were so good! They also had a beer tasting for $5 which Josh did while I looked around and picked out wines for us to take home.

My favorite part of the day was the tour of the winery.  It was just me and Josh so we got to ask a lot of questions and we really learned a lot about the wine making process.   Our guides name was Tim and he clearly knew his stuff.  He was able to tell us about a bunch of different machines used to filter the wine, he was able to tell us about the way NY wineries support each other, and he was able to share where the wines are stored and what they're stored in.  I highly recommend requesting a tour!  The place is seriously beautiful!  I can't wait to go back, and going here made me more excited to check out the other beautiful wineries in the area.

My Favorite Wines
Honey Harbor Mead
Cocoa Island
Raspberry Isle

Coyote Moon Harvest Festival

Friday, October 21, 2016

Josh had a 4 day weekend Columbus Day weekend so we wanted to make sure we got out and had some fun.  I had read a while ago about a Harvest Festival at Coyote Moon Vineyards.  We had tasted Coyote Moon wines at the mall the day after we got to NY and we really loved their wines, so we definitely wanted to check out the festival and try some more of their wine.

Unfortunately, we woke up to grey skies and rain.   We debated back and forth for a while and just decided to go.  If nothing else, we could do the tasting indoors and then leave.  When we arrived, we were greeted by the friendliest people ever at the ticket booth.  With military discount, tickets were $2 a piece.  Since it wasn't raining when we arrived, we decided to check out all of the vendors.  I'm so glad we had as much cash as we did because there was some good stuff for sale!  I will list all the awesome local companies below.  After checking out all of the vendors, we headed in to do our tasting which was included in the price of admission.  We got to taste 6 wines, I listed my favorites below.   This winery also has some foods that go with their wines which I've also listed below - the barbecue sauce is to die for!

After our tasting we headed outside to get food and an apple pie wine slushie.   They had a large tent set up with tables and a band playing on a covered stage.  We hung out for a while and ate our food and listened to the music and talked.  It was nice to be somewhere that wasn't home.  Once we were ready to head out, we made our way back to the tasting room to get some wine and the barbecue sauce.   Since it wasn't raining as we were leaving, I was able to get some photos of the vines.  I really want to go back and do a tour of the winery!  We really enjoyed our time here even with the rain and will definitely be back next year.

My Favorite Wines
Fireboat Red and White
River Run
Twisted Sister with the Twisted Sister Barbecue Sauce
Casa Pap Red (mulled) with the Casa Papa Pasta Sauce

Nav's Popcorn:  Best Popcorn EVER!
Bechaz Riverdale Cheese: I don't really do cheeses but Josh got some block cheese from this place and absolutely loved it
Brian's Specialty Mustard: Josh's is obsessed with this mustard.  It's a mustard horseradish blend which is not my cup of tea but he has some every day on his sandwich at lunch.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

I told myself I wasn't going to participate in any more reading challenges this year, but I'm in a bit of a reading rut and WAY behind on my Goodreads goal, so why not.  This is just a preliminary list, so any of the books I've picked may change.  The challenge starts November 1st.

5 points: Freebie!  Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.
10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (longlist or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes: National Book Award, Man Booker or Man Booker International.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

10 points: Read a brand-new release (something published between November 1, 2016 and January 31, 2017).
Pepped Up by Ali Dean
15 points: Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

15 points: Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you.
The Girl From The Train by Irma Joubert (main character is Jewish)

20 points: Read a modern retelling of a classic (e.g. an Austen Project novel, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, etc.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kaity.
Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

 25 points: Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kerry. (And she was nice enough to come up with a long list of suggestions for you!)
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

30 points:  Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name. (Alternate spellings are okay, e.g. Megan and Meghan or Smith and Smyth.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Ericka.
Cinder and Ella by  Kelly Oram

30 points: Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects. For example: A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie and one of Christie's mystery novels that features poison, or The Monuments Men and All the Light We Cannot See. The possibilities are endless, so have fun with this one! — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Bev. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 30 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Ravensbruck by Sarah Helm

40 points: Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book. For example: You may read a book by Martin Cruz Smith and a book by George R.R. Martin, or a book by James Joyce and a book by Joyce Carol Oates. The shared name must be spelled exactly the same, no variations. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Jamie. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 40 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
Fallen by Lauren Kate
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Sackets Harbor, New York

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sackets Harbor is a small town in Jefferson County about a half hour from my house.  I was really bored one day and Bolt needed a walk, so I decided to try his new seat belt out and take him for a walk somewhere new.  Everyone at work told me I need to check out Sackets Harbor, so off we went.  I wish I'd done a bit more research and spent more time walking the battlefield, but overall I really enjoyed the town.  I went right at the end of tourist season so things were shutting down, but it was still pretty and I made a list of everything I want to check out next year.  I know Bolt enjoyed walking somewhere other than our neighborhood.

I'm planning to take Bolt back at some point and walk the Battlefield trail, but that is probably going to have to wait until spring.   I can't wait to walk around when everything is open and lively!

Hayley Larue Design