Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - July 25, 2016

Hello all...I usually start these posts by wondering how the week went so fast, but I don't feel like I can do that since the week isn't yet over!  I usually write up these posts on Sundays, but I'm writing this up on Friday (and will go in an update a few things Sunday) as we are going out of town this weekend to see my Father-in-Law.  I just thought it would be easier to write up all that I can now instead of trying to write while we are visiting or trying to write up a rushed post when we get back and post it late.


Okay, so let me tell you about my week. It started out like gangbusters, but by mid-week, I could barely move due to being absolutely exhausted.  I discuss this more in my weekly vlog, but basically I had to make some changes and prioritize sleep.  And, because of that, I'm backing away from the 30 in 30 challenge.  I may try it again when the kids are back in school but, for right now, it just isn't working in my family's schedule right now.

1 - At least 77,000 steps a week
Sunday, 7/17 - 13,630 steps (6.26 miles)
Monday, 7/18 - 10,220 steps (5.1 miles)
Tuesday, 7/19 - 4810 steps (2.16 miles)
Wednesday, 7/20 - 6610 steps (2.97 miles)
Thursday, 7/21 - 10,013 steps (4.5 miles)

So, yeah, you can see my crash there.  Even though I'm not doing the 30 in 30 challenge, I am going to focus on my steps and I'm hoping to have better results next week.

2 - 2 strength training workouts a week
I got one in (so far!)

3 - At least 96 ounces of water a day
I hit this mark twice this week, but I did get more than 64 ounces each day.

4 - At least 7 hours of seep a night
Yes, new goal....as of Friday, I have yet to hit this one (sigh!), but I will start tracking it towards this particular goal on Sunday, so next week will be my first update on it.


So, this week is going to be a little different.  I'm hoping to finish my current books before Monday, so I am going to list what I'm reading this week (which is the same as last week) and what I'm planning to start next.

What I'm currently (Friday) reading:
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
I'm over halfway done with this, but I still don't know how it ends!  Even though I think Lonsdale's voice can use some polishing (there is nothing wrong with it, I think it could just be a bit smoother), the fact that I'm still not "in the know" is definitely a plus!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I wish I had more time to read this one!  It's fascinating so far, but I just haven't had the chance to sit down immerse myself in it outside of waiting for my kids.  Oh, one note if you are thinking about reading this.  I'm reading it on my Kindle and I really wish I were reading a print copy only because the photographs are a little hard to see on a Paperwhite.



Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Still chugging along with this one!











What I am planning to read next:
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This one is a book club book that I'm looking forward to getting into it.  I'm not planning to bring it up with me this weekend, so I won't be starting it until Monday.  Here is the summary:

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. 
Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness. 

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
This little gem is not going to show up on my Kindle until Tuesday morning, so if I finish Miss Peregrine before that, I'll probably just read some of the singles I have queued up.

Here is the summary:

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? 
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite. 
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone? 
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Saturday Snapshot - July 23

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

We're back to our recent camping trip.  As I said, the weather wasn't terribly conducive to outdoor activities and the fish weren't biting, so we decided to take a side trip up to Timberline Lodge.

For those of you who don't know, Timberline is a resort up on Mt. Hood.  It was built in the 1930's as part of the WPA and FDR came to its opening.  It is one of 3 ski resorts on Mt. Hood and the only one where you can sky year-round (thanks to the glaciers). You can also hop on the Pacific Crest Trail there.  It was also used in the movie version of The Shining.

It's a beautiful building and they have done an excellent job restoring and maintaining its grandeur.  It is definitely well-worth a visit.

The weather wasn't the best for sightseeing!  Trust me, Mt. Hood is there...somewhere 
Vital Stats.


There is some amazing woodwork in the lodge.  This was one of my favorites, but it looked a bit "fresh" to be original

A view of he mountain side of the lodge

The Pacific Crest Trail is just right up there.  We were going to walk up there, but the kids decided to have none of that.

When they first built Timberline and all the furnishings, they didn't build any chairs with arms.  Then, when FDR came to open it, they had to make this one especially for him.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review: "The Last Woman Standing" by Thelma Adams + Giveaway!

The Last Woman Standing Thelma Adams
Published: July 1, 2016 (Lake Union Publishing)
ISBN: 9781503935181
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Westerns--especially ones with female central characters, lore around the shootout at the O.K. Corral, "fabled" love stories

Summary:
Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.


But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…

My Thoughts:
The cover is lovely, but this is the real Josephine
Before I get into what I thought of this book, I feel like I should address a usually major point I have with historical fiction based on historical characters:how true is it? If a novel diverges greatly from a historical characters true persona, it doesn't work for me.  The case of Josephine Marcus, however, is a unique one.  She (the person, not the character) spent a great deal of energy in her life trying to create how history would remember her and Wyatt Earp by creating stories about the two of them and going to great lengths to suppress certain facts.  Because of this, I don't think anyone would be able to create an accurate portrait of her or her relationship with Wyatt Earp and, when Adams portrays something that is not supported in what can be considered the historic record, I really have no problem with that, whereas I might if this book were written about any other fictional character.

Now that is out of the way, onto the book!

So, the Shoot Out at the O.K. Corral--we all know about the Earps and the Clantons and Doc Holliday (well, to be fair--I only knew the basics of it, even after 2 visits to Tombstone, but this book did a great job of explaining it all).  But there seemed to be a missing character in all that, Josephine Marcus.  She came to Tombstone as the fiancee of Johnny Behan (the Sheriff of Tombstone who had it out for the Earps), but only became his mistress, before leaving him and then taking up with Wyatt Earp.  So, you know, a love triangle.

I enjoyed getting to know Adams' version of Josephine Marcus.  She quickly becomes hardened by the "Town to Tough to Die" (yes,they actually have that on the signs there!).  I do think that Adams' Josephine was much closer on the sweet side of the spectrum while the "real" Josephine Marcus was rather salty.  Still, there is a fair amount of development with Josephine, which is necessary as most of the other characters rely more on their legendary characterizations than anything new by Adams (which, in this context of the book being about Josephine, is fine).

(I took the above video in March 2016 during my most recent visit to Tombstone.  Yes, that is what it is like now).

Adams skillfully brings Tombstone to life in this book. I visited Tombstone for the second time only a few months ago, and mostly because I knew I would be reading this book, so I was familiar with the town (as it is now, which is frankly nothing more than a tacky tourist trap). However, reading this book, the Tombstone of the 1880's seemed to emerge from the ashes of the trinket shops, "olde" time photography studios, and constant shoot-out shows that go on now. If you are curious about Tombstone, don't go visit it--just read this book.

Despite a scene in the book describing
Josephine posing for this portrait,
it is not actually of Josephine Marcus.
I had a few nit-picky criticisms about this book.  I wish we had gotten to know the Earp woman, Allie and Mattie, a bit more.  I also felt that the climax of this book didn't quite feel right.  It seemed like it should have been at the shoot out, but it sort of plateaued for a while, which was odd. However, neither of these were deal breaker and, in the end, didn't really hamper my enjoyment of this novel.

I would definitely recommend this book widely, but especially to those who are wary of westerns and find them to be overly masculine.  I would also recommend this to anyone who has visited Tombstone and was turned off by the commercialism.  This book will give you a far better feel of the place than any visit there.

About the Author:
Thelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and criticism for high-profile publications. Her portfolio of actor interviews includes Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Jessica Chastain, and Matthew McConaughey, among many others. While covering film for the New York Post, Us Weekly, and Yahoo Movies, Thelma became a regular at film festivals from Berlin to Dubai, Toronto to Tribeca. She sits on the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board and twice chaired the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle. Her debut novel, Playdate, published by Thomas Dunne Books, won high critical acclaim. Adams is often recognized, as she has been invited to share her expertise on many broadcast outlets, including appearances on NBC’s Today, CBS’s Early Show, and CNN. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a history degree from UC Berkeley and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Hyde Park, New York, with her family.

Connect with Ms.Adams on Facebook, Twitter, and her Website.

Want to read more?  Visit some of the other stops on this blog tour!



I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.




Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I have one print copy of this book to give a reader (US and Canada).  To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway will run until midnight (Pacific Time) on July 27th.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: "The Valley" by Helen Bryan

The Valley (The Valley Trilogy #1) Helen Bryan
Published: July 19, 2016
ISBN: 9781503936157
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours

Summary:
Left suddenly penniless, the Honorable Sophia Grafton, a viscount’s orphaned daughter, sails to the New World to claim the only property left to her name: a tobacco plantation in the remote wilds of colonial Virginia. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a handsome young French spy—at gunpoint—she gathers an unlikely group of escaped slaves and indentured servants, each seeking their own safe haven in the untamed New World.


What follows will test her courage and that of her companions as they struggle to survive a journey deep into a hostile wilderness and eventually forge a community of homesteads and deep bonds that will unite them for generations.

My Thoughts:
Folks, I can't sugar coat it--this book was a mess.  I was actually quite excited to read this book because, based on the summary, this was totally up my alley. Instead, it just failed on several levels.  I'm not going to rant on about this book (as I have already done when telling people about it). But I do want to point out the 3 biggest problems that I had with it.

The first issue that I came across here is that there are some serious plot issues. As in, there really isn't a plot.  The first 100 or so pages of this book shouldn't even exist.  I could see a very short prologue of when Sophia first met Henri when they were children, as that actually has some bearing on the rest of the novel, but I really didn't need (or care for) Sophia's complete life history up to the point where she stands on a ship heading to the Colonies (where this book should have began). Any other pertinent information could have been revealed to the reader as the story progressed.

I never found a real plot here--there were whiffs of a plot, but then that story line would be dropped. There were story lines that just sort of appeared out of nowhere and then never connected to anything bigger. Probably most infuriating of all, Bryan ends the book with an entirely new story line, with new characters, that she never connects to anything or ties up.  I guess she might have been trying to create a cliffhanger for the second book in the trilogy, but it only created frustration.

The second issue is that there needed to be far more editing.  The writing was both overly florid and sloppy.  The point of view, which was never truly omniscient, would jump between characters at odd places--like the middle of paragraphs--so much that it was hard to follow.  Far too many times, characters would not be in a scene, and then just appear for no reason.  There are frequently unidentified pronouns, so the reader can't even be sure which character is speaking!  All these issues could have been prevented with tighter editing.

The final issue is one of my biggest pet peeves with Historical Fiction.  There are things in this book that are, shall we say, historically inaccurate. I'm thinking specifically of Sophia's attitudes towards African Americans.  We are told early on that she was taken to abolitionist meetings in England and was opposed to slavery, which is believable.  However, she becomes a friend to the former slaves in her group in a way that just would not have happened in the 18th century.  While Abolitionists didn't believe in slavery, that doesn't mean that they saw African Americans as equals.  In fact, English Abolitionists would still have considered them to be an "inferior race."  Yes, it is ugly--but it is true.  When you take into account that this novel is based on Bryan's ancestors, this comes across almost as whitewashing ("well, my family was different..." sort of thing),which I find offensive. Slavery and the treatment of African Americans was a very dark, terrible thing--but to make light of it is disrespectful.

I'm very disappointed that this book failed for me, as I really do believe that it could have been wonderful.

About the Author:
Helen Bryan is a Virginia native who grew up in Tennessee. After graduating from Barnard College, she moved to England, where she studied law and was a barrister for ten years before devoting herself to writing full-time.


A member of the Inner Temple, Bryan is the author of four previous books: the World War II novel War Brides; the historical novel The Sisterhood; the biography Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty, which won an Award of Merit from the Colonial Dames of America; and the legal handbook Planning Applications and Appeals. The Valley is the first in a planned trilogy based on her childhood stories of ancestors who settled in Virginia and Maryland before Tennessee became a state.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

Want a second opinion? Check out one of the other stops on the blog tour! (Link goes to the blog, not the specific review)

Tuesday, July 19th: Just Commonly
Wednesday, July 20th: A Book Geek
Thursday, July 21st: Kritter’s Ramblings
Friday, July 22nd: View from the Birdhouse
Friday, July 22nd: Reading is My Superpower
Monday, July 25th: WV Stitcher
Monday, July 25th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, July 26th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Thursday, July 28th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, August 1st: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, August 2nd: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, August 3rd: Lavish Bookshelf
Thursday, August 4th: Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 8th: A. Holland Reads
Tuesday, August 9th: Laura’s Reviews
Wednesday, August 10th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, August 15th: BookNAround
Wednesday, August 17th: The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - July 18, 2016

Hello everyone!  Why do I feel like I just wrote one of these posts?  I mean, time isn't really speeding up is it?

My week was not especially eventful, but a few routine appointments through my schedule out of whack (and I'm totally a schedule person!).  This weekend, we headed back down to my home town for the Art Festival.  This is something I attended every single year growing up.  Since moving back, I've only been able to go every few years (let's just say it isn't my husband's favorite event), but I thoroughly enjoy it every time.  Yes,some pictures will be up in a couple weeks for a Saturday Snapshot post!

One especially cool thing happened while I was there. The church I grew up attending always has a booth where they sell Chi Yo, which are Vietnamese Spring Rolls (it helps that the Festival is held in a park across the street from the church!). I remember my mother volunteering to make them every year when I was a child.  I'm not a huge Spring Roll fan, but I always make a point to get one of these.  Well, when I went this time, I was recognized by the woman who directed me in Children's Choir about 35 years ago (and, by the way, she is STILL directing that choir!).  I was so touched--she has worked with hundreds of children over the years and yet she remembered me!

So, on that note, onto the updates!


This was a tough week for me, and I'm not sure why.  Other than the minor schedule interruptions mentioned above, there weren't any real obstacles.  I did the best I could, but I still felt that I wasn't at my best.

1- At least 77,000 steps a week
Sunday, 7/10 - 10,412 steps (4.68 miles)
Monday, 7/11 - 11,106 steps (5.8 miles)
Tuesday, 7/12 - 10,000 steps (4.49 miles)
Wednesday, 7/13 - 10,794 steps (5.94 miles)
Thursday, 7/14 - 12,452 steps (5.72 miles)
Friday, 7/15 - 10,029 steps (4.55 miles)
Saturday, 7/16 - 14,792 (6.65 miles)
TOTAL: 79,585 steps (37.83 miles)

2 - 2 strength training workouts a week
Nada....

3 - 96 ounces of water a day
Another one I didn't meet!  I did get at least 64 ounces a day, but I never got up to 96.  But, on the upside, I am getting better about tracking my water!

4 - Complete the 30 in 30 challenge
As I said, this one will be done in July...but I am still on track with it after having to start over. I will also admit that one of my 30 minute walks this week was following my kids around while they played Pokemon Go.

Also, I've been doing some vlogs on my healthy living goals.  I only post once a week (and I film in my car--parked!--because it is the one kid-free place I have!)  I may start doing to book videos as well. In any case, you can find my channel here.


Right Now, I'm Reading:
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
This one is for a blog tour and reading it seems to be hitting the spot for me.  So far, it seems like light suspense, which is about where my brain is at the moment.  I will say I'm far enough into it where I usually know how such a book will turn out, but I still don't have a clue about this one--so that is something!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Yeah, I know...I'm one of the last people on the planet to read this.  I've had it on my kindle FOREVER but, well, you know. The good news is that I am finally getting to it!

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Still fightin' for freedom....











Last Week, I finished reading:
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (finished 7/14, review 8/4)
This is the 4th Moriarty book I've read (Big Little Lies, Three Wishes, and The Last Anniversary being the other 3) and I think this one is my favorite.  Her newest book should show up on my Kindle in the next 2 weeks, so I'll be looking forward to that.

The Valley by Helen Bryan (finished 7/15, review 7/19)
My review is out tomorrow, so I'll leave my thoughts for that.  All I'll say here is that I really should get an award for finishing this one.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Saturday Snapshot - July 16

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Last weekend, we went camping with my Father-in-Law and Brother-in-Law. We headed out towards Mt. Hood to a campground on the Clackamas River.  The weather was a little wetter than we had hoped (but not as wet as we had feared), but we still had a great time. We even took a little day trip up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, but you'll have to wait until next week to see those pictures.

The kids were very excited!
We stayed in a yome, but my Father-in-law brought his trailer (which was handy when it was raining!). But space WAS a little cramped.

This was our "yome," which is a cross between a dome and a yurt.  Basically, it was framed tent with a real floor and bunk beds.

The North Fork of the Clackamas River.  Usually a prime fishing spot, but the fish weren't biting when we were there.

This is "small fry lake" where only kids up to age 17 can fish. They weren't biting here,either.


Summer Comment Challenge - August

I know, this isn't a Film and Television post, but I needed to fit this one in!

I can't believe that we're almost in our last month of summer. I can't say that I'm too upset though--Autumn is my favorite season.

But, we are coming up on August, so it is time to do another Summer Comment Challenge post.  I've done this for both June and July and gotten to know Kathryn at Book Date and Rita at View From My Books through the process. Since I've had so much fun so far, why not do it for another month?

Part of this challenge is to do sign up post (so, you know, this post)....I'm going to copy the vital information below, but if you are at all interested in this I would highly recommend you give it a try!


Whether you’re a new blogger or a seasoned vet, blog comments are one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging. As a way to connect with new bloggers and challenge ourselves to spread the comment love, Lonna @ FLYLēF and Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense created the Comment Challenge. Each month over the summer, bloggers are paired together and encouraged to comment on each other’s blogs. August marks the final month of this challenge and if you haven’t joined or if you’ve been with us since the beginning, we’d love to have you take part. All the info you need is below and do not hesitate to ask us any questions you may have.

The Details


  • This is the final month to sign up for this challenge for the summer.
  • Bloggers will be paired up and are required to comment on each other’s blog posts.
  • To allow a bit of freedom, you will be able to choose how often you would like to comment on your partner’s blog (options include 5-10 or 11-20 posts).
  • Social Media Option: If you’d like to give your partner further encouragement through social media, we will do our best to connect you with bloggers who are active on the same platforms.
  • Giveaway: at the end of August, we will be giving away two bookish prizes. Please note: this giveaway will only be open to participants.
What You Must Do



  • Sign Up: Starting today through the 21st, you can sign up for this challenge for August. Just answer a few questions on the Google Doc on one of the hosts' blogs. We will be emailing you a couple of days before August 1st to inform you of your partner.
  • Create a Sign-up Post: We will be posting a link-up on the 15th for participants to share their posts. What you should include:
  • Announce your intention to participate and what you’re looking forward to for this challenge
  • Let us know how often you intend to comment on your partner’s blog
  • Tell us if you participated in June or July and what your experience was like
  • Link back to your hosts: Lonna @ FLYLēF and Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense
  • Include the Comment Challenge banner
  • Spread the Word: We’d love to see this challenge take off, so let other bloggers know about it. We’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #commentchallenge2016
  • Comment: When August 1st rolls around, get to commenting on your partner’s blog!

Important Dates


  • July 1st: August Sign-up Post (that’s this one)
  • July 15th: August Link-up + Giveaway Post

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Best of 2016...so far

Can you believe that we are more than halfway through the year?  Why, oh why, is time speeding up?  Can someone please make it stop?

Okay, I promise no more whining (in this post!).  Since we are past the halfway mark, I thought I'd list my favorite books that I've read so far this year.  Not all of these books were published in 2016, but I did read them all since January 1.  They are listed in the order I read them, NOT in order of preference or review date.

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
It's probably a good thing I didn't know exactly what this book was about when I decided to read it, because it isn't my usual fare.  In fact, I believe I found it in the "romance" section of Netgalley.  It is a simply beautiful love story, but not the kind you'd expect.  I also went through about a box of tissues, so there is that.  I am a sucker for a good cry...
Purchase "Lily and the Octopus" from Amazon

Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown

I'll admit that I was a little bit wrecked at the end of this book.  The two main characters, a mother and daughter, are so well crafted that they seem to step right off the page and I alternated between wanting to hug them and wanting to throttle them.  I found the end to be..unsettling.  This one will definitely stay with you.
Purchase "Modern Girls" from Amazon

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
This is an excellent family saga dealing with two brothers and their families, secrets, and one house.  There were parts of this book that really hit home for me, enough so that I lost myself in the book enough that I went along with each twist and turn without trying to even guess what would happen next.
Purchase "The Two-Family House: A Novel" from Amazon

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (audiobook, read by the author)
So, you know, life advice from one of the most successful women on TV and, more importantly, the woman who gave us Cristina Yang and Mark "McSteamy" Sloan.  Celebrity memoirs are one of my favorite audiobook genre, but this one is something more than that.  It is definitely worth the read/listen/whatever.
Purchase "Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person" from Amazon

As You Wish by Cary Elwes (audiobook, read by the author)
Really, who doesn't love The Princess Bride?  This is a behind-the-scene look at the making of the movie and it is so lovingly done that any fan would love.  This one was especially good since I listened to it with my husband, who adores that movie.
Purchase "As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride" from Amazon

The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner
Oh, this book had all the feels for me.  I related to it in so many ways that I, at times, felt like it was my own story.  I immediately sent it off to my mother to read...it was just that kind of book!  This has quickly become my go-to for people who want a mother-daughter memoir.
Purchase "The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir" from Amazon





So, we'll see how the second half of 2016 goes for me!  My guess is that the second installment of this will include at least a few backlist books.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? / #FitReaders Check-In - July 11, 2016

Hello, hello everyone!  It seems like I just did this update post, thanks to this week going so quickly.  Also, I wanted to thank all of you who had insight on my State of My Shelves post.  As I said, I'll keep you all updated--I've decided that I'll do an official update on the first Wednesday of each month...so stay tuned!


So, this week was a challenge.  I got hit with a nasty head cold on Monday  (yes, the 4th of July.  Yay...).  I don't think I'm alone in saying that I would rather have a head cold than a stomach bug, but the bad part of a head cold is that it sort of lingers long after you feel better.  I'm still hacking and snuffling and I've been feeling better since about Tuesday or Wednesday.

1 - At least 77,000 steps a week
Sunday, 7/3 - 15,191 steps (7.5 miles)
Monday, 7/4 - 6,796 steps (3.09 miles)
Tuesday, 7/5 - 8.100 steps (4.39 miles)
Wednesday, 7/6 - 13,532 steps (6.28 miles)
Thursday, 7/7 - 7.424 steps (3.34 miles)
Friday, 7/8 - 12,319 steps (5.53 miles)
Saturday, 7/9 - 14,302 steps (6.43 miles)
TOTAL: 77,664 steps (36.56 miles)
Wow...I didn't know if I had made my goal until I added it up just now!

2 - 2 strength training workouts
This one didn't happen this week

3 - 96 ounces of water a day
Well, I had at least 5 days of this.  We were camping this weekend and I lost track of my water for Friday and Saturday since I track it on my FitBit app and we had no cell service.  I managed to track my food in the notes on my phone until I could log it into the WW app, but apparently tracking water was just too darn difficult.

4 - Complete the 30 in 30 challenge
Sigh...this is going to have to be an August goal.  I ended up not going for my walk on Thursday.  I needed to wait until my husband came home so he could watch the kids and, but the time he was home, we had some pretty heavy rain.  And, despite the fact that I've spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, I detest walking in the rain (and there were threats of thunderstorms), so I had to start over.


Right now, I'm reading:
The Valley by Helen Bryan
Folks, I have to get this done.  I think my review is scheduled for 7/19, so time is running out.  I will say that, FINALLY, the story seems to have begun...but I'm still having trouble with this one.  I realized that I DNF'd the last Helen Bryan book I tried, so she just might not be an author for me.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Folks, am I the last person on the planet to read this book?  And, yes, this one did come from my TBR, so you know, I'm true to my word on that one.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Well, hello Eliza!  I've been waiting for you!











Last week, I finished reading:
Dietland by Sarai Walker (finished 7/6, review 8/2)
I have this curse going with my book club in that I really dislike the books I suggest.  I thought could dodge the bullet here since I co-suggested it with someone, but apparently not.

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams (finished 7/6, review 7/20)
Well, well, well....it looks like that trip to Tombstone back in March paid off...

Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino (finished 7/10, review 8/9)
This is my LAST Netgalley book for a while!  I actually went in and deleted all my other ones that were waiting in the queue.  I kept this one only because I had read another one of Carlino's books and really enjoyed it.  This one, in my opinion, was even better.  AND I now can start in on my Kindle backlog!