Five Books I Want to Read: Fall 2017

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, Fun | 4 comments

Five Books I Want to Read: Fall 2017

I’ve been doing this seasonal list of Top Books I’d Like to Get To for a while now. This time I didn’t do so well with getting through my choices.

For Summer I picked 5 books and I finished two of them and I’m currently reading a third. Clearly I was little overambitious regarding my summer reading

The two I finished are:

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I let the Sherlock Holmes books drop off my radar a couple of years ago. It was good to get back to them and finally read this classic.

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese O’Neill
This was fun and interesting. I listened to the audio edition narrated by Betsy Foldes Meiman.

The one I’m currently reading:

The Romanovs 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
This history of all the Romanov rulers of Russia is quite interesting.

This Friday is the Autumn Equinox so it’s time to pick my Fall possibilities that I want to read before the Winter Solstice on September 22nd

The Five Books I Want to Read This Fall

I’m going to start with the two I picked for summer but didn’t get to because I still want to read both of them.


The Blackhouse by Peter May

The Blackhouse by Peter May

More and more people keep telling me that The Blackhouse by Peter May and the rest of the trilogy are excellent. I need to read it.


A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor is fun time travel adventure. I need to read the next one up for me, Second Chance.


Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

This book has been on my TBR list since it was released. It’s about time I read it. I have both print and audio out from the library but I haven’t decided which format I’ll read yet.


Divided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Divided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Once I started listening to the audio editions of this series I knew I’d never go back to the print editions. I need to read this next one for me before I let too much time pass with this series.


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

There was so much buzz about this one when it was released that I didn’t want anything to do with it. Now that there’s been a television adaptation starring Tom Burke (who I loved in The Musketeers), I decided it’s time to finally read it. HBO has the US rights to the television series but no US premiere date has been set yet


What books are you looking forward to reading in the next few months?

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September 2017 Photo a Day Challenges

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Fun, photos | 0 comments

September 2017 Photo a Day Challenges

I have found a way to make daily photo prompts work well for me.

No single photo a day prompt list fully works for me. I choose to save several lists and choose one prompt each day from among those lists. I’m happy to say that I love this approach and it works great for me. I highly recommend it.

Here is a sample of the photo a day lists I’ll be using for September:
(click on the images to see larger versions)

If committing to a month at a time feels like too much, there are other weekly and daily options available on Instagram
There are several Instagram accounts that feature a new theme every day or every week. I follow these accounts and every once in a while they save me when I just don’t like any of the other prompts. These are all worth following on Instagram.

As you can tell, I am a huge fan of using prompts for daily photos because it helps make a personal photo journal and also makes me look for inspiration throughout my daily life. It helps me to notice and appreciate the little moments and things every day.

I’ve been doing this since March of 2012 so I now have over 5 years of daily photos.

Follow my Daily Photos on Instagram

These are the most liked of my August 2017 Photo a Day photos:

If you’re not doing a Photo a Day challenge I hope you’ll consider it because it’s a fun way to have a photo journal. If you are, great! Keep up with it. You won’t be sorry. I highly recommend the pick from many prompts each day approach.

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Bout of Books 20 Wrap-Up

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun | 1 comment

Bout of Books 20 Wrap Up

Bout of Books 20

Bout of Books 20 ended last night. It was my thirteenth Bout of Books and I’ve got the next one marked on my calendar the week of January 8th-14th.

Once again I had a great time having a reason to say ‘nope, it’s Bout of Books and I’m going to read instead”.

I had a great reading week. The main reason I like Bout of Books is that it’s a low-pressure readathon. I never feel like I need to stop doing everything else to just read but I am encouraged to maximize and make more time for reading than I normally do. Obviously I worked full time all week so that limited my reading time but I managed to get a lot of reading hours in.

I managed to make some changes to my daily routine that I’d like to make regular habits. I traded my bus/train ride twitter and phone game time for reading. I also made sure to stay away from the phone apps and read on my lunch break.

I don’t track pages read but I do track time spent reading and listening to audiobooks. Last Bout of Books I read for 21 hours and 12 minutes. I figured that if I could read for more than 20 hours during the week I’d call it a success. Thanks to a couple of golf outings for The Hubster I had some extra time when I was home alone this week. That definitely worked to my advantage.

For this Bout of Books I ended up with 22 hours and 20 minutes of reading so Yay Me!
Bout of Books 20 Reading
This is what I read this week.
I listened to part of one audiobook – The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess (narrated by Barbara Rosenblat).
In print, I finished the two books I’d already started. The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne and How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington
I also read a graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris and one trade collection of a comics series, Descender Book Four: Orbital Mechanics by Jeff Lemire.
In addition to that I started reading The Romanovs 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

All in all a great week of reading. Now I have a pile of reviews to write!

If you participated in this week’s Bout of Books I hope you had a great week of reading. If you didn’t participate you should consider joining me and all the other participants in August.

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Bout of Books 20 – Kickoff and Updates Post

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun | 3 comments

Bout of Books 20

Bout of Books 20

Bout of Books 20 kicked off at Midnight last night. I can always find a way to make Bout of Books work for me. I have a busy week ahead but I’m going to make as much time for reading as I can.

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
  • It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

I have several books on my desk and on my ereader. In addition I’m in the middle of one audiobook and may or may not finish it this week.

I will be using this post as my tracking post and adding daily updates each morning about what reading I have accomplished the day before. I’ll post updates here every morning Tuesday through Saturday. I’ll include my Sunday reading on my final wrap up post.

One thing I do a little different this week is to track all my reading time. I have a time tracking app on my phone and watch so it’s easy to hit the start and stop button and track whether it’s reading or listening time. One benefit of using this is it keeps me focused. I find I’m less inclined to get distracted by stuff that I could be doing around the house or playing on my phone if I’m feeling like I’m “on the clock” for reading.

As for what I’m hoping to get to this week . . .
Bout of Books Books

I’d like to finish the two books I’m currently reading (The Marsh King’s Daughter and How I Married a Marquess). I’ll continue with my audiobook (The Painted Queen). I’d love to make a dent in my next book (The Romanovs)

So . . . Let the reading begin . . .

Monday Reading
I had the day off but the morning and early afternoon were taken up with traveling and watching the total eclipse. We had a great view from my sister-in-law’s porch.
I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and ended up with nearly 4 hours of reading logged. I finished The Marsh King’s Daughter.

Tuesday Reading
Three and a half hours of reading/listening today. Listening to The Painted Queen and reading How I Married a Marquess.

Wednesday Reading
Same as yesterday – Three and a half hours of reading/listening today. Listening to The Painted Queen and reading How I Married a Marquess.

Thursday Reading
Three hours of reading/listening. I finished How I Married a Marquess and started The Romanovs 1613-1918.

Friday Reading
Two hours and 40 minutes today. Enjoying both The Painted Queen on audio and The Romanovs in print.

Saturday Reading
No audiobook time today but I got 2 and a half hours of reading. I took a break from The Romanovs to start My Favorite Thing is Monsters.

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Weekend Update – The August 20, 2017 Edition

Posted by on Aug 20, 2017 in Fun, Weekend Update | 2 comments

Weekend Update


This was a busy week. We were gone last weekend so all the weekend errands and chores had to be squeezed in during the week. We survived though and I have tomorrow off so a three day weekend is nice.

We’re going eclipse chasing tomorrow. Portland isn’t in the path of totality but it’s close enough to make it worth going. I just knew  I’d kick myself if it turned out to be perfect weather and we didn’t try to get there.  I took tomorrow off but told my boss that if the weather was awful I’d cancel the vacation day. It turns out that tomorrow might be just perfect weather so I’m excited. I’ve seen several partial eclipses but never experienced totality. My sister-in-law lives in the path and it’s about an hour from our house. We’ll get up early tomorrow and head to her house.  Hopefully we’ll miss the worst of the traffic on the main roads but we’re giving ourselves plenty of time anyway.


Today is our 23rd wedding anniversary. We’re celebrating with an adventure. There’s a zipline park not far from here and we’ve talked about doing it for a long time. Today is the day. The weather is nice and the course is supposed to take about two hours to do the whole thing. We’ve done a single zipline before but never a long course with multiple lines like this.  If the Hubster can manage to get a decent video you might see it here later.


Bout of Books starts tomorrow and I’m looking forward to squeezing in as much reading time as I can.


Hope you’re having a great weekend.


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Bout of Books 20 Sign Up

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun | 1 comment

Bout of Books 20

It’s that time again. I’m joining in for my thirteenth Bout of Books.

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 20 starts on Monday August 21st.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I love Bout of Books. Three times a year I have an excuse to say “I can’t do that right now, it’s my reading week”. The Hubster is used to it by now. I don’t go into Bout of Books with any expectations of reading for X number of hours straight through. My life doesn’t let that kind of thing happen. The way I approach Bout of Books is to limit things like spending time on Twitter, or playing games on my phone and substituting reading time for all of those little distractions. I also set aside extra time in the evening for reading too.

I like to keep track of the time I spend reading during Bout of Books. I never track pages read but I do track time reading or listening to books. I use a great app on my phone to track my time. It’s called ATracker.

Bout of Books 17

It’s super easy to set up two tasks (reading and listening) and then it’s just a tap to start and stop tracking time. Now that there’s an Apple watch app to do that on my watch instead of my phone.

I think the reason I like to track time is that for me being ‘on the clock’ keeps me from getting distracted by my phone, the TV, that pile of papers on my desk, etc. I enjoy the time tracker and the daily and weekly reports I can get on how much time I’ve actually spent reading.

I won’t set any goal because that’s really not the purpose of Bout of Books. It’s all about a low key week long focus on reading more than usual. I will put together some theoretical reading plans and post them on the 21st.

I hope you’ll check it out and decide to join in on the fun.

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