Weekend Update – The Things I Liked This Week December 2017

Posted by on Dec 24, 2017 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

The Things I Liked This Week November 2017

The Things I Liked This Week August 2017

I started doing The Things I Liked This Week in June of 2015 and it’s definitely become my favorite monthly post. I love adding to my list throughout the week.

Here are the things I liked this week:

1. The orphaned baby sea otter at the Oregon Zoo
He can’t be released to the wild so he’s been sent to the Oregon Zoo and will soon join their other two sea otters.

His name is now Lincoln and he’s adorable.


2. Esther the Wonder Pig
I just recently learned about Esther and she’s quickly become one of my favorite media stars.

Have a classy Christmas my friends.

A post shared by Esther The Wonder Pig (@estherthewonderpig) on


3. A smart chipmunk


4. This annual tweet
He posts this every year and it cracks me up every single time.


5. Hope and Nora playing
It’s been a tough road for Nora the Polar Bear but she’s now with another bear and they’re finally beginning to play together.


6. This Christmas library puzzle
My friend loaned this to me and it’s the perfect puzzle for me to be doing Christmas weekend.
Christmas Library Puzzle


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading #93

Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Monday What Are You Reading #90

It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

This is technically a weekly meme but I don’t read fast enough to make that worthwhile so I post it every two or three weeks.

Finished in Print

The Blackhouse by Peter May

The Blackhouse by Peter May

So many of my friends have recommended this trilogy. Now I know why. It was a little slow to start but once it got going I really liked it.

Started in Print

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

It was time for another Miss Marple book.

Finished on Audio

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan narrated by multiple artists

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan narrated by multiple artists

I read the print edition of this when it was first released. Now that Netflix has a movie version I wanted to reread it before watching. I decided to reread the audio edition this time and I’m glad I did. It’s excellent.

Started on Audio

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert Glenister

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert Glenister

This is one of those books I hesitated to read when it was first released because everyone was talking about it. I’m glad I finally started it and I’m enjoying the audio format for it.

Reviews since my last update:

The Fade Out Act Three by Ed Brubaker

The Blackhouse by Peter May

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan – audio edition

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update – Bookish Nostalgia December 2017

Posted by on Dec 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Weekend Update

Bookish Nostalgia November 2017

I totally stole this idea from Kay at Kay’s Reading Life. Every month she looks back in her reading records to see what she was reading this month in past years. I decided that would be fun even though my reading spreadsheet doesn’t go back as far as Kay’s records do.

Bookish Nostalgia

I’ve only been tracking my reading since October 2003 but it’s still fun to take a look back occasionally. Anything before mid-2006 hasn’t been on my blog and some of those old reviews are frankly a little embarrassing at this point. I’ll link to my full reviews when I think are worth reading.

Sometimes my reaction is “I can’t believe I read that” and other times it’s “Oh I remember where I was when I read that one”. and occasionally it’s “I really want to read that again.”

Some of these are pre-blog so the links take you to Powell’s for more information. Links for 2007 and later take you to my review.

Hornet Flight by Ken Follet – audio edition narrated by John Lee
A good World War Two spy thriller.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Sai – audio edition narrated by B.D. Wong
This is the story of two teenage boys sent for “reeducation” during the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin
This book will always be on my list of top books. It’s a brutal story that’s beautifully told.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I did not like this one at all.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
It’s gruesome but a fabulous psychological thriller and the first in Cain’s series featuring serial killer Gretchen Lowell.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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The Blackhouse by Peter May

Posted by on Dec 5, 2017 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

The Blackhouse by Peter MayThe Blackhouse by Peter May

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback and ebook
Series: #1 in the Lewis Trilogy
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 396
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

From acclaimed author and dramatist Peter May comes the Barry award-winning The Blackhouse, the first book in the Lewis Trilogy — a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.
When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that bears similarities to a brutal killing on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to the Outer Hebrides to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.

As Fin reconnects with the people and places of his tortured childhood, the desolate but beautiful island and its ancient customs once again begin to assert their grip on his psyche. Every step toward solving the case brings Fin closer to a dangerous confrontation with the dark events of the past that shaped — and nearly destroyed — his life.

My Thoughts:
This book has been on my TBR list for a long time. Many of my friends have recommended it. I was hoping to get the audio edition but I wasn’t able to get my hands on it. I managed my way through the Gaelic names with the help of a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book.

The story is part murder mystery and part psychological thriller. It’s told in alternating chapters with the present-day story told in third person but the story of Fin’s childhood is told by Fin in the first person. It worked well and I liked the format.

The murder investigation doesn’t play out like a typical police procedural. Fin’s connection to the people and the place keep the investigation from being typical. Both the present-day story and Fin’s remembering his past play out in a slow build that brings them spiraling to a conclusion.

The setting on Lewis Island added additional elements to the story. The isolation and insular community are part of Fin’s life but also one that he escaped. His return brings him back to people and places that he hasn’t seen in 18 years.

I do plan to read the next book in the trilogy but I think I’m going to get the audio edition so I don’t have to wonder about the name pronunciations.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Weekend Update – November 12, 2017

Posted by on Nov 12, 2017 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Weekend Update

We had way too much dreary weather this week. That combined with the time change was kind of annoying. This lighter in the morning due to the time change stuff is lost on me. I get to work at 7am and it’s still dark.

I spent a lot of time this week getting my new laptop set up. It’s so much faster than my old one. I’m a big fan of solid state drives. As usual with a new laptop its been a matter of figuring out what worked on the old one that doesn’t work on the new one and finding alternatives.

It’s hard to believe that there’s only one more weekend before Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to that week though. I have both Thursday and Friday as work holidays and I’m taking the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as a vacation day. Two day work weeks for the win! I’m hoping we can go see Thor Ragnarok on that Wednesday.

My reading has been hit and miss. I’s slowly making my way through The Blackhouse by Peter May. I’m loving it but I’m just getting enough time to read. I finished listening to Astrophysics for People in a Hurry which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also read the second volume of The Fade Out trilogy.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

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November 2017 Photo a Day Challenges

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

November 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. Every once in a while I just can’t find a prompt that works for me that say so I give myself permission to tag whatever I do want to photograph. 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 November:
(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 October 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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