Friday, October 31, 2014

November Photo A Day Challenge

Hosted by Fat Mum Slim
This challenge is hosted by Fat Mum Slim.

I'm going to try to see how many of these I can relate back to books!  You can follow my progress on Instagram, Tumblr, or on my page here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Reading Challenge Update

Here's Where I Stand on the I Love the Library Challenge

Books Checked Out and Read:
  • Caffeinated: how our daily habit helps, hurts and hooks us by Murray Carpenter (BCD)
  • Immortal by J.R. Ward
  • Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
Books Checked Out and Currently Reading
  • The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (BCD)
  • The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Books Checked Out and Not Read - Yet
  • Super Graphic by Tim Leong
  • Think, Eat, Move, Thrive by James Rouse

Here's Where I Stand on the TBR Pile Challenge

I didn't get anything read, but I did cross off my list any book that wasn't book 1 in a series I haven't read. I've got too many books on my list to mess around with trying to locate previous books since I try really hard not to read books out of order.

Nora Roberts Reading Challenge
  • Suzanna's Surrender
  • Daring to Dream
With any luck I'll be done with the backlist (minus Promise Me Tomorrow) by the end of November. I just have to finish the Dream Trilogy and then read the Stars of Mithra series. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reader's Workouts - Spooky Tails and Trails

Reader's Workouts is a weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.


My regular trips to the gym to walk on the treadmill have been infrequent. Between scheduling issues and visits to the chiropractor things have been up in the air.

Sunday, the girls and I, participated in the Spooky Tails and Trails walk at my local park. The walk was sponsored by the local YMCA. It was a 5K run, 2 Mile pet and family walk, and 1 Mile kids fun run.  We did the 2 mile pet walk.

I knew my pug Lola would be able to walk the 2 miles. She likes a good walk and is perfectly happy to prance along.  Ellie, however, isn't much of a walker. Her weight and short stubby legs are not a good combination. My original plan was to just take Lola but the more I thought about it, the more I realized, I can't leave one at home.

So I went online and purchased a dog stroller.

The plan was for Ellie to walk for a bit and then into the stroller she would go. On test walks Ellie barely made it a quarter mile before sitting down and refusing to move.

On Sunday, Ellie did much more than a quarter mile. I was very proud of her. The after affect was a very tired and limpy pug. Lola did the full 2 mile walk and she had a bit of energy to spare. Both pugs slept very well that night.

Oh there was also a pet costume contest.  I think my girls were robbed!

A photo posted by Amelia (@litjrzygrl) on

Up next is the Biggest Loser 5K Walk on November 2!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Challenge Complete - I Love Library Books Reading Challenge

Description of Challenge can be found on the sign-up post:

I aimed for 'just insert IV' which is 50+ books.  I was keeping a list but didn't keep track of the number of titles on the list until earlier this week when I learned I had hit 55 read! So from here on out where just aiming to see how many books over 50 I can checkout and read in the next two months!

You can find my ratings and/or reviews of the books I've read on my Goodreads' Page.

Books Checked Out and Read:
  1. Real by Katy Evans
  2. Francis: A New World Pope by Michel Cool
  3. Mine by Katy Evans
  4. Remy by Katy Evans
  5. Still Foolin' Em by Billy Crystal (Aduiobook)
  6. Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
  7. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  8. Boy21 by Matthew Quick
  9. Cordina's Royal Family: Gabriella & Alexander by Nora Roberts
  10. Cane by Jean Toomer
  11. Cordina's Royal Family: Bennett & Camilla by Nora Roberts
  12. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (BCD)
  13. Wild by Cheryl Strayed (BCD)
  14. The "I Hate to Exercise" Book for People with Diabetes by Charlotte Hayes, MMSC, MS, RD, CDE
  15. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (BCD)
  16. My Brief History by Stephen Hawking (BCD)
  17. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
  18. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie H. Anderson
  19. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  20. Paris in Love by Eloisa James (BCD)
  21. The King by J.R. Ward
  22. Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts
  23. Everything I need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  24. The History of diners in New Jersey by Michael C. Gabriele
  25. A Call to Action by Jimmy Carter (BCD)
  26. The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson
  27. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (BCD)
  28. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
  29. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  30. The Collector by Nora Roberts
  31. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy Chua
  32. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
  33. The Giver by Lois Lowry (BCD)
  34. Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
  35. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (BCD)
  36. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  37. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James
  38. And One Last Thing by Molly Harper
  39. Divergent by Veronica Roth (BCD)
  40. Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear
  41. The Messenger by Lois Lowery (BCD)
  42. Son by Lois Lowery (BCD)
  43. Beowulf - J.R.R. Tolkien (translator)
  44. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman (BCD)
  45. Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood
  46. Fast Track by Julie Garwood
  47. Longbourn by Jo Baker (BCD)
  48. Love Letters by Debbie Macomber
  49. NPR driveway moments - Dog tales (BCD)
  50. NPR funniest driveway moments (BCD)
  51. Son of No One by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  52. Contagious: Why Things Catch on by Jonah Berger (BCD)
  53. The Calhouns - Catherine, Amanda, Lilah by Nora Roberts
  54. The Calhouns - Suzanna and Megan by Nora Roberts
  55. Caffeinated: how our daily habit helps, hurts and hooks us by Murray Carpenter (BCD)
Books Checked Out and Currently Reading
  • The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (BCD)
  • The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Books Checked Out and Not Read - Yet
  • Super Graphic by Tim Leong
  • Think, Eat, Move, Thrive by James Rouse

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig

Ruth's Journey: The Story of Mammy from Gone with the WindRuth's Journey: The Story of Mammy from Gone with the Wind by Donald McCaig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Historical Fiction is not my typical choice for reading material. That being said, I had to read this book. I did struggle with keeping my attention on the book through a lot of the historical background sections but the story was strong enough to keep me reading. Ruth's journey begins in Santo Domingo, from there it is a complicated journey through a very important part in US history, the lead up to the Civil War.

Since the point of this novel is following Ruth's journey, I don't want to give too much away and that's hard because there is just so much good in this novel. For me some of good was reading along and coming across reference that you know will be important later in this story and in Gone with the Wind. You'll be reading along and there's a disdainful mention of those Irish O'Hara brothers, a revered mention of the Butlers of Low Country, a bit later an O'Hara mentions Tara and one of the biggest was discussion about what people think of that Mr. Lincoln person. Oh and let's not forget Ashley Wilkes and his appearances at Tara.

The book was broken down into three parts. I really enjoyed the third section the best. This section was told from Ruth's point of view and tells the story of how Scarlet becomes Scarlet. It's the last leg of the journey to Gone with the Wind and needed to be told by Ruth. Ruth has been around three generations of women in this family and through her we see how certain traits seemed to be passed down.

Before I even finished the book, I had been recommending it to people. I think it was a fascinating story and I'll be going back to read his other book Rhet Butler's People.

I received an ebook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Writing Exercise #14

Write a letter to your 16 year old self.

Sixteen wasn't a good year for me, and I really don't know what I would write to myself. A few things stuck with me when I sat down to write this one. 
  • What happened to me at 16 is probably a fixed point in time and can't be changed, so there's no point in writing a letter warning myself about it.
  • Reader's Digest did a contest for life stories told in 100 words and I thought it would be interesting to keep my letter to that word limit. 
  • In high school a friend and I would write our letters with "To You, From Me" or "To Me, From You".
Here's my letter:
Dear Me, 
Sweet Sixteen! 
Sadly, sixteen for us will not be sweet. It’s hard to think back that far from where I am now. I can tell you that what sweetness you’ll have will be so very important to your overall well-being. 
It is going to be a rough year but you will learn so much about yourself during that time. What you learn will be the foundation that supports the woman I am today.  December marks the lowest point in your life, but trust me things get better. You’ll learn the meaning of true friendship and family.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Review - As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2)As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In book 1 of the 2B Trilogy, I Want It That Way, we see Lauren exhibit some really extreme behavior with her drinking. She has this thing with Max and ends up leaving school.  On a trip home Nadia learns that her best friend Lauren and her older brother Rob are seeing each other.  In As Long As You Love Me we get the story about their relationship as well as what caused Lauren to almost self destruct.

As someone who has Generalized Anxiety it was kind of refreshing to see main character who sees life the way I do, as one big stressful situation. My situation wasn't as extreme as Lauren's but it did make going away to college stressful and I barely made it to graduation and online courses were so much easier to manage. Coming home to her small town has had a big change in Lauren, she's focused again on school and feels much more like herself.

Lauren has always had a crush on her best friend's brother. After Lauren and Rob run into each other at the story a friendship starts between them and along the way those old crush feelings return for Lauren. Rob's had a thing for Lauren too and for the two of them it's time to find a balance between the relationship they had before and the new one they are forming now.

Rob is a handyman and currently working on redoing his home. Lauren is the only one who gets his dreams/goals and she helps him start on his dream to make and sell custom furniture out of recycled materials. This gives Rob a big break he never dreamed of but can't turn down. It's also the one thing that could end their relationship.

I really liked that while the relationship seemed easy and perfect, it wasn't. Too many times I've read romances where the relationship fixes what the character struggles with, but in this book it's not enough. Lauren has to deal learn to really work on her problems in order to be a right fit for Rob and their relationship.

I can't wait to read book three, where we go back to apartment 2B to see how everyone is doing, especially Max. One step in healing for Lauren was to come to terms with what happened between her and Max.

Lauren reconnects and makes some new friends. We're kind of left hanging with their stories and while this is only supposed to be a trilogy I hope we get some idea on how they are dealing with their own struggles/lives.

I received an ebook arc from the publisher. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weekend Cooking - Christmas Recipe Exchange

Anna @ hearding cats, & burning soup writes:

A twist on the traditional Christmas Card Exchange! This time we'll be sending recipes (in the mail) instead of just cards. Recipes that are old favorites, or special to your family. Maybe one you've seen and thought looked amazing but haven't had a chance to try yet. Snacks, main dishes, side dishes or desserts... 
They can be on recipe cards, in handwriting or typed out, decorated or left plain and simple. Include notes on why you love it or just go for the straight recipe. It's really up to yall however you'd like to make it special for your recipient. You can include a Christmas card as well or just send the recipe.

For me, it's too early for Christmas. In reality, we do need to start realizing it's going to be here before we know it!  This sounded like a fun way to expand on my holiday recipe list (which is kinda small).

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to share!

If you're interested in signing up head over to the Sign-up Post at hearding cats & burning soup.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Review - Cover Him With Darkness by Janine Ashbless

Cover Him With DarknessCover Him With Darkness by Janine Ashbless
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication date: October 14, 2014

In a remote and mountainous part of Europe, a priest keeps a dark secret beneath his chapel—a prisoner. Even the holy man does not know how long he has been there—hundreds of years, perhaps, or even longer. The priest's fear is that anyone in his parish would ever come in contact with his mysterious and unholy charge.

But what happens is even worse than he could have ever imagined. His lovely young daughter Milja, whose innocence and devotion to God he prizes over all else, trails her father into the cavern and catches a glimpse of the prisoner, a beautiful being like the most handsome of men, and yet not. She looks into his eyes and sees pain and wisdom and eternity. Unable to keep away from this silent creature chained to an altar stone, she is torn between family loyalty and her growing connection to their prisoner. One day her father discovers their forbidden intimacy and sends Milja off to America to be raised by her aunt in Boston.

Cover Him in Darkness is a dark and thrilling story of an archangel banished from heaven and the human woman with whom he falls in love.

Some spoilers in this review.

As I read the book I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, and I'm still not sure on my feelings about this book. The description really sparked my interest. A fallen angel and a human, sounds great! Then I started reading the book and for everything I really enjoyed there was something I really didn't enjoy.

I liked the religious aspects, it struck a cord with this big Supernatural fan. The idea of fallen angels and this ongoing battle between good and evil is intriguing. That being said, I was really uncomfortable with the sex on the alter in a church. I skipped over that scene.

The scenes between Azazel (the angel) and Milja are hot! But there weren't enough of them. I just couldn't really believe they were falling in love because it seemed like they were never together and when they were together they were either fighting or having sex.  I want to see a relationship building and Milja spent more time with Egan.

I also didn't buy the romance, falling in love stuff, because it's said that Azazel has an allure. He can make women fall in love with him.  That added to the fact that I didn't see any real foundation for a relationship bothered me, especially the end of the book.

That being said, this book ended with the feeling like there could be more to the story and if that's the case I'll be reading it.