February 8 2018

January Reads

Here are the books I read or listened to in January 2018. Check back for more lists of books about once a month.

These are the codes for how I read each book:
(A) = Audio Book
(E) = Ebook
(P) = Paper Book
1 to 5 *s rating system

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1) Stronger by Jeff Bauman (A) ****

2) Reach by Andy Molinsky, Ph.D. (A) ***

3) The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau (A) ***

4) Written in Stone [Books by the Bay Mystery #4] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

5) Poisoned Prose [Books by the Bay Mystery #5] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

6) Lethal Letters [Books by the Bay Mystery #6] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

7) Writing All Wrongs [Books by the Bay Mystery #7] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

8) Killer Characters [Books by the Bay Mystery #8] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

9) The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau (A) ****

10) Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (A) ***

11) The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel (A) *****

12) God Speaks Your Love Language: How to Feel and Reflect God’s Love by Gary Chapman (A) *****

13) The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It by W. Chris Winter (A) ****

14) If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (A) ***

15) The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau (A) ****

16) Love in Every Stitch: Stories of Knitting and Healing by Lee Gant (A) ****

17) Selected Shorts: For Better and For Worse (Selected Shorts) by Symphony Space, Shahrnush Parsipur, Luis Alberto Urrea (Goodreads Author), Ethan Canin, Sherman Alexie, Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen E. Bender, Kamran Talattof (Narrator), Jocelyn Sharlet (Narrator), Robert Sean Leonard (Narrator), Harold Gould (Narrator), Keir Dullea (Narrator), Joanna Gleason (Narrator), Joanne Woodward (Narrator) (A) ***

18) The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks (A) *****

All of these books were checked out from my local library and downloaded as audiobooks to my phone. I can listen to them in my car while driving to and from work or on errands. I listened to them while getting dressed in the morning, eating my breakfast, and packing my lunch. If I am home alone, I am usually listening to a book while doing other things such as folding laundry and crocheting hats for charity. I was shocked by how much more reading I could get done by listening to the books instead of reading them either electronically or in the actual paper form.

As you might imagine, buying all of these books would be quite expensive, especially as quickly as I go through books. This is only one of the many reasons I LOVE my local library. I did read from paper books or eBooks, but those were the ones I carried along to read in restaurants while we waited to be seated or for our food to arrive. They are not on the list because I have yet to finish them. I find that I really enjoy listening to books. Maybe it helps me remember the times when I sat on or near my mother while she read from storybooks to me as a child? Who knows?

Why the library you ask? Well, other than the obvious money saving aspect of it, there is the fact that I have no intention of reading books more than once with a few exceptions, so I don’t feel the need to own them. If I own a book, I must find a place for it in our house and must on occasion dust it and all the others along with it. Life is too short to read the same books twice, so it is certainly too short to spend time dusting books or finding room for them. That is time I could better spend reading more books!

What is your preferred format? Do you read certain books in one format or another? What determines which format you choose?

I like to see what the front cover looks like, so you can see all of them below.

I actually read the first 3 books in this series in December 2017. This is a great series that I found when looking for writing books and I actually read the Writing All Wrongs book first and loved it so much I started the series and read it (listened to it) all the way through. I had apparently read the first book in the series years ago and never got around to getting the rest from the library.

January 22 2018

Book Review: Do I Ever

This book has a refreshing assortment of believable realistic characters in numerous comedic situations. Drew and Andi Stevens, although both Christians, are on the brink of divorce and struggling over custody of a tuxedo cat named Tuck.

When good friends, Jonathon and Heather Hunt, who are also on the verge of divorce, come for a week-long visit to break it to their friends in person, everyone suddenly becomes an amateur actor or actress in order to keep their friends from knowing the true state of their marriages. Antics ensue due to these theater-worthy performances. Throw in Andi’s beautiful young assistant, BJ Diaz, who happens to be in love with Drew and also his best friend and there is no end to the complications. Discussions held in bathrooms, sneaking around to avoid the nosy neighbor and many other antics make this a fun read.

If you are looking for a clean, Christian book to read, this one is a great choice.

If you are interested in buying this book, please consider using the affiliate link below. It won’t cost you more and I might make a few cents because you did.

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author in exchange for posting an honest review. (Review also posted on Amazon.)

January 19 2018

Intentional (Five Minute Friday)

It is not intentional when I stay up a tad too late most nights. In fact, I tell myself almost daily that I will get to bed early or at least at a decent time. But I find so many things to occupy my time and it just flies by and before I know it I look up and it is midnight or even later. I usually berate myself for the fact that I just cannot seem to get my sleep or the lack thereof under control. I also promise myself that tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I WILL get to bed early.

It’s not that I don’t want to sleep. I just want to do the other things I am doing more. What am I doing you ask, when I should be sleeping? Oh, lots of things. Tonight I was listening to an audiobook on my phone, GOD Speaks Your LOVE Language by Gary Chapman. It is great! I never thought of my relationship with God that way. I read the 5 Love Languages book years ago and even got hubby to take a quiz so we could figure out that we spoke different love languages. I’m not sure if it helped him much, it’s hard to tell with men, but it did help me to understand him a little better. The book I am listening to has me thinking about love languages and how God might use them to express his love to us. Some nights my brain is spinning and it just won’t settle down so I can sleep. So many thoughts to think!

Sometimes I am up late working on the blog or writing up a post. Tonight I just had to look to see what the Five Minute Friday word prompt was for the week. Making the graphic to use in the post was intentional. What I didn’t intend to do was actually sit down to write the post before going to bed. I just wanted to know what the word was so I could think about it overnight and while I work tomorrow and then sit down to write my five minutes when I got home tomorrow evening. Well…the best-laid plans…I think I should have waited to make the graphic until I saw where this word would lead me. I intended to talk about tea, but that will have to wait for another day. My squirrel brain went down a different path before I could stop it. Oh well, enjoy the graphic anyway. I think it turned out kind of cute.

I highly recommend both of these books. The links above and below for the books are affiliate links which means if you happen to purchase anything using one of the links, I might a very small commission at no additional cost to you. You can also just check them out of your local library, which is free and also highly recommended.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Intentional
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.
Please see this site’s Policy & Disclosure Page for more info.


December 15 2017

Different (Five Minute Friday)

If there is one thing I have always been, it is different. I was never thin like the other kids in school. I never really looked like my siblings, at least not in my opinion. We all had differing hair colors and heights. I have never had the same hobbies as most people, especially my siblings with the exception of reading. I have always loved to read, but I used to read very slowly. When I went to high school, rather than take the required speed reading class for a single grading period like most of the kids, I had to take an entire semester. It is probably just as well I did because it did help me to read much faster.

I never liked dressing like all the other kids, not that was really a choice growing up since we were too poor to buy the “in” clothes. I have always enjoyed going to Goodwill or some other second-hand store and choosing the clothes I liked because they were different. I have never liked the idea of being a cookie cutter and going along with the crowd. I wear what I want, what I like, what fits at the time, what I could find cheap that fit my budget.

I even raised my kids differently than most parents at the time. When they got to have candies like Skittles or M&Ms, they couldn’t just eat them like other parents let their kids do. Nope, we sorted them all out by color and made bar graphs out of them. Then we talked about how many would be left if you ate two blue ones. We discussed which color had more and which had less. We did all sorts of fun things with them as we ate them.

We read to our kids, we read with our kids and had them read to us. We let them see us reading and enjoying reading. We let them take books with them when we went out to dinner. The only rule was that they had to close the book while the waiter or waitress was there to take our orders and once the food arrived, but they could read again once they finished eating their dinner. We almost always took them with us when we went out to dinner unless it was our anniversary. We would eat out usually on Friday nights and we took turns choosing where we would eat. The kids knew they couldn’t choose any place that was expensive or fast food, but pretty much anything else was fine. We taught them to read the menu and choose their own food, but they had to eat what they chose and it had to be a balanced meal. We made them try new foods, usually, the rule was that they had to eat the number of bites of something that matched their age. A four-year-old had to try 4 bites before getting off the hook.

We took our kids on vacations with us and we usually went to science museums or children’s museums because that is what they wanted to do.

Being different isn’t always bad, sometimes it is a good way to get to know yourself and an excellent way to raise very smart kids.

Embrace your different-ness! It makes you unique and memorable.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Different
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

December 14 2017

Book Review: The Man from the Train The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery

I found this book quite by accident while searching online for an audiobook to listen to on my phone using the OverDrive app. I find that I get many more books read this way because I can take advantage of driving times and other times when I could never read a traditional paper book or even an ebook such as when I am packing my lunch, cleaning the kitchen, or even making a meal. I was a little disinclined to listen to it because it was so long, but let me tell you it goes by so fast. Since I listened to most of the book at either 1.6 or 1.8 speed, it likely cut the time to listen to it down significantly.

As someone who has long enjoyed watching shows like Numb3rs, CSI, Criminal Minds and Cold Case shows this was right up my alley. I really enjoyed how the authors explained that the technology at the time did not help them to catch the guy. In fact, the lack of technology made it appallingly easy for him to get away with murdering loads of people. The murders covered in this book took place between 1898 and 1912. Fingerprints were just becoming important and communication between the various law enforcement departments was practically non-existent. Blood was only able to be matched by type, so not terribly helpful. I really appreciated that the authors explained to me, as the reader, why certain things were done or not done. Toward the end of the book, when they finally explain how they found out who did it and how they were sure it was the right person, I felt completely comfortable with their explanation and found it believable. It was fascinating hearing how they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in the country over one hundred years after the fact. This means they solved numerous cold cases in the process of all their research. Unfortunately, his reach was even deadlier than he might have realized because a few innocent people were punished and put to death for crimes they didn’t commit and a few more were lynched and died because they were thought guilty of crimes “The Man from the Train” committed.

Reading this book did make me appreciate just how far crime-solving technology has come in the last hundred years or so and help me to understand that something like this would most likely not be able to go on for so long in this day and age.

It amazed me how thoroughly they were able to research crimes from over one hundred years ago. They explained things so well I understood the logic behind where they looked and why they kept looking for more crimes before the ones they were finding. I would love to see this book turned into a movie, mini-series, or TV series.

If you are looking for a good book to read or listen to, I highly recommend choosing The Man from the Train.

The Man from the Train The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
Bill James – Author
Rachel McCarthy James – Author
John Bedford Lloyd – Narrator
Release date: September 19, 2017

If you are interested in buying this book, please consider using the affiliate link below. It won’t cost you more and I might make a few cents because you did.

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery