Tag: romancebooks

July in Review: Reading, meditation, & spirituality goals on track

So, we’re in August—which means we’re now over halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: five months; or 153 days; roughly 21.9 weeks; or 3,672 hours.

I’d like to ask again–whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

While the year isn’t totally mellowing, I think things are ‘slowing down’…though to be truthful, I’ve been staying away from the news for the most part this past month.

I’m still pissed about the supreme court overturning Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

While the anxiety has been acting up—I’ve been getting better at meditating at night (soothing pod meditations help), and am working on catching the imposter syndrome/inner critic as it pops its head out to yell…

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

It also seems that the US ha fallen into yet another recession—which is going to make finding a job a little more difficult (but I need to find something so that I can start really paying down the damn credit cards that I’ve overused the past eight months).

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘June in Review’ on July 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 89.3 million cases and now as of August 1st —we have reached just a little under 93.1 million cases (an increase of a about 3.8 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I will probably getting my booster shot within a couple of weeks—only because I plan on possibly trying to find something on campus (in terms of potential part-work).

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for August (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for July and see how I did with each of them. The goals for July included:

  1. 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least sixteen days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

135-155,000 steps:

I missed the minimum goal by about 5,000 steps. I only managed to get in 130,460 steps during July. It was an extremely hot month, and I only managed to do a single partial walk up at Boomer Lake.

While there were weekly walks up to the corner store to get the weekend newspaper–majority of the week I was only averaging about 3,000 steps per day.

One walk at Boomer Lake, and five to ten minutes of intentional movement:

I managed a partial walk up at Boomer Lake last week. The temperatures were usually in the upper 70s/low 80s by the time I’d normally be walking on the weekends. When you add in the humidity and total sun—I decided not to risk heat stroke/illness by walking.

Finishing at least one non-fiction book:

I finished the following:

  1. Dinosaurs Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution in Paleontology by Michael J Benton
  2. HUSH MONEY: How one woman proved systemic racism in her workplace and kept her job by Jacquie Abram, Deborah Harris, and Delilah Harris
  3. Locked in Time: Animal Behavior unearthed in 50 extraordinary fossils by Dean R. Lomax and Robert Nicholls

Which brings my non-fiction reading to ten books so far for 2022. If I want meet the ‘original’ goal I set of 24 books read in 2022, that means I need to basically read three non-fiction books a month for the rest of the year.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published):

I finished:

  1. Along Came You (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Buroga
  2. Grace Under Fire (Buchanan/Renard/MacKeena #14) by Julie Garwood
  3. Resilience After Dark (Gansett Island #25) by Marie Force (Book review written)
  4. Love Under Two Architects (Lusty, Texas #46) by Cara Covington

I think I was also rereading various books by Julie Garwood and Marie Force to get ready for the latest in both of their series.

Which brings me to 67 total new fiction books read this year so far…and considering how many I’ve bought hut haven’t read yet.I could probably triple this number if I didn’t have various other things to also be doing during the day.

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (goal is at least 16 days)

I’m getting better at this…managed to do not quite two-thirds of the month with no spending (managed 20 days)…There were several large purchases this past month (including numerous e-books). The goal for August—is a single purchase from Amazon (in addition to any books pre-ordered).

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

Well, the time outdoors for the most part was only in the evenings when I took the dogs out. We were in the triple digits for most of July, and when its like 81F feeling like 87F at 7am—I just didn’t feel like dealing with humidity for any long walks.

I managed all three of the other goals: evening meditations (I’ve started using soothing pod meditations and can usually keep the eyes close for half if not all the practice); I did a daily oracle card drawing and wrote one thing I was grateful for each night in my journal.

I think it helped that I had all three down on my July BINGO card.

Craft time:

I managed to do a little photography and spend some time on Canva, plus doing some color-by-number on the kindle.

I should get back to the needlepoint and/or jewelry creation (would be a good use of time, when I ‘unplug’ at 8pm).

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I finished the last module for the medical writers organization (just need to do the assignments and post those within the Facebook group to possibly get the certificate of completion).

I also started watching the course on podcasting (its about seven hours), but decided its on hold until I either get the microphone and other equipment needed or download an voice recording app on the computer to play with (macs don’t come with that app preinstalled).

In addition I also started watching the course on infoprenuer: create information products and online courses on Udemy.

Writing, writing, and more writing:

In terms of writing—I’d managed to get a good amount done (there were the weekly assignments for medical news bulletin); I’m continuing with a weekly ‘post’ series on LinkedIn (molecular cloning step-by-step), and I’m starting a thoughtful Thursday post series as well.

There were only a handful of posts written for the blog though (something I’m working on changing).

I realize that with pivoting the blog to be more multi-facet (including science/medical/health topics in addition to the normal creative/reflective/hobby posts)—I may be both gaining followers and possibly losing followers (via wordpress) as well.

But that is what happens when you start trying to really figure out who you are, who your ideal ‘client’ base is, and the types of posts you’re going to be putting out.

So I did manage to get a BINGO for July…just not sure what the reward for that BINGO is going to be yet.

July BINGO Card

It was almost two BINGOS–but I haven’t changed the url of the blog, and the editorial calendar is still a work in progress.

In addition I set up a BINGO card for August as well…I’m finding it a little easier to work towards goals, if I have a way of checking them off that’s fun.

August BINGO card

You might notice that I ‘messed’ up a square–I accidentally put meditation down twice on my list of items for the August BINGO card, which meant I accidentally put it down twice on the card….

The website addy/url will probably be changed at the end of the week. I’d made a rookie mistake last month—I’d come up with several ideas for new urls, but totally forgot to see if any were already in use/claimed.

I ran a poll on LinkedIn to get some feedback, and when I decided yesterday to check on the status of the winner (plus some runner-ups), I found they were all in use. Which meant back the drawing board in terms of ideas, and another poll on LinkedIn.

Though, the ‘winner’ seems pretty obvious even this early in the duration of the poll (one week), that I will probably be updating it on Friday (August 5th).

I have it as a goal (on the August BINGO card) to create a editorial calendar for both the blog and then LinkedIn as well. This means I’ll have an idea of how often I’m posting and what posts require more ‘research’ than others (for both the blog & LinkedIn).

If I try to have a similar posting schedule of original content—I’d be driving myself crazy.

LinkedIn is going to have three ‘long’ post series (Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays), plus I do a reintroduction post on Mondays; which leaves Wednesday and the weekends.

The weekends are networking time (Saturday is the big day via different social Saturday threads), and self-care time.

Wednesday may be a random type of post (I’d been thinking Wednesday wisdoms, but it may vary).

The blog on the other hand, is where I need to be careful…

People have signed up to be notified when I post a new blog post…I’m pretty sure they don’t want to be getting a daily email stating that there is something new. Therefore I’m going to try to have most weeks be just one or two posts; though there will be some weeks when there are more (depending on books I read and write reviews over, new/full moon goals and review, month in review and so forth).

Currently I’m thinking of starting a Tuesday science blog series, working with molecular cloning and then come September work in the Friday medical topic blog series.

Some weeks may have numerous posts, other weeks only two. Plus I’m going to be working on getting the various birds’ pages up and published (so there will be a blog post here and there covering the various bird pages that are getting published).

With all that said, what are my goals for August? They will include:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 20 days; goal is 30)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Writing, writing and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

In that regard—I will probably ‘unplug’ from the computer around 8pm or so in order to just read or possibly work on a craft project (or even brainstorm/mind-map an outline for a science topic).

So—how has your summer been progressing, and which goals are you finding it easier to keep?

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

Review of Inked Temptation: The end of an ‘era’

Welcome back to the Montgomery Ink world! We’re back in Fort Collins, Colorado and Archer is finally getting his happily-ever-after.

Inked Temptation takes place about a year or so after Inked Craving and features Archer and Killian.

Archer is the last ‘single’ Montgomery…and he’s trying to figure out what he wants after his marriage ended…Yes, Marc is no longer in the picture…

He decides to do a lot of the remodeling of a cabin on his own…and literally falls for his neighbor…

Killian is trying to make peace with his past and wanting to be left alone with his dog…

While the ‘neighbors’ might be growly towards each other…maybe they’re just what the other needs…

Though someone seems to be out to cause problems for Killian…

Will these two realize that while they may not be ‘perfect’, they’re ‘perfect’ for each other?

The answer to that question, plus finding out who is causing problems for Killian, in addition to seeing all the Montgomerys can be found within the pages of ‘Inked Temptation’.

I absolutely adored the book and was happy to see Archer getting his happily-ever-after (Marc just didn’t seem like the ‘fit’ for him). While I’m ‘sad’ to see the end of this group of Montgomerys—I can’t wait to see what is in store with the next generation…I’m going to assume a little ink, and probably a whole lot of cheese.

I give Inked Temptation five out of five stars and highly recommend any Montgomery Ink book as a jumping off point into the Montgomery Ink World.

No Comments Book ReviewsBooks

Six months down…six months to go…June Goals in Review

So, we’re in July—which means we’re halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: six months; or 184 days; roughly 26.3 weeks; or 4,416 hours.

Whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

The year isn’t mellowing at all…and seems to be trying to spiral downhill faster and faster each month…

The supreme court overturned Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

Thanks to six jackasses on the court (all of which should be impeached for lying under oath—opinion on Roe v Wade is usually asked during their confirmation hearings and at least five stated it was law) I have to add another layer to the job search (figuring out which companies are going to support women’s right to choose).

Needless to say—the anxiety has been acting up royally.

Now it is easier to get a damn assault rifle than it is for a woman to get life saving medical care.

It’s time to end the filibuster, expand the court, and enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘May in Review’ on June 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 85.9 million cases and now as of July 1st —we have reached just a little over 89.3 million cases (an increase of a about 3.4 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for July (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for June and see how I did with each of them. The goals for June included:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish two non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini-book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps:

I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps in for the month…144,303 steps to be exact. I managed to be somewhere in between the minimum and maximum in terms of steps—I would have been able to hit and surpass the goal if the weather had been slightly cooler (I only managed two walks up at Boomer this past month).

At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed two walks up at Boomer this past month. We’re in summer—which means that our daily temperatures are ranging somewhere in the 90s to 100s. The two mornings that I managed were two days that we had ‘cold’ fronts moving through the state.

I’m still working on trying to ensure that I’m doing five to ten minutes a day of intentional movement…it’s difficult to get in, when you have a 100 pound dog sprawled across your bedroom floor a good portion of the day. Both Boozer and Chaos basically are my ‘shadows’ for majority of the day…workouts might be ‘returning’ in the evenings when everyone else is home and I can ‘lock’ the dogs out of the room for thirty minutes or so.

Finish two (of the many) non-fiction books I’ve started to read. I managed to read:

  1. The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor
  2. UNLIKE A BOSS: Positive Leadership Skills You Wish Your Manager Had by Alexander N. Andrews

Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published). I managed to read:

‘Re-reads’ included the entire Gansett Island series (currently at 24 books) by Marie Force–the 25th book is scheduled to be released on July 19th; and I also read the Buchanan/Renard/MacKenna family series (currently at 13 books) by Julie Garwood, as the 14th book is also due to be released on July 19th.

The ‘new’ books that I read this past month included:

  1. Montgomery Bites (Anthology & Cookbook) by Carrie Ann Ryan & Suzanne Johnson (book review written)
  2. Forever with Me (Everhart Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. Can’t Help Love (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  4. Hidden Waters (Tatter & Torn #3) by Catherine Cowles
  5. Inked Temptations (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (Book review coming early July)

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 12 days)

I decided last month that the new ‘goal’ was to be a little better than the month before. The ‘minimal’ goal for June was set at 12 days of no spending and I managed 16…so slightly over half the month…and that will be the goal for July…at least 16 days of no spending…

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

Well, since summer has made it’s presence known—the time outdoors has been regulated at times to the evening when I take the dogs out, or earlier in the day.

Thanks to various things this month—I need to get back into mediation/sitting quietly, writing in the journal, and doing daily oracle card drawings.

I’ve found that as long as I do a few stretches before bed, I sleep somewhat decently—no stretches, and that is when I toss and turn.

Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry):

I created one needlepoint tapestry this month. I decided that before working on Rolex’s memorial tapestry (since it will rather complex), I would do a couple of smaller pieces to get the hang of working with the cotton fabric.

The first one I completed was a flower:

Cotton tapestry #1–freestyle drawn flower…

I still need to work on tying off the fabric and the different types of stitches…but not bad for the first time working with the cotton fabric.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)

I managed to finish the LinkedIn Unlocked course (I just need to go back through and make a list of the various action items). It was a really good course that highlighted a couple features of LinkedIn I was unaware of—but am slowly starting to use more often (especially the ‘build your resume’ feature).

Writing, writing, and more writing:

I managed to get some writing done this past month—I’ve been posting on LinkedIn some graphics and slowly introducing the molecular cloning series as posts (I’m also through the ‘planning stage’ of the experiment).

I’m in the planning stages for various projects for the blog and other sites—as I’ve realized that I really need to figure things out, get a portfolio together, and start seriously job hunting…

So how did I do overall: I would say that I managed to meet eighty percent of the goals that I set for June. The reading goal was at 100%, as was the craft goal (different tapestry—but it was finished), the rest were somewhere between sixty and eighty percent and it all averaged out to eighty percent.

July goals will be almost identical, though I know that I won’t be spending huge amounts of time outside, and I’ll be lucky to get a single walk in up at Boomer (so I’m not really going to aim for weekly walks).

We’re entering the second half of the year, and the third quarter. Its time to reset, refocus, and commit to various long term goals: getting a remote position (or starting a freelance business), getting into the best shape of my life, and focusing on my strengths and values: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative; knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/transformation.

So what will be my ‘repetitive’ goals for July? They will include:

  1. At least 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 16 days)
  6. Time outdoors (probably briefly in the evenings), mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drwings
  7. Craft time (work on a needlepoint project and/or create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course (looking at possibly either seven best ways to get paid as a writer and/or the sorthcourse on podcasting)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

I recreated a new bingo card for the second half of the year, and will be creating a bingo card for the third quarter and then for July (some of these goals will be finding their way to that bingo card). I’ll also be working on the multi-prong personal/professional development plan that I originally tried to put together last month (and ended up having an anxiety attack over).

I mentioned to a couple of people that my biggest ‘problem’ is that I’m overzealous and try to cram months worth of ideas/goals into a shorter time period, and then allow my inner critic/imposter syndrome to drag me back into the comfort zone when I ‘fail’ to achieve a goal in say five days when in reality it would take five weeks to achieve the goal.

I also will be trying to decide on a new web addy for the blog/website, as I still want to have a multi-facet site (the ‘professional’ communication side and the ‘personal’ hobby/creative/reflective side)…and everything is up for renewal this coming month.

I’m actually thinking of restarting both the 90-day content creation/research challenge as well as restarting the 101 goals in 1001-day challenge (I’ve tried this one several times; latest was doubling the time frame to 2002 days).

The goal of restarting both is to be a little more focused on things (at least in terms of the large number of goals).

I truthfully don’t think a single month has gone ‘smoothly’ so far this year…I’m just trying to roll with the tide and punches…

I deleted the one game from the kindle again, and once I feel like I’m on ‘auto-buy’ again, I’ll save things on the computer, shutdown the computer and go outside for a few minutes (minus all electronics).

How are you handling the stress that is 2022?

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

2021 favorite fiction books, and reading goals for 2022

So I’d mentioned in ‘2021 in Review’ that I managed to read at least 105 fiction books.

They were all within the romance genera (paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary, or a combination of the three).

While it would be difficult for to pick my top three (or even five)—believe me, someone asked me on LinkedIn for my top three fiction choices, and it took me three hours to pick them, I’d like to share my favorites (ones that I will re-read again). While I thought of including both 2021 releases and then others that I bought last year–I decided to make it just a 2021 release list.

My favorites included:

The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers (first three books were technically released in 2020–though I read them at the beginning of the year) and Luna Harbor Series by Claudia Burgoa (both to have new releases in 2022)

  1. Call You Mine (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4)
  2. As We Are (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5)
  3. Yours to Keep (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6)
  4. Finally You (Luna Harbor #1)

Books by Avery Gale:

  1. Catalina (The Alders, #10)
  2. Falling for Fallon (Master of the Prairie Winds Club #12)

Books by Marie Force:

  1. Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23)
  2. State of Affairs (First Family #1)
  3. How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3)
  4. Come Together (Butler, VT #7)
  5. Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #24)
  6. State of Grace (First Family #2)

Books by Bianca D’Arc:

  1. Snow Dragons (Dragon Knights #16)
  2. Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17)

Books by J.S. Scott:

  1. Billionaire Unexpected–Jax
  2. Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper

Books by Carrie Ann Ryan:

  1. The On My Own Series (four book series that was released in 2021)
  2. The Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins series (fourth and fifth books set to release in 2022)
  3. Ravenwood Coven trilogy (final two books set to release in 2022)

Books by Shelly Laurenston:

  1. Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4)

Books by Cara Covington:

  1. Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42)
  2. Love Under Two Explorers (Lusty, Texas #43)

Books by Rhyannon Byrd:

  1. A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3)

Books by Catherine Coulter:

  1. Vortex: A FBI Thriller

Some of these books I’ve waited literally decades for (A Scent of Magick), and I did go back and re-read the previous two books to remind myself of the overall plot line. Other books (such as the Lusty, Texas series) I don’t really go back to re-read, because the new book may (or may not) build on previous story line.

I had bought the first three books of the Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers series at the end of 2020–but read them during January 2021. Those books were included in the long list of books in my 2021: year in review post.

I did re-read the entire Fatal series by Marie Force prior to State of Affairs being released in April.

Other books from the 2021: year in review will probably also end up on a ‘re-read’ list over the next few years, but were left off this list–since they weren’t technically released last year.

Heading into 2022, I have numerous books pre-ordered (but currently not the same number that I did in 2021)—but I also purchased a ton of free e-books during 2021, so I have plenty to chose from to read this coming year in addition to the few that have been pre-ordered.

My fiction reading goals for 2022 include:

  1. Reading at least forty fiction books, and I know that I can easily double if not triple that number (since I do enjoy re-reading certain books/series).
  2. Write a mini-book review for each ‘new’ book that I read this year (so that will hopefully be at least thirty mini-book reviews for blog and other sites)
  3. Expand my reading genera (since I usually stick with the umbrella of romance). So I will probably look at sci-fi/fantasy and mystery/thriller releases and possibly try to find an new author or two (possibly even more).

Who are some of your favorite mystery/thriller or sci-fi/fantasy authors?

No Comments BooksReflections

Entering the second fall in self-isolation with a new bookcase, craft supplies, and books

So it’s that time again–for a check-in on my yearlong limited spending challenge.

We’re two-thirds of the way through 2021, and I’ve realized that I haven’t quite hit the stride I did when I started the challenge (January was the best month to date for this particular challenge).

My limited spending challenge is just that–I’m trying to limit my spending by dividing things into two groups (or categories): needed items and splurges.

So I did really well in January, and then started slipping each month a little more. I planned to ‘rebound’ and start honoring the challenge again in June, did fairly well for the month, did okay during July (though there will always be some type of minor splurges), and did semi-okay again this month (if one ignores the book splurges).

Hopefully, the book splurges (at least those that aren’t from the ‘freebie announcement emails’) will start to go back down during the next few months. While I did buy quite a few e-books this month, several of them are in terms of the professional direction I’m thinking of going in: freelance writing.

So how did August go in terms of purchases/splurges?

I bought myself a bookcase/nightstand to replace the haphazard one I’ve created over the years. This will also give me storage for the numerous books that I bought this month as well. In addition I bought a few more craft supplies (including a glue gun) to help me get through the fall and winter in semi-isolation.

Then there are the books (I don’t think a month will go by without at least a small splurge on books). The books I bought during August include:

Electronic books:

  1. How to Launch a Freelance Copywriting Business: Creative Writing for a Living by Jules Horne
  2. The Freelance Content Marketing Writer: Find your perfect clients, make tons of money, and build a business you love by Jennifer Goforth Gregory
  3. Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business: The Complete Guide to Starting and Scaling from Scratch by Laura Briggs and the Staff of Entrepreneur Media
  4. The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms by Zachary Petit
  5. Here with Me (The Adair Family #1) by Samantha Young
  6. Black Ops Mates (Complete Series-Lion Shifter Romance Box Set) by Ruby Knoxx
  7. One Night Years Ago (Sharp’s Cove #1) by J.R. Pace
  8. Two Favors Repaid (Sharp’s Cove #2) by J.R. Pace
  9. Three Times Ablaze (Sharp’s Cove #3) by J.R. Pace
  10. JET (Books 1-3) by Russell Blake
  11. The Power of Reinvention: Personal Stories of How Our Greatest Challenges Become the Catalyst to Reinvent our Life! by Mags Thomson, Irene Anggreeni, Rachel Claire Farnsworth, Emma Smillie, Dr. Trinise White-Foster, Marie Dobenesque, Silika Thor, Martin Gillespie, and Einavi Avni
  12. Just Tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You Have No Idea What It Is by Sara Kravitz
  13. Slightly Off Balance by Kaylie Hunter
  14. New Girl in Town (Olivia Knight FBI #1) by Elle Gray
  15. Weakest Lynx (The Lynx Series #1) by Fiona Quinn
  16. Deadly Act (Kylie Hatfield Series #1) by Mary Stone and Bella Cross
  17. Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday Book Read & Review coming soon
  18. Phoenix Rising (Complete Series) by Annie Anderson
  19. I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotenialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page Book Read

Physical Books:

  1. America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilizations by Graham Hancock
  2. Lost Civilizations: The Secret Histories & Suppressed Technologies of the Ancients by Jim Willis
  3. Plagues, Pandemics, and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid-19 by Heather Quinlan
  4. The Mayan Calendar & the Transformation of Consciousness by Carl Johan Calleman
  5. Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman’s Path by David Freidel
  6. Statistics for Dummies by Deborah J. Rumsey
  7. Statistics for Absolute Beginners by Oliver Theobald
  8. Biostatistics for Dummies by John Pezzulo
  9. Supernatural: Meeting with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock
  10. The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love (2nd Edition) by Sonya Renee Taylor
  11. Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach (4th Edition) by Evelyn Tribole

Several of the ‘physical’ books fell under the personal/professional development area, while others were bought as possible ‘reference’ books for short story ideas. Though they were also bought because I’m interested in the topic (early human history). In addition several of the e-books also fell into the personal/professional development area–and as noted above, I’ve read one of them.

The books on freelancing writing (and how to start a freelance business) were bought mainly because that is the direction I’m really leaning in for my career transition. The transition is going to be a ‘mixed’ niche (science/medical writing along with personal/professional development, crafts/hobbies, and spirituality) that might be heavy in one area to begin with, but even out as I find my footing as a freelance writer.

So, yes numerous books were bought (probably on par with April or May, possibly even June)—but that has always been my weakness—books. I’m an avid reader who has absolutely no problem buying fifteen to forty new books when I still have a couple hundred on my e-reader that I haven’t read yet.

The bookcase/nightstand has been needed for quite awhile; I just hadn’t gotten around to getting one yet. The craft supplies were also deemed semi-essential as the pandemic is still raging, and I foresee myself staying in semi-isolation (weekly walk to get the weekend newspaper, and possibly monthly walks at Boomer Lake with a mask) until at least spring 2022.

I should hopefully be able to curb my impulsive e-book buying starting this month, as I’m going to be working on expanding my writing samples (possibly introducing a new landing page—‘portfolio’), and slowly getting my freelance/remote/contract writing business up and running this fall and winter.

For my inner shiny object/squirrel lover: Who is a ‘new’ to you author that you’ve found lately?

No Comments financesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPersonal Development ChallengesReflections

Time to grab a book, a reading nook, and read the day away: It’s National Book Lovers Day!

So today (August 9th) is ‘National Book Lovers Day’, and it is a day that encourages us to find our favorite reading spot, grab a good book (or two), and read the day away.

Here are some random facts on early books:

  1. The first books had either parchment or calfskin for pages
  2. The covers were usually made of wood and covered in leather
  3. They had clasps or straps to keep them closed
  4. The first public libraries appeared during the Middle Ages, and the books were often chained to shelves or desks to prevent theft.

I’ve always been an avid reader to the point where I would usually be accumulating huge to-be read piles (or actually entire to-be read bookcases) during high school and college.

I got my first e-reader shortly before I finished graduate school (as a way to help cut back on the number of boxes of books Id’ be having to move), and for the most part that is what I’ve stuck with over the years.

I will use my e-reader for reading most books (whether they’re fiction or non-fiction), but when it comes to having a ‘referenec’ book (usually a textbook)–those I prefer to have in physical form (easier to highlight, make notes, and so forth). As I movemore into freelance writing, the bookcases will once again be propagated by books–just the larger (and heavier) textbooks.

While I could try to list out all my favorite books, I thought I’d share some of my favorite fiction books so far from this year:

  1. Call You Mine (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  2. Inked Persuasion (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  3. Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23) by Marie Force
  4. Billionaire Unexpected: Jax (The Billionaire Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott
  5. My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
  6. My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  7. State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
  8. As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  9. My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  10. How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
  11. A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd
  12. Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  13. Come Together (Butler, VT #7) by Marie Force
  14. Dawn Unearthed (Ravenwood Coven #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Yes, there is a trend in the authors–I usually have a small list of authors that are automatic buys for me, three of the above authors I’ve been reading for quite a while (Marie Force, Carrie Ann Ryan, and Rhyannon Byrd), while the others I’ve only started reading since the pandemic. If I really like the series, it won’t matter how long it is between books–I’ll purchase the next book (I think it’s been roughly fourteen years between the release of the second McKendrick Warlock book and the third–but I liked the overall plot of the series, I’m personally waiting for Colin’s book).

I’ve also bought a large number of books by ‘new’ to me authors over the past year (mainly through special sales), which I’m going ot be working in around all the pre-ordered books that I will still be getting throughout the year. I’m hoping to slowly expand my reading genera from contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance to also include mysteries/thrillers, and ‘normal’ science fiction/fantasy (in addition the non-fiction).

Here are a few of those books that I’m going to be reading over the next few months:

  1. Familiar Kitten Mysteries Bundle (Books 1-6) by Sara Bourgeois
  2. The White Magic Five and Dime: A Tarot Mystery by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco
  3. Phoenix Rising (Complete Series) by Annie Anderson
  4. The Dark Emeralds (Books 1-3) by Jerry Lambert
  5. Dead to Me: Arcane Souls World (Grave Talker #1) by Annie Anderson

Also over the past two years or so, I’ve been trying to balance out the fiction reading with some non-fiction reading, and here is a list of some of the books I’ve enjoyed reading:

  1. Minimalist Money Makeover by Michelle Moore
  2. The No Spend Challenge Guide: How to stop spending money impulsively, pay off debt fast, and make your finances fit your dreams by Jen Smith
  3. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
  4. The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–a creative and practical guide by Margaret Lobensteine
  5. Reboot Your Life: Energize your career and life by taking a break by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith
  6. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
  7. The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan
  8. What your clutter is trying to tell you: uncover the message in the mess and reclaim your life by Kerri L. Richardson
  9. YouMap: Find Yourself, Blaze Your Path, Show the World! by Kristin Sherry
  10. The Year of Less: How I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings, and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy by Cait Flanders
  11. Pause: Harness the life-changing power of giving yourself a break by Rachael O’Meara
  12. The Latte Factor: why you don’t have to be rich to live rich by David Bach and John David Mann
  13. Girl on Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blaze Your Own Trail in Life and Business by Cara Alwill Leyba
  14. The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less by Tonya Dalton
  15. The 12 week year: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
  16. Burnout: The secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
  17. Hello Fears: Crush your comfort zone and become who you’re meant to be by Michelle Poler
  18. How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up by Emilie Wapnick
  19. 25 ways to work from home: smart business models to make money online by Jen Ruiz

These are the books that have resonated somewhat with me, either in terms of finances, career, or trying to par down on the amount of stuff I own. All three of these areas are things I’ve been trying to focus on for the past eighteen months. I had decided right before the pandemic that I was going to take a ‘reboot break’ to focus on my health and finding the ‘right’ job.

Once the pandemic hit—I switched gears to more personal/professional development and ‘escapism’ (buying large numbers of books [both physical and electronic], craft supplies, and organizational supplies). I’ve worked through a small number of the courses—but have acquired a large number of books.

So, those are areas that I’m still focusing on (especially trying to get the impulsive purchasing under control again), in addition to expanding the genera I read.

Here are some of the non-fiction books that are on my to-be read list:

  1. The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify your strengths and create success on your own terms by Beth Buelow
  2. The Freelance Introvert: Work the way you want without changing who you are by Tom Albrighton
  3. Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers in World War II by Liz Mundy
  4. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict
  5. When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt by Kara Cooney
  6. Just Do You: Authenticity, Leadership, and Your Personal Brand by Lisa King
  7. Owning It: Take Control of Your Life, Work, and Career by Kris Taylor
  8. Stepping Stones: A journey through the ice caves of the Dordogne by Christine Desdemaines-Hugo and Ian Tattersall
  9. Work Quilting: Piece together diverse income streams; live an insanely awesome life by Vikki Walton
  10. What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
  11. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  12. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

So, there you have it: some of my favorite 2021 fiction books, and some of my favorite non-fiction books from the past few years. In addition to some of the fiction and non-fiction books I plan on reading over the next few months.

Curious to know–who are some of your favorite (automatic-buy) authors?

No Comments BooksRandom Celebration DaysReflections

Bouncing Back with Mackenzie and Pacey: Review of My Rebound

So before getting to the book review, I realize that I’m running a little behind on getting my reviews written and published on the various fiction books that I’ve been reading lately. I think I’m either going to have to make a curated list and then re-read (or skim to refresh my memory), write the reviews and then slowly post them over the next few weeks-or start ‘fresh’ with the books that are coming out this month and move forward from there. Knowing how I do things–it may end up being a combination.

Now on to the book review:

My Rebound is the second book in the ‘On My Own’ series by Carrie Ann Ryan. This is a four book series that is following four roommates and their friends through the last two years of college (at least that is my take from reading the first two books). I’ve read teh first book (My One Night), and will be hopefully getting that review up on the blog as well soon.

My Rebound picks up shortly after the end of ‘My One Night’ and features Mackenzie and Pacey. What happens when you walk in on your boyfriend and catch him cheating?

Those long ago made plans start floating out the window, leaving Mackenzie wondering how is she going to ‘create’ new plans with an already overflowing semester?

Spring is here, and Mackenzie is looking for a rebound–here enters Pacey, friend and all around nice guy (with a secret or two of thier own).

What happens when they both become more emotionally involved than they originally planned?

The answers can be found within the pages of My Rebound.

I loved this book, and can’t wait for the next one, which focuses on Miles and Nessa. I like how Carrie Ann has spun such an interconnected world among her contemporary romance novels. While this is a stand-alone series, it is tied into her larger Montgomery Ink world via Dillon (from My One Night), who is the younger brother introduced in the Fractured Connection series, which branched off from the Montgomery Ink: Colorado Spring series.

Her books are great, because while it is a large world it doesn’t matter where you enter, you are introduced to a small set of characters and a large number of books and series to binge read on those days when you don’t want to deal with the real world.

I give My Rebound five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who loves Carrie Ann Ryan’s books or is looking for a new romance author to try.

No Comments Book ReviewsBooks

National Book Lovers Day

Well today is National Book Lovers Day and I wish I could have spent it reading—but I had to work. Though I’ve found time today to read (this is something I’m very good at making time for).

 

I love to read, and I love to buy books. Growing up I’d spend probably too much money on books, most of which made it to my to-be-read pile, which grew to several bookcases and shelves. Once the electronic book reader came out, my parents bought me one so that I could slowly start converting over to digital. The main reason was that I was going to be moving and book boxes are heavy.

 

There are still some books that I don’t have on kindle (and I gave away the paperbacks or hardbacks), but every so often depending on my mood I’ll get on amazon and buy a couple of books.

 

Some of the books that I’m currently reading (one thing I love about the kindle—you can be reading as many books as you want) include:

 

Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal

Rich Bitch: A simple 12-step plan for getting your financial life together finally by Nicole Lapin

What color is your parachute? 2018 Edition: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career Changers by Richard Bolles

Plus there are numerous other books within my 101+goal list that I’m going to be getting through. This is also in addition to all of my fiction books that I read (and re-read, and re-read some more).

I’m going to work on getting other book reviews up on the site over the next couple of weeks (since I’ve read more books than what’s in the collage at the top). In addition I’m going to start writing reviews for several of the fiction books that I’ve also finished over the past couple of months as well.

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