Happy August! For the past two years I have done Susannah Conway's August break and here it is August again. It is a simple challenge where you use the prompt and take a photo for that day. That's it! No pressure, no expectations - just a chance to take the time to be in the moment. I also decided this year to use this as an opportunity to attempt to update my blog everyday for a month. So here's day 1.
“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
I have to confess that I was in a bit of a book slump last month and binge watching House of Cards at night probably did not help either. So needless to say that goal of six books that I set in last month's post did not happen. However, I did get around to reading the following books.
Transatlantic by Colum McCann
My Literary Pairings book club selection for March. I probably would never have picked this book up on my own but I am so very glad that I read it. McCann's style of writing is fantastic and I love the mix of the characters that are based on real people and those that are imagined. The book spans from the 1800s to more modern times and follows the fictional family that is central to connecting the various real/historic characters over that time together. Next month I will post about the book that we are reading as the pairing to this one.
The Life we Bury by Allen Eskens
This one was recommended to me by my friend Jane. My mom read it while she was here visiting for Christmas and I believe she finished it in one sitting. I finally picked it up as my Mystery genre book for the new year challenge I am doing with the Barrington Library Reads Goodreads group. I did not have the luxury of finishing it all in one sitting but If I could I would have as it grips you from the first few pages. This is Eskens debut novel and I have to say I was very impressed with his writing and storytelling. It is definitely a page turner. Eskens is supposedly working on a follow up novel and I am looking forward to reading it when it is published.
Batter Up by Robyn Neely
So I mentioned the book slump that I was in, well I thought if I read a light, quick book that it would get me going again. This book was in one of my daily book emails that I get with free or cheap ebooks and got some good reviews on Amazon so I figured what could it hurt. Plus it was about cupcakes and baking and did I mention that it was free...oh yeah I did. I literally read this in a twenty-four hour time span. Started it one night and finished it the next. I think I just needed to read something that I did not even have to think about to get my mojo going again.
Rachel’s Holiday (Walsh Family #2) by Marian Keyes
This is the second book in the Walsh family series. Remember I talked about Watermelon in last month's post. Another deep but funny book by Marian Keyes. The title and the cover are a bit misleading but in a good way. I thought the book was going to be all fluff and humour but it turned out to be a really good look at confronting yourself and all the things you have been in denial about (trying not to give to much away as a spoiler). What I also like about these books is that you actually don't have to read the books in order as even though they mention the other sisters the books can really stand on their own. I will continue to read the other Walsh Family books but probably not every month as I don't want to get burnt out on them.
So that's it for my March reading. Now get off your device and go read a book! (smile)
It dawned on me this morning that I have committed to doing five daily challenges…yep you read that correctly…five!! In addition to daily handwriting and drawing I have added coloring, creative simplicity, and nourishing my creative soul/spirit with a little self love.
Here’s what's happening this month:
#RockYourHandWriting April - This is my third month of practicing my handwriting daily. I am challenging myself to get better with writing in cursive. Last month they also added a Facebook group but I prefer to keep posting on Instagram.
30 Days of Creative Simplicity - I am a little biased on this one as it is being run by my awesome, super talented sister Francine (I want to be just like you when I grow up sis). If you haven't as yet checked out her Creative Simplicity group on Facebook I urge you do do so now...yeah I mean like right now...stop whatever you are doing and go there now, you can come back to read the rest of my post after.
April Sketch-a-Day - Since January I have been doing the drawing challenges over on Creative Bug but this month I am changing it up a bit and following along with the prompts from the blog Recipe for Crazy. Francine told me about this one...see told you she was awesome. The fact that you also have a chance to win that awesome prize is just added incentive as far as I am concerned.
April Love - A Month of Love Letters - I just love Susannah Conway's classes and workshops. Last year I signed up for April Love and it was so inspirational that I just had to do it again. Where as last year's focus was on self-love and self-care, for 2016 Susannah has challenged us to "write" 30 Love Letters starting with one to Dear Love.
You can keep track of my crazy month over on Instagram.
What fun things have you found to challenge your creative side? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
I also joined a coloring challenge from The Daily Marker and a handwriting challenge hosted by the bloggers from Pretty, Prints and Paper, Boho Berry, Tiny Ray of Sunshine, and Decade Thirty. You can check out my work over on my Instagram.
I am continuing with the drawing and handwriting challenges for March so look for a round up of what I do next month.
So February has come to an end and I am already two books behind on my Goodreads Challenge. I can't even blame it on the fact that February is the shortest month because really it was only two days shorter this year. I need to ramp up my reading for the next couple months so that I can be ahead before the warm, active summer months hit. With that said here's what I read last month.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Last month I read Pride and Prejudice for my Literary Pairings Book Club and this is the contemporary work that we paired with it. Both books address some of the same themes, that is pride, prejudice, and going against society to find ones happily ever after. If you are a Jane Austen fan (actually even if you are not) I recommend this for an enjoyable read. There was lots of humor even though the book addressed some more controversial themes.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I am a big Rainbow Rowell fan. In fact I have read all her books since discovering her in late 2014. Needless to say I was very happy when shortly after reading Fangirl I heard the news about this book. I loved reading the little snippets of Simon and Baz in Fangirl so it was great to read an entire book about them. I can't wait for what she writes next.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
This was for the new year challenge for the Barrington Library Reads Group on Goodreads with romance being the genre for February. It is considered a historical romance with a hint of time travel (sort of). I am not a big romance novel reader and I especially don't read the bodice ripping type so I tried to find something in the genre that had a bit more substance to it. I had read one of Kearsley's books before and had really enjoyed it so decided to give this one a go.
Watermelon (Walsh Family #1) by Marian Keyes
Although technically I finished this yesterday (3/1) I am still adding to my February list as I did read most of it then. For some reason, that is beyond my grasp, this is my first Marian Keyes book even though I have know about her for some time and clearly had this on my bookshelf. My mom read it when she visited me for the holidays and thoroughly enjoyed it. This book is very funny and had me giggling a lot which I am sure had some people questioning my sanity when I read it in public. Now I want to read more of her work. I think I will try the next one about the Walsh sisters.
What have you been reading?
My goal for March is to finish six books so that I am back on track. Wish me luck!
On my kindle:
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I heard so many people talking about this book that I had to read it. Although it was a great story and very well written I think because I had heard so much about it turned out to be a bit anticlimactic for me. I did figure out whodunit before the end.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I reread this for my Literary Pairings Book Club and enjoyed it even more especially with the lively discussion we had at book club. It prompted me to watch the mini series with Colin Firth - the only one you should watch - and the movie with Kiera Knightly - if you are a Jane Austen purist skip this one. (spoiler alert we are pairing it with Major Pettigrew's Last Stand for this month's meeting)
Dress you Family In Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
As if I don't take part in enough challenges I decided to join the Barrington Library Reads new year challenge on Goodreads. Each month we read from a different genre and January was humor. I really like Sedaris' books and what I like even more is when he shows up on my This American Life podcast.
I am doing the 2016 Reading Challenge on Goodreads and also trying to blog more in 2016 so posting once a month should keep me accountable.
Read any good books lately?