Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Top 5 Tuesday - Top 5... Friend Recommendations



Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme that explores different topics. Originally created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, it is now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads. For a list of November topics you can click here. To participate, link your post back to the weekly post.

I have a lot of reader friends. So, this should be easy, right? Umm... we will see.

Top 5... Friend Recommendations


Ever since I represented the 20th anniversary edition of this book for it's virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book, bloggers have been telling me to read it. Have I? No, but it will happen. It just might take a few more years.


By the time the fourth book in the Left Behind series came out (1998, if I recall correctly), several of my family members were reading the series. I borrowed the first three books and was totally hooked. I waited impatiently for each new release and felt devastated when I read the last word of the last book. 




Recommended by an author friend of mine. I like Civil War fiction, but the reviews aren't phenomenal. 


My husband and daughter enjoy this show, so he recommended I read the book. It is 1962 in an America occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan after the United States lost World War II. The show is too violent for me, but I don't know how it compares to the book.


A good friend of mine has been recommending this series for years. I really just need to sit down and read it one day.

Hope you like my list. What are some good book recommendations from your friends? 

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Things I'm Thankful for in 2020



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.




This week, Top Ten Tuesday is featuring a Thanksgiving/I'm Thankful for freebie. Considering how so many of us would like to put 2020 behind us--including me--it's nice to reflect on the things that happened this year I can be thankful for. 

  1. Our family's health - We only lost one family member to this crazy COVID stuff, and that was enough. We have been as vigilant as possible about staying safe. 
  2. Working from home - My husband was able to start working from home in March, and it is doubtful he will be back in the office before next March. Companies across the nation are realizing that people can work from home and be productive. In the future, I think more work from home opportunities will be available and companies will be more open to hybrid schedules. 
  3. Essential workers, healthcare providers, teachers, etc. - While we have been able to work mostly from home, not everyone is so lucky. There are tons of hometown heroes putting themselves in harm's way to care for and help others. God bless you all.
  4. Opportunity to work - I'm an independent contractor who meets strangers in their home or helps them view homes for a living. I've spent a lot of time home this year, which messed with many of the goals I had set in January. Therefore, I am thankful for the opportunities I have to work with great people when I can. 
  5. Technology to keep us connected - Where would we be without Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, FaceTime, Skype, etc.? Some of this technology has made a real difference in keeping us connected. The only way my mother-in-law got to see her husband before he died was thanks to FaceTime, so I'm happy it exists. 
  6. Real estate advocacy - I don't talk about this a lot, but our local, state, and national associations advocate on our behalf and on the behalf of property owners across the country. In many states, real estate wasn't considered essential during the pandemic at the beginning. In some places, it still isn't. Big deal, right? Well, if you had to relocate for personal or professional reasons and you couldn't, that might make things tough. What if you couldn't finalize the sale of your home because the fire department wasn't allowed to perform their mandatory inspection of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? The state association helped us work with cities and towns to come up with a solution. 
  7. Technology to keep us safe - From online shopping to contactless food delivery, from remote notarization to virtual home tours, and more the pandemic has created new ways of doing business or expanded options for those of us who already used these tools. 
  8. Getting outdoors - Many of us maintained a hectic pace of moving from one thing to the next every day without taking the time to appreciate the outdoors. The pandemic has created a slower pace for many of us. Not for all (thank you, again, essential workers), but for many. The isolation of lockdowns has drawn us outside to work on home improvement projects, walk or cycle through our neighborhoods, visit parks, or hike local trails. 
  9. Books - Where would we be without books right about now? If for no other reason than to remember what the world was like before the pandemic, books are a great source of entertainment. I've already completed my 2020 Goodreads challenge. I've read more books this year than I have the last five or six years. 
  10. Blogging - Blogging continues to keep us connected. We talk about things that are important to us. We share our thoughts. We share books and television shows we enjoy. No matter how busy I get, I hope I'll always be able to maintain at least one blog.

I hope you like my list. I look forward to reading yours.




Monday, November 23, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Nov 23



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome back to Monday. I hope you had a nice weekend. I didn't get half of what I needed to do accomplished, but this week I have only one meeting, one closing, and one book review due, so I am hopeful for a more productive week. 

In my book world, I am reading this neat little treasure. My review will appear on Friday. 



These are the next ones I need to review. 




In addition, I just requested this book for review in January.



Yes, I am my own worst enemy. I blame it on that 2014 Little House trip I took with my friends. We crossed the Mississippi by car and saw one of these paddlewheels when we pulled over to take photos. How could I pass up this travel memoir?  

I am looking forward to 2021 and making plans for success. I will be making some blogging changes in the new year, so look out for that announcement. 

Thanks for visiting. Hope my friends in the States have a nice Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Top 5 Tuesday - Top 5... Books I'm Glad I Read



Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme that explores different topics. Originally created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, it is now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads. For a list of November topics you can click here. To participate, link your post back to Meeghan's blog or leave a comment on her weekly post.

In some ways I expect this will be easy. I've been reading forever, so there are lots to choose from. But, then, how can I narrow this down to just five? Here are my picks for Top 5... Books I'm Glad I Read


I was a hold out on the Harry Potter series. Just like I haven't read the Twilight series, I just don't like reading wildly popular books. Maybe I'm afraid they won't live up to my expectations. Maybe I am too impatient to invest time in a series just to have to wait for each new book to come out. 

I finally took the plunge in 2015 and discovered what the big deal is about. I read through the rest of the series that year. 



Saffron Dreams was unlike any book I had read up until that point. It features a Muslim couple in New York City happily living their lives until the day after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11. It provides a different perspective on how the world was changed after that day. It tells one woman's difficult journey to pick up the pieces of her shattered life in a country that has suddenly put her and an entire race under a microscope in order to make sense of a monumental tragedy.



Reading The Kensei was an accomplishment for me. I'm not much of a vampire story kind of person. This story, however, is a bit different because it takes place in Japan and has a character who is a former KGB assassin. It is fast-paced, which I love, and has tons of action and some witty banter. I also love those. 


If anyone told me I would like The Lunar Chronicles before I read Cinder and Scarlet, I would have laughed at them. I love historical fiction, not futuristic cyborgs. Cinder, the main character, drew me in right away, as did the plot of the first novel. I really need to catch up on this series. 


You really need to like reading if you're going to tackle a book that is over 1100 pages. What amazes me about The Stand is knowing I almost gave up on the book that remains my all-time favorite. Setting up all the characters and putting them in place, took time. Four hundred pages in, I really wasn't sure this was the book for me. Once I reached 600 pages, the pace picked up, the characters came together in two different places, and the storyline finally made sense. I breezed through it after that. 

I am not sure I would want to read it this year, considering it starts with a super flu that is accidentally released and kills off the majority of the population. A little too much like 2020 if you ask me. That said, I may need to read this again one day to see what my reaction is after being away from it for so long.

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet After



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today we are featuring Top Ten Characters I'd Name a Pet After:


Can't you just see me with a cat named Albus? Might be fun to have a dog named Dumbledore while I'm at it.


Though Boo Radley is a bit scary looking in To Kill A Mockingbird, it's a great cat name.


I think a Siamese or Persian cat wouldn't mind being called Felicity after Felicity King from The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery.


How about an Old English Sheepdog named after Frodo from The Lord of the Rings?


Not really a pet I would like, but this is the Draco flying lizard. Make you think of anyone?


My niece has a huge dog named Hagrid.


My son has a Chihuahua named Marley.


How about a Macaw named Moriarty, after Professor James Moriarty from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes?


I am not a huge fan of birds as pets, but this Grey Parrot would make a great Severus or Snape. 




This last one is a bit of cheat. Meet Theo James, our dog. He is part Jack Russell Terrier and part Hound or Dalmatian or Labrador. I swear every time we see a new vet they claim his other half is something else. He is a rescue from out of state, so we really aren't sure. He is named after Theo James, the actor who played Four in the Divergent movies. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Nov 16



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

We are back to Monday again. I hope you all had a nice weekend. Mine involved a food drive for a local survival center, collecting donations for one of my favorite local charities, a listing appointment, and Bible study. 

Today marks the start of the annual National Association of Realtors Conference. This year we are virtual, which allows me to attend without traveling anywhere. One tiny bonus of the pandemic. 

As far as reading goes, I'm chugging along. I posted a review of this great seasonal romance on Friday. If you like sweet romances, seasonal romances or Hallmark movies, Selling Christmas will be right up your alley. You can read my thoughts here.



Next up in order of when the reviews are scheduled are the following:







Now that my 2021 business plan for real estate is complete, I can focus on my other goals. Are you working on your 2021 goals yet? Is there something special you're looking to accomplish next year? 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Book Review: Selling Christmas by Angelina Goode

 

If you're in the mood for a sweet seasonal romance, you can't choose a better one than Selling Christmas by Angelina Goode. 

As a real estate agent, Caroline is used to helping people find their dream home. When she is tasked by her broker with overseeing the first annual Christmas Tour of Homes, however, she might be in over her head. She doesn't even decorate her own house, so how can she bring the Christmas spirit to others?

Luke is a local police office and all around nice guy. His daughter Ella means the world to him. So, when Ella asks for a house of their own with a fireplace for Santa to fit through, he knows he has to try his hardest.

As Christmas fate brings Caroline and Luke together, they might just be exactly what the other needs... unless they let their pasts stand in the way.

Everyone knows I am a sucker for a great Christmas romance in book or television form. That's part of why I requested to review Selling Christmas. Another reason is that lovely cover. It is even prettier up close. Of course, I tend to like books with real estate agents as main characters these days since I am one. 

Goode created the perfect seasonal romance: two people who meet by chance, obstacles that could prevent them from getting together, a small town setting, a great cast of supporting characters, and a happy ending. What more can you ask for in this genre? While you know how it is going to end, you still read every page because you don't want to miss a thing. 

You even fall in love with some of the secondary characters in this one. Sarah, Caroline's assistant who insisted upon decorating her office and pretty much acted like a kid on Christmas morning; Luke's partner Andrea who nudged him in the right direction; the shelter director, Lauren, who unknowingly played a role in helping both Caroline and Luke; and the antics of Caroline's co-workers added a fun element to the story. 

Christmas, romance, holiday fun, and a small town feel make Selling Christmas a story you will want to read over again. I hope Goode releases another seasonal story next year. 

ISBN-10 : 0996176934
ISBN-13 : 978-0996176934
Paperback : 324 pages 
Publisher : Beach Blanket Publishing (October 2, 2020)

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.