Winter 2015 Book Challenge: Month 3

LadyInGold

10 points: Read a book someone else has already used for the challenge – When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare (376 pages, paperback edition, 4 stars)
This one was a cute, easy read. Definitely a romance, but a relatively sedate one which was actually a nice change of pace. This story concept was a bit different as well, so it was a nice change up from the usual. I won’t give it away here but do recommend it for a little light reading. (smile)

15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym – Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) (320 pages, paperback edition, 2.5 stars)
This one is definitely a little different than the usual Nora Roberts story, but there were also similarities (mostly in the romance sections). The plot is based around a female detective living some time in the future and her efforts to solve crimes. It appears to be a series but I’m not at all sure I’ll be reading any of the others, so there’s that.

15 points: Read a book with “boy,” “girl,” “man,” or “woman” in the title – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (316 pages, paperback edition, 3 stars)
It’s difficult to say exactly what I was expecting with this one, but it definitely wasn’t what I got. The story is set around a woman who witnesses strange events out of the window of her train that happen (conveniently enough) to a woman who then goes missing. The story then takes you through all the twists and turns of her life and exactly how she’s connected to the whole ordeal. I appreciated the effort to be original, but something about the overall story just didn’t work for me. It’s very reminiscent of Gone Girl and seeing as I wasn’t a huge fan of that one, perhaps this just isn’t my genre.

30 points: Read a non-fiction book and a fiction book about the same subject – The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor (NF) (349 pages, paperback edition, 4 stars); The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes (F) (544 pages, paperback edition, 3.5 stars)
I’ve always found the idea of lost portraits fascinating, particularly those lost and recovered by families down the road. The Lady in Gold was difficult to read in parts, but overall I really enjoyed the story and the history. The Girl You Left Behind has a split story – the historical and the present. I really enjoyed the historical portion and thought it was very well done; the modern story was just okay.

Previous Points: 130
Points this month: 70
TOTAL: 200 points


Thanks to Semi-Charmed Kind of Life for hosting!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiring Optimism

Scotland blur

I recently ordered a canvas print of this photo for my bedroom so it’s now one of the first and last things I see every day (after kitty noses of course). To many people, this would’ve been a photo set for the delete button, but I just couldn’t do it. I see this scene and I remember exactly where I was, what I was wearing, how cold and clear the weather was, and how I felt in that moment – alive, content, happy, and optimistic. It reminds me that I have so much to look forward to, particularly returning to my favorite place (hopefully permanently!) for even more positive memories. (smile)

This week’s photo challenge is “optimistic.”

Happy weekend everyone!!

Travel Plans: 2016 Ramblings

Here’s a fact for you: making lists makes me happy. Making a list that involves travel?  Well that just makes me absolutely giddy! (smile) While I don’t normally make resolutions/share goals for the year, travel is the one exception. I really enjoyed checking off the 2015 list, so I’ve decided to have another go with 2016.

Cathedral Rock Sedona Arizona

2015 Review

I did really well with my travel goals for 2015. There was only one location that I didn’t get to – South Dakota – so I’m just moving it to 2016. Otherwise I had a great time exploring Arizona, visiting friends in Louisiana, and spending time with family in Ohio. Morocco…well, Morocco was beyond anything I could’ve hoped for, so I’d say that was a success as well! (smile)

Havasupai Indian Tribe, Havasupai Falls, Havasu Creek, Havasu Falls

2016 Destinations

Domestic

Arizona: I intend to make this the year of completing my Arizona Must See List. I checked a couple locations off this year (including Havasupai Falls) but I still have a few left (and perhaps a new one as well…) including Yuma, Grand Falls (aka Chocolate Falls), the slot canyons (e.g., Antelope Canyon), and Horseshoe Bend.

New Mexico: I’ve been to New Mexico a few times before, but I really want to visit Santa Fe and the White Sands National Monument. Both are a reasonable drive so no more excuses!

California: I would really like to spend more time with my friends in California this year. My niece is growing so fast – I want to be around for more of those special moments. I’m also determined to make this the year I visit San Francisco. It’s overdue.

South Dakota: I didn’t make it there in 2015 due to logistical challenges, but it’s happening this year! I’ve gone on and on about it so much that I now have volunteers to join me – maybe waiting wasn’t so bad after all…

International

Well, much like last year this one’s still to be determined. I have three four options in mind and only one of those is readily accessible and/or relatively safe. So of course it’s at the bottom of my list. (smile) I would love to reunite with a few of my fellow Morocco travelers, but we’ll see how that goes. No matter where I end up this year, I’m looking forward to the adventure and to meeting new people!

Where are you going this year??