It has been absolute nourishment to my soul to have warm weather and sunshine. I’m so grateful for this change in weather and what comes along with it. Suddenly, there is color again and I absolutely love it.
I’ve been running a 5K almost daily, followed by a 2.3 mile walk, so long as it’s not raining out. My dog, Harlan, loves it. The other day it was raining and he was so confused that I hadn’t taken him out yet, that he actually brought me a leash. It was adorably sad. I had pretty steadily walked him in the winter months, but temperature definitely affected that and when we did go out, our runs/walks were much shorter. Anyways, I’m really pushing myself to get my 5K time under 30 minutes. For some of you out there, you may be thinking that’s very doable and easy and may even scoff at my efforts, but my 5K started at 36 minutes and in the course of about 6 weeks, I’ve gotten it just under 32. 12 minute miles have become 10:30 minute miles. Just because I’m slow, doesn’t mean I’m not working hard, that’s for sure. Now, to get those miles under 10 minutes…
Talking about working hard, since my last post, my husband and I have been killing it when it comes to our home projects. We moved into our home a year again May 6th. We knew we would be focused on the inside of the house first and then, eventually, work hard on the outside of our home. We’ve been dreaming up our front and backyard renovations for at least 9 months, and now, it’s all finally coming together.
- We had the deck sanded and stained a beautiful gray color
- Put solar powered lights on our deck posts
- Got nice patio furniture
- Built a stone patio in our side yard
- Spray painted our bistro set and got some potted plants to fancy up our new stone patio
- Continued fancying up the side yard by cleaning the chaises, adding cute cushions, and putting up a pretty bird bath
- Outlined two garden spaces in the side yard and planted hostas
- Weeded, mulched, and framed our trees in the front and back yard with stone
- Dug up a long row along our fence line and planted blueberry and raspberry bushes
- Had large raised garden beds put in
- Began the process of planting vegetables and fruit
- Dug up two large ugly plants that were by our garage
Now all there is left to do is have the trim on our house painted and weed and plant flowers in our flowerbed in the front of our yard. It feels good to have accomplished so much in the past two weeks. I don’t think I even realized just how much we’ve done, until I typed this out. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it!
Aside from completing a million yard projects lately, my husband and I have been doing a lot of grilling out. I mean, why wouldn’t we? We have spent so much time working on the backyard, now we want to enjoy it! It’s been a nice change of pace, cooking and eating outside, and based on what my weather app says, it’s supposed to be in the 80s tomorrow, here in Indiana.
This time of quarantine or social distancing has made me very thankful for my quiet little life. It has made me appreciate the little things, and has obviously made me pretty productive. Well, it made me productive reading wise too. Let’s catch up on my recent reads 🙂
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore has received a lot of mixed reviews. I was initially excited to read it, but then had my reservations due to so many negative reviews. The book was marketed with the plot being centered around a young girl who has a brutal crime committed against her, and how that crime then shakes up this old Texas oil town. When I first started the book, I was like, I don’t understand how so many people didn’t like this book! The first 30-50 pages completely sucked me in and the writing was stylistically pleasing. Sure, the author didn’t use quotation marks, but neither does Cormac McCarthy and I love his books. Anyways, I was sold, but just like my initial excitement turned to reservation expectation wise, so did my reading enjoyment. Wetmore started throwing in multiple other women’s perspectives and the heart of the story changed and for me, it was lost entirely. Some readers have suggested that this book is really about a Texas oil town and not a horrific crime that set the plot in motion. I would agree, but I wish the author would have stayed with the crime aspect. She missed an opportunity in exploring Mary Rose, one of the main characters, in making this more about the town than the tragic event. Mary Rose was fighting for Glory/Gloria, the young girl who had been assaulted, when no one else was or seemed to even care. Her heart was bleeding for this young girl and I loved those scenes, but the rest of the characters I honestly didn’t care about. I wanted the book to be about what it was marketed as and what it started out as, but it wasn’t. This could have been a 5 star read had Wetmore not changed direction. 3/5.
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center was nearly perfect. This is the second book I’ve read by her. Earlier this year, I read Things You Save in a Fire, which was also amazing. This one was even better. And now, I’m a full fledged fan, so I need to read more of her books ASAP! She has a new one coming out this summer. I will definitely be getting it. Anyways, How to Walk Away is about a young woman who becomes injured after a proposal goes wrong. She has to learn how to emotionally and physically walk away from her old life and I was in tears before page 30. Books make me emotional sometimes, sure, but before page 30?! Are you kidding me?!? That’s how real it felt though. Center pulls readers in so affectively and kudos to her, because this book required quite a bit of research. My only gripe about this book is that the Ian character changed too abruptly and perhaps his tragic past was a little too far fetched or too much. Still, this book otherwise, was so good, I can overlook those gripes and give it a 5 star rating. I highly recommend this one! 5/5!
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, a novel about Adele, her troubled marriage to David, and the woman who comes between them, was a compulsive read. I was addicted to the relationships being built, but moreover, was waiting for the fall. The build up was really great. There haven’t been many books where I was reading and got upset that I couldn’t read faster, but this one was definitely one of those books. There was some shakiness when it comes to character development in one character in particular, and the ending, while shocking was honestly a little too far fetched. I will say as little as possible about the ending in hopes of avoiding spoilers, but I felt that I wasn’t all that surprised by who was ultimately behind everything, and while the concept of how they were behind everything was new, it was almost too outlandish and I could have assumed that something would have come from where that came from. That probably reads very confusingly, so maybe re-read this review after you’ve read the book and you’ll get what I’m saying. I also feel that Adele’s true character was revealed far too soon. For these reasons, this one gets a 4/5.
I decided to read Beach Read by Emily Henry after seeing so many glowing reviews for the book. This light read was basically a Hallmark movie. Now, I love Hallmark movies. They are light and fun. The acting may not be great and the script is typically meh, but it’s mindless enjoyment. I can be doing other things around the house while watching a Hallmark movie, or I can be doing work on my laptop, and regardless of what I’m doing, it doesn’t matter. It’s predictable and I know exactly what’s going to happen. Initially, I was not interested in Beach Read, because I felt like that’s what this was going to be, but again, there were just so many good reviews! Unfortunately, this was my Hallmark movie. It was a light and easy predictable read. It was enjoyable, but the writing wasn’t amazing and the characters weren’t amazing and everything was just OK. Some people cited that they loved this book, because it was laugh out loud funny. I didn’t find that to be the case. I actually felt like the attempts at humor were attempts that tried too hard. If you’re looking for humor, look into some Jonathan Tropper books. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing on romance or chick-lit. As you read earlier, I loved How to Walk Away, but Katherine Center’s books have so much more in them and are like watching classic rom-coms from the 80s and 90s. Beach Read, while enjoyable and overall fine, was your basic Hallmark move. (3.5/5)
I just finished High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins. You’ve probably seen her videos on social media. I would imagine you’re living under a rock if you haven’t. Her page is called “Juggling the Jenkins.” I’ve always thought she was funny, so when I heard she had a book that was more or less her tell-all regarding her past addiction, I was intrigued. I got the memoir and devoured it. It was an incredibly easy read. I felt like she was just telling me the story and could easily visualize and “hear” her as she did, just due to my familiarity with her. Her story, though, broke my heart in the best possible way. Even though I know she’s clean, I still found myself rooting for her as a I read. This woman has been through so much and really is an inspiration. I’m happy that she has overcome her addiction and has changed her life. She seems really grateful for her sobriety as well. This one won’t win any big awards, and may not be a profound piece of literature, but it is well worth reading. Especially if you or someone you love struggles or has struggled with addiction. (4/5).
As promised, I did draw a winner for my first book giveaway. They have until next Thursday to claim their prize. If they don’t, then I will re-draw! I hope your days have been as blessed as mine. Happy reading y’all!