I have mentioned before I am a pedometer geek, but I am also an avid reader. My New Year’s resolutions reflect both of these proclivities. First off, I have a goal of putting 10,000 steps on my pedometer each day. Frankly, I have never been successful in obtaining that for a whole month. The closest I ever came was one July several years ago when I managed to put almost 268,000 steps on my pedometer leaving me about 42,000 steps shy of my goal. Nonetheless, I continue to work at it, and this July, I logged almost 210,000 steps, averaging over 6700 steps per day. Twelve of the days I was credited with aerobic steps* (more than 25,000 aerobic steps for the month) and on four of the days, I exceeded the goal of 10K. So far, I haven’t shown stellar progress in August, but I hope to turn that around. In that vein, I was recently recruited to participate in Cedar Point’s Color Run to be held in September. I am now a proud member of Team Lake Lovin’ Ladies, but we are fortunately walking, not running this 5K course. Of course, this pedometer geek will be sporting my pedometer during the event. In the meantime, as always, I will be pushing myself to increase my steps.
On the other hand, my reading resolutions were much improved. Basically, these resolutions are rather straightforward. The first is to read more books, and the other is to complete various reading challenges. Some I have going at http://www.bookcrossing.com like the Pages-read challenge and the SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge.
First, I completed fourteen books in July. I read a mixture of fiction and nonfiction titles. In the nonfiction category, there was an anthology of personal stories, two memoirs, and one historically-based book. The fiction novels were comprised of different genres including romance, mystery, suspense-thriller, and general fiction. Some of them blurred genre lines, though. Of these, twelve of them were written by authors who were new to me. Three were read in the e-book format, and one defies categorization as it was a graphic work, which is not my usual fare. Per usual, it was a diverse group of reads.
In the Pages-read challenge through Bookcrossing.com, I read a total of 3895 pages for the month bringing my year-to-date total to 21,815 pages. My self-directed goal is to read at least 40,000 pages this year so I am a bit behind; however, it is less important than enjoying what I am reading.
In the Bookcrossing.com SIY challenge, I have chosen fifteen titles to read during the quarter from July through the end of September. In July, I completed four of them. Most of them have been received through either Goodreads or Shelf Awareness giveaways, and each of those has been extensively reviewed in my blog.
In July, I completed the following books:
Wurst-Seller by Wallace Tripp
Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin DuGard *
Death by Drowning by Abigail Keam
Innocence by Dean Koontz *
Crossing Paths: A BookCrossing Novel by Debbie Robson
A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
The Three-Two Pitch: Bronc Burnett by Wilfred McCormick
Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for Love by Dave Pelzer
That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and their Brazen Acts edited by Rivka Solomon
Call Me Cat by Karpov Kinrade
The New Me by Mary Marcus *
The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello
A Wedding by Dawn by Alison DeLaine *
From a book of cartoons to romances to nonfiction to a debut suspense thriller and more rounded out this month’s reading. The three Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of Innocence, The New Me, and A Wedding by Dawn have all been extensively reviewed; the others, however, will be briefly discussed.
Wallace Tripps’ Wurst-Seller is a book that uses cartoon drawings, puns, and innuendos in humorous ways. Themes emerge from the different pages that is even in evidence on the cover in which a butcher (the Wurst-Seller) is selling meat like hot dogs, sausage, and bratwurst to the “wurst” customers. This book can be enjoyed for a few minutes, an afternoon, or over and over again. Children may enjoy it for the cartoons; adults will appreciate the word play.
Killing Jesus, co-authored by Bill O’Reilly and Martin DuGard, is a historical account of the culture and politics during the time of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. Presented as fact, the authors take liberties to explain the reasons why Jesus was killed. Using both Biblical references of the four gospels and texts from Josephus, a Jewish historian, these authors explain the harsh realities of life during this period of Roman occupation in the land of Palestine. There seemed to be a few inaccuracies, but the read has some eye-opening moments about life during this first century when Jesus angered the powers of the local Roman government.
Abigail Keam’s Death by Drowning is the second in a mystery series featuring beekeeper and amateur sleuth Josiah Reynolds. Having not read the first in the series, it took this reader some time to figure out all the references to people, places, and events that the first book provided. Obviously, this is one mystery series that has to be read in order since this story built heavily on the previous one. Having said that, Josiah does solve the murder case, yet leaves the reader with a lingering mystery that will be resolved during one of the subsequent books in the series, hopefully.
Crossing Paths: A BookCrossing Novel by Debbie Robson is a unique novel. The novel combines the story of Jane, a bookcrosser, with the online Bookcrossing website. Drawing on the concept of registered books and the journaling which accompanies book releases, this novel features several globe-trotting bookcrossers (both real and imagined) and their books. Part mystery, part romance, and a lot of book references occur throughout. Whether a person who is not involved in bookcrossing would enjoy this story is hard to say as I am a bookcrosser, but it was an interesting story nonetheless.
Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called “It” and its sequel The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for Love are both memoirs of Dave’s early life under an extremely abusive mother. The first is his life up until the time he is rescued from a life of extreme cruelty and starvation. The sequel begins about the time that he is turned over to the foster care system. Both are difficult to read as they are graphic in his matter-of-fact descriptions of his life. Even if his descriptions are exaggerated, it is amazing that he has turned out so normal. Having read the first, I hoped that there would be an explanation in the second as to why his mother singled him out for this inhumane treatment as his siblings didn’t apparently undergo the same abuse. There are two other books by the author chronicling his life as a young man leaving the foster care system and then beyond, but whether those are as graphic and depressing, I may never know as the first two reads were painful enough to read.
Wilfred McCormick’s The Three-Two Pitch is the first book in a baseball series that features Bronc Burnett. The 1940s series is written primarily for teen boys. Bronc wants to be a pitcher; his father wants him to be a hitter and fielder, but unless he and the team can learn fundamentals of good ball handling, the team won’t win against their rivals and the league championship. This novel series may be a bit dated, but also discusses the rationale and subtle nuances of good baseball.
Joanne Flukes’ Apple Turnover Murder is one of a series of cozy, recipe-infused mysteries. A small town baker also solves a murder that occurs during an event that she is catering. Having never read this author before, it was still easy to understand the dynamics of the characters and events. Many of the recipes presented throughout the text sounded yummy, too. Having enjoyed this light mystery, I plan on checking out others in this mystery series.
Rivka Solomon’s anthology of women taking control of their lives is the basis for That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and their Brazen Acts. The book contains short stories of different women and girls who stood up for themselves in some form or another. Whether it is a story of breaking traditional barriers or fighting to prevent female genital circumcision (that is, mutilation), women from all walks of life tell their stories of how they defied conventions and felt empowered.
Karpov Kinrade’s Call Me Cat is the first in a contemporary erotic romance trilogy that features Catelyn, who is a law student who is struggling financially. In order to make ends meet (that is, pay for books and tuition), she reluctantly takes a phone sex operator job. Unfortunately for her, one of her favorite clients is Ashton Davenport, the man who is also interested in her romantically. When she realizes that she knows Ash personally, her dilemma becomes how to admit that she and Cat are one and the same person once she becomes involved with him. Since it is the first of three novels, I presume it will be resolved by the end of the trilogy.
Last, but certainly not least, is Eva Lesko Natiello’s debut thriller, The Memory Box. This novel features a woman, Caroline Spencer, who Googles herself. (Okay, I’ll admit it; I’ve Googled myself. Haven’t you?) All of the entries she finds about herself are positive until she decides to Google her maiden name. At that point, there becomes confusing discrepancies between what she believes and knows. Suddenly, her life is turned upside down as she tries to figure out the truth without affecting her husband and two daughters. There are twists and turns in this novel that keeps the reader turning the page, wondering just where the truth lies. Overall, this is a mesmerizing, suspenseful story that is a different take on repressed memories, and it is worthy of checking out.
* SIY Challenge books