January 2015’s reads of a slacking pedometer geek

With the advent of the New Year, this pedometer geek has re-upped the resolutions from 2014, or at least most of them. While there is still the Swan Swimming Under a full Moon needlepoint canvas that needs to be completed, it will not be included in this year’s resolutions. The resolutions of book reading (with various challenges to keep it interesting) and pedometer tracking (with the goal of 10,000 steps daily) continue unabated.

Of course, January found this pedometer geek slacking in both resolutions though. The month started out on a high with the goal of at least 10,000 steps met on the first, but from there a decline was seen with only two days that actually met that goal. The total number of steps for the month was 138,479, which equates to a dismal average of 4,467 steps per day. Aerobic steps totaled 11,306 steps over the course of five days. Overall, it was not an impressive month for putting steps on the pedometer, but it leaves room for improvement. Hopefully, January’s totals will be the lowest of the year.

Book reading started off slowly in 2015, too. Nine books were completed during the month. While the books were all fiction, they was a mixture of genres that included mystery, YA, contemporary erotic romance, historical fiction, and general fiction. Four of the books were written by authors that I had never read before; the other authors have frequently been read. Only one book was read in an e-book format.

As in 2014, this pedometer geek is attempting to complete a few http://www.bookcrossing.com challenges. The first is the quarterly SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge, which a self-selected choice of books to be read; the other is the yearlong pages-read challenge, which is a self-selected number of pages to read. There are a few http://www.Goodreads.com challenges that will be attempted, but I digress.

For the SIY challenge, fourteen books were chosen, and during this first month of the year, three of them were completed leaving eleven books to complete by the end of March. With all the library books I have been borrowing, it may be difficult, but not impossible, to complete this challenge.

Last year’s pages-read challenge goal was too aggressive so this year’s goal has been scaled back to only 35,000 pages. During the month the nine books read totaled 2946 pages.

In January the following books were read:
The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom *
Captivated by You by Sylvia Day
Hidden by Catherine McKenzie *
The King (The White Years # 2) by Tiffany Reisz
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
On the Way to Everywhere by Kirsten B. Feldman *
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Overall, it was diverse reading material. On the Way to Everywhere by Kirsten B. Feldman was extensively reviewed on http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com but the others will be briefly discussed here.

Donna Andrews’ The Nightingale Before Christmas is her latest bird-themed mystery, and it features Meg Langslow preparing for her family’s Christmas while also attempting to keep interior decorators happily working together on a Christmas decorating project. Added to that is a murder of one of the decorators that she must solve. This series of mysteries is always infused with humor and cleverness (generally the murder victim is a jerk), making them lighthearted fun reads.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom is a historical novel set in Virginia in the period between 1790 and 1810. Told from two different perspectives (those of Lavinia and Belle), it tells the story of an indentured servant, Lavinia, and her slave family of Belle, Mama Mae, Papa George, and others in the kitchen in which they both live and cook for the family at the Big House. This novel shows both the interrelatedness of the slaves and owners and the differences between the two including the fine line that Lavinia walks between the two groups when she becomes an adult. Overall, it is a compelling novel of the early South.

Both Sylvia Day’s Captivated by You and The King by Tiffany Reisz are part of their respective series. Both are classified as contemporary erotic romance novels, but Day’s series is more of a romance than the novels of Reisz. The novels of Reisz feature more characters who have BDSM proclivities while Day’s romance between Gideon Cross and Eva Trammell is a bit tamer. Both have racy erotic scenes.

Hidden by Catherine McKenzie could be classified as women’s fiction, but it is more than that. It tells the story of a man who is accidentally killed on the way home from work and the two women who know him best. Each is only marginally aware of the other, and it is in the hidden spaces that the reader gets to know the three people (each told through their own perspective) and what is really going on. It’s an intriguing, enjoyable read and left this reader ready to read more by this author.

Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon is another magical read. Two women go to Mullaby, North Carolina, and discover acceptance and love in this town of misfits. Emily goes there to learn more about her mother, who has recently died, and Julia returns home after many years away to take over a family restaurant. This reader has enjoyed reading all of this author’s novels so far. It is almost with regret that I’ll be reading her most recently published one, First Frost, as I think I have read all of the rest of her novels.** The novels all contain a bit of whimsy and magic about them, yet leaves this reader feeling upbeat.

A slight digression here, the first of her novels, that I read, was Garden Spells. It was for a library book group. At the time, I had no idea what to expect from the book, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it. What was truly surprising was that Dave, our “token male” as he calls himself, liked it. His reading tastes generally run to nonfiction especially history, but even he admitted that although he would not have ever picked up this book voluntarily, he enjoyed reading it.

Rick Riordan’s The Blood of Olympus is the conclusion in the Heroes of Olympus YA novel series. Like the previous books in the series, there is a great deal of Roman and Greek mythology that is presented (and can be learned through reading them). The seven demi-gods are in a race against time and lots of mythic monsters as they try to prevent a war between the Greeks and Romans and from the re-emergence of Gaea the Earth Mother, who wishes to destroy the earth.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin is the classic tale from 1903. It tells the coming-of-age story of Rebecca who goes to live with her maiden aunts, righteous Miranda and sweet Jane, in the little brick house. Rebecca makes friends, both young and old, and she is irrepressible in her lust for education and life (in general). The story, while dated, holds up well and is impressive for its vocabulary and literary touches.

Enough about resolutions; it is time to get back to reading and putting steps on the pedometer.

* SIY books

** I have since discovered that there are a few other books that are co-authored by Allen that I have not read. Maybe I need to check them out.

About pedometergeek

A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have a book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I also read...lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
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