Sunday Bookends: A book challenge for me for the rest of the year; books read; and photos from the week

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in review in the comments.

What’s been happening/Garden update

Not a lot has been happening lately, but I have been trying not to kill my garden. So far we’ve eaten some summer squash from it, one piece of broccoli and we tried to eat the lettuce but it was bitter. I think we will eventually get some carrots and tomatoes from it and maybe a few more squash and zucchini. I also hope to get a few potatoes and later on some butternut squash. I’m horrible at weeding the garden. Maybe I’ll get better at it next year, but I don’t have much hope.

I took some photos of my garden but then I was going to put in the photos of my dad’s garden and tell all of you his was mine. I didn’t think that would be honest, but his looks much more impressive than mine this year, which is funny because he originally said he wasn’t doing one. I’ll share a couple photos of his garden at the end of the post.

These are my tomatoes, lettuce, and squash and a meal I made with my squash, my dad’s kale, and a pork chop. The green beans my daughter is snapping at the end of the post are 99.9 percent my dad’s and about five from my own garden. My green bean plants didn’t have enough room to grow.

I had planned to chop down some flowers outside our house before they got too big but I — uh, never got around to it (again) and they grew two feet tall and sprouted these freaky alien flowers and hundreds (okay 20) of bees of three or four different kinds of varieties swarmed them. The only good thing about leaving them there was a butterfly landed on them and Little Miss was able to enjoy watching the butterfly. I’m going to cut these flowers back before next year because they seriously took over the side of our house and they weren’t attractive at all (to me anyhow).

What I’m Reading

I am reading Misty Of Chincoteague (I definitely had to look up how to spell that) each night with my daughter I tried this before with my son years ago but he was not impressed. My daughter, however, is a huge fan of horses so I’m .hoping she will enjoy it more, even if it isn’t her regular Paddington. She has, however, asked for Paddington more this week than Misty. I’m going to keep trying because I think she will like it.

I finished By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates this week (yes, I know. What took me so long) and really enjoyed it. The book is about a young woman who moves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to work at a library that is built inside a lighthouse. She’s moved to her family’s old vacation spot (and her aunt and uncles hometown) to avoid an awkward situation back in her hometown of Boston involving a failed relationship. Not only does Lucy encounter the mayor of the small village, Connor, who she remembers kissing on the beach when she was there on vacation and were 14, but Butch, a police officer in the village. She encounters Butch more than she might like when someone in the village is discovered murdered in the library.

The description from Amazon:

For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.
Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.
Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending….

The next book I started was A long Time Comin’ by Robin Pearson and though I’m only on Chapter 5 it is already keeping me up late by being caught up in the story.

The description from Amazon:

To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she’s dying doesn’t mean she can’t keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they’d best take it up with Jesus. There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks.

Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice’s doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother’s heart and home inside out. Evelyn’s meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide.

If I can start reading faster, I would love to do a reading challenge a local library did for the summer. I definitely won’t finish the challenge before the August 15 deadline but I’m thinking of trying it for the end of the year:

  1. A book published in 2019
  2. A book recommended by a librarian (my brother is sort-of a librarian so I’ll have to ask him to recommend one to me)
  3. A book published before you were born (done)
  4. A fantasy book (this will be a bit harder for me, since I’m not a huge fantasy fan)
  5. A book recommended by a friend or relative (done)
  6. A book that became a movie
  7. A book with a character from another country
  8. A non-fiction book (uuugh. I’m not a very big non-fiction reader but luckily Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs has recently recommended a couple I am interested in)
  9. A fiction book (no problem and done)
  10. The first book of a series (already done with By Book or By Crook)

What I’m Watching:

This week I watched a movie called All Saints with John Corbett about a Episcopalian pastor who is put in charge of closing down a charge on his first assignment. The description on Google:

Michael Spurlock decides to trade in his corporate sales career to become a pastor. Unfortunately, his first assignment is to close a country church and sell the prime piece of land where it sits. He soon has a change of heart when the church starts to welcome refugees from Burma. Spurlock now finds himself working with the refugees to turn the land into a working farm to pay the church’s bills.

I really enjoyed the movie which I found terribly touching and very well acted by a strong cast. I didn’t know many of the actors besides Corbett, but did recognize David Keith from Heritage Falls, which I watched the week before. I found it on Amazon but it may be available on other streaming services.

What I’m Writing:

I’m working on finishing a novella that will combine my short stories Quarantined and Rekindle and hope to have it complete and ready for publication by the end of August. I’ll be releasing it free for blog readers, if I can figure out how to do that.

I’m also working on The Farmer’s Daughter, of course.

On the blog this past week:

On Monday I wrote about A Little Farm Making Special Milk (a blog post about a local farm);

Tuesday I rambled about me and the blog (which was totally awkward for me, to be honest);

Friday I shared another chapter of The Farmer’s Daughter.

I’ll end the post like I have been ending it lately; with some photos from the week, but I really did not take many photos at all this week. Hopefully, I will have some more from next week.

The Cuckoo’s Calling almost made me Cuckoo and the week in review

(This post is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon).

I promised a couple of weeks ago I would finish The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J.K. Rowling) and I finally did it. I was determined to finish the book because it was a different type of book for me and one my husband suggested.

For anyone who is a fan of clean fiction, with positive and cheerful stories of loving people — this is not the book for you. I didn’t count them but I would say there are about 300 uses of the “F” word and about 1,000 semicolons and 100 parentheses.  This isn’t my usual type of read, as I said above, but it was well-written (even if I don’t think the excessive curse words were necessary).

I guess J.K. Rowling was making sure she shook off any Potter fans with this crime novel debut, using the Galbraith pseudonym and the fictitious author bio in the back of the book.  I wouldn’t call the book a fast read by any means. At 466 (or more) pages, the book is definitely dense and full of detail I often found unnecessary. However, the extra information was entertainingly written so I didn’t mind that J.K. rambled on a bit in places. It’s not like I’m the queen of being succinct, as anyone who has read my blog knows.

51VB32EnfTLI’m not sure if I’ll continue with books 2-4 of the Cormoran Strike series, though my husband said he especially enjoyed book four (and strongly disliked book three). I enjoy crime fiction but sometimes the gritty stories filled with ridiculous uses of swear words (especially the f-word), are not my cup of tea (pun totally intended since this book was based in London).

As for finishing The Hobbit, another goal I have for November, I’m not there yet, but I did advance further in the book this past week. My son, for his part, is almost done with the book and will be writing a book report for it this week.

I’m still reading through two Mitford books – re-reading A Light in the Window (because it’s been so long and I love the love story of Father Tim and Cynthia) and reading A Light from Heaven, which I somehow never read when I was going through the series. I also never read “Home to Holly Springs” which was a Father Tim novel. It was supposed to be the first of others but I don’t think Jan Karon ever wrote any other Father Tim novels and now in her 80s, she has ended the series. I plan to tackle Home to Holly Springs after I finish these two Mitford books and The Hobbit.

I’ve been watching Shakespeare and Hathaway, a light crime series that takes place in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England to keep my mind off the stress of house hunting and house selling. The main characters are a man and woman private detective team. The man, Frank Hathaway, was the private detective to start with, after being kicked off the police force and the woman, Luella Shakespeare, sort of fell into the profession when she hired Frank to investigate her fiance and then stayed on to help him at his office.


The episodes feature some humor with drama mixed in but they are fairly light and void of any topics that are too dark, which was a nice reprieve after reading through The Cuckoo’s Calling.

As for my writing quest, I’m in the middle of writing the sequel to A Story to Tell, and I’m sharing the chapters here on the blog each Friday for Fiction Friday. I’m also offering others a chance to link any fiction they have written on their blogs every Friday. If you share fiction on your blog, please feel free to join me this Friday and share your links.

Speaking of fiction, if you haven’t checked out Lunch Break Fiction, I highly suggest you do. It’s one of my favorite blogs out there these days.

So what are you up to this week? What are you reading or watching? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know!