My To Be Read list just grows and grows and grows

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I started reading books more (again) in the last couple of years. Before that I was always too busy with raising my son, blogging and photography. And before that time period, I was too busy working at smalltown newspapers. When you’re busy writing words, you don’t always enjoy reading them in your down time.

In high school I read a lot, almost all fiction.

When I started reading again I started hearing the acronym TBR. I had no idea what that meant and then someone finally let me know it meant “To be read.”


I’m a bit embarrassed by how large my TBR list is.

There are simply too many books out there and I’m not a super fast reader.

I thought I’d list some of my current TBR list, but let’s be honest, our list will always grow because there are simply so many good books out in the world to read. There is a mix of Christian fiction, non-fiction, and general fiction (mysteries, thrillers, etc.) here:

My (partial) list so far:

The Heart Knows the Way Home by Christy Distler

Lavender Tears Sandra Cunningham

The Love Coward by Naomi Musch

More Than Honor by Carol Ashby

Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas

Fortitude: American Resilience in the Age of Outrage by Dan Crenshaw

So This Is Goodbye by Jodi Allen Brice

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney

The Number of Love Roseanna M. White

Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson

Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliff

Distortion by Terri Blackstock

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene

The World Ending Fire by Wendell Berry

What Is True? by Charles Martin

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

I also have a stack of Coleen Coble books that are currently at my mom’s house that I want to dig into at some point this summer. So, fellow readers, how large is your TBR list? No need to list them all for me, but give me a round about number in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: The Biggest Little Farm, Comfort reading, and apparently it’s spring in winter

This is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon.

I tried to distract myself from the stress of life this week by choosing a documentary to watch, but I’m not sure my stress was relieved watching a farming couple almost crumble under stress. Truthfully, the documentary, The Biggest Little Farm, which I found on Hulu this time (see, it’s not always Amazon), has both bitter and sweet moments and was nicely put together.

MV5BMjQ1MjM0OTE2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzgwMDY4NzM@._V1_The documentary follows the journey of a couple who starts a diverse farm in a fairly deserted area of California. Under the guidance of a consultant, they not only plant diverse crops but also begin raising various livestock, including sheep and chickens and one fat, pregnant pig. The couple started the farm to give their rescue dog a place to roam and soon learn their family dream will cost them a lot of pain, emotionally, physically and financially. There is a lot of bad (coyotes come to visit; there are other unexpected challenges) but there is also a lot of good (a booming egg business for one).

The documentary is also beautifully photographed, probably because one of the subjects of it started out as a wildlife videographer. After wiping my tears over that one (both from a little sadness and a lot of sweetness), I turned to comfort reading via one of The Cat Who books by Lillian Jackson Braun. I load one of Braun’s books into my Kindle anytime the outside world or my world gets too overwhelming (which seems to be often lately, honestly).

Right now I am reading The Cat Who Lived High. According to the description on Good Reads: “The colorful Casablanca apartment building is in danger of demolition–but not if Jim Qwilleran can help it. He’s determined to restore the building to its original grandeur. So he moves in with Koko and Yum Yum–and discovers that the Casablanca is steeped in history…and mystery. In Qwill’s very apartment, a glamorous art dealer met an untimely fate, and the veteran journalist and his crime-solving cats are about to reach new heights in detection as the evidence builds up…and the Casablanca threatens to crumble down around them!”

51B5fG9dybL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_I like the predictability of the Cat Who books. I don’t always know who committed the crime but I know what the pattern will be to solve it. Qwill’s mustache is going to quiver and hum, alerting him to something that has gone amiss, but he’s still going to walk himself right into something questionable and his cat KoKo is going to help solve the crime with his uncanny ability to feel (and signal Qwill) when something is off. Also, a few women will fall all over the retired crime reporter and he will return some of that affection but he’s going to back away from the woman, choosing instead the comfort of the reserved librarian Polly Duncan from the small town of Pickax.

Some readers may find this routine stale after a few books, but in a world where the news and life is unpredictable, I welcome that familiar routine. There are two things that don’t change in my world: God and the plot devices of Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who books and I like it that way.

Other news in the book world is that my mom, who I share a Kindle account with, has recommended I read a new-to-is author, Chris Fabry, so I plan to start one of his this week. I’ll probably start with Looking Into You, which Mom said is a good one and is available through Kindle Unlimited. Fabry, according to his site, has written 81 books, mainly in the Christian fiction drama. I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to offer in capturing my attention.

In other news, it is no secret that we are way beyond ready to sell our current house and get out of Dodge, so to speak. This week house showings slowed down, which was a welcome respite, partially because I’m burned out on holding showings and getting no one to buy and partially because our son came down with a cold this week and was fairly miserable.

On top of his cold, he choked on steak this weekend and almost died. My husband says I’m being dramatic but when one hears “oh my, God,” and runs into the dining room to see their husband giving their son the Heimlich maneuver, and then their son throws up the steak caught in his throat, one feels they can say their husband saved their son’s life.

My husband was cool as a cucumber and I was a blubbering mess after it was all over, which was actually in less than a minute but felt like forever. I guess it just hit me what could have happened and it shook me up pretty bad. I didn’t bug my son to eat his veggies for dinner like I usually do that night.

We are enjoying some warmer weather this weekend and expect to have it through part of this week before the temps crash again. The cold temperatures really wreak havoc on my muscles, dry skin, and ears/sinuses so this respite has been very welcome. We were so excited to have temperatures in the 50s we flung our windows open and simply put on a sweater if we felt chilly.

The warmer weather also helped my son’s sinuses issues from the cold, another reason we were happy to have it.

So how about you? How is the weather where you are? What are you reading or watching or up to? Let me know in the comments.

What I’ve been reading (suspense and meandering southern tales), and watching (vets in the English country side), and doing (not much)

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I usually read something light before bed but I’ve been having a hard time putting down Taken by Dee Henderson. It’s listed as a Christian suspense novel but the faith conversations are not too overt or cheesy. The story is captivating, yet also hard to read because of the subject. It surrounds the story of a 27-year old woman who was held captive for 11 years after being kidnapped at the age of 16 near her home in Chicago. She enlists the help of a retired Boston police officer, now private investigator, Matthew Danes, whose own daughter was kidnapped at one point and returned to him eight years later.

Together the two try to bring down the people who kidnapped her and also ran a child abduction and burglary ring. The story definitely isn’t light as Shannon, the woman, deals with her abduction but also some surprises in her family since she’s been missing. I found myself both disturbed and intrigued by the story but learned I needed to put it down before bed or I would have unpleasant dreams. Or more unpleasant than other nights. However, one night this week I didn’t read it before bed and I dreamt I was hanging out with Paris Hilton, so maybe I shouldn’t read lighter things at night.

As a writer myself, I don’t like to be critical of books, knowing a lot of hard work put into them but honestly there were entire chapters I would have completely dropped from Taken. There were definitely unnecessary parts written that did not move the story forward. One of those was a huge, unrealistic section about how much money a person could make from photographs of landscapes. Take it from this photographer, very few photographers are raking in millions for landscape images. The author probably should have done a little more research there. Or she did do some research and there is an untapped market out there that I’m completely missing out on because I don’t have an art agent. That’s always a possibility.

All in all it was a good book, but I’ll be cleaning my pallet with some different types of books this week – mainly The Hobbit, which my son and I are reading for his homeschool. I’m very behind on that but he’s cheating by listening to a reading of it I found on YouTube while reading along.

68251I’m also still in book two of the James Herriott books and watching the BBC show All Creatures Great and Small, which Amazon just included with our Britbox subscription. I haven’t watched the show since I was a teen so it’s fun for me to watch now that I’m older, though the makers of the show definitely made the show very realistic and graphic when it came to caring for the animals. I’m going to have to Google and see if those actors actually had to stick their hands up the rear ends of cows and pigs and horses for some of those scenes. While looking for a photo to go with this post, I saw that they are rebooting the series for PBS. I don’t plan to watch it as I think the original was so true to the books, especially the actor who played Siegfried.

I finished Book 6 of the Mitford Series, In This Mountain, and still have two books in the series that I haven’t read – Light From Heaven and Home to Holly Springs. Like I’ve said before I enjoy the Mitford books because they really are a meandering walk through the lives of the people of Mitford. Jan Karon really takes her time building up her characters through little snippets of their lives. There are a lot of characters too; so many that sometimes it is a little hard to keep up with them. I like having so many characters to get to know, though. My mom once said you can pick up a Mitford book and feel almost like you are coming home because of how endearing the characters are. You can also pick up any of the books and read them again and again and see something new every time because they are so dense.

In between reading books and watching shows based off books, I’m in the midst of rewriting and tightening my novel ‘A Story to Tell‘ which I have been featuring on the blog on Fridays and plan to publish for fun on Kindle next week. I’m also working on the follow-up to the story which I’ve tentatively entitled “Waking Up.” Soon someone will come across my writing and do to it what I just did to Dee Henderson’s. Ouch. I probably won’t enjoy that but I also recognize we have different tastes and just because we don’t like one aspect of a person’s writing style, doesn’t mean we don’t like their work overall. I should remind myself that I didn’t say I didn’t like Dee’s writing – I do like it. I just felt part of the descriptions and long pieces of dialogue were unnecessary but others may have found it was needed.

In between writing and reading (and watching) I’ve also been homeschooling my children (as mentioned above) and editing photos for my stock photography accounts (of which I make a little money with so I keep plugging away at it).

On my reading list for the next couple of weeks (a bit eclectic):

  • Fear is A Liar by Dr. Daniel B. Lancaster
  • Of Windmills and War by Diane Moody
  • Lead Me, Holy Spirit: Longing to Hear the Voice of God by Stormie Omartian
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling).

Some of the posts I’ve featured since I last posted an update for Sunday Salon include:

So how about all of you? What are you reading, watching, or up to these days? Let me know in the comments and if you are participating in the Sunday Salon on Readerbuzz’s blog (which this post is part of) leave me your link.



The week in review, books, shows and looking at new beginnings

Here is a little week in review and a little of what I was reading, watching and doing this past week. You can follow some other updates on the Sunday Salon on Readerbuzz and The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This week is a week of saying goodbye to the old and looking forward to new beginnings. My husband is leaving his job after 16 years there and has taken a new job about 40 minutes away. This is his last week at the old job. Eventually, we will move closer to his job since it is also closer to my parents who are growing older. I met my husband while we were both working in newspapers. My degree is in journalism and I spent 14 years working at small-town newspapers before walking away to stay home with my kid, first, and then kids later.

When I left newspapers, he was my boss and the editor of the daily (six days a week) paper we worked at and that’s where he’s been ever since. In two weeks he will become the editor of the small weekly paper where I got my start writing my high school news column. It’s also where I worked for nine months when I did the newspaper hop, bouncing between the two main county papers before going to work for a slightly larger paper in New York State where everyone hated me, and then back to the paper where my husband worked, staying there until I “retired” so to speak.

Speaking of people hating me . . .(well, maybe, and hopefully not, but possibly):

I didn’t mean to say goodbye to a friend this week but the writing has been on the wall for a while so when I was pushed to answer why I wasn’t fully answering texts I gave an answer. The answer wasn’t appreciated.  The ending of the friendship won’t be too much of a change since we’d only seen each other once in eight months but it could create some awkward moments since our boys are still friends. In the last two years, I’ve become the queen of awkward moments so it won’t be anything new for me.

As for what I’m reading and watching this week:

The Hairy Bikers was on my watching list part of the week. They have a couple shows on Netflix but the kids and I enjoyed watching them learn about all things chicken on their show: The Hairy Biker’s Chicken & Egg. This series shows them traveling the world to learn more about how versatile the chicken really is – thanks to the many ways to cook its meat and its eggs. They showcase some recipes, introduce the viewers to some amazing chicken-based dishes, all while being slightly odd and hilarious. If you haven’t seen the show, they are two British bikers (motorcycle riding dudes) who are also chefs. So they are refined in their tastes and delightfully less refined in their personalities, which is a perfect combination for me.

hairy bikers

According to their site, they’ll be debuting a show in the UK sometime later this year featuring their tour of Route 66 in the US. I’m not sure when, or if, that will debut here in the US but I’d be interested to see it.

On the book front, I’m finishing up the fifth Mitford book, which I talked about last week, and then I’m starting (or at least hoping to) the following books:




Quite an eclectic group of books but it’s a combination of books my brother suggested and my reading obsessed husband ordered me to – I mean suggested – I read.

I also finished a couple books this week:




The Green Ember is a young adult book about medieval, sentient, anamorphic rabbits avenging the loss of their past king, finding their future king and working toward a kingdom of peace. It sounds weird but it really was engaging. Wish me luck, I have to lead a middle school book discussion on it for our homeschooling group next week.

So how about all of you? Any new beginnings you’re starting? Any friendships you’ve ended (I hope not!)? What are you reading or watching these days? Let me know in the comments if you so desire.