2018! Get ready, set, turn the page

My husband, Vinny Sal marvels how I can read more than one book at a time. Well, not really AT THE SAME time, but I usually am reading 3 books. I may be reading a reference book, a book of poetry and an inspirational book. Or, I may be reading a crime mystery, a collection of short stories, and a horror novel. Since the 3 books are not from the same genre that is why it isn’t difficult for me to have 3 books going at the same time.

sshh trying to read

A new year. A new book journal.

I already have my reading and book journal started for 2018. Of late, I have been using Moleskine’s XL Cahier Journals for all my different journals. These Moleskine journals are flexible but sturdy and fit nicely into my messenger bag AKA purse. (I detest technology journals of any kind. It is easier for me to write than tap, tap, tap and fuss with auto-correct! For the love of scotch! Where’s my fountain pen?)

In the front of the journal I write the date, the book’s title and the book’s author that I am reading. And starting on the back page of the journal, I list the books that sound interesting or that I want to read. When the front of the journal and the back of the journal meet, I start a new book journal.

Reading Challenges

These past weeks I have been searching online for a reading challenge list. One that I found interesting was from www.naturalbeachliving.com:

52-Week-Reading-Challenge-PDF-768x994
Another good reading challenge list is from children’s author, Julie Stroebel Barichello’s website, https://juliestroebelbarichello.com. She ran across the following excellent reading list in 2015 from the Goodwill Librarian’s Facebook page:

goodwill-librarian

2018 Reading Goal

My goal here at The Blogging Owl is to post more book reviews than last year. As I have mentioned in my previous blog post, my preference is to read new authors who have just published their first book although I’m not fussy. I just like finding new authors to love!

These reading challenge lists help me to expand my search in different genres and reading age levels. The Blogging Owl posts hoot ratings from 1 to 5 on book reviews here and shared on social media. I also post reviews on the Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble websites.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

FB Photo

Happy Reading!

The Blogging Owl

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

The Blogging Owl’s Favorite Author for 2017

It would be an understatement to say I read a lot of books. My preference is to read new authors who have just published their first book although I love the classics and seasoned authors too. This past year I read some great first books and not all of them were published in 2017. But after reading many books this year, there is no doubt that Allen Eskens is my favorite author for 2017.

Allen Eskens is the best at reader foreplay

The first book I read by Mr. Eskens was his first book published in 2014 by Seventh Street Books, Amherst, NY, The Life We Bury. My initial attraction to the book was the title. Don’t we all have a life we have buried or would like to? I was also familiar with the book’s geographical setting in Minneapolis as I have traveled there often for business.

Eskens is a criminal defense attorney that lends credibility to his stories in the crime mystery genre. Not only does he know his topic, but the author is great at character and plot development. When I say he is the best at reader foreplay, he takes his time with the story with enough intrigue and surprises to causing the reader to impatiently want more but yet at the same time not wanting the story to end.

I couldn’t wait to meet up with another of Mr. Eskens novels again so I hurriedly purchased his next two novels, The Guise of Another published in 2015 and The Heavens May Fall published in 2016. These next two meetings were even better than his debut novel. In all of the four Eskens books I read in 2017, a few of the characters reappear in each novel. And what I love best about what Eskens has done with each of his novels is the storytelling stands on its own. The reader need not read the first novel to understand and thoroughly enjoy the next novel, or the novel before for that matter. Each novel reading experience is pure bliss.

Deep Dark DescendingI pre-ordered his last novel that finally arrived on bookshelves last October, The Deep Dark Descending. Oh my dear, Mr. Eskens, dare I say it? Not only are you the best at reader foreplay, you are the best at the finish line too. The ending of each novel is not quite how the reader may anticipate but assuredly takes the reader’s breath away.

Rolling over and sipping the last in my scotch glass and wanting to light a cigarette (I don’t even smoke), how can each novel be better than the last? That’s what makes Allen Eskens my favorite author for 2017.

I do hope another Allen Eskens novel is in my future in 2018.

 

Sidebar: Blogging Owl Book Reviews

In 2017 a few authors sent me their books in exchange for an honest review in which I happily complied; however, in 2018, I will no longer accept this book-for-a-review arrangement. (I purchased all four Allen Eskens novels.)

If authors would like me to review their book, authors may email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com with the following criteria:

• The title of your book
• Honestly answer why you wrote the book you would like me to review
• Your publisher’s contact information

I respond to all emails. Because of the sheer volume of books I read, I cannot offer a deadline for when a review will be given. The Blogging Owl gives a 1 to 5 Hoot Rating.All book reviews are posted here at The Blogging Owl and shared on social media. I will also post book reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble websites. All genres and reading age-levels are considered.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale
The books I purchase for review either remain in my personal library or are donated to non-profit organizations, schools, and libraries. (Sorry, I am not giving up my Allen Eskens novels.)

Follow The Blogging Owl!

FB Photo

The Blogging Owl on Facebook

Twitter @TheBloggingOwl

Email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com

Happy Reading in 2018!

(and to better selfies)

 

 

 

2018 – Three Words to Live By

Wow! What a year in mind, body and spirit in 2017.

As I look toward the end of this year, I would usually write the obligatory New Year’s resolutions. In 2018, my approach will be living by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

“The lack of wastefulness” per Dictionary.com

I will turn 57 years old in 2018. It’s difficult for me to believe I will be that age. Per the World Life Expectancy Organization, the average life expectancy for a woman living in Michigan is 80.68. This average life expectancy ranks 33 in the United States with Hawaii in first place at 84.72 years of age, followed by Minnesota at 83.34 years of age. Minnesota???

Even if I move to Hawaii, I have approximately 27 summers (my favorite season) left in my life.

27 years. Think about that for a moment. How fast did the last 27 years fly by?

No time to waste

I am going to live in the present enjoying every second with people and puppies I love, but more importantly, WHO I want to be in my presence. People that share my sense of fun and frivolity, but who also share my values.

Even if I am having a shitty day, I will think of days in the summer sun and enjoy the warmth of the memories of being in my favorite places and spaces, and doing the things I love to do, and loving on my favorite people.

No time to spend

My husband, Vinny Sal and I have had a tough time financially since 2009 when I lost my job. I have been employed full-time for a year and half of being a self-employed contractor and through perseverance and hard-work, we are almost debt free.

I was impressed by the story of the 28-year old accountant who paid off $73,000 student loan debt in less than 4 years. ABC News Story – Logan Marston

“There wasn’t any kind of secret strategy or secret formula,” Marston said. “I was just living as humbly as possible–splitting rent with roommates, and doing everything I could to save money. I kept a very low cash reserve. I didn’t have any emergency cash. Whatever I saved, I paid the loans with it. No unnecessary spending whatsoever.”

Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Logan Marston taught me to forgo the wants and take care of the needs. By the time we are retired, our goal is to completely be debt free with no mortgages or car payments.

Grace

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

I will continue my personal initiative, “The Watering Can– Helping All of God’s Creatures Thrive.” This initiative is to serve others in need, to be a service resource, and to provide service development for those who want to become their own watering can in their community and beyond.

The Watering Can is a life of service built on the belief that each person and all of God’s creatures have intrinsic value deserving of love and a quality life without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, breed or species.

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment, “‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

Truth

“The state or character of living free” per Dictionary.com

2017 was a year of forced personal revelations and admissions about the state of my mind, body and spirit. I will continue to live my truth and not hide behind it anymore.

Mind

I have unloaded my conscious and soul. I am now true. The things I will continue to do in 2018 is write, blog, and journal. My mind won’t allow me to do anything else.

I started a poetry journal at the beginning of 2017. After reading through it, it speaks more clearly to me of what was happening that day, in my life, and in the world than my other journals. Poetry matters. If not for you, it does to me. I hope you have enjoyed some of the poetry I have posted here along the way. I will continue my poetry journal in 2018 because not only is good for my mind; it is precious to my soul.

Body

In 2017, I came to terms with my weight. I didn’t die from admitting that I am medically coined “obese.” I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and on my way to Type II Diabetes. I have committed to change my lifestyle to the 9-inch plate. Vinny Sal and I have joined the local 24/7-hour gym. Together, supporting one another, we are changing our health, lifestyle so we can reach, and hopefully exceed our life expectancies. Did you notice I didn’t say the word diet? I refuse to diet ever again. I am committed to a lifestyle that gives me more than 27 summers!

Spirit

The one thing I am not proud of in 2017 is that I have not attended church on a weekly basis. I am in search of a faith community for both Vinny Sal and me.It’s my fault really.In 1018, I am embarking on an intense spiritual journey writing a spiritual memoir. As in my new physical lifestyle, I need God. I need to worship Him fully and faithfully. If you want to join me on my spiritual journey, please follow my blog, The Prayer Journals. I will be spending a great deal of time over there pursuing spiritual topics as I explore spiritual purpose.

Frugality – Grace – Truth

Sailboat Haiku 2018

Happy New Year!

The Blogging Owl