Readers Workout – exercise update

This past week we were on vacation. Our plans to go to Cedar Key had been canceled as the damage from Hurricane Hermine hit them hard. No matter, we had a good time eating, drinking, reading and riding.

My goal to hit over 10,000 a day was sabotaged by a powerful allergy attack. Between the goldenrod and cut grass in our area I was hit hard. So those days I didn’t get much walking in.

On a positive note I did get quite a bit of walking in the other days. And best of all, even being on vacation, I weighed in and have lost 7 pounds. Yea!

The eating plan has been going well and with mostly vegetarian fare my husband and I are both seeing weight loss. This is the last week of October and the plan is to continue walking about 4 miles in the morning before work. I’ll set some good goals for November – can you believe it’s almost here?

How was your exercise week?

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

imageOur main star in the book is Elka,  a  17-year-old who narrates the story. It’s set in British Columbia, or what as once known as British Columbia before the wars. The genre is labeled as post-apocalyptic and that’s a magic phrase for when selecting a book.

Elka is orphaned and at the tender age of seven meets up with a survivalist, a man called Trapper who takes her in.  She is taught survival skills and this puts me in mind of the movie Hanna (starring  Saoirse Ronin). It’s not the same plot obviously, just the young female being taught survivalist skills, the unconventional upbringing brought this to mind.

After a supply trip into town Elka learns things that alarm her about Trapper and needs to flee.  Will her training be good enough to evade Trapper?  I liked this book and would read more by this author.

  • I received this book from the Blogging for Books program.  All opinions, nice and otherwise, are mine.


A Bit About Britain

A Bit About Britain. I didn’t know about this website until recently and I am happy to have discovered it. If you are an Anglophile and like reading about all sorts of places to visit, historical narratives, photos and stories of pubs and generally all things British – check out this site.


To use their words, it is a proclaimed portal into Britain’s heritage and attractions  with countless articles that will keep you going for hours. It makes me want to travel, as usual, but it’s the armchair travel for me at this time. One day.

Take this article – Why 467 Pubs are called The Royal Oak

“What might be called ‘the Royal Oak Incident’ took place when the future King Charles II hid in an oak tree after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. This was a real event, which might have had a very different outcome, and is a fascinating story. You can visit the spot where it happened, Boscobel House in Shropshire “

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PHOTO Credit: A Bit About Britain

For history timelines, King and Queens, fabulous photography and inspiration please do check out this fabulous site.  I could start a notebook listing places I’d like to visit while perusing this site.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


Readers’ Workout on Vacation

I’m on vacation this week so I wasn’t sure if I would be walking more or less. As it turns out, I have walked less so far. Our old Shiba Inu was quite sick on Friday evening and we were both up with her many times during the early morning hours.

Saturday morning we had her at the vet’s office as soon as they opened. Long story short and $750 later, Aja has pancreatitis.

Here she is sporting a bandage from the blood work and IV.


With very little sleep we just weren’t worth a darned as far as exercise. So, not much walking in that day. Yesterday we did manage to get a ride in so, no walking for a bit there as rode up into Georgia and sat on a motorcycle.

Here are my stats for the week ending Oct. 9th where I was hoofing it a bit more.

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Oh, I managed to reset my account with FitBit and instead of it showing I have lost 5 and a half pounds since I got the device, now it on;y shows .4 pounds.  Somehow I reset the date and can’t figure out what to do so, there it is.  No biggie as I know what I’ve lost and I’m keeping up the good diet and exercise.

How as your week? 

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


The Trespasser by Tana French: book 6 in the Dublin Murder Squad series



The next Tana French publication always has me chomping at the bit, eager to read the latest goings on in the Dublin Murder Squad.

I was fortunate enough to get The Trespasser from the library shortly after it released. Honestly, in spite of some slow parts, I devoured it over a weekend. Rather than hash out a reiteration of other reviews and synopsis of the plot I’ll get to the pros and cons.

So, the previous book introduced Antoinette Conway and slid Stephen Moran back on to the scene. Moran was in Faithful Place as a minor character and had a bigger role in The Secret Place. I like him and hope to read more about him. Conway on the other hand was not a character I could warm up to. I just didn’t like her in the previous book so, to be honest, I was disappointed she held such a starring role in this book.  Admittedly I changed my mind about her by the end.

Midway through the book I thought it dragged a little. Too much talk and theorizing about gang connections (this will make sense when you read it) but then we turned a corner. The carrot is always dangling about who may have been the murderer and the guesses range from

1) The one they are focusing on is so obvious, it can’t be them,

2) If they are focusing on one person so much that it can’t be them, maybe that’s what the author wants you think and indeed…it is them,

3) You’ll be blindsided by a big revelation about 40 pages from the end and there is the ah-ha moment, the big reveal.

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She has done that, a big twist, so you can’t rule anything out. By the end of the book I liked Conway better. She’s still not my favorite character but it won’t give me heartburn if she turns up in other books. The twist at the end was good. Well written with many theories and heated discussions between the detectives.

In the latter half of the book Detective Moran uses the phrase “tickety-boo” and I immediately remembered Joy writing about this on one of the British Isles Friday posts.  I’d never heard the term before and then it pops up in this novel.

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Now I wait another 2 years for the next book in this series. That’s about how long it seems to take for publication. Personally I am hoping Scorcher Kennedy makes another appearance but I don’t think she will bring him back for more story lines. He wasn’t everyone’s favorite but I sure liked him.

Do you read the Dublin Murder Squad series and if so, what is your favorite book in the lineup?

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


Exercising Regularly with Readers’ Workout

This past week showed a bit of change in weight loss. We had avoided weighing in for a few weeks to see if there had been any progress.   Not big milestones but my husband lost 6 pounds and I lost 4.   My goal is to lose 12 pounds and he is aiming for another 6. We’ll evaluate further when that happens!

We have started walking regularly in the mornings, covering about 3 miles plus another mile and half (ballpark) with the dog.


If we’re lucky Aja will walk first so we can warm up. Anyone with a dog knows it’s not a fast paced exercise and that’s fine. We walk her over a mile, she does her business and then we pop her back in the house and proceed to cover the same territory, only at a faster pace.

We have also been eating better, cutting back on fattier foods and all but eliminated desserts.  Seriously, I am a sucker for a sour cream doughnut and I have had one in the last month so….not too bad.

We are eating less meat and more beans, grains and veggies.  Some of the delicious vegetarian meals we’ve had include:

Baked Ratatouille, Hearty Rice Skillet with Veggies and Vegetarian Cassoulet

I am also a sucker for a red blend – Dreaming Tree Red Crush is the top of my list and yeah, I know I could lose quicker if I didn’t have wine.  But I love it.

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That is all I have to share right now.  Still walking and eating better so, it’s a good start.  How is your week going regarding exercise?

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog and join in!


British Isles Friday – the latest Tana French novel



If you have been following me for a while you will know I eagerly await the latest Tana French novel. I finally have it!

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I got on the list early at the library and remained #5 for ages. Once it was released I grabbed my copy. I am just over 120 pages into the book so, no review yet. Since it’s #BriFri at Joy’s Book Blog I thought I would participate and share my current infatuation.

So far the lead detective, Antoinette Conway, isn’t my favorite. She was a bit too abrasive for me in the last book, The Secret Place, and again, still not my favorite.

Why can’t we have Frank Mackey back?!  I love him.  Of course Frank’s character is in the Undercover Unit but he has made some appearance in the Dublin Murder Squad series.

Bottom line, Tana French is a great writer, so descriptive and takes you into the scene, into the homes and lets you be the observer.  I can tell this still won’t top out as my favorite Tana book but I’m not bored by this murder investigation either.

More on this book later.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


Readers’ Workout in October

It has been quite a while since I participated in Readers Workout hosted by Joy. I have to admit, I was discouraged for a while as my eating habits had changed but the weight wasn’t coming off.  I tried yoga and managed to hurt myself – yes, I tried to make some moves that my body wasn’t ready for and as a result, tore fibers in my upper leg.

Then I saw the Fitbit at Costco and thought, I really want to get one of those.  A work mate tried hers on me and I hated it.  So I went many months before thinking about getting one and trying it again.

I’m so glad I did.  First of all, when my friend tried her FitBit on me she latched it to my left wrist and she made it a little too tight for my comfort level.  Then I saw the Alta advertised and it’s thinner and slightly lighter than the Flex.

If you have ever shopped at Costco you’ll know they will take anything back except tobacco.  My feeling was, why not try it and if I hate it, it gets returned.



I latched it to my right wrist and have it at a comfortable fit.  After a few days I was used to it and I have to say, it’s a great motivational tool.  It reminds me to get up from my desk and walk or stretch.  Since I’m a Government Drone I sadly spend much time at a desk so the little reminders have helped immensely.

That’s all I have to share this week but hope to participate more and share what exercise and diet tips are working for me.


Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!



Dear Mr M just lost momentum, for me.


dear-mr-m-2895459This is a physiological thriller and very detailed depiction of human nature. The start of this book appears to be letter to an author, hence the title, Dear Mr M. It becomes all too apparent after reading a chapter or two that this letter writer is a stalker. He’s watching and reporting his observations via his letter or manifesto. I was hooked after 2 chapters.

The stalker/letter writer addresses a book Mr. M wrote years ago. Mr. M took the real life disappearance of a high school teacher, a teacher who had a fling with Laura (one of his female students), and turned it into a fictional account. This was a very popular novel filled with conjecture about the disappearance and the possible guilt of two of his former students.
The stalker then turns to the real story about the teacher and young girl, leaving you with cliff hangers at the end of several chapters.

Very abruptly the novel switches narrators. Mr. M, the aging bored writer, is the narrator and this part just doesn’t have the attraction of the previous 50 or so pages. Still, interesting enough and I read on. The narrator and time frame again change abruptly to 20 something years ago and we get a glimpse of the female student Laura and her new boyfriend Herman.

The part on Dutch politics didn’t thrill me nor did the middle part of the book when we had to hear, ad nauseum, about the teenagers and their thoughts.

Sounds confusing but I was still on board with all the story lines until it just lost steam. For me. I see there are some 5 star reviews but this ultimately wasn’t my cuppa tea. I did like the writing in Herman Koch’s book The Dinner.

I received this book free of charge from the Blogging for Books program.  All opinions are mine.


Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson


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devil Once again we have two separate murder investigations going on here. In my opinion, his writing gets better with each book. So far there are currently 23 DCI Banks books out and I’m on a mission to catch up with the series. Then I can eagerly await publication of the newest book in the future.

This book, Friend of the Devil, is number 17 in the series.

DI Annie Cabbot has been loaned out to neighboring police force but she is in touch with Eastvale Police as the two investigations appear to relate to one another.

Alan Banks is paired with obnoxious DS Kevin Templeton and one of my new favorite characters, Winsome Jackman. Winsome is a 6 foot black female detective hailing from Jamaica. You can imagine the stir she causes in the quiet Yorkshire dales since they’ve never had any ethnicity in the police force before.

In Banks’ investigation we have a collage-aged drunken female who was found raped and murdered in The Maze. There are many suspects but the murderer wasn’t who I thought it would be. Great job of keeping that a mystery up until the end. I wish he had written about the murdered girl’s family again though, see them have closure.

Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot’s investigation involves a wheel-chair bound woman who had her throat slit. Why would anyone want to harm a paraplegic? That is revealed, as well as a blast-from-the-past from a previous book, when they discover the murderer  in this case.

At the 60% mark there was a huge twist and surprise!  As always what I love about Alan Banks is the dedication to the job as well as his personal life interests of literature, music and food. Reading some reviews there are folks who only want the murder investigation and have zero interest in the personal life and loves of our detectives. I like the balance of knowing who these people are when they aren’t working. It makes them more rounded characters for me.

There was quite a bit of food mentioned in this book as many discussions take place in a pub. At one point Banks meet someone in a wine bar and enjoyed a good wine and baked brie with toasted baguette. Yorkshire puddings, sausages, vegetarian meals, Black Sheep ales and more.

Again I honor Annie by preparing a Hearty Rice Vegetable skillet. The recipe didn’t call for adding avocado but since I had some sliced on the table, I thought, why not. It was wonderful! Recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor.


Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday
The British Book Challenge at The Overflowing Library.