July Reading Round-Up

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Hard to believe summer is half over!
It’s that time to share what I have been reading this past month.
The total read for July was 38 books with the following breakdown:
Paranormal -5
Fantasy – 2
Historical – 1
Romance – 15
Women’s Fiction – 8
Classics – 0
YA – 1
PB – 1
Memoir – 0
Mystery – 0
Non-Fiction – 1
Play – 0
Time travel – 2
Diverse books – 2

I decided this year to record in more detail where the books originated – from the library, on my TBR shelves, an e-book, bought /gifted or a charity read (Bought from a charity store). Here’s the breakdown
Library reads – 24
TBR books –1
e-books – 13
Charity reads – 0

Here are the books read for my favourite challenges:

Popsugar Ultimate Reading Challenge (Through Goodreads)
As I near the end of books to finish this challenge, I have slowed down a bit.
1. Book being made into a movie this year –A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Advanced #4 – Book read in season it is set in –One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

52 Books in 52 Weeks
#18 -Picked out for you by someone else- Evie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
#31 –Everyone’s talking about – The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
#45 – A beach read – One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

Monthly Key Word Challenge
The key word I chose this month was “Fire”:
Tempted by Fire by Erin Kellison

Monthly Motif
The theme this month was “Time”. I read several time travel books by Katy Baker:
Echoes of a Highlander
Touch of a Highlander
Dreams of a Highlander
As well I read an historical fiction novel:
The Beast’s Bride by Jayne Castel

Diversify Your Reading
The genre was Humour:
Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella

Connect Five
I post a separate post on any Connect Five books I read each month. My latest:
“Written in 1st person POV” (check here)

“Time travel involving highlanders” (check here)

“Christmas in July” (check here)

Favourite Books Read This Month

Once again, this was an excellent month for reading books that I rated a number of books a 5 at Goodreads – but I’ll list my top ten only.

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery
Charming by Elliott James
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery
The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

August Goals
I hope to read a more diverse range of books, including mysteries, and more MG/YA books this month as well as more books on my TBR shelves.


I am linking with the following:

Monthly Wrap-up  (At Feed Your Fiction Addiction)



Best of the Bunch (at A Cocoon of Books)


Month in Review 6
Monthly Review


Spread the Love (at As Told by Tina)


Connect Five – Christmas in July


I love Christmas and what better way to connect books than through this favourite holiday – and reading them in July as well! Connect 5 is hosted at Book Date and is such a fun reading challenge.

Once I read two,  I had to read several more. With ebooks I had a wide choice . Here are the 5 Christmas books I read this July, all lovely romance novels.


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Dear Santa: The Party by Mona Ingram

Sometimes it is better to meet someone when you don’t know who they really are.



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Christmas With You by Tracey Alvarez

My favourite of the 5 and takes place in New Zealand – what’s not to like?



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Holiday Sparks by Taryn Quinn

Imagine hating Christmas. Will Darcy gain some Christmas spirit?




His Christmas Bride by Lara Van Hulzen

What is better than a Christmas Eve wedding?



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The Secret Santa Wishing Well by Nikki Lynn Barrett

Will their wishes be granted for Christmas?


Connect Five – First Person POV


The Connect 5 reading challenge hosted at “The Book Date” urges us to connect some books in some way.

I’ve had a busy month of reading – and so many good books. As I finished one this morning, I realized I had read several books written in first person POV (point of view).

Those books are:



Storm Chased by Patricia Briggs

This is the 11th book in the Mercy Thompson paranormal series. Now I have to wait another year for the next book! Love this series and main characters.


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The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

This was a reread for me and I loved as much the second time as the first. Imagine being forced to complete a life list you wrote at 14 to be able to inherit a fortune.



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The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley

How far would you go to prove to your ex that you had moved on? Not just for an evening but for a whole week of a wedding party.



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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Two people, sharing a flat and never meeting. Great premise, lovely story.



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Charming by Elliott James

Paranormal or urban fantasy? Either way I was drawn into this story of The Pax Arcane. I loved the imaginative take on the story as well the two main characters. Now onto the next 4 books in the series!

5 Books – Time Travel, with Highlanders


I have been working on several connect 5 sets of books and have just finished my fifth book – with the theme of time travel, involving highlanders. There is something about Scotland and highlanders – just look at the success of Outlander by  Diana Gabaldon.

Each of these books was an ebook, several by the same author, in a series. They were quick, fun reads, all with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines.

Arch Through Time series by Katy Baker:

baker 1 31752109._SY475_   Dreams of a Highlander


baker 2 33780130._SY475_  Touch of a Highlander


34644864._SY475_  Echoes of a Highlander



by Stella Knight

39910639._SY475_  Eadon’s Vow 



42613207._SY475_  Her Highlander Fate


Still lots of time to join in the Connect 5 fun. I love the challenge of connecting 5 books – by theme, author, word in title – whatever you can find to connect the books.



Top Ten Tuesday


Happy TTT! This meme was originally created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, but now resides with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. 

This week’s topic is top-ten auto-buy authors.

There are so many authors I love, but some more so, that I just have to get their new books as soon as I am able.

These authors are:

Susanna Kearsley – I had to re-read The Rose Garden this year as I was so wanting a new book by her.

Sarah Morgan – love, love her romances

Sarah J. Maas – such great fantasy series

Louise Penny – just over a month til her next Gamache book is out!

Patricia Briggs – so into her paranormal series

Susan Mallery

Ilona Andrews

Mariah Stewart

Barbara O’Neal

Samantha Chase


Yes, I do love romance, fantasy and paranormal the most.  There are many other authors I enjoy, but usually will wait to get them from the library, rather than buy immediately. And I’ve recently discovered some new authors who I am eager to read more of:

Helen Hoang

Susan Hatler

Sonali Dev

Beth O’Leary

Helena Hunting

Rosie Blake

Linda Holmes

Sally Thorne

Laura Creedle

Kasie West




Guest Post by Mari L. McCarthy on Mindful Eating

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As part of the blog tour for Mari L. McCarthy’s book “Heal Yourself With Journaling Power”, Mari has agreed to share with us how mindful journaling leads to mindful eating.

As someone who has struggled with weight for years, Mari’s book has helped me to journal about issues and concerns on a more regular basis and has led to my writing about my weight.

Welcome Mari!

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Mindful Journaling for Mindful Eating

Food can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. Unfortunately, for many, food can also be a source of stress, guilt and judgment.

If you have a complicated relationship with food, adopting a more mindful approach to eating may be a good fit for you. Mindful eating – complemented by mindful journaling – can help you make intentional choices, savor your meals more and unravel your complex emotions around food.

Mindfulness and Journaling

Mindfulness is simply being aware of the present moment and paying attention thoughts, feelings and sensations without judgment. When you are mindful, you aren’t going through the motions on autopilot; you are purposefully bringing your focus back to the present.

Journaling is a practice that builds mindfulness. Writing in your journal helps you tune into what you are feeling and thinking right now, revealing deeper insights into your experiences.

Tips for Mindful Eating

The purpose of mindful eating isn’t to count calories or lose weight. It’s to heighten your awareness and appreciation of every bite – and many people do find that they eat less, enjoy more and make healthier choices when they become more mindful eaters.

Are you ready to incorporate more mindfulness into your meals? Start with these small steps.

Focus on Your Senses

Slow down and savor your food. Focus on your senses while you are eating. How do you experience smell, sound, touch, sight and taste? Notice all of these sensations as you slowly chew each bite.

Change Your Attitude

Embrace mindful attitudes when eating, such as:

Patience: taking time to be aware of each moment and letting the experience unfold
Non-judgment: cultivating an open mind and letting go of past experiences or attachments
Acceptance: noticing what you are experiencing and accepting it for what it is
Trust: developing awareness of your personal experience and trusting what is true for you

Write It Down

Keep a record in your journal of what you eat throughout the day. After a meal or a snack, jot down brief notes on:

What you ate or drank
Where you were and who you were with
If you were doing anything else while eating (watching TV, working, etc.)
How you felt while eating (hungry, sad, bored, etc.)

Remember the mindful attitudes you worked on earlier, especially non-judgment. Food journaling is supposed to build awareness, not shame or guilt. Just notice what you are eating and why, and that knowledge will help you make more mindful choices. Research shows that writing down what you eat helps you observe your habits, identify patterns and make healthy modifications in behaviors you want to change.

Strive to listen to your senses, savor your meals and eat mindfully every day.


Thanks Mari – such wonderful advice!



Be sure to visit all the stops on this wonderful blog tour!

— Blog Tour Dates

June 17th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by Women on Writing’s blog The Muffin and read an interview with author Mari McCarthy and win a copy of her book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



June 18th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Visit author Karen Brown Tyson’s blog today where you can read Mari McCarthy’s guest post about why you might still be experiencing writer’s block.



June 19th @ Conversations Live with Cyrus Webb (Originally Aired June 12th @ 10:30 AM EST)

Cyrus Webb interviews Mari McCarthy of Create Write Now about her latest bestseller Heal Your Self With Journaling Power.



June 20th @ Look to the Western Sky

Visit Margo’s blog today where you can catch her review of Mari McCarthy’s incredible new book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



June 22nd @ Lapidus 

Visit Lapidus, words for well-being association, where you can read Francesca’s review of Mari McCarthy’s eye-opening book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power. 



June 23rd @ Life Like a Galaxy Girl

Stop by Alanna’s blog today where you can read her review of Mari McCarthy’s new book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power. 



June 24th @ Thoughts in Progress

Do you love the energy in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Well, if you do, you will not want to miss today’s post at the blog Thoughts in Progress where Mari McCarthy shares her tips on how to recreate the magic of NaNoWriMo in any month.



June 25th @ Bev Baird’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Bev’s blog today where you can read her review of Mari McCarthy’s book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



June 26th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog today where she highlights Mari McCarthy’s new book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



June 27th @ The Frugalista Mom

Make sure to Rozelyn’s blog and read her review of Mari McCarthy’s book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power. Plus enter to win a copy for yourself!



June 29th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab your coffee and visit Lacey’s blog today and read her thoughts about Mari McCarthy’s powerful new book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



June 30th @ Wild Woman Writer

Visit Anne’s blog today where you can catch her review of Mari McCarthy’s inspiring new book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 1st @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog today and read Mari McCarthy’s poignant guest post about our conversations with our inner critic and how to silence them.



July 1st @ Writing Through Life

Be sure to stop by Amber’s blog and read her interview with author Mari McCarthy and also enter to win a copy of the book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 2nd @ Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

If you are in need of a new book in your life, make sure to stop by Lindsey’s blog today where you can read her review of MariMcCarthy’s new book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 2nd @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog again today where you can read Mari McCarthy’s guest post about why we procrastinate and how to avoid it.



July 3rd @ The World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog today and catch her thoughts about Mari McCarthy’s book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 5th @ Bring on Lemons

Make lemons into lemonade today when you visit Crystal’s blog today and read her thoughts about Mari McCarthy’s new book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 7th @ One Sister’s Journey Keeping it Real

Visit Lisa’s blog today where you can read Mari‘s blog post about disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with yourself.



July 8th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Want to inspire your kids to journal? Visit Ashley’s blog today and read Mari McCarthy’s guest post featuring imaginative journaling activities to do with kids.



July 9th @ Bev Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog again where you can read Mari McCarthy’s guest post about mindful journaling for mindful eating. Don’t miss!



July 9th @ Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

Visit Lindsey’s blog again where you can find out more about Mari McCarthy and her book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 10th @ Lapidus

Join Francesca at Lapidus again where you can read Mari McCarthy’s guest post about why journaling is part of self-care.



July 10th @ Look to the Western Sky

Make sure you visit Margo’s blog again and read Mari McCarthy’s guest post featuring more imaginative journaling activities you can do with your kids.



July 12th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Stop by author Anthony Avina’s blog today where you can read his review about Mari McCarthy’s inspirational book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power



July 12th @ Bookworm Blog

Visit Anjanette’s blog today where you can read her interview with author Mari McCarthy and also be sure to check out MariMcCarthy’s guest post about journaling power for emotional health.



July 13th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Make sure your day today includes visiting Ashley’s blog where you can read her thoughts about Mari McCarthy’s life-changing book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 14th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Do you procrastinate too much? Well, visit Anthony Avina’s blog again today where you can read Mari McCarthy’s guest post on how to use your favorite types of procrastination to your advantage.



July 15th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Do you like to journal? Stop by Wendi’s blog today where author Mari McCarthy talks about journaling power for mental health. Don’t miss it!



July 16th @ Reading Whale

Visit Caitlin’s blog today and read her interview with Mari McCarthy as they talk about Mari‘s book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 17th @ Michelle Cornish Blog

Stop by Michelle’s blog where she reviews Mari McCarthy’s book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power. You can also check out her interview with Mari and find out more about the author!



July 19th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Do you love journaling? Well if so, you will want to visit Wendi’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Mari McCarthy’s powerful book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 19th @ Bookworm Blog

Visit Anjanette’s blog again where you can read her review of Mari McCarthy’s book Heal Your Self with Journaling Power.



July 21st @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today where you can read Mari McCarthy’s blog post about overcoming writer’s block. Don’t miss this if you are struggling with staying inspired!




ROW80 – Start of Round 3


ROW 80 provides a special way to encourage/nurture one’s writing – they provide accountability, with the belief that we all have lives, so we do the best we can.
For the past two years I have not been consistent with my writing and have had little contact with ROW 80.

I do need the accountability and support as I so want to resurrect my writing.
What a perfect day to start this third round of ROW80. I had great hopes for Round 2, but life took over and I slipped back into old patterns of inactivity.

Here we are half way through the year. Time to recharge on this Canada Day – a day for celebrating Canada and who we can be.

I am determined to make this second half of the year more productive. I have cut back on the number of goals – 5 writing goals seems doable.

Here are my goals for Round 3:

1. Write daily – at least 500 words daily.
2. Write at least one picture book and/or short story a month
3. Write at least 1 other post weekly on my art or writing blog (besides ROW80 posts)
4. Continue to work on memoir.
5. Take part in Camp NaNoWriMo in July – with goal of 30,000 words.

1. Read several picture books for study purpose each week
2. Read 2 books on writing as well as articles
3. Read often for pleasure.

1. Create daily

Follow Healthy Habits:
1. Walk at least 3x a week
2. Drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day
3. Record healthy eating/exercise in health journal daily.