August 25, 2013

The Sunday Salon

It's been at least a couple of years since I've participated in The Sunday Salon, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to catch up on a variety of topics, with hopes of rejuvenating my blogging mojo. If you've been a faithful follower, you might have noticed that the majority of recent posts have been photographs. While I haven't been reading nearly as much as usual, I still have several books to review. They are:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (loved it!)

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio (not as good as anticipated)

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler (wonderful audio book)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (can't wait to read more by this author!)

The Good House by Ann Leary (perfect reader for the audio)

It's been nice to have a lot of winners in the stacks, although I did give up on a couple, as well:

Run by Ann Patchett (couldn't get interested)

Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness by Dominique Browning (yawn)

I'm currently reading Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel (author of Stiltsville). I loved her debut novel, but have yet to be sucked into this one. However, I'm holding out hope. I love the Florida setting!

I haven't been listening to very many audio books this month, as I've been on vacation since the 10th. (I typically listen to audios during the first two hours of my shift at the bookstore.) Yesterday, on my drive home from the Omaha airport, I started Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides. This non-fiction title came highly recommended after a good friend learned about my upcoming trip to New Mexico. I've only listened to a little less than an hour, so I'm anxious to get back to it and see what's in store for Kit Carson.

In other news, it is hot, hot, hot! And windy! We've been very fortunate this summer, enjoying lots of mild temps and rain, but August and September are typically brutal. It looks like we'll be in the upper 90s/triple digits for the next five days. I'm already longing for fall and, yes, winter.

In spite of the heat, I spent a large chunk of my day sitting on the porch with a cool drink and my current book. Our 11-year-old granddaughter was here for two weeks and flew back home yesterday morning. We had another awesome summer visit with this sweet girl and I was feeling a little lonely. She's such a smart, articulate, funny, and thoughtful person. I thoroughly enjoy her companionship and wish she lived closer! Anyhow, I probably should have run to the grocery store and done some housework, but I threw my back out on the last day of our road trip and I've been trying to take it easy, hoping it will feel better so I can return to work tomorrow! Hard to ignore all the dust bunnies and dog hair from the past two weeks, though. 

I plan to post pictures from our five-day road trip to South Dakota (Black Hills and the Badlands) later this week. We had a great time, with the exception of the last day. Not only was my back killing me, but the drive home from Valentine, Nebraska is long and boring. We were all happy to get home and sleep in comfortable beds!

If you've read this far, you deserve a couple of photos, don't you think?

Alliance, Nebraska

Beautiful granddaughter 
(soon to be in Middle School!)

Stretching our legs!
South Dakota

South Dakota

Valentine, Nebraska


And now it's time to head out to the porch with my book and a glass of wine. I hope you all have a wonderful week!


  1. We were in the Badlands, Needles Highway and Custer State Park for our vacation this summer. What a great place!

    1. Great minds think alike! It is a great place, isn't it? We would love to return and spend more time up near Lead, Spearfish and Deadwood. Never got that far, as we were only in Custer State Park for 2 days. Such a beautiful area!

  2. What a nice time that must have been Les, and your granddaughter is getting so big too:) thanks for sharing.

    BTW - I tried the audio version of -- Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler, and I could not get use to the older woman's voice ;( hope to read the print edition soon.

    1. It was a wonderful road trip, Diane. I'm ready to go back and spend more time in the northern part of the Black Hills. Maybe we'll plan another trip and include Wyoming and Montana.

      I'm sorry you couldn't get used to Lorna Raver (in Calling Me Home). She is also the reader for The Aviator's Wife.

  3. We've been listening to the same audiobooks lately! Calling Me Home and The Good House are my two favorites this year, and I'll be starting Me Before You (audio) very soon. The Violets of March was a perfect 'train read' for me... especially loved the setting. Run wasn't Anne Patchett's best, but I did like it.

    Your trip sounds wonderful, and your granddaughter is growing up so fast.. what a beautiful young lady! Hope your back is better tomorrow.

    1. Isn't it nice to hit on some great audio books? I'm listening to a mystery right now and it's good, but not as good as some of the ones I've listened to this summer.

      Our trip was a lot of fun and I'm so glad our granddaughter enjoyed herself. She's at that perfect age where she's interested in history and sightseeing and not glued to her iPad, iPod or phone. Or complaining about being bored, hungry or tired. ;)

      My back is finally back to normal! It took almost 2 weeks, but I'm thankful it didn't last any longer!

  4. Hope your back gets to feeling better soon! We did a Black Hills trip a couple of years ago but didn't have time to get to the Badlands. Haven't been there in years; really do need to take the kids there since it's such a unique terrain. How fun that you got to take your granddaughter with you. What a great bonding time!

    Funny, I was just about to say that I've heard great things about the audios of Calling Me Home & The Good House from JoAnn! I'm reading The Girl You Left Behind right now which is Jojo Moyes latest and enjoying it so far.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. My back finally feels better! I was very careful at work this past week and I'm so thankful it was just a matter of time and didn't involve any medical treatment. I have never felt that kind of back pain before. Very annoying.

      The Badlands were awesome, but now that we've seen them, I doubt we'll go back. On the other hand, we'd love to see more of the Black Hills. I'd love to spend a week up near Spearfish & Lead. Hopefully sooner than later!

      Yep, JoAnn and I have been on the same wave-length, so to speak. Lots of great audio books this summer! Glad to hear the new Moyes novel is good. It's on my list!

  5. Oh, Les, you look like you had a wonderful time. I've never really visited the Dakotas. I bet it is a mysteriously beautiful place. (That's the way it seems in my mind, anyway.)

    And you've reminded me that I haven't written a Sunday Salon post in an eon.

    1. We really did have a good time, Deb. As I've mentioned in other comments, I'd really like to return to the Black Hills. It was much more beautiful than we anticipated. Hopefully, we can make a return trip on our way to Wyoming and Montana. We're dreaming of longer road trips with a camper. :)

  6. Oh, Les, it looks like you had a great trip! I've never been to the Dakotas, but I bet it is mysteriously beautiful there.

    I must write a Sunday Salon post soon. It has been too long for me, too.

  7. I look forward to seeing more photos from your trip, Les! I am sorry your back was giving you trouble and hope it is feeling better now. It sounds like you had a wonderful visit with your granddaughter. I hope my mom has such nice things to say about my daughter when she's that age! :-)

    There's been much praise for You Before Me, but I am still dragging my feet about that one. I really want to read The Girl You Left Behind by the same author, however. I'm finally getting around to listening to Ready Player One--I think I'll even make my husband listen to it when I'm done.

    Have a great week, Les!

    1. My back is feeling so much better and I'm so thankful it didn't turn out to be something worse. My husband has had back pain for a couple of years, so now I'm much more understanding. ;)

      Isn't Ready Player One awesome?! My husband read and enjoyed it, but I think he would've loved it had he listened to the audio. It's such a great production and the reader's enthusiasm was spot on.

      I know how it goes when a book gets a lot of hype/praise, so I hope you aren't disappointed with You Before Me. I thought it was wonderful and am so anxious to read more by Moyes.

      Hope you're having a good weekend!


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