Archive | December, 2019

Book Review: Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie (4/5)

12 Dec

I stumbled across this series in college and I’ve been making my way through it faster now that I’ve realized all of the books are available as audiobooks on Hoopla. I really enjoy the characters and writing so expect this to continue for some time!

Cover image via Goodreads

Caveat Emptor (Medicus Investigation #4) by Ruth Downie

Other books by Downie reviewed on this blog:

Terra Incognita (Medicus Investigation #2) 4/5
Persona Non Grata (Medicus Investigation #3) 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Ruso and Tilla, now newlyweds, have moved back to Britannia, where Ruso’s old friend and colleague Valens has promised to help him find work. But it isn’t the kind of work he’d had in mind-Ruso is tasked with hunting down a missing tax man named Julius Asper.

Of course, there’s also something else missing: money. And the council of the town of Verulamium is bickering over what’s become of it. Compelled to delve deeper by a threat from his old sparring partner, Metellus, Ruso discovers that the good townsfolk may not be as loyal to Rome as they like to appear.

While Tilla tries to comfort Asper’s wife, an anonymous well-wisher is busy warning the couple to get away from the case before they get hurt. Despite our hero’s best efforts to get himself fired as investigator, he and his bride find themselves trapped at the heart of an increasingly treacherous conspiracy involving theft, forgery, buried treasure, and the legacy of Boudica, the Rebel Queen.

I just love this series and these characters. Tilla is very relatable and Ruso always finds himself in the best situations. The characters that surround them are amazingly diverse and fun and the detail that Downie puts into the setting brings it to life well. I don’t know much about life in Roman Britain and the ways Downie describes it doesn’t exactly make me want to move there, but I might visit.

The supporting characters are a bit unbelievable, a caricature of real people, but man are they funny. Albanus and Valens are less believable than most but they’re some of my favorite characters in the series. Tilla and Ruso are very down-to-earth and much more believable so that the whole store has an overall realism to it even with such jokesters around.

Tilla is my favorite character. She is very smart and independent, to a point where it’s almost detrimental to her. She is fine in her society of native Britains but when she comes into Roman society with Ruso, she’s very out of place. The two of them are very good together, though, and I can’t wait to see where they go throughout the series.

I related to Tilla. Her care for the young baby was very realistic and made her seem very motherly while she’s going through the struggles of trying to conceive. Her mothering instinct kicked in and I can understand how that would happen! I have a few friends with babies and I always want to be holding them and making sure they have everything they need all the time.

Ruth Downie
Image via Audible

Valens and Albanus together made my favorite parts of this book. The humor they infused was great and I got excited each time one of them was mentioned and coming into the storyline. Albanus always seems to find a way to help and Valens a way to intercede. They’re great supporting characters to Ruso and Tilla and good for a bit of fun.

I felt like this book ended before the end and I was a little frustrated until I realized that they were still solving the mystery. It seemed to wrap up so well that I was a bit thrown off about how much time was left but I still liked how it ended. So this is really a minor gripe. I really enjoyed this book.

My audiobook was narrated by Simon Vance and I thought he did an amazing job. He gave great weight to things that were heavy and a light tone to things that are funny. He used a good variety of voices for the characters, differing his pitch enough to keep them straight but not so much that it was distracting.

The underlying plot of Tilla’s infertility was really touching. It spoke to truthfulness in marriage and what love will endure. I thought it was touching how far Tilla was going to try to conceive and showed how much she cared about Ruso. I wonder if they’ll be able to have a baby together and I can’t wait to see how that plays out.

Writer’s Takeaway: Downie does a great job of balancing humorous and serious moments. When something is too silly, you can be almost certain that something unpleasant is coming. I like being able to laugh and be shocked by the book from scene to scene. It’s a great emotional rush going through one of these titles.

A really enjoyable read from a favorite series. Four out of Five stars.

This book fulfills the Pre-1300 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Caveat Emptor | S.J.A. Turney’s Books & More
Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie | Mixed Book Bag

WWW Wednesday, 11-December-2019

11 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve made good progress with Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley. I realized I get an hour for lunch instead of 30 minutes so I’m spending more time reading each day and it’s been really fun. I like using the time in the middle of the day for myself.
I’m adoring Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I can already tell it’s a lovely slow burn that I’ll be happy to be going through for the next few months. With how long it is, I think it will be a close one to have it finished by January.
Part of the reason it will be tight to have it finished in time is that I’m doing a Buddy Read with a good friend of mine for The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. She and I were supposed to see Patchett speak in October but I ended up giving her the wrong date and she wasn’t available on the right one. Doh! I bought her a copy of the book and we’re going to read it in four chunks and discuss it throughout.
I’ve just started Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. I’m doing quick work on audiobooks lately so I’m optimistic that this one will be finished very quickly!

Recently finished: I absolutely flew through The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Montey was an amazing example of character voice and the plot was so fun that I was making time to listen to it in even the smallest chunks so I could get further and further through the story. I haven’t had that much fun with a book in a while and it was a very welcome break.

Now that I’m writing real blog posts again, I have at least one book review posted for you all! I reviewed Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins on Monday. I have a lot more reviews to catch up on so expect an outpouring of those over the next few weeks.

Reading Next: It’s been a while since I started the series, but I think my next book would be Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner. This is a fun frontier series that is loosely based on a relative of the author. I think I’ll need an audiobook next so this seems the way to go.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Club Reflection: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

10 Dec

My book club met to discuss Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter pretty soon after I finished reading it. It feels like ages since this happened because of my NaNoWriMo slow down so I’m glad I can finally tell you about it.

I was the only person in the group who hadn’t seen Cleopatra. I’m not sure I want to see it now that I know more about it and understand that its popularity was due to the romance between the leads. It sounds like the movie itself wasn’t that great.

Many felt Walter’s description of Italy brought the place to life. I loved the descriptions of Pasquale’s home and family. It was very vivid and easy to envision.

Most of us didn’t like Pat and we felt that his section was a bit ‘too much’ and hard to believe. He was an addict like his father. He was also dramatic and a good actor like his father. He wasn’t much like Alvis, his adopted father, except toward the end when he became very domesticated. We thought this might be a way of dealing with his addictions. It was hard reading about Dee and how she didn’t tell him for so long. She never resolved how she felt about Dick and we think she was avoiding him coming back into her life. She was trying to escape from Dick. And it got harder and harder to tell Pat after time went by until it was forced on her.

We all felt Pasquale was the most likable male character in the story. He was also the only one who didn’t want to be an artist, but he was still a dreamer, trying to make a wonderful hotel. He never seemed young to us, likely a case of an ‘old soul.’ He also wasn’t described much physically except for his eyes.

Within the book, Walter has a lot of different stories, like Alvis Bender’s first chapter and Shane’s pitch. When each plotline started, it was like getting pitched a new script because they seemed so separate at first. It took Walter 15 years to finish this book and we could see why.

One of the memorable lines from the book was, “People want what they want.” We felt that the motivator was present throughout most of the book. These characters hurt others in pursuit of getting whatever it was that they wanted. The town Pasquale lives in translates to ‘Port of Shame’ and each character seems to air their shame during the story. Michael Dean went even further than that and took someone else’s shame (Dick and Liz) and turned it into a spectacle for everyone to ogle.

We felt that almost every character could be described as their own Beautiful Ruin. Most of them are striving for beauty and art in their lives. A ruin survives time, but it’s not intact and most of these characters have to go through trouble to get through their struggles. The gun bunker and the port town were physical examples of beautiful ruins. We thought the moment with Dee and Pasquale in the bunker was one of the sweetest moments in the book.

Most of us were not fans of the ending. The story wrapped up too quickly and it felt like everything worked out too well, almost like a fairy tale. We were also left a bit confused about what happened between Pasquale and Dee. It felt like a romance, but not much romantic happened. And we were confused about how she managed to travel the way she did if she was so weak. It felt a little magical.

I missed the November meeting because I was out of town and we’ll skip December because of the holidays so I’ll be back with this group in January to discuss Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I’m already loving the book.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (4/5)

9 Dec

This book was a big hit a few years ago when it first made the rounds with book clubs. My group is often a bit behind and this was no exception. The beautiful cover has stuck in my mind so I was excited to finally pick it up.

Cover image via Goodreads

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Summary from Goodreads:

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

You really had to pay attention to this book to keep it straight in your head. I think the audiobook was a bit of a hindrance in that respect. The time jumps were a little confusing and the number of characters was a bit higher than I was really comfortable with. Altogether, it was a fun read. I loved the setting in Italy and Claire was a fun modern character to connect with. The variety of people and times and plots kept me interested and guessing where we’d go to next and what would happen. I thought it all came together a bit too nicely in the end, but it was also good to have all the loose ends tied up.

The characters were very distinct. I’m not sure if I would call them credible, but each was memorable for one or two characteristics that helped me keep them straight in my head. Some were more believable than others. I didn’t buy that Claire’s boyfriend could turn around and be marriage material (my apologies for forgetting his name, it’s been a while). I thought Shane was a bit too much at times and his plotline tied up a bit too well for me. I’d say they all had a little bit of a caricature in them which made them a bit hard to believe but overall, they created a wonderful cast of characters.

Dee was my favorite character. We see her in many different stages of her life and she really binds the story together more than anyone else. We see her as a young woman, recently pregnant. We see her as the mother of a teenager, and we see her near the end of life, as an older woman. She’s graceful through it all, but we see her anger and resentment a bit as well. Her feelings for Richard Burton are very complex and I liked how that progressed through the story. She felt the most fleshed-out of all the characters and, to me, the most real.

I related to Pasquale’s ambition. He wanted to make something out of nothing and was very determined to do it. I think anyone who writes feels the same way. You want to create something meaningful, lasting, and beautiful, where there was nothing before. I could understand that energy and that enthusiasm. When he was put out about his tennis court, it was heartbreaking to hear because I sympathized with the pain.

Jess Walter
Image from the author’s website

My favorite plotline was the one with Dee and Pasquale in Italy when Dee is pregnant. I thought their relationship was really beautiful and I liked that instead of pushing the two together, it pushed Pasquale back to his ex. It felt very real to me that a woman like Dee and Pasquale’s attraction to her would stir memories of someone else he cared for. It was a good development for Pasquale’s character.

The ending of the book upset me. It seemed too convenient. Everyone’s story wrapped up neatly and so perfectly in the last chapter that I felt a bit slighted. Like when a parent ends a bedtime story quickly to go catch the news. It was too perfect. I can’t describe it well, but it felt ‘off.’

The audiobook was narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and he did an amazing job. His Italian seemed spot on to me, though I only took a year of Italian. He gave Dee a very whimsical voice which I think fits her character perfectly. He didn’t give women ‘silly’ voices or make them seem overly effeminate. I have no complaints.

Almost every character in this book had some idea of how their life would play out that they had to face. Dee thought she’d be an actress, Pasquale a hotelier, Pat a musician. And it didn’t work out for any of them. They had to realize what they really wanted in life and chase that instead. Dee wanted to be happy, Pasquale wanted a family, and Pat just wanted Lydia. Realizing what you really want is hard. I think I’m facing it in my career right now and it’s so difficult to struggle through. It was good to see characters struggling with this during all stages of their lives.

Writer’s Takeaway: The jumping timeline can be difficult to master and Walter did it well here. He had touchpoints at each stage of life that helped the reader know what time period we were in. The different locations were a huge help for this. Italy meant early in the timeline, Idaho and Hollywood were late. I liked knowing where in the story I was and it helped fit the whole thing together in my mind.

Overall, an enjoyable novel even though the ending was a bit off-putting. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter | Book Nook Book Reviews
Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter | Dayna’s Library 220 Database
Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter | Savidge Reads
Stop what you’re doing and read Beautiful Ruins | Reading A Book A Week
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter | The Blog of Litwits

Writing Check In- December

5 Dec

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. It helps keep me honest(ish) and lets you all know when my masterpiece will be released to the world!

This should be quite the update! If you haven’t seen previous posts, I’m happy to inform you that I’m a NaNoWriMo 2019 winner! I finished at 8:30PM on November 30th so I pushed it to the end but I made it. I actually ran out of story to tell and had to go back and add a scene. Not my favorite way to do things, but it worked out okay. That one needs some serious editing so I’ll set it aside for a few months and concentrate on getting my 20s novel submitted as I’d planned on before.

I haven’t thought about the 20s novel in a month and I think that was good for me. I got some much-needed distance and I feel like I can look at my pitch (the last thing pending) and make one or two changes before I send it off to this first agent. I understand it’s just the first, but it’s a bit stressful to get through the first one! I have to be ready for the rejections and no-responses but I’ve been through it with short stories before. I know with a novel, it will be more painful, but I’m not as scared now that I have the second novel under my belt.

I’m glad I did NaNo. I needed it right now with how freaked out I am about the first novel. Now I can say it’s a series? But it’s not? I’ll find a way to describe it eventually.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 4-December-2019

4 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m back to Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley now that my vacation is over and I’m reading at lunch again. Maybe this will keep me inspired to submit my first book and keep working on my second? Maybe? I’m hoping it has some unique advice about writing for a YA audience. I’ve been missing that reading so many of these books on craft close to each other.
I started my January book club selection, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. It’s a nice long one so I had to start early! I heard Lee speak at the Midwest Literary Walk this year and my copy is signed! Exciting.
I also started in on The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I’m excited to wrap up my reading challenge with this one! It’s always nice to get more YA reading in, too!

Recently finished: I finished Not Without my Daughter by Betty Mahmoody on the plane home from California. It was terrifying and inspiring at the same time. I hope to watch the movie soon so I can compare the two while it’s still fresh in my mind.
I finished The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman once I started driving to and from work again. This made me look at convicts differently and see them the way the system looks at them. I hear a lot about prison ministries and other programs where volunteers go into prisons and I wonder if I’d be a fit for something like that. I also wonder if I have a skill worth knowing for someone in prison.

Reading Next: My next audiobook is a book club selection, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. I have until January to listen to it so I’m not really concerned about getting through it before I need it finished.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli (3/5)

3 Dec

A friend recommended this book to me as a passing comment at a party in 2015. I don’t think he ever thought I’d read it almost five years later. I haven’t seen him in a few years so I don’t know if I’ll ever have a chance to talk to him about it. I’m still glad I read this, though.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade by Pietra Rivoli

Summary from Goodreads:

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy takes the reader on a fascinating, around the world journey to reveal the economic and political lessons from the life story of a simple t-shirt. Over five years, business professor Pietra Rivoli traveled from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory to a used clothing market in Africa, to investigate compelling questions about the politics, economics, ethics, and history of modern business and globalization. Using the story of the t-shirt to illustrate the major issues of the globalization debate, this uniquely entertaining business book offers a surprising, enlightening, and balanced look at one of the major topics of our time.

I liked parts of this book but it dragged for me as a whole. If it had been boiled down a bit, I would have been gripped a bit more. I thought the cotton subsidies and the history of it in America were interesting. I thought the livelihood that women in China could earn because of t-shirt production was interesting and I liked the stories about how it affected their lives. The history of quotas and imports to the US and how they’ve been used politically was interesting and I was most fascinated about the second-hand clothing market in Africa. So yes, that’s most of the book, but there was still a bit too much in it. Some topics were explored to death while others were hinted at or glossed over. I guess overall it was just a bit too much detail. I liked it when Rivoli talked about her travels to see the t-shirts and what had become of them, but I was less interested in her research.

Rivoli paints a very realistic picture of some of the people in a t-shirt’s life. I liked the political activist best (forgive me for forgetting names, it’s been over a month). Someone who fights for politicians to keep to their word is admirable, even if I don’t agree with his political stance. I liked how he knew he was fighting a losing battle but did it for the people remaining who cared.

I liked how Rivoli talked about the student who inspired her to research this project. A student at a protest accused other attendants of wearing clothing made in sweatshops in the third world. While it may have been true, Rivoli wanted to see where t-shirts came from. I bet I’m sometimes guilty of the same thing as that student and spewing accusations I’m not 100% certain of. Though I don’t think I’ve ever done it loud enough to inspire a book.

Pietra Rivoli (in the t-shirt)
Image via Alchetron

I thought the second-hand clothing market was fascinating. I completely got a market where some people ‘just know’ the value of something. I also liked the insight into where my donated clothing goes. I try to upcycle clothing (quilts or something similar) but I do donate a fair amount as well. I never thought about what happens if it’s not sold in a goodwill store. The economy Rivoli describes where it’s sold is fascinating to me. I loved that in one of the pictures was a triathlon participant shirt! That really struck home with me.

For some reason, the first section on cotton farmers was frustrating to me. I think it’s because Rivoli dives into how the US government has propped up the cotton industry for so long. No one really seems to mind the subsidies and programs there are for cotton farmers. However, I come from a city dependant on the auto industry and when that was propped up, the rest of the country freaked out. (Rant over.) I wanted to like the cotton farmer Rivoli describes, but I kept thinking how lucky he was to be in cotton and not another crop that wouldn’t be as lucky should a bad season come through.

What surprised me the most in this book was how often government intervention stopped the progress of the t-shirt. The secondary market is the only time I can think of where it didn’t come into play. Cotton farming, former Chinese control of the fabric industry, and US import restrictions were the bread and butter of the t-shirt’s life. As much as people try to separate politics from their daily lives, it’s very ingrained in what we do every day.

Writer’s Takeaway: Rivoli had some remarkable research and personal anecdotes to share. I think the anecdotes helped in some parts of her story (cotton farming) and less in others (US imports). In any case, she didn’t balance them as well as she could have and they told a stronger story in some parts than others. Overall, I think she told a great story with what she had even if it didn’t keep me engaged the whole time.

An interesting and informative book, just not as engaging as I like with my fiction. Three out of Five Stars

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy | Closer readings
book review: The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade, by Pietra Rivoli | David Evans’ personal blog

Challenge Update, November 2019

2 Dec

I know I’m epically behind on reviews, but I did keep reading in November. NaNo slowed me down but I couldn’t be stopped (completely)! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in November:

Caveat Emptor // Ruth Downie (4/5)
My Drunk Kitchen // Hannah Hart (3/5)
The Mortifications // Derek Palacio (3/5)
Eastbound from Flagstaff // Annette Valentine (3/5)
Not Without My Daughter // Betty Mahmoody (3/5)

So many reviews to catch up on! I’m planned out until after Christmas at this point. So don’t fear! I will get you your reviews as soon as I can.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
I got the Pre-1300 period finished now by finishing Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie. I do love that series so it was no problem at all to finish it. I’ve got a plan for my final time period so I’m feeling amazing about checking this challenge off during December and getting ready to do it again in January.

Goodreads Challenge

58/52
Killing it!

Book of the Month

Based on my ratings this month, it’s probably easy to see that I’d pick Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie for November. I love this series and I’ll continue with it as long as Downie keeps writing them. I think Ruso and Tilla are wonderful and I hope more people can find and love this series because it’s really wonderful.

Added to my TBR

I’m still sitting at 66 so no change for this month. I’ve added more than I really intended to, but it just happens that way some months.

  • Semper Fidelis // Ruth Downie. It’s the next book in the Medicus series so, of course, I put it on the list right away!
  • Joy, Inc. // Richard Sheridan. I heard Sheridan speak at an HR conference and I really liked his ideas about making work joyful. I’ve had some rough jobs as I’m sure many have and with a job in HR, I feel I could help make a difference in some workplaces and I’d like to know more about how Sheridan did it.
  • Shades of Magic Vol. 1: The Steel Prince // V.E. Schwab. I didn’t realize there was a graphic novel in this world! I’m so excited to learn more and also try a graphic novel. I’ve been seriously lacking in that area.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue // Mackenzi Lee. This will be the final book in my challenge this year so I’ll have this one off the list very shortly!

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: DONE!
  • Attend six weddings: DONE!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’m behind AGAIN but I’ll catch up. With NaNo over and the cold weather here, knitting is a welcome past time while watching TV.
  • Write: I didn’t expect to do NaNo this year so I’d say this one was a success! The manuscript is a complete mess and needs some major editing but I’m up for it. I really enjoy editing, to be honest. And I’m feeling brave enough that I think I can submit my first manuscript! I’m about ready to hit ‘send’ and feeling brave.
  • See my friends more: This month was not a prime example but I’m still doing okay at this. December is always full of parties and Ii think I’ll be up for them. I was sick twice in November which didn’t help but I’m going to assume it means no being sick in December!

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2020, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!