Don’t Stop. Running.

I’ve gone running a total of two times since Halloween 2020. A year ago I was running pretty much daily.

Both runs were so painful they necessitated a social media post.

From February 19

I’m happy to report I got out there and ran this morning. In the rain. With achy joints. And an occasional bad word sprinkled in here and there. But I got out there. Slow. But done. Hadn’t run since Halloween. And yes, this run was frightful. But, all’s well and the shoes still fit.

The shoes, at rest.

From March 22

REPORT: I went out for “a run” today. Ouch. More like a joggle. Word of advice: don’t stop running if you made it a habit. It is hard to restart.

Is joggle even a word?

When it comes to run-jog-limp-waddle, I guess it is.

But, I’m happy I got back out there. Once a month is better than none a month.

Maybe I can break my record of two times in five months? As the author James Clear (Atomic Habits) reminds us, a daily improvement of 1% is still good. Think about how much you can improve over time!

I’m setting my intentions here. Time to break the 5 month record of two runs!

What about you? When is the last time you went out for a run?

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Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

I picked this book up after reading another book by Manda Collins, A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. I found the plot of that book entertaining, and who doesn’t enjoy a well off widow doing basically whatever she likes, but especially bucking tradition?

Ready Set Rogue is one of those romance novels I don’t normally read–you know, the ones with a half-clad dude on the front and a lady with her breasts partially covered. I’m not sure this book qualifies as a bodice ripper, but since it is book one of a series called “Studies in Scandal.”

Here’s an extract of the book blurb from Goodreads:

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

While I enjoyed the read, I did become disappointed when it was remarkably similar in plot and premise to another book I had read about rogues. A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore is very very similar. There’s a familiar theme and a murder or two, and the murderer is predictable. It seems almost as though both books used the same plot map.

I call these kinds of books bon bons for the brain. Sweet and the first bite or two is pleasant. But after awhile, the flavors start to get old and they aren’t anything special.

I give it a 3 out of 5 stars, as it was entertaining, but it would have been much more fun if I hadn’t read a very similar plot just a month ago.

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The Secret, Book and Scone Society

The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams is a well-written book.

Here’s an extract from the Amazon blurb:

Strangers flock to Miracle Springs hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain. So when a visiting businessman reaches out for guidance, Nora knows exactly how to help. But before he can keep their appointment, he’s found dead on the train tracks . . .

This book pulls you right in. There are enough quirks and unusual characters to keep it interesting but they are deftly done, so they aren’t too jarring. It also pays homage to lots of writers and good books, as “prescriptions” for better lives. What avid reader won’t appreciate that?

Book 1

What bugged me most, though, about the book in general, was the comma in the title. Is the comma being batted around for a purpose, other than to irritate folks such as myself? I’m not entirely sure. There are books, scones, and secrets. I hope the comma finds its place.

When I was done, I was looking for the next book in the series, as it seems the group of women formed in this book still have things to do. I was pleasantly surprised to see it as book number one of a series.Secret, Book, and Scone Society is the name of the series. (Looks like they found a good spot for the comma.)

I will be looking for book #2. 

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A House Divided by Sulari Gentill

I really wanted to like this book and the main character. A House Divided by Sulari Gentill caught my eye for the local and timeline. It is set around the same time as Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher books, which I enjoyed, especially after being introduced to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries TV series.

And actually, there were lots of things I DID like. However, there are times when you read a book and the message in the book feels like the author has inserted her (modern) political sensibilities into a historical era. That threw me out of the story more than once.

There was also a section where we jumped perspectives and it didn’t fit at all.

Here’s the back of the book blurb:

Aristocrat Rowland Sinclair doesn’t fit in with his family. His conservative older brother, Wilfred, thinks he’s reckless, a black sheep; his aging mother thinks he’s her son who was killed in the war. Only his namesake Uncle Rowly, a kindred spirit, understands him-and now he’s been brutally murdered in his own home.
The police are literally clueless, and so Rowly takes it upon himse to investigate the crime. In order to root out the guilty party, he use his wealth and family influence to infiltrate the upper echelons both the old and the new guard, playing both against the middle in a desperate and risky attempt to find justice for his uncle. With his bohemian housemates-a poet, a painter, and a free-spirited sculptress–watching his back, Rowly unwittingly exposes a conspiracy that just might be his undoing.

Some scenes towards the end were well done, even gripping. And I did like that the main character finally seemed to be stepping up, albeit rather dramatically. Sinclair never really gave the impression that he would suddenly become heroic or even decisive.

Because I don’t really care about the main character’s “crush” on another character, I’m actually likely not to read the next book in the series. This book recovered itself well, but I did read at least 4 or 5 books before I finished this one. I decided to finish it because it is due back at the library. The last 30-40 pages gave the book an extra star.

It took me almost two months to read the book. This is a murder mystery. I typically read mysteries in a few days, sometimes in one sitting.

I gave it two out of five stars on Goodreads. It was OK. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it more than I did. Please feel free to tell me this in the comments, if you are so inclined!

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Ideas from James Clear

“Repetition unlocks value.

The value of your first workout increases the more you exercise.

The value of your first article increases the more you write.

The value of your first conversation increases the longer you stay in the relationship.

Day One continues to compound.”

James Clear

from his weekly newsletter 3-2-1 Thursday

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