Back on the Bookshelf: What I read in February

This is just a few days late, but I have a good excuse!

My trip to London!!! I can’t wait to fill y’all in about how wonderful that was, but until then here is what I read in February:

Leaving Time

Jodi Picoult Leaving Time

Completed 2/2/17
This Jodi Picoult book was part mystery, part mother-daughter coming of age story, and part elephant science book. I listened to it on audiobook through my library’s Overdrive program (check it out!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and story, as well as the twist at the end, but maybe most of all I loved learning so much about elephants. They are incredible, majestic, and sometimes misunderstood creatures, and the book gave me a deeper understanding of them. Recommended for Jodi Picoult fans and lovers of unconventional mystery novels… and elephants!

Death’s Mistress

Completed 2/5/17
None of the following may make sense to you if you haven’t read the Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind.

I’ve read the entire Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind three times, and Nicci, the former Sister of the Dark-turned-warrior-for-good, has always been one of my favorite characters. She’s complex, feminine, and badass all at the same time. Death’s Mistress is the first in a new series about her adventures after Richard and Kahlan have safely consolidated power in the Dharan Empire. I loved getting a closer look into her head, as well as the chance to see Nathan Rahl again!

Bottom line, it was worth the read, but is not a stand alone series and you won’t understand it at all if you aren’t familiar with the Sword of Truth series. Start with Wizard’s First Rule, if you’re interested in reading it! Recommended for Terry Goodkind fans. 

Why Diets Make us Fat

Completed 2/15/17

Ugh. This one was difficult and frustrating. The basic idea is that yo-yo dieting is bad for you, that permanently losing weight through dieting is darn near impossible, and the best tact to take is simply being happy in the body you have. 

I get it, I get it. 

There is a lot of good science about why our bodies fight weight loss, and how to a large extent it isn’t being overweight that causes bad health outcomes but lack of exercise. As someone who has always felt just a little uncomfortable in my body, and is in the middle of building a food and exercise plan that’s sustainable over the long term to make me feel my best, it was a little frustrating. Recommended for people who love reading synopses of studies about the obesity epidemic. 

Truly Madly Guilt

Completed 2/21/17
Holy wow. This was SO good. I’ve been seeing it pop up on recommended lists pretty much since it was published last year, and now I’m bummed I hadn’t started reading more by Liane Moriarty sooner. The lady knows how to turn a somewhat ordinary event with ordinary people into something absolutely enthralling. 

Just wow. It was so well written and exciting. More of her books are on my to read list now!Recommended for lovers of thrillers and mysteries. 

Death Comes to Pemberley

Completed 2/23/17
A continuation of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice this P.D. James novel tells the new story of what happens when the infamous Mr. Wickham finds himself accused of a murder that occurs on the grounds of Pemberley estate. 

I listened to this on audiobook, and enjoyed it, but don’t expect any of the loveyness of the original story… This is a mystery book! Recommended for lovers of mystery and returning the to settings of loved stories.


Completed 2/28/17
If you’ve been watching the beautiful BBC series on the young Queen Victoria, which focuses on the early days of her reign and marriage to Prince Albert, you’ll find this book very familiar. It’s written by Daisy Goodwin, who also wrote the screenplay for the series! Just as any book does, it goes a little bit deeper than any tv show or movie could, making it well worth the read. What a lovely and complicated time. Reading this book and watching the show were both very good primers for my trip to London… the city is filled with homages to Victoria! Recommended for people who love Queen Victoria, the Victorian age, and historical fiction… especially when it really isn’t all that fictional!

That’s it for what I read in February… I’m already well into my reading list for March, and I can’t wait to share with you some of my favorites! Between January and February I’m 14 books into my 2017 goal of reading 60 new books… Ahead of schedule, but just barely! I have some catching up to do it the second half of March 🙂

Do you have a recommended book I should add to my list for the coming months? Tell me about it in the comments!

Please Mind the Gap – 2017 in Photos Day 69

Mind the Gap while in London!

Mind the Gap while in London!

It’s our last night here in London (SAD FACE :().

I snapped this picture on my phone while boarding an underground on our way to a pub near the Tower Bridge where we’re meeting up with a new friend. It’s really fun to me just how real of a concern the whole “Mind the Gap” thing really is. It isn’t consistent across all tube stations, but in some places there is a good 8 inch gap between the coach and the station platform!

I’ll be writing up a first timer’s guide to public transit in London here soon, but in the meantime, please do mind the gap!

Elizabeth Thames on the Thames – 2017 in Photos Day 67

Exposure: 1/200th of a second
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 200
Lens:Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4
Treatment: SOOC

One of my goals for this trip was to dip a figurative toe in the Thames.

Thames is my middle name. And my mom’s middle name… and my great aunt’s middle name. Shortly before that it was a last name going back for centuries in my family. 

One of the funniest things about being here is that everyone actually knows how to pronounce my middle name! It makes me strangely happy. 

The Shard – 2017 in Photos Day 66

Exposure: 1/500th of a second
Aperture: f/11
ISO: 100
Lens:Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4
Treatment: Clarity, contrast, and curves in Photoshop

One of the things I’m finding I love the most about London is how there are 500 year old buildings right next to some of the most stunning and innovative modern architecture in the world. The Shard is the tallest building in western Europe, and is really striking part of the London skyline!

I snapped this picture while we were on a boat cruise Monday down the Thames that has been one of the highlights of the trip. I can’t wait to share more about it. 


Elizabeth Tower – 2017 in Photos Day 64

Exposure: 1/200th of a second
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 200
Lens:Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4
Treatment: Contrast, clarity, saturation, curves, and cropping in Photoshop

Did you know that the large clock tower in London isn’t really called Big Ben? It was named the Elizabeth Tower by Parliament in hono(u)r of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. Before that it was simply officially known as the Clock Tower. 

Big Ben is actually the name of the large bell that chimes the hour! Here’s a video of that happening at 9 o’clock 🙂 

Great Big Bubbles – 2017 in Photos Day 63

Exposure: 1/1000th of a second
Aperture: f/3.8
ISO: 200
Lens:Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4
Treatment: Clarity, contrast, saturation, and curves in Photoshop

The guy in the camo jacket was right outside the Tate Modern beside the Millennium bridge (which was also magical… pictures coming!). So many happy kids and opportunities for great pictures 🙂  

Also, it’s my birthday!