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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (1)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (2)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (8)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

23 / 100 books. 23% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

61 / 165 books. 37% done!
Monday, November 12, 2018

Beyond the Books: LightView Rolling Base Magnifier Lamp from Brightech

It might surprise you to discover that I have other hobbies besides reading (gasp!). Not that I've engaged in some of them much over the past few years, but still, I want you to know that I'm more than just a reader/blogger.  I'm a well-rounded (literally and figuratively) book nerd!

The good folks at Brightech, a Los Angeles lighting company, offered to send me a free magnifier lamp (in exchange for an honest review) that would be perfect for one of my hobbies—cross-stitching.  I eagerly accepted their generous offer.  Because I cross-stitch (and read) most often while sitting in a recliner, I chose the LightView Rolling Base Magnifier Lamp, which features a dimmable LED magnifying light on a long swing arm.  This element, plus the six-wheeled base, makes it easy to move the lamp to the exact position I need.  It's simple to place it over my head, over my shoulder, or wherever it works best to light up the project on which I'm working.  The brighter settings are perfect for needlework, especially since my aging eyes have trouble seeing fine details.  It would also work well for any other craft, hobby or repair project that requires magnification.  For reading, I prefer one of the softer settings so that I can see the words on the page without straining my eyes.  Despite the bright light, you won't feel any heat coming off the lamp, which means you can enjoy reading or crafting without sweating to death!

I used to have an Ottlite lamp in a similar design and had been considering replacing it when Brightech contacted me.  Since the LightView version does everything my Ottlite did and more, I'm very pleased with it.  The product was simple to put together (my 13-year-old son did it for me), looks nice, and has lots of great features that make it very useful.  It's solid and well-constructed, which lets me know that it's something my family and I will be using for years to come.  Right now, the lamp is on sale for $108.99 with free shipping since it's over $50.  While that may seem a little pricey, it's cheaper than similar Ottlite products.  If you don't love the LightView Rolling Base Magnifier Lamp, never fear—you can return it for free.  If you do, you'll be happy to know it comes with a 5-year warranty, just in case.  I've been very happy with this lamp and would definitely recommend purchasing one if you're in the market for a high-quality magnifying lamp to use while enjoying your favorite hobbies.

(If you're not looking for a magnifying lamp right now, be sure to check out Brightech's other lighting products.  They have a large selection of table lamps, floor lamps, and string lights at affordable prices.)   

Thank you, Brightech!

I Heart Its Premise Big Time. Its Execution? Not So Much.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Few people are tough enough—physically, mentally, or emotionally—to endure a "winter over" in Antarctica.  Not everyone can handle being cooped up in an isolated compound with the same small group of people for nine months, let alone in extreme weather and almost complete darkness 24/7.  For Cass Jennings, a 30-something mechanical engineer, working at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility for the austral winter is a way to escape her troubled past and start over.  Her job as a vehicle mechanic/plumber/carpenter may not be glamorous or exciting, but it is essential.  Her tasks keep her mind in the present, not the past, and that's all Cass needs right now.

When the death of a colleague sets a series of mysterious events into motion, however, Cass begins to worry about her future.  The stranger things get at Shackleton, the more she starts to panic.  With little communication from the outside world, it's up to the 44 people at the facility to figure out what's going on.  The tension is already tearing people apart, filling them with a dangerous combination of paranoia, hysteria, and fear.  As rationality disappears around her, Cass fights to stay calm.  It's up to her to find the answers that will save herself and everyone left in the remote facility.  Can she do it in time?  Or will they all fall victim to an enemy even more extreme and deadly than anything Antarctica can throw at them?

I'm a sucker for thrillers set in harsh, secluded environments so when Kay mentioned The Winter Over by Matthew Iden, I knew I had to read it.  The haunting, atmospheric setting gives the novel a deliciously shivery backdrop.  Although Iden goes into a lot of detail about Antarctica, he weaves it into the story in a way that feels natural, not info-dumpy.  I found it all fascinating, much more so than the novel's characters or its disjointed plot.  Because there are so many people in this tale, I had a hard time keeping them straight or caring about any of them (most of them are unlikable anyway).  Add to that a predictable (albeit abrupt) ending and, overall, I just didn't love this one.  I heart its premise big time, but its execution leaves a lot to be desired. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of My Last Continent by Midge Raymond)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I bought an e-copy of The Winter Over on Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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