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My Progress:

10 / 30 books. 33% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
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- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
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- Georgia (1)
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My Progress:

22 / 51 books. 43% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

15 / 50 books. 30% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

42 / 50 books. 84% 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

32.2 / 26.2 miles. 123% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

20 / 100 books. 20% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

55 / 104 books. 53% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

54 / 165 books. 33% done!
Thursday, October 14, 2021

My Fun, Fabulous, Unforgettable European Family Vacation

After a whirlwind two weeks in Europe, I'm back!  I'm jet lagged and exhausted, but I'm home and full of gratitude for the wonderful time I had seeing beautiful sights, connecting with my ancestral past, and bonding with my family.  Naturally, not everything went according to plan (who knew our adventures would be disrupted by city-wide marathons in two different cities in two separate countries?); still, it was an amazing trip.  We saw and did so many incredible things that I can't even remember them all.  Here's a quick rundown:


  • Experienced a traditional High Tea in York
  • Saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace
  • Drove through the lush, beautiful countryside
  • Passed a Da Vinci Code-like test to visit the oldest chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world
  • Stood on the Liverpool docks from which many of our ancestors departed in order to travel to the United States in the 1800's

The statue we're standing next to honors all the Mormon immigrants who sailed from Liverpool to join the Saints in Utah.  It's called "Legacy" and you can read all about it here.
  • Supped on fish and chips with a close college friend I hadn't seen in 25 years
  • Dined on yummy lunches at pubs all over England
  • Went to opening night of the new James Bond movie in London, a week before the film debuted in the U.S.
  • Explored Conwy Castle, which showed off its beautiful views and delighted us with multiple rainbows

  • Ate haggis (which is not as revolting as it sounds)!
  • Found the old, isolated parish church where my husband's ancestor was baptized long ago
  • Traveled through lush, lovely countryside
  • Visited the National Slate Museum in NW Wales
  • Visited Ayr, the homeland of my Kennedy ancestors, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring "my" castle (Culzean Castle)
  • Braved the driving rain and icy wind to check out Edinburgh and its lovely castle (not as charming as mine, of course)
  • Served the most untraditional "traditional" club sandwich I've ever encountered at an "authentic" American restaurant in Edinburgh.
  • Stopped by the impressive Forth Bridge, where one of my husband's great-grandparents died while helping to build it
  • Drove (well, rode in in my case) an 8-passenger van through lots of teensy tiny streets to see beautiful countryside and charming villages
  • Traveled through the Chunnel from London to Paris
  • Were thwarted in our efforts to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower (dang marathon!), but got many pictures of it from many different angles
  • Ate escargot (not that bad) and lots of crepes and croissants (delicious)!
  • Survived our climb to the dome of Sacré-Cœur and were rewarded with magnificent views of Paris
  • Enjoyed a romantic evening river cruise down the Seine
  • Had a family caricature portrait drawn by a Parisian street artist
  • Passed Shakespeare and Company while headed to our Metro station—I was pleased to see a line out front, even if it meant I didn't have time to go inside
  • Met up with another college friend I hadn't seen in 25 years who just happened to be visiting Paris at the same time as us
It really was an awesome trip.  I'm glad to be home sleeping in my own bed again, but I'm also so thankful for the experiences we had in Europe and the memories we made.

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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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