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My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
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- California (5)
- Colorado (1)
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- Australia (2)
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My Progress:

35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 50 books. 58% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Thursday, April 20, 2023

Thursday This & That

I've been a bit M.I.A. this month. Although I've still been reading, everything else has kind of taken a back burner to the big exam I just completed. I became an accredited genealogist earlier this year, with a specialty in the U.S. Southwest region (Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and California, as defned by ICAPGen), but, because I'm a little crazy, I decided to accredit in an additional region. This one has actually been a long time coming thanks to COVID delays, but I finally took the 8-hour exam to accredit in the U.S. Great Lakes region (Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois). It was stressful, but I'm done. Keep your fingers crossed that I pass it!

As a reward for completing my testing (not that I ever really need an excuse), I treated myself to a Barnes & Noble trip. I considered driving to Tempe to hit up my local(ish) indie, Changing Hands Bookstore, but after a long morning of testing, I was basically on the verge of collapse and I just didn't want to drive that far. So, I stayed really local and bought this lovely trio at B&N:

(My son was shocked that I posed my treasures by the pool. Don't worry, no books were harmed in the making of this post!)

I've been dying to read all of these:

Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson—This is the fifth book in Johnson's fabulous Truly Devious series. The books are YA mysteries starring a teen true crime aficianado who uses her skills to solve cold and hot cases.

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden—There's nothing I like better than a Gothic mystery set in a mysterious old house. This one fits the bill nicely.

Homecoming by Kate Morton—I may have mentioned a few (hundred) times that Morton has a new book out. She's one of my all-time favorite authors, so this was an auto-buy. I should have put Homecoming on top of the stack because it has a gorgeous cover. The novel is about a murder that takes place in Australia in 1959 and the modern woman who's determined to solve it once and for all. 

I don't know what the weather's looking like in your neck of the woods, but here in the Arizona desert it's been in the low 80s. It's cool enough (in the shade at least) to read poolside. I'm super wimpy so I don't actually get in the water until the temperature's over 100. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your opinion of Arizona's ridiculously hot weather), it won't be long now. Summer is my least favorite season, but at least I can always step outside and take a refreshing dip in my pool. Could be worse!

What are you all up to? Read anything good lately? I just started an e-ARC of Warrior Girl Unearthed, Angeline Boulley's second novel, which comes out on May 2. It has to do with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). I'm only a few chapters in and it's already eye-opening and intriguing. On audio, I'm listening to The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan. I've read and loved most of Ryan's books. This one feels slower than her others, but it's still an enjoyable listen.

Breaking news: I'm hoping to actually get a review posted before the week's out! Right? It's been a hot minute since that's happened around here. Stay tuned...


  1. Congrats on accomplishing your genealogy goal! I had no idea the testing was so rigorous! ~Carol @ ReadingLadies

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. It's a pretty intense process. First, you have to do a research project looking closely at four generations of one family. When you pass that portion, you have eight hours of testing which includes interpreting historical documents, short answer questions, and a mini research project. After that, you go through an oral review. It's pretty intense! I'm glad it's over :)

  2. I was just wondering why you were MIA. I was hoping it wasn't something bad, glad it wasn't. I hope you passed. Such a different and cool goal!

    1. Awww, you're so sweet! No, nothing bad, just a stressful test. I have also been working on a big personal family history project at the same time, so that's also taken my focus away from blogging. It's good to be back.

  3. Congratulations on the first exam and getting accredited. I am sure you will pass this one as well. I read/listened to The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle and really liked it. It is a bit slower, but the friendships and ingenuity were wonderful. I hope you enjoy it Susan.

    1. Thanks for the well wishes! Now that it's all over, I'm not too worried about passing, but I definitely had some moments during the testing where I wondered if I knew anything at all about genealogy. LOL.

      I ended up liking THE WEDDING DRESS SEWING CIRCLE. It's not my favorite of Ryan's books, but I enjoyed it overall.

  4. Yay for finishing up your program! And I'm sure you did well on the exam. Fingers crossed you aced it. :D And now you can relax for a bit. Enjoy your weekend.

    1. Exactly! I can breathe again :) Whew.

  5. First of all congratulations, well done on your genealogy exans. I'm sure you'll also pass the next one, but still: good luck!
    I always go to a bookshop, wherever I am. I love the big ones because I can get some foreign literature there but I always also go to a smaller one. Most of the German ones that I know I want to order, I order in my local bookshop, must support those but I guess the amount of books we buy, we still buy more there then most other people, right?
    Enjoy your books.

    1. I can't resist bookstores, no matter if they're big, small, chains, or indies. I adore them all! The challenge is that it's SO convenient to buy books on Amazon or from a store that's close. It takes almost an hour to drive to and from my local indie and sometimes that's just more than I want to drive. I am planning a trip there soon, though, as I have some books to trade in and that's the only place around here that really does that. You're right, too, I buy more books than the average person so I'm still doing my duty, right?

    2. I'm with you there, Susan. My visits to any town or city include visits to all the bookshops I can reach. An hour drive just to reach a bookshop is a lot, though, my local is only about ten minutes away, so I go there frequently.
      And I would think we all do more than our fair share for the book trade, I sometimes wonder where the other hundred or so people are that make up the average together with me. ;)

  6. Congratulations and how exciting! I hope you have had some time to relax and unwind. Great book haul and I had to laugh about your son's comment. I'm so looking forward to Homecoming. I love Kate Morton's books and that one looks fantastic.

    1. Right? I rarely take pictures, so I guess he's right to worry about my skills :)

      Morton is one of my all-time favorite authors. I can't wait to dig into HOMECOMING. I hope we both love it!

  7. Wow, congrats on a major achievement!

    I got a chuckle out of your spring poolside stack being so autumnal-colored. But excited that you have some anticipated reads now secured in your hands.

    1. Ha! I didn't even notice that, but you're totally right. They all kind of have Fall-ish themes, too. I'm not really a seasonal type of reader, so I'll be reading them all this summer.


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