Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish discoveries in 2019

Favorite new authors, genres I don’t usually read, Kindle Unlimited, WordPress.com and Libby

That Artsy Reader Girl has hosted Top Ten Tuesday since January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists and talk about books be sure to check it out.

Today I’m talking about some of the Bookish discoveries I made In 2019.

Genres I don’t usually read

Memoir
  • I read Becoming by Michelle Obama. I don’t usually read memoirs or biographies, but I enjoyed this one a lot–especially since I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Michelle Obama. So interesting to hear about her childhood, her meeting with and marriage to Barack Obama, and then her life as the First Lady in the White House.
Nonfiction

I don’t read very much nonfiction, but I read two that were completely different from each other, but I enjoyed them both a lot.

Soldier Dogs by Maria Goodavage was about dogs used in the military both during wartime and peacetime. I loved the talk about the bonds between the dogs and their handlers and the dogs even help soldiers that aren’t their handlers. The dogs save peoples’ lives and since they are working dogs have a strong drive and love of working.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is a completely different type of book. I listened to the audiobook. It’s a series of letters between Helene Hanff and employees of the Marks and Company Bookshop over a 20 year period. They all become friends although they haven’t met face-to-face. I used to write long letters to friends, but these days not so much. This book shows why regular correspondence can be such a joy.

Middle Grade
  • Zero G by Dan Wells and Wish by Barbara O’Connor are both Audible Original books which were free in the program they began last fall for Audible members. Members get to choose two free audiobooks from about six books. I admit I’ve had problems some months choosing two books that interested me. Plus I quit Audible for several months because of the price. I recently rejoined when they offered a reduced price for three months. One of the types of books I enjoyed listening to are the middle grade books they’ve often had in the free program.

Favorite new authors

Lucy Dillon
  • I read both Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts and Walking Back to Happiness by Lucy Dillon.
  • I loved both of these books. There are lots of dogs in the books and some romance!
Linda Holmes
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over was such a good book. At the end of the book I felt so happy which is one of the reasons I love reading.

Apps

Libby

I get as many books as I can from the library. I’m not quite sure when I downloaded the library app Libby to my phone, but it’s so much better than library apps I’ve had in the past. I use Libby to listen to the audiobooks I check out and I really like it.

Other apps I use a lot–Audible, Kindle, goodreads–are all ones I’ve used for a long time.

Websites

WordPress.com

I discovered I could move my blog from a self-published wordpress blog to wordpress.com and keep the name of my blog plus save a lot of money and not have to figure out how to do everything on my own.

Miscellaneous

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon offered Kindle Unlimited (KU) for a reduced price for three months last fall. I’d tried it once before, but didn’t find enough books at that time to continue paying for it. This time I’ve found a lot of books that interest me. Some of the books are from favorite authors, but a lot of them are from authors I haven’t read before. I love to try new authors and KU books are often independently published. And I love finding books like that, too.

Since I’m now paying full price I’m keeping track of the KU books I read each month. I figure I need to read at least two KU books a month to get my money’s worth. (Most KU books seem to cost about $4.99 without a KU membership.)

  • I read a total of nine KU books since October (when I signed up for KU). Four of the KU books are by Katherine Pathak.
  • They’re all in the DCI Dani Bevan Mystery series. I enjoy these mysteries, but I might not have found them if they weren’t KU books since Pathak was a new author to me and one I hadn’t heard of before. And I might not have read that many books so quickly.

Did you make Bookish Discoveries last year? What were they?

Sunday Post: Mid September, but still hot

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little my personal life last week

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

Labor Day is over, kids are back in school–and now it’s mid September!

We had cooler weather last week , but next week the temperatures are forecast to be close to 90 degrees. I love the cooler temperatures of fall so I’m looking forward to more cool weather!

Back from Indiana

I spent a week in Indiana visiting one of my daughters and got back during the middle of this week. I had lots of fun visiting with her and her two Labrador retrievers. They are such fun happy dogs. (And my daughter is pretty fun, too…lol)

Chicago wedding

This next week we’re driving to Chicago for a niece’s wedding. It will be fun to see lots of family members and see our niece and her fiance get married. They seem very happy!

Blog life

You may have noticed that during the last month my blog was gone for a few days and then back and then may have disappeared again. It’s finally back though I do still have a few things to tweak.

I spent a lot of time over the last month deciding whether to keep my self-hosted blog or to try to move the blog to WordPress.com. I wrote a post about that earlier in the week. I published a number of posts this week and am working on more posts for the future. It feels good to be back.

Recent posts
Next week
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • The Night Raven by Sarah Painter
What I read recently
  • Craks in a Marriage by Barbara Barrett
  • A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
  • The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
  • Bright Shards by Meg Pechenick
  • The White Shepherd by Annie Dalton
  • The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
  • The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
Books I got recently

Last Boat to Camden Town by Paul Charles (Kindle Unlimited)

Poor Man’s Flight by Elliott Kay (Prime)

Echo in Onyx by Sharon Shinn

A Shot in the Dark by Matthew Costello

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week? Are you looking forward to autumn or mourning because summer is nearly gone?

Why I moved from a self-hosted blog

You may have noticed my blog was gone for a while and then it was back and then it might have been gone again, but I’ve finally managed to move from my self-hosted site back to (mostly free) WordPress.com. It took me a while to move since I’ve been traveling quite a bit (I’m in Indiana right now)!

I thought I had paid for an extra year at my blog host, but it turns out I hadn’t. 😦  They switched off my blog for a while in August and since I was traveling and didn’t always have time or internet to check my blog I didn’t realize right away.

Why I had a self-hosted blog

When I moved to a self-hosted blog I wanted to challenge myself to learn something new. I wanted to see if I could figure out how to set things up and how to design various elements for the blog. I was able to do most things myself though I sometimes had to ask my kids for assistance…lol.

I did find that some things were frustrating to figure out. Even moving from WordPress.org (my self-hosted site) to WordPress.com took some time (because I didn’t always have a large block of time to do it all and because I didn’t want to make a mistake), but it’s finally done. Yay!

Why I moved back to WordPress.com

I loved the control I had with the self-hosted site since I had a theme with lots of options for colors and fonts which are two things I like to control (and change sometimes)! I could also choose from hundreds of plugins to make the blog even more personal.

More expensive

However, having a self-hosted blog kept getting more expensive and I decided early in my self-hosting adventure I didn’t want to monetize my blog. (This was a personal choice and I don’t mind other people making a different decision). Now that my husband and I are retired I decided my self-hosted blog was an unnecessary expense especially since it seemed to get more expensive every year.

Frustrations

If I had problems on my self-hosted blog I felt like I had to figure it out myself and even though I googled my problem and read tutorials I was often frustrated because sometimes I couldn’t find answers to my problem or sometimes the tutorials were older and the information they gave didn’t work anymore and/or didn’t use the same menus anymore. My kids were great at helping me, but I got tired of asking for help and I think they got tired of me asking…lol.

Kept blog name

By paying $5 per month I am able to keep the name of my blog the same–NotesfromaReaderholic.com–so most people won’t notice a lot of difference in the blog.

What I’ve done since the move

I’ve tried several different themes since I moved, but haven’t found one that allows me to make my work space background the cream color I was using for the last few months. I really liked that color, but the content is more important and that will stay mostly the same. The theme I’m using right now has quite a few options so I’m quite happy with it.

I updated my twitter and facebook headers so they now look very similar to the header on my blog. I finally did a Gravatar profile. I’m working on new posts plus a few drafts that I had started before my blog went “kablooee” and wouldn’t start since my hosting site was expired!

What about you?

Do you have a self-hosting site? Are you still happy with it? Are you happy where you are?

I know that I often cause my own problems by deciding I have to try something new! Well, I accomplished my goal of challenging myself and now I can challenge myself to do what I can design-wise and content-wise with WordPress.com!