Day: April 28, 2017

Blog: Upcoming Site Changes

Aside Posted on Updated on

It’s been another successful month of blogging, and as we come to a close on April, a few key things to share:

  1. I’ve changed some of the colors and the fonts on the blog. If it doesn’t look appealing, let me know.
  2. I’ve added a new menu item called “Genre, Author & Series,” where you can see a list of all the reviews I have completed. Note: Since this is in progress as of 4/28/17, you can look at Cozy Mystery Fiction / Braun, Lilian Jackson as a future example of what this will have available.
    1. It will be sorted by genre, then author.
    2. When you click on the genre, it will provide a brief description of the genre and key authors and information about it.
    3. When you click on the author page, it will list any of the author’s book I’ve read or am planning to read in the near future — organized by series, as well as noting books (s)he’s written in other genres.
    4. You can click on the name of the book if it has a link. If it doesn’t, it means I haven’t yet read the book or written the review. I’ll include target dates whenever possible for you to check back.
  3. I’ve changed the Blog menu item to include Tags. On a weekly basis, I will add a book tag and highlight books I have read or want to read, as well as tag my online friends to participate in the challenges.
  4. The 365 Daily Challenge is getting exciting and more fun. I’m almost done with 2 months and learning a lot about me and about you! I’m open to suggestions, but posts are now linked back and forth so you can check all the history if you’re new to the site.

My target to have all the content updated and all ~500 book reviews updated from Goodreads on “ThisIsMyTruth” is June, 2017; however, there will be a lot of progress each week. I hope you’ll check it out and provide any feedback you think is helpful. I’m very open to hearing the good and the bad!

changes

Thank you to everyone who has participated by commenting, liking, taking the poll or providing ratings. I’m having a tremendous amount of fun, trying to create a fun world for all of us.

-jjciv

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Review: Angels & Demons

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Angels & Demons Review
4+ out of 5 stars to Dan Brown‘s Angels & Demons, the first book in his “Robert Langdon” thriller series. When I saw the movie trailer for The Da Vinci Code, I was hooked and immediately bought the book so I could read it first. When I got home, I realized it was not the first in the series…

I refused to read it… and then I went to the store and got the first one, Angels & Demons, so I could read them in order. And while it’s not really necessary, I always follow the order (unless I have an ARC with a due date on a newer book and no time to get to the whole series). So I started Angels & Demons, and I was was simply blown away.

Not everyone loves Dan Brown, and people aren’t always kind, but man… I LOVE HIS BOOKS! And I’m not afraid to say it… so if you don’t like them… don’t be hating on this review because I will

On a more serious note, the climax with each of the murders, the deep connections to so many Catholic rituals and ceremonies, the brilliance of the chase… it just left me unable to stop reading it. It’s exactly the kind of book I like to read:

1. Has some connection to me — I’m Catholic and knew most of the stuff they were talking about

2. I love reading about murder — since I won’t do it in real life, I have to get my thrills somehow

3. Secrets are the best thing in the world — I have so many about others, but I never let anyone have one about me

4. Classic battle of good versus evil — This is my life. Should I be good or bad today? Ugh… Sophie’s catch #22…

5. It’s non-stop thought-provoking messages and themes — How much control and time do we really have right now?

Oh, that’s the spot baby!

And with that said… if you want a real review with details about the story, go find someone else’s! Today was all about just being excited to think about the book again. Now that said, I thought Da Vinci Code was a slight bit better, hence the 4 here.

Ciao! I’ve got some branding to do…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: As The World Turns: The Complete Family Scrapbook

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As The World Turns: The Complete Family Scrapbook
As The World Turns: The Complete Family Scrapbook by Julie Poll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review
Next to Guiding Light, As The World Turns (ATWT) was my favorite soap opera in the 90’s and early 2000’s. I stopped watching ATWT around 2007, as I couldn’t keep up with 4 of them… and focused only on GL.

But ATWT was a great show, and when Julie Poll published this scrapbook, I had to have it! It chronicled so much of the past in the 1950s thru the 1980s when I wasn’t really alive to watch it. I read a lot in magazines and on the internet, but having a whole book dedicated to it was amazing.

If you’re a fan of the show, it’s a great way to stay connected, and even learn new things. If you’re not, but you love family drama and genealogy, it’s also a cool way to study as much as possible. And then maybe you can watch old episodes on Youtube.

It can easily be read all in one setting — lots of great pictures. But you can also read section by section over a few weeks or months, stretching out the fun.

And I would love to try a telenovela after all this!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Double Shot

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Double ShotReview
Diane Mott Davidson‘s “Gold Bear Culinary Mystery” series were one of the original cozy series I started reading, and once I started, I ran through the first ten as quickly as I could. By then, I was caught up and had to wait for the successive ones to be released. Double Shot, her 12th book in the series, was the first one I had to wait for… and I was restless. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goldy and her antics, and friends, were a nice release from the reality going on around me at the time. And when her ex-husband, Dr. John Richard Korman, showed up, we all knew there’d be trouble. From the beginning of the series, Marla and Goldy talked up so many bad things about him, I was certain he’d be killed in the future only to cast suspicion on one of them… and the payoff happens in this book.

The doctor is first being stalked, then found dead. The police, even though Goldy’s new husband, is one of them, can’t help but find her behavior a little shady. Even Marla wondered what Goldy had been up to. And the whole time, Goldy’s trying to protect her son Arch from the bad side of his father. As expected, she handles it well and even Arch is grateful for her support during his father’s murder.

After a dozen books hearing about the louse, it was good to see it taken care of. Yes, I know… I shouldn’t condone murder. But it was in a book… where fantasies are healthy, my friends. Even Jessica Fletcher agrees with me in the books she writes — and that I’ve read!

Series fans must read this one purely to see the comeuppance. But it would not be a good one to start the series with, as history is important.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 47 – Healthy

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Healthy: indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health (free from illness or injury)

Being “healthy” has been on my mind more than usual in the last few days. And while this may not be a typical trait or characteristic to describe oneself, it feels like an important one to discuss right now. That said, I am not a doctor, health practitioner, therapist or fitness guru; I offer no advice other than random thoughts occurring in my mind…

If I had to guess where I fall on the scale of being healthy or unhealthy, specifically relating to the supposed norm for my gender, age, body type, etc., I’d say, I’m likely on the fairly healthy end. I certainly have moments where I am not a good example, but I generally strive to be healthy when it comes to my body. I’m not covering being healthy with the mind today, as that’s a good topic for another day.

Being healthy for me is more a way of or an approach to life. I am by no means very knowledgeable on the topic as a whole, but I try to incorporate little things throughout the day — to improve my chances… I’d like to live a long life free of pain and illness. To do that, I know I need to pay attention to certain areas along that path. I can’t change my genetics, which have a large contributing role to my health. I can’t prevent accidents or impacts from other people or environmental conditions, which will also have some control to my future healthiness. But I can ensure I take positive steps.

Let's get physical

Many thanks to the GIF creator on this one. Angela Lansbury made a video called “Positive Moves.” My friends and I love “Murder, She Wrote,” but became obsessed with this video… shocking stuff and commentary on her video for someone so seemingly innocent!

And so… a few areas I try to focus on when attaining a healthy lifestyle:

  • I monitor what I eat on a regular basis.
    • It doesn’t mean I don’t make bad choices, but the decision process is a conscious part of my day. I try to balance the intake of vegetables, fruits, meats, grains, dairy, et al, not consuming too much or too little of any one item.
    • I know most pre-packaged or processed foods are not good for me and should only be eaten in small quantities. I’m trying to swap snack bars with fresh produce, nuts and grains wherever possible. I’m much better at it now than I was in the past.
    • I think about limiting portions so that I am not feeling over-stuffed and bloated.
      • GOOD – I’ve tried swapping a few meals a week with healthy protein shakes or juices. And my online friend Jenn (Read,Rant,Rock&Roll is the blog) has some great tips. Check them out here — plus her blog has tons of book reviews. A must see!
      • BAD – I had IHOP yesterday with my parents (splurge day, and I love me some IHOP) but I was so bloated for hours afterwards. Good thing we went for a 30 minute walk afterwards, to at least try to fix it.
    • I plan my meals a little more in advance; I think about using leftovers, making a lunch for 2 or 3 days, and knowing food options if I’m away from home during meal hours.

  • I occasionally take vitamins, but know that I should be more diligent.
    • I buy them, and usually take them 3 to 4 times per week. But to be honest, I often forget as they are hidden in the bathroom cabinet. I don’t like things sitting out on counters; if not in sight, I miss it.
    • I should associate taking daily vitamins with another mid-morning activity so it goes hand in hand… Need to think about this approach or consider always taking them at lunch.
    • I need to research this area more. I honestly do not know the proper amounts for someone like me, e.g. age, weight, ethnicity, height, etc.
    • I drink water, coffee and OJ. No sugar-added juices or soda. Not for about 20 years at this point. I’ll have a glass maybe once every few months, but that’s it.
  • I try not to take any medicine unless absolutely necessary.
    • I am not on any prescriptions, so that’s easy. I’m lucky.
    • I only take Advil or Tylenol when I have a really bad headache. Otherwise I try to get through it with water, coffee or stress-relief tactics.
    • I’m not big on going to the doctor for colds or smaller things. OJ and Vitamin C are my friend. Doctors are for big items in my world. It’s not a money thing. It’s a “don’t be wasteful of someone else’s time” thing.
    • I am learning to balance my drinking… sometimes it’s 5 per week, sometimes it’s all I want on Sat & Sun, but none during the week. All depends, but I make sure it’s not an every day thing! Even tho, I firmly believe:

  • I workout regularly.
    • I try to walk whenever possible. Unless it’s hot out. I hate to sweat. So then it’s public transportation all the way, baby.
    • I get to the gym at least 5 days per week. Usually 45 to 60 minutes each time, alternating between weights/machines and cardio/abs each day.
    • I sit on the couch a lot when I should be getting up and about more often to keep the muscles moving around frequently.
  • I’ve been healthy most of my life so I’m lucky it’s been easy to follow.
    • Occasional kidney stones… those are painful! Especially when I was 11 or 12 and got my first one. I was also starting to go through puberty around that time… And I was so messed up about everything going on in that area! Not that you really care to hear about that.

  • Every year at my regular “check-up,”(yes, I will go for this reason) the doctor tells me I have the blood pressure of a teenager. It’s something like 100 over 60. I think it’s because I am in tune with my body and keep stress free whenever possible!
  • My cholesterol has always been low until the last two years when it started approaching 200. I know it’s what I am eating from time to time, so I’m cutting out the cheese (except as a treat) and other contributing factors. No need to take medicine to fix that yet.
  • No broken bones or injuries.
  • Eyesight is pretty poor, and I wear contact lenses or glasses.
  • Family history of cancer, diabetes, kidney issues, alcoholism and heart disease. Almost every single person who passed away (grandparents and great-grandparents) had at least 2 of those issues.

Knowing all this, it’s my responsibility to do my best to be healthy. It saves my own pain and problems, but also the rest of the world:

  • My friends and family will worry less.
  • Doctors will be free to see other patients who are sick because of things they had no control over.
  • I can demonstrate a better way of living to younger generations.
  • I have more free time.
  • I will live much longer.

Let’s hope I’m not putting a little curse on it by writing all about it today. I don’t actually believe in something being a jinx, but this is also not a topic I’d mess around with. I want to be healthy. To torture you with posts forever, of course!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.