My Bookish Advent Calendar

We do many things to stretch the Christmas joy in to as many days as possible. This year we put our tree up in the middle of August. My Christmas shopping and wrapping was done before October started. We always do many crafts and listen to Christmas songs for months beforehand. And my favorite tradition is our advent calendars.

We keep one digital one on my phone that we check in on throughout the year and when December begins it gives us a song to listen to, an activity to do, or a new phone background to use each day of the month leading to Christmas.

Pepper also usually has an advent calendar that includes toys. Some years I craft one and some years I buy a premade one. This year she chose Lego Friends so she gets to make a small Christmas themed Lego object each day.

We also have a joint one this year and it is an advent coloring book, with one page to color each day from December 1st until Christmas Eve.

This year I really wanted a book advent calendar, but I didn’t need 24 more new books on my shelves and didn’t have that in my budget either. Instead I decided to put in all of the Christmas themed books I own, a few read, most unread, and then bought 3 books to fill my basket with 12 Christmas themed books. That gives me two days to read each book which seems more reasonable. On the in between days I printed bookmarks to color with the kiddo and then laminate so we will have more bookmarks to add to our extensive collections.

These are the twelve books that I hope to read in December, from my Christmas countdown this year.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

Homespun Christmas by Colleen L Reece and Janelle Burnham Schneider

Tree of Treasures by Bonnie Mackay

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

A Christmas to Remember by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

Yule Be Sorry by Kim M Watt

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

Of these I am most excited to read In a Holidaze, Tree of Treasures, and the Boy Who Saved Christmas series. I read the first one last year and have the other two to read for the first time this year. Do you have any holiday reads planned?

Recent Read – The House In the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

First Line:

“Oh dear,” Linus Baker said, wiping the sweat from his brow.

Goodreads Blurb:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

My Rating:

✰5✰

My Thoughts:

This book is filled with so much wonder and whimsy and delightful fun and love. I couldn’t get enough of it. The characters are all unique and good and funny. I loved all of them. There were so many amazing lessons within these pages about prejudice and belonging and taking risks for what you want or need most in life. As  well as lessons about the right thing to do in hard or scary situations, especially when protecting ones you love or ones who most need or deserve your protection. This was such an amazing and heartwarming read. Absolutely amazing.

I’m planning to buy a hard copy of this soon so I can reread and annotate in the new year. I’m pretty sure this is my new favorite book of all time. 

The Reading Tastes Tag

I saw this tag when Shannon Ridler did it on Youtube earlier this month. The original tag was created by Sophia’s Thoughts, also on Youtube.

1. What is your favorite genre?

I read pretty much everything, but I would say my favorite genre is Science Fiction. More specifically dystopian. 

2. What is the most difficult genre for you to read?

Probably fantasy. There are always so many long names of people and places and it all gets very confusing for me.

3. What is your preferred age range?

I think the majority of my reading is adult, but I also read middlegrade and YA.

4. Are you a character driven or plot driven reader?

Character driven I believe. If I don’t care about the character I don’t care about the book.

5. Do you have a preferred perspective?

Unless it’s in second person, this is just not something I notice while I’m reading.

6. Do you have a preferred tense?

I don’t think so. I don’t think I would notice one tense over another while reading unless it suddenly changed.

7. Do you like series or stand-alone books best?

I like stand alone books better. I like to be able to open a book and have a full and complete story when I close the book at the end. I’m also impatient. I don’t usually read series because I don’t want to have to wait for more books to come out. And I have trouble remembering things from one book to the next for a series, so I often need to reread the previous books in a series to have everything fresh in my mind to read the new installment. I have been reading more series books this year though and it’s something I want to read more of in the future.

8. Which would you rather, long or short books?

Short books. Long books, anything over about 500 pages, intimidate me. I like a quick new story fix. My ideal length of book is about 250 pages.

9. Which format do you like best?

My favorite format is floppy paperbacks, but I read all styles of books except for audio.

10. What are you currently reading?

So so so many things. I’ll direct you to last week’s blog post where I share a list of the 30+ books I’m in the middle of.

Books I Want to Read Before the End of 2020

My reading went off the rails in the second half of 2020 and I currently find myself in the middle of 30 books at the same time. One I’ve been reading since January. One I’ve been reading since July. And the rest were started at some point from August on (probably). There are also 12 Christmas themed books in my advent calendar this year that I will be trying to read in December (more about those in a future post).

Altogether I have 42 books I am hoping to finish in November and December. My spreadsheet says I’ll need to read 300 pages a day to finish on time. That is extremely unlikely, but I’ll see what I can do.  Because there are so many I won’t include covers or blurbs from Goodreads, but the title of books I mention is always a link to the Goodreads listing for it if you want more information.

These are the books I’ve already started.

It’s not super important to have all of these finished by the end of the year, but I do love when I can start a new year with an empty slate in terms of reading. I’ll be working on these and hopefully at least a few Christmas themed books until 2020 is over. What are you hoping to read the rest of this year? How do you feel about being in the middle of a book when a new year begins?

Recent Read – The Air He Breathes

There are some spoilers included when you reach my thoughts at the bottom. 

The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C Cherry

First Line:

Each morning I read love letters written for another woman.

Goodreads Blurb:

I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”
“He’s cold.”
“He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.

But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

My Rating:

✰3✰

My Thoughts:

This was a five star read for me until about 75% of the way through the book. Then it suddenly turns in to an entirely different book and I just didn’t enjoy it from that point forward.

Though I am not thinking about a new relationship since the death of my husband, I gain inspiration seeing other widows and widowers finding joy and happiness after their own loss. So a book about a widower and a widow with a young daughter finding each other sounded like just the thing I would enjoy reading about. And it was. It was a story of broken people finding a way to gain some comfort from each other and eventually that turned in to a love for each other. That was great to see and I cried so many times in both sorrow and joy watching Liz and Triston find a way to feel happy.

Then about 75% of the way through the book it turned from a romance to an action movie very suddenly. Someone was trying to kill her child, her husband had been murdered, and she ended up shooting and killing someone. What a jarring change in the story line.

I could forgive the ridiculous coincidence of how her husband and his wife and child’s deaths were all entwined as a religious coincidence they both believed in, but the action movie and the over the top happily ever after brought this down significantly for me in terms of enjoyment and rating.

The expressions of grief shown in this book matched my own and I would definitely read more of this author’s work, especially if it involves widows, this one just ended up middle of the road for me.

If you’ve read this book how did you feel about the change in tone?

First Sentences October 2020

It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read a whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I finished last month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

People think that ghosts only come out at night, or on Halloween, when the world is dark and the walls are thin.

Yesternight by Cat Winters

I disembarked a train at the little log depot at Gordon Bay, Oregon, and a sudden force-a charging bull-immediately slammed me to the ground.

Night of the Living Dummy by RL Stine

Mmmmm!

Friends is Friends by Greg Cook

Hey, watch where you’re going with that thing!

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

You are she.

First Gold by Jerry Gerold

Garrett Unger couldn’t see the horse beneath him, but he could feel its heat, its heartbeat, its hooves as it trotted down the gravelly shoulder of the country road.

Scooby-Doo and the Toy Store Terror by James Gelsey

“Let’s go, fellas,” Velma called into the back of the van.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

Suggested Reading by Dave Connis

Four years.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Dr Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on.

Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney

Mom’s always saying that friends will come and go but family is forever.

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Jeremiah was black.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Cathy Byrd

Anything can happen in baseball.

The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years of being a kid, it’s that you have ZERO control over your own life.

How to be Safe by Tom McAllister

After, the sun turned gray and descended into the lake like a spider dropping from the ceiling.

How to Be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer

Friends, I feel it would be totally disingenuous if I didn’t come right out and admit it: I love being nice.

Of these 16 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick up the books?

November Book of the Month Haul

These are the three Book of the Month books I ordered this month. (pictures and blurbs are from Goodreads)

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson’s a Black day care teacher, and they’ve been together for a few years — good years — but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. There’s the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.

But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike’s immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.

Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they’ve ever known. And just maybe they’ll all be okay in the end. Memorial is a funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love.
 

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York and start a life together in Sam’s sleepy hometown in upstate New York. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele.

Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist’s wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie’s happily ever after.
 

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Blindsided by her mother’s sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, mouldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she’s been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey’s fight to fulfil her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.

Writers & Lovers follows Casey–a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist–in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Written with King’s trademark humour, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.
 

Have you read any of these? Are you planning to?

Recent Read- Before the Ever After

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

First Line:

The memory goes like this: Ollie’s got the ball and he’s running across my yard and my Dad comes out of nowhere, soft tackles him to the ground.

Goodreads Blurb:

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone’s hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he’s as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ’s house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains it’s because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that–but it doesn’t make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can’t remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?

My Rating:

✰5✰

My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book. It’s only 161 pages and it’s a novel in verse so it went really quickly. I read it all in just a couple of hours with interruptions.

I lost count of how many times I cried while reading this book. The main character’s father is having memory and functioning issues much like those my late husband experienced while he was dying from brain cancer. And watching the same things my Jason experienced, and the things we would have experienced if he had lived longer, just tore my heart out over and over.  This was especially the case when things occurred that have literally haunted my nightmares. 

I don’t like sports, but even all of the football talk wasn’t enough to take away from how beautiful and heart wrenching this story and all of the words were.

Jacqueline Woodson is quickly becoming a favorite author for me.

Nonfiction November TBR

Nonfiction November is an event hosted by abookolive on Youtube. This is the sixth year and the goal is to read more nonfiction then you usually do. If you read one nonfiction book, then you are participating. There are four one word prompt challenges each round. This year the prompts are Time, Movement, Buzz, and Discovery.

I’m not choosing books to fit those prompts. I’m the middle of a whole lot of books at the moment and won’t be starting anything new for this readathon, but because I haven’t been here for a while you don’t know what I’m currently reading. I thought this would be a good way to share the six nonfiction books I’m reading right now. Hopefully most of them will be finished up in November using this readathon as a good way to finish them. Blurbs and pictures are from Goodreads.

Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti–Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the lives of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and anti-racists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W. E. B. Du Bois to legendary anti–prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading pro-slavery and pro–civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.

As Kendi illustrates, racist thinking did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Racist ideas were created and popularized in an effort to defend deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and to rationalize the nation’s racial inequities in everything from wealth to health. While racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much–needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers tools to expose them—and in the process, reason to hope.

I Can’t Stop Crying by John D Martin

“I Can’t Stop Crying is a down-to-earth book for all those who think they are alone.”Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD The death of someone close — a spouse or partner — can result in overwhelming grief. At the same time, society unrealistically expects people to recover from grief as quickly as possible.

I Can’t Stop Crying looks at grieving as a painful but necessary process. The authors emphasize the importance of giving yourself permission to grieve and suggest steps for rebuilding your life without your loved one. They also look at how such a loss affects your relationship with family and friends, as well as your lifestyle, work habits, and hopes for the future. A useful appendix lists bereavement groups and other self-help organizations you can contact for assistance.

There is no way to lessen or quicken the grieving process. Recovery is possible only by taking the time to work through your pain. This compassionate and sensible book will help you take the first steps down that road. It can, and should, be read by anyone who has experienced a significant loss.

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King

What do you do with a little kid who…won’t brush her teeth…screams in his car seat…pinches the baby…refuses to eat vegetables…throws books in the library…runs rampant in the supermarket? Organized according to common challenges and conflicts, this book is an essential emergency first-aid manual of communication strategies, including a chapter that addresses the special needs of children with sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders.

This user-friendly guide will empower parents and caregivers of young children to forge rewarding, joyful relationships with terrible two-year-olds, truculent three-year-olds, ferocious four-year-olds, foolhardy five-year-olds, self-centered six-year-olds, and the occasional semi-civilized seven-year-old. And, it will help little kids grow into self-reliant big kids who are cooperative and connected to their parents, teachers, siblings, and peers.

Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride

The first book for the millions of daughters suffering from the emotional abuse of selfish, self-involved mothers, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? provides the expert advice readers need to overcome debilitating histories and reclaim their lives.
Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster W Cline and Jim Fay

This parenting book shows you how to raise self-confident, motivated children who are ready for the real world. Learn how to parent effectively while teaching your children responsibility and growing their character. Establish healthy control through easy-to-implement steps without anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles. Indexed for easy reference.
How to Be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer

A humorous and insightful look into what advice works, what doesn’t, and what it means to transform yourself, by the co-hosts of the popular By the Book podcast.

In each episode of their podcast By the Book, Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer take a deep dive into a different self-help book, following its specific instructions, rules, and advice to the letter. From diet and productivity to decorating to social interactions, they try it all, record themselves along the way, then share what they’ve learned with their devoted and growing audience of fans who tune in.

In How to Be Fine, Jolenta and Kristen synthesize the lessons and insights they’ve learned and share their experiences with everyone. How to Be Fine is a thoughtful look at the books and practices that have worked, real talk on those that didn’t, and a list of philosophies they want to see explored in-depth. The topics they cover include:

Getting off your device
Engaging in positive self-talk
Downsizing
Admitting you’re a liar
Meditation
Going outside
Getting in touch with your emotions
Seeing a therapist

Before they began their podcast, Jolenta wanted to believe the promises of self-help books, while Kristen was very much the skeptic. They embraced their differences of opinion, hoping they’d be good for laughs and downloads. But in the years since launching the By the Book, they’ve come to realize their show is about much more than humor. In fact, reading and following each book’s advice has actually changed and improved their lives. Thanks to the show, Kristen penned the Amish romance novel she’d always joked about writing, traveled back to her past lives, and she broached some difficult conversations with her husband about their marriage. Jolenta finally memorized her husband’s phone number, began tracking her finances, and fell in love with cutting clutter.

Part memoir, part prescriptive handbook, this honest, funny, and heartfelt guide is like a warm soul-baring conversation with your closest and smartest friends.

Of these seven choices the one I am enjoying the most is the last one. It’s fun, fast and short, but still filled with valuable insights. I’ve added several of the titles they talk about to my wishlist for future purchase and reading. Are you reading anything for Nonfiction November this year?

Recent Read: The Boy Who Knew Too Much

The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Cathy Byrd

First Line:

Anything can happen in baseball.

Goodreads Blurb:

“Mommy, I used to be a tall baseball player.”
“Yes, you will be a tall baseball player someday.”
With a look of exasperation, he stomped his foot and hollered.
“No! I was a tall baseball player—tall like Daddy!”

What was my son trying to say to me? Did he mean . . . he couldn’t mean . . . was he trying to tell me that he was a grown-up in a previous lifetime?

At the tender age of two, baseball prodigy Christian Haupt began sharing vivid memories of being a baseball player in the 1920s and ’30s. From riding cross-country on trains, to his fierce rivalry with Babe Ruth, Christian described historical facts about the life of American hero and baseball legend Lou Gehrig that he could not have possibly known at the time.

Distraught by her son’s uncanny revelations, Christian’s mother, Cathy, embarked on a sacred journey of discovery that would shake her beliefs to the core and forever change her views on life and death.

In this compelling and heartwarming memoir, Cathy Byrd shares her remarkable experiences, the lessons she learned as she searched to find answers to this great mystery, and a story of healing in the lives of these intertwined souls.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much will inspire even the greatest skeptics to consider the possibility that love never dies.

My Rating:

✰1✰

My Thoughts:

Why did I read a book about baseball when I don’t like sports? Why did I read a book about reincarnation when I don’t believe in anything spiritual? I don’t know. I don’t remember where I heard about this book or what made me add it to my library holds list. But I read it and it was a compelling read, though I’m not converted to being either a baseball lover or a reincarnation believer after finishing it. 

It doesn’t feel okay to criticize characters in a non-fiction book because those characters are real people. But I can’t accurately explain why I hated this book without talking about the author, who is also the mother in this story. A big struggle I had with this book was the way the wife behaved towards her husband and daughter. She kept secrets from her husband and went places to do spiritual things that were against their family beliefs without telling him because she knew it would make him uncomfortable. She repeatedly left him out of decisions or went against his wishes without further conversation when making choices for their children. She constantly dragged her daughter along on ‘vacations’ that were only of interest to her and her son. The first thing I did after finishing this book was to try and find out if they were divorced at this point because honestly I could never be married to someone that deceitful. 

Other issues I had with the book were that the author seemed very wishy washy. She was often saying she believed her son and wanted him to talk more about his past life and then in the next paragraph she would say she was relived that he seemed to be growing out of it. I’m sure this is accurate to her feelings at the time, but made her seem unreliable.

She was wishy washy in her faith too. She repeatedly said I can’t do that or believe that because I’m a Christian, but then ran out and did whatever she claimed she wasn’t allowed to a paragraph before. Such a frustrating character to follow.

She lied to everybody she encountered on her quest. She repeatedly said I hated to lie to him but I couldn’t say the truth and risk scaring him away. 

And one of the biggest frustrations for me was when she spoke for several chapters about a picture she was trying to find and then she says she finally found it and was so relieved to have done so, but that picture we spent so much time in the book hunting for and talking about we didn’t get to see in the pages of photos that were included even though we were shown another picture from that same photo finding trip. 

This wasn’t even really a story about her son. It started that way, but quickly became about her and the past life she dreamed up for herself and as many famous baseball names she could squeeze on to a page. 

Some of this could be explained by her lack of experience as a writer. And your opinion might be different because this book does have a four star rating on Goodreads overall, but many people in the reviews also agree with my complaints about the book.

I started this book enjoying the story even though I didn’t believe it as fact. I was looking at a four star rating around a quarter of the way through but as the pages kept flipping my rating got lower and lower. I was going to give it two stars by the end because it was at least an interesting story, but the final two chapters were so heavy handed with the religious lesson explaining I took it all the way down to one star. If those lessons she was spewing at the reader weren’t so entirely hypocritical of everything she had chosen to do in the previous 200 pages it wouldn’t have made me nearly as angry. I wish I was a reader that DNFed books because I should have given up on this one long before I reached the end.

And the most important question for a reader of this book: Do I believe Christian and his mother are reincarnated from Lou Gerigh and his mother? No.

Do you? 

My Bookish Week 10/24/20

Hi there! So I guess I might be back after spontaneously quitting in the middle of August. Life and grief and depression and anxiety and single widowed parenting and the pandemic and financial struggles all got in the way big time. Also I hate the new block editor here and that made trying to come back when things settled down a little an even harder choice to make. 

There is no catching up 2 months of reading updates fully, but since my last post I’ve read another 49 books bringing my yearly total up to 163 so far. I’ve acquired another 145 books. And I’m in the middle of 40 other books. 

Highlights of my reading in the last two months include:

  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, my new favorite book of all time. I’m planning a reread of it as my first read of 2021.
  • Well Played by Jen DeLuca. I loved this just as much as the first book from the series and can’t wait for book three to come out. 
  • Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor was just as much fun as the Red Dwarf TV show my late husband loved so much.

 Of the books I’m currently reading, some favorites at the moment are:

Hopefully I’ll find myself posting something else soon. I’ve missed you all. 

The Five Newest Books on my Wishlist

I add books to my Amazon Wishlist nearly every day. Between blog posts, Instagram, Youtube, and bookish groups on Facebook I find new books I want to read all the time. I use my Goodreads TBR for books I already own and my Amazon wishlist for books I want to read at some point, but don’t own yet. Here are five recent additions. Pictures and blurbs are from Goodreads.

 The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

In this charming and poignant debut, one woman’s unconventional journey to finding love means learning to embrace the unexpected.

For Susan Green, messy emotions don’t fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an “interpersonal arrangement” that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.

Enter Rob, the dubious but well-meaning friend of her indolent brother. As Susan’s due date draws near and her dismantled world falls further into a tailspin, Susan finds an unlikely ally in Rob. She might have a chance at finding real love and learning to love herself, if only she can figure out how to let go.

Maid by Stephanie Land

Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land’s memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

“My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.”

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work–primarily done by women–fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.

While she worked hard to scratch her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labor jobs, higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of overworked and underpaid Americans.

Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes. With this book, she gives voice to the “servant” worker, those who fight daily to scramble and scrape by for their own lives and the lives of their children.

Wonderscape by Jennifer Bell

When Arthur, Ren and Cecily investigate a mysterious explosion on their way to school, they find themselves trapped aboard The Principia – a scientific research ship sailing through hazardous waters, captained by one Isaac Newton.

Lost in the year 2473 in the Wonderscape, an epic in-reality adventure game, they must call on the help of some unlikely historical heroes, to play their way home before time runs out.

Jumanji meets Ready Player One in this fast-paced adventure featuring incredible real-life heroes, from the internationally bestselling author of The Uncommoners series.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money—more than you’ve ever dreamed of—to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery—or worse.

Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

Motherhood by Sheila Heti

In Motherhood, Sheila Heti asks what is gained and what is lost when a woman becomes a mother, treating the most consequential decision of early adulthood with the candor, originality, and humor that have won Heti international acclaim and made How Should A Person Be? required reading for a generation.

In her late thirties, when her friends are asking when they will become mothers, the narrator of Heti’s intimate and urgent novel considers whether she will do so at all. In a narrative spanning several years, casting among the influence of her peers, partner, and her duties to her forbearers, she struggles to make a wise and moral choice. After seeking guidance from philosophy, her body, mysticism, and chance, she discovers her answer much closer to home.

Motherhood is a courageous, keenly felt, and starkly original novel that will surely spark lively conversations about womanhood, parenthood, and about how—and for whom—to live.

Have you read any of these? What book did you recently add to your wishlist?

July 2020 Book Haul

In July I bought or was given 37 books. I’ve actually already read 6 of them which is pretty good for me.

Some of these I bought for vacation. Some of these I bought on vacation. The last 8 are still in the mail somewhere. The last four of those I am so excited for. My late husband loved the tv show Red Dwarf. It was actually the last thing that made him laugh before he died. I recently found out that there are some books based on the show and I paid more than I should have to buy all four of the novels. I am so excited to get them and have them and read them. There are so few ways to feel connected to my late husband and this seems like a small silly way to feel close to him for a little while.

My Bookish Week 08/08/20

It was an okay week. We are nearly done with quarantine after our trip to California last month and we are so excited to be able to leave the house again. Thankfully no fevers or any other symptoms for either Pepper or myself. We were very careful with masks and hand washing the whole trip across the country and back and we seem to have done okay since we’re both still healthy.

Even though we’ve been home every minute for almost two weeks it feels like I didn’t get much reading done. I’m trying to catch up on work that was neglected for almost three weeks while we were gone and Pepper came home sad after leaving everyone and with some regression in her behavioral issues, including tantrums and hitting me. We’re working on it and she’s doing a lot better already, but saying goodbye to everyone and then coming home and having it just be the two of us for so long really messed with her mojo. I’m glad to get some semblance of normal again next week.

I did manage to finish three books this week, but two were short and one I read most of in July. I really enjoyed them all though so I’m definitely counting it as a win.

Our Doris by Charles Heathcote ✰4✰

This was really good. But the way the characters had of speaking really irritated me for the first few chapters. “I said to her, I said” was repeated every time someone spoke and it irritated me to me no end for the first few chapters. By the end though I just found it charming. I really loved Doris and Harold and their antics and their relationship. It was wonderful. I look forward to reading more of these characters.

The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney ✰4✰

This is the third book in the series. I’m working my way through this series on the recommendation of my sister in law and I really like them. They are for middle schoolers so they are really fast reads, but I’ve been collecting the whole series because they are just so cute and funny. I’m waiting for Pepper to be willing to read about characters that are boys so she will give Greg a try. He loves video games and drawing and jokes just like my Pepper. I think she will really love this series at some point soon, but for now she insists she will only read books about girls.

The Giver by Lois Lowry ✰5✰

This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it dozens of times as kid. I read the full quartet once as an adult. One night this week I decided that I wanted to pick it up again so I read this book in an evening. I’m reading the next book now.

I am currently in the middle of eight books and I plan to read at least some out of all of them this week.

What are you reading this week?

2020 Goals Check in – August

I’m looking at my goals to see how I’m doing so far.

  1. Read at least 100 books 111/100 Done!
  2. Own fewer unread books at the end of the year than I have at the beginning. Totally hopeless at this point.
  3. Finish reading all of the books I have records of for 2017. 2/14
    1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
    2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
    3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
    4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
    5. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
    6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    7. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
    8. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
    9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    10. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
    11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
    12. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
    13. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
    14. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
  4. Read at least 14 tomes (books over 500 pages). 2/14
    1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
    3. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
    4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    6. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    7. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
    8. The Red pyramid by Rick Riordan
    9. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
    10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    11. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    12. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    13. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  5. Complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 2020. 42/50
  6. Participate in Booktube Rereadathon 2020. 5/12

I am trying to decide which of these goals are still important to me and I’m just not sure how I will proceed at this point. I will likely finish the Popsugar and Booktube rereading challenges and I will continue to work on my two book lists here, but I don’t know that I will end up finishing them. I will plan to reevaluate these goals in next months check in.

July 2020 Reading Wrap Up

I usually do my wrap ups weekly, but I was gone for most of July on a road trip and didn’t have access to a computer so I put off all wrap ups for the month. These are all of the books I read between June 26th and the end of July. Some of them don’t have reviews, because it was over a month between reading some of these and adding them to this post and some I just didn’t have anything to say about them.

78. The Secret of Me by Meg Kearney ✰4✰ I enjoyed this story, but I don’t know that it gained anything by being told in verse. I learned a lot about adoption and I appreciated hearing this story.

79. Am I Blue? edited by Marion Dane Bauer ✰4✰ This was a collection of LGBT short stories written by many different author that I first read in a college Young Adult Literature class. It was a varied collection in terms of genre, and I enjoyed all but one of the stories.

80. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa ✰4✰ This book took me a really long time to read. Especially when you consider how short it is. The math largely went over my head, but by the end I was in tears with the love and sorrow this book showcased.

81. Well Met by Jen DeLuca ✰4✰ This book was so cute and so fun and so funny. I had a really great time reading it and I am looking forward to the sequel due out in September.

82. Heidi Heckelbeck and the Cookie Contest by Wanda Coven ✰4✰

83. Heidi Heckelbeck Casts a Spell by Wanda Coven ✰4✰

84. All Systems Red by Martha Wells ✰3✰ This Book was okay. I didn’t dislike it, but I also found myself not really caring about anything that was happening. I will likely not continue in the series.

85. Travelling Light by Vickie Johnstone ✰2✰ This was just underwhelming.

86. The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate ✰4✰ I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first one, but it was a really compelling story and I am glad I read it.

87. It Rained Warm Bread by Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet ✰5✰ This was such a heartbreaking book. It will stick with me for a long time.

88. Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren ✰2✰ I’ve read two Christina Lauren books before and loved them. I gave them both five stars. This book was such a disappointment. I can’t tell you why I hated the love interest so much without spoilers, but I can not believe how stupid or pathetic the main character was to give him a second chance.

89. Quest for the Enchanted Book by Colleen S Myers ✰2✰

90. Sold by Patricia McCormick ✰4✰ Such a heartbreaking book.

91. New Kid by Jerry Craft ✰5✰ This book was so good. It was a Newbery Honor winner and I am working on reading all of the winners. This book was compelling and showcased some of the racist things I’ve been reading about in other books in a very presentable way. I don’t know that I would have been paying close enough attention to the black children being called by each other’s names repeatedly if I were not also reading anti-racist literature at the same time. This was a compelling graphic novel and I fell like I learned more about myself and about the world reading it.

92. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo ✰5✰ This was so good. I read it on my Kindle so even though I believe it’s told in verse, that wasn’t immediately obvious on the screen. The story was so compelling and I just didn’t want to stop reading it. I loved every character present here and can’t wait to read more of this author’s work.

93. Heidi Heckelbeck in Disguise by Wanda Coven ✰4✰

94. Confessions of a Mediocre Widow by Tidd Catherine ✰5✰

95. Coffee and Crime by Kelly Hashway ✰3✰ This was a cute coffee shop themed cozy mystery that I got for free on my Kindle and I enjoyed it for what it was, a prequel. I bought and plan to read book one soon. 

96.Grave Peril by Jim Butcher ✰5✰ I just love Dresden and I don’t know why I take so long to get to the next books in this series. 

97.Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson ✰5✰ I asked for a recommendation of a book to read that would make me laugh out loud and this book definitely delivered. So funny!

98.Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey ✰4✰ I liked this book, but I just wanted more from it, more pages, more story, more everything. 

99.Heidi Heckelbeck Gets Glasses by Wanda Coven ✰3✰

100.The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta ✰5✰ Amazing!

101.The Wives by Tarryn Fisher ✰2✰ Such a disappointment. I hate the trope that was used in here, but can’t tell you what it is without major spoilers. 

102.Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney ✰3✰ So cute! And funny. I have plans to read the rest of the series. 

103.No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg ✰2✰ These may have been great speeches, but as a book it just didn’t work for me. So much repetition and just boring with not enough new information. I’m just glad it was short. 

104.Becoming by Michelle Obama ✰4✰

105.My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell ✰3✰ Kind of disappointing. 

106.My Best Friends’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix ✰2✰ Very disappointing. I’m not sure why I didn’t expect all of the religious aspects, but they were too much for me. Also, the gore was not for me. So many trigger warnings I could give here. But if you don’t mind religion and bloody violence you may love this book. 

107. Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney ✰4✰ I liked this even better than the first one. I can’t wait for more books in the series to get here in the mail. 

108. Heidi Heckelbeck and the Secret Admirer by Wanda Coven ✰4✰

109. Big Nate In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce ✰4✰

110. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey ✰3✰

111. The Book of Jones by Ralph Steadman ✰2✰ Odd. Underwhelming. 

July was a good month with vacation and completing  25 books and finishing my yearly Goodreads goal. I’m glad to be back to normal life for August.

Vacation was a mix. The drive from New York State to California was long and tiring. The week spent with family was amazing and fun and full of love and excitement. The long drive back home was terrible. We would never drive across the country again. It was way too much for Pepper and myself. I’m glad we did it this time though.

Scavenger Hunt to My Next Read, Again

This challenge is a scavenger hunt to find the book you read next. I saw BooksandLala do this challenge on youtube and I thought it would be fun to try it too. You start at prompt one and find the book it asks for, then you use that book to find the next book, and so on until you find the book you will read next.

I did the challenge once before and I ended up giving the chosen book 4 stars.

This is the last post that I scheduled in June so that July was free to focus on our cross country road trip. This is the day I will be arriving home and either be crashing from exhaustion from the final day in the car or I will be so excited to be home I’ll be unpacking everything and trying to read in between loads of laundry and making a grocery order to pick up tomorrow, because our shelves are empty.

I have a full TBR for August, but I thought choosing the book I’ll start when we get home will give me something to look forward to instead of dreading getting back to normal life. So I’m doing this fun challenge again to see what my first read back from vacation will be.

1. Grab your favorite book. Go to the acknowledgements, and the first name you see, find a book by an author with the same name. I totally messed this first question up and then spent an hour trying to find a book that could fit in this first slot so I didn’t have to change everything else. I failed to find a book with acknowledgments that included an Emily or a Henry so we’re just going with it. 

I didn’t want to start with the same book so I chose to begin the hunt today with my most recent five star read, Beach Read by Emily Henry

2. Pick something on that cover and find another book with the thing in the title.

I chose the book on the cover of Beach Read to lead me to The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison

3. Go to page 50, line 5. Pick a word from that line and find a title with that word.

The line I’m looking at in The Dirty Book Club is “Uncle Ollie was dragging me toward the exit, pulling my shirt so hard I could barely breathe.” I chose the word exit which led me to No Exit by Taylor Adams.

4. Find a 5-star read with the same colors on the cover.

I chose US Against You by Fredik Backman. A deep blue cover with white text 

5. Find a book with the same number of pages.

I expected this to give me trouble, but 448 pages is apparently a popular number of pages on my shelves. Goodreads tells me I own 17 books with that number of pages. I chose The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. 

6. Flip open to any page. The first name you see, find a book by an author who shares that name.

The name I found was Anna and the book I chose by an author with that name is Blessings by Anna Quindlen.

7. Find another title with the same number of letters.

The book I found with a title 9 letters long is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. 

8. Find a book with a similar cover.

I chose Gemina, the second book in this series. The covers are different colors, but otherwise very similar. 

9. Flip to a random page. Point at a word, and find that word in a book title on your TBR shelf.

The word I found is over. I had two choices that strictly said over and one that said overdue, but I decided to go with Out to Pasture: But Not Over the Hill by Effie Leland Wilder. 

10. Read!

This should be short, sweet, and fun and it will be my first read back from vacation. Have you read this book before? I found it in the book sale room at my local library. 

First Sentences July

I really like to look at the first sentences of books. It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read the whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I started this month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

I didn’t choose the wench life. 

Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret by Wanda Coven

Heidi Heckelbeck woke up in the Kingdom of Gloom.

Heidi Heckelbeck and the Cookie Contest by Wanda Coven

Yum! 

Heidi Heckelbeck Casts a Spell by Wanda Coven

Abracadabra!

Travelling Light by Vickie Johnstone

She sits and dreams of making rain

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

Look, nobody’s ever accused me of being a good dog.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

First of all, let me get something straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden loved math.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

The taxi’s radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

As Esther breathed in the sweet, musty smell of the horse blankets in the back of the Librarians’ wagon, she chewed on the I-told-you-so feeling that had overwhelmed her ever since her father had told her the news about Beatriz.

My Best Friends’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

The exorcist is dead.

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

Last summer, climate scientist Johan Rockstrom and some other people wrote that we have at most three years to reverse growth in greenhouse-gas emissions if we’re going to reach the goals set in the Paris Agreement.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

What an ugly, crappy day.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The eleventh apartment had only one closet, but it did have a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony, from which he could see a man sitting across the way, outdoors in only a t-shirt and shorts even though it was October, smoking.

I Know this Much is True by Wally Lamb

On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother Thomas entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut Public Library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable.

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

He comes over on Thursday every week.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

In the calm before the storm-in this case, the blessed quiet before the bridal suite is overrun by the wedding party-my twin sister stares critically down at a freshly painted shell-pink fingernail and says, “I bet you’re relieved I’m not a bridezilla.”

My Wife Said You May Want To Marry Me by Jason Rosenthal

I’m a Chicago guy, born and raised.

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Nana turned to inspect the hotel room.

New Kid by Jerry Craft

This is how I feel every single day of my life, like I’m falling without a parachute.

Quest for the Enchanted Book by Colleen S Myers

I don’t know why dad made me do chores.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

I know too much of mud.

Heidi Heckelbeck in Disguise by Wanda Coven

Witches!

Heidi Heckelbeck Gets Glasses by Wanda Coven

Heidi sat at her desk and fiddled with her kitty cat-shaped eraser.

Coffee and Crime by Kelly Hashway

I’m pretty sure I’ve had coffee running through my veins since the day I was born, despite my mother asserting she didn’t drink coffee whie she was pregnant with me.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Today is my sixth birthday and I’m hiding in my room.

Our Doris by Charles Heathcote

Our Doris has developed an unhealthy obsession with slugs.

Of these 27 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick them up?

August 2020 TBR- A-Z

My goal for August is to read some short books to help lower my physical TBR a little bit. I chose 26 books with 200 or fewer pages (aside from one cheat) that begin with each letter of the alphabet. The one cheat on this list is the book for the letter X. I didn’t have a book that started with that letter so I chose a book that has two Xs in the title, it is also over my page count restriction by 4 pages.

I may not finish all of the books on this TBR before the end of August, so it may be an August and September TBR. There are so many books here, I’m not going to share the descriptions from Goodreads like I usually do, but I’ll share the covers and links to Goodreads if you want to read more about them.

Andrew’s Brain by E L Doctorow

The Book of Jones by Ralph Steadman

Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

Don’t Die Waiting to be Brave by Andrea T Geoglein

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

The Guardians by Sarah Manguso

The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash

Inscriptions for Headstones by Matthew Vollmer

Joe Devlin and the New Star Fighter by James R Thomas

The Knowing by Brit Lunden

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Montana 1948 by Larry Watson

No More Words by Reeve Lindbergh

Old Possums Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty by Chris Colfer

A Room of Ones Own by Virginia Woolf

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

The Test by Sylvain neuvel

Unfuck Your Brain by Faith G Harper

A Virtuous Woman by Kayne Gibbons

Walking On Sunshine by Rachel Kelly

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

You Can Be Happy No Matter What by Richard Carlson

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

 

I think it’s a pretty good mix of genres. It is also a good mix in terms of how long they’ve been on my TBR. Some from just a few months ago and some from several years ago. I’m hoping to get through all of these this month, but I’m trying not to pressure myself in to that too much.

Have you read and loved any of these?

Do I have that Other Book Challenge

The original of this challenge was fun and stressful and now there is another one. Hooray. Part two was created by Keeping Tabs and Current Chapter on youtube. It is a scavenger hunt type challenge with 20 prompts. You’re supposed to time yourself and see how fast you can find all of the books, but I’ll just be picking at the prompts over a couple of days when I have time to do so.

1. Do you have a book with a fox on the cover or part of the plot?

The first book I thought of for this is an ebook I have. The Carnelian Fox by Kay MacLeod.

2. Do you have a book that was published the year you were born, or within a 3 year radius?

I was born in 1987 and I found The Tommyknockers by Stephen King.

3. Do you have a book with music as a weapon or magic?

I couldn’t think of anything for this one. Ideas?

4. Do you have a series with mismatched covers?

I have the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke. The first two are paperback and the third is hardcover.

5. Do you have a book with a shapeshifter?

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

6. Do you have a book signed by the author?

I have Be Be Your Own #Goals by Kristen Martin

7. Do you have a book with a mostly red cover?

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

8. Do you have a book between 287 – 306 pages?

Confess by Colleen Hoover is 306 pages.

9. Do you have a book with a main character who wears glasses?

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

10. Do you have a book with a title that has the same number of letters as your first name?

My first name is Lori. I have a really old paperback with Lori as the title. I’ve never read it, but wanted to have it because it has my name on it. Lori by Robert Bloch.

11. Do you have a book with cybercrime/technology as a plot point?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

12. Do you have book written in another language or translated to English?

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa Translated by Stephen Snyder

13. Do you have a book written by an Asian author?

Goodreads tells me Celeste Ng is an Asian author and I have her book Little Fires Everywhere on my shelf.

14. Do you have a book with a moon on the cover?

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

15. Do you have an illustrated children’s book?

We have around 1000 picture books on Pepper’s shelves so I don’t know how I would choose just one.

16. Do you have a collection of fairy tales or myths ?

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

17. Do you have a sci-fi/fantasy with an alliance between races?

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

18. Do you have a book with a narrow front cover? (paperback with a front cover that is slightly trimmed shorter/narrower than the rest of the book)

I have so many of these and I hate that. What is the purpose? One that I have is Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

19. Do you have a book that includes the first chapter of the sequel?

The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

20. Do you have a book with a broken spine?

Many of my books have broken spines because I get many of them used. One with significant cracks in the spine is A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay.

 

Phew. It took a couple days of picking at the questions, but I found answers for all but one. Do you have books to meet all of these prompts?

August 2018 and 2019 Haul Revisits

These monthly posts are to remind myself of books I was so excited to read, but still haven’t gotten to a year or two after I purchased them. I’ve crossed out the ones I’ve read.

August 2018 (2/7)

  1. Teach Your Own by John Hold
  2. Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto ✰5✰
  3. Blogging: How to Sell Your Soul for a Million Dollar Blog by Efron Hirsch
  4. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett ✰2✰
  5. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  6. How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott
  7. Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

August 2019 (2/22)

  1. Three Moments of an Explosion China Mieville
  2. The Square Route of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  3. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
  4. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ✰5✰
  5. Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton
  6. Waking up in the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo
  7. In Pieces by Sally Field
  8. The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  9. Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  10. Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Steveson
  11. The After Party by Anton DiSclafani
  12. The Grand Tour by Adam o’Fallon Price
  13. Often I am Happy by Jens Christian Grondoahl ✰3✰
  14. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
  15. Dead Letters by Conrad Williams
  16. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
  17. Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews
  18. Where I Lost Her by T Greenwood
  19. The Woman in the Window by A J Finn
  20. Year One by Nora Roberts
  21. Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer
  22. Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley

I am still interested in most of these books, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to them. Is there one here that you loved and think I should prioritize?

Favorites Shelf Part 4 -Favorite Author Edition

Over four posts I will be sharing all of the books on my favorites shelf. I only keep books I’ve read if I think I will read them again at some point. Otherwise, as soon as I finish reading a book, I give it away.  This is why, even though I own about 1000 unread physical books, I only own about 50 read books. Over this four part series I will share all of the books that I own and that I’ve read and loved enough to keep. Links, photos, and quotes are from Goodreads.

Today is the last post and there are eight books, all written by my favorite author, Fredrik Backman. I thought it would be fun to put these eight books in order from least favorite to most favorite. This was hard because I have one three star, one four star, and all the rest are five stars and amazing.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it’s too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As he talks about this plucky little girl, the father also reveals more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future.

Now, on a cold winter’s night, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal that answer.

With humor and compassion, Fredrik Backman’s The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our legacy rests in how we share that gift with others.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World collects the personal dispatches from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.

As he conveys his profound awe at experiencing all the “firsts” that fill him with wonder and catch him completely unprepared, Fredrik Backman doesn’t shy away from revealing his own false steps and fatherly flaws, tackling issues both great and small, from masculinity and mid-life crises to practical jokes and poop.

In between the sleep-deprived lows and wonderful highs, Backman takes a step back to share the true story of falling in love with a woman who is his complete opposite, and learning to live a life that revolves around the people you care about unconditionally. Alternating between humorous side notes and longer essays offering his son advice as he grows up and ventures out into the world, Backman relays the big and small lessons in life, including:

-How to find the team you belong to
-Why airports explain everything about religion and war
-The reason starting a band is crucial to cultivating and keeping friendships
-How to beat Monkey Island 3
-Why, sometimes, a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.

Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

Are any of these your favorites too? Who is your favorite author?

Favorites Shelf Part 3 – Nonfiction Edition

Over four posts I will be sharing all of the books on my favorites shelf. I only keep books I’ve read if I think I will read them again at some point. Otherwise, as soon as I finish reading a book, I give it away.  This is why, even though I own about 1000 unread physical books, I only own about 50 read books. Over this four part series I will share all of the books that I own and that I’ve read and loved enough to keep. Aside from the last part, none of these are in any particular order.This does not include any of my books on grief.  Links, photos, and quotes are from Goodreads.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and Catch, reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too. With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No. And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear. Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything. Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed – and saved – her life. And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word: Yes.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Gilbert offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Practical advice in a perfect package for young aspiring writers.

After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice,accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot,
make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work.

Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.

Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

If you will live like no one else, later you can “live” like no one else.

Build up your money muscles with America’s favorite finance coach.

Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with “The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition“.

By now, you’ve heard all the nutty get-rich-quick schemes, the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of kooky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. Hey, if you’re tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, take a look at this–it’s the simplest, most straightforward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it’s based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies.

With “The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition,” you’ll be able to:
Design a sure-fire plan for paying off all debt–meaning cars, houses, everything
Recognize the 10 most dangerous money myths (these will kill you)
Secure a big, fat nest egg for emergencies and retirement!

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said. ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer’s life. From “Getting Started,’ with “Short Assignments,” through “Shitty First Drafts,” “Character,” “Plot,” “Dialogue.” all the way from “False Starts” to “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses “Writers Block,” “Writing Groups,” and “Publication.” Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive.

If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book is for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eyes open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life.

Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto

A highly praised best-seller for over a decade, this is a radical treatise on public education that concludes that compulsory government schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders like cogs in a machine. This Special Collector’s Edition celebrates 100,000 copies or the book in print, and the book’s on-going importance and popularity.

On Writing by Stephen King

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

Are any of these your favorites too?

Favorites Shelf Part 2

Over four posts I will be sharing all of the books on my favorites shelf. I only keep books I’ve read if I think I will read them again at some point. Otherwise, as soon as I finish reading a book, I give it away.  This is why, even though I own about 1000 unread physical books, I only own about 50 read books. Over this four part series I will share all of the books that I own and that I’ve read and loved enough to keep.  Links, photos, and quotes are from Goodreads.

 

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (series) by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Kings of the Wyld (series) by Nicholas Eames

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.

Illuminae (series) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents–including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more–Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

The Giver (series) by Lois Lowry

Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

The Stand by Stephen King

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex/Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of the family and state and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Stage a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. It raises the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to ben? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? , how will history remember you?

Beach Read by Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Docile by KM Szpara

There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.

Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.

Are any of these your favorites too?

Favorites Shelf Part 1

Over  four posts I will be sharing all of the books on my favorites shelf. I only keep books I’ve read if I think I will read them again at some point. Otherwise, as soon as I finish reading a book, I give it away.  This is why, even though I own about 1000 unread physical books, I only own about 50 read books. Over this four part series I will share all of the books that I own and that I’ve read and loved enough to keep.  Links, photos, and quotes are from Goodreads.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

The illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, where he meets all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, while learning to feel a little better about himself—based on the enormously popular Twitter account.

Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, an alien sent to study Earth. Always feeling apart, even among his species, Jomny feels at home for the first time among the earthlings he meets. There is a bear tired of other creatures running in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, a turtle hiding itself by learning camouflage, a puppy struggling to express its true feelings, and many more.

The characters are unique and inventive—bees think long and hard about what love means, birds try to eat the sun, nothingness questions its own existence, a ghost comes to terms with dying, and an introverted hedgehog slowly lets Jomny see its artistic insecurities. At the same time, Jomny’s curious presence allows these characters to open up to him in ways they were never able to before, revealing the power of somebody who is just there to listen.

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too is also the story behind the widely-shared and typo-filled @jonnysun twitter account. Since the beginning, Sun intentionally tweeted from an outsider’s perspective, creating a truly distinct voice. Now, that outsider has taken shape in the character of Jomny, who observes Earth with the same intelligent, empathetic, and charmingly naïve voice that won over his fans on social media. New fans will find it organic, and old fans will delight at seeing the clever words that made them fans in the first place.

Through this story of a lost, lonely and confused Alien finding friendship, acceptance, and love among the animals and plants of Earth, we will all learn how to be a little more human. And for all the earth-bound creatures here on this planet, we will all learn how sometimes, it takes an outsider to help us see ourselves for who we truly are.

Middlegame by by Seanan McGuire

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years.

Meet Dolores Price. She’s 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she’s determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family—and a stack of overdue assignments—instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

The Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle, and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It’s about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

Are any of these your favorites too?

 

Road Trip with a Five Year Old

Pepper and I are going on our first vacation, our first road trip, in July. The longest she has ever been in a car is two and half hours at a time and we’re looking at potentially 12 hour days for this trip. The estimate from my father in law is five days each direction. I’m not so much worried about the time we will spend in California with my sister in law and family as I am about all of those hours in the car and it is fairly obvious where those worries lie based on how much time and money I’ve spent investing in supplies for our car days and how little of either I’ve invested in our week in California.

For the trip I got us each some new walking shoes, a couple of new dresses for Pepper and shorts for me and I ordered myself a few new books to take on vacation as well as a book of Summer themed word puzzles and a couple of sticker by number books. Every thing else I’ve bought for the trip is for Pepper in the car.

The first thing I chose was a tray that straps behind her carseat so she has a solid work station for her tablets, switch, coloring, and snacks.

Next to go with her snacks which I will pack a lot of, she is a snacker, I got her a new metal waterbottle to keep her drinks cold for a long time. It’s also cute and has a straw. She will only drink with a straw.

 

We have a backpack filled with coloring books, puzzle books, sticker books, ect that I have been collecting and saving for the trip, but she will also get one new activity each day we are only in the car. Some are craft things, some are games, some are toys. I tried to have a mix of things to keep her entertained. Here are a few of the surprises:

 

I think we have way more than we need entertainment wise and I’m okay with that. This trip is a huge stressor for me and it holds a lot of grief and anxiety for me so I’d rather be way overprepared so that Pepper can have as much fun as possible. And any toys or activities we don’t need or get to will go in the box of Christmas gifts I’ve already started wrapping for her. So nothing will go to waste. What is your number one tip for traveling with kiddos?

June 2020 Book Haul

This month I joined Book of the Month and bookstores and second hand shops opened again and in total I bought or was given 37 books. So far I have started one and finished none.

  1. One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
  2. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  3. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  4. Refuge by Dina Nayeri
  5. Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian
  6. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  7. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
  8. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
  9. The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig
  10. I can’t Stop Crying by John D Martin
  11. Bearing the Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore
  12. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  13. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  14. The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison
  15. How Hard Can it Be? by Allison Pearson
  16. Stamped fro the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi
  17. Time of my Life by Allison Winn Scotch
  18. Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado
  19. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  20. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  21. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  22. Pachinko by Min Jin Less
  23. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  24. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  25. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  26. The Sleepwalkers Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob
  27. Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti
  28. Atonement by Ian McEawn
  29. My Life as a Russian Novel by Emmanuel Carrere
  30. Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz
  31. Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary
  32. 3 NBs of Julian Drew by James M Deem
  33. My Foreign Cities by Elizabeth Scarboro
  34. I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn
  35. The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar
  36. Zero K by Don DeLillo
  37. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

What are you most excited to have bought this month?

2020 Goals Check in – July

I’m looking at my goals to see how I’m doing so far.

  1. Read at least 100 books 86/100 Doing great here
  2. Own fewer unread books at the end of the year than I have at the beginningHahaha I should really just give up on this one. I haven’t lowered my count a single month this year.
  3. Finish reading all of the books I have records of for 2017Still just one here so far
    1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
    2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
    3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
    4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
    5. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
    6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    7. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
    8. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
    9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    10. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
    11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
    12. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
    13. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
    14. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
  4. Read at least 14 tomes (books over 500 pages)And just two done here still.
    1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
    3. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
    4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    6. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    7. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
    8. The Red pyramid by Rick Riordan
    9. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
    10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    11. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    12. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    13. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  5. Complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 202035/50
  6. Participate in Booktube Rereadathon 2020. 5/12

I really need to work on those two book lists, but am otherwise pretty happy with my overall reading progress.

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

I love doing this tag every year as a checkin on how my yearly reading goals are going. This tag was created by Earl Grey Books on Youtube. My goal on Goodreads for this year is 100 books. I’m well ahead of schedule having read 86 books so far this year.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020 

This was so hard. I’ve already given twenty three books 5 stars this year. I narrowed it down to four pretty easily and then the only way I could choose just one was to ask if I could only reread one of them right now, which would I choose. So my answer is Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, but that could just as likely change to Beach Read by Emily Henry or Autoboyoraphy or Love and Other Words both by Christina Lauren if you ask me at a different minute.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I thought I would have trouble thinking of one here, but there are so many. I’m going with Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. I can not believe I haven’t read this yet. 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

This is by far the easiest question on the list. My favorite author, Fredrik Backman, has a new book coming out in September and I preordered it as soon as it was available for me to do so. Anxious People

5. Biggest disappointment

I only have one 1 star read this year so far. An Adventure: That’s for Sure by Donna Wood

6. Biggest surprise.

I wanted to go with a happy surprised and not a disappointed surprised. I chose The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. Sports are not my thing and I didn’t have high hopes for a romance about a baseball player, but this was so good. 

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Christina Lauren is my choice. I read them for the first time this year. I have read two of their books so far, both five stars, and have another one on my July TBR.

8. Newest fictional crush.

Elliot from Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren.

9. Newest favorite character.

Cath From Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

10. Book that made you cry.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

11. Book that made you happy.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I really love the cover of The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

So so so many. I still have 25 out of 28 books on my 2020 TBR that I need to get to. 

What is the most beautiful book you have purchased this year?

July 2020 TBR

My TBRs are always might be reads, but that is even more so the case this month. I will gone for three weeks of this month on a road trip across the country. Ten of those days will be spent in the car and I can’t help with the driving due to eye issues, but I will be on keep the five year old calm, quiet, and hopefully happy duty. I will either have more time to read then ever before or the kid will need me constantly and I will read a dozen pages over the course of the whole vacation. I can see this going either way. So I’m bringing a dozen physical books with me on this trip that I hope to read, but I may not end up finishing any of them.

The first book is one my sister in law said is a favorite and I want to read it while I’m at her house so we can talk about it. The second one is one she wants to read. The next four are ones I ordered just for this trip. And the last six are ones I already owned and really want to read and two of those are from my 2020 reading list. Pictures and quotes are from Goodreads.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.

In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

This edition of Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed book is perfect for young readers. It is the powerful story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. Now a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, who lived through the Civil Rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

My Best Friends’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries–and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

‘Everything needs to change. And it has to start today’

In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

This book brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across Europe, from the UN to mass street protests, No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

I Know this Much is True by Wally Lamb

On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother, Thomas, entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut, public library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable. . . .

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

My Wife Said You May Want To Marry Me by Jason Rosenthal

On March 3, 2017, Amy Krouse Rosenthal penned an op-ed piece for the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column —”You May Want to Marry My Husband.” It appeared ten days before her death from ovarian cancer. A heartbreaking, wry, brutally honest, and creative play on a personal ad—in which a dying wife encouraged her husband to go on and find happiness after her demise—the column quickly went viral, reaching more than five million people worldwide.

In My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me, Jason describes what came next: his commitment to respecting Amy’s wish, even as he struggled with her loss. Surveying his life before, with, and after Amy, Jason ruminates on love, the pain of watching a loved one suffer, and what it means to heal—how he and their three children, despite their profound sorrow, went on. Jason’s emotional journey offers insights on dying and death and the excruciating pain of losing a soulmate, and illuminates the lessons he learned.

As he reflects on Amy’s gift to him—a fresh start to fill his empty space with a new story—Jason describes how he continues to honor Amy’s life and her last wish, and how he seeks to appreciate every day and live in the moment while trying to help others coping with loss. My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me is the poignant, unreserved, and inspiring story of a great love, the aftermath of a marriage ended too soon, and how a surviving partner eventually found a new perspective on life’s joys in the wake of tremendous loss.

I tried to chose a wide variety of books in both length and content. Do I have a favorite of yours on this list?

July 2018 and 2019 Haul Revisits

These monthly posts are to remind myself of books I was so excited to read, but still haven’t gotten to a year or two after I purchased them. I’ve crossed out the ones I’ve read.

July 2018 (3/10)

  1. Leap Frog by Nathalie Molina Nino and Sara Grace
  2. The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
  3. Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection by Sharon Salzberg
  4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert ✰4✰
  5. The Poisoned City by Anna Clark
  6. Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Sto
  7. Ninja Timmy by Henrik Tamm
  8. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes ✰4✰
  10. Love & Magic by John Hanlon ✰5✰

July 2019 (10/48)

  1. Confess by Colleen Hoover
  2. Dry by Neal Shusterman
  3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  4. Learning to Drive by Katha Pollitt
  5. Way Station by Clifford D Simak
  6. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  7. The End of Men by Karen Rinaldi
  8. Books that Made the Difference by Gordon Sabine
  9. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston ✰5✰
  10. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi
  11. Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan
  12. The Grieving Child by Helen Fitzgerald ✰5✰
  13. The Grieving Teen by Helen Fitzgerald
  14. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  15. How to Survive the the Loss of  Love by Melba Colgrove ✰5✰
  16. Living When a Loved One Has Died by Earl A Grollman ✰4✰
  17. I Find You in the Darkness by Alfa ✰4✰
  18. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  19. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  20. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren ✰5✰
  21. A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay
  22. The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson
  23. About a Boy by Nick Hornby
  24. Backyard Witch by Christine Heppermann ✰3✰
  25. Save me Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
  26. Kate the Great by Suzy Becker
  27. Brooding YA Hero by Carria Ann DiRisio
  28. The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
  29. The Martian by Anthony Weir ✰4✰
  30. Redwall by Brian Jacques
  31. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  32. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry ✰4✰
  33. Messenger by Lowis Lowry ✰4✰
  34. The Long Patrol by Brian Jacques
  35. The Outcast of Redwall by Brian Jacques
  36. Mossflower by Brian Jacques
  37. Mariel of Redwall by Brian Jacques
  38. Astrid & Veronika by Linda Olsson
  39. Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers
  40. Speechless by Hannah Harrington
  41. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  42. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  43. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  44. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  45. Chloe in India by Kate Darnton
  46. Slated by Teri Terry
  47. Th Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  48. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

I am still interested in most of these books, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to them. Is there one here that you loved and think I should prioritize?

My Bookish Week 06/27/20

This is my last bookish week until August. I will be out of state for three of the four Saturdays in August with no access to a computer. To make my vacation as stress free as possible I’ve scheduled other posts for the Saturdays in July and will be back with, hopefully, a big wrap up of everything I finished in the last few days of June and all of July on August 4th.

This week I finished

76. Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo ✰3✰ I was not tremendously impressed with this book. I read it because it is on my list of Newbery winners. I liked it more than the other two books I’ve read by this author, but unless she wins another Newbery I’m probably done with her for good now. Other people love her books, but they are just not for me. 

77. Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret by Wanda Coven ✰4✰ This was a readaloud I did with Pepper. We read it all in one sitting because Pepper didn’t want me to stop. It is an early chapter book that Pepper absolutely loved. She has declared it her new favorite book. It was a cute story about a little girl transitioning from homeschooling to public school for the first time and she encounters a bully and a new friend on her first day. I think the rest of the series will be really fun because of something we found out in the last sentence of this first book. We have book 2 and 3 on hand so I’m sure we’ll be reading them soon. 

Next week I hope to finish

Next week I hope to finish all of the books I’m in the middle of so that I can start my July and vacation TBR fresh with no holdovers (aside from Les Miserables which I’ll be working on via Kindle on the trip). My currently reading pile looks like this:

What are you reading this week?

First Sentence June

I really like to look at the first sentences of books. It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read the whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I started this month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

This month I read a lot of novels in verse so some of them are formatted differently then they would be in the book. Also one is a collection of short stories so it is the first line from the first story.

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

The Wheels on the suitcase break before we’ve even left Gdansk Glowny.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I have a fatal flaw.

May B by Caroline Starr Rose

I won’t go.

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

Not enough room for me to give Mom space, I crouch in my corner fold clothes for three seasons into my suitcase slide pencil case, supplies box, assignments, notebooks, and textbooks into my schoolbag and slip my NASA pen into my pocket.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

I was thirty years old when the seaplane TJ Callahan and I were travelling on crash-landed in the Indian Ocean.

Am I Blue edited by Marion Dane Bauer

It started the day Butch Carrigan decided I was interested in jumping his bones.

The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

With a click and a breath I capture branches squirrels pigeons two girls skipping in time everything alive, pulsing-the park the heartbeat of Manhattan, of who we used to be.

It Rained Warm Bread by Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet

It matters which side of the street I walk on to get home.

Sold by Patricia McCormick

One more rainy season and our roof will be gone, says Ama.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

As summer wheat came ripe, so did I, born at home, on the kitchen floor.

Inside the Whale by Joseph G. Peterson

he was jim an irishman a rogue first generation american though once or twice he faked it with a brogue

Darlington’s Fall by Brad Leithauser

The hand hungers: the jewel of the world, and his for the taking.

The Secrets of Me by Meg Kearney

I was five months old by the time I arrived.

The Wherewithal by Philip Schultz

Upstairs, it’s San Francisco 1968 April 17 and every day the world spins faster on its axis, a little more off-kilter, a little less in its right mind, bursting at its seams with desire for variation, while everyone everywhere around me appears to be fornicating in doorways and on rooftops…(this keeps going for almost two pages before I find the first period).

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Today is Tet, the first day of the lunar calendar.

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora Belle Buckman was in her room at her desk.

Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi

They weathered brutal winters, suffered diseases, and learned to cope with the resisting Native Americans.

Of these 17 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick them up?

I Don’t Think Audio Books are for Me

I keep trying to get in to audio books. Everyone seems to read so many more books than I do and it often feels like that is because they can listen to audio books, often on double speed, while doing chores or driving to work. And I just can’t do it.

Whenever I try to listen to an audio book I do well for about two minutes and then the next thing I know it’s a half an hour later and I haven’t heard any more of the story.  I’ve been washing the dishes or folding the laundry and the story continued on without me. I just can not focus on a story in this format and have to listen over and over to the same section to get anything out of the story at all.

My next strategy was to listen to an audio book while following along in a physical book at the same time and I stay focused and retain the story just fine that way, but it feels like an waste of resources to do both at once. And I don’t think I enjoy the experience any more than I would just reading it physically on my own. I really want to like books in all formats though. The thing that most bothers me with following along while listening is that words don’t match up perfectly. The narrator will change a word or skip or add a sentence, at least in the few I have tried, and it throws me off and makes me irrationally angry that things are changed. So I don’t think listening and following along is for me.

My audio book lovers,

How do you stay focused on an audio book and retain the story?

Is it a skill you can learn or am I just a visual learner who will never really benefit from this type of media?

What speed do you use when listening to audio books?

What is your favorite audio book?

 

My Bookish Week 6/20/20

I finished two more novels in verse this week. Both of them were really good.

This week I finished

74. The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen ✰5✰ This book was so good. It is about sisters nearly the same age, one adopted, one not, one black, one white, and the comparisons their parents made, which girl succeeded in the ways they valued and which clearly did not measure up. As the child that did fine academically, but didn’t exceed expectations like my brother I could relate to just never being quite good enough for my parents and how badly that makes you want to just run away or to stop trying. I really appreciated seeing that the family in the story actually talked and worked to change what they were doing oh so wrong.

75. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai ✰4✰ This was a really powerful story about having to leave your home and trying to find a way to fit in somewhere else. I especially appreciated the story line of our main character’s mother holding out hope that her husband would show back up to save them some day. It was crushing watching her keep hoping he would magically find them a world away from where they ‘should’ have been and equally crushing when she finally gave up on his returning.

Next week I hope to continue or start

I’ll also be starting Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi today. I’m a day behind on the readalong going on for this book over on Instagram, but I’m sure I can catch up. There is a schedule on Pagesgaloree and the readalong is going from June 19-July 25 with two discussions throughout. Are you planning to join?

.What are you reading this week?

 

Bookshelf Tour Part 3 “Summer”

Part three of my bookshelf tour is books with Summer in the title. There are six books on my TBR that have that word in the title. Photos and blurbs for each book below are from Goodreads.

 

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment

Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t even recall the last time he took a shower.

The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man.

And just when it seems things can’t get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him–and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case. No pressure or anything…

Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Suddenly One Summer by Barbara Freethy

In the California coastal town of Angel’s Bay, an old legend says that sometimes, when they’re needed, angles from an old shipwreck appear and good triumphs over evil.

Jenna Davies flees to the close-knit community of Angel’s Bay with a seven-year-old child, a dangerous secret, and a heart full of pain. She wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, but when she sees a teenager plunge off the pier, she doesn’t hesitate to dive in after her. But saving the desperate girl’s life thrusts Jenna into a spotlight she can ill afford. Suddenly everyone in town wants to know her story — a story that could cost her life.

Reid Tanner was a tough reporter until a shattering incident changed everything. Now all of his instincts are on alert. Who is Jenna, and what is she hiding? He wants answers, but his quest for the truth could put them all in danger. They say love is a miracle — but can it keep Jenna safe in his arms

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Gottie’s heart has been broken three times. One, when her best friend moved away without saying goodbye. Two, when her beloved grandfather died. Three, when her first love wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral.

As Gottie spirals deeper into grief, her past literally comes back to haunt her when she is inexplicably sent back in time to good memories and bad, revisiting afternoons of kisses and days she wanted to forget forever. This summer, Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and she’s the only one who can figure out why.

The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love and loss, from debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

Sins of Summer by Linda Heavner Gerald

Audrey Brock thought of herself as a golden girl. Her dream life shrouded her as the cocoon of a metamorphosing butterfly. Suddenly, everything changed. Her gorgeous, wealthy husband fell for another. Her best friend tired of her. Wine and food became a crutch. Her beautiful appearance changed into an overweight woman who no longer cared about such trivial matters as appearance. When she thought things could not get worse, her best friend arrived late one evening with a new threat. The monster who robbed her of childhood in her fifteenth year was coming for her again. She sadly thought of all the years of mental torture she suffered because of him. This time, he would demand the only thing left in her life, which she loved. Audrey and Diana devised a plan to make him pay. After working all day creating a torture chamber, they were ready for him. It was easy enticing the madman into the designated room. Yet as she sat watching this monster sleep, she realized that he was now old and sick. The man on the floor naked and cold before her seemed to have already paid. Perhaps in many ways, she could not be sure. One thing was clear, she could not be the savage, which he had once been to her.

Forever Summer by Alyson Noel

Forever Summer: Two Books In One from bestselling author Alyson Noël: Laguna Cove & Cruel Summer

Summer. A break from the burdens of school. Deep tans, deeper thoughts. Far away from the everyday. Closer to making dreams come true . . . What does summer mean to you? For the two teenage girls in these two unforgettable novels, summer means being torn away from the familiar and finding new friends. A new place in the world. A new sense of self. And maybe even new love along the way . . .

When you’re having the time of your life, you never want it to end.

Have you read any of these? How many books do you own with ‘summer’ in the title?

Apps I’ve been Loving

Sleep has always been a challenge for my daughter and it’s been a challenge for me too since she was born and that is even more so the case since my husband died a year ago. Ideally when I’m up all night I would read or listen to a guided mediation or something to help calm my mind, but what I usually end up doing is wasting time with various things on my phone for hours. These are my 10 most common used apps

Scrabble Go

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I have only been using this app for just over a month, but I play for hours every day. It my current biggest time waster and I have so much fun using it. I play with a lot strangers, but I can also play games with my sister in law, father in law, mother, step father, old childhood friends, etc. It’s like the board game, but more colorful, easy, and fun. If you have an account let me know and we can play a game against each other.

Happy Color 

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This is a coloring by number game where you choose a color  and click the spaces in the picture with the same number as that color. I haven’t played this one very much in the past year, but while my husband was dying I played it constantly in various waiting rooms. It’s relaxing and very easy to put down at any time and pick it back up later. I still play it sometimes when I need something mindless to do when I can’t sleep.

Amazon Kindle

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I own over 3000 Kindle books. I should use this app way more often than I do. I end up going back and forth between this app and the next one for ebooks and because the books I own don’t have a deadline they get neglected longer.

Overdrive

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This app lets me borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the library for 21 days at a time. Often when I read an ebook it’s from here. I always have one ebook on the go at all times.

Goodreads

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I use Goodreads for most of my book tracking. My to be read shelf on Goodreads has every physical book I own but haven’t read. It has every book I’ve read since 2017. And I end up adding something to it at least several times a week. It is also easy to scan a book in to the app to see if I already own a copy when at a used book store. I do not use the social media aspects of this app though. I’ve never scrolled through to look at people’s updates and it always surprises me when I get a notification that someone liked an update I made. I forget other people can even see those.

Instagram

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I use Instagram for bookish things. I have a bookstagram attached to my blog here, but I stopped linking up posts over there with posts here a long time ago. i just post pictures of new books I buy or new books I’m reading. It is fun to scroll through and see my feed filled with pictures of books.

Facebook

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I use Facebook way more often and for way more things. It’s my personal facebook where I post about my and Pepper’s lives. It’s the only place I post pictures of the kiddo and my friends are all only people I know in real life. I am in several groups though. Book groups, homeschooling groups, budgeting groups, etc.

WordPress

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I do all of my writing for my blog on my computer, but I like to have the app on my phone to respond to comments and to read posts from people I follow.

Period Tracker

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This one isn’t nearly as fun as any of the other ones here, but if you are a person that gets a period this is a very simple tracker I’ve been using since before I had Pepper, 5.5 years ago. I like that you just have two clicks to say you started your period and two clicks to say when it’s ended. The widget on my home screen with a countdown to when my period next starts is very convenient. And even though it has lots of other things you can track, weight, symptoms, exercise, etc, you don’t have to and it doesn’t bother you to do those things if you won’t want to. When my husband was alive I also appreciated the ability to link the app to a partner so he had the countdown on his phone too. I also like that the widget isn’t too obvious about what it is if you are someone that likes to be private about your cycles. It’s a green box with a butterfly and a black number. My cycle has always been really irregular so the countdown feature is usually a little off for me, but it’s usually close even with my regularity issues.

Christmas Countdown

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Pepper and I love Christmas. We use this countdown all year long and have for years. You can change the background, you can change the countdown box, you can change how you are being told the amount of time left. I like to see how many seconds until Christmas, (16,713,525 at the time of writing this), Pepper likes to just see how many sleeps (194) and you can switch back and forth with a tap. It’s simple, it works, and it’s fun.

Do you use any of these apps? What app do you use most often?

My Bookish Week 06/13/20

This week was okay reading wise. I only finished two books, but one of them I loved enough to add to my favorites shelf.

This week I finished

72. Somewhere Among by Annie DonwerthChikamatsu ✰3✰ This was another novel in verse book and it just didn’t grab me like I always expect them too. Maybe I’ve outgrown the format. This book was just okay and didn’t move me in the way I expected it to. 

73. Beach Read by Emily Henry ✰5✰ On the other hand, this book was amazing. I loved every second I spent reading it. I could not put it down once I picked it up. I love books about writers and this book has two writers that fall in love and it was just fun and fantastic. It also dealt a lot with grief which was something else I like to read about. It was just all around a perfect book for me and I plan to reread it in the future. 

Next week I hope to continue or start

What are you reading this week?

May 2020 Book Haul

This month I acquired 31 books. It’s still a lot, but it’s way better than then the 88 I bought last month. I have read 3 of them so far and have 7 others on my June TBR.

  1. Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani
  2. The Guardians by Sarah Manguso
  3. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  4. My Father Before Me by Chris Forhan
  5. Empress by Shan Sa
  6. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
  7. Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce
  8. E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earths Core by William Joyce
  9. Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce
  10. The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce
  11. Jack Frost: The End Becomes the Beginning by William Joyce
  12. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  13. Beach Read by Emily Henry
  14. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
  15. The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan
  16. Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles
  17. Sold by Patricia McCormick
  18. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  19. Inside the Whale by Joseph G. Peterson
  20. Darlington’s Fall by Brad Leithauser
  21. The Secret of Me by Meg Kearney
  22. The Wherewithal by Philip Schultz
  23. May B by Caroline Starr Rose
  24. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  25. The Typewriter’s Tale by Michiel Heyns
  26. Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  27. Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
  28. Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
  29. Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding
  30. A Warning by Anonymous
  31. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Have you read and loved any of these?

One Year as a Widow

Tomorrow my husband will have been dead for one year. One whole year that I’ve survived without my wonderful husband. I honestly can’t say how I’ve made it so far alone. I wouldn’t have without my daughter here to need me though. I would have happily given up on living as soon as he took his last breath and didn’t need me any more. I still would, if not for Pepper.

This past month I had so much going on and none of it is related to my dead husband except in that he isn’t here to help with the difficulties or with calming my anxiety about everything going on in the world. There have been so many little irritations in my circle that I’m overwhelmed dealing with them all.

The oven broke and I can’t get anyone here to fix it for a while. We have a toaster oven I’m trying to use instead, but don’t really have it figured out yet.

Pepper isn’t sleeping well. She’s been up until somewhere between 12 am and 2am every night, she used to go to sleep at 9, but she just can’t settle. I can’t either. For me it’s anxiety over COVID-19 and the riots causing nightmares that mean I don’t sleep until even later than she does.

It’s also really hot in our new house. Even when it’s just 75 outside it’s well over 90 indoors. We’re adjusting, but we were extra miserable those first few really hot days before we got some fans and a freestanding air conditioner set up.

The mailman at the new house is delivering my packages so poorly I finally submitted an anonymous complaint about him.

The landlady from our old apartment sent another bill for painting and changing light bulbs and cleaning the carpet. I paid it because it was easier to pay then to fight, but if she tries to get more money out of me I will find a lawyer and have them deal with her because I am so done with that woman.

I’ve been trying to figure out all of the legal paperwork I need to be sending in for Pepper to officially begin homeschooling this year and I was stressed about the July 1st deadline coming up, but I contacted the HSLDA for help and Pepper doesn’t have to report for official schooling for another year because of her February birthday. Hooray for one big thing off my plate for a while longer. We’re still learning of course. Pepper loves to do her schoolwork, but I don’t have to worry about the record keeping aspect quite yet.

We’re planning a road trip from New York to California for July. We’ll be gone 3 weeks. We are going with my father in law to visit my husband’s siblings in Colorado and California. Neither Pepper nor I have ever been that far from home. I’ve never been away from my own bed for longer than three nights and Pepper has never been away from her bed at night. I’m anxious about keeping the kid happy and quiet for multiple days in the car and getting her to sleep in strange hotel rooms. But I’m grateful for the stress of figuring out how to keep her entertained and calm for 3 weeks away from home because it distracts me from thinking about how this was supposed to be a trip my husband and I took together. He was born in California and he was going to take me to see where he grew up. He died before that could happen and it’s killing me that I’m going on the trip we always dreamed of taking and he won’t be with me. I wish we weren’t going at all. I don’t want to go without him, but Pepper is desperate to see her cousins. The weekly Zoom calls just aren’t cutting it for her.

But not everything has been negative.

We are loving having a yard at our new house. Pepper has a sandbox, small kiddie pool, a slide, and a sprinkler. And a new bike she got for Easter that she’s learning to ride with training wheels. We are outside to play or to read at least once a day rain or shine.

Pepper has been extra excited about her school supplies for the new school year and has been trying to sneak in a few pages or projects whenever she can convince me to let her. Her new snap circuits are currently her favorite.

I’ve been reading quite a bit and enjoying most things I pick up and I am looking forward to planning a tbr for the trip that will include a favorite book of my sister in law so I can read it while I’m with her in person to talk to her about it.

Our beloved library opened again, for curbside pickup, so we got to borrow a few new stories that we have really been enjoying reading together. And I didn’t quite realize how much I missed our librarians until one of them brought out bag of books to the car.

I still bought a lot of books last month (the haul will be up soon), but it wasn’t the 88 books I bought the month before so I’m okay with seeing some progress.

We’re doing okay overall. I’m just tired and sad and honestly trying to hold off on tears as much as possible. That may not be the right choice, but it’s what I’m doing to get through the days for now.

I made it through the first year alone. Some widows I’ve talked to say it gets easier from here and others say the second year is even harder. I’m just going to keep doing what I need to do to survive and to keep Pepper as healthy and as safe as I can, one day at a time.

 

My Bookish Week 06/06/20

I finished four more books this week. And I am in the middle of eight others.

This week I finished

68. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan ✰3✰ This book was okay. I liked the format better than the story. 

69. May B by Caroline Starr Rose  ✰3✰ I had no idea what this book was about, only that it was a novel in verse, which I love. It was a survival story, which I also love. But somehow it still just didn’t grab me. 

70. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman ✰5✰ This was the last Fredrik Backman book I had left to read and that makes me so sad. There is a new one coming out in September though. Hooray! I didn’t think I was going to like this book at the beginning because Britt-Marie feels like such a nothing character. A blank slate is hard to care about, but as the book progressed we could really see her shine and I was hoping for a happy ending for her. It’s not my favorite book by this author, but it’s certainly not my least favorite either. 

71. The Bear by Andrew Krivak ✰3✰ This was another book I didn’t know what it was about. I just started reading it. It was a story about surviving in the forest alone and about grief. I should have really loved it and I did love parts of it. But there was a lot of talk about killing and taking apart animals and it was just too much for me. 

Next week I hope to continue or start

What are you reading this week?

2020 Reading Goals Check-In May

I’m looking at my goals to see how I’m doing so far.

  1. Read at least 100 books 68/100 Ahead of schedule here
  2. Own fewer unread books at the end of the year than I have at the beginningThere was not as big of a jump in May as there was in April, but the number still went up instead of down. 
  3. Finish reading all of the books I have records of for 2017Still just one here so far
    1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
    2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
    3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
    4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
    5. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
    6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    7. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
    8. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
    9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    10. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
    11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
    12. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
    13. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
    14. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
  4. Read at least 14 tomes (books over 500 pages)And just two done here still.
    1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
    3. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
    4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    6. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    7. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
    8. The Red pyramid by Rick Riordan
    9. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
    10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    11. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    12. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    13. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  5. Complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 2020I haven’t fitted all of my reads in to prompts yet, but have completed 35 of the 50 for sure so far.
  6. Participate in Booktube Rereadathon 20205/12 I got totally caught up on this challenge in May and have books for the next few prompts chosen. I will be rereading On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves for the June prompt to reread a book that made you laugh or inspired a positive emotion. 

I really need to work on those two book lists, but am otherwise pretty happy with my overall reading progress.

June 2020 TBR-Novels in Verse

I had several plans for my June TBR and was planning to push this one off a few months, but I’m too excited about it to wait. In June I have plans to read mostly novels in verse. It is my favorite format. They are quick reads and usually very emotionally draining, because somehow the format lets you tackle heavier subjects. There are 13 books on this TBR and I am excited about all of them. I wanted to read only books I own and I did, but it’s still kind of cheating because all of them were new purchases in the past couple of months. Eight of them haven’t even arrived in the mail yet. These are the books I plan to read this month.

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

It Rained Warm Bread by Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Inside the Whale by Joseph G. Peterson

Darlington’s Fall by Brad Leithauser

The Secrets of Me by Meg Kearney

The Wherewithal by Philip Schultz

May B by Caroline Starr Rose

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

I will also be finishing up some other books that have been lingering on my currently reading shelf for far too long. I am so excited for my reading this month. Have you read any of these? Are there novels in verse that you gave five stars?

My Bookish Week 5/30/20

This week I finished reading

64. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell ✰5✰ I really loved this book. I could relate to the anxiety so much. I loved that there was a such a focus on stories and writing. And I could also relate heavily to being abandoned by a parent and them not really deserving your forgiveness. I enjoyed this whole story and would love to read more about Cather.

65. The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan ✰5✰ I couldn’t resist starting my June TBR early. This book was so lovely. It is written in verse, my favorite book format, and is about an eleven year old with anxiety and her first crush, on her friend Chloe. Her supportive mum is so wonderful to read about. She is the kind of single mother I aspire to be. I don’t know who I related to more, the mother, or Stevie, but I loved them both. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

66. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling ✰3✰ I read this for the Booktube Rereadathon prompt for April to reread a book from a genre you don’t usually read any more. I would guess fantasy is my least read genre. I have never made it through the Harry Potter series before, but I keep trying to love it. This book was okay, it was fun, but I’m still just not a huge Harry Potter fan. I listened to this one via audiobook and followed along in the physical book which made it more enjoyable and I might be able to make it through the rest of the series that way, but I’m not necessarily itching to continue right away.

67. The Guilds of Thanatikos by Ben Sanders ✰4✰ If you love D&D you will love this book. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the prompts for checks and experience points popping up throughout the story, but in the end the fun of experiencing a D&D session was greater than that mild oddness for me. I can’t wait for more adventures with these characters.

Next week I hope to read 

What are you reading this week?

First Sentences May

I really like to look at the first sentences of books. It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read the whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I started this month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

A Patch of Blue by Elizabeth Kata

If I hear a person say, ‘Man! That’s a blue sky–for sure,’ I know exactly how the sky looks.

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

It’s funny how one summer can change everything. 

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

It’s a weirdly subtle conversation. 

Confessions of a Mediocre Widow by Tidd Catherine

I spent my eleventh wedding anniversary planning my husband’s funeral.

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook

I have this recurring dream: I’m a little girl, sitting with my mom, and she’s singing to me. 

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. 

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

We called him the Professor. 

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

When Red wins, she stands alone. 

The Guilds of Thanatikos by Ben Sanders

Sitting in the back of a wagon sucks, more so when there’s a nailhead sticking into your back. 

Cassidy the Costume Fairy by Daisy Meadows

Kirsty and Rachel walked along the stone hallway with a group of kids.

The Narwhal Problem by Debbie Dadey

“What’s splashing?” Kiki Coral asked her merfriends.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

The kitchen cat was dead, and Morrigan was to blame.

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

I know a lot of things

About a lot of things

But the thing I know the most about

Is me

Stevie

Of these 14 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick them up?

June 2018 and 2019 Haul Revisits

These monthly posts are to remind myself of books I was so excited to read, but still haven’t gotten to a year or two after I purchased them. I’ve crossed out the ones I’ve read.

June 2018 (0/8)

  1. How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas C Foster
  2. It’s OK Not to Share by Heather Shumaker
  3. Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
  4. How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
  5. The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva
  6. Private L.A. by James Patterson
  7. Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
  8. The Laird by Grace Burrowes

June 2019 (7/27)

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ✰5✰
  2. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  3. The Singer’s Gun by Emily St John Mandel
  4. The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace ✰5✰
  5. You Can Stay Home With Your Kids by Erin Odom
  6. The Hunted by Charlie Higson
  7. Original Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
  8. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  9. No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny
  10. It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine ✰5✰
  11. Grief Day by Day Jan Warner ✰5✰
  12. Last Night in Montreal by Emily St John Mandel
  13. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  14. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
  15. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
  16. About Grace by Anthony Doerr
  17. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  18. The Tourist by Robert Dickinson
  19. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  20. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ✰5✰
  21. Widow to Widow by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg
  22. Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
  23. Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
  24. The Whisper Man by Alex North
  25. From Scratch by Tembi Locke ✰5✰
  26. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ✰4✰
  27. Stainless Steel Rat Returns by Harry Harrison

I am still interested in most of these books, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to them. Is there one here that you loved and think I should prioritize?

My Bookish Week 05/23/20

I finished six more books this week and overall I had a good time reading them. I’m realizing I’m falling behind with my reading plans for the month and will have to make some cuts from my TBR to a more realistic list, but I’m not sure what those cuts will be yet. As long as I keep reading something I’m pretty happy though. 

This week I finished reading

58. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar ✰4✰ This is a book I was really excited to read A time travel lesbian romance between people on opposite sides of a war. I started it wanting it to be my new favorite book of all time. It wasn’t. But it was really good though. It was also confusing and I need a reread to formulate my thoughts more fully.  

59. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ✰4✰ I really enjoyed this book and posted a spoiler filled book diary earlier this week. 

60. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys ✰2✰ This book took me forever to read. I liked only one character. There was nothing wrapped up. And I didn’t like the ending. I just did not enjoy the reading experience

61. Cassidy the Costume Fairy by Daisy Meadows ✰4✰ This was a small little chapter book I read to Pepper as a readaloud. It was better than I was expecting and I really liked that the goblin (the bad guys in this series) was a boy, but was really excited to wear the princess dress and tiara and nobody thought it was weird. I wish we had that unnoticed kind of representation included in chapter books when I was a child. 

62. Caraval by Stephanie Garber ✰4✰ This was a fun story. The mystery and challenge of the game were compelling and I enjoyed reading it, even though I hated every character involved at some point during the story. The last page made me want to pick up the next book in the series right away. 

63. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume ✰4✰ I wasn’t sure how I felt about this the whole way through. I’m not sure what I expected, but I got something else. I thought this was an adult book by this author, but it felt very much like her young adult titles from when I was growing up so I may have been mistaken. All of the characters were so flawed and I hated them each for different reasons throughout the story. I couldn’t put it down though and enjoyed the reading experience. 

Currently Reading

Next week I hope to pick up

What have you been reading? What do you hope to pick up next week?

 

Book Diary – Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

I wanted to try a book diary format for a book review. I read the book and gave my real time reactions to the book after each 50 pages or so and compiled them all here. It ended up mostly being fragments until the end and I’m not sure I like this format after all, but I at least tried it once.  There will be spoilers below the goodreads quote.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My rating ✰4✰

Picture and quote from Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Page 0: I have heard mostly good things about this book and am excited to get started with reading it. It comes highly recommended by Mistysbookspace. I expect to really enjoy it.

Page 57, chapter 6: So far I’m enjoying the book. The pages are going by quickly and I really love the characters. Simon and his family and friends are all so charming and realistic. The blackmail is kind of eye rolly and irritating and I’m not excited to see how it plays out. I can’t wait to see more emails between Simon and Blue though.

Page 102, chapter 12: The conflicts with friends, the football game, etc are really reminding me of Autoboyography, but that may be strictly a public highschool coincidence and not odd at all. I was homeschooled for middle and high school so the similarities feel odd to me. I keep reading a scene and comparing it to the other book. Not bad, just distracting.

Overall though the book is making me smile a lot while I’m reading it. My favorite parts are the emails. I can not wait to find out who Blue is.

Page 150, chapter 19: Wait!? What?! How do you think you’ll be friends with the person blackmailing you with your sexual identity? Martin is a bad person. How can Simon laugh and have fun with him?

Oh my goodness. The scene where Simon comes out to Abby is so sweet. I wish every one could have a kind and loving experience.

So much confusion. So much anger. Martin is an awful person.

Love when the title comes in to play. Title spotting is always fun even it wasn’t exact.

The emails always make me laugh.

Page 202, chapter 25: Being outed is so shitty. I am angry on Simon’s behalf. The half-hearted coming out to his parents was so sad.

The emails are so cute. An adorable palate cleanser between more difficult scenes.

I don’t even know what to say about Martin. What a continuously shitty individual.

Page 257, chapter 31: I’m not sure if the bullying is worse than I expected or not, but it’s hard to read.

It’s starting to bother me that every chapter seems to begin mid sentence.

The gay bar scene had me cracking up. It was just so fun and unexpected. And the laughs kept coming for a long while in this section of book.

But I ended this section sad and kind of confused why everyone is so incredibly upset with Simon.

Page 300, chapter 35: Nick and Abby are so cute together!

I am so bummed that Simon never tried on the shirt before. He and Blue could have known each other for real for longer. And then he meets Blue and they’re so cute and I can not stop giggling.

Access to his Facebook for 5 minutes. I’ll have to remember that when Pepper is old enough to have her own social media.

I’m glad things are okay with Leah again, but why is she out with Nora? I need answers.

Martin actually apologizing. I still don’t trust him.

The band. I’m so relieved it wasn’t something terrible that had Leah and Nora together.

And everyone is there at the talent show. That family with their secrets. Oh my. And so sweet.

The last scene was cute and giggly with the boys first real alone time. And then it was just the end. I’m not sure what I would have had happen instead, but it just felt like it ended abruptly.

The ebook said it was over. 312 out of 312 and it just kept going. I read for 15 more minutes after the end and it still said I was only at 87%. It’s emails. I’m enjoying the first emails between Simon and Blue though I’m not sure it’s adding anything really.

End: Overall I really liked this book and I’m so glad for a push to finally read it. It’s not a new all time favorite, but it was definitely a worthwhile and enjoyable read. I really appreciated how Simon talked about his biases. He automatically assumed Blue was white for instance. A great character, a great story. I even enjoyed it enough to try and find the movie to watch and I’m really not a movie person. I can count on one hand the number of movies I’ve watched in the last decade. But I kind of want more of Simon. I’m so glad I read this book.

Book Shelf Tour Part 2 “bee” Books

While unpacking books I noticed there were words that I found again and again in the various titles. One of the words I noticed several times is the word bee. There are five books on my TBR that have that word in the title. Photos and blurbs for each book below are from Goodreads.

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Robert Cormier

Sixteen-year-old Barney can’t remember life before the Complex, an experimental clinic. He knows he’s different–he’s the control subject. Then he uncovers a terrible secret about himself, a secret that drives him to fulfill his and his fellow subjects’ ultimate dream. The Bumblebee must fly!

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father’s spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam’s secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos.

Myla Goldberg’s keen eye for detail brings Eliza’s journey to three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza’s small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt.

Not merely a coming-of-age story, Goldberg’s first novel delicately examines the unraveling fabric of one family. The outcome of this tale is as startling and unconventional as her prose, which wields its metaphors sharply and rings with maturity. The work of a lyrical and gifted storyteller, Bee Season marks the arrival of an extraordinarily talented new writer.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.

Meridia grows up in a lonely home until she falls in love with Daniel at age sixteen. Soon, they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her charming husband’s family—unaware that they harbor dark mysteries of their own. As Meridia struggles to embrace her life as a young bride, she discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink.

Erick Setiawan’s astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and memorable.

Beeline to Trouble by Hannah Reed

Folks in Moraine, Wisconsin, are buzzing about the latest swarm of trouble humming around Story Fischer…

It’s a real buzz-kill when beekeeper Story Fischer gets a visit from her frantic sister. Now she has to help host a combative trio of professional food flavorists. Good thing the well-stocked shelves of Story’s grocery store, the Wild Clover, can provide the morning meal.

During a pre-lunch tour of Story’s hives, however, one of the guests is found dead. Just what Story needs only days after hunky boyfriend, Hunter Wallace, finally decided to move in. As if a dead body isn’t enough to put a damper on romance, Story becomes a prime suspect when the carrot juice she brought with the breakfast fixings is found to contain poison. Now it’s up to Story to comb through the evidence and find the real perpetrator before she ends up getting stung herself…

I have owned all five of these books for at least eight years. They were all acquisitions from my time working at a library. I don’t think I’ve read any of these books before. Of these I am most interested in reading The Bumblebee Flies Anyway. I read I Am the Cheese by that author years ago and remember really loving it.

Have you read any of these books? Any that you recommend?

My Bookish Week 05/16/20

So far this month I have finished reading 5 of the 12 books on my readathon TBRs. This week I got a lot of reading done, but didn’t particularly enjoy any of the books I finished. I am quite enjoying several of the books I’m in the middle of though.

This week I finished reading

55. That Summer by Sarah Dessen ✰2✰ I read this book for the Readathin prompt to read a book chosen by someone else. Pepper chose it for me from my bookshelves. This wasn’t a bad book. I was just really bored the whole time I was reading it. There were a few small things that were irritating, but it was mostly just boring. I have one other book on my physical TBR by this author so I’ll give the author at least one more chance, but I wasn’t impressed with this book. 

56. Midnight Sun by Trish Cook ✰3✰ I read this book for the Quarantineathon week two prompt to read a book about a character that is at risk for covid-19. This book was pretty good, but there were a lot of little things that drove me slightly crazy. I just can’t stand lying and there is a lot of that in this book. 

57. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones ✰3✰ I read this book for the Readathin prompt to read a fantasy that takes place in a made up world. This book was fun and interesting and also confusing. I don’t think I would continue with the series. 

Currently Reading

Next week I hope to pick up

 

How is your reading going so far this month?

Kindle EBook Haul

I don’t track my ebook purchases. I don’t count them as being on my TBR. I buy them, often for free, and then mostly forget about them. That’s how I ended up with 3149 books in my Kindle collection. I read a few, but not many. I have been buying ebooks that are not free for the past few months fairly regularly and thought I would share the last 10 that caught my attention enough to purchase them. Photos and quotes are from Goodreads.

Aria’s Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin

This summer will change everything!

Aria Summers knows what she wants.

A life on the road with best friend Rosie and her beloved camper-van-cum-book-shop, and definitely, definitely, no romance.

But when Aria finds herself falling – after one too many glasses of wine, from a karaoke stage – into the arms of Jonathan, a part of her comes back to life for the first time in years.

Since her beloved husband died Aria has sworn off love, unless it’s the kind you can find in the pages of a book. One love of her life is quite enough.

And so Aria tries to forget Jonathan and sets off for a summer to remember in France. But could this trip change Aria’s life forever…?

A Journey Without a Map by John R Sardella

After twenty-seven years of marriage, John Sardella lost the love of his life when his wife, Margaret, passed away following a seven-year battle with cancer. John looked for a book that would give him space for his pain and inspire him to move forward, but all he found were clinical books written by psychologists. That was John’s motivation to write this book and share how he worked through the grieving process in the hopes of reminding others not only that they are not alone, but also that they will be okay.

A Journey Without a Map gives you permission to not only feel those real and true feelings you have, but also permission to move forward. Sharing stories that span from Margaret’s battle with cancer to her funeral and John’s life since, John demonstrates the power of connection and shows that with the proper perspective, you can still live life to its fullest extent. You can get back to being the person you’re capable of being–John wants to help you get there.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Straight On Till Morning by Liz Braswell

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling’s life is not what she imagined it would be. The doldrums of an empty house after her brothers have gone to school, the dull parties where everyone thinks she talks too much, and the fact that her parents have decided to send her away to Ireland as a governess-it all makes her wish things could be different.

Wendy’s only real escape is in writing down tales of Never Land. After nearly meeting her hero, Peter Pan, four years earlier, she still holds on to the childhood hope that his magical home truly exists. She also holds on to his shadow.

So when an opportunity to travel to Never Land via pirate ship presents itself, Wendy makes a deal with the devil. But Never Land isn’t quite the place she imagined it would be. Unexpected dangers and strange foes pop up at every turn, and a little pixie named Tinker Bell seems less than willing to help.

But when Captain Hook reveals some rather permanent and evil plans for Never Land, it’s up to the two of them to save Peter Pan-and his world.

Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.

But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone.

Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.

Aletheia by Megan Tennant

Nearly two decades after the fall, the transcendent city of Iris is the only place rumoured to have a cure to the disease that decimated the world. Beyond Iris, are the remnants of the old world, crawling with the Depraved. Infected with Lethe, they no longer remember the people or dreams they were once willing to fight for and are left instead with familiar voices that whisper dark and unfamiliar words within their minds. Instinct is all that keeps the diseased struggling to exist another day.

Deep underground, below Iris, exists a compound, prison to the Nameless who traded their freedom for the cure to Lethe. It is here that 736 fights to protect those she loves. Not against the Depraved that she’s taught to fear, but against the society that saved her from that fate. She was willing to trade away her rights to regain the ability to form memories, but she won’t let the cult that cured her treat the lives of the Nameless like a resource to be used and discarded. At least, not without a fight.

How much is 736 willing to sacrifice for revenge against her captors? For those she cares about? For freedom? Everything has a cost, what would you be willing to pay?

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

In The Flame Alphabet, the most maniacally gifted writer of our generation delivers a work of heartbreak and horror, a novel about how far we will go, and the sorrows we will endure, in order to protect our families.

A terrible epidemic has struck the country and the sound of children’s speech has become lethal. Radio transmissions from strange sources indicate that people are going into hiding. All Sam and Claire need to do is look around the neighborhood: In the park, parents wither beneath the powerful screams of their children. At night, suburban side streets become routes of shameful escape for fathers trying to get outside the radius of affliction.

With Claire nearing collapse, it seems their only means of survival is to flee from their daughter, Esther, who laughs at her parents’ sickness, unaware that in just a few years she, too, will be susceptible to the language toxicity. But Sam and Claire find it isn’t so easy to leave the daughter they still love, even as they waste away from her malevolent speech. On the eve of their departure, Claire mysteriously disappears, and Sam, determined to find a cure for this new toxic language, presses on alone into a world beyond recognition.
 
The Flame Alphabet invites the question: What is left of civilization when we lose the ability to communicate with those we love? Both morally engaged and wickedly entertaining, a gripping page-turner as strange as it is moving, this intellectual horror story ensures Ben Marcus’s position in the first rank of American novelists.

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

Give grief a chance . . .

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years–ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks–like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently, being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles botanical garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover–with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners–is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts.

At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender,

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.

 

Have you read any of these? How do you track your ebook purchases? I thought about adding them to Goodreads, but 3000 books is a hugely daunting task.

An Alarming April Book Haul

This should be my eleven months as a widow post, but not much has changed. I survived my 10th anniversary without my husband. We made it through Mother’s Day alone. And I’m struggling. With everything.

The ways you can tell how my anxiety is doing these days is based on how many times a week I’m eating frozen pizza and how many books I buy.

I ate frozen pizza at least once a day the last five weeks, since our move, and often more than once a day. So it’s not looking good on the pizza front.

It’s looking even worse on the book buying front. I bought or was given 88 physical books in the month of April. My previous highest purchase month was July 2019, my late husband’s first birthday after he died, and even then I only bought 48 books.

Aside from a 50 book order I placed with BookOutlet, none of the purchases felt overboard at the time. A couple of books ordered to fulfill the free shipping requirement for supplies for Pepper, A stack picked up from the free shelf at the library, A book box ordered from my local book store to help them stay open. A stack from Dollar Tree when I ran in to pick up necessities and couldn’t help but browse the books too. And then Easter gifts. But all of those “small” purchases as well as my actual book allowance of $50 and then the giant order I placed on the anniversary of the first time I met my husband (I blame grief and a good sale) means I brought a lot of books in to the house last month.

I’m sure some of these have been mentioned in My Bookish Week posts and most of them haven’t (I’m still waiting on 51 of them in the mail), so I plan to list them all here with links to Goodreads as always.

  1. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  2. Finale by Stephanie Garber
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  5. Paper Towns by John Green
  6. Midnight Sun by Trish Cook
  7. Confessions of a Highschool Disaster by Emma Chastain
  8. 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac
  9. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar
  10. Poison by Galt Niederhoffer
  11. The Present Heart by Polly Young-Eisendrath
  12. Mind Games by Heather W Petty
  13. Sanctuary by Caryn Lix
  14. The High Places by Fiona McFarlane
  15. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
  16. Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins
  17. Madness by Zac Brewer
  18.  To Hold the Bridge by Garth Ni
  19. A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler
  20. Wildings by Eleanor Glewwe
  21. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
  22. Pogue’s Basics: Life by David Pogue
  23. The Emperor’s Ostrich by Julie Berry
  24. You & Me & Why We Are In Love by Aurelia Alcais
  25. Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty by Chris Colfer
  26. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  27. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
  28. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
  29. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
  30. That Summer by Sarah Dessen
  31. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
  32. FKA USA by Reed King
  33. Mr. Spaceman by Robert Olen Butler
  34. Enter the Aardvark by Jessica Anthony
  35. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
  36. Docile by KM Szpara
  37. My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me by Jason Rosenthal
  38. Inferno by Dan Brown
  39. A Whisper of Horses by Zillah Bethell
  40. Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin
  41. Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
  42. Denton Little’s Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin
  43. Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn
  44. Free Verse by Sarah Dooley
  45. Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga
  46. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
  47. I Will Always Write Back byCaitlin Alifirenka
  48. I’ll Have What She’s Having byErin Carlson
  49. It Rained Warm Bread by Gloria Moskowitz Sweet
  50. Leave Me by Gayle Forman
  51. Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder
  52. Life is a Fishbowl byLen Vlahos
  53. Literally by Lucy Keating
  54. Me & Me by Alice Kuipers
  55. Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  56. Monterey Bay by Lindsay Hatton
  57. My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul
  58. Nearly Normal by Cea Sunrise Person
  59. Nine by Zach Hines
  60. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
  61. One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel
  62. Poetry Will Save Your Life by Jill Bialosky
  63. Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos
  64. Sawkill Girls byClaire Legrand
  65. Searching for John Hughes byJason Diamond
  66. Sky Lantern by Matt Mikalatos
  67. Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu
  68. The Art of Living Other People’s Lives byGreg Dybec
  69. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
  70. The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong
  71. The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
  72. The Way the Light Bends byCordelia Jensen
  73. The Weight of Water bySarah Crossan
  74. The Widower’s Notebook by Jonathan Santlofer
  75. Things I’m seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni
  76. The Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
  77. This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger
  78. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  79. PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
  80. Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  81. Unhinged by Barbra Leslie
  82. Walking on Sunshine by Rachel Kelly
  83. What They Found by Walter Dean Myers
  84. What was Mine by Helen Klein Ross
  85. Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen
  86. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
  87. You’ll Never Know Dear by Hallie Ephron
  88. Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Are you exhausted from just reading the list? I am. These additions brought the total number of books brought in to my collection in 2020 so far up to 142. I am aware that is a ridiculously large number. I am working on it.

I keep telling myself my addiction and coping could be way worse than buying books, but that still doesn’t mean it’s healthy or normal.  I haven’t spoken to my grief counselor since February because quarantine went in to effect in March, but I’ll be contacting him for some help with this as I clearly can’t manage it on my own.  I’m not neglecting bills and I’m not going in to debt to buy these books. But the money could obviously be put to better use then adding to my already gigantic physical TBR.

What’s the biggest book haul you’ve ever had?

Have you read any of these? Did you love them? Where should I start with this giant list being added to my TBR?

My Bookish Week 05/09/20

I finished four books this week. I bought so many books even I know it’s ridiculous. I’m not going to list them all here though. I’ll post a book haul next week with a lot of the books I bought recently. 

This week I finished reading

51. A Patch of Blue by Elizabeth Kata ✰1✰ I read this book for the Booktube rereadathon challenge for March, to reread a book written or set before I was born. I hated this book. I remember reading it many times as a preteen/young teenager, but I found no redeeming qualities whatsoever in it now. All of the characters except one were horrible. I kept waiting for the ending to bring it around for me and make it worth the read, but that just did not happen. I have unhauled this book. 

52. An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote ✰4✰ This book I started a while ago and because it was an ebook it took me a while to finish. Ebooks I own often get pushed aside for library books that will be due soon or for games on my phone when I’m too tired to read that night. So it took me a while to finish this book, but it was no fault of the book. It was funny and entertaining and I had a really good time reading it. There were also a couple of conversations about grief that really spoke to me. I can’t wait to read more books by this author. 

53. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket ✰3✰ I read this book for Booktube Rereadathon May prompt, a second chance book. I read the first few chapters of this book years ago and then gave up on it, but I picked up the first three books in the series for free recently and decided to give it another try. It was easy to read as it’s a middle grade book, but the content was awful. I think after everything I’ve gone through the past year and a half it didn’t hit me as hard as it would have before, but it is nothing I would want my child to read, ever really. Their parents die, they are taken to a relative they don’t know and they are neglected and abused and then the adult tries to marry the 14 year old to steal there money. There are no redeeming qualities to this book, but I couldn’t stop reading it. To be fair I was warned on the very first page that there would be no happy endings for the children and there certainly is not. I would  discourage my daughter from reading these books, but I will likely read at the least the two others I have on hand. 

54. Docile by KM Szpara ✰4✰ This book was an early Mother’s Day gift from Pepper. She asked to choose something from my Amazon Wishlist. I had heard a lot of good things about it and then I started hearing some less good things. But I really liked it. I love dystopian and this one did not disappoint me. I would love to see a follow up book so we could see more of these characters. 

Next week I hope to pick up

A lot of these I’m already in the middle of and some I’ll be starting new for readathons. I gave myself a busy reading month and I’m keeping up okay so far. These are all of the books I hope to finish, start, or make progress in this week. 

What are your reading plans this week?

2020 Reading Goals Check-In April

I’m looking at my goals to see how I’m doing so far.

  1. Read at least 100 books 50/100 I have some big books coming up on my TBR so I’m glad to be 17 books ahead on my goal at the moment. 
  2. Own fewer unread books at the end of the year than I have at the beginningI was afraid to check my stats for this one, but I did. At the end of April I own  65 more unread books then I did at the beginning of the year. 
  3. Finish reading all of the books I have records of for 2017I still have just one of these books finished so far this year. I have plans to finish one other in May and will then focus on reading books from these yearly goals in June. 
    1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
    2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
    3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
    4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
    5. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
    6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    7. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
    8. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
    9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    10. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
    11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
    12. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
    13. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
    14. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
  4. Read at least 14 tomes (books over 500 pages).So far I have finished 2 of these books. I plan to make some more progress in Les Miserables this month and then focus on more of these books in June. 
    1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
    3. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
    4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    6. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    7. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
    8. The Red pyramid by Rick Riordan
    9. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
    10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    11. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    12. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    13. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  5. Complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 202032/50 Doing good so far. I’m almost at the point where I will have to choose a book based on a prompt instead of just reading books and seeing where I can fit them. 
  6. Participate in Booktube Rereadathon 2020So far I have finished the January and February prompts. I fell behind with the move, but hope to catch up March, April, and May prompts this month.

Reading is going well overall. Not buying books isn’t. I’m happy with my progress overall though.

May 2018 and 2019 Haul Revisits

These monthly posts are to remind myself of books I was so excited to read, but still haven’t gotten to a year or two after I purchased them. I’ve crossed out the ones I’ve read.

May 2018 (2/7)

  1. Captain January by Laura Elizabeth Richards✰5✰
  2. How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson
  3. Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
  4. That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
  5. Stir by Jessica Fechtor
  6. The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips
  7. Love that Baby by Mildred E Cawlfield DNF and Unhauled

May 2019 (3/8)

  1. Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman
  2. Ginny Gall by Charlie Smith
  3. The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa
  4. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  5. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
  6. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman✰5✰
  7. The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman✰3✰
  8. Things my Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman✰4✰

Are any of my remaining books from these months ones that you loved?

OWLs Magical Readathon Wrap Up

At the beginning of April I had planned to take the courses I needed to become a Trader of Magical Tomes. I needed to fulfill four prompts and I just barely finished those four because I didn’t want to read the books I chose at the beginning of the month, but I did end up finishing eight classes including the four I needed for my chosen career. I only read 1 of the 4 books on my original TBR though.  The courses I finished, the prompts, and the book I read for that challenge are listed below.

Ancient Runes- A Book with a heart on the cover

Arithmancy- Something outside your favorite genre

Astronomy-Read the majority of this book while it’s dark outside

Charms- A book with a white cover

History of Magic- A book featuring wizards or witches

Muggle Studies- Read a contemporary

Potions- Read a book until 150 pages

Transfiguration- A book that includes shapeshifting

Overall, a successful readathon. I finished the challenges I started out to fulfill, but I didn’t read what I planned to.  I did however, have three 5 star reads and three 4 star reads. So overall it was a great reading month.

What career did you work towards this month?

Quarantineathon TBR

Quarantineathon is another readathon I will be participating in throughout most of May. April from Getting Hygge With It on Youtube has set up the challenges to take place one each full week of May so the readathon runs from May 3rd-30th.

WEEK 1 – Read a book that explores the hard times humanity has faced before. We WILL get through this too!

WEEK 2 – Read a book about a character who would be at risk from the coronavirus. Stay inside for them!

WEEK 3- Show essential workers some love by reading a book about an essential worker as a main character.

WEEK 4- Read a book about what you miss most from the normal world. Live vicariously through it!

I can’t wait to start with all of these. Are you going to participate in the Quarantineathon?

My Bookish Week 05/02/20

This week I finished six more books and brought my yearly total of books read up to 50. That’s half of my Goodreads goal. Hooray! 

This week I finished reading

45. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren ✰5✰ I used this book for my OWLs magical readathon prompt to read a book with a heart on the cover. I also used this book for my Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book  based on a previous prompt and the prompt I chose is from 2019, read a book you think should be turned in to a movie. 

I adored this book. It was so good. I flew through it and I giggled and I cried. I wish I had an Elliot in my life and by the end I could only think of just how much I lost when my husband died last year. It made me miss him so much, but it also made me want to immediately flip the book over and read it again. This is my second Christina Lauren book and my second five star rating for them. I certainly plan to explore their other books. 

46. You & Me & Why We Are In Love by Aurelia Alcais ✰2✰ I used the book for the OWLs magical readathon prompt to read a book that was less than 150 pages. The drawings in this book of poetry were far superior to the poems. I really just didn’t enjoy reading it and will likely cut out some of the figures and turn them in to bookmarks. 

47. The Witch With a Glitch by Adam Maxwell ✰3✰ I read this book because I needed a book about a witch for the OWLS magical readathon. It was a short, free on Kindle, book and it was okay. I wouldn’t read it again and I wouldn’t read any more of the series, but I enjoyed spending an hour or so with the story. 

48. The Merman’s Kiss by Tamsin Ley ✰4✰ I had plans to read something else for the OWLs prompt to read a book about shifters, but I ran out of time to read something so long, so instead I searched shifter in free Kindle ebooks. It’s pretty much all smut so I ran with it. This novella took about an hour and half for me to read and it was very entertaining. I likely won’t read any more in the series unless there is another prompt I need to fulfill, but I’ll head back to the series, if I ever need another shifter book for a challenge. 

49. Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John ✰2✰ This was my Frebruary Booktube rereadathon book for the prompt to reread a book written or set before you were born. This book is one I remember reading over and over as a child. It was just okay for me as an adult. If I had read the back before diving in I would never have picked it up. It was so so religious. I don’t remember that from my childhood, but it was so overpoweringly religious that it was really the main point of the story and I would never read this book again. If you’re looking for a religious children’s book though, you might enjoy it. It could have been good, if it wasn’t so heavy handed. 

50. Heartstopper Vol 3 by Alice Oseman ✰5✰ This is a series I’ve been reading on Webtoons so I don’t have the actual bindups on hand, but I was looking and see that the chapter that is in this volume, I finished reading at some point a while ago, so I added it to my Goodreads list. The whole series is adorable and charming and I can’t wait for more volumes to be released. 

Next week I hope to pick up

I’m still in the middle of 13 books. This week I plan to read out of five of those as well as starting and finishing two others for readathons I’m participating in this month. The TBRs for those readathons should have been posted yesterday and tomorrow.  The books I plan to read from this week are: 

I have busy reading plans for the whole month as well as several Instagram challenges I’m planning to participate in. I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but my goal is to be very very busy this month to survive my first anniversary without my husband. We should be celebrating our 10th anniversary on Monday and it’s killing me. So I’m throwing myself in to books as much as possible. 

Readathin TBR

Happy Friday! Aside from February, I never post on Fridays, but I have a few extra posts at the beginning of this month because of some readathons I’m participating in.

The first one I’m talking about today is Readathin. It takes place throughout all of May and the information can be found on their instagram page.  There are five reading challenges.

Read a fantasy that takes place in a made up world

Read a book with a character who escapes

Read a contemporary that takes place in a country other than your own

Read a book that has been stranded on your TBR the longest

Read a book chosen by someone else

Of these I am most excited to read Nevermoor. Have you read and loved any of these books? Are you participating in Readathin?

First Sentences April

I really like to look at the first sentences of books. It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read the whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I started this month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

There was a reason Gavin Scott rarely drank.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Newark Airport is shiny from a recent renovation. 

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I get ready for work and the post has been up for eight hours.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

If you drew a straight line from my apartment in San Francisco to Berkeley, it would only be ten and a half miles, but even in the best commuting window it takes more than an hour without a car. 

Docile by KM Szpara

After today, I will have seven rights.

You & Me & Why We Are in Love by Aurelia Alcais

Christina loves pets, especially dogs.

The Witch With a Glitch by Adam Maxwell

The children had come to the Lost Bookshop looking for an adventure.

The Merman’s Kiss by Tamsin Ley

Brianna dropped the pregnancy test into the bathroom trash and joined Eric in bed.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Victoria’s world shook for the first time on the day Caitlin Somers sashayed up to her desk, plunked herself down on the edge, and said, “Vix…”

Of these 9 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick them up?

Scavenger Hunt To My Next Read

This challenge is a scavenger hunt to find the book you read next. I saw BooksandLala do this challenge on youtube and I thought it would be fun to try it too. You start at prompt one and find the book it asks for, then you use that book to find the next book, and so on until you find the book you will read next. 

1. Grab your favorite book. Go to the acknowledgements, and the first name you see, find a book by an author with the same name.

My favorite book is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. The first word and the first name in the acknowledgements is Jonas. I don’t own any books written by a Jonas so I fudged this step a bit and picked a book with a character named Jonas. The Giver by Lois Lowry. The start of one of my favorite series. 

2. Pick something on that cover and find another book with the thing in the title.

I chose a man as the item on the cover and found the book The Whisper Man by Alex North.

3. Go to page 50, line 5. Pick a word from that line and find a title with that word.

Line five says “distance between the two of us and the front door. The noise of running”. I went with the word front and chose Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

4. Find a 5-star read with the same colors on the cover.

I picked a cover that has the same sort of shadowy figure, gray sky, and the whole image done in grays and blacks with only the words in a different color. I chose. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. 

5. Find a book with the same number of pages.

This is where Goodreads comes in awfully handy. A Monster Calls has 206 pages and I could sort my Goodreads shelf by page number to find the only other book I own with that same number of pages. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. 

6. Flip open to any page. The first name you see, find a book by an author who shares that name.

I ran in to trouble here. The first name I found was Edmund and I don’t have any books by someone with that name. I did this one again to get another name. Susan was the one I found this time and I chose A Member of the Family by Susan Merrell on my shelves. 

7. Find another title with the same number of letters.

There are eighteen letters in the title. The first book I found that also has eighteen letters was Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. 

8. Find a book with a similar cover.

The first book that came to mind for this was This is the Life by Alex Shearer. It is a very similar blue green color and has hand writing on it like a chalk board. 

9. Flip to a random page. Point at a word, and find that word in a book title on your TBR shelf.

It took four tires to get something that had a book on my TBR. I had mouth, armchair, neighbor, then sisters. I finally found a few books on my shelf. The first one I noticed on my shelf is Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. 

10. Read!

Now the plan is to start reading this book today. 

 

Have you tried a challenge like this before? I don’t know if it will get me to read a book I will enjoy, but I it was a fun process anyway. 

 

My Bookish Week 04/25/20

This week was a good one reading wise. I finally found myself able to focus for more than a few minutes at a time consistently, for the first time since quarantine took over the world. I finished four books this week and I think I only started one more, bringing my currently reading down to 11. That’s the lowest it’s been in quite a while. 

This week I finished reading

41. Princeless by Jeremy Whitley ✰4✰

42. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn ✰4✰

43. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames ✰4✰

44. Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine ✰3✰

Unfortunately this week I apparently went completely insane purchase wise and ended up with 23 new books. Most of those were picked up or arrived in the mail in one day. While out doing errands I purchased 12 from Dollar Tree, I picked up 4 from a free cart when I was returning long overdue books to the library, 2 were gifts from my mother, 4 came in the mail from a box I ordered to support my local bookstore, and 1 was an early mother’s day gift from Pepper. 

This week I acquired

68. The High Places by Fiona McFarlane

69. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

70. Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

71. Madness by Zac Brewer

72. To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

73. A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler

74. Wildings by Eleanor Glewwe

75. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

76. Pogue’s Basics: Life by David Pogue

77. The Emperor’s Ostrich by Julie Berry

78. You & Me & Why We Are in Love by Aurelia Alcais

79. Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty by Chris Colfer

80. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

81. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

82. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

83. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

84. That Summer by Sarah Dessen

85. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

86. FKA USA by Reed King

87. Mr. Spaceman by Robert Olen Butler

88. Enter the Aardvark by Jessica Anthony

89. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

90. Docile by KM Szpara

Hopefully I can keep up with my reading this next week and my goal is to buy no books at all after this week’s fiasco in that department. 

Book Shelf Tour Part One

I haven’t finished unpacking yet, but the books I have found and scanned in to Goodreads so far total 865 unread books on my physical TBR. I have two tall book shelves, two smaller bookshelves, and a few floating shelves on the other side of the room that also have books. My shelves are still totally disorganized, they are double stacked, overflowing, and there are even some still in piles on the floor in front of the shelves.This is part of my two big bookshelves. 

IMG_20200418_060148.jpg

I don’t know where anything is and I likely won’t get these organized for a while longer because I’m still working on unpacking other rooms that are technically more important. 

Today I have taken a stack of 10 books from one of the piles on the floor. I’ll show the cover and description from Goodreads. I haven’t read any of these books yet, so I can’t really offer an opinion on them. But I guess we’ll see an example of how eclectic my physical book shelves are. 

Kate’s Story by Christopher Leach

Life for Katie, has become a growing heartache. Experiencing the loneliness and depression of her mother’s unhappy remarriage…learning she’s an adopted child…searching desperately for her real parents. All these things have hardened Katie’s feelings toward people. Why can’t everyone just leave her alone?

Planet of the Dragons by Richard Brightfield

When your spaceship accidentally lands on Tambor, you discover that the inhabitants of this distant planet are being terrorized by fire-breathing dragons. In order to restore peace, you must vanquish the dragons once and for all–if you choose your actions correctly!

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

Once upon a time, in the olden days, heavy-set middle-aged men would congregate in their elitist clubs, sit in over-stuffed leather chairs, smoke air-choking cigars, and pitch story ideas and plots to each other. Problem was, these stories, many of which found their way into the general social consciousness, reflected the way in which these men lived and saw their world: that is, the stories were sexist, discriminatory, unfair, culturally biased, and in general, demeaning to witches, animals, goblins, and fairies everywhere.

Finally, after centuries of these abusive tales, which have been handed down–unknowingly–from one male-biased generation to the next, James Finn Garner has taken it upon himself (that’s right, yet another man) to enlighten and liberate these classic bedtime stories and retell them in a way that is much more in keeping with the society in which we live today.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, then is the fruit of Garner’s labors. We’d like to think that future generations of fairy-tale fans will see this as a worthy attempt to develop meaningful literature that is totally free from bias and purged from the influences of a flawed cultural past.

Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner

Following the international best-seller Politically Correct Bedtime Stories comes Once Upon a More Enlightened Time, a new collection of nurturing and correct stories for pre-adults. These tales by James Finn Garner attempt to purge the cultural biases, sexism, lookism, speciesism, and other insidious -isms from the “classic” bedtime stories that have been handed down from one social power structure to another. A better world starts with better bedtime stories – and these stories made the New York Times best-seller list.

From the Little Mer-Persun protecting her unique evolutionary niche, to Hansel and Gretel becoming eco-terrorists to defend their forest home, these recast tales should inspire a new generation of right-thinking people to make the world a better place for persuns, non-persuns, animals, pixies, and talking mirrors of all backgrounds.

Politically Correct Holiday Stories by James Finn Garner

Whether your favorite holiday story is A Christmas CarolThe Story of Hanukkah, or ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, you’ll find it transformed to reflect current sensibilities in Politically Correct Holiday Stories. Injecting our popular holiday fables with a modern perspective is no easy task, but someone had to do it — and who better than the proven master of cultural sensitivity? James Finn Garner joyfully frees these holiday tales from sexism, ageism, religious imperialism, and every other sorry vestige of our flawed, low-consciousness past. So gather the family (whether traditional, dysfunctional, co-dependent, or otherwise) around the hearth, and read aloud these tales as they should have been told the first time.

Undressed by Jason Illian

In a world where Christians don’t know whether they’re dating, courting, hanging out, living together, or just having sex, Jason Illian exposes the naked truth about relationships.

No Longer a Slumdog by KP Yohannan

“He would lock me in a small room with the animals. Days turned into weeks, and my stomach would growl. He never gave me enough to eat,” said Nadish. “Weeks turned into months, and my body would ache. The work was hard, and there was never enough time to rest. Months turned into years, and I began to think that this would never end.”

But through a miraculous event, Nadish found his way back into the loving embrace of his mother. Dr. K.P. Yohannan’s book, No Longer a Slumdog, unveils the true-life accounts of many of South Asia’s children, like Nadish. The message hits hard. He speaks of “winds of change” and a powerful move of God.

The children’s stories tell of going from a life of heartache and poverty to finding joy, laughter and a bright future. Despite the affliction these children face, Yohannan shows us there’s opportunity for change as many find new life in God’s redeeming love.

No Longer a Slumdog inspires faith that a better tomorrow is truly possible.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

When James stumbles and drops the bag containing “tiny magical green things”, he watches helplessly as all his lovely magic wriggles away into the earth underneath an old peach tree. Sadly he resigns himself to continued misery with his two wicked aunts . . . but then amazing things begin to happen.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre

The Barnes Noble Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which first appeared in 1974, is arguably Le Carré’s masterpiece and is surely one of the great spy novels of the 20th century. Loosely inspired by the career of Kim Philby, a Russian double agent who worked his way into the upper reaches of the British Secret Service, Tinker, Tailor tells the story of donnish, unprepossessing master spy George Smiley and his quest to identify the “mole” — the deep-penetration agent — who has turned Britain’s Intelligence Service (commonly known as the Circus) inside out.

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot

T. S. Eliot’s playful cat poems have delighted readers and cat lovers around the world ever since they were first published in 1939. They were originally composed for his godchildren, with Eliot posing as Old Possum himself, and later inspired the legendary musical Cats.

I certainly have eclectic shelves. Most of these books I have owned for longer than I can remember. At least eight years I would guess. I’m not sure how all three from one series happen to still be together after the move and all the craziness of the last eight years, but these are some of the books that happen to have not made it on to the shelves so far. Have you read any of these? Any you think I should read soon? 

The TBR Tag

I found this tag on A Perfection Called Books. 

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

As of my move at the beginning of this month, I am keeping track of my owned TBR on Goodreads. I scanned all of my unread books in to the app as I unpacked them. Before that, beginning in November 2017, (and still continuing now) I just used a notebook and wrote down each book I bought and then checked it off when I read it.  Before that I didn’t track at all.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I own far more ebooks than I do print books, but I don’t really consider my ebooks as part of my TBR. I don’t track them and I don’t read them as often.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I usually choose whatever I’m most excited to read next unless I have a specific TBR, like a readathon, planned.

A Book That’s Been On Your TBR List The Longest 

I have hundreds of books from about seven years ago that I acquired, but haven’t read. I collected books even during the years I didn’t actually read them. One random book from that stack is The Highland Fling Murders by Jessica Fletcher, a Murder she Wrote novelization.

A Book You Recently Added To Your TBR

The last book I acquired and added to my Goodreads TBR shelf was The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket.

A Book In Your TBR Strictly Because Of Its Beautiful Cover

I wouldn’t have bought a book just because of a beautiful cover, but that is certainly what caught my attention first for Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende.

A Book On Your TBR That You Never Plan on Reading

Lovecraft Short Stories by HP Lovecraft. It’s a beautiful edition, but the print is so tiny, I don’t see how I could actually read this with my bad eyes. It was a gift though so it will likely stay on my shelves.

An Unpublished Book On Your TBR That You’re Excited For

I just preordered three books I’m so excited for.

The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem by Shannon Hale

A Book On Your TBR That Basically Everyone’s Read But You 

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke seems really popular, but I never read any of that series, even though I own the first two.

A Book On Your TBR That Everyone Recommends To You

Anything by Sarah J Maas. I don’t own any yet, but as a spoiler for an upcoming haul, Pepper chose two books for me as my mother’s day gifts and this author’s newest book was one of the two.

A Book On Your TBR That You’re Dying To Read

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amai El-Mohtar is one I’m really excited to read. I’m trying to finish up a few of my currently reading books before I begin it though.

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

My Goodreads TBR shelf has all of my owned unread physical books. I’m sure there are still some that are in boxes from the move, but so far I have found and scanned 865 books. Holy moly.

How many unread books do you own?

My Bookish Week 04/18/20

It has still not been a good reading week for me, but I’m trying. 

This week I finished reading

40. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano ✰5✰ I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book most of the way through, but the way Edward coped with his grief made me feel hopeful and I ending up loving  this book. 

This week I continued reading

Not a lot. I’m making some progress in Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames and I’ve read some of An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote. We should finally be done at our old apartment this weekend and can hopefully relax a bit after that. 

This week I acquired

I purchased one book for myself as an Easter gift so I would have something to be excited about when Pepper opened her basket last Sunday. I was also gifted four books from my mother. 

63. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

64. Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

65. The Present Heart by Polly Young-Eisendrath

66. Mind Games by Heather W Petty

67. Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

I am hopeful I will get some reading done this week. What are you currently reading? 

 

 

 

Stay Home Reading Rush Tag

The Stay Home Reading Rush is starting today and going through the 19th. There are a set of tag questions that go along with this readathon.

How is your reading going while staying home?

I had a few weeks where I didn’t really read anything. Then a week where I couldn’t stop reading and finished four things and now I am struggling with reading anything at all again. It’s up and down.

Where have you been reading at home?

I usually read at my desk. A few times I’ve read on the bed. I hope to have a chair in my new library soon so I can read in there.

Best book you’ve read during isolation?

One of the only books I’ve finished since this all started is Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano and it was fantastic.

What’s your favorite feel good book?

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is pretty fun and light and cute.

Book you wish you could buy or borrow from the library?

I’m really ready for the new Fredrik Backman, but it’s not due to come out until September.

Author you want to shout out during this time?

Charles Heathcote is an author I follow on Youtube. I’m also currently reading An Heir to Murder written by him and have heard wonderful things about his Doris series and I own all of those on ebook as well.

What is your Reading Rush TBR?

I didn’t realize there was a tag to go with the TBR so my to be read list is in my post from Tuesday.

Are you participating? What will you be reading?

Stay Home Reading Rush TBR

There is a special edition of the Reading Rush going on starting on Thursday. It will run from the 16th through the 19th and has four challenges. I don’t think I will get to four books in four days right now, but I did choose a book for each challenge. To make it easier I chose books I’m already in the middle of. I have 12 books that I am currently reading and I’m trying to get that number lower. This feels like as good an excuse as any to do so.

  1. Read a book with a house on the cover For this one I cheated a little bit, maybe. I chose Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anna Fine. There isn’t the outside of a house on the front, but Mrs Doubtfire is sitting in an armchair and is obviously inside of a house so I’m counting it.
  2. Read a book in the same room the whole time Unless I’m reading an ebook while doing errands, I pretty much always read my books in the same room. My desk and our bed are the two places I read at home and they are both in the same room. So any book could work for this. One book I would like to finish up is Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John so I’ll choose that one for this prompt.
  3. Read a book set somewhere you wish you could go This was the hardest prompt for me. I don’t really want to go anywhere right now. I’m leaving the house as little as possible to keep myself and Pepper safe, but for the sake of the prompt I chose the finish An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote. The book takes place in England which seems as good, or as bad, a place to go as anywhere else right now. 
  4. Read a book that will make you smile For this book I picked the one I’ve been currently reading the longest. I’m enjoying it, but can’t seem to make it through more than a chapter or two at a time. It often has me laughing out loud and I really need to finish this book so I’ve chosen Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames.

Are you participating in the Stay Home Reading Rush? ? What is a place you wish you could go? If everything were safe, I would love to go to the library. I miss it so.

 

My Bookish Week 04/11/20

I moved house last Sunday so most of this week was spent unpacking and trying to find things in boxes. I did finish reading 2 books and purchase 8 more though.

I also scanned all of my owned unread books in to Goodreads to add them to my to be read shelf. There are some books scattered in other boxes still, but the books that make up the bulk of my collection equaled 816 unread books on my shelves. I knew it was a high number, but I would have guessed somewhere around 700, not well over 800 once I find the remaining books.

Now I’m trying to decide how to organize my unread book collection. I thought about organizing by purchase date so I could see which books I’ve owned the longest and always know where my newest purchases are. I thought about organizing by color in to a rainbow, which would look beautiful, but I don’t want my series separated. I thought about alphabetizing. Or sorting by page length so i can easily knock out some shorter books and lower my number of unread books more quickly. I haven’t settled on an answer yet, but in the mean time I have lots of other boxes I can unpack while the books sit for a few more days.

This week I finished reading

38. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams ✰5✰

39. My Explosive Diary by Emily Gale ✰3✰

This week I acquired

55. Legendary by Stephanie Garber

56. Finale by Stephanie Garber

57. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

58. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

59. Paper Towns by John Green

60. Midnight Sun by Trish Cook

61. Confessions of a Highschool Disaster by Emma Chastain

62. 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

Hopefully by next week I will have all of my books off the floor and on to shelves in some sort of organized way and will be back to reading every day. I miss it.

 

Ten Months as a Widow

I use these monthly check ins to see how my five year old and I are managing since my husband’s death ten months ago. It has been a busy month. Totally crazy in every way imaginable. On top of coronovirus and stay at home orders, we also moved house in the past month.

We started the move by taking a car full of boxes each time my mother was at my house, so just two loads of items a week. Then on the 5th of April I rented a Uhaul and we moved the rest of our things. We’re just a few days in at the new house and everything is still a disaster, but I’m slowly creating homes for our things. We still have to go back to our apartment for a few things we forgot and to do a lot of deep cleaning before I am done with that place forever. I can not wait.

We’re adjusting pretty well to the new house, though it’s out of the way even more and I feel a bit isolated. That’s good for quarantine I suppose, but I’m not looking forward to needing to walk down and then back up a steep hill just to check the mail.

Pepper is doing okay with the move. She loves our new house, but I think she’s having trouble more than she thinks. She is using a lot of baby talk again, like she did after Jason died, especially just before bed time. Otherwise she loves it here. She has a yard and room to ride her bike and play in her sand box. She has a big room for all of her toys and another room for our crafts and exercise equipment, and yet another room just for our books. I can’t wait until everything is all unpacked and things feel slightly more normal again.

The house has some strange quirks and repairs that are needed, but nothing I can’t adjust to or figure out how to fix once the world is open again.

We also have a cat. Through a series of events, the cat ended up needing to go with the house. Pepper is excited for her first pet, but I’m not really an animal lover and Pepper gets anxious when the cat runs from one of the house to the other at night. Pepper then refuses to go anywhere in the house unless I’m carrying her so the cat doesn’t run in to her. During the day though Pepper is giving the cat lessons on how to do ballet, yoga, be a doctor, etc. It’s cute and she loves the cat, they both just need some time to get used to each other.

My anxiety is going crazy with the coronoa virus stuff going on. Do we still see my mother as planned? My father in law who lives alone and has no one else on this side of the country to keep him company since my husband died? It’s a hard decision to make each time a situation is presented. All I can do is go with what feels like the right decision at the moment and then move on with my day and my life.

The only other news is that I finally got Pepper’s social security benefits from Jason’s death set up for us. The amount is enough to keep us going long term as long as nothing happens to my work and there are no emergencies, so money isn’t a huge stressor for the first time since April 2017 when my husband lost his job. I am struggling with knowing that I can breath a little easier now only because my husband is dead. I am trying to look at it as a way my Jason is still taking care of his girls, even in death. It doesn’t make it hurt less though.

This week we had an Easter Egg hunt in the yard for Pepper. I break up a small Lego set for her and put the pieces in plastic eggs. She has to find all the eggs and then build the kit. She loves it! She took it apart and rebuilt it five times in the same day.

Today we will dye eggs, and then on Sunday she will get her basket of goodies. She is so excited! Do you want to see a post with what she got for Easter?

Honestly I’ve been too busy and too anxious to have much time think about or miss my Jason this month. Moving is so much work. We always joked that we wouldn’t move from our apartment until we could afford to hire movers, but that didn’t work out for us. I think Pepper and I could be happy in our new home though.

 

My Current Digital Library Checkouts

 

I thought I would share the current line up of what I’m reading on Overdrive through my library’s digital collection. Five checkouts and five holds. Pictures and book descriptions are from Goodreads.

Current Checkouts

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

The City We Became by NK Jemisin

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

On Hold

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas (10 weeks wait)

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler (10 weeks wait)

In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door – an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.

Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he’s made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn’t want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie’s yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don’t see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel (5 weeks wait)

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (3 week wait)

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg (2 week wait)

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
The world’s leading expert on habit formation shows how you can have a happier, healthier life: by starting small. 

When it comes to change, TINY IS MIGHTY. Start with two pushups a day, not a two-hour workout; or five deep breaths each morning rather than an hour of meditation. In TINY HABITS, B.J. Fogg brings his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or achieve any goal of your choice.  You just need Fogg’s behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. Whenever you get in your car, take one yoga breath. Smile.  Whenever you get in bed, turn off your phone. Give yourself a high five.

Change can be easy—once it starts, it grows.  Let B.J. Fogg show you exactly how.

 

 

 

My Bookish Week 04/04/20

I finally got some reading done this week. I was having so much trouble focusing on books with all of the moving and quarantine stuff going on, but this week I feel like I got some of my reading mojo back. Hooray! In two weeks I only finished one book, but in the past week I finished three more books in three days. The move will be finished tomorrow and then I can just focus on unpacking.

This week I finished reading

35. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu ✰4✰

36. Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah ✰4✰

37. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon ✰5✰

This week I acquired

51. Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

52. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

53. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

54. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I am still in the middle of 15 books at the moment and hope to finish several of them over the next week. The one I should be finishing next is The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams.

 

2020 Reading Goals Check In- March

I’m looking at my goals to see how I’m doing so far.

  1. Read at least 100 books 37/100 Goodreads says I am 12 books ahead of schedule.
  2. Own fewer unread books at the end of the year than I have at the beginningCurrently I have purchased 31 more books than I’ve read from my physical TBR this year. 
  3. Only order books online when I’ve read 10 physical books that I owned in 2019 or earlier. This one just isn’t working for me so I’m dropping it for the rest of the year. 
  4. Finish reading all of the books I have records of for 2017Still just one done here, but I didn’t have my books for most of this month so I couldn’t access these titles. 
    1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
    2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
    3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
    4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
    5. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
    6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    7. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
    8. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
    9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    10. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
    11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
    12. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
    13. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
    14. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
  5. Read at least 14 tomes (books over 500 pages). Still 0 finished so far. Two in progress though. The same thing happened here. I didn’t have my books so I didn’t work on any of these books. 
    1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
    3. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
    4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    6. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    7. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
    8. The Red pyramid by Rick Riordan
    9. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
    10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    11. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    12. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    13. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  6. Complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 202028/50
  7. Participate in Booktube Rereadathon 2020I finished January and am still working on February. I plan to catch up March and also complete April this month.

All in all I am satisfied with what I’m manged to complete so far. Between moving house and anxiety over quarantines and everything else going on, I think I’m doing pretty well. We will be finished moving on Sunday, then I can unpack and set up our new home and most importantly my library. I can’t wait!

April 2018 and 2019 Haul Revisit

These monthly posts are to remind myself of books I was so excited to read, but still haven’t gotten to a year or two after I purchased them. I’ve crossed out the ones I’ve read.

April 2018 (0/3)

  1. The Mahe Circle by Georges Simenon
  2. Dear Mr. President: Letters from a Southern Planter’s Son by Steven Kroll
  3. The Demon in the Trees by Ben Sanders

April 2019 ( 1/7)

  1. The Curse of the Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones
  2. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames ✰5✰
  3. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
  4. Help Me! I’m Slipping by Phyllis R. Brown
  5. Wildflowerby Drew Barrymore
  6. The Fortress by Danielle Trussoni
  7. A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson

 

April is apparently not a big purchasing month for me. I’ve read just one of the books I’ve bought in April the past two years and am about half way through another. I wonder how my purchasing will be this year.

Are any of my remaining books from these months ones that you loved?

OWLs Magical Readathon April TBR

I really like readathons, they are so much fun! But I don’t like Harry Potter and this is a Harry Potter themed readathon, so the past two years I haven’t participated, but I need something to look forward too right now so I’m jumping in. This feels like a complicated readathon, another reason I haven’t participated in previous years, so I’ll just link the announcement video here. It’s created and hosted by Book Roast on Youtube.

As far as I understand the rules, you choose a job from the booklet she created and then read books to fit the prompts for the courses you need to pass to have that job. I chose to try for the career of Trader of Magical Tomes. To get that job I need to take four classes. Ancient Runes, Charms, History of Magic, and Transfiguration.

The last book I ordered from Amazon says it won’t be here until the end of June so I can’t purchase any new books to fit the prompts. I can’t use the library because it’s closed. And almost all of my owned books are at our new house already and we won’t be there until sometime in April. So I had some trouble trying to choose books I own that fit the prompts without being able to look at my books. So some of these may change once I get all of my books again. For the time being though, these are the books I’ve chosen to fill the four prompts I need for the challenge.

Ancient Runes- a book with a heart on the cover or in the title

The only book I could think of that I own with a heart on the cover is Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Charms- A book with a white cover

For this I searched Google images for books with white covers and fount one I know I own: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

History of Magic- a book featuring witches or wizards

I can’t think of a book I own physically with witches or wizards, but I do own The All Souls Trilogy on my Kindle. I will try to read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness for this prompt. 

Transfiguration- a book that features shapeshifting

This was definitely the hardest prompt for me. All I found was strange looking shifter romance and I don’t think that’s what I want to read. I found a book titled Moon Called by Patricia Briggs on my library app when I searched for books about shifters on Overdrive, so I’ll try to read this on ebook if I can get the hold in from the library before the month is over. 

 

Are you participating in this readathon? Do you have a recommendation for a book with shapeshifting?

First Sentence – March

I really like to look at the first sentences of books. It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read the whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I started this month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Ways to keep Jill from getting pregnant

Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns

Samantha went searching for Uncle Paul.

The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzenberger

Robert was tired of dreaming.

Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine

All the way up the stairs, the children fought not to carry the envelope.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

They stand in line for blood.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The night it all ended, Vivian was alone.

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Begin with an aerial view.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

My English Teacher, Mr. Davies, rubs a hand over his military buzz cut.

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

You, yes, you.

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Here we are, in the wrong place: Wyddial Lane.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Local teen accepts destiny, agrees to become doctor, stereotype

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

It took seven years to get the letter right. 

The Bear by Andrew Krivak

The last two were a girl and her father who lived along the old eastern range on the side of a mountain they called the mountain that stands alone. 

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it. 

Princeless by Jeremy Whitley

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed princess. 

Of these 15 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick them up?

Anxiety & Reading

My mental health is not doing great and it is significantly affecting my reading. Between anxiety and nightmares every night, mixed with the grief from my husband’s death and being in the middle of a move from our only home and all of the Corona Virus stuff going on, I can’t focus on books for long. Each week on my bookish check in here I find myself in the middle of more and more books. Even though I’m finishing things, 34 books so far this year, I’m in the middle 12 more books.  9 physical books and 3 ebooks.

In January I read 12 books, in February I read 17 books, and so far this month I’ve only finished 5 books.

Anxiety doesn’t usually effect me in this way. I am more likely to throw myself in to books then I am to not be able to focus on them. It makes me sad and that feeds in to the anxiety and depression and it’s a vicious cycle for me.

I always read multiple books at once and I love it. It’s so much fun for me, usually. But currently I’ve been doing a lot of sticker by number pictures and a lot of drawing with Pepper and I think I may need to look at the books I’m currently reading to see what I can pause for now so that they aren’t hanging over my head any longer.

Do you like to read multiple books at once? Or do you stick to just one book at a time? It’s not uncommon for my currently reading list to make it up to the low 20s.

My Bookish Week 03/21/20

This was a pretty slow week book wise. I finished one book, Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin and gave it ✰4✰. i haven’t chosen a Pop Sugar challenge for it yet, but I’m sure I will. I also started two books, Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu and People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins.

I am still in the middle of 11 books at this point and will be starting one more tonight when I begin a new ebook on my phone. It will likely be Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah because that is what is due next at the library. I will also begin The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and Caraval by Stephanie Garber this week because I promised Pepper I would read them this month no matter what.

Life has been too busy for much reading though. We’re deeply in to our move and trying to get everything possible done before full quarantine goes in to effect. It’s also become a full time job keeping Pepper occupied and both of us calm.

Hopefully this next week I’ll be wrapping up several of the books I’m in the middle of and can dwindle my currently reading pile down to just a few.

Entertaining the Kiddo at Home

We’re not officially quarantined, but even if we wanted to go any where and risk getting sick, we couldn’t because everything is closed except grocery stores. So we’ve been staying at home.

I work from home and Pepper is homeschooled so we’re used to being at home a lot. Many other parents are not though. Something about it being an unknown length of time is making each day feel completely overwhelming. Sure we can survive today, but can we survive this every day for a month (or longer) with no break? I don’t know.

I made Pepper a list of things that we can choose from to do each day and we’ve been making our way through some as needed. We draw, we read, we watch youtube, but we also have several challenges we are working through. A 30 day lego building challenge, a gratitude challenge, a daily affirmation challenge, a non-screen activity challenge, an exercise challenge, a photo challenge, some reading challenges, and a drawing challenge. She’s doing school, playing with playdoh, and video calling grandma. And we’re playing lots of board games.

The biggest helper to filing our days though has been the countless live streams that are being offered by so many people and organizations. I’ll include a link to the google spreadsheet where everything is broken down by hour. There are story times, and drawing lessons, yoga and ballet classes, zoo tours, and so so much more.

The creator of this list keeps adding more and more things. There are more on here then we can do in a day so I’m sure you and your kiddos can find at least a few that you will love and look forward to each day. And almost all are saved so you can watch replays on the weekend of ones you’ve missed throughout the week.

Our personal favorites so far are circle time with Miss Cady at 10, Pete the Cat Storytime at 12, Lunchtime doodles with Mo Willems at 1, Draw with JJK at 2, Cincinnati Zoo home safari at 3, and the Josh Gad story time at 730. We’re in bed for the last one so have been watching the replay the next morning.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1d9vA4JUnr1xFafSY5n7iF75eCb3fX2Azy_6rZOOzH_8/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true&fbclid=IwAR0xd6KK0FXcvzK_Jg9kFXh3uw7JXYxVElZDZvdGDYzbVMlSmC9AXAsG9F4

Our favorite activity we have done this week is an Easter Egg hunt. We had the plastic eggs out to get ready for Easter and I filled the eggs with slips of paper that gave her an action she needed to complete. She had to find one egg, bring it back to me, open the egg, and then do the action (ie. sing a song, do 10 jumping jacks, quack like a duck, etc). Then she could go find another egg. She loved it. It got her moving and laughing.

What are you doing with your kiddos to keep everyone calm and having fun?

Current Library Check Outs

My library closed unannounced yesterday. It was expected after all schools closed the day before, but I had been secretly hoping it would stay open long enough for me to go in and stock up on books before they closed their doors, but no dice.

Now everything here is closed except for gas stations and grocery stores. They have limited hours too and tight regulations on what you can purchase at any time. The trouble we’re running in to is that the limit isn’t enough to get through a week and I can’t drive because of my eyes so I can’t just go to the store every couple of days to replenish. Hopefully this is all over soon, but no one seems to be optimistic about that.

If I had been planning for the library to be closed I would have checked out about two dozen books for me and a lot for Pepper. Because there was no warning I have only what was already checked out. That’s 10 physical books for me. Normally that’s plenty, but most of our books are packed and moved to the new house already. We won’t be there for a couple of weeks though so we have to make due with what we have here book wise.

The ten physical books I have checked out currently are:

I almost always have five ebooks checked out as well. That’s the limit for my library. The five I have now are:

An assortment of books I’m excited to read, but I’m not sure if I should read them slowly in case we can’t get to more for a while or if I should just read them as normal and assume things will be back to normal soon. As long as we have power and internet we should be fine with ebooks as backups. Thank goodness for our library digital checkouts.

The possibility of not having books to read is really messing with my anxiety. More so than the possibility of getting sick or of running out of toilet paper. What part of quarantine is stressing you out the most? Did you get to stock up on books beforehand?

My Bookish Week 03/14/20

Everything is totally crazy here. All of our stores have no toilet paper, no cleaning supplies, no canned food or water. Everyone has lost there minds. I’m definitely ready to hide out at our apartment and read for as long as it takes for this all to blow over. My only real concern is keeping the kid entertained for as long as that takes. We’re mid move so most of our books are packed up and already moved to the new house, where we are not going to be for a few more weeks. Most of our crafts have been moved already too. As long as power and internet keep working we’ll be fine. If not, it’s a lost cause for the two of us. How are you all holding up in the chaos?

 

This week I finished reading

32. The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzenberger ✰3✰

33. The Sun Down Motel by Emily St. James ✰3✰ I am using this book for the pop sugar reading challenge to read a book published in 2020. 

This week I continued reading

Treasures in the Snow by Patricia St. John (page 25/255)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (page 26/435)

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (page 11/325)

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (page 28/436)

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (page 249/510)

An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote (6% complete)

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 152/1468)

Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine (page 53/199)

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (page 135/512)

This week I started reading

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (3/100%)

This week I acquired

47. They Left us Everything by Plum Johnson

48. So Close the Being the Sh*t Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

49. Always too Much and Never Enough by Jasmin Singer

50. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

At this point I’m mostly hoping the world still exists next week and I don’t have to start reading apocalyptic books for survival tips instead of entertainment. 

Owned Unread Series

For the most part I read standalones. I want to like series, but I always either run in to a problem where I  don’t have time read the whole series at once or the next book isn’t out yet and I have to wait a long time and I don’t remember what happened in the previous books by the time I get to the next book in the series. Then I am forever rereading book one to be able to read book two and then rereading book one and two to read book three and so on. Too much wasted time in my opinion when I could just read a new standalone and have another full story to love and enjoy.

The only series I can think of that I read and enjoyed were read in quick succession. Either back to back or within a month of each other at the longest. I keep wanting to like series though because you get so many more pages to spend with characters that you (hopefully) love. I asked in a book group on Facebook for suggestions for completed book series. A few I owned, a couple I purchased. These are series I own physically, have all of the books in the series (that goodreads shows as published or planned to be published), and I haven’t read any of them yet.

The Matched Series has 3 books

The Broken Earth Series by N K Jemisin has 3 books

The Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull has 5 books

The Inheritance Cycle Series by Christopher Paolini has 4 books

His Dark Materials Series by Philip Pullman has 3 books

Story Thieves Series by James Riley has 5 books

Paths of Darkness Series by RA Salvatore has 4 books

The Icewind Dale Trilogy by RA Salvatore has 3 books

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien has 3 books

Kushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey has 6 books

Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness has 3 books

Do you recommend any of these series? Do you have a completed series that you love?

Nine Months as a Widow

My husband has been dead for nine months. Oh my goodness. It feels like no time at all and like I’ve been without him forever. In that nine months we could have had the second child we were talking about having either last year or this year. We could have finished building our savings and purchased a house like we had planned to do last year. We could have done and experienced so many things together that we’ll never get to do now. Nine months in and there are still so many things I’m missing and grieving and crying over. I don’t expect anything to be easy, but I do keep hoping things will be a little easier, but so far that hasn’t really happened.

This past month we had my birthday, Pepper’s birthday, and Valentine’s Day all in a row. We survived and Pepper, at least, had so much fun. Now we’re getting ready for a small Easter celebration.

This past month we also attended a family birthday party, something I haven’t done in many years. We went ice skating and rode bumper cars on the ice. Pepper had a blast and I had fun too. Ice skating was hard for me. The first and only time I have ever been ice skating was when my Jason took me one year for Valentine’s Day. I didn’t want to be there and share Pepper’s first time ice skating without him, but I went. I skated the ice rink one time and was finished. Pepper made it a short distance before she was done. We both loved the bumper cars though.

My biggest concern with the ice skates was that I could not fall and be injured. I don’t have any backup so if I’m injured we are both royally fucked. I have the same thought about anything potentially dangerous these days. If I die Pepper will be an orphan. If Pepper dies I won’t survive it. She’s the only reason I’m still here since my husband died. Did any of you other widows get less brave and more fearful after your husband died or did you get more daring because you didn’t care if you lived or died? I feel like if Pepper wasn’t here I would do every crazy thing I could find to try until something eventually killed me.

I’m still feeling lonely. Pepper is amazing, but it’s hard not to always have a grownup to talk to and laugh with and cry with and complain to. I miss my best friend so much. It’s getting a bit better though I guess. We went to that birthday party where we saw people, other adults, even if I didn’t know any of them very well. We’re trying to get to some more events too. We’re going to a Mommy and Me Cupcake decorating event at a local play place tonight.

Events are hard though. I can’t drive because of the cataracts, glaucoma, iritis, and whatever other issues the eye doctor finds at each appointment. Thursday I go for more eye tests. I think it involves a shot this time too. But because I can’t drive and there isn’t much in walking distance it takes a lot of effort from several people to get us to any events. It’s often not worth the effort of trying to coordinate a ride and I feel like I need to save my ride requests for grocery shopping and doctors appointments, at least until I eventually get my eyes fixed.

Pepper had her five year old well visit this past month as well. She is growing like a weed, very bright, and strong. The only things we need to work on this year are getting her to eat more fruits and vegetables and to get her established with a dentist. She’s doing great and I know it, but it’s always nice to hear from a professional too.

The only other real news is on the moving front. My mother is moving to be closer to her husband’s job and Pepper and I will be moving in to their old house.The plan to have both houses fully moved by May 1st.

I’m so very torn. I don’t want to leave this apartment. Jason and I moved in here 9.5 years ago together and this is the only home we’ve ever known together. It’s the only place Pepper has ever lived. I don’t want to leave behind the only place we’ve ever been a family and couple together. I don’t want to risk losing any of that love or those memories. I don’t want to leave my home.

But we have to. This is the best choice at the moment. Pepper just turned five and in New York we have to start reporting her as being homeschooled in July. I want us in a different school district before we do that. One that is less harmful and pushy about public schooling. Not by much though because they are still the same regulations.

It will also get out of this apartment where the land lady has started being very difficult to deal with. The biggest reason to move is that it will be $200 less a month across bills which will help our financial situation dramatically. Pepper will also have a yard to play in and we will be off of the busiest street in town. We will however be even more away from everything and there will be nothing we can walk to if we don’t have transport. It’s a 15 minute walk down a steep hill just to check our mail! I’m not looking forward to that.

Location-wise it is not my ideal, but because my freelance income can be difficult to prove my renting options are limited, so renting from my mother is the best I can do at this time.

Pepper is having reservations about the move which is making me more fearful too, but this is really our only option and I’m trying to remind myself that this doesn’t have to be forever. It doesn’t have to be for a decade like this apartment was. It’s just the best choice for now and there are so many positives about this move.

  • The money saved.
  • The yard.
  • Being away from this landlady.
  • Being away from the busy traffic and violence of this neighborhood.
  • Having a whole room that will just need to house our bookshelves. I’m excited about our library. So so excited about that.

This is the right move to make even if I really don’t want to leave my Jason and my home behind. We’ve started moving some smaller furniture and boxes of things already. It’s too late to turn back now. It’s time for a new adventure for Pepper and I.

My Bookish Week 03/07/20

This week was a blur. I had a major anxiety attack that had me out of commission for most of a day. I still did some reading on the other days though.

This week I finished reading

29. Smoke by Ellen Hopkins ✰5✰

30. Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns ✰3✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book with more than 20 letters in the title. 

31. Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks ✰5✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book with “twenty” in the title.

This week I continued reading

Treasures in the Snow by Patricia St. John (page 25/255)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (page 26/435)

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (page 11/325)

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (page 28/436)

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (page 236/510)

An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote (6% complete)

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 152/1468)

This week I started reading

The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzenberger (page 26/262)

Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine (page 53/199)

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (page 73/512)

This week I acquired

38. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

39. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

40. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

41. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

42. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

43. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

44. Less by Andrew Sean Greer

45. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

46. Confessions of a Mediocre Widow by Catherine Tidd

Next week I hope to pick up

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

 

*SPOILERS* Recent Reads – Burned Duology

*****This review will have major spoilers *****

 

This is the first time I’ve reviewed two books at the same time. It’s also the first time I’ve included spoilers, but I didn’t know how to talk about these books without them. These are the two books in the Burned duology.

Burned and Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

My rating ✰4✰/✰5✰

Pictures and quotes from Goodreads

I do know things really began to spin out of control after my first sex dream.

It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious—yet abusive—family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation.

This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly without answers—about God, a woman’s role, sex, love—mostly love. What is it? Where is it? Will she ever experience it? Is she deserving of it?

It’s with a real boy that Pattyn gets into real trouble. After Pattyn’s father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control until Pattyn ends up suspended from school and sent to live with an aunt she doesn’t know.

Pattyn is supposed to find salvation and redemption during her exile to the wilds of rural Nevada. Yet what she finds instead is love and acceptance. And for the first time she feels worthy of both—until she realizes her old demons will not let her go. Pattyn begins down a path that will lead her to a hell—a hell that may not be the one she learned about in sacrament meetings, but it is hell all the same.

In this riveting and masterful novel told in verse, Ellen Hopkins takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride. From the highs of true love to the lows of abuse, Pattyn’s story will have readers engrossed until the very last word.

Pattyn’s father is dead. Now she’s on the run in this riveting companion to New York Times bestseller Burned, which Kirkus Reviews calls “a strong, painful, and tender piece about wresting hope from the depths of despair.”

Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that fatal night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated.

Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life as a migrant worker on a California ranch. But is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

Bestselling author Ellen Hopkins continues the riveting story of Pattyn Von Stratten she began in Burned to explore what it takes to rise from the ashes, put ghosts to rest, and step into a future.

My experience reading this duology was nothing like I expected. I knew I had read Burned years ago. I finished the book and sobbed so uncontrollably that my husband found me in the bedroom and thought that someone we knew must have died because I could not be soothed and I could not stop crying. That memory was big in my mind when I made the decision to reread this book after a discussion about it took place in a book group on Facebook. 

I read these books back to back and I felt all of the things while reading the first book. Anger, sadness, joy, everything, but I didn’t cry at the ending like I did the first time. When Pattyn loses Ethan and their unborn baby because of her father I was sad and angry, yes, but the gut wrenching agony of her loss didn’t hit me nearly as hard this time around. I have been through so much loss of my own this past year that I just didn’t have enough left in me to cry that hard for a fictional girl that lost her boyfriend of a few months and a baby she didn’t know if she wanted yet. I cry all the time so I feel particularly heartless for not crying at the end of this book. It was still a great book, just not as heart-wrenchingly sad as I remember it being. 

I was sure I had never read the sequel because my husband thought I shouldn’t read Ellen Hopkins’ books after the sob fest that followed my first reading of Burned. They all made me cry. Something about her style of writing in verse and the always hard subject matter she writes about gets to me every time. So I remember the discussion between my late husband and I about how I should choose books that wouldn’t make me cry so much. 

However, when I started reading Smoke I realized I had definitely read this a long time ago too. I didn’t remember any details until they were presented, but this book hit me so much harder then Burned did. I cried throughout the book and especially at the end.

Pattyn is doing a lot in this book, but the part that hit me so hard was how she was rebuilding her life after losing everything she had loved. Everything that had ever made her happy was gone and could never come back and she still somehow found little moments to feel joy.

I had some moments of disbelief because she ended up moving on from her losses so much faster than I can imagine, but I had to remind myself that she is a lot younger than me and her relationship was a lot shorter than mine. I found so much hope in her story, when she talked to Ethan at his grave, when she brought her new boyfriend to her home, when she got to go back to what and where she felt loved and at home. I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to be happy like she was at the end of the duology, but the hope she showed in her story made my heart feel happy by the end. 

 

2020 Goals Checkin -February

I’m looking at my goals to see how I’m doing so far.

  1. Read at least 100 books 29/100
  2. Own fewer unread books at the end of the year than I have at the beginningNot good so far. Between library books, ebooks, and birthday gifts I currently have 19 more physical books on my TBR than I did at the beginning of the year. 
  3. Only order books online when I’ve read 10 physical books that I owned in 2019 or earlier. Shopping has been kind of a free for all. Whenever I can find a few dollars to buy a book I do. Still working on it. 
  4. Finish reading all of the books I have records of for 20171/14 I’m in the middle of one other at the moment.
    1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
    2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
    3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
    4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
    5. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
    6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    7. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
    8. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
    9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    10. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
    11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
    12. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
    13. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
    14. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
  5. Read at least 14 tomes (books over 500 pages). 1/14 I’m in the middle of two others.
    1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
    3. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
    4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    6. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    7. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
    8. The Red pyramid by Rick Riordan
    9. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
    10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    11. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    12. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    13. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  6. Complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 2020.  23/50
  7. Participate in Booktube Rereadathon 2020.I always like the idea of rereading my favorite books but in practice I pretty much never do so. This readathon is hosted by Alex Black Reads and has one challenge for each month of the year.
    • January- reread a translated book or a book in which a character speaks more than one language I finished A Man Called Ove and confirmed it as my favorite book.
    • February- rediscover a book- one you haven’t read in over ten years and/or don’t remember very well I am still working on Treasures of the Snow by Patricia M St John for this prompt.

Not too bad overall, but some areas certainly need my focus if I’m going to finish these goals this year.

My Bookish Week 02/29/20

And just like that Birthday Month is over. 30 posts in 29 days and about 15 new followers. Thanks to everyone who joined me for one, two or all thirty blog posts this month. It’s a great way to start off a new year of life.

This week I finished two more books and started several others. My currently reading is up to 10 books at the moment. Hopefully I’ll finish up a few this week.

This week I finished reading

27. The Martian by Andy Weir ✰4✰ I’m using this for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book with a great first line. This is probably my all time favorite first line “I’m pretty much fucked.”

28. Burned by Ellen Hopkins ✰4✰ I will be using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to  read a book with the same title as a movie, but that is not related to it. 

This week I continued reading

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 152/1468)

How to Boil Water by Jennifer Darling (page 116/243)

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (page 228/510)

An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote (6% complete)

This week I started reading

Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks (34% complete)

Smoke by Ellen Hopkins (page 326/543)

Treasures in the Snow by Patricia St. John (page 14/255)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (page 14/435)

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (page 6/325)

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (page 8/436)

This week I acquired

35. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

36. Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline

37. The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Next week I hope to pick up

Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

 

My aim is to finish a few books next week and not start many more if any.

 

 

March 2018 and 2019 Haul Revisit

These monthly posts are to remind myself of books I was so excited to read, but still haven’t gotten to a year or two after I purchased them. I’ve crossed out the ones I’ve read.

March 2018 ( 4/30 read)

  1. Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
  2. Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen
  3. Shadowland by Alyson Noel
  4. Will & I by Clay Byars
  5. A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me by Jason Schmidt
  6. Here Lies Linc by Delia Ray
  7. ACID by Emma Pass
  8. Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer
  9. Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose ✰4✰
  10. I Can Hear You Whisper by Lydia Denworth
  11. It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh
  12. The Game Believes in You by Greg Toppo
  13. Who is AC? by Hope Larson ✰2✰
  14. Below by Jason Chabot ✰4✰
  15. Above by Jason Chabot
  16. Beyond by Jason Chabot
  17. Writing is my Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor
  18. Fatherless by James C. Dobson and Kurt Bruner
  19. Childless by James C. Dobson and Kurt Bruner
  20. The Autumn Balloon by Kenny Porpora
  21. 101 Things to do Before Your Kids Leave Home by David Bordon and Tom Winters
  22. Born Reading by Jason Boog
  23. The Art of Adapting by Cassandra Dunn
  24. The Wobbit by The Harvard Lampoon
  25. This is the Life by Alex Shearer
  26. The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley Archer
  27. Kin by by Lili St. Crow
  28. Like No Other by Una LaMarche
  29. Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw
  30. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery ✰4✰

March 2019 (4/14 read)

  1. Beartown by Fredrik Backman ✰5✰
  2. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
  3. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filler
  4. Paradiseby Toni Morrison
  5. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
  6. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  7. The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib
  8. Bulwarkby Brit Lunden
  9. The Knowing by Brit Lunden
  10. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman Read twice ✰4✰ and ✰5✰
  11. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman ✰5✰
  12. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
  13. Elliot Pie’s Guide to Human Nature by Chantelle Atkins
  14. A Storm of Strawberries by Jo Cotterill✰5✰

 

This is by far the worst set of months so far, but there are way worse ones coming up later in the year when we reach the point where my husband was dying more quickly last year.

Are any of my remaining books from these months ones that you loved?

First Sentence – February

I really like to look at the first sentences of books. It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read the whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I started this month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

Strange Planet by Nathan W Pyle

Our new being weighs 9 hand-rocks.

You Don’t Know Everything Jilly P! by Alex Gino

The house smells of homemade tomato sauce when I get home from school, a sure sign that Dad is cooking dinner. 

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

The trouble began when my 6-year-old son, Z, became obsessed with Michael Jackson.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Once upon a time, blacksmiths were as important as magicians.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

The end of our final winter break seems almost like the beginning of a victory lap.

An Adventure That’s For Sure by Donna Wood

I was born on March 1, 1950.

How To Boil Water edited by Jennifer Darling

You don’t need a lot of stuff to properly outfit a kitchen. 

Falling Ill by CK Williams

From your workshop the usual commotion

Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Dear Ijeawele, What joy.

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

Tam’s mother used to say she had a Wyld Heart.

Pink Mist by Owen Sheers

Three boys went to Catterick

Coming Back From Broken by Stacie Baker

Five months after marrying the man of my dreams, I had so many things I was looking forward to: Our first Christmas as a married couple, starting a family one day, growing old together. 

The New kid at School by KH McMullan

Knock! 

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

It was obvious to anyone with a discerning eye that the school had started out as the country home of a family with more money than sense. 

The Martian by Andy Weir

I’m pretty much fucked.

The Last Execution by Jesper Wung-Sung

It is the night before the boy is to be executed on Gallows Hill.

Britt-Marie was Here by Fredtik Backman

Forks.

Treasures in the Snow by Patricia St. John

It was Christmas Eve, and three people were climbing the steep white mountainside. 

An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote

Alice wished she’d never laid eyes on Mrs Sylvia Cameron.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Do you have everything?

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Did you ever when you were little, endure your parents’ warnings, then wait for them to leave the room, pry loose protective covers and consider inserting some metal object into an electrical outlet?

Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

Some things you can’t take back, no matter how much you wish you could.

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

You are she.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

You’re not crazy.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

There was a boy in her room.

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

There are reasons I hate to drive fast.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I spent much of my childhood listening to the sound of striving. 

 

I have to say the first sentence of The Martian is an all time favorite of mine.

Of these 27 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick them up?

5 Star Predictions (Jan 2019) Wrap Up

I recently made a new round of five star predictions and decided I should look and see how the last round went. The last time I made this list was in January of 2019. I have since read four of them and am not sure I will get back to the fifth one any time soon. I thought I would give all of these books five stars and I gave only one of them five stars.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ✰4✰ I liked this book, but definitely not blown away by it.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan ✰3✰ This book was not nearly as good as I had thought it would be.

The Girls by Emma Cline ✰3✰ This book was another average read.

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames ✰5✰ I loved this book! I’m reading the sequel currently. 

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody Since my husband died last summer I don’t think of myself as a writer any more and as such don’t read craft books. I may get back in to this some day, but for now I won’t be finishing this book in the near future. 

Only one five star read out of five books I had high expectations for feels like poor odds. I hope my next round of predictions goes far better.

My Current Digital Library Checkouts

My library uses the Overdrive app for ebook checkouts. We can check out five titles at a time (for three weeks) and also have five books on hold at a time. Those are books I’m waiting in line to read. I currently have my account maxed on both regards, but I never get to everything that gets checked out. Today I’ll share what I have checked out and what I’m waiting for digitally. Pictures and book descriptions are from Goodreads.

Current Checkouts

The Martian by Andy Weir

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan

For centuries, doctors have struggled to define mental illness-how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people — sane, normal, well-adjusted members of society — went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry’s labels. Forced to remain inside until they’d “proven” themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan’s watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.

But, as Cahalan’s explosive new research shows, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors, and what does it mean for our understanding of mental illness today?

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Daniel Mayrock’s life is at a crossroads. He knows the following to be true:

1. He loves his wife Jill… more than anything.
2. He only regrets quitting his job and opening a bookshop a little (maybe more than a little)
3. Jill is ready to have a baby.
4. The bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent. Dan doesn’t know how to fix it.
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble.
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances:

1. Dan wants to do something special.
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary.
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure.
4. He doesn’t want to live in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker; his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to do anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.

On Hold

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano (7 week wait time left)

Inspired by a true story of one child’s incredible survival–riveting, uplifting, unforgettable.

After losing everything, a young boy discovers there are still reasons for hope in this luminous, life-affirming novel, perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Patchett.

In the face of tragedy, what does it take to find joy?

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (10 week wait time left)

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg (10 week wait time left)

When it comes to change, TINY IS MIGHTY. Start with two pushups a day, not a two-hour workout; or five deep breaths each morning rather than an hour of meditation. In TINY HABITS, B.J. Fogg brings his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or achieve any goal of your choice.  You just need Fogg’s behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. Whenever you get in your car, take one yoga breath. Smile.  Whenever you get in bed, turn off your phone. Give yourself a high five.

Change can be easy—once it starts, it grows.  Let B.J. Fogg show you exactly how.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (6 month wait time left)

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (2 week wait time left)

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort – are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth – not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

 

Have you read any of these? Do you have plans to read them? What’s the longest you’ve had to wait for a library hold? American Dirt is close to my longest projected wait because it’s still at 6 months.

Recent Read – A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating ✰5✰

Picture and quote from Goodreads

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

I read this book for the first time in April 2018 and I loved it. I gave it 4 stars and proceeded to begin reading the rest of Fredrik Backman’s books. I have one left to read at this point.

I revisited this book for the January 2020 Booktube rereadathon. I wanted to reread this book to see how I related to Ove now, as a widow myself. And I loved it even more. I read it slowly this time annotating the book heavily with highlighter and sticky tabs and it was a joy to focus on the story and the characters so intensely.

I laughed at least as much as I cried and there was so much of both spread throughout these pages.

I can relate to Ove’s desire to be dead and to join his wife in more ways then I would ever like to admit. There are so many quotes in this book about his great love for his wife and his despair of trying to keep going without her and just not wanting too. He thought so many things I’ve thought in these last 8 months without my beloved Jason. Somehow he kept going and enjoyed the living he still had in him. I’m sure Sonja would have wanted that for him.

And I’m sure Jason would want that for me too. This book was inspiring and relatable for me in more ways than I ever expected this time around and I can certainly see this as a book I read over and over again as the years pass. I feel confident in saying that this is one of my all time favorite books.

Pepper Picks My TBR

I don’t usually do TBRs because I almost never stick to them, but, Pepper, my five year old daughter, desperately wanted to choose the books I would read next. I gave her free range to choose five books for my March TBR and she was thrilled. She looked at all of the covers of the books on my desk and chose any that she thought were pretty (about 20 of them out of 50 or so). Then I either read her the back of the book or told her in a few sentences what the book was about as far as I knew it. And with the descriptions she narrowed it down to five. And I have promised to read them all in March no matter what comes up life or reading wise. The five books she chose are below with cover photos and descriptions from Goodreads.

Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns

This was an impulse purchase at the grocery store after a long hard day. I’ve owned it since September 2019

Get ready for round-the-world adventure with Sam Spinner and her brother Nipper in the first book in a new hilarious, puzzle-packed series filled with super-secret messages! Perfect for fans of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Libraryand classics like Holes.

Samantha Spinner’s uncle Paul disappeared, and here’s what he left:
* Samantha’s sister got a check for $2,400,000,000.
* Samantha’s brother got the New York Yankees.
* And Samantha got a rusty red umbrella with a tag hanging off its worn handle. The tag says “Watch out for the RAIN.”

Thanks a lot, Uncle Paul.

After all the strawberry waffles, stories, and puzzles they’ve shared, how could he just leave without saying goodbye? And what is the meaning of that mysterious message?

The answer is simple. Sam knows in her heart that Uncle Paul is in danger. And if he taught her anything, it’s that not everything is exactly what it seems. Which is why we should pay close attention to that rusty red umbrella, and never trust a monkey at a hula-hoop contest.

The RAIN is coming and Samantha Spinner is about to find herself mixed up in some super-important, super-dangerous, super-secret plans.

The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

This is a book we’ve owned for many years. It was a favorite of my late husband. It’s a math adventure story and he was a math lover. Pepper wants me to read this soon to see if she can read it now or if she has to be bigger. She’s a math lover too. 

The international best-seller that makes mathematics a thrilling exploration.

In twelve dreams, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets a Number Devil, who leads him to discover the amazing world of numbers: infinite numbers, prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, numbers that magically appear in triangles, and numbers that expand without. As we dream with him, we are taken further and further into mathematical theory, where ideas eventually take flight, until everyone – from those who fumble over fractions to those who solve complex equations in their heads – winds up marveling at what numbers can do.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger is a true polymath, the kind of superb intellectual who loves thinking and marshals all of his charm and wit to share his passions with the world. In The Number Devil, he brings together the surreal logic of Alice in Wonderland and the existential geometry of Flatland with the kind of math everyone would love, if only they had a number devil to teach it to them.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (I could not find the cover I have on Goodreads)

This book I bought in December 2019 and just haven’t gotten to yet. 

An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at a small-town Texas high school.

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with an administration at her high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I also bought this one in December of 2019.

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This book I bought in September of 2019 and haven’t gotten to yet. I don’t know if I want to start a series if I can’t finish it all in one go. 

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

 

Have you read any of these?

My Bookish Week 02/22/20

Another good reading week. Three more books finished and all were five stars. I love it when that happens.

This week I finished reading

24. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe ✰5✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book by a nonbinary author. 

25. You Don’t Know Everything Jilly P! by Alex Gino ✰5✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book involving social media. The main character spends a lot of time in a chat room.

26. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman ✰5✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book published in the 20th century and for the Booktube Rereadathon January challenge to reread a translated book. 

This week I continued reading

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 144/1468)

How to Boil Water by Jennifer Darling (page 90/243)

The Martian by Andy Weir (page 132/369)

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (page 102/510)

An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote (6% complete)

This week I started reading

Burned by Ellen Hopkins (page 321/531)

This week I acquired

32. The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

33. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

34. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Next week I hope to pick up

Britt-Marie was Here by Fredtik Backman

Treasures in the Snow by Patricia St. John

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

What was your favorite read this week?

The Book Blogger Memory Challenge Tag

Today I’m doing a little tag I found on The Book Nut

 

You must answer these questions without looking anything up on the internet and without looking at your bookshelves!!

1. Name a book written by an author called Michael

Monsterland by Michael Okon

\

2. Name a book with a dragon on the cover.

Eragon by Christpher Paolini


3. Name a book about a character called George.

George by Alex Gino

4. Name a book written by an author with the surname Smith.

I couldn’t think of a book for this one. 
5. Name a book set in Australia.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

6. Name a book with the name of a month in the title.

Captain January by Laura Elizabeth Richards

7. Name a book with a knife on the cover.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

8. Name a book with the word ‘one’ in the title.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

9. Name a book with a eponymous title.

I had to look up what eponymous meant ((of a thing) named after a particular person.)

Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

10. Name a book turned into a movie.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

 

Can you think of an author with the surname Smith? I’m sure there are a ton.

What I Read in a Day

I am a pretty busy person these days. At least by my own standards. I am a work at home, homeschooling, widowed single mother to a very active five year old daughter. Pepper needs a lot of my time since her father died last summer. She gets anxious and frustrated if she has to play by herself for too long. She regressed in that regard in her grief. She is the biggest reason I don’t get reading done as often as I would like.

I get questions about how I fit so much reading time in to my schedule between work, homeschool, grief counseling, taking care of the house, taking care of the kid,  various other appointments and activities and my other hobbies.

I tried to answer the question, but I really don’t know. I read when I can and see how it goes. Some days I don’t get to read at all, other days I have to decide whether I will go to bed or lose a couple of hours of sleep to fit in reading.  I decided to choose a day and just note down every time I read, what I’m reading, how many pages I read, and what Pepper is doing at that time. On this day, my reading sessions looked like this:

  • About 530am- I woke up before Pepper and read a chapter of The Martian by Andy Weir on my phone before getting out of bed. I read for 18 minutes and finished 18 pages before I got up to go to the bathroom, find coffee, and get my workspace set up for the day.
  • About 645am- After getting everything set up Pepper was still asleep and work was slow for the moment so I took out a physical book I’m reading, Burned by Ellen Hopkins, and read until Pepper woke up. This was a total of 17 minutes. I finished 56 pages in that time. This is a young adult novel written in verse so the pages are quite short.
  • About 4pm- Pepper asked for a cuddle so she brought her Kindle and I brought Burned. I read for 19 minutes and finished another 54 pages. At that point I had more work to get done.
  • About 6pm- Pepper is settled in with a show and a snack so I take a short break and spend 10 minutes reading a chapter from A Man Called ove. I read and annotate 8 pages.
  • About 740pm- Pepper is in bed for a few more minutes of Kindle time before she falls asleep. I open up Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames and read 10 pages in 10 minutes before calling it a night and going to bed myself.

I will sometimes read more of an ebook when I get in to bed, but this night I didn’t. I was exhausted and fell asleep quickly.

This day I read for 74 minutes over the course of the day, made progress in four separate books, and read 146 pages between them all.  I don’t track like this with any kind of regularity, but it felt like a fairly normal reading day.

So across five reading sessions between 10 and 19 minutes each I managed to get quite a bit of reading done. I would have liked to read more, but that’s not how life was balanced this day.

How do you fit reading in to your day?

Bookish Wish List

I keep a wish list on Amazon because there are some groups I’m in that share wish lists for Christmas and Birthday gifts. My wish list is a huge mess filled with about 400 items for both Pepper and myself. It isn’t organized at all and it has a very large number of books, but also craft kits and toys for Pepper and some other odds and ends.

These are five books out of several hundred that I would like to own and/or read at some point. I used a random number generator to choose which ones to share here today.  (pictures and quotes from Goodreads)

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF MAGIC

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life . . .

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s “moral police.” But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

I Wasn’t Read to Say Goodbye by Brook Noel

Now there is a hand to hold…
Each year about eight million Americans suffer the death of a close family member. The list of high visibility disasters, human suffering and sudden loss in long and will continue to grow. From TWA Flight 800 to Egypt Air 990, from Oklahoma City to Columbine, daily we face incomprehensible loss. Outside the publicized tragedies there are many families and individuals that are suffering behind closed doors in our neighborhoods, in our own homes, in hospital waiting rooms. Now for those who face the challenges of sudden death, there is a hand to hold written by two women who have experience sudden loss.
In a book that will touch, comfort, uplift and console, authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. explore sudden death and its role in the cycle of life. Tapping the personal histories of both authors and numerous interviews, I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye shows grieving readers how to endure, survive and grow from the pain and turmoil surrounding human loss.
For survivors this valuable book provides a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.

The Book Ninja by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

**Could you find your perfect man by looking at his book shelf?** 
Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person. It’s not that she hasn’t tried – Frankie is the queen of online dating. But she has had enough.
Deciding to embark on the ultimate dating experiment, inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Bookshop, Frankie places her hope in her favourite books to find her the perfect man… Secretly planting copies on trains, trams and buses, Frankie hopes to find the man of her dreams through a mutual love of good books.
But one spontaneous kiss later and Frankie begins to fall for a guy called Sunny. There’s just one tiny problem – Frankie is strictly a Jane Austen kind of woman and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Seriously, obsessively into it…
Can Frankie overcome her book snobbery for the man of her dreams? Or will she be left searching the trains for her modern-day Mr Darcy forever?

Some of these I will undoubtedly purchase when the funds are available and others I may eventually find at the library. I like having a list of books that are on my radar for future reference. How many books are on your wish list?

NYT Bestsellers When I Was Born (1987)

I wanted to look the books that were popular when I was born. I looked at the New York Times bestselling fiction list for February 8, 1987. I was born on the 13th. There were 16 books listed.

1 Windmills of the Gods by Sidney Sheldon

2 The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

3 Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy

4 It by Stephen King

5 Night of the Fox by Jack Higgins

6 Whirlwind by James Clavell

7 Bandits by Elmore Leonard

8 The Panic of ’89 by Paul Erdman

9 Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts

10 The Prince of the Tides by Pat Conroy

11 Patience of a Saint by Andrew M. Greeley

12 The Counterlife by Philip Roth.

13 Death Quest by L. Ron Hubbard

14 A Taste for Death by P. D. James

15 Hollywood Husbands by Jackie Collins

16 Shan by Eric Van Lustbader

I wanted to see how many of these books I have read and out of all 16 of these I’ve only heard of two of them. The two by Stephen King. I’ve read both of those. I haven’t heard of any of the other 14, but I may see if I can find and read at least a few of them before next year on my birthday. Have you read any of these? What books were popular when you were born?

Book Addiction Tag

I saw this tag on the youtube channel of Beautifully Bookish Bethany.

1. What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

I would say I can go about a day before I start to feel upset about not being able to read. When I have a day where Pepper is difficult or needy and I don’t find any time to read at all I always feel sad and sort of hopeless when I wake up the next morning and realize I read zero pages the day before.

2. How many books do you carry on your person (physical or device) at any one time?

I nearly always have one physical book on me and I always have my phone with me. I have thousands of ebooks on my Kindle app and I could download them at any time to read them so there are always a lot of books with me. Usually just two that I’m actively reading though, one physical and one digital.

3. Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

I keep only books that I’ve read and will read again or books that I haven’t read yet. When I finish a book it either goes on my loved books shelf if I will read it again some day or I get rid of it as soon as possible.

4. How long would you spend in a bookshop on a standard visit?

Jason and I used to spend hours in bookstores. We made a day of it. We would go for sure on our Anniversary every year and whenever else we could manage it too. The nearest real bookstore is a 90 minute drive away. We would go and drink coffee and spend hours browsing and shopping and talking. Now we have a small bookstore in town. When I can get there I can easily spend an hour browsing if I’m by myself.

5. How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

I try to spend at least a couple of hours a day reading. As long as there is nothing more pressing I try to read after Pepper gets in to bed, but some times I’m just too tired. I would guess my average is at least an hour a day, sometimes less and sometimes much longer.

6. Where does the task “picking up a book” appear on your daily to-do list?

It doesn’t appear on a to do list, I read whenever I can find the minutes to do so. I do have a separate planner where I sometimes try to plan out my reading. If I have a lot of things that I need or want to get read that month I’ll break it down by day to see what I need to accomplish to stay on track.

7. How many books do you reckon you own in total (include ebooks)?

I would guess I have about 1000 physical books. I have 3076 Kindle books.

8. Approximately how often do you bring up books in conversation?

I don’t bring them up, but if someone else does I’ll talk about them as long as I can.

9. What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

Either The Stand or It by Stephen King. Currently I’m reading Les Miserables and that will be the new high page count when/if I finish it.

10. Is there a book you had to get your hands on against all odds (searched bookstore, online digging, stalked author, etc.)?

Not really. There are arcs I would love to read, but nothing that I couldn’t acquire after it came out.

11. Is there a book you struggled to finish because you refused to DNF?

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

12. What are 3 of your main book goals for 2020 ?

Read 100 books, read 14 specific tomes, complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge.

13. Have you ever had the privilege of converting someone into a reader (by inspiration or your incessant nagging)?

Not really. I read to Pepper every day from the time I became pregnant onwards and she is a reader. I don’t think I converted her, but I did raise her as a reader and she loves to read. She even asked to start her own book blog.

14. Describe what books mean to you in FIVE words.

Life. Love. Adventure. Hope. Escape.

 

How would you describe books in five words?

Birthday Gifts for a Five Year Old

Today is Miss Pepper’s fifth birthday. My sweet baby girl is getting way too big, way too fast. This year she is having her first real birthday party with extended family and some of her friends from storytime at the library. In years past it’s just been Pepper, Jason, myself, and Pepper’s three grandparents. I think the newness of a big birthday party will help edge out some of the sadness of not having Jason here to celebrate with us any more.

Pepper has asked for a mermaid themed birthday party and the most important part was a pin the tail on the mermaid game. I ordered the decor and plates on Amazon.

She has asked for pink cupcakes, shaped like a mermaid tail, and juiceboxes.

The goodie bags we put together for her friends are filled with bathbombs, nail polish, and lip gloss.

The gifts that I bought for her to open at her birthday party are a set of mermaid themed chapter books, a cooperative mermaid boardgame, a card game called Sleeping Queens, and a few surprise boxes that have llamas in them and one that has a dressup costume.

 

She also has four gifts she will get to open when she wakes up that day. These gifts are Zoob building sets. She seems to end up with a new building set each year on her birthday. Last year it was big girl Legos and this year it is Zoob. The special part about this gift is that Jason and I bought them while I was still pregnant with Pepper. We chose three sets that fit in our budget at the time, but there was another set Jason really wanted her to have too so he used his personal spending money to buy it for her, knowing it would be years before she was actually big enough to play with it. So eight months after her daddy died, Pepper still has a gift to open that he chose and bought especially for her, before she was even born. That’s a pretty special kind of birthday magic.

I can’t find the exact kits she has here because we bought them over five years ago at this point, but here is a picture of an example.

Pepper chose a special bow she wanted on her gift from Jason and she asks every day if she can open her present from daddy first.

There are other gifts too of course. Gifts shipped in from relatives around the country and ones that the party guests will bring, but I think it will be hard for them to top a gift hand chosen for her by her dead father.

I just hope her day is special and happy and filled with love. I’ll do my best to make it so.

Happy Birthday to my amazing little girl!

My Bookish Week 02/15/20

This was a far slower reading week than the past one, but I did finish four more books and made progress in several others. I also acquired several new books for birthday and valentine’s day.

This week I finished reading

20. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire ✰5✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book with a three word title.

21. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren ✰5✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book with a book on the cover.

22. The Last Execution by Jesper Wung-Sung ✰4✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge to read a book I picked because the title caught my attention. 

23. Good Talk by Mira Jacob ✰4✰

This week I continued reading

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 144/1468)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (page 206/337)

How to Boil Water by Jennifer Darling (page 90/243)

You Don’t Know Everything Jilly P! by Alex Gino (page 158/256)

The Martian by Andy Weir (page 114/369)

This week I started reading

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (page 68/510)

An Heir to Murder by Charles Heathcote (6% complete)

This week I acquired

25. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

26. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

27. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

28. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

29. Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen

30. Out to Pasture by Effie Leland Wilder

31. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Next week I hope to pick up

Britt-Marie was Here by Fredtik Backman

Treasures in the Snow by Patricia St. John

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin