Bookish Boxes & Buzzwords Tag

Today I will be answering questions from a tag called Bookish Boxes & Buzzwords. This tag was created by LizziefayeLovesBooks on Youtube.

It is a tag all about things that make you want to pick up a book. There are 12 prompts.

1. Your go-to genre or favorite type of book I had to think about this, but I think my favorite genre would be dystopian, preferably young adult, but I’ll read and usually enjoy any dystopian. My favorite is when characters are learning how to survive on very limited resources.

2. Retellings you are drawn to. No stories in particular, but if I am going to read a retelling it will usually be a story told from the ‘bad guy’s’ perspective.

3. Lifestyles or careers of the book characters. I will read almost anything about a writer or aspiring writer. I also enjoy reading about homeschool moms or families.

4. Places or settings you are drawn to. Space and anywhere the characters have to figure out how to survive, that goes back to my dystopian love.

5. Relationships you enjoy reading about. Mother daughter relationships. Relationships between couples that have been together for a years and maybe are going through big changes, new baby, job loss, last child moved out, etc.

6. Buzzwords in the title of the book. Challenge, strange, mystery, survival.

7. Things on book covers that draw you in. Blurbs by favorite authors, awards, bright colors.

8. Non fiction buzzwords. Type of nonfiction are you drawn to. Writing, homeschooling, parenting, marriage, time management, productivity, organization, budgeting.


9. Medical or physical conditions of characters. Anxiety, depression, ADHD, self harm.

10. Time of year, or time in history or future that you are drawn to.  Anything set in the future. Especially if something has changed the world drastically and we’re trying to figure out how to survive all over again.

Bonus #1: Any other bookish boxes or buzzwords not already mentioned. LGBT+ life and relationships. Also anything told in a non-standard format. I love books that are told in letters, or documents, or especially poetry.

Bonus #2: What Bookish boxes or buzzwords turn you away from a book? Anything that shows harm to a child on the page. If it’s implied or told after the fact I can usually deal with it, but if I’m seeing or watching a child be hurt or tortured I can’t read the book. That kind of stuff sticks with me and haunts my dreams.

Also, really bad spelling or grammar. If it happens often enough that I repeatedly get pulled out of the story I just can’t keep reading. It’s too distracting for me.

What are some of your bookish boxes?


Trying to Write in my Books

I want to be a person that writes in my books. I want to reread favorites and see all of my thoughts written neatly in the margins. I want to be able to have conversations with myself from years before or after. I want to annotate my books as I read them.

It sounds like fun so I’ve been trying. It’s not that I feel bad about writing in my books. It’s just that I feel silly. I feel like even I won’t care about what I was thinking when I read this book or sentence let alone anyone else that might pick up my copy. I might be afraid that someone else will pick up the book and read it and discover that I am well and truly insane for having a thought that I’ve written down.

I’m still making myself do it though, because I think I gain more insights when I read a book with the intention or marking my favorite parts and writing what I think. I also love being able to quickly and easily flick through the pages of a chapter and share the parts that were important to me with my husband. The lines that really spoke to me are easily found.

I have trouble thinking that my thoughts are important enough to write down so if I do write something I use a pencil. But I love being able to hold on to the thoughts of the author or character that mean something to me so I highlight those.

When I begin a new book I choose a bookmark from my collection and now I choose a highlighter from my favorite set, the Zebra Mildliners, that will match the book either in cover colors or in content. And even if I go the whole book without writing anything with my pencil I am ready with my highlighter to mark anything I have a desire too.

It feels somehow less off-putting to simply showcase the work of an author than it is to think my words and thoughts deserve to be on the page beside their’s.

My favorite book that I’ve taken my highlighter to so far was also the first one that tried it with. Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie is a book for homeschool moms. I’m not religious at all, in fact, you could say I’m anti religion, but I still took so much from this book that was useful for me in teaching my daughter at home. With my highlights I can flip through the whole (already short) book in half an hour reading the parts that inspire me to keep going with this crazy journey.

I’ll keep working on feeling worthy enough to write my words in my books, but until then I don’t plan to stop with my highlighting. It helps me get so much more out of reading.

Do you write in your books?

Booktubeathon Wrap Up

Booktubeathon Wrap Up

Here is how my Booktubeathon went.

Day 1

The first day of Booktubeathon I read one book. The first book I read was Love & Magic by John Hanlon. It’s a book with four short stories. I loved the language and the characters. The endings of each story left me shocked, sometimes multiple times. The touch of magic found in each one was enough to strike me with awe.  ✰5✰

Day 2

On day two of Booktubeathon I started reading my second book. Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. I didn’t make it too far though. It was our shopping day and we spent most of it out of the house. I finished the day on page 45 of 275.

Day 3

Day three I got a late start. I had a rough night of sleeping, or not sleeping really, so I didn’t make it out of bed until my daughter was already awake. That always makes me feel behind before I’ve even started. Days like that I just never seem to catch up. By the end of the day I had only managed to read 64 pages putting myself at page 110 out of 275 in spilling ink.

Day 4

On day four I was still only reading my second book of the readathon and feeling like I may as well give up.

I decided to begin The Little Prince by Antione De Saint-Exupery. I finished the book this day and watched a claymation version of the story on youtube. It can be found here. I enjoyed the book, but because of how quickly I was trying to read it I feel like I missed important meanings. I rated this book ✰4✰ for now but plan to re-read it more slowly soon.

Still on day four I also read in full, my book with a beautiful spine. My chosen book is called Here we Cross: A Collection of Queer & Genderfluid Poetry from Stone Telling 1-7 Edited by Rose Lemberg. I also decided to wear a hat while reading this book. I borrowed one from my daughter. I gave this book ✰4✰ as well.

I still had a few hours until bedtime so I started Burnt: Christmas on Fire by Cary Grant. I made it to about page 20 and DNFed it. I had language issues with this book, too many grammatical errors and incorrect word choices really pulled me out of the story over and over. And then there was a scene of a child being raped and I just done. I promptly put this book in the donation box.

I decided instead to read Captain January by Laura E. Richards and made it to page 24 before I fell asleep.

Day 5

I woke up early on day five and avoided reading for a while, I had finished 3 books so far, DNFed 1 book, was in the middle of 2 others, and still had 1 that hadn’t yet been begun. I was still feeling behind. But I ended up pressing on with the challenges after a couple hours of Youtube watching.

I finished Captain January this day ✰5✰ And then, while on a coffee date with my hubby I began Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose. I made it page 254 before I fell asleep.

Day 6

I woke up and finished Blue Birds making my 5th completed book for booktubeathon. I rated this book ✰4✰ I then spent the rest of the day working on finishing Spilled Ink, but my husband was ill and spent the day in bed. That left all the cooking, household chores, work, and toddler care and entertainment on my shoulders. So I didn’t get much reading done. I managed to make it only from page 110 to page 144.

Day 7

I didn’t sleep well and got out of bed at 3am. I was still working on Spilling Ink. And I managed to finish it by about noon. I gave it ✰5✰That was my sixth finished book and the last one on my TBR pile for Booktubeathon because I had DNFed one.

I had 12 hours and one more book to choose and read. I happened to be doing some cleaning in a room filled with boxes that need to be gone through and a I found a very small book. I don’t know where it came from. It is called How to Make Big Bucks from Big Blogs by Brandon Colker. Probably a gift from a well meaning acquaintance. I don’t currently have plans to make money from my blog, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to read it. And the best part was it is only 44 pages.  I finished it in about an hour and gave it ✰3✰. It was okay. Some good information, but a bit pretentious and I can’t see myself doing most of the things mentioned. But I finished it and it was technically a book.

So I’m done! 11.5 hours early. Let’s look at the 7 challenges and see how I did.

1. Let a coin toss decide your first read. Check!
2. Read a book about something you want to do. Check!
3. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation. Check!
4. Read a book with green on the cover. Check!
5. Read a book while wearing the same hat the whole time. Check!
6. Read a book with a beautiful spine. Check!
7. Read seven books. Check!

The books I read (in one case, tried to read):

Love & Magic: Four Delightfully Spun Yarns by John Hanlon
Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer
The Little Prince by Antione De Saint-Exupery
Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose
Burnt Christmas on Fire by Cary Grant (DNF)
Here We Cross edited by Rose Lemberg
Captain January by Laura E. Richards
How to Make Big Bucks from Big Blogs by Brandon Colker

I didn’t think I could do it, but I did! Hooray! Now for some stats

Books read: 7 + 1 DNF
Pages Read: 1135
Average pages per day: 163
5 stars: 3
4 stars: 3
3 stars: 1
2 stars: 0
1 stars: 0
DNF: 1



Overall a fantastic Readathon experience here. How did you do? Which book that you read was your favorite?

Kindergarten History


For history in our kindergarten year I have chosen to use The Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times by Susan Wise Bauer. I have purchased the textbook to read from as well as the activity book.

This seemed like a very gentle way to introduce my three and half year old to some history concepts. I don’t expect her to remember much of what we learn at this point, but am really just looking to get her acquainted with history in general. I love the idea of a read aloud and I plan to simply use the coloring pages from the activity book this year. When we go through this book set again after completing the full 4 volume cycle once she will be more than ready to jump in to the more complicated and fun activities.

We will be reading a portion of the book each week and coloring the corresponding coloring page. We will also talk about what we are reading and trying to help her understand that these are real events that took place and not just a story like her picture books usually are.

Have you tried S

July Reading Wrap up

In July I finished 13 books. I also started reading 15 new books. That brings my total books finished this year up to 79 and the number of books I’m in the middle of to 20.

The books I finished in July are:

  1. Out of Focus by LA Witt ✰4✰
  2. Hiatus by LA Witt ✰4✰
  3. Meik & Sebastian by Quin Perin ✰3✰
  4. Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor ✰2✰
  5. Words My Soul Whispers to Me by Crystal Leevy ✰3✰
  6. ADHD & Me by Blake E S Taylor ✰3✰
  7. Potty Training Girls the Easy Way by Caroline Fertleman ✰4✰
  8. Inner City by Scott Horton Taylor ✰4✰
  9. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert ✰4✰
  10. Empowered: Agent by Dale Ivan Smith ✰4✰
  11. You Are Dead (Please Sign Here) by Andrew Stanek ✰3✰
  12. Forever Breathless by Shirley Spain ✰4✰
  13. Love & Magic by John Hanlon ✰5✰

My favorite book of the month was Love & Magic by John Hanlon. This was the first book I read for Booktubeathon and the only book i gave 5 stars this month. It is a collection of short stories and each have a little magic in them. All four left me with my mouth hanging open after a twist at the end. I enjoyed it immensely.

My biggest surprise of the month was the same book. I purchased this book on Amazon to fill an order to free shipping level and paid only 69 cents for it. I have to say I was not expecting much, but it was great!

Currently I’m smack dab in the middle of Booktubeathon. An update with the rest of the books I read for booktubeathon will be posted on Tuesday August 7th. Good luck with the rest of your reading challenges!

What was your favorite read of July?

July Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

NaNoWriMo is the shortened form of National Novel Writing Month. It is an event that takes place in November each year where writers from all over the world try to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. I’ve participated every year, with varying levels of success, since 2005. I’ve ‘won’ NaNoWriMo twice, in 2010 and 2012.

Camp NaNoWriMo is held in April and July each year and is far more flexible with your goal. I’ve participated, but never succeeded, each time the event was held since May 2011.

For Camp NaNoWriMo your goal can be set in words, hours, minutes, lines, or pages.

I was going to skip even attempting Camp NaNoWriMo this time because life has been so hectic lately. However, during the last day or two of June I decided I would just give it a try anyway.

I thought it would be a fun way to motivate me to keep up with my blog. I post three times a week and was hoping to make it more of a priority again instead getting pushed to the backseat in favor of all the things I’m ‘supposed’ to do.

The goal category that I found to fit the best was pages. I was going to take it easy on myself and try to write 15 posts this month, but decided it wasn’t really a challenge if I didn’t push myself a little. So I was going to set my goal to write 20 pages/posts. The lowest the goal tracker will let you choose for pages though is 30.

So I set out to write 30 blog posts in the month of July. Obviously all of them won’t be posted in July. My Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday posting schedule calls for 13 posts a month usually. So some things that aren’t time sensitive were written and saved for later.

To write 30 blog posts though I would need 30 ideas. I would need to take, crop, and upload any pictures for those 30 posts. I would need to write and edit the text for those 30 posts. It was both easier and harder than I expected. It was a fun boot camp of sorts to help me make my blog a priority in my life again.

I did manage to succeed. Hooray! I won Camp NaNoWriMo!

I finished writing my 30th post on July 28th. I wrote a total of 14,846 words. It was a huge boost to my writing confidence. I haven’t won a NaNoWriMo  of any sort since 2012. Now what? Time to start plotting an actual novel for November I guess. Only 3 months to go!

Did you succeed at your Camp NaNoWriMo goals? Planning to take on the challenge in November?


Handwriting Choices for Kindergarten


The handwriting resources I’ll be using for my kindergartner are these four books. We will spend the bulk of the year with three books from Handwriting Without Tears. We will begin with My First School Book, followed by Kick Start Kindergarten, and then Letters and Numbers for Me. She will also be doing some dedicated work on writing her full name, address, and phone number throughout the year.

I’m not sure how much we will make it through. We may only make it through one book over the whole year or she may finish all three and be ready for more. If she needs more I have on hand the Kindergarten level of Smart Alec Reading Readiness. This book is largely just tracing, and then writing on her own, words and sentences.

It looks like a lot of work and a lot of pages for one kindergartner, but I am very much an over prepared homeschool parent. I would rather have more work than she will get through then run out of things for her to progress in when she is still eager to keep going with her learning.

Even with all four books and a day a week to work on her personal information she is doing one to two pages a day from one of these books. Late in the year that means tracing and writing two words and one two line sentence. I am confident she can handle that.

How will you be covering handwriting this year?