Monthly roundup

Monthly Roundup: June 2019

Once again, a month is ending, and I’m sitting here going, “Holy crap, where did it go???”

No big surprise. I was sick for so long that quite a few months blew right past me. Thankfully, I’m feeling MUCH better lately, and because of that, my reading time has definitely gone down, as I’ve been busy playing catch-up with all the many things I wasn’t able to do when I was sick or taking care of my sick kiddo. And there’s a LOT of it, but that’s okay. Everything in good time. 🙂

We had a nasty start to the summer, weather-wise. Rain, rain, more rain, and weirdly chilly temperatures- up until about 9 days ago, I still wore a cardigan when I went out to do the grocery shopping. And just like that, the weather turned this week and we now need the air conditioner on, because the temps have gotten into the low 90’s. Make up your mind, Midwestern weather!!!

But let’s get down to the more important business at hand: BOOKS.

Books I Read in June 2019

  1. American Prison: An Undercover Reporter’s Journey Into the Business of Punishment- Shane Bauer

2. Big Rock- Lauren Blakely

3. Second Chances- Lauren Dane

4. The Idea of You- Robinne Lee

5. The Solace of Water- Elizabeth Byler Younts

6. Living More With Less- Doris Janzen Longacre

7. Mandy- Julie Andrews Edwards

8. Muslim Girl: A Coming-of-Age Story- Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

9. Tikka Chance on Me- Suleikha Snyder

10. Stalking the Divine: Contemplating Faith With the Poor Clares- Kristin Ohlson

11. Raising the Griffin- Melissa Wyatt

12. On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Life- Rupinder Gill

13. Ramona Forever- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

14. How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids- Jancee Dunn (no review)

15. The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Just Trying to Fit In- Ayser Salman

16. Flames of Glory- Patricia Matthews (review to come)

17. Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life- Amber Scorah (review to come)

I figured my reading would slow down once summer picked up, and sure enough, this is my slowest month of the year so far. Still not bad, but that’s what happens when you’re finally able to crawl off the couch and start hosing down the house and working on projects you’ve been putting off for months due to being sick. Not necessarily a bad thing, though. 🙂 Eight fiction, nine non-fiction; that’s more non-fiction than I expected, especially given that I end up reading more fluffy stuff when I’m feeling crummy.

Reading Challenge Update

I’m not currently participating in any reading challenges. It’s a reading free-for-all!

State of the Goodreads TBR

I’m adding this as a new category here this month in order to be better accountable for my reading!

Goodreads is where I keep my TBR list; it’s so convenient to be able to hit that want-to-read button. Currently, my Goodreads TBR list stands at 81 books. It seems impossible to get it below 80; the second it gets close, all the other book bloggers conspire against me and start posting amazing reviews and I’m all, “Oooooooh…”

Books I Acquired in June 2019

Slow month for buying books, but I’m okay with that, as I also need to focus on reading things from my own shelves. I did, however, win a copy of If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann, from a blog tour (and dang it, I seem to have deleted the email that reminded me which blog it was! If it was yours, let me know in the comments and I’ll give you credit and link back to you. Thank you!), so that was awesome! I love the cover.

Bookish Things I Did In June 2019

Would you believe not much? I had a scheduling conflict with the library book club, so that was out. There was a used book sale, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured I didn’t really need to go. I already have a zillion books on my own shelves that I desperately need to read, so I saved money, saved gas, saved wear and tear on the car and the environment, and I stayed home. I did grab my son and his best friend and make them walk to the library with me one night, though. It’s about a 3 mile walk, round trip, so that was good exercise for all of us, plus both the boys checked out books (my son’s friend recently got a library card for the first time- he apparently really got into reading The Martian by Andy Weir, to the point where he was excitedly texting my son with updates on what he’d read, which is awesome, and he decided he wanted a library card! It always makes me happy to hear about someone finding a book that makes them enjoy reading. Rock on, Seth!).

I did participate in TheWriteReads’ Ben Galley blog tour, a first for me! If you missed my first chapter review of Bloodrush, check that out. 🙂

I’ll miss the library book group discussion in July as well, since we’ll be out of town. I’m halfway through my fourth sheet of ten books for the summer reading program (you can only fill out five!), so hopefully I’ll finish this next month. Must find more time to read!!!

Current Podcast Love

I’m still digging Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. This past month, I’ve enjoyed interviews with Thien-Kim Lam from Bawdy Bookworms, Alisha Rai, Bea & Leah Koch of The Ripped Bodice, Beverly Jenkins, Jennifer Lohmann of NoveList (check your library website for access!), and two absolutely hysterical live shows recorded at the Romantic Times convention. There’s always something fascinating in this podcast; three of the authors I read this month came from suggestions mentioned in one or several episodes. (It’s a TBR killer, for sure!)

Real Life Stuff

Busy, busy month. In the beginning of the month, I was still in recovery from the sinus infection that wouldn’t die (I ended up needing two rounds of antibiotics to finally send it packing; I’ve still got the accompanying cough), and then I had an easily-fixable-but-still-painful issue with my left ear the next week! I’m just going to pack up and move into my doctor’s office; it would make life a lot simpler… Fortunately, we’re all on the mend right now. I’ve gotten a little bit of energy back and have done a few projects around the house that I’ve been putting off due to feeling like garbage, so that’s a start. I’ve got two blog posts to write up yet that I missed out on when I was sick, so to the people to whom I owe posts, they’re coming!!!

My daughter had her pre-kindergarten eye exam and we found out that she’ll need glasses to correct the astigmatism in her left eye. We had to visit a different optometrist to get her fitted with properly-fitting frames, since her head, face, and nose are so narrow, but they’re in and we’ll be picking them up this morning!

My son was away from home for over a week, attending both his Madrigal retreat and then getting dropped off at a week-long summer music program at a university downstate. He celebrated his birthday (17!!!) while at the Madrigal retreat, and the concert his group put on when my mother and I picked him up from the music program was beyond phenomenal. One of the kids who had a solo in one song is apparently going to be on America’s Got Talent, from what my son said. My son seems to have learned a lot from the session, and I’m so thrilled that he had the opportunity to go (I’m also happy he’s home, I missed him!).

July’s going to be another busy month. We usually attend the 4th of July parade in my sister’s town, and at the end of the second week, the kids and I are traveling with my mom to Branson, Missouri for a week. We usually go somewhere with her every summer, and Branson is a new destination for us. My mom loves to get out and explore new places, so this will be a fun trip. That will also mark the cut-off point for my daughter: no more naps! She still naps in the afternoon most days, mainly because she’s often up before 6 am and we all need a nap after that! But with full-day kindergarten coming up, she’s got to learn how to function without a nap, so we’ll have a month to adjust before she’s off to school.

And that’s it for June! How did you do this past month???

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday June 5, 2019

Good morning/afternoon/evening, readers! I hope you’re having a fabulous day. Would you look at that- it’s Wednesday again, so that means it’s time for another WWW Wednesday! (Again? Wasn’t it just Wednesday???)

WWW Wednesday is a superfun bookish meme hosted by the lovely Sam of Taking on a World of Words (hi Sam! Thanks for hosting!). It’s all about answering three VERY important book-related questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Are you ready? Let’s play!

What are you currently reading?

So, I’m still sick. I woke up yesterday feeling like I’d been run over by a bus, with pain still raging in the left side of my face, head, and jaw (and coughing! I’m still coughing!). Off to the doctor we went, and I came home with a prescription for stronger antibiotics. So far, they *seem* to be working out better (*crosses fingers*); I’m not as bad off this morning as I was yesterday. All that is to say that last night, I was half-dead and wanted to throw myself in bed and read something that I didn’t have to work for, that I could just lie there, try not to die, and get lost in the story. Second Chances by Lauren Dane, the story of a woman who returns to her hometown after years away, fit that bill. I read through 30-some percent of it and then crashed, but I’m enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

I couldn’t resist Big Rock by Lauren Blakely; any book that can make such innuendos with both the cover and the title (and the font!) gets my inner twelve-year-old snort-laughing.

I also finished American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer. This was utterly amazing, infuriating, and eye-opening. It’s the kind of book that makes you need to take a breather every once in a while, because some of the information in there is just so brutal and intense. I cannot recommend this highly enough, especially if you live in the US.

What do you think you’ll read next?

So, usually I have a whole stack of books lined up, just waiting for me. This illness has seriously kicked my butt, and I’m plum worn out. I have no stack other than the books on my own shelves (and we all know those don’t count, right?). I’m really hoping to be back to my normal self in the next few days and get back to my regular reading. After making a stop at the grocery store today, my daughter and I are going to hit up the library in a nearby town; they’ve got a few books from my TBR list (whether they’re in stock remains to be seen), including The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Younts, Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and The Idea of You by Robinne Lee. So hopefully one of those will be next on the list, and hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon!

And that’s it for this week’s WWW Wednesday! What are you reading this week???

Monthly roundup

Monthly Roundup: May 2019

Another glorious month of reading is in the books! (Heh. Pun intended.) These monthly roundup posts are probably my favorite kinds of posts to pull together. Seeing everything I read throughout the past month, reflecting on the things I’ve learned…it feels kind of cool, you know?

This hasn’t been the easiest month. My daughter was sick, AGAIN. Two doctor appointments later, she was finally diagnosed with a sinus infection…and then I got sick (which is what happens when you spend an entire week mopping up your kid’s snot and catching her coughed-so-hard-she-puked vomit in your bare hands). It was a pretty awful three-day weekend over Memorial Day (yes, we have urgent care, but it’s still $100 bucks just to walk in the door, but suffering and misery for three days until you can see the regular doctor means only a $25 copay! Yay, American healthcare…). I was able to get into the doctor Tuesday morning; she peered into my ears and up my nose and threw a crapload of antibiotics at me, because my ears and sinuses are a hot mess. I’m still experiencing some discomfort, but it’s not as fierce as it was in the beginning, thank goodness.

Fortunately, this was a pretty great month for reading, so let’s get down to the business of what I read this month, shall we?

Books I Read in May 2019

1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie- Alan Bradley

2. Ramona the Brave- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

3. Sold on a Monday- Kristina McMorris

4. The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster- Sarah Krasnostein

5. Ramona and Her Father- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

6. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Love, Identity & So Much More- Janet Mock

7. Welcome to Temptation- Jennifer Crusie

8. Love and Other Words- Christina Lauren

9. Ramona and Her Mother- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

10. Everything On It- Shel Silverstein (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

11. Yes Please- Amy Poehler

12. Going Doolally: An honest tale of anxiety and motherhood- Katie Pickworth

13. Just the Way You Are- Ann Roth

14. In Other Words- Jhumpa Lahiri, translated by Ann Goldstein

15. Landline- Rainbow Rowell

16. All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir- Nicole Chung

17. Ramona Quimby, Age 8- Beverly Cleary (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

18. Voices from Chernobyl: An Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster- Svetlana Alexievich

19. History of Wolves- Emily Fridlund

20. Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls #1)- Dahlia Adler

21. Breaking Free: How I Escaped My Father– Warren Jeffs– Polygamy, and the FLDS Cult- Rachel Jeffs

22. Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels- Sarah Wendell

23. This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America- Morgan Jerkins (no review due to illness)

24. What the Witch Left- Ruth Chew (no review, read out loud to my daughter)

25. The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam- G. Willow Wilson (no review due to illness)

26. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic- Alison Bechdel (no review due to illness)

27. The Best We Could Do- Thi Bui (no review due to illness)

Doing nothing but hanging out at home and being sick gives you a lot of time to read…

Book Challenges Update

This is the month I finished both the reading challenges I took up at the beginning of the year! Having never finished a challenge in the past, this feels like a big deal for me. 🙂

First off, I finished up the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge. Here’s my completed task list!

For a book in the backlist of a favorite author, I read Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie; for my third book of the year by the same author, I read Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren; and for a book I chose for the cover, I read Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris. Voilà! First completed challenge. 🙂

And then, because I have to get everything done as fast as possible in order to prevent my anxiety from flaring because there are THINGS LEFT UNDONE, I also completed Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge! Here’s what that list looks like:

Yay me!!! I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to stick with these tasks until completion. I’ve discovered a ton of new authors, learned some fascinating and disturbing things, opened my mind to new ways of thinking, visited far away places in distance and time, read new-to-me formats… I started the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge because I wanted to see if I could even complete a challenge at all, and I picked up the Read Harder Challenge because I felt like it would help me grow as a reader. It definitely did, and I’m planning on taking up this challenge in the future as well.

And now I’m completely challengeless! What’s a girl to do? Well, I’ve got 97 books on my Goodreads TBR (it WAS down to 50, thank you SO much, fellow book bloggers, for constantly posting about interesting books that I just HAVE to read… :D), so I’m going to focus on plowing through that for a bit. I’ve got so many books on there I’m looking forward to!

Books I Acquired in May 2019

There was this book haul:

from that used book sale, which was unbelievably magic because it was the place where I found the book I’d been looking for since I was TWELVE YEARS OLD. I still can’t get over that, and I’m soooooooooo looking forward to reading that book (which I’m entirely sure is going to be all kinds of early 1980’s romance problematic) as soon as I finish with my current stack. This is going to be FUN.

And then I was lucky enough to win The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr from Always With a Book! Kristin always posts such interesting content and hosts fantastic giveaways; Robyn Carr has gotten a lot of mentions on the podcast I’m listening to lately, so I’m really looking forward to reading this. Thanks, Kristin!

Bookish Things I Did in May 2019

The aforementioned book sale was the absolute highlight of my month! I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being happy I found that book and can stop wondering what the heck it is! Once I read down what my library has of my TBR stash, I’ll start reading the books I got from that sale while I wait for interlibrary loans to come in. 🙂

I wasn’t able to make this month’s library book discussion group (my son had a choir concert that night), but I did go in on the first day and sign up for the adult summer reading program! There’s not a ton I want in regards to prizes (I’m putting all my tickets in for the Kindle Fire, but I assume most everyone else will be as well, so I’m not holding my breath), but I’m thrilled just to participate and help bump the library’s numbers up. Each sheet has ten spaces to fill in; after that, you can pick up a new sheet, up to five sheets. I figure I’ll get pretty close, if not finish it; I’ve already turned in two sheets…

My blog got a fantastic shout-out on Twitter and Facebook from Eileen Truax, author of How Does It Feel to Be Unwanted?: Stories of Resistance and Resilience from Mexicans Living in the United States. This was such a powerful book, and I always appreciate having my blog and reviews noticed. Thanks, Ms. Truax! 🙂

Current Podcast Love

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is fabulous!!! I’ve added a buttload of books to my TBR and learned a whole lot from the amazing variety of guests they have on- authors, bloggers (the episode with Kristy, aka Caffeinated Fae, talking about the #copypastecris scandal is so interesting!), podcasters, publishing industry people, there’s really something here for everyone. If you’re a writer (especially of but not limited to romance), there’s also a ton of great advice to be found in this podcast (which I’m mentally squirreling away for when my daughter goes to kindergarten and I have quiet time once again!). I’m SO enjoying every second of listening to this podcast.

Real Life Stuff

Again, not the greatest of months. We *just* had the pukes mid-April, and then my daughter started coughing the day of her birthday party, April 28. The cough lingered for a few weeks…and then came the snot. Rivers and rivers of it, and then a nasty fever that wouldn’t die. We had a few more episodes of puking (snot and coughing, they’re not great together), and finally, on her second doctor trip, they diagnosed a sinus infection. I was already coughing with a sore throat then, but eight days later, I was back in the office, feeling as though someone had kicked me in the face. Antibiotics for everyone! Great googly-moogly, we need a healthier month around here.

My daughter finished preschool!!! I don’t often post photos of her online, but this is too cute not to. First day of preschool:

And the last day (she still had a mega-runny nose here, but had been on meds long enough that I felt okay with her attending the hour-long goodbye party):

She’s changed SO MUCH these past two years! She won the Sweetheart Award, for being sweet and kind and polite to everyone at school (which thrills me and makes me mildly irritated that they’re getting such a different version of my child than the one I get! :D). Onward to kindergarten in August! 🙂

My son finished up his junior year; he’ll be attending some choir-related camps in June, which will include being gone for his birthday, which is a bummer for me, but I understand. He made Madrigals for his choir next year, which is a HUGE deal, and I’m so proud of him (and can’t wait to see him dressed up in Madrigal clothing).

Coming up in June, my son will turn 17 (NOT ACTUALLY POSSIBLE), and he’ll do one and possibly two choir camps. I’ll have another book sale put on by the same people who did the last magical book sale, so who knows what I’ll find there???

My daughter and I are going to be working on her reading this summer. She can read Level 1 books at a slow pace (although she does a lot of guessing. She knows how to sound things out, but she’d rather take what she thinks is the faster route), so my goal is to just keep swimming with her and increase her fluency and fluidity. She’s not a huge fan of the process, but she’s super excited having DONE the reading, and she does enjoy a good story, so hopefully we’ll start her off on the right foot in kindergarten. 🙂

And that’s it! How was your May? Hopefully much healthier than mine!!!

Happy reading in June! 🙂

reading life

Catching my breath…

It’s been a rough few weeks around these parts. My daughter has basically been sick in some form or another since the end of March, and my body finally gave up the fight last week and succumbed to the current form of crud that she’s suffering, leaving me with a combo ear/sinus infection, which made me feel like I’ve been kicked in the face. After a few days on antibiotics, it’s improving, but I still have some face/head pain and a cough, and I’m still worn the heck out.

That’s not to say that I’m not reading- being sick has actually been pretty good for reading. But I’m like four reviews behind, and I have a review book I need to get a post up for, plus another post for someone else, and that’s not counting the 238423794832 things I do and have to do in my daily life (I’ll be mowing the lawn again this weekend, for example, and cleaning the entire house because we have family coming over for lunch one of the days).

So I’m going to skip writing reviews for those four books (library books that I’ve read on my own, not review books. I would never skip out on those!) and hopefully work on those other two posts this weekend instead. Next week is a little more calm, the kids are done with school for the summer, and there should be less running around for me, so things will be a little more relaxed (in theory!), and I’ll start up writing reviews for what I read then.

We all need to throw in the towel sometimes. I just need to pause, catch my breath a little (in between the coughing fits, of course), and then get back on track.

What do you do when you get overwhelmed with life? How do you keep your blogging on track? Do you review every single book you read, or do you skip some here and there?

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday May 22, 2019

It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means! *drumroll* It’s WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Hello, Sam!

WWW Wednesday is a super fun meme, all about answering three bookish questions.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

(I always read these in the same tone of voice as “What is airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” Just me?)

Let’s get started!

What are you currently reading?

I knew within mere seconds of hearing Dahlia Adler’s interview on an episode of Smart Bitches, Trashy Podcast, that I wanted to read her books. She’s fun and funny and smart and bubbly and outgoing, and I actually sat up from lying down under the covers to put her books on my TBR list (which is no small deal, because sleep is something I take very, very seriously!). Behind the Scenes is one of those books, and I checked out an ebook from my library last night. I didn’t get much time to read it, but what I have read, I love so far!

What did you recently finish reading?

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (review to come; I’m behind on reviews and all things blogging due to being sick). This was…I’m not quite sure. I didn’t care for the structure or the narrator’s voice much, and the whole thing left me feeling like I’m not quite smart enough to understand this book. It didn’t quite work for me, but it was on the list for the Man Booker Prize a few years back, so it obviously worked for others!

What do you think you’ll read next?

My daughter and I stopped at the library after groceries (because that’s obviously what’s most important when you’re sick!!!) and I grabbed the stack above, straight off my TBR. I’m super, super excited about reading all of them, but I’m going to start off with Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell. I fall asleep every night with Ms. Wendell’s voice in my ear as I’m listening to Smart Bitches, Trashy Podcast, and I adored her Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels when I read it years ago, so now is definitely the time to pick this book up.

And that’s it for this week! Hopefully I’ll get a crapload of time to read and enjoy all of these books, because I’ve got some good ones coming up!

What are you reading this week???

Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday April 3, 2019

ARGH! It’s WWW Wednesday and I forgot earlier.

That sometimes happens when your day starts at 3:42 am. *yawn* My back was hurting too much to sleep. That happens…far too often, unfortunately, but such is life.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Taking on a World of Words.

The three W’s are as follows:

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Let’s get this show on the road!


What are you currently reading?

I haven’t read Neil Gaiman since reading Coraline with my son back in like 2007 or 2008, and I haven’t read any mythology since…freshman year of high school? (So. much. reading. from Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton.) I’ve always wanted to learn more about Norse mythology, and Gaiman’s retellings are making it far more accessible than anything I’ve tried before.


What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey is up next and I’m SO excited about reading this!!!! Check out the premise of this book:

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

Is that not completely nuts?!?!?? I heard about this on a back episode of All the Books a few weeks ago and was floored (plus it counts as an alternative history for Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge, so YAY!). I can’t WAIT to read this!!!

What are you reading this week???

Uncategorized

Blogger Recognition Award

Hurray! I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by the awesome Surina over at Book Reviews by the Bloggisters. Thank you so much, Surina! Her blog is gorgeous and always has awesome reviews and advice for bloggers (beware, though, your TBR will explode in the best kind of way after visiting her!). Give her a follow, because she’s fabulous!

I saw she had included me in her list of nominees on Saturday and couldn’t get to this until just now (and as it is, I had to break up writing this post into several parts because LIFE and all these people that live with me needing stuff like rides to school and work and for someone to do the grocery shopping. Seriously, don’t they understand that there are BOOKS TO READ???). Here’s the rules of this award:

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

*HOW IT ALL BEGAN*

Years ago, I had another book blog and loved it, but once I went back to school, taking classes, keeping up with housework and family stuff, trying to tackle my own writing, AND reading and blogging about it? Yeah, it all got to be too much, and I ended up shutting the blog down.

So, flash back to a little over two years ago. Picture me, staring at my Goodreads Want-to-Read list in utter horror, because it had 332 books on it (the vast majority nonfiction), some of which had been sitting there for…um…over ten years? I sat there, wtf’ing at myself and realizing that those books weren’t doing me any good if I wasn’t actually reading them, and thus began the journey to read that list down. I read almost 200 books off of it, then cleaned a bunch off that were out of date or that I didn’t actually want to read anymore, and somewhere along the way, towards the end of those 200 books, I thought, “I’ve read some seriously amazing stuff these past two years…Why don’t I start blogging about it again?” And after a few months of blogging over at Blogger, I switched to WordPress, and voila! Here I am.

*ADVICE TO NEW BLOGGERS*

Oh jeez. I’m still pretty new, so I might not have any business giving people advice, but first off, read what you enjoy. I have a serious love for nonfiction, so I blog a lot about that and I can’t ever see that changing. But be open to new genres and new ideas about what to read as well. I’ve already read a few books solely because other bloggers have raved about them, and I’ve added probably twenty or so novels to my TBR list (which I’ll read after I tackle these challenges I’m working on. I’ll NEVER let my TBR list get to 332 books ever again…unless all you book bloggers keep blogging about amazing books, and then it might!).

And secondly, get involved with the book blogging community here and on Twitter! There are so many fabulous book bloggers out there and they’re great people. They share advice about blogging (which has helped me SO much), opinions on books, their lives and hearts and souls…I’m so grateful to have found all of you, because it’s really added a lot of joy to my days!

*TAG OTHER BLOGGERS*

Don’t feel obligated to do this if you don’t want to or don’t have time, just know that I think you and your blog are awesome! Go check them out. 🙂

1. Susan @ Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

2. Breathe to Read

3. Stacey @ Unruly Reader

4. Heather @ Based on a True Story

5. Kristin @ Always With a Book

6. Rita @ Bookish Rita

7. Kat @ Books Kat Likes

8. Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf

9. Amber @ Du Livre

10. Blair @ Feed the Crime

11. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

12. Sam @ Fictionally Sam

13. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived In a Library

14. Chasity @ Ity Reads Books

15. Christine @ Lady Gets Lit

I hope you all have a fabulously book-filled day! Thanks for stopping by, and if you got this far, enjoy this random picture of a baby goat that I took this past summer.

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20 Questions

Today, we’re going to play 20 Questions, which I borrowed from Blair over at Feed the Crime (her answers are here). The cat in the photo is Piglet; he’s one of my two ridiculously patient cats who put up with my daughter’s insane love of dress-up.

Let’s begin!

How do you feel about cliff-hangers?

If they’re at the end of a chapter, cool. If they’re at the end of the book, ALL OF THE SCREAMS.

Hardback or paperback?

If it comes from the library, I prefer hardback, but if I’m buying, I prefer the bigger-sized paperbacks. The smaller ones, like category romance-sized paperbacks, I have a hard time holding open sometimes, but the bigger ones are easier.

Favourite Book?

Oh JEEZ. You can’t ask a book blogger THAT. SO many books, but Till the Stars Fall by Kathleen Gilles Seidel and Back Home by Michelle Magorian top the list.

Least Favourite Book?

Oof. I really didn’t like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, nor did I enjoy A Passage to India by E.M. Forster. (Not even linking them, that’s how grumpy they made me.)

Love Triangle… yes or no?

That’s a no from me, dawg. I find them kind of icky.

The most recent book you couldn’t finish?

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer. Right off, the dialogue seemed forced and unnatural to me, and within a few pages, I noped out and moved on to the next book.

A book you’re currently reading?

I’m going to start this really neat little book called Make Do and Mend: Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations (Reproductions of Official Second World War Instruction Leaflets), foreword by Jill Norman. I try to be a good steward of my resources, so this will help, plus I’m fascinated by wartime rationing. After that, it’s The Cider House Rules by John Irving.

The last book you recommended to someone?

Ooh, I’m not actually sure about this!

Oldest book you’ve read (based on publication date)?

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (which is a seriously weird story), published in 1831.

Newest book you’ve read (based on publication date)? 

Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married by Abby Ellin, which was published in January of 2019.

Favourite author?

Oh gosh. Christina Lauren, Diane Chamberlain, Jennifer Weiner, Jennifer Crusie, Rainbow Rowell, Stephen King, Emily Giffin, James Michener, Ted Conover, Susane Colasanti, Chris Crutcher, Jon Krakauer, and I’m gonna stop there, because otherwise I’ll be here all day.

Buying books or borrowing them?

I think that answer’s obvious. If I’m not home and I’m not running errands like groceries or driving the kids somewhere, I’m probably at the library. (I’m seriously there an embarrassing amount.)

A book you dislike that everyone else loves?

I really wasn’t a fan of The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, which has almost four stars, so I think that probably counts.

Bookmarks or dog-ears? 

Bookmarks. My library has stacks of them for patrons to grab, so I always have a few floating around the house.

A book you can reread over and over?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald are books that I seem to take away new things each time I read them (which I do, every now and then).

Can you read while listening to music?

Ugh. No. I can read with the TV on and with my daughter playing and running around, but music makes me lose focus.

Multiple POVs or one POV ?

The more, the merrier. I love dual/multiple narratives.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days on average?

Depends on what I’ve got going on. On the weekends, my husband and daughter do a lot of projects together, which frees me up to read and I can plow through quite a few books during that time. During the week, I read when I can, which usually means while my daughter watches TV or naps, when I’m waiting in the car to pick my husband or daughter up, etc. Little bits of stolen reading time here and there.

Who do I want to tag?

If you want to do this tag! You’re it. 🙂

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Tag: 30 Interesting Questions

It’s a chilly, breezy Saturday in the neighborhood (as evidenced by the cozy little nap my Reba is taking on MY pillow; don’t you wish you could sleep that soundly?), and I’m not much feeling like venturing out, so today I’m borrowing a tag from Sara over at The Bibliophagist (which is a seriously amazing name for a blog!). Here we go!

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

My husband usually calls me Steph or babe; in my everyday life, I generally prefer Stephanie.

2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

Hoooooo boy, I have ZERO art skills. I once drew a horse that my husband thought was supposed to be a dog, and now my horsedog is the stuff of family legends. I don’t doodle all that often because my doodles are worse than stick figures.

3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I’ve spent the better part of my life struggling to fall asleep, but it’s a lot better these days. Listening to podcasts helps put me out (current listen: Book Riot’s All the Books with Liberty and Rebecca). If I truly can’t fall asleep, I get up and read downstairs for a bit.

4. Do people consider you to be talkative or quiet?

Every report card I ever got in school included some version of the phrase, “Stephanie is so quiet!”

5. What makes you cry?

Holy crap, just about everything. My family, books, TV, my cats, stress, frustration, anger, happiness. I’m a crier by nature.

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

People making more work for other people. Leaving messes, not putting stuff away, asking other people to do things that they could easily do themselves. I worked in retail for years and the people who would treat the employees like their own personal maids and personal shoppers drove. me. NUTS.

7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Usually only when I’m getting ready or before I go out.

8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I believed for YEARS that there was a bear loose in our house at night, because I could hear it snarling and growling.

Turns it out was just my father snoring.

9. What is the guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Norwegian pop music! I could listen to Bare Min by Morgan Sulele forever- it’s been my ringtone for four years now. His Du Er Så Deilig is super happy-sounding as well. Always puts me in a good mood. 🙂 I have some serious Norway-love going on here!

10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

That would be my mom. She’s always bringing us things, doing nice things for other people simply because she’s kind. She’s good people.

11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?

An actual physical newspaper? Only rarely. My daughter was the kind of toddler who would’ve pulled it apart and eaten the entire thing (I’m not actually joking here…), so we got away from reading newspapers. Occasionally, my mom will bring up a copy of my hometown newspaper for me to read, which I always appreciate.

12. Which animal scares you the most?

I’m like Indiana Jones; I. HATE. SNAKES.

13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage with it?

RUN AWAY!

14. What is the most recent compliment you’ve received?

My dad told me he was proud of me yesterday for something I’ve done, and that felt pretty good to hear. 🙂

15. What question are you tired of hearing?

In no particular order: “Why?” “What’s for dinner?” “Where’s my/Have you seen my ____?” “Can you drive me to ____?” “Can you get me ____?” The life of a stay-at-home mom!

16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

Back in my meat-eating days, my then-boyfriend (now husband!) and I traveled to Paris, where he proposed at the top of the Eiffel Tower (swoooooooooon!), and then we took the train to visit his family in Belgium for Christmas. Someone had asked what they were serving for dinner, and one of the items the person responding mentioned was sanglier. I blinked and thought, ‘Wait, isn’t that wild boar?’

It was indeed wild boar, and it was what we had for dinner. 🙂

17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?

I’m definitely more in the ‘lots of acquaintances’ group these days, and not many close friends either. I don’t get out much, mostly because I’m always ferrying husband and kids where they need to go!

18. Do you have a catchphrase?

It….probably involves a few swearwords, so I’ll just say yes. 😀

19. What’s your all-time favourite town or city? Why?

Hm. I have places I’ve loved being. Paris. Raleigh, NC. Traverse City, MI. Mystic, CT. I don’t know if any of them are an all-time favorite, but I’ve enjoyed them all.

20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

Stephanie has always sounded like the name of someone who’s a whole lot more outgoing and extroverted than me! I’ve always figured I should have a quieter name, like Beth. (Of course, she didn’t end up so well in Little Women, soooo…)

21. When was the last time you lied?

I try not to lie, but if I do, it’s usually a lie to mask my anxiety, like, “Oh, that sounds great, I’d love to come!”, when I’d really love to stay home and read and not be around groups of people!

22. What’s something that amazes you?

Honestly? People that live their lives without anxiety. Like, you just wake up every morning and…function? You don’t worry about every little thing? That seriously amazes me, because I have a highlight reel of everything that could possibly go wrong at any given moment running in my head at all times. To not have that must be so fantastic.

23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?

Space scares the crap out of me (SO much potential for something to go wrong!), so I’d happily stay home and cure something terrible.

24. What is your favourite amateur activity?

I’m not entirely certain what this question means, but I’ll agree with Sara, I enjoy baking, although my creations never look as nice as the ones in the cookbooks or on the blogs. They taste just fine, though, and that’s what counts.

25. What was your first thought when you got up this morning?

It’s usually some form of, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY???” Weekday alarm goes off at 5:50 am, and my daughter usually wakes us up around 6:30 am on the weekends. I’m a very tired person.

26. What is your favourite song (at least at the moment)?

Morgan Sulele’s Andre Enn Meg charmed me and made me laugh the other day (it’s one of those songs that when I discovered it, I was cracking up and wanted to share it with everyone I know…but none of my friends or family speak Norwegian, so no one would appreciate it in the same way!).

27. List someone you know and describe them in five words.

My husband is hardworking, intelligent, determined, trustworthy, and awesome. 🙂

28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?

I would love to sit down with Fred Rogers and listen to how he handled the challenging moments of life. He’s one of my personal heroes and I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read about him.

29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?

I don’t think I resemble anyone at all (other than my dad!), but I’ve had two people tell me I look like Geena Davis, although I’ve never seen that.

30. What do you want me to know?

Books are amazing and life-altering. The Norwegian language is gorgeous and sometimes makes me cry, I find it so beautiful. Beets are disgusting. I hate putting dishes and laundry away. My deepest wish is that someone invents a self-cleaning kitchen and then gives me one immediately.

And that’s it! I’m not going to tag anyone personally, but feel free to steal this, as I love learning about other bloggers. 🙂