Anonymous Bookaholics Book Tag

I haven’t done a bookish tag in for-ev-er. But, since today is Saturday, I am trying to be social, this one felt perfect. When I saw this tag on Caffeinated Fae’s site I knew I wanted to try it myself! And, since I can’t do a tag without going down the rabbit hole I followed the tag to Stephen Writes, My World of Books, Use Your Words, The Bookish Butterfly, and Kristin Kraves Books. Make sure and check them all out!


I think of my books as my friends. I love holding in my hands the possibility of an adventure with this new friend and I never feel lonely or afraid when I have a book with me. Buying books is sanity for me.


I go through seasons with buying books. Sometimes, I will purchase just one new book because it has caught my eye. Occasionally, I splurge and bring home several. I rarely go a solid month without buying one and the more I try to limit myself, the more I buy.


I don’t have a preference. Now that I live in Chicago I can actually walk to an independent bookstore. This is my favorite thing to do and I would like to buy all of my books from them. I’ll admit, I also like to buy online too. I call this retail therapy. What I do is put books onto wish lists and then when I get really really mad at the world I just buy them all. I don’t even review my order. The box comes and it is like a time capsule of all the times I put aside a little something for future-me. Come to think of it, I haven’t done this in quite some time!


I have favorite stores in all the towns I have lived in. Here in Chicago I have two – Unabridged Bookstore (the one walking distance from my new place) and Women and Children First. Both are independent bookstores and I love them both equally.

I also like ordering things from book depository online.


I have! I don’t always because sometimes I just put what I want on my wish list but I have certainly made sure that Penny Reid’s new romantic comedy was on my Kindle as soon as possible.


Nope. I’m lucky that when I ask family for gift cards they give me gift cards. I’m also the first to budget tightly on other things so I always have a little left over for books. I consider myself very lucky.


It is as big as my to-be-read list on Goodreads. But, instead of having a monthly buying limit I have a bookshelf with four shelves. I cannot have more un-read books in my house than I have room on these shelves. Otherwise everything in my house would be made of bookshelves (bed frame, kitchen counters – its all possible according to Pinterest!)


Right before everything shut down for COVID19 I ordered everything on my immediate want list so I don’t have anything. I’m sure I could head over to my TBR and figure out which three I wanted next but those four bookshelves are crammed full of books.

I’m tagging anyone who wants to participate with this tag.

Tell me, please!

What are your book buying habits?


humor · nonfiction · Uncategorized

NonFiction Friday: Quackery by Lydia Kang, MD and Nate Pedersen

This brief history of the worst ways to cure everything is the ideal nonfiction primer on the many ways humans have attempted to extend and enhance their lives through the years. Written by a practicing medical doctor, Lydia Kang, and historian / librarian, Nate Pedersen, the book reads like a duo of friends explaining to you the  various ways science put the cart before the horse and why we should be grateful to have been born late enough to avoid so many of these treatments.


A tour of medicine’s most outlandish misfires, Quackery dives into 35 “treatments”, exploring their various uses and why they thankfully fell out of favour – some more recently than you might think. Looking back in horror and a dash of dark humour, the book provides readers with an illuminating lesson in how medicine is very much an evolving process of trial and error, and how the doctor doesn’t always know bests. from Book Depository.


Add to Goodreads


This book is divided into five different divisions. Elements, Plants and Soil, Tools, Animals, and Mysterious Powers. Each divisions covers both the history and the science behind a variety of techniques or thoughts about certain cures. Interspersed with sarcasm and dark humor, this book’s only downside is the inclination to read whole sections out to family and friends and become that person that just won’t shut up about they book they are reading.

Elements was, by far, my favorite section but that is because I am fascinated by poisons right now. In this section the authors comb through the various uses and reasoning behind using mercury, antimony, arsenic, gold, and radium. It turns out that in the past, being extremely pale but also plump was a difficult ideal to meet naturally. Apparently no one ever tried sitting inside during a pandemic and just eating through your food supply. Arsenic gave you all that and a painful death! I’ll take my lockdown and donuts please.

Plants and Soil were almost as fascinating because this section covers opiates, strychnine, tobacco, cocaine, alcohol, and earth. I knew that alcohol was used medicinally. But I had no idea that strychnine was considered an energy booster that was recommended to athletes. The 1904 winner of the Olympic marathon, Thomas Hicks, was given two strychnine doses and finished the race clearly in the throws of strychnine intoxication. Also of note, drinking water was considered unhealthy for athletes during this time.

This was also the section where I became completely annoying. After all, here is where I learned the origin of the term, “blow smoke up your arse.” Anyone over the age of 65 probably had someone blow tobacco smoke in their ear. It was a commonly recommended treatment for earaches. But, British physicians took it to the next level when they recommended a nice tobacco enema for any drowning victim. There was a whole organization dedicated to this cause! Just picture people walking up and down the banks of the Thames with their enema kits ready to pull someone out and save a life! There is no mention in this book on whether it worked (ever) but this is the fact that I just couldn’t stop taking about. Etymology, history, and science are rolled into renegade lifeguards? Yes, please!

After this section the book covers tools, animals, and mysterious powers. I enjoyed each of these sections in turn but the book had already won my heart. Although, the section on corpse medicine shouldn’t be read while eating…

It seems only fitting that, as I was finishing this book, President Trump was loudly touting the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a promising treatment for COVID. Meanwhile Dr. Fauci, a veteran of outbreaks dating back to the HIV crisis here in America, emphasized a need for methodical clinical testing prior to taking these medicines. I am generally not pleased with our President but I would be more than happy to celebrate his instincts being correct in this situation. However, after reading Quackery, taking a medicine on a hutch smacks of another “worst way” to cure our current crisis.

This book emphasized what I have long held dear – quality testing. I don’t want anecdotal evidence that the King’s touch cures boils. Prove it to me. One of my biggest take aways from the whole book is that it was probably a good thing that so many people couldn’t afford medical treatments for large parts of history. Because, certainly, the radium spa would set you back a pretty penny. And, in a time when blood soaked aprons were the mark of a good doctor and hand washing wasn’t a thing, I don’t know that turning to a professional did anyone much good.

Tell me, please!

If you had to pick, are you more interested in science or history?



Magical Readathon 2020

We could all use a little magic right now couldn’t we? And, I’d like to think if anywhere is safe it would be Hogwarts. I really can’t contain my excitement about this year’s Magical Readathon and, if you find yourself needing a little reading motivation, look no further.

The Magical Readathon is in its third year and is hosting and organized by G at Book Roast. You can find the introductory YouTube Video here, the home site here, and the Magical Readthon site here. Just in case you haven’t already figured it out, G puts a ton of work into this readathon every year and I intend (per my 2020 socializing resolution!) to fully take advantage.

This year, probably in large part because of the COVID19, I am selecting Potioneer. Not only have I been spending an inordinate amount of time in my kitchen brewing up ridiculous meals with whatever I find in my pantry but I, like so many people, feel powerless to help. I’m quite infatuated with the idea of mixing up a potion that will cure this whole virus. Now, the only trick will be waiting until April 1st to dig into these books!


I am thrilled that I was able to find all of my prompts on my own bookshelf!

Arithmancy (Magical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favorite genre)

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon

Care of Magical Creatures (Hippogriffs: creature with a beak on the cover)

Crown of Feathers by Pau Preto

Charms (Lumos Maxima: white cover) Thank goodness for my owl crate exclusive cover!

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Herbology (Mimbulus mimbletonia: Title starts with an M)

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

Potions (Shrinking solution: book under 150 pages)

So, You Want to Be Canadian by Kerry Colburn and Rob Sorensen

Tell me, please!

Are you participating in the Magical Readathon 2020?


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: March 25, 2020

Shelter at home here in Illinois continues. The first few days I really spent far too much time on my phone and computer just checking the news. Finally I set limits on my devices and have found myself reading more and more. I don’t know about the rest of you but it takes a significant amount of self control to keep my mind on my reading. Still, I swore that I would have some progress for this week’s WWW!

My favorite meme was last hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and has found a new home with Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. Don’t forget to check all the other participants. It is the #1 way I keep my TBR overflowing!

The Three Ws are:

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


I’m cracking into Tap! by Rusty E. Frank. I love reading nonfiction, especially during the daytime, and I am intrigued by this book that showcases “the greatest tap dance stars and their stories from 1900-1955.:

I continue listening to Emma every chance I get. But, I am trying to follow directions and keep my distance from people so my dog is only getting bathroom walks and not the longer ones I usually take her on. Perhaps today I will lay on my yoga mat and listen!

I also downloaded The Matchmakers List by Sonya Lalli after participating in 5 On My TBR on Monday. The prompt for this week is RomComs on your TBR and I saw this book and decided to start reading it. Thank goodness my library’s online catalog is still active! If you are interested in participating in this new bookish meme the information is here.

Finally, I pulled A Darker Shade of Magic off of my fabulous physical TBR shelf and started reading it. I am about 40% into it and it is getting really good.


Since I shut off my unfettered access to media I have actually finished reading some books! I loved the second Flavia de Luce, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag even more than the first. I never completely know how to review a series with so many books so I am playing with a new format on this one.

Meanwhile, the second Austenland book Midnight at Austenland by Shannon Hale was even better than the first book and those two I have already reviewed here. If you are looking for a perfectly paced romance book these two are ideal!

I also finished Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang, MD and Nate Pedersen. This book combines dark humor, history, science, and the obscure / ridiculous ways people have tried to extend their lives into one fantastic book. The full review will be up Friday but briefly: it was awesome.


The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George has sat idly on my bookshelf for far too long and the 5 On My TBR has reminded me of its adorable premise.

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives. from Goodreads.

Similarly, The Poison Squad is written by one of my favorite nonfiction author’s, Deborah Blum.

From Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Blum, the dramatic true story of how food was made safe in the United States and the heroes, led by the inimitable Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who fought for change

By the end of nineteenth century, food was dangerous. Lethal, even. “Milk” might contain formaldehyde, most often used to embalm corpses. Decaying meat was preserved with both salicylic acid, a pharmaceutical chemical, and borax, a compound first identified as a cleaning product. This was not by accident; food manufacturers had rushed to embrace the rise of industrial chemistry, and were knowingly selling harmful products. Unchecked by government regulation, basic safety, or even labelling requirements, they put profit before the health of their customers. By some estimates, in New York City alone, thousands of children were killed by “embalmed milk” every year. Citizens–activists, journalists, scientists, and women’s groups–began agitating for change. But even as protective measures were enacted in Europe, American corporations blocked even modest regulations. Then, in 1883, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, a chemistry professor from Purdue University, was named chief chemist of the agriculture department, and the agency began methodically investigating food and drink fraud, even conducting shocking human tests on groups of young men who came to be known as, “The Poison Squad.”

Over the next thirty years, a titanic struggle took place, with the courageous and fascinating Dr. Wiley campaigning indefatigably for food safety and consumer protection. Together with a gallant cast, including the muckraking reporter Upton Sinclair, whose fiction revealed the horrific truth about the Chicago stockyards; Fannie Farmer, then the most famous cookbook author in the country; and Henry J. Heinz, one of the few food producers who actively advocated for pure food, Dr. Wiley changed history. When the landmark 1906 Food and Drug Act was finally passed, it was known across the land, as “Dr. Wiley’s Law.”

Blum brings to life this timeless and hugely satisfying “David and Goliath” tale with righteous verve and style, driving home the moral imperative of confronting corporate greed and government corruption with a bracing clarity, which speaks resoundingly to the enormous social and political challenges we face today. from Goodreads.

Tell me, please!

Everyone okay out there? And, what’s on your WWW?



Austenland and Midnight at Austenland by Shannon Hale

Years ago I stumbled across a movie entitled Austenland starring Keri Russel, JJ Field, and Jennifer Coolidge. I like Keri Russel but I will stop everything for Jennifer Coolidge. The movie is an absolute delight and I highly recommend it (especially if you need a nice romantic escape right now). But, until very recently I had no idea at all that it was based on a book by Shannon Hale. A random tweet brought this to my attention! I had to get my hands on a copy and read it immediately! Happily, there are already two books based in Austenland and so I picked them both up.



Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret: Her obsession with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice is ruining her love life–no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen fans, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen-or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own? from Amazon



Now, remember, I already saw the movie, bought the movie, rewatched the movie, made a friend watch the movie with me, and quietly watched it again before reading the book. When comparing books to movies, it is important to understand the order of consumption and the depth of devotion to a particular platform.

Since the screenplay was co-written by Shannon Hale it largely followed the movie. Still, there were many moments that were just so gorgeously written that didn’t completely transfer to the movie. Some of the lines Hale gives the delightful male characters should be etched in marble. Gorgeous and swoon-worthy. What this book did give that the movie really didn’t was Jane’s backstory and how her devotion to Darcy became so prominent in her life.

However, the book doesn’t have Jennifer Coolidge in it. In the movie, Jennifer’s part is that of a rich older woman named Ms. Charming, who is also visiting Austenland at the same time as Jane. The character is cute and over the top in the book but Coolidge’s performance, like many of hers, just steals the show. God bless Keri Russel because she seemed absolutely fine with having letting Coolidge take the audience’s attention every time.

Overall the book did what books do best – it gave me just a little more of the characters, their backstories, and their time together than the movie. Both were excellent and, happily, I had another Austenland story ready to go!



When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests’ Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn’t sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside’s mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte’s heart be a sign of real-life love?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen’s world. How could it not turn out right in the end? from Amazon



Obviously there is no movie for this second book and perhaps that is part of why I found myself so completely enamored with the whole thing. Or, it might have been that there were layers of mystery and murder along with the truly spectacular romantic tensions. Either way, I was so pleased to see the return of Ms. Charming and a little more flamboyance in her character than in the first book.

Like me, Charlotte has come to understand Austen’s power later in life. When she finds herself at Austenland she is taking a much needed step away from the fallout of her divorce. Watching Charlotte remember herself through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood while struggling to redefine herself on vacation at a place as ridiculous as Austenland was a wonder to behold. We are constantly trying to figure out who we are in the world aren’t we? Hale captured that imbalance and redefinition perfectly.

If you are looking for something to transport you away from the stress of the current COVID crisis, or if you just need a genuinely lovely romance in your day, I encourage you to pick up these two books. Midnight at Austenland especially was so perfectly plotted that I ignored every small thing that required my attention until I could finish the book. Don’t forget to watch the movie!

Tell me, please!

What is your favorite book and movie pairing?



5 On My TBR: March 23, 2020

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. Since my TBR can always use more focus, this meme is a great way to get organized. Each week has a theme and this week is:

Romances / RomComs

Sadly I don’t have many RomComs on my physical TBR. Actually, I’m struggling to find a RomCom on any of my lists. So, instead, I give you a mix of romances and romcoms that had been buried by my massive TBR.

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Miller looks so cute. Here is the blurb from Amazon:

Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her big sister―and best friend―goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

To Be Honest is another sharp, witty novel from Maggie Ann Martin, about a spunky heroine who is dealing with very real issues―body image, parental pressure, loneliness, first love, and finding your way―with heart and humor. from Amazon

Likewise both The Switch and The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary have shown up time and time again on my friend’s TBRs.

The Switch is billed as:

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some long-overdue rest.

Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O’Leary’s The Switch, it’s never too late to change everything….or to find yourself. from Amazon

and Flatshare has this description:

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met. from Amazon

The Matchmaker’s List

Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it–or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina’s side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she’s ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn’t know won’t hurt her…

As Raina’s life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother’s dreams. from Amazon

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives. from Amazon

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

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. from Amazon

Tell me, please!

What are the 5 RomComs on your TBR?


Graphic Novels · Middle Grade · Sunday Comics · Uncategorized

Sunday Morning Comics: Guts by Raina Telgemeier

This middle grade graphic novels features the author’s own memories and experiences dealing with the physical manifestation of anxiety. The accessible message paired with the bravery and kindness of the characters makes this an ideal read for the stressors of today’s world.


A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts!

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears. from Amazon.



I don’t know if I have anxiety or if I would have been diagnosed with anxiety as a child. But, I do know that I worry a lot. Growing up with a sister with disabilities and all of the complicated health problems that accompanied her day to day life made me acutely aware that the world was not a safe place. And, when I mentioned it to friends they acted like I was insane.

Today, so many children deal with school shootings, suicide, and now a pandemic. Guts is an easy way for children and caregivers to open up a conversation both about how stress and worry can get out of control and how to act with kindness to others dealing with unknown issues.

Raina has established herself as an author that speaks the truth to children. Through her previous books, Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghost, Raina has proven a reliable source for a variety of social issues that many children are confronted with on a daily basis. Obviously I’ve been a fan for a long time but Guts had me just sitting there, reading, and nodding my head.

Whether it is because of COVID19, the general state of the world, or because you feel like a child in your life is struggling with feelings they don’t understand, I highly recommend this book. Actually, you know what? I recommend this book to everyone because even if you aren’t worried, someone near you is and this book is a great insight into what that feels like.

Tell me, please!

Do you have any books on anxiety you would recommend?


Social Saturday

Social Saturday: March 22, 2020

At the beginning of the year I vowed to make Saturdays more social. With so many of us in quarantine, lockdown, practicing social distancing, or just staying in to avoid COVID19, any socializing feels essential. You are always welcome to join and I have made it as simple as possible. You can either comment below or link up a post of your own answering two big questions.

How are your 2020 reading challenges this week? 

What are some of your favorite posts from this week?


Start on Your Shelfathon from The Quiet Pond.


This week? HAH! I haven’t updated this in forever. Here are my books from February AND March.

The Toll by Neil Shusterman

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang, MD and Nate Pedersen

These three lonely little books are kind of a pathetic considering I have added more than 20 to my physical shelf. I need to actually start on my shelf!

Challenge: Beat the Backlist from Novel Knight


Nothing! Well, that is not entirely true. Many of my audiobooks are from my backlist because they are easier to pick up from my library than physical books. But, this year I am trying not to double count books. Still, if this continues I reserve the right to change my mind on this.

Challenge: Audiobook Challenge – Caffeinated Reader & Hot Listens


Me by Elton John

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Cary Grant: A Class Apart by Graham McCann


Simply Sherri posted for PopCultureUncovered.com about all of the new releases that will be available to rent or those going directly to streaming services during the COVID19 crisis.

If you are looking for something different to do while at home, there is a poetry competition that is fully explained on The Nerdy Book Club.

BookerTalk has a great list of technology solutions for staying inside during this time. From audiobooks to online learning, there are some really fun resources here!

Speaking of audible and audiobooks, Hashanti has dived deeply into them! You can read the post here about the audible books Hashanti has been enjoying and, perhaps, find something new for yourself.

Finally, I am pretty inspired by Liz’s Stay at Home Club. I just love this idea and, if I can get organized enough, maybe I will even start one myself!

Tell me, please!

How are you being social today? Everyone okay out there?



WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: March 18, 2020

Even in the middle of a pandemic, I can count on WWW Wednesday to ground me. Here in Chicago we are practicing social distancing, but judging by the way many in my city are taking this advice we will be quarantined like Italy in no time. St. Patrick’s Day brought out the ridiculous, I swear. I’m thankfully for numerous things at this time but I’m especially grateful for this meme for bringing me back to my blog and for all the participants for making sure I never run out of bookish conversation and books.

My favorite meme was last hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and has found a new home with Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. Don’t forget to check all the other participants. It is the #1 way I keep my TBR overflowing!

The Three Ws are:

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


Sooooo, poison and romance. Perfect for these trying times! I am either filled to the brim with love and concern for my friends and family or I am pondering the quickest way to make them quiet down and leave me to read in peace.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley is the second in the Flavia de Luce series and I am consuming it like a bag of my favorite chips. Flavia has lost none of her appeal and the mystery has been keeping me company at night on my faithful Ken (my kindle).

My audiobook this week is still Emma. Like most people, I have lost the commute time that I usually dedicate to audiobooks and there is only so much vacuuming a person can do. I need to find another time to make it “audiobook” time.

I am more than half way through Quackery and this book is awesome. I love the dark humor and the historical look at medicines attempts to keep us alive. Bonus: I have learned the basis for the both sayings, “Blow smoke up my ass” and “like a hole in my head.”

Finally, I started the second Austenland book, Midnight at Austenland by Shannon Hale. The first one was made into a movie and I am absolutely adoring this second book. She said on twitter that she has two more outlined and I can only hope that her children allow her the time and energy to write them during this crisis.


Nothing! I feel like I have been in stasis since last Wednesday. If I hadn’t already scheduled a post for Cary Grant: A Class Apart nothing new would be on the blog at all.


When the COVID virus started to look truly serious I did what any sane person would do – I ordered a few extra books. Never mind that I already have FOUR shelves of unread books, I needed a few more to stockpile! I don’t know what my fascination with poison is but here is a peak at my immediate TBR shelf.

So, I have Poison, Tap Dancing, and Picard. I think it is pretty clear that I am not struggling with my social distancing.

Tell me, please!

Everyone okay out there? (And what’s on your WWW?)


Audio Book · nonfiction

Nonfiction Friday: Cary Grant, A Class Apart by Graham McCann

Graham McCann’s autobiography of Cary Grant carries the reader through his life from birth to death with intimate looks at every stage. I have loved Cary Grant since the first time I laid eyes on him and this book did nothing to shake that love.


A biography narrating how the English working-class boy Archie Leach transformed himself into the actor Cary Grant and a role model of elegance and class for the socially ambitious around the world. from Amazon.



This is, quite possibly, the shortest synopsis I have ever seen for a book. Understandably so, since few people are ignorant of Cary Grant’s existence or his lasting impact on the silver screen. Take, for example, this classic bit.

An interview with a Two Hour Old Baby

Interviewer: Do you know the important people in the world today?

Two Hour Old Baby: Well, some. I don’t know, I’m not sure.

Interviewer: You don’t know what you know?

Two Hour Old Baby: No.

Interviewer: Do you know, for instance, Mickey Mouse?

Two Hour Old Baby: No.

Interviewer: Queen Elizabeth?

Two Hour Old Baby: No.

Interviewer: Winston Churchill?

Two Hour Old Baby: Ah, no,

Interviewer: Fidel Castro?

Two Hour Old Baby? No.

Interviewer: Pandit Nehru?

Two Hour Old Baby: No.

Interviewer: Have you heard of Cary Grant?

Two Hour Old Baby: Oh, sure! Everybody knows Cary Grant!

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, “The Two Hour Old Baby” from Cary Grant, A Class Apart.

Before reading this book I felt the same as the Two Hour Baby. That I knew Cary Grant. After all, I possessed the knowledge that Cary Grant was born Archie Leach, that he had a strange relationship with his Mother, and that he made an enormous number of movies. I even knew about his solo front top tooth. Look at me – I’m a massive fan! Blah. I knew nothing.

Cary Grant was indeed born Archie Leach. But, he didn’t change his name until he was 27. That is a longtime to inhabit one name only to become intertwined with another. Which makes it all the more understandable that Grant frequently referred to Archie in real life and in movies.

A “strange relationship with his Mother”? That is the understatement of the year for me! Grant’s Mother was committed to an asylum when he was a child. She was home one day and gone the next. Grant was told she was going to a resort to rest and, at one point, he was told that she had died. Really, his father just wanted her out of the way so he could start a new life with his current mistress. Only after his Father’s death did the payments to the asylum stop and Grant found out his Mother was still alive. She disappeared when he was 11 and he discovered her again at 30.

Furthermore, I think I have seen 15-20 of Grant’s films. That isn’t even half of the SEVENTY-TWO films he made in his lifetime. I was just blown away by the sheer number of films. I am nearly as impressed by the number as I am by the fact that when Grant declared himself retired he actually retired.

This book is full of such interesting tidbits and information that the hours listening to it passed too quickly. The more I learned about Grant the more I realized I actually understood the most important thing: the magic of Cary Grant. Cary Grant was, and will probably remain forever, the master of making everyone feel that they knew and liked him through his movies. Whether a movie did well or not, Grant remained unscathed. It just took a moment, a small tug at the corner of his mouth, or the twinkle in his eye, to hook you. And once he did, it was forever.

Considering this magical quality, it would be difficult to write about someone like Cary Grant and not fall in love with him. McCann might be accused of this, but who wouldn’t be? Still, the biography feels balanced and fact-based in contrast to some that have been published before and have relied heavily on gossip and conjecture. In the end, I became just a little more infatuated with the actor. Which, if I were being honest, I didn’t think was possible.

Tell me, please!

Have you ever been a fan of someone’s work only to discover there was so much you didn’t know about them?