nonfiction · Uncategorized

Non-Fiction Friday: May 17, 2019 Dot Journaling, A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

I have always been a paper person. Writing lists and keeping a physical calendar is the only method that keeps me organized. While my digital calendar is wonderfully sharable and does a fabulous job of checking for conflicts, I cannot seem to retain the information I put into it. I hate putting to do lists on there and wandering around with my phone out all of the time. Don’t get my started on how frustrating it is when you finish on an electronic to-do list and it just disappears. Crossing things off is the only reason to make a list in the first place! I just can’t let go of my pen and paper. Also, I j’adore office supplies.

When I first saw The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carrol I thought, “I love this idea.” An analog method for a digital world? Yes please! I immediately bought a notebook and special pens and tried it.

Except it was too complicated. Why do I have to number all the pages? Why am I constantly re-writing things? These analog repetitions are exactly the wonders that my phone does for me. The symbols made no sense to me. Then the gorgeous Instagram and Pinterest pages started to appear. My bullet journal looked nothing like either of these two extremes! So, I quit.

But I still wanted to be a bullet journal person. Desperately. This weekend I spotted Dot Journaling, A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller. The sub-title was “How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-to-list, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together.” More importantly, the intro identified the author as a fellow bullet journal wanna be who became confused and overwhelmed by the actual process. She writes for Buzzfeed and has a great little blurb about starting a bullet journal here.

dotjournalingDot Journal is the ideal starting point for people who, like me, love the pen and paper method but do not have the time, energy, or inclination to spend an hour a day copying and recopying to-do lists and calendar items. Dot Journaling also gives clear instructions on how to set-up the journal, something I still couldn’t figure out even after watching the youtube video by Ryder Carrol.

Here is how Goodreads describes the book.

 

Organize your life, record what matters, and get stuff done!

What the heck is a dot journal? It’s a planner, to-do list, anddiary for every aspect of your life: work, home, relationships, hobbies, everything.

Early adopter Rachel Wilkerson Miller explains how to make a dot journal work for you—whether you find the picture-perfect examples on Pinterest inspiring or, well, intimidating. You decide how simple or elaborate your journal will be, and what goes in there:

– Lists of your to-dos, to-don’ts, and more
– Symbols that will make those lists efficient and effective
– Spreads to plan your day, week, month, or year
– Trackers for your habits and goals (think health, money, travel)
– Accoutrements such as washi tape, book darts, and more!

Dot Journaling is only about 200 pages but still manages to give you an overview of the basics, tips, and tricks, and the details you need on how to use the “special pages.” The special pages are the ones I love – the financial planner, the book reading list and the habit trackers! This is the stuff that feeds my Instagram. The book even includes how to cope with a page that the antithesis of Insta-worthy (glue them together and pretend it never happens is my favorite).  With photos and short explanations of yearly, monthly and daily spreads as well as cute and simple examples of for special uses for your journal this book finally accomplished what countless other sources couldn’t: helping me understand this blended use journaling.

I read this book at the beginning of this week. I suppressed my first desire, to buy a brand new journal, and instead unearthed a previously purchased journal with a grand total of 15 pages used. One of the points the author makes it that it doesn’t need to be perfect. This is revolutionary to me. I need to get over the idea that every page will be a work of art. Sometimes I just need to embrace that “good enough is good enough” and let go of perfectionism. I’m honestly surprised that I was able to force myself to start in the middle of the month – it wasn’t even a Monday!

Let me tell you, the combination of to-do list, diary, and calendar make for a complete look at how my day went. Adding a short little note to each day turns what is an ordinary calendar into a keep-sake diary without the pressure of coming up with a long pontification of my typical Tuesday. No more will I look back and wonder why I got nothing accomplished all day. I’ll know I was sick because I wrote it down! And the joy of all those crossed off to-dos…

After reading Atomic Habits by James Clear I wanted to increase my positive habits and decreased my negatives ones. I also want to use Gretchen Rubin’s time tracking system to see how much time I actually have in a day. And, you know what, life is short and I don’t want to look back and wonder, “What did I accomplish?” This journaling is perfect for all of these needs. Realizing that has been like that first day of spring after a long winter. I feel powerful, organized, and positive about myself and my future. Ah, the power of paper.


Tell me, please!

Do you keep a journal? Have you tried bullet journaling? Any tips?


 

Fantasy · Middle Grade · SeriousSeriesLove · Uncategorized

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Trilogy: A Series Review

I have been enjoying Rick Riordan’s books since I first read The Lightning Thief almost 15 years ago. Through the years I have followed the adventures of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover and then became equally swept up by the Heroes of Olympus Series. I grew to adore Jason, Piper, and Leo! For months, I highly anticipated the first Kane Chronicles book….but that series just didn’t grab my attention. Truthfully, I wondered if perhaps I had just outgrown my love for mythology based adventures. But then I read Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. Of all of Riordan’s books, this series is easily my favorite. Read these blurbs from each book and it will be easy to see why the action-packed Norse mythology appealed to me.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Sword of Summer

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents. . . .

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Hammer of Thor

“Magnus Chase, you nearly started Ragnarok. What are you going to do next?”

It’s been six weeks since Magnus and his friends returned from defeating Fenris Wolf and the fire giants. Magnus has adjusted to life at the Hotel Valhalla—as much as a once-homeless and previously alive kid can. As a son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of Odin’s chosen warriors, but he has a few good peeps among his hallmates on floor nineteen, and he’s been dutifully training for Ragnarok along with everyone else. His days have settled into a new kind of normal.

But Magnus should have known there’s no such thing as normal in the Nine Worlds. His friends Hearthstone and Blitzen have disappeared. A new hallmate is creating chaos. According to a very nervous goat, a certain object belonging to Thor is still missing, and the thunder god’s enemies will stop at nothing to gain control of it.

Time to summon Jack, the Sword of Summer, and take action. Too bad the only action Jack seems to be interested in is dates with other magical weapons. . . .

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Ship of the Dead

Magnus Chase, son of Frey, the god of summer and health, isn’t naturally inclined toward being a brave warrior. Still, with the help of his motley group of friends, he has achieved deeds he never would have thought possible. Now he faces his most dangerous trial yet.

Loki is free from his chains. He’s readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, complete with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Asgardian gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It’s up to Magnus and his friends to stop him, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfarbefore it’s ready to sail. Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon. But Magnus’s biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. Does he have what it takes to outwit the wily trickster god?

Beyond the fantastic storytelling and action Riordan has put together an all-star cast of diverse characters that everyone dreams of having as friends.

Magnus Chase himself is not the son of a powerful god. Rather he is the son of Frey, god of summer and health. He is the epitome of that healing character we all want on our journeys but no one actually wants to play. By making him the main character and the protagonist in this series, Riordan has put forward a powerful statement about the different kinds of strength we all need to succeed.

Then there is Samirah al Abbas. Not only is Sam a Valkyrie while still in high school, she is also the daughter of Loki and a devout Muslim. Her unwaivering allegiance to her family and her faith reminds me of growing up in an equally devout Irish Catholic family.

Blitzen the Dwarf is a talented tailor who cares almost as much about his appearance as he does his best friend, Hearthstone the Elf. Hearthstone is Deaf and together these two adopt Magnus when he is first homeless in Boston. It is here that I believe the diversity in this series really shined because Hearthstone’s Deafness is not talked about as a disability but just one aspect of him. Everyone uses American Sign Language around Hearthstone and the culture and history of Deaf people has clearly been researched and explored by the author.

In book two we meet Alex Fierro who is also a child of Loki and is gender fluid. Like Hearthstone this aspect of Alex’s person is talked about, accepted for what it is, and just becomes woven into the story.

Halfborn Gunderson, Thomas Jefferson, Jr, and Mallory Keen all live on Magnus’s floor in in Hotel Valhalla. Along with Frey, Loki, Thor and the Sword of Summer (a.k.a. Jack) the books have an enviable cast of characters. I only wished I had peeked at these wonderful drawings of the characters before I had read the books – they are better than I imagined them!

This is a middle grade book just like Riordan’s other series. But this is the first of his that feels like it was cast from an actual sampling of people living in the world. I would love for parents and teachers to read this book with their students or children and have an open discussion about the wonderful differences that exist between people and how, in the end, we are much more the same because of our shared experiences. I highly recommend this series!


Tell me, please!

Have you read this series? If not, which book do you love for its diverse characters?


Readathon · Uncategorized

2019 OWLs Readathon Results

Happy May 1st! I find it fitting that today is locally Law Day since I worked all last month to try and take enough OWLs to qualify for a cushy Ministry of Magic job in the legal department. Now, I tried to make a plan at the beginning of April. Here were my goals:

Charms (Age-line: read an adult book): The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey

Defense Against the Dark Arts (Reducto: Title Starts With an “R”): RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

History of Magic (Published at Least 10 Years Ago): Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Potions (Next Ingredient: Sequel): Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor

Transfiguration (Prayed Edges or Red Cover): Eon by Alison Goodman

Muggle Studies (Contemporary): Blue Lily: Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.


Half-way through the month it was clear that I wasn’t doing well sticking precisely to my reading list and I just gave in and went with the books that called to me. Thankfully, I read enough variety that I made it! I have come to the realization that as much as I want to think of myself as a Hermione, it turns out I am more of a Ron. If I reviewed the book, the link is in the title.

Charms (Age-line: read an adult book)Meet Cute by Helena Hunting, Last of the Summer Moet by Wendy Holden and Highland Crown by Mary McGoldrick.

Defense Against the Dark Arts (Reducto: Title Starts With an “R”): Red Rising, Sons of Ares by Pierce Brown

History of Magic (Published at Least 10 Years Ago): Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Potions (Next Ingredient: Sequel): Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan.

Transfiguration (Prayed Edges or Red Cover): Eon by Alison Goodman

Muggle Studies (Contemporary): Blue Lily: Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater.

In the end, I read so many more books in April than I would have because of this delightful readathon. I have never participated in a readathon that was this well designed or had so much work and love clearly poured into it. If you get a chance, make sure and check out Book Riot’s channel on Youtube and follow all the Harry Potter love on Twitter – this woman deserves and award (and a vacation)!


Tell me, please!

What is the best readathon you have ever participated in? Why?


 

Readathon · Uncategorized

2019 OWL Readathon Reading List

I realize that I am a day late in getting my reading list out but this was just TOO MUCH FUN to put together. After looking at my lame first quarter of reading I knew I needed a swift kick to the pants and so I went where all great minds seem to find inspiration lately – Twitter. There I witnessed burning excitement about this OWL Readathon and for good reason. G @ Book Roast has put together a truly magnificent program and I am so excited to participate! Make sure and check it out because even if you don’t have time to participate we all have time to admire the workmanship that has gone into setting this up. The O.W.Ls will take place during April and the N.E.W.Ts can be done during August!

The best part of this whole thing is that all of my picks are off my massive physical TBR!


Step One: Pick a Career!

This one took me forever but I finally have settled on working for the Ministry of Magic. I would like to be in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. It may sound boring to but I love rules and regulations and, frankly, I love working in a collaborative office atmosphere. Realistically, this is probably most like my day job too but with magic. Ministry work requires:

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 9.08.48 AM

And, if I want to actually work in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement I need to do a little more work:

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 9.09.35 AM


Step Two: What Books Will Fulfill My O.W.L Requirements?

owls-prompts

Charms (Age-line: read an adult book): The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey

Defense Against the Dark Arts (Reducto: Title Starts With an “R”): RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

History of Magic (Published at Least 10 Years Ago): Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Potions (Next Ingredient: Sequel): Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor

Transfiguration (Prayed Edges or Red Cover): Eon by Alison Goodman

Muggle Studies (Contemporary): Blue Lily: Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.


And, in the off chance that I have extra time (or I change my career path), I have selected books for the other categories.

Ancient Runes (Retelling): Scarlet by A.C. Vaughn

Arithmancy (Work Written by More Than One Author): Of Two Minds by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman

Astronomy (“Star” in the Title): Catching Stars by Kayla Keenan

Care of Magical Creatures (Land Animal on the Cover): Shadow and Fox by Julie Kagawa – I realize that this is a mask of a fox but I am hoping that is enough!

Divination (Set in Future): William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.

Herbology (Plant on Cover): The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslie Walton


Tell me, please!

Are you participating in this Readathon?


Uncategorized

WWW Wednesday: February 20, 2019

It’s Wednesday so, of course, I am participating in the WWW meme. It is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and you only need to answer the three W’s.

The Three Ws are:

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

I do them chronologically so I always deal with my past before my present and future reading is considered. I can’t help myself! Feel free to link or add yours to the comments below and make sure and check out the other participants because this is where I find all of my books!


What did you recently finish reading?

I had just a teeny bit of The Arctic Incident to finish listening to at my last WWW and the ending did not disappoint! If you get a chance, check these out in audiobook format – the narrator Nathaniel Parker is incredibly talented and brings each character fully to life. I haven’t done a review because I hope to do a full series review when I finish all of the books.

I also could not resist purchasing and reading 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. I absolutely adored her first book The Hating Game and I have been anxiously awaiting this book for months. I was ridiculous while reading it and I need to go back and read it again. I am ashamed of the way I consumed it. It was like inhaling a whole box of Godiva chocolates without stopping to taste the flavors. I will let you know my thoughts when I go back and savor the story more carefully.

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge I picked up solely for the cute cover and I was delighted to find that it is told through both written word and illustration. However, unlike Hugo Cabret the illustrations tell a different story than the written word. This cleve tactic emphasizes the different perspectives of the two main characters and it is a perfect middle school story for explaining how to look at things through someone else’s eyes. I finished it this morning and I loved it! Full review coming soon.

My Plain Jane is a book plucked off my own bookshelf that had languished since OwlCrate sent it in July! I didn’t want to like it but I did and I could not put it down. You can read my full thoughts here.

I also had technical difficulties and my reviews for Springfield Confidential and The Con Artist were both delayed but you can click on the title and find my reviews if you are interested.


What are you currently reading?

Is this the smallest current listing you have ever seen from me?!? With finishing a book this morning and having serious trouble settling into an audiobook I find myself with only two books currently in play. The Wonderling is still sweet and I am digging myself deeper and deeper into Arthur and Sherlock as part of my Learn Something New Challenge. If you have an audiobook recommendation – please, let me know!


What do you think you’ll read next?

I want to continue my Sherlock reading with one of my own books, The Sherlock Holmes Handbook by the awesome Ransom Riggs. I need to keep reading Harry Potter as well. Finally, I can no longer resist digging into I Owe You One by one of my favorite authors, Sophie Kinsella.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW list?


 

SeriousSeriesLove · Uncategorized

Serious Series Love

Who doesn’t love a good series?

Here you can see my ever changing list of book series I want to read. I will add when I find new ones to enjoy and let you know when I have finished others.


The Raven Cycle Series


A Court of Throne and Roses


Myth Adventures Series


The Magnus Chase Series


Queen of Tearling Series


The Arc of Scythe


Flavia de Luce Mysteries


Darker Shade of Magic


Peculiar Crimes Unit


Looking Glass Wars


 

Challenges · Uncategorized

2018 Challenges Update

Well, I can tell you two things without even checking: first, I was much (much) better at tracking my reading and second, it’s like I didn’t even try to stop buying books. But, let us look at the cold hard facts.


Reading Challenges

I participated in so many challenges this year. The Goodreads Reading Challenge, The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, The Book Riot Challenge, The Beat the Backlist Challenge, The When Are you Reading Challenge, The Audiobook Challenge, and the No-Book-Buying Challenge. How did I do?


Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal was to read 100 books this year and I read 123! Success! According to Goodreads I also read 35,318 pages and my most often read author was the romance writer, Penny Reid. Which brings me to a confession: I don’t log every single book. If I am embarrassed by the cover (not the story, just the cover) I won’t log it. So, all of those long sleepless nights that were brought to me by insomnia were accompanied by books borrowed from the Kindle Free Library. The Kindle Free Library is deeply populated by books with weird covers. If I am embarrassed I will just elect to not log it. Shameful, because those books sat with me all night long. In addition to faithfully logging books I am promising to log ALL books for 2019. Either you are all going to see a lot of weird covers or I will plan ahead enough to have regular books ready to go on my kindle.


When Were You Reading Challenge

Sam from Taking on a World of Words not only hosts my favorite weekly roundup (WWW Wednesday!) but also a historical fiction reading challenge. I did…..poorly. I have come to the realization that I only enjoy historical fiction when the story grabs my attention.

  • The complete challenge will include 12 books from the following eras:
    • Pre 1500
    • 1500-1599
    • 1600-1699
    • 1700-1799
    • 1800-1899 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
    • 1900-1919
    • 1920-1939
    • 1940-1959
    • 1960-1979
    • 1980-1999
    • 2000-Present
    • The Future Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot

I did far better with this challenge and completed 14/24 goals. The ones I didn’t finish were, if I were being honest, books that I would never read. Books about nature / westerns / anything on Oprah almost universally disagree with me. Also, while I am sure I read a few books that would fit into the missing categories my biggest problem with this challenge is how persnickety some participants were. If you follow the Goodreads chat boards on this challenge some people were serious about what qualified and what did not. This is not my mentality when participating in a reading challenge and so I never posted anything. Still, this challenge found me finally reading Pride and Prejudice which was absolutely wonderful. I can’t believe I waited so long!

1) A book published posthumously
2) A book of true crime Heist by Jeff Diamant
3) A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
4) A comic written and illustrated by the same person – Witch Boy
5) A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
6) A book about nature
7) A western
8) A comic written or illustrated by a person of color – Pashmina
9) A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10) A romance novel by or about a person of color – When Dimple Met Rishi
11) A children’s classic published before 1980
12) A celebrity memoir W. Kamau Bell
13) An Oprah Book Club selection
14) A book of social science Grit
15) A one-sitting book – I Work at a Public Library… by Gina Sheridan
16) The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series – Every Day by David Leviathan
17) A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author Just One Damned Thing After the Other by Jodi Taylor
18) A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image The Sandman, Volume 1, Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
19) A book of genre fiction in translation
20) A book with a cover you hate 69 Million Things I Hate About You by Kira Archer
21) A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author
22) An essay anthology
23) A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24) An assigned book you hated (or never finished) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Audiobook Challenge from HotListens.com

I did it! I wanted to get the stenographer level (10-15 audiobooks) and I listened to 15! And, I fell deeply in love with audiobooks. Now, if I don’t have an audiobook ready to go I don’t even know how to drive! Here are the audiobooks I enjoyed this year.

1. Fahrenheit 451

2. Artemis Fowl #1 by Eoin Colfer

3. Canada by Mike Myers

4. Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik

5. Fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen

6. How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell

7. Heist by Jeff Diamant

8. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer

9. So that Happened by Jon Cryer

10. Today I Will be Different by Maria Semple

11. The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

12. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


The Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge 

Success here!  Modern Mrs. Darcy puts out a reading challenge every year and, if memory serves, there were some options for 2018. I enjoy her reading challenge because there aren’t so many categories that you are overwhelmed but they are varied enough to actually expand your reading repertoire.

  • a classic you’ve been meaning to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • a book recommended by someone with great taste The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
  • a book in translation Classic Fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen
  • a book nominated for an award in 2018 Circe by Madeline Miller
  • a book of poetry, a play or an essay collection Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
  • a book you can read in a day I work at a Public Library
  • a book that’s more than 500 pages Iron Gold
  • a book by a favorite author Circe by Madeline Miller
  • a book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • a banned book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexi
  • a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction Stuff Matters by Mike Miodowski
  • a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Beat the Backlist Challenge

This one is hosted by Novel Knight and was a great inspiration for reading all the wonderful books I already owned. However, I could not figure out how to log my participation. So, while I kept track I did absolutely no good for my team, The Dewey Dragons. Sorry Dragons!!

I really like emphasizing my books, I just wish I could have more fully participated. Still, look at how many wonderful books (22!) I read off my own shelf.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

A Problematic Paradox by Eliot Sappinfield

The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertini

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Problim Children by Natalie Llyod

The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Wishtree by Katharine Applegate

Lord of the Rings, Return of the King J.R.R. Tolkien


Book Buying Ban 2018

This was my biggest failure. The less I felt like I was “allowed” to buy, the more I wanted to buy buy BUY ALL THE BOOKS. I even stopped keeping track of my beautiful purchases because I was embarrassed. This is how it went (roughly because I am still sure I bought more and was too ashamed to admit it).

January: Owl Crate delivery: The Cruel Prince

February: Owl Crate delivery: The Hazel Wood

March: Birthday Books! Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca, Let’s Talk Spanish50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know by John Bridges, Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight, Toasts by Paul Dickson, The Real Rock BookStupid Historyby Leland Gregory, Uppity Women by Vicki Leon, The 2548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said by Robert Byrne.

April: Things have gone sideways…..

May: I stopped trying. I need books! Don’t try and stop me!

June: Back on the wagon. I received two new books from subscriptions (OwlCrate and page Habit) and purchased only 1, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Huang.

July: Purchased Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella and Find Your Adventure by Nicole Larue in Montreal. Also, two French/English dictionaries.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, Canadaby Mike Myers, two Jodi Taylor books, Wish by Deborah Bladon and 69 Million Things I Hate About You by Kira Archer on Kindle. I had insomnia!!! The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, The Invasion of Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen, All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller.

Owlcrate My Plain Jane

PageHabit The Real Michael Swann

AugustTo All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lente. P.S. I Still Love Youby Jenny Han and Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han.

September: Major personal upset. Books bring me solace and so I buy as many as I want.

October:

November:

December:


Challenge Wrap Up

All in all, I LOVED the challenges. The only one I wound have been disappointed about not finishing successfully was the Goodreads challenge. All of the others were there to encourage me and push me outside of my usual reading. I am not sure yet which ones I will do again but I am so happy looking through all of the ideas.

Also, I know now that if I am really going to challenge myself to vary my reading I need a better plan. It is not enough to hope that my own books and interests will fulfill the required slots, I need a cohesive reading list for all the categories. So, this year I am looking carefully at the categories so that I am not stuck with an insurmountable one.

I think it is safe to say that the Book Buying Ban is falling squarely into the “never again” category. This challenge made me just want all the books. It was like being on a terrible diet and suddenly everything I owned looked gross and diet-like. This year I will certainly try to enjoy what I own but if I see a book I want to read I am absolutely going to buy it.


Tell me, please!

How did your challenges go? Any you recommend?


FrighteninglyGoodRead · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Reads 2018

It is almost October!!!

I love the fall. I especially love October. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling, the bugs are dying and reading season is upon us. Truthfully,  it is always reading season for me. But for many people summer is apparently a time to go outside and do…outside activities? But now that it is Fall it is socially acceptable to curl up with a good book and read again. Hallelujah!

The best part of October for me is Halloween. It is my favorite time of year and my favorite holiday all wrapped into thirty one delightful days. So, like last year, I want to celebrate with Frighteningly Good Reads!

This month I will be highlighting books that are scary, spooky, silly and sometimes only tangentially related to Halloween. I try to post a book a day but since I only review the books that I enjoy sometimes it doesn’t work out.

If you have any Frighteningly Good Read recommendations – please leave them here!

FGR #1: Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lenthe

FGR #2: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

FGR #3: The House with the Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

FGR #4: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

FGR #5: Black Cats & Evil Eyes


 

Uncategorized

Reading Habits Tag

I saw this cute tag as done by Stephanie from Between Folded Pages and I could not resist doing it myself. I have been struggling mightily with my reading lately and this tag was perfect for evaluating my habits. Make sure and pop over to Stephine’s blog and check out her answers and please, feel free to do this tag yourself!


1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Nope. I will literally read anywhere. I always have a book in my purse and if I find myself unoccupied for more than 3 minutes I will start reading.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Niether. While I really love cute bookmarks I try to remember the number of the page I am on when I close it. I know it sounds silly but I always feel like Sherlock Holmes when I remember it.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I can stop mid-sentence if I have to. I rarely care if I am at the end of a chapter. Instead, I will read until I have to stop or fall asleep.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

I often do both but I don’t required it. I love to sip a hot beverage and read but I will admit to loving reading while eating popcorn. When I am alone for a meal I always read.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

Neither. I like to immerse myself in the book.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

If I love a book I will read it to the exclusion of everything else. When I come out of a book I love though I will sometimes go through a bit of withdrawal and then I might multi-task. Recently, I have been reading far too many at the same time because I cannot find anything I love as much as my most recent book crush.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Home is best because people don’t interrupt me. But, I never let people come between me and a good book so I have to answer honestly: everywhere.

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?

Silently unless it is poetry which I always appreciate more aloud.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

If I really really hate a book I will skip ahead in an attempt to find something that will improve my opinion of the book. If I find something worthwhile, I will backtrack. If not, it goes into the do-not-finish pile. But, I do not like spoilers so I only do it to reassure myself that I am just in a bit of a slump in the story.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I never do it on purpose but I always accidentally break them. The only exception is when the book is borrowed from a person or the library. I am far more careful with other people’s books!

11. Do you write in your books?

Not my books for enjoyment. However, I always write in my textbooks. I have also been known to write in non-fiction books but recently I invested in some cute paper tags just for this reason.

Like I said, this one is up for anyone but I’d love to see some more answers! If you don’t feel like doing the whole tag….


Tell me, please!

Which of my answers surprises you or disagrees with you the most?

Graphic Novels · Middle Grade · Sunday Morning Comics · Uncategorized

Sunday Morning Comics May 27, 2018

Good Morning! In the United States we are enjoying a long three-day weekend which means that Sunday morning is extra relaxing. I had the time to quietly enjoy both of these graphic novels which feature characters grappling with typical adolescent issues in additional to the impact of their culture background.

American Born Chinese by Gene Lien Yang showcases the stories of Jin Wang, the Monkey King, and Wei-Chen Sun. Jin Wang’s parents are Chinese immigrants and when Wei-Chen Sun arrives at school directly from Taiwan, Jin Wang wants nothing to do with him. Jin Wang wants to be an all-American boy and date the all-American girl. And the Monkey King has lived for thousands of years mastering skills to join the ranks of the immortal gods. But there is no place in heaven for a monkey!

The author and illustrator employs a fairly unique storytelling trick and does not use a traditional narrative structure. This allows three different perspectives regarding cultural assimilation and race-shaming to combine into one poignant message: “It’s easy to become anything you wish so long as you are willing to forfeit your soul.”

Meanwhile, in Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol, Vera is the odd-duck out in her social circle of all-white affluent kids. Vera immigrated from Russia with her Mom, little brother and sister when she was five. After a disastrous attempt to host a sleep over she turns to her Russian Orthodox Church to find friends. There she hears about a camp which is only for Russian Orthodox kids and convinces her Mom to send her to camp. She figures that it will be easy to make friends with kids with her own cultural identity and background.

Once at camp though things don’t go quite as planned. They speak in Russian as much as possible, sing Russian songs and while Vera’s accent is perfect, it seems she isn’t Russian enough. She is also placed in a tent with much older girls and finds out that there is a big difference between almost ten and fourteen.

I really enjoyed how both of these authors used their personal knowledge to highlight the additional struggle foreign culture can add to growing up in America. While I have always been fascinated by other cultures I am well aware that there are many obnoxious Americans insist on cultural homogenization which is a tragedy. I hope every child (really, adults as well) read these books and work to feel comfortable with their own culture, or, embrace the child whose culture is different from your own. The world is just a more interesting place with diversity and acceptance.


Tell me, please!

Have you come across any other culturally interesting Graphic Novels?