an ode to the summer: because all good things must come to an end

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the hazy glow of summertime has nearly reached its end

though the sweet taste of ice cream is still on our lips

 

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the fairy wings of summer are put away

memories full of music and laughter echo but fade

we can still remember the idle hours of yesterday

as we return to the steady rhythm of today

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we reached for the stars and gazed at the sun

(carefully)

 

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we ran wild, we danced without a care.

howled at the moon and posed with a bear.

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we languished idly when the moment felt right

as it often did.

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but now we’ve memed all the moments

 

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we’ve plunged all the depths

we’ve plenty of chlorine to rinse from our tresses

the beach bags are empty

the sunscreen’s run out.

we know what this means:

school’s in, summer’s out.


I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I chose her first prompt this week: Your summer recap in a poem and pictures. Head to her blog for more fun!

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What I’m Into | August 2017

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September is finally here and I don’t know about you but I’m like: Finally. My kids went back to school two weeks ago so it’s felt like September to me for awhile now. The struggles of going back to school earlier than the rest of the city. #thestruggleisnotreal #itsbeenawesome #excepttheearlymornings

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately – books, movies, tv shows, recipes, life, etc.

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

READING

I read a ton of graphic novels last month based on classic novels and finished two actual regular type books, too.

the graphic novels

  1. Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel by by Amy Corzine and Charlotte Brontë – Finished 8/8 – I had a hard time following the plot as I haven’t read the novel. I’d consider this a kind of cliffs note version of the original story but I enjoying the artwork and finished the book in one sitting.

  2. Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel by by Mariah Marsden (Illustrations) and Brenna Thummler (Illustrations) and L.M. Montgomery – Finished 8/17 – This wasn’t a home run for me but not a total loss either. I enjoyed spending some time in Green Gables but I am not sure that someone new to this story would fall for it in quite the same way as you would the original. The pacing felt very fast and the illustrations were not always my favorite. But it was a quick read and a nice way to reexperience an old favorite.

  3. Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King and Jane Austen – Finished 8/25 – Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels and I tend to enjoy most adaptations of it. This was no different. I’ve read several graphic novel versions of classic novels now but this series of manga classics is my favorite. They go into just enough details and do a good job expressing the heart and essence of the original without feeling overly abridged. Plus the artwork is beautiful.

  4. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Stacy King and Nathaniel Hawthorne – Finished 8/28 – This is one of those classics that I loathed in high school and never actually finished so I thought it would be a good book to try in manga format. I think any effort to simplify Nathaniel Hawthorne is a good thing and definitely enjoyed this more than the original. The artwork is well done and you definitely get a good understanding of the story. It feels like the important details and the heart of the story are all intact. As for the actual story, it will probably never be a favorite of mine but I can understand its importance and even why it would be a good book to discuss in school.

regular type books

20603758Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Finished 8/4 – I enjoyed this book but it took me awhile to finish. It felt very long and I picked it up and put it down a few times. I enjoyed all the 80’s pop culture references and the plot of the story. I can see why it’s being made into a movie. The main character has a lot of heart and it was just as much a coming of age story as it was a kind of scifi action adventure story.

24388326The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood – Finished 8/23 – This book can probably be best described as disturbing. I thought the premise was interesting and Atwood definitely took the story to places I didn’t see coming, but basically all the characters are terrible people and it definitely had scenes that made me squirm uncomfortably. Not for the faint of heart. (August Book Club Pick)

Right now I’m kind of floating between books. I haven’t really committed to anything yet. My book club will be reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance along with the UW Big Read program.

WATCHING

My husband and I have been making our way through Scrubs together. The kids and I watched a lot of Beat Shazam and Glitter Force before they went back to school. Now that they are in school during the day I have been catching up on The Handmaid’s Tale and watching the newest season of Project Runway. I also just watched season one of Glow on Netflix and OMG I was obsessed. Seriously soooo good. Also NO I have not watched the last Game of Thrones episode so please no spoilers!

Some movies we’ve watched recently:

The original Tron was a solid movie despite the achingly old fashioned vision of ultra modern technology. I think I spent a very large chunk of the movie OMGing over oh so young Jeff Bridges. Now we need to go back and watch the original.

I also finally watched Dirty Dancing and I don’t know what I was waiting for. It was actually way better than I was expecting for some reason.

LISTENING

I am borderline obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new song, Look What You Made Me Do. My husband borderline hates it. This seems to be one of those songs that divides the line between our musical tastes. What say you?

We were driving in the car yesterday and an older Ed Sheeran song was playing and my eleven year old was singing along in the backseat. I commented on it and my husband said, “Well yeah, he loves Ed Sheeran.” How did I not notice this? But then, we all love Ed Sheeran. And yet I have not gotten around to buying any of his music which seems absurd. I’m chalking it up to the music always been readily available on Top 40 – but is it more than that?

What songs do you end up purchasing like immediately and which ones do you always enjoy but never buy?

EATING

We made this cabbage and kielbasa skillet recipe from Budget Bytes over the weekend and my husband was basically writing love songs about it. Our other favorite kielbasa recipe is this one from Dude Mom with roasted potatoes and broccoli.

LOVING

We crammed in a lot of last minute summer fun last month – a trip to Dubuque to see the Mississippi River Museum, an afternoon at the Renaissance Faire and a day trip to one of our favorite state parks for some fishing and beach time.

52164268I found ballet flats at Target that my feet didn’t immediately hate for a price that didn’t make my heart hurt. I don’t think these are wear them all day flats (at least for me) but they seem to be solid wear for an hour or two around town flats.

I want to go to all of these hotels for book lovers. And like move in and live there forever.

And God Created Millennial Earth at McSweeney’s is the LOL you need today. And possibly the one you deserve.

This Buzzfeed Quiz will tell you which Babysitter’s Club member you are – it’s surprisingly accurate. It won’t just tell you who your favorite member is (because those are rarely the same person). I got Mallory – how about you?

So what have you been into lately?

Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice vs. The Scarlet Letter

I’ve been on a graphic novel kick lately and my most recent discovery is this line of Manga Classics which I discovered through NetGalley. You might remember from my recent post that I’ve been having mixed results with classics turned graphic novel. I liked some but found others lacking. It’s hard to really convey the full emotion and essence of a story in graphic novels without them being mammoth beasts. But manga seems like a different beast altogether and I was curious to give them a try.

If you are new to Manga, the most important thing you need to know is that the books are read basically entirely backwards from how you are familiar. The first page is going to be what you consider the last page and even the way you read each page is different. This image from Manga Classics does a great job explaining this:

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So for my first Manga experience I decided to read my all time favorite book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Being my favorite book could be setting an unfairly high bar for this edition but to be honest I’m kind of obsessed with reinterpretations of Pride and Prejudice. All the movies and tv series, modern adaptations like Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and especially the youtube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. So really, all this book had to do was not be terrible.

To say I was not disappointed would be an understatement. I loved the artwork – the story drifts between lush, beautiful portraits and quirky even more cartoonish asides with fun sketches thrown in. It feels like a true lover of Jane Austen developed this – it’s playful but attentive to every detail. The book does an excellent job of fleshing out all the emotions of the story through varied artistic styles to fit the mood and the illustrator is a pro at making extremely expressive facial features.

It also doesn’t feel overly abridged. I think it did a good job of paying homage to the original and may even be a leaping off point to get people to pick up the original book afterwards or other books by Austen. Any road to Austen is a good road!

My Rating: 5/5


Next I decided to be really bold and attempt reading the Manga Classics edition of The Scarlet Letter, one of my least favorite books of all time basically. Like anyone who has spoken to me about books for more than 5 seconds probably knows how I feel about good ole Hawthorne.

So in reading this version, I wanted to find out if I’d be able to appreciate the story more in a graphic and abridged version or if I’d even finish it at all. Could the manga format make Nathaniel Hawthorne bearable?

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Bearable, yes. I even finished it. The artwork continues to be stunning and very emotive and because of the nature of the book there are no never ending passages describing nothing in particular making me want to throw the book over a cliff.

Was this book a super fun read? Definitely not. It’s a pretty depressing story tbh and also kinda creepy. I think this is probably what Hawthorne was going for and having actually finished the story finally I understand why it’s required reading at a lot of schools. There are important ideas being considered in this story – but Hawthorne is so stupid boring that I never even got to them in high school. Or maybe my teacher was boring? Who knows. Either way, a graphic version of this story went a long way with me. I could SEE the story being told and understand what was going on.

My Rating: 3/5 stars but those 3 stars are earned entirely by the Manga Classics peeps. Without them it would continue to be a 0/5.


I think Manga Classics could be an awesome addition to a high school reading curriculum. The kids that are just not breaking through with the original might really benefit from a more visual format and these editions are excellent. Even the kids who are already inhaling Austen like it ain’t no thang would probably enjoy experiencing it in another format as well. It’s a great opportunity to compare and contrast and possibly more timely than BBC adaptations, awesome as they are.

Do you read manga? Do you have a favorite?

What’s your favorite classic novel?

Least favorite?

The Book Titles Tag.

Birdie Bookworm tagged me in this Book Titles tag. This one is a little different from most book tags – the idea is to answer questions about yourself using only book titles. Fun right?

Here is a link the original creators – I guess it was originally a Youtube tag:
https://youtu.be/I5_S1KGTd-w & https://youtu.be/Lb97dfiBLf4

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1. Title that’s the story of your life

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My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella felt ideal for this one as I tend to exist in a constant state of self deprecation. I know that on the whole I live a pretty good life but nobody’s life is perfect, definitely not mine.


2. Title that describes your perfect weekend

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I’m pretty sure my perfect weekend involves traveling to some slightly exotic locale near the water and of course coffee. The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan – an author who seems very tapped into my particular breed of wanderlust.


3. Title of an adventure you’d like to go on

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Ha, are you sensing a theme here? The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell sounds pretty incredible. If my husband ever wanted to go live in a European country for a year, I’d definitely be down for that.


4. Title you want to name your child

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First, let me be clear – I do not intend to have any more children, at all. That phase of my life has passed. But in the name of playing along, Anna seems like a name that would make my short list. I’m all about traditional names as evidenced by the names of my actual children. Birdie used a Stephanie Perkins book for this question also, so, twinsies.


5. Title of your ideal job

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I’m not sure what my ideal job is these days but I’m guessing I’m unqualified for it. Travel writer, small town librarian, professional coffee drinker? Executive Netflix watcher?


6. Title of a place you’d like to visit

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See, I told you. Jenny Colgan gets me. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris = I want to go to there.


7. Title of your love life

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This seems like kind of a dark choice in books to describe my love life. Let me be clear, I’m referring to the title only and not the plot of Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill (which sounds fantastic if not remotely romantic).


8. Questions you ask yourself

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LOL What Happened by Hillz seemed fitting because aren’t we all wondering but honorable mention should go to:

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How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk because the struggle is real.


9. Title of a kingdom you want to rule OR name

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The Kingdom of Neverwhere – doesn’t that sound like a book you’d want to read? I grew up near a city named Ware which was obviously the pun of many jokes so this feels apropos.


10. Title you’d name your band.

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Renegades by Marissa Meyer is so clearly the perfect band name. Also I can’t wait for this book to come out.


11. What is your current mood?

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I stayed up too late last night and have yet to feel truly awake today. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster pretty much sums up my motivation level today.


12. What is your favorite color?

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Yeah I’ll be honest, I chose this one because there’s a color in the title. I’ve heard good things about Red Rising by Pierce Brown – have you read it? Or red it? lol


13. How do you feel about 2017 so far?

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I think a lot of us feel like 2017 has been spent dealing with the fallout from 2016.


14. Where do you want to travel?

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I’m running out of books that adequately describe my wanderlust guys. I had to dip out of my Amazon wish list for this one and also basically rip off Birdie’s answer but it is true. I want to see everything. Everything. (PS I just watched the movie Sunday night and it was soooo good)


15. What are your summer plans?

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Yeah summer pretty much has ended here. My kids have already been back in school for a week and we are counting down those last days of August.


16. What are your 2017 goals?

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Yeah my goals for the rest of the year consist almost entirely of volunteering at my kids’ school in various capacities. Just add in exercise and eat some green things.

TAG

I tag the people who read this entire post.

The Best Books My Eight Year Old Read This Summer | Video Review

My kids basically read the entire public library this summer and they have a lot of feels about it that I thought you might enjoy. I made these video reviews starring my eight year old because her recaps are so cute they basically begged to be recorded. And then edited a tad to cut out some of the umms and uhhhs and staring blankly at the camera bits. And given a snazzy postorized effect because anything starring my daughter should probably more colorful than seems necessary.

BB fell in love with the world of graphic novels this summer so it is not very surprising that her two favorites are both from that section.

6389496Pigling is a graphic novel Cinderella story by Dan Jolley and Anne Timmons but it definitely stands on its own as a unique tale.

Pear Blossom, a young Korean girl, leads a happy life … until her mother dies and her father remarries. Her new wicked stepmother and stepsister make Pear Blossom the victim of their cruelty. But … one day, the girl meets a handsome magistrate. Will Pear Blossom’s luck change for the better? Or is she destined to suffer at her stepfamily’s hands forever?

This was just one of the incredible graphic novelized renditions of a classic tale that we found and devoured this summer. You can read my thoughts on a few more here.

Here are all of my daughter’s thoughts about Pigling:


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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by  Katie Cook and Andy Price stars those ponies that you are probably already a little familiar with. Just in case you are not well versed in all things My Little Pony though…

Welcome to Ponyville, home of Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and all your other favorite Ponies! Something’s not right in the town though, as some of the inhabitants are acting very, very strange! It’s up to the Mane Six to find the source of the weirdness before it’s too late!

And if your darling enjoys this one, don’t worry as there are many more books that follow it.

Here’s what my eight year old has to say about this one:


What books are your kids reading right now?

What book should my daughter read next?

The Best Book I Read This Summer | And 2 More Books Worth Mentioning

What’s the best thing you’ve read this summer? Jo asked this question on her blog recently and although I answered her in the comments section, I decided it was a question that deserved its own post here. I know you are always looking for a good book recommendation – it’s what makes us kindred spirits, after all.

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This summer I finally read Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas after it was recommended to me by basically everyone. Maas is kind of a big name in young adult literature but she has basically a thousand books and I was having a hard time remembering which one I was supposed to read but I finally got my ‘ish together and got a copy of TOG and found a moment in between book club picks to see what the fuss was all about.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

This book completely sucked me in and I totally get why so many people love it. I loved all of the characters, especially Calaena, and was so invested in the story. The best part is that it’s part of a well established series so there are plenty more books to OMG my way through.

There are a small handful of books that I find myself borderline pushing on people when we talk books – perhaps I’ve all but thrown Cinder by Marissa Meyer or anything by Rainbow Rowell your way? This is your newest assigned reading in the People Who Can Be Book Friends With Jen Club.

Okay so we’ve established that I’m obsessed with this book but I read a few other winners this summer that I think are worth mentioning if you need one more book to curl up with this summer (or fall, I’m not picky).


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If you are looking for a book that will combine a futuristic society, virtual reality and absolutely every cult classic from the 1980’s and throw in a good old love story to boot – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is there for you.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be … And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the easter egg / ultimate lottery ticket hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday before his death – that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

This one is being turned into a movie that I’m not sure if I’m excited for or dreading but if you want to experience the book first now is your chance.


28372019If you want a sweet story that’s as old as time ; you know the one – bookworm loses job and decides to move to the middle of nowhere in Scotland to sell books out of a van – then The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan is exactly what you need right now.

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker… Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more… Determined to make a new life for herself, [she] buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile…. From helping her [new] grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

It has absolutely nothing to do with You’ve Got Mail (sorry) but don’t let that minor disappointment stop you from picking it up because it’s an otherwise fantastic story. It’s the perfect cure for a case of summertime wanderlust and it’s basically a book lover’s dream.

What’s the best book you’ve read this summer?

3 Graphic Novel Classics: Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre and A Wrinkle in Time

There is a new fad these days that is combining the world of graphic novel with the world of classic literature. Some seem to be more successful than others. My kids have been all about graphic novels this summer and I joined them in the genre with two graphic novel classics. I’m sharing my thoughts on those as well as one that my son read below.


I recently saw this cute edition of Anne of Green Gables: a graphic novel by Mariah Marsden and Brienna Thurmier on NetGalley and couldn’t resist requesting a copy. I am a sucker for Anne Shirley so I was pretty sure it was right up my alley.

I’m of mixed minds on this one so I’ll give you a pro and con list:

PROS

  • The landscape illustrations are gorgeous and feel very Anne inspired.
  • The book goes further than a lot of other adaptations do, all through Anne’s year at teaching school which I’ve noticed other adaptations don’t always cover.
  • It gets a lot of things right. The emotion is there and the overall essence of Anne.

That said…

CONS

  • I didn’t care for the illustrations of the people in the story at all, especially the noses which seemed weird to me.
  • The pacing of the book felt very fast. I understand that a graphic novel cannot convey as much inner dialogue as a regular book but I felt like Anne’s life flew by in a blur and a lot of the heart of the story and some of the smaller plots were left behind.
  • I’m not convinced that a reader new to Anne Shirley would fall in love in quite the same way as experiencing Anne of Green Gables in its original format. But if reading this graphic novel or another adaption can lure them into the original then I suppose that would be worth it!

Overall: Some Anne is better than No Anne (3/5)


I found this copy of Jane Eyre in the graphic novel section the library and decided to give it a try. I’ve tried reading the novel a few times but stalled through the rather dreary beginning.

I cannot attest to how well this compares to the original. I would not be shocked to hear others give similar feedback to my impressions of Anne of Green Gables above. But I actually finished this, which is more than I can say for the original.

I liked the artwork a lot – the characters are well drawn and feel authentic to their personalities. The scenes are rather lush and dreamy or gloomy when gloomy is called for (which is often tbh). I still found the story rather dreary but the graphic novel version allowed me to plow through a bit faster and get to the good stuff. I think you could consider this a decent Cliff’s Notes version of the real thing.

Overall: Beautiful artwork, decent Cliff’s Notes (4/5)


I didn’t actually read this one but I’m anxious to. My son devoured this graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and then would not stop talking about it. He’s now working on book two of the series in actual book form. SO, here’s what we know through subtle observation:

  • The artwork is pretty darn cool. This I know from peering over his shoulder.
  • It’s also longer than a lot of the other graphic novel classics I’ve seen so it might do a better job telling the full story. Just a guess.
  • It sucked in the attention of my 11 year old and he didn’t want to do anything but read it once he picked it up.
  • Even better – it successfully lured him into reading the next book despite it being a boring old paperback. I call that a successful mission.

Overall: A rousing success in this momma’s opinion but I still haven’t read it myself so I can’t grade the book only my momma bear satisfaction which is a definite 5/5! 


Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What graphic novel should I try next?

What classic would you like to see turned into a graphic novel?

First Day of School / Solar Eclipse

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My kids started school today and of course I was there with my camera to photograph every minute of our morning. In lieu of a printout with their grade written on it, I decided to try  something new and have them hold up a playing card with the number that corresponds to their grade in school this year. I used Phase 10 cards because the numbers are huge and bold. I think it came out pretty cute.

This is a big milestone year for us at school because both of my kids are in the downstairs portion of the school that is sort of considered the land of the Big Kids. The other moms in my daughter’s 3rd grade class all commiserated / celebrated the moment with me – we all agreed it was surreal to see them downstairs this year. We are excited for the year to come.

I spent the morning having coffee with school parents and then a quick trip to Target (of course) for a few random items still on my shopping list. I was feeling pretty much pure bliss driving in my oh so quiet car. Before I knew it though it was time to pick them up – they only had a half day today so we met Dan for lunch and then drove over to a nearby park to watch the solar eclipse.

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Dan found these nifty glasses online several months ago – they have all the certifications that they have been tested and are safe to use and even on a pretty cloudy day they totally worked. Just looking around without the glasses it didn’t look like anything was really happening. The sun was only partially covered by the moon and the cloudiness honestly made it look like just a normal overcast day. But through the glasses we were able to watch the moon travel across the sun, covering all but a small crescent shaped portion of it. Pretty cool!

Were you able to see the eclipse at all from where you live?

When do your kids go back to school?

Who else wants my daughter’s unicorn dress to be made in grown up size?

Norse Mythology Book Tag

 

Birdie Bookworm tagged me for this Norse Mythology book tag that looked too fun to pass up. If you love books and/or Norse mythology def. keeping reading. And make sure you check out Birdie’s blog for more bookish fun. She’s one of my fave book tag suppliers and terrific in general.


The Rules:

  • Link back to the original post on Kyera’s Library so she can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, I don’t get notified if you just tag my URL)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wonderful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

ODIN – Favorite Standalone

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse Gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine, and war, among other things.

10515068This one was kinda hard because most of my favorite books are actually part of a series or at least have a sequel of some kind. I decided to go with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because it was a stand alone story to the author even if countless people have added their own take on the material.

So many love stories take their cues from Pride and Prejudice – it’s been rewritten intentionally and unintentionally for an incredibly long time and even though it was written so long ago and shows up on school required reading lists, etc. It’s actually 100% deserving of the hype.


THOR – A Book that Hits You in the Feels

Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms, so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful Lady Sif.

15749186To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is basically all feels all the time. If you need a feel good chicken soup for the soul style love story that is fresh and relevant – Jenny Han is the girl for you. She’ll take you on an emotional roller coaster that you won’t really want to disembark from at all.

This is a YA love story but it’s also about family and growing up and the main character cooks so much good food that you will be starving basically the entire time you are reading.

Good news: It’s the first in a series and the newest book just came out this year.


LOKI – Biggest Book Plot Twist or Character Betrayal

Loki is the god of mischief, thieves and thrives on chaos.

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This might seem like an odd selection for this category if you haven’t read the book yet but I’m guessing that anyone who has read it is nodding their head with me right now going, “Seriously. Did not see that coming.”

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a sweet YA love story starring a girl who is literally allergic to everything and basically living that bubble girl life until a new book moves in next door and shit goes down.

It’s supremely well written and a seriously fast read because you will be unwilling to put it down once you start.


FRIGG – OTP (One True Pairing)

Frigg is Odin’s wife, the goddess of love, marriage, fertility, and fate.

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Anne and Gilbert for the win. Honestly Elizabeth and Darcy would work well here, too, but I already talked about Pride and Prejudice so I figured it would only be fair to talk about one of my other fave couples of all book-time. Of course they are basically babies in Anne of Green Gables (or, you know, tweenagers) but over the course of L.M. Montgomery’s series they seriously come to define #relationshipgoals

I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables until I was a grown assed woman so I’m here to tell you it’s never too late if you haven’t read it yet. I get just as much out of this story as a mom to a precocious daydreaming girlie as I did when I was a tweenie myself.


HEIMDALL – Favorite Second Book in a Series

Heimdall is the god of loyalty, faithfulness and he is who protects the bi-frost, the bridge that connects all nine worlds.

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Pretties is book two in a series by Scott Westerfeld. You want to read Uglies first. This series came out twelve years ago and seems to be more of a cult favorite than a global phenomenon but if you like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Lunar Chronicles, etc. then this series will definitely be up your alley.

In a world where ugliness is literally cured on your sixteenth birthday with an operation that will make you – you guessed it, pretty – things are of course not all that they seem.

This series absolutely sucked me in from the get go and book two holds up just as well as the first. It’s iconic dystopian and heartbreaking at times but soooo good.


SIF – Most Beautiful Book Cover

Lady Sif is known for her beautiful golden tresses, although she is also the goddess of the harvest and is married to Thor.

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I read a lot of pretty books but The Selection series by Kiera Cass have some of my favorite covers. This is another great series for fans of YA Dystopian. It’s kind of a blend of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor and it is seriously so addictive.

Follow America Singer who is rather reluctantly taking part in a competition to win the crown prince’s hand in marriage for the sake of her family. Love triangles, political intrigue, fancy ballgowns and gossip for days. This is a book to lose yourself in on a long summer day.


FREY – Book/Series that Makes You Happy

Frey is the Lord of weather, god of light, summer, master of agriculture, fertility, and brother of Freya.

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My daughter discovered The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin last year in the form of these new graphic novels and I have to admit they are adorable. It pains me a little that she’s mostly only interested in the graphic novel versions that are out right now but I get over that when we get to talk about which Babysitter we love the most and which one we relate to the most, etc. My darling girl has declared Dawn as her favorite. I always loved Claudia but I’m a total Mary Anne.

I cannot wait until she starts diving into the rest of the series which should keep her pretty busy what with there being over 100 of them.


FREYA – Favorite Book Setting

Freya is the goddess of love and beauty, fertility, war, wealth and growth, and sister of Frey.

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I mean, really, who amongst us doesn’t want to go to Hogwarts? The Harry Potter universe has been one of my favorite places to escape to for a very long time now. I love this illustrated edition of the first book – it is absolutely stunning. And a bit cheaper than going to the Harry Potter world at Universal or flying to London.

For the record, I’ve long considered myself a Ravenclaw though occasionally I have Hufflepuff tendencies. How about you?


TYR – Favorite Book with a Big Upheaval/Epic Fight Scene

Tyr is the god of war.

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I just read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas recently so the big throw down at the end is still pretty vivid in my mind. I am extremely anxious to return to the series but I’m in Book Club Mode right now so it will have to wait along with all of the other books that I am extremely anxious to read (I won’t lie, it’s a long list).

This is the first book in a series about an 18 year old assassin who is released from a prison sentence early by the crown prince but only if she agrees to enter a competition to become the king’s champion and royal assassin.


ULLER – Character Death that Affected You the Most

Uller is the god of death, winter, archery and hunting.

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I know I already mentioned Harry Potter but seriously were any of us okay after this book? I won’t even say the words on the off chance that you haven’t read the series (who even are you?) though I’m guessing the rest of the Internet wouldn’t be as kind.

I recommend this series with every fiber of my being but I won’t lie and say that it won’t break your heart a few times.


NJORD – Favorite Book that’s an Epic Journey on Water/Ocean Setting

Njord is the god of the wind and the sea.

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Okay I know this one is a serious stretch but I don’t read a lot of books that fit this category. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple definitely involves an epic journey and a cruise ship is involved.

It’s also an Epistolary novel which means it’s written in the form of letters, emails, etc. rather than in a traditional narrative form. Sometimes this format is terrible but occasionally it is awesome. I think this one falls more in the line of awesome.

It’s about a SAHM who basically loses all of her cool about living that suburban soccer mom life and disappears. Her family has to go through her online correspondences to figure out what happened and where she went. Funnier than it should be and relatable if absurd.


VALKYRIE – Favorite Strong Female Character

The Valkyries, much like the Amazons, are strong female warriors.

book one of the Lunar Chronicles

There is literally no other appropriate answer to this question. Like it would be a crime against humanity not to say Cinder and all the other leading characters of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you are looking for kick ass female characters to root for, this series is here for you.

I am starting to feel less silly telling people that they need to read this book about a cyborg Cinderella who goes on to team up with other fairy tale characters that are totally futuristic dystopian retellings of stories you thought you knew really well. But everyone I have recommended this amazing series to has loved it so I recommend it in full earnestness now: YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING.


AESIR/VANIR – Favorite Book “Crew”

The Aesir and the Vanir are the two groups of Norse gods, believed to be the old and new gods.

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In addition to some of the other great series I’ve already mentioned that feature an incredible cast of characters (Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles), My Lady Jane was written by a great book crew –  Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. And it features a pretty stellar group of characters. Everytime I thought I knew who I was rooting for, the authors would add in more people whom I absolutely wanted nothing but good things for.

If Cinder seemed like an odd book to recommend to people, brace yourself. Because now I have to tell you that you absolutely must read this historical retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey who is married off to a stranger, briefly the Queen of England, and also falls in love with a horse. Okay only some of those things actually happen. Or do they?


SEIPYRTS – Favorite Sidekick (Non-Human Character)

Seipyrts is Odin’s trusty eight legged steed, yes you heard that correctly – eight legs.  I promise that he is the god’s horse companion and not a giant spider that he rides around on… although that would probably strike more fear in the hearts of his enemies than a pretty horse does.

29772863So I convinced you to read The Lunar Chronicles and you were there for it but then the series ended and now you are feeling a little angsty and aren’t sure what to do with yourself. Good news! Meyers wrote a graphic novel continuation called Wires and Nerve that picks up where the final book left off and it stars our favorite android sidekick, Iko.

This is a super quick read that lovers of the original series will probably really enjoy but if you haven’t read the O.S. then you might be confused and not get much out of it. So start at the beginning like a good little doobie. I promise it’s worth it.

Wires and Nerve is going to help you scratch that itch that just wants to live in the world of The Lunar Chronicles forever. You’ll get to see what everyone is up to and also SEE them for basically the first time. And there is a second one coming out in 2018 so maybe this never has to end?


TAG YOU’RE IT

I’m a filthy little rule breaker and don’t feel like tagging people today but if you read this whole post then you are definitely tagged. If you skimmed through it to see if you were tagged then you are tagged but please go read the post, too. Then leave a comment with your favorite YA novel that I didn’t mention yet.

PRINTABLE | A Quick & Easy Summer Reading Challenge

Our summer vacation is coming to a close – two more weeks until my kiddos go back to school. I was looking over the summer reading bingo sheets today and thinking about what’s working and what isn’t working.

I love a lot of things about this set up – my kids didn’t seem to get much use out of the coupons that you can win at our library’s summer reading program and keeping track of reading minutes or titles all summer sounded a lot like homework. Thus my bingo sheets were born.

Fast forward two years though and I feel like the bingo sheets are met with enthusiasm for the first week or so and then mostly forgotten. Every so often I’d go over the sheet, asking them questions like “Did you read any books about animals?” or “Did you start reading a new series this summer?” and even though the answer might have been yes, they were often unsure having forgotten exact titles.

My kids have been reading a ton this summer – quantity has not been an issue. If anything, our system just seems to be unnecessarily complicated. And we’ve been busy enough to not have time for unnecessarily complicated systems. So I decided to make a pared down reading challenge that highlights our favorite aspects of the current system.

Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy does an annual reading challenge that I love and this year’s challenge included a handy bookmark to keep tucked in your current read. I loved this idea and decided to incorporate it into a new reading challenge for next year.

I know a lot of you still have several weeks of summer left and thought I’d share this here in case you want to motivate your kids to squeeze in some extra reading time before school starts.

BEHOLD: The Summer Reading Challenge For People With No Time For Summer Reading Challenges

2018 summer reading

Print it as a bookmark or open up your favorite photo editing site and make your own – I use picmonkey.com to make all my graphics and highly recommend it. It’s all online and has tons of graphics and fonts and flexibility. / Plug