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books & reading homeschool quick lit reviews

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

We’re already halfway through the month of January and my reading life for 2021 is in full swing, thanks to homeschooling and bedtime reading. I’m joining along with Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy to share what I’ve been reading over the last month.

Books I’ve Finished Recently

Calico Bush was one of our last read alouds and I still have mixed feelings about it. We loved most of the book and got very wrapped up in the lives of the characters. But I’m still shook over one section of the story that I think was too intense and graphic (and tragic) for the target audience of the book.

Only the Name Remains was probably my least favorite homeschool reader and definitely my daughter’s least favorite this year. Compared to all the other books we’ve read, it was dry and dragging, which is tough to acknowledge when trying to read about a difficult part of history. It just didn’t breathe the story to life for us.

Murder, Served Simply was book 3 in the Amish Quilt Shop series. I’m obsessed with the author and series and conveniently I got to read this Christmas tale of murder and meddling parents and love triangles during Christmas vacation.

Banner in the Sky is the book my 6th grader is reading right now. It was slow to start and I was initially worried it would be a slog, but it quickly swept me away to the Swiss Alps and earned a 5 star rating from yours truly.

What I’m Currently Reading

Right now we’re reading Betsy and the Emperor aloud and we’re both hooked on this story of Napoleon’s enprisonment on St Helena. The title character is delightfully sassy.

I have been hearing endlessly good things about the Brave Writer program and the creator’s book, The Brave Learner so I bought her book to check it out and so far so good. I really appreciate her viewpoint on education and I’m looking forward to picking up some tricks and tips.

I’ve been reading 10 Things I Hate About Pinky at night before bed for the past few nights. The author is a favorite of mine and I was hooked from the premise which is reminiscent of 10 Things I Hate About You.

I’m prereading Homeless Bird right now before my 6th grader starts it next month. It’s an intense plot, but so far I’ve found it very readable. I’ve only gotten a few chapters in though. It’s basically about an arranged marriage gone horribly wrong.

We started reading Soft Rain during our morning basket time at the suggestion of a friend and fellow homeschooler, after commiserating over our lack of enjoyment of Only the Names Remain. So far I’d definitely agree that this is a much more enjoyable narrative to read about the topic of the Trail of Tears. This morning my daughter even begged for one more chapter, always a good sign.


What are you reading right now?

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books & reading quick lit

What I’ve Been Reading Lately | June 15, 2020

How has summer been treating your reading life? I’ve found that quarantine life equals lazy mornings which results in staying up late reading most nights. So my nightstand reads are getting a fair amount of attention. Those are the lighter, fluffier reads that I trust not to make sleeping difficult.

My book club picks have been hit or miss. Most of them have had heavier subjects that my poor little quarantine brain hasn’t been able to deal with. But our May pick managed to hold my attention and I finished it in the nick of time.

I’ve also been reading some books with the kids. My daughter and I are reading Babysitter’s Club super specials together for a mother daughter book club. And my teenager has put a couple of good books in my hands after devouring them.

Here are the books I’ve finished in the last month or so.

  1. REALLY LIKED Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer | Finished 5/23 | I read this at the recommendation of my 14 year old and my husband who both loved it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this – a fantastic blend of fantasy, action and sci fi starring an villainous but brilliant twelve year old. This is a fast paced read and a lot of fun. Looking forward to book two!
  2. LOVED Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng | Finished 5/30 | This book was a slow burn for me (pun intended) but the more I read, the more it grabbed me. The second half went by fast. I think the author did a great job peeling away the details at the right time. Very well done.
  3. LOVED Aloha, Babysitters by Ann M. Martin | Finished 6/2 | Read this with my daughter for a little mother daughter book club. I don’t remember reading it before actually so it was fun not knowing what was going to happen. I don’t remember Abby and liked getting to know her character. This super special had a lot of action and adventure and I loved the descriptions of Hawaii. 🥰🥰🥰
  4. REALLY LIKED Uprooted by Naomi Novik | Finished 6/7 | Howls Moving Castle meets Moana meets The Witcher. This reads like a dark, adult fairy tale and sweeps you away.

Right now I’m reading The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman and The Babysitter’s at Shadow Lake by Ann M. Martin.

What have you been reading lately?

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books books & reading quick lit

Quick Lit | March 2020

It’s midway through March and perhaps the strangest March I’ve ever witnessed. We got word Friday night that the schools will be closed until April 5 in response to this whole Kovid-19 situation. But why talk about that when we could talk about books instead?

I’m linking up with Anne’s Quick Lit series to share the books I’ve read in the past month. That’s actually a pretty short list for me. I’ve finished two books but I really enjoyed them both so that’s a pretty good success rate.

My book club read and discussed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman last month. This was my second attempt at reading the book, but I ended up really enjoying it this time. A few more chapters in and I finally got immersed enough to enjoy. I listened to the audio book at the recommendation of a friend and that also helped. The narrator’s accent was a delight. I will say that I did not love the big reveal at the end. It felt kind of forced and unsatisfying for me.

I also read I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. This was my nightstand read in between listening to the book club audio book during the day. The premise of this book is borderline insane but once I got over that it was a lot of fun. The banter and chemistry is great and there’s a whole subplot that borders on action adventure. A crazy, fluffy delight.


Right now I’m reading The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, which will be our next book club discussion at the end of the month. Although it looks like it might have to be a virtual group chat discussion the way things are going! What a crazy time! Reading a book centering around World Wars helps to put things in perspective though. 😉


What are you ready right now?

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books & reading quick lit

What I’ve Been Reading Lately | March and April

It’s halfway through April and I thought it might be a good time to link up with Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy and share the books I’ve been reading lately. It seems like it takes about two months for me to read enough books to justify a new post and I am making my peace with that.

This year I am trying to attend to the backlog of books I already own, which is hardly a big sacrifice because I got 99 problems and 97 of them are too many books. Such problems, I know.

Right now I’m about halfway through Renegades by Marissa Meyer. I’m not sure what took me so long to start this one, but I’m glad I finally cracked it open (clicked it open? #kindlelife). As much as I liked Heartless, it didn’t really hold a candle to The Lunar Chronicles. This one though, I am hooked. It’s super heroes vs. villians in another futuristic dystopia with all the world building goodness that I love from Meyer.

Here are the other books I’ve finished since I last linked up.

  1. Mother Daughter Book Camp by Heather Vogel Frederick | Finished 2/18 | Hard to believe the book club is heading to college! This was a fun farewell story. I’ll miss this series.
  2. Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Daniel Handler | Finished 2/23 | This was cute. More of a scrapbook than a story. Fun for people who finished the book and the Netflix series and you need a Snicket fix. But it definitely does not stand on its own.
  3. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett | Finished 3/1 | You’ve Got Mail meets Sleepless in Seattle for YA. I really enjoyed this. The characters had a lot of depth, the story felt unique but just the right amount of predictable. Couldn’t put it down.
  4. Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson | Finished 3/9 | Fantastical, I loved reading about all the different creatures on the island.
  5. I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn | Finished 3/12 | A long distance BFF friendship story told through texts and emails over the course of one year of college. Not my favorite read, but oddly fascinating in a fly on the wall kind of way.
  6. Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center | Finished 3/19 | I loved this. Bingeable and delicious but also real and with plenty of depth and character growth. I’ll definitely be checking out her other books.

So what are you reading right now?

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books & reading quick lit

What I’ve Been Reading Lately | January & February

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My reading habits for 2019 have definitely been of the slow and steady variety but I seem to be falling into a steady rhythm finally and getting back to my bookish self. The two big things which have helped are :

1) Just reading what I love and not worrying about finishing a book that isn’t doing it for me.

2) Not playing with my phone in bed at night. Night time is for reading and not Facebook, email or dumb cell phone games. I even turned on a feature on my phone that sets the display to grayscale at 9:30pm to remind me to put the phone down. This has also resulted in me reading more of my actual physical books which is a bonus because I’ve been trying to read more of the books I already own.

27204972Right now I’m nearly finished reading Mother Daughter Book Camp by Heather Vogel Frederick, the latest and probably last book in the Mother Daughter Book Club series. It’s the summer before the girls go off to college and I cannot even deal with that sentence because seriously weren’t they in middle school like a minute ago?

24882242I’m also reading The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson on my kindle, though admittedly not as diligently. It’s a look at the history of the English language and it’s fascinating and filled with Bryson-humor and wit but it’s still non-fiction which means you probably won’t see a finished date for awhile.


Here are the books I’ve finished so far this year:

  1. 51Kpt34RjTLJeneration X by Jen Lancaster | Finished 1/14 | One of her better collections of essays IMO. Lots of funny stories. Her books always feel like chatting with your BFF. This one is about adulting or sometimes a lack of adulting and lessons learned from trying to adult better.
  2. 51gwhvro6+lDon’t You Forget About Me by Liz Tipping |Finished 1/31| Slightly getting by on the British locale and the love interest. I rooted for the main character but was continuously frustrated with her. John Hughes fans will enjoy the many, many references to his movies.
  3. 51tg+hbjillIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins |Finished 2/11|I loved Anna and the French Kiss and the writing style in this one also make the story compulsively readable but the main character’s choices throughout the book drove me batty. I had to kind of check my opinions at the door with this one.
  4. 34895950The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill | Finished 2/16 |A short sweet graphic novel about a young girl who learns to care for tea dragons. A quick one-sitting read. I’ll be passing this one onto my nine year old next.

What have you been reading lately?

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books & reading quick lit reviews

What I’ve Been Reading | September

I’ve had a somewhat slow burning month of reading, if we’re going to be honest. I seem to be flitting from book to book quite a bit, especially on my Kindle where I have finished nothing for ages. But I did finish two books on my nightstand in the past month or so and they were both excellent.

Here are the books I’ve finished:

51cZnaZEEfL._SY346_My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi MeadowsFinished 8/16 – The retelling of Jane Eyre that you never knew was missing from your life. I loved this as thoroughly as their last book and was frankly disappointed when it ended. Can I demand a sequel? 5 stars (full review)


13316328The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper FfordeFinished 9/12 – I continue to love Fforde’s world building. This was a fast paced beginning to a new series, this time geared towards a more Middle Reader / YA crowd – but he’s not dumbing it down for the kiddos. I really enjoyed it and plan to read the next one. 4 stars


Right Now I’m Reading:

I picked up a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman at a used bookstore and I’ve just started to tiptoe into this story. I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for awhile so I’m psyched to finally be getting to it.

I’m also still reading Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham on my Kindle, but it’s been slightly tossed to the backburner in favor of I’d Rather Be Reading, Anne Bogel’s new book. I’m enjoying both but not making much progress with either because I haven’t firmly decided which one I’m actually reading right now. Also I’ve been concentrating more on writing during the day so I haven’t been reading on my Kindle as much anyway. I feel like this is sort of a good thing though, as it means I am writing more.


I’m linking up with Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy to talk about the books I’ve read this month and what I’m reading now. Let me know if you are participating also and I’ll come check out your post!

What are you reading right now?

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books & reading quick lit

What I’ve Been Reading Lately | July 2018

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Guys, I have been reading like crazy this month! At least compared to my typical reading habits this year of finishing roughly 1.5 books a month, July has been insane. Book snobs might comment that perhaps this is because I’ve pretty much only read YA / Middle Reader books this month. This is true. But I’ve also loved reading this month and it’s been awhile since I felt like I could say that honestly.

I just listened to an old podcast episode at the Lazy Genius Collective about improving your reading life and I pretty much spent the whole 20 minutes nodding my head and thinking, “Yes! This exactly!” So I’m reveling in this reading for the pure joy of loving to read thing and not feeling any guilt about what I’m reading and what quality of literature it is.

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Here’s what that’s looked like for me in July:

35247769Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Finished July 12th

This one pretty much got by on nostalgia for me. It was oddly anticlimatic for most of the book because Lara Jean spent most of the story nope-ing right on out of any stressful situation. Guess how well that works out for her? Overall the book was perfectly fine but not as good as the first two. I am seriously excited to see the new Netflix adaptation of book one.

3 stars


27876157Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Finished July 12th

We listened to the audio book as a family during our last family road trip and it proved well worth a “re-read” – I think I enjoyed it more the second time around. This was my first time listening to an audio book of this series and I agree with the masses – Jim Dale is phenomenal at narrating the books and it’s well worth a listen.

5 stars


34930815Gone Rogue (Wires and Nerve Vol. 2) by Marissa Meyer

Finished July 16th

This one is less recappy than the first one – it really delves into the story more and covers more ground. It kept me up late towards the end, wondering how everything would play out. I am still not sure if these graphic novels would stand alone without having read the original series but who would NOT read the original series? Seriously, go read Cinder right now!

4 stars


348573The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Finished July 19th

I read this out loud to the kids. The story was interesting but it was kind of a bear to read out loud, if I’m going to be honest. The first half is pretty slow and the whole books seems like it’s written with a bigger vocabulary than the target audience is likely to possess if only because of all of the outdated terms.

3 stars


51raXxdzJPLFrom Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Finished July 24

A very bingeable YA book. I stayed up late 3 nights in a row with this one (old person late, like 11pm). Well worth the general fatigue that this caused me. Sahlil will be your next book crush. Twinkle is both brilliant and kind of dumb – easy to relate to even in between wondering when teenagers became so driven so young – seriously I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at their age!

4 stars


What have you been reading?

 

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books & reading family fun quick lit

3 YA novels to stay up too late shipping.

Quick Lit: 09.15.2016

It’s mid-September which mean’s Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy is writing about the books she’s been reading recently as part of her Quick Lit link up series. Wanna play along? Write about the books you’ve been reading over the past month or so, then head to her blog to link up!

I’ve read three books since mid August, not including the hefty handful of books that seem to be perpetually in the mid-read but never finish zone. I noticed as I was starting this post that the three I did finish all have something in common – they were all young adult love stories with characters and writing styles that were fresh and crisp and super binge worthy. All three of these books had me reaching for them in any quiet moment and all three found me staying up too late so I could maybe read just one more chapter…

They also all feature intelligent, funny if slightly romantically clueless leading ladies and their romantic counterparts are all going to be your next literary crush. Sound good? Here are the three books you’ll want to squeal to all your friends about:

22840421My Lady Jane by coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I honestly loved everything about this book from the premise to the characters to the writing style. Hysterical and well written with several characters that you will root for and an incredible story to boot!

I’ll warn you, the premise of this book is a little wonky so when you start trying to describe it to your friends they will probably wonder what drugs you are on. It’s kind of like that time when I said, “so there’s this cyborg Cinderella story that you have to read!” and only people who had also read The Lunar Chronicles didn’t smile uncomfortably and pretend to be on board. Get ready to justify being super excited to go read a few more chapters about a girl who unknowingly gets married to a horse. 

This book has multiple couples to ship, an historical timeline to learn more about… kind of… and some magical / fantasy elements for good measure.

23305614Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to read this one and it was definitely worth the wait. After just a few chapters in, I found myself carrying this book with me everywhere I went so I could sneak in a few more pages here and there until it was done.

This is a sweet love story, a very funny peek inside the main character’s family life that will have you relating to everyone and groaning in commiseration. It’s also an honest and up close peek at social anxiety at it’s worst and shines a light on teen bullying.

But did I mention the love story? Oh my gosh, it’s the sweetest. I love Sophie Kinsella and I was just super loving this foray into young adult fiction.

18189606Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I got sucked into this story really quickly. The main character, Emily, is extremely shy and totally oblivious but you love and root for her anyway and Frank is just allllll the things. I loved this book.

Aside from being a love story, it’s also a friend story. We’ve all had the Emily / Sloane friendship and maybe we’ve even had moments of being both Emilys and Sloanes. The list of items that Sloane left for Emily to do really made for a funny and interesting book and the characters are all very fleshed out.

And again, the family aspects of this book were great, too. There were a lot of different kinds of families in this story and I think each character probably thought their families were the craziest and their friends were so lucky, but as you work your way through the book, Emily kind of starts to realize that everyone feels that way and starts to feel more appreciative about what she has. I liked that the book felt real and honest – characters felt authentic even when you sometimes wished they wouldn’t.

Of the three, this book had my favorite love story and left me feeling super angsty that my time with them was over. I would not turn down a super self serving sequel just so I could spend some more time with them.

What have you been reading lately?

What’s your most recent favorite couple to ship?

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books & reading quick lit

Quick Lit: July 2016

readinglately

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve linked up with Anne’s Quick Lit series so I’m going to give you guys a full recap for the last two months just in case you missed out on hearing about my bookish tendencies in June because there were some goodies last month! Here is the low down on what I’ve been reading lately:

 

    • 25852870Eligible by Curtis SittenfeldI’m a sucker for Pride and Prejudice adaptations and thoroughly enjoyed this one. Sittenfeld took some interesting departures from the original but overall I think it was an excellent modernization. I would imagine some people might not enjoy a few liberties taken, especially P & P purists, but I thought it was a lot of fun.

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  • Old World Murder by Kathleen Ernst – I live in Wisconsin so it was a lot of fun reading a murder mystery that takes place in my state. Lots of local references to enjoy. Additionally, it’s a good and compelling story that took awhile to build but kept my interest and then consumed my interest in the second half. It ends on a cliff hanger that led to me immediately downloading the next book.
  • 13449693The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this as much as I was hoping too. I think the hype got the better of me. Something about the book kept me at arm’s length and I wasn’t able to really lose myself to the story. But it ended with a lot of questions still unanswered that have me considering reading the next book at some point. I liked a lot of aspects of this book, I just didn’t quite love it.
  • 18079710Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead– I really enjoyed this. One of the rare instances where having seen the movie first did not deter me from reading the book later – I think this was an interesting take on the world of vampires and I’m definitely planning to read book 2!

28669464Right now my book club is reading The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett so that book is on my front burner. It’s kind of a sliding doors style story of how two people’s lives would be depending on how small details of their lives play out.

What are you reading right now?

 

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