Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan 368 Pages | $7.99 on Kindle

Nina Redmond is a librarian with a gift for finding the perfect book for her readers. But can she write her own happy-ever-after? In this valentine to readers, librarians, and book-lovers the world over, the New York Times-bestselling author of Little Beach Street Bakery returns with a funny, moving new novel for fans of Meg Donohue, Sophie Kinsella, and Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan scratched several literary itches of mine. It features a bookish main character, Nina, who is struggling to decide what to do with her life. After losing her library job, she decides to move to Scotland and run a bookshop out of a gigantic van. This isn’t as crazy as if I decided to move to Scotland because she lived in London before whereas I would have to cross an ocean and obtain a work visa but the end result is that she finds herself surrounded by Scottish accents and idyllic countryside. She soon finds herself in a total Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennet style romance which is basically my favorite kind.

The story is a good balance between Nina deciding what she wants out of life, literary references and much talk of book loving, exploring a new place and a solid love story. I enjoyed every little second of it and when I finished I went on a ‘What Else Has Jenny Colgan Written?’ wish list spree. My only complaint is that the title and book cover totally make you think it’s about a book store or possibly related to You’ve Got Mail. 


READ THIS NEXT

So you read this book and loved it (or anticipate doing so) and now the question is what to read next. Here are my suggestions:

 

For More Jenny Colgan: Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe is another solid Colgan title. Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe.

For More Scottish Romance: The Highlander’s Hope by Cali MacKay is a perfect blend of romance novel / legit story with plot. It’s slightly more racy than Jenny Colgan but definitely a solid story. When Dr. Catriona Ross discovers clues to a long lost highland treasure, her only hope of finding the jewels is to obtain the help of Scotland’s most eligible bachelor and playboy, Iain MacCraigh.

For More Sweet Love Stories: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han has that same kind of sweetness and another narrator who is shy and a little bit clueless in love. 16 year old Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed.

Your turn! What books would you recommend to fans of Jenny Colgan?

What John Mayer Album Do You Need Right Now?

John Mayer just released a new album so you know it is living in my car and my kids are gradually learning every word to every song. Basically nothing has changed because over the years John Mayer has always been the background music to my life. In between fads and new favorite artists, he was always there to help me through whatever relationship stage I found myself in.

Fast forward to today and I’ve been happily married for ten years. John hasn’t caught up to me yet so now it’s more like we’re reminiscing together about the relationship stages of years past. I was thinking the other day about the sort of singular feeling that you can find in each of his albums. They all tell a pretty clear story in my opinion and they each serve their own purpose. Depending on what kind of relationship or break up you are in right now, John has an album for you.

For instance…

If you are in those warm and fuzzy days of new love you need:

Room for Squares

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An oldie but a goodie. Your relationship will resonate well with some of the top hits like Your Body Is a Wonderland, City Love, Great Indoors or Why Georgia.

Also consider: Some of his live albums like As/Is or Any Given Thursday. If you aren’t listening to the live albums, you have barely cracked the surface of John. Come for the audience interaction and stay for the guitar solos.

If you are thinking it might be time to break up, you need:

Battle Studies

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This album is like an ode to love gone wrong with angsty tracks like Heartbreak Warfare, All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye and Friends, Lovers or Nothing. Let it fuel your resolution to move on or perhaps make you go, “Oh never mind. We’re nothing like that. I must just need a Snickers bar.”

When you are licking the wounds from an ugly breakup, you need:

Where The Light Is

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This is my favorite of his live albums and in my opinion you need it regardless of breakup stage but if you are in this way there is no album better to rage against the audacity of a horrible ex. Who Did You Think I Was, Out of My Mind, Vultures, Everyday I Have The Blues, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room. This is two discs of perfection that will soothe your heart and distract you from the desire to go key your exes car. Cheaper than therapy.

When you need to literally reinvent your whole life, it was that bad, you need:

Born & Raised

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Get a hair cut, start listening to a new genre of music, maybe change towns all together. John has got you. This album has more of a country western vibe but it’s still the John Mayer you know and love. Shadow Days, Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, Queen of California, Whiskey Whiskey Whiskey. Whether you are tucking in your tail because you know your behaviors were prettttty bad or maybe you are in witness protection program and you are hiding in Florida with a new name and a longing for home (remember that episode of Brooklyn 99?) Whatever is causing this need to reinvent yourself, this album should do the trick.

When you are just working on yourself and trying not to think about relationships at all, you need:

Heavier Things

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You have more important things to do than think about some ex. You are jamming out to Clarity, New Deep, Bigger Than My Body, Something’s Missing. You are busy and I totally respect that. For added measure, grab a copy of Waiting on the World to Change and get on with your bad self.

When you are second guessing that breakup and missing someone in a bad way, you need:

The Search for Everything

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This is John’s newest album and it’s retrospective and quiet in places but a little dancey and a little different. It’s got this vibe that makes you kind of pump your shoulders up and down involuntarily and feel sad in an almost good way. There’s no anger here, no venom. A little regret maybe but also kind of a serene calm that feels like acceptance and hope. It feels like full circle. Still Feel Like Your Man, Moving on and Getting Over, Changing, and Emoji of a Wave are all great places to start.

So what album do you need when you are happily married and kind of on the other side of all this business?

That’s easy, you need all of them. You won the war, you deserve half a dozen quality albums to reminisce with and memorize to the chagrin of your spouse and children.

7 Brilliant Quotes from Margaret Atwood.

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in college. Okay fine, I read part of it – the whole novel wasn’t required for the class I read it in and then I got busy and didn’t get back to it even though I was seriously enjoying it at the time. Then I kept being busy and then I graduated, had babies, got married and got busier.

Spring forward to the Spring of 2017 and The Handmaid’s Tale has been turned into a tv series on Hulu!!! I finally get to go back to Offred’s world and hear her whole story and see it with my eyeballs. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful and has me feeling like all kinds of a Margaret Atwood fangirl. Somehow I fell down a spiral of looking up her other books on Amazon and then looking at famous quotes that she has said or written. And oh my goodness, they are good.

Here are 7 of my favorite quotes that make me wish I was into crocheting things on pillows.

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“Don’t let the bastards grind you down,” is one of many awesome quotes from The Handmaid’s Tale.

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“A word after a word after a word is power.” This is a line from Spelling – Poem.

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“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” – from Cat’s Eye, 1988

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“You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.” – This is a quote from a commencement speech given to graduating students at the University of Toronto in 1983.

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“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.” – Margaret Atwood

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“War is what happens when language fails.” – The Robber Bride, 1993

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“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed, and that necessary.” – Variation on the Word Sleep, from Selected Poems II: 1976-1986 by Margaret Atwood

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week.

Answering the prompt: 6. Share a quote you love.

Let me know if you are playing along in the comments section!

5 Exceptional Book to Movie Adaptations (a Listicle tag)

Birdie Bookworm nominated me for this Tag.  You might have noticed that I have a love for putting my thoughts into list form so this tag is totally up my alley! The tag was created by Not-So-Modern Girl. Make sure to check out her blog for more fun!

Rules

  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that I can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

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Birdie asked me to share with you guys 5 Exceptional Book to Movie Adaptations. This is no easy feat. I think we book lovers can agree that movie adaptations tend to be disappointing. But here are 5 adaptations that I personally enjoyed.

  1. 51MIi4p2YyL._SX418_BO1,204,203,200_The Harry Potter series has not always been perfect as a film series. It’s heart breaking to see important characters and plot points left out. But on the whole the film franchise totally captures the magic of the books. The only downside is that I made the mistake of showing my children the movies first and now they don’t want to read the books because “they already know what happens.” My heart – it can’t take it! And yet, I totally get it. I try to avoid film adaptations if I’m still planning to read the book because usually it’s a lost cause if I don’t.
  2. downloadMary Poppins as a movie might not have impressed the author, PL Travers, but time has shown that audiences disagree with her on this one and adore this movie unconditionally. Myself for sure included. Who doesn’t know every single song? Who hasn’t been way too in love with Dick Van Dyke ever since? Who doesn’t secretly hope that Mary Poppins will show up and help raise their children? I’d settle for her room cleaning magic and that bigger on the inside purse at the very least! Yes, I think we can all agree that Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way and so is this movie.
  3. tumblr_oas7pj4KDu1vnn16oo1_500Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is both one of my favorite novels and one of my favorite movies. It’s all the things. It came into my life exactly the moment I needed it to and I consider both the book and the movie utter perfection. Vivian Leigh is Scarlett O’Hara. Clark Gable is Rhett Butler. Tomorrow is another day and Ashley was never really worth all of the fuss but we can’t help but love every minute of Scarlett’s obsession with him all the same.
  4. The-Princess-Bride-the-princess-bride-4640774-476-436The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a good book but I think the movie is actually even better. Maybe I’m biased because I saw the movie first (like 800 times). Maybe I’m biased because of my absolute adoration of Carey Elwes (he’s even better in Men in Tights!) but this is seriously a perfect movie (and a perfect story). It has everything – “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles.”
  5. 9780525435006_p0_v1_s192x300I know it’s really a tv-series and not a movie but because it just came out and because it is #allthethings like the other titles on this list, I have to mention The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood which premiered on Hulu last week. There are 4 of 10 episodes available right now and they are perfection. Heartbreaking, soul clutching perfection. But perfection. Don’t watch this one before going to bed. Or right before going for a massage because you will feel raw and vulnerable and that’s like the opposite state of mind that you want when you are going for a massage. Watch it with a girlfriend in broad day light with wine and chocolate and time to discuss it at great length afterwards. And totally read the book!

This is by no means a comprehensive list – but they are 5 books that have been turned into excellent movies or tv series that I can vouch for having experienced both the book and the film. What books would be on your list?

Okay, I’m going to tag Kate @ Mom’s Radius, Alison @ Hardcovers & Heroines, Betsy @ Betsy’s Random Assortment of Thoughts and Kate @ Ex Libris Kate. And also YOU – if you are reading this and going “Oh man! I wanted to be tagged!” Consider yourself hearby tagged to respond to the following prompt:

5 Books You Think Everyone Should Read

4 Kitchen Life Savers.

It seems like every time I turn around there is a new gadget coming out that is supposed to make my life easier. My husband and I have been married for 10 years now so we’ve had 10 years to accumulate hype gadgets that our kitchen apparently can’t live without. Some prove to be lifelong kitchen companions and others take up space in my cabinets until I can convince myself to send it on its way.

My favorite kitchen tools are the ones that are there for every problem, every meal, every situation. The ones you feel like you might as well leave on the counter because you’ll need it again in less than 24 hours. Bonus points if they are pretty.

Here are 4 things helping me rule the kitchen right now.

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THE BEST PAN This Cuisinart 5 1/2 quart saute pan is my everything. I use it almost every day and it never fails me. This sucker is big – it’s capacity for all of the things means it’s a great all purpose pan. I can cook spaghetti in it or cook up all of the ground beef in the house. It is light weight so it heats up quickly meaning I don’t have to stand around waiting for it to get to temperature before I get to cooking already! And it cleans up so nicely – I let it soak for a few minutes after cooking and once it’s cool enough to touch I sing songs about how beautifully all of the grease and grime just washes away. Minimal elbow grease required.

518RCdwL1lLTHE SHORT CUT You guys , we need to talk about these cookie baking sheets because seriously where have they been all my life? I might be showing you just how lazy I am when I tell you that pre-cut parchment paper was a game changer for me, but seriously. It cuts down on the cleanup of my baking sheets like woah and means so much less elbow grease to get burnt off stains removed. Bonus points: They fit my favorite Nordicware baking pans perfectly.

WHAT’S FOR DINNER? I subscribed to Hello Fresh on a whim this winter when I was feeling the absolute depths of ugh in regards to “What’s for dinner?” I felt like I was running in a hamster wheel of the same five recipes and I was bored of all of them. So I clicked one of those ads on Facebook and gave it a whirl. Initially my husband was all kinds of “this costs how much?” and “what do you even need it for?” but then when our dinners started tasting waaaaay better and were also healthier he got on board.

Here’s a peek at some of the meals I’ve made:

Having the guess work taken out of 2-3 meals a week was so liberating – it has made it easier for me to step out of my culinary comfort zones. I’m a pretty Boxed Spaghetti cook (at least I used to be) so initially these recipes felt intimidating but the truth is they are not very hard to make. I just had to get used to actually prepping vegetables and cooking real food on the regular. I’ve started incorporating a lot of the recipes and food preparation methods into my other meals each week and it’s kind of awesome. I feel like I’m going to a private cooking school in my own home. If you have been thinking of signing up, click here for $40 off your first box!

41ZfxX57WhLAFTER DINNER Don’t forget to celebrate your successful domination of the kitchen tonight with a glass of your favorite wine. I just bought these Libbey Classic Wine Glasses and they are kind of the perfect wine glass. The stems are elegant but sturdy, the rim is slightly tapered which is supposed to enhance your wine drinking experience so you can drink fancy. It’s a nice size for red or white wine so you don’t need to make room for an army of breakable wine glasses in your cabinets.

What’s your favorite kitchen work horse item?

What kind of wine should I pour into my new wine glasses next?

5 Apps To Hide in the Bathroom With.

 

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I know a lot of you are home with your kids on spring break right now and maybe you are nearing your breaking point. I mean, maybe you are off on a grand adventure and achieving pure bliss in between hair braiding and picture perfect family picnics – but just in case you are feeling the heavy weight of “when will I be able to watch my shows again and how are you still here???” I’m just saying if you are thinking about going to hide in the bathroom for seventy two hours…

How about a new game on your phone to get addicted to instead? I know we’re supposed to be patient and present and in the moment and smart phones are the worst or something, but whatever. Sometimes a mom needs five minutes with Solitaire to get the skip back in her step.

Here are 5 games on my phone* that I like to turn to when my daughter has been singing the same Moana song for eighteen hours / my son has literally not stopped talking about Minecraft since he woke up.

*I’m an Android girl so my apologies if you are living that Apple life and these games aren’t available — but usually they are on both stores, so definitely check!

We all have different game preferences and different situations call for a different fix.

If you want an artsy kind of puzzle:

Hungry Cat Picross is literally the best picross game you are going to find on your phone. I’m not trying to be Eleanore Exaggeration here. I literally downloaded all of them when I was running out of puzzles and they were all terrible. So save yourself the struggle / data usage and skip straight to this one. I’ve gotten several people hooked on this game. I’m not proud.

If you want to redecorate every day but like for free:

Design Home is the game I never knew I wanted to play. It’s literally designing rooms and then voting your favorite designs, buying virtual couches and potted plants and competing in design challenges. I am way too addicted.

If you are feeling nostaligic for middle school:

MASH is seriously an Android Game now and I won’t like, I made my 7 year old play with me – multiple times. I do wish there were less ads and more varied games but you know – nostalgia for the win. Break this one out when your little girls are getting antsy and need a distraction. Maybe your boys would like it, too, but I’m pretty sure my 11 year old would just roll his eyes at me like my husband did.

If you like hidden picture games:

Fantastic Beasts: Cases has two things going for it – the nerdgasm of Harry Potter universe references and a fun and unique game in its own right that is kind of somewhere between a hidden picture game and a mystery detective game. It may even help to tide you over until the next Fantastic Beasts movie.

 

If you want to take Solitaire to the next level:

Fairway Solitaire is probably the game I open the most frequently right now. It seriously takes Solitaire to new places and has just enough little goals and tasks to keep you checking back in throughout the day. Cute graphics, relatively speedy load times and not too many ads. Plus there is a sneaky gopher causing trouble, so.

What phone apps have you been hooked on lately?

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop again. Let me know if you are playing along, too!

 

 

5 Dystopian Novels for Middle Schoolers.

Dystopian novels are one of my absolute favorite genres of literature but it’s a heavy genre that is hard to recommend to your own children. Like, I loved The Hunger Games but I’m not sure I want my eleven year old reading about a reality show where children are forced to murder each other. It’s a lot. But he’s at a great age to dip his toe into the world of dystopian novels so I spent some time researching possible titles to recommend to him. I thought I’d share my findings with you.
51M5034KtPLThe City of Ember
by Jeanne DuPrau
was one of the first titles I found after a quick search. It’s recommended for kids as young as 8 so you don’t have to stress out too hard about recommending this title.

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues before the lights go out on Ember forever!

Common Sense Media agrees that it’s appropriate for kids 8+ and had no notes of warning for parents. It’s also available as a graphic novel if your kids are as into that as mine.

61QU-tHlj6LLegend by Marie Lu is recommended for kids in the 7th grade and up on Amazon. Common Sense Media recommends 12+. This one isn’t quite as squeaky clean with one passionate kiss and alcohol is served but the main characters do not partake in it. It also contains a fair amount of violence.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

51ql88jksmLThe Giver by Lois Lowry has the stamp of approval of my actual child. He read it in school this year and loved it (thus sparking my desire to find more books for him in the same genre). Common Sense Media recommends this one for ages 11+. There are very mild sexual references and some scenes that might be disturbing (the main character witnesses his father euthanizing a baby) but it’s a classic that opens up a lot of room for discussion.

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

51io7AeVp4LThe Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is recommended for kids 11+ on Common Sense Media. The only real warning for this one is that it’s pretty violent. “There are broken noses and bones, knocked-out teeth, and some deaths, guns, explosions, and car chases.”

This one feels a little more science fiction / fantasy than Dystopian but I think it still  fits the bill of being recommended alongside the other titles.

Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it’s like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the “flock”–Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel–are just like ordinary kids–only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time…

51yBE-faNyLThe Maze Runner by James Dashner was made into a movie a few years ago so it might already be on your radar. Common Sense Media recommends this one for 13+ but kids and parents reviewing seem to agree on 12+.

It’s compared to Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games. Some consider this one more violent than The Hunger Games so you’ll want to use your judgement on what factor make the book age appropriate for your kids.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

Have you read any of these? Do you agree with the age recommendations? Are there any books I missed that you would recommend?

The Nintendo Book Tag.

I nabbed this book tag from, who else, Birdie Bookworm. She’s like my new favorite tag pimp. That’s a thing, right? Anyway this one is all about Nintendo (nerds, rejoice). I’ll be honest, I’ve only owned two of these systems but I’m familiar with the product line and ready to dig in!

NES (Nintendo Entertainment System):
A classic you want to read.

51ml2vt0AFLA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – I’m basically the worst English major in the world when it comes to the lengthy list of classics I haven’t read yet. I’ve really enjoyed the Dickens that I have read so this one seems like a natural choice. And I’ve had it on my Kindle for ages, so.


SNES (Super Nintendo):
A sequel you liked more than the first.  (Can be a second book in a series.)

9462775The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson was the first book that came to mind because I remember thinking “Wow, I liked this one better than the first book and that almost never happens!” A quote from my review of the book adds, “Something in the writing felt fresher and tighter and it probably helps that I’d grown accustomed to the cast of characters. I also really loved Oliver – probably more than I’d liked Keith in book one.” I think the author was in such a good groove writing this one, but you definitely have to start with book one, no questions asked.


Nintendo 64:
A book that revolutionized the way you look at the world.

28765613Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult left a much bigger impression on me than I was expecting it to. It really got under my skin and surprised me in a lot of ways. This was a difficult book to read and a lot of the people in my book club that read it with me did not care for it but I’m glad I read it. I think I’m a better person for it – or at least a less naive person.


Gamecube:
A popular book that did not go over so well with you.

13449693The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater has a massive following and I think the blogiverse got my hopes up waaaaaay too high before I finally got a chance to read it. Something about the book kept me at arm’s length and I wasn’t able to really lose myself to the story. But to be fair, I didn’t dislike it nearly as much as I hated The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. So you can put the pitchforks away, promise.


Wii:
A new favorite book.

22840421My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows was the last book I loved so much that I started to get weird about it. You know the ones that you recommend so ferociously to people that they take a step back like they aren’t sure if maybe you are trying to sell them drugs or a Timeshare or something? Also why do so many of my favorite books have such preposterous premises. “It’s about Lady Jane Grey except not really and she falls in love with a horse – but it’s so romantic!”


Nintendo Power:
Favorite graphic novel series or a series you want to start.

513pp8o3c2l-_sx354_bo1204203200_I haven’t read a ton of graphic novels but I really want in on this whole series of classic book given the graphic novel treatment. My first choice would probably be A Wrinke in Time by Madeline L’Engle. The artwork looks way too cool and I think it would be a fun way to share some of my favorite stories with my kids.

 


Super Mario:
A character that you’d love to squish like a Goomba.

10964Jonathan Randall from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Just seeing the actor that portrays him in the miniseries, Tobias Menzies, sends me into a panicked frenzy. I’m so torn when it comes to this series because I loved so much of the first book / season and then that last scene with Jamie and Randall happened and I am basically scarred for life now. I’d like to squish that entire storyline like a Goomba.

 


Zelda:
A newer fantasy that you consider to be a modern classic.

Tbook one of the Lunar Chronicleshe Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer is such perfection. I could totally see it becoming a classic someday. Teenagers of the world would rejoice if this one became required reading. Book one is essentially a futuristic retelling of Cinderella and the series ends up retelling several classic fairy tales, weaving them all into an epic story of adventure and romance.


Samus-Aran:
Favorite Sci-Fi novel or one you want to read.

the girl with all the gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey was such a good read. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started and I loved how the story seemed to kind of unfold itself as I read. The author did a great job of giving you just as much information as she wanted you to have as the story progressed. The characters were wonderfully fleshed out and the story lingered in my mind constantly throughout the day and probably will continue to do so for quite some time.


Pokemon:
Book editions that you want to collect.

61XCzUtRRQL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_I’m kind of obsessed with the Puffin in Bloom collection of novels like Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I’ll be honest, pretty much any pretty edition of Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice makes me want to buy it immediately which is fairly ridiculous but true. I also frequently find myself wanting to buy updated editions of the Harry Potter series, especially the illustrated editions – gah, gorgeous.


Donkey Kong:
A book with original characters.

16068905I’ll be honest, I really want to mention The Lunar Chronicles again. I think her characters are incredibly well written. Another favorite worth mentioning is basically any book by Rainbow Rowell because she really fleshes out all of her characters to the point that they are living and breathing inside of your heart. My personal favorite is Fangirl but they are all incredible.


Nintendo Fandom:
Favorite Nintendo game(s) or game.

I guess the Mario series in general but I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a big Nintendo fangirl. I like playing Smash Brothers with Dan and the kids but I’m such a button masher, I have no real skill at the game whatsoever. I just liked playing as Princess Peach.

I don’t like tagging people – but if you are reading this and it sounds super fun, then consider yourself tagged!

Here’s What 1st & 2nd Graders Are Reading.

1st2ndreadingSomething you might not know about me: I’ve been volunteering at my kids’ school this year as the 1st / 2nd Grade Librarian. Woah, I know. That sounds like a big job. Don’t worry, it’s a tiny private school so we’re talking about 16 children.

Something you probably do know about me: I love reading and I have a tendency to recommend books to everyone. It breaks my heart when my kids ignore a book recommendation because “Ew, mom recommended it. It’s probably lame.” When everyone knows I have excellent taste in books and I put a lot of thought into my recommendations.

But I get it. I was a kid once, too. I ignored book recommendations all the time because I was terribly busy consuming every Babysitter’s Club book ever written (and boy were there a lot of them!)

Anyway, every Monday I read the kids a story and then help them find a book to bring home. Sometimes they want my help, sometimes they don’t. After about a year of hanging out in the school library, I’ve gotten to notice some trends – a lot of the same series of books pop up over and over. I thought I’d take note and share my findings with you in case you have a 1st or 2nd grader of your own that needs a good book to read.

These are the books that consistently get checked out and devoured by the 1st and 2nd graders at our school:

51dXn5iTpvLThe Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure Series (i.e. THEY HAVE MINECRAFT BOOKS!?!?): We just got these in this year and the kids are obsessed with them. These are a good bet for any kid reading small chapter books – and older kids that love Minecraft will probably enjoy them, too. These aren’t the Minecraft tutorial books, but actual stories written within the Minecraft universe. And there are several variations on this idea – go into any book store or book aisle and you’ll find some.

61dDfZUlpuL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_Geronimo Stilton: You’ve probably heard of these books, at least in passing. It’s a cute series great for kids just getting into chapter books. The kids I read to love books about animals – some other great options include the Animal Ark series, The Puppy Place series and the Mercy Watson books.

51ttDHumHHL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_The Rainbow Magic series is massive and insanely popular at our school. There are a bazillion different types of fairies and the girls love looking for a fairy with their name or a name of someone they know. It’s a very time consuming search. These are great for your kids just dipping their toe into the chapter book universe.

61JEW68FtyL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_When your kiddo is ready to try something a little longer, check out the American Girl books and The Babysitter’s Club which is making a comeback thanks to the Graphic Novel versions of some of the first few books in the series. (If your kiddo is interested in these books but having a hard time with the size, try the BSC Little Sister series or the new Wellie Wishers American Girl series.)

51se0cN2C4LFor the kids that are really into the graphic novel / lots of illustrations book life: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate and Captain Underpants continue to be a force to be reckoned with. They also love pouring over old Calvin and Hobbes books.

51N7ZWBubnLSome other oldies but goodies that go over well are the Magic Tree House (for the earlier chapter book kids) and Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events (for the big readers).

61X+b-tbMpL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_The Eyewitness Books by DK are also extremely popular. No matter what your kid is interested in, DK seems to have a giant book all about it. The kids I read to spend a lot of time pouring over these books. They are an especially nice choice for kids who have kind of outgrown picture books but don’t have the patience for chapter books yet.

What are your kids reading these days?

Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

26074181The Crown by Kiera Cass (The Selection #5)

Page Count: 278

Published: May 3rd 2016

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Note: If you are new to this series, make sure you start at the beginning: The Selection by Kiera Cass is where it all began. If you haven’t read the other books yet, I don’t recommend reading this review because spoilers.

You have been warned.


I hummed and hawed a long time before finally picking up the final book in The Selection series. I know I am not alone in my disappointment with book four, The Heir. How the daughter of America and Maxon could be so unlikeable was shocking. I think I actually took the blow of Eadlyn’s personality flaws better than a lot of readers, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read book 5 if there wasn’t going to be a lot of character growth, you know? So I put it off.

But this series is so addictive and I really wanted to know how it all turned out and eventually I fell into one of those reading slumps that can only be cured by a favorite fluffy series. A series that pulls you in and owns you until the last page. The Selection has always fit that bill.

I was so relieved to find that The Crown totally delivers that character growth that Eadlyn desperately needed. She comes out of her comfort zone, grows up a lot and even falls in love.

And here’s the honest truth: I think we all have a tendency to be a little self absorbed and oblivious to the actual world around us, especially as teenagers. And usually we grow out of it and start to notice the needs and feelings of the rest of the world. Eadlyn just happened to be extremely self absorbed and grew up in a life designed to spoil her and coddle those tendencies. So let’s be real – she’s pretty normal. She just lives in the spotlight and you know how we love to judge people in the spotlight.

If anything, this character flaw made for an extremely satisfying reading experience for the last book as we get to see her grow and mature when the stakes are high and blossom into a pretty awesome person. Add to this some family drama, some political intrigue and even better: a love story.

So if you are also sitting on the fence with this one, allow me to reassure you: it’s worth the read!