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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 books & reading top 5 tuesday

Top 5 Yet to be Released Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2020

I don’t normally keep up with prereleased books but I noticed that I have a handful of them on my Amazon wishlist right now from some of my favorite authors. Then I counted them and realized there were exactly 5, perfect for this week’s Top 5 Tuesday hosted by Bionic Bookworm!

So here are the five yet to be released books that I’m looking forward to reading this year.

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass | I just found out about this book today because Goodreads sent me an email about a giveaway for this one. Much like her famous Selection series, this one centers around a potential royal engagement and the pitfalls of dating a royal. Expected publication May 5th 2020

American Royals 2 by Katherine McGee | coincidentally I am also eagerly awaiting the next book in this new series by Katherine McGee. The first book imagines a world where George Washington had agreed to be king after winning the revolutionary war. It takes place in the present day of that future and follows the current American Royal family. I loved the premise and plowed through the book and was then despondent when I realized how long I’d be waiting for book 2. Expected publication Autumn 2020

Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel | I already preordered a copy of this book because Anne is one of my favorite bloggers and because overthinking things is basically my part time job so I probably need this book in my life. Book to be published March 3rd 2020

My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows | Yup the next Janie book is due out this year and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be getting my hands on a copy. “Welcome to 1876 America, a place bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou —better known as werewolves. And where there are garou, there’re hunters: the one and only Calamity Jane, to be precise, along with her fellow stars of Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, Annie Oakley and Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler.Book to be published June 2nd 2020

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins | I just found out about this a couple weeks ago. This book will be a prequel to the Hunger Games story, telling the story of the 10th annual Hunger Games when Coriolanus Snow was eighteen years old and acting as a mentor in the games. Book to be published May 19th 2020


What prereleases are you looking forward to?

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books & reading family fun gift guide

How to Celebrate the “Icelandic Book Flood” with your family on Christmas Eve.

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I think everyone on the internet is familiar with the Icelandic  jólabókaflóð or the Christmas Book Flood. Since WWII, Icelanders began a tradition born of necessity really, in which they exchange books on Christmas Eve and then spend the remainder of the evening reading at home. Obviously the introvert in me is obsessed with all of this. I’m sure that social media has greatly romanticized and exaggerated this holiday but I’m there for it all the same.

This year we are celebrating jólabókaflóð in our home because it’s literally on my birthday and I said so. I ran the idea past my family and the kids were immediately on board. We decided that each person would buy a book for one other person so everyone is both buying and receiving a book.

Since we are a two kids + two adults situation, I decided that the kids would pick out a book for each other and Dan and I would do the same. I encouraged them to go to a used book store for their purchases but otherwise left them to figure out the rest. Dan and I had to take the kids to a bookstore to shop for each other because apparently 9 and 12 year olds can’t drive.

Because I’m literally obsessed with books, naturally I thought I’d share a few suggestions for the book lovers in your life. It’s not too late to pick up a book and start a Christmas book flood in your home, too.


10 Book Suggestions for Your Book Flood

Books for The Littles

 

Anne of Green Gables: A BabyLit Places Primer because you’ve gotta start them young.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen because it’s one of my all time favorite read alouds.

Books for the Kiddos

 

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild because Kathleen Kelly told us to.

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta because “interdimensional demon slayer”.

Books for the Teens

 

The Only Pirate At The Party by Lindsey Stirling because she’s a classically trained musician gone rogue with a story to tell.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman because Thor and Loki and also Neil Gaiman.

Books for Mom

 

 

Becoming by Michelle Obama because we all love her, right?

The Dinner List by Rebecca Searle because we all like to plan imaginary dinner parties.

Books for Dad

 

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks because he’s America’s Favorite Dad Type Person.

Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin so he can learn about Targaryen history.


I could go on but I know you’ve got this.

Who else wants to celebrate jólabókaflóð this year?

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books & reading

The 5 Books from Owl Crates Past That I Want To Read Next

Confession time: I have too many books. I know, this is a shocking revelation. Despite my efforts to keep my book collection in check, there always seems to be more books coming in than getting read. This afternoon I decided to look through all of the Owl Crate books that I’ve received over the last two years that I haven’t read yet.

My goal was to see which books I should donate, which books I want to read soon, and whether I want to continue subscribing to their service in the future. As much as I love getting books and bookish goodies in the mail, it’s only worth it if the books are good, right?

I gathered all of the books onto my bed and read the first couple of pages of each book. Initially I was going to read the first chapter of each book but there were simply too many to go through.

Photographic Evidence Of My Ridiculous Situation:

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Seriously guys, what is wrong with me? At first I looked at this stack and thought, “Hmmm… if I’m really not going to read these books, maybe I need to reevaluate this situation.” But after flipping through the first few pages of each of them I was pleased to find that I am genuinely interested in reading almost all of them! Seriously there were only 3 or 4 that I’m thinking of just donating outright and that’s because I tried to be picky.

If anything, this little experiment just showed me how much I need to commit myself to reading more of the books I already own. I’m not going to tell you that I won’t buy any new books next year. I know I won’t actually commit to that goal. But I am planning to keep better track of how many books I’m buying in an effort to reign it in a bit. And yes, I definitely think it’s time to work on that huge pile of books up there.

I thought I’d share with you the five books that I found most compelling. They are pretty diverse in terms of genre and a nice glimpse into the types of YA books you might expect to receive from Owl Crate if you were thinking of subscribing. (BT Dubs, this is not a sponsored post, just thought I’d share my findings after an afternoon of attempted book purging).

5 Books I Got From Owl Crate that I Haven’t Read Yet But Want To Read Soon

33275690Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills | December 2017 Crate (an unboxing post from Beach Bookworm)

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.“

This one sounds so cute! I’m not even sure I flipped through the description of this one at all when it came. I’m guessing I was in the thick of Christmas prep and got distracted and just shoved it on my bookshelf. To be fair, as pretty as the cover is, I don’t really feel like it does enough to draw the reader in. I wonder if it ties into the story in some way?

31931941Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | May 2017 Crate (unboxing post from Pretty Geekery)

“In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.”

I’m honestly a little ashamed by how long I’ve had this book and still haven’t read it. The premise is completely right up my alley. It feels very Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell but with illustrations. I’m going to make it my mission to read this in 2019.

C1400929_1-1.pdfThe Apprentice Witch by James Nicol | Owl Crate Jr August 2017 (unboxing post from YAY OMG)

“Arianwyn has flunked her witch’s assessment: She’s doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch– much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.

But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her.”

This one actually came in an Owl Crate Jr. box, but it sounds awesome. I subscribed to Owl Crate Jr. over the summer in 2017 and 2018 as a fun reading incentive for the kids and the books were awesome. I seem to have commandeered this one and then never got around to reading it – whoops! Even bigger whoops because the first few pages were great and the premise sounds right up my alley and probably the kids’ alleys as well.

26032825.jpgThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black | January 2018 Crate (unboxing post from All Booked)

“Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.”

The first few pages of this book honestly should have been enough to make me put off reading this book indefinitely – the girls’ parents are murdered within the first three pages. This is the kind of thing that usually constitutes a write off for me. But there were clearly mystical elements at play and I was left with lots of questions. Plus it’s written by Holly Black so I’m there for it.

36070854The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | August 2017 Crate (unboxing post from Coffee, Cocktails and Books)

“When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.”

The premise for this one wasn’t really what grabbed me. It actually took reading the first few pages for me to get on board. I like the author’s writing style – it’s very conversational and I found myself flipping even farther into the first chapter than I’d originally set out to. A solid start.

Have you read any of these books? Which one should I read first?

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books & reading family fun

Read Aloud Book Rec: Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar

You know when your kid brings a book to you for story time and you have never seen it before in your life and have no earthly idea where it came from and they’re like, “Duh mom, we’ve had this forever.” Maybe this is a sign that I have #bookworm problems or that my brain is slowly melting out of my ear lobes. Who knows?

61nVbenzQtL._SX260_The other day BB brought down Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar and after getting past the “Where did this book even come from??” questions we got to reading and guys it was SOOO cute! It’s an adorable mash up of different fairy tales and kind of all about making up your own mind about people. It’s perfect for reading out loud – not too wordy and not too mind numbingly simple. It’s juuuuust right.

I still don’t know where it came from but I’m glad she brought it downstairs and it was fun reading her cute picture books again – at nine years old, she’s largely in charge of her own reading and story time tends to feature chapter books these days. This was a nice treat for both of us.

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What are you and your kids reading these days?

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books & reading family fun printable summer reading

Summer Reading 2018: Choose Your Own Adventure (Free Printable)

A couple of years ago I started making summer reading challenges for my kids because I found the programs at the library a little lacking / redundant for a family of bookworms. My kids don’t need encouragement to read in the summer so keeping track of pages and titles seemed unnecessarily tedious for us and not really a challenge tbh. No shade, I think the programs are a great idea for kids who need that encouragement, it just wasn’t my jam personally.

This was back in 2016 – I read this post at Kate’s blog and was like YES. I had to copycat and create a challenge for my own kids – and thus our Summer Reading Bingo was born. It went over really well with my kids. You can steal mine or make your own if you want – just click this link.

Last year I felt the need to simplify the challenge because of a particularly busy summer and probably just because I like change. So I made a summer reading challenge that fit on a bookmark! This was great for a busy summer and my kids loved it, too. Again, feel free to go steal that one if you need something super quick.

This year, I continue to need to shake things up because I have too much time on my hands or something. I was thinking about those Choose Your Own Adventure novels from when I was a kid  – did you love them, too? I was also thinking about how sometimes kids need to feel like they are in control – they don’t want to be told what to read or even what genres to read. We all like to make our own choices, right?

And so, I present to you our reading challenge for 2018:

I’m pretty excited and just in case you are hoping to shake up your summer reading, too – feel free to steal my idea – you can right click and save this or make your own in a word document – or picmonkey.com, my fave place to make cute graphics. (This isn’t some sneaky sponser post btw – they have no idea who I am, I’m just sharing and caring like that.)

Do you do summer reading challenges with your kids?

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books & reading reviews

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! 

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books

Book Review: My Lady Jane

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

Page Count: 512 (hardcover)

Published: June 7, 2016

I read a lot of books. Some of them I really enjoy, some of them I have to kind of drag myself through for one reason or another. Other books literally consume me from start to finish and I find myself gushing to people about them any chance I can get and I get a little foot stampy until they promise me they will read them. My Lady Jane was one of those books. You may think you know the tragically short story of Lady Jane Grey, but I promise you this book will surprise and delight.

5 Signs This Is a 5 Star Read

  1. It took me only a handful of days to read it despite it’s 500+ page count. I’d say on the whole it takes me about 2 weeks to read a 250-300 page book and I finished this one in about a week.
  2. I read it when I probably should have been reading my book club’s pick for the month. It was so good I couldn’t help myself once I’d peeked inside. It definitely turned me into a book junkie staying up way past my bedtime so I could finish just one more chapter. This was one of those books with so many funny lines and OMG moments that necessitated waking up my sleeping husband so I could dish on what had just happened. I’m sure he loved that.
  3. When I first got the book (through OwlCrate) I stood in the kitchen pouring over every inch of the dust jacket and squealing with delight. Most of my favorite books seem to have those 8 million little details lurking around the outside of the book, letting you know that the author and publisher was just as giddy about the book as you are about to be.
  4. I need a good character to root for and this book gave me at least five of them along with two relationships to ship. I was a little bit concerned after reading the first few chapters because I genuinely loved Jane, Edward and Gifford and I really wanted them to all have a happy ending but wasn’t sure how that was possible. Even the fact that some of the people involved occasionally turn into horses and other less than kissable creatures didn’t deter me rooting for them from page 1 to 512 and I wasn’t disappointed.
  5. There are a lot of elements to this story that sound a little absurd when you say them out loud but when you put them all together magic happens. Fiances turn into horses sometimes. Girls are basically old maids by sixteen and sometimes get married to people they have never met. The book starts out as a historical fiction novel, then goes kind of science fantasy, then goes completely off the rails but somehow ends up back in historical fiction territory as long as you ignore all the middle bits. Everyone manages to fall in love with the right person by the end and the moral of the story seems to be listen to your heart and all your problems will  go away. But despite a really crazy premise and a lot of characters to get to know, it all totally comes together and works and you do the rooting and by the end of it you kind of wish it were a true story. Horses and all.

Have you read this one yet? What did you think?

What’s the last 5 star book you fell in love with?

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books & reading

3 Day Quote Challenge: On Reading

Go Mama O challenged me to a 3 Day Quote Challenge. The rules are stupid simple: Just post a favorite quote for 3 consecutive days and nominate three others to do the same!

For Today’s post, I’m sharing a quote from John Green about the evangelical impulse that we readers sometimes have when it comes to our favorite books. Tell me you can’t relate to this:

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