Reading to the Class

Noah loves to “read” books to us. He holds them with the pictures facing out like his teacher does and babbles like he’s reading what’s on the page to us. Then he turns the page and “reads” that page to us through the whole book. I sent this picture to his teacher and she said he really likes when she lets him hold the book she’s reading and turn the pages for her so she’s not surprised he’s “reading” to us at home, too.

Owlcrate Black Friday: Owlcrate Boxes

I got five regular Owlcrate boxes during the Black Friday sale. Some of the bookish loot ended up as stocking stuffers and two whole boxes were for Ani for Christmas. The rest is for me. I love Owlcrate. The stuff in the boxes is always amazing and the books are good, too.

Potions & Poisons (July 2021)
This is one of the boxes for Ani.

Go Your Own Way (June 2021)

Beneath the Waves (December 2021)
This is the other box for Ani.

Dreaming in the Dark (November 2021)

Wield Your Blade (October 2021)

January Reads

I read fifteen books in January for a total of 5024 pages. I started off the month by finishing reading Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons to the boys for their bedtime story. I gave it four stars. It was a good conclusion to the duology. It took forever to finish reading it because I was in the car accident and then got sick and couldn’t read aloud for a couple months. After that I read Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. I gave it five stars. I have a love/hate relationship with the Throne of Glass series. This book came firmly down on the love side. Next I read Pandora Gets Jealous by Carolyn Hennesy. I gave it five stars. It was quite a cute take on the Pandora’s Box myth. I won’t be continuing with the series, though. Maybe in a few years to read it to the little kids when they are a bit older.

My next book was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I gave it five stars. That’s the most thought-provoking book I’ve read in a long time. After that I read Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales. I gave it two stars. That book had so many things wrong with it. The writing was just not that good. Then I read The Bitter Taste of Betrayal by CeeCee James. I gave it four stars. It was a well written cozy mystery, but the big reveal came pretty much out of left field and I didn’t really like that.

After that I read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I gave it five stars, again. It was a re-read because I chose it for our January book club book. I read it about nine months ago and I really think it was even better the second time knowing what was going to happen. Next I finished reading The Book of Mormon which of course is five stars. I read one chapter a day and it took me about 2/3 of a year to complete it. Then I read Looking for Alaska by John Green. I gave it five stars, again, as well. It was another re-read because it was the online banned books book club pick for January. It had been almost nine years since I last read it so there was a lot I had forgotten. I always enjoy John Green’s books.

My next book was Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski. I gave it three stars. It started out so good, but then the last quarter it just kind of got lost. It was really too bad since it had such great potential. Then I read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I gave it five stars. I’ve been meaning to read it for years and finally did because I was invited to do a Buddy Read of the series and I can’t figure out what took me so long. I should’ve known it would be amazing since the author is the wife of Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine author) who was the roommate of John Green in college and truly any book by an author in John Green’s orbit is an excellent one. The writing style was so unique and beautiful I could barely put it down. After that I read Madly, Deeply by Alan Rickman. I gave it five stars. I already loved Alan Rickman and now I love him even more because he was a bullet journaler. The book is an edited version of his bullet journal.

My next book was Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton. I gave it five stars. That book is a Harry Potter fan’s dream. So much Potter awesomeness from the guy who played Draco. After that I read An American Princess by Annejet van der Zijl and translated by Michele Hutchison. I gave it four stars. It’s a very engaging biography about a very fascinating woman who literally became a princess (for a while at least). My final book of the month was Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi. I gave it five stars. This book is a novella in the Shatter Me series. I’m truly looking forward to finishing that series over the next few weeks. Such good books so far.

This was my best reading month in a long time with lots of hits, mostly five star ones, and only a couple misses. I also read way more books than I normally do. It was just a great reading month all around!

My favorite book of the month: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My least favorite book of the month: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Number of 5 Star Books: 10
Number of 4 Star Books: 3
Number of 3 Star Books: 1
Number of 2 Star Books: 1
Number of 1 Star Books: 0

15/100 books read for my goal of the year

I read half the books on my January TBR, so that left Sisters of the Snake, Aries, Murder on the Hill, Darling Girl, Live Wire, and Goblet of Fire to roll over to February. I added the next Throne of Glass book, Queen of Shadows, to my list as well as The Westing Game (which has been requested as the boys’ next bedtime story) and One of Us Is Next and A Rover’s Story. I added Just Mercy since it’s my online book club’s February pick and Cinder because it’s my in person book club book this month. That brought me up to twelve books, same as I had on my January TBR. And then, because I’ve fallen in love with the Shatter Me series, I added the other eight of those books. And, honestly, those are probably going to be the ones I read first. No chance I’ll get all twenty books read, but I should be able to get through a good chunk of them during the month of February.

Owlcrate Black Friday: Owlcrate Jr.

I got seven Owlcrate Jr. boxes during the Owlcrate Black Friday sale. These are middle grade books which I quite enjoy reading on occasion. I used some of the stuff in the boxes as stocking stuffers and for my best friend’s Christmas present and for a little gift exchange and, of course, to treat myself.

Elephants on Parade (March 2021)

Sagas & Swords (May 2021)

Campfire Stories (June 2022)

Jump Off the Page (July 2022)

Mission to Space (October 2022)

Inner Magic (January 2021)

Write it Down (February 2021)

Owlcrate Black Friday: Random

I really enjoyed shopping the Owlcrate Black Friday sale. I ended up with 15 books (13 for me) plus some smaller books and lots of bookish stuff. The first and last days of the sale I got lots of random stuff, some that I used for stocking stuffers.

The first day I got a handwarmer and Angel of Music coffee (for Ani), an outer space book (for Mayci), a seek and find book (for Zeke), a Camp Half Blood sticker (for Haley), and a multicolor pen and outer space Washi tape for me.

The last day I got a pillowcase (for my best friend) and a sticker, a pen, a wooden bookmark, washi tape, a Christmas tree ornament, a keychain, a really cool tin, a patch, a reading planner, and the books From Twinkle, With Love and Strangeworlds Travel Agency.

Storytime at the Library

Ani took Joel to his very first storytime at the library a few weeks ago while I was sick. He had such a great time and wanted to go back right away.

He really loved the movement and songs and getting to be around other kids (he really latched onto a set of twins like he just knew they were like him).

He got to play with the dress-up box (funny… the boys all gravitated to the dress-up stuff and the girls went for the building blocks).

He spent some time looking at books. He also singlehandedly caused a falling down epidemic. He likes to run and then fall (on purpose). Of course the other toddlers thought that looked like lots of fun and so joined him in his antics.

After storytime Ani took him over to the books part of the library and he got to play with some toys and his favorite thing…

The computer. He had a ball playing an alphabet game on the library’s computer. If it’s electronic Joel wants to play with it. He’s been back to storytime a few times since and it’s always so much fun!

December Reads

I read 11 books in December. Ten were regular books for a total of 3,167 pages. The eleventh book was a graphic novel. My first book of the month was The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. I gave it five stars. I apparently read it once before, about a decade or so ago, but I didn’t remember it at all. My second book was The Pact by Jodi Picoult. I gave it three stars. I read it for an on-line banned/challenged book group. Reading this book I learned that Jodi Picoult is the Colleen Hoover of the 90s.

After that I read 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Revolution, Rebellion, and Change. I gave it five stars. It was quite fascinating reading the essays about a variety of things that happened that one single year that changed the course of history. Next I read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. I gave it four stars. It was quite enjoyable, especially since I do like the fake dating trope.

My next book was Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan. I gave it five stars. I groaned when I discovered my book group book was historical fiction about CS Lewis and the Narnia series so it was a pleasant surprise that I enjoyed it so much. Then I read Lost and Found by Amy Shojai. I gave it three stars. It was a debut book for the author (at least her debut writing fiction… she had previously written quite a lot of non-fiction) and it showed. After that I read Maus by Art Spiegelman. I gave it four stars. It was the graphic novel I read. I like Holocaust survivor stories and it was quite interesting reading on in comic book form.

Then I read Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood. I gave it two stars. The condescension and superiority that oozed from the author made it a bit of an unpleasant read. After that I read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I gave it two stars. How this book got made into a movie I will never know. There was no character development and the main character was incredibly unlikable. My next book was Marriage Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo. I gave it three stars. It was a generic mediocre cozy mystery. I finished the month off with a bang when I read my second favorite book of the year, Like a Sister by Kellye Garret. I gave it five stars. Twists, turns, an end I didn’t see coming plus humor just when needed to diffuse the tension. Just what I needed after such a so-so reading month.

My favorite book of the month: Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

My least favorite book of the month: Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood

Number of 5 Star Books: 4
Number of 4 Star Books: 2
Number of 3 Star Books: 3
Number of 2 Star Books: 2
Number of 1 Star Books: 0

116/100 books read for my goal of the year (plus 4 graphic novels)

I read a lot of the books on my December TBR so I only rolled over seven books to my January TBR. Then I added One of Us is Lying (reread for my in-person book club), Looking for Alaska (another reread, this one for my on-line book club), and Sisters of the Snake, Darling Girl, and Live Wire for my 2023 Grim Readers BINGO board. My January TBR is a very doable even dozen.