Saturday, December 2, 2017

November Reading Log

November was a busy month.  I tried my best to read as much as possible but family keeps me busy.  I enjoyed the books I did  read several of them were really good.  I read three mysteries and four books about books.  That sounds strange but I am obsessed with reading books about books/bookstores/libraries.  

My favorite book of the month was Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan.  I found this one by accident on Overdrive and I loved it. I picked this book because it had the word "bookstore" in it and I thought that I would at least give it a try as an audiobook.  It has a bit of mystery with a conspiracy and lot of high tech references. There was even a bit of a romance and humor.  I absolutely enjoyed this book.  I couldn't wait to get in the car to listen to this book each day. Don't tell my family but I took the long way home several times just to listen a bit longer.   I gave this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5.   
A Fatal Grace, by Louis Penny, was a wonderful mystery.  I just love the character Inspector Armand Gamache.  The rest of the characters in Three Pines are interesting as well if not quirky.  This story takes place during the winter around Christmas and I found it interesting how all the pieces fell in place. I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.    
Of course, I quickly downloaded the audio version of the third story in the Louis Penny series, The Cruelest Month.  What I liked about this story was that it focused a bit more on Inspector Armand and his family.  As with all the stories, it takes place in Three Pines, but I found the supporting characters of Three Pines a bit frustrating and somewhat unbelievable in this story. I gave this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  
The third mystery book I read this month was A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas.  The title really has nothing to do with the story.  The story was about a young lady who intensionally lets herself become a women who becomes an outcast in her society.  She runs away from home and tries to find her own way in London.  She is unable to find a job because she has no recommendations.  However she does have a talent, she can read people and solve crimes.  This book has so many turns and twists it keeps you reading.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  I cannot wait to read the second book in this series.  
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald, was a pleasant surprise.  When I read the review on Amazon, I thought, I'm not so sure what to expect.  However,  I really did enjoy this book.  I found it to be humorous and fun to read.  It takes place in a small town in Iowa and you think no way would this happen but that is what makes the story funny.  Of course any book that has a book store in it get extra stars in my rating system.  I gave this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars. 

I read Dear Farenheit 451, during Thanksgiving break and I was a bit disappointed.  I read a lot of wonderful things about this book and how humorous it is and yes I did have a couple good laughs.  However there were lots of times were I just skimmed through the letters because I just didn't have much interest.  I do like the idea of writing a letter to a book with your response.  I gave this book ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  
The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai, was yet another story about books and a librarian.  The story was so heart-warming at first about how the librarian helps a young boy read books after school, however when the little boy decides to run away that's when I started to go crazy as an educator.  As a read I kept saying, What??? No!!!! She wouldn't do that!!! That's not realistic....somebody would have put two and two together.  All and all it was a somewhat happy ending but I would still give it ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.

My last book of November was, One Summer Day in Rome, by Mark Lamprell.   I won this book in early fall from @bookwormeverlasting and @flatiron_books.  I have been looking forward to reading this book for awhile.  The story takes place over several days in Rome with three different couples and at the very end the author ties the couples together.  I have to be honest, there were several times in the book where I lost my focused.  Maybe my mind is on Christmas and struggling with the idea of summer right now but I had a hard time with this story.  Maybe because there was not a bookstore or a library or no reindeer, but for not I gave this story ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.   

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October Reading Log

I read some really good books this month.  It was really hard for me to pick a favorite because a couple of these books were really good for different reasons.  However when it all came down to it, I read for entertainment and Where'd You Go, Bernadette won that category hands down.  

My favorite book this month is Where'd you Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple, it is an humorous and exciting audiobook. I enjoyed listening to this book so much.  I laughed so much throughout this story it reminded me so much of many of the interactions and conversations I have with my daughter.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, is an amazing story.  The story alternates between the lives of Sarah a ten year old living in Paris in 1942 and Julia, a mother and wife, living in Paris in 2002.  Sarah's story is heartbreaking and I was completing unaware of this part of history. Julia's story was equally enlightening, it was surprising to me that most french people tend to pretend the round up didn't happen. I give this story ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ /5 stars.  
Still Life, was my first Louise Penny book.  I have been reading a lot about the books by Louise Penny on Instagram and I wanted to find out what the hype is all about.  I just loved the characters from Three Pines and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is adorable.  I am not the only person who wanted to read the book because I signed up on Overdrive to read the book and I was 227 on the wait list so I broke down and purchased the book.  The book was well worth the money, it was a good mystery story, I give it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, is a unique and intriguing book. Kitty Miller, the main character, has an amazing bookstore and a great best friend.  However her dreams are starting to take over her life to the point where she is beginning to confuse her real life with her dream life.  This book will keep you on the edge of your seat reading and reading.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  
Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof, is just a feel good story.  It was just heartwarming and adorable.  The plot was predictable however I continued to read because I really liked the characters and wanted to read the happy ending.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  
I read another, Elin Hilderbrand book, The Rumor, it was a charming story.  The characters were easy to identify with and the plot has several turns in it that kept me reading.  It was a wonderful reminder that friends are truly important people in our lives.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars. 

I read, Eat Pretty Every Day: 365 Daily Inspiration for Nourishing Beauty Inside and Out by Jolene Hart, for my morning reflection this month.  I loved the cover of the book, however I was a bit disappointed with the actual book.  I picked up a few suggestions to improve my living:

  • Little Daily habits become your foundation of your lifestyle, mindset and identity...and this....will add up to dramatic change.  
  • I need to slow down and make time for yourself.  
  • I need to add daily stretching back into my morning routine: it improve circulation and it calms the nervous system.  
  • Eat more veggies and drink more tea!!!!!!
  • Create a new reward system for yourself.
  • Create an indoor garden for peaceful, healthy living.    
I give this book ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

September Reading Log

Wow!!! I'm very late with this post.  As you can tell from my lack of posting, life is very busy around here.  No time for projects lately.  Just the necessities of daily living.  Even my reading has degreased.  That's what happens when you work and babysit ALL day and then go straight to bed, get up and repeat.  
Audiobooks have been my best friend this month, I listen to them as a drive from one place to the next.  
Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo, is about is an experience his young son as gone through.  As a very young child Colton had a serious medical operation.  As he grows up and has conversations with his parents he surprises his parents with his knowledge of what happened at the hospital and heaven. He begins to describe Jesus, and the angels, and other family members who are now in heaven whom he has never met on Earth.  This is a true story and will make you think about the world after Earth.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars. 

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell, is a beautiful story of two students who don't quiet fit in at school.  In fact, the other students pick on Eleanor constantly but Park stands up for her. Park is a true friend, he shares things with her and helps Eleanor find the courage to face the struggles with her family and the other students at school.  The ending is surprising as well.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  

All The Light We Cannot See, by Anothony Doerr is amazing.  I guess that is why it won the Pulitzer Prize.  It it a complex story about two different lives during WWII. A young, blind, french girl (Marie-Laure) and a young german boy(Werner).  The chapters alternate telling their stories and perspectives during the war until one day their lives collide.  You will hold your breath during the last few chapters unable to put the book down. I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ /5 stars.   
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by G. Zevin, is a fun and humorous story about A.J. Fikry is a grumpy man who is already set in his ways.  He lives alone and runs a bookstore and at the end of each night he drinks himself to sleep. His life begins to change when he meets two people, a young rep from a publishing company and a little girl named Maya.  The ending of the book completing surprised me, I didn't expected that ending in a romance novel.  I would give this book ⭐⭐⭐🌟 /5 stars. It gets the extra shiny star because it has a book theme to it.   
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, is a funny and quirky book about a young girl, Audrey, who has gone through a dramatic experience at school and is now afraid to socialize with others and leave her home.  The family drama around her is hilarious and with the help from her brother's friend she is able to go out into the world....or at least to Starbucks.  I give this book ⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  If you are you are looking for a light and fun read.....this is your book.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen, was another young adult book I read this month.  Sydney feels like she lives in the shadow of the disaster of a life her brother,Payton has created.  She is embarrassed and ashamed by how her brother and her mother are dealing with the situation.  On top of that her brother's creeping friend, who her mother thinks is so wonderful, keeps hanging around. Sydney meets Mac and his younger sister who step in and become her new friends and make her feel loved and help her work through accepting and dealing with what her brother did.  I would give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.  

The Bookshop Around the Corner, by Jenny Coligan, was a truly delightful book.  I think this book captured my heart this month. It made me want to go out and buy a little bookstore in a little town or maybe even a little bookmobile that I could drive from one fresh market to another.  OK reality check.....that would not work with my lifestyle.....The story was adorable.  Nina, the main character was interesting and easy to relate to.  Of course, it was a romance novel, but watch out because life does not alway work out the way you think it will.  I would give this book ⭐⭐⭐🌟/5 stars.  It gets the extra shiny star because it has a book theme to it.


Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris, is a book about David's life.  I began to listen to this book, is was just rambling and rambling of different situations in David's life.  I just didn't relate.  So I stopped listening halfway through....I felt like I was wasting time.  Sorry David...this midwestern, catholic girl just didn't get it.  

Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Steiner, has a home town appeal to me.  I live in Wisconsin and part of the story takes place in my state capital, Madison.  I am only 1/2 way through this book I thought I would be finished by now but I have had to set it aside for now.  I am just too busy to finish this book.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Reading Log

Wow!!! I read some amazing books this month.  I've been trying for days to think about which book was my favorite and to be honest I have a three way tie.  I absolutely loved All the Bright Places, Everything, Everything, and Inside the O'Briens A very close second would be Mrs. Mike

It is so hard to choose because I fell in love with the characters of all the books and I didn't want to stories to end.  I just wanted to know more, what happened next?  How did they go on? Where did they go from there?

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven,  this young adult book deals with a serious subject, suicide.  Violet and Theodore's love story is amazing.  They come together in a very unlikely circumstance.   It sends a strong message to teenagers that their actions no matter how small can have an impact on others.  Think before you act!!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, is another young adult book. This book is a story of first love between Maddy and Olly.  Of course it is not that easy,  Maddy is allergic is everything.  She is a girl that has to live in sterilized house.  No germs are allowed in the house at all.  She is a girl who lives through books and her computer.  Olly and his troubled family moves in next door to Maddy and their friendship grows from there.  "What would you risk for love?" is the question Maddy must face. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐   

The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, was about an old man, Eddie, who passes away and goes to heaven and meets five people.  You have to read a lot about his life to see how the five people fit into his life.  Eddie also works through a lot of his own relationships as well.  I had a hard time staying focused in this book.  There was so much background information that you had to read to get to the point.  I lost interest several times.  ⭐⭐⭐

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg, is one of my favorite books from my childhood.  I loved this book as a child and I decided to reread it.  I'm glad I did because I had forgotten a lot of details from the story.  The book is about Claudia and Jamie as they decided to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  The sibling interaction is humorous and some of the details are funny because you know there is no way that could happen in modern times.  I still think it is a great children's book.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Inside the O'Briens, by Lisa Genova, is an amazing story about Joe O'Brien and his family.  It is a heart breaking story about how Huntington Disease takes away so much from you, your job, your friends, your respect, and your life.  As Joe struggles with all of this he has to live with the fact that he has passed this disease down to his children and possible grandchildren.  The book is just a great reminder to not judge people....treat others with kindness and respect.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume, was an easy pick for me because I have always loved a book written by Judy Blume.  I have been reading her books since I was a little girl and I love that she is writing for adults.  The story is about a young girl, Miri, who grows up in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  In one year there are three different airplane crashes in their small town.  How does this affect the people in the town?  Miri and her friends and family are impacted by the crashed.  This is a good story as well.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mrs. Mike, by Benedice and Nancy Freedman, is an amazing story of a young girl, Kathy, who at the age of 16 moves from Boston to Alberta Canada during the 1800.  She falls in love in Mike Flannigan, a Canadian Mountie, and move further North into the wilderness. Living in the wilderness has brings many friendships, challenges and tragic events.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  

The Lemonade War, by Jacqueline Davies, is another children's book I read based on a recommendation from Instagram.  It was a cute story about brother/sister jealousy.  It is also a good book to start a discussion about accepting others and working towards your personal strengths.  ⭐⭐⭐

The Prayer Box, by Lisa Wingate, is a wonderful story about a focusing on yourself and working hard.  Tandi is a single mother who is struggling raising her two teenage children.  She comes across some hidden boxes when cleaning out an old house and she discovers a whole new life for herself. My only disappointment with this story is that I thought is was going to some how tie together with The Sea Glass Sisters which is did not for me.⭐⭐⭐

The Sea Glass Sisters, by Lisa Wingate, is a short story that I thought was an introduction to The Prayer Box.  The story was about Elizabeth who is an overworked mother who is at the end of her rope. She is dealing with a lot and needs a break from life.  She goes on a road trip with her mother.  Dealing with her mother and her aunt things start to fall back in place.⭐⭐⭐

The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, is another great book. Clare and Henry have an unusual relationship.  Clare is an artist and Henry is a librarian and a time traveler.  As they attempt to live a normal life they face many challenges from Henry's uncontrollable time traveling. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Waiting for Morning, by Karen Kingsbury, is what I would call Christian Fiction.  It is a story about both sides of drunk driving issue and turning away from your faith when you need it most.  It is a sad story and it tears at your heart because as a parent/wife it hits at your worst fear.  Even though I cried several times throughout the story, I felt the story was a bit repetitive and predictable. ⭐⭐⭐

Monday, August 21, 2017

A day with my husband and daughter.

My husband, daughter and I have been planning this day for months. Since Hamilton is not playing in our city yet, we knew we had to take a road trip.  So we planned to go to Chicago.  To save a little bit of money and get back home in time for work the next day we decided to go to a matinee.  

Going to a matinee in my opinion, did not take away from the experience.  Hamilton is an amazing play.  At first I wasn't sure I was going to like it because I was told it had rap music, but I really enjoyed the entire production.  The music and story was just wonderful.  I felt it had a bit of history in a humorous and diverse way.   

One of the smart things we did was we purchased our parking pass along with our tickets.  So we had reserved parking when we got to Downtown Chicago.  We didn't have to drive around and try to find a parking space.  That's a big deal when you are not familiar with the city.  We did have a slow drive home because we had to contend with rush hour traffic but once we were out of the city we found a place to eat and a relaxing drive home.  
We had a wonderful day together :)