Saturday, December 31, 2016

PopSugar Reading Challenge Update: I DID IT!


I DID IT!!!  I FINISHED ALL THE BOOKS!!!  Ten days ago i looked at the list & saw that I had 11 books left to read.  I decided (insanely) to go for it.  And I just finished my last book this morning!  Two-part post:  first, I'll give you a quick update with book titles; keep reading past that if you want to find out a little more about my thoughts on the various books, and how they were chosen!

Part 1
Since my last update, I've read: Ramona and Her Mother, which is a National Book Award winner; Flash Fire, which is a book I haven't read since high school; P is for Palmetto, which is a book set in my home state (SC); The Great Gilly Hopkins, which is a book that became a movie this year; March: Book One, which is a political memoir; Antony and Cleopatra, which is a book at least 100 years older than me; She's Come Undone, which is a book from Oprah's Book Club; The Witch Must Burn and The Wicked Will Rise, which is a book and its prequel; Talking as Fast as I Can, which is a book written by a comedian; Booked, which is a book of poetry; Giant Dance Party, which was the first book I saw in a bookstore library; Night, which is a classic from the 20th century; and The Dakota Cipher, which is a book about a road trip!

Previously, I've read:
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, which is a book based on a fairy tale.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which is a YA bestseller.

Journal of Major George Washington, 1754 by George Washington, which is a book translated to English.

The Cage by Megan Shepherd, which is a romance set in the future.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which is a book set in Europe.

The Fireflies Book by Brett Ortler, which is a book that's under 150 pages.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith, which is a New York Times bestseller.

#scandal by Sarah Ockler is a book recommended by someone I just met.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp is a self-improvement book.

Prohibition Bakery by Leslie Feinberg with Brooke Siem, which is a book I can finish in a day.

Situation Momedy: A First-Time Mom's Guide to Laughing Your Way Through Pregnancy & Year One by Jenna Von Oy, which is a book written by a celebrity.

Baby 411 by Ari Brown with Denise Fields, which is a book that's more than 600 pages.

Meridian by Josin L. McQuein, which is a science-fiction novel.

On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo with Robert Bucknam, which is a book recommended by a family member.

The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks, which is a graphic novel.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, which is a book that is published in 2016.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, which is a book with a protagonist who has my occupation.

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner, which is a book that takes place during Summer.

What We Lost in the Dark by Jacquelyn Mitchard, which is a murder mystery.

Near Enemy by Adam Sternbergh, which is a dystopian novel.

The Forever Girl by Alexander McCall Smith, which is a book with a blue cover.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, which is a book from the library.

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza, which is an autobiography.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith, which is a book about a culture I'm unfamiliar with.

Mama Tried by Emily Flake, which is a satirical book.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu, which is a book that takes place on an island.

Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem, which is a book that's guaranteed to bring me joy.


Part 2
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson | A book based on a fairy tale  This is a YA novel based on Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and told from Tiger Lily's point of view.  I loved it!  I'd had it sitting on my bookshelf for years; so glad this challenge finally prompted me to read it.  (I'd bought it for the cover.)

Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary | A National Book Award winner  In November/December I downloaded and listened to all of the Ramona Quimby books, as a nice mental "break" from all the studying at the end of the semester.  Turns out the National Book Award list has a "children's" category, and Ramona and Her Mother won one year!  So this was just a serendipitous fulfillment of the challenge.  Learned an interesting fact:  while Ramona herself ages only 6 years over the course of 6 books, they were published over the span of nearly 20 years.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | A YA bestseller  This was one of the first books I checked off the list!  Working in the YA department of a library certainly helped.  A coworker told me I must read it, so I did, and it's FANTASTIC.  I'm passing along the advice:  read this book!

Flash Fire by Caroline B. Cooney | A book I haven't read since high school  Do I get bonus points for reading the exact same copy that I read in high school?  lol  I still had my battered paperback copy of it, with it's awesome (slightly appalling) 1990's cover graphic and my name (well, my former/maiden name) inked in the inside cover.  I think I read it multiple times in high school; it was one of the first thrillers I ever read and I loved it.  It was just as I remembered!

P is for Palmetto by Carol Crane | A book set in my home state  I was technically born in PA, but we moved to SC when I was one- way too young to feel like PA was my home state.  I did all of my growing up in SC and only moved to NC a few years ago, so I chose to do SC as my "home state."  This was one of a handful of challenge components that I feel like I fudged just a little:  it's a picture book.  It's a delightful one, and a bit lengthier than most picture books, but still a picture book.

Journal of Major George Washington, 1754 by George Washington | A book translated to English  While we all know that George Washington spoke and wrote in English, this one still counts!  In the introduction, it was explained that this particular year's journal was confiscated by the French and translated to French.  Many, many years later, the French translation was discovered but the original English version has never been found.  So we can only read the journal translated to English from French from the original English.  It was slightly "choppy" to read because of this, but I still really enjoyed "hearing" my hero's words!

The Cage by Megan Shepherd | A romance set in the future  Another YA book!  (This shouldn't surprise you.)  I had previously read (and loved) Shepherd's other trilogy, and The Cage didn't disappoint.  I look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy soon.  It's really unique:  six teens are kidnapped from earth and put in a zoo of sorts on an alien planet.  It might give away part of the story to tell you where the romance comes in!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah | A book set in Europe  If I'd wanted to "cheat" a little, this one could have double-counted!  It's a book set in Europe that was recommended by a family member!  It was so good, and I'm so glad my sister-in-law recommended it.  It's not one I would have picked up on my own, I think, but I really enjoyed reading it.  It follows two sisters who are very young adults, living just outside Paris during WWII.

The Fireflies Book by Brett Ortler | A book that's under 150 pages  I think this one was only about 20 pages!  Definitely fits the challenge requirement.  I got it while on a camping trip with my family and friends to see the synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Such an awesome experience!  My family promises that we'll go back when the boy is a bit older so that he can see it too.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith | A New York Times bestseller  I binge-read this whole series earlier this year!  It's a popular one, so the later books in the series were all bestsellers, according to The New York Times.  I thought they were fun books; little cozy mysteries set in Botswana.

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson | A book that's becoming a movie this year  This is the last book I finished for the challenge, on New Years' Eve morning!  I looked at a list of all the movies released in 2016, and picked the one that would be the shortest.  Surprisingly, I'd never read this children's classic.  I loved it!

#scandal by Sarah Ockler | A book recommended by someone you just met  This one was required reading by one of my professors this past summer.  I'd never had the professor before, so she counted as "someone I just met."  It was ok.  At least it was YA and not lengthy.  My favorite character was the horse (and it was just a normal horse, not a magical talking horse or anything).

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp | A self-improvement book  This book was meant to help improve my mothering skills.  However, I think the whole 300+ page book could've been boiled down to a long magazine article and saved me some time that could've been spent with the baby.  It wasn't a lot of new information.

Prohibition Bakery by Leslie Feinberg and Brooke Siem | A book you can finish in a day  A cookbook!  I did actually "read" it cover to cover, though, so I don't look at this as cheating.  It had great little tidbits about Prohibition scattered between recipes for delicious-looking baked goods infused with alcohol.  I was, however, pregnant while reading it and therefore couldn't try any of the recipes.

Situation Momedy by Jenna Von Oy | A book written by a celebrity  I read this one right after giving birth!  It rang so true in so many ways, and was well-written to boot.  I find that a lot of written-by-celebrity books are slightly sub-par (they're really good at acting; not always great at writing), but this one was good!  And it literally made me laugh out loud.  And it gave me some confidence at mom-ing.  So it was totally a win.

March: Book One by John Lewis | A political memoir  A graphic novel political memoir, no less!  :)  I read this one in December, at the very end of the challenge, so I was super glad to find a graphic novel political memoir.  This one was ok.  It had been talked about for awards and all, so my expectations were pretty high, and it just didn't quite meet them.  A coworker read March: Book Two recently and said it wasn't really any better.  Oh dear.

Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare | A book at least 100 years older than me  Written in the 1500s, it's way more than 100 years older than me!  I know it was written as a play (and might still be performed somewhere), but it's considered a "classic" and not a "script" at my library, so I'm counting it for this challenge!  I hadn't read this one before, and it was ok.  I need to look and see if it was written before or after Romeo and Juliet.  They felt very similar.  I wonder if Shakespeare was slightly lazy?

Baby 411 by Ari Brown and Denise Fields | A book that's more than 600 pages  I know most people would just buy this one and put it on the shelf for reference, but I read it cover to cover.  It counted for this challenge!  And now I know more than anyone probably wants to know about babies.  Of course, after reading tons of baby books, I can also tell you that every baby is different and doesn't fit the baby book descriptions.  My baby, for example, eats more than the baby book says a baby his age will eat.  (He grows super fast.)  But he's still within "normal," so that's all ok.

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb | A book from Oprah's Book Club  UGH.  I hate-listened to this audiobook at the very end of December.  It was just such a downer of a book!  Every time I thought that things couldn't get worse for the main character, the author found a way to work in another tragedy.  Ugh.

Meridian by Josin L. McQuien | A science-fiction novel  Another YA book!  This is the sequel to Arclight.  These books have an interesting premise, but it's almost too science-fictiony for me.  I need a little bit of an anchor to contemporary things to be able to follow the story (personally), and this one was completely foreign.  Not terrible, just not really for me.

On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam | A book recommended by a family member  Two family members told us about this book while we were pregnant, so I read it and we followed it and it worked!  I know sleep training is controversial, but for our family, this is what worked.  We have a healthy boy who sleeps on his own through the night.  He wakes up well-rested and we never deny him food when he's hungry.  Our pediatrician sees him regularly and declares him perfectly healthy.  While Babywise may not be the book for you, it was the book for us.

The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks | A graphic novel  I truly enjoyed reading this one!  The title and the cover make it look like an action graphic novel, but it's actually historical.  It tells a slightly fictionalized story of the first all-black Army unit to fight overseas in WWI.  It was really well done, and I've since recommended it to many teens.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | A book that is published in 2016  I sometimes feel like I'm always playing catch-up with my to-read list, and not reading anything brand new.  The publisher contacted me this year and asked if I'd review this one on Tynga's Reviews and I agreed, and got to read a brand new book!  The publisher sent me a finished hardcover of it- how awesome is that?

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins | A book with a protagonist who has my occupation (librarian)  This one was a fantasy book, and the librarian worked in an other-world library that held literally all the secrets and knowledge of the whole universe.  It was kind of a mind-bender as well.

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner | A book that takes place during Summer  This was a pretty cute MG book.  From the back cover summary, I was expecting fantasy but it turned out to be straight up contemporary.  This left me feeling just a little misled, but the story was still really good, so that made up for it.

The Witch Must Burn and The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige | A book and its prequel  Well, this one wasn't fair of PopSugar!  This is one checkmark for two books!  Nevertheless, I dutifully sought out a book with a prequel.  I'd already read Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) last year, so I guess you could say I fudged this one just a little.  I read The Witch Must Burn (Dorothy Must Die #0.1) and The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) this year.  Still within the same series, so I'm counting it!  I'm loving these retakes on The Wizard of Oz.  Or, I guess it'd be more accurate to call them continuances of The Wizard of Oz, since they take place after the original.  Either way, they're edgy and sometimes funny and sometime tense and always well done.

What We Lost in the Dark by Jacquelyn Mitchard | A murder mystery  Surprisingly, none of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books are murder mysteries!  So even though I read a ton of them this year, I ended up going with a YA thriller for this challenge to-do item.  What We Lost in the Dark is actually a sequel to What We Saw at NIght.  It's a cool duology- the main characters have xeroderma pigmentosa, so they can only go out at night.  While out at night they do unique sports, such as parkour and deep free diving.  And they witness a murder.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham | A book written by a comedian  Before reading this book, I didn't believe in "reading slumps."  I kinda filed that term away with "tooth fairy" and "Santa Claus."  However, I'd been struggling through a massive baby book and decided that just this once I'd put aside a book in order to start a new one.  (I always like to finish a book before starting the next.)  So I put aside the massive baby book and read Talking as Fast as I Can in just 24 hours!  Turns out I'd been in a reading slump and didn't even know it!  I did eventually finish the baby book, but now I know that reading slumps exist, and can be broken with a hilarious book by Lauren Graham.

Near Enemy by Adam Sternbergh | A dystopian novel  This is actually a sequel to Shovel Ready, which I read last year.  Both are excellent!  While they are adult fiction, they're not long at all and will make you laugh out loud.  The main character is super snarky!  I love some good snark.

The Forever Girl by Alexander McCall Smith | A book with a blue cover  This book's cover isn't solid blue, but it's definitely majority blue.  As I've mentioned, I binge-read Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books this year and loved them.  They make me laugh.  The Forever Girl is 100% different.  Not a bad book, but not what I was expecting from the author, which threw me for a loop.

Booked by Kwame Alexander | A book of poetry  In hindsight, I think this one was fudged a little, as well.  But not intentionally.  Booked is a novel in verse, so it's a book in poetry, not necessarily a book of poetry.  Maybe?  Let's not quibble over that.  Alexander is a brilliant YA author, and reading Booked makes me want to read ALL. THE. ALEXANDER. BOOKS.  I don't even usually like sports books!  I immediately recommended his books to a nephew.  I mean immediately.  At, like, 2am.  My sister-in-law had to tease me about that late-night email... but I was too excited!

Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird | The first book I saw in a bookstore library  I don't go to bookstores.  Too dangerous.  Like taking someone in Weight Watchers to a cupcake shop.  So I went to a library.  To my library.  Which is a children's library. ....  Ok, so this one was a fudge as well.  I deliberately did the first book I saw in a library that I knew shelved and displayed picture books up front.  But I really did work hard on this list and I wasn't going to let this last little checklist item stop me!

Night by Elie Wiesel | A classic from the 20th century  Believe it or not, I'd never been required to read this one in high school.  It is incredibly moving.  Night is nonfiction as well as a classic, making it even more hard-hitting.  The hubby and I also own the follow-ups, Dawn and Day, and I look forward to reading them in 2017.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan | A book from the library  My coworkers and I all checked off on this item right away!

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza | An autobiography  This isn't a full autobiography of Tony Danza's life; it just covers a year that he spent teaching in a Philadelphia high school.  It's really interesting.  Recommended to me by my aunt... so this one could've double-counted too!

The Dakota Cipher by William Dietrich | A book about a road trip  I love how some of my books perfectly fit the requirement, and yet also take a tad of imagination... this one is historical fiction, set in the mid-1800s, and the "road trip" is a horseback/carriage/walking/canoeing trip across the Louisiana Purchase land.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding by Alexander McCall Smith | A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with  Another No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency book!  I told you that I read a lot of these this year.  Before starting this series, I was completely unfamiliar with Botswanan culture.  Now I almost feel like I could get around a little in Gabarrone!  Or, at least, in Mme. Makutse's fictitious neighborhood.  ;)

Mama Tried by Emily Flake | A satirical book  Ugh.  This book- ugh.  Yeah, it was satirical, so it totally fits this challenge requirement, but it also totally stunk.  I thought it would be a snarkily humorous book about motherhood.  Instead, the author comes across as kinda inept and very whiny.  One or two pages of the book actually made me wonder a little about the health and safety of her kid.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu | A book that takes place on an island  This is another one that perfectly fits the challenge requirement in an unusual way: its a YA fantasy, so it takes place on a fictitious island!  A great book with lots of action, and the author and I share a first name!

Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem |A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy  I had read an excerpt of this book in 2015 and loved it, so I figured the full-length book was guaranteed to bring me joy.  I was right!  This is an interesting nonfiction look at climate change and extinction.  What makes it unique is the total lack of preachiness.  Love that.


What about you?  Did anyone else complete this (or any other) challenge?  Leave a link & I'll check out your results too!  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves

Good morning!  Today I'm over at Tynga's Reviews, Stacking the Shelves. Click on the image above to see all the books I've brought home!

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa


MY PACKAGE ARRIVED!!!

IT'S AWESOME!!!

Y'all!  My package from my Secret Santa arrived yesterday!!  I didn't post last night because.... *drumroll*.... my Secret Santa included two little gifts for my little one!  I wanted to let him "unwrap" them and photodocument that to include here.

My Secret Santa individually wrapped everything in my box!  I love that some of the packages were in Little Mermaid paper.  That was the first real movie I saw in theaters, and our shared red hair made her my favorite Disney princess growing up.

(So many packages!  It was so hard, but I made myself wait until after I did the dinner dishes to start opening.)

My Secret Santa did so right by me!  I just by chance happened to unwrap in increasing order of excitement and glee.  Two of the packages were obviously books, so I started with those.  I LOVE books (hence the blog) and couldn't wait!  First I uncovered Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, then Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  I don't know too much about Falling Kingdoms, but totally trust my Santa's opinion, and I've had Cinder on my "to-read" list forever.  Owning it will certainly spur me to read it!

The rest of the packages got progressively better and better too!  A box of chocolate?  YES, PLEASE!  A box of chocolate that plays cheery holiday music when opened?  EVEN BETTER!  Also sticky note book reminders- super helpful to a book blogger/grad student!  Next, I unveiled a set of magnetic bookmarks proclaiming a proclivity for coffee- totally, 100% me.  I have such a strong preference for magnetic bookmarks.  And this is so timely- my current set of magnetic bookmarks (made from cardboard) are really starting to show their age.  It was definitely time to replace them.

The last package I unwrapped happened to be the best thing EVER.  Anne of Green Gables magnetic bookmarks!!  I hadn't even known these existed!  I told the hubby, "my Secret Santa doesn't even know it, but she could've mailed this and this alone and made my day!"  :)


Ok.  Now- are you ready for cuteness?  I'll warn you- my boy's pretty cute.  And I took these pics right after his bedtime nursing, so his cheeks are rosy.  :)  My Secret Santa told me in her card that the two packages in red were for him.


He had NO CLUE what to do with wrapped gifts.  Even when I tried to help "start" them, he just wanted to eat the paper and not do any further unwrapping.   Hubby said that was a little anticlimactic; I thought it was pretty on par for his age (7 mo).  So after much more help from me, we revealed two board books!  Spot's First Walk (with lift-a-flaps!) and Llama Llama Jingle Bells!

(Everyone we meet tries to help us parent.  He only ever wears one sock in public and in pictures only because he removes them.  Sometimes he has no socks.  His fault.  We try.  Anyway, didn't I tell you?  Total cutie patootie.)

The boy insisted that we read one of his new books right away at bedtime, so we read the Llama Llama book.  It's his first Christmas story book!  (It's his first Christmas!)  He really seemed to like it.


So, THANK YOU, Katrina!  You made a whole family very happy this holiday season!

Links:




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

IMPORTANT! Can I Do It?

Y'ALL!  I am TEN books away from actually completing this year's PopSugar Reading Challenge!  Can I do it?  I don't think I can not try when I'm so freaking close!!  I'm big on color-coding.  In the list below, the items that are struck through have been completed (yay!); the items highlighted in green mean that I have a plan, but I have to follow through; and the items highlighted in yellow I am definitely taking advice on.  If you know of children's books, novellas, books of verse, or graphic novels to fit any of those, please let me know!

(Is anyone else out there working on this checklist?  How are you doing?  Did you already complete it?)

A book based on a fairy tale Tiger Lily
A National Book Award winner  Ramona and Her Mother
A YA bestseller Six of Crows
A book you haven’t read since high school  Madame Bovary
A book set in your home state P is for Palmetto
A book translated to English  Journal of Major George Washington, 1754
A romance set in the future The Cage
A book set in Europe  The Nightingale
A book that’s under 150 pages  The Fireflies Book
A New York Times bestseller  Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
A book that’s becoming a movie this year
A book recommended by someone you just met  #scandal
A self-improvement book  The Happiest Baby on the Block
A book you can finish in a day  Prohibition Bakery
A book written by a celebrity  Situation Momedy
A political memoir  March Book One
A book at least 100 years older than you
A book that’s more than 600 pages  Baby 411
A book from Oprah’s Book Club Night
A science-fiction novel  Meridian
A book recommended by a family member  On Becoming Babywise
A graphic novel  The Harlem Hellfighters
A book that is published in 2016  Stalking Jack the Ripper
A book with a protagonist who has your occupation  The Library at Mount Char
A book that takes place during Summer  Circa Now
A book and its prequel  Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise
A murder mystery  What We Lost in the Dark
A book written by a comedian  Talking as Fast as I Can
A dystopian novel  Near Enemy
A book with a blue cover  The Forever Girl
A book of poetry
The first book you see in a bookstore
A classic from the 20th century  Of Mice and Men ??
A book from the library  The Blood of Olympus
An autobiography  I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had
A book about a road trip  The Dakota Cipher
A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with  The Saturday Big Tent Wedding
A satirical book  Mama Tried
A book that takes place on an island  The Young Elites
A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy  Wild Ones

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa

Merry Christmas!  I have once again participated in The Broke and the Bookish's Secret Santa!  This year was SO MUCH FUN!  My "assignment" blogger and I had so much in common.  We even have the same last name!  While it would have been easy to get her a bunch of Reese's Cups and YA books I've read and loved, I chose to focus on the things that make her more unique.  She wrote that she had a love of K-Pop.  Now, I know nothing about K-Pop, but I do know a teen who does!  I told her about this assignment, and she spent the next hour joyfully telling me all about the sub-culture.  Fascinating!  She even told me exactly what to say when I emailed my assignment's friend to ask about her "OTP" (one true pair)!

Here's what I mailed off today....
Same last name!

Here are the contents, under my tree.  :)  What do you think?  Did I do right by her?
Cheery Christmas card; salted caramel hot cocoa mix from World Market; ARC of The Continent; vanilla bean hand lotion from Bath & Body Works; Untamed by A.G. Howard; crunchy seaweed pops; chocolate Pocky

And then there was one additional little surprise slipped into the box... a custom pencil cup!  It wasn't in the original picture because it took me longer than expected to get around to laser cutting it.



It says "Merry Christmas!" in Korean on one side, the logo for Got7 (one of her fave K-Pop groups) on another, and an etched portrait of Bam Bam (her fave Got7 member) on the third side.  On the bottom, I etched "Uniquely Yours, From Your 2016 TBTB Secret Santa."

I suppose I should've etched "From Your 2016 TBTB Secret Santas!"  My boy came with me to the makerspace to use the laser cutter.  :)

I have such fun doing this!  I love getting to know a fellow blogger and picking out surprises for them.  Every time I participate, I end up continuing to follow their blog afterward.  One year when I participated I ended up with the full blown flu at Christmas (BUMMER) and my package arrived from my Secret Santa right in the throes of it.  Totally made my day and cheered me!   I so hope my package puts a big smile on someone else's face this year.  :)

Merry Christmas, fellow bloggers!





Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Happy Tuesday!  Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish blog.  Click on the image above to visit their blog and join in the fun yourself!  Today the girls announced that they're still in a food coma from last Thursday, and told us all to do a Top Ten Gift Guide.  Here are some cool things I came across while Cyber Monday browsing yesterday!  (If any family/friends are reading this, know that I'd be happy to receive almost any/all of these things! *wink wink*)  Click on the item names to go directly to the websites to purchase!

Top Ten Gift Guide
1. Anne of Green Gables Phone Case - Right now I just have a generic $5 case from Target on my phone.  I love Anne of Green Gables, and love the pretty colors on this case!

2. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow - Can't have too many Washington biographies!  And the hubby was just asking me the other day for a good Washington biography recommendation.


3. Hufflepuff Cardigan - I got sorted into Hufflepuff, and I'm totally happy with that!  I feel it's a good fit for me.  AND I need a new black cardigan for work!  So this cardigan would definitely get worn and would make me smile.  :)  The hubby is Ravenclaw, so you get bonus points if you also get the boy this Hufflepuff onesie.  ;)

4. Ten Thousand Skies Above You and A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray - In hardcover, please.  I have the first book in hardcover, autographed, and would like to complete the set.  Such a good, unique story!  Love it!

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro - 13.3" QHD Convertible Ultrabook PC - Intel Core M-5Y71, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Windows 8.1 - Silver
5. Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 - I don't always fall for commercials, but I fell hard for this computer after seeing a commercial for it!  I've been doing grad school work on a very, um, "well loved" laptop.  This one looks so versatile and shiny!  

PancakeBot PNKB01BK 3D Food Printer, Black
6. PancakeBot - the most wonderful and perfect union of a 3D printer and a pancake griddle.  What home would be complete without one?

7. Qixels - another perfect union!  This one is a fun joining of perler bead crafting and 3D printing!  I'm so excited about this one that I've submitted a consideration for purchase to my manager at work.


8. Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal Onesie - Hubby and I LOVE the Home Alone movie series, so I wanted to get this cute onesie for the boy.  Unfortunately, they seem to be on back order, and Amazon told me it wouldn't be delivered until after Christmas.  I'll have to be more on the ball next year!

Sassy Spoutless Grow Up Cup with Trainer Handles, 7 Ounce
9. Spoutless Sippy Cup - Might not seem exciting to everyone, but the boy finds these SUPER EXCITING.  He is so excited at every meal to get to drink an ounce or two of water from a "real" cup.  And I get excited that the design makes it so that I don't end up with many ounces of water on my floor when he inevitably drops it.

10. Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny by Jan Karon - I LOVE Jan Karon's Mitford books, and she's also written children's books!  I could share this one with the boy!

And you?  What's on your gift list this year?  Leave a comment and I'll visit you too!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  For more information, or to join the fun yourself, check out their blog by clicking on the image above!

Top Ten Books to Buy for Your Friends and Family for Christmas
(In no particular order)

Hooked on Murder (Crochet Mystery, #1)
1. For your great aunt who has doilies on all her furniture:  Hooked on Murder (and the rest of the series) by Betty Hechtman.  These cozy mysteries will keep her up late turning pages, and the crochet projects in all the books will help her use up her yarn stash.

Grasshopper JungleWinger (Winger, #1)
2. For your little brother:  Grasshopper Jungle or Winger by Andrew Smith.  Both have innocuous covers, so your parents won't know that you're giving him books chock full of slightly-raunchy teen boy stuff and language.  And they're hilarious.  He'll love you for it.

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)
3. For your goth sister:  Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.  Delightfully creepy and such a good mystery!  She won't be able to put it down, even if she insists on putting you down for such a "lame" gift as a book.

Storm Warning
4. For your conspiracy-theory uncle:  Storm Warning by Billy Graham.  Unlike all his other conspiracies, this one is rooted in Truth, in the Bible.  In it, Pastor Graham shows all the ways our current events point to Revelation and the coming of the end.

At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years, #1)
5. For your mom: the Mitford series by Jan Karon, which begins with At Home in Mitford.  She'll fall in love with the population of this cute little town and you'll end up road tripping together to meet the author.*

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6. For your baby nephew:  Goodnight Train by June Sobel.  You can get it in board book form, perfect for little hands (and little mouths).  Such a sweet little bedtime read!

Shovel Ready (Spademan, #1)Near Enemy (Spademan, #2)
7. For your dad:  Shovel Ready and Near Enemy by Adam Sternbergh.  This duology isn't long, so he won't have to spend weeks on it, and he'll love the main character's sarcasm.

Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
8. For your WWII-loving hubby:  Elephant Company by Vicki Constantine Croke.  No matter how many WWII documentaries he's watched or how many WWII books he's read, he probably hasn't heard of the Elephant Company.  My hubby hadn't!

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
9. For your grandma:  A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller.  Such a sweet book!  It takes Psalm 23 line-by-line, relating it to modern shepherding and explaining it.  Such a comfort.  And it's a short read, so she won't have to take much time from grandbabies to read it!  ;)

Food: A Love Story
10. For your brother-in-law:  Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan.  A hilarious read from the guy with a love affair with bacon.

And you?  What do you recommend I buy for my loved ones this season?

*True story.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  For more information, or to join the fun yourself, check out their blog by clicking on the image above!

Top Ten Eight Things I'm Grateful For
This one is a Thanksgiving "freebie," and we were encouraged to write a top ten thankful list rather than a bookish list.  You'll see that books did, of course, make my list... but only amongst other, more important things.

1. The Hubby.  I mention him all the time in my Top Ten Tuesdays because he's so very entwined in my life.  I can't imagine life without him.  I love him very, very much and am so glad he continues to put up with me!

2. The Boy.  My son!  He's new to the family this year.  His first Thanksgiving!  Just like with The Hubby, I can't imagine life without him.  What on earth did we do with ourselves before we had him in our lives?

3. All the Fam.  All the parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews and dogs!  What a lonely life I'd lead without them!  I am so so so blessed with so many loving family members.  I couldn't begin to describe all the help and support we've received this past year, with the new babe in the house.

4. My Church.  More support and love from my church family!  I miss church so much when I have to work on Sundays.  I love all the friends we have there.

5. My Job.  In this economy, I'd be grateful for nearly any job, but I'm extra blessed to have a job that I truly enjoy.  I work in teen library services... which isn't for everyone!  But I love "my" teens and have so much fun at work every day.  I'm even ok with the commute because I love my job so much!

6. My Educational Opportunities.  I'm in graduate school right now.  It's tough but I'm making it work.  It's something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and I'm finally in a place where I can.  And you know what?  I'm only able to do it with the support of my family and manager.  So to any of them out there reading this:  THANK YOU!  Thank you to the hubby for helping take care of the boy and the dog when I'm in class and thank you to the hubby and my parents for financial aid and thank you to my manager for letting me work on homework on the reference desk (as long as the patrons still come first).

7. My Car.  This might seem like a small thing compared to the first six items on my list, but my car means so much to mean:  it means independence and the ability to get to work and the ability to take care of my family without being reliant on public transportation.

8. Books!  You knew I couldn't do a Top Ten Tuesday on a book review blog without mentioning my love of books!  In all seriousness, I am grateful to live in a country where very, very little censoring happens.  I can read pretty much anything I want!

*I would have included "Health" in the list (I think I did last year) but my goodness... ever since The Boy started daycare, the three of us have had one cold after another!  Here's to hoping for a healthier new year!

And you?  What are you grateful for?  Leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit!  I'm looking forward to a day of warm fuzzies, reading all the TTT!