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Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2017 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the topic Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2017.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: May 3, 2017, 4:24pm Top

Another thread, another picture featuring cows or calves.

Hello! My name is Rachel, and this will be my seventh year participating in this group. Sometimes real life gets in the way of my posting on here, and I tend to mostly lurk on other treads instead of commenting. I always say I will try to be more active on here, but don't hold your breath.

I work in a library in a small town in Ohio. One of my main responsibilities is ordering books for children and teenagers, which means the list of books I want to read is constantly growing. I live on a farm with my husband. Spring and fall are the busiest times of the year for us.

I try to read a balanced number of children’s, YA, and adult books. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. At some point, I’d like to read more of the books I own and fewer library books, but since I’m at the library at least five days a week, they tend to just come home with me…

May 3, 2017, 4:21pm Top

Books Read January-March


1. When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad
2. Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack
3. When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker
4. Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
5. Winter's Bullet by William Osborne
6. Wild by Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot by Sarah Marquis
7. The Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton
8. This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
9. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
10. The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson
11. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
12. Madly by Amy Alward

13. Royal Tour (The Potion Diaries) by Amy Alward
14. The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman by Margot Mifflin
15. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
16. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
17. By Your Side by Kasie West
18. Brief Histories of Everyday Objects by Andy Warner
19. The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn by Sam Gayton
20. Black Diamonds: The Downfall of an Aristocratic Dynasty and the Fifty Years That Changed England by Catherine Bailey
21. Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger
22. The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
23. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
24. Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes
25. Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown
26. Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Thresa Carle-Sanders

27. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
28. Amy Snow by Tracy Rees
29. Below by Meg McKinlay
30. Winterfrost by Michelle Houts
31. The Littles by John Peterson
32. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
33. Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich
34. Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio
35. Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee
36. Always by Sarah Jio
37. The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter
38. Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams
39. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
40. Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
41. The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron
42. Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
43. Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods by Tania del Rio

Edited: Jun 28, 2017, 5:19pm Top

Books Read April-June

44. The Courage Test by James Preller
45. A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Banks Robbers & Other Badass Girls, Edited by Jessica Spotswood
46. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
47. The Treasure of Maria Mamoun by Michelle Chalfoun
48. Hamstersaurus Rex by Tom O'Donnell
49. Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley
50. Ice Lake by Various Authors
51. The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough
52. Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
53. The Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff
54. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson
55. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
56. Ride the Wind: The Story of Cynthia Ann Parker and the Last Days of the Comanche by Lucia St. Clair Robson
57. White-Hot Hack by Tracey Garvis Graves
58. In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll

59. Secrets in the Mist by Anna Lee Huber
60. Horizon by Scott Westerfeld
61. To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown
62. Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
63. The Ark Plan by Laura Martin
64. Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
65. The Long Dry by Cynan Jones
66. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
67. Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
68. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

69. Letters to the Lost by Ilona Gray
70. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
71. Wild Cowboy Ways by Carolyn Brown
72. Hot Cowboy Nights by Carolyn Brown
73. Merry Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown
74. After the Fall by Kate Hart
75. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
76. Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
77. The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
78. First & Then by Emma Mills
79. Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin
80. Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

Edited: Sep 27, 2017, 2:12pm Top

Books Read July-September

81. Reawakened by Colleen Houck
82. Windbreak: A Woman Rancher on the Northern Plains by Linda Hasselstrom
83. The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
84. More About Paddington by Michael Bond
85. The Marriage Bureau: True Stories From 1940s London Matchmakers by Penrose Halson
86. Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
87. Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker
88. The Cutters by Bess Streeter Aldrich
89. Wicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown
90. Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson
91. Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin

92. Butter in the Well: A Scandinavian Woman's Tale of Life on the Prairie by Linda Hubalek
93. My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story by J.L. Witterick
94. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
95. Been There, Done That by Carol Snow
96. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
97. Rooms by Lauren Oliver
98. The Dry by Jane Harper
99. The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb
100. No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Bensen

101. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
102. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
103. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
104. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
105. Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino
106. A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt
107. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 8:18pm Top

Books Read October-December

108. On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
109. The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming
110. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
111. The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman
112. The Next Together by Lauren James
113. The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard
114. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
115. Miss You by Kate Eberlen

116. The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
117. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
118. The Takedown by Corrie Wang
119. In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O'Brien
120. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
121. Prarieblomman: The Prairie Blossoms for an Immigrant's Daughter by Linda K. Hubalek

122. Sweetgrass by Jan Hudson
123. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (reread)
124. The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
125. Krysia: A Polish Girl's Stolen Childhood During World War II by Krystyna Mihulka

May 3, 2017, 4:22pm Top

This thread is now open!

May 3, 2017, 7:24pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! Adorable calves. :)

May 3, 2017, 10:37pm Top

Happy New Thread and a belated Happy Anniversary, Rachel!

May 4, 2017, 6:48am Top

Happy new thread, Rachel!

May 4, 2017, 8:49am Top

Happy new thread!

May 4, 2017, 9:19am Top

Happy new thread!

May 4, 2017, 12:02pm Top

>7 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! My parents raise Herefords, so I am partial to red and white cows, but there are several other breeds that I think are pretty.

>8 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! We're still eating the leftover cake :)

>9 scaifea: >10 drneutron: >11 foggidawn: Thanks Amber, Jim, and foggi! My reading isn't moving along that well at the moment, but I hope to get something read soon to break in this thread.

May 4, 2017, 3:19pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel.
Lovely calves up there. Over here you don't see any calves anymore without the required yellow earmarks.

May 4, 2017, 7:50pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel.

>1 aktakukac: I guess you're over the moooo n with the new thread?

May 5, 2017, 11:30am Top

>13 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita! It's interesting to learn the differences regarding ear-tagging requirements.

>14 PaulCranswick: Yes, Paul, I'm ready to mooove through this one, hopefully with lots of good reads :)

May 7, 2017, 3:58am Top

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Rachel.

May 8, 2017, 4:02pm Top

>16 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul, and have a lovely week!

May 8, 2017, 4:02pm Top

Book # 59: Secrets in the Mist by Anna Lee Huber

This story is set in the marshy coastlands of eastern England in 1812. Ella’s mother and brother have died, her father is an alcoholic who prefers illegal French brandy, she has sold almost everything of value, and she has a strained relationship with her best friend’s brother who jilted her for another woman.

One evening while walking through the foggy, marshy fens, Ella comes across a man with a lantern. At first she isn’t sure if her imagination is playing tricks on her. Eventually, she gets caught up with a smuggling ring. But is the Lantern Man a friend or foe? And how are her friends and acquaintances associated with the smuggling? Can she save her home and father, and just what, exactly, does her future hold?

I’d read one novel written by Huber before, and the premise of this one sounded like something I’d enjoy. I don’t know if it was a case of wrong book at the wrong time, or the fact that the story took forever to get to a point where things started to happen, but it didn’t really work for me. Far too much of the beginning was repeating the same old things, so by the time the story could have gotten interesting, I didn’t care anymore. There were too many stereotypical elements, as well.

Oh well, I don’t have a shortage of books to read any time soon, so I’m sure something better will come along soon!

May 8, 2017, 4:11pm Top

Book # 60: Horizon by Scott Westerfeld

A plane crashes in the Arctic, and a group of students survive. But they quickly realize they are not in a frozen, barren land but in a jungle. So where are they, really? Several laws of physics can apparently be changed, and there are several dangerous elements to contend with. Will they figure out how to get help and make it home?

This is the first book in a series, and I think it’s one of those multiple book/multiple authors series. It’s written for middle grade students, and it should appeal to some mg readers who like science fiction and some supernatural events.

It didn’t really work for me, partially because I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was not very good. His voice was alright, but he was so monotonous I almost considered abandoning the audio version. I also didn’t see much character development, but perhaps that will come in later books. Still, it was something different for me, and now I can move on to something I will (hopefully) enjoy more.

May 9, 2017, 12:00pm Top

After two mediocre reads, I hope your next book is much, much better. :)

May 9, 2017, 3:06pm Top

>20 MickyFine: Thanks! I'm slowly working through a novel-in-verse, which I don't often read. It's about a teenage girl travelling with the Donner Party, and it's really good so far. Too bad I've only been able to read it during my lunch breaks the last couple of days!

May 9, 2017, 3:46pm Top

>21 aktakukac: Nice. Hope it remains a good read.

I've been moving at what feels like a glacial pace through my current read but I think it's just the side effect of having ripped through a lot of my reads so far this year in 3-5 days. The writing in this one is more dense and the font is smaller so pages don't fly by at the usual rate.

May 9, 2017, 4:05pm Top

>22 MickyFine: I brought one back to work today unread because the font was too small. It also had a lot of images and pictures (it was about different items that have been left in books) and even the graphics were too tiny to see clearly.

I know I was able to boost my numbers last month because I read a lot of juvenile books. I'm trying to focus more on YA and adult books at the moment, so my count may not be as high in May. I can think of a couple I've got waiting that are going to be heavy and time consuming.

May 9, 2017, 11:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel!

May 10, 2017, 1:14pm Top

>23 aktakukac: Sorry to hear about the poor design on that book. Sounds like it would have been fascinating too.

May 11, 2017, 1:13pm Top

>24 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori!

>25 MickyFine: Yes, a better design certainly would have helped! It sounded intriguing when I checked it out, but when I actually opened it I knew it would be impossible to look at!

Yesterday I had two parents/caregivers inquiring about when the summer reading calendar would be available, since they have to "plan their summers". I told them I am still waiting to hear back on a couple of details and that our marketing person is on vacation anyway, so the calendars will definitely be ready the day after Memorial Day, but I'm not sure exactly about before that date.

Then I had a grade school girl come up and ask me where the reading logs are! Apparently someone is anxious to start summer reading, but i'ts definitely not me!

May 11, 2017, 1:39pm Top

Book # 61: To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown

I don’t often read novels-in-verse, but this one caught my eye because it is historical fiction based on the experiences of a young woman who was part of the Donner Party. I was extremely impressed with the poems and writing and how the story unfolded.

Mary Ann Graves and her family were traveling from Illinois to California when they eventually met up with another group of pioneers heading west. Due to a combination of later-than-normal departures, problems along the way, taking a “shortcut” that was more difficult to traverse than anticipated, weather problems, and more, the pioneers eventually became stranded and snowbound in the mountains. While some perished, others resorted to cannibalism in order to survive.

I actually felt like I was right there with the characters and although I knew that the novel would include something in regards to the cannibalism, it was still harrowing to read. The afterword includes a list of which people died and which were able to be rescued. I also thought this bit was particularly interesting: Mary Ann married a man who was part of the rescue team, but he was murdered a year later. She cooked meals and took them to his killer in order to make sure “he lived long enough to hang.”

Recommended for readers who enjoy verse novels or true survival stories.

May 11, 2017, 4:09pm Top

>26 aktakukac: Oh the intensity of summer reading. Good luck, friend!

May 11, 2017, 4:42pm Top

>28 MickyFine: I know! It's like, can't you at least wait until school is out?!

May 13, 2017, 12:38am Top

Summer reading? One good thing with leaving school - I get to read all year round!

Have a great weekend, Rachel.

May 20, 2017, 10:44am Top

>30 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul...yes, a lot of public libraries have special activities and programs during the summer to try to keep kids reading when they are on their summer vacations from school. It's a lot of work getting things ready. Thankfully, my library only has about a six-week program because of an art show that takes place in our meeting room for over half of July and part of August.

Have a nice weekend too!

May 20, 2017, 10:45am Top

Book # 62: Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

Cassie and her sister Sid live on two different continents. While Cassie is addicted to social media, Sid does not use it at all. In order to keep in touch more, the sisters make a pact at Christmas to write letters to each other on a regular basis. Cassie even scans her copies of the letters to keep a record of them.

The letters detail all aspects of their lives. Cassie has young twin sons and gave up her job to be a stay-at-home mom. They live in NYC, and while her husband is supportive, sometimes she feels like she can’t deal with her life or sons very well. Sid is living in Singapore, where her husband was transferred and she has to put up with him being gone on business trips across Asia, as well as his infidelity. They have a teenager and a young child, and Sid details various aspects of expat living for Cassie.

When something unexpectedly happens, Cassie has to try to find a way to repair both her marriage and her relationship with her sister. What will happen to their letter writing plan? And just what does the future hold for the sisters?

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and thought the story flowed well. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Cassie, but overall she was a likeable character. This was the author’s debut, and I would probably read more by her in the future.

Edited: May 20, 2017, 10:45am Top

Book # 63: Edge of Extinction: The Ark Plan by Laura Martin

If you know any middle grade/tween readers who love dinosaurs, have them read this book.

At some point in time, humans were able to bring dinosaurs back from extinction. Things went well for a time, but then a pandemic killed most of the human population and dinosaurs took over the Earth. In order to survive, humans had to resort to living underground in bunkers and reconstructed nuclear fallout shelters.

Sky lives in one of the four underground compounds in North America, in what at one time was the state of Indiana. Her mother died, and her father disappeared aboveground. He was considered a traitor because he put the lives of everyone in the compound at risk, so Sky is not treated well.

When Sky and her friend Shawn discover the reason her father left the compound, they know they have to go after him. They will have to travel to some kind of “island” location in Lake Michigan and only know the name of a person who was in contact with Sky’s father. The two have no way of knowing if he is still alive, or what it’s really like topside.

What will happen when the leave the compound? What is life really like above ground? The longer they are away from their home, they learn more about what the leaders were trying to hide, and become even more involved in the mystery surrounding Sky’s dad.

The Ark Plan leave things hanging at the end, but the follow-up book comes out later this month. One of my best friends has a son who has been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was little, and I told her he has to read the book. I’m curious to see what he thinks!

May 20, 2017, 10:58am Top

Book # 64: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

This was a fun audio! Historical fantasy, Regency romance, and mystery, adventure, and magic combine to make an exciting read that is difficult to put down!

When Truthful’s jewel is stolen, she is determined to get it back – even if it means disguising herself as a man. This becomes more difficult when she meets Major Hartnett, and tries to conceal her attraction to him. Can she keep her disguise a secret? Will she be able to reclaim her magical jewel from someone who is determined to keep it from her at all costs?

If you would like to read an Austen/Heyer/O’Brian mashup with a dose of magic, then I definitely recommend this page-turner.

May 20, 2017, 11:09am Top

Book # 65: The Long Dry by Cynan Jones

Gareth is a farmer in Wales, and this 119-page work covers a day in his life. A pregnant cow is missing, and he must search the farm to find her. There are other things that need to happen that day, and there is his wife and children to contend with and learn about.

The writing is simple and constant. I would find myself going back to reread passages before continuing on, just to go over it a second time. There is a lot going on, yet at times it seems like little is happening. The story covers a wide range of emotions and is utterly poignant. I hope many, many readers will find it and read it.

May 20, 2017, 1:34pm Top

That sounds great. And my library had a copy! I've put in a request for it.

May 22, 2017, 12:49pm Top

>36 charl08: For The Long Dry? I hope you'll like it! I am not sure how I came across it, but I was glad there were two copies in my library consortium and one was available when I requested it.

I had a super busy week at work last week, and my husband and FIL were able to get a couple fields of soybeans planted before we got a lot of rain. Now it's going to be a waiting game for the soil to dry out but there's a lot more rain in the extended forecast. Thankfully, things have been going smoothly and they have all the equipment ready to go once they can make it back in the fields.

My sister-in-law had a baby boy last week as well. We finally got to meet him yesterday. Right before his parents asked us to be godparents, the baby boy decided to soak through his diaper and continue leaking all over my husband, who was holding him :) I guess what does around comes around, because it turns out my husband made an even worse mess all over his grandfather the first time his grandpa held him!

I have been reading a good YA book, and would love to finish that one by the end of the month and start and/or finish another one after that. I was able to finish one over the weekend, so I'll get a review up about that one soon.

May 23, 2017, 4:21pm Top

Book # 66: Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

I read this book several times in my late childhood and teen years, but I haven’t revisited it since. I decided to listen to the audio version, and that was a mistake! I did not care for the author’s voice or way of narrating. I had forgotten that each date in the year-long diary includes information about the day’s saint and while it was a bit tedious to listen to, I enjoyed and appreciated that more than I did as a youngster.

This was a clear case of getting more out of the story as an adult. So many aspects of the story went over my head, or at least I wasn’t able to completely understand them, when I read this in the past. I also paid more attention to the father-daughter relationship this time around.

Overall, it was nice to read this again, but it lost some of the appeal it had as I looked at it with “adult” eyes.

May 25, 2017, 11:23am Top

Hi, Rachel. I just found your thread and am dropping a star. I'm from Dublin, Ohio and a life-long Ohio resident. I grew up in a very small town in eastern Ohio, but escapedmoved to Columbus after HS graduation and never left.

I also read a lot of middle/ya books with my two sons - although my 15-year-old has skipped over the ya stuff and is more into adult sci-fi now. Looks like you've been reading a lot of good stuff!

Jun 1, 2017, 3:24am Top

>37 aktakukac: Yes, that's the one. It just turned up at the library and I realised I had tagged the book with a spelling mistake in your user name. Glad I found you! and thanks :-)

Jun 2, 2017, 11:14am Top

>39 rretzler: Hi, Robin! I have a good friend from college who is from Dublin, and I've been through there once on the way to Columbus - it's a cute place! I also have a good friend in Marysville, so I get down that way occasionally. My husband has lived in Ohio his entire life and has said life on the east side of the state is completely different from the west side! I haven't seen as much of Ohio as I should, but since I'll be living here from now on, there's plenty of time to explore :)

My reading has been going by the wayside recently, just too much going on at work and at home! But that's to be expected this time of year! I have a ton of middle grade and YA books I'm excited to get to at some point...possibly mid-July or so...but it's nice to keep a good rotation with adult books too! I'll pop over to your thread at some point.

>40 charl08: Charlotte, I'm really looking forward to what you think about that one! And my username is a Hungarian word that means something sort of like bookworm...it sure uses some certain letters that make it tricky to spell!

Jun 6, 2017, 3:56pm Top

Book # 67: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

After her mother’s death leaves her an orphan, Maren is sent to Scotland to live with her paternal grandparents. Despite never having met them, she settles in fairly easily. Then she discovers something in her mother’s journal which leaves her questioning everything she knew about her parents. On top of all this, Maren meets someone who is very different from what she was expecting. Suddenly Maren, Gavin, and a few others are needed to save their friends and family from something evil. Oh, and Maren and Gaven aren’t allowed to fall in love…

Before I started this one, basically all I knew about it was that Maren would go live with her estranged grandparents in Scotland and there was a mystery involved. I didn’t realize that there would be so many paranormal aspects, but it was a pleasant surprise. The story needed a bit of work, but it flew by and kept my attention. The ending set up well for a sequel, so if you read this, be prepared for that.

Edited: Jun 6, 2017, 4:02pm Top

Book # 68: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
A children’s classic that I have been meaning to read for a long time. It’s definitely dated, but the themes are ever so important today. I could see myself buying copies for my nieces when they are a bit older.

Jun 6, 2017, 4:01pm Top

May Summary

May didn't exactly fly by, but it didn't provide me with a lot of reading time, either. I am happy I managed to finish 10 books. I did discard an audio after two or three discs, and I started another audio that will keep me listening through at least the first half of June. I expect June will bring some easier and lighter reading, and I am perfectly fine with that.

Jun 7, 2017, 9:40am Top

10's pretty good! I have a goal of someday averaging ten a month so I can crack 120 a year, but so far I'm consistently at about 9 a month. Maybe when I retire... :)

Jun 7, 2017, 11:12am Top

>44 aktakukac: 10 looks pretty impressive. I'm usually happy if I make it 8 in a month. :)

Jun 11, 2017, 2:54pm Top

>41 aktakukac: Love to have a meetup if you get to Marysville - I'm about 30 minutes away. Yes, the east and west sides of Ohio are very different - I kind of divide Ohio into 4 quadrants and they are really all a little different.

Jun 17, 2017, 5:50pm Top

I like your month's cover display.

I wanted to thank you for your recommendation - I loved The Long Dry having finally had the space to sit and read it after struggling since it came into the library. So beautifully written. I'll be recommending this (and looking for my own copy too!).

Jun 21, 2017, 3:26pm Top

I looked at the calendar last week and couldn't believe that June was half over. Now here it is almost a week later, and I can't figure out how the month has gone by so quickly! Ok, I do know, as Summer Reading is in full swing at work, and we had a very long, wet spring that made for some very late planting dates on the farm. But I have managed to get some reading done, and have some reviews to post. I hope to pop around some threads soon, but it could be a few more weeks before that happens!

>45 drneutron: It seems like I start out the year really well, and then my reading slows down...I'll just read as much as I can and see what numbers I end up with :)

>46 MickyFine: Something about those double digits just makes it seem more impressive, but 8 is nothing to sneeze at!

>47 rretzler: I think I'm about an hour and 15 minutes from Marysville. I need to make a list of all the places in the state I'd like to go to eventually! Hocking Hills is towards the top.

>48 charl08: Oh, I'm so glad you loved The Long Dry! I agree - the writing is absolutely beautiful! I'm sure your review will help it get some more readers!

Jun 21, 2017, 3:27pm Top

Book # 69: Letters to the Lost by Ilona Gray

The historical fiction part of this novel takes place during WWII and involves a woman who is (unhappily) married to a vicar who goes off to serve. She meets an American pilot, and they have an affair and fall in love. In the present day, a young girl escapes from an unfortunate situation and takes cover in a house that hasn’t been lived in for years. The characters become connected as letters are discovered, and mysteries are attempted to be solved and people reunited.

I thought some aspects of the story were rushed and other parts could have been expanded. Still, a pleasant enough read.

Jun 21, 2017, 3:27pm Top

Book # 70: Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Aimee has been friends with James for decades, and they plan to get married, have children, and be successful in their careers. But everything changes when James dies in a boating accident a short time before the wedding is to take place. Aimee is devastated, but eventually starts picking up the pieces of her life. She has a feeling that some things about the accident don’t make sense, and she does some investigating into why James was in Mexico. The more she learns, the more she questions what she knew about the man – and the family- she was about to marry into.

I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews about this one. The writing left a bit to be desired, but the story itself kept me very interested and wanting to know what would happen next.

Jun 21, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Book # 71: Wild Cowboy Ways by Carolyn Brown
First in a series about a group of cowboys who move to rural north Texas to make the unluckiest ranch in the state into a successful business. I liked the small-town setting and variety of secondary characters the most.

Book # 72: Hot Cowboy Nights by Carolyn Brown
Continuing the series, which was about all my brain could handle. Easy reading, fun characters, humor, romance, and cowboys!

Book # 73: Merry Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown
This was my favorite so far, simply because I liked the male lead the most.

Jun 21, 2017, 3:29pm Top

Book # 74: After the Fall by Kate Hart

YA book about a high school student and her relationships with two brothers. When tragedy strikes, she has to decide who she is and what she really wants from life. A quick read, I thought it was a case of the author trying to cram too many themes into the story and most of them being underdeveloped. I also didn’t particularly like any of the characters.

Jun 21, 2017, 3:29pm Top

Book # 75: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

I remember this book getting a lot of buzz a few years ago, and it was a very popular book club choice. I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard any spoilers for the story, and I went into it not really knowing what to expect. I thought the dialogue was witty, entertaining and ture-to-life. At times, I was a bit bored with the overall story, but that’s because the “secret” isn’t much of a secret for long.

Jun 21, 2017, 3:30pm Top

Book # 76: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

A nice middle grade coming of age story that deals with bullying, grief, friendship, and growing up. Elise has a difficult time adjusting to middle school. Her starts to think her friend Franklin is an embarrassing baby, her locker partner smashes her lunch every day and calls her names, and she has problems getting her homework finished. Both of her parents died when she was young, but she finds a key to a room which helps her with the issues she is dealing with.

I liked the story, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I thought some things could have been explained better, and some things were unresolved, which I didn’t appreciate. Definitely worth reading, though.

Jun 21, 2017, 4:26pm Top

Congratulations on reaching (and surpassing) the magic number!

Jun 21, 2017, 6:42pm Top


Jun 21, 2017, 7:07pm Top

Congrats on zooming past 75!

Jun 22, 2017, 12:35am Top

Congratulations on blowing past the 75 book mark, Rachel!!

Jun 22, 2017, 1:22pm Top

>56 MickyFine:, >57 drneutron:, >58 foggidawn:, >59 ronincats: Thank you Micky, Jim, Foggi, and Roni! I'm happy to have read so many books before the end of June :) While I'd love to finish another 75 by the end of December, I have a very strong feeling that won't be happening!

I have tomorrow off, and it's supposed to be rainy, so I'm planning on finishing a couple of books I have going, and making some more progress on an audiobook. And maybe do some baking...we'll see what actually gets accomplished...

Jun 22, 2017, 5:13pm Top

Congratulations on 75, Rachel, up to the double!

Jun 22, 2017, 6:56pm Top

Congratulations on hitting 75 -- and more!

Jun 25, 2017, 9:44am Top

Congrats from me too!

Jun 27, 2017, 12:12am Top

Just finished This is Our Story. Wow! And that cover...! What a punch in the gut when I actually looked closely at it.

Jun 28, 2017, 1:01pm Top

>61 FAMeulstee:, >62 thornton37814:, >63 charl08: Thanks Anita, Lori, and Charlotte! I'm curious to know what my final number will be in December!

>64 jennyifer24: YAY!!! I have a feeling that one will end up being one of my top reads of the year :) I'll visit your thread to see what you thought about it.

Jul 1, 2017, 10:18am Top

Book # 77: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The lives of three women (and their families) connect in post-WWII Germany. Eventually, we learn about their pasts and how the decisions they made before and during the war will impact their futures.

I liked it…for a while. Then it got bogged down and was too drawn out. I didn’t particularly care for the layout, and didn’t learn things until the last third/quarter of the novel which would have been nice to know earlier on.

Jul 1, 2017, 10:19am Top

Book # 78: First & Then by Emma Mills

Devon is a high school senior in Florida. Her parents have recently started taking care of her cousin Foster, since his father died and his mother can’t take care of him. While adjusting to having Foster in her life, Devon tries to make decisions about college, a crush on her friend, and a developing friendship with the school’s quarterback.

Fans of Jane Austen will appreciate this one, and while (American) football plays a big role in the story, I didn’t find it overpowering (I don’t particularly like football). I do wish Cas had been more of a developed character. A nice contemporary YA “romance” that is light on the romance and heavy on friendship, family, and becoming your own person.

Jul 1, 2017, 10:19am Top

Book # 79: Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Juvenile non-fiction/true crime about how counterfeiting led to attempts to steal the body of President Lincoln and the development of the “modern” Secret Service. Full of excitement, mystery, and history, this is an engaging read that should appeal to a lot of readers.

Jul 1, 2017, 10:19am Top

Book # 80: Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

Stella is an orphan who lives with her aunts in a hotel by the sea in Victorian times. She gets caught up in magic, mystery, and adventure. This was the first in a series, and the ending does leave a lot of things unresolved.

I liked the story, but I struggled to get through it. I’m not sure if it was a case of wrong book at the wrong time, what.

Jul 1, 2017, 10:25am Top

June Summary

I read a little of everything in June. I managed to read more than I expected to, which was a nice surprise! I hope I can keep up the numbers in July, and keep working away at the piles of books on my nightstand. I had told myself that once Summer Reading was finished, I’d start reading either The Count of Monte Cristo or Lonesome Dove, but I really need to read some of the books I’ve had checked out for ages first.

Jul 1, 2017, 9:06pm Top

>69 aktakukac: Too bad that one wasn't better. It has a great title.

Jul 5, 2017, 4:00pm Top

>71 thornton37814: It wasn't exactly bad. The more I think about it, I think it was just the wrong book at the wrong time and I was trying to rush through it too quickly. I hope other readers will enjoy it more than I did!

Jul 5, 2017, 5:40pm Top

Book # 81: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

About five years ago or so, I read Houck’s Tiger’s Curse series. I remember that the worldbuilding and plot were incredibly creative, and I was sucked into the story. I also recall the books were not particularly well-written and poorly edited. I decided to try the first book in her most recent series, which is about an ancient Egyptian prince who comes back to life, mostly because I was hoping for a creative storyline and vivid descriptions like in her previous series.

Well, this was a letdown.

While the author’s writing and editing have improved, I thought everything else about the story was just…bland. I had trouble visualizing the events that were taking place. I thought the story did not flow very well, and mostly kept reading just to see how the ending would shape up (since this is the first in a trilogy or series). I do not plan to read on, as I have plenty of other books that are calling my name and I just don’t care what happens to the characters later in the series.

Jul 7, 2017, 11:37am Top

Book # 82: Windbreak: A Woman Rancher on the Northern Plains by Linda Hasselstrom

This memoir is told through journal entries over the course of a year, from September 1984 through August 1985. The author wore many hats, as a rancher, poet, environmentalist, feminist, and more. The journal entries depict the chores and tasks she, her husband, parents, stepson, and neighbors did in order to care for their land and herds of beef cattle in northwestern South Dakota.

Besides feeding the cattle daily, she covered doctoring the cattle, the birthing season, and how they got through each season. The weather – high and low temperatures for each day, as well as precipitation, wind, and other weather characteristics, were included at the top of each entry. Some parts of the journal, especially in the winter months, were a bit tedious, because it seemed like the bitter, extreme cold and snow would never end!

The ranchers had to deal with other things than the weather, including fires, accidents, injuries and health problems, and isolation. Since the author is also a poet and writer, she included poems throughout the memoir, especially at the end of each month. She also discussed some of her political and environmental work.

While I liked reading about a year on the ranch, I did skim some parts because they were repetitive and slightly tedious. A glossary of agriculture and ranching terms and descriptions was included in the back, but I wish the author had explained more in the actual journal entries, as it would have made some things easier to understand.

All in all, a slightly different take on living and working in the West.

Jul 14, 2017, 4:49pm Top

What a week!

We finished cutting the last wheat field.
Had major storms, including tornado warnings, hail two different nights, and a funnel cloud that went over some houses a couple of miles down the road.
I had to sit in my in-law's "Buckeye Building" for a fish fry, and I HATE all types of fish and seafood and can STILL smell the fish.
Finished our Summer Reading program at work, WOO HOO!!!!
Got all the extra supplies, prizes, etc. packed away and have a clean office...oh what joy to be able to see my desk :)
Decided we will go to the Cincinnati Reds game this Sunday to use the tickets we won at a fundraiser earlier this year.
I finished one print book, one audiobook, and am about halfway through another book (but reviews will have to wait until next week).

And I just realized that today is my three-year anniversary at my job. I think I'll celebrate by doing laundry tonight while my husband mows the yards. And hopefully finish my book!

Jul 14, 2017, 6:52pm Top

>75 aktakukac: Wowzers! I'm tired just reading that. Wishing you a restful weekend!

Jul 17, 2017, 3:57pm Top

>76 MickyFine: Thanks! It wasn't all that restful, as Saturday was spent doing tons of chores, cooking, and things that I couldn't get done yesterday. We left for Cincinnati in the morning, went to the Reds Hall of Fame/Museum before the baseball game, and stayed for most of the game even though it wasn't much of a game. The other team just kept scoring runs and the final score was 14-4 :( We stopped in a nearby town on the way back home to get some groceries and things, and a major storm started before we could check out. Hail, wind blowing the rain sideways, the power even went out three times in the store! Thankfully it let up enough for us to drive home and by that time, I was exhausted! Maybe next weekend will be a little more restful!

Jul 17, 2017, 3:57pm Top

Book # 83: The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Told from the perspectives of four different characters, this novel takes place in Alaska in 1970. While the characters and their stories are connected, each faces different situations, dilemmas, and they will grow in their own unique ways. There were a few times when I didn’t understand a historical or cultural reference. This is definitely a book I would recommend to adults who are interested in reading young adult literature.

Jul 17, 2017, 3:58pm Top

Book # 84: More About Paddington by Michael Bond

I’d been meaning to read another Paddington book for a while, and when I saw that Michael Bond recently passed away, I decided to listen to this one, narrated by Stephen Fry. I never read any Paddington books when I was young, and I wish I had…so I will just have to continue reading them as an adult!

Jul 17, 2017, 3:58pm Top

Book # 85: The Marriage Bureau: True Stories from 1940s London Matchmakers by Penrose Halson

Thanks to Micky for this recommendation! It’s non-fiction, but doesn’t read like it. Two women, who were looking to do something with their lives other than what was expected of them, set up an agency in London to pair up interested individuals who were looking for marriage.

Things I really liked included reading about all the different types of people who applied, the successful (and sometimes quite unsuccessful) matches that were made, and how WWII kept the matchmakers incredibly busy.

I wish a couple of things had been explained at the end. What happened to the Bureau after the post-WWII years and in later decades? How did the author come to work there, and what happened to Mary Oliver?

Still an enjoyable read that had a slightly different take on life in England during WWII.

Jul 17, 2017, 3:58pm Top

Book # 86: Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

I decided it was time to read another Maisie Dobbs novel, since it had been way too long since I read the previous one. I enjoyed this one a bit more than some of the others. Maisie and her assistant Billy see a man take his own life on a London street, which leads to her quickly becoming involved with domestic terrorism, chemical warfare, and situations that put her in extreme danger. Adding to the novel is the fact that Billy’s wife, Doreen, is still having trouble getting over the death of their daughter, and is committed to an institution which may do more harm for her than good.

I need to do a better job of staying on track with this series! Who knows, maybe I’ll read the next one later this year!

Jul 17, 2017, 10:12pm Top

You guys have had some crazy weather this summer! I think we're lucky up here- it seems like the strong stuff falls apart over Lake Michigan. Hope it calms down soon.

Can't wait to look for The Marriage Bureau. Sounds good!

Jul 17, 2017, 11:06pm Top

Just got back from a 2 week vacation and was fortunate enough to have missed all of the bad Ohio weather! We only ran into a few storms on the way back. Sounds like its been a typical crazy Ohio summer weather-wise! Belated congrats on reaching 75!

Jul 18, 2017, 11:40am Top

>77 aktakukac: Yikes! Sounds like a crazy busy weekend. I'll cross my fingers that the next one is more low-key.

>80 aktakukac: Yay! I'm glad you liked it!

Jul 19, 2017, 10:10am Top

>82 jennyifer24: Ahh, yes, good old Lake Michigan! It either makes storms break up, or dumps tons of lake effect snow, depending on the season :) The Marriage Bureau was good, but I thought there were definitely some weak points and the ending could have been stronger.

>83 rretzler: I'm not complaining too much, because so far we haven't had that much horrible heat to contend with. But there's still plenty of summer to go, and this week is hot enough for me already!

>84 MickyFine: Thanks, I know things will be getting crazy for a while after next week, so I'll take whatever calm, low-activity days I can for now!

Edited: Jul 19, 2017, 7:33pm Top

Hello aktakukac! I hope your day is going well.

>33 aktakukac: My son loves dinosaurs, but I can barely get him to read Dinosaur Cove, much less something of a more advanced reading level. He's 9 and he can read fine, but he doesn't like to. Perhaps, I'll get this a read it to him. :-)

>68 aktakukac: This looks really interesting. The same son enjoys non fiction. This may get his attention!

Jul 20, 2017, 4:48pm Top

>86 brodiew2: Hello, Brodie! I definitely recommend The Ark Plan for children who love dinosaurs, and I thought it was a pretty decent read for adults, too. Does your son like audiobooks? Maybe he would like listening to it that way. I think it would be a good read aloud for you and him, though! Lincoln's Grave Robbers is great for all ages. It kept my attention the entire time and was full of tons of interesting information - I definitely recommend it if you like non-fiction or American history!

Jul 21, 2017, 11:48am Top

Book # 87: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

I read one of Tucker’s previous series, and this novel was different. Instead of angsty, sometimes danger-filled romantic supsense, this was very much a fairy-tale Cinderella romance. While I got caught up in the story, in the end I was let down because it was filled with too many clichés, and was sort of boring. Yes, it was heartwarming and sweet, and it was nice to see a different side of Tucker’s writing.

The basic plot: a young single mother rescues a man from a horrific car accident. He happens to be the most popular professional hockey player on the best team, and she is determined to stay out of the spotlight because she has already had her infamous fifteen minutes of fame. They fall in love, but there are plenty of things that could keep them apart.

I’m not saying this was a bad read, and I’m not going to deter people from reading it. It just wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be. I’ll still read whatever the author writes next. It looks like her next book will be published in January, and is more on track with the Burying Water series. Yay!

Jul 21, 2017, 1:03pm Top

Book # 88: The Cutters by Bess Streeter Aldrich

I’ve read several books by Aldrich, although it has been several years since I last picked one up. The Cutters was published in 1926, and the main characters are the members of the Cutter family. Each chapter covers some type of event or problem the family has, and by the end of the chapter, lessons have been learned, characters grow and develop, and family life remains the focal point. The various problems and emotions the characters cover are similar to what people deal with today – comparing yourself to others, not being satisfied with what you have, allowing new friends to make you think less of other friends, and so on. By the end of the novel, the children grow up, and I was sad to see the stories end.

The writing is lovely and old-fashioned, and very Midwestern. I loved some of the expressions and sayings included in the dialogue, as well as the humor and overall themes. Perfect for anyone looking for a read that focuses on family life, is filled with warmth, and memorable characters.

I need to continue with Streeter’s bibliography, and must make a note to not let so much time go by before reading more!

Jul 21, 2017, 2:04pm Top

Book # 89: Wicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown

An easy read to finish up the series. I think I liked this one the best. Traveling in a blizzard from Montana to Texas kept things interesting!

Jul 21, 2017, 2:04pm Top

Book # 90: Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

Fun middle grade/early YA novel that is the first in a trilogy. It has lots of the following: dragons, witches, princesses, war, secrets, bravery, courage, good and evil, and LOTS of twists and turns to keep you wondering. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. If you like well-written children’s/tween fantasy set in a fairy tale world, you should read this one.

Jul 28, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Book # 91: Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin

Last summer, my husband and I stopped in Dodge City, Kansas, during our summer vacation. We both ended up enjoying our time there a lot more than we had expected. Sure, some of it was touristy, but there was a lot of history and I have a feeling we will go back there some day and spend more time in the town. I especially want to return there after reading this book!

This book is a fantastic combination of the history of the town, state, Wyatt Earp & Bat Masterson’s lives, and many more characters and events that shaped the American west. I listened to the 11 discs while I was doing things around the house, so it did take me a while to get through, but I never found the information dull or drawn-out.

Definitely recommended for readers interested in American history and more truth and less myths about some of the leading figures and circumstances of the time.

Jul 30, 2017, 5:39pm Top

Nice review! On my list it goes.

Jul 31, 2017, 12:29pm Top

I loved Hasselstrom's book and I've since bought her others to read when I get the chance :)

Aug 1, 2017, 10:40am Top

>93 drneutron: Great! It's a good one!

>94 DFED: I'd be interested in reading more by her if I can track down copies of her other books! Some day :)

Aug 1, 2017, 10:48am Top

July Summary

I’m happy with my July reading overall. There were a few disappointing reads and some really good ones as well. I bet July will be the last big month of reading for a while. August has county fairs, a vacation, and I’ll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen with the peaches, pears, blueberries, and sweet corn that need to be canned or put in the freezer. All my weekends are already booked as well, but I hope to at least read as much as I can and keep working through my stack of library books. My audio hold on My Lady Jane finally came in today as well, so that will be my primary audiobook for a while. I'm hoping my hold on A Man Called Ove will arrive before we leave on vacation so I can take it with me.

Aug 4, 2017, 3:38pm Top

Book # 92: Butter in the Well: A Scandinavian Woman’s Tale of Life on the Prairie, 1868-1888 by Linda K. Hubalek

This was the fictionalized journal of a Swedish immigrant woman’s life in Kansas over a twenty-year period in the 19th Century. From filing a homestead claim with her first husband and living in a sod house, to raising her children, developing the farm and marrying her second husband, a lot is covered in a rather short book. It’s easy to read in one or two sitting, and is the first in a series.

At times, it was difficult to keep track of the names of most of the secondary characters. There was also a lot of death mentioned – mostly infants and children who died of illness, as well as others succumbing to fluke accidents, ailments, and occasionally old age. There were a few chapters that were quite bleak on that front, but it was a part of life on the prairie in the 1800s.

A few recipes are also included, and a glossary of Swedish terms that are used throughout the book. Since this was a quick read, I’ve already ordered the next book in the series and will enjoy reading about what will happen to the characters next.

Aug 8, 2017, 4:30pm Top

Book # 93: My Mother’s Secret: A Novel based on a True Holocaust Story by J.L. Witterick

Historical fiction based on true events during WWII. Told from the perspectives of four of the characters, it is the story of a mother and daughter who hid two Jewish families and a German soldier in their small house and barn in Poland. The writing is rather simple, and was a bit dry at times, but I was interested in the story and hearing about things from the different perspectives. It was a quick read as well. I just wish some of the characters had been developed a bit more.

Aug 9, 2017, 10:35am Top

>98 aktakukac: Wishing you a better next read. :)

Aug 10, 2017, 11:23am Top

>99 MickyFine: I did finish the audio of My Lady Jane, which I thought was an entertaining, funny read. I'll post about it soon. I didn't mean to make My Mother's Secret sound bad. It kept me interested in the characters and how things would progress. I think it was just too short and would have been better if the author could have expanded some things. It's a good Holocaust read for tweens, teens, and adults!

As of this morning, I may be taking over or at least helping out with some of the monthly book discussions one of my co-workers leads. She is feeling a bit burned out, my boss decided to delegate some of my tasks to yet another co-worker, and we've been thinking of changing up book some book groups for a while now. Thankfully I still have over a month to get the first book read, but I'm sure I'll procrastinate and then have to rush to finish it :)

Aug 10, 2017, 12:10pm Top

>100 aktakukac: Leading a book group sounds exciting! Hopefully the first read for it will be awesome.

Sep 13, 2017, 12:40pm Top

>101 MickyFine: Thanks! I just finished the book for this month yesterday. It's A House in the Sky, which I've actually had on a reading list for a few years now. Soon it'll be time to start the book for October, which is kind of hard to believe!

Sep 13, 2017, 12:41pm Top

Book # 94: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I don’t typically read much along the lines of alternate history, but this historical fantasy novel was fun, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by the always fabulous Katherine Kellgren, and probably added to my enjoyment of the story.

Book # 95: Been There, Done That by Carol Snow

A book I’ve had on my reading list for many, many years. Unfortunately, it has not stood up well against the passing of time. A journalist goes undercover as a college student to try and solve a mystery. I’d rather watch “Never Been Kissed” because of Michael Vartan.

Sep 13, 2017, 12:42pm Top

Book # 96: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

This little book explains and describes the Danish cultural characteristic of hygge, which is a quality of coziness and togetherness which causes well-being and contentment. The first time I heard the word was actually years ago in a romance novel of all things!

Book # 97: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Not what I was expecting and quite a disappointment!

Book # 98: The Dry by Jane Harper

If you like well-crafted mysteries that keep you wondering, pick up this novel that is set in rural Australia. It’s the first in a series, and I will definitely be picking up future installments!

Sep 13, 2017, 12:43pm Top

Book # 99: The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

Wendy Webb’s books always pull me in and are quite atmospheric. They aren’t perfect, but I love reading them. In this novel, a woman is hired to be the manager of an isolated retreat for various kinds of artists. Something happens the day that she arrives that changes everything, and suddenly she must solve a mystery from the past in order to survive. The history behind the setting was very interesting to read about as well.

Book # 100: No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Bensen

I saw this on Micky’s thread earlier this year, and decided to read it because it has been a while since I read any travel memoirs. I wish this had more travel and less of the relationship and mental health aspects, to be honest. It made me cut back on some of the luggage I took on a recent vacation, but did not leave me with a desire to travel with one outfit and a handful of personal items!

Sep 13, 2017, 12:48pm Top

August Summary

I wondered if August would have my lowest number of books read so far this year, and it was. But I did make it to 100 books read before the month was over! I took five or six books with me on vacation at the end of the month and beginning of September, and read about 60 pages of one. I don’t expect September to be a huge reading month (especially since it's almost half over already), but I’ve accepted that. Other than reading the book discussion book for work, I just plan to keep chipping away at the pile of library books I have at home.

Sep 15, 2017, 12:15pm Top

>105 aktakukac: Sorry to hear No Baggage didn't work for you as well. But a solid reading month regardless. :)

Sep 15, 2017, 9:54pm Top

Well done on a 100 books plus already, Rachel.

Have a good weekend.

Sep 18, 2017, 4:05pm Top

>107 MickyFine: Yes, I can't complain about my August reading numbers!

>108 PaulCranswick: Thank you! I'm happy I made it that far with a few months left in the year!

Sep 18, 2017, 4:05pm Top

Book # 101: The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

This is another book I’ve had on my reading list for almost a decade. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but in this case that was fine. Folktales and fairy tales were involved in the plot in a way that helped move the story along, and it was also a nice coming of age story.

Sep 18, 2017, 4:06pm Top

Book # 102: A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

Read this for a book discussion I was helping out with, although it has been on a reading list for a few years now. Amanda Lindhout, a young Canadian woman, fell in love with the world and travel by reading old copies of National Geographic during her not-so-great childhood and teenage years. She would waitress for months at a time and then travel to different continents and make her money last as long as possible. After some time in Afghanistan and trying to become a journalist in Iraq during the 2000s, she decided to put her journalist skills to the test by heading to the most dangerous place on the planet at the time: Somalia. Along with her photographer friend Nigel, she was kidnapped four days after arriving in Somalia and spent over a year in captivity, held by a group of extremists.

The memoir was engaging and at times harrowing to read. While I had to shake my head at her blatant stupidity for getting herself into the situation in the first place, I had to admire her courage and intelligence, which helped lead to her eventual release.

Sep 18, 2017, 4:06pm Top

Book # 103: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I listened to this because my library’s copy of the audiobook was miraculously available and I snatched it up before someone could put it on hold. It’s one I had been meaning to read for some time and I thought it was fantastic.

Sep 18, 2017, 4:06pm Top

Book # 104: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I’d had a hold on this book since March, and of course it came in on day two of my vacation! I started reading it after we got home, and it was well worth the wait! I lost track of the number of times I’d start laughing out loud, but I also cried at times. I can see why this book is so popular, and I plan to read more by the author.

Edited: Sep 18, 2017, 4:53pm Top

I can’t believe that September is already more than half over! It seems like it was just August, where I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. My husband’s aunt and I canned 12 quarts of peaches and 25 quarts of pears, and I froze 29 bags of sweet corn and eight or nine pounds of blueberries. It was my first experience with canning since I was young and helped my mom and grandmother. Last year, our sweet corn didn’t do very well, so it was especially nice to be able to have extra this year…it will taste wonderful this winter! The recipe makes it taste a lot like my one grandmother made it, and it’s just like eating it fresh off the cob.

Hurricane Harvey changed my vacation plans at the last minute, but we still had a nice time and it was good to get away. It was also nice to get back home, though. I did all the navigating and map reading on the trip, so the books I packed stayed unread.

I also got to see a few of my college friends in August. I found out that one of them is pregnant and due in late January. It’s nice because my husband and I are expecting our first child earlier in January. When we told my parents on their anniversary weekend (because we had gone up to Michigan and didn’t know when we would see them next), I gave them each a wrapped present “for their anniversary”. The presents were these:

Read to Me Grandma and Read to Me Grandpa books. They didn’t really get it, although my sister, for whom I had wrapped a picture book with “aunt” in the title,” got it right away. I told my mom and dad that the books were NOT to go out to Wisconsin (where my brother lives with his wife and kids) and they STILL didn’t understand what I was getting at. Grr.

I’ve been fortunate to have what I assume is an easy pregnancy…I haven’t had any nausea or problems, other than being really tired for the first 10 weeks or so. I haven’t had any food cravings or aversions, either. We had to have a second ultrasound done, which confirmed what was suspected after the first one: the baby will have clubfoot. One of my first thoughts was the main character from The War that Saved My Life has a clubfoot and that I will have to reread the book. The diagnosis was quite a surprise, and while it is not ideal, I am thankful it is treatable and not a life-threatening condition. I’ve been spending a lot of my non-work time reading up on the condition, figuring out what things we will need for a baby with clubfoot, and preparing questions for my appointment with an orthopedic surgeon in November. I know that life will change once the baby is here even more than it normally would have, and I already told my boss that I won’t be reading much next year (and probably for several years after next!).

Sep 19, 2017, 11:19am Top

Congratulations on your baby, Rachel! That's very exciting!

Sep 20, 2017, 4:05pm Top

>115 MickyFine: Thank you, Micky!! I'm very excited, and also to the point where I'm staring to feel anxious, nervous, worried, and unprepared about certain things. But mostly I'm just incredibly excited. It'll be a nice excuse to have to buy a bookshelf and go through my picture books and board books, too :)

Sep 26, 2017, 10:38am Top

Book # 105: Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino

Charlotte has had many different jobs and tends to fall for guys who are…well, weird. She meets Adam and even though they seem to like each other, something happens and she never sees him again. Later, she meets Seth, a baseball player, who could be just right for her. Charlotte is still hung up on Adam, but is willing to give a relationship with Seth a try. Then she discovers something about Adam and her entire world is turned upside down. By the end of the story she will have to make a lot of difficult decisions and will have to grow up and change.

I’ve read other books by this author and enjoyed them, so I was disappointed that this one didn’t live up to my expectations. Sure, it was a quick read and I was curious to see how things would go, but I really disliked the main character, didn’t enjoy the development of a situation on which the entire story is based, and thought another character was not utilized as well as he could have been.

I’m not saying the story was awful, but it was not the right book for me. Several of the author’s other novels a worth picking up before this one.

Sep 29, 2017, 3:31pm Top

Book # 106: A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt

This is the third book in Hewitt’s Hartley-by-the-Sea series (trilogy? I’m not sure if there will be future books) which is set in a small village on the coast of England. While the books don’t exactly have to be read in order, certain characters appear in all three novels, and they contain slight spoilers about previous events.

Abby had returned to the village after her fiancé died. She is working in her grandmother Mary’s café and talking care of her son. Since Abby’s mother, Laura, left her in Mary’s care when Abby was two years old, Abby is determined to help take care of Mary, who is in failing health.

Laura unexpectedly returns home after losing her job. She wants to try to build a relationship with her daughter, but is that possible after all this time?

I did not care for this one as much as the first two books. It was a nice read, but I would have preferred more interaction with more characters from the village. In my opinion, things needed a little more drama and problems to work through – I’m not saying that the issues mother and daughter had were nonexistent, but for the length of the book, it could have had more to deal with.

Recommended if you like mother-daughter relationship stories or want to read about life in a small British village.

Sep 29, 2017, 3:31pm Top

Book # 107: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

I can’t remember if I read this one when I was a kid or not. Parts of it seemed familiar, but I might be confusing it with another book in the series, Superfudge.

Humorous look at brothers and life in New York City in the early 1970s. While some of the situations and dialogue may be unfamiliar for children in the 21st Century, they will still relate to Peter’s frustrations and relationship with his younger brother.

I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by the author, and quite enjoyed it.

Oct 2, 2017, 2:32pm Top

September Summary

My September numbers were the lowest of the year (so far). I also listened to a good portion of a children’s audiobook that will get finished sometime in October, as well as started the audio of the October book discussion book for work. I managed to curtail my library checkouts (just one all month!) and placed holds on just a few (cookbooks to glance through for ideas). The non-work book I am currently reading is over 430 pages, and I did get half of it done in September.

I know October-December will bring similar numbers of books read – if I am lucky! I’d love to get my number of books read this year to at least 120, but I’m not going to hold my breath!

Oct 6, 2017, 10:29am Top

>120 aktakukac: Still looks like a solid reading month to me, Rachel! :)

Oct 11, 2017, 4:58pm Top

>121 MickyFine: I know that soon, within the next few months or so, I will look back at reading seven books in a month and be amazed that I was able to do that :) I already know that I will be lucky to read pretty much anything in 2018!

Book Problem from Yesterday: I took a book to lunch, read a chapter or so, and brought it back to my office. Instead of putting it in my bag to take home, it got set on my desk and some papers were put over it. I didn't check to make sure I had it before I left for the day. I was NOT happy to discover I'd left it at work once I got home, especially since I was REALLY looking forward to reading it last night! Oh well, I picked up a different book that I already had at home and read a good chunk of it last night.

Book Problem from Today: My boss brought me a checkout slip with 18 juvenile non-fiction titles on it. A teacher had checked them out to use in her classroom. To make a long story short, she told the janitor at her school to throw away some things in her room, and the janitor tossed all 18 of those books. I am just sick.

On the bright side, I finished up a few books over the weekend and this week, so I have a some reviews to post soon!

Oct 11, 2017, 6:38pm Top

>122 aktakukac: Aww, man! Both of those book problems are awful!

Oct 12, 2017, 4:02pm Top

>122 aktakukac: Sympathies for both of those.

Oct 17, 2017, 10:37am Top

>123 foggidawn:, >124 MickyFine: Thanks :( On the one hand, I won't have to weed my mammal or reptile books any time soon. On the other hand, THEY ARE ALL GONE!!! Ugh. I understand mistakes happen, but really!

Oct 17, 2017, 10:37am Top

Book # 108: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

This novel alternates between Kate and Ainsley’s stories. They are half-sisters and their relationship grows as they each face difficult and different situations due to the death of Kate’s husband and Ainsley’s breakup with her long-term boyfriend.

I always know what I’m getting when I read a Higgins novel, and I expected more from this one. Some parts seemed like they were thrown in just to have something “extra” in the plot that ended up not being expanded. I also thought the ending was built up and then too rushed. Still, there was a nice setting, characters that are typical of the author’s writing, and a good story overall to follow.

Oct 17, 2017, 10:38am Top

Book # 109: The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats

Children’s historical fiction about a girl who travels around the coast of South America to a new life in Seattle as part of the Mercer Girls. They were brought to the Pacific Northwest from generally the Boston/Lowell areas in order to help provide wives for the large population of bachelor men.

Jane is being raised by her stepmother. Her mother died when she was young, and her father was killed during the Civil War. Her stepmother is determined to find a rich banker in Seattle to take care of her. She makes Jane take care of her younger half-brother and does not want Jane to continue with her schooling.

When they finally arrive in Seattle, the land, weather, town, and everything else is completely different from what they were told to expect. What happens next will cause Jane and her family to either adapt and adjust to their new environment or face the consequences.

I enjoyed this coming of age story that will appeal to fans of historical fiction who appreciate well-written stories about the meaning of family and learning to deal with life when it may not turn out as you would like.

Oct 17, 2017, 10:38am Top

Book # 110: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I read this for a book discussion group at work. It’s not one I would have picked on my own, as I don’t care for historical fiction biographies like I did at one time. I knew a bit about Charles Lindbergh, but not about his wife. While I can appreciate the author’s research and writing style, the book dragged in too many places for me.

Oct 17, 2017, 10:38am Top

Book # 111: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Four tweens from four very different backgrounds work together in this historical fiction/fantasy novel that combines WWII and King Arthur. The children have to stop a Nazi attack on New York City by using things found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There’s more to it than that.

There were good points to the story, like use of 1940s slang (although way too much, in my opinion). Unfortunately, the book needed more editing, and a lot of readers in the target age group are not going to understand or know about many things the author included in the novel. It took me a very long time to get through this one.

Oct 17, 2017, 10:38am Top

Book # 112: The Next Together by Lauren James

Well, how to describe this book…it’s a combination of time travel, historical fiction, thriller, mystery, romance, reincarnation, and more. The different settings, including the Crimean War, Carlisle England during the Jacobite Rebellion, a couple of years in the future and a couple of decades in the future, all involve Katherine and Matthew.

I’m still processing what I think about this one, and I’m not going to say much else about it. I will say the ending is confusing to say the least!

Edited: Oct 22, 2017, 11:09pm Top

Congratulations on your exciting news!! I hope you're feeling good!

I stopped by to see what good books you have- I've had a few ehhh reads lately. I'll have to look for My Lady Jane. Sounds fun!

Oct 24, 2017, 10:44am Top

>131 jennyifer24: Thanks! I've been very lucky to have felt good the entire time. No nausea or anything, thankfully! I'm starting to feel very pregnant though, and I still have a long way to go!! I haven't started waddling yet, but I feel like that will be here soon...

I met a distant relative of my husband's over the weekend, and he does a lot of woodworking. He said he'd make a bookshelf for the baby's room if I give him dimensions and a picture of what I have in mind. That was pretty exciting :) Now I just have to decide what kind to have him build!

I feel like my reading has been pretty blah lately, too. My Lady Jane is a lot of fun as long as you take it for the humorous, entertaining read that it is. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I found it very enjoyable...and if you like listening to audiobooks, I highly recommend the audio version!

Oct 24, 2017, 3:37pm Top

Oh, how lovely to have the offer of homemade furniture! Would love to see a picture when it's done.

The book problems - oh no! Especially about the books being thrown away. Not good at all.

Oct 27, 2017, 3:25pm Top

>133 charl08: I have some ideas of what I'm interested in having him make, but haven't had a chance to make any definite decisions. It's also nice that it will be made by a family member!

As for the book problems, I'm glad they don't happen very often!

Oct 27, 2017, 3:25pm Top

Book # 113: The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

Elvira has a Condition which makes some aspects of life difficult. When her mother has a stroke and has to stay in a nursing home, Elvira’s life is turned upside down. As she gets used to being on her own, she makes discoveries about her family’s past as well as how to live life in a way that works for her.

This was an engaging read that will appeal to fans of The Rosie Project and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Recommended.

Oct 27, 2017, 3:26pm Top

Book # 114: The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I was a kid, this was one of my least-favorite books in the Little House series. Reading it for the first time as an adult had me appreciate the hardships and danger the pioneer families had to face during blizzard after blizzard and months of sub-zero temperatures.

Oct 27, 2017, 4:36pm Top

>136 aktakukac: As a kid, I always found that one kind of stressful to read.

Oct 28, 2017, 3:53pm Top

I want to throw out a request for participants in a group read of one of my favorite but relatively unknown fantasy novels, God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell. The "stalk" refers to stalking gods, not a stem. It is the first of a still ongoing series, but it is a complete story and easy to walk away from after the first book if you wish--indeed, all of us had to wait many years after this one to get a sequel. I am looking at possibly November, December or January for the time frame, but the actual month will depend on what those interested work out. If you would be at all interested, please PM me or drop by my thread and let me know.

Oct 30, 2017, 8:10am Top

>136 aktakukac: I don't really remember disliking it or >137 foggidawn: stressful to read, but I grew up in a part of the country where snow rarely stayed around more than a couple of days. I simply did not relate to being crippled by snow and cold. As an adult, I can understand because I've experienced it--perhaps not to the extent of that long winter, but enough to make me empathize.

Oct 30, 2017, 12:26pm Top

>137 foggidawn: and >139 thornton37814: I think part of the issue I had as a kid was The Long Winter seemed much slower-paced and sometimes boring compared to the other books. I loved the descriptions of chores, traveling, school, entertainment, Pa's stories, etc. that took place in the first books. But The Long Winter was just the same thing over and over - talking about endless cleaning, stretching the wheat and potatoes into an extra meal, twisting the hay to burn as fuel, and listening to the constant wind while freezing inside the house. The most exciting part for me this go-round was when Almanzo and Cap Garland went to buy wheat to bring back to town. And that didn't happen till almost the end of the book!

I love winter, although I prefer to have less snow and ice now that I have to drive more and will be driving through it for doctor's appointments. Reading The Long Winter again made me appreciate the pioneers' determination and perseverance while facing those unbelievable conditions.

Oct 31, 2017, 4:20pm Top

Book # 115: Miss You by Kate Eberlen

Tess and Gus meet for a few minutes while they are on separate vacations in Florence. The novel then alternates between the two characters and their lives over the next two decades. They have mutual acquaintances, and live in and visit some of the same places, but will they meet again?

I am mixed on this one. I thought the story was very readable and the pages flew by, despite the length. I thought both characters had was interested enough in their plots. However, I thought the ending was very rushed (especially considering the length of the book) and didn’t really fit with the rest of the novel. I was ready to be done with it and was glad to move on to my next read.

Nov 1, 2017, 11:24am Top

October Summary

I ALMOST finished a book last night, but life got in the way so I finished it this morning. At least I'll have one finished in November...and it was the book discussion book, too. Woo hoo! I'm fairly pleased with my October reading because I got more of my library books out of the way.

For November, I'd like to finish a couple of audiobooks. I'm halfway done with one of them. I'd also like to re-read The War That Saved My Life before starting the follow-up. There is a new juvenile/middle grade fiction book about a child with a clubfoot that I hope to read in November or December as well.

With the holidays and lots of things coming up in the next two months, I'll be happy with whatever reading I can squeeze in!

Nov 1, 2017, 11:42am Top

Book # 116: The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

This was the November book discussion selection for work, but I’ve had it on my reading list for years. I would have given up if I wasn’t reading it for work. I didn’t care for the writing style, it was too slow and too long, and this was not the right time for me to attempt to read it. I listened to it and honestly didn’t pay attention all the time. It will work for some readers, but did not work for me.

Nov 1, 2017, 12:13pm Top

>142 aktakukac: Those covers are all so pretty. :)

Nov 1, 2017, 3:32pm Top

>144 MickyFine: They are! The last one makes me think of a patchwork quilt!

Nov 5, 2017, 12:01am Top

Your reading continues to chug along nicely, Rachel. Have a great Sunday.

Nov 11, 2017, 8:24am Top

>146 PaulCranswick: Almost a week later, thank you, Paul! I'm quite happy with my reading at the moment because I'm actually, surprisingly, getting some reading in! Behind on reviews as usual, too :) Enjoy your weekend!

Last Sunday, we had tornadoes in our immediate area. Thankfully they didn't hit us, although some straight line winds did blow over some of the corn we still have standing. We also lost power for 15 hours...on the first afternoon and evening of the time change! I ended up using a book light to read about 50 pages before I gave up and went to sleep. It was just too dark!

Nov 11, 2017, 5:28pm Top

Glad you were safe, Rachel. Hope next week is less full of drama. ;)

Edited: Nov 15, 2017, 2:44pm Top

>148 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! This week has been much better so far! Hope it lasts :)

I know I've mentioned it before, but we are changing some things at work, and I will be helping lead adult book discussions next year (after I return from maternity leave). My co-worker was more than happy to let me suggest book titles, and we've come up with a working list for 2018. As of now, we have thought of:

Young Jane Young
News of the World
A Man Called Ove (my coworker has tried to use this one twice already, and there have been too many holds to be able to get enough copies. We think it will work for February or March.)
Station Eleven
Killers of the Flower Moon
Before the Fall
The Buddha in the Attic
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Lost in Shangri-La
The Identicals

We had to nix Salt to the Sea because there weren't enough large print copies in the system, and The Alice Network because it's over 500 pages.

We aren't having an January or August book discussion, so we definitely have more than enough suggestions for 2018.

Nov 15, 2017, 9:52am Top

Book # 117: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

During summer break, a girl falls for the boy next door. Their families are quite different, and when something tragic happens, everyone must figure out how to move forward. It wasn’t the most amazing YA book I’ve ever read, but I’ll read more by the author someday.

Nov 15, 2017, 9:52am Top

Book # 118: The Takedown by Corrie Wang

Set in the near future where more aspects of life are controlled by technology, high school senior Kyla is ready to finish her senior year and take over the world. She has a popular group of friends and helps rule her school. Then a compromising video of Kyla and her teacher is posted, and everything changes. There’s just one problem: the person in the video is not Kyla. She sets out to uncover the truth about why she was targeted, who created it, and tries to salvage what remains of her friendships and future.

This one was definitely unusual. I think part of it was the slang and vocabulary the characters used – it took some getting used to. The story was engaging, although it dragged here and there. By the end I was ready for it to be finished, but I still wanted to keep reading throughout to see what would happen.

It made me glad I am not as dependent on technology as the characters in this novel!

Nov 15, 2017, 10:27am Top

Book # 119: In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Mia was adopted from South Korea when she was a baby. Now, she is on a “vacation” in North Korea with her brother and father, who is works with foreign aid. When her father is unexpectedly arrested for spying, Mia and her brother find themselves on the run. They don’t have much money and are lacking supplies, but they are carrying some forbidden photographs of North Korean prison camps. Mia understands a bit of the language from her weekly Korean classes, but they will have to figure out how to get to safety in China.

I liked the start of the story, but struggled with the middle and end. Too much was simply unbelievable and I kept thinking how some situations would never occur in real life. The author also added short sections about some North Korean’s thoughts and these took away from the flow of the story.

On the one hand, it’s nice to have a middle grade fiction book about North Korea, and it should help tweens and even teens learn about the country. There are also good sections full of adventure and survival. I’m disappointed in it, but it’s still good for what it is.

Nov 15, 2017, 11:54am Top

>149 aktakukac: Nice list!

Nov 15, 2017, 2:44pm Top

>153 MickyFine: I think so, too. I'd love to get a YA title or two on there at some point, but we have to be sure to get enough large print and audio copies, which can limit selections. Oh, and I had to edit it because I left off The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand. I know it was on an originial list and I think I forgot to write it on a copy in my file!

Nov 15, 2017, 3:20pm Top

>154 aktakukac: YA in large print is a tough one to swing, for sure.

Nov 17, 2017, 4:35pm Top

Book # 120: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Norah is 17 years old and deals with agoraphobia, OCD, and anxiety on a daily basis. She has also experienced with self-harm. When Luke moves next door, they develop a friendship and Norah starts to see herself as Luke sees her. But when something happens that threatens Norah, will she be able to move forward?

Norah was a very real character, and I liked the pacing of the novel. Until the end. That was definitely rushed. The author has person experience with some of the issues Norah dealt with, which brought a realistic feel to Norah’s story. The ending could have used a little work, but overall this was an honest, realistic look at a teen’s life with some mental health issues.

Nov 21, 2017, 8:44am Top

Book # 121: Prarieblomman: The Prairie Blossoms for an Immigrant's Daughter by Linda K. Hubalek

I enjoyed the first book in the Butter in the Well series earlier this year, so I decided to read this second book, and I’m glad I did. It is done in the same format; the author used real characters, events, and information to write a historical diary, this time based on Alma, a daughter of the main character from the first book. This diary takes place during the 1890s and early 1900s. What struck me the most in this one was how many things changed during that time as well as how much of their lives depended on the weather. I quite liked this one and will probably get to the remaining books in the series at some point. Recommended for readers interested in Swedish-American immigrants, or a quick read about pioneer life in Kansas in the late 19th Century.

Nov 21, 2017, 8:47am Top

I'm so excited!! I'm working a bit of a split today and taking a long lunch so I can run home later. We're getting some new furniture delivered, including two awesome new bookcases for the living room!! I can't wait to see them AND PUT BOOKS ON THEM! They are my Christmas gift from my in-laws, and my mother-in-law is more interested in putting decorations on them than books. I WILL STAND MY GROUND. I will put some picture frames and a few non-book items on them, and I will let her decorate the tops for all I care, but BOOKS WILL FILL THE MAJORITY OF THE SHELVES!!

I'm excited about the other furniture too, but I really want to see the bookshelves :)

Nov 21, 2017, 8:59am Top

>158 aktakukac: Ooh, new bookshelves! Such fun!

Nov 21, 2017, 9:10am Top

Enjoy filling your new bookcases with books, Rachel!

Nov 21, 2017, 9:40am Top

>159 foggidawn: I know!! They are sturdy and look very nice - and we got them for a great price! I think they will make the living room look more complete :)

>160 FAMeulstee: I will...I just have to convince my husband to lug some tubs and boxes up from the basement so I can actually get them put on the shelves. I'll be nice though, and sort through what I actually want before making him take it upstairs.

I still need to pick a design for the bookcase for the baby's room, ahh! So much going on right now!

Nov 21, 2017, 3:26pm Top

Oooh, fancy new bookshelves. I will demand photos when they've been filled. ;)

Edited: Nov 21, 2017, 3:31pm Top

>162 MickyFine: What she said. Do love a "shelfie".
Congrats on your new shelves!

Nov 21, 2017, 3:47pm Top

>162 MickyFine: and >163 charl08: I will take some pictures of the before, during, and final result. My aunt-in-law is babysitting my nieces and nephew at my house so she could be there for the start of the delivery, and then I could leave work and be there for adjustments and whatnot. They were supposed to be there early afternoon today and it's already quarter to four and they haven't even called to say we are the next stop! I REALLY don't want to wait another week (the deliveries in our area are always on Tuesdays) and with Thanksgiving in two days, I'd like to have my house back in order!

Nov 21, 2017, 3:59pm Top

>164 aktakukac: Crossing fingers for you. :)

Nov 22, 2017, 4:08pm Top

>165 MickyFine: The delivery men showed up unannounced, so by the time my aunt let me know and I was able to leave work and drive home, they had plunked everything where they "thought" I would want it...so we have a lot of things to move around still. I am not happy with where the bookshelves are now, but they will look nice when I finally decide where to put them!

Nov 22, 2017, 4:16pm Top

>166 aktakukac: At least they arrived before the holiday weekend. :)

Nov 23, 2017, 7:18am Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Nov 24, 2017, 7:02pm Top

New bookcases are definitely something to get excited about!

Dec 1, 2017, 4:19pm Top

>167 MickyFine: They did, and we finally got the living room put back in order! I even let my mother-in-law decorate the things, even though she thinks bookcases are for decorations and not books...I just told her that as soon as Christmas is over, the decorations are being put away and books are being put on the shelves!

>168 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul, and I am glad for this group as well!

>169 lkernagh: Yes, Lori! Always! I think they add a perfect touch to the living room :)

Dec 1, 2017, 4:25pm Top

>170 aktakukac: Sounds like a good compromise! Have fun rearranging the books when you get to it.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:26pm Top

November Summary

I started out the month pretty well, but didn't have much luck finishing a book toward the end of the month. I have about five or six books that I'd like to get through in December, but we'll see how that goes - I am NOT holding my breath. I think the books we will be hitting hard in December are baby name books, as we weeks are passing by and we still haven't settled on our final names. Well, I have four girl names picked out, but we don't know the baby's gender, and we are really stuck on a boy name.

I listened to 2/3 of The War That Saved My Life, and will try to finish that up this weekend or early next week. I have the audio of the follow-up ready to go once the first book is done.

I'll also throw a couple of my own books into my hospital bag (which hasn't been packed yet) so that if I need to, I can have some reading material at hand.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:27pm Top

>171 charl08: Thanks, I will try! My mother-in-law thinks she is the world's best decorator, and I will admit she is good at it, but our tastes are NOT the same. I don't mind using some space for some picture frames or special items, but I want to fill the shelves with books!! I do like having more space for Christmas (and other holiday) decorations, I will admit.

Dec 1, 2017, 4:36pm Top

Book # 122: Sweetgrass by Jan Hudson

Sweetgrass is a 15-year-old Blackfoot, whose father thinks she is too young to marry. She has her eye on a certain warrior, but she doesn’t feel her father will ever let her marry him. When an illness hits the tribe, will Sweetgrass be able to use her talents and knowledge to help her people?

I should have enjoyed this one more than I did. While it’s a good coming-of-age story and full of historical details, it just didn’t hold my attention as much as it should have. It was hard for me to relate to the characters, and I felt I didn’t know them as well as I should have by the end of the short novel.

Dec 1, 2017, 8:25pm Top

>172 aktakukac: Good luck with the name picking!

Dec 1, 2017, 9:09pm Top

>175 MickyFine: Thanks, we need it! I don't want a name that can be shortened with a nickname. I also have to be cautious with the last letter of the first name (because of the sound it would make when said with our last name), and initials (I have a friend from college, a guy, whose initials are PMS). I want a name that would sound right if the child grew up to be a Supreme Court Justice or decided to ride in the rodeo. I'm definitely overthinking certain aspects of this, but this is the name this child will grow up with and grow old with. And it's just for boy names - the girl names are definitely covered, even if my husband "doesn't recall" me mentioning them. A million times.

Dec 1, 2017, 9:13pm Top

>176 aktakukac: Lol. I've watched my brother and sister-in-law go through this twice but only for girls names. If they ever have a boy, it will get a family name (my brother is the fifth with his name and he's unwilling to break the chain).

Dec 1, 2017, 9:23pm Top

>177 MickyFine: We are in a similar position with boy names. Every other generation on my husband's father's side has used John for many generations. It worked out for my father-in-law, because his grandfather died shortly before or after he was born. But my FIL is still relatively young and healthy, and he is also an elected official and EVERYONE knows him. I'm not sure I want the confusion and pressure of that name put on my baby if it's a boy. We are thinking it's more likely to be a boy than a girl (because clubfoot occurs much more often in boys). We are going up to Michigan tomorrow, and I plan to discuss names for at least half of the 2+ hour drive!

Dec 5, 2017, 3:14pm Top

Book # 123: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bardley

This was a reread for me. While reading this time around, I focused on Ada’s character and the fact that she has a clubfoot. I could feel my blood boiling whenever Ada and Jamie’s mother was a part of the story. That happened the first time I read it, but it was even more pronounced this time. I’m glad I took the time to listen to it again before starting the follow-up book. Now I’m curious to see where Ada goes from here, and how the story continues.

Dec 5, 2017, 5:48pm Top

>179 aktakukac: I think I took a book bullet when you read thatt one before, but I still haven't gotten around to reading it. It's on my TBR list though.

Dec 6, 2017, 9:26am Top

>179 aktakukac: Such a good book! And I enjoyed the sequel just as much.

Dec 6, 2017, 11:17am Top

>180 thornton37814: I'm glad it's had a lot of buzz here on LT and highly recommend it. But I know how easy it is for books to keep piling up on a TBR list!

>181 foggidawn: I've got the audio for the sequel ready to go...maybe I'll get some listening time in later this week or weekend. Definitely looking forward to it!

Dec 9, 2017, 12:58am Top

>179 aktakukac: I reckon I have been book bulleted at least once on that one now, Rachel.

Have a lovely weekend.

Dec 10, 2017, 4:49am Top

>183 PaulCranswick: That book is definitely worthy of a book bullet, Paul!

The rest of the weekend will be interesting for sure, because my water decided to break over three weeks early. I've been in the hospital for a few hours now and am currently resting. I threw a couple of books in my bag, but I really should be focusing on the baby name books! I'll be needing a name by about midnight at the latest! So much for having a January baby!

Dec 10, 2017, 4:58am Top

>184 aktakukac: Exciting!

You will be in my thoughts and prayers Rachel for a speedy and safe delivery. xx

Dec 11, 2017, 11:31am Top

Hope all is well with you, Rachel. Looking forward to the update on you and the baby. :D

Dec 11, 2017, 6:40pm Top

I hope everything's going well. I'm sure you'll pick the perfect name!

Dec 11, 2017, 9:31pm Top

Waiting for an update here! Hang in there, Rachel.

Dec 13, 2017, 8:28pm Top

>185 PaulCranswick: >186 MickyFine: >187 jennyifer24: >188 ronincats: Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and comments! Our son was born on Sunday evening, weighing 6 pounds 3 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. We were undecided as to a name for about a day, and I spent most of Monday wanting to name him Calvin. We ultimately decided to continue the family tradition by naming him John, and used Richard (my father's name) for his middle name. He has bilateral clubfoot and is set to begin casting for that in Cincinnati in January. We've also been getting tested for jaundice and will be back at the hospital tomorrow morning to do one more check - I hope the numbers will have gone down by then. We didn't get discharged until 10:30 last night because they had to do a 90-minute car seat study since he was not quite four hours short of being considered full term. I wish he would eat better, but we are working on that and I am on orders to feed him every two hours until we go back to the hospital tomorrow.

I know all parents think their children are adorable/cute/beautiful/etc. but he truly is the most gorgeous looking baby! He has the perfect amount of hair, which is surprising because both my husband and I were bald for the longest time when we were babies. John also has the longest fingers I have ever seen on a baby. Grandparents are all over the moon, and his girl cousins, who are three and five, are dying to meet him. I am recovering well, am thankful I did not have to have a C-section, and my husband is the proudest dad in the world.

My reading will most likely take an abrupt halt now, apart from board books and nursery rhymes. I would love to finish listening to my current audiobook, which is appropriately The War I Finally Won, and I'm about halfway through it. Other than that, I will just wait and see when I next pick up a book!

Again, thanks for the good thoughts!

Dec 14, 2017, 10:09am Top

>189 aktakukac: Oh, congratulations!

Dec 14, 2017, 1:06pm Top

Congratulations on John! So happy for you!

Hope all the testing at the hospital goes well today.

Dec 15, 2017, 10:26pm Top

Congratulations!! I hope everything went well and that you are getting some rest too!

Dec 18, 2017, 12:49pm Top

>190 foggidawn: >191 MickyFine: >192 jennyifer24: Thanks! We ended up back in the hospital for two days due to jaundice, but that's been taken care of and we've been home for a couple of nights now. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting into a routine. It feels good to be able to do things like laundry, wrap Christmas presents, and do all the things that I was planning on doing before his sudden arrival.

Right now sleep is definitely more important than reading. I am holding out returning books to the library though, because part of me wants to believe I will be able to read a bit here and there and therefore I should have a stack of books around. Maybe in a few days, maybe not...

Dec 18, 2017, 1:08pm Top

Glad to hear everyone's home and doing well. :)

Dec 22, 2017, 11:48pm Top

So happy to hear that all is well and you are able to settle in at home, Rachel. Congratulations and best wishes.

Dec 23, 2017, 10:16am Top

I think I'd vote for the sleep in any vs books contest...
Congratulations on John.

Dec 23, 2017, 5:39pm Top

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

Dec 24, 2017, 8:47pm Top

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 9:19pm Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Also congratulations on the safe birth of little John.

Dec 25, 2017, 1:40am Top

Dear Rachel, best wishes to you and yours at Christmas! Congratulations on your little one - how wonderful!

Dec 29, 2017, 8:57pm Top

>194 MickyFine: >195 ronincats: >196 charl08: >197 ronincats: >198 rretzler: >199 PaulCranswick: >200 AMQS: Thank you everyone for the congratulations and holiday greetings. We've had a couple of rough nights, but John is starting to settle into more of a routine and I am getting used to the schedule. I've also realized I will be listening to a lot of audiobooks next year. I can listen to a chapter or two every time I visit the "milking parlor" as my brother-in-law calls it. I finished The War I Finally Won the other day and started Walk on Earth a Stranger yesterday.

I hope to visit some threads and start my 2018 thread in the next day or two. With the bitterly cold temperatures and snow we've been getting for a few hours now, I don't plan on going anywhere other than the grocery store for the next several days! I should even finish a memoir later tonight or tomorrow, which will most likely be my final read of the year.

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 9:04pm Top

Book # 124: The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I had heard good things about this sequel to The War That Saved My Life, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will just say the writing is excellent, character development is superb, and if you read the first book, you’ll have to read this one as well.

Dec 29, 2017, 9:43pm Top

>202 aktakukac: This is definitely high on my tbr list- I'm excited to hear your good review!

Stay warm!

Dec 30, 2017, 2:56am Top

>202 aktakukac: - Nice! I did enjoy the first. This one's on my order list for the library:)

Dec 31, 2017, 8:13pm Top

>202 aktakukac: Hoping to get to The War I Finally Won in early January. Glad it lived up to your expectations!

Dec 31, 2017, 8:13pm Top

Dec 31, 2017, 8:13pm Top

>203 jennyifer24: Did you read the first book? I can't remember. The second is equally as good!

>204 AMQS: Good! I hope lots of your students will read it!

Dec 31, 2017, 8:14pm Top

Book # 125: Krysia: A Polish Girl's Stolen Childhood During World War II by Krystyna Mihulka

The author’s experiences during WWII were presented in this memoir, which described her childhood in a Polish city and her deportation to Kazakhstan by the Soviets. It was interesting to read about a different type of WWII experience. However, I thought the author’s writing was a bit removed at times and it lacked the emotion I expected it to have.

Jan 2, 2018, 1:13am Top

>207 aktakukac: I did, but it's been awhile. I think I remember the basic outline of the story- probably reading a recap will jog my memory.

Jan 25, 2018, 3:05pm Top

I finally set up my 2018 thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/285561

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

413 members

172,370 messages


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