January Reading Wrap Up

This month year decade (woah) started with the kids and I finishing up listening to Jim Dale narrate Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I didn’t have much memory of anything Harry Potter after book 3, so I don’t know why I gave the Order of the Phoenix a 3 star rating when I first read it about 11 years ago. At the time it was my least favorite book in the series. This time I found it pretty close to perfect (I gave it 5 stars). I loved it, and I love experiencing the books with my kids; they are really enjoying the series. At 8 and 9 years old, I am sure a good amount is over their heads, but they are following pretty well so far. I meant to stop at Prisoner of Azkaban because I feel like after that point HP books get more dark and written for older audiences…but they wanted to continue, so here we are. We are about 100 pages into HP and the Half Blood Prince now…the opening chapter of this book confused them (they didn’t understand why Fudge was recounting events to the “other minister”) but overall I am impressed with their retention of detail.

My first physical read of the year was Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. In my opinion it was just shy of hitting the 4 star mark. In my reading journal I marked it as 3.75, which is entirely arbitrary, but felt right. I found it harder to get into than Rogerson’s debut stand alone, An Enchantment of Ravens. I also found the romantic chemistry in Thorns to be completely flat, while I was enthralled by the romantic tension in Ravens. The plot in this sophomore novel was definitely more ambitious, and the lack of connection to the main characters was made up for by my adoration for Silas, the supporting demon. I also loved the bookish theme of this fantasy. All in all, an enjoyable YA fantasy read.

Next I read Sarah Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan (3.5 stars). This was a very quick read that caught my attention as I was organizing my bookshelves. I added it to our home library knowing that it was an award winning children’s book, but I couldn’t remember what was so great about it. It was fairly enjoyable, despite the robotic dialogue. For kids, this is a story about children getting a mother in reply to their widowed father’s advertisement in search of a wife. For adults, this is a story about a quite, displaced woman trying to maintain agency over her own life within the limits of her gender.

I listened to The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks (4 stars). Hanks did a wonderful job reading this novel; so well I didn’t even increase the playback speed, which I usually do to match the audiobook to my own reading speed. I think the novel started off very strong with its fairytale-esque characters: the disengaged father, the evil stepmother, the beautifully charming daughter, the innocent son, and even the fairy godmother type housekeepers. The second half of the book dragged quite a bit, and I feel like it strayed away from the connecting theme of the house that was the driving force of the conflict. I’m actually surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did, because I have to admit the overall tone was rather bleak. The plot spans 50 years and it felt like it. This is starting to sound negative… but I really did enjoy this. I highly recommend it and actually want to try reading more Ann Patchett.

I found the latest release in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down, to be wonderfully dark and intense. I definitely prefer the books in this portal fantasy series that take place in high logic worlds. In this novella, we return with Jack and Jill to the Moors where tension between the sisters has reached a deadly high. To be honest the beginning had me questioning if I would enjoy it as much as I had anticipated, but maybe I was just distracted, because by the end I was captivated and gave it 4 stars.

I read The Story of a Goat by Perumal Murugan (translated from Tamil) on the recommendation of booktuber Russell, from the channel Ink and Paper Blog. He posted this book on his Instagram and I was immediately intrigued. What I expected was a feel-good story about a couple adopting a sickly goat and the animal in return bringing joy back to their lives. Not. the. case. There is so much to unpack from this short novel. We get an examination of humanity from the perspective of the goat, political commentary and an illustration of caste systems from the perspective of the humans, and overall themes of love, desperation, pride, and loss. (4 stars)

The kids and I listened to The Lost Heir, book 2 in the Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland (3.5 stars). I really appreciate that this middle-grade novel doesn’t hold back. It is high stakes and the consequences are real. There is betrayal, violence, and death without being gratuitous. Ultimately friendship and loyalty is rewarded. The kids have enjoyed following up the audiobooks in this series by reading the graphic novel versions (which are gorgeous).

I have really been feeling the Force this month. Not only did I start watching the Clone Wars animated series on Disney+, but I also got a 400 page Clones Wars graphic novel out from the library, AND downloaded the audiobook of the Clone Wars movie novelization by Karen Traviss from Overdrive. The graphic novel (Star Wars Omnibus Clone Wars volume 1: The Republic Goes to War, to be exact) was AMAZING!!! I love discussing the gray areas of Jedi ethics with my husband. Seriously, the nerd talk is intense. This graphic novel was full of Jedi questioning their role in the conflict between the Separatists and the Republic. The audiobook had full sound effects, so that was a lot of fun, and it did raise the same sorts of questions, particularly regarding the Republic’s use of clone soldiers, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much (I gave it 3 stars, where I gave the graphic novel 5 stars).

My bookclub read Sylvain Neuvel’s The Test this month. It was a really short book that packed a HUGE punch. The story revolves around a man from Tehran in the not-so-distant future taking a citizenship test in the UK. Let’s just say that from the vague reviews I’d seen of this, I expected the point of the book to be calling out the hypocrisy and absurdity of immigration requirements, but this book took a crazy turn! I should have known, since Neuvel’s other novels are super twisty scifi, but it caught me by surprise. I gave it 3 stars, but after our bookclub discussion I think I appreciate it more.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., I read to the kids his biography in the “Who Was___” series. They actually really liked it. It presents historical and biographical information in a manner very digestible for young readers.

And finally…

I read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison this month. I had posted on Instagram that I haven’t read any Toni Morrison, and my high school English teacher messaged me to correct that, and to start with The Bluest Eye, Morrison’s debut novel. So I did. But I didn’t love it. I feel so terrible about that. While there were moments I was blown away by the evocative writing, I didn’t find the story enjoyable. I know that’s the point, but I feel like there have been books with hard subject matter that I have still managed to find the experience of reading it positive (The Story of a Goat, for example). I didn’t enjoy all the tangents the story telling took- too often the focus broke away from the main plot to introduce background characters. I don’t usually mind this; in fact, I loved the way Fredrick Backman creates a familiarity with every resident of Beartown for the reader. But for some reason it didn’t work for me in this case. I wish the progression of the plot in The Bluest Eye was more linear. I don’t always mind when the narrative bounces around in time, but I didn’t care for the way it was done here. I’m not sure what precisely missed the mark with me and this book, and I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not liking it much (I gave it 2.5 stars).

I have some books that I didn’t finish this month that I look forward to wrapping up in February… and so many more I can’t wait to pick up. In the meantime- Happy Reading!

Anxiety Can Suck It… and Other Goals for 2020

2019 was…not great.  I don’t even really want to reflect on it, just pretend it didn’t happen.

It would seem I was not alone in the Great Anxiety Flare of 2019.  Late summer/fall seems to have hit a good number of the booktubers and bookstagramers that I follow with this collective emotional knock-out punch (the only reason I don’t include fellow bloggers is because I have no idea what was going on in this community… I couldn’t bring myself to check.  Thanks anxiety).  Once I crawled out from the wreckage of my own self-sabotaging mind, it was good to know I was not alone.  What does that mean though?  I’m not very knowledgeable with astrology, but something about some celestial body in retrograde? House Ravenclaw in turmoil? (insert shrug emoji here)

But that is the past. The future is now.  Just keep swimming.

Anxiety can suck it… I want to put more effort into making the time for me and the things that make me happy.

My 2020 Bookish Goals

I posted this on Instagram at the very beginning of the year.  Here they are with a little more detail and a note of how it’s going so far.

Read from my TBR- my first goal is to put my focus on the books I own, and limit my library loans to audiobooks, graphic novels, nonfiction, and book club selections.  (This is already proving to be extremely difficult and January is not even over.  I love my library!)

Limit book buying- I don’t buy many books new or at full price, but I want to make it a goal to only do so when I have a gift card to use.  I also want to make sure that I am only buying 1 book for every 5 that I read from my TBR.  Lastly, I will only hit up library book sales once a month!  There are weeks that the kids and I are at the library 3+ times, and I can’t help but browse the Friends of the Library Book Store every visit.  I really need to put this limit on myself!   (So far I haven’t spent a penny on books, HOWEVER I have been growing my home library with Little Free Library swaps and taking in books from friends.  So while not technically breaking my own rules… I have definitely taken advantage of my own loophole.  The intent was to not bring in more than I read, but I left that door open and ran through it! If you follow me on Instagram @stay.at.home.reader you can see my #nospend #bookhaul)

Blog more- I want to get back into the habit of posting, reading, and interacting with more blogs.  It’s something I really enjoyed doing.  An unfortunate element of anxiety is losing the desire to do even the things we love.  That really blows!  So… the goal is to get on here at least once a week with a reading check-in.  I also plan on renaming my blog for the sake of Instagram cohesiveness.  My thinking on that is it will make it easier for me to interact with fellow bibliophiles across platforms.  (This is obviously proving difficult for me since it’s taken me until the third week of January to get on here.  Hoping this first break back in is the hardest, and from here on out I can meet my weekly goal.)

Read 20 Nonfiction Titles- my goal for last year was 12 and I barely managed it.  For some reason I though 20 in 2020 would be a good idea.  It’s going to be hard, I think. (My first attempt at nonfic has resulted in a DNF…. so not off to a great start.)

No Monthly TBRs or Goodreads Challenge-  First of all, I can’t stick to a monthly TBR and it just ends up stressing me out, so why set myself up for failure?  Secondly, I really want my focus this year to be on quality and not quantity.  I spent a good part of last year binging mediocre audiobooks.  Part of that was because they were all I could invest myself in mentally, and the thrill of seeing my Goodreads numbers padded.  This year I decided I wouldn’t set a goal for the Goodreads challenge, but because I do like being able to click on the challenge link and see only books read in the present year, I went ahead and set it to 1.  Mood reading.  Quality books.  That will be my focus.  (The desire to read as much as possible as quick as possible is still brimming at the surface, but I am making a conscious effort to focus my reading more, to only have one audio and one physical book going at a time… not to have 6 or 7 books going simultaneously.)

Hopefully I will be back on here in a week’s time.  Happy Reading!

I Failed the Reading Rush…

So I guess I technically failed the Reading Rush readathon…

… but I think I’m good with that.

How do you fail an entirely optional, self governable reading challenge?  Here’s how:

First of all, my TBR went out the window as soon as the readathon started.  I had a feeling my goals were a bit too ambitious to start with, and I ended up picking easier things and making them fit the challenge prompts.

Speaking of challenge prompts- my plan was to fulfill each with a separate book.  Seven prompts, seven books, no overlapping… which would also allow me to achieve the bonus of reading 7 in 7.  In the end I met 6 of the prompt challenges in 5 books.

1. Read a book with purple on the cover

  • I, Parrot by Deb Olin Unferth & Elizabeht Haidle

2. Read a book in the same spot the whole time

  • The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier
  • When I Walk Through That Door I Am, by Jimmy Santiago Baca
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand, by Christina Lauren

3. Read a book you meant to read last year

  • The Birds
  • FAIL- The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien (I read about half way through this)

4. Read an author’s first book

  • Property Of, by Alice Hoffman

5. Read a book with a non-human main character

  • FAIL- City of Brass by SA Chakraborty (got about 70% through this during the readathon, and finished it the day after the readathon ended)
  • FAIL- The Fellowship of the Ring

6. Pick a book with 5 words or more in the title

  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand (I count the hyphenated ‘half-night’ as two words… yeah?)

7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation

  • The Birds (film by Alfred Hitchcock)… the book- well, short story- was better!

So I definitely didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to with this readathon, but I found myself pretty much burned out by mid week.  I definitely do not do well with week long readathons like this,  I much prefer month long ones.

That said, I haven’t decided if I want to do the NEWTs Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast, or if I want to read randomly through my own TBR.  The NEWTs start today, and I have my pick of wizarding professions since I passed all my OWLs a few months ago.  What to do, what to do?

Reading Rush TBR

I am going to try my absolute best to participate in the Reading Rush readathon (formerly Booktubeathon) taking place July 22 through July 28.

If you don’t know what the Reading Rush is, find all the information for it here.

I have picked out 7 different books to go with the 7 challenges, but several of my choices can apply to multiple challenges, and I have other options on my shelves that could work for the challenges as well.  So at the end of the week I’ll check back in to see how well my reading goals aligned with my actual reading.

2019 Reading Rush Challenges:

1. Read a book with purple on the cover- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

2. Read a book in the same spot for the entire time- Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel García Márquez

3. Read a book you meant to read last year- The Fellowship of the Ring, by JRR Tolkien

4. Read an author’s first book- Property Of, by Alice Hoffman (audiobook through Hoopla)

5. Read a book with a non-human main character- Tik-Tok, by John Sladek

6. Pick a book that has five or more words in the title- Baseball and the Color Line, by Thomas Gilbert

7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation- The Birds, by Daphne Du Maurier (film by Alfred Hitchcock)

Bonus Challenge: Read 7 books

My focus is definitely going to be on The Fellowship of the Ring, because it is the book club selection for the month of July for The Marauders Book Club on Facebook. This book alone would cover four of the challenges: meant to read last year, five or more words in the title, non-human main character, and read + watch adaptation.

Are you participating in The Reading Rush? Let me know if you are, and what you plan on reading.  If you are using the website, here is a link to MY PROFILE where you can add me as a friend!

Happy Reading!!!

Midyear Book Freak Out Tag

I thought doing this tag would be a great way to check back in with my long forgotten blog. This is something I see everyone and their mom doing on BookTube and figured I’d give it a shot. Without further ado…

2019 Midyear Book Freak Out Tag:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker stands out to me, but also Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, and There There by Tommy Orange.




Some other favorites have been My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwait, Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, and the Murderbot Diaries novela series by Martha Wells.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire was by far the best yet in the Wayward Children series.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I read Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone/Grisha trilogy this year during Book Roast’s OWLs Magical Readathon. I loved the books so much! I haven’t gotten around to King of Scars yet. Haven’t decided if I am going to reread Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, or jump right into it.

I also have A Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson calling my name. I have very high hopes for it

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I am looking forward to Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and Supernova by Marissa Meyer

5. Biggest disappointment

There have been several books I probably expected to enjoy more than I actually did, but my greatest disappointment by far was Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. I have been meaning to read it for at least 9 years; since my first reading of Jane Eyre. I was expecting to fall in love with Antoinette “Bertha” Mason as a heroine, but it really fell flat for me. What a bummer.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. The series is one I put off reading because I knew I’d love it… so I wanted to wait until the perfect time. Well I did NOT love it, and I’m not totally sure I see myself continuing the series.

6. Biggest surprise

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee was a book club selection, and honestly I was not thrilled it was chosen. I had heard nothing but great things about it, but I really didn’t think it would be for me. Well…. it is definitely one of my favorite of the year (as you saw back in question 1). I am so pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to read and enjoy. I was expecting it to be more purple prosey in style, but it was very readable and accessable…especially when historical fiction is something I don’t read often.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Well, definitely not the best author(s) I’ve read this year, but they are new to me and I highly enjoyed them… Christina Lauren. This year I read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, Unhoneymooners, and Roomies. Were they amazing literature? No. Did I enjoy them? Yes, very much. Everyone needs a little brain candy now and then.

You could of course refer back to my answer for question 1 for more quality new-to-me authors.

8. Newest fictional crush

I’m just gon’ say it: Mal (the Grisha Trilogy). screw the Darkling. Mal and Alina are OTP. I LOVE MAL.


I know, I know.

9. Newest favorite character.

Murderbot (From the Murderbot Diaries series). I love that sentient, anxious robot. So much.

10. Book that made you cry (Saddest book you have read).

One that took me by surprise was The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. When I heard reviewers say they cried reading it I couldn’t imagine being so moved. But it got me. Those were pretty happy tears though. Proud, full of love tears.


The book that made me saddest this year would probably be Pachinko. I did cry reading that one, too. An empty, wrecked cry.

11. Book that made you happy.

Umm…The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang.

But also, Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston…. which also brought me to tears actually.


12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.

Good Omens. OMIGOSH. David Tennant.


13. Favorite review you’ve written this year.

I haven’t made much effort to do more than a Goodreads star rating when I finish a book. I track my progress and leave a note here and there as I read, but when I finish I click my star rating and move on.

But when I finished The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu… I had things to say.

My review for The Lost Girl can be found on Goodreads here.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Sorcery of Thorns maybe? King of Scars?

For the sake of naming a book I haven’t mentioned yet, Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff has a pretty cool cover and some great art. Haven’t gotten around to it yet, but you KNOW I preordered it in order to get a copy of Memento, which is the Illuminae Files prequel only available to US readers (or those willing to spend a small fortune) as an Aurora Rising promo.


15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

All the books. Seriously, there are too many to name. Lots of backlist books I have purchased at thrift & used book stores, plus some new releases and next in series that I am looking forward to.

Have you done this tag? Leave your link if you’ve done it already, or make sure to come back and share when you do.

Happy Reading!

T5W: Disappointing Reads of 2018

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Sam, of the YouTube channel Thoughts on Tomes. The group topics and links are here.

I had a pretty decent reading year overall, but there were definitely some books that didn’t hit the mark for me. I wouldn’t say theses disappointing reads are the worst I read of there, and I’m not going to include DNFs in this list either. In fact, some of these books I did actually like, just not as much as I expected to… which is almost worse. If I straight up hated them, I could just be bitter about it. But instead some of these leave me confused about how I feel and how to proceed; you’ll see what I mean.

1. The Binti Series by Nnedi Okorafor

I listened to all three novellas back to back to back. I was expecting for these books to blow my mind based on all the reviews I’d seen of it. While I enjoyed the world and the plot, I was really let down by the speedy resolution of the conflict. Every book left me thinking ‘Seriously?! How anticlimactic.’ There is a point towards the end of the third novella where even Binti says the same exact thing! Is this just the nature of novellas? The world was built well, and the tension was developed well… but the resolution was just… ugh…

So where do I go from here? Before reading these I really wanted to read Akata Witch, and since reading these I’ve seen good reviews for her other novels and learned that Nnedi Okorafor is authoring graphic novels based on the Dora Milaje warriors from Black Panther which I kind of want to give a try. But will she just let me down again? What to do, what to do?!

2. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

I was one of the few people who actually kind of liked Leah in Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I saw a little bit of myself in the character and was excited to get to read from her POV. THIS BOOK SHOULD NOT EXIST. It ruins the characters from the original book. Leah is the worst. The absolute worst. And yet…. I still enjoyed how Becky Albertalli portrays anxiety in her characters, and just like when I read Upside of Unrequited, there were lines from Leah that really resonated with highschool me.

3. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

So I’m still reading this actually. Slowly. But this was quite the disappointment because I bought it to be a Christmas-y read. It. was. not. In all fairness, I don’t actually know much about the original Nutcracker story (Hiddensee is a retelling of this), just that it’s associated with Christmas. I had to put it aside to read more holiday theme books which is what I was in the head space for in December. I went back to it shortly after the new year because I knew if I put it off longer than that I wouldn’t ever finish is.

My experience with every Gregory Maguire book I’ve read (Wicked, Son of a Witch, Mirror Mirror, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister), has been that I struggle through them… not quite sure of what’s going on… but then once I finish it, I decide it was really good. What does that mean? Do I enjoy his writing or not? Is it weird that I can’t tell?

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Have you ever put off reading a book because you know you’re going to love it, so you may as well get some other books out of the way? That’s what I did with Uprooted. Even when I saw negative-ish reviews of it, I brushed them aside because I was sure I would be on the absolutely infatuated side of the spectrum. Imagine my disappointment when I just didn’t love it. I liked it…. I just didn’t love it. It took me FOR-EV-ER to finish, just about the entire month.

Now what? Do I read Spinning Silver? Even people who loved Uprooted were ‘meh’ about Spinning Silver. I already have it on my nook, though, so should I just go for it? I most likely will, but not anytime soon.

5. The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Unpopular opinion time…. this series was just good. Not great.

Don’t get me wrong. Points in the second book had me screaming “Whaaaaaaaaaat?!?!” in my car while I listened to it on the drive home. I really loved the magic system and the fact that everything you thought you knew…. was WRONG! What a ride.

However…. the characters were the literal worst! So annoying. And the books were just too long, especially the third one. How many times can you say THE SAME THING, Brandon?! I actually came to really dislike Sanderson because I got the feeling he wrote such long books just to be able to say he writes long books. You know, page count bragging rights.

But I liked the world, right? So do I go on and read the Alloy series? Should I give The Stormlight Archives a try? What do I do? I just can’t decide. Because I listened to them all back to back over the summer, I am glad that I took a break from Sanderson and not go right into Alloy of Law, which I thought about doing at one point. If I do decide to read more from him it will be another major time investment, so I’m not in any rush.

Have you had similar experiences with these or any other book? Let me know.

Did you have the opposite experience with any of these books? Let me know that too!

Happy Reading!

Hello 2019!

We are going to power right on through the awkwardness of me trying to come up with a reason I went AWOL back in October and have been away from my blog 2+ months.   There’s no reason, it just happened.

And here we are.

Hello 2019!

Last year, I set my Goodreads challenge at 45 books.  Thank you audiobooks and graphic novels… I upped my challenge goal to 150 midway through the year, and PASSED that!  My final number on Goodreads was 163.  It’s not totally accurate, though, because I didn’t include all of the books I read with my kids, only the ones that felt were more substantial (not page count wise, but plot wise).

This year my Goodreads challenge goal is set to 75 (to start anyway).  I feel like this year won’t be quite as high because 1) I don’t have a 24+ volume graphic novel series to bulk up my numbers, and 2) I’ve set a couple of other reading goals for myself that I think will slow down my reading pace.

What are those goals?  I’m so glad you asked.

1. Read 12 nonfiction books

I think I can manage 1 nonfiction book per month.  I have a couple ideas of what I want to get to- mostly biographies of people like Walt Disney, Fred Rogers, Jim Henson, Steve Irwin, and I got a copy of Michelle Obama’s Becoming.  I enjoyed reading about a specific aspect of baseball history, so I think something similar may find its way into my summer TBR.

2. Read Them Classics

I have several examples of classic literature on my shelves that I have picked up here and there from thrift stores and library sales.  Now it’s time to read them.

3. Author/Series Goals

I took a good long look at all the books I own and prioritized authors I have multiple books from, and series I’m excited for and own at least the first book of.

4. Don’t Forget EBooks!!!

I have so many ebooks that I completely disregard because they are not visible!  I wrote out a list of titles I own digitally that I was excited about when I added them, but then forgot about.

5. Make a dent in my collection of unread physical books

We all have this goal, don’t we?

Do you set reading goals for the year? What are they?

Happy Reading!

Spookathon Readathon Day 4 & ‘Estranged’ Review

Well, I got one book finished for the readathon, and it wasnt even on my TBR for the week.

Estranged by Ethan M. Aldridge

This middle grade graphic novel was an impulse grab at the library. That cover just called out to me and refused to be ignored. I found all of the art stunning and the slightly reminiscent of Labyrinth…but not really… but kinda. I can’t decide, but I loved it regardless.

The plot of the novel follows a Human Childe raised by raised by Faerie Royalty. Well, raised by a goblin nanny actually, as the King and Queen were excessively superficial and interested only in how fashionable having a human Childe is. When an evil faerie queen takes the thrown, Childe and his golem friend, Whick, travel to the human realm to enlist the help of the powerful changeling who has been taking his place in his human family.

Set against a fantastical backdrop, the story raises questions of identity, acceptance, loyalty and belonging.

I initially gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, but almost immediately went ahead and gave it that last fifth star. Yup I went ahead and considered this a 5 star read. I found the queen a little to easy to defeat, but once I reminded myself that it was MIDDLE GRADE, and that I shouldn’t expect it to get as dark or as high intensity as a YA fantasy, I realized that I had no problems with it. 5 stars.

I had the coziest baseball mom set up today. But the dang wind kept blowing my pages and I was trying to keep my hands tucked into my sweater. I never get as much reading done as I hope to at the kids practices, but I always try anyway.

My Starbucks drink is a grande soy latte with one pump of vanilla.  It’s literally the only thing I know how to order.  That and steamed almond milk for the kids.

The Spookathon IG Photo Challenge for today was Ghosts. These are some of our Halloween picture books that fit the bill.

And finally…

Here is an update on my pages/challenges for the readathon:

My Plain Jane

  • Readathon challenge: Purple cover, Set in a different time
  • Currently on page 259 of 464

The Graveyard Book

  • Readathon Challenge: Has Picture, Spooky word in the title
  • Currently on page 35 of 307 This hasn’t changed since yesterday, even though I did listen to about an hour more.  I accidentally dozed off a few times while listening and have to go re-read whatever it was I missed.


  • Readathon challenge: Has pictures
  • Finished

Spookathon Readathon Day 3 & T5W

Well, I feel like I haven’t done too much reading today… and I’m already yawning watching game 4 of the ALCS (Go Sox!)… so I don’t know how much more I’ll get done for day 3 of the readathon.

I read a little bit more of My Plain Jane when I woke up, then found the audio for The Graveyard Book on hoopla to listen to while I made lunch. It’s narrated by Neil Gaiman himself! I love his narration.

This afternoon I also started a middle grade graphic novel called Estranged. It is about changelings and the artwork is beautiful.


On Wednesdays we library, and this Wednesday we did playground first. I got to squeeze in another few pages waiting for friends to meet us there.

The kids wanted to watch a movie when we got home….not just a movie.. my movie… so I cuddled up with then to watch and sing along.

Which brings us to today’s Spookathon IG photo challenge (candle), which I would have forgotten all about had my 8 year old not reminded me.

And now we move on to Top 5 Wednesday.

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the Goodreads group for topics and links.

This week’s topic is favorite Monsters/Mythological Creatures. This is hard, because just when I have 5 cool creatures to list, I think of something else.

1. Let’s kick this list off with my hometown monster: The Jersey Devil. Not gonna lie, I could use a refresher of his story/origin. But as a New Jersey native I gotta include it. That said… when it comes to hockey, I actually hate the NJ Devils. Go Rangers!

2. Goblins. Love ’em!

3. Dragons. Especially of the Luck variety, but Draco from Dragonheart and Dragon from Merlin are probably my two all time favorite dragons. I really need to read Seraphina… and feel free to send me more Dragon recommendations (but no GoT please, at this point it’s just not gonna happen).

4. Gargoyles. Architecturally I’m actually more a fan of grotesques, but I think that most of the time the terms are used interchangeably. My heart belongs to one Gargoyle in particular- Goliath. Oh my.

5. And finally, Chimera. Not so much in the Greek mythology portrayal (okay, them too), but the kind from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy… they are so freaking amazing!


Here is an update on my pages/challenges for the readathon:

My Plain Jane

  • Readathon challenge: Purple cover, Set in a different time
  • Currently on page 179 of 464


  • Readathon challenge: Has pictures
  • Currently on page 61 of 224

The Graveyard Book

  • Readathon Challenge: Has Picture, Spooky word in the title
  • Currently on page 35 of 307

Spookathon Readathon Day 2

Last night I decided to start My Plain Jane as my first book for the readathon. I am really doubting I’ll be able to get to all 5 books from my tbr, BUT I realized I can easily double up the challenge prompts.

My Plain Jane will count for a book with purple on the cover (if you have the Owlcrate exclusive cover, that is…which I don’t, but I know that it exists and that it is purple, so I’m counting it), as well as a book not set in this time.

I read a whopping 8 pages before falling asleep last night, but as soon as I woke up this morning I managed to read to around page 86, and I am currently on page 118. I still don’t know if I’m going to love this book, but I do love that it is a quick and easy way to kind of revisit Jane Eyre. Kind of. In a really cheesy way. Definitely cheesy.

And now for a recap of my day in pictures:

  • Husband brought me coffee in bed, and I got right back to the book I barely started last night.

  • The Spookathon Photo Challenge prompt on Instagram was SKULL.  My son thought that this was the best book cover choice because the skull is so subtle.  In his opinion, people will like that more.  Okay, kiddo.

  • Kids and I went to the beach so they could catch Pokemon…

  • So many Pokemon!


  • We stopped by Savers for book shopping… I mean… to drop off donations.  But I mean, we were there, soooooooooo.  We got some great books.

  • This kid could’t wait to start Dory Fantasmagory


  • I got a couple pages of reading in at soccer practice this evening.

  • I could watch my baby read a chapter book to himself all night.  He whisper read chapter one to himself, then had me read chapters 1 through 3 to him.  We’d recently read two other Dory Fantasmagory books that we checked out from the library and he loves them! LOVES THEM! They are pretty great, I must admit.  So we were so happy to find this at the thrift store today.

And now I am off to bed.  How many pages will I get to before my eyes give out on me tonight?  Place your bets now.