Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2023

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Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2023

1aktakukac
Editado: Jan 9, 2023, 4:52 pm



Hello and welcome to my 2023 thread! My name is Rachel. I work in a library in a small town in Ohio, where I do a little of everything, but my main focus is collection development, facilitating the monthly adult book discussion, working our circulation/reference desk, and sometimes doing (children’s) programming. I love ordering books and adding titles to my TBR lists, and hope to do a better job of keeping track of books I want to read in the future this year.

I don’t have as much time to read as I used to, as my husband and I have three young sons, who are 5, 2 ½, and almost 10 months old. They love books, and I love reading to them. I will try to talk about more of the board books, picture books, easy readers, and other things that we read this year.

While I don’t have a set number of books I’d like to read this year, and I have no real goals or reading plans, I would like to try to read or reread more children’s books. My nieces and nephews all like to read, and it’s fun to talk about books with them and recommend titles for them. Plus, shorter books may help me get to 75 books sometime this year, right?!

Between work schedules and the kids, I don’t have as much time for LT as I would like, and I don’t contribute as much to threads as I should. Some day that will improve, but probably not this year! Thanks to visitors for stopping by (I do visit your thread if you comment here, and will try to respond on yours!) and happy reading to all this year!

Have a piece of brownie and let's talk books, reading, and all that good stuff!

2aktakukac
Editado: Maio 27, 2023, 6:55 am

Books Read January-March

January
1. Cornbread & Poppy at the Carnival by Matthew Cordell
2. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
3. Going Rogue: Rise and Shine Twenty-Nine by Janet Evanovich
4. We Met in December by Rosie Curtis
5. A Ghost of Caribou by Alice Henderson
6. Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate
7. Torpedoed: The True Story of the WWII Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman

February
8. The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes
9. Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood
10. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
11. The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
12. The Stolen Kingdom by Jullian Boehme
13. Ruby Spencer's Whisky Year by Rochelle Bilow
14. Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne
15. A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande
16. The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne
17. The Popper Penguin Rescue by Eliot Schrefer

March
18. WAKE by Shelley Burr
19. Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington's First Love by Mary Calvi
20. The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh
21. The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green
22. The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall
23. I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 by Lauren Tarshis

3aktakukac
Editado: Jun 30, 2023, 4:37 pm

Books Read April-June

April
24. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
25. The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer
26. Dangerous Women by Hope Adams
27. The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food: Step-by-Step Vegetable Gardening for Everyone by Joseph Tychonievich and Liz Anna Kozik
28. Born for the Road: My Story so Far by Nathan Carter with Emma Heatherington

May
29. It. Goes. So. Fast.: The Year of No Do-Overs by Mary Louise Kelly
30. The Maid by Nita Prose
31. Texas Trail to Calamity: A Miss Mallard Mystery by Robert Quackenbush
32. Something Wilder by Christina Lauren
33. Ana María and the Fox by Liana De la Rosa
34. Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski
35. Girl in Ice by Erica Ferencik
36. Snow Foal by Susanna Bailey
37. Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
38. The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell
39. On to Oregon! by Honoré Morrow
40. A New Friend by Poppy Green
41. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park

June
42. Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business by Barbara Park
43. Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth by Barbara Park
44. The Pioneers by David McCullough (reread)
45. Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer
46. Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying by Barbara Park
47. Piet Potter's First Case by Robert Quackenbush
48. The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander
49. Spells for Lost Things by Jenna Evans Welch
50. Back to the Bright Before by Katherin Nolte
51. Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake by Barbara Park
52. The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan
53. The Truth About Sparrows by Marian Hale
54. Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim's Birthday by Barbara Park

4aktakukac
Editado: Out 4, 2023, 9:29 am

Books Read July-September

July
55. Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park
56. Simon Says by Cora Reef
57. Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers
58. I Spy...a Shark! by Cora Reef
59. Don't Pop the Bubble Ball! by Cora Reef
60. Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
61. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
62. Marrying Off Morgan McBride by Amy Barry
63. Summer School of Fish by Cora Reef
64. Treasure Map by Brandon Todd
65. Into the Kelp Forest by Cora Reef
66. Isabel Puddles Investigates by M.V. Byrne
67. Shell We Dance? by Cora Reef
68. Sisters of the Lost Marsh by Lucy Strange
69. Dragon Dreams by Cora Reef
70. Fergus and Zeke by Kate Messner
71. Last House Before the Mountain by Monika Helfer
72. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

August
73. The Emerald Berries by Poppy Green
74. No Accident by Laura Bates
75. Lost and Found in Paris by Lian Dolan
76. Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey
77. Seas the Day! by Cora Reef
78. Lost Dog by Brandon Todd
79. Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson
80. Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo
81. Deep Water by Emma Bamford
82. Clues in the Woods by Peggy Parish
83. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
84. Forget-Me-Not Lake by Poppy Green
85. Henry Heckelbeck Gets a Dragon by Wanda Coven
86. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
87. Unbridled Cowboy by Maisey Yates
88. The Secret Explorers and the Lost Whale by S.J. King
89. The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs
90. Home Is Where the Heart Is by Cam Higgins

September
91. In the Likely Event by Rebecca Yarros
92. Raised in a Barn by Cam Higgins
93. Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo
94. Between Two Strangers by Kate White
95. Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo
96. Henry Heckelbeck Never Cheats by Wanda Coven
97. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
98. I Know What You Did by Cayce Osborne
99. Hideaway at Silver Lake by Jennifer Greene
100. Bear and Bird: The Picnic and Other Stories by Jarvis
101. Looking for Winston by Poppy Green
102. Bear Witness by Lark O. Jensen
103. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
104. Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamillo
105. Henry Heckelbeck and the Haunted Hideout by Wanda Coven

5aktakukac
Editado: Jan 3, 11:51 am

Books Read October-December

October
106. Henry Heckelbeck Spells Trouble by Wanda Coven
107. Go as a River by Shelley Read
108. The Maple Festival by Poppy Green
109. Herd You Loud and Clear by Cam Higgins
110. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
111. Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo
112. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
113. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
114. Old-Fashioned on Purpose: Cultivating a Slower, More Joyful Life by Jill Winger
115. Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson

November
116. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
117. Let It Snow by Beth Moran
118. Stay with Me by Jody Hedlund
119. Bright Star by Brandon Todd
120. Wait for Me by Jody Hedlund
121. Great and Precious Things by Rebecca Yarros
122. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (reread)
123. Henry Heckelbeck and the Race Car Derby by Wanda Coven
124. Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller (reread)
125. Henry Heckelbeck Dinosaur Hunter by Wanda Coven
126. Vengeance of the Pirate Queen by Tricia Levenseller
127. Vanishing Edge by Claire Kells (reread)

December
128. An Unforgiving Place by Claire Kells
129. Trouble in Toyland by Alan Katz
130. Forgotten Trail by Claire Kells
131. Reindeer Games by Alan Katz
132. Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee
133. Fireworks Night by Cam Higgins
134. So This Is Christmas by Jenny Holiday
135. Climbing Mount Aquarius by Cora Reef

6aktakukac
Editado: Jan 9, 2023, 4:54 pm

Book Discussion Selections for Work

January: Midnight Library by Matt Haig
February: Spool of Blue Tread by Anne Tyler
March: Dear George, Dear Mary by Mary Calvi
April: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
May: The Maid by Nita Prose
June: The Pioneers by David McCullough (read in 2020)
July: Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
August: No Discussion
September: This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
October: Radium Girls by Kate Moore
November: The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
December: No discussion, but we meet to discuss what we read throughout the year and have a book exchange

7aktakukac
Editado: Jan 9, 2023, 4:53 pm

Saved for later

8foggidawn
Jan 9, 2023, 4:57 pm

Happy new thread! Mmm, brownies!

9aktakukac
Jan 9, 2023, 5:00 pm

>8 foggidawn: Thanks! I made the ones in the picture for New Years Eve when I visited some college friends for a few hours. Then I made another batch Saturday for my husband's family Christmas. Between the weather and various people being ill, we kept having to put it off. Now I wonder why it had been so long since I made any. They were so good!

10curioussquared
Jan 9, 2023, 5:12 pm

Happy new year, Rachel! Got you starred.

11aktakukac
Jan 9, 2023, 5:20 pm

>10 curioussquared: Hi Natalie, I will visit your thread in a bit, after I post a couple of reviews.

12aktakukac
Jan 9, 2023, 5:21 pm

I am hoping to do better at posting reviews and monthly summaries this year. We shall see!



Book # 1: Cornbread & Poppy at the Carnival by Matthew Cordell

This is the second installment in an early reader/beginning chapter book series. My oldest son and I read the first book last summer, and I brought this one home since I/we liked it. Cornbread and Poppy are two mice with opposite personalities. They go to the carnival where they have fun and learn about being friends. I wonder where they will go in Book Three.

13aktakukac
Jan 9, 2023, 5:22 pm



Book # 2: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This was the January book discussion selection for work, and I finished it early! Yay! But the book…I had trouble staying interested in it, and although I enjoyed the audiobook narration by Carey Mulligan, I found myself not paying attention at times. I’m curious how our discussion will go later this week.

14dreamweaver529
Jan 9, 2023, 6:21 pm

>13 aktakukac: I enjoyed the book myself, but maybe more for the concept that the story itself. What "books" would be in my Midnight Library?

My kids are a little older than yours (8 and 7) so I'm out of the board book phase. Though, the kids and I can still recite a few of our favorites. I highly recommend Goodnight Mice. It was one of the few I didn't mind reading every night for a month or more at a stretch.

15PaulCranswick
Jan 9, 2023, 7:58 pm

>1 aktakukac: Interesting brownie, Rachel, don't mind if I do help myself to a small nibble!

Happy new reading year and I will endeavour to keep up as usual.

16kgodey
Jan 9, 2023, 10:28 pm

Hi Rachel! Nice to see someone else from small town Ohio here. Where in Ohio are you?

17drneutron
Jan 10, 2023, 8:25 am

Welcome back, Rachel!

18foggidawn
Jan 10, 2023, 11:55 am

>9 aktakukac: Wow, those are beautiful! You must have an interesting molded pan to get those shapes. I haven't made brownies in a while, either. The problem is, if I make them, we will eat them. :-)

19aktakukac
Jan 10, 2023, 1:25 pm

>14 dreamweaver529: Hi, Amanda, and thanks for visiting! I try not to know too much about the books I order for work and that we select for book discussions, in order to avoid spoilers. I had a feeling I would either love or not care for The Midnight Library. I liked listening to the different lives, but overall the book didn't flow well for me.

I am part of a large library consortium throughout Ohio, but Goodnight, Mice! isn't available. I'm going to request it through ILL, so fingers crossed it will arrive!

>15 PaulCranswick: Hello, Paul! I don't usually put powdered sugar on brownies, but in this case it helped with the snowflake effect.

>16 kgodey: Hi Kriti! I live in the west-central part of the state, between Dayton and Findlay. I'm originally from Michigan, but since my husband farms, I got to become a Buckeye instead of him moving up north.

>17 drneutron: Thanks, Jim, and thanks for your work with this group!

>18 foggidawn: Hi Foggi, the pan is from Nordic Ware, and I almost cried when the brownies successfully released from the pan - when I tried a couple of years ago, they did not. I love Nordic Ware.

During the holidays, I made a recipe for cake bars that my grandmother often made when I was young, and remembered why I can't make them very often. They disappear so quickly!

My plans last night were to get the boys to bed, take care of some things around the house, and then visit threads and read more of the latest Stephanie Plum book (it has holds and I need to return it). It took forever for the boys to fall asleep, and then I fell asleep with my oldest and woke up after 11 PM. Oops! I don't mind though, because for the second night in a row, THE BABY SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! This is probably the fifth time he has done it, so I am very happy today. I'm not expecting it to happen tonight, as three nights in a row would probably be asking too much!

20curioussquared
Jan 10, 2023, 1:41 pm

>19 aktakukac: Yay for baby sleeping!!

21MickyFine
Editado: Jan 10, 2023, 4:48 pm

Glad to see you back for 2023, Rachel!

I find Matt Haig's book ideas fascinating but his style of execution just isn't for me. Of course, I'm not lacking for reads so it's not a terrible fate. :P

22aktakukac
Jan 11, 2023, 1:11 pm

>20 curioussquared: He was up at 4:30 this morning, but went back to sleep just before 5, and slept for a few more hours. I, of course, did not get to go back to sleep, but I did get a lot of things done before I had to go in to work.

>21 MickyFine: Hi, Micky! I completely agree with you. As I told a co-worker, I will have better reads ahead in 2023, and I'm looking forward to them.

23FAMeulstee
Jan 12, 2023, 8:57 am

Happy reading in 2023, Rachel!

24DFED
Jan 12, 2023, 4:02 pm

Hello and Happy New Year!

25ronincats
Jan 12, 2023, 9:06 pm

Happy New Year, Rachel!

26aktakukac
Jan 13, 2023, 11:25 am

>23 FAMeulstee:, >24 DFED:, >25 ronincats: Hello and Happy New Year Anita, Dawn, and Roni! I'll be following along with all of your reading this year :)

I haven't made any progress in my audiobook this week, and I'm just over halfway through the latest Stephanie Plum book. Not sure how much time I will have for reading over the long weekend. Sometimes by the end of the day, I'd rather sleep than read.

We had our January book discussion last night, and I was in the minority as the other attendees liked The Midnight Library much more than I did. We had a fantastic discussion. One lady, who can have quite the personality asked who selected it (I think I did, but my coworker and I come up with the list of reads for the year together). She said that it wasn't a book she would have ever picked to read on her own, but she is glad she read it, and is "better for having read it." That was nice to hear.

27aktakukac
Editado: Jan 13, 2023, 12:20 pm

One of the books my boys have enjoyed recently:



More Spaghetti, I Say! by Rita Golden Gelman

We spent Thanksgiving Break with family in Wisconsin, and one night we had spaghetti for supper. My mom brought this book to read with the kids, and my boys love it. A monkey wants to play with another monkey, who is more interested in eating spaghetti. She eats too much and gets sick. Eventually the first monkey tries some and loves it too, and then decides he would rather eat spaghetti than play with his friend. The boys love to shout “spaghetti” whenever the word comes up, which is quite often. I need to take a video while reading it with them, because it’s so cute when my middle son (who is 2 ½) pronounces it “tis-geddy.”

I did discover that the author, Rita Golden Gelman, is the same woman who wrote Tales of a Female Nomad, which I have a copy of somewhere in the house.

28curioussquared
Jan 13, 2023, 11:58 am

>26 aktakukac: Glad your book club discussion was rewarding even if you were meh about the book! I can't say that one has called my name either. I'm never one for philosophy thinly disguised as a story.

>27 aktakukac: Oh, this one looks cute. I might need to buy it for my young cousins.

29aktakukac
Jan 13, 2023, 12:22 pm

>28 curioussquared: I probably wouldn't have read The Midnight Library otherwise, but I was sure it would be a good discussion book. We've read the spaghetti book at least 50 times since Thanksgiving. I bet your cousins would get a kick out of it, too.

30kgodey
Jan 13, 2023, 3:33 pm

>19 aktakukac: I'm in northeast Ohio (near Cleveland). I grew up in India, but my husband is from Ohio too, so that's why I live here.

31PaulCranswick
Jan 15, 2023, 4:54 am

>27 aktakukac: Nothing ever wrong with more spaghetti, Rachel!

Have a great Sunday.

32aktakukac
Jan 20, 2023, 4:57 pm

>30 kgodey: There are a lot of areas of Ohio that I am not familiar with, but my boss is from the northeast part of the state (north and east of Cleveland even) so I hear about that area from her.

>31 PaulCranswick: I will never say no to pasta, Paul! Unless it has fish or seafood mixed in...

Wow, last weekend flew by, and apparently the work week did too, because now it's Friday again! I finally finished my print book, and I have an hour or two left in my audiobook. It should be a bit slower and more relaxing this weekend, so maybe I will read some more in the next couple of days?!

33PaulCranswick
Jan 20, 2023, 8:05 pm

>32 aktakukac: I intend to make pasta myself this long weekend - it is the Lunar New Year celebrations and I will have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at home.
I will do a baked pasta and I am sure that I will eat too much of it.

Have a great weekend, Rachel.

34aktakukac
Jan 23, 2023, 12:47 pm



Book # 3: Going Rogue: Rise and Shine Twenty-Nine by Janet Evanovich

By now I know what to expect from the Stephanie Plum series, and now was the right time for me to read it because it doesn’t require a lot of thinking, it makes me laugh out loud, and it’s not a big deal if I can’t read from the book every day. When I pick it up again, I can continue with the story and not worry about remembering what had already happened. This was definitely a better installment than some, as Stephanie was actually quite competent, and I enjoyed the scenes with Morelli’s grandmother.

35aktakukac
Jan 23, 2023, 12:48 pm



Book # 4: We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

It’s December when Jess moves to London to start a new job. She rents a room in Notting Hill from her friend, whose grandparents left her an old, dilapidated house. While moving in, Jess meets Alex, one of her housemates. They have an immediate connection, but one of the house rules is no relationships between renters. Jess goes away for the holidays, and when she comes back, Alex is seeing Emma. The book takes place over the course of a year, as Jess and Alex go about their jobs, training (Alex is retraining to become a nurse), taking walks around the city, building a friendship, and navigating various relationships.

It’s a very slow burn romance for Jess and Alex, and I wish it would have been a little faster and have more sparks. I really liked the secondary characters and how they added to the story. The narration was lovely. This could be read at Christmas or at any time of the year.

36aktakukac
Jan 23, 2023, 12:51 pm

>33 PaulCranswick: Sounds lovely, Paul! I'm not sure when I will make pasta next. My boys are good eaters, but they can be picky about pasta.

The weekend was pretty nice. I actually had time to relax for a bit and listen to some of We Met in December, which I then finished in print on Saturday night/Sunday morning. It also snowed enough to take the older two out for a bit, and they had fun shoveling the sidewalks. There was just enough snow to keep them busy for a while before heading back in the house to warm up.

37aktakukac
Jan 25, 2023, 2:41 pm



Book # 5: A Ghost of Caribou by Alice Henderson

As with the previous two books in this series, A Ghost of Caribou was another fast-paced, informative, page turning read that I didn’t want to put down. After previously researching wolverines and polar bears (and coming across more than a little danger), Dr. Alex Carter is now in a remote corner of Washington State where there have been rumors of a caribou that made its way across the border from Canada. While trying to find evidence of its existence, she finds herself in tense situations with environmentalists, loggers, and a strange flying object. Oh, and women are going missing and possibly murdered, as well.

I thought the first half of the book was more focused on the caribou, while the second was non-stop action and suspense. I was hoping for more involvement from Casey, especially after the second book. All in all, I will look forward to the next installment, and can recommend this series, especially if you like nature/biology/animals in your well-written mysteries and thrillers.

On a side note, I have recommended this series to two older, retired male patrons who read a lot of bestsellers, and they have both told me how much they enjoy Henderson’s novels. Definitely an enjoyable part of my job :)

38aktakukac
Jan 26, 2023, 11:38 am

It's a windy, cold, and snowy Thursday, and I'll be at work until 7 tonight. This morning the older two boys helped me make banana and mini chocolate chip mini muffins and I did a few tasks around the house before driving into work.

The other day, my 10-year-old niece showed me what books she is reading - she was about done with Little House in the Big Woods, and was going to start Little House on the Prairie after that. I told her how I had got the entire set for my 10th birthday and I read them dozens of times when I was her age. I'm trying to remember what books I read in 4th grade, and will recommend some to her. I can remember my 2nd grade teacher reading some books aloud, and I remember a few I read in 4th grade, but I can't recall anything from 3rd grade!

39curioussquared
Jan 26, 2023, 12:33 pm

>38 aktakukac: I love that! I have been trying to share my childhood favorites with my much younger cousins with mixed results. My cousins who are 12 and 14 now had a small house fire (no structural damage, but plenty of smoke damage) and their insurance would pay for something like $1000 in replacement books. Their mom, my aunt, came to me and asked for a list she could order before the money expired, so I recommended a ton of my favorites. So they have the books, but I never really got a chance to share with them individually, and it made gifting hard in the future because they'd already purchased all the books I would have gifted!

Hmmm, 3rd grade. Our shared class read-aloud books that I remember were The Moorchild and The Grey King. That class introduced me to some great books, but I remember being infinitely frustrated because the class sat in a circle and each kid took turns reading a section. We weren't allowed to go past the page of the book currently being read, but everyone read so SLOWLY! I have the strongest memory of waiting patiently for us to finally turn a page, then I would ignore the read-aloud and read the next two pages to myself as quickly as possible before reaching the end of the spread and zoning out again :) I think I also read a lot of Royal Diaries at that age, and I'm pretty sure it's when I first read Tamora Pierce.

40MickyFine
Jan 26, 2023, 1:23 pm

>37 aktakukac: Doing reader's advisory is the part of being a public-facing library worker that I miss the most.

41aktakukac
Jan 27, 2023, 2:12 pm

>39 curioussquared: How nice your aunt asked for your input on books for the kids! I need to start making a list for my older nieces and nephew. I should probably start re-reading some of them, too :)

When I was in third grade, there was a girl a year ahead of me who rode my bus. She told me she learned the names of the first twenty presidents. I thought I would need to know this for fourth grade, and I decided to just go ahead and memorize the names of all the presidents in third grade. This led to me reading a lot about them, learning trivia, memorizing the names of the First Ladies, etc. etc. Looking back, that's what I was doing in third grade, and I probably read a lot of American Girl books (although at that time, there weren't as many as there are now!). I just wish I could remember what other books we read in class!

>40 MickyFine: Yes! It's the best!

Last night we closed the library early because the roads were atrocious. Once I got out of town, the snow had drifted over them, and there were large portions that were sheets of ice. I got home safely, but it took a while! We read some books before bedtime, one of which I will review next. I'm also over halfway through a children's nonfiction audiobook. Not sure what I will start after that.

42aktakukac
Jan 27, 2023, 2:12 pm



Book # 6: Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate

I read this to the older two boys last night, and they enjoyed it. It didn’t appeal to me as much as them, but I can see kids really liking it whether they are being read to or reading it for themselves. There’s an older dog, a cat, and a young puppy, and the boys especially liked the antics the dogs got up to. They laughed out loud and asked for me to immediately read it again once finished. The book has short chapters/sections, and would be good for emerging readers.

43PaulCranswick
Jan 28, 2023, 5:36 pm

>38 aktakukac: I would love to have someone to share my love of books with like that, Rachel.

Having said that I did buy Unnatural Causes for my youngest, Belle, yesterday and she did ask me to borrow a bookmark so things must be looking up.

44aktakukac
Fev 1, 2023, 1:00 pm

>43 PaulCranswick: Yesterday my niece told me she is ready for Book #3 (Farmer Boy) and I didn't have time to stay and chat books with her, but I think I will make a list of suggestions and see what she thinks. I'll also ask more about what she is reading for school. I need to talk to my 8-year-old niece later today about a request she had last week, too.

Did Belle start the book? Does she go through phases of reading or not reading?

I finished up one more book in January, which I will review soon. I should finish two books fairly quickly in February, and then I will focus on the book discussion selection. My mom is staying with us for a bit as my husband's aunt, who helps babysit, is on vacation and my mom is watching my two youngest during the day. I haven't been reading at night because of talking with her or just relaxing in front of the TV.

45aktakukac
Fev 2, 2023, 6:01 pm



Book # 7: Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman

This juvenile non-fiction work is highly researched, well-written, and absolutely heart-wrenching. I was unfamiliar with the sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares in 1940 by a German U-boat. On its final voyage, the ship was carrying 90 children who were being evacuated from England as part of the CORB Program. Over half of the people on board were killed, including 77 of the CORB children.

I listened to the audiobook, as it was read by a narrator I enjoy. I also followed along with the print book, as there were photographs, images, and maps that I didn’t want to miss. The author gave background information about why it wasn’t safe for the children to stay in England and the bombings that were happening in the Blitz. She also told the stories of many people aboard the ship – children, adults, sailors, and crew. One of the more “exciting” parts was how one of the lifeboats carrying survivors was missed when rescue came, and spent an extra eight days at sea. Would they run out of water before being rescued?

This book will stay with me for a long time, and I’ve already started Lifeboat 12, a middle grade novel-in-verse based on the true story of one of the CORB children.

46PaulCranswick
Fev 4, 2023, 7:30 pm

>44 aktakukac: She has read it, Rachel and I am so pleased that she is enthused about the subject even though it wouldn't be my own choice of vocation.

47aktakukac
Fev 9, 2023, 4:49 pm

>46 PaulCranswick: That's great for Belle! It wouldn't be my choice either, but I'm glad she is so enthusiastic!

I told myself I would keep up with reviews and monthly summaries for my reading this year, so of course I am behind already. But my middle boy has been successfully toilet training since last week, and my baby is pulling himself up to stand and trying to walk along furniture, which I am NOT ready for. It's all plenty to keep me away from my books at night.

Books Read in January



I was happy with my January reading, and have finished three books in February (two were started in January, and the third is for book discussion). I'm also really, really enjoying my current audiobook, which is my first book by Lisa Jewell.

48aktakukac
Fev 9, 2023, 4:49 pm



Book # 8: The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes

As the only legitimate child of the owner of a large cocoa plantation, Puri gives up her life in Spain when she inherits the property and moves with her husband to Ecuador. When an assassination attempt on her life on the ship instead kills her husband, Puri takes on his identity to protect herself and learn the identity of the person who wanted her killed. Once she arrives at the estate, will she manage to continue the masquerade? Will she unravel the mystery of who and why someone wanted her dead before it’s too late?

I really liked the first half of the book, and enjoyed the chapters alternating between Puri and other characters. About halfway through, the narrative began to drag and get repetitive, and then the ending was rushed. At times some things were a bit unrealistic, but not excessively so. More descriptions of the area would have helped as well. I did appreciate the Author’s Note at the end explaining some of the historical background about Ecuador’s cacao boom, the town known as “Little Paris,” and the real “Puri.”

49aktakukac
Fev 9, 2023, 4:50 pm



Book # 9: Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood

Once I finished Torpedoed back in January, I immediately placed a hold on this middle grade novel-in-verse. I’m glad I read them so close together. While I knew about major events that would take place while following the story of one of the passengers, Ken, it was interesting reading a fictionalized account of his story. There were also things like trench foot that were described better in this book.

I often struggle with my thoughts and feelings about books written in this format. It could easily have been expanded into an actual novel, but was very well done in verse. It was hard to put down and would be good for reluctant readers. Recommended.

50curioussquared
Fev 11, 2023, 1:34 pm

Hi Rachel! Successful toilet training and a more mobile baby seem like great reasons to be reading and keeping up a little less :)

51aktakukac
Fev 16, 2023, 6:18 pm



Book # 10: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

I read this for the month’s book discussion at work, and nobody was terribly fond of it, including me. I could get into parts of some of the stories, but I did not really like any of the characters or connect with them. I did not like the order of the different sections either. This was my first Anne Tyler novel, and while I didn’t dislike it, I can’t say that I really enjoyed it.

52aktakukac
Fev 16, 2023, 6:18 pm



Book # 11: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

This was a fast-paced thriller that I quickly sped through, but looking back, I can see there were several loose ends and slight issues that knocked down my rating.

At the beginning of the novel, a 19-year-old woman, Tallulah, and the father of her baby, don’t return home from a date. Tallulah’s mother Kim waits for them to return, and even checks with with their friends to see what happened. They went to a house located in the woods and vanished. A year later, Sophie, a mystery novelist who is new to the area discovers a sign that tells her to “Dig Here,” and the case is opened again. What will Kim and Sophie discover, what what happened to Tallulah?

I listened to the lovely Joanne Froggatt narrate this, and it was enjoyable listening. I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation for the most part. There were a few things that made me roll my eyes, but for what it was, it was a good story.

53aktakukac
Fev 16, 2023, 6:18 pm



Book # 12: The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme

Standalone YA fantasy that had potential, but a lack of world building and flat characters made this a disappointment.

54aktakukac
Fev 24, 2023, 2:48 pm



Book # 13: Ruby Spencer’s Whisky Year by Rochelle Bilow

Ruby Spencer moves to a village in the Scottish Highlands for a year to write a cookbook and sort out her life. She quickly falls in love with everything about the place – the scenery, the little cottage she rents, the pub she works at, the food and drink she encounters, and she becomes friends with several of the locals. She also starts to fall for Brochan, the handyman who also has a connection to the pub. When Ruby hears about a plan to sell the pub, she has to decide how to proceed with her relationship with Brochan and what she wants for her future.

There was so much to love about this book! I loved the village of Thistlecross and want to live there. I also loved all the food, drink, and recipes, and was constantly hungry while reading this. The attraction between Ruby and Brochan was a strength. Even though he was almost too Scottish at times, I could definitely see Brochan becoming a book boyfriend for many readers!

It wasn’t a perfect book by any means, but it was a case of reading the right book at the right time for me, and is one I could see myself rereading at some point. The audiobook narration was lovely and probably added to my enjoyment. Recommended if you want a good romance set in Scotland.

55aktakukac
Fev 24, 2023, 2:48 pm



Book # 14: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne

Read partly for work, partly because I have never read any of the Magic Tree House books (I’m not sure how I missed them, other than I was past that reading level when the series started? I don’t remember my younger siblings reading them either, though…), and partly because I’m trying to get familiar with books the boys will be reading in the upcoming years.

I liked it more than I thought I would, and can see the appeal for young readers. I will probably listen to one or two more just to see how the series continues.

56curioussquared
Fev 24, 2023, 2:52 pm

>54 aktakukac: I've been hit!! Putting this one on hold asap.

>55 aktakukac: I was never very into these, either, even though they were all the rage when I was in elementary school. My theory is that when I was the right age to be interested in the content, I was already past the right reading level, so they just didn't hold my attention.

57aktakukac
Fev 24, 2023, 2:55 pm

>56 curioussquared: I predict you will love Ruby Spencer, Natalie! Hope you can get a copy soon! That's my thought about the Magic Tree House books, too. They are still very popular at my library, and I try to keep good copies of them on the shelves.

58MickyFine
Fev 25, 2023, 9:12 am

>54 aktakukac: And that's a direct hit.

59aktakukac
Fev 27, 2023, 3:32 pm

>58 MickyFine: I had a feeling you'd add that one to your reading list, Micky! Hope you'll enjoy it whenever you read it!

60PaulCranswick
Mar 2, 2023, 1:41 am

>52 aktakukac: Lisa Jewell is Hani's current favourite read, Rachel.

61aktakukac
Mar 3, 2023, 11:44 am



Book # 15: A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande

Excellent historical fiction about a woman who works as a nurse in the Mexican army during the Mexican-American War, and an Irish soldier who ends up fighting for the Mexicans. It was highly researched and I learned a lot about a time and place I was mostly unfamiliar with. The horrors and tragedies of war are not glossed over in this novel. I also read up about the Saint Patrick’s Battalion after I finished the book to get some more information about it. However, the romance between the two main characters was disappointing and lowered my overall rating.

62aktakukac
Mar 3, 2023, 11:44 am



Book # 16: The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne

I didn’t care for this second Magic Tree House book as much as the first. I liked seeing where it picked up after the first one ended, and I am intrigued enough by the “mystery” to see what direction that takes. I may try to read the first one to one or two of the boys to see if it holds their interest and if they would like more of an actual read aloud than just picture books.

63aktakukac
Mar 3, 2023, 11:45 am



Book # 17: The Popper Penguin Rescue by Eliot Schrefer

Last March, I read Mr. Popper’s Penguins, mostly because I never read it as a kid. It was decent enough, although it wouldn’t have been a favorite if I had read it when I was younger. I listened to this “original adventure inspired by Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” and was not impressed. It didn’t hold my attention and I didn’t care for a few things from the very start which clouded my opinion.

64aktakukac
Mar 3, 2023, 11:47 am

>60 PaulCranswick: Oh, I'm glad Hani is enjoying Lisa Jewell so much! She is a popular author at my library/consortium, and one I had been meaning to read for quite a while. I will definitely read more by her in the future.

There are so many "popular" authors that I feel I should read for work, so I can know their writing styles, be able to make better recommendations, and so on, but there's only so much time to read, and I want to read what I want to read, so...

65aktakukac
Mar 3, 2023, 12:06 pm

Books Read in February



February was a great reading month, even with a couple of not-so-amazing reads thrown in. It's been quite a while since I've read/listened to ten books in a month, but one was a novel-in-verse, and three others were short children's books (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

I will be working on the March book discussion selection, which I hope to start listening to today for next week. Other than that, I don't have any reading plans set in stone - just whatever sounds good, is available, or sitting on the shelf at home, I suppose.

66aktakukac
Mar 3, 2023, 2:28 pm

A few reading-related things about the boys:

I walked into the living room the other day to find my oldest reading a counting board book to the younger two, but especially the baby. He was just saying the color and number of the items on the page, like "one red ball" or "two grey kittens," but it made me stop and smile :)

He also came into my bathroom while I was brushing my teeth one morning recently to tell me that they read Love Monster at preschool. It was the first time he has volunteered the name of a story from school. I always ask what books they read in class, but sometimes he wouldn't remember the title. I could picture the cover of Love Monster in my head (I know it's one I have ordered for work) so I asked him if the Monster is purple (I remembered there being some purple on the cover) and he said "NO! It's orange and red!" which was funny.

It was Dr. Seuss/Read Across America week at school this week, and Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday and Socks day for Fox in Socks. The kids could wear mismatched, inside out, backwards, etc. clothes and fun socks. So I knew he was going to wear his green dinosaur pajama pants, a yellow and blue stripped shirt backwards, and two different color/pattern socks. Well my husband's aunt was watching the kids that day, and she texted me that he also, on his own, decided to wear two different shoes, and turned his jacket inside out :)

Another picture book the older two love:



My oldest, and nieces and nephew came into the library one evening last fall. My son saw this on top of a picture book shelf, and I checked it out to him. We read it at least three times the first night, and I knew we'd have to get our own copy. I shared it with a coworker who does preschool story times, and she loved it and uses it now too.

Some animals get scared by a coyote who chases them until they are trapped. But what does the coyote really want? And what is actually chasing them? The story is fast paced, with short rhymes the kids loved, and it's a great choice for a read aloud with one child or a whole classroom.

67curioussquared
Mar 6, 2023, 12:19 pm

>66 aktakukac: Cute!! It must be so exciting to see your boys getting excited about books.

68aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 10:59 am

>67 curioussquared: Yes, it's wonderful!

I knew March would be busy, and it was. My baby turned one (I feel like I was just in the hospital having him, where did the time go?!), family came for his birthday party/weekend, I’ve been working on both kindergarten and preschool registration for the older two boys, and so on. I am surprised I finished six books in March! I think my reading time going forward will be limited, though. I’ve already returned a bunch of library books, and am planning on finishing the next book discussion selection for work and an e-audio book I currently have checked out, and that will probably be about it for a while.

There were several tornadoes in our area early last Saturday morning, and our farm was seriously affected. Everyone is ok nobody was injured, and the houses were not damaged beyond some missing shingles, fascia, things like that. We are very thankful for that. But we do have major issues with some things for the farm, and how operations will change going forward, so I will type an update to come after some quick book reviews and monthly summary. It has been a long, emotional, and draining week.

69aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 10:59 am



Book # 18: WAKE by Shelley Burr

I thoroughly enjoyed this Australian mystery/crime thriller set in the remote Outback…until the end. I still liked it enough to recommend, and will look for more by the author in the future.

70aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 11:00 am



Book # 19: Dear George, Dear Mary by Mary Calvi

I read this for book discussion at work, and then ended up having to attend an event for work the night of the discussion, so I didn’t get to hear what others had to say. I did not care for the book, as I didn’t like the writing style, the lack of a timeline, and thought the author tried to do too many things with it which made it difficult to follow.

So far I have not enjoyed our book discussion selections (and I helped my co-worker pick them out!). Hopefully they will be better going forward!

71aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 11:01 am



Book # 20: The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh

This middle grade novel will probably make my top five of the year. In the present-day storyline, a boy is at home during COVID lockdown with his mother and great grandmother, while his father is stuck overseas for work. As he spends more time with his great grandmother, he learns her story of life in Ukraine during the Holodomor, or great famine in the 1930s. The story also alternates between his great grandmother and her cousin’s narrations, and it all comes together to answer a lot of questions about who, what, why, etc. Overall, very well done, and was also an emotional read.

72aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 11:01 am



Book # 21: The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green

I’ve seen a lot of good reviews for this one, and I liked parts of it, but it seemed like there were too many characters and not enough about the book club for me.

73aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 11:01 am



Book # 22: The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall

I didn’t like this one as much as The Secret Bridesmaid, but it was still a good rom-com, and I am looking forward to her next novel, which is due out in May.

74aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 11:02 am



Book # 23: I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 by Lauren Tarshis

This series has been incredibly popular at my library for years, but I have never read any of them. This was a good early to middle grade read, which would be good for a read aloud or reluctant readers, and still has enough historical detail to keep even adult readers interested. I will probably listen to a few others in the series at some point.

75curioussquared
Abr 7, 2023, 12:47 pm

Rachel, I'm so sorry to hear your farm was damaged during the storms! I hope the weeks to come are easier.

76foggidawn
Abr 7, 2023, 4:55 pm

Sorry to hear about the tornado damage!

77aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 4:56 pm

>75 curioussquared: Thanks, Natalie! To make a long story short, two empty grain bins were blown away (one is in the field behind my in-law's house; we don't know where the other went) and the roofs of two that were filled with corn were blown off. The roof of one landed on a building that stores fertilizer and equipment. Thankfully none of the tractors or equipment in there were damaged. The doors of another building were damaged and couldn't be closed. We also have a wheat field a few miles away that is across from a hog operation, and they had significant damage and tons of debris (lumber, siding, metal stuff, insulation, nails, barrels, etc.) blew into the wheat.

We've had a lot of help already, and were able to get some big things taken care of before more storms arrived on Wednesday. We were lucky. Nobody got hurt, and we can rebuild. I just hope I never have to experience a tornado again.

78aktakukac
Abr 7, 2023, 4:57 pm

>76 foggidawn: We cross-posted! Thanks.

79PaulCranswick
Abr 7, 2023, 11:14 pm

Nice to see you posting, Rachel but less nice to see you being disturbed by tornadoes. Glad that your equipment at least was undamaged.

80MickyFine
Abr 8, 2023, 5:10 pm

Glad to hear your family is safe and your home is relatively unscathed. Wishing you all the best as you deal with the rest of the property damage.

81PaulCranswick
Abr 28, 2023, 8:37 pm

Hope all is well, Rachel. I have a long weekend and ample time to get round the threads. I am starting here with wishing you a great weekend.

82aktakukac
Jun 21, 2023, 12:38 pm

I'm going to try to catch up with some reviews! I'm still listening to audiobooks, reading a print book for myself here and there, and reading a ton with the boys. My oldest is enjoying listening to me read simple chapter books, so we've been figuring out what works with those. My middle really pays attention when we read, and I've caught him sitting with a book and "reading" it to himself and repeating parts he has memorized. It makes me smile each time I see it :) And the baby, well he likes to "look" at books, but he also likes to chew on them, and now he can walk, and is able to climb up on the chairs at the kitchen table, which is no doubt adding to the grey hairs on my head.

Cleanup from the tornado has gone pretty well. We have had good and bad news about rebuilding. We've also been busy with T-ball, will start soccer in August, and I've been busy with the usual appointments, preschool and kindergarten registrations and things that go along with them, plus my regular library work and trying to keep the house somewhat clean. Summer reading is going well at the library, but I will be glad when it's over ;) Will try to visit some threads in the next few days.

83aktakukac
Jun 21, 2023, 12:38 pm



Book # 24: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Read for book discussion. I liked it more than some of the other participants, but we all had some issues with at least part of the story. One person who attended has career experience at the kind of firm the story took place in, although it was decades ago, and it was interesting to hear what she had to say about what was “true” in the story and experiences she had.

84aktakukac
Jun 21, 2023, 12:38 pm



Book # 25: The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer

It was a decent read/listen, but not what I was expecting and considering I finished this a couple of months ago, fairly forgettable.

85aktakukac
Jun 21, 2023, 12:39 pm



Book # 26: Dangerous Women by Hope Adams

A group of female convicts are being transported from England to Tasmania when a murder takes place. The matron also has the women sew a quilt. Some parts of the story were very good and flew by, and other parts were slow and bogged down. Very much a mixed bag for me.

86aktakukac
Jun 21, 2023, 12:39 pm



Book # 27: The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food: Step-by-Step Vegetable Gardening for Everyone by Joseph Tychonievich

I came across this one when doing a pull list (where we gather and check in all the items that have holds or are being sent to other libraries) and then remembered ordering it a while back. A quick read with some good information for beginner gardeners or those with no experience growing a garden.

87aktakukac
Editado: Jun 21, 2023, 12:40 pm

Book # 28: Born for the Road: My Story so Far by Nathan Carter with Emma Heatherington

Part autobiography and part journal of concert tour of an Irish singer and entertainer I’ve listened to for several years.

88aktakukac
Jun 21, 2023, 12:40 pm



Book # 29: It. Goes. So. Fast.: The Year of No Do-Overs by Mary Louise Kelly

Well, listening to this, narrated by the author (of NPR), made me laugh out loud, cry, nod my head in agreement several times, and just made me have so many other emotions at various points. That being said, it was also difficult to focus at times because the book switched gears so often, with themes and topics that didn’t always match Kelly’s intended purpose.

89aktakukac
Editado: Jul 6, 2023, 1:50 pm



Book # 30: The Maid by Nita Prose

I’d remember seeing this recommended for book discussions, so we added it to the titles to read in 2023, and after some not-so-stellar selections, this was a hit for almost all of the participants. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the end, as I didn’t know what to expect from Molly. I’m looking forward to the follow-up, which should be released this fall.

90aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 1:51 pm



Book # 31: Texas Trail to Calamity: A Miss Mallard Mystery by Robert Quackenbush

I remember my mother reading several of Quackenbush’s picture books to me when I was young, but I hadn’t read any of his books for older readers. This mystery was a little too simple. I may read it to my son or have him read it when he is a bit older, but I was pretty disappointed. Thankfully other books in the series have better reviews, so I will try at least a couple more at some point.

91aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 1:51 pm



Book # 32: Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

This is my third read by the authors, and my favorite so far. The authors said they wanted to write something fun, and they did, and I enjoyed the adventure very much.

92aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 1:51 pm



Book # 33: Ana María and the Fox by Liana De la Rosa

Mixed feelings about this one. It’s a historical romance set in London during Queen Victoria’s reign featuring a marriage of convenience for an heiress fleeing the Mexican Revolution. The writing style didn’t really work for me though, and the pacing of the story was off as well. Overall the story wasn’t bad, and I can see a lot of readers enjoying it if they will overlook a few issues.

93aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 1:52 pm



Book # 34: Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski

This is a middle grade fairy tale retelling that is fun and has a likable heroine (and her brother) and is perfect for what it is. I can see third and fourth graders really getting into this series, and it was great to listen to the audio version. Will recommend to my nieces if they haven’t read it already.

94curioussquared
Jul 6, 2023, 1:55 pm

Hi Rachel! Totally agree on your thoughts on The Maid - I didn't know there was a follow-up coming out! Something Wilder is also probably my favorite Christina Lauren. Just so much fun.

95aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 6:53 pm

>94 curioussquared: Hi Natalie! I just discovered there's a follow-up coming out a week or two ago! The whole time I was reading it, I wondered if Molly was just putting on an act - I just didn't know where the author was going. Yes, Something Wilder is absolutely fun and helped get me out of a reading/listening slump!

A couple more reviews for today are coming up, and then I'll only be 20 or so behind!

96aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 6:53 pm



Book # 35: Girl In Ice by Erica Ferencik

I’ve read other books by the author, and while this is another thriller set in a remote location, it veered off into a bit of science fiction which I was not expecting. It’s also set in the near future. The main character, Val, spends most of the novel trying to communicate with a young girl. The landscape (the Arctic Circle/Greenland) and linguistic elements help make this an interesting story.

97aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 6:53 pm



Book # 36: Snow Foal by Susanna Bailey

I wish I had been able to sit down and read this in one or two sittings, but life was busy and I kept falling asleep after a few pages, or not being able to read for a few days. Lovely story about a tween who goes to live with a foster family on a remote farm in southwest England (Exmoor) and her unexpected friendships with those at the farm as well as a wild pony. There were some editing issues, but a good, emotional read.

98PaulCranswick
Jul 6, 2023, 6:55 pm

Nice to see your updates, Rachel. I also didn't realize that there is an upcoming follow up to The Maid.

99aktakukac
Jul 6, 2023, 6:58 pm

>98 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, yes, it looks like it will be out at the end of November, and it sounds like it will be one I'll want to read.

100streamsong
Jul 7, 2023, 10:36 am

Hi Rachel! I enjoyed your thread.

I'm so glad that your farm made it through the tornado without injuries. That must have been absolutely terrifying. What do you raise?

I have a very small place in Montana, where I raise a few horses.

I've been part of my library's book club for many years. We have a December meeting where we vote on books that members have recommended along with a potluck.

Book Bullet for Maid - I added it to my library hold list, but suspended it for several months since, as usual, I am buried in library books.

101PaulCranswick
Jul 7, 2023, 7:00 pm

>100 streamsong: When I return to the UK, Janet, I will definitely want to see whether my library in Hemsworth or the much bigger one in Wakefield have a book club.

102DFED
Jul 14, 2023, 8:47 am

Snow Foal on the TBR pile! :) Hope you're doing well!

103aktakukac
Ago 3, 2023, 6:08 pm

>100 streamsong: Hello Janet, and thanks for visiting my thread. I have lurked on yours in the past, but this year I haven't even had a chance to visit threads. Life is just too busy! I grew up on a beef cattle farm, and we had goats, horses, and chickens at various points. My parents raised corn, soybeans, hay, and sometimes wheat, oats, and rye. My husband grows corn, beans, and wheat.

While our houses were spared any damage in the tornadoes, we did have significant damages - two grain bins were blown away (one into a field, the other...to somewhere...) and the roofs of two others blew off (one onto a building), so all four have to be replaced. A building that held fertilizer tanks and some equipment was also a total loss, the roof of another barn had a lot of damage, and so did the doors of the biggest building that holds equipment. A wheat field a few miles away had tons of debris blown into it from a hog operation across the road. So, there's been a lot going on dealing with insurance, working on getting this replaced, having a wheat harvest with no way to store the grain, etc.

In December our book club has appetizers, desserts, and such, and we do a used book gift exchange. We also talk about our favorite reads of the year. It's always a lovely time!

My husband's aunt puts items on hold and often suspends them as she always has too many books checked out :)

>101 PaulCranswick: I hope you'll find some books clubs to enjoy, Paul!

>102 DFED: I think that'll be one you'll like!

104aktakukac
Ago 3, 2023, 6:16 pm

Once again I am behind on reviews, but at least I am reading! I realized I finished book 75 this afternoon, so that's a nice feeling!

A lot of my reading is now advanced easy readers and easy chapter books (the kind that have pictures on every page). My oldest is really loving me reading those to him, and even my middle son likes some of the easy readers. I think we will go back to the Magic Tree House books this winter - there are not quite enough pictures, and the books are a little longer than my 5 1/2 year old likes. So far the boys have really liked Mercy Watson (we need to get back to those), Cork and Fuzz, and we've finished the first seven Simon Seahorse books. We're working through the first Baily School Kids book, but that might be a series to set aside for later. I liked the Sophie Mouse books a lot (only read two so far), and have another series at my library I want to start, but we will have to read some of what we have checked out before I bring any more books home!

My own print book reading is going very slowly, I don't mind. I listen to audiobooks when I can, which helps my reading numbers. There are a few releases coming out this fall that I am eagerly awaiting. Maybe I'll have a little more reading time then?!

I'm taking tomorrow off to do some back-to-school shopping with the boys, organizing and cleaning/sorting things at home, and just looking forward to not being at work for a day - I've been swamped for weeks it seems!

105aktakukac
Ago 3, 2023, 6:23 pm

Oh, I remember what I was going to post about a few weeks ago!

So I started reading the Junie B. Jones books with my oldest, and I can't stand them but he liked them and kept asking me to get more, and kept picking those as the books to read at night. I wasn't going to tell him no, so I suffered through them. We read the first seven. Then we read the first chapter of the eighth book, and he decided it was too scary (a boy in Junie's class tells her about monsters under the bed) and told me to take it back to the library! A while later he asked about the next book, but we've been busy reading other books so I have been able to avoid Junie B. for a while :)

106aktakukac
Ago 3, 2023, 6:25 pm



Book # 37: Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

I saw this mentioned online, and the audiobook was luckily available, so I listened and liked it very much. It’s based on a true story, about how Norwegian children used their sleds to help smuggle gold out of the country right in front of Nazi soldiers. I will be sure to read this again with the boys when they are older.

107aktakukac
Ago 3, 2023, 6:43 pm



Book # 38: The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

An interesting premise, but too many characters narrating the story and issues with pacing made this a good but not great quick read. I’ve read worse debut novels, though.

108PaulCranswick
Ago 6, 2023, 10:44 pm

>104 aktakukac: Congratulations, Rachel.

109curioussquared
Ago 7, 2023, 12:22 pm

Nice to see you Rachel! Congrats on 75 even if you are behind on reviews :) I always enjoy the updates on reading with your boys.

110FAMeulstee
Ago 8, 2023, 2:06 pm

>104 aktakukac: Congratulations on reaching 75, Rachel!

111aktakukac
Ago 24, 2023, 6:43 pm

>108 PaulCranswick: >109 curioussquared: >110 FAMeulstee: Thanks Paul, Natalie, and Anita! I wouldn't have read this many books this year if it weren't for all the kids books I am reading with the boys!



Book # 39: On to Oregon! by Honoré Willsie Morrow

A very good middle grade historical fiction book about a boy and his family traveling on the Oregon Trail. Another I will read with the boys when they are older.

112aktakukac
Ago 24, 2023, 6:44 pm



Book # 40: A New Friend by Poppy Green

I absolutely adored this one! I hope this series will be interesting enough for my oldest because I want to read them all!

113aktakukac
Ago 24, 2023, 6:46 pm



Book # 41: Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
Book # 42: Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business by Barbara Park
Book # 43: Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth by Barbara Park

As I mentioned earlier, I am NOT a fan of this series. However, my oldest kept asking me to read them, and I won't say no when it comes to reading him something he asks for...but I was so glad when he lost interest (for a little while at least?) and we could move on to some other books! Of course, we did read the first seven or eight...

114aktakukac
Ago 24, 2023, 6:46 pm



Book # 44: The Pioneers by David McCullough

This was a re-read for me, and this time I read it for book discussion at work. Still interesting and excellent this time around.

115aktakukac
Ago 25, 2023, 2:25 pm



Book # 45: Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer
I had high hopes for this one, but was a bit disappointed. I probably would have liked it more if it had been edited and shorter.



Book # 46: Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying by Barbara Park

The best I can say is my son kept asking for me to read these books…


Book # 47: Piet Potter's First Case by Robert Quackenbush

I’ve enjoyed Quackenbush’s picture books since I was a child (especially Henry the Duck) but this easy reader/early chapter book has not aged well, and there was too much that was unfamiliar (both regarding city life, and the time period in which it was written) for my son to really enjoy it.

116aktakukac
Ago 25, 2023, 2:25 pm



Book # 48: The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander

A lovely novel about books, friendship, village life, and following your heart. Ugh, it made me want to go to England!



Book # 49: Spells for Lost Things by Jenna Evans Welch

One of the better YA novels I have read recently, and it would be a great autumn read.



Book # 50: Back to the Bright Before by Katherin Nolte

Pet is 11 years old and feels guilty that her father was injured and that money is tight. She sets off to fix all the problems, but will that be possible? The story has adventure, fantasy, sibling and family bonds, and plenty more, and is a charming story I can see appealing to a lot of readers.

117aktakukac
Ago 25, 2023, 2:26 pm



Book # 51: Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake by Barbara Park
Still haven’t changed my opinion of these books…



Book # 52: The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan

What had an interesting premise ended up being a boring letdown. I mostly read it for the setting – a remote lodge in Botswana. The ending was just unbelievable and ridiculous.



Book # 53: The Truth About Sparrows by Marian Hale

I had this one on my to-read list for around a decade, and it was excellent. Recommended for anyone interested in life during the Great Depression or if you need to read a book with a character who is the “new kid in town.”

118PaulCranswick
Ago 29, 2023, 8:40 pm

>117 aktakukac: I like the look of your last book and literally so too, Rachel as the cover is wonderful too.

119aktakukac
Ago 30, 2023, 1:49 pm

>118 PaulCranswick: I highly recommend this one, Paul, and agree the cover is beautiful. Depending on how the rest of my reading year pans out, it may end up in my top ten of 2023.

120aktakukac
Ago 30, 2023, 1:56 pm



Book # 54: Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim’s Birthday by Barbara Park
Book # 55: Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park

I love my son, but I really hope I don't have to continue reading these books to him!



Book # 56: Simon Says by Cora Reef

This was a MUCH better early chapter book than the Junie B. Jones books. The first entry isn't the strongest or best by far, but I am glad we started the series as the get much better.



Book # 57: Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers

Another book that has been on my to-read list for many years. It was a bit different than I expected, but it was still a very good read/audio and I still find myself thinking about it weeks after I finished it.

121aktakukac
Ago 30, 2023, 2:04 pm



Book # 58: I Spy…a Shark! by Cora Reef

This entry captured my son’s attention pretty quickly…of course young kids are going to be interested in a story featuring a possibly scary shark!



Book # 59: Don’t Pop the Bubble Ball! by Cora Reef

This was one of our favorites in the series. I thought the concept of bubble ball was neat and it’s something kids would be interested in.



Book # 60: Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

Despite working in schools and public libraries for …well, a really long time, I had never actually read a Mercy Watson book. Even my three-year-old loved this one, and we will be reading more soon!



Book # 61: The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Read for book discussion at work. I hadn’t read anything by the author before, and after seeing lots of opinions online, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was one of the better book discussions we’ve had this year, and everyone liked the book. The ending was not what I anticipated, although I did expect something terrible to happen to Wooly

122aktakukac
Ago 30, 2023, 2:17 pm



Book # 62: Marrying Off Morgan McBride by Amy Barry

I read the first book in this series(?) last year, and was eager to continue with this one. Junebug is one of my favorite characters I’ve come across recently! Very enjoyable reading experience, although it gets a bit steamy at the end. I hope there will be more books about the other brothers (and Junebug?) in the future.



Book # 63: Summer School of Fish by Cora Reef

Another solid entry in the series.



Book # 64: Treasure Map by Brandon Todd

A girl moves to a new town, becomes friends with a neighbor, and the set off using a compass and map-reading skills to explore. My son liked it well enough; we will read more eventually.



Book # 65: Into the Kelp Forest by Cora Reef

This was a little more exciting as it built up some suspense.



Book # 66: Isabel Puddles Investigates by M.V. Byrne

I read Meet Isabel Puddles some time ago, and really liked it, but never thought to read the next books in the series. I shouldn't have waited so long! Recommended for the setting (a small town on Lake Michigan), a good plot and mystery, and overall a well-written story. I won't wait so long to listen to the third book!

123aktakukac
Set 1, 2023, 2:47 pm



Book # 67: Shell We Dance? by Cora Reef

Another solid entry in this series in which Simon realizes his ideas for the class program may be too grand and he should listen to the ideas his friends have.



Book # 68: Sisters of the Lost Marsh by Lucy Strange

I haven’t read a book by Lucy Strange that I haven’t loved, and this was another winner. I love listening to the author narrate her novels; she does a fantastic job. This had elements of historical fiction, folklore/fairy tales, the supernatural, mystery, and more. If you enjoy a well-crafted story, give Strange’s books a try. Looking forward to reading more by her.



Book # 69: Dragon Dreams by Cora Reef

By far our least-favorite in the series (so far). The plot was confusing for my son and over his head, and there were some plot holes as well.



Book # 70: Fergus and Zeke by Kate Messner

The class pet, a mouse, sneaks along on a field trip to the museum where he meets another mouse. It was a good, cute story, my son liked the colorful illustrations, and we will read more in the series at some point.

124curioussquared
Set 1, 2023, 3:42 pm

I hope your son grows out of Junie B Jones quickly! I have to laugh when I see your updates about those books 😂 I haven't read anything by Lucy Strange but am intrigued!

125aktakukac
Set 1, 2023, 4:56 pm

>124 curioussquared: Well, he still talks about and asks about Junie B. Jones, but I manage to convince him that we need to read other books first :) We'll see what happens when he is in the library himself and if he picks one out...or if he picks one out of the school library. Kindergarteners get to check out one school library book a week, and the first one he picked was about praying mantises.

A lot of Lucy Strange's books involve some type of fantasy elements, but they are all historical too, so there's a lot you could pick from.

126aktakukac
Set 1, 2023, 4:57 pm



Book # 71: Last House Before the Mountain by Monika Helfer

I was really looking forward to this as it had a promising plot, and the story is set in an area of Austria I really enjoyed traveling in and have fond memories of. However, the writing style was all over the place, pacing was off, and I found it hard to follow.



Book # 72: Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

A collection of short stories I listened to (narrated by David Suchet) and found entertaining, but overall I prefer Christie’s novels more.



Book # 73: The Emerald Berries by Poppy Green

Second in the series, in which Sophie and Hattie get lost in the woods while searching for some special berries. I didn’t like it as much as the first, but we will read more.



Book # 74: No Accident by Laura Bates

YA thriller about a group of teens who survive a plane crash and end up on an island where they not only have to deal with being stranded, they have to survive someone who is set on revenge. There is a twist later on that changes the tone of the book. If it had been woven into the whole story, it would have been better.

127MickyFine
Set 1, 2023, 10:41 pm

>126 aktakukac: I'm currently reading this Poirot collection and agree full novels give Christie more time to really strut her stuff.

128aktakukac
Set 22, 2023, 2:52 pm

>127 MickyFine: I'm looking forward to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which is my next Poirot, to get back into full novel mode :) Hopefully sometime later this fall.

129aktakukac
Set 22, 2023, 2:54 pm



Book # 75: Lost and Found in Paris by Lian Dolan

I liked this novel well enough, although it sometimes seemed like the author couldn’t decide what the focus of the story was. There was mystery, art, travel, romance, plus a bit heavier topics dealing with 9/11, and it was just a big whirlwind that got a bit too long and I didn’t care for the ending.



Book # 76: Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey

A co-worker was talking about this series, another series I never read as a kid, and I read this first installment with my oldest. I think we will revist/continue with them when he is a bit older.



Book # 77: Seas the Day! by Cora Reef
Now we are caught up with this series, and my son is eagerly anticipating the next book.



Book # 78: Lost Dog by Brandon Todd

A sold entry, good for young readers who enjoy maps, dogs, and mysteries.

130aktakukac
Set 22, 2023, 2:55 pm



Book # 79: Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson

A clean historical romance set in Victorian England dealing with a new arranged marriage, mills, and how the couple deals with an accident that leaves Alexander unable to walk.



Book # 80: Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo

Both of my older boys love Mercy Watson and they are books we will probably read several times over the upcoming years.



Book # 81: Deep Water by Emma Bamford

This was a thriller set on a remote island in the Indian Ocean. While it was a fast read, it was also slow at times and it took a long time for the “action” to start.



Book # 82: Clues in the Woods by Peggy Parish

While I read Key to the Treasure many times as a child and tween, I never realized there were more books featuring Bill, Liza, and Jed until a few years ago. I finally got around to reading this one, and while it felt dated, I still enjoyed following along with the sleuths.

131aktakukac
Set 22, 2023, 2:56 pm



Book # 83: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

I mostly read this one because I have read some of the author’s other novels, and wanted to see how she would write a fantasy novel. It’s not high literature, but it is very entertaining and kept me wanting to listen/read all the time. I wish the world-building had been better. I would actually probably listen to it again, and I will be ready for the sequel to be released in November.



Book # 84: Forget-Me-Not Lake by Poppy Green

I don’t think these are my son’s favorites, but I really like them, and he likes them well enough for me to continue with the series.



Book # 85: Henry Heckelbeck Gets a Dragon by Wanda Coven

I haven’t read any of the Heidi Heckelbeck books, but my son really likes this series featuring her younger brother Henry. He was ready for the next book as soon as we finished this one.



Book # 86: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Not a bad novel, but like several of my reads lately, it could have been much shorter. I have no plans to run out and read the next books in the series right away, but I would listen to them at some point.

132aktakukac
Set 22, 2023, 2:57 pm



Book # 87: Unbridled Cowboy by Maisey Yates

The best thing I can say about this one is I enjoyed the descriptions of the ranch and rural Oregon. Are all of the author’s books like this one?! If they are, I can’t believe they are as popular as they are!



Book # 88: The Secret Explorers and the Lost Whale by S.J. King

I listened to this one and followed along with the print book. I will put it on the list to read with my oldest in a year or two. This is the first book in the series, but it felt like we were reading a book in the middle of the series because it quickly jumped into the story/mission without much background information or transition. There’s a lot of information, a diverse cast of characters, and plenty of adventure for young readers.



Book # 89: The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

I this has a lot of positive reviews, but it did not work for me. I wish it had.



Book # 90: Home Is Where the Heart Is by Cam Higgins

Cute book about a farm dog and his people. My oldest was ready to start the next book in the series when we finished this one.

133ReneeMarie
Set 23, 2023, 7:56 pm

>130 aktakukac: I ADORED these books as a child. They are still in my personal library along with Meg, Trixie, & The Three Investigators. (And many others.)

134MickyFine
Set 23, 2023, 9:23 pm

>128 aktakukac: Roger Ackroyd is a treat. I read it years ago and it's stuck with me. A real gem of a read.

135PaulCranswick
Out 21, 2023, 1:14 am

>134 MickyFine: I will second that, Micky. I think it is my favourite of her books.

136aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 1:49 pm

Oops, I guess two months have gone by since I updated my thread?! Life is just busy all the time, but things are going well. Thanks to visitors for stopping by. I'm terrible at visiting threads anymore.

>133 ReneeMarie: I never read Trixie Belden when I was younger, but I may listen to one or two in the near future. I really need to get my chapter books in order at home and see what all I have!

>134 MickyFine: >135 PaulCranswick: I read it but haven't updated yet. It was quite good!!

I will post some updates (mostly audiobooks, book discussion selections, books I've read with my oldest, and a few of my own selections here and there) and I'd like to do a post about the books my boys have loved this summer/fall so I can remember/comment on those.

Tomorrow we are having Thanksgiving with my husband's family. I am making deviled eggs and a cheese ball. I will try to boil and peel the eggs and make the cheese ball tonight after work. My weekend will include a lot of house cleaning and decorating, as I have friends from Europe coming later next week, so there probably won't be much reading happening over the next couple of weeks.

137aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 1:50 pm



Book # 91: In the Likely Event by Rebecca Yarros

I’ve read some of the author’s novels over the last several years, and ordered this one for work. It was a quick read and while not perfect, I will say that Yarros is terrific at putting in huge twists that just blow me away.



Book # 92: Raised in a Barn by Cam Higgins

Another early chapter book series that I’m reading with my oldest. This isn’t my favorite series, but they are good and my son always wants to read the next book, so we do.



Book # 93: Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo

We are big fans of this series – even my three-year-old loves them!


Book # 94: Between Two Strangers by Kate White

Another quick read, this thriller was just average, but I still wanted to see how things would pan out.



Book # 95: Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo

More Mercy Watson!

138foggidawn
Nov 22, 2023, 1:51 pm

>136 aktakukac: Good to see you! Happy Thanksgiving! I am also making deviled eggs, along with a few other things.

139aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 1:51 pm



Book # 96: Henry Heckelbeck Never Cheats by Wanda Coven

My oldest played soccer this fall, and loves it, so he loved this book.


Book # 97: This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Read for book discussion at work. My first by the author, and it was excellent. I just wish we had planned it differently so that we didn’t read The Lincoln Highway and This Tender Land so close together.



Book # 98: I Know What You Did by Cayce Osborne

I definitely enjoyed this thriller, despite the fact that I did not care for the main character. Something a bit more original, well at least to a certain point. Good for a debut.



Book # 99: Hideaway at Silver Lake by Jennifer Greene

I don’t usually like to read Christmas-themed books in early autumn, but it worked out that way this year. I wasn’t a fan of the insta-love between the main characters, but overall the story was fine.



Book # 100: Bear and Bird: The Picnic and Other Stories by Jarvis

Read this with my oldest, and there were a couple of times where I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but then the ending made up for everything else. It didn’t help that we read one or two of the stories and then set the book aside for a bit before finishing it up. Will read the next book too.

140aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 2:00 pm



Book # 101: Looking for Winston by Poppy Green

Another good entry in the series, but it felt drawn out at times.



Book # 102: Bear Witness by Lark O. Jensen

NOT Recommended! Just stay away from this terribly written mystery. I should have DNF this one.



Book # 103: These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This was my first time reading this one as an adult. I definitely looked at some things differently this time around. My niece loves the Little House books and I will have to see what she thinks of this one.



Book # 104: Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamillo

Another good Mercy Watson book!



Book # 105: Henry Heckelbeck and the Haunted Hideout by Wanda Coven

I wasn’t sure if this would be too “scary” for my son or not, since one of the Junie B. Jones books creeped him out during the summer, but happily this installment didn't bother him.

141aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 2:14 pm



Book # 106: Henry Heckelbeck Spells Trouble by Wanda Coven

This installment kept my son’s interest because he loves spelling (although he won’t be doing any spelling bees for a couple years at least yet) and he is looking forward to reading more of these books.



Book # 107: Go as a River by Shelley Read

Excellent, excellent debut novel. This is one that will stick with me for a long time. I try not to read too much about books I want to read/may select for book discussion/etc. so this was not exactly what I expected, but it was so, so good.



Book # 108: The Maple Festival by Poppy Green

If you need an easy chapter book that will make you want to bake (and eat!) and get you in the mood for fall, pick this one!



Book # 109: Herd You Loud and Clear by Cam Higgins

Again, these aren’t my favorite but they are still good and we will read the next books in the series.



Book # 110: The One Hundred Years of Margot and Lenni by Marianne Cronin

We had to switch the October and November book discussion selections because another library in our consortium had the copies we needed of The Radium Girls. I knew a bit about the story, but wasn’t sure how the author would pull it off. It was another excellent read, gave us a good discussion, and there were laughs, surprises and tears as I read it.

142aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 2:37 pm



Book # 111: Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo

Not my favorite entry in the series, but still a good read aloud with my boys.



Book # 112: The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Also my first time reading this as an adult, and the feeling I had as a kid that something was a little “off” about it still holds true today. Of course, I understand more of the publishing history behind it, so it makes more sense I suppose.



Book # 113: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Listened to Hugh Fraser narrate this, and I can see why it’s a favorite.



Book # 114: Old-Fashioned on Purpose: Cultivating a Slower, More Joyful Life by Jill Winger

I’ve been following Winger’s blog, podcast, etc. for years and love her cookbook, so of course I had to read this one. I listened to the author narrate the audiobook, but I followed along with the print version to see pictures, recipes, and other bits. I appreciated the “action steps” included in each chapter.



Book # 115: Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson

It seems I didn’t care for this one as much as most readers, but it was by no means terrible. I guess I prefer some of Ibbotson’s other works more?

143aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 2:56 pm



Book # 116: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

I’m a bit late to the party in reading this one. It was the book discussion selection for work. It’s one of the most appalling, horrifying books I’ve ever read (and I had to read The Jungle in high school), yet I couldn’t put it down. We had a fantastic book discussion about it.



Book # 117: Let Its Snow by Beth Moran

So I started reading this as an e-book, but my loan expired before I could finish, and it had holds on it, so I luckily ordered a print copy through my library consortium. It was a fun holiday romance that I will probably read again, and I will also read more by the author.
Bea, a meteorologist on a news program finally has an interview for her dream job. She ends up driving through Christmas snowstorms with Henry, the man her parents have always wanted her to date, who she naturally can’t stand in order to get to the interview. She’s also trying to find a way to save her family’s home in Sherwood Forest, her elderly grandmother is not doing well, and there is a love triangle between Bea, Henry, and Bea’s ex, a (somewhat famous?) musician.

It was just the right kind of read at the right time – Christmassy, both light-hearted and funny, yet with a touch of more seriousness and heart, and romance. The interview had to be my favorite part of the story. It was just hilarious! Recommended.



Book # 118: Stay with Me by Jody Hedlund

Continuing a series I stared with this third book. It was good, but I had trouble remembering details from the first two books which would have helped.



Book # 119: Bright Star by Brandon Todd

A realistic chapter book series my son and I like. I liked how the two friends were able to make their own entertainment and just be kids.



Book # 120: Wait for Me by Jody Hedlund

Probably my least favorite in the series, partly because the romance was sped up (the author acknowledged this in her notes, and I understand why she wrote the story the way she did). Still, as far as time travel novels go, I enjoyed the entire series.

144aktakukac
Nov 22, 2023, 3:08 pm



Book # 121: Great and Precious Things by Rebecca Yarros

A decent read by Yarros, but there were things I either missed or that were never explained which led me to have some unanswered questions.



Book # 122: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

A re-read/listen because it had been several years since I read it and I wanted to refresh my memory before reading book three, which just came out.



Book # 123: Henry Heckelbeck and the Race Car Derby by Wanda Coven

My son liked this one and had some good reactions to parts of the story. We read two or three chapters of the next books this morning before I had to go to work.



Book # 124: Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Also a reread. Levenseller is one of my favorite YA authors, but this series is probably the one I enjoy least. I am curious how things will go in book three, especially since she is a more experienced author now, and both Pirate King and Siren Queen were among her earlier books.

145PaulCranswick
Nov 22, 2023, 7:21 pm

back posting in good time, Rachel.



Happy Thanksgiving from an appreciative non-celebrator.

146aktakukac
Nov 27, 2023, 4:23 pm



Book # 125: Henry Heckelbeck Dinosaur Hunter by Wanda Coven

When his class takes a field trip to a dig site, Henry is determined to find a dinosaur bone. But what, if anything, will he uncover? Another solid entry in the series, and my son is ready to listen to me read the next one.



Book # 126: Vengeance of the Pirate Queen by Tricia Levenseller

While this is the third book set in this world, it could technically be a standalone. I’m glad I re-listened to the first two books just to get my mind back in the world.

Sorinda is the Pirate Queen’s assassin, but now Sorinda needs to captain a ship to search uncharted waters for some spies who have gone missing. Her crew, which includes Kearan, who has always irritated her, has to face dangerous sea creatures, frigid temperatures, and a being with powers that could destroy the world. Sorinda will have to use her skills to save her crew, and especially herself, but that may not be possible when the King of the Undersea wants her for his Queen.

I enjoyed this more than the first two pirate books, but that could be because Levenseller’s writing has matured. I thought the story moved along well, but it was also pretty predictable and could have used a couple of big twists here and there. It was more violent than I was expecting (yes, she is an assassin, but I just don’t like knives, swords, sharp objects, and so I was squeamish to begin with).

I will continue to read more by the author, and look forward to her upcoming novels. According to her website, she'll have one out in 2024, and a new trilogy with release dates in 2025 and 2026, so that's promising!

147curioussquared
Nov 27, 2023, 5:17 pm

Hi Rachel! You've done an impressive amount of reading given how busy you are. I also thought Radium Girls was fantastic and horrifying. I think of Which Witch? As a favorite, but I don't think I've reread it since I was a young teenager :)

I have a book by Levenseller on my shelf that I'd like to get to soon.

148aktakukac
Editado: Dez 5, 2023, 3:11 pm

>147 curioussquared: Hi Natalie! I am trying to think of my reading as impressive, but honestly they are all either children's books I read with the boys, or audiobooks. I rarely have a chance to read a print book in a decent amount of time anymore! I may have had a different reaction to Which Witch if I had read it as a kid. I'll potentially try to read it with the kids when they are older, but we'll see. I'll look for your review of the Levenseller book when you read it. I should read some more YA fantasy (and adult too) to see how it compares to her stuff.

149aktakukac
Dez 18, 2023, 4:30 pm



Book # 127: Vanishing Edge by Claire Kells (reread)

A quick reread/listen of the first book in the National Parks Mysteries series, just to get in the mindset for reading books two and three, and because I like Hux. I liked it a lot the first time I read it, and still did this time as well.



Book # 128: An Unforgiving Place by Claire Kells

The second book in the series takes place in Gates of the Artic National Park, where Felicity and Hux have to investigate some bodies found along a river, and are soon very much in danger in a very remote part of the world. I have to admit, I saw some things coming, but still enjoyed being along on the adventure.



Book # 129: Trouble in Toyland by Alan Katz

A Christmas-inspired easy chapter book that I read with my son. I’m not sure it’s the best first book in a series, but it got better by the end.



Book # 130: Forgotten Trail by Claire Kells

This installment was a bit different, as Felicity and Hux weren’t in the middle of nowhere, and there was a bigger mystery to solve. In a way, the plot moved a bit too slowly, and then things quickly came together at the end (too quickly?) but I am definitely curious where book four will go. There better be a fourth book!



Book # 131: Reindeer Games by Alan Katz

My son and I liked this installment in the series.



Book # 132: Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee

I’d had this one on my TBR list for a while, but I don’t think I was in the right mood for it. A Chinese teenager has to disguise herself and take her brother’s place working to help build the Transcontinental Railroad. There was a lot of historical detail, and it was well written, but I had a hard time getting into the story.

150PaulCranswick
Dez 25, 2023, 4:07 am



Thinking about you during the festive season, Rachel

151aktakukac
Jan 3, 11:57 am

>150 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! I had three sick kids during the holidays, so not much reading (or anything else, for that matter) got done. I think everyone is on the mend now!



Book # 133: Fireworks Night by Cam Higgins

Continued with another entry in this series. Read to my son while he was sick.



Book # 134: So This Is Christmas by Jenny Holiday

I liked parts of this one, but it dragged in too many places so my overall rating was not as high as it could have been.



Book # 135: Climbing Mount Aquarius by Cora Reef

Ended the year with another book in a series I have been reading with my oldest.

152aktakukac
Jan 3, 11:59 am

All I can say regarding my 2023 reading is thank goodness for audiobooks, and I expect the next several years to include a lot of easy readers, chapter books, and books I will be reading with the boys. I'm not upset about that, but I hope to get better at reading print books that I want to read too.

I will set up a new thread soon and post the link here when I get a chance.

153aktakukac
Jan 4, 6:16 pm