November Reading Part 1

I stopped doing wrap-ups a while ago, they are too long to do as blog posts. Or they had been. So then I started doing quarterly check-ins, highlighting my readings. Sometimes I would a bunch a books that were just okay, and so it seemed pointless to just say that over and over. But this month, books have been sort of a hit or miss with me. So I thought that I would check in now and talk about them. I want opinions on some the books.

What I’ve Read:

Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper, #1)

Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper#1)by Daniel Jose Older 5 stars– This was a re-read for me. I listened to this one on audio and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time I read the book.

Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3)

Archangel’s Consort (Guild Hunter#3) by Nalini Singh 4 stars– This is one of those series that I randomly picked up and ended up really enjoying.  I liked this installment very much and can’t wait for the next one.

Just a Kiss (Summer Harbor, #3)

Just a Kiss (Summer Harbor) by Denise Hunter 3.5 stars -This is the last in a trilogy, so a series that I was able to knock out before the end of the year. While this was not the best thing that I had read this year, it was refreshing and easy. It was a quick read and I still very much enjoyed it.  This is an old Netgalley title that I had, so a review will be posted shortly.

Currently Reading-

The Unleashing (Call of Crows, #1)

The Unleashing (Call of Crows) by Shelly Laurenston– I heard about this series from a Book Riot podcast, and immediately requested it from my library. I finally picked it up and I am surprised at how much I like it. I will be finishing it tonight, and I am pretty sure it’s going to be 5 stars. The humor is what hooked me, along with the premise that it’s about women tapping into and following their anger.  (Finished and loved it!)

Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac

Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac– This is the second Isaac book that I’ve read. One that I immediately wanted when I finished Close to You. I am sad that it has taken me forever to pick up this title, as it is another that I have from Netgalley. But, I am happy to be reading it. It’s a sweet romance with humor, and blunders and mistakes.  (Finished and loved it!)

Books that I’ve Not Yet Finished-  These are books that I’ve started but have set aside for one reason or another. Let me know if there is one that I definitely need to finish before I officially decide to DNF or not.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

A Throne of Glass (A Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Mass – This is a book that I am reading for my #offmybookshelf project. Honestly, this book isn’t bad. But it also isn’t very good. I mean, if I didn’t have a million other things that I was dying to read I probably wouldn’t mind reading it. But I’ve spent two weeks with this book and I am only halfway through it. Whereas, I picked up The Unleashed yesterday and I’m going to finish it tonight. Yes, I know that some books take longer to finish then others, but there’s no reason it should take me this long to get through 400 pages.  If this was a library book, I’d dnf it and move on. My indecision comes from the fact that this is my book, and I own the next two plus the book of novellas.

The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance

A Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson- This was a Clarke Award Nominee, so it fits in my goal to read all of the Clarke and Nebula award nominees and winners. I have heard of Robin and had been meaning to read something of his. But, this book is a bit off putting. It is all about music, and I often find myself tuning out for paragraphs or pages at a time. From what I have read, it is a bit interesting, just not enough to hold my attention for a long time.

Warrior Women

Warrior Women edited by Paula Guran-  I have no idea how I heard about this anthology. I know that as soon as I heard about it I requested it from the library. The first two stories grabbed my attention immediately. I stumbled through the third one and that was when my attention started to lag. This is one that I am pretty sure I’m coming back to at a different time.

Books I Dnf’d

Black Goat Blues (The Mythos War #2)

Black Goat Blues (Red Right Hand #1) by Levi Black- To be honest, this is a series that I had been meaning to get to for a while – since the first book came out. But I didn’t pck it up until I was selected to be a part of the blog tour. I started the first book,  Red Right Hand, fully expecting to enjoy it.  I didn’t make a quarter into the book before I DNF’d it. It was too repetitive, I didn’t like the character and the plot -at that point- was too vague for me to care. The only reason that I picked up the second book was because I was selected for the blog tour and they had already sent me a review copy. I did try to read it, depsite of what I thought about the first book. Unfortunately, I DNF’d the second book for pretty much the same reason I dnf’d the first one.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims (Adventures of Rush Revere, #1)

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh-  I picked this book because I am looking for fun and interesting ways to introduce and teach history to my kids when we get there in homeschooling. I wanted to get multiple perspectives. But I made it to the middle of the second chapter before I put this one down. The main character just sounds pretentious, and there was too many flaws with the time-traveling aspect for me to take it serious.

Always Shine!


Featured Post: Supplemental Materials

I was hoping to have actual trade books read to recommend this month,, but that did not happen.  So for this post, I want to talk about a couple of items that I’ve had a chance to look at and will be using in my homeschooling adventures.


The Scary States of America

The Scarey States of America by Michael Teitelbaum 

July 24, 2007 – Delacorte Books for Young Readers

I found this at the annual clearance sale that Half Price Books puts on.  I picked this up because I came up with a great way to use this to teach local geography. There’s a story about something weird or scary for every state in the US. Instead of using  only a map to learn the US geography, I thought that learning a local tale would make learning the states a little more interesting. While I haven’t read all of the stories, I have an idea for a game. (When that is finalized, I’ll be glad to share it. )


Discovery Kids Travel Through the Amazing World of Wild Animals: Discover the Facts! Do the Activities!

Discovery Kids Travel Through the Amazing World of Wild Animals: Discover the Facts! Do the Activities!

This is just one of the many books on many different topics that Discovery Kids has available. There’s a factivity book for Dinosaurs, Space  and loads of other topics.  For this particular book, the pictures are fun and engaging. The activities are simple but relevant and fun.  I do plan on getting more of these books, I found this one at Ollie’s, a local bargain store.


Do you have any supplemental materials that you have come to love or have unexpectedly encountered?

Always Shine!




Books I Want My Kids to Read-August Picks

Each Month I plan on reading some books specifically for my kids, as I decide what I want to keep in their library and what I want to re-home.  But as I go through my own reading I may come across some books that I want to hang on, not just for re-reading but to also pass down to my kids.

These are my August picks:

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo  The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Logans, #4)  One Crazy Summer (Gaither Sisters, #1)

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)

  1. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee – everyone is probably tired of me talking about this book. But, I really liked it. I want to keep it to re-read, as well as pass it on to my kids because of the message in the book.  Genie Lo is a badass heroine in this story.  She has a strained relationship with her mother and is trying to get to know her father. She is doing well in school, and aims to maintain her studies despite the added pressure of being a superhero. She is capable. She is not white. She is strong, smart and funny. She is real, without having to exaggerate or overlook anything.
  2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson- Elisa is a princess. But your normal princess, she is dark skinned and starts out with her being overweight. She is okay with that as well as honest about her relationship  with food. Throughout the series, this changes. She stands up to every challenge that she faces regardless of how she feels about it, whether or not it’s hard or scary.
  3. 3. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Milda Harris- I remember reading this and it leaving an impression. This is actually a book that I read a year or so ago, but I kept it knowing that I would read it again to my kids. It talks about racial issues, and its relevant with its history as well as impact for today.
  4. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia- I love Delphine’s voice, and seeing the world through her eyes. She is a kid on the cusp of being a teenager. She is that nice balance between being innocent and curious. She makes some very astute observations based on her experience and what she has come to know and believe about the world and people.
  5. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – Alexa makes a mistake, it’s tied between a mix of wanting to protect her family and not fully accepting herself.  Despite this, and her fears, she stands up to face an enemy she didn’t believe. In the process she learns about herself, her family and her history. It is so much more than she thought it was. One of things that I love most, is that she discovers (and is told) that she is enough without her magic. She finds out that she’s stronger than she thought that she was, she learns to appreciate her magic, her family and her history.


Always Shine!


Favorite Books of My Childhood

This is the list of books that I read as a kid and loved.  Though I don’t remember everything that I read, but these are the ones I remember as favorites.

The Indian in the Cupboard

Number the Stars

Dear Mr. Henshaw (Leigh Botts, #1)

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Miss Nelson Is Missing! (Miss Nelson, #1)

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

Rules of Prey (Lucas Davenport, #1)

The Stand


1.The Indian and the Cupboard by  Lynne Reid Banks

2.Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

3. Dear Mr, Henshaw by Beverly Clearly

4. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume

5. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard

6. And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts

7. Rules of Prey by John Prey

8. The Stand by Stephen King


Always Shine!

My Bookish Life:Why it Sucks to Take a Two-Year Old to the Library

This is a new feature that I will be adding to my blog. Some of it will be about books and others will be bookish. This is a glimpse behind the curtain of my bookish life. 

                I remember when I was pregnant with my first child. Lots of people dream about the nursery colors, the smell that only comes from a fresh baby, the clothes that the baby will wear, or something else sweet and sentimental like that. Me? I was looking forward to discovering new books that I could read to my son. I was one of those people that read to my kid while he was snug in my belly. Little did I know that my belly would be the only place where he would be a captivated reader. The day came when he made his debut and I was beyond excited. He is the cutest little thing in the world. I was so excited when we finally started making trips outside the house. One of the first stops was to the library. I even have a picture of him with our favorite librarian, when he checked out his first book with his first library card (he was 5/6 months old).  Fast Forward 2 years and let me tell you, it’s not the same.  In fact, I would say that it comes close to horrible. Don’t get me wrong, we still go the library, just not as frequently as I had anticipated when he was itty bitty. I thought that we would be one of those families that went to the library, pick out a few picture books to read at one of the little tables in the children’s area. Instead of that cute little image, I’m the mom with the monster 2-year-old. He is not mean, he knows how to treat books respectfully. But, he is rough and wild, he is play all the time. I love him! He wears me out, but it’s always fun. Or at least interesting. Now that we have another baby, it is even more horrible trying to do library trips. In his defense, the library branch closest to our home is small. Except for our favorite librarian, most of the librarians are not so fun. Oh, they understand that he is 2, but I still get the side eye, the look wondering what I was thinking trying to bring a wild beast into the library. There is another librarian that has become our friend, so that makes two people that are always excited to see us with all our noise and stomping, our whining and desire to be free. When I say “our” I really mean his. His little sister has not gotten big enough to join in his shenanigans. Oh, but her time is coming. I can feel it with dread in my bones. And in case you’re curious, I’m not embarrassed. He’s 2. I believe he’s supposed to be loud and wild, curious and self-absorbed. It’s not as bad as the teens in their area being loud and obnoxious. But I’m the one who gets the side-eye, so I’m the one making the commentary. And yes, this branch has children programming, that we don’t participate in, because, again a wild 2-year- old. But yesterday, our world was opened up to a brand new experience.  We visited a branch that is a bit further from our house, and he was still his monstrous self. But, and this is the important part, they had a play area. Yes, they had a stupid sign requesting the kids to be quiet. But he’s 2, he’s loud and wild. It’s really their own fault for putting this in the building.  He was amazed with the different activities and the little bit of freedom that the area allowed him to have. While I read Dino-Hockey by Lisa Wheeler to his little sister, my son ran from one activity to the next. Running in and out of cubbies; from one activity to the next.  He would occasionally stick his head out to make sure I was seeing this tiny slip of heaven, and then return to the next adventure. But eventually it was time to leave, and I won’t mention the screams coming from a 2 year-old who is forced to leave his adventure zone. But I will mention that two librarians, whom we did not know, who smiled at us and invited us to come back. And they were genuine! And I will also mention that when I was reading baby bear counts one by Ashley Wolf, he interrupted me so that he could go find his black bear stuffed animal. He took the book from my hands and flipped the pages so that his bear could see the pictures as he read him the story. So maybe taking a monster 2-year old isn’t all that bad.


Always Shine!