West World

When I was growing up my Dad’s parents were always reading and watching Western themed books and movies. I can remember the line of mass market paperbacks they had on the bookcase that now sits in A’s room. I remember watching The Searchers in Graduate School for a film course and giving the DVD to my Nannie after I’d watched it, only to learn she’d already seen it. Until I started down this reading road, I never understood the context of that movie, or perceived it the way I do now. It all started a few months ago when I picked up this book….

And I was completely intrigued by the story and that parts of it were based on true events. This lead me to the book here….

This is a challenging book to read, but such a powerful insight into the West in the mid to late 1800s. After that book, I began this one…

This takes a fiction look at the beginnings of paleontology during the mid to late 1800s. I would define this as a quick read, an interesting story, but it does get a bit muddled with American Idol type phrases (“after the break!”). Each of these stories happen effectively within the same time period, and it is two fiction perspectives mixed with a nonfiction history. Happy reading!

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Spring reading review

It’s time for our Spring reading round-up! For as long as I can remember, reading has been our family wind-down every evening. Now that J is reading as well, it’s fun to listen to him read his books out loud to us every night.

A’s absolute favorite book right now is The Wild Robot. He’s read it at least three times since he got it for Christmas. He also read The Wild Robot Escapes and said it was good, but not as good as the original. He is also steadily working through every series of the 39 clues books, right now he’s on the Unstoppable series.


J is loving all Elephant and Piggie books, and two of his recent library loves are Petra and a Baseball Poems book.


Petra always makes J giggle, who knew a rock could be so silly?


I recently finished Teach Students How to Learn (work related). This is an excellent book if you are a teacher or parent and want to equip your kids with study skills that will help them from now through college (and help prevent the burnout that leads to drop-out):

And I read the Agatha Christie book Toward Zero, a quick little mystery read with a surprise twist:


And I also read Destination Unknown, a departure, in my opinion, from many of Christie’s other books:


And…Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, which is more of a classic Christie read:


And my most likely trendiest book was The Lying Game, that left me feeling unsettled, so if that’s the point of the book, mission accomplished:


My highest recommendation is News of the World. This book takes place right after the civil war in Texas, and it’s the journey of an older man who has been tasked with reuniting a young girl with her family. It is fiction, but it is inspired by true events and people of the time. It is incredibly fascinating and you won’t be able to put it down!

Currently I’m about 3/4 through Grape, Olive, Pig the second book in Matt Goulding’s food series. These books are a virtual tour through the food of a particular country, and I love them! Although it may not be helpful that I keep adding more countries to my travel bucket list.

Happy Reading!!


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Winter Book Review

While James napped Sunday afternoon away, I was watching Fixer Upper and reading. I’ve read quite a few books since December, so I decided to share!

This is a great beach read (if the title doesn’t give it away). Good character development, although a little stereotypical in parts. The story flows well and I liked the development of feel and character of Nantucket as an entity on its own.

This was one of B’s books that I read after I finished one book and was waiting for another book to arrive. It’s the first James Bond book, and it presents the vision of Fleming’s Bond. He’s a flawed character, often a bad shot, and definitely not the perfected ladies’ man that he’s portrayed to be in most of the Bond films. For that reason alone, I recommend it!

Okay, this was a tough one. I’ve had this one on my list to read for almost two years and finally read it over the winter break. As the book is from two different view points, I had two different perceptions of the story. Vivian’s story was heart wrenching and captivating, and I read every word. Molly’s on the other hand came off as a bit contrived. I get annoyed with teenage angst, and while I understood the correlation, it just seemed a bit overdone in that part.

I’m going to preface this book by saying I thought it was different than what it was. I was expecting a marriage memoir applied to Jesus devotional. It was not. You can’t throw in five verses from the Bible and call it that. And no, she doesn’t call it that, so that was a mistake on my part. However, I laughed a lot, and it was a quick read. Although, I’m still kind of mad that her husband stood by watching her paint a shed in their backyard.

You know I couldn’t go a month without reading an Agatha Christie mystery. This one was really complex in the mystery set-up and I liked the storyline. Poirot takes a back role in this book, with two non detectives at the forefront. My only complaint would be the need to have a complete ending, with each character having a definite end role even if it seems unjustified. That’s my best way to say that without including spoilers.

This was my favorite. Told from the viewpoint of a young girl, she goes to live with her Aunt Tootie in Savannah, where she meets a bunch of fierce women. It reminded me of many of the scrappy women in my own life, and I read it in a week turnaround. On a hilarious note, I borrowed this book from my sister and apparently it was missing the last thirty pages. I got to the “end” and thought, “that’s it! This is terrible!” I did some research and realized it wasn’t the ending, then checked the book out at the library to finish it.

And finally, the follow-up to Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, is his wife’s book, Love Lives Here. I found this, like Bob’s book, to be very centering, if that makes sense. It’s about discovering how to refocus, reprioritize, and that is okay to make mistakes, and/or start over.

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Currently reading

Besides collaborating on the largest joint Minecraft world over Thanksgiving break (and dressing in matching colors by chance):

We read quite a bit over the holiday. I’m jointly reading (and have almost finished):


And A read an Auburn history book, a history of The Washington Wizards book, the first 39 Clues book, an I Survived book, Kellogg Brands We Know, and he’s currently reading:

And J and I have read our entire stack of Christmas books, plus two of his sight word books, and his current very favorite is:

Happy reading!

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Books & peeps

One of J’s favorite things is to read books with his “peeps” (our name for most loved stuffed animals in our house). We’ve got quite a collection going at this point, and he’ll actually find peeps he need to adopt to read stories! This is a great idea for gift giving as well. Here are some of our favorites:

You can find all of these on Amazon (no advertisement, just where I found them).


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Currently reading

What did you say you’re reading again?

Well if you’re A, you’re reading anything Stuart Gibbs’ kid series (Spy School, Moon Base Alpha, & Funjungle). He’s read almost every one.

If you’re J you’re reading Narwhal & Jellyfish, Michael Hall books, and Bob books:

And B has jumped both feet into my love of getting library books and is currently reading The Watchman & The Dresden Files series.

And finally, as usual I’m reading several books at once:

There’s a new Mary Poppins movie coming out, and this one is supposed to be more in line with P.L. Travers vision of her book series. I love the original movie Mary Poppins, so I was intrigued to see how different the book character is. I’m going to say, not that different…perhaps meaner?

I really enjoyed Bob Goff’s book Love Does, so Love Lives Here, by his wife, is on my list.

I’m still steadily making my way through Agatha Christie’s books and I realized I really need to start keeping a list, because I’m forgetting which ones I’ve read.

Goodnight June is a book that fantasizes the back story of the book Goodnigth Moon. I read this book everyday to A until he was one (and beyond), so I had to add it.

Ruth Reichl’s Delicious is one of her books that I realized I hadn’t read, so I added it to my library holds this week!

Happy reading!

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This and that

This is one if my favorite parts of every morning. J comes in with his daily menagerie of peeps cuddles up at the end of our bed and likes me to pat his back while he wakes up:

This is a picture of our neighborhood geese that had babies! Check out their goslings:

Hopefully they stay together, unlike Jon and Kate.
This is the stack of library books that I picked up this week to try to attempt to keep up with A’s reading (and a few books for J and The Lion King DVD):

This is how J spent his time before TBall practice on Tuesday:

And this is how A spent his time:

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May-June reading list

While A is working on the next Bunnicula book…

B and I are also reading nightly. He is currently reading The Expanse after finishing Rice, Noodle, Fish and I’m currently working on Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah. I’ve also got a few other books to add to my May-June reading list:

Food and the City: A foodie book, I’m always on the search for a good one.

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A comedy, great for a beach read!

Rice, Noodle, Fish: I have to read this so I can catch up with everything B has discussed since he read it.

Sleeping Murder: I’ve read Hercule Poirot’s last case, so this summer I’m catching up with Miss Marple’s

The Moviegoer: This is a “caught my eye at the library” read. It won the national book award, so it has a good reputation behind it!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up: If you know me well, this is pretty much just a life affirming read for me. Ha!

My goal is to finish all six by the end of June!

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February book review

So here our February round-up of some of our current reads!

I’m reading…

So far this is not my favorite. While it has some good thoughts, as a teacher I have a problem when someone cites wikipedia as a useful search engine (it’s not) and uses appeal to tradition fallacies. Plus I got a 100 on the quiz at the beginning. So boom. Parenting done. Just kidding. Not about the 100 part. I’m not playing around with quizzes.

Okay, so on to some of my favorites:

I keep thinking that I’m going to finish this book and it NEVER ends. Worse than that, I’m slightly obsessed with finishing the book and so I cannot put it down. I only have 100 pages left I think. Out of a lot.

The library book I have waiting in the wings…

I love non-fiction books, especially ones about cooking. I’m going to take a break from Sherlock Holmes to start this one. Maybe.

And what I read every morning:

My in-laws gave me this one year Bible for Christmas and I’m busily making my way through it. I’ve always wanted to read the Bible all the way through and this provides a great way to do that!

And on A’s list…

This is a series of mystery books that A is reading. The author has several other series, but these are A’s favorite so far.

And A is also reading:

The Ramona series. He thinks they are “very funny” and after reading Ramona the Pest he asked if there are are more that he could read about Ramona.

And we are reading J:
J is starting to read, so he likes having the element of chapter books like his big brother.



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A’s must read list

Besides Pokemon cards and DS games, the hot items on A’s Christmas list were books, books, and more books. Here are some of his latest must reads (and some of his “eh” choices):

From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeweiler. This was (and is) one of my favorite books, so I am so please how much he has loved it. The combination of a museum, adventure, and a mystery makes it a perfect read.

Geronimo Stilton (Fantasy Series). A has read through most of the original Geronimo Stilton books and has moved on to the lengthier fantasy series. He really likes books with animals as the main characters (and an adventure themed direction), so this fits right in…as does:

The Tale of Despereaux. This is one he’s getting for Christmas from my parents.

Peter Pan. I picked this one up at the library and he immediately dived into it. And then got half way through it and got really bored. However, we did learn the word “quixotic”. I’m using that on scrabble.

National Geographic Almanac. A is obsessed with all things almanac, dictionary, encyclopedia, he loves facts and information.

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