Sunday, January 05, 2020

January 2020 Reading Challenge: Books on the Cover

Goodbye Christmas Book Binge Reading Challenge and all things holiday, and hello to the New Year. Let's start 2020 off with books and more books! The challenge this month is to read anything that says the word "book" or shows it on its cover. Ready, set...read!


Books with Book(s) on the Cover
January Book Pile







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* An enjoyable read. I recommend!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Fabulous Five: Favorite Reads for 2019

Here it is, a reading year in review!

Goodreads Reading Challenge
131% Done!

I've read 131 books for the 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge. A big number for me due mainly to my interest in picture books. A really good one stands out like a bright star, and sadly, I didn't find one of those this year, so nothing to recommend on that account. However, all five of my favorite reads listed below were in the children's category:

TOP FIVE!

1.) My all-time 2019 favorite read goes to...

Young Adult

2.) Best YA story in audio form--loved the narrator, Sarah Drew!

Young Adult Audio Book

3.) Most original read for 2019--really enjoyed the tone and pacing of this one:

Middle Grade Fantasy

4.) Best Middle Grade in audio-form, narrated by the talented Robbie Daymond:

Middle Grade

5.) This book is #3 in the Berrybrook Middle School series, but #1 with me:

Middle Grade Graphic Novel

BONUS!

I really enjoyed this book, beautiful with all the feels. Interested in blackout poetry? Check this one out:

Blackout Poetry and Art

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Free eBook on Amazon...Today Only!


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Free ebook alert! Dealing with Blue is available on Amazon today only. Last deal of the year, expiring at midnight tonight. Grab a copy and enjoy a young adult romance while ringing in the New Year.


Tilly
#noregrets

Dealing with Blue, a love story for the young and the young at heart is about good girl Suzy Blue. She keeps her embarrassing home life a secret, but the charming neighbor boy, J.J. Radborne, keeps coming around, bringing along a wave of complications.

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Dealing with Blue hits #1 in two categories on Amazon!
Thank you so much and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Free eBook on Amazon...Today Only!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Free ebook alert! Dealing with Blue is available on Amazon today only, deal expiring at midnight. Here's to wishing my dog a happy 5th birthday and a Merry Christmas and happy holidaze to all.

Tango
Terrier hair...don't care!

Dealing with Blue, a young adult romance, is a love story for the young and the young at heart. Good girl Suzy Blue keeps her embarrassing home life a secret, but the charming neighbor boy keeps coming around, bringing along a wave of complications.

Grab a copy for some light-hearted holiday reading, and please consider leaving a review. It's much needed and always appreciated. 

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Dealing with Blue hits #1 on an Amazon "Best Sellers" list!
Thank you so much and happy reading!

Sunday, December 01, 2019

December Reading Challenge: Christmas Book Binge Reading

'Tis the season to avoid snowy roads, cold weather, and pushy holiday shoppers with their big coats and oversized purses. My advice: Stay indoors. Grab a couch, a cozy blanket, and get snuggly by the fireplace. Read about being snowed in for the holidays...

Bliss.

"...except interesting."

But say there's no place to have a fire and you're looking for a little heat, then check out Isabel EatsMexican hot chocolate recipe, sure to put a little spice in your life. In between sips is a good time to start binging on the holiday reads.


The Holiday Pile

And don't forget to have a holiday bookmark on hand, Christmas spirit and all that. I made a fresh batch of corner bookmarks last week, and if you're interested in such things, head on over to my Etsy shop: ESPIALdesign for a look-see.

Corner Bookmarks: A Fresh Batch 

Corner Bookmarks: Front and Back

What's left? Snap! That's right, Christmas carols...

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Now, back to the reading business. Below is a mix of genres including children picture books, middle grade, young adult, and romance. If they passed my good-read meter--meaning I'd recommend them--then I made it bold and inserted a link. I'll be updating this list throughout December, so stay tuned while I hunt down the diamonds in the rough for ya.

Here's the list, up to date:

CHILDREN PICTURE BOOKS

1.) When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey & Genevieve Godbout
2.) The Twelve Days of Christmas by Alison Jay
3.) Tough Cookie by Edward Hemingway
4.) Merry Christmas, Little Elliot by Mike Curato
5.) How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith
6.) The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen
7.) Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
8.) The Tree That's Meant to Be by Yuval Zommer
9.) Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne
10.) Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen
11.) Mouse's First Christmas by Lauren Thompson
12.) The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear
13.) Snow Sisters: Two Sisters, One Snowy Day by Kerri Kokias and Teagan White
14.) Snow Globe Wishes by Erin Dealey
15.) Santa's Countdown to Christmas: 24 Days of Stories by Kim Thompson
16.) Santa's Story by Will Hillenbrand

MIDDLE GRADE
17.) The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

YOUNG ADULT
18.) Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne
19.) Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark
20.) 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
21.) My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Christmas Stories by Stephanie Perkins et al. - A few cute stories in this anthology, like Rowell and De Le Pena, to name two.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
22.) It Started with Christmas by Jenny Hale
23.) Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan
24.) Snowbound by C.J. Martin

QUOTES & HUMOR
25.) Keep Calm at Christmas by Ebury Press

HISTORICAL FICTION w/ MAGICAL REALISM
26.) The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

2019 Christmas good-read meter = 3 book(s) to recommend, so far.


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Check out the 3 recommended Christmas/winter reads for 2018, here!
Check out the 8 recommended Christmas/winter reads for 2017, here!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sharing Books with Little Free Libraries: Port Townsend

The 2019 Western Washington Scrapbook Retreat finally came and unfortunately went, all in a quick blink. Too soon, we were saying, "See you next year."

The time went by so fast, however, creativity came on slow. Even though I'd brought vintage patterns and a sewing stamp set by Lawn Fawn, I struggled for two days over a simple design for the card swap. Apparently, I'm still in my creative funk...not only with writing and illustrating, but with card-making, too. It's a process only solved by doing the thing you claim you can't do! Argh! Make it stop.

After Two Days in the Crop Room!

"Thanks Sew Much"
Card Swap


After two frustrating days of card-making angst, I opted to breathe in some fresh ocean air to clear my head. I ventured out of the retreat, away from Fort Worden, and into the cute little town of Port Townsend to go on my own Little Free Library book crawl.

Calhoun Street

U Street

Tyler Street

Madison Street

Lincoln Street

Lincoln Street

Woodland Avenue

Au Revoir my paper-hound friends. Another year is behind us with more to look forward to. WWSR 2020 or bust! 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sharing Books with Little Free Libraries: Phinney Ridge in Seattle

One of the summer camps my kid attends is located in the north part of Seattle, and instead of navigating back and forth across I90, dropping off and picking up during rush hour traffic, we have ourselves a staycation. This time we rented a dog-friendly house, and I came prepared with books for a Little Free Library hunt. Hello, Phinney Ridge!

Palatine Ave

Most of the houses I find by using the Little Free Library map, which a lot of times shows a picture of the library and/or a brief description if it's in a difficult-to-find spot or off-street, like the inside a hotel lobby or in a filing cabinet in a small town grocery store. Normally, the book houses show their placards proudly, "Take a book. Share a book."

Free Little Library Map

Evanston Ave

Dayton Ave

78th Street

Creepy Cute Details

81st Street

83rd Street

74th Street

Sometimes though, I stumble across a library, like the one on 73rd Street, which seems to be run by a rogue independent...my kind of librarian. Off the beaten path, no placard, not in the system, running their own show.

Independent Library on 73rd Street

Even though my "Share a book" stash of eight ran dry, we were still stumbling across miniature book houses. Phinney Ridgers love to read and each library had some interesting inventory. The adventure continued, until over the past three days, we'd accumulated a pile of books for next month's reading challenge!

Tiny and Cute
Another Independent Free Library

 So first we shared books and then we took books. Our treasures included:

1.) Writer's Inc: A Guide to Writing, Thinking & Learning by Sebranek, Meyer, and Kemper - Writing
2.) The Work-Play Book Dictionary by Gates and Huber - Vintage Childrens
3.) Lunch Money and Other Poems About School by Carol Diggory Shields - Childrens Picture Book
4.) Henry IV Part One by William Shakespeare - Classic
5.) The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen - Young Adult
6.) Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus - Middle Grade
7.) Archie's Campfire Stories by Archie Comics - Middle Grade

Took Books
...with Tilly and Tango

8.) Paper Cut in China by Unknown - Childrens Nonfiction, Art
9.) The World of Richard Stine by Richard Stine - Art
10.) The Emerald Ring by Dorine White - Middle Grade
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"Have your whole heart bent on a single purpose." ~ The Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai