Friday, March 01, 2019

March 2019 Reading Challenge: Kismet!

Kismet: fate; destiny; the will of God.

Recently, my kids and I were at our local thrift store, shopping for books, when my daughter pointed down the row and said, "Look, Mom! It's your book." Out of all the books showing off their spines, mine--with its original cover--sat face forward on the shelf as seen in the picture I took below. 

Talk about kismet. 

So for March's reading challenge I pulled together a list of reads that somehow spoke to me or seemingly came my way as though it were "meant to be."

The Kismet Pile

1.)  The Raft by S. A. Bodeen - I had this one in hand at the thrift store before seeing my book sitting face out on the shelf. "It is your destiny." ~ Darth Vader

2.) Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson - A spontaneous purchase after listening to the author's sales pitch online. I bought it, so I guess I should read it, too.

3.) The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang - I've been eyeballing this book ever since it hit the shelves but the trope didn't really call to me. When I saw it on the "Choice Reads" table at the library, I picked it up. Free read, great cover, and a great first sentence. Good start.

4.) Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin - A friend gifted this one to my little bookworm, who loved it. Personally, I wouldn't have looked at it twice - judging books by covers, yadda, yadda - but when my kid recommends a read, I listen.

5.) Tisha by Robert Specht and Anne Purdy - This book has been kicking around for a spell, Montana speak meaning one copy was on my mom's bookshelf probably since 1976, the copyright date. Another copy was found at my grandma's and was later bequeathed to me. *shrugs* Popular book in my family...guess I should check it out.
Excerpt from

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Ballard, Seattle: Sharing Books with Free Little Libraries

I met a wonderful friend for lunch at the Hi-Life in Old Ballard, Seattle--I recommend the red pepper and tomato soup, by the way--and afterward, traipsed off to do that fun little thing I like to do, which is buzzing around neighborhoods, leaving good vibes, and sharing my stories. Check out these cute Free Little Libraries:

SLUG: St. Luke's Urban Garden

Old Ballard Area

Old Ballard Area

"The flower doesn't dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes." ~ Mark Nepo

Friday, February 01, 2019

February 2019 Reading Challenge: The Letter V

Along with hearts and flowers, chocolates and cupids, comes a February reading challenge dedicated to another letter from the alphabet, V. Not necessarily V for Vendetta, and doesn't have to be V for valentines. It could be the start of a word, like Verity or versus, or it could be contained within, like Ivy, Heaven, never or selves. To shake things up a bit, I pulled together a nice mix of titles that didn't involve the word "love" or the color pink. Read on:

The Letter V
A Four-Pointer!

1.) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

2.) Girl V. Boy by YVonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

3.) The ReinVention of IVy Brown by Roberta Taylor

4.) Penny from HeaVen by Jennifer Holm

5.) Things I'll NeVer Say: Stories About Our Secret SelVes by Ann Angel


"My brain throbs for you..."

Monday, January 07, 2019

Columbia River Gorge: Sharing Books with Free Little Libraries

Back from Nevada with the holidays behind me and the open road ahead. Destination: Columbia River Gorge to see my pups, Tilly Bean and Tango Mango, who've been staying with my parents and their doxie "fur-aunts" for the past month.

During the four-hour road trip, I listened to the first 3 out of 11 CDs of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver on audio and wished I could keep on driving, keep on listening to the amazing Sarah Drew narrate...yes, the story is that good. 

I wove my way back and forth over the Columbia River, from Washington to Oregon and back again, stopping at a few cute little towns "gifting" my books to eight Free Little Libraries.

First stop: Hood River, a wind-surfer's haven, home of the Full Sail Brewery, and a gateway to Mount Hood.

in Hood River, Oregon

Burnout in Hood River, Oregon

Second stop: White Salmon, "The land where the sun meets the rain..."

White Salmon, Washington

Third stop: The Dalles, where the sun shines, the cherries grow, and the salmon skim the currents.

The Dalles, Oregon

The Dalles, Oregon

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” ~ Chief Seattle

...and books. Take one, leave one.

Monday, December 31, 2018

January 2019 Reading Challenge: An Acrostic Book List

Welcome to a new year of books!
My mind has been in word-puzzle-and-poetry mode for the last couple of months while creating new blackout poems, where I search for the right words in the right place on a book page and then add some pizzazz with a doodle drawing. Check out Sounds Complicated and Distance Between to see my latest compilation and publishing efforts.
Anyway, while dreaming up a good January reading challenge, I wondered how I could use the words in the book titles. Snap! Got it. You know that poem where you take the first word in each line to spell out a message. It's not alliteration and it's not anagram. What's the other "A" word in Poetry Land? Right! Acrostic. But what exactly does that mean? 
"An acrostic is a piece of writing in which a particular set of letters -- typically the first letter of each line, word, or paragraph -- spells out a word or phrase with special significance to the text. Acrostics are most commonly written as a form of poetry, but they can also be found in prose or used as word puzzles." 
~ Bergman, Bennet. "Acrostic." LitCharts.

Acrostic Title Challenge

It took some hunting and pecking to get the right titles lined up, but I finally pulled together a list of five that I'm excited about. Can't wait to dig into 2019 with these gems:

1.) Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

2.) One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

3.) Wish by Barbara O'Connor

4.) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

5.) Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Fabulous Five: Favorite Reads for 2018

Book piles, upon book piles! I'm surrounded, which is a good way to be :) Over the past year, I've perused 194 books, some read thoroughly, some skimmed, and some I did not finish (dnf).

I enjoy making lists, so below is my favorite, thoroughly-read reads during 2018:


My favorite book for 2018, hands-down, no contest is The Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato (2007). I read this straight-through and out-loud to a sick kid, and let me tell you, laughter is the best medicine. This book cured the doldrums! I was hoarse from speaking for so many hours and from laughing. It's hilarious. Both boring covers do NOT do it justice; I never would have bothered with this one. But my daughter grabbed it off the school library shelf in a hurry, and--WOW!--what a treat it turned out to be.


I loved the characters in Full of Beans by Jennifer Holm (2018) so much that after I finished reading the library's copy, I went and bought my own...along with four other books by Jennifer Holm. New fan alert!


It must have been a year for middle grade books, because I have a long list of favorites in this genre. But I felt like I had to whittle it down to just a few and making the cut is The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies (2009) and read by the awesome Stina Nielsen. Perfect for a road trip.


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (2013) was a book I put off reading for a long time since I'm not one for sad reads. However, I picked it up, read the first page, and fell into the story. When it was over, I couldn't stop thinking about it...a sign of a good read.


With so much hype, I wasn't sure The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2011) would be for me. But a worn copy showed up in my mailbox--a true surprise!--from a retired librarian friend with a note suggesting I give it a go. With reservation, I slowly cracked it open and immediately fell in love with the voice and characters. Shelf-worthy.

Want more? Here's my list of favorite reads for 2017. Enjoy!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Nevada: Sharing Books with Free Little Libraries

One House's Christmas Spirit

While sauntering the streets of Boulder City, Nevada one afternoon--Just some Seattlites soaking up much needed sunshine--we came across the house above and thought, "Whoa." Unlit, there's not much to see, but a gaudy display of electrical cords, bulbs, plastic and plywood. But when we returned that evening, it certainly packed a magical punch. "Wow!" Since our first discovery, we've returned at least six times to bask in the Christmas cheer. I was happy to read they made the news, winning a national competition, and earning $50K, which will probably go toward their electricity bill. Thank you to the Ryan/Musgrave family for sharing their unique talent and helping us to see the light, literally.

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, I shared copies of Sounds Complicated and Distance Between with the locals via Little Free Libraries in Boulder City and Henderson, Nevada. It was so much fun distributing books around Kalispell, MT last summer that I came prepared for the holidays.

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus and a Heart Cactus
Distance Between in Boulder City Free Little Library #1

Happy Holidays!
"I brake for Little Free Libraries."
Sounds Complicated in Boulder City and Henderson, NV

      "A book is a gift you can open again and again." ~ Garrison Keillor