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

* A recommended read!


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 Little Free 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

Saturday, December 01, 2018

December 2018 Reading Challenge: Christmas Book Binge Reading

What do words like "December" and "binge" and "pile" have in common? That's right, they all have to do with reading Christmas books!

Welcome to another Christmas Book Binge Reading challenge, where anything winter, snow, and holiday-related get read in mass quantities. Get ready! Get set!

Fa la la la la...

Ginormicorn from Unstable Unicorns

The Holiday Pile

Below is a mix of genres including romance, young adult, and childrens picture books. I said it last December, and I'll say it again...I'm not one for writing reviews, but I love making lists, so there's a big one to follow, a list of all the books I've read so far. If they passed my good-read meter, I inserted a link. Here goes...


1.) This Is Christmas by Tom Booth - Woodsy animals don't need any of the marketing hooey to know what Christmas is. A natural setting with beautiful illustrations, too.

2.) Santa Clauses: Short Poems form the North Pole by Bob Raczka - A daily dose of haiku poetry rich with sensory details. Illustrations were divine with one little nitpick...elves' noses. I'll just leave it at that.

3.) Allie, the Christmas Spider by Shirley Menendez
4.) Cork & Fuzz: Merry Merry Holly Holly by Dari Chaconas
5.) Just Right for Christmas by Birdie Black
6.) Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits
7.) How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagan
8.) A Unicorn Named Sparkle's First Christmas by Amy Young
9.) Dream Snow by Eric Carle
10.) Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson
11.) Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood
12.) Snow by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman
13.) Snow by Uri Shulevitz
14.) Snow by Sam Usher
15.) Tacky's Christmas by Helen Lester
16.) Santa is Coming to Washington by Steve Smallman
17.) How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace & Andy Elkerton
18.) Olivia and the Christmas Present adapted by Farrah McDoogle
19.) Guess Who's Coming to Santa's for Dinner? by Tomi DePaola
20.) The Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long
21.) Toot & Puddle: Let It Snow by Holly Hobbie
22.) Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell-Tuck
23.) Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry
24.) Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie
25.) Captain's Log: Snowbound by Erin Dionne - This one captured my imagination and made me want to seek out more information on the Shackleton/Endurance event. Of course, I was recently enamored with a cartoon called "Long Way North," so that could have something to do with it, too.

26.) Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes by Jennifer Holm
27.) Finding Christmas by Lezlie Evans

28.) BabyMouse: Skater Girl by Jennifer Holm

29.) Love on the Lifts by Rachel Hawthorne
30.) Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
31.) Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley

32.) Christmas at Gate 18 by Amy Matayo
33.) A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates
34.) Snowed in with the Cowboy by Maisey Yates
35.) Snowbound with the Boss by Maureen Child
36.) A Whyte Christmas by Michele Brouder

2018 Christmas good-read meter = 3 books to recommend.


Check out the 3 recommended Christmas/winter reads for 2022 here!
Check out the 8 recommended Christmas/winter reads for 2017 here!