Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian

 We love the library.  We always are getting books picked up and dropped off.  I recently started letting the three year old check out books too and she has been super excited.

We recently got Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian by Jacob Sager Weinstein from the library and it has been my favorite to read in awhile!  It's a cute book for book lovers.  Lyric McKerrigan goes around and hands out the perfect book to people in challenging situations.  She is a secret book agent who has a knack at being in the right place at the right time with the right book.  

An evil genius is trying to take over the world and Lyric McKerrigan is going right behind him thwarting his plans.  It's great for kids who love super heroes and those that love graphic novels as it's set up similar to a comic at times.  We have read it oodles of times and we have to return it to the library soon, but it's also been one of Adeline's favorites and she copies the words with me.

What is the last library book you checked out that was surprise hit?

Friday, April 21, 2023


We had one week of fake spring and went right back into winterish-fall.  Just in time for softball season. Yay. We have had a busy month, road tripped for spring break, may dentist / orthodontist appts for some of us, practices, battle of the books, clubs, oh my! My husband turns 40 next week and we are having a party in two weeks for that and we are taking the girls to a Michigan softball game so we have more busy on the way! 

My favorite picture from the week:

My oldest had a drawing in the art show.

                                                        This was our library haul this week

The high of my week was watching my girl back on the softball field and seeing her art work at the art show.

The low of my week was  Adeline has been weird and off this week.  Very snuggly and not eating a lot.  Had a low fever last night and this morning.

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday -  Grilled chicken, baked potatoes, roasted carrots, blackberries
Tuesday -  Taco Pie, queso/chips, blackberries
Wednesday -  Out at Applebees
Thursday -  Chili and veggies and dip
Friday - Make your own pizza, veggies/chips with dip and fruit

The best money I spent was on some silly shirts for my husbands bday

What I’m listening to  podcasts or the highway on xm

What I’m watching All Creatures Great and Small, Will Trent, Summer House

What I’m reading:  In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

My plans for the weekend include moving the youngest to a twin size bed from her crib turned toddler bed, opening day softball activities, going to see the play These Shining Lives, and probably more house organizing.  I have been on a roll the last few days.  I had a big move in January of projects and then again this week.  Planning on a garage sale in 3 weeks with a friend and I am ready!

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


So close to spring!!!! Counting down the days!!

Reading:   Final Girls by Riley Sager

Loving: the workouts I've been doing.  I am going on 3 plus months of working out consistently for the first time ever.  I've been doing a mixture of youtube videos and using my treadmill.  It's been going really well and I'm feeling stronger!

Feeling: excited.  We are going on a road trip in a couple weeks and I'm really excited!

Anticipating: a morning cup of coffee looking at the Atlantic Ocean and an evening drink looking out at the Atlantic Ocean. :)

Struggling: patience with the play with me play wiith me 24/7.

Grateful: that we get to go somewhere warm and that I get to turn 39 soon!

Working: on organizing what we need to pack for our road trip.

Listening: lots of podcasts!

Watching: Summer House

Wishing: that my donation bags would walk themselves to the trunk and deliver themselves to the donation location.

What are you reading/listening/watching?

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The Campbell Sisters

The Campbell Sisters by Eileen Joyce Donovan is a story about a family of strong willed sisters making their way in 1950s NYC.  The oldest Helen, works at an orphanage and takes some ribbing for being the old spinster sister at the ripe age of 25.  The middle daughter, Carolyn, is feisty.  She does what she wants, when she wants, others be damned.  The youngest, Peggy, is working her way through med school.

 As was typical of the time, all three girls are sharing a bedroom in their parents crowded apartment.  Their parents are immigrants from Ireland who have strong views on how the girls should be acting. At times the parents talk to them like they are in high school or younger and I had the thought that pretty soon they were going to ground 20 - something year old women!

The book covers a very short time period where Helen meets a boxer and falls in love, Carolyn gets into many a jam, and Peggy proves that she can be a trusted mature sister. A love story of the time.

Description: Helen Campbell is the eldest and most practical of three sisters, daughters of hard-working Irish emigrants living in New York City in the 1950s. She does what she can to keep the wild-child middle sister, Carolyn, in line and support the youngest, Peggy, as she pursues her dreams of becoming a doctor. Then Helen meets Charlie.

While it’s love at first sight for those two, Carolyn’s antics threatens to derail all the sisters’ future happiness. However, through thick and thin, the three sisters strive to prevail, though not necessarily in the ways they thought they wanted.

About the Author: Eileen Joyce Donovan has been writing her entire life, in one way or another, whether it was imaginative stories for friends, or advertising copy for clients. At the persistent urging of her husband, she finally agreed to seriously edit and revise one of her stories and take the plunge. Years later, her persistence paid off and both her debut historical fiction, Promises, and her second novel, A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma, won prestigious awards. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, and her essays have been included in various Chicken Soup for the Soul editions.

She lives in Manhattan, New York and is a member of Authors Guild, Women’s National Book Association, Women Fiction Writers Association, and The Historical Novel Society.

I was given a copy of this book for review from Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

February Reads!

In one word the books I read in February along with how I feel about February is summed up with, "meh."

I love Jasmine Guillory's books but this one was my first dud -ish.  Not a fan of the retelling of beauty and the beast.  It pains me to say it but this is my least favorite by her.

The Sun Down Motel was pretty good.  It was hard to believe that people would keep working at a hotel where they obviously see ghosts and hear stuff but, hey beyond THAT, it was a good mystery trying to figure out what happened to a woman who disappeared many years earlier.

How to Excavate A Heart was a cute YA love story.  It would definitely hit if you are a bit nerdy and want to read about interning in a a Smithsonian museum.  

 The Mitford Affair was good for the content and learning about a family I hadn't known about before.  But the writing was hard to keep sisters apart because they almost all read like they had the same voice.

Plantation Shudders is a cute mystery set on a plantation in Louisiana.  It is the start of a series and I may or may not pick up more in the future.  

When we Believed in Mermaids was okay, but I think I'd rather have watched it as a Hallmark movie as opposed to reading it as a book.  The  back cover made it seem a little more intense than what it was.

A Tourists Guide to Murder is a continuation of a series I'm reading that is set in Western Michigan.

What did you read in February?

Friday, March 3, 2023

2022 Reading Stats

 My 2022 reading recap is a bit delayed.  Whoops.  The good news is that I am doing really well on two of my new years goals of working out and finishing up my classes to renew my teaching certificate and that is why I haven’t gotten this posted yet!

How many books read in 2022? – 85.  Which was 16 less than last year.  But at the last minute I finished my goal of 85! 

How many fiction and non-fiction? 80 fiction and 5 non-fiction with a couple memoirs involved.  

Male/Female author ratio? 50 women and 17  men.  Read a few repeaters.  My favorite author was J.L. Hyde, I read three of her books last year!

Which author was new to you in 2022 that you now want to read the entire works of?   Gilbert King.  I read Beneath a Ruthless Sun, and loved it. I want to read his others.  

Favorite book read in 2022?  Always a hard decision.  Looking back now three months into a new year the ones I still think about and recommend are: Summer of ‘99 by J.L. Hyde, The Winners by Fredrik Backman, The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn, Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King, Book Lovers by Emily Henry, Switchboard Soldiers by Jennifer Chiaverini, The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne, and It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey.


Least favorite? A Lesson Plan for Murder, You Should Have Known, Recovery Agent or Our Missing Hearts.


Any that you simply couldn’t finish? Just Mercy (want to finish it but it needed to go back to the library and I havent gotten back to it), Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder ( really trying to read this but it had to go back and who knows).  There might have been more but I cleared by goodreads shelf at the new year.  Whoops.

How many pages did you read? 27,012

How many books from the library? 72.  

How many books read did I purchase? Of the ones on this list I purchased 7.

How many were gifts? 3 and 1 from the library community read

How many borrowed from others? 0

How many were given to me for reviews?  1 

How many books read on kindle? None

Audiobook? 1 , I listened to The Dry , which was a “re-read”


Any re-reads? Yes, 1

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading? United States, Australia, Sweden, Mexico, England, Scotland, China, Ukraine, Russia, France, Germany, and Chile

What states did you go through the page in your year of reading? Minnesota, Georgia, California, New Jersey, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, Washington, North Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, Indiana, Maine, Colorado, Vermont, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?  Razorblade Tears, The Mist, Middle School Matters, You Should Have Known


Which author did you read the most of? Aaron Stander 6

What was your best reading month? December, July, and August, I read 10

What was your worst reading month? June, I read 4

Top Five Reading Moments of 2022

  • Meeting J.L. Hyde at a book signing

  • Visiting Sleepy Dog Bookstore

  • Reading the Aaron Stander Series

  • Visiting several used bookstores

  • Finishing the Beartown series


2022 Reading Goals - Revisited

I am upping my number again….

  1. Read 85 books.  - Success! I read exactly 85.

2. Read 12 books on my shelves. - This was again a fail.  While technically I read some from my shelves they were all because they were gifted to me at 2021 Christmas to read for book club.  

3. Read a biography on a first lady.  - Yeah, forgot again.  I totally said I was going to put a reminder in my phone to remind myself to do this at the end of June and I did not.  But in general I did read more non-fiction.

2023 Goals

  1. Read 85 books.

  2. Read and/or clear 28 books from my living room bookshelf.

  3. Read more non-fiction.


 How many books did you read in 2022? Did you complete your 2022 reading goals? What are your goals for 2023?? What book do I NEED to read in 2023?

Friday, January 13, 2023


I had big intentions of sharing different best of and holiday gift giving posts last month, and then our household spent an entire month trying to get all of us healthy at one time. So fun.  We never got to see Santa because we were never healthy enough.  So that stunk since Adeline has only gone once as a newborn and she actually really wanted to do that this year.  Hoping for this year! And since January 1st we have managed to stay healthy! Yay.

The high of my week was :  Wednesday we were able to go playoutside at a park, make it to story time at Barnes and Noble and the play area at the mall! And I worked out exactly what I planned for and drank all the water I planned for.

The low of my week was : finding out how expensive my dental work is going to be.  Boo genetics.  Boo healthcare that doesn't include teeth. 

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday -  chicken strips, baked potato, salad
Tuesday -  Super Nacho Taco Dip/Casserole, salad, chips/queso, pico
Wednesday -  spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread, salad, broccoli
Thursday - orange chicken, rice, salad
Friday -  pizza and breadsticks

The best money I spent was on: a new package of underwear for myself! Cleaned out my underwear/bra / shapewear this week and decided to buy a new set after I threw out some.

What I’m listening to  Here's Where it Gets Interesting, The Girl Next Door, Culpable

What I’m watching Southern Hospitality

What I’m reading:  Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

My plans for the weekend:  hopefully going on a hike, putting away the random pieces of Christmas I came across that we somehow missed when we put it away!

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Monday, January 9, 2023

The Girl Who Counted Numbers


I really enjoy reading historical fiction and memoirs set around WWII.  I don't particularly like reading about the Holocaust because it was a horrible horrible thing and I do not like reading a romanticized tale about it nor do I want to read the horrors of the camps.  I've read them already and I just cannot.  

I do enjoy reading about people who took charge of their situations or what they did to help during that time period.  

The Girl Who Counted Numbers is a different take than what I've read previously.  It is set in Israel in 1961.  Susan Reich is a smart 17 year old who graduated from high school early with hopes of convincing her father gruff father that she should travel instead of going straight to college.  His compromise is Israel, where she will take Hebrew classes and look for her Uncle Yakov.  Susan's father left their home in Poland in 1920 and never saw his older brother again.  After the war he has written to many organizations and has heard not a thing about what happened to his beloved older brother.

Susan arrives in Israel looking for a lover, a good time, and maybe to find her uncle.  She has an adolescent struggle over if she even wants to look for him or if she even can.  She resents that she is sent her with the Adolf Eichmann trial going on, and so much pain in the air.  

She attends her Hebrew classes and makes friends with Moroccan immigrants who are unhappy with the way they are being treated.  She slowly learns bits and pieces about her uncle Yakov on her journey and does aa little growing up as the story progresses as well.

The book is based on the author's own trip to Israel but the story is fictional.

I was given a copy for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have your read any books set in Israel? What is your favorite recent historical fiction read?

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

What I Read in November

 I am in a position I haven't been in a few years, racing to finish books by year end! I upped my yearly goal and it's really stretching me at this point in the year.  I had a few stretches where I went a bit longer between books and some books that I should probably have abandoned sooner taking too long.  Even though this year will probably be the biggest year of for me with DNFs.  Let's see if I can crank out 11 books in December! 

Drunk on Love - I will read anything Jasmine Guillory writes.  She is funny and writes modern day relationships.  This book is about a winery owner who finds out her one night stand is her new employee.  Ooops.  Hilarious and a page turner that I finished in a day.

The IT Girl - The very first book I read by this author I was like okay, I need to read all of her stuff.  Then I was disappointed a couple times but THIS book was so good.  Hannah’s college roommate was murdered 10 years ago and the convicted killer just died in prison.  He adamantly swore he was innocent but Hannah SAW him leaving as she was entering the building.  The book goes back and forth before and after.  You meet her friends and the victim and join Hannah on a race to find out, did the killer do it? Or was it one of her friends? 

Midnight in Delta County - This is a sequel to Delta County and The Summer of ‘99.  HIGHLY recommend all three.  The author is a CMU grad and a Yooper.  This book is another page turner of who is behind the murders in Escanaba that are very eerily similar to the fictional book Quinn Harstead just wrote.  People start thinking that Heather might be behind them because isn’t that character in Harstead’s book just a tad bit like her? Once a killer and all… Or is someone messing with both Quinn and Heather with a deadly motive?

Beautiful Country - Memoir about leaving China and moving to New York as an undocumented person.  Heartbreaking retelling of the author’s childhood.  Highly recommend it. 

The House Across the Lake - Was a page turner with an unreliable narrator. Casey was widowed recently and after a few too many public oopsy, her mother 'banishes' her too their family lake house, where her husband died the year before. She finds binoculars and starts spying, as one does and finds that her neighbors may have things to hide and one may have a motive for murder. Then there is the other guest staying next store, is he dangerous? Casey keeps drinking and the wife across the lake disappears. What happens next keeps you turning the page. I had a few eyebrow raises at some supernatural elements towards the end of the book, but overall it does its job!

Our Missing Hearts - I'm sad to say I was disappointed by this one. I had a hard time getting into the first half of the book, the second half when it switched narrators and had the action pick up made me push through!

"Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old."

The House on Mango Street - A collection of vignettes that tell a story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago.  I'm glad I finally read it, but it wasn't written for me!  Beautiful prose.

What did you read in November? Are you planning on reading any holiday themed books?

Thursday, December 1, 2022

A Look at November Goals

 I re-started concentrated working out in November after starting off strong after the oldest went to school until the illnesses of the school year started and then I got off schedule.  So I made myself a few goals and kept track.

Goal One: 4 miles a week or 20 total

Soo.. started off hot.  Got 4.05 and 4.09 the first two weeks and then the weather took a poop and I had to strategically use the treadmill and I can't use it too many days in a row or it hurts my legs.  So then I finished with 2.02 and 3.46 since I haven't walked since Thanksgiving morning.

Goal 2: Read 8 books.

I read 7.  The only reason I have books as a goal right now is that for the first time in awhile I am off my goal set for the year, which is because I finally raised my yearly goal again after easily completing it.  So I decided I have to make a push.  I have a 11 left to hit my yearly goal so here goals nothing in December!

Goal 3: Complete online class.

Did it! I take online classes to maintain my licensing and I have to have so many credits per 5 years so I am cranking more out in the next few months so it's not crunch time when June 2024 comes calling.

Goal 4: 12 blog posts

I did 9.  Which is far better than I had been doing.  I think if I wasn't using nap time for blog posts and finishing that class I may have managed this.

Goal 5: 12 facebook posts for Free Library

I run a facebook page for our  free library.  I try to get "customers" by posting different books we have in there and other fun book related items.  I posted 11 times.

Goal 6: 30 Art Every day Instagram Posts

My friend hosts the Art Every Day Month challenge and I've tried to participate the last few years. Usually by making art with the three year old.  I made 11 posts this year.  Though I did do a lot more water color pictures I just stopped taking pictures.

I have some new goals for December and by clicking publish here I am one step closer to completion!!

What did you accomplish in November?