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?

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Holiday Book Gift Guide: Romance Edition

 I'm always asked by friends and family for book recommendations.  It's so hard because people have such vastly different tastes, but based upon my recently (last yearish) read books here is what I'd recommend for those looking to gift a book!

For those that love humor, romance, or Helen Hoang:

Drunk on Love
by Jasmine Guillory or, if you know they haven't read anything by her start with The Wedding Date!

Drunk on Love can be read without reading any of the others, there is at teeny tiny cameo of characters from the other books, but if you havent read the others you won't even notice! Drunk on Love is also a good gift for a wine loving or book club friend.  It's about a winery owner who accidently has a one night stand with her new employee.  Hilarious, sweet, a little steamy.

Book Lovers
by Emily Henry is another funny smart romance! It takes a poke at small town romance tropes and book lovers.  With a taste of a dysfunctional family backgrounds, cute men, smart women, humor, and romance, it's a great vacation or summer read for a romance lover!

Heart and Seoul by Jen Fredrick is another humor filled romance.  It's about Hara, an adoptee who is searching for her birth parent/family information in Seoul after her adopted father's death.  She lands in Seoul with barely any Korean knowledge and bumps into a very attractive man who becomes a confidante and helper as she navigates a culture and language she doesn't know but is surrounded by people who look like her and assume she does know it.  Doesn't sound humor filled from this description but rest assured Hara is very awkward and makes many comical errors in her quest to find out about her homeland and family.  It also has a sequel, Seoulmates that you should just pick up too!

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey is also the first in a series set in the pacific northwest.  Piper is a rich spoiled wild child who gets shipped off to her biological father's hometown to learn how to survive on her own after one too many jams that her step dad had to bail her out from.  Her sister comes with her and they learn some valuable life skills, meet a grandma, and town full of handsome fisherman.  The sequel is Hook, Line, and Sinker!

Others to check into:

The Charm Offensive - Alison Cochrun

Love at First Spite - Anna E. Collins

What books would you add to this list?

Monday, November 28, 2022

The It Girl

 I love a good mystery and Ruth Ware knows how to write them! I could not put down her latest while trying to figure out who did it.

The book flashes from before and after.  The before is before Hannah's best-friend and roommate was killed in their dorm room towards the end of their freshman year at Oxford.  The after is what happened after Hannah reported seeing a creepy porter named John Neville, leaving her staircase shortly before walking up and finding her roommate on the floor.  

She had me guessing, I was pretty sure twice but then I was wrong.  She's the queen of dropping the clues so when you are at the end and it's revealed you know exactly what she was telling you at certain points but you did not know what to do with it at the moment! This isn't a slasher, nor is it gory, but I found the delightful England / Scotland setting lovely and the book kept me in my chair for four hours as I flew through!  

I am slowly going through her books as I read One by One and immediately was hooked.  This book ranks right up there with that one, I read two others that were just so so, but I feel she is a reliable read when you need a mystery!

What's the last book you flew through?

Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Welp, we got our first real snow of the year today.  Here enters the worst 5 to 6 months of the year! Cheers! Dark, cold, wet, wind, fun fun fun!!!

Reading:   Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

Loving: My current grocery shopping plan.  I've been able to keep our grocery bill about the same and I love it.  I typically only shop at Aldi or Kroger and the occasional other store if there is a sale or I ran out of something and I had to run in.  But I look at the ads when we get them on Monday and decide if any of the weekly digital coupons that Kroger are offering are things we need to stock up on / use.  If there's enough to get a pick up order I'll do my shopping there and literally only by the things on sale or items I have coupons for.  My fruits and vegetable purchases are whatever is on sale.  If I do Aldi, I run in and just get what we need plus extras that we may need to stock up on.  I try not to have to go to both stores but if I happen to by Aldi and did a Kroger run, I will if there is something we reallly need.  But I meal plan on Friday's based upon what we are doing the next week and what we have in the freezer, that way when I shop the next week there should hardly be any items I'll need for our meal plan.  It's been working out really well.  We do get our beef from a local farmer and we buy our chicken at Costco.  Most of the time I keep us around 70 bucks for the four of us.  We freeze things if we need to and if I run into Kroger I love buying the marked down stuff.  Just call me a bargain shopper.  It's my fun game to play.

Feeling: pretty good.  I made a list of November goals that I've been plugging away at.  Which updating this blog is one of them and I am on par to completing all but one of them, so that's pretty darn good.  I need to keep this up because it motivates me to do things.

Anticipating: booking our summer camping trips soon and plotting out our spring break trip and our great wolf lodge trip.  So anything that escapes winter.

Struggling: my patience.  i have none.

Grateful: that my mom has finished her cancer treatments and is getting stronger each day.

Working: on finishing up my class this month, organizing, walking more...

Listening: Podcasts... Friendlier, The Mom Hour, Culpable, etc...

Watching: Miss Scarlet and the Duke

Wishing: that my basement could organize itself

What are you reading/listening/watching?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Beautiful Country

I flew through Qian Julie Wang’s memoir.  She was born in China and then when she was seven she came to America.  She and her parents overstayed the visas they had to enter the country and began a traumatic existence avoiding being caught.  

In China, her dad’s family was shamed because his older brother dared speak out about the government.  This brought poverty, shame, and trauma to her dad’s life that he never could escape.  In China, her parents were professors, but in America they were, as a “friend” told Qian no-income.  

In New York Qian worked alongside her mom in a sweatshop making pennies for her work and looking forward to the bowl of rice provided during her twelve hour shift!!! In Chinese the word for America, MeI Guo, translates to beautiful country.  It’s very hard and rightfully so, for Qian to find the beauty in the America she lives in.

She was able to attend a public school and had to figure out how to navigate the second grade without speaking the language.  They put her in a special needs classroom where she was largely ignored and taught herself to read in English.

Her story was heartbreaking, vivid, and a story that needs to be read and discussed.  

What books on immigration have you read?

Friday, November 11, 2022

Midnight in Delta County

 Midnight in Delta County was a fantastic conclusion to Delta County and Summer of ‘99 by J.L. Hyde.  There were times in the book where I’d read a line and go, “YESSSSS,” because of the insights she drops in her writing.

So, do NOT read this UNLESS you have read Delta County and Summer of ‘99, or you will be a sad panda.  However, once you read both of those, PLEASE read this one! I loved her main characters in the other two books, Heather and Quinn, and in this book you get both!

Both Heather and Quinn have become friendly after their paths cross based upon the two previous books.  Other characters in the previous books appear and you get more peaks into their personalities too.  And that’s a thing I really appreciate about J.L. Hyde.  Her characters each have a unique personality and you easily keep them separated and enjoy their character specific quirks and comments!

A quick synopsis while trying to not spoil…   People in Escanaba start dying.  In an eerily similar way to Quinn’s latest book.  People start avoiding Heather and Quinn because of the ending of Quinn’s book and the assumption that maaaybe they are behind these deaths in a way to make more money for the book, or just because they are THAT demented.  

What I liked about the previous books continues with twists you don’t see coming and keeps you frantically turning the pages to find out HOW THIS ENDS.  

Do yourself a favor and pick these three books up! We have a long winter ahead!

Monday, November 7, 2022

The House Across the Lake


The House Across the Lake is my first book by Riley Sager and I think I’ll try another.  Casey is an alcoholic actress who has been banished to her family’s lake house after one too many embarrassing episodes (according to her mother).  Slowly, but surely the reader finds out Casey’s husband is dead, she’s definitely picked up on the drinking, and she may not be the most reliable narrator.

She meets her neighbors across the lake and becomes obsessed with watching them through the binoculars.  She decides that the wife is in danger and when she goes missing, she immediately assumes the husband did it.

In the backdrop of this, we find out that there are missing girls from around the area, there is a hurricane coming, and a possible wife killer also around this lake.

So there is a lot going on.

But if you gut through the excessive bourbon drinking and hang tight, this book will take you on a wild ride!

Have you read this or any other books by Riley Sager? If you have read others, what would you recommend? Thanks!

Friday, November 4, 2022


 And just like that we are in November.  Holy cow. Time to start prepping for Christmas gifts so I don't have to be searching at the last moment and maybe wrap other peoples early this year.  I also need to change out my two Halloween specific decorations and bring out my one Thanksgiving sign.

Photos from the week: 

Heading out to trick or treat

One of the houses we saw decorated

New glasses!

Current Read!

Beautiful November weather to read outside! Barefoot!

The high of my week was : taking the oldest trick or treating with her friends, watching her in her first choir concert of the year, and the gorgeous weather getting us outside more than we would!

The low of my week was  nothing that I can think of.

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday -  frozen pizza and salad before trick or treating
Tuesday -  Homemade Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper via Iowa Girl Eats one of our fam faves.. I added a red pepper to it this time and we also had queso/chips, salad and fruit on the side.
Wednesday -  We went out for Steak Sandwiches at a diner that is a local hot spot.  We've been talking them up for the last two years as we made homemade ones at home so the oldest has been beginning to try the real deal, and we were going to be nearby the diner (it's 30ish minutes away) to pick up her new glasses.
Thursday - Chicken Fajitas, queso/chips, raspberries
Friday -  chili dogs, fruit, veggies/dip

The best money I spent was on BIG GIRL underwear to try to keep convincing the youngest that using the toilet is the way to be.  

What I’m listening to  Counter Clock, Crime Junkie, The Mom Hour, Culpable...

What I’m watching Winter House

What I’m reading:  The House Across the Street by Riley Sager

My plans for the weekend watching football, clearing up leaves and putting away the rest of the pool floats that need to be cleaned off.

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

What I'm Excited to Read Soon


Today, I was very happy to find in my mailbox the newest book by author J.L. Hyde! I first found out about her while stalking my friends goodreads TBR to find her a new book for her birthday last year.  I read the description for her book Underground, and found out in the blurb she had an Instagram account (bookandbeerreview) and she was from the U.P. and a CMU grad.  So I had to buy that for my friend who is a CMU grad. And then I began stalking her on her insta page.  Pretty soon, I had to buy her newest (at the time) Delta County for myself.  I took it with me to Mexico, and devoured it.  And I think that might have been when I first sent her a comment as her internet creeper and sent a picture of me reading it in Mexico. Since then, I've been her non-murdery insta creeper.

In January, I decided I needed to buy Underground for myself, so I did, and then when her other book, Summer of '99, came out, I of course had to get that as well.  And I've been anxiously awaiting her very latest book, Midnight in Delta County since I stalked her in person this last May when she did a book signing at a winery about an hour away and said she was making a sequel that ties in Delta County and Summer of '99.

If you are like sure, that's fine, but what are these books about? Let me tell ya.

Delta County
is about Heather Matthews who after being gone for 10 years returns to her hometown, Escanaba.  10 years ago the worst thing in her life happened and she barely looked back. Now back in her hometown she is finding out things she never knew before, does this change everything she's ever known about the incident and the people she is closet too? 

Summer of '99 OMG as someone who grew up in the 90s she nails the time period.  This is also set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I read this book in less than 24 hours.  So soo soo good.  

"For over four decades, Camp Shady Oaks was the premiere youth camp for a summer filled with nature, survival skills, and fun in the remote woods of the Hiawatha National Forest. In 1999, it was forced to close abruptly when tragedy struck.

What is now the abandoned location of one of Michigan’s most notorious unsolved mysteries gains national attention when former camper Quinn Harstead pens a best-selling account of the events that occurred.
The camp remains empty and frozen in time for twenty-three years before Quinn receives an invitation for its grand reopening. Will she return to the place that continues to haunt her memories in search of answers, or will the secrets of Shady Oaks stay buried forever?"

Midnight in Delta County is a sequal to both of these books.  So if you are interested read them in order of Delta County, Summer of '99, and then  Midnight in Delta County.

Then her very first book is a standalone, Underground.  

"After suffering for years in her thankless and stressful role working for a restaurant group in Illinois, Lindy Michaels finally catches a break when her husband, Hayden, receives a promotion that will allow her to quit her job. The only catch? It requires them to move to Oklahoma City.

After relocating, Lindy spends more and more of her newfound free time with her online group of true-crime enthusiasts and even makes a real-life friend from the group, who happens to live in Oklahoma.

The women quickly become close as they meet weekly to drink coffee and discuss their lives and the latest headlines. The peace is short-lived when they find themselves in the middle of their own true crime nightmare after a terrifying encounter connects them to the case of a local missing woman. Just how far will they go to find answers?"

Let me tell you, the twists at the end of these books are sooo good.  Sometimes I hate super dumb twists, but THIS IS NOT THE CASE.  These twists are amazeballs.

And at bare minimum you should follow her on Instagram to follow along with what she's reading and drinking and the other funny stories she shares!

Have you read any of these books by J.L. Hyde??

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

What I Read in October

When I was looking through my books to remember what I finished this  month, I'd almost forgotten about three of them! It had seemed so long ago, but they were just at the beginning of the month!

 Murder on Cold Street was better than the last in this Lady Sherlock series and I'm still intrigued by it!

Book Lovers cracked me up and was much better than People We Meet on Vacation.  I was sad because I had ADORED Beach Read by Emily Henry and this just as adorable/laugh out loud goodness I needed.  If you also loved Beach Read, feel free to skip over People We Meet on Vacation and just say yes to Book Lovers!

Beneath A Ruthless Sun was soo soo soo good.  It was a hefy read but I flew through it.  It is based on the true account of a corrupt sheriff in Florida.  Three Supreme Court cases came from this county.  It was horrific to read about how badly things were rigged against Black people and the scariest part, is how not that far in the past this all was.  HIGHLY REOCMMEND.   

Middle School Matters is a book written by a middle school counselor.  My daughter's school hosted a book club to discuss this and I found it easy to read and had great conversational starters that parents can easily add into their repertoire as they are navigating middle school / adolescents with their children.  

The Diamond Eye was also a pretty hefty book but sooo good by Kate Quinn.  I confess to not being able to finish The Alice Network because it was giving me too much anxiety, but this one I really enjoyed about a woman sniper in the Russian Red Army.  It's based on a real person and I am still googling to learn more.

What was something you enjoyed reading in October?

Friday, September 16, 2022


We are finishing up the 4th week of the school year already and I am just getting into this new routine.  And oh my lanta someone in this household has been sick since the 4th day of school.  I feel like we are almost at 100 percent now and I swear to god if we don't all feel 100 by Monday I may just week.  Okay, let's be real if I'M not feeling 100 percent by Monday I may weep.  I have been having a heck of a time focusing and feeling so damn blah.  I have tried all my tricks and am well hydrated but I feel like the snot needs to go from my head to make this better.

Photos from the week: 

Grabbed these from the library on Tuesday when I was waiting for the oldest to get out of her book club.

Let's label this the hand me down picture.  Riding her older sister's old scooter and wearing a dress she also used to wear hahaha.

Sunset from our camping trip last weekend.  We stayed right on the beach!

The high of my week was  hearing how excited the oldest was about going to her first yearbook meeting, and hearing about a book club she joined.

The low of my week was  not being able to focus at all.  Like scrolling on my phone is about all I can handle.  I was on a good three week straight of working out and then bam my body fell apart and I have only managed one walk a week the last two weeks.  I have only been able to read like 60 pages in a book as well.  Dire straights here.

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday -  spaghetti, garlic bread
Tuesday -  subs from subway
Wednesday -  orange chicken and rice
Thursday -  taquitos, queso, pico, salad
Friday -  butterfly shrimp, salad, broccoli and cheese

The best money I spent was on an apple cider donut from our local tea shop today. IT WAS SO GOOD.  Adeline got a pumpkin smore donut that she enjoyed as well.

What I’m listening to  Counter Clock, Crime Junkie...

What I’m watching Southern Charm and Chesapeake Shores.  We just caught up on The Neighborhood from last season.  

What I’m reading:  People we Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

My plans for the weekend watching football, picking apples/making apple cider, taking the oldest to and fro, hopefully walking.  

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Thursday, September 1, 2022

What I read in August

I finished 10 books in August and the majority of them were amazing!

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne was our book club pick and we ALL liked it and we had so much to discuss.  It's very rare that we all finish and like a book so yay! This book is set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place I'm familiar with in a since that I am a Michigander who has traveled there a few times.  By no means an expert but I felt it was very well done.  It's been compared to Where the Crawdads Sing, and I liked it better.  If you were a huge fan of Crawdads and are looking for other books I'd also recommend The Girls in the Stilt House.  

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont is actually our September book club pick but it came in my library holds earlier than I anticipated! I was delightfully surprised that this book while historical fiction, also had a bit of mystery involved.  I LOVED IT!  A couple books I read this month actually referenced Agatha Christie and it's pushing me into picking up a few more f her books to try.  This book gives a fictional account of what happened with Mrs. Christie went missing for a bit of time.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is another book club pick for October but my hold came in early for this one too.  I really liked this book about a police detective on holiday to this luxury hotel that used to be a sanatorium to celebrate her brother's engagement.  His fiance disappears and then there is an avalanche.  People are stuck in the hotel and more start disappearing.  And the bodies start being found.  Who did it? Why? Will they survive alone in a hotel snowed in? This one reminded me of One By One by Ruth Ware.

I also read With Love from London by Sarah Jio,The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas, Cruelest Month by Aaron Stander and really enjoyed those.

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwarz was a disappointment.  It didn't end up being what I thought, but it was a YA read with a strong female lead.

Switchboard Soldiers by Jennifer Chiaverni was also really good.  It is about women telephone operators in WWI that were recruited to go to France and help the United States military because the men they had working as operators were too slow and clumsy.  If you are interested in kick ass women in history (even fictional) highly recommend.  It is quite thick and gets into some WWI history, but I read it quite quickly because it was engrossing! Another good one about WWI is Band of Sisters.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st is a middle grade book that I have wanted to check out for awhile and the beginning was a bit clunky but it was cute.  Not sure I’ll read the rest of the series.  But if you are looking for a book for a 4th grader I’d recommend it!

My last read of the month was Nine Lives by Peter Swanson.  I stayed up waaaay too late and read it one day.  Nine people got a letter in the mail with just their names on it.  Then they start dying.  It’s a  take on an Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None.  I had a few irritations with writing/character details but overall I really liked trying to figure out the who/what/why!

What did you read and enjoy in August?

Friday, June 10, 2022

Written in the Stars

 Happy Pride Month!

I just finished reading “Written in the Stars’ by Alexandria Bellefleur.  If you are looking for a nerdy queer romance novel with a twist on Pride and Prejudice look no farther.

Elle (Elizabeth) and Darcy are set up by Darcy’s ever hopeful and romantic brother.  Elle is looking for her one true love and Darcy is jaded and wishing she could say no to her brother.

One disastrous first date later and a small little fib lands them in a “relationship.”

Elle is into astrology, Darcy is an actuary.  Elle’s heads are in the clouds, Darcy’s feet are firmly planted.  What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, May 2, 2022

Canary in the Coal Mine

 The SNL skit  about women and murder shows was definitely written about me and I am so that stereotypical person.  Murder shows, murder podcasts, murder books, I'm there.  I've read that people who have anxiety or fears are drawn to these type of books because you learn what NOT to do.  And I mean, I'm definitely not running up the stairs to get away from a home intruder!

Canary in the Coal Mine by Charles Salzberg is about PI Pete Fortunato who is down on his luck (what PI in history of PI's is living the dream???) is visited by a beautiful woman who wants his help finding her husband.  The whole situation seems off to him, but he does his job and bad thing after bad thing befalls him.  

The book is fast paced and untangling the half truths that Pete is told helps the story move quickly.  Pete is a guys guy and the book gave me vibes of David Rosenthal, Jonathan Kellerman or Walter Mosley.  

Description: PI Pete Fortunato, half-Italian, half-Jewish, who suffers from anger management issues and insomnia, wakes up one morning with a bad taste in his mouth. This is never a good sign. Working out of a friend’s downtown real estate office, Fortunato, who spent a mysteriously short, forgettable stint as a cop in a small upstate New York town, lives from paycheck to paycheck. So, when a beautiful woman wants to hire him to find her husband, he doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Within a day, Fortunato finds the husband in the apartment of his client’s young, stud lover. He’s been shot once in the head. Case closed. But when his client’s check bounces, and a couple of Albanian gangsters show up outside his building and kidnap him, hoping he’ll lead them to a large sum of money supposedly stolen by the dead man, he begins to realize there’s a good chance he’s been set up to take the fall for the murder and the theft of the money.

In an attempt to get himself out of a jam, Fortunato winds up on a wild ride that takes him down to Texas where he searches for his client’s lover who he suspects has the money and holds the key to solving the murder.
What is your favorite book about a PI?
Mine would probably be the Laura Lippman series about Tess Monaghan.  
I received a copy of this book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Repetitive Reading withYoung Children

One of my favorite things is when you are reading with your child and they start to 'read' with you.  When you give a little pause, and their little voice pops in with the missing word, or when they are even younger and start jabbering and you know in their head they are 'reading' with you!

Books that have repetitive words and phrases are an important part of early literacy. When children hear the words over and over they begin to repeat them and 'read' with the reader.  It gives them the excitement that they are 'reading' too, even though they have just memorized the words.  Yay brain development!

Repetitive books help them comprehend and remember the story, especially if it's engaging and they have you read it 232423 times a day! When they have less overall words to remember and know in a story, it allows for more of their cognitive energy to go towards language.   

If you are wanting to work on a specific set of language, you can pick books that have repetition with a certain sound or phrase.  So if your child is struggling with pronouns (he, her, him, she, his etc) or with certain sounds, you can look for books that have a focus on that and the repetition in the story will help be a model.  

For my two year old some of her current favorite repetitive books are: 

The Three Little Pigs and The Little Red Hen from Usborne books.  They are great for her because it tells the classic story in an abbreviated version that is age appropriate.  Before I had even finished either of the books the first time she was chiming in with the repeating phrases in each book! 

The Pout Pout Fish - My only complaint about this book is the kissing of another without consent, which I do try to change when I read it.  Which, sure may not be a big deal to you, but I spend a lot of time telling my children they do not have to let others kiss them unless they want them to!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See?- Love the board book version.  We also have Baby Bear, Baby Bear. This is such a fun book to work with colors, sliding back the flap, and making the guesses of what's next.  It gives lots of opportunities for kids to fill in the blank.   

For older preschool kids I also like Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. I have the Pete the Cat books on cd and when my oldest was younger she would bring the book in the car and I'd play the CD and she would read with it.

I also have The Little Red Hen Makes Pizza, which is great for preschoolers and can be used to do so many fun activities I also have lots of variation so The Three Little Pig story.  Comparing and contrasting stories was always a fun preschool activity.  And such great books!

Other fun repetitive books:

If You Give a ... books such as a Mouse a cookie, a pig a party etc..

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Is Your Mama A Llama?

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and other variations

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Gingerbread Man

That's Not My Lion

What are some of your favorite repetitive books? What books do your kids enjoy hearing over and over again?