February Wrap Up

I’m still not home, but I don’t want to get too far behind in recording my thoughts and favorites, however brief this may be.
I read 32 books in February. Picture books 8 (5 non-fiction, 3 fiction), Fiction 4, Plays 3, Thrillers 3, Non-fiction 3, Kids fiction 3, Kids non-fiction 3, Historical romances 2, Memoir 1, Short stories 1, YA 1.

My top 5 books of the month- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Kindred by Octavia Butler, Fences by August Wilson, and The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. So much goodness in all of these!

In March for Women’s History Month I’ll be changing the theme to Women I Have History With Month and reading books by some of my favorite women authors.


To finish up my February recaps of authors of color, here are my last seven.

Kindred is one of those books that was about more than it first appeared to be. Dana found herself transported from 1970s California to 1815 Maryland at any time with no control over when or if it will happen. What is a time travel tale becomes a examination on the making of a slave. Don’t miss it.

A Raisin In the Sun is one of those classics that has passed be by until now. I loved this play and look forward to checking out the movie about the Younger family of South Side Chicago.

Toni Morrison never disappoints and I was drawn into the lives of the Money brother and sister as they navigated post war and post abuse life.

A strange and compelling Nigerian thriller. Love this cover!

A fun read with Gage as we learned more about the legend.

I liked this book about civil rights legend Rosa Parks, but wish there had been more. It felt a little incomplete. I adored the illustrations though.

This was a fun read with Gage. Lots of it went over his head (but I laughed) and much of it was too silly for words (and he laughed) so it had a little something for both of us.

So Many Good Books

We have just finished week two of our retreat to a Tennessee lake house with still more than a week to go. We were on the edge of the polar vortex mess that crippled much of the country so our time here hasn’t been what I’d hoped. I also fell on the icy road and my head bounced off the ground 🙁 (I’m fine). But, this is why we chose this place…



Even during all of the snow and freezing temps this was the sunset from our deck a few days ago. We are too isolated for this city girl (seriously, the roads were impassable until today) but this view is one I could get used to taking in for quite a while.

I’m still homeschooling and Jason is still working and we’ve got no complaints. Well, except that I haven’t been able to access my Google account and that means I can’t comment on a lot of your blogs when I visit, but know that I am visiting! I have to do this on our iPad which I’m finding to be a bit of a pain.


The books I’ve finished since my last update in the order I liked them, but there really wasn’t a dud in the lot of them.
3 picture books, 2 kids books, 2 non-fiction, 1 thriller, 1 historical romance, 1 play, 1 novel, 1 short story collection, and 1 young adult.

If you somehow missed this beautifully brutal book about 14 year old Esch and her family in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, do yourself a favor and find a copy. Be warned that there is a gruesome dog fighting scene that will likely disturb most.

Another one that took me too long to read. This is a must read for everyone. Justice isn’t blind and there are angels among us fighting the good fight. Powerful book.

Gage and I read this together and I’d love to be able to take him to see the memorial that a middle school created to honor the victims of the Holocaust. There are videos on YouTube if you’re curious.

My first Beverly Jenkins romance but not my last! Loved the post Civil War Wyoming setting and the wildly independent Spring Lee.

A sad but very powerful picture book about kindness.

Slavery from the mouths of slaves. This award winner compiles compelling first hand accounts from slaves before, during, and after the Civil War and provides context.

A great picture book about the life of playwright August Wilson. For the older elementary crowd. He earned a diploma from a library, need I say more?

I loved this picture book about a minister who started with bringing in a few boys from the cold and ended up starting an orphanage and founding a world renowned band. Inspiring.

These are such great books to read together, especially since Gage is more interested in non-fiction. He’s making me way smarter 😁

I’m not a big short story fan, but I really liked this collection of eight stories about the Haitian American experience.

This was a quiet story of generational family relationships.

After loving Fences so much I thought I’d try another from Wilson’s Century Collection. I’m guessing that I’ll be reading the last eight before the year is out. I wish I’d started with the first and read them in order since they each represent a decade of the 1900s, this one being the 1940s contribution.

This was another entry into the stranded island mystery genre with more than a few shades of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Fun thriller.

Catching Up

It’s already the 10th and I haven’t told you what I’ve been reading. We’ve ‘moved’ to a house on a lake in Tennessee for a bit, so that took some strategic planning since Jason is still working and I’m still homeschooling Gage. I’ve amazed myself that I have, on day 40, been able to keep up with my book a day challenge. The weight loss, not as much success, but I’m not giving up on that. I’m sure I’ll post more details about our getaway at some point, but for now I’ll just talk books 😀

4 picture books, 2 kids books, 2 non-fiction, 1 thriller, 1 Young adult, 1 historical romance, 1 screenplay. Yes, some days I read two because I committed to reading a book by or about a person of color this month, an additional challenge I’m finding rewarding.

In the order I liked them best…

Such a powerful story. I’m looking forward to watching the movie.
I loved this story of fate and star crossed love. Also looking forward to this movie!
So beautiful in every way, words and illustrations. A perfect read for this month.
It was dated, but Gage and I loved it anyway (well until that Dribble tragedy). Fun sharing one of my childhood favorites with him.

I didn’t know anything about the Children’s March in 1965 that led to thousands of kids being jailed, including Audrey who was nine. Powerful and inspiring.
A great memoir by the first black woman editor-in-chief in the Condé Nast magazine family.
I’m a NYC lover so this book made me happy.
A surprising romance set during the Civil War in the South between a black woman and white man.
Lots of buzz about this thriller about gentrification and I liked it.
We listened to these 10 short stories on our road trip and really liked most of them and a few I’m still thinking about. In a good way!
I’m glad I read it, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. It was definitely worth the few hours of reading and the new considerations on race that it inspired.
Arthur Ashe was such an inspirational person, but this picture book was mainly for tennis lovers.

Books of the week – January review

I’m technically a month into my #booked365 challenge. I read a day ahead of when I post on IG for a few reasons, the main one being timing. Having done these book a day challenges for a few years, too often I’m finishing up a book at 11 or even closer to midnight for the day which doesn’t leave time to really post about it. Now, I read a book and take a fun picture so that when I have a few minutes the next morning I have time to post my thoughts before moving on to my next book. So far this has worked swimmingly. Have I read my book for January 31? I have and for the purpose of summing up the month I’ll include it here, even though I won’t review it until tomorrow. I’m sure none of you care, but it makes me clear on what I’m doing in case I forget later, lol.

January reads (minus 4 audio books, 1 book I loaned my mom, and 1 movie).

I felt quite accomplished adding finished books to this pile! My favorites for the month would be my top 2 this week (look below!) and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi, The Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthy, and Good Citizens by Thich Nhat Hanh

I read 8 picture books (7 non-fiction, 1 poetry), 7 mystery/thrillers, 6 non-fiction, 4 fiction, 4 kids books (3 non-fiction, 1 fiction), 2 historical fiction, 1 humor book.

I started with a pile of ‘intended’ books for the month and read 10 of 13, not so bad!

For February, Black History Month, I’ll be reading a book by a person of color everyday. If you have a book I should definitely read, let me know!

Books read this week and my thoughts, listed in the order I liked them best…

Strange Planet by Nathan W Pyle was just what I needed. I laughed out loud at the antics of these alien creatures and their take on how we humans exist in the world. It won the 2020 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Humor.

Insightful, funny, and sweet – this is a keeper, which means I’ll have to buy my own copy since I checked this out of the library. Can you guess what he’s describing here? Plant liquid partially digested by insects and then stolen? Seriousness cloth? Personal star dimmers? Either way, make sure you give this one your time.

Razzi likes to cuddle when I’m reading so that’s how he ended up here just after I finished Girls Like Us by Christina Alger. I loved this mystery/police procedural/psychological thriller! It’s slow, but worth the dive into the head of FBI agent Nell Flynn and the atmospheric Suffolk County area. It was a dark book and I loved it. Perfect for the cold, snowy days of winter.

Nell returned to Long Island to bury her father, her only family left since her mother was murdered when she was 7. He had been a drunk homicide detective and their relationship had been strained her whole life. What she finds is suspicion. Nell could feel something was off and when a childhood friend asks for help she finds herself looking at Pandora’s box.

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler is a quick, under 200 page satisfying little story. Micah, a bachelor in his 40’s, has a girlfriend he likes and a job that he’s good at and allows him to be his own boss. He’s known to his loyal and loving family as ‘finicky’ and that’s just the way he likes it. But one day a boy shows up at his place claiming that Micah is his dad.

As with most things Anne Tyler this was quirky and worth the read.

My view last night as I met with the book club ladies (@bonniesjourney ) to discuss The Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood. This historical fiction novel is based on the life of Emily Roebling, the woman who helped design and complete the Brooklyn Bridge during a time when it really wasn’t allowed. In the second half of the 19th century the country, including her brother and husband-to-be, was fighting a Civil War. After the war Emily married Washington Roebling who was building bridges with his father with their sights set on a monumental bridge in New York.

I loved so much of this book but had real issues with a few points. I liked having the beginning take place during the Civil War, the details of how the bridge actually got built, and the suffragette movement of the time. These were all well done. Emily herself was a complicated woman, especially for the time, and I respected her strength. I’m very interested in learning more about her and her very prominent role in a man’s world.

Historical fiction is always tricky because of the fiction part. Sometimes I’ll get to the end of a book and feel as though I’d been hoodwinked. In this story Emily begins an affair of sorts with PT Barnum. He’s a crucial player in much of this book. Only there is zero evidence that Emily either had an affair or knew PT. It was too much of a stretch for me, but most of my other book clubbers weren’t as bothered by it.

What do you do when you have 30 minutes in the sauna? Why read about Robert Frost, of course! Papa is a Poet by Natalie S Bober and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon is a nice introduction to the poet. The story is told from the perspective of his daughter, Lesley, and the thoughts and memories are taken directly from the diary she kept as a child.

The story’s focus is their farm in New Hampshire (surprise, surprise, our state this week) where Frost is a farmer and an unpaid poet. It contains lines from some of his poems throughout. After the story there’s more information and real photos as well as quotations and 12 of his poems. It’s a nice introductory picture book. I had to use a different book for a more complete summary of his life, but this was my favorite of the two. 40 pages.

I wish I had a photo of our August homeschooling bookshelf, because it looked quite different than this January homeschooling mess 😆. The materials I’m using for the week are always on our table ready to go, so this is where I come to get what I need for the week and to file papers (ha!). Why am I showing this embarrassing picture? I picked up today’s book thinking I was going to read it for Gage only to realize I might be the one to benefit the most 😬

How ADHD Affects Home Organization: Understanding the Role of the 8 Key Executive Functions of the Mind by Lisa K Woodruff starts with best of intentions and has some good ideas, but, ultimately, it felt incomplete. Woodruff does a good job of summarizing 8 executive functions by how she understands them through clients in her home organization business. She offers a few tips on how to train yourself to get past these issues, but her suggestions always seem to rely on going to her podcasts (she lists several specific episodes at the end of each chapter) or Facebook group. Just jump straight to her podcasts and save yourself some time.

Books of the Week

The idea is that I post this list on Saturdays, but yesterday I spent all day sorting, moving, selling (online), organizing, and then stacking 30 boxes of books for our Friends group. I. was. beat. It was a good workout day though 🙂

Here’s what I read this week in the order that I enjoyed them. Pictures and thoughts taken from my Instagram.

Lots of picture books, 2 audio books, on e-book, and two actual paper books (my favorite). Three mysteries, and 4 non-fiction kids books (one adult too).

Have you read any of these?

Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke

We used this book for poetry reading and cursive practice for the last week. We read a few poems a day, so we were able to stretch the 23 poems out.

I adored the fun poems and the beautiful illustrations. It’s nice when a kid can see the joy and even laughs a poem can bring when the words and pictures were so cleverly put together. This books is for the younger child about the excitement reading can bring. We read the companion, and just as wonderful, Write! Write! Write! last fall.

Highly recommended for early readers.

The Hollow Of Fear by Sherry Thomas (Lady Sherlock #3) and Brian Wildsmith’s Animal Gallery

Jill of Rhapsody in Books sent Gage this gorgeous Brian Wildsmith book. It was so much fun to read together and definitely a keeper because of animal illustrations. Thank you Jill!

I also finished the audio The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas, the third in the Lady Sherlock series. I’ve loved this series from the start and this book brings the wide range of characters together for a very personal investigation as Charlotte dons a Mr. Sherlock disguise to help save Lord Ingram from conviction. So many moving parts from one book to the next that I sometimes have a hard time keeping up, but do enjoy these characters so much.

Betrayal at Ravenwick by Kelly Oliver (Fiona Figg #1)

 I really enjoyed this cozy mystery set in WWI England.

Fiona Figg is still struggling to get over her ex-husband’s betrayal when she is given the unexpected opportunity to become a spy, at least for a short time. The only catch is that she must pretend to be a man. Obvious and not so obvious difficulties ensue. There is a murder and some suspect her, er, him.

The end has a bit of a cliffhanger and I’ve already downloaded the next Fiona Figg book!

We read 3 lovely picture books during our South Carolina studies. I’m starting with the one I think all parents should check out for their child, especially if you’re going to talk about Black History Month in February. The Escape of Robert Smalls: A Daring Voyage Out Of Slavery by Jehan Jones-Radgowski and illustrated by Poppy Kang was a great story. It’s a wordy but thrilling book about Robert’s almost fantastical escape from slavery during the Civil War. How could I never have heard this story before? Amazing man and an edge of your seat escape that will amaze your kids (and you!). He saved himself, his family and his small crew and their families. He went on to become the first black captain of a US military ship and later a US Congressman.

Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’s Fleet-Of-Foot Girl by Megan Reid, illustrated by Laura Freeman would also fit into Black History Month studies. Althea became the first African American person to win a tennis Grand Slam and then went on to keep winning them during a time when most things were still segregated, even tennis clubs. An easier read than the first and and important story too.

And who doesn’t live an elepephant? Bubbles:An Elephant’s Story by Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle about the Myrtle Beach Safari was so sweet and fun. The pictures of Bubbles and his friends were fun reading, even/especially for the younger set. Gage and I both fell in love with animal ambassador and so will you. The picture are swoon worthy.

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka is a great little read. At only 144 pages it can be read during one sitting and it still manages to pack a punch.

Written in 5 sections, each one from a different point of view (mother, daughter, son, family, father) it tells of the treatment of Japanese Americans from right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the years of internment after. It’s both a little boring and heartbreaking (imagine being a kid being transported across country by train when you had to pull down the blinds as you went through towns). I found the most powerful section when they returned home after 3 years and 5 months. It would be over 4 years before the father was released from a different camp and by then he had gone a little mad.

An important read about a dark time in our nation’s history.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley was a Reece’s Book Club selection and the 2020 Goodreads Best Mystery & Thriller winner. It’s set in Ireland, a win for me, and since I listened I was able to enjoy the multitude of accents by the narrators, another win. It’s setting on a remote island only accessible by boat had the feel of having been done before, but it still worked.

The story is told in alternating voices. There’s the bride, the groom, the best man, the bridesmaid, the plus one, and the wedding planner. There are lots of reveals and twists with some going back and forth between past and present and it made a compelling thriller. The tension built the way a good thriller should, but for me, it fell a little bit flat in the end. I still liked it well enough to recommend to mystery lovers, especially those who embrace unlikeable characters.

A Florence Diary by Diana Athill

I had set aside this 65 page travel memoir for a day when I didn’t have a lot of time to spare. I’m happy to report that Diana Athill’s A Florence Diary was a delightful little transport back in time. Italy was our first overseas trip and I still remember our 3 days in Florence almost 12 years later. This book was just as much about Athill’s journey with her cousin from England to Italy as it was their time spent there. Learning about the 1947 boat and train experience and the people they met along the way was half the fun.

This was a charming little read if you want to travel to Florence and see it through the eyes of someone who experienced it over 70 years ago. There were some black and white photos mixed in with her thoughts. A nice little read to end the day.

Yes, this the mug I brought home from Italy and I use it all the time ☕️

Martin Luther King Jr.: Voice for Equality! (Show Me History!)

Show Me History: Martin Luther King Jr. by James Buckley Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.: Voice for Equality by James Buckley Jr. and Youneek Studios is a graphic novel that taught me a few things. It’s for kids and it’s ‘narrated’ by a young Lady Liberty and a young Uncle Sam. I found their narration a little off putting, but probably necessary for the younger set. I liked that they used different color balloons to differentiate between story and actual quotes. There were lots of quotes from his speeches and parts of his letters were included.

I learned a few things or maybe I had just forgotten that he was ‘little Mikey’ at birth until his father changed both of their names. I don’t remember learning that he skipped three grades. I was reading this in the family room and sharing interesting facts and when I got to that point Gage emphatically told me that he wasn’t interested in skipping to 7th grade.

He was a man who rose to meet the challenges of the day and we are all better off, even if we as a country tend to take two steps forward and one step back. “The arm of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

May we always strive to work toward equality. May we always strive for non-violence. May we always strive to put more love into the world so that it overpowers the hate.

Betrayal at Ravenswick by Kelly Oliver

Betrayal at Ravenswick (Fiona Figg Series #1)
Betrayal at Ravenswick. Finished 1-19-21, mystery, 4.25/5 stars, pub. 2020

Fiona Figg #1

Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie…

What’s the best way to purge an unfaithful husband?
Become a spy for British Intelligence, of course.

Desperate to get out of London, and determined to help the war effort and stop thinking about her philandering husband, Fiona Figg volunteers to go undercover.

At Ravenswick Abbey a charming South African war correspondent has tongues wagging. His friends say he’s a crack huntsman. The War Office is convinced he’s a traitor. Fiona thinks he’s a pompous prig.

What sort of name is Fredrick Fredricks anyway?

Too bad Fiona doesn’t own a Wolseley pith helmet. from Goodreads

Fiona was just what I needed. A woman who looks heartbreak in the face and carries on saving the world anyway. It’s three years into World War I and London can be a tense place to be, especially if your husband comes back injured from the war only to leave you for his secretary after you nursed him back to health. Fiona works as a file clerk at the War Office, the top secret Room 40, and enjoys a friendly and nosy relationship with the men running the show. She uses her smarts and plain looks to get herself hired as a spy trying to get intel on a German spy.

I loved this cozy mystery. Fiona was still smarting from her husband leaving her, but that didn’t stop her from moving forward. She not only took her job seriously but she also volunteered as a nurse when wounded soldiers came to the hospital. I thought the book and her adventures were great fun. Did she ever get her man? Well, yes and no. This first book leaves us with many questions, but Fiona’s on the hunt. I’m looking forward to reading her continued chase in book two that was just released.

And look at that cover. Love it!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here

This Week – Football

Highlights of the Week The Browns won their first playoff game against the Steelers! This was a huge deal around here and we even let Gage stay up to watch. Perhaps the most glorious first quarter of football I’ve ever seen (28-0).

I attended (Zoom) my first Library Friends board meeting this week where I just got to be a participant and not the President and it was so nice.

I’m still receiving Christmas cards and gifts in the mail.

Could’ve been better My Buckeyes were crushed in the National Championship 😦

I need to get my mojo back on the #50in50. I did manage to lose a pound this week, but my eating the last few days has not been good. My dad brought us my favorite pizza from back home and I scarfed down my half, no problem. It was worth it 🙂

Received in the mail Gage received the beautiful picture book Brian Wildsmith’s Animal Gallery from Jill. Love it!!

Currently Reading

Martin Luther King Jr.: Voice for Equal…
The Guest ListRead! Read! Read!Integrative  Wellness Rules: A Simple G…Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Soc…

Finished Reading You can see my thoughts on these here

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt TavaresGlory in Death by J.D. RobbWorth Dying For by Lee ChildTornado by Betsy ByarsWhen the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Movies Watched I watched one movie for my #Booked365 challenge. You can read how I compared the book and the movie here.

Powerful movie by Spike Lee.
The Midnight Sky (2020) - IMDb
Couldn’t hold a candle to the book.

On the TV My husband made me watch the first three episodes of The Witcher. It’s ok enough that I’ll continue since he loves it so much 🙂

Plans for the Weekend It’s cold and snowy. I’m envisioning a family game day, but we’ll see if my guys can convince to layer up and get out.

Last week’s rocket launch was so much fun. We even had a family who joined us at a distance. Of course, the second launch ended up with the rocket on the school roof, so our day was cut short. Still two rockets left to build.

Weekly Book Wrap Up- January 16

I’m a few weeks in and still feeling confident about my book-a-day-goal.

I read 3 kids books with Gage, 2 adult books, listened to one adult book, and watched one movie adaptation. Only one was truly non-fiction.

I’ve listed them in the order I liked them best and included my Instagram pics and summaries.

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton was my favorite book this week and the Netflix adaptation, The Midnight Sky, was my least favorite. You can read my comparison of the two here.

What I said about the book… I’ll be watching the movie later this week, but it’s going to have a high bar. This book was wonderful. ❤️

Augustine is an old man stranded at an outpost in the icy north. All of the other researchers were evacuated due to ‘rumors of war’ and there’s been radio silence for over a year. Sully is part of a crew on a two year mission to Jupiter when, just as they begin their journey back to Earth, they lose communication. Their stories, told in alternating chapters, intersect.

It would be doing it a disservice to label it as sci-fi or dystopian and leave it at that. This is a quiet, contemplative book with just enough tension to make you want to keep reading. It’s a book about survival, not just of the body and planet but of the mind and the human spirit.

What I said about the movie…No. No. No. After reading Good Morning, Midnight and loving it, this George Clooney Netflix movie adaptation felt all kinds of wrong. There was a Sully, hurtling back to Earth, and an Augustine, isolated on ice. But everything that made the book so wonderful, it’s quiet look at the meaning of life among other things, was lost in translation. 

We both learned at lot with this one. Who Was Dr. Seuss? by Janet Pascal.

I learned a lot about Ted. He wasn’t a serious student and a disappointment to his father. Drawing ads was how he made his living after college. He made movies for the Army during WWII and eventually even won two Oscars. He had college friends who gave him an introduction to the publishing world and he never looked back. Each of his most famous books were explained from the beginning of the idea to how the story was received. That was this book nerds favorite part.

I never know what Gage’s takeaway will be from these longer, around 100 page, books so I was happy when I heard the first thing he told his dad. “Dad, did you know Dr. Seuss was voted Least Likely to Succeed?” His first takeaway was that what labels people place on you have no impact on what your life will become. I’d be okay if that’s the only thing he learned (but it wasn’t 😁)

My Buckeyes may have lost is resounding fashion, but the book of the day, Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares was a good one.

We started learning about Maryland this week so we read this 40 page picture book of one of their most famous citizens. Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares was a great read. As someone who knows very little about baseball and it’s players beyond the names, this helped me see George beyond the Babe. He was sent to live at a reform/orphanage at 7 years old, even though he had two parents and a little sister. The people in that school became his family and he never forgot them.

Great story and illustrations make this a fun read for kids and their parents 😁

The second of the In Death series, Glory in Death by J.D.Robb.

Glory in Death is book 2 😂. J.D.Robb (or Nora Roberts or the uninitiated) knows how to write a good mystery with hot chemistry between her two main characters and this series has the added bonus of being set in the future.

What does police detective Eve Dallas do when prominent women start getting their throats slashed? Why make herself more prominent, of course! This isn’t hard to do since her bedmate is one of the wealthiest, hottest, most famous men on this planet (or any other).

I figured out the killer by halfway through, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book. Robb/Roberts knows how to keep you turning the pages.

Worth Dying For by Lee Child, the 15th in the Jack Reacher series.

 Reacher makes a pit stop in Nebraska and leaves death and justice in his wake.

Jack Reacher is one of those heroes that both satisfies and shocks. He’s a drifter, who always seems to find trouble wherever he goes, or it finds him, and his complicated moral code and stubbornness make stepping away impossible for him. He’s violent, but he’s also trying to right wrongs, so you want to cut him some slack.

I liked this one and was surprised at the end.

Tornado by Betsy Byars.

Tornado was a perfect sized book to take turns reading to each other in one sitting, 47 pages with a few pages of illustrations. Tornado was a black dog who was in his dog house when it was picked up by a tornado and flown to another yard. There are stories within stories, each told in first person, so I had to keep making sure Gage knew who was talking, but it was otherwise an easy to read book with an old fashioned feel. There were even a few pages where Gage was trying not to cry as he read, so the story drew us in.

A nice book for the beginning reader.

Book (Good Morning, Midnight) VS Movie (The Midnight Sky)

Title: Good Morning, Midnight: A Novel, Author: Lily Brooks-Dalton
2016
The Midnight Sky poster.png
2020

I read the book and watched the Netflix adaptation starring and directed by George Clooney this week. I sometimes sit down to write these comparisons and I don’t know who will come out on top until I’m done typing. That’s not the case with this one. I’ll try to give specifics without spoiling the good stuff.

Story/Plot There are ‘rumors of war’ and the Arctic outpost is being evacuated, but Augustine decides to stay behind, even after being told that there would be no return to pick him up. After a few weeks he discovers a girl who had been left behind. The story then switches to Aether, a spacecraft on its way back from Jupiter (book) or a newly discovered planet near Jupiter (movie) with Sullivan, Sully, as our storyteller. In the book this is a two year mission and it’s only after they wrap up their Jupiter studies, one year and two weeks after leaving earth, and head back home do they realize that they have no communication from Earth. In the movie the timeline is sped up, but the result is the same, no contact with Earth. This is where the book takes on a reflective tone on isolation, hope, and the strength of human spirit. The movie struggles to thrill the audience with gadgets and makes-no-sense scenes. The movie became nonsensical to me. Not to spoil anything, but the contact between the two is not the same. Augustine wasn’t searching for the Aether in the book, they just happened to find each other for 3 short conversations before the end. The movie chose to make this a time driven thriller. Everything they changed for the movie, and it was a lot, was a detriment to the story. Clearly… Thumbs Up – Book

The Visual The movie was beautiful. The stark whiteness of the Artic and the grandness of the Aether. The movie always holds the potential advantage here and The Midnight Sky didn’t disappoint. Thumbs Up – Movie

Characters/Actors Sigh. The movie has some great actors (George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler), but they didn’t hold a candle to the characters in the book. Augustine is dying from old age in the book, but they changed it to him being so sick that he needed to give himself some kind of complicated treatment in the movie. Augustine was much more active in the movie. The space crew was so emotionally raw in the book, each showing their breaking point with every new day that there was no contact from Earth (imagine almost a year of this). Sully was NOT pregnant in the book. I realize that it was written in because Felicity was pregnant in real life. I was okay with this, but she and the rest of the crew (in the movie they were minus one member) really got the short end of the stick in the depth department, even as the holograms tried to humanize them. Thumbs Up – Book

The Ending This is always difficult to discuss without giving too much away and that is especially true in this case. The Aether comes back to see Earth (in the movie it looks like something bad had happened, but in the book it looked the way it always had just with no electricity) and they must make decisions. Things are different between the book and the movie as far as the space crew goes, but it was mostly the same with Augustine. The big reveal? It was more subtle in the book. The ending in the book and movie made some people mad and confused. I happened to like the ending of the book and felt it went perfectly with the intent of the story. As for the movie ending, I don’t know. I was confused by the choices it made. Thumbs Up – Book

And the winner is… the book! And it wasn’t even close.

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on: (Before I Go To Sleep) (The Little Prince) (Charlie St. Cloud) (Far From the Madding Crowd(The Girl on the Train) (Tuck Everlasting)  (Northanger Abbey) (Me Before You) (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

This Week – 13 Year Blogiversary!

Highlights of the Week – I didn’t post about it, but the 7th was my 13th blogiversary! It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been sharing pieces of my life on this little slice of the universe for longer than I’ve been a mother. It boggles the mind. I’m SO, SO thankful for the many women (and men) I’ve met through book blogging over the years, some still blogging, some not, but we’re still in touch. I’m not always the most consistent blogger, but this always feels like home.

#booked365 is going strong. I’m 10 for 10 as you’ll see below. I’m feeling good about my chances of being successful in reading a book everyday, allowing for movies based on books when needed. I reading a book right now with the intention of watching the movie the next day and comparing them so you might hear about that next week.

#50in50 is going not as well 🙂 I’ve lost 8.2 pounds in the last month, so that’s good. I’m reading my Noom lessons and tracking my weight and meals, but my elephant sometimes overpowers my driver (noom analogy). I’ll get there. Still losing weight so that’s a good thing.

Low point of the Week – watching with my son the horror that we all saw unfold this week in our nation’s capital, a place I called home for 3 years. That’s all I’m going to say about it or I may not stop.

Books Finished

Disappearing Ink by Travis McDadeConversations with Rbg by Jeffrey RosenThe Brothers Kennedy by Kathleen KrullThe Stone Girl by Dirk WittenbornThe Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthyWho Was Dr. Seuss? by Janet B. Pascal

Currently reading

Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Soc…
Integrative  Wellness Rules: A Simple G…Glory in Death (In Death, #2)Good Morning, Midnight

Posts

You can see how I felt about all of the books I read here. My #booked365 and #50by50 goals here.

On the TV

Jason and I watched the first season of Bridgerton.

Bridgerton Title Card.png

Well done!

Plans for the Weekend

Jason’s dad sent Gage some fancy rockets that he and Jason are building and we’re going to take them to a field and watch them fly 600 feet or more in the air. Maybe I can get some exercise by chasing them around after they land who knows where.

Have a great week everyone!