It’s hard to believe we started the month in Tennessee with short trip to Georgia before heading home after a month away. I never did write about it and it’s not going to happen now, although never say never.
My plan for Women’s History Month was to only read books by women I had read before. Due to poor (ie none) planning for the month I was able to accomplish reading a woman everyday, but not always someone I’d read read before.
In March I read 35 books and watched 2 bookish movies. For the year I’ve read 101 books in 90 days and watched 3 bookish movies (picture books are definitely padding this number :))
In March I read 20 physical books, 3 audio books, 3 e-books.
Since my last book update I’ve finished 5 books. The first three in a romantic mystery series, one fiction, and one kid non-fiction. Obviously, I’m loving the Lucy Valentine series and expect I’ll finish up the last two soon, while I’ve still got my mom’s Kindle.
So much fun! The Valentine family has been able to read auras for generations. They turned this secret ability into a very successful Boston matchmaking service. Lucy must take the lead, but her secret ability has nothing to do with auras.
There’s a missing toddler and a skeleton buried in a shallow grave in the woods and Lucy can see them both. Enter a sexy firefighter, a meddling grandmother, two best friends, a three legged cat, and new hamster and you’ve got the makings of a fun mystery.
I read the second book of the Lucy Valentine series sooner rather than later even if it meant reading on a device – which. I HATE. But, even that couldn’t ruin it. Lucy and her merry group of family, friends, and foes were back and I was happy to spend time with them. Oh, and the sexy firefighter/PI was back too. Certainly can’t forget him!
Lucy now has her own division of her family matchmaking company, finding lost lives. She’s also helping the police on cases if she can using her special ability of being able to shake a person’s hand and locate what they’ve lost. One case from each of these, along with a myriad of other personal issues keep this book hopping. Lucy can accomplish a lot in a day!
There was no let down with this second book. The first few chapters were skimmable because they were full of info from the first book, but maybe only to me since I just read the first book two days ago.
I love all of the characters, and there are plenty, and how much each one is integral to her daily life. I don’t think Lucy would have done so well in Covid lockdown. Maybe that’s why it’s extra fun to read about her now.
The third of the Lucy Valentine series didn’t disappoint. I love the kind-hearted, special powers to save the world, Lucy. Her family, friends, and various cohorts are always a hoot. This time she’s helping the police find a missing man who may have committed suicide and also trying to find a lost love for a client that puts her in the crosshairs of the FBI. Oh, and there’s a Lone Ranger who comes along every few days to shower the city of Boston with thousands in $20 bills.
The sexy boyfriend has a heart condition that keeps the story grounded, but even that storyline pulls at the heartstrings instead of bringing you down.
This came up in a search for another book at the library and I was intrigued enough to check it out. I love the included backstory of how this book project began. Her son was interested in the presidents, so she began researching and drawing their portraits for him. She became frustrated and galvanized after drawing 44 portraits of men. Hence this book.
I loved this book! There’s a quote for each woman and a portrait full of information. There is also a follow up at the end listing all of the women, when they lived, and a powerful moment. This is inspired art and I only wish it had been longer!
The first portrait she did was the one on the cover, Carrie Fisher. Some others included are Yuri Kochiyama, Dian Fossey, Shirley Muldowney, Betsey Johnson, and Abby Wambach. I learned about some new women and spent time on Google finding out more.
I love Kristan Higgins. I’ve read about half of her books and am always entertained with laughs and heart. She has a light touch, wicked sense of humor and great characters. Unfortunately, for the first time, I found it hard to generate any excitement for this one. The only reason I buckled down and finished listening last night was because it was Higgins.
The Frost family is in turmoil. The head of the family has had a stroke, something his wife finds out on the day she plans to divorce him. As he lies in the hospital, she discovers he’s been having an affair. Their oldest, perfect daughter is going through a midlife crisis professionally and personally and their youngest daughter just got down in one knee to propose to her boyfriend of two years. He said no.
I couldn’t have cared less about them, even actively disliking most of them at any given time. I’m hoping this was just a one time thing from this reliable author. And, hey, I’m sure some people loved it 😁. I did love the multi person audio performance.
I’m so behind with this but unwilling to let a decade long tradition go by the wayside. I hope you’ll participate!
You know the drill, add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time. Click here to see past movie posts.
Highlights of the week – We had a friend over to play this week (and his mama too). I’m so thankful for the warm weather so that we can do more of this.
I mentioned last week that Gage filled out a March Madness bracket this year for the first time and if he wins he gets a Yes Day. Well after the first two rounds he’s winning, lol. So, we took a look and it all comes down to Gonzaga. If Gonzaga wins the whole thing, I win. If Gonzaga loses any of these last 3 games, Gage wins. Jason is completely out of it. I’m getting nervous about what a Gage Yes Day would entail.
Spent some time at the library doing displays for the Friends ongoing book sale. Always my happy place 🙂
Currently reading –
Books finished – You can read my thoughts on all of these books here. So much good reading this week.
Plans for the weekend – Enjoying time outside. Reading. Cleaning.
It was a fantastic reading week! 6 kids picture books (4 fiction, 2 non-fiction), 2 kids non-fiction, 1 non-fiction, 1 historical fiction, 1 fiction, 1 mystery,
I loved the Dictionary for a Better World so much I bought a copy for us to keep. We Should All Be Feminists was a great book AND TED Talk. I loved learning about Hedy Lamarr and I loved catching up with series favorite Mrs. Pollifax. I loved reading about a wintery and it’s soap opera like plots. I’ve loved starting our Ohio history unit with Gage. I’m on a reading roll and I like it!
This is an adaptation from Adiche’s Nigerian TED talk and it breathed new life into the word feminist. When people who are against something try to make the word or anyone who associated with it a slur it always leads to small minded thinking and division.
Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
This was the definition she grew up with and included. And she’s right, we should all be feminists. Everyone has time to read this one or watch the TED Talk on YouTube.
Hedwig Keisler, an Austrian stage actress, caught the eye of a powerful ammunition manufacturer when she was just 19. Marrying him was one way to keep her Jewish family safe since Hitler was starting Jewish eradication in Germany. The marriage was not a good one.
A daring escape led her to Hollywood where she earned a living the only way she knew how and became the legendary Hedy Lamarr. She also invented a frequency-hopping spread spectrum with the help of composer George Antheil. While the Navy didn’t use it for the war, it was used later by the military.
A fascinating woman who has me wanting to know more. Well done!
A fun, quick, soapy read that I devoured in no time. And I drank wine while doing it. 🍇🍷 Georgia shows up at her family’s Sonoma County vineyard in her wedding dress, having abandoned LA in the middle of her dress fitting. In short order she finds out her parents are taking time apart, her brothers are fighting, and her father’s selling the family business. Oh, and she’s not talking to her fiancé who she is marrying in a week. So much drama and I was there for it all.
This is my 11th Mrs. Pollifax (only 3 left!) and, except for the first one, it’s probably my favorite. Emily Pollifax happened into her top secret life as a CIA spy when she was older, widowed, and with two grown children. She lives her life as a quiet garden enthusiast but sometimes gets a call for a mission that needs her aged wisdom.
In this book she’s taxed with getting into China and ferreting out information from an unsuspecting dissident and then getting that info to her partner in crime who remains a mystery. Then the struggle to get out of China with a person of interest under the watchful eye of the police.
Of course trouble ensues and therein lies the fun. Emily takes no prisoners and gains admirers everywhere she goes. She’s a grandma with a plan, hope, and a twinkle in her eye.
As someone who knew nothing about horse racing and the role of slavery at its inception, I learned so much (and so did Razzi). The very first Kentucky Derby in 1875 had 14 black jockeys to just one white. This would reverse itself in the early 1900s.
The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby is the story of Jimmy ‘Wink’ Winkfield. The 17th child of sharecroppers in Kentucky he went on to become one of the premier jockeys, narrowly losing what would have been his 3rd Kentucky Derby win in a row in 1903.
Kids will love the illustrations and descriptions of the races and the older folks will love the extra historical information before and after the story. Loved it.
Ohio is sometimes called the Mother of Presidents because 7 of them were born here. Neil Armstrong and John Glenn too. The Wright brothers flew their plane at Kitty Hawk but made it here. Doris Day, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Halle Berry, and Steven Spielberg are all Buckeyes. Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, and Thomas Edison all born here too.
We’re the 7th largest state by population, but 34th by total area, so we’re not all flat farmland. The 3 C’s (Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati) have much Midwest goodness to share.
I remember doing an Ohio history unit in the 4th grade and look forward to sharing some home state pride with Gage.
Toni Morrison is from Lorain, Ohio so we learned a little bit more about her yesterday and spent some time at the end of our school day reading some of the picture books she’d written with her son Slade. (except for the first, Remember)
Remember: The Journey to School Integration has historical photos and text written by Morrison to tell the story of that time in the south. Swipe through to see a few of the pages. It’s just the right length to share with older elementary kids. The actual photos make it more real for Gage.
Gage’s favorite picture book was a the Tortoise or the Hare, a retelling of the classic fable. My favorite was Please, Louise where she shares the magic of libraries. Morrison’s bio in the back even mentions he high school job as a page in the Lorain Library.
Highlights of the Week – Beautiful weather has arrived just in time for the weekend and the official beginning of spring. We had a picnic in the park today which was so nice.
We had our book group via Zoom and while I didn’t love the book (Hamnet) it’s always good to see the ladies. Two of the ten are recovering from Covid since last month. It’s still here and we are being as careful as we have been this last year. I don’t see our lives changing too much until fall at the earliest when we have a better idea what the virus and vaccinations are going to do. I look forward time outside with friends now that the weather is changing.
Gage filled out a March Madness bracket for the first time. If he beats both of his parents he wins a Yes Day 🙂
Could’ve been better – It’s March Madness and after an impressive showing in the Big 10 Championship my #2 Buckeyes totally choked against 15 seed Oral Roberts. And Jason’s Michigan State lost too. We’re still watching, but it’s not as fun.
Currently reading –
Finished this week – You can see my thoughts on most of them here.
TV – Still watching Schitt’s Creek and we’re a few episodes into Ginny and Georgia and liking it so far.
Plans for the weekend – I’m not sure what tomorrow brings, some time outside in nature I’d expect. Gage has his first outside time with a friend planned this week now that the weather is changing and he is so ready for it.
Is your team still going in the tournament?
I’m linking up with Sunday Salon hosted by Readerbuzz
Thursday I have more time to post so here I am! We’ll see if the day sticks. Since last update I’ve read 5 books and watched one bookish movie. I’m at 84 books and 3 bookish movies for the year. Honestly, not the best reading week so far. I’d only recommend the first two!
The images and thoughts (added to or sliced up) are from my daily Instagram (follow me there @stacybuckeye)
This was the third book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, but I’d only read the first and didn’t feel like I missed anything, even though the main character, Frank, first appeared in #2. The complex characters, historic Dublin setting, and slow build mystery, all made this a page-turner.
Frank, an undercover cop from a neighborhood who viewed him as a turncoat because of it, had never come to grips with the disappearance of his first love. He viewed his family as poison and went on to marry and have a daughter and kept them as far away from the madness as possible. But when his first love’s old suitcase is found, he must head back home and face the music.
So, so good. I loved Frank for all his flaws and getting to understand him in relation to where he grew up, which felt like a character of its own. The resolution was both real and heartbreaking. I love gritty thrillers like this. Highly recommend!
Chipotle and movie night, the one night a month Gage gets to stay up as late as he wants watching movies with us.
My one request was The Call of the Wild with Harrison Ford so that it would count for my bookish movie of the day. I haven’t read the Jack London classic in a few years, but I still consider it a favorite. The computer generated Buck gave him (and the other dogs) a more human feel, which is opposite of Buck’s story, but I see why they did it 🤷🏻♀️ I really liked the movie and had no problem falling in love with the fake Buck, maybe because I already knew his journey. I may have also been the only one who shed tears at the end, even though I knew what was coming!
Known for his boxing skills, his colorful personality, his conversion to Islam and his new name, his objection to being drafted that ended his career for a time, his activism for civil rights and the Rumble in the Jungle, this book did an excellent job of including it all. This book was written before his death, but it does include his thoughts on having Parkinson’s disease.
Gage had never heard of Muhammad Ali 😮 so this was fun for him. He wanted to know more about the Sportsman of the Century. It was also fun reading some of his more famous quotes as poetry.
Our book club pick this month was Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. There were nine of us Zooming last night and I was in the minority on this one. It’s ultimately the story of of Anne ‘Agnes’ Hathaway from the time she met and married William Shakespeare through her grief of losing their son.
Little is known of Shakespeare’s life, but he did marry a woman older than him and they did have three children. We know that the son Hamnet died when he was 11. Shakespeare wrote the play Hamlet four years later.
This is a quiet, thoughtful book about the time (late 1500s) and of grief. While I did like parts of it, shedding tears when Agnes prepared her son for burial and appreciating the concluding last scene, I didn’t really care for the book. Much of it felt like a slog. But 6 of the 9 loved it and it’s gotten rave reviews everywhere.
The Pinballs by Betsy Byars was first published in 1977 and it shows, especially in the first third of the book. Three kids show up at the Mason home as first time foster kids. Carlie, the TV obsessed tough girl, Harvey, the boy with two broken legs thanks to his father, and Thomas J, raised by 82 year twins after he was abandoned by his parents.
Gage was curious about foster homes and this helped explain how some kids ended up in the system. The kids are sad, but the Masons were loving and patient. I loved how the kids came to support each other.
Unfortunately, this one was a little bit of a letdown after my love for Knisley’s graphic memoir about pregnancy. This is different because it’s a collection of comics from her first year of having a baby. It actually felt like the first year of motherhood with its random, but honestly funny, observations. It was short and didn’t take long to read, but I missed the story aspect of her other books.
Highlights of the week- I’ve been waking up early to do some reading and journaling with a cup of coffee before Jason and Gage get up and it has changed my whole day for the better. I do sometimes want to rush through school so that I can take my after school teacher nap, but I’m so much happier when I make myself do it. And a happier teacher makes a happier student 🙂
Some nice walking weather. Jason’s even been able to play tennis outside a few times and that’s a win for everyone.
My parents go in for their second vaccine shot this week.
Getting back on track from our almost month away. Hopefully I’ll get a post up on that this week, but the change of scenery, even while being mostly isolated, was good for all of us.
Currently reading –
Finished this week-Still keeping up with my book a day challenge. I’m even ahead of the game with 80 books in 72 days. You can find more thoughts on these books here and here.
On the TV – Just watching Schitt’s Creek a few times a week for laughs.
Plans for the Weekend – Spending as much outside in the sun as possible in 40 degree weather.
And tonight is movie night so Gage gets to stay up as long as he wants watching movies with us. He is always the last one awake 🙂
I’d like to do these book posts on Fridays, so no time like the present, even if I did just post an update earlier this week. After 71 days this year I’ve finished 79 books and two bookish movies. If you have any recommendations for good one day books let me know!
Here’s what I read in the second half of this week. 2 Picture books (1 fiction, 1 non-fiction), 1 Kids book (non-fiction, 1 Mystery, and 1 Graphic Memoir.
I’m working on a post about our trip, but want to get the easy part done first. I am sooooo glad to be home working on my computer!
For Women’s History Month my reading goal is to read women I have a history with at least once a day, the one exception being the Mike Fiorito book for the TLC book tour.
I read and watched Murder On the Orient Express this last week. We watched the 2017 film with Kenneth Branaugh as Hercules Peroit and I actually thought it had a chance to be better than the book, which I thought was ok but not great. Unfortunately, although it made changes to make it more exciting onscreen it still failed to wow me.
I read 9 books – 2 mysteries, 1 each of picture books, thriller, memoir, kids fiction, sci-fi, historical romance, and fiction.