February Wrap Up with Favorites!

We had a lovely vacation to the DC, Charlottesville, Virginia and Lake Norman in North Carolina areas. I’m still trying to catch up, but I’m much less stressed 🙂

This was my slowest reading month in years with only 16 books.

Adults – 7 (3 romance, 2 fiction, 1 memoir, 1 spiritual)

Middle School – 3 (2 fiction, 1 non-fiction)

Elementary – 6 (5 non fiction, 1 fiction)

Highly Recommended

An American Story by Kwame Alexander and Dare Coulter – kids picture book

Book Lovers by Emily Henry – contemporary romance

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd – fiction

The Love You Save by Goldie Taylor – memoir

Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught – historical romance – reread

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane – contemporary romance

I watched 6 movies which I’ll post about tomorrow. My favorite was probably the one we watched together as a family, True Spirit.

On vacation we had Apple+ so we were able to finally see what all the Ted Lasso fuss was about. Loved season 1!

I finished 3 puzzles for a total of 4,500 pieces. That’s a lot of puzzling!

What was your favorite read of the month?

This Week- I’m already stressed

This week we celebrated my dad’s 76th birthday. Not bad for a guy who had a heart attack and double bypass at 37! The kiddo and the cats had various doctor’s appointments and Jason and I have continued our streak of weekly date nights, which we lost track of during these covid years. I met with a mom friend and we signed up our boys for 4 weeks of camps this summer. That’s nice to have out of the way early. This week is going to be crazy and I’m stressed, made worse by the sinus headache that woke me up at 3:30 this morning and is still lingering. Homeschooling during these kinds of weeks is always challenging and when I miss public school the most.

Books read 8 (35 for the year). Loved both Book Lovers by Emily Henry and If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane, reviews to come. I also want to give a shout out to this new picture book about slavery that I loved for the content as much as the outstanding artwork. Do yourself a favor and take a look.

An American Story by Kwame Alexander and Dare Coulter.

Reviews posted The Cartographers was excellent. Take a look at my review

At the Movies

Jason and I went to an actual theater last night and saw M. Night Shyamalan’s latest mind teaser. This was intense and totally messed up. A mom at the theater was there with her son, maybe 8 years old? Don’t do that to your kid. And if you’ve ever had nightmares of planes falling from the sky, consider this your trigger warning.

On the Small Screen

We watched this as a family and it gets three enthusiastic thumbs up!

Puzzling – The fact that I still have a sizeable part of the 3000 piece puzzle to finish is also stressing me out. I had wanted to get it done before we left, but it might have to be left to the cats. That’s not good.

Plans for the weekend First, dinner. Then getting stuff marked off my extensive to do list.

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd, fiction, 4.5/5 stars, 392 pages, 2022

Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.

But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence… because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.

But why?

from Goodreads

The Cartographers was in my TBR box last fall and I’m sad that it took me this long to get to it. I didn’t really know much of anything about it and went in blind. Finding some maptastic magical realism along the way made me happy 😁

Nell was estranged from her father and her college boyfriend for 7 years because of a disagreement at the NYPL map division, where they all worked. When her dad is found dead in his office it sets off a hunt that Nell can’t quite quit even at great danger to herself.

I really liked this one. There are a lot of characters, but one storyline. I liked learning more about map making. The mystery was good and told at just the right pace to keep me hooked. If you don’t like bits of magic in your book, you might try a different title.

This Week- Pinball, Hot Dogs & Tennis

Jason and I actually went out to someplace new last night. It’s been awhile since we’ve done that. We found a pinball arcade with an all you can play fee, $6, and had lots of fun before it got a little too busy. We headed down the street to The Happy Dog, a hot dog place where you could get pretty much anything on your hot dog and tater tots. Surprisingly, the blue cheese slaw and pulled pork hot dog was delicious, lol.

We also hit up the Cleveland Open Tennis Tournament with Gage this week. It was fun to be so close to the action.

Books Read – 5 (27 for the year)

Posts – 3 (January Favorites) (The Love You Save by Goldie Taylor) (January Movies)

On the Screen

Much better than I expected.

The ending was ridiculous, but overall the movie was fun.

It had a few lol moments.

Puzzling – I’m still working on the 3000 piece puzzle. There’s progress, but it’s slow going.

Plans for the Weekend – Meeting up with a friend so we can discuss summer camps for our boys. What about you?

The Love You Save by Goldie Taylor

The Love You Save. Memoir, 4.5/5 stars, 288 pages, 2023

Aunt Gerald takes in anyone who asks, but the conditions are harsh. For her young niece Goldie Taylor, abandoned by her mother and coping with trauma of her own, life in Gerald’s East St. Louis comes with nothing but a threadbare blanket on the living room floor. 

But amid the pain and anguish, Goldie discovers a secret. She can find kinship among writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. She can find hope in a nurturing teacher who helps her find her voice. And books, she realizes, can save her life.  

Goldie Taylor’s debut memoir shines a light on the strictures of race, class and gender in a post–Jim Crow America while offering a nuanced, empathetic portrait of a family in a pitched battle for its very soul. from Goodreads

The Love You Save by Goldie Taylor is a memoir you’ll not soon forget. Growing up in East St. Louis Goldie’s childhood was full of trauma, strength, and ultimately survival. The journalist lays bare a period of her life that will surely inspire others to hold on or to reach out. Aided by her love of literature and a teacher who pushed her to excellence, Goldie saw a way to overcome.

Her ever changing relationships with her Aunt and Mother were beautifully told and some of my favorite parts of the book. The way that her Aunt and Uncle took in anyone who needed a place to stay, even with its hardships and tragedies, ended up being a place that she needed to be.

If you’re a fan of memoirs, like the Glass Castle or I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, then you need to pick up this gem.

The writing pulled me in and her honesty did the rest. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy. I’ll be recommending this to many people, but I’m not sure I want to run the risk of loaning it out and not getting it back!