Morning Pages

Today is the 5th anniversary of my Morning Pages practice. I have filled 27 notebooks in those years. Which is amazing to me. But what is also amazing is that I still get up most mornings and fill up those 3 pages.
Here’s to 5 many more years and many more notebooks.

Coffee and Cats

My first morning pages notebook.

Today I did the same thing I do almost every morning. I got up, poured myself a cup of coffee, and wrote in my morning pages notebook. As of today, I’ve been following this routine for a year. And it’s probably one of the best things I’ve done for myself in years.

I’m not imparting profound thoughts or truths in these notebooks, but instead I’m just taking what’s up here (pointing at my head) and putting it down here (pointing at my notebook.) And moving all that detritus from my busy brain leaves room for more creative ideas to percolate. I’m not putting down on paper deep truths or profound thoughts. I’m just following the advice of Julia Cameron and writing down whatever is floating around in my head.

Seriously, most mornings my notebook is filled with my whining about being “awake”, not enough coffee…

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20 Books of Summer 21

Today I’m starting the 20 Books of Summer which is hosted at 746 Books. If you want to know more about this challenge or join in the fun, click here. If 20 books seem unmanageable, there are options for 15, 10 or 5 books of summer.

Like I do with most challenges that I participate in, I’m using this to help me to knock some books off my owned TBR pile. So, this year I’m not going to bother putting together a to read list. I’ll just focus on reading books I own.

Happy Summer reading!

The Top Five Lowest Rated Books on my TBR: the 2020 Edition Wrap-Up

Here it is after a bit of a delay. TheFive Lowest Rated Books according to GoodReads that I own: The 2020 Edition. Just a quick reminder. I got this idea from BooksandLala (Thanks, Lala!) on You Tube. Here is the link to her video. For this personal challenge, I used GoodReads to find the five lowest rated books that I owned and were on my TBR. (I also did this for the five highest rated books. Here’s the link to that wrap-up.) Then the pandemic happened and–yeah. All my best laid plans…. At the beginning of the year I decided to push through and not let 2020 defeat me. And so I finished the books. And this is the result.

All of the books ratings and review numbers reflect the status of the books on January 6, 2020. I should also mention that I picked books that had 100 or more ratings on GoodReads for this challenge. In this wrap-up for each book I mention why the book is on my shelf, why I agree or disagree with the GoodReads rating, and whether I recommend reading the book the book.

Okay, with all of that in mind, here’s the list:

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. Average Rating 2.69 Stars. 33,955 Ratings. 5,508 Reviews. I own a paperback copy I bought at Target.

I have had this book since 2009 & I bought it because I loved The Lovely Bones so much. I read the first page of this book and immediately put it aside and decided to try again another day. That first sentence put me off it, I think. Over the years I moved this book more than once (across the country in one instance) and still did not bother to read it. To try and get myself to finally read it I’ve put it on a number of to read lists for different reading challenges.

I’ve not really wanted to read this book, I think it’s clear. In fact, this is the last book I read for this challenge. Truthfully, I dreaded reading it. And I was right. I disliked this book. So much so that I DNF’d on page 92 of my copy (about 38% of the book). And the main reason is that the Mother and daughter are horrible and awful people that I hated so much. And I didn’t care why or what happened to either of them. So, in my opinion, it does deserve a low rating. I wouldn’t recommend this book, but there are a lot of readers who like this book a lot, according to GoodReads. So YMMV.

Whiskey by Bruce Holbert. Average Rating 2.83 Stars. 161 Ratings. 42 Reviews. I own a hard back that I got in a book box subscription.

This book is a surprise for me. It takes a chapter or two to get in to the story, but then BAM!It sucked me in. Like The Almost Moon the main characters–Smoker and Andre–and most of the supporting characters are awful, unlikable people. But unlike The Almost Moon and it’s main characters, I care about the two brothers and their quest to save one of the brother’s daughter. And the story is beautifully told. And it has some quirky elements that are not there to just be quirky. So, to my surprise, I completely disagree with the low rating. I gave it 4 Stars. In fact, I think it would be higher rated book IF it were more widely read and had more ratings. So, yes, if you haven’t read this book, I think that you should.

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam. Average Rating 3.04 Stars. 5,035 Ratings. 756 Reviews. I own hard back copy that I got in a book box subscription.

I didn’t like this book. And I’m not surprised that the rating isn’t higher. Thereisn’t much of a plot, but that isn’t why I don’t like it. It’s not the main character, Rebecca. And she is unlikable, but for me that isn’t a deal breaker. I kept reading because Rebecca’s motivations are unclear or odd. And I was interested to find out how all of this turned out. Plus, the writing is lovely. But, like the other books on this list, I just don’t care about Rebecca or her reasons, ultimately. If you like books about motherhood you may enjoy this book more than I did.


Now You See Her by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Average Rating 3.11 Stars. 491 Ratings. 80 Reviews. I own paperback copy.

I picked this book up at an education conference more than ten years ago. That’s the fun bit about conferences, publishers give you books. So they put this in my hand & I brought it home. Like The Almost Moon I finally read it in 2020 and I must say I totally agree with the rating. And I agree with it because the book is so preachy. Why do so many young adult authors (and I think this is Jacquelyn Mitchard first YA/middle school novel?) think that they must preach to the kids? And, as with all the other books on this list, the main character Hope is awful. And I just didn’t care what happened to her. And I hated the preachiness of the novel. And I really hated those preachy novels when I was a kid and I think most kids do. I don’t recommend this at all.


Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale. Average Rating 3.12 Stars. 3,380 ratings. 653 Reviews. I own a Kindle copy.

I really disagree with the low rating of this book. At the same time, I do agree with many of the criticisms of this book on GoodReads: this isn’t a novel. It’s nonfiction. When I purchased this I thought it was a novelization of this woman’s story. It is not. Instead it’s an analysis/history of divorce laws and sexual mores of middle class in England in the mid 1800’s. It’s fascinating. The marketing for this book is bad and is the reason IMHO this book has such undeserved low ratings. If you are interested in women’s lives, marriages, and divorces in Victorian England, this book is for you.

I have to admit I was a bit surprised by how much I liked Whiskey and Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace. And very surprised how much I disliked the other three books on the list. As I looked at the reviews on GoodReads I found, for the most part, that for many of the readers who disliked these books, they hated the unlikable main characters and this is why they gave low ratings. But for me, it wasn’t the unlikable characters that made me dislike the book. For instance, I really like Whiskey and most of the characters in the book are truly awful people. For me what made the books unlikable and deserving of the low ratings is that I didn’t care about the characters and how their stories played out. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how well written the book is or how beautifully plotted it is. If I don’t care about the characters, I am done with the book.

Overall, I have found this challenge to be really interesting and helpful when it comes to thinking about why I do or do not like books. And I’ll really think about as I read the Highest/Lowest Rated books on GoodReads: 2021 edition. Yes, I’m doing this challenge again this year to help me get books off of my TBR. I’ll post this years lists soon.

What do you think about this list? Have you read any of the books on it? Do you agree or disagree with me or GoodReads about the books rating? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading, y’all!

National Bookmobile Day

It’s National Library Outreach Day (formally known as National Bookmobile Day). In honor of it I’m re-posting this.

Image result for bookmobile bad girl

In honor of #BookmobileDay2018, I am re-posting the tribute I wrote last year.

As a part of National Library Week, today is National Bookmobile Day in The United States. And as a lifelong reader and supporter of public libraries, I just want to celebrate my  love of bookmobiles and the librarians who run the. For many in rural communities, bookmobiles are the only way to access library books. And I wanted to remember the  bookmobile librarian that helped me become the reader I am today.

I grew up in a tiny community in the rural West. It was miles from everywhere. The nearest town with banks, grocery stores, and a library was a 30 minute drive—in good weather. So my first exposure to a library and library books was the bookmobile. The bookmobile came to our house twice a month, every other Wednesday. Mr. Riggs, the librarian, would park the large bus-sized vehicle near our house. In the spring, when our yard was muddy, he would park in the driest spot possible and help my mother lay wooden boards to the door of the bookmobile as a makeshift sidewalk. This kept the mud out of both our house and the bookmobile!

Mr. Riggs really seemed to appreciate my mother’s love of books. I don’t recall him limiting the number of books I checked out. He knew my mother had taught me to love reading and to respect the books. I remember having a stack of 15 or so storybooks at one time checked out from the bookmobile. And I can honestly say I never lost or ruined any of the books I checked out from the bookmobile. Mr. Riggs would also set aside books for Mom. He knew what she loved to read and would make sure to get the books for her. The bookmobile also visited our elementary school. And once as I checked out a book at school, he gave me a book he knew she would want to read. Mom had not been home that day when he visited our house. Now, did the other patrons of the bookmobile receive such consideration? That I don’t know. What I do know is he recognized in my mother a fellow lover of books.

I, of course, didn’t know what a special person he was until after he retired from running our bookmobile. The next fellow (whose name I don’t remember) wasn’t as friendly. He put limits on the number of books I could checkout and, when I was a teenager, tried to stop me from checking out “inappropriate” books that I wanted to read. I continued to visit the bookmobile and check out books, but it wasn’t the same. As I read back over what I’ve written I see that it’s hard for me to differentiate between the man who ran the bookmobile and the bookmobile as a service. And I think that’s okay. Because of his kindness and dedication as a librarian and bookmobile operator, I became a supporter of libraries and librarians. And I passed the love of libraries along to my children because of Mr. Riggs and his bookmobile.

Here is the link to the page where I found The Bookmobile Bad Girl Image.

Here is a link to 2021 National Library Outreach Day.

Do you have a bookmobile or library story? Share it in the comments below. Happy #NationalBookMobileDay, y’all!

The Top Five Highest Rated Books According GoodReads on my owned TBR Stack, the 2020 Edition Wrap-Up

Well, that is a long title for a blog post.

Anyway, I have finally finished read all five of the books. It took more than a year for me to do it and I blame the year for this. 2020, you sucked and ruined all of my plans! Including my reading plans. In December I looked back and realized I had only read one of the books on this list. And rather than start all over again with these books, I decided to concentrate on on reading and finishing up this self styled challenge (inspired by Books and Lala on You tube) and finish it late. Click on this link to see my original post and plans. And here is a link to my Starred Rating System.

So, here is the list with the ratings and review information and my original comments in Bold followed by my rating and thoughts on average rating on GoodReads.:


Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat. Average Rating:  4.53 Stars. 12,193 ratings. 1,084 reviews. I own a hard back copy of the book.

Okay, I really like this cookbook. It’s readable and lovely and full of good information that has improved my cooking. I give it 5 Stars. Samin Nosrat’s voice is so strong and fun to read. It really is like watching the Netflix series based on this cookbook. And the illustrations are just fantastic. So it totally makes sense to me that this book is highly rated on GoodReads. I’m looking forward to re-reading and trying the recipes in the coming months.


Harry Potter & Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts Edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein. Average Rating: 4.48 stars. 11,454 ratings. 92 reviews. I own the paperback.

Like all collections of essays, it’s a mixed bag. Some essays are great and others are….not. For me this was like reading 200 level college level philosophy course textbook. So I gave it only 2 Stars. As of the date in January 2020, this book only has 94 actual reviews, but 11,454 ratings. So, I suspect that true blue Harry Potter fans gave it 5 stars without bothering to read it. So, I think it’s an inflated rating.


Hogwarts Library by J.K. Rowling. Average Ratings: 4.47. 6,330 ratings. 185 Reviews. The three titles included in this collection are Fantastic Beasts, Quidditch Through the Ages, & The Tales of Beedle the Bard. This is a hardback collection.

Another Harry Potter collection of stories. Except this time the books are by J.K. Rowling herself. And this are all books that are mentioned over and over again in the Harry Potter books. So It is not surprising that this collection is so highly rated. And I agree with the rating & give it 4 Stars. In spite of the rating for me, again, the books were a mixed bag. Fantastic Beasts & Beedle the Bard are great fun to read. But Quidditch Through the Ages was a boring and confusing. I really think Rowling had a difficult time figuring out quidditch and how it works in the books and it shows in Quidditch Through the Ages.


Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Average Ratings 4.45 stars. 113,295 ratings. 13,568 reviews. I own a hardback. This is one of the books on my original list. Another hardback copy

I have put off reading this book because of the subject matter. It’s all about dealing with end of life issues with a person’s parents. And really, I think we all put that off until its almost too late I’m well into middle age and this topic is relevant to my life right now. So I agree with the rating for this book and give it 4 Stars. It’s full of helpful advice and good information about this topic. Is it a cheerful, happy read? No. But it is well written and accessible and full information we all need to know. It’s a book that i will keep and use as a reference in the future and will enthusiastically recommend.

broken angel

Broken Angels by Gemma Livero. Average Ratings: 4.44 stars. 9,587 ratings. 729 reviews. I won a Kindle copy a year or two ago? I really need to read and review this one. And it is the other book that was  on my original list in 2019.

I received this eBook as a GoodReads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

I DNF’d this Kindle book at 38%. And gave it 1 star. This book is Misery Lit. And I just can’t read it right now. So, yes. I disagree with the high rating of this one.

And that’s the highest rated books on my shelf in 2020. In the next week or two I should be finished reading the Five Lowest Rated books on my shelf according to GoodReads and will post about the experience of reading and comparing my rating to the average ratings.

What do you think? Have you read any of the books in my Highest Rated? If you’ve read them, do you agree with my rating? And do you have thoughts about the star ratings on GoodReads? So many people do! Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

February 2021 Wrap-Up

I had a good reading month, I think. I read a lot of books, had a mini Sarah MacLean re-readathon at the beginning of the month, and read a book which will end of up being one of my favorites reads of the year.

Total read: 17

Nonfiction: 1

Audio: 1

Re-Reads: 6

Male Authors: 1

Female Authors: 16

Diverse Authors: 1

Borrowed: 11

Favorite read:

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Disappointing Read:

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam

Challenge Tasks Updates

Mt. TBR Challenge: 5

PopSugar Challenge: 12

Reading Women Challenge: 1

HB Reading Embrace: 3

Across The Web

I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts, but I think the most interesting and bookish one I’ve listened to lately is Old Gods of Appalachia. Rod, my husband, suggested listening to it. If you are interested in Southern Gothic stories, this podcast may be for you.

So, how was your February? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to leave links to your blog in the comments below.

Happy Reading, y’all.

January 2021 Wrap-Up

Good grief, it’s the middle of February and I’ve not posted my January Wrap-Up. It seems I’m already failing at keeping this years resolutions. Well, that isn’t unusual for me. Anyway. I plan on posting more about my reading on this blog this year, and I’m off to a fabulous start.

My reading in January went well, I think. I did spend some time re-reading books, but, you know it’s winter and a comforting re-read of a favorite is always fun for me. I also managed to read a couple of books for The High/Low Challenge I set for myself. I didn’t complete it last year, and want to finish it this year. I also spent January deciding which challenges to participate in during the year. This year I decided to work on the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Reading Women Challenge, Heaving Bosoms Reading Embrace, and Mt.TBR Reading Challenge 2021. As usual, I’m using these challenges to read books that own as of January 30, 2020. I’m trying to focus on reading all of the books I own, both physical and digital. Of course, I plan on participating in readathons during the coming year, too.

Speaking of readathons, I’ve already completed one readathon January 4-10. I read Three books during it and participated in the 30 minute Sprints. And I have to say that those sprints inspired me to keep sprinting 3 or 4 days a week after the readathon was over. Ive been using that time to read books that I’m struggling to read for the High/Low Challenge. I have such a reading block when it comes to some of the books on those lists. And sprinting through those books helps.

I did want to write something about the Mt. TBR Challenge hosted by the blog My Reader’s Block. This challenge is designed to help readers read their owned books. And different mountain peaks equal the number of owned TBR books you plan to read during the year. I decided to attempt Mount Blanc, which is 24 books. To learn more about this challenge and its rules, be sure to click on the link above.

Okay, enough chat, here are my stats for the month of January.


Total Books Read: 12

Written by Men: 4

Written by Women:10

Nonfiction: 2

Diverse Authors: 3

Re-Reads: 3

Borrowed: 9

Mt. TBR Challenge: 3

Favorite Book of the Month: Devil in Winter . Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent & Evie forever.

Most Disappointing: The Fallen & Rapture books 1&2 in Hades Castle Trilogy. This is a serial and that wasn’t clear to me when I started reading the first book. And I really don’t like serials because in many, including this one, the plot doesn’t move much. A lot of just running around in circles for the characters, going nowhere at all. I won’t be finishing the series. #YMMV.

So that was my January reading. How did your January go? Let me know in the comments and leave a link to you wrap-up so I can poke around on your blog.

Happy Reading, y’all.

2020’s Reading Wrap-Up

Well, 2020 was something.

It’s something I don’t necessarily want to think about anytime soon. And for that reason, I think, looking back at my reading year has been…difficult. Not because I didn’t have a good reading year; I did. It’s just that I’m just so tired of the last year and everything having to do with it I’m ready to move on to the new one. Consequently, the 2020 Wrap-Up has been put off so many times that I feel I must put it up today or give up on it altogether.

So, rather than give it up, this years wrap up will be down and dirty. Here it is:

GoodReads 2020 Reading Challenge

My GoodReads Year in Books

Okay, here are some of the highlights:

Favorite: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Most Disappointing: The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

Best audio book: Jennifer Ehle reading Pride and Prejudice on You Tube or her Instagram account.

Okay, with that I’m closing the door on 2020. In a few weeks and months I’ll probably open the door, and look back, and write more about my reading during 2020, but not today.

How was your reading year? Did you go through a slump or was it your best year ever? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s to a better year, y’all! And Happy Reading.

December 2020 Wrap-Up

What a month. What a year.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m happy to see the end of 2020.

Here are the Stats for my reading this month:

Read: 13 books

Physical: 0

Digital: 13

Diverse Authors: 0

Women: 13

Men: 0

Borrowed: 9

Owned: 4

Re-Reads: 4 (Mostly Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books in anticipation of the Bridgerton series on Netflix.)

My Favorite Read of the Month is:

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn.

My 1 Star (or less) read of the Month:

I have a tie this month.

Hot Ghost by Annika Martin

The Demigod Complex by Abigail Owen

Both of these are Kindle books I own, and I will be “unhauling” later on in 2021. I think that 2021 will be for me a year of reorganizing and removing books, both physical and digital, that are, IMHO, not good, or I am uninterested in reading. I think I write more about this in my 2020 wrap-up next week, so look forward to that, I guess.

So, to wrap this up: How was your reading month? Let me know in the comments below. Happy New Reading Year, y’all!

Reading and Knitting

After putting knitting aside for a couple of years, I’ve decided to take it back up again. 2020 has been a hell of year for getting folks to take up crafting of all sorts, don’t you think? I started with a nice dishcloth pattern, and then moved on to an super simple afghan (still in progress), and eventually, after looking at knitting videos on You tube, I started an asymmetrical shawl. And all of this happened in the space of two months. So far, I’ve been knitting in the evening while I’m watching TV or listening to podcasts. But it occurred to me that I could be knitting and listening to audio books as well. I follow a number of bookstagrammers who do just that, so I decided to join them. So, as we move into the end of this dumpster fire of year and in to the new one, I plan to continue knitting and listening to audio books.

I do have a question for all my knitting and reading folks out there. Do any of you knit and read a physical or eBook at the same time? Is it possible to do both and not drop every other stitch? Let me know in the comments below. Also, do you have any listening recommendations for me? Or even narrators? I know from reading book blogs and bookstagram there are a lot of favorites out there. If you are interested in the free patterns for my projects, let me know below and I’ll post the links.

Here are some links to the podcasts I’ve listened to while knitting this past year:

Your Wrong About 

Fated Mates

You Must Remember This

Happy Reading, y’all!