Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2020 Part 2

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Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2020 Part 2

ag. 12, 2020, 5:42 pm

Things have changed since I started this thread in January. To sum up: My name is Rachel, and I work at a library in a small town in Ohio.

Pre-COVID, I did a lot of tasks at the library, including almost all collection development and book ordering, Youth Services stuff, leading an adult book discussion each month, working the circulation desk, and running a weekly baby and toddler storytime program. Now my hours have been cut, and everyone’s jobs have changed. I have no idea if or when things will go back to “normal.”

My husband and I had our second child, a boy, at the end of May. We also have a two-and-a-half year old boy who has too much energy. This has naturally cut into my reading time, but I don’t mind. I read a lot of picture books and board books with the boys, and I will try to post about those books on here more often.
At this point, I have set aside most non-fiction and classics. I like to read a variety of genres and books for all ages. Right now, any reading is good reading, especially lighter reads, paperbacks, and children’s and YA fiction.

Thanks to any visitors for stopping by. I may not post very often, but I do lurk on threads and think of LT friends often!

ag. 12, 2020, 5:42 pm

Books Read January-April

1. Posted by John David Anderson
2. At the Mountain's Edge by Genevieve Graham
3. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
4. Spy Penguins by Sam Hay
5. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
6. The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
7. The Prairie Homestead Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Heritage Cooking in Any Kitchen by Jill Winger
8. The Cookbook of Left-Overs by Helen Carroll Clarke
9. From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
10. Top Secret Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich
11. Our House by Louise Candlish
12. Spy Penguins: The Spy Who Loved Ice Cream by Sam Hay
13. The Little Women Cookbook by Wini Moranville

14. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
15. Catherine's War by Julia Billet
16. The Forbidden Expedition by Alex Bell
17. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

18. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
19. Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey
20. Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918 by Don Brown
21. Renegade by Anna Schmidt
22. Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
23. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
24. Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill
25. The Blue Ghost by Marion Dane Bauer

26. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
27. The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West by David McCullough
28. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
29. Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden
30. The Bookwanderers by Anna James
31. The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller
32. The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell
33. The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
34. Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean
35. The Sheriffs of Savage Wells by Sarah M. Eden

Editat: ag. 27, 2020, 2:19 pm

Books Read May-August

36. Scrublands by Chris Hammer
37. The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston
38. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
39. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena
40. Bigby Bear by Philippe Coudray
41. Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett
42. The Impossible Crime by Mac Barnett

43. Westering Women by Sandra Dallas
44. The Bitterroot Inn by Devney Perry
45. The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton
46. Skyjacked by Paul Griffin
47. The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring
48. Words on Fire by Jennifer A. Nielsen
49. The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

50. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
51. Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston
52. Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams
53. Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao
54. Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer by Trina Robbins
55. The Story that Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer
56. Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

57. Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
58. The Candle Palace by Devney Perry
59. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
60. The House of Brides by Jane Cockram
61. Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus

Editat: des. 31, 2020, 10:49 pm

Books Read September-December

62. Christmas in Bayberry by Jennifer Faye
63. Beach Read by Emily Henry
64. Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley
65. Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton
66. Pathfinder by Anna Schmidt
67. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

68. The Answer Is...: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek
69. Go to Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons from the Fog of New Parenthood by Lucy Knisley
70. A Cotswold Christmas by Kate Hewitt
71. Meet Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt
72. Rosie: Stronger than Steel by Lindsay Ward

73. Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson
74. The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows

75. Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt
76. Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt
77. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
78. Marry Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt
79. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
80. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

ag. 12, 2020, 5:45 pm

I've got reviews for the books I read in July (a bit late, but life has been busy!) and I'll post a life update soon too! So far in August, I've only read two books and have started one audiobook.

ag. 12, 2020, 5:46 pm

Book # 50: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

This was a fun historical fiction that ended up with some historical fantasy elements, and I would love two things: that it is turned into a series, and that it would be made into a movie or TV series. While it wasn’t a perfect book, it was full of things I love in the stories I read, and I would absolutely read more if more books were written. I recommend the audio version, as well.

Theodora wants to help her treasure hunter father search for relics, but he never allows her to accompany him. When a friend from her past shows up and announces her father is in danger, they set out across Romania to find him. Theodora uses her father’s journal and help from locals to discover what her father was doing, and how she is connected to his disappearance.

I’m being a bit vague about the plot, but I thought it was very entertaining and it made me want to revisit Transylvania. What I didn’t care for was some of the dialogue, which was too contemporary for the setting of the book.

ag. 12, 2020, 5:46 pm

Book # 51: Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston

I read the first book in this series earlier this year. I was surprised by some of the events in this one, which I was not expecting. However, it does set up the next book, which I will read at some point.

Time travel, antique objects, history, romance, and a real cliffhanger ending.

ag. 12, 2020, 5:47 pm

Book # 52: Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

I wish I would have liked this one, but it was too full of millennial…everything. It was also too long, or it took too long for certain things to happen. It’s a millennial You’ve Got Mail, but in this case, stick to the movie. Which reminds me, I still need to watch The Shop Around the Corner at some point.

ag. 12, 2020, 5:47 pm

Book # 53: Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

YA novel about a Taiwanese-American girl in rural Indiana, family secrets, racism, and family dynamics. The pacing was off, and I felt like I was missing a few big, important parts of the story.

ag. 12, 2020, 5:47 pm

Book # 54: Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer by Trina Robbins

A juvenile/YA graphic nonfiction following Lily, who leaves Austria on one of the last Kindertransport trains and eventually becomes a comic book artist in the USA.

ag. 12, 2020, 5:48 pm

Book # 55: The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer

Ileana is a storyteller and writer who is sent to stay with the grandparents she never knew when her parents start being spied upon by Romania’s Communist regime in 1989. Will she be safe in the remote mountain village? Will her stories save or hurt her family?

I liked this one a lot, and recommend it to anyone who likes blending history and folklore. Wonderful writing and I look forward to reading more by this author.

ag. 12, 2020, 5:48 pm

Book # 56: Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Excellent story about Hanna, who is part Chinese, and her father settling in a small South Dakota town in the 1880s. She wants to be a dressmaker, but will the town accept her?

ag. 12, 2020, 5:50 pm

Happy new thread!

ag. 12, 2020, 6:30 pm

>13 drneutron: Thanks! Now if I can just be more active on here...

ag. 12, 2020, 6:32 pm

Life Update

Calvin: They say that each pregnancy is different, which is true, but each baby is different, too! Calvin is the opposite of his brother in many ways. Thankfully, Calvin had no problem with breastfeeding from the start. He eats ALL THE TIME. It's exhausting. John would only take bottles, and pumping is so much harder than nursing! But where John would sleep anywhere, Calvin spent the first five weeks sleeping either in his swing (which scared me at night) or in my arms. I did not sleep in my bed for over a month. He would not lay down anywhere, so I didn't get many good pictures of him. One night I had enough and put him in his crib, and he was fine. I spent the night on the floor next to the crib because I was afraid he was going to stop breathing. He sleeps through the night now, but not always. Some nights both boys sleep, some nights one or the other is up, and other nights, more often than I would like, I’m up with both of them at some point.

Calvin is such a smiley baby too. I can’t believe how much and how often he smiles! He even laughed out loud the other night. He’s very alert and listens when I read stories to John in the morning.

Clubfoot: We went to Cincinnati for John’s checkup and Calvin’s first cast on July 10. Our doctor could immediately tell that C’s feet are already two different sizes. This is common with unilateral clubfoot. We won’t know how much of a size difference there will be for a long time, but he said it’s not usually a problem until the feet become a size and a half different or more. His calves are also smaller than normal, and this is fairly common too. It’s not a noticeable issue though. Because of scheduling because of the doctor’s vacation, we had to soak the second cast off at home. They are usually changed every 5-7 days, and we were on day 10. Calvin had a huge growth spurt and was losing circulation in his toes. We waited as long as possible to take it off, but had to the night before his next appointment. Thankfully we were able to reschedule an appointment and tomorrow he will have his sixth cast put on. He may need a few more, it just depends on how flexible the foot is and how many degrees the doctor can move it when they position the next cast. He will probably need surgery to cut the Achilles tendon so it can regrow properly, and this usually happens in about 75% of clubfoot cases. I am hoping to be done with surgery and post-surgery casts by the end of September. Thankfully Calvin has tolerated the cast very well and we have been able to get a lot of appointments on Fridays, which are my day off.

Library: The library reopened to the public in early July, before I came back from maternity leave. We allow 15 patrons in the building at a time. We are offering curbside pickup, but this has really slowed down since we reopened. We have a station at the front doors, where patrons take a ticket so we can count how many people are inside. Sometimes I work at this desk, where we also check in our book return and cargo items and answer the phone. The other station we are currently manning is the circulation desk. I also work here. This person does faxing, checks out materials to patrons, calls people with holds, and so on. Other duties include pulling books for the pull list. Our consortium, which is made up of almost 100 library systems across the state, started releasing the holds a few weeks ago, and so we have had over a hundred items on the list each morning, and more for the afternoon and evening lists. I pack up cargo on Tuesdays, and yesterday I had to stop because our cart was overflowing and our delivery driver wouldn’t be able to fit everything in the vehicle. My aunt told me she had twenty things in transit the other day, haha! We quarantine all items for five days, so we have a schedule of what days we open what things. That’s another reason why I have a ton of cargo each Tuesday.

My boss gave me a really sucky schedule (both for hours worked and my hours at a station) and isn’t giving me adequate time to pump (which she is legally required to do) but I am trying to stay positive. I feel like I never see my kids because they are either sleeping or I am rushing to get ready to leave for work or to get them dinner, bath, etc. at night. As often as things have been changing the last few months, I am sure they will keep changing in the upcoming weeks and months.

This is a picture I got from a clubfoot website showing the position of the casts.

They are toe-to-hip plaster casts. The ortho tech rolls the plaster on and the doctor positions the foot then molds the cast. We soak him in a tub with warm water and vinegar before we leave for the hospital/clinic, and this helps break up the plaster so it can be removed. We soaked his cast off the night before his two month well check, where he was 10 lbs 3 oz. Last week at his clubfoot appointment, they weighed him and he was 13 lbs!!!

Reading: I have a ton of books checked out that I may or may not read. I have holds that will show up at some point. Some nights I have energy to read, and other nights I want to pass out in bed and sleep for days. Sometimes I try to listen to an audiobook during my lunch break, but since it’s now my hurry up and eat and pump and do things break, I don’t always do that.

ag. 12, 2020, 6:37 pm

Books Read in July

Some really good, some bad, and some average reads in August. Nice mix of adult/children's/YA.

ag. 12, 2020, 7:19 pm

Happy new thread, Rachel.

ag. 12, 2020, 8:34 pm

I'm glad things are mostly going well. Hopefully your schedule will improve soon, and you can get some more sleep! I'm sure the smiling and laughing and cuteness make up for his sleeping habits!

My library is still only doing curbside, but I've been reading so much on my nook that I just went for the first time today. I'm pretty surprised they haven't opened- most other libraries around have, but they were also the last to start curbside.

Keeping my eye out for The Lady Rogue and Secrets of the Chocolate House. I'm glad I picked up Where the World Ends after you read it and wrote about it.

ag. 12, 2020, 9:00 pm

Happy new thread, Rachel! My library is also still keeping to curbside, at least until mid-September, but *fingers crossed* it seems to be working well. I'm impressed with your reading with two little ones keeping you so busy! I'd love to see what picture books you're reading to the kiddos, too. My niece and nephew are a little older than your boys (5 and 3) but I'm keeping a list of books to share with them eventually and love getting more ideas. Hope everything continues to go well with Calvin's casts, too.

ag. 13, 2020, 4:23 am

>18 jennyifer24: & >19 bell7: No idea what my library is doing as I am far removed from West Yorkshire and here in Malaysia I don't really have the benefit of a library.

ag. 13, 2020, 12:27 pm

So good to read the progress Calvin has made with his casts
and hope that September brings real relief!

With all his smiles, I'll bet your little Calvin will enjoy his comic namesake.

ag. 13, 2020, 6:09 pm

Happy new thread, Rachel. Glad to see you're settling into something resembling a schedule and sincerely hoping the work situation improves.

Editat: ag. 17, 2020, 4:37 pm

>17 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

>18 jennyifer24: I think you'll like The Lady Rogue. Secrets of the Chocolate House is actually the second book in the series, and you definitely have to read The Little Shop of Found Things first.

>19 bell7: Mary, do you have customers who show up curbside without an appointment? We've been dealing with this more and more since we reopened. It's happened several times today (I'm working at the phone/ticket station and taking all these calls from patrons saying they are here or a couple minutes away. Of course it always happens when we're super busy, too!

>20 PaulCranswick: Good thing you have more than a few books of your own, Paul :)

>21 m.belljackson: I am lucky to have two little boys who both wake up happy and smiling each morning. They certainly don't get that from me!

>22 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky!

I haven't done much reading since the middle of last week - a couple of chapters in a paperback, and a few chapters on an e-audiobook that I need to finish in the next three days. At Thursday's appointment, the doctor said he wants to put one more cast on (which would be this Friday) and then we should be ready for surgery (it's not scheduled yet, but should be the last week of August). I had forgotten that the sixth and seventh casts are the most awkward positions. The way the leg and knee are bent, and where the plaster "knobs" are for unwinding can't be comfortable. It makes putting on his leg warmers over the cast difficult, too. I could tell Calvin didn't care for it for the first few days, as he can't get comfortable in his swing, doesn't want to nurse on the right side, and just wants to be held. I will be glad to be done with casts (he will need to be casted for three weeks after surgery to allow for his heel to heal before starting the boots and bar phase) and hope we will be done with them in less than month.

When I got home from Cincinnati I found out I have been summoned for jury duty for the rest of the year. I was just summoned when John was less than a year old, so I was surprised by this. I am going to try to get a deferment, but I tried last time (same situation, with clubfoot treatment and breastfeeding) and they would not defer, so I'm not holding my breath.

A couple of stories with my older son and books:

He loves Little Blue Truck and I recently brought Good Night, Little Blue Truck home. He calls it the "Bumpity Bump Book" because of how it starts out. My husband was reading it to him for probably the tenth time, and he asked things the rain makes grow (there's a storm and rain in the story). John said "Daddy's beans," referring to soybeans and my husband asked what else, and he shouted, "SWEET CORN!" We have a large sweet corn patch behind a building and ate the first ears on Saturday.

I had also checked out Ten Red Apples, but John was not interested in it. I tried to get him to bring it to me a couple times to read to him while I was feeding the baby, but he didn't want to. Then a couple days later, he brought it to me and demanded I read it, and it became a new favorite. He also loves a couple of the Llama Llama books and Grumpy Gloria by the same author. I need to go through his book boxes and return some of the library books he hasn't looked at in a while, but somehow I always forget to do that in the evenings.

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but my library quarantines all items in the book return and coming in with Cargo for five days. Because we are also closed on Fridays, we have a certain schedule for when we can check in items. Today was a check in day, and I got NINE items in. It was like Christmas! Of course, over half the items are for my son, but it's still like Christmas!

ag. 17, 2020, 5:06 pm

>23 aktakukac: Oof, 5 days is a long quarantine. Both the library where I work and my home library quarantine for 72 hours based on data from a study done on typical library materials.

Hope everything goes smoothly with Calvin's treatments!

ag. 17, 2020, 5:27 pm

>24 MickyFine: We were doing it for three days, and then my boss changed it to five because of a study involving the results of a study on glossy pages and board books. I may not be able to pack up cargo tomorrow because we are out of bags and envelopes...of course my boss is on vacation this week, too. I'll know more when today's cargo person is finished packing.

Thanks, Calvin is doing great so far :)

ag. 17, 2020, 9:04 pm

>23 aktakukac: Occasionally. We had someone call our curbside line (cell phone specifically for "I'm here!" phone calls to start keeping the main line free for other calls) to ask for some history-of-the-town books and "I'm here right now..." and today I made an appointment for 3:10 only to have them call us at 2:30 saying they were here. But so far people have been pretty good, thankfully. We just moved to an online registration that patrons can do themselves, and I'm hoping it will cut down on no-shows. Do you get many of those? I think we usually have 1-2 a day.

ag. 17, 2020, 9:37 pm

>23 aktakukac: Thanks, I'll look for that one first!

I can't believe you got jury duty, ugh! Hoping they'll let you out of it!

ag. 19, 2020, 6:59 pm

>26 bell7: We have three parking spots on the street on the west side of the building that have been reserved by the city for curbside pickup. I'd say about two-thirds of the patrons are good about calling when they get to a spot and saying they are here and ready for pickup, and they had a time scheduled so their items are waiting by that door (we have a section of the building blocked off for our curbside computer station, tables, etc.)

Sometimes patrons will call and say they will be there in five or ten minutes, or that they are here now. They may or may not have scheduled this pickup time, so sometimes we have to check out their items at the circ desk and take them over to curbside. It seems like the same patrons keep doing this over and over, even though we have explained the system. Other times we get calls from people who are "out front" in the main parking lot by our entrance doors.

We have an online registration system, and have had that since we started doing curbside. We have also been calling all people with holds, even those who get text or email notifications, although we have tapered off doing that this week. Most people are good about making an appointment or saying they will come in the building to pick them up. One lady, who always drove me crazy before this started, always says she will just let us know when she's here, which really ticks me off. She also has to know EVERY title of EVERY hold she has in, and I just want to scream, "It's one you requested!!!" but that wouldn't be very professional of me.

Curbside has definitely slowed down since we reopened the building, but there are many patrons who still utilize it, and I think it will pick back up again in the fall and when the weather is bad.

Sometimes we have no shows, but not all that often.

>27 jennyifer24: My coworkers were telling me that the county seems to put names in to draw for jury duty for certain periods of time, say five years, and then you can get called quite frequently in that time. I hope they let me postpone it, or that all the cases settle and I won't have to go in!

I finished an audiobook yesterday, so my total of books read this month is now three! I probably won't get much reading in any time soon. Tonight we are taking informal family pictures (my in-laws, my sister-in-law and her family, and the four of us) for some stuff my father-in-law needs. Tomorrow is another 11-7 day, and then I have to get up by 4 AM on Friday to get ready and leave for our 7:30 appointment in Cincinnati. At least we will be done early enough to get home and still have a decent part of Friday left. Of course, I'll just want to sleep!

I obviously was in no condition to have a garden this year, but some pumpkin seeds that I threw between the driveway and field have done well, and we now have at least four pumpkins growing! I haven't done anything to them all year, so I don't know if I should water them or not, but it would be great if they survive and the boys can pick their pumpkins this year!

ag. 24, 2020, 4:14 pm

Book # 57: Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley

When I went to my second-to-last prenatal appointment, I was talking to the receptionist at my OB/GYN office (she knows I work at the library), and she couldn’t remember the name of one of her favorite books she read a long time ago. She said it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it had a red rose on the cover. I got called back to my appointment before I could say anything, but at my next appointment (the day I was induced), I asked her if it was this book by Robin McKinley. It was, and she was thrilled to learn my library has a copy.

I had been meaning to read something by McKinley for quite some time, and figured this was a good place to start, especially after seeing a lot of positive reviews about it recently. I really liked it, although I would have liked a bit more from the “romance” aspect. I liked the writing and descriptions, but thought the ending was a bit rushed.

I have a couple others by McKinley that I added to my reading list years and years ago, and I look forward to reading them at some point.

ag. 24, 2020, 4:14 pm

Book # 58: The Candle Palace by Devney Perry
A short novel about how two of the characters from the Jamison Valley series met and fell in love. Not as strong as other installments, but a decent, short read.

ag. 24, 2020, 4:16 pm

Book # 59: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A wedding is taking place on a boggy island off the coast of Ireland. There is a body – a victim of murder? – and over the course of the novel, the reader gets the perspective from different characters leading up to the moment when all is revealed. The strength of this novel was in the atmospheric setting. It’s not a place I would want to have a wedding, but it made for a unique locale. I did not care for most, if not all, of the characters. I liked the fast-paced chapters, and was kept guessing until almost the end. The ending was a bit abrupt and unfinished, and there were too many unrealistic coincidences that that took away from my rating.

I read Foley’s The Hunting Party last summer, and wanted to read another of her books to see if my opinion of her writing changed. She's not a favorite author, but I don't think her stories are anything better than average.

ag. 24, 2020, 4:25 pm

I read a few chapters on Saturday while I was waiting to have some follow-up blood work done. Even though I was the next person in line when I got to the waiting area, I had to wait over 50 minutes because they only had one person working in the lab, and she was doing everything COVID-related, which meant all the non-COVID people had to wait. They finally brought someone else down to help. My husband's aunt and 97 year old great aunt processed sweet corn for the freezer, on Friday and Sunday, so I made them lunch both days since they brought me a ton of corn. I also made an applesauce cake and a chocolate banana cake because I need to make room in the deep freezer for the corn and stuff.

Calvin was weighed at his appointment on Friday, and he is up to 14 pounds. He's gaining a half a pound a week! His leg was starting to get pinched from being in the cast too long, so we will definitely be changing it every week after his surgery. The surgery is on Friday morning, so it'll be another very early morning getting ready and driving to Cincinnati. I anticipate holding him a lot after we get home Friday and over the weekend - maybe I will be able to read a bit or listen to an audiobook then?

I had several more holds come in on Saturday and today, but again, they aren't all for me :) I put a few more on hold today, because I never know when they will arrive, or what I will be in the mood to read when I actually finish a book.

ag. 24, 2020, 4:28 pm

>32 aktakukac:

Hope that Friday goes smoothly and that this is the last major surgery for your sweet strong Calvin!

ag. 24, 2020, 4:35 pm

>29 aktakukac: Robin McKinley is one of my favorites. I love Beauty; she also has another Beauty and the Beast retelling called Rose Daughter. I remember not liking it as much as Beauty, but now I'm wondering if my perspective will have changed as an adult! My other favorites of hers are The Hero and the Crown, Spindle's End, and The Outlaws of Sherwood.

>32 aktakukac: I hope everything goes well with Calvin's surgery!

ag. 24, 2020, 5:28 pm

>33 m.belljackson: Thank you, I hope he won't need future surgeries for any reason! Things will be done differently than they were for my older boy. Calvin will have a numbing cream put on his leg instead of general anesthesia, and it will be an outpatient procedure. I had to stay overnight with my older boy so he could be monitored for different reasons, and I am glad we will be able to head home later Friday!

>34 curioussquared: I did see where she had written Rose Daughter, but I think I will pass on that one. The Outlaws of Sherwood is one I had on a list, even though I haven't really ever read anything with Robin Hood.

Here's one of my favorite pictures of smiling Baby C, which I took a couple days ago and sums up his personality perfectly:

And his big brother, who found himself a reading nook a while back when I was on maternity leave and doing laundry.

Please don't mind all the toys and messy house in the pictures!

ag. 24, 2020, 5:49 pm

Looks like a normal house to me! :)

Your boys are adorable.

ag. 25, 2020, 8:00 am

>31 aktakukac: I thought I had read that one, but I guess I didn't. I think the atmosphere appealed to me. Not sure if it is on the to be read list or not. If we had it at the library, it's one of the ones we returned.

ag. 25, 2020, 8:26 am

Aw, look at those sweet little boys! Thanks for sharing!

ag. 25, 2020, 5:07 pm

>36 MickyFine: Sometimes, well most times really, the toys start to take over...but I don't mind. My husband has different ideas and clutter and a mess bother him. His mother is a terrific housekeeper who actually likes to clean. Me, I'd rather read.

>37 thornton37814: I was able to get on the wait list for the ebook pretty quickly. I'm glad because there's a very long wait list for the physical book.

>38 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

ag. 25, 2020, 5:52 pm

Sweet little fellas indeed.
My best wishes also for Calvin's procedure.

ag. 28, 2020, 11:55 am

Thinking about you today!

set. 5, 2020, 10:43 pm

Didn't hear from you for a few days, Rachel. Hope that everything went well.

set. 24, 2020, 5:44 pm

>40 PaulCranswick:, >41 jennyifer24:, >42 PaulCranswick: Thanks for the well wishes! Calvin's surgery went well, although I was told he was incredibly fussy before, during, and after the procedure. He also has an exceptionally thick tendon, but it seems to have healed well. Unfortunately, he developed a reaction to the material in the "stocking" that they put on his leg to keep the plaster off the skin. It was kept off for his final cast, and so he had a couple of sore spots that are finally just about healed. He got the final cast off last Friday and started wearing his boots and bar for 23 hours a day for three months. It will be nice to drop down to 18 hours just before Christmas! The first few days were a bit of an adjustment for him. His heel needed time to drop down into the boot properly, but it seems to have done that. He also needed time for his leg to get used to not being in a cast before I could give him a proper bath. He sure loved that first bath! I am back to constantly worrying that his socks don't fit right and cause blisters, or that I won't get the straps tight enough and they will slip. My mother-in-law and aunt-in-law are both leaving the hour of free time for me to do when I get home from work, so Monday-Thursday evenings are pretty crazy between trying to eat supper, do free time, baths, and get boots on both boys by around 8 PM.

Calvin has been amazing through the entire process. He was getting close to rolling over with his cast on, so I knew it would be happening soon. Last night he rolled over during his free time for the first time, and while I didn't get it on video, I did get to see it. This morning he rolled over with his boots on, which I did not see because I was in the kitchen and was not expecting him to do it so quickly. He is also slobbering all over everything, which is fine as long as he doesn't start teething any time soon!

Work is very, very busy. That's a good thing, I suppose. I don't know what will happen regarding returning to our regular hours, schedules, or anything. I do know I have quite a bit of vacation to use before the end of the year, although I will try to carry a bit over to next year. I'm worried something may happen where my babysitters won't be able to watch the boys, and I'd like to have some extra days in case I need to stay home with them.

My brother had a crazy overabundance of tomatoes in his garden this year, and gave me an entire trunk load of boxes full of them. We canned over 60 jars of sauce, ketchup, and stewed tomatoes. I also made five huge kettles full of tomato soup for the freezer. In addition, we gave them away at work and to more family. It was hectic, but it felt good to do it and get it finished. We would have done more, but ran out of canning jar lids and they are nowhere to be found this year. Thanks, COVID.

I've read a bit here and there, but I'm usually too tired or busy to pick up a book. I should return a bunch of the library books I have at home, but I always have hope I will find time for them. John is going through a big dinosaur phase (thanks, mother-in-law!) so we have been reading some picture books I brought home for him. He really likes one called Triceratops Stomp and it's not our favorite. He will tell you it's his favorite book. He even asks me if he can read it to me while I'm feeding the baby (YES, YES YOU CAN "READ" TO ME ANY TIME, SON!!).

I will try to catch up on reviews soon, and visit threads, but no promises! We could potentially be harvesting soybeans by this weekend, and once we start things will get even more hectic!

set. 24, 2020, 10:07 pm

An abundance of tomatoes is something to be joyful for - love tomatoes.

Nice to see you back posting, Rachel, and that things, all considered, are better than ok.

set. 25, 2020, 11:46 am

Sounds like life is crazy full, Rachel. Glad to hear that Colin's surgery went smoothly and that you made it through canning-palooza. Fingers crossed that harvest goes smoothly and the weather holds!

set. 25, 2020, 12:22 pm

Congratulations to All of you on Everything, notably Calvin's recovery from surgery. May it all go smooth from here on.

set. 28, 2020, 3:12 pm

Just cathcing up Rachel. Gosh!! You have been busy. Glad to hear lovely Calvin is doing well!

oct. 13, 2020, 1:54 pm

Checking in. I'll bet the two boys are keeping you busy!

oct. 15, 2020, 4:46 pm

Hi, All! Time has unsurprisingly slipped away from me yet again. We are all doing pretty well. My husband is busy farming so I am doing all the childcare duties (besides babysitting while I am at work) and I hardly see him. But we're making progress, hopefully they can get a lot done this weekend with good weather. Calvin developed a blister on the back of his ankle/heel and it has taken a while to heal. I had forgotten how much I worry when they are in 23 hour-wear for boots and bar. Constantly checking his socks to make sure they are on right, doing stretches when it's free time, making sure I have enough clean socks on hand, and now taking proper steps to heal the blister. Thankfully my husband's aunt is a retired nurse and an expert at wound care. We don't have to go to Cincinnati every week or even every other week anymore, which is wonderful. I will be glad when he can go down to 18 hours a day a bit before Christmas. By the time I get home from work I have to rush to get supper for my toddler, baths if they need them, free time with Calvin, and get them to bed so that I can then start doing housework, getting things ready for the next day, and so on. If I'm lucky I will read a few pages but usually am too tired or fall asleep reading. As much as I miss reading, this is a season that will pass, and I will take my baby snuggles and toddler wanting me to read a book to him for the 543813 time.

Things would be better/easier if I had a different work schedule, but it seems this is the way it's going to be until who knows when. My boss is not the best at communicating, and there are so many unknowns. It will be interesting to see what happens later this fall/winter and when flu season is in full swing.

I have some comments about what I've read since August. My reading has definitely slowed down, as has my audiobook listening. I am really hoping to make it to 75 books by the end of the year...maybe reading a lot of children's books will help that happen!

>44 PaulCranswick: The tomatoes were delicious, Paul. I had some of the tomato soup for lunch today. My next project is squash (several varieties) and peppers (also several kinds).

>45 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! Soybeans are done, wheat is planted, and corn is moving along :) I am still waiting to ride along in the combine, and I have a three-year-old who loves it, too!

>46 m.belljackson: Thanks, Marianne, we are moving ahead and Calvin is adjusting quite well. He can roll over with and without the boots and bar on!

>47 HanGerg: Hi Hannah, busy is an understatement but you understand :)

>48 ronincats: Hi Roni, the boys certainly keep me on my toes!

oct. 15, 2020, 4:47 pm

I still owe comments on the books I finished in August:

Book # 60: The House of Brides by Jane Cockram

This debut novel had a terrific setting and is full of family secrets, but that’s about all it had going for it. I did not like the main character, Miranda. In this case the awful main character really helped ruin the story. The story itself was unbelievable and disjointed - at times it felt like the author was just adding things to make the plot more complex, and it became a muddled mess. Cannot recommend.

Book # 61: Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus

I never read any of the books in this series as a kid, nor did I ever watch the film. I listened to this first one, and thought it was fun. I will add it to the list to read with my kids when they are older.

oct. 15, 2020, 4:49 pm

Books Read in August

Ahh, August...when I had time to read five books but no time to comment about them on LT!

oct. 15, 2020, 4:50 pm

And from September:

Book # 62: Christmas in Bayberry by Jennifer Faye

Cozy Hallmark romance set at Christmas, in Vermont. Predictable but delightful, if you like those types of reads.

Book # 63: Beach Read by Emily Henry

I’ve seen a lot of reviews and talk about this one, but I did not like it as much as other readers seem to. I found parts a bit boring and thought it dragged on in the middle.

oct. 15, 2020, 4:52 pm

Book # 64: Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley

Middle grade graphic novel in which Jen and her mother move to a farm with her mom’s boyfriend and work at a farmer’s market. The boyfriend’s two daughters visit on the weekends, and Jen has to work with them to do chores, sell their merchandise at the market, and try to get along with girls who have different personalities and strengths than she does.

I could relate to Jen (especially with the math part – to this day I get flustered when working with numbers in any form!) and was happy to see how her relationship with the other girls developed.

Book # 65: Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton

The second book in this cozy mystery series set in Edinburgh. I did not care for the narrator, but am glad that the next book has a different narrator, so I will try that one later to see if I want to continue with the series or not.

oct. 15, 2020, 4:54 pm

Book # 66: Pathfinder by Anna Schmidt

The third book in a trilogy about Harvey Girls in New Mexico. It was not my favorite, but I did like that a wild west show was incorporated into the story.

Book # 67: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I had noticed this one a while back, and thought it was time for a YA book. I have to admit, I was not expecting the big reveal to be what it was! If you like a good, solid mystery that will keep you guessing and then make you think, “Oh!,” try this one.

oct. 15, 2020, 4:56 pm

Books Read in September

September reading was a good mix of decent books, so I can't complain!

oct. 15, 2020, 4:58 pm

And finally, what I've read so far in October:

Book # 68: The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trekek
I have grown up watching Alex Trebek host Jeopardy! and I have seriously considered trying out for the show. I will try out one day, but not today or tomorrow. I was excited to get to this one, and while it wasn’t set up in a format I was expecting, I highly enjoyed it.

A little information: Alex narrates a bit of the book, but most of it is narrated by Ken Jennings. They do terrific jobs, but if either one annoys you, skip the audio book (although I doubt you’d be reading/listening to it if Alex does annoy you, so…). The physical book contains tons of pictures and is worth looking at if you want to listen to the audio version.

The book contains autobiographical information about Alex and his family, highlights from his long career in radio and television, life stories, and some of his thoughts on certain topics like charity and his cancer diagnosis. At times informative, heartfelt, and hilarious, this is a great memoir.

oct. 15, 2020, 4:58 pm

Book # 69: Go to Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons from the Fog of New Parenthood by Lucy Knisley

I am at a perfect point in my life for this book, and I laughed and nodded my head as I read through it. It’s not a good starting point for readers trying Knisley’s work, but it’s perfect for new parents.

oct. 15, 2020, 5:52 pm

I'm exhausted just reading about your days and impressed you're reading as many books as you are! I think you'll hit 75 this year -- I believe in you!

>56 aktakukac: I'm a big Jeopardy nerd and do a lot of recreational trivia. I dated a guy in college who I'm pretty sure I was initially attracted to when I learned he won second place on Teen Jeopardy in high school, lol. Another of my good college friends was on the show last year and it was so much fun watching her! I've definitely decided I'd like to be on the show at some point and have taken the online test a few times so we'll see what happens! I should probably pick up this book :)

oct. 15, 2020, 6:01 pm

>58 curioussquared: I have too many library books checked out at home, plus my own books, so I have no excuse that I can't find something for the six books I need to get to 75. Oh, and e-books too. I have some vacation time coming up in November and December, so maybe I can get some good reading in then.

At some point when I was engaged to my husband, my now father-in-law said that if I get on Jeopardy!, he will pay for my plane ticket :) My dad has really encouraged me to take the test, but I have always chickened out. I am pretty good at knowing answers to the clues, but I have a feeling I would be terrible at wagering. Or I would get stuck with categories I'm terrible at (let's see, Shakespeare, economics, astronomy, most science stuff, some of the more particular sports categories, etc.). Or I would have to play against a Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, or some other player like that. How did you like the online test?

And I would have spent a lot of time asking the date about Jeopardy! I don't know anyone who has been on the show.

oct. 15, 2020, 7:51 pm

>59 aktakukac: You should take the test! It's very low pressure. They don't even tell you if you got answers right or not :) If you score at a certain percentage and meet some other obscure selection requirements (I think they try to keep a relatively even spread of ages, genders, and home towns), you are then invited to an in-person audition, then only if you "pass" the audition are you invited to the show. (I think this in-person process has changed during COVID-19, but I'm not sure what they're doing now.) After the audition, I think you can stay in the participant pool for quite a long time; I remember my friend who was on the show last year said she was surprised to get the call relatively soon after her audition. I always feel like I do great when I'm watching the show, but I know it would be so different under pressure!

oct. 15, 2020, 10:59 pm

>60 curioussquared: I came second when I was fourteen in a Junior Mastermind competition between schools and fluffed the last two questions (one of which I knew and one of which I had a 50 50 guess and guessed wrong) to lose by a point. I was spending more time trying to calculate in my mind whether I had won or not that I didn't pay enough attention to the questions. Pressure? maybe.

oct. 15, 2020, 11:16 pm

>61 PaulCranswick: I used to play competitive quizbowl in college and definitely messed up a few times so I know the feeling!

oct. 16, 2020, 5:10 am

I feel a bit out of practice and haven’t even been watching the show lately. I can’t remember if I made any major mistakes during Quiz Bowl in high school, but I do remember embarrassing myself in front of the guy I had a crush on during a practice in eighth or ninth grade. We were practicing the team portion of the event so it was me and him and another player working in a group. Question: Which two professional baseball teams have “Sox” in their name? I was trying to impress him and said “Red Sox and Black Sox” because for some reason an image of a White Sox t-shirt that was black with white lettering popped into my mind. My crush just stared at me like I was crazy for a long minute and I tried to redeem myself because I knew I was wrong. And my face was so red.

Editat: oct. 16, 2020, 8:31 am

Well, since the 1919 White Sox threw the World Series so some folks could make killing betting on it, they were called the Black Sox. So technically, you were right!

oct. 16, 2020, 1:09 pm

>63 aktakukac: I don't remember any times I specifically caused us to lose a game or anything like that, but I definitely remember a few bigger gaffes, especially when I played as team captain. There were a few times our players couldn't agree on the answer to a bonus question or I didn't agree with the answer someone gave and gave a different one, only for the other one to be correct. Red Sox and Black Sox definitely sounds like something I would do as sports are not my strong point!

oct. 26, 2020, 3:02 pm

>64 drneutron: Haha, that's true and I don't know why I didn't think of that all those years ago!!

>65 curioussquared: I will flub Jeopardy questions at home sometimes that make me glad I wasn't on the show and give that answer. I can just imagine embarrassing myself so badly on there!

oct. 26, 2020, 5:12 pm

Book # 70: A Cotswold Christmas by Kate Hewitt

Anna is looking forward to spending the Christmas holidays at a lovely bed and breakfast in a small English village, but when she arrives she discovers the accommodation has had some flooding. The owner contacts her cousin Colin, who lets Anna stay in one of the cottages he is renovating on an old estate. They are attracted to each other, but living in different countries and experiences from their past could make a relationship impossible.

I liked the setting of this rather quick read, but I was not a fan of the instalove between the two main characters. Overall, the story could have used some polishing, but it was still a nice read that my brain could handle right now and I will read further installments in the series.

Book # 71: Meet Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Ellie and her daughter Abby move into one of the remodeled cottages at Willoughby Close. Abby wants to make friends at her new school, and Ellie has a job working as a secretary at Oxford. Things don’t get off to a great start for either of them, but they become friends with Ellie’s boss Oliver and his nephew, and the future starts looking up. Things may not stay that way when Ellie’s ex-husband and things from Oliver’s past come back.

Despite a severe need for editing toward the beginning, I liked this one a lot more than the first book. It also introduced some new characters who will be important in other books. Plus, Oliver was pretty adorable and I can definitely picture this character in my mind. This was nothing groundbreaking, but a nice comfortable read.

Now waiting on my hold for the third book to come in…I may get something else read in the meantime. Maybe.

oct. 26, 2020, 5:20 pm

Once again I did not get any of my books read over the weekend. I did read several with John. He also wanted to tell me stories a few times. One was about a big blue dinosaur who ate Smarties. That was pretty much the entire story, but he started with "once upon a time" and ended with "the end." So that was nice :) He also rode in the combine with his grandpa for three hours yesterday afternoon while they were shelling corn. I took him out to the field and tried to take some pictures (at the other end of the field, not by where the equipment was running) but he was more interested in going INTO the cornfield. I told him we should go check the corn at the other end, and my husband was bringing a semi up at the same time, so he was able to lift John up onto the combine. I thought he'd ride for a round or two, not for three hours! Calvin took a little nap, but not as long as I would have liked. I was able to get some housework done, though not as much as I would have liked.

oct. 27, 2020, 7:30 am

>68 aktakukac: Aw, combine rides! I loved those as a kid! Charlie has never had any interest in the farm, though, which was disappointing to my dad, who, as a dad of daughters only was so excited to spend farming time with his grandson. Charlie would rather stay indoors with a book...

oct. 27, 2020, 4:46 pm

>69 scaifea: Yes, riding in the combine is the best! Those buddy seats are great. I remember being squashed in the cab of the tractor when I was little. My mom actually worked on teaching me the alphabet while I was riding along in the field with her. I can still remember her doing that and telling stories to help pass the time. I'm sure your dad was disappointed that Charlie isn't interested in farming, but I can understand Charlie wanting to stay inside and read! I'd usually bring a book along when I knew I'd be away from the house for a while, especially if I knew there'd be down time while waiting for wagons to fill up, needing to move equipment, etc.

oct. 27, 2020, 9:37 pm

I come from a farming area of sorts in West Yorkshire. We didn't have a farm ourselves but my school friends father had a small farm (just a few fields really) and we used to help with baling hay and stuff when we were younger, but I remember one of their fields had a huge tree under which I used to sit and read while the other guys were off up to mischief.

oct. 28, 2020, 2:28 pm

>71 PaulCranswick: That sounds like something I used to do, Paul. I spent many hot summer days raking, bailing, hauling, and unloading hay. My parents have beef cattle, so we had to have enough hay for them, and my dad also sold it to customers, particularly the Amish. It was hard work, but it was rewarding and I always liked unloading wagons at my grandparent's barns. My grandma would make a huge lunch for us, and I usually had some time in the afternoon to read on their swing, which happened to be under a large tree in their yard.

Editat: oct. 28, 2020, 2:29 pm

Book # 72: Rosie: Stronger than Steel by Lindsay Ward

This picture book tells the story of Rosie, a tractor built in WWII-era Detroit and sent to England to work in the fields for the war effort. I liked that the tractor narrated the book and that the story was based on historical facts. While it would be good to use with upper elementary students and shows women working in factories and the British Land Girls doing a variety of tough jobs, overall I thought it was missing something that would have made it a great picture book. Nice, but not as good as it could have been.

nov. 5, 2020, 12:26 pm

Books Read in October

I had hoped to get more reading done in October, but that obviously didn't happen. I should be able to get to 75 in November, so I'll look forward to that. I have started Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, as this series is pretty popular at my library and a cozy mystery with a baked good in the title sounded appealing. I am also going to slowly read through a potty training book that I've heard a lot about. I'm hoping it will have some good advice that will work for my son. Other than those books, I'll just read whatever is appealing from my pile of library books at home or read something that has holds and can't be renewed. I don't have an audiobook going at the moment, but I don't usually have time on the weekends to listen anyway, so maybe I will start a new one next week.

nov. 5, 2020, 12:37 pm

What a week! We had a leak in a pipe in the ceiling above part of the large print section at work. No books were damaged! What was damaged was our new (as in, installed two weeks ago) outside book lockers. Some teenagers who have nothing better to do have ripped off the antenna three times and pulled cables out of the back. Seriously, WHY?!

Calvin has his next checkup in Cincinnati early tomorrow morning, so I'll be getting up at 4 AM. His blister has healed well, and I don't think he will get any more as his feet are settled into his boots now. We're halfway done with 23-hour wear, woo hoo! He is not listening to me when I tell him to stop growing so fast! I need to size up his diapers as soon as he uses up the pack that's open, and put away most of his six month size clothing(!!!!!).

The weather is supposed to be absolutely lovely for several days, so I would love for John to ride in the combine for hours and I would really love for the guys to finish up shelling the corn that's still standing. They should make good progress as long as nothing breaks down.

I doubt much reading will get done this weekend, but we'll see. I need to do some cooking and baking, work on birthday and Christmas gift lists, and other stuff like laundry and cleaning.

nov. 5, 2020, 12:40 pm

>75 aktakukac: "They should make good progress as long as nothing breaks down." Welp, you've jinxed it now, of course. Ha! My dad *always* had breakdowns just at the wrong moment in the field, it seemed. Fingers crossed that your farmers have better luck!

nov. 5, 2020, 12:55 pm

>76 scaifea: Thanks! There was an issue where a John Deere mechanic had to come out to the field earlier this fall, so maybe that was the breakdown for the season and things are all clear now?! Yep, things always go wrong at the worst times, it seems. Or the cows would get out. We chased them back in during the middle of the night while wearing our pajamas more than once when I was growing up!

nov. 5, 2020, 12:59 pm

>77 aktakukac: Omg, YES to the cows! Fun times.

nov. 6, 2020, 8:48 pm

>77 aktakukac: How did the cows managed to get hold of your pajamas?!

Have a lovely weekend, Rachel

nov. 7, 2020, 11:55 am

>79 PaulCranswick: My weekend plans changed this morning when two staff members called in for various reasons, so I am now working a shift at the library. THe weather is beautiful and we haven't been busy so far this morning. I will go grocery shopping after work.

The cows would get out during the middle of the night and my siblings and I would wear our pajamas and our rubber boots and chase them back in. We'd usually have to change into clean pajamas once we got back home.

Enjoy your weekend!

nov. 10, 2020, 12:18 pm

Last night both boys were asleep by 8:30, and I had the kitchen cleaned up, things ready for this morning, and other things taken care of by 10. I read for a while (a graphic novel that isn't really catching my interest) and went to sleep. The boys slept through the night and weren't up before 7 AM, so I was actually ahead of schedule with things this morning.

I'm sure it won't happen again, but it sure was nice and relaxing for a change!

I want to finish up the graphic novel and make more progress in Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, which is decent so far. I may read more of one or the other during my lunch break, but first I have to pack up today's outgoing cargo and unload what we receive today.

nov. 10, 2020, 5:46 pm

Book # 73: Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson

In this graphic novel, Kerry must travel through a mysterious forest to bring medicine to his family. The forest is full of unusual, fantastical creatures and when he gets lost, the various creatures help and hinder him. While the premise was interesting, overall it didn’t do anything for me. I wanted to know more about Kerry and most of the plot just moved along in a way that wasn’t particularly special or engaging. Hopefully others will like it more than I did. I’m glad to move on to my next read.

nov. 18, 2020, 4:54 pm

Book # 74: The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows

Iggy means well, but he always gets into trouble. In this first installment of a series, we learn what causes Iggy to get into trouble the first two times, and why he is very, very sorry about the third. I can see this being a good read aloud in a classroom, and Iggy is a character a lot of children will be able to relate to – especially impulsive kids.

nov. 20, 2020, 8:18 pm

I have been feeling a little overtired these few days, Rachel. Pressures of work, I suppose.

Hani and I have plans to relocate to the UK as soon as we are able and as soon as I am able to tidy up everything here. I will probably finish up the project PNB 118 (currently slated to be the second tallest building in the world) by April or May 2022 and then we will go back.

Intermediate planning would be to open a coffee bar cum bookstore/lending library somewhere in the Sheffield or Leeds area. She would bake and cook and I would make sure that the books on offer are worth reading!

Have a lovely weekend.

Editat: nov. 26, 2020, 9:06 pm

This Brit wishes to express his thanks for the warmth and friendship that has helped sustain him in this group, Rachel.

des. 3, 2020, 3:18 pm

>84 PaulCranswick:, >85 PaulCranswick: I saw your news about your bookshop plans on your thread, Paul, and they sound so exciting! I can hardly keep up with my thread, let alone yours! What a wonderful idea, and I wish you and Hani the best as your plans develop! Thanks for the Thanksgiving greetings. My bubble (inlaws, husband and sons, and husband's sister's family all had lunch at his aunt's house, and we were able to do a video chat with his grandma and later with my entire family, which was nice.

I had all of last week off, and had grand reading plans, and read basically nothing besides John's books. He's still in a big dinosaur phase and we've been reading a lot of dino books, as well as Christmas-themed ones. I did manage to complete book # 75 (review to come) and am hoping to start an audiobook soon. Reading (and listening) just takes so much longer these days, and sleep is more important right now. Calvin is rolling all over these days, and I have to be careful he doesn't get into things he shouldn't...he has already tried to pull a string of beads off the Christmas tree twice now! We've done a bit of baking, although I haven't been able to freeze any cookies for later as they are gone within a few days it seems. I still have some birthday and Christmas presents to wrap, but I am hoping to have most of that done this weekend and not leave it till the last minute. There are always little things that slip by, though, but I don't want to be panicking in three weeks. The holidays are more exciting this year as John is old enough to understand/be interested, so I am trying to make things special and fun for him. My husband will be deer hunting this weekend, but after that maybe he will be home a bit more, which would be helpful.

Another reason I haven't been reading is I just mentally haven't felt like it. A family friend/member of my church back home passed away from COVID the weekend before Thanksgiving. He was one of the..probably...five nicest people I have met in my entire life. Less than a month ago, one of my good friends from high school texted me and said his mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law all had COVID. Some of our group of high school friends got together virtually and it was nice to "see" everyone. His mom and sister-in-law have since recovered, but his brother passed away the day before Thanksgiving, and his dad passed away last night. Cases where I live have been incredibly high, and one of my coworkers tested positive last week.

We had a zoom book discussion last night for work. In December, we always talk about books we read during the year, which is what we did yesterday. It was fun, and I was glad to see some of the patrons I haven't seen since March. We are going to try a different type of book discussion to start out 2021: Instead of everyone reading a book, we will pick a monthly genre/theme, and talk about books in that genre, books we've read in that genre, maybe pick one we've wanted to read but haven't, etc. and basically make it much more open-ended. We'll see how that turns out.

As I told everyone last night, my reading goals for next year are pretty simple: I just want to read :)

Here's my sorry recap of what I read last month:

Books Read in November

des. 3, 2020, 3:19 pm

Book # 75: Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

In this third installment in the Willoughby Close series, Harriet and her children move into one of the cottages after she makes a shocking discovery about her marriage and finances. Will Harriet stay married to her husband? How long will their time at Willoughby Close last?

I did not care for this one as much as the previous story. The basic premise seemed to repeat itself over and over, there wasn’t much character development, the children could have been a much bigger focus, and Harriet herself was not always easy to like. However, I did like getting to know (a bit) more about Lady Stokeley, and am looking forward to the next story (with Jace!) as there was just enough movement in this storyline to make me curious about what will happen next.

des. 3, 2020, 3:29 pm

>86 aktakukac: Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry for all the losses COVID has brought to your circle.

I'm glad to hear John is enjoying Christmas this year. I hope it's a magical season for him and that some of that delight rubs off on you. Kids are pretty great for sharing that. :)

Your simple reading goal sounds awesome! *big hugs*

des. 3, 2020, 5:08 pm

>87 aktakukac: Congratulations on reaching 75, Rachel!

And sorry for all losses around you, due to COVID :'(

des. 3, 2020, 6:17 pm

>88 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky. I don't have to go overboard this year with all the Christmas stuff, but that will probably happen next year, ha! We took a drive to see a light show last Saturday, and it was a hit. We're also reading a different Christmas book each night, and doing little things like that to build excitement. I'm enjoying his delight so far.

>89 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! I was worried I wouldn't get to 75 this year. My goal is 80 by the end of the year, but we'll see if that happens!

des. 4, 2020, 9:46 am


des. 4, 2020, 9:05 pm

Well done for reaching 75, Rachel.

>86 aktakukac: Sometimes our plans seem a long way off but, I guess, I'll have to stay positive and focused.

Have a great weekend.

des. 4, 2020, 11:31 pm

Congrats on 75, Rachel!!

des. 7, 2020, 11:52 am

>91 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

>92 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Some year I will have more reading goals and participate in challenges, but it won't be in 20201! Best of luck with your reading plans!

>93 curioussquared: Thanks, Natalie!

Exciting book/reading news: My eldest niece, who is in 2nd grade, has become quite the reader since summer. She is always telling me about books she is reading in school, and she let me pick out several for her at the library, and she's really enjoying them. My nephews (on the other side of the family) have requested books for their Christmas gifts (because they liked the ones I got for them previously), so that made Christmas shopping for them a lot easier!

I was reading a book to my boys the other night, and made some kind of growling noise to go along with the story, which made Calvin have a full belly laugh for at least a minute. It's good to know he's paying attention early on :)

des. 7, 2020, 12:52 pm

>94 aktakukac: That's so fun that the young people in your life are all getting into books! None of the cousins in my generation have kids of their own yet, but I have three much younger cousins I buy Christmas gifts for (ages 12, 10, and 3) and I make a point of getting them a book or two every year in addition to something more "fun" like a toy, game, or art supplies. But I don't know if they actually read them :(

des. 9, 2020, 3:49 pm

>95 curioussquared: Yes, I'm glad reading is popular with most of my family. I hope my younger niece will read more when she gets older, but I'm not holding my breath. I need to make a couple more selections for my nephews and then I can cross that off my list.

I finished up a cozy mystery the other day, so I have a couple of reviews to get to soon. My brain is mush from a training session this morning and early this afternoon, and I have four more hours of it tomorrow. I think I will take the second half of the day off tomorrow since it's my son's third birthday.

My in-laws and husband's aunt will come over on Christmas Day (they babysit my kids and my nieces and nephew) so I am trying to decide if I want to have a meal or more appetizer and snack foods to eat. I don't usually have trouble deciding these things, but for some reason I can't think of anything! Maybe something will come to mind in the middle of the night.

I have started listening to Nevermoor and am really enjoying it. I hope I can get enough listening time in before it expires as there are holds.

des. 9, 2020, 4:04 pm

>96 aktakukac: Oh nice! I'm glad you're enjoying Nevermoor. After finishing book three recently, I think I've decided it's a series I want for my own shelves.

Good luck with figuring out your holidays. We'll be under lockdown so it'll just be me and Mr. Fine on Christmas Day. He loves turkey though, so like Thanksgiving we'll be doing a smaller bird with all the fixings.

des. 9, 2020, 4:24 pm

>97 MickyFine: I decided it was time to finally start the series since the third book came out. I have managed to avoid spoilers and don't know much about the plot, so I'm just taking it all in. Good to know it's one you want to own!

I wouldn't be opposed to having turkey, but only if I can get a smaller bird. I had one in my freezer that we used at the beginning of November, and then had more at Thanksgiving, so something else might be nice too.

Sounds like you have a good plan for Christmas during your lockdown.

des. 9, 2020, 5:04 pm

>98 aktakukac: I recommend turkey tenderloins. They are smaller than an entire bird.

des. 16, 2020, 5:47 pm

>99 thornton37814: Thanks for the suggestion! I still haven't finalized a menu, but I think most of the appetizers and dessert(s) are squared away!

des. 16, 2020, 5:50 pm

Book # 76: Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

When Ava’s husband dies, she discovers he left her next to nothing in his will, and she needs to find a place to live. She ends up renting a cottage at Willoughby Close, and she has to figure out what to do for a job. As she becomes friends with the other families that live next door, and with the groundskeeper, Jace, things start looking up. Then she realizes she is pregnant with her late husband’s child.

There were a lot of loose ends in this one, but it sets up a lot of things for the next book. The ending was very abrupt as well, and which was surprising as Kate and Jace’s relationship moved almost too slowly.

des. 16, 2020, 5:50 pm

Book # 77: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

This series is extremely popular at my library, and I decided to try the first book to see what it’s all about. I liked it mostly for the setting and the cookies/baking. Because I had to set this one aside a few times, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have if I had read it over a shorter time frame. I will probably continue with the series at some point, and I am curious to see if they will all feel a bit dated as this one did.

des. 17, 2020, 10:32 am

Seems like the perfect time of year for cozy reads. Hopefully your next reads are above the mediocre mark. :)

des. 17, 2020, 4:35 pm

>103 MickyFine: Most of my reading this year has been more on the cozy/easy side, and it will probably be like that next year, too. My current reads are going well, and should be better than the last few I've finished. I've got quite a bit of time off in the next two weeks, and would love to get caught up on rest and reading :)

des. 24, 2020, 6:11 pm

des. 25, 2020, 12:52 am

I hope you get some of those at least, Rachel, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

gen. 1, 2021, 12:04 am


As the year turns, friendship continues

gen. 5, 2021, 4:53 pm

My final reads of 2020:

Book # 78: Marry Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

This final installment in the series was my favorite, although I did have a couple of issues with a part of the storyline. I started reading these novellas mostly for the setting, and because they were easy and quick reads.

Book # 79: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

After seeing the Murderbot books praised so highly on LT, I expected to love this one. I liked it, and will continue with the series, but I feel like I missed something. I did sort of rush through it, so that probably didn’t help. Hopefully I will like the next one more.

Book # 80: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

On the one hand, I liked this one, but on the other hand I was disappointed because what happened to the time travel aspect of the story?! I will give Christina Lauren another shot, even though I didn’t care for the other one I read as much as other readers.

gen. 5, 2021, 4:55 pm

Books Read in December

I managed to read 80 books in 2020! It's far less than I have read in previous years, but I am pleased with the number considering the events that took place last year. I will make a thread in the 2021 group and post the link here :)

gen. 5, 2021, 5:25 pm