Monday, December 31, 2018


The Platypire Diversity challenge won't be offered next year, so the Celebrity Readers page is now hosting a similar challenge. I plan to complete all 12 monthly themes and try to read as many LGBTQ+ books for the summer as possible.

JANUARY – diverse folktales/culture/mythology; or diverse retelling; or non-western setting:

FEBRUARY – poc: Black/African American: Not Without Laughter--Langston Hughes

MARCH – #ownvoices; or gender: female authors in male-dominated genres/non-fiction:
Hidden Figures--Margot Lee Shetterly

JUNE – LGBT+ pride summer: sexuality and gender identity: On a Sunbeam--Tillie Walden

JULY – LGBT+ pride summer: sexuality and gender identitySam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah--Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

AUGUST – mental health/addiction: Marcelo in the Real World--Francisco X. Stork

SEPTEMBER – poc: hispanic/latinx: These Are Not Sweet Girls--Marjorie Agosin (ed.)

OCTOBER – physical/sensory/cognitive/intellectual/developmental disabilities:
An Unquiet Mind--Kay Redfield Jamison

NOVEMBER – poc: Native American: Night Flying Woman--Igantia Booker
There’s sort of an extra level to the LGBT+ pride summer in June and July — aim to check off as many letters in LGBTQQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) as possible!
Challenge completed on December 1

My Year in Reading

I just finished my last book of this year and am excited to begin again next year,  which as you know, starts tomorrow. Can't believe it's almost here!

Here are my results from Goodreads:

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2019 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

I want to do this one again, even though I've already signed up for the nonfiction bingo challenge.

I know this is a little late to announce a challenge, but I will be hosting a nonfiction reading challenge in 2019. I mostly want to provide a place for you to share your nonfiction goals and to chat with other nonfiction readers. To make that possible, we’ll have three twitter chats throughout the year, plus optional email reminders. Goals will be flexible and up to you. Sign-ups will be open through January 30th.

Suggested Goals

Rather than suggest particular levels for this challenge, I’ve got a couple of ideas for different nonfiction reading goals you could set for yourself.
Let me know if there are other types of goals you’d suggest and I’ll add them to the list.
Here is what I am reading:
  1. Quicksilver Chronicles--Frances K. Woods
  2. Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
  3. Educated--Tara Westover
  4. Kabul Beauty School--Deborah Rodriguez
  5. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?--Roz Chast
  6. Who Was Walt Disney?--Whitney Stewart
  7. Hidden Figures--Margot Lee Sheerly
  8. Gangsters & Gold Diggers--Jerome Charyn
  9. I Have Lived a Thousand Years--Livia Bitton-Jackson
  10. World War I--Adriane Ruggeri
  11. How the Internet Happened--Brian McCullough
  12. Radical Sanity--Elizabeth Wurtzel 
  13. Just Between Us--Mario Lopez
  14. The Zookeeper's Wife--Diane Ackerman
  15. She Wanted It All--Kathryn Casey
  16. Letters From Madelyn--Elaine K. Sanchez
  17. Roses and Radicals--Susan Zimet
  18. Courage to Soar--Simone Biles
  19. Bright Lights, Big A**--Jen Lancaster
  20. Creatocracy--Elizabeth Wurtzel
  21. Integrated Robots--Erik Richardson
  22. Titian--Stefano Zuffi
  23. Eat, Pray, Love--Elizabeth Gilbert
  24. The Collected Essays of Katherine Anne Porter
  25. The Astronaut Wives Club--Lily Koppel
  26. This Book is Gay--James Dawson
  27. Americanized--Sara Saedi
  28. Astral Weeks--Ryan H. Walsh
  29. When Breath Becomes Air--Paul Kalinithi
  30. My Horizontal Life--Chelsea Handler
  31. The Mothman Prophecies--John A. Keel
  32. An Unquiet Mind--Kay Redfield Jamison
  33. Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy--Jane Love
  34. 1930s: From the Great Depression to the Wizard of Oz--Stephen Feinstein
  35. Night Flying Woman--Igantia Booker
  36. Becoming--Michelle Obama
  37. The Magnolia Story--Chip and Joanna Gaines
  38. Me--Elton John
  39. Tales of a Punk Rock Nothing--Abram Shalom Himelstein & Jamie Schweser
  40. Clothes and Crafts in Victorian Times--Philip Steele
  41. Grammar: Know Your Sh*t or Know You're Sh*t--Joanne Adams
  42. Dewey's Nine Lives--Vicki Myron
  43. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down--Anne Fadiman
Challenge completed on December 27

2019 Book to Movie Reading Challenge

Once again I'll be doing this one, level 3b.

My books:

  1. The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  2. A Raisin in the Sun--Lorraine Hansberry
  3. The Godfather--Mario Puzo
  4. Speak--Laurie Halse Anderson
  5. Hidden Figures--Margot Lee Sheerly
  6. Bluebird, Bluebird--Attica Locke
  7. The Rosie Project--Graeme Samson
  8. Don Quixote--Miguel de Cervantes
  9. V for Vendetta--Alan Moore
  10. Tuck Everlasting--Natalie Babbitt
  11. Between Shades of Gray--Ruta Sepetys
  12. So B. It--Sarah Weeks
  13. The Sun is Also a Star--Nicola Yoon
  14. The Inheritance of Loss--Kiran Desai
  15. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close--Jonathan Safran Foer
  16. The Zookeeper's Wife--Diane Ackerman
  17. How to Train Your Dragon--Cressida Cowell
  18. The Joy Luck Club--Amy Tan
  19. Jo's Boys--Louisa May Alcott
  20. Silver Linings Playbook--Matthew Quick (reread)
  21. Our Town--Thornton Wilder
  22. That Was Then, This is Now--S.E. Hinton
  23. Eat, Pray, Love--Elizabeth Gilbert
  24. The Jane Austen Book Club--Karen Joy Fowler
  25. The Astronaut Wives Club--Lily Koppel
  26. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe--C.S. Lewis
  27. The Mothman Prophecies--John A. Keel
  28. Twilight--Stephenie Meyer (reread)
  29. Interview With the Vampire--Anne Rice
  30. The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde--Robert Louis Stevenson
  31. The Borrowers--Mary Norton 
  32. The Wind in the Willows--Kenneth Grahame
  33. Play It As It Lays--Joan Didion
  34. The Night Swimmers--Betsy Byars

Challenge completed on December 17

Friday, December 28, 2018

Reading Challenge 2019 @ Savored Grace

Another I could not resist. A lot of the categories are right in my league. I read a lot of YA, so I may get more than one for this list.

Reading Challenge 2019*

1. a “classic” novel: Ulysses--James Joyce
2. a book of poetry: Milk and Honey--Rupi Kaur
3. a historical fiction novel: Between Shades of Gray--Ruta Sepetys
4. a science fiction novel (note: not a fantasy novel! see #14): Big Machine--Victor Lavalle
5. a true story or a novel based on one: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiko Uchida
6. a memoir or autobiography: Educated--Tara Westover
7-11. books that are set on different continents
7. The Mysterious Affair at Styles--Agatha Christie (Europe)
8. Nine Perfect Strangers--Liane Moriarty (Australia)
9. Kabul Beauty School--Deborah Rodriguez (Asia)
10. Still Life--Louise Penny (North America)
11. The Neighborhood--Mario Vargas Llosa (South America)
12. a book with an alliterative title: Burning Bright--John Steinbeck
13. a mystery: The Heretic's Apprentice--Ellis Peters
14. a fantasy novel: Tuck Everlasting--Natalie Babbitt 
15. a dystopian novel: Wolfsbane--Andrea Cremer
16. an informational book about [something you’ve wanted to learn and know nothing about]: Integrated Robots--Erik Richardson
17. a love story: Welcome to Temptation--Jennifer Crusie
18. a western: The Color of Lightning--Paulette Jiles
19. a comedy: The Diary of a Nobody--George Grossmith
20. a short story collection: Cavalleria Rusticana and Other Stories--Giovanni Verga
21. a novel written in first person: A Painted House--John Grisham
22. a book published posthumously: When Breath Becomes Air--Paul Kalinithi
23. a co-authored book: Illuminae--Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
24. a book with an animal on the front cover: Bloodrose--Andrea Cremer
25. a second book by an author you discovered last year: Time's Arrow--Martin Amis
26. a play: A Raisin in the Sun--Lorraine Hansberry
27. your best friend’s favorite book of the year: Grammar: Know Your Sh*t or Know You're Sh*t--Joanne Adams
*one of these books must be YA fiction, but you can choose which one!

Challenge completed on December 23

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What to Be Thankful For at the End of the Year


Now the end of the year is upon us it’s time to look back, reflect and think about everything that we have to be thankful for.
Writing a list of all the things you are grateful for can be a wonderful way to end the year. Being a writer comes with so many great benefits and whether you do it as a hobby or professionally, taking the time to step back and realise what they are can mean you fall in love with writing just a little bit more. 
Here are some of the top reasons why we should be grateful to be writers
Support from family and friends
Writing is not without its challenges and having a good support system in place is essential. Long hours, re drafts, self-doubt, rejections and bad reviews are all made more bearable by having people we love cheering us on. This however, is never more true when it comes to celebrating our successes too. Getting something published, finishing a piece of work, getting a great review - being able to have loved ones who are so proud of us makes it all so much more worthwhile.
Having the time to write
No matter how you manage to fit writing into you day, you do manage to fit it in. If you have the freedom and capacity to write at your leisure that is something to be grateful for. If you’ve had to make sacrifices to do so you should be so proud of yourself and appreciate that you are the kind go person who has guts and determination which is something to be thankful for too. 
The satisfaction of doing something well
There is nothing better than looking back over a piece of writing and thinking ‘ you know what, that aint half bad.’ Writers can spend a lot of time being their own worst enemies and overly critical, so clutch onto and recognise rarer moment when we actually feel quite happy with what we’ve written! 
The freedom that writing brings
Writing is incredibly cathartic and we can do it anywhere in the world. Because of that it can bring great freedom both physically and emotionally, and there is nothing more wonderful than feeling free. 
Observing the little things
Being a writer means that you have to keep your eyes and ears open, and when you observe and recognise the little things in life and learn to appreciate them this can give you a sense of wonder and satisfaction and interest in the world that makes you feel super connected and fascinated and alive. 
The exciting things you learn and experiences you get from being a writer
Being a writer takes you to all sorts of places and has you learning about all sorts of things. Whether its through research, talking to people or just wandering the earth and taking in everything as you go, as a writer you are always on the lookout for your next inspiration and that means you can end up having a very exciting life indeed.
Following ones dreams
Most writers write because it’s their passion, and they do it because they love it - it’s as simple as that. Staying true to yourself, doing what makes you happy and following your dreams is something every writer should be very grateful for indeed.
What does being a writer make you grateful for? Share it with us here!
 I well agree with what is being said. I fell I have accomplished a lot, thanks to finding a writer's lab group in my town. Meeting other writers and receiving input and feedback from them on my work  and me giving it to them on theirs has been helpful and productive and I'm glad to have the group for this reason. 
As I await the end of this year, I also await the results of the Blydyn Square Books Publishing Contest this coming Monday, December 31. I entered my memoir just before the September deadline by email and am now counting down the days till the winner is announced. 
I'm now making plans to work more on my sequel either before or after the year ends, depending on how much activity occurs over the next days. But I'm determined to work on it more that I have been doing
I'm glad to announce I will once again be teaching my creative writing class at work on alternate Mondays. I started the class in 2016 when I first began working as a peer mentor. Unfortunately, it was scheduled late in the day when most clients tend to leave for the day, so the class was cancelled at the beginning of 2017. I will be alternating Mondays with another mentor's class, which will keep both of us from having to come up with lesson for each week. I'm also glad to hear that the county library will now be open on Sundays starting in January. This will be something to do then.
These are just a few things that are coming up in the new year. Will wait to see what else happens :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Memories

Hope everyone today has a great Christmas and for those who don't celebrate, have a happy holiday season. 

Over the last month, I've been seeing images on Facebook of old Christmas catalog covers. This definitely brought back memories for me. I remember the ones from JCPenney the most. Every year, the catalog would arrive in the mail around September and I would peruse the toy section, wanting some of the new and hot toys of the year. I eventually got some of the ones I'd wanted, if not every single one. I would do this every year till I outgrew playing with toys. Here is a similar post I made in December 2010.

I chose this image since Strawberry Shortcake (the original) was among the may toys I had as a child. Holly Hobbie was a favorite, too. And there are just too many others to mention, let alone search for an image.

At the bottom of the page, you will see the note that toys are not just for Christmas and that any of the toys may be ordered from the catalog until sometime the following summer. 

And many of you will remember this Christmas phenomenon from 1983. It has now been 35 years since parents were scouring stores for these dolls and most of them were unable to obtain one for their child. Amazon and the Internet in general didn't exist then, as you all know, so going to stores and ordering by catalog were the only options people had at that time. 

And now the Christmas toy craze of 1983 has become a miniseries on HBO. It has already been parodied numerous times on TV shows and in the movie Jingle All the Way.

As I said yesterday, I began notes for the next chapter in my book sequel. The book's timeline is now December 1983, so it was time to mention Christmas. The protagonist is now 12, going on 13, so he decides he's too old for toys (and he can't have candy with braces). He sees the Cabbage Patch Kids on the news (I too, recall seeing this on the local evening news at the time), and thinks that his mom must be glad she won't have to search for one for him.

I've wondered for some time now if kids still lust after hot toys each Christmas or are they more after electronic devices these days? Either way, if an item is so sought-after for the holidays, it probably sells out fast both in stores and online. Again, online shopping was not an option during the CPK craze of 1983, so the stores must have been crowded with people pushing and shoving one another trying to find one of these elusive toys. 

Speaking of shopping online, I won an Amazon gift card for being the first participant to finish this reading challenge. And I won a gift card for Target in a  raffle at our work party on Friday. I will likely go in store to use that one, but not till after Christmas, of course. Target's closed today, but I'm not sure how crowded it will be in the days following Christmas.

What are some memories you have of Christmas? 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Non-Fiction Book Bingo 2019 Challenge

This is at Reading in Winter. I will get as many squares as possible.

a book that’s been made into a movie – The Zookeeper's Wife--Diane Ackerman
a self-help title –  Radical Sanity--Elizabeth Wurtzel 
a title by an indigenous author – 
a title by a Canadian author – 
a Baillie Gifford award winner – 
a celebrity or public figure memoir – Just Between Us--Mario Lopez
a title by a person of colour – Courage to Soar--Simone Biles
a book about science & technology – Hidden Figures--Margot Lee Shetterly
a book about feminism – Roses and Radicals--Susan Zimet
a book about nature or the environment – Quicksilver Chronicles--Frances K. Woods
a 2019 release – 
a book about parenting or relationships –  She Wanted It All--Kathryn Casey
a book on religion or spirituality – 
a pre-2000 non-fiction title – Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
a book about a medical condition –  When Breath Becomes Air--Paul Kalinithi
a title that was a 5-star read for a friend – 
a book about travel –  Eat, Pray, Love--Elizabeth Gilbert
a book about food, wine, or cooking – 
a book set outside of North America – 
a Goodreads winner (from any year) – 
a non-fiction book that has been translated – 
NOTE 10/11/19: The blog hosting this challenge has been deleted so I have decided to call this one off for the remainder of the year.

Christmas Eve

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas Eve. Not much planned for tonight, but am planning to see a movie tonight.

And also last night, I began working more on my book sequel, writing longhand in bed in a notebook. I want to get working on it more.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Another tempting one.

  1. I am not a graphic designer. I know this image isn’t perfect but progress>perfection and I don’t freaking care if the text isn’t perfect. Bahaha!
  2. If you are wondering what Up Lit is, here you go.
  3. If you need help finding one of my recommendations, here is my Goodreads.
Bloom Where You're Planted 2019 Reading Challenge // via Stephanie Howell
Here is what I am reading:
  1. Non-Fiction: Quicksilver Chronicles--Frances K. Woods
  2. Mention of Military/War: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  3. Picture Book: Hello, Baby Animals--Lorinda Bryan Cauley
  4. Memoir: Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
  5. In a Series: The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  6. Written By a Woman of Color: Hello, Universe--Erin Estrada Kelly
  7. Poetry: Milk and Honey--Rupi Kaur
  8. YA: Play Me--Laura Ruby
  9. Book You Tried Once: The Secret Life of Eva Hathaway--Janice Weber
  10. Dystopia: Wolfsbane--Andrea Cremer
  11. Historical Fiction: White Houses--Amy Bloom
  12. On Your Bookshelf: The Last Time I Saw You--Elizabeth Berg
  13. Magical Realism: Phoebe and Her Unicorn--Dana Simpson
  14. Made Into a Movie: Speak--Laurie Halse Anderson
  15. Thriller: Bluebird, Bluebird--Attica Locke
  16. Takes Place in Another Country: I Have Lived a Thousand Years--Livia Bitton-Jackson
  17. A Color in the Title: Between Shades of Gray--Ruta Sepetys
  18. Classic: Ulysses--James Joyce
  19. Mass Market Paperback: Rachel--Vivian Schurfranz
  20. From Any Top 10 List of 2018: Monday's Not Coming--Tiffany D. Jackson
  21. Book That Stephanie Recommended: Bright Lights, Big A**--Jen Lancaster
  22. Reread a Favorite: Silver Linings Playbook--Matthew Quick
  23. Horror: Spoon River Anthology--Edgar Lee Masters
  24. Up Lit: Mine Are Spectacular!--Janice Kaplan & Lynn Schnurnberger
Challenge completed on November 4


This one is tempting.
2019 reading challenge

  1. Based on a True Story: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  2. Adapted Into a TV Series: The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  3. Audiobook: Educated--Tara Westover
  4. Starts With the Letter P: Play Me--Laura Ruby
  5. Author You've Never Read Before: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak--Brian Katcher
  6. One-Word Title: Wolfsbane--Andrea Cremer
  7. Historical Fiction: White Houses--Amy Bloom
  8. Pink Cover: Phoebe and Her Unicorn--Dana Simpson
  9. Originally Intended for Children: Dead End in Norvelt--Jack Gantos 
  10. Will Make You Laugh and Cry: The Rosie Project--Graeme Samson
  11. Author With Your Initials: A Painted House--John Grisham
  12. First Book You Come Across in the Library: So B. It--Sarah Weeks
  13. In a Series You've Been Reading: Hallowed--Cynthia Hand
  14. By Someone the Same Age as You: The Inheritance of Loss--Kiran Desai
  15. Gene You Would Usually Avoid (Self-Help): Radical Sanity--Elizabeth Wurtzel 
  16. Made Into a Movie You've Already Seen: Extremely Loud & Incredible Close--Jonathan Safran Foer
  17. With a Cat in It: The Cat Who Sniffed Glue--Lilian Jackson Braun
  18. Meant to Read in 2018 But Ran Out of Time: Letters From Madelyn--Elaine K. Sanchez
  19. A Favorite Book: Silver Linings Playbook--Matthew Quick (reread)
  20. Author From a Different Country From You: The Tale of Genji--Murasaki Shikibu
  21. With Two or More Authors: Illuminae--Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  22. National Book Award Winner in 2018: The Poet X--Elizabeth Acevedo
  23. Gets an Overall Rating of At Least 4.5 on Goodreads: Gemina--Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristof
  24. Written by a Celebrity: My Horizontal Life--Chelsea Handler

Challenge completed on September 28

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Grand World of Books 2019 Book Bingo

Will do this one again, getting as many books as I can.

GWB 2019 Book Bingo UPDATED
My books:
  1. Diverse Book: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  2. More Than 219 Pages: Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
  3. First Book in a Series: The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  4. Library Book: Hello, Universe--Erin Estrada Kelly
  5. Audiobook: Educated--Tara Westover
  6. Author You've Never Read Before: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak--Brian Katcher
  7. Re-Read: The Secret Life of Eva Hathaway--Janice Weber
  8. Author's Debut Book: Red Earth and Pouring Rain--Vikram Chandra
  9. Didn't Choose Because of the Cover: Prom & Prejudice--Elizabeth Eulberg
  10. Chose Because of the Cover: The Female Persuasion--Meg Wolitzer
  11. Less Than 219 Pages: Cat Running--Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  12. Translated Book: Cavalleria Rusticana and Other Stories--Giovanni Verga
  13. Award-Winning Book: Dead End in Norvelt--Jack Gantos 
  14. Becoming a Movie in 2019: The Rosie Project--Graeme Samson
  15. Oldest Book on TBR: Don Quixote--Miguel de Cervantes
  16. Free Space: Cold Paradise--Stuart Woods
  17. Banned Book: Ulysses--James Joyce
  18. Someone Recommended to You: The Mysterious Benedict Society--Trenton Lee Stewart
  19. Didn't Get Around to Reading in 2018: The Sun is Also a Star--Nicola Yoon
  20. Published in 2019: Opposite of Always--Justin A. Reynolds
  21. Genre You Do Not Normally Read (Self-Help): Radical Sanity--Elizabeth Wurtzel
  22. Most Recently Acquired Book: The Art of Losing--Lizzy Mason
  23. Written the Year You Were Born: That Was Then, This is Now--S.E. Hinton
  24. Written 19 Years Before Your Year of Birth: The Borrowers--Mary Norton
  25. 19th Book on TBR: There's Cake in My Future--Kim Gruenenfelder

Challenge completed on November 3

DDRR Reading Challenge 2019

I now want to do this bingo card challenge, completing as many categories as possible.

2019 Reading Challenge

 Here is what I am reading:

  1. Local Author: Quicksilver Chronicles--Frances K. Woods
  2. Woman of Color: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  3. Nonfiction Text: Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
  4. Won a Literary Award: Hello, Universe--Erin Entrada Kelly
  5. A Debut Novel: Red Earth and Pouring Rain--Vikram Chandra
  6. Own But Haven't Read Yet: Prom & Prejudice--Elizabeth Eulberg
  7. Set in the Country You Live: And We Stay--Jenny Hubbard
  8. Set at a University Campus: The Female Persuasion--Meg Wolitzer
  9. Feminist Text: Hidden Figures--Margot Lee Shetterly
  10. Being Made Into A Film: The Rosie Project--Graeme Samson
  11. Classic Text: Don Quixote--Miguel de Cervantes
  12. Collection of Poetry: The Holy Forest--Robin Blaser
  13. Religion or Culture You're Not Familiar With: I Have Lived a Thousand Years--Livia Bitton-Jackson
  14. Highlights Disability: So B. It--Sarah Weeks
  15. Recommended by a Friend: The Mysterious Benedict Society--Trenton Lee Stewart
  16. Just Want to Read: The Carnival at Bray--Jessie Ann Foley
  17. Makes You Laugh: Click Here--Denise Vega 
  18. Published in 2019: Opposite of Always--Justin A. Reynolds
  19. Biography or Autobiography: Just Between Us--Mario Lopez
  20. Didn't Get to Read in 2019: Letters From Madelyn--Elaine K. Sanchez
  21. Novel By a Non-Binary Person: I Wish You All the Best--Mason Deaver
  22. From a Series You Like: The 17th Suspect--James Patterson
  23. Published Posthumously: When Breath Becomes Air--Paul Kalinithi
  24. Passes the Bechtel Test: The Jane Austen Book Club--Karen Joy Fowler
  25. Language Indigenous to Your Land: Malinche--Laura Esquivel

Challenge completed on October 24