Friday, September 28, 2018

Frightfall Readathon

I enjoy seeing what others are reading especially during Halloween time! So I'm signing up for another reading challenge for the month of October. Michelle over at Seasons of Reading is hosting the Frightfall readathon from October 1-31st with a couple of mini readathons this weekend and that last couple of days of October.

I have a large TBR pile to pull from so I'll see what this next month brings!

  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. I'm about halfway through and will definitely finish this one soon.
  • Heaven's Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal by Jack Kelly. I heard about this one on the Book Riot podcast and thought it would fit for some true crime and history in October.
  • NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. I want to listen to it since it's narrated by the great Kate Mulgrew.
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I need a good witch story this month.
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.
  • The Ruins by Scott Smith. This one sounds terrifying.
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. It also was nominated for the Printz award!
  • The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero
  • The Witches by Stacy Schiff. I started this last year but didn't finish it. I'm thinking I'll keep going this month.
  • Black Water Rising by Attica Locke. I enjoyed her other murder/mystery. And here this one is just as good.
  • Ghost Story by Peter Straub. I hear it's classic.
  • Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. It was funded by Kickstarter and here it's a very terrifying book.
  • Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward. This is a fitting book for October....
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I'm a hundred pages or so in the book and it's different. It's a slow burn to the mystery I'm sure. But I've enjoyed her other two books so I'm sticking it out and hoping for the payoff.
  • Fledgling: A Novel by Octavia Butler
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
I'm sure there are more...Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes will probably also be on the list.

A shout out for his Halloween Tree book written for children. I just read this one with DS and he loved it! He's a fantastic writer and it was just a pleasure.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Week-in-Review and 30 Books in September Update--September 26, 2018

It's been a busy week! I meant to get this update out on Monday and here it is Thursday....

Finally made it out hiking on Monday to see some beautiful Fall colors in the local mountains with my friend Diana. It was gorgeous. It was rejuvenating and we enjoyed bathing in nature....and then on the way down the mountain we got a flat tire. But we were doing pretty good but someone stopped and helped us get the donut on. But it was worth it!

Happy Fall, everyone! I made my family celebrate with me this last weekend. I wanted to to an apple orchard and pick some delicious apples we could use to make something yummy. But the two farms we found were out of apples and were done for the season. So we hit the local store and bought some apples and made caramel apples. Despite the snag in celebrations we had a good time celebrating the coming of Fall!


Books Finished: See 30 books in September update below!

Books I'm Currently Reading: The Devil in the White City: Magic, Murder, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. This is my third time starting the book and I can safely say I will definitely finish it soon!

Books Acquired: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathon Haight, Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky, The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future byJoselin Linder, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward. And two how-to crochet books from a library book sale.

Listening to: The Changeling by Victor LaValle, the podcasts Spooked Season Two from Snap Judgement and Lore.

Watching: I just finished up Dark Tourist on Netflix, Atypical Season Two on Netflix. I am finishing off the new season of Insecure on HBO. And I just started Maniac on Netflix.

Making: I made Fall pumpkin cornbread with homemade honey butter over the weekend along with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and tortellini soup! I also made fry bread tacos yesterday and plan on Thai fried rice this weekend.

I also am honing my skills to make more f-bombs. I need them good enough I'll feel comfortable giving them away as gifts! I also hope to make some winter hats soon.

Looking Forward to: We're going on another fall hike this weekend. DH's friend has flown in from out-of-country and wants to do some fun things this weekend. We also plan on hitting a local dueling piano bar and get some drinks.

30 Books in September 

Day 17: Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge. I knew she was the one who started Planned Parenthood and got birth control going but I had not heard much else. This was a great graphic non-fiction novel about her life, warts and all.

Day 18: Nighty-Nightmare by James Howe. My son is doing his fall book report on this one and wanted me to read it so I could help him out. It was quick and is apart of the Bunnicula book series.

Day 19: The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump by Michiko Kakutani. Short and too the point. I enjoyed her quotes from the past and how she likens it to our present day. Lots to chew on.

Day 20: Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. I loved these short histories of each of these amazing women.

Day 21: March: Book One and March: Book Two by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin. The whole series is an amazing read. I thought I knew stuff but reading these three books made me realize how little I truly know about this terrifying time.

Day 22: March: Book Three by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Day 23: Animal Farm by George Orwell. Orwell is a brilliant story-teller. It was sad and depressing but spot on.

Day 24: The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I enjoyed Steinbeck's use of non-white characters and culture in this short story but overall it was a bit preachy.

Day 25: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. DS and I loved reading this book together. Bradbury using prosodic language tells all about the history of Halloween and the myths and rituals surrounding death from around the world. All done with excitement, mystery, and adventure. I was very impressed.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday-- Fall Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl...join in on the fun!

This week's them is what is on my Fall TBR list? I always love horror, mystery and true crime non-fiction during this time of year...I doubt I'll get to all of them but I will try!


1. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I have loved her other two books so I'm looking forward to this one.

2. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. The movie is coming out soon and I've heard good things about the book. Love me a good gothic historical.

3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I've enjoyed the movies over the years but am looking forward to reading the original and I think there is a new remake coming soon!

4. Asylum by Madeleine Roux. This has old asylum photographs set throughout the book and probably where some of the story comes from. It sounds like it's very similar in nature to the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series.

5. Scream All Night by Derek Milman. It's a new YA novel that's scary-themed. Yay!

6. Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. This has been on a few lists the last few years for really creepy books to read during Halloween time so I've added it.

7. Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds by Leo Braudy. Saw this one at the library and thought it looked interesting.

8. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. I've already started it!

9. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I really want to fight through this one in November as part of my classics challenge.

10. Heaven's Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal by Jack Kelly. I heard about this one on a book podcast today and it sounded right up my alley!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Week-in-Review and 30 in September Update-- September 17, 2018

Something has been going around in my son's school and area...whooping cough/pertussis. A lot of kids have been sick or parents are keeping them home as a preventative measure. Luckily, G only had a small cold from the previous weekend and was able to go all week! But I ended up getting a mild sinus infection. I think it's been aggravated from all the smoke from fires we've been experiencing here in Utah! Just a few days ago I could smell the acrid smoke and could hardly see across the street. We had a big windstorm over the weekend and it cleared a lot of it out, thankfully. But it's still burning.

G's school has a carnival fundraiser each year and has become quite a tradition in our family. This year was no exception. G got his face painted and tried out the huge plastic bubbles. I enjoyed the street tacos for only 2.50$. G's grandmother and a family friend visited this weekend as well and came along for the ride. G doesn't get to see DH's mother very often so it was really fun for him to catch up.

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I also finished my first f-bomb crochet project. It's crap but I needed to finish so I could see a result and eventually see how far I've come as I keep going!

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And Sunday was family game night! Takenoko...always a fun one!

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30 Books in September

Day 10: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder-- This will be a classic. Snyder lays it all out with examples from fascism, communism, and Nazism from the twentieth century. Key things to look out for and ways to combat the destructive time we find ourselves in. It's one to keep on the shelves and reference often.

Day 11: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson-- This is an amazing young adult fantasy graphic novel. I loved everything about this world and Nimona. Read it. It's so good. There are a couple of really funny shark parts in this one.

Day 12: Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres-- I love Ellen! She's so funny and good-hearted on her talk show and everything else I've seen her in. She's a class act. But I did not like her book. It was boring. There wasn't anything truly personal in there and the jokes fell really flat for me.

Day 13: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel-- Another fantastic juvenile fiction graphic novel sci-fi. Can't wait for the next installment.

Day 14: Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl-- My weekend ran away from me so the last few days have been very small books! It's cute but Dahl just isn't my favorite author.

Day 15: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr-- This is a tear-jerker. I learned about Sadako and the Thousand Cranes when I lived in Hiroshima for a year. But I finally decided to pick up the English kid's story about her. It's tragic and sad but an important story to learn from.

Day 16: The Elephant's Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India by Marcia Williams-- I love all of Marcia Williams' graphic novels on classic stories and fairy-tales and myths. She's a wonderful illustrator and funny too. I enjoyed this one right before bed.

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Nala says hi!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Week-in-Review and 30-in-September Update

I'm really enjoying the book a day in September. I enjoy picking out my book for the day and setting out time to sit down and read. It's been a fun challenge! There were a couple of days that I had to stay up a bit too late to finish but overall I've been getting them done with time to spare for a few other books I'm reading as well.

I've been enjoying the cooler nights the last week or two. G and I have been taking some walks at night and talking. We've had some fun conversations.

Books Finished:

A book a day for my challenge and The Book on the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts. I read this one over the summer with my friend. We do a little philosophy club together and this was our pick for the last few months. There were some interesting ideas on how to see ourselves as totally apart of nature and not separate from it. There were some nuggets of great insight. But overall it was a bit wordy and out of touch with pragmatically how the world is and not how we want it to be.

Books I'm Currently Reading:

  • The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas-- a great YA mystery.
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl--It's weird but good!
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters--it's been awhile since I've read a good historical fiction novel with some creepy elements. Probably the last one was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.
Books Acquired:

  • Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching by Paula J. Giddings for my Kindle
  • X-Files: Cold Cases by Audible
  • Emma by Jane Austen from Audible
  • Heresy by S.J. Parris for my Kindle
Listening to:

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Spooked--a podcast put on by Snap Judgment

I finally finished up The Alienist. I really enjoyed that show. Characters and world-building were fantastic. Caught up on Castle Rock! OMG only one episode left. The Sinner is getting good too. The WNBA finals are this week so I know I'll be watching those games. Making It finished up its season. What a fun show. I'm going to miss Amy and Nick and all the makers on the show.


I've been trying to cook more at home and last week I did really well. I made grilled salmon and fish tacos and one-pan chicken thighs with potatoes. Overall, it's been a good week. So yay me! This week will be leftover tacos, spaghetti and homemade meatballs! 

I also have plans to make chocolate chip pumpkin pancakes and start on my crocheting project for f-bombs!

image source
I don't know if it'll look exactly like this but I'm hoping something similar! I want to make a few of these for stocking stuffers and friend gifts--so my one friend who reads my blog may see this...surprise! But hopefully not...

Looking Forward to:

G has his school fundraiser carnival this Friday so he's very excited about that! I'm also looking forward to Fall. The Pumpkin Harvest beers from Blue Moon are out and I just love those so much. Pumpkin cookies and soon I'll be making chilis and soups and stews. We also just put up most of Halloween decorations cuz after Labor Day it's unofficially fall for me and that means Halloween.

30 Books in September Challenge:

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Day 4: All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson. This was a very cute graphic novel story on the anxieties and fears of starting middle school. I had a hard time with the parenting in this one but I know that wasn't the point so I tried to overlook that. Overall it's a great read.

Day 5: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. I loved this young adult graphic novel. The prince secretly loves to dress in women's clothing and he hires a young seamstress to make his clothes for him and to keep his secret.

Day 6: The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. Some good principles to live by but he lost me in his metaphors and anecdotes.

Day 7: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. I had to read this way too fast so I'll be going back over all the things she wrote about. She's great.

Day 8: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. I've been wanting to read this one for along time. I'm so glad I finally picked it up for my challenge. Loved it!

Day 9: How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial by Daryl Cunningham. This was a non-fiction graphic novel. It's not bad. Wasn't my favorite but I liked the sentiment.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Earthseed: The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

This is the second book in the Earthseed series. Olamina and her Earthseed group have set up their community and are enjoying its fruit but soon her life changes again when her brother shows up who thinks she's a heathen and needs to repent her ways. Her brother leaves and soon after their community is run out by fundamentalist Christian terrorists and her community is forced into slavery and their children are taken away to be raised by "good" Christian families.

It's an awful experience to read about. The trauma and violence inflicted upon Olamina and her group is devastating after we have gotten to know so much about each and every one. Her husband is murdered and her daughter is taken away. After she escapes she searches for her but she also decides she needs to set up her religious movement differently.

The book focuses on her daughter all grown up and reading through her mother's old journals and Earthseed movement writings. Her daughter does not have a lot of sympathy for her mother and it's devastating to see it. Things do not always turn out for the best and our relationships with family and friends are not always what we need them to be or expect them to be. They're fraught with all the drama and hurt and disloyalty we can imagine.

These books were written in the 90s and it's an eerie reminder of how things truly never change in the world. Her assessments of current politics are spot on. If I didn't know better I'd assume she had written this series for present-day.

“Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.” 

Protects itself.
Promotes suspicion.
Engenders fear.
Fear quails,
Irrational and blind,
Or fear looms,
Defiant and closed.
Blind, closed,
Suspicious, afraid,
Protects itself,
And protected,
Ignorance grows.” 

“I found that I couldn't muster any belief in a literal heaven or hell, anyway. I thought the best we could all do was to look after one another and clean up the various hells we've made right here on earth.” 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mini Book Reviews

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn:

I enjoyed this one a lot better than the movie. Do not see that awful movie. It was like a bad Lifetime movie...

I didn't like the storyline as much as her other two books. Libby isn't a great person; she's been through a lot after being the only survivor of the slaughter of her family along with her brother who's been convicted of that slaughter.

The plot gets pretty convoluted toward the end. Where it all just kind of happens and we're still kind of wondering at all the coincidences that would have had to play out that night...

But I enjoyed the character development. Libby is messed up and rightfully so. Her brother Ben is no picnic even after all these years in prison. Everyone's messy and real. The plots of Flynn's books are truly out there but her world-building and characters are top-notch, which is why I'll continue to read her books.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate:

I loved reading this sweet book about a tree and her friends that live in her branches and the humans she's trying to take care of. It's a great discussion books on remembering our history and sharing our love with other living things. It's a wonderful story and I enjoyed reading it aloud with G.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas:

I'm really into mysteries right now--good mysteries, and Kara Thomas delivered. I loved seeing the perspectives of the dead sister that year she died and what led up to it--we get small pieces from both timelines in order to put it all together. The characters are not perfect; they're messy and stupid and yet we still care and want to know what happens. One of the better young adult authors out there right now. I'm reading Thomas' previous book The Darkest Corners right now and it's not disappointing either.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Goodreads summary:

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

My Thoughts:

This is a magical book. I loved immersing myself into the world of Orisha and Zelie and Inan. You think you have some characters all figured out and then boom no! Course changes and storylines flow and change like the sea. I loved everything about this magical world.

Not only does she share such an amazing world she also has something to say about the human condition and how we have to dehumanize the "evil other" in order to awful and terrible things to them. It's a powerful metaphor for our present times.

I recommend listening to it. The woman who narrates pronounces everything beautifully and she really engages you so you are completely immersed. I also recommend buying the book because they cover is gorgeous and it has maps and deity and maji maps and power descriptions. It helps to keep it all in your head!

So please go pick this book up!

Cat Thursday-- September 5, 2018

Welcome to the weekly meme hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats!

Seal gets powned by cat! Ha ha!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Horror Movie Wednesday


The Crucifixion (2017): An American journalist heads to Romania to find out if a girl was murdered by over-zealous nuns and priests or if they were helping to cleanse her of an evil demon.

Not a great possession movie. It felt more like Catholic-made propaganda but it had some beautiful cinematography. I definitely would love to visit Romania. Gorgeous country.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006): Mandy Lane is the virgin-esque hot girl that ahem all the boy love....Mandy finally decides to go to a house in the middle of nowhere with all popular kids from school. Soon people start dying horribly!

It's a teen slasher flick. It's not bad. It's a slow burn with a twist at the end. But there is no character development at all. The killer kills for no reason. The acting is only so-so. But it's a fun time with friends with wine.

*watched as part of R.I.P. challenge.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Week-in-Review and 30 in September: Days 1, 2, 3

I was out camping over the weekend so I had to limit myself to very small books for my 30 in September book challenge with Stacy! A lot of my books are small so I can feel good about my challenge and not make it too daunting.

We enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day weekend with friends by sitting around a fire most of the day and eating and drinking! Best kind of camping for me....

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September 1st I was around a fire a lot so before bed I ended up reading the graphic novel/comic Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur vol. 1 by Amy Reeder. It's a super cute story and I really enjoyed Moon Girl and how she deals with all the anxieties of being young and not knowing where you fit in. The dinosaur was adorable!

September 2nd I read The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth to G before bed. It's a wonderfully illustrated read based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. In fact, all of Muth's illustrated stories for children are fantastic. They are upbeat and philosophical.

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September 3 I finished off The Cutting Season by Attica Locke. The Cutting Season also fulfills one of my books in the R.I.P. XIII challenge!

So technically didn't read it all in one day but like I said before I've got to make the challenge work for me!


The Lodgers: Interesting take on an Irish ghost story. I loved the setting and the accents. It was creepy and had a satisfying ending.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: Not a bad teen slasher flick that came out 12 years ago. I saw some familiar faces. The acting was so-so but the cinematography was great and the ending was weird and gross. So overall, not too bad but not one I'd rave about or watch again.

Christopher Robin: This was a very cute and light movie. I loved Eeyore! The whole family had a great time seeing these cute Pooh characters back on the screen.

Caught up on Castle Rock, The Sinner, and started The Alienist.

Looking forward to:

We have some good friends coming over for a BBQ on Saturday! It's been awhile since we've all gotten together.