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27 x 27 Recently Read

Biggest Recently Read…Probably Ever

March 8, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I love to read – to the point that I add “go to the library” to my to do lists.

Part of the draw is my interest in another person’s story. I also think, in this busy world, that a lot can be gained from turning pages and thinking past a scroll. This from a girl who loves to scroll.

As part of my yearly goals, I read a certain amount of books. This year, prior to turning 27, my goal is to read 27 books.

Here are the 22 that I have read so far. There are little asterisks * next to my favorites.

I’ll Take You There: Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is one of the most interesting writers to read. He touches on such diverse subjects that you feel like your world is expanding just through reading.

Midnight in the Garden Good and Evil: John Berendt

I’d recommend visiting Savannah prior to reading this because it makes you appreciate it even more. Long read but interesting characters.


You are a Badass: Jen Sincero

Jen had me going and then I didn’t follow through. My bad.

In a Dark Dark Wood: Ruth Ware

Just a good read. I can’t say more than that without ruining it. So that’s where I leave it.

The Magnolia Story: Chip and Joanna Gaines

I love Chip and JoJo, but in all honesty, who doesn’t? As a Baylor grad, I enjoyed their take on how they view their spot in the community. They are really visionaries in that community.

We Were Liars: e. Lockhart *

This book had an ending unlike anything I have ever read. It was totally unexpected and made me love it more.

Swing Time: Zadie Smith

This book was so deeply developed. It covers growth as people and differences in background. Though that’s a 30,000 feet view of it at best.

Talking as Fast as I can: Lauren Graham

This book is the essence of Lauren Graham; fun, witty, and honest. It was a quick read and I would recommend if you like Parenthood and Gilmore Girls.

Britt-Marie was Here: Fredrik Backman *

Every book I read by Fredrik Backman impresses me beyond belief. He is incredibly talented at pinpointing feelings and moments that are meaningful. He takes really simple ideas and makes them uniquely beautiful. I highly recommend his work. All of it.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: Fredrik Backman

The Couple Next Door: Shari Lapena

The Sun is Also a Star: Nicola Yoon

Pretty Baby: Mary Kubica

The Perfume Collector: Kathleen Tessaro *

This book was beautiful. The way the story is developed around scent is incredible.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: David Sedaris *

This is *shock* my first David Sedaris book. These short essays had me laughing out loud with a few cry laughs thrown in. He manages to morph slightly dark concepts into hilarious bits.

Someday, Someday, Maybe: Lauren Graham

Fast and good read. Lauren Graham is not only a great actress but talented writer.

Uninvited: Lysa Terkeurst *

I really really appreciated this book. I think this is a valuable read for any woman but many chapters really impacted my thoughts and hopefully my actions.

Rare Objects: Kathleen Tessaro

Fearless: Max Lucado

The Guests on South Battery: Karen Walker

I have enjoyed the Tradd Street series however, this was good but not my favorite. Worth a read though.

The Night Bird: Brian Freeman *

Probably one of the most twisted books (conceptually) I’ve read in a while, but I really really liked it. I wanted to know what happened so much that I ignored my poor husband as he was talking to me. Bad wife.

In the Great Green Room: Amy Gary

This last one was about the author of Goodnight Moon. Though biographies are not my typically genre of preference, it was interesting to hear about how this Margaret Wise Brown lived and how her stories took shape.

So there you have it. 22 books toward my 27. If you have any recommendations for books I should read please leave them below!

26 x 26 Recently Read

October 7, 2016

Stacks on stacks.

Of books.

I have stacks on stacks of books that I am hoping to get through prior to my 26th year beginning. The goal is to have 26 books read by my 26th bday and I am at 21. However, I also have only a month left to read 5 books.

The list of recently read is growing (which is good). Here are some books that I recently picked up from the local library.

  1. Emma Cline The Girls 
  2. Liane Moriarty: Truly, Madly, Guiltily
  3. Fredrik Backman: A Man Called Ove
  4. Emma Donoghue: The Wonder

Here is a little takeaway from each.

  1. The Girls covered the life of Evie, a young girl growing up in the late 1960’s. Evie meets a group of girls that appeal to her and she is drawn into a cult group. It was certainly an interesting read but unsettling. The unsettling nature made it almost a form of art or something however.
  2. Truly, Madly, Guiltily, I just think Liane Moriarty does a wonderful job emphasizing the truth behind words and actions. She is able to convey the deepest of feelings while not taking you too far the rabbit hole of despair. I really enjoy her books.
  3. A Man Called Ove. You all, I can not even explain how beautiful this book is. It takes grief, which is very very dark, and turns it into a practical spin on living a life full of value. I can’t fully explain this book, but I can tell you at the end I was bawling like a baby (on a Friday night no less).
  4. The Wonder had a slower start but was intriguing nonetheless. I read Room earlier this summer and would say that this author’s writing is consistently good. I wanted to come back to this story and read the ending.

What are your recently reads? Any authors that I should keep on my radar?

Recently Read

Recently Read

August 14, 2016

Emily Giffin. Holy smokes. This woman writes exactly what I think. To a tee.

I wish I could be more eloquent than that but I’d ruin someone’s experience reading her work.

This recently read is about First Comes Love.

Prior to beginning the book, I thought it would be about love and a burgeoning romance. While there are elements of romance, that’s not really what the book is about fully.

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This story follows to sisters after the death of their brother. While each sister is going through her own trials, the stories merge to show how love motivates choices made.

I would recommend this book. The story was absolutely relatable and easy to read. I also would contend that there are some important themes that women can relate to – the feelings of people pleasing, self-doubt, and sacrifice. These are all focused on in a very real way that allows the reader a chance to reflect as well.

26 x 26 Recently Read

Recently Read: Room

July 28, 2016

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Reviews Here

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but one of my overarching goals this year is to complete a 26 x 26 list. This list is compiled of 26 things I would like to achieve prior to turning 26.

One of the items is to read 26 non-school books. Easy enough right? Ehhhh….harder when in school and in a world filled with Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

Currently I am at 16 books. Not too shabby considering some of these books are monsters.

One of the 16 books I have read is Room by Emma Donoghue.

I could hardly put this book down.

It was just so interesting and was told from such an interesting perspective.

The story is about a mom and son duo, Ma and Jack, who live in “Room”. Room is a small space where Jack learns things from a handful of books, a TV, and Ma. However, Jack has never experienced the world. Ma and Jack’s experience in Room and after are not only profoundly interesting but heartwarming as well.

I would highly recommend this book.

What books have you read recently that you’d recommend to a friend?

Recently Read

Recently Read: The Royal We

June 14, 2016

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Alright. So I have a big fat confession to make. I could not stop thinking about this book.

I even shushed my husband during it like it was a television show or something.

No shame.

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. While there were some plot holes and a couple of moments where it was like “Where the hell is the other main character?????” it kept you reading.

A brief description of this book:

Bet Porter is an American exchange student at Oxford. She happens to get placed in the same small dorm as His Royal Highness, Prince Nicholas of Wales. The two hit it off and a budding romance emerges. Along with the ins-and-outs of their relationship are the trials they face maintaining privacy and learning how to  progress the relationship.

Along with the actual romance, there is a cast of supporting characters such as Bex’s twin sister, Lacey, a more attention seeking individual. There is also Prince Freddie, a Prince Harry type, who enjoys a good time and pretty girls. While these two help make up a lot of the story, they are not alone. The friend group that Bex and Nick have from Oxford also play a key role in their relationship. A bunch of lovable and human characters in this group.

While I personally really really enjoyed this book, I will warn you that if you are a stickler for accuracy in royal details or whatever that this may not be for you. Additionally, it has to be read without a Kate and Will thing in mind because while similar it isn’t their story you know?

But overall, I would Highly recommend this book.

Oh and PS – Lauren Graham (that’s right Lorelei or Sarah Braverman) and Mae Whitman are turning this bad boy into a movie. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Recently Read

Recently Read: Karen White

June 12, 2016

I recently mentioned tearing through the “Tradd Street Series” written by Karen White. As much as I loved those books, I am also loving the rest of her fiction.

The lovely thing about the Karen White books I’ve read so far is that they are all set in the south. I know this may seem somehow limiting, but I love the charm and the hospitality that the characters have. I think a lot of this charm comes with the quintessential southern hospitality  – and  the sense of community and looking out for others.

The most recent reads are The Color of Light After the Rain.

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This book was great. It was a mystery but also a romance. The main character is a  young woman named Jillian. Following a divorce, Jillian moves back to her childhood vacation spot with her young daughter, Grace, and another child on the way. She arrives to find an old friend there, who in the past was accused of her best friend’s disappearance. Working together, Jillian, Linc (the friend), and her daughter Grace figure out after all these years what really happened to her best friend years ago.

Spoiler alert: toward the end you can kind of put things together, but the story is good and the characters are very likable.

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This too was a great story. It started out a bit slow and the mystery element of it was left a little wanting, but the characters were very likable and the story was satisfying. I think that’s what I like most about White’s books – that you always feel like you got a fair ending and a good journey.

This story was about Suzanne. Suzanne stumbles upon the town of Walton, GA looking for answers. She is trying to find out more information about where her mother received a locket years and years ago. The journey leads her to meeting a widower, Joe, and his six kids. As her relationship with Joe and the townspeople develops, she ultimately must release some of her secrets.

So there you have it! My most recent Karen White reads.

What is on your list this year?

Recently Read

Recently Read: Big Little Lies

June 4, 2016

It’s past midnight. I stayed up reading the last 200 pages of this book. That’s how involved I was with the story.

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You know that feeling you get when you finish a book? It’s so satisfying but also kind of a loss. That’s how I felt about this one – I want to read more about the characters.

So here’s the scoop.

This book focuses on perspectives of multiple women. These women have kids in the same kindergarten class in a small coastal Australian town. Through a series of perspectives, you learn that these women’ secrets and stories overlap in unforeseen ways.

There’s Jane, a young single-mother that moved to town, Madeline, a sharp, emotional, and headstrong mother and friend, and Celeste who battles with so many struggles despite living a seemingly perfect life. Along with the other moms (and husbands) they stir up a ton of epic proportion drama. Very good.

Fun fact – this book is actually coming to the semi big screen. HBO has begun filming a multi-episode series with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman (amongst others).  You know I love Reese so this is doubly good news.

Recently Read

Recently Read

May 31, 2016

I’ve got a lot of good stuff coming. Since school is out until August, I have quite a few projects and trips planned. That means more interesting reads to come. Until then, I wanted to update on some recent reads.

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legare

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montagu

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return to tradd

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You all. This series pretty much won all the heart eyed emojis. The books are set in Charleston, SC and have some of that southern flair. The main character is able to see and hear ghosts which helps her solve mysteries about properties and families. It’s great. There’s also a love interest portion of the story only adding to the likability. If you like mysteries and southernisms, I would highly recommend these books. I first heard about them here. (Side note – you should definitely read Jenna’s blog…it is hilarious and honest and I just wish I lived in Chattanooga to be her friend.)

Recently Read

Recently Read: The Book With No Pictures

March 14, 2016

There’s this book I was reading with the little girl I babysit for. It’s a book with no pictures.

And here I am to give you a picture of the book with no pictures.

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Genius.

The interesting thing is that this is a book for kids. It has words throughout in different sizes and shapes. It tries to convey the message with emphasis.

During the book, you must read all the words- obvious- but it’s a caveat that the author indicates. The words may be typical or silly phrases.

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to take away from reading this book with a 2 1/2 year old. She kind of was a bit uninterested, but I can understand how a slightly older kid could find the concept interesting and silly. In a way, it’s a sort of bridge between the picture books and readers to the full on chapter books of youth.

In honor of this book, tomorrow I am going to talk about something without using any pictures. We’ll see how well I can tell a story.

Tune in.

 

Kid Activities Recently Read

Favorite Books to Read With Kids

February 18, 2016

Recently,  my cousins, siblings, and acquaintances have started having kiddos. It’s that life stage. While I am certainly not there at all, I do have a little experience nannying for kids from 2 months old to middle school. My favorite age group is probably the 1-4 year-old range because they are constantly learning and develop such vivid imaginative stories.

To help the kids I work with develop their imaginations, I like to start reading with them very early on and asking them what might happen next. – Kids are super smart you all. That should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t realize that kids can tell you, create, and understand more than we imagine. – end of preach

With this in mind, here are three stories that I like to read to young tots/preschool age and activities that you can do with each story.

1. bear hunt book

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I love this book. It has a linear path for kids to follow and a rhythmic pattern to the words. Additionally, as the family makes their way on the hunt, they go through obstacles and each obstacle has a sound that you make like “swishy swashy” for grass.

To really amp up the story, I like to calm read most of it and then get louder and more   active when the family meets a bear.

Some activities I do with this book:

Draw your own “bear hunt” journey. Ask the child what might you have to go through to find a bear. The stuff that he or she comes up with may align with the story or be super imaginative. Each way is a great way to explore reading comprehension and critical thinking.

Talk about the bear and what he may think. I like to ask the kiddo I’m with what she thinks the bear feels or wants. Usually her response is “sad because he wants friends” which is adorable and really possibly true given the book’s illustrations. This activity helps to develop emotional understanding with a child and empathy.

Act out a bear hunt. As you read the story, you can pretend, (especially with older preschoolers), that you are going on the actual hunt. You can just pretend and imagine or add props. This makes it fun and exciting for kids. It also gives a kid that likes movement a chance to experience the story without just sitting.

2. chika

Via Amazon

Great book and great intro to letters. This book has a nice rhyme and rhythm to it.

Kids often pick up on the rhyme scheme if you read it a couple of times. This makes it a great pick for 2-4 years as they tend to like rhymes that they can learn too.

Use a magnetic easel or board with alphabet letters to tell the story. I like to draw a tree on a dry erase board and have the child help tell the story with magnetic letters. We go through the book and she helps to find the letters and put them on the tree. If she needs help, we search for the letter together. At the end we erase the tree and scatter the letters. It’s a fun way to tell the story.

3. good dog carl

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The “Carl” books are quite possibly my favorite books for kids. The illustrations are very pretty and really tell the story. There are typically a couple of words on the first and last page, but the middle is just images.

This is a great book for beginning literacy and comprehension. A lot of what kids infer comes from images. Talking about the images with them helps them learn what might be happening or even allow them to give a voice to what is happening. This is such an important skill!

Ask the child to tell you the story. Again this comes back to comprehension. You may prompt the child here and there saying, “Tell me what you think is happening” or “Look what is happening here, what do you think is going to happen next?”.

-Take other familiar stories and have them retell the story without reading (just images). Kids can gain a lot of confidence from retelling stories that they are familiar with. Ask them to look at the illustrations and to tell you the story and what is happening. This helps them to realize they don’t always need to know the words to know what is happening. Eventually, you can add in how the words tell the story too.


I hope these three books help you as you interact with or love on a kid around you. There are so many fun activities that you can do with stories to help kids grow and learn. Be creative! These are just suggestions from my experience but know they are not all you can do.

What suggestions would you make to new parents, educators, neighbors, or friends with kiddos in regards to stories and books?