Saturday, April 6, 2024

Reading Recap March 2024

 I didn't read much this month, but I here's what I DID read!

Beartown by Fredrik Backman: A story about a town and a hockey team, and how that town LIVES for the hockey team, and how that all falls apart one day. Told from many points of view from many different townspeople, and how they all deal with the situation in their own many and different ways. Another great book by another great author! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Flippin' Skaters by Teresa Richards: I was hoping for a cute sort of YA story, but it wasn't as cute as expected. Something happened, and our girl doesn't even know what, but suddenly she is getting cyber bullied, and she has to figure out how to deal with that, and to also figure out what actually happened. As the title suggests, she ends up skating as her distraction to real life. ⭐⭐⭐

Fairy Tale by Stephen King: What a fun readalong book this was! Crazy that it's over already! This is the story of our boy Charlie who discovers something in the shed of his neighbor. It takes half the book to lead up to us finally finding out what's in there, but the build up to that was lovely. This book definitely lives up to its fairy tale title with many nods to fairy tales, and a general fairy tale vibe. It was a very enjoyable reading experience. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Plans for April:

  • I'm deep into The Dark Forest and will hopefully have that done this weekend!
  • I'll be reading Carrie Soto Is Back for book club.
  • I've started a YA called An Improbable Season by Rosalyn Eves.
  • I'm hoping to participate in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon this coming Saturday...for the first time in years! Hopefully I'll some light fun easy books in my stack for that.
  • Maybe I'll keep working on my Count of Monte Cristo re-read.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Fairy Tale Read-Along Week Three: Chapters 17 to 24


How's everyone coming along in this book? Are you still with me???

I'm still really enjoying it and am able to get through the assigned sections pretty quickly and easily. I'm glad that we are one the last week now this coming week so I can just finish it and see what happens!

Here are some thoughts and a couple of random questions! (Beware spoilers for up to this point!)

  • Just like I expected this took quite the turn as soon as Charlie got to the city!
  • I'm staring to worry about a happy ending. I want a happy ending!
  • This city is CREEPY... and when Charlie describes it, I get dizzy too just like he's feeling.
  • This whole thing about Charlie actually physically changing is very strange. I did not expect that tidbit!

Some questions for all you that are reading along:

1. What do we think is happening with Charlie and do we think he's going to be able to save the land and the people?

2. What interesting/crazy thing about the city stood out to you? 3. Is anyone else worrying about Radar and what's become of her? I hope we get back to her story soon!

I can't wait to finish this one. It's been a fun read along. Thanks for joining me. I think we'll be doing a LIVE on the channel talking about the whole book this weekend, probably on Friday evening at 5:30 MDT. That seems to be the best for everyone. Check over on the channel for final info on that! (

Friday, March 15, 2024

Fairy Tale by Stephen King Read-Along: Week Two Discussion (Chapters 10 to 16)


Well, and so Charlie's adventures begin!

Beware spoilers if you haven't read this far yet! (Halfway through the book up to Chapter 16)

Random thoughts:

  • This new place feels at once both cozy and creepy. How is that possible? LOL. Like it does feel pretty storybook-y but also very very weird.
  • Wow but the first section we read, and this section have totally different vibes. 
  • I'm finding it interesting that I'm able to picture these gray people quite well. How's everyone else doing on that?
  • I'm still really quite loving Charlie as a character. He did notice though when he sort of addressed the question I had last time, and let us know he doesn't think he's that "good" of a dude.
  • I still feel like this book could totally be a YA fantasy. 
  • I'm find this to be very easy reading so far, which is a good thing for keeping up with the read along! LOL!
Some official questions:

1. Any thoughts about all the comparisons to different fairy tales? Are you feeling these connections or is it a stretch? What's your favorite fairy tale connection so far?

2. Do you think this new place is a parallel universe? Or a completely different place altogether?

3. Speaking of this, our reading segment this time ends with Charlie saying that his world is the make-believe one and that this world he's in now is the reality. What does he mean by that?

4. From all the new people that Charlie is meeting, who is your favorite so far?

5. Are you feeling invested and anxious about Charlie's mission? Or do you feel it's still quite "tame" and easy so far? 

6. What thing are you worried about most for Charlie's future? The giant Hana? The night walker things? The sleeping something in the city? The gray disease?

If you are reading along, please answer in comments! Or check out the booktube channel and answer there. (Or the Storygraph page...I've got it going everywhere!)

Friday, March 8, 2024

Fairy Tale by Stephen King Read-Along: Week One Discussion

My thoughts and some questions on our first week's reading for this Fairy Tale read-along. There will be spoilers for the first section which is Chapter 1 to 9. 

My random thoughts:

  • This ended up being the perfect ending spot for our week one! It's almost like I planned it, lol! (I literally just divided it into four equal chunks!) I feel a huge shift coming! Should we be nervous?
  • I am dying to know what's on that tape recorder and what's in that shed! What do you all think is going on with the shed? 
  • Very anxious about our dog... but I'm also really wondering if she has something to do with the mystery.
  • So far this has read like a sweet YA book... which is not at all what I expected. I am nervous though that it's all going to change.
  • Charlie seems like the sweetest dude, yeah? I didn't picture him so big until it was revealed he is 6'4". Wow.
  • Does anyone have any predictions of what's up with Mr. Bowditch? I am terrible at figuring things out. 
  • The murder of the jeweler dude seems like it might come to be important.

Some official questions:

1. Do you agree that so far this is very different from what we typically expect from Stephen King? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? 
2. What are your feelings about our main boy, Charlie? Do you think he is as "good" as he seems to be?
3. Assuming you are going into this book cold and have no idea what's going down, what are your predictions about what's in the shed? And what do you think Mr. Bowditch is hiding?
4. What are your feelings about Radar, the dog? Does she have something do with the weirdness? Do you think she's really going to die as Charlie continues to foreshadow?
5. Speaking of that, are you annoyed at Charlie for randomly throwing out spoilers to us the readers? Do you hate or like that as a writing device?
6. Is the promise Charlie made to God a likely reason he was so motivated to help Mr. Bowditch? Or do you think he has other motivations?
7. Do you think Mr. Bowditch is actually FROM a fairy tale? If so, which one?
8. Also, Mr. Bowditch is giving off vibes of a character from another popular and well-loved book, can you guess who I'm thinking of? 

I think that's good for now! If you are reading with us, let me know in comments what you are thinking about this first bit of reading. Can't wait to see what everyone is thinking so far, and I'm excited to keep reading. It has me hooked for sure!

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Reading Recap February 2024

 Wow, it was an awesome reading month! Here are the books I read in February:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky: This is a book I feel like I've been meaning to read forever. Glad it finally happened. It's about our boy Charlie, who is a bit different, and his first year in high school. He's sweet and smart and funny, but many people brush him off as not really any of those things, which allows him to observe everyone in all their glory. Some stuff he sees is not that great, and some stuff he ends up doing is also not that great. But he learns from it all. It's a sweet, heartfelt, coming of age story. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Weight of Everything by Marcia Mickelson: Our girl is struggling with her mother's death and especially the fact that her dad has pretty much checked out. (This seems to be the theme in so many books I'm reading lately!) She has to take care of her bother and work to get money for the bills. AND do school. She ends up with an assignment that helps her to feel close to her mother and learn a lot about her heritage. These also a sweet romance with a dude that feels almost too good to be true. It was a nice story, but hasn't been especially memorable. ⭐⭐⭐

We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu: We drove a LONG ways to get to a wedding one weekend in February and I listened to this one on the way. SO GOOD! I loved loved loved hearing his back story, his amazing parents who always had struggles with as a teenager, his desire to be on the stage and perseverance to get there. I cried, I laughed, I feel in love. He's great and this story just confirms it. (He is the star of Marvels Shang Chi, and also a Ken in the Barbie movie if anyone needs a reminder, lol!) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson: The next weekend we drove the long long drive to get to the grandkids for the President's Day holiday. I listened to this one on the way there. I love this very funny author and hearing his experiences growing up in the 50s was awesome. So many stories, and lots of historical tie ins. Perfect for road trip listening! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell: This was a really quick listen for the drive back home. A book I've heard so much about over the years, so I thought I'd see what it's all about. Which is basically our human natures to follow a trend. Something small and insignificant suddenly becomes a huge thing, like the pandemic of virus! It was fun to hear all the different ways we can apply this to our lives. I'm thinking YouTubing specifically for me! ⭐⭐⭐

Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly: I feel like the title (and maybe its author?) turns people away from this book, but I found it fascinating to learn about the history and culture of the era around Jesus' birth and death. And to learn the back stories of all the Roman emperors of the time and etc. Wow, but it was a ruthless time to be alive. These leaders were awful! The descriptions do get a bit graphic so warning for anyone who might have an issue with that. Anyway, I really enjoyed this historical perspective of a story I've learned about my whole life. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Lovers by Emily Henry: Another Emily Henry book! I enjoyed this one a bit more than Happy Place (from January's reading) but not as much as The People we Meet on Vacation. I'm thinking maybe this author is not for me after all. I find the stories to be very surface level and end up not really loving the characters much. And I feel they are driven more by the physical of the relationship than anything about connecting with each other as actual people. This one did have some great banter though. So that saved it. And the bookish topic I suppose! ⭐⭐⭐

Overlap: The Heart of Happiness by Trevor J Petersen: This is a fabulously well researched look into how we can become happier. Which is, bottom line, to connect with people, and whatever else we deem a living thing. Lots of ideas, lists, suggestions to help us get there, and ways to overcome the obstacles we feel are in our way. I did a full review of this one in another post, so check it out if you missed it!  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Four books I read, and four I listened too! Wow! And THREE five stars? I'd say it was a pretty great reading month. How did everyone else do?

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Reading Recap January 2024

 Oh man I'm already behind! Here are the books I read in January!

Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson: Great way to start out the year with this fun whimsical fantasy about a girl who is off to rescue the boy! And the sea is lethal, but also magic. There's pirates and witches and zombies and a talking rat. It's got it all! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt: I heard so much about this book last year so was excited to read it for our book club pick in January. And wow, but it lived up to the hype. Just my kind of book with the focus on characters, a tiny mystery, heart warming relationships, and yeah, a thinking smart octopus added in! It was great and earned my first 5 star of the year. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Beauty Reborn by Elizabeth Lowham: This is an interesting retelling of Beauty and the Beast where our girl has been abused by the character we will recognize as Gaston. And when she finds the beast, she is terrified of much more than the fact that he is a beast. Most of the story is familiar but with that added element that our girl has to overcome. I really enjoyed it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Happy Place by Emily Henry: This is a book I waited months for and it finally become available so I jumped right in. Sadly, it wasn't as great as I hoped it would be, in fact, it pretty much made me crazy. One of those romances where the people aren't together for reasons we as readers can't understand. Like I still don't get why. And wow, but everything was so sad and depressing. Not a happy place at all. ⭐⭐

The Trial by Franz Kafka: Pretty sure this was my first Kafka read and now I know what everyone is talking about regarding him. WEIRD stuff! This is a story about a dude who is accused of a crime and has to go to trial for a year. He has no idea what he did, or why this is happening, and no one else does either. But he does all the stuff he needs to, which is very complicated and confusing. It's obviously a statement to the bureaucracy we have to deal with in this world.  It was... an experience reading it. ⭐⭐⭐

I feel like this was a pretty good start to the year! Books ranging all over the place! 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Book Review: Overlap: The Heart of Happiness by Trevor J Petersen

Book: Overlap: The Heart of Happiness by Trevor J Petersen

Genre: Non-fiction (self help, psychology, etc.)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

It's been awhile since I've actually done a true review here, but I wanted to feature this one a bit more than my norm has been lately. 

This book takes us on a journey to discover the ultimate path to finding happiness. The author first talks about all the ways he's tried, and failed, to find happiness, and then shares this idea that he's come up with called Overlap. He says that the most important thing with regard to being happy is to "overlap" with living things. He describes it like snorkeling... you can drive by the ocean without looking, or sit on the beach and observe, or maybe wade and get your feet wet... or... you can get in and see what's out there and go snorkeling! Passing, Spectating, Wading, or... Overlapping. This is the key to everything! 

He then lays out the "recipe" of 11 steps on how to do this. These include: opening up, valuing, empathizing, relishing, letting go, attending, participating, getting close (proximity,) intensity, netting (gathering) and giving. Each of these ideas gets a lot of space in the book for what exactly it entails with lots and lots of concrete and practical ways you can add overlapping to your life.

And everything is so thoroughly researched and referenced. With lots of stories and pictures to illustrate it all. It's amazing.

At some points I did think... but this is too hard! And what if I struggle to do stuff like this? And then he addresses those worries and concerns and encourages us all to get out of our comfort zone and live life. It's very inspiring and upbeat and awesome. 

And you might wonder what he means by living things, so he devotes a part of the book giving a detailed list on how he defines this. It's obviously people in our lives (and not just people we know of course, but strangers as well... talk to them!) but pets, ourselves, wisdom (literature and arts and music,) food, and nature. All considered living!

I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book and hope others trying to figure out life and how to enjoy it more will discover it and give some of these strategies a try. There's  A LOT to take in, but I think if we can do it just a little at time, and work on something day by day... we can do it!


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