Thursday, December 31, 2020

17 years

 It's been a different year for sure, but today is our anniversary. I can't imagine spending this year with anyone else.

Here we are earlier this year in a rose garden. 
It's at the end of a local park and there's a good hike to find it. You can drive there, but we had fun finding this path.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Picture Book Wednesday: Best Books of 2020

 I've read so many picture books this year. And so many great ones. There have been some that made me smile, some that tugged at my heartstrings, and some that inspired me. 

I read picture books for two reason:

1. Because they're great reads and I love looking at the illustrations
2. Because of my job. 

Here are some of my favorite reads this year!

It's hard picking just 10 out of almost 700, but I'll try

I am One

Jabari Tries

I Promise

We Will Rock Our Classmates

The Power of Her Pen

Ways to Welcome

The Paper Kingdom

Goodnight Sleepyville

The Only Woman in the Photo

Lizzie Demands a Seat

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Books of 2020

So, I read a lot of books in 2020. But actually not too much more than usual. I did read more picture books than usual (more on those tomorrow). Since I started keeping track of picture books on a separate list, this year I read 273 books (as of this post) compared to 258 last year and 237 the previous year.

Because of #libfaves20 - I have created my top ten list

6. A Place at the Table

Have you read any of these? Or are any on your list?

Monday, December 28, 2020

Mini Reviews

 There are a bunch of books I've read recently that I haven't had the time to review, so I'll do several mini reviews for them. Enjoy!

Somehow I missed this when it first came out. I love this series. And I started it on my birthday because Mary Higgins Clark and I had the same birthday. Which we talked about when I had the good fortune to meet her. 

Twisty book with short chapters that I did not want to put down. 

Mary has to start a new school. She overhears girls talking about a boy - a boy who's known for playing the field. Mary steps in to "save" this girl from heartache and ends up with new friends. She shares all that she learns about the world - from books. But...things don't work out the way she planned.

An enjoyable read about friendship, books, and first love.

Celebrate the rarely named diverse women who helped win the vote for women.

Pepper and her father travel to their great Aunt's house for the summer. Pepper overhears something strange and becomes certain her great aunt was murdered for her fortune and her aunt knows something she's not saying. She sets out to prove it.

A fun children's book with spying, danger, and a fun friendship.

Read also the Amelia Six and the Wig in the Window.

Swimming is the only thing Annabelle's good at - and she's thrilled when the high school team asks her to be on their summer squad. All of a sudden people are noticing her - including a very cute boy she's had her eye on for years. But high schoolers are different than middle schoolers. The summer does not turn out the way she imagined.

A great middle grade summer novel about making mistakes, finding your true self, growing up, friendship, and swimming.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Dog Blooper Photos

Every year, I try to get a cute picture by the tree.

And every year, it takes a while. And several pictures. 

We started in front of the tree. And then Cabot decided he wanted to lay down.

So we maneuvered the bed in front of the tree.

Here are some of those tries...
Do we have to do this again?

We just did this last year

Emma, don't be silly. Take a nice picture

No thank you

Gah! Siblings!

Sigh! Fine, I'll take a nice picture. But just one.

Hope you're happy Human!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas 🎄

The pups and I would like to wish you (if you celebrate) a very Merry Christmas!

I hope it's filled with great food, laughter, and family.

I know it's very different this year but I'm hopeful for a better year ahead!


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Birthday to Me!


Today is my birthday!

It's also the first birthday I'm not spending in Vermont with my family, so it's very strange.

This picture is from the fall during a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. It's a great place to go hiking. This was the second time we've gone and we still have more trails to explore.
I don't really have any plans today except to relax and eat lots of good food.
I have a great menu planned.

Maybe I'll do some reading, or painting.

But mostly spending time with the pups!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Under the Tree

 This week's topic is books we wish were under the tree.

 I know that the pandemic has changed everything for the publishing world.
But I'm such a print girl (Librarian) and I would be thrilled to have any of these ARCs in no particular order. 

Are you excited to read any of these too?

Monday, December 21, 2020

Graphic Novel Review: Heartstopper

Heartstopper volumes 1 and 2

Charlie and Nick sit next to each other in class. They start talking and soon become friends. When Nick sees Charlie running - he invites his new friend to join the rugby team. Charlie isn't really sporty, but he decides to give it a try.  He's not great at rugby, but he's happy to hang out more with Nick. The two of them become close friends. Charlie begins to wish there was something more between them, but he knows that Nick is straight. 
My Thoughts: I had heard a bit about this graphic novel series on Twitter, so I needed to read it. And I'm glad that I did. Although I want the next 2 volumes immediately.  I love both the boys.  I fell bad for Charlie and his past trauma. I want to give him a great big hug. I loved Charlie's friends and hope we get to see more of them in the future. I'm proud of Nick for his confrontations with his friends. I love how their friendship started - and developed. A really great friendship story that turns into something a little bit more. I can't wait to read what happens next.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: Grab this series for your libraries! Highly recommended.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Shop Small: Gift Ideas (11)

  Since the holidays are just around the corner, this is the last gift idea of the season.

Instead of shopping online at places like Amazon, why not shop local?

If you have awesome local businesses, grab items from their stores of gift cards.

If you're shopping for people outside our area, why not get something super cute on Etsy?

If you missed a week, check out the previous ideas here

And if you want to support me (Thank you!), I do have a small Etsy shop.

And if you like something, but aren't purchasing it at this time, give the shop a like or the item a like! (This makes the seller very happy!)

Don't you just love this print?

This shop is new to me and I'm totally jealous of their talents!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Review: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky


Pinky is tired of family thinking she makes poor choices. Just once she would like their approval - the way they approve of Dolly. When a fire breaks out on their shared summer property, Pinky's mom immediately suspects her. It's just one more fight in a long line of arguments. Pinky denies the accusation and than accidentally blurts out that she would be in the barn with a boy because she has the perfect boyfriend - even one that her mother would approve.

With her mother's interest peaked, Pinky scrambles to find a boyfriend. She knows the perfect candidate - and his summer plans just happen to have fallen through. Even though they're not really friends, together they form an agreement to spend the summer together fake dating.

But the more time they spend together, the more Pinky and Samir begin to understand each other. Even though they drive each other crazy, could it  be for the best?
My Thoughts: I'm sad this is the last book set in the Dimpleverse. I have loved these books. I was so happy to read about Pinky and Samir. I loved how passionate Pinky is about - well, everything. I loved Drama Queen and the butterfly park. I loved the banter between Pinky and Samir (one of my favorite tropes is enemies to lovers). I love how the two of them balanced each other out. The ending was great. Another fantastic chapter to this trilogy. 

Cover Thoughts: Perfect
Source: My Library 
Library Recommendation: A must have trilogy for your school and public library.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Holiday Book Review: Christmas at Holiday House


When Abby's best friend Lucy calls for a favor - Abby can't say no. Lucy's grandmother fell and broke her arm. She needs someone to stay with her while Lucy finishes up her job before she can come home for the holidays. It's perfect timing for Abby, who is just finishing up one job before she and her son move to a new city.

When she arrives, she realizes that Lucy's brother has rearranged his schedule and is now back in town. Ethan is thrilled that his grandmother is home alone in such a big house. Now that Abby's there, he's off the hook.

But the house needs to be decorated for events. Ethan gets pulled into helping and also spending time with Abby and her son. The more time he spends with them, the more he wishes that she wasn't moving to another town.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this romance. Lucy and Ethan's grandmother. She was funny and clever and tried her hand at matchmaking. I really enjoyed Ethan's budding relationship with Christopher. It was sweet and charming. I loved their moments together - especially the sledding. I enjoyed the moments between Lucy and José. I loved all the Christmas moments and the way the town came together to celebrate.  A very festive heartwarming read. 

Cover Thoughts: Charming, but doesn't match the book
Source: My library
Library Recommendation: A great Christmas romance for your collection.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Picture Book Wednesday: Louis


Louis isn't sure he wants to stay with the boy who loves him. Louis has been through A LOT and he's had enough. He's ready to leave...but maybe after he eats a cupcake.

A funny story about a bear who's life isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but is still full of love. Louis is determined to leave - until he's not. A very cute and funny story about a bear's who's loved. I really enjoyed this story.

 I imagine this is sometimes how my dogs feel when I cover them with too many kisses, make them sit for a photoshoot, or try to dress them up. But then there's always walkies, cookies, and doggie ice cream. That goes a long way.

Library Recommendation: Highly recommended for your school and public libraries.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR List

 This week's topic is our Winter TBR lists. I count winter as books published in January - February- and March. And as usual, I have a large list. However, I do need more middle grade and graphic novels.

Middle Grade:



Any of these on your list?

Monday, December 14, 2020

Review: Three Keys

Mia is back and even though her life is better- it's still hard. While the hotel belongs to them now, business is up and then down. Not all the investors are happy. Some might want their money back. Sixth grade isn't like fifth grade. Mia's teacher isn't a kindred spirit; she's a stickler for rules. 

Several of the kids in Mia's class are worried about the immigration law that's proposed. If it passes, it will change everything. The more Mia talks to people, the more she learns about racism and the unfairness of the world. Can she smooth the road for herself, her family, and her friends? She's not sure, but she's going to try.

My Thoughts: I was so happy to spend more time with the characters from The Front Desk. I loved this sequel. It tackled really important issues that worry kids and adults alike. I had a hard time reading it, but at the same time, I couldn't put the book down. Mia is smart, determined, and brave. You can't help but root for her.

Cover Thoughts: Great

Source: My library

Library Recommendation: A must have book for your school and public libraries.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Shop Small: Gift Ideas (10)

 Since the holidays will be here before you know it, I thought I would share some cute gift ideas.

Instead of shopping online at places like Amazon, why not shop local?

If you have awesome local businesses, grab items from their stores of gift cards.

If you're shopping for people outside our area, why not get something super cute on Etsy?

I'm going to highlight a new suggestion each week. 

And if you want to support me (Thank you!), I do have a small Etsy shop.

And if you like something, but aren't purchasing it at this time, give the shop a like or the item a like! (This makes the seller very happy!)

Makes really cool paper art. I love this one of Lady Mary from Downton Abbey

And of course this Hermione print is amazing too.

I've been looking at those two prints for years. 
And I just saw this one...
I fell in love with it. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Christmas Songs Book Tag

The Christmas Songs Book Tag is from That Artsy Reader Girl's A Bookish Little Christmas!

I'm limiting this to books I've read this year!

1. “All I Want for Christmas Is You”: Favorite bookish couple.

Brynn and Maxwell

2. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”: Name a book where a character is away from home (school, vacation, etc.).

The Family travels to Scotland for Christmas

3. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Name your favorite “little” book (children’s book, short story, novella, etc.).

I'm So looking forward to more in this charming series

4. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town“: What book(s) do you hope Santa brings you this year?

5. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: Which book turned your nose red (made you cry)?
This book made me SO ANGRY - it gave me all the feels.

6. “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Your favorite book/kind of book to read during the holidays.

Christmas Romances! And I have so many I'm still wanting to read

7. “We Three Kings”: Your favorite trilogy.

I can't wait for the next two books!

8. “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”: A character you would love to be snowed in with.

Shoshanna because we would have amazing conversations about books!

9. “White Christmas”: An upcoming release you’re dreaming about.

So many, but I'll go with this one because I adored Red, White, and Royal Blue last year.