Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: Harry Potter Readathon!

My library's collection has been well-loved over the years!

Two years ago I joined an online YA Book Club for the sole reason of reading through the Harry Potter series with the group. I was in high school and college when the books first came out, and didn't get involved in the hype at the time. Needless to say, I quickly got sucked in and jumped ahead (we were reading one book a month at the time), and became a huge fan.

(I love middle-grade and YA books in general, and am SO grateful for this book club to get me reading books in this genre I wouldn't have picked on my own!)

Now that I know the basics of the entire storyline, I was super excited to hear Jessica talking about a summer re-read of the series! I'm NOT a re-reader of fiction AT ALL (I always feel like "why re-read something that I already know how it ends, when there are so many other books out there that I haven't read?!). But since the idea got planted in my head, and others are participating too, I'm actually excited to play along too.


(Besides, I need something for "a book you've already read at least once" in MMD's 2016 Reading Challenge :)

Will you join us?? It's going to be a fast-paced read, as we're hoping to do one book a week, to be finished by the time the 8th "book" releases on July 31 (which is also Harry's birthday :)  I most likely will not be able to keep up the pace, but I'm going to try! I plan to head to the library today to pick up book #1, since the ebook is checked out...

Come join the YA Book Club Hangout, and check out Jessica's intro post - she's running a giveaway!

Are you a Potter fan? How many times have you read the series? 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quick Lit: May 2016


My 2016 Goodreads goal is 36 books -- 3 books a month -- after not quite making that goal last year.

(This doesn't count the books I read to/with my kids -- I try to post a few times a month what my kids are reading too, click here to read those reviews)

I started out the year FLYING through books, though now I seem to be getting back to my normal pace. I'm still plenty ahead of the game, with 24 books read so far this year. Here's what I finished in May!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Lion's Tales: May edition

My TBR stack that I'm going to attempt to power through
over the long holiday weekend for the Take Back Your
Shelves Readathon
.   Who am I kidding??
I'll be lucky if I can finish two of these... 

Ah May... the month where it FINALLY feels like spring in Michigan -- and we even have days and weeks that feel like summer!


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Usborne ABEA Giveaway! {closed}

{The giveaway is now closed, thanks to everyone for participating! The Shine-a-Light books can still be purchased through the links below!}


It's GIVEAWAY DAY at ABEA, and I'm excited to offer a free book to one of my readers!

I've really enjoyed being part of Usborne Books & More for the last 13 months! From buying and earning books for my own kids, to helping others earn free books through Facebook and home parties, to book fairs at local schools, it has been a GREAT business to be involved with. Read more of my journey here, and my Usborne book reviews here.


Giveaway Rules:
  • Only open to residents of the US. Sorry my international friends!
  • This giveaway will run from Saturday May 14 through Friday May 20, 2016. 
  • Once I notify the winner, that person will have 48 hours to respond before I choose a new name.
  • One entry per person please.
  • You do not need to have participated in this week's ABEA to participate in this giveaway. 
  • I will be giving away one of the Shine-a-Light titles below, let me know in the form which one you would choose if you win (and if you don't win, you can always purchase them through the links provided!)




The Shine-a-Light series is at the top of our bestseller list. Shine a flashlight behind each page (or hold it up to a lamp or sunlight) to reveal hidden images! Each book is fun AND educational -- two examples: 1) After reading the Rain Forest book with my own kids, we were at the zoo and saw the tapir, and my daughter shouted "Mom! It's that cool animal in my flashlight book!"  2) A friend of mine has a husband who works in construction, and when he read On the Construction Site with his son he commented how accurate the book was in describing his own job!









I am an Independent Consultant with Usborne Books & More. Purchasing books through the links above will pay me a commission. Usborne Publishing Ltd. has no connection with this blog and does not sponsor or support its content. 


Friday, May 13, 2016

Thinking Outside the Box

Discussion for ABEA Day 3 revolves around moving beyond 1) reading traditional books and 2) discussing books through blogs.

I love talking about Myers-Briggs (thank you SortaAwesome podcast), and identify most as ISFJ. One of the things I've come to learn about myself is that tradition and reliability are hugely important to me. Not that I'm opposed to things changing, but it takes me some time and research and dipping my toes in before I commit to a change.

When it comes to books, I love paper books and I love ebooks. That's it. I've tried audiobooks a couple of times, but have a hard time stopping and starting and remembering what happened. With a book it's easier to flip back a few pages if I need to.

Ebooks are great for travel... but I like them any other time too. :)

And the times when I would be able to listen to an audiobook (house cleaning, out for a walk, driving) I've become a podcast-listener instead. They're shorter and I don't have to remember a storyline if I stop and start frequently because of interruptions.

As for thinking beyond the blog for discussing books, I've often wanted to join a book club. Like a real, in-person book club. I'm part of an online family book club, and previously a young adult book and movie club. Groups like SortaLiterary are fun places to discuss books too, from the comfort of my own home, on my own time!


My library offers two in-person book clubs, that meet monthly on a weekday. I haven't joined because I still have Ellie with me. Maybe once she is in school full-time I'll look into it. Though when we've visited the library during book club hour, I've noticed the group is 90% retired ladies...

I'd love to attend something like BEA someday. I've been drooling over the Instagram feed all week, and kicking myself for not realizing sooner that it would be held in Chicago this year (only 3 hours away from home -- New York is much farther away from Michigan!). Though I'm an introvert and the thought of being forced to make small talk while standing in lines makes me shudder, at the same time my introverted-ness thinks I could very easily disappear into the crowds and be lost in my own thoughts. :)


What non-traditional forms of books do you enjoy? Do you prefer discussing books with people in-person or online? 


Armchair BEA



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I don't usually judge books by their covers, but these Illustrated Originals from Usborne are just beautiful.
I'm sad they're now out of print, hopefully they're just planning to re-release them with better binding...
#armchairbea #bookcoverperfection

The topic up for discussion at ABEA today is all about aesthetics. One definition of the adjective "aesthetic" from dictionary.com is "Having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty. Relating to, involving, or concerned with pure emotion and sensation as opposed to pure intellectuality."


Pretty Books
I honestly don't judge a book by it's cover very often (except when I do it on purpose). I read a lot on Kindle, and borrow from the library based on other's recommendations. Even when skimming lists or shelves I look at book titles and especially authors. Whatever image is on the cover is the last thing I see! 

However I do follow LOTS of book-ish people on Instagram, and I like and drool over some of their photos (like this one and this one, and of course this one and this one). 

Since my bookshelves are more practical than beautiful, they're filled with reference books and non-fiction, where I don't have an option to find a prettier version of a book. I almost never buy fiction, because I know I will read it once and be done. Maybe someday I'll have the money and the space to fill bookshelves with series like these


Pretty Blogs
So while I don't judge books by their covers, I definitely judge blogs (and websites) by their "covers" (blushes sheepishly at how harsh that may seem).  One of my favorite classes in college was an elements of design course. I loved learning about white space and colors and repetition... And am now thrilled any time I get the chance to create a flyer or brochure for something. 

Once upon a time, I had another blog where I went all-in and used the full Wordpress.org options to customize everything. I loved it. :) But after my first year of cheap domain and hosting, I wasn't getting enough traffic to justify spending the money to renew. So I pulled the content back to a free Blogger space and eventually parked it, while the pretty Wordpress site disappeared. :(
(the Blogger site is still out there if you want to take a look). 

When I set up this site, I started with the header image (my own kids' bookshelf and stuffed lion :) and drew out yellow/brown colors to match. I've been considering switching to Wordpress again, because I do think they look so much more professional. But again, there's the cost factor... I do use Wordpress to maintain our church's website, so I'm still familiar with the program. 

Maybe I'll set a goal for myself of jumping to Wordpress after I have xx months of posting consistently and have increased my number of readers. 



Do you judge books and/or blogs by their covers?



Armchair BEA



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

ABEA Introductions

My "armchair" is actually a sofa. I need lots of space for all
those adult and kid books. :) #ArmchairBEA #myarmchair
@armchairbea #bookstagram #instareads

It's that time of year again when the BookExpo America event is going on (in Chicago this year). But for many of us book lovers and book bloggers, we can't make the trip. And so we're grateful for the committee who organizes ABEA -- "Armchair BEA" -- so we can participate from home!

Day One is all about introducing ourselves. So... read on for a little about me.



Monday, May 9, 2016

What the Cubs are Reading: May 9

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn of The Book Date. Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers have adapted it to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books. Since I recap what I'm personally reading each month with Modern Mrs. Darcyfor this linkup I post what Abby (age 5.5) and Ellie (age 3.5) have been enjoying. 


Friday, May 6, 2016

The Lion's Tales: belated April edition

We don't go to bookstores often. 

It's looking like my "weekly" recaps have turned into monthly ones. :) Maybe eventually I'll get into a more consistent working/posting schedule... For now, follow me on Facebook or Instagram for more regular updates!