i got to visit the bookstore

i got to visit the bookstore

Last week, J and I visited Bookmans, aka reader wonderland, aka budget-friendly haul time. 😍

I spent most of my time in the middle-grade section (of course), but luckily for me teen fiction and religious fiction were right around the corner, so I barely had to navigate the maze of shelves to find exactly what I wanted.

Train I Ride by Paul Mosier looked like something I’d be highly interested in, so after some Goodreads scouting, I added it to my stack.

Shuri by Nic Stone… well, let’s just say I’m a huge Wakanda fan, and I want to experience more of this gorgeous world and characters. 😍

Two books by Eoin Colfer? Yep, they both looked interesting in their own right, but I also really enjoyed his standalone Airman, so I picked up The Supernaturalist and Half Moon Investigations.

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer is an interesting but rather sordid concept but I know she will handle it with her signature grace and hope.

My poor bookshelves, but my happy heart. πŸ˜‰

My Nostalgic Book Haul

My Nostalgic Book Haul

Recently my family was going through their books, and I got texted pictures of some they were planning to donate/give away. Looking through them brought back such beautiful memories, and I chose my favorites to keep and share with my own family someday. The oldest book here is one I first experienced almost 20 years ago and the newest are some I read in ebook or from the library and couldn’t pass up the chance to own.

I know it was a lot of work for my mom to take these pictures then sort out what I wanted, so I’m very grateful she reached out. πŸ’–

Here are the ones I chose…

  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, a smart, amusing, and helpful grammar guide
  • Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster, a newer copy and one I didn’t have in paperback (shocker, I know)
  • Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, an adorable newer find
  • The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough, one of the sweetest WW2 books I’ve read from the library
  • Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine, a very inspiring book that helped fuel my love for writing
  • Cherokee Run by Barbara Smucker, my first introduction to non-resistance but I’m conflicted about the land-grab history and will be looking at it more critically πŸ˜‰
  • Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland, aka a book my parents bought for the family but mostly to help me with my writing (it made Kiera possible!)
  • Twinepathy by C.B. Cook, one of the greatest superhero books of all time and a favorite indie
  • At the Foot of Windy Low by May Justus, a book my oldest sister read aloud to me before I could even read πŸ’–
  • The Beautiful Culpeppers by Marion Upington, the most adorably unique book ever (a paper doll family?!)
  • Finding the Core of Your Story by Jordan Smith, another helpful writing book my parents bought

They also found my long-lost copy of The Book Thief which is going on the TBR for this year. πŸ˜‰

I’m enjoying the memories as I find shelf and closet space for them all. πŸ˜‰

Do you have a favorite nostalgic read?

My Book Outlet Haul!

My Book Outlet Haul!

My Book Outlet box came!!! πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ‘

J and I drove down to the post office to get it, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve been tracking this box like you wouldn’t believe. πŸ˜…

I don’t buy from Book Outlet very often just because their stock changes so much I can’t always find something I want, but this time there were a few I’ve been dying to read…

The sight that greeted me when I opened the box. 😊

All my book babies stacked up! 🀩😁

I’m most excited about So Many Beginnings by Bethany C Morrow (a race-swapped Little Women reimagining) and A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser (the author of Vanderbeekers standalone release) since they’ve been on my to-buy-but-too-expensive list for forever. 😁

I’m also happy to complete our collection of The Giver series, add a paperback of The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie to my shelves (mwaha), browse the children’s nonfiction book (#research), and experience The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snyder.

(Annie’s Life in Lists is just because the price was too good and I love that book. πŸ˜‚)

This was such a fun splurge for me, and now I gotta free up some shelf room. πŸ‘€πŸ§‘

My June Bookhaul // Vacation Edition

My June Bookhaul // Vacation Edition

Last month, Joshua and I had a really fun vacation. It was one part staycation, one part drive-up-north-where-its-twenty-degrees-cooler, and fifty-seven parts visit every bookstore and Goodwill we came across. Absolute vacation #goals.

The first bookstore we went to was an underground, hole-in-the-wall beauty, absolutely packed with books on the older side, which made J super happy and he snagged one for his collection.

The next one, aka my absolute favorite was really, really inviting and had that perfect indie bookstore feel. J treated me to an Agatha Christie book, and we added the fourth Giver book to our series. πŸ˜‰

The store was mostly about books, as all good stores should be, but I was delighted with this typewriter and the absolutely TINY chairs in the children’s section. I should have taken a picture with something for scale, but that “big” chair is actually a mini armchair and the other one is even tinier. So wholesome. πŸ₯°

The last bookstore was delightfully personable, and even though they didn’t have books for me, I could feel the sense of community and love of reading. I also adored their ginormous purple Squishmallow mascot. πŸ˜‰

All in all, it was a really fun vacation and the books were just one of the many highlights. πŸ˜‰ ❀

Speaking Of…

Speaking Of…

Hello again! I think I needed a little break after all the excitement of the cover reveal (you all are amazing), but I’m back again. πŸ˜‰

I’ve been reading a lot more this year than in the past two, so much so that I’m ahead on my Goodreads challenge for once. *happy dance* Challenge aside, though, it’s been delightful to be experiencing new worlds again. My picks have been ranging from new indie releases to adorable middle-grades (currently reading a cupcake-themed one and yes, child Kate would have been obsessed) to even a highly clever, adult mystery.

Such a wild mix πŸ˜‚ #moodreader

Speaking of books, I got some delightful new ones for my birthday. 😍 My siblings gave me the latest two Kate’s Case Files in paperback (eep, thanks!), and Joshua took me on a trip to Barnes and Noble. It was so much fun browsing new releases and iconic classics that I ended up with quite the hefty “maybe” stack. I ended up getting The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and The List by Patricia Forde (will report back). And my shopping buddy was the best ever. πŸ˜‰ (Thanks, J! ❀️)

My pre-bookstore happy face 😁
My favorite ❀️

Speaking of birthday, I experimented with flavors and made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and raspberry filling. It was absolutely delicious. 🀀 I just got to make another cake with the same flavors (I have three cake orders in four days, send help) and this time I went all out on the classy decorating. πŸ˜‰ Such brilliant fun, and after I finish this post, I’ll be mixing up more batches for the next order…

(I promise I fixed that weird flat spot.)

Speaking of “send help”, editing gives me anxiety, y’all. Not a ton usually, since I know my professional editor and proofreading rounds will catch what I missed, but this time is a little different. I’m making *minor* changes to an already edited, formatted book and the terror of “what if I add new typos to this?” is real. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I eventually came up with a system to run the new material through Grammarly just to double-check and that eased my mind enough that I could finish it up this weekend. I sent the files to my formatter, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. 😍

Time to make some more cake. Talk with you all again soon!

Mini Book Haul! (Literally)

Mini Book Haul! (Literally)

Book Outlet has my email address. 😬

Sometimes they send me promotions. 😍

Sometimes I follow the sale link and browse books. πŸ₯°

And sometimes I buy a couple. πŸ˜‰

The site is so huge, my favorite way to shop is by searching author names. Since I’ve been looking for a copy of The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe for forever, I typed in the author’s name and the most darling, adorable thing popped up.

A Penguin Mini of Matched! 😍😍

Pocket-sized, mass market, completely unabridged, and adorable as can be.

I’d heard about them a couple years ago (thanks for the fangirl session, Perry!), so I was really curious and excited to see one in person.

I added it to my cart, ordered, and forgot completely about it until my box came last week. πŸŽ‰


It’s so litttttle.

I guess the horizontal format is to make it easy to read one handed, and I can see how even just from holding it while taking these pictures. πŸ˜‰

Little copy, big copy. πŸ’•

It’s such a cool idea, and I’m so glad it popped up on my book shopping escapades. πŸ˜‰

This is not a paid promotion, I’m just a nerd.

Writing, Reading, Loving Lately

Writing, Reading, Loving Lately

Last week, I finally got to pick up my Camp NaNo story again and put in some more words. It’s been so much fun getting to know these characters better and move the story forward. Some big things (and some cute things) have been happening. πŸ˜€ Here’s an excerpt…

(Context, during a loooong game of Monopoly, Jessie is brainstorming a Christmas card for her pen-pal…)

Andi yawned and leaned back in her chair. β€œIs it my turn yet, because I’m still in jail.”

         Kee snapped his fingers and leaned forward again. β€œDon’t people sometimes write words with elements on the periodic table? That would be so nerdy.”

         β€œOooo, I liked that idea. Like a lot. Can you bankrupt me so I can start on it?” Jessie drummed impatiently on the edge of the table.

         β€œAfter we break Andi out of jail.”

         Andi made it out of Monopoly jail only to be sent back again, and Kee bankrupted Jessie in another two turns. Jessie gave him a congratulatory handshake and excused herself.

I’ve been shifting my books around a lot this week. I keep buying more books or graduating books I love from the TBR shelf to the β€œKeep This Forever” shelf, so… *grimaces happily* I wouldn’t be surprised if no two pictures of my bookshelves are alike. XD The two newest books added to my paper-family are a hardback copy of Annie’s Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney (a book I’ve loved before) and In 27 Days by Alison Gervais (something I’m really excited to try). I blame my bookshelf β€œproblem” on Book Outlet, the same place also responsible for my copies of the Beautiful Blue World duology. Seriously the best site.

Speaking of graduating books from my TBR shelf… I finished reading Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio this week. It’s a companion book to Wonder, and it was soooo amazing. ❀ I’m so glad I picked it up. If you loved Wonder, definitely give it a try. I’ll be reviewing it soonish. πŸ˜€

My sister Anna had her birthday this week, and in celebration us older squad went to see the live-action Aladdin. It was my first time seeing it, and I enjoyed it immensely. Will Smith always cracks me up so much, and I really liked the movie’s message and cultural elements. And some of those songs are pretty catchy too. πŸ˜€ (I want a pet tiiiiggggerrrr.)

What have you been writing/reading/loving lately?

(Oh, and one of my favorite musicians just released a new song… It’s THE BEST.)

What a Haul!

What a Haul!

One magical day last month, someone mentioned shopping on Book Outlet, and I immediately went into research mode. Shopping + books + I-didn’t-know-about-a-book-thing = research mode. I found their site and browsed happily for a while, then posted this on Goodreads.

Seriously, it was amazing. I’ve been to bookstores and used book sites before of course, but the cool thing about this one was that all of the books were in nearly new condition (either as overstock or returns with a mark on their page block) and at least half their usual price. πŸ˜€ SCORE!

I pulled my sisters over and let them search favorite authors and titles just to see what was there, and they were pretty gobsmacked too.

We placed an order. πŸ˜€ (And there were so many of us buying that we hit the free shipping threshold.)

The big box came early (a happy surprise after a tiring day!), and we opened it up. πŸ˜€

*sighs happily* I got three books, several of my sisters got one or two, and we grabbed a couple for the family. I was really pleased with the condition they came in, and I’m so happy to add mine to my shelves.* ❀ So many favorites in there!

Quiet Power by Susan Cain is an adaptation of her famous book on introversion for kids and teens, and it’s illustrated by one of my favorite artists. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, so major score! πŸ˜€ The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart, a.k.a. the book my library doesn’t have and a sequel I’m highly anticipating, is another one I bought. Last, but not least, Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale is a one I’ve already read, but I’ve been on the lookout for the edition matching my copy of the first book, so I’m very happy to have that. πŸ˜‰

Next time, I “need” to buy books, I’ll definitely be trying their site again. I’m grateful to have found them. πŸ˜€

Where is your favorite place to buy books from? Have you tried Book Outlet?

*Sometime. I don’t currently have room. XD

Bookish Blessings: October Book Haul

Bookish Blessings: October Book Haul

I can’t believe I’m actually doing a book haul post!! This month has been big on book blessings. πŸ˜€


Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!!! It’s seriously a dream come true to be holding this book in my hands. ❀ I have loved all of the books contained in this volume in their ebook form. When Hope Ann announced it was available in paperback, I jumped at the chance. My gorgeous copy arrived only days later. I can’t wait to re-read these lovely books. πŸ˜€ (You can’t see in this picture, but that book spine is THICK!)


I picked up this little book at a library book sale. My mom enjoyed reading it years ago, so I’m looking forward to seeing how I like it. πŸ˜‰ It looks like a sweet one! (And my little pumpkin just had to make it into the picture…)


Oooo, look! A review copy! I love Kelsey Bryant’s writing, so I’m excited to read this book in the next few days.


Yeah, I’ve read this before, and I have a first edition e-copy, but I kinda needed the shiny new version. (Also, it’s free. πŸ˜€ )


This is what you do with $0.99 left on an Amazon giftcard. πŸ˜€ I can’t wait to sample this author’s writing. πŸ˜‰

My bookshelf is getting tired of new arrivals being crammed onto the shelves, but I’m not–that’s for sure. πŸ˜‰ I’m so grateful for the beautiful reads I’ve been blessed with, and I can’t wait to give the new books a try!

What amazing books have you bought (or borrowed) this month?

(Thanks to my sister, Anna, for taking the higher quality pictures! πŸ™‚ )
Description Is My Favorite Part

Description Is My Favorite Part

Adding description to a story is like swirling whipped cream on an Oreo shake. Description = richer story! My main character is going through a major life change right now (first plot point, ya know); and I get to show her fears, apprehension, and loneliness through the details around her and how she reacts to them. πŸ˜‰ It’s pretty fun to figure out how I can leverage things as simple as a decorative clock to my advantage. πŸ˜€ The two chapters I finished last week have been extra fun to work through for this very reason. I can’t wait to carry my characters farther through the second quarter this week!


(Tools of the trade. Chocolate is conspicuously missing. *sniffs*)

Another exciting thing that happened? I got myself more Mitford books! πŸ˜€ The story behind it is pretty interesting and makes me happy when I think about how God worked things out. I’m part of a Facebook group for buying and selling used Christian books. It’s usually entirely dominated by romance novels, but one day I was surprised and delighted to find someone selling a TON of Mitford books. I asked if they would sell singles and then tried to pick out a few to splurge on. (I wanted book two at the minimum, so I could at least find out what happens next!)

But after consulting with Mom and my mental budget, I decided it would be better to keep an eye out at local bookstores instead of paying shipping. Flash forward to that evening when Mom texted me pictures of a few books she found at a local thriftstore. You guessed it–Mitford books including book two! She knew I was on the look out and hunted for them especially for me. πŸ˜€ I’m glad I took her advice and was wise with my money. (And it’s a special treat that my patience was rewarded so soon.)


(My bookies. ❀ Excuse the quilt squares that somehow got into the picture. My life is covered in them right now. πŸ˜€ )

You know that video tour I made of my WriteMind planner a few months ago? Well, I rearranged it again. πŸ˜€ I love it that everything is so easy to move around! Every time my brain (or my story ideas) invent a new category, I can mix things up some more. Thanks to some sweet brown polka dot tabs I just added, I now have a spot for planning blog posts. (I’m seriously eyeing thoseΒ blog post idea sheets. Someday soon, I’m going to treat myself. πŸ˜› )

Oh, and by the way… if you are on Goodreads I’m starting two giveaways for my books tomorrow! Just keep an eye on my book page, and the giveaways should pop up when they start. πŸ˜‰ I’m excited to ship out those signed copies of The Treasure Hunt and The Twin Arrows soon!!

I better go write, sew, breathe, etc. now. πŸ˜‰ Have a super great day!