My Adventures in Library Loot

My Adventures in Library Loot

I recently shocked my husband by how quickly I can find and collect a huge stack of new library reads. πŸ˜‰ It’s a skill born of years of bookwormness, and I’m just waiting for the chance to somehow save the world with it. πŸ˜›

It’s true though. The library is my weakness. Especially the new releases section and the middle-grade fiction. I’ve been keeping an eye out for two books I’ve been wanting to read and just put in a request for them. The others are mostly ones whose covers caught my eye or the name just sounded really, really intriguing.

My new favorite bookmark in one of my new favorite library finds. πŸ’–

I’m not sure which ones I’ll read. Every book goes through a rigorous process is chosen by mood, content levels, and concept/adorable cover. If it doesn’t pass those or I run out of reading space at the moment, chances are it’ll be sent back unread.

That’s okay though. The important thing is that I stacked them and brought them home. πŸ’–

The Stack
Hello, Library

Hello, Library

Mask? Check.

Hand sanitizer? Absolutely.

Library bag? Yuppers!

I was more than ready to go to the library, and even though it was only a partial selection (a small room filled with new arrivals and quarantined favorites), it was absolutely worth it.

I didn’t know it, but I had really, really missed getting to be among the silent, possibility-stuffed shelves, looking for new stories to love. It was so quiet, so library-ish, and so lovely. ❀ I’m very grateful Mom took me! πŸ˜€

I came home with a pretty nice selection of books, and since our library has opened up requests (thank you, librarians!), I snagged a few more online. Mom picked them up for me during some of her errands, and needless to say… I’m a happy bookworm. πŸ˜€

So far I’ve read Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, and I’m trying to decide what’s up next. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments. πŸ˜‰

Are your libraries opening yet? What have you been reading?

Plate Update: LEGO, Sherlock Holmes, and Autumn

Plate Update: LEGO, Sherlock Holmes, and Autumn

October was weirdly half-autumn, half-summer, but it was a good month. πŸ˜‰ 

Last month’s full plate included some cheesecake. πŸ˜€

Here’s an update on my full plate…

Pleasure read:

Beneath a Prairie Moon (four stars)

Perception (four stars)

How to Read a Book (picture book, three stars) 

The Bookshop Girl (five stars)

Beta-read (eeek!):

Gingerbread Treasures (another story from A Very Bookish Christmas ❀ )


Emails and texts

Questions about Kiera for this vlog 

(A thinking face…)


Meeting minutes for my transcription job (lots and tons)

Some reviews…

5k words on a new project ❀ ❀

Blog posts (the top three being Kiera Q & A Vlog!, Longing to Write, and September’s plate update.)


β€œSincerely, Jem” (drafts on my own, with another reader, and with my editor, Kelsey Bryant, phew!)


Made two LEGO spaceships (please be proud of me πŸ˜› )

Filmed an actual vlog 

Attended a really good Bible study

Cleaned the house for parties

I also attended more choir practices with my family, started rewatching BBC Sherlock (on a filter), and absolutely loved the colder weather. πŸ˜‰ Also, I went to the library for the first time in forever. πŸ˜€

This month, I’m looking forward to releasing the A Very Bookish Christmas anthology with my fellow authors (ahhhhhh!!!!), celebrating Thanksgiving, writing some as a NaNoRebel, and seeing what else God has in store for the month. πŸ˜‰ 

How was your October? What are you looking forward to this month?

I Am So On Top of Things

I Am So On Top of Things

I am so on top of things, I wrote an entire blog post yesterday about how crazy last week was, and then promptly forgot to post it. XD

So, as I said before, last week was crazy and a perfect example of how on top of things I am. #sarcasm

All my deadlines conspired together to happen in the same week, but through grace and gifts from others I was able to make them all happen (albeit a little less on time that I wanted to). XD

Two of those deadlines were related to the A Very Bookish Christmas (it’s available for preorder, eep!) anthology! I finished up my draft of “Sincerely, Jem” and sent it off to my editor (Kelsey Bryant, a.k.a. The Coolest Ever), then turned right around and beta-read Rebekah Jones’s Sherlock-inspired novella, “Gingerbread Treasures”. (The characters are pretty brilliantly done.) Y’all, I’m soooo excited about this anthology, and I think you’re gonna love it too. πŸ˜€

This week is a little calmer, though I have more editing to do when Kelsey sends her notes back, a transcription job, and some regular life things. Oh, and I now have a beautiful stack of library books to read through. πŸ˜€ (Thanks for the trip, Mom!)

I’m particularly excited about the two on the top since they’re written by authors who have rocked my reading world–in a good way–previously. (Also, notice that almost all of these books are from the “new” shelf. I make a beeline for that shelf when I enter the library. XD ) I’ll let you all know how they turn out and which ones are my favorites. πŸ˜‰

But for now, I have some other things to stay on top of so a week like last one (hopefully) doesn’t happen again. XD

My Library Stack… Or Two

My Library Stack… Or Two

I make the schedule so I can break it with a… totally bonus post! πŸ˜€

Totally bonus like the double library trip I went on last week. ❀ We went to another library while waiting for our favorite one to open, and basically… I’m adding that day to The Annals of Kate’s Favorite Days.

(My sister Anna posted about her adventures and book stack from that day too.)

I had already picked up a couple library books earlier in the week, and I added even more to my stack that day. Some of these are books I’ve been looking forward to for a while, and others were ones that simply caught my eye with their concepts (or more likely their covers).

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix is the first book in her series The Missing. It looks pretty timey-wimey, that’s for sure. πŸ˜‰ I’ve enjoyed a few books from this author before, so I’m very interested in trying out a new series.

Another Me by Eve Wiseman is one I still don’t know much about. It’s historical fiction set during World War 2. Confession: I picked it out almost entirely because of the Star of David in the title. Is that beautiful, or what?!!

Annie’s Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney has a simply adorable concept, and I’m not sure, but I think the book itself is told a lot through list format. (Which is sooo original and I love lists, so this book and I might be friends.) πŸ˜€

Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is one I’ve been keeping an eye out for. It’s a companion novel to Ella Enchanted, and I’m very excited to see where it goes. I love this author’s writing. ❀ (Sidenote–whoever has been doing her book covers lately is BRILLIANT and doing a beautiful job. I hope they make a new cover for Ella Enchanted to go with this one.)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Jason Fry promises to be interesting. I’ve already seen the movie, but it can be fun to read a novelization and pick up on stuff you missed. I may not read it in its entirety since I already know the story, but we’ll see. πŸ˜‰

There are also a couple books my sister brought home that I might read if I have time before they go back to the library.

Also, I recently discovered some really cool picture books. Thanks to the recommendations of friends and me actually stepping into the picture book section. πŸ˜‰

I’ve already read all but the one on the far left. πŸ˜€

From left to right, Thirty Minutes Over Oregon by Marc Tyler Nobleman, The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, Sheep 101 by Richard T. Morris, and Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker. I’ll link titles to my Goodreads reviews for more details, but I recommend them all.

Last but not least, a non-fiction book one of my younger sisters picked up for me. I can’t imagine why it made her think of me. XD πŸ˜›

Nerdy Nummies by Rosanna Pansino! It’s been fun to look at so far, and now I really wanna make periodic table cupcakes. πŸ˜€

Those are my current library books! I’ll let you know how they turn out someday soon. πŸ˜€

I need more picture book recs. If it’s older than ten years, I’ve probably seen it. Comment with one of your newer favorites!

The Return of the Dueling Book Stacks

The Return of the Dueling Book Stacks

Remember this amazing stack of library books?

IMG_20180803_132827 (1)

That stack. ^^ (From this post almost three months ago.) I just recently finished reviewing the last of these, and now I feel ready to share my thoughts about them. πŸ˜‰

Just for fun, I’m gonna talk about them in the order I read them instead of how they are pictured. πŸ˜‰

I started with Wires and Nerves by Marissa Meyer. I was really curious to try something by this author, and the graphic novel format was a great draw. πŸ˜€ (I need more graphic novels in my life!) Needless to say, I read it quite quickly and veeeerrrrry much enjoyed it. πŸ˜‰ (Read my review here.) 4 stars!

Next, I pulled out one of those sci-fi books I had put on hold (hence no picture). Under Their Skin by Margaret Peterson Haddix was intriguing and a fun, sometimes suspenseful jaunt. It also raised some cool ethical questions related to pro-life matters. (Read my review here.) Another 4 stars!

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder–ohhhhh, this book!! ❀ ❀ It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.Β So lovely, Peter Pan-ish, and full of truth about childhood and growing up. πŸ˜‰ I’m glad I took a chance on it! (Read my review here.) 5 stars!

Now we come to a bummer book… Mixed Blessings by Cathy Marie Hake was exactly that–mixed. I loved the concept of children switched at birth, a marriage of convenience, and a blended family, BUT the male lead’s pushiness and disrespect to the heroine ruined it for me. (Read my review here, but be warned, it’s kinda negative with some unlovely quotes from the book.) 2 stars. πŸ˜‰

Somewhere in here, I took a break from that stack to read In Over Their Heads (the sequel to Under Their Skin) and Wires and Nerves: Gone Rogue ( ❀ ❀ ) to finish those duologies. (I read some other books as well, but let’s stick to this theme. πŸ˜‰ )

Next, I read Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, a sequel to The Giver. It was a re-read for me, but the most enjoyable part was forgetting a plot twist and being surprised by it again. πŸ˜‰ (Read my review.) Three stars!

And, last but not least, I read All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. I was pretty unsure about it going in, and it definitely didn’t become a favorite of mine, but I very much enjoyed how thought-provoking it was and the conversations that ensued were amazing. (Read my review here, but please know that the book is a bit creepy, so the review isn’t lovely.) Two stars. (And I need Pete to be real. πŸ˜‰ )

You may have noticed that there were three books in that stack I didn’t mention reading. I won’t go much into why I skipped them (and it doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t try them again sometime), but it was either for content problems or general flatness. πŸ˜€ If you have a question about one of those specifically, I’m happy to answer. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, it was a lovely stack, and if you’re interested, here are my current library books…


Which one to read first… πŸ˜‰

7 MORE Books to Discover at Your Library

7 MORE Books to Discover at Your Library

I have this problem. It’s called Shiny Library Book Syndrome. Scientifically speaking, it means I am drawn to the new releases displayed so I can see their covers. Unless my handy-dandy Goodreads friends have read advanced reader copies of the new releases, I usually don’t have much to go on when I check the book out. And, although it’s a big bag of books I bring home (like last week’s), can be a pretty mixed bag. Some books will be treasures, others will be sent back unread because of their negative content.

Last year, I wrote a blog post that was sort of a mini guide to what’s cool at the library, sharing old and new favorites. Thanks to interlibrary loans and some libraries that will purchase books upon request (O.o. ❀ πŸ˜€ ), it’s pretty easy to get just about any book you want at the library, but if you’re a bit of a “find-what-finds-you” person like me… Maybe you’d like a guide? πŸ˜‰

Here are some of the treasures I’ve found!


Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur is a very hard book to describe. If there were such a genre as “historical fantasy”, this would be it. It had the same feel as some of my favorite World War II books (most notably, The Book Thief) with strands of empathy and art and friendship all twined together. But it also had some fantasy elements to it without magic or creatures, so… Just read it, and come back and tell me what genre it is. πŸ˜› (Read my full review here.)


This book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, was a quirky surprise! Basically, imagine if Mr. Wonka had a library with a ton of complicated, super cool games. Also, if you are a nerd like me, please be warned that there are a ton of literary references that might make your head explode with the happy. (Read my review here.)


If you are a writer or an aspiring one, Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan is a beautiful read. In a way, it was a book about how to write and what to write about, but more importantly, it was about many of the reasons why to write, all told through a heartwarming story. ❀ (I have a review here.)

word of mouse

Who else was obsessed with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH as a kid? Well, this book is for us. πŸ˜‰ Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Christ Grabenstein was a cute read, and the illustrations by one of my favorite artists were a cool treat too. πŸ˜‰ (Read my review at this spot…)


It’s only August, and I’ve read The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser twice this year. Okay, one time was a family read-aloud by my mom, but still–that’s a pretty good recommendation. πŸ˜‰ It had us sighing happily over how relatable it was, crying over the family’s circumstances and squabbles, and laughing aloud over their quirks. We’re very much looking forward to the sequel! (Read my very enthusiastic review here.)


When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, a book my younger sisters forced me to read. It was brilliant. Time-wimey (a.k.a. there were elements of time travel). Tearjerking. Thought-provoking. Nerdily written and titled, down to the chapter headings. I’m so glad I read it. πŸ˜‰ (Read my review, complete with a content advisory, here.)

kindred souls

So, Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan was a short and sweet story. I loved the emphasis it placed on cherishing our elderly relatives. ❀ (Read my review here.)

So, there you are! Those are some of my favorite library finds. πŸ˜‰

Have you found any treasures at the library?

Dueling Book Stacks

Dueling Book Stacks

I have two book stacks calling to me right now. The books behind me, and the books before me… It’s really the best terrible situation to be in.

The Books Behind Me (a.k.a. My Review Stack)


Ah, my lovely review stack! (The Kindle is representing two novels and a short story I read on it.) There have been some great reads here, and it makes me happy how many different genres/age groups they span. πŸ˜‰

On the Kindle, I read Phantoms by Denver Evans (sequel to Shallows, a slightly paranormal fantasy), Sweet on You by Chautona Havig, and The More the Merrier by Liwen Ho.

Below that is The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler. It’s a middle-grade contemporary fantasy with a cute premise and some unfortunate content.

Sacrifice. by Rachel Hintze is the book I traded a copy of Kiera for at the homeschool convention. Revolutionary War historical fiction!

I’m still having trouble reviewing Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It was so earth-shatteringly amazing, that it’s pretty hard to formulate in words what I thought of it. πŸ˜‰ Oh, and it’s contemporary, by the way. And amazing.

Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke is a Word War II novel about Jewish refugees and their American caretaker stuck in England. C.S. Lewis figures into the story, which ended up being my favorite part. πŸ˜‰

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer is actually a sci-fi graphic novel which is pretty cool. It didn’t take very long to read, and I enjoyed the pictures. πŸ˜‰

And the picture book (my current favorite picture book to be exact) is called Library Mouse, and it’s just darling. πŸ˜€ ❀

A couple of these books I read over a month ago, and others I read gave me too many feels to word about, so I kept putting off reviewing them. πŸ˜‰ Until yesterday when I decided to be brave and knocked out SIX WHOLE REVIEWS. *fist bumps self* πŸ˜› Now I just need to type them in and post them… πŸ˜‰

The Books Before Me (a.k.a. I WENT TO THE LIBRARY)

IMG_20180803_132827 (1)

You know that crazy lady you saw walking through the library with a stack of books tucked under her chin? That was me.

I wrote out a whole menu of what I wanted to get, looked them up to make sure they were at my location, and then I explored. πŸ˜€ I’ve only read one of these so far, but once I get my reviews and a book I’m currently reading done, I’m really excited to dive in. I haven’t been to the library in a while, so whether or not I went overboard in my excitement is up for debate. πŸ˜›

Mixed Blessings by Cathy Hake caught my eye when a friend reviewed it on Goodreads and I found out it is a marriage of convenience story and features an adoption of sorts… πŸ˜‰

It’s time for a re-read of Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. I remember thinking it was cool and weird, but I don’t remember all the details. πŸ˜‰

I am reeeaaaalllly looking forward to Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder, and I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint. The cover is darling, and the first two chapters I sampled has me in bittersweet tears. *sniffs* *reaches for book* *reminds myself that reviews must happen first*

This next book looks a little weird. Now, I like weird, but whether or not I like this type of weird remains to be seen. πŸ˜‰ Several of my Goodreads friends have suggested I try reading All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, so I’m gonna give it a go. πŸ˜‰

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher is another book I feel a little iffy on. I’ve heard it’s pretty violent, but the concept and the unique position of one of the characters has me really intrigued. πŸ˜‰

I almost bought The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull at the thrift store the other day but decided to wait until I could get it from the library. It looks a little remniscent of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and very zany, so cool. πŸ˜‰

I grabbed The Glass Town Game by Catherynne Valente because I saw it on the “New Arrivals” shelf, and I can never pass up a new a book with a cool cover. πŸ˜€

And then there’s Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer, but I’ve already read that. πŸ˜‰

Oh, and I have a confession…

My Confession

I have two more books being held at the library right now for me!! πŸ˜€ And they’re both sci-fi… and they both look really cool… and I’m really happy. πŸ˜‰

I’ll report back on how these are, and y’all can be on the look out for some new reviews. πŸ˜€

What have you found at the library lately? Have you ever been behind on reviewing?

Plate Update: Genetics, the Library, and Thunderstorms

Plate Update: Genetics, the Library, and Thunderstorms

July is a very hard month to sum up because it was so FULL. So I’m probably forgetting something. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, last month’s plate was full of I-am-editing-oh-wow snacks and now-I’m-at-the-convention-for-two-days snacks. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, here’s a quick update on my full plate last month.Β πŸ˜‰

Pleasure read:

Sweet on You (three stars)

Wonder (five stars ❀ )

Until We Find Home (four stars)

Sacrifice (three stars)

Library Mouse (five stars)

Read for review:

The Notes in Our Hearts (four stars)

Read for research:

The Twin Arrows (working on that sequel!) πŸ˜‰


Questions in ANOTHER live Q & A video with my author sibs (so. much. fun.)


Freezing books

Gluten-free dutch apple pie topping ❀

Goodreads reviewer ranking algorithms

Music repeat sign

Past participles

Publishing audiobooks

Gilbert’s syndrome

Genetics πŸ˜€ (I got a little geeky…)


The first scene of a new story πŸ˜‰

Book reviews! (And I’m still eight behind…)

A gigantic letter to a soldier

This month’s newsletter

Blog posts (the top five being The Generation Rising Team Rides Again, Booksthetic Photo Contest WINNERS!, Christmas? In July?, Convention Prep Time!, and Plate Update: Chocolate, Thunderbirds, and New Release.)


12,700+ words of the sequel to The Twin Arrows


Celebrated Independence Day with dress-up, ice cream, and FIREWORKS

Made my Camp NaNoWriMo goal πŸ˜€

Watched Winnie-the-Pooh with my oldest nephew

Enjoyed three BIG thunderstorms

Observed Cow Appreciation Day with my family πŸ˜›

I also worked with judges on the Booksthetic Photo Contest, helped set-up and run the Generation Rising Authors booth at our local homeschool convention, thrift shopped for books with a sister, and listened to some amazing sermons with my family. I also got to celebrate a friend’s graduation with her and had a couple writing parties with friends and family. And I got to go to the library!!! πŸ˜€ Oh, and my family and I just sat around and sang hymns which hasn’t happened in a while and is so happy-fying.

This next month, I’m looking forward (maybe) catching up on book reviews (heheheh), reading all ten of my lovely library books, and finishing up the second draft of my current project. πŸ˜‰ And really, whatever else God brings my way. πŸ˜‰

How was your July?Β What are you looking forward to this month?

The Library Book Trials

The Library Book Trials

The library stretches out before me. Even the children’s section (my favorite spot) alone is filled with book after book, world after world, pages upon pages of stories to read. I browse up and down the shelves, singing the alphabet song in my head, looking for author’s names I know, and trailing a younger sister behind me.

Here are the books that came home with me…

Library better

Reached is the last in a slightly cliche but interesting YA dystopian series, and I kinda had to finish what I started. Into my stack it went. Paper Things was an absolute gamble with an intriguing synopsis. My mom discovered it for me, thinking it would be a “Kate book”. I always love The Nutcracker story, and the illustrator is one I recognize and enjoy. Dangerous is by the author Princess Academy and happens to be sci-fi–SIGN ME UP! And Gossamer is a sweet book I was looking forward to rereading.

These five books made the delicate selection process and had the honor of being added to my monstrous to-be-read pile.

But an even more crucial round of the library book trials awaited these brave titles. Opening them…

Dangerous looked so cool, I opened it up almost as soon as we got home. Not to read it yet, but to research a little more. I unhappily (but luckily) landed in the middle of a chapter long make-out scene that almost went farther. BOOM. Disqualified.

Four books still in the running, which one would I open first?

Reached, of course. I needed to see what happened to my characters, even if they were a little cliche. A day and a half later, I decided I liked it. It was actually a really good series wrap-up, and I was satisfied with the resolution of the love triangle. (Yes, there is one.) Congratulations, book. Kate liked you. It is still awaiting a review, of course. πŸ˜‰ (Who wants to review a book when they could be reading one?)

What to read next? I had the beginning stages of the flu so there was a lot of spare time. Thank God for library books.

I didn’t quite feel like a re-read at the moment. And The Nutcracker looked like some excellent to page through with little sisters sometime. That left Paper Things. The “Kate book”, a story about a homeless little girl in foster care.

It had a few modern problems, but not as many as could have been expected. And it made me cry. *sniffles* So many beautiful characters, the importance of art, and aΒ relatable narrator. A certified “Kate book”. (Review to come…)

Two more books! Only two left.

Oops, I got distracted, and I’m currently reading a free ebook by an indie author. πŸ˜€ It’s nice to know, though, that those two remaining library books are available to me when I need them. πŸ˜€

(This post was meant for Monday, but sadly… the flu. πŸ˜‰ )