Book, grad school, teaching

Book Chat: Children’s Books

Hi y’all,

You all seem to love my monthly book chats so I wanted to share with you some children’s books, too. As a Reading teacher, I absolutely love sharing new books with my class and I’m so glad y’all love to read as much as I do.

These books were all assigned or I picked them for my Children’s Literature course I’m taking for grad school at UVA. I have finished all but 3 for the class, but I still wanted to go ahead and share them so if you wanted to request them for your classroom you had time to.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearnace of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming. |This book is one that I haven’t read yet, but the synopsis on the back of the book says “What happened to Amelia Earhart? On May 21, 1937, the most famous female pilot of all time, Amelia Earhart, set out to do the impossible: circumnavigate the globe at its widest point, flying 27,000 miles in all. Just six weeks later, her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. More than eighty years have passed since that fateful flight, and the plane has never been found. Discover the thrilling life and tragic end of America’s most famous trailblazing flier with this impeccably researched and masterfully crafted book from acclaimed author Candace Fleming.

Lemons by Melissa Savage. |5/5 stars |This is one book that I chose to read for a book trailer assignment. This is the story of Lemonade, or Lem as she’s better known. Lem is sent to live with her only living relative when her mom passes away. What did Lem want? To stay in the city and to definitely not live with her grandfather and his Big Foot obsession. She did not want to join the BigFoot Detectives Inc. and she definitely didn’t want to become friends with anyone.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo | This is another book I haven’t read yet. I picked this one because it’s written by the fabulous Kate DiCamillo and I’ve loved all the books I’ve read of hers. The synonpsis for the book reads, “once there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit couldn’t move or speak, but he could watch and list, and he was very pleased with himself and his owner and his house. And then, one day, he was lost”.

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney | 2/5 stars | Honestly, my rating of this book is low because it’s written in poem form and I dislike books written in this style. It’s harder for me to follow along and I feel like I miss a lot of description. I do think the story is important to share (I would have just picked a different format). This is the story of Amira, a young lady living in Sudan. She wants to be like the girls that go to school and learn; however, it doesn’t appear to be in the cards for her. Instead, her family flees Sudan to head to a refugee camp. Danger lurks around every corner, and Amira can’t seem to find peace.

El Deafo by CeCe Bell |4.5/5 stars| Loved this book. This is an autobiographical graphic novel. The main character faces the huge struggle of being deaf in a hearing world. However, she learns to adapt and deal with all the trials and tribulations life throws at her. This book is absolutely wonderful for sharing to help students understand each others differences, no matter what they are. I love the fact this book is a graphic novel because it helps to make the text accessible to all students.

Chains by Lauren Halse Anderson | 5/5 stars | This book is absolutely wonderful. This is the historical fiction story of a slave girl named Isabel. Isabel believes she should be free; however, she is sold to a new family, a Loyalist family. She and her younger sister are shipped up to New England, months before the Declaration of Independence is to be signed. Will Isabel ever gain her freedom? There are more books in the series; however, I haven’t read them yet.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai | 3/5 stars (so far | Disclaimer on this one, I haven’t finished it yet, but I am having a difficult time finishing it. This is the story of Mai as she deals with spending her summer in Vietnam. This surfer girl from SoCal would rather be back in there, instead of in a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language. Worse? She doesn’t really know when she’s going home because she’s helping her Bai (grandmother) find her long lost grandfather who was a POW during the Vietnam War. Mai is definitely a relatable character in this middle age book; however, I have found the plot hard to get into.

What books do you share with your classes?



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April 2020 Book Chat

Hi y’all,

Can you believe that April is over?!? It seems like it flew by! I just finished my grad school semester and have about a 6 week break before the Summer term starts. Since I’ve had a little bit more time on my hands, I’ve been reading non-stop.

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Some of these are by authors I love. Others were recommended or were free on the Apple Bookstore. I did read a few on the Libby App (any I got from the Libby app, I noted it so you know where to find it).

Falling for You: A Sweet, Small Romance by Leeanna Morgan

5/5 Stars

Natalie Armstrong, an artist, comes back home to Sapphire Bay to rejuvenate herself after years of living in Europe. Getting away from some personal issues is a bonus.

She heads home to her grandparents cottage-now her’s. Upon her return, she learns that half the cottage has been rented out to Gabe, a former NYPD detective. Gabe is also running away from his own dark memories. Will the pair be able to live peace?

My thoughts:

This book was absolutely wonderful! It had a beautiful plot that was filled with unforeseen twists. The story captivates the reader from the very beginning and is a book you won’t want to put down.


Saving the Sheriff by Kadie Scott

4/5 Stars

Cash Hill is struggling with trusting anyone outside of his family with a pretty good reason. His wife died, but on the day of the accident, she left Cash a note saying she was leaving him. Cash wasn’t overly shocked by this, after all, he had only married her because she was pregnant after a one-night stand and he was trying to do the right thing. Now, Cash’s paternity of his daughter is in question, and his deceased wife’s best friend, Holly, isn’t helping matters. Can Cash and Holly put their differences aside? Can Cash fall in love after all?

My Thoughts:

This book has a typical cowboy romance plot. Cash’s daughter does throw in some extra twists and turns that are not convenient for Cash. He tries his best to stay away, but soon finds out he can’t. Scott develops her characters beautifully, it’s like they’re all with you in person! The only fault with this book is that it’s very typical.


Lucky in Love by Carolyn Brown


Beau wants to settle down, and he thinks he’s found the right girl. Except, he can’t get off another girl off his mind-the one he had a one-night fling with at a wedding…about a year ago. Beau ends up inheriting his aunt’s ranch, and is trying to make a go off it. Being Beau, everything at the ranch was working perfectly, the same couldn’t be said for his love life. His girlfriend, soon to be fiancé, has no interest in ranching, just money. Millie, and her daughter, come to help her grandparents for the summer. Little does she know; a certain cowboy has moved in next door to the Lazy Z Ranch.

My Thoughts:

Beau and Millie have such a fantastic relationship dynamic as they find out how compatible they really are. I love how the two characters are developed and how relatable they are. Both are well off financially, but their story is so rooted in love and based on things that happen all the time (like custody issues) that it is something everyone can understand.

just for you

Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter


This is the story of Jade and Daniel and is a follow up to Barefoot Summer. Daniel is in local politics, with family pressure for more. Jade has moved back home after spending a year in Chicago. Unfortunately for Jade, not only do her dreams not come true, but she ends up traumatized after an incident that leads to a permanent change. Jade struggles to make ends meet, and Daniel finds a way to help her out…in more ways than one.

My Thoughts:

As you know I absolutely adored Barefoot Summer. I wished I could say I had the same feelings about Dancing with Fireflies; I feel like it was lacking in comparison to the first book. I loved Madison and did not feel the same connection to Jade. I felt like Jade constantly wanted to be pitied even though she kept saying she didn’t.

*borrowed on the Libby App


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena


By the same author as An Unwanted Guest and A Stranger in the House. I wanted to read this one because I loved A Stranger in the House (this one is a 5/5 book).

Anne and Marco have it all: a great relationship, home, and baby Cora. Everything is not always as it appears though. Anne and Marco both have their own skeletons in the closet and they will quickly come to light. They aren’t the only ones hiding things, and it only gets more complicated.

My Thoughts:

I love Lapena’s mysteries. I just requested a hold via the Libby app for An Unwanted Guest. My only real complaint is that the ending became predictable as you keep reading. There are plenty of twists in the novel, and I love how many different characters are involved throughout the story.

*borrowed on the Libby App


The Sheriff Catches a Bride by Cora Seton


Welcome to Chance Creek, where everyone knows everyone’s business. Rose is the county’s good girl, and she’s constantly afraid of disappointing other people…to the point that she’s disappointed herself.

Cab doesn’t date, because the girl he wants is engaged to someone else. When he finds out she isn’t happy, he’ll stop at nothing to prove that he’s the one for her, including saving her life.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely love this book! I love all the twists and turns and the characters that were introduced, especially the ones you never thought would appear! I love how all the character’s lives are intertwined, just like in any small town. I could totally see myself in Chance Creek.


Butterface by Avery Flynn


The story of a party planner kissing a guy at a party. He pretends they’ve been in a relationship for months. She ends up meeting the whole family, even the mob-connected brothers.

My Thoughts:

I hate to say this, but I barely made it a chapter into this book. I just couldn’t get into it. It came recommended on Apple Books, so I thought I’d give it a try and it wasn’t the book for me.


The Cowboy’s Rebellious Bride by Laurie LeClair


Hannah is used to defending herself. She might be the best bull breeder and trainer around, but in a male-dominated world, she constantly has to prove herself. Cody needs to save the family ranch, and there is only one way to do it.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book, except for it being predictable. It’s another small town story where everyone knows everyone’s business, except in this case they really don’t. There were times I felt really bad for Cody as he is trying to help his family without dragging other people into it. I loved how we got to know all the characters and how they intertwined.

What books do you recommend? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to check them! If you’re read any one them, let me know what your thoughts are!



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Note: Book Cover images courtesy of Google Images.


Book Chat: March 2020

Hi y’all,

With us all being socially distant right now I have had extra time to read! This makes my bookworm heart so happy. I’ve been exploring different apps and discovering a ton of new books. Just in the Books app by Apple, I’ve read 12 books this year. Plus I’ve read a few more in the Libby app. I will say I have read all of these books as ebooks which is very unusual for me, but my public library is closed.

I love finding new books that other people loved. It’s also one of my favorite parts of my day job as a teacher. I love recommending a new book to a student and they fall in love with it.

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Beautifully Broken Pieces by Catherine Cowles

5/5 Stars. This book takes place in the mountains and is possibly the best book I’ve read all year. I did not want to put it down! It’s the story of a woman who is looking to reset her life. She ends up going on vacation with her friends, and extends her stay. I won’t tell anything else because this is a MUST read. There were cliff hangers at all the right parts and the story flowed perfectly. It is definitely a relatable story and very enjoyable.

Beautifully Broken Spirit by Catherine Cowles

5/5 stars. This is the third book in the Sutter Lake series. This one follows the lives of two of the characters you’ll meet in Beautifully Broken Pieces, but you don’t have to read that one first. Again, I had a hard time putting this one down and could envision myself right there with the characters. I love how we got to know more than just the main characters in the book and how interrelated everyone was.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

3/5 stars.

It’s the story of a woman from childhood to her death as she experiences the good, the bad, and the ugly of life. The book moves back and forth in time as we see the life of Kya Clark. It goes into the various relationships of Kya’s life and her independence. I listened to this one via a free trial from Audible.  In general, I have a hard time staying focused on audiobooks and I’m not sure if that affected my feelings on this book. I loved the storyline of this book.

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

4/5 stars. This is the story of Karen and Tom Krupp. All of a sudden they are dealing with legal problems as Karen has a sudden incident-but doesn’t know why. Then, there is a murder to solve. This book is one of my more favorite reads of the year; however, I did feel like some aspects can be really slow moving. I will say, I was very shocked by the ending in a good way! I did not see it coming which I feel like I haven’t found that in a long time.

Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell

1/5 stars. This story is supposed to be a good quality story. However, I found it really hard to get into and ended up dropping this one. I normally make myself read the entire book, but I could not force myself with this one. I felt the story was confusing and couldn’t get a handle on who was who and what was going on. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book though, so it just might be me and not the book.

Perfect Love Story by Natasha Madison

5/5 stars. This is the story of Hailey, a woman who’s fairytale ending ends up not be so fairytale-like. Her life begins again and this time it might have a happy ending. I truly loved this book. I felt like I really got to know Hailey, Jenson, and the other members of small town, North Carolina. I often felt like I was on the beach right along with them. The storyline moves at the perfect pace, and really lets all the pieces fall into place so you aren’t confused.

Unexpected Love Story by Natasha Madison

4/5 stars. This is the story of Hailey’s cousin, Crystal and the town doctor, Dr. Gabe. Both had given up on love and happy endings. This story is the follow up to Perfect Love Story and has many of the same characters. I did feel like we did not get to know Crystal or Gabe as well as we got to know Hailey and Jenson in the first book. However, Madison still gives a quality story and you’ll fall in love with this little beach town and the people that live there.

Plain Jayne by Laura Drewy

4/5 stars. We meet Jayne, who is moving back to her hometown after her grandmother’s death. She’s been left her childhood dream, but it may be more than she bargained for. At least, she has her BBF Nick to help her out. Will Nick become more than a friend? Or, will his latest girlfriend be the one?

Almost Priest by Lydia Michaels

4/5 stars. Colin’s life has been planned out since he was a teenager: go to seminary, become a priest. He’s on break before taking his Holy Orders, and his little brother brings home a friend. While his brother wants to date the girl, Colin might be rethinking his whole life plan. If you like Colin’s story, each member of the McCullough clan has their own story you can enjoy.

Have y’all been reading anything good while you’ve been staying at home? Let me know!



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January Book Club

Hi y’all,

If you know me, I love to read. Hands down it is one of my favorite activities.

I’ve been reading a bunch of books on my iPad recently since I’ve been a little lazy in getting to the library. Luckily, my library does have a great deal with one of the e-book places where you can get “library books” via e-books. I know Carly the Prespster and Caitlin from Southern Pearls and Curls write posts about their favorite books every so often, and I thoroughly enjoy reading them, followed quickly by trying to get my hands on the books!

While I would personally love to sit down and read all day long every day, I know that I can’t. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a Book Club post every month or every other month.

A Stranger in the House || This one reminds me of Gone Girl. A wife ends up having some weird stuff happen, loses her memory, and is struggling to remember how she ended up in the predicament.

Doctor for Christmas by Patricia Fischer || This one is not what you would expect. Single doctor, trying to live his life, when it suddenly gets turned upside down, flipped around, and twisted. I thoroughly enjoyed how easy a read this one was.

Rescuing Emily by Susan Stoker || A romance that seemed like it would never happen. Emily is a quiet girl, struggling to get by who ends up saved by a military man in the most unsuspecting way. I liked how this novel took a turn away from the traditional “damsel in distress” and really empowered Emily even through her challenges.

Spy Girl series by Jillian Dodd || If you’re looking for a traditional “spy” book, this isn’t it. A young girl is faced with personal challenges before being placed in a mysterious boarding school, where she is trained to be a spy. Suddenly, her entire life changes, and she is quickly put to the test.

What books would y’all recommend?