March Wrap-Up and April TBR

My favorite local bookstore had a raffle for a 3 month subscription to It’s an audiobook service that works with indies so they can enjoy some of the profits.

March Wrap-Up

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

A historical fiction that was well researched and very compelling. I got to enjoy this one with my new audio subscription. 5/5

NPCs by Drew Hayes

An indie fantasty that imagines what it’s like for NPCs in an RPG. Funny, fast paced, and very entertaining. This reread was mostly enjoyed with a sleeping or eating baby on me 5/5

Split the Party by Drew Hayes

The next installment of this comedic take on NPCs in the world of D&D (sans copyright issues). 5/5

False Knees by Joshua Barkman

Comics with sweary birds who frequently have existential dread. I like dark humor so I was entertained 4/5

Go to Sleep (I Miss You) by Lucy Knisley

A series of comics and sketches from her early days as a mom. Some of these I totally understand and others I don’t. Some make me feel so much better about how easy Babbins is. 5/5

Maid: Hark Work, Low Pat, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

A heartbreaking and necessary memoir about the struggles and desperation of life in poverty. With COVID 19 hitting everyone hard, it hits those in precarious and desperate positions even a harder. A must read 5/5

Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

I grabbed this before the local libraries began closing. I’d read Connolly’s other works but not his series. He describes the structure as an hourglass which fits. It’s a compelling and unsettling thriller. I very much enjoyed it but i had questions about the other killer 4.5/5

I read a bit more in What to Expect: The First Year. It’s not as detailed or helpful as the pregnancy book but there’s always something in there I find useful.

Some books I read with the baby:

A Parade of Animals

Rocket Science for Babies by Chris Ferrie

Newtonian Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie

Your supposed to read them a book a day but sometimes I’ll read to him from what I’m reading or he’ll hear my audiobook or podcast. I swear he recognizes Pod Save America from the womb. I’ll try to pick up my baby book reading though.

April TBR

More What to Expect: First Year

The baby continues to grow and I continue to wonder WTF I’m doing

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

I started the audiobook for this and I’m enjoying it

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Much praised by Mallory O’Meara from the Reading Glasses podcast, I got this as an ebook. I have mixed feelings about dysfunctional family narratives but Lockwood is a very entertaining writer so far.

How I Read with a Baby

I have been Team Physical Book for a very long time. I love the physical sensation of a book in my hands. Have you ever found a book that had New Book Smell? So glorious.

I had a Kindle keyboard but, other than a few vacations, I rarely used it. I went to try it out when I was pregnant and it was clearly dying. I traded it in for a newer model.

Why did I do this if I barely used my old one? Because I listened to bookdragons who had babies before me.

You can read a Kindle with one hand and there are a lot of affordable ebooks that aren’t readily available in print. I’ve definitely used my ereader when feeding my son or being the best bed in the house.

I have also fallen in love with audiobooks. I listen to a lot of podcasts so I always figured you had time for one of the other. Then I was home with a baby all day.

I may not have discovered this great resource but my local indie did a raffle for their anniversary. I have a 3 month subscription to It’s like Audible but indies get the money instead of Bezos.

I can put it on in the background while I’m feeding my son, being a bed, or he’s chilling in his bouncy chair while I do chores. I’ve had to trim the fat from my podcasts but I think it’s a worthwhile trade. There’s no way I would have been able to read The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes without it.

Consistent sleep deprivation can make focusing and retaining words the traditional way very difficult. I’ve been keeping my ebooks light and letting narrators do the heavy lifting for me in audio. It’s working so far.

February Wrap-Up and March TBR

I don’t think I fully realized how necessary good sleep is to my brain functioning. I have been struggling to wrap my brain around a romance novel but I didn’t have the time or brain power.

I admitted defeat at the halfway mark and gave it back to the library. I’m focusing on stuff that has lots of pictures or is very short for the time being.

February Wrap-Up

Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle

I follow this comic on Instagram and it’s funny and witty. Highly recommend as a book and comic. 5/5

When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll

A short, unsettling graphic novel. I was entertained. 4/5

Book Love by Debbie Tung

A delightful collection of comics by someone who loves books more than I do. She had some fantastic full page art and relatable comics about bookish struggles. It also made me a little sad because I’m too sleep deprived or baby obligated to really lose myself in a book at the moment. 5/5

The Haunted Forest Tour by James A. Moore and Jeff Strand

A haunted forest full of monsters overtakes a town overnight. A fun, easy indie horror novel. Basically if a SyFy channel original movie was a slightly better book. 4/5

Solstice by Lorence Alison

A YA thriller inspired by the Dumpster Fyre Festival. Potentially horror lite but it read as a thriller to me. Very compelling. Only one complaint: The whole boat? Really? The entire thing? If you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean. 4/5

March TBR

Continue What to Expect: The First Year

It doesn’t answer every question I have but it’s informative.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

I won a 3 month subscription to and have been enjoying this on audiobook.

NPCs by Drew Hayes

I started a reread of this on my Kindle. A comic fantasy inspired by D&D. It’s low stakes because I know what happens which makes it easier with a demanding little human

January Wrap-Up and February TBR

A great way to read less is to move and have a baby in a four week span. Our condo is a mess but it’s home and functional. Our son is healthy, gorgeous, and big. He’s a pretty good sleeper so we’re doing OK.

But the general lack of sleep means it’s a little tough to focus on books. I still managed to read something.

January Wrap-Up

Abandon by Blake Crouch

A dual timeline thriller about an unsolved mystery and the horrors of humanity. The amount of hits that kept on coming got a little absurd toward the end but compelling 3.5/5

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

There’s a reason this is the pregnancy bible. I’ve read it either on time with my pregnancy or a month ahead. It was phenomenally informative. I skipped the parts I didn’t need but always better too much than too little. It takes you up to 6 weeks postpartum. 5/5

February TBR

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

I plan on dipping in and out of this as well as my son grows and develops. I’m already a bit behind where I should be but newborns are not for the meek.

Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

My library hold finally came in. My plan for 2020 is to read more romance and YA since there are ample options to not challenge a sleep deprived brain.

The Haunted Forest Tour by James Moore and Jeff Strand

An indie horror novel I started on my Kindle. I’d like to finish it. It’s been pretty entertaining.

We still have a ton of stuff to unpack and our son is still only sleeping in spurts so my real goal for February is ‘happens.’

2020 Reading Challenges

It’s going to be a big year for change with a new human and a new place to update.

GoodReads Goal

I’m setting it to 52 books. There will be a lot of children’s books because I plan on reading to little man a lot but I’m hoping to knock out some adult books as well.

I’ll probably devote more time to ebooks (one-handed) and YA since those go by quickly. I might dabble in romance since that’s been getting a resurgence.

Casual Challenges

The casual challenges I’ll be participating in this year:

If I finish any of them? Great! If I don’t, no big deal. There is some overlap between some challenges and my own goals so that’s helpful.

Personal 20

Since it’s 2020, my personal challenge will be to check off a book from each of the following categories:

  • Author is a person of color
  • Author is LGBT+
  • Author is a woman
  • Celebrity memoir
  • Children’s book
  • Christmas
  • Collecting dust
  • Cover
  • Fiction
  • Graphic novel
  • Halloween
  • Library book
  • Motherhood/parenting
  • Movie or TV show
  • Mythology or fairytale
  • Nonfiction
  • Part of a series
  • Reread
  • Star Wars
  • YA

I’ve enjoyed doing a deeper dive into the new Star Wars EU via the books and would like to do more of that. Dust is a book I’ve had a long time and cover is what you think.

According to the Freakonomics documentary, being the kind of parent who buys parenting books means you’ll probably do OK. Imagine how good I could be if I read them!

2020 Shortlist?

I’m considering creating a shortlist of 20 books I want to get to in 2020. The list isn’t yet done and I’m not sure how good of an idea this really is. I may scrap it. We’ll see.

Christmas Reads

This media Monday brings you books I’ve read and enjoyed or am interested in reading. Because there’s so many books and so little time, I’m sorting them accordingly.

I’m skipping anything that is too schmaltzy or is deep in a series. There is no cozy Christmas mystery that isn’t #42 in the series. I’ve only found one that is the first in a series and it’s definitely not a cozy mystery.

Some people think 3 stars can go either way. In this case, I liked it but didn’t love it enough to rate it high. Not bad but not my favorite but you may like it so it’s included.

Have Read

Krampus by Brom

A singer-songwriter trying to save his relationship gets dragged into the battle between Krampus and Santa Claus. 4/5

Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox

A standard rom-com of a book but this one has dogs. 3.5/5

A Little Fruitcake: A Childhood Told in Holidays by David Valdes Greenwood

A collection of essays. 3/5

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Entertaining and interesting but a little dated. I feel like people skipping Christmas is more believable now. 3/5

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

A Christmas Carol plays out every year at Project Scrooge with Holly, a failed Scrooge, as the ghost of Christmas past. A brilliant and emotional YA story about loss, love, and the human condition. 5/5

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe by Charlaine Harris

A fun anthology that does what it says on the tin. 4/5

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

This book does and doesn’t take place at Christmas. There is a powerful and evil man who takes children to Christmasland. Vic is the only one to escape him and this makes things more complicated when he comes for her son. 4/5

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

This novel has enough ridiculous coincidences that it could feel unbelievable but they’re handled with enough awkwardness and seriousness that it works. 3/5

Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb

A story about a young man’s Christmas in 1964. 3.5/5

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

A little boy makes a wish that a very dumb angel gets very wrong. Hijinks ensue. 4/5

The North Pole Employee Handbook by James Napoli

For those of you with a black sense of humor. Entertaining if a little derivative. 3/5

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler

A collection of stories that take place at the same Manhattan bookshop at the same time of year. 4/5

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

An enjoyable YA anthology of Christmas stories. 4/5

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts

A novel about what happens when women stop doing all the work for Christmas 4/5

Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson

A beautiful book and excellent collection. Some spoke to me more than others but that’s how these usually work. 4/5

Krampusnacht edited by Kate Wolford

A fun indie anthology about the dark lord of Christmas. Some of the stories here took some very interesting turns. 4/5

To Read

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison-Allen

A town discovers a little Christmas magic.

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

The tale of a Just No family at the holidays.

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

A woman gets kidnapped for Christmas.

Wandering Stars edited by Jack Dann

A Hanukkah anthology

When Elves Attack: A Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State by Tim Dorsey

They had me at “The perfect antidote for all those sappy feel-good holiday novellas” and kept me at “The righteous serial killer Serge A. Storms and his drug-addled sidekick Coleman return to wreak havoc on Christmas”

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

A horror anthology that got a lot of positive buzz last year. I can’t believe I didn’t get to it.

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith

A creative retelling of the wise men.

The Dark Side of the Road by Simon R. Green

A dark mystery on a blessed day.

Season of Wonder edited by Paula Guran

An anthology of fantastical Christmas stories.

Christmas Magic edited by David Hartwell

Another collection of fantastical Christmas stories

Hiddensee by Greogry Maguire

The man who gave the Wicked Witch a deeper story now grants one to the famous nutcracker.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

A Christmas tale for the Discworld universe.

The Twelve Doctors of Christmas edited by Jacqueline Rayner

Started but not finished this Doctor Who anthology. I need to fix this.

The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers

I imagine it does what it says on the tin

Anna and the Apocalypse by Katharine Turner

Angtsy teen drama around Christmas turns into a fight to survive zombies. Inspired the movie musical.

A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis

A sci-fi collection of short stories.

November Wrap-Up and December TBR

I started November with Stephen King’s latest book but managed to finish it in time to get in on Nonfiction November a little bit.

November Wrap-Up

The Institute by Stephen King

Psychic kids at a secret government facility. It hovers between horror and sci-fi but since it’s King, it goes in horror. Very compelling 5/5

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

A fantastic piece of nonfiction. I hope we have many more years of Farrow’s journalism to come. 5/5

The Handbook to Lazy Parenting by Guy Delisle

Silly comics about being an underwhelming parent. 4/5

I read a bit of What to Expect and Heading Home with Your Newborn

December TBR

Heading Home with Your Newborn by Dr. Laura Jana & Dr. Jennifer Shu

I started it and I should finish it since he’s due in January

What to Expect when Your Expecting by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel

Forget winter. Childbirth is coming and I’ve got reading to do.

Hark the Herald Angels Scream exited by Christopher Golden

A Christmas horror anthology? Yes please!