Saturday, January 14, 2017

Reading Time Discussion: Counting Children's Books

Back in November I posted about how I manage to read so much and I promised to have more posts on the subject.  So I have decided to post around once a month if possible under the title of Reading Time Discussion. I want to start conversations with you about the different ways we read, and what we read. I hope you will chime in and maybe bring your fellow readers into the discussion as well.
Previous Post - How do I read so much?
Since it is January there has been a lot of talk about our reading numbers (you can see mine HERE), how much did we read in 2016, what did we read in 2016 and how we plan to improve in 2017.  When I tell other people the number of books I read in a year (generally over 375 books) and then I tell them that I have read fantasy, romance, graphic novels and children's books.  I often get the response 'well kids books don't count'.  While I understand that a lot of people don't think they count because they are short books with mostly images and not a lot of substance or text to them, I want to talk a bit today about why I count them and why I think you should too.
Reading is Reading
The first obvious response for me is that reading is reading. If you are reading words on a page or listening to someone read to you (be it audio books or a author reading event), you are reading. Anything you read should count (no, I am not going to get into the debate of how it shouldn't be a competition, and why should we keep track anyway, that is a whole other discussion for another day).  Obviously, it is difficult or near impossible to count all your reading (heck if you want to get super specific you could even count reading this post as reading). Anyway, my point is that if you are reading, you are reading. If you want to get technical where it only counts if you read a work of literature bound for the purpose of reading, guess what, Children's books fall into that category too.
Read it Once, Read it Twice, Read it a Hundred Times
When I add a Children's book to my Goodreads page, or to my own book tracking, I only add it once.  Do you know how many times I read that same book with a small child in the house?!  I read 3 books with my son each night at bedtime, I often read a book each morning as well, and maybe one or two after preschool and work. On weekends and holidays I can read upwards of 6 to 10 books a day! Sometimes, I am reading the same book back to back to back because he enjoys it so much.  I do not count each time I read that book or my page counts would be astronomical!
Reading With and Not To
This is a concept that is difficult for people who have never read with children to understand, but when you are reading Children's books with children it should be an active thing. Children are still learning and growing and discovering, often it is through the books we read together. So when reading you are not simply reading the words on the page as fast as you can, but you are often answering questions about the pictures, playing a "what will happen next" game, pointing out familiar figures, animals, letters, etc. You are explaining why things are happening and where things are in relation to others. You are often making up voices for the characters, you have to have the proper intonation for what is happening so they can grasp the message so many of the books contain. As the kids grow older you start sounding out words so they can follow along and then they start sounding out words too (which while it seems like magic, is very time consuming). Each book (and sometimes each page) sparks conversations as your new developing reader is discovering not only the world but also the magic of books.
So there you have it, this is why I count Children's books in my reading totals and challenges. You don't have to have a child to count children's books that you read either (and honestly if you aren't reading Children's books you are missing out on some truly beautiful and magical books), as I said before reading is reading.  I hope that this will convince you to start counting those Children's books too. 
I would love to hear your opinion on the subject. Start a conversation!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bedtime Story: Big Snow by Jonathan Bean

Read for: Children's Book Challenge
Synopsis: "An excited and frustrated boy watches hopefully as wintry weather develops slowly into a 'big snow.'"

My Review: This is a great book to read before a snow storm like we did. The book follows a boy eager for the snow from the first flakes that fall to mid storm and to see how much snow has fallen by the end of the day. It does a great job of building anticipation of the snow but also reminding little ones that it will come when it comes, Momma has no control over it. Munchkin really enjoyed the book and now asks when it snows if it will be a big snow or a little snow.
My Rating: This was a really fun book to read before and during a snow storm we had here. Munchkin loves when it snows and this book matched his anticipation level perfectly. We give this one a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of It's Snowing! It's Snowing by Peter Prelutsky

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "From master of rhyme Jack Prelutsky comes a flurry of winter poetry just right to usher in the season of ice and snow!"

My Review: This is a fun book to read in the winter to late spring. It is set as a Level 3 for beginning readers, though it can be enjoyed by any level. The poems are mostly short poems and have similar rhymes and rhythms of some of the more lyrical style children's books. The subject of the poems is obviously snow but some are soft and sweet, some are silly and some are wistful. I found that this is best read with a little one a little at a time, since there is no real story in the book they will loose interest quickly.
My Rating: This book has a nice variety of poem lengths and subjects but as I said young readers may lose interest quickly as there isn't a story involved. Might be good for introducing poetry but only a little at a time. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pen to Paper: Handmade Stationery

Hello again! Like I said last week, I am keeping these posts much more low key. I don't want to have to so much pressure to research subjects for each week's posts. I do have a fun post for today, as I said before Christmas I have started making my own stationery, and it has been really fun. It isn't as nice as the printed papers I get from Etsy but they add a special touch (and stretch the craft supplies I have spent so much money on over the years). 
Here are a few of the stationery sets I have made in the past month
These two sets were made for an uncle who enjoys sending letters, I wanted a classic look with a little fun to them.

Then I decided to get really creative and use some of my other stamps and color the images in. I also added some glitter.  The only downfall is that it bleeds through the back so you can't really write letters front and back on the stationery.
Then Munchkin wanted to get involved too and I had seen this pin about making marble paper with shaving cream and thought it would be fun to try.
It was simple and fun, Munchkin had a blast and could do almost every step on his own. He loved picking out the color combinations. We managed to get four sheets out of each batch of shaving cream (we made 3 batches but I only got pictures of the one). I still can't believe how beautiful they came out! (note: If you cut the cards in half and glued them onto a card base it would double the amount you make but I was running on limited time, making these on Christmas eve for a Christmas present).

So what do you think? Which is your favorite? Have you tried making your own stationery?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review of Running on Empty by R. M. Clark

Read for: Requested Review
Synopsis: "After getting a video camera for her fourteenth birthday, Kasey Madrid enters a student documentary film contest and chooses her town's 300th anniversary celebration as a subject. Everything is good until the town's time capsule is unearthed empty at the celebration, prompting Kasey to investigate. Things get even stranger when she begins to see someone in her camera no one else can see.

That “someone” turns out to be Marion Gibson, the town's former historian, who went into a coma-like state when the time capsule was buried and whose memories are now trapped in time. Kasey researches the town historians and reveals their 300 year-old secret: a wooden chest that gives them the ability to see other people's memories and visit the past. She also finds that Marion's successor, the real town historian, is missing.

Using her film footage (and with a little help from Marion), Kasey discovers the chest is passed on to each new historian every generation through time capsules. When the chest is stolen, Kasey and her camera go back to save Marion, find the identity of the next historian and solve the mystery of the empty time capsule."

My Review:  I have enjoyed Clark's work in the past and jumped at the chance to read more. I must admit that I am a little obsessed with time capsules, I love the idea of digging something up years later and getting a peek back in time. I love how this book reminded me of an updated Nancy Drew. There was a lot of fun and mystery involved, a little danger and for the updated part some magic and time travel too. Even the two main characters are girls, I think even young male readers will enjoy the suspense and thought that takes place in the book. It was a little slower moving than I expected but there were a lot of pieces in play throughout the plot. I think this is a great book to introduce young readers to the world of mystery or continue to expand upon their interest.
My Rating: This is a great book for middle grade readers but can be enjoyed by anyone. A little action, a little magic, a little mystery, a little history and a lot of entertainment. I give this one a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Note: This book takes place after Dizzy Miss Lizzie but can definitely be read as a standalone.
This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
To find out more about R.M. Clark and his books please visit his Goodreads Page or Website.
You can obtain your own copy of Running on Empty in print or digital formats from Amazon or in print from Barnes and Noble. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

So I said I wanted to post more book tags because they always seem so fun! I was on a hunt for one for the new year, even though we are nearing mid January already and came across this Ringing in the New Year Tag.  Obviously, I wasn't tagged by anyone but wanted to participate anyway.

  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Link to the creator of the tag – Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles
  • Share the tag image
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag friends (or not if you don’t feel like it)
Best book and/or series that you’ve read in 2016
As I have said before the best book was There Was as Fire by Nancy Roy and series (though incomplete) is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Authors that you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year
I would love to read more by Sabaa Tahir but obviously we have some waiting time there.  I am really looking forward to reading the next two books in the King Killer Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet, her debut book A Promise of Fire blew me away!
Most anticipated book turned movie/tv show?
I don't really watch TV or Movies that much so I haven't paid much attention. The trailers for A Monster Calls looks fantastic, but I need to read the book. The one movie I cannot wait to see though is the new Beauty and the Beast!
Name a character that you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with at midnight (if there is one)
Obviously I was supposed to answer this before the New Year (funny now that I think about it I don't even think I kissed my husband at New Years!) Anyway of the books I read last year hmmm (I have such a hard time remembering all the characters) . . .I don't remember having serious crushes on any of the characters. I really liked Finn from Starry Night but I am not into the bearded thing, I also liked Elias from An Ember In the Ashes books but he is a little young for me. I am stumped really. If we go back in time to books I read before 2016, definitely Brigan from Fire, he will always remain my bookish boyfriend!
What’s on your TBR for 2017? (Top 5 will suffice if it’s an extremely long list!)
A Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (and the 3rd book if it comes out)
The Winner's Trilogy by Maria Rutkoski
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
OMG! I just realized that Kristin Cashore is supposed to be releasing a new book this year!!  Yup, Jane, Unlimited is now at the top of my list of MUST BUY books for the year!
How many books do you hope to read in 2017?
I would like to keep the number between 250 and 300 but I see that being a real challenge!
Will you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge or any others (PopSugar, Read the Books You Buy, etc.)
Goodreads of course, but I will also be trying to meet my own personal challenge of a Trilogy a month. Also where do I find this Read the Books You Buy Challenge? I think that sounds like a great one for this year (note to self: find this challenge!).
Any New Year’s Resolutions? (Bookish, blogging, and otherwise)
I really want to slow my reading pace down and absorb the books I read more, maybe take the time to re-read them even. I want to be one of those people who has favorite quotes, knows the plots front and back and feels a personal connection with the characters of the books they read. It happens sometimes with me but it really has to be an outstanding book read at just the right time for it to happen. I also want to slow down the posting on the blog and have more bookish content other than just reviews.
I am not going to tag anyone but please feel free to participate and let me know so I can see your answers too.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Meeting of the Mustangs by Cathy Kennedy
Dog Days by Andrea Posner-Sanchez (Early Reader)
Too Many Toys by David Shannon (Bedtime Story)
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1 by David Petersen & Various authors & illustrators
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Time to Be a Hero
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Too Many Toys
I Love My New Toy
The Little Prince
The Uncommon Reader
The Princess Saves Herself in this One
Meeting of the Mustangs
Edge of the Blade
Snow Like Ashes
All By My Self
Running on Empty
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1
Big Snow

Currently Reading:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling - Print - on page 202 of 341
Ice Like Fire by Sarah Raasch - Audio - 21%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Pages Read/ Time Listened
10:56 Hours Listened (10:56 listened this week)
1,681 Pages Read (1,681 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Books Read From My Shelves
The Little Prince
The Uncommon Reader
The Princess Saves Herself In This One
Snow Like Ashes

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



 Boy it is nice to finally start getting back into the swing of things. Got all the holidays packed away last weekend and started the post Christmas purge, which always feels so good! There is nothing like the Bout of Book Readathon to get me motivated to read too.  I am having a really hard time deciding which posts to cut out of my schedule to lighten the posting load, so please excuse the randomness until I find a new routine. I have already decided to let the weekly After Dark posts go since those seem to get the least activity. Instead I will be posting an After Dark Mini Reviews one Saturday night a month. I also think I am going to let my Tea Time Tuesdays go and just post about tea every so often with maybe book pairings or something (but if you want to talk tea please don't hesitate to email me or post here!).

Anyway, I am starting to get things back in order and finding some motivation in this new year.  I hope that you have started your year off with some great adventures and I look forward to chatting with you all year long!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Reading Stats

I have been pretty lazy about getting a wrap up done, and wanted to share a little of my reading stats with all of you since I went through so much trouble tracking most of it throughout 2016.
In 2016 I read a total of 398 books!
Of those books:
 41 earned 5 Star Ratings
196 earned 4 Star Ratings
126 earned 3 Star Ratings
32 earned 2 Star Ratings
3 earned 1 Star Ratings
(just using my goodreads ratings as opposed to my ratings here for ease)
68 were Children's Books
57 were Early Reader Books
26 were Middle Grade
48 were Young Adult
26 were Graphic Novels
46 were Fantasy
85 were Romance
36 were Audio Books
24 were by local Rhode Island Authors
I read a total of 45,468 pages
and listened to 277:16 hours of audio books equaling 11 days 13 hrs 16 mins
All in all it was a really great reading year! I have found out a little more about myself while reading this last year.  I am definitely a fan of fantasy, especially high fantasy and clearly romance. I have also found a real love for Middle Grade books, they seem to really tackle the tough issues head on and the authors of the genre don't seem to talk to their audience like they are stupid, which is really great because that age group while immature about a lot of things, they really aren't as na├»ve as the world likes to think.
How was your reading year last year? Did you find yourself liking one genre more than the others? Did you branch out and try new things?