So far this year I have read…

I was chatting with my best friend yesterday and admitted to her a tragic truth…I have only read three books so far in 2017.  Her reaction was appropriate.  Her jaw dropped and she looked at me like I was an alien.  I have since gone back in preparation for this post and realized that I have actually read five books, but I am pretty much the reaction would have been the same.  I need to get going if I am going to meet my goal of 40 books for 2017.

So, here’s what I have read…


The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy was not one I enjoyed.  I think this landed in the “it’s not you, it’s me” category.  You can read my thoughts here.

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult was a book that Santa put in my stocking.  Such a smart guy, that Santa. In the past, I have enjoyed Jodi Picoult’s books quite a bit but this one I gave 3 out of 5 stars. I didn’t love the story. The story centered around a man who worked with wolves; at one point even deciding to leave his family and go live with wolves.  The predictable twists (predictable in that it is a style of Picoult) were a little forced.  It was not one of my favorite Picoult books, although it probably won’t stop me from reading the next one I get my hands on.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick was the best of the five books I read.  I read this one with Taelin and we both loved it so much.  In addition to it being am amazingly well written story, it had 284 pictures in the 533 pages.  The illustrations moved the story just as much (if not more) than the writing.  A young boy, Hugo, tends to clocks in a Paris train station and his life is forever changed when he gets caught stealing.  This book won the Caldecott medal in 2008 and I am a little angry that it took me so long to read this. I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars.

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton was a book I read with friends.  We haven’t talked about it yet and I am interested to see what they thought.  I honestly can’t decide what I think about it.  I liked it.  I finished it and I enjoyed it.  But there is something about it that I am unsure about.  The book centers around Kevin, a 14 year old boy that is spending the summer at this grandfather’s house in Kentucky after his younger brother dies.  The story is almost a “coming of age” story for the small town as tragedy after tragedy strikes.   I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline was a book that Santa got my mother-in-law.  Again, that Santa. I read it after I traded her the Picoult book.  I have read other books by this author and this one was not my favorite. I liked it fine, just not my favorite.  I started it one night and finished it the next day so it would definitely fit into the “quick read” category.  Ellen is a reporter that one day sees a card of a missing child that looks eerily similar to her adopted son. The book follows her as she finds out if her son is really someone else’s.  Craziness ensues and although I only gave this book 3 out of 5 stars, I will admit to crying at the end.

I have few more books in the queue that I think I will like so hopefully that will get me going again!

April classes @ Young at Art


Even though I haven’t been writing about them much here, I am very much still doing them. Here are some of the cute creations from the last few months.

I have been starting to get repeat customers and it has been a lot of fun to have kids excited to come to class.  Look at this little painter….  She’s three and the rainbow painting above is hers.  So sweet! Continue reading

Young at Art: Owl Moon


Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is one of my favorite picture books.  The language is beautiful and the illustrations are stunning.  When I was choosing books for this month’s Young at Art classes, this one was a no-brainer for me.


It was a small class, just 8 painters, but it was quite lovely.  Most of the people were new to Young at Art so that was really exciting.  We talked a lot about blending colors when we were painting the snow and the light coming off of the moon.  We also talked about how to start with a familiar shape if you aren’t sure how to painting something.  (You might notice a Y in each of the trees.) It was fun to see how each painting turned out!

Here were some of the paintings…



This coming Saturday, January 28th, I am doing my second class of the month.  I haven’t quite decided what we are going to paint but I am reading another one of my favorite books!


Click here to sign up the class!


The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy

I think my current memoir kick is coming to an end. It was bound to happen. This book is the first book in a long time that I just didn’t connect with and really had to force myself to finish. 

This book followed Tara Clancy as she grew up in three very different environments because of her parents divorcing when she was very young. In a lot of ways, she lived three completely different lives. One with her dad in working class Queens, one with her grandmother in a old folks community and another one with her mom and mom’s boyfriend in the Hampton’s. 

As Tara tells her stories, we meet the characters that shaped her childhood. There is a humor in her storytelling that I appreciated.  That said, it took me forever to read.  I read several books in between which for me is unusual. 

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars. 

I was given this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. 

Wait…I read another book today!

10169662 I might have all of the Christmas decorations to put away and few loads of laundry to put away but I woke up not feeling super great.  So, I decided to grab the book Santa put in my stocking and read it cover to cover.  Taelin played with Legos and did some other stuff while I laid on the couch.  I believe she fed herself a few times today…

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This year I read…2016

We are still a couple of days away from the end of 2016 but I am fairly certain I won’t finish another book by then so I am calling it!  I made myself a goal of reading 40 books during 2016 but I didn’t quite make it. badge-square-340024584153c707ed44215e73e72fdf

Goodreads made this very cool infographic that is a year in review sort of thing.  If you are a reader and don’t have a Goodreads account, stop right now and make one.
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This Month I Read…October 2016

October was another busy month but I did manage to get a few books read. My goal for 2016 was to read 40 books and right now I am only at 27 so I am not feeling super optimistic about meeting that goal  But the rainy season is coming in Oregon so maybe I will get a little closer in the next two months.

Grace by T. Greenwood was the first book that I finished.  I read the first chapter of this book and I HAD to know how the book was going to end.  I there is another more intense first chapter that I have ever read, I don’t remember it.  This book was a fast read for me but it was not an easy one.

The story centered around a young couple with two children.  The impact of the unending issues that the family faces throws the family (and those that intentional and unintentional) become involved into what can only be described as chaos.  My heart went out to the young boy in the story that I met in the first chapter and I tore through the book hoping for a resolution I would be okay with.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and have will be coming back to this author again.

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica is a book that I have wanted to read since it came out.  I read Kubica’s other book The Good Girl. While I liked Don’t You Cry, knowing that there was going to be an unexpected twist at the end made it a little less suspenseful.  This book definitely falls under the psychological thriller category that I keep being draw to.

The story follows Quinn as she discovers her roommate has disappeared.  Quinn admits that she isn’t the world’s best roommate but tries hard to do right by finding her missing friend.  Through a strange series of discoveries the story ends in an unexpected way.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes was a book that I received from Blogging for Books.  If you missed it, you can read my review here!





Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes

28257149When I picked this book out, I had no idea that I “knew” the author.  I am putting “knew” in quotes because I don’t actually know him but once I got the book and looked at the book jacket, I recognized him immediately.  If you watched any MTV in the 90’s, you “know” him too.

What initially drew me to this book was probably the idea of 21 songs being the framework for a memoir and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint.  Each chapter was named with a song title, most of which I knew. I feel a little guilty, actually, that I am writing this review instead of making this playlist on my phone.

Holmes and I don’t have much in common.  He went to Catholic school through college, knows a crazy amount of music trivia, and has lived his adult life working in television (MTV being his first gig). Throughout the book, Holmes recalls the stories of his life and relates them to the songs that were, to him, significant.  It seems apparent that early on Holmes knew he was gay and it was fascinating to read his story.

While the book was entertaining, it wasn’t until the end that I really fell in love with the book.  The cover and title all made sense.  Memoirs aren’t about just putting a bunch of stories together, although it is the stories that drove this book forward.  Memoirs are about the reflection and learning the author can share, and if we as the reader are lucky, can find a piece of learning for ourselves.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.  Now, if you can excuse me, I have a playlist to build.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


Can I just say that bookstores are the best things ever?

Anyone living in the Pacific Northwest this weekend is feeling a little soggy. We are on an extended weekend vacation in Sunriver with friends that are family and it has done nothing but rain the entire time.  While we had planned on bike rides and playing outside, we have had to shift our activities to places with a roof. Luckily, we have found plenty to do.  Once I looked at the forecast, I packed a bunch of board games, bought some new play-dough and supplies to make sugar cookies. There is an indoor pool here that we have passes to that we swam in yesterday and have plans to swim in tomorrow. Continue reading