7 Quick Takes: The Book Hangover Edition

Seven Quick Takes

— 1 —

As I write this, I’m feeling a bit of a book hangover both from staying up too late reading the night before, and because all I want to do is get back into that world, and find out more about what happens with those characters. I’m trying to cure it by reading something completely different, but so far it’s not working. 🙂 (See #7 below to know what book gave me the hangover)

— 2 —

If you remember my post earlier this year about the online course I’m using to teach my kids to cook, you can get their free knife skills mini-course right now. If it sounds appealing, don’t delay – the free offer won’t last long.

— 3 —

I’ll be announcing the picks for my 2017 book club November 14th. I am *so* excited about the selections, and can hardly wait to share them all.

— 4 —

Usborne had some new book releases this week, and I’ve been daydreaming about what books I want to get my kids for Christmas. And by “for Christmas” I mean both as Christmas presents, and as books for the Christmas season – they have some *really* fun interactive books that are Christmas-themed.


If you click on the image you’ll go to a page with a larger image & info about each book. I’m probably going to get #s 3, 4, and 19. I already own #s 10 & 21.

— 5 —

I loved Big Little Lies as a book club book this year, and I’m kinda excited about the HBO miniseries based on the book. There’s a trailer out for it, and it looks like they’ve changed it a bit, but I’m still debating trying to figure out a way to watch it (we don’t have HBO.)

— 6 —

As much as I’ve resisted it, I think I need to acknowledge that posting 5 times a week isn’t going to reliably happen right now. Homeschooling is taking just a bit longer each day, and my youngest isn’t napping as easily, so my afternoon work time is getting squeezed and squeezed. I seem to be regularly getting only four posts anyway, so it seems like planning for four will be better than planning for five and getting frustrated when I don’t manage to get that fifth one written.

— 7 —

The Silkworm

The best book I’ve finished recently was The Silkworm, the second in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling). I enjoyed the first book, but I *really* liked the second. I binge-read it and the next day I paid for the late night I inflicted upon myself. It was worth it.

It’s all I can do to not get the third and start it immediately, but I’m trying to hold off a bit longer. Do not be surprised if next week I admit that I couldn’t wait any longer and binge-read the third. 🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Club Basics: Food
Two years ago: Eiffel’s Tower
Three years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction: The Flamboya Tree
Four years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 21} An Innocent, A Broad

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Under the Tuscan SunUnder the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Mayes’ well-known memoir had been on my to-be-read list for years, and I was finally motivated to read it when my in-person book club was considering selecting it for our dinner party book next year. It’s been so much fun the last few years selecting books that lead themselves to nice menu ideas. 🙂

Ultimately, I don’t think we’ll end up reading this one. I expected to enjoy it, but found it somewhat disappointing. Mayes is a beautiful writer, but the story is rambling and felt bloated. I don’t know that I want to encourage my friends to spend their reading time on this, when I feel like it would have been better trimmed down substantially.

While I don’t regret reading it, I think any but the most devoted memoir fans would be frustrated with it. There are moments where she really brings Italy to life, but they become somewhat buried in the minutia of the renovation.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Three years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction: Traffic
Four years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 18} Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Goodreads Hacks: Creating a “Paused” Shelf

Goodreads imageOne of my most recent updates to my Goodreads account is the addition of an exclusive “paused” shelf. I use it for books that I had been reading, but for whatever reason I’m not continuing ot read at this time. Yet, I didn’t want to add them to my “did not finish” shelf, because I do think I’ll finish them someday.

While it’s still a fairly new addition to my shelves, so far I’m *loving* it. It makes it easy for me to clear out my “currently reading” shelf, and yet not lose those books that I hadn’t finished.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Have a MAGICAL November and December with Us

We’ve had a really nice discussion about the Modern US books featured in the Family Exploration Book Club in September & October. While we’re still discussing Stuck in Neutral, I wanted to be sure and share the titles for November and December in time for everyone to locate the books.


For the youngest readers, the picture book selected is The Boy from the Dragon Palace adapted by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

For November’s chapter book title, we’re reading The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Peter Ferguson

December’s selection is Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Death on the Sapphire by R. J. Koreto

Death on the SapphireDeath on the Sapphire: A Lady Frances Ffolkes Mystery by R.J. Koreto

Enjoyable enough mystery & there’s sufficient promise shown by the author, and with the characters, that I’ll look for the next in the series. (But it’s not so good that I feel the need to go out of my way to tell everyone I know they need to read it immediately.)

Lady Frances is not a fully believable character, both for the time period, and as a pseudo-detective. However, her maid was a more interesting character and was also more believable (still not perfect, but better). I hope there’s more with her in future books!

The mystery is fairly weak, both the premise of it and how it’s resolved. The ending includes an absolutely ridiculous event too (can’t give details as it’s too spoilery) that helps it all wrap up neatly.

All those criticisms and it seems odd that I’m giving it 3 stars, but I did like it well enough for a mostly-fluff fun read. When you’re in the mood for a cozy historical mystery, it might fit the bill for you too. It helps that it’s currently only $1.99 for Kindle or Nook – if you like these sorts of books you may want to grab it before the price increases. Unless you’re a major fan of the genre though, I’d skip this one even at the sale price.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
An extraordinary woman living in extraordinary times, Lady Frances Ffolkes is an Edwardian-era suffragette who has an uncanny ability to attract danger and romance.

When Major Colcombe, a family friend and war veteran, dies under mysterious circumstances, Lady Frances discovers that he was working on a manuscript about South Africa’s bloody Boer War, which reportedly revealed a scandalous mistake that cost the lives of many brave soldiers. Now, it’s up to Frances and her loyal lady’s maid, June Mallow, to track down the missing manuscript and bring the killer to justice. Despite clashes with Scotland Yard and the British Secret Service, Frances never backs down and finds herself in several very unfortunate positions–and one very fortunate love triangle.

Death on the Sapphire is R. J. Koreto’s witty and winsome debut of a series that is sure to be fan favorite for years to come.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Cover Love: Burial Rites


Hannah Kent’s novel Burial Rites was our book club selection last month, and I asked about the cover versions in the Facebook group, but then realized I never asked about it here! Three covers – hardcover, Australian, and paperback/Kindle. I first was drawn to the book by the hardcover version, but ended up reading the Kindle version. And I like both of those covers! I don’t dislike the middle one, but it would never have made me take a second look at it.

Which one do you like best? Would one of them make you more likely to pick up the book?

(Interested in what I thought about it? Here’s my review.)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

September 2016 Recap

September RecapI feel like I was super slow with reading in September – I got a bit bogged down by Burial Rites (it was so sad! A great book, but it took me ages to get through), and then Harry Potter #7 also took awhile.

It was still a great month though: mostly nice weather, homeschooling was going well, and I had a great event the final weekend of September that I was anticipating all month.

September 2016 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 9
Books Read For The Year: 65

Things That Happened
  • Book club retreat!
  • In the Facebook book club we discussed Burial Rites
  • G went to his first Cub Scouts meetings
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Lots of soccer, and it’s (mostly) fun seeing them both play.
  • Getting texts from R the Saturday I was at the retreat, telling me every time the kids scored a goal. They each scored three goals (!), so clearly I need to go out of town more often. It was by far their highest-scoring games.
What’s Cooking
  • Amazing food at the book club dinner party and retreat. There are some really good cooks in my book club.
  • I made a *fantastic* Sunday dinner before heading out of town – steak, shallot sauce, pan roasted green beans, and scalloped potatoes. Unbelievably good!
What I’m Anticipating in October
  • Book club – Harry Potter #s 1 – 7 for my in-person book club and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in the Facebook group.
  • My mother-in-law will be visiting. Yay!
  • Halloween – I need to get moving on costumes.
  • Belt testing, again. Going for Red for G and Purple for H. At least I assume they’ll both be ready to test mid-month.
  • The end of soccer.
Books I Read
    1. Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows
    2. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
    3. Burial Rites
    4. The Cruelest Month
    5. Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures
    6. Dancing Home
    7. Women Heroes of World War II: The Pacific Theater
    8. Girl Waits with Gun
    9. Death on the Sapphire

    Previously on The Deliberate Reader

    One year ago: Book Club How-Tos: Keeping Track of the Details
    Two years ago: Book Review: Naked and Marooned by Ed Stafford
    Three years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction: A Jump for Life
    Four years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 7} We Die Alone

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Review: VeggieTales Devotional (and a giveaway!)

Every Day with God covers VeggieTales Every Day with God: 365 Daily Devos

All three of my kids (7, 5, and 2) have loved VeggieTales, so when I found out they offered a devotional I jumped at the chance to look at it. I thought perhaps it’d be something we could do as a family during our morning Bible time – the suggested age range is 4 to 7.

While it could work for that, it’s actually written in such an accessible way that it also works for my oldest to read for himself, and that’s how I’m going to use it. He doesn’t know it but the devotional is going to go into his Christmas stocking.

Why I Like it

Each page has one days’s devotional on it, and it’s short enough to not be overwhelming to newer readers (my son is a good reader, but he still doesn’t like reading things when then text is too small or there’s not enough white space on a page). Each day has a scripture reference (from a variety of translations), devotional text, thought of the day, and prayer starter.

I like that the days are not dated, but numbered, and that the content is age-appropriate, without being babyish. I really liked how the thought of the day connected the scripture to things my kids may be experiencing. It felt like a great way to begin learning to apply scripture to their life.

My only real complaint with the book is that the designating the books either for boys or girls seems unnecessary. Flipping through the boy’s version, I didn’t notice anything that wouldn’t work for girls as well, although I admit that I didn’t read all 365 entries yet. I’m assuming it was more of a marketing decision than anything else, and realize that my older two would probably both love it being “for them” so specifically.

Want Your Own Copy?

Would you like a copy of the devotional? I have one copy to give away (boy’s or girl’s version – your pick). Enter below – the giveaway ends at 12 AM October 10th. I will contact the winner who will have 24 hours to respond, or I’ll select another winner. Good luck!

Find the book: Boy’s version | Girl’s version | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Every Day with God is the latest 365-day devotional (one for boys and another for girls) from VeggieTales. The updated content and art offer the perfect opportunity for parent and child to share time together each day. Each entry includes a Bible verse, short devotion, Thought of the Day, and prayer. The content will help children learn more about God and develop a daily practice to keep Him close in their lives. The book is perfect for bedtime reading, family devotion time, or as a fresh way to start each day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

Girl Waits with Gun Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

I discovered this one thanks to the second in the series popping up on all sorts of lists about “top fall releases.” Sure, the second was getting the buzz, but I can’t dive into the series there – I need to start with the first book.

Stewart is a familiar name, writing bestselling nonfiction like The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Plants.

It’s marketed as a mystery, but it isn’t really. The “family secret” hinted at in the publisher’s description is revealed early, and the other mystery subplot is minimal. If you go into it wanting a mystery you may feel disappointed, but if you expect it to be historical fiction then you won’t feel mislead. As historical fiction it was enjoyable, but my favorite part of it was learning about a previously unknown to me historical event and individual. I’m hoping the second book continues the pattern of fleshing out actual events. I loved how she took the known facts and turned them into an entire story.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, enjoy reading about ground-breaking women from history, or especially enjoy this time period, I’d recommend it. If you don’t enjoy historical fiction, I don’t think this book would convert you.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
A novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Introducing October’s Book Club Selection: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy HollowThe Legend of Sleepy HollowThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
by Washington Irving

What It’s About

Description from Goodreads:

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a short story by American author Washington Irving that has become a Halloween and horror classic. Set in 1790 in Tarrytown, New York, Ichabod Crane encounters a mysterious figure who carries his head not on his shoulders, but in his saddle.

Why Was This Title Selected

I wanted something tilting towards horror (it is Halloween this month after all), but I’m much too much of a reading wimp to pick a true horror story. In addition, it’s a classic and it’s short enough to help bring down the overall page count for the year.

Anything Else to Know About It?

There are several Audible versions available. I’ve linked one that’s under $1, but there are others as well.

It’s also available on Librivox for a free audio version, and should be widely available in any library. You may find it combined in a collection of other stories by Irving.

We’ve started the discussion about the book, but you’re welcome to join in when you can, and it’s short enough that you should be able to catch up with us.

The title is available in print, for Kindle or Nook, or on Audible.

What’s Coming Up in November?

David and GoliathDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell by Malcolm Gladwell

Why did I select it? Gladwell’s books are always thought-provoking, and at a busy time of year an easier read seems like a good fit. It also helps balance the year’s reading schedule with a final nonfiction selection.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2016 here.

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Three years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction: No Way Down
Four years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 4} 84, Charing Cross Road

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!