Book Description Kryptonite

What’s Book Description Kryptonite? When something in the description makes me immediately decide the book isn’t for me.

It’s the opposite of “I will read anything that mentions these favorite things.”

I’m sure everyone has their own version of book kryptonite, but for me these are the main ones:

  1. Political thriller (political anything really, but especially thrillers)
  2. Corruption (these generally end up making me feel so discouraged)
  3. Cancer (just for now; I don’t think this will be a permanent thing)
  4. Oprah (her book picks were generally not a good fit for me)
  5. Celebrity (Although I did really enjoy one celebrity memoir, in general I have no interest in reading about Hollywood or sports celebrities.)
  6. 1960’s (my least favorite time period to read about)
  7. Zombies (although I will admit there is a very small part of me that wants to try Pride and Prejudice and Zombies just because … what? This is so completely strange and weird and what on earth did you do to this story?)
  8. Erotica (do I even have to say why?)
  9. Touching (I read “touching story” in a blurb or description, and I think “sappy drivel.” This is one where I can possibly be persuaded otherwise by someone whose opinion I trust.)
  10. And the absolute, no-way-am-I-reading-this:

  11. Young kids being kidnapped or otherwise harmed. (I used to be able to read about it, but right now I immediately substitute *my* kids for the fictional ones and suddenly I can’t focus on the story because MAH BABIES!!)

Do I ever read any books that hit these triggers? Potentially, if a reliable resource convinces me to give it a try, or if it’s by a trusted author. As a rule of thumb however, any of these terms in the description makes me put the book aside and keep looking for my next read.

Do you have any particular words or phrases that immediately make you put the book down, thinking “not for me!”?

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems -

This post was inspired by the #bookwormproblems series run last year by Quirky Bookworm. Read my earlier entries in the series!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Bookworm Problems: Buying Books and Not Reading Them
Two years ago: What I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2014

On {Finally} Reading Pride and Prejudice

Pride and PrejudiceIf you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you might remember a little reading challenge I set up last year. And then promptly ignored because pregnancy + new baby = what was I thinking planning a reading challenge?

Jane Austen’s Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was one of the books selected for the challenge, because I’d never read it. Yes, it’s true. As complete a bookworm as I am, and I’d never read it.

I was somewhat scared to, to be honest. It’s so beloved, by so many. How could it possibly live up to the adoration? And I felt like I knew the story already. Elizabeth Bennett meets Mr. Darcy. Obstacles ensue. They get married. The end.

Yes, I knew there was more to the story than that. But did it matter?

Of course it did. I didn’t know about Mr. Collins and Charlotte, or Lydia and Kitty. I didn’t even know about Bingley and Jane (let alone Bingley’s sisters). I certainly didn’t know about the ridiculous Mrs. Bennett, and the dastardly Wickham. What a loss that was, and would have been if I hadn’t ever read the book!

Why did I finally read it? Well, because I did set it as my challenge, and I wanted to read it, even if I didn’t get to it last year. Also so I could finally say “yes! I’ve read it!” And so I could watch the Lizzie Bennett Diaries online – they sound so fun, and I wanted to see how they adapt the material into that format.

So what did I think? Does it signify – is my opinion going to sway anyone to read it or not read it? I can’t imagine.

(I loved it.)

Adding to the “I finally did it!” aspect of the book was that I listened to it. All of it. And it was such a great audio book, and I’m so glad I own it so I can listen to it again and again.

A hint if you want it on audio: Buy a $.99 Kindle copy. You’re paying for formatting and spell check, so spend the $1. Then you can buy an audible version for a drastically reduced price (currently one is $1.49, while another is $2.49. I think I paid $1.99 for mine). Now you’ve got a Kindle version and Audible version for under $3, and you can switch back and forth between them as you read and listen, and it’s super convenient.

Another hint: this works for lots of classic novels – I’ve picked up several of them this way. Be sure to listen to the narrator when you pick the audible version you buy – they vary, and you may prefer one narrator’s style to another’s.

One final tip: If you have Amazon Prime, the Colin Firth version is available to stream for free. I started watching it immediately after finishing the book, and I’ve spent several late nights making up for all the lost years when I didn’t know what I was missing.

Find the book: A beautiful hardback copy | The fabulous annotated version | Kindle | Audible| Goodreads

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

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Three years ago: Favorite Historical Fiction Books

Reader Survey

The Deliberate Reader 2015 Reader SurveyAs I make blog plans for the rest of this year and next year (yes, already!), I want to hear from you – how can I make The Deliberate Reader more useful for you? I want to keep improving the blog and make it more helpful and interesting to you.

The survey should only take you about 5 – 10 minutes (depending on how much you have to say to me!) 🙂 Some of the questions have specific choices for you to select from, and others are open-ended.

If you have any trouble with the embedded survey, you can also go here to fill it out.

No matter if you’ve been reading the site from the beginning or you only found me in the last week, I want to hear from you! While I can’t promise to put every suggestion into place, I’ll read and consider them all.

What am I asking? Well, I ask a little bit about you, especially your reading habits, and then I ask what you think about the blog’s design, content, community, and your thoughts on some potential future plans and possibilities.

The survey is anonymous, so if you’ve got a question or comment you’d like a response to, please send that to me in an email – you can reach me at sheila(at) – and I’ll do my best to get back to you in a timely manner.

Thank you so much for reading, and for helping me out with your responses! I look forward to reading them!

As a bit of a thank you for reading, I’ve got a giveaway below for a $15 Amazon Gift Card. It’s not a requirement that you fill out the survey to enter, although I would appreciate it if you did. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(For legal reasons, the giveaway is only open to U.S. Residents. Sorry everyone else – I don’t want to do anything against the law in other countries, and I don’t trust my reading of those laws to feel confident saying this or that location is ok to enter.)

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Two years ago: Book Review: Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

EnchantedEnchantedEnchanted by Alethea Kontis by Alethea Kontis

Kontis has written one of my (and my kids) favorite picture books – AlphaOopsAlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis, illustrated by Bob Kolar, so when I discovered that she’d also authored a fairy-tale mashup series, I had to give it a try. EnchantedEnchanted by Alethea Kontis is the first in the series, and the overall vibe of the book is just what I’d have expected based on the picture books she’s produced.

In other words, it’s creative and entertaining, and also crazy and jam-packed with activity. I’m glad I don’t try to give a plot summary in my posts, because I wouldn’t really know how to do this justice. There’s the main character, Sunday (younger sibling to older sisters Monday through Saturday, naturally, as well as two brothers). There’s an enchanted frog. There are fairy godmothers, both a good one and, well, one you don’t want as your fairy godmother. There are spells and, naturally, a lot of enchantment.

There is also a plot line that gets more and more outlandish as Kontis seems to try and include bits of every single fairy tale possible in her story. If you’re reading it in a charitable mood, it may seem whimsical and fun. If you’re not in a charitable mood, it’ll likely seem like a confusing and disjointed jumble. I was entertained by just how much she could throw into one tale, and how many references to other fairy tales I could recognize.

I wasn’t entertained enough to want to read any more however. There are too many other good to great fairy-tale retellings and this one falls a little short for me. Unless I end up hearing that the additional books in the series are better, I’m saving my reading time for other material. I will admit to being sorely tempted however – the covers for HeroHero (The Woodcutter Sisters) by Althea Kontis and DearestDearest (The Woodcutter Sisters) by Althea Kontis are lovely, and some of the reviews make me waver in my decision to pass on them.

Publisher’s Description:
It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

Book Details

Title: EnchantedEnchanted by Alethea Kontis
Author: Alethea Kontis
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

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

Books Read in 2014 – The Compiled List

Books Read in 2014If you’ve been reading my blog all year, this is the compiled list pulled together from all my monthly recap posts, but arranged topically. It excludes all of the picture and board books I read to my kids (I hope to share those in their own post soon). However, any children’s title over 100 pages is included here.

An asterisk (*) by a title means it’s one I especially enjoyed or recommend.

Quick Links to Books by Categories:

Christianity / Theology | Memoirs / Biographies | Parenting / Relationships | Education | Personal Development, Money & Time Management| Blogging / Social Media / Writing | Cookbooks & Food | History | ebooks | Other Nonfiction | Children’s / Young Adult Nonfiction | General Fiction| Mysteries | Fantasy | Science Fiction | Romance | Children’s / Young Adult Fiction | Didn’t Finish

[Read more…]

What the Kids are Reading (in November 2014)

Recently it’s been almost all about the science books and/or Dr. Seuss for our library book reading. We still repeat our favorites that we own, but for new material we’ve had a heavy rotation of:

I Can Name 50 Trees TodayI Can Name 50 Trees Today!I Can Name 50 Trees Today!: All About Trees (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu.

A Cat in the Hat Learning Library Title, and I’ll be looking for more of them. It’s got lots of info, but in a fun style that keeps the kids listening, and keeps me reading happily.

Why Oh Why Are Deserts DryWhy Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

Another Cat in the Hat Learning Library book. This series has been a good discovery for us, and I’m thrilled to see how many titles have been published (and are available through our library). They seem perfect for G’s age (5) and interest level as well.

The Wild Leaf RideThe Wild Leaf RideThe Wild Leaf Ride (Magic School Bus, Scholastic Reader, Level 2) by Judith Stamper, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken by Judith Stamper, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken.

Both kids love this one, which is part of The Magic School Bus series. I kind of hate it – after a half dozen times through it I was ready to hide it until it could go back. Fortunately it’s an early reader type book, and my son isn’t far away from being able to read it himself. I’ll look for another one in the series after he gets a bit farther along in his reading lessons and see if he can handle it all on his own, so I don’t have to repeat these titles.

Hop on PopHop on Pop (I Can Read It All By Myself)Hop on Pop  (I Can Read It All By Myself) by Dr Seuss by Dr Seuss.

Read by G with very minimal help (as in, only a couple of words – mother/father/sister/brother tripped him up, and maybe something else I’m forgetting).

We did also read two picture books:
Pumpkin BabyPumpkin BabyPumpkin Baby by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Susan Mitchell by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Susan Mitchell

Usually I like Yolen’s books, but didn’t care for this one, and I whisked it away before the kids could ask for it repeatedly. The language wasn’t as easy to read aloud as it typically is for her works.

What's in the Egg Little PipWhat’s in the Egg, Little Pip?What's in the Egg, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

I didn’t realize what either of the picture book titles were about when I brought them home, and was amused that they both dealt with new babies coming into the family and the big sister’s feelings about that. How appropriate for us right now, although I could have used the Little Pip title even earlier – this one would work during a pregnancy that might be keeping mom from playing in the same ways as before. Great illustrations and very readable – I’ll look for more Little Pip titles, and other books by the author.

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

Damage Control (Joanna Brady #13)

Damage ControlDamage Control (Joanna Brady Mysteries)Damage Control (Joanna Brady Mysteries) by J. A. Jance by J. A. Jance

I have a very soft spot for Jance’s series, and I intentionally picked one to read on our recent trip because of their setting. While we weren’t in the same part of Arizona as the book precisely, it was close enough, and added some extra fun to the read.

If you’ve never read any of the series, I don’t recommend beginning with this one – perhaps start with the first one, Desert HeatDesert Heat (Joanna Brady Mysteries) by J.A. Jance. There are too many characters and circumstances that are developed throughout the series that you won’t fully appreciate without knowing the back stories.

The mystery itself is cluttered with too many additional subplots and as usual with this series, I found myself feeling exhausted for Brady and wishing she could just get some rest without having yet another crisis to handle.

Those complaints don’t change the fact that I like the characters and the setting enough to continue reading the series. They’re entertaining enough that they fit my mood when I’m looking for a read that won’t require much effort from me. They’re perfect vacation reads, or for something when I’m sitting in the backyard watching the kids play and being interrupted every two minutes to watch their latest trick.

Publisher’s Description:
At first glance, it appears to be an accident . . .

A car carrying an elderly couple goes off the side of a mountain and tumbles into oblivion on a beautiful sunny day in the Coronado National Monument. A note pulled from the twisted wreckage suggests the tragedy may have been a double suicide—but an autopsy later suggests something different. A deadly fire and a fatal home invasion may or may not have some connection to the terrible crash. And miles away in the desert, a savage rain has revealed something grisly and terrifying: two trash bags filled with human remains.

It’s just another day in the life of Cochise County sheriff Joanna Brady, who must somehow balance the rigors of police work with a newborn, a teenager, a writer-husband, and a difficult mother. But Joanna will not allow murder to go unpunished in her jurisdiction—even if her path to the truth is twisting and dangerous . . . and leads to shocking revelations about those entrusted with caring for the helpless.

Book Details

Title: Damage Control (Joanna Brady Mysteries)Damage Control (Joanna Brady Mysteries) by J. A. Jance
Author: J. A. Jance
Category: Fiction / Mystery
My Rating: 3 Stars

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

The Making of a Nurse

The Making of a NurseThe Making of a NurseThe Making of a Nurse by Tilda Shalof by Tilda Shalof

Somewhat of mixed feelings towards this one: I liked it more or less, but can’t recommend it without reservations.

I’m a big fan of medical memoirs, but found this one to be a bit bloated – I would have preferred it to have been edited down more tightly. It was much too long for what it covered, and some extraneous details could have easily been omitted.

The nursing anecdotes were the most interesting to me, especially her experiences in Israel (most of the medical memoirs I’ve read are by Americans working in United States settings, so a Canadian nurse working in both Israel and Canada was appealing from the start). Her autobiographical details weren’t as well integrated into the story and I found myself disliking when the narrative returned to them rather than the medical stories.

Now I’m on the lookout for a better contemporary nursing memoir. I’ve read some great doctor ones, but there have to be some from nurses as well.

Publisher’s Description:

Tilda Shalof has been a caregiver all her life — at home for her family, at work for strangers — but her skills didn’t come easily. From when she was a child taking care of her sick parents to her current position on an ICU team in one of Canada’s largest hospitals, there have always been daunting challenges and worthy rewards for her work. With her trademark humour, unflinching honesty, and skilled storytelling, Shalof describes her experiences becoming the capable nurse she is today.

After graduation from nurse’s college, finding no jobs in Toronto, Shalof travelled to Tel Aviv, Israel, to work in a hospital for the first time, finding adventure and young love in the process. A summer stint as a camp nurse came with requests for condoms, strange allergies (“Misty has reactions, but we don’t know to what”), and overly protective parents (also known as “helicopter parents” for their tendency to hover over their children). The Making of a Nurse contains these stories and much more, and they are comforting, entertaining, shocking, funny, heart-warming and heart-wrenching. From hospitals to home care, they will give readers a glimpse into the life of a nurse and the hidden medical world

Book Details

Title: The Making of a NurseThe Making of a Nurse by Tilda Shalof
Author: Tilda Shalof
Category: Nonfiction / Memoir
My Rating: 3 Stars

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

April 2014 Recap

April 2014 RecapI’m not really ready for April to be over, as time is flying by and I’d prefer it to slow down a bit. I’ve got a lot I’d like to get done before August!

It’s not up to me though, and it’s May, and I’m starting to really look ahead and make plans for summer. May is one of my favorite months – let’s see what this one brings!

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 17
Books Read For The Year: 66

Things That Happened
  • We found out baby #3 is a girl! So exciting. Well, it would have been exciting either way – we really didn’t care what we have.
  • My flowers bloomed! I planted a bunch of bulbs last fall and then just hoped for the best. This spring has brought crocuses, daffodils, tulips, and something else that I don’t even remember its name. I’m thrilled.
  • Spring allergies arrived. Hooray! Essential oils help somewhat. Being pregnant helps more. They’re still bad enough that I know they’re there.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Baby girl on the ultrasound, and such good test results that my high-risk pregnancy has dropped out of the high-risk territory. Such fantastic news.
  • My kids at the Awana closing ceremony. I am completely biased, I realize, but I thought they were completely adorable.
  • Flowers and more flowers. I adore tulips, so I love this time of year when there are tulips everywhere I turn.
What’s Cooking
  • Smoothies. And I am so tempted to buy a juicer thanks to that juicing book I read this month.
  • I made mashed potatoes for Easter dinner, and sometimes my mashed potatoes are only meh. This batch was so so so delicious. I was sad there were no leftovers, but everyone else agreed with my assessment – almost 9 pounds of potatoes disappeared!
  • I also made peanut butter chip brownies, and they were just so-so. I had wanted to make two other desserts, but hadn’t realized I was missing essential ingredients for both of them, so the brownies were a last-second substitution. I am also a brownie snob however, and no one else seemed to mind them – they all vanished as well, so perhaps they were’t as so-so as I thought.
What I’m Anticipating Next Month
  • My birthday! I hope to spend it reading and eating delicious food and reading some more. Wonder if the kids will cooperate with that plan? 😉
  • Swimming lessons starting – that should be super cute, or at least I hope it will be!
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. Links go to my review if I’ve posted one, Amazon if I haven’t yet. [Read more…]

2014 Reading Goals: April Progress

2014 Reading Goals

  1. Participate in my 2014 Reading Challenge.
  2. Read 208 books.
    I think I’m going to revise this one down to 156 (3 a week), since the original goal was set before I knew I was pregnant.
  3. Read 40,000 pages.
    Still waiting to see if I need to revise this one – I’m actually not too far off track, so I may not need to adjust it down.
  4. Read all book club selections.
  5. Get new children’s books monthly to share with the kids.
    Still on track with this one!
  6. Listen to 1 audio book.
    I tried a new audio book – The Wizard of Oz – and listened to three chapters. And then got bored with it and read the book. Apparently I am hating audio books right now.
  7. Read through the entire Bible in a new edition.
    This one is not happening. I do think I’m going to adjust it to the New Testament only, as an acknowledgment that life (i.e., morning sickness and exhaustion and later a newborn) means things change.
  8. Promptly share books that I’ve finished via my Pinterest board.
    As long as “promptly” means some time in the month, I’m still covered. 😉
  9. Clear 24 more books off of my TBR stack at home.
    I read 3 from my own bookshelves, so I’ve gotten a little bit ahead of the pace I need to keep. Maybe I’ll reach this goal! Update: apparently I can’t count. I read two. Still on the right pace, but I’m not ahead of schedule.
  10. A subgoal of number 9: 12 of those 24 books need to be from my Christianity stacks.
    One of those three two was, so I’m still right on schedule with this one. 🙂
  11. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!