Thursday, August 30, 2018

Poem: Pride

Take a moment
Pause what you are doing
Breathe deep
Be mindful of the moment
Where are you?
Physically? Emotionally? Mentally?
Are you where you want to be in life?
Reflect on your accomplishments today.

Then, ask yourself what you accomplished
in the last week
six months

write them down
post them on social media if you have to
share with a friend
have a drink
go for a walk
celebrate the minor successes
celebrate the big ones

and most of all
Be Proud of Who You Are

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review: Food Blog - A Pinch of Healthy by Marjorie

Recipe: Red Beans and Rice in the Slow Cooker

I found this recipe on Pinterest in April of last year and it's amazing! Coincidentally, I just made this recipe again almost exactly a year later.

This recipe calls for an onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, chicken andouille sausage, dry red kidney beans, salt, black pepper, white pepper (optional), hot sauce, thyme, bay leaves, water, and cooked rice. For roughly $8, it's enough for 10 servings or more with the rice. I say $8 because the first time I made this recipe, I already had a majority of the ingredients, including substituting some for others. For example, I had a different kind of sausage in the freezer, and used some dried cranberry beans I had in the cabinet instead of kidney beans. I also used wild rice I already had instead of the jasmine rice she used. In total, at least in my local grocery stores, the cost is probably closer to $12. The second time I made this recipe, I used Italian sweet sausage and canned kidney beans instead of dry beans and white rice and it was just as good. I think just about any variation of this recipe will come out amazing!

The total time of 8 hours 45 minutes was a high estimate because it really only took me about 30-45 minutes to prep and then 6 hours on the high setting. I'm not really sure why the prep time comes out to be 2 hours and 45 minutes for her - maybe that includes shopping for the ingredients because it wasn't the time for soaking the beans. Also, the total cook time may vary depending on your slow-cooker.

One thing I love about this post too is that she provides a link to tips on how to make the recipe in less than 90 minutes on the stove top instead of in the slow-cooker. Her photos are good quality, and it's easy to read and follow the recipe. Marjorie does an amazing job of sharing recipes that are delicious, inexpensive, and healthy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Poem: These Are The Days

Since most of what I've been writing for the last year or so on here are book reviews, I thought it was high time I finally get around to posting a poem. My writer's block when it comes to anything other than reviews has been strong until recently. Some poetry is slowly starting to work its way out of my system.

I started this poem on April 16th on what would've been the 12th anniversary of my relationship with my ex who passed away suddenly in 2013. While our relationship had turned into only friendship by the time he passed, he still holds a very dear place in my heart.

These are the days... for missing you.
These are the days... for standing strong.
These are the days... for moving on.
These are the days... for making waves.
These are the days... for living in the moment.
These are the days... for making memories.

These are the days... we've all been waiting for.
These are the days... we wanted to share together.
These are the days... with only your memory by my side. 
These are the days... we dreamed of when we were young.
These are the days... we never thought would arrive.
These are the days... taken to the Extreme.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Review: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Bucks

Chosen to be the July 2017 read for my book club, I enjoyed reading this story again from an adult perspective. I had read it as a teenager and vaguely remember having a much different take away from the book than I do now.

I initially picked up a copy because I grew up a couple miles from The Pearl S. Buck House in Pennsylvania and had visited it with my Girl Scouts troop. I was fascinated by her living abroad as a child, and her work to provide humanitarian aid to impoverished children.

Synopsis: This tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.

Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

Review: Pearl S. Buck had the ability to write characters of such varying personalities and backgrounds exemplified by his aunt and uncle who acted entitled to his father's success as a farmer, and his wives major difference. O-lan, his first wife through a chosen marriage, was caring, humble and hardworking. His second wife, whom he had purchased, was spoiled, entitled, and complained about lifting a finger to work. He was also in awe of the differences between his children, admiring both their strengths and their weaknesses.

The first time reading this as a teenager, I remember feeling frustrated with Wan Lung and wondering why he seemed to perpetuate the innate sexism that was so rampant and obvious as early as the first few pages. He held so much disdain for his father, but then supposedly couldn't wait to have a woman in the household to take care of him and the chores. His attitude towards women irked me in so many ways that I didn't read the book again for over a decade. It was when I reread this for book club last summer as an adult that I had a different perspective and understanding that it was the time period in which he grew up, and his culture that made him who he was, particularly towards women. I also noticed that he loved his wives, and his children, but was in a way "restricted" to the ways that he was brought up and the culture they lived in that dictated the gender roles they were required to fulfill.

Throughout the novel, Wang Lung relied on the earth to supply all his needs through his hard work. The physical labor helped him to focus on the important things in life. This is a story of perseverance, the strength of the human spirit, of love, partnership, and sacrifice in a marriage and family - things that transcend time and all cultures.

To learn more about Pearl S. Buck International, visit

Review of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Paperback, 357 pages
Published Sept. 2004 by Washington Square Press, first published 1931
Dates Read: May 22 - July 2017

Review: Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want by Rachel Cruze

If you're already familiar with Dave Ramsey's teachings, then you'll understand what Rachel talks about in her debut novel. She's much more conversational in her writing, and gives her father's 7 baby steps a younger twist, making it targeted at those in their 20s and 30s who are just starting out with new life that may include things like student loan debt, first time purchases of cars and homes, getting married, having kids, and how important it is to not fall into the comparison trap.

The 7 Money Habits she talks about are:
1) Quit the comparisons
2) Steer clear of debt
3) Make a plan for your money
4) Talk about money (even when it's hard)
5) Save like you mean it
6) Think before you spend
7) Give a little...Until you can give a lot.

I was disappointed that she didn't go into more detail about the comparison dilemma that many of us experience, commonly known as "keeping up with the Jones's." This attitude is especially important in this social media age where we're so quickly and so often bombarded with our friends and family's "yay me!" posts about their latest vacations, latest and greatest tech purchases, new car/home, parties, weekend getaways, etc. Although I was grateful for the reminder that I am on a different journey than everyone else and that I shouldn't be comparing myself to others, I wish she had spent more time on the topic considering the premise of the book.

She spent A LOT of time talking about money in relationships in Chapter 4, and significantly less time on money for single people. This is an issue because although money is referred to as the leading reason for divorce, it's also why many single people are struggling. I'll give her credit to pointing out that money arguments aren't always about money - they're about communication, trust, and honesty. I did like that she pointed out that if you have different values about money, then the relationship is not going to work out and that it's important to have conversations about it before getting married, not after. As a single person, I'd have appreciated a little more time spent on money, budgeting, accountability, and even money in dating. I understand that she's married herself and she spoke about her experience, but I was hoping for a little more information and advice on resources for single people.

Cruze is a self-admitted spender and that her husband is the saver. She's essentially saying that she struggles with staying within the budget, and it's her instinct to be more free-spirited with her spending habits, whereas her husband Winston is the natural saver who checks the budget and accounts on a regular basis. I especially liked the story she shared about one of their vacations where he told her she didn't have to worry about the budget and she could spend whatever she wanted, but then she realized that it had become a habit to know how much money she was spending and that was more important to her than not worrying about it. This was the best example I think she used to drive home the point of creating good money habits and that it's possible for even the most free-spirited of spenders like herself. 

That said, this book is clearly written by someone who is not in debt, and while her advice is "don't go into debt" and she gives reasons why, it's not really written to help those who are already in debt and/or struggling to live. It's definitely written as a piggy back book to her father's teachings and with the assumption that one is familiar with his concepts and their lifestyle already. This book is more for those who are just starting out as a teen about graduate high school, or those who've already reached debt-free status, and/or newlyweds.

Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want
by Rachel Cruze
Audible Audio
Narrated by: Rachel Cruze
Published: October 2016 by Ramsey Press
Dates Read: March 17 - April 5, 2018

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review: Undying by Corina Bishop

This sci-fi book is a far cry from my typical genres of historical fiction and personal development so I was a bit skeptical at first, but the synopsis was intriguing enough that I figured it'd be worth a try even if I didn't ultimately enjoy the book.

I received a copy of this Audible Audio book for free from the author in return for a review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.

To awaken and not know who you are is a crushing feeling. Panic and hysteria override all other senses. Strangers approach and terror builds within your chest. You hope these strangers, with their white lab coats, will bring an ounce of reason back to your jumbled thoughts. Instead they bring needles and knives that puncture your skin, introducing new horrors for your brain to try to comprehend.

This is the life Sentra is born into at the age of twenty-four. She is surrounded by people who only cause her agony and pay no mind to her mounting questions. Sentra cannot even find solace in her dreams, where she is haunted by memories from a woman who died long ago. If the pain and confusion wasn't enough, Sentra's body doesn't seem to be entirely human and her detainers have far greater plans for her in a war she wants no part of.

All Sentra knows for sure is that she wants out and she will do anything to gain her freedom.

My Review:
Since this isn't my usual genre that I gravitate towards, I'm giving this a 3 out of 5 stars. I say that because I had a hard time staying interested in the story-line, yet at the same time, the mystery of the unknown is exactly what kept me listening.

Eventually I did come to like and empathize with the main character instead of being annoyed by her. This is because over time, Sentra learns that she is the only one who remembers life before she woke up in a lab and used as a test subject to go on "missions." This discovery only adds to her fear and confusion, especially since she learns she needs to keep it a secret from the others that she has these memories. To make matters worse, her memories lead her to putting the others in danger during a couple missions and them not trusting her anymore.

This reads like the beginning of a series. The author's bio on Goodreads mentions it's the first book of what she hopes to be a trilogy. I'm curious to know what happens in the next installments!

Undying by Corina Bishop
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Narrated by: Laura Jennings
Published Sept. 15, 2017
Dates Read: Jan. 29 - Feb. 27, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Review: The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod

This was an appropriate choice for January for The Classy Career Girl Network book club that I decided to join this year. That said, while this book has gotten rave reviews and I'm sure it's helped hundreds, if not thousands of people, change their habits and ultimately their lives, it was a waste of time for me to read. I felt like 70% of the content could have been cut out, but then there wouldn't be a book without 70% of the content! Why was it necessary to be so repetitive with explaining his life story? Sure, Hal has been handed one hell of a deck of cards in this life and has certainly overcome the odds against him. And as a motivational speaker, he has certainly changed many people's lives. I don't deny his inspirational attitude in not quitting despite what he's been dealt.

At the same time, I didn't get anything out of reading this book because I am not the target audience. The target audience is someone who has never read any personal development books and views the whole genre suspiciously. I have read enough personal development articles and books, and participated in workshops around mindfulness, meditation, and visualization that I found myself skimming through much of the explanations of these concepts.

I'm in the minority in that I've already started working towards improving my life and changing my habits and routines. Therefore, as I said before, I'm not the target audience for this book. The target are those people whom have never picked up a self-help book or bothered to read anything about improving their situation before now. Nothing wrong with that at all, it's just disappointing for someone like me who is past the point of being helped by a book such as this one.

In sum, this book basically tells the reader how to gradually change their habits to become a better person by getting up an hour or two earlier in the morning. And in turn, implementing what he calls "S.A.V.E.R.S." At first, he suggests doing different amounts doing each step each morning and then gradually adjusting your routine to eventually designate 10 minutes of the hour to each step.

Those steps are:
Silent meditation
Visualizing the day ahead
Reading, specifically to learn something
Scriving (aka writing/journaling/blogging)

While I don't do this in the morning as he suggests because it helps set the tone for the day, I do many of these throughout the day and particularly at night so that I can unwind from the days stresses and help set the tone for the next day. If I wanted to implement these habits in the morning, I could, but prefer to do them at night despite it going against Hal's whole premise of the book suggesting that even the night owl can become a morning person.

Overall, had this been published as a blog series, I would've appreciated it more. I like the concept but didn't appreciate the overly simplified steps.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - It was okay. Not for me. I can see why others enjoy it.

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
by Hal Elrod
Kindle E-book, Published December 7th 2012 (first published December 7th 2006)
Dates Read: Jan 3-9, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

Review: Reading Progress to Date

If you follow my blog closely, you may have noticed that I haven't been posting much in the last couple of months. I was able to get plenty of posts done in December and early January, but not much since then because I am back to work full time. I was out of work for the month of December and then about a week in January due to illness, which left me with lots of free time to fill up!

What did I do with this extra free time when I wasn't sleeping? I was binge-watching TV shows, listening to audio books, and writing. That means I've "read" 8 books so far this year - and many of them are audio books. Which was awesome! Though ever since getting back to work, I let my passion of writing/blogging take a back seat.

Read so far in 2018 - 8 so far of my goal of 20 for the year! I intentionally set my goal low so that it would be attainable, and since I'm sure I'll complete it soon, I'm going to increase the number to TBD amount and see if I can reach that!
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (audio book)
  • Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)
  • Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)
  • The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (ebook)
  • Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)
  • Second Glance by Jodi Picoult (audio book, though I did have a paperback copy)
  • Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven & Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe and Illustrated by Pete Katz (graphic novel)
  • Undying by Corina Bishop (audio book)
I am a bit behind on writing my reviews. Since Undying was given to me for free by the author, that will be one of the next reviews on the blog. Others to follow, and the Winter series may be combined into one review once I read, or listen to, the 4th book that just came out last fall.

My book club, Vermont Books n Brews, met last Saturday to discuss Anne of Green Gables. It was an amazing discussion, especially since I was able to finish the book, but it had been too long since I listened to the book to remember the details. That said, we also discussed books to read for the next few months and dates/times/locations.

Before I start March's selection (Emma by Jane Austen), I want to finish at least one of my currently reading books. One goal this year is to finish at least one book in my currently reading list before starting another one! And I refuse to start any more series until I finish ones I'm currently reading.

Currently Reading list - I am close to finishing 3 of these books, and a few of them are short so it'll be easy to finish any of them before starting the next book.
  • Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (audio book)
  • A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living by Emily Ley (hardcover, Classy Career Girl Network book club)
  • Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female by Willa Shalit (hardcover)
  • When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't know Can Transform You by Kio Stark (hardcover)
  • Rokitansky by Alice Darwin (paperback)
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (paperback)
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (paperback)
  • The Dharma of Star Wars by Matthew Bortolin (paperback)
  • Pursuing Gold: A Novel of the Civil War by Cynthia Simmons (paperback)
Although, I am pretty excited about reading Emma, I'm not going to start it until I finish a book that I am already currently reading. I have a feeling it will either be Becoming Myself, When Strangers Meet, or The Dharma of Star Wars. There's a chance I'll finish at least two of those in the next week because they're short, I'm on a roll, and I'll have ample time to be listening to audio books in the near future.

Be on the lookout for:
  • A post about the books we're reading for Vermont Books n Brews
  • Review of Undying by Corina Bishop
  • A post related to my side hustle: Pampered Chef
  • Reviews of the other books I've read so far this year
That's all for now! Thanks for reading, and as always, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on any of these books. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things
Have you ever read a book that is so filled with emotion, ending on such a note that you need time to fully digest? That's Small Great Things. All of the hate, anger, frustration, turmoil, love, hope, redemption, and pride in accomplishing dreams amidst adversity are apparent in this socially and politically relevant novel. Jodi Picoult has a phenomenal talent for charging her stories with making the reader think and feel for the characters as if they are people you know.

Ruth Jefferson has over 20 years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse at local Connecticut hospital. As a single mother, whose husband was killed while serving in Afghanistan, she's worked diligently to provide for her teenage son and tries to teach him the ways of being a black man in a white world. But her world is turned upside down when she's told not to treat a newborn of a white supremacist couple. When the baby goes into cardiac arrest while she's the only staff member in the nursery, she's caught between trying to save his life and obeying orders from her boss. The outcome of her decision sets the stage for the rest of the novel.

The hospital was caught between protecting their senior L&D nurse, and protecting the hospital from a lawsuit. In what the administration thought was the hospital's best interest, they also sent a message to Ruth and all other black members of their staff they were in deed, second class citizens regardless of their loyalty. No one is safe.

In turn, despite the twists and turns of the story (based on true events), the epilogue has a bittersweet message - an ending that I had hoped would happen.

Jodi Picoult writes another novel that is to be made into a movie, which I will see in the theaters someday. The release date is TBD, especially since they have yet to decide on a screenwriter and a full cast. Other books of hers that have been made into films are Salem Falls, My Sister's Keeper, The Tenth Circle, Plain Truth, and The Pact.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Hardcover, 470 Pages - also listened to an audio version simultaneously
Published October 2016 by Ballantine Books
Dates read: June 19-July 30, 2017

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Five More Books About Infertility

On April 29, 2017, I wrote about a selection of books about living with infertility and published it during National Infertility Awareness Week. I had wanted to include more books and chose not to at the time because I was feeling emotionally burned out from the topic. It's an emotionally draining subject in of itself, and even more so because I was so strongly surrounded by it for a week, even though it was because of my own doing. Now that quite a bit of time has passed and I've been able to process my emotions and come back to this topic feeling refreshed, I'd like to share another list of books covering infertility.

Collection of Poetry by Jennifer Jackson Berry
Paperback, 96 pages
Published Nov. 2016 by YesYes Books

Recommended to me by a friend with primary infertility who also writes book reviews. The Feeder is a book of poetry that one Goodreads reviewer describes as "refreshing," and another as "brave."

Timons Esais left this in his review on Goodreads: "There is also some joy in here, but the collection as a whole brings one word to mind: brave. All poets risk self-esteem when publishing, all poets risk exposure, and it is very common for confessional poets (in these days of confessional poetry) to armor themselves against the risk by being defiant in their voice, being in-your-face, being I-can-say-this-and-you-can't-you-turd. Berry seems not to do that, at all. Here, too, she refuses to resolve. She asks, "How did I fall today?" and leaves us with that."

Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction is Changing Men, Women and the World

by Liza Mundy
Genres: Nonfiction, Science, Feminism
Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle
432 pages, published 2007-2008 by Knopf

Liza Mundy is an award-winning journalist who wrote Michelle Obama's biography, Code Girls, and The Richer Sex.

In Everything Conceivable, per Goodreads she, "captures the human narratives, as well as the science, behind the controversial, multibillion-dollar fertility industry, and examines how this huge social experiment is transforming our most basic relationships and even our destiny as a species.

Skyrocketing infertility rates and dizzying technological advances are revolutionizing American families and changing the way we think about parenthood, childbirth, and life itself. Using in-depth reporting and riveting anecdotal material from doctors, families, surrogates, sperm and egg donors, infertile men and women, single and gay and lesbian parents, and children conceived through technology, Mundy explores the impact of assisted reproduction on individuals as well as the ethical issues raised and the potentially vast social consequences. The unforgettable personal stories in Everything Conceivable run the gamut from joyous to tragic; all of them raise questions we dare not ignore."

Non-fiction book by Beth Kohl
Available in hardcover, 288 pages
Published 2007 by Farrar Straus Giroux

This book was also recommended to me by a friend who went through IVF and surrogacy. Since I have not read the book myself, I am sharing the description from Goodreads with you:

"Injections + Appointments + Egg Retrieval + Embryo Transfer = Resources (Energy x Time x Emotion)" That's the equation that was projected onto the screen when Beth Kohl and her husband first showed up at the in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic. "Good evening," the program's psychologist told the gathered infertile couples. "Before you begin your treatment, you should know that this program is emotionally and psychologically stressful."

And how. In this marvelously unconventional account of her struggles to bear children, Kohl leads the reader on an oh-so-up-close tour of fertilization in America, and the ways in which science and miracle, technology and faith, converge to create life in the twentyfirst century. Along the way, Kohl wrestles with a new world of medical ethics: Should she "selectively reduce" the number of embryos successfully implanted in the womb in order to prevent a potentially complicated pregnancy? How much genetic testing of fertilized eggs is too much? What is she supposed to do with the seven embryos left over from the IVF process? When Andrew Solomon wrote "The Noonday Demon," he opened the world of depression to readers as no writer had done before. And when Stephen L. Carter wrote "Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby," many readers were forced to completely rethink race and prejudice. Kohl's spirited and rich exploration of "embryo culture" will completely revise how we see modern motherhood.

by Geoffrey Sher, Jean Stoess, Virginia Marraige Davis
Available in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats
222 pages, published 1998 by Facts on File

Another book recommended by several friends who went through IVF or are considering the process so I am recommending it to you.

As Goodreads states, "In Vitro Fertilization is a comprehensive guide to this increasingly common and successful practice for the 3.3 million couples in the United States seeking alternative means of conception. It discusses everything you need to know about IVF, including how to find and choose the best in vitro programs, what to expect as you go through the process, and what your chances are of achieving a successful pregnancy. The book is designed to prepare couples for the complex and emotional process of IVF, and it has been specially updated to cover the latest developments in the field. No one considering IVF should overlook this indispensable reference."

Fiction by Jodi Picoult
Available in paperback, hardcover, audio, and ebook formats
496 pages, published in 2011 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

The only book of the list I've personally read, I highly recommend this one, especially for book club discussions. Written by one of my favorite authors (I literally have a whole shelf dedicated to her books!), Sing You Home follows the ups and downs of a marriage tormented by miscarriage after miscarriage.

Max plummets into alcoholism, yet somehow is able to heal again after his failed marriage with Zoe. A newfound unexpected romance brews for Zoe, with the opportunity for a baby. This scenario could include Max if he's willing, but he balks at the prospect, clouded by his religious beliefs and the financial costs.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Mongtomery

Anne of Green GablesThis is the start of a new favorite series, and I can't believe I never read this before now! I would've loved this as a kid and enjoyed re-reading it as an adult. Thank you to my book club for choosing to read this for January discussion. This is one of the few books I've managed to finish in time for the discussion (the horror, I know!) and also finish in 2 days! Considering I have a few books that I've been on my currently reading shelf for more than a couple years, it's astonishing I've been able to finish a book this quickly.

I am thankful to L.M. Montgomery for writing something that has inspired me to keep reading, and wish I could thank her. I was in such a reading slump trying to find something I could get lost in and this was it!

Ms. Montgomery did an amazing job developing characters with personality, especially Anne. She may have had her quirks, but she was also so lovable because of them! I enjoyed "watching" her grow up and develop her own interests and dreams as if she were a dear friend. There were times I literally rolled my eyes at Anne being so imaginative and especially dramatic when Marilla would try to scold her into behaving. I love Marilla's tough love, and Matthew's quiet and soft demeanor, yet hardened by years on a farm. Anne managed to win her way into their hearts and finally found her forever home. It's a heartwarming, and at times heartbreaking, story that has transcended generations to prove itself worthy of being a classic.

Occasionally, I smiled or laughed at the vocabulary L.M. Montgomery used because a few words are not commonly used in the same context 100 years later (i.e. she ejaculated for she exclaimed!).

My rating is 5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has not read it yet. If I ever have a daughter or niece, I will make sure this is on her read list. And I will most certainly be reading, or listening to, the rest of the series!

Thanks to my book club, Vermont Books N Brews, for this selection!

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Genre: Fiction>Children's Fiction and Historical Fiction, Classics, Young Adult
Audiobook, 10 hours, 20 minutes
Released: June 24, 2008 by Penguin Random House Audio
Narrated by: Kate Burton
Dates Listened: January 1-2, 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How-To: Be a Book Lover On a Budget

Are you a book lover, but are on a budget and can't afford to always be running out to get the latest new release? The new year is a great time to start implementing some new good habits, like living on a budget. Here are some tips I've learned over the years to feed my reading hunger while not being able to afford to keep buying books.

While this is not a comprehensive list, I hope it's helpful to you! Happy searching and reading!

1. Library Membership
Many public libraries offer free membership to community members who live in the same town or county, depending on the size of the territory they cover. Sometimes they charge a reasonable fee for those who live in other towns not serviced by a local library. A library membership gives you access to so many options, including books for all ages, magazines, DVDs, music CDs, audiobook CDs, newspapers, e-books, and a reference section for research.

Hoopla is a digital media service that may be offered by your local public library. It allows you to borrow materials like movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows on your electronic devices. You will be able to stream them immediately or download them to mobile devices.

OverDrive is an app/website where you can borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks from your library. Simply create an account, find your library, sign in using your library or OverDrive credentials, and borrow books!

2. Audio Books
As mentioned above, you can borrow audio books from your library through your Hoopla or OverDrive account.

LibriVox is a site where volunteers have recorded books that are in the public domain, which are available for free or inexpensive prices.

Sometimes a local thrift store will have audio books for sale in different formats, including cassette tapes if you happen to own a tape player! More on thrift stores below.

3. Get an e-reader, or e-reader app on your phone
E-books are cheaper than the physical copy of the book, and you can have thousands of e-books on your device when you don't have a lot of shelf space for your physical books. The device is also a lot easier to transport than several physical books.

Don't have an e-reader? Download the Google Books app, Amazon Kindle app, or other preferred e-reader app on your smartphone or other mobile device.

If you have an e-reader, sign up for NetGalley, which is a site where book reviewers and other professional readers can read books before they are published, in e-galley or digital galley form. Members register for free and can request review copies or be invited to review by the publisher.

JustKindleBooks is a website where you can find free and bargain priced e-books for your Kindle.

4. Peruse thrift stores, local used book sales, and/or used book stores
Shop your local thrift stores and garage sales (aka yard sales or tag sales). Many local libraries will have used book sales to benefit the library or other causes. Also, search for books at your local dollar stores or Wal-Mart!

There is also an online thrift store just for books at where you can find discounted titles.

Check your local Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay.

5. Borrow from friends and family
Does this require an explanation?

6. Ask for them as gifts for special occasions
Be specific about the genre(s) you like, or even get as specific as the author or titles you'd like to have. Also specify to the gift giver if you'd prefer it in audio format, as an e-book, or a physical hardcover or paperback. Sometimes the giver will know the answer, but it's a nice gesture if you can give them some guidance.

7. BookBub Membership
Already have an e-reader or e-reader app on your phone? Simply visit to create an account and sign up for email alerts on e-book deals that you can download right to your device.

8. Email Alerts About Book Deals

Kindle, Nook, Goodreads, and Bookperks all have deal emails that they send out daily. Visit their respective websites, create an account, and signup for their email digests.

For the Goodreads Deals, visit to sign up by filling out your profile, and click Save at the bottom of the screen. You'll get emails notifying you of deals for the books, authors, and genres you selected. You can also check the page again to see what is recommend for you and purchase inexpensive e-books.

9. Additional Resources - A website for finding inexpensive books to fill your shelves! You'll find used books, the latest bestsellers, and sometimes signed copies and first editions. It's not just for books either - you'll see listings for fine art and other collectibles for decorating your home or gifting. - Pass on your gently used titles you no longer want by listing them here for other readers to request. Once it's requested, you pay for shipping! Then you have the option of selecting from millions of other titles for free!

Half Price Books - This site has many titles available at, you guessed it, half-price or even less! - may not be as inexpensive as some of the resources listed below, but it has a massive amount of titles available that are less expensive than other places, including local bookstores. I advocate strongly for buying local, but also understand that sometimes it's not an option to pay the higher prices.

Barnes &Noble Bargain Books - in store or online

Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments!