"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Top 10 Reads of 2021

 I read some amazing books this year! It was hard, but I pared my top list down to my 10 favorite books this year. Here they are in no real order beyond being my top reads of the year. I've included my mini summary - the titles link to my original Instagram post with my full review, and the authors are linked to their websites where available. Take a look and let me know in the comments what one (or two) of your favorite books was in 2021!

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Iris and her sisters disappeared for three months when they were children. They came back strangely changed and with no memory of what had happened. Now they're older and each has found a way to deal with their past. Grey is an internationally renowned fashion designer, Vivi roams the world playing music, and Iris is finally gaining a little high school normalcy. Then Grey goes missing again. And a strange man starts following Iris. What really happened all those years ago? And is it happening again


A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

El is the chosen one. Unfortunately she's the one chosen to destroy the world, which means the Scholomance keeps trying to teach her spells of mass destruction when she's just trying to clean the monster stench out of her rug. That's the downside of attending a sentient school for magic. That and the monsters who regularly try to eat her and the annoying golden boy, Orion, who keeps swooping in to save her life when she doesn't need it. At this rate, she'll be lucky to make it to graduation without flunking out or killing all of her classmates.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Mark Watney may be the first man to die on Mars, which really isn't how he expected to be remembered. Accidentally left behind, it will take all his ingenuity, perseverance, skill, and sarcasm to survive. 

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Nannerl has one wish: not to be forgotten. But her younger brother Woferl is the one receiving the praise and opportunities to share his compositions while she has to hide her talent. When a mysterious boy from the Kingdom of Back offers her the chance for her wish to come true, she agrees to complete his tasks. But as time passes, she begins to wonder what her wish might cost and if the price is worth it.

Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour

Mila is aging out of the system with nowhere to go, so when she's offered an internship at a farm working with other foster kids, she accepts. The farm is everything and nothing she expected. It might be a place to belong, but it's haunted, much as she is by the shadows of her past. Does she deserve the glimpse of happiness she sees or will the darkness of who she was destroy her life again?  

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Audrey Rose is supposed to be a genteel lady of society, but she'd rather be dissecting bodies with her uncle than sipping tea with other girls. With a killer haunting the city and her uncle's new assistant driving her up the wall, Audrey Rose has to figure out the truth. Especially since it seems the killer may be closer than she could imagine. 

(somehow I never posted this to Instagram and I'm appalled!)

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

Daevabad is under siege, Nahri and Ali are on the run, and Dara is struggling to reconcile his conscience with his loyalty to Manizheh. As the conflict comes to a head, new players enter the scene and old allies and enemies have a role to play. Will Daevabad and its people find a way out of the cycle of vengeance and violence before their world is damaged beyond redemption? And who will be left to pick up the pieces in a world that hasn't known anything else for centuries?

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Azalea promised her mother she would take care of her 11 younger sisters, but it's hard to do that when the king has abandoned them and mourning must be observed for a year. Dancing is the only thing that helps but it's forbidden during mourning, so when Azalea finds a secret passage that leads to a magic dancing pavilion, it seems like a wonderful solution. But magic never comes without a price and the secrets they're all keeping from each other could be their undoing.

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall

Book 1 introduces the 4 sisters Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty along with their faithful dog Hound and their beloved father. While vacationing in a cottage on an estate they met Jeffrey, a lonely boy who they quickly welcome into their hearts. Each book expands on the adventures, heartaches, and loves of this initial cast of characters. I would love to be neighbors with the Penderwicks.

Books 1-3 are act 1, with book 4 act 2, and book 5 is act 3 and a nice coda to the series.

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning

When Amarande's father, the Warrior King, dies under suspicious circumstances, she finds herself a pawn in the royal game as the neighboring kingdoms vie for her hand and control of the Sand and Sky. But she was raised to fight fiercely for her kingdom and those she lives, so when her best friend Luca is kidnapped to force her hand, she sets out on a journey that will change the course of her life, her country, and the entire continent.

Friday, July 1, 2016


written on Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island

The oceanside will always
be a rejuvenating place
for me.

It holds a piece
of my soul

One I don't realize is missing
until I

see the expanse
of glistening water,
hear the slap splash of waves
on saturated sand,
and breathe in
the brined air.

As my feet reach
the cool edge
where water meets earth
I feel whole
once again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Reading Resolutions: March Successes

I feel like I've been consuming books like they're vital to my life recently! I've been reading all the time, and enjoying a wide variety of books.

1. Read 200 books (at least 52,000 pages):

I read 20 books in March for a total of 65 for the year so far (what) and added another 5,000 pages bringing my page count so far to just under 19,000.

2. Read 12 non-fiction books (preferably 1/month):

I made it through 2 in March. I read Michael Rosen's Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story, which was a fascinating look at the English alphabet and at language in general. I also read Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an Unpleasant Age edited by Ariel Schrag. This was a graphic novel compilation of autobiographical stories from middle school. It was...okay. I wasn't a huge fan, but it was an interesting read.

3. Read at least 2 print books I own each month (with an eye to weeding):

I did manage to pull this one off. I read The Agency: The Body at the Tower by Y. S. Lee, which I really enjoyed - the whole series was good and I'll be writing a review of it over on the Booksellers Without Borders blog. I also read The Ark by Boyd Morrison, which was interesting, but went into the weed pile, because it's not something I'll read again.

4. Read at least 2 eBooks I own each month:

Completed this one as well making it through L.R.W. Lee's Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon's Fury, The Grey Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang, The Berenstain Bears and the G-Rex Bones by Stan and Jan Berenstain (I didn't know there were Berenstain Bear chapter books!), and Kelly Oram's Being Jamie Baker which was super fun.

5. Read at least 1 book off my GoodReads To-Read list:

I did double duty on this one with Alphabetical being both a non-fiction and a To-Read book. I also read Marion Jensen's Almost Super, which I enjoyed.

6. Read at least 2 academic articles each month:

I almost didn't get to this one, but dug up 2 on the last day of the month, determined to complete the challenge I'd set for myself. I read "'Scope for the Imagination': Imaginative Spaces and Female Agency in Anne of Green Gables" by Lauren Makrancy and "Teaching International Students How to Avoid Plagiarism: Librarians and Faculty in Collaboration" by Jenny Gunnarsson, Wlodek J. Kulesza, and Anette Pettersson

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bookish Resolutions: February Successes

Still on a reading kick! And having these resolutions in place has helped me keep my reading varied.

1. Read 200 books (at least 52,000 pages):
I read 19 books this month and about 5,500 pages for a total of 49 books so far (what.) and about 13,000 pages total. Crazy pants. Have no idea how I've pulled that off.

2. Read 12 non-fiction books (preferably 1/month):
I read 2 this month. I re-read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and also read Kyle Idleman's AHA - I absolutely love Idleman's style.

3. Read at least 2 print books I own each month (with an eye to weeding):
I made it through 5 this month. I read After by Amy Efaw, which was a really thought-provoking book. I enjoyed it, but knew I wasn't going to read it again, so I weeded it. As I said, I re-read A Room of One's Own. Finally got my hands on Assassin's Heart by my bloggy/Twitter friend Sarah Ahiers when it came out at the beginning of this month and it was Ah-mazing. I also read and weeded After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel - really enjoyed it. And finally, as I noted above, I read AHA.

4. Read at least 2 ebooks I own each month:
I read 9 this month. Three of those were the first 3 Anne books, since I'm trying to re-read as much of Montgomery's works as possible before the conference in June. They're like comfort food - anything of hers just makes me happy and cozy. I also read All Hallows at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray, A Very Special Delivery by Linda Goodnight, and As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka (which was so interesting). I Also read Robin Lee Hatcher's A Vote of Confidence, which was a fun Christian historical, and C.L. Stone's The Academy - Thief. I also made it through another one of Andrew Lang's fairy books - the Pink one this month.

5. Read at least 1 book off my GoodReads To-Read list:
This month I read Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick, which was adorable and Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr that made me so happy I hugged the book when I finished it. I would love to own that one some day.

6. Read at lest 2 academic articles each month:
I read Alyson Buckman's "'Go Ahead! Run Away! Say It Was Horrible!': Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog as Resistant Text" and "What does knowledge look like: Drawing as a means of knowledge representation and knowledge construction" by Tracey Bowen and M. Max Evans.

Monday, February 15, 2016

SonShine Eats - Taco Bowl

Now that I've been on my own for a while I've started getting more creative in the kitchen. I had a couple of big successes recently and people asking me about them, so I thought I'd start keeping track of what I've done and then post about them. I get some of my best ideas from blogs and Pinterest, so here's hoping someone else gets a little inspiration from me :)

Starting off with my taco bowl. I love crispy taco bowls, but they can be pretty expensive to buy at restaurants. And I love me some tacos in almost any form.

I started looking up ideas and saw suggestions for deep fryers and realized that my little mini deep fryer was perfect for making a taco bowl! I have enjoyed many of my Bella appliances (and no, I'm getting nothing from them for saying that :) - I love french fries, so I picked up this mini deep fryer on sale, and it's the perfect size for me. It's also the perfect size for turning medium tortillas into taco bowls!
Sometimes the shell sticks to the basket, but it pops off pretty easily. The tongs I use are bamboo toast tongs and work perfectly for fishing the bowl out if necessary.

Bon appetit!