Monday, February 13, 2017

The Book Blab: Episode 11 "All You Need is Love"

Woohoo! After my little maternity leave break, Amy and I are finally back this month with a new episode of The Book Blab! And since tomorrow is the Day of Love, that made for a natural topic for this month's episode. This was a super fun topic. We talk all about our favorite relationships and romances in a wide variety of genres, and there was so much to talk about I think we may need to revisit this topic in the future.

Hope you enjoy!

(And Happy Valentine's to you and yours!)

0:35 - Suzanne had her baby!
1:42 - Today's topic: Romance novels . . . the tame variety.
3:15 - Regency/Classic romances
  • 3:55 - Favorite Jane Austen novels
  • 7:15 - Defining the actual regency period
  • 9:45 - Contemporary regency romances
  • 12:21 - Other favorite classics with love stories
15:47 - Contemporary romances
21:23 - Fantasy/Fairy Tale romances
23:35 - Young Adult romances
26:14 - Love and marriage in nonfiction
29:33 - Two favorite reads from 2016
  • 30:10 - Suzanne's recommendation
  • 31:00 - Amy's recommendation 
32:55 - Upcoming mini-book club: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
35:17 - Conclusion

Books mentioned during the show:

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Amy's review)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
Gone With the Wind by  Margaret Mitchell (Amy's review)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (Amy's review)
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Suzanne's review)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Amy's review)
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Middlemarch by George Eliot (Amy's review)
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (Amy's review)
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Amy and Suzanne's combined review in Episode 6)
Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock (Amy's review)
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery (Suzanne's review)
Emily of New Moon trilogy by L.M. Montgomery (Amy's review)
Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin (Amy's review)
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman (Suzanne's review)
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and D. Ross Campbell (Suzanne's review)
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanaukin (Suzanne's review)
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatramen (Amy's review)

P.S. Don't forget to share any favorite contemporary romances, in any genre, that meet our criteria of being clean and happy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Books I Read In January

You guys, I read NINE books in January. Basically, I'm blowing my book-a-week goal out of the water. I was able to accomplish this feat because I use nursing as an excuse to ignore my other children, hide away in my room, and read for about eight hours a day. I'm getting NOTHING else done in my life, but by golly I'm burning through these books. I am hoping that at some point Little Sister gets a wee bit more efficient at this nursing thing and I don't have to devote 1/3 of the hours of my day to keeping her nourished, but until then, let the reading continue!

Also note, I started out with some heavier/more literary titles, but as the month wore on, and I got deeper and deeper into the newborn-sleep-deprivation-stage, my reading choices became quite a bit fluffier. My brain isn't working well these days.

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

This was a fascinating read for me, and I'm definitely going to have to talk more about this one (maybe a good old Valentine's post on it, as it is all about relationships). There were things I absolutely loved about this book, and other things I strongly disagreed with. It's a recommend, with caveats.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Goals

pink flowers, resolutions, goals

It's still January, so I can still talk goals and resolutions, right?

Usually I like to do two posts, one as a review and wrap-up of my previous year, and one about my new goals for the year, but we're running into the end of January here, so let's just combine things.

Monday, January 16, 2017

10 Favorite Reads from 2016

Well, here we are half-way through January. It's past time for me wrap up 2016 and give my final reading report. 2016 was actually, surprisingly, my best reading year since I started tracking. My reading goal for the year was to read 50 books, and in the end I actually hit 56 books (maybe 57, but I didn't record any of my December books until January, and I feel like I'm forgetting one. I know I did a lot of reading, but everything from the month of December is kind of lost in a hazy fog of general miserableness.)

I never quite know how to go about assessing my favorite reads from a whole year. I thought it would be easier this year, with so many books to choose from, but it was harder. So, like with all of my book rating decisions, this is just a gut check list of what struck me as my top 10 today. (If I wrote this list two weeks ago, or next week, or next year, it would probably come out different.) Anyway, in the order I read them, here were ten of my favorite reads in 2016.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Baby #3 Birth Story

Okay folks, here it is. Birth story #3. It's a novel, but believe it or not this is the edited version. I hope it makes sense (I'm pretty sleep deprived these days, so no guarantees). Also, just a note for any readers who happen to not be fellow mothers, I use a ton of pregnancy-related lingo (pitocin, VBAC, dilated, etc.). If you don't know what I'm talking about, just Google it. And finally, for any new readers around here, if you want some more context, here's Baby #2's Birth Story, and some more background on Baby #1's traumatic C-section.

Jan. 10, her due date, and one day shy of two weeks old.

I don’t remember when I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth—it was at some point in one of my earlier pregnancies—but there is a sentiment expressed in that book that haunts me. Ina May describes a woman attending her childbirth courses who was surrounded by relatives, mothers and sisters and aunts, with highly dramatic birth stories. While this particular woman expressed the wish to experience a calmer and more natural birth experience, Ina May noted that she was too caught up in the competition factor of her family’s birth stories, and indeed ended up having a highly dramatic birth story of her own. Ina May’s point was that, even if it is unconsciously done, we write our own birth stories before they happen.

This sentiment haunts me because, if it is true, what does that mean for my birth stories? Particularly this one? Did I write this one before it happened? Because I don’t even know how I could’ve predicted this story, even unconsciously.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


She's here! And a week old at that (if you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know this). Introducing Lily Grace, our sweet little baby girl. We are so thrilled she's here and so perfectly sweet and squishy and delicious. This whole newborn thing is so much easier to enjoy the third time around.

I'm currently working on the full birth story, but guys, it's a bit of a doozy. I'm on page 7 and not done yet (I will try to trim it down before foisting it on you here). Apparently I'm using this birth story as a sort of cathartic writing process to sort through all of my thoughts and feelings about how intense the end of this pregnancy was for me. But once I get it in a presentable form, I'll get it up.

For now, here are just a few more pictures for you to enjoy. Newborns are the dreamiest.

I still consider myself on maternity leave, so I can't promise how regular posting will be around here for the next little while, but as we get more into a new routine hopefully I'll find some more time to pick back up here. I've got so many bookish things to talk about!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Maternity Leave

Belly Shots, Belly Pregnancy Progression

You guys, I had lots of plans for all the posts I wanted to get up this month. We were going to talk Christmas decorations, Christmas books, end-of-year reviews and best-ofs. I may still get around to some of these posts at some point, but it became apparent this week that my lovely little baby is likely going to come earlier than later.

I'll try to spare you the intimate details (although a full birth story will be coming once she's here, worry you not!), but basically I've been in labor since Saturday. I'm dilating at a slow and incremental pace, living in a state of constant low-level contractions. Based on my last pregnancy, I expect this to drag on for a few weeks yet, but I'm definitely miserable. And trying desperately to keep some semblance of normalcy afloat with my other children as we still attempt to participate in holiday activities and celebrate the season.

But something's got to give, and for the forseeable future, it will have to be blogging. Hopefully next time I write, it will be with pictures of my precious, squishy baby girl. And I won't be pregnant anymore!

Until then, may you all have a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc. etc.!