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September Monthly Recap


It’s time for our monthly recap! Find out which books were favorites, which were duds, and which ones we plan to read the following month. We’ll end our wrap up with a calendar of book-related events/facts from the Month of September and we’ll highlight our upcoming October content. We’ve also added a list of upcoming book releases for October (scroll to the end for the list).

One randomly selected follower (email or wordpress follower) will win a $10 amazon gift card. Scroll down to see if you are the winner. The prize is only awarded if you contact us with your email address so make sure to check these monthly recaps each month to see if you won! We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read in September and what you look forward to reading in October.  Read more

Tales from the Crypt Reading Challenge

halloween challenge

After the intense summer reading challenge we wanted to do something a little more chill for our next one. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays; so what better way to enjoy the season than with some holiday themed reading? We hope you join us for our newest challenge: Tales from the Crypt. Read more

And the winners are….


After a LONG few days of seemingly endless tabulation, we have finally calculated the winners of our summer challenge. For those of you unfamiliar with the challenge you can read about it here. Twenty-nine participants read almost 400 books, over 123,000 pages, and “traveled” to over 100 destinations. Participants were given travel passports with 30 destinations. It was up to each participant to pick books to fit their travel destinations.  Participants were vying for 4 prizes (most well traveled/read, most true to the spirit of the game, most creative, and a random selection).

For Most True to the Spirit of the Game, Book Worm and I came up with 5 criteria to score each book: 1) author from destination (born, raised, or living); 2) set in or focused on the destination (in other words not just one location mentioned in the book but rather the bulk of the book had to be focused/set in the destination); 3) over 400 pages; 4) either a non-fiction or considered a classic from that country/destination; and 5) general good fit for the destination.

For Most Creative Book Worm and I, along with one other judge, looked at each book-destination pairing and gave 1 point to any book we thought was a creative choice for the destination. Thus any one book could have 0-3 points for creativity.

Keep reading to find out if you won any of the prizes. Read more

End of Summer Challenge


It’s official, our summer challenge ended yesterday! Judges will need some time to determine several of the winners. Think you should win? Plead your case and tell us why your choices merit either “most creative” or “most true to the spirit of the game.” Don’t be modest. Stay tuned for the announcement on September 27th. Combined you all read an astonishing 370 books, 123,266 pages, and traveled to all sorts of destinations all around the world (and in some cases outside this world).

In the final week, “Ursula” came out of nowhere and completed all her destinations – joining “Nanny Ogg” as the only two who completed everything. I purposely set the number of destinations at 30 with the assumption that no one would be able to read 30 books in the three months. I was wrong. Charisma also made a last minute push to enter the scoreboard at 5 points (although her son, “Maxibob” earned bragging rights in their home by crushing her). Special mention to “Chili” who read more pages than the leaders but with fewer books.

Congrats to everyone who participated! Now that the competition is over we want to hear from all of you. Did you like the competition? What was your favorite and least favorite read of the challenge? Which was your favorite and least favorite destinations? Did you read any books that you likely would not have read outside this competition?

Here was the final scoreboard:

Frequent Flyers (a.k.a the scoreboard):
Nanny Ogg -33 (pages read: 10,479): Completed 9/21
Ursula – 33 (pages read: 8,826). Completed 9/21
Glo-worm – 29 (pages read: 9,448)
Tracy S – 26 (pages read: 7,362)
Anne Shirley – 26 (pages read: 7,246)
Chili -24 (pages read: 10,508)
Maxibob-24 (pages read 6,346)
LibraryCin – 22 (pages read: 7,006)
Rachel Morgan – 22 (pages read: 6,767)
Jaenelle Angelline-16 (pages read: 5,056)
Sushicat – 15 (pages read: 4,668)
Aarti -15 (pages read: 3,760)
Nicole – 14 (pages read: 5,376)
Second Honeymoon – 13 (pages read: 3,821)
Luna – 13 (pages read: 3,141)
Morgen -10 (pages read: 4,108)
Nia -9 (pages read: 2,646)
Tanya -8 (pages read: 2,303)
Jean Paget – 8 (pages read: 1,638)
John -6 (pages read: 3,070)
Jo March -6 (pages read: 2,887)
Tiger Lily – 6 (pages read: 1,870)
Charisma – 5 (pages read: 1,439)
Emily -5 (pages read: 1,308)
Becky -3 (pages read: 1,150)
Yvonne – 2 (pages read: 541)
Kate T – 2 (pages read: 479)
Missy Bee – 1 (pages read: 336)

We wanted to post this photo that goo-worm sent us that highlights one goal of this competition – to get you to diversify and broaden your reading. She found this book that she had borrowed from her grandfather over a decade ago and finally found a reason to read it.


NOTE: We will be announcing a new Halloween competition at the beginning of October. This competition will last for 1 month and will involve a maximum of 4 books. It’s designed to be a more relaxed challenge and we hope you join us.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides: 1001 Book Review


The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
First published: 2011
Reviewed by: Jen & Book Worm
Find it here: The Marriage Plot

Synopsis (from Amazon): Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce?

It’s the early 1980s. In American colleges, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes—the charismatic and intense Leonard Bankhead, and her old friend the mystically inclined Mitchell Grammaticus. As all three of them face life in the real world they will have to reevaluate everything they have learned. Jeffrey Eugenides creates a new kind of contemporary love story in “his most powerful novel yet” (Newsweek

Jen’s Review: 5 stars
I loved this book for a variety of reasons. It was well-written with a blend of humor, empathy, and psychological insight that I found impressive. What Eugenides has done with this novel is perfectly capture the atmosphere of an Ivy League school and it’s alums in the 1980s. In some ways Eugenides mocks the pretentiousness of the Ivy league college environment and forces his characters to face up to the reality of life outside of books.

“College wasn’t like the real world. In the real world people dropped names based on their renown. In college, people dropped names based on their obscurity.”

The book is rife with both well-known and obscure literary references. Fiction and literature often blends with the realities of the characters’ lives. Madeline, the protagonist is a romantic with visions of love colored by the books she is studying for her senior thesis. When she leaves the comfort of Brown University, she learns that true love isn’t really the way it is depicted in her books. All the young people featured in the book face similar challenges as they learn to reconcile the ideals of college with the possibilities of the real world. The Marriage Plot is intelligent, fun to read, and covers a variety of themes including relationships, mental illness, and growing up.

“She may have looked normal on the outside, but once you’d seen her handwriting you knew she was deliciously complicated inside.”

Book Worm’s Review: 3 stars
I liked this book, however, unlike Jen, I didn’t love it. I liked the characters, I liked the storyline, and I liked the ending, despite it being a bit abrupt. The writing is solid and there are some serious issues that are handled well and in heartbreaking detail. The 3 central characters learn about themselves, about life in the real world (the world outside of college), and how life is not what you expect it to be especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a romance story, as well as to those who enjoy classic literature. It is fun playing spot the literary references.

As you can see, I liked the book. So why only 3 stars? As you probably already know, sometimes it’s the timing of when you read a book that influences how you feel about it. I read this during a stressful period  – in the midst of a home construction project — the first timing problem. The second timing problem was that I read it straight after reading my favourite book of the year and compared to that I found this average, hence the rating.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Which one of us do you agree with? Have you read any of his other books? Which ones do you recommend?

Want to try it for yourself? You can buy it here: The Marriage Plot

Kids Corner: Judging a book by its cover

dont-judge-a-book-by-its-coverDespite the age old adage not to judge a book by its cover, a good cover is everything in the world of children’s literature. Whether it’s at the library or in the bookstore, first impressions are everything when it comes to picking out that perfect book. So what would a four-year old think about the covers of some of our most well known adult literature? I put it to the test by showing E some classic selections from my bookshelf and asking her to tell me what the stories were about. Here’s what she said… Read more

Final Summer Challenge Update


It’s time for our final Summer Challenge update!  Last day to finish your books and post your reviews is September 22 by midnight (your local time). Keep reading to find out who is in the lead, to get some insight into how we will judge the winners, and see who made our final honorable mentions.
Read more

Book Riot Quarterly Subscription Box #08

Three months ago I received my very first Book Riot box. I was pretty disappointed and came close to canceling the subscription. You can read that review here. I still haven’t read either of the two books, never used the organizer, and haven’t framed the poster (although I plan to do so soon). Yet, I decided to give them another shot and yesterday I received my second box. Check out what came in the September box and whether I’ve changed my mind about the subscription. Read more

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

the-heart-goes-lastThe Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Release Date: September 29, 2015 in the U.S. & September 24, 2015 in the U.K.
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: 4 stars
Pre-order your copy here: The Heart Goes Last

To say that Margaret Atwood’s newest novel is highly anticipated, is the understatement of the century. The Heart Goes Last is Margaret Atwood’s first stand-alone book in over 10 years. Her last one, The Blind Assassin won the 2000 Man Booker Prize.  The novel is a reworking of the Positron ebook series: a series of 4 short stories that were released exclusively as ebooks. The hype is deserved. If you loved The Handmaids Tale and Oryx and Crake, you will probably love this book too. Read more

And the 2015 Man Booker Shortlist books are…

The 2015 Man Booker Shortlist books were revealed today. Making the list were the following books: Read more