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Challenge update: March Madness

march madness

Only two more days to complete your brackets for the challenge! If you do not complete your bracket before Thursday March 15 in the morning, you will be locked out of the challenge. See instructions in earlier posts and on our challenge page.

UPDATE: You may now begin reading as soon as you have completed and submitted your bracket. Once I see your submission on the CBS site, you may start reading.  So if you finish your bracket early, you’ll get a leg up on the competition. Granted we won’t know the final 4 #16 spots until end of day tomorrow.

Good luck everyone! And send me a message if you need any help getting started.

Brackets are now Live for March Book Madness Challenge

Our Bookish March Madness Challenge is a reading challenge where we pair books with basketball teams then participants can earn points for both predictions and reading books that correspond with their winning predictions. You can read full instructions and join here.

Teams were announced today and so now you can see which books go with each team. The fate of the book is determined by how well their basketball team does in the NCAA tournament.

You can now access the brackets. Here is the link to the CBS pool where you will submit your own bracket. Here’s what you need to do…

Step 1: Join our CBS pool. to join our league. You need to do this to participate because part of your score will be tracked here.

Step 2: Look at the brackets. I’ve created an excel sheet you can view that has 3 sheets. Sheet 1 has the book bracket, sheet 2 is the basketball bracket. The two sheets are identical in terms of their layout. So the book in the top left corner is partnered with the basketball team in the top left corner. You could potentially print them out and lay one on top of the other in order to see how they are matched. Sheet 3 has the books and partnered teams linked. The Brackets are here.

Step 3: Fill out your bracket. When you submit your bracket to the CBS group you will need to do so using only basketball teams (the books won’t be on the CBS website). We recommend that you print out one basketball bracket and then write in the books next to each team name. Then fill it out with both partners in each position. Then you can go to CBS site and fill out your bracket online with your cheatsheet in front of you.

Step 4: Submit your bracket to CBS site before March 15. Brackets will lock as soon as games start so if you forget to submit it, you will be locked out of the challenge.

Step 5: Read. From March 15 – May 15, you will be reading the books you selected in your bracket. You can only get points for reading books that you have picked to advance at least one game. See challenge page for full instructions.

Step 6: Score your reading. Your score will be determined by prediction score (tracked by CBS automatically) + your reading score (tracked by you). You can find a link to the score card on our challenge page.

Any questions? It can be confusing so make sure you ask lots of questions! 

If you have never filled out a bracket: The way the brackets work is that all schedules and games are already determined. You work your way from the outside in to the center of the sheet predicting the outcome of each game until you end up with one winner.


So if you look at the bracket, the top left corner has The Hate you Give (Virginia) vs. My Not So Perfect Life (UMB) linked together. This means that they will be playing each other in round 1. You need to select the winner of that game and you’ll write that in on the line closer to the center for round 2. Then move down to the next pair in round one. In our bracket it would be American War (Creighton) vs. Warcross (Kansas St). Pick who you think would win that game and write that winner in on the line on round two. Proceed down the left side until you’ve completed all the predictions. Then go to the outer right side and do the same thing.

Once you’ve gone through all of the first round you will move to the next games underneath “second round.”  So in our example above, I picked Virginia to beat UMBC and Creighton to beat Kansas State. So I should have in my bracket for round two: Virginia (THUG) vs. Creighton (American War). I then pick the team I think will win that game and move down the right side then left side until I have match ups listed for round three.

Keep going until you have only one winner left.

Bookish March Madness 2018

It’s time to join our challenge! Books have been nominated, rated, and ranked and our book bracket is complete. Now we are just waiting on the basketball teams which will be announced on selection Sunday, March 11, 2018. Books on the book bracket will be paired with basketball teams  of the same rank. Keep reading to learn more about what you need to to do participate.  Read more

March Madness Reading Challenge

march madness

We need your help! We’ll be hosting a March Madness reading challenge where books get paired with basketball teams and we need your help to rank the books that will go into each of our brackets. If you have 10 minutes, please go to our survey and vote on the books for the challenge. You can also join in on the challenge to earn the chance to win a box of bookish prizes.

The survey takes about 10 minutes and includes rating 68 books on a 5-point Likert scale. Everyone who completes the survey will be offered the opportunity to win a $15 Amazon gift card for helping out. I will warn you that this survey will be bad for your TBR. I added quite a few books to mine!

Click here to take the survey.

You can read more about the challenge on our challenge page here. I will be posting the list of participants on the challenge page in the next few days so if you want to join and don’t see your name on the list, drop a comment on that page saying you want to play and where you will be posting your updates (on the blog, on your own blog, or on List) and I’ll add you.

February Monthly Recap

pile-of-booksIt’s time for our February monthly recap. Find out which books were favorites and which were duds for the month of January. We’ll end our wrap up with a glimpse of what’s coming out in March.  Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale


The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★★
Find it here: The Toy Makers

This ARC was provided by Penguin Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

Book Worm’s Thoughts: From the opening line I was hooked and transported to a world where Christmas is still a magical time and children can loose themselves in the wonders of a toy store.

Having read and loved The Night Circus, I can confirm that this book has that same kind of feel. The descriptions of the Emporium, and the magic weaved by the toymakers, made me wish I lived in a world where such a store was possible. Yet, while the public face of the store is one of magic, in private sibling rivalry and jealousy threatens to rip the family and the store apart.

For those who think this is a simple children’s story of magic, be warned that the story gets very dark. The inside of the Emporium may be magical to start it with it but it doesn’t protect those inside from the horrors of the real world. Papa Jack manages to survive in pre-war Russia living by the simple maxim of remembering everyone was once a child and played with toys. However, it is harder to keep this magic in mind when faced with the horrors of WW1. The novel tackles the first World War, describes how so many of the young men who went to fight never returned home, and highlights how the war changed those who did survive.

This book also covers several important issues including the right of soldiers to choose which wars to fight, the treatment of immigrants, the importance of understanding and communication, and what makes something truly alive.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who enjoyed The Night Circus and those who want to believe in magic toy shops and the power of toys to save a soul.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Toy Makers

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

Bookish March Madness Challenge

march madness

It’s that time again! Once again The Reader’s Room will be hosting our own version of a bookish March Madness, slated to begin with the start of the NCAA tournament (March 15th). Reading won’t start until March 15 and full instructions won’t be posted until March 1. However, this challenge requires us to do some preparation so it would be very helpful to us to get people signed up early. We hope you join us for this challenge! Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin


Looking for an engaging historical mystery? Then this may be the book for you. Book Worm shares her thoughts on this recently published mystery novel. Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Burning Girl Claire Messud


Book Worm read this book a while ago and I received a copy of the book in my Indiespensables subscription (which is awesome if you are a literary fiction reader). I hope to read my copy soon. Here’s what Book Worm thought of it… Read more

Read Around the World: Iceland


With the new year, comes a list of new countries that we’ll be visiting on our world literature tour. Countries selected were nominated by read around the world participants on the Litsy challenge we are hosting. Make sure to check it out if you are on Litsy by searching the hashtag #readaroundtheworld. We hope you join us in 2018 as we travel the world in books. January kicks us off with a trip to Iceland. Find out which books we selected our trip. Read more