Category Archives: Other blogs

Dark Poet’s Day, Trip Down Poe Lane in Baltimore, and Writer’s Inspiration

On October 7, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, Maryland at the hospital. Poe is one of the most well-known American writers to have lived: writer, poet, editor, critic. And yet, though he was financially unstable, he is still said to have given birth to the detective novel with his cultivation of mystery and horror storytelling. We all know his two most famous poems, but his poetry is certainly underrated.

Portrait of Poe by William Abbot Pratt from September 1849, a month before his death / Credit Wiki Commons

A few years ago, the Horror Writer’s Association (HWA) declared October 7 as Dark Poetry Day in memory of his death and to honor all dark poets (thank you!) like myself.

Poe started my general interest in the macabre at a young age. I wasn’t allowed to read much horror, but Poe’s short stories were on the list since many times they were a school requirement. I devoured stories like “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the poem “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” The Black Cat,” and many more. I don’t think I ever stopped thinking about them, even to this day, as they helped me learn and decipher a dark side of humantity and loss and gave me the bug for suspense and thrills.

In fact, Poe (along with few others) gave me the inspiration to write poetry; he, of course, the main inspiration for the dark ones later in life. I still tended to write lighter poetry in my early years overall, but his art with cadence and flow was still in my mind, as well as his emotional presence with words and imagery. His true catalyst in my writing was his short stories and I love them to this day. He was my first foray into the art of the short story and for which I’ll forever be grateful. Often times you’ll see some of my short stories and poetry still show shards of him today.

I know that writers these day tell fellow writers and readers to quit talking about the classics and old, dead writers. I won’t. I talk up new and diverse groups of writers every day. If I want to talk about Poe and how he influenced me, well… it’s my truth, so I’ll keep telling it. I’m a history fanatic and somehow liking these forebearers keeps their candle lit to me. From reading him, I forged a love for more classic, gothic lit. Furthermore, to appreciate writing and reading horror at all.

You can see why I was estatic when my son surprised me with a trip to one of Poe’s homes. We were taking my son back to school in January 2020 (I had to double check that because seems like two million years ago since Covid hit!) and took a diffent route so we could visit Baltimore, then head the hour into D.C. and George Washington University.

Photo credit: Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi / Jan 2020

We went to visit the small home where Poe lived with his young wife and her mother for a time, which was turned into an even smaller museum. It was cool to see where his bedroom was – though it was such a tiny space, and the stairs so tight, I barely made it back down. We saw his telescope and writing desk and learned about his time there. We went to the library in Baltimore too, hoping to see their Poe Room, but it seems no one knew what we were talking about or that it had a tuft of his hair locked inside it! We found it upstairs and I peered in the window while the conference attendees glared back. They probably thought I wanted their donuts.

Photo Credit: Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi / Jan 2020

We headed down to visit his gravesite, which was a really neat experience. He’s buried at Westminster Hall and Burial Ground, as is his wife and mother-in-law with him (well… now they are) and his grandfather before him. No one is still sure what he died of even to this day, just that he was found delirious and taken to the hospital. He died at age 40. It felt so surreal to me to walk around his grave and I had a chuckle that even in death for him or his wife, there was drama!

Photo Credit Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi / Jan 2020

We also visited a really cool statue of Poe outside of a law school, but it sure does need some care. I feel sad that so much memorializing Poe is damaged or decaying in Baltimore. However, it was still really fun to make this trip (and maybe I’ll share more about it in the future) and I hope to go to museums and statues in Philadelphia, Richmond, and places in NYC and Boston too. Plus next time I have to go to the tavern!

Photo Credit Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi / Jan 2020

Not all, but some of the work in my debut dark poetry and short story collection, BREATHE. BREATHE., is inspired by him. One of those is my story “The Madness of the Woodpecker” which is its own ode to a portion of “A Tell-Tale Heart.” Some of my poetry is reminiscent of his style as well.

This collection, published three years ago by Unnerving Press, is going out of print for a bit at the end of October 2020. It’s a sad day, especially as I feel I was just announcing its publication! But that’s sometimes how it works in publishing; the revolving door. I will endeavor to have it re-published in coming years with a new cover as well as several more publications. Stay tuned for more poetry and short story work from me.

If you’d like to get Breathe. Breathe. in print format in this edition, there are less than a handful left in print. I would like to thank everyone over the years who has supported all my poetry and writing, as well as this particular collection, in which I bear my soul and surround it with fantastical as well as real.

Also something that’s a must-have for Poe collectors, is an illustrated “The Mask of the Red Death” by the stellar artist Steven Archer! It was Bran Stoker Award nominated last year. You can order now from Raw Dog Screaming Press!

Share with me in the comments your favorite Poe anything or some of your favorite dark poets, classic or current. Let’s spread poetry!

Happy Dark Poet’s Day and RIP Edgar Allan Poe!

Leave a comment

Filed under Feature Articles, Other blogs

Books (and Movies) I’m Watching for Christmas Reading Challenge/Myself

Christmas Reading and Viewing List is Here! PROGRESS UPDATE 01/17/19 

How is it December 16th already? Wasn’t I just saying how November flew? I planned to cut down on my work load and try to relax and rejuvenate for December. I was sure I was headed toward that goal. For once, I was determined to do the Christmas Reading Challenge that my friend Michelle, at The True Book Addict, hosts every year! Alas, some work came in, we needed the money, and so that, coupled with a busy early December of long after school and weekend choir practices and concerts  and activities for my two girls, and some other life issues, has made the first half of December move like a flash. No reading on my Christmas books yet, but we have watched a few Hallmark movies (my girls love them). However, I am still determined, I will just make the most of the second two weeks of December instead, which is perfectly made for some self-care time. Also, if you’d like to sign-up, please join us anytime, just go to the link above.

xmas spirit challenge

That said, I had already pulled out some of my personal Christmas books from my shelves to peruse and also I put on hold a slew for myself, and me and the girls, from one of our local libraries and they’ve all come in – the last one yesterday. So I guess it’s better late than never right? I’m going to share my list of “proposed reads” for me and the girls. Though I am sure the girls will get theirs done, I’ll have to let you know how many I actually make it through.

The good news for me is that these last two weeks will hopefully truly be some down time for reading and watching movies with my family as we celebrate the holidays. Other good news for me, but maybe not for reading, is that after over two months of not seeing my son (he’s eight hours away in college in D.C.) I finally get to road trip to pick him up on Dec.. 21! That could mean passenger time reading, unless I fall asleep which I am known to do, but it also will mean a lot of my free time will be spent with him too.

(*Note: To those who I am reading and reviewing for, my Christmas reading has nothing to do with your books. This is for pleasure and I often read more than one book at a time. I will certainly get to yours as soon as I can if not over the holidays, then in the first of January. Though I appreciate and am excited to read your books, and have a lot of catching up to do from a busy work year, I earned this down time to rejuvenate my mind, soul, and spend with my kiddos.*)

I’ll just provide my proposed list of book here and I’ll update later any completed (Christmas only) reads. I may only get to one of them (I hope more) – but I know the girls will have theirs read! I’ll also update what movies we watched! Stay tuned!

Merry Bookish Christmas!

FD72F60F-0203-43F3-A3F6-C253BCD03740 (3)

Christmas Read List

Progress Update 01/17/19 – We didn’t get to all of these on our lists, but the ones we did will have asterisks (*) and comments beside them!

The books are pictured above, minus those the girls are reading. Some I checked out from the library and some I own (and some I own because I bought at one of the library book sales haha!). Note I have an obsession with Charles Dickens and The Christmas Carol (which isn’t pictured here but will be read!).

*Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva – This is one of my most anticipated reads of the season and if I finish any I want it to be this one!* (Update: This was a great fun historical fiction read for the holidays or anytime really I suppose.)

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak – Probably doesn’t seem like normal Christmas reading fare, but it takes place in winter during Christmastime in Russia. I’ve always wanted to read it.

Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson – I read one of these stories in here and loved it and I can’t wait to read the rest. Maybe one for each of the twelve days!

The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell – I love David’s writing. It’s so much fun that he turned a spy classic into a fun holiday novel.

Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham – Heather always brings either a bit of romance to the holidays or a bit to thrill or scare you, either way she’s one of the best!

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie – What more can I say, I love her books! There is nothing better than reading her by candlelight especially if Poirot is on the case!

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak – This was a new book I found sounded light and interesting about a family over the holidays.

The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol Rescued his Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford – Enough said? I love Dickens and The Christmas Carol. Will probably read the original story too. I bet Nassem will read this one when he gets home.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas Book One by Michelle Griep – I love the cover on this one. Looks pretty good – 1850s Manor Home! Also a short read.

Inventing Scrooge: The Incredible True Story Behind Dickens’ Legendary
‘A Christmas Carol’
by Carlo Devito

A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer – I like some of her books and thought this looked like a good Christmas escape with its mystery and humor.

St. Nicholas Anthology, edited by Henry Steele Commager – I own this and it’s one of my important Christmas book keepsakes! It contains the best of St. Nicholas, a magazine for boys and girls published at the turn of the century. Included stories, poems, and original illustrations. (This is pictured as the last book in the stack)

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – As celebrated on Christmas Eve in the Chapel of King’s College Cambridge in text form (90 year old service adapted after WWI and broadcast on BBC) with beautiful illustrations and photographs. I love this – it’s very interesting but I haven’t gotten through all of it yet. It has a companion CD of the carols, hymns, and lessons. (Of note, I got this at our used book store, Ashland Books.)

*Yes, Virginia! – It’s tradition that the kids and I read this every year as we trim our tree with our Yes, Virginia ornaments we’ve collected at Macy’s over the years. We love this bit of nostalgia and even as the girls are 15 and 11 now, they still ask to watch the movie and read the picture book. I love this. I hope that one day they continue on her tradition with their children! (Update: The kids and I read this and watched the movie together as always. A delight for us!)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Simply my favorite book of the season. A classic! As well as the movies – George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, and Muppet Versions as my favorites.

Emma’s Reads (Age 15) –

*Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz – Emma completed this in one night after she got it from the library! I’ll have her write up a little review. (Update: Emma very much enjoyed this one and read it in one night!)

*My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, Stephanie Perkins Editor – She was excited for this one. She read the summer version earlier this year. (Update: Emma finished this one too and really enjoyed the stories – highly recommended!)

*What Light by Jay Asher (Update: Emma has read this one twice. She loves it and he’s one author that’s a must-read for her)

Addie’s Reads (Age 11) –

When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke


A movie and show list to come later of what we’ll watch or have watched, with traditional favorites included:

*The Great British Baking Show Holiday Edition (Update: We so enjoyed!!)
George Balantine’s The Nutcracker
*The Man Who Invented Christmas
(Update: I watched with Nassem while he was home and we adored this movie. We love anything Dickens and this one didn’t disappoint!)
Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

*Peanuts Christmas (Update: Love love this tradition so of course we watched!)
Rise of the Guardians
*Muppet Christmas Carol (Update: So busy at Christmas we watched afterwards. We had to rent it and so we did so a few days before taking my son back to college as a family movie. We left always as we do with a tear and singing the songs!)
A Christmas Carol
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Update: Another annual must watch we love – never gets old, does it? This was the cartoon version – the original)
*Rudolph, Frosty,
etc. (Update: We watched Rudolph and as a tradition, Jack Frost. I don’t know why all of us love that one best, but we do. No matter our age. The songs are still stuck in our head. Beautiful story.)

And maybe without the kids, Krampus!

Already Watched:

The Princess Switch on Netflix. The girls and I loved it!
Lots of The Great Christmas Light Fight. We love lights!

I’ll keep updating here on this page, and might have some other Christmas posts, so check back in! DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOKS OR FILMS? NEW ONES TO TRY? OR ANY BOOKS YOU WILL READ ON A RELAXING DAY TO WIND DOWN THE YEAR? Let me know in the comments!


In the meantime, check out these review from past years of holiday titles!

Don’t Call Me Christina Kringle by Chris Grabenstein 

Christmas Wrap-up from 2016 Reviewing Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chaiverini, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge, The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, and a SLEW of children’s picture books as my kids and I read one a day!

Expanded Review of Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge



Filed under Book Announcements, Feature Articles, New Books I've Found, Other blogs, Read-a-Thons, stanza from my life

2013 in Review: Stats for Oh, for the Hook of a Book! #books #blogging

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog!! A big shout out to HUNTER SHEA, horror/thriller author, for making the most comments on my blog. WordPress says I should send him a THANK YOU, so THANKS for being such a great supporter!

It was interesting to find out that my blog reaches 150 countries around the world and gets a fair amount of views in the UK, Canada, and Australia in addition to the U.S. being the top!

These are the five posts that got the most views in 2013:

You can read more at the LINK below!!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Looking forward to even more views, comments, and features on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! in 2014. I’ll be posting my 300th post soon and looking forward to celebrating that a little bit!


Filed under Feature Articles, Other blogs, Uncategorized

Book Launch Facebook Party for Dark Fiction Authors Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz

We’ll be hosting a BOOK LAUNCH PARTY tomorrow on April 2, 2013, with Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz, both published by Samhain Horror (  We are celebrating the drop of Hunter’s Sinister Entity and Jonathan’s The Darkest Lullaby


The party will be from 9 to 11 p.m., with attendees able to ask Hunter and Jonathan any questions they want and receive immediate responses. These two authors are so personable and fun (promise, they won’t bite too bad…) so you won’t want to miss the action.

You can also order books or enter the giveaway. We’re giving away five free ebooks of each title mentioned (THANK YOU to SAMHAIN PUBLISHING), plus a few bonus items from the authors! All that comment have a chance to win! Those who ask questions get extra entry points!

Get Hunter’s prequel short story for FREE! See details and read review by clicking on the cover:the-graveyard-speaks

If you want to pre-ask questions, you can email me to (subject: Hunter or Jonathan question) and maybe they’ll have time to prepare an answer. The night of the event, please also email me your question to that address for me to post during the party, or inbox message Erin Al-Mehairi at Hook of a Book Facebook page (below) or

You can RSVP or see more about the event here:!/events/129262197258956/.

You also have to “like” the Hook of a Book page here: (more on that below).

Hook of Book Facebook Page~

3040_booksWe’ve finally launched a Facebook Page to go along with our site. I couldn’t be more excited!! We’ll post reviews and interviews from this site there, but it will also give us the opportunity to talk books with you more, feature upcoming covers and releases, post free or discounted books, and showcase books we have on list to review. We’ll talk about the book, publishing and writing industry. With degrees in Journalism, English, and History, we’ll probably also talk grammar tips and ask lots of questions, as well as post interesting historical articles, art, photos, and other things we find intriguing.

I hope you ‘ll join us. I am passionate books and writing, and I get lonely at night, so please stop over and talk shop!


Filed under Other blogs

Review of Short Story The Graveyard Speaks by Hunter Shea and Book Launch Party!

  • Review of Short Story The Graveyard Speaks by Hunter Shea
  • Book Launch Party on April 2 for Hunter and Jonathan Janz
  • New Hook of a Book Facebook Page Started

Lots of exciting things to talk about today as mentioned by the “official agenda” above! Hit each section for information you’ll want to add to your to-do list, TBR pile, and social networking “likes.” I can’t wait to hear what you think!

The Graveyard Speaks, by Hunter Shea~

the-graveyard-speaksWritten in short story form, you’ll definitely want to try out this FREE work of Hunter Shea, published by Samhain Publishing.  It’s on pre-order until April 2, but then it’s all yours.

Get it here:

The Graveyard Speaks takes place between Hunter’s first novel Forest of Shadows, 13 years later, but right before the sequel which publishes April 2 also, called Sinister Entity.  In fact, you really can read all of them as stand-alone, but if you read them together, you’ll see the tie-in is a young girl named Jessica, who in The Graveyard Speaks is a new to adulthood kick-butt heroine who’s led a fantastic childhood, if not life-altering (just read Forest of Shadows, or my review of that HERE) existence.

Jessica has NO FEAR. In The Graveyard Speaks she takes on a deranged ghost who is stalking his also dead ghost wife. Even in death, he can’t leave her alone. Her hovers around her grave in the cemetery.  Based on some personal life issues, the ending of this one really made me happy!! Jessica is woman who knows how to save the day in the paranormal world.

If you haven’t read anything else yet by Hunter, start here and get a taste. Trust me you’ll want Forest of Shadows AND Sinister Entity.  This man knows how to write a ghost hunting story for all of us that live in the everyday world called life.  I am loving his protagonist Jessica, and just to tease further….I am 25 pages from being done with Sinister Entity, which has just been an AWESOME entertaining read. I’ll have a review on that coming soon, as well as an exclusive interview with Hunter.


Some secrets can’t stay buried.

 Deep in a dark, snow-covered cemetery, a terrifying, moaning apparition rises from the same grave night after night. Even the most hardened caretakers won’t go near the Spooner gravestone on their midnight rounds. Only one ghost hunter has the will to face the unknown, but at what price? In the chilling blackness, only Jessica Backman is prepared to answer the spectral cry from beyond when the graveyard speaks.

See biography of Hunter Shea at bottom of the post.

First Ever Book Launch Party on April 2~


sinisterentitySpeaking of Sinister Entity, by Hunter Shea…we’ll be hosting a BOOK LAUNCH PARTY on April 2, 2013, with Hunter and fellow Samhain author Jonathan Janz, whose The Darkest Lullaby is available that day as well. The party will be from 9 to 11 p.m., with attendees able to ask Hunter and Jonathan any questions they want and receive immediate responses. These two authors are so personable and fun, you won’t want to miss the action. You can also order books or enter the giveaway. We’re giving away five free ebooks of each title mentioned, plus a few bonus items!

If you want to pre-ask questions, you can email me to (subject: Hunter or Jonathan question) and maybe they’ll have time to prepare an answer.  The night of the event, please also email me your question to that address for me to post during the party, or inbox message Erin Al-Mehairi at Hook of a Book Facebook page (below) or

You can RSVP or go to the event here:!/events/129262197258956/

You also have to “like” the Hook of a Book page here: (more on that below).

Hook of Book Facebook Page~

3040_booksWe’ve finally launched a Facebook Page to go along with our site.  I couldn’t be more excited!! We’ll post reviews and interviews from this site there, but it will also give us the opportunity to talk books with you more, feature upcoming covers and releases, post free or discounted books, and showcase books we have on list to review. We’ll talk about the book, publishing and writing industry. With degrees in Journalism, English, and History, we’ll probably also talk grammar tips and ask lots of questions, as well as post interesting historical articles, art, photos, and other things we find intriguing.

I hope you ‘ll join us. I am passionate books, and I get lonely at night, so please stop over and talk shop!

Hunter Shea, Biography~

hunter-headshotI’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. I don’t just write about the paranormal. I actively seek out the things that scare the hell out of people and experience them for myself.

My novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre and Sinister Entity are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. I live with my family and untrainable cat close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

I’m also proud to be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with my partner in crime, Jack Campisi. Our show is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. We explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun.

Feel free to contact me any time at Writing is lonely work.


Filed under Book Reviews, Feature Articles, Other blogs

Top Children’s Halloween/Harvest Books in Our House for 2011

My Halloween post this year will be a listing of our Top Children’s Halloween and Harvest books, compiled by my children and I!  At our house, we love books this time of year that have to do with pumpkins, apples, Autumn, leaves, and spooky Halloween stories!  Autumn is a GREAT time to learn about the outdoors by coupling reading books with outdoor field trips to pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and leaf picking. I love to couple seasonal and holiday traditions with reading so my kids get the most out of each experience.

My little one really likes the spooky children’s stories (of course, they aren’t too spooky really), and lots of fun Scooby-Doo, and I have fun laughing at author’s imaginations and speaking in scary Phantom voices.

Hope your All Hallow’s Eve and Harvest season was as memorable and fun as ours. We’re a Christian family, but we still enjoy the creative mind of those writing spooky stories, hilarious witches and we love to learn about traditions and why people do them. 

Here is our Top Ten list for the Harvest/Halloween Season (the book cover is first, then its title):

1.)   Pumpkin Day by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace~
This one has some fun recipes and her 3-D art creation that was used for the illustrations is unique and creative. The cute bunnies were a hit with my four-year-old.

2.) The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, by Denys Cazet~
Hilarious story about a grumpy ghost who likes his pie perfect. Uses poetry and repetition and I loved reading this one out loud and using various voices.

3.) Scaredy-Cat, Splat, by Rob Scotton~
Of the Splat the Cat series, this is another fun adventure by this rotund black cat that will make your little ones laugh.

4.) Leaves, by David Ezra Stein~
Beautifully illustrated book about a bear who discovers the seasons by the falling of the leaves and his own hibernation.

5.) The Story of the Jack O’Lantern~by Katherine Tegen
Exciting story relating to the legend of how Jack O’Lanterns came to be tradition. The imagery is vibrant.

6.) Halloween by Harry Behn~
Gorgeously illustrated in moonlight aura, this book tells the story through whimsical art and poetic prose. An artfully crafted picture book about the adventures in Trick-or-Treating and how things can look different at dusk.


7.) Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills~
The cutest board book, this holiday pumpkin hunting book is part of the Duck and Goose series. Perfect for little hands. My four-year-old loves it because she is OBSESSED with ducks and geese.

8.) Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble by Judy Schachner~
What’s not to love about Skippyjon Jones and talking in a mexican cat voice while you are reading?

9.) Trixie and the Halloween Fairy by Daisy Meadows~
A favorite of my eight-year-old, who loves this fairy series of books, but especially says she loves Halloween due to the color orange being involved.

10.) Halloween with Morris and Boris by Bernard Wiseman~
I had this book as a kid, and so did Tim. My brought a box of all my old children’s books in a few years back and this one was included. Tim and I both were so nostalgic about reading it as a kid. Our four-year-old latched on to it and we have to read it all year-long!

Happy Halloween, from Our House to Yours!
**And thanks to my wonderful Tim, who plugged in the photos for me while I made our spooky dinner with the kids!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, New Books I've Found, Other blogs

Wicked Read-a-Thon Final WRAP-UP Results

My family and I had a great time participating in the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon this weekend. We were allowed to read anything we wanted to (not just Halloween-themed or scary) which was good for the kids to participate. The co-hosts, Bex at Kindle Fever and April at My Shelf Confessions, really did a lot of work to put this on for everyone. There were great prizes too from Bex and April, as well as all the mini-challenge hosts. Lots of Halloween seasonal prizes and gift cards for books! That was SUPER nice!!!! xo

Many of us spent more time at the Twitter party (#WWReadathon) talking to one another about what books we were reading or had intended to read, as well as lots of other things. Getting to know each other was certainly a great time. We are all looking forward to staying in touch on Twitter (#WWReaders). I learned of a lot more new books I wanted to read and learned a lot from other book bloggers by perusing their blogs. Amazing people and some of them so young!! I am impressed by the level of work and maturity and so thankful to know so many other people who love to read and promote reading. It was my first read-a-thon so I didn’t have any prior knowledge about them or about other book bloggers even!

What I read~

So for our wrap-up, by the end of tonight I will have finished one book, The House of Vampires by Samantha Rendle, which is almost 300 pages.  I am done with 50% of Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes, which is about 200 pages in. I spent the rest of my time reading to my four-year old and sometimes my 8-year-old (she can read but sometimes it’s still fun to have mommy read to you). Tim got half of The Bone House by Stephen Lawhead done. I forgive him, he had to work his freelance job writing all weekend.

I also did all 7 challenges, many times with my kids and Tim helping. It was fun doing it all together.

Nassem, my 12-year-old was happy to bring me a pile of books to include in the wrap-up and I am proud of him! He’s a great reader of adult books, but it seems most of us have been on a YA streak lately. For me, it’s just how my reviews came in and for him, after my urging to pick up some new YA fiction and give it a try, he embraced it and tried some out.

Emma spent some time reading and kept herself a list in her room. She read Addie some, and read her others. Here is how it wound up by list below! Please give my kids a big standing “O” for their love of reading.

Nassem’s List of Completed Books (age 12):

1.) Jefferson’s Sons, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, 360 pages
2.) Breaking Stalin’s Nose, by Eugene Yelchin, 150 pages
3.) Cleopatra: The Life of an Egyptian Queen, Graphic Nonfiction, by Gary Jeffrey and Anita Ganeri, 45 pages
4.) The Challenger Explosion, by Heather Adamson, 29 pages
5.) Roanoke The Lost Colony: An Unsolved Mystery from History, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple (this was a picture book with many words)

Emma’s List (Age 8)~She brought her post-it-note down for me so no authors included:

1.) Emily Windsnap and the Siren’s Secret, by Liz Kessler~Emma read a quarter of this YA.

~Shorter Ones:
2.) Trust Me, Mom!
3.) Kids Like Us

4.) The Gingerbread Man
5.) Polar Bears
6.) Astronomy and Space
7.) Dougal, the Garbage Dump Bear
8.) Madeline and the Bad Hat
9.) Introducing Limelight Larry

Addie’s List (age 4), I read to her and some from Emma’s list I read again to her (or read twice!)

1.) Madeline and the Bad Hat
2.) Introducing Limelight Larry
3.) Yum, Yum! What Fun!
4.) Scaredy-Cat, Splat!
5.) Pick a Perfect Pumpkin

We tried our best, through me having a cough and cold, a trip to the Pumpkin Patch, church, visit to grandparent’s house, feeding cats, and doing homework to get ready for Monday. I think the kids did great!! I had an excellent time reading, visiting blogs, doing challenges, and talking to fellow readers on Twitter.

Until the next challenge!! Please comment, I love conversation!!


Filed under Other blogs

What 5 Books Would You Choose If World Was Eaten by Zombies?

Ok, Zombies TOTALLY freak me out and I almost didn’t click to see what this challenge was even, but I did so here we are. A cool way to think about books from our Read-a-Thon co-host April, thank you!! Check out the mini-challenge here: It goes until 10 p.m.EST today (Sunday).

The Scenario:

In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse you are forced to take shelter with family and/or friends for a period of no less than 5 years. You have time to pack some supplies and some extra things to keep yourself entertained. However, since there will be many people sharing the same space, space will be limited and you are told you are only allowed to bring up to 5 books.

What books would you pack to sustain you? If you want to go a step further you can give a reason why you would choose the books you chose.

Please answer the challenge in the comments – even if you answer them on your blog too, please leave the 5 books you would choose in the comment section and feel free to ALSO link your blog post.

We couldn’t decide as a family 5 books total. A big argument ensued and everyone wanted to just die and let the zombies take them instead of choosing together. NO, really. It was a big deal. So we are doing five each.

Here goes with our list:

The Bible
How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, by Nick and Michael Thomas
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Chronicles of Narnia: The Collector’s Edition, by C.S. Lewis

Collection of Edgar Allen Poe
Devotionals for Women (any)
Rose Madder, by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
A Wrinkle in Time (the series in one collection preferred), by Madeline L’Engle

Addie (4 yr old)~
Princess Pig
Red Hat, Green Hat: Read Between the Lions
Thomas the Train (any)
Splat the Cat
Any Scooby-Doo, but likes the Werewolf Graphic Novel Scooby-Doo best

Emma (age 8)~
Pia the Penguin Fairy, by Daisy Meadows
Trixie the Halloween Fairy, by Daisy Meadows
Madeline and the Cats of Rome, by Ludwig Bemelmans
Illustrated Guide to Fairy Tales
Introducing Limelight Larry, by Leigh Hodgkinson (new favorite)

Nassem (age 12)~
Malabar Farm, by Louis Bromfield
Magnificient Desolation, by Buzz Aldrin
How to Start a Fire, and Other Things Your Grandfather Knew by Erin Bried
Abraham Lincoln: An Extrodinary Era
Any encyclopedia of the Solar System

So what do you think of our choices? If you aren’t part of the Read-a-Thon, leave in a comment below what you’d take? Would love to hear! If you are in the Read-a-Thon, please feel free to leave your link below to your choices.

Goodbye, World. 😉


Filed under Other blogs

Wicked Book in Pictures Challenge

Wow, these challenges have been a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed visiting everyone’s blog to see all the creative juices flowing!! One of the two challenges for today, this one featured here is another using photos and runs until tonight (Sunday) at 11:59 p.m EST.

Here’s how it works:  The  mini-challenge from The Book Monsters Blog is called Read in Pictures. Basically you create a post showing pictures that describe different things in the books you are reading or have read during the read-a-thon. So if it’s set in Paris, they can have a picture of the Eiffel Tower, etc. Please include the title of your book and what the pictures describe. 🙂 Use the linky below to share your post!  For more information, go to their blog:

I’ve read most of House of Vampires by Samantha Rendle, so in the sake of time I’ll do that one. We’ve read lots more sections of books and many children’s books but I have so little time with the kid’s homework, dinner, etc. and I really want to do the challenge.

~House of Vampires by Samantha Rendle as told by photos~





**It takes place in Bristol, England, where the mansion is, and  surrounding areas**





**They drink and spill lots of blood (as usual)**




**At one point they drive an Audi Q7 (of course all Vamps have cool cars)**




**There is a secret key the 14-year-old vampire is protecting**






**His trusted friend and advisor, who also loves to eat spiders, is a rare Leopard Gecko**




This book comes out in November and has been an entertaining read. I’ll have more up about it on my blog next week. I think putting some of the story into pictures was a blast!! I’ll be doing Read-a-Thon co-host April’s challenge too which you can find here:

Leave a comment

Filed under Other blogs

Wicked Read-a-Thon: Updates and Views

I got up late this morning, when everyone else went to church. I was up too late trying to beat this congestion and also reading. I didn’t mind too much staying up to read though, of course. This is my first update, even though it is only Sunday. I spent too much time on Twitter with lovely book friends and posting challenges!! It wouldn’t change it though, it was fun and we all had the best intentions of getting more read, right? But you know us, we’d read no matter what anyway and it was just the talking about reading and chatting about books on Twitter that was the important part!

As I stated in previous posts, we’ve been doing it as a family affair. I’m 100 pages into House of Vampires by Samantha Rendle, a new teenage author found by Silverwoods Press and I have a blog review, interview, and give-a-way on my site coming up next week for the book.  I am also 150 pages into Shauna and Shelby Kitt and the Dimensional Holes by P.H.C. Marchesi, which is a sci-fi adventure full of lots of fun with parallel existence and other races. This will be featured on my site soon too. I’m also a few chapters in to Vanished by Sheela Chari, another magical and mystery oriented YA book I picked up at the library. It’s newly published. All are good in different ways and for different reasons.






My son has read Jefferson’s Sons, an over 300 page YA book of historical fiction about Thomas Jefferson (a founding father of the US) who had many sons and daughters with one of his slaves after the death of his wife. He thought it was very good, for a boy of 12 who says he “only reads adult non-fiction.” I’ve gotten him motivated to finally read some of the great YAs out there, but of course it has to still be historical in nature.

My better half, Tim ( is most of the way through The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead. He loves this books with the coding and ciphers. It’s the second in the series. I’m sure he’ll review at some point on his blog. The other book he is reading is End-Time Visions: The Road to Armageddon by Richard Abanes. I’m sure he is reading this non-fiction for research, as Tim is halfway through writing the first draft of his own thriller novel.

Now about the girls, Emma (my 8-year-old)  has a post-it-note up on her wall and she is updating her reading. She’s got a list of picture book type books of all genres that she’s read, or read to her little 4-year-old sister Addie. We have more to read today together too. Emma has also made progress on some chapter and YA books. I’ll save those for the wrap-up because I’m running out of time typing this blog. 🙂

I’ll hopefully post the challenge about photos describing the books you’ve read during the RAT later today. Sounds like fun! If you want more information, go here: and thanks to The Book Monsters for having the mini-challenge.

We are all having fun reading as we usually do, but I think I am having the most fun visiting the other blogs and meeting all these fabulous new book friends from around the world! Amazing how books can bring so many together. I’ve had lots of fun Tweeting (#WWReadathon) and getting to know everyone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other blogs