New on the Stack in October 2017

Wow, another month has already gone by! Here are the books I’ve obtained since last month’s post. I didn’t pick up very many this month, mostly for budget related reasons. And a couple of these I actually got last month, I just forgot about. Next to each book is a short reason why I picked up the book. I will be linking this post up to The Deliberate Reader.

Clicking on the picture of the book will take you to the book’s Amazon page through an affiliate link.

Got Book for Free

(My parents sell books for a living, so when they come across one they think I’ll love, they set it aside for me. Yay!)

Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism by Marion Nestle

I want to read a lot about food and the food industry next year (after I ready my 100 book goal) and this was on my TBR!

Chew on This by Eric Schlosser

I’m really enjoying Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser so far, so hopefully this one is great as well.

Jorge el Curioso by H. A. Rey

I love reading children’s books in Spanish.

Purchased eBook

Mark of Fire by Richard Phillips

This was my Kindle First pick for the month.


Monday by E. L. Todd

This book was free. Although I don’t know how I found out about it at all…


Borrowed eBook Through Kindle Unlimited

Trying to Live with the Dead by B. L. Brunnemer

I don’t remember why I grabbed this book either! I need to pay more attention apparently…

Seduced by Sunday by Catherine Bybee

I worked to finish this series this month.


Treasured by Thursday by Catherine Bybee

The last book in the Weekday Brides series

Worth the Risk by Jamie Beck

I also worked to finish this series this month. 🙂



What’s new on your stack?

❤ Annette

New on The Stack


Why Books Are Good for Babies

Books are awesome! But do you ever wonder why people read to babies? Or why doing so is important? Even having books around for babies to play with is great for their development. I want to give a couple of reasons why below.

This is stuff that I remember from the early childhood literacy class I took while working on my Elementary Education degree. If any of this sounds incorrect (or if there’s updated research on the subject) I’d love to know – send me the sources so I can keep up to date. 🙂

  1. Reading to babies (and children) help them to understand that books contain information. Unlike any other object, books can carry many different meanings. Their rattle makes noise and provides entertainment, their blanket is soft and provides comfort, their bottle contains food, which quenches hunger. But books can be about colors or numbers or shapes or animals or so many other different things. Reading to them even from a young age can help them grasp this concept. We read so often for information and understanding this is a big step in learning to read. (As they get older they’ll start to tell stories of their own, learning concepts such as beginning-middle-end.)
  2. Reading to babies also helps them know the direction in which to read. For many countries/languages this means left to right, up to down, and front to back. So when you see a baby pick up a book and hold it upside-down, just remember that even in that moment, they are learning how to read.

    My little sister, Gina, learning how to read
  3. Exposure to pretty much anything as an infant helps them with visual development. So helping them learn to focus on pictures or words in books definitely can’t hurt. 🙂
  4. Reading to them can help them develop a joy for reading. Since reading is pretty crucial in a school career and then is used constantly in many actual careers, it’s important to get them off to a good start! If it’s something they enjoy, it’ll be something they spend more time doing. And the more practice they get, the better they will be at it. This will help with reading speed, comprehension, vocabulary, and so much more.
  5. Reading helps them develop language skills. This includes vocabulary, but also includes intonation and the different phonemes (sounds) required for their specific language. The more they are talked to and read to, the more they are going to learn.

Did I miss anything? Or is there anything you’d like to add? Let me know!

never fade
This is my dad, me, and my little sister Emily. 🙂

❤ Annette

Book Review: V is for Virgin by Kelly Orman

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 in the V is for Virgin series


This book follows “Virgin Val” after she is dumped for wanting to be a virgin until marriage. Unfortunately, hometown rock star prodigy, Kyle Hamilton, posts about her purity pledge on the internet, causing her a lot of unwanted attention.

What I Liked

  • The hint of a relationship between Kyle and Val was enough for me to pick up the next book. (It’s also the only reason I gave this book three stars instead of two.)
  • The author did a pretty good job of addressing the topic of virginity in a fair way without including religion.
  • It was interesting to see how Val handled the sudden fame that gets thrown her way.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Based on the Goodreads summary, I had expected this to be a romance. It was actually more of a story about how Val deals with unexpected fame.
  • This book was sort of dry. I love Kelly Orman’s books (especially Cinder & Ella!), but I was very close to putting this book down and not picking it back up. I feel like there was a doctor’s appointment or something where this book was my only option and that’s why I finished it.
  • I feel like the author missed the opportunity to add the point that someone who is not a virgin has no less value than someone who is. There is a specific scene in which this could have easily been done. (To be fair though, she also doesn’t look down upon the non-virgin characters, it just isn’t addressed at all.)

In Conclusion

This book was only so-so. Go read Cinder and Ella (also by Kelly Orman) instead!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Books Around the World: Einsiedeln, Switzerland

So I’ve done a fair bit of traveling, and for some of the places, I tried to get some awesome pictures of books, bookstores, or libraries. Today I have pictures from the library at the Benedictine Abbey in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. Others who have seen these pictures compared the library to the one in Beauty in the Beast. It’s pretty magnificent.

According to the abbey’s website, the library contains 1200 manuscripts, 580 of which were published before 1500!

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The ravens are a reference to St. Meinrad of Einsiedeln
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Sorry if this picture is a little weird. The reflection is due to a glass case showcasing older books.

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The music geek in me was fascinated by these older music books they had on display. With the music history knowledge I have, I would guess that these were written by hand.

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This is what it looks like just outside the abbey. I used no filters/enhancements on this photo – it is really this vivid in real life!

I hope you enjoyed! Let me know what you thought.

❤ Annette

Book Review: F**k Depression by Robert Duff

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


This is a crash course in handling depression. It’s written by a doctor of clinical psychology, but is done so in a way that the information is easily accessed by your average adult reader. It covers all sorts of topics including different ways to combat depression yourself, when to reach out for help, and what to expect if you do reach out for help.

What I Liked

  • This book is a great tool for anyone who has ever suffered from depression, anyone who lacks motivation, or anyone who knows someone who has depression. There are so many invaluable tips and tricks in this book, and over and over again I found a sentence just sticking out to me, challenging me to change how I view myself and my life in such a logical, “why didn’t I think of that?” sort of way.
  • The profanity. Hear me out, since I’ve also listed this below as a reason why I didn’t like the book. The two reasons I liked the profanity was:
    • If anything deserves to be cursed at, it’s depression.
    • It opens this set of knowledge up to a group of people who normally wouldn’t be reached by self-help or psychology books.
  • Here are some of the quotes that stood out to me.
    • “You don’t have to be motivated to do things that normally take motivation. You just need to act as if you were motivated.”
    • “Our brains are amazing, but they are also kinda lazy.”
      (He goes on to discuss the shortcuts our brains make. These shortcuts are great most of the time, but sometimes, not so much.)
    • “In reality, you can feel any sort of way and also act in whatever way you would like.”
      (This was sort of a ‘duh’ moment for me. I don’t have to believe that I’m good with people to act like I’m good with people. I don’t have to feel like I’m a productive person to get stuff done. This quote helps me get a past a lot of unnecessary mental blocks.)

What I Didn’t Like

  • The profanity. You can see why I liked it above. But here’s why I didn’t like it:
    • It often felt like there was more profanity in the book than there would be in natural conversation. Like a movie trying to bump itself up to an “R” rating instead of PG13. And that sort of jarred me from the message.
    • This book was such an invaluable tool for so many people that I want to recommend it to everyone. But I can’t. Because I know a lot of the wouldn’t be able to handle the language. And that stinks.
  • While the author did a pretty good job of writing this book in a conversational style, sometimes it got so informal that the writing came across as amateur. It really only bothered me when it jolted me from the reading, which only happened once or twice.

In Conclusion

If you suffer from depression, know someone who suffers from depression, or just want a book to help you improve your life, definitely pick up this book! (Just be aware there is profanity.)

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Hot Air Balloon Books on My TBR List

As you are reading this, I’m off at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta! I’ve gone the past two years and as long as I’m living in the area, I’m not going to miss it! It’s absolutely beautiful and each experience is fantastic.

So today’s post is about hot air balloon related books on my TBR. One of them got there because it saw it on sale at the festival. The rest of them are the result of an Amazon search. I hope you enjoy!

Ultimate Hot Air Balloon Bucket List 

This one looks super intriguing. The title and cover don’t lend itself to excitement, but I’ve had a chance to flip through the book and it looked pretty great.

Hot Air The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot Air Balloon Ride 

This looks like a super cute children’s book.

Oriland Balloon Ride (Origami Hot Air Balloons) 

These look like super awesome origami balloons.

The Twenty One Balloons 

I’ve never heard of this book, but apparently it’s a classic? So I’ll have to check it out.

Mystery of the Hot Air Balloon (Boxcar Children) 

I loved the Boxcar children series when I was younger! I don’t remember reading this one, but it sounds great! (I sort of miss series where it doesn’t end up in apocalypse… it’s just a snippet of someone’s life, so it can keep going and going and going.)

Ballooning, A History 

It’d be pretty cool to learn about the history of balloons I think.

Early History of Ballooning 

Another history book.

Romance with a Side of Green Chile 

This looks like a cute romantic novella.

Balloon Boy of San Francisco 

I think this is a based-on-true-life story that sounds pretty unbelievable.

Max and Maddy and the Bursting Balloons Mystery 

Another cute balloon themed children’s books.


Did I miss any awesome hot air balloon-y books? Have any of you been to the festival? What did you think?

❤ Annette

plan the perfect

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The day she breaks up with her boyfriend, Ezra, Kady’s planet is invaded and she has to dash to escape on a spaceship. Pretty soon, they are being pursued by the same corporation that attacked their planet. But that’s not all – there are multiple ominous occurances on her ship

What I Liked

  • This is definitely the best book I’ve read this year! I’d tell you to go read it right NOW, but you actually probably want to set aside time for this one. Once you pick up this book, you will not be able to put it down. (My friend definitely warned me about this, but I didn’t believe her. I had to pretty much pry the book out of my hands to go get food. And even then, it barely happened. :)) So set aside eight hours or so and grab some snacks.
  • The action! As I said above, this book is un-put-downable. Every time you think things are starting to make sense, something occurs to up the tension. What you think is the focus or a problem, isn’t always the case when you find out the bigger issue.
  • The format of the book is unique. It’s told almost like an FBI or crime report – through any transcripts, documents, video footage, emails, etc. the narrator could get their hands on. This is one book you want in person, not as an eBook or audio book.
  • The main character is great at IT – which I feel you don’t see very often in books, at least not done very well.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Not much. It was a fantastic book!

In Conclusion

Go read this!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

 (affiliate link)

October TBR

So far this year I’ve read 66 books, which means I have 34 more to go before I reach my goal! This means I want to read 12(ish) books this month.

(Post contains affiliate links.)

Soldier by Julie Kagawa

This book has been on the list three months in a row now. But this month I’ll get to it!

Taken by Tuesday by Catherine Bybee

A couple months ago I was sure I was done with romance as a genre, but it seems I have fallen back in to reading them. 🙂 This is the next in a series that I have so far enjoyed.

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett

This one was assigned by a book club I’m a part of.

Collision Course by Gordan Korman

The first one was intriguing enough that I need to find out what happens next!

S.O.S. by Gordan Korman

Book three in the Titanic series.

Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

I bought this one on Black Friday two years ago. It’s about time I read it!

The Marriage Merger by Jennifer Probst

Once I finish this I’ll have finished another series!

Dead and Dateless by Kimberly Raye

This one seems perfect for the month of Halloween. It’s a vampire murder-mystery romance.

When to Rob a Bank by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

I’ve enjoyed the other books these authors have written so far (Freakonomics and its sequels). Hopefully this one doesn’t disappoint.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I read half of this one and then put it down. So it’s time to pick it back up!

Sugar and Spice by Lisa Papademitriou

Book three in this adorable cupcake series.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

My friend got me this book for my birthday in August. I’m hoping I actually get to it this month!

Any other suggestions for quick reads for this month? Any thoughts on the books already on the list? I’d love to hear from you!

❤️ Annette

Top Ten Book Boyfriends

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge (hosted by Broke and Bookish!) is to list our top ten book crushes. I thought this would be difficult, but as I went through my “read” list on Goodreads I found myself reminiscing about more characters than I had planned. So here are my top ten book boyfriends!

Note – Just because a character is listed does not mean they are the main love interest for the novel, nor does it imply that they get together in the end. You’ll just have to read the book to find out. 🙂 These are just the characters that appealed to me.

(Post contains affiliate links)


Brian from the Cinder & Ella series by Kelly Orman

Caleb from the Significance series by Shelly Crane

Marius from The M-Word by Beverly Farr

Raffe from the Penryn & the End of Days series by Susan Ee

Michael Merrick from the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer


Sawyer from the Visions series by Lisa McMann

Soap from the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger

Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Colin du Lac from Captive Heart by Glynnis Campbell

Nawat from the Trickster’s Choice series by Tamora Pierce


So what do you think? Do you agree with my choices? Are there any fictional boyfriends I’m missing? Let me know!

❤️ Annette

Month in Review – September 2017

Hi all! I hope your September was great like mine was! I got a lot of reading done, and even some traveling. Not a lot of blogging though – sorry about that! I promise to work to do better at that. 🙂 Here’s everything book related that happened this month. I’ll be linking up to, who inspired this idea and post format.

Copy of month in review

Total Books Read: 14

The beginning of the month was sort of slow, but then I took a short vacation to Michigan and that really jump-started a reading spree.

Books Read

(Reviews for most of these will be up… sometime. 😊 The links below are affiliate links to Amazon.)

Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression by Robert Duff

Baby Comes First by Beverly Farr

The Baby Tree by Beverly Farr

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen

Married to Santa by Beverly Farr

Approaching Plain by Beverly Farr

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Plain Fame by Sarah Price

Plain Change by Sarah Price

Plain Again by Sarah Price

Plain Return by Sarah Price

Plain Choice by Sarah Price

Plain Christmas by Sarah Price

Unsinkable by Gordan Korman


Book Formats

Paperback – 2

Ebook – 12

Book Genres (Some books belong to multiple genres)

Young adult – 1

Romance – 10

Fantasy – 1

Graphic novel – 1

Non fiction – 1

Self help – 1

New to me authors

Allie Brosh

Sarah Price

Robert Duff

Top Book for September

Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression by Robert Duff

If you want to see the books I got this month, check out this post.

I’ll be posting my October TBR shortly!


How did your September go, book-wise?

❤️ Annette