I’m Halfway To My Goodreads Goal

For the past couple of years, I’ve pledged to read 52 books in one year – that’s one book a week. I usually go above and beyond, especially since I tend to read two books a week during the summer. This year was no exception to that goal, but… I’ve been in a reading slump for practically half of the year.

I'm Halfway To My Goodreads Goal | Book Reviews | Reading | Reading Goals | Goodreads | RachelPoli.com

I’ve gotten into reading slumps in the past but have always managed to reach my Goodreads goal. This is usually because I end up reading middle-grade level books or something of the kind. Not because they’re short and quick, but because I actually enjoy those kinds of books. It just helps out that they happen to be short and quick reads. But if they’re good and I enjoy them, then who cares how long they are and how long it takes me to read them?

I’ve always been the type of person to not rush through books. Reading one book a week is a good pace for me since I can typically read between 50 and 100 pages a day.

And yet, I’ve gone into a hardcore reading slump for the past few months. No matter what I try to do, I just don’t feel like reading. I’ve been going to the library and picking out textbooks for research on various topics so maybe I’ll review those books down the road. It’d be something different, at least. Still, I haven’t been reading the typical novel.

We’re now about a week into October which means there are only three months left in the year. My Goodreads goal still stands at 52 books and, according to my Goodreads, I’ve only read 14 books. This is because I haven’t been updating it at all and haven’t in a few months. Scrolling through the reviews I’ve posted on here this year, I have read and reviewed 26 books.

26 is half of 52, I know that math at least. I’m actually shocked that I reached at least half of my original goal.

Looking at the weeks ahead, I need to read about two books a week with two of those weeks reading three books if I were to reach 52 books this year.

I’m not saying I’m going to do this. I’ve been in a slump for so long that I really don’t want to try to bombard myself with books again all the sake of reaching a virtual goal.

But I’m also not saying this isn’t an impossible thing to do. I want to get back into the habit of reading again. Who knows, if I find a new spark with a certain book or two, I may actually just reach the 52-book goal.

Do you have a Goodreads goal? Have you met it yet? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Goals [October 2019]

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Reading

I haven’t read any books for a long time. I’ve been doing research on some things which are technically reading books, but I haven’t read any fiction or the like. It’d be great to get back into the swing of things this month, but I think my plan is to just start reading again. I may or may not have any book reviews for the month. I might start that up again in November. I’ll certainly be trying to read something though. Even if it’s just one or two books.

Writing

Writing too has fallen to the wayside. I’ve been making a list of what needs to be done for each of the novels I’m working on and started to break them up into months. I’m figuring out what I need to work on this month and beyond through 2020. I’m sure things will change, but as of right now, I have a tentative plan. Also, NaNoWriMo is next month so I think that will also help me get back into the swing of things.

Blogging

October may look a bit like Swiss cheese. My original plan was to start blogging daily again this month, but September was busier than anticipated and I got sick for the last week. Needless to say, October is not ready at all and it’s already the first of the month. So, I’m going to take this time to catch up on some things. I actually have some ideas for 2020 so I might start implementing those and really get back into the swing of things come January. But I’ll still be here posting when I can. I’m hoping I can start posting daily again in November, but we’ll see how things go.

Overall

2019 has been a crazy year. So much has happened in the past few months that it’s too much to explain and even though I’ve lived through it, I can’t wrap my head around most of what’s happened. There have been good things and bad things and my writing and blogging have taken a blow due to it all. I’m ready to get back into my routine and bring things back to “normal” and what they were before. I’m just going to take it slow.

What are your goals for this month? Do you have any big plans? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Goals [August 2019]

Goals August 2019 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I’ll be reading and reviewing nine books this month. I have a list of books I want to read – whether I’ll stick with it or not, I don’t know. Though I’ve been utilizing my local library more often lately and my to-be-read pile keeps on growing.

Writing

I’ll be working on a couple of different projects this month, as usual. I’m going to do some final edits for Crossroads so that I can publish it on Wattpad in September. In addition, I’m working on the next Sunday Morning collection as well as the first book in my mystery series.

I made a list the other day of all the books I want to work on. The list is growing and I’m trying to give each and every one the attention and time it deserves without working on so much at once. I’ll probably write a different blog post about that soon enough though.

Blogging

I’m still making some changes to the blog, such as updating the pages and post templates. In addition, I’m trying to get this month’s blog posts done as well as some other posts done for the future months.

Overall

August is going to be a busy month. I have a lot of work to do outside of writing and blogging, so I’m definitely going to need to find a new balance for the month. I’m going to try to come up with some sort of schedule to keep up with this work, around all the other work I need to do. New month, new goals.

What are your goals for the month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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July 2019 [Wrap Up]

Wrap Up July 2019 | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I read a good amount this month. They were mostly books that were on the shorter side, but I think that’s just what I needed in order to get me back into a reading groove. I read a lot of good books and all the reviews were posted on schedule – eight of them, which is great!

Writing

My writing was pretty good this month thanks to the 85K90 challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. I made excellent progress on my next Wattpad story, Crossroads. I’m looking forward to finishing that up and diving straight into the edits within the next couple of days.

Blogging

Thanks to my vacation, I got super ahead with my blog posts. So July was all set for the rest of the month plus a little bit of August!

Overall

It was a pretty productive month. Super busy, but it was great.

Posts To Remember

1. July & August 2019 Writing Submissions
2. Housesitting For A Week
3. Getting Out Of A Funk [Mental Health Mondays]

How did July treat you? What did you get done? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 5
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 1, 2012

Summary – I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906

Ten-year-old Leo loves being a newsboy in San Francisco — not only does he get to make some money to help his family, he’s free to explore the amazing, hilly city as it changes and grows with the new century. Horse-drawn carriages share the streets with shiny new automobiles, new businesses and families move in every day from everywhere, and anything seems possible.

But early one spring morning, everything changes. Leo’s world is shaken — literally — and he finds himself stranded in the middle of San Francisco as it crumbles and burns to the ground. Does Leo have what it takes to survive this devastating disaster?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and I’m going down the line.

Book Cover

The cover is “realistic” enough in the sense that shows the heart of what the story is about – right in the middle of the natural disaster.

Plot

Leo goes about his normal life, selling newspapers and occasionally getting beaten up by some local bullies. He treasures his father’s piece of real gold that was passed down from his father’s father.

Then the earthquake happens and the fire spreads. Leo and his friend stick together in order to survive and possibly get out of the city – but there’s really nowhere to go. The journey they go on for those few hours is a great one of determination and survival that no one should ever have to go through. It was an interesting read.

Characters

Leo and his friend Morris were great characters to read about through this tragedy. They even help the two bullies out when they were in trouble and even become friends with one of them. It was great character development for all of them throughout.

Writing Style

As always, this book was a quick and easy read. There was just enough information about the natural disaster, but it wasn’t thrown into your face.

I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great, informative read. Even though it’s a big young, anyone can read it and get something out of it.

3.3

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I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 4
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: October 1, 2011

Summary – I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941

History’s most terrifying moments are brought vividly to life in the action-packed fictional I SURVIVED series! Do you have what it takes to survive … the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

Eleven-year-old Danny Crane is alone on his favorite beach in Hawaii when the world is torn apart and World War II officially hits the United States. Does he have what it takes to find his way home in the midst of the bombs, the smoke, and the destruction of the day that will live in infamy?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and decided to continue them.

Book Cover

The cover says a lot of what the book is about and set it right at the climax of the story.

Plot

Danny and his mother move to Pearl City, Hawaii from New York City. She’s a nurse on the island and Danny isn’t too thrilled to be there. When she leaves for work, he’s torn with the idea of running away back to New York, but he doesn’t want to hurt his mother. Then the attacks happen.

Like the other books in this series, the plot is well-executed and the fictional character is always set up to be brave and help out in any way during the disaster. It was certainly an interesting read.

Characters

I liked all the characters in this one. Danny was a great protagonist and he was great with all the other characters. The supporting characters such as Mack and Mrs. Sudo were helpful and had a purpose throughout the story as well.

Writing Style

Like the rest of the series, this is a quick and easy read. There’s a lot of information about the bombing of Pearl Harbor in this one, including facts, resources, and other information in the back of the book. It’s certainly a good read.

I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This was a great read and, in my opinion, the best so far in this series. It’s worth a read to learn more about this tragic event.

4.3

Favorite Quote

“You’d have to be crazy not to be scared, with what was happening in the world, with America at war with both Japan and Germany now.”

Lauren Tarshis, I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 (I Survived 4)

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When I First Fell In Love With Reading

I didn’t always enjoy reading. In fact, I thought it was stupid. To me, it was just homework from teachers. All the books were always picked out for me and I never cared for any of them. In the middle of all that, I did fall in love with reading.

When I First Fell In Love With Reading | Fall in love with reading | books | reading | book blogger | book reviews | RachelPoli.com

When I Was 11

I was in the sixth grade and Erin Hunter, a group of authors under a penname, came out with a book titled Warriors. You’ve all heard me talk about this series now and again. I’m still reading the books and catching up with the series. There are a ton of books, 37 in the main series with number 38 coming out in October 2019. The very first one that started it all came out when I was 11-years-old.

It was my sister’s book. I don’t remember how she got it. I can’t remember if it was a gift from someone knowing she enjoyed reading and animals or if she had come across it at Barnes & Noble and bought it herself. Either way, she read it and enjoyed it. When I found out it was about cats, I wanted to borrow it.

She let me and I brought it to school. I remember her telling me, “Keep it nice. Don’t dogear the pages. Don’t lose it.” There was a list. She was very particular about keeping her books nice, which is fair. So, what did I do? I stepped out of the car one morning when my Mom dropped me off at school and immediately the book slipped out of my hand and fell into the snow. Of course, my sister didn’t actually care about that. We still look back on that and laugh.

“Don’t ruin it.” (Immediately drops it in the snow.)

It Didn’t Last Long

I remember reading the first couple of books and then stopped for a long time. The books assigned to me in school throughout middle school and high school pushed me away from reading. I had too many things to read for school that if I had any downtime to read whatever I wanted, I just didn’t feel like it. I was totally turned off from reading even though I enjoyed the Warriors series so much.

There were other series I enjoyed as well – Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and I enjoyed my mysteries by Joan Lowry Nixon and Caroline B. Cooney. I was just never too into reading on my own. It reminded me too much of homework.

Then, when I was in high school I rediscovered the Warriors books again. I tried my best to read them in my spare time. I got really into them again. In fact, I read one of the super edition books for a book report in my freshman year.

But again, school got in the way. The book report was an easy assignment for me since we got to pick out whatever we wanted to read. The book was about 500 pages long and when I got my grade, there was a note on it from my teacher.

“Next time, maybe pick a more age-appropriate book.”

I still got a good grade and she didn’t take any points off for me reading a book that was supposed “too young” for me, but the comment still rubbed me the wrong way. I was 14 and the book is targeted at a middle-grade level. Close enough, right? I mean, I was in middle grade less than a year before that book report was assigned anyway. I enjoyed it, that’s what I loved to read, so I didn’t see what the big deal was.

I don’t even think my teacher knew what it was. All she got out of it was that it was about cats. Therefore, animal books are too young for high schoolers. (I mean, really, I’m almost 26-years-old and I already pre-ordered the next book that comes out in three months.)

College & Blogging

This was the time in my life when I really got into reading. I graduated high school in June 2011. At that point, I already had a year of college under my belt. Sure, I had to read books for college but they actually weren’t bad books. I enjoyed them. Not to mention, later down the road, I was assigned to read The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter for one of my classes. Yes, please.

Then I started this blog in May 2012. I didn’t start reviewing books until 2015, but I still talked about them on the blog. I still read and, in a way, the blog held me accountable for reading. I met so many wonderful writers and authors through my blog while in college that I had a better appreciation for reading – despite wanting to be a writer myself.

That’s when I really started reading. Four years ago was when I started reviewing books and really getting into a reading routine while it wasn’t until 2011/2012 that I grew an appreciation and love for reading.

If You Want To Write, Read

This is a piece of advice that I had always gotten when I told people I wanted to be a writer. I think, to a certain extent, reading does help writers. However, I don’t think it’s a huge necessity. I made t this far, haven’t I? I’ve only been actively reading books for less than ten years and voila! Here I am.

When did you first fall in love with reading? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 3
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 2011

Summary – I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005

His whole world is underwater…

Barry’s family tries to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina hits their home in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. But when Barry’s little sister gets terribly sick, they’re forced to stay home and wait out the storm.

At first, Katrina doesn’t seem to be as severe a storm as forecasters predicted. But overnight the levees break, and Barry’s world is literally torn apart. He’s swept away by the floodwaters, away from his family. Can he survive the storm of the century – alone?

First Thoughts

These are quick reads and I enjoy the historical tidbits. After reading the first two books in the series, I grabbed the next three.

Book Cover

The cover shows Barry and a dog he rescued in the middle of Hurricane Katrina trying to find their way to safety. As always, it shows a lot about the plot and the design is well done.

Plot

Life is normal for 11-year-old Barry until the forecasters urge everyone to evacuate for the upcoming storm. Everyone is worried, though Barry doesn’t fully understand why until the storm is directly on top of them.

The plot was well executed with enough information about the historical tragedy without laying it on thick.

Characters

Barry was a good protagonist to follow along with such a story. He was strong and brave throughout the whole event. He followed his parents’ lead and overcame the storm. It was interesting to see the events through his eyes, even though he’s fictional.

Writing Style

This is a super quick and easy read. I learned more about Hurricane Katrina than I thought I knew. The information is easy to comprehend and it’s quick enough to read in one sitting.

I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great addition to the I Survived series. If you’re looking for something quick with a little history boost, this is the one for you.

4

Favorite Quote

“Out there in the flood, Barry had discovered some powers of his own.”

Lauren Tarshis, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (I Survived 3)

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Death By Eggnog (Bookstore Cafe Mystery, 5) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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I bought a paperback copy of this book at my local Barnes & Noble. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: Death By Eggnog By Alex Erickson

Book Review: Death By Eggnog by Alex Erickson | Bookstore Cafe Mystery 5 | Cozy Mystery | Fiction | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Title: Death By Eggnog
Author: Alex Erickson
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Fiction

Series: Bookstore Cafe Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Summary – Death By Eggnog

Krissy Hancock is staying in her adopted hometown of Pine Hills, Ohio, for Christmas this year–and she even has a whole week off from her combination bookstore-cafe. But a killer is about to dampen her spirits . . .

Unfortunately, Krissy’s been roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local holiday musical extravaganza. With a demanding director, backstage gossip, and two men in fierce competition for the starring role, it isn’t all sweetness and Christmas lights. Then a murder puts a stop to the production, and Krissy is faced with a pageant of suspects.

Could her ex-boyfriend, a fellow elf, really be the culprit as the police are claiming? Or will the actor playing Santa be trading his red suit for an orange jumpsuit? When her behind-the-scenes investigation starts getting dangerous, the only thing Krissy really wants is to make it to Christmas dinner alive. But first she’ll have to finish wrapping up this case . . .

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first four books in the series and enjoyed them. Besides, who doesn’t want a Christmas murder story in July?

Book Cover

I always enjoy the book covers in this series that slightly hints at the mystery but showcasing the cat.

Plot

Krissy is thrown into helping the local community theatre with their play when one of the elves gets sick. Not too long after she joins, the man who plays Santa in the play is murdered. Her ex, Robert, is the accused and Krissy is sure he’s not the real killer.

I thought this plot was well done with an interesting group of people. I enjoyed the theatre setting as well as the wintery themes. I had my guess of who the real killer was and then it turned out I was wrong. Which has a nice twist, but the twist seemed anticlimactic to me.

We spent so much time with so many different suspects – even having conversations with characters that didn’t really matter – that when the real killer was revealed, it seemed out of left field. Plus, I didn’t care too much for the motive. That also felt out of left field. Other than that, I did enjoy the overall plot.

Characters

There were a lot of characters in this one to the point that we don’t see Paul, Rita, Will, or Vicki that often. In fact, we didn’t see Death By Coffee, their bookstore cafe, much at all. Krissy was on a winter break from work, but still. I missed that setting as well as her co-workers, Lena and Jeff.

The theatre group was cool though. I enjoyed all the new characters that were introduced for the purpose of the plot. However, I still missed the older characters.

Writing Style

This is an easy book to read, quick at 285 pages, and an easy cozy mystery to follow along with. My personal list of suspects changed and the ending was a surprise, even if I didn’t care too much for it.

Death By Eggnog By Alex Erickson

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Death By Eggnog is a good read. I think it’s a great addition to the Bookstore Cafe series and I’m looking forward to the next book.

4

Favorite Quote

“I took back every nice thing I ever said about him, limited as they may be.”

Alex Erickson, Death By Eggnog (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 5)

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The Shark Attacks Of 1916 (I Survived, 2) By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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Book Review: The Shark Attacks Of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis

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Title: The Shark Attacks of 1916
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived (Book 2)
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 1, 2010

Summary – The Shark Attacks of 1916

It’s the summer of 1916 and the Jersey shore is being terrorized by a Great White shark. Can 10-year-old Chet and his friends survive a swim in the local creek?

Chet Roscow is finally feeling at home in Elm Hills, New Jersey. He has a job with his uncle Jerry at the local diner, three great friends, and the perfect summertime destination: cool, refreshing Matawan Creek.

But Chet’s summer is interrupted by shocking news. A great white shark has been attacking swimmers along the Jersey shore, not far from Elm Hills. Everyone in town is talking about it. So when Chet sees something in the creek, he’s sure it’s his imagination. . . until he comes face-to-face with a bloodthirsty shark!

First Thoughts

I read the first book of this series and enjoyed it so I wanted to continue the series. Plus, they’re quick, informative reads.

Book Cover

The book cover is nice and showcases what the book is about. The shark is creepy looking and fairly realistic which is a nice touch.

Plot

The plot of this story is, of course, the shark attacks of 1916. Back then, no one knew much about sharks and it was believed that sharks wouldn’t attack willy-nilly. They were proven wrong when a few shark attacks occurred unprovoked.

This story follows a 10-year-old boy named Chet. He and his friends hear stories about the sharks but don’t believe them. His pranks prank him making him believe there’s a shark in the water. Chet gets them back so when the real shark appears, no one believes him.

I found the plot of this story to be better executed than The Sinking of The Titanic, which is the first book in the I Survived series. I enjoyed the characters a bit more and the plot didn’t seem to go as fast. Yet, all the information was there and well done.

Characters

Chet is a regular ten-year-old boy living with his Uncle when his parents were traveling for his father’s work. Chet isn’t sure he belongs there and is happy to have made some friends. That is, until they prank each other and get into a fight.

Chet redeems himself though as do his friends. His uncle was a great character as well. I enjoyed reading this bit of history with these fictional characters telling the story.

Writing Style

Being under 100 pages, this story was well told with all the facts present. There was no filler yet there was just enough character background and development for the fictional characters who encountered a real-to-life problem. The quick read was worth it.

The Shark Attacks of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This quick read is worth it. The characters are likeable, the history is easy to learn, and the facts are laid out. This is a good one if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the shark attacks of 1916.

4.7

Favorite Quote

“And then he saw it – a large gray fin, slicing through the water like a knife.”

Lauren Tarshis, The Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived, Book 2)

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