It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/6/2021 #imwayr


Do you have any big Labor Day plans? We’re spending the day playing family board games, going swimming, and then later this evening we hope to watch a movie all snuggled up on our couches. My Labor-Day-2021father-in-law passed on Saturday. While the last year had been particularly rough on him, and we knew we didn’t have much time left with him, there’s still that too familiar punch in the gut over the finality. Thankfully, my 18-year-old daughter already had the day off work and my 16-year-old son, who just started his very first job, was able to get someone to cover his shift today so we could grieve and love and laugh and be comforted by one another’s presence. So that’s the plan.

bigbooksummerToday marks the end of the Big Book Summer Challenge, hosted by Sue Jackson of Book By Book. So I figured I’d just use today’s post to share the “big books” I squeezed into my busy summer reading schedule. To qualify for the challenge, the book just has to be over 400 pages. They can be print books, e-books, graphic novels, or even audiobooks. Knowing we had an extremely busy summer planned, I committed to only three big books which I’ll share, below. Have you been putting off some big book reading? If so, plan to join Sue’s annual challenge next summer (usually starts Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day).

If you’re new to this blog, welcome! Today is Monday, and I regularly participate in a weekly #IMWAYR meme. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!


Amari and the Night Brothers:
B. B. Alston
January 19, 2021
Balzer + Bray

I knew pretty much nothing about this book before I picked it up in June, but WOW was I in for a surprise! Thirteen-year-old Amari Peters is devastated when her older brother goes missing, but why is no one else concerned? Shouldn’t there at least be a huge investigation before assuming he was into something illegal? When Amari can’t let it go, she finds something hidden in her brother’s old closet which will change her world forever. This first book in a supernatural investigations series is imaginative and fantastical with a hidden magical society, budding friendships, and a young girl who desperately needs to find her voice. Book #2 will be released in February and I’ll definitely be looking for a copy just as soon as it becomes available!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.

Firekeepers Daughter final 7.12

Firekeeper’s Daughter
Angeline Boulley
March 16, 2021
Henry, Holt and Co.

I was completely lured into the world of Daunis Fontaine, a biracial, unenrolled tribal member who often feels an outcast on the Ojibwe reservation. The family relationships were rather complicated, but the history set up the story for an unexpected twist I did not see coming. I deeply appreciated the cultural learning and, while long and tedious, it was fast-paced and I never wanted to stop listening until the mystery was solved and everyone was safe. I’m so grateful to for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook as the narration was wonderful!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


 A Promised Land
Barack Obama
November 17, 2020

This book was, by far, my longest “big book” of the summer. I purchased it on audible and listened off/on in August (as it’s over 29 hours at normal speed!!). In the first couple chapters, I struggled to stay engaged. I would lose interest and I even remember telling my friend, Elisabeth, of The Dirigible Plum, that it certainly wasn’t Michelle Obama’s Becoming (which I ADORED!). However, it didn’t take long before I was ALL IN and would easily become frustrated when I had to stop listening for any period of time.

I found the complicated political relationships fascinating! Politics can be both a beautiful and ugly thing, but I came out of this book feeling such relieved and proud as I could more easily see the big picture. It provided such vibrant color and context to many happenings from those years – things I’d heard bits and pieces about from articles or news stations. And with all that is happening in Afghanistan right now, the insight into Afghanistan issues during Obama’s first term was eye-opening – including shared discussions between Obama and Biden during that time period. It just goes to show that never know the whole story when we’re not on the inside. There are countless twists and turns and minute details occurring that impact even the smallest decisions that are being made by POTUS.

It wasn’t until I was into the last leg of the book that I discovered it’s only Volume 1 of the autobiography. I mean, yes. I kept wondering how in the world he was going to squeeze the remainder of his presidency into the last few chapters of the book. But it wasn’t until I was nearly finished that I did some poking around and figured it out. Duh! Now I can’t wait to read the rest of the story!!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.

To Be Read:

I am hoping to get around to finishing and reviewing the following books, this coming week!


What are YOU reading?

16 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/6/2021 #imwayr

  1. Shaye, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your day today sounds like a great way to honor your father in law. A wonderful day spent with family. Maybe you’ll even squeeze in a little reading time. Amari sounds like a great read! I’ve been hearing buzz about it. Good luck wi5h your semester! What are you studying?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amy! And Amari really was great. Looking forward to the next in the series. I usually teach Children’s Literature or sometimes another reading, writing, or a music-related course. Thanks for dropping by!


  2. I am sorry to hear of your family’s loss, Shaye. There never seems to be enough time to have with our loved ones. My sympathies to all your family. I’ve read the books you shared & each one is wonderful. Enjoy Thrive, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s hard to lose a parent even if you know it’s coming. Sending virtual hugs. I’m glad your family was able to come together and support each other.
    Amari and the Night Brothers was surprising for me too. I went into it with no idea of what it was about, and fell into it. I had a hard time with all the bullying stuff though. Firekeeper’s Daughter just gobsmacked me. I adored all those elders! What an amazing book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cheriee! The time together has been quite comforting. And YES on Firekeeper’s Daughter – weren’t those elders amazing! There was a lot packed into that one. Thanks for dropping by!


  4. I am so sorry for you all’s loss—I hope you are all doing OK, and I’m glad you all have taken the time to grieve a little. And I’m glad you had fun plans for Labor Day today—I went and visited my grandmother and played cards with her, but other than that, no plans! And wow—I’m impressed by your Big Book consumption! I’m reading Amari and the Night Brothers right now, and it is great! And Firekeeper’s Daughter is one I keep seeing discussed too. A Promised Land sounds like a long read but well worth it! Thanks so much for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! All three were wonderful “big books” for this summer. If you decide to take on A Promised Land, I highly recommend the audiobook option since Obama reads it, himself. There was both laughter and tears – really helpful to get some insight into what was happening behind the scenes. Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Condolences on your loss. No matter how prepared you are, the end is always heart-wrenching. HUGS and well wishes from me to you and your family!

    Amari, Firekeeper, and Obama’s book are all on my TBR, and I hope to get to them at some point. They all sound wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So very sorry to hear about your father-in-law, Shaye. Glad you had some quiet family time together to grieve and remember. We just moved my FIL into Assisted Living this week – rough transition for him but he definitely needed the help and is settling in now. And I love how your family spends time together and enjoys each other’s company!

    Congratulations on another wonderful Big Book Summer! I think Obama’s book might count as at least 2 Big Books – ha ha! Sounds like you enjoyed some great Big Books this summer, and I’m glad you enjoyed the challenge again this year.

    Thinking of you and your family –


    2021 Big Book Summer Challenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, I didn’t even realize that Obama’s book was only Part I to his autobiography. I mean, as I was getting closer and closer to the end, I was thinking, “There’s no way he’s going to squeeze in the second half of his presidency!!” I guess I was right! LOL #superlateresponse


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