It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/20/2021 #imwayr


It’s early Monday morning and I’m sitting here in my quiet kitchen, with the windows open, delighting in the sound of falling rain. 🌧️ currently says: “Expect occasional rain to continue for the next several hours.” Ahhh, music to my ears! 🎵 We’ve been hovering in the 90s much of this month, just bordering on 100°. But cooler temps are rolling in with a forecasted high of 64°F, tomorrow. I couldn’t be more excited!! It’s the first real feeling of fall-ish weather. 🍂


In family news, our 7-year-old daughter attended her first gymnastics class last week and she LOVED it. Our 10-year-old son will be playing (American) flag football this year with his first practice starting tomorrow. Our 13-year-old is wrapping up his first busy summer of mowing lawns for our new neighborhood. Perhaps he’ll now begin raking leaves and shoveling snow to earn an income through the fall and winter months. Our 16-year-old started working at a Taco John’s restaurant back in August and he’s really enjoying his job there, so far. And our 18-year-old is still working for Walmart when she’s not hanging with family/friends or studying her coursework. She’s stationed in lawn and garden, so with summer ending it’s about to turn into a Christmas wonderland in that section of the store.

Also, we had our first day of “unschool” last week. It was a perfect beach and ice cream day, so why not? 😉

On to business…

If this is your first visit to my 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!

This week for #imwayr, I’m reviewing two books that were published in 2020 right about the time we moved. They both, unfortunately, got lost and neglected in the shuffle of Pandemic + Packing/Unpacking frenzy. But I’m happy to share them, today, along with some other books I recently finished. Hopefully you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.


The Talk: Conversations
about Race, Love & Truth
Wade Hudson
Cheryl Willis Hudson
August 11, 2020
Crown Books

This book of anti-racist essays was incredibly moving. I’d already read books by about half of the thirty featured authors, so I knew it would be great. However, it was so beautifully written and I couldn’t get enough. Readers will come face to face with powerful voices acknowledging that we live in a racist world and revealing what that often looks like in various scenarios. More importantly, the essays make it obvious that we must all take action if we have any hope of lasting change. Nevertheless, it felt less like a “how to” book and more like sitting with a friend and listening to engaging stories from their life. I’m grateful this book is out in the world and I hope it has found a place in homes and libraries of all types! My thanks to Crown Books and to NetGalley for providing a review copy.

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.


Fearless Faith:
90 Devotions for Teens
July 7, 2020
Our Daily Bread Publishing

I’m admittedly cautious when it comes to devotional books aimed at teens for fear that they may attempt to spoon-feed or push a denominational-based agenda. But I have been pleased with this book, published by Our Daily Bread Publishing, a non-denominational, non-profit organization. The daily readings contain three parts beginning with a passage from the Christian Bible (both from the Old Testament and the New Testament, and usually with several verses to provide better context). The scripture reading is followed by some type of anecdote to provide depth to the reading. Finally, at the bottom of each 2-paged devotional, readers are left with a couple questions to take them to the next level by applying the passage to their personal lives. These questions could serve to initiate discussion in a group setting or they can act as a journal prompt in a private setting.

The Introduction to Fearless Faith establishes that a courageous faith begins with a relationship/friendship with “Someone larger than we are…”  And that special connection with the Lord can be nurtured and forged through prayer and Bible study. Furthermore, the very first lesson makes it clear that Jesus is NOT exclusive. “There’s never a reason to argue or fight when we’re talking about God. Christianity is not a special club limited to the few people who fit perfectly. Everyone is welcome, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they’ve done.”

Overall, this 90-day devotional guide seems like a good companion for any teen seeking daily encouragement in their Christian walk. My thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC and to Our Daily Bread Publishing for shipping me a print copy in exchange for my honest review.

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.


The Boy Who Failed
Show and Tell
Jordan Sonnenblick
February 2, 2021
Scholastic Press

I witnessed a Zoom author discussion interview with Jordan Sonnenblick last winter and knew we had to order a copy of this book as soon as it was published. So this ended up being our 10-year-old’s gift for Easter. He loved it so much that he could hardly wait for me to finish reading it to start talking about all the scenes from Sonnenblick’s fourth grade memoir. It’s both heartbreaking and hilarious – quite endearing. Additionally, there are some great illustrations scattered throughout. Happy to recommend!

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.


Fast Pitch
Nic Stone
August 31, 2021
Crown Books

This middle grade novel features Shenice Lockwood, a middle schooler who loves to play “bat ball” (softball). She’s the team captain of an all-Black team and she has to work hard to avoid distractions to take her team all the way. Nevertheless, she lands right in the middle of the biggest diversion when she discovers a family mystery that simply must be solved. With a diverse cast, some spooky scenes, some edge-of-your-seat games, and the hope of clearing her great grandfather’s name, this adventure is a must read for young readers! It’s a super fast read, so hold onto your hats…

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.


One for the Murphys
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
May 10, 2012
Nancy Paulsen Books

I bought this book ages ago and decided to place it on my #MustReadin2021 list to make sure I got to it this year. Finally! It was well worth the wait, though. Twelve-year-old Carley Connors is placed in foster care after an incident with her mother and step father. She’s sarcastic and makes everything far more difficult than necessary. But she can’t help but notice the love her foster mom gives to both her biological children and to Carley. There was a twist to this one that made it so much more than it already was, to me. ❤️ So very touching!

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.

Currently Reading/To Be Read:



Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge:  170/365
#MustReadIn2021: 25/49

What are YOU reading?

16 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/20/2021 #imwayr

  1. I love hearing all about your children’s jobs & seeing the outing pics, Shaye. Looks very fun! I love One for The Murphys, glad you finally read it! And I like hearing about the new Sonnenblick book & reading about Fast Pitch. My older granddaughter plays softball & I think she will love that one. Also, I’ve read other books by the Hudson’s & need to get that one, too. So many books… Have a wonderful week! We have cooler weather today & tomorrow & “maybe” rain tonight. I am hopeful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m drawing a blank on other middle grade books I’ve read about softball players, so I’m glad this one will fit that need. The mystery was quite exciting! Thank you for visiting, Linda.


  2. I got to open my window this evening and listen to the rain. The change of seasons is here. I have enjoyed One for the Murphys and The Talk. Show Me a Sign, Everything Sad is Untrue, and Elatsoe are three that I really enjoyed too. I will be eager to hear your thoughts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really love rainy days and nights. Both the sound and smell is soothing! I’ve just started listening to Elatsoe, so hopefully I’ll be finished by next week. Thanks for dropping by, Crystal!


  3. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the rain, and the temperature drop sounds wonderful! It sounds like quite the busy time with all your kids’ activities, but I’m glad you all got to cram in some fun at the beach! All of these books sound wonderful—The Talk sounds like such a powerful read, and I actually used to have a copy of One for the Murphys that I might have unfortunately gotten rid of, but perhaps I can find it. The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell is one I’ve heard a lot about as well! Thanks so much for the great post as always!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a hard core Jordan Sonnenblick fan. The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell is on my list but maybe I need to add it to a MustRead list for next year to ensure I get to it. I loved One for the Murphys! It reminded me of Katherine Patterson’s The Great Gilly Hopkins – a book I still adore.
    We are finally getting some rain here! It’s such a relief to hear the sound on the roof of the back deck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A quick look at my GR account tells me that The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell was my first Sonnenblick read. Guess I’d better fix that! And I am so thankful for the sound of rain. I really think it helps me feel calm and allows me to enjoy the moment. Thanks for dropping by, Cheriee!


  5. I am SO with you on cooler weather!! Been unbearable here all summer, and then we had a week or so of 90’s in mid-September, too. We did get a few lovely, cool days this week, but I had to turn the a/c back on today because the humidity was about 90%! Hoping it cools again tomorrow.

    So, are you guys now living in the northern NE/ southern SD area? We have family in the Black Hills region and have been to Alliance, NE, on our way there … to visit Carhenge! It’s a nice region.

    The Talk sounds very powerful and important. And I LOVE Jordan Sonnenblick! Just discovered his this spring with Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, which blew me away! Such an amazing novel. I definitely want to read more from him.

    Enjoy your books this week!


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve not yet read Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, but it sure looks like it will be a good one! I’m putting it on my wishlist through my library. And yes, we’re in the upper left-hand corner of the state, just about an hour north of Alliance. There’s SOOOOO much touristy stuff to do in this area, so we’re always trying to lure our friends/families from Texas. I don’t know if you already know this, but Elisabeth of The Dirigible Plum also lived in this area for years (we both taught at Chadron State). Last summer, she moved to Detroit at the same time that we moved just one block up the street. *sniff, sniff* Thanks so much for dropping by, Sue!


      1. Wow, what a coincidence! So, you must be very close to the Black Hills? AMAZING area!! Definitely get up to the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs (on your side of the Black Hills) and when you have the time, camp or rent a cabin in Custer State Park – rivals any National Park! Even if we didn’t have family there, the Black Hills would still be one of our favorite vacation spots 🙂 Our sons are in their 20’s now and independent, but they both want to go back! Enjoy that beautiful area!


        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh yes, we are very close to the Black Hills. Isn’t it gorgeous?! We go up pretty regularly when we have a free day – especially when it’s NOT tourist season. We often cookout up there and enjoy some short walks/hikes. And we really like the Mammoth Site! They take a lot of volunteers in for their continued work and one of our science professors at CSC gave us a personal invite maybe 10 years ago to a special event where the kids enjoyed some classes (their parking lot is also one of the best places to watch fireworks on 4th of July – LOL). We’ve actually lived here since 2005 and I believe Elisabeth moved here in 2007. Chadron State Park is one of the most beautiful camping spots we’ve used, as well. Our aunt/uncle just popped up this summer after camping all over the BH area and they were stunned at the beauty of Chadron. It’s definitely a hidden jewel that’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. If only we could keep the forest fires out of our area, each summer!


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