The first month of 2020 has finally come and gone. As far as my goals go, I’ve achieved some. I’m more than on track with my reading goals and have been keeping this website up-to-date with consistent posts. Go me!


So, without further ado, let’s check out what I’ve accomplished so far in 2020 with my blog, my reading goals, and in keeping my planner – the only thing that keeps me sane and vaguely organized – in use.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on and/or purchase from some links, I make a portion of the sale. This helps keep Bitch Bookshelf running.

Books I Read

I’m a children’s librarian, so I read books for kids and for grown-ups. This month, I read 5 picture/early reader books and 7 “big” books, including audiobooks, adult novels, and chapter books for children.

The books I read were:

Crab Cake by Andrea Tsurumi

Crab Cake: Turning the Tide TogetherCrab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea Tsurumi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this story about sea creatures coming together to clean their home. The quirky crab who brings them all together through their awesome baking skills takes the cake. 😉

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I gave this book to my niece for our belated Christmas celebration this month.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Wishful DrinkingWishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like Carrie Fisher and/or memoirs about addiction, I recommend this book. Carrie’s sense of humor was super unique and often spot-on – this is a quirky, funny read. I listened to the audiobook, and the combination of her voice and somewhat rambling, very non-linear style made it feel like I was listening to a friend talk over coffee.

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You can read my full review post here.

Dino-Football by Lisa Wheeler

Dino-FootballDino-Football by Lisa Wheeler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is fun but there’s a lot going on – it describes a football game in full with dinosaurs as the players. As a result, I think it’s better for elementary school kids, or little ones who watch football every week and have context for it.

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I considered this for a Super Bowl themed storytime in February, but passed.

Hooray For Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

Hooray For Fly Guy! (Fly Guy, #6)Hooray For Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Your standard Fly Guy book – perfect for early readers with a ton of humor, especially in the pictures.

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This one made the storytime cut.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted (Ella Enchanted #1)Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So here’s the deal: I’m going to be honest from now on. When people ask me my favorite book, I won’t name this adult novel or that classic. Yes, I love those too. But since I was nine, Ella Enchanted has been my favorite.

This is a middle grade read, and even as an adult it has it all: beautiful prose, a badass heroine, a feminist plot, whimsical magic, memorable secondary characters, amazing world-building, and a sumptuous romance. Char is my ideal man to this day, about twenty years since my first of many reads. And Ella is still one of the most relatable heroines.

While this is a book for kids in late elementary/middle school, the language is stunning. I learned so many words on my first read in 1999: desolate, corrosive, chicanery… The author introduces these SAT words so seamlessly.

If you like middle grade, fantasy, fractured fairytales, and/or romance, you need to read this book.

Favorite quotes:

Why did he think it was fine to talk about me as though I were portrait instead of a maiden?

If I thought of a joke, I wanted to try it on him. If I had a serious idea, I wanted his opinion.

I trust you to find the good in me, but the bad I must be sure you don’t overlook.

I hadn’t loved him as long, perhaps, but now I loved him equally well, or better. I loved his laugh, his handwriting, his steady gaze, his honorableness, his freckles, his appreciation of my jokes, his hands, his determination that I should know the worst of him. And, most of all, shameful though it might be, I loved his love for me.

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This was my favorite childhood book and my first reread of the year. You can read my full review post here.

Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry

Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy DogLessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a quick read/listen and totally heartwarming. Dave Barry certainly has the privilege of looking at life through a Dave Barry lens, so some of his opinions I’m on the fence about. But it is true that we can learn so much from our dogs. The last chapter is super emotional, but yay! The dog doesn’t die in this one. 😉

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You can read my full review post here.

The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day

The Stranger I MarriedThe Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite only rating this 4 stars, this is one of my favorite romances. (This was my first reread.) This book is truly an erotic romance with a ton of sex scenes, but Pel and Gray really work hard fo bring out the best in one another and slay their personal demons. There are some problematic scenes, especially in the otherwise adorable side romance between Isabel’s brother, Rhys, and his bluestocking love interest Abby. But otherwise if you like your historical romance super porny but with great characters, I really recommend this one.

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This was my second reread of the year. You can read my full review post here.

My Bus by Byron Barton

My Bus Board BookMy Bus Board Book by Byron Barton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a simple read but a great opportunity for reviewing and learning math.

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Planes Go by Steve Light

Planes GoPlanes Go by Steve Light
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a simple book but a ton of fun! It makes you think about the different subcategories of aircraft and you get to make fun noises, too.

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An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

An Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3)An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wasn’t a perfect read for me but might be my favorite in the series so far. Julia Quinn writes a “love at first sight” scenario that is totally believable, and the commentary on classism is *chef’s kiss*. This is a fun take on Cinderella with memorable characters.

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Look out for my full review post on February 13.

High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins

High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict's Double LifeHigh Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life by Tiffany Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tiffany is so funny on her Facebook page “Juggling the Jenkins”, and while her story keeps that humorous tone, it’s also harrowing and inspirational. I had no idea she had done and been through all these things during her addiction. Some might not enjoy her Valley Girl-ish tone. In the audiobook, she does voices for all the people she meets in her story, which is really fun – but I can also see how her voices for some of the POC she meets can come across as racist. Overall, if you think her Facebook page is funny, relatable, and inspirational, you’ll probably like this book, but keep in mind there are some problematic aspects.

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Look out for my full review post on February 18.

The Minuteman by Greg Donahue

The MinutemanThe Minuteman by Greg Donahue
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this because I knew NOTHING about the topic described. I knew there were Nazis in America before WWII, but not about the Jewish mobsters in Newark who took them on. (Really, I didn’t know anything happened in Newark ever.) I do think this is worth a listen – a lot of good info is revealed in under two hours. The narration kind of bored me at times, though. I think it simply came down to a mid-Atlantic accent voicing a story about Jewish gangsters and Nazi extremists in Newark, NJ. Just not super fitting.

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Look out for my full review post on February 20.

A Peek Into My Planner

I’ve been trying to fill out my planner each day to keep myself organized and to use the plethora of planner supplies and stickers I possess. (I use The Happy Planner.) Here are my weekly spreads for January.

I also have been tracking my moods. I think, as someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, it’s important to check in with how I’m feeling. In January, I felt:

  • Okay – 9 days
  • Great – 5 days
  • Creative – 5 days
  • Happy – 2 days
  • Hopeful – 2 days
  • Excited – 2 days
  • Tired – 2 days
  • Grumpy – 1 day
  • Sad – 1 day
  • Annoyed – 1 day
  • Anxious – 1 day

That’s more good days than bad days!


More Stuff I Did

January was largely about work for me. I went to a robotics competition with the kids from work, so there was a lot of prepping! (If you didn’t know, I’m a librarian.)

I spent some time watching TV. I’m still in the process of binge watching Schitt’s Creek and Pose. I also watched the film Joker.

Looking Ahead: February

This month, I’m traveling to Disney in Florida. (When this posts, I’ll be heading back to the north.) I’m really looking forward to it!

As far as reading and writing goes, I hope to stay on track and read about 10 more books this month, including picture books and audio books. I say 10 instead of 12 because February is a short month.

Here’s to an awesome February!