The Bookshelf

Needlework stitched by Melanie Watkins the design belongs to Little House Needleworks

One of my other hobbies that I love so much is cross stitching. I learned how to cross stitch when my oldest son was four, but he is now 22 years old. Cross stitching is viewed by some as an “old ladies” hobby, but I can assure you that is far from the truth. There are so many designers, thread types, fabrics, and creativity that goes into this hobby it is unreal. The other interesting fact is that this is not just a woman’s craft there are very talented male stitchers, designers, and creators as well.

I wanted to share a picture of a design I stitched by Little House Needleworks and is one of my favorite designers. The design above is called The Bookshelf and very appropriate for my blog topic today. I stitched this when I was new to stitching on linen. Linen is a fabric that is used by experienced stitchers and it does take getting used to. Stitching along with reading is very comforting and calming. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.


Thoughts on Books I Read

Photo by Tracy Adams on Unsplash

Speller and grammar checker

 I have watched videos on readers who actually annotate their actual books, I’m not there yet. However, I’m not shaming anyone who does write in their books either. I had watched a BookTuber who talked about annotating her book and one of the things that captivated me is when she talked about if she read the book more than once she could tell her mind frame from the different times of reading it when she came across notes that she had written before and I thought was phenomenal.

The other day I was involved in our monthly book discussion and one of the things I noticed is I missed shit in the book! I’m not sure if it is because I’m over 40 or what the deal is BUT that cannot happen again. I have decided to start taking notes on the books I read. I’m not saying I’m going to take notes on every book, but I’m going to try to take notes on the majority of my books. When I realized some of the interesting things I missed took me back to the video I watched about annotating and how note taking can really help me connect deeper with the books I read.

I want to be able to look at my books and recall the book. I want the ability to retell it in a few paragraphs, find the hidden meaning, and take the story to another level. I believe I can really do that if I take notes, copy quotes, and go beyond just reading words on a page. One of the books that immediately come to mind that will be great for this is The Witching Hour by Ann Rice. I read that book and right to this day I can’t recall most of the book. Just a shame!

I found some great notebooks that I will be using to get this started. They come from Amazon and I really love the watercolor covers. They are Eco friendly, very light, lined pages, and all around perfect for what I need them for. Leave me some comments on how you conduct note taking, annotate your books, what tools, and methods you use.

Lined Journal Notebook Dairy Book Journal Record A5 Softcover Composition Notebook

Introducing Booktuber Courtagonist


There is a community that I belong to on YouTube called BookTube and it is phenomenal. BookTube is a community of people who are lovers of all things book related. The awesome thing is there are booktubers of every fashion, culture, and nationality. The community discusses every genre, events, authors, book reviews, book haul, book unhaul, and so much more. It is an amazing community and you can get so much information.

I would like to take a moment and introduce you to one of my favorite Booktubers. Her name is Courtney, but you will come to know her as Courtagonist. She joined BookTube in June of 2017 and her channel is based on cozy mysteries. Every now and then she will discuss something non-cozy, but her channel is mainly cozy mysteries. Cozy mysteries are stories that feature small towns, amateur sleuths, the sex and violence is very downplayed, and they just simply awesome reads for everyone. Cozy Mysteries are one of my favorites.

Courtney’s channel caught my eye because of her upbeat, awesome, and bubbly personality. I will warn you know that her love, enthusiasm, and excitement for books and reading is infectious o be ready to smile ALOT! You cannot watch her video and not get inspired and excited about her selection of books. I have to keep my wallet in the other room when I watch her video she’s that infectious. A group of people somewhere get to be blessed by her literally because she works ion the profession of education and I don’t know who they are but to interact with her on a daily basis has to be awesome!

Courtney and Angela (you will meet later) hold monthly discussions on cozy mysteries that were chosen as the monthly read. We just finished discussing A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley. It was a fantastic read and the way Courtney was able to decipher the book and point out things that would be missed by the average reader is incredible. She actually makes you feel like you were there in the small town and observing the events with the characters. I really want you to experience Courtagonist and her love for reading. Check her out at :

She is truly amazing and I bet you will walk away feeling the same.

The Haunting of Bechdel Mansion by Roger Hayden

Rating 5 out of 5

I could not put this book down!! This book was lit and I highly recommend it.

The setting starts off in the Bechdel mansion back in 1975 in Redwood Indiana. This house is not just any house and not because of the size or the fact it was considered a mansion. It had stories to tell and some of the stories weren’t pleasant. If you came to the parties that were held here you were somebody (by their standards). Old money was a part of this home and old money comes with standards, expectations, compliance without questions, certain etiquette, and fashion. “Very much so, “her mother said “But we all have our little parts to play for the greater good. For the family”. The house is now empty due to a horrific event that took place long ago and on a fateful night. It cannot keep residents because everyone always flees in a panic, who will be its next victim?

Curtis and Mary experienced tragedy in their lives and decided to pack up from the big city that they knew and move to the small town of Redwood in Indiana. When Curtis was “selling” the idea to Mary she was very hesitant, but like any other couple you trust your partner (you should) and their decision so she goes along with it. The Belchdel was considered a mansion and Curtis got it for a price he just couldn’t turn down . It has stood empty and he feels that this could be a new start for him and Mary, however the house has secrets, filled with tragedy. and has a story. Interesting fact about Mary is she can talk to the dead and little does she know the house is waiting for her arrival so it can have a conversation with Mary.


This picture is a library in Willamsburg, Va

My love of libraries will never leave. There was a time in my life where buying books from Books a Million (during this time that was the major book retailer) would be a dream. I was a young mom raising three children so any money that came into our home was for providing, not for my hobby. My children and I used to hit up our local library and read a lot. The coolest thing in the city we lived there were eight different branches of one system so I would take my children and visit each branch so we could get the full experience. Moving forward in life things have changed for the better and now purchasing books is a part of my budget so I buy my books. The main reason I buy my books is because I have created my own library at home and I want to fill with my favorites. I have never or will never be against supporting my local libraries.

Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg, Virginia

The library above is where I started my love for reading. I will never forget lying on my belly with all kinds of books surrounding me and deciding which ones to take. During this time we had the stamp system, they kept your name on file and stamped your card for when you checked out or checked in your books

Example of library card system growing up

The library above is where I started my love for reading. I will never forget lying on my belly with all kinds of books surrounding me and deciding which ones to take. During this time we had the stamp system, they kept your name on file and dtamped your card for when you checked out or checked in your books .

We need to continue to support our libraries so they can keep providing great services to all their residents. Librariesare not just about you and me, but about homeless residents, low income families, senior citizens, or residents who just love the library.

Mind Over Murder

Star Rating 4 out of 5

Mind over Murder is the first book in the Raven’s Nest Series and it was a good read. The story surrounds The Quinn Family and they have what the book calls the “Quinn Sense” they get certain feelings or will even hear the sense speaking to them. Clara the main character of the story has surpressed  her “sense” because she is uncomfortable using it and all in all it simply freaks her out. She has wanted to move out her small town for sometime, however she gets pulled back. She decides to help her cousin Stephanie at the bookstore called “The Ravens Nest” and just like any other business it has competition. The unfortunate thing is the competitor, Ana dies and there is enough suspicion to go around that the police is not sure who or what.

This book received a star rating of four because I was sick of the whole whining and complaining about Clara not wanting to use the sixth sense and the whole heroine in distress thing wore me out. I don’t know, maybe I just like raw kick ass chicks who will beat down doors. I had hoped that Clara would have just accepted and embraced her gift. When I read I allow my mind to picture me in the scene. The thought of a group of women sniveling, stressed out, and befuddled gave me an UGH mindset. I wanted them to be brave, nosey, and sleuthing so they could solve the crime before the police. However, I do feel Allion Kingsley did deliver an overall great book. I will continue to read the series, it wasn’t enough to turn me completely off.

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Jack the ripper
Rating 5 out of 5

Stalking Jack The Ripper is part of a series called “Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. They consider this a young adult series however, I have to disagree because as an adult I enjoyed this very much. The story takes you into the homes and about the streets in London in the year of 1888. The main character Audrey Rose Wadsworth would be considered every upper class families nightmare but us common folk she would be a okay. She refuses to confirm to norms and bucks at every system put in place. “They were surprisingly easy to look at in my new emotionally detached state, however, and I wondered briefly if Aunt Amelia would say that was another strike against my moral character”.

Without giving too much away Audrey Rose is very into forensic science. She like to cut open dead bodies, examine them, and learn how they died and anything else the corpse can tell her. She works alongside her Uncle Jonathan who teaches her the methods and educates her on the process. She is very intelligent, learns quickly, and is eager to investigate the deaths that come upon her uncles table. However, every great heroine always has a challenge or competition and his name is Thomas Cresswell. Not only does he infuriate er, challenge her, and tries to one up her but he also makes her heart flutter.

The team goes on the adventure of trying to find out who is leaving dead prostitutes in the dark alleys of the London streets so they can stop his or her madness. I invite you to go along with them. The book is great from start to finish. Pick up a copy and let your mind go on the streets of London in the dark, the cold, and the fog.