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WWW Wednesday, 2-December-2020

2 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Is anyone surprised I haven’t touched Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono? Because I’m not. As the weather gets nasty, maybe I’ll stay in and read during my lunch breaks.
My buddy and I meet tomorrow to talk about The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger so I’ll be pushing forward with this one again soon!
I started Golden Glow by Kaitlin Sandeno and Dan D’Addona over the weekend. Too early to say so far what I think, but I love a good sports biography so I’m just excited to be back to the topic.
I’ve finally started A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger! This is a long audiobook and I know I’m in for the long haul so I’m strapping down, determined to finish this during December to complete my reading challenge.

Recently finished: I finished Knitting Yarns by Ann Hood over the weekend and even had time to review it. My review was posted yesterday. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I finished The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown just in time! It was a bit of a race but I was ready for our book club discussion on Monday. I’ll likely post a review and a book club reflection next week or soon after.

Reading next: It’s hard to say. Maybe it’s best that I don’t? I don’t have a plan and with me being so early in my books, it’s hard to predict what I’ll want to pick up next. I’ll stay quiet here this week.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Challenge Update, November 2020

1 Dec

This month was slow. It wasn’t until I went to write this post that I realize how slow it was. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page. I’m also starting a monthly mailing list. You can sign up at the bottom of this post.

Books finished in November:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond // Elizabeth George Speare (4/5)
Knitting Yarns // Ann Hood (3/5)

And that’s it. Yikes. At least I’m caught up on reviews?

When Are You Reading? Challenge

11/12
I’m going to hold on to the win that I finished one more book for this challenge. I’ve got a plan in place to finish it up, I just have to execute. I see the end in sight!

Goodreads Challenge

55/55
Again, the silver lining to a slow month. This was just enough to get me through my annual reading challenge and I’m so glad to have finished!

Book of the Month

Not much of a choice this month, huh? I’m going to pick The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It was a quick and fun read and I think it would be perfect for middle school audiences to read and learn about early America.

Added to my TBR

I’m back up again at 47 books. I don’t remember adding so many but I took so few off that it’s no wonder I’m not moving fast.

  • Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. I can’t be the only one who’s pumped for this book to come out, right? I can’t wait to read this one and I’m hoping Cline’s kept his page-turning pacing because it’s my favorite.
  • Malorie by Josh Malerman. I went to a virtual author event with Malerman and loved every second of it. It convinced me to add his new book to my list so I can revisit the terrifying world of Bird Box.
  • Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui. With my love for the water, is it any wonder I added this? I saw the book on the Goodreads 2020 polls and added it right away.
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is an upcoming book club selection that I’m getting excited about.
  • The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites. I read an essay by this author that I really enjoyed and decided to give his fiction a try as well.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re closing in on the end of a successful year. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, give my challenge a try next year and join the fun.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletters

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Knitting Yarns by Ann Hood

30 Nov

I was given this book as a Christmas gift years ago. I’m embarrassed about how long it’s taken to read it. Nothing like a global pandemic to get you through the stack on your shelf, am I right?

Cover image via Amazon

Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting edited by Ann Hood

Summary from Amazon:

Why does knitting occupy a place in the hearts of so many writers? What’s so magical and transformative about yarn and needles? How does knitting help us get through life-changing events and inspire joy? In Knitting Yarns, twenty-seven writers tell stories about how knitting healed, challenged, or helped them to grow. Barbara Kingsolver describes sheering a sheep for yarn. Elizabeth Berg writes about her frustration at failing to knit. Ann Patchett traces her life through her knitting, writing about the scarf that knits together the women she’s loved and lost. Knitting a Christmas gift for his blind aunt helped Andre Dubus III knit an understanding with his girlfriend. Kaylie Jones finds the woman who used knitting to help raise her in France and heals old wounds. Sue Grafton writes about her passion for knitting. Also included are five original knitting patterns created by Helen Bingham.

Poignant, funny, and moving, Knitting Yarns is sure to delight knitting enthusiasts and lovers of literature alike.

I’ve posted before about knitting so most of you likely aren’t surprised that I’d be given a book about knitters writing. This was a fun gift and I’m really touched by the friend who gave it to me. There were several authors in here that I’ve read before including Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett. Most of the writers were new to me. I enjoyed the story by Taylor Polites so much that I added his novel to my TBR! I’m not usually a fan of collected short stories or essays but the short nature helped me while I was having trouble concentrating. 

I felt the writers portrayed their relationship with knitting in a very accurate way. Knitting is a very solitary act but it’s part of a community that grows as you want. The people you knit with are in it with you, but the people you knit for are the ones who really know you love them. I give knitted gifts a lot and it’s amazing to see how much that care and love affects people.

My favorite story in the collection was Knitting in Kathmandu by Jessi Hempel. It was such an emotional story about self-discovery and chance. I looked up Hempel’s biography in the back of the book and was sad to see she hadn’t published any novels. I really enjoyed her writing.

Ann Hood
Image via Amazon

Like many of the people in the story, I’m a ‘bad knitter.’ I make mostly blankets and other flat objects that don’t have to worry about double-pointed needles or measuring for fit. I want to make socks and a sweater eventually, but that seems far down the road now.

I was overwhelmed by the patterns in the book. I’m a bad knitter, these patterns seem overly complicated! I’ve only read a graph pattern once and it took me four tries to get it right. As nice as it is to have those patterns, I’m not sure I’ll ever use them. Even the one for the dog sweater.

A lot of these stories confirmed what I already know; knitting is something you do because you love. I make blankets for friends that I love, I’ve made coffee cozies for people I love, and I make scarves for people I want to stay warm through the winter. It seems I’m not alone.

Writer’s Takeaway: Some of the stories didn’t seem as put together as others and focused on unconnected bits of story rather than a single tale that involved knitting or did not. I found these harder to follow. It seemed that the writer was being included not because they had something meaningful to say, but because their name on the byline would help sell the book. I found that a bit disappointing. Many of the lesser-known authors had amazing tales to share.

I enjoyed this book and I’m thankful to the friend who bought it for me years ago. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
Knitting Yarns | Flextiles 
Words on Knitting | Knit’n Needle 

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WWW Wednesday, 25-November-2020

25 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: This has been a week of no change. I still haven’t opened Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. I guess it didn’t grab me in the first few pages and I haven’t given it a fair try again since.
I keep moving forward with Knitting Yarns by Ann Hood but I’m not near finishing it yet. If I’m optimistic, next week?
I’ve finished our next section in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and we’ll pick up and talk about it again after the holiday. I’m liking it OK so far. I’m not won over, but I’m not disliking it either.
I’m now in a race to finish The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. My book club meets on Monday so I’ll be pushing to finish it this weekend!

Recently finished: I’ve got a better feeling about next week. Fingers are crossed.

Reading next: I honestly can’t wait to start A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger. I’m optimistic I’ll have it started next week. I really want to finish the reading challenge!
I’ll probably need a physical book next. Reading during quarantine has been a great time to get through signed books that I don’t want leaving my house. The next one on my list is the last of my backlog. I guess I’ve got to get to some author events as soon as I can! The book is Golden Glow by Kaitlin Sandeno and Dan D’Addona. I love my swimming books, so I’m pumped to get to this.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Date With a Bookstore- A COVID Love Story

24 Nov

I know I’ve talked about them again, but I’m going to gush about my local indy bookstore, Literati. At the beginning of the pandemic, they were doing $1 shipping in the US and I abused that. They’ve stopped, but their shipping is still reasonable- I paid $7 to ship to Texas. They also have curbside pickup so I’m able to get the books for people in my family in person.

But they’ve introduced something else that I took advantage of and just love. They do an appointment-based tête-à-tête with a bookseller. I was able to set one up to help with my holiday shopping and I loved the experience!

After I found a time and date, I got an email with a short survey to talk about what kind of books I liked, genres I was looking for, and recent books I’d enjoyed. I was feeling difficult and didn’t fill it in. I was shopping for my niece, nephew, mother-in-law, and father-in-law so instead I described each of them, books they’d enjoyed before, and the kind of book I was looking for to get each. I was assured this was no problem.

At the time of our meeting, I was having some major internet connection problems but the bookseller was so patient with me and while I couldn’t share my video, she shared hers which was very helpful when looking at books for my 5-year-old nephew! She made a recommendation for a series he’d never heard (according to my sister-in-law), the InvestiGators, crime-solving alligators. This sounds adorable. For my 9-year-old niece, she recommended a book called Stargazing which is a graphic novel. My niece is super creative and loves art so graphic novels have been a big hit with her!

I’m always nervous about buying my mother-in-law books because she’s usually read any bookmarked ‘Target Book Club’ at Target. I asked for something a little more unusual and they delivered! I have a copy of The Grammarians on order for her and the description sounds like something she’ll enjoy. For my father-in-law, I knew I wanted to get him Moby Duck after I loved it so much this summer. They didn’t have it in the store but have ordered a copy from the publisher for me. She recommended the new John Grisham, A Time for Mercy, and I declined at first. Even though it was a signed copy, we usually get people just one book for Christmas.

I was raving to my husband about the experience and he recommended we get the Grisham anyway. Who can pass on a signed copy? We also picked up A Darker Shade of Magic for one of my husband’s friends. So now I have four books being sent to Texas for my nieces and nephew and four waiting for curbside. I’m so impressed with the services this store has offered and how they’re overcoming the shelter-in-place and lockdown orders we have here in Michigan. I’ve strived to purchase as many of my Christmas gifts as possible from small businesses and I’ve been overjoyed with the experience. If you are in the US and need to order some books, please consider supporting Literati or another indy bookstore instead of a giant company that doesn’t care about you.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Club Reflection: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

23 Nov

I had a very fun opportunity last week. I’d read Erin Morgenstern’s book The Starless Sea with my reading buddy back when quarantine started. The SF&F book club at my library picked it for their read this past quarter so I tagged along for the discussion. It was great to hear what other people had to say about a book I discussed so much with my buddy.

Many of us had read Morgenstern’s other book, The Night Circus and more liked that book than this one. We all agreed that she’s a very good and lyrical writer and she has beautiful descriptions. She has stories within her story and many of them were beautifully written. We wanted to read Sweet Sorrow and see what the story would involve but, unfortunately, it’s probably nonsensical with all the pages Maribell tore out. The book seemed to be a love story written for books and wasn’t focused too much on the plot itself. One reader imagined the Harbor like the Library of Congress, with every book ever written included inside.

People either loved or hated this book. Many said the ending, where the fantasy elements really kicked in, was hard to get through and one almost abandoned it rather than finishing. A common complaint was that there was so much to keep track of and so many references to earlier or later text that it was a bit hard to enjoy while trying to mentally juggle so many things. There were a lot of things some felt were never well explained, like who the Owl King was. (A reader’s Google search returned a fairy tale from the 1600s as the reference for this one.) As someone pointed out, we’re in Zachary’s shoes for this book. He doesn’t understand everything around him and doesn’t get all of his questions answered and we have the same experience. Some felt the story didn’t have an ending, but the driving point seemed to be that another story was going to start, so this one had to end.

We had a lot of theories about the book. My favorite was that The Starless Sea (the story itself) was the story created to hide Fate’s heart until it was needed. We, as the readers, find our way through it by reading and solve the puzzle. All the layers and moving parts are part of the craft that kept the heart hidden inside. It took multiple reincarnations of Maribel so that it could finally be time to solve the puzzle and she can finally be with Time. We thought a lot about the dice, too. They told you what path you were more inclined toward, one reader likening them to Dungeons and Dragons dice roles for a character. We’re not too sure what the feather and crown mean, but maybe the harbor that Dorian, Zachary, and Kat form will be based on that. However, it was foretold that the sword Dorian wielded would kill a king and he’s killed Zachary. Is Zachary a king in the new harbor?

Kat was a favorite character for a few of us. She took care of the people around her. Allegra was universally disliked and her desire to keep the harbor the way it was was what made the world collapse around her. She was a gatekeeper who wanted to limit access to the library while the leader of our group, a librarian herself, sees that the role of librarians is the opposite of a gatekeeper, it’s to share and make information accessible. Toward the end, we’re told that Zachary and Dorian are the new Fate and Time. We wondered if they’d have the same trials as Maribel and the Keeper did to finally be together. Many of these characters have literary or cultural references in their name. Dorian comes from Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray and one reader suspected that Zachary’s middle name, Ezra, was a reference to a character in the Star Wars Rebels story. One of the most interesting was Eleanor. We’re told her name comes from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. However, her nickname, the name she chooses for herself, is Lenore. We couldn’t help but think of the Poe poem about his late wife by the same name.

I like joining this group from time to time to get a good SF&F fix. We’ll see what else they’ve got that can entice me. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 18-November-2020

18 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Again, no progress with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono, sorry to say. I hoped to get back to reading during lunch, but I turned to outdoor walks instead which has been lovely and I’m not sure I’ll change it, to be honest.
I got through one or two essays in Knitting Yarns by Ann Hood before putting it aside again to return to my Buddy Read
I’m about through the next section of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for my Buddy Read and we meet again tomorrow to talk about it. This is going faster than our past reads, I think because my Buddy is enjoying it so much. I’m not complaining!
I’m enjoying The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown and almost wishing I had a commute to help me enjoy it! Well, I’m not wishing too hard for that.

Recently finished: Nothing this week. I’m optimistic about next week but it honestly doesn’t look that good, either.

Reading next: I’m excited to start A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger so I’m hopeful it will be soon! It’s the last book to finish my challenge, which is making me all the more eager to start it.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Club Reflection: The Rise of Wolf 8 by Rick McIntyre

16 Nov

My book club met last week to talk about our latest read, The Rise of Wolf 8 by Rick McIntyre. This was a read I listened to, mostly while moving and driving back and forth between my apartment and my new house so I was able to get through it rather quickly. It wasn’t one I particularly enjoyed but, as I suspected, I was the minority when we met to talk about it.

McIntyre clearly knows a lot and understands wolves well. He’s able to describe the narrative of wolf interaction and is a gifted storyteller. Now, he’s not going to win a Nobel for his writing, but it was still more engaging than most naturalists can probably tell a story about non-verbal animals. Sometimes, he walked a line between telling a story and sharing his research. But his connections to the wolves are strong and he shows his passion. The second book in this series, The Reign of Wolf 21, came out this past September and there’s a planned third book to finish the series.

The reader who most liked this book already liked wolves and dogs. It did get one reader to have a greater affinity for wolves than she’d had before. Many with pet dogs were able to compare the behavior to their dogs. One thing that didn’t come across as well in the book was the size of Yellowstone. A few of our members had visited the park and they said you couldn’t imagine the range of the park and by focusing on the wolves, you didn’t always get a sense of how far apart they were. The Wolf Project is a big undertaking for the park, which is funded with public funds. Some questioned if the public supported the project enough to justify the cost. It seems like McIntyre’s arguing that the additional revenue to Yellowstone is enough to pay for the project and that it’s also supported surrounding businesses.

We had a few criticisms that were shared almost universally. One is that the middle of the book seemed repetitive and long. I noticed this myself and was glad I wasn’t alone. The second was that with the animals being numbered it was easy to forget the relationships and who packed with who if you didn’t read the book daily. I heard the print version contained a family tree that I would have found immeasurably helpful. We heard that the rationale for numbering the wolves is to keep the researchers from getting so attached to the animals. Though, McIntyre seems to do this anyway. Jane Goodall was criticized for naming the chimps she studied since the generally accepted practice is to use numbers.

We’re going to continue to meet virtually so I plan to continue attending. Once this group meets in person again, I’ll likely drop off since it’s now quite far from me.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 11-November-2020

11 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I haven’t opened Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono, sorry to say. It’s been a crazy week with the US election going on and I spent my free time refreshing news websites instead of reading this. I hope I can get back to it this week with a winner declared.
I put Knitting Yarns by Ann Hood aside for now. I’ll get back to it soon.
I started my buddy read again! We missed each other a lot during my move and we’re both glad to be reading again. We decided to read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I never read this in high school and I’ve been told that’s nearly a reader’s crime. I’m hoping to rectify it soon.
I began a new audiobook for my book club, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. So far, it’s reminding me of Erik Larson and I’m happy about that!

Recently finished: I was able to finish The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and even managed to write my review of it already! It posted yesterday so please go check it out and let me know what you think. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

I posted my review of Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald on Thursday of last week. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars. Each time I think about it, I think about going for a run. That’s good, right?
I also got to my review of The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer this week. I’m killing it with reviews! The post went up on Monday so, again, let me know what you think! I gave the book Four out of Five Stars (I’m seeing a trend).

Reading next: It’s got to be A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger next. I can’t wait to get to this one and finish my reading challenge!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Review: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (4/5)

10 Nov

I needed a book for my When Are You Reading? Challenge and this worked out perfectly. 1500-1699 can be really challenging so I was happy to find one that worked out so perfectly. On top of that, it seems this is a classic middle-grade book that I missed out on somehow. It’s nice to have read it now and feel like I’m not missing out.

Cover image via Amazon

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Summary from Amazon:

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Because I’m such a big fan of historical fiction, one thing that struck me was that this book seemed a bit out of time. I’m thinking specifically of Kit’s upbringing in Barbados which seemed very modern from what I know of the late 1600s. It colored the book for me moving forward from there. I did feel that the Puritan colony in Connecticut was rather well portrayed from my knowledge of history and I found that fascinating.

From what I know, the characters were very true to life for the time. Judith and Aunt Sarah were very lifelike and felt like people you could know in any time period. Kit was very rebellious and ahead of her time which makes it easier for a modern reader to connect with her. I think they were good characters for a MG novel and I liked them a lot.

Mercy was my favorite character and I wanted everything to go well for her. She was so kind and had accepted her station in life tough Kit wanted more for her. She was glad to teach the children how to read and be a help around the house. But the reader wanted her to find love and her arc completed beautifully.

Kit was easy to relate to because she wanted life to be fun and carefree, more like a childhood of modern time. Because she was easy to relate to, the Puritan culture she was in stuck out even more than it would have otherwise and served as a great backdrop to show her struggle to fit in and the strict culture she was living in.

Elizabeth George Speare
Image via Amazon

I thought the ending was very sweet. I liked how William’s allegiance changed and how Kit came to realize that she wanted her freedom and how she could go about that. Mercy’s ending was very fitting for her character. While I figured out how Kit’s story would end about halfway through, these side character arcs were happy surprises.

Kit seemed so oblivious at the beginning of the book that her character was a bit annoying. It was hard for me to like her at first because she seemed to be so flippant and didn’t listen to those around her. She grew on me later, but it didn’t start off well.

My audiobook was read by Mary Beth Hurt and I thought she was wonderful. Her voice for Hannah was wonderful and she gave good weight to the emotions the characters would feel.

Fitting in was hard for Kit. She wanted to blend in with her family, but she was a bit lost on how to do that. The change from her upbringing on a tropical island to Puritan New England was stark and I understand why she struggled. It took her time and she made mistakes. In that time, making a mistake almost cost her her life and freedom. Now, we have more leeway to make mistakes and not have to count on Nat to deliver us from the trial.

Writer’s Takeaway: One thing YA authors struggle with is giving a young adult the agency to make changes in their life due to their age. Setting her story in the late 1600s gave Speare this ability and I think she tackled it well. Historical YA is important because it helps growing minds see what their life could have been like and I think Speare did this very well.

Enjoyable and fun. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1500-1699 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond- Historical Fiction for Young and Old | Pine Needles and Paper Trails 

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