Tag Archives: Elizabeth George Speare

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!

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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.

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.

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: 
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare | Fill Your Bookshelf 
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare | Book Reviews by Kristie 
The Witch of Blackbird Pond- Historical Fiction for Young and Old | Pine Needles and Paper Trails 

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WWW Wednesday, 4-November-2020

4 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’ve been making steady progress with The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare on audio. Without commuting, I’m getting creative with my listening time and have utilized going to the gym to get a lot in. I should have this book wrapped up next week.
I surprised myself by finishing my ebook! I grabbed Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono for my next read. I like the idea of teaching creative thinking and I wonder if it will help me with writing at all.
I pushed to finish my physical book as well and was able to start Knitting Yarns by Ann Hood on Friday. It’s a nice collection of essays and while it’s not overly gripping, I’m moving forward through it well. With the cooler weather, I’m thinking more about knitting and this has gotten me in the mood for it.

Recently finished: My final push to finish Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald was successful! Hearing Grunenwald’s story was good for me right now as I feel a drop off in running coming with the winter months. I’ll probably switch to swimming, but her motivation will carry over and I hope I can keep it up. My review for the book will be up tomorrow.
I got caught up in The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer and finished that on Friday as well. It was a good day for me! I was a bit disappointed in the ending which seemed to fall a bit flat, but it was a fun ride along the way. Meltzer is a good place for me to turn when I need a book to pick me up. My review will be up early next week.

Reading next: I still plan to read A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger but it doesn’t look like it will be my next audiobook due to some book club demands.
My book club decided on reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet after all the good press it’s gotten. I’m excited to dive in soon and see what the hype is about.


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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WWW Wednesday, 28-October-2020

28 Oct

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 made an effort to make some progress on Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald this week and it’s gone well! I’m getting closer to the end and I’m optimistic I’ll finish this one in November. Fingers crossed!
I’m moving quickly through The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer and think I can finish it within a week. The short chapters make it easy to think ‘Just one more’ a few times before turning in for the night. My husband is usually snoring before I put it down.
I was able to start a new audiobook over the weekend and snagged a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It’s not terribly long and I’m hoping I can finish it in a week or two. It looks like I was the only person not to read this as a child so I’m glad I’m finally catching up!

Recently finished: I finished The Rise of Wolf 8 by Rick McIntyre while I was cooking dinner one night. It felt so good to finish a book with my house in boxes all around me! At least one thing was done. I was able to post my review on Monday so please go check that out. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.

I also posted my review for Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni on Thursday. I liked this book but it wasn’t a good fit for reading right before bed. I ended up giving it Three out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I’m looking to finish up my reading challenge with my next audiobook. Some detailed Googling led me to A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger. I don’t know much about it except the setting but I’m so pumped to finish the challenge that I’ll jump in with two feet.
I’ll likely need another physical book soon. This may sound crazy, but I haven’t made it to our new library to get a library card yet, so I’ll be taking from my personal stash for at least one more book. Next on my list is Knitting Yarns by Ann Hood. A friend of mine bought this for me years and years ago and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to get to 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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WWW Wednesday, 21-October-2020

21 Oct

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: With all the moving craziness of last week, I haven’t touched Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. I hope to get a bit more in, but it may be a bit before I find the time. I’m liking this one a lot and I hope to finish it this month but I’m not holding myself too that too strongly.
I’m enjoying having The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer to turn to for some escapism. The fast pace is wonderful for my short attention span right now.
I started a new audiobook and had a ton of time to listen to it while driving back and forth on moving day! It’s my next book club pick, The Rise of Wolf 8 by Rick McIntyre. It’s been a while since we did some non-fiction so it’s a nice change of pace. I’ll have this one finished up by next week easily.

Recently finished: Nothing this week but after having two last week, I’m not worried. I did write a review for The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo which posted on Monday so please check that out!

Reading next: I need to start focusing on my reading challenge so I’m going to try and get a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It’s been a while since I read a MG/YA book and this time period setting is perfect for my 1500-1699 slot in the historical fiction 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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