Tag Archives: When I Crossed No-Bob

WWW Wednesday, 13-November-2019

13 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 think Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine will be done by next week. I really enjoyed the first half of the novel but it’s slowed down for me a lot and I’m dragging a bit through the last 100 pages. I thought it would be done sooner but oh well.
I made a great surge with My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart. I had a slow conference with a lot of downtime to read a silly cookbook and this was perfect because the frequent interruptions weren’t a problem. I’m optimistic about getting this one finished this month.
With just one audiobook, I’m moving through The Mortifications by Derek Palacio pretty quickly. The audiobook is well done. I’m noticing a lot of subtle magical realism elements that are often found in Hispanic literature. It’s not a favorite of mine, but I’m still enjoying it and learning a lot about Cuban culture from it, too.

Recently finished: I loved Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie and I’m so glad there are more books in this series. I recommend this book series a lot because I think it deserves more attention than it’s gotten. It’s funny and well-plotted. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

I’ve only posted once since last week and thankfully it was a book review (as I’m growing behind on those). I posted my review of When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan on Thursday. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’m still reeling from all the free time I have to read what I want! I need to be ready with an audiobook and a physical book soon. For my audiobook, I think I’m going to listen to The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman. I saw this one at Powell’s and talked myself out of buying it but still wanted to enjoy it eventually. It seems like now is a great time.
I’m also going to get ready with a physical book from the library. The next on my list is Not Without my Daughter by Betty Mahmoody. I’ve heard this is a crazy-true story and I look forward to enjoying 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!

Book Review: When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullen (3/5)

7 Nov

McMullen taught creative writing at my university and I never took a class outside my major to learn from her. I figured that reading her book now might teach me something. That makes sense, right?

Cover image via Goodreads

When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullen

Summary from Goodreads:

Life as an O’Donnell is all twelve-year-old Addy knows, and life as an O’Donnell means trouble.
Tucked away in a gray patch of woods called No-Bob, the O’Donnell clan has nothing but a bad reputation. So when Addy’s mama abandons her on the afternoon of Mr. Frank Russell’s wedding celebration, nobody is very surprised. A reluctant Mr. Frank and his new wife take Addy in, and Addy does everything she can to prove that at least one O’Donnell has promise. But one day, Addy witnesses a terrible event that brings her old world crashing into the new.
As she finds herself being pulled back into No-Bob and the grips of her O’Donnell kin, Addy is faced with the biggest decision of her life. Can she somehow find the courage to do what’s right, even if it means betraying one of her own?

I haven’t read a middle-grade book in a while and it took me a little bit to get used to the writing in this category. It’s simplified from what you’d find in YA and there’s nothing wrong with that, just something to adjust to. I heard that this was the second book in a series and I think I may have missed out on some exposition because I read it first. I was a bit confused at the beginning about No-Bob and why the O’Donnell’s were so dispised. I was also a little confused about the relationships between the kids because they seemed to be fighting in one scene and friends in the next, but that’s very true of childhood in general so I shouldn’t have been so off-put. I thought the story touched on a lot of issues at the time and did it well. Overall, I didn’t have many complaints and it was a nice book to read during lunches because it moved quickly and was easy to jump in and out of.

There wasn’t a whole lot of character development in this one. Most of the characters were very one-sided with the exception of Addy. I didn’t have a problem with this because of the age target. Addy is a good character to show development. She becomes very strong over the course of the book and would be a good role model for girls reading this. She’s exposed to a lot of different opinions and types of people and learns for herself who is admirable and who isn’t. I thought this was well done over the course of the book and it got the slow burn it deserved.

Frank was a great character. He seemed a bit naive but he was a good husband and surrogate father. He was industrious and smart and showed Addy a lot of love she’d never had from a man before. She needed a father when she was taken in and there’s not a better man who could have done it.

Addy had to recognize racism and decide how she felt about it. I think that’s relatable for a lot of children growing up. I had a somewhat diverse community that I grew up in, but I was still part of a white majority. I remember learning about different races and recognizing that in my peers. Addy had a more abrupt lesson than I did but it’s a lesson everyone has to go through when growing up.

Margaret McMullen
Image via the University of Evansville

I liked the beginning of the book best; when Addy was learning from Frank about how to be more civilized. It was very sweet and the way she was acted around her new father made her grow on me. It made her a very likable character despite being very rough around the edges.

The time she spent living in the woods didn’t work for me. It felt skipped over and unimportant to the overall plot. I think there was a lot of good material in there and the book was strong enough without it.

Addy has to face a harsh decision between protecting her father and doing what’s right. She has been told how important blood and family are, but she doesn’t see that she’s being respected in the same way she’s being asked to respect others. It’s a tough call for her to make and I like that McMullen recognizes the struggle she has to make that decision. While blood is thicker than water, it’s still a liquid and sometimes needs to be washed away.

Writer’s Takeaway: Characters have to deal with tough issues. I’m glad I read this when I did because I’m writing about a character dealing with racism in my latest project. It’s interesting to see how McMullen handled it and think about what parts of that I’d like to emulate and which I want to be different from.

Overall, a solid book, but not a style I’m a huge fan of. 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!

Related Posts:
Spotlight On: Margaret McMullan- University of Evansville Professor, Author | Women’s Connections at Bamberger

WWW Wednesday, 23-October-2019

23 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: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter has been a good listen over the past week. I’m enjoying the multiple plot lines and multiple timelines and waiting to hear them come together. The blend of history and modern is really fun and I’m enjoying the variety of characters.
I started Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine over the weekend. I’m so glad to finally have this one going after having it on my bedside table for so long. Not too far into it yet so I’ll have a better report next week.
I needed a new ebook and decided to jump into My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart. I enjoyed her YouTube series a lot and I’m interested to see how her comedy translates to a book.

Recently finished: I finished When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan finally. I’d hoped to finish it earlier but work got really crazy and ate into my lunch reading a bit. It’s going to be a while before I get to my review, though. I’m got quite the backlog.|
I work up early on Saturday to finish The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli before I left for a road trip. I didn’t want to bring it along with me again! And I need to get it back to the library so I don’t lose my ILL privileges.

I finally got some reviews up! So glad to say that. Monday I reviewed The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. I liked this one well enough, but it wasn’t a favorite for me at all. There are other Gregory books I like much more. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I was happy with the final book in this series and how it wrapped up the character progression through the series. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I haven’t thought a lot about books I’ll read next. I’m just trying to make it to NaNoWriMo. However, I’m looking forward to getting some historical fiction in and I think Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie will be my next audiobook. I need a book from that time period for the When Are You Reading? Challenge and I adore the characters in this series.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 16-October-2019

16 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 thought I’d finish When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan this week, but no such luck. I had a lot of rushed lunches where I wasn’t able to get some reading in so I’ll be optimistic and say one more week on there before I finish it.
I really need to push through and finish The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli. I know the book has to be returned soon but I’m almost afraid to look up when because I know it’s coming fast and I don’t think I’m ready for it.
I’m glad to have a book I’m not afraid to listen to while running in the dark! I started Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter on audio and I’ll push to get through this one quickly as the book club meeting for it is coming up at the end of the month. I don’t think it will be too much of a struggle, though. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews.

Recently finished: I wrapped up We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix on Friday which means I got through this one in less than a week! I didn’t realize how close I was to the book club meeting for it and I’m glad I rushed through to finish because we met on Monday to talk about it!

I’d planned on a few book reviews to be posted before this went up but I’ve been so busy with things in my personal life the past two weeks that I’m taking a week to regroup. I plan to be back at it on Monday with some delayed reviews so look forward to that. Of course, I’m not going to miss a WWW Wednesday!

Reading Next: I really want to start Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine as soon as I can! I hope book club books don’t get in the way because I’m looking forward to one of my first review books in over a year and I’d like to dive in soon.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 9-October-2019

9 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 think I’ll finish When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan soon. Unless it’s Wednesday and I’m responding to comments on this post, I usually get through a few pages during my lunch and there’s not much left. I think this will come off next week!
I continue to move through The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli but no faster than I have been. I’m enjoying it, but it’s a bit dense and not gripping enough to keep me reading when I get tired. I was able to extend my time with it until the end of the month and I feel confident I’ll finish it by then.
I was able to start We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix on Saturday. So far, I like it but I’m not really feeling the horror element to it yet. I think I’ll get through this pretty quickly since I’m listening to it in my car and when I’m running/cooking/doing chores on my phone. I have a few to get through so I want to speed this one up.

Recently finished: I was happy to finish The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory the day of my Friend of the Library meeting so I could return it in the evening! I enjoyed the story and the ending was a bit of a shock to me which was a nice twist. This book will fulfill a new time period in my When Are You Reading? Challenge so I’m super excited to add it to my list!
I was able to finish A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab Saturday during a road trip! So excited to wrap up this series. I liked how it ended though I think there’s more to the story that I’d like to hear. But I always feel that way with good books. I hope more V.E. Schwab comes across my path soon, it’s been a joy.

I also posted my review of Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I’m always a sucker for a good memoir and this was no exception. I’ll be posting my book club reflection of the book tomorrow so more to come on this one!

Reading Next: I will start Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine as soon as I finish Travels. It will be good to have some historical fiction to motivate me as I do NaNo prep.
I already have another audiobook lined up thanks to book club commitments. I’ll be starting Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter as soon as I finish Souls. I’m really hoping to have a lot of audio time and get through these quickly! I hate feeling rushed for book club.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 2-October-2019

2 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’m really close to finishing The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory, I was hoping I’d be done by now! I’ve got a slug of eaudio to finish up and I’m going to take a break from physical audio once I finish this one. Maybe it will be today?
A half marathon wasn’t enough to finish A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. This is longer than I thought it would be! I’m wondering if there’s a bit too much fluff in here but it’s keeping me engaged so far. We’ll see how I feel as it gets closer to the end.
I’m excited to be over halfway through When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan. It’s getting a little darker now and I’m not sure where this is headed. I didn’t expect some of these elements from an MG book!
I’m still enjoying The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli but I’ll have to see about picking it up a bit and reading faster. I’m approaching my initial due date and because it’s an interlibrary loan, I only get one more renewal. I’m not sure I’ll finish at my current pace.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week! And no new reviews. I’ve got some coming again eventually. I am mostly caught up at this point and it feels really good to be able to say that!

Reading Next: I can’t wait to start the eaudio for We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix. It’s teasing me on my bedside table and I really want to pick it up soon.
I almost never do this, but I accepted an ARC! Though the book is out already so I guess it’s not very ‘advanced.’ Maybe Early Reader Copy? Anyway, the book is Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine. I was won over by the 1920s setting and decided I needed to have more giveaway books on my list this year. This seems like the best place to start.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 25-September-2019

25 Sep

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 think I need about another week with The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. The longer commute is nice to get through these long books faster and sit through traffic. Though I think the construction on my drive is almost done so this shouldn’t be an issue much longer.
One more week of half marathon training to go but I don’t think it will be enough to finish A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I’ll wrap this up soon, I hope. I have another book club selection to get through soon.
When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan has been a good lunch read for me. I’m really going to try to stick to shorter books so I can remember the beginning better when I finish them!
I’ve started on The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli and I’m enjoying it so far. She’s using a lot of stories and anecdotes to tell the story which makes it a lot more enjoyable! I don’t think I’ll fly through this one, but I’ll enjoy the ride.

Recently finishedI wrapped up Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m looking forward to my book club discussion on this one, I think a lot of people will have a lot to say. My review for this one won’t be up for a while because I have so much planned out on the blog. I’m running about two weeks ahead!

I’ve had two book reviews go up already this week. The first was The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie. This was a super cute short book and I enjoyed it though I’m not sure I would have guessed it would get the response it has. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. This one really wasn’t for me and I’m glad I’ve read it but I think a paragraph in a history book could have summarized it better for me. I gave the book Two out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: My next book club pick is We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix. It’s our Halloween pick but our leader thinks it will also be a funny read so I’m excited to see how that combination works.


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!

WWW Wednesday, 18-September-2019

18 Sep

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 got through so much last week that I’m not surprised there’s little movement this week. I’m making great progress with The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory due to the longer commute. I don’t mind it at all, really. It’s just under a half-hour and without too much traffic. Perfect for listening!
I’m still listening to A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab while I run in preparation for a half marathon at the end of the month. I’m liking it a lot and it’s very high energy! Great mood for running.
I’m trying to wrap up Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance quickly due to a library hold. I’m liking it, but parts seem to drag a little more than others. I think this will be a good discussion book for our group.
I’m glad I picked When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan for my ebook. It’s moving quickly and the shorter chapters are good for the start-and-stop nature of how I read ebooks.

Recently finished: Nothing finished this week but I’m not at all surprised after the landfall of books listed last week! It has to fall short after such a great week.

I did get two book reviews written! The first is for Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going. I liked this book, but it wasn’t the best one I’d read on craft this year. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian. This was a book club pick so I’ll be posting about our discussion soon but it’s safe to say I liked this one but was disappointed in the ending. I also gave it Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: My hold on The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli came in at the library and I’m hoping I can finish Vance quickly so I can dive in to it before the reading period ends! I might be rushing a bit.


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!

Recently Added To My To-Read List (Part 1)

18 Nov

If you are a follower of this blog, it will come as no surprise to you that I added a total of 13 books to my to-read list since I last did an update of this type. In order to get my tired self to sleep sooner rather than later, I’m going to do this in two parts. Here are the first six.

  1. Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody. When I was in Northern Michigan visiting family, my cousins took me to the house where Mahmoody lived in Aplena. I was intrigued and decided that I had to read the book of a woman who was stuck in Iran and refused to leave (you guessed it) without her daughter.
  2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I forget who already, but someone told me I have to read this book. It’s a classic so I completely agreed. Funny enough, one of my co-workers told me I needed to read it last week. I guess I really need to.
  3. Empire Falls by Richard Russo. This book was yet another of the book calendar recommendations that are crowding my list. I saw that it’s an option for my library’s book club packs and the story reminded me just enough of the character I wrote during NaNoWriMo, so I thought I could call it research.
  4. Scene and Structure by Jack M. Bickham. This was recommended to me by Kristen Lamb when I had trouble understanding the elements of a scene. I hope reading it will help my writing. Thanks, Kristen!
  5. When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan. McMullan is a professor at my alma mater and I thought it would be appropriate to check out one of her books.
  6. Abraham by Bruce Feiler. I did a post a few weeks ago about meeting Bruce Feiler. This is the book I had him sign. I’m unsure if I want to let it out of my apartment!

So there you are, my next six books added and waiting for me to commit to them by checking them out from the library. Any winners on the list? Anything that you think might be a dud? Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time, write on.