February 2018 Books

It is now the first week of March and my reading year is well underway. February, our shortest month of the year, is typically not a huge reading month for me. In the past five months of February, I have read 14, 2, 4, 13, & 12 books in the month. Last month? I read 24. Nearly a book a day in Feb. I’m even impressed with me.

February: (24 books)

  1. Flat-Out Love – Jessica Park^
  2. Man Hands – Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby^
  3. Ready to Run – Lauren Layne^
  4. Fallen Heir – Erin Watt^
  5. Poison Princess – Kresley Cole*
  6. The Love Experiment – Ainslie Paton^
  7. Trophy Husband – Lauren Blakely^
  8. The Difference Between Us – Rachel Higginson^
  9. Temporary – Sarina Bowen & Sarah Mayberry^
  10. Christmas at Two Love Lane – Keiran Kramer^
  11. Endless Knight – Kresley Cole*
  12. Dead of Winter – Kresley Cole*
  13. Day Zero – Kresley Cole*
  14. Arcana Rising – Kresley Cole*
  15. The Dark Calling – Kresley Cole
  16. Brooklynaire – Sarina Bowen^
  17. The Smallest Part – Amy Harmon^
  18. The Law of Moses – Amy Harmon^
  19. Sincerely, Carter – Whitney G. ^
  20. Being Brooke – Emma Hart^
  21. All I Ask – Nicole McLaughlin^
  22. The Lovely Reckless – Kami Garcia^
  23. The Idea of You – Robinne Lee^
  24. Different Kind of Forever – Dee Ernst^

So that’s a good list. I reread the Kresley Cole Arcana Chronicles series in anticipation of the new book, the first in almost two years. It was very good, the new one. As a whole, possibly my favorite series of all-time.

Man Hands is a funny book. The Love Experiment is a great read, I really liked it a lot. The Smallest Part was great, but The Law of Moses, part of the same series is excellent. A contender for book of the year. My favorite read of the month? Brooklynaire. Goodness I love Sarina Bowen. Excellent installment in her Brooklyn Bruisers series, but written so that it does not need to be read in order. Just great.

Not so great? The Idea of You. I loved the concept of this book, but the writing is bad. It is so pretentious and unrealistic that I kind of want to smack the author on principle. Different Kind of Forever I read literally because a review of The Idea of You said that it was the same concept done better. So I thought I’d find out. It is a very similar concept. And it is better, yes, but still not good. Finally, Christmas at Two Love Lane. Boy, did it surprise me how much I did not like this book. I love her historicals, but this was my first foray into contemporaries with her. I expected to like this and couldn’t believe not only that I didn’t, but how MUCH I didn’t. I have another contemporary, a different series, by her on my bookshelf. I’m now hesitant to try it. Maybe someday.

So there you have it, my February books. I ended the month with 43 books, having me on pace to read 258 books. As always, we shall see how it goes.

Happy Reading!

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January 2018 Books

Here we go again! Kicking off a new year of book blogging. I once again set my sights on 175 books. I decimated that total last year, but I think that was highly unusual for me. However, today, on this first day of February, I have a solid start, with 19 books. Now, to be fair, the first 18 were MN Book Award selections, but I did read them. On my own, I chose and read one single book in January, which just leaves the field wide open for February. The first 18 are listed in alphabetical order by title, as I can’t remember exactly what order I read them.

January: (19 books)

  1. Bearer of the Pearls – Terry Faust
  2. The Bite of Winter – Bethany Helwig
  3. Bold Women of Medicine: 21 Stories of Astounding Discoveries, Daring Surgeries, and Healing Breakthroughs – Susan M. Latta
  4. City of Angels – Kristi Belcamino
  5. The Devils You Know – MC Atwood
  6. Echo Island – Edward Karlow
  7. The Exo Project – Andrew DeYoung
  8. Just a Girl – Carrie Mesrobian
  9. Kollected: The Lake Hunters – JS Welles^
  10. The Last Thing You Said – Sara Biren
  11. Nico & Tucker – Rachel Gold
  12. Painted Hives – Jay Ebben
  13. Piper – Jay Asher & Jessica Freeberg
  14. Sucktown, Alaska – Craig Dirkes
  15. Thief’s Cunning – Sarah Ahiers
  16. Things I’m Seeing Without You – Peter Bognanni
  17. The Town Build on Sorrow – David Oppegaard
  18. Unfolding – Jonathan Friesen
  19. Stud in the Stacks – Pippa Grant^

There you have it. My strong start to the year. Of the Book Award books, I liked City of Angels, The Last Thing You Said, The Exo Project, and Things I’m Seeing Without You. I can’t really give you more information, just that I liked those.

Stud in the Stacks was my pick to start the year and what a pick it was! This is a story about a male librarian who reads romance novels. It’s like a love letter to romance told from a guy’s perspective and it’s funny. I loved it. Great pick to start my reading year.

Okay then, 19 books so far. On pace to read 228 books. We shall see how it goes!

Happy reading.

2017 Books Recap

Tell the truth: was everyone dying because it took me a MONTH to get this written and posted? I’m sure. Obviously everyone loves this post. Oh, wait, is that just me? Too bad. My blog, my rules and I love this post. I get geekily excited about it year after year. Also, this is the fifth anniversary of the book blogging recap, so I feel like there shall be some fun ahead.

Alrighty, I could blather here for a while, but what’s the point? We all want the dirty deets, so let’s get right to it.

****************************************************************

2017 Statistics

Total number of books read in 2017: 225(!) (25% increase over 2016)

Average number of books read per month: 18.75

Average number of books read per week: 4.32

Month with the most books read: This goes to September and her 36 books. The most books I’ve ever read in a month is 37 (August of 2016) so this is a perfectly respectable, impressive total.

Month with the least books read: This is a tie between November and December and 3 books each.

Best book I read in 2017:

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. Wow, I really struggled with this. When I read this book and finally put it down, I said out loud “that was the best book of the year” and it held for months, but then, along came Brigid Kemmerer and I was torn. I almost said a tie because they were both so good but I don’t want to start that. So I made the tough choice. And this book is incredible. It is so brilliantly written and incredibly moving and supremely touching. I love everything about it. And the fact that I met the author and he’s an awesome guy and signed my book doesn’t hurt either. He’s now on the must-read/auto-buy list. He’s that good. He is also the very first male to win in this coveted category, so cheers, Jeff Zentner, and thank you for this unbelievably good book.

Runners up for best book in 2017: (in not much order)

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. I seriously love this book so much I am disappointed it did not win, and wanted to create a second place category just for this book. Instead I am listing it first among the runners-up so it doesn’t get lost. This book blew me away. It is equally as good as this year’s champion and I am sad I read them both in the same year. Love this book.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne if you haven’t heard of this book I’d be surprised. It is everywhere and deservedly so. This book is amazing and funny and smart AND it is her first book ever! Imagine how great she’ll be in a few years. I bet she takes this category in a couple of years.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay is another very strong contender and if not for the three previous books could have won best of the year.

180 Seconds by Jessica Park, I sincerely loved this book. It is so well done and beautiful. Again, in a different year, this could easily have won.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. This is my dark horse pick. It isn’t romance but a swashbuckling adventure and I loved it. The sequel comes out this year and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein. This story, my first by Charlotte Stein, really stuck with me. It was a dark and sometimes difficult read, but it ended up being a beautiful story.

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn. I talk more about this historical romance in the most surprising category, where it did win, but what a great, fantastic book (and I just noticed that the first in this series, Because of Miss Bridgerton, was in this same category last year, I guess if you want historical, you cannot go wrong here.)

Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne. This book is an installment in a series, the third and I loved every word. This is not a book I would expect to find on this list but it hung in there and I just couldn’t NOT give it a nod.

Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino. She appears in several categories this year and this is the only one that’s a good one. She also made this category last year with two of her books. And supposedly she has one coming out this year so I wouldn’t be surprised to find her here (or winning) next year.

The Knocked-Up Plan by Lauren Blakely. This is another book I wouldn’t have expected to see on this list. 1. Because the romantic comedy, while fun and easy to read aren’t typically stellar stories and 2. because I don’t like pregnancy storylines but, boy this book was awesome. And beating the stereotypes is reason alone to make the list.

Trust by Kylie Scott. I love Kylie Scott. I loved her rock star series, I love her bartender series and this was her first foray into YA. And you know what? I loved it, too. She’s just awesome. As long as she stays away from zombies (yep, tried those too, not even Kylie Scott could get me on board with zombies) she’s tops in my book.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. Like the pirate king, this is a different sort of book. This one is about time traveling on a ship, through maps. It is an odd premise, but such an engrossing read. I loved it. I also liked its sequel but not quite as much as this one.

Worst book I read in 2017:

Thoughtless by SC Stephens. I have to say that this was on several lists as one of the best YA stories around. And I could not believe it. This is not only the worst book of the year but truly one of the worst books I have ever read. I mean, who did they pay off to get this title on so many lists?

Runners up for worst book in 2017: (in no order)

American Queen – Sierra Simone (This lost the crown by the very slimmest of margins)

The Way We Fall – Cassia Leo

Lucian Divine – Renee Carlino

Retrieval – Aly Martinez

Off-Base – Annabeth Albert

Some Kind of Hero – Suzanne Brockmann

The Story of Us – Tara Sivec

Total number of NEW books read: 219 (97.3% of books read this year, 2.6% increase over 2016)

Total rereads: 6 (2.7% of books read this year, 2.6% decrease from 2016)

Total number of standalone books (do not occur in a series): 74 (32.9% of books read in 2017, 2.2% increase from 2016)

Best series:

Hellcat Canyon Series by Julie Anne Long. This was a hotly contested category this year and I went back and forth, but ultimately, JAL won out because there is so much to love in the three books in this series but the thing I loved best is that each got better and I liked the third the most, which is rare enough in series writing. Plus, they are super funny, which I adore in a good romance.

Runners up for best series: (in no order)

Openly Series by Bill Konigsberg, I was very tempted to pick this as the winner as male authors don’t win much around here (although, best book of the year, Jeff Zentner!), and there was nothing to dislike in this series. If I had to rank, this would be my second favorite series of the year.

Love Unexpectedly Series by Lauren Layne, this could easily have been a winner as one of its books (Walk of Shame) made the best list this year. The final two books were excellent but the first two were just good, which is why it did not win.

Game On Series by Kristin Callihan, as a whole these are not books that will rock your world, but they are enjoyable books and I liked this series (which is ongoing) very much.

Royally Series by Emma Chase, a few years ago, I read a book by Emma Chase and hated it. Not just disliked, but hated, which crossed her off my read list. Then I kept reading about this series, it just kept dogging me until I finally gave in and tried the first, boy am I glad I gave her another chance! This is a great series, especially if you are (as I really, really, am) a fan of royalty in your books.

Most surprising book:

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn. What surprised me about this book is how very much I loved it. I mean, it’s Julia Quinn, and she has long been on my must-read list, as a matter of fact, she is the only historical author I still read religiously, but in general, I’m pretty much over the whole historical romance thing. Yet, this book is one of my favorites of the year. It is on the best list. I’ve gone so far as to recommend this series just to give people a chance to read this book. It is utterly delightful.

Runners up for most surprising book: (in no order)

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, surprising mostly for the fact that I don’t read this sort of book but it crossed my path and caught my attention and I liked it. Enough that I will read the sequel this year. For the curious, it is about assassin nuns. Truth.

The Rule Book by Jennifer Blackwood, this was a surprise because of how I found it. It was my friends at Amazon who said “based upon your choices, try….” and this was at the top of the list. Unfortunately, I had recently just gotten some really bad books from Amazon and the list was based off that. And I’ve tried Amazon recs before and been disappointed. But in this, I was pleasantly surprised. This was a great read. Kudos Amazon.

Biggest disappointment:

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover, oh how I struggled with this. If you follow my reading habits at all, you know Colleen Hoover is at the top of my must read list. In fact, she is an auto-buy for me. That’s rare. I don’t buy that many books. Anyway, this came out and a year with a new Colleen Hoover book is always a good one. Until this one. I just couldn’t connect with this one. It’s not that it’s bad. It isn’t. She couldn’t write a bad book. But I couldn’t connect to the story and it didn’t, in my opinion, deliver the same oomph her other books bring. So while it is weird to list a book that I said was 3/5 stars as my biggest disappointment, every other book of hers has been 5/5 stars, without hesitation, so I guess that’s why. I wanted the oomph and was disappointed I didn’t get it.

Runners up for biggest disappointment: (in no order)

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren; so one of my favorite things to do is at the end of the year start looking at best of lists and read the best romance books of the year, if I haven’t already. Once those lists came out, they virtually ALL listed this book as the best romance of 2017. I had already read it and was just…meh about it. It’s not bad, but it certainly isn’t great. If you’re going to do office/hate-to-love romance, I feel that everyone will now compare you to The Hating Game (see best list) and this does not come close.

Lucian Divine by Renee Carlino, note this book also appears on the worst of list. It’s that simple, this was not a good book. And Renee Carlino is on my must-read list, she is amazing…this was not.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I loved her Gods and Monsters trilogy and I was so excited for this new series, but I was left feeling a little blah. It’s not bad, there is certainly potential but it fell a little flat for me.

Total number of print books read in 2017: 40* (17.8% of books read this year, 1.2% INCREASE over 2016. *However, with the MN Book awards books, I read what I was given and this accounts for 23 of those print books and two electronic books, so this stat is slightly inflated)

Total number of electronic books read in 2017: 185 (82.2% of books read this year, 1.2% decrease from 2016 see note* above)

Most surprising statistic: I don’t see how I don’t go with “Total number of books read” I mean, TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE books. That is so surprising to me.

5th Anniversary Stats:

(in honor of this being the 5th Anniversary of the recap, here’s some fun stats.)

Total number of books read in 5 years: 879 (Wowza! that means for sure by the end of this year I’ll have read more than 1,000 books, in just over six years. That is nuts!)

Average number of books read per month: 14.65

Average number of books read per week: 3.38

Total number of NEW books read: 769 (87.5% of books I read are new books)

Total number of re-reads: 110 (12.5% of books I read I have read previously)

 

The five worst books I’ve read since 2013:

Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

The Professional by Kresley Cole

Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright

Thoughtless by SC Stephens

The five best books I’ve read since 2013: (this is some good company right here!)

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Honorable mentions (five selected books from all the runners-up):

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Monthly lists:

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Annual recaps:

2016 recap

2015 recap

2014 recap

2013 recap

And there you have it. My fifth annual recap of the books I read. Still love everything about it, including how long it takes me to prep and write this post (but I got it in before January ended!). Congratulations to all the winners. If you found yourself in a less than stellar category this year, don’t worry, just ask Kresley Cole who I think has charted in every single category, it’s easy to recover. She’s still aces in my book. For now, my fair readers, go forth and read!

 

 

December 2017 Books

Man alive, I can barely remember back this far. I’ve had a busy January which is why I am nearly at the end and I still haven’t done my yearly book wrapup. As it is my favorite post of the year, I want to get it in before January runs out, so I need to post this quick. All I can tell you is that by December I was running on fumes. I was actually kind of burned out on reading so I barely read at all.

December: (3 books)

  1. An Ex for Christmas – Lauren Layne^
  2. American Queen – Sierra Simone^
  3. Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire^

Yep, that’s it! Three little books. Here’s what I can tell you about them. The first one features a couple called Mark and Kelly and, well, I have very close friends called Mark and Kelly and so it was a little weird for me. But it the closing chapter of a series I very much enjoyed, so I read it, and surprisingly enjoyed it very much. It was cute and fun and sweet.

American Queen was on so many people’s best of lists that I gave it a try. Big mistake. It was horrible. One of the worst of the year (stay tuned…).

And Every Heart a Doorway an odd little book I stumbled across. I liked it, but it didn’t rock my world. If I were in a book deadzone, I might pick up the sequel. We shall see.

There you have it, folks. Any ideas on the grand total?

225.

Two hundred and twenty-five books.

True story. I was a reading machine in 2017. And that is by far my largest total since I started keeping track. Keep your peepers glued here to see my annual recap. It’ll be posted as soon as, well, as soon as I write it.

Here’s to another great year of reading!

Decadius Disseminatus

That’s Latin for “Ten Years of Blogging” (no, it’s really not, please don’t think that’s true, I totally made up the words of the sentiment. It’s not Latin for anything.)

But the gist is this: today, December 9, 2017, is the 10th anniversary of my life as a blogger. Ten YEARS I’ve been writing. On this very day an entire decade ago, I started out as a blogger. My friend Meg said, “You should write a blog” and so I did. Okay, there might have been more to it than that, I’m not that susceptible. I was going to repost my original blog, but, as it turns out, that site has shut down. Which means the first (just over) 500 blogs are lost forever. All that genius, gone in a wash of technology. (insert sad face smiley here)

I’d say it’s sad (see sad face smiley note), but I don’t know that it is (dammit! confused smiley). I don’t know if I need this to be permanent. The memories I’ll have either way but the granular details, I’m not sure we’re meant to carry those always. Maybe they are there just to color in the picture before it slowly leaches over time.

The point is, the stuff that matters we keep forever. but the rest of it, the stuff that seems so important in the moment? I don’t know that we’re supposed to keep it. I think part of life is letting go and moving forward. Hm, that is not a lesson I ever expected to learn through blogging, an exercise that by its very nature should show the opposite, but there you go.

This post, at the moment of publication is my 812th post. 812 times I’ve set out to tell you a story (at least here). My writing rate has slowed considerably. Five years ago, at the half decade mark, I wrote this post. In it, I told how it was my 1,000th post, 483 on this site and 517 on my first, now defunct site. If we include those 517 lost posts, then this is my 1,329th post.

(Remember my thing about numbers? This is a great place to demonstrate.)

I’ve technically written one thousand three hundred and twenty-nine posts (see? numbers are always more impressive if you write out the words.)

Over ten years, that is nearly 133 posts a year or a post every three days. Can you imagine? Every three days for a decade I wrote down my thoughts and published them on the internet for the world to read.

What was I thinking?

Just kidding, I like it. And I’m okay with it. I’m honored and touched and surprised that people actually do read it. People, that is, that are not my family or my friends. Since 219 people actually follow this blog and I’d guess less than 15 of them are the aforementioned friends and family, color me grateful and pleased.

What’s the point?

Well, there isn’t one, really. I just happened to stumble across my five year anniversary post only a couple weeks ago and it struck me, forcibly that I was dangerously close to this major anniversary. I knew then I had to take a moment and honor this date with a post, but as I thought about it in the days leading, I never found my story. Instead, today, without cleverness or guile, you get my thoughts. Just random scatters of notions sprinkled here for your enjoyment. Because I’m awesome like this, I’m going to link ten of my favorite posts.

Nope. Not favorite. Popular. I went to the site statistics and I found a list of all my posts ranked by number of views. So here we go, the Top 10 most popular posts on Livlife.

10.  Blog Crack

9. Buddy Coke

8. 35/35 (Kel, can you believe one of your birthday posts is in the TOP TEN? Of the 178 times that has been viewed, how many were you?…tell the truth!)

7. All About Me (Huh, that’s my intro page, which makes sense I suppose, but feels a bit like a cheat. But I did write it….)

6. Cheese and Macaroni

5. Christmas Letter

4. Magic Necklace

3. The Danger of Brushing Your Hair (in that post I am talking about something that happened 16,000 times and I spell out the words sixteen thousand and comment on how much more it seems. In 2011. Clearly I’ve believed this theory for quite some time).

2. Christian Kane Concert (this could well be MY favorite post I’ve ever written. Certainly it is to reread. I’m probably half of the page views (though I don’t think I count) and I’m both oddly pleased and disappointed it is number two)

1.  Purple Stripes – Never in a million years did I think this would be the most popular post on my site. Not sure what I thought WAS, but I wouldn’t have thought this, that’s for sure.

I’m adding one more: The Universe Wants Me to Listen to David Gray because I have always liked that post. And I think of it whenever a David Gray song comes on the radio or my iPhone. It’s number 33 overall which is still pretty high, so I’m including it as an honorable mention.

Ooops, make that two more. Wouldn’t Time Be Out To Charm You? This is another all time favorite of mine, the detailing of one of my life stories, a defining life story at that. I had to search for this one, only to find it is #73 on the list overall. But to me, this one would absolutely be top ten of my favorites, so I’m leaving it here as a second bonus.

What else can I say after ten years of being a blogger? Let’s see how long it lasts and where it goes, I guess. I certainly never thought I’d be writing a blog still after a decade.

Hm, how do you end these things? You’d think after doing this more than thirteen hundred times I’d have a foolproof system for getting out once the work is done (twss) but, unfortunately, I do not. Sometimes I’m pithy, sometimes it’s natural, sometimes I think I just stop typing.

This will be one of those times.

 

Long Live Livlife

My friend Elena recently had someone reach out to her on Facebook. As most of you know, I don’t do FB. But this person, Katie, reached out to Elena asking for my contact info because they wanted to send a yearbook.

Um, what?

Elena asked me and I asked who this person was. You see, I don’t really remember high school. But Elena does. So I figured she would know who this was and if it was worth sending along my contact info. She said, “I think she went to HS with us.” Well that’s strange. If Elena doesn’t remember her, then who is this person? More importantly, how does this person know that Elena and I are friends?

So I gave Elena permission to pass along my contact info, but not my regular email, my junk email, the one I use to sign up for stuff, and, apparently, pass along to people I may or may not know from Elena’s FB page. Obviously, I was curious. Then, Elena emailed me, “there is more to this story.” GAH! Tell me. Tell me NOW. She said she’d tell me in person, fortunately, we were seeing each other last night.

We went to a concert and Elena slipped in just as the lights were dimming, so there was no time to talk. After the show, after hours of waiting, she gave me this.

Katie Whatsherface reached out to me on FB about a yearbook. Apparently, she learned that you had died and wanted to send a copy of the yearbook to your family.

WHATTHEEVERLOVINGWHAT?!?!?

I’m not dead.

I’m really not. This is not a ghostly memoir. I’m a real, live girl, who reads a lot of books.

Now, of course, I have so many questions, so.many.questions, and I am just waiting to see if Katie Whatsherface reaches out. She’s had my email for two days and I’ve heard jack, with a side of squat. I’m wondering if she’ll even bother now that Elena confirmed that I am, indeed, still among the living.

Also, if I were dead, why would my family want my high school yearbook. Which is especially weird because I have a high school yearbook. One from every year (which I plan to use to look up Katie Whatsherface tonight, I forgot last night after hearing the story.) Junior high as well. And one from sixth grade. All on my bookshelves. So if my family wants them they are free for the taking when they clear out my house.

So odd. So, so, SO odd.

But I am here to state, firmly, that despite the fact that I am not a member of the Facebook community, I am, as a matter of certainty, alive and kicking. (I even just did an air kick just to prove it.)

I am alive.

Long Live Livlife.

Reading in the Rain

I know I’ve talked ad nauseum about how much I love to read outside. I LOVE it, it’s just the best thing in the world. I’m honestly surprised I don’t go into depression when I can’t for nine months out of the year.

At my house, I have a three season porch off my living room, which is on the second floor, that means my patio has a roof, the floor of the porch. I have my swing  hanging from the porch and that’s where I spend 99.99% of my outdoor reading time (once it was too sunny and I sat on the bench for 15 minutes, that’s the other 0.01%). Because of the way the three season porch is designed, it doesn’t get wet underneath. The rain has to be blowing virtually sideways to get rain underneath. The same is true inside the porch, so I’m lucky I can leave those windows open day and night, from April to October.

Okay, so this means I don’t have to stop reading when it is raining. This is a HUGE plus for me, especially this summer when it has been super rainy. And since rainy days are prime reading days, it’s basically heaven on earth for me.

Cut to Tuesday night. I was out reading and it rained a bit. No big deal. Then it got dark and a storm blew in. It was rapidly cooling off outside and I was considering heading in (I was reading on my iPad, so the dark didn’t matter) but it was a good part of the book and I was enjoying the sounds and smells of the storm, so I stayed put.

Suddenly, something wet and slimy landed on my bare leg. Okay, I just got a chill typing that. Truly. It was dark outside, so I couldn’t see it. Instead, I just freaked. FREAKED. Remember this? It wasn’t quite that bad, because I wasn’t naked, but still, I was in capri pants and it was on my bare skin.

So I freak out and start kicking both legs, which were previously resting on a footstool. Kicking like a maniac with one hand holding my iPad to keep it from crashing to the ground, I felt whatever it was leave my skin.

I calmed down and finally brought my legs to rest on the footstool when whatever it was touched my other leg! Again with the freaking and kicking and not knowing what the hell was happening. So I removed my feet from the footstool, but I was so freaked out I didn’t want to put my feet on the ground because I didn’t know what was happening and I was barefoot (my sandals were under the footstool where I had slipped them off) so I simply stuck my legs straight out. And, naturally, because I was on a swing, I start swinging wildly about in the dark with nothing to anchor me. During this time I was chanting, out loud, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf.  After maybe 20 seconds, my legs were starting to hurt, but I was calming down and I realized I needed to figure this out. On the heels of that thought was the reminder that I was holding an iPad IN MY HAND and it emits light. Um, duh?

So I flipped the screen toward the ground and, obviously, saw nothing, since the fear of the ground was all in my imagination, and finally put my feet down. As I stopped moving I was able to turn toward the footstool and I aimed my iPad again.

There it was, the source of all this drama.

A tiny green tree frog. Okay he wasn’t tiny, like maybe 1.5″ long. Which is sizeable, but by no means terrifying. Frogs do not bother me in the least. Except when it is storming, and dark and they are wet and land on my skin, uninvited, then, I guess, they bother me plenty. But I was laughing as I saw him, and I leaned forward and pushed him off the footstool with my hand. Because frogs don’t bother me. I touched him, he hopped off, I resettled in my spot and dove back into my book.

But something was bugging me, niggling in the back of my brain…

Finally, I switched over from the book to my browser and googled how high tree frogs can jump. I mean, I see frogs and toads frequently and they hop a bit, I’ve seen them jump great distances, forward, but never have I seen one jump high. Maybe and inch or two off the ground, but that’s it. However, this particular frog landed on my leg, on the footstool, which I am guessing is close to four feet off the ground when all is said and done. Four feet in the air! So my brain was wondering if he was on a tree or something and got blown onto my leg? I mean, it sounds crazy, but how else did he get there.

And then Google told me that tree frogs can jump up to 7 feet in the air, or 50 times their own body length. Wowza. I mean, that’s impressive, but also strange that I never knew that. Now I’m a little creeped out. Before I saw frogs and thought nothing of it, but now, knowing that if I am walking and see a frog on the ground, he could literally leap up and land on my head. That’s a little creepy.

Anyway, I filed that information away for later and finished my book. I was so close that even though I was cold and living in my own private dramedy, I wanted to finish. So I did. As soon as the book was done, I shut off the iPad and lifted my feet to the ground. I stuck my left foot under the stool and slid it in my flip flop. Then my right, but I couldn’t quite reach it, it may have gotten moved in the frantic flailing of the aforementioned dramedy. So I stood up on my left foot and reached further and my toe caught the edge of my shoe. I scootched it toward me and finally slid my foot in…and my toes met something slimy!

Again with the instinctive reaction, my foot kicked and the sandal went flying. Not far, mind you, just off my foot. STILL standing my my left foot, I leaned backward and grabbed my iPad, turned it back on and shined the light. My flip flop was about a foot away and now sole side up. I leaned forward with my hand and picked it up and that little frog was sitting underneath. Apparently, he thought he could make himself at home in my sandal.

Not true my freaky, jumping, little nemesis. This time I picked up the shoe in my hand, put it on, and grabbed my iPad to head inside. I kept the light pointed at the ground the whole time so I didn’t accidentally step on this frog, or worse, he didn’t hop right inside with me. As I stepped across the threshold, I turned back for one last look and the dim light from the screen could barely touch him several feet away, but it was enough to see the gleam of mirth in his froggy eye as he sat there mocking me.

Damn frog.