#ReadWithMarenAndShelby Readathon Wrap-up

On Friday, the #ReadWithMarenAndShelby Readathon, hosted by @marensreads and @allthebooksalltheways started! I hadn’t participated in a readathon for a very long time, so I was very happy to join! 

Over the course of the four days, I focused on getting my reading pile down — I’d love to say it was a collection of new books, but it was a pile of books that I had already started and hadn’t yet finished. When I realized I was reading too many books at once, I knew I had to take action, and a readathon was the perfect way to help! 

I ended up finishing FOUR books during this readathon, none were started fresh, but that’s completely okay because they had to get finished. 

Forever Birchwood by Danielle Daniel was a great read. It’s a middle-grade read about Wolf and her friends who grow up in a small mining town. They have a secret place in their town, surrounded by Birch trees they love to visit that they’ve called Birchwood. Wolf had just learned her great-grandfather was a tree-talker, and she’s interested in exploring her Indigenous roots, but her mom doesn’t want anything to do with it. When Wolf and her friends find evidence that a new subdivision will get built exactly where all the beautiful birch trees are, they take action to try and preserve the heritage and hopefully stop the worst from happening. I loved this book, especially the journey of Wolf’s mother. As a mom myself, I find it easy to lose track of where I came from growing up, but I know that I want to explore that side of life with my kids. I want to fall in love with nature with them and not always look for the next new thing. Whether you love middle-grade books or maybe you have a child in that age range, I would highly recommend reading this book. It was endearing, and understated, and the call to action to protect nature and wildlife is very effective.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was a reread for me. Whenever the spooky season rolls around, I have a selection of spooky classics I always want to either read or reread. While I absolutely LOVE the Netflix adaptation of this book, the story is a completely different beast from the show. If you want scares and jumps and love searching for ghosts as I do, the show is wonderful. But if you want a subtle dive into horror, where it almost feels like the horror isn’t there, but then you realize it’s just on the peripheries of your vision, the book is amazing. I really enjoyed going through this book again and seeing what similarities were used in the show, and it was a lot of fun to visit Hill House again. Shirley Jackson is an amazing writer where you find a sense of comfort in reading her stories, but then they take this weird and unexpected turn (The Lottery, anyone?). I do have a few more books by Jackson on my shelf that I’ve yet to read, and I can’t wait to get to them. 

Rise of the Balloon Goons (The Notebook of Doom #1) by Troy Cummings was a book I had bought for my oldest child to read. He’s an avid reader, and so when I went to pick up some books for him from the bookstore that were parts of series he already loves, I thought I’d pick up a couple that were beginnings of series. Unfortunately, my son was not impressed by this book when he read the title, not being a lover of scary books in any way, shape, or form, and he ended up HIDING the book in his room so we couldn’t read it. I found it and read it with my daughter, who loves books like this and I’m happy we did! It’s a fun read about Alexander, who moves to a new town with his dad. He keeps finding these balloon “monsters” around town, but no one believes him when he tries to get help. Eventually, he finds a notebook with the word “DOOM” on it, which contains information about other monsters. Alexander is still navigating his way through being the new kid, but now he has to find a way to fight these monsters. It was a fun read, though I could see why my oldest didn’t want to read it as there is some scary stuff happening, but it is all offset by so much humour (especially with Alexander’s dad) that it ended up being a favourite. I would definitely check out more books in this series to see what other monsters occur in this small town!

Persuasion by Jane Austen is, of course, a classic, and I actually started reading this MONTHS ago, but then other books kept appearing in my reading pile and it kind of fell by the wayside. I’m so glad I picked it back up again to finish and ended up reading the last 150 pages in 2 days. I’ve now read 3 of Jane Austen’s books, and while I do enjoy her books, I wouldn’t say she’s an absolute favourite writer of mine, but I do appreciate her books. I had originally picked this one up so I could finally watch the new Netflix adaptation, and I did thoroughly enjoy it. Honestly, the ending of the story was probably the best. Anne Elliot is a wonderful character, and I did enjoy Captain Wentworth, though we don’t see a lot of him. Ultimately, this isn’t my favourite Austen, but it was a good read, nonetheless. 


Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy is a classic I’ve been reading for the past THREE MONTHS and have finally finished. I decided to switch to the audiobook yesterday to listen to while I worked and it helped a great deal. This was my very first Thomas Hardy book after being introduced to him via Lucy The Reader on YouTube. I absolutely loved this book. Thomas Hardy is such a great writer and within the first few pages I knew he would be a favourite. The way he writes is very conversational, with humour thrown in and characters who aren’t perfect. I loved the journey of Bathsheba and her suitors. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone wanting to read it, but I strongly disliked one suitor and very much loved another. All of her suitors were so different, and Bathsheba is a very headstrong, proud, and sometimes stubborn character. This also reads like a serial, so I never felt like I didn’t want to read this. It was really nice to pick up and read a chapter here and a chapter there and delve more into Bathsheba’s life. Hardy is also so descriptive in his writing and I could just picture the surroundings and scenery as I read. Highly recommended if you love to read classics!

This was a great weekend of reading, and I look forward to participating in more readathons in the future! It is definitely nice to be surrounded by other people who also enjoy reading. 

Do you participate in readathons? What readathon do you look forward to every year?

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