Midwestern Book Nerd Reads #2

HEY EVERYONE! We have been quiet lately, and we apologize. Between being busy, to sickness, to studying for big tests, to life issues…it’s been nuts. But we are back and we are SO ready to get back to it. And what better way to get back at it than to start up with a read along.

If you remember, a few months back we did a Harry Potter readalong. It was so much fun to nerd out to Harry Potter with all of you, plus going back to Hogwarts was so fun. This time around we are reading something a little more serious, but a book that has been sitting on our TBRs just staring at us. If you haven’t read this one and are into historical fiction you should definitely join us. We are super excited for this…

mdwestreadalong 2

That’s right! We are digging into All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It has been something both of us have been dying to read and just haven’t gotten to yet.

This readalong will start on November 5th (SUNDAY!) and go until the week of Thanksgiving (let’s aim for finishing on the 19th…some of us have A LOT going on that week so it’s always good to have these things tied up by then).

Follow along with us on social media with the hashtag #mdwstreadalong. We will be talking about our progress, our feels, and any other questions and comments we may have. We are also open to starting up group messages or emails if there is enough interested.

So…will you be joining us? Let us know in the comments below! We are so excited about it and hope that you can read with us. T-minus 1 week until we dive into this beauty.

Additional question…what books would you be interested in reading as a group? We are always up for suggestions. Reading together is so much fun.


Top Ten Tuesday: Fall-like Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Welcome back for another Top Ten Tuesday! We love this weekly post because it’s something that we feel we can get back into the groove of no matter how crazy life has been (and boy, has it been crazy). Between anniversaries, sword tournaments (apparently Emily knows some nerdy people), and work…it’s been tough to get our act together and get the posts up that we want to…but we are so thankful that Top Ten Tuesday makes it easier for us to really dive in.

This week we are sharing book cover that just look like fall to us. Some we may have read while others are sitting on that TBR waiting for us to tear into them (with respect…we would never tear books). So, here are some book covers that just make us think of the cool weather of fall…


Scarlet by AC Gaughen | Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling | The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier | The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente | Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver | The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton | The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen | The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows  | Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake | Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sara J. Maas | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling | The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Vicious by V.E. Schwab | Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake | Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller | The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Question: What are some book covers that have you thinking of fall?

Emily’s House Cup Reading Challenge

If you all follow me on twitter then you know that my reading habits have been the worst. I have let stress, anxiety, and my busy schedule take over my life and have found myself lacking in the reading area. It has sucked, a lot, and I have struggled to get back. Which is why I am SO excited to be joining….The House Cup Reading Challenge (hosted by Lauren of Live Love Read, Alex of Book Daisy Reviews, Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf, and Erica of Escape Under the Cover)

Basically throughout this challenge I will be reading books that fit into the following categories (which might I add…SUPER thankful that years 1-7 are reader’s choice! This will help me so much)…


My goal is to at least get through the years before even looking at the extra categories. If you want to know more about the challenge and all the categories I would definitely head on over to one of the host’s pages so that you can check it out and join up.

And now that I have introduced most of that it’s time for me to declare my house and give you my Hogwarts student bio. Now, if you must know…I have gone back and forth about my house. Pottermore has told me one thing while every other quize I have taken has told me another. So I have decided to join along with the house that Pottermore gave me…


Yes, I have fully committed to my Gryffindor house and am ready to help bring them to victory! A little bit more about my Hogwarts self…

Name: Emily
Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
Wand Type: Laurel wood with a dragon heartstring core, 12 ½” and rigid flexibility
Pet: I wish I could say dog, but that seems to be a pet that no one at Hogwarts has. So an owl it is!
Favorite Subject: I am a sucker for History of Magic.
Favorite Professor: Professor McGonagall…she is tough but fair

As far as what my TBR is…well that is kind of to be determined. I have made a fall TBR list recently and I will definitely be pulling from there, but it’s entirely possible that I will leave the list.

This challenge starts on Sunday (October 15th) and goes until Sunday, November 12th. If you haven’t signed up then you definitely should!

Let’s go Gryffindor!!



Throwback Thursday: Movie edition

Throwback Thursday

Hello everyone and welcome to another Throwback Thursday! Can you believe it’s already just about October? We are heading deep into the fall season. The leaves are starting to change, the apples are fresh for picking, and everyone’s beverages seem to be pumpkin flavored.

We have been bouncing all over with topics for one of our favorite features to do, and this week we have come up with a good one….movies. Now I know, you are probably thinking we are going to share those cookie cutter Disney movies that everyone loves (WE LOVE THEM TOO WE SWEAR). We thought we would take it to a different area. Though the movies may be made by Disney, they are a bit darker than we had imagined.


My family was pretty particular about what we were allowed to watch. My dad nixed movies like Alice in Wonderland even though I definitely watched them in secret at my Grandma’s (because when does grandma ever say no?). When I think back to my childhood it is mostly Disney movies, but there are a few odd movies that stick out. One in particular is way darker than I had realized and I am honestly shocked I was able to watch it. Here are a few trailers of some favorites from my childhood…


My siblings and I loved to watch movies just like my parents. Whether it was comedy, cartoon or drama, there was always a good movie to watch at our house. And now years later, I still love to watch movies and occasionally I see these classic movies on Netflix or even playing on TV. It is fun to stop and watch them and remember how we used to wish we were these kids in the movie. Looking back now, there was really an assortment of movies that we loved to watch and I can’t even just pick one category that would describe them other than they were awesome 90’s movies. (And you will definitely nod your head in agreement when you see the movies I am talking about!) Here are a few of my random/odd but awesome favorites…

Question: What were some of your favorite movies while growing up?


We Want YOU!


Oh. My. Goodness. The excitement level at here at Midwestern Book Nerd is off the charts as are ready to introduce something to get us all more involved in the Midwestern Book Nerd experience.

Did you read the title? Do you think you know what is coming? Are you sure?

We. Want. You!

Yes. We want you on our blog! We have been wanting to get more voices heard, more love for books spread, and more discussions of what readers do when they are not reading on our blog. And honestly…the best way for us to do that is to get you involved.

So, without further ado…



YOU! Yes, you reading this right now. Blogger or non-blogger, we are talking to you!


Guest post on Midwestern Book Nerd. Talk about books, movies, tv shows, music, hobbies, or other things that you love. We want to hear what readers do outside of the reading world. Spread love about a hobby that no one has heard about (oh HEMA people, this would be perfect for you!) or push a book that you swear no one has read. There isn’t a specific topic in mind, just keep it you. Think of it as show and tell. A show and tell on Midwestern Book Nerd.


SOON! We are ready to get this going ASAP. We can’t wait to see what you will have to share with us and with our readers.


Because we want to give you the opportunity to spread love to books, movies, shows, music, etc. We want you to be able to be involved in our blog too, because one of the reasons we keep this up is you. Yes, we love talking about books, but we also love the conversations with you.

What should you do if you are interested?

Send an email over to either Emily (midwesternbooknerd@gmail.com) or Arika (onceuponabookishnerd@gmail.com) for more details. We will have a template for you to use if you want, or you can come up with something 100% uniquely you.


We are so excited to see what you all bring to the blog. There is so much in this world that we don’t know about. Books we haven’t ever touched, music that we’ve never heard, and things that we have never tried. Why not share those unique things with others?

And don’t worry. We have more awesome things coming up soon! This is just one of our exciting ideas.

We hope to hear from you very soon.

Throwback Thursday: Board Game edition

Throwback Thursday

Happy Thursday! Aren’t you excited that we are NEARLY through with this week? As we are getting back to school and back into routines I think it’s safe to say that we are ready for the weekend.

For today’s throwback we are thinking about the games we played as children. Yes, we all played tag and ran around outside, but we are focusing on the board games. We have quite the list of games that we look back at with such fond memories (some are a bit weird) and we cannot wait to share them with you!


A little backstory for you before I get into my favorites. My grandma was a shopper. She would scope out the best deals ANYWHERE. She would find these games at garage sales, with her Kohl’s coupons…honestly I don’t even know where these games came from sometimes. Her thing was that she would buy Christmas gifts all year long, meaning it was an excuse for the most ridiculous of games. Some that I really liked when I was a kid (I will only be posting commercials for them. I don’t think I need to defend this list of games and their unique-ness)…


Game night was always a fun night when I was growing up. I had so much fun, whether it was playing with neighbor kids or at grandma and grandpa’s house with siblings or cousins, there was always some type of game to play. My great grandfather even built a marble game that is still used today up at our families cabin where intense games still are had! But for board games growing up, I had to come up with some classic games I loved to play and provide you with the epic commercials for them that seemed to suck every kid into playing them!


Question: What board games did you play as children? Do we have any in common?

On Being in a Reading Rut

Hey all! It feels like FOREVER since I have written anything. The end of the summer flew by, and between being out of town and mentally drained I really haven’t done much of anything.


And when I say I haven’t done much of anything I seriously mean it. I have hardly read, which gives me very little to talk about with you guys (and it makes me so sad and feel a but like a failure but that is 100% on me and I need to be ok with it).

So, what’s been happening in my reading life? I mean I have read so many amazing books this year and I am nearly finished with my Goodreads goal. If you look at it on paper everything seems solid, but for some reason I just can’t sit down and read.

I have been trying to figure out just what it is and how to fix it, which is easier said than done.

Firstly, I think I am at a reading crossroads. Maybe crossroads isn’t the right word, but I am finding myself branching out more and more. The past couple years I have been solely YA fantasy, and I still love YA fantasy. But the more I read the more I notice that I want more. I want more history, more real world stories. I want to be able to relate to things, and sometimes YA just doesn’t cut it for me. On top of that I am on series overload. So much of what I was reading was a part of a series that is still ongoing. And while I love the stories and the worlds I just find myself feeling bogged down and fully committed to them, which has really left me struggling to start books I have been dying to read.


Secondly, I think I am overwhelmed. I have found so many books that are across so many genres that I feel like I need to read. I see books friends are reading and feel that I have to read them so that we have even more to talk about. There are books that people say you just need to read, and I feel like yes I absolutely need to read them. Because of all of this my tbr just keeps growing and growing which means I find myself staring at stacks of books and not even knowing where to start.


Lastly, I think I am trying too many things at once. I keep adding these books to my TBR and then I immediately try to get my hands on them. I know that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I keep doing it even while I am trying to read something else. It’s to the point that I can’t focus on one thing and keep trying something new. Bouncing around is exhausting, and I think it has really pushed me further into the reading rut.


So what am I going to do? I am returning all of my library books. I was about 100 pages into one and loving it, but got busy and haven’t sat down to read it since Wednesday. Now that is something that I should be doing if I love it so much right? It’s a pretty obvious sign that it’s just not working for me right now (even though I love it so much). I can check them out again once I am in the mood for it. This will help me really focus in on the books that I have. So for the rest of the month, and maybe even into next month, I will be reading just what I own. I have a few arcs I can work through as well as many books I have really been wanting to read here in my house. I need to focus on one and at a time. I need to not worry about how fast I run. I need to worry about reading what I want and not what I think is expected.

After a tough summer of reading I am so ready to cozy up with some good books this fall, which also means I will hopefully have more to share with you soon! Here’s to some good books ahead!

Question: What do you do when you are in a reading rut?


Throwback Thursday: Tunes on Repeat

Throwback Thursday

Welcome back to another Throwback Thursday. If you remember, a couple weeks ago we said that this is something we would do a few times throughout the month. Two weeks ago we talked about some of our favorite fantasy books from our childhood (and excluded Harry Potter because that’s just a no brainer). Today we are throwing it back to some of the music that we could not stop playing. The music that made our moms yell at us to turn it down and then continually share with the world how obnoxious our music was (PS we love our moms!).

So, what cd do we remember playing constantly until everyone in the house was sick of it?


Oh gosh, what do I even pick? Well…as a middle schooler I went through a lot of changes. I know most middle schoolers go through changes, but not all also have their dad die. So yea, I had a lot going on. After my dad passed I started to get a little “emo,” if you can call it that really. I started listening to stuff that I thought was super dark and songs that I felt just really got me. I loved my pop music, but it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I think this was the beginning of my journey into the pop punk and emo genre. It all began with…Good Charlotte.


I was 100% obsessed with these albums, but once they hit album number 4 I had decided they sold out. Yep, I was that kid. I decided that they got me and that I was doing better because I had their music. My mom hated them. My sister loved them (which is good because we shared a bedroom at the time). We got to go to a concert when I was in 10th grade and I thought it was the best thing ever. So yea. Here are a few songs just to make you smile. Because I bet you wanted to listen to Good Charlotte today.


So I have been debating all day on what cd/artist I was going to pick. Would I go with a boy band that tore up my heart (*wink wink did you see what I did there) or would I pick some good 90’s country artist. Well I decided neither of those and went with a classic group who most people love and I am so glad that my parents made me listen to their music…the amazing Queen.

So many good memories listening to Queen on road-trips with my family. Asking my parents to play the “thunder bolts and lightening” song, which was what we called Bohemian Rhapsody or singing along to We Are the Champions when our sports team won a big game! I am so glad my parents shared all their great music that they grew up to with us as kids. There music is so unique and has so much power behind it. They were on a whole different level and there will never be another artist like Freddy Mercury. Ever. So to make your day a little better, here is a few songs to jam out to on your fabulous Thursday:

Question: What are some cds or artists that you couldn’t stop playing?


Words We Read (3)


Words We Read is a feature that we created to share various book quotes we read that really mean a lot to us. For more information and past posts you can head over here.

This week I am sharing a quote from a book series that I absolutely devoured. I was very into dystopian type of books, and the Legend series by Marie Lu really hit me at that time of my life. I loved the action, the intensity, and the characters. The relationships that develop between the main characters and the drama that is happening all around them…this made it an absolute page turner for me. I binge so few series, and this was on that I dove into and didn’t leave until I was done.

Today’s quote is one that has hit me a lot lately. The past few weeks have been pretty miserable for me. I have really struggled mentally and felt like I was dragging everyone else down. I had found myself stuck in a vicious cycle of negative thinking and I couldn’t get out. This quote reminded me that I can. That each day is a fresh start and with each fresh start comes the opportunity to try again.

Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.

Legend by Marie Lu


QUESTION: What is one of your favorite quotes from a dystopian book?


Make Me (Emily) Read It!

Hey everyone! I have been struggling in my reading life as of late. Not really sure what is going on, but I just can’t seem to sit and focus on my reading. I absolutely love the books that I have read this summer, so you can see why I am so confused.

Thankfully this really cool readathon was brought to my attention. The Make Me Read It Readathon is hosted by Val at The Innocent Smiley and Ely at Tea & Titles. This is my first time participating in it, but their 3rd year of doing it. I am super excited for this.


Basically, for the week of August 6th-August 13th I will read the books that YOU choose for me. In my poll I have 5 listed and am HOPING to read the top 2, but will continue on to the rest if I find I am flying through these books. It was tough to decide what to put in this poll, because there are so many books that I am dying to read. But with me being unable to decide this is the perfect challenge to join. I picked a random 5 books from my TBR that I own and am leaving them in the poll below for you to pick.

My poll closes the day before the readathon starts, so vote away my friends! Thanks for your help. I am super excited about this!