MIA Update

Hey, y’all! I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone had been curious about whether Lila was once again the sole bookkeeper! But I’m back, maybe with a vengeance – I really just wanted to say ‘with a vengeance’. Anyway, I’m making my way back to The Bookkeepers’ Secrets – note the plural 😀 – and decided I’d return with a serious update. And I mean serious as in LONG – I’ve been away longer than I had thought!


Mainly, I’ve been really busy over at my solo blog, The Caramel Files, working on completing April’s A to Z Blogging Challenge. The annual challenge entails posting based on each letter every day throughout April, save for Sundays. This is my third year to participate and I adore the challenge – I think it’s my favorite because I always really look forward to it.

I’ve also been dead – as in sick – seemingly all month. I let a sinus infection go too long before I finally went to the doctor and it’s taking me a bit to get well. I certainly won’t wait so long to head to the doctor’s office next time I don’t feel good – I’m so sick of being sick!

Partly due to being sick and partly because of writer’s block, I’ve missed posting for the A to Z challenge a few days in a row now. I am the type of person who is ‘all or none’ – meaning a lot of the time I either totally throw myself into something or ignore it altogether. Anyway, since I’ve missed some posting dates, I’d kind of like to give up on the challenge, but I don’t want to. Plus, I’m sort of OCD about having the posts go live on the dates for which they’re scheduled, but I’m going to persevere. I like my random essay theme too much.

We had a wonderful Easter Sunday visiting and eating with family. Even though most of us live in the same small town, we don’t often have the chance to all get together, so it was really nice to see my people. I love my family so much, both immediate and extended. My cousins, aunts, and I are all so similar – it’s almost scary. I appreciate the chance to reconnect with the people who understand me most.

All of our babies played outside together – we were too lazy to set up an egg hunt! And we grown-ups sat around in the nice weather and laughed and talked loud. It’s wild to think that a bunch of my cousins and I have children of our own all of a sudden.

It seems like yesterday that my cousin Cam and I sabotaged an Easter egg hunt. We were charged with filling plastic eggs with sweets and change for the younger kids. No one expected us to eat all of the candy, pocket the change, and cram one of the eggs with an empty chocolates sack! I’ll never forget the look on my cousin’s face when she opened the trashy egg! We were rotten, but we all had so much fun!

On the right are pictures of my boys, Jack and Hank, on Easter. In the first picture, the boys’ third cousin, 16-month-old Clara Mai, is holding Hank. The way she got so excited to hold a baby was beyond adorable! The second picture is my two-year-old, Jack, just looking precious, as always!


I’ve gotten really into graphic novels and read the first three volumes of Ms. Marvel (No Normal, Generation Why, and Crushed) by G. Willow Wilson in an evening. While I expected to dislike reading comics on my computer screen, Comixology is freaking awesome! I love the guided reading experience, it makes me feel like I’m almost inside the comics or like I’m watching a movie. Anyhow, Comixology is where I read volumes two and three of Ms. Marvel.

Bingeing on Ms. Marvel has been a lot of fun. It’s new to me not only because I’ve never really dabbled in superhero stuff, but also because the main character, Kamala, is Pakistani-American and Muslim. I’ve enjoyed seeing life through the eyes of a girl with a totally different perspective from mine. I love to read and learn and I’ve gotten both out of Ms. Marvel, which was unexpected.

I love Brian K. Vaughan’s work, especially the Saga series! While I went on a buying binge and got all seven volumes of Vaughan’s graphic novel, I’m just now starting Vol. 2. I’m so excited – I’d really like to read two through seven in one sitting – we’ll see how that works out.

Also since I’ve last been spotted here, I did my first ever reread via audiobook! I listened to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I adored the audio version – the narrator gets two thumbs up! I had forgotten just how much happens in Harry Potter’s debut; I’m so glad I chose to listen as opposed to actually rereading it. I’m excited to listen to the rest of the series! Thank goodness for Audible credits – the Harry Potter books sell for nearly $45.00 a pop! P.S. The covers are amazing!

Lemony Snicket’s The Miserable Mill and Erin Morgenstern’s gorgeous The Night Circus round out the books I’ve read recently. At the moment, I’m reading Saga, Vol. 2 and listening to New Jersey Real Housewife Teresa Giudice’s memoir, Turning the Tables. The entire Real Housewives franchise is a not so guilty pleasure of mine and I’m loving that Teresa, one of my longtime favorite housewives, narrates her own story.

I’m having a lot of fun with celebrity memoirs this year, although I’ve only read Leah Remini’s Troublemaker thus far in 2017. I’ve been eyeing a bunch of other memoirs I’d love to read. I’ve never been a huge Tina Fey fan – it’s not that I don’t like her, I’m just not very familiar with her – but Bossypants has been calling my name forever! I did love Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, in which Poehler talks a lot about Fey, so I think I should like Fey’s book as well.

I’m hoping to also read Ronda Rousey’s memoir My Fight, Your Fight this year as well as that of Anthony Kiedis, Scar Tissue. I have a few other nonfiction works on my TBR list for 2017, including books about autism, biographies of awesome bands, and memoirs of non-famous people. Those I’m most looking forward to include Temple Grandin’s The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the SpectrumAlice in Chains: The Untold Story by David de Sola, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana by Michael Azerrad, and Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind.


I’ve had (hopefully) my last hurrah with my credit cards! We’re planning to pay them off with our tax refund, so I had one last bit of fun. I bought a bunch of books and Funkos this month! I got books in every format imaginable – hardcover, softcover, audio, ebook…Let me tell you, my little spree was so much fun while it lasted. Too bad I’m not independently wealthy…

First of all, I’m so excited about the Pops I’ve added to my Funko collection that I’m going to talk about them first! I think my favorite of the new additions is the Hermione Granger: Yule Ball figurine! She is just beautiful – I adore her hairdo – it’s always fun seeing Hermione all prettied up anyway!

The majority of the other Funkos I got are also from among my favorite fandoms: Cher and Dionne from Clueless, Dorothy from Golden Girls, Cinderella, and Olivia Moore from iZombie. The remaining Pops I ordered I’ve had my eye on for a while – Arrow’s Felicity Smoak and a flocked Chloe from The Secret Life of Pets. I’ve never seen Arrow or The Secret Life of Pets, but the adorable Pops give me inspiration to watch both!

P.S. I remember when the Amazon exclusive flocked Chloe first appeared on the site, it cost a whopping $14.00! I was lucky to get it as an add-on item for under $5.00! 😀

I have definitely not been on a book-buying ban! I’ve also had a big time buying and borrowing books since I’ve been away. I’ve gotten my hands on a few graphic novels, some Stephen King – I’ve shockingly never read his stuff – a cool cookbook, two preorders, an annual Audible membership – that came with 12(!) credits all at once – and some books for my Kindle. I also got approved for some amazing eARCs via NetGalley.

I’m really proud that I’ve been stingy with my Audible credits. Normally, I would have spent them all at once and then lamented doing so later. *pats self on back* I mentioned earlier that the Harry Potter Audible editions sell for almost $45.00; thankfully, with my credits, I’ve been able to get the first three – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, my personal favorite.

Also on Audible, I got some classics – Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and narrated by Rachel McAdams, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, narrated by Claire Danes, and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which is performed by a full cast. The Shakespearean audio productions come highly recommended and Macbeth is among my favorite – and I don’t like many – plays, so I’m excited to listen.

As for Claire Danes and Rachel McAdams – I love them both! When I listen to Danes read The Handmaid’s Tale, it will be a reread, while it’ll be my first time to read or hear Anne of Green Gables, a book I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while. It’s one of those books that slipped away from me during my childhood, but that I definitely want to get to regardless.

For my beloved Kindle, I got Robert Bloch’s Psycho, The Gunslinger by Stephen King, and Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho adaptation is one of my most favorite movies ever and I’m obsessed with Bates Motel on A&E. Like I said, I’ve never read Stephen King’s books, but I have seen many of the movie versions. I’m looking forward to finally reading his work – I think I’ll be a different kind of scared by reading his stories as opposed to watching them. Carve the Mark is one of those controversial hyped books that I’m dying to read.

My physical bookshelf – a fancy word for the floor in my closet- has also been treated to some new wares. As I recently fell in love with Kasie West’s work in February via The Fill-In Boyfriend, I got the paperback of By Your Side. I didn’t realize how much I like fluff until reading West! Since I had a tough time getting into Stephanie Garber’s Caraval on audio, I ended up purchasing the hardcover. I’m determined to find out if I buy the hype!


Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m hosting a month-long mental health series at The Caramel Files. (that was a bunch of M’s) I feel kind of weird – it’s like I’m seriously plugging my personal blog – but I just want to be able to reach out to as many of you as possible and The Bookkeepers’ Secrets is admittedly a great platform.

What my in-the-very-early-planning-stages series will entail is of course promotion of mental health awareness. I’m really hoping to have as many bloggers and non-bloggers who have stories, etc. regarding mental illness join in and share their experiences throughout May.

So, I’m shouting it out here as well as on Twitter – if you’d like to contribute in any way to the mental health series in May, please let me know! Feel free to DM me on Twitter (@thenovelorange) or send me an email ( if you’re interested in learning more details!


Finally, I’m glad to be making a return to The Bookkeepers’ Secrets and I look forward to churning out some (amazing) posts with Lila and Claire! I’m also glad to be back here with y’all – our lovely readers! 😀


Momentarily Maggie │Adventures in Foster Care, Part One

I’ve been relaxing on the couch, watching Dr. Phil tonight. The subject matter of the particular episode I watched concerned a two-year-old child who is living out of a truck with his father.

The story caused me to reflect on my experiences as a still green social worker. My first real job right out of undergrad was working case management for the foster care division of my state’s Department of  Children’s Services.

Fresh out of college, a newly minted social worker, I began working for the State and thus began what I now understand to be a chain of learning experiences.

Why I’m only realizing this now is beyond me. I figure perhaps due to the fact I’ve had plenty of time to grow up since that time that seems like lives ago, I’ve begun to simply realize just what I was dealing with.

I think a lot about where ‘my kids’ – the foster children who depended on me as their caseworker – are now. I do know that one particular girl, with whom I bonded and really wished I could adopt myself, has permanently lost custody of her baby and is missing, which frightens me hugely. I shudder when I imagine how she feels.

The parents of a teenage boy with whom I worked, I found out a few years ago, were busted for the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine. I live in a small town, making news travel fast, especially when it’s all laid out in the local paper.

Another child I represented was very troubled and very much in need of positive attention and unconditional love. Her mother dumped her in my state, not the girl’s home, with her ex-husband, who ended up committing suicide in jail after being caught molesting his daughter during a stop on the way to drop her off at school.

The girl was a teenager at the time and would be around 20 or so now. I long to know where she is and how she is doing, as I do all of my kids.

I did encounter a few of my kids through my work in agencies offering services such as shelter from domestic abuse and treatment for child victims of sexual abuse.

When I learned of the molestation of a then six-year-old girl while working at the child advocacy center (CAC), I was devastated, but deep down I wasn’t surprised. The girl had returned to the custody of her mother after a dramatic case with DCS.

The girl had entered foster care as a six-month-old, when it was discovered that she had unexplained broken ribs. Neither parent ever admitted fault. It wildly turned out that the child’s father wasn’t her father at all – it was found through a DNA test that the girl had been conceived during the mother’s illicit encounter with another man.

Looking back, there are things I would have done differently had I known then what I know now. For instance, I encountered many situations during my work in the foster care field that I now think of and practically smack myself on the forehead for not acting as I would now, ten years later.

I know I can’t change the past and that there is no sense in feeling that I failed the children with whom I worked, regardless of how their lives turned out. I like to think that I’m at the very least a bright, flickering light, nestled in the memories of the children whom I had the privilege of knowing.

About Me, Maggie

Momentarily Maggie │ And So it Began

Hello, I’m Maggie and I, like all of y’all, have tales to tell. I figure what better platform than our blog?! So, welcome to the first installment of a tentative series, in which I tell you various tales! 😀

I decided that I’d like to get a little more personal with all of you wonderful, loyal readers of The Bookkeeper’s Secrets, hence the birth of this little project of mine. I don’t know what all I will write about or where this series will lead me, but I’m excited at the possibilities.

Firstly –

I’m a proud social worker!

Therefore, I’ve decided to write an essay series regarding the situations, families, and individuals I have encountered throughout my ten years in the field. I also seek to educate others about the profession and society’s need for practicing social workers.

A traumatic event completely reshaped my life 13 years ago, taking me on a seemingly endless roller coaster ride of emotions, therapy, many more horrifying losses, psychiatric diagnoses, hopelessness, and ultimately – recovery.

Looking back on this past decade, I have overcome so much more than I ever imagined possible. I’m honestly a stronger person because of what I’ve experienced – I’ve had to be in order to survive.

The trauma I endured led me first into a downward spiral, then shouted in my face that my life’s calling is to help others, especially children and their families. Thus began my new journey of hope – hope that I achieved by inspiring it in others.

Continue reading “Momentarily Maggie │ And So it Began”

Maggie, reviews

Maggie Reviews │ Rebecca

It’s no wonder Alfred Hitchcock adapted Rebecca for the silver screen.

Daphne du Maurier’s gothic tale of horror follows the tumultuous relationship between Maxim de Winter and his second, much younger, wife, whom he meets while virtually escaping the memories he has of his home in England, Manderley.

Maxim quickly marries his young bride and whisks her away to Manderley from Monte Carlo, where she is a paid companion to Mrs. Van Hopper. Continue reading “Maggie Reviews │ Rebecca”

Maggie, reviews

Maggie Reviews │ Saga, Volume 1

My first foray into the world of the graphic novel, Saga blew my mind – in an excellent way.

I did have a sneaking suspicion that I’d enjoy Saga, as it was recommended to me by a bunch of avid readers and bloggers.

Let me just say that this book very much exceeded my already lofty expectations.

Saga’s plot begins with a bang – instant action. The book opens with the all too realistic birth of a baby girl, who in turn narrates the story about the plight of her fugitive parents as well as her childhood. Continue reading “Maggie Reviews │ Saga, Volume 1”

Maggie, tv

TV Junkie │ Maggie’s Shows

I am a bona-fide television nut! I often make it my weekend mission to clear out as much space on my DVR as possible, which is difficult, as we tape SO many shows and movies!

My husband is hogging all kinds of precious DVR space with every single episode, 200+, of King of the Hill! I love the show too, but I think I’m going to start surprising him with digital copies so we can reclaim the massive chunk of data required to keep EVERY episode!

Anyhow, here I’m featuring a bunch of my favorite shows, as well as a few I just don’t like, although I WISH I did! Continue reading “TV Junkie │ Maggie’s Shows”

challenges, Maggie

Challenged | Maggie’s Lofty 2017 Reading Goals

There is no shortage of reading challenges taking place in 2017 – so many lasting throughout the year are already cropping up all around blog land!

Although I historically am not too hot at actually completing challenges for which I sign up, I absolutely adore starting with a clean reading slate each year. Maybe 2017 will be the ‘Year of the Book’ for me! Continue reading “Challenged | Maggie’s Lofty 2017 Reading Goals”