Hauls

Book Haul | My Local Indie Bookshop

Hello and welcome to a tiny little haul. Once a month or at least as close to that as my schedule allows I take a drive to my local indie bookshop to support them. This time around I picked up more than a just books since they got in a bunch of bookish items and I went a little overboard with that I wanted to spend, but not too much. Now, on to the haul!


The Nickel Boys, bookish candle, two wooden bookmarks and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The Books

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, I read The Underground Railroad by this author years ago and really enjoyed it. On top of that my Uncle has read it and said it was good as well and he enjoyed his previous works. So, I added it to my basket.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, I picked up this one because my mom kept thinking I read it because she thinks it would be something I would like. So we always have the conversation, “did you read it yet?” “no” “I’m surprised”, it is kinda funny. Well, it turns out when I walked in and went to the horror/classic section this beautifulPenguin Classics edition.

Other Goodies

When I was checking out I saw two bookmarks I just fell in love with. They are wooden bookmarks that feature Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The Austen bookmark features the quote, “I declare after all here is no enjoyment like reading” and an illustration of her face. Alcott’s bookmark says, “I like good strong words that mean something” with an illustration of her likeness as well.

Lastly. I picked up a bookish candle. I have always wanted a candle that is inspired by a literary figure, but I only ever saw them online, but I never like to buy candles online unless I have already smelled them in person. Anyway, I ended up picking up Charles Dickens by Paddywax Library ex libris. It has a lovey tangerine and clove small that I just adore.


Do you have a favorite candle scent or novel that I should check out?

Have you read either of these books? If so what did you think?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | September 2020

Hello and welcome to a little reading check in! Every month I do a mid month check in to share what I have finished so far and what I am in the middle of reading. So far, this month is going pretty well, but I entered a bit of a slump, I am hoping it just lasts this week. Fingers crossed! But, on to the books!


Midnight Sun (Twilight, #5)Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I got very bored halfway though. The main selling point of this book is seeing more of the Cullens. That is how this book got 2 stars. The rest, really didn’t really keep me engaged and was not really interesting.

View all my reviews The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner's Guide to Getting Good with MoneyThe Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money by Chelsea Fagan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a VERY basic finance book that seems to be only for women. If you know anything about basic budgeting you can skip this. But, this could be good for someone who just graduated and is just starting out.

View all my reviews Shiver: Selected StoriesShiver: Selected Stories by Junji Ito
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As always Junji Ito has an eerie imagination. This is a bind up if twisted tails with curse, monsters, and some out of this world things. Since it was a bind up, I don’t want to say too much other than all were equally creepy and were very distinct. If you like manga and horror I suggest you give it a go. TW for suicide and murder.

View all my reviews One by OneOne by One by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Book given via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Overall, I really enjoyed this thriller. The setting was amazing, the atmosphere was palpable, the characters were interesting as well as their dynamics, and the story fully pulled me in. Once again Ware has proven to be an amazing writer and continues to be one of my auto-buy authors. Even though I received this book for free, I am going to go pick up another on publication day. If you want a good secluded thriller that appears to be a dream come true at first, but turns into a horror, I feel like this is one you should certainly look into.

View all my reviews Tidy the F*ck Up: The American Art of Organizing Your Sh*tTidy the F*ck Up: The American Art of Organizing Your Sh*t by Messie Condo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A hilarious approach to decluttering and getting your space in order. I laughed quite a few times, but it has some great advice as well. It really got me in the right mindset to get cleaning and sorting.

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I am currently reading two tomes, the firs is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and I am about 14% through it. From what I have read, I can see why so many people enjoy it and I am actually excited to pick it up again. The reason I have not is because I like sitting for more than an hour with this book. The second book is A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, I am 36% through this one, I had to stop this one because I was borrowing it from the library. I have it on hold again so as soon as it comes in I will fly through it.


What was the last book you read, did you like it?

How are your reading month coming along? 

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Crochet Talk | May – August 2020

Hello and welcome to a post where I share a few of my most recent crochet projects. In the past I have shared quite a few updates on my projects, my most recent being my post Crochet Talk | April 2020. Since then, I have been working on a few larger projects and some fun ones that were challenging and new to me. While there were some frustrations, I had a lot of fun and I think has really helped me get better. Anyway, here are my most recently completed projects!


This is a scarf inspired by Victorian lace. I used a pattern created by LesiaLittleAdventure on etsy called Victorian Lace High Collar Crochet Pattern. I have never created anything that had such an intriquet pattern and where you can really notice a mistake. Thankfully I did well and I was able to gift this to a dear friend. I plan on making myself one in green, but I have a few things I need to get done soon.


Here is my completed temperature blanket I made for June 2019-May 2020, but I fell far behind and actually finished it on August 20th, 2020. While it took a huge amount of time, so much so that I was about to give up sewing in all the color changes, I really love how it came out!


I also made a sunflower bag, based this off of the pattern SWEET SUMMER SUNFLOWER BAG by Crochet 365 Knit Too. It was fun to make since I never made granny squares before. Between learning how to make the sunburst granny square I also had to work on sewing them all together. While it was challenging, I adore how it came out.


What have you be doing to pass the time as of late?

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Hauls

Book of the Month | September 2020

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of my subscription of BOTM. This month I am happy to say I actually picked two books for my box and both just sound amazing! I honestly had a really hard time between all the awesome choices. One good things was they had Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson and if I had not bought it the day before I would have picked that one so I was able to pick another as well as a book from a previous month. Now, on to my picks and why I chose them!


Descriptions

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut. -goodreads

The Shadows by Alex North

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again… -goodreads


Why I Picked These Books

When it comes to Transcendant Kingdom, I picked it because I have been really enjoying hard hitting emotional reads as of late. This book really tells the story of a woman who is spending her life trying to find a way to help her family while they suffer from mental illness, addiction, and loss. I think it will also explore the pressure this puts on Gifty and her struggles that come from this. Not only does this book peak my interest, so does the author. I have heard such wonderful things about this authors outstanding gift when it comes to writings and I just felt like I needed to pick up a book by them.

The second book I picked, The Shadows, was added to my book because I have been into true crime and horror a lot lately and this seemed like a fictional combination of these. On top of that, I have heard promising things about this authors works and I have not read anything by them before.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Does this book sound interesting to you?

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Reviews

Book Review | One by One by Ruth Ware

*Book given via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

One by One

Description: 

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?


What I Liked

First and foremost, Ware has once again shown her talent when it comes to creating an atmosphere perfect for a thriller. Again and again Ware has proven that she can in a short time make you feel as if you are in the story along with the characters. You get suspicious of people right away and you feel trapped right along side them on the mountain top chalet. This has always been my favorite aspects when it comes to reading one of her novels, I fall right into the world because she builds it up perfectly. Another thing I really liked was the fact that the feeling I felt while reading One by One are the same feeling I had when I read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

Additionally, I really liked the tech company that was created and used throughout this novel. No only was it used to give structor to the story, it was fun to see a made up company and product that seems like it could really be on the app store. I thought using this company really brings it into modern times and ensures it does not feel like the story takes place long ago. It also lends itself to creating very interesting dynamics that are a key component to this story. The suspicion and high tensions within this story, it really lends itself to the narrative. It leads to emotions getting higher and higher and leads to hidden, deep distrust to come to the surface.


What I Didn’t Like

The only downside was I felt one of the two narrators, I was so happy there were only two main voices in this story, read someone what juvenile from time to time though not consistently. So, it really was not anything that ruined the story or pulled me out of it in anyway. Which, for a thriller to be effective needs to really keep you in the narrative, and this really does.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this thriller. The setting was amazing, the atmosphere was palpable, the characters were interesting as well as their dynamics, and the story fully pulled me in. Once again Ware has proven to be an amazing writer and continues to be one of my auto-buy authors. Even though I received this book for free, I am going to go pick up another on publication day. If you want a good secluded thriller that appears to be a dream come true at first, but turns into a horror, I feel like this is one you should certainly look into.

4stars

Author Links

Ruth Ware

Book Information

Publication Date: September 8th 2020

Publisher:  Scout Press

List Price: $27.99

ISBN:  978-1501188817

Pages: 384 pages


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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | September 2020

Hello and welcome to my post where I am sharing my bullet journal spreads for September 2020. I don’t know about you, but September has really snuck up on me this year. I feel like it was the first week fo August and then I turned around and it was the last week already! Anyway, the only good news about time flying is creating some new spreads!


Items Used

  • Alphabet stamps
  • Scotch Adhesive Dot Roller
  • Tombow Brush Pen in color #912
  • Mechanical Pencil
  • Micron 01 in Black
  • Royalty Free Stock Photo: Pixabay
  • A5 Garden Slither Dot Grid Notebook from Olive and Archer
  • Amenti Oracle by Jennifer Sodini

Here is my dashboard for the month, as you can see by the picture on the right I am already feeling fall. I am not a huge fan of summer and the heat so I am one to always rush it out of the way. I really loved the picture of a walkway at a park with tall fall trees overhanging it and the addition of fog. I want to jump into the picture just like they do in Mary Poppins, I can feel the crisp air already! On the left I decided I would add a little script in the name of the month above the monthly calendar. I highlighted this page as well as all the others with a peachy orange color, Tombow Brush Pen in color #912.


On the left, I really wanted to keep the same month ahead spread I used over the past month. I really liked having a list of my TBR ready for me to work through as well as having a list of personal goals. I find it really motivating and allows me to focus my time instead of just wasting it. On the right I really enjoyed my bookshelf spread where I paste the picture of the books I have read throughout the month. Below you will find a picture from my August BUJO.

Here is my books read bookshelf for the month of August, this is not all the books I have read, but you can see I read You Were Born for This, The Secret River, Fever Dream (my favorite of the month), Smoke and Mirrors, The Comedy of Errors, G’morning, G’Night, After the Quake, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and The Hunger.

On the left you will see my oracle card for the month, this month I picked I spread joy. Which honestly, I love! I will say the image on the card a woman almost in a ballerina post on her toes with a few triangles behind her confuses me, but I am going to explore it more throughout the month. On the right hand side I am going to be doing a self care tracker. I have not really been taking great care of myself so I really want to make sure I leave time to care for myself in a wide range of methods. I put a square for each day of the month and when I do a form of self care I will color it in.

Last, but not last are my weekly spreads. I have been using these weekly spreads where I only put a mini calendar on the left page and leave room for notes and memory notes. On the right I have a rectangle for every day of the week, apart from the weekend, which I combine. This really works well for me because I have room to add appointments and such, but also lists to check off for the day.


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TBR

To Be Read | September 2020

Hello and welcome to another TBR post! This month I have a large stack of books to get through this month, but I am really excited about finally reading a lot of them. I am so close to getting my owned TBR down to the 10s and I am determined to do that this month, fingers crossed! Anyway, onto the books!


Book Stack of Tidy the F*ck Up by Messie Condo, Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan, Shiver by Junji Ito, and The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi.

As you can see, I have quite a book stack for September. I plan on reading 7 books, but I hope for a few more. Also, a huge thank you to those who voted my on poll, it was really helpful!

Tidy the F*ck Up by Messie Condo, so a few years ago I read Marie Konodo’s books and I have been feeling the urge to do the method again, but I wanted to read something different to get the inspiration I need and I came across this parody book and I knew I needed to get it if not for the motivation, but for the laughs as well.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, I saw this floating around online a few months ago and after looking further into it, I wanted to read it. I have really been into short stories as of late so I think this will be perfect!

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, was picked for me to read this month by Heidi over at This is My Bookshelf Blog. I am really looking forward to this one, I am so happy to finally be able to read it and not stare at it on my shelf. The summary I have read for this short story has me thinking I am going to be reading it in one sitting.

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, now this book I came across by complete chance while browsing my local indie bookstore. The bright cover pulled me in and when I looked at the description my heart broke and I knew I needed to read this story in its entirely.

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan, I picked this up recently because I wanted to learn more about finance and get better with my money. From my understanding, this is more of a starting point and I should in theory already know everything in here, but we shall see.

Shiver by Junji Ito, if you like manga and you like horror, you should look into this author. I read one of his collections and I really liked the creepy vibes, this guy has an imagination that might even put King to shame. I am really in the mood for some good horror so I am finally picking up another one of his works.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, this was my BOTM pick for August and sadly I was not able to get to it in August, but I really want to read it ini September, it really sounds like it is going to be a great story. Please see my post, Book of the Month| August 2020 for more information!


What are you planning on reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | August 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my monthly wrap up for August!  This month I had a little bit of time off of work and I took full advantage by spending quite a few days sitting in bed reading, which I have not done in a while. As a result I read all these books and found a few I absolutely love! Also, a bit of a side note, this is my first post using wordpress’ new format and I have a feeling I might have messed up the formatting, it is really hard to tell. 


Read 2

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American SlaveNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

His well chosen and powerful words speak for themself.

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The HungerThe Hunger by Alma Katsu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very intriguing, imaginative and haunting horror. Not only was this horror atmospheric, but it mixed “real world” horror and monster based horror. This mixed with history only made it just seem even more real. The writing was well done, the pacing, characters, and relationships were all done so well. I will be trying more books from this author in the future.

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American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSIAmerican Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my second book by this author and I am pleased that I still enjoy their voice. This was a very interesting look into not only an individual, but also the early field of forensics in the US. This was well researched and also commented on methods used in the past, but also today. It gave a wonderful broad picture of crime science, but it really put into perspective historical true crime that I have previously read. It dd this by going over key cases in Heinrich’s career. If you enjoy true crime, I think you will enjoy.

View all my reviews MarchMarch by Geraldine Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very interesting read that follows the father in Little Women through his young years where he meets Marmee and his time during the Civil War. I really loved this imagined way the enlightened parents met, combined in education, emancipation, and ideals.

They way the author explored Mr. March’s life was very interesting and explored the time period more so than Little Women could at the time. Not only did the book explore slavery and its affects, the underground railroad, survivors guilt, it explored the background to a book I didn’t know I wanted. The author is a talented writer and I will be looking into their other works.

View all my reviews Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness (A New Edition of the Tarot Classic)Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness by Rachel Pollack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best if not thee best tarot book I have read. It explains the symbolism within the cards as well as relates the meanings of the cards to stories and tales. I think this is a great book for someone starting or someone who have read for a while and wants a very detailed and well done review of the cards meanings and history.

View all my reviews Assassination Classroom, Vol. 01Assassination Classroom, Vol. 01 by Yūsei Matsui
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not really sure how to review this because I watched the anime first so I already have a connection to the characters, but I still really enjoy the illustrations and sense of humor while reading it as a manga.

View all my reviews Assassination Classroom, Vol. 02: Time for Grown-UpsAssassination Classroom, Vol. 02: Time for Grown-Ups by Yūsei Matsui
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Continues to have a good sense of humor, good plot, and good characters.

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Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 0


Reading Stats


What was your favorite book this month?

Mine was The Hunger by Alma Katsu or Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin. 

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | August

Hello and welcome another check in for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. If you would like to learn more you can look at my initial post called,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. This month I read The Comedy of Errors and errors there where!


This book is just a mixture of mess ups and miscommunication. It kinda reminded me of the exaggerated outcome of the telephone game, if you are familiar with that. The main aspect of this play is mistaken identity, which has been present in quite a few of his other plays that I have read this year. In this play in particular it it comes from not one, but two sets of twins and their loved ones having no idea who is who and let the mayhem begin.

I have to admit, that this is one of the better plays when it comes to mistaken identity. There were a few times where I giggled to myself while reading this, which is great because not a lot of his comedies have actually made me laugh or feel humor. Maybe I am finally getting Shakespeare’s sense of humor? Either way, without giving away too much, there is a lot of misunderstandings, surprises, and puns galore!

This review isn’t that long due to the fact that I feel like a lot of the humor would be removed from this play if it is really discussed as much as I normally do. I would rather you read it for yourself and truly get the laugh out of it than being ruined by my review. But, overall I think this is one of the better comedies as I said earlier. I think it is worth checking out if you like his other plays or even has not read any of his comedies before.


Next month I am reading another comedy by William Shakespeare called Much Ado About Nothing, I have heard a great deal about this one so I am excited!

What are your thoughts on this play?

What is your favorite play by Shakespeare?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Belle Can Read | The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Hello and welcome to my August installment of Someone Picks My Books. This series is where fellow book bloggers pick a book, any book, for me to read and review. This month, as you can see from the title, the book was picked by Belle Can Read. Thank you Belle for volunteering for this series and picking this months book!


One Sentence Review

A determined woman fights for her rights and the rights of her fellow women with a paranormal twist.


Book Description

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

First and foremost, I really enjoyed the time period that this book was set in. Not only did it led itself to an enjoyable story, but the author truly did it justice in the historical sense. The suffrage movement in the US was not something that was embraced, and the author really did a great job in portraying this. Showing family turning against family and so forth. In doing this, the novel truly feels historical and does not just have the setting, which sadly can happen with some historical fiction novels.

I really enjoyed the main character in this novel, Olivia is such a strong determined woman and grew throughout the novel. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a character is stuck and is not dynamic. Winters does not do this, their characters are dynamic and show development. Another character that I found interesting was Henry. The relationship with Henry, was done really well, but at first I did not like him. As I read and the more I saw from him, the more I liked him and felt like he was a good partner, key word PARTNER, for Olivia.

What I Didn’t Like

Her father is a jerk and you wont change me mind. But, this is not really something the author did wrong, actually did quite right. It is not often where I actively dislike a character. It might be because I keep reading Shakespeare this year and that fathers are all like this and I get so mad. But, it is the time and it is a historically accurate depiction.

Overall

Overall, I thought this was a really well done historical fiction. It did a great job of representing the struggle of women during the early stages of suffrage in the US. Also, the novel feels like it is consistently within this time period it is set. If you like strong and determined women and sometimes a paranormal twist to your historical fiction, I would suggest looking into this book for yourself because I think you just might like it!


Next month I am reading a book picked by the wonderful Heidi from the blog, This is My Book Shelf Blog. I recommend checking out her blog and other social media accounts!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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