Revisiting

Revisiting | Short List 2019 Continued and Wrap Up

revisiting

Hello everyone and welcome to another update on one of my bigger 2019 goals. Reading the entire shortlist of the 2018 Man Booker Prize. If you want some more information on this goal, you can read my first on the topic here: Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist 2019.

Anyway, this past year I have been slowly reading the 6 books on this short list and I previously shared my reading experience of the first 3 books I read, which were Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, Milkman by Anna Burns, and The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. You can find my full thoughts on these books on my first update post called; Revisiting | Reading a Shortlist 2019. But, for the abrivated verson I will say I really enjoyed Washington Black, but was not thrilled by Milkman and The Mars Room and I was kinda starting to question this challenge/goal I had for myself. But, since I already owned two more of the books on this list, I decided to continue on. On the to the reviews and reflection!


Everything UnderEverything Under by Daisy Johnson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is going to be a really weird review. I liked the story, but the way it was portrayed irritated me. There are no ” marks, “You” is used so much, the POV was personally aggravating to read. Now all of these are personal preference and does not in any way mean that the book is bad, but it was very much not for me. Also, why do chapters have the same names? I didn’t know these things mattered go much to me until now.

If you read the first chapter of this book or a sample I feel like you will know right away if this book is for you or not.

View all my reviews


The OverstoryThe Overstory by Richard Powers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very interesting read for sure, I can see why it has won awards and shortlisted for others. The idea is very thought provoking, involving individuals who have a very strong with nature and more specifically the trees. At first all these stories seem unconnected, more like a short story collection, then slowly they start to come together as the need to protect the forest grows larger.

I have to say, I enjoyed the first half of this book more than the second half. The first half has so much of a personal connection with nature and trees and it was great learning about all of these families and individuals. For me it started to get less interesting when things got mushed together. I am not sure if it is because it seemed to be more “preachy” or the individual stories that drew me in kinda for the most part fell to the side and were only a plot device instead of the story. It seemed to loose the magic and the soul of the story.

With that aside the writing was done very well, I am curious to get into other works of this author.

View all my reviews


The Long TakeThe Long Take by Robin Robertson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say that this is one of the better books shortlisted for the Man Book Prize in 2018. I really enjoyed the format being utilized, it really set the feeling of the story for me. This book really talks about a very difficult topic that many have to deal with PTSD and having known someone who suffered with it first hand, I feel like the author did a great job portraying how it can affect some people. PTSD affects many, but can affect each person differently.

This book really had a feel to it that I think sticks to a reader, I feel like I will bee thinking about it for sometime. It is encompassing and consuming in a way. I also like how the author portrays the internal feelings struggles of the main character to the external society/city. It was veery interesting to read. There are many dark topics in this novel/poem, so if PTSD, drug use, and other dark themes are something that can bother you, I would stay away. If that is not the case it is a powerful read for sure.

View all my reviews


-Reflection-

I feel like this second bunch of books from the short list I had a bit more success with over all. My last post I couldn’t even give star ratings to two of the books. I would say that  in this group there are now two books I would recommend to people, The Long Take and The Overstory, but I would have to feel confident in the fact I know their likes and dislikes when it comes to reading. I feel like that is a pretty decent turn around. I find it ironic that I liked the books I put off more than the ones I was excited about.

That being said I would 100% do this challenge again, in fact I already added a lot of the books from the 2019 short list to my TBR and put in a wishlist at my local library. One thing I learned from this challenge is that I should get these books from the library. While  there is no denying that they are well written books, I cannot say that I will enjoy the content every time. So, while I enjoy exploring new things, the library is my friend when it comes to this challenge.


Have or would you read any of these books?

Are you excited about the 2019 Man Booker Shortlisted books?

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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | December 2019

Recs

Hello and welcome to another peak into my bullet journal. This month I kept it really simple and to the point. I have a ton going on and I didn’t want to get too distracted by all the extra spreads and such. But, I am still in love with how it came out. It puts me in a wonderfully cozy mood.


Before I jump into talking about my monthly set up, I wanted to show you a general spread I added. I was inspired by the youtuber named Samantha Menzo. I can’t remember the particular video it was that I saw, but I ran with the inspiration. With the name Luna, you can only imagine how much I enjoy the moon and its cycles.

Here is my dashboard and month at a glance page. I once again used the artwork from Plant Based Bride, you all must be sick of hearing me talk about her, but she is a wonderful and talented individual. I also started following a youtuber Shayda Campbell and she is very inspiring as well. I really enjoyed the cozy feeling in this artwork instead of being all about the holidays. Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays, but for me there is so much more to the month than that and I would be looking way to forward to it and keep wishing the month away. Speaking of, I still need to decorate!

This month I wanted by habit tracker to focus on things that I need this month or I want to make a priority. I didn’t want to add any fluff. I am tracing if I was active in anyway, if I read, if I slept for 7 hours or more, if I took my vitamins, if i did a bit of tidying, and if I study. I really loved relearning and learning new things I decided that even though my test is over I want to continue to learn. On the right you can see my post tracker, I am trying to get a bit more organized and visuals always work better for me. I also like to track what I need to do when it comes to particular posts. I like setting little bench marks, I feel more productive.

This is my book tracker, I am going to be tracking when I read a book and which book it is. I decided I am not interested in knowing how many pages a day I read. It was just too much data for me and my needs. On the other side you can see another painting of that beautiful cabin on my dashboard page.

Now, I already posted my TBR post, but I was slacking and did not write it down. I will say I am loving adding art throughout my bujo lately instead of just being spreads. It breaks things up nicely and just adds something for me. If you are interested in seeing the books I am planning on reading this month you can see those here: TBR | December 2019

This month I am keeping my weekly spreads the same as last month, this layout is really working for me. As they say, if it an’t broke, don’t fix it

So there is the sneak peak into my bullet journal, I hope you enjoyed it. In the future I would love to add more of my own art and such back into it, but life has been a little all over and I don’t hav a ton of time to draw and paint currently. I hope that changes soon, but in the mean time, I am loving the artist and bullet journalers I have found to help me out.


What theme are you using this month?

Who do you get inspiration from?

Do you use a bujo?

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Reviews

Book Review | A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

A Constellation of Roses
Description: 

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots. –goodreads.com

 


What I Liked

I would like to start off with something some might not see as a positive, but this was one emotional book. It felt like a roller coaster, but in a really good way. It did not feel like a soap opera. This book follows a young girl named Trix who has had a very hard life. She was stealing to survive and life, she really didn’t trust anyone but 2 friends, one who liked like her and another who was in jail.

This book starts off right away and slowly you see the world build and Trix. She is a really complex character with a ton of development, which I loved. I was rooting for her the entire time and I just wanted her to begin to trust people and connect with her family. The author wrote her in an amazing way. The world she built was believable, and tangible even though there was a few magical elements tossed in. I had genuine emotional reactions to a few of the events in the book, I don’t want to get too specific, but I cried and I wanted to smack a few characters in the face. On the other hand there were some I just wanted to hug and celebrate with when things went right. I will note that even the side characters of sort made an impression on me.

Another thing I really enjoyed the book was the little magical element. This element was woven into the story is such a believable way. It is subtle and well thought out due to the diversity of magic help by some of the characters. These little gifts are listed in the books description and I knew they were coming up, but I really loved how they fit into the characters personalities and were presented.

Honestly, I could go on and on, this is pretty much a gushfest and I am totally okay with that because this book earned it.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. I loved every page of this book. It was beautifully written and constructed. This, I do not say often.


Overall Thoughts

I thought this was an amazing read, it could easily be one of my top books of the year. As I have said the author is very talented. Her writing is well balanced and easily creates a world and characters that the reader can fall into with out a problem. I was engaged in the story from page one and I wanted more when it was over. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

5stars


Author Links

fullsizeoutput_3c2.jpeg


Book Information

Publication Date: November 5th 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062747105

Pages: 336 pages

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Hauls

BOTM Unboxing | December 2019

Unboxing

Hello and welcome to yet another BOTM unboxing. This month I honestly had a hard time picking a book, I was kind of tempted to skip. Upon first glance, none of the books were ones I was interested in apart from one I already own, so that was kinda a bust. Then, as I took the time to read through the descriptions, I came across this months pick!


I don’t know about you, but when I was in high school I had to read The Great Gatsby. While reading the description for The Glittering Hour, for some reason it reminded me of The Great Gatsby, but also the life style of the Fitzgeralds themselves. These figures seem larger than life and walk a fine line between partying and loosing it all. I feel like the main female character might live a life style familiar to them, but I could easily be wrong.

In addition to sparking a connection to the 1920’s over the top partying, I also love a good forbidden love story. I know it is so beaten to death, but honestly if I can read about true love against all odds,  I am so there. Also, it doesn’t seem like it is going to be a quick burn romance, since the story takes place over a few decades. This, is also a selling point because it seems like there might not be an insta-love situation, I really hope there isn’t one.

I really am excited to see how Selina Lennox balances staying on the “right side of a scandal” and what type of decisions she will have to make when it comes to Lawrence. I am hoping for a slow burn read and hopefully I won’t be too mad at the main character for her choices. Fingers crossed, I feel like this could go either way and I am excited to find out.


Does this book sound like something you would read?

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TBR

TBR | December 2019

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Hello and welcome to my end of the year TBR. I cannot believe I am writing the last TBR post of 2019. Last month I didn’t really read too much, to the point I couldn’t even post my normal Middle Mark post. While I wasn’t having the best of reading months, I did have a lot of fun doing other things and was focusing on myself. Anyway, here are the books that are a priority to read before the end of the year rolls around.


Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, I was searching online for a book to read for my year long challenge of reading a book from every continent. At this point I only need two, not sure why I waited so long to do this. I need a book from Asia and Australia. Bury What We Cannot Take, which I have started at this point, looks like it is going to be an emotional roller coaster where is talks about hard choices, government rule, and also what is family loyalty. I am really looking forward to reading this because I feel like this is going to be a very powerful read.  The Light Between Oceans on the other hand deals with a smaller sized family of a wife and husband moving into a lighthouse then a dead body a baby show up. I feel like this is going to be a heartfelt story as well, but instead of being a family torn apart, it might be a family growing together. 

The Morrigan by Courtney Weber, I have always been interested in various gods and goddesses, but I normally just read general myths and legends. I decided to pick this book up because the goddess it was about, I never really heard of her much, and the second because it was an entire book dedicated to her. I flipped through it at the store and it seems like it really is going to be an interesting read. I am excited to learn about her.

So, those are the three books I am hoping to read before 2020 gets here. I hope your reading month is wonderful and the end of 2019 is full of fun!


What books are you planning on reading this month?

Any 2019 goals you are trying to finish up?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | November 2019

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So, this month was really a bad reading month, not because I read bad books, but I barely read. I have no idea what has happened to me, but I have not been interested in a lot of the books on my shelf and more interested in other things I have been putting off for a long time. While I am very happy with exploring those parts of me, I miss reading and the adventurers. Anyway, here are the very limited books I read this month and my thoughts with a bonus of what I am currently reading.


Read 2
It Would Be Night in CaracasIt Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this novel from BookCon 2019 for free from the publisher.

This was such a powerful read. It was raw, it was powerful, and it told a very important story. It is filled with heart breaking content, it was an emotional roller coaster. I was sad, angry, and outraged so many times while reading this. The story is really one that needs to be shared because so many people around the world live in these conditions, whether it would be one aspects of the story or all.

The writing goes back and forth through a timeline of a young girl living in Venezuela during very uneasy times. She is faced with that seems like impossible circumstances. I read this book in a single day because I needed to know how Adelaida’s story ended. I will say that this is not for every reader if you find human suffering, violence, and tense situations unbearable to read about.

View all my reviews


Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

View full review here: Book Review | Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

“Overall, I really have to say I enjoyed this book. I really like the twist on the fairytale of declined marriage proposal where someone turns into a monster. I also really like the writing style and the main character and her protrayed as an ogre. I feel like the author did an amazing job merging the idea of the ogre with such a dedicated, self assured character. In my eyes if you read and were interested by the description you should give this book a try. It is an interesting story in a really interesting world created by a talented writer.”

View all my reviews


The Long TakeThe Long Take by Robin Robertson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say that this is one of the better books shortlisted for the Man Book Prize in 2018. I really enjoyed the format being utilized, it really set the feeling of the story for me. This book really talks about a very difficult topic that many have to deal with PTSD and having known someone who suffered with it first hand, I feel like the author did a great job portraying how it can affect some people. PTSD affects many, but can affect each person differently.

This book really had a feel to it that I think sticks to a reader, I feel like I will bee thinking about it for sometime. It is encompassing and consuming in a way. I also like how the author portrays the internal feelings struggles of the main character to the external society/city. It was veery interesting to read. There are many dark topics in this novel/poem, so if PTSD, drug use, and other dark themes are something that can bother you, I would stay away. If that is not the case it is a powerful read for sure.

View all my reviews


Currently Reading 2

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore, so far I am really enjoying this historical fiction cute love story. I am currently at 43% and I can see this being a 4 or 5 stars at this point. I can see that the author knows about the time period and the writing style is wonderful.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, since this is the 5th book in the series I am not going to say too much, but I am enjoying how I am just dropped right back into the world without missing a beat or too long of a reintroduction. I am only one chapter in, but since I have read this far, you can see that I enjoy the writing, even though it can be graphic at times. 

Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen, this I am not far in at all, 6% total, so I don’t have much of an option either way. I will say that I am excited to continue so that is a good sign. I will also say that I think this story is going to get dark, but I feel like it will be really powerful as well. 

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, I am only 4% into this one. This is an ebook of mine so I wont be making my way through it too quickly, but from what I have read so far the author has really made an impression on me. The writing is beautiful and I am already kinda attached to the main character


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 34

Backlist TBR: 0


What was your favorite book you read this past month?

Did anything you read surprise you?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Things I Want to Track in 2020

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Hello and welcome to this little self talk and discussion. Over the year I have been become a bit more interesting in data revolving around my reading habits. I don’t what the reason behind it, but I feel like it would really show an interesting picture.


I know that goodreads keeps track of a lot of information such as how many books I’v read, book ratings by year, pages read etc. But, this is a mainly an end of the year event. I would really like to see if there are patterns for particular months. So, this is where this post comes in.

While I do really appreciate all the data goodreads keeps for me, I am interested in data that is not collected in a manner easily accessed. While you pick the editions you read of particular books, there is no way to look back at the year and see I have read this many ebooks, this many hard covers and so on. You also don’t have easy access to seeing the books you DNF, unless you count a book as read and put it on a shelf, which messes up my other stats. So, here comes my handy dandy notebook. Yes, I did just make a Blues Clues reference. I regret it already. lol.

Next year I would really like to track the following things on a monthly basis. If a book is fiction/nonfiction, while I know I read a wide array of genres, I would like to make this to be general so I am not overwhelming myself. While I know I read each of these each month, I don’t really track it too much and I would like more insight. Following that I would also like to track general stats like how many books of each rating, pages per month, library or owned. On top of keeping track of the format and how many I DNF over a year as I noted earlier.

I know a few blogs I follow do this, this is not all, but the ones I saw the most recently, are Read With Allison and Jordyn Roesler and I really love how they do this, but I really want to make this more conducive to my reading and my blogging style. So, I have another month to figure this out, but if you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it!

What stats do you keep track of?

Do you track outside of goodreads or only goodreads?

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Hauls

BOTM Unboxing | November 2019

Unboxing

Hello and welcome to another BOTM unboxing. This month I actually had a very hard time picking between two of the books  this month. I ended to just adding the two books to my box because I was going back and fourth for two days and I really could not decide. Anyway, here are the books I picked for my BOTM box this month.


So, in the past I have read Susannah Cahalan’s first book Brain on Fire, I really fell in love with her ability to tell a story. I knew she was a journalist and a writer, but I was never sure she was going to write again. Lo and behold, I sign into Book of the Month’s and saw she wrote another. I needed to pick it as my book, no if ands or butts. Honestly, if you have not read her first book, I highly recommend it. It is her own account of her brain turning against her and how she was able to gain back her life. It is really heart wrenching, raw, and fascinating. I can only guess that this will be just as good of not better.

The second book I picked was Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I really excited so see what she does with an adult novel. I have read some of her other books and really enjoyed them so I know she is an author I “get along with”. I have heard that there are some trigger warnings with this one, but I don’t know the particulars.

Overall, I am really excited by both of these books and I am so happy to have them on my TBR!


Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

Are either of them on your TBR?

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Reviews

Book Review | Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)Description: 

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre. Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

I want to start off by saying I have not read Ella Enchanted, which I know many love. This is my first time reading a book set in this world and also by this author, so please keep that in mind. I will say, I found Gail Carson Levine writing enjoyable. It flowed nicely and when I did pick up the book to read I was pulled in a usually for long chunks of time. The world is one you fall into.

Outside of Levine’s writing style I really enjoyed the world she created as well as the characters. When it came to the main character, Evie, I really liked how she wrote a character that was very much herself. While this book has a beauty and the beast type feeling with a marriage proposal leads to someone being turned into a monster. I felt that Evie turning down her proposal due to her dedication to healing much more interesting and compelling instead of just being interested in physical appearance. I found it to be a really interesting turn on the idea. It also added a lot to the characters personality in my eyes.

While Evie is young, she has a passion, and at times she read a bit older due to this. Even after she is cursed the fairy, she has graphic thoughts, which come with being an ogre. The other side of the coin is that at times she does very much read like a young girl, which makes sense. At times this could be jarring, but it never took me out of the story too much. It was more like, “Oh, right”.

When it came to the idea of what an Ogre is I really like the way Levine handled it. I feel like she could have taken the same route as shriek and hidden a lot of the cruel side of an ogre. In Shrek an idea of what an orge was more lent itself as a cover to keep humans away. Instead I feel like Levine showed the more traditional, at least in my eyes, view of an ogre. Where they like to eat humans or are overly hairy among other grotesque things. I appreciated the author being more aligned to this idea.


What I Didn’t Like

While I did read this book in only a few sittings, I will say that there were points in the book that dragged. Nothing that was too bad, but they were there. On top of that, as I stated earlier, there were times where the main character acted older than she was and this could be a tad bit jarring if you are sensitive to that. This point really comes down to preference.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really have to say I enjoyed this book. I really like the twist on the fairytale of declined marriage proposal where someone turns into a  monster. I also really like the writing style and the main character and her protrayed as an ogre. I feel like the author did an amazing job merging the idea of the ogre with such a dedicated, self assured character. In my eyes if you read and were interested by the description you should give this book a try. It is an interesting story in a really interesting world created by a talented writer.

4stars


Author Links

Gail Carson Levine


Book Information

Publication Date:  October 16th 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062561213

Pages: 352 pages

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Lists & Recommendations

Entire Owned TBR | November 2019

ToBeRead12:17

Hello and welcome to this little post talking about my owned TBR. So, I wanted to take this time to look at my TBR before moving into the new year. I am big on cleaning out all the clutter and extra unessential stuff into the new year and setting a bit of an intention for myself. I recently did an unhaul, and I wanted to share the books that remain on my pile. You can find that post here: Book Unhaul | November 2019.

You might be able to tell from my list below, that I make note of when I buy a book, this is because if I don’t read a book within a year of buying it, I know I am not going to read it. I know my personality and this is the system that works for me. The good news is that this works for me and I have not had to get rid of a book due to this in over a year and a half. Anyway, on to the TBR!


-The TBR-

Jan 2019

  • The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  • The Wicked King by Holly Black

March 2019

  • Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

April 2019

  • Blaze by Stephen King/Richard Bachman

May 2019

  • Middlemarch George Eliot
  • The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien (reread)
  • The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien (reread)

June 2019

  • The Window of Pale Harbor Hester Fox
  • Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
  • Thee Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

August 2019

  • Outside the Gates by Molly Gloss
  • Cujo by Stephen King
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

September 2019

  • Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
  • Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
  • Winter at Death’s Hotel by Kenneth Cameron
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  • Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee

October 2019

  • Angel Mage by garth Nix
  • Full Throttle by Joe Hill
  • Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
  • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
  • Tales of Belkin by Alexander Pushkin
  • The Duel by Giacomo Casanova
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Queens Gambit by Bradley Harper
  • Firestarter by Stephen King
  • Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

November 2019

  • The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • My Best Friends Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
  • The Lesson of the Master by Henry James
  • Carmen by Prosper Merimee
  • A Constellation of Roses
  • Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar
  • Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
  • Bury What You Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen
  • Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

So there is my entire TBR up until this point. I mainly wanted to post it so I can look back at this post in the future and reflect upon it in 2020. I still cannot believe that 2020 is right around the corner. Anyway, thanks for reading or skimming this list. 😂

Have you read any of these? Should I cast any aside?

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