Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | February

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to the second month of 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, you can find my original post with an explanation here: Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. The first month went so well, I ended up really loving I also have a goodreads group going if you want to join in on the challenge, 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.


The Book

This months book was Othello, chosen via a poll on my twitter account. This play is thought to be written around 1603. I will say, this is one of the play I am more nervous about this book because I have read this before and I did not enjoy it very much. Going into this I was really hoping that my view on it has changed.


My Review

So, coming into this month I felt both better and a bit worried about reading Othello. I felt a bit more at ease because I really enjoyed a Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I remember reading Othello and really disliking it. So, I really saw things going either way.

I have to say, the start of this book kind of made me feel like The Count of Monte Cristo. It starts off with a man feeling wronged by not being promoted and is newly married. Very much sounded very familiar, which for Othello is a good thing because I loved The Count of Monte Cristo. Another work I made a connection to is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The father in A Midsummer Night’s Dream was so upset and would not accept his daughter marrying for love and was so dramatic about it. The same happened in this story pretty much, which was kind of annoying. Only two books into this challenge and already recycling characters in a way.

But, with that aside I will say I did enjoy this one more so than I remembered the first time I read it years ago. What I did like about this was how it was organized and how it created such a villain. Even at only about 40 pages in I already hated a character and I wanted him to get lost at sea or something. The fact that I felt so much in that way saved this play in my eyes. If I didn’t dislike that person so much I would have rated it a lot lower honestly. Also, the ending is just so tragic and I felt so horrible for the jerks wife, she knew she was doing wrong, but not as wrong as she actually did. She most likely felt sole responsible for what occurred.


Next months play is going to be Hamlet as voted on by my wonderful twitter followers! If you want to join in with me please do by jumping into the conversation here or over on the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.


What did you think of this play?

What play do you think I should add to the poll for April? 

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Bookish in Bed

Someone Picks My Books.jpg

Hello and welcome to the second post in this year long series! I am excited to be discussing a book that Reg over at Bookish in Bed picked for me to read this month. I was excited to see she picked a book by an author that was new to me. For me, this is the whole part of this series, discovering new books and new writers. So, without further delay, on to Little Children by Tom Perratta!



Book Description

Tom Perrotta’s thirtyish parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There’s Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed “The Prom King” by the moms at the playground, and his wife, Kathy, a documentary filmmaker envious of the connection Todd has forged with their toddler son. And there’s Sarah, a lapsed feminist surprised to find she’s become a typical wife in a traditional marriage, and her husband, Richard, who is becoming more and more involved with an internet fantasy life than with his own wife and child.
And then there’s Mary Ann, who has life all figured out, down to a scheduled roll in the hay with her husband every Tuesday at nine P.M.
They all raise their kids in the kind of quiet suburb where nothing ever seems to happen – until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could ever have imagined.
goodreads.com


Before I jump into this, I want to admit something, I was actually meant to read this book over a year ago and I never did because life got a bit overwhelming and it fell by the wayside. So, I was so excited to be given the opportunity to read it again.

So, now that I have finally finished this book, I can say that I generally enjoyed it. I think what stuck out to me the most about this book is that is a satire, but a sad one in my eyes.  The characters that are talked about had different plans for their lives or they are slipping away in a manner. It really is a look into society and people and kept my interest for sure, I read it in four days.

Another thing that stood out to me is how this book is set up, you can tell the author did a great job laying out this novel. The characters seems very tangible and very likely to be real people in your own community. The characters seem to be facing issues that aren’t so unlike what you might see yourself or others you know deal with. The character development as well as the plot and how they interact with one another is well done. I will say, this book will also have to questioning the morals of others and society as well.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I feel like it is very out of my normal read for me. I don’t always enjoy books like this, but this novel did it well. I ended up giving it a solid three stars and I can see other people really enjoying it if the description interests you. I am really happy that Reg picked it for me, it was a nice change of pace in my reading this month.


Next month I am excited to be reading a book picked by Misty over at Misty’s Book Space.  I very excited to read and reviewing the book she picked for me, I really feel like I am going to love it!

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it or do you think you would enjoy it?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk| A New Language Adventure

Let's Talk

Hello and welcome to a bit of a personal post than I normally post. This past Valentines Day my boyfriend and I actually exchanged textbooks of sorts instead of traditional presents. I gifted him a workbook/lessons on learning Japanese and he gifted me a few books on learning Korean. Yes, we are going to be learning two different languages, which shall be kind of funny, but I think it will be a fun adventure and useful for hopeful future travels. Now, I am so excited about learning another language and I just wanted to share it with you. I know it is going to take a bunch of work and time, but this has been something I have wanted to do for some time.


In my past post, Middle Mark | February 2020, I mentioned that I will most likely be reading less from this point forward because I am starting something new this month, well, this is what I am starting. Learning a language takes a lot of time and effort as well as taking a spot in priority. So, as bitter sweet as it is I think my reading is going to suffer a bit.

With this new project of sorts I am going to have to move around my schedule and really become self motivated, especially because I am doing this on my own. If you have any study tips or resources please feel free to share I am thankful for any and all tips and suggestions. While I was very self motivated with I attending Uni, I know that muscle is a bit weakened at this point.


My Supplies

So, to help with my studying I have a few materials already. Like I mentioned earlier my BF gifted me a few books. This is the first book I am going to be using in my journey. It is called Become a Hangeul Master, which is created by Talk to Me in Korean. I know for my learning style I need to know the letters of sorts and how to sound words out before jumping into full words so this is going to be my starting point. I also started working on Unit 1 and I have to say I really like how straightforward the book is and the fact they have downloadable content to go along with it.

Along with the books I have a monthly planner to record how long I study, what I study, and how I felt about the study session. I am a huge color coordinator so I picked this planner by At a Glance because it was blue, pink, and purple. Lastly, the notebook I am using is a grid notebook by Whitelines. It has an app that goes along with it, so I can bring my notes along with me, but also seems easy on the eyes. Lastly, I am a huge fan of flashcards and I picked up these colored ones by Pen and Gear. Can see you a color pattern forming?

Here is a better look at my notebook, but also the other office materials I decided to pick up. I always mess up when writing so white-out is much needed and as a lover of post it notes I picked up these adorable ones to stick where ever I might need the. As for pens and highlighters I decided on picking up more of my favorite highlighters Zebra Mildliners. I have used them for years in my Bujo and I have never had a problem with them and their quality. I picked up this pack mainly because it has the colors pink, blue, and purple. I also picked up EnerGel Pentel pens in a pack with the colors red, purple, and blue. I really tried to stay with the same three colors. Lastly, I picked up a pack of tabs to help keep my place in my workbooks.


If you have gotten this far in this post I have to say thank-you. This was mainly a post where I am super excited about something and I just want to share it. I do hope you enjoyed reading about this new adventure and how I am getting prepared for it. I am not sure how much of this journey I am going to share and if any of you are actually interested in it, but we shall see!

What languages do you know? Is there a language you would love to learn?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | February 2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reaching check in! This month started off a bit stressful if I am to be completely honest, so I am actually surprised I was able to finish a book let alone more. So, I am very happy with my wrap up, even if I did already have my first low rating of the year. I will say I am forseeing my reading totals to fall from this point forward because I am starting something new I am really excited about and will be sharing soon. But, I will give a very bad hint though: I love learning something new and it being self directed. Like I said a bad hint, but anyway, on to the books! 😂


Read 2

The LangoliersThe Langoliers by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very imaginative take on a children’s night time scary story come to life mixed with the Bermuda Triangle. It was very interesting to see how King’s characters, who were all there by accident, reacted to the situation. I don’t want to say too much because I feel like if I said anymore I would ruin it, but I will say that you can read this on it’s own or inn the short stoy collection of Four Past Midnight.

View all my reviews


God CountryGod Country by Donny Cates

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can’t say for sure why I wasn’t drawn into this volume, but I just didn’t get into it. Not sure if it was the plot, how the dialog was placed on the page or the layout. It just fell flat unfortunately. The artwork was wonderful though and the idea was great.

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Ducks, NewburyportDucks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I don’t want to say much on this book at the current moment because I am going to explore this novel a bit more when I read a few more of the books on the 2019 Man Booker Shortlist. I will say at this time the main reason I did not like this book was due to the formatting. This is a very personal thing, so I feel like a lot of people wont be as bothered by it, but that is what I shall say for now.

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The UnhoneymoonersThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a very typical enemies to lovers type of book, but I will say I really like the way the author built upon that trope. I really enjoyed the plot and the side things as well, the writing was do very well. I will say there were times I wanted to just skip ahead just because I just wanted to know what will happen and I was not really fully invested in the journey.

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No One Is Too Small to Make a DifferenceNo One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful collection of speeches made by Greta Thunberg.

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Currently Reading 2

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, I am currently 37% through. At this point I am enjoying the book once I pick it up, but for some reason I don’t feel enticed enough to pick it up.  I don’t understand why my brain does this sometimes.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, I am currently only 8% through this Tome and I am really enjoying it so far. It is written very well and I am surprised how quickly I am reading it.


 What was the last book you finished?

What book are you currently reading?

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Hauls

Unboxing | BOTM February 2020

Hauls & Unboxings

Hello and welcome to my monthly Book of the Month post! This month I picked only one book, I am trying to read all of my backlisted BOTM books so I don’t want to add too many more to the pile. This month I chose something a bit outside my normal reading, but I am still excited about it. Now, on to the haul!


Description

“In this twisty tale from Moore (The Sherlockian), the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game, young juror Maya Seale is convinced that African American high school teacher Bobby Nock is innocent of killing the wealthy white female student with whom he appears to have been involved and persuades her fellow jurors likewise. Ten years later, a true-crime docuseries reassembles the jurors, and Maya, now a defense attorney, must prove her own innocence when one of them is found dead in Maya’s room.” –goodrerads.com


This month I decided on The Holdout, a thriller of sorts that is driven via the court system. I normally do not read thrillers or mysteries that have a lot of law enforcement, courtroom drama, or themes along those lines. Normally, my thrillers of choice are more domestic and psychological. If there is law enforcement. it is usually towards the end, not the entire plot.  I will say the exception to this would have to be the Mr. Mercedes series by Stephen King, although it. was a mix of a detective mystery and something else.

I am excited to give this one a go because it seems like it’s a mixture of a detective mystery and a domestic thriller. So, I feel like this would be a good way to see if I enjoy thrillers along those lines, just dipping my toes while still in my comfort zone a bit.

I will also openly admit, I loved the Imitation Game, so that was also a bit of a selling point of this book. If you do get the chance, it is a wonderful story, but totally heart breaking and could be very difficult to watch. Do a bit of research to see if it would be triggering for you before giving it a go.


Does this book sound interesting to you?

If you have BOTM what book did you pick this month?

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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | February 2020

Bullet Journal

Hello and welcome to another bujo post! I know last week I shared my unboxing of the most recently Tombow VIP Club, Unboxing | Tombow VIP Club January 2020, sadly I already had my February spreads all set up already. But, I am planning to use all of those items in next months spreads and really try and add more color. This month I have gone really simple and to the point because I have so much going on, I don’t really want distractions. If I do need more spreads, I will add them at a later date. As for now, here is my February bujo!


So here is my dash page! The flower art was created by Shayda Campbell, I am really loving the floral lately and her stuff is all about bringing in the natural feelings. On the right I wanted a quote and I did some abstract art with some cut up black paper I had laying around. I decided to add a quote I came across online and add a little doodle.

Here is my must have spread, since I starting using this I have just fallen in love with it. I track the books I have read and when I have read them. I color code the blocks with the book.  It is a little hard to explain so I am going to add my January completed one below so you can see.

So, on the book tracker. page you can see on the right I have a book title highlighted in a particular color. I then block off a square or squares for the dates that I read that book. An example would be a Midsummers Night’s Dream in a light purple color. I look at the chart and I can see that I read it from the 12th to the 16th of January. On the right I have my tbr and then I add extra books if I read them.

Here is my super simple and the same as I have been weekly layouts. These were originally inspired by Elizabeth Turnbull months and months ago and they just work for me. In my eyes, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. So I am keeping these the same.

I know this month is super short and simple, but like I said, I don’t really want to add to much this month because I have so much going on I don’t want to be distracted by anything. But, I am loving the ones I have created.


What bujo spread is your favorite?

What colors do you think I should start incorporating into my bujo?

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TBR

To Be Read | February 2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to my February TBR! This year is leap year, which means we get an additional day in February to read. So, this month I am thinking about taking on some of my larger books, with one in particular being a goal.


Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann is my Man Booker short list book of the month. As I am writing this I have not finished Girl, Woman, Other, but I am putting the next one on the list on my TBR. This one is truly a hefty book, I could probably use it as protection against a bad person. It is a bit intimidating, but the description sounds really interesting and I am excited to jump in.

Little Children by Tom Perrotta, is on my list this month due Reg picking it out for me to read for my relaunched Someone Picks My Books series. In January I read a book recommended by my aunt, Where the Crawdads Sing and it was a total win, I think this one is going to be as well. If you want to check that out, you can do that here: Someone Picks My Books | Aunt Edition & Series Return!

Othello by William Shakespeare, this is another book I am reading for a series this year. Othello is going to be my Shakespeare play of the month. I have decided this year to read a Shakespeare play a month and really determine if I hate his works because I was forced to read them, or they truly are not for me. Last month I read A Midsummers Night’s Dream, you can see my thought on it here: 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | January

The Langoliers by Stephen King, last but not least is a horror I picked up in January and I am very excited to read it this month. Something about the setting being an eerie train just pulled me in. It also just feels like the classic scary monster vibe I have been missing as of late.

While I have only picked four books for my TBR this month, I am planning on reading more, but these are my priority. After I get through these my mood reading can really take off!


Bonus Books

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, this was a leftover from last month, I started it and still have to finish it, but so far so good! 

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, I was meant to read this last month, but I ran out of time sadly so I want to get to it this month.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman, I am buddy reading with Jenna and Reg, which I am super excited about. I have been wanting to read it for a long time now and I finally get the chance to read it with two awesome people. 

 


What books are you planning on reading this month?

What book are you currently reading?

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Hauls

Unboxing | Tombow VIP Club January 2020

Hauls & Unboxings

Hello and welcome to a little unboxing of the Tombow VIP Club. I was not planning ordering and unboxing this today, but honestly Tombow loves to throw these boxes out randomly so here I am.  I saw it in my email and I really loved what was inside so I ordered it. In the US this is $25 with free shipping. Now to unbox and see if it is worth the money! If this is still available you can find it here: Tombow VIP Club.


I just love how festive the box is when I opened it I needed to take a picture. It is so bright and color, just what I have needed with all of the long nights of winter. I truly miss the color of Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Here are the items inside the box, first the exclusive Tombow playing cards. I love playing solitaire in my free time so these were a really cute edition in my eyes. Also great for an unexpected card game with friends, these are said to be about $12.99. This is about on par with some nicer playing cards I have seen at the store. Next we have a new collection of their Dual Brush Pens called Celebration. This is a collection of 10 colors which include; 055, 452, 245,885, 723,  850, 026, 451, 743, and 925. This is said to be worth $26.99. I have used and loved thee Dual Brush Pens for a few years now, I personally really enjoy them. Lastly, we have MONO Drawing Pens in 6 different sizes; 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, and 08. I have not used this before, but I am really excited to give them a try. I feel like they would be great in my bullet journal! These are also said to be worth $16.99.

So, if you total all of that up this box is worth $56.97. Very much above the $25 price of the box. The Dual Brush Pens alone are the price of the box.

Here is a little peak into the cards, they are really beautiful cards and feature the work from the design team.  It seems that each suit has its own artist, which is a wonderful way to showcase their team members and their talents.

Here is a swatch of all of the colors in the Celebration set as well as all of the MONO Drawing Pens. I am happy to report that none of them bleed through, which I was really thrilled about. Pens can be very tricky at times, but for reference I use Archer and Olive  A5 dot grid notebook, so your experience might not be the same as mine if you use a different notebook.

Overall I am thrilled by this Tombow VIP Club box. For me it is a great deal, I get to try new things without putting out the full price. That is always something I worry about, spending money and buying something full price and it doesn’t work out. This really gives me a bit more confidence to go outside of my normal box and give something a go.


What did you think of this box?

What was your favorite time? Do you use any of these supplies?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | January 2020

Wrap Up

Wow, the first month of the year is a wrap,  2020 is off to a great start reading wise. I managed to read a total of 11 books, which is just an amazing reading month over all. On top of that I think I might have found a contender for one of my favorite books of the year already. I know it is too soon to really tell, but I really truly loved a book I read this month, more details about that below and mini summaries of all the books I read this month along with some fun stats I am keeping this year.


Read 2The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)The Wicked King by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit I am totally that person that puts off reading the second book in a series because I always think it is going to be a filler book. I was convinced that this too was going to be a filler book, but I was wrong.
This was a real whopper of a book, I buddy read this with someone and I have to say our conversation did not dampen on most days. A lot of stuff happens in this book and it really kept me guessing. Holly Black takes her riddles and truth spinning to the max and I am always trying to figure out what the characters are really saying. She is so talented with her words.
As for the actions in this book, let me just say wow. I don’t want to ruin anything, but you can bet I have the third book here ready to read.

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Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“So, am I am writing this I just finished this book and I have to say I absolutely love it. This is actually my first 5 star read of 2020, which is super exciting. I am also going to take this time to apologies about the gush fest this post has now turned into.

First thing I really liked was the choice of time period. While it does have a wide range and is told by jumping back and forth, I think the time period was a great choice for a few reasons. The first being alluding to civil rights and Jim Crow laws. There were a few time in this book that I just teared up or flat out cried at. The second aspect being the hard topic of abuse. I feel like the author did a good job of handling such a hard topic. It didn’t shy away from it, it was a hard honest look at it. I really liked that the author didn’t just comment on one social issue, but a few.” More at Someone Picks My Books | Aunt Edition & Series Return!

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A Midsummer Night's DreamA Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I have to start this off by saying I am really happy to have started this year long challenge with this play in particular, the main reason being I actually enjoyed it. Yes, I am surprised to say that, but so grateful. I really was worried going into this thinking I was going to dislike everyone of his works, but that was not the case. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was actually really enjoyable and has made me more excited about this entire process.” – More at 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | January

View all my reviews


Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyBonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an absolutely remarkable story about a very remarkable person who went and did something that many did not and would not do during WW2. I really enjoyed learning about Bonhoeffer and his life. I have already recommended it to quite a few people in my life because it was such a powerful read and so well done.

View all my reviews


Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2019: 51

Current: 43


Reading Stats

  • Number of Books: 11
  • Number of Pages: 3,195
  • Fiction: 8
  • Nonfiction: 3
  • DNF’ed: 0
  • Ebook: 0
  • Audiobook:  1
  • Paperback: 6
  • Hardcover: 4
  • Library: 2
  • Owned: 9
  • 5 Stars: 1
  • 4 Stars: 7
  • 3 Stars: 3
  • 2 Stars: 0
  • 1 Star: 0

What was your favorite read of the month?

What was the last book you read in January?

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | January

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to my first month of 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, you can find my original post with an explanation here: Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. As for a quick explanation, I am reading a Shakespeare play a month to see if I truly do not like Shakespeare, or I hated it because I was forced to in school. I also have a goodreads group going if you want to join in on the challenge, 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.


The Book

This first months book was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, chosen via a poll on my twitter account. This play was written in 1595 and is one of the rare ones I remember kinda enjoying, but I didn’t remember much about it.


My Review

I have to start this off by saying I am really happy to have started this year long challenge with this play in particular, the main reason being I actually enjoyed it. Yes, I am surprised to say that, but so grateful. I really was worried going into this thinking I was going to dislike everyone of his works, but that was not the case. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was actually really enjoyable and has made me more excited about this entire process.

I really liked the drama that was in this play, while it was series it was also kind of comical. It seemed very outlandish and it really dated itself with its treatment of women as property, but I expected that. I really liked the fact that there were some supernatural entities playing games on humans, for better or for worse. It was a very classic example of fae and their involvement with humans, but a bit less dark. I always enjoyed a supernatural spin on this, if you couldn’t tell of my love of paranormal reads and Stephen King.

As for the characters themselves, they were larger than life, but that is pretty typical of a play. I was not a huge fan of Helena if I am honest or Demetrius. Demetrius was very cruel and Helena just acted like an annoying child. On the other hand I really adored Hermia and Lysander, I was rooting for them the entire time. Throughout the story I was writing notes in the margins and a lot of the time I was writing “NO!”. “Are you serious right now?!”, I felt like I was reading a soup opera in a good way.

Overall, I thought this was a very good start, I really enjoyed this play and I am less apprehensive about this entire experiment of sorts. The one main gripe I have with this is what is done to  Demetrius at the end. While I did not like him, I thought of what happened to him was a bit unethical.


Next months play is going to be Othello as voted on by my wonderful twitter followers! If you want to join in with me please do by jumping into the conversation here or over on the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.


What did you think of this play?

What play do you think I should add to the poll for March? 

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