Monthly Digest

Monthly Digest | April 2022

Hey all and welcome to a bit of a review of the previous month! Spring has officially sprung bringing with it a ton of rain and pollen. While I did really enjoy falling asleep to the steady rain this past month, I am not too thrilled with the pollen that is making me sneeze left and right. But, I will say overall this month has kept me busy in a really good way!

Reading

The first book I read this month was The War of the Poor by Èric Vuillard. I originally picked this book up because I read a book by the author in the past. While I really enjoyed the writing style of this book, I was not too keen on there not being footnotes or endnotes to support their nonfiction book. I will be honest though, I am not sure if the intention of this book was meant to be nonfiction as well so I decided to do a little digging. The reason I had the expectations of this book being nonfiction is due to it’s tags on goodreads; History, Nonfiction, French History, but on the publishers site is quoted as saying, “A dazzling piece of historical re-imaginingPan Macmillan. So, I feel like individuals are mislabeling this historical fiction novella as nonfiction, which is unfortunate. Obviously, this is no fault of the author by any means, but it does change how I see this novella. The writing was engaging to say the least. This was a topic I studied a lot during my time in University, but it was really interesting seeing it portrayed in this manner. Even though I read about this time in history I was not bored or felt like I was experiencing Déjà vu. I read it in two sittings and I only put it down the first time because I needed to get to sleep. Overall, I ended up giving the book 3 stars!

Crochet, Knitting and Crafting

I completed two large projects this month, the first being a Ranunculus, my first wearable and I am actually quite proud of it. I ended up wearing it the day after I finished it! I can see why so many people love this pattern, it was a project I never hesitated to pick up and it worked up quite quickly. It had some new things I needed to learn, but I am always open to learn something new.

Ranunculus Sweater – Short Sleeves

The second big project I finished was my Saraya Shawl, which I plan on wearing to a friends wedding later this Spring. This pattern was written by Saysha Greene and was published in Worsted. It was a really fun knit that challenged me, but didn’t leave me burnt out.

Saraya Shawl

Life

This month I did a lot of fun things, especially since the weather started to warm up. I had a really lovely date with my boyfriend to celebrate our anniversary where we got to have a really delicious meal while enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors. Then we adventured to our favorite ice cream shop and enjoyed them while hanging out on a bench talking and people watching.

I also went on a few adventures with my friends. I went to the movies for the first time in YEARS, which was nice because no one else was there really. So the two of us were not holding back our reactions to the movie in the slight, it was funny because the few other people watching the movie did the same thing. Then, with another friend of mine we went yarn shop hopping, I ended up picking up yarn for a few projects I want to make this year. We ended up going to about 8 shops, the discounts were so good I could not resist. I would have bought this yarn anyway, just for later down the line. We also ended up getting takeout after all that shopping and the food was just AMAZING!

This month was really great, mainly because I was able to hangout and create some great memories with others. I really hope to have a few picnics with some of my other friends I need to catch up with in the upcoming months.

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Monthly Digest

Monthly Digest | December 2021

Hello and welcome to a fairly short recap of what what reading, crafting, and life was like over the past month. This final month of 2021 was faster than I care to admit, but it was still filled with some great things. I am really overall happy with how this month went, but also this past year. Even with everything going on I feel like it was an improvement from the year before and I hope that next year is even better than this one for myself and all of you. I am wishing you all a wonderful 2022! Now, on to how my month was.

Reading

This month was a bit weird when it came to reading. I ended up only reading one book, The Bear and the Paving Stone by Toshiyuki Horie and translated by Geraint Howells, I ended up giving it 4 stars. As for a book haul I picked up 5 books only because of the 50% off hardcover sale at BN. If you want to see the books I picked up from that haul you can see that in my post; Barnes and Noble 50% Hardcover Haul.

Crochet, Knitting and Crafting

As for crafting, knitting, and crocheting I ended up finishing all of my WIPs so I can start off 2022 with a clean slate. I already know the first project I am going to be casting on. I completed the 2021 12 Days of Tosh Advent Crochet Cowl designed by Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts, who is just an amazing designer. The colors were just so beautiful and it was a blast to work on for the first 12 days of December. Next I finished the Kari Shawl by Sari Nordlund. I absolutely love how it came out and I can’t wait to block it and use it! The last project I finished this month is Modern Double Crochet V-Stitch Blanket by Daisy Farm Crafts. I have been working on this blanket on and off since 2019 so I am happy to finally be able to use it!

Life

This month was a bit of a roller coaster of good news and some bummer news, but overall the month was really awesome. I got to catch up with some friends I had lost touch with due to our busy lives. I got to go to a traditional tea, which was very lovely! I didn’t do much outside this month, it was a bit too cold for me personally, but I got to spend a lot of time with my loved ones and catching up with friends and honestly, that was the beat part of this month.

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Bookish Minna | The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Picture of ebook on ipad on a pile of blankets.

Hello and welcome to a bit of a delayed post of my August Someone Picks My Books. This month the wonderful Minna from Bookish Minna picked my book. Not only can you find them on their blog, linked earlier, but you can also find them on twitter @bookishminna. This is my first introduction to the works of N.K. Jemisim, but I will say I have heard this book title quite a few times through blogs and twitter. So this led me to be really curious with this choice to see if I like their writing style or the world they seemed to build for their book series.

Description

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter. goodreads.com

What I Liked

As I stated earlier, I have never read anything byN.K. Jemisim and I was curious to see if I liked their writing style. The great news is, I really enjoyed how they crafted this story and brought it to life. The author was able to pull me into their world with barely any issues, I could clearly picture everything the author talked about or described.

I also really enjoyed getting to know and go on a gritty adventure with the characters in The Fifth Season. The didn’t come across flat in any way, which I appreciate a lot. I find in fantasy it is easy to write a flat character, but the combination with a rich world and these dynamic characters I was truly thrilled. Fantasy is a hard genre for me honestly, I either LOVE it or LOATH it. I go past hate. I am happy to say that this book really is one I truly enjoyed and it really comes down to the talent of the author being able to so clearly get across their world and characters without us actually being in their head.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing I had the most “problems” with, I put it in quotations because it wasn’t really a problem is the fact the author using unique phrases etc. that takes some times to get used to. I read the book from the library, but it is my understanding from other reviews I have come across there is a glossary so I would suggest looking at that. But, understanding these phrases isn’t too hard if you use some context clues and it really does add to the story. It makes the world feel that much more real, but also adds to it being an fantasy because it does not use the same vocabulary as the reader does.

Overall

This is a really great fantasy novel and series, I didn’t know it was a series when I first picked it up. It is rich with details and great characters. It can be a little bumpy if new vocabulary or sayings are thrown in, but is easily remedied and you can easily fall into the tale. I am so thrilled that Minna picked this for me because while I heard about this novel before I would never have picked it up because the description for me didn’t do it justice. While the whole idea of this novel is heart breaking, just needing basic necessities to live, it was a very enjoyable read and I really hope to continue this series one day.

Up Next

Next month I am reading a book picked by my doctor. We often share our recently reads when I go in for my routine check up and I decided to use one of the book they told me about as my September book!

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

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Let's Talk · Tags

Let’s Talk | My Chaotic Reading Habits Tag

Hello and welcome to a bit of a tag post that I thought was really fun. I came across this tag a few months ago when it was posted by Noelle Gallagher, a booktuber. As soon as I watched I knew I would eventually get around to posting my own answers because I love learning about other reading habits as well as talking about them in general. I always found it kind of funny how so many people can love the same hobby, but engage in it so differently!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I generally read in my room either in my bed or in my chair. If it is warmer out I will read outside and enjoy some fresh air.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Now, this one is interesting. I used to be someone who just used whatever was around me. But, as of late I have been using bookmarks more consistently. I am not sure when this shift started or what actually changed for me because I always had bookmarks on hand. lol.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I need a natural break in a book to stop reading. I either will stop after a chapter or if there is a break in a chapter. If not I get a bit annoyed at having to find exactly where I put the book down. But, I will say there are times I just stop because something has to be addressed or comes up. This is a huge reason why I am not a fan of books that don’t have chapters or natural breaking points.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yeah, I tent to have a drink of some sort when I am drinking. I don’t always have a snack, but not because I am against eating while reading. I just tend to read after a meal or before bed so I am not too hungry.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I often have instrumental music playing in the background or an ambiance video playing. I actually did a post on some of my favorites a while ago, it is called Let’s Talk | Personal Reading Sprints with ASMR. I tend to use them as guidance for reading sprints and I listed a few of my favorite channels.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

I generally have 2 or more books going at once, but they tend to be two different formats. I will tend to read a physical book or ebook and then listen to an audiobook at the same time.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

I generally read at home, mainly because I don’t go many places these days with the world being what it is currently. I have in the past always brought a book with me on the go.

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?

I really don’t enjoy reading aloud. I always read to myself in my head.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

I have done this from time to time if a book is REALLY dragging or there is a POV in a book I loath and I will skip their chapter. I am reading for entertainment and if it is not entertaining me I am skipping it.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I am not someone who is like I NEED to break the spine or someone who will be upset if the spines are broken. I just kind of let happen what is going to happen. I will be very careful with a book though if I am borrowing it from a friend because it is not mine. Library books tend to be hard covers and tend to have some sort of protection so I don’t need to be as careful as if I am reading a friends copy.

11. Do you write in your books?

Yes, I will write in a book if I have strong reactions to something in it or I am reading it for a buddy read or review. That way I can find some things to discuss easily and not need to look from a note book then to a book and then try to find a line on a page. But, if I do not own the book I will not do this.

Tagging

The Glitter Bomb, Howling Libraries, What Vicky Read, BinxThinx

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | March 2021

Hello and welcome to my March edition of my monthly wrap up, I am sad to say that this month has not been the best reading wise, but I am hoping that April will knock this month out of the park. I am happy that I was able to finish a total of three books, one of which was a tome. Anyway, on to the books I read this month!

Royal Assassin: The Illustrated Edition (Farseer Trilogy, #2)Royal Assassin: The Illustrated Edition by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am still very much enjoying my first read through of this series and my first jump into the world of Robin Hobb, I have the next one sitting next to me ready to go!

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The Unexpected Joy of the OrdinaryThe Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am going to be posting a dedicated review for this book, but over all I liked it! Keep an eye out for the review for some of my specific thoughts.

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I managed to read a total of 3 books, 1,280 pages.2 of those books were fiction and the remaining book was nonfiction. I read 1 audiobook, 1 hard cover and 1 soft cover books. I have 1 4 star read, 1 3 star read and 1 2 star read this month.

What was your favorite book you read this month?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | February 2021

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reading check in! I am off to a wonderful start this month because I took part in the 24 in 48 Readathon that book place over the weekend of the 6th. I have really enjoyed a majority of what I have read, so I am excited to share a few of them with you. Without more of a delay, here are the books that I read!


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking GlassAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found I enjoyed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland much more than Through the Looking Glass. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland seemed more like a fantastical tale and adventures. The second, while still seemed like an adventure, it didn’t have the same feel or appeal.

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Sister OutsiderSister Outsider by Audre Lorde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This author really has a way with words. Their writing was beautiful and I really enjoyed this collection of essays. Her voice was unique, which I really enjoyed. I would really like to read more of her poetry because I feel like I would really enjoy it. The content of these essays revolve around many topics such as friendship, race, and sexuality.

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White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of ColorWhite Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very interesting book, it examines our history and todays society in quite a few countries. It really examines the faults of feminism as a movement and as well as how white women use tears to hide and “protect” themselves instead of having meaningful conversations and a have a refusal to be uncomfortable. This not only is in response to just one minority, but a look at white women’s response and their role in racism when dealing with POC.

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Hurricane SeasonHurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting read. The murder of the witch is told through the POV of multiple people. With each perspective you learn more about the past and the murder itself. I liked how it also was a social commentary with a mixture of a thriller.

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other AstonishmentsWorld of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this was a very unique way to organize a memoir. Throughout the book the author takes a plant or animal and relates it to a personal part in their life, both childhood and more current. While also doing that you learned about the animals or plants. I will say, if you know a lot about animals it starts to drag a bit and I would have loved to hear more about the authors life.

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Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout HistoryLady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I felt that this was a really well done book. It talked about quite a few women from different countries and time periods. They even mentioned some more that lacked accounts that they really wished there was more on so they could add them to this collection. Not only did this book talk about these serial killers, it also talked about how society viewed them with bias. They were not seen the same way as their male counter parts. Some were even allowed to go free because they were pretty or using their role as a mother to gain sympathy. It was also well organized and it read more like a narrative than a lecture.

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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, I am currently 46% though this reread and I am really enjoying it. For me this was one of my favorite books a year or two ago and honestly, it is still one of my all time favorite reads. The dynamics in this book are just great and I can’t wait to continue

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent, I am current 30% through this thriller. I am reading it with Reg and Jenna, we have all read books by Liz Nugent together in the past and have loved her stuff. This one so far is living up the hype for me. I will say, it does not led itself to an audiobook though. I think if you do listen to the audiobook have the physical book in front of you because it jumps around in time and it can be a bit confusing.



What have you read so far this month or what are you currently reading?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | November 2020, Using a Prompt Generator

Hello and welcome to another TBR post, this month I decided to try something new and use a TBR prompt generator. I came across the website https://heyreader.me/random-prompt and thought it would be fun to give it a try. Anyway, on to this months picks!


First prompt is pick a book with a map. Well, the first book I picked up with a map happened to be The Devil in the Dark Water by Stuart Turton who wrote 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcase, which I absolutely loved. Plus, this only came out a few weeks ago so I am really happy it has a map in it.

Next we have pretty cover. Well, I cannot think of a more beautiful cover on my TBR other than The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, online and in my day to day life. I am so glad I was able to fit this in as well. I am told I will really enjoy the dynamic between two of the characters.

For the third prompt we have published in the last year. For this one I decided to pick Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi . I really loved the first book in this series when I read it earlier this year and I cannot wait to get to this one. It came out a month or so ago. I can’t wait to read more about this magical cafe.

The fourth pick is a blue cover. I only have one blue book on my TBR currently and that is Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson. I have never read any of her poems that I can remember, but I picked this up because I have heard her poetry was really good. Plus, the edition I found was adorable.

The last prompt I picked was award winner. I decided to go with The Nickle Boys by Colson Whitehead. I read The Underground Railroad by this author a few years ago and thought it was brilliant. My edition of The Nickle Boys has a stamp that says, “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” so I am very happy that it fit into the prompts and I get to read it this month.


Now, as you know every month I have someone picks my books. Well, this month the book I am going to read was picked by Olivia who you can find on twitter at @oliviascatastro or youtube at Olivia’s Catastrophe. She picked Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo and said she gave it 5 stars! So, I have a good feeling I am going to LOVE this book as well because she has such great taste in books.


What are you planning on reading this month?

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Reviews

Book Review | We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib

Book Review

*Book given by the publisher via netgalley  in exchange for an honest review*

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir
Description: 

How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don’t exist?

Samra Habib has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, she faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From her parents, she internalized the lesson that revealing her identity could put her in grave danger.

When her family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, her need for a safe space–in which to grow and nurture her creative, feminist spirit–became dire. The men in her life wanted to police her, the women in her life had only shown her the example of pious obedience, and her body was a problem to be solved.

So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one’s truest self.–goodreads.com 


What I Liked

This memoir is a journey to read. Samar Habib’s story is heart breaking and at times difficult to read, but I am so happy she told her story. She truly went through a lot starting in Pakistan where she face severe threats and even in Canada, where it was meant to be a safe haven, she faced even more challenges of bullying and more.

Her voice is strong in this book. Telling her life, but also the lives of those who are unseen in society, as hinted at in the title. It really was an engrossing read and look into her life and her experiences felt real and tangible. With some memoirs the writers feel distant and untouchable also unapproachable. This was not the case with We Have Always Been Here. What really made this stand out was the author truly shared, even the fact that the author has made mistakes.

Going back to the writing and layout of this memoir, the author talks in a very raw and approachable manner. I felt that it was organized very well and the author truly has a talent when it comes to writing. I was pulled into this book quite quickly and nearly nothing could get me to put it down. The authors voice is truly specular.

While reading this memoir there were quite a few things that she faced her life that have been hinted at, but there is one thing that truly stood out to me. Her determination to  find her identity. This is a struggle for her throughout this book for a wide range of reasons. I don’t want to give away too much because I feel like this is best read without knowing too much.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. This book was wonderful.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, this is one of the best non-fiction books I have read recently. When it comes to reading memoirs I like them to be real, this is real and raw and you can feel it on every page. The author truly puts herself out there with pride as she shares her experience in finding and exploring her own identity as well as the experiences she has had in her life. I know I will be buying a finished copy of this because I know I will want to reread it in the future, which is not something I do a lot when it comes to memoirs. If you want to read about a strong LGBT+ and Muslim figure I would say this might be a very good option for you.

5stars


Author Links

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Book Information

Publication Date: June 4th 2019

Publisher: Viking

List Price: $18.95

ISBN: 978-0735235007

Pages: 240 pages


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