Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | March 2021

Hello and welcome to my book haul for the month of March. If you have seen I did not read too much in March, but sadly that did not deter me from picking up more books than I normally do. This led my TBR to grow quite a bit, which stinks, but I have some great books on my shelves now. So, overall not too bad. Anway, here are the books I added to my shelves.


Stack One

The Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb, 3rd book in a series.

The Half-Drowned King: A Novel by Linnea Hartsuyker, “An exhilarating saga of the Vikings that conjures a brutal, superstitious, and thrilling ninth-century world and the birth of a kingdom”. I mean who does not want to read about a Viking adventure? I actually picked up this book at the bookstore when it was completely wrapped other than having a few keywords, but I am glad I did because this description is amazing.

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann, Ross Benjamin (Translation), “Daniel Kehlmann transports the medieval legend of the trickster Tyll Ulenspiegel to the seventeenth century in an enchanting work of magical realism, macabre humor, and rollicking adventure.” I mainly picked this book up because it is part of my reading a shortlist challenge this year, but it really is an interesting description. I very much enjoy magical realism and a trickster always adds interest to a story.

In Five Years: A Novel by Rebecca Serle, “But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. ” As soon as I read this description in the bookstore I needed to have it, it is a really interesting idea. How would we react if we spent an hour in the future?

Later by Stephen King, “The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. ” I will be honest, I just auto buy Kings work at this point, but this is a very short more of a mystery with a twist if my understanding is correct.

The Vorrh by Brian Catling, “Outside the colonial town of Essenwald lies the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. Sentient and magical, a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests, the Vorrh bends time and wipes memory. “, When I was in the bookstore one of the booksellers said that this series was one that he read a long time about, but it has stuck with him because it is so unique. So, I picked up this book and the second book, down the road if I enjoy these two I will picked up the third book.

The Erstwhile by Brian Catling, book following The Vorrh

Stack Two

A Court of Silver Flames by Srah J. Maas, 4th book in a fantasy adult series.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, “There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.”, This tag line drew me in right away, along with another bookseller saying that if I liked The Discovery of Witches I would love this one as well. So, since I was actually reading that book at the time and was loving it, I picked this up because it was on sale and sounded promising.

Tales of Norse Mythology by Hélène A. Guerber, a mixture of tales and lore from Norse Mythology.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec, “When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.” Honestly, this was a total cover buy situation, which does not happen to me very often these days. I picked up the book because the cover is just amazing, but when I read a witch falling in love with Loki, it sealed the deal for me and I added it to my shelves.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, “A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them” I mean, can we have this in real life? But, in all seriousness I am curious how this book will meld this very real and serious situation with magic so I picked it as my BOTM picked for March.


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Reviews

Someone Picks My Book | Annelies from Annelies Explores | The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray

Next month I am reading a book picked by Annelies, who you can find on twitter as @AnneliesExpl or on their blog called Annelies Explores. I am really looking forward to reading the book they picked for me, it just sounds grand!

One Sentence Review

uyky

Description

We’re told that happiness is in the extraordinary. It’s on a Caribbean sun lounger, in the driving seat of a luxury car, inside an expensive golden locket, watching sunrise from Machu Picchu. We strive, reach, push, shoot for more. ‘Enough’ is a moving target we never quite reach.

When we do brush our fingertips against the extraordinary a deeply inconvenient psychological phenomenon called the ‘hedonic treadmill’ means that, after a surge of joy, our happiness level returns to the baseline it was at before the ‘extra’ event.

So, what’s the answer? The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary theorizes that the solution is rediscovering the joy in the ordinary that we so often now forget to feel. Because we now expect the pleasure of a croissant, a hot shower, a yoga class, someone delivering our shopping to our door, we no longer feel its buzz. The joy of it whips through us like a bullet train, without pause. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

As someone who loves crochet and reading, the authors point of view now in life aligns quite a bit more to me. I really enjoy the quiet moments that are small and meditative in a way and those truly give me joy. The author really wants to share this with others, which I think is wonderful. Small things really can give you true joy and comfort, but everyone needs to find out what they is to you.

I felt the format of this book lent itself in a way that was great for the reader to make connections because it changed up perspective and time frames often. Talking about their own personal past and experience with the constant chase of happiness, and how they have found happiness now when they are not chasing it. I did also enjoy the lists in this book, I felt like it was a great model of sorts for those who are trying to find the small joys in their life or rediscover them.

What I Didn’t Like

Some of the things mentioned in this book that the author viewed in the past as things that would make her happy, I never wanted in my life honestly. So, this made it a bit hard to relate to the author in a lot of ways. Which, made it a bit harder to “buy in” in some sense. I seem to already be more on the side of already finding joy in the ordinary, but it was an enjoyable way to rediscover the idea and reflect to see if there are any other “ordinary” things I find joy in.

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I feel like it is a great example of finding joy in the places you can without always thinking about something giving you joy that a dream or something that will happen in the future. It is also a way of being mindful and in the moment and finding joy within that, which I think is important personally. I think this is a wonderful read and I think the lists and such would be a great way to explore the ordinary in your life that you enjoy. If this sounds interesting to you, I suggest picking it up from the library or your bookstore!

Rating


Next month I am reading a book picked by Tee, who you can find over on twitter as @teesbookreads. She is very kind and her timeline on twitter is a mixture of her life and her love of books. It is also good for a good few laughs and reactions to her reading.

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

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To Be Read

To Be Read | April 2021

Hello and welcome to my April TBR, if you have read my March wrap up or have seen my on twitter, you will know that I didn’t really get through many books last month. So, due to this my TBR for this month will be to finish the books I am currently in the middle of, anything more will be a great bonus in my eyes.


The Books

I am currently in the middle of and enjoying both The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein and An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon. I have to say, I read the first four chapters of The Color of Law already all I can say is wow, I have annotated so much and a lot of it has been me writing at people of the past for being complete and utter racist morons if not worse. This nonfiction dives into the history of how housing policy set by the government segregated America following the end of Reconstruction. On the other hand An Echo in the Bone is a historical fiction fantasy book that is the 7th in a series, in this series the current time period is right before the American Revolution. I don’t want to say too much about it because it is in the middle of a series.

I do have two more books on my TBR that are not in the picture because they are an ebook and an audiobook. The first being A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I am currently reading with a friend from work. This is a modern day fantasy novel that is filled with witches, vampires, and daemons that revolves around a historian at Oxford. Just right up my alley honestly. The next is a Someone Picks My Book pick, so I don’t want to give that away just now, but keep your eyes open for what Tee picked for me!



What do you plan on reading this month?

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 Update

Hello and welcome to my first checkin for one of my largest reading challenges of the year where I read the shortlist for the 2020 International Booker Prize. If you would like a breakdown of my challenge you can do so by reading my post, Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals. Even though it is already February, I have already read 2 of the 6 books on this list so I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on these books before too much times has passed and the details begin to get fuzzy. Anway, on to the reviews!


The Books

The Memory PoliceThe Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not a huge fan of dystopian novels and have not been for a long time. I read this novel mainly because it was part of my challenge to read the shortlist for the 2020 International Booker Award. I have to say I am thrilled it was on this list because I loved it. It was a dystopian novel, but was more. It had elements of science fiction and fantasy as well. The writing was grand and I give huge credit to the translator because it seems a lot of the magic of this novel remained in the tale.

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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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Overall, I am feeling very good about the books on this list so far. I enjoyed both of these books and even enjoyed loving one of them. Starting off the list by finding a 5 star read is just phenomenal. Last year, I didn’t have the best start to this challenge so this is a great contrast. I have very high hopes for the rest of these books and I am loving that my enjoying percentage is 100%!

Liked: 2

Hated: 0



Have you read either of these books? Would you add either of these to your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | March 2021

Hello and welcome to my middle of the month reading check in! This month my reading is kind of slumpy. I think because I have so much going on this month I am just so exhausted when I do have some down time. But, I have managed to make some progress in quite a few books. Anyway, here is what I read and what I am in the middle of.


This Little Dark PlaceThis Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A long winded dark tale told through letters that jumps around in time. I did a full review on this book as a separate post earlier this month. I was not a huge fan overall, but it had some good aspects to it.

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Royal Assassin: The Illustrated Edition by Robin Hobb, I am currently at 22% through this book and I am still enjoying this series very much. I might even pick up the second book in the series right after I finish this one. It is a very interesting world and I really like the characters as well. I am truly invested in this trilogy!

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, this is the 7th book in the Outlander series and what a tome it is! I am currently 13% into it this one and I invested it this one as well. I keep switching between the two of my current reads. Since this is the 7th book, I don’t want to talk about what is happening, but this series really is a blast because it touches on so much history.


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

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | February 2021

Hello and welcome to a bit of a book haul for February. This month was really great for my book buying and I am thrilled about that. I love when I read more books than add to my TBR. But, because I picked up so few books, I am really, really happy about the ones I did decide to add to my shelves. Anyway, here are the books I decided to add!


The Last Negros at Harvard by Jeanna Ellsworth and Kent Garrett, I picked this up at my local bookstore, but I had heard about it on twitter and thought it was a very interesting story. I really want to know the experiences of these very brave and intelligent men who attended Harvard during a time described as “between integration and affirmative action” in the description.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel, this was my BOTM pick for February. It follow a very young family who have traveled from to the US from Bogotá and stay longer than their visa allows because they want what is best for their family. It follows them as they move from place to place and the stress and hardships that follow.

What Would Frida Do? by Arianna Davis, I am going to be honest here, I don’t know too much about Frida and I saw this on BOTM so I decided to add it to my box this month. This is a nonfiction book about the artist and I have heard that you can really read the passion the author has for this prominent figure. It seems to not just talk about her art, but her life as a whole.

Dark Archives by Megan Rosenbloom, I have had this book on my to buy list for a very long time and I finally came across it in the bookstore so I picked it up. This is a grim book, but I find it to be a very interesting topic. This book dives into the history of books bound in human skin. The author, who is a librarian, goes through the myths and legends and uses science to see if the books that are claimed to have been bound in human skin, really are.

This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch, I picked up this thriller for a series on my blog called, Someone Picks My Books. I don’t want to say too much, but I did post the review for this book already so you can find that here, Someone Picks My Books | Nicky from @cre8ive_nicky | This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch.


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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Nicky from @cre8ive_nicky | This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks my Book! This month my book was picked by the lovely Nicky who you can find on twitter as @cre8ive_nicky. As you can see from the title, she picked This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch, this is a thriller which I have not read as much as I once did so I was both nervous and looking forward to reading their pick. Now, here. we are I read this picks and here are my thoughts

One Sentence Review

A long winded dark tale told through letters that jumps around in time.

Description

How well do you know your girlfriend?

How well do you know your lover?

How well do you know yourself?

Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.

But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.

And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust. – goodreads.com

What I Liked

This was a very interestingly set up thriller, one of the main things I liked was that it utilized written letters throughout. This is one of my favorite things found in a novel so I was glad to see it here. It is nice to see an author play with this.

Other than the utilization of letters, there was not a ton I enjoyed about this book. That is not to say it is bad, just nothing specifically stood out or made an impression on me to the point I feel the need to point it out. The writing was okay, the plot was a bit jarring, but interesting. I thought the author had a very interesting imagination.

What I Didn’t Like

This was kind of a confusing read, it jumped around in time quite a bit. On top of that, the chapters were quite annoying, they were VERY long and I need natural breaking points in my books otherwise I get worn down while reading. I hate just stopping in the middle of a chapter so this was a bit frustrating.

Overall

I am really not sure about this thriller. I didn’t hate it, but it was not my favorite either. I thought it did some fun things with writing letters and it was dark and kept me on my toes. Sadly, the actual formatting of the book really took away from it for me personally. Like I said I was confused a lot because it jumped in time abruptly and the long chapters made it drag for me. I feel like if this sounds like an interesting read and long chapters and jumping around in time a lot doesn’t bother you, I feel like this would be a win for you.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Annelies, who you can find on twitter as @AnneliesExpl or on their blog called Annelies Explores. I am really looking forward to reading the book they picked for me, it just sounds grand!

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

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To Be Read

To Be Read | March 2021

Hello and welcome to my March TBR list! I cannot believe I am already planning my reading for March, I still feel like February just begun and I have a ton of time to keep reading my February TBR. Nope, not the case at all. I will have to move a few books from February to March since I just ran out of time…oops! Anyway, this month quite a few of the books I don’t quite have a physical copies for so they are not in the picture. Some are ebooks and another is a preorder I can’t wait to get my hands on.


The Books

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, ebook not pictured. This is a book for my read a shortlist challenge for 2021, if you want to see the details you can see that in my post called, Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist 2021. I am excited to get to this one because it was awarded the International Booker Prize so I have high hopes especially since I have enjoyed the other books on this list so far.

The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray, audiobook not pictured. I am really excited to get to this book, I have not read a book quite like this one is described in some time and I think it will be very refreshing and uplifting.

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb, pre-ordered not pictured. This is the book I currently and waiting for release day, which is early on in March. This will be the third book I have read by Hobb this year and I am really enjoying her style of writing and the world she has created.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, pictured. I started this tome in February and I really want to continue and finish it up over the next month. As always I am curious as to what Clair and Jamie will be getting into. I am actually crocheting a few Outlander inspired things as I read this book, which has really added to the fun.

Dead Blonds and Bad Mothers by Sady Doyle, pictured. I have had this non-fiction on my shelf for a bit and I am really feeling the urge to read it now. The second part of this title is “Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power”, I mean that alone just draws me in.

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, pictured. I am reading this with Jenna this month so we can discuss it as we read, which I think will be really good and spark some very good discussions on systematic racism.


What do you plan on reading this month?

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Reviews

Wrap Up | February 2021

Hello and welcome to my February wrap up. Another month down, can you believe it? I know February is a short month, but I felt like it went faster than usual. I did manage to read quite a bit this month and found quite a few I really enjoyed.


Our Little CrueltiesOur Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, I really hated all of the characters of this book. But, like always Liz Nugent was a wonderful writer.

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Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a reread for me, this time around I still really loved the dynamics between Aziraphale and Crowley as well as the version of the world that Pratchett and Gaiman have created. It is fun, pokes fun, and at times just turns ideas on their head. This was one of my favorite books of 2019 and it is still a gem and I am so glad I took the time this month to reread it and was so happy to have read it with Lauren.

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This month I read a total of 8 books, not bad for a shorter month! In total that was 2,383 pages, which tuned out to be 4 fiction and 4 nonfiction. I read an ebook, an audiobook, 2 hard covers, and 4 softcover books. One of my reads was from the library and the others were from my own shelves. The rating broke down to: 3-5 stars, 2-4 stars, and 3-3 stars.

What was your favorite book you read this month?

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | BuzzFeed’s “Which Book Perfectly Matches Your Personality?” Picks My Read

Hello and welcome to a post where I let a BuzzFeed Quiz pick one of my reads. This is a cobiination of having some fun, challenging mtself to read a book I didn’t think I would read and how accuraet thtis little quiz could be. I took this quiz in either July or August of 2020, as you can see it took me a little bit to get around to getting the book and reading it, but I did it! Anyway, here is the link to the quiz if you want to take it yourself: Which Book Perfectly Matches Your Personality?. It was a quick and fun quiz for me personally.


The Outcome/The Book

The book the quiz picked for me was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It mainly picked this due to my imagination and I am fond of exploring. Which, from seeing the animated movie years and years ago I can see how this book could tie into this assumption of me. Now the question is, will I enjoy reading the book? Also, how accurate is this assumption?


Now, this review is just going to be for Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland even though I also read the second book in the series because I had a bind up edition. I have to say, I have watched the movie quite a few times as a child, the 1951 version, and it was still very clear in my head many years later. While reading I was very vividly able to picture what was happening, with the occasional switch up due to the adaptation. I will say, while I was able to imagine everything I still was bored a bit by it.

I think this happened for a combination of things. I think the way the story is told, it was a bit dry even with all this outlandish and silly things happened. I think it did not personally mesh well for me. But, I will say I think this is because it is a classic and it was written for the time. We don’t really talk like we did in 1865 and this novel was written for that time and I feel like it would have been more natural then. I also felt like being so familiar with the plot also added to this. It didn’t have the magic of being totally random and outlandish like the story truly is.

This is not to say that I did not enjoy the adventure. It was fun to see characters I have not seen in year and years. The Mad Hatter and the Rabbit were always my favorites. It was also fun to see if the Cheshire Cat was as terrifying as I remembered. Also, if you really want to be terrified… look at the original illustration for the Cheshire Cat. Obviously, this book is a classic written in 1865, so it has its voice and such reflect that. It is interesting to picture a child reading this book during this time period and comparing it to the books I read as a child myself.

Overall, I ended up giving three stars. I did enjoy it, but it was just an average read. I think if I want this story ever again I will just watch the 1951 film again. I will say, I thought this was a fun experiment to try and I want to give these types of quizzes a try again.


What did you think about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

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