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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Lists & Recommendations

My Favorite Books of 2021

Hello and welcome to a bit of a throwback to 2021! I wanted to take a moment and share some of my favorite reads of the past year and give them a bit of a shoutout. Last year I did not do great with my reading numbers, I read about half as much as a usually do, but I am happy to say there were a few I really enjoyed. Here is a list of the ones that stuck out to me the most in no particular order.

The Books

Dune by Frank Herbert

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Tokyo Ueno Station by Miri Yū

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad

Later by Stephen King

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald J. Robertson

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Hauls & Unboxings

Barnes and Noble 50% Hardcover Haul

Hello and welcome to a very surprising post. I had not expected this sale, but I was really happy that it came up because I was able to pick up some books I was putting off buying due to their price. If you did not already know, Barnes and Noble had a 50% off Hardcover sale starting on boxing day and the day after, as far as I am aware that is the length. I ended up going to BN for another reason and saw all the signs all over the store so I ended up picking up 5 books.

Photo of hauled books

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon, this is the newest book in the Outlander series, book 9. This one is also a huge book and I have wanted to pick it up, but was waiting for it to come out in softcover.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, this horror novella caught my eye and I have seen the cover around and I thought I would give it a shot. My understanding is this horror tale is a combination of lore from Japan and takes place in an abandoned building.

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, I have read about 3 of Jones’ work and have generally enjoyed his stuff. I had this on my list to pick up when the softcover released, but I didn’t need to wait anymore because of this sale. He tends to write horror fiction that reflects his Native American roots.

Billy Summers by Stephen King, I enjoy Kings novels, but there are only a few I will reread and because of that I never pay full price for them. I have been waiting for this book to have its softcover release or go on sale, which yay, it did! This work of his is more thrilled than horror based, but still has his horror roots. It follows a killer for hire that will only take jobs that target bad people.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, talk about timing with this book. I was just recommended this book by a friend and I walked into BN and it was right in front so I scoped it up! When I first read the description it sounded like a fun fiction, but the more I read it turned into a mystery thriller, which really intrigued me.

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Hauls & Unboxings

Local Indie Bookstore Haul

picture of hauled books

Hello and welcome to a small post sharing my finds at my most recent trip to an indie bookstore. I posted earlier in the week about taking a day trip with a friend and going to visit a yarn store, you can read about that here: Local Yarn Shop Haul. On this adventure we also walked around the corner and took a bit of stroll to a really lovely bookstore. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture, but this bookstore was packed with books. There was not a nook or cranny that was not filled with books and I was so excited. It was also one of the most busy indie bookstores I have seen before, which made me happy. Anyway, on to the two books I ended up picking up!

The first book that caught my eye was The Stone Face by William Gardner Smith. What first caught my attention was the black and white cover that really stood out among all the colorful and saturated colors of the other covers. This ended up being a historical fiction novel from around 1963 and this was a rerelease. This story follows a man named Simeon Brown who lost an eye in a racist attack. This story focuses on how he left America to escape racism and made a home for himself in France, which at the time was known as a safe haven for black artists. My understanding from the description is that the book mostly follows him once he is in France, but I cannot be 100% sure. I look forward to reading this ASAP. I had no idea that France was ever seen as this so I am curious to explore that.

The second book I picked up is Dune Messiah, the second book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert. I am only about 100 pages into the first book and I can tell I am going to want to continue the series so I decided to pick it up and support this indie bookstore. At first I didn’t think they had the book in stock, but a really lovely person helped me locate it. I was so thrilled because this was the one book I really had a plan of buying this day.

Anyway, while this is a small haul, I am really happy with the books I found and added to my TBR. The past few months my book hauling has slowed quite a bit and has been more meaningful and honestly, I am really happy about that.

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Hauls & Unboxings

Books I Bought at an Indie Bookshop While Visiting Family

Hello and welcome to a very specifically themed book haul. I have not done a standalone book haul in a while, but I recently traveled a bit to spend time safely with family in the middle of the woods. Side note, being in the middle of the woods and away from huge crowds of people did wonders for my reading. You can see this in my post called, Books I Took On Vacation and Did I finish Them?. Anyway, when I was there I decided to stop at an independent bookstore to support them, but also buy some books that take place in the general vicinity or state I was in. That way when I miss my family or want to trick my brain into thinking I am somewhere else relaxing I can pick of one of these books/souvenirs.

The Books

Wild! Weird! Wonderful! Maine. by Earl Brechlin, is a nonfiction book that accounts the “out there” history of Maine from ghost stories to aliens, Inventors to interesting people. It just sounded like a fun look at the legends, myths, and the not so known facts and stories about Maine.

The House at Lobster Cove by Jane Goodrich, this historical fiction novel follows a wealthy man named George Nixon Black who wasn’t very social, but liked in a house known by many. It seems like while it is know by many, the house was not visited often by others. This story seems to lift the veil of this mans private life in this beautiful house.

The Field House: A Writer’s Life Lost and Found on an Island in Maine by Robin Clifford Wood, is a nonfiction novel following the life of an author by the name of Rachel Field. She was a very prolific author who won tons of awards, but her name has been lost to history. The author of this book takes a look at her life and her home to get to know Field’s.

Writing on Stone: Scenes from a Maine Island Life by Peter Ralston, his nonficiton novel takes a look at Gott’s Island and its history, but also the story of a family. At least to the best of my knowledge from the description.

A Haunting Fog by Heidi Martin Washburn, is a fictional novel that follows Madelyn Davis during a tough time in her life. It is affecting her in every where to the point her boss tells her to take a break. During this break Madelyn becomes a caregiver of an older women who has secrets of her own and mystery begins to unfold.

I am really looking forward to all of these books for different reasons, but each one just sounds like a story I can easily fall into depending on my mood. Darn being a mood reader! I really do like how I picked up a wide range of books, fiction and nonfiction so I can explore Maine in various ways while I remember the memories I shared with my family while in that state. Also, helping support indie bookstores is another huge bonus!

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Reading Challenges

2021 Mid-Year Check-In

Hello lovely people and welcome to my 2021 mid-year check in for my goals. If you would like to see my origional post you can find that here, Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals. I went kind of easy on myself this year, but to be honest the 2020 was a bit hectic in quite a few ways. I wanted to really tailor my goals to what I truly wanted and not try to compete with anyone.

Use Library Monthly

So far I have stuck to this goal very well. Even if I owned a book I used my local library to read the book digitally when on the go or used the library as my only copy of a book. I am still not comfortable going to borrow a physical copy of books just yet, so I am using their digital services at this point of the year,

Twelve Non-fiction Books

I am actually ahead on this goal, which thrills me honestly. I have read a total of 9 non-fiction books at this point. The books I have read that meet this goal are; A Promised Land by Barack Obama, Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi by Richard Grant, White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer, The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.

Read 50 Books

I am excited to say I am also ahead on this goal as well, at the time of writing this I have read a total of 42 books! If you want the most up to date read count for the year you can check out my goodreads challenge page.

This is where my goals kind of take a turn. The past few ones I have been pretty on top of, but from here on out I have made progress in almost each of the goals, but have not quite on track. Ooops.

Read International Booker Prize Shortlist 2020

The good news is I have read two books from this list, you can see a more detailed post talking about Hurricane Season and The Memory Police here: Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 Update. The bad news is I have 4 more to read. I will say, I am glad I have 6 months to read 4 books, that is very doable and I plan on continuing to work towards achieving this goal.

Read The Farseer Trilogy & Liveship Traders Trilogy

Once again, I have read two books towards this goal. I have read the first two books of The Farseer Trilogy, which I really enjoyed so I cannot wait to continue. I do have all the books either physically or digitally to meet this goal and I plan on doing just that.

Reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilology

This is where I start to hang my head in shame. I have not attempted to pick up these books at all so far this year. I love them so much, but the mood has not hit me at all the first half of the year. I am hoping that this changes very soon.

Keep TBR under 10 Books

Last year I got my TBR down to 0 books. I wanted to keep my owned TBR under 10 books going forward, but I am at about 30 books as of writing this. I am not totally happy with it being this high, but I am really happy that it is not as high as it once was. This is what happens when you have some holidays, birthdays, and sales.

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | December 2020

Hello and welcome to the last wrap up of 2020. I am going to make this one short and sweet since we are already in 2021, but I wanted to share the books I ended up finishing and mini reviews for each of them. I am going to be posting a whole year post either tomorrow or in the next few days. I currently have some rare time off so I am really taking this time to relax and not put pressure on myself. I will be uploading more regularly after the first week of January.


The IncarnationsThe Incarnations by Susan Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was just something outside of the genre it was labeled as. It is a thriller, fantasy, and historical fiction all mixed into one. This book follows a cab driver in Beijing and the story goes through time as you learn about his past lives as he does. Each life had its own chapter where you explored the lives of these two souls, the lives they lived varied quite a lot and they endured a ton as well (violence, sexual violence, and suicide to name a few). The writing itself was beautiful, and the way the author organized the book was perfect. At no point did I think the pacing was off or was bored. I was glued to this book when I was able to find time to pick it up. Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the author intertwined these stories with Chinese folklore, classic, and history.

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An Orchestra of MinoritiesAn Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, this is a very imaginative story. I really loved the premise of the tale and I really enjoyed that it was narrated by a guardian spirit called a chi. The writing itself was really wonderful and I think the author has a gift for sure. Unfortunately, this book was filled with female objectification and I can only hope that the authors purpose in this is to bring light to this. The main character cannot take any responsibility and is pig headed. He commits a horrible act who hurts someone he is meant to “love”. I put it into quotes because it isn’t love. The women in this novel are nothing more than their use to the main character. I had such high hopes for this novel, while I did not like this tale at all I will be checking out the authors other work because their writing itself was done very well.

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Royal HolidayRoyal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very cute read and a perfect little holiday book to read during December. When I picked this up I had no idea it was a series…oops! Either way I enjoyed it and the writing was good.

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Lovecraft CountryLovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful collections of historical horror/science fiction that show cases the “typical” horror and the horrors faced by American Americans.

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The Existence Of AmyThe Existence Of Amy by Lana Grace Riva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A detailed review is to come, but this was a beautifully written novel that follows the main character through their personal struggles with mental health, specifically with OCD. I read this in a single day because the story itself was compelling, but also the writing was and methods used were perfect.

View all my reviews

December Stats: 9 books, 2868 pages, 8 fiction, 1 nonfiction, 3 ebooks, 1 hard cover, 5 softcover, 9 owned books, 1. 5 star, 6 4 star, 1 3 star, and 1 2 star.

What was your favorite or least favorite read of December or 2020 as a whole?

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Let's Talk · Lists & Recommendations

Let’s Talk | Wintery Books

Hello and welcome to a post where I talk about a few of my wintery themed books. I am not usually a seasonal reader, but I feel like there is nothing better than snuggling up next to a fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa with a winter read. It is just so relaxing during the long nights. Anyway, here are the books I think wold be great to read in the winter.


NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

While this is a horror novel, it has a large wintery and Christmas theme throughout. I mean it has a place called Christmasland in it, it doesn’t get more christmas-y in a horror novel than that. On top of this it really is a really enjoyable horror novel on its own that I recommend to quite a few to my friends to read this time of the year. I feel like the mixture of horror and the holiday season really is a great tie in between Halloween and Christmas.

One by One by Ruth Ware

If you are in the mood for a thriller and a wintry backdrop, this is a wonderful option. This thriller/mystery takes place at a ski retreat where the characters are trapped and cut off the from the rest of the world at the top of a mountain in the middle of a snow storm. This is a great option to read as soon as the temperature starts to drop.

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

Now, this one is a really atmospheric read. It is a really great thriller with a very big dark feeling to it that is hard to explain. It is not dark in a way that is evil, but the novel just reads like it takes place in the time of year where the nights are long. On top of that it takes place in a really small lovely town where everyone is really close, but also it a historical fiction. It has a lot going for it.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Does it get more wintry than a classic Russian novel? This novel is a classic for a reason, this book covers themes and such that are still relevant in todays world. While there is a lot of drama in this book, a lot of the issues the characters face are still feelings that a lot of us still feel during 2020. When I first read this novel I gave it 3 stars, but as time past I realized that I liked it more and more.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

I just finished this very cute romance last night, I have not stayed up this late to finish a book in a while, but this book had me needing to know what happened next between the two main characters. The main character, Vivian, travels with her daughter, Maddie, across the ocean to spend Christmas with her while working for the royal family, then the story builds from there. It is an adorable setting, the characters were wonderful, and takes place the week surrounding Christmas.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold and Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

These two collections of short stories that are about 200 pages are so wonderful and heart wrenching focus on making connections with those in our lives and celebrating and making the most of the time we have together. With all of the holidays where family is the main focus I feel like this really is a wonderful time to read both of these. Plus, a cafe where you can travel in time, I mean, this is just a great addition!


I hope you found a book that you might enjoy reading over the long nights this winter or holiday season!

Are there any wintery themed books you are enjoying currently?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | November 2020 | Celebrating 0 Books on TBR

Hello and welcome to a book haul post! This book haul has been a long time coming because I have not done a book haul for months. The reason I am finally doing one now is because my owned TBR finally hit 0 books and I could not have been more excited. I never thought that it would happen, but it did! But, of course as a book lover I had to celebrate by buying some books. I do plan on keeping my TBR on the lower side, never going above 10 books, but I would like it to sit more around 5. Anyway, here are the books I decided to buy to celebrate.



Books stacked on a green chair.

The Books

First I want to start off the the JRR Tolkein boxset of the hobbit and Lord of the Rings. This is not actually adding to my TBR, but I have always wanted these small leather (faux I am pretty sure) editions. I figured since this was a celebration and I had a coupon I would treat myself to them as well as a reread soon!

Now, these are the books that are now my owned TBR. Some of these were actually gifts, but I figured I would just add all of the books all together. I will follow the image above from top to bottom.

The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I decided to pick up this book mainly because I just recently read Between the World and Me and I really liked it. I didn’t know this author had another book, but it was on display in my local bookstore and I picked it up without a second thought. His other work that I have read mentioned and hinted at the content in this book, but I very much looking forward to exploring it even more.

Cursed Objects by J.W. Ocker, I happened to come across with in a recommendation list on the side of goodreads. It talks about objects around the world that are thought to be cursed. It would have been a perfect Halloween read, but I never was one to stick to seasonal reading. Anyway, this shares the story of these objects and the myths that surround them.

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, I have heard a ton about this book and I am curious to see if I enjoy this one. So, when Jenna from JK I’m Exploring asked me if I wanted it , I jumped at the chance. I don’t know too much about the plot, but I feel like that might be the best way to read this book.

The Law of Color by Richard Rothstein. I saw this book on a lot of anti-racist reading lists this year so I really wanted to get my hands on it. I was going to get it from the library, but I am happy to say that the waiting list for this book is still really long. So, I decided I would get it for myself. This book takes a close look at how our country and government have segregated the US. I think it mainly discuses housing policy, but other subjects are also brought up from my current understanding.

Tomie by Junji Ito, I have read about 4 or 5 of his horror mangas and I have to say I have never been disappointed so I picked up another one of his works. His stuff is thought provoking, disturbing, and beautifully illustrated.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, I have been hearing amazing this about this book left and right. But, the thing that made me really want to read this is the fact that the dynamic of the two main characters was compared to the dynamic between Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens and for me that is an auto buy dynamic.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, I cannot believe I am finally this far into this series, but I am really happy with how it is going. I wanted to just pick up the next book so I could continue. I need to know what happens to Clare and Jamie!

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, I read and loved this author s previous work and when I saw that this book was available I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I really enjoyed his writing style and the twists of his previous work, so I have high hopes.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, This was on a display for anti-racist reading so I decided to add it to my pile. I will be honest, I do not know too much about this book, but from what I read from the description it is taking a closer at the past and present of American society and how it ties into a caste system and how it influences daily life and opportunities.


What was the last book you added to your TBR? Have you read any of them, if so what did you think?

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Bullet Journal Jottings, Writing & More

Bullet Journal | November 2020

Hello and welcome! Today I am going to be sharing my monthly bullet journal spreads. This month I kept my layouts pretty much the same as previous months, but changed up the theme and colors used.


Supplies

  • Cabin images from Pixabay: #1 and #2
  • Tombow #946
  • Sharpie Pen
  • A5 Garden Slither Dot Grid Notebook from Olive and Archer
  • Scotch Adhesive Dot Roller
  • The Sacred Self-Care Oracle

My first few pages of the month are the introduction pages. I have really liked making these pages to give each month a definitive space. This month I felt like having a fall cabins as my theme so on the left I used a picture from pixabay of a cabin in the middle of the woods and mountains in the distance in the fall, all the trees are either a bright orange or red. I added a piece of ripped tan paper to add some dimension. On the right I I wrote November 2020 in script and highlighted in orange.

The next spread is just of a monthly calendar. I went really simple and plain with this months spread because I knew I would be adding a lot to it as the month progresses. I also highlighted the days of the week at the top of the calendar with the same orange color.

This month I am using a different oracle deck, the card that I pulled for the month was Sync with the moon and I added a quite from the guidebook that says, “I embrace my ebb and flow, my many phases, and the cycle of life. on a piece of brown paper. On the right hand page I added a description of each of the moon phases and when those moon phases are. The dates I added on a pice of brown paper to add some color to this page.

I wanted a page to keep track of my crochet projects I am working on so I just added the word Projects in script on top to fill in later on. On the right hand side I decided to add another picture of a cabin in the woods. This time it is still in the autumn, but this one is on a lake that reflects all the rich colors.

These two spreads I do every month. On the left I have my Month Ahead spread then one half is my tbr and the other is my monthly goals. I did not fill them in before these pictures are taken, but my TBR post is live if you wanted to see it. You can find that here: To Be Read | November 2020, Using a Prompt Generator. On the right hand side I added some shelve under the heading Books Read in script. Here I will place printouts of the books I read this month. I once again used the orange color to highlight the titles and subtitles.

Lastly, we have my weekly spreads, which I only did two weeks of because I am not 100% sure if I am going to be using them or not. But, I wanted to give myself some time to decide. My weekly spreads are the same as the past few months. Monday-Friday have their own boxes on the left side of the page, along with the weekend. On the right hand side of the page is open for me to add notes and memories. I used the orange color to highlight the day of the week and date.


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