Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Best Books I Have Read so Far in 2021

Hello and welcome to a little chatty post where I put together a little list of the best books I have read so far in 2021. I decided since we are already in the 6th month of the year, I would take some time this month to reflect on the year so far in a few posts throughout the month, but this is the first!


The Books

The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa

Lady Killers by Tori Telfer (Not Pictured, Loaned Out)

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad (Not Pictured, Loaned Out)

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu


What has been a few of the best books you have read so far this year?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Reviews

Someone Picks My Book | Tees Book Reads | Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! This month I read a book picked by Teeana, who you can find on twitter as @teesbookreads and they also has a redbubble called Tee’s Shop! I was so excited to have Teeana pick my book for this month because she picked a genre I don’t normally read too often, cozy mystery.

Description

“The only magic Emma Hart believes in is caffeine and the power of the dryer to lose one sock per load. A public interest lawyer buried under a mound of student debt, Emma’s whole life has been one turn of bad luck after another.

Her streak seems to continue when she gets lost on the way to see a client in the remote Pocono Mountains. A chance encounter with a suicidal angel lands her in Spellbound, a town where supernaturals have been cursed to remain for centuries–probably not the best time for Emma to discover that she’s actually a witch.

Between the recent murder of the town’s public defender, a goblin accused of theft, remedial witch classes, and the attention of one smoking hot vampire, Emma struggles to navigate this unfamiliar terrain without losing her mind…or her life. ” goodreads.com

What I Liked

First thing off the bat that I really enjoyed was the touch of magic in this book, I always love a tale with some magic in it at any level. It can be a high fantasy novel or magical realism, either way I am going to love seeing it in the story. On top of that, this book just felt comforting in a way, I guess that is why they call it a cozy mystery. While, there are a few things that were not totally fluffy etc., but the overall feel was just that.

I have to say, I had a really enjoyable time reading this book, I laughed and was a light read. I honestly think I read it at the best time because I felt like it was a great break between larger or more serious reads. I also feel like I would love to see more tales happen in this small town, I feel like it would have been a ton of fun. But, the great news is this book is part of a series that has a ton of books, 10 in fact at the time of writing this.

What I Didn’t Like

While I loved the overall feel and the setting of this book, I kind of felt like the characters themselves were not fully worked out. I enjoyed them, but I felt like I didn’t really know them while I was reading.

Overall

I enjoyed the feel and setting of this book a lot, it was a great fluffy read. It opened up the world of cozy mysteries to me and I want to explore this series as well as this genre even more. If the description interests you at all I suggest looking into this!

Next month I am reading a book picked by JJ Clapton, who you can find over on twitter as @JJClaptonWrites as well on her website jjclapton.com. She is very kind and I really enjoy her updates on her writing, life stuff, and everything else she posts! I always love seeing her popup on my feed.

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

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Crochet, Crafting, Art & More

Crochet Talk | January – March 2021

Hello and welcome to another crochet check in! The past few months I have taken on quite a few new projects and challenges when it comes to crochet and I wanted to take a moment to share the outcomes of these adventures. I know a bit ago I did a post detailing my crochet plans called, Crochet Talk | Upcoming Projects, I figured I should share an update!


The Projects

The first project I finished was a Crochet Kobo Cover. I used a pattern inspired by Melanie Ham called Easy Crochet Kindle Cover. I used Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend in the color Chai Latte with a 6.0 mm hook. I added a the optional strap and button as well as a fabric lining, the first time I have done either. It was a bit of a challenge doing the lining, but I think the next time I try it will be better.

The next few projects I made were Drawstring Pom Pom Bags designed by Knit Crochet Addict called Crochet Drawstring Pom Pom Bag, I left the pom poms off, not really my style, but it is cute! I used Wool Ease by Lion Brand in quite a few different colors because I made two for me a few for friends of mine. When making this I used the recommended hook size on the yarn to complete the project.


This next project was a basket called the Jessie Stash Basket by Toni Lipsey. To complete the project I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick Color Fisherman doubled up and used a 9.0 mm hook. I really loved how this book came out so much in this cream color! I even placed it on my nightstand to hold my current read and current crochet projects. It is very durable too because the yarn was doubled up. I really love Toni’s patterns and videos.

Next, I created a Highlander Twisted Shawl which was designed by Lilian for a friend of mine. I decided to use Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in the color Galaxy, which is a bit hard to see in the picture, but is a deep purple with sparkles here and there. I ended up using a 9.0 mm hook. On a great note, my friend loved it!

Following the shawl, I made another gift, but this one was a Snoopy Amigurumi plush by Amigurinos softies. I ended up using Big Twist Value Worsted Yarn in black and white and used the size down from recommended hook size for the yarn. What I loved about Amigurumi is you can change up the yarn size and hook size to make a larger or smaller plush. I am happy with how this one comes out and I really hope the person it is meant for will love it.


This month I made a lot of gifts for others, this time around I made an Outlander Cowl by Jamey from Dabbles & Babbles. I used Big Twist Sincerely Solids in the color Oatmeal Heather. I doubled up on the yarn and ended up using a size 10.0 mm hook. I really loved the texture of this scarf and really love how this came out. The person I made it for ended up wearing it all day when I gifted it to them.

This next project is for me, I ended up making myself the Crochet The Claire Shawl From Outlander by Selina Veronique
using Stylecraft Special Aran in Khaki (1) and Camel (4). I ended up using a size 6.0 mm (J) hook. I decided to use yellow and a green color instead of the green and black used in the show because I wanted to make it more spring-y.

The last project I finished in March was Beginner Felici Crochet Socks by Briana K Designs. I ended up using
Patons North America Kroy Socks yarn doubled up, I actually mixed the colors brown rose marl and
gray brown marl together and used a 4.5 mm hook. This was a project I was very much intimidated by, but so happy that I tried. Plus, I am really happy with how they came out.

What hobbies have you been filling your time with?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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.


What book have you recently added to your shelves from the library or the store?

What book have you recently read?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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!

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews


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?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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.

View all my reviews

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?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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.


What book have you recently added to your shelves from the library or the store?

What book have you recently read?

Sign Off 2020

Tumblr Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads