Wrap Up

Middle Mark | January 2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to the first Middle Mark post of 2020! I cannot believe that we are already halfway through the month. If you are new here, Middle Mark is where I talk about the books I read the first half of the month with mini reviews and what I am currently reading.

I have to say, I am starting 2020 on a really good note. I have been doing a ton of reading and I have been so inspired to just keep going. I have read a wide array of genres from graphic novels to Russian classic literature and nonfiction of mythology. I am truly all over the place with my mood reading and I am embracing it fully. Now, without more rambling, on to the books!


Read 2

Crime And PunishmentCrime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Going into this novel I new it was well known, but had no idea what it was about. Having now finished it I will say I did not expect such a start to the novel. With that surprise out of the way I really enjoyed how the novel explores guilt and morality. It was a very interesting read and I did not feel like there was too much fluff in it. The ending was a bit much, but it was nice to see as well. Overall, a good book to start off 2020.

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The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and MightThe Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very good insight into the Celtic goddess who I previously knew nothing about. This book was well written and broke down the subject matter very nicely. I really like the history aspect of this book, the main reason behind picking it up, but it was a lot more. I love reading about individual experiences and thoughts on her as well.

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The Dutch HouseThe Dutch House by Ann Patchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a story filled with family grief, journey, and things coming full circle. It is written beautifully and the characters for the most part were interesting. I will say I did not enjoy the story of the mother for some reason and I was angered at the whole college situation, but I don’t want to say more than that. I don’t want to spoil anything. I can see why so many people love this book, it was good, but I feel like some things were too perfect if that makes any sense.

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Revised Widow's Weeds and Weeping Veils : Mourning Rituals in 19th Century AmericaRevised Widow’s Weeds and Weeping Veils : Mourning Rituals in 19th Century America by Bernadette Loeffel-Atkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fascinating read. While today this is not an easy topic to discuss it is interesting to explorer just how much mourning played in the lives of humans only a few hundred years ago. This small book covers quite a bit from clothing, food, home decor, and more. It goes into symbolism, ways to remember loved ones, I honestly could keep going. It is apparent that the author is knowledgeable.

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MythosMythos by Stephen Fry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is such a wonderful retelling of the classic Greek Myths. While I am very familiar with a lot of these stories, the random comments and little additions of Fry make them magnificent. This is well organized and Fry tells these in a way a Greek Myth beginner can easily jump into the tails. I highly recombined this collection of tails of you are interested in it, even slightly. The humor is spot on.

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Farmhand, Vol. 1: Reap What Was SownFarmhand, Vol. 1: Reap What Was Sown by Rob Guillory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A dark and imaginative science fiction tale. For me, this was a very original graphic novel that explore a medical break through and its impact on a family. The plot line was great and the art was beautiful. I really am enjoying how they are exploring different aspects of how this breakthrough could impact this family, this world, and their relationships with each other and others. Like I said, this a dark one and I can see it getting even more grim. I can’t wait to jump into the next volume.

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Farmhand, Vol. 2: Thorne in the FleshFarmhand, Vol. 2: Thorne in the Flesh by Rob Guillory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am very glad that I had the second volume ready to go after reading the first and this did not disappoint. The plot continues to be interesting and imaginative and thee artwork continues to really lend itself to the story. The story has gotten a bit more dark and family relationships continue to evolve. I am excitedly and impatiently waiting for the release of Vol.3. I can easily say this graphic novel series is one of my favorite I have read.

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Currently Reading 2

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, 39%

The Wicked King by Holly Black, 28%

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, 3%


What was the last book you finished? What book are you currently reading?

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Goals

Reading Goals | 2020 Edition

Reading Goals NEW

Hello and welcome to my 2020 reading goals. I am so excited about writing this blog post.  I am not sure why, but I feel like 2020 is going to be an amazing reading year. Like last year, I am going to be keeping my goals pretty general, but also challenging. Some will be repeats, but I also changed a few up as well.


  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
    • Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. Read 50 books
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all
  4. Read 30,000 pages
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books
  6. Read 16 books from the library
  7. Read a book from each continent
    • North America
    • South America
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • Antartica
    • Africa
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.

So these are my goals reading wise for the upcoming year. I am excited to jump in and I am very much motivated. I feel like this year I might have the hardest time with my continent challenge because of needing to find another book that takes place in Antartica. If you have any suggestions let me know!


What are the goals you have for yourself in 2019?

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Goals

Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge

Reading Goals NEW

Hello and welcome to a little my little chat about one of my goals for 2020. In the past I have been adamant about hating Shakespeare. I never enjoyed any of his plays that I read, I found them dull and just boring honestly. But, the last time I read one of his works, any of this works honestly, I was always told to read them.

Now, I don’t know about you, but even though I am a book lover and avid reader, the fastest way to not get me to read a book is to make it required. I hate being told what to read. In fact, I didn’t read this much until I went to college, high school made me hate reading because they were never anything that interested me. Now, that is an entire other discussion I can get into another time. For now, let’s get back to Shakespeare.

So, I am not sure why, but I want to give Ol’ Shakespeare  another go and see if my tastes have either changed or simply not making his work required changed me view.

While going to my local indie bookstore I was looking at the classics, my go to there for some reason and I saw a bunch of Shakespeare’s plays. For some reason the idea for this challenge hit me. Currently, I think this is a wonderful idea. In the future, past me might be a huge jerk. Only time will tell. So, this is my plan, every month I will read 1 Shakespeare and review it. Nice and simple right? Wrong, I honestly have no idea what plays might be interesting. I picked up the ones pictured above because A Midsummers Night Dream was one I was able to tolerate reading all those moons ago and the second, Twelfth Night I have never even heard of and I thought I would give it a go.

So, there is my year long classics challenge for myself. If you have a favorite play or work by him please comment below the name and why you liked it. I could really use the help!

Also, I will be starting off with reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, thanks to those who voted for the first month! Also, please feel free to join me in this challenge. It would be a ton of fun to read along with you! In fact, I created a goodreads group so we can all connect and you can see which plays are coming up, you can find that group here: 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.


Which one of Shakespeare works did you enjoy reading?

Which one did you detest?

Have you read any of his works?

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Hauls

Blogmas | Book Haul | November & December 2019

BookHaul12:17

Hello and welcome to my my book haul for both November and December. I fell a bit behind with my haul last month so I decided to just put everything together. I don’t want to ramble too much, so here are the books I picked up in one way or another!


I received A Christmas Carol through Coffee and a Classic Box, which I have been subscribed too for months at this point. The Queen of Nothing I picked up at Barns and Nobel it is a signed edition because I could not resist.  Bonhoeffer is actually my mothers and I wanted to read it for a while so I am borrowing it from her because she is very supportive in my reading habit. Last, but not least is Gwendy’s Magic Feather which was a pre-order and a sequel to Gwendy’s Magic Box.

Great Goddesses is my latest purchase, I feel like Nikita Gill is one of the few poets I auto buy their works. I decided to pick up two of Shakespeare’s plays for a project I am working on for next year, I decided on Midsummers Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. You should hear about that project very soon if you have not already. The Light Between Oceans is actually from my library, but I borrowed it this month for my book from Australia read, Bury What You Cannot Take is also for for that challenge, but takes place in China. Last in this pile is The Glittering Hour, this was my BOTM pick for December, if you want to see why I picked this one you can see my post here:BOTM Unboxing | December 2019.

My Best Friends’s Exorcism I picked up from a library sale, I know a lot of people were reading it during Halloween this year so I wanted to give it a go. I finally caved and picked up Alexander Hamilton that inspired the play. I also have my BOTM from November, if you want to know my reasonings you can see that here: BOTM Unboxing | November 2019.

Lastly I have The Morrigan, which is tales of a Celtic Goddess, I have always loved lure and myths so I wanted to explore more. I also picked up a book called Muse with the Moon, which is almost like a reflection activity book that has specific prompts during a particular phase of the moon. You all will be seeing that a lot, I am thinking about starting a series with what I put in that book each month until it is full.


What was your most recently acquired book?

Do any of these books sit on your shelf or have you read them already?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter November 2019

LetsTalk12:17

So, earlier this month I posted an unhaul where I got rid of a huge number of books from my shelf. Well, now I am going to be doing a try a chapter to really target the books on my TBR shelf. Now, I have noticed that my reading taste is changing again and stuff I normally feel I would like, I am not enjoying anymore. So, I thought I would read the first chapter of a couple of books and decide if I want to keep them or add them to the donation pile.


The Bone House by Emily Lloyd-Jones (standalone)

The start was pretty interesting, but already had a cliche that kinda lost me. I really liked the idea of this book, but big sister who has to take care of family after an event is played out in my eyes and I bores me. I think I am going to pass on this, unhaul. 

Peace and Turmoil by Elliot Brooks (series)

I read the preface and the first chapter since the preface was only a few pages. I have to say I am intrigued as to what is going to happen, but there seems to be interesting family dynamics in here that I hope the author explores more. I am a little torn on this, because the writing style isn’t really mine. I decided to unhaul this book after reading the first chapter of the others. 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (series)

I think I am going to like this one, I really liked how the story started with folklore of sorts, but also a bit of grim foreshadowing. It seems like it is going to be very interesting and atmospheric. While it is promising, it didn’t really pull me in too much, but I am intrigued. After reading the others, I decided to unhaul. 

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore (standalone)

I think this is the one  I am most interested in and I think I am going to be jumping into this a reading it right away. I really like the personality of the main character and the fact it is a historical fiction is just a wonderful bonus. Keeping

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson (series)

This book seems so unique and really started with a bang. This is another one I know I wont be able to put down long. The writing is amazing and from what I read in the prologue (13 pages) is very imaginative and unafraid to be emotional. Keeping

Dear Haiti, Love Aline by Mika and Maritza Moulite (standalone, BookCon was 2019 Gift)

I really like Alaine’s voice, she seems like a really awesome character. I also had no idea this book was written in a diary type format, which I am totally here for. I ended up reading 21 pages, I didn’t stop at the first chapter oops. Keeping

Middlemarch by George Eliot (standalone)

It is really hard to tell if I am going to like this book or not, the main reason being the formatting and mistypes I already found in the first chapter. It made it a but hard to read. I am going to give this another try, but with an audiobook. Keeping


Keeping: 4

Unhauling: 3


Have you read any of these books?

Should I give any of them a second chance?

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Hauls

Book Haul | October 2019

BookHaul12:17

Hello everyone and welcome! So, it has been a while since doing a “traditional” book haul in a few months since I have been doing my Read 5, Buy 1. I have decided to pause this for the remainder of the year due to the holidays coming up and such.

Even though I did not buy a ton of books this month, I still wanted to share the ones I did pick up. I am pretty surprised I didn’t buy even more since I let myself “off the hook”. Anyway, On to the books!


Books Added 2Bought

Subscriptions

Gifted


OWNED TBR COUNT

34 books!

Even with all of my book buying, I am still down a book from last month and quite honestly, that is a lot better than I thought it would be. I thought it was going to go up overall, so a small victory!


What book are you adding to your TBR? How many books are on your TBR?

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TBR

TBR | November 2019

ToBeRead12:17

Hello and welcome to my TBR for the 11th month of the year! I cannot believe how quickly this year is now going since we are in the home stretch. This month I was thinking I was going to really keep an eye on my reading challenges, but I wanted to read so much I had to go to twitter and ask for some volunteers to send me some numbers so I could narrow my TBR down in addition to reading a book that was on my post Lists | Top 5 Books I Want to Read Before 2020. Anyway, on the to TBR!


I am going to go a little out of order here, but Middlemarch was the only book on this list I picked for myself. It is the last classic on my shelf and I honestly am very much in a classic reading mood. It is also one of the five books I want to read before 2019 comes to an end. I picked this book up on a whim at a local independent bookstore because I never read any of Eliot’s works and I felt like I would really enjoy this one.

Next up is The Bone Season, which is number 27 on my TBR. This number was picked by Rosie, you can check out her blog by clicking here. I am really happy that this number was picked because I picked this book up in October, but I didn’t get a chance to read it and I was bummed out.

The next number that was picked was number 10 by Katerina, you can find her tweet below. Number 10 was It Would Be Night in Caracas, which I was given when I went to BookCon earlier this year. I am excited to have this on my TBR because the story sounds so interesting.

The next number is 25, picked by Emma, you can check out her blog by clicking the link here. Number 25 is Nothing to See Here, which was my Book of the Month from last month, so I guess Emma is trying to get me to catch up on those books. I am excited to get to this one though, I mean the cover has an illustration of a person on fire… I need to know why!

The next book I am going to be reading this month is The Toll with Reg, Jenna, and Amy as part of our buddy reading group. I am so excited to be reading the final book in the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman. All of us have pretty much loved this series since we read the first one together.

Well, there you have it the 5 books I am planning on reading in the month of November. I want to take a moment to thank everyone who sent me numbers, but there was no way I would have been able to read 16 books this month. I wish I could though!


What books are you planning to read this month?

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | Spookathon/October 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

Hello and welcome! This month I decided to put my readathon wrap up and my monthly wrap up together for a couple of reasons. The first being I didn’t want to post two wrap ups so close together and the second is that I don’t think I would have had enough in my posts on their own. But, either way I am going to fill you in on all of the reads I have read this month for general reading and readathon reading!


-Spookathon-

  1. Read a thriller– The Institute by Stephen King
  2. Read a book with red on the cover– Mapping the Interior, might I add this is a beautiful cover and an amazing story?
  3. Read a book with a spooky word in the title– Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Stories
  4. Read a book with a spooky setting – The Institute by Stephen King
  5. Read something you wouldn’t normally read– Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, not halloween like at all so I wouldn’t normally read it this time of the year.

I might have used a few books to cover more than one prompt, but I did it! Not against the rules in my opinion!


Read 2
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (Images of America: Pennsylvania)Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell by Robert W. Sands Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite nonfiction series of sorts and this one was no exception. Images used and their accompanying descriptions and stories added to a wonderfully framed narrative of both Independence Hall and the Library Bell.

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Mapping the InteriorMapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such an eerie atmospheric read, I can really see why it is compared to The Haunting of Hill House, but it is very much its own unique story as well. Even though this was such a sort story, I was attached to the main character very early on. Since this is so short I don’t want to say much, but if you enjoy horror I think you will really enjoy this.

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The InstituteThe Institute by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another wonderful King novel. It is different from his other works, but it is just as creepy. It did not take me too long to feel for the young main characters. The horrors that they saw and had to live through is just heart wrenching. There were quite a few times my heart sunk when I thought something bad was going to happen or if I thought something wasn’t going to work out.

I don’t want to say to much because I feel like this novel is best read when you don’t know too much. It is well written and the plot is a roller coaster and unique. I also felt true emotion while reading this.

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Moby-Dick: or, The WhaleMoby-Dick: or, The Whale by Herman Melville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a very dense book, it was not 100% what I expected. I felt like it was going to be more of a tall tale, but it ended up being so much more explanatory of the progress of whaling. At times I just wanted it to get to the action, if that makes sense.

Other than this I can see why this book is a classic, it is an interesting tale, but keep in mind it is a product of its time.

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Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other StoriesStrange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really love the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so I was really excited to read some more by this author. I was really happy with my reread, I enjoyed the story as much as I have in the past. The other short stories varied, but overall I enjoyed them as well. If you enjoy Jekyll and Hyde, I think you will enjoy the rest of these stories.

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Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 33

Backlist TBR: 0

I FINALLY FINISHED ALL OF THE BOOK I BOUGHT BEFORE 2019 STARTED!


Did you have any 5 star read this month?

Were you surprised by anything you read?

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Lists & Recommendations

Lists | Top 5 Books I Want to Read Before 2020

Lists

Hello everyone, today I wanted to take a moment to talk about the top 5 books I want to read before the end of 2019. We are officially into the last quarter of the year, which always goes by super quickly. It is a time to focus to meet my goals if I have not already. On top of that, there is one Beat my Backlist book that still needs to be read and I will have read all the books I bought before 2019. Anyway, on to the books!


The one I think I am most excited to get to would be The Institute by Stephen King. It is no secret that I really enjoy creepy/horror reads and I really enjoy King’s works. I am really excited to have my hands on his most recent release and I want to read it before the year is through. 

Next in line would be It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo & Translator Elizabeth Bryer. I am really excited to be reading a book set in South America. I don’t know about you, but it is not a setting I come across often in books and I would honestly like to read more. 

Now, The Overstory by Richard Powers is one I need to read for my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist 2019 challenge so I really need to get my butt in gear. I have two books left to go and for some reason this one is the one I have owned the longest, but have not felt the need or want to read. So, I am hoping putting it on this list will really put my butt in gear. At this one I have the other from the library and plan on starting it within the week. *Update* I have read this since prewriting this post, I am updating this to the final book on this list I need to read, The Long Take by Robin Robertson. This is what happens when I prewrite posts too darn early.

Then, we have Middlemarch by George Eliot. I picked up this classic it sounds so interesting. I decided that I would read it over the summer when I  was enjoying the weather outside… well. Summer is now over and I still have not read it. I would say that now my goal is to just read it before the year is finished. I feel like Classics are really good cold weather reads anyway. 

Lastly, we have Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I am really interested in this series, but I always out it off because it is digital. While I do enjoy reading on my kindle, I always find myself only really using it for library books not for my owned TBR books. I need to change this ASAP and read this. Also, it is the oldest owned book on my owned TBR. So, it is really time to get my butt into gear. 


What 5 books do you want to read before the year is up?

Which one do you think I should read first?

Who things I will actually read all of these before the year is up? 😂

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Hauls

Unboxing | Coffee and a Classic September 2019

Unboxing

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of Coffee and a Classic! This month is something extra special since it is Halloween related. I know I am posting this a tad bit late, but better late than never! Anyway, I was so excited about this months pick because I have read the main tale that was sent out, and loved, but I did not read the “Other Stories” so I am excited to find more stories I adore. Anyway, on to the unboxing.


Here is the goodness I saw when I opened the box up. I do love that they really individualize every box to totally surround the box. It really adds to the experience for me.

Here are some of the goodies in this months box. I have to say I was so thankful to get the book light. Mine was starting to act funny and I was ready to go out and get a new one when my next paycheck came in, this could not have been more perfect timing! Also, this months bookmark is so adorable, I started using it right away. Plus, I can always find my books in the dark now with this glow in the dark potion.

I really loved the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, talking about the dual sides to each person and humanity as a whole. It is just as much as a monster story as much as a story about humans, which makes it even more eerie. Even though I really enjoyed reading this story, I for some reason have not picked up another one by this author so I am happy to see the & Other Stories on the cover of this beautiful edition.

Now, I think this is my favorite thing I have gotten from Coffee and Classic since being a subscriber. I took this pillow case and stuffed it full of teddy bear stuffing and put it right now my bed. It is a perfect little Halloween decorate as well as a literary one and that just makes my halloween book loving heart happy. Also, it is a pun and I LOVE puns.


Have you read this book?

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