Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | December 2018

Monthly Wrap Up

The last wrap up of 2018, I just cannot believe it. Soon I will be starting my reading back at 0 and trying to reach my yearly goals. But, I have to say I ended the year on such a high-note I think 2019 is going to be a wonderful reading year. I read a lot of books I have been meaning to and some I absolutely loved. I also made it to a point where I have read all of the book I have owned for over a year. I have never been to that point before so I am very excited about it and I am going to do my best to keep it that way. So, without more of a delay I am going to share the books I read this month. Some of these books were featured in my post, Middle Mark | December 2018, so some of these are a recap.

DividerBooks I Finished

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Small Fry

4stars

The first book I read this month was Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Overall I really liked this book more than I thought I would. If you want a more detailed review you can find that here: Let’s Talk |Fall Book Recommendation Test & Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs Review

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Faithful

4stars

Alice Hoffman has never disappointed me.I have previously read Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic by her this year and I loved the books. This book was no different, her focus was on family, but in a different way this time around. I was really invested in this story, so much in fact I read this in a single day. It was great breaking at times and other times I smiled as I read. It really was a beautiful emotional rollercoaster.

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Lisey's Story

I have to admit I did not fully read this book. I ended up DNFing this about 20% through. It was not a bad book, it just was one I was not really feeling so I did not want to push myself all the way through it. It was an interesting story set up and such. I ended up passing this book on to my friends daughter who is getting into horror.

A Meeting by the River by Christopher Isherwood

A Meeting by the River2stars

This is the 4th Christopher Isherwood book I have read over the years and this one was eh. While, it is not my favorite of his works, my favorite is Christopher and His Kind, I still enjoyed the writing and the ride he puts you on. If you have ever read one of his books you will know that his writing style is unique. You feel like you are drifting along on a ride watching the main character.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

If We Were Villains

5stars

So I read this as a buddy read with some amazing ladies and I have to admit I ended up finishing it earlier than planned. The first reason being is the writing and how it is organized. I really enjoyed how the story flowed and the sections had some very good cliffhangers so I had no choice but to continue. I really enjoyed how detailed this was and how the story is told between two time periods. I highly suggest this thriller/mystery to everyone. A lot of people compare this to The Secret History, but I think I actually prefer this book over that one. Controversial? Maybe, but it is true.

Down There on a Visit by Christopher Isherwood

Down There on a Visit

4stars

I finally read Down There on a Visit and I did enjoy it overall. As I have said 1000 times, his writing style is so enjoyable I think he could write about anything and I would enjoy it to some extent. I really enjoyed how this was broken down into sections based off of the main characters life. Also, this wrap up proves the point that you will not always love every book by an author you love and that is okay.

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks

5starsI absolutely loved this book! It was hilarious and at times just made me shake my head. It is fun learning about some of the funny and creepy things that happen to librarians while working. The regulars, the weird interactions, hilarious things said by children. I loved how this was organized by topic and the introductions to each section really added to it as well. If this author came out with another book I would pick it up without thinking.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls

4stars

I really loved how this book was set up in the past and more presents. It was a thriller/ghost story that went throughout time and if you know me anything with some ghosts is a win. The writing was so rich I was able to visualize everything with ease. I really enjoyed the fictional history the author created, it really felt genuine and not forced. I also enjoyed the time periods she used in telling this story, it added a lot to the plot, but also gives a nod to the strides our society has taken to be more understanding, but also why we need to continue to be more understanding. The only reason this did not get 5 stars was because I was one thing coming, but the rest of it was a complete surprise.

Fresh Ink: An Anthology

Fresh Ink: An Anthology

2stars

I really just think anthologies in general are just not for me. I am always disappointed because I want more. The mix of medium and the stories that were written well, but they are just too short.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves

4starsI cannot believe I have finished this book! I was totally thinking this read would follow me into 2019, but I pulled a late night because this book serious hooked me. I totally understand why this is considered a favorite by many. I may or may not have read the last 300 pages in one sitting. This is a very interesting horror book that is is more creepy than outright scary. It seems like it is more a mind game than anything else. I really enjoyed how this unorthodox book was put together and how it was more than one story. It was refreshing to read something so different. I will mention I tried to read this when I was in middle school, when it first came out. I am glad I never finished it then, because I know I would not have appreciated it as much. There are layers and layers and you need to dissect this book a little bit.

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery and Other Stories

4stars

I finally read The Lottery and Other Stories and I am so happy that I did. I read right through this collection in a single day. There is something about Jackson’s writing that is just hypnotizing to me. While most of these stories are very short, some only 3 pages. She packs a lot into those 3 pages. Her writing always has layers and leaves you thinking. I highly suggest this if you enjoy reading short stories that at times are creepy or just a little jabs at society in the 1950s.

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome

3stars

I felt like Under the Dome was the adult version of Lord of the Flies. I read Lord of the Flies when I was in high school and I HATED it. I can’t pinpoint why I hated it, but I was so bored by it and I just couldn’t get into any of it. Under the Dome I could get into though. Right off the bat big things happen that just hook you and the way that the cut off from society was well done, even thought it was really out there. I will say there were some points where I was bored and I just wanted to find out what was happening with another group of characters. For that reason I drifted in and out of caring about the story.

DividerWhat is the last book you have read?

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Hauls

Book Haul | December 2018

BookHaul12:17

So, the last month of the year between buying myself goodies and others being so wonderful and gifting my books has led to me having the largest haul since bookcon in June of this year. So, it is safe to say I will be doing a lot of reading in the new future. I don’t want to ramble on because I have quite a few books here, but I will say some I have been wanting a while and a few were gems I just happen to learn about fairly recently and felt like I needed to have them.

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Gifts

Brining Down the Colonel by Patrica Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

This book was a huge surprise! I got it from one of my friends as an early present and I have to say she picked a great one. This book follows the events that were considered scandalous at the time. A young women was accusing a Colonel of sexual assault. This book talks about how it was received and what happened. I am really curious to see the social ramifications at the time since it seems to mirror a lot of what we see today.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sit Arthur Conan Doyle

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

I absolutely love Sherlock Holmes and I had the complete collection in a collection of ripped paperbacks. Well, I am luck to receive this fo-leather bound editions for Christmas. It was a wonderful gift and I am so happy with the upgrade. From what I have seen about this edition it seems to be chronological, but time will tell as I make my way through it.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo

This is a book I have been hearing a ton about this year. I think there was a read-along going on on twitter and I know I have been talking to my friend Jenna about reading this in the future. I asked for the book so I would be ready to go, but I did not expect this beautiful edition. It is bright and beautiful, even the sprayed edges are gold and it has a ribbon bookmark. I am going to love reading this.

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The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

The Far Field

This was my December Book of the Month pick, I am really curious to see how this book plays out. I did not really look at the description before picking up the book apart from it being set in Asia. I want to read more books from around the world in the upcoming year so I thought this would be a wonderful way to start the journey.

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan

Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

This is a non-fiction novel I have been hearing a ton about in the last few months. While I was in school I studied the Russian Revolution among a few other topics and when I heard such good things about this I thought I would expand my own edition by learning about the family of one of the most notorious Soviet Russian leaders. You always hear about the person or the people living under their reign, but to learn about their daughter, that is something new to me. So, I am very excited to jump into this book.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

This was a book I knew I needed to get since I am doing a bit of a challenge in the new year, Reading Goals |Reading a Shortlist. This was the first book on the list I came across in the wild to I scooped it up to take home with me. I have heard some wonderful things from those I trust when it comes to book reviews so I think I will end up very impressed.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies: Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them

I  originally saw this book in a post by Amy, where she explored her favorite bookshop and I felt like I needed to have it. I ended up putting in an order for it and then I actually picked it up on the way to my friends wedding. Let’s just say, they know my love of books and would have understand if I was a few moments late. lol. I really like that this explores the meaning of the word feminism and how this word means so many different things to each person.

Milkman: A Novel by Anna Burns

Milkman

So, this was another book from my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist list and I saw it when I ran into the store to pick up the previous book. Since it was on sale I grabbed it without thinking about it and added it to my order. I am so exited to now have two books on the list to start off the year. I feel like this is going to be a very atmospheric book and I hope I am correct.

DividerAlready Read

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves

4stars

I cannot believe I have finished this book! I was totally thinking this read would follow me into 2019, but I pulled a late night because this book serious hooked me. I totally understand why this is considered a favorite by many. I may or may not have read the last 300 pages in one sitting. This is a very interesting horror book that is is more creepy than outright scary. It seems like it is more a mind game than anything else. I really enjoyed how this unorthodox book was put together and how it was more than one story. It was refreshing to read something so different. I will mention I tried to read this when I was in middle school, when it first came out. I am glad I never finished it then, because I know I would not have appreciated it as much. There are layers and layers and you need to dissect this book a little bit.

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What was the last book you acquired?

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Hauls

Unboxing Boho Berry | December 2018

Unboxing

So I finally caved and signed up for a bullet journal subscription box and after looking at a bunch of blog posts, instagram pictures, and youtube unboxing I decided on trying Boho Berry. Years ago I watched her youtube channel and really enjoyed her content, but at that time I was not really ready to invest in notebooks or related objects. Then she turned to digital planning and I unsubscribed. Well, upon my most recent research I am happy to say not only did I order her box, I resubscribed to her channel since she is doing more physical planning again.

What really drew me to this box over the other ones was the fact that it was consistently delivering quality items to their subscribers. There were a few that I was excited about only to realize that a lot of the time their boxes were misses and a few winners mixed in. I work hard for my money so when I spend it I want consistency. Another point that draw me in was the fact that she designed certain things just for her box, such as stickers. I thought this was fun, interesting and something different.

So, now that I ordered my first box, here is what I got inside!

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The box that it is shipped in is so beautiful, but it also more importantly held up very well while shipping. There was no dents or damage to it.

The attention to detail in this box is really wonderful, a cover to protect the information card was adorable.

Upon first opening the box you can see that it is stuffed with goodies. Stickers for decoration and some that are very practical.

Here are ones I am the most curious about. The first is a December tracker, I normally don’t use these. I think the main reason is I am to lazy to actually make the layout myself. The second one is a great sticker that helps you reflect upon the year which I really appreciate. Never hurts to be a little more mindful and reflective to better yourself and grow.

These are the other stickers that are present in the box. There is a beautifully illustrated quote that is black and yellow. Then the second sheet is a mixture of preactical stickers I am very much looking forward to using my in bullet journal soon. I will say since I already had my December layout done, Bullet Journal | December 2018, so I don’t be using the December stickers this month. The great news is that they are undated so I am already prepared for next year! The last sticker sheet is beautiful and I think are perfect for adding a little something to spreads that just need a little uplifting.

This last group of goodies I am very excited about. The first item on the left are beautiful paper clips. One side is a star and the other is a moon, which with a name like Luna I really appreciate. I am already using these. The second item is a mechanic pencil called Tombow Mono Graph Mechanical Pencil. I love using pencils to add in dates and stuff incase things have to get shifted around so I am really curious to see if I like the feel of this one. The next is a Tombow Dual Brush Pen in Light Orange. I already have this color, but I am passing it along to someone who needs it. I really love these pens so this was a great thing to get in this box. The last thing in this was a Moon Desk Dish, which I LOVE. I already have it on my desk with my paperclips inside

I absolutely loved my first Boho Berry Box and I am looking forward to see what is coming in my next one.

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What is your go to bullet journal tool?

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TBR

December TBR | 2018

ToBeRead12:17

Hello and welcome to my December TBR… the last TBR of the year. I cannot believe I am typing those words. But, here we are none the less. This month I am not focusing on numbers to meeting goals or anything like that. I just want to read some books I have been wanting to get to and I have been putting off because they are slow burners or larger in size. So I am excited for these end of the year reads.

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Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Lisey's Story

This is the oldest book I have on my owned TBR. I am slowly trying to get through my backlist of books so I can get my TBR to only a few months behind instead of a year. I started reading this when I did the #Blogoween | Try A Chapter October 2018 and I really enjoyed the first chapter so I am looking forward to reading it this month.

Down There on a Visit by Christopher Isherwood

Down There on a Visit

I have wanted to read more Christopher Isherwood book for some time, but I have not given myself the chance. So I decided that I want to read not only this book. but the next book on the list as well. This book is like four stories in one and it is semi autographical because the author puts four characters that are meant to be him, but not quite.

A Meeting by the River by Christopher Isherwood

A Meeting by the River

Like I said about the above book I have been wanting to read more of his works. So this one of a two brothers at odds. Once is living two lives and the other can’t seem to decide how he feels about the whole thing because he says two different thing. So I am curious to see how this family comes to terms or does not. Divider

What are you reading this month?

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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | December 2018

Recs

Last month I sadly did not get around to sharing my bullet journal, but I am excited to get to share this months with you. I am using some of my tried and true spreads as well as trying a few new ones as well.

This month I wanted simple layouts, apart from the bonus one below, and limit my colors to pale relaxing colors. I am not sure why, but I was really craving cool tones.

Here is my main introduction page into December. I thought it would be fun to do a warm fire place because during the month of December that is the only place I want to sit, right in front of it. I also wanted to put a few simple decorations. I never go all out with decoration in real life so why would I in my bullet journal?

This is my calendar page. This is where I write all the appointments, meetings, and due dates for various things. When I took this picture it was blank, it is already totally filled. It is funny how things come flying at you all at once. I loved the little lights so I added them to the side of the page. I didn’t color them in because I wanted the purple to be the star of this page. It is such a relaxing color.

So on the left hand side is my Monthly Overview, this is where I write down all my planned posts. I am happy to say that I have some fun posts coming up this month that I am excited to share with you. Mainly my favorite and least favorite books of 2018. I cannot believe it is already time to reflect on the year.

On the right side of the page is my December TBR. It may be a bit of a sneak peak, but oh well.

This is the layout I am going to be giving a try. I kinda got inspiration from BooksandLala on Youtube for this. On the right side I am going to assign a book a color and track the days I have read it on the left hand side. If all goes to plan there should be a fun cool toned rainbow on the left hand side to show when I started, read, and finished a book using the colors and code on the right side. I am curious to see if I keep up with this or not. Only time will tell.

This is my typical tracking pages I put in my bullet journal every month. The right page is where I write the titles of the books I read and then color them in. On the right I color in a block for each chapter I read. At this time I only added the books on my TBR, more will be added because I never stick to my TBR.

I am not sure if I have shared this before, but this is the weekly spread I use. While I give a majority of the room to my weekdays. I don’t combine Saturday and Sunday because then I end up waiting to do everything on Sunday. As you can see I also have a few stickers. I track the moon cycles in my bullet journal because I always love being aware of the moon and its cycles. I always have since I was a little girl. I also have assigned days to clean, write, and do laundry which are indicated by sticks. I also do a weekly weigh in that I keep track of in my bullet journal as well.

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Bonus Layout

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I hoped you have enjoyed the sneak peak into my bullet journal this month. I really enjoyed how this month turned out. It is clean and calm, just what I need and wanted.

Do you use a bullet journal? What theme are you using this month?

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Hauls

Book Haul | December 2017

Book Haul

Hello everyone! I know the filming in this book haul is a little off, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. These are all the books I received from publishers to review, I bought for myself, or received as presents from my friends and loved ones. Which one do you think I should read first?


I Bought:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

Under the Dome by Stephen King

The Romanovs 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

I was Gifted:

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty

Publishers Sent:

The Last Girl by Nadia Murad

What book did you get this month?

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TBR

December TBR | 2017

TBR

I cannot believe that December is here, time sure has flown. Now with the end of the year coming around I am very happy with the books that I have read so far and with my ever growing TBR. But, there are a few books I want to take off my TBR before we ring in the new year. These four picks are fiction, historical fiction, and horror short stories. Without anymore delay, here are the titles.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

18302455

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from and over his many years will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

18302455

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

18302455

“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.

A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”

On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.

In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.


Have you read or plan on reading any of these books?

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