Let's Talk · Lists & Recommendations · To Be Read

Books I Took With Me On Vacation

Hello and welcome to my blog! Today I am going to take a moment to share some of the books I took with my on vacation! I don’t know about you, but I love reading on vacation. The new environment is just a wonderful place to get lost in a book. This summer I decided to only take a select few, even though I wanted to fill my suitcase with only books. Anyway, here are the books I decided to take with me!

Picture of Lapvona hardcover and I’m Glad My Mom Died on eReader

Lapvona: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, I recently picked this book up when visiting a local bookstore that is a mixture of new and used books. I picked this up because of the unusual cover and read the description and it sounded very interesting. It seems like this books is going to be a mixture of fiction and fantastical, but also a little bit of horror.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, I enjoyed watching her on tv when I was younger and honestly I saw she was coming out with a book a while ago and knew I wanted to read it before really knowing how dark the topics within the book were going to be. From my understanding, her mother and her did not have a great relationship (I mean read that title!) and was taken advantage of. I am glad that she has written her story and I look forward to learning more about her personal life in her own words.

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Monthly Digest

Monthly Digest | July 2022

Hello and welcome to a post highlighting my reading, crafting, and life over the past month. This month I finally felt like I had free time and I could relax a bit. I for sure kicked up my feet and read some thing month, which I am thrilled about. I also was on a making kick and was able to go on some adventures as well.

Reading

Gwendy’s Final Task by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, I went into a bit more detail of my thoughts of this book in my post, The Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag, but I will say I ended up DNF’ing this book about halfway through. The reason I DNF’ed the book was because all of the real world references within the book kept taking me out of the story and into the real world and I kept drifting into my thoughts. I will try this book again down the road because the writing was great.

The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris, this was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I read Fitzharris’ first book and adored it as well, The Butchering Art. This book took a deep dive into the the beginnings of reconstruction surgery during and after World War I. While this is a nonfiction read, the author is very talented and made this read as if a friend was telling you about something interesting them learned. There is a lot of information in this book, but you never feel bogged down etc. You also got to know the life of the doctors, the patients, and nurses so you they don’t come across as just people who worked there or just subjects.

The next two books I ended up reading during a impromptu 24 hour readathon. If you wanna see some more details on how that went, you can see that in my post, Impromptu Personal 24 Hour Readathon Wrap-Up.

The Employees by Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Translator), I really enjoyed this wild ride of a science fiction. It is very hard to put into words why I liked this book so much. But, trying my best I think it comes from they way the story is told through very brief interviews. Even from these small interviews you get a clear picture of the ship, those on the ship, and the challenges they face. The atmosphere that is created is so detailed you find yourself reacting to the interviews subconsciously, you just get feelings deep down in your gut. Not only this, but it explores the idea what it means to be human.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator), this book is really a wild ride. You go into it thinking you are going to read a general fiction about a man who was left by his wife for whatever reason and going to explore him navigating this. Well, as always Murakami always seems to add another layer to his books. This novel takes a supernatural/magical realism turn that makes this novel addicting to read. When I picked this book up I didn’t think I was going to finish it during the 24 hour readathon, I was wrong. I ended up reading this 600 page book in a single day.

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut, Adrian Nathan West (translator), this fiction book takes real life players and events and takes the reader on a wild ride. It does talk about both mathematicians and physics, not knowing too much about both, just general knowledge, I was not lost in the slightest. The author did a great job of blending fact and fiction and really makes the reader think about the question if humanity is going forwards or backwards through discoveries. It plays on the quote from Jurassic park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” It for sure is a book that sits with you and makes you think.

Willie the Weirdo by Stephen King, this was a mere 18 pages so I don’t really want to say too much, but I will say this this short story really had the creepy vibes I have been missing from his more recent works.

Slow Boat by Hideo Furukawa, David Boyd (Translator), this book was meh. It was not bad by any stretch, the writing was very well done, but this story was kind of boring. I read 45 pages the first sitting, which was a huge dent since this book is so short, but it was a struggle to pick it up again. If this book was any longer I probably would have DNF’ed it because it just didn’t pull me in personally. Like I said, the writing is really good, for a short book, the author did a lot in those pages, which is impressive.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune, this story made my heart hurt, It was imaginative in all the right ways. I read this in a 24 hour period from cover to cover. I don’t get too emotional while reading, but this book certainly pulled at my heart strings between friendships, found family and just the growth of the main character . Plus, GHOSTS, I am 100% on board.

Crochet, Knitting and Crafting

Anker’s Summer Shirt

Anker’s Summer Shirt by PetiteKnit, this was my first time working a pattern by PetiteKnit and I can see why other knitters lover her patterns so much. They are simple, but have enough going on to keep you engaged. The styles are classic and timeless and are great for layering. I want to work another one of her patterns already. I made this project out of Sandnes Garn Line, which is a blend of cotton, rayon, and linen so it was perfect to make this summer shirt for sure. I really loved the textured yoke of this top down sweater.

Duotone Cowl

Next project I completed was a Duotone Cowl (Non-ralvery Option) by Orange Flower Yarn. I did this project as a stash busting project with the intent of donating it come colder months. I happened to have two skein of
Ritual Dyes Marona in a pink color and a dark green so I whipped up this project. I really loved how this pattern didn’t work with equal sized stripes all around, but made one color dominate in one half and then reversed on the second half. It makes this scarf look more intricate than it is and I love that in a project, plus it is a free pattern and very well written!

Vanilla Socks

The next and final project I finished was a plain vanilla sock with a contrasting heel and toe for sock week 2022, I did an entire post dedicated to this project and you can find that here, Sock Week 2022 Journal. It was a fun quick project before jumping back into some larger ones.

Life

This past month I did a bunch of fun things. I went to the beach a few times, getting that fresh salt water air really helped me get over a cold I had for over two weeks. While at the beach I was able to get some reading and knitting done as well. It was just truly a relaxing experience and I needed it greatly. I always forget how much I need to be around nature and how calming it is personally to me.

Showing off Slow Boat by Hideo Furukawa on the beach

I also went on a lovely nature walk with my boyfriend this month. We walked around for about 2 hours easily looking at statues and enjoying all the different plants, flowers, and trees. We even found one that looked like it was growing tiny bananas. I think my favorite part of this walk was any time we came across the water. We found a water fall, a stream with a ton of koi fish, and even found a frog among the water lilies.

waterfall through a stone window

As you can see I spent a lot of time doing the things I love and enjoy this month and I really hope to keep this going. I want to go to the beach a few more times before it gets chilly again. I do have some fun plans coming up in August that I am really looking forward to sharing with you! But, that was my month of July! I hope your July was just as wonderful if not more so.

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Bookish Minna | The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Picture of ebook on ipad on a pile of blankets.

Hello and welcome to a bit of a delayed post of my August Someone Picks My Books. This month the wonderful Minna from Bookish Minna picked my book. Not only can you find them on their blog, linked earlier, but you can also find them on twitter @bookishminna. This is my first introduction to the works of N.K. Jemisim, but I will say I have heard this book title quite a few times through blogs and twitter. So this led me to be really curious with this choice to see if I like their writing style or the world they seemed to build for their book series.

Description

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter. goodreads.com

What I Liked

As I stated earlier, I have never read anything byN.K. Jemisim and I was curious to see if I liked their writing style. The great news is, I really enjoyed how they crafted this story and brought it to life. The author was able to pull me into their world with barely any issues, I could clearly picture everything the author talked about or described.

I also really enjoyed getting to know and go on a gritty adventure with the characters in The Fifth Season. The didn’t come across flat in any way, which I appreciate a lot. I find in fantasy it is easy to write a flat character, but the combination with a rich world and these dynamic characters I was truly thrilled. Fantasy is a hard genre for me honestly, I either LOVE it or LOATH it. I go past hate. I am happy to say that this book really is one I truly enjoyed and it really comes down to the talent of the author being able to so clearly get across their world and characters without us actually being in their head.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing I had the most “problems” with, I put it in quotations because it wasn’t really a problem is the fact the author using unique phrases etc. that takes some times to get used to. I read the book from the library, but it is my understanding from other reviews I have come across there is a glossary so I would suggest looking at that. But, understanding these phrases isn’t too hard if you use some context clues and it really does add to the story. It makes the world feel that much more real, but also adds to it being an fantasy because it does not use the same vocabulary as the reader does.

Overall

This is a really great fantasy novel and series, I didn’t know it was a series when I first picked it up. It is rich with details and great characters. It can be a little bumpy if new vocabulary or sayings are thrown in, but is easily remedied and you can easily fall into the tale. I am so thrilled that Minna picked this for me because while I heard about this novel before I would never have picked it up because the description for me didn’t do it justice. While the whole idea of this novel is heart breaking, just needing basic necessities to live, it was a very enjoyable read and I really hope to continue this series one day.

Up Next

Next month I am reading a book picked by my doctor. We often share our recently reads when I go in for my routine check up and I decided to use one of the book they told me about as my September book!

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

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Monthly Intent

Monthly Intent | September 2021

Hello and welcome to my monthly intent post for the month of September! It is so strange to think about that fact that we are moving into the last 3rd of 2021 already. I feel like the year has just started, but is also ending so soon. Time, what a weird thing sometimes. Anyway, here are the things I hope to read, do, and maybe even experience over the next month!

Reading Plans

This month I really want to reread The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I am not sure why, but The Hobbit and Lord of the Ring Trilogy just screams fall and early winter to me. I feel like September is the perfect time to start since the weather generally starts to shift a little chillier throughout the month. The second book I really hope to finish would be to finish my current read The Domestic Life of the Jersey Devil: or, BeBop’s Miscellany by Bill Sprouse. Nothing like reading some folklore of your own state! I grew up knowing about the Jersey Devil and such, but I thought this would be a fun look at this cryptid.

Crochet & Knitting Plans

Since I took up knitting socks last month I want to finish the other sock and make it a pair. I also started working on a cowl to use this winter I would love to have completed before it is needed. Other than that I don’t really have any goal projects I feel like I MUST work on. I think I am going to be a mood crocheter when I pick up a new project from my stash.

Random Goals

I think this month I would really love to go apple picking. I am always eating apples year round, but I think it would be really nice to grab a few myself. Other than that I am hoping I am able to relax a bit and maybe get to sit by the fire pit a few more times before it gets too cold at night. I love being outside so much and I really want to milk this weather for as long as I can because once it is cold I am locking myself inside. I do not do well with the cold.

What are you planning on doing this month?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | JJ Clapton | The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Someone Picks My Books where I ask for volunteers to pick a random book for me to read and see if I like it just as much as they did. This past May I had the wonderful JJ Clapton, who you can find over on twitter as @JJClaptonWrites as well on her website jjclapton.com. Yes, I am sorry I am late to posting this because I have been rethinking my blog a bit, but this series is one I truly love and wont to continue into the future. Anyway, I really excited to share my thoughts on this adventure of a book!

Description

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.
There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality. –goodreads

What I Liked

First and foremost, I absolutely adored the imaginative aspect of this book. I mean, the ideas of book characters jumping off the pages is something a lot of us book lovers say as a figure of speech and most likely has been around for a while. The thing is, the author actually made this figure of speech seem like a reality and created a whole book around it, amazingly I might add.

This book opened up the readers in such a great manner it was a mixture of explaining and showing that was balanced really well. I felt like the author explained just enough that the reader isn’t lost, but we are thrown right into the action of the story. The writing really was just wonderful throughout. The plot was well done, the atmosphere was great, and when I read it felt like I was falling into the book just as much as the characters in this story were coming to life because of Charley’s abilities.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t think of a single thing I did not enjoy about this book.

Overall

If you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. It was imaginative and unlike anything I have read personally and on top of that was executed amazingly. I was honestly shocked to see that this was the authors first book, but very happy too see that they have others out and another one in the works. This review was hard to write because all I wanted to do was gush about it and say, how much I loved it. I will say that there are a few scenes in the book that depict a few dark things that could be triggering to some such as violence, if curious here is a list of trigger warnings. If this is something that does not affect you, I highly suggest giving this book a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I could not be more ecstatic that JJ Clapton picked it for me to read!

Up Next

The next installment that is coming very soon was picked by the wonderful Whitney, who you can find on both twitter as @whitreadslit and over on her blog, whitreadslit.com. She is a very kind individual and her content is amazing!

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

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To Be Read

To Be Read | April 2021

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


The Books

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

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



What do you plan on reading this month?

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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!

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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.

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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?

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Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 Update

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


The Books

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

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

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Hurricane SeasonHurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting read. The murder of the witch is told through the POV of multiple people. With each perspective you learn more about the past and the murder itself. I liked how it also was a social commentary with a mixture of a thriller.

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?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | March 2021

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


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

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

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

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


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

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To Be Read

To Be Read | March 2021

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


The Books

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

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

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

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

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

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


What do you plan on reading this month?

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