Wrap Up

Wrap Up | January 2020

Wrap Up

Wow, the first month of the year is a wrap,  2020 is off to a great start reading wise. I managed to read a total of 11 books, which is just an amazing reading month over all. On top of that I think I might have found a contender for one of my favorite books of the year already. I know it is too soon to really tell, but I really truly loved a book I read this month, more details about that below and mini summaries of all the books I read this month along with some fun stats I am keeping this year.


Read 2The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)The Wicked King by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit I am totally that person that puts off reading the second book in a series because I always think it is going to be a filler book. I was convinced that this too was going to be a filler book, but I was wrong.
This was a real whopper of a book, I buddy read this with someone and I have to say our conversation did not dampen on most days. A lot of stuff happens in this book and it really kept me guessing. Holly Black takes her riddles and truth spinning to the max and I am always trying to figure out what the characters are really saying. She is so talented with her words.
As for the actions in this book, let me just say wow. I don’t want to ruin anything, but you can bet I have the third book here ready to read.

View all my reviews


Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“So, am I am writing this I just finished this book and I have to say I absolutely love it. This is actually my first 5 star read of 2020, which is super exciting. I am also going to take this time to apologies about the gush fest this post has now turned into.

First thing I really liked was the choice of time period. While it does have a wide range and is told by jumping back and forth, I think the time period was a great choice for a few reasons. The first being alluding to civil rights and Jim Crow laws. There were a few time in this book that I just teared up or flat out cried at. The second aspect being the hard topic of abuse. I feel like the author did a good job of handling such a hard topic. It didn’t shy away from it, it was a hard honest look at it. I really liked that the author didn’t just comment on one social issue, but a few.” More at Someone Picks My Books | Aunt Edition & Series Return!

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A Midsummer Night's DreamA Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I have to start this off by saying I am really happy to have started this year long challenge with this play in particular, the main reason being I actually enjoyed it. Yes, I am surprised to say that, but so grateful. I really was worried going into this thinking I was going to dislike everyone of his works, but that was not the case. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was actually really enjoyable and has made me more excited about this entire process.” – More at 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | January

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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyBonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an absolutely remarkable story about a very remarkable person who went and did something that many did not and would not do during WW2. I really enjoyed learning about Bonhoeffer and his life. I have already recommended it to quite a few people in my life because it was such a powerful read and so well done.

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Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2019: 51

Current: 43


Reading Stats

  • Number of Books: 11
  • Number of Pages: 3,195
  • Fiction: 8
  • Nonfiction: 3
  • DNF’ed: 0
  • Ebook: 0
  • Audiobook:  1
  • Paperback: 6
  • Hardcover: 4
  • Library: 2
  • Owned: 9
  • 5 Stars: 1
  • 4 Stars: 7
  • 3 Stars: 3
  • 2 Stars: 0
  • 1 Star: 0

What was your favorite read of the month?

What was the last book you read in January?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Try A Chapter January 2020

Let's Talk

Hello and welcome to another Try a Chapter post! So looking at my TBR I noticed there were a few books I wasn’t so much drawn to read as of late and I wanted to either unhaul them or reignited my want to read them. So, the best way for me to make a decision is to read a the first chapter of each of these books and decide if I am going to keep them on my owned TBR, or unhaul them and send them to a friend or donate. Now, on to the books!


Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Honestly, I felt like skipping ahead and I was only reading the first chapter. Which, for me is a bad sign. I was already bored, which is a huge shame because it sounds really interesting, but it didn’t personally pull me in at all. I am going to unhaul this.

Outside the Gateby Molly Gloss

This is a very interesting take on a Dystopian for sure. It is a quite short story, not even 100 pages, but the way it was narrated it moved very slowly for me personally. With it being so short I thought it would move quickly, but 12 pages felt like 50. I am going to unhaul this one as well.

Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee

This shows great potential for me, we are placed right into an event. It flows nicely and it seems more alive than the previously two I tried to read. This seems to feel bigger in a way. I am going to be keeping this one on my owned TBR.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Eh, I didn’t think what I read was bad, but it wasn’t great either. A very middle of the road first chapter. I think I am going to unahul it because honestly I don’t see myself picking it up.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

All I have to say is WOW. This book really starts off with something heart wrenching and devastating. It can be very triggering to some though, trigger warning for suicide. Reading that first chapter, I need to know more about what has happened in this world. Due to this, I am keeping this book on my owned TBR.

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

When you start a book talking about Rigor mortis …. I am going to continue reading it. I don’t know why I even put it in this list, I love Liz Nugent, I think just wanted an excuse to read part of it honestly.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Uh, wow, this book is so imaginative. I don’t want to say too much, but I really want to continue reading this so much so that I am pretty sure it is going to be my next read after my required reading this month. KEEPING!

Winter at Death’s Hotel by Kenneth M. Cameron

This seems like a really interesting read, but I am not pulled into this book. I am not really interested in Mrs. Arthur Conan Doyles wife playing Sherlock. I much prefer Bradley Harpers spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was first gifted a copy for a blog tour, it was great I even bought the second on that just came out a few months ago. As for this one, I am going to unhaul it.

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

It started off too poetic for my tastes and I didn’t really care honestly. I wanted to already start skipping ahead. This book just isn’t for me. I decided to unahul it.

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

I need to oread this right away as well. It really pulled me in right off the bat. It has a palpable atmosphere coming right off the page. I really want to know what happens at Pale Harbor and soon! I am keeping this on my owned TBR.


Keeping: 5

Unhauling: 5

Somehow this ended up being a 50/50 split. I ended up removing 5 books and keeping 5. I have to admit, the ones I am keeping I am really thrilled about getting too again. It is funny how we can be so pumped about a book, but then just leave it on our shelves and almost forget why we got it in the first place.


Have you read any of these books?

Should I give any of them a second chance?

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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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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | January 2020

Bullet JournalHello and welcome to another Bujo setup post! I am very excited to show you this months spreads for two reasons. I have cut a lot of the spreads I normally had and I added a few for the new year. Some of the cuts include my blog planning. I totally removed those pages and I now use a different planner/travelers notebook. As for the other spreads, expect to see a little consolidation and a few new layouts to mark the new year! On to a look into my bullet journal!


Since I am using the same notebook as I transition into the new year I decided to add this artwork from Shayda Campbell. I feel like this really separates and marks the new year and I thought it was important to celebrate it.

This year I wanted to add a little layout that would highlight my favorite book of the month. I thought it would be helpful and fun to reflect upon it at the end of the year. On the other page I have a Read 5, Buy 1 layout for the new year. I am excited to get back to this. But, this time I am making sure I only count books from my own shelves as thee reads, not library books this time around. So, because of this the spread is a little smaller.

This page I added a little doodle and then I also added a page with 12 books to showcase my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, if you don’t know about it here is the post,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. I wanted to mark the play that is picked each month because it is a year long journey and I would love to see it grow. I also want to add a doodle for each play as I read them.  I thought it would be fun.

I have been working on a temperature blanket since the summer and I wanted to track my progress in my bullet journal. So, I added the month on the top and the day on the side and I am adding a dot for the days I have crocheted. I did not fill it out before taking the picture, but I will admit I am a little behind. On the right I decided to have a meal prep idea bank for when I am stumped on what to make for my meals. These are all ones I love so I will always be happy with any of them.

I picked this up from craftyenginerd, this year I wanted a pysical way to track when bills are paid. I will say I have never paid anything late, but sometimes I pay so early I freaekout and think I didn’t pay. So this will help me not freak out and rush and sign into my accounts. I also want to do a monthly one, I was thinking of adding one inspired by thatbujokid. But, I have not done it yet. I am still up in the air about it.

Here we are getting into the monthly spreads. On the left I have my January dashboard and mini calendar. On the right I added a place to add an affirmation that I can look back on. At the time I did not add one because I wanted to take the time and add a meaningful one. These are both from Shayda Campbell. The one on the right I took her other artwork and used it to complete the spread. I will say this month I didn’t use a ruler and I am kinda feeling the messy lines.

This month I really wanted to continue with the messy lines and the brown paper so I brought it through to me book tracker and to be read. These are spreads I have every month so I won’t go to much into it, but if you want to check out my TBR you can see that here: To Be Read | January 2020.

My weekly layouts are very similar to what they have been the last few months, but I added a tracker into my weekly spreads instead of just its own page. I really wanted to downsize my monthly spreads and get rid of stuff that was fluff and condense everything if I could. This layout has really been working for me and I have loved using it.


QOTD: How to do keep your schedule organized? Do you use a planner, bullet journal, or a monthly calendar? 

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TBR

To Be Read | January 2020

To Be ReadHello and welcome to my first post of 2020! I am excited that my first post is setting an intention for the first month of the year, my TBR for the month. This month I am keeping it pretty relaxed so I can add more books as I feel, but there are a few I really want to get to this month for one reason or another. So, on with the books!


This first set of books are ones I am really excited to jump into. Girl, Woman, Other is the first book I am reading for my Read a Shortlist Challenge. It was on the Shortlist and won The Man Booker Prize 2019. Where the CrawDads Sing is another one for a series I am going to be revamping this year ‘Someone Picks My Books’, I am so excited to be bringing it back, I truly have missed it. Mythos has nothing to do with a series or challenge, but I have been on such a mythology kick I want to read it now.

These next two books are also ones I am really excited about, but were so small they wouldn’t stand up with the rest of the books, so they get their own picture. The first book is Widows Weeds and Weeping Veils and it talks about 1800s mourning rituals, which is a bit dark, but I personally find the topic really interesting. The second book here is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is the Shakespeare play I am reading in January for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. I am really excited to jump into this Challenge and I created a goodreads group for it if you would like to join, it is called  2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group. Very original, I know.

Anyway here are the books I am very excited to get to in January! I really love how all over the place they are, works perfectly for my mood reading.


What books are you planning on reading this month?

What book are you currently reading?

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Hauls

Book Haul | January & February 2019

BookHaul12:17

So, this year I restarted by read 5, buy 1 and so far it has been going really well last month I didn’t really haul many books so I decided to combine January and February. I will say that the challenge is going really nicely. My owned TBR is currently sitting at 37 books, which I am very proud of. I am well on my way to get into the teens, which is my ultimate goal. Anyway, I am going to stop blabbing on and on and get to the book!

-Pre Read 5, Buy 1-

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

So I love Holly Black and I really enjoyed reading the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince. I had this book preordered and it was placed before the new year and also because I was really excited about it I needed to preordered it. Anyway, I am really excited to get to it in the near future.


-Post Read 5, Buy 1-

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black

I decided to pick this up for Black History Month… oops I read it in January because I could not wait and I really liked it. If you want to see my full review of it please go to my Monthly Wrap Up | January 2019 it was really enjoyable  and I really do suggest it.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

So, I have been eyeing starting this series for some time and I finally decided to pick it up. I have been wanting to get more into adult fantasy and right and left people have said to give Robin Hobb a try and I read the description and it sounds really interesting.

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Early Riser

So this book is from my Book of the Month | February 2019 post I did a few weeks ago. Like I said in the post, this book is a science fiction read nothing like I have read before. It reminded me of a recent movie with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence where they wake up in space and everyone else is asleep. On top of that I would really like to hibernate sometimes so I can live through the characters lol.

 

Divider 2

Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? Which one would you read first?

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Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | January 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

Well, here I am to share my first monthly wrap up of 2019. It seems like this month has gone slow, but also thrown by for me. I saw my first snow fall of the season, started playing around with programming and painting once again. I feel refreshed as well as have a drive I have not had in some time. I am not sure why the new year sparked this in me, but it has and I am happy about it.

So, as before, some of these books have been previously shown in Middle Mark | January 2019, but I wanted to post a comprehensive wrap-up. If you wish to skip over the books I already talked about I have no problem with that, but I have quite a few more books I read because I ended up reading 11 books.

DividerBooks I Finished

Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic

A Journey Through a History of Magic by The British Library

4stars

This is a beautiful book, it details so much of the history of magic that influenced Harry Potter’s world as well as a peek into early drafts, edits, and early doodles of the book. Even though I went to the exhibit I still read through this book cover to cover and really enjoyed it. (Originally found here).

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover

5stars

I absolutely loved this book, I was raw, emotional, and heartbreaking. If you are looking to read a memoir I highly suggest you pick it up. The writing is amazing, there is something about this book that just appalls you, but also inspires you due to the life that Tara Westover has lived. (Originally found here).

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

3stars

Best for beginners and those who are not happy with their current bullet journals. If you already have a bullet journal you are happy with you can pass on this book.

For those who are beginners this is a great way to learn about the process and find out what a bujo actually is. It is well organized and I like the take what works for you and leave the rest mentality of the book. (Originally found here).

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

3stars

I have read and reread quite a few Sherlock stories. I will admit at this point some stories I will continue to rereading, but others I will never pick up again for one reason or another. Mainly because I did not enjoy the  the thrill of the story. It is a wonderful collection to have. (Originally found here).

Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World

Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World by Pic Candle

4stars

I recently wrote an entire review of this book, you can find that here: REVIEW | Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World by Pic Candle / Zainab Khan. But, I will say overall I think this is a really fun drawing book. I think it gives great practice when it comes to learning to draw basic shapes and developing better hand control while drawing. While some of the tutorials take up jumps in the steps as stated before, you can figure it out with some time. As with anything new you are learning with practice, you improve. If you are looking to learn to draw or just want to play around, I think this is an adorable option for you. (Originally found here).

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

The Familiars

5stars

I wrote an entire review of this book, but I will sum it up here. I really enjoyed this novel. I loved how period accurate it was and how the author used real names from the year that this is taking place. I also enjoy how she embodied the time period, but also exposed the issues that and pointed out how unfair the system was towards particular people. It is safe to say that I am preordering this novel. (Originally found here REVIEW | The Familiars by Stacey Halls)

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

3stars

Overall, this was a really good short eerie short story. I can see why it is a classic that people talk about time and time again. But, it also did not wow me like other eerie stories  I have read in the past.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

5stars

This was an amazing read, I am kinda mad at myself for putting it off so the last few months. I really loved the conversation that book brings to the forefront. How it shows a different perspective that I really appreciate being shared with me. I also loved how I could relate tot the it me period this book takes place in. I remember the walkmans, start of the iPods and I really relate to the high prices text messages and minuets used to be. I feel like the mixture of highly relatable aspects as well as seeing a new perspective really  made this such a wonderful book. I highly suggest you picking this up. I feel like I am not articulating myself quite right, but I loved this book.

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

4stars

I really enjoyed the fact that this book had so many voices and talked on so many topics. There was a mixture of playlists, lists, essays, poetry, interviews and more. It was a wonderful read that allowed me to read the thoughts of some people I know, but also expose me to others I will now be looking into their work.

Another thing I loved was the continued reading section where books are recommended and also a section to workout your own thoughts on feminism. This book doesn’t just talk at you, it starts a conversation. (Originally found here).

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

4stars

I really loved how this seemed to be more of an anthropological look at death as apposed to her other book. I really enjoyed how she explored how cultures within the US and around the world pay respect to their loved ones with no judgement. It really is eye opening how we are all the same species, but we have our own ways we pay respect to those we love. It is comforting that we can all find a way to honor those who came before us. I hope to see more writings by her because I have enjoyed both of her books immensely. (Originally found here).

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

5stars

I found this book to be a mixture of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and something else I cannot quite place at this time. I really liked how this book was written, it flowed really nicely and the voices of the characters were clear and definite. The way that the author was able to weave this jumping time frame is masterful! Also, I was surprised quite a few times while reading it. The ending really shocked me and I loved the twist it took. (Originally found here).

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black

4stars

This book is such an adventure, it starts with a young boy, age 11. Sadly, he is a slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados run by two brothers. The author wrote a beautiful book that shows the ugly that is slavery. It talks about awful psychological games played by owners and the bad treatment many had to endure unfairly. I also like how the author showed abolitionists and aspects of the underground railroad. The dangers of faced by those who escaped and freed those who did not belong to them. I also really enjoyed the science, art, and almost steampunk elements. I am honestly not doing this book justice, but I will say it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and it is well deserved. I also have to agree with the quote on the front of my book calling it a masterpiece.  (Originally found here).

DividerWhat is the last book you have read?

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Hauls

Book Haul |Boxing Day 2018

BookHaul12:17

So, this will post likely be the last huge haul you will see for some time. I tend to stay away from the website bookoutlet, but boxing day always pulls me in. It is not that the website is bad or anything like that. I just tend to buy more books than I need or ones that are not really on my radar and then months pass and I end up unhauling them. I try not to do that so my wallet is a bit happier. But, every year on boxing day, day after Christmas, I put in an order of books that have piled up in my cart that I have had my eye on for some time. Without more of a delay, here are the books I picked up on Boxing day! Divider

DividerThe Books

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent’s startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue a child from a superstitious community.
Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheal, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nora just as rumors begin to spread that Micheal is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.

Set in a lost world bound by its own laws, THE GOOD PEOPLE is Hannah Kent’s startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers. -goodreads

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. -goodreads

Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson

London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit: for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go. Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air. But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as a cloak for his crimes.

All across London, women were going missing–poor women, forgotten women. Their disappearances caused little alarm, but each of them had one thing in common: they had the misfortune of meeting a quiet, unassuming man, John Reginald Christie, who invited them back to his decrepit Notting Hill flat during that dark winter. They never left.

The eventual arrest of the “Beast of Rillington Place” caused a media frenzy: were there more bodies buried in the walls, under the floorboards, in the back garden of this house of horrors? Was it the fog that had caused Christie to suddenly snap? And what role had he played in the notorious double murder that had happened in that same apartment building not three years before–a murder for which another, possibly innocent, man was sent to the gallows?

The Great Smog of 1952 remains the deadliest air pollution disaster in world history, and John Reginald Christie is still one of the most unfathomable serial killers of modern times. Journalist Kate Winkler Dawson braids these strands together into a taut, compulsively readable true crime thriller about a man who changed the fate of the death penalty in the UK, and an environmental catastrophe with implications that still echo today. -goodreads

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet

A journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today—guided by the owner himself.

Bestselling author Daniel Tammet (Thinking in Numbers) is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life and able to explain what is happening inside his head.

He sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him the most unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.

Fascinating and inspiring, Born on a Blue Day explores what it’s like to be special and gives us an insight into what makes us all human—our minds.  -goodreads

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.– goodreads

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians. -goodreads 

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences. -goodreads

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What is the last book you added to your TBR?

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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | January 2019

Recs

So this month I decided to try a new weekly layout and added a few new spreads. I am curious if I will actually be using a lot of the things I added or they end up being some pages that I doodled with high hopes. Either way, I am really digging the peach color currently so I decided to use that as my color of the month. One thing I have noticed is that I do not like to use a bunch of different colors as ascents throughout my monthly spreads. So, I am going to do my best to keep to one color a month, apart from my book tracker that depends on using different colors.

I wanted to note that I took inspiration from Boho Berry and a few different youtubers. Regrettably, my screen shots were taken on full screen view so their usernames were not in the image like I thought they would be to credit. If you know the channels please let me know, I feel awful. I thought I had their names in the screen shot, but no, I stink.

Anyway, here is my bullet journal and the new things I tried for the new year.

P.S. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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So this month instead of making an entire calendar that I don’t really end up using past setting up my weekly spreads. I decided to put in a little less effort and do a Monday start quick look on the left and a line to write what I need to write on the right hand side. This can include events, birthdays, or whatever I want.

On the left hand side I wanted to start really taking a look at my daily activity. I always feel like I don’t have time, but I think that is because I waste a lot of it. I want to sketch out my idea week day on the left and my ideal weekend day on the right in pencil. From there I want to try and follow it to the best of my ability and see if that helps me find some extra time to do something new.  On the right I am also trying a habit tracker which is something I have tried in the past and stunk at because I always kept forgetting to track my data. With this big picture addition and something I added to my weekly spread I am excited to see if I can finally be consistent.

So, this is a layout I tried out last month for the first time, I pretty much picked this up from BookandLala. I ended up loving this idea a lot more than I thought I would so I decided to bring it back again this month and I decided to drop the doodled stack of books. While, it was beautiful, it didn’t really give me the data I wanted, this on the other hand have me a lot more information about my reading habits.

Here is my December one completed for reference, one thing I learned was that I needed to carry around a few different colors of highlighter with me so I can fill this out in a more pleasing manner. I ended up having to use dots and lines, which don’t look great, but not what I prefer.

So once again on the left I have my monthly overview where I plan all of my blog posts and I put a dot on the dates that I normally schedule, those I come up with ideas first. I always end up posting more for one reason or another, but I like some consistency. On the right I have my TBR for January. I have a few idea of what books I am going to read next month, but I have not declared them just yet.

Now, I am trying a new weekly spread this month. I have no idea if it will workout for me or not, but it is worth a try. I made my daily’s a bit smaller and left room on the left and write to add tasks that are not day dependent or notes. I put a small tracker in the top left because I know I will be on this page a lot more than the monthly tracker. I figured at the end of the week I can move the data from my weekly to my monthly so I can see a bigger picture without going back and forth each day.

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I don’t know if it is just the new year, but I am really excited about this months spreads and color choices. Once again I want to say have a wonderful New Year and I wish each and every one of you the best in 2019.

What bullet journal spread is you must have each month?

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Wrap Up

WRAP UP | January 2018

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I have to say that this month was so busy, I think I had a few things to do after work each week. It was nice because I got to see friends I have not seen in a while and met some new ones as well. But, with all that social stuff I did not read a whole ton. The books that I did read I absolutely loved!

Books I Finished

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

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This is the second poetry collection I have read by Rupi Kaur. While I did like this collection, for me personally I preferred her first one more. I think it just resinated with me more. If you did like her first one, I would suggest getting this one from the library or reading a few at the bookstore before picking it up yourself.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

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This non-fiction account discussing the Salem witch trials is amazing. This non-fiction is filled with a lot of background information and discusses many accounts. But, it does it in a way that doesn’t make it feel like you are reading a textbook. It reads more like a narrative, you get to know the characters. You learn about their lives, their hardships, why they did the things they did, and what they did after the trials…if they lived. Not only does it talk about before and during the trials. There is also a discussion following it and its affects not only on Salem, Massachusetts but on the region. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys non-fiction or maybe has a new years resolution to read more non-fiction works.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

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This was a great thriller, I read it in a single day. I could not put this down. If you like creepy thrillers with some mystery and paranormal you will LOVE this. I have been telling so many of my friends to pick this book up. Not one has reported being disappointed.

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King

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This is a very small Stephen King story. I think it is among my top five reads of his. I say this because it has all the elements I love in his writing. It is unexpected, it makes you think, and man is it creepy.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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This is the first mystery I have read by Agatha Christie and I will say without a doubt it will not be my last. This was fast pace, well written, and kept my attention the entire time. Once again I finished this book in a single day. The end was just amazing by the way. I wont ruin it, but I don’t think you will be expecting it.

I am Still Reading

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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I am still reading and loving The Secret History. Since I am reading this in a read-a-long I want to stick to the schedule because I don’t want to accidentally spoil anyone.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

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I started this a few days ago and so far I am liking it. It is a bit to early to say any definitive thoughts on the book, but I am very interested to see what happens next.


What was your favorite book you read this month?

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