To Be Read

To Be Read | May 2021

Hello and welcome to my May TBR! This month I am going to be keeping my TBR on the smaller size to hopefully give me the opportunity to do some mood reading, which really helped out the second half of April.


The Books

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, I have been reading The Discovery of Witches series on my ereader and really enjoying it. I ended up walking into my local indie bookshop and I was talking about really enjoying it and the seller recommended this book to me. It is a historical fiction, but all about sisters joining the suffragist movement with a twist of witchcraft from my understanding.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, I have heard nothing but great things about this book and I came across it being on sale on a recent trip to the bookstore, so I thought it was the best time to pick it up and give it a go. I am really interested in this because it is multigenerational from my understanding and is historical fiction.

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, I picked this book up on a total whim if I am being honest. I saw a youtuber I enjoy watching get this book and they were so excited about it I just couldn’t help myself. I have no idea what it is about, but I feel like that it is kinda fun and will make it all the more interesting when I read it this month.

The Agonist by Shastra Deo, not pictured, I am reading this book digitally. This is a collection of poems by an author who was born in Fiji. Reading the blurb and reviews I have come across say that it is beautifully written as well as being food for thought and conversation.

What do you plan on reading this month?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Book | Annelies from Annelies Explores | The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray

Next month I am reading a book picked by Annelies, who you can find on twitter as @AnneliesExpl or on their blog called Annelies Explores. I am really looking forward to reading the book they picked for me, it just sounds grand!

One Sentence Review

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Description

We’re told that happiness is in the extraordinary. It’s on a Caribbean sun lounger, in the driving seat of a luxury car, inside an expensive golden locket, watching sunrise from Machu Picchu. We strive, reach, push, shoot for more. ‘Enough’ is a moving target we never quite reach.

When we do brush our fingertips against the extraordinary a deeply inconvenient psychological phenomenon called the ‘hedonic treadmill’ means that, after a surge of joy, our happiness level returns to the baseline it was at before the ‘extra’ event.

So, what’s the answer? The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary theorizes that the solution is rediscovering the joy in the ordinary that we so often now forget to feel. Because we now expect the pleasure of a croissant, a hot shower, a yoga class, someone delivering our shopping to our door, we no longer feel its buzz. The joy of it whips through us like a bullet train, without pause. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

As someone who loves crochet and reading, the authors point of view now in life aligns quite a bit more to me. I really enjoy the quiet moments that are small and meditative in a way and those truly give me joy. The author really wants to share this with others, which I think is wonderful. Small things really can give you true joy and comfort, but everyone needs to find out what they is to you.

I felt the format of this book lent itself in a way that was great for the reader to make connections because it changed up perspective and time frames often. Talking about their own personal past and experience with the constant chase of happiness, and how they have found happiness now when they are not chasing it. I did also enjoy the lists in this book, I felt like it was a great model of sorts for those who are trying to find the small joys in their life or rediscover them.

What I Didn’t Like

Some of the things mentioned in this book that the author viewed in the past as things that would make her happy, I never wanted in my life honestly. So, this made it a bit hard to relate to the author in a lot of ways. Which, made it a bit harder to “buy in” in some sense. I seem to already be more on the side of already finding joy in the ordinary, but it was an enjoyable way to rediscover the idea and reflect to see if there are any other “ordinary” things I find joy in.

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I feel like it is a great example of finding joy in the places you can without always thinking about something giving you joy that a dream or something that will happen in the future. It is also a way of being mindful and in the moment and finding joy within that, which I think is important personally. I think this is a wonderful read and I think the lists and such would be a great way to explore the ordinary in your life that you enjoy. If this sounds interesting to you, I suggest picking it up from the library or your bookstore!

Rating


Next month I am reading a book picked by Tee, who you can find over on twitter as @teesbookreads. She is very kind and her timeline on twitter is a mixture of her life and her love of books. It is also good for a good few laughs and reactions to her reading.

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

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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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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | February 2021

Hello and welcome to a bit of a book haul for February. This month was really great for my book buying and I am thrilled about that. I love when I read more books than add to my TBR. But, because I picked up so few books, I am really, really happy about the ones I did decide to add to my shelves. Anyway, here are the books I decided to add!


The Last Negros at Harvard by Jeanna Ellsworth and Kent Garrett, I picked this up at my local bookstore, but I had heard about it on twitter and thought it was a very interesting story. I really want to know the experiences of these very brave and intelligent men who attended Harvard during a time described as “between integration and affirmative action” in the description.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel, this was my BOTM pick for February. It follow a very young family who have traveled from to the US from Bogotá and stay longer than their visa allows because they want what is best for their family. It follows them as they move from place to place and the stress and hardships that follow.

What Would Frida Do? by Arianna Davis, I am going to be honest here, I don’t know too much about Frida and I saw this on BOTM so I decided to add it to my box this month. This is a nonfiction book about the artist and I have heard that you can really read the passion the author has for this prominent figure. It seems to not just talk about her art, but her life as a whole.

Dark Archives by Megan Rosenbloom, I have had this book on my to buy list for a very long time and I finally came across it in the bookstore so I picked it up. This is a grim book, but I find it to be a very interesting topic. This book dives into the history of books bound in human skin. The author, who is a librarian, goes through the myths and legends and uses science to see if the books that are claimed to have been bound in human skin, really are.

This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch, I picked up this thriller for a series on my blog called, Someone Picks My Books. I don’t want to say too much, but I did post the review for this book already so you can find that here, Someone Picks My Books | Nicky from @cre8ive_nicky | This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch.


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

What book have you recently read?

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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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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | February 2021

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reading check in! I am off to a wonderful start this month because I took part in the 24 in 48 Readathon that book place over the weekend of the 6th. I have really enjoyed a majority of what I have read, so I am excited to share a few of them with you. Without more of a delay, here are the books that I read!


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking GlassAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found I enjoyed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland much more than Through the Looking Glass. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland seemed more like a fantastical tale and adventures. The second, while still seemed like an adventure, it didn’t have the same feel or appeal.

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Sister OutsiderSister Outsider by Audre Lorde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This author really has a way with words. Their writing was beautiful and I really enjoyed this collection of essays. Her voice was unique, which I really enjoyed. I would really like to read more of her poetry because I feel like I would really enjoy it. The content of these essays revolve around many topics such as friendship, race, and sexuality.

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White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of ColorWhite Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very interesting book, it examines our history and todays society in quite a few countries. It really examines the faults of feminism as a movement and as well as how white women use tears to hide and “protect” themselves instead of having meaningful conversations and a have a refusal to be uncomfortable. This not only is in response to just one minority, but a look at white women’s response and their role in racism when dealing with POC.

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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.

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other AstonishmentsWorld of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this was a very unique way to organize a memoir. Throughout the book the author takes a plant or animal and relates it to a personal part in their life, both childhood and more current. While also doing that you learned about the animals or plants. I will say, if you know a lot about animals it starts to drag a bit and I would have loved to hear more about the authors life.

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Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout HistoryLady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I felt that this was a really well done book. It talked about quite a few women from different countries and time periods. They even mentioned some more that lacked accounts that they really wished there was more on so they could add them to this collection. Not only did this book talk about these serial killers, it also talked about how society viewed them with bias. They were not seen the same way as their male counter parts. Some were even allowed to go free because they were pretty or using their role as a mother to gain sympathy. It was also well organized and it read more like a narrative than a lecture.

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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, I am currently 46% though this reread and I am really enjoying it. For me this was one of my favorite books a year or two ago and honestly, it is still one of my all time favorite reads. The dynamics in this book are just great and I can’t wait to continue

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent, I am current 30% through this thriller. I am reading it with Reg and Jenna, we have all read books by Liz Nugent together in the past and have loved her stuff. This one so far is living up the hype for me. I will say, it does not led itself to an audiobook though. I think if you do listen to the audiobook have the physical book in front of you because it jumps around in time and it can be a bit confusing.



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

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | January 2021

Hello and welcome to my January book haul. This past month or two I ended up being gifted quite a few books that I am very grateful for and would like to share with everyone to see if you have read them and if you have any thoughts on them. Following this month I am going back to my Read 5, Buy 1 Challenge since I made it down to 0 books last year and now I am in the 30s again. Ooops. Anyway, here are the books I most recently added to my TBR!


Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, I am honestly not 100% sure what this book is about if I am being honest. Any insight would be really helpful. I received this as a gift from a family member and I have seen a lot of people mention it over the past few years. But, I kind of avoided all of the reviews etc.

Lady Killers by Tori Telfer, I was gifted this really interesting book by Heidi you can find her on twitter as @TIMbookshelf or over on her blog This is My Bookshelf Blog. She really is vey sweet and kind and I am so happy she picked this book off of my wishlist because I have been in such a nonfiction mood. It moved pretty quickly to the top of my TBR. This non-fiction book discusses various lady killers throughout history.

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad, recommended by Amy who you can find on twitter as @SalieriSin and over on her blog The Book Siren. I was so happy when I saw a book from the list of books I compiled from a thread of nonfiction recommendations on twitter. I scooped this one up no questions asked. This book discusses how feminism is actually white feminism and does not include black women and women of color in their fight for equality. It does this by going throughout history to modern times and across many continents from my understanding.

Sons of Cain by Peter Vronsky, Once again I wanted a nonfiction and I was in my bookstore. I ended up coming across this book that talks about the history of serial killers and how we actually started using that title. It is almost like a historiography on how we view these individuals and also goes into what their crimes are. This is a perfect read for me because I love to see how a topic has been viewed over a period of time and how that view has changed and reading and watching true crime.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, this is a classic that has been on my list for some time and I saw this edition on sale so I decided to finally pick it up. I have never read any of Woolf other works from my memory, so this could be very interesting to see if I enjoy her writing style or not. I also find it interesting that this novel follows a singular person over a singular day while they are trying to set up for a party.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I was gifted this book by Reg who you can find on twitter as @BookishinBed or on her blog that goes by the same name, Bookish In Bed. I was so delighted when this showed up in my box. Taylor Jenkins Reid has quickly become one of my favorite authors and this is one of her books that I have yet to read so I am super thankful!

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, this book I picked up at my local bookstore as well and saw the beautiful cover and then I read the description and I needed to have it! I love when a “cover buy” is more than just a cover buy. This 100 pages or so is a collection of non-fiction essays surrounding the author and focuses on the natural world that surrounds us.

The Unwanted by Michael Dobbs, This non-fiction novel was recommended by local bookstore owner in my area. I did not have a lot of nonfiction on my shelf and I was in the mood for some so I asked the owner to recommend me one and this is the novel they picked. This is about a small own where many were trying to seek asylum to aviod the Nazi party in World War One. I think it is going to be a very well done book, but heart breaking because it focuses on how these people were stuck trying to get the proper paperwork that would literally save their lives and the bureaucracy they had to deal with.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas, I was gifted this book by Misty who you can find on twitter as @mistymichelle30 or over at her blog entitled, Misty’s Book Space. She sent me a message in early January to ask if I have read this book yet and I let her know that I have not and she was super kind and sweet to send this to me. So, I can check out more of this series.


What books have you recently added to your TBR or taken out from your library?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | February 2021

Hello and welcome to my TBR post for February. I am going to try to keep this TBR small so I can have some mood reading throughout the month as well, but we shall see how that goes. I have really been enjoying nonfiction lately, so this TBR could go out the window, but I have a few books I would like to get to regardless of my mood.


The Books

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, Hurricane Season Fernanda Melchor, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Royal Assassin by Robin Hobbs

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad, I was recommended this book on twitter by Amy when I recently put a post out to ask for nonfiction recommendations. As I mentioned I have been on a huge kick for nonfiction so I really want to get to this. I was so happy to see it sitting in my local bookstore.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, I want to read this book for a few reasons, the first being it is the book that has been on my TBR the longest. The second being it was my late aunts favorite book. I figure it would be a good book to throw into this months reading plans because all the other books are a bit more dense with world building, tough but essential conversations, and horror.

Hurricane Season Fernanda Melchor, here is a book that is tied to one of my 2021 goals. You can see more details on it on my post entitled, Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist 2021. This is a book I have heard nothing but wonderful things and was placed on the Man Booker Shortlist last year. I am really excited to finally get to reading it.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, I am rereading this as a buddy read with Lauren this month and I could not be more excited. I loved this book the first time I read it and I loved the show. Now that I am writing this out I kinda want to rewatch the show this weekend. lol.

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb, as some of you know, if you read my post Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals, I want to read two of Robin Hobbs series this year. I read the first book last month and I really want to keep up the momentum and read a book a month so I am not tying to stuff them into my reading and not enjoy them as much as I know I will.


If you are looking for a recommendation for Black History Month please see this tweet posted by Ibram X. Kendi on twitter. You can also check out this thread by Lane that showcases new releases by black authors.

What do you plan on reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | January 2021

Hello and welcome to my wrap up for the first month of 2021! I ended up reading a lot of nonfiction, but honestly I really liked what I read. Who would have thought the year would have stated off like that? Anyway, here are the books I finished reading this month.


The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, MississippiThe Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi by Richard Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short book ended up having a ton inside of it. It had the story of Price Abd al-rahman Ibrahima, a history of a town built on slavery. The author goes into the history without sugar coating like quite a few of the people who live there do. He discusses the relationships and views between many of the towns citizens and how varied they are on the topic of their history itself and racism. He also highlights that there has been progress, but a lot more needs to be done. This town in particular was a very interesting microcosm of society as a whole to read about. I really liked how the author went to the town itself and interviewed many people within the town. Older people, younger people, white, black and those who lived there for generations and those who recently moved in.

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Assassin's Apprentice: The Illustrated Edition (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Assassin’s Apprentice: The Illustrated Edition by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the start of this trilogy so much more than I thought I would. I thought it would be bogged down by world building, but it was done in such a masterfully natural way. I enjoyed the 1st period perspective, mainly because I enjoyed our main character Fitz so much. I am excited to continue this series next month.

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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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Not Quite OutNot Quite Out by Louise Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Given review copy via publisher in exchange of an honest review.

I really enjoyed the story quite a bit, a more detailed review will be posted on my blog on February 16th!

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TomieTomie by Junji Ito
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have read quite a few of Junji Ito’s work and I have loved all of those very much. As with those, his imagination and ideas are very original and the artwork is wonderful. Unfortunately about 1/3 of the way through this I started to loose interest because the plot began to feel repetitive.

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I managed to read a total of 9 books, 3,986 pages. Six of those books were fiction and the remaining 3 were nonfiction. I read 1 ebook, 1 audiobook, 5 hard cover and 2 soft cover books. I borrowed one of the books read this month from the library. I have 2 5 star reads, 6 4 star read and 1 3 star read.

What was your favorite book you read this month?

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